Reviews for Latura of Redwall, Book IV: An Abduction, Nefarious and Necessary
Greater Guest chapter 37 . 9/17
I'll be honest here. I'm with Urthblood all the way. I don't even care if he's evil or neutral evil. That badger lord is MODERNIZING the world! Come on! Currency! Docks! Urthblood has done a lot of bad things, but the good and more productive things he could accomplish is simply beneficial for the future.
Mara the Wolf chapter 26 . 7/30
The mental image of Urthblood's grin... *shudders*
Combat Engineer chapter 9 . 4/16
Since the abeyess was responsible for the death of the second focus chieftain, why do the foxes hold her in any regard still?
Samadhir chapter 37 . 3/12/2016
Ah, we’re at the final chapter of Book IV. A chapter dealing with trips south, an uncertain future and… rat bowel functions (Oh, yuck!)

It appears Alex won’t be returning for a long while yet to Redwall, because he’s going with Urthblood to Southsward, whether the badger wants him along or not! Quite a development, I must say. And sadly, I guess that means he won’t be seeing his wife again for a very long time, if he ever returns from his trip at all :(

I’m rather surprised that Wakefern would allow Alex to dictate the terms of the trip so completely. Wasn’t the otter pretty much on Urthblood’s side of the argument back in Salamandastron a few chapters ago? Why would he go out of his way to accommodate Alexander’s wishes like that? Still, if it knocks Urthblood down a peg or two, I’m certainly not complaining XD

I also notice that Salamandastron doesn’t exactly appear to be in deep mourning over Scarbatta’s death…

The vessels depart, and I guess we’ll see how their trip goes in Book V. For now, we switch POV to the searat ship Latura, Palter and their fellow rats are chained to…

We find out that Latura’s strange protective aura caused one more death among her captors… and goddammit, Wing… YOU CANNOT SWALLOW AND CHOKE ON YOUR OWN TONGUE! Man, I tried to convince you what a stupid idea this was, but you just wouldn’t listen! GAAARGHHH!

*grumble grumble* Anyway… about those galleyslaves who were once searats themselves… It really is strange, and a cruel reminder of the ruthlessness of Tratton’s empire. It’s a feature of searat society I hope to see explored more in the future.

And all that talk of the gruel, and the “unfortunate, inevitable consequence of ingesting it”… I was kinda dreading a moment like this, and I’m thankful you still kept it at least moderately tasteful. It’s strange in a way that Book IV would end on a chapter that deals with the whole subject so extensively :P

Hmm, so that’s what happened to the rats who’d settled down in the badger cottage… For a time I was thinking that they might’ve been the ones Chetwynd killed, but it seems they were luckier than that. If “luck” is really the word here. And that poor bereft ratmum… :(

And with those unfortunate ratkids taking care of the soiled deck underneath Palter, and the prospect of getting to an island where things can’t “possibly get any worse” (Oh, dear…) we end the chapter, and Book IV.

Now, Book IV… How do I feel about it? First of all, in most ways, it has been totally awesome. It’s been very action-packed, has had tons of cool scenes including LoR’s first true battle sequence, dropped a massive bomb on us with the return of Martin the Warrior in Vanessa’s body, and the whole story of Latura’s abduction is just so exciting and keeps you aching to find out what’s going to happen next. And the scene where she arrives at Salamanadastron, Urthblood just about to slay her, only for the badger to reel back in a state of terror and confusion we’ve never seen him in before has to rank among the greatest scenes in all of TUS. Truly astounding job on that score, Wing!

With that said… *sigh* Sadly, parts of the book also remind me of the worst moments of TSW, with those missed opportunities for interesting character and plot development, and the pointless deaths. Areti reaction to Sartor’s death ranks as LoR’s first true Dethroning Moment of Suck, and I still get pissed off whenever I think of it. And the deaths of Martinoy, Centrella and their children… That ranks up there with the death of Mayk as my most upsetting moment in the entire series. Not only did it deprive us of characters who could’ve been so interesting without letting us see enough of them, but it destroys part of Tratton’s character as well. The only reason I wouldn’t consider it THE worst moment in the series yet is because I’m still not sure where you’re going with it, if you are indeed going anywhere at all with it.

Sometimes I just wanna ask the question of you: why, Wing? Why…? :(

For all of that, An Abduction, Nefarious and Necessary is an absolutely amazing work. It has raised the stake of not just the novel but the entire Urthblood Saga, turned so many of our established expectations on its head, and once more reminds us of what a great writer you are (when you aren’t being incredibly frustrating). You deserve a break now after all your hard work, but I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen when LoR resumes posting in a few months!

See you in Book V… whatever it will be called. I’ll have to give you some very pointed tips on that one…
Samadhir chapter 36 . 3/12/2016
“Urthblood’s Folly”… My, that Martinessa really does have a weird sense of humor. The truth will out eventually? Is she actually planning on revealing her true identity later on then? I sure hope so – it’s a pointless masquerade that I’m getting rather tired off.

