Get Us to the Church on Time
Stubb, Hactor, Rincair, Dessie, Parin, Amos, Dangeon, Darkmane, Angus
The trees rise like dark sentinels around the procession, which makes its glacial yet disorderly way through Mossflower, bound on a northerly course. Rays of the midday sun cut through the canopy, lighting on the face of a scrawny weasel, now donning a smallish pack with a bedroll tucked beneath. Stubb winces, raising a paw to shade his small eyes, an edge of lip rising in a snarl. "Oy, 'Actor," he calls ahead to the warlord, whom he follows at a few paces' distance. "Whoi'd we 'ave to march boi day agin? Blasted sun's in moi oiyes, ma'e."
Hactor still walking replies over his shoulder, "Tha reason we are walkin by day is so we ave tha rest of tha day ta train. And stop wining about yur eyes." He then turned and kept a werry eye pealed for the ruins of St. Ninia's as the horde marched along.
The past few days have been good to the army, boosting its numbers substantially. Bitnose, Flintfang, Grent--less a tongue--, Sage, and all the rest march sullenly through the heat of the summer day, swearing now and again, bumping into one another or bickering, but on the whole maintaining a semblance of order. The dry dirt rises in a cloud at their feet, making the air rather unpleasant to breathe.
However bright the sun may shine, in the midst of the trees of Mossflower, shadow and darkness is still plentiful enough for one to wrap it about him like a cape. Rincair watches silently from the forest, kneeling on a bed of fallen needles, one paw resting on the ancient woodland guardian beside him. His eyes alight with interest on the aged fox who seems to be leading the column.
Dessie is curious curious and curiouser. As they go by foot, the whippet of a feline has been stalking behind by way of branch and limbs. Biting down on the tip of her tongue, she pauses to crouch on a limb. It is only so she can hear some of the dialogue. That seems to be her comfortable range, close enough that she can hear.
Somewhere in Hactor's immediate van, Parin marches, shield slung on his back, as usual. The ferret keeps his eyes on the road, for the most part, although he throws an occasional suspicious glance at the woods. Woodlanders are a tricky bunch.
Stubb slackens his pace a bit, throwing a dubious look back at the motley troops arrayed behind him. He steps further to the side and lets the others pass before rejoining the column at the back, where much of his so-called 'secondary force' follows at a distance. A gob of spit leaves his mouth, strikes the ground, then rises again as steam, faintly green. The weasel comports himself with exaggerated nonchalance, as if to visually distinguish himself as sharply as possible from the members of the regular army, and his bedroll bounces against his lower back.
Hactor stops and sniffs the air. He calls ove three archer weasles and whisper's, "Keep an eye on are right and left flank. Shoot anything that moves." The three nod and then fell back into ranks. Hactor then calles for Stubb to come to his side.
The scene is one of an angry wildcat chasing a hare out into the forest, shouting after her before stoping to take in the sight. The hare looks like she just woke up, and with an angry wildcat after her it must have been rather quickly, "Guess we ain't missed any of the fun, " Whistling as Amos looks at the ranks, spotting Stubb he waves over to the weasel and calls out, "We're here! Present!" Toothy grin. Seeing the fox tearing the attention of the weasel he drops back to find the hare.
Dessie is unaware of any whispering, but continues on, moving along the branches in a stalk. The cats belly is almost flush with the limbs beneath her, moving on all fours; ears cupped forward, whiskers quivering.
Two arrows whizz past the hares head before Hactor yells, "Hold yer fire! This isn't a foe!"
Stubb's body language complains vociferously at the inconvenience, but he holds his tongue, returning with pumping strides to the fox's side, and raising a good-natured, salutatory nod to Parin, before turning to business. "Aye, boss?" he says, his pace matching Hactor's, turning again, only briefly, and with tepid interest, to note the commotion at the back of the pack.
Rincair represses a chuckle as the hare charges out into the open and is promptly missed by an impressive display of arching prowess. Slight noises in the tree above him cause the marten to look up; a cat is perching in the limbs overhead.
Dangeon has a travelling pack. Which she guards with her -life- from that wildcat. "Eh, lemme 'lone y' grumpy cat!" She calls at him, with a dazed frown. "'S all.. Waah!" Arrows fly past her and she freezes. "Wot. The. Dark Forest. Are ya doin'?!" She yells in the direction the arrows came from, and immediately checks her pack. She glares some more, than looks around for certain individuals. Two of, to be precise, grumbling to herself.
Dessie is found mysteriously, even though she is paces behind the army; she is unaware of being spotted.
Hactor looks down at the weasel and replies in a tone only he could consider warm, "Stubby ma friend. Ow mach longer till we reach these ruins of yers hmm?" He glances back at the hare and winks mockingly before cocking his head back to Stubb.
Parin returns Stubb's nod, turning to see what the trouble is in the back. With a sigh and a low growl, the ferret steps outside of the column, stalking back to the offending archers and falling in step with them. He engages in a low-volume conversation with them.
Darkmane comes wandering into view shortly after Dangeon and Amos, tho rather then running after them he seems to be content to walk at a rather brisk pace until he reaches up to the group at which time he shifts to their speed, his gaze surveying the area carefully for a moment as his lips twitch slightly.
Stubb stares for a dumbfounded moment at Hactor. "Eh? Oi ain' nevar been dere, ma'e. I' was you wha' came up wif dis plan." He hastily adds, "Er, boss." He chews something for a few moments, then adds, "Oi ain' been norf of 'ere in moi loife. You sai', i' 'd be less 'n a day's march, so. No' long, oi waga'."
