OOC: Presenting Razor Rawstripes maiden voyage, so to speak.  I?m not especially experienced with RP?s, so just give me a chance. Please feel free to join in. 🙂

IC:

The small stream was cooling to the young badgers overused footpaws.  Razor Rawstripe relaxed on the small bank, his greatsword unstrapped from his back and resting beside him within paws reach.  The blades masterfully crafted face was marred by scratches and notches, the signs of battle, though not many.  Rawstripe found that the blade spent most of its time across his back or on the ground, or propped against a tree than it did in actual battle.  Part of him was happy for that, and another growing part of him hungered for more.

He calmed that part of him down, as he always did; though it had become increasingly difficult as the seasons passed.  He was approaching adulthood and his instincts burned at the thought of battle, of facing a fierce and dangerous enemy, much more threatening than the small band of river rats he was used to contending with.  Would the beast be as big as himself?  Larger?  Would it be a skillful with its weapon, or would it be a savage brute mad for blood?  He sighed and pushed the thoughts aside once again.  Much as his instincts wanted that fight, he knew he was not ready.

An itch drove him to rub a paw against the patch covering his left eye.  His wound had scarred over to become a wilted dark red, rather than the pink it had been in those first weeks.  At times the scar would crack and fresh blood would seep out, but it never lasted long.  He knew without looking at his reflection that the three claw marks still stood prominently within the tapestry of dead skin where no fur would grow again.  It had been the least of the lessons he had learned before setting off on his journey.  It was shallowest of reminders of why he had left home to wander alone.

Casting his good eye around, he studied the landscape before him.  Above him stretched the arms of forest canopy, green leaves casting grateful shadows upon his brow.  The stream he rested his paws in must originate from some larger river, though it end at earth.  Rawstripe decided that it must feed into some underground stream.  Mossflower Woods seemed to be the logical title for this wondrous land.

He had lived a tribal life in the Highlands before traveling southward.  Names were all he knew, vague titles that held mysterious wonder for a cub without access to a map.  Redwall.  Mossflower.  Salamandastron.  That last was a sacred name upon the lips of badgers.  Where badgers sojourned to rule and defend against vermin hordes from sea and land.  A mountain fortress of legends that held no place for him.

Rawstripe shook his head of such thoughts of grandeur.  His task was difficult enough without added Lord of Salamandastron to the list.  He knew he should start moving, as the sun was reaching its zenith and he should find that river if he was to have lunch.  But for the moment, he was content to bask in the shadowed sun and bath his feet in the cool water.  With a sigh, he leaned back and closed his eye.

ooc: so funny, my character who I'm gonna introduce wears a fake eye-patch. lol "The sun beats down on my skin, today is finally spring!
Hear the birds tweet and cry, and the creatures come out an play…"
Ryills sang softly as she made her way down the path to the stream. Her black hair flipped over held up by a red bandana.  Her clothing was worn and sun bleached, but what did you expect from someone who spends their days on the ocean, sailing and living life? Her black pants was now a faded gray and her sorta white shirt, stained yellow from the salt and sun. Over a raggety vest tha has seen better days and a brown jacket adorned her shoulders, belted by a stained red stash.

Looking up from the ground she saw a stream upahead! "YES!" she thought to herself, time to swim in some freshwater, not that she minded the ocean much, but sometimes it was pure joy to swim in freshwater than salt. She frozen in her tracks when she saw a black and white mass up ahead.  Pulling down the corner of her eye patch over her left eye she survyed the creature.  Why it was a young badger, seemed to have no harm, but alas, she has delt with badgers before hand, that bloodwrath they get is dangerous.

She whisled softly to announce herself, "Hello, chap!" she said, lowering her voice to match a males voice. "Beautiful day for a walk near a stream."

OOC: Oh, this will be fun, lol.

Razor Rawstripe had been sliding slowly into a dream of better days.  He was a young cub and it was time for dinner.  His mother smiled warmly at him and patted her lap for him to climb into.  But Razor looked across the table to his father, sitting silent like a carved statue.  He was small for his age, so he had got away with doing baby things longer than he should have, but today was different.  He ignored his mother and took the seat next to his father.  Chief Ragall didn't look at Razor, but he gave a slight nod and grunt of approval.

A voice broke the memory and his eye shot open in alarm.  He picked up his weapon and stepped quickly from the water, holding the grand weapon in both paws in a fighting stance.  He had unconsciously positioned himself so that his patched eye was hidden as he stared down the intruder.

He recognized the features of an otter, though he had rarely seen one up close.  A female by his guess, though he couldn't be certain.  But what gave him true pause was the eyepatch the held up to reveal an eye that could see perfectly from what he could tell.

He felt a sudden rush of embarrassment and anger.  She was mocking him.  A part of him knew the thought was ridiculous, but he couldn't ignore the twang in his gut.  With a bitter resentment, he rested the greatsword against his shoulder and turned to face her squarely, letting her get a good look at his patched eye and the ugly wound surrounding it, hoping it would scare her off.

"A beast snuck up on me once," He growled to further the intimidation.  "I think he's still looking for his head."  The words sounded foolishly childish to him, but he tried to keep his composure, hoping the otter wouldn't see through his bluff.

ooc: If you read her profile, Ryills is really sarcastic and rude, just heads up. 🙂

Ryills shruged and took a few spaces back from the badger, now, that she could see that he also was missing an eye. She blinked and looked at his bad eye, How did that happen… she thought to herself, looking directly into his good eye with the eye not covered by her eye patch.

