The long summer day dragged on with birds in the sky, the sun shining bright, and the air warm as ever. Summer was coming to and end, but it was going out as hot as it could be. It made work for a certain beast that much harder.

As the sun beat on, it caused a particular giant of an Otter to sweat and pant as he was on top of his roof, reworking his home for the fall and winter seasons. He used a stone mallet to pack in moss, mud, and pieces of wood to his home's roof.  It was a good thirteen feet from the ground and dropping anything would cause more work for the housebuilding beast.

Dallas had his shirt wrapped around his forehead to keep the sun from his eyes while he toiled away at his work. His long running scar slanted downwards his wide chest, which felt sore as ever. "Whew, I need to take a break. All this 'ard work in this 'ot sun sure takes it out on a beast." He said to himself, continuing the work he started earlier.

"I wonder what everyone's up to at Redwall? Bet they are 'avin' nice fancy cordials an' ales! I need me some of that." Dallas smirked.

Under the warm sun a tune can be heard drifting on the wind, a fast lilting melody whistled by some cheerful beast wandering towards Dallas' home. The whistling is coming from a rather short weasel walking along the path, he carries a net of shrimp slung over one shoulder as he walks, still whistling the tune of 'green rushes, greens rushes, and lillies so pale.' each verse becoming faster than the last.

He raises his free paw to wipe his brow, despite the heat he seems to give off the aura of being happy right from his eartips to the dark black tip of his tail. Inktail spots the house in the distance, grinning at having finally made it,  he then notices the Otter on the roof. Sighing and shaking his head, he approaches and waves as he speaks. "Dallas, are ye crazy mate, ta be up there in th' heat like this." His speech smacks of Otter influences.

The lull of the warm sun and soft breeze could be felt by most on this peaceful day. As did a walking beast,walking under the shade of trees did. The beast was a black furred rat, and on his back was a quite big backpack. Though he was under the shadow of the trees, he had a hood on, and could hear whistling in the distance.

He soon saw through a break in the forest and near the river was Dalla's home and Inktail walking up some shrimp. He smiled slightly at the sight, "Some things never change it seems." He said quietly to himself as he crouched slightly and sneaked over near a couple of bushes near the home. He quickly noticed Dalla's on the roof working.

Dallas heard something from behind him and immediately dropped his mallet. He slid down the wooden ladder and faced his small friend with a big smile. "Inktail, ya mini Weasel! Yer lookin' more like an Otter evertime I see you! Where 'ave you been all summer?" He said excitedly, unwrapping the shirt from his head and using it to wipe off his muddy face and paws. "It feels like it's been ages."

Grinning broadly, even as he's teased by his friend, Inktail chuckles heartily before he responds. "Haharr, I've been keeping meself busy, fishing while the fishing was good, setting stores aside an all. I've been meaning ta make a point of visiting ye, but well, I never seemed to find th' time." Playfully jabbing at his friend with his free paw he continues. "An' what about yerself Dallas, I 'ope ye've been well?" Shifting the shrimp on his shoulder "Heheh, well I did make it t'day, so ye got time ta visit with a friend matey, maybe shareing some good 'otroot soup?"

Jellal listened to the friendly banter until he thought of something. It was time for a little joke, he knew Inktail knows, yet doesn't know that well. He had to admit, it was a pretty good one to. He got out a small black ball and grinned as he rolled it along the flat ground. The small black ball rolled quite a bit, until it came to a rest near Inktail's back. There was a quiet fizzling sound and then…...CRACK.

"That's good matey! Real good. Gotta keep the larders filled up I always say!" Dallas crossed his arms and smiled. "That's quite alright mate, no worries. I'm right down th' road an' my 'omes open anytime ya need a place to stay." He covered up his side after feeling the jab and chuckled. "Ya cheek!"

