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Redwall Wiki | Brian Jacques and Redwall Information
Redwall Wiki | Brian Jacques and Redwall Information


The young squirrel entered the Recorder's room. Her eyes roved around the room and rested on a much older squirrel.
"I have the book here, Brother Sagil. Tales of Green Isle." Brother Sagil smiled.
"I knew you could do it, Emerlis," He said. "Let me have a look."
The tome was thick, with burgundy covers. On the front there was the words: Tails of Green Arls. Sagil looked up, a question in his eyes.
"Recorder Ish, who compiled this book, came from a far-off place called Lowmoon. At Lowmoon, all words are spelt as they are pronounced." Sagil raised his brows. "You'll make a good librarian, Emerlis. You know more than I do. Shall we begin?"
"Yes," said Emerlis, and began to read.

Chapter 1: The Invasion[]

Tiria Wildlough glanced at Leatho Shellhound. Around them, their son Jonte ran through their legs. "Please, Jonte!" Said Tiria. "I'm trying to think... whoa, look through this window, Leath."
Leatho jumped up and looked through the window, and glared at the sight that met him. "A vermin ship. And I thought I could live me life without seein' another evil beast again!"
Little Jonte leapt up and down. "Where bad beastie?" He asked. "I wanna see bad beastie."
Both his parents ignored him. "This is bad. Very bad." Leatho turned to Kolun Galedeep. "Warn the otters. Tell Brantalis to tell others to store up. Go on, you two guards, you're dismissed!"
Captain Harrinda was a female weasel with a reputation of fighting. She carried a cutlass and a dagger, and she had two gold earrings dangling from her right ear. She was intelligent, too, and everybeast feared her. She had killed her mate because he mutineered.
"Harrharr, me buckoes," she said. "Land! Let's prepare an invasion, shall we?" Her crew cheered heartily, not daring to do otherwise. Harrinda smiled. "Then all together now!" They started singing a corsair song, Harrinda included.
"Ooooh, knick-knack bric-a-brac blood an' thunder,
Let's go piratin' and get some plunder,
We're the wickedest corsairs all aboard,
Each armed wid a rusty ole sword!
Our Cap'n enjoys seein' us in tears,
Why, she's the mistress o' our fears,
So howl ricketty-picketty tinteree,
Please take her away from me me me!
Ooooh, rigg-a-bigg mig-a-lig Cap'n Rogg,
We bashed down some gates wid a big fat log,
We kick ye down on yer rear,
Harr, the crew o' the Seabug it's us you feaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr!"

Cap'n Harrinda Rogg, by Mauran Axestripe.

Each of the Seabug's crew finished off with a gesture, trying to outdo the others by singing the last word for as long as they could. Thornslash, the weasel composer of the song, won easily. "Ya see," said Harrinda, "when Cap'n Harrinda Rogg asks ye ter do sumthink, ye enjoys it! Now, let's git focused on that land ahead."
Two days later, both Tiria and Leatho were discussing plans, Jonte eager to help.
"Why not we rush out an' kill da baddies?"
"Be quiet, Jonte! There's vermin out there, and they'll arrive in, say, two hours' time. Please, Jonte!"
Leatho smiled. "He's got a point there, Rhulie, let 'im be. There can't be more vermin than our able-bodied otters. I asked Banya, she's a marvel at estimatin'. Kolun!"
The big otter straightened. "Yeah? Wot do ye want, Shellhound me old matey?"
"Weren't you lissenin'? Clean the wax outta yore lugs and go tell the otters that we'll just fight. Aye fight, g'wan!"

Harrinda had a satisfied grin on her face. Night had nearly fallen. She knew the otters were watching her camp. Or so they thought. When the fire burned low, the otters would strike. This she knew.
She also knew that the otters, after massacreing her 'army', would return back to their holt, exulting in their victory.
And be ambushed themselves. While they were massacreing her most rebellious, incompetent, and stupidest soldiers, she would circle around and capture the fort AND thier old and young ones. Talk about a stroke of brilliance.
True, she would lose some of her force, but otters, being strong, made excellent slaves. She was sure she could make up for it.

Leatho was rather jubilant about the whole thing. "Haha, look at the blithering idiots! Didn't even bother to post a sentry! This will be easy as pie, eh, Tiria!"
The High Rhulain was unsure. "It looks way to easy to me. Maybe it's a trap of sorts . . ."
One of the previously stationary rats around the fire yawned and fell over, directly into the flames. He screamed, having had the unfortunate business of having his bottom set on fire. He screamed and ran around comically, waving his arms and yammering bloody murder.
Kolun had to bite his lip through to keep from giving his position away with laughter.
"Now, while they're distracted." Tiria's order was not above a whisper, yet all the otters under her command heard it. They raced forward, weapons drawn, cries mingling in the still air.
The vermin were quickly massacred, without a single casualty on Tiria's side. Leatho laughed as he wiped the blood off his blade. "Huh, now THAT was easy!"

