I’ve seen these posted on DeviantArt a lot, and so I thought: why not to do the same with my Redwall characters? It would allow me to share some interesting facts that didn’t made their way into the stories proper yet, especially the development process, and I could update more often with such snippets while the proper chapters are in the work. And you can suggest the next character or characters about which you want to learn more in the comments, though personally I’d prefer to do such posts for characters that don’t get as much screen time as the mains. Then, let us begin.
- 1 Wavehound Streamdiver and Seabird Galedeep from ‘For Freedom’
- 2 Brother Turfee from ‘For Freedom’
- 3 One-ear from ‘For Freedom’
- 4 Kars and Foxglove from ‘For Freedom’
- 5 Rurik Brightrill from ‘Cripple’
- 6 Stonebreaker Skief from ‘For Freedom’
- 7 Cregga’s family from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’
- 8 Tamant Silentblade and Zorra from ‘For Freedom’
- 9 Captain Razorclaw the Fierce from ‘Cripple’
- 10 Moska Waterdog and Olva of Redwall from ‘For Freedom’
- 11 Krugg Bloodpike and Clyde from ‘For Freedom’
- 12 Brittle Downriver from ‘Raven’s Feather’
- 13 Surt the Bloody from ‘For Freedom’
- 14 Hopse and Plana from ‘For Freedom’
- 15 Arrowfly and Catcher from ‘For Freedom’
- 16 Blackpatch from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’
- 17 Rats of Lower Terramort from ‘For Freedom’ and ‘Sharkslayer’
- 18 Farl from ‘Cripple’
Wavehound Streamdiver and Seabird Galedeep from ‘For Freedom’
1. In my original ‘sketch’, Wavehound and Seabird’s names were Waverunner and Sea Silence respectively. You see, I originally thought up the story in Russian, and so the names had to be translated when I decided to improve my English by writing it in English and posting it on the Wiki. Wavehound changed his name because I saw that someone else on the Wiki had a character named Waverunner in their story, and while Sea Silence sounds graceful, it’s too long for a name, so I changed it to Seabird.
2. Wavehound and Seabird’s names really stand out among traditional otter names of Green Isle, but there is an in-story explanation of it. Wavehound belongs to Streamdiver Clan through his father, but his mother was the last member of Wavehound Clan which, along with some other smaller Clans, almost completely died out after the conquest of the Isle by wildcats. Wavehound’s mother died soon after his birth, and to honor her and her Clan and to make sure they would not be forgotten, his father gave him this name. Seabird, born into slavery, was given her name by her parents in hope that even though they themselves were slaves, one day their daughter would be free as a bird and able to live by the sea as a Galedeep otter should.
3. For a long time Wavehound and Seabird didn’t have a fixed designs since I just used to not dwell on how exactly they looked. I suppose it was Sayna’s influence that made my imagination kick off, since her characters are always so descriptive. After that, their designs changed quite a few times in my mental eye, though it wasn’t reflected story-wise. Wavehound was established as being tan-furred early on, but his eye color changed from gold to amber to brown and he gained a lighter underbelly later on. Seabird started out grey-furred and blue-eyed, but when I decided that I don’t want her to look like Moska’s long-lost sister, she became brown-furred and blue-eyed. Eventually, in her final and my favourite design Seabird has dark brown fur and dark amber eyes.
4. In my original ‘sketch’, Wavehound and Seabird were supposed to eventually become a couple, but as I began to actually write the story and Wavehound and Sea began developing as characters, I realized that was not going to happen, just because they don’t fit together. It’s not that they dislike each other – quite the opposite, they are good friends, but they just don’t view each other romantically, and Wavehound is too focused on protecting their fellow slaves and fighting Fort corsairs to think about romance at all. Plus, they are way too different – different enough to balance each other as partners and friends, but too different to make a romance work.
5. I didn’t plan on it, but Wavehound and Seabird’s personalities provide an interesting contrast. On the one hand, we have Wavehound who has more radical way of thinking – it’s not that he’s reckless, quite the opposite, his meticulous planning of the slaves’ escape prove that, but he is more prone to take calculated risks and more willing to go to the end to reach his goals. Seabird, on the other hand, is more composed and thoughtful and willing to be content with small things if they mean safety of her friends. She is also more compassionate compared to Wavehound’s harsher demeanor, hardened by the life in slavery.
6. Appearances of Wavehound and Seabird are also built on contrast, though this one is intentional. Being members of Streamdiver and Galedeep Clans respectively, Wavehound is tall but lean and slender, sinewy and physically capable but not very imposing, while Seabird is large and strong ottermaid, broad-shouldered and muscular. Let’s say that I wanted to reflect their origins in their appearances, plus I really like subverting gender stereotypes.
7. Wavehound is a river otter while Seabird is a sea otter, but this isn’t brought up in the story, aside from showing in their Clans’ names, since Redwall books never accent the difference between these species except for several remarks in ‘High Rhulain’ and ‘The Rogue Crew’. And since river otters can live along the coast, provided they have the source of fresh water, I always kind of assumed they are not different species. That being said, otters of Streamdiver and Galedeep Clans do have physical differences, as evident by their looks, but they have much more in common.
8. Despite all their differences, Wavehound and Seabird share a dream so bold that they don’t often dare speak of it aloud. They dream that one day, when all their fellow slaves on Terramort Isle are free and the power of Darm Deathtrap is overthrown, they would sail out to Green Isle and liberate it from the tyranny of wildcats. They don’t know how they will manage it or when or by what means, since their current position is difficult enough, with Fort soldiers on their heels and their friends in danger, but that’s the goal they have in mind.
Brother Turfee from ‘For Freedom’
Suggested by Sayna.
1. In my first ‘sketch’, Turfee was called Blackpaw despite being a canon ‘Triss’ character. Why? In Russian translation of ‘Triss’, Turfee’s name was changed to what can roughly be translated as ‘Blackie’. Calling a very serious and no-nonsense healer like that didn’t seem right, so I assumed that ‘Blackie’ was a nickname, and gave this character full name of Blackpaw. Of course, I returned him his canon name when the story turned to being written in English, but this concept is still reflected in his appearance: Turfee has dark-colored paws that stand out against his dun brown fur, and Foxglove’s name for him, Dustpaws, is a nod to that.
2. Turfee is about 21 seasons old during the events of ‘For Freedom’, thus making him about 6 seasons old during the events of ‘Triss’.
3. It may seem uncharacteristic for such a mischievous Dibbun as Turfee to grow up into such a grumpy and uptight adult, but the truth is that Turfee views his work very seriously and thinks that there is no place for jokes and flippancy when a beast’s health depends on him. When he is off duty, Turfee is more relaxed and lighthearted, though he is still quite thoughtful all the time.
4. Turfee’s dislike of Foxglove is not born by any negative experience, past encounters or personal grudges; instead, it’s just a general dislike of vermin who had brought war to his home, and he is still very suspicious about the vixen, fearing she may try to attack the healers once again or do something equally harmful to Redwall.
5. Turfee was the one who insisted that he would be the only one treating Foxglove’s injuries, even though he opposes the idea of a vermin in Redwall infirmary. But however much he dislikes the situation, he likes the idea of Sister Vernal treating the vixen even less. Turfee is worried that kind-hearted Vernal would be in danger near Foxglove, as the vixen may lie to her and manipulate her or attack her once again or harm her in some other way, while he is always on guard and can handle himself with such an unusual patient.
6. Turfee is greatly respected by Truvo Blackhawk since he was the one who had healed the hawk’s dislocated wing several seasons ago, when he was too badly injured to fly – in fact, Turfee is one of the few earthwalking beasts to have Truvo’s respect. Truvo doesn’t like talking about it because he is too proud to admit he owes somebeast, but Turfee is okay with this since he has no intention of using this, and he also doesn’t like mentioning it: he considers helping others his duty and doesn’t think it’s something to draw perks from.
7. Turfee has several garden beds in the Abbey orchards where he grows medical herbs so that he could keep his medical stocks full without having to leave for Mossflower Woods for resupplying. He is quite good at gardening, though he is not an expert, but his friend and Head Gardener Roobil helps him a lot with them.
8. Turfee is still close with his Dibbunhood friends Roobil and Toobles, and they often meet to have lunch together or share a cup of mint tea. However, Turfee doesn’t spend as much time with Bikkle and Ruggum due to their duties of Mother Abbess and Foremole taking a lot of time.
One-ear from ‘For Freedom’
One-ear is a character that I had to let go early, but to whom I am nevertheless very attached, so I decided to give the poor guy some perks and share more than eight facts about him.
