Backstory: Belarus (Binding Ring)

I didn't know where to post something like this but it is hopefully going to explain my characters mindset and personality as well as the Tortured Eyes RPS. WIP so may be subject to change.

Salamandastron: Several Seasons Ago

“Aghhh, get him off me, Yar-he, heh, heee, heh, heh, heh, STOP!!! MWWAAAHH HAH!”
‘Thump’ the beast fell to the floor as two leverets tickled at his back and tail leaving him flailing in laughter as three hares watched and giggled to each other. The creature curled into a ball as the two young hares continued their assault until one of the adult overseeing hares took control “Alright you rotters that’s enough interrogating for one day, head down to the kitchens and help ol’ uncle Willowpaw with breakfast. I’m sure he could use a few extra mouths to sample today’s scoff!”
The two leverets jumped up into the air and darted out of sight in a puff of dust leaving excited squeaks to echo down the halls they had gone through leaving their victim to stand up on his hind claws and brush off his white fur “Heh, I think I’ll die of a heart attack before battle the ways those two rascals are. Yikes their growing fast too… or I’m shrinking one or the two.”
Another of the hares stepped forward and patted the middle aged white fox on the back “HAH, no need to be all frizzled about that chap, if you were shrinking we’d be getting taller too… my I couldn’t imagine what Seastripe would look like if that were the case!”
The first hare shook her head with a chuckle “No doubt he’d seem as tall as the mountain does to us right now wot, wot!”
The last of the three walked towards the doorway with a grin “As if he isn’t big enough already, I think he’d step one of the bloomin leverets if they weren’t so bally noisy!”
The fox focused his eyes on the tip of his snout and twitched his whiskers “Ahh? Don’t even suggest such things, the very thought of it… Yeehheee!”
He shivered as the second and third hares looked at him while the first passed them and went through the doorway “I bloomin well hope not, come on best we see to it that the little frogstompers don’t pillage Willowpaw’s kitchens!”
The second hare headed towards the doorway behind the third and motioned to the fox with a paw “Come on Belarus, nobeast said you couldn’t tag along no did they!”
Belarus finished shaking the thought out of his mind and went to follow the hares down to the kitchens.

“YAGH!!! NO!!! Get out of there you bloomin frogwholloper, your not supposed to stand on it… OR in it!!! NO!!! Get out of the flippin marlin this instant, OUT I SAY!!! BALLY BOGGLEWHOLLOPIN…”
The shouting continued to echo along the hallways along with the occasional sound of a pot or ladle falling to the floor as the fox continued to follow his companions to the kitchens. Two of the hares were already giggling from the commotion as they went along the hall until they came into the kitchens where all three of them burst into laughter at the sight of a porridge drenched Willowpaw chasing the two leverets around, one doused in tart filling and the other leaping around with a summer salad spilled over his head bowl and all. The second leveret bumped into a cauldron of cold water sending it sloshing about before tipping spilling its contents onto the floor leaving Willowpaw rambling madly “Just wait you toadsquash, see if I ever let your reckless rump in he… YOWUP!!!”
Two of the hares leapt a table as Willowpaw skidded across the slippery floor before falling face first to the ground beside the leveret who stopped and turned to the old cook “Yaw aright uncle?”
The third hare went after the other leveret as the middle aged fox darted up beside his two companions who knelt down beside Willowpaw who put one of his paws on one of his friend’s shoulders “Umph, I never thought a meal could have such a slam to it.”
Belarus half closed his eyes and along with the other two hares helped Willowpaw upright and onto his legs as Telfret the hare who’s shoulder Willowpaw had his paw on patted him on the shoulder “Strong as you are stubborn Willow ol’ pal. You feeling ok, the rotters didn’t brake anything did they… err they didn’t hurt you I mean?”
Willowpaw shook his head and simply grinned “Me I’m fine, as for my kitchen… they might have the rest of their day cut out for them… and now, I need to hurry up and restart what I was going to finish breakfast off with.”
Violeteye caught the other leveret as he tried to jump between two tables almost knocking her over in the process “Whoooww!!! My, reckless little blighter aren’t we? Will, you want me to keep an eye on ‘em while they fix up the kitchens?”
Willowpaw nodded to the much younger Violeteye “Yes PLEASE, get them cleaned up and bring the bogglewhollopers straight back here!”
Violeteye nodded as she walked over and picked the other leveret up “Alright, they won’t be trouble to you anymore, that I promise!”
Belarus whispered into Telfret’s ear as Violeteye walked off with the leverets “Maybe we shouldn’t have sent ‘em down here first.”
Telfret nudged Belarus in the ribs lightly and chuckled “Now, now chap no need to grumbling what’s happened all we can do now is fix the damage… and get breakfast done in time, my I hate late meals.”
Belarus started to slowly go after Violeteye “Good luck, you wouldn’t want me cooking if your life depended on it, I’m sure it’ll get done in your capable paws.”
Willowpaw turned the empty cauldron upright “You’ll get better, it takes time to learn how to get things just right! Heh, look at me.”
Belarus turned and blinked once “No offense but I think you took the term breakfast’s on me a little too seriously.”
He walked away as a few chuckled sounded from behind him followed by quick movement as Willowpaw glared at his two new assistants.