Btw, something I forgot to comment on in an earlier chapter is that for all his faults, Geoff’s compassion on display there was quite impressive. Not only had he had his second sculpture shattered and its shards driven into his chest, but the beast who crashed into him was a servant of Urthblood who participated in the abduction of Latura. And yet his only concern was to see the bird taken up to the Infirmary for treatment. That is quite magnanimous of him, and he certainly gets some extra points for it. Almost enough to make up for the time he almost threw those rats out of Redwall…

Hmm, I had forgotten all about Lattie’s strange little “vision” down in Cavern Hole. I do hope Saugus’ crashing into him was the extent of the doom she foresaw, because after all he’s been through, I don’t want him to suffer an even darker fate :(

Trelayne deals in abstract, metaphorical art? Never would’ve guessed :P

The most interesting part of this chapter to me is the conversation between Tolar and Mina. The fox’s speculation that this can’t just be a miscalculated attempt by Urthblood to depose Vanessa, and that there must be some greater strategy behind it, mirrors my own thoughts. Maybe I’m just so used to see Urthblood succeed that it came across as strange that a plan like this would fail so spectacularly, but yeah, I can’t help but wonder if this really was the extent of what he planned to do with the returned Martin.

But even more important here is Mina’s statement that she feels used by Urthblood, and even unsure of her allegiances :-O

Now, as gratifying as it to see Mina FINALLY experience some self-doubt about her loyalties and her devotion to Urthblood… I really hope that THIS won’t be the start of some kind of redemptive arc for her. Because that would be a VERY petty and selfish reason to turn against Urthblood. Mina has strenuously defended Urthblood all throughout LoR to the limits of reason and beyond, firmly standing by him while he’s been manipulating, deceiving, betraying and outright slaughtering the beasts around him, fully supporting even his most despicable actions. But now that he’s actually had the audacity to involve HER in one of his little schemes, THEN she begins to doubt him? Because he now treated her as she has always been content to see him treat others, and much worse besides?

I mean, I know it’s a common human flaw, to be more accepting of “sacrifices for the greater good” as long when they’re done to other people. But still, I just find it so curious and infuriating that Mina would consider herself so off-limits to any of Urthblood’s little manipulation attempts that a relatively innocuous one such as this makes her unsure of whether to support him. I’m sure she would’ve had no problem with it whatsoever if that letter had been addressed to anybeast else. But she’s a PRINCESS OF THE GAWTRYBE, DAMMIT!

Hmm, I was wondering about whether nobeast would remember anything of Martinessa’s little sleeping spell. I mean, if they nodded off for a long time, they should notice that the sun had switched its position, that food had grown cold, etc.

*sigh* And that poor vixen… As someone who has experienced such deep wounds to my own soul and peace of mind, I understand completely how intensely painful this must be to her. All those thoughts tumbling around inside her head, tearing and boring into her… I really feel for her :(
Samadhir chapter 35 . 3/11/2016
The entire Abbey? Asleep? :-O

It is a cool image and all, and it does raise some interesting possibilities for the story. But what you need to be careful with when it comes to Martinessa is to give her such powers as to make her practically invincible. Mind control, clairvoyance, perfect knowledge of everything going on inside Redwall… These could easily be story breaker powers if not handled with care.

I do like her declaration that she doesn’t particularly like her/his image on the Tapestry. It’s a fun bit of joshing with Redwall canon :)

So, now Clewy and Traveller are in on the Abbess’ little secret as well. And, as I was hoping someone would, they bring up the point of just why Martinessa would choose to keep her true identity from the Redwallers – announcing Martin’s return could indeed bolster everyone’s spirits at a time when it’s badly needed. And Martinessa… doesn’t respond with anything except “I have my reasons”. And then the hares just drop the subject? GODDAMMIT, WING! We came THIS close to finally getting some answers, and then for no reason you just avoid the whole thing?

If Martinessa really wants to keep her identity a secret, she’s done a terrible job at it. Everyone at Redwall knows about her powers, her strange flashes of insight, her sudden swordfighting abilities and her utterly changed demeanor. She’s even dropped the name of Martin several times in explaining what happened to her during her time in Limbo. Once again, if she’s going to be this blatantly obvious about it, WHY NOT JUST COME OUT AND ADMIT THAT SHE’S MARTIN THE FUCKING TRANSGENDERED WARRIOR?!

Btw, so that WAS Urthblood’s attack? My, that’s kind of a letdown. I was hoping for some Battle of Helm’s Deep-scenario :(

And… Urthfist was right about his brother being the very crisis his prophecy foretells? Or close enough at least? Hmm… I guess we should trust her, but at the same time, something’s not quite right about this…

“Then it’s no concern of ours – nothing that far away can pose any threat to us.”



Clewy, I know you’re a jerk, but after all this time, I thought you would know fucking better than THAT!

Good to know that Mona can resist Martinessa’s influence, so that she doesn’t get things all her own way. That vixen really does possess some subtle powers of her own. Still, poor girl; with everything she’s been through, an experience like this is sure to make her feel she’s slowly going insane…

I’m kinda torn about Martinessa announcing that she’ll step down from the position of Abbess and let Geoff be the head honcho again. While Geoff’s dismissal from his post was cruel and needlessly blunt, the truth remains that he wasn’t a very good Abbot, and for all her faults, Martinessa WAS a strong leader. Of course, if she keeps controlling things from behind the scenes, Geoff’s authority might just be in name only… though that does make me even sorrier for poor Pinky :(

I’m glad that Martinessa won’t erase everyone’s memories about the note, both because it would be beyond her power – good to see that she has some limitations – and because she would only mess with people’s minds as a last resort. And now it seems Grayfoot will join the list of beasts’ who are in for a little nudging of loyalties.

