Journey Into Mossflower

Sal Fish Fin

Chapters 12-14

Chapter 12

We're back at St. Ninian's church, where Cluny mulls about planning, paying no attention to the Voles.

  • What thoughts occupied the dark devious mind of Cluny the Scourge?

He obviously wants Martin to come by with his great throbbing... sword.

  • “Go and get Shadow. Bring him here to me.”

Here you go.

I am silly.

  • The Chief had a plan. Like all of his schemes it would be cunningly simple and wickedly brilliant. There was no better general than Cluny when it came to strategy.

I haven't read this book in a while, but I have the feeling that I'll have to sarcastically quote this line several times before I finish this book.

  • Shadow had been with Cluny for many years. Nobody was sure if he was rat or weasel, or even a bit of both.

  • Goes to check Wikipedia*

Yeah, That's not possible.

  • He was very lithe and wiry, and his long sinewy body was covered in sleek, black fur. There was no hint of another color in his coat; it was blacker than moonless midnight. His eyes were strangely slanted, black without any brightness in them. The eyes of Shadow were like those of a dead thing.

I wish I had something witty to say to that.

Cluny says he wants Shadow to climb the Abbey walls, and proceeds to give him perfect directions to Great Hall.

  • "... Walk in, turn around, and on the left wall facing you is a long tapestry covered in pictures and designs. Now listen carefully. In the bottom right- hand corner of that tapestry is a picture of a mouse dressed in armor, leaning on a big sword. I want it! Cut it, rip it, or tear it out, but get it for me. I must have it! Don’t come back without it, Shadow."
  • ...
  • Fangburn whispered to Cheesethief, “What use is a picture of a mouse to the Chief?”

Remember what was he doing his entire introductory chapter? He probably goes through a lot of cloth. Just sayin'.

  • Cluny heard. He came to the edge of the pulpit. Grasping the sides of the lectern he surveyed his small congregation like some satanic minister.

Mentions of Hell et. al: 8

  • "Ah, Brother Fangburn, let me explain. I will tell you why it is that you and all your kind will forever remain servants, while I shall always be the master. Did you not see the faces of those mice today? The mere mention of Martin the Warrior sends them into ecstasies."

I've made far too many sex jokes at this point in the review, so I'm leaving this one alone.

  • "Martin is some sort of angel; I’m the opposite."

Mentions of Heaven et. al: 2

Mentions of Hell et. al: 9? Okay, 8.5

So now it's pretty obvious what's up: Cluny's going to attack Redwall's morale by stealing Martin away.

Cluny’s tail banged down on the rotting lectern, smashing it into several fragments.

  • “Bring that picture back here to me. Do this, and your reward will be great when I sit on the Abbot’s chair in Redwall Abbey. But fail me, and your screams will be heard far beyond the woodland and meadows!”

That would have been a lot more threatening if it didn't involve "woodland and meadows."

Chapter 13

Back at Redwall, everyone's taking stock of the food stores. Ambrose reflects on the mice not letting him drink himself into a stupor, and is interrupted by baby moles who ask him where to put stuff. Padding!

Matthias and Constance are busy training the woodlanders, who all have certain skills that they're used to. Otters are slingmasters, and fieldmice have mad arrow skillz. Matthias decides to teach some of the Redwall mice how to use the quarterstaff.

  • He had discovered in himself a natural skill with the long ash pole.

My personal theory is that Matthias had levels in Monk. I mean, in the animated series, Matti had mad hops.

Of course, that doesn't stop him from harassing the n00bs into attacking him.

  • “Keep that head guarded, Brother Anthony!”
Thwack!
  • “I warned you, Brother! Now look out, I’m coming after you again.”

But the harshness pays off... sort of.

  • “No, no! Don’t just stand there, Brother! Defend yourself! Hit out at me.”
Thwack, crack!

And down Matti goes. Anthony gets recruited for Constance's cudgel and wrestling class. There's also a discussion of the lack of lethal weapons in the Abbey.

  • “Yes, he’s very strong, but I do wish that we had some real weapons of war — swords and daggers and such like. We won’t kill many rats with wooden staves.”
  • “Maybe not,” the badger replied. “But you must remember that we are here to defend, not to attack or kill.”
  • Matthias threw down his staff. He took a dipper of water from an oaken pail, drinking deeply, then splashing the remains over his aching head.
  • "A wise observation, Constance, but you try telling that to Cluny and his horde. See how far you get.”

At lunch, Matthias bugs Cornflower for a bit before heading over to bond with Methuselah some more. Methuselah, not being an idiot, knows that Matthias wants to find Martin's tomb, because that's where the sword is likely to be.

  • “That is a thing no creature knows. For many long years now I have puzzled and pored over ancient manuscripts, translating, following hidden trails, always with the same result: nothing. I have even used my gift of tongues, speaking to the bees and others who can go into places too small for us, but always it is the same — rumors, legends and old mouse tales.”

