Reviews for Latura of Redwall, Book I: A Pageant, Festive and Myriad
Quaver Ava chapter 30 . 7/11/2014
Well here we are with the end of the chapter, the end of the first book of Latura... I was seriously disappointed that we didn't get any more Latura than we did. She's so cute and adorkable, I love her so much. One of my new favorite characters, that's for sure! (Seeing how you've turned a few into deadbeasts and one particular Abbess into a loony.) Speaking of Abbess and lattie, I wanna see those two meet up. Just how will they interact with one another? Will they have some serious story progressing conversation about prophecies and stuff, or will they completely confuse one another? :D

I'm unsure of how much Mona's character has changed sense the previous books, but her current character is enjoyable. She's the righteous, self do good, preacher sort of gal. Someone you might even find in a church with wanting to do the good thing, spread good reputation, and all that jazz. She seriously believes shes on the good guy's side, and currently you could say she kind of is! But like Lattie said, the red tower ain't bad, not yet. Also Mona's getting action while everyone else ain't, get her preggers and get some other vixens over there gentlebeasts! Nothing more motivating for a young guy than the prospect of a pretty lady to fight for... (Thinks of Mulan.)

I'm taking it by the title of the next book we've got the meeting I'm looking forward to. And Wink did get out there, though delayed as he was, and he'll be refereed to as Greenpup sometime soon, hopefully. I look forward to seeing how Freetown is set up, and how everything else ties together.

Something that I realized by a comment earlier in this book was that all the rats would be out of Mossflower, very, very soon. So perhaps that skip forward from the other book will come sooner than expected. If that's the case, I'll look forward to see just how quick Urthblood falls even more.

Sorry for the scattered brained and short review, but I'm eager to move on and see more Lattie!

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 14 . 7/9/2014
I'm glad I'm home alone at the moment, I was laughing hysterically. I mean, legit hysterical laughter to the point I had to pause and wondered how crazy I sounded. Even now I'm still chuckling. Oh they're so precious, stop making a girl out of me, I'mma die before the end of this 'ere play... Hehehehe, the little mole as a kitty! Oh my gosh! X3

Quaver Ava chapter 12 . 7/9/2014

Sorry if I ain't leaving any good reviews as of late, but I am enjoying the tale. Reviews will commence, just, not tonight's sit down. XD
Quaver Ava chapter 8 . 7/9/2014
Quick comment, but SATHERA IS A GHOST?! Yeah! Ghosts! This is wonderful, I wanna see Sathara again! :D
Quaver Ava chapter 6 . 7/4/2014
What? Hey now there, I was excited to see more world building. This is one of the things I love about your tales so much, you're adding so much to the Redwall world already, I was excited for a new town! Perhaps it would have made a security risk, whatever, but people like to have babies mind you, and babies they will have. The population will steadily increase. Until that is a big war comes along and wipes most of the younger generation out... Which I'm afraid is what all of this is building up to. For two sides, both with good people on either end, fighting each other for the countryside and ideology of a country in the early mists of being formed.

Whatever the case there will be the need for more building and construction. You've made it clear that your Mossflower is far larger than most other Mossflowers in this fandom. It holds an already impressive space of its own, excluding the Northlands and Southlands. If there is to be a grand tragedy, then we need it to be truly grand. Civil war tragedy perhaps? let's see some population growth and a war come about!

That is, if this great tragedy is a war, or something else intirely, like the burning of all of Moss. it could be anything! o.o

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 5 . 7/4/2014
Another chapter down. and I am sober now. Woo hoo. :)

Now we've got our rat friends captures by some goons, and by a new warlord it seems... This is looking to be rather interesting. When they first said Lord I thought Urthblood, but now it's actually a Krayne. Interesting, perhaps this book's antagonist? But it's so clear that Urthblood is the true villain of the tale here! Oh well, we've had plenty a good Redwall tales with antagonists killing each other left and right, why, that's half of where the bloody goodness is born. I only hope Lattie and her group make it out of their confinements alive and free. Perhaps they'll get to Redwall, hopefully? But really, I doubt that. Everyone, possibly including cute Lattier herself, is gonna die in that group. I can see it. This is one of those tales where even your most favorite characters can just fall over dead... Or worse, become a living reminder like Venessa has become.

