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December 26, 2012
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A Short Christmas Message From Redwall...



The raggedy band of Nocks Rollteye was never quite sure what their old Chief was up to. They had been wandering together for years with the big odd fox, traversing the woodlands and flatlands by the western shore and scavenging a living off what they could find. There were nigh on forty of them, a good solid amount for safety in numbers. They were mixed weasels, rats, ferrets and stoats. And one oddball fox.

Nocks was the color of unworked iron from the tip of his scarred nose to the end of his bedraggled tail. He wore garments of woven goat's hair dyed in many different colors-a pair of breechclouts and a long coat with frayed edges dragging on the ground. His eyes were the hue of morning sky over the desert, a muted lavender which perplexed the Seers and bloodline-soothsayers alike. Nocks seemed to enjoy tripping them up.

It was the earliest of risers that spotted the thin curl of blue smoke from the top of their Chief's lean-to tent. The young black rat shouldered his short curved sword in the sling across his back and slid down the slatey knoll from which he had been keeping a loose watch. Nocks was much-adored by his followers, and this rodent was no exception.

"Oi, Chief!" the rat called into the wavering shadows of the tent. "What's got you up so early, eh?"

"Rogu! Come in! Sit!" The gray fox's paw waved over a pile of burlap cushions stuffed with straw and duckdown towards a second, smaller pile, "Come now, take a load off, mate. Have some wine, if ye will."

Rogu obeyed with a giddy smile, plopping down on the lump of stuffed sacks and taking a fired clay beaker from off a flat stone holding the refreshments. The wine was dry beyond belief, but still just sweet enough to be appealing to a youngbeast like Rogu. He couldn't tell if it was blackberry or elderberry though. It was probably a mixture or the two.

"Thankee, Nocks."

"Glad ye like," the fox said, eying the ceiling and scratching the scruffy fur on his chin. "Hmmm... Oi, Rogu me ratty mate... I got an idea I wanna run by a good fella before I try it, hear me out?"

"Eh?" The rat almost choked on his wine. Rollteye never asked for advice before any of his escapades. He was always that daring, impulsive leader, a real strange bird so audacious in nature that dozens of vagabond vermin had flocked to him just to see what he was going to try next.

"Ye know that big red-stoned place down the road yonder?" Nocks's face was alight with a gleeful smile.

"Y-Yeh..." Rogu's was blanched in fright, "What about that place..?"

Nocks's visage became that of every decent woodlander's nightmare, a fiend so filled with delight and sharp fangs that any squirrel, shrew or dormouse would cry "villain!" to the sky on sight of him.

"Let's drop in for a party there..."




"Vermin on the Path..!"

The shout brought a short flurry of disorder to the snowy lawns of Redwall. Faces and snouts turned to the wall, the eyes that sat atop them widened and searching for the one who had claimed to spot the threat. A pair of Sisters, mice both, herded a mob of squealing, excited and confused Dibbuns into a huddle, keeping them together lest they should have to flee into the main building.

"Vermin band comin' down the path from the North!" The shouter reiterated his alarm, squinted across his webbed paw and calling out details as he could see them. "Looks about a score and a 'alf...no, wait... More like two score! Two score mixed vermin comin' down the path!"

"What's all this?" A sturdily built squirrel and a massive hedgehog appeared at the young otter's side. The squirrel was garbed simply as any other Redwaller, but an impressive blade was strapped to his waist, and a shield hung loosely over one shoulder. The hedgehog carried a large sling, fitted already with a chunk of rock that could have easily served as a doorstop just moments before.

"Just what I said; there's some raggy vermin types comin' down this way," the otter repeated. His webbed paw pointed out the jogging shapes, the light duns and greens and faded scarlets of their bedraggled attire marking them against the grey shade of the bare trees.

"About... forty of them, I'd say..." the hedgehog grumbled. He swung the loaded sling, giving his own palm a hefty smack while wearing a determined face. "Well, ain't no vermin gettin' in this Abbey today. Not on our Gift Day, no sir!"

