The Grinding Wheels of Fate [Dusk, Vikenti, Cyber, Open to all]

_The Abbey of Redwall had been the bane of any self-respecting knave and brigand this side of the Mossflower woods for countless centuries; innumerable warlords with varying degrees of experience and vastly different origins have tried and failed to surmount  these red sandstone walls, and only manage to smash horde after horde of vicious raiders, cruel corsairs, even seasoned soldiers  were pulverized against the heavy oaken gates. These were fruitless efforts that ended in horrid deaths for the leaders in place of accolades, and the subsequent slaughter of any who participated in challenging the irrefutable primacy of this idyllic fortress-monastery.  But the question is why? Why go through all the trouble of taking the lengthy pilgrimage from your distant homeland to dominate an abbey of little merit? The treasures held in their rumored, depthless catacombs cannot possibly justify the expenditure of such invaluable resources as time and men. Is it perhaps to simply occupy the structure as a repurposed fortress, simultaneously enslaving the woodlanders who previously inhabited it? If that were so their efforts would be a complete waste; the hordebeasts would grow fat and lazy over the seasons, assuming that their ursurpation was a successful operation that is. Insurrection would be guaranteed, as history has shown in a graphic and thorough catalogue of the constant failures to gain total control of these strong-willed beasts.

Others still seek glory, an admirable pursuit that is rare a rare one in the thin-blooded badbeast ranks, but is there in some lucky populations. These aspirations rarely end favorably for anybody. I regect all of these routes to ruin. I seek to crush their spirits, not by simply taking the Abbey and laying claim to it as my own, nor solely by pillaging their treasures and enslaving their populous. Rather, I intend to exterminate those slovenly curs without a second thought, and then to collapse these walls around them once and for all.

History, as an intelligent man once divined, is doomed to repeat itself. Thus is the vermin creed. Never once has any of these warbeasts contemplated the means to the end, preferring to rehash the decrepit tactics that had our forbearers humiliated and left to rot in inhospitable woodland.  Whilst we stagnate, the woodland beasts evolve superior tactics to outmaneuver our clumsy and ill-planned advances. The die has been cast many a time before, and is always in their favor. Why? They have the advantage, and they cheat. Our ace in the hole will not be in numbers, odds, or statistics. It will be in cunning. Thus, I, Fallomous Aloysius Staggertail, with a band of fourscore seavermin crew whose aid I enlisted when death dealt a bad hand to their hapless captain, will unite the local warlords that meander aimlessly about the county for the purpose of razing this evil place._

With a satisfied nod the ferret shut his journal with a sharp crack of page meeting page in a cacophonic collision. He knew that some of these imbeciles watched with superstition as he scrawled his notes in the mysterious journal he always carried about his person, with the innate curiosity to discover what exactly filled the yellowing pages. Fallo would never reveal such secrets to these idiots that surrounded him, not because he valued them so much that he saw no purpose in regaling the dead with details of his personal biographic work. From the vessel he had scuttled at the river moss they trekked to the camp of the great wolverine warlord. Though Fallo had dispatched a runner to request an audience, word from this agent had yet to reach his ears.