1. As strange as it may sound, One-ear was inspired by One-and-half Ivan, a character from ‘One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” a short story by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn about political prisoners. The aforementioned One-and-half Ivan was one of the guards that didn’t even appear, but the main hero commented that he looked very scary and thuggish, and yet the hero would prefer working under him since One-and-half Ivan is not as cruel as the other guards. In that moment, an image of huge, battle-scarred black rat with thunder-like voice who was more than he seemed had appeared in my head, and the character was born.
1.5. In a way, it can be said that ‘One day of Ivan Denisovich’ inspired ‘For Freedom’ in itself. I had some ideas floating in my head before that – Freedom getting her own story, the weasel warlord relying on cunning and strategy, Bloodwrath being portrayed as curse and something to struggle with, etc. But after reading ‘One day…’, the scenes of slaves’ life on Terramort that currently open the story just sprung to my mind; in fact, I’m guilty of the scene of One-ear saving Maple from being punished by lashing out at him himself being especially heavy referenced. ‘For Freedom’ is definitely grown to be much more than that, but the spark that lighted up the kindling is owed to my school classic literature.
2. One-ear’s name was supposed to be One-and-half-ear, as a reference to the aforementioned character, but it was eventually shortened. I figured that pirates would favor short and concise names that would be easy to shout in the battle – and in the time it takes to pronounce ‘One-and-half-ear’ you can well get killed.
3. One-ear’s name before he acquired his current nickname was Rain, and his true name, the name he was given at birth, was Rayan. When One-ear enlisted on the pirates’ ship, ‘Rayan’ got corrupted into ‘Rain’, and since One-ear considered his birth name to be too fancy for a pirate, he didn’t insist on correct pronunciation.
4. It was Longstep who had given One-ear his current nickname. Their relationship was less than cordial when they had just met in the beginning of the War of Thousand Rains, at least on Longstep’s part, which may have something to do with the fact that One-ear whipped him across his face during their first meeting. Anyway, Longstep meant ‘One-ear’ to be an insult and a taunt, but much to his surprise and annoyance, the black rat just shrugged and concluded that this name is no worse than any other. The nickname stuck fast, and so Rain became One-ear.
5. One-ear’s parents were one of the rare peaceful rats who weren’t involved in being part of any horde and lived by farming instead of robbing and raiding. It can even be said that they were something of nobility, respected by everybeast in their settlement, and this status is reflected by the more high-class name they had given their son. However, One-ear thought them soft and their life boring and unworthy of vermin. He craved the daring and the comradery of the life led by ‘true’, dangerous vermin, so he ran off to join a corsair ship at the age of thirteen and never returned home.
6. One-ear was good friends with Darm’s parents, especially his mother Lazybones. Older than One-ear by seven years, she became like a sister to him when he had joined the corsair crew she had been serving on. When Darm was born, One-ear became somewhat of an honorary uncle to him, a position that Darm hated and despised since it gave One-ear a certain amount of power over him.
7. Due to his strength and ability to learn quickly, One-ear advanced quickly in all of the pirate crews he had been serving with, but he never held any significant positions of power. He was always courageous in battle and diligent in work as well as open and straightforward with the crew in the time of rest, thus earning him popularity among the simple henchbeasts. However, the same qualities made him dangerous in the eyes of the Captains and the officers, since they viewed One-ear as a potential mutineer who can overthrow them and thus was a threat to them. Therefore, Captains purposely kept One-ear in lower ranks so that he wouldn’t have a chance to move against them. One-ear himself had no ambition at all, so he didn’t actually mind that.
8. One-ear was one of Darm’s initial followers and loyal supporters when Darm had just began uniting the corsairs under his rule and earning himself the title of warlord. One-ear knew how many vermin were dying in skirmishes between Captains over loot and believed that a single strong ruler can put a stop to it, and the islands Darm was conquering in the Northern and Western Seas would’ve allowed the corsairs to benefit greatly. However, One-ear’s opinions changed when he had realized that Darm intended to conquer Mossflower Country and Western Coasts as well, ruling over the lands as he did over the seas. The war would’ve led to the very bloodshed One-ear strived to avoid, and so he did everything in his power to turn Darm’s plans around.
9. Looking back now, it well may seem that One-ear was a perfect character who had no apparent flaws, but while they are not so visible, he had them nevertheless. For one, One-ear had always been very sure and confident in his way – not arrogant, but just overconfident, and that could make him blind to all the possible mistakes and things that could go wrong. Secondly, One-ear was rigid and inflexible, unwilling to adapt to the situations. Maybe saying that he was unwilling to change his behavior and attitude would be more correct, since One-ear’s viewpoints did grow and evolve with him. For example, he showed a lot of open-mindedness and sound judgement when he had fought side by side with woodlanders during the War of Thousand Rains, but in the end, it was his inability to bend and use more subtle approach when dealing with Darm instead of his usual forward and certainly insulting to the warlord rebuke that had caused his death.
10. The decision to kill One-ear was one of the hardest I had to take, since this character meant a lot to me. But this was exactly the situation when no other outcome would’ve been possible. One-ear was exactly the type of a person to tell his extremely dangerous and suspicious boss what he thinks of him and his plans straightaway, and Darm Deathtrap was exactly the type of a person to never let something like this slide. To change the aftermath of their confrontation I had to significantly change personality traits of either One-ear or Darm, and I didn’t want to do that… and so One-ear had to go.
Kars and Foxglove from ‘For Freedom’
Segalia suggested that I do Kars, and I added Foxglove as well, because they just tend to go together. I tried to focus on Kars, though, and I’ve got to say thinking of his past made me come up with some interesting ideas.
1. Foxglove’s plotline is the first Redwall story I came up with, Foxglove thus being my oldest Redwall character. She was created way before ‘For Freedom’, and she was supposed to have her own story of downfall and redemption. Then ‘For Freedom’ happened, and I kind of incorporated my old ideas into the plot, adjusting the details and developing the arc further.
2. Kars’s mismatched eyes were given to him on purpose, so that he would have a peculiar trait that Foxglove could later use to realize that the fox Turfee had killed had indeed been her husband and not just some random hordebeast. The rest of his design was developed with another purpose in mind, especially the weirdness that accompanies his mismatched eyes – the squint in one of his eyes and the fixed gaze of the other eye. All of that gives him roguish and even scary exterior that contrasts with his rough and stuck-up, but generally decent and good-natured personality. Note that while Kars has his weird eyes, Foxglove has her unusually thin and sleek fur, so none of them can be called a paragon of fox beauty.
3. It’s not relevant to the story, but I imagine Kars came from inland territories rather than being born a seabeast. Northern Mountains are his most likely place of origin, explaining his thick brown fur. In his youth, Kars was a member of a small vermin band robbing travelers on the roads, but he soon moved to the Northern coast and became a pirate in the hopes of finding a better life.
4. Kars’s curved sickle-like sword used to belong to the old corsair that ran from his Captain’s wrath and escaped to the Northern Mountains. The said corsair quickly earned himself a high position among the vermin gangs, since simple bandits didn’t know how to deal with curved weapons and counter his unusual fighting technique. After the corsair’s death - his fighting skills didn’t protect him from the knife in the back, - Kars, who was a juvenile at the time, took possession of the sword. He taught himself fighting mainly by watching the corsair fight and imitating him as well as by trial and error.
5. Kars and Foxglove were serving in Captain Catcher’s crew prior to the initial attack on Redwall, but when they had just joined Darm’s army, they were enlisted to Captain Arrowfly’s crew. They served there for two seasons before being transferred under Catcher’s command. Since Captain Catcher and most of his crew used to be land bandits and not corsairs, Darm was more careful while managing him, and so he was making sure that there had always been loyal corsairs in his crew that he could rely on in the time of crisis.
6. Upon Kars and Foxglove’s move to Catcher’s crew Tamant Silentblade offered Kars to become one of his spies and report of any treachery and disloyalty. Kars didn’t want to get involved in Darm’s intrigues, and yet he knew that that was an offer one can’t refuse. So he played dumb, pretending to be all brawn and no brain who didn’t exactly understand what he had been asked to do. Tamant wasn’t fooled by the show, but he knew Kars’s value as a good soldier, so he let it slide, though he never forgot the refusal.