Though her character now as creepy and silly as it is, is definitively humorous enough. I'm rooting for a come back with her for a bit, just a little while where she gains her senses again. But I know brain injuries don't work like that, especially those that deal with personality. *Sighs* She's to stay this way until she dies, unless some major miracles happen or well, she get shit just right in the head again. Whatever the case, I'll be still rooting for her anyways. :3

Now I know why a certain lady was so obsessed and excited about babies back then when she reviewed those chapters past. Haha, I wanna see some baby hare shenanigans! Onwards to more baby fun! :D

And give us some baby foxes or martens, cause they're cuuuuuuttteee!

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 4 . 7/3/2014
Hundred and ninety nine... I sure hope that was an exaduration, because that's enough for a small batallion of soldiers! Urthblood better not piss these little folk off... Though i know he will at some point and there will be glorious slaughtering. Wait wut? o.o

One very important thin in this chapter. Ain't gonna say much after this cause I'm still slightly intoxicated from a diet coke plus vodka mix. Mmm... But yes, the abbot needs to learn to stop putting ideas into beasts' minds. Lekkas was rather reserved to the idea of a little like mayor but after that conversation... I'm betting there will be a title like that soon, and under Urthblood's government none the less. Also we've got him convincing Metty he might be some great healer someday... No he needs to be more than a healer for beasts, he needs to be the healers for the lands, kicking Urthblood's ass out of his stupid ass throne. Guy murdered his own brother for power, SHAME ON HIM! (I feel like Killy. XD) But yeah, the abbot seems to be encouraging folks to take on pretty ambitious roles, even if he himself is slightly hesitant against such things. He's a kind old gentlebeast looking to help those younger than him become something they'll be remembered by.

Good chapter, now I wonder if I should have more alcohol...

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 3 . 7/3/2014
Hey hey, I'm dancing along, hey hey, swinging to and for. Wee dalalaladaaaahh!

Alright I ain't gonna say much in this review. You know that your writing is good, and to be honest there really weren't any big lines that popped out to me in this here chapter. What I did like was how Latura is freaking adorable! Oh, she's so cute and sweet. I hope she stays that way. Yes, she'll be creepy for sure because of her seerness sometimes, but she's adorkable and I wanna cuddle her. But then again, Palter might feel jealous and hurt. Poor lad, he's gotta grow a pair and take Latura with confidence! As well as patients, cause going for anyone with a disability can be very hard. Being the brother to a sister who's got a disability, though not as severe as Latura, I want someone who'll be able to take care of her and understand her. Palter, you beeter grow some balls if you're going for that seer! Or so help me... -_-

Anyways, where Lattie is cute, I love how Mona is our resident preacher here. She's got the looks and composure of one as well. Sadly she's on the bad end of the stick and don't know it. She may never know it with her devotion as well. Often times when it comes to those with faith in someone they can be blind to what they're really helping in doing. Sadly this happens with religious folk all the time, and they're convinced to do horrible things in the name of God. In this case it'll be in the name of the better good, and Urthblood. All hail Urthblood!

And were those hints that Mona is engaging inactivities with her Sword? Oooohhh, I want foxy babies, please, please. Make Mona a mom, that's be so swweeet!

By the way, stories tend to turn me into a preteen girl, forgive me in my excitement at times. :3

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 2 . 7/1/2014
I gotta thank you for your wonderful reiteration of a lot of stuff. I mean, it's been a long time and even before that you've got so many characters and twisting plots in this story that one tends to actually forget. I'm a fan of this here tale, but I'll admit that I ain't nearly as much of a fan to go back and read the whole thing so I can figure some out. No, instead you supply much of the information already, sparking memory back into order and allowing us to dive right back into the tale with full on giddiness. Winokur was right, historians need to repeat themselves often. Mmm, reminds me of the bible and other ancient works with their ever constant repetition. x.x

In the other half of the chapter we've got a lovely play here. All those kids and their sassiness I gotta love it! Haha. Oh and to top it off as well you've got Browder, the hare who got laid after his assassin fell in love with him. Still eager for the details for that by the way, what happened and how! I wanna know, gimme that scene. Not particularly the juicy stuff, but more like how she turned from wanting to kill 'em to falling for him. But in any regards, Browder apparently ain't the best with kids or they simply do not like him all that much.

