Note: in honor of this being my first update written after the airing of The Legend of Korra
(coughakathereasonitooksolongtogetthisdonecough), all images in this post will be GI Fs
from that show, or its prequel, Avatar: the Last Airbender. They will show up whenever I deem them most [in]appropriate. I am not sorry.
Matthias wakes up from his nap and revels in that "I just had the best sleep ever" feeling for all of one second before he realizes he's an idiot. He's lost and alone in the forest, and goes off to hide under a tree because forests are scary in the dark. Seeing how pitiful a figure he must look, he tries to gain some man points back by challenging the standard creepy forest sound that he hears. And it's a baby squirrel, sucking on his paw. Matti finds some kind of dark humor in the fact that he was essentially about to stab an infant in the face.
The squirrel doesn't talk, so Matthias has to communicate in "Yes or no" questions, and he eventually gets the little guy to lead him back to Redwall.
Yes, that's all that happens in this chapter.
No, I have nothing funny to say about it.
Morty is in the courtyard with other relieved defenders, I guess in some gesture of camaraderie, when Methuselah comes over and they talk about being old.Then Methuselah points out that there's a tree that's moving about in an odd manner, and Constance is called to check on it.
The rats are having trouble with the plank, and Cheesethief makes the cardinal sin of looking stupid in front of Cluny.
- Cluny aimed a kick at him as the efficient weasel took his place. “You just sit there and be still,” Cluny snarled. “And try not to make enough noise to waken the entire Abbey.”
Scragg gets the plank steadied, and Cluny is the first to try to run across.
And then Constance comes out of nowhere and knocks the plank clear off the wall. And Cluny falls the whole way.
- ''Scragg still held one end of the plank. He leaned precariously out from the elm to see where Cluny fell.
- Seizing his opportunity for revenge, Cheesethief shoved Scragg hard in the back. The weasel dropped like a stone with the plank on top of him.''
That's kind of a terrible way to go.
Cheesethief's next move is to check if Cluny's alive, and when it turns out that he is, he starts ass-kissing to get back into Cluny's good graces.
- Tenderly he lifted the dangling tail and arranged it gently alongside his leader. “Try not to move, Chief. Lie still, we’ll soon get you back to camp.”
And thus a million and a half Cheesethief/Cluny slash fics burst from the reproductive organs of furries and fangirls (and furry fangirls) everywhere.
Scragg, too is also alive, and after he orders the able-bodied to hoist Cluny to base, Cheesethief doubles back just as Matthias and Sam get close enough to watch.
- ''Cheesethief cocked a mockingly sympathetic ear. “What’s that, Scragg, my old mate? Tired, are you? Yes, you must be, lying there like that. Tell you what, I’ll help you to go to sleep, shall I?”
- The rat placed his foot on the weasel’s throat and began pressing down. Scragg struggled feebly, fighting for breath, unable to stop his tormentor. Cheesethief took malicious pleasure in his revenge.
- Cruelly he leaned his full weight upon the weasel’s rasping throat. “Hush now. Go to sleep, Scragg. Dream of the command you never had.”
- Scragg made one final gurgling whimper and lay still.
- Cheesethief slunk off chuckling with satisfaction.''
Children read this book.
After a bit of a narmy reaction (by the narrator no less), this happened.
- [T]he tiny creature raced up the trunk of the old elm. Reaching the thin branches above the parapet, he ran out along one. Using it as a springboard, he bounced nimbly on to the ramparts and vanished
has managed to perform by himself what it took an entire army to fail at.
- sucking fiercely at his paw.
My Suspension of Disbelief cracked just a little bit.
Anyway, he gets Constance to open the door, and she carries Matthias to the main gate to watch the army retreat. Redtooth is trying to put on a good show of being Cluny, but it fails, mostly because the real Cluny is on a stretcher near him. Covered or not, who else is important enough that to be carried like that? Why they couldn't take him on a route through the woods is anyone's guess.
Mortimer, good sport that he is, orders that nobody fire at them while they're retreating. It's not met with unanimous support, but his word is law.
- Dispirited and battleworn, carrying their fallen leader, the maimed and wounded hobbled painfully along at the rear, the bitter ashes of vanquishment and defeat mingling with the dust from their stumbling vanguard.
Oh, wait. No I'm not.
Anyway, we get another love-interest-ish moment with Cornflower. It was almost cheesy, but this line saved it.
- “I’m like an old bad penny, I always come back,” Matthias whispered.
Maybe because I know firsthand that it works. Sometimes. At all other times, you get slapped.
Also, Cornflower's daddy is alright. There's like two lines devoted to it, and the knowledge is ultimately pointless in the scope of things, but hey, if Matthias hadn't asked, he'd have come off as a selfish idiot.
The Abbot pulls him away for a council of war, where he introduces Matthias properly to Silent Sam, the squirrel who led him back. His parents actually let him wander around Mossflower alone (And the award for worst parents ever goes to... Okay, Ozai and Darth Vader still have them beat), and will be around to pick him up soon. Basil will be on his way back as well, presumably by lunch.
After he gets a brief of what was happening while he was gone, the subject turns to Cluny. Mortimer, wise as he is, is naive (or trusting in the goodness inherent in the hearts of every creature, so same thing, basically) enough to think that Cluny's gone for good. As Constance points out, he isn't. He can't let the word spread that he got owned by a bunch of mice in an abbey, so he has no choice but to try again.