The white beast walked down the hallway as splashes and giggles echoed through his level of the mountain. He stopped the doorway and gazed at the two leverets who were being scrubbed down by Violeteye who had been a member of the Long Patrol itself for barely three seasons Heh young beasts, silly little runts, so troublesome yet… so innocent. Maybe, just maybe one day…
Belarus shook his head at the thought No, who am I kidding it wouldn’t work out.
His head snapped left as a hare appeared at the far end of the hall “Bel old chap, Captain wants to see you down by the jolly ol’ front door pronto!”
Belarus bolted after the hare who led him down through the mountain towards the main entrance which was becoming the source of echoes as they approached “Look I’m telling you I’m a healer! Does it look like I’m carrying any weapon rab… err sir hare?”
“Bwha, you know what the last time is that I met a bloomin healer that was a ferret, do you? Bally well never that’s when!”
“Maybe if you wouldn’t fire arrows at every one of us that approaches you wouldn’t have that ordeal!”
“Did we bally well fire at you, hmmm? I almost regret that the bogglewhollopin watch didn’t!”
“Really, is that how you talk to visitors?”
The hare led Belarus into the room just inside the main entrance where three other hares were posted, one was holding a ferret maid while another went through her carrying pack leaving the senior of the three standing in front of the ferret maid with arms crossed “You think you’re a visitor, where in the blinkin world did you get that idea?”
Belarus scratched at the back of his head as he spoke to the senior hare “Briggs where’s the captain, I was told he wanted to see me down here.”
Briggs looked at Belarus then back to the ferret “Sorry chap a bit busy here, no time to talk, this beast was trying to sneak in through the front door disguised as a bloomin healer!”
The hare that had escorted Belarus partially closed his eyes and gave a questioning look “Has it even occurred to you the chapess might be telling the truth?”
“Bwa, it’s a filthy ferret, a ver…”
Belarus folded his arms as Briggs looked at him “Yes sergeant, continue.”
Briggs looked at the ferret then back to Belarus “Sah this beast, she can’t be a healer!”
Belarus raised an eyebrow why not?
Briggs looked back to the ferret then motioned towards her with his paws “She was snoopin around the bloomin mountain before she came around to the front entrance, and then she tried using this…” Briggs pulled a long thin silver rod and held it out for all to see “to knock the bar out of place so she could open the bally door!”
The hare that was with Belarus tilted his head slightly in confusion “Why would you try and break in the front door… only door of a blinkin fortress?”
The ferret tried to pull away from the hare holding her but to no result “Ugh, maybe if you’d answer the door once in awhile I wouldn’t have to let myself in!”
The hare that had her carrying pack turned and shrugged his shoulders “Nothing unusual, except a few herbs I’ve never seen before…”
He walked over beside Briggs and looked at the ferret “Who are you and where exactly are you from miss?”
Briggs glared at his subordinate as the ferret sighed before replying “Nyphira, I come from Naya and I came here on my journey to Southsward.”
The hare beside Briggs shook his head and waved a paw to the one holding Nyphira signaling for him to let go “Bloomin figures we’d end up pointing our paws at an ally.”
Briggs snapped at his subordinate “Did I say to release her! What evidence is there to support she’s telling the truth?”
His subordinate shrugged “But there isn’t anything to suggest she’s lying either sah.”
Briggs twitched his ears then look at the lieutenant “Sah?”
Belarus blinked lazily which was an indicator that he was actually quite angry “Two escorts to make sure this doesn’t happen again, keep her and everyone else safe… Make sure one of them is a healer as well so they can provide assistance if necessary.”
Briggs saluted the fox, something he still seemed a little uncertain about “Yes sah! I’ll go find the blighters now!”
Belarus waved a paw letting him dash off though the white fox gave another order as Briggs dashed out of the room “And find the captain as well please!”
Belarus’s escort gave him a baffled look “Sah, you’re his superior there’s no need to say please if you’re giving an order!”
Belarus responded by looking at the hare and shrugging slightly “Perhaps so but why not, I’m trying to control the situation not look like I‘m being a pest.”
“I suppose I should thank you… sir. May I know thy name so that I may address you as fit?”
The middle aged fox looked up at Nyphira and gave a questioning look “Ahhh it was nothing, my name is Belarus. Please take no offense from Briggs’s actions he’s just the suspicious type.”
Nyphira gave a slight grin and chuckle “Wouldn’t be the first time a woodlander’s given me an unfriendly welcoming, at first.”
They turned as a hare slightly younger than Belarus came strolling into the room seeming completely relaxed almost to the point of appearing lazy “Hmmm ah our visitor, I do hope everything’s alright now miss. Briggs did not have the privilege of meeting such a generous ferret like yourself at Redwall, I assure you such hostilities will not continue towards you. Now what brings a jolly little chapess like you to Salamandastron?”
Nyphira put one paw on her right cheek and giggled “Oh Grayleg please, it‘s one thing to here it from another ferret but, hee ,hee, hee!”
Belarus looked at his superior with a degree of confusion “You know her sir?”
Captain Grayleg nodded with a grin “Do I know her, absoballyloutly! Though she was just a little runt when I saw her at Redwall… then again I wasn’t too old meself hah, hah!”
The white fox scratched at the back of his head “Hmmm, I would have probably been there the… Ahhh, the tree ferret! No apples for you!”
Nyphira smiled broadly “Hah, I guess you caught the rotten one of the bunch.”
Belarus gave an embarrassed grin “I didn’t catch the apple it caught me… In the side of the noggin!”
Grayleg laughed “I always thought you were a bloomin fruit Belarus, come on breakfast should be starting soon… I do believe there’s pie too!”
Belarus looked at Nyphira from the corner of his eyes which he narrowed as the ferret chuckled “Do I even need to guess what type?”

Captain Grayleg led his lieutenant and Nyphira up towards the mess hall encountering the two hares Briggs had picked to escort Nyphira, Violeteye and Telos both of whom were young adults that had a little more energy than their assigned task required. The group sat at one of the many tables as Willowpaw and his assistants began bringing the food out though it didn’t take long for Belarus to start moving around irritably  in his seat “Hmmm, humph, you wait here I’m going to go lend a paw with the vittles.”
Violeteye looked at Grayleg as the fox took off “Sah request permission to lend a paw as well?”
Grayleg nodded “Go ahead Nyphira’s no trouble, Bel was just trying to satisfy Briggs the bally coot.”
Violeteye smiled and saluted the captain “Thank you sah!”
Grayleg returned the salute allowing Violeteye to disappear into the kitchens leaving him sitting there with Nyphira and Telos. He looked over at Telos who sat in his seat staring into his paws which were cupped together and resting on the table “Everything alright chap, you look as if the ol’ swamp toad’s got your misses tied up with a wolverine!”
Telos’s eyes kept their sights locked on his paws with a distant look “Yes, everything’s fine sah… just… just thinking of other beas… things sah.”
Grayleg looked at Telos questioningly only slightly confused by Telos’s reply “Are you sure chap, there’s nothing you want to talk about?”
Telos shook his head and finally looked up from his paws as Belarus and Violeteye returned carrying some more food with Willowpaw and his assistants.

Breakfast was nearly over and the decently aged white fox now blinked as he rested his chin on one of his claws and thought about the land outside, an endless sea to the west with a beach that stretched as far as the eye could see both north and south while the flatlands to the east eventually gave way to the forest that made up Mossflower. His thoughts were interrupted as Briggs came in through one of the doorways escorting two sparrows. Belarus and the others at the table looked over as Briggs saluted Grayleg “Sah, a couple sparrows decided to drop in and give us a report on some bally vermin sah!”
Grayleg returned the salute and nodded then looked at the sparrows “Thank you chaps, what do you have to tell us about those thieving rotters?”
One of the sparrows stepped towards Grayleg and held out a wing “We fly’a farrr, look’m for desert friends but we’m find many ferretworms in north by otterstone and even more ratworms north of ‘em movin south very quickly for no wings.”
Grayleg furrowed his eyebrows while Briggs looked down at the sparrows then at Nyphira who was in the process of standing up “I told you the bloomin crowsmum was up to something didn’t I, didn’t I?”
Belarus blinked lazily “Briggs two things, one I’m not in the mood and two don’t go leaping to conclusions.”
Nyphira looked at Grayleg who turned and looked back at her “I wasn’t told about any others coming here, they might be corsairs for all I know… or rouges.”
Grayleg looked over and nodded to the sparrows “Thank you kind beasts, please help yourself to whatever you like, I must go inform Lord Seastripe of the bally situation.”
Belarus stood up and rotated his neck cracking it a couple of times before he started to head for the armory “I suppose I should get ready for a little snooping around.”
Grayleg looked at Briggs as he headed for the doorway “Sergeant, assemble a patrol and send them out immediately to scout the area, I don’t want to head out into hostile territory bloomin blind and get nipped in the bally tail for it!”
Briggs nodded before dashing away “Yes sah!”
Grayleg called back to Telos as he left the mess hall “Telos, you and Nyphira stay put here at the mountain, Violeteye get with the patrol we’ll need a runner to bring reports back to the main group.”
Violeteye scrambled after Briggs as Telos cursed to himself before looking at Nyphira “Can I trust you to stay put, I need to go check on something.”
Nyphira nodded over to Willowpaw and another hare “Don’t worry, I won’t go anywhere… unless another hare tells me to.”
Telos shrugged “Bally good enough for me right now, got to run!”
Telos started to rush after Violeteye and Briggs but stopped, Briggs was the one that had ordered him to stay with Nyphira. He thought for a moment and then darted off towards the armory.

