Never had Sandrose known a more peaceful day. There was not a cloud in the sky, while stray sunbeams rained down from the canopy above in golden shafts of light. The air was still, the birds were singing, and the great river babbled as it coursed its way across the forest floor. Lurking in a bed of reeds that grew where the water slowed around a bend, the sea otter watched the world around her, taking in the beauty with half lidded eyes and a relaxed mind. It was the first time she had been able to truly rest since her ship had sank off the coast of Salamandastron.
Her lungs still burned from the smoke that had filled the galley; her paws still ached from pulling free her shackles when the deck had collapsed on top of them. She had thrown herself from the wreckage and drifted, a broken plank as her only means of support. It had been days before she had spotted the coast and then the river, where she swam upstream as fast as she was able, the fear of capture from another ship driving her far inland.
Now, she was beginning to regret her choice. Life was hard in the galleys, but it was harder in the wild, where predators watched and stalked her and death had no rules. Food was not given to her, she had to find it, and as a beast who knew nothing beyond how to row a ship, Sandrose was distrustful of even the most innocent of berries. At least as an otter her ability to swim was natural, but she did not know how to hunt and more often than not she would pass her nights hungry and wishing her luck would change on the morrow.
Despite it all, laying in the reeds and watching the forest bloom around her, Sandrose had to admit when the world thus far had been the size of a porthole, she had never seen a more beautiful sight.
She closed her eyes, letting exhaustion overtake her when a sudden searing pain exploded in her left calf. Sandrose barely had enough time to open her eyes wide in shock when she was submerged, the pain in her leg dragging her to the bottom of the river bed. She yanked as hard as she could, desperately trying to swim upwards but the pull was too strong, the pain too great. Something had grabbed her, something big, and through the cloud of blood billowing around her she saw the outline of a huge spotted fish. It continued to pull her to the bottom, twisting its body, ripping her flesh. It was all she could do not to lose her breath—her leg felt like it was going to fall off. In desperation, she slammed her free foot paw in the face of the monster, once, twice, thrice, until she felt its jaws slacken. Then she swam as fast as she could towards the surface.
The sounds of the forest exploded around her, but that did not concern her. She needed to get to safety. Twisting her body, she searched for the bed of reeds. Through the reeds she could pull herself up the bank. Spotting the bed to her right, she swam towards them, her sanctuary, but she had only gone a few strokes before her right arm was nearly ripped from its socket. The only thing Sandrose could do before she was pulled once more beneath the depths was let loose a scream of terror.
Frost last edited by
"Did y'hear somethin'?"
Shoreloam rose from his crouched position, dropping the freshly-gutted bluegill carcass by his footpaws. He slapped his paws clear of the fleshly fragments and paused, ear turned towards the distant forest.
"Not a thing," Streamear said from his tree stump, grabbing another fish to clean.
Shoreloam frowned at the other male otter. "Y'know, for an otter with 'ear' for a name, you don't hear very good!"
"Bah!" Streamear waved Shoreloam off. "It's a beautiful summer day, lad…let's clean these fish an' then go for a swim. Aye?"
"Aye," Shoreloam said, returning to his own perch on a fallen log. "I could've sworn I heard a--"
The second scream came louder and closer, and Shoreloam tore through the grass with Streamear tagging closely behind. "I heard that one!" Streamear hollered between huffs.
"Ah, shaddap!" Shoreloam cried, leaping into the air and diving into the cold river water.
It was far too beautiful a day for Kenji to stay inside the abbey. Despite his terrible sense of direction, he couldn't help but wander through the peaceful spring woodlands. He would stand among the trees, staring upwards at the canopy of leaves that glowed in the morning sun. Holding out his arms, Kenji let the green tinted rays dance on his fur. The sound of the nearby River Moss blended with the songs of the birds. In the peaceful moments, the ferret's mind drifted back… back in time to Syrea. Syrea, the ancient land with its deep and proud history, the land of ever evolving martial arts, passed from generation to generation.
Kenji's mind drifted back to his training for the grand imperial army. Though knowledge of weapons was of course important, it just necessary that a Syrean soldier knew how to use his unarmed body a dangerous tool. Kenji slid into a first form position, hardly realizing what he was doing as he went through the patterns that had been hammered into his head. He went about the small clearing, punching, kicking, blocking, and chopping at the air with his paws. In his mind, he was not standing in the woods, but in the training room of the barracks in the Eternal City.