A great chapter, overall, despite the frustrating lack of answers about Martinessa’s needless secrecy :P
Samadhir chapter 34 . 3/10/2016
Boy, what a tribunal…

It seems Urthblood’s been trying to sow some confusion and internal bickering among the Redwallers – which seems to work so far by the very fact of the tribunal’s existence – by writing a note saying that he controls the Abbess completely. A note that “just happened” to be taken from its “intended” recipient and finding its way into the paws of the hares that would probably be the most horrified by it. And so, Martinessa finds herself at the center of an interrogation down in Cavern Hole.

And as much as I hate to say it, I’m mostly on the side of the Long Patrol through all of this. I mean, even though we readers know their accusations are baseless, they also have every good reason to believe in them. It WOULD make sense, in many ways: Vanessa orchestrated the whole pandemonium in order to lead Latura into Urthblood’s clutches, she’s acted nothing like the compassionate mouse of old, is suddenly able to fight like a demon of war and has had access to strange knowledge that should’ve been completely beyond her... not to mention her mind control powers. If you were told that she was under the control of Urthblood, I would certainly consider it at least a strong possibility.

That aside, for once I actually find Martinessa’s attitude more grating than that of the hares. Mostly her smug, unfazed demeanor through the entire tribunal. Something about that transgendered spirit warrior mouse just rubs me the wrong way…

Btw… “glug glug glug”? That’s not the first time we’ve had Martinessa act so childish. Is it a residue from her time as a deranged, silly mousemaid or did Martin actually have such a juvenile sense of humor back in his breathing days? Whatever the case, I must admit it’s hilarious! XD

But ultimately, Martinessa skillfully proves her innocence (or something akin to innocence, at any rate) not the least through the revelation that Saugus’ attack was staged, and performed by seagulls. Given that the owl suffered several nicks and cuts and possibly even some broken bones, he must be a VERY dedicated servant of Urthblood’s! Even so, the hares remain very suspicious… and regretfully, I fully understand why they would. The badger is a master deceiver after all, and if he really was controlling Vanessa so fully…

Though not enough to make his little gambit succeed. Was that really the extent of his plans in regards to Redwall and Martin, trying to make the Abbeybeasts suspicious of her? If so, that could’ve gone better. As gratifying as it is to see Urthblood fail for once, I really expected more out of him. It seems his little plan was nipped in the bud without even getting started.

There is also the matter of just what has been happening to “Vanessa” to address… and I am gratified to see some small notes of contrition and humility in her closing statements, as much as any of the gathered Redwallers. And there’s also a slight hint of contrition as she puts almost everyone gathered at the table to sleep (in masterfully described way, I should add)…

Let’s see if the good ol’ Colonel really can keep a secret.
Samadhir chapter 33 . 3/9/2016
*sigh* Let us hope I can recover properly from the… from that chapter last time… :(

Well, at least we follow up that awfulness with a fun little examination between Mona and Martinessa, a scene that’s both hilarious, a bit sad and a touch creepy. The best part of course is Martinessa demanding that Mona disrobe before examining her, leaving them both naked; the only downside is that it doesn’t lead to some hot girl-on-girl action XD *Sammy gets a smack on the noggin for that*

I have to wonder why, though, since I don’t think Martinessa would be so nervous about being unclad. Will Mona being in the nude make it easier for her to probe her thoughts? Maybe Martinessa just wanted an excuse to ogle some nekkid vixen; she WAS a full-blooded male in a previous life after all :P

Those are some very pointed questions about Mona’s past, and her relationship with Tolar, however. Why did they never want to get married? I guess maybe they weren’t entirely sure if their relationship was true love that would last a lifetime, so they thought it safest to just be “friends with benefits” with no further strings attached? And after that mysterious kerfuffle with Kyslith, I guess the chances of them tying the knot are even slimmer now.

And then we get to the subject of just what happened to Vanessa during her time in the post-Foxguard Limbo… and she flat-out states that Martin was her “teacher”. I would ask once more why Martinessa doesn’t just flat-out admit her identity at this point… if not for the fact that she pretty much does, at least to Mona, reminding the vixen of the very private conversation between her and her dead sister. So… does that mean Satara’s spirit wasn’t destroyed? We can only hope.

Btw, I thought Mona didn’t believe in ghosts, so is she merely sarcastic when she says that she has “no doubt” that Martin influenced these events? Well, if she didn’t before, I think she believes now. Like Captain Barbarossa said: “You best start believin’ in them ghost stories, Miss Turner: you’re IN one!”

Poor Mona, going through all of this… and poor Geoff, with his replacement figurine crafted for him by Trelayne broken by the arrival of a downed and wounded Saugus. I have a feeling that this is going to become a running joke. And technically, the statue wouldn’t even have been of an Abbott this time… :(

But still, Saugus is at Redwall – looks like the message Urthblood teased Alex about has finally arrived - and he’s in some serious distress. Let’s hope the Redwallers don’t focus too much on the fact that the last time he was at the Abbey, he told them not to follow the Gawtrybe who’d kidnapped Latura or they’d be sorry they did. The Long Patrol certainly will, as they confiscate the not-at-all suspicious dispatch that Urthblood sent to Mina. And while we don’t find out what is says in this chapter, their reaction to it makes it clear that it will be rather shocking.

