Morty's in a pretty bad mood due to last night's events. But he realizes he's being too harsh and settles down again. Matthias comes in with good news: Cornflower's dad is alright. Matthias's own injuries are mentioned (IE, he was kicked repeatedly in the face by a rat, and logically speaking must have only narrowly escaped getting his neck snapped), but he shrugs it off to put on a brave face for everyone else. Methuselah sees through his charade, and the two of them spend a bit of time staring at the place in the tapestry where Martin used to be. He goes off to bed, making small talk with Cornflower on the way. When he finally gets to his room:
- Matthias staggered weakly into his room — but the moment he closed the door he became a different mouse. With bright eager eyes he groped under his bed and brought forth the waist pouch that had belonged to Shadow. Tucking the long dagger into his belt, he wrapped the climbing rope around his shoulder and said aloud to himself, “Right, Cluny, you and I have a score to settle.”
So... if I get this right. He was actually feeling good all along, but pretended that he was feeling bad and pretending to feel good
. Yo dawg.
He rappels down the wall with Shadow's rope and dagger.
- He had imagined the descent would be very difficult, and surprised himself by handling it with ease, his confidence growing as he slid swiftly and noiselessly to the fern-covered ground.
In a non-magical world, Monks are kind of awesome.
Meanwhile, at Cluny's camp, preparations were being made. Sharpening weapons, pulling up planks to build things, collecting slingstones and...
- while some coiled ropes about their bodies.
I'm sure that this serves some sort of purpose. I just can't see what it is.
- Inside the church Cluny sat up in the choir loft, the image of barbaric authority. He held the scourging tail in one claw, while gripped in the other was his
Cluny's got the Voles tied up and at his mercy, gloating to them about how great he is now that he's got Martin's power behind him. And no, I will not stop with the Martin x Cluny jokes. Because they're too much fun.
Mrs Vole comes up with a Proto-Kamina speech about Cluny never being able to enslave the Spirits of the Redwallers; Cluny responds that he intends to kill them. He has the voles dragged off and Redtooth comes in to say the army is ready. I want to note how Jacques describes the different critters:
- black rats, brown rats, grey rats, piebald rats, skulking weasels, furtive stoats and sinuous ferrets
... what the hell is piebald?
Anyway, after a scene that makes me imagine that there's a cheerleading section in this army, they begin marching on to Redwall.
Meanwhile, Ragear is lost. Because rats are stupid. He sees Matthias out in the woods and starts tailing him (badly; Matthias is almost instantly aware that he's being followed), making up a story to tell Cluny.
- “There was six of ’em, Chief, they tried surrounding me, but I fought like a devil! Then I says to meself, Ragear, says I, you’d better capture this last one and fetch him back for the Chief to question.” Then Cluny’ll say to me, “Ragear, good old Ragear, I knew I could depend on you. Why d’you suppose I took you along in the first place? Mangefur, bring food and wine for my old pal, Ragear the Brave.” Ha, yes, then I’ll pat the Chief on the back and say, “By Satan’s whiskers, you old rodent! Have you never thought of retiring and letting me lead the horde? Why, with a gallant warrior like me in comm—”
Mentions of Hell et. al: 10.5
Thankfully, Matthias interrupts Ragear's fanfic with a tree branch to the head. He ties up the unconscious rat and moves on.
- Humming a tune beneath his breath, he strode out with a will, almost breaking from the cover of the trees straight out into the flat meadowland.
I'd bet he was humming This Tune
Anyway, Matthias reaches the church yard, where there are rats about patrolling.
And speaking of Trolling, this is where one of my all-time favorite characters shows up:
- The young mouse spoke his thoughts aloud. “Hmm, this could present a little problem.”
- A strange voice answered him. “Problem, a little problem? Well at least it’s not a fully-grown adult problem.”
- Matthias squeaked aloud with fright. Whirling about, he looked for the source of the mystery voice.
- There was no one about. Taking a grip of himself, he squared his shoulders and called out boldly: “Come out here this instant and show yourself!”
- The voice answered. It seemed to come from directly in front of him. “Show m’self indeed! How many pairs of eyes d’you want, young feller, eh, eh? Fine state of affairs, bless m’soul! What, what!”
Seriously, the guy is essentially a walking trollface.
- “Basil Stag Hare at your service, sir! Expert scout, hindleg fighter, wilderness guide and camouflage specialist, ahem, liberator of tender young crops, carrots, lettuce and other such strange beasts. Pray tell me whom I have the pleasure of addressing, and please state the nature of your little problem.”
We also get a description for virtually every other hare in the series:
- Matthias decided the peculiar hare was either slightly mad or tipsy.
Basil finds Matthias' name rather odd, and Matthias shoots back with what is essentially "I'm rubber, you're glue." In response:
- “Ah well, Hare’s the family name, don’t y’know. My parents named me Basil, though the old mater wanted me to be called Columbine Agnes. Always longed for a young lass, she did.”
- “Did I ever tell you I wanted to be one; a magnificent royal stag with great coathanger antlers? So, I went down to the jolly old river one night and christened m’self Stag! Had two toads and a newt as witnesses, y’know. Oh yes.”
And then they have a picnic while Matthias infodumps. Eventually, they formulate a plan to get the tapestry back; Basil will create a distraction while Matthias infiltrates. Basil uses Aid Another to help Matthias with his Hide and move Silently checks, and then starts trolling the sentries as hard as he can. I specifically like this line:
- Adding insult to injury, he danced around the fallen sentries, sprinkling them with daisies until they arose, cursing him, to continue the chase.
That is simply the greatest thing.
Matthias gets inside and sees no army, not Cluny, and no tapestry. It takes him a second to figure out that Cluny had already left. He turns around to get a warning back to Redwall, when he hears Abram Vole locked in a toolshed and sets about freeing the family.
- Forcing the spike in the hoop of the lock, Matthias levered away.
After being angered by Colin's constant bitching, Matthias gets the strength to send the spike straight through the wall and breaking the door off. Or maybe he broke the lock off of the door entirely, rather than just breaking the lock. It was oddly described.
He cuts them free and starts to escape with them. Right into the middle of the rats