Harrinda was highly pleased with herself. There had been no resistance at all when she had gone to take the otter holt. Even better, the cellars, once you rolled the barrels out, made an excellant slave compound. Victory was almost in her paws . . .
Leatho and Tiria had no idea that anything was wrong. They saw the shapes of the otters they'd left on sentry duty, standing straight. Strange, they did not call out to them . . .
As they got closer, it was Kolun who put the pieces together first. "They're dead!" he cried. With shock, Tiria and Leatho realized that he was right. Their throats had been cut, a look of dark surprise on their faces. Kolun knelt by his brother's body, his face wearing a similar expression to that of the stricken guards.
The attack soon followed. Arrows scythed into them. The otters had no choice but to relatiate, but they were disorganized. Tiria was separated from Leatho in the struggle. She was hit over the head from behind. The half stunned female otter was pulled to her feet by her ears and a deadly sharp blade was placed against her throat.
The corsair's voice was cool. "If you want your queen to die, by all means, keep fighting."
Leatho was unsure of what to do. If they fought, they'd lose her for sure . . . but if they surrendered, the vermin would probably kill them anyway. Oh, everything had been so much simpler when he hadn't been in love!
With a roar of rage, Kolun decided things. He attacked Harrinda from behind. she knew enough not to kill Tiria- she was a valuable prisoner. So she dropped the female otter and turned her wrath on Kolun, who was pummeling her with the pommels of his swords, unable to use them at such close range. She drove her dagger into his ribs and twisted it, reveling in his cry of pain.
She dropped the badly wounded sea otter and turned her attention to the battle- but the otters were gone. They had taken the oppertunity to escape. She cursed. "Shades!"
Knowing that it was the only chance for freedom, the otters ran, looking to Leatho to lead them now that Tiria was out of action. Leatho was raging inside. Tiria and all the Dibbuns and old ones were prisoners, and Kolun, his best friend, was dead.
It was far worse then the situation with Riggu Felis.

Chapter 2: Defeat[]

Tiria regained to herself locked in the cellars with the other slaves. "Tiria, what happened? Where's Leatho?"
"I don't know."
The door opened, and Tiria covered her eyes at the sudden light. A few rat guards hurled in a limp figure then slammed the door. Tiria felt his paws. Webbed, like a sea otters' paws.
It groaned. Tiria moved her paw up to his face and came upon a sticky, putrid fluid. Blood. Her mouth was dry. "Leatho?"
The reply was faint. "Tiria?" It was the voice of Kolun.
"Where's Leatho?"
"He . . . he got away. Unhh . . ."
Tiria ran her paws along his head, groping for an injury. Feeling none, she continued down until they came to rest on the dagger, which had been driven in up to the hilt. "Light. I need light!"
There was a faint clang and then Banya held aloft a makeshift torch. Working carefully, Tiria pulled the dagger out. What luck! The dagger had hit the sternum and passed to the left of its intended target, peircing instead one of his lungs. In the dim light, Kolun's face look very pale. He gave her a weak smile. "Least the Shellhound's leading them and not some blithering idiot!"

At the moment, that was what Leatho felt like. A blithering idiot who had gotten most of his friends captured or killed. He paced at the hideout they had used during Felis' occupation, thinking hard. The idea came to him suddenly. Risky, but the only chance they had. He picked up his javelin, a strange light in his eyes. If he failed now, Green Isle was doomed to slavery.
And so it was. For the next day at noon, Tiria and the not fully recovered Kolun were taken from the temporary slave compound without explanation. They were marched out to the Slothunog. Tiria covered her mouth to suppress a scream.
Leatho's plan had been a good one, but Harrinda had known where he would strike next. Leatho Shellhound stood, head bowed, saying nothing.
"If you beg, I might spare your lives." None of the three said anything. With a careless wave, Harrinda watched them plummet into Deeplough. She allowed herself a diabolical grin. Idiots!