Anyway, the Redwallers are quite lucky that Saugus just happened to be attacked by crows on his way to deliver his message so that they could get ahold of his secret dispatch. Quite a coincidence indeed…

Heh, I love Mina’s insistence that she be given that message AT ONCE! Boy, doesn’t she ever learn? Maybe the fact that she still hasn’t been kicked out of the Abbey gives her the impression that she can do whatever she feels like without consequences… I’m a bit puzzled though by the verbal slap about Alexander, though. Does she feel guilty about prioritizing the message over news of her husband, or did she merely realize that acting the way she did would look bad?

It seems that Saugus has already started to incriminate himself, with those out-of-place feathers and claw marks… but then Clewiston bursts onto the scene and places Vanessa under arrest! :-O

Now, while I’m sure they’re justified in their actions based on what was in the message, something about the actions of the Long Patrol in this chapter just rubs me the wrong way. Okay, the actions of the Long Patrol USUALLY rub me the wrong way, but these ones do it especially well. Basically, the hares kept the message to themselves, discussed the situation with nobeast else and then took it upon themselves to arrest the Abbess. It feels to me like they’re getting too big for their britches. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact that, when they disobeyed Martinessa’s orders not to chase after Latura, they justified it by saying that they were not technically Redwallers and so did not have recognize her authority. Aside from the fact that they’re still guests and long-time residents of Redwall, they’re now taking it upon themselves to police and arrest the leader of the Abbey, which seems a tad hypocritical to me. What was that they said back in TCB, about Urthblood waltzing into Redwall and making them change their long-established rules and traditions…?

Still, Martinessa under arrest? All because of what was in the message? This should be fun…
Samadhir chapter 32 . 3/6/2016
This chapter… this damn chapter… Fuck me, man…

Martinoy and Centrella… fuck…

*takes a deep breath*

WHY, WING, WHY?! WHY IN THE HOLY NAME OF FUCK DID YOU DO THIS?!

I… I thought the Areti/Sartor chapter was the worst one in LoR, but this one blows it out of the water. It’s almost up there with the death of Mayk in terms of my most hated moments of the Urthblood series.

I mean… just like with Mayk, this was such a tremendous, stupid waste of a fascinating pair of characters! Marti and Centrella gave us something new within TUS, something that I had been longing for since I first began reading it: a loving, married searat couple with little children that they cared deeply for. I was aching to find out more about them, and now I never will; I never even got to see the children that will now be killed as well. It’s just so… fucking… STUPID! X(

What makes it even worse is that it taints my memory of the chapter where they were first introduced, which remains my favorite in LoR, now whenever I read it, I will be unable to keep my knowledge of this one out of my mind. Just… for fuck’s sake!

Wing, I… I don’t mind shocking swerves or the death of beloved characters if it’s done right, with an appropriate sense of tragedy (i.e. The Red Wedding). But this just seems… spiteful. Especially the part with Martinoy approving of Tratton’s plan to feed the rats Urthblood has sent him to the cormorants. It feels like it was put in just to let us know “Oh, but Martinoy’s pretty evil too, so you shouldn’t feel too bad about him and his entire family getting wiped out!” I mean… just… fuck!

On top of that, this scene destroys a large part of Tratton’s character for me. I’ve always known he was a cold-hearted, ruthless bastard who was willing to sacrifice loyal allies to achieve his goals, but seeing him doing this to the searat characters I found most interesting in LoR, it just… how can he ever bounce back from that? For all his evil ways, there was still something so fascinating about him, something that you couldn’t help but admire. With this onscreen act, it will be difficult to feel that way about him anymore, at least without an incredibly sour undertone. The fact that Regelline, who did throw her gracious hosts out of their home, doesn’t show that much regret about the whole incident either, that ruins a big part of my respect for her as well.

And yes, I know that when you get down to it, letting hundreds of slave rats be slaughtered by the cormorants is a much bigger evil than the killing of one family and their household, and I know there is a moral disconnect here with me on the issue. But my problem here is more narrative than moral, because it deprives us of characters who represented something new and fresh and could’ve been so interesting. And since Tratton is responsible for that deprivation, I just find myself angrier with him than I would be about the fates of hundreds of faceless background characters, as horrible as that might be.

So… goddammit, Wing… Why? Why the fuck did you have to do this? Combined with the Areti/Sartor affair, it seems like Book IV contains those disappointing, wasteful moments that we had so many of in TSW. So far, LoR has avoided them, which I was immensely grateful for. But now they seem to have returned, and I REALLY hope they’re not the beginning of a trend. Because… I love LoR so much, and I love TUS so much, and I don’t want my love for it spoiled by such terrible writing decisions. Just… please, Wing. Please… :(

(Btw, after all this, you’d BETTER not have a similar fate in mind for Kirkirt! X( )
Samadhir chapter 31 . 2/25/2016
Man… the next two chapters will be very… difficult to review. And this is the easiest one…

I must admit, I do have several problems with this chapter. Mostly in its portrayal of searat cruelty… and Latura’s seeming invulnerability.