Dessie's ears pin back as she sees the horse begin to join, eyes narrowing. She crawls backwards, secures herself to the trunk and climbs higher. She's going to give some poor squirrel a heart attack.
Hactor noticing the new arrival grits his teeth and yells, "Halt!" He then marches over to the newcomers and sayes, "Exactley ow many of ye are there hmmm? Should I be expecting more people ta just fall out ot tha trees then?!
"Y' still take the time to figure out what tis first," Parin informs the archers. "Y' wouldn' jus' shoot at a fallin' leaf."
"/Shot/ at me... Can y' believe 't." Dangeon's still muttering and grumbling, to horse and wildcat as said horse catches up with them. "Nearly 'it m' pack. 'S y'r fault, Ol' Cat! Chasin' me int' 'em like that. I get extra pay on 'count o' y' tryin' t' get me killed! Yes?" She tries with the wildcat, then looks up at the horse. "'s fair, right?"
Amos yowls, "Ya overslept, and ya still smell of booze!" Amos glares in disgust, stepping closer to get a wif of her, "Ain't know what'cha was up to last night... with that horse feller..." he shrugs, "Ain't my business either, " He takes a side long look at Darkmane, "Ya better not screw this job up or worrying about getting paid will be the least of your worries." "
Dessie overhears that, at least, and quietly contemplates suicide; as her brain simply cannot deal with the very idea.
Hactor rolles his eyes and replies to the three, "Jast keep up and stoy quiet." He then ordered for the rest to start marching as he took his spot ahead of the group.
Rincair watches quietly as the cat ascends higher into the tree, and slips away, plotting a course parallel to the advancing army. The marten's steps are careful, moving with surprising agility for someone his size.
Darkmane looks down at Amos and snorts "My guess would be that she slept in her room that night as I slept in mine" his head tilting slightly as his lips shifts into a wry grin "you shouldn't have such a dirty mind." As he is about to say something to Dangeon tho his attention gets directed at Hactor "I think i'm the only new addition for now, and will do" A respectfull salute offered.
Hactor's swiftly changing orders propagate messily through the ranks, stirring up vocal arguments among the regulars. Stubb shakes his head and tuts audibly as Hactor rejoins him at the front. "Worfless scum, the lo' of dem."
Hactor nods but notices teh skeletal remains of Ninian's Church coming into view as the army marches on through the woods. He orders for them to pick up the pace saying, "Stop yer whining ya useless louts! Tha sooner we get there tha sooner ya get ta rest. Now move!"
Parin is among the troops now, trying to smooth things over and keep everyone in their columns.
"I don' smell o' booze, th' booze jus' hangs aroun' me. 't likes me." The doe says, poutily and without making much sense. It's kind of a mumble anyway. "... Where a' we goin' anyway? An' yeah!" She suddenly pipes up, joining the horse in comment. "Dun' be thinkin' such like tha', Ol' Cat!" The hare sees the church. "We goin' there? Doesn't look like 's much of a fun place..."
Dessie figures it better now nor never. She makes her way through the network of trees, bounding with the daring of teenage squirrels. Perfect limb, her tongue curls over her upper lip and she launches herself into free space. As she comes to the ground, she pulls her shoulder in, collides with the earthen floor and rolls with the momentum. When she pops up to stand, she is behind Dangeon and Amos.
Dessie whispers, "Whys you be goin' dere?"
Stubb shifts the pack across his back and continues with vigor restored by the sight of the church. "Sooner we ge' dere, sooner we can se' up camp, an' sooner we can be ou' of dis blasted sun," he says, mostly to himself.
"Ain't suppose ta be fun, what'cha think this is?" He grumbles, glaring between the horse and hare. Startled by the whispering but not turning as he recognizes the voice, "Invasion force getting set up I reckon, " He says loud enough to be overheard. The wildcat turns to face Darkmane, "So what's your part in all this?"
Parin makes his way back to the front of the column, gazing ahead at the church.
Dangeon does not expect anyone behind her like that. She fumbles for her scimitar, and whirls, tense. But feels silly and relaxes almost immediately at the sight of Dessie. "Y' tryin' t' creep up? Don't blame y'... Shoot arrows if'n 'ey see y' comin'..." The doe's still sore about that, then. To the wildcat "Is a job. Jobs c'n be fun. Y' used t' think so too, rememb'r?" And then she perks her ears and grins. "Kind mist'r Maney 's bein' a good friend. An' helpin' protect defenseless booze."
The group finalley arives at the crumbling mas of bricks that must have been parts of a wall at some point. Hacttor grins and marches past this happy to be at the camp, and no longer have to deal with this lout at present.
Hactor, Stubb, and Parin proceed into the churchyard, followed by
Dessie rubs her snout again, as if plagued by allergies. "Ain't dis a mousie home too?" she queries to Dangeon and Amos, keeping pace. Her tail is twitching with nervous agitation.
Darkmane looks over at the wildcat and smirks slightly "Thats actually a very good question as I don't think I actually have any special part in this aside from following along." His brows furrowing slightly "I'm fairly sure there are some things I can do to help tho"
Darkmane then nods in Dangeon's direction "And what she said"
"Ain't know nutin' about dat, I's look like I knows everything?" Still somewhat annoyed Amos snaps at the cat, still not turning to face her, "Eh, I see... well if that crazy fox don't mind ya about, I guess I don't... just ya don't get in the way of Dangeon doing her job, " He mumbles, soon realizing the group is leaving them behind and thus picks up the pace to follow behind.
