Back Story

In a darker age on the planet Loam (dirt, home, loam); on the night Verony (veronica) Volpone (a were - fox) gave birth to her twins Vive (Vivica) and little Vinny (Vincent jr.), Big Vinny (owner of The Crossroads Inn was told by the mid-wives and family members to take a lllooonnnggg walk.
Even over the pounding rain outside he heard the most pitiful LOUD caterwauling howl he had ever heard. Changing into a full fox he followed the exotic scent to a tiny but big mouthed creature. It was some kind of pup or kit or cub almost new born! Yellowish brown; with darker stripes across it's back that tapered on the ends and widened in the middle. A bunch of mole kids were poking at it with sticks and its fur was stained with red lichen. "Wha' da hel's dis ting" he mused and took it home.
Nobody at the inn could figure what it was but they knew it was hungry! The Volpones' adopted it (it was a male were - Thylacine, maybe the only one left) and named him Moldred {mole dread} because the moles dreaded him and he was covered in red mold. One big happy family; fox and vixen, 2 kits and a kitten/cub. The moles though still fear him and call him 'Fenris Volf' (they're from Vanaheim in the glaciers of North Hel). They think someday he will open his mouth and swallow the world.

Big Vinny was away a lot when the kids were growing up; first as a field commander and later as head of the PALACE guards. Sometimes he'd bring the 2 princesses up the country Inn for a week or two. Catharine would stay indoors with Vive and Patricia would explore the moors with Moldred and Little Vinny. When the kids were about 15 he retired from active service and ran the Inn.
Moldred and Vive grew very close as they got older and seemed to spend a lot of time getting Little Vinny into and/or out trouble; and a lot more; little heads together pouring over books on real magic, treasure hunts, travels to distant lands, etc. Then came Adolescence!
Vive was becoming a very nubile young vixen and Moldred was not a blood relative. When Big Vinny saw them skinny-dipping and 'wrestling' in were - form he figured he better take action or he'd have son-in-law instead of a second son. He had connections in the far eastern Hel town of Lin Nai where all the greatest wizards had "learned to 'wiz'" as he put it. So Moldred was sent to apprentice with Fyry Fyang {f'eye rye Fay ang} an ancient (but still sexy looking) sorceress were - ferret and Vive stayed home in Midgardon and went to The Court of Pacratty to "learn how to be a lady and maybe meet a rich earl or somethin'"
One rainy day in Fyry's library Moldred finds some strange books. The covers were smooth and transparent and the pages were held in place by metal rings that separated in the middle. The language was a very old dialect of Haven speech. It spoke of an entity called "The One Who Left Us Here" and spoke of a time when "He" would return for us at last. It also described the world as 'plastic' meaning it could be molded into a new reality if you knew how. Moldred studied the text all that day and into the night and learned how to do great magicks. But before he could learn even more the book vanished! POOF! There one second gone the next. He had learned some very powerful space and time warping 'spells' but not how to undo them, so he could only try more localized versions. Fyry denied ever owning such a book, but gave him an amulet that could "make everything ok again", but only once. She sent him on errands and work/study programs all over the 3 lands; and he got to see Vive about twice a year. Nobody saw either of them for week. They came back with little guilty grins that got Big Vinny apoplectic!
