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Thread: The story of Hookmaw

  1. #11
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    Story of Hookmaw part 6a

    Paw steps resounded through the maze like tunnels, that sprawled inside the mound of the rat king Snag. These dim and foreboding corridors filled it's passers, with unease and worry, and they would slink through, making silent prayers for their safety. This was not so for the tiny rat maiden, who now roamed these unsavory passages. In fact her boldness in the situation, struck a new kind of fear into the guards that stood post through out. Her tiny paws clapped hard on the floors and her head was held high, high as it could be at least, given that she was barely over half the measure of common rats. Her boldness was greater than any rat who had answered a summons to the lords chambers. No guard dare look at her directly as she passed, each having heard at least one tale of this rat's explosive temper, and it was clear she was growing even more irritable as she wandered the twisted halls. Finally she stopped in front of one especially nervous looking guard and in her gruffest voice she barked, "Where in this contorted heap, is Snag, don't ya stand there fool, show me," Runt placed her paw on her famous scatter gun to add emphasis to her demand. The guard nodded quickly, and started off toward Snag's chamber. His steps were quick, and Runt was almost sprinting to keep pace, this would have been most irritating to the small rat, if it were not so satisfying to fill the larger rat with such fear. In no time they had made it, "Now scram," she growled at the guard, who quickly complied. Then she pushed her way in to the room, unannounced.

    In the center of the large opening was a table fit for a banquet, but only one chair, in it sat Snag. The disrespect of the maiden rat, infuriated the king, but he masked his anger well. "Aha, Dafita, so happy you is here," Snag spoke coolly, knowing that addressing her as Runt, a title she was well known for despising, would not suit his purpose. "You know i been always fond of ya, right," the king continued. Runt starred confusingly at Snag. "Surely you know i'd have had more than a thing to say, the first couple times one of my commandos had to get your stone shot plucked from his rump, if i didn't see ya as my own daughter. But yous not a backstabber like the one i got," he quickly added, "them that get your shot to their backside gets the reward a coward should." Runt gave a thin smirk, which pleased snag as he monologged, "You are like me, straight forward so, i wanna be straight with ya." The maiden rat looking intrigued, listening closely to what the peculiar acting Snag had to say. "You hear the rumors, yes?," questioned Snag. "Runt gave a mocking laugh that angered the king as much as the comment that followed, "i's got no ear for the yarns best leave em to the long toothed and grey furs." Snag snapped a retort, that worked to recapture her interest, "You should be be paying more heed to yarns dearie, most so ones about you." "Me, my lord?," Runt questioned, obviously angered that someone would dare gossip about her. Snag new he had her hooked now, "You's heard what they say about that Hookmaw, right?" "Whats that to do with me?" She asked. "Well they say that Crooked tooth does the unthinkable, they say he kills with filth and decease, no strength or honor. Still, he makes quite a name among the gutters. You knows whats next right?," Snag didn't give her a moment to answer, "rats hearing the stories bout they selves, start thinking they are special. Special rats think they deserve stuff, and start claiming it. That fester pit of a warren suits that twist fang perfectly, so what is it you suppose he'd be wanting?" Again leaving no time to answer, "may haps a mate," Snag paused for just a moment before continuing. "What kinda mate you recon appeals to his sorts, with a taste for the malformed and misshapen?" Runt was fumed with anger as she realized what Snag was getting at, "claim me like a common wench," she exclaimed, getting swept up more and more in her own anger, "that rot faced maggot sniffer thinks me, misshapen? Gonna add me to his freak show?, i'll misshape him." Snag didn't try to hide his pleasure with Runt's out burst, "My thoughts exactly, yous far too much she rat for the likes of him," he patronized, "But you can't just go gunning him down in the streets, we's have rules. You could contest his claim, but I shutter to think what'd become of ya if you lost the challenge to that one." Runt fumed at the idea, but listened carefully, understanding the truth of Snag's words as he continued, "you know, killin' only be murder, on Dreadmound streets, in front of Dreadmound rats. So if ol' Hookmaw died out in the woods, well that could be murder could it?, and no rat anywhere could say different." Snag grinned widely as he watched the fury in Runt's eyes focus. "I'm glad we understand each other,"snag said motioning for her to see her self out. "Best be off now, rest up little one," he said, to further rile her, "you go scouting tomorrow, you and Hookmaw."