In the wake of this disorganized mob, the dragon skulks. Angus is pursuing the others at a distance, mostly on all fours, as he weaves among the branches and underbrush of the forest. The lizard is quiet, apart from the snaps and pops of breaking twigs and the woosh of his tail over dead leaves.
"What in the blaze would make y' hide? Y'r huge." The haremaid's rather incredulous that a horse should ever want to hide away. "C'mon, we're gettin' lef' behind..." She's even trying to walk briskly enough to overtake Amos, probably deliberately. "C'mon Ol' Cat! Aye, 's all ruins this an' lost that wi' the mousey types..." She calls the latter back to Dessie.
Angus stops in his tracks for a moment, catching some of the conversation. He tilts his head and squints, searching for familiar faces; finding none, the lizard circumvents the march and vanishes among a break in the forest.
Somewhat more focused than annoyed now, but listening to the conversation as he leads he turns his head to take stock of his group of followers. Cat, horse, he shakes his head and glares at Dangeon, "Ya don't have ta keep up, by all means ya can hang back with ya feller, " Then moving to move past her, "Well come on ya lot!" Amos goes ahead.
At the encampment...
Stubb trudges into the churchyard, not far behind Hactor, and slumps down in the shade of a particularly massive chunk of rubble. He rubs his paw across his brow and says, a wheeze evident in his voice, "Oy. Oi need a breavah." He looks back to where the rest of the army is parading in, watching for his 'secondary force' while he recuperates.
Hactor looks around rather pleased with the spaciosuness of the area, and orders vermin carrying supplies to set up camp. He then sits next to Stubb, and lights a long pipe saying, "It's all comin tagether Stubby me lad."
Stubb takes one of his leaves from his pocket and twists it about between his fingers. "An' to fink you was goin' ta gu' me a few days ago, eh?" He takes a bite from the tip of the leaf and spits out the fiber, then places the rest on his tongue. "We goin' 'a pass any, er, markets on tha way, ma'e?"
A pair of rats sets to work arranging a circle of stones in the midst of the churchyard. They repurpose old bits of ruined sculpture, pieces of wall salvaged from the rubble, and other odds and ends, to use in the construction of the camp. A third rat excavates a shallow hole in the midst of the circle, where the cook fire will be lit.
Angus materializes among the hubbub of camp construction. Now that he is no longer navigating the tough brush of the forest, the lizard rises upright, taking in the camp around him. He steps cautiously, sullenly, among the tents, seeming more lost than anything. Through the chaos, Angus spies the spindly figure of Stubb, which he begins to approach hesitantly.
Hactor blows a ringlet and mules this question over. They would need food to feed the army of course, but they couldn't send anyone rough around the edges.
It's tough to miss the lizard, particularly when he's thundering in your direction. Stubb straightens against the stone where's propped himself, without seeming to lose his cool demeanor, and raises a paw in greeting.
Angus bobs his head to acknowledge the weasel's wave, then throws a glance over each shoulder, as bare arms fold over his chest. He returns his attention to Stubb. "S'this is what ye' 'ad in mind, pally? A bunch o' ragamuffin's buildin' up a makeshift village 'round an' old burnt up church? Don' see 'ow this helps wi' my predicament much." Much of the fellow's intimidation factor waned days ago: his face is quite gaunt, and still harbors evidence of his basement collision, manifested as a hideous purple and green bruise beneath each eye; his shoulders are hunkered forward, glum.
Hactor looks up from his pipe and pretending a look of concern replies, "Now cheer up ole chap. Ya gots noice lil camp ta live in. Whats eatin ya?"
Stubb shrugs casually. I' sui's a purpose, ma'e. Can' go chargin' after Nidlorf wifout a few paws to back you up." He squints at Angus, shading his eyes against the sun. "Oy, you look loike 'ell," the weasel changes the subject. "Don' tell me... tha' tumble down tha stairs de uvver day?" He tsks.
"Never been too worried 'bout gettin' ate," Angus clips to the fox lord, cocking a scaly brow. He listens quietly to the weasel's excuses, and responds with a skeptical bob of his head before telling Stubb, "Aye--the stairs, I 'spect. Or perhaps the giant chunk of nail-riddled wood tha' sent me sprawlin' down 'em." The lizard is trying to remain optimistic, but the last few days have been quite cruel to him. With a grunt, the hulk drops into a crouch, gazing idly at two incompetent tent constructers as they bicker a few meters away.
Hactor seeing the two rats bickering picks up a small stone and throws it, Hitting one squrreley in the head. They both look in his derection and he replies, "That tent had better be perfect or it's gonna be sothin bigger than a stone."
Stubb leans back, jaw working on his cud in slow, deliberate chews, eyes narrowing to contented slits. "Dere's no uvver way to travel, 'far as oi'm concerned. Shelta over your 'ead, teams a beasts makin' your foire, cookin' your food." He opens an eye to see Hactor reprimanding his troups, and he chuckles. "'Ey, 'Ac... Wha's for lunch, then?"
Amos looks back over his shoulder as he enters the encampment, making sure the hare is following behind him. His eyes taking in the site of the construction, noises and its all enough to make him feel a little lost too. Angus though, stands out despite all of this and with the weasel nearby he sets out in their direction. Though still holding somewhat back as he watches them chattering.
Hactor Considering Stubb's question calls over Sage and his brother. "You two go out inta the forest abd gring us back somethin ta roste, preferably some noice saprrows. Got it?" Sage nods for himslef and his brother, and the both trk out into the woods.