However, Kenji was soon broken from his trance-like state by a piercing, female scream. "Hellfires," the ferret growled, rushing towards the river from where the sound had come, "I hope I'm not too late." He inwardly cursed himself further for being as unperceptive as he had. As the river came into sight, Kenji saw the water foaming tinged with blood near the bank, a clear sign of a desperate underwater struggle. Kenji torn off his long sleeved shirt without slowing down a bit. He saw the rolling body of a huge spotted fish slide along the surface, and vaguely saw the outline of a creature in's its grasp.
Kenji was new to swimming at water, but he wouldn't let this stand in his way. Without stopping his headlong run, he scooped a large rock in his path, his strength boosted by desperation. Reaching the bank he flung the large projectile at what part of the fish he could still see, causing it to release Sandrose and turn towards its attacker. It's ugly, toothy face emerged from the water for a second as it looked for Kenji. Without stopping to think, Kenji flung himself in a flying leap, land practically on the fish's face. Digging his fore and rear claws into its slimy skin, Kenji managed to hang on as the massive creature writhed and tried to shake him free. It was only then that the ferret realized he had no weapons on him whatsoever. Thinking quickly, he felt along the fish's spine until he located the base of its skull. He then drove his fist into that place with a terrible force. It obviously had an effect, for the fish writhed and struggled more than ever, flinging Kenji into the water. Kenji hoped he had stunned the fish long enough to save Sandrose. He quickly located her and through his arm around her, swimming with her to shore.
Riki, Tiki and Tavi the otter brothers were walking along the path from redwall. They had been at redwall for about three weeks and were now heading back out for more adventure! "Where do ya think we should go first?" Asked Riki
"Lets go back to the river moss and see if the otters that have our boat are still there." Said tiki
"Yeah lets do that, then we can go back out to sea, and have fun killing sea rats." Said Tavi
They followed the path for sometime and then left it since it only went to the ford and they needed to be down stream a ways
Ten Minutes Later
"Are we almost there yet?" Asked Riki
"I think so." Said Tiki
'Yeah we are here." said Tavi. As they reached the river bank. "hmm… No sign of them here. lets try up stream"
Five Minutes Later
"Still not here. I wonder if they already left. They said they were going to be here a while" Said Tavi
"Well we have been away for three or more weeks ya know." Said Riki
"Well that's not a very long time, at least not for us." Said Tiki with a grin. "I suppose your right." said Tavi
"Yeah cause I'm always right!"Said Tiki "Shudup, did you hear that?" Asked Riki "Yes" Said Tavi and Tiki. "What was it?" Asked Riki
"Well only one way to find out" Said Tavi and started running up stream. He pulled out his bow as he ran and fitted an arrow to the string. Riki did the same, while Tiki Pulled out a big two handed sword. They came upon a fish, an otter and a Ferret. They were all in the water, The fish looked like it had been stunned, but it was coming around and the ferret was helping the otter get to land. Tiki did a running jump into the water with his sword ready for a chop. He just touched water, brought his sword down and sliced the fish in half.
"Nice!" Said Riki. He looked down stream, he just saw three more coming. "Here come more." He said and shot at one of them but it kept coming. "Tiki protect Them" He said to Tiki as shot it again but it still kept coming he looked over at Tavi, he pulled back his bow string took aim and fired, it hit one of them in the head and it died. Tiki sliced another one that came at him. and Riki finally killed his, it had three arrows in it. Tiki helped the Ferret get the other otter up onto dry land and looked around for more fish but didn't see any.
Tavi and Riki swam over to where they all were. "Everyone ok?" He asked.
((Auto done with permission by Frost!
*edit- Forgot to mention her shackles!!))
The water churned amidst the battle between fish and otter, and it was clear who had the upper fin. Sandrose thrashed beneath the surface, doing all she could to rip her arm from the pike's grasp and set herself free. It didn't matter to her if she lost the limb so long as she was alive at the end of it all. Still, the pain was incredible.