    Early in the morning, around the time Hookmaw had grown accustom to returning home, he was mounting his molting grey-black companion, and flying off. As the pair zipped into the air, Hookmaw didn't feel the usual rush of excitement sweep over him. Instead he was angry, and not just because he'd rather be sleeping, he was growing tired of waging Snag's war, and following his orders. Now he was to do his scouting too, the vary thought infuriated Hookmaw, who had more than regained the pride he had lost since his days as prince. As much as it angered Hookmaw, he still could not openly defy Snag's orders, or he'd surely be jailed, or even more likely, worse. So he would gather Snag's information, but still refused to be a part of any scouting party. Hookmaw departed at this odd hour, hoping to get an early start on those he saw as lesser rats. He found it additionally irritating, when he discovered, he did not leave early enough, and an even larger black bird than Quilldropper, with a minuscule rider joined them in the sky.

  2. #12
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    Story of Hookmaw part 6b

    The two pair flew of in the silence along the tree line, on the rat controlled side of the great field, soaring just out of sight through the limbs and foliage. Hookmaw drove Quilldropper as fast as he could without exhausting him. Having become very familiar with his partner, he knew just how much the bird could handle. Doubting the feathered hulk that followed, would be able to keep the pace for much longer, he kept peering back expecting to see the larger bird begin to lag behind. Runt, being so tiny by comparison to the bird, was not confined to a saddle, and moved with few limitations around it's back. Which she found most important when riding through the trees, on Boulder, who was named for his barrel through method of flying. Dodging leaves and branches was an inconvenience for runt, she envied the way Hookmaw maneuvered so easily around branches, but she couldn't argue with Boulder's results. More than once this morning, she had lost sight of Quilldropper as he maneuvered through the trees, but Boulders straight through method kept her breaking out of the foliage right on his tail. Leaves and twigs burst into the air, scattering around the massive black bird, with the tiny rat scurrying back to her perch, and it was this way every time Hookmaw had thought them lost. Not daring to over work Quilldropper, he was forced to accept this aggravation, he would not be rid of this little maiden so easily. After several hours, Quilldropper landed on branch with a slight view out of the tree line, and Hookmaw leaped off and hunkered in next to the trunk. The tree shook as Boulder set down on a near by limb, Runt did not dismount. "why are we stopping?," she demanded. "We," snarled Hookmaw, barely looking up and obviously referring only to he and Quilldropper, "roost here until dusk. Then he looked away, it was clear Hookmaw had no interest in talking. Runt preferred it that way also. She didn't want to get to know Hookmaw, having already made her mind up about him, and what she was to do. But she couldn't do that here, they were still too close to Dreadmound, so she nestled in beside Boulder and waited for the sun to set.

    Thick clouds darkened the sky, and a chilling wind blew in with the night. All but the faintest amount of moon light was blocked by the heavy shroud. Even the keenest of eyes would have had great difficulty spotting the black birds, as they made way a crossed the massive clearing. Still they kept low, and drove their fastest out of the open. Runt readied her weapons, but not to turn them on Hookmaw. Not knowing what waited inside the darkness of the opposing tree line, had her feeling very uneasy, and made it difficult to focus on her plan. Squeezing tightly on the grip of the short barreled firearm she was famous for, Runt scrutinized all the dim light would allow her to see. She could not help turning her eyes to Hookmaw, who made no preparation as they charged into the mysterious dark. It was only a passing thought, for she was much more interested in protecting her own hide. If the twist face wanted to let some mouse put an arrow in him, that would be a lot easier, but a part of her hoped that wouldn't be the case. The more time she spent following Hookmaw, the more she had began to look forward to fighting him. She had been in plenty of fights, mainly bar brawls and gambling disputes, but mostly those ended in some rat turning tail and catching a load of pebbles to the rump for it. No rat ever looked down on Runt once they had seen the killer look in her eyes, it made fighting Runt's favorite thing to do. This rat before her didn't act like he feared death at all, and she figured live or die there'd be no chance he'd flee. More and more she looked forward to watching Hookmaw stare down his twisted muzzle at death, and being the one to give him it. Closing in quickly on the trees, she had no time to indulge in these fantasies, instead she concentrated on those enemies that couldn't be seen, the one before her would have to wait. Runt watched as Quilldropper, who led by a few meters, disappeared into the ominous dark. She pointed her weapon at the unknown and plunged into the trees behind him.

