A Rift in Time / Rifted Time This is a story, connected to Sayna's FanFictions, and so it follows her version of events, storyline, and ideas. This means that I do not own some ideas, as they are hers, in fact, you could say it is in sorts, a FanFiction of her FanFictions. Also, these Chapters are planned to be all different lengths, so bear with me here.
This is the story of a character who stands for something greater than even the main character can imagine. It will be a woven tale of how truth is bended by evil, and even those who are seemingly hopeless in the face of a battle can do something to help. (Though perhaps in a more dramatic sense here.) What happens when no one believes you? It appears no one is there to help? Light can be found even in the dark, just as help is always nearby.
When everything goes wrong... hang on.
For it may have just been the best decision in your life...
Okay, now for the more literal text. This story features Ellen, commonly referred to as Lenn. She is a simple young mousemaid of Redwall Abbey, but with a difficult position. Not to mention she's a bit socially awkward, unconfident, and some what of a maid who just doesn't fit in with most of the Dibbuns. (Like the DAB XD) Some older beasts say it was due to the fact that she lost her parents at a young age, and had to be raised by her Grandfather. In truth, Lenn's not that odd. She's just shy, and doesn't like to break rules. So, she chooses to stay around with older creatures at times, or in the fantasy web of a book. To her, the Abbey is beautiful, but in truth, she likes adventure, and would love to see more beyond Redwall's gates. By the paws of Lord Ignasa, her world takes a crazy turn, one not for the worse, nor for the better...
~Dedications~ First of all, I'd like to thank Sayna for allowing me to write this. (I can remember back to that fateful day in November when I made that first step to join the Redwall Wiki, just like Lenn took that first step for the journey of her life. And in some ways, that experience is similar.) In any case, she helped me immensely to keep writing and drawing and everything else. So, thank you.
I thank all those who have commented on ATR and encouraged me to continue. Thank you Vaylayna , Reep , Astar , Spirea , and last but certainly not least Tess. (Did I miss anyone? XP) I really love to see a comment, and it makes my day when on the Activity feed I can see someone talked to me. :)
Though they have not read this, I want to thank my family for putting up with my random papers of Redwall drawings scattered throughout the house, and for dealing with me using the laptop (which is supposed to be shared between my sisters and I) continually.
In general, I want to thank all who help me feel welcome here and in the Redwall/Holt Rhulain Community, I really appreciate it. If you'd like to chat, go ahead and send over a comment. I promise I rarely bite. :D
So now, after my lengthy rambling, I hope you are ready to read? (If not, just click this link, it'll take you back to the Wiki Activity page.)
(If you've stuck with me this far, I give you a virtual bag of Candied Chestnuts so you can eat them while you read :D) (Since popcorn isn't really fitting for Redwall...)
In any case, Onward!
Watercolor hues painted the sky, and trees stood tall, like a fence from the outside world. Deep within Mossflower Woods stood a structure that blended perfectly with the surroundings. Brockhall.
Candle, lantern, and firelight all glowed warmly, flickering and illuminating the space. A window had been expertly carved out of a wall, opening a view to the serene sunset.
A sturdy table stood firmly and in the hearth the fire danced, glowing embers hissed softly. Four figures sat, one on each side of the square table, each a King or Queen of Mossflower, each of their eyes sharing the same thoughts. There was an overall feeling of light, warmth, and something clear surrounding them all like an aura, the aura of Lord Ignasa.
It was the reddish queen who spoke first, with leaf green eyes, she spoke questioningly. “Do you think the future generations will remember us?”
Another warriormaid answered, setting her cup down decisively, black eyes glittering with hard earned wisdom. “Rose-nobeast can truly say, it’s for Lord Ignasa to decide.”
A brown mouse with distinctive blue eyes spoke, half glancing over at last speaker. “Even if they do, surely it won’t be forever?”
Then the fourth spoke, one who greatly resembled the golden maid. It was one of the few times he agreed with his sister evenly. “Timbal, I hate to say it, but as Sayna said, nobeast can truly say.”
Sayna, the golden maid, didn’t say any more, only watched the world outside from where she sat at the table, gaze calculating her thoughts. Her hair was long, braided, and oddly streaked with countless stripes of silver. Out of the group, she seemed to know the most about the subject, or at least more than she was letting on. Something hidden flashed in her eyes; she glanced back, turning to them all.
“I don’t think it ‘’will’’ be forever; though how long… I cannot say.”
From their world, another was watching them. Many pairs of eyes… some good… others bad.
Little did they know it was only part of a plan, a plan that truth be masked by darkness, but part of ‘’who’s’’ plan?
And in which way would the tide turn…?
“Grandpa! Grandpa, you need to see what I found!”
A tiny mousemaid, covered from ears to tail in dust, narrowly missed colliding into several creatures as she scrambled out of the Gatehouse, and called out a few apologetic ‘sorry’s’ on her way, a large leather-bound novel was balanced unevenly in her arms.
The weight of the book was too heavy for the little maid, and she toppled over onto the spring grass, landing in an ungainly heap. Her wide brown eyes blinked in confusion, but she managed to upright herself, and haul the book once more.
Thankfully, the mouse she was looking for appeared just in time. Ellen, better known as Lenn, had been teetering precariously on the Pond’s edge when an elderly mouse ambled over, and relieved her of the burden. The little maid looked quite pleased when she saw her grandfather’s expression as he read the title.
“You found this all by yourself little one?”
Lenn nodded eagerly, stepping farther away from the pond.
“Yep! In the Gatehouse… Row 21, Volume 3… I think…” she added, pondering it for a moment with a quizzical expression. She was young, and still had quite a lot to learn, but was considered to be a bright mouse by her elders, even if she had her doubts about their claims at this.
Kindly, her grandfather took her by the paw, and they both returned to the Gatehouse. Walking across the lawn, Ellen shrunk away from mocking expressions of a few other young creatures, the few who had scorned her for her hobbies always teased her, and she hated it. Not all were so cruel, but the rule breakers certainly could be.
Yet singing, writing, and reading gave her a sort of refuge no one could break. So- she continued.
Her thoughts shifted to the long lost volume she had found. It was titled, “Rulers of Mossflower,” and Lenn’s grandfather believed it held lost information about Redwall’s founders, which he was determined to uncover.
The young mousemaid had no real living parents. Both of her parents had been killed in a battle when she was nought but a baby, or so she had been told. Only last winter, her grandmother had caught a sickness that no Abbey Healer recognize, and had passed away peacefully in her sleep.
Though the memories were still fresh and painful, it was a new beginning. The land was in height of spring; flowers were budding, blossoming into vibrant multicolored shades, grass was becoming lush. Bird sang melodically, and dew dripped onto the ground below.
Ellen was awoken from her thoughts by her grandfather’s words. “Ellen, this is fascinating, you must see what you’ve found!”
Her heart sped up at the excitement in her grandfather’s voice. She peered over at the page the book had fallen open on, page 4. It was odd, a piece of ribbon attached to the book itself marked the page, as if it was ‘’meant’’ to be found…
Though ancient, the very parchment it was written on seemed to glimmer with a radiant yellow light. She began to read mentally.
Though freedom is no more,
The Fire heeds our cry.
From the mighty northern shore,
Our deliverance draweth nigh.
In days when rule fear and pain,
Four warriors shall come.
Bringing for those enslaved,
They shall free our home.
The hawk who has forgotten to fly
And star shining gold
Must the owner of a leaf
And a little flower bold
Two warriors mountain lord shall see,
Two others, not at all.
