This is my Christmas/Winter/New Years gift to all of you, all my RW friends! :D I love you all so much!!! ^^ So yeah, this is what I've been working on for the past month... :s But now it's finished, I can hopefully get back to DoR next month, when I won't be so busy. I wanted to finish this in time for Christmas, so it's not the greatest... feels a bit rushed to me... but I hope you enjoy it anyway. :} It's actually a crossover with Rise of the Guardians, which might sound weird, but I loved the idea so much. x] If you haven't seen RotG... well, this story shouldn't really have too many spoilers, or you could go watch it, then read the story. ;) I hope you enjoy it anyway, even if you don't understand it. xD
The cloud was wet and cold, like any other cloud, but this did not even bother Jack's bare feet as he landed on it. "Hey, Snowy! Here I am."
The huge Snow Badger turned at the sound of his voice. "Jack! What took you so long?" He smiled as he gave the boy what he thought was a gentle pat on the back.
"Oh, I had things to do. I'm a Guardian now, y'know." Jack said, regaining his balance.
Snow Badger let out a snort. "Things to do? As in, making people slip, and causing accidents and endless trouble?"
"Hey, it's my job." Jack grinned. "So, what am I doing here, anyway?"
"Didn't he tell you?" the Badger raised a bushy eyebrow.
"No. All the Man in the Moon told me was to meet you here." He rolled his eyes. "He never tells me anything!"
The Badger chuckled, then grew serious again. "Jack, you were brought here for a special mission."
"What? What is it?"
"Well, why don't you let me tell you."
"Sorry." Jack leaned on his staff.
"Look below us." Snow Badger swept away a hole in the cloud they stood on. Far below, the redstone walls of a peaceful Abbey could be seen among the snow covered trees. "Down there is Redwall Abbey. Its inhabitants are celebrating the Winter Feast today."
"Well, good for them." said Jack. "What do you want me to do, make them ice sculptures?"
"Jack, listen, this is serious. Tonight, a great, powerful enemy is planning an attack on the Abbey. Your mission is to go down there and stop him, before he ruins the Feast."
"But why me?" asked Jack. "Why not you? You do the same job as me here, the whole snow and ice thing. You should be just as able to do it as me."
"Because the Moon said so." The Badger look down sternly at him. "Don't argue with the Moon. You know very well he is never wrong. Just trust him, lad."
Jack smacked his face onto his staff. "I know. It's just that he's always choosing me for this or that, and not even telling me why! Really annoying. But since he told me to, I've gotta do it. Right now?"
"Yes, you should go down right now, and wait for him." Snow Badger looked him over. "Hmm. Just a moment." He picked up something mysterious and touched the boy with it. Jack felt something weird happening to his body and glanced down.
"Ahh!" He dropped his staff in surprise to see he now had paws instead of hands. "What the-" He looked at his reflection in the ice made by his feet on the cloud. "What did you just-" His eyes popped when he saw he was covered in white fur, from his footpaws, to his tailscut and his now big, long ears. "Okay, that's just a little weird."
The Lord of Wintertide smiled at his reaction. "There. Now you look like one of my Snow Hares. And if anybeast happens to see you, you'll appear at least slightly more normal than as a human."
"Great, now I look like the Easter Kangaroo." Jack said sarcastically. "But don't tell him I said that. It's not like anyone will see me anyway. Can I go now?" He picked up his staff.
The Badger nodded. "Go right ahead. Good luck, Jack Frost."
Jack turned to jump off the cloud, but paused. "Wait, who exactly is this guy I'm supposed to be geting rid of?"
"That is for you to find out." Snow Badger nodded to the ground. "Now go. He comes at night."
"See ya! Wind, take me down!" Jack leaped off the cloud and shot downwards.
"Don't make any trouble-" The Snow Badger called after him, but sat down, sighing. "Oh well, you might as well tell the grass not to be green..."
Jack whooped in exhileration, his long ears flapping in the wind as he spiraled toward the ground at an alarming speed. He often felt a bit sorry for those poor mortals who couldn't fly like this... but not today. He stopped abruptly a foot ot two above the Abbey lawn, swooping back up and perching on the red battlements. The Skipper of Otters walked past on the walltop, about to descend the steps to the ground. Seeing his chance, Jack swept his staff over the steps, covering them in ice. Skipper took one step and slipped, falling and rolling down the stairs.
"Ow! Ouch!" He sat up at the bottom, rubbing his head. "Dang slippery stairs."
Jack nearly fell off his perch with laughter. Flying down, he whacked a branch, plopping snow all over a mouse's head, caused a hedgehog to slip and fall on his back, and landed on the frozen pond, leaving his frosty mark on the trees in the orchard. A young squirrel was skating on the pond, coming closer to the middle.
