Be Like Martin
Very slowly, a pair feet made their way down a set of steps in the abbey. The sandals flopped lightly, indicating they were maybe a size too big for their wearer. The owner himself was in fact a small young mouse around the age of sixteen. His name? Skylan Rolva, or as he went by in the abbey, Sky.
His cobalt blue habit dragged a bit on the floor behind him with every step he took. Sky's blue eyes that imitated the very object of his name, glanced around curiously. He had been in the abbey ever since he could remember, and his parents themselves grew up there too. This was his home, and it always would be.
The young mouse finished his journey down the steps, ending with a rough cough, hinting at his sickly/weakened nature. Sky decided on a glorious sunny afternoon like today, that sometimes it was best to stay away from the others his age or even younger than he. After all, they sometimes tended to make fun of his weaknesses.
Silently, the mouse hesitantly made his way over to the tapestry of Martin the Warrior. Oh, how the young mouse longed to be like the famous hero of the abbey! He smiled softly, admiring every aspect of the warrior.
"One day," the young mouse began, pausing to cough,"I'm goin' to be strong, and be just like you." The mouse said, as if Martin was going to jump out of the tapestry and speak right back.
The wolverine padded up the stairs from Cavern Hole and ducked his head through the doorway as he entered Great Hall. He paused and gazed around the room, starting slightly as he caught sight of the small figure in front of the Tapestry of Martin the Warrior. He tilted his head to one side and tried to overhear what the creature was saying to itself.
"One day… I'm goin to be strong, and be just like you."
The giant mustelid nodded to himself as recognition dawned on him. Skylan Rolva, the sickly young mouse. The outcast. He made his way over to the young creature and sat down beside him, speaking quietly, his deep voice muted by the comfortable heaviness of the room. "Hello there, Skylan… They haven't been making fun of you again, have they?" He gazed down at the mouse, and then at the tapestry. "You know, I'm an outcast too, in my own way. Look at me. I'm a wolverine. I know nothing of Abbey life. According to Brother Coire, the last time a wolverine was seen in the vicinity of Redwall, the Abbey was in danger of falling." Osgod smiled at the mouse. "Creatures don't let go of memories like that easily. Many of the good brothers and sisters here are still reluctant to be around me. It's just the reputation that my species has. That doesn't mean that I can't be of any good here, though... And it doesn't mean that you can't either.
He placed a massive paw on Skylan's shoulder. "Everybeast has an important part to play in life, and here at the abbey. Strength doesn't just include physical prowess... Who knows but that you may one day soon save Redwall from destruction?"
Freedom, the Abbey's Healer and Infirmary Keeper, had been taking care of the young mouse since his parents had come to her for help. She helped him the best she could, and though he had made progress throughout the years, it just didn't seem to be enough sometimes. The motherly, older mouse, was greatly fond of the lad, and was confident that one day he was going to be a creature of great strength.
She was also, one of the only ones to take to Osgod right away. Though at first his appearance at the Abbey was a little nervewracking, the kindly herbalist had accepted him without question.
She stepped off the last stair and looked to her left, faint voices drifting over to her. She smiled softly at the sight of the two of them sitting together, Osgod dwarfing the young mouse. Freedom walked up behind them and stared at the tapestry a moment, Martin's eyes boring into her own. She finally placed her hand on the top of Sky's head and looked down at him. "Ah back here again, young'n?"
Sky swallowed hard as the wolverine's voice empowered him. The young mouse couldn't help but smile at least a little bit. Osgod's words inspired him and were comforting to hear despite coming from such a massive beast. The young mouse knew every word that the wolverine spoke was true. Sky himself was a bit reluctant when the first couple vermin had, as some of the brothers and sisters put, "plagued" the Abbey. There was reason for the mistrust. It almost seemed like a new birth of vermin was coming out; vermin that didn't mind living amongst the peaceful woodlanders.
