Reviews for The Crimson Badger, Book III: Journeys
fatescanner chapter 37 . 12/6/2011
I am eagerly looking forward to reading the conclusion to this epic story, as it's sure to be filled with lots of awesome action scenes. :D

You certainly didn't lack for drama during this part, as well. The crisis with Cyrus and the takeover of Salamandastron by the otter forces I found especially riveting. Awesome work on those parts!

Once again, awesome story, man, and I can't wait to read it's conclusion. Until next time!

Quaver Ava chapter 6 . 11/2/2011
Wow, I don't think I've ever read a surgery before, let alone such logical description. The research for this chapter must have been fun and very educational. Hopefully the little buggar will pull though, and everyone will love Mechus! If he doesn't, well I guess he'll be the first Redwalller to die to the hands of this story.
Highwing chapter 1 . 8/1/2011
I'm sorry, Tireces, but I have in fact never read any of "A Song of Ice and Fire." So any similarities you see between that and my own work are sheerly coincidental.

Hope you still find it "awesome," though!
Tireces chapter 3 . 7/31/2011
Oh man, I suspected, but I couldn't be entirely sure until you had Machus swear "what in SEVEN hells are you doing?"

Now I know or sure that you're basing this fanfic on A Song of Ice and Fire. This is going to be awesome.
Samadhir chapter 37 . 5/26/2011
For the final part of Book III, we get a nice little interlude that simply describes Winokur's experience with the sea life off the shore of Salamandastron.

And it's brilliant! You give a truly amazing description of the underwater world that our young otter and his friends encounter on their fishing trip. His impression of the glow jellies and the sunlight shining down from the surface making them sparkle in all the colours of the rainbow is absolutely beautiful. All the various strange and wonderful creatures they come across, and the environs of the marine landscape, is portrayed and detailed in a way that makes the whole scene truly come alive before us. My head is still swimming trying to keep track of the different kinds of clams, oysters, fish and crustaceans they find. This is great work, Wing, truly great work!

Although it does make kinda sense, since they aren't natural swimmers or seafarers and can probably forage and cultivate what they need from the surrounding mountainside, the fact that no previous badgerlord or his hares have tried to harvest all the abundant food from the sea before really seems like a glaring oversight. Even if they aren’t good swimmers, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to fashion some small fishing boats and learn how to use them. Or why not hire or employ some otters to do the job? It seems strange that Salamandastron should be kept exclusively for use by badgers and hares. That’s one thing I really like about Urthblood: whatever faults he may have, the guy is at least progressive and have a vision, and is willing to try things no-one has thought of before. The lands truly are changing under his paws, and the use of otters as a new labour force for fishing is a good change.

You know, I actually felt a little sorry for the lobsters that are tied up and brought to the shore to await being thrown into a boiling pot. Although they’re probably aren’t sentient in the same way as the talking beasts are, and if the boiling water is hot enough they should die instantly when they’re dropped in the pot, it still seems to clash, along with other instances where they eat other animals, with the discussion in chapter 15 about how the abbeydwellers and Urthblood hope for a day when beasts can take their meals that doesn’t require “another living thing giving its life”.

All in all a great chapter. It’s a good way to end Book III and a fitting calm before the storm, before the two badgerlords come to face each other in Book IV. Journeys has been a great… well, journey for me. All the essence of the book’s conflicts comes into view, the plot moves forward in exciting ways, many subplots and intrigues, lots of drama and character development, and quite a bit of action sequences, which TCB doesn’t have that much of. It all sets the stage for the thrilling conclusion in the next part, where the two brother’s enmity come to their violent head, and the question of which badgerlord will decide the fate of the lands will be answered.

See you in Book IV: Fire on the Mountain!
Samadhir chapter 36 . 5/26/2011
I really love this chapter, even though not much plot advancement truly happens. It's the character interactions, the descriptions of their situations and all the little emotional details that makes it so great.

It's great to see Machus, Alex, Mina and co. again after nearly ten chapters. Their standoff with the Long Patrol at the top of the mountain ravine is wonderfully done, and you're really on the edge of your seat as to what will happen. Fortunately, Machus is most diplomatic and well-spoken, and willing to make any concession to keep his troops alive. When he considers the possibility that he will be the first to fall over the edge if it comes to blows, he seems more concerned about his soldiers loosing their leader than him losing his life. That's very touching and courageous: respect, swordfox, respect!