The first two must set them free,
While four tree’s answer fate’s call.
Though fear walks close by their side
And pain their watchful shadow.
They shall halt green envy’s tide,
And bring Mossflower hope’s warm glow.
With jade eyes that were hated long,
And blue eyes that hated green.
These four will undo the wrong,
Fighting battles yet unseen.
Feather and leaf, star and rose,
These words are not untrue.
What they’ll face nobeast knows,
Still less of all they’ll so.
The wild winds nobeast can tame,
For this is what they’ll be.
They serve a Lord of mighty name,
Through him they’ll set Mossflower free!
By the end of the poem, the maid’s jaw dropped. It was nothing less of a prophecy!
That night something spectacular happened. Lenn was fast asleep in the Dibbun’s Dormitories, but Ellen’s Grandfather was turning restlessly in the world of dreams.
A golden light glowed, setting a scene he did not understand. The old mouse shifted, trying to shield himself against the brilliance. It was sharp, but also a warm light. He knew it could only be the light of Lord Ignasa. A voice sounded, yet he couldn’t tell, was it inside his head or was somebeast speaking?
“’’Inventor, heed my words. There are four, not one but four. Seek them out; through a younger beast’s paws the past will be recovered, but through yours a way shall be given. When you wake, listen to what your daughter tells you. Listen well…’’”
Then, the sound faded… and the light grew brighter, stronger; he winced, shutting his eyes to squeeze out the radiance. And yet… he wanted his eyes open, to see. Then, it began to grow dimmer… fading away into the night… ‘’blackness’’…
He woke with a start, breathing fast. The old mouse was shocked to see large brown eyes staring at him, a small paw poked him lightly once more.
“Grandpa? You wouldn’t wake up.”
It was Lenn, her voice was quiet, scared. His heart melted when he saw her innocent expression, so afraid and alone. Only then did he realize his pulse had skyrocketed. There was something in her gaze that was different, she seemed wiser, as if she knew something he didn’t.
She sat quietly on the rug, adjusting the helm of her sleeves before continuing.
“Strange mice spoke to me in my dreams… they were so… Light, surrounded by light. One always stayed a ways off… but she seemed so alone… Different than the others, she seemed more ‘’alive’’. They were all warriors; two gold furred, one brown, one red. I just don’t understand…”
“What do you mean little one?”
“They spoke, but I don’t know what they ‘’meant’’,” the small maid added, shaking her head in confusion; her grandfather urged her politely to continue.
“What did they say?” He asked, ready to hang on to every word.
Ellen looked nervous, even pressured as she strained to remember. “They spoke of… lost history, and something about a ‘’Dark Wolf’’, they even recited some poem, I can sort of remember it…’ she added, looking up at him, her grandfather nodded encouragingly.
“At dawn’s new first life,
Shall break free a wish of the night.
A prophecy is give’d,
From those already lived.
Fullfilled in past yet lost to time,
Follow the wishes of this rhyme.
Spoke of four great warriors,
Three now gone.
One is hidden in a lost home,”
She paused to blink away sleep with a yawn, then took a breath, and kept reciting.
“The past has been veiled,
Truth you must seek,
When the future is dark, cold, and bleak.
Find the three, recover their legacy
Then one day the forth will be set free.
Recover the icedrop from the Lord of Light,
Return when the daylight turns to night…”
“That’s all the remember…” Lenn finished, looking downcast. The poem had been so important to her, and she had tried so hard to memorize it… but she just couldn’t…
Her grandfather stroked her headfur, stating softly, “It’s okay Ellen, you did well to remember that ! We’ll figure it would somehow…”
She looked up, deep brown eyes hopeful, “You think?”
“I don’t think, I know.” He added confidently, ruffling her headfur before rising to his paws. “Now let’s get writing.
Side by side, granddaughter and grandfather poured over piles of parchment, sorting, revising, and writing with quills. Lenn wrote what she had recited while her grandfather searched for clues in the “Rulers of Mossflower” book. It was slow going.
So the routine continued, for the good part of a season, they spent time studying in her grandfather’s private cabin, researching and praying for help.
Nobeast minded their efforts, a few were approving, usually older creatures. And dropped by once in a while to help.
Once in a while, her grandfather suggested she play with the other young creatures. And though she was unsocial, Lenn finally gave in to the suggestion. Without a book, quill, or song in paw, she shyly walked across the Abbey grounds, edging closer to a group of Dibbuns her age. Most of them seemed wary of her, as if the young maid were something poisonous to stay away from. A couple waved with forced expressions, and a few more just glared.
Elenn sighed, sitting on a rock placidly, there was little to no point in trying to communicate with that lot. Maybe she would eventually find a friend, that would be wonderful. The only beast to talk to her turned out to be the opposite of a friend.
In fact, he was the notorious ringleader for any mischievous Dibbuns.
None other than Runeif the otter, the young son of Skipper to be precise. Though the Skipper was an excellent creature, everything a good Skipper should be— his son was not. Raised in the Abbey after his mother's death, Runeif had become spoiled an arrogant. The opposite of rebellious and disobedient, Lenn was an enemy in his eyes.
Often he had to speak with Abbot Saxus or was seen grudgingly doing chores in the kitchen because of his deeds. Most often, the young mousemaid stayed as far away from him as possible.
As usual, Runeif was looking for somebeast to plot with, or in Lenn's case; argue. She sighed, trying to seem unafraid of the larger Dibbun. The little maid highly regretted her grandfather's suggestion to try and talk to the other creatures her age.
Runeif held a net, probably for watershrimp in one paw, and was twirling it in a show off fashion. Ellen felt like rolling her eyes until he spoke.
"Want 'ta try an catch some fish inna pond?"
The mouse stood there with her jaw dropped for a moment, not believing what he had just said. Was he actually trying to do something useful? Something in his expression told her to be very suspicious, but she answered timidly.
"Okay... I guess."
Without another word, the otter bounded off, Ellen followed swiftly, but her expression was clearly one of worry.
When she reached the pond's edge, Runeif had dragged the net into the water, mischief printed on his face as obvious as the water was cold. "Y'see, all ya need to do is drag the net up! I'll go under ta look for fish. Right?"
Lenn nodded slowly, smiling falsely with a wide grin she did not feel. This is so not going to work, she thought, the tiny maid knew this was some kind of crazy trick. Runeif flashed her a grin before diving gracefully into the water. No beast was nearby in case anything went wrong, and the pond was swollen with water from the melted snow of winter.
The mousemaid knew this was a terrible plan, for one, she was too small to drag that net out, and two, Runeif's expression was extremely worrisome. All the same, she couldn't back out now... Bravely as she could, she held onto the rope connected to the net, heaving back. Until... Something pulled forward.
She was swept off her feet, dragged across the grass, and toppled into the water; whatever was pulling was not stopping.
Lenn was blinded, she couldn't see underwater, or at least not well enough to make out any shapes in the gloom. Something scaly brushed past her, the net wreathed around her... Or was that a freshwater seaweed? Her paws were stuck now, tangled in the net, she struggled to breath, looking around desperately in the dark. In slow motion she moved, she was no swimmer.
Caught, trapped, and helpless against the water's pull... She sunk farther down... Falling slowly through the cold blackness. Even in her confusion, she realized something. Would any Abbey beast really be so cruel? To play a trick like that? Ellen realized this was Runeif's doing... And he certainly wouldn't help her get free.
Or was it? Would a Dibbuns really try to kill somebeast? She didn't think so, so maybe it wasn't him...
