It was a pleasant winter's morn. The dibbuns were chasing each other and fighting with snowballs as the adults watched from their porches drinking hot tea. Everybody was cheerful and happy, a rare phenomena in harsh conditions like these. "Morn'n marm." Darrell, a guard mouse spoke to an elderly hedgehog, Lil.
"Morn'n Darrell."
"Pleasant isn it?"
"Oi. Nice ta 'ave a sweet morning watchin' the little ones scamp about."
"Ay, it is. I'll be havin' to go back to my post, take it easy Lil."
"You as well Darrell." Just another of one of the many conversations that will never happen again in just a few hours. Smoke black as night blotted in the white sky, putting the guards on high alert, as they should be. Evil was approaching, very dark evil.

OOC: This will be a thred with Bloodbane. He ain't got magic this time around. I was thinking some one could join as a guard or passing warrior. Lil and Darrell are open charas.

KayLee wondered the path. The circus she had been with usually would have been at RedWall already for a celebration and show.
With no place to go, she had planned on going to the old abbey for a little while and get warm from the winter, and something to eat of course.

Looking up she had seen the blackest smoke she had ever seen. "Looks like someone's burnin' the wrong kinda wood…" She said to herself as she continued on. Stopping to watch the small dibbuns run and play in front of her.
"It's too bad we all can't play like that all day, eh?" She said looking at their parents.

( ooc - not a guard or warrior...but hopefully to your liking. If not, I can delete it )

The mouse mum nodded and smiled. "Oh ay. If only it was always this way. Mostly it's too cold."
"Too cawld, too cawld!" The little ones chimed in squickey voices.
"Just nippy 'nough ta keep the rascals playn'. Best to wair 'em out now before too long ey?" The mum laughed and giggled, causing the dibbuns to squiek and laugh as well.

Ten miles from the town…

"Come on yew dogs, we gotta get to Noonvale gates by mid day!" The commanding rat, Mugwit, shouted at two and half score of vermin. "Ya donna want Blood angry at ya all, do ya? Ha ha, I thought not!" They marched at a quick pace, dressed in armor that was often ill-fitted. Most of it was robbed from fallen warriors. High ranking warriors had good armor.
Their war horns and drums played a terrifying tune, it could be heard for miles.

The squirel-maid gave a giggle as the little ones played in the show, and squiek in responce to what their mom was saying.
"…Well then, they'll sleep fine tonight after all this playin' and runnin' around. They'll be tuckered out in no time at all." KayLee said with a smile.

She watched them play, though her ear twitched as she heard the faint sounds of horns and drums. Much like a circus as they traveled. Each one had their own song and sound, but she didn't recognize this one.
"...Sounds like somethin' big is comin' this way." She said up to the mother-mouse, then turned in the direction of the sound. It was then that she realized that the black smoke was also coming from that direction.

( ooc - correct me, if I'm wrong on that last part XD )

"Come on yew dogs, we gotta get to Noonvale gates by mid day!" The commanding rat, Mugwit, shouted at two and half score of vermin. "Ya donna want Blood angry at ya all, do ya? Ha ha, I thought not!" They marched at a quick pace, dressed in armor that was often ill-fitted. Most of it was robbed from fallen warriors. High ranking warriors had good armor.
Their war horns and drums played a terrifying tune, it could be heard for miles.

A slender black-striped orange feline by the name of Crimson Valseras marched among their ranks, her large green eyes calmly scanning ahead. She wore a red cloak, and light armor made of studded leather hide, and matching spiked bracers near her wrists and ankles. She had a bow strewn over her back, two daggers at her sides, and a massive collection of throwing knives hidden throughout her garb.

She snickered to herself upon mention of ticking off the all-mighty Bloodbane. It was almost no secret that she wanted nothing more but to see him struck down, and for her to take her rightful place as their glorified leader.

"What a yoo snickerin' about missy!?" the weasel next to her snarled. "Ya got somethin' ta say ta Bloodbane!?"

Crim scowled at him and gave him a hefty bump in the side with her elbow that nearly knocked him over. "Quit yer blabberin' an' keep ta formation, weasel!"

Guards all around were trying to as inconspicuous as possible, but it was being noticed. "Sir," a young squirrel named Buck asked, "What’s going on? What’s with the music and black smoke?"
"Nothin' you need to pay heed to young one."
"But it sounds like-"
"It's nothing I assure you, now back to yur mum and see if she needs anythin."
"Yesser." Mothers were calling their babes back into their houses, sensing something bad arising. A guard approached Kaylee.
"Are you good with any weapons? We'll as much of a guard as we need."

Six miles from Noonvale gates…

"Ey kitty cat," A stoat behind the conspiritor began, "I 'eard that Blood 'em self is gonna be at the gates afore too long. 'Ee gonna declare his dominion over them, or kill all of 'em!"

"Wonder who it can be?" She said more to herself then to anyone. Her gaze was drawn from the sound and smoke back down the the children as they went back to their mothers, and then inside the homes.