Chapter 3: Deeplough[]

Tiria, Leatho and Kolun hit the water with a splash. Tiria heard the delighted yells of the vermin far above.
"Haharr, that'd teach 'em ter defy the might o' the great Cap'n Harrinda!"
"Oi, mudbrain, that's Cap'n Rogg ter you. Another Cap'n Harrinda an' ye'll be joinin' 'em!"
"Gwahaha! Lookit dat big otter! Hmm, I thought he'd be long dead a'ter ole Harrinda got 'im a good one twixt the ribs. Ah well, he's gone now!"
She faintly heard the yells of Leatho as he surfaced, being one of the best swimmers of Green Isle.
"Tiria!" He called. "Get rid of yore armour breastplate! It will weigh ye down! Stay under water as long as ye can, pretend that you're dead! And help Kolun, please!"
But by then Tiria passed out, as her armour slowly sank her.
Tiria felt peaceful. She was walking through Green Isle. Ahead she could hear talking of otters. She peered round a tree and saw two otters arguing, a male and a female that looked almost exactly like her, down to the armour.
"And I'm telling you, sis, that's a vermin ship!"
"Corriam, we can't be sure. I'm telling father."
"Right, you go do that. I still say that's a vermin ship!"
Tiria realised she was looking at the original High Rhulain and her brother, Corriam. Then, out of the corner of her eye, was that a mouse?
The scene changed. She was on the rocking and rolling deck of a ship. She was immediately filled with a sense of fear. She called out, but nobody heard her. Then there was a splintering sound, and Tiria was pitched into the sea. Then she saw Martin the Warrior, the long-dead guardian of Redwall Abbey, walking through the water as if it wasn't there. He called out:
"Ye shall not die as your ancestor did,
Ye shall live to Green Isle vermin rid,
Wait for the flames, an image of old,
Wait for the ottermaid ever so bold,
Seek the one who dreams of the banished,
Seek the one who is ever famished,
Be rid of the armour that has served so long,
And know that Banya is never wrong!"
Tiria ripped off he breastplate, then opened her eyes to see another scene of endless blue, except that her eyes stung. She kicked out, aiming for the surface.

Harrinda had already sorted through Tiria's belongings, and had donned a plain robe. She dropped her corsair accent, but her temper was still the same.

She was now Queen Harrinda, now that that stupid, easily fooled queen was gone. Fanger, the rat that had called Harrinda Cap'n Harrida, bowed to her.
"I bow ter you, Cap'n Rogg."
"No, that's Queen Harrinda, idiot rat!"
The rat scuttled away, murmuring, "will yer stop changin' yore name, Harrinda!"
Harrinda watched Fanger dash out of the room. She spoke to Captain Dagrok, Captain Redblade and Captain Yaddarigg, all weasels like herself.
"Which of you would like to be king?"
Each of the Captains shouted at once. "Me, your Majesty!"
Harrinda tilted her head slightly, then shouted, "May the best fighter win!"
Instantly three blades were drawn: a sabre, a cutlass and a dirk. With a lazy flick of his wrist, Redblade threw the dirk at Yaddarigg, whom he had never liked. Yaddarigg stumbled and fell, the dirk having pierced his chest. The biggest of the three, Dagrok, aimed a lunge at Redblade, but Redblade sidestepped, drew another dirk and plunged it into Dagrok's back.
It was all over within a minute. Redblade took his dirks from the other weasels and bowed at the feet of Harrinda.
"I think I am the one you favour, my queen."

Chapter 4: Stillborn[]

Runkus Galedeep, Kolun's cousin, helped Harrinda onto a heavily perfumed palanquin. Harrinda snapped at him when one of his footpaws slipped.
"Fool! The child will not survive if you keep it up!"
Runkus apologised. "Sorry, marm. May I go and feed the others?"
Harrinda glared at him. "No! Me, queen of this land, refuses to be left without an otter, a gentlebeast, what with me having a child!"
She spat out the word 'gentlebeast' with as much contempt as she could muster. At that moment, Fanger and Redblade entered the room.
"How is the whelp, queen?" Asked Redblade casually. Although he was king, he had refused to attempt to drop his accent.
"Coz ye've made so much of a fuss about your babe, I might as well care fer it." He shot a dirty look at both Runkus and Harrinda. Harrinda rolled her eyes.
"Fine, be that way. Aaaargh!" She let out a cry of pain. Fanger looked shocked, but Redblade yelled orders at Runkus.
"Git another otter, a midwife, here, now!" Runkus, terrified, dashed out the door to fetch his wife, Marissa.
In Deeplough, Kolun, Tiria and Leatho were lying on their backs, cracking shellfish with stones.
"Ah, matey, this is the simple life. This is wot we was meant to do!" Said Kolun, now fully recovered.
They had been trying to get out for several seasons, but finally they realised that there would be no way out. Fortunately, only the otter fishers ever looked down there, and would try to help.
"But we're better off bein' slaves under Harrinda than Felis. We're hardly ever beaten," said one otter.
Sometimes Banya and her mate, Dangero Galedeep, would bring along their newborn daughter, Tayna. Harrinda, despite her generally cruel nature, had a soft spot for little ones, and made sure every one was treated well.
Tiria nibbled at some seaweed, then gagged and flung it from her.
"Yeerk," she said, "we've been waitin' for five seasons, no sign of a fire, or an ottermaid that has been that bold, not that anyone has ever needed to."
The quiet evening closed in.
Marissa gasped at the little weasel.
"Queen, this one is a stillborn!" She exclaimed. Harrinda's expression darkened.
"Then burn the slave compound, Redblade! Burn it!"
Runkus and Marissa gasped. "But, queen, you can't do that, then you'll have no..."
Harrinda roared, and in her rage regained her old accent.
"Shut up! Be quiet! Fanger, send 'em ter sleep, matey!" There were two cracks, and Runkus and Marissa were lying on the floor, unconscious.
In all of the confusion at the slave compound, no-one noticed Harrinda slip into the flaming building and grabbed a nearby babe. There was a shout.
"Where did Tayna go?" Yelled a female otter. "Tayna! Where are you?" Harrinda gave a little laugh and sneaked back to the fortress.