"Apparently he wasn't really smart then." she snapped back at the badger, putting her hand on her rapier, "Tis a fool to sneak up on a creature without announcing, hence the reason, i'm standing here and not in front of you." she gave a mocking bow, her eye not leaving his.

Straitening up, she cricled around him, toward the stream, "Ryills is the name. Tis from the sea, my home, my backyard." She pulled out of her coat pocket a small flask, "Just visiting down at thee stream to escape the heat." she took a swig and then held it out, "Wanna 'ave some?"

OOC: Sarcastic and rude, just what this lump needs. 😉  Also, now introducing Argus Gracestream.

Razor couldn't help but take a step back from the way the otter carried on as if he wasn't a threat.  He had not met an otter, to be sure, but he had thought the difference in their sizes alone would be enough to make the otter wary.  He steadied himself and kept himself still, watching her move around him with his good eye.  He had taken the creature for a female, for the size alone, but how would he know the size of a male otter?  He had never met another beast as large as a badger, so what did he have to compare this beast to?  He studied the way the otter walked, talked, dressed.  He decided that it didn't matter if the otter was male, female, or a sparrow in disguise.

As the otter offered a small flask to him, he snarled.  Such a small creature to be acting so…unafraid of a badger.  His blood began to boil, he would have to teach this otter a lesson from a Highland badger!

"I don't need anything you would offer to me, seadog!" Razor growled, baring his teeth.

"Iff'n the stripdog don't want none, Ole Gus'd be more'n 'appy to sample yore offerin's" A slightly ragged voice chimed in.

Razor spun around, weapon ready for battle for the second time in such a short time.  Another otter?  But this otter was old and frail, bowed with the weight of season, fur grey.  The most distinguishing marks were the scars that covered the otters body, all old and faded, but clearly visible through the fading fur.  The otter leaned against a metal staff of skillful design.  Steel. Razor thought.  And by the sound of the voice alone, this was a male otter.

The otter didn't wait for an answer before shuffling closer, using the staff to prod the ground before him until he reached the other otter.  He inhaled the air through his nose as if smelling a flower.  "Ole Gus won't be takin' no fer an answer, lass."  He gave a soft cackle as if he had made a joke  "Go on an' give a feller seadog summat to warm 'is bones!

And then Razor saw the glazed eyes and realized that the old otter was completely blind.

ooc: sorry for the short posts… hard on my mobil phone!

ic:

Ryills recoiled in mock horror, "Seadog...tisk tisk. aven't your parents taught ya any manners? By the looks of yer eye, I doubt it. Usually its eh, 'ello my name is gettin'-really-mad, nice to make ya aquatince." taking another swig and giving a smile.
Spending time on the seas and being held captive by sea rats, Ryills trusted her skills to get her away unarmed, if he attacked her, even though her heart was pounding fast as a dolphin.

'Iff'n the stripedog don't want none, Ole Gus'd be more'n 'appy to sample yore offering's" Ryills looked passed the badger at the new voice.
An old, very old otter with battle scars stood there, hunched over and frail looking. The old otter shuffled over to Ryills, she cocked her head as he came, was he? Why yes, this guy was blind!
'Ole Gus won't be takin' no fer an answer, lass.'
She gave a bark of laughter and looked at Gus, how did he? no way, what gave it away? she was for a moment in shock, and it showed on her face, he is BLIND for heavens sake, not even a minute and he knew she was a girl! Oh please please dont let the badger know..

She took a quick breath, and then swallowed her anxiety,
"Ah, now we have someone who don't refuse a good drink. Here ya go Gus, take as much as ya want, there is more where that came from."

She leaned closer to him, "Tell that badger that I"m a lass an' ya won't live to see sunset.."

Argus Gracestream chuckled at the otter's threat before whispering back,  "Fat lot ye know, matey.  I ain't seen a sunset fer 'alf me life!" His chuckling grew to great heights, and he was slapping his knees.  Suddenly, he stopped and gave a wink to the young otter and snatched the flask from her.  "Lass, matey, what'd Ole blind Gus know, eh?"

Razor didn't hear the initial exchange but assumed the younger otter had made a point to let the older one know what they had in common.  But that wasn't important, as he watched in confusion as Ole Gus stabbed his staff into the earth to free both his paws.  He let the contents of the flask pour a few meager drops onto his paw before dabbing it on his tongue.  He smacked his lips and his drooping whiskers lifted slightly as he smiled.

"Reminds an' ole soul o' them bygone days.  Aye."  He put handed the flask back to…Ryills, did the otter say his name was?

Ole Gus pulled his staff out of the ground and only then did Razor see that it had been shaped to a point.  It was a spear, or a javelin of some making.  The old creature held it so the point touched the ground.  Razor had to rub his head.  This day was becoming more and more bizarre.  He couldn't claim he wasn't curious, but couldn't help but feel even more of an outcast as these two obvious outcasts chummed it up and he was left out.  Not that he had done much to be let in.  He figured the damage was done and he'd best start his day now that he wasn't going to get peace around here.

Suddenly his stomach growled.  And he felt his ears heat up in embarrassment.  He tried to walk away, hoping the two creatures had not heard.

