The Lady's Seal Edit
Cover picture can go here XD
"." (Some quote or poem thingy to do with the theme)
Author's Note Edit
So, here's the first draft of my original story I've been working on, some things will be a little rough as it is a first draft, but hopefully I can fix that. With this story, feel free to give critique (kindly please XD) so when I do the next draft I know what you would like me to improve on.
(I'll elaborate later, but for now to put it simply) This is dedicated to all of you who have been supportive friends of both the Redwall Wiki, and here :) Thank you all :D
Meet the Characters Edit
In order of appearance
So, as for the prologue, there is one. It occurs more as a vision than anything, and I'm sort of writing it in Mystlandian so the plot will be a little less obvious. Unfortunately, this is taking some time so it won't be posted just yet.
Chapter 1- Farewell Edit
The cream colored bird winged its way downward through the fluffy clouds like a deadly arrow, know instinctively its exact destination. With sinewy talons it gripped a tattered piece of rolled up parchment, including a letter from its sender that was stamped with a red wax seal- the seal of Lady Maerue, leader of Midchan.
Raelin sat watching Clair scribble on paper with a colored pen, sketching a circular pony with four lines for legs. She added a rainbow, forgetting or purposely excluding one of the colors... probably green, Clair didn’t like green very much... and proceeded to add a small smiley face under the pony.
Her older sister tried not to laugh when Clair asked her opinion on the drawing. She herself was no artist, only vocally, but she could sketch simple things, and even she had to smile at Clair’s attempts. Who could forget a color of the rainbow?
The fire flickered warmly in its hearth, running low as the wood had not been changed in a while, she made a mental note to change it.
Then, there was a soft clack, almost a knock, but as if the person knocking was using their claws to tap very high up on the door. Strange… Raelin thought, prodding Clair’s shoulder. The little fox looked up and set down her drawing supplies, tipping her head to one side questioningly.
“Who is it?”
Raelin shrugged, getting to her paws. “I’m not sure… the weather isn’t very good- you wouldn’t think we’d have visitors…” She felt her voice trailing off. With Clair following very closely behind her, she walked toward the door to open it. Peering out, she only saw the snowy rocky landscape, evergreen trees, an occasional cabin, and the coast surrounding the island. Then she looked down.
There was a rolled up piece of parchment, a letter. It was strange… it had a red wax seal on, which looked slightly familiar, but she wasn’t sure from where. She picked it up, Clair tugged on her paw and she trundled back inside, closing the heavy door from the bitter wind.
By the warm fire, it took only a moment to carefully break of the wax seal and put it on top of a table by the couch. Her eyes blurred as she scanned through the elegant writing, gaze focussed.
Her heart sunk.
Clair, as if noticing her sister’s disappointment, looked up in worry. “Sissy, what is it?”
Something told her she had better keep the letter a secret, from Clair at least. She shook her head, silver headfur falling down slightly to hide her face. “It’s- nothing Clair… Just, go get Grandma and Grandpa… Please.”
Clair, of course, didn’t fully believe her, but nonetheless shuffled off to go find. their Grandparents. They had no parents, their father had left for this exact reason- he had been drafted, and they had different mothers. Raelin couldn’t bring herself to explain to Clair why she was worried, but her Grandparents would have to know. She scanned over the letter again, half-heartedly hoping it was fake.
I must request your service in Midchan in households of three or more. Your boat will leave early tomorrow. Thank you for your understanding.
She did notice something strange though… The signature and closing. Didn’t Lady Maerue usually say gratefully? Not sincerely- that was too stuffy for the otter leader.
Raelin had another thought- It was so much like when they took her dad away… Or more accurately, he was drafted and left. But for Raelin as a tiny fox with no mother, it was as good as stealing.
A moment later, Clair walked along, guiding two elderly foxes by the paws. Grandpa, who was simply known as Grandpa, seemed a little disgruntled but concerned all the same, Grandma, or Grandma Heather, was a little shaken up as if she already knew what the trouble was.
Once seated, Grandma Heather spoke quietly out of the corner of her mouth to Clair. “You may go now, Clair. Upstairs please- and no eavesdropping!” Her voice was somehow gentle, yet commanding at the same time. Grandpa nodded in Clair’s direction as if agreeing with his wife.