Quaver Ava
Quaver Ava chapter 1 . 7/1/2014
*Groans* I've missed quite a bit, oh well. I'm back for a while now. And in my stay I'll read up on this again. I ain't got much to say but to express how happy I am to finally be getting to this story. I'll be expecting a tale that'll sweep me away again. Wonder if Sporky and Killy will be here again. :P

Quaver Ava
Samadhir chapter 30 . 6/6/2014
Wee! We are back with Mona at Foxguard! And this time there’s another exchange being made with Flom, to provide the mouse with food in return for subjects for her medical examinations, a live specimen this time. Only the mouse has misunderstood Mona’s request and returned with a rabbit instead of a hare :P

The rabbit is called Tibball, a meek little creature suspecting that he’s been brought here for Mona and her kin to eat him. But that’s alright, if it will mean that his family will eat well too. That’s… very brave and generous of him, but incredibly disturbing. Flom for his part is noticeably more direct and unafraid of the vixen than the last time they spoke, even a bit brusque. Though I have to say that Mona’s comment about nearby communities and families following the same good sense as Foxguard when it comes to winter larders comes across as rather arrogant; poor settlements in Mossflower don’t have the same opportunities as a powerful military garrison with such good connections.

Still, despite Flom’s failure to deliver what he promised, Mona allows him to take the bag of food with him, on the condition that she won’t be so kind next time if he doesn’t uphold his end of the bargain. The mouse skirts off without saying goodbye to Tiball, the poor rabbit left alone in the care of the foxes. But at least he’ll be treated well; Mona may have some creepy predilections towards medical matters but only with the dead. Any medical examinations on the living she’ll perform with kindness and respect. This she enumerates to little Tiball in detail, and he seems put at ease by her declaration.

Mona also reveals that she wanted to study hares precisely so she’d be able to treat the members of the Long Patrol if something “unfortunate” were to happen to them. Is this simply a precaution if something like that ever were to happen, or is there some more sinister intent to it…? And Tiball, for his part, is as ignorant of the wider world as his sorta-friend Flom, believing Redwall might as well be on the other side of the world if it’s on the other side of the Moss. Tiball really does seem to behave like a stereotypical rabbit, as afraid as he is of all the possible dangers in the world. And yet he willingly handed himself over to foxes he suspected might eat him…

They arrive at Foxguard proper at last, venturing underneath the tunnel leading into its courtyard. After a bit of discussion about the lack of gates into the fortress, we find out that Tiball is actually rather un-rabbitlike in the fact that he’s never married and have no children. When I first read this, I thought it was foreshadowing of him being gay, but I believe now he’s simply never had any interest in a relationship or breeding. What he DOES have an interest in, is adding a bit of excitement to his life, away from the usual boring existence of a woodlander rabbit. And the foxes can hopefully provide that, as can Mona who seems to develop a bond of friendship with the lapine already.

It’s quite interesting, actually. I think this is the first rabbit character we’ve seen in TUS, and given my opinion on most of the other lapines in the series, Tiball’s mild, timid and gentle personality will hopefully be a welcome change. And the fact that he wants to experience more of the world underneath his timid surface after all speaks well of his potential.

