Backstory: Belarus (Binding Ring)

  • “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.

  • (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.

  • Two misty orbs watched among many as Lord Seastripe of Salamandastron stood near the fire and in front of the two stretchers holding Tumblesnout and Whistlepaw. The badger lord threw a satchel into the fire causing a bright burst of green flame to erupt “The past days have been sad ones for the Long Patrol. We have lost many of our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and loved ones. Many have already returned home to be put to rest with their predecessors and today these two shall be sent to join them. Tumblesnout and Whistlepaw were two of the bravest warriors amongst us eager to travel ahead and take the fight to the enemy. They were attacked with cowardice by an enemy far more numerous than them and yet the stood and they fought do the death like true heroes and noble beasts. May the ancestors welcome them with open arms for they have made the ultimate sacrifice to see to it that Mossflower remains free from the vermin who wish to plunder this prosperous land. Fallen warriors of the Long Patrol it has been a privilege and honor to serve with you, we salute you!”
    The roar could be heard across the land as the camp seemed to shake with the cry of Seastripe and the Long Patrol broke the air “EULALIA!!!”
    Everyone bowed their heads in silence as four specially chosen hares took the stretchers and began taking their fallen comrades towards Salamandastron home to all the Long Patrol past and present.

  • Belarus raised his head as other beasts began to converse with each other though a handful darted off after the four carriers to provide escort. The fox looked downwards a bit as three shrews came walking up to him, Nyphira, and Briggs. The lead shrew gave a friendly nod to them and then put the majority of his attention on Belarus “Your friend Nyphira told us of your request, we would be glad to take you to Redwall. Your equipment has already been loaded on one of our log boats but I am curious as to one thing… Why do you wish to leave now when these weakened vermin still need to be pushed back?”
    Belarus frowned slightly and knelt down “I’ve lost my cause here and my spirit I hope that perhaps one day I may be able to regain it within the walls and comfort from which I came.”
    The shrew gave a small nod “I understand, it is not always easy losing beasts you know. Me and a few of my companions will take you there now and make a brief visit to make sure the abbey is safe before we return to help with this disease that has plagued Mossflower.”
    Briggs gave a full bow to the shrews “Thank you chaps. With any luck we’ll have these blighters mopped up before you turn around and we can join you.”
    The cloaked figure that had accompanied the shrews was strolling over as he responded to Briggs’s statement “Ohh those barbarians will be dealt with, swiftly and surely. The Northwind Patrol’s going to come down fast and hard, with any luck this’ll be done in two days.”
    He looked at Belarus and folded his paws into the sleeves of the opposing arms “My precursors knew your ancestors. Know that while you may feel as if you have failed you have proven yourself more worthy as a blood descendent than you know. Stay true to your cause and you will find your strength again. It is the nature of the warrior to be stubborn.”
    Belarus nodded to the beast and followed the shrews as they led him towards their log boats.

  • Mordin the mid aged shrew that had spoken to Grayleg back at the Long Patrol camp sat at the front of the log boat watching as the white beast slept in the middle of the boat. The GUOSIM shrew was surprised that such a beast could have survived such injuries as those that marked the fox’s body. He pulled out the pouch the cloaked beast had given him. At one point he had had two, one for himself and the other for the fox. He had opened his earlier revealing a steel handled sling with yew prongs and a soft bark cloth handle grip though he still wondered what was in the other pouch as it seemed too small to be any weapon for the fox beast. The curious shrew looked at his fellow row beasts and shrugged “Any idea of what the Northwind beast found so intriguing about him?”
    One of the rowers shook his head almost synchronous with the motions of his rowing “No, I thought I heard him mention about their ancestors knowing each other or something.”
    The white fox stirred slightly and slowly opened his eyes “Hmmm, what’s going on? Where am I? Ohhh wait I remember… I think… Mordin?”
    Mordin acknowledged the middle aged fox as it sat up “Yes that’s my name Belarus. Having problems remembering things?”
    Belarus put a claw to the top of his skull and looked at Mordin tiredly “Yes, annoying but I feel as if some things are best left forgotten… for now.”
    Mordin nodded slightly “Perhaps but not too much. You know where we’re heading? We’re almost there.”
    Belarus narrowed his eyes as he looked at the bottom of the boat “Bread… no, Red… Wall, Redwall, ah yes home. How far are we?”
    Mordin looked up at the mid-morning sun and took a guess as to how much time it would take them to cover the remaining distance “I figure we’ll be there by the end of lunch. Home?”
    Belarus clenched his jaw and groaned a little “Yes, home… I know that much but I can’t remember my time as a youngster. Perhaps being there will jog my memory.”
    Belarus felt his pocket and pulled out the ring, a brief image flashed through his mind and he almost jumped putting the ring back out of sight “Err, obviously that’s something not to rush… What’s that?”
    Belarus pointed to the pouch in Mordin’s paws with one claw and the shrew looked at what he held “Ahh yes, I was waiting until you woke up to give this to you, I wanted to be intrusive.”
    Mordin handed the pouch to his white furred guest and watched as the fox opened the pouch. Mordin’s eyes locked as stiff as the rest of his body when the fox’s eyes went wide eyed. Belarus slowly lifted his claw bringing the small granite statue up into the sunlight. He looked closely and tried to make out the writing on the base of the statue but gave up with his blurred eyesight “Hmph, what do you make of this chap?”
    Mordin took the statue and read it silently to himself before uttering it a little louder but still relatively quiet “The grace of the sapphire and ruby travels with those who carry the blood and legacy of Eva, Sentinel of the Northwind protectorate.”
    Belarus raised an eyebrow in confusion “Ehh, what does that mean?”
    Mordin shrugged silently leaving the air open for another shrew on the lead boat “The ford’s just ahead mates! Get ready to make for the bank!”