"Now that be a sound I know well, aye." Ole Gus called out, stopping Razor in midstep.  "Why don'tcha both foller me to the den o' Ole Gus.  Ain't too far, mind ye.  Got summat warmin' on a fire.  Ain't never had it afore, glad I found two beasts to test it on."

Razor slowly turned around to see the back of Ole Gus, shuffling away, seemingly unconcerned whether he was being followed or not.  Or expecting them to.  The badger glanced at Ryills, deciding that if the otter would go, so would Razor.

Ryills had to stop and think a moment at his comment then laughed "aha..I get it now…" she shook her head, why is she so slow sometimes. He is blind…never seen a sunset...well for a while now. He handed the flask back to her, "ya tell it right." she responded back to Gus. She was taking a liking to him, at least someone wants to have a lil humor in life and had her taste in drinks, luckily she had a whole stash hidden back in her cave of treasures. Since Gus had come along, it seemed like the badger had calmed down and seemed somewhat confused? and she still didn't get his name, oh well, I will find it out eventually. she thought, turning her attention back to Gus she noticed his staff, it was beautiful and shinny and a pointed end? Her type of weapon! I wonder how I can acquire such a staff.

She was about to comment on his staff and how beautiful it was made when Gus spoke before her, 'Why don'tcha both foller me to the en o'Ole Gus. Ain't to far, mind ye. Got summat warmin' on a fire. Ain't never had it afore, glad I found two beasts to test it on.' Ryills was now genuinely surprised, what she had noticed is that even tho he had a lack of site, that his hearing and senses were strong then the average beast. It truly impressed her, maybe she can learn a few things from him.

Pocketing the flask she gave a bow, "Tis think about it, I 'avent eatin in a while, I'd be down for a good meal. Lead the way Ole Gus!" she said cheerfully and then grinned at Razor, "Come on Mister," then strutted off after Gus, adjusting her pace so she didn't run him over.

Razor sighed and shook his head.  He had made his decision and he would stick with it.  Taking up position behind the two otters, the badger studied them with a critical eye.  He was no stranger to kindness among goodbeasts, and from what he remembered, otters were indeed goodbeasts.  Warriors too, some of them.  The old male looked like he had been through countless battles.  He hadn't even seen a badger with so many marks of war.  But now that he was truly paying attention, the younger male looked like he knew his way around in a skirmish.  He had never had the company of other warriors before.  Perhaps this interruption wouldn't be so bad.  He was just about to speak when Ole Gus began singing.

Gonna sail me way from west t'east
An' stick me paws inter broader sands
A Holt ye'll find fer rest an' feast
Gracesteam, they calls it an' so it stands

Here Ole Gus did a small hop and skip, nearly making Ryills trip over his tail.  Razor stifled a smile.  When Ole Gus began singing again, it was to a different beat and tune.

But a home is home
is where Imma goin'
Tho blind as bees knees
Ole Gus'll tells what ee sees!

Ole Gus began cackling again, as if he made a joke.  Razor waited a time before realizing that the old otter was done with his songs.  He closed the distance to the younger otter.

"Ryills, did you call yourself?" He asked.  "I'm Razor Rawstripe.  Sorry for the treatment before, I didn't mean to scare you."  That was completely untrue, but he figured it would be best if the otter thought otherwise.

Ryills joined in singing with Gus, she knew this tune so well! And she was so caught up with thoughts of eating didn't notice Gus do a little skip at the end of his song and Ryills near face planted in the dirt as she tripped over his tail. She caught herself in time tho, quickly running a hand over her eye patch to see if it was still in place she straightened. Her cheeks slightly flushed, well that was sorta humiliating. Getting her composure back she cleared her throat a bit and joined in laughing with Gus, even tho it was to cover up her embarrassment.

Ryills tried to contain her laughter but it came out as a snort, "Scare me? Nah, I'm not easily scared, I've seen way more thing in life then ya prob 'ave. But thank ye much for the apology. Pleasure to meet ya Razor. And Yes, Quartermaster Ryills Perrie is my name, come off the ole ship BloodWave." she turned and looked at Razor, "Ya a fan of the sea Razor?"

OOC: Last one from me tonight.  Thanks for the help so far, T.J.! 😄

Razor hoped he masked his disappointment well.  Seen more in life than he had, had he?  Well, that was probably true.  Despite hailing from the Highlands, Razor had never even seen the ocean.  Still, he didn't like being shown up to be as ignorant as he was.  He wondered if he should feign knowledge of the seas to impress the otter, but thought better of it.  This Ryills didn't seem to have missed much about him so far.

"Afraid I've never been to the sea." Razor answered honestly.  He found it hard to switch from turning his head to look down at the confident otter and keeping on eye on the one leading them.  "Why are we letting a blind beast lead us?" He asked suddenly.  "What does that say about us?"

"Blind leadin' the blind, I 'spect." Ole Gus called out from ahead, still chuckling to himself as he lead them around trees, hardly seeming to use that steel javelin to test where he was going anymore.  Razor began to worry if they had made the right choice in following this odd beast.

Edit: Typo that bugged me.

Ryills turned at him, "Neva been to thee sea?" she shook her head and focused on him with her one eye, "Don't ya know what ya missing…" she said. She looked around her surroundings, marking on where they were going, so much for a swim to get the salt off. she thought to herself.

Her thoughts were interrupted when Razor said, "Why are we letting a blind beast lead us?" she snapped back and turned and looked at him and shruged. "He seems to know where he is goin, and he is no a vermin or rat, plus he 'ad food waitin' for us." It response her stomach sorta growled, "Alas my song is singing the song of its people..."