It was so cold... And yet if she just closed her eyes to sleep maybe it would be warmer in silence...
She could think of only one thing to do.
Lord Ignasa please help me...
Only, when she did close her eyes, something appeared... A light. So brilliant, growing brighter by the second, a pure gold and blue shimmer that awoke her senses.
She had no air left, and tried to breathe in, but received only a mouthful of water, her lungs felt on fire. The net wasn't caught anymore, or rather— she wasn't caught in the net. The young mouse wasn't sure how, but she didn't have the time to puzzle that out.
With effort born to desperation, she moved her paws, shooting to the surface from the countered pressure. When her head reached fresh air she breathed in deeply, resting her head on the grassy shoreline. For a small Dibbun, the pond truly was a dangerous place. Something, or someone had saved her. She couldn't figure out what...
Warm paws, gentle and with an aura of light pulled her out of the water onto the ground.
Her brown eyes were leaden, she closed them, letting her breathing slow. With a last effort to see who had saved her, she let her gaze flutter open. The small energy that had taken was too much... She drifted off to sleep, shivering in the sharp cold...
Others were the opposite.
The small mousemaid sniffed, receiving a embroidered handkerchief from a helpful Infirmary Assistant. She weakly smiled, mumbling "Thanks" before wiping the corner of her eyes. She shivered, snuggling under the warmth of the white linen sheets of the Infirmary and patchwork quilt her mother had made.
A kindly hedgehog named Sister Frostfern patted her on the shoulder gently, smiling. "You'll be alright little one, I reckon that fever'll take some time to go away. Thank the seasons you didn't drown!" Lenn gave her a grateful smile in return, not speaking. Her throat hurt too badly, as if she had tried to swallow a shard of broken glass.
I'm glad I didn't... Though I still don't know why I was rescued. No one else was there... It had been a thought she had spent a long time mulling over, and she was too worried to ask. Suddenly, there was the patter of paws, and the Sickbay's doors flung open, revealing a breathing heavily creature she recognized by heart. Ellen sat up, the words she was about to say springing to her lips. Only... No sound came out.
Her grandfather looked both worried and enraged. Immediately he rushed up to her side, glancing around for answers. "Who did this to you Lenn? Are you alright?"
Unable to speak, the little mousemaid only nodded to his second question. She didn't want to blame any beast, what if she was wrong?
Sister Frostfern comforted her grandfather, guiding him to an extra chair nearby. "There there sir, I'm sure your granddaughter will speak when she's able. Right now it's best she just take it easy though."
He nodded, but it seemed he was grudging to do so. Then, the doors swung open again, propelled by a trolley. At this point, Frostfern seemed to be getting a little irritated with all the activity, but being good-natured, she helped with whatever she could. As it turned out, it was Abbot Saxus, along with the Friar. They poured her hot mint tea, added honey, and passed her the steaming cup. Lenn took a tentive sip, setting it down before thanking them silently.
As it turned out, Ellen was bedridden for a long time, and shed began to feel utterly restless. The little maid wanted to go outside, especially when the summer sun peered out from behind clouds.
She felt a paw on her shoulder, and turned, instinctively looking up. It was her grandfather. A smile widened on the mousemaid's downcast face, she sat up with enthusiasm. "Grandpa!"
The older mouse sat down at the end of her bed, returning the smile."How are you little one?"
"I'm... Better, I just wish I could leave soon... I'm so tired of doing nothing but staying indoors," Lenn's voice was exhausted from boredom, her grandfather was sympathetic.
"Oh, I see... Can you not sit on the steps of the Abbey gates at least?" He asked, mildly surprised.
Ellen shook her head, ears flattening as she spoke. "I'm not supposed to, Sister Frostfern said I had to stay indoors... Until I'm well enough... She mentioned something about an infection in my lungs,"
Despite the calmness in which the maid spoke, it was clear she was worried nearly as much as the elderly mouse. The older creature spoke, looking out the window into the sunlight with a sigh, "Ah well... I was hoping you could assist me with our studies in the cabin, because I found more clues. And I had plans to look for something in Mossflower Woods, but that's no trouble. I don't want you to catch the same sickness as your grandmother..."
He couldn't stand to see her sorrowful eyes as she blinked away tears with a pitiful expression. "Grandpa, please take me with you! I'm sick of these white sheets and strange medicine and not being able to move! Let me help you, please let me go with you!" Ellen pleaded, herself against the pillows as she reached for her bag beside on the nightstand.
Her grandfather looked genuinely guilty for mentioning the idea, and shook his head in answer, pushing her paw down gently. "No Lenn, I'm truly sorry, but I can't risk you getting sicker, I can just wait until you're better, trust me, alright?"
Ellen sighed, looking up with a hopeful glint in her eyes. "Well... If I can't go with you, can I at least help in searching for clues on where you need to go?"
"Of course, I owe you that much at least, just give me a moment to find everything back at the cabin."
He got up, and walked across the room, out the door, and down the corridor, leaving the young maid alone once more.
She didn't know that she wasn't entirely alone, in fact, she was being watched. Not by a normal creature like her or the others, but by the guiding gaze of Lord Ignasa.
He had the plan, one that would not enfold by force of deeds he alone would cause, but by choices; and yet— It would work flawlessly.
Even while history had been worn away like words in the sand, there was a grand plot. Nobeast would expect it to happen as it would, least of all Lenn, but she wasn't going to stop it from happening, she may only succeed in pushing it to happen.
Though the road to recovery may be long, Ellen had no clue about the journey that lay ahead of her...
At last the dawn had come when Ellen could be free of her sickbay bed, and out into the fresh air.
The young mousemaid breathed in deeply, a smile of pure joy etched on her face. Finally she was free to go outside! She got up suddenly, grabbing onto a chair for support as blood rushed to her head. When the feeling cleared, there was no stopping her. She flounced off, into and down the hallway, then sped outside just as somebeast opened the doors.
From there, she jogged to the her Grandfather's personal cabin, which was built near the south wall, under the Abbey in what would have been a tower of the ancient sunken fortress, Kotir.
Of course, not everybeast knew of its existence, mainly the Abbot and Friar, and some other adults. The Dibbuns, with an exception of a few, were not supposed to go there without permission, due to the risk of unexplored areas. Kotir was not safe, and unwary Dibbuns wandering it's angled corridors would be disastrous. Ellen was allowed into her Grandfather's cabin, but no further.
That was alright with her, after all, she didn't need to go into some creepy old castle. As soon as she opened the door, she flopped down onto a small armchair near the bookshelf. At once she began pouring over the "Rulers of Mossflower book, starting from page one.
It was organized in chronological order, starting with the earliest leaders. The information beginning on page four was what she really cared about. It began with.
The fall of Tsarmina brought on the reign of new High Kings and Queens...
Only something was odd about the entire page... It was torn and faded, even smudged with green after the first page. The prophecy Ellen and her Grandfather had found earlier was untouched, but the rest was strange.
The little mousemaid guessed somebeast had smudged over the previous writing and written in new information.
Probably just correcting stuff... She assured herself, before bookmarking the page with a spare piece of parchment.
The entire situation was odd, she had to admit that much. Lenn's hadn't seen any books with such drastic changes made to them, but then again, she hadn't read the whole library.
Intrigued by her own thoughts, her paw edged toward the book, before she could stop herself, she was reading again.
After Laterose's death at the battle of Marshank, Martin played an important part in the Abbey's history. His sword was allegedly buried where-ever he was. There was a footnote, stating: see "Aubretia's Diary"
Aubretia? That name sounded familiar... Only, she couldn't remember where from. Aubretia was a mouse, Ellen knew that much, and that was a start.
