The green hedgehog stood on the top of a rolling hill, grass swimming in the wind, likes an emerald sea of green and blue tints.
Satch Hedgehog was a fearsome figure. The female hedgehog had a strong feminine figure, beautifully carved and yet strong-looking. The gorgeous young hedgehog had swirling blonde hair, which danced with the wind. She wore a dark brown robe, fastened together by a satin belt. She wore a small pouch at the side of the belt. A golden sign held the belt up. The sign of the Light. Two twin moons, facing each other. A small chip was carved into them, a triangle emerging out of the both moons. In the middle of the both signs, was a shape perfectly marrying the outlines of the latter two. A diamond, carved out of emerald. The belt was slung through the sign, as it shined through the sun. Satch had been trained since her youngest age. She was as strong as a badger, and she could swim like an otter (She had been trained by one). She could dig, she could climb trees. This was because she had been born in a community composed of about every type of animal and beast she could imagine. She had been born in one of the havens of the old world: Castle Blackshore.
The towering spires were fastened onto flags. They flowed through the wind, bearing the symbol of Blackrock: Twin swords, interlocked in front of a dark sapphire. The hundreds of turrets and windows were populated with animals of all sizes and all ages. Everyone knew Satch in the castle; She had stumbled upon it a long time ago, when she was searching for the emerald of life, shirt torn, and body battered by the elements and thieves.
She had been found and taken care for in castle Blackshore. She could see the high towers from her view, reaching up to the sky as the sun shined overhead, tinting the rocks with hues of red and yellow and pink. Satch could see a shape racing in her direction. She smiled as she saw the familiar shape of her hare friend, Jean-Pierre.
He wore a tattered slouch hat, complete with feather and bandanna around it. He wore a small coat of faded brown. He wore a simple medallion, a small relief of a star. His long ears twitched as the wind ruffled the brown leaves, swinging them to and for in the darkening autumn sky. He addressed Satch in his pleasant accent, which came from him to from Fren.
'Ah, Satch! How have you been doing? This is a beautiful time, is it not? Oui, I see you are wanting to go back to Blackrock! Shall we, madame?'
'Yes, Jean-Pierre, I am getting cold in this atmosphere…'
'Then off we go, ma chere.'
They ran side to side, heading towards the towering construction in the horizon.
Hare and hedgehog, running through the pleasant countryside and the wild daffodils.
Satch had no problem keeping up with the hare, having inherited the speed of her namesake. She started to gain speed, but slowed down when she saw Jean-Pierre slowing down equally.
'Jean-Pierre? What is the problem?'
'Well, missie, for one thing, I we hares are supposed to be the quickest creatures in the world, so I am feeling a bit surprised by this, mademoiselle…'
'It's okay, ma chere, I just hope you will try and not look this superior… I am having troubles following you.'
They looked at each other, and then burst out laughing.
Satch entered the great hall of Castle Blackshore. It had been constructed following the plans of the Abbey Redwall. Lawns, sickbay, dormitories, libraries, all had been inspired from the wondrous Abbey. A lot of things had also been added, such as some laboratories, and the geographer's center. She was headed for the moment towards the dining hall, where most creatures would be getting ready to dine, cooking, or simply lounging around.
Satch went looking for the founder of Blackshore: Fang, the batthief. The founder of the wonderful keep had been supposed to die years ago, but somehow the good living in castle Blackshore made it so the old ones had a longer lifespan than in any other place in Mobius. This was something that somehow troubled Satch. She had never seen anyone die from old age in the castle, only ones who died in battle or who left for some foreign land.
Fang was studying some of the old writings in the old library. The old bat should have long been incapacitated of flying, but there he was, swooping in and out of the bookshelves, searching in the decrepit volumes, heavy with age. He caught site of Satch, and was down on the on the hard stone surface.
'Oh, hello, Satch. What brings you here?'
'Fang… there has been something troubling me for the past months.'
'Well, since I have been here I have considered the inhabitants of Castle Blackshore my family, but for some time I have been thinking about it, and I have no idea who were my parents!'
Fang looked pensive for a moment. 'Well… Now, this is a problem. I suggest that sometime this week you go off questing for the answer. The Mobius Minstrels should be arriving to the castle in a few days, headed for Utopia. Perhaps you should follow them.'