Then it’s back to Redwall where, as Monty points out, we continue with the habit of farewell parties, this time hopefully the final one for a while. The Gawtrybe are about to head out along with a large contingent of Redwall moles and otters, with Montybank, Winokur and Foremole at the front, to get started on mining the sandstone for Freetown. After some discussions of logistics for the upcoming trip and assuaging the fears of the moles about travelling over the water, along with Wink assuring his Abbott that Cyrus can manage the classes without him, farewells are spoken between the two sides. Trelayne and Geoff in particular have a warm moment as the marten promises to make a new sculpture for the Abbott on his return, and Custis invites him to Foxguard to improve relations between the two sandstone bastions further.

After that, it’s time to leave. And the Gawtrybe are first out, jumping up into the trees and disappearing from sight, eager to make use of their squirrel affinity for climbing. Custis gives a polite invitation to Mina to come visit Gawdrey when it’s finished, which she graciously accepts… and of course, Clewiston has to barge in like a blustering idiot to sour everyone’s mood by directly accusing them of hiding secrets from the Abbey. Okay, so he IS correct this time, as it so happens, but seriously: fuck that hare.

Geoff fortunately smooth things over by once again telling Custis that he and his squirrels are always welcome at his abbey, which the Gawtrybe lieutenant returns with a heartfelt thanks for his hospitality. Then, telling the Redwallers in charge of the expedition to set the pace, he joins his kin in the treetops… where the hidden Gawtrybe break out in a strange, ethereal song that echoes from their unseen hiding spots in the foliage. Huh, who would’ve thought these grim warriors could be so musical? Strange that we haven’t heard about this before… but then, you always were good at revealing hidden depths to your world, Wing.

And with that, the Redwallers that are part of the quarrying expedition head out as well, to spend the better part of a season mining stone for the building of the new community that has sprung up in the aftermath of the great changes wrought upon the lands by Urthblood’s paw. And, coincidentally, Book I of Latura of Redwall ends.

My, is the first Book over already? Geez, thirty-odd chapters seem to have gone by so quickly…

Well, what can be said about this first part of the long-awaited continuation of the Urthblood Saga? I guess you have to look at it less like a regular opening of a novel in the series and more like what it truly is: the beginnings of a story that your devoted fans have waited nearly ten years for. So far, I have to say, it has certainly been worth that wait!

A Pageant, Festive and Myriad has introduced so many new and cool concepts to the world of TUS, so many great characters, and provided so much greater depth to it. We’ve met Latura and gotten a glimpse of the great impact the silly little ratmaid might bring upon the story, and we’ve seen that the greatest reason for the Purge is simply to get rid of her. We’ve seen the lands subtly change in the aftermath of the Accord, new alliances forged, the world breathing a sigh of relief even as a great and terrible event is unexpectedly about to be sprung upon it. We’ve seen a glimpse of a more sympathetic side to the searats (Wee, I’ve waited for it for so long!) and a reminder of the terrible evils they are still capable off (aww… :( ) and we’ve gotten to see more of how brilliant Urthblood can be… and how cold and ruthless. And best of all, we’ve gotten to meet all our beloved friends from the previous novels again (well, mostly beloved *glances at Clewiston*)!

One criticism I have is that in the later chapters the story noticeably slows down with endless comings and goings at Redwall and background descriptions and whatnot. I know we’re building things up for the more epic stuff to come, but I still can’t help but feeling just a tad bored with some of it. I want Custis and Chook & CO to get on the road so they can put their evil plans in motion so we can get to the good part of the story! But then, I guess we need a somewhat slower pace to contrast with what will hopefully arrive soon. And let me tell you, I can’t wait to see where this story is going.

Above everything else, it’s so amazingly wonderful to finally read the continuation of this magnificent saga. Whatever minor gripes I have with it, it’s still one of my favourite stories of all time, and I can’t describe how glad I am to get to return to it. For that, you have my profoundest and deepest thanks, Wing *hugs*

With all the set-up we’ve been given in Book I so far, let’s hope it pays off in the next one. See you in Book 2: A Meeting, Unexpected and Ordained!
Samadhir chapter 29 . 6/2/2014
So, we have another scene featuring the Redwallers gathered to receive a group returned from a routine errand, in this case the otters returning from their fishing trip to the Moss. Bringing news of their companions, it seems that the Guosim and Gawtrybe are producing their rafts and logboats at an astonishing rate. One the morrow, Custis and his squirrels will be gone, to Clewy’s disappointment :P And Wink will go with them, if Arlyn and Metellus declare his paw healed enough for the journey.

