The Sandeyes took straight after Bradley and Oliver leading to Little Redwall, at a brisk sprint, excited hops in their steps. Going there at last; it seemed to be the wisest choice ever made in their lives.
Before entering, Jared gratefully removed his burlap burden from his shoulder and lay down on the delicate green grass with a tired moan, underneath the shadow of a towering maple tree outside the gate entrance. Larina (whom for the whole trek had been carrying Alan in a special travel guard in her arms) sat down next to him. She gave her infant squirrel son to her sister-in-law, Madeline. Jared propped himself up with his paws on the ground, and she smiled at him, her hazel eyes twinkling in the sunlight.
“Smart move, Jared, to take the road to Little Redwall. If we had stayed on the road away from St. Ninian’s, who knows what could have ambushed us on the way to the ocean?”
Jared shrugged and smiled back, leaning over and whispering affectionately to her. "I know we could have been trapped out and about, my dear; now there's nothing to stress over. "We’ll be safe and protected at Little Redwall, and when the time is right, I promise we’ll go home, my love. I promise.”
Jared stood up to knock on the main gate. Just barely before him were the champion wrestlers of Little Redwall filing out of their homes to begin “Training Time”, as Oliver had told him.
Oliver led them to the small fenced gate and opened the door for them. The small village was only that, a small village. The homes were simple huts on the ground or openings inside of the trees. Squirrels, mice, dormice, and other creatures roamed either farming or picking up things around their spaces, just without a care in the world.
Brrrrr!! The sound of a loud horn went off as younger, stronger, tall, short, big, small creatures came out all between the ages of 11 and 18. They were being lead by a shorter, elder squirrel, who resembled Oliver in his facial features and fur color. The elder took the large group of youngsters to a sandy area with many circles with ropes as placeholders then blew the horn again. The group got into threes according to their sizes and age and started to jog around each of their assigned areas.
Time to train..
Jared walked around Little Redwall in awed silence. Entering the training room, he stood against the wall in the shadows, hoping that Oliver would be sufficiently smart to let the training proceed and not waste time making introductions. Jared slowly edged along the wall and was almost safe - when he collided with somebeast who was also standing around in the dark. Both fell to the ground, and the adult warrior immediately turned over on his back to look into the eyes of a young squirrelmaid. Jared blushed deeply in his embarrassing mistake, but could not get up as she had landed hard on his ribs.
With some difficulty, Jared turned his head to see Larina rushing to his rescue, pulling the squirrelmaid to her feet and then him to his. Jared brushed himself off and fixed his robe.
“Hello, miss. I’m Jared Sandeye. I'm so sorry for bumping into you; I hope you aren't hurt in any way. May I ask if this is Little Redwall, home of Mossflower’s champion wrestlers? Who are you?”
The more Jared examined her, the more she looked like Oliver in a couple of ways. The speculation arose that she was perhaps his cousin, as he knew Oliver had no kin.
The cold brisk air blew through the sandy pitted training grounds. Oliver looked up at the sky then noticed that Jared had wandered off. "Mmm, I wonder where 'e ran off to.." Brad heard Oliver speak, shrugging his shoulders as they watched the large group of new warriors continue their warm up session. It was only a matter of time before the real training began, and it was no walk in the park.
The young maid shrieked slightly as she fell over from the collision. As both of them were helped up, she listened to his apology and gave a friendly nod of acceptance. "Yes, an' I'm Brook, Brook Swiftstream, pleased ta meetcha." She said before curtsying to both Jared and his wife, then shaking his paw. Her accent was heavy, very similar to Oliver's, and with the same last name, she was family to the father's side with the father of Oliver being her uncle. "Why aren't ya both outside, watchin' the trainin'? Guests always love to watch what goes on out there, its pretty neat, even though I'm not much of a fighter or wrestler. Ya might even get challenged, if yer lucky." She said, her similar green eyes scanning both of the young squirrels' features.
“Swiftstream, you said?" Jared reiterated, shaking Brook's paw cheerfully. "I know your cousin, Oliver; he brought us here. He’s just outside and on his way if you want to see him.”
It appeared that Oliver did have family here: his cousins. Jared hadn't anticipated bumping into them. So much for no formal introductions. he thought. Now I’m gonna be challenged for sure. But when Brook told him she wasn’t much of a fighter herself, the warrior-king peacefully relaxed.
