Matt impatiently drummed his fingers on the fake marble countertop as he waited for the director of SIS to meet with him…after nearly a third of a season of urgent telephone calls, e-mails, and letters. Creature service had certainly dropped. He wouldn't have been surprise if some creature was being maimed just outside their door.
He sighed and ran his paws through his head fur, an axious habit of his. The rapid clicking of computer keys coming from the receptionist at the receiving desk lulled for a moment as she glared at the light brown mouse in front of her, pink lips pursed. Matthew tried to look sheepish, but the fact that, once again, Intelligence was not taking him seriously left him little more than peeved.
He sighed in combined frustration and releif as he saw a tall, sandy coloured hare walking slowly towards him. Matthew strode forward with his hand extended and greeted him: "Mr. Scarlett."
The hare wriggled his nose at Matthew and said jovially, "Ahh, Mr. Woods. Yes, I've heard a great deal about you…come, come, to my office."
Matt gratfully scooted past the irritated squirrle receptionist, avoiding her gaze, and into an elevator just past her desk. She took one last opportunity to glare at him before the hare pressed a button and the stainless steel doors slid together silently.
"Sooo, Mr. Woods," John Scarlett sighed, leaning his elbows back on the smooth handrail and releiving some of his conciderable weight from his footpaws. "I've heard quite a bit about you. You were the one who tipped us off on that bally old hedgehog, Campbell, weren't you?"
Matthew scowled and muttered, "Yes, and you were the one who said…oh, what was it? Ah yes: 'M'lad, I've known that Cam-whosits for many seasons now and I'd trust him with me bally life, doncha know.' Unless I'm mistaken…?"
Mr. Scarlett's whiskers twitched uncomfortably. "Er, no no, that's about right…" The doors slid open with a soft ping! and led into the spacious and immaculate office. The hare hurried over to his desk and lowered himself into the tall-backed chair with another sigh. "I do apologize for that. But, all has ended well, wot? Now…what service can I be of you today?"
Matthew counted to ten in six different languages before he sat in the chair offered to him in front of the elderly hare's desk, willing himself to remain calm at the insolent naivity. He composed himself and said, "There is reason to believe Redwall Abbey is in danger."
Mr. Scarlett blinked several times, thought better of letting out an unbeleiving chuckle, and said as he reached for the telephone on his desk, "Really, now? Well, I suppose I should send y' over to MI, they'd –"
Matthew stood abruptly and slammed the receiver back into place, startling the Director. The mouse gritted his teeth angrily and said firmly, "They can't do anything. It's you who needs to take a course of action in this."
Scarlett's wiskers twitched again, a characteristic of his Matt was already beging to loath. "I say! Bad form, wot? Now, it's not my area of knowin', and there's not a bally thing I c'n do for ya." When Matthew's pentirating stare continued to bear down upon him, Scarlett rose and said, "Er, I'll ship y' off to MI and let them know yer on yer way, then…"
Matthew heard the ping behind him as the elevator opened again. Disgusted and defeated, Matthew whirled around and stomped into the elevator. It closed by itself and began it's journey down. Matthew glared at the glowing green numbers as they decreased at a rapid pace, practically snarling by the time it settled on 8. The doors opened to reveil a small, chaotic room sectioned off into many smaller cubicals. Several creatures milling about stopped to stare at him as he walked into the room, but upon seeing it was nobeast of importance, they went about with their busy hustling.
Another elevator squeezed in right next to the obviously private one for the Director opened and a flustered, caramel brown mouse rushed out, her arms loaded with file folders and loose papers. "Excuse me," Matt said loud enough for her to hear and tapping her on the shoulder. She jumped and turned around, several of her papers floating to the ground. She groaned and tried to bend down to pick them up, but Matt beat her too it, feeling very remorsful for startling her so.
He stood and handed them back to her with an apology. She blew a strand of her headfur that had come loose from its elegent bun from her bespectacled eyes and said, "That's alright. Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Er, yes," Matt said, snapping himself out of the trace her curious blue eyes had put him in. "Mr. Scarlett sent me down here…"
"Oh, yes," she said, beginning to walk away. "You're Matthew Woods. Follow me." Matt hurried after her, dodging in between several frazzled looking squirrles as they ran to a window, holding a flapping woodpidgion with its tail caught in several dozen paperclips between them. Matt didn't question the other curious activities going on.