After 18 years he got his wizard badge and adept pin. The badge meant he had the knowledge; the pin meant he knew how to use it. On the way home he had to invite 'the General' to a truce talk in Brook Lined Heights the capitol of Midgardon. When he arrived at the Hordes Of Hel's bivouac Ahyrrad-tee-neow {arête tea knee ou (like in hour)} was berating a shorter were - tigress in a leather apron.
"Kant chew do a simple ting like polish mine armor vithout schrewing up? Look on tis; chew polish zo mudch ids paper tin; my claw go true like zo!" He roared poking his finger through the breast plate. "zee iffen chew can show dis weird wolfen to da mezz tend mitoud schrewing ub" and stormed off. The striped girl of about 10 or so showed Moldred to the food tent and sat with him.
"What are you?" she said softly.
"A Citizen of Midgardon; a wizard; a thylacine. Which did you mean?" M replied
"All I guess, I've never meet a wizard or a tyler scene or even someone from mid guard on"
"Why do you put up with that crap from that mangy old cat?"
"Oh! He's my dad and my commander meaning I got to listen to him twice as hard."
"Did he tell you how to polish his armor?"
"Did anyone?"
"Negative! All he said was 'get it so shiny the moonlight reflecting from it will blind my enemies!' So I rubbed and buffed and got a real mirror finish on it; but there wasn't much metal left." She said starting to get a little angry.
"So; you were only following orders to the best of your ability. What sane leader would ask for more?"
"Damn straight!" Ripper was now gouging strips out of the table.
Other people in the mess hall who heard all this started muttering that 'The General' was losing it.
"When was the last time you guys got any money" Moldred asked to the room at large.
"6 fragging weeks!" a chorus of voices intoned.
"What's going on in here?" a new voice queried from the tent flap.
It was Captain Mohryrt-tee-neow { moe reate} Ripper's brother.
"This nice wizard was telling me why daddy shouldn't have been so mean to me" she stated
"When do we get paid?" echoed around the room
"When you fight somebody that has money" Mohryrt-tee-neow replied backing out of the tent slowly.
"Now you've done it; runt; wait till I tell dad how you incited the troops to question his sanity" A very full figured tigress in the corner gnawing a bone on a gold plate croaked out
"That would be my dear sister, Lorrhyt { lore eat}, now you've meet my whole family" Mhyrrt-tee-neow { may reate} spit out venomously "Where you headed from here; can I come along?"
"I like you miss...?"
"Mhyrrt-tee-neow but my friends call me Ripper"
"Ok Ripper; I'm sorry but I'm headed to Haven and this place is anarchy compared to there. When you're a little older, if you can make it to Midgardon go to The Crossroads Inn ask for Vinny and tell him Moldred sent you and he'll put you up till I get back. Would you like to learn magic?"
"Maybe?" she said cautiously
"All righty then, say you're going to be my first.......
apprentice." He said teasingly.
Mohryrt-tee-neow returned with some burly puma lancers to see him to his carriage A well dressed weasel girl was already in the carriage "That's Ms. Goodness, a well paid and well fed freelance agent. She'll see you to Baston and on to a ship, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! "

