"Come, Recu, we must move faster!" The small fox hissed at his son, already taller than himself. The empty alley he was at the mouth of did not respond; instead a lanky figure slid from the shadows, slinking between pots of light to reach his father, once again hidden in the blackness. The long cloak, a third of it dragging on the floor, hid the babe in the darkness. Deep violet mixed with black created a moving living shadow to conceal a secret, though the secret's father was far less hidden. Black clothes only did so much to veil the fat politician, white fur shining in the moonlight. But he didn't have to hide, his child did. They had kept him away from the king so far, but now that he was older, taller, restless, it was harder to do. He had to be moved.
Recu's red eyes watched as his father glanced around the corner, taking off a moment later. Obediently, he waited as he had been told to, huge ears lingering for the sounds of the okay. They never came. Holding longer than he should have, Recu held his breath as he listened. Finally, he looked around the corner. There was an assassin, standing over the short white fox. His father…
Slipping from the alley, Recu took the scythe that was far too big for him out from under his cloak, coming to a rest a paw's length from the murderer.
"What are you doing here?" The rat froze, feeling the huge blade press to his throat. He had been cleaning the blood off his sword, proud that he had been the assassin to kill the traitorous senator. The king would be pleased. Only now, it didn't look so good. Only one beast could handle a blade this huge… Recu. They were supposed to kill the white fox and bring in the red one. The king wanted the red one. Swallowing, fighting the instinct to turn and kill, the rat opened his mouth.
"Yor wanted. By yor father the king."
"My father is dead, you just killed him."
"Not 'im, the king."
"What does he want with me?"
"Wat father don't want to see 'is son?"
"He's not my father." The blade pulled tighter, the rat feeling blood run down his chest into his tunic.
"Aright, aright, as you say. Either way, the king wants ya."
"Why?" The rat's eyes narrowed.
"'Cause yor betta than us'ns. You was bred for killin'."
The rat never knew of how much of a hero he was. His head was removed from his body before he even got to take another breath. Recu let the corpse crumple to the ground before stepping over it to kneel by his father. Touching the brow above the glazed eyes the fox closed the lids, standing before taking off into the night. First his mother, now his father. All that was left was the king himself.
Gargoyles lined the turrets of the tall castle, blotting out the moon in all its full-time glory. But none were more fearsome than the fox scorned sitting among them. A Grim Reaper if ever there was one. Scythe held by dark rust paws, the blade glinted in the moonlight. The crouched figure sat beneath it, covered completely save for his mitts and arms, which were holding his weapon. Dark eyes glittered as they watched the carriage pull up the drive, stopping in the garden below. The horses, huge and plodding, were taken to their stable by badgers that were only just big enough to handle them, the huge king mouse left to walk with his guards back into the palace that he lived in. But not for much longer.
Just as he had hoped, the king looked up, catching the glint of the death tool. The bells of Saint Andrew's rang out, tolling its sad cry as the shadow moved, dispatching the guards with one fell swoop. Alone with the devil himself, the king took a step back and found a rose bush blocking his escape.
"You murdered my family!" No need to whisper now, there was no threat here save for the fox himself. Head uncloaked, the fox that came to the king's shoulders glared at the mouse, need in his eyes very clear.
"Now now, Recu, I am family! I'm your father, not that greasy official. He was only elected after all! Come now, you must come in and sit, we have so much-"
An axe was pressed to his nose, the scythe blade behind him, tip pressing into his back.
"You liar! You have no idea what you speak of. I was bred for this! I'm the perfect killer, your assassin said so. My mother was too dark, so you mixed her with a white fox to lighten my fur. My mother was a killer, my father was the brains… a perfect mix, to make the perfect killer. You might have made me, but you are not my father."
"Alright, so I commissioned to have you created. You are still mine Foxer. You will obey your father, your creator."
"I obey only those who pay the highest."
"You are no mercenary! You will do no such thing!"
"No, I'm an assassin, the one that killed the king."
The statement went unheard; the axe embedding itself between the mouse king's eyes. He stood, only by the grace of the young paw that held the axe grip. Yanking the blade away the body fell into the roses, only to be found in the morning by the second wave of guards. By that time, Recu was gone. Ships weren't so bad, when you killed one of the hands that did almost nothing and passed yourself off as him. Good thing everyone thought that all foxes looked the same at night.
Having made it over the snow encrusted dunes Recu took refuge in one of the skeletal trees, sitting in the heart as much as he could and pulling his cloak tightly. It was cold. He was used to cold, of course. But the clothes he had been given weren't made for this cold. His clothes had been ripped and torn beyond repair. Only painstaking hours of mending with what little thread he had had managed to save his cloak. The one his mother had given him, the one she had woven herself. Tracing the delicate threads of deep purple and black, Recu thought back to his mother's face.
Damn that mouse, damn him to hellgates and back! Recu hated him, with all his might. But it was the past, so many winters had passed since then, it was in the past. The staff strapped to his back under the dark cloth Recu hunched over, one eye open as he slept in the tree. He knew he was being followed, knew he wouldn't get very far tomorrow. But at the moment, he could sleep. At least the hares had good taste in clothing; they were long limbed, so he didn't have to change anything. And there was a hole for his long tail. Rabbits and foxes were of similar structure it would seem.
The dawn broke cold wet and early, rousing Recu when the sun rose into his tree. Having not moved all night he was stiff as ever, but did not move. Blinking his other eye open he yawned a bit, ears tuned for the paw steps he knew would be arriving soon. The stupid child thought it would be great to catch the fox. Stupid bunny. However, there were things not even Recu could concur. An hour after sun-up there was no sign of the pursuer. So Recu slid out of the tree, keeping to its dark side, and stretching his long form. Back popping wonderfully he shrugged off his pack, much lighter now than it was when he packed it back home, and sat in the snow to enjoy a scrap of cheese. Strong, but good. The weather was warmer down here, making their cheese's flavor sharper than he was used too. Not bad at all.
Taking a book from his pack Recu munched his breakfast, eyes moving from word to word in wonder of how someone could spend their lives as a scribe and come up with adventures like this. Half way through page three hundred forty eight he put his thumb between the pages, stood, crossed to a bush, and whapped the spine of the book at the only green thing in the forest.
"Don't follow I, yes?"
"How'd ya' know?!"
"Mon ears are big as ye's, yes. Yea, ye's paws are huge as logs."
"Ye heard me, hu?"
The young hare clambered out of the bush, standing a head below Recu. Not happy with this the hare stood his ear's on end… only to find that Recu's were longer. Rolling his eyes the fox turned, sitting by his tree again and opening his book in his lap. Stuffing the last bit of cheese into his mouth he fished in the pocket of his trousers, bringing out a string. Pulling his ears down, he tied them together at the base of his neck as though they were hair, crossing his ankles and picking the book up again.
"Yer not gonna cut me to ribbons? Use my guts fer garters and such?"
"Then why'd ya' hit me?!" The fox's eyes glared out their corners at the brown youngling.
"Yon breathing was so loud mon book was hard to hear."
Confused by this the hare sat not far, watching the fox. Something was not right in his attic the hare concluded.