  3. #13
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    Story of Hookmaw part 7a

    Thick tufts of leaves blocked out the moon light, making it difficult for Runt to see. The darkness made her question her original plan, to strike Hookmaw, as soon as they crossed the boarder. She was anxious for dawn, growing tired of pressing after Quilldropper who nimbly moved from tree to tree, going deeper into this unfamiliar realm. Hookmaw was no more familiar with the area than Runt, but he was no stranger to the darkness. Pausing on a tree limb, it only took a moment for him to take in all around him, and be off again. More times than not leaving before Boulder and Runt even made to the tree. Which grew more and more tiresome for Runt. Her paw itched for her blunderbuss, so she could be rid of the arrogant flea sack and be gone from this place.

    The first rays of morning light began to break through leaves, glistening as they caught Runt's eye. It was if the sun had ignited a fire in her. She was done following Hookmaw, it was finally time to strike. She spurred Boulder on, this time she would not stop. She would burst through the leaves, and close the gap between them, get right up close and BAM. As Hookmaw swooped to perch, She began her charge. Her blood boiled, with excitement, crashing through the leaves and twigs. With a wild look in her eye and a cruel smile on her face, she broke out of the foliage, both of her paws locked on her blunderbuss, and ready to fire. Hookmaw and Quilldropper were both shocked, but not so much as runt, who aimed her weapon at only air. The pair had perched an extra moment, sure they had seen a movement in the distance, just before Boulder and Runt had come crashing through. An arrow soared from the distance, confirming Hookmaw's suspicion and almost striking the large bird, followed by another.

    The cool morning air had a slightly sweet smell, that had not noticed by the rats, but not far from where they flew, a sleepy mouse guard, let it fill his groggy mind with pleasant thoughts of berries and nectar. Drifting slowly as he day dreamt, until a loud rustle, shocked him to his feet. He jumped up, rubbing his eyes, he scanned the trees. Suddenly a huge blackbird burst out of the foliage, ridden by a vicious looking, all be it small, rat. The guard did not hesitate, raising an arrow and his bow and fired. The distance was great and his shot went wide, but he persisted, firing again. He shot, arrow after arrow, as quickly as his small paws could manage. Feathers exploded into the air. The mouse squeaked, "Aha, got ya!", as he thought he saw the bird drop from the sky. He couldn't be sure though, all he could see was the darkly colored quills fluttering to the ground. With a click of his tongue he called his starling partner, mounted her, and took off toward where he saw the bird go down. Weary that more rats may be near, he kept his signal horn in hand, but feeling as big as any mouse would after dispatching such a large bird, the guard rushed to confirm the kill.

    Quilldropper had done it dozens of times now, but never with another bird. He wasn't sure it'd work, but he trusted Hookmaw, and was starting to understand there was a reason for everything Hookmaw did, though he couldn't always figure what that was. Following the instruction of his rider, the molting black bird shot like a bolt, smashing down on the top of the large bird, latching to it's back. Quilldropper gave a mighty shake, and sickly grey black quills flew out all around them. The pair of birds were a blur in the whirlwind of feathers, that blocked the continuing barrage of arrows. Runt was pinned in one of the talons gripping Boulders shoulders, and was nearly crushed under the weight of them all, when they slammed to the forest floor. She slipped free at the last moment and was bounced off the large bird. Getting the wind knocked from her, and dropping her gun, she skidded across the leafy ground. Runt lay there, in agony, but also in turmoil. However painful the last few seconds had been, a part of her knew Hookmaw had just saved her life, but why? Quilldropper sat on top of the larger bird, his talons pressed firmly into its back. Hookmaw slid down, hanging from the side of Quilldroppers harness. He scooped up the blunderbuss and looked directly into one of Boulders big black eyes. "Be dead," Hookmaw snarled. Feeling very disoriented and powerless under Quilldropper, Bloulder nodded, then lay motionless as Quilldropper disappeared behind the trunk of a near by tree.