The mousemaid led him to the back of the noisy room and to a door conjoining with an office. Matt couldn't see anything through the frosted glass window that bore the purpose of the room.Charles Baker
Head of Mossflower Inteligence
A piece of paper was taped beneath this that said, 'Don't like it? Stick it up your nose.' The mouse seemed to find this amusing, but she rolled her pretty eyes heaven wards as she smiled. She knocked with her footpaw twice before pushing the door open with her hip.
"I've got your report, Charlie," she said, walking in and dropping a particularly thick folder on the already cramped desk that was littered with other papers, pictures, coffee cups, and several thick books. "Not that you'll be able to find it in a week…" Matt looked about the tiny office and had to agree. Filing cabinets lined the side walls, many of their drawers open and spilling forth their innards. Bulging bookselves stood on either side of the door filled with more volumns, pictures, and small modlels of various buildings and landscapes. Charlie looked up from the computer screen he had been aptly staring at and smiled up at the lovely mousemaid.
"Thanks, Luc," he said in an American accent, grinning cheekily up at her, a mischevious glint in his eye. "Aren't you looking as fabulous as ever today!"
"Indeed," Lucy said, unfazed. She picked her way back through the several boxes and empty soda containers on the floor and past a hesitant Matt just beyond the open door, no longer able to keep her smile hidden. She motioned with her head for Matt to enter. Matt watched her walk away, shaking her head and muttering to herself, before he did so.
Charlie had resumed his doings on the computer in front of him and was whistling tunlessley as he pecked out something on the keyboard. He glanced up when Matt stubbed his footpaw against a very full and solid box, but did a retake when Matt had regained his balance and stood up fully, his whistling dying away. The dark, chesnut-brown mouse's lips were still pursed as he looked Matt up and down with scrutiny.
"What can I do for ya?" he finally asked with a cheerful smile, leaning back in his reclining chair and clasping his paws across his ample waist. Matt took another carful step towards the desk, lifting up his paw quickly when something squeaked loudly beneath it. "There it is!" Charlie exclaimed, standing and leaning over his desk with much difficulty to look at the stuffed frog Matt had squashed. Charlie picked it up and plopped it onto the top of his computer screen.
Matt opened his mouth once more to respond. "I'm Matthew Woods. Mr. Scarlett –"
"Are you really?" Charlie inturupted suddenly, his eyes alight with wonder. Matt nodded, somewhat confused but none the less even more irritated than when he had first arrived. He tried to continue.
"Mr. Scarlett –"
"- didn't want the hassle of dealin' with whatever important thing you had to say, so he sent you to me." Charlie grimaced. Matt nodded again and couldn't restrain himself from spitting out distastfully, "You know, it was the greatest disservice to this country when they put that asinine twat as head of this operation!"
Charlie nodded as Matt collapsed onto the box he had unintentionally kicked. "You lost me on the 'asinine' part, but I'm sure I agree with you whole heartedly. I'm Charlie Baker, if you couldn't read the door."
Matt stood and took the offered paw and shook it warmly, immeadiatly liking the strange mouse. "Matt Woods," he said. "Professor –"
"- of Historical Research at Oxford University of 4 seasons, DPhil of Philosophy, MSt of Theology, MPhil in Economic and Social Histories, and Mlitt in Modern History. Quite an interesting résumé." Matt was rather surprised. He was about to ask how he knew this all when Charlie answered the unasked question: "I was just trying to contact you, in fact. Saved me a good bit of time…" He turned his computer screen to reveal a half-finished e-mail to Matt himself.
Matt sat on the box again with a sigh. "So you already know, then?"
Charlie grimly took his seat. "I scraped up the gist of it from what Scarlett told me. It's not much to go on though." He leanded forward in his seat, looking at Matt with earnesty. "I need you to tell me everything."
Two and half hours, 14 cups of coffee, and two more visits from Lucy later, Matt and Charlie sat with Charlie's desk cleared away, its contents strewn about the floor replaced with an immense map of the entire island that hosted Redwall Abbey.
"I must say: I've never seen your desk this clean, Charlie," Lucy jabbed at him as she places another group of file in one of the overly stuffed cabinets. "I had no idea it was made out of wood…!"
"Har har," Charlie grunted as sarcastically as Lucy. "Leave us hard-working beasts to ourselves, why doncha…"
"'Hardley working' is more like it," she said as she left the office, smiling at the satisfaction of having the last word. Charlie growled good naturedly.
"Completely insufferable, I tell you," he said, walking to the door and sticking his head out, blowing a raspberry at a creature around the corner. He retracted himself a moment too late as they stuffed frog Lucy had swiped from the cabinet came hurtling at him and connected squarley with his nose.
