Selwynsday the 6th of Ready’reat 381 ONT, 1:23pm, Rummage Glen, 23 miles north of Rosemellow Ridge, Country of Eiradun.
Captain Basil Stag-Hare led his patrol, a detachment from the 47th Boarder Rangers, across Rummage Glen. The grass was wispy and yellow, having been mostly killed off in the frost, it provided very little cover. Thankfully his patrol was made entirely of hares. He had eight in his patrol. Sargent Lionel Davipaw, Corporal Archibald Cleartail and Privates Crispin Snowfur, Dennis Ryealck, Elijah Brytail, Sebastian Owo and Titus Thorntree. His men were armed with light spears but they were stowed for a run, Rummage Glen was a deep long valley that stood between the high cliffs of Gengie and the south Balsam creek. If he didn’t want to make a three day detour he had to take it. Pacing themselves at a steady jog, the hares should be able to clear it in about an hour, longer then he’d like to be exposed but in this case… hopefully… worth the risk. Basil tried to keep his wits about him as he ran but often found his thoughts straying back to his last mission. Three Zemaya, on the door step of the fur and foot nation, in a border season. The world certainly wasn’t what it used to be. In his youth he’d of flogged a man who brought him such stories… now the impossible seemed standard. He stopped and froze every bone in his body. The unit was spread to keep from spell attacks but they stopped as one, Archi had one of the keenest noses in the entire nation, if he smelt trouble it was worth paying attention to. Cautiously Basil allowed a single ear to rise and slowly turn to see if he could catch a stray sound. Northing. After a full minute. Lionel slowly crept up to the point position to see what was up.
“wha’s troubling ya, mate” Lionel whispered trying to sound confident as he did so.
“eighteen licks up ahead, crouched in the raspberry scrub… I smell Preators… Lupin’d be my guess, but could be wolf, hard to tell on a whiff Sarg” Lionel looked the corporal up and down
“how many?” he asked
“At least three Sarg, hard to tell now, winds shifting, and the bush is hiding some of the scent” the Sargent nodded to him and slowly crawled back to his Captain
“Doesn’t look good Captain” Lionel said as he repeated what Archi had told him. Basil took a long moment to think about it before responding.
“We’re more than halfway through the ridge… if we bolt they’ll overtake us on flat open ground, Let’s hope for wolves and not Lupin”
“Mighty big gamble considering the cargo, Cap” Lionel offered, the Captain took the warning to heart.
“Who is our best swimmer, and who is our fastest runner?” Basil asked… the Sargent took a long moment to think
“Elijah by far would be our best swimmer, boys damn near half lutrae, as fer runners, that’s be a toss up between Crispin and Titus, Sir”
“Titus is damn good with the spear to… I want him here with me… spread the word, here’s what I want done…”
Within a few minutes the patrol was on the move. Six of them spreading out in attack formation towards the Rasberry brush, Crispin turning and hightailing it back out of the valley and Elijah b lining for the creek ready to make a swim. The preators broke from the brush and charged at the oncoming patrol
“Remember Mates, Not one of these flea bag bastards passes us till our boy Elijah is clear ‘cross that creek… you be getting me?”
“Aye Sir!” his men said picking up speed and tightening the grip on their spears. The Wolves, for that could be seen now, were about thirty feet away now, both sides ever picking up speed. The Hares to their credit didn’t falter as Lionel called their battle cry
“UGIE UGIE UGIE!”
“OI! OI! OI!” the men called back taking a final step and leaping to meet their mortal enemies in battle.
