Backstory: Belarus (Binding Ring)



  • 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.



  • “The night is long and in the darkness the moon reflects from me and I become a beacon in the blackness for those who need a guide from peril and gloom.” Belarus spoke silently to himself as he trekked through the shadows of the woods. His eyes were glued to the space ahead but his mind paid attention to the top edge of his view where the treetops remained still save for the morning breeze. His leg ached with every step but to his mind it was a source of anger another reason to fight rather than turn and limp away. It seemed like forever with the pace he was going but eventually his eyes came to see a path in the distance through the trees. He took one more step and stopped stiff as a board when the thud of something solid yet moveable on the ground hitting against his bark cloth boot reached his ears. His eyes had been so focused on the area ahead and above he hadn’t taken the time to note the two dead hares on the ground at his foot claws. The middle aged fox had thought the smell was that of the vermin they had killed a few days prior and was just not entirely leaving his stomach to turn in realization that they had been there for at least as long as the dead rats. He knelt down to inspect the bodies at his foot claws and began rummaging through his memories to determine who they were. He narrowed his eyes slightly as his mind raced, some of the things he could easily remembered at the whisper of a word took him several seconds to think of or he couldn’t remember them at all! He put a claw on top of his head and scratched lightly having been stumped as to the reason for this; wait, blood wrath! He clenched his jaw and snorted and as if the anger had forced the pictures of their faces out of his battered mind he realized who the two hares were. He frowned as he looked at the two lifeless orphans as he whispered to himself “Tumblesnout, Whistlepaw… Hmmmmh.”
    Belarus let out a long sigh and shivered as if he was freezing cold which he felt like too. His eyes looked up along the ground scanning farther and farther away. His eyes locked still on their present course but not because they saw something rather because his ears had heard something, and it was right above him! His lips contorted and he spoke with scorn “Coward!”
    In one movement he pulled a spear from one of the hares and stepped back putting himself in a position to throw the weapon as he spun it around so that the tip pointed upwards. He felt the dart sink into his cheek and growled “Come down from there you little stinger!”
    He hurled the spear and watched as it hit the rat who fell from the tree in two with headfirst. Belarus cringed and wobbled on his right leg as pain sunk into it like he had been caught in the jaws of a pike “Heeeeerrrrrrrrumph!”
    Even in his angered pain he noted the trees ahead move slightly causing him to growl from both hatred and pain “What’s the matter with the lot of you, afraid of sharp blades so you hide up in the trees?”
    “Hicha yawah noochitachata!”
    Belarus blinked in the confusion that over took his anger “What, can you even speak right you clumsy rat?”
    The rat dropped from the tree waving two small curved swords in the air angrily “Youuuu da steppa on diss groun, diss lan belong ta Lorv Deridiez!”
    Belarus raised an eyebrow as the rat spoke then once the small villain had finished he growled and spat at the creature “Your ground, this isn’t your ground it’s Mossflower for all ‘goodbeasts’!”
    The rat pointed and laughed at the middle aged fox “Ha ha goody beastez, ya callin yasellf a goody beastez? Ya nuthin ‘ut a ‘ig beast eatta! Ya nuthin ‘ut a schemin backstabba, ya can’t even ly ta me ‘ig fool ya are!”
    Belarus pulled out his long swords and hunched his back slightly like a cat getting ready to pounce “I’m going to take your words and stick them right back in your throat!”
    He jumped forward as the three other rats in the trees dropped down around him with a net which covered him knocking the middle aged fox to the ground with a growl. He stayed still for a brief period of time shaking angrily before he finally spoke “Yes pin me down, see how well it works!”
    The four rats gathered round and began pegging the net to the ground “We gonna torture ya, we gonna… Aghhh!”
    Belarus grabbed the net with both paws and bolted upright, twirling the net around with all four rats clinging on for dear life as the fox watched them with orange eyes “DIE!!!”
    He swung the net against the tree beside him wrapping it around the trunk and sending all four rats crashing against the solid oak as well. He watched as the creatures fell to the ground, none of them moved or breathed leaving him to grunt with satisfaction as his eyes lost their tint “Lucky we’re in the forest or I would have hurled you across the ocean and onto the next continent!”
    The middle aged fox leaned against the tree and put a claw on his right hip, the pain was getting worse and all the sudden movement probably wasn’t helping. He stood there resting and listening for any more movement as his eyes scanned the tree tops though after what had just happened he was beginning to wonder if his damaged vision wasn’t just letting him scan right over them without realizing it.