“So this is Little Redwall, huh?” Jared asked. He looked around the training area, no doubt greatly impressed. The wrestlers and fighters were still running. Jared wasn’t expecting to be challenged by any fighters. But if so, he would be ready. There was a decent fire in his eyes that even Larina saw, a fire of determination, courage,and readiness for anything that lay ahead here in Little Redwall.
Oliver smiled as he gave his little cousin a light smack in the back of the head, he always teased his younger family members in such a way. She blinked a couple of times as her hair poofed out from being smacked before brushing it back down. "Hmph, you big bully!"
Oliver chuckled and patted her back. "'Ow ya been, you little rip."
She smiled and punched him hard in his thick arm. "You big oaf, stop growin', will ya? Yer gettin' bigger than our largest ancestors were!"
Oliver rubbed his arm; what a punch! "Yow.. Yeah, well, trainin' will do that to ya." Oliver turned to Jared, "I 'ope she didn't cause you too much trouble; come, follow me outside to the sandpits, it's better than bein' in this stuffy room, the air is breezy and it's nice and bright outside."
Brook ran ahead of them all and signaled them to follow. "Yer gonna be challengin' one of our better warriors in tossin' match, Jared. It's wrestlin', but you can't lift them by their legs. It's all arm tosses, 'ip tosses, an' body throws." She said to the young king. She looked to Oliver and grinned, "An' fer you, you get to wrestle our current champion. Think you can beat 'im, Oli? 'E's not a squirrel or mouse either, 'e's a 'are, mute, but a big beast, much like yerself."
Oliver smiled as he heard this, following her outside to the sand pits near the trees. Bradley chuckled at what his friends got their selves into.
Brook ran ahead of them while in transit to the sandpits; Jared's eyebrows raised in surprise and wonder at her impressive speed. “Hold up a second, though, did she say that I was gonna be challenged?”
Jared essentially shrugged it off and hurried after his companions to the sandpits, where the wrestling that he had not foreseen was about to begin. Jared needed smaller looser clothing in which to fight. So he immediately changed out of his robe, switching to his natural cloth shirt, leather belt, and cloth pants; whilst hidden in a changing room. Although he wanted to fight, Larina wasn't in any way convinced.
“Jared, are you absolutely certain you want to do this?” She hung over the room entryway where everything to
be seen was Jared's shoulders and head. "I mean, wrestling’s not exactly your fortè, and you could get seriously hurt since you don’t know how it works.”
“Rina, I’m fine. I’ll be careful.” Jared assured her, pulling on his shirt. “Wrestling’s not my sort of fighting, you're right." Here he packed his wicker sandals into his bag and sealed it. “If I can study my opponent and his moves, I can figure out his plans, maybe use his own power against him.” Jared stepped out from the changing booth to face the entrance to the sandpits. “It'll be OK!” He said reassuringly opened his arms to hug his beautiful mate. She could not help but agree with what Jared said.
As soon as they separated, Lucas came running up to them. “Dad! I hear you’re going to battle some of the wrestlers here in Little Redwall! Do you think I could fight too?”
Jared shook his head, Larina still leaning against his chest. “No, you can’t, Lucas. You’re too young, and you’re not ready yet. I'm sorry, but it's just necessary. Why don’t you go train back where the others are?” Lucas shrugged in reluctant acceptance. After the father and son had shared a strong adoring embrace, they came back to the sandpits.
Jared found Brook, Oliver, and Brad and asked, "So, things being what they are, what am I doing exactly?"
OOC: Make sure you fix that king part And you can control the NPC as you see fit, I'll be doing the same for the other NPC.
Oliver saw Jared returned from getting changed and smiled. "Nice one mate. Well, all newcomers that get challenged, wrestle body, arm an' 'ip tossin' style. They don' 'ave to take double or single leg shots where they would 'ave to shoot in on an opponents legs or leg and use it as a way to take them down, by either lifting and droppin' them or trippin'. That style is a little advanced, so yer just doin' the body tossin' way. Where you would toss by their body, arm or arms, with 'ip momentum, or by headlocks. Yer way is a much quicker pace of match though an' you need two points to win. You take them to their back, that's two points. Take them down normally or push them out of bounds, that's one point. Got it?"