“Agh, where did I put that…” ‘clank’ “Umph, arghhh, ohh there it is heh.”
Telos darted into the armory and stopped just inside the doors as the white fox bolted upright and spun around with two long swords in their scabbards held in his claws “Wha… you coming with us Telos?”
Telos shook his head and grew a little nervous “No, no, its just umm, I wasn’t expecting everyone to be moving in such a rush, I mean Grayleg hasn’t even talked with Lord Seastripe yet!”
Belarus put down the long swords and picked up a cuirass “The captain is deploying his forces right now but to deploy the main portion of the Long Patrol he needs Seastripe to give the go ahead… Something wrong with the rush?”
Telos shifted on his paws “Well sah I was hoping that I’d be able to do this meself but I didn’t feel comfortable with the others around, especially Briggs.”
Belarus  threw the cuirass on and fastened it as he replied to Telos “Do what, anything I can do to help you out?”
Telos shrugged as the middle aged fox found the rest of his armor “Err, I don’t know sah… sorry for bothering you.”
Belarus pulled on his greaves “Telos, if its not something I can necessarily help with as an officer then let me try to help as a friend, you didn’t come up here for nothing, please tell me what’s on your mind.”
Telos looked up at Belarus “I don’t know sah, it just wouldn’t be the same…. But I don’t want to keep backing off… It’s Violeteye sah.”
Belarus put on his boots as he responded with a questioning look “Violeteye, what about her then?”
Telos tilted his head slightly and held his paws upwards at shoulder level “Well I have a bit of a crush sah… and well I wanted to purpose to her but I just… I can‘t while the others are around. I wanted to keep it private for now.”
Telos reached into one of his tunic pockets and pulled out a gold ring which held up for Belarus to look at “I can’t do it now, not with her in a crowd of others… do you think???”
The middle aged fox look at him with a plainly blunt look “Telos, you could have just asked me instead of making me pull out your teeth to get you to talk… Of course I’ll do it for you, why wouldn’t I?”
Telos twitched his ears which stood straight up “Really sah, you, you… Thank you sah! I had been waiting for the perfect moment but it always seemed to be just out of paws reach! Thank you!”
Belarus crouched slightly and pointed with a claw as the hare stepped towards him “No hug, don’t hug me!”
Telos smiled and chuckled “No sah!”
The hare walked up to Belarus and put the ring in one of his claws which Telos used his paws to close shut as he nodded to the fox “Thank you sah, you have no idea what this means to me.”
Belarus shook his head slightly and put the ring into one of his pockets “Save your thanks for when we get back, besides I’d do this for any one of the beasts here. Go ahead and continue about your duties, I need to get ready before I end up staying back too!”
Telos smiled and nodded to the middle aged fox before dashing off leaving Belarus to finish getting ready before heading down to the entrance of the mountain.

By the time he got down to the main entrance of Salamandastron the forward scouting party had already left, Briggs stood in the open doorway gazing out across the land as Belarus came sprinting up behind him “Briggs, what’s the status on the initial deployments?”
Briggs kept his eyes riveted on the land in front of him as he replied “Forward patrol just left sah, half a score of our finest. If there are any fiends out there they’ll find them sah!”
Belarus stopped behind Briggs and looked out the doorway “Who’s leading the patrol?”
Briggs clamped his jaw momentarily “Keya sah.”
The fox blinked a few times and looked at Briggs back “Keya, not the most experience but definitely has a brain on her shoulders… Anybeast with a decent amount of experience tagging along?”
Briggs slowly turned around and then looked up at his superior “Barglehop sah.”
Belarus relaxed a little more “Good enough I suppose, I thought you would be a better choice but I don’t see anything wrong with Bargs.”
Briggs punched him in the shoulder lightly with an ever so slight grin “Sah, I may have been in the Long Patrol longer than him but they’re going out just to find the enemy and report back not get into an all out battle with the bally rotters… my specialty.”
Belarus grinned with a low chuckle “Something I agree with you on, hah I know you’ll show the enemy a thing or two… not that they’ll be able to remember any of it once you’ve finished.”
Briggs turned back around to look out across the land as others came down into the entrance with Captain Grayleg.

Eight ferrets sat around a small fire in the dwindling light of evening serving its purpose for cooking their food though it also acted as a signal for nearby woodlanders to keep their distance from the ragged group of warriors. One of the vermin sat near the fire polishing his battered shield which had the Nayan symbol scrapped off and colored over with a black paw print with two crossing red fangs behind it. “Well I must say chaps, we’ve got ourselves a neat little rabble of bally rebels here. I was expecting more of the rotters the way those two birds were chirping.”
Violeteye’s ears twitched from above a bush hidden by the shadows of the trees standing over them as Keya crept over beside her to get a better look “Hmmm, do you think it’s a bloomin scouting part Bargs?”
Another hare who had just entered his middle seasons not long ago replied from their right a few paw steps away “Perhaps but it seems a little unlikely doesn’t it? I mean if you were scouting about an area you’d never bally well been before would you just setup shop for the night out in the open and light a blinkin fire or would you take cover in the shadows of the forest and hunker down in the dark?”
Violeteye shifted slightly as she silently recited Barglehop’s words to herself before replying “True, do you think the bally swampers know the area?”
Barglehop shook his head in the shadows indicating disagreement “That isn’t very probable I must say, its more likely they’ve just setup shop here to wait for those rats that are coming… That would explain why they’ve made themselves so visible.”
Keya narrowed her eyes as she inspected the slouched back and lazy looking ferrets “Or it could be a slithering trap of sorts… Break up into two groups and circle around. We’ll check for any signs of deception around the bloomin perimeter then attack the rotters from all directions at once.”
Violeteye nodded and started to lead four others around to the left of the vermin camp as Keya led the other three and Barglehop around the right side.
“Git yurr paws out of there afore I chop ‘em off!”
“Ehhh, who are you to tell me what to do, you can’t even speak right anymore!”
“Shudap ya addertounged mollusk!”
“I’m sorry what did you say, I can’t understand jibberese.”
“Why I outta!”
Two of the ferrets started tangling with each other near the fire as the others watched lazily until they all froze when a voice emanated from somewhere in the dark “Well I think he’s got the right idea chaps, attack! EULALIA!”
One of the ferrets jumped up and tipped a small cauldron of soup into the fire to smother the flames “HARES!!! It’s the Long Patrol fellows!”
Ten hares suddenly materialized from the darkness taking down three of the ferrets instantly as the rushed towards the sounds of sizzling fire embers. The ferret that had put out the flame dived to the ground and rolled over to hold his shield above him just in time for a hare to land on top of it leaving it to crack against his skull leaving him in a daze as the hare jumped and kicked another of his companions. By the time he tossed the shield off of him and sat up all of Keya’s patrol was around him offering only glimpses of the other ferrets unmoving on the ground behind them. Keya pointed her saber at the beast looking like the shadow of death in the darkness “Excuse me bogglewhollopin swamp bag, would you be so kind as to explain what you rotters are doing in Mossflower?”
Violeteye nodded to the ferret calmly as if the carnage around them didn’t exists “It might afford you some time to get some distance from here before we decide to send you with your bloomin friends.”
The ferret scowled at Keya and spat on the ground in front of her footpaws “Fool, you know not what long lost secrets this place holds! We are the rightful keepers of this land not some rabble of long eared rabbits like you!”
Keya’s ears twitched as she looked at Violeteye “Try to be nice to the bally beast and he spits at you with his acid lounge… hmph, rabbits!”
Keya pounced on the ferret and stabbed him through the heart ending the vermin’s life then and there. She pulled out her saber and wiped it on the grass as she looked to Barglehop “We’ll dispose of the bodies and setup camp for the night around here incase they have friends that we don’t know about, but let’s keep out of sight. I want two guards up at all times as well, if others do come back we will bally well see to it they don’t get a chance to run off and start whollopin the local woodlanders.”
Barglehop nodded as he picked up some of the vermin gear “Sounds like a plan… looks like a nice place to setup camp on that wooded rise over there with the tall oak… heh too bad none of us are squirrels eh?”
Violeteye blinked at the ferret lying in front of her and quickly snapped around to Barglehop focusing on his words rather than the bodies around them “Looks like a good spot chap, hah and if we were bally squirrels there wouldn’t be a fruit in this forest that would be safe from us!”
A few other hares chuckled to themselves as Keya nodded with agreement to the more experienced hare “Good spot, I couldn’t of picked a bloomin greater spot meself. Violeteye, take Rawbuck and Thistlepaw and start setting up shop over there, make sure we’re good and sheltered in the dark so no unwanted rotters see our cozy little burrow.”
Violeteye nodded once and motioned for Rawbuck and Thistlepaw to follow her “Right away! Alright chaps follow me, we’ve got work to do!”

