A/N: Hi guys. Thanks for checking this story out - it is near and dear to my heart, as it was the first piece of fiction I ever wrote. That being said, I grew a lot as a writer over the course of working on this story (I was twelve when I published the first chapter and sixteen when I changed its status to "complete"). I also have grown even more since its completion. Thanks to Alexandria-likethecityinEgypt I have kept this story on here for you to enjoy, as it does have potential and its own charm and is an excellent demonstration of my growth as a writer. Perhaps someday I will go back and revise this story, as its main character was the first figment of my own imagination to come alive. (Not only that, but this story - and the main character - also gave me the pen name by which so many people know me and of which I am so fond.)
So keep in mind that you are reading the work of a child, a fledgling writer trying out her pen-wings for the first time and wondering a the beauty that can be created by black marks on a page. Keep in mind that I wrote this story with a destination in mind but no map, and some story threads die before they come to fruition because I was unable to follow those paths to their end. But also keep in mind that this story is what made me a writer - this and the wonderful reviewers and beta readers, especially Jade TeaLeaf, who encouraged and guided and taught me over the four years I worked on this. So as you read, I hope you can enjoy not only this story but also this first spreading of a new writer's wings.
Thanks for reading!
A squirrelmum sat in an armchair in the Gatehouse at Redwall Abbey. The winter winds howled outside, but inside, everybeast was snug and warm. More than a dozen dibbuns perched in various places in the room, two on the squirrelmum's chair arms, several by the crackling fire, and three on a desk. Beside the desk in a comfortable chair sat a young squirrelmaid with a book on one knee and a dibbun on the other. Several other mature squirrels sat in various places about the room.
The squirrelmum, still in her prime, sighed contentedly. Glancing at the dibbuns, she commented in a hinting voice, "Well! How the seasons do fly by! It seems like yesterday that I was a youngster rummaging about in this very room! Quite a few interesting tales I found, to."
Several dibbuns who had been on the brink of sleep snapped awake at the comment and began to chatter. "Oh, peez, Marmee, tell us a tory! Tell us a tory!"
The squirrelmum chuckled. Her hint had worked. "Oh, I'm sure you don't want to hear one of my old dull stories again, do you?"
The clamor that this remark raised was so great that one of the other squirrels raised his voice and shouted, "If this racket doesn't stop, the creatures over in the main building are going to have their ears ringing tonight!"
The squirrelmum ended the commotion by saying, "All right, I'll tell you a story, just please be quiet! Hmmm, have I told you dibbuns the story of The Otter and the Weasels?"
There was a loud clamor of "Aye!"
"What about The Ship and the Friendly Shark?"
After the next chorus of yes's, another squirrel, who had been listening with amusement, offered a solution. "Why don't ye tell them the story of how two tribes of squirrels were one, and how they were reunited?"
At the sounds of puzzlement form the assembled dibbuns, the squirrelmum reflected, "That's a true story, as well as a good one. Would you dibbuns like to hear it?"
The squeals of delight were enough. The squirrelmum turned to the young maid with the book. "Hafania, as you are the recorder, would you kindly write down this story? It should have been put to paper long ago, but this is a perfect opportunity."
Hafania picked up a quill and pulled out a blank volume. "With pleasure!"
The squirrelmum sat for a moment with her eyes almost closed as the waiting expectancy filled the room with an eager calm.
Then . . .