7. I think Foxglove and Kars were truly happy after entering Darm’s army, despite all the constant drilling and fighting. Foxglove was just happy to be free from Skinflint’s tavern and the village that confined her for so long, and unlike back in her village, Foxglove could feel that her work was appreciated. Kars, on the other hand, was slightly dissatisfied with Deathtrap’s strict rules and punishments that were harsher than the ones practiced by free pirates, but he saw benefits of the orderly chain of command and well-composed regime which guaranteed he and Foxglove were safe unless they did something outrageous. Plus, he was happy because Foxglove was happy and he could be with her.
8. Even though Foxglove failed in learning healing from her mother and her knowledge of the subject was poor, she still sometimes acted as a healer in Darm’s army for the simple reason that there were no more competent healers around, as the vermin value the ability to fight and kill more than the ability to heal. Foxglove’s medicines and poultices often were sloppy and painful, but while they rarely could help beasts heal, at the very least they could stop beasts from dying.
Rurik Brightrill from ‘Cripple’
Just so that you wouldn’t think I’m doing only characters from ‘For Freedom’ in this, let’s have a better look at one of the beyond-the-scene characters from ‘Cripple’, Rurik Brightrill.
1. Otter holts in ‘Cripple’ are pretty Slavic-inspired, and one of the things it’s reflected in are their names – all of the otters have traditional Slavic names, except for Karim, who has a Tatar name, because it just seemed to fit. Rurik, in his turn, was named after Prince Rurik of Novgorod, the real or legendary historical figure and founder of Rurik Dynasty. As another fun fact, there is theory that connects the name ‘Rurik’ with the word meaning ‘falcon’ in Slavic languages, such as ‘rarig’, ‘rarasek’, ‘raroh’ or ‘rarog’ – so that would mean that in a way, Rurik is a namesake to Rarog Zann Taggerung from ‘The Taggerung’s Battle’ and ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’. Add to it the fact that the name ‘Rurik’ itself is a variation of the name ‘Roderich’ or ‘Roderick’, and you get another namesake – Roderick Downriver, husband of my second fursona Brittle Downriver from a story that is currently under work. And no, these characters are not connected in any way other than their names – it’s just that I like how this name sounds.
2. Holt Brightrill is located further south than River Moss and Holt Mossguard, and that’s where Rurik’s dark brown fur and hazel eyes come from: Mossguard and other northern holts are pretty Nordic in appearance, dominated by sandy-colored, grey and light brown pelts, while darker brown and russet fur color is more widespread in southern holts.
3. Rurik normally wears a silver-grey tunic, which is traditional clothes of his holt, the color meant to symbolize clear water of a hill stream. Other holts have their own colors as well – for holt Floodtide it is deep blue, symbolizing the sea, and for holt Mossguard it is turquoise, symbolizing both the river and the green of the woods.
4. Rurik’s weapon of choice are javelins; he is not a warlike beast, but like any otter, he was taught to handle weapons and protect his holt, so he can fight as well as any warrior. When Sharpblade’s crew attacked Holt Brightrill, he was severely wounded for the very reason that he fought to protect Lana.
5. Personality-wise, Rurik is the ultimate nice guy, calm and amiable and attentive, almost mellow. He is level-headed enough to act as a voice of reason and balance out Svetlana’s feisty attitude and he gets along with beasts easily due to his friendly nature. Rurik rarely snaps, if ever; if he is angry with somebeast, he’d rather cut contact with them instead of arguing and fighting.
6. Rurik met Svetlana two seasons prior to the events of ‘Cripple’ at the feast of Hullabaloo where different otter holts can meet, share stories and news, dance and swim in the sea. At this Hullabaloo Rurik, Lana and several other young otters spent a lot of time together, and after it was over, they decided to travel through Mossflower Woods to the south till it was time for them to part ways just so they could see new places and hang out together some more. Later, Rurik came to visit Lana in her Holt and stayed there for several weeks, and sometime later they both visited Redwall at one of its famous feasts and met on the other occasions. By the time Lana was staying in Holt Brightrill before being captured, they already were in love and planning to marry.
7. Rurik and Lana planned for Lana to move to Holt Brightrill after their marriage and live there with Rurik or even find a quiet farm for them both to settle in. These unassuming plans testify just how much of a lie were Viscum’s words when she had identified Svetlana as the heir to Holt Mossguard. Svetlana has no interest in her father’s position, and besides, the power in otter holts isn’t exactly passed down hereditary, and she had little chances of becoming a Skipper anyway, being a maiden and all… though it’s worth noting that Lana still could have reached a high position if she had wanted to, similar to Rangapaw who led patrols for her father and Garraway Bullow who just called herself a Queen.
8. Rurik has an older brother called Bluewhisker, nicknamed that after one incident in his cubhood when he stuck his muzzle in a pot with blue dye and then couldn’t wash it off for days, and a younger sister named Ladoga, Lada for short. Bluewhisker is a tall and black-furred, with long whiskers and brown eyes, and Ladoga is brown-furred and brown-eyed with lighter cream underbelly. Outside of the story, Bluewhisker was named after Sineus, a legendary brother of the real-life Rurik, whose name can be interpreted in several ways… but it sounds very much like words for ‘Blue whisker’ in Russian, and Ladoga is named after the Ladoga Lake in northwest Russia. They both survived the attack on Holt Brightrill, though Bluewhisker lost an ear in it and gained some scars.
Stonebreaker Skief from ‘For Freedom’
Since Rats of Lower Terramort are a tribe whose culture and way of life I greatly enjoy exploring, them being my own creation, I’d like to present to you some information about Stonebreaker Skief.
1. All the beasts in Rolt have their names from Norse mythology just because I like it, even if the culture of Lower Terramort resembles the Celtic one if anything, but Skief’s name is an exception. In truth, I ‘borrowed’ the named from ‘The Hammer and the Cross’, a book by Harry Harrison. Its main character called Shef, but at one point of the story his Viking friends couldn’t pronounce it right and instead say it as ‘Skief’. I liked the sound of it, plus ‘Skief’ parallels with ‘chief’, reflecting Skief’s status as the leader, so it just happened that Skief’s character received this name. Oh, and in case you are wondering, Skief’s name is pronounced as ‘Sk-ef’, with a kind of pause/aspiration after Sk due to an unpronounceable letter called ‘soft sign’ used in Russian transcription of the name.
2. In-story, there is a certain naming tradition that can be traced through Skief’s male lineage from his grandfather to his son: Skvold – Sinri – Skief – Sigvard. So even though the names are not repeated, the alternating ‘Sk-’ and ‘Si-’ still have Skief’s name parallel his grandfather’s and Sig’s name parallel the one of Skief’s father.
3. Skief resembles his father Sinri a lot, same as Ull resembles his mother Urd more, though Ull’s appearance is a more balanced mix between his parents’ traits. Skief inherited his father’s brown fur and strong stature, and the only traits he got from his mother Embla are his black eyes and some facial features such as small ears and deeply-seated eyes.
4. Skief’s nickname ‘Pebble’ was originally given to him by his grandmother Hlokk when he was a cub, because he was so small and lively and always scurried around smoothly like a pebble brought to the shore by the waves. The nickname was picked up by Skvold, but he stopped calling his grandson that when he had grown up from a cub into a youngster. However, Skadi, who was several seasons older than Skief, kept calling him ‘Pebble’ just because she liked teasing him. With seasons, ‘Pebble’ became Skadi’s affectionate nickname for her friend that she kept even after she and Skief married.
5. Skief and his wife Skadi knew each other since they were cubs, though their friendship didn't exactly start on equal footing. Skadi was three seasons older than Skief, and this is a noticeable gap at the early age. However, Skief had always been a serious and thoughtful cub, and he often hung out with older ratlets, especially Skadi, whom he had always admired, and Skadi really enjoyed having the younger cub around. As they grew, the age gap between them diminished and Skief's admiration turned into a crush, and Skadi realized that she was way more attached to him that she had thought. They married not long before Skief became Stonebreaker, when Skief was nineteen and Skadi was twenty two.
6. Since he and Ull grew up together, Skief treats him more like his younger brother than his cousin, and while Stonebreaker often acts sternly with him, exasperated at Ull’s carefree and sometimes even irresponsible attitude, he is also pretty supportive of Ull. In fact, it was Skief who suggested that Ull should try his paw in being a stone carver - a position where a rat has to act as both chronicler and artist, carving the stories of what had happened in the Clan on the walls of Hall of Memory for the future generation, - as Skief realized that more ordinary and traditional tasks would seem too boring to Ull’s restless and spirited nature.