She had a fleeting memory of sitting in the Gatehouse on a winter's night when the snow was falling and being whisked away by flurries of wind. Other Dibbuns sat in a semi circle, around an old creature who had not visited in many seasons. The elderly creature, face hidden by then shadows cast of flickering flames, wore a cloak to hide his face. Yet there was no mistake in the truth his wise voice emitted.
The Dibbuns sat in awed silence as he wove tales of the past, and surprisingly... He used Aubretia's Diary as a main fact source, and never spoke of Laterose's death. Instead, he referred to her as Queen Laterose, wife to King Martin, and spoke of two other mice who ruled jointly alongside. King Timbalisto and Queen Sayna. This challenged the information in "Rulers of Mossflower" outrightly.
Something was indeed very odd about the entire situation.
Martin hadn't just been a warrior according to the visiting storyteller, he, as well as the other three had been Kings and Queens. And this Sayna, Ellen could find no records of her anywhere in the library, so did she really reign as a High Queen? Or was it all a crazy fantasy? A mere story to entertain young ones such as herself?
What was the truth?
Perhaps the way to find out was to search for signs of their existence outside of book sources. She would need to find out where they had first reigned, or lived in the least.
Lenn's strained to remember what the ancient visited had said that freezing night, where did the Marks originally dwell? She had a guess, but it wasn't very realistic, or was it? After all, if Martin had helped with the blueprints or planning of Redwall at all, he had to have somewhere to live during that process.
Maybe it was the legendary BrockHall?
Only, nobeast really knew where it was, as far as most scholars said, it was a lost and treasured mystery. It was supposedly in Mossflower Woods somewhere... But that could be anywhere...
"Could you do me a favor dear? If you're busy of course I'll have somebeast else do it, but I think you're old enough to go out into Mossflower Wods on your own for a short trip."
The little mousemaid nodded eagerly, perfectly willing to help the kindly Infirmary Sister. Plus, in a way this was her chance to prove she was mature enough to go out of the Abbey on her own. Few young creatures were trusted with this responsibility, but she wanted to be counted among them.
Sister Frostfern smiled, hustling over to grab a basket lined with cloth. She handed it to Ellen, stating, "I would like you to fetch some wild thyme, it grows in a small clearing away from the river." She paused, unrolling a nearby map of the areas surrounding Redwall. And pointed to a spot of the map, Ellen nodded to show she understood.
A few minutes later she stood on the steps leading to the Abbey's main entrance, watching the dark clouds hang in the air dubiously. It just smelled like rain, and the wind rustled uneasily through the towering trees.
In two paws she held a woven basket, lined with linen to protect the thyme once she found it. Then, thanking the wall guard as she left, the young mousemaid tread uneasily down the dirt path leading to Mossflower Woods.
Above, tree's stretching branches blocked out most of the visible grey light. By the time she had heard the rush of the river, small droplets if water fell on her head. It certainly seemed darker than when she had first ventured into the woods...
As if in answer, the wind picked up speed, taking with it a swarm of looming storm clouds. Wind swept through the glade, rustling leaves and billowing Lenn's hair, it ripped sharply around, causing her to stagger for a moment. She shielded her face from the hail with a paw, wincing.
Then, it began to rain. Pounding droplets thudded countlessly on the previously dry ground. She pushed her legs into an all out run for the tallest trees she could find, gasping from more shock than pain as a scraggly branch snagged her sleeve, tearing a rift in the fabric. She saw scarlet blood begin to bead on the spot, but hurriedly dashed forward in the most determined manner she could muster. The basket was ripped from her hand and her hair hung, soaked in front of her eyes, no matter how hard she tried to push it back.
Though the confusion, she saw a glimmer of light ahead, and kept running. Her breath grew ragged in her throat and her lungs burned, but with every step the rain grew heavier.
All of a sudden, she smacked headfirst into another creature, and toppled over in a shivering heap. Brushing a lock of dark brown hair out of her eyes, Ellen dared to look up.
A tall mouse she had never seen in real life stood before her, the picture of sophistication. She was golden, and had the longest braid of hair Lenn had ever seen. It was streaked with white, save for a few strands of glistening gold. The mouse was completed with ebony black eyes that caught all light, and her expression was one of hidden fear.
To her surprise, she didn't looked even slightly soaked. Then Ellen understood why, behind her was a door, at least as tall as a badger, and it was carved into a tree. She was about to ask where she was when the tall mouse spoke.
"Why have you wandered so far from your home young one?" The mouse spoke calmly. Lenn's first idea was to stammer nervously, but she managed to gather herself, wincing as she hauled herself to her paws.
"I-I was trying to gather some thyme... And then the storm broke... I didn't mean to run in to you... Honest, I just wanted to escape the rain..." Her voice quavered slightly at first, then trailed off uselessly at the end.
Looking slightly sympathetic, the other mouse answered, "No need to worry young one, but what of your name? And why so shy?"
With one paw covering the gash on her arm, she shuffled bashfully and answered, looking down slightly. "I'm Ellen... Or just Lenn, as for being shy... I've always been that way. At least when I meet new creatures anyway..."
With a glint of acceptance in her black eyes, the other spoke. She eyed the ripped fabric thoughtfully "Well then, I suppose I'd better help you get cleaned up... I'm no healer, but I'll do what I can..." She paused, looking curious, but Lenn though she saw a glimmer of worry in her expression before she continued, "I presume you don't know who I am then?"
Ellen nodded a 'no', watching as the golden mouse breathed a slightly sigh of relief.
"I'm Sayna, but you needn't worry about that, not many creatures know me anymore... But I can't leave a little mousemaid to wander back injured. Here, come inside," she answered, and without another word, she turned to open the oaken door.
Hesitantly, the young mousemaid stepped inside and followed after her. Still, in her mind that name rung a bell... Something she couldn't forget.
Sayna... Where have I heard that before?
Ellen sat patiently, gritting her teeth at the warrior clean the blood of the gash on her arm, thankfully it was not a deep wound, and only a few minutes later, Sayna had bandaged it.
“Thanks for helping me,” the little mousemaid said gratefully, pulling down what was left of her ragged sleeve over the bandage.
Sayna, who had previously been silent, smiled slightly. “It’s no trouble, I don’t get many visitors here, and I could hardly leave you lost out there,” she answered simply, turning to look out a window carved into the tree itself.
“If you don’t mind me asking and all… where are we exactly?” Lenn asked timidly, glancing around. It was truly a grand place, or once had been, but now it clearly hadn’t been fully occupied. And if Sayna was the only creature to live here, she didn’t blame her; there would be little need to clean all rooms.
The warrior paused, hesitating a little before answering, as if it wasn’t safe to say more than she already had. “This is… Brockhall.” She finished plainly, saying no more, but continuing to stare out the window at the way Ellen had ventured though the forest.
The young maid thought it best not to bother her, she seemed deeply in thought, and she wasn’t the only one. She sat in silence for a few minutes, looking first at the golden and white warrior with half sympathy and question, then at her ripped sleeve, then back to Sayna.
She still hadn’t quite wrapped her head around the situation; she still wondered why all of this sounded familiar. ‘’Sayna… Brockhall…’’
Then it clicked in her mind; Brockhall was the place she had been thinking of while in search for more information of the story of the Marks, to find out whether they had been reality… or merely a myth.
