After exploring the inside of the castle for some time, you step outside for a breath of fresh air.
PALS stands for Pass-ALong-Story. One person writes a chapter of the story, then passes it off to another person to continue. You can play off your peers' ideas to come up with a really fun story.
This PALS will have a prologue, ten chapters, and an epilogue. Sign up for the chapter you would like to write below. Please list your first choice and your second choice, just in case someone else has already signed up for your first choice. Chapters will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. If both of your choices are taken, I will sign you up to a random chapter.
If you would like to write the prologue, please keep in mind that this chapter will set up the basis of the story. Do not make it too specific! It must be general enough that the person writing after you has some freedom to make choices about the direction of the story. This is what makes a PALS so fun!
The only chapter that should not be left open is the epilogue. Whoever writes this should come up with a satisfactory close to the story.
You will receive 10-20 pieces of gold for writing a chapter, depending on quality and fluency with the rest of the story. Please make your chapters at least 500 words.
A soft wind blew the golden fall leaves about the cliffs. Waves crashed restlessly on the shore below. Seagulls flew overhead in the pink sky. The hours before night fell away as the sun dropped slowly towards the horizon. It was paradise. But all of this beauty was tainted with evil. Thousands of pawprints littered the pale sand. Five grandeur pirate ships bobbed in the shallow water near the shore. Loud, gruff voices carried from the summit of the rock face. The clash of steel rose over the gentle lapping of the waves. Atop the towering cliffs stood a tall creature adorned in a long, emerald cloak. An impressive sword hung at his side, a blue diamond glittering on the hilt. He wore an elegant headdress of hawk feathers, his black-tipped ears raised to listen. His long, sharp fangs protruded from the sides of his mouth, giving him a particularly malicious appearance. His red-gold fur shimmered in the evening light. Gazing out across the sea through dazzling, blue, almond-shaped eyes, his ears twitched as another creature approached. A short ferret walked up and stood timidly behind the figure. “Sir, the navigators say this is the place.” Turning, the regal fox eyed the ferret. “The remains of the fortress are near here then?” The ferret nodded. “Aye, sir, three days’ march at the most.” The fox nodded his approval. “Tell the troops that we march at dawn. Secure the ships in the cove we passed as well. We begin building as soon as we reach the site.” He waved his paw to dismiss the ferret, who promptly scurried off. The fox smiled wickedly as he looked over the water. “In three days all this and more will belong to me, Terror of the Lands and Seas.” He laughed and turned to face the massive army gathered on the cliff top. Rats, ferrets, stoats, foxes, and every other vermin imaginable assembled there. “The army of Salazar Esparza has come to Maranzas!”
Vilas was a ferret in the horde of Salazar Esparza. He had served the fox for seasons and was rewarded with the great ship WaveScythe. He and his fellow captains, Zesre the marten of Mutineer, Galter the stoat of the vessel Bloodhawk, Fangblaze the fox of Renegade, and Lasper the rat of Sharkfin, now sat in front of the regal fox who, fortunately, seemed to be in a good mood. Esparza never captained a ship of his own, merely sailing on each one when the desire took him. The fact that he chose WaveScythe for this voyage meant nothing of significance to Vilas. His predecessor had been slain at Esparza's whim simply because he had not gotten to the mighty fortress across the seas, where an otter had formerly ruled before the fleet had arrived, fast enough. The fox's mood could change from good humor to murderous rage in seconds. Esparza was looking over the cliff they sat on, long green cloak fluttering in the breeze, his feet unbooted, perhaps in the tyrant's memory as a young deckfox. His blue eyes were frozen in a friendly gesture, as was his mouth. However none of the captains or their mates dared to stand close to Esparza when he smiled like that; too many had lost their lives that way. Iceheart! Up north they called the fox Iceheart. No creature with blood in his veins could commit the atrocities that did Salazar Esparza. Slowly Esparza turned to face his captains. "Maranzas..." Zesre looked up at his leader, his contempt for the fox well concealed. "Milord, our scouts report that the ruins of the Carams are inhabited by about five hundred creaures. Mice, otters, hedgehogs, squirrels, and the like. Three days away, as Dryeye told you. We could easily go in and crush them..." Salazar sneered. "Crush them? Fool! Many other warlords have died to inferior numbers at a building of red stones far in the west, a mountain that stands by the sea unyeilding. You have seen it! Guarded by a badger. Why is Maranzas any different?" None of the captains answered, sensing their master was simply rumating. They were correct. Esparza turned to a creature at his side, a hooded vixen carrying a long staff. "Germath, tell these fools the prophecy." Germath bowed to the fox, the jewlery she wore rattling against her. And Esparza's seer poke in a strong clear voice.
"A blight overshadows,
From Salamandastron to Redwall,
A fox stands over the scene of slaughter,
But his downfall may reside in warrior's daughter.
In Maranzas lives a young squirrel of gold,
Capture her to a victory behold,
But do not slay or vengeance would,
Drive a father to spill Ice Blood."