Focusing back on Ole Gus she said to Razors question, "That even though we are different ages and different species, somehow we always end up together, I s'pect we all were lonely for awhile 'n craved some company." She spoke then to Ole Gus, "How much father?"

"Even though we are different ages and different species, somehow we always end up together, I s'pect we all were lonely for a while 'n craved some company."

Razor thought over the words as they continued to follow the old blind otter - who seemed to be in a deep conversation with himself, muttering and shaking his head, then laughing, then muttering some more.

What would conspire to bring these three together?  Sure, Ryills and Gus were both otters, but that was where the similarities ended.  Gus was old and broken, his time had come and gone and now he was simply a lonely beast who probably spent most of his time looking for company.  Ryills seemed to be a loner, though he had agreed to follow Gus and seemed content with Razor's company.  He didn't seem to be dependent on anybeast and could look after himself.  Razor himself yearned for such company, but he knew he would be on his own in due time.  Did he want to get to know these otters, only to part ways once again?

"How much father?" Ryills words cut through Razor's ponderings.  He looked up to see Gus stopping before an old oak tree, prodding at it with his javelin.

"Haharr!  Not much farther, I'd say, matey!"  Ole Gus called back to Ryills, prodding at the roots of the oak.  He scratched at his rump and turned back to them, smiling mischievously.  "Up on ahead, young rogues!" He called, continuing his marching.  "No stoppin' 'till ye see them weepin' trees!"

Weeping trees?  Willows?  If so, then Gus's den must be near a river.  Razor was mildly curious.  They had been traveling slightly south and east, as Razor reckoned.  If he was correct, then the river that had fed the stream they had met at would be near their destination.  He was very much looking forward to if he had been correct.

"Halt!" A voice barked out from the right.  "An' don't nobeast do nuthin' stoopid."

Suddenly, two figures came out from behind a tree and grabbed the blind otter, holding his frail form between them.  Razor recognized the two as a rat and a weasel.  Nothing he hadn't faced before.  He felt himself grinning at the prospect of battle.  His grip tightened on his sword.  The pair of vermin revealed wicked looking knives and held them tight against their captive's throat.

"Now, now, stripeydog, yer wuddent want nuttin' t'appen t'the old'un, wudd'jer?"  A tall brown stoat stepped out of his hiding spot.  He wore dirty grey leggings tied up with what looked like an assortment of cloth strips tied together into a makeshift belt.  A necklace of fish bones hung from his neck and a small green cloak hung down to his midriff.  In his grimy paws he held the haft of an old, battered broadsword of plain design.

Razor raised his greatsword in both paws and took a battle stance, teeth bared in a silent snarl.  The stoat did not seem worried.  He pointed his sword at Razor.  "Put dat sword down, stripey dog, affore yer see da color o' dissun's innards."

On cue the rat captor pressed his knife until a drop of red ran down the blade.  Razor made a vocal snarl this time, but once again, the stoat appeared not to notice.  Razor thought he heard Ryills gasp softly, but he wasn't certain.  He did hear the shuffling and sniggering around him and knew they were surrounded.  He couldn't tell how many, but he saw three more vermin from his position and limited vision.  One of them, a fox, he thought, had a bow with arrow notched and drawn.  He hoped not many more had bows.

Gritting his teeth in defeat, he let his greatsword drop to the earth with a thump.  The stoat grinned, showing his crooked yellow teeth.  "Good.  Yer not as stoopid as yer look."  He sniggered at that and the others took it up.  "Slaptail, bring me da stripey dogs sword!  An' yew, riverdog, don' be thinkun we ain't seen yew.  Drop yer weapons!"

Razor kept his gaze upon the stoat, though he couldn't help feeling a bit of amusement as a stoat with a somewhat flattened tail walked up and tried to lift the greatsword.  He grunted and heaved, but he couldn't even drag it.

"Too heavy, Dregg!" The stoat complained to his leader.

OOC: Since Ryills is going to initiate the fight, best take on some of the beasts that will be on Razor's blind side at first.  Ignore the captors, Argus will be fine. 😉

Edit: Damn copy/paste turned " into ?.

Ryills ear heard so cracking to her left, she whipped her to look, "what th-" she said when she hear Gus give a grun, and a snarly poor voice "Now, now, stripeydog, yer wuddent want nuttin' t'appen t'the old'un, wudd'jer?"

She spun around, rapier in her hand already. A really ugly rat stood holding Gus, she saw in his ruggy paw a knife pressed against Gus' throat. Ryills crouched and narrowed her eyes at him. She was about to retort when he interrupt and she saw blood running down the blade. Letting out a soft gap Ryills froze, then anger started to replace her fear, how dare they! Here she is on her way to get food from good Ole Gus after not eating for a few days and these guys just like to interrupt her journey to her feast. What do they want anyway?"

She turned to the leader and saw Razor drop his sword to the stoats request. She grimaced, ain't no way she is putting down her sword to a rat. 2 years serving on a vermin ship, she had no compassion. "What ya want from us?" she asked, her voice low, "We 'ave no money, no food, nothin' of worth for ya. And ya makin' a big mistake messin' with us."

