[Vfw-times] MK Winter Assault part 55

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Fri Nov 16 00:47:39 CST 2001


"Yes, Dad?" they both chimed, their high piping voices well formed from out 
of their rodential snouts.

"Would you get these three gentleman something to eat. And don't fight over 
who gets to carry the extra plate this time." His voice carried that 
weariness only a father with mischievous sons could have.

Both of the young squirrel's tails twitched as they looked at each other and 
then back at the three Sondeckis.  Their eyes settled on the rat and then 
grew very large, nearly popping out of their head. "Charles!" one of them 
shouted in delight, skittering over, almost on all fours to be at the scout's 
side. "You came back!" the other added as he joined his brother.

Charles looked at them both, trying to decide which was which and failing 
completely of course, and then smiled affectionately, giving them both a pat 
on the head. "Good to see you two as well.  Are you being good little helpers 
for your Father?"

One of them, Darien he thought, nodded and wrapped his tail about one of the 
table legs. "We're helping to make the arrows!"

"Oh really?" Charles aid, letting his eyes widen in amazement. "That takes a 
lot of skill, why you two must be very talented." He could hear Brian stifle 
a laugh over his shoulder.  Both the other two Sondeckis were grinning as 
they watched.  Angus and Garigan nodded in agreement with Charles though, 
congratulating the two young squirrels for their efforts.

"Mr. Berchem says in another year we'll be making them for the whole Glen!" 
Christopher proclaimed proudly, or was it Darien?  They'd both grown several 
inches since the last time Charles had seen them, he could not even guess 
which was which!

"I'm sure he's right," Charles said, smiling that huge grin which encompassed 
his thick set of whiskers.  His stomach then offered an indignant growl, and 
he had to chuckle. "Now, would you do us three a favour and bring us 
something good to eat?"

"I'll do it!" one of the two shouted, darting off towards the kitchen behind 
the counter.  However, his brother was following right after him, protesting 
that he'd be the one to get their food.  Lord Avery sighed, shaking his head, 
his tail laying against the floor in defeat, but laughing lightly with the 
others around the table.

Jerome watched their long tails dart behind the counter and out of view and 
then looked at Brian whimsically. "Those are your children?  They're 
adorable, and slightly incorrigible too, I might add."

"And they're a bit taller than I remember them," Charles added, looking back 
to the exasperated father.

Brian nodded a bit, leaning back in his chair slightly. "Yes, they've grown 
nearly half a foot since April. They don't even go around in clothes during 
the summer, because they keep outgrowing them!  I think Walter stitches them 
new outfits every four months."

"Why are they growing so fast?" Zagrosek asked, even as he drew his cloak 
tighter about himself, as if the mention of heat had left him chilled.

Lord Avery turned to the lack-haired Sondeckis, his face gone curious. 
"Aren't you from Metamor?"

Zagrosek shook his head, "No, Charles is an old friend who we're visiting.  
You'll have to bear with our ignorance, I'm afraid."

Angus and Brian looked at each other quickly, their faces suddenly very 
serious. "You do realize that if you stay here for long you may end up like 
us?  We are still inside the radius of the curse here at Glen Avery."

"We know," Jerome said, glancing back at the kitchen door once before turning 
his wide face to look at the three Glenners seated across from him. "We are 
willing to take that risk."

"We'll help you in anyway we can, and stay for as long as we are needed," 
Zagrosek added, favouring them a tight grin.

Angus nodded approvingly, while Lord Avery smiled. "I'm very glad to hear 
that.  We can use all the help that we can muster up here.  What can you do?  
Are you good fighters, scouts?  Can you use a bow, staff, sword?  What are 
your specialties.  We're going to be making our plans soon, and I'd like to 
know what you are capable of."

The two Sondeckis flashed glances at each other, smiling slightly, while 
Charles just chuckled to himself.  Jerome, then spoke, his voice certain, 
"Whatever Charles is capable of, we can match it.  Our strong suit though is 
close combat.  We could wield bows if necessary, but I'm afraid our accuracy 
leaves much to be desired."

Lord Avery shook his head then. "We have more than enough archers.  What 
weapons do you use?"

Zagrosek set the retracted Sondeshike on the table and just gave them a 
rather amused smile.  Jerome held out his hands and favoured them with a 
similar smirk. "We don't need much, Charles can tell you."

Angus reached out and plucked the small cylinder from the table, and examined 
it in his paws.  He traced two thick, hairy claws across the smooth surface, 
twisting it about, but he did not press the catch set in the middle.  Setting 
it back down before the black-haired Sondeckis, he gave the man a very 
dubious stare. "Show me what you can do with that."

Zagrosek took the Sondeshike and extended it with a flick of his wrist, 
spinning it over his head in a graceful arc before stashing beneath his arm 
and shoulder. "Something along those lines."

The badger laughed quite loudly, while Lord Avery just stared in disbelief at 
the large staff that had suddenly appeared in the Sondecki's hand. "If we had 
the time, and Nasoj's army wasn't marching over top of our home, I'd take you 
out to the fields and spar with you a bit, just to see how good you really 
are with that thing.  What do you call it?"