"Don't go over there, Sam!" called a hogmaid nervously. "Winifred said it ain't safe!"
"I'm fine!" yelled Sam. "I'm way lighter than Winifred!" He spun in a circle. "See?" He stopped as a cracking sound came from beneath his footpaws. All the other young creatures gasped and stepped carefully off the ice.
"I-I'm fine..." stammered Sam. "Just a little crack." He took a cautious step. Ccccrrcckkk... crk... crack...
"It's gonna break!" shrieked the hogmaid, throwing her mittened paws over her eyes.
"Don't move, Sam!" yelled Mattimeo. "I'll get my dad! Daaad!!! Come quick! The ice is breaking and Sam's on it!"
"Don't move... very helpful, Matt..." muttered Sam. He didn't think he could stay in this position much longer. The ice cracked again. Matthias was running over by this time, several other grownups following.
"Stay still, Sam!" he had a rope.
"What do you think I'm doing?!"
The ice cracked again, and Jack could see it was about to fall apart completely. He pressed his staff to the ice, sealing up the cracks enough so Sam wouldn't fall through. Matthias didn't know this, of course, and threw one end of his rope to the squirrel. "Catch!" Sam caught it.
"Now try moving slowly towards me." The Warrior pulled on the rope as Sam cautiously began skating. Crrkk... Without warning, Matthias yanked hard on the rope, catching the young squirrel as he flew to safety.
"Whew, thanks, Matthias!" Sam stood, brushing snow from his fur.
"No problem." the mouse smiled. "I'm just glad the ice didn't crack any more. If it had, we'd have ourselves one frozen squirrel. The pond is off limits now, everybeast. We don't want the cracks spreading and beasts falling in. It should be iced over enough tomorrow though."
"Awww." the young ones were disappointed. Mattimeo sat in the snow. "What do we do now?"
Jack, watching unseen from the edge of the pond, knew what this situation called for. "Let's have some fun..." Scooping up a pawful of snow, he packed it intoa ball, then blew a breath onto it. The snowball hit Tubspike, a young hogmaiod, in the back of her head.
"Hey!" Picking up a quick snowball, she flung it at the nearest creature behind her, who happened to be Bungo the molebabe. It missed Bungo and hit Mattimeo full in the face.
"What the- hey!" he sputtered, and threw one back, but it hit Jess Squirrel in the bottom. "Oh! Sorry, Mrs. Squirrel-" Jess only laughed, and threw one back at him, then one at her husband. A few seconds later, the air was filled with flying snowballs, shouts, and shrieks of laughter. Even the grownups were joining in.
Jack smiled as he watched them, crouching in a nearby willow tree. One of Tim Churchmouse's blindly thrown snowballs flew right through Jack, but he didn't mind much.He was just glad they were happy again.
"Yup." he said, though there was no one to hear him. "That's my center alright. Fun." Grinning, he looked up, but the Moon was nowhere to be seen yet.
The fight went on for several more minutes, until a bell rang out and the Friar was heard yelling, "Time to eat!" Everybeast dropped their snowballs and stampeded from the battlefield to the Great Hall, the Dibbuns screaming exitedly. Jack followed, curious. It was now nearly dark.
Jack stopped before going into the Hall. He figured they didn't want any snow or ice indoors, and anyway, he needed to keep a look out for the villain he was supposed to be fighting. He decided to explore the rest of the Abbey while he waited. He flew from window to window, peeking in at the rooms inside. Most of them were deserted, with everybeast at the Hall, but he paused at one dormitory as he saw Bungo hanging his soaked clothes on a chair to dry. He had come up to change before the feast. He looked up suddenly at the window, his jaw dropping open in surprise.
Jack glanced behind himself, wondering what the little mole saw. Bungo waddled quickly over, throwing the window open. "Burr, wot bee's you'm doin; out thurr, zurr?!"
Jack looked around, before realizing he was the only creature in sight. "M-me?"
"Hurr, yes you! Whoi bee you'm 'angin' frum moi winder?"
"You-you can see me?" Jack pointed to himself. The mole nodded, a puzzled look on his chubby face.
"You can hear me?"
"Hurr, yes oi can." he nodded again. "Who'm bee you?"
Jack was ecstatic. He leaped into the room, summersaulting in the air. Finally, someone else besides Jamie and his friends who believed in him! He perched on the foot of the bed. "I'm Jack Frost! I-I can't believe you actually see me! But... how do you, if you don't even know who I am?"
"Oi doan'ow..." Bungo's digging claw flew to something tied on a string hanging from his neck. "Do ee know ee Snow Badger?"