Basil flung himself in the air, he felt the jaws of the wolf just miss if foot as he shot out a might kick, spinning and stabbing at the fur lined creature with his spear. He drew blood, but the blow was glancing and would not fell the creature. As he hit the ground he rolled catching a sorrowful glimpse of Dennis, and hearing a thundering CRACK as the wolf that had grabbed him shook him violently snapping the poor private’s neck. That creature paid the price however, Titus came up under the creatures belly and leapt into the snarling beasts thin furred stomach driving home his spear, the yowl the creature let out echoed throughout the glen. Basil had not time to watch anymore, the wolf he battled brought its paw to bear, and years of steady training only allowed him to deflect the crushing blow with his spear. “Keep moving Basil” he cursed to himself “a still Hare is a dead Hare” he said repeating the old drilling line that had been taught to generations of warriors. He picked up speed leading the wold away from the group, not enough to outpace it but just enough to trigger its chasing instincts… then when he felt the moment was right, he stopped hard, rolled towards the beast and set his spear. As predicted the beast overshot with its gnashing jaw snap, his spear found its throat at full speed, and though he took the full force of the wolf crashing into him, he hobbled away… the wolf was dead. He limped back to his men who together had just brought down the third wolf. Taking stock it nearly broke Basil’s heart. Lionel, his loyal Sargent of four seasons lay dead. He sniffed, surprising his grief for another time and turned his attention to his men.
“Well done gents, well done… it’s not every patrol who can take on three Wolves and live to speak again of it…” he was interrupted by a slow clap they turned and walking from behind the Raspberry scrub camp a single Waylen in dark armor, clapping a sarcastic slow clap.
“Well done indeed noble hares, well done indeed” the raspy vile voice of the Waylen carried on the breeze to the assembled hares. Basil had never met Lord Shepard, but he knew enough to recognize him, and had seen what Meagre, a self-proclaimed unskilled and untrained Guard Mouse could do, he could only imagine what a Master Guard Mouse was capable of, if this was going to happen it had to be on their terms.
“UGI UGI UGI!” he cried flinging himself into the air without warning, his boys were already moving as they echoed the call
“OI OI OI!” Basil knew his leap was true, and his aim fine with his spear, he would come from above and split the mouse in twine. It was then just before connecting he felt his momentum slow, and then stop just out of reach, he then felt himself be flung backwards, at a glance he saw the same was true with Titus who’d matched his jump. Sebastians charge still held true however, until they heard the familiar hum of the waylen blade. There was a red flash and Sebastion’s head left his shoulders as the Mouse danced out of his way. Archibald had been hot on his heels but found himself tripping of his friend’s corpse. The Hare jabbed out with his spear attempting a glancing blow but the blade ripped down slicing the top of his weapon, and jutting back in time to deflect another Spear that Titus had thrown. Archibald leapt back and drew his knife, joining beside Basil and Titus, facing off against the menacing Mouse.
Basil looked at his last two men, both armed with skinny knives, his opponent was uninjured and not even winded; in fact, Basil was sure that the disgusting noise he was hearing was laughter. He did what any responsible leader would do
“Run boys, run hard and fast” he whispered. Titus looked at him as if ready to offer protest, Basil cut him off “that’s an order” Archi split left and Titus right As Basil charged. Archi made it maybe ten steps before he felt a death grip around his neck lift him from the ground. Basil had suspected this and levied his spear in the charge. As he was about to connect he saw the waylen blade come buzzing towards his spear, he dropped the weapon and jumped, kicking down as he leapt over the mouse, knocking him forward as he struck a blow on the back of the head. It must have caused the mouse a moment of confusion for Archi hit the ground and took off anew. Basil gave himself a grim smile for his success, as he saw Titus making good ground and it seemed Archi would risk the creek and swim for it. His gaze turned toward the mouse who now stood and faced him. Basil pulled his skinny dagger from his belt
“You will suffer for that Hare, no one had touched me in over ten years”
“Perhaps all yer needing is a good walloping to set yerself straight, I’d be obliged to offer ya one”
“You’ll learn to hold your tongue, Hare, I will see your entire people eliminated for your brash…”
“Oh lick me salty piss and get on with it, will ya” Basil said, sending the mouse into a rage. The smaller creature charged with basil leaping back and bringing his knife to bare, the battle in all honesty had begun.