  • Belarus waited another moment for the pain to lessen though he also noted that his movements were becoming slower and more difficult leaving him growling lightly in annoyance as he hobbled forward “Curses.”
    The middle aged fox made his way forward towards the path and eventually the cart came into his blurred eyesight. His heart picked up and his pace quickened as he caught sight of something lying beside the front wheel on his side of the cart. He came out onto the path and stopped wide eyed “Rhea?”
    The young hare’s supposed to be white fur was crimson and the drag marks made it obvious this was not where she had passed on. Something had to have dragged her but who or what? Belarus knelt down and tried to put one claw under her chin. He recoiled in disgust as his claw became covered in dry blood and it took only the work of a moment for him to see her injury before he shivered “Yaghh, no!”
    He shrieked and flicked his claw in an attempt to get any think tank off his claw having stuck his claw in the spot of a spear injury that had results too destructive for description. Belarus looked at his shaking claw with shock “Why, why not me instead… Why this way?”
    As if in answer the trees on the far side of the path began to rustle in response instantly tipping the white fox as to what he was in for. The new combined presence of the dead hare and her murders brought a flame to Belarus, a flame that if it was real would probably burn these woods into a charred wasteland “I’LL KILL YOU ALL A THOUSAND TIMES OVER AND IN A THOUSAND DIFFERENT WAYS A THOUSAND TIMES WORSE THAN ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE!!!”
    He sluggishly drew his sword as his eyes turned crimson with rage building like the magma in a volcano; nothing would stop it except time. At first the rats thought they had the advantage and bolted down supported by a hailstorm of darts encouraged by the fox’s slow motions. After the first ranks attacked and they saw their comrades falling by the droves though they realized the fox was getting faster the sheer amount of adrenaline brought by the blood wrath was snuffing out any effect their darts had on him. Pain was nothing but a fantasy in the white fox’s mind; the only ‘feeling’ present was on rage, a vengeful rage. Blades cut through air like an otter through water bringing their sharpened edges to shed the blood of rats that were unfortunate enough to get within their range. In the back of his mind the middle aged fox knew he was getting torn apart by the constant onslaught but he felt no pain as his rage continued to control his feelings and actions. Large patches of his body were crimson with the blood of his enemies and his own, cuts and punctures seeping out his blood like water overflowing the banks of a pond. His nose began to bleed though he had received no significant blow to the head but it was the first telltale sign of his situation, not in the fight but inside. His sword continued to whirr through the air punishing the rats even as his vision blurred more to the point everything looked like he was spinning in circles but the image in his eyes remained the same. In his rage Belarus’s mind couldn’t even begin to consider what the signs meant as a matter of fact his rage made him completely ignorant of the signs. Then the most obvious sign so far hit him like a boulder as his legs gave out putting him fighting on his knees, not just of injury but something else like his mind was turning off.
    “EULALIA!!!”



