Snatch Me A Mossflower
Disclaimer: I'm not Rowling and I don't own her characters, nor do I own any of the Redwall characters.
Written for Lamia's Daily Speed-writing challenge
Prompt - Scabior is a fox in the Redwall universe
A/N: this story takes place before Sela went to work for Cluny. According to the Redwall Wiki, Sela and her son live in Mossflower Woods with an unnamed band of foxes. If that doesn't have "snatchers" written all over it then I don't know what does!
"I told you before that you need to be more careful. Those water mice can be dangerous if you take on too many of them at once."
Scabior winced and drew back, squirming in his seat as Sela wrapped another layer of bandages around his head. His head was throbbing due to the injury he'd received earlier that day, and he didn't feel like having his wife poking and prodding him after all he'd been through that morning.
"Sit still!" Sela snapped at him. "We'll be here all day if you keeping flopping around like a fish out of water."
This wasn't the first time she'd had to patch up her husband when he returned home from work, and she was sure it wouldn't be the last. His work consisted of kidnapping animals from the woods and surrounding territory, then selling them to vermin who were in need of some fresh meat to work as slaves. These animals were usually sold to sea fairing rats and never seen again, lost forever to the unforgiving seas, worked to death at the hands of their cruel master.
Scabior's most recent venture took him deep into shrew territory, where he and his band of Snatchers were ambushed by a group of shrews. Scabior fought back, only to be injured by their chief Log-a-log and forced to retreat. He returned home, limping and bleeding, with an arrow wound to his left arm and a rather nasty, swollen lump on the side of his head.
His wife cleaned the blood encrusted swollen lump, then patched him up with some bandages. That was the easy part. The arrow wound had been much more difficult to deal with.
Sela called two foxes from Scabior's group, and told them to hold him down while she worked to remove the arrowhead that had become deeply embedded in his flesh. Scabior screamed and writhed, calling them every filthy name in the book as Sela used a knife to cut out the arrowhead. Sela had tried numbing the area with an herbal paste beforehand, but it only did so much good.
When his screams became too much for her to listen to, Sela ordered one of his men to stuff Scabior's plaid scarf in his mouth to quiet him down so she could concentrate on her work.
Scabior bit down on the plaid material, tears streaming down his cheeks as his eyes squeezed shut against the pain. Within a couple minutes his wife had managed to remove the arrowhead, then flushed the wound with an antiseptic potion made from herbs she'd gathered in the woods. She finished by applying a poultice to the wound and bandaging his injured arm.
"Damn river mice," Scabior swore, gritting his teeth together as Sela finished her work. "I ought to go back there an slaughter every last one of them."
"You will do no such thing," said Sela. "You're staying here until you're fully healed."
"An 'ow long is tha going to take?"
Sela took a moment to ponder his question. "I'd say one or two weeks, so long as the wound doesn't get infected."
Scabior groaned, collapsing against the mound of pillows on his bed. "I need a drink."
"I'll bring you something, dear," said Sela, turning and walking out of the tent.
"An don't bring me any of tha watered down mead you try passing off as alcohol!" Scabior called after her as she left. "I want the real thing, something strong tha will dull the pain in my arm." He'd just settled down to rest while he waited for his wife to return when he heard the sound of a baby crying outside his tent.
He looked up to see a female fox carrying a young cub in her arms. The babe she was carrying wasn't even a season old, and was wriggling and crying as he squrimed in her arms.
"Scabior, my lord, I trust you are doing well?" the vixen crooned, rocking the babe in her arms in an attempt to calm him down.
"Oh sure," Scabior spat. "I've just been shot an 'ad my arm torn open by my wife. But I'm lovely, pet. Everything is just fine." He then looked down at the crying fox cub. "He's rather loud, isn't he?" said Scabior, wincing as the shrill cry of his infant son pierced his ears.
The female fox smiled. "He takes after his father. I imagine everyone in camp could hear you screaming a couple minutes ago."
"Just shut up an bring 'im 'ere, Raposa."
Raposa sat down on the side of the bed, the babe in her arms hiccuping and sobbing. Scabior sat up slowly, then gently stroked the infant's reddish brown fur. The fox cub sniffled, whimpering as he gazed up at his father.
"I did just as Sela asked, my lord," said Raposa. "I watched over him while your wife was tending to your wounds."
Scabior's cruel features softened as he listened to the infant babbling unintelligible baby talk, one tiny paw reaching towards him, his little toes spread as he pawed at his father's arm.
Sela returned moments later with a bottle of rum for her husband. Though she disapproved of his drinking habits, she knew that a little alcohol could help take the edge off his pain.
Scabior accepted the bottle and guzzled the dark brown liquid, his wife yanking the bottle out of his paws to keep him from downing the whole thing in one go. "Not too much now, dear," she said. "You're liable to get sick if you drink too much at once."
Her husband covered his mouth with a paw, doing his best to stifle a loud belch that slipped past his lips. "Chickenhound is doing well this morning," he said, glancing over at their son as Raposa stroked the babe's fur.
Sela sighed and rolled her eyes. "I still can't believe I let you talk me into giving him that name."
"It's a good name," Scabior insisted.
"You were drunk when you thought of it," said Sela.
"I was celebrating the birth of our child." He then snatched the bottle of rum and took another drink, the fluid trickling into his fur as he drank the last remaining ounces of alcohol, then wiped his mouth with the back of his paw. "An now I'm celebrating not getting killed today."
Raposa chuckled, handing the babe to its mother as Scabior tossed the empty bottle aside. "With the way drinks, you'd think every day was a cause for celebration."
Scabior grinned, settling himself comfortably against the pillows on his bed. The rum had done wonders for his mood, making him a bit more cheerful as he lay back in bed, watching as his wife laid their son over her shoulder and rubbed his back.
"Of course every day is a celebration," he said. "I 'ave you, Sela, the most beau'iful flower in these 'ere woods. I snatched your 'eart, an now we are a family, you, me an Chickenhound."
"Chickenhound," Sela muttered, shaking her head. A smile formed on her lips. She loved this man, even though he was a bit of a crude, drunken slob. "And what are you going to do about those water mice?" she asked. "Their numbers have been steadily growing this past season. And if we don't do something about it, the forest will be overrun with them by the end of the year."
"No worries, love," said Scabior. "You know me. I always 'ave a plan."
"And does this plan involve more celebratory drinking afterwards?"
Scabior nodded. "Of course it does."
Sela knew there was no stopping him from drinking and going to war with the other creatures in the forest. All she could do was hope that he came home in one piece. "Fine then," she said. "Do what you must. But for now I want you to stay here and rest."
"Alright then," said Scabior, his tired eyes beginning to close. "But only if you lie down with me an keep me company." He patted the mattress with his paw, smiling at her, and Raposa knew it was time to leave. She excused herself, just as Sela was curling up beside him, their little bundle of joy between them on the bed.
They talked for a while before Scabior fell asleep, his infant son nestled against his chest as father and son relaxed in peaceful slumber. Sela watched them for a couple minutes, her son sucking his paw while Scabior snored softly. She then closed her eyes and went to sleep, the family of foxes napping beneath the spreading emerald boughs of Mossflower Woods.