Galter, the only female captain, was smaller than the other captains, but she was the only captain to hold her position this long. Esparza favored her because she voiced her own opinion rather than the one he preferred to hear. "Master, the prophecy mentions a squirrel maid and we must capture her to win a war. How will this be accomplished?" Fangblaze the fox had once lived in the far north. "Shut yer gob, stoat. Ye be a-knowin' the master 'as on'y one beast fer the job." Lesper the rat chuckled with evil glee. "Slayspike!" Salazar grinned coldly. "Yes, Slayspike the assassin, Slayspike the kidnapper." The fox beckoned to Vilas. "Get him, please." The final word was mocking, knowing not a sane creature would question Esparza's order. Vilas bowed and the burly ferret walked over to an encampment where a hooded figure sat sharpening a steel spike. "Hey, Spike. Esparza wants ya." The figure strode past the captain to the cliff followed by the ferret. When they arrived, Slayspike pulled off his hood, revealing the major difference between himsef and the rest of Esparza's savage crew: Slayspike was a squirrel! He had proved himself a powerful slayer many seasons ago and had been accepted into the ranks. Esparza grinned fondly at the wickedly grinning squirrel. "Good boy, Vilas. Now, Slayspike. We need you and only you for this mission. Three days ahead is a woodlander encampment. Infiltrate them, take two score with you to cover your back. Only go into the encampment yourself. When this is accomplished, find a golden furred squirrel maid. Kidnap her and bring her to me alive." Slayspike strolled back into the camp. Esparza smiled as he looked into the horizon. He couldn't explain the sudden pang of fear that ran through him as he thought of his recent nightmares involving ships, dead woodlanders, and warriors. It was nothing though. He quickly shook it off. It was nothing...nothing at all.
By Silvren Sundark
Vilas waited until nightfall before he snuck out of camp, sneaking among the campfires and into the forest nearby. His eyes darted around nervously, and he called the name quietly. "Zesre?" A paw clamped over the ferret's mouth as the marten hissed at him. "Quiet, fool! Do you want to let the whole fleet know about this?" Vilas blew a sigh of relief. "You told me to meet you here. What's this about, Cap'n?" Zesre rolled his eyes. "Well, gee, if I meant anything good for the fleet I wouldn't be hiding it, would I? Listen, Vilas. Salazar Esparza is gettin' too big for 'is seaboots, if you known what I mean. It's time he gave us captains a chance at glory, eh?" Vilas scratched his head. "I dunno..." The marten smacked him. "Of course you agree, I knew you would. Now listen, woolhead, I'm the smartest captain in the fleet. The position of fleet master should be mine. Esparza is a fool, and he spends more time killing than thinking. You know Slayspike pretty well, don't you Vilas? I heard you speaking with him once. Now I want you to talk with him a bit tomorrow morning. Out of earshot of the rest of the crew, that is. Get him on our side. Show him that brains are better than ferocity when it comes to strategy and leadership. Do you see where I'm going with this?" Vilas was not as stupid as Zesre thught he was. "You want the assassin to kill Esparza." Zesre's eyes glistened in the moonlight, and he grinned with evil delight. "Exactly. All you have to do is get Salazar out of the picture, and every crewbeast of all five ships will follow me as the beast that slew Iceheart. And you," he said, poking the ferret in the chest, "will be my trusted second-in-command, with Germath and Slayspike as our advisors, if you do this one small task. Just talk to the squirrel. Convince him. Your work is done after that, and you won't have to worry about a thing. Leave the rest to me. Now go." The ferret hesitated a moment. "Er...Yes, Cap'n Zesre." Vilas saluted and dashed off, quickly sneaking back into the camp, keeping an eye out for Slayspike. Zesre sniggered wickedly as he thought of the glory that awaited him.
Slayspike trotted between the vermin ranks. He had already picked out thirty-six of the best soldiers he could find and only needed five more. But in Slayspike's opinion, they were all scum-sucking cowards. It was very hard to choose. He beckoned to a burly ferret, who came over as quick as he could. "Raptail," he said, and when he spoke it was like a chain dragging over a steel sheet, a rasping voice that was full of contempt. "Find three other warriors and report to Ragfang. We're going on a raid first thing in the morning." Raptail nodded and strode off. Slayspike sighed. Why couldn't there be any other woodlanders in the horde? He regarded all vermin to be incredibly stupid. "And talk about stupid," he said to himself. He watched Vilas walking towards him. Mentally, he hated the nosey ferret, but since he was a captain, he could do nothing. Vilas came and stood face-to-face with Slayspike. "Slayspike, I have a request of you." "Well," Slayspike grunted, "gerron with it!" Vilas cringed visibly and continued speaking, " Well, Cap'n Zesre and me 'ave a plan, we need yore help." He paused to look at the reaction on Slayspike's face. There was nothing. Emboldened, Vilas went on, "Our plan is that instead of you going on that raid, you could kill Salazar instead, and then we could be in charge!" Slayspike's expression didn't change. "You have got to be kidding. Zesre couldn't lead an army if his life depended on it. Why, I could lead an army better than..." He stopped, a plan forming in his agile mind. The ridicule on his face was replaced by a huge, malicious grin. Vilas was quite taken aback when Slayspike threw a friendly paw around his shoulders, "Tell you what," Slayspike chuckled," you tell Zesre that I'm in." Vilas looked over his shoulder and saw Zesre watching him. He looked Slayspike in the eye, smiled, and laughed, "Hahaha, all right, I'll go an' tell Zesre. You stay 'ere an' sharpen yore spike, after all, yore gonna need it!" He then ran off, eager to tell Zesre that they had Slayspike on their side. Slayspike smiled inwardly, picked up his spike, and began sharpening it extra sharp. After all, it would need to be sharp. Because the plan that had formulated in Slayspike's mind contained not only one murder, but three.
By Skant Bloodfur