For all beasts, life has its ups and downs. It has its high points, and its low points. There are times when everything is clear, and times when the path of life is overgrown and hidden. For Alastor Eriel, all these moments in life depended on how close he was to finding his sworn enemy, Lysistra. Right now, he was in a hazy part of his life. The trail had grown cold, at least for the time being. It wasn't a surprise really, information on a small time bandit like Lysistra was rare, and he hadn't seen her for years. Not since the faithful day when his home had burned and his parents had died. But every time he lost the trail, he'd find it again, sooner or later.

With that in mind, Alastor was traveling to the place where he had last heard of Lysistra, a small village in western Mossflower. He was not guaranteed success by any means, but it was the best chance he had of regaining his trail and finding the lucrative pine marten. Preoccupied in thoughts of revenge, Alastor sat on the stump of a long dead tree by the narrow path. He needed a brief rest now and then, having traveled all day. The stoat looked up at the grey sky, which matched his internal mood closer than he liked. It wasn’t raining yet, but you didn’t need to be a genius to know it was coming. The wind had picked up a little, and the air had cooled.
Alastor stood up to begin his journey again, when he heard a faint sound behind him on the path. He was not particularly worried, but he didn’t trust anybeast behind him. The stoat turned to face the newcomer with a dark stare, leaving the first word to them.

(OOC: Whoever posts next can be the newcomer, than the others can jump in in different ways!)

Duncrist and his band had been trudging all day.  They clanked and stamped wearily some yards behind him, but the large brown rat continued on with hardly a hint of fatigue.  He was more concerned about getting to town, and a ready supply of ale.  Perhaps brandy or wine, or grog.  It really did not matter.  All the rodent wanted as he squinted ahead on the trail through the woodlands was a drop of something alcoholic.

The empty tin flask at his waist tinkled against his belt buckle, as if teasing him.  He glared down at his footpaws a moment and grunted.  The wind picked up, and the rat scanned the road ahead once again.

He was not at all surprised to see the stoat; stoats and most any other creature were commoner and commoner near to the villages.  He strained his blue eyes as he approached, eying the beast warily.  A fighter, this one.  He calmly calculated the chances of him defeating the mustelid in open combat.  The return was not promising.  Adjusting his scimitar at his side and using the long bident he carried as a staff, he turned back and gave the signal for his band to hang back.  The stupid oafs would easily ruin any chance of surprising or duping even the most braindead beast.

"Hoi there," he said in a low growling bass, "Nice weather, eh." His tone was so flat it was hard to tell if he were asking a question or stating the obvious.  "How far be that town up there?  'S it good pickin's, or 's there nothin' but some ole soil-pawed farmers?"  He hoped his tone had been forced to be friendly enough.  He didn't like the look of the stranger, but grudgingly he acknowledged that he wasn't in the best position to best the beast.  And furthermore, he wasn't sure he cared yet.  If the stoat were a merchant trader carrying a cartload of fine wines… He'd have not even bothered with the "amiable wanderer" ruse.

To Arrow Quickshaft, the landscape was somewhat depressing and far different from where he had come from. Pulling his hat down, he sighed. He was used to lush, bright colors not green, green, brown, green all the time, he was used to seeing purple, pink, red, and all these wonderful different colors. Arrow didn't have time to stop and think, he was running. He ran away from his past and he has been running every since.

He liked being a hero to other creatures, not only did it make him feel good, some creatures started to actually trust him. He hit his intended target most of the time, the ones that didn't get hit with an arrow, well they answered to his blade that he carries around with him. Just in case.

Arrow looked down at the ground and caught a scent of a trail. "More foebeasts," the ferret said to himself. "Better see how many of them there are." Silently following the trail, Arrow followed it for a few hours before finding where the trail ends. Peering out through some bushes, he saw a band of foebeasts trudging through the forests. Chuckling to himself, he fixed an arrow to his bow and picked off a rat that were slower than the rest, hoping not to be seen.

Wham. Wham. Whock

Cutting wood wasn't Riggs' favorite job, but at least he could use his axe. The wind picked up a bit, forcing the mouse to pull his raggedy coat closer to his fur. A storm was coming, he could feel it in his bones. At least he had some burning wood to keep his house warm. The others in the village may not be lucky, he joked.

The ax dragged through the dirt as Rigfall lumbered slowly home. Maybe he should get some flammable plants to speed up the burning. Maybe some dried grasses, those always burn fast, but they died quickly, not like wood. His mind wandered for a while until he heard some voices. Maybe some farmers, or some thieves. Thieves always fell for the bag-of-burning-herbs trick. But if they're armed…

The fieldmouse raised his ax, ready for whoever was making the noise.