7. Skief became Stonebreaker at the age of twenty, directly succeeding his grandfather Skvold when the latter was over seventy. This makes Skief the youngest Stonebreaker in the history of Terramort – even his grandfather, who was also known to receive the title of Clan leader early in his life, was in his early twenties when he became one. In truth, Skvold had always seen potential in his grandson and had acted like a mentor to him, but he hoped that there would be somebeast else capable of taking the burden of leadership. However, as Skvold grew older and Skief matured, it became clear that Skief was best suited for the position.
8. Skief is a good leader to Rats of Lower Terramort and the other beasts under his protection, as he would do everything in his power to keep them safe from Darm’s forces; however, he is noted for his rigid conservatism, preferring to trade freedom for safety. This viewpoint is not ungrounded, since Skief remembers too well the disaster that had followed after his grandfather tried to fight Darm back and doesn’t want to risk the lives of his whole Clan by any rash or careless actions. Still, his political strategy is not ideal, and he has yet to realize it.
Cregga’s family from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’
Long, long ago Segalia Riverstorm asked me if I’ll do ‘8 Facts about…’ on Cregga’s brother Sandor. Back then I answered that I don’t have enough information as he was always planned to be something of off-screen character. However, after some thinking I decided to combine the facts about Sandor as well as Carinna Rosehip and Tejon Spearstrike just so I can do characters from other my stories than ‘For Freedom’. ;)
1. You are probably expecting another one of my almost obligatory linguistic comments on the characters’ meaningful names, but truth is that not all of the names are chosen for their hidden meaning. Tejon means ‘badger’ in Spanish, but Sandor and Carinna’s names were picked just because I liked their sound. I needed noble and knight-like name for Cregga’s brother, and for her mother I was looking for something feminine, and both these names fitted them pretty well.
2. Sandor’s weapon of choice was a sort of pike/halberd, very much like the great spears his father and sister use, but with more ornate blade that could cleave as well as slash and stab.
3. Among his children, Sandor was Tejon’s favourite. He loved his daughter, too, but he had especially strong bond with Sandor, since he was a son to carry on his heritage of warrior after him and Tejon was spending a lot of time training and mentoring him. Cregga, on the other paw, was her mother’s favourite, though the young badgermaid strived to be near her father as much as possible.
4. Tejon had never felt the urge to seek out Salamandastron because he found his place in life early on. Due to the way of warrior he led, there were lands for Tejon to look after and the beasts that needed his protection, so in a way he had already fulfilled the destiny of a badger lord.
5. The name Rosehip was passed down to Cregga and Sandor through Tejon’s grandfather, who was known to own a large grove of dog-rose trees and had been making the best rosehip jam and cordials in the village. Tejon had earned the moniker ‘Spearstrike’ before he had married Carinna, but he still passed down the name Rosehip to her and his children. Sadly, by the time ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’ takes place, the rosehip tree grove was seriously diminished in size due to its age and droughts.
6. Originally I planned Carinna to be a stricter and harsher character who was much more vocal about her disapproval of Cregga’s war-like tendencies and often reprimanded her for it, insisting that a maiden like her should leave fighting and battles for males. However, as I developed Carinna’s character I toned her down, for several reasons: I didn’t want to make this aspect of the story too cliché and I wanted to make Cregga’s mother more likable. So now she still wishes that her daughter would’ve chosen more lady-like hobby than sparring in spear-fighting, but it actually stems from her fear of losing Cregga and her worry for her daughter.
7. Even though Carinna was fairy small compared to an average badger – at the age of seventeen, Cregga was already a head taller than her mother, - and wasn’t trained to fight, she wasn’t completely helpless. Carinna was still a badger, and if left with no other choice she would've fought to protect her family. Sadly, the bandit that had gotten into her house caught her by surprise, and his attack was so sudden and swift that Carinna haven’t even had a chance to defend herself.
8. I imagine that after Tejon’s death and Cregga’s departure Lepus Goldenpaw and his sons took over watching the nearby lands instead of them. They were not true warriors, despite Lepus having a certain experience in fighting that he passed down to Capensis and Microtis, and they couldn’t travel at long distances at the news of vermin attacks as Tejon did, but after what had happened to Carinna, Lepus decided to keep an eye on surrounding territories so that if any bandits showed up again they would know beforehand and be ready to defend their homes.
Tamant Silentblade and Zorra from ‘For Freedom’
I decided to do entries for all Darm Deathtrap’s Captains, since there are some interesting development and backstory facts to share and they are the characters that stay in shadow one way or another. I will do the Captains in pairs so that every one would get their share of attention.
1. I don’t exactly remember where Tamant’s name came from, but it certainly has parallels with the word ‘adamant’, and it reflects Tamant’s personality a lot, with the rat Captain being just as imperturbable and uncompromising. Besides, the name full of hard consonants really compliments his harsh nature.
2. Tamant was the first vermin who joined Darm’s side, long time ago when young Darm, called Yellowbelly at that point, had only began his service on a pirate ship and Tamant had been a low-key corsair at the very bottom of crew hierarchy, despised for his stealthy habits and yet feared because he knew a lot. So Darm and Tamant, both ambitious beasts, albeit Tamant being more cautious, made a pact: Tamant would spy for Darm, provide him with information and probably even do some services requiring stealth, and Darm in return would raise Tamant to a position of a Captain after his own rise to power, a promise Darm had kept.
3. Even though Tamant holds the title of a Captain and leads a crew, he doesn’t actively participate in fighting. Instead, he is a chief scout, and the beasts of his crew serve as reconnaissance party or even intelligence service of sorts. He also usually leads missions that require stealth and secrecy as well as carries out assassinations. When they do participate in battles, they usually serve as a back-up force, allowing other more battle-experienced Captains to lead from the front lines.
4. Tamant practices ‘the end justifies the means’ philosophy, and he doesn’t hesitate to use and sacrifice anybeast standing in his way to reach his goal, be it an enemy, innocent bystanders or even his own soldiers. However, though Tamant doesn’t shy away from necessary violence and even enjoys it to some extent, he actually frowns upon unnecessary bloodshed and cruelty, considering them impractical and time-consuming. This doesn’t mean he has any compassion in him – he just prefers his job to be done quickly, quietly and with minimal fuss.
5. Zorra was originally supposed to be called Runa, but later I thought that this name would’ve been too similar to the one of Runa Wildlough. Her current name is taken from Spanish word for ‘vixen’.
6. Zorra’s position in Darm’s army was supposed to be slightly different at first – originally I planned for her to be not only Darm’s advisor, but also his seer, with the twist that she didn’t have any mystic abilities and Darm knew it, but still allowed her to put an act of the all-knowing soothsayer and powerful curse-worker because that was a convenient way for him to keep mostly superstitious vermin under control. Eventually I decided to stray from the ‘fox seer’ trope, so currently Zorra is dangerous because of her cunning and wit and great knowledge of her surroundings, not because there is something supernatural about her. In a way, her role of the false seer was passed down to Viscum in ‘Cripple’.
7. Strictly speaking, Zorra is Darm’s adviser, not his Captain, but she commands a crew of corsairs anyway, mostly due to Captain Greywhisker’s betrayal and desertion – Darm Deathtrap preferred to give command over the remaining soldiers to her rather than appoint a new and untested officer. She is more involved in fighting that Tamant, but her tactics still lean to fast lightning strikes and hit-and-run attacks.
8. Zorra’s father served under a powerful corsair Captain as his scribe and aide, and because of that Zorra received better education than most vermin. She had been taught not only reading and writing, but also the beginnings of history, geography, mereology and botany. The young vixen certainly had potential, and Darm saw it when they met. The details of how Zorra became involved with Darm are still hazy, but they include Darm paying off her family’s debt in return for her knowledge and service. Later, Zorra continued to work for Darm not because she felt herself indebted, but because it was profitable to her.
Captain Razorclaw the Fierce from ‘Cripple’
I honestly didn’t expect Razorclaw from ‘Cripple’ to become such a complex and generally messed up character that he had grown into during the story’s course, so this entry will be of more psychological nature.
1. Razorclaw’s origins were typical as pirates go in that his parents were corsairs as well, and he began working as the crew’s cabin boy early enough. However, his relationship with his parents was very strained, as they didn’t pay their son much attention, leaving him to his own devices, and Razorclaw did the same. This actually lays in foundation of Razorclaw’s driven nature, because what originally was born as his need to prove himself later became the desire for fame and reputation and eventually turned into a belief that he can do no wrong and therefore any who as much as dares to argue his points are plotting against him.
