Part II, The Voyage


By Jenner

As everyone sets out to their new posts, Jenner stalks off to sit and sulk. Angus spies him and calls out to him.
Angus: I think yer supposed to be up in the crow's nest for now. That's what Mari and Ember said.
Jenner pulls himself up and reluctantly ambles over to the main mast.
Jenner: (grumbles) I can't believe this! Equals, Schmequals! I know how this is going to turn out. Somebeast is goin' te get a big 'ead an' try to run us all. Well, if they thinks that I'm a goin' to put up wi' it. They can think again! As he starts to climb the mast, he is suddenly yanked down by the throat. with a small yelp, he is taken below deck by a large dark weasle. Meanwhile, up on deck, Ember and Raitha eye the map.
Ember: I think that we should take this route...by the island of the whales.
Raitha: Interesting, I was thinking that we should follow the shoreline for a day or s...
They are interupted by a loud crash resonating from below the deck.
Ember: What was that!?
Hunt: I don't know, but I can bally well say that whoever he is is gettin' into our vittles!

by Hunter Oaktree

**The three rush below, pulling their weapons as they go. They arrive to see Jenner and a large, dark weasel locked in a death struggle. They are so close together that Hunt, Ember, and Raitha keep from attacking the weasel, for fear of hitting the rat. Soon, however, it is clear that Jenner gains the upper claw, and, breaking off from the attacker, he manages to push the weasel against a table and hold him there, knocking his weapon from his paw. His three companions rush to help him.**
Raitha: Another vermin, I should have known. You can never get rid of all of them... *she pulls the weasel away from Jenner and ties him to a chair*
Jenner: *panting for breath* 'oo are you, vermin? And why didn't you attack with the others?
Hunt: *glancing around in dismay at the galley* I don't care who 'ee bally well is, but you two certainly managed to spread a bit of chaos over the place, eh?
Ember: *glaring at the weasel* Giff Mistflayer. I should have known.
Jenner: *glaring at Ember* You know this weasel?
Ember: I should say so. I worked with him on a job once.
Raitha: *she looks at Jenner somewhat admiringly* I have to say, rat, ye did well in disposing with this menace.
Hunt: *he holds up a squashed pastry and flings it aside sadly* Aye, but you could 'ave done it a bit neater, wot? Somebeast has to clean up this lot, and it won't be the handsome one with the long ears. *The pastry hits Raitha in the face and Hunt ducks behind a table as he continues* And besides, we didn't really "dispose" of 'im yet.

By Raitha Galestarr

Embershard ignores Raitha's stream of vivid curses. The rat crouches down before Giff Mistflayer, her claw tracing a thoughtful pattern along the handle of her dirk. "So, Giff. I take it Uriel sent you to keep an eye on us? To make sure we didn't betray him... Answer me true and we won't throw you overboard where spies belong."
The weasel's features flicker for a moment with some unidenifiable emotion, then blank out completely. "I wouldn't tell you anythin', 'ceptin' I ain't with Uriel any more." He deadpans. "So do yer worst. It would be better for me if I was killed by you, instead of him findin' out I was caught."
Jenner leans over the weasel, massaging a bruise spreading on his paw. "Don't be too sure about that, matey. Who're ye workin' for?"
Giff doesn't reply, lapsing instead into a sullen silence. Beneath his lowered brows, his eyes flicker rapidly, as if seeking some way out of an inclosing nightmare. The four comrades eye each other, unsure of how to deal with this creature, who seems to prefer death to revealing his unknown master's secrets.
"Well, if the cove don't wanna talk, there's always a way to remedy that." Raitha says, flicking a final crumb of pastie from her whiskers. "Leave 'im 'ere bound up, under guard. Jenner, can ye take first."
The rat nods, laying his paw on his sword. "Let's get adeck, mates. By me reck we'll be nearin' the Northgrave past dawn, an' I'll be needin' every set o' paws ter keep the North afloat. Hunt, those glims o' yourn should come in'andy fer spottin' out trouble."
Hunt goes faintly green about the gills. "Oh, I say, do I really have to climb up that great treetrunk an' sit in that flimsy little birdynest?" The hare gasps. His reply is a mock villanous grin that shows off Raitha's fangs to the full advantage of the prisoner.
"Aye, matey. Cummon now an' shift yerself, the mornin' air'll do ye good!" As they turn to leave Giff and his guard, the sea otter glances back over her shoulder at the weasel. "We'll se later 'ow Tsar can make the blaggard sing, that cat looks to be a good 'un fer ticklin' vermin." Ember's paw goes involuntarily to her dirk as Raitha continues, climbing nimbly up the ladder to the hatch. "If she don't get nothin' outta 'im, I'll 'ave a go meself!"