"awww look at that, itty bitty fat ugly stoat can't lift a sword. Hey you, did mommy every tell you not to play with sharp things?" as the stoat tried to lift Razors sword but failed miserably.  "to heavy, Dregg!" Slaptail complained, Ryills let out a bark, "Pathetic! My grandma can lift better then ya and she' old!" Ryills coughed after that one, "You a weakling, just like a baby bird. Tweet! Tweet!" she said imitating a bird.

Ryills quickly dove to the left, taking on the two beast on Razors blindside, "Always strike first and unexpected,"  that is what Ryills learned on the seas. Spinning around she brought her rudder hard into the fox hold the bow and he let out a woosh before she knocked him out, hold her sword up she snapped at Razor, "Don't just stand! Do somethin'!" and dueled another fox. She took in his appearance, scrawny, matted, dirty, small and by the looks, is he missing all this teeth? "My look at ya, do you get ya face bashed in by your sheer stupidity!?" she snapped, "Ya messed with the wrong otter." as she sprung back nimbly as a rusty sword was inches from her waist. "Wanna play huh?" the fox replied narrowing his eyes, "Bring it." Ryills said a bit cocky and lunged, catching him in his chest, "I thought you were better." she said before bounding back to the group.

Razor hoped that Ryills had a plan, because Razor didn't.  He kept his eye on the leader, Dregg, but his target was the one before him, Slaptail.  Without a sound, Razor rushed forward and swung his paw with all his might.  Slaptail looked up in surprise only to have his life snuffed out when Razor's paw crashed into the side of his head, breaking his neck on impact.  As the dead stoat toppled to the side, Razor reached down with one paw and grabbed hold of the handle of his sword, bringing it up into his other paw and charging the leader.


Argus Gracestream felt the tickle of two blades at his throat.  Well, one was a little more than a tickle now.  He just kept smiling.  He felt the vermin shifting to his left.  Then a voice that Argus identified as a weasel began to complain.

"Why ain't yew blubberin' ol' timer, eh?"

"Yeh," the voice of the vermin to his right - a rat - grumbled stupidly.  "Ee ain't shakin' or pleadin' or nuttin'."

"Mayhaps he's scared stiff, eh cully?" The weasel suggested.

"Oh aye." The rat agreed happily.  "Tha' must be et."

Argus guessed that the leader was the only capable thinking beast of the whole lot.  That was generally how it worked.  The leader had done a fine job of planning this little ambush, using the old, frail looking otter as hostage.  Yep, it all might have worked too, if the rest of the gang weren't complete idiots.  They had never relieved him of his javelin, seeing it as a harmless walking stick in the paws of such an old beast.  Even if it had been a stick and not a steel javelin, they would have been just as foolish to not remove their captive of his only visible weapon.

As a battle commenced, lead on by Ryills rather truthful - he was sure - insults,  his captives took the time thinking about what was going on and what they should do to their hostage.  Argus slipped his javelin up between himself and the rats arm, before pushing outward and quickly slapping the wrist to paralyze the paw so the knife dropped.  The rat let out a confused yelp and the weasel shifted to end the life of Argus Gracestream.  But the rat wasn't holding the otter anymore, and that was all the opening he needed.  He bent his body backwards, the knife blade cutting his skin, but doing no more than leaving a red line.  With the needed space between him and the weasel he leveled his javelin at his hip as if it were a spear and thrust the blunt end forward, into the weasels gut, knocking the wind from him.

The rat had begun to gather himself, huffing and puffing with pain as he came for the otter.  All that noise was like painting a picture for where to strike.  Argus brought his javelin down between the rats undoubtedly dirty ears.  There was a thump as the rat hit the earth, out cold.

Argus laughed and twirled his javelin.  "Gracestreeeaam!" He called out his old war cry.  "Haharr!  Send 'em t' the Deeps, matey's!"


A force slammed into Razors shoulder and he stumbled to a stop.  He looked to see an arrow buried into his shoulder, red blood welling from the wound and clotting up in his fur.  Feeling his anger rise, he let out a tremendous roar and pulled the arrow out with a single pull, the pain deadened by his rage.  He had heard of badgers going into a bloodwrath, though he had never experienced it.  He didn't know if he was now, but it didn't matter.  He turned to the archer only to see an axe wielding rat charging him.  With a broad sweep of his sword he cut the head of the axe from its wooden haft.  The rat stopped dead, staring dumbly at the remaining half of his weapon.  Razor took that moment to bring his sword down onto the rat, splitting him at an angle from shoulder to hip.  Razor tasted blood and he decided he wanted more.  With another great roar he leaped into a group of four vermin, including the archer, swinging his sword wildly from side to side.

Shaking his head to clear his eye of the blood, Razor turned back in time to see the stoat Dregg approaching him.  Razor was surprised to see that the stoat held his broadsword like he knew how to use it.  Still, the stoat was weary after seeing a badger swinging such a large sword and cutting down his gang rather easily.  But Razor had to admit he was impressed that the stoat did not back down or run away.  Razor didn't know the finer points of sword fighting, so he kept to what he was good at: swinging wildly.  He rushed forward giving a battle cry.

"Eulaliaaa!"

He swung to behead the stoat and put an end to the entire fight.  The stoat was fast and easily dodged the wild, uncontrolled attack.  Before Razor could redirect his weapon to swing back at his enemy, Dregg struck like a snake and Razor felt a pain in his side.  The broadsword came back tipped with blood.  Dregg backed out of Razors swing once again, a confident smirk fueling Razors rage.