Through her fading consciousness she recognized another beast had joined the fray, a furred creature who seemed to ignore her as he clawed and bit at the pike. The fish dragged her through the water, trying to get away from this new threat. She could do naught but follow. As she looked back, she could see who it was that had come to her rescue: Another otter like herself, a male who looked strong and healthy. He seemed to hover in the water before giving chase, but he had let his guard down too long. Behind him came two more fishes, the same size and colorization of the one grappling Sandrose. Forgetting herself, she screamed, the sound dispersing in bubbles she could not claim back. She reached out her paw; he reached out his. They clasped for a instant that seemed to last an eternity before he was torn from her. The last she saw was the look of shock as the fishes pulled him away.
Then Sandrose blacked out.
When the sea otter woke up, she was on solid ground, yet still unable to breathe. Without thought she rolled to the side, ignoring the pain as she retched on the patch of moss that she found herself on. Water spilled from her mouth in a hacking fit, and by the time she was done she was certain she must have emptied the entire river. She tried to push herself up, her paws heavy with the broken shackles The Pike's Sword had gifted her, but her arm would not cooperate. It buckled beneath her like a new slave under the whip, so instead she rested, laying her face on the moss as she tried to take stock of her situation.
She was still alive, if the familiar sensation of pain was any indication, but how had she gotten out of the water? Had the otter saved her? Her eyes roved the glade, searching, but the first beast she saw was a ferret. Sandrose jerked up in shock, wincing as shockwaves of pain tore though her arm and leg.
A ferret! She was saved by a ferret! Of all the creatures in the forest, she owed her life to a vermin! Her heart sank, whiskers drooping as she wallowed in her bad luck. She wondered if it would have been better if the pike had just killed her.
What had happened to her otter? Where had he gone? Her eyes went to the river, where the water was still rippling red with blood. He must not have survived the attack, or this ferret had taken his life to steal hers.
She turned back towards the ferret, noticing for the first time the others in the glade. Three otters, none of them hers, but nor were they acting hostile. Could it be that they were all in league, or were they slaves as well?
No matter the case, it was clear to Sandrose that the ferret was the leader of the group. Without any more hesitation—and mortified she had stalled so long—she pressed her face to the ground, accepting her new life of servitude.
As soon as he had reached dry ground, Kenji gently let Sandrose down onto the bank, far enough away from the water to be safe from the hungry pike. Seeing that her eyes were closed and she has lost much blood, the ferret was worried for a moment that she had died. But, by placing his fingers on her throat he managed to feel her pulse and confirm that she had not yet passed on. Kenji ran a paw across her face, surprisingly gentle for a beast as muscular as the ferret. "She would be a pretty little thing if she wasn't in this state," he thought to himself, "she's been though a lot."
Kenji knew that Sandrose has must have swallowed a lot of water during her struggle, and she would need help breathing again. The method the ferret had been taught to use was mouth to mouth resuscitation, but he felt a little embarrassed using it to help the maid. But, her life was at stake, so Kenji knew he would need to put his bashfulness aside. Bending down, he softly placed his lips to the young otter's, breathing for her in an attempt to bring her back to consciousnesses. Kenji still could not help but blush a little, even with the urgency of the situation. After several breaths, he noticed that Sandrose had begun to breath on her own, if a bit difficulty. Now Kenji's greatest concern was her bloody wounds.
Kenji got to his feet, giving a small nod of thanks to the three otters who had helped him and Sandrose. He would have said more, but he knew he needed to stop the wounded otter's blood loss. Searching in the brush, the burly ferret found his torn shirt. It wasn't a very thick material, but it would serve well enough as a bandage until better could be procured. He returned to where Sandrose was laying, glad to see her having awakened.
But, the ferret was quite surprised when Sandrose knelt before him. Kenji had no idea why she would do so, even though he had rescued her. He was too naive to see that her action was one of fear, not thanks. "Excuse me miss, but you don't need to go bowen' to me or nothing," Kenji said, a bit bashfully, "I don't expect thanks, I just did what any beast would do. Now, if don't mind, I'll just bind up your wounds." He knelt down next to Sandrose, tearing his already ragged shirt into two almost equal pieces. "I only 'ave limited medical skill, and your 'urt pretty bad," Kenji explained, "so we'll need to take you to the Abbey, miss."