  • The place looked exactly like the flashbacks the fox had as he looked around the abbey grounds from the pond to the bell tower. His eyes darted over to the shrews as the gate keeper closed the gates behind them “It hasn’t changed since I can remember… At least what I’ve seen hasn’t.”
    Mordin smiled and elbowed the fox lightly “Good to hear it, I would be worried if you could forget what Redwall is like!”
    They followed one of the abbey’s mouse maids through the grounds and into the Great Hall where the tapestry of Martin covered the walls. The shrews got into conversation with some of the abbeybeasts as the white beast turned his attention towards the steps “Hmmm?”
    “Is everything alright, you look… focused.”
    Belarus turned his head towards the mouse maid upon hearing her words “Ehhh, I was raised here. I’m just trying to sift through the fog clouding my memories. Can I go upstairs, there’s something I need to look for?”
    The mouse maid took hold of his claw gently and spoke warmly “I don’t see any reason why you can’t. May I join you, perhaps I can help?”
    Belarus gave a small smile out the side of his mouth “Sure, it would be rude of me to refuse help from an abbeybeast just after getting back… plenty of new beasts around.”
    The mouse maid chuckled lightly as the fox began to head up the stairs with her following. The fox walked up into the library and stopped in the doorway for a moment as his ghostly eyes envisioned the room seasons ago when he was younger giving him insight into what he was looking for. He walked towards one of the darker corners of the room and looked at the banner hanging from a hook high up on the wall “Assuming it hasn’t been moved.”
    “It’s there.”
    Belarus looked back at the mouse maid with uncertainty “What, I’m sorry I didn’t catch what you said.”
    The mouse maid shrugged and shook her head in denial “Huh, I didn’t say anything? Did you hear something?”
    Belarus blinked at the mouse maid for a moment then turned back around “Maybe it was just the wind… Now let me see, it should be behind this banner if memory serves right.”
    He gently pushed the banner aside with his forearm and looked at the small corner shelf with dusty books that had gone unread for many seasons. The fox took hold on a stone tablet that separated the record books from the study books and looked at the inscription on it “They were buried at Saint Ninians cemetery… Feel like going for a walk perhaps?”

  • “The wind’s starting to pick up; we shouldn’t stay here much longer unless we want to get caught in a storm.”
    Belarus nodded to the mouse maid and took a look at the tablet which was a map etched into the stone “Hmmm, its grown a bit since this was made… I think, yes over there.”
    The white fox limped through the rows of grave stones new and ancient keeping track on how many he passed as he went. He stopped at two slightly worn stones and gazed at them “I guess he was right, I could never leave them after all.”
    Belarus put a claw on top of his father’s burial stone and closed his eyes as he bowed his head “You never left me, I’ll never let go of you, father.”