Belarus groaned as he sat down on the base of one of the hillsides surrounding the camp which Grayleg had ordered setup even though they hadn’t met up with the forward scouts. The middle aged fox looked over at the captain of the Long Patrol with a degree of annoyance “Shouldn’t we wait until we’ve met up with the scouts before we stop for the night? I was expecting to hear a report by now.”
Grayleg looked over at Belarus and held up a paw “Bel, the point of a scouting part is to scout ahead to the main force, how are they supposed to bally well do that if we tag along with them? Besides they aren’t supposed to report anything until they find something otherwise they could encounter something important while the bally runner is back here reporting about there being nothing to bloomin report.”
Belarus sighed heavily “Grayleg, most of them are still young, very young, I can remember when some of them were just old leverets and teenagers. To be honest I now think it would have been better if we were there and they were here… or at the very least some of us were with them.”
Grayleg twitched his ears as he walked over to Belarus “What’s gotten you all stirred up chap, you were fine about this when we left the mountain, what is it?”
The aged fox looked back up at Grayleg “Friend, I wasn’t thinking about what they were like back then when we left the mountain, they have a lot ahead of them more than we do… and there the ones sticking their neck out into danger. Grayleg, why can’t they stick with the main group just for the night?”
Grayleg sat down beside Belarus and nodded in the direction the scouts had gone “Belarus there are three reasons why. I already said one, they need to scout ahead to route out the surprises. The second thing is that if they stuck with us even for the night it would reduce their stealth, make them more likely to be spotted… stealth is key for scouting. And of course if we combined our groups for the night it would just jumble up our blinkin movements, the scouts would have to stop and wait for us to catch up and we’d have to wait for them to get ahead for them to do their job even half as good as they can with the way things are right now.”
Belarus went stone faced as he responded to Grayleg’s reasons “Hmm, thing is Grayleg if the enemy is using the idea of stealth as well the odds of the youngsters out there are cut to roughly fifty fifty and that’s not considering the fact we don’t know what numbers they’re up against. Safety is more important than anything else.”
Grayleg shook his head and sighed “Listen chap, we’re fighting vermin here, there’s always going to be risks.”
Belarus looked at Grayleg with slight insult “I know, I’m supposed to advise you on how to do it… look at who you’re talking to!”
Grayleg frowned as he stood up “Don’t be so paranoid Bel, as long as they do their job they’ll be fine. Remember they aren’t to engage the enemy themselves.”
Belarus snorted to himself as Grayleg walked off dismissing the advise of the fox.

Keya peered up into the afternoon sky of the next day trying to get a rough estimate of exactly how long they had been on the move “Hmmm, let me see here…I’d say we’ve moved about forty miles! Time for some bally lunch don’t you think?”
Barglehop threw off his pack and nodded “Indeed, spiffin time Keya… not a bad spot either!”
Violeteye looked towards the woods to the north and narrowed her eyes trying to get a better view of them “Yes, and we aren’t near any cover for vermin to sneak up in.”
She threw down her pack as a majority of the hares began to munch down on various foods stuffed in their pack then about ten minutes into their break a distant yell caught all of their ears sending them bolt up on their footpaws. Violeteye nodded in the direction of the yell and took a step forward with one footpaw “I say chaps sounds like some beast found out he was wedded to a bloomin toad maid, better go take a peep don’t you think?”
Keya walked ahead of the group then looked back at them “Bally well right we better, come on chaps some beast’s sufferin!”
Keya took off and the others nimbly fell in behind her following her example as she drew her saber.