Let’s get the first out of the way. I do realize that it’s important to remind us of the horrific conditions on slave ships, and just how little regard the searats have for their captives, and the sadism they display against them. As awful as it is to read about, and as painful a reminder as it is to this little rat of what the searats are capable of, it is believable and powerful. In particular, Laverty throwing that young babe overboard… I think this is the first on-screen killing of a child in TUS if we don’t count the Flitch-aye kids who must’ve been slain in Urthblood’s extermination. It’s a chilling, heartbreaking and utterly horrific scene that places Laverty as one of the most evil characters in the entire series. So as senseless as it is, it’s still realistically something that could happen.

What I do have a problem with, though, is his casual slaying of Scringewart by throwing him overboard while still alive after being blinded. That raises the evil of these rats to levels that are just cartoonish. Because, realistically… even “evil” groups need some kind of basic trust and comradeship in order to function. It’s called something like “in-group” loyalty and morality which contrasts with the “out-group” that has no moral status in their eyes. If the rats in the crew know that they will be so causally thrown aside if they’re ever wounded like that, why would they even follow Laverty?

I mean… even if you look at German Einsatzgruppen during WWII, and similar bands that committed horrifying, sadistic atrocities on helpless innocents, they still for the most part took care of each other, stood by each other and tried to help one another out if trouble arose. If someone got seriously wounded, they would usually try to treat him or send him home; certainly not killing him without a second thought as being of no more use. What Laverty does here just seems so… not even pointless, but outright idiotic for a First Mate to do. I really hope that Laverty is cruel even for First Mates, and that this is not standard practice among Tratton’s crews, because if it is, I can’t imagine how the searat fleet hasn’t brutalized and backstabbed itself into oblivion long ago.

Not to mention… man, seeing this side to the searats just breaks my heart, Wing… :(

But I have just as much problem with Lattie’s invulnerability here, and what it means for her character. First of all, the way it works here just comes across as… well, ridiculous, to be honest. It’s one thing that Krayne happened to die in a one-off event just before taking her head, and that she has escaped out of some tricky situations in the past; that was really well-written and could leave us readers pondering if it was pure luck or the forces of destiny or both, in a subtle way. But having Lattie survive three attempts on her life in a row in such a crazy series of events is just… well, it stretches credibility. Which I know is sort of the point, but here it comes across as too clunky and forced.

But a more important reason is that I think it kills off a lot of dramatic tension around Latura… and hurts her character a bit. One of the (many) reasons I love Lattie so much is that she is this creature with a powerful prophetic gift, who nevertheless feels very small and vulnerable, someone who could be hurt or killed during her travails. It’s a great contrast to Urthblood. But by making her nigh-impossible to kill in this manner, it rather sucks out a lot of this endearing vulnerability to her character and… almost makes me WISH that some unimportant searat would be able to harm her, just to confirm that she’s very much still in danger. And I HATE feeling that way, because I absolutely love Lattie – she might indeed be my favorite character in all of TUS – and it just feels so wrong to feel this desire to see her hurt when it goes against all my other feelings for her. If this was handled in a more subtle way, like stated above, that would work. But as it is now…

Anyway… now it’s time to review a chapter I absolutely DREAD having to review… :(
Samadhir chapter 30 . 2/23/2016
Poor Alex. This is not a fun chapter for him.

Escorted everywhere by Urthblood’s warriors, kept from meeting with the searat ambassador Erzath (and if that happened, it would’ve been a very interesting encounter), reminded that Matowick gets to spend his time with his wife and son while he is far away from his estranged spouse whom he’s never managed to have a child with… and that’s before he gets seated in the dining hall and thoroughly humiliated by everyone.

It boils my blood as much as Alex’ that Urthblood has already spread stories of how Latura was a dangerous sorceress and that he stayed his paw from slaying her out of sheer mercy and compassion… and I think the second part of that is an even bigger load of bullshit than the first. That even nominally independent observers like Ramjohn and Whiskersalt would support his version of events, and tell Alex to his face that Urthblood did Redwall a favor by removing Lattie from their midst while seeing nothing wrong at all with his underpawed actions…

Ugh… Whiskersalt was kinda likeable before, but the things he says here – particularly his heartless comments about the Purge – makes me really hate him, at least for the moment X(

And Alex’ comments about Latura’s connection with Martin and how the founding warrior of Redwall must’ve guided her to the Abbey… if he knew the true nature of that relationship… :(

With Abellon joining the fray to batter the squirrel – with the painful reminder that he is acting on his own and is not speaking for Redwall – Alex finds himself more and more out of his league… particularly as Chobor points out the hypocrisy of declaring Urthblood mad for wanting to “fight” Martin the Warrior while believing that same mouse to have guided Latura and her rats to Redwall (a point that, as much as I hate to say it, was very well put). And…

Btw, I just thought of something. All the way back in the earliest chapters of TCB, back when we first encountered Abellon… back when the mouse captain still seemed like an amiable, good-natured creature, before we found out about the kind of dark things he was capable of going along with… he said that the name of Martin was well-known across the Northlands, and well-respected and admired. Now, if Urthblood is supposed to fight Martin, in whatever form it might take, and the captains are more or less aware of this… wouldn’t they consider it kinda wrong? I mean, it would in a sense be blasphemy, for Urthblood to seek to harm or even destroy a spirit regarded as a sort of saint among the goodbeasts of the lands? Or are the Northlanders so fanatically dedicated to Urthblood that they view him as a living saint himself, greater than any mouse warrior who’s been dead for generations?