"Yes, I've met him." Jack nodded. "He helped bring me here, actually."
"Oi metted 'im larst Winter." said Bungo. "He'm gave oi this yurr." He opened his paw, revealing a tiny pouch. Inside was a crystal of ice. Jack noticed the string was actually a hair from the Lord of Wintertide himself.
"Oi bee one of ee few critturs who'm see'd 'im." continued the small mole. "Bee's you'm one of ee Lord's Snow Hurrs?"
"Nope." Jack made a face at the thought of someone constantly telling him what to do. "I'm just... from somewhere else." The idea of a different universe, full of humans, would be too much for the young mole to understand. "I do kinda the same thing as Snow Badger, snow, ice, frost, that whole thing."
"Then whoi bee you'm yurr?"
"That's a good question." Jack said. "I'd love to know what I'm doing here. All I know is what Snow Badger and the Moon told me."
"Ee Moon?" Bungo looked bewildered.
"Sorry, just confusing you more. Never mind, it's nothing you'd understand."
The door was flung open by Tubspike. "There you are, Bungo! Why aren't you comin'? The feast's startin'!" She looked around the room. "Who were y'talkin' to?"
Bungo looked up at Jack, who shrugged. "She can't see me, she does't know I exist."
Bungo pointed at him. "Et bee Jack Frost, ee hurr! Roight yurr!"
"Don't be silly, Bungo!" said Tubspike. "Why would there be a hare in your room? Come on, we're gonna be late!"
"Go on, enjoy the feast!" Jack motioned Bungo toward the door.
"Coom with oi!" said Bungo.
"No, sorry, I can't come. I have important things to do. But if I have time, when I'm done, I'll come back here tonight. Alright?" He wanted to spend a little more time with this kid.
"Hurr, aroight." Bungo waved a paw. "See you'm arter ee feast!" The Dibbuns ran out, slamming the door behind them.
Jack turned to go out the window, but as he did, he thought he heard a familiar sound. It came from under the bed. He hopped down and looked under it, freezing momentarily at the sight of two sandy yellow eyes glaring back at him, accompanied by a snort.
"What the..." Jack swept his staff under the bed, but missed the creature, as it shot out and through the window with a whinny, black sand trailing behind it. He followed quickly, dread building up in him as he saw more of the black, horse-like creatures surrounding the Abbey.
"No way..." Suddenly Jack knew who this villain was he was sent here to get rid of. There was no mistaking those Nightmares... Pitch Black was attacking Redwall! He wanted to ruin the Winter celebration by giving the good Abbeybeasts nothing but bad dreams tonight. As always, he wanted only to be feared and believed in. Well, Jack wasn't going to let him do that.
The Nightmares had seen him now and were closing in, sensing his shock at finding Pitch here. Literally flying into action, Jack fired an ice blast at the nearest Nightmares, turning them to frozen piles of dreamsand. He shot straight up, quickly finding and heading in the direction they were coming from. The black beasts followed, snorting threateningly.
"What's that? Jack Frost? Nonsense, he isn't here." Pitch Black patted his favorite mare. He was quite a frightening sight, tall, thin, and looking something like a hybrid of a weasel, a rat, a fox, and a wolverine, with colorless gray fur and eyes, and his usual long black robe. The Nightmare whinnied urgently and tossed its head.
"No, don't be silly. The Guardians could never know we're here. All they have in this cute little universe is a big, stupid Snow Badger, who wouldn't even care about the fluffy little mice below him." Pitch turned abruptly as an all-too-familiar hooded figure landed on the path in front of him.
"So, thought you'd try and bring your Nightmares over here, huh?" Jack pointed his staff at the Boogeyman.
Recovering from his surprise, Pitch smiled in fake friendliness. "Why, Jack Frost! What a pleasant surprise! You do look quite cute as a little white bunny rabbit, I must say."
"Actually, I'm a hare." said Jack. "And you're what? A wolvrafoxel? And you're still wearin' that silly dress?" he laughed.
Pitch snorted. "How did you get here?"
"The Moon brought me, if that's any of your business." answered Jack. "And I don't think it is."
"Well, of course this is my business!" retorted Pitch. "You're the one who always comes barging into what I'm trying to do! Now go away! I've an Abbey to scare here." He gave his Nightmares the signal to attack. They didn't move.
"Why aren't you going? Move! Boo!" he shouted at them. Still they stood there, dreamsand manes and tails swirling in the breeze.