She looked up, watching the solemn warrior for a moment before speaking. “Sayna…” the other mouse turned sharply at the sound of her name, still clearly unused to hearing it from anyone but herself. Ellen continued determinedly, but stayed quiet, almost afraid to ask. “I was wondering… Is there a library here?”
“Yes, there is actually, why do you ask?"
Her voice seemed a little on guard, so Lenn grew slightly nervous, her voice quavered at she spoke "I just... hoped to do some reading... My Grandfather and I found this prophecy one day in a book... concerning four warriors, and of course the founder. I came to the conclusion that maybe... maybe there was more here... more to be discovered, that could be found here... " She ended, drifting off to a murmur that couldn't be heard over the now gentle wind. She pulled her satchel over her neck and extracted a book from inside, turning to page 4.
Pushing it across the table to Sayna she waited, watching as the warrior began to read. Her eyes widened and moved faster, almost in a blur as she read at top speed down to the last line. There was something in her onyx black eyes, something like anger when she read the first few paragraphs of flawed writing and history, and also a glowing curiosity when she began to read the prophecy.
Ellen waited expectently, but when Sayna looked up, the emotion she had seen was gone, and she seemed oddly on edge.
"Well, there is a library, but I don't know if what you seek is there, and you probably should come back another time, you'll need to make it back to the Abbey before nightfall... But, speaking of the prophecy... did you find anything else... like this?"
She nodded, heart sinking at first, but eager to relay what had happened all the same. The mousemaid spoke quietly, trying to slow down as the memories flooded back to her. "Well, it was night... and I had a dream... Four mice were there. In fact, there was one who looked strangely like you... Then there was Martin of course... and two others, Rose I'm assuming, but I didn't recognize the last... He was brown furred, and had blue eyes..." Ellen paused, watching as pain flickered in Sayna's eyes, but the warrior gestured for her to continue.
"I'm not quite sure who spoke, but I heard this voice... and it spoke of many things... things which I did not understand... But it made me remember... a long time ago, somebeast came to the abbey, and talked about Four Marks... And something told me it was more than a tale made up to entertain young ones... Something told me... that... There was more truth than I saw in this book" She held up the page that had been oddly edited, infiltrated with green. "And so... I began searching, something just tells me... it's my duty to figure out what the truth is, because honestly... I don't think everybeast knows what the truth is anymore..."
Lenn finished speaking in a whisper, trailing off but feeling satisfied all the same, now somebeast knew her thoughts, and seemed to understand, maybe even understand more than she was letting on...
Again the mousemaid set off onto the woodlands, she felt guilty, and not unusually, a little self critical. She had not found the thyme as Sister Frostfern, as the basket had been lost, she would be late, and arrive as an awful sight.
Sitting on the bank of the river to rest for a moment, she looked down at her reflection with a sigh. Her hair was tangled, fur ruffled, and a smudge of mud cluttered her clothing, there was even a thin cut on her cheek, probably from a jagged tree branch.
She rose to her paws wearily, clambering over the hill and picking up her pace slightly. It took a while, but she managed to find the linen piece, though the basket was badly smashed.
Remembering what the hedgehog had told her, Lenn located the clearing where the thyme grew. Bundling up a bunch of thyme sprigs, she wrapped it neatly in the linen, and continued down along the path.
The wake of the storm was obvious, broken branches littered the ground, and puddles of mud frequently blocked her path, but it was a simple jump or a few steps to go around, and no real problem.
She breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief at the sight of Redwall's gates and stone glimmering in the setting sun that peered from behind the clouds. Finally.
The Infirmary hedgehog let out a soft gasp when Ellen stepped inside the Sickbay, politely wiping her boots to avoid tracking in mud.
She handed Sister Frostfern the bundle of thyme that was neatly wrapped in linen. Ducking her head a moment's apology, she explained herself. "I did find the thyme... but it wasn't until later. Almost as soon as I had reached the woods the storm broke, and the basket got crushed... I'm really sorry... I just didn't realize it... I was trying to get out of the rain, though I suppose I should have stayed calm... Sorry."
The kindly hedgehog looked a little shocked at first, but became gradually sympathetic. Lenn hated to think she had failed in the simple task all because of a little storm... but she had. Sister Frostfern seemed to be able to guess what she was thinking, she even smiled at she spoke. "It's no trouble, you brought back what I asked you and that's good enough. Besides... I should really have noticed the rain before sending you out, that's my fault dear..." Meanwhile, Lenn stubornly thought otherwise, but didn't dare say it, the hedgehog's sudden phrase that came next startled her thoughts. "Good gracious! What ever happened to your sleeve? It's all.. torn!" She let out a little yelp of surprise, dropping the thyme. "And you've been cut! But it's been bandaged... how? I didn't give you any other supplies... and you haven't been trained in medicine I thought."
If she had been some other Dibbun, she may have taken credit for the bandages, but she was Ellen, and usually tried to tell the truth, except, she really didn't want Sister Frostfern to fret over a scratch... Trying desperately to cover it with the remains of the sleeve, she began to explain. "Well, I met this nice mouse in the woods, and she saw I was stuck in the storm and helped me... Apparently she knew something about healing so she bandaged my scratch for me. It really isn't that bad... just a little cut from a tree branch, though I couldn't say the same for my sleeve..."
After that, the Infirmary Sister insisted she take a much needed bath and change into a new habit the next moment. Reluctant but obedient, Lenn sighed, picked up the fallen time and handed it to the hedgehog, and made her way toward the bathrooms, holding a towel and habit in her arms.
It felt good to be clean again, but her headfur became extra curly afterward, and she started to feel equivilent to wearing a bush on her head again. Still, her fur was softer and mud-free, and the new habit less worn, though a little too large for her likeing. At least that was an easy fix... all she would need to do was to hem the sides, sleeves, and bottom a bit so she didn't keep tripping...
On a brighter note, she had new information to tell her Grandfather. No doubt he would have new theories and thoughts from what she had learned...
The sun was quickly falling behind the distant landscape, catching a redish hue across the land. Already, the pale outline of the moon could be seen. And the air was cool after the rain. Lenn shivered, hurrying to her Grandfather's cabin.
Ellen's Grandfather looked inspired as she finished relaying what she had seen. On his expression was a lingering thought, something that he would not yet say until he had figured out if his thoughts were right or wrong... For now, she would just have to wait.
To the little mousemaid's surprise, he began sketching something, which quickly became recognizable as a sword, then another sword... both with words on them. One was recognizable at Martin's sword, the other unrecognizable to her, but it had The Healing Fire etched into the metal blade... it sounded so familiar. Yet she didn't know why...
When the supper bell pealed out sharply into the serene stillness, he didn't say anymore, only urged her to go on without him. She left, but not for Cavern Hole... instead, she headed to the Gatehouse, found herself a chair surrounded by a mountain of books, and sifted though the piles, searching, cautious not to disturb however the Recorder may have organized them.
At last, she found what she was looking for. Hidden under a green scrap of cloth, in the very back of the room, buried under many other things was the book she had been searching for countless days. A ghost of a smile flickered across her expression.
She had found it! Aubretia's Diary!
Bustling out of the Gatehouse, again careful to not knock over a column of books, she didn't want a cascade of dust nor a mound to fix and reorganize. Looking up, she realized just how late it was, a few stars shone as silver specks in the deep blue sky, and the moon was brighter now, luminous and radiant in the way it filtered through the trees and fell upon the grass. Shadow clung to the walls of the Abbey, but Lenn continued to walk, holding the book with both paws.
