A Measley Little Tale

I started this story because there is a severe lack of Farthing Wood stuff out there. And even less stuff about any of the characters besides Fox and his family. I had lots of fun writing about the other characters, and I hope you enjoy.

Cries of pain rose from the small den, causing the auburn young weasel to wince, feeling helpless. His mate, his friend, his only love, Jessamine, was in terrible pain. And there was nothing he could do about it.

His sensitive ears swivelled and twitched around on top of his head, keen on homing in on any scampering rabbits, or even a small mouse. Forest green eyes scanned the endless expanse of white hills and clearings, his nose twitching as it picked up the scent of a mouse, maybe two of them. Quickly dashing in the direction of the scent, he spotted two mice picking at some seed, oblivious to the looming weasel not too far away.

Crouching down, he crept closer and closer, until he was only a few feet away. The crunch of snow underneath his paws alerted the two feeding rodents, sending them reeling around and squeaking in horror as he lunged at them.

Before they could even move more than three hops, they were pinned under his claws. He then bit them both on the back of their necks, quickly silencing the squealing pair.

Licking his lips of their blood, he cautiously looked about his surroundings. Thick blankets of snow coated the withering branches of the once splendid oak trees. The bushes, once lush with vegetation, looked like large snowballs in the winter season. Although he was a top predator here in the park, he knew better than to wander about recklessly. Foxes, owls, and snakes could easily kill him if he wasn't careful.

Feeling that he was safe, he picked up the two mice by the tails and darted back to his earth. His stomach growled loudly as he tasted his kill. He hadn't eaten since yesterday; winter always meant a fierce competition for food amongst the carnivores. It didn't help that the prey was very aware of this fact, and took great measures to make themselves scarce, only coming out of their respective hiding places to feed if they did not gather enough during the warmer seasons.

Resisting the intense urge to feast on one of the plump mice, he made his way into the warmth of his den, no longer hearing the pained cries of Jessamine. Fear stabbed at his heart as he quickened his pace. Please, god, don't let her die...

As he came into the spacious room of their earth, he sighed in relief as Jessamine lied there, snuggled into the thick bed of grass he had made for her months ago. He approached her cautiously, offering his catch to her. She smiled warmly at him, still panting heavily from going into labor.

"Thank you, Flint." The honey colored weasel said gratefully, licking at the small kills. Flint nervously cleared his throat.

Rolling her eyes playfully, she brushed aside a few strands of bedding to show him a large, pink litter of newborns. Every one of them were tiny, blind things, their skin slightly wrinkled as they huddled close to each other, and their mother, for warmth. Some of them lifted their small heads, eager for their mother's milk. Jessamine cooed softly at the young ones, helping them feed from her. Flint's heart filled with pride at his first litter of kits.

"How many are there?" he asked, padding over to lie next to Jessamine, resting his head on her back as he watched the wiggling pink kits.

Taking a few seconds to recount them, she responded proudly. "Eight."

"Wow! Really?! That's a full litter!"

I can't believe it! Eight kits right off the bat! I can't wait to start teaching my boys how to hunt, fight-

"They're beautiful, aren't they?" Jessamine purred, nuzzling him lovingly as they watched their babies slowly curl up against her, yawning with a small squeak. Flint grinned, rubbing his head against hers.

"That they are, Jess. That they are."

Jessamine sighed in irritation, glaring at her stubborn partner as he blocked the exit of their den. He refused to let her go hunting, ignoring every demand she made for him to get out of her way. It was really starting to get on her nerves. Though she loved tending to her newborns, she was eager to stretch out a bit and hunt down something for herself and Flint. Besides that, she was quickly becoming bored with only seeing the dirt walls around her all the time.

"Sorry, Jess, but I don't think you've recovered enough to go out there alone. What about the kits?"

Jessamine gave him an agitated look. "I have no intention of leaving them alone! I would think you would stay with them while I got us something to eat!"

Flint shook his head, sighing. "That's not what I meant."