Riki,Tiki and Tavi stood by they still had their weapons out and Tavi was watching the water but no more fish came. Much to Tavi's disappointment.
I only 'ave limited medical skill, and your 'urt pretty bad," Kenji explained, "so we'll need to take you to the Abbey, miss."
"We can help, but we don't know that much about medical stuff, we are more skilled in hunting and killing searats and slave traders and…"
Riki would have kept going on if Tiki hadn't elbowed him in the stomach. " Like he was saying we will help if we can. Tavi, come here, Riki we need your bow." said Tiki and he unstrung two of their longbows and wrapped the stings around both of them, leaving about a two foot gap, between the bows. He looked in their pack too and brought out some strong cord and wrapped it around. Then he put his cloak down over the strings and cord and thus you have a rough stretcher. (if you get the idea :P)
"We can carry you back to Redwall, if you want, but we can't stay there to long, to many slaves that need saving and vermin that need killing." Said Tiki. "Well first we need to find our ship," said Riki. "Its gone" said Tavi, "I went and checked the place that they were living at but I didn't see anything accept lots of blood and..." He broke off, he didn't really like what he had seen." anyway the boat is gone, so we'll have to find another way to get out there." He said "Well first things first, we are ready when you two are."
((I totally gave someone a chance for mouth to mouth resuscitation, and no one took it!! XD ))
Sandrose kept her head pressed to the mossy ground, not quite comprehending. The ferret seemed surprised at her show of deference, but then, wasn't that expected of her? She hesitated, fretting, wondering if she might have displeased him before she reasoned if that were the case, she would have known about it. Slowly, she lifted her head, keeping her face to the ground, but watching out of the corner of her eye as he sat next to her and took her arm in his paws.
The pain that shot through her arm was unbearable, but she grit her teeth and bore it. To show weakness now while he was inspecting her over would be like throwing herself overboard in the middle of a storm. He'd discard her because he'd find her useless, and she had to show she still had some worth.
She watched as he bound her arm in rags, grimacing at the pain and feeling sick at the state of her injury. Her fur had been torn, flesh parted, and blood flowed from the wounds like little springs. He tied the rag tight—Sandrose nearly passed out—and already blood was beginning to seep through the cloth. Then he moved on to her leg.
By the time he was done Sandrose was feeling rather lightheaded. They beckoned her on to the stretcher, but she refused, giving a brusque shake of her head. She had to show she was still useful, that she could still take care of herself. Testing the weight on her bad leg, she lifted herself up, wobbling as she stood. The world swam around her; she had to take a moment to wait for her head and the rest of the world to stop spinning. Then she took a step forward and crumpled.
Kenji stood back, having finished binding Sandrose's wounds. He watched as Riki, Tiki and Tavi assembled their makeshift stretcher, something he has seen done on the battlefield many times before. "That's a pretty good stretcher there lads," he commented, "with the materials you 'ave, of course." Kenji offered his paw to Sandrose, ready to help her up and onto the otter siblings' device.
The ferret was quite alarmed when Sandrose refused and tried to stand on her own. "Miss, your leg is hardly ready to support you!" Kenji exclaimed, "please, let me help you!" He was impressed by the fact she was even able to stand at all, but he was not at all surprised that she soon collapsed. Ready, he put out his arms to catch her before she fell to the ground. "Now miss, let the others help you to the stretcher," he said, indicating the otter triplets, "we'll get you to Redwall an' they'll patch you up."
It struck Kenji as odd that Sandrose had not yet spoken. He began to wonder whether or not they spoke the same language. Perhaps she was a foreigner, having washed up from the wreck of a pirate ship. She was most certifiably a slave or a prisoner, as her shackles showed. Kenji wished he could remove them and ease the poor girl's burdens, but he had not the tools to do so.
OOC: I know it is short. I just don't know what else to say right now. lol :P
"That's a pretty good stretcher there lads, with the materials you 'ave, of course."