After Oliver explained it to Jared, he prepared himself. "Good luck!" Oliver went over to the other circle, taking his tunic top off and tightening each of the bandages on all four of his paws. He saw as his opponent, that large mountain hare who couldn't talk, appear on the other side. He was slightly thicker than Oliver, but certainly taller. Both beasts just stared down at each other, as they appeared into the circles. Oliver looked over to Jared and smiled, then looked back at his opponent. "Well, a mute 'are? Strong silent types are the best at this sport, this should get interesting.."
Jared nodded as the wrestling tenets latched onto his subconscious mind. His battle was booked after Oliver's, so he chose to stay and watch so as to see the battle for real.Watch and learn, I guess.
He edged along the wall once again, looking for Brook while keeping his eyes on the fight. Stealing a look from left to right once in a while, Jared finally found her standing near another circle.
“Brook, my fight is after Oliver’s, correct? So what should I do until then, just training?” Jared jumped about an inch or two into the air as Oliver and the rabbit conflicted and battled inside the circle. But, he needed to recognize what happened in a battle, so as he watched, he rationally ascertained moves, guidelines, and points of focus in his mind; in order to break down the match and decide the right and legitimate approaches to wrestling.
Try not to unwind, Jared, that's not everything you need to know. You're next. Better watch out.
Jared really wanted to do away with an unwelcome feeling of premonition. However, he breathed in and out to free himself of any trepidation and nerves and filled himself rather with bravery and determination. He was prepared. Whether his rival enjoyed it or not, he was prepared.
((OOC: Jared, watch this video to get an idea of how these two are wrestling.
The match was set, first to ten points wins.
Oliver and the large mountain Hare stared each other down for a minute, reading each other through their eyes. As soon as the horn sounded off, Oliver winked to his father, then looked back at the hare, who got into a low loose stance. Oliver grinned, getting into his own low stance.
It was like lightning, both shooting into each other's legs at the same time off the start. Oliver was slightly quicker in that situation, ducking the hare's large arms and wrapping his own around its legs. He lifted up quickly, heaving the heavy beast overhead and slamming him down into the sand. The Hare landed on his backside, tucking his arms under Oli's whose arms were still wrapped around its legs. The Hare hoisted upwards, flipping Oliver over his head while on the ground. Both scrambled until they got back up quickly; no points awarded.
The Hare smirked and shot in, but a fake to an under-hook! Oliver felt himself already behind hoisted up by this big beast. Whoosh! Oliver felt himself fly into the air and then slammed onto his face into the sand while the Hare kept a back bending position to hold the big squirrel there. "Two!!" The Referee shouted, putting the current champ in the lead. 2-0.
The hare let Oli go as the large squirrel wiped the sand off of his face. They both stood up and got into the center again. Begin!
Oliver was ready this time, dragging the advancing hare's arm by his head quickly getting behind it. "Gotcha.." Oliver wrapped his paws tight around the beast's waist and lifted backwards. He kicked his leg up and slammed the Hare, hard onto its back. Oliver kept his hold, did a roll, and slammed the beast again onto its side. "Two! Four!!"
The score stood at 4-2, with Oliver being up and ready to go again. They both got back to the center, a look of shock and disappointment in the mountain hare's face. Oliver switched up his stance to a more defensive and throwing stance; he knew leg shots wouldn't work on this creature, tossing was the only way to win this.
Every eye was intently set on the match between Oliver and the silent hare. In Jared's case, there wasn’t much else to do except watch and learn. Yet, as the two soldiers conflicted once more, he was having doubts. Regardless, Oliver was an expert wrestler, so he could deal with this effortlessly. "You can do this, Oliver!" he all of a sudden wound up saying, not attempting to stop himself.
Rina showed up adjacent to him and set a paw on his shoulder. She was clearly worried about him. He joined her paw with his and grinned reassuringly. "No stress. I recognize what I'm doing. It'll be OK, I promise you." She sighed with nothing to say, but kissed him on the cheek and stood against the wall with Brook.
Everything will be all right, Rina. You can’t argue with him. she thought to herself.
But there was a somewhat dreadful look on her face all the same as she lurked into the shadows of the wall.
((Remember, watch the video so you know whats exactly going on xD))
Oliver backed up, as they clashed into each other, gripping onto each other's limbs, trying to find ways to take each other down. They were in a cinch, holding each other close together. Oliver pushed and stuck his foot-paw on the inside of the Hare's hind leg, as they both crashed into the sand, the Hare tried to toss Oliver, but to no avail. The large squirrel landed on top of the creature as the ref shouted, "Two!" Oliver was now starting to learn his opponent well, and with a healthy lead too. The score stood at 6-2.