Now, while I understand Alex wants to point out all the advantages and allies they could count upon if things ever moved into open conflict between Salamandastron and Redwall, isn’t he revealing just a LITTLE too much to his “hosts”? I mean, I presume they already know of Truax ever since Custis put Redwall under siege, but are they really aware that Saybrook is actively working against them up in the North? And by telling them about wanting to establish contacts and alliances with him and Noonvale and the Southern Glades… well, great: you’ve now revealed just what your plans are (not that they are even plans beyond Alex’ mind at this point) so they will know what to try and prevent now. Stupid squirrel!

And indeed, with Urthblood entering the picture, it turns out that he did reveal important information to the badger… and I dread what his “talk” with Saybrook will mean for the otter. *smacks Alex over the ears*

*sigh* You know… I’m rather sad at how Alex’ entire quest turned out. I had hoped that *finally* someone would be able to give Urthblood a good telling-off and let him know just how much he’s lost by his actions. After all that he’s done, it would’ve been so satisfying to see that happen. But it seems Urthblood has walked away from a difficult situation once again. Alex is indeed not acting as an official envoy of Redwall, and is in fact only at Salamandastron because he chose to go against the orders of his Abbess, who made clear that they were to let Latura go. Noonvale and the northern Otter Holts are far away and unlikely to enter into any alliance with Redwall, and even with the Southern Glades standing with them, they’d be unlikely to directly challenge Urthblood. Indeed, it seems that all this resulted in was ALEX getting told off, and made to understand just how untenable his position is and how little weight his words carry. It’s so fucking frustrating that it almost makes me cry.

I guess there’s nothing more for Alex to do now but to slink back home to Redwall, having failed in both his mission to rescue Latura and his quest to demand some answers of Urthblood. Go back to your Abbey, little bow-twanger, and grow fat and old as you play with all your timid little mouse friends…

Meanwhile, Urthblood will be heading south to… well, Southsward, to persuade that great kingdom to join his cause. And if he succeeds, I don’t think an alliance with the Southern Glades, Foxguard, Noonvale and the otters of the Northlands will be enough to save Redwall…
Samadhir chapter 29 . 2/22/2016
Well, well… an encounter between Harth, Tolar, Mona… and Lady Mina herself! That is quite an interesting combination. Seems the rat general has decided to seek out and talk with Lord Urthblood’s servants directly to air his quite legitimate grievances over the situation the badger and his minions have put him and all the rats of Mossflower in. And the poor foxes are desperate to both defend their master while expressing their distaste for the campaign. An awkward situation indeed.

My suspicions about Mona and Kyslith from last chapter deepen here. “I told you, Kyslith meant nothing…” Is… is she actually saying that she and Kyslith…? I mean, I understand she might have needed comfort in her time of despair, but surely not in THAT way! Or is Tolar just being paranoid? Boy, this is quite an interesting development! That’s yet another detail I love about TUS: the often tricky and difficult subjects it deals with, in this case infidelity and relationship problems.

And then Mina arrives on the scene, actually deigning to sit down next to the creatures she believes are walking violations of Urthblood’s law, who should’ve been sent away to Tratton long ago. And Harth’s thoughts about why she hasn’t been kicked out of Redwall by now perfectly echo my own. Her bandages make me feel a little sorry for her… but that sympathy evaporates when she continues being an unrepentant douchebag about her murder attempt on Latura. And that comment about Urthblood probably having slain her by now has just GOT to have been intentionally provocative. I almost wish that Grota had given her a good punch for that! Still, it is a little sad to see her worried about her absent husband, even if she thinks he’s totally in the wrong about what he’s doing.

When the subject turns to the swordfoxes feelings about the Purge, Tolar comes out with what might have been his most open criticism of Urthblood yet, all but openly stating that if he’s forced to choose between his master and Redwall, he will stand by Redwall. Mina, while certainly disapproving, doesn’t seem as shocked or outraged as I would’ve expected. Maybe even she is realizing that the way Urthblood’s behaved toward the Redwallers, it’s understandable that even his own followers might take their side?

Seems Harth and Grota has gotten some really juicy information about the fractions within Urthblood’s forces…

Meanwhile, up on the walltop, Martinessa senses for the first time that her plan has gone wrong, that Urthblood didn’t slay Latura. Wink’s joy that the ratmaid is alive is mingled with the realization that the badger is now free to continue what is looking more and more like a reign of terror across the lands, and that the failed assassination plot might’ve led him to discover that Martin has returned, and that he plans to retaliate…

Since Martinessa doesn’t think Urthblood would know about her, I guess she never saw what Palter revealed to the badger?

Hmm, and we finally do get part of the reason as to why Martinessa would want to keep her identity secret from most Redwallers: to keep herself hidden from Urthblood himself and forestall any actions against the Abbey. Of course, she’s unaware that Urthblood does in fact know about her existence, and even which creature the founding spirit of Redwall resides in…

If he decides to go for an all-out attack against Redwall, there does indeed seem to be little they could do to stop him. Even if Sodexo sways all of the Southern Glades to their cause, that still wouldn’t be enough. If Foxguard were to join them however… now, that would still only be a few scores of fighters, even as elite as they are, but if Urthblood’s most prestigious brigade were to abandon him, that could be a serious blow to the morale of his troops…

As for the subject of Latura herself… It does frighten me that Martinessa has such a mercenary view of her, regarding her as important only as a beast who could be used to Redwall’s advantage rather than someone they have a moral duty to try and rescue. And her comment about how Wink might overestimate her capacity for altruism and self-sacrifice… that really hurts me, and I half-suspect it might be said in part to get Wink out of her fur… but sadly, I can’t be sure that she’s totally wrong. Latura is a sweet and kind creature… but would she have the strength to be willing to give up her life for her friends, even for the ones who brought her and her family to safety? Not all creatures, even good ones, possess that.