The young mouse personally didn't mind. He thought of it as a good thing. After all, one day, perhaps all would need to set aside their differences to fight a common foe. It was a large dream, and possible right? And, in this said dream, Sky liked to imagine himself as a hero. He wasn't sickly, no he was strong! Skylan was a fierce warrior capable of taking down enemy after enemy with the ferocity of a badger lord with bloodwrath. Sky smiled to himself at the very thought of it. Recalling what the wolverine asked in the beginning, Sky shrugged, "Not t'day sir. I've kept away to be honest."
After a weak cough, he nodded to the wolverine, thinking of his kind words, "Thank-you Osgod," he began almost in a whisper. "There's a lot of vermin taking refuge here now. Think something's happenin'?" The mouse asked, looking up at the wolverine for guidance. The question itself was clearly inspired by the wolverine's words of being an outcast, and that maybe one day Skylan could save the abbey.
Before he could get his immediate answer, he turned his attention to Freedom. He smiled, looking between the two that comforted him.
"Yes ma'am." He grinned lightly. Freedom was like an older sister in some ways, or a second mother. She helped him all the time, even when he didn't need it. The young mouse's blue eyes opened wide, realizing he may be in trouble for being out. "Please don't tell my father… or mother! They find out I'm about when I should be," he interrupted himself with a sneeze," resting, and I'll be in trouble for sure!"
Osgod looked at the tapestry again, studying the images of fleeing vermin keenly. "To be honest, Sky, I don't know. It is true that there always evil beasts out there who would like nothing better than to enslave and torture goodbeasts like yourself and the creatures of this abbey… But I'm no seer. I really can't tell you what will happen even a season from now, except that winter will come and eventually turn into spring. Where will we be then? I don't know."
He grinned at the mouse. "Just be sure to stick with me and Freedom, and we'll all be alright, regardless what happens."
The wolverine rose to his feet, nodding at the older female mouse. "Sky, I think that some activity would do you good. If you spend all your time resting, you'll never gain your strength. I don't care what your parents say... Anything you want to do? Mossflower forest...?"
Freedom chuckled and ruffled the young mouse's ears. "No young'n, I won't tell them. I'm sure they won't have a problem with it. BUT," she said eyeing Osgod good naturedly. "I am going to have to put my foot down on the Mossflower thing. Not just yet dearest, maybe in a couple more months." she said with a smile.
A large grin formed on the mouse's features. His small tail wagged in joy and he felt a little energized as the wolverine explained what seemed like a good interpretation of that way of life itself. Sky's bright blue eyes looked from the wolverine to Freedom. Activity sounded like a great idea, and the mouse really wanted to, but the problem was deep down inside he knew it would not be the smart thing to do.
It just so happened that Freedom confirmed the mouse's very thoughts. The young mouse sighed, shifting in his habit a little bit. His mind wandered back to his fantasy battlefield, where he was wielding Martin's sword and saving some poor mouse from an evil beast's clutches. A small smile was present on his face before twisting into a heavy cough.
"The problem is, Osgod, sir, that last time my father tried to take me, I collapsed from the heat," the young mouse explained. "I want to do activities, but like Freedom says, I can't," the mouse frowned. However, after a moment or two of thought, his ears raised in joy once more. "Wait, but what if Osgod doesn't take me far Freedom, or you come with?" he asked suddenly full of excitement.
It made sense. If anything happened, she would be right there with medicine just in case. Plus, she could tell them when he really needed to come back. It was perfect right? And, if she said no, maybe he could find a way to let Osgod help him in the fishing contest coming up, or at least something.
The wolverine's face clouded momentarily, and he paced heavily back and forth on the stone flagged floor as Freedom presented her view on the matter of activities. "I guess that you are right, Freedom. Still… He can't just lie in bed and sneak around the Abbey for his entire life. How much longer will your treatments take?"
He glanced concernedly at Skylan as the skinny mouse coughed violently and explained his predicament.
"Wait, but what if Osgod doesn't take me far Freedom, or you come with?"
Osgod smiled happily in approval. "I wouldn't take him far, Freedom. We'd go about a league out into Mossflower and find a cold spring for him to swim in. If you wanted we could even see if we could find any herbs that you might need." His eyes pleaded with the good healer. "It would do him seasons of good, and when he gets tired I could carry him." The mustelid glanced off toward the kitchens. "Nobody would stop me either… Most of them still don't want anything to do with me anyway."