Chapter 5: The Weasel[]

Rellik Tellam spat at his newborn son.
"Are ye telling me, Youndrina, that ye have suffered, all for this?" Zaxa, the midwife, looked at him.
"Lord, ye were once like this. But Lord, do not let this one live. Your father made that mistake, and he paid for it."
She looked at his claws. They were stained with the blood of his father, who had been slain long before.
Youndrina leapt up. "No!" she shouted. "Do not slay the little one. At the very least, leave him in this forest with a Tellam hammer!"
Rellik smiled, showing all his sharp teeth. "All right, Youndrina. But if you contradict me once more..." He made a cutting motion across his throat.
Youndrina looked cross. My sister Harrinda will be dead if she is still with Egrid! she thought.
Banya and Dangero were cornered by Redblade, Fanger, Xanflun and Huta.
"Put up those fists," hissed Redblade, "You're goin' fer a nice ride in me luvly new logboat, Slavemarooner. Give 'em wot they need, mates!"
Dangero had time for one angry gasp before a dagger got him between the ribs, and so did Banya.
Redblade gave the other vermin a black-toothed grin. "Chuck 'em in me boat, me hearties, and see how long they last!"

Dangero regained consiousness he sat up, seeing the birds wheel overhead. He heard sobbing, and spun. Only Banya. His face softened. Poor Banya. The loss of Tiria, Leatho, and Kolun had been bad enough, but now that Tanya was gone too . . . He placed a gentle paw on her face, careful not to wake her.
The boat came to a stop. He tried to get out, but a blinding pain spread up his ribcage. He groaned. A dark figure materialized out of the darkness. "Who are you?" he whispered.
"My name is Banjon, Skipper of Mossflower. What's happened?"
"Corsairs . . . All dead . . . High . . ." Dangero passed into merciful oblivion.

Harrinda smiled at the otterbabe she had dubbed Muskfur. It was a playful, daring thing. Already it walked, toddling on its legs. She had begun to teach it to use a weapon. "Muskfur . . . Princess Muskfur!"

Abbess Lycian went up to Banjon. "They're both awake. He doesn't remember much, except that his daughter is dead and that his companion is his wife."
"The female?"
The Abbess shook her head sadly. "She's done nothing but stare into the fire."
"It makes me mad, the tyranny they have endured!"
"They will find peace and physical healing here at Redwall. The mental healing, though, is theirs and theirs alone."
"Redwall Ahoy!" Log-a-log's voice.
Girry vaulted over and threw the gates open. Log-a-log stumbled in, carrying what at first glance seemed to be a baby otter.
It was a weasel.
Banjon drew his blade and started forward. The Abbess grabbed his paw.
"Stop, it's only a baby! It hasn't done anything wrong!"
The baby set up a wail as Banjon shot back his reply. "Not yet it hasn't! There has never been a good vermin, an' if'n we let this 'un ive, we'll regret it!"
A slight noise at the door got their attention. It was the female castaway. She walked down and gently scooped the babe up from Log-a-log's paws. "Hush now, baby, Mommy's here. Mommy won't leave you again, I promise." Still cooing to the weaselbabe, she carried it away with her, eyes never leaving the Dibbun. Banjon sighed and sheathed hs sword, knowing he was outmanouvred.

Chapter 6: 15 Seasons Later[]

His face was calm and innocently serious, but there was a sparkle of mischief in the way he smiled and in his green eyes. His father's smile and his mother's eyes, he was told. He no longer remembered his parents, killed when Harrinda and her cronies had taken over. He had heard his adopted mother Deedero speak of them often, and of her husband, Kolun.

His name was Jonte Shellhound, last decendant of the High Rhulain Tiria Wildlough and of Leatho Shellhound!