Speaking of Arlyn and Wink, Cyril goes up to the Infirmary to meet with them and Geoff and Maura and Smallert. The subject, of course, is Vanessa and what on earth they’re going to do with her. The Badger Mother having locked her in a dorm room for the night, the participants in the discussion look around for some kind of solution or way of dealing with the uncontrollable former Abbess, without much success. For all their efforts, Vanessa seems no closer to recovery than ever and is in fact apparently getting worse. The only thing they can do is to keep doing what they’ve been doing already, and keep an even closer watch on Vanessa. And of course, there’s one poor mouse that close watching will mostly fall on…

Poor Cyril indeed – now his superiors want him to spend more time around Vanessa than ever, being her constant supervisor. And not only that, but he’s bluntly reminded of the fact that, try as he might, he just hasn’t gotten very far in his warrior’s aspirations and might not do so for a long time. That brings me back to an issue with Cyril I’ve been thinking about for quite some time: what has he truly DONE in the series so far? When we first saw him at the start of TCB, I think we were all assuming he’d go down the traditional hero’s journey, everyone looking down on his aspirations to be a warrior but him soon proving his worth and be hailed as a hero. But after two novels, and a good part into the third one, he’s never done any proper fighting. The greatest adventure he’s been on was when he left to live in Mossflower for a couple of months with Broggen. Will he ever don the mantle of a hero that he’s been striving for so long for, or is he destined to remain a lowly bellringer the rest of his days after all? The second option is sad, but contrary to what we thought in TCB, not impossible…

So the main part of the task of keeping Vanessa under control does indeed fall to Cyril, with Smallert by his side. But, dutiful as they are, it doesn’t seem very likely they’ll be able to do much. All they can do now is contain Vanessa and prevent her from being too much of a threat to the rest of the Abbey. And how long can they keep doing that, if she never improves? Perhaps the best solution would simply be to… have her put down. *gets slapped by Geoff for the suggestion*

In any event, even containment might pose a bit of a problem, since Vanessa suddenly appears by the gathered Redwallers’ side, somehow having slipped out of her locked room. Apparently, she managed to pick the lock by herself… and Gonff showed her how. Geoff gets the closest he’s so far come to figuring out what is truly going on when he gives an off-hand comment about her communicating with his spirit. Before they can question her more closely, or lock her up in a more secure room, the ex-Abbess runs away, forcing Maura to keep chasing after her in what seems to be a semi-permanent comedy routine at Redwall these days, while Cyril and Smallert gets a sour reminder of what they’ll have to put up with in the near future.

A good chapter, and the discussion in the second half is interesting, but it feels like the plot is slowing down a bit. Let’s see if it picks up again…
Samadhir chapter 28 . 5/31/2014
When I first realized that this chapter would be all about Trelayne’s glassblowing demonstration, I rolled my eyes; things had been pretty slow in the preceding one, and I really didn’t think it was worth devoting an entire chapter simply to the marten showing off his craft. But boy, did you prove me wrong, Wing!

With most of the Abbey gathered for the show, it’s time for the legendary glassmaker to show what he can do. Gathering up a lump of molten glass once it’s cooled enough, to the exaltation of little Chevelle in his mother’s knee, his first piece is an ornate vase, expertly formed and crafted. It’s clear from these demonstrations that you’ve done your research into glassmaking, Wing.

For his second demonstration, urged on by Pirkko and Clewiston’s young son Lysander, to the Colonel’s consternation, Trelayne forgoes artistry for sheer volume, blowing up a giant glass bubble like the ones used for Urthblood’s seagull bombardments. Then the chapter takes a surprising amount of time explaining why he can’t just put it down without risking it breaking and how Monty will have to store it in a spare oven in the kitchens – couldn’t this have been handled in just a few lines? It takes almost a full page as it is!