Dangeon is, of course, following. And she's rather. Disenchanted. "Wot a dump... Still... Be better 'en jus' an tombstone. We stayin', Catty Boss?" Of course, that's to Amos. She checks back to see where the rest of the group is. Not that she can miss a horse, especially if he's still lingering close.
The thought of food churns Angus' stomach a bit; it goes without saying, he has not had much of an appetite lately. There is a considerable amount of dust in the air, stirred by the straggling soldiers and struggling craftsmen. It burns the lizard's eyes and nostrils, and makes this a rather hazy afternoon--at least from his squatted vantage point. Angus watches the wildcat approach, but fails to get a good picture of him through the nebulous dirt cloud. "Who's tha' approachin'?" he asks Stubb.
Dessie is several steps behind Dangeon, her thumbclaw in her mouth. Angus is noticed immediately. Well, that's one lizard she can't tear the tail off of.
Darkmane surveys the camp thoughtfully as he follows a step or two behind Dangeon muttering quietly to himself about blindspots before blinking slightly and shutting his maw since this is not really any of his business. A soft smile appearing on his lips as he looks down at Dangeon "To answer your earlier question tho, I tended to hide away when I simply wanted to be in peace with nobody interupting me for silly reasons."
Angus is silent for a while, then, without a word, rises. He meanders sadly over to the pair of incompetent tent builders, and begins to lend them a half-hearted hand. It will keep his mind off other things, if nothing else.
It takes a moment for Stubb, in his sunstruck state, to notice he's being addressed, "Eh? 'Oo?" He squints. "Tha tomca'? Cay Boss, oi fink 'is name is. Or Amos, more loikely. Fink dat's Jayne co
Stubb stops midsentence as the lizard gets up and leaves. "Er. Roigh', then." The weasel has never had a child, but he chalks up Angus' eccentric behavior to his recent loss. Shrugging, Stubb adjusts himself against the rubble and closes his eyes again to catch a quick nap.
Dessie looks between Darkmane and Dangeon, D: facing the entire time. She is so confused.
Hactor notices Dessie and swaggers over. He puts on his snake's smile as he sayes to the cat, "Well well well. Looks loike my pretty lil friend was a bit curios after all." He chuckles as he continues, "Now wha did they say about curiosity an cats?"
Dangeon grins up at the horse. "Makes sense. Used t' do tha' sometimes I s'pose, bu' no' often. 'M small 'nuff t' hide 'way a little easi'r than you..." And, there's Dessie making faces. There's that lizard building a tent. And Stubbly McWeasly is up ahead. She's sure that's where Amos is headed, so that's where she's aiming herself too. Until Hactor moves up to Dessie. The hare has a wary look at catching some of that.
Dessie's ears twitch and flatten against her head, the tip of her tail seemingly expanding in growth as the fur fluffs. "I sees lunch go through here." she lies.
The rat who previously dug out the fire pit trudes off into the woods to fetch firewood. The other two fellows, tasked by their officer with setting up the cooking area, are instead going at it with lengths of iron bar, whacking each other with them amid the heat of some disagreement.
Noticing that the chattering has broken up, and attention turning torwards him he moves forward. The lizard's action somewhat puzzling him, but that Stubb's attention is cleared up is fine by him, "Aye, is Amos... ain't no cat boss my name, 's prefer ta be ju' boss too, " He grins and closes in on the weasel, "So ya gotta job for us?"
Stubb screws up his face irritably before waking up. "Don' look loike oi'll be gein' a wink, long as oi'm out 'ere in the open, eh?" As he stands up, the contents of his pack clink a bit, adjusting. "A job? Yeah, yeah... Can' you folks jes' be 'appy wif a bi' of fresh air?" He reconsiders. "Don' answer tha'."
Hactor is about to reply to the cat before he notice some rats making a fuss with a tent. He curses under his breath but turnes to the cat saying, "Perhaps a conversation fur antha toime." He bowes in mock politeness, before going to diseplin his tropps.
Darkmane muses toughtfully before his lips twist into a wide grin as his gaze follows Hactor "Maybe you should tell those slacking off that if they don't shape up and do their job properly they will have to face me in the arena for a training bout."
Hactor after dealing with the two grins up to the horse, "I loike tha way ya think mate. Wha be yer name?"
Somehow, the firepit gets erected, and, shortly thereafter, a kitchen tent--more like a tarp on poles--rises beside it. In fits and starts, the camp coalesces into a roughly stable order.
Dangeon watches Hactor with quite the frown. She's not sure what's going on between him and the cat, but for some reason it seems to irk her. Her mouth splits into a grin though, as Darkmane speaks up. She'd comment, but there's a Hactor, so she wanders closer to join with Stubb and Amos, listen in to hear about work. May as well know what she's doing.
Dessie wets her lips, doing her best to appear unrattled.
The wildcat rolls his eyes and hisses, "I's there a job or ain't there?" He said gruffly, "Or I shall go back to the Inn maybe? I had the impression ya might have something for us."
Darkmane bows respectfully as is befitting somebody of Hactor's rank "That would be Darkmane, and I find it a good way to stay in shape at times since it reminds me of an older job I had"
Hactor turns to his troops and yells for attention. "Aroight! I want me cap'ns to meet me in my tent." He thought for a moment and decided looking to Darkmane, "I loike tha cut of yer jib mate. Want ta be a cap'n?"