In only a few minutes, she had reached her Grandfather's cabin, and stepped inside when no answer came to her quiet knock. He had fallen asleep on a pile of papers, and was snoring softly, glasses astrewn. With a smile of part sympathy, the mousemaid grabbed a pillow from his nearby bed, and gradually switched the pile of parchment for the pillow. Then, she sat down in a spare chair, glancing at his work. It was written in something she could not understand. A quizical expression took the place of a curious one on Lenn's face, and she set the stack back down on his desk, opening Aubretia's Diary to read instead.
Hesitantly closing it after a few minutes, she realized something. it was night, she had to go the Dormitories! her head spun, she was going to be in so much trouble for being late!
Rushing out of the door with an anxious strangled sob, she raced across the grass, heart heavy and stomach aching with worry. It was amazing how much simple things could affect her at times, at least the ones that mattered to her. This was one of them... Ellen didn't want to make a fool of herself in front of all of the other Dibbuns... and she had already been late once today! And had not shown up for Supper!
Mind concious and guilty of where she had personally failed, she hesitantly stepped inside, walking up the stairs quietly.
Now she felt so small, whereas before and only a little while ago it was different. When she was alone, she didn't feel this way... What could she do? How could a simple young mousemaid explain how she had been so late, when it was secretive? What if they thought she was odd... to waste so much time, to skip supper just to read a book. Would the older creatures get mad at her for thinking what they believed in was twisted?
What did those her age understand if she kept quiet?
Trying to breathe normally again, Lenn paused for a moment, telling herself. Calm down, it'll be alright, after all... you can only go forward... things'll just get worse if you wait longer... Now move
Step by step, she neared the door, slipped inside, and fell back upon her bed. The lights were out, and it was silent save for a few whispers, giggles, and the soft murmur of the wind. She wasn't in trouble... yet.
Despite the fact that the small mousemaid spent most of the next morning worrying, nobeast yelled at her, or even had really noticed she had been missing. To her, that was almost more disheartening. It made her wonder if they had really even cared, or noticed for that matter.
It was better than getting in trouble, but made her feel so alone in the world.
Strangely enough, it made her think of the warrior mouse, Sayna, and how alone she must have been, and still be. I should visits sometime... Lenn thought, remembering how pain had flashed in the warrior's obsidian black eyes when Ellen has discussed her dream. How hesitant she had seemed when the mousemaid had asked about the library, and how on guard she was when anybeast from the Abbey showed up...
It was strange, and Ellen couldn't help but wonder what Sayna was thinking, and if there was a way she could help. If only she could. Thinking about those problems, she began to forget her own silly problem of being a little late. It was obvious what mattered more.
She felt like that warrior in a way, both had their troubles, usually related to thoughts or feelings, and in truth, both were warriors, one outwardly , one inwardly. Though that didn't mean Sayna didn't fight battles inside. In fact, Ellen was sure she did, by her expressions and words, and even where she lived.
How long had she been like that? How many seasons?
Another thing was one her mind.
Odd enough as it was, the question was important. Why was Sayna's hair so long?
Deep in thought, the little mousemaid sat on the steps, tearing a warm oat farl apart slowly, eating a fragment, and hardly realizing what she was doing. Abbey School would start any hour... and Ellen would need to gather up her parchment, but first she had something else to do.
She rushed to her Grandfather's cabin, shocked to find out he was no where to be seen, then grabbed a quill, ink bottle, and a leather bound book, more specifically it was her diary.
Lenn had received it as a gift a while ago, but never actually had started writing in it. Now, she was going to start.
Written by Ellen- Summer of Abundant Rain.
Finally I have decided to make use of this Diary, especially because life at the Abbey seems to be speeding up. Abbey School is almost out, so soon I will have a break before Fall. However, I am writing so I will remember recent events.
Only yesterday, I was assigned by Sister Frostfern to collect some time near the river, but as soon as I had reached Mossflower Wood's edge, the storm overhead broke. I fled,
admitably admittedly not the best reaction, but I'm not brave.
A tree tore my sleeve and ripped the basket I was supposed to use out of my paws. An just when I though I was lost, I ran into a creature I had never seen before. She was a mouse, like me, only much taller, and an adult. Her fur was gold, and she bore a strange
resembalence resemblance to our Martin the Warrior...
Ellen paused to dip her quill tip in the ink, then continued writing.
I asked her many questions, but she did not answer straitforward on everything. I could hardly blame her, but I know there's something important she didn't want to say. I am determined to find out all I can, because something tells me that the information on page 4 in the "Rulers of Mossflower book is not true."
Besides that... I feel very alone here, Abbey life is not what I am suited to. I know little about my parents, excpet I am guessing they did not live here as creatures of peace. This life... isn't what I want to live. I need adventure, and most importantly, I wish to achieve my dreams.
I don't want to be greedy, or steal glory, I truly want to help my Lord Ignasa... but, all I know is I am not welcome here to some. Sometimes I feel all alone... and I can't help but wonder.. would they notice if I was gone?
Signing off- Lenn.
She finished writing, waited for the ink to dry, then closed it and relocked the book with a key in her satchel.
Grabbing a stack of parchment, capping her ink, and drying off the quill tip, she stuffed all the contents into the bag she always wore over her shoulder, and hurried out the door toward the Gatehouse, taking her seat near the right corner.
Amittedly, her eyesight wasn't the best, so she had too sit sort of near the front, and the worst part was she disliked glasses, only when she desperately needed them would she use them. But, all the same, she managed to get by and get reasonable marks in grades, so, it worked alright.
No sooner had the class started than the Recorder had stated they all were to find somebeast in the Abbey who could use help. Their assignment was to spend up to an hour helping someone, and then to write a few sentences on what they had done, why, and explain why this followed the "Abbey Charter."
At first, Ellen considered going to the Sickbay to assist Sister Frostfern, as that would follow the seventh line in the charter nicely, but after the previous day's fiasco, she thought ti best to help in the kitchens instead.
As long as nothing ended up burned, she was good.
When she came to the Kitchens to offer her help, most who had been there for a few seasons grimaced, they knew what had happened last time. She had been attempting to help make scones for her very first time, and had forgotten to take ou tthe drying pots and pans from the oven before heating it again.
Unfortunately, somebeast else had been using th eoven to bake something on a lower temperature a moment earlier. By the time the scones were almost done, Ellen had smelled the scent of burning food, and her ears flattened guiltily.
Ever since then, most with common sense were weary to allow her to cook.
Still, the last too times she had helped, nothing had gone wrong, and she had even been complimented by a few. It cheered her up to think that she may have improved, but the Friar didn't forgive mistakes like hers after two sucesses.
She was assigned to clean dishes.
Her expression of happy helpfullness turned to one of grudging obedience. Cleaning dishes was her absolute least favorite chore, but somebeast had to do it. Unenthuasiatically, she removed her precious satchel and stored it in a safe plave away from flames, and trudged forward to help.
With the Abbey School assignment in mind, she forced a smile and began scrubbing at the reluctantly messy pots, pans, silverware, plates, and cups. Soapy water up to her elbows quickly turned to something that resembled thin mud, and Ellen watched the other Kitchen helpers wishfully.
For the good fraction of an hour she helped, then managed to help a little with other tasks, and when her time was up, she bolted toward the Gatehouse, scrolling out the required answers onto the parchment.
After the papers had been collected, or most of them at least, some Dibbuns had slacked on doing the assignment and recieved low grades for lack of participation. The Recorder began launching into a story about the founding of Redwall, and it's Charter.
She listened closely, hopeing for an explanation of all she had heard before, but it never came. If possible, she was only more confused about the past, and world around her.