But whatever, it’s time for the final demonstration. The marten asks his audience for suggestions and… damn, is Pirkko a rude little jerk! Insulting the glassmaker who has provided them with such a nice display and then mouthing off to Geoff when he tries to correct him? Really, when did you decide to make him into such a spoiled, insolent brat, Wing? I did rather like Pirkko in TCB and TSW where he seemed perfectly pleasant, so I have no idea why he’s turned into such a little bitchbag in this novel.

(*sigh* I’m sure I made the exact same rant in a previous review, but I’m too lazy to go back and check up on it right now)

In any event, Trelayne comes up with a splendid idea of his own: a glass sculpture of a beast living at Redwall. After various further suggestions as to whom that beast so honoured should be, he seems to settle at the most obvious one at Geoff’s request: Martin the Warrior. In a stunning display, the marten breathes life into a perfect miniature replica of a mouse. But not Martin; instead he has chosen to honor the Abbott who gave him the request in the first place.

I can only imagine what an honor it must be to receive such a beautiful thing. Trelayne’s gift to Geoff and the Abbey truly is a masterpiece, and a sculpture destined to become a cherished relic of Redwall for many generations to come.

Or at least it would’ve been, if Vanessa hadn’t angrily swatted at it, shattering the priceless sculpture in front of hundreds of shocked onlookers. Why? Because it doesn’t depict her…

Along with her frightful display during the pageant, this scene more than anything shows the truly bad side to Vanessa’s mental illness. While not as destructive or dangerous as her impromptu sword fighting display, this is far more spiteful, uncaring and cold-hearted than we have ever seen her. It is enough to make you cry, as much as the poor children witnessing what their former Abbess and new playmate has done.

And it enrages Maura more than anyone else, to the point that she’s abandoning all tolerance and forgiveness to do something we’ve never seen her do in the story so far: physically punishing someone. Dragging away Vanessa to give her a lesson she hopefully won’t forget, she’s stopped by Geoff who, in a moment that shows how magnanimous he can be, orders her not to do such a thing to his childhood friend in spite of seeing her ruin his cherished gift in such a pointless fashion. Instead, the badgermom is forced to content herself with locking the former Abbess in the Infirmary.

Geoff walks over to apologize to Trelayne for the behaviour of Vanessa, the marten being understanding even as he’s as shook up as everybeast else. Then he gets a strange question from Francy, the poor beast’s version of Geoff from the pageant, who asks if he could turn actual beasts into glass as well, like his new friend Berkkle has told him. After all, he can make a mixture that fizzles beasts away to nothing… But Geoff and the others quickly chuckle at this, and Trelayne just barely avoids having to admit the darker uses his skills have had, and the legacy it’s left behind.

(Strange, I almost thought the Redwallers would’ve known about the vitriol by now)

The otters are announced to be returning from their trip to the Moss and the Redwallers are distracted for the moment by their homecoming, leaving Trelayne to, as you put it in such a wonderfully poetic and sad way, pick over the fragments of a broken glass dream.

The greatest moment of this chapter is of course Vanessa smashing the glass sculpture, and the further implications of her connection with Martin. I do wonder whether Martin himself would actually have smashed the sculpture for not looking like him, or if it’s just Vanessa’s childish and spiteful mind that caused her to do that; hopefully it’s the latter, unless Redwall’s famous warrior was a lot more immature and selfish than the stories and legends tell. Still, it’s an interesting and well-researched chapter with a great, and sad, ending that brings further tension to Vanessa’s storyline, and raises more questions. Very nice job!
Samadhir chapter 27 . 5/28/2014
Returning to Redwall, we get a taste of what will be a bit of a recurring theme in the next couple of chapters: beasts leaving Redwall in extended farewell scenes! This time it’s Captain Chook’s shrews heading out to prepare the rafts that will transport the carts meant for Gawdrey across the Moss, and from there to head down the border between Mossflower and the Western Plains for “patrol duty”. Geoff, gracious host though he is, is relieved that some of the burden of feeding and housing all the hundreds of beasts currently at the Abbey will be lightened, which the shrews graciously accept. Things are pretty genial all around, though some questions remain as to why exactly Chook’s brigade need to patrol lower Mossflower, and Alex notices a knowing glance between his wife and Custis…