"Oh life 'as been good. Workin' on my 'ome fer th' winter. 'Ad a few jobs with my buildin' crew on other 'omes. I am th' most known construction worker in all o' Mossflower an' my paws are full with jobs every summer. I drew up the blueprints fer a ship an' built a nice big 'un fer a crew of good beasts that needed one to sail th' seas." Dallas said.

"Friend's and 'otroot! You bet yer tail I 'ave time!" After he replied to Inktail, Dallas heard the noise and then ducked as he heard the loud crack. "Get down matey! We're under attack!" The large Otter motored to the back of his house, retrieving his middle length sword. He unsheathed the blade from his scabbard and ran to the front, gritting his teeth. "Darn vermin are at it again, matey. Always attackin' poor beasts on th' road. I'll take care of them bandits!"

Inktail was just about to open his mouth and answer Dallas when there was an exceedingly loud CRACK! right behind him! Diving forwards with an undignified yelp, Inktail lets go of the shrimp as he gets up and draws his sling. A stone loaded and whirling before Dallas is back outside.

"Haharr, leave 'em ta you, an miss out on th' fun? Hrm an just ta say, not all of us are always attackin' travelers eh?" Inktail did seem rather nervous though, his eyes darted around trying to find some sign of where they were.

Jellal couldn't resist laughing at what happened, the face Inktail made was priceless. He got up and was still laughing as came out of the bushes. "Oh, that was priceless! Extra bonus for the yelp and jumping." he said, not laughing as much now.

He wiped away a few tears of laughter off his face. "Sorry bout that Inktail, just couldn't resist." He said jokingly. He knew it was just a joke anyway, no harm there.

"Hehe, that's the ol' spirit. Give 'em blood an' vinegar!.." Dallas stopped mid sentence and dropped his sword from his paw at what came next. The cheeky Jellal, hopping out of the bushes in a fit of laughter.

Dallas palmed his face with his paw and started to laugh heartily. "Jellal you ol' robber, what do ya think yer doin'?! You scared the tail off o' me 'ide!" He said with a heavy chuckle. "Inktail did get pretty frightened though! Harharr! No worries mate."

He looked to Jellal and crossed his arms again. "Where 'ave you been all summer matey, 'aven't seen ya in forever."

Inktail's eyes fixed on Jellal immediately, slowly letting the sling stop spinning without winging a stone at his friend. He rubs behind his head as his performance is highlighted. "Ah, well erm, you know well as any, if not more, 'ow I tend to startle."

Quickly going from embarrased to chuckling along with the others, "Haharr, well I can take a joke well as any of us, glad ta see ye again mate, been wondering what ye've been up ta as well." After a hearty clap on the smaller beast's shoulder Inktail grins and askes "By the way, will ye be joining us fer the soup?"

Jellal shifted slightly from the slightly taller weasels slap to his shoulder. "Yes well….it has been a while. As you saw, I've learned a couple of things over my trips, and acquired certain....things, in my trade. None of it valuable of course." He said jokingly. It was the truth of course, even though he was thief, he made sure to either hide, or sell whatever valuables he acquires, so no one has a reason to track him.

The prospect of soup, yeah....he wasn't going to fall for that again. Any mention of soup from either Inktail or Dalla's was always Hotroot soup. Then....a certain memory from a battlefield he once visited by accident came to mind and he shoke it off quickly.

"So thats what yer up to now a days. No shame in that, it's apart of you an' I respect that. I 'ope it 'elped you in yer journeys." He said before sheathing his blade and tossing it in an open window of his home. He threw his dirty shirt off to the side after cleaning the mud off his arm fur and walked over to the door.

"Ah, yes; the soup! We must make some. And don't worry; we'll make some that you can watch us make, if'n you don't trust us. Hehehe.." Dallas let a mischievous chuckle.

Dallas walked into the front door of his dwelling, "Well guys, don't just stand there bakin' in th' sun all day. Come on in, I 'ave a fine barrel of ale ready to be tapped."