The undergrowth of the woods was thicker than she had anticipated with dozens of shrubs and bushes whipping at her legs and lower torso as her patrol dashed through the woods and towards whoever had yelled earlier though the beast had shouted yet again and this time the sound was much louder considering that Keya and her hares were approaching the beast or beasts. Barglehop shouted as they cleared the outer line of trees where the undergrowth was thickest “Hey chaps, I can see something up ahead, looks like a bally cart!”
Keya dodged a tree in her path and caught sight of a patch of gray through the trees “Come on, pick up the pace!”
Keya zipped forward in front of the others as the gray cover and the small wagon it belonged to came into view on a old unraveled path that was covered with leaves and patches of tall grass where the sun shined through. Two mice stood around the cart with another mousemaid and four young ones hunkered down inside the cart. One of the mice standing watch was waving his short bow around angrily in the direction opposite of the hares “Come on you murders, let me see your faces and then we’ll find out who’s the better fighter! Huh?”
The mouse turned as the hares came trampling through the woods and onto the path near their cart “Hah so yo… wait your hares. Hmph! Curse those cowards!”
Keya speeded over to the mouse and crouched beside him with her eyes watching the direction the mouse had been issuing his challenge “Keya, Long Patrol. What’s the situation, we heard shouting? Bally vermin harassing you chaps?”
The mouse nodded towards the trees they were both watching as he replied “Harassing is an understatement, all six of the others in the cart behind us just vanished and now they got Jibral and Streamrider the otters that were pulling our cart. On top of that we’ve been pelted with darts and I’m concerned about me young ones getting hit!”
Violeteye’s ears twitched “Disappeared you say, how did that bally well happen, they couldn’t have just grown wings and flown off… Unless you chaps are getting mobbed by bloomin ravens.”
The mouse glared at Violeteye then frowned “I don’t know, there were no signs of any type of struggle and almost never any sound except for Quen in the last cart, all we heard was a groan.”
Keya looked back down the path trying to see the other cart but it was obviously too far out of sight “Not a peep from the chaps eh? Hmmm, sounds like we might be dealing with some sneaky blighters. Let’s get you out of here before they attack again.”
Keya spun around as one of the other hares slapped at his neck and jumped “Ouch, bloomin swampdwellers just pricked me with a bally dart!”
More darts started raining from the trees as the mouse nearest Keya let loose an arrow into the forest “Take cover, here they come!”
Keya looked to Barglehop and began shouting orders “Get beside this cart and have three cover our rear in case, BARGLEHOP!!!”
Violeteye turned just in time to see the spear come bolting from the tree tops and into the back of Barglehop’s neck at the base of his skull slaying him as a net followed the spear. Keya dropped to the ground as she was pelted with multiple darts many of which were solid but a few were filled with a particular poison that started to slow her reactions as she stood up sluggishly. A small spear flew out from the opposing side that the mice had originally been attacked from and slew one of the two mice guarding the cart as the survivors scrambled to find cover but it was now that Violeteye noticed that the tree tops in all directions along the path were moving, the enemy had let them walk right into the middle of their forces. Having seen their new foe the vermin attacking them began to leave the relative safety of the tree tops and began dropping to the ground. Violeteye turned to three rats charging her and swiftly dispatched one with a hindpaw to the throat snapping his neck. She whirled out her dirk and locked blades with the second rat’s rapier allowing her to pull a left hook and break his jaw. The rat leapt back in pain and dropped his sword which the third tripped over sending him tumbling head over heel into Violeteye’s double hind kick knocking back into the other rat in a groaning heap. She glanced over to see how the others were doing and noted that over half of their patrol was gone along with the two mice as rats came streaming from the trees. She turned her attention back to her front and jumped up then landed on the next rat coming at her though the neat aim of one of the less aggressive vermin pinned a dart into her wielding arm. She put down two more with swift kicks and heard Keya shout out as she propped herself against the now empty cart “Retreat, get back to the others, let them know what we’re…”
Keya slammed downward with a fist cracking the skull of a charging rat “up against!”
Violeteye put another one of the vermin out of his misery with two quick left hooks then started to run as two other hares took off in the direction they had come from. She kept a close eye on the other two from the corner of her vision as they ran at least she did until they suddenly seemed to disappear never coming out from behind an old two topped oak. She leapt over a small bush and found herself crashing into a protrusion of red sandstone sending her tripping and falling face first. Violeteye stood up slowly and silently leaving her eyes darting around as dozens of eyes watched from the treetops around her.

“‘Thwack‘… Hmph!” Belarus lower his claw and looked at his palm then snarled in disgust as he walked with the other hares “Missed again, curse these blooming flies!”
Grayleg looked at Belarus with a slight grin as he jumped a protruding rock “Hah, wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t wearing all that fancy metal you got on you… Tin fox!”
Belarus sniveled in dismissal “Harder to hit your target when you’re dodging every single thing they’re sending your way.”
Grayleg chuckled lightly as he trotted sideways and patted the middle aged fox on the shoulder “Ahhh, when’s the last time you went all out in practice against a hare chap? You’d move like a slug in wintertime compared to any of… even the elders!”
The white fox laughed and flung his claw up in a blur taking Grayleg by the ear “Now I wouldn’t say I’m that slow, granted you’d have been right when I first got my claws on this equipment.”
Grayleg was winking his eye as he replied “I hear you there chap! Can you show some compassion to a poor chap and let my ol’ ear go, please?”
Belarus shook his head and laughed again “Poor chap? You’ve got the blooming giant ears and I’m the one getting bitten by these pests every other minute!”
Grayleg flapped his ear then returned it to its normal state “There’s only one of the… ouch! Only one you sa… Bristlesnout, cease that bloomin bogglewhollopin foolishness this instant!”
Belarus had to turn and sidestep in order to turn his head enough to see the young adult Bristlesnout walking behind them with his saber out which he was now saluting Grayleg with “Yes sah. Just trying to get your attention sah!”
Grayleg twitched his ears in annoyance “Well why didn’t you just bally well say something! What is it corporal?”
Bristlesnout nodded back over his shoulder “Well sah, we’re kind of pulling away from the others sah.”
Grayleg narrowed his eyes at the crowd of hares trailing behind them in the distance “How the bally swampscoff did that happen, I’m keeping pace with tin tin here!”
Belarus looked at Grayleg plainly “Must ‘ave picked up the pace trying to get away from the fly… some illusion running from a fly eh?
Grayleg let his ears droop “Doesn’t explain why they didn’t keep up with us.”
Belarus playfully slapped Grayleg in the back of the head “You told them not to change pace before you ate breakfast… paying too much attention to that turnover weren’t you?”
Grayleg looked at Belarus with frustration “Never, I remember I meant change pace from me not trot at the bloomin starting pace all the bally way to ‘ell gates… Besides it was a vegetable roll.”
They stopped and Belarus half closed his eyes while he twitched his snout then stood still for several seconds befpre breaking out laughing “Gluttonous furball!”
“Metal can!”
“Floppy ears!”
“Cross-eyed toadmum!”
“Wobble legged rabbit!”
“Brush tailed snail slurper!”
Bristlesnout shook his head and looked back at the others closing on their position until a distant yell almost caused the three of them to jump out of their skin. As they spun in the direction of the yell Grayleg drew his saber “Bally toadmums! Bristlesnout get the others!”
Bristlesnout darted back towards the main group as the white fox dropped to all fours growling “I know that scream from the storm we had back into the Spring of the Stone Orchid… Curse you…”
He spoke to himself as he charged off on all fours “I’m coming Keya, hang on young un’.”
Grayleg frowned then darted to follow Belarus having failed to realize the familiarity since he had been out on the Long Patrol most of the time the younger hares had been growing up.

