April 21, 2011

Male Bat

Brother Aloysius turned his head at the sound of an opening door. His candle flickered as a chill breeze wafted through the gatehouse, stirring his papers as it brought with it a scent of honey and chamomile. The bat didn’t need to use sound to know who was there—the beast’s odor was unmistakable.

“Brother Raimun, Brother Raimun,” he greeted the abbey recorder and promptly buried his nose back in his volume, quill writing furiously.

“Aloysius, when I left you it was sunset.”


“It’s near dawn.”

“Is it now? Well, you know how I love my nights, my nights”

“It isn’t healthy for a beast.”

Aloysius sighed as he placed his quill in the ink pot. “It is healthy enough for me, for me. What isn’t healthy is leaving that door ajar. Now, will you close it before we both catch our death of chill, death of chill?”

“I wish you wouldn’t jest about such matters, not after all that has happened.” Raimun said as he stepped inside, losing control of the door as a gust of wind blew it closed.

Aloysius winced at the resounding noise, then waited until the recorder placed his tea down before awkwardly moving it away from his workspace. “It is nothing more than a distinct possibility, possibility.”

“Still, I think a little more respect might be warranted, considering.”

“Considering what, brother? Ever since I have opened my first volume into Redwall’s history, I have failed to see our brothers and sisters practice the respect our elders instilled in this abbey at the beginning, at the beginning.”

“So you think these poor beasts deserved their deaths?”

“Not my words, brother. I will say, however, that there are two places one may end up, end up. Hellgates, and Dark Forest. Please understand that while I grieve for Sister Thistledown, Chamomile, and Ruslen, it is not up to me to choose their destination, destination.”

“Is that what you’ve found in your studies?”

“It is the best I can discern, yes.”

“Aloysius, I think you should take a rest. You’re working yourself too hard. Why don’t you have some of the young’uns transcribe these scrolls?”

The bat scoffed (description??). “I’d never allow it. They don’t have the patience or care to handle such ancient texts, ancient texts.”

“I just think these old stories are starting to get to you.”

“Brother Raimun, a storm is brewing, and I believe the only way to prepare ourselves is to learn what our fathers have taught us, taught us. Perhaps you should be spending more time in your studies than socializing with the Abbot and Skipper. Don’t think I haven’t read what you’ve written about this past season, past season. ‘I remember the past, it was grand but sorrow approaches. Let me eat a scone drizzled with honey to put past such lament, such lament.’ ”

“And what do you suggest we do?”

“Return to our original creed: Woodlander’s Code, Woodlander’s Code.”

“Which is?”

In a trice Aloysius had left his chair and was scrambling across the floor, climbing bookshelves as he searched for a certain ancient record. It was not long before he found it, pulling it from the shelf and handling it like a newborn babe. Presenting it to Raimun, he pointed at a passage with the tip of his wing.

“ ‘All honest and true woodlanders are pledged to help each other and never to harm a living creature,’ ” Raimun read. He paused. “How will that help us fight this new threat?”

“If we can find it within ourselves to follow this simple code of honor, code of honor, then perhaps we can find the unity to combat this threat together, together.”

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