Freedom eyes softened, and she patted Osgod's paw kindly. "I know, I agree. But presenting him to the things that attack him bit by bit will help him to build up a resistance against such things, thus making him stronger in the process."
She ruminated over the suggestion in her head for a moment, and was totally against it. His parents would chew her out for sure. But…...Osgod was right. He was a youngster, he couldn't live his life cooped up all the time. "Alright, but we're not going far. Stay right here while I go get my satchel of emergency supplies." she said sternly, before she winked and disappeared back up the stairs.
Skylan at first was unsure what to say to Osgod regarding the length of his treatments. For as long as the mouse could remember he had been weighed down by illness and overall weakness. A shame how a youngster willing to be so brave and wanting to protect every beast out there, had to be dragged to such a state. The mouse ended up shrugging in the end, "Not sure to be honest Osgod, sir."
Then the massive wolverine spoke about taking him only a league into Mossflower. Only a league? Hah, that league would be grand in the eyes of Skylan! Sure, some his age started adventuring by now, but for him he could take comfort in even an adventure so small, as a league into Mossflower. The mouse found himself smiling greatly, and before he could speak Freedom had already given in.
"Yes!" Skylan exclaimed merrily. He looked to Osgod thankfully, "I owe you Osgod, sir," the young delighted mouse said happily. Truly, it was amazing for the mouse. The wolverine literally had made his week!
"You're welcome, mouse. It's not often that I actually make a creature truly happy. It is a rare and wonderful feeling for me…"
Osgod lifted the mouse to his feet and glanced stealthily down the hallway leading to the kitchen before ducking down the stairs into Cavern Hole again. After a few minutes he returned, holding a small and smooth piece of wood in his paw. "A staff for you, Sky. It will help you keep your balance and not get as tired as you walk..." He gave the mouse a rebellious grin. "It can also be used as a weapon. Perhaps I could begin to teach you how to use it when we get back."
The wolverine turned as Freedom swept back into the room, replete with healer's satchel. "Are you ready, Freedom?" He headed to the majestic main door and pushed it open, holding it for the two mice. "We'll head out the South wicker gate to avoid attention."
Freedom nodded her head and eyed the staff with a slight smile. "Oh I see you found it, Osgod?" she remarked as she walked through the door, the beautiful midmorning sun and light breeze greeting them. She stood there and took in a deep breath, letting out out blissfully after a moment. "Yes Osgod, that sounds like a good plan."
It was like a dibbun finding a stash of candied chestnuts when Osgod gave the mouse the staff. Sure, it was only a staff, but this staff symbolized the first time a beast had faith in him to leave the abbey. And of course he was leaving with Freedom and Osgod to protect him, but this was a step up if anything! Beaming, the mouse coughed and nodded eagerly to Osgod. "Aye, sir, I would love to learn how to use it," he said merrily. "Oh, and thank-you once again sir," he finished making sure to maintain his manners.
When Freedom came back, the mouse was already a couple steps out. The breeze and bright sun that only the outdoor world could offer, embraced Sky, filling him with joy. It had been a week since he was outside, and even longer yet since last left the abbey.
Immediately, his adventurous side took over.
"Do you think we'll run into any vermin?" The mouse asked the pair eagerly. Already he wanted to save the day. It wasn't abnormal. After all, some beasts traveled to new places when they were his age. He was sixteen, and some had even left at fourteen or even younger yet! The mouse had so much to experience!
He nodded at the youngster, slightly embarrassed. "No need to thank me, little mate. I'm only trying to find my purpose as a woodlander."
The wolverine glanced to his left and right and stealthily unlatched the South wallgate, hurriedly ushering the two mice into the outskirts of Mossflower Forest. Once they were out of sight of the walls, he began to converse with his two companions. "I know a cold spring that empties into a small pool not far from here… I visited it a few days ago with the Abbott..." He smiled inwardly... A wonderful old creature.