  • (A little earlier)
    Footpaws smacked the leaf covered ground like a hammer to an anvil with the very ground yielding to each step. Briggs had his mind set on the trail left by the middle aged fox and even now they had made it farther into the woods than they had previously which had the hare a tad concerned. The other half score of hares following behind him in formation seemed just as eager to find the lost patrol and get into the fight. Unlike Keya’s group Briggs had picked beasts of a slightly older aged and they were some of the Long Patrol’s best. The fur on the back of Briggs’s neck stood up as he caught sight of four recently dispatched rats at the base of a tree which had a net rapped around it. He slowed down realizing they must have been relatively near. As he stopped he caught sight of something else on the ground leaving him to shudder as his eyes came to focus in on the two objects “Bally swampslosh, it’s Tumblesnout and Whistlepaw!”
    Briggs darted over to the two hares and knelt down to check for signs of life but his speedy attitude turned sorrowful once he quickly concluded their state “They’re gone… bloomin bogglewhollopers’ll pay for this! Shalepaw, keep note of this we’ll take them back once we’ve found ol’ Bel.”
    A brown hare in his late middle ages gave a slight nod as he walked up beside Briggs to inspect the bodies “Will do sergeant, they’ll be home before the next bally sunrise.”
    Briggs’s head shot up upon a distant angry shout that seemed as if it shook every leaf in the forest though it was actually the light breeze that carried the sound. Briggs bolted upright and ran in the direction of the shout “Come on chaps sounds like there’s trouble up ahead, and there’s only one other beast I know of out here besides us that would make that much noise!”
    As the path came in the view of Briggs and his patrol so did the cart and the rats swooping from the trees blocking out the white pillar that hacked and slashed at the vermin though the flying slain beasts gave it away. Briggs drew his saber and tilted his head forward slightly “Give ‘em blood an’ vinegar chaps! EULALIA!!!”



  • The onslaught of rats lessened from what he could tell, his arms had dropped as he lost all power in his body leaving him to fall forward on elbows and knees with his eyes having receded to a dead hazy gray with a hint of amber. Almost all consciousness was gone from the white fox though in the back of his mind his thoughts still raced. ‘I have failed, there is no surviving. Am I following the path of those before me or are they still hiding? Who will carry on after I have gone?”
    ‘There is no one.’ The answer in his mind caught him off guard, it wasn’t a thought of his own but rather that of another consciousness. The shock jolted his mind to the front and he regained some consciousness as he was pulled backwards and dragged along the ground “Come on chaps we’ll give ‘em the kicking they deserve or we aren’t the Shadow Striders! EULALIA!!!”
    Briggs swiftly dispatched four rats and stepped back again begin the last to make the retreat as the other hares rushed away. Belarus spoke dimly through crimson stained mouth unable to extend a claw out to the sergeant “Don, don’t join them… cha…p.”
    He swallowed hard, his throat irritated by blood leaving him only to listen as the hare dragging him looked at Briggs having hear the fox’s feeble words “Sah, stay with the group sah!”
    Briggs bolted back as two of his hares slung the bodies of Tumblesnout and Whistlepaw over their shoulders before being the first ones to fall back deeper into the woods. Belarus felt himself being lifted as Briggs chucked him over is shoulders in a fireman carry “To the camp chaps, all speed!”
    The group of hares bolted like lightning easily outpacing the rats who were left in a cloud of dust. Briggs hadn’t called his special selection of hares the Shadow Striders for nothing, they were lethal but above all else they were some of fastest hares at Salamandastron.



