Disclaimer; I do not own Mistmantle, only the plotline and characters I created


Treachery's Child

CHAPTER ONE

n the enchanted island of Mistmantle, a young squirrel dashed through Anemone Wood to the tower, standing on the shore in all its pink-gold splendor. The squirrel was strangely pale, the color of sand or honey. His ears and tail tip were a deep auburn, and he wore a deep red cloak. A sword was at his hip, and animals nodded as he ran past. He was Urchin of the Riding Stars, the squirrel who had helped bring down the tyrannical Captain Husk, brought Crispin home, rescued Whitewings, helped bring Captain Lugg the mole and Juniper the squirrel back to Mistmantle, along with Cedar the squirrel, who married King Crispin. He had saved lives in the landslide, helped save the Heir of Mistmantle, Princess Catkin, from a squirrel driven mad by grief, and defended his beloved home against the ravens. He was a hero, a Companion to the King, a member of the Circle. Born on a night of riding stars, he had nearly died on several occasions.

At the main tower door a couple moles on guard duty saluted. Urchin looked up the wall, then leaped up it, tumbling into a window. He stood and brushed off his fur. A hedgehog and a mole stood by a huge door. The mole opened the door and the hedgehog called out "Urchin of the Riding Stars!" as Urchin slid through the door.

A squirrel sat on a throne, and an otter was next to him. A dark furred squirrel in a priest's tunic was standing by another throne, where a flame-red squirrel was seated.

"King Crispin, you wanted to see me?" Urchin asked, bowing.

"Urchin, Padra and I have long awaited this day." Crispin began. Urchin glanced at Captain Padra the otter, who was smiling as usual.

"And what day would that be, Your Majesty?" Urchin asked, puzzled.

"You mean you haven't guessed? Needle came in earlier with the news that she finally managed to teach you the Threadings Code." Crispin smiled at Urchin.

"Oh!" cried Urchin "Your Majesty, you can't mean..."

"Yes, Urchin. You've done quite a lot for Mistmantle, so it's about time you were made a captain." Crispin told the young squirrel.

Urchin gasped. He had known this might happen, but still, he couldn't quite believe it.

Queen Cedar rose from her throne and walked over to Urchin. "This isn't a dream or a joke, Urchin." She said gently. "This is real."

"Then I would be honored," said Urchin, "to serve Mistmantle as a captain under you, King Crispin, and Queen Cedar. I swear that I will always be true and loyal to you, to Mistmantle, to honor, to justice, and to the Heart." Urchin declared, meaning every word.

"Good. We will hold a ceremony after the Moon Fest. I would prefer for only a few creatures to know of this, namely myself, the queen, the captains, Apple, Filbert, Needle, and Sepia. And, of course, Brother Juniper and Mistress Tay." Crispin said, still smiling. "And, Urchin, make sure Apple understands to keep this secret, alright?"

"Yes, Your Majesty. Can I go tell them?" Urchin acknowledged, excited.

"Of course. But let me tell the captains and Tay." Crispin told Urchin. "Brother Juniper, do you think anyone else should know?"

"No, I think it's best to keep this quiet." Said the dark-furred squirrel.

"That's what I thought. Go on, Urchin. I can tell you're dying to tell your friends." Crispin told the young squirrel, laughing.

"Thank you, Your Majesty!" called Urchin as he darted out and ran up a stairway that led to the workrooms where his best friend Needle, the prickliest hedgehog on the island, worked on the Threadings. He suddenly collided with a walking pile of canvas.

"Ouch! Watch where you're going! Oh, it's just you, Urchin." A hedgehog voice muttered.

"Hello Needle!" called Urchin, picking up some fallen canvas. "Guess what?"

"What?" Needle mumbled, managing to climb to her feet without letting the canvas still in her paws touch the floor.

"King Crispin's making me a captain after the Moon Fest! But you can't tell anyone-it's a secret." Urchin told his friend.

"That's great! Just don't expect me to call you 'sir' and bow and all that stuff." Needle said firmly, but smiling.

"I wouldn't expect you to." Urchin assured her, laughing at the idea. "Where are you taking this canvas?"

"Down to the kitchens. Don't ask me why, because I have absolutely no idea." Needle informed him.

"Alright. I'll carry this down." Urchin offered. Needle readily agreed, and the two of them walked down the stairs. Urchin couldn't see where he was going and stumbled on a stair that was slightly crumbling, and tumbled down the stairs, slamming heavily into someone, and they both tumbled down the stairs.

Finally, a turn broke their fall. Urchin hit the wall hard, and the animal he had bumped into slammed into him. A pattering of paws on the stairs told him Needle had caught up to them. Urchin stumbled up and looked at the animal he had knocked over. She was a kind-faced squirrel Urchin recognized at once.

"Sorry Sepia! You're not hurt, are you?" Urchin asked his friend.

"Just a few bruises, scrapes, and a sprained paw. Honestly, Urchin! Do you have nothing better to do than knock me down stairs? And this is my best cloak, too!" Sepia said in a scolding tone, but Urchin saw the amusement dancing in her eyes. Sepia wasn't the kind of animal you could really argue with.

"Actually, I was going to find you eventually. I have something to tell you-I'm becoming a captain after the Moon Fest!" Urchin exclaimed a bit breathlessly.

"Really? That's great, Urchin!" Sepia gasped.

"But it's a secret, so you can't tell anyone." Urchin told her.

"Alright."Sepia agreed. But, she wondered silently, what about his friends? Will he have time for his friends anymore? Or will he be too busy?

Urchin looked at Sepia. Was it his imagination, or did she look worried? "Are you alright, Sepia?" he asks.

"What? I'm fine." Sepia murmured, shaking off her doubts. Urchin would be a great captain. He's not like Husk, she thought. He'll find time for Needle and me and Fingal and Scatter and Crackle...I hope.

"If you're sure."Urchin said dubiously.

"I'm sure." Sepia lied.