ooc- This is a thread meant to promote a little activity again. This is not an arc. Denya's is still in progress and I will be joining in that soon as well.
As far as this thread goes, I don't want an immediate villain. For now, let's keep it to NPC vermin that try to inhibit/kill or kidnap the characters.
_ Our world is dead…
Ash falls is a cloud like black mist. Mossflower glows red with the embers of war._
The beautiful woodlands had vanished. All that remained were trenches, abandoned palisades and the tall, distant shadow of Stythys. The tower of the dead stood like a gravestone over a barren waste.
_ The Lord of the Sky, Zeduran himself, underestimated his foe. I see still the dark ones pervading my thoughts. They flooded from the dungeons of Styths like a plague, destroying all in their path._
Vermin bathed in black poured up the dungeon steps, snatching everything their could implement as a weapon. Torches, chains, rocks… They toppled the guards off the steps and into the abbys from wich they came. Lines of archers fired down into their ranks, sending a ceasless rain of dark bodies into the pit.
_ Once they were free, their wrath could not be allayed. They tore at everything in their path. Locked away for so long, silently driven mad, they became monsters._
The army of dark heathens clawed their way through the gaping, broken doors to the great throne room. Blood mingled with crimson royal carpet as they made their way to the throne through raining wooden shafts, an unstoppable, innumerable force. Scores and scores of archers fired into their bodies. and they fell.
The heaps of bodies built nearer and nearer the the marble dais upon which the King's throne sat, beyond which lay the gates to freedom. The monsters climbed over the bodies of their fallen comrades, heedless of death in their unquenchable wrath.
One of the huge, savage nightmares rushed beyond the rest and fell to all fours and roared in the face of his first and last foe. The tall figure, standing in chain mail and a steel helm, drew his sword fluidly and ducked to one side and struck out, slaying the beast in a single blow, spilling the beast's blood on the marble steps.
The warrior looked up into the faces of the others, an impassive figure behind his mask of metal. He twirled his blade idly in his paw as he stepped forward to meet the others. His knights fell in behind his as he picked up speed, screaming their war cries. Then, as he met with the hordes of the prison's denizens, rolling beneath the first and spearing the next on his sword point.
_ It is the end. We have all fallen to the veil of evil which has encompassed our country for millennia. We have found that we are not prey only to the roaming hordes of vermin hidden in the marshes and mountains, but also the vermin's heart found beating in the breast of every beast, good and evil.
In the end, it was not the denizens of Stythys that destroyed us all._
The warrior mouse drew off his helm as he stepped out the shattered throne room doors. His armor was stained with blood of enemies and comrades alike. He looked down from his perch into the maze of steps and battlements. Arrows and sharp screams of pain and fury filled the air. The masses of black overrode the many hundreds of beasts stationed to stop them. It was a losing battle.
"Sire." An injured otter spoke from the mouse's side. "Will we evacuate the living? There are hundreds of women and young ones locked within-"
The mouse brought up his paw. His companion went silent. The mouse surveyed the massacre for a few moments longer. "No," he replied in a tired voice. "No. We cannot open the gates."
He turned to the others. "You know what you are supposed to do. If they do not destroy us here, it will be done out there. This war will not end while they breathe. Go."
_ The prison for the dark ones of Mossflower was ancient. The dark ones were driven mindless. They were ruthless, lifeless killers. And to defend our land from their rage, the Champion of Mossflower had to fulfill his last duty, his final measure._
Aaron, Champion of Mossflower, met the hordes just outside at the bottom of the steps. The streets of Stythys narrowed to a point that only a few could fight at one time, so he and his men filled the gap to hold away the forces.
Aaron pressed deep into their ranks and fought tooth and claw, pressing his way into a wide plaza, the centerpeice of the towering fortress. He pressed into their midst, slaying the beasts with a madness akin to bloodwrath. They fell one by one to his sword until their fear outweighed their fury and they fell back, circling him on all sides.