Stubb looks soberly at Amos. "Aye, oi've go' a bi' of work for ya." He nods to the hare. "Bof a' ya, if you'd loike." The weasel makes a pained expression as Sage bumps gracelessly by en route to the cooking fire, a largish bird dragging on the ground behind him. "Er... Fink we moigh' take dis elsewhere, tho'? Over boi tha graves."
Hactor not waiting for an answer heads to his tent followed by a large stoat, and a ferret. He also hopes for Darkmane to follow.
Hactor enters his tent.
Darkmane shakes his head slightly "While the offer is tempting I am afraid it would interfere with my current assignments." His head cocking slightly to the side. "If you are willing to leave it an open tho I might take you up on your offer at a later date"
Dangeon salutes. "At y' service, Stubbly. Er. Well, at his," She's indicating the wildcat "Bu' if'n y'r payin' us, then... y' know..."
Dune tags along behind his brother Sage and, over-hasty, dunks their fresh kill into a pot of lukewarm water. He makes an inept attempt at pulling out the feathers, but it goes rather badly, and his brother bops him over the head. Stubb can't stand to watch the display for long. "Roigh', then." He heads deeper into the encampment, toward the cemetery. "You comin', ca'ty boss?"
Amos makes no reaction to the hare, following after the weasel without any comment.
Dessie takes a good look around the campsite and then turns, sprinting for the first tree she can find and swiftly disappearing up the branches.
Dangeon looks back for the horse, she doubts Stubb would be able to object if he did decide to tag along, before she follows the weasel and wildcat.
Darkmane noting Dangeon and company heading off quickly turning toward them and heading in their direction
Stubb deftly navigates through the busy camp, making for its less dense fringes. "C'mon, den."
They move deeper into the encampment.
Stubb stops before an unmarked headstone. He swings his pack from his shoulders with a heavy sigh and sets it down on the gray-green grass. The weasel sits down on the stone, regarding Dangeon and Amos as they follow him. This area is considerably less crowded, though here and there soldiers raise smallish tends among the graves.
With hare following closely behind, the wildcat comes to a stop as Stubb does. Looking about the place for a moment before glancing to Dangeon, "Pay attention, " He grumbles, then turning back to the weasel, "So?"
Dangeon pokes her tongue out at the wildcat. She checks her pack, then sits unceremoniously on the ground. Pay attention? She can do that. Though she is momentarily distracted with a quick look around at the meeting place. "Graves. Knew it."
Darkmane remains silent as while he is within view and hearing range he shows enough respect to study the area rather then paying to close attention to what the others are doing, as he sees it, if stubbs want him involved he will call him over, if not then no loss for him
Stubb expectorates the remnants of his leaf on a neighboring grave. "Straigh' to business, then. Jes' as you loike, kitty," he says with a dark look at Amos. "You ever 'eard of Redwall? Seems everyone 'as bu' ol' Stubby." His eyes snag on the figure of the lurking horse, and though his speech stops for a moment, the weasel doesn't let it throw him off. "Oi've been charged wif scou'in' i' ou'. Quick loike, you know. In an' ou' 'Actor's go' somefin' more elabora'e planned for la'er... Bu' tha's none of your concern nor moine."
Amos doesn't much pay attention to the surroundings, only a quick look as he came in. He doesn't pay much attention to the others either, especially the horse. Mostly taking Dangeon's presence for granted, "Uh huh... we's listening, course we've heard of it... and scounting eh?"
Dangeon offers the horse a smile, though doesn't encourage him to either move away or come closer. She's not sure how much the others would be comfortable, but she seems calm enough that he should anything. Mostly she listens too, her muzzle twitching slightly. She's silent, thoughtful, waiting.
If Stubb is peeved by the interruption, he doesn't show it. "Aye, scou'ing. No' sure moise'f wha' to expec'." He smiles. "Bu' oi've asked aroun'. Seems dere's plen'y a tale 'bou' Redwall Abbey. Can' say 'ow many of dem is true. As oi see it," he leans in and lowers his voice to speak in a voice that borders on reverential, "if even a fird a wha' dey say is true, oi waga we can make off wif a fortune wifou' anybeas' gein' woise to tha game."
Darkmane remains at the outer edges as he for the moment have nothing to add to their conversation, instead he furrows his brows slightly as he makes a few notes of the layout of the place for the next time he sees Hactor
"If I may? We've all 'eard stories, bu'..." Dangeon gestures toward Darkmane, dropping her voice slightly. "He mentioned hidin' aroun' here from a long time back. So 'e must know the area? Perhaps we should be askin' Maney abou' the Redwall?"
Amos stands looking somewhat butch, arms crossed in front of him, "Aye aye..." Replying in understanding, listening quietly as the weasel leans in. His eyes alight at the possiblities, "Mmm, now that sounds interesting... guess ya need some folks to carry it all off for ya, " At the interruption of the hare he turns but looks uncertain back to the wesael.
Stubb finally gives the horse the scrutiny his size would typically demand. "Do 'e now? 'Maney', you say? Best we call 'im ova, then. No use in wastin' tha talen' we go', eh?"
Dangeon waves a paw to encourage the horse over, she's sure he could hear Stubb anyway.
Darkmane tsks slightly to himself and completes his temperary survey of the camp before turning his attention back to the group fully as he aproaches them since it seems quite obvious his attention is warranted even if not spoken
Amos steps back away from Stubb, turning to face the horse, "What'cha know ya horse feller?"
Stubb looks up at the horse. "Dis one, she tol' me you've go' a bi' of savvy 'bou' the Abbey. Tha' roigh'?" Despite a composed mien, he sits up on the headstone and grips the edge of it with a touch more force.