The creature scrambled onto all fours before more points were added to Oliver's score for the hare being on his back.
The giant squirrel warrior had to end this now, before the creature started to get too crafty. Oliver stood up quickly, squatted down and snatched the Hare up, standing by his side while clinching both paws around its stomach. Oliver flipped the hare above his head and slammed him downwards, power-bombing the creature hard into the sand. Debris kicked up, creating a cloud of sand from the creature plummeting into the ring.
Brook gasped as did the rest of the crowd of students, even Oliver's father was surprised at such a move being used. A power bomb, to be performed, requires a high amount of speed, power, and strength, just to bring such a large creature above one's head. To finish the move with such power was something not seen among many wrestling woodlanders. Only the best of the best could pull it off so quickly.
The dust cleared as the crowd cheered. Oliver sat on the sand, holding the creature downwards while the Hare laid on his back in front of the squirrel, dazed and pretty much upset at his defeat. Oliver stood up slowly, breathing out with a hard sigh. He wiped sand from his bloody lip and slightly bleeding brow area, smiling.
Everybeast's eyes went wide at Oliver's last move. Jared protected his and his family's eyes from the dust storm that overwhelmed the room. Once it cleared, Oliver was sitting in the sand and holding his rival downwards.
The family let out huge sighs of relief and hustled just a bit to Oliver to help him off the wrestling ring.“So that’s how it works, huh, Oliver? Can you hear me, can you say that you're OK? My battle is next, are you going to deal with those injuries or stay here to watch? I don't even know who my opponent is, and I would prefer not to go fight without learning first."
Jared turned Oliver over to the medics, clearing out the decision to him and started to split his knuckles, demonstrating his clear preparedness.
After Oliver left the ring, he listened as Jared spoke to him, simply smiling. "I'll worry 'bout my wounds later, minor cuts and bumps, it's all apart of th' game my friend!" Oliver patted the younger squirrel's back and assured him things would be fine.
"You'll do alright, just believe in yer abilities. Remember, be light on those foot paws, duck, an' everytime 'e misses 'is opportunity, capitalize and toss 'im to 'is back. It's a simple an' effective plan." Oliver let his friend know he would be at the sidelines cheering him on for his match. "Give 'em blood an' vinegar!"
Again, as done before, Jared breathed in and out to calm his unstable nerves. To show that he was ready, the young squirrel-king carefully stretched his body and cracked his knuckles. No inner warrior spirit would be needed for this kind of little scuffle; a proper knowledge of unarmed combat would be sufficient enough.
He held up for a couple of minutes, however, his rival did not appear. Questions whirled around the room, passing from one creature to the other, everybeast joining in. "Where's the next opponent?" "Who's part of the following battle?" "Who's absent?"
“Excuse me, sir," Jared inquired politely of the referee. "I’ve been waiting for several minutes now, but my opponent has not shown up for the fight. Do you know who and where he or she is, by any chance?”
Oliver watched, grinning, waiting, wanting to see if Jared can hold his own in a wrestling match. Not many beasts knew the art of wrestling and those who did picked up on it and became great.
Brad looked over to his large brown furred warrior friend and whispered. "You think Jared can do this? I know he can battle, but wrestling is a whole different art of fighting. No throwing punches, no throwing kicks, just looking to shoot in on hind legs for take downs or body tossing for point and damage."
Oliver smiled and just nodded, assuring Redwall's champion that Jared, a true warrior, can handle his own and even win. He knew as long as Jared watched the match beforehand, he would be able to mimic and pick up on the whole sport.
As they all searched the room for Jared's wrestling opponent, the door abruptly flew open - its loud bang causing everybeast in the room cover their ears. They turned to see who had entered the ring, only to see a burly strong mouse held threateningly with a knife at his neck by a dark-cloaked, hooded and masked creature. Several inches taller than the mouse it held prisoner; beneath the cloak and mask this mysterious stranger appeared to have eyes almost deathly red, which glared at all who saw it as it gazed around the room. When it spoke, its voice was mysterious, raspy, cold, and merciless.