Jonte Shellhound

He worked next to whoever looked as if they needed help most, helping them avoid the lash. As the trumpets blew, his stomach turned. Again with the bowing and scraping to Harrinda and her brat!

The slaves stopped work and turned to the highest completed point of the castle they had been building for the past 15 seaons. The three weasels came out on the balcony, and as soon as they did the otters bowed, chanting their praises:

"Hail King Redblade, our Lord and eternal King
Hail Queen Harrinda, ruler over everything!
Hail Princess Muskfur, beauteous apple of our eye!
We shall serve you until we die,
You are the masters of us all!"
Jonte had his own words and he sang them with a straight face:
"Die Evil Redblade, your neck I should like to wring!
Die Crazy Harrinda, you dirty and repulsive thing!
Perish, you stupid brat, someday for mercy you shall cry!
I'll fight you all until you die,
Someday I shall free us all!"
Back to work.

Muskfur strained her ears, searching . . . Yes, there it was. Faint, but there. The insulting parody to the song. So that slave had made it throught the day. Ever since she had first heard it, she searched for the insulting singer. There was still life in the otters.
When she was queen, she would rid the island of slavery. What was the point? All it did was make people mad at you. Her mother was highly protective of her, never letting her leave the castle walls. But someday, she planned to see the world. She wouldn't be here forever. The song ended, and she turned from the balcony. Then something hit her. No otter slaves were used in the palace. Only rats, weasels and ferrets. Why?
She started to ask her father, then a voice whispered in her head. "Silence, Tayna."

Chapter 7: Jonte[]

No otter had ever seen Muskfur, but Jonte had an idea on what she looked like.
"Hmmm, probably a spoilt, yet pretty weasel, my mother's old clothes perhaps, the brat. Then she goes around, giving orders to everyone she pleases! 'Hey you, help me groom my tail, stupid!' 'And you, bring me my food!' Stupid, spoilt, bullying weasel!"
Captain Gribz glared at Jonte. "Slave, no talking, or I'll give ye a taste o' me whip!" Jonte ignored him and started singing loudly, making up the words as he went.
"Ooh, the life of a slave is a terrific one,
We help the guards have lots of fun,
We cook and clean and groom others too,
Oh weasel whelp, how I want to kill you!
Oh king and queen and spoilt brat,
We're all starving and you are fat,
I'll suffocate mean Cap'n Gribz,
Then shove a blade right twixt yore ribs. Yeeehaaaaaaa!"
Jonte turned around, punched Gribz in the stomach, then punched him hard on his head, knocking him out. The other otters gazed at him in amazement, then got back to work, without saying a word.
"Hey!" Jonte was roughly grabbed by the front of his tunic. His paws were pinned to his sides and a blade was at his throat. He stared into cruel eyes. "You're comin' wid me, eh? Dey'll deal wid ya!"

Harrinda was not pleased by this sign of rebellion. "If one does it, they all will! I can't be everywhere!"
"Whip him to death, sez I."
"No." Redblade spoke up, "Have Muskfur deal with him. It's time she learned to be a ruler."
"Aye, have her . . ." Harrinda searched her mind for a cruel death, then she smiled. "Burn him to death. Alive of course."
A searat ran in, breathless. "The Bloodhawk has returned from raiding, highness. They're having, erm, problems."

Jonte was in the caves, which served as the prisons. There was a commotion outside. "Get her paws . . . No, stupid, her footpaws!" The door flew open and something soft hit him. Then the door shut.
The newcomer rolled off him. "My name is Marina Wavedog of Riftgard. What's yours?"
"I'm Jonte Shellhound, currently planning an escape. If it wasn't so blasted dark, I could get us out-" He stopped, puzzled when she burst into laughter. "I don't see what's so funny. I'm facing death here!"
"I'm sorry. I should have told you that I'm blind."
"Then why are you in here?"
Marina laughed again. "Oh, I was taken prisoner by someone called Bloodtail. Heh heh, I certainly threw him around. They took a while to get him off me!"
Jonte frowned. "Oh. Right."
Marina frowned also. "Hmmm, we, at least you, are facing death. On my way here, I overheard the guards say that the princess is to burn you alive."
Jonte stuck his tongue out. "The spoilt brat!"