He decided to go a different tactic and started drawing figure eights with his swords, slowly pushing the stoat back toward a tree.  If he could get the stoat to back into the tree, catch him by surprise…  He would only get one opening.  Just as he planned the stoats back hit the tree and he lowered his sword in surprise.  With a roar Razor leaped forward and swung at the stoats head.  Dregg ducked the attack and the greatsword bit deep into the tree.  Razor tried to pull it out but it was stuck.

The stoat took the opportunity to slip around Razor and slash at his foot.  Razor howled and let go of his sword, leaving it embedded into the tree.  He faced the stoat, raising his paws warily.  Dregg chuckled and licked at the blood on his blade before going back on the attack.  Razor used his paws to defend his face and body, grunting as the sword bit into his paws, leaving wide gashes into his fur.  One strike made his eye black out in pain.  Desperate now, he turned around and gripped the hilt of his sword, pulling it with all his might.  The sword pulled free and he swung around just in time to deflect a killing blow.  The force of his deflection sent the stoat stumbling back, barely keeping a grip on his sword.

Razor had never been in such a battle before.  His heart pounded and he truly feared for his life.  But he also hungered for blood and victory.  He began his assault again, wildly swinging, occasionally thrusting to throw the stoat off balance.  Despite his flurry of attacks he was slowing down and the stoat didn't seem to miss a step.  His paws were covered in blood from their scars and his grip on the sword started to slip.  The stoat backed over a root and stumbled.  Razor took another swing to kill the stoat but the sword slipped from his paws and went sailing behind him.  Razor was panting with exhaustion, too tired even to look where his sword might have gone.  Was this his end?  Would he die without a weapon in his hand?

"You need to be strong, Razor." His father's voice drummed between his ears.  "You must become strong enough to lead this tribe.  I won't be around forever.  You are my son and it is your birthright.  To be chieftain is your duty."

The memory of the pain in his left eye became far more powerful than all the open wounds that throbbed in agony.  He became lost in that pain, his missing eye becoming an abyss that slowly sucked up all the pain throughout his body, focusing it on one point so he could see, move his legs forward, lift his arms up.  He had not weapon, but if he was to die, he would take this stoat with him.  Blood from his old scar spilled into his open mouth.

Pain burst into his back and he fell to his knees, reaching back to feel another arrow shaft sticking out.  From the peripheral of his good eye he saw a vermin with a spear swinging at his head.  He grunted and pushed himself toward the attacking vermin, a weasel.  He used his shoulder to break the spear.  Splinters dug into his skin but the spearhead spun past him harmlessly.  He continued forward, shoving his shoulder into the weasels nose.  Blood and snot.  The weasel stumbled back ward, head raised to the sky, stunned.  Razor swung his paw in and uppercut, smashing his fist into the weasels chin.  The weasel lifted off the ground and slammed his back into a nearby tree.  The was a loud crack and the vermin slumped down in a sitting position.  Though the weasel looked to be sleeping, Razor knew he would never wake up.

Razor turned to meet the stoat Dregg.  A flash of light was his only warning.  He arched his head backwards, feeling the wind tickle his nose as the tip of the stoats broadsword just missed him.  But Razor had overextended himself, and he lost his balance, falling on his back.  Dregg smiled triumphantly as he raised his sword for a killing blow.

"Wif yer death, I'll be knowed as Dregg Dogsbane!  Herrherr!"

Edit:  Another ? issue.  Annoying…

Ryills took stock of her surrounds and once against she was in awe, looking toward Argus, she saw him take out the rat and weasel with just his staff. She is sure her jaw dropped a few inches, dang he is good, maybe he can teach me a few things?

Ryills got a staggering blow from behind, she fell forward on her paws and knees, feeling a paw lift her off the ground she cursed as she was thrown a few feet, landing on her back, seeing a fat rat coming at her. Scrambling to her feet she flexed her rudder and tensed, he charged and she spun out of the way,  and brought her rudder on his head, slamming him into the tree, then her footpaw caught a rock and she tripped.

It must of been fate or just stupid luck that Ryills tripped right when Razors sword grazed her head and landed in the ground. Ryills froze once again, what th- she felt her head and then looked at the sword again, he tried to kill me!? That kid needs a lesson in sword fighting! She jumped up from the ground and yelled at Razor, "ARE YOU BLOODLY KIDDING ME!?" seeing Dregg about to kill Razor she gave an inhuman screech and lunged at Dregg, Dregg had one chance to look up before Ryills ended his life.

Both thuded on the ground and Ryill got up, looking at Dreg, "You ain't killn' him. He mine!" Before Razor could get up, Ryills tore off her bandanna, tossed her sword, jacket and threw herself at Razor, "You idot!? What are you playing at?! Nearly beheading me!?" she started to rain down blows on Razor, even though it didn't do much, "Idot! FOOL! DON"T CHA KNOW HOW TO HANDLE A SWORD!? I COULDA DIED! I dont wanna die!" Tears now clouded Ryills eyes, "Dumb idiot Stripedog! Ya should never have sharp things, you a are a disgrace! Stripedogs are supposed to be skilled and handle thee sword! You!? I don't know where to start with ya! Ya hopeless cause!" her voice has lost its masculine tone and was a now a screaming female voice

Now it was just pure relief that Ryills felt. She felt a pair of paws pulling her off, Ole Gus held the struggling Ryills. "LETTA ME GO!" She snarled, "I"ll skin him! I'll skin him til he is just bones!" During her struggle, her hair had come loose and framed around her face, showing her she was actually a female otter. But at this point she didn't notice.