“Uncle… where’s brother?”
“He’s… erm, he’s out keeping watch for us.”
“But I heard Gwayleg and da others had brought ‘im back?”
“They… they did but he…”
“Belarus? Keya? Dear chapess what are you doing up at this hour?”
“Ahhh Willowpaw, I can’t get her to sleep, she wants to know where Kaylten is.”
Willowpaw twitched his ears “You mean you haven’t told her? Beh… err… uhhh, come on it’s not something easily explained by words.”
The teenage brown furred hare leapt down off Belarus’s lap allowing the young adult fox to stand up sheepishly “Willowpaw, it isn’t time.”
Willowpaw glared at the white furred beast “It doesn’t matter when it happens its going to have the same bally effect… may only end up worse if it waits.”
Keya looked up at the two older beasts “What, what is it?”
Willowpaw motioned her to follow and began to lead her up the mountain, it took a moment for the hesitant Belarus to follow. They reached the door going into one of the larger upper chambers, Willowpaw turned to Keya as he turned the knob “The patrol brought him up here for him to rest for a little while before they head out again.”
He opened the door to the torch lit room and they stepped in, the fox wanted to step out as his stomach turned at the sight of the pale hare roughly his age lying on the stone table at the center of the room surrounded by various scented herbs. Keya ran over and touched her brother on the arm only to withdrawal it from the cold of his body. Willowpaw looked at the floor “I’m sorry Keya, the next time he leaves will be the last time any of us sees him. His body is here but his mind traveled to the Dark Forest with three others.”
Keya threw an arm on the table and stuck her head in her arm as she started to weep leaving Belarus to look at Willowpaw shakily “What exactly happened?”
Willowpaw glanced at Keya and Kaylten “From what the survivors have reported they were jumped rats, he and two others held them off while the others retreated to open ground… Poor blighter got speared in the heart, it was quick.”
Belarus looked at Keya with sorrow “Willow, I’d take his place in a heartbeat if I could… Can you put in a word for me, I want on the patrol, I don’t want to just sit by while something like this happens again… I want to stop it from happening again.”
Willowpaw nodded lightly “I will chap, but be thoughtful about what you do, you can’t save anybeast if you’re dead.”
Belarus looked towards Kaylten without moving his head “Sadly you’ve been proven wrong already.”
The two of them cringed as the teenage Keya yelled out in pain of the knowledge she had just been given.

“YEARGH!!!”
Belarus grunted and panted to himself as he charged forward completely ignorant of the vegetation smacking him in the face. Behind him he could hear Grayleg keeping pace as the others caught up “Yagh, ouch, what are you thinking chap, charging right through the thorns! OWWW!”
Belarus snorted as his foreclaws ripped through the shrubs and began to bleed “Irrelevant.”
The middle aged fox bolted around the trees as the smaller vegetation began to clear as the other hares reached the tree line. A rat leapt down from a low lying limb landing on Belarus’s back and trying to strangle him. The fox stood up then reached up and over his back, with a growl he ripped the beast off his back and slammed him into a tree as Grayleg came dashing over “Slow down we need to wait on the others otherwise we’ll be taken the entire bally group by ourselves!”
Belarus drew his long swords and started rushing forward “Death waits for nobeast, I’m not letting them die, we have to save them!”
Grayleg snapped at the fox “Belarus, I’m orderi…” his eyes looked upward as the treetops began to move “Oh swampslosh…”
Grayleg began slowly turning in circles as rats came swarming down to the lower limbs of the trees “Taking lessons from the Painted Ones have you, bally bawhollipin toadwhollopers!”
Some of the rats dived at the unfortunate captain as others continued on to confront the other hares. Belarus shook his head around and growled as he was pelted with darts causing him to look up at the vermin above and howl at them “Come on I’ll turn you inside out so fast you’ll think it was natural!”
Rats jumped and climbed to the ground, a few shocked by his presence but most of them only showing grins and snarls like the uncivilized beasts they were. The air began to whirr as twin blades cut through the air as well as flesh and bone sending rats smacking against the ground lifelessly as the sounds of fighting grew in the direction the white beast had come from. Belarus’s growls turned to snarls, these minions were stalling him from saving them… the young ones, the only children he ever considered his own. His eyes grew orange and started to become crimson red indicated a rage so strong he was oblivious to the blows the rats were managing to inflict on him. One of his swords yanked from his grasp as he plunged the blade into a rat with such force the unfortunate foe was sent rolling backwards away from him. Another rat saw the opportunity and jumped at the fox, Belarus responded with a fisted claw that struck the rat in the face turning his head upwards ‘snap’ his neck broke into causing an instantaneous death saving him from the pain as he flew backwards until his body slammed into a tree trunk. A rat with a spear cracked Belarus’s other claw knocking the sword from it, in the flicker of a candle the middle aged beast took hold of the spear and vaulted the rat into the tree tops where he fell through the branches until he hit the ground in a heap. The fox impaled another of the vermin on the spear point then let go of the weapon so that he could use his free claws to tear savagely at the beasts around him. One of the vermin started to scream but was stopped short and forced to gurgle as his neck was torn wide open by the claws of his foe. Belarus howled as he turned a rat’s neck 180 degrees with a snap, the sound sent chills down the spine of Grayleg and every other hare that heard the sound.