2. Razorclaw appearance was always meant to be somewhat symbolic. He possesses the classically handsome traits such as light grey fur combined with black markings and deep blue eyes, which stand out even more when compared to Kyle’s more ‘toned down’ features – darker sooty grey fur, smudged markings and wan blue-grey eyes. However, Razorclaw’s attractive exterior doesn’t reflect his violent temper and mean demeanor, and the more the ferret stoops down in his morals, the less he looks after himself, making his once handsome features ragged and unkempt, thus reflecting his inner turmoil.
3. For all his flaws, Razorclaw possesses a rare sincerity – he almost never lies and always upfront about what he thinks and feels. In part that’s due to Razorclaw’s arrogant nature, as he believes he has nothing to be afraid of and thus no reason to hide the truth. However, it also reflects a better part of his personality, because even though his relationship with Naita turned sour, Razorclaw had truly loved her once, same as he had truly fell in love with Armata afterwards.
4. I don’t think Razorclaw would’ve been such a terrible parent if Kyle hadn’t been born a runt – he wouldn’t have even minded if he had a daughter, provided it were a strong and healthy cub that Razorclaw could train to follow his steps. However, Razorclaw wouldn’t have been very good father either, because he would’ve demanded too much and pushed Kyle too hard, trying to mold his child into something he wanted him to be instead of paying attention to Kyle’s own wishes, and that would’ve caused a lot of frustration on both sides.
5. Interestingly enough, Razorclaw wasn’t very superstitious until Viscum had joined his crew; like most vermin, he was wary about spirits and prophecies, but since Viscum’s ‘visions’ and, in reality, clever tricks engineered by her, seemed to bring him luck, Razorclaw came to rely on them more and more. Ironically, Naita encouraged this, because she hoped that Viscum’s advices would make her husband more clear-sighted and sober-minded. In reality, it had made him blind.
6. Razorclaw is a character who undergoes both negative and positive development throughout his story. He had already been flawed when he was younger, but back in those days he recognized and acknowledged his weaknesses, such as his lack of temper and the fact he had never been much of an intellectual, and even though he didn’t exactly work on them, Razorclaw was trying to work around them, concentrating on the things he had been good at. However, under Viscum’s influence his ego grew and personality worsened while his luck ran out due to Viscum’s schemes, causing a mental breakdown he suffered in the first part of ‘Cripple’. His feelings for Armata woke a better person in him, allowing Razorclaw to look past a beast’s appearance and into their spirit, lifting him up and causing him as much as to defy Viscum at some points. But with her death, all crumbled back to ashes. Armata was Razorclaw’s light, and once it was extinguished, he was left in total darkness and at the brink of madness, with nothing to pull him back up.
7. Razorclaw is affected by what the story calls battle rage, which is actually a mild case of Bloodwrath. He works himself into frenzy very easily, mainly when fighting, but also when something concerns him on personal level, such as when Lana wounded Armata. Razorclaw’s condition isn’t as powerful as true Bloodwrath, but his fury gives him enough strength to make him a terrible force in battle, and he pays almost no mind to his injuries in this state.
8. In battle Razorclaw relies on the brute strength a lot, that’s why his preferred weapons are axes of different sort, perfect for hacking and chopping. He isn’t so good in the hand-to-hand combat, but it would be a mistake to underestimate him.
Moska Waterdog and Olva of Redwall from ‘For Freedom’
I was asked to do 8 facts about Moska by Sayna long time ago, and in doing so I decided to add information about Olva as well because these characters were written to contrast each other from the very start.
1. Unexpected fun fact: Moska was named after Gaetano Mosca, Italian political scientist and journalist. The reason for this is simple: I was at my sociology class when I was picking up a name for Moska’s character, and I liked the way it sounded. I promise there are no hidden political or philosophical connotations there! ;)
2. Strictly speaking, Moska doesn’t belong to any holt, since her family’s name, Waterdogs, was taken by them in imitation of the Waterhogs. Moska’s family had always been wanderers, traveling through the Southsward and the Great Western Plains for seasons before they joined the Waterhogs about eight seasons before ‘For Freedom’. They have been staying with the tribe ever since, and that was enough for Moska to pick up the hedgehogs’ manners.
3. Even though Moska is more tomboyish compared to more feminine Olva, she wears more eye-catching and showy clothes compared to Olva’s simple habit-like dress, and she is also the one wearing fancy jewelry in form of her two bracelets and a tailring. In-story Moska owes her outfit to the wandering culture of her family, who, while not exactly gaudy, are to be very buoyant and expressive in their opinion, lifestyle and outlook.
4. Moska loves celebrations of all kinds and greatly enjoys singing. However, while having a strong and powerful voice, she also can’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it, so all those who know Moska try to do their best to make sure that she doesn’t sing at any public occasions.
5. Despite being neither seen nor mentioned in the story, both of Olva’s parents are still alive and present. They are both inhabitants of Redwall and members of Skipper’s ottercrew, though they prefer working in the gardens and fishing in the pond to active scouting and fighting.
6. Aside from several days’ trips into Mossflower, Olva had never left Redwall. She was invited to take part in otter celebrations of Hullabaloo when she became old enough for it, but she preferred to stay at the Abbey because she didn’t want to leave it for a long time.
7. Olva is a very sensitive person, and she can read the mood and emotions of other beasts so well that it allows her to predict their behavior and motivation to some degree. Of course, it’s far easier for her to do so if the said beast is the one she knows well, like Simon or other Abbeydwellers, and beasts that are new to Redwall are more difficult to figure out. Needless to say, Olva, being a sympathetic and tactful maiden that always knows what to say, doesn’t use it for her own gain, but rather to be able to better understand and help others.
8. Olva doesn’t like fighting, but when she does, she prefers long-distance weapons to close combat, since she is not very strong physically. Olva is particularly skilled with sling and stones, and traditional otter javelins are her second weapon of choice.
Krugg Bloodpike and Clyde from ‘For Freedom’
I’m continuing laying out more facts about Darm Deathtrap’s officers, and this time I picked up two of the more straightforward and less pleasant to deal with characters, Captains Krugg Bloodpike and Clyde.
1. Originally Krugg was supposed to be Plugg Firetail's brother, and his main motivation for attacking Salamandastron was revenge against Lord Sagaxus – since Sagax carried Plugg’s battle axe, Krugg assumed that he was the one who had killed him. Eventually I decided to cut down this sideplot since Krugg’s escaped slaves already gave him a valid reason for invading Salamandastron, and it would’ve bogged down the story.
2. Krugg Bloodpike is the second of both canon and my own villains up to this point who had succeeded in slaying an adult badger in more or less fair combat, without resorting to using superior numbers, ambushes, traps and snipers, the first being Captain Slipp’s murder of Mother Mellus. This fact was one of the reasons why Krugg’s attack on Salamandastron ended so tragically, as I wanted to explore such a situation. The second reason was that I needed to get Sagax out of the way in order to allow Grawn take his place, but that’s another story.
3. Krugg called his ship, Bloodpike, after himself, thus making her the second ship in Darm’s fleet named in such a manner, the first one being Lord Darm’s personal vessel, Deathtrap. Darm wasn’t particularly happy with such arrogance on Krugg’s part, but he allowed it because he didn’t view Krugg’s self-regard as a threat.
4. I like the idea that Krugg Bloodpike and Clyde were good friends when Krugg was still alive and stuck together most of the times. They both shared a penchant for cruelty and callousness, even if it manifested in different ways, and they both didn’t have good relationships with other Captains – practically everybeast was disgusted with Clyde and Krugg’s blunt manners didn’t make him much liked. Clyde and Krugg had enough similar traits to get along well, and even formed a sort of alliance over it, supporting each other if necessary.
5. Clyde has brown fur and green eyes and possesses burly and sturdy body build. He could’ve been called a handsome stoat if it weren’t for his harsh face features that give off the impression of something savage.
6. Clyde is the least talented of all Darm’s Captains – he lacks Tamant’s stealth, Zorra’s cunning, Catcher’s tactical thinking, Arrowfly’s skill in archery and Krugg’s brutality in battle. Despite this, Clyde is probably the most efficient among the officers. He established strict discipline in his crew and trained the vermin under his command practically into perfection with his relentless drills – and since Clyde tends to completely throw himself into the task and drive his troops onward mercilessly until he carries out Darm’s orders, no matter how many soldiers he has to sacrifice, he almost always achieves the goals set for him.