KayLee turned to the guard, shaking her head. "I can try my luck with arrows. I have blow darts. they can't be much different. Aim and fire…" She said looking around. "...Sorry I can't be of more help, but I'm just a performer. Just tell me what to do, and I'll do my best." She said, as her ear twitched from the sound of the ever nearing horns and drums.

_Six miles from Noonvale gates…

"Ey kitty cat," A stoat behind the conspiritor began, "I 'eard that Blood 'em self is gonna be at the gates afore too long. 'Ee gonna declare his dominion over them, or kill all of 'em!"_

"Ha! Serves 'em right. All o' Noonvale can burn, fer all I care!" she said with a cold laugh as she tried to make out the town through the trees ahead.

She scratched her chin in consideration. "Ooh, but Bloodbane'll be dar ya say? Hehehe…" she chuckled evilly herself as she clasped her paws together in excitement. If she plays her cards right, this could be her chance to claim leadership!

"I wouldn' get yer hopes up n' de sky now, heh heh. Ya not the first wan to try an' take over." The vermin breathed in deeply. "Naw, any body oo' even wanted to got ther 'eads lopped off afore they got their chance!" This stoat in particular was one of Blood's many spy's in the hoard to root out any body like Crimson. They were often trained well in assassination with a blow gun and daggers, but more than often let Bloodbane do the slaying.
"Av seen de Overlord lookn' at yew back at base. I donna know if ee' wants to promote ya or keel ya, ha ha ha!"

Noonvale

The guards were scrambling to positions as the terrifying music drew nearer, some scared and some not.
"Just another day eh boys?" A cocky hare proclaimed. He had no answer.

KayLee took one of the smaller bows and a few arrows. She broke from the guards and climbed a tree. Finding a good sturdy branch, she sat down, preparing her equipment.
She rested her pouch on a smaller branch above her, opening it and got her bow darts ready, then leaned the quiver of arrows against the truck of the tree and took one.
The squirrel-maid notched her arrow and took aim at the path ahead of them. "Take out the leader, and the rest will be easy…" She said to herself. As of right now, she was the only one with a vantage point. The advancing vermin would be on the ground, and she knew the guards were on the ground.

"I wouldn' get yer hopes up n' de sky now, heh heh. Ya not the first wan to try an' take over." The vermin breathed in deeply. "Naw, any body oo' even wanted to got ther 'eads lopped off afore they got their chance!" This stoat in particular was one of Blood's many spy's in the hoard to root out any body like Crimson. They were often trained well in assassination with a blow gun and daggers, but more than often let Bloodbane do the slaying.
"Av seen de Overlord lookn' at yew back at base. I donna know if ee' wants to promote ya or keel ya, ha ha ha!"

Crimson looked back at the stoat and scowled. "Ha, ya dink I'm scared o' dat creep?" She pointed to herself. "I could gut 'im faster den a candle flame in a wind storm. I've slain many o' beast on our raids, and I tell ya, I'm not just any vermin ta mess wid!"

Her eyes narrowed aggressively as a thought suddenly came to mind, realization dawning upon her. "Hm, yer a rat, aren't ya? And I don't mean those addle-brained scum-nosed over-sized mice neider. If ya so much as even dare speak a word o' dis ta Sir Bloody, I'm goin' ta rip yer eyes out and shove 'em down yer droat!" she quietly growled.

She looked up and smiled as they neared Noonvale, the beat of the drums ringing in her ears. She pulled a throwing knife out from beneath her bracer as she scanned ahead to track the first origins of any incoming projectiles.

"I'd watch yer back if I were ya, stoat. My aim wid dese daggers is usually flawless, but ever so often, my sights may stray, an' ya know… 'accidents' 'appen," she muttered in a threatening tone, as she idly twirled the knife in her paw.

"Heh heh, ya idol threats don' mean a thin' ta me. Even if yew did, there are others here just like-a me." The stoat paused a moment. "Thar is a reason Bloods de ruler of so many and it's not because ee's the sweetest in all the lands." After the last word, he quit talking and never spoke up after.
As they reached the gates, a rat blared the war horn. It was entirely unnecessary and was given a stern slap to the head by a lieutenant. "Quit it ya idgit!" He yelled threw his teeth. The rat glared at him as if he didn't do anything wrong.
On the wall tops the lead guard spoke up. "What do ya want vermin! We Noonvalers have no quarrel with ye."
The weasel general, Tero, stepped forward. He was a well educated weasel with the voice of an woodlander.
"Our master, Overlord Bloodbane, has decided to further expand his rule."
"Ha! Over mah dead body!" The hare spoke up.
"That can be arranged, but it's not for me to decide. Bloodbane will be here momentarily to tell his verdict."
On the other side of the wall, the dibbuns and elderly were being moved underground so they would be safer. The little ones were crying and there family was trying to calm them, though they were on the verge of tears themselves.