Grayleg finished off his neck opponent with a hind kick that broke his ribs before bolting off towards Belarus who was a short distance ahead of him. The middle aged hare dodged trees and noted that he wasn’t getting pelted by darts like he had before. The realization had side tracked him leading him off track, now he was the one ahead. The Long Patrol Captain spun around listening for where the fighting sounded closest however the sounds of all that was going on left him confused as to where the fox was. A snort from behind him left the hare to sigh for a moment until he turned around “Bloomin Swamplurker!”
‘Thwack’ the kick caught the off guard Grayleg in the chest sending him rolling backwards, he coughed as he bolted to his feet and looked at the white fox in front of him “Not the blighter I was lookin for but I suppose you don’t give a hoot… EULALIA!!!”
Grayleg locked his saber with the opponents cutlass then kicked the fox in the leg sending him falling to his knees with a smile as he spoke “Heh, your time at die rabbit just like all dose afore ya.”
The fox rolled to the right and finished standing up, Grayleg started to circle him slowly with a slight crouch “Hah, if your fighting is as good as your speech then its better to be a bloomin rat, silent rotters!”
The two jumped at each other and locked blade leaving the hare to kick at his opponent again but this time the fox turned sideways and grabbed Grayleg’s footpaw with a claw. Grayleg scowled as he felt the claws sink into his paw but then he noticed something else, a dart like the ones the rats had been using only something was different his paw was starting to go numb. The fox twisted the captains leg causing him to jump once then fall to the ground leaving the smiling vermin to kick at his abdomen “Pride in itself is a poison don’t you think.”
Despite his slowing reactions Grayleg swung at the fox but the motion was so slow that he merely stepped backwards and laughed “Hah, hah, amazin what such a little prick can do at ya isn’t it! Your slower than a block of ice!”
“DIE VERMIN SWILL!!!”
The white fox looked up and blinked at Belarus who almost looked like he was red furred rather than white, the only thing giving it away were the spatters on his battered armor “Tell that to yourself… oh.”
He noticed Belarus’s red eyes and smiled “Gat a bit of an anger prublem do we?”
“ARGHHHH!!!” Belarus drew his short sword and charged at the other fox, blades whirred back and forth through the air as the vermin fox slowly backed up each locking of their blades sending violent shocks up his arms from the power behind each of Belarus’s blows. The intruding fox snarled then grinned “So whut’s yurr trigger I wunder… whut could it be? Mayhaps you hold something dear for these long ears? Well guess whut, ya’ve failed for that furst lot,they’re little screams were so… satisfying, now da rest of ya are gonna die and you’re gonna ‘ave at watch powerless at do anything about it. HARGH!!!”
He kicked Belarus in the stomach sending him tumbling backwards, Grayleg was powerless having been practically paralyzed as Belarus lied still for several moments which felt like forever in his eyes. Belarus put his free claw onto of his head and groaned with pain, he stood up allowing Grayleg to see his eyes were back to an amber color but something was different about them in a way they looked like a torch that had just been snuffed out, had a misty tint as bad as a midsummer fog. Belarus lowered his claw and wiped away the dribble of blood running from his nose as the other fox chuckled hideously  “Heh, heh, heh, come on ya ol’ bag of bones, let’s see ‘ow ya fight now!”
Belarus stumbled and wobbled forward the first few steps then locked blades with his opponent again. Grayleg snorted as he tried desperately to move but to no avail however he did note that the sounds of the other hares were growing louder and closer as Belarus slashed deep into the other fox’s shoulder. The enemy fox growled and snapped at Belarus “Yurr turn filth!”
“Crack… pop!” he slammed his foot claw in Belarus’s right leg popping out the Long Patrol fox’s hip as he went tumbling backwards. Belarus yelled in pain until he smacked against the bottom of a tree trunk stunning him almost to the point of senselessness. The vermin fox smiled showing his fangs as he walked towards the fox ignorant of the sounds of battle that were drawing ever closer “Heh, should’ve picked yurr fights more wisely old ‘un, it’s a wonder ya survived at get diss far in. I suppose I’ll just ‘ave to put you out of yurr misery ehh? Not afore I make ya watch me skin yurr rabbit friend though!”
He spun around to face Grayleg and raised his cutlass as the two Long Patrol beasts helplessly watched him. He stepped towards Grayleg then looked in the direction of the fighting as the mountain’s war cry echoed through the forest “EULALIA!!!”
The hulking form of Lord Seastripe flashed from the trees and slammed the fox smack on with the flat of his blade sending the unfortunate foe crashing against another tree. The fox remained standing and went to lift his cutlass again but far too slowly in his shocked state, the massive badger lord’s blade went through him and sunk into the tree at neck level. Belarus twitched as he watched Seastripe behead the horde fox then fell unconscious as enraged rats darted through the trees having stopped to watch the fight. Seastripe roared as he was pelted with pawfuls of darts however by now the other hares had caught up and began darting up with bows and arrows. Seastripe waved his free paw to the other hares as he shouted over the screaming rats “Retreat, grab the injured and fall back! There’s more of them, we must draw them to the open!”
Grayleg watched helplessly as four of his comrades picked him up and carried him away, as they reached the tree line the dart harassment turned into an endless cloud that fell from the sky. The main Long Patrol stood a short distance out raining arrows into the tree tops outside the range of the darts dropping rats at an alarming rate however it was a mere drop compared to the numbers that still stood. Grayleg blinked as he watched a rat above point his throwing spear right between his eyes. The rat yelped and fell down beside Grayleg and his carriers with a javelin in his chest as a group of otters came charging up to help the allied hares “Come on mates, we’ve got some rats that need slayin!”
Grayleg’s eyes slowly closed as one of the otter beasts came over and gave a paw to the battered hares carrying the captain.

“Bwaaa? Hagahuguah!” Belarus snorted and sat bolt upright in the tent his eyes coming to fix on Nyphira’s back who was washing her bloodstained paws in a basin of water. The ferret tilted her chin up as she heard Belarus wake up but then turned her attention to her paws which she dried off on a towel “Welcome back Bel, granted a little sooner than I was hoping. Let me get some more potion to ease your pain.”
The middle aged fox narrowed his eyes and huffed slightly “Sooner than you’d have liked, thanks! Ugh, how long have I been out?”
Nyphira finished drying off her paws and reached for a purple flask as she replied “Sorry I meant no offense, I was just hoping there’d be more time for your wounds to heal, I figured you’d want to start moving around the moment you came around, you’ve been out for over two days.”
Belarus blinked in disbelief and then tried to stand up off the table/bed he was on “Two days, wha, what’s happened? Did we find the scouts? Whoa ARGH!!!”
The middle aged fox fell to the ground and grasped at his right leg and howled with pain causing Nyphira to cringe as she rushed to help him back up onto the table with concern “No we didn’t find them and this is exactly what I was worried about. You shouldn’t try walking for now, your lucky your leg wasn’t shattered. Trying to put weight on it right now will only cause you pain.”
Belarus let himself be lifted and rolled onto the table as he spoke in an unusually quiet tone for himself “Grayleg?”
Nyphira blinked a few times in rapid succession a little shocked towards the fox’s seemingly lost sounding inquiry “He’s hurt but he’ll be fine in a few days, nowhere near as bad off as you. I have no clue how much blood you’ve lost!”
Nyphira looked Belarus in the eyes with more intention as she waited for his response but she gasped when she noticed the look in them “Bel, are you feeling alright?”
The middle aged fox blinked and raised and eyebrow towards the ferret maid “What kind of question is that? I feel as bad as I look you know!”
Nyphira went to pick up a silver disc as she replied with a degree of fright “What about your eyesight?”
Belarus furrowed his eyebrows with confusion and narrowed his eyes slightly “Now that you mention it, things do look a little blur… Nyphira will you just tell me what’s going on!”
Nyphira held up the disc letting the middle aged fox look at the reflection of his face with and through heavily misted eyes leaving him touching his face with one claw “Ohh…”
Nyphira went onto her knees beside Belarus and looked into his eyes with worry “Belarus, your injures were and still are  concerning enough but… you, you, you have blood wrath, your not supposed to have blood wrath, you aren’t meant to.”
Belarus snorted at the comment as he let his head fall against the pillow once again “Pfff, just like I shouldn’t be breathing right now I suppose?”
Nyphira frowned and shook her head “No, no, no, Bel please don’t be like that, the Long Patrol doesn’t want to see you go… I don’t want to see you go.”
The middle aged fox bolted his right claw up and grappled the collar of Nyphira’s cloak and quickly loosened his hold to a mere grab “Who do you think I’d rather it be, me or you, or any of them?”
Nyphira let out a single low whimper in response with tears in her eyes making Belarus cringe whether from the pain of his wounds or something else she couldn’t tell at that exact moment. The white fox let go of her collar and sat up tensing his muscles and quivering slightly as he did so from the stinging he felt all over “You said you had something to ease this pain?”
Nyphira blinked at him in silence for a moment before reaching for the purple flask again with one paw while wiping the tears from her eyes with the other. She turned back around to face the fox with flask in paw and saw him sitting still with eyes closed almost as if he had fallen asleep though she judged that he was breathing to fast for that. She held the flask close to her as if hugging it as she walked up to her friend the look in her eyes like those of a lost dibbun during a midnight storm. She stood still as Belarus squeezed his eyes closed hard and started muttering lowly “Stop that, I’m not even looking at you and I can feel the way you are looking at me, stop.”
Nyphira looked at the flask and shook her head slightly “Belarus, I’ve known who you are since we met as younglings at the abbey, even if I’m not from this land you and Grayleg are the two closest things I have to a family here… and I almost lost you both.”
The ferret maid gently put the flask at the end of the table and stood silent looking down at her clasped paws held close in front of her for a few moments then suddenly tackled the fox with a hug as she began weeping. The white fox opened one eye fully and shivered but remained silent until he couldn’t take it anymore “Nyphira, you’re hugging my wounds… ouch… aghhh, stop!”
He cringed as he forced the sobbing ferret maid off of him “Aghhh, I don’t know what you’ve hurt more, my mind or my wounds!”
The white fox sighed and looked at the ground as he shook his head “You feel that way about the two of us, I feel that way about many of those that were ahead of us, I watched most of them grow up. If I don’t go and look for them, if I abandon them… who am I?”
Nyphira scuffed the dirt with a foot paw as she sniveled “You’re my friend, Belarus please, Grayleg feels pain to they all do they just don’t show it like you do. You’re being irrational.”
Belarus reached into the pocket of his shirt and checked to make sure the ring given to him by Telos was still there and closed his eyes “I held them like a family Nyphira, like grandkits… not only that but another at the mountain held his mind to one like a future wife. Telling myself that they’re gone is telling myself I failed my purpose for joining, I refuse to fail.”
Belarus’s opened his eyes and they had grown a tint orange “On top of that many of them have young ones of their own, I won’t let them be orphans too.”
Nyphira blinked in surprise even as a few tears continued to trickled down her face “What do you mean, were you…”
Belarus snorted “No, but a few of those out there were, losing both parents before your old enough to fight shouldn’t be a family tradition.”
Belarus growled and forced himself to stand up wobbling slightly until he figured out his balance “I’m going back there to find them myself, Grayleg would just try and stop me… If you must tell some beast then do so but not until after I’m gone.”
He hobbled out of the tent and into the sunlight causing him to squint as his eyes adjusted to the light “Hmmm, armor was probably beat up pretty good, still need my weapons though.”
The dim eyed fox looked around him until his eyes camp upon a banner of a sword pointing towards the ground sitting outside one of the tents which is where he began towards even as a few hares on guard spotted him and watched with confusion.