Dangeon grins sweetly. "Well, actually, I said y' knew th' area... 'Bout y' hidin'... Seems like y'd know a -bit- on th' abbey if'n y' know the area, though?"
Darkmane quirks his lips upward into a wry smile as he nods his head "Considering I was there not to long ago to rest for a while I'd have to say that is quite accurate yes" his gaze studying the three of them "Is there anything special you would like to know since I think the question Amos gave me is a bit to....unspecific"
Amos shrugs, gesturing to the weasel, "He's da one to ask about dat."
"'Actor tol' me da' i' 'd be no trouble for a weasel ta ge' insoide da ga'es. Said i's a maer of makin' loike oi'm a poor beggar in need of food. Is that roigh'?" Stubb remains severely skeptical that the Abbeydwellers would be so naively welcoming.
The vermin encampment is mildly interesting, and Rincair's eyes float about the area, noting this and that. The big marten works his way deeper into the encampment, unchallenged, so far, as it seems he either belongs or is too intimidating to trifle with. It's not difficult to see that something out of the ordinary is occurring here.
Dangeon sits and listens. Her smile broadening slightly as Darkmane mentions being there recently- so, she feels validated in suggesting that they talk with him, now. She'd notice Rincair... if it weren't for myriad other beasts milling around.
Darkmane scratches his cheek slightly "While I will admit to not having seen many vermin inside the abbey when I was there, that claim is fairly accurate since if you seem to be in need of help they are quite likely to offer it" his gaze turning to the sky for a few moments before looking back down at the group "It might be easier to get somebody inside that isn't a vermin tho." His shoulders giving a slight shrug as he finishes.
Amos pipes up, "I's heard that too, ain't know much though about no Abbey... is from south my'self, " He eyes Dangeon curiously for a moment, blinking as he notices the marten too but looks back to Darkmane, "Wus'about dat fox feller they gots, you don't consider him verminy...isn't it be easy enough ta have such about cuz'a him?"
Stubb looks almost angry. "Dey go' a fox goin' abou' at the Abbey?" He scoffs. "'Aven't dey never been attacked? Don' seem to make much sense to me."
"Y' have t' be kiddin' if'n y' think -I'm- going to fit in amongst tha' lot. They'll try t' take m' sword off me. An' they'll be all lovey an' 'holier than thou'..." She's responding mostly after noticing Amos' look, and combining it with the suggestion of a 'non-vermin'. She's quite aware of being a hare. "'S supposed t' be a white fox. All peaceful type, but wi' a magic sword t' kill f'r him." That for Stubb's benefit, of course. Though she needs confirmation. And looks to Darkmane. The marten really would stick out more if this weren't a camp full of weasily looking things. It doesn't help that the hare's attention seems caught by the conversation either.
The horse is really what catches Rincair's attention; the marten's eyes widen slightly, and he approaches the group. "I take it this is the great vermin army I've heard tell of 'round the campfires of the wilderness," he begins, voice tinged with a gravelly tone. "The one that will finally sack Redwall and pillage it's mythic treasure."
Darkmane chuckles wryly "I assume you are refering to their champion that goes by the name of flicktail, he actually got married when i was resting at the abbey." His head tilting to look straight at Rincair as he speaks up, whatever else darkmane might have said tho is left unsaid with the newcomer there.
"Oi won' be 'avin' nuffin' to do wif dat," Stubb says, dismissing the marten out of hand. "No' sayin' any of da' is true, eiver. Wha' oi know is, oi'll ge' in, ge' tha lay of the lan'. Maybe help moise'f ta a bi' of those 'myfic treasures', you know. Den ge' ou', clean as you loike. Don' know nuffin' abou' no... wha'ever you called it. Sack an' pillage. Dis army's after King Nidlorf an' da's i'."
Stubb, having said all this, fixes Rincair with a cold look.
"It'll be easy Dangy ol' pal, maybe even get ya in a pretty ol' dress, " Amos laughs at the thought, "Ya don't need no sword ta be robbing if ya does it right anyway... and ya know ya could play the part easily enough, " He grins, arms crossed still as he stands there, "That horse feller and you could get in easy... since they already know him..." He hmms, nodding and looking a bit more serious about the idea. Almost forgetting the newcomer, certainly enough not to stop himself until he hears Stubb's rather cold welcome for the marten.
Rincair's eyes narrow as the weasel speaks. He chuckles softly. "Glad to hear it, weasel, because there's no way in a thousand seasons this ragtag 'army' could ever occupy those walls."
Hactor heads back to the front of the encampment.
Dangeon glares at Amos. ".. Dress? Why would I be in a dress..?" She twitches her ears and looks to Rincair. "Someone else who knows th' place?" To the horse. "Flicktail... I thought 't was that. Someun said. Y' could get someun in, though, couldn' y', Maney? I wouldn' need no dress..."
Darkmane chuckles softly as he looks over Dangeon "There should be no problem getting you inside, and while we can ditch the dress, i think we should get ya some different clothes tho" a soft smile offered to Dangeon "nothing fancy, since i have a feeling you would prefer practical clothing."
"Comical effect of course, but I guess the horse does have a point, " The wildcat laughs, adding, "Sadly..." Chuckling as he thinks of the image of Dangeon in a dress and trying to act lady like, "Might attract too much attention that way honestly..."
Hactor walks around the camp, making sure everthing is in order. He notices the marten and whispers to Stubb, "Who is this one then? Did he soighn up?"