" 'S it good pickin's, or 's there nothin' but some ole soil-pawed farmers?" The storm was already here, Rigfall thought.

Alastor gave Duncrist a discerning look. It wasn't particularly hard to tell he was a vermin beast, but Alastor gave him the benefit of the doubt, seeing as not a word had been exchanged yet. The stoat though he had a good chance of besting Duncrist one on one, if it came to that. But he had a feeling if this was a vermin, there would be more nearby.

"Hoi there, nice weather, eh. How far be that town up there?  'S it good pickin's, or 's there nothin' but some ole soil-pawed farmers?"

No doubt about it at this point, the rat had no good intentions. "Probably just some soil-pawed farmers," Alastor replied flatly, "but, I know some vermin enjoy destroying what little those farmer's have." Thoughts of his own ruined life come back to Alastor, threatening the weak binds he still had on his temper. His paw went instinctively to the hilt of his blade as he faced Duncrist sternly.

"I have my own reasons for traveling to that village, and sacking it is not one of them," the stoat continued grimly, "if it is one of yours, we will have cause for argument." Alastor had only been to this village once before, and had little particular affection for it. It was not so much a need to protect the innocent that drove him to stand his ground, but bloodthirsty need for personal revenge, and to enact justice on all like his parent's killers.

Trying to keep his face even and unemotional, the large rat listened silently to the stoat's hatred-strewn piece and watched as the creature's capable paw edged towards the weapon at his side.  He cursed himself inwardly.  The brogue was much too obvious, even though he hadn't actually meant pillaging the village.  Though that was bound to happen sooner or later, he had meant to ask if there was a tavern in the town.  It hadn't come out the way he'd wanted it to.

"S-sackin' th' village?" he took a step back in an act of bafflement, "Nobeast but youse said nothin' about sackin'.  Want me a drink is all–"

There was a sharp scream that was cut off suddenly.  The rat raider whirled around, eyes widening as he saw the rest of his band dashing around the bend in a panic, one rat conspicuously missing.  They had forgotten their orders in a blind panic.

"What in blazes--" he rounded on the stoat, shaking a meaty paw, "Ye got somethin' to do with this, eh?!"  For a moment rage overtook his reason.  There was little evidence the stoat warrior had anything to do with the slaying of one of Duncrist's bandits, but that didn't stop the rat's temper from jumping right off that cliff of conclusion.

"S-sackin' th' village? Nobeast but youse said nothin' about sackin'.  Want me a drink is all–"

Arrow sat in the bushes snickering at what he had just done. The band of foebeasts went scurrying off in a blind panic. He somewhat loved to make foebeasts scatter for cover.

"What in blazes– Ye got somethin' to do with this, eh?!"

"Nay, it wasn't him," Arrow said, coming out of the bushes and pulled his hat down real low so the rat and the stoat would see his arrow mark on his forehead. "T'was me that did it, you drunk blaggard."

"S-sackin' th' village? Nobeast but youse said nothin' about sackin'.  Want me a drink is all–"

A slight smirk arose from Riggs' face. There was only one tavern in town and the ale was usually watered down to save money on costlier, "fancy" ale.

Arrows whirred through the air as pandemonium ensued.

"T'was me that did it, you drunk blaggard."

Guess i's time for action, the normally passive-aggressive mouse thought as he leapt out of the bushes to deal with the group of madbeasts. "Oi, asshats, wot do you think yer doin', fighting in a PEACEFUL BLOODY VILLAGE!?" Rigfall poised his axe, surrounded by two very dangerous beasts. The odds were obviously not on his side.

Alastor's fears of a gang were reaffirmed when a band of vermin came crashing around the bend. They look startled by something, though what he had no idea. He steeled his body in preparation for the fight that would surely come.

"Ye got somethin' to do with this, eh?!"
"T'was me that did it, you drunk blaggard."

Alastor gave the ferret a cold glance. Regardless of his intentions, Alastor would treat him as threat until proven otherwise. The fact that he attacked the vermin gang probably meant he was a "goodbeast," but that meant little to the warrior stoat.

"Oi, asshats, wot do you think yer doin', fighting in a PEACEFUL BLOODY VILLAGE!?"