7. While other vermin Captains and soldiers also display cruelty and ruthlessness, Clyde is exceptional because he is downright sadistic and enjoys making other beasts suffer, no matter if they are enemy or ally. He is Darm’s torturer and executioner, a job he relishes, and he always volunteers to question prisoners and carry out punishments. Practically everybeast is disgusted with Clyde’s ‘hobby’, including Darm, though he recognizes his uses – and if it’s the main villain himself who is disgusted with you, that means something.
8. The name of Clyde’s ship is Shorecrusher – he possessed this vessel even before he had joined Darm Deathtrap. This ship was named after the elongated and metal-reinforced prow with iron spike attached to it that could be used as a battering ram in a sea battle. In fact, one of Clyde’s favourite tactics when raiding seashore settlements and islands was to attack the harbor first, if there was one, crush the wharf and breach any ships stationed there to prevent the possibility of chase.
Brittle Downriver from ‘Raven’s Feather’
This character was requested by SaynaSLuke, and it’s high time I shared more information this character.
1. Brittle came a long way in her development, even though in a way, she remained the same. But originally she was planned as a sort of off-screen character – I needed a certain backstory to one of the sideplots in ‘For Freedom’, and she was created to fulfill a role it demanded. After some contemplation and meditation, I decided to actually write the story that’s going to be ‘Raven’s Feather’ as a sort of prequel/side story instead of just having it recalled in ‘For Freedom’, and Brittle Downriver gained a lot more weight and personality while I worked on it. Eventually, I grew to love her so much that I adopted Brittle as my second fursona, and it’s only fitting since her sensible, mature and overall more feminine personality kind of balances Astar’s carefree, energetic and tomboyish nature.
2. Since I developed Brittle’s family as well as her own character, let me delve into genetics there. Brittle has hazel eyes while her husband Roderick has green eyes, so this gene runs strongly in their family lineage – Brittle’s daughter Sonfa has hazel eyes, her grandson and granddaughter have green and hazel eyes respectively, and two out of her four great-grandchildren have hazel eyes as well. Brown fur that is shared by both Brittle and Roderick is another dominant feature, though not as strong, and in the third and fourth generations, grey fur or Brittle’s grandson and his children becomes another distinct trait. One trait unique to Brittle’s appearance is her cream cheek markings that are shared only by her granddaughter, though I’m toying with the idea of giving such markings to some of her great-grandchildren as well.
3. Cloth bracelet Brittle wears on her right wrist is her wedding bracelet and a gift from her husband, similar to how another might wear a wedding ring. Her raven feather earring also has a meaning, but it would be spoilers to disclose it now. However, she wears her necklace for no other reason than because she likes it, as Brittle enjoys wearing pretty things.
4. Brittle’s blue fishtail tunic is based on the attire SaynaSLuke designed for her otter characters, since I liked the idea of an outfit that would be both practical enough to swim and dive in and comfortable and well-looking enough to wear on land.
5. Even though Brittle had lived in Southsward most of her life and by all rights a member of Holt Downriver, she was born and raised on southern part of the Western Plains, north of Southsward and south of Salamandastron. Her family moved to the shores of Southsward when Brittle was around eleven or twelve seasons old, and her future husband Roderick Downriver was the one of her first friends in their new home.
6. Brittle is content with just being a wife and mother, however, being married to Castle Floret’s chief constructor and engineer, Brittle often assists Roderick in his work. Roderick is the one doing the main bulk of the job, but his knowledge and expertise rubbed off on Brittle, and she usually provides useful insights or spots the details her husband could’ve missed otherwise. In a way, some of their projects can be considered joint ventures.
7. Brittle and Roderick chose to have only one child because Brittle felt that she could care for her family the best that way, doting on her daughter without having to divide her attention or pick favourites. Besides, truth to be told, Roderick loves his job almost as much as he loves his family, and that makes him absent-minded to certain extent.
8. It is almost impossible to see Brittle in anger. Firstly, Brittle rarely gets angry to begin with, as she is very calm and kind otterwife, and it takes a lot for her to lose her temper. Secondly, while Brittle can raise her voice when upset or worried, when she is truly angry, she tends to just grow more and more calm. It’s not Brittle’s anger, it’s that deliberate tranquility that you should be afraid of. Holt Downriver still remembers the occurrence when one of the older otter youngsters pushed his limits too far by constantly picking on Sonfa, and Brittle marched out and strapped the youngster’s rump with a bunch of stinging nettles despite the culprit being well into his teens. The unfortunate bully had been crossing the street at the sight of Brittle for a month since that.
Surt the Bloody from ‘For Freedom’
I admit that I have a soft spot for Surt, and since I plan to explore his character more in his personal sidestory, it was time for him to become the hero of this blog as well.
1. Originally I wanted to give Surt black fur to make his appearance more threatening and to play on the meaning of his name, as ‘Surtr’ mean ‘black’ in Old Norse. However, I realized that I already have One-ear to fit the place of black-furred vermin who isn’t as evil as they look, and I didn’t want to repeat myself. So in his final design Surt has red-brown fur that looks almost the color of dried blood in the right light to save both his menacing appearance and his meaningful name, since in the Norse mythology Surtr is a giant associated with fire.
2. Surt’s nickname, ‘the Bloody’, wasn’t given to him because of his cruelty or the blood he had spilled, but rather came from an insult. Due to Surt’s penchant for disobedience, short temper and cranky disposition, his relationship with the rest of the crew was quite poor no matter where he’d go. So in the cases Surt was recalled or referred to, it was often accompanied by curses such as ‘Where did that bloody Surt go to?’ and ‘Surt, you are a bloody scoundrel!’ and ‘I’ll whip you bloody if you ever speak to me like that again!’. And so the name stuck. Surt doesn’t use it much, and when he does so, it’s when he wants to intimidate others.
3. Surt is ambidextrous, meaning he can use both his right and left paws with the same efficiency. He preferred using his right paw during his seasons as a free corsair and as a soldier under Darm’s command. However, he seriously injured his right wrist during his escape from Fort Bladegirt, and even though it healed, it couldn’t regain its former dexterity. Since then, Surt had been favoring his left paw.
4. Surt possesses a high pain tolerance, something I realized when it struck me that there is no other way for him to be able to get up and keep fighting after being whipped, beaten and wounded in so many instances and especially after he is eventually mutilated during his failed execution. The ability to tolerate and ignore pain helped Surt to pull through the hard times in his life, but because of it there were several occasions when Surt overstrained himself beyond his physical limits simply because he didn’t realize just how severely he was injured.
5. From the position of political spectrum, Surt is an anarchist through and through – he would oppose any authority just out of principle, be it good or bad. The one difference is that Surt hates and despises cruel and malicious rulers such as Darm Deathtrap and his officers while benevolent leaders such as Stonebreaker Skief are disliked but tolerated and even respected to an extent. There is no religion in the world of Redwall, but if there were, Surt would’ve been an atheist just to prove his point.
6. Even though he and Laufey are married for more than three years, Surt still sometimes thinks that he doesn’t deserve her. Normally, Surt doesn’t care what other beasts think of him, but he can’t help thinking that he is too old (Laufey is twelve seasons his younger), too ugly and too mean for such a sincere and kind maiden, though he knows Laufey wouldn’t have married him if she thought so. Laufey is the reason Surt strives to be a better beast, and he is afraid to lose her respect more than anybeast’s else.
7. When Laufey was expecting, Surt was the one who wanted a daughter, and Laufey would’ve been happy with any outcome. Despite that, when Skoggi was born, Surt wouldn’t hold her in his paws until she was several weeks old, because he was too nervous and afraid that he would accidentally squash or drop her.
8. Even though Surt has a soft spot for cubs, he rarely has the same sympathy for the elderly, sick and otherwise distressed adult beasts, especially if they ask for help. By his logic, if they allow themselves to stay down without doing anything, then they are weak and deserve what they get. The cubs, on the other paw, are innocent since they didn’t yet have an opportunity to make mistakes or do any wrong. Besides, Surt’s own childhood wasn’t exactly a happy one, so he unconsciously tries to compensate for it, making sure that the other cubs have all the things he didn’t have.
Hopse and Plana from ‘For Freedom’
I believe that Hopse was requested to be featured in this blog long time ago by SaynaSLuke, and since he is almost inseparable from Plana, she also became a hero of this update.
1. Both Hopse and Plana were named after the characters of ‘Fifteen Hares’ by Felix Salten, the author of ‘Bambi’, which are, by the way, rather engaging and insightful books. There are in-story reasons behind their names as well: Hopse’s name was originally given to him as a nickname by his parents due to his hyperactive nature and a habit of hopping around when he was a leveret, and Plana was named after her grandfather, Major Placidus Nalim Swiffscut.