"I don't know if we'll run into any vermin, Sky, except for the one next to you…" Osgod narrowed his eyes dangerously, momentarily forgetting about his friends.Hellgates forbid that he come across any raiders… That was his lifestyle no longer.
"That sounds good Osgod. Though if I am thinking correctly, I know which one you're talking about." She walked behind the young mouse at a steady pace, laughing lightly at his enthusiasm. When he talked of vermin, and Osgod responded, she mentally touched the sword strapped to her back. One never knew.
She smacked Osgod's arm playfully. "You, a vermin? HA! You're like a big teddy bear." she said with a grin.
The mouse nodded knowingly at Ogod's words. He couldn't help but laugh at the vermin comment. Then, Freedom put in her input on the vermin comment and the mouse nodded. "Yeah, Osgod I'm going to have to agree with Freedom on that. My father told me tales of rats that were more vicious than you," Sky pointed out with a large grin.
A rush had gone through the young mouse. He coughed a couple times, but all in all he was keeping a good pace. For extra measure, he pulled up the hood on his cobalt blue habit. The mouse then found his eyes resting on Freedom, the young mouse curious.
"Say Freedom, when was the last time the sword of Martin was used?" he asked, unable to recall it being used at all in his life. It may have been used and he just didn't realize it.
This is just the beginning! One day, I'll be strong enough Martin, I promise. I'll wield your blade proud, and protect all of the innocent…
Osgod grinned and buffeted the healer gently on the shoulder. "I try to restrain my savage instincts around my friends, you know…"
He halted abruptly as he felt the loam between his footpaws become spongy and moist. Looking around, he located the unobtrusive spring that bubbled up out of a cleft in a shelf of limestone on the forest floor, forming a crystal pool in a depression left where a tree once stood.
"Here we are, Skylan... What do you think, eh? If you wish Freedom or I could help you swim... Over time, it would strengthen your body like nothing else." The mustelid knelt at the edge of the pool and splashed a few pawfulls of the icy water over his face, exhaling happily as the liquid ran over his fur and down his chest. "Come on Sky, if you say no, I'll throw you in."
He paused suddenly, his ears pricked, instantly aware of his surroundings. He glanced keenly into the darkness of the forest, as if trying to meet eyes with potential hidden watchers. Nothing out there. This is a safe place for Sky and Freedom…
"What say you, Free? Water would be a good remedy for our little friend, would it not?"
"Actually yes it would, water therapy is one of the best kinds and it's very low impact." She said brightly as she expertly shed her satchel and cloak, the sword hidden amongst it's folds. She laughed at the young mouse's question. "To be honest with you I'm not sure. I know very little of the Abbey's recent history, I've only been there a couple seasons myself."
The answer depressed the mouse ever so slightly. How he longed to know who the last warrior was, and when. Skylan had thought about asking the Abbey Recorder multiple times, but every time he decided that it was best not to. After all, such a question would surely be foolish of one who can barely wander about the abbey! What did swords and adventure have to do with the fragile Sky? The answer? Nothing.
He heaved a sigh and the small mouse's ears perked high upon his companion's words. The mouse gave a shrug. "Oh, I used to swim a couple times when I was younger. Back when we thought," he coughed, "this was gone," the mouse finished, slowly descending into the water.
A smile greeted his features upon the water's cool touch. The mouse couldn't help but feel free as he waded about the water. His bright blue eyes glanced at Freedom merrily. "You're right, it feels great in here!" The mouse said, pausing to look at the wolverine. "Osgod, how long have you known about this place?" Sky asked curiously. He coughed lightly before calming himself and listening attentively.
OOC: No excuse… Hurr. Dead brain is DEAD.
BIC: The wolverine scratched the top of his head. "I don't know, Skylan... Not more than a fortnight, I haven't been at Redwall for long at all..."
He looked over his shoulder and rose to his feet. "I'll be back in a moment, you two. I'm going to scout around this area, just to make sure that this area is safe... Somehow, I feel restless. Freedom, keep an eye on our friend for me..."