Finally, his comrades were fallen. He was the last.
The seething dark ones parted and a tall cloaked figure stepped forward, stoic and fearless, somehow the antithesis and still the enbodiment of those the wreathed him and clung to the skirt of his cloak.
"Aaron," He called. "The battle is lost. And so, the war. You have spent your last. Let us pass."
"Shagera." Aaron spoke, closing his eyes briefly to blink away the battle fire. His sword lowered. "There is nothing left for any of us. I once swore that defiance against us would merit you nothing. I may still make good on that promise."
The cloaked one laughed, shadowed by his black minions. "How? You have nothing left."
"I will warn you only once." Aaron said calmly, raising his blade. "Renounce this evil or you will never pass. You have one last chance to turn away."
Shagera stepped forward, drawing his sword. The crimson-stained blade seemed to glow in the black encircling them. "No one is my equal. I will slay you as easily as I breathe and take the throne and the Gates myself. I renounce nothing."
Arron looked genuinely regretful. "And it is your undoing." Shagera sneered and raised his blade. Aaron ducked into a fighter's stance and grasped his sword in a death-grip.
Shagera was about to rush forward, but halted as rumbling filled the air. The stones quaked beneath them. He looked up too late as a river of magma poured from the walls on all sides. Monstrous cauldrons of liquid fire were tipped at the top of every tower and flowed like a river through the streets over walls. The monsters looked around the plaza in terror as the deadly-hot liquid poured toward them. In the narrow streets behind, their brethren screamed in pain. The river flowed through of of Stythys, consuming everything. The loest streets were taken first. The the upper. Slowly the cauldrons were tipped one after the other, herding them toward the top.
In desperation, Shagera rushed forward to fight his way through Aaron, but a waterfall of fire fell from behind the mouse, bathing everything in red.
"I warned you, Shagera. And now we all die. You will never live to take Mossflower."
Now fear showed even in Shagera's eyes. The ferret screamed and fought like lightning, now for vengeance rather than power. The two of them fell to the ground and Shagera pinned Aaron ruthlessly. Then he drew his knife.
"And you die with me, in fire." The traitor seethed.
Then the plaza began to collapse. Fires from beneath gutted Stythys. Only a shell remained when the destruction had finished.
_ The Champion of Mossflower fell in battle. His men were destroyed. It is probable that nothing survived.
With no one to rule on high, a pursuit of power ensued. Powers from all around tried to establish their authority. In the end, Mossflower inself was burned as vermin and goodbeasts fought until nothing remained.
First the woodlands fell. Then the fire-mountain, Salamandastron. With no one to tend it's fires, the mountain burned and spouted fire, as it continues to do so to this day.
And then, finally, Redwall. Martin's sword was lost, buried in the debris, still clasped in the hands of our Lord, the Champion of Mossflower.
Most of the vermin races died within Stythys. It is a blessing that those denizens are with us no longer. What remained of them after so many years of confinement was neither rat nor ferret nor weasel. A hideous and terrifying mixture of them all was all that remained.
They are known to some as the Nameless. Others call them the Denizens of Stythys.
I call them Demons._
_ We are gone. All of us, perhaps. Yet still I hope that someday a survivor may wrap his paws around this book, the last remnant of the tale of our world. And perhaps the Prince of Stythys may live on and rule this land again.
To whomever finds my words, revive our homeland. Lead the living on to a better life. And may the clouds of ash cease falling. May control of what is left fall from the paws of vermin and into the paws of better beasts. Return our home to what it once was._
Lilia, watervole of Noonvale
Last night, only days after the death of my mother, I saw something stir in Stythys. I saw a fire burning in the highest tower. I hope that it was nothing, just a group of bandits that somehow found their way inside.
But if it is anything different, may the Spirits of Martin and Aaron protect us all.
Aaron, last mouse of Noonvale, claimed son of Lilia