Another arrival, a mouse with an axe, entered the scene. Alastor stared at him with annoyance before speaking again. "I am not yet in the village, thanks to all of you," he said in a low growl, "and you are all delaying my hunt, stand down or you will be shown no mercy." With this, he drew his cruel blade and leveled it at the others, showing clearly his intentions.

Duncrist padded hastily backwards, away from both stoat and ferret.  And now the axe-swinging mouse! So many variables, it was hard to tell how they'd all fit together.

He glared at the ferret who had shot one of his creatures.  Didn't look too tough to him.  One of those "perilous" lots, he wondered? Those who prance around slaying vermin jovialy, then taunting the survivors afterwards? But he had thought that was mostly hares.  The mouse caught his eye as well.  Though armed, he didn't seem much a threat.  So far he was all bark.

"Harr! I been standin' down!" the rat growled, choosing to stay on the deadliest-seeming creature's good side for as long as possible. "'Tis all these addlebrained loonies' fault there's any fightin' at all! 'Specially you!" he turned and snarled at the ferret, "Slimy coward, shootin' me men when we're just on our way to a bit o' drinkin' an' merriment.  I think yore gonna 'ave t' pay fer that…" he grinned at the last words, changing the grip on his bident so it could be easily lowered.

His cronies seemed to have their nerve back, now that their attacker was visible.  The mixed weasels, rats and a couple of foxes brandished weapons and eagerly awaited their Chief's next command.

Arrow had fitted another arrow to his bow. "It's because of foebeasts like you that I have to run. The ones who think they could do whatever they want to me and get away with it. I swore to myself that it wouldn't happen to me, at least not any more."

Arrow took a glance at the axe yeilding mouse. This mouse had spunk and courage, something that Arrow had taken a liking too. "And I shall shoot anyone who tries to take a step into this village! Because I know your kind rat! I've seen it all before, and I've had experience with it in the past. Act like your going to be nice to a foebeast and then jump on him."

He then aimed the arrow at the rat. "So if I were you, I wouldn't have said you owe me, so get lost!"

Guess it's time for the wild card.

"Before we begin killing each other, I just want ta say that everyone here is standing near VERY flammable plants. The slightest spark will roast everyone here!" Rigfall raised his axe, aiming for a stone. Beads of sweat dripped from his brow from both his work and the tension. "Now either enter in peace or be gone." He hoped to whatever invisible denizen he believed in that his bluff would work.

"Harr! I been standin' down!"

Alastor watched the large rat back away to the safety of numbers and gave what might have been a small nod of approval. Still, the steely glares he gave to every other present did not change. The stoat had a goal in mind, and every moment wasted here the trail got the slightest bit colder.

"And I shall shoot anyone who tries to take a step into this village! Because I know your kind rat! I've seen it all before, and I've had experience with it in the past. Act like your going to be nice to a foebeast and then jump on him."

"Before we begin killing each other, I just want ta say that everyone here is standing near VERY flammable plants. The slightest spark will roast everyone here! Now either enter in peace or be gone."

So, this ferret and the mouse thought they were mighty heroic. Defending a village of innocent weaklings. Honestly, Alastor believed the weak should learn to fight for themselves. Did they expect someone to always be there to defend them? The stoat could see that Duncrist looked every bit a "vermin." But he couldn't say that the ferret or the mouse were much better, having gotten violent rather quickly. Of course, he justified his own actions in the name of revenge. His revenge was more important than their petty squabbles.

"Listen mouse, I had no intention of entering your little village in anything but peace, but if it comes to it, I will enter by any means I need," Alastor said, the growl in voice having risen dangerously, "my only lead is there, and I will not lose the trail. I will find the devil, the monster who ruined my life. And I will end hers." He settled into a fighting position, ready for any of the attacks that might be thrown at him.

Duncrist narrowed his eyes and gazed cooly all about him, first at the arrow pointed quite threateningly at his head, then at the mouse brandishing his axe over a stone, and last to the stoat, who seemed to want nothing to do with the brawl about to take place.  Shifting his weight from his left footpaw to his right, he took a quick glance at the foliage.  Feh, who did the cheeky rodent think he was fooling?  It may have worked on a less smart vermin leader, but if it would ever work on the likes of him then Duncrist was a trout.

"Heh," Slayfang toyed with the haft of his favorite weapon, already thinking of lovely ways to torment the ferret for the death of his underling, "Wot, these ol' gentians?  Don't tell me you think I don't know a gentian from a nettle, ye churlish toad.  Don't go foolin' about with Duncrist Slayfang, 'twill only get you hurt!"