KayLee sat in the tree, relaxed for now as she listened to the conversation between the guards and the invaders.
"…Bloodbane...Where have a heard that name before?" She said to herself as she listened. Perhaps she had just overheard his name somewhere, but she could have sworn that it was more then just that. Maybe he was there during one of the old circus' performances.

"Well, then I'll just have ta shut every one o' ya up, won't I?" Crimson growled before all had went silent. She tossed up her blade as she impatiently waited for their spokesbeast to fall silent. She briefly snickered at the hare's witless comment.

She caught her knife and eagerly licked the blade. Her eyes targeted the hare. "Now where is that blasted overlord? He's about ta miss all the fun."

Large drums boomed like thunder crashing. Ten vermin were halling a large battering ram on wheels. Bloodbane was leading the pack. His towering stature was imposing even mor so since he was carrying his large, single side ax. Behind the ram was his elite dozen, the most loyal and skilled in the hord.
As he apporached the gates, all was silent. Not a bird chirped or flapped it's wings, not soul breathed. It was so quiet you could swear you heard flakes of snow touch the ground. Blood raised one arm and every one simeltaniously inhailed, then…
"Dominaaaation!" Blood's booming voice echoed threw the woods. The ram drew back and slammed into the gate. Guards started to sling stones and shoot arrows into small hoard. The gate shook and dented as it was struck. Arrows flew from the vermin as they shot at the guards, both losing creatures.

OOc: there is a pause at "then..."
ps, i'll polish later.

Kaylee waited in silence as the discussion stopped between the guards and the vermin on the other side of the gate.
After a moment or two of deadly silence, all she heard was the booming echo of Bloodbane himself.
She wasn't as protected as the guards were nor as ready to fight.
She had hoped that they would be able to hold them off at the gate. If they were unsuccessful, then she feared that those that did not seek the protection underground would die fighting, which would include her if, she didn't play her cards right. She wasn't a warrior after all, just an entertainer. Perhaps, if worst came to worst, she would be able to distract Blood and his hoard long enough to get everyone to safety and maybe if they were lucky, a strike against them.
The squirrel-maid bit her lip, hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst as she heard the ram hitting the gate.

"Always de flashy one, ain't he?" Crimson wound up and flung her knife towards the hare on the battlements, laughing with amusement as it struck him in the neck and slew him.

The cat watched as arrows flew back and forth, and the battering ram crashed into the gates. The rest of the vermin were waiting for the gates to falter.

She hummed and pulled out a small vial containing botulinum toxin. She placed a drop on the point of her claw before putting it away. She walked up behind the stoat and brought her muzzle close to his ear.

"Dis'll hurt fer just a second…" she whispered as she lightly pierced him in the back with the tip of her poisoned claw. She inconspicuously disappeared into the crowd, and left him to stand there in bewilderment. About a moment later, the stoat was lying paralyzed on the ground, crying out in pain before falling silent, leaving the surrounding vermin confused and clueless.

She put up her hood and crept her way towards where Bloodbane and the battering ram lay, using her comrades as meat shields against the rain of arrows and stone. She eyed the dozen loyalists behind the overlord with envious disdain. If it weren't for the nosy rats, perhaps she too would've stood among their ranks. Their presence was far too dangerous for her to strike just yet. She would have to wait for a better opportunity.

As she waited for the gates to fall, she scanned the surrounding vermin for any spies that might have stalked her, testing for even the briefest glimpse of eye contact. It only took one of them to blow her cover, but she imagined they had other plans. After all, Bloodbane liked to deal with his traitors personally.

Growing impatient, Bloodbane put his boot on the ram on its draw back then gave it a mighty shove. The gates flung open and the hoard poured into the town like a pack of rabid dogs. Guards were putting up a valiant effort, but they were fighting a losing battle. The little hope they had left was extinguished when Blood joined the fray. It was a slaughter in slow motion.
Guards that passed him, if lucky, were struck down still in one piece. The ones that fought him directly was chopped like fish on a board and if the ax didn't cut threw the armor, bones were broken. An otter ran towards the wolverine and was clothesline by his massive arm, sending him into a perfect back flip around it. All was lost for the woodlanders fighting, but hope was still there for ones hiding. Very dim hope, that is.

"…This can't be good..." KayLee said to herself as she watched the vermin pour into the town through the now broken gate.
She gave a deep breath, then started to shoot the few arrows from up in the tree.
It didn't take long for her to use up the dozen or so arrows that she had, hitting her target most of the time. She now resorted to her blow darts.
The beasts she hit, lay still with an arrow through their bodies, and now they ran through with a dart, getting only a few feet before slowing down and passing out.

She watched Bloodbane...He was unstoppable. Taking a deep breath, she loaded up, aimed, and shot one of her few remaining darts that she had left, at him.

Blood slap his hand as the dart punctured the leather at the palm. He looked at Kaylee with his unforgiving eyes. He pointed at one of his loyalists and made a gesture to go after the maid. It was a pine martin with tree climbing skills to rival most squirrels. The vermin drew a lasso and a small club.
She was to be captured, and Blood would decide her fate.

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