"Thanks, But its not as good as our other brother could do." Said Tavi "I'm going to go scout around, and make sure no vermin are sneaking up on us." Said Tiki "Well don't take to long, Tiki." Said Riki "I won't"
Tiki picked up his sword and headed off. It was rather nice in the forest. Tiki didn't see anyone until he went farther down stream where he saw another otter. He was just off in the forest walking in land. Tiki paused and thought for a second before he went after the other otter.
When he came to where the otter had been he wasn't there. Tiki looked around, but he wasn't in sight. "Did you need something?" Said a voice from behind Tiki. Tiki jumped and turned around. There was the otter standing right there. "Whats your name?" Asked Tiki
"I'm Rein Waketail, whats yours." Said the otter "Really?" Asked Tiki. "Cause I'm Tiki Waketail." replied Tiki. "Good I've been looking for you, where are the others?" Said Rein "There back up stream a bit with another otter. I'll take you to them." Said Tiki and he led Rein back up stream to where the others were. "Hey Tavi, This is Rein." Said Tiki as soon as they came in sight. "No way" Said Tavi.
"What happened to you?" Tavi asked Rein "Me and Rose were taken prisoner. I'll tell you the rest later." Said Rein as he stooped down beside the other otter who was on the ground. "Whats your name?" He asked. "Tavi, you and Riki and Tiki keep a look out, I saw some vermin on the other side of the river. They won't attack if they're smart, but vermin aren't very smart. So keep a look out." Said Rein. "Okay well our bows are being used." Said Tavi looking down at the stretcher. "Well I don't think you'll need your stretcher. Said Rein "Why's that?" Asked Tavi "Cause I'm here, so if She needs to go anywhere I can carry her, if thats fine with you." He said looking at the other otter. "And you'll need your weapons if they do come attack." Rein said to Riki and Tavi.
(I gtg my bro wants the computer)
Sandrose fell into the ferret's arms, the pain and humiliation stealing her breath away, leaving her stricken and unable to function. She couldn't walk. How could she show her worth if she couldn't even walk? Fear seized her heart, tightening its grip until she was sure it would burst. He was going to kill her, toss her aside for the birds to pick at her haggard remains. The sea otter couldn't survive on her own, not in her current state. She needed him, but there was no way to show that he needed her.
Mustering everything she had inside of her, she pushed herself away and tried again to stand, barely managing so long as she remembered not to put any weight on her bad leg. She'd hobble anywhere he'd order her, so long as it meant she could keep her life just a little longer. If she showed him her drive, her strength of will, perhaps he would keep her alive. It was all she could offer him.
But the ferret surprised her, speaking of a place called Redwall that he claimed could heal her. Had she convince him she was worth keeping alive? Redwall. The name was unfamiliar to her. Was it his ship? A fort? Sandrose wondered if it was too much to hope for the latter. The life of a galley slave was dull and boring, while manual labor in a fort or camp at least opened the door for a change in monotony. Maybe they'd even let her sleep outside if she could show how hardworking she could be, but how she could do that with a lame leg and a lame arm was beyond her and once again she began fretting on how she would end up living past the night.
All her attention was focused on keeping herself upright, but when the fourth otter appeared, Sandrose could not help but begin to pay attention to the others around her. She was amazed at the amount of power this ferret had, who managed to control not three, but four slaves at once. She was sure now that's what the other otters were, they who failed to show even the slightest bit of hostility towards the ferret. It had caught her off guard, initially, the way they had mentioned freeing slaves and hunting vermin, but Sandrose decided that must have been the ferret's order of business. Remove the competition; slay the slavers and take their slaves unto him. The otters must have believed themselves free. Sandrose had seen it before—those that had cracked so hard under the lash that a life without a master wasn't a life at all.
The new slave, Rein, she heard his name was, confirmed her theory. Taken prisoner, and now he seemed content to live under this ferret's whip. She froze when he spoke to her, averting her gaze and fixing it to the ground. What was he doing speaking to her, in front of their master, no less? Was he asking for a beating? Trying to get her into trouble? She shifted ever so slightly, trying to catch the ferret in her peripheral vision. He moved, and Sandrose flinched, expecting the crack of a whip or switch, but nothing came.
Keeping her face to the ground, she flicked her eyes towards her master, checking for signs of approval. If he allowed it, she'd accept Rein's help in acting as a crutch, otherwise it would be a long and hard journey ahead of her.