Ulath was having a good time, which of course meant he was bellowing orders and shoving beasts out of his way. Ulath had gotten a good sized portion of his army to the southern lands and had left a few behind to watch the homeland. He had gone south till he found a large forest that the locals called “Mossflower”. He had chosen a large field near the forest and had his army set up camp. They were now gathering food, making war engines, and preparing weapons and themselves for war. On their way down to Mossflower they had already raised a few towns and villages, plundering them for everything of value, but ulath planned to conquer this forest first. He had heard it was a place of hope and happiness. He was going to take it and turn it into a place of death and doom. He had no idea what was special about, to him it was like any other forest, but anything that gave the enemy hope had to be destroyed. Ulath was now walking toward a tent, satisfied that his troops knew their jobs. The tent’s entrance was flanked by two wolverines in veteran armor. They each gave Ulath a crisp salute as he approached. Ulath stopped and did the same, showing far more respect for his own kind. He pulled back the leather cover and walked inside. The inside of the tent was bland, and unadorned except for a glass lamp hanging from a tent pole and a chair in the center. In the chair was a corsair, a rat to be specific, who was in horrible shape. Next to the rat was another wolverine, this one with several very cruel looking knifes attached to his belt. He gave the rat a soled punch and then stepped back. Ulath walked forward and looked down at the rat. He leaned in close and said “Who is your master? “
The rat lifted his head and looked at Ulath with one eye, the other having been swollen shut, and said in a horse whisper “ F- Fallomous.”
Ulath nodded and then began to walk around the rat. “And what does this, Fallomous, want? Does he want me dead, so as to take my army and conquer these lands himself? Does he want to go and lay siege to my homeland? Tell me!” Ulath was now shouting at the rat.
The rat spat blood to the side and said “N-no. All
All he wanted was to p-pro-propose an alliance with you.” The rat looked exhausted and on the verge of passing out. Ulath spun around saying “Bah, if he truly wanted an alliance, then he would have come here himself and said so.” The large wolverine tapped his chin, contemplating something, and then turned back to the rat. “If you master comes here in the next three days, I might accept this alliance. But if he does not, then I will destroy him and his men, starting with you.” He empathized the last part by jabbing the rat in the chest. Ulath walked to the tent entrance and the turned his head slightly, nodding to the interrogator, who put out the light and followed his leader out of the tent. The rat, glad to be left alone, fell into sweet unconsciousness.

The motley crew of seafaring blackguards closed the gap betwixt them and the lively camp scene ahead, the grey silken tendrils of a cooking fire rose high above the trees in billowing strands that curled and danced in perfect contrast with the light blue sky above.  The pungent scent of searing flesh rushed the rebel band with the ferocity of a wild badger in bloodwrath, inspiring fear and awakening a long dormant hunger within the starved vermin stomachs, simultaneously showcasing their mental weakness and utter stupidity. In their defence, however, it had been a good day since their last legitimate meal.

Aside from a quintessential corsair dish the addle-brained cook had the foresight to salvage from the irreparable carcass of their ship, which happened to be  a bucket of slop called skilly’n’duff, victuals that had begun the long process of purification nearly a quarter of a day before they ran the ship to soil. The viscous medley of fluids and shellfish had the consistency of glue when fresh, but in its current state it Formed a hardened layer of solidified fat atop its blackening surface, the epicenter of the horrific rot that even the flies steered clear from.

Every beast with half a brain, and a stomach that was not cast iron in make, avoided the caustic concoction like it was the plague.  After being forced to watch the nauseating, choleric death endured by one hapless stoat it was no wonder. Yet the cook was allowed to peddle his prized creation like it was the bloody Ark of the Covenant, filthy ladle in one grimy paw, rusty handle in another, the cross-eyed fox would harp and rave like a madbeast over the “quality’n’quanity” of his duff.

Fallo resisted the urge to slit his throat only for the passing amusement the beast provided, and also for the cruel utilization of that filth in a barrel as a remedy for mutiny in place of capital punishment. A bowl of that diseased, curdled garbage would cause debilitating craps with the off chance of death, completely eliminating the need for the physical exertion required to sully a sword. The scraggly fox waddled alongside his tall new captain, and though he seemed to be watching the winding path of their approach, his brown, bloodshot eyes were focused at the transition point on his muzzle where snout became nose. Though he could not smell much of anything in his age and from the chemical burns induced by his cooking, the reek of bubbling fat and sizzling juices dripping into the hearth of the roaring flame penetrated the thick barrier of mucus, and his eyes brightened instantly.

“Oye, cap’n,” He drawled in his cockney accent, revealing blacked teeth from beneath his slobber-encrusted jowls, “Doya smewl dat?”

Fallo nodded, the tantalizingly rustic aroma tickled his fancy quite nicely, “Aye, ‘tis food of the warlord Ulath the Wolverine warlord. Mayhaps we’ll get some of that within our hollow bellies, eh?” He said with a thin-lipped grin, his hazel eyes affixed upon the tents that slowly came into view from behind the solitary pillars of the amassed trees that served as a buffer between any who sought to attack the horde or flee. By now they would be spotted, Fallo deduced as he ran a paw across his brow, so he decided to hail them. With a gesture he cleared his throat, and called out in his airy voice, “Is this the camp of the great Warlord Ulath?! I requested an audience with him, in lieu of forming an alliance!”