'Do you think it's a good idea?'
'We have a good supply of fighters. Even with your loss, we will be able to fight off any band of thieves or killer passing by. And don't think there will be being any full scale war as long as the portals through the worlds are opened, or that the Chaos Collar resides in Utopia.'
'Well, then, I shall be packing my bag tomorrow.'
She walked down the hallway, followed by some of the dwellers in Blackshore. Willy, a young hedgehog that had long been residing in the castle, leapt to work as the official cook. It seemed strange to hear, but he was discovered to have a natural flair as a cook. Even though he had just stopped being a Dibbun (The youngest creatures residing in Blackshore), he was found to be very serious about his work, and more mature than most people twice his age.
Finkle, a young otter, helped him in doing his chores. Merlin, a strapping young magician in training had been dwelling in castle Blackshore with his master, Darkmoon Mooncrystal, for as long as Satch could remember. Darkmoon had been blessed by the Gods of Mobius to live forever, as a scribe for the times to come and the times past.
Merlin was to be one of the great Magicians, along with the other three, Bookshire, Naugus and Lazarus.
Darkmoon was preparing a wish stone. Wish stones permitted the owner of them to grant one wish. But there were some rules. There are too many for me to annoy you with them, but put it this way: This wasn't immortality, just some easy things, such as healing a small wound or eventually if you were feeling evil, making someone get sick.
Satch went to the kitchens, wanting to help Willy. She liked being with the little cook, for he was a lively and nice soul, even though he became sometimes very bossy.
As she was placing some tarts into the oven, she could see Midge approaching. She was an otter, and very graceful at that. She had been one of Satch's best friends since her arrival at castle Blackshore.
The young otter was presently fuming after some thing or other. Satch saluted her.
'Hey, Hey! Midge! What's happening?'
'One word: Shaft!'
Shaft was one of the most troublesome young badgers living in castle Blackshore. He loved pulling pranks on other creatures, and never missed one when the occasion presented itself. He was to be one of the leaders of the biggest community of Badgers in the area.
She could see him approaching through the corridors, a look of amusement on his figure.
The silver badger had long been one of her friends, but the one problem was that when he and Midge clashed, there was sure to be some trouble. But even though they never admitted it, everyone knew they both had a soft spot for one another.
'Hey, Satch! What have you been doing?'
'What have you been doing is what I should be asking; Midge seems to be close to commit a murder.'
'Oh, nothing much. She was taking a shower, and since I thought it was so hot, I thought she needed perhaps some ice cubes…'
Satch started looking sternly at the irrepressible badger. 'You didn't do what I think you just did, did you?'
'Can't say I didn't, missy…'
Satch and Shaft looked at each other for about three seconds, then fell on the floor, laughing.
'I don't believe you would do that, Shaft! Your supposed to become an educated, stern and intelligent badger if you hope to one day takeover your father's colony!'
'Aye, but what hurts to have some fun every now and then?'
'In your case, it hurts to have some fun every second of your life… But I think the badger community need someone like you, full of new ideas.'
'Hm… I don't think Midge will ever swallow that… If she ever sees me leading the community of badgers, I don't think she'll ever stay alive for more than fifteen seconds…'
Midge and Satch looked at Shaft walking down the halls, thinking of his next prank.
Darkmoon came up to the youngsters as they were heading down the hallways to the dormitories.
'Young Satch! I would be needing your assistance, if you have the time…'
Satch liked Darkmoon. The old magician still managed to keep a modern view of things, and was always very nice in any circumstance. Everyone in Blackrock had come to like him easily.
'Sure, Darkmoon, what is it?'
'Well, Merlin has been aching to see the outside world, and since I have so much work to do, recording and all that, I was wondering if you and Midge wouldn't mind taking him to the Zephilion market tomorrow? He has been dying to go there, and I wanted to give him the opportunity as a treat.'
Satch smiled and acknowledged with the nod of her head.
'Of course, Darkmoon… But does he have the necessary funding for the market? It has been getting very costly nowadays…'
'Have no worry; I think that the royal family in Mobius gave him enough. They want to help young talents like Merlin to develop himself. Wizards like him don't come everyday. I never saw someone with so much promise in his future.'