With that, he waved a paw to his raiders, signalling them to charge.  Two foxes and a rat that were quicker than the others rushed in armed with shields and spears, aiming their weapons' sharp bits at the ferret.  Two archer rats in the rear of the rabble fitted arrows to their bowstrings.

Duncrist, like his archers, wisely decided that having a bit of room in this fight was the best course of action at the moment.  He lowered his bident and crouched as he receded into the charge of his followers, protecting himself without their knowing with their bodies as he slipped up towards his foe.

Right before Arrow had to jump on a rock, Arrow shifted his bow and arrow towards one of Duncrist's arrow shooters and fired at them. Having no choice, he took off his hat and threw it onto a nearby branch. Smiling fearlessly, Arrow was lightning fast on getting his arrows fired at the foebeasts who were charging him.

"Ha ha! Come and get me beasties. I ain't afraid of youse!" Arrow laughed. "I've been in much tighter spots!"

"Listen mouse, I had no intention of entering your little village in anything but peace, but if it comes to it, I will enter by any means I need," Sounds like another beast looking for revenge in your village. No wonder it's nicknamed the Rev-

Arrows flew as Riggs' thought was obliterated. It probably wasn't important anyways, he told himself. One of the arrows whizzed past his ear, making him flinch and lose his grip of his axe for a moment. It scraped the stone and nearly hit his footpaw. The resulting sparks flew into the foliage, causing some smoke to float off. Rigfall ignored the slight smell of smoldering plant as he rushed into the fray, hoping he could either subdue the archer, the rat, or anybeast.

The wind picked up, giving the smoldering plant some oxygen, enough to cause a small but growing fire. Above, an owl flew to the village as the sky darkened. If anybeast had noticed, then they would know that the storm was already there, and ready to fall.

Alastor's instincts kicked in as the fight begun. Adrenaline rushed into his veins as his music played, the sounds of battle. Whatever thin threads of nicety and tranquility that had kept him in check were broken in an instant. The stoat threw back his head and let loose a unnatural roar. Alastor grinned, a savage, shark-like grin, before charging into battle.

To him at this point, the other two "goodbeasts" were expendable. If they happened to be in the path of his blade, he would feel no remorse. As the warrior thundered towards the battle, thunder rumbled overhead. Streaks of lighting appeared in the distant sky. The storm had arrived.

Duncrist waited until the two recklessly fast foxes had charged ahead, right into the arrows the ferret enemy had loosed.  A squeal from behind him told him another beast had been cut down, but he didn't much care.  That was what hordebeasts were for–to get mowed down while the leaders did the real battling.

Jabbing out with his bident, the rat grinned as he thrust it's twin points through the spaces between the two falling foxes, right at his foe's footpaws.  He ignored the mouse for now; he seemed to have stumbled or otherwise gotten out of an immediate clash.  Duncrist himself focused on the archer.  If he noticed the first few fat drops of rain, he didn't show it.

The third rushing vermin, the rat, made a move to take out the mouse, smelling weakness.  Cackling and confidant, he swung the haft of his spear at the axe-wielder.

Elsewhere, a few of the weasels had noticed Alastor gearing up for battle.  They rushed towards him in a gang, two whirling slings and holding daggers in their other paws, the remaining five brandishing cutlasses.  They laughed in the face of certain slaughter, but they themselves could not possibly have imagined in their dull brains that it was to be their own.

It had started to rain, but Arrow didn't mind, he liked being in the rain. It made him more relaxed and he could concentrate on stuff more. He then noticed a rat running towards the mouse. Fixing an arrow on the rat, he let the arrow loose. 'He'd best be thankful,' Arrow thought.

Arrow looked up slightly as a flash of lightening tore across the sky. He had noticed the weasel charge into battle. Luckily, he wasn't heading for Arrow. So Arrow thought he'd better be careful to where he shoot.

Rigfall raised the axe and brought it down, instantly killing the weasel. The once peaceful farmer was no more, replaced by the being that had been simmering in his hatred and rage. This was nothing like bloodwrath, since he could still think with a mostly clear head. Pulling out his weapon from the corpse, the mouse brought it up again, prepared to fight the next foe behind him. In doing so, he blocked the arrow from hitting the rat, who was quickly decapitated. Riggs used the flash of lightning to his advantage, spotting the weasel and headed to him, using the rain and darkness to his advantage.

The village sat there, undisturbed by the combat. Everybeast had long since gone inside, waiting for the storm to pass, blissfully unaware of the battle taking place.

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