Kiss of a Rose by Emijane123

Chapter 1: The battle

A mousemaid threw herself on him, battering his head with a pebble loaded in her sling. Once, twice, thrice she struck. Taken aback by the ferocity of the attack, Badrang tasted blood from a mouthwound. The loaded sling caught him hard in the left eye. Snarling with pain and rage, he grabbed the mousemaid. Lifting her easily, he flung her savagely from him. Rose’s head struck the wall heavily, and she slid down like a broken doll.

Roaring and screaming like a wounded wolf, Martin threw himself from the walltop. Badrang leaped into the hole, only to find Pallum in a needletight ball blocking his way. The burned palisade of the slave compound saved Martin, breaking his fall as it exploded in a cloud of black ashdust to the dawn streaked sky. Badrang had time to hack at Pallum only once before the Warrior was on him. He was heaved bodily from the hole, arching his back in agony as the flat of Martin's small sword whipped him.

"Get up, you scum! Up on your paws and face me!"

Badrang scrambled up. Holding the long sword of Luke the Warrior before him with both paws, he rushed Martin. The onlookers gave a cry of dismay as the sword raked Martin's chest. Heedless of it, the Warrior began striking back. Steel clashed upon steel as the young mouse with the short sword battered Badrang round and round the ruins of the compound. Badrang flailed out in a panic, catching his enemy on the shoulder, arm and paw. They locked blades and stood with their noses touching, Badrang's eyes wide with horror as he stared into the face of the snarling, unstoppable Warrior who was forcing him backwards as he gritted out, "I told you I would return someday and put an end to you!"

Wrenching his face away, the stoat bit deep into his foe's shoulder, only to find himself lifted bodily and hurled hard against the wall.

Martin flung the shrew sword from him, locking both paws around Badrang's grip on the sword. The Tyrant wailed as he felt the Warrior's inexorable power turning the weapon until its point was hovering close to his heart.

Badrang's nerve deserted him. "Don't kill me," he sobbed. "You can have it all, the fortress, everythi-!"

The Tyrant of Marshank's mouth fell open and his head lolled to one side as he fell forward, carrying Martin to the ground underneath him. With his last vestige of strength, the young mouse pushed the slain foebeast from him and tugged his father's sword loose. Lying on his side with sand crusting the blood of his warwounds, Martin saw dawn's light beam across the face of Rose where she lay close to him by the wall.

The merciful darkness closed in on him as he murmured to her, "Rose, we could have chopped the sycamore down with this."

Keyla, Tullgrew and Brome came running with their herbs. The young otter's paw found a pulse at Rose's neck, feeble and thready, but there was one! "She's alive, Brome!"

Tullgrew was bending over Martin. “They’re both alive, thanks be to the seasons!”

Keyla would have wept with joy had he not been so afraid. “Where will we find a healer skilled enough to care for them both? If we lose Rose, we lose Martin! And the same goes for her, if we lose Martin! We just can’t loose them, not after all they’ve done!”

Tullgrew looked up. “I don’t know of a healer, mate. We can’t take them back to Noonvale. They wouldn’t welcome Martin, and I don’t think we should separate them.”

“I don’t either.” Brome’s voice cut the silence. The young mouse had a paw in a sling. “I’m not going back to Noonvale. I’m going to try and help my sister and Martin. I just need a more skilled healer than I am now!”

Suddenly a new voice broke into their discussion. “What about the molewife Polleekin? Isn’t she a healer?” Barkjon stood weeping over a grave, placing a javelin launcher and throwers on it. It was his voice that cut the silence. “Take them to Polleekin. She’ll know what to do.”

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