"I've asked you once, and I'm going to ask you again." it rumbled aggressively. "Tell me honestly, and I'll let you live. Lie to me, and I will hunt down all of your loved ones until you spit it out. Tell me once more: where is the King of Maraul?"
"I…I don't know!" the mouse stuttered, slightly attempting to struggle at the knife at his neck and the deathly cold hands gripping his backfur. "I don't know where he is, or who he is, I swear! I swear I don't know!"
"Liar," the vermin rasped accusingly, digging the blade of the knife slightly into the mouse's neck, making him choke a bit. "You know the king has come here; you two are to participate in the next wrestle. Now tell me where he is!"
Jared had been sneaking away from the wrestling ring, eyes stuck on the vermin and the mouse all the while. The latter was probably his wrestling opponent, or would have been, if this vermin hadn't disrupted everything. Jared searched his pockets for his switchblade, keeping to the cloaking shadows of the walls, raising the knife up to eye level and waiting for the right moment to ambush the vermin. He was not the only one also watching this exchange and cold interrogation.
Got to find a way to free the mouse without that guy knowing I'm here. I need to get to him first…This is all my fault!
Oliver and Brad looked to the beast after the ringing in their ears stopped. Many of the wrestlers were clenching their jaws angrily and had deep growls bellow from within their throats. Oliver stood ahead of the rest of them and gave them the signal to stand down.
"Our comrade's life is in danger, we need t' relax an' think rationally 'ere." This was surprising to hear from the large warrior squirrel. Especially since he had major issues with controlling the Bloodwrath he possessed. It didn't flare up and he didn't feel nervous for his friend who was held captive by knife point. He knew something.
The Abbey champion stood next to his large friend and nodded. Still, he had his paw reaching for the hilt of the magnificent sword of the late Martin of Redwall. Both beasts took caution.
"What do you want with Ox!?" Brad yelled out to the cloaked figure. While Brad was yelling to the vermin, Oliver was looking into the eyes of the hostage. It was a way to let him know not to panic and to be relaxed. Oliver then gave a small unnoticed nod to the wrestling mouse, to wait for his next move. The only thing to have this eye contact plan executed was for the figure to relax his blade and grip enough for the mouse to make his final move.
The villain would then realize the bad choice of grabbing a wrestler from behind.
Holding closer to the shadows of the wrestling room, Jared noticed Bradley and Oliver confronting the cloaked vermin, trying to keep their fellow wrestler from struggling. Even the squirrel king knew it was never wise to struggle at knifepoint. The mouse named Ox knew it as well.
Jared could not help feeling a familiar dark aura with this cloaked, hooded, red-eyed vermin. Was it whom he thought?
Jared made eye contact with his family, and after a slight confirming nod, they left the wrestling area quietly through the other available door.
The vermin turned to Bradley and Oliver as they posed their question to him.
"What do I want?" the vermin asked lightly. "Why, information, of course. That's all I need. If I get what is wanted, I'll leave him alive. If not…"
At this, the villain's tone grew colder and more ruthless. "I will hunt down every last one of his friends and family until he does tell me. But I suppose you could tell me better than…Ox, is it? Maybe you can provide me with better information than this cowardly scoundrel. Tell me honestly, and if I find one shred of a lie I will cut you both to pieces. Tell me: where is the King of Maraul?"
OOC: How does.. Zakrul Bloodeyes, sound? I tried to come up with a title, but it's so much more difficult coming up with something original.
Oliver looked to the evil beast, frowning, arms crossed, and eyes glaring. "So, that's what you want. Information." As he talked back to the vermin, he shifted his eyes.
Ox looked down to the knife and paws grasping onto him and relaxed himself. He was ready and waiting for Oliver's silent signal. Oliver tapped his footpaws, which gave a Morse Code-like message.
"When you feel 'is grip loosen slightly, 'ip toss 'im an' get 'im in a 'eadlock." The silent message was relayed accordingly.
Bradley spoke up in turn of Oliver. "I don't think you are in a position to be threatening those two, vermin." Bradley continued, hoping it would help out with Oliver's plan. "Sure, you have the upper paw now, but what if you do kill Ox? You'll have a whole two score of wrestlers, Ollie, and I to battle with."
Ox fidgeted impatiently as the group was talking. The whole thing was uncomfortable for him, especially since he was the one being held up by knife point.
They did not realize Jared was sneaking quietly around.