2. As with many of my secondary characters, Hopse and Plana’s appearances were considerably foggy in my mind’s eye until recently, all I knew was that they both were light-furred. Now that their designs solidified, I can tell that Hopse has light grey fur and hazel eyes while Plana has very light brown, almost beige, fur and brown eyes.
3. Hopse wasn’t actually born in Salamandastron – he came from a family of farmers living south of the mountain. However, he didn’t wish to follow in their footsteps, having heard stories of the Long Patrol even since he was a leveret, and he left for Salamandastron as soon as he was old enough. Plana, on the other hand, was a daughter of a renowned Salamandastron colonel, her family famous for its past heroic deeds, and she feels in the army as fish in the water, being brought up as a member of the Long Patrol and its possible future officer.
4. Captain Longstep often acts as a mentor to Hopse, since he also wasn’t born in Salamandastron and is familiar with the difficulties Hopse may face. Hopse respects the older hare officer greatly, though he rarely listens to his advice due to his careless nature.
5. Hopse doesn’t have great ambitions – he is perfectly content to just be a rank member of the Long Patrol, and an officer’s post would’ve terrified him since he isn’t good in strategic thinking. However, Hopse does want to show his worth to his fellow companions and make a name for himself in battle.
6. Hopse prefers to deal with all his problems by charging right into them and floundering around till they are either resolved or disappear on their own, often dragging other beasts in with him and forcing them to come to his rescue. Plana find this tendency very irritating, and yet she is just the tiniest bit jealous of such carefree attitude since she is used to taking things seriously.
7. Plana possesses the same joyful attitude that all hares share, but personality-wise she is calmer and more composed than Hopse, serious even. However, she is still prone to display certain mischievousness and spirited courage, and the combination of such different traits somewhat puzzles Hopse – but this firmness of purpose and good will is what makes him gravitate toward Plana in the first place.
8. Plana had always been curious about the lands lying beyond Salamandastron and the woodlanders living there. She even tried to become a galloper to gain an opportunity to leave the mountain during her line of work, but she didn’t have enough speed and endurance to keep up with teams traveling further than several days’ trips. So when presented with an opportunity to visit Redwall, Plana snatched it.
Arrowfly and Catcher from ‘For Freedom’
And now we finish the line-up of Darm Deathtrap’s officers with more honourable characters of Arrowfly and Catcher.
1. At the age of 25, Arrowfly is the youngest of Darm’s Captains. Catcher is 48 seasons old, and after the desertion of Captain Greywhisker, who was 51 seasons old, that makes him the oldest Captain in Darm’s army.
2. Arrowfly and Catcher are among the characters whose names changed most radically from my first ‘rough sketch’ to the written story. Originally, Arrowfly had the name that could be roughly translated as Short-ears, but I decided to drop it altogether and instead name her for her archery skills. Catcher was originally called Grippingclaw, and it sounded awkward even then. As with Arrowfly, I changed his name, but left the hunting motives to it, shortening it and making it more memorable. In the end, I definitely like the final versions more.
3. Arrowfly is actually a widow: she married a fellow corsair when she were young, but sadly, their happiness lasted only a season before he was killed in a battle with another corsair crew. Since he was a Captain, Arrowfly took over his position and had been ruling her crew with firm paw for five seasons after that. Partly, it was her husband’s death that prompted Arrowfly to join Darm Deathtrap and go along with his plans: he was slain by other corsairs, and one of Darm’s goals was to unite all the sea vermin and stop the strife between them.
4. Due to her average height and build and sandy fur Arrowfly resembles Darm Deathtrap to certain extent, and the latter had used it in the past when dealing with renegade corsairs by having Arrowfly wear his armor into battle and thus making the enemy focus their attention on the wrong target – the distance and the armor were enough to hide her cream markings and hazel eyes that distinguish her from Darm. This mission put Arrowfly in greater risk in fight, since the weasel’s weapon of choice was bow and arrows, but it considerably helped her to earn Darm’s favor in the end.
5. Because of Arrowfly’s quick rise among to the rank of Captain in Darm’s army, there had been rumors circulating between the vermin that Darm might choose Arrowfly to remarry, but their relationship remained strictly business-like. If she were to be honest, Arrowfly had been flattered that her Lord may think so highly of her, but she was relieved that Darm didn't ask anything but a loyal service from her. And if Darm were to answer honestly, he actually thinks Arrowfly to be a good potential mate, but he considers a second marriage only as means of last resort if his children die or fail him, otherwise he is not planning to increase his family any more.
6. Before Catcher joined Darm Deathreap’s army, he led a gang of bandits south from Mossflower. It was actually One-ear who persuaded Catcher to pledge his loyalty to Deathtrap – the tough searat had travelled a lot and knew Catcher from the time when his ship wrecked on the shore and he was forced to stay on dry land for some time. Darm recognized the value of an officer who had experience in land battles and Catcher and his band were taken in easily enough, but many of the corsairs still view him as a landlubber.
7. All his long life Catcher survived by adapting – he joined a robbers' gang in his youth to survive, and while he never wanted to be a leader, he found himself in this position when all the more high-ranking gang members were killed, leaving him as the most experienced, and he decided that was the best way to keep himself and his beasts safe. Later Catcher joined Darm Deathtrap, judging that it would be safer to stay on the good side of such a powerful warlord, and besides, the ferret valued One-ear's opinion. He adapted well to that position as well, and even though he cannot steer a ship, he can command one and lead his crew in battle.
8. Catcher doesn’t have any family, but he is very loyal to his crew, especially the members of his original gang. In particular, Branch had been with him for twenty seasons, and Catcher regards him as a brother.
Blackpatch from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’
It was awhile since I expanded on a character from ‘The Coming of Badger Lady’, and this time it’s going to be one of the major villains in the story.
1. There are several significant villains that appear throughout 'The Coming of Badger Lady', but Blackpatch is the one who is built up as Cregga's nemesis. If I were to draw parallels, I would compare him to Swartt Sixclaw, for he would constantly challenge Cregga at different points of the story as he becomes a greater and more dangerous threat.
2. When coming up with name and appearance for Blackpatch, I wanted to reach balance between imposing and common. So he didn't gain a menacing moniker like Deathfang or Fastkill, nor any ordinary vermin name like Ragtail or Darkfur. Same with Blackpatch's design – his mottled black-and-grey pattern is far from the most dignified, but still more impressive than solid colors.
3. Blackpatch originally took the sickle as his weapon of choice only by necessity, since he didn't have access to proper weapons when he started raiding, but later he sharpened both sides of its curve, as well as the point, turning the simple farming tool into a fearsome blade. In the end, Blackpatch turned sickle into something like his personal standard and trademark weapon.
4. Even though Blackpatch wastes no time in boasting the number of badgers he managed to slay, the rat didn't specifically target badgers, aside for the trap he made for Cregga's father – he and his gang attacked anybeast who seemed worth robbing; he was just better at it than most vermin. However, due to the fearsome reputation the badgers possess, Blackpatch never misses a chance to enhance his own reputation by spreading the word of his victories.
5. If things don't go according to his plan, Blackpatch's response is to change plans. After his catastrophic encounter with Cregga that almost killed him, he would rather cut the losses and move on instead of seeking revenge. However, you can be sure that the rat would never forget 'the stripedog’ that had cost him his tail and won't miss an opportunity to pay her back.
6. By his nature, Blackpatch is opportunist and roamer, and while he may be a member of a gang or even a leader of one, he isn't attached to them and would easily change his ways without regret if it suits him. Blackpatch had already outlived two gangs in that short time Cregga had known him, and in his past he had been a member of at least three other different gangs.
7. Blackpatch wasn’t born in the South-Eastern Lands, but came there in the pursuit of better life and easier robbing. He actually came from the lands farther north and east, and there is a possibility that he descended from the scattered remnants of Malkariss's horde or Stonefleck’s Longtail Horde, though nobeast knows for sure.
8. Blackpatch doesn't possess great charisma, so he has to rely on his strength and cunning to win over other vermin and rise to the position of a gang leader – and he has enough of both. Blackpatch is a powerful fighter, though he is more known for his ability to lay clever traps and use the surroundings to his advantage. But because of that Blackpatch has a great dislike for the 'smooth talkers' who can win beasts over with words alone and so he considers them to be a threat to himself more than any other beasts.
Rats of Lower Terramort from ‘For Freedom’ and ‘Sharkslayer’
This entry is unusual because I want to expand not on any particular character this time, but on the whole Clan. Rats of Lower Terramort or Rolt is my original creation and I thought a lot about their culture and way of life, and so I want to share more of worldbuilding with my readers.