The fox of the Long Patrol flung the tent flaps inwards and stepped inside his eyes coming to scan the crates of swords and barrels of quivers. Belarus’s misted eyes blinked in thought, if the Long Patrol had taken time to setup a camp with supplies like this it was a bad sign that they wouldn’t be moving anytime soon. The middle aged fox went to one of the crates at the far side of the tent in the dimmer lighting casting a dark shadow over its contents. Belarus pulled out his two sheathed long swords from the crate and held them up into the light so he could observe the hilts. The white fox rocked forwards and backwards on his hind claws as his eyes closed and drifted off to the past once again.

“Uncle, uncle!”
Belarus took his attention off the cuirass he was polishing on the table in front of him “Keya… Violeteye? What’s that you two have there?”
The two teenage hares each held up a sword hilt one with an amethyst pommel stone and the other with a jade pommel stone both carved into the shape of a hare. The young adult white fox blinked with wide eyes as the two hares ran up to him Violeteye waved the hilt as she ran up to Belarus “We made hilts for your swords, Lord Seastripe helped us make them!”
Belarus let his jaw drop for a moment as he looked at the amethyst hare on Violeteye’s hilt and the jade one on Keya’s then he closed his mouth and smiled “You made these? My goodness, Seastripe’s in for some forging competition! Thank you, I… they’re wonderful!”
Keya jumped up and down as she gave the hilt to Belarus “Put them on, put them on! We want to see them on the swords!”
Belarus reached for the two long swords sitting on the table in their scabbards and slowly took off their hilts “Heh, these are going to last for a lifetime… they’re stronger than the swords!”
The fox almost lost his balance as the two hares hugged his legs “We want to see, we want to see!”
Belarus held up the swords and blinked as he looked at the pommel’s “It’s like each sword is a living being, three fighting as one… Hah, hah! Nothing can defeat me with these in claw, thank you Keya, thank you Violeteye! These are gifts worthy of a hero!”
The two hares baked away so that he could get on his knees and hug them “I’ll never forget this, I love the both of you with all my heart.”
His eyes began to tear up with joy as he listened to the two hares giggle slightly while they hugged him with their arms “We love you too uncle.”

I gotta say, I sure like Belarus as a character.  🙂  Nice work, Bel.

The middle aged fox was woken from his back flash as two paws of light gray fur clamped onto his claws which were still grasping the scabbards of his swords. Belarus’s eyes bolted open and came to meet Briggs’s pale green eyes “Going somewhere sah?”
Belarus stared into the eyes of the early middle aged hare for a long moment calculating the beast’s probable intent “That subject is of no concern to you sergeant, now let me be.”
Briggs loosened his grip and maintained a deep but unaggressive eye lock with Belarus as he answered undaunted by the fox’s words “You’re going back aren’t you sah? I know how important they are to you chap, do you really think they might still be alive though? You almost didn’t make it back here yourself with help.”
The middle aged fox blinked his misted eyes which emitted the feelings of loss and pain in his mind “They can’t be, I won’t let them be. A family doesn’t leave its young ones to die, a good family doesn’t and the Long Patrol is… and will be a good family.”
Briggs took his paws off Belarus’s claws and put them on the fox’s shoulders while his voice shuddered a little with concern “I can’t know if you’re right about them old chap all I can be sure is that you’re here and while I’ve had my doubts about you sah I still hold you as a Long Patrol beast. Don’t be another beast that doesn’t return to Salamandastron sah.”
Belarus strapped the scabbards to his belt and then took hold of Briggs’s arms with a light grip from his claws “Don’t concern yourself with me chap. After what I’ve just been through I think I’ll have to chase death. However if you really are that bothered by the thought of beasts dying then you’ll help me find them.”
Briggs took his paws off Belarus and the both let their paws / claws fall to their sides as Briggs shook his head “I can’t do that sah, not without Grayleg’s permission and that would give you away sah. I am leading a bally patrol in the afternoon to see if the toadwhollopers have retreated at all or how much their numbers were thinned out by us. At that time I can try to help you chap but what if you get into trouble before then and how am I supposed to find you?”
Belarus drew the two long swords and held them up as he gazed into their blades “Thanks Briggs. If I do run into trouble all you’ll have to do to find me is follow the trail of fresh corpses, easy enough?”
Briggs couldn’t help but let out a tiny grin towards the fox’s determination “Yes sah, good luck.”
Briggs almost jumped out of his fur when Belarus cut his own cheeks lightly with his swords “Sah!”
Belarus whirled the blades and stuck them in the ground replying as he let the blood ooze from the cuts before wiping onto his claws “Easy.”
The middle aged fox grabbed the pommels with his bloodstained claws covering them with a layer of his blood including the amethyst and jade stones. Belarus grasped the pommels tightly and looked ahead with orange fiery eyes “Upon my blood I swear I will not rest until you are home at Salamandastron even if it consumes my very being… I am coming.”
Briggs blinked in shock towards the sudden change in the fox’s eyes “Sah you’ve got…”
Belarus blinked as his eyes faded to their misty amber color “Aye and it’s ‘ells gates for me and anybeast that tries to get in the way of my task.”
In one motion he pulled the blades from the ground and sheathed his swords while he spun around before marching out of the tent leaving Briggs wide eyed still shocked by the fox who had blood wrath.

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