Razor Rawstripe remained on the ground, looking up at the canopy of branches and leaves that dappled the sun upon him.  He took deep, steadying breaths and ignored everything else but his beating heart.  He heard the sound of Ryills voice, felt the dull thump of her fists.  The sound didn't register as words, the fists didn't register as pain; just a cascade of vibrations that beat a rhythm to his heart.  He counted the seconds that his life had been forfeit.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Four seconds was how long he had stared up at that red pointed sword; red from his own blood.  Four seconds was all it took for one to die, or to be saved.  He had kept his eye open in defiance of that death.  He had seen what Ryills had done.

Finally, he sat up, limbs shaking from the loss of adrenaline and blood.  He noticed that Ryills was beside him, eyes wide, fur and hair disheveled.  With the hair falling down and shaping the face that way, Ryills looked more feminine.  But Razor could not focus on that.  His left paw twinged every time he moved it and remembered the blinding pain that had caused his remaining eye to black out.  Probably a cut down to the bone, that one.  He became aware of how disconnected he was to all the pain, as if looking at some other beasts blood-matted fur, and not his own.

"Badger's be fierce warriors, no doubt."  Ole Gus's voice was loud and clear, despite how quietly he spoke.  "But y'aint immortal.  No beast is."  He wasn't laughing anymore.  "What'cha done was right foolish, matey."

Razor groaned as he pushed himself to his feet.  He was glad that neither of the otters tried to help him or to stop him.  He didn't know what he would have done if they had.  HE was afraid he would have accepted their help, succumbed to the paws pushing him back down to rest while his wounds were tended to.  His pride would not let that happen.  He took a step and was frozen in agony.  His footpaw had taken a blow from Dregg, but he hadn't noticed the pain until now.  Limping, he approached his fallen sword and saw his own blood coating the handle.  He picked it up slowly, holding it as if he had never seen it before.

"I don't know what I'm doing."  He said aloud.  He didn't know if the otters were still there, let alone listening, but he didn't care.  He wasn't talking to them.  Tears of shame and anger blurred his vision.  He blinked them away and growled.  "My father made this blade for a warrior, and I am dishonoring his name, his craft, and this blade by wielding it.  I'm no warrior.  I'm an ignorant pup playing at being a warrior."

He placed a paw across his patched eye.  "How can I fight if I can't see half the battlefield?"  He began ripping strips from the bottom of his bloodstained tunic, wrapping the blade with the cloth.  From the remaining strips he fashioned a loop and tied it off to the hilt of the blade before pulling the loop under his left arm and over his head to rest upon his right shoulder.  With the task done, he turned back to see the two otters standing where he had left them.  Ole Gus watched him with those unseeing eyes.  With the hair concealing Ryills eyes, Razor could not tell of the young otter was looking at him.  Were those tears he saw?

"May'aps yer too young an' ine'sperienced fer such a weapon, yet." Gus agreed softly.  "May'aps ye need a smaller weapon ye can control."

Razor thought those words over before waliking past the otters to the dead stoat, Dregg.  His broadsword lay beside his cooling corpse.  Razor picked the blade up.  It was of average craft, but it felt balanced enough in his paws.  He took a few practice swings.  It felt almost natural.  He could fight better with this weapon than he could with his greatsword.  Without a word, he slid the blade through his rope belt so it sat at his hip.

"I have a lot to learn." He said grudgingly.

"Aye, ye do."  Ole Gus said.  "But yer young, yet.  Ye 'ave time."  Then the old otter clapped his paws together loudly, startling Razor.  "Now, methingks this liddle distraction 'as served its purpose, haharr.  C'mon young'uns!  Me kettle'll be burnin' soon iffen we don't 'urry!  An' the faster we get there, the sooner we can tend t'yer wounds, both of you's!  Haharr!"

As Ole Gus continued on his way, Razor took the time to study Ryills closer.  Something had happened and had got Ryills very upset.  He didn't understand.  He remembered the hammering of fists into him, shouting into his face, though the words were lost to him.  What had happened?  Had Ryills been afraid he was dead?  Had they known each other long enough to have that strong of a bond?  Razor didn't know, but he knew he was suddenly very worried about his young otter companion.

"Let's get some food, Ryills."  He said softly, trying to ease the otter out of whatever had happened.

Ryills still stood there shaking. Her heart had finally slowed down and her breathing slowed. But it didn't change how she felt, for the first time in the longest, she felt scared. If its to use, and Ryills never told anyone, she fears death. It reflected also, tears threatened to spill down her face.

She watched the interaction between Argus and Razor and didn't say anything, she just looked down to the ground. Her cockiness was gone, snuffed out by the near death experience. She thought it over in her head, it was just pure luck that she tripped on the root and fell down, right when his sword sliced over her head. But instead of being in the ground, it would of been in her head and she would of died. Ryills shook her head to clear the thought and didn't hear Argus telling her to come along for the food.

Ryills looked at her paws, from trying to beat up Razor, they were bloodied and swollen. But she didn't feel the cuts, bruises or swollen paws on her already scared body. She rubbed her paws together, anxiously.

'Lets get some food, Ryills' Razors words cut through her head, she snapped her head up, tears spilling out of her eyes, "Don't. Talk. To. Me." she forced out and then pushed pass him, picking up her sword, coat and stash. Then looking straight ahead she followed Argus.

