I do not own the Mistmantle Chronicles. Sorry it took so long!

"Come on now everyone! We have to get to high ground!" Kylae shouted over the rainfall, though he knew it was easier said than done. He thought they had been walking for nearly an hour in the freezing rain, a walk that should have taken about fifteen minutes.

He turned to face Conan, who was struggling with an elderly hedgehog. Though they weren't a part of the Circle, the king had asked all able-bodied animals for help during the crisis. Conan had hesitated; not wanting to risk leaving his sons alone if anything were to happen but Kylae assured him everything was fine.

"It's just a little water, Conan! Are you afraid to get your paws wet?" he had asked. Conan looked back at his young son who was playing in the corner and replied, "Alright. But we have to take care. If anything happens, Padra would kill me. He's getting to be worse than his mother."

So they were here in the pelting rain all because of his twisted reasoning. He cursed himself under his breath and thought of his warm home and the delicious supper of fish he and his wife had left on the table, untouched, because of the storm.

"Plaque! This rain is getting worse by the minute!" Kylae heard Conan shout and nodded in a agreement.

A family of squirrels lagged behind the group, pushed back by the driving force of the rain. Conan ran back to help move them forward. He led them on, encouraging their movements the entire way. "The faster we move, the sooner we'll be safe! Just keep moving. We'll be there soon."

The darkness of night didn't help the fact that they were trekking through a forest; the unseen roots of the trees clawing at the paws of the animals slowed their pace even more so.

Kylae peered through the trees ahead and froze. Though they were nearing Watchtop Hill, they had to pass along the bay to get to the top. He motioned for Conan and soon he was at his side, asking him why on all the island did he suddenly stop.

"Look ahead. We have to pass the bay to get to Watchtop Hill. Should we chance it? Or do ya think we should double back and head through the Tangletwigs?"

Conan paused a moment before replying, "No. To go through the Tangletwigs means we have to go around the West Shore and a secluded bay is safer than the open ocean. I think we should keep going forward."

Kylae nodded in agreement and waved a paw at the animals behind them, a signal to keep moving.

The once quiet, angelic waters of the bay now resembled the work of a demon; waves pounded against the shore, their white-crested tips, the only source of color in the dark storm.

A shriek cut through the din of the pounding rain and Conan and Kylae quickly turned around, prepared for the worst.

A female squirrel was screaming as her child was swept from paws and blown to the beach below.

"Stay here! Nobody move!" Conan shouted as he darted towards the shore, his eyes never leaving the retreating form of the little squirrel as the water picked her up and dragged her out to sea.

He flung himself in the water and swam with the current towards the child, Kylae close behind.

In a sudden rush of adrenalin, he lunged forward and grabbed her tail, pulling her into his arms as he maneuvered through the water with his own powerful tail.

"Conan, hurry!" Kyae cried as he looked to the distance. A huge wave was rolling towards the shore, gaining momentum as it neared.

Conan's eyes widened in fear and amazement as he tried to swim against the current; which was heading to the open ocean and the wave.

He gasped, swallowing a mouth full of salt water as a sharp pain stabbed in his chest. Weakened by whatever injury he suffered, he poked his head of the water and called to Kylae.

"Catch her and swim back to shore, Kylae!"

Kylae held out his paws as Conan threw the small squirrel in the air, causing another spasm of pain to shoot through his body.

"Conan! Hurry! I'm not leaving you here!" Kylae screamed as he awkwardly held the girl while trying to stay on the surface.

Conan shook his head and yelled back, "Go Kylae! There's not enough time! Take her back, and I'll meet you at Watchtop Hill!"

Kylae lingered a moment in the water and then slowly turned around, swimming towards the shore.

Without the weight of the girl to slow him down, Conan struggled as he tried to out swim the incoming wave, fear sweeping through him.

Behind him, he could hear it building, and suddenly he was being swept up and over, becoming a part of the wave as it came upon him. He lost all sense of direction and the sea, which had always been a source of beauty and peace for him, was now his greatest fear.

Images flashed through his mind and he instantly thought of his two sons, who were now probably waiting for their father to return. He pushed harder against the wave and he surfaced, taking a huge gulp of air as he gathered in his surroundings. A huge mass blocked his sight and he screamed, "Plaque!" as he realized what the mass was: the side of a cliff.

He closed his eyes and the next thing he felt was the smashing force of water upon rock. Again, he thought of his children, and he felt his heart melt in grief and regret. He knew he'd failed them, and by failing them, he had broken the promise he had made to his wife a few years prior. Heart protect them, he thought, and thenhis body made contact with the cliff and the waves carried his motionless, mangled body back out to sea.