Again, as understandable as their attitude is considering that they've just been turned out of their home and are desperate to get to Urthfist in time, Clewiston's stubborn refusal to make any concessions and general rudeness to Machus still comes across as rather unlikeable. Even though they do indeed need to get to Redwall quicker than the Northlanders need to get to Redwall, I still think it would have been better for everyone if they had moved further backwards to let the vermin pass rather than the other way around. Not to mention that their insistence on getting to Redwall as quickly as possible is all for naught, since Urthfist left several days ago. I actually feel kinda sorry for them making this trip, only to find out that their master is gone and they have to run all the way back to Salamandastron.

And after the hares march past, the Northlanders will have to spend a night up on the cold, windswept peaks of the mountains. You did a great job here describing the desperate situation they were in. I really felt sorry for the poor rats and shrews who risk having their furless little paws frozen off. I think it would have been better if Alex and Mina would have rested beside some of them, so they could cover their paws with their tails. And Machus and Andrus decide to sleep on the edges, despite that they will only get one beast on their side to keep them warm. This is also very touching behaviour from them; despite their troops sometimes grousing about their discipline and haughtiness, at times like these I bet they're very happy to have commanders like that.

Mina's grim prediction that some of the rats or shrews might lose toes or get frost-bitten feet and will have to be left on the mountain to most likely die is rather frightening. That she can make such a cold statement matter-of-factly is another indication of how grim she can be at times, despite her charming and sophisticated personality.

Fortunately it doesn't come to pass, though it would have been interesting to see how they would have handled the situation if some of their troops were unable to walk the following morning. After such an unpleasant night, it must feel great to get off the mountain and make for the warm confines of Salamandastron. But of course, that might only be a brief respite before Urthfist arrives...

Once again, superb chapter, Wing. I think it's one of my favorites from TCB, actually. It goes to show that a story doesn't always need pumping fight sequences or fast-paced action to be involving and fun to read. Another testament to your writing skills, it truly is!
Guest chapter 35 . 5/25/2011
Well, no surprise in the Patrol's refusal to serve Urthblood, of course. I have to say though that Clewiston's comment about his soldiers, including the vermin, genuinely believing him to be a saviour and protector is quite interesting. It appears that he understands now that they serve him because they see it as the right and noble thing to do, rather than because they're evil and want to share in his power. It's good that he's willing to consider that his enemies are as dedicated and loyal to their master as he is to Urthfist.

Melanie's suggestion that they pretend to serve Urthblood while secretly remaining loyal to his brother seems to indicate that they don't know about his power to detect lies, despite that Urthfist seemed aware of it when he talked with Browder. Do they simply not believe that his power extends that far?

Ah, the classic "tie the bedsheets together"-technique, eh? I'm rather surprised that the otters didn't consider the oldest trick in the book. It seems so cliché that it should be obvious. Indeed, it's so cliché that Urthblood understood that they would probably try to escape that way. That badger really is a master of dramatic surprises! And man, he must be really self-confident to face twenty trained soldiers of the Long Patrol alone! Would they REALLY have no chance of slaying him, even if they're unarmed? Couldn't they just throw themselves at him all at once and try to bash his head in with rocks or try to open his throat with their teeth? Then again, considering how badass Urthblood is, it wouldn't surprise me if he really is that good.

And he just lets them go; bet they didn't expect that. It's nice that he still tries to persuade them to convince Urthfist to seek a peaceful solution with Urthfist (though some of his future actions makes me doubt just how sincere he is in this). He really isn't the kind of enemy Clewiston and his hares would have expected, and that's one of his major strengths; he always does the unexpected. Even the prospect of having another twenty hares added to his brother's forces doesn't faze him.

Then again, they might not join up with Urthfist at all, since they decide to head directly to the east over the mountains to meet him at Redwall, which he's already left several days ago for Salamandastron. Maybe they should have followed Gallatin's advice and just stayed on the coastlands waiting for them. Instead, their journey over the mountains will lead them face to face with another group of soldier's it's been too long since we last saw...
Samadhir chapter 34 . 5/24/2011
And so the Crimson Badger returns to his old home. To be honest, when he orders his troops to remain outside so he can inspect the mountain undisturbed, it almost sounds like he wants them to wait out in the cold so he can feel more dramatic as he strides through the mountain halls by himself. But he's Lord Urthblood, and I guess he can do whatever the f**k he wants!