At the day, she let out a quiet sigh, resting her head on her paws.
Lenn sat up in the bell tower, watching out a window peacefully. Only, her mind was far from the serenity of the night. She sat against the wall, a closed book at her side, holding a needle as she stitched the sleeves to be shorter.
All the same, she enjoyed the silence, and the gentle wash of the breeze. For a moment, she closed her eyes, relaxing. The needle fell from her paw, still dangling by the thread she was sewing with.
When she woke, it was still dusk again, and she could hear the steady thud of pawsteps as some creature made their way up to the Bell Tower. Ellen gather up her things, stuffed them into her satchel, and quickly sewed one last stitch, tying it off and cutting the thread with her teeth. Then she weaved the needle into place on the strap of her bag, making sure not to prick herself.
She stood to weary paws, limbs aching. It hadn't been long since she had dozed off, and it probably time to head back toward the Dormitories, she didn't want to be missing again. The pawsteps echoed closer, resounding off of the stone walls.
Lenn recognized who it was, and she wasn't pleased.
It was none other that the Dibbun who she had nearly drowned her a season or so before. Runeif
Despite her usually kind personality, she was a mousemaid who could become cold to those who posed a threat, sometimes without meaning to. This time, she wasn't exactly sure what she was doing, and most certainly she would regret her words.
Her brown eyes narrowed at the otter challengingly. "If you even try to push me out the window, I will kill you."
To her surprise, a grin broke across the otter's face, he seemed almost less malicious than before, but she guessed it was simply another ploy to get her into trouble, or to get her killed, though she wanted to hope he was actually somewhat sorry. "Of course not, I just came up on Abbot's orders as Bellringer, though I never thought of that before..."
She felt somewhat embarrassed, even more than that, she felt like a fool. Besides that, she felt mean, even cruel. how could she have accused anybeast of being a murderer.
It's not that far fetched... you were nearly drowned before, part of her mind answered. She shook of the suspicion, attempting to smile.
Regaining her composure she started walking toward the exit, voice quavering, it was obvious she wasn't confident, but she could always try.
'Well then, I suppose you won't mind me leaving and telling the Abbot you did an excellent job in your task for him them," she stated, looking back at Runeif. Ellen's fur burned with embarrassment, and Runeif could probably tell she was unsure, but for once, he didn't bother her, her phrase had clearly touched a nerve.
As soon as Lenn was out of sight, she dashed down the stone corridor, face still burning. She had utterly made a fool of herself, meanwhile Runeif had just stood there, confident as usual, then again, he was Skipper's son. on a brighter note... she hadn't ended up dead or injured, that was an improvement.
With a crestfallen expression, she couldn't stop thinking, I was too mean...
Dawn fell upon the Abbey in golden hues of approaching Autumn. Already, the leaves on the trees were fringed with colors of orange and yellow, and it was slightly colder than usual. The harvest would arrive soon...
The young mousemaid woke suddenly from a nightmare, breathing fast and eyes wide. She grabbed her bag beside the bed, brushed her headfur, and began her usual morning routine, the hurried down the steps to find her Grandfather. It only then occurred to her how she had not seen him at all the day before, and that was odd.
Hopefully he would be there, in fact, he would have to have been there, because when Lenn had checked Cavern Hole, he wasn't at breakfast, so he must be in the cabin... she thought anyway.
To her relief, he was there, sitting at his desk while scrawling word after word on pages of paper, then only to cross them out, and start again.
When she walked inside, he didn't look up, only kept writing with the look of intent concentration on his face, she sat down in a spare chair, adjusting the strap of her satchel. Politely as possible, Ellen coughed, half to get his attention, half to clear her throat. "So... have you found anything Grandpa?" the little mousemaid asked, joyful to see him turn his head with a smile.
"Yes Lenn, I've found out... quite a lot. And I think it's almost time to tell you everything. You see, I wanted to be sure my guesses were somewhat correct before telling everybeast..."
She merely sat there, wearing an expression of curiosity, if he was ready to say what he had to say, he could, she didn't want to badger him further.
'You know how you told me of your visit to the strange warrior-maid? I've been researching... and Ellen, I think you found Brockhall!"
Her jaw dropped, "Really?"
Her grandfather nodded, "Yes, if the place you saw was indeed carved inside a tree in Mossflower Woods, that is Brockhall. Nobeast can every seem to locate it... only on accident once in a while. It seems you were lucky." HE stopped for a moment, eyes thoughtful, then continued. "And that mouse... She was gold, named Sayna you said?"
Ellen paused, before nodding. "Yes, she said her name was Sayna..."
His expression became delighted, "Hmm... perhaps she reminded you of the stories that visitor used to tell when he came to the Abbey every winter?"
"You mean... you think...she's Queen Sayna? One of the... Four? But, if that's true that means all the text books are lying... that would mean there really are Four Marks, like in my dream..." Lenn hesitated, pulling out the Rulers Of Mossflower book once more and turning to page 4. "Something is really odd about this page... and one more thing. How is Sayna still alive... if she really is High Queen Sayna from the time of the founders... wouldn't she be long gone..."
But Ellen's question went unheard by her grandfather, he was gone and the door was open. Her voice trailed off into the brisk air, heard only by those unseen.
She was left alone with her racing thoughts...
The days passed slowly, hour by hour, and the season began to change, no longer where the leaves green and bright on the trees, they began to wane into crimson and amber hues, becoming dry and dead as they fluttered to the ground lifelessly. The air was colder, and the sky grayer, clouds spread across the sky in a blanket.
It was near the day when she officially turned a season older, and again she began to wonder... about her past, and her parents. She believed those who had told her that her parents had died in a battle when she was just a couple seasons old, but there was something inside her heart telling her that what was in her mind was wrong.
She had also thought deeply about Sayna, and her grandfather had told her no new theories, but he stayed up late into the night, sketching and writing, even investigating the Abbey for clues, but it seemed he wished to work alone. He wasn't the only one to have trouble with staying up at night, Ellen too sat awake for hours, mind too focused and thoughtful to stop. And the nightmares she was having weren't helping either.
Lenn had found herself spending more and more time in the warmth of the Kitchens, helping bake, mostly desserts for supper, trying to be useful. Abbey School was on a temporary break, so she also sat on the steps, reading intently, and almost living in the pages of a book.
But nothing could stop her mind; and she knew it led to only one conclusion. She had to find Sayna again.
So, just before the frost had properly set in, Lenn planned. She woke early, again grabbing her satchel from her bedside, and reorganized it's contents, before making a quick note in the diary. She brought Rulers of Mossflower, borrowed a few sketches from her Grandfather, a fur-brush, her diary, Aubretia's Diary, a bottle of ink, a quill, which was about all her poor bag could even manage without spitting at the seams. Then she headed toward the Kitchens, running down the steps and across the stone floors, the sound echoing of the corridor.
Politely asking the Friar, if she could have a bit of food, she reluctantly set down her bag, and started packing whatever she could find. Some of which she had helped make the day before, but nobeast minded a little mousemaid taking a few fresh scones, a small wheel of yellow cheese, a medium flask of Raspberry cordial, a small bag of Candied Chestnuts, and a knife to cut it. (Or defend herself if need be, but Ellen didn't tell anybeast this.)
In truth, she wouldn't normally pack that much, but she had a plan.
Once again adjusting the bag over her shoulder, she told her grandfather she was going into the Woods and promised to be back before nightfall. That way she wouldn't get in trouble for being missing, just in case.