And of course, that geniality has to be soured by Clewiston blundering into the conversation and acting like a total dick. But again, Custis manages to one-up him and treat his suspicion as a laughing matter, and openly calls him what he is: a pompous, untrusting, unhospitable windbag! I’m not a big fan of Custis as I’ve said before, but man does he earn respect from me for putting that stupid hare in his place! Chook does the same, and relieves the “good” Colonel of one group to watch within his adopted home as he and his shrews exit the Abbey, singing a song that our dear Highwing posted on FF several months ago. “Tramp, tramp, tramp, over hill an’ dale we march…”

Quite a well-known song too, going by Pirkko’s reaction; shrew songs apparently spread far and wide among their people. Good thing it wasn’t “Sweet Cream Pie”… ;)

After a final reprobation from Geoff to Clewiston over his rude treatment of their guests, which the pompous hare naturally ignores, and a check-in with Trelayne preparing his furnace for the afternoon show, we shift to Cyril, the wannabe warrior mouse tormented by the former Abbess under the table (in a very innocent way!). Cyrus is with him to enjoy the show, and we’re sadly informed that the two brothers don’t spend that much time with each other anymore, having apparently grown further apart as they near adulthood. But that doesn’t stop him or Vanessa from playing footsie with him :)

Cyril is saved by the appearance of Geoff, who tells them that the marten is about to begin his glassmaking demonstration. The mouse brothers rushing up to ring the bells to announce to the rest of Redwall what is to happen, the Abbot takes a seat next to his predecessor and childhood friend… who claims that back in her days, there were no bells or towers at the Abbey. Again, I think most readers can figure out what this implies, but Geoff and the rest of the Redwallers are still firmly in the dark. One can only hope they learn in good time…

But first, it’s time for a glassblowing show!
Samadhir chapter 26 . 5/27/2014
Squee! This is another of my favourite chapters, not just because it has searats, but because it’s so frickin’ good in general!

At Terramort, Tratton is having his engineer genius Clucus demonstrate his latest invention, which, as is usually the case with the engineering marvels the blonde ferrets comes up with for his searat master, a new weapon: a gigantic crossbow-like contraption that will provide greater accuracy for the stormpowder casks, at the expense of range. I guess this harkens back to the conversation between Tratton and the ferret in TSW about finding a new way to fire the explosive; the solution shown here is cool, but I had rather hoped for a cannon or even a firearm of some sort :(

Clucus seems a bit more freespoken with the Searat King than I remember him being in the previous novel as he explains the potential uses of his invention. Tratton seems rather skeptical of just how useful the weapon will be if hostilities with Urthblood are renewed, which makes it seems strange that he commissioned it in the first place. As the text itself points out, the Searat King is pursuing contradictory objectives: afraid of inadvertently breaking the Accord, but still planning for a day when it might be beneficial for him to do so.

With some final suggestions of how the giant crossbow might be used against Urthblood’s seagulls (anti-air artillery in Redwall? The world of TUS is getting stranger and stranger) Tratton heads back to his palace in the company of Uroza and Malvarkis, discussing with the former how Korba’s Southsward mission is going. There’s some concern over just how safe the Viceroy is, and whether the rulers of Castle Floret merely possess the ordinary woodlander mistrust and enmity towards vermin or something more militant.

Then the subject turns a bit more… esoteric. Tratton reveals that he’s had a strange feeling lately, perhaps a bit like the currents of fate that wash over Urthblood. He wonders over just what of their actions Urthblood’s prophetic sight allows him to predict, and ways to cheat it. Perhaps by not fully committing to a set path, by keeping their options open and exploring different courses of action before settling on a particular one at the right time, Urthblood’s sight might be fooled – after all, he can’t predict what action Tratton will take before Tratton himself knows it, can he? The truth of the matter would have grave implications even beyond the conflict between the two adversaries, touching upon the nature of destiny and free will. Whether TUS will explore these questions remains to be seen.