"It is Gift Day, isn't it?" The squirrel warrior suddenly cast his eyes upwards to the overcast sky. The clouds looked to be burgeoning with more snow, "Of all the days for vermin scum to come attacking our Abbey..."

The youthful otter gulped nervously as he watched the squirrel's sword paw whiten around the majestic hilt of the legendary weapon. The vermin band was growing closer. It was clear to them now that along with a sizable force of rats and mustelids, a team of four of the unsavory-looking beasts was towing along an old wooden cart loaded with something covered in stained canvas fabric. No matter the amount of squinting and straining, the three wall-watchers could not tell what the oblong object they were pulling was.

"A war machine, I don't have no doubt," the hedgehog said with a scowl. "That's what they usually bring when they have a heavy-duty cart or suchlike..."

"Now, don't assume," the warriorsquirrel muttered, a chiding glare passing from his cobalt blue eyes. "It could be supplies, or perhaps even where they're hiding their weapons for now."

"D-d'you think they'll attack us..?" The otter began to back away towards the west steps, "What'll we do?"

"We'll see what they want first."




Nocks strode along the ice-cracked path in a high humor, his wide lips turned upwards in a delighted smirk. Rogu wandered in and out of the ranks, nervously fiddling with his short blade. What was the old fox thinking!? To march up to the Abbey of Redwall, in broad daylight, and with a mystery bundle?! It was liable to get them slung back up the road with a volley of arrows behind them. But their leader seemed unperturbed, his mood undampened all day long. He had draped a long, multicolor scarf across his furry neck, all purple and blue and orange and tawdry.

"There she be, mates! Ole Bloody-Walls!" the fox crowed as he threw his head back. The reaction from his pals was far less than enthusiastic, but there was a little bit of hooting and jeering. The fox turned, walking backwards, with a saddened look on his rough face. "What's the matter, ole chums? Not lookin' for'ard to a happy holiday visit to our goodly neighbor?"

There was a chorus of indecisive grunts and a nearly-unison shrug, to which Nocks shook his grey head and chuckled.

"Ahhh, how sad! Well, cheer up, mates! We don't wanna turn up on their doorstep all glum as choking catfish, do we? 'Tis a festival season! A time to be happy! So smile, damn it!"

Instantly the lines of rodent and musteline creatures beamed with a mixture of pearl and sallow fangs.

"That's more like it!" Nocks turned back to eyes-front, "Now, hows about a song? What's a good seasonal tune to wake our pals the Redwallers up good an' proper?"

There was much debate on this topic in the motley group of vermin until a trio of creatures, two weasels and one stoat, began bawling out a well-known ditty by themselves. Emboldened by the loudness and courage of the three, the others soon found themselves roaring the song out as well:


"Here we come a-carolin' among the leaves so green

Here we come a-wanderin' so fair to be seen

Love an' joy come to you, and to you your wassail too

And good blessings for all an' a happy new year

Good blessings an' a happy new year!

"We are not daily beggars who beg from door to door

But we are neighbors' children whom you have seen before

Love an' joy come to you, and to you your wassail too

And good blessings for all an' a happy new year

Good blessings an' a happy new year!

"Bless th' Master of this house; likewise th' Mistress too

And all he little Dibbuns who see this day anew

Love an' joy come to you, and to you your wassail too

And good blessings for all an' a happy new year

Good blessings an' a happy new--"



"Who goes there?!"

The gargantuan hedgehog's voice put a stop to the jolly song. Rats and weasels that had been skipping happily, stoats and ferrets that had been singing with all their might, all came to a screeching halt as their position came right back to them. Suddenly they all remembered the bone-chilling tales of the Bloody-Walls...

"Good morrow, Redwallers!" Nocks pranced and waved like a child, then dipped heavily at the waist in a knee-deep bow, "How's the winter treating ya, friends? Vittles doin' alright? Warm enough?"