"Come on, mate," Matt groaned, easing himself into the chair that had so kindly been brought in for him by the 'insufferable' Lucy. He opened yet another book and began pouring over it as fruitlessly as he had the dozens others.
"I'm telling you," Charlie said as he reseated himself and opened a bottle of fizzing soda and took a greatful swig. "I've read these books so many times, I can't even count. There's no mention of this stinkin' prophecy anywhere else!"
Matt sighed and rested his elbows on the table, running both paws through his headfur an making it stand on end. He had long ago discarded his jacket and was sitting with his shirt sleeves rolled up and tie loosened around his neck, chin in paw and eyes burning from having gone over every book in Charlie's bursting office. It was, as he said, completely unsuccessful.
Charlie stood and began pacing back and forth behind his desk, Converse sneakers padding almost silently on the thick carpet. "Read it out-loud to me again," he said, taking another gulp of his drink before replacing its cap and chucking it on the floor. He rolled up the sleeves of his own white button-up shirt and opened the wide window to let in a non-existant breeze. Matt sighed but pulled the copy of the peom towards him.
It had been, infact, but a mere accident he had found the thing at all. He had been in Manchester visiting his sister, Mary, 9 seasons his junior, and her newly weded husband. He had not seen Mary for nearly 4 and a half seasons, the last time being his celebratory party when he had been accepted as a professor. However, their short visits were marred by the business of her scedual and that of her husband's. Matt had been instantly attracted to the spacious library, of course, and spent a majority of his free time there. It was by chance they were holding an annual booksale during his stay and he happened upon a very old, dusty volumn that had seen better seasons. Always in the want for knowledge, Matt had bougt the book without even a glance at its title; if nothing else, it was an interesting looking find and would fit in nicely with his already supple collection.
Upon opening it, he discovered it was a very old school book. But not just any old school book; it had been the writing tablet and history book of, identified through the chicken scratch inside the front cover, the little Dibbun Gonflet of Redwall. Needless to say, Matt nearly fainted with excitement. A very document of Redwall Abbey, and in the time of Martin the Warrior himself! 12 years of majoring in history classes with a yearning for more information about this legend Abbey, and he was holding a veritable artifact from the very place itself. Mary, who had always supported and enjoyed Matt and his studies, might have shared his excitement more had he not burst into her shop and practically flattened one of her most important coustomers.
Upon closer inspection of the book, Matt and Mary discovered several of the pages had been lumped together. Holding it up to a light, they discoved it was actually two pages with a piece of folded parchment placed between them. With the utmost carfulness, Marry followed Matt's instructions as she assisted him in releasing the two pages from the bond they held. They then removed the folded parchment from the deathly clasp of Gonflet's tablet and unfolded it as carfully as they could.
This piece of parchment had been the said prophecy. Matt immeadiatly set to work to solving the riddle it posessed. Though most of it was still in question, it reveiled the danger the Abbey was in. Matt cut his intended lenthy trip short by several days and returned home, frantically trying to contact SIS. They had finally responded to him pleas and agreed to meet with him only just yesterday. And so, Matt found himself in socked footpaws pulled up, Indian style, on a hot and irritable chair reciting the peom to his newly-found co-worker, most of it from memory having gone over it so many times before. Perhaps now he would finally be able to solve it…
Gone I soon will be,
But my presence shall linger here.
I pray you protect this precious Abbey
Without common fear,
For trouble will meet you
With every passing season.
Many lives that have come will go
By the evil hands of treason.
Although your fate is destinded,
I beseach you, my good creatures:
Fight all apposing foes
With forgotten gifts and features.
In many seasons to come
Past times when empires fall
A force will march thine way
And seek to destroy all.
Know you the time when this shall come;
Note it by the seasons
And look to the day when vermin dwell
In distraught harmony for Cold reasons.
In the time when creatures fly
And live in a world of motion
A time where everybeast will scorn
Our reasons and our notions.
But at this time of great rebirth
Our fate will crash upon us all
And those who scorn will soon be
The saviors of Redwall.
I call forth the Learned Ones
Great cheiftens and my precursors
To save our Abbey from the fall
The Dark One seeks to give us.
My sweet flower I call forth
To bring order over all;
Your match I call to aid the jaunt
Lest mine enemy come to call.
A friend to all, yet once a foe
I call forth to assist the travles
Trust in each other and you will see
Your purpose as it unravels.
Last, I seek the help of The One
Of learned stature so bold
To weild my sword and fight for all
That live the lives of old.
This message knows the way to go
And I send it on its way
To hands which will save my Abbey
And bring justice upon The Day.