Once the younger fox had left, Raelin pulled out the letter, and picked up the seal from the table.
The fire danced very low now, and only make small crackles when the wood creaked and popped, Raelin looked down as the cursive words. “It’s… a letter from Lady Maerue of Midchan, she…” The young fox lost her nerve. “Here,” she passed the letter to them both and waited.
Grandpa was the first to look up, “Is there an age recommendation?”
“I honestly don’t know, I don’t even know why this was decided… the regions haven’t needed to draft people in so long…” She looked up, tensing. “But… I could go? If you were okay with that. You can take care of Clair, right?... and.” Grandma put a concerned paw on her shoulder, with a surprisingly tough grip for her age.
“Look ‘Lin, I know we can’t go, so it’s either you or Clair… and I think Clair’s too young, but… you have to remember we need you too.” She explained, glancing over to her husband for support.
“I know Grandma, but someone has to go, and Clair’s getting older, she’ll help you when you need it.”
Grandma sighed, now Grandpa was the one to seem worried. It wasn’t that Raelin didn’t feel guilty, but she knew that the only way she could get her head around this letter was to go and find out for herself, though something about it gave her a bad feeling, she just wasn’t sure what.
“We’ve still got a couple days, right?” Grandpa asked, passing back the letter. His eyesight never had been too good. Raelin sighed, looking at the writing.
“No- it says the boat to the mainland leaves early tomorrow morning,”
“Well, don’t worry ‘Lin, we’ll figure it out before dusk, just go and play with Clair… I think I see her tail, probably sitting at the top of the stairs, to eavesdrop after I told her not to no doubt.”
Raelin left and walked lightly up the woven carpeted steps, peering up to see Clair’s expression of confusion. “So, what’d they say?”
“About what?” Raelin answered coyly.
There was a momentary pause of silence before Clair answered.
“…I dunno, just what’d you talk about?”
“Nothing important... here- why don’t we just go up to my room and do something fun? We could play with the puppets we made last winter… I could sing, and of course you could paint.” She laughed, smiling at Clair’s response.
“Well… I suppose so, just I don’t want ta sing, I don’t like singing…”
“Alright then, you don’t have to. You can just draw some more if you want.”
Raelin led Clair up toward the last flight of stairs to the attic, where here room was. Messy as it could be at times, she would miss it.
Quietly sipping mint tea as she watched Clair scribble once more, Raelin turned to glance out the window, watching the dark waves crash on the rocky shore once more.
Her attention was caught by something else, she got up, looking questioningly at the object. She opened the window, and pulled it inside holding it in her black furred paw. It was… a feather? Strange, maybe from the messenger bird. Then again, didn’t Lady Maerue have birds with iridescent black-green feathers or something? Not cream… Raelin stowed the feather in her satchel, alongside the red wax seal and letter.
Raelin packed everything she thought she would need in her small bag; it was surprising how much a simple satchel could fit. Then again, she assumed she would be buying new clothes once she had gotten to Midchan, after all it was much warmer there.
Clair had long gone to bed, much to her dismay as usual, and Raelin had went downstairs to talk with her Grandparents as expected. In complete honesty, their opinion was not at all what she had expected. They had even suggested that Clair could go, and that would be the final decision. But what could a fox of only twenty-seven seasons do in Midchan? Raelin had a feeling they would require more than carrying water or simple chores. Besides, Clair certainly couldn’t go into a huge city on her own, or stay there for any amount of time. It made the most sense for Raelin to go.
She felt a little bad, knowing that her Grandparents would have trouble during the worst of the long winter season, but they would have to manage. Hopefully her little sister could help with that as she got older.
Raelin packed up her last objects, a small woven bag containing all the Aurix she had ever saved, a special adventure book she had been given by a friend seasons ago, a grey beanie given to her by Grandma Heather that had been her step-mother’s, and a few more things. She had a few sheets of parchment just in case, a small pen, a music book of songs and folder, only two outfits, the one she was wearing, and another which was slightly fancier, and then of course a simple hooded cloak; basic objects like her hairbrush, and finally- the creme feather, the red wax seal, and the letter she had gotten. Anything else she would simply have to buy once she reached Midchan.