Chapter 8: Voran of Redwall[]

Voran crept through the empty great hall. He should have been asleep, but he getting hungry, so he was making his way to the kitchens.
When he got to the kitchens, he reached into a cupboard to see what he could find. He found a couple of mushrooms and he cut himself a slice of blue cheese. As his eyes roved around the room, his eyes found a statuette of Friar Bibble. What a treasure! He snatched it, then snuck back up to the dormitory.
Voran found himself walking through a misty valley. Ahead he saw a ferret, standing there with an expession of anger on his face.
"Don't follow me!" He shouted. "Why does everyone follow me? Go away, weasel, you don't want to follow me! Oh yes, me, who was always blamed when something went missing. You don't want to follow me, you don't want to endure the pain, and don't follow me!"
The ferret swung a paw back to strike Voran, and Voran realised that the ferret had six claws on one of his paws. Suddenly a mouse appeared behind the ferret and tugged him back. The six clawed ferret turned around, and his scowl deepened.
"Bryony! Why do you always follow me? Stop spying on me, you...little...mouse!" But Bryony continued tugging, and cried out.
"Why did you do everything you did? Why could you never, ever stop? Now I know you were a true vermin, Veil, please, tell me why!"
Veil bared his teeth. "Oh ho, so that's what you always thought, that Veil Sixclaw was always evil and vile, just as Bella always did! Go away, both of you. I hate you!" He dashed into the mist.
Bryony shrugged. "He always had the true makings of an evil one. He just won't listen, will he? You better do as he tells you to, don't follow him, don't seek his path, no-one should even want to take it. I have buisness to tend to. Farewell, weasel." She swept off after Veil.

Marina gasped. "A draft- I feel a draft!"
Marina ignored him and ran her paws along the chunk of rock. There was a slight click and the rock ledge swerved in. "A secret door!"
"But this is a prison. Why would there be a secret way out?"
"You said that they were originally cellars. Harrinda must not know about this, thank the seasons. Now let's get going- quick! Somebeast's coming!"
They crammed in the passage and only shut the door just in time.
The passage was dry and cool, with tapestries hanging on every side. Names like Arynd, Saris and...
Jonte gasped. "Tiria! My mother!" Marina groped around and pinched him.
"Be quiet. I can feel light ahead. Ah, so warm. Lead on, Jonte." Jonte came to the light. It came from two cracks on either side, and he pushed out. As soon as he jumped into the room, he almost screeched, and had to clamp a paw over his mouth.
The secret passage led to that princess' room! There was no doubt about it. Jonte's eyes scanned the room, taking in all the (bad) pictures, the four-post bed, everything. Then something he had first thought was a statue moved. All his fur prickled up on end. The 'statue' was the princess, with her back turned to them. Then slowly, agonisingly slowly, she turned.
Her reaction was instant. "Slaves!" She cried, but not loud enough for anyone outside the room to hear. And Jonte was surprised as well- instead of the wicked, spoilt weasel he had expected, the princess was a kindly-looking, pretty otter.
He cleared his throat. "Ahem. We were just wondering around and found ourselves here, ahem." He bowed, and Marina, sensing the movement, bowed too. The princess cocked her head to the side.
"Oh? I thought no otter slaves were allowed in here. And how did you get in my room in the first place, otter slaves?"
It was an awkward question. Jonte swallowed, and said in a small voice, "well, for one thing, you shouldn't really call us otter slaves, because, well, you are-" Muskfur suddenly put a paw to her mouth.
"Are you saying that I am an otter? Maybe you're right. I have never known an otter slave before." Then her expression changed again and she glared at them. "Wasn't I supposed to burn you two?"
Jonte shivered, and Marina grimaced. This time Marina spoke. "Please, we were only trying to get out. Please, your majesty, see this as a chance to escape from your palace. Oh help us, you're an otter like us, you know it!" The princess scowled. "Why should I believe you? You're not royalty (at this Jonte frowned) but then again what was the point of slavery? What. Was. The. Point? So I may as well trust you. Anyway, how are we supposed to get out of here without being caught?"
"Maybe we could pretend that you're going to burn one of us," said Marina helpfully. "And the other could carry wood."
"Oh, an excellent idea, now 'scuse me, I don't know your names." They both introduced themselves, and then Muskfur turned and opened a drawer. "Close your eyes, Jonte," she said, and when Jonte opened them he was bound by several ropes. When he opened his mouth to protest, a dirty rag was shoved into his mouth. "Now lead me to the way you came in. G'bye, Harrinda!" She cried, and they stepped into the secret entrance.