Pitch knew what was wrong, though he didn't want to admit it to himself. All the creatures in Redwall were having such a good time, there was no fear for the Nightmares to smell. Not in there. When Jack Frost showed up, Pitch had tried his best not to show his fear, but he could not hide it from the Nightmares. They smelled nothing but him. As the scent grew stronger for them, the Nightmares all turned and moved slowly toward him.
"What do you think you're doing? The Abbey is that way!" his voice rose. "Other way! Go, you stupid donkeys!"
Now Jack knew why he in particular had been sent. The Man in the Moon had known that Jack would be enough to turn the Boogeyman's Nightmares against him, like before. In both fear and anger, Pitch fired a blast of black dreamsand at Jack. He saw it just in time and countered it with ice, forming a frozen wall of sand between Pitch and Redwall. Completely losing his nerve, Pitch turned and ran, but as he did, the Nightmares charged, overtaking him. He was carried away, deep into the dark forest, shouting, "No! No! Not again! Noooooo!"
Jack watched until the last of the Nightmares had disappeared. They wouldn't be back soon, not tonight at least. "Well, that wasn't too hard."
Hanging upside down from the gutter, Jack looked in the window of the Great Hall. Inside, music played, and the creatures ate, danced, talked, and laughed. They were having so much fun. Part of him wished he could take part in all of this. He sat back on the roof, looking up at the big bright moon.
"Why?" he sighed. "Why me?" Not expecting an answer at all, he was very surprised to get one.
"Look in there again, Jack." said a voice behind him. He turned to see the huge Snow Badger. "Look at them. How do they look?"
Jack obeyed, swinging down and crouching on the window ledge. "Um, happy?"
"Yes. And why?"
"Because... it's Winter?"
"Well, yes, but also because of you."
"That's what I said. You chased Pitch Black away, and now they will have nothing but good dreams tonight, instead of bad ones. They can spend the night happily. How does this make you feel?" he put a gigantic paw on Jack's shoulder.
Jack searched inside himself. He felt wonderful. It always made him happy to see how he had helped make people happy. "I feel great."
Snow Badger smiled at him. "That is why. Now that your mission is complete, you ready to head home?"
"Um, actually, not yet." answered Jack. "There's something I need to do first."
Jack watched the Abbeybeasts party far into the night, until it finally died down and they began to head for their beds, especially the young ones. He was sitting on Bungo's bed, waiting for him, when the little mole came in.
"Hurr, Jarck! You'm finushed wot ee s'posed t'be doin'?"
"Yep, done." smiled Jack.
Just then, Tubspike walked in. "Are you talkin' to your invisible friend again?" she rolled her eyes.
"Ee be real!" protested Bungo. "Ee'm roight yurr!" He looked helplessy at Jack, who shrugged.
"I don't know how she's going to believe you... wait." A moment later, the room was filled with snowflakes, softly falling from the ceiling.
"Huh?" Tubspike stared as one landed on her nose. "Why is it snowing inside?!"
"Jarck make ee snow! Ee'm ee frost hurr!" explained Bungo. Delicate frost patterns spread across the window glass, and a smiley face appeared in it, drawn by an invisible claw. Suddenly Tubspike's eyes popped open as she finally saw him.
"He... he is real!"
"That's what oi been tellin' ee!" Bungo yelled.
"Of course I am!" Jack grinned. "Who do you think hit you with that snowball earlier today?"
"That... that was you??"
"Yeah! I also made Skipper fall down the stairs, and kept Sam from falling in the pond!"
"Woah!" Tubspike's eyes were now like two dinner plates. "Wow!"
"Tubspike! Bungo!" came the rumbling voice of Constance Badgermum. "Be quiet now! Time to go to sleep!"
The two Dibbuns jumped into their beds.
"Well, I should go now." said Jack. "You need your sleep, and I've got things to do back home."
"Aww, already?" Tubspike pouted. "Can't ya stay a little longer?"
"Sorry, you need to go to sleep." He headed for the window, but Bungo stopped him with a hug.
"Hurr, will oi see ee again?"
Jack hugged him back, thinking again of Jamie. "Maybe." Jack didn't want to tell him no. He stood. "I hope so. We'll... see." He opened the window, cold air blasting in. "For now, sleep well."
"Oh, Jack?" Tubspike sat up. "Could you refreeze the pond so it's safe to play on again?"
"Sure!" Jack smiled at her. "Goodnight!" He leaped out the window, swooping low over the pond and refreezing the cracked ice until it could hold up even Constance. He headed for the Snow Badger's cloud high in the sky, looking back as he flew. Bungo still stood in the window, waving, and shouting, "Thankee!"
Jack waved back as he disappeared into the clouds. He would be glad to get back into his human form, but he missed the young mole and his hedgehog friend already...
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and have a great Winter and 2017!!! <3