"Well, that certainly did not go to plan!"
"Really! Well, that's one definition of it."
The Clappersgate Company were the only occupants of the chapel, which was dimly lit by torches flickering in sconces in the whitewashed walls. In the centre, surrounded by petals of wild flowers, lay Alk, the fenic fox. They had dressed him in his best robes, and the few religious items of his far-off land were laid upon him. The gang had carefully cleaned the blood off him, and now he lay at rest. The company, the only mourners, sat, spread out on the various sized pews of the Chapel, each quietly contemplating what had just happened.
"That contract was ours, bring in the witch, dead, simple." Flash the kingfisher shook his head as he looked at the fallen warrior.
"The day had dawned clear and warm, we followed Alk approaching the ruins, only to find him reporting three other gangs had approached the area too," moaned Martyn the mage mouse.
"The Necromancer just stood there, chanting, like he was expecting us," the old mouse mage mused.
"Standing there, bristling with dark magic, it was almost painful to watch him through his aura." Martyn continued, cleaning a tear from his glasses.
"Zat was ze least of our worries!" Arimous the mouseketeer looked up from his prayers nearer the alter, crossing himself as he swang his cloak back, replacing a rosary, "Zer was un racoon archer avec un crossbow et all sorts of mice wiz ze bows out zere!"
"I knew I was just going to have to jolly well deal with the dark one!" Sir C'astle muttered. He was sitting in a few rays of sunshine. He looked frail out of his armour, battle scars of other times joined by a new arrow mark across his arm and on his upper chest. and singed fur round his face, "That fireball hurt!"
"I took the ridge," Flash added, "I got a good shot in from the mousoleum, I was sure my arrow buried itself in true into that necromancer."
"Was that before or after he tried to toast me?" the shrew knight laughed, "I'm glad you called out the other enemy gangs too." Sir C'astle uttered, "It was swarming with mice from Sir Oliphant's mob. Good thing some were distracted by Sir Harry Hoppalots gang arriving. Why do all these Royalists hate each other?"
"Strange how fast that tortoise is.." Flash mumbled under his breath too.
"Well, the less equipment he carried, the faster he went I found." Martyn grinned.
"Yeah, your magic kept making it fall off him!" laughed Flash.
"Truely, Alk was a brave fellow," the Shrew knight intoned, "he followed me straight over the wall of the ruin. I mean, I got a good blow in with my lance, but his scimitar just floored that death stealing raven."
Arimous gave a wry chuckle, "'E was so good a swordsman 'e landed zee raven right on you!"
Pebbles looked up from her thoughts with a wry chuckle, she had also found a patch of warming sunshine in the dark and cold of the chapel.
"From the left we also had company, I ended up trying to swat away Sixpence the sparrow, damned bird had even charged at me with no sword, just it's little claws!"
"At least I got a good look as Hoppalot's shield maiden having a good go a that accursed adder, Syd," Flash added. "There's no love lost there."
"I cannot believe 'er braverie," Arimous added, "she is formidable."
"Aye, formidable is about right!" Sir C'astle added.
"Sir Oliphant's gang were going in mob-handed. Arthur the mousewith his huge axe was in there too, and that Eleeepha-badger was closing in quickly." Flash added.
"Mez amis Flash, you 'ave to watch your back more carefully. Letting Mousetangnon charge you like zat was dangouroux," the noble musketeer added.
"I knew you would look after me," the bird winked.
"While you lot were out glory hunting," Pebbles added, "SOME of us were dealing with the threat of a bird, a hare, a dog and a hedgehog mage coming from the left. I was slightly outnumbered!"
"I thought I would deal with one problem at a time," Sir C'astle added, "good thing those mice are not great with throwing daggers!"
Drawing in the dust of the pew, Flash added "The shield maiden dealt with Syd, took his eye out from what I've heard..."
"Not like 'ee needs to shoot, 'ee 'az no 'ands!" Arimouse interrupted.
"Remind me to thank her some day! But Sir Oliphant was determined to have a go at her." Sir C'astle added.
"That mouse lives up to her title, blocking everything!" The shrew knight muttered.
