Deep in Mossflower a group of vermin sat around a fire. There were ten of the vermin in all, bandits from the northlands. Three foxes, four rats, two weasels, and a ferret made up the band. They were feared and they robbed passing innocents on the much-used path. The leader of the scrappy band, a fox called Sharptail, picked up a roasting fish on the fire and bit into it, spitting out the bones here and there. "Any o' that ale left, Dripear?" he asked. The rat in question replied, "Nah, Chief. Ole One-eye an' Blueclaw quaffed the lot yesterday." The fox Sharptail cursed and bit again into the fish. He was about to finish his meal when there was a noise by the path. The big fox froze. He whispered to his gang. "Did'ye hear that, mates? Some fool's on the path, an' making a racket, they is. Grab yer weapons, mates, we're gonna 'ave some fun wid this bungler. One-eye, Blueclaw, Scumtooth, Sneezepaw, get on the left side of that path in them bushes yonder. Don't make a sound. Dripear, Banraw, Vaulag, Tripeleg, Tickfur, wid me. On the other side. Let's go."

The four rats snuck over to the bushes, while the foxes Dripear, Banraw, and Sharptail, along with Vaulag and Tripeleg the weasels and Tickfur the ferret put out the fire and doubled back over the path. There they observed their quarry. A big creature, but slim. The bandits couldn't make out what sort of a creature this beast was. A cloak was draped over him, and he was leaning on a staff, slowly making his way towards Redwall Abbey, three miles away. Sharptail whispered to Banraw. "On my go we jump out an' mug 'im. One...two...three! Up an' at 'im!!!" The bandits drew their weapons and attacked, yelling wildly.

No old beast this was. Skipper of otters threw the cloak off of him and faced Sharptail's gang. "Crew! Let's go get them!" yelled Skipper. Four otters, armed with javelins, dropped from the trees. The gang got over their initial suprise quickly, and, drawing cutlasses, daggers, and maces, charged the otters.

"Slay 'em, mates!" roared Sharptail, swinging his cutlass in a downwards arc at Skipper's head. The nine other vermin attacked the four other otters. Even tthough they were outnumbered the otters gave quite a fight. Maces and cutlasses clashed against javelins and loaded slings. Two of the otters had been wounded by the weapons of the bandits, and three vermin had suffered injuries from the crew. The fighting stopped momentarily. Skipper and Sharptail were going at it hammer and tongs. Claws, teeth, and fists were the weapons. The cutlass and staff had been forgotten. The two creatures battled like wild animals. With ferocity Skipper continued his relentless attack. Sharptail was getting tired. His breath came out in gasps. The big fox reached for the cutlass, only to be knocked back again by Skipper. "You've slain, pillaged and looted enough, fox. Now you must pay!" The otter snatched a javelin from his comrade and stabbed down. The fox died without a sound. Skipper looked to the gang. "Bury your comrade. I'll let you live." And the crew strode off, glad to have removed another terror from Mossflower.

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