Her eyes narrowed in confusion, tilting her head to the side. "Then what do you mean, Flint?"

"I mean, what if you go out there? It's very likely that you won't pay full attention out there, you gave birth only ten days ago. Any one of those damned blue foxes wouldn't think twice about taking advantage of that. I couldn't bear to lose you, and our little ones would surely die without you." He said this to her with complete sincerity, the pleading look in his eyes making her feel completely foolish.

Looking down in shame, she nodded in understand. "You're right. I didn't really think of that..."

A pleased, toothy grin spread across the male's face. Though his mate was, to him, one of the sweetest things on earth, she could be surprisingly stubborn if she set her mind on something. Her slender, attractive frame also betrayed her ability to fight and defend herself with ease, a shocking fact he realized when he first met her. He still chuckled at the memory.

"I'll see what I can find out there. Make sure you and the kits stay nice and warm, alright?" With that, he turned around and bounded out of their home, sliding to a halt on a tall hill not too far off. Standing on his hind legs, he inhaled the crisp, cold air.

Hmm. Not a thing around for miles. He sighed in disappointment, craning his neck around to survey his territory. A light blue flash of color caught his attention and he immediately crouched down, praying she didn't notice him. He saw the slender vixen below him pound against the snow and ice beneath her, trying to drive out a mouse hiding beneath it. He gulped nervously, watching her snatch the mouse up by the neck as it attempted to bolt from his hole, his neck crunched painfully between her fangs. Wasting little time, she quickly devoured the small body, licking her lips of its taste.

Ugh.. that could have very easily been me, had I not been paying attention. I wonder why she wandered so far from her territory. Surely food hasn't become THAT scarce?

The dark blue vixen, who went by the name of Midnight, was the unchallenged alpha female of the blue foxes. A strong, yet elegant build made her a feared predator around White Deer Park, as well as the object of many fox males' attentions. Her eyes were a warm, golden color; a rare trait to see in foxes. Those same eyes, though beautiful at first glance, were always coolly calculating any situation she came across. Flint shivered at the thought of seeing those staring, gold orbs in the middle of the night, lunging at him as she sunk her fangs into his flesh. It was the last thing any of her victims saw before their painful demise.

Flint remained close to the ground, watching her every move. Midnight was leisurely grooming her paws of her kill, wrapping her fluffy tail around herself. Once she was done, shaking her fur of the cold white snow, she walked back into the trees. Flint, despite his earlier suspicions, couldn't help but wonder what made her come so close to his own home. Glancing about himself again, he silently followed Midnight into the trees, making sure to keep a few yards between them.

Now, most creatures wouldn't dare follow a fox through the woods, much less one that would gladly make a meal of them in the harsh cold of winter. But Flint wanted to know everything when it came to the resident foxes. His territory was far enough away where he rarely had to come across any of the clan. That didn't stop him from wanting to know what their intentions were. Poachers were very rare in the reserve, which meant that the foxes' numbers could continue to grow without anything limiting them. This meant that his family's safety might, in the near future, be compromised should the blue foxes decide to expand their territory. In the event of that happening, he wasn't too sure of what he'd be able to do to protect them. Thought he was considered one of the biggest of his kind, he had no chance against one of the bigger carnivores.

The subject of his thought came to a sudden hault, her nose sniffing the air. Flint's heart pounded in his chest as he dove behind a large Pine tree. He slowly glanced around the corner, watching her glance around before continuing on her path. He exhaled shakily, leaning against the rough surface of the tree.

What the hell am I doing? I could get myself killed out here. And after lecturing Jessamine about being careful... he scolded himself, watching Midnight bound down the other side of a hill. It's not worth it.

Before he could make off in the opposite direction, a flurry of wings flapped overhead, startling the young weasel. He snapped his head up to look at a large, snow-white owl perch on a thick branch above him. He tensed up his shoulders, prepared to take on the large bird should it try and attack him.