  4. #14
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    Story of Hookmaw part 7b

    Pride filled the chest of the mouse guard, looking down at the hulking black bird, sprawled on the ground, and he sat a little straighter in his saddle. He circled twice, to be sure it had been alone, before swooping down. The starling veered around the trunk of a large tree, making for a sapling that stood near the downed bird. From around the tree came, Quilldropper, talons outstretched. There was no time for the starling to react, before he had buried his claws into it. As they spiraled to the ground the ferocious black bird lashed out peaking and slashing. Hookmaw leapt to the back of the starling, catching the mouse pilot completely off guard. He planted a swift hind paw to the chest of the mouse, sending him plunging the few remaining feet to the ground. Then drawing his knife, he turned on the starling, who was desperately trying to fend off Quilldropper.

    With a grunt, the tiny rat maiden, tried pulling herself back to her paws. Awed by the spectacle of the death spiral, she froze. The starling thudded on the ground, nearly squishing the mouse. It twitched, and its wings gave their final flaps. Quilldropper set down on the starling, and began ravenously claiming his spoils. Hookmaw stood atop the fallen bird, staring down at the mouse, who watched, wide eyed with fear, as Quilldropper viciously sated his hunger. Curling his mouth into a twisted smile, a gnarled tooth tore into his lip, "Ahaha," Hookmaw let out a cruel laugh at the little mouse, whose eyes glazed over and now stood paralyzed with terror. "You's got nuttin' to worry about from ol' Quilldropper," He mocked, jumping down beside the small rodent. He clasp his hand down on it's tiny shoulder, "come, sit," Hookmaw spoke eerily, dragging the pilot over and sitting him up in on the saddle, "Lets has a little chat." Runt could not hear what Hookmaw whispered in the mouse's ear. She guessed at the possibilities as she watched Hookmaw wipe the blood from his lip and smear it across it's forehead.

    "Why'd you do that?," Runt demanded after a moment. Hookmaw gave her a puzzled glance, Quilldropper looked up, also interested. "Why'd you save me?," she asked again, in a more irritated tone. Hookmaw turned towards her, anger flashed in his cold black eyes, "I wont have ya leaving your corpse around, messing everything up." She looked around, wondering what he had meant, then imagining for a moment the scene without them there. The thought of how much more terrifying it'd be not knowing how this had happened, sent a shiver up her spine. Realizing how creatively cruel Hookmaw could be, reminded her of her real situation, she had just tried to kill him. Her mind raced, wondering how she would get out of this. She analyzed everything, from how far she was from Boulder, to the likely hood of him beating Quilldropper head to head, and the fact that Hookmaw still had her gun. All of her planning did not prepare her for what happened next. She inhaled deeply, readying herself to dash toward Boulder, when at her feet landed her blunderbuss. "You get out of here!," Hookmaw ordered, returning to the mouse and turning his back on Runt. His arrogance was astounding. Runt felt so degraded, so insignificant. She wanted to raise her gun up and shoot him right in the back, but part of her knew that would mean not only death, but that Quilldropper would have to dispose of her body. She scooped up her weapon and walk toward Boulder. Feeling she couldn't take anymore shame in one day, she had to have the last word, she stopped at glared at Hookmaw. "There's sure to be more of them out there. Mice don't fly alone, they'll be here in no time," Runt tried to deflate his ego with her warning, "you's no match for em all." Hookmaw reached out, snatching the signal horn from the entranced mouse's hand. Before turning around he took a mighty breath and blew it through the horn. The sound was echo'd in the distance by some nearby mice blowing their horns in response. "You's better get gone then," Hookmaw said with a wicked smile, tossing the horn. Then he pulled himself up into his saddle and Quilldropper disappeared into the canopy.

    I hope some of you are enjoying my story. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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