The fox closed her satchel. It certainly won’t fit much else, will it?
Then, Raelin moved to her desk, writing on the paper, the pen’s maroon hued ink reflected her candle as she scrawled out her farewell. Hopefully they wouldn’t be too mad at her… She read through the short note, making sure each letter was complete, it was just a small habit, but still.
I’ve gone to Midchan in Clair’s place, don’t worry, I’ll miss you.
Raelin took the note, and her packed belongings with her, on tiptoe as she walked quietly downstairs. If she woke Clair, it would not end well… She stuck it to the front door with a small tack, and opening the door. A gust of crisp air from the coast greeted her, she turned to say goodbye silently, and left the small house that held so many memories.
The sun had barely broken the horizon when she at last reached sight of the coast, and the boat waiting for passengers to Midchan was tied to the docks below.
It looks like I have a long way to go...
Sighing, Raelin adjusted the strap of her satchel to secure it, mapping out her path down to the shore in her head with a glance. There was a loud sound and thick gray smoke rose from the boat/ship, the fox’s ears pricked. How could she be late? She had planned it all out, and hadn’t been stopped. Something was off about this whole situation.
She ran down the rocky slope, leaping with as much agility as she could muster from boulder to boulder, leaning precariously on the edge of a small drop on multiple occasions.
Finally she reached the groves of pines, and moved faster, weaving through the forest. It was pretty this time of year. Sometimes she used to come here and play with Clair, and even seasons before that go on walks with her dad, but that was so long ago, even though it didn’t feel so long.
She spotted a glimmer of light through the shadows and trees, and slowed, catching her breath. Clouds formed in the cold air as she breathed out, brushing past the last pine branch.
There! She could see the small bay with docks! Small specks showed a few creatures getting on the ship, it was bigger than she had imagined.
She sprinted the last stretch of snow-blanketed ground, and came to a skidding halt. Then, brushed herself off, and proceeded to pull a handful of Aurix out of her bad for the cost of the fare.
“That’ll be nine Aurix… Thanks Miss- here’s your ticket and have a nice journey,” the creature selling tickets spoke in a tired monotone, obviously he had been doing this for some time.
Stepping lightly onto the ramp, she glanced back with a heavy heart, hoping she could return one day. The fox took the last step away from Pinecrest Isle, up onto the deck of the ship.
Most creatures kept to themselves, a few bundled with thick blankets to keep out the cold. Raelin glanced around in dismay, would Lady Maerue really send so many away from their families, what was going on?
She wasn’t quite sure what to think, it was all too new and strange. Reading her ticket carefully, Raelin edged along the rail to the small cabins below.
The stairs, appearing sturdy, were surprising old; she jumped the last step gingerly out of precaution. The white fox walked through the narrow hallway, reading the plaques that told the cabin number in dim torchlight on the right side. There must have been another entrance to the Cabins, for when she began counting she realized the numbers were going down. C10… C8… C6… C4- She checked the ticket, C4 was her cabin.
There was next to nothing in it, which was the size of a large walk in closet, except for a bunk-bed, and a small round window in the ship’s hull, made from a ring off iron off of what must have once been a barrel.
She assumed she would be staying alone, for no other creature arrived within the following minutes; to her that was partially a relief.
The fox then set her small bag of belongings on the top bunk, using it as a pillow for there was not one in the cabin. She pulled out her leather bound diary and a pen, singing quietly to herself as she searched for the next empty page.
Raelin glanced out the small window, watching the free soaring seabirds glide across the endless sky. The ship pushed off from the island with a shudder, and the fox’s ears pricked instinctively at the loud sound reverberated through the ship sounding its depart.
Pinecrest Isle shrunk as they moved, she could almost see Clair waking up now, amber eyes growing wide and sad with disappointment, Grandpa and Grandma would comfort her, but the little fox would feel the same as Raelin had nearly twenty-four seasons ago. She still hadn’t grown up, but no one had all the answers like they did when she was a child. Raelin hugged the diary to her chest, knowing even if the entry had words on it, it could not describe how she felt.