"Don't.  Talk.  To.  Me."

Razor stood silently as the young otter took off after Ole Gus.  Perhaps he had read the otter wrong and their teamwork on the battlefield had not been enough to join them as comrades.  He didn't know why he expected otherwise.

Still, something felt different as he took up the rear of their group once again.  In the beginning of this trek, Ryills had been confident and independent, but seemed to enjoy having company.  Now things were far different.  Now Ryills seemed to almost hate him.  What had happened?  He tired to think over the battle that had taken place, but he found himself limited to what had been before him.  He had not even given a second glance at Gus, despite having relinquished his weapon for Gus's safety.  He had become focused only on the vermin in front of him  He had lost track of Ryills and Gus whilst he went on a reckless attack.  He was not used to fighting alongside others, and he had treated the battle as if he was fighting alone.  Had his selfishness resulted in the near death of one of them?

Gus seemed fine for the most part, but Ryills had been shaken by something.  What?  He began playing the battle through in his head.  Had his initial attack left Ryills open on all sides, forcing the otter to defends himself from too many directions?  He had never known how many vermin had been in the gang.  He had killed many, but perhaps he had left Ryills to face more than the otter could have mentally handled.  The scars on the otters body spoke of battle, though not the imminent death that Razor had faced.  However, otters were so much smaller and fragile than a badger.  How would he know what was too much for such a beast?

Again, he thought of asking the otter, but the rigid back in front of him stilled his tongue.  The otter needed time alone in his head, as Razor did.  He touched upon his scarred eye and wiped the fresh blood away.  He had not entered the Bloodwrath, of that he was certain.  He had heard enough stories to know that if he had been in the Bloodwrath he would have pushed forward past death.  He would not have turned to pull his sword out of the tree, but used his claws and teeth to take his enemy with him to Hellgates.  What worried him was why he hadn't entered a Bloodwrath?  He shook his head at his own ignorance.

"Ahoy, mateys!" Ole Gus called from ahead.  Razor looked up to see they had come to a stream bed with a great willow tree standing as a silent sentinel.  At the base of the tree was a hole that traveled down.  Gus smiled and blew air out the sides of his mouth, making his whiskers flutter.  "Welcome to me 'umble abode!"  Then he crawled head first down the hole.

Razor studied it and found it just big enough for himself to crawl into.  He gave Ryills a look as if to ask what the otter thought, but held his tongue again.  Taking a breath, he scrambled down the tunnel and came to rest in a quite sizable room.  A small fire was slowly dying in the center, a large black cauldron hanging over.  Two beds of grass lay against the far wall, though it looked as if the old otter lived alone.

Gus was at the cauldron, stirring the contents with a gentle paw.  He took the spoon up to his lips and gave it a small sip before smacking his lips and chuckling in appreciation.  Razor took found an empty spot and sat with his back against the wall, watching the entrance for Ryills.

"Oh this'll be grand!" Gus chuckled to himself.  "Now both yew beasts get settled in, an' I'll start tendin' to yer wounds.  Jus' let Ole Gus show yer some Gracestream tricks, haharr!"

Ryills stared fixed to the front, wrapping her bandana around her paw she gritted her teeth, making not looking back to Razor. Putting her stash back around her waist she sheathed her rapier through it and just opted to carry her coat.

Her paws hurt, she was sure she pulled a back muscle and even felt a slight headache coming on, and suddenly just over come with exhaustion. She gingerly felt her head, luckily the sword didn't cut her skin but still. She shivered, and made a mental note to herself to thank her guardians later.

'Ahoy, mateys!' and Ryills focused back to reality just in time to see Ole Gus crawling into a hole on a base of the willow tree near a stream. She took stock of her surroundings, it was a peacefull looking place, stream flowing by with a huge willow tree sheltering the glen. Instead of following the others right away she walked over to the stream. Crouching down she placed her paws in the stream and gently rinsed off the blood and cleaning her bandana, not even thinking of what she was doing. She scrubbed at her bandana fiercely, trying to get the blood out of it, but since it was already red she didn't know if she got all the blood out .

Splashing some water on her face, she put on her bandana, getting her hair out of her face. Halting for a moment to look at herself in the water, what was she doing? maybe she should just leave those two behind and go back to the beach and set sail. She was sure that her captian and the crew were still at the tavern on the coast, having fun. But her stomach growled and that was her decision. Getting up she crawled down in the hole. Expecting it to be small and cramped, but to her surprise it as quite large and black cauldron was sitting over a fire where Ole Gus was stirring the stew. Her nose twitched and her mouth watered, it did smell mighty fine to her.

It touched on a faint memory, far back in her younger days when she was a barmaid working at her inn. It was evening and a crowed would trickle in after a long day. Usually over a big fire hung a cauldron with the best stew around so everyone said and when the stew was cooking Ryills would be introduced and the crowd would cheer and she then she would sing songs to her guests…
Closing her eyes she sighed.

"Oh this'll be grand! Now both yew beasts get settled in, an' I'll start tendin' to yer wounds.  Jus' let Ole Gus show yer some Gracestream tricks, haharr!"

Opening her eyes, Ryills took that as her cue and she sat down aways from Razor near the entrance so she didn't have to meet his gaze. "Thank you Gus." she said gently to the otter. "What are you making? It smells absolutely splendid, sir" Gone was her tone and demeanor.

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