Chapter 9: Veil's Riddle[]

Banya yawned. It was a warm day, and she had to watch out for Voran, whom she had long since recognised as a weasel, not her long-lost daughter Tayna. She turned round a corner and bumped into Voran, who was clutching a shining goblet, with two gleaming emeralds set in it. Banya lost no time in asking him what he was doing.
"Nothing, Banya! I was just looking at it, I wasn't doing anything, honest!" Yelled Voran.
"Really?" Said Banya, "Then why are you sneaking around our Abbey with it, instead of admiring it where it was?" Knowing he was caught, Voran flung the goblet on the floor.
"Fine! I did it, then! But you won't ever figure out the riddle on it now, uhahaunkh!" He rushed off to the dorm, half crying, half laughing madly.
Banya picked the goblet up, and inspected it. No sign of a riddle anywhere. She felt the smooth surface. She felt all around the goblet, inside and outside, and the emeralds. Nothing, except... was that emerald wobbling? Oh yes, it was. She tugged at it, then she wrestled with it, but she could not make it move any further. Then Dangero came in.
"Whatcha doin', beauty?" Banya panted, then passed the goblet to Dangero.
"See if'n you can get this emerald out." Dangero nodded, then he twisted the emrald to the right. It came out a little. The kept on turning it, then it popped out, with an ancient piece of parchment attached to it. Written in small, messy letters was a poem.
They blame me for everything, my trouble you'll see.
Everybody hates me and my kind, don't follow me.
I hate them all, my wild side calls,
I'm always-blamed Sixclaw, outcast of Redwall,
I'm to never again be seen here,
I don't care, I don't fear,
Now seek star so land a mat,
Tell me if you figured that.
Take Golgola, and his good friend too,
Fare bad, cruel Abbey, never again will I be with you!
Banya stared at the parchment. "As far as I can tell, this scrap of parchment is really old, mebbe even close to the time of Martin the Warrior. And it's written by someone called V. Sixclaw. Hmm, Sixclaw. That name rings a bell. Come on, Dangero, let's ask Sister Snowdrop. Maybe she knows."
Dangero followed Banya to the library.
Sister Snowdrop, the librarian, was happy to help. In fact, she knew exactly who the Sixclaws were.
"Way back, before Bryony, great-grandaughter of Gonff the Mousethief, became Abbess, there was a warlord, called Swartt Sixclaw. He had a son, who was abandoned and found by Bryony. Bella of Brockhall, who was still alive in those days, named the babe Veil. Veil once tried to poison the Friar, and for that he was made an outcast. And-"
Sister Snowdrop was interrupted by Dangero. "Enough! Wot do ye make of this?" He held out the piece of parchment.
The Sister inspected it. "Hmm . . . . 'Star so land a mat' is supposed to be Salamandastron, though he accidentally put in an extra 'T' . . . but I can't make head nor tail of the rest."
Dangero sighed dejectedly. "I wonder what a 'Golgola' is."
A snicker came from the doorway. Voran. "The idiots. Golgola must mean Log-a-log- not that I'll tell them!"

"Shame, Voran, shame."
Voran rolled his eyes and sighed.
The brown eyes of Martin the Warrior stared at him. "No one is born evil. Evil is a choice they make for themselves- as Veil found out."
"Veil's an idiot. He should have left instead of waiting around to get exiled." The weasel muttered.
"Even you will have a choice to make- if it comes to pass."
"I hate your riddles."
Martin laughed and dissipated.

Jonte grunted as he was roughly tossed into a boat. "Hopefully, Harrinda doesn't find out about this until it is too late." Muskfur muttered. Marina, feeling useless, sat in the center of the boat.
"Hurry up! I think I hear somebeast coming!" She whispered urgently.
"Hoi! Wot're you doin'-"
Muskfur dealt the rat two swift blows to the head, knocking him out. She pushed the boat into the water than jumped in. Hopefully, the escape would go unnoticed for at least an hour.
Most likely, it wouldn't.
Deedero heard the scuffle. She had been nearby, searching for Jonte, hiding whenever she heard someone coming. She peeped out from behind a bush.
"Quick! Harrinda will come any time now!" Deedero gaped. There was Jonte, in a boat, with the new female slave and another female that she didn't recognise. The second ottermaid looked well dressed and well groomed. Then she put two and two together.
The "No otters in the palace" rule. The hiding of the princess. The ottermaid, far better treated than any other otter at Green Isle in 15 seasons. The ottermaid was Princess Muskfur!
Deedero crept out from her hiding place. She called out, "Go! Get away from here, Jonte and all! May you never be slaves again!" Jonte turned, and his voice was faint.
"Deedero, we promise we will come back to free you all! And perhaps, think of all the happy days you have ever had. Farewell, Deedero! Faaaaareeeeeweeeeelll!"

Chapter 10: Light or Shadow?[]

Harrinda was unaware of her "daughter's" treachery. Instead, she had come to her own conclusion.
That Jonte and Marina had kidnapped her. Within an hour of their escape, half the army was mustered. She had lit a huge bonfire as a beacon for corsairs.
Not, of course, that she actually cared for her protege, more like that she didn't want the slaves getting any wild ideas.
They had too much of those already.

