It was four years since the Vermin had declared war and the world was in poor shape. On the Salamandastron front the shore defenses keeping the Vermin ship Bismark at bay were running low on ammunition and food, with no resupply in sight for three more months. On the other side of the continent hardy beasts from the North, led by the legendary shadow soldiers of Noonvale, were defending their mountainous homeland with tooth and claw, but were slowly being worn down. In Southsward air raids were pummeling the country, while anti air cannon fire lit the skies every night. It was Mossflower that was suffering the worst though. Ever since the capital, Redwall, had been taken by the Vermin soldier had been losing their will to fight left and right.
All was not lost though. If Redwall could be retaken it would strike a fatal blow to the morale of the Vermin, who had never lost a captured city, and rejuvenate the spirits of fighting beasts all over the world. This pivotal point in the war depended solely on the strength, intelligence, and fortitude of a small band of soldiers trapped deep behind enemy lines, mere miles from Redwall. The battle that would decide the fate of the world was about to begin.
God help us all.
An explosion rocked the ground, knocking ash gray snow off the bare branches of trees. The bomber that had dropped the explosive passed overhead without any further attacks. The Vermin knew there were still soldiers in the dense, snowy forest, but they didn’t know where, and with their own troops on the ground they couldn’t just slag the entire place into mud and cinders, though the idea did tempt them.
As the roar of the bomber grew distant a small hatch in the ground, disguised as a flat piece of rock, was unlocked and tilted up a few centimeters. A mouse’s nose poked out of the thin crack between the lip of the hatch and the forest floor. The nose twitched, sniffing the air to see if there were any Vermin troops about, then the hatch was shoved open so it was perpendicular to the ground. A mouse in bulky green fatigues popped out, standing so his legs were still underground. He wore a pair of glasses with small, circular lenses perched on his nose and a perfectly round green helmet. On the helmet was emblazoned a red cross inside a white circle.
The mouse immediately turned toward the horizon and caught a glimpse of the bomber disappearing out of sight. He quickly searched the rest of the sky for other enemy planes, and God willing a supply drop, but there was nothing but gray in every direction, except where there were small streaks of scorched black and mud brown. His inspection of the area complete in only a few seconds, the mouse dropped back into the tunnel, letting the hatch slam shut again. He deadbolted it from inside then turned and made his way through the tunnel, using touch rather than sight. Torches produced smoke and therefore would give away the tunnel’s existence, and electric lights were too valuable to waste down here.
The mouse followed the tunnel until he felt rough wood under his fingers. He knocked three times on the door, paused, then knocked twice more before pounding on the door like a madman. The door quickly opened to reveal the interior of the lowest level of Brockhall. Grinning at the beasts within he walked through the door, “You know, I really like our secret knock.” He walked over to a table and sat on a stool beside it, facing the others. His face grew serious again, “The plane’s passed. They still don’t know we’re here. Don’t know how long that’ll last though. Have we gotten any word from command yet?”