There was a small glint of honor in his eyes when he said that. It was comprehensible: Of all the wonderful wizards in the lands to choose from, he, Darkmoon Mooncrystal, born in a small family in a small town, had been chosen. He wasn't even part of the legendary quartet of Wizards, those destined to change the World: Naugus, Bookshire, Lazarus, and the youngest one, Merlin himself.
The royal heir to the throne, Sally Acorn, from the house of acorn, had chosen him to teach Merlin.
Darkmoon was immensely proud of this, and everyone understood him too. The hardships he had lived in his life had been compensated for. Darkmoon had inherited one of the greatest treasures of Mobius: A small leather book, with an infinite number of pages. They were to be used to scribe everything that was happening in Mobius. This was why the book existed in many universes and times in the same time, so that different scribes could comply to give different information. For the moment, the holder of the one 'true' book was Darkmoon. Every morning he would open it, and read what was happening in the other worlds and other times.
For now, he was discussing about this and that with Satch and Midge.
'I don't know about this whole council of Ten thing… The government has been planning that move for a long time, subdividing Mobian ground in ten and all that… I don't think it will be put into practice for a long time… For the last time I saw him, Rick told me they existed in his time, but they had not been in power for so long.'
Rick was Sonic the Hedgehog's Son. Sonic was Mobius's present ruler, but he was not finding it very easy to get used to the task.
Satch had long wished to visit Utopia, but she had never found the opportunity to do so.
Midge was in a very vivid discussion about Rick. She had seen him on one or two occasions, and had immediately taken a fancy for him. Once, for a ball given in his honor by his father, another time when all the great fighters of the war were assembled before the time travelers returned to their times, including the Returners, the white Legionnaires, and Rick himself.
Midge's father was a minister in Mobius, but he had sent her to Blackshore to finish her apprenticing.
She had studied everything there was to know about his lie and his extraordinary destiny.
Satch sighed. When Midge was warmed up on her favorite topic, she could go one about him for hours on end.
'If have heard Rick has wandered throughout all of the lands, gathering information and cheering people up… what do you think, Darkmoon?'
'Well, I have been in his company fighting with him notably, and he is a very nice person. Same type as his father. Noble, and extremely strong, I had never seen so much determination in someone's eyes when he talked about Robotnik.'
'What about Packbell then? I've heard he fought him too, when he came back to the Future with the doc and the Delorean!'
'Well, the future had been changed, and Mobius fighters were more frequent, and most of the ones form the old days were still alive, so they had more chances. And they had the de-roboticizer built, so they stood a chance in case of a major attack.'
Midge's eyes were almost twinkling.
'Are you sure time traveling is still banned for the normal people?'
'It is only allowed to those assigned to, who know what their gestures might do to the future and the past, you know that as well as I do! It is one of the carnal laws written about time traveling. This planet and the others are being careful about it now, they cannot afford another war. Even though we won, we haven't managed to get rid of all the scars left by the battles yet.'
Midge looked disappointed. Satch took her arm and started leading her back to the dormitories to go and seek Merlin.
'Come on, Midge! Were supposed to take someone to the market, remember?'
Five great masters had founded Castle Blackshore. All of them had possessed a charm animal. The incredible coincidence came to the actual nature of the animals: The Dolphin, the Lion, the Phoenix, the Dragon and the Unicorn.
Water, Land, Fire, Monster and Mythical. The five mystical types were required to summon the ultimate form of magic, combined with the twenty elemental powers contained in the world.
Never had such a rare and wonderful magical alliance been made, and the result had been incredible.
They had made it to look like part of a school; When young Wizards had finished their apprentice in the three schools of primary magic, they would come to Blackshore. The regent of Blackshore was professor Dundeon, the same one that had come to Darkmoon one dark night, announcing him his arrival in the magical world. His masters had believed it to be a prank. His mistress hated anything that wasn't pure bred, and his master couldn't believe his young apprentice would be so lucky. He had made a great entrance in the magical world, finding out he was one of the most famous characters in the world. By order of the magical ministry, normal people should ignore the existence of Wizards. Darkmoon had lived in one of the rare human free cities in the country.
Satch had never found out what made Blackshore so gigantic. However she seemed to know, everyday or so she found another doorway she had never seen , another room she had never marched in. Nevertheless, she couldn't care less, as she Merlin and Midge walked down the road, in direction of Zephilion.