Stubb tosses Rincair one more frown before Hactor walks up. "As oi said, oi know nuffin' abou' a' attack on da Abbey. I's jes' rumors." Turning to Hactor, a vulpine grin restored to his features, he says, "'E was jes' claimin' we was attackin' the Abbey. Imagine tha', eh, 'Actor? We're jes' after loo'... An' tha' Nidlorf fellow, ain' tha' roigh'?"
The smell of warm, crisp bird fat wafts in from the middle of the camp, borne on a smokey breeze.
Hactor barked a harsh laugh saying, "Where did e evah get a funny ide loike tha?" He turned to the marten saying, "My greasy lil friend is roight, we jas afta loot an good fortune. Ta think a flea bitten ole thing loike me goin afta tha Abbey!"
Dangeon twitches her nose. "Wha's wrong wi' my clothes?" She tries to look down at herself. And relents to the horse. "Hrm. Nothin' frilly though..." She says, after a few moments. "-If- I'm th' one goin' in tha' is." Another glare for the wildcat, but she's trying to shut up in front of Rincair. Still, to Amos "Stop thinkin' about it, even..."
Rincair snorts, paw falling to his swordhilt casually. "Can't see what else ye'd be doing with a bunch this size. No midnight raid needs this many troops."
Hactor spits on the grown at the martin's feet and replies darkley, "Ya ask alott a questions ya overgrown squirrel." He left his sword in his tent but he did have his dagger in case things got iffy. Besides he also had a horde of vermin at his disposall.
Darkmane glances over at Amos since he can't resist to play one of the oldest mind tricks around that still tends to be quite effective "And don't even try thinking about Stubb in a pink Tutu" his lips quirking into a wry grin before he turns his gaze on Rincair while speaking to the hare "no worries Dangeon, I'll let you help pick out the clothes"
Stubb's nose twitches at the promise of lunch, and he grabs his pack. "You deal wif dis one, ma'e," he mutters to Hactor, then shifts back to the trio, still discussing the raid. "Oi'm famished. Oi fink our plans'll be beer all around if we 'ave food in us."
Rincair's visage darkens, glancing down towards his feet momentarily before looking the old fox in the eye. "If I were you, I'd hold my tongue. There are some lines that are very hazardous to cross."
The hare is spared, stunned for a moment at the thought before looking over to Stubb as he continues talking to the others and imagining him a pink tutu. Amos can't help himself, letting a belly full of laughter that errupts through the encampment to the puzzlement of some of the looks thrown his way. He eventually does stop laughing, grumbles and glares at both the horse as well as the hare. Ears twitch as someone mentions lunch, "Aye, I think we're going to head offs and have us some lunch too Stubby, " He calls over, "We's can continue talking some more later, " Seeing as the discussion they were having has sort of died, " Ya coming Dangy?" He looks between the hare and horse before turning and leaving without answer from anyone.
Hactor grins a toothey grin and replies taking out the dagger, "Ladd when ya entered /my/ camp uninfoighted, ya crosed a line.Now get tha ell out o my camp!"
"... Now we're -all- thinkin' o' that, Maney..." The doe chides, but she's grinning. "And, thank's." She perks up at Stubb's suggestion. Whatever her allignment, a hare is a hare after all. "Food 'n us sounds like th' wisest thing some un's said all day..." She spares a glance for Hactor and Rincair, and shakes her head. "Took long'r 'n I thought..." But then, Amos is moving off and calling them along. "C'mon Maney. He'll eat everythin' if we don' keep up..." And she starts after the wildcat.
Apparently having a knife pulled on him is a little much for Rincair to stomach, and in a flash of steel, the marten's sword clears its sheath. "Try it, fox. I'll split your head like a ripe melon if you come a step closer. And that goes for any guards you might be thinking about, as well."
Darkmane bows respectfully to Hactor as he dismisses the marten from his mind then grins at Dangeon as he runs up alongside her "my pleasure fair one." At the sound of drawn steel tho he stops cold and turns around "Hmm, lunch or seeing how this ends, why do fate always have to give me choices like this"
Hactor ignoring evrything ellse cackles loudly and begins cleaning his nales with the tip of the long knife. "Ya know," he began, "I can't remembah tha last toime I had marten. Really good actually if ya roast it roight!" He was ready for whatever Rincair had to throw at him.
Amos departs swiftly, his stomach more focused on lunch.
Dangeon has a glance back. She's just not that interested though. An army, and one Rincair. Okay, so she's now finding Rincair's mindset interesting, but she just doesn't see a surprising ending. "Well, if y' decide on lunch, jus' catch up." She grins to the horse, and goes to catch up with Amos.
Rincair snorts, sword held at the ready. "Sorry, but I'm afraid marten meat is infamously stringy."
Hactor chuckles and sayes, "Ya know lad I loike ya. In fact I loike ya so mach I think I moight skin ya instead of eat ya!" The old fox nods to the two axe wealding stoats who snuck up behind Rincair. He yells to them, "Don't ruin his pelt! I want it fur me tent."
Darkmane leans against his staff toughtfully as he merely watches the spectacle and while some might have considered it a good thing to join into the squabble, in darkys mind a proper leader should be able to deal with a situation like this without aid from an outsider..especially when the said leader has an army at his beck and call
(One stoat (obviously new to this) awkwardly ran forward and sliced torwards the marten.)
It doesn't take a genius to deduce that Hactor is shouting orders at /someone,/ so Rincair glances behind him where two stoats are under the impression that they've crept up on him unawares. One decides to charge, apparently without consulting the other. Rincair releases a sigh, moving his shoulder out of the path of the swing and placing both paws on the hilt of his sword.