Note: Could anybeast who writes about Raitha make her sound a little more "sea otter"-y? She just sounds like a careful scholar (which she isn't) in a few posts. Thanx

by Jenner

Later that evening, as the ship sails on, the crew settles down for the evening. Hunt and Angus are on duty for the evening. The rest nap silently after feasting on crumb cakes and dandilion cordial that had been stowed away in the cargo hold.
After an hour of rest, Mari wakes to hear odd sounds coming from above deck. She bolts upright to hear the sound of squawking and the whooshing sounds of great wings. Falling out of bed, Mari wakes the others and tells them what was heard. At that time, a yell, obviously from Hunt, is heard. They all scramble up on deck to see what was going on. To thier dismay, they see the largest eagle grasping Hunt by the footpaw and hoisting him in the air.
Hunt: OW! Lemme go you over grown bag 'o feathers. You'd bally well better put me down!
Mari pulls out her sling and prepares to whollop the great bird. Out of the corner of her eyes she sees a figure run across the deck.
Raitha: Wait! There goes that prisoner! Get 'im!
Jenner dives for the weasel and grabs him by the lower legs. With a small yelp, he and the weasel slip off overboard.
Meanwhile, Mari and Ember work to get the bird to unlatch his grip on the hare. With a hefty thump, Mari's sling hits its target. Hunt falls to the deck and the bird flies upward into the dark sky. Eventually, the sound of his wings are the only clue that the group can tell it is still nearby.
Tsar: I don't think he will be bothering us for the time being. He looked as if he took a severe beating.
Then they notice that something is not right. Ember looks around and suddenly realizes what is wrong.
Ember: Raitha? Where is Jenner and the captive?
Raitha: They slipped off o' the deck. It's too dark t' tell where they are. I can't see a thing, it's too dark. They're gone.

by Mari Rainblossom

**Mari clutches her slingshot close to her body and stares at Raitha, her face a picture of disbelief**
Mari: G--Gone?! Surely you don't mean--
Raitha: Aye, matey. I'm afraid so. Gone. **Raitha looks reflectively out over the dark water**
Mari: **drawing in a quick breath** How .... dreadful!
**There is a short period of silence as everyone is a little shaken up. But Embershard breaks the spell, turning back toward the cabin**
Embershard: Well, the only thing left now is to use what's left of the night to get some well-needed rest.
**Some of the others turn to follow, but Hunt waggles his ears, surprised**
Hunt: I say, chaps! It's not good form to leave a fellow mate out in the middle of the bally ocean!
Mari: Mr. Hunter is right! Surely there must be something we can do!
Angus: It don't look that way, missie.
**Mari sighs helplessly as she watches the others trudge off to their bunks. She goes and sits down on a coil of rope on deck near the bow, and looks through the rail at the pearly spray that's thrown up as the ship parts the water. Hunt is standing closeby, leaning on the railing and staring blankly out over the sea.**
Hunt: Huh. Fine time for old Jenner to want to take a jolly swim, eh?
Mari: **not turning her head, just staring...** You can say that again. *shudder* I just don't understand why he would do such a thing. He seemed a decent rat. I just don't understand...