All of Martinessa’s talk of strategic alliances, her declaration that she will use any dirty tricks to defend Redwall against Urthblood, her willingness to sacrifice Latura and viewing her merely as a tool, her manipulation of other beast’s minds to help sway them to her cause… it’s all a terrible reminder that she’s Not So Different from Urthblood himself. If the Redwallers were to follow her in all her plans, would they be fighting one Machiavellian schemer only to promote another? And again… has Martin’s centuries in the spirit world hardened him into something colder and more pragmatic, or was he always like this? These are tough questions, and none of the possible answers seem truly happy :(

Finally, Metellus comes upon them… and he has some very troubling concerns about Mona. He can sense that something happened to her at Foxguard recently, something that weighs on her soul in a way that she doesn’t dare to say. And he wants Vanessa to examine her. Seems we are up for a bit of a double examination!
Well, well… an encounter between Harth, Tolar, Mona… and Lady Mina herself! That is quite an interesting combination. Seems the rat general has decided to seek out and talk with Lord Urthblood’s servants directly to air his quite legitimate grievances over the situation the badger and his minions have put him and all the rats of Mossflower in. And the poor foxes are desperate to both defend their master while expressing their distaste for the campaign. An awkward situation indeed.

My suspicions about Mona and Kyslith from last chapter deepen here. “I told you, Kyslith meant nothing…” Is… is she actually saying that she and Kyslith…? I mean, I understand she might have needed comfort in her time of despair, but surely not in THAT way! Or is Tolar just being paranoid? Boy, this is quite an interesting development! That’s yet another detail I love about TUS: the often tricky and difficult subjects it deals with, in this case infidelity and relationship problems.

And then Mina arrives on the scene, actually deigning to sit down next to the creatures she believes are walking violations of Urthblood’s law, who should’ve been sent away to Tratton long ago. And Harth’s thoughts about why she hasn’t been kicked out of Redwall by now perfectly echo my own. Her bandages make me feel a little sorry for her… but that sympathy evaporates when she continues being an unrepentant douchebag about her murder attempt on Latura. And that comment about Urthblood probably having slain her by now has just GOT to have been intentionally provocative. I almost wish that Grota had given her a good punch for that! Still, it is a little sad to see her worried about her absent husband, even if she thinks he’s totally in the wrong about what he’s doing.

When the subject turns to the swordfoxes feelings about the Purge, Tolar comes out with what might have been his most open criticism of Urthblood yet, all but openly stating that if he’s forced to choose between his master and Redwall, he will stand by Redwall. Mina, while certainly disapproving, doesn’t seem as shocked or outraged as I would’ve expected. Maybe even she is realizing that the way Urthblood’s behaved toward the Redwallers, it’s understandable that even his own followers might take their side?

Seems Harth and Grota has gotten some really juicy information about the fractions within Urthblood’s forces…

Meanwhile, up on the walltop, Martinessa senses for the first time that her plan has gone wrong, that Urthblood didn’t slay Latura. Wink’s joy that the ratmaid is alive is mingled with the realization that the badger is now free to continue what is looking more and more like a reign of terror across the lands, and that the failed assassination plot might’ve led him to discover that Martin has returned, and that he plans to retaliate…

Since Martinessa doesn’t think Urthblood would know about her, I guess she never saw what Palter revealed to the badger?

Hmm, and we finally do get part of the reason as to why Martinessa would want to keep her identity secret from most Redwallers: to keep herself hidden from Urthblood himself and forestall any actions against the Abbey. Of course, she’s unaware that Urthblood does in fact know about her existence, and even which creature the founding spirit of Redwall resides in…

If he decides to go for an all-out attack against Redwall, there does indeed seem to be little they could do to stop him. Even if Sodexo sways all of the Southern Glades to their cause, that still wouldn’t be enough. If Foxguard were to join them however… now, that would still only be a few scores of fighters, even as elite as they are, but if Urthblood’s most prestigious brigade were to abandon him, that could be a serious blow to the morale of his troops…

As for the subject of Latura herself… It does frighten me that Martinessa has such a mercenary view of her, regarding her as important only as a beast who could be used to Redwall’s advantage rather than someone they have a moral duty to try and rescue. And her comment about how Wink might overestimate her capacity for altruism and self-sacrifice… that really hurts me, and I half-suspect it might be said in part to get Wink out of her fur… but sadly, I can’t be sure that she’s totally wrong. Latura is a sweet and kind creature… but would she have the strength to be willing to give up her life for her friends, even for the ones who brought her and her family to safety? Not all creat
TheGreatAthlon5 chapter 37 . 2/22/2016
Urthblood, as Martin says, does not waste any time. Preparations for the Southsward journey have been finalized and are underway. Urthblood has requested the ship and services of Captain Wakefern for quick transport. And it's too bad that Alexander got to the otter first, because he's managed to get the otter to agree to let him sail with Urthblood as Redwall's representative. After some argument, Urthblood lets him do it, knowing that once the ship lands in Southsward, he can probably detain Alex with ease. Still, he definitely has misgivings about it. Also Urthblood has to adjust to not being top beast while aboard, something that we haven't really had the privelege of seeing thus far.

