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BloodBath the Bad

I eyed a score of weasels who were sitting a little to close to each other for comfort as I sat eating in the dining hall at midday. Towards the end of the meal, one of them got up and walked out. The rest followed shortly after, going in groups, in pairs, or alone. Finishing my meal, I snuck after them. Peeking around a corner, I saw the group walking stiffly through a hallway towards a west exit. Another weasel was passing in the opposite direction, and as it strolled by, eyeing the strange group, one of the creatures pulled out a dagger and deftly stuck it in the stomack. The passerby let doubled up as the blade was speedily withdrawn, let out a gurgle and collapsed to the floor. The weasels continued on as if in a trance, another four removing a couple of wall hangings and tapestries. The group suddenly speeded up and jogged out onto the grounds, sprinting once they were outside. I took the hint and raced after them, marveling at how some of the plumper ones could move along at such great speeds that seemed impossibly for creatures of their girth. It was one of these who eventually stumbled and fell, not bein able to move its legs fast enough to sustain its sprint. I was upon the weasel at once, twisting both its arms around its back and putting my dagger to its throat. "Well, mate, just where d'y'think yore goin' in such a hurry, huh?" I reeled back in pain as the weasel made a physically impossible manuver. Wrenching around, and still with me gripping its arms, the creatures tore its right paw from my viselike grip and punched me square in the jaw with such force that I nearly blacked out. After spitting out a tooth and a lot of blood, I would have killed the vermin myself it it hadn't purposely slain itself jumping on me with my daggerblade up and trying to claw and snap at my neck in the process. Pushing the carcass of the weasel from me, I looked in shock at the dislocated shoulder flopping crazily from the body. What sort of fear could drive a beast to do that? The next day when the same group ran out of the fort with a big sack of stolen loot, I was ready. Disguised as a weasel, I snuck behind the party and slew one, taking its place among the stone- faced vermin. I kept up with them as they raced madly through the marshes to the west. We came to a halt at a group of five small huts made of mud, straw, and clay. I noticed one of the weasels trembling uncontrolably, despite the enormous effort he was putting in to keep perfectly still like the others. Then I saw them. They strode slowly out of the huts, three of them, some gripping their deadly axes hidden under the blue-gray cloaks, pale eyes staring ahead at the group of weasels, moving sinewously with finely-toned muscles under the mottled blue, gray, cream, black and brown fur. Marlfoxes all! The quaking vermin started to whimper fearfully. He must have known he would be slain. In the blink of an eye the weasel lay dead on the boggy ground. "He was becoming weak," a fox who must have been the killer rasped blankly, quiet as the sigh of dry leaves through the air. A Marlfox glanced at the four weasels holding the sack of loot, and as if at some unheard command they brought it obediently forward, jenuflecting and bowing their heads. The rest of the group also bowed, and I quickly did the same, staying pretty much in time with the others. A fox motioned with his paw, and the weasels started forward. There was no chance of escape; the Marlfoxes surrounded us and escorted us to a hut. There, oddly enough, we sat down and were chained to stakes in the hut by our front paws. A Marlfox glided out, then came back in again with a small bowl of dark liquid, administering a sip to each weasel. As soon as the foxes left, I spat mine out and continued spitting until all traces of the liquid were gone. I wondered why I suddenly couldn't think so clearly now, but then I saw the weasels all nodding off. There must have been some sort of sleeping potion in that drink they were given. I stayed awake as long as I could here the Marlfoxes conversing. Apparently the hut we were in was for the weasels. The fourth had belonged to their brother, who had perished in a bog, swallowed up by treacherous ooze. When they wanted more treasure and such, the foxes would hypnotize the weasels, sort of programing them, and instructed them to kill anybeast who caught them or looked suspicious, then kill themselves to ensure the safety of their masters. The foxes were apparently after Fort Nightshade. They wanted nothing of the empire, just the fort itself. They would attack when the time was right. I decided to get out of there then. Getting my dagger out from under the jerkin I'd dressed up in, I worked at picking the simple lock in the manacles. With a soft click I was free and running for all I was worth back to Fort Nightshade. The next day when the weasels returned they got an unexpected surprise. Upon entering the fort grounds, the lead vermin released a trip wire. And that wire released a big, long plank of wood above them. A big, long plank of wood that had metal spikes covering the bottom. I set out at noontide with two more of the best and stealthiest archers in Fort Nightshade. We headed west, into the marshlands. When we were close to the Marlfoxes' huts, I held up my paw. I scouted very, very carefully ahead. One can never be too cautious with Marlfoxes. Crawling noiselessly through the mud and some sparse vegetation, I could see into one of the huts. A fox was whetting the thin blade of a javelin against a stone. Making sure I didn't disturb a single leaf on any plant or make the slightest squelch in the mud, I moved over to the next hut and saw the other two Marlfoxes preparing a drink. I guessed it was that stuff they'd given the weasels the previous night. Sneaking back, I gave the signal to move. The other two with me went over to the hut with the two foxes in it. I took the lone one. I waited for the perfect moment, until the Marlfox turned its back to me to put the newly sharpened javelin away and get another. The creature would never use another weapon again. The first shaft struck the fox in the middle of its back. Before it had time to cry out I buried a second in its neck. The Marlfox had turned into a pincusion by the time I was through with it. The same could be said of the other two. Mission accomplished.