by Embershard Trillwind

**Below deck, Raitha, Tsar, and Angus bed down. The fox is asleep within seconds. Embershard, on the other hand, sits at a low wooden table staring at a candle. She curses under her breath.**
**Tsar comes silently behind her, limp right footpaw scraping gently against the floor. The cat sits across from Ember.**
Tsar: Yer not mournin' the vermin, are ye?
**Ember looks up from the flickering flame and scowls.**
Ember: Like it or not, cat, he was a crewbeast, a member of the team. You don't know Uriel. He likes one-beast missions, he'd only assemble a crowd like this if there was real danger. Jenner will be missed. And worse -- the captive went with him! Now we have no way to find out who's tracking us, or why -- it could be an independant organization, or Uriel himself and we wouldn't know --
**She rests her face in her paws tensely. Her whole manner radiates one thing: stress.**
Ember: This isn't doing anything for team unity either.
Tsar: *wants to laugh, but diplomatically holds back* Ye seem te be most concerned aboot this Uriel -- how do ye know him sae well?
Ember: *coldly* He hired me to kill my father, when I was ten.
**The two watch each other in silence for several seconds; then Ember extinguishes the candle and the two creatures move to their individual beds beneath the hull of the mighty Greynorth. With one less crewbeast, they would need a sound sleep tonight.**

by Hunter Oaktree

**The day breaks dreary and gray. Hunt and Mari are up before dawn, raiding the galley for any decent food.**
Hunt: Don't vermin eat like normal beasts? What is this rot? *he holds up a slimy piece of something green and wrinkles his nose in disgust* Uugg, almost makes a chap lose his bally appetite, wot?
**Mari grins evilly as she holds up a vegetable pasty.**
Mari: Oh, really? Then I guess you won't be needing this anymore...
**Hunt grabs the pasty and begins munching contentedly.**
Hunt: Now, don't be puttin' words in my mouth, missie. I said almost!
**In a short while, the two beasts have a good breakfast of scones and mint tea set out on deck.
The other beasts awake to the good smell and come pouring out on deck. They make for the food like wild beasts, but Mari clears her throat loudly as Hunt snatches back the tray. The others glare at the two.**
Mari: No beast eats my food without a blessing.
**The non-Redwall (or Salamandastron) bred beasts grumble and shuffle about, but they accept, eyeing the food hungrily as the hare lays the tray back down and the squirrelmaid blesses the food.**
Mari: O spirits of the seasons
Bless us in this place.
May this good fare
That we partake
Bring peace to every face.
**With an amazing burst of energy for so early in the morning, everybeast lunges for the food and begins to eat. All are slightly on edge due to the previous night's action.**

by Angus

::After the meal, Angus shoves a hunk of bread into his pocket and heads over to the rail to watch the seagulls(aww). After awhile, he takes out the piece of bread and begins chewing contentedly. He suddenly sees something on the horizon::
Angus: Look! A longboat

by Mari Rainblossom

**Mari, who is inside the galley cleaning up after the meal, hears his cry and she drops the wooden spoon she was washing, her eyes lighting up. She runs out on deck, followed by the others, and peers out over the rail.**
Mari: A longboat?! Really? Seafaring beasts? Do you suppose they're goodbeasts? Oh, I do hope so!
**Everyone eyes her strangely, wondering at her excitement**
Mari: *seeing their stares* My father told me a great many stories about shipbeasts. I always wanted to meet one.
Raitha: Well, missie, it don't look like today's your day. We've got to avoid company if at all possible.
**Mari looks disappointed, but leans on the rail and stares out after the ship**

