Swartt’s Rotten, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Day!

(With apologies to Alexander's Rotten, Awful, etc.!)

By Katie Sullivan (a.k.a. Snowfur)

     

     Word spread quickly through the camp: Swartt Sixclaw was in a foul mood.  Hordebeasts did their best to stay out of his way.  Those who didn’t were dealt vicious blows from the gauntleted sixclaw.
     Bluefen dared not speak as she served the Warlord his lunch in their tent.  When her husband had everything he needed, she sat down and quietly nibbled on a stale scone.  Swartt slouched moodily and munched on an oat farl, frowning into the distance and completely ignoring Bluefen.
     After lunch, Swartt went to a wooden chest in the corner and rummaged inside.  He suddenly straightened up and roared in irritation.  “My favorite throwing dagger is missing!”
     Bluefen flinched.  She sensed a tirade coming on.
     “This is an outrage!” Swartt yelled, smashing the lid of the chest down with his mailed sixclaw.
     “My Lord--” Bluefen began timidly.
     “Not now!” Swartt cut her off and stormed out of the tent.
     “But--” Bluefen stammered, gathering up her skirts and hurrying after him.

     “Vixen!” Swartt shouted, raging through the makeshift community of tents.
    Hordebeasts scurried to get out of his way.  Nightshade slipped out of her tent and nervously awaited her leader’s arrival.  Swartt planted himself in front of the trembling fox and put his paws akimbo.  “All right, vixen, if you’re such a great seer, then tell me where my favorite dagger is.”
     Nightshade gulped.  “Lord, I don’t know if my powers can exactly--”
     “Do it!”
     “Yes, sire.”  Nightshade closed her eyes and tilted her head back.
     “But, My Lord--” Bluefen began.
     “Please, I must concentrate,” Nightshade said, holding up a paw.
     Bluefen crossed her arms on her chest in frustration and stood quietly by.
     At length, the fox shrugged apologetically.  “My visions are unclear, My Lord.”
     “Useless fleabag!” Swartt spat.  “Miserable excuse for a seer.  You couldn’t see your way out of a paper bag!”
     “But, sir--” Bluefen tried again.
     “Not now!” Swartt snapped, stalking off toward Captain Aggal’s tent.
     The stoat reluctantly came out of his tent to face his commander.  “Yes, Your Mightiness?” he said, saluting smartly.
     “You’ve taken my favorite dagger, haven’t you, you backstabbing louse?” Swartt stormed.
     “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir,” Aggal stammered, visibly shaking.
     “Of course not.  You’re an idiot!”  Swartt pushed past the startled stoat and into his tent.
     The infuriated ferret began overturning furniture and tearing down curtains.
    “Where is it, you lily-livered scum?” he bellowed.
     Aggal stood by the tent flap, his knees shaking unsteadily in fright.  “I didn’t take it, My Lord.  Perhaps Scarback or Marbul--”
     “Shut up!”
     “Yes, sire,” Aggal said immediately.
     “My Lord--” Bluefen said yet again, frowning in frustration.
     “Stop blabbing and help me look, you worthless baggage!” Swartt growled.
     “But--”
     “Just do it!”  Swartt began emptying a moldy chest.  Aggal’s ragged clothing filled the air.
     Bluefen had had it.  Drawing herself up to her full height, she yelled, “Swartt!”
     He whirled around, panting in fury, and shouted in aggravation.  “Hellgates, what
is it, woman?!”
     “As I’ve been trying to tell you, your dagger is in the haversack in the corner of our tent!” Bluefen blurted in angry disgust.
     Swartt was momentarily struck dumb.  “Uh...” he said awkwardly.  His hardened expression soon returned.  Baring his red fangs, he snarled, “Well, why didn’t you say so?  What have you got for brains, you wench?  Acorns?  Er...show me where that haversack is.”
     “Yes, My Lord,” Bluefen said with a slight smirk.
     Swartt stomped out of the tent with his wife in tow.  “And, Aggal, clean up your tent!  It’s a disgrace!” he called over his shoulder.
     The stoat Captain slumped against a tent pole and wheezed in relief as his leader’s ravings faded into the distance.
 
 
 

Story 1997 Katie Sullivan
Redwall characters Brian Jacques

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