"Who're you?" the driver called down.
"the Malcontent!" Mohryrt-tee-neow interjected
"Thanks sourpuss! Ok MOLDRED THE MALCONTENT it is. Shirley Goodness had a strict upbringing and left home very young. After being taken advantage of in too many ways; she learned how to take care of her self. This was her first 'freelance agent'  job to make sure this young; naive but powerful wizard just out of university didn't stir up any trouble on his way home. He; she was told; liked to undermine authority by just pointing out to people how crappy their lives were. He had a lot on his mind like what he was going to do with the rest of his life after he did a little errand for his King. Was he a malcontent as someone had just called him? Did his girlfriend at home still want to get married? Was he ready to take on apprentices? He barely noticed the cute little weasel girl that shared his stagecoach to North Baston to catch his ship to Haven. He was thinking about his last visit home and making out with Vive his childhood sweetheart; when a bump in the road sent the sable lady plop into his lap. "Is that a wand in your lap or are you just glad to see me" Shirley purred as she settled herself on the thylacine . "Your softer on my poor little butt than that hard bench can I sit here till the next stop?" "You Know this coach ain't stopping till we get to Baston in 3 days; Miss....? Maybe you could sit on my spare robe?" "Ah come on; I'm a very light little mink. Doesn't this feel nice." rubbing her velvety arm on his cheek "If you're a mink I'm a Bavarian Schwinhundt. Do you do this to every tazwolf you meet?" "I DO NOT! I'm a respectable young lady. You may call me MS. Goodness!" " Lady you miss goodness by miles. You respectable; surely you jest." " You know my name is Shirley; how? OH!" She thought ---if I don't shut him up he'll talk me into who knows what!!-- so she started kissing him and tearing his clothes off; and stuffing parts of her body into his mouth just to keep him quiet. She soon discovered his tongue had other talents beside talking. Three days later Moldred was standing dazed and not sure if he'd been making love or wrestling.  On to the ship to Haven by the Sea, Haven; at which point Shirley bid him a fond adieu and left; continuing south to Lynden on her second mission. The ship "Haven in the Waters" couldn't leave till two more passengers arrived, so Moldred wandered along the docks for a while. When he stuck his hand in his pouch to pay for some fish & chips there was something small and furry in with the coins.
"Excuse me young kitty but that is not your pouch"
"Yeah bofs, and that's not your paw!" the little ragged cat girl stated taking back her hand and raking his palm with her claws.
In the blink of an eye she was plunging naked into the cold bay. A second later she was nowhere to be seen! A moment after that she was standing dripping wet and naked in front of Moldred.
"How'd you do that?" They both said at the same time.
"Let's start over. Miss; I am Moldred The Malcontent, wizard."
"I'm Young Miss Bastet a well bred kitten who has fallen on bad times and is now dependent on the kindness of strangers"
"Hey, Phyrrt-de-yow {furt (as in furtive) dee yow (rhymes with cow)} you better get off the docks Cap' in Mudtluk knows who pawned his whale bone leg!" A sea lion said running up to her.
"Listen bofs; how'd you like to buy a girl some dinner? I'll tell you how I popped back her. By the way where are my clothes and stuff?" She said covering herself "If you like what you saw I know a painter who could sell you same good sketches at a fair price."
"Here's your things. I just wanted to see if you'd gotten anything important before I found out. Let's share my fish and chips" Moldred said handing her the paper cone "What should I call you?
"Sneak" she said through mouthfuls of food "Sneak's what I call myself; bofs"
"Ok, Sneak-Sneak; I have a deal for you..."
"Yeah, yeah it always comes to this" she looked very disappointed and a little sad "Where you want to do me?"
"No, No! That's not what I meant."
Sneak-Sneak looked up and gave him a big smile.
"I'm sailing to Haven today and could use a talented spy to see behind the facade those sanctimonious 'lawgivers' put up. My King will reward you handsomely and I'll at least keep you fed and 'clothed'; if you take my meaning."
"King you say? Where you from?"
"I'm so sorry! You didn't hear? The King was ambushed on the heath near Safe Harbor. He was on the way to meet a delegation from Haven with a small escort and an old fox innkeeper to guide them to The Crossroads Inn. A pack of spotted dogs; reverts maybe; attacked and killed everyone even the fox." Phyrrt-de-yow whispered watching Moldred sag on his feet.
"By The Black Dragon! Forget Haven I'm going home!" Moldred resolved.
Spying a limping walrus galumphing down the piers yelling bloody murder; Sneak-Sneak asked demurely "Can I go with you bofs? I'm real small, don't eat eat much" finishing the last of the chips and flipping the paper over her shoulder "and can cook you better meals than that crap! That frigate over there'll have us at Safe Harbor tomorrow night!"
"Ok! Fine! Take my hand"
"'Take my whole life too...'"
"'Cause I can't he'p falling...'"
"'... in love wid chew'" Sneak-Sneak crooned changed in to a cat and jumped on Moldred's shoulder.
Blink; they were aboard the Haven in the Waters; collecting his gear.
Blink; They were aboard "The Rollin' Sea" a Midgardon ship bound for Midgardon booking a cabin.
Blink; Phyrrt-de-yow disappeared and reappeared with her few belongings and some plants and 'srooms.
Shirley went about her business till she started throwing up in the morning and putting on weight. Children were rare in Loam and mixed breeds even rarer but there she was 'with child' and where was the father? It could only be Moldred; she wasn't that sexually active; trust issues. While in labor she made two decisions the baby was going to be named Mercy and when she found out where Moldred lived "Shirley Goodness and Mercy would follow him all the days of his life!" With a kid to raise she had to settle down a little so she went to work for Pope Dillard. Mercy grew up in Haven in the Skies the airborne capital of Haven; While Shirley went off on spy missions all over Loam and even off planet.