Ulath was sitting on a large log next to a cooking fire. Ulath’s day had gotten better. A small band of vermin from his army had found the nest of a duck. Killing the duck and taking the eggs it had laid, six of them, they had brought it back. They had presented it to their warlord hoping to gain his favor. Ulath was happy with their offering; he had allowed them to have the eggs, as well as their normal rations. In truth, Ulath only gave them the eggs because he himself didn’t like them. Ulath had taken the duck and handed it over to Cook, his own personal chef. Cook was a fox who had been born with a deformity. This deformity wasn’t an obvious one, instead of causing a hump or strange flesh growth; it had simply disallowed his muscles to develop completely. Because of his weakened muscles he would always hunch forward and shuffle rather than walk. This was a very bad sign for him. In the northlands, the only way to get a good position was to impress the wolverine warlord, which often meant killing a bunch of beasts. This hadn’t been the case with Ulath. Ulath had been born with a taste for the finer things. He always wanted the softest furs, the sharpest weapons, the hardest armor, and the best food. While Cook was physically weak, he was an unparalleled chef in the northlands. He had presented one of his dishes to Ulath, hoping to become part of the royal cooking staff. He hadn’t gotten this tough. Instead he became Ulath’s personal chef. When Ulath had asked him his name, he panicked a little. He thought that Ulath might be angered by his complicated name, Deshawndria Jahmonayshia Thompson, and had simply said “Cook” taking the first thing that came to his mind. Cook was one of the only beasts who wasn’t a wolverine whom Ulath favored. Ulath favored him so much that he actually had an honor guard of four wolverine veterans protecting him day and night. The guards were right now about five yards away at their own cook fire. Cook himself was at Ulath’s fire roasting the duck on a spit. Ulath watched as he slowly turned the duck, adding spices here and there, making the duck give off a sweet, savory smell. Cook looked like he was about finishing, and Ulath was about to grab a drumstick, when a shout from the forest’s fringe caught his ear. “Is this the camp of the great Warlord Ulath?! I requested an audience with him, in lieu of forming an alliance!” Ulath growled and got up. He went over to his tent and from inside, got his plate boots and chest piece on along with his chainmail, grabbed his war hammer, and placed his helmet under his left arm. He walked out toward the disturbance in a very fowl mode (no pun intended). He didn’t like it when others interrupted his meals, especially a duck by Cook. He marched up to about thirty feet away from the tree line and bellowed in a voice filled with anger “Who dares interrupt the great lord Ulath in the middle of his meal!” 😠 behind him vermin were scrambling to get weapons and armor while his wolverine guards trotted up behind him.

The ferret corsair had been thoroughly prepared for a response bearing some hostility, although he had not predicted such a bestial roar to rent the cool air and assault his ears in such a violent barrage of sheer vocal force. So vicious and sudden was this outcry that Fallo himself saw fit cause to wince. The last time such a powerful voice had found a home in his cavernous ears had been many seasons ago, when a chance encounter with a young male badger had shown him to never socialize with beasts possessing such girth and raw savagery as these. It seemed this lesson had not carried him far, for here he found himself conversing with no adolescent rogue badger, but a fully realized warrior wolverine.

He took note of the growing tension in the air, the utter silence that gripped his crew. Not even the sound of them drawing breath could be heard. Fear subdued them, and apprehension bade them to silence as all eyes fell upon their captain. It was his time to perform; the enemy gathered arms and prepared for battle whilst they stood idly by. A fight would mean certain death, and Fallo realized that perhaps he came on too strong. Deferring to his instincts, he took a shuddering breath, hazel eyes staring ahead with mild fright. He suddenly wished that he could have a drink, a stiff drink to stifle the urge to flick his dratted earing.

Without further delay, as the silence became deafening and the situation’s stressed tension came to a startling climax, Fallo spoke once more, “ I am Fallomous Staggertail, swordsbeast renown, captain of the Gull Spleen,” his voice’s bravado belied his growing worry, he merely wished to defuse the warlord’s growing ire, “I wish to parlay, might we be invited into His Lordship’s camp?”  Lordship, a title he had learned was a flattering address for bloated up beasts like this one.

A crude horn sounded from the walls as the gates of Denithall were swung wide. Out from the Redclaw's fortress-city poured the Redclaw themselves. In their black uniforms they looked like a horde of ants emerging from their hole on the warpath. In the center of the mass stood a beast who stood head and shoulders above the rest. This was Zarek Redclaw, the namesake and commander of the witless horde that did his bidding. He made a barbaric sight in his light armor, with his large claws died a blood red.