"Good morning, fox." It was clear from the tone the squirrel warrior took that he was skeptical, but polite all the same, "We are well, thank you. Now, would you kindly tell us who you are and why you have come?"

"Oh, me? " The fox pointed to his narrow chest, his face the very image of fractured innocence, "I am but a poor humble servant of these ole woods, a vulpine cub-inside by the title of Nocks Rollteye, though me nanny ever did call me 'Punkinhead'." He sniggered fiendishly, slapping one bony knee at the hilarity of his own joke. Nervously his band followed his lead, letting out a few high-pitched giggles and scoping out the ramparts above for spear-chucking beast making ready, "And my purpose, neighbors, is to bring you a... gift!"

"A gift...? " The hedgehog was shaking his head, highly suspicious of the bundle on the cart, "More like th' gift of death, given these vermin types..."

He was silenced as the squirrel warrior jogged him hard in the ribs with his elbow.

"Very well..." the squirrel called down, watching as two rats began untying the twine that held the canvas over the lump on the cart. "But know this, fox, you and your vermin haven't proven yourselves to be trustworthy to us yet. You'll have to be searched thoroughly for weapons if you wish to enter."

"Oh, no need!" Nocks smirked, "We do carry weapons, no lie there, no tricks! We confess to the occasional need of a blade or a bow. But that's all well and good--your gift can go right over these walls easily enough!"

With a motion of his paw, Nocks signaled his two rats. They ripped the canvas free and revealed a small cousin of a trebuchet, it's weight box filled to the brim with medium stones from the river and its sling lashed down and loaded with a sooty-black bundle. One of the rats jumped to the thin string holding the tension back, holding a small thin knife, while the other hammered wooden stakes into the ground through the wheel spokes of the cart, securing the machine.

"Let 'er go, boys!"

The knife dropped, severing the thin string. There was an immediate snap and whine as the wooden parts scraped against each other. The weight dropped in a graceful arc, making the throwing arm lunge forward, the sling whipping as if a giant had whirled it.

"Take cover!" The squirrel's shout seemed too little, too late. The crowd of Dibbuns and Abbeyfolk gave a shriek of fear as the round black ball came soaring in directly overhead.

BOOM!

Gasping in shock and awe, the innocents below had no words or reaction prepared for when the missile exploded into fluff several spearlengths above them. Goosedown rained over their heads, followed by many small hard objects raining down into the snow. One small Dibbun, a mousebabe scarcely over two seasons old, pawed one out of the little crater it had left and peeled away the thin (smoking) beechleaf wrapper it was covered in and took a bite from it.

"Numm... 'Ta suga' plum."

Rollteye the fox jigged up and down on his spry legs with childish fervor as the sounds of terrified wails slowly morphed into mutters of confusion and pleasant surprise. The squirrelwarrior got back up from where he had thrown himself down on the stone of the ramparts to see the back of the band of beasts retreating south down the path.

"Bwahahahahahahahaa! See ya next year, buckoes!"
A little Christmas present for Redwall fans that's on both DA and fanfiction.net... I thought I'd put it up here also since some of my Redwall peeps aren't on fanfiction.net... ;D

:santa: :rudolph: :rudolph: :rudolph: Merry Christmas! And Happy Boxing Day for the Canadians! And Happy Kwaanza! SO MANY HOLIDAYS!!! :squee:
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:iconwordsarecool:
Wordsarecool Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012
I read this on fanfiction. xD
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:iconspidermilkshake:
SpiderMilkshake Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Professional General Artist
:iconhappytimeplz:
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:iconbrigadierbenchpress:
BrigadierBenchpress Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
lol! that's a very unpredictable vermin.
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:iconspidermilkshake:
SpiderMilkshake Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Professional General Artist
:nod: He's his own special brand of crazy. :XD:
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:iconbrigadierbenchpress:
BrigadierBenchpress Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i can see that! :D :XD:
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