The owl cocked his large, neatly smoothed head to the side, staring at the weasel below him. "And what purpose, if you don't mind me asking, do you hope to accomplish walking right into fox territory?" He asked curiously, seeming completely baffled by the sight of the smaller animal. Flint's broad shoulders relaxed a bit as he stared back at the ivory owl.

If he really wanted to kill me, he would have just taken me out with an aerial attack. Why take the time to perch there, much less ask me a question? Flint wondered, taking a few steps away from the large owl.

"Well, I'm not really sure why I did this myself, to be honest. Midnight hardly ever ventures outside her boundaries." He replied quietly. Big, blue eyes widened in amusement.

"Oh, you mean that vixen? Of the blue foxes? I would think she would, seeing as she's had pups. Got to provide for them, you know." The owl said matter-of-factly, ruffling his unusually clean feathers. Flint felt his blood run cold.

"She's had pups? How many? When was this?" He questioned frantically. It felt as though his worst nightmare had become reality. There were already around forty of the mongrels already!

The owl chuckled at Flint, earning him a sharp glare from the young weasel. "Why don't you see for yourself?"

He pointed one of his broad wings towards the top of the hill Midnight had descended from. Flint glanced up at the owl, suspicious.

"Oh, don't worry, dear boy. I'm much too full to bother with hunting." He laughed jovially. Flint rolled his eyes as he tip-toed his way to the hill, looking down the steep slope. He saw many young, teenage males and females play-fighting in the snow, nipping at barking at each other. Some of the older members of the clan were darting in and out of a large hole in the side of a large hill, taking various forms of prey inside. He could see no sign of Midnight or her new litter.

Flint clicked his tongue in annoyance, mumbling. "I don't see them, owl."

"Oh, they'll be out in a second or two. It's feeding time by now."

Just as the owl had predicted, he spotted four small puppies emerge from the entrance, wagging their tails happily. Not too far behind them was Midnight and her mate, Thunder. The alpha male of the foxes was relatively strong, never really standing out from his peers in terms of strength. What really made him a good mate for Midnight, Flint guessed, was his cunning. He could strategize like no other, even going so far as to hunting some of the white deer that resided nearby. Flint had never seen anything like it in his life.

The new additions consisted of two females and two males. The males seemed to take after their mother; deep blue fur greatly resembled Midnights, and their hazel eyes really set them apart from the others. Her daughters took on a softer complexion, much like their father's. They had dark manes that ran along the back of their heads and necks, and they had an elegant look to their eyes and faces. Midnight and Thunder looked on in pride at their litter as the little ones ran around in the snow.

Flint, feeling he had seen enough, backtracked a bit. Looking up at the owl once more, he asked "Four new foxes to worry about, I see."

"Aye. And a lot more competition for food as well." He responded irritably, narrowing his light blue eyes.

"You seem to have had a good hunt, however. I didn't think anyone would be eating so well in these harsh times." Flint pointed out the owl's full, round figure.

"Ah, well, I've expanded my hunting grounds beyond White Deer Park. I've actually found hunting in the woods a few miles off most profitable."

Flint's ears twitched with interest. He had never ventured out of the Park before. His parents had always told him stories of their travels outside of the reserves; poachers at every turn, predators, shortage of food, humans taking their homes. Yet this owl regularly went outside of it.

Resisting the urge to ask the owl of his experience outside, he started to make his way back home. "Well, goodbye."

"Goodbye, old chap. If you ever want to chat, or need some advice, ask for Frost." The owl hooted, taking off from his perch.

Right. Who ever heard of a weasel and an owl having conversations anyway? The old fool. Flint mused as he darted through the trees, a safe distance from the foxes' den.

I hope you all liked the first chapter! I hope I did alright on it. xD

Next chapter, you'll get to see the genders and names of the eight weasel babies! Names for some of them are being taken now, so if you have some name ideas, let me hear it! Preferably, the names must be nature-themed. Thanks!