Matthias is about to give up hope, when Methuselah relates an old tale about a sparrow-hawk who claims that the Sparrows stole "something" from the mice of Redwall. Problem: the sparrows live at the top of the Abbey, and as such, it would be necessary to climb up the walls. Which begs the question of how the abbey was built, without steps that led to the top, but whatever, plot is plot.

Chapter 14

Back to Cluny, who's heading to Redwall with Ragear and Shadow. Ragear's proud that he's been selected, but we're told that Cluny just needed a fall guy in case things went bad. Cluny goes off to do something, leaving Ragear and Shadow alone. And it's...

  • “Nice drops of rain, eh, Shadow? Good for the grass. Blow me, these walls are pretty high. I’m glad it’s you climbing them and not me. I’d never make it. Too fat, hahaha.”
  • Ragear’s voice trailed off. He fumbled with his whiskers, wilting beneath the basilisk stare of Shadow’s dead black eyes. He shuddered and fell silent.

Awkward.

Anyway, Cluny returns, having discovered that the mice on sentry duty are all fast asleep. Shadow gets to climbing the wall. When he gets to the top...

  • Friar Hugo mumbled gently in his sleep, and moved his head so that his cowl slid off. Drizzle fell upon the fat friar’s face, threatening to wake him. Gently as a night breeze, Shadow replaced the hood.

Ain't that cute?

...

BUT IT'S WRONG!!!!

What is my problem?

Shadow makes his way into Great Hall, slamming the door by accident, but thankfully not waking anyone. He finds the tapestry, and Jacques gives us this...

  • So this was the picture of the warrior mouse that Cluny lusted after.

See? Even he realizes all of this homoerotic subtext between Martin and Cluny. He did it on purpose.

Shadow starts biting Martin out of the tapestry.

  • Matthias tossed and turned in his bed, exhausted, but unable to sleep. His mind revolved around a host of problems and schemes: the sword, Martin’s grave, defense of the Abbey, Cornflower.

Wet Sweet dreams, Matti.

  • He was somewhere in a long deserted room, not unlike Great Hall. A voice called to him, “Matthias.”
  • “Oh, go away,” the young mouse muttered drowsily. “Get someone else. I’m tired.”
  • But the voice persisted, boring into his mind. “Matthias, Matthias, I need you.”

... The depths to which my mind is willing to sink.

Of course, it's Martin, trying to get Matthias to stop Shadow from stealing him. When Matthias figures this out, he heads there, tripping down the steps and getting up just in time to see Shadow make off with Martin.

  • Bowling his body into a forward roll, he knocked Matthias down like a skittle.

Shadow used Rollout! It's Super Effective!

Matthias shouts a warning, and Constance blocks off one section of the stairs to the ramparts, forcing Shadow to waste time changing direction. Then he grabs Shadow's legs, preventing him from climbing the steps... And Shadow kicks him in the head several times, knocking him out.

  • “Surrender, rat, I’ve got you,” cried Mr. Fieldmouse as he grabbed hold of the thief. But, rummaging in his pouch to free the rope, Shadow’s claw had closed on the handle of his dagger.

Shadow had a dagger, but chose to cut the tapestry out with his teeth. Yeah.

  • He drew it out swiftly and drove it twice into the fieldmouse’s unprotected body.

Constance comes in and Shadow faces her, but she disarms him in a single blow. Right over the wall and outside of the Abbey. Good work.

  • “Cluny, I’m hurt, help me,” he gasped.
  • The piece of tapestry lay upon the road. Cluny snatched it, up eagerly. Behind him he could hear the gatehouse bolts being withdrawn amid the shouts of angry mice. Ruthlessly he kicked at Shadow’s broken body.
  • “Get up and run for it or stay there, fool. I don’t carry cripples or bunglers.”

Dude... Not cool.

Cluny gets away, naturally, Ragear isn't so lucky. There's a ditch that he can't leap, and so he has to go a different way. Matthias doesn't even know what happened. He thinks Shadow still has the tapestry.

  • His flat black eyes clouding over, Shadow watched Matthias. Laconically he spoke. His voice was strangely calm. “Too late, mouse. Martin is with Cluny now.”
  • It was the last thing Shadow ever said. He gave one final shudder and lay dead.

Good riddance.

Comments

Huh, my mind immediately went to Shadow from Final Fantasy VI.

I adored this book as a kid, and all the others. It's kind of embarrassing to look back and see how formulaic they really were. Still, Brian Jacques was an awesome guy; the sheer variety of jobs he had before becoming an author staggers me. I'm actually very interested in what his stand-up routine (which he said was his favorite pre-Redwall job) was like.
Eegah 22nd Mar 12