And as Tratton assures his spymaster that these ruminations will not be an excuse for inaction or hesitancy, he gazes out to the horizon, feeling that a great force of destiny is gathering in the east. What it is, he cannot say, but we readers can tell something at least: apparently, the rumours among Tratton’s subordinates about their king possessing some kind of second sight seems at least partially true.

We then cut to the stronghold of the Searat King’s old enemy (and former buddy), where Erzath is dreading breakfast time. It seems that Urthblood is ALWAYS waiting for him, regardless of when the rat ambassador shows up and what schedule he keeps. His prophetic powers are already well-known, but this is getting truly freaky! Of course, Erzath is quite an ass in many ways himself, given how he makes everyone wait for him to emphasize his standing, and feeling that the former slaves he’s had to share the mountain with previously should be GRATEFUL for Tratton letting them go!

Erzie takes his seat in front of Urthblood and his less-than-happy-at-being-kept-waiting captains, to share the information he received from the latest Fleetrunner… or rather, to try and wiggle out of sharing that information. After some grousing with Mattoon, which prompts Urthblood to declare that he doesn’t control their minds and moods (only their marriage arrangements…) the badger asks just what the good ambassador has been hearing from Tratton’s court. Erzie responds with a really bad pun, smug at his own sense of poetry, and tries to avoid giving any definite answers while complaining about his own situation and isolation.

I love this back and forth between the Badger Lord and the Searat Ambassador. First, we get a hint of a hedgehog ambassador to Terramort - a female hedgehog no less, with a gruff exterior but skilled in linguistics and sending coded messages to her master - who I hope we’ll get to meet soon. Second… Urthblood actually makes a joke? Adopting a mock searat accent? Heh, I never thought the stone-faced old badger had it in him to make such a quip! And he thoroughly crushes Erzie’s attempt to boast about the extent of his master’s realm – the master of Salamandastron is on a snarker roll!

And we also get to know that the Fleetrunners aren’t simply bringing messengers to Erzie, but also pretty ratmaids that he can enjoy below decks during his visits… It seems that Uroza makes sure that his ships provide the ambassador with all his needs, including carnal ones. No wonder some of his visits take longer than they would seem to merit. Poor Erzie, getting details of his private life spilled out before everyone. I’m sure the look on the surrounding captains’ faces range from amusement to disgust to jealousy…

But then the conversations turns a lot more tense – which is saying something, given how cheery it was before – as Urthblood asks Erzath about what he knows of Tratton’s weapons shops and shipyards. Trying to dodge the question, the searat realizes there’s no way he’s getting around this, so he does something unprecedented: he challenges Urthblood to use his seer’s sight to look into his mind and find out what he knows…

…which turns out to be a monumental mistake, as he plays right into the badger’s paws. Urthblood bores his gaze into him and declares that Tratton right now is making plots and moves against him… and then chillingly declares that they will all be in vain. Having finally crushed all of Erzath’s pretentions and completely deflated his ego, he leaves the poor rat alone at the table with Mattoon, who gives a “friendly” inquiry of how his breakfast tastes. The unstated answer: like ashes in his mouth…

You know, every time I think I have Urthblood figured out and that he won’t astound me anymore, you come and throw a complete curveball, Wing. This might be his most impressive moment in LoR so far, and it’s a simple conversation at dinner. You always surprise me with your skill at these things, how you can continue to make your title character so menacing and give him such a forceful presence. Though I do have to give Erzath some respect for at least trying to challenge him.

And the scene at Terramort was great too, giving us more insight into Tratton’s plans and psyche, and letting us view more of his strangely affectionate relationship with Uroza. Given Urthblood’s declaration to Erzie later, I quite fear for his and the searats’ future – if the badger knows that he’s plotting against him, he probably has a grim fate in store for the corsair king and his people in turn. Many great and terrifying things have been set in motion here indeed…
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