  • “Dad, where are we going?”
    A white fox in his younger adult seasons looked over at his kit as they walked north along the path with the fox’s wife / kit’s mother. He turned his eyes back to the path and waited a few steps before answering his son’s question “Long ago one of our ancestors came to this land seeking peace only to be followed by other white foxes who had less tranquil ideas. She stood by the beasts of this land despite doubts about her allegiance and helped them defeat the others. One of her descendants and one of our forebears lived with the beasts of old in the Northlands. I want to take you to this place as my mother did to me so that you may see what the Starlight name has to hold for itself.”
    The white kit gazed down the path with wide eyes “Will we see the beasts of old?”
    The older fox smiled as he replied “Yes, I believe we will. They are beasts of honor and courage, probably more courage. Considering the connection we have with their past I’m sure they’ll be glad to let us visit, like when my mother took me.”
    The older fox stopped causing the other two to stop a he looked over his shoulder at his wife “What is it Aria?”
    The white vixen’s head bolted left and right in alertness “Did you hear something?”
    Bellastaries frowned towards his wife “I hear birds, there’s no need to be paranoid in… Hmmm wait I don’t hear birds.”
    The white fox put a claw on his short sword and bent his knees slightly as his voice dropped “Keep quiet and listen.”
    “GET ‘EM!”
    Bellastaries stepped back as the group of vermin rushed from the trees next to the path leaving the leader, a stoat smirking “Hah, scared are you? I SAID GET ‘EM!”
    Aria spun on her heels and turned tail on the vermin “You aren’t killing me! Run!”
    The vixen sped down the path leaving the stoat gritting his teeth as the other fox looked over his shoulder at his wife leaving their son standing still as a board stunned by the sudden change in mood “Ach, I ‘ave no time ta chase cowards. Thistlenose shoot ‘er.”
    The weasel smirked as he drew back his bow string with notched arrow “My pleasure boss.”
    Bellastaries turned his head ack to the vermin and charged forward “NO!”
    A low whoosh cut through the air as the arrow sliced through the wind just missing the fox’s blade as it cut the bow in two disarming the weasel of his weapon.
    “Ahhh, umph!”
    Aria fell to the ground and tumbled along the ground snapping the arrow’s shaft from the base of her skull. The remaining three bandits jumped Bellastaries, the leader getting a scimitar swing on the right side of the fox’s torso. Bellastaries growled as he plowed through the other two spearmen and plunged his blade into the stoat “Be glad I finish the lot of you quickly and pray I don’t come after you through ‘ells gates fer this!”
    The two spearmen caught Bellastaries from different angles striking with fear reducing their aim. One punched through his ribs and into his left lung whilst the other hit his right shoulder shattering the bones. With a jerk of his good arm he snapped the left spear in half before spinning in a quarter circle bringing his blade straight into the face of the rat on his right. He coughed and snarled at once causing blood to spew from his mouth causing the single remaining weasel to quiver thinking the fox had bit his partner as he spun around to face him. Bellastaries rammed his entire body into the weasel with sword in front putting the blade straight through the center of his chest. Bellastaries jerked the crimson blade from the weasel and stood there taking coarse breathes as the lifeless corpse plummeted to the ground. He choked and joined the weasel on the ground tensing his claws in an uncontrollable spasm as his son finally snapped out of his fearful paralysis “FATHER!”
    Bellastaries eyes watered as he looked at his son he blurring eyesight “Belarus!”
    Belarus knelt down beside his father with watery eyes “Father get up, Holt Spearbrook isn’t that far away. They ca…”
    Bellastaries slid his short sword towards Belarus though it was more like a claymore for the kit “No they ca… Ugh, n’t… I’m sorry l… life is so… unmerciful… Argh, I love you, you know that… Agh ugh, if I could carry on I would. No matter what I’ll neve… umph, never leave you life o… or de… de… death.”
    Belarus gently hugged Bellastaries around his collar soaking his fur with tears “What can I do father!”
    “Car… ry on the name… an… an… and do what ya… you can ta… ta make sure no… no one else expe… experiences whut… ya… ‘ave.”
    Belarus’s eyes widened as Bellastaries ceased drawing breath drawing his mind into shock as the archer his father had disarmed picked up his boss’s sword. The kit’s eyes darted up as the weasel’s shadow covered him like the dreadful night “Time fer ya ta join yurr old dad!”
    “Not so you wicked weasel, time for you to join your fellow blighters!”
    The weasel looked in the direction he and his partners had come from as it was the origin of the voice drawing his attention away from the hare that came from the other side of the path and put his footpaw against the side of weasel’s skull with a surprising amount of force. The weasel tumbled in the direction he had been looking bringing him to crash against a tree. Another hare came from behind the trees and stood over the weasel “I say think he’s learn his lesson chap, wot, wot?”
    The original hare looked at the two dead foxes and live kit “Certainly not sah! Maybe these two’ll teach him some manners on the other side!”
    The second hare drew his saber “I say you’re bally right chap!”
    The weasel gave a scream that was suddenly interrupted by a saber getting a close up view of his thoughts. The first hare kneeled down and put his paws against the sides of Belarus’s arms “Are you alright chap?”

  • Bloodwrath had started to take ahold of the middle age Belarus as he dreamed only the mouse maid’s poke on his shoulder brought him back to the realm of the present. He opened his eyes as the orange faded to amber which strangely stood out more than it had since he last suffered blood wrath as if the ailment had given back a little of that which it had taken. The mouse maid looking him in the eyes with concern as well as awe to what she had witnessed “Are you alright, you’ve been standing still for good bit.”
    Belarus frowned for a moment then took in a deep breath and regained a bit of his determined posture “I’ll be fine, just delving into the past to remind me of my purpose.”
    He blinked as a rain drop splashed against his snout causing him to grin slightly “I think it’s time to head back to the abbey. Mind giving me a paw?”
    He took his claw off the burial stone allowing the mouse maid to take hold if it “I think you’re right. Sure I’ll give you a paw, let’s go.”
    The two half strolled half wobbled off back towards the abbey as the sun lowered itself onto the horizon closing in on the time of dusk.

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