  • “Burrrr, hmmm… cold, ahhhh cold!”
    Briggs kept his paws on Belarus’s side as the fox lied on the table “Hold still chap, you’re barely holding together as is. You left a trail of blood all the way back here that a blind mole could follow!”
    Belarus opened his eyes and shivered “Cold, why am I cold?”
    Briggs grew a tad nervous “Ummm, some help madam?”
    Nyphira came into the tent letting the morning sunlight gleam into the fox’s eyes revealing the extent of their mistiness. The ferret scrambled up to Briggs’s side and put one paw on Belarus’s head “What is it? Did he try to get up?”
    Briggs shook his head and replied nervously “No, he’s complaining of the cold and he’s shiverin more than my empty stomach!”
    Nyphira sighed in annoyance “That’s all we need, of course he gets ill while he’s injured. Hang on I have something that should help.”
    Nyphira pulled out a flask and gently turned the fox’s head snout upwards so she could pour the contents down his throat “Run off again and you won’t find me doing this again you stubborn ol’ toad. You’ve had me worried sick since you left and then when they bring you back I find you like this, if only you’d seen. You should be…”
    Nyphira sighed as she finished pouring the flask “Don’t make me give up on you, throwing your life away like this hurts me… a lot of us more than you think. Why do you think Grayleg didn’t want you to go out looking for them?”
    Belarus looked at the ferret maid as he swallowed before giving his reply “He thinks there is no point in even trying to rescue the…”
    Briggs raised his arm diagonally motioning a strike with his arm but he stopped at full pull back cutting Belarus’s sentence short as he butted in angrily “Don’t be rash sah, he doesn’t want you to join them! We’d have to go looking for you too then!”
    The white fox groaned slightly as he lied where he was “Hmmmm, then do something about it.”
    Briggs lowered his arm and quivered “We did, we found them. THEY’RE DEAD!!!”
    Belarus’s eyes bugged out and Nyphira gently but still thoroughly pinned him to the table so he wouldn’t sit up “WHAT!!! DEAD, HOW CAN THEY BE DEAD? I WON’T BELIEVE IT UNTIL I SEE…”
    Briggs clasped one of the middle aged fox’s claws in his paws “You will chap but not now… you’re seriously about ready to fall to bits.”
    Belarus didn’t doubt Briggs’s words not necessarily because of the pain but the hare always spoke what he believed to be true and with Nyphira there as the healer he had no doubt he was speaking her conclusion. The white fox lied still and huffed and grunt in understanding “Hmmhuh.”



  • Hazed eyes opened slowly to the new morning sun that peeked its way in through the open flaps of the tent. The middle aged fox grumbled lowly to himself having woken from his eighth consecutive day in bed under the ferret healer’s care. His faint eyes looked at Nyphira as she stood softly massaging the fur between his ears mitigating the headache that still plagued him. The ferret maid had a frown on her face as she looked back down into Belarus’s seemingly dead eyes “I’m sorry Belarus.”
    The fox heaved himself into a sitting position for the first time since her had been brought back and looked at his healer with confusion “Sorry, for what?”
    He cringed slightly and snarled lightly in frustration “An entire week and I’m still hurting like craz…”
    “He is ordering for your departure.”
    Belarus furrowed his eyebrows with a degree of annoyance to the words while still confused by Nyphira who had uttered the words “Who’s ordering me to leave?”
    Nyphira swallowed and closed her eyes for a moment before replying “Lord Seastripe… After you’ve recovered he is ordering for your disbandment and having you sent to roam on your own never to return to the Long Patrol."
    Belarus sighed in resignation and slowly pulled himself off the bed and into a wobbly standing position “No point in keeping the rotter waiting, I’ll take my leave now.”
    Nyphira went wide eyed “Wha, what! No, no, no, you can’t you still need at the very least another week to recover from your wounds! I ca…”
    Belarus turned to the ferret maid and blinked blankly “Stop trying to change my mind. I’m leaving but not to roam, I’m far too battered to just roam. Even I was healed it would still be awhile before I have the kind of strength to go about on my own… I want to go home and I don’t mean Salamandastron home of the cowardly stripedog, I mean Redwall.”
    Nyphira shook her head and took hold of one of the fox’s arms “Even then you can’t get there on your own, you need to heal.”
    The middle aged fox put his forehead against hers “Don’t fret, I’ll find a way…. Any news on what they’re doing with the fallen beasts from the forward patrol?”
    Nyphira hugged Belarus lightly so as not to cause him more pain “They’re going to have a ceremony here before they’re taken back to the mountain where they’ll be put to rest. There’s no telling how much longer the Long Patrol will be out here.”
    Belarus closed his eyes and clenched his jaw in anger about the situation before lifting his head and looking the healer in the eyes “Hmph, how much longer will they keep this stalemate? The longer they drag this out the more beasts will die.”
    The sunlight entering the tent shrank and shifted as somebeast stood in the open entrance “Have to say I agree chap. Unless something bordering a bloomin miracle happens this thing’s going to last for an entire season the ways those rats are fighting. Only thing we can really do is torch the bally rotters but we aren’t about to resort to the methods of our enemies!”
    Briggs walked in with a bandage wrapped in an angle around the base of his right ear “For every one we kill three more spring up, it’s getting bally annoying!”
    Nyphira jumped as Belarus hobbled in the direction of Briggs and she rushed to support the white fox in his movement “Careful!”
    Belarus gave a tiny grin to the hare “Still standing on your own, more than I can say for myself!”
    Briggs gave a small nod and put a paw on the fox’s shoulder “At least you can stand now! Sorry to say it chap but the old lord wants you gone. He thinks you’ve become too reckless and I have to agree but I can grasp the reason chap.”
    Belarus closed his eyes and bowed his head “I was and in the end it didn’t matter, I’ve lost my strength and failed my personal mission. I have lost that which has kept me alive for all these seasons.”
    Briggs frowned and put his other paw up so he was holding both of Belarus’s shoulders “We’re still here chap, you haven’t lost everything.”
    The white fox opened his watery eyes to Briggs “I know, I wouldn’t of had the will to survive these past few days if I had.”
    Their attention was broken by a loud horn from the eastern edge of camp causing them to spin around as Briggs’s ears shot up “Attack?”
    Silverheart came bolting through the camp with her horn in her white paws “GUOSIM, they bring news from the north!!!”
    Grayleg bolted out of his tent and sprinted towards the young adult hare “What is it, where are the bally chaps?”
    Silverheart skid to a halt and stood to attention with a salute as she reported “There trailing behind sah, they sent me ahead to report their approach. It’s about the rats sah, the Northwind Patrol’s gutted their supply line!”
    Grayleg’s ears shot up “I say, that’s jolly nice of the blighters to do something helpful for a change!”