Hurry, my dear friends
To the land that hosts Redwall
The Dark One will not wait
For my Warrior to come to call.
Charlie continued pacing as he said to Matt, "Get something to write with." Matt, dispirited and exhasted, had not the strength to protest, so he pulled a pad of paper toards him and opened a pen, still leaning heavily upon one paw. Charlie waited until Matt was ready before continuing.
"All right…what do we know?" Matt sat up, his back cracking in several places. He winced and looked down at the poem, extracting what he knew.
"We know it was ment to be found in this time," he said. "See, look here –", he circled the first two sentences of the second to last stanza, "- and see..the fifth and sixth bits describe our time. See how he capitalized 'cold'?"
Charlie nodded in understanding. "Cold War. Most vermin are from the USSR and areas in relation to them. Laws demand they be treated as equals, but no creature I've met has taken that as a serious thing, save Lucy."
Matt nodded, but 'twas more to himself. "I just don't understand the next bit at all," he said frustratedly. "It says 'Those who scorn will soon be the saviors of Redwall.' It's just not possible!"
"Well," Charlie interjected, looking over Matt's shoulder as he underlined the sentence and put a dark question mark next to it. "It depends. Reservation Protection laws state any creature can walk on reservation land if laws are not violated or, in this case, cause any disruptance whatsoever. Since the Abbey dwellers and those other looney tribes living about the island have refused any and all enforcment, just about anybeast could go there. We've just been lucky few have wanted to.
"And it's not like we could just go in there and tell them 'We're here to protect you, ignor us and go about your business.' Firearms of our technology are strictly prohibited, not to mention the fiasco last time that happened." Matt nodded. Though he had not been there, he had heard all about the small regiment Sir Christopher Curwen had sent to their land as a "friendly checking up". He had frightened the poor creatures into such hysterics they had banned all enforcement from the government from their reservation, leading to the very problem that was imposing upon the two drawn-out mice.
"That's just what we get for going on a whim…" Matt said with a sigh and burying his face in his arms. Charlie nodded.
"Exactly!" he cried, pounding the desk with a fist and causing Matt to jump. "That's why we've got to prove our case strongly!"
"Hmmm…you know, I've been wondering how in the world this Dark One is supposed to bring this 'great fall' upon the Abbey if they aren't allowed arms." Matt said pensively, outlining all references to it. Charlie sat down in disgusted defeat.
"I just don't know, mate," he said with a heaving sigh. "Perhaps if we…" Matt stopped listening to Charlie as he rambled on. He became lost in his own wandering thoughts as he began circling and connecting cross-references in the poem. Suddenly, something hit him with such ferocity he didn't know why he hadn't seen it before.
"That's it!" he shouted, standing up with new vigor. "We don't need - well…a few, but – oh, of course! Of course!"
Charlie stared at him, startled, as he began scribbling furiously on the paper that held the prophecy. "Mind telling me what you're on about?" Matt stepped back with a triumphant "Hah!" for Charlie to examine the paper. However, Charlie was unable to identify anything through his crazed co-worker's scrawl, so he allowed Matt the superior pleasure of explaining himself.
"Several times, Martin's mentioned –"
"Hold up, now!" Charlie said, holding up his paws. "How do you know this is from Martin?" Matt bit his lip.
"I'm not sure," he said. "It just fits. It says 'my Worrior' and 'my Abbey'. Also, who else have you known in Redwall lore to 'call forth' creatures to the aid of the Abbey dwellers? That, and a gut feeling." Charlie nodded.
"Gut feeling's good enough for me. I've had plenty myself –"
"I don't doubt it." It took Charlie a few moments to realize the joke made upon him, but by then Matt had launched back into his explanation.
"He's capitalized 'The One' and 'Warrior', obviously meaning for them to be titles for somebeast. And, in the ninth and tenth stanzas, he's describing the chosen companions to aid The One. Don't you see? How many of these have you read about in the history of Redwall? It's just like all the others. Only problem we face now is finding out who these four creatures are and ship 'em off to warn and, as it says, protect Redwall from its pre-destined fate."
Charlie nodded his weary head. It all sounded agreeable and was fitting into place. "And your knowledge of who these creatures are is…?"
Matt slumped into his chair, grinning. "No clue." Charlie rolled his eyes and was about to reprimand Matt when he was struck by a thought…a very brilliant thought…
"I may know sombeast who might, though…"
A/N: Alright. My first Redwall fic. Woohoo! Tell me how it went, just don't ask any questions, because all will be revealed with time, my little friend!