This convinces him, and he declares Constance, Matthias, Winifred, Ambrose and Foremole de facto leaders in case of another assault by Cluny, and then tells Matthias that Methusaelah wants to talk to him.
Book 2: Chapter 3
Back in Cluny's camp, his captains are standing guard and taking stock Cluny's many injuries.
- a broken arm, a broken leg, numerous cracked ribs, a fractured tail, smashed claws and other hurts not yet diagnosed.
It's a nice touch that they're completely terrified of putting him out of his misery right there because he might just be testing them. No, think about this for a second. Their leader is grievously injured, and they're half-convinced that he could still take on the five of them if he wanted to, and he was just faking to see what they'd do if he was at their mercy, because they think he's just that tough
. That's an incredible feat of showing instead of telling that I have to applaud because it's actually one of Jacques' weakest areas in writing in his later books (I remember one character who literally walked with a letter that pretty much said "This guy is annoying because of XYZ. Take him off my hands for me, yeah?").
Anyway, Cluny continues to have homoerotic dreams about Martin.
- He tried to twist away from them as he fell, but, however much he swerved and tried to change direction, Cluny had only to look down and see the fierce-eyed warrior mouse — waiting, always waiting, the sword held point upwards for him to be impaled upon. Cluny tried to cry out, but not a sound came; it was as though his throat were being squeezed tightly. He felt the sharp sword pierce his
- Once more the sound of the Joseph Bell tolling out across the fields from Redwall wakened the Warlord. Fangburn, who was trying to extract a piece of elm branch from his Chief’s chest, leaped backwards in fright as Cluny’s eye snapped open inches from his own.''
It's the Sharptooth
eye all over again.
Cluny calls for the new recruits who lived in the area to see about finding a healer for him. Killconey (did I mention how awesome that name is? Because really) suggests The vixen Sela and her son Chickenhound. Cluny grabs him with his (broken, I may add) tail and starts choking him, demanding that he bring them by any means necessary).
- Killconey’s throat bulged as he tried nervously to swallow. “Glug! I will indeed, if you’ll just let go of this pore ould ferret’s neck, sir, I’ll go as fast as if the divvil himself was chasin’ me. You lay back now and rest your noble self, sir.”
It's moments like this that make Killconey one of my favorites. His voice. I hear it in my head. It is perfect. Also: 11.5 references to hell.
Cluny then starts formulating a new plan, ordering Redtooth to find something to act as a battering Ram.
- The mice might have won a battle, but Cluny had not yet lost the war, by the claws of hellthunder! Those Abbey mice were going to pay with blood for what they had done to Cluny the Scourge.
12.5 references to hell.
Book 2: Chapter 4
We're back to Methuselah and Matthias, who are using ink to highlight the words that were etched into the wall behind Martin's picture. It takes them an hour, which I really don't understand.
It's the same rhyme from the prologue-ish... thing.
Who says that I am dead
Knows nought at all.
I — am that is,
Two mice within Redwall.
The Warrior sleeps
’Twixt Hall and Cavern Hole.
I — am that is,
Take on my mighty role.
Look for the sword
In moonlight streaming forth,
At night, when day’s first hour
Reflects the North.
From o’er the threshold
Seek and you will see;
I — am that is,
My sword will wield for me.
According to Microsoft Word, that's 75 words and 350 characters. If the counter ignored blank space, and with 3600 seconds in an hour, that means it took more than 10 seconds to fill in each letter; Methuselah had started working on it before Matthias even got there. Unless the letters are really huge, there's no way it would take that long.
But that's just me. Cornflower comes in with some food for them.
- ''She was about to strike up a conversation with Matthias when Methuselah sent her packing.
- “Shoo! Away with you, little fieldmouse. I need Matthias with a clear brain to help me solve an important problem, so run along.”''
That's not even the worst part of this, mind you:
- Matthias watched her go until Methuselah tweaked his ear.
So basically, the whole riddle-solving moves along like this:
''Who says that I am dead
Martin is still alive
''I — am that is,
- Two mice within Redwall.''
The dash seems to indicate some sort of separation between “I” (Martin) and “am that is.”
“Am that is” is an anagram for “Matthias.”
''‘ The Warrior sleeps
- ’Twixt Hall and Cavern Hole.
- I — am that is
- Take on my mighty role. ’ "''
Very straightforward here. Between the Great Hall and Cavern Hole, there's a flight of seven steps, with the name “Redwall”carved into the walls going up and down, one letter per step. As “W”is in the middle, and “M” is an upside-down “W,” they figure that it's this one step that's the answer.
And that means moles.
And that means transcribed accents:
- ''“Yurr moles, get outten th’ loight. Let’n um dog at bone thurr.”
- “Ummm, worra you’m gennelbeast know abouten this yurr step?”
- “Arr, fourth’n uppards, same down’ards. Yurr, Walt, ’ark, Doby. B’aint that same as your grandmum do foind when she’m rooten about olden toim fortications?”''
Methuselah translates, even though the only necessary thing he needed to say was that “fortification” is an old word for “castle.” Any eight-year-old could probably parse the rest.
And ever since I grew to understand Kelly from Misfits
, I've had no trouble parsing any accent at all, so long as they were speaking English.
So, the moles find a crack in the joint of the step, and flip the stair over with a crowbar and some good old mole elbow grease.
- ''“Hurr she come, if’n you please,
- Movin’ bowlder, sloid on grease.”
- To the astonishment of the watching mice, the step slid smoothly outwards on the greased stone. It turned completely over to reveal a dark opening with a downward flight of stairs running off into the blackness below.''