Inktail chuckles, he knew about Jellal having been a guild thief where he came from, and it never bothered him any either. Inktail smirks as he grabs up the net of shrimp, "Aye, yer not gettin' outta this, we haven't seen each other in ages, and we both end up in Dallas' neck o' the river in the same day. Mate luck's telling us it's a good day to catch up."

Grinning ear to ear he follows behind Dallas, "Did I just hear ya mention ale matey, that'd be an amazing thing on a day like t'day." With his usual wide smile and, cheerful step he lays his sling and pack near enough the entrance, and carries his catch to the kitchen, wherever it may be indicated.

"Somethings do never change at all." Jellal said quietly to himself. True, he was a bit parched, and it was a warm day today. Time for catch-up he guessed, and he was indeed correct, with two good friends no less. "Ale you say? I am quite a bit parched." He said as he followed them inside.

He set his pack down near the entrance, which made a loud thump sound. "Don't ask on how I'm able to carry it at all." he said jokingly. True, his pack was a bit big….to his view, and maybe even to Inktail at least.

"Aye, you can say that again! Lucks on our side today." Dallas said as he walked into the home. He slumped onto a big wooden chair with large soft pillows attached to it and stretched himself out.

"You know it mates! I 'ave some of th' best ale in Mossflower, thanks to th' cellar'ogs at Redwall. Strong brewed stuff though, it's got enough hops in it to knock ya on yer tails!" He said getting up from his chair and into the kitchen area where he led Inktail to drop the catch.

"Don't worry Jellal, I won't ask! Yer a strong fellow if yer able to carry that great big bag miles an' miles. Not many beasts can do that."

Chuckling happily at the comment about not asking, "Heheh, I figured on not doing so a while back matey," Putting down the shrimp where Dallas pointed out to him. "All right I'll let you two get on with th' soup, I'm too partial ta 'otroot ta not put much in." Searching about for three good sized mugs he'll continue "Just point me ta the barrel 'n I'll get us some 'o the ale then."

Remembering the comment on how strong it is he chuckles again "I'll also try ta find a seat before trying any of it."

Jellal chuckled lightly as he sat in a chair. He wondered if he should tell them….no! Don't think about that, not again, just...not the memory again. Just.....a accident, and....there was just no way. Besides...it was Guild business, they don't need to be involved in it. There is no reason for it, its not any of their business....but their good friends though.

He shoke slightly from a recap of a past event that shoke him for a second. He recovered quickly, making sure Dallas and Inktail didn't notice. "Too true, too true...." Jellal said to answer back to Dallas.

"Barrels over there, mate" He pointed as he readied the shrimp and other ingredients including the medium sized cauldron. "Yeah make sure you both grab a seat, stuffs strong I tell ya!" He said before addressing Jellal. "Jellal, I'm makin' it plain, without 'otroot, so we can add it to our own bowls instead. That should be better fer ya." He said with a smile. Dallas did catch a glimpse of something odd; his small rat friend spacing out or daydreaming for a split second. Not long enough for him to inspect anything wrong.

The large Otter wasn't sure what was going on, but he just left it alone and continued to chop vegetables. He went over to another barrel and dipped a giant iron beaker into it and transferring it's contents into the cauldron. It was fresh water in a separate barrel meant for his soups. He filled it enough and set it to boil over the fire. After it boiled a bit, he put each ingredient into it before stirring it a bit.

"Should be done soon. Dip into th' Ale as much as ya like."

Inktail smiles as he grabs three mugs and sets about filling them chuckling happily at the repeated joke. "No worries about that mate. Yer talkin' to a weasel who knows a thing or two about ale, least when it comes ta drinkin' it." He notices Jellal was a little out of it, but maybe it was just a stray thought.

With a smile he passes one of the mugs to the rat, then the next to Dallas, before he goes back to get his, "Cheers mates, ta timing and luck bringing ol' friends ta the right place at the right time."

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