As the army began their march due west, the gates were closed behind them by the beasts who had stayed at Denithall. "How far are they?" Zarek asked Valdis as he walked.

Valdis was the Captain of the Guards, the elite of the Redclaw horde. He marched now with a few score of them, surrounding Zarek and shielding him from potential harm. "Only about two miles sir" Valdis replied quickly, "we will be there in a half an hour's march."

"Good, we come first to parley," Zarek growled, "but tell everybeast to be ready for a fight." The Redclaw swarm marched on, closer and closer to the camp of Ulath.

Ulath looked slightly less angry and even a bit amused. “So, you are Fallomous? Yes we received a rat who said he was here to alert me of your coming. You wish to have an alliance with me do you?” Ulath said as his wolverine guard, at least thirty strong, formed up in a block formation behind him. The guards made a very impressive sight, as well as intimidating. Brandishing a large assortment of weapons, they stood in perfect order, and as still as statues. They all wore black tabards with a jade turtle on the front, the symbol of Ulath’s rule. “Well, we’ll discuss this further while I have lunch, and you can tell me what you would offer in return. But if you even flick your tail wrong, I will personally gut you and hang you carcass by your own intestines.” Ulath said as he turned and headed back into his war camp. “Guards!” He barked, “Surround Fallomous and his corsairs and show them the way to my camp fire!” The guards gave a salute, showing that they understood, and then marched until they had all of Fallo’s crew surrounded. Two guards with gold threaded into their tabards, indicating they were of very high rank, walked up to Fallo and stood on either side of him, weapons at the ready.
OOC: kind of short compared to the others, sorry.

The grandiose display of military might and reptile-inspired aesthetics was as sickening as it was fearsome; although these elite only comprised a small fraction of Ulath’s main force, Fallo had no doubt that these beasts were battle-hardened monstrosities, perhaps even conceived on the fields of slaughter from the steaming corpses of their fallen comrades. Their leader spoke in a manner that nearly caused the corsair to lose heart, with a great voice that shook the very branches of the trees. The bass sound resonated within the hollows of Fallo narrow, heaving chest.

But he would not be taken so lightly, and Fallo Staggertail wasn’t some half-baked imbecile to be swayed by a simple show of muscle. Although, he didn’t suppose these creatures were forged from flesh, fur or bone. Stuffing his mounting sense of dread back into the unfathomable depths of his irritably gurgling bowels, the corsair responded in a tone he assumed would be taken as gallant, but instead was a bit muffled and no more gallant than a fisherman is a prince. “Aye, I am he, and that rat is a useless coward who would be better to roast than serve on my crew!”  He shouted in an effort to deepen his voice, but instead only served to make his throat raw and hoarse.

He had never set eyes on a wolverine in his lifetime, but whispered retellings of their immense strength and unparalleled thirst for blood managed to reach even his filthy ears. Whenever such stories would be recounted within his vicinity at the saloons or ports he trawled, he would break out into guffawing laughter that sent a spray of dark lager broken by globules of partially masticated foodstuffs into the speaker’s face.  It killed how many? Only ten in one swipe of the claw? Really?! Never once did he take into account how very real a majority of these drunken wives tales proved to be, for when he first caught sight of the warriors arrayed before him and steadily breaking through the scant cover of the trees, it took all of his withering will to prevent his clenched jaw from slacking with unbridled awe.

The message was clear that this was not to be some socialites’ fine party, or even a warmonger’s wine soaked feast to commemorate another city added to the ledger; this was business, and the interloping wave beast’s presence would only be tolerated for as long as the wolverine was entertained. They encircled his numbers, whose fiery temperaments were cowed by these monolithic giants about them. Writhing in the regrettable circumstances this rash decision had, they counted themselves lucky after taking a look at Fallo’s burly escorts.  An involuntary shudder wracked the ferret’s narrow frame as he dared a glance up at his two barbaric chaperons.  He cracked a nervous grin. “Charming,” He muttered, shifting anxiously in his feet, his tail idle as he took his first steps in time with his guards. He was in the lion’s den now.