"I wasn't happy hearing the phrase 'lizard skin shoes' from that hare that walloped me on my side!" Pebbles gave a sad glance at the others. "Good thing it was only a black out, and I'm back to fighting fit. In fact I'm feeling like I could take on the whole kingdom by my self."
"How long before your tail regrows?"
"Couple of days..."
"I was glad the Raven was down, I could rush to support you, hitting Dennis the mouse with my lance," Sir C'astle reminisced.
"In fact, I hit him so hard, he was clean out the fight!" Sir C'aste smiled.
But that was the last thing I remember!" The old shrew stroked his scars.
"I had a look at the arrows that hit you after, you know sir, you make a good pincushion. Bodkin headed, hardened armour piercing tips, looks like someone isn't playing fair!" Pebbles added. "We need to do something about them."
"Thank you for stepping up to deal with Mousetagnon," Flash added to Arimouse.
"'Eee was mes sparring partner for many years, we know each other's techniques so well, we could not 'it each oser.."
"While you were out, Ralph from the Hare's gang and Sir Oliphant met! Dog vs badger, the very ground shook." Flash narrated, "even with Ralph's taunts, Sir Oliphant smashed him about."
"Then, disaster." Martyn carried on. "Alk, trying to aid Pebbles, tried to ambush Bobby the hound. Our brave fox vs a hound, it did not favour the fox. As Alk lunged in, the hounds daggers flashed out and slit two ways across his throat and he was straight down!"
"A real hero, lost." Falsh added.
"I will miss 'im, mes amis." Arimouse put in.
"Sir Oliphant smashed Ralph to pieces, but despite being outnumbered the shield maiden still fought on." Martyn continued.
"Incensed by this, Sir Harry the hare charged the Eleeeeebadger, taking him straight down, it was amazing! Even his flaming sword would not stop an irate hare!"" the mouse mage narrated on, the lizard and the shrew nodded sagely at this. "With this, Sir Oliphant's band broke, while the hare's band chased them down, we quietly snuck you guys off table."
"Not a good day for us," the Shrew knight shook his head, "we lost a great fighter today, I took a few wounds and that dent will not come out of me or the armour."
"We at least got the cash for the kill," Martyn got out the account sheet, "shall we step outside in the sunshine, leave Alk to his eternal rest?"
The remains of the gang stood, bowed, and left the chapel, pulling the door ajar as they did, sitting under a nearby yew tree, Martyn started scribing; "25 pennies for offing the witch, must have cost our sponsor a fortune with four gangs hunting, we got a further 15 pennies for killing the necromancer, 10 pennies for our herbs from the garden, Flash, you brought in four pennies from that money lender, not a bad day, especially as I found a blackmarketeer to allow us to pick up some useful things, may I suggest we invest in protection, armour and shields?"
"You will excuse moi, ze priest 'as arrived," Arimouse interrupted the mage. The mouseketeer scurried off to the chapel.
"What do we know of the other gang's exploits?" the shrew knight asked.
Flash steepled his feathers: "I heard that the Hare's gang picked up five fate points, six labour and a gunsmith, but no cash... "
"Unfortunate! They don't have any guns!" The remaining gang giggled.
"Sir Oliphant's gang raided that sunken ship again, but found nothing. They helped out at the pub for thirteen pennies, and picked up a medium beast from a slavetrader, I heard it's another snake. Not much cash there either though"
"Fox slayer and his gang have tapped up the local postmaster, that's a lot of information. They got 14 pennies from helping a money lender, 9 pennies from a farm, six pence from a pub, and their hedgehog mage picked up a new spell! They were definitely rolling in it!"
The gang reclined, looking up at the clouds, when Arimouse came sprinting out of the chapel "Sacre bleu! Ze priest, 'ee 'as performed un miracle! Alk, 'ee iz alive!"
The gang sprang to their feet, and ran to the door, where the fox, with an impressive pair of scars across his neck, looking slightly dazed, and was even more dazed as the company piled onto him, hugging him to the floor.
"Well, that certainly did not go to plan!"