The stoat trips up and falls over sending the axe flying behind him (it hits the other stoat square in the chest killing him.)
Rincair watches the actions of the guards with some level of awe.
Hactor can't beleav what he is seeing! The younger stoat sees what he has done and turns to Hactor saying, "Er...sorry?" Hactor grits his teeth and throw the dagger at the young stoat's head. It makes it's mark. Hactor looks to the marten, "Sorry ya had ta see th lad."
Rincair is somewhat stunned by the events that have just transpired, but to his credit, he hides it well. "Right."
Hactor nods now noticing /he/ doesn't have a weapon. He curses under gis breath and sayes to Rincair, "Well if you and me are ta foight let's make it fair. Loose tha sword an my vermin won't get involved." He took a fighters stance, "Jas you an me."
Rincair gives Hactor a suspicous glare. "How do I know ye'll keep your word?"
Hactor replies pointing to the dead stoats, "Trast me ya got enough dumb luck as it is." He sayes to the near by troops, "No one touch im. This one moine."
Rincair unstraps his sword with a certain amount of reluctance, placing it on the ground. The big marten moves towards Hactor and lowers his center of gravity.
Hactor spits on the ground and charges Rincair. hoping to be able to grapple him to the ground.
After allowing Hactor to make the first move, Rincair waits for the fox to get close, then attempts to tackle his legs and bear him to the ground.
Hactor feels the weight of the martin on his legs, and is on his back with the bloody thing on top of him. He was ready to block and even bite if necesary.
Finding himself conveniently positioned atop the vermin leader, Rincair moves to place one knee in the small of Hactor's back, the other already pressing on his thighs. Effectively, this should leave him pinned, but the marten also attempts to grab one of the fox's arms.
Hactor feels all this happening but when Rincair, tryes to grab his arm he manages to slip it ou oh the marten's grasp and graps his throat. The more preasure Rincair apllies to Hactor's back and thighs the harder he squeeses at the maren's thraot.
Rincair reacts to being choked by slipping a thumb under the paw on his quite thick neck and applying all the squeezing power his large forearm can produce to the pressure point in Hactor's palm.
Hactor yelps and retracts his paw. But he's not out yet, he uses all the strength he can muster to try and head but Rincair.
Rincair's head isn't down in butting range; the marten is relatively upright, and the horde leader's head encounters only air.
Hactor had a fealing that wouldn't work. So with his free hand he quickly sweeps it across to punch the marten in the jaw if he can.
The punch lands on the side of Rincair's jaw, snapping his head momentarily sideways, but what it seems to be most effective at is further enraging the marten. He pulls back to drive a punch of his own at Hactor's head.
Hactor feels the impacst of the marten's fist on the side of his head. He growls scratching as hard as he can at Rincair's eyes , pure animal instinct guiding him.
Apparently it's to be a scratching match. Rincair squints his eyes shut and blindly pummels at the fox's face.
Hactor feels a baradge of blows hit his face, and blood runs freely from his snout. He visiously kicks hard at his aponents gut trying to get him off. He still continues to scratch, digging his claws into the marten's face.
The kick hits home, and pronounces a solid thump. Rincair rolls off of the fox, coming quickly to his feet. Blood streams into his eyes, filling his view with a crimson taint.
Hactor stands wiping blood out of his mouth. Panting he yells, "Come on then! Let's finish this!" A large crowed of vermin has gathered around most chearing for the general, though a few also cheering for the rouge marten.
With a wordless roar, Rincair charges the fox, intending to grapple with him.
Hactor grits his teeth and grabs the oncoming beast by the shoulders. He manages to /not/ go to the ground this time, but he doesn't manage to toss him like he intended. They're both seemingly locked like this.
While Hactor is holding onto his shoulders, Rincair is putting one paw on the back of the fox's head, the other holding onto the arm that grabs him. Abruptly, the marten simply stops resisting on the pressure on one side of his body, which should cause Hactor to stumble forward. At the same time, Rincair moves the paw that was behind the fox's head to wrap his arm around and put the fox in headlock; if all goes as he wishes, the fox should end up on the ground, with the marten's arm securely locking his head into place.
All goes as the marten wanted. Hactor was on the ground, in a head lock. He had his hand on Rincair's arm, so as not to be strangled. But now was the time to fight dirty... literalley. With a free paw he grabbed a fist full of dirt and rubbed it in the marten's eyes.
Being in an enraged state, Rincair seems to have the ability to simply close his eyes and temporarily ignore the dirt clogging them. At this point, the massive marten begins to twist the fox's head in a trajectory that could easily lead to a fractured vertebrae, intending to just break Hactor's brittle old neck and be done with it.
Hactor feels his neck begining to turn in a way it shouldn't. The fox was angry, oh so angry. But he knew when he couldn't win so he shouted, "Fine! Ya bested me. Now get yer arse off!" A weasel in one corner was chuckling. Hactor made a mental note to remove that weasel's ears later on.
With a parting twist, Rincair relinquishes his grasp on the horde lord, getting quickly to his feet. The marten collects his sword and take a moment to wipe the blood and dirt from his eyes. "I leave you to your pathetic devices, fox. May your endeavors fail, and may the crows pick the flesh from your bones before a soul gets the chance to bury your worthless carcass. Cross me again, and I'll not relent. As for the rest of you, you'll receive no first chance at mercy if I don't leave this place unmolested." Shoving a rat aside, he makes his way back through the camp.