  • This is a great read, Bel!  8D



  • The captain turned his attention to the horizon behind Silverheart as a score of shrews came into view with a cloaked beast almost as tall as an otter following behind them with a wooden staff that had a polished sphere of jasper safely nestled in its four curved silver prongs at the top. The shrews went into a joyful sprint upon seeing the hares and were in the camp in a matter moments. Grayleg took a knee as the shrew in charge of the detachment walk up “Tally ho’ chaps good to see some fellow fighters coming around for a visit! How’s Log a Log?”
    The lead shrew gave a large grin and reached up to put a paw on Grayleg’s shoulder “He sends his regards old friend. He would have liked to have come himself but he needed to stay and help organize the attack on these vermin from the north.”
    The Long Patrol Captain nodded lightly “Perhaps after this entire bally mess is over you chaps can drop by the mountain for a visit; been awhile since we’ve had other blighters to joke around with.”
    Both of them were distracted as four hares came out of a nearby tent with two stretchers carrying beasts hidden underneath white linen. Grayleg clenched his jaw as he looked at the two stretchers being carried off towards the center of camp “Sadly not all of us are going back home the way we came.”
    The shrew frowned “Don’t tell me…”
    Grayleg gave a ghostly nod with a stone face “Yes, the brigadier’s only daughter was one of the poor chaps.”
    The shrew went wide eyed “Violeteye!”
    Belarus stood supported between Nyphira and Briggs as he watched the Long Patrol Captain breakdown in front of him, it made his stomach knot up like a balloon shaped into a pretzel. He whispered into Briggs’s ear “I hope you find them.”
    Briggs frowned as he watched his Captain “I do too.”
    Nyphira wanted to say something but at the same time her words might influence her patient to go out searching again making her decision all the more painful. Her conclusion caused her to change what she said even though it might have seemed a tad heartless “I don’t know, would it be better to leave him questioning the truth by never finding her body or would it be better to bring it back to reveal the definite answer?”
    Belarus looked at Nyphira with a low glare “Ask that question when you find her so you can feel for yourself to a small degree… Briggs?”
    Briggs eyes turned to Belarus as the fox seemed to slouch a bit as if losing a bit of strength “What is it chap?”
    Belarus’s voice dropped to a silent chat but louder than a whisper with a depressive sense in it “I need to ask you something, alone… Nyphira, could you ask and see if the shrews might be kind enough to help me get to Redwall? I’m sure it’s been awhile since they’ve visited the place.”
    Nyphira eyes seemed to emit the feeling of mental injury towards the thought of him leaving so soon nevertheless she gave a light bow of her head to the fox “Alright Belarus, maybe one day we’ll meet again but after this I am to return to my homeland so it may not be for some time.”
    Belarus stiffened his legs and took his arm from around Briggs and cupped Nyphira’s chin in his claw so that they looked at each other “I better hear from you again even if I’m blind when you do. Heh, I don’t want this to be the last goodbye.”
    He gently hugged the ferret maid and gently ruffled the fur on top of her skull “Thank you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. You have no idea just how grateful I really am.”
    He released his caregiver and turned to Briggs “Please, let’s talk in the tent.”
    Belarus limped back into the tent with Briggs close behind him should the fox lose balance while Nyphira went over to Grayleg and the shrews to talk with them.