Interlude 1:
Interior of classy restaurant
art nouveau settings
well dressed patrons and staff
Young mouse lady; dark brown hair, large brown eyes, round face, pink cheeks, medium build, very well dressed; nibbling cube of cheese on end toothpick.
head waiter approaches with note
Princess: Yes, my good man?
waiter: An urgent message, Your Highness! (hands her a missive with wax seal; an ornate 'P')
Catty: It's from Home. Let us see what could be so important. Oh; my word this is terrible! I must go home at once! (transforms into a packrat and scurries out; to the shock and amusement of the other patrons)

Interlude 2:
Young lady packrat; dark brown hair, large brown eyes, round face, pink cheeks, medium build, multi-pocketed khaki vest, baggy shorts; stands in ruins of royal coach.
Rat man in fringed dark green forester garb walks up.
Rat: No sign of the murderers Ma'am; just dog paw prints coming from and returning to Safe Harbor!
Patty: Where in Safe Harbor?
Rat: A six masted schooner 'Haven on the Seas; Dillard's flag ship.
P: Take this (takes a small packet out of one of her many pockets) sneak aboard tonight and put this in their water supply.
R: Poison?
P: NO! Just a VERY strong laxative. It should keep them occupied for a while. They'll be sick as 'dogs'; the sonobitches!
R: Right on it Ma'am! (and fades into the heath)
P: Lady Fyang how long have you been standing there?
Fyry: Self has just now arrived here. Offers condolences on king father and perhaps small assistance contra Tubby Wylde?
P: Tubby Wylde?
F: Did not royal personage know? Lord Dillard was born Tubby Wylde in yourselves own western woodlands as were - Dalmatian. Moved to Haven with large family when very young.
P: Spotted Dogs!
F: Please to explain?
P: Dad and Big Vinny were killed by spotted dogs! And the trail lead back to Dillards ship!
F: AH, SO!

Interlude 3
Main cabin "Haven On The Seas"
Big, Husky were - Dalmatian in flowing white robes. Gold circlet bisects forehead with cross shaped opal in center.
Dillard: DANG! That smarts! (bandaging deep bite marks in right forearm) That fox nearly chewed my front leg off.
Denny (also a husky were - Dalmatian but smaller): But we ripped 'im good didn't we?
Dil: Thank "The One..."
Den: Amen! We headed home now?
Dil: Right after one more 'mission'. Get the boys together. Tell me when "The Rollin' Sea" docks and where a cat-like wizard's headed for and with whom.
Den: Here I go! (exits)
Dil: (sniffs the air) Welcome to my cabin Lady Fang.
Fyry:... Be many things but not single tooth! Name Fyang; say Fay ang please.
Dil: Irregardless what do you want?
F: Have message from Long Lived Lizard who not get out much! (affecting a much deeper voice) To quote:
"Tell that book-burning butt-sniffer not to make me pay him a 'Visit'. I get real cranky when I have to leave my horde"
end quote.
Dil: You all go back to that stink hole and tell your Furless Leader; I'm just doing the work of "the One Who Left Us Here"
F: Ah? When you speak with "The One..."? What she/he/it look like?
Dil: I just knows in my heart what HE wants me to do! (looking around he finds himself alone)

It took "The Rollin' Sea" two storm tossed days to reach Safe Harbor. Moldred spent most of the trip curled up in his cabin. Phyrrt slinked all over the ship at night, helped the cook and brought Moldred exotic teas to raise his spirits. Mostly she just napped, in cat form on Moldred's bunk with him.
"Bofs; bofs; there's something important I need to tell you." She said the first night at sea. "This body is the only thing I really own" Stroking her hips. "I've been known to share it" wink wink "But I never 'rent' it out! Know what I mean?"
"I knew that! What made you think I didn't know!" Moldred said with smile.
The first smile that had visited his face in years. It grew until it brightened up the whole room. Sneak-sneak heard herself purring loudly for the first time since she was a kitten. That moment formed a deep bond between them that lasted the rest of their lives.
At Safe Harbor they caught The Evening Mail Coach south to The Crossroads Inn. Moldred was lost in thoughts of the past and didn't hear at first the distant baying of hounds across the foggy Moonlit heath.
"Bofs? Bofs! Is that a normal sound for this place"
"I spent about half my life around here and never heard it before." Moldred said a little nervously looking out the window. Sneak-sneak moved a little closer on the seat.
"Wasn't the King just killed by a pack of dogs last week?" One of the other passengers asked shakily
Moldred took two red tipped wands out of his top pocket; chanted a few obscure words; handed one to Sneak-sneak and said "rub the jewel tip back forth over the windows and door like an eraser"
"Like this; Bofs?"
"Yeah" as he did the same on the other side. Where the coaches windows and doors had been was now a blank wall!
Blink; all the passengers; all their stuff; and the drivers were on a ruined tower 1000 feet from the road. The coach lurched on followed by least 20 large snarling black and white spotted dogs who kept stopping, squatting, howling and then continuing the chase.
Blink; the coach and horse harnesses disappeared. The now unfettered horses quickly out paced the overfed dogs.
Blink; the coach reappeared a little ahead and above the dogs and came crashing down in their midst. The ones that weren't crushed ripped it open only to find it totally empty.
The biggest fattest dog; with a gold collar; turned were - Dalmatian and said "Well, Denny what we got here is a failure to communicate! I thought you said