"A staff usually," Zagrosek said, returning it to its compact form and 
slipping it beneath his robes once more.  A plate suddenly found itself in 
front of him, as the two young squirrels returned with their breakfast.  
Charles grinned at the two boys, but they quickly ran off back behind the 
counter, probably to work on more arrows.  They'd been served a large helping 
off eggs, with a biscuit on one side, and a small portion of warm oats.  

"I see Mrs. Levins has taken over all the cooking for you." Charles spooned 
some of the eggs into his muzzle, and knew instantly he'd been right.  There 
was some flavour to them that he'd never known in simple scrambled eggs 

Jerome and Zagrosek were too busy feeding their faces to add to the rat's 
peroration, but Brian Avery nodded emphatically. "She has a way of making 
even the simplest of meals taste like a banquet." His dark eyes trailed after 
his sons, and then his face lit up with a forgotten question. "Oh, you 
wondered why they are growing so fast.  Because they were born as squirrels, 
they age faster than normal children would. It is a burden that Angela and I 
are happy to bear, except that it makes them twice as hyper as normal 
children too."

Zagrosek chuckled between mouthfuls, and grinned, "Well, they are adorable." 
Then, he paused a moment and swallowed the last of his eggs. "Now, you said 
you've been discussing what you are going to do about this supply line.  What 
have you thought of so far?"

Angus, Garigan, and Brian Avery leaned over the table further.  A few of the 
other Glenners that had been mired in their own conversations stopped and 
turned to watch them as well.  Charles chewed down a bit of the oats as he 
gazed down at the map of the northern Valley before them.  He recognized the 
ravine between Mount Nuln and Kalegris that Misha and he had scouted last 
April, where the Lutins had been building catapults.  However, where the 
squirrel's paws were was atop the forests near the Giant's Dike.

"Our scouts have found that Baron Calephas is making his camp just south of 
the Dike.  They've got provisions there to last at least a month, and every 
few hours or so, a wagon is loaded and sent south to Metamor along the old 
North Road.  As Garigan has informed us, and our scouts have confirmed, there 
are about twenty Lutins guarding each transport, with ten covering each 

"Yes, we found that out the hard way," Jerome muttered as pushed his plate 

"Now, Calephas's camp appears to be well guarded, and there are several 
hundred Lutins stationed there.  They're going to Metamor piecemeal, but as 
it stands, we do not have the manpower to assault his camp.  But we do need 
to stop those supplies from reaching Metamor."

"So what are we going to hit instead?" the skunk named Berchem asked.

"I think we should try to destroy the bridge." There was a bit of a gasp from 
several around the room. "It is the easiest way to cross the gorge in the 
hills without going to the eastern side of the Valley.  Without that bridge, 
Calephas won't be able to get the supplies to Nasoj's troops for some time, 
hopefully long enough for the Metamorians to turn back the assault.  Now, it 
is being guarded, several squadrons of Lutins on both sides, and several 
hounds with them, so we'll have to be cautious in our approach.  We cannot be 
certain how many patrols they have circling the area either."

Angus tapped the line of the gorge that drew up into the Western mountains. 
"Perhaps we could come in from below?  Torch the bridge, let it burn.  It is 
made from wood after all."

"We'd need an awfully hot fire in this weather," Berchem pointed out, his 
monochromatic tail circling behind his head. 

Avery glanced over his shoulder at the woodpecker who was hopping from one 
foot to the other so he could see. "Burris, do you think you could help 

"I think so yes, I'd just need a few moments free from distraction to 
convince the wood to burn hot enough."

"Good, then we'll definitely have to send a team down into that ravine.  
Unfortunately, that means they'll need to leave several hours before the 
rest.  We'll have to have an attack up above as well, to keep the Lutins 
occupied while Burris destroys the bridge.  Bercham, I would like you to take 
several of your archers and accompany Burris in the ravine.  Charles, why 
don't you and your friends accompany them, you may run into some unpleasant 
company on the way."

Charles nodded and hen glanced at the skunk, who was grinning slightly, "We'd 
be delighted to do so.  When are you planning to attack?"

Brian Avery gazed at him, his face set in a firm moue. "As soon as you can 
reach the bridge.  It takes three hours to walk there via the road.  You'll 
have to take the long way around, so you had best leave within the hour.  
Once we are finished making our plans, we'll get you powdered up and then you 
can be off."

"Powdered?" Jerome asked suddenly, noting the amused grin that had crossed 
the skunk's face.  Angus wore a similar one, and as he looked about, he 
noticed that almost every Glenner wore that mischievous smirk.

"Of course, you'll need to blend in, and you are not quite white enough to do 
that yet," Lord Avery said, his own smile quite large.

Jerome and Zagrosek looked at each other uncertainly, but then shrugged, and 
turned back to the map.  Charles had to stuff his biscuit into his mouth to 
keep from laughing.

End part 55
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