I really like the description of how he feels so familiar with his old fortress, particularly the "Lord Urthblood had come home." It adds a more human(!) touch to someone who's otherwise so distant and cold, and actually makes you pity him a little for being so removed from mortal concerns and sentiments.

I'm a little puzzled by some of the Long Patrol's impressions of the soldiers walking by the room they're held captive in. "Walking nightmares"? "Demon mice"? Are they joking, have they never seen rats or battle-capable mice before, or are Urthblood' soldiers really that frightening?

But the meat of the chapter is of course the dinner held between Urthblood and Clewiston. There's a lot to say about it, so I'll just go over it in the rough order it appears.

First we have that problem I mentioned back when Urthfist appeared at Redwall, how the Long Patrol hares are so willing to accept their masters interpretation of the prophecy without having seen it or heard it recited for themselves. I understand that they would trust him and accept his word since he's the one they're sworn to serve, and he's presumably more trustworthy and collected when he's not out chasing after his brother and his vermin. But to follow him in his unreasoning hatred to such a degree without being absolutely sure that's what the prophecy predicts, it really doesn't seem wise.

Urthblood's brushing off Clewiston's comments about his massacre of the shrew tribe as if it were some minor accident doesn't exactly convince me or him if he's really regretted the incident.

He also shows quite the audacity by using the "have I done this?"-tactic with his commanders, and when they agree that he hasn't, considers the whole thing settled. I actually wished Clewiston had followed up on that before being interrupted by Saybrook and Bremo's tirade against him.

It's rather strange how Urthblood makes a direct reference to "the devil", and Clewiston making a snide reference to his red armour because of it. I know that they have some legends about a "ruler of Hellgates" called Vulpuz, though wether he could adequately be called the devil, and whether he's red or not, is doubtful.

Although it is rather rude of him, seeing as Urthblood isn't THAT unreasonable, it's still rather cool of Clewiston to throw the jug of wine into the badger's face. I mean, Urthblood has just requested that they betray their beloved master and swear allegience to him after having conquered their home; how did he think he was going to react? I'm rather surprised that none of the other ones present seem to get very upset about the incident.

Urthblood's little speech about how destiny weighs upon him and how nobeast else has the right to judge him for his methods was quite powerful and well-done. It's another of those things that make us wonder about him, and makes him such a compelling and interesting character.

Well, their little meeting didn't go so well. It seems that Urthblood really has to kill them in order to treat them decently...
Samadhir chapter 33 . 5/24/2011
I loved the second confrontation between Fitkin and Urthfist. Although the story mentions him putting on a false bravado and being rather nervous, I've always imagined him as being more sarcastic and "in-your-face" when he shouts out towards the badger and his hares from across the stream. Actually, it would probably had been funnier if Urthfist hadn't been able to get across and had to run of to find some other path to his mountain; then the shrew's insults would have been stinging him for days!

Still, Fitkin's fortunate that he managed to get away alive from their meeting. With his earlier rudeness and unhelpfulness in mind, and knowing that he helped his brother get to Salamandastron faster, it's almost surprising that the badger didn't snap his neck right then and there.

At least the Long Patrol hares waking up from their brush with the Flitchaye gas seem more sensible and diplomatic than their master would've been. Urthfist, and some of the hares following him to Redwall, would immediately have declared that none of the soldiers left at the abbey should be allowed to live. Gallatin at least seems to regard that situation as a problem and actually seems to hope for a peaceful resolution to it. It's Clewiston who gets cold and angry at Winokur's suggestion that Urthblood may not be as horrible as they've been led to believe.

It should be interesting to see their reaction when their mortal enemy actually enters Salamandastron for the first time in 20 seasons next chapter.
Samadhir chapter 32 . 5/23/2011
I feel for you, Broggen. I know how frustrating it is to be woken up from a really good dream...

The actual concquest of Salamandastron is... well, it's not much of a "conquest", is it? The otters manage to put all the hares to sleep without so much as a having a hair on their fur touched, and Gallatin is the only hare who actually sees the them before being knocked out by the gas.

Again, Urthblood's memory of all the tunnels and passages and where everyone is sleeping is really extraordinary if he can plan out such a detailed invasion. Good for him that it they haven't sealed off any corridors or built new ones in the years he's been gone. And the Flitchay gas is truly marvelous if it can fill out the mountain so quickly.