1. There are three most prominent groups among the Rats of Lower Terramort: stone-workers, who maintain the underground tunnels and carve news ones, fishers, who hunt eels and other large fish in the underground river, and crop-growers, who grow and harvest useful mushrooms, lichen and moss as well as normal plants. These groups are often referred to as crews, and their leaders are often consulted by Stonebreaker in the areas of importance. Currently, Idunna is the leader of the fishing crew, Geri and Freki co-lead the stone-working crew, and the crop-growing crew is led by Lerad, Skief's uncle who hadn't really appeared in 'For Freedom'. However, that doesn't mean that the rats' choice in life is limited to these three crews, as they can choose any trade from blacksmithing to healing, it's just that due to these group's important role they are the most numerous.
2. The position of Stonebreaker, the Chieftain of Rolt, is not hereditary, even though the current Stonebreaker Skief is the grandson of the previous Stonebreaker Skvold – in fact, Skvold wasn’t in any way related to his predecessor, Mimir the Wise. Usually when a Stonebreaker grows old or intends to retire they would pick out a beast to succeed them and train them. If a Stonebreaker dies before choosing the successor, the next leader is chosen by the Chieftain’s advisors, which usually include the elders of the Clan and the leaders of the crews.
3. Stonebreaker’s power is not absolute: the Chieftain would often consult with the Clan’s elders and leaders of the crews before making important decisions, and during extraordinary situations that require the attention of the whole Clan, the Clan Gathering would be called for public discussion of the problem at hand and the decision would be made by general voting. However, since every rat has a right to speak up on the Gathering, it’s a very long and tiresome affair, and the Clan Gatherings are rarely called for. Moreover, if a Stonebreaker is deemed incompetent or otherwise unworthy of their position, he or she can be displaced by the decision of the crew leaders, who then choose the new Chieftain. That's what happened to Mimir's predecessor Tokkr the Fearful, who suffered a head trauma from falling into the sea during fishing, and as a result grew paranoid and jittery to such a degree that she attempted to forbid the rats from approaching the water altogether.
4. All of the Rolt members have names from Norse mythology, except for Skief and Skvold, whose names are still Norse-inspired. The main reason for that is simply the fact that I love Norse mythology, but there is in-story explanation for it as well. The first chieftain of Terramort rats that united them after Bladegirt's destruction by Rowanblade and fighters of Trag and turned the back-stabbing bandits into the community as we know it was called Wotan Stonebreaker and he was from Northlands. To honor him, many rats began to give their children northern names as well until it became the custom for the whole Clan. Even those who weren't born into Rolt have Norse names: Surt and Logi's family are of northern origins, and Idunna and Vidar changed their names after joining Rolt to mark the beginning of a new life.
5. There is very little wood on Terramort Isle, the few trees that grow on it being stunted and wind-bent, and very often nothing more than low brush. As a result, there are practically no wooden items used by rats of Rolt, and the ones they have are very valuable. Instead, they use stone – in particular, they are known to carve niches and ledges in the walls of the caves in the manner of cupboards, benches and tables, - clay for crockery, fish bone and teeth for more delicate tools and iron for heavy instruments and weapons. Their pikeaxes, harpoons and knives are especially heavy because they are made completely of metal, including hafts and handles. In one of Terramort's underground tunnels there is a lode of iron ore that come up close to the surface that is mined by the rats, and while it's not much, there is enough of it to provide material for their tools and weapons.
6. Rolt members weave their clothes from the thread made from certain types of lichen and moss, so the fabric is coarser than normal clothing. They don't use dye on the fabric, so their clothes are the same color as above-mentioned plants, that being different shades of orange, yellow, red, brown and sometimes green. The clothes of Rolt are actually almost gender-neutral, as male and female outfits are made to be practical above all and only slightly differ in cut. It's very common for males to wear long tunics or a combination of shorter tunic and kilt, and for females to wear dresses or a combination of tunic and skirt. Those who wish to decorate themselves often add embroidery and threads of different color to their clothes.
7. Aside from fishing in the underground river, members of Rolt also developed what can be likened to fish farming. The giant eels that primary inhabit Snake River are cannibalistic and would eat their own young, so not many survive to the adulthood. To help the situation, a small tributary of Snake River called Snake’s Nest was fenced off, two iron grates being put in, the one at the farther end of the tributary having very small meshes and the one connecting tributary and the river having slightly bigger ones, so that only so called elvers (young eels) and yellow eels (older, but not yet full-grown eels) can pass through respective grates. Rats use the bait of mollusk meat and worms to attract young eels, and besides, small eels also naturally flock to Snake’s Nest as it’s one of the few places the adults can’t follow them to. Elvers and yellow eels are kept separately to avoid the older fish feeding on the younger; once they grow large enough, part of them is netted and eaten and part released into the river to be hunted later.
8. Even since Terramort rats retreated completely underground, they stopped following the sun cycle, since there is no way to tell day from night underground, though they do measure time with the help of water clock, a device made of two bowls with water trickling from one bowl to another, with its level marking the passing time. Most of Rolt members just work and rest when they want instead of having an obligatory sleep pattern, though it’s not unusual for them to organize themselves. For examples, members of one crew often work in shifts, so that one team sleeps while the other works, and crop-growers are partly diurnal due to their work in the sun grounds.
Farl from ‘Cripple’
Farl is one of my favourite characters to write in 'Cripple' due to his spontaneous personality, and I wanted to give some additional information on him for some time, though it was quite a challenge to find the tidbits that weren't shared in the story itself.
1. Farl’s name was inspired by the character of Redfarl from ‘Outcast of Redwall’ – I liked how her name sounded and so gave my own character a name that consisted of a part of hers. It wasn’t until much later that I found out that ‘farl’ is actually a type of bread. However, there could be two in-story explanations for Farl’s unusual name: firstly, it may be short for ‘Farley’, and secondly, his parents could actually name him after food, since they had a lot of children and could have run out of traditional names.
2. Farl had been sailing since he had left his home when he was 14 seasons old, so that gives him about ten seasons of experience, since Farl is 24 seasons old in ‘Cripple’. So even though Farl earned himself no rank or significant position during that time, he is exceptionally good at surviving the odds thrown at him.
3. Farl fell in love once when he was younger, when he wasn't yet serving in Sharpblade's crew. The object of his affection was a beautiful vixen that had recently joined the pirates, and it took Farl weeks to work out courage to confess to her. However, the vixen rejected him because as a low-ranked crewbeast he had no prospects to him, and instead settled with another beast who was older and not exactly handsome, but had a higher rank and got greater share from the raids. Farl wasn't an idealistic and sentimental beast to begin with, but this rejection only strengthened his belief that things like love and family are useless and don't matter in the least.
4. Farl is illiterate and cannot read or write; however, he can count pretty well and is very good in orienting himself using stars and sun. That’s because he never had a chance to receive any education, growing up as a pirate’s son and a pirate himself, and he doesn’t actually want one, valuing his hard-gained skills and knowledge above any academic attainments.
5. Farl is very bad with any long distance weapons, and even though his main weapon of choice is a spear, he only uses it in close combat and not for throwing. This mostly stems from the fact that the pirates' primary tactic in battle is to quickly engage the enemy, daze them with numbers and just as quickly disengage either in victory or defeat instead of getting involved in a drawn-out exchange of fire.
6. Despite being mildly superstitious as most vermin, it’s not his fear of the supernatural that makes Farl so afraid of Viscum. Farl never exactly knew whether Viscum’s visions and displays of magic were real or just clever tricks, and it doesn’t exactly matter to him. However, he knows that Viscum is the one holding real power on the ship and that she is dangerous, so he is deathly afraid of causing her wrath.
7. Farl has a habit of giving other beasts nicknames – that way Kyle became 'shorty' and Conrad became 'lop-ear'. He also sometimes calls Svetlana 'riverdog', but never in her face, since he knows that he would be punched hard if she ever heard it. He doesn't give any of Sharpblade's pirates nicknames for the very same reason – even talking behind his crewmates' backs would land him in a serious trouble. However, Farl doesn't mean to mock or demean others with his nicknaming and views it as friendly jabs instead.
8. I actually considered introducing Farl's brother at some point of the story – after all, Farl has ten or so siblings, so it wouldn't have been so unlikely for the heroes to run into one of them. However, I decided against this idea because I couldn't find a place for him in the plot, but this idea may still crop up in the future.