  • Briggs looked back into the foggy dead eyes of the middle aged fox. They were so drained of life it was difficult for him to make out what emotion the fox was feeling with the stone face he had. Belarus sighed and let his snout droop as he reached into his pocket “I never wanted to bring this up… I never wanted this to happen but…”
    Belarus took the ring from his pocket and held it up for Briggs to see “Telos wanted me to give this to Violeteye for him as a proposal from him since he wasn’t with the patrol. Even if I could I wouldn’t go back, not with this still in my possession…”
    The fox winced and held up a paw as Briggs was about to speak signaling for the hare to allow him to continue “I can’t go back and tell him she’s gone, it’s already killed my soul. I doubt he’d believe it and that would destroy me because that’s what I ‘want’ to believe, that she’s alive. I promise this will be returned with Violeteye but not now. No matter what I will find her but for now my fight has died. When the land isn’t so hostile I will go and find her, I won’t break a promise if it takes me the rest of my life. It’s the only other thing keeping me out of the ground besides you lot.”
    Briggs frowned and shook his head “Should have been obvious… I’ll tell him the news, he’s in the garrison back at the mountain. I’ll look for her once this is done chap, maybe spare you the pain of looking.”
    Belarus growled lightly “No, don’t risk yourself for a task that is mine. I appreciate that you want to help but I can’t let you put yourself in danger for my oath.”
    Briggs clenched his jaw in offense “Stone headed you are bogglewholloper…. Hmph, alright I can accept your oath but don’t think that’s going to stop me if I’m patrolling this area!”
    Belarus slumped his shoulders and put the ring back in his pocket “I’m glad you are a beast that I can still talk to and get feedback from.”
    Briggs gave a light sigh “Yes well I don’t plan on going anywhere so I’ll see you when you bring that bally trinket back for Telos.”
    Belarus grinned slightly then chuckled “You better be or I’ll drag you back even if I have to fight Vulpuz!”
    Briggs raised an eyebrow towards the white fox “Hah she’ll want to get rid of me so bad she’ll probably boot me back through the gates before that happens!”
    Belarus broke into a painful laugh “Hah, don’t get to be too much like me now! Ouch… Haha!”
    Nyphira poked her head through the flaps of the tent and looked at the two of them “The shrews are happy to take you to the abbey Belarus but Grayleg was wondering if you wanted to stay for the ceremony.”
    Belarus’s eyes turned to the ferret maid blankly as he put his claws on his sides “What kind of warrior would I be to dart off from the ceremony honoring some of the best beasts I’ve ever known?”
    Briggs put a paw on Belarus’s shoulder and looked at Nyphira “I guess that answers your question. Come on chap I’ll give you a paw.”
    Belarus took hold of Briggs’s arm “Thanks… Lead the way madam.”
    The three of them left the tent and steadily drifted towards the fire at the center of the Long Patrol camp where the other beasts were gathering.


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