Nice scene where the otters give a friendly wave at Gallatin when they're discovered. They don't even bother attacking or chasing him, or even giving him anymore attention after their first glance at each other; they know he's no threat to them. I have to wonder about those masks they're wearing though. Considering that a few breaths of the gas is enough to knock you out, how advanced are they really? They can't just be handkerchiefs tied over their noses, that shouldn't be enough to keep out the vapors.

And poor Melanie, knowing that her daughters might lie slain at the entrance they were supposed to guard. Good thing that Urthblood decided to simply put the hares to sleep rather than run in with drawn blades.

In the end, all the Long Patrol is put down without having harmed a single enemy, or even having a clue about what's going on. That cannot be a good mark on their record, poor chaps. At least they will have the privilege of remaining alive until the next day, which is more than can be said for most of Urthblood's enemies. It will be very interesting to see their reaction when they wake up to find him and his horde as the new masters of Salamandastron...
Samadhir chapter 31 . 5/23/2011
Great description of the glow jellies and their light show. I'd heap more praise upon it, but I know that there's gonna be a more impressive depiction of the sea life in just a few chapters, so I'll wait until then.

I must question Olimpo's scoffing of the jellies just to see what they taste like. What if they'd been poisonous? What if they'd been SENTIENT? Saybrook makes a wise decision in allowing the otter to do five strokes per dive; three strokes probably wouldn't have seen them to Salamandastron until morning.

Lovely to see the care and attention between Mizagelle and Givadon; it's been too long since we saw the hare sisters.

And poor Warnokur, swimming all the way to the mountain with a heavy canister on his back, only to be told to babysit Winokur rather than taking part in this vital mission. Of 50 otters, is he really the only one so inexperienced that he cannot be allowed to follow on their conquest? And he made good sense in his reasons for why he should be allowed to do so.

Yes, their invasion really does work like clockwork (has that technology reached Mossflower yet?)... almost too well. I wonder if Urthblood foresaw this gloomy weather coming upon them this night for it to have worked as good as it did. If the hares had stood sentry out on the slopes rather than having to seek shelter inside with the impenetrable darkness masking the otter's arrival, it would have been far more difficult to capture Salamandastron.

Good work with making the otters covert operation exciting. The hares go down quickly and quietly. Now they need to subdue the ones in the interior of the mountain...
Samadhir chapter 30 . 5/22/2011
I love the buildup to the, hopefully bloodless, conquest of Salamandastron. These pre-battle preparations, if handled as well as you do, can make the reader feverishly excited for what's to come.

Urthblood must have an excellent memory to recall all the various passages and entrances to the mountain. But considering all his other abilities, that's hardly surprising. And it is considerate of him to go to such great lengths to capture his old home while trying not to slay any of the hares... though knowing him, it's probably not entirely for altruistic reasons. I'm rather surprised at Saybrook's bloodthirsty suggestion that Klystra and Halpryn should have tried to slay Clewiston while they had the chance. I'd understand that he'd want to try such tactics going against a vermin horde or the searats, but hares are supposed to fellow "goodbeasts", after all. Either he hasn't known many hares in his life, or the badgerlords campaigns in the Northlands have a tendency to harden you to such underhanded methods.

And the Flitchaye gas is gonna come into play again; that stuff must really come in handy. "I heard no complains." Yeah, I bet you didn't; they wouldn't dare! Considering that the otters find their packs heavy enough standing on the beach, I am a bit concerend whether they would be able to swim well with them. And they must be able to swim really quickly, considering that they have to get to Salamandastron by nightfall, while doing the whole "three strokes, then up for air"-routine.

But who cares! It will be a night-time covert operation; that's sure to be exciting. I don't think Winokur could have imagined taking part in such thrilling operations when he asked to go with his father to play peacemaker. And swimming in the deep ocean at night? Man, I would never dare to do something like that! I understand his fear perfectly. But in the end, he steels himself for the task, and follows his fellow otters in. Respect, my sea-otter wannabe, respect!

Lastly, I just realized that since Winokur understands that Urthblood has been planning for an otter assault on his home with all those gas containers and waterproof packs since before he came to Mossflower, that would be another sign that he's lying about just having discovered Urthfist's enmity. I'm surprised this doesn't occur to him yet.