another ship on the open sea, the Redfoam, is also asail, bearing Latura and Polter to some unknown island, or so Latura tells him. We get an interesting look at the power dynamics among the searats and learn that Latura's lifesaver powers have activated several other times. And apparently the food's bad, and there's excrement on the rowing benches because they haven't cut holes into the benches to deal with it. Still, I feel like this scene doesn't really advance the plot much, but it's still nice to check in on Latty. She's as cute as ever, but she's actually becoming more and more serious and better able to explain how her seer powers work. She was unable to tell her father why she could see some things and not others, but now we know that the closer they are, the clearer they are. And of course she accidentally notices an island and promptly forgets about it. I wonder what this island would be ...
Samadhir chapter 28 . 2/19/2016
Seems Kyslith wants to stay at Foxguard while his master returns to Salamandastron. It does make sense, since it will allow him to serve most of Mossflower’s glassmaking needs… although given that he has so far only discussed this with Mona, and he was the one who found Mona crying in despair at the apparent loss of her sister’s soul… I wonder if there is anything going on between them… something inappropriate…

At least he’ll be staying to craft the replacement figurine for Abbot Geoff – eh, FORMER Abbot Geoff (poor Pinky :( )

And hey, our favorite Colonel deigns to seek out Grayfoot and his family, apparently to discuss the endlessly fascinating subject of Urthblood’s currency handouts. Seems the ferret’s tavern will only take Realms in the future – let’s hope any beasts looking for a warm meal or a good night’s sleep aren’t too disappointed… or that the beasts he hands the Realms to won’t just chuck the iron coins away before it comes to that. In fact, it doesn’t seem like Grayfoot is very enthusiastic about the system himself… in particular when he hints that it is indeed a way for Urthblood to bring the economy of Mossflower under his control.

And he isn’t that happy about the Purge either, seeing as how he served alongside many of the rats that are about to shipped off to slavery and death. It’s interesting to find out that Truax was considered the best and most popular of Urthblood’s rat captains; he might have been what Liam could’ve been if he’d survived the Battle of Salamandastron… though it’s meaningless to speculate about that, for if he had it’s unlikely that he would’ve been promoted to captain in the few seasons before he’d been tossed aside and Purged himself.

It’s also fascinating to see that Clewy, of all beasts, would care so much about the fate of Mossflower’s rats. Like Grayfoot, I would’ve assumed that he’d be overjoyed to see them all gone. Maybe there is more to the ol’ Colonel than meets the eye… though I suspect it has just as much to do with wanting to stymie another one of Urthblood’s plans. Still, his comments about the rats having loved ones, little children, wives and oldsters… Are we seeing some honest-to-goodness CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT from Clewy? :-O

And not only that, but he seems to be forming a concrete plan for what to do about the rats of Mossflower who need some place of sanctuary away from Redwall… A most intriguing plot development for LoR’s 100th chapter!
Samadhir chapter 27 . 2/18/2016
*Sigh* Man… These Talaga chapters will be difficult to review. I won’t reveal too much but… *sigh*

So yeah, it seems Tratton has finally arrived on the paradise island to visit his pregnant queen. Which brings him into contact with Martinoy and Centrella, who have been forced out of their home along with their children to make way for Bitch Queen Regelline. Their humiliation continues by having to bow and scrape for Tratton… which includes an oddly long conversation about building a walkway all the way from the harbor to the town. I really don’t see what Martinoy’s problem is. Surely the beachgoers can stand some planks taking up a few yards on the wide expanse of the beach? And their conversation soon leads to the matter of the cormorants…

Goddammit…

And what did Urthblood promise his gulls? The implications of that are disturbing indeed. Especially in light of… dammit, I can’t! Not yet :(

His plan of offering woodlander rats to the bloodthirsty birds might be regarded as his Moral Event Horizon, if not… Arrgh! X(

*sigh* Anyway, things don’t get more cheerful when we see the fate that Urthblood has delivered Palter and Latura into. The description of the horrible sights and smells of the oarslaves’ quarters is truly gutwrenching, and the “Crackmaster”… boy, that’s an over-the-top villain straight out of a BJ novel. It’s good at least that Latura keeps her optimism, though if that’ll save Palter and his fellow rats remains to be seen.

Finally, we get a look at the Captain and First Mate of the Redfoam as they are planning to… capture Ramjohn’s trader vessel? For Clucus experiments with the new stormpowder delivery system? Okay, this seems needlessly complicated. Why can’t Tratton just build a suitable vessel himself for testing, rather than having his captains waste valuable time trying to look for and capture one… especially since the Goodwill has regularly docked at Salamandastron, so they should know that its loss could lead to serious diplomatic trouble with Urthblood? Besides, from a pure narrative standpoint, I’m not sure how interested I am in adding another subplot just to explain how Tratton acquires a testing vessel for his new weapon, even if it puts Ramjohn in danger. I really hope there’s something more important to this than it appears.
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