She exited through the east gate, heading toward the woodland path. Lenn was glad it wasn't summer, now it was cold enought that even in the filtered sun, she didn't get too hot.
Autumn was her favorite season, she loved how it wasn't too warm, but not as cold as winter, and the colors. The cascade of vibrant hues of oranges, reds, and yellows were beautiful. There was just something about the brisk air, and dry weather that she liked.
The walk was much more enjoyable then the last time, which stood to reason, seeing as this time there was no howling gale nor pounding rain. There was still a problem, she had to find Brockhall.
Lenn meandered through Mossflower Woods, searching and trying to recall where she had gone before, but the memories were not there. She had been desperate in the storm, and had ran as fast as she could, hardly bothering to observe her settings in the confusion. Now she paid for it, watching throught the treetops as the sun rose in the sky. Coloringful leaves drifted lazily to the ground and crunched under her paws as she tread lightly across the forest floor, she narrowed her eyes in wistful thinking. Maybe it was nearby...
Just then, she spotted a piece of what had recently been a weaved basket, she must be close!
Her paws moved faster into a blur as she ran forward, her goal now in sight, she stopped, breathing quickened, at the door on the great tree. The mousemaid looked up, spotting Sayna at the window. The golden warrior smiled slightly as the sight of her visitor, but it wasn't full joy. A moment later, she was out of view.
Just to be sure, Ellen knocked on the door quietly, waiting as she heard pawsteps nearing.
There was a soft creak at the tall golden mouse opened the door ever so slightly, peering out to reasure herself. Since it was only Lenn, she opened the door, beckoning the little maid to signal she was welcome. With a small smile, she wiped her paws before following sayna, who promptly closed the door.
"I brought food Sayna," the brown mousemaid spoke quietly, setting her satchel down of the table and pulling out a parcel of food from the Redwall Kitchens slowly. She didn't want to be rude, hopefully the warrior would take it as a friendly intent.
Sayna looked completely surprised, pulling out a chair to take a seat at the table. Lenn followed suit, pulling out a chair and brushing the dust away before sitting.
The little brown mousemaid unwrapped the package, pulling out her stash of food and pushing it across the table to the warrior. She got up, turning back to ask her question. "If you don't mind me asking... where are the cups?'
Sayna pointed to a cabinet hesitantly, as if unsure, and looked out the window in thought, while Lenn shuffled to find two drinking glasses. At last locating the items, she rinsed them out quickly, drying them on a linen cloth before pouring the rasberry cordial evenly into each. When she had cut off a few slivers of cheese and passed a scone to the other mouse, she began fumbling with the papers tucked in her satchel, pulling out a couple drawings.
Sipping the rasberry cordial timidly, she set the cup down and pulled out a drawing with two swords on it. The little mousemaid's voice quavered slightly as she spoke, paw pointing to the sword that was set with blue stones. "H-ave you seen this before?"
Sayna seemed to freeze for a moment, eyes glimmering with hidden thoughts. When she answered, it was a forced steadiness. "Well... yes, I have, but why do you ask?"
This was what she was worried about, and so lenn answered the best she could. "It's just... my Grandfather... he's been searching continously. We both know about you... that you were, and are..." Her voice dropped to a whisper. "Mossflower's High Queen"
The golden mouse stood up, looking more like warrior-queen than Lenn had ever seen her, with her mouth slightly parted to speak but she thought better of it, and her long braided plait was swept over her shoulder. She walked off through an archway, and the little mousemaid thought she had left, but soon her returning shadow was cast from a torch on the wall to the floor.
Now when Sayna returned, she held something steadily in her paws, a sword. Not just any sword, but the magnificent sword with The Healing Fire. Ellen's brown eyes widened.
She set is hesitantly on the table, comparing it to the sketch.
For a moment, the golden warrior said nothing, staring down at the sword with concentration, then she looked up and over at Lenn quizically. "You need it... don't you?"
The small brown mousemaid paused, then nodded slowly before explaining. "Well... yes... My grandfather was trying to find it... we know where Martin's is, but not your's... And we wouldn't use it for very long..." she added hopefully, meeting the other mouse's obsidian gaze almost pleadingly.
She wasn't quite sure what it was, other than the fact that she had figured out her grandfather was seeking the sword, but something... whatever it was, was telling her it was needed.
For a very long time, they sat in silence, with Sayna watching the silver blade intently. Lenn could see pain in her eyes, and countless memories. It was almost as if the gold mouse was suffering from a mental struggle, a war. And for that, the brown mousemaid felt guilt tug at her heart.
Then, slowly, the warrior pushed the sword across the table, a flicker of mixed emotions showing through her eyes and set expression.
"Here," she said softly, eyes on the words etched into the blade, "I think you probably need it more," the mouse paused, breathing in with an almost heaving effort of decision.
Gently, Lenn grasped the hilt, picking up the sword. "Thank you Sayna... so much," she breathed. Already she could picture her grandfather's joyous reaction, though she did not fully understand his plans. Lord Ignasa's paws had guided them all this far.
For the rest of the day, she spent her time wandering the halls, and reading books in the library, guided by Sayna at first, who then left when Lenn sat down to read in the library. A small candle, combined with the remaining daylight allowed her to read, and the brown mousemaid had never before seen a more extravagant selection of books, and as soon as she had stepped inside, her eyes widened in amazement. So now there she sat, on a round rug instead of one of the armchairs covered in dust but elegant nonetheless.
Daylight filtered through the open windows near the top of the room, and though it was slightly cold, Lenn didn't seem to mind. Her paws were holding open a large novel on her lap, and the mousemaid's deep brown eyes scoured the pages quickly. It was an adventure story, but one that was true, put into a perspective that made it even more exciting that history had told. She paused as she finished the chapter, bookmarking the page and setting the book aside.
Sayna was elsewhere, maybe in her room, and though Lenn didn't like to bother anybeast, she wished to cheer the lonely warrior up. The small mousemaid got to her paws, dusting off her dress and she circled the library a few times, finally leaving and wandering the halls. It was an amazing building, though dusty and forlorn in the places Sayna probably visited rarely. Strange writing was inscripted in some places, and Lenn guessed it had something to do with badgers that had once dwelled here.
Shouldering her bag determinedly, she approached the door to the warrior queen's room, knocking quietly with her paw.
Lenn heard the quiet thud of pawsteps, then the soft creak as Sayna opened the door, beckoning her inside. She took a seat nearby with permission, fumbling with the catch on her satchel for something to do. The mousemaid looked up to meet Sayna's gaze. "Thanks... for everything." She looked to the ground for a moment, speaking in a softer tone. "I guess... I never expected any of this to happen; meeting you, my grandfather discovering all of this. And... I don't really know.." She trailed off, unsure of what to say, and yet, Sayna seemed to understand, for she nodded, meeting Lenn's gaze evenly.
"It's alright. Sometimes Lord Ignasa does things we cannot understand at the time, until much later... And when we do, it seems strange to us how we never understood in the first place." The warrior looked out the window, eyes scanning Mossflower Woods. "It happens to most everybeast... And if we make the right choice, we find it being clearer and brighter as time draws on, despite the uncertainty at the time we made that decision." Her eyes traveled to the scabbard normally containing the sword, and her voice dropped. "That's why... I gave you the sword. I can guess you'll need it, and I'm not sure what. But something, maybe Ignasa, tells me it'll make more of a difference for you and others than me for the time being."
The mousemaid gave her a grateful smile, getting to her paws lightly. 'I guess I'll have to see what happens then. And I'll be sure to visit, I've never really had many friends..."