by Raitha Galestarr

Far ahead, the longboat disappears into a thick bank of fog, crouching like some primeval monster over the horizon. Raitha peers ahead, trying to see past the impenetrable wall of mist. "Don't like this, mateys." She says. "By my reck, we should be nearin' the Northgrave soon, I don't wanna run inter it in a fog."
Angus sneers at the big otter, the fox is feeling a little cramped among such good company, since he usually travels alone. "Yah scared, seadog? Maybe it would be better fer all of us if you got slung overboard in this current anyways."
Tsar looks sharply over her shoulder. "Ah'd expect better of even a vermin." She hisses. "We can't lose anybeast else on this voyage. Aside o' that, ye'd sore miss Raitha if she were gone, she's the only lassie aboard who actually knows how to sail...." The cat, and the fox are suddenly almost flung to the deck as the Greynorth gives a jerk, and lists dangerously, pulling hard over in the water.
Panic breaks loose on the deck as the other four are knocked to the deck with the violent lurching of the ship.
Wildeyed, Raitha pulls herself up from where she was thrown, and dashes to the rail, yelling in dismay. "Agh! Belay, we've just struck a current! See it ripplin' the water!" The sea otter leaves the rail and leaps up to the quarterdeck. Grabbing the tiller in both paws, she heaves over, wrenching her ship about, but the Greynorth only wobbles awkwardly and turns broadside in the strong current gripping her. "Hey, Tsar! Embershard! Mari! Get aloft an' slack them sails off! Hunt, Angus, up in th' bows an' along the starb'd rail fer yew. Keep a watch fer any reefs an' fend 'em off if ye can. This ship ain't goin' nowheres I don't want it!"
The barque lurches again and almost tips. Raitha is almost sent sprawling, she regains her balance, gasping out. "Or maybe it is! Ferget it, mates! There's nothin' we can do, just stand by ter fend off reefs, we're bein' drawn in!"
Greynorth is drawn inexorably into the thick fog bank. The six comrades stare about blindly, unable to see a thing, they stand along the rails, waiting to fend off any rocks with long pikes and poles. The wind whips about, swirling the mist and bringing with it the dull roar of water smashing rock. A deep, threatening feeling settles into them. Raitha is the one who confirms it.
"I'd recognize this anywheres, mateys, this's Northgrave!"
CREEEEAAAAAAAAASH! The sea otter is catapulted forward, almost overboard as the barque grinds to a sudden halt, her deck bucks dangerously, to the sound of the hideous, rending crash that rips through the air.

Freezing water swills in over the scuppers, sloshing about the comrades, thrown high by the speeding currents swirling past.
"What's happening?" Embershard yells, struggling to regain her balance on the listing, slicked deck. "Galestarr, what have you got us into now? Where are we?"
Raitha's hazel eyes blaze angrily, she starts to reply as she painfully picks herself up, icy saltwater dripping from her fur. "Keep that slimy gob shut, vermin! I ain't takin' us nowhere, it's ole Dame Ocean who's got us at 'er mercy! So dig the muck outta yer lugs an'-"
"Look! What's that?" Mari, the only beast who fully managed to stay upright, runs forward before either creature can draw her blade, and leans over the rail, staring at the swirling mist. The others join her quickly, and strain their eyes into the white darkness.
Hunt's keen eyes spot it first. "Oh, I say, chaps. There's a jolly ol' shadow out there! But flop me ears if it's ship or woodpigeon, I can't tell!" The hare points for'ard. Several points off the starboard bow, further ahead than the reef that had trapped them, a huge, sinister darkness rises up.
As Raitha stares, she slowly makes out the dim shapes of cliffs and tall fir trees, much like those in her homeland of the far Northwest coast. "Willyer lookit that!" She lowers herself over the side, and into waist deep water. The sea otter wades up to a shingled beach, with tall, rocky cliffs towering over it.
"Raitha, ye bonny seadog. What is it?" Tsar calls down.
Raitha waves a tattooed paw back at the cat, still gazing about her at the wild shore. "That scurvy current drove us right up to an island! Ahoy, mates. Get yer weapons an' get yerselves down 'ere. Looks like we're one step closer ter findin' that Jewel!"

Part Three, the Island!