"Tiria! Leath'!" The ex-High Rhulain looked up as Kolun dashed into their cave, a burning light in his eyes she'd not seen since before Harrinda. "I think I found a way out!"
The clam she was shelling dropped from her paw and shattered on the floor. "What? Show me!"
The underwater hole was small. So small that there was no way that either Leatho or Kolun could fit.
Tiria was a different story, however. "If memory serves me right," Kolun said excitedly, "That side of the Deeplough meets Holt Summerdell. Tiria could squeeze through and lower a rope for the two of us to squeeze out!"
Leatho looked at Tiria. "Worth a shot, what do ye say?"
He was speaking to thin air. Tiria squeezed through the hole in the tunnel and surfaced at Holt Summerdell. She got out of the water and breathed in the free air and for the first time in who knows how long she felt the wind on her face.
"Who are you?" Tiria spun, paw grabbing for a rough sling she had made from seaweed. A familiar looking female otter stood hunched in front of her. "Don't ye know the punishment if you're caught with a weapon? Thrown into Deeplough."
A face that seemed to fit came up in Tiria's mind. "Deedero?" she whispered.
Deedero looked back. Recognition dawned in her eyes. "Tiria!" The two friends embraced, tears running down their faces.
"Kolun and Leath' are still in the Slothnoug," whispered Tiria. "They can't fit through the tunnel. I'm going to try to break them out."
"I'll tell the others," whispered Deedero, "There's life in us yet. Jonte's already escaped with that Muskfur and that Marina. Hopefully they'll end up at Redwall."
Tiria nodded. "Aye, things are comin' to a head."

Voran slumped against the Abbey Wall, muttering to himself about the stupidity of Veil, Martin, Banjon- everybeast in the Abbey, basically. Sometimes he wondered why he didn't just leave himself.
Good question . . .
He could see Banya working in the orchard. He had mixed feelings about her. On the one hand, she had loved him and cared for him like a mother he'd never known. On the other hand, once she'd figured he was a weasel, she'd started expecting him to lie and steal like every other weasel.
That was partly why he stole. They all expected him to be a thief. A murderer. A pest.
But what was he, really?
He knew a split second before it happened. A cry escaped his mouth, but the warning came too late. A tree branch, seasons old, cracked and fell onto Banya's head.
He ran to her side. Straw colored fluid seeped from her nose and mouth, and the skin on her scalp was broken.
"Leave the Abbey, Voran. Why should you worry about her? She hates you too, like they all do. They'll blame you anyways."
"But she loved me at one point . . . ."
"Don't listen to him, Voran. The choice you will make is here and now. She could be badly hurt. What are you going to do, Voran?"
"Yes, what?"
"SHUT UP," Voran hissed to himself, "I'll do what I please!"
"Well?" Two voices asked in unison.
One Martin's. One Veil's.
Where did he belong? Light or Shadow? Neither?
Or was he both?

"Brother Perant! Brother Perant!" The Infirmary Keeper looked up as Voran dashed in, eyes wild. "Banya's hurt!"
"What happened?"
"She was working in the orchard and then a branch broke and fell and hit her on the head!"
"It's not that bad, is it? How big is the branch?"
"She's out cold and she's bleeding and she has yellow fluid seeping from her nose!"
Brother Perant looked closely at Voran's eyes. There was frantic panic and sincerity. No sign of a lie. "Get Dangero and Banjon. We'll have to move her in here."

Dangero was stunned. "What'll we do, she might die!"
"Aye, she'll die, and good riddance to that Redwaller!"
"Veil's wrong. Ignore him."
"Be quiet, both of you!" muttered Voran through gritted teeth. "Don't tell me what to do! Whose life is it anyway?"
"Talking to yoreself, eh? First sign of madness, they say." Voran glared at Banjon, but said nothing.
"See? They hate you, they hate every outsider that is one of the supposed vermin. Why don't you just run away? They think you did it anyway."

"Jonte, come away from there, you've been sitting there for ages."
"Can't, Muskfur, I think there might be a minor leak here."
"JONTE SHELLHOUND!" Marina dashed to the end of the boat and flung him aside. "Why didn't you tell me? I'm a Riftgard otter, descended from Kroova Wavedog, the most capable seabeast ever known! I could have fixed that leak. Jonte, what a pain you are. Go away, I can fix the boat easily...."
Marina never finished the sentence. Water gushed through the hole, filling the bottom of the boat with ice-cold water. Gasping in shock, Muskfur tried to get out of the boat. She had never really seen a boat before, but being an otter, she realised it would be no good trying to save it. Tearing off her heavy, thick cloak and her long, hampering royal gown, she revealed a plain tunic, light and practical. Marina frantically helped her to take off her many necklaces, pawrings and clawrings. Jonte grabbed a drifting length of rope, and tied the trio together. Exhausted by thir own panic, they drifted away.