Ulath marched his way through his war camp. All the vermin in the camp were scrambling about, getting this axe or that piece of armor, many of them having heard the bellowing of their lord and thinking they needed to prepare. Even though there was no threat, they still got ready with military efficiency.  Ulath smiled as they passed by a group of vermin who were forming up while their officer yelled instructions. Even this chaos only helped to show off the force Ulath had brought to these lands. He turned his head just enough to see his guards and their guests. Fallo amused Ulath. Fallo attempted to sound strong, but that only fueled his mirth. To him, Fallo looked, and sounded, week. This did not make Ulath underestimate him though. He knew that there were many forms of strength. As they neared his lunch, He thought of one such example. Looking at cook, who had taken advantage of the extra time to begin a stew, he saw that, although physically weak, Cook was strong when it came to food. He even knew and admitted that he himself had some weaknesses. He may be the strongest in his horde, but he knew he wasn’t the smartest. That’s why he had advisers do the non-combat thinking part while he did the war planning and fighting part. He mulled this over as he sat down on the same stump as before. He made a mental not that Fallo should keep his two “guards” while in camp.
Cook came over caring the duck on a flat, wooden paddle which he set before his leader. “I hope you enjoy the duck I have prepared master. I have also taken the liberty to begin a stew.” He said a in a horse voice. He turned his eyes slightly toward the newcomers. “Who are they my lord?” he asked.
“Them?” Ulath rumbled, “They are… guests who have come to discuss an alliance.” He said while tearing off a duck leg and bringing it to his mouth. He chewed and swallowed obviously enjoying the meal very much. “You, as always, have outdone yourself Cook.” He then turned to an idle vermin nearby and pointed at him. “You, go get my advisors!” He said in his deep voice. “Tell them we have company.”  He then continued eating, content to let the corsairs drool at the tantalizing cent of the roast duck and excellent stew.
Cook moved over to Fallo. To Ulath, it might look as though he was studying, but Cook wasn’t just doing that. He shoveled up closer to Fallo and in a horse whisper said” You have come at a bad time. My lord will be angered that you have interrupted his meal. You will need to put him at ease. Play up the weak angle, and don’t take any food unless he offers it to you. And for the love of you and all you crew, do not insult him! Your head is not so securely attached here.” and with that he turned and went back to the stew. Cook might just be a chef, but he knew that a little extra strength behind the punch was always good.

The rapid response of the seemingly unassuming hordbeasts previously milling about was quite a shocking sight to be treated to; their mobilization and rearmament had been executed with the curt organization that only a true military body would utilize. To the untrained eyes of the ragged mob of piratical onlookers, it was an effective tactic.  Ulath chose to flaunt his strength as a commander by giving an example in just how well his men obeyed him. Disciplined troopers were difficult to come across and even harder to train, much to Fallo’s chagrin. As he sullenly slinked by the shouting officers, it struck him that it had taken this long for the corsair ferret to realize just exactly how ill-prepared and unkempt he and his own warriors were by comparison. Though no less fearsome than the warriors inhabiting this camp, fallo’s crew were a surly bunch of vile badbeasts that would be brimming with the urge to return to the waves that bore them here within a week’s time.

The scent of a well-prepared avian meal was as thick was a shaggy carpet of dusk mist, simultaneously clogging the nostrils and rousing previously dry salivary glands to action; streams of drool seemed to gush from betwixt the bloodied lips of some less willful corsairs, and even their captain was having a difficult time controlling the sudden, spurring jolt of hunger that raked at his hollow stomach.  A gloved paw leapt in an attempt to quell the apparitional cramps that bloomed from within his narrow belly. Perhaps a meal would help to ease the negotiations, Fallo thought through his incessant pain. It appeared as though his sense of smell was accurate, for before long a wiry fox bearing a roasted duck entered, upon a paddle large enough to be strung up to a ship and used as a rudder. The fox presented the cooked offering before his lord and master before questioning him regarding the corsairs’ presence.  Prudence silence was the order of the day, for one fell word or off remark would spell their doom, and never again would they glimpse the precious sea.

So lost in concentration was this nerve-wracked ferret that he had scantly noticed the fox’s approach, making it appear as though the beast had through the use of some magic teleported to his side. The creature’s words did not fall upon deaf ears, although Fallo’s hazel eyes grew wide at the hushed words uttered to him. He gave no physical acknowledgement, but he knew full well of the danger present.  Clearing his throat in a rather effeminate gesture, he cracked a nervous grin, and in a wavering voice asked, “May we be seated at His Lordship’s table?”