Anyway, it's gonna be awesome reviewing the assault on Salamandastron!
Samadhir chapter 29 . 5/21/2011
And so we finally come back to Winokur and his travels with Urthblood's army. Now we'll finally get to see their take-over of Salamandastron.

I can only imagine how vast and frightening the ocean must seem to someone who's never been by the sea before. Great job on the description of the deep blue at the beginning. Saybrook trying to convince the Winokur and his father to go for a swim in the ocean is so reminding of all the times our parents or friends have tried to talk us into going places or do things that we find frightening. Fortunately for the two landlubbing otters, we usually found out that it really was as exhilarating as we were told, and that we forgot about our fears soon after we plunged in.

It's good that the army is split into larger and smaller beasts so that the larger ones can help their comrades over streams like this. The poor rats seems stuck in the middle; not large enough to cross on their own, but not small enough to be easily carried over. That mouse who would rather not be carried by a weasel makes me wonder: is it just lingering prejudice, or are the vermin really less careful with their hygiene, even after serving for so many seasons in the badger's army?

Nice that we get a little scene with Jans and Broggen. It's been too long since we saw the loveable mouse/stoat duo.

Really devious plan by Urthblood to send his birds scouting out the mountain. However, were they supposed to sweep down and start munching on poor Gallatin's gardens? If not, it seems extraordinarily poor discipline for two birds who are one his most trusted subordinates. If it was, that might have put them in danger of being killed by the Long Patrol hares, and it seems unlikely that he could have predicted that they would hire them as spies. But then, he has the power of prophecy, so what do I know?

Anyway, things are gearing up for a really exciting confrontation. Can't wait to review the next chapter.
Samadhir chapter 28 . 5/20/2011
Inadvertently, the visiting shrews shatter any chance of peace between the two badgerlords. All it takes is for Urthfist to hear that his brother may be behind schedule on his journey to Salamandastron, and he orders his hares to pack up and get ready to march, his interest in Redwall completely forgotten, and Vanessa's pleas for an attempt at peaceful negotiations falling on deaf ears.

Even when she offers to bring them food to take with them on the journey he just growls at them to hurry up. At least his hare commanders have the courtesy to show gratitude.

If Urthfist's arrival at Redwall was described in great detail, his departure is abrupt and sudden. Walking out the gates and storming off with his army without any farewells, salutes, glances or even thanks for all the delicious food they've been supplied with, he's gone in a heartbeat. Good riddance, I say! Even the Redwallers are relieved to have him gone from the abbey. I guess Urthblood's vermin doesn't seem so unpleasant now, eh?

I know this conflict is meant to be ambiguous, Urthfist has basically good motivations and Urthblood can be a real bastard himself. But this kind of behaviour is why I really hate Urthfist at times. He just comes across as rude, bullying, arrogant, pig-headed, inconsiderate and like a real jerk.

Smallert has every reason to be glad that he's gone from the abbey. Now begins the search for a new occupation at Redwall. You know, when he starts reminiscing about how he used to wrestle spears out of enemies hands and kill them with suprised looks on their faces, Cyril comes across as rather bloodthirsty when he says that he "enjoyed it". I know that wasn't the intention, but his timing and choice of words could have been better.

Next chapter, we finally get to see Urthblood approach his old mountain, and prepare for his ingeniously planned invasion...
Samadhir chapter 27 . 5/20/2011
After the anger and tension that plagued much of the previous chapter, it's nice to get a friendlier, warmer scene between Vanessa and Arlyn. I really like them; they're the perfect example of reasonable, compassionate and wise authority figures, not perfect by any means but the kind of people you would be glad to have as your leaders. I love their interactions and the gentle support that Arlyn gives to his protegé when she feels confused and inadequate as an abbess. She's truly fortunate to have him as a mentor.

Of course, it's also nice to see them finally vent their frustration at the pig-headedness of their badger guest :)

It can't have been fun to hear that Alex disobeyed her direct orders and stormed of with his lady love to fight in the badgerlords war, but like Arlyn said, it's really out of their hands now.

And just as they were about to finally send a sparrow messenger to Salamandastron to hopefully work out some peaceful resolution, along comes two shrews to give Urthfist other ideas...

(Btw, I find it a little difficult to believe that Urthfist would never have heard of the Guosim. They're almost as famous as Redwall itself.)
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