The thought of slaying the warlord as he dined crossed Fallo’s mind, however, judging from the wolverine’s characteristic size, his thin swords would do not but splinter on that tough hide. They were like slivers of tin, and would be just as effective at extinguishing this feral behemoth. For now, he would have to play nice.

Ulath took a bite of the turkey leg he was currently holding. He chewed on it for a while content on letting Fallo, and his crew, wait. He swallowed the meat and held his hand out to one of his guards. Understanding the gesture, the guard turned around and walked toward a small supplies cache nearby. He came back and handed his lord a drinking horn with stopper. Ulath uncorked it and took a long pull from the horn, letting out a sigh of content as he finished. He then sat in thought, although he was probably just stalling some more, he was letting Fallo know who was in command here. He then nodded to Fallo saying”You may seat yourself.” He gestured toward the ground, indicating that he and his crew sit. “My advisors will be here shortly. In fact, here comes one now.” He said, turning toward a tall lithe weasel coming their way. The weasel had a slightly bored look on his face, although he didn’t miss a single thing. He took in everything about Fallo and the corsairs in a single glance, his face remaining an impassive neutral the whole time. This was Rexxar. He was as cold as the ice flows of the north and just as dangerous. He had a calculating brain that worked fast, absorbing information in mere seconds. The only problem was that he was so formal that he could exasperate a mountain. He was a brown color with intricate black tattoos around his eyes and leading all the way to the back of his neck. He wore a large black robe with large, enveloping sleeves that hid his hands and probably a few daggers too. He walked up beside Ulath and bowed stiffly.
“My lord, I have received news that we are going to discuss a treaty today. I, as always, offer my knowledge for you.” He said in a dry voice. Ulath waved for him to sit, but Rexxar simply stepped a foot to the side and continued to stand, his hands folded in front of him, his hands hidden. Ulath grunted at Rexxar’s formalness and went back to his eating. He turned to his other side as he heard footsteps. On this side, a squat pine martin carrying a large amount of books and quills came bustling up. This was Mograin. Many of the vermin in camp jokingly called him migraine, for how he would talk your ear off over a boring topic. He was an accountant, often talking about the army’s food consumption or the cost of housing. This was the only dangerous thing about him. He too had tattoos staining his eyes and head. These indicated his rank as an advisor or high ranking steward of the king’s house. He had tan and white fur and wore the same robes as Rexxar. Although having the same clothes, rank, and tattoos as his counterpart, he was nothing like him. While Rexxar was stiff and formal, Mograin was talkative and as informal as they came. Many of the books he was carrying were likely ledgers and notes. He would probably write down every single word, cough, sneeze, or shift in posture.
“Ahh, hello my lord. I came as fast as I could. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting; ii was busy taking stock on the food supply. I discovered a two point two percent increase in”
“Enough, Migraine.” Ulath said, using Mograin’s nickname. Mograin snapped his jaws shut and set all of his books on the ground. He wasn’t about to anger his lord anymore. Ulath returned his attention back to Fallo and said “Well, my advisors are here. We may begin. What are you going to give me in this alliance?” Ulath said flatly.

The Redclaw were now drawing close to visual range of Ulath's camp. Zarek turned to his bodyguard captain, Valdis, and asked, "how are the newcomers keeping up?"

"Quite well, they are obviously trained warriors who have seen many marches," Valdis replied. The newcomers they both spoke of were about three score of beasts that had recently offered their assistance to the Redclaw. Their tunics were a darker, blood red, as opposed to the black the Redclaw wore. All of the newcomers had capes, which were a gold color instead of being scarlet like those of the Redclaw warriors who possessed them. Another obvious difference was their equipment. They carried better crafted weapons, and were all dressed in scale mail. Their unit, though small, was an imposing sight.

"Where did they say they were from again?" Zarek asked his captain.

"Someplace called Syrea," Valdis said after a bit of thought, "they say their king sent them. But I had the march in the middle in case of betrayal." Zarek was about to say something else, but before he could, a scout called from the front.

"Sir, the camp is in sight!" the scout announced, "shall I inform them of out presence?"

"Let their sentries challenge us first," Zarek said, "they probably heard you already."

Barak was an officer in Ulath’s army. He commanded a score of soldiers and they had sentry duty that day. Barak was a large, burly, rat. He stood about a head over the rest of his vermin and he had an evil looking scar on his right temple. He had a golden bar on his right shoulder, declaring his rank, but otherwise had a normal uniform. He wore a cloth shirt and pants, a set of leather armor over that and a set of chainmail over that. On top of all that he wore a grey tunic with a green turtle in the center, the symbol of Ulath’s army. He walked out in front of his vermin, using his spear as a walking stick. He watched the horizon with a bored look on his face. He had never been found of walking about and looking for things. He preferred to fight. He turned his gaze to look at the army. It was currently milling about, soldiers marching in unison, practicing with their swords and spears, and generally preparing for war. That was one advantage to being on sentry duty; he didn’t have to train like the other vermin. Barak turned his gaze back to the horizon, continuing his bored walk. He started leading his score of soldiers toward a small hill. The sun was nearing its zenith, and despite the cool breeze, it was still uncomfortably hot in his many layers of armor. He almost missed his old live back in the high north. At least there he never had to worry about cooking in his own skin. When he reached the top of the hill, he stopped and waited for the rest of his vermin to get up there. When they did, he took his sword out and struck the flat of the blade against the haft of his spear.
“Alright, take a rest you filth, but be ready to move on my signal!” He shouted. The vermin all fell to the ground gratefully. They began to pull out water skins and started to quench their thirst. One scrawny ferret stayed on his feet. He weaved between the bodies on the ground until he was standing next to Barak. “You see anything out their?” Barak asked the ferret. The ferret shielded his eyes and looked out across the land.
“Not a thing sir.” He said. This ferret was the true sentry. He had once been the lookout on a corsair’s ship, and had been spotting things since his first voyage. Barak had learned that this single vermin could spot a kernel of corn in tall grass from a mile away, and he made sure to use the ferret’s skill. Barak nodded at the ferret and sat down himself. The vermin had finished with the water and were now talking, eating food, or doing small, mundane tasks. Barak himself took a pull from his own water skin, and then pulled out his sword and a whet stone. He began to sharpen his sword, causing several vermin near him to scoot away. Barak smiled a cruel smile at their reaction. He had gained some infamy for being a harsh beast, one of the reasons why he was an officer. He continued sharpening his blade until it was a sharp as possible. He tested the edge by swinging it and decapitating several dandelions that stood on the hill. He laughed as the vermin around him scooted even further away. He stood back up and walked over to the ferret, who had kept watched for them.
“Anything?” Barak asked him.
The ferret squinted at something and then pointed. “I think there’s a big ol’ gatherin of beasts over there.” Barak followed the extended finger and looked out at the spot indicated.
“I think you may be right. All right you lot!” He yelled, turning to the score of vermin,” Up on your feet, come on, move it! We got something over there, and we need to check it out!” The vermin began to slowly stand, grumbling. Barak had been given some of the more troublesome soldiers. That was why he was an officer, because the second he pulled his sword across his whet stone, the soldiers immediately formed ranks. He smiled at them and then turned and started toward the distant beasts. After a few minutes of marching, the beasts on the hill became far more distinct. He could see that the beasts on the hill were well armed. He paid little attention to the vermin in the red tunics, focusing on the large wildcat standing at the center of the soldiers. He was obviously muscular, and he was covered with yellow brown fur. He watched them approach with disturbing, green eyes. Barak could tell that this wildcat was in command here. He turned slightly and said “Form up, hedgehog formation.” He said it just loud enough for his vermin to hear him. They quickly moved into position, pulling full body shields off their backs and placing them in front of themselves. They soon had wall of spears and shields facing in every direction. Barak stood outside the wall of shields, trying to swallow his fear as he noticed the large army that stood behind the wildcat. He gulped then turned his attention back to the wildcat himself.
He stood up straight and forced down his fear, then said in a clear voice “Who dares to approach the war camp of the Great Ulath the Ice Blood?” Once he had finished saying this, he whispered out the side of his mouth, “At the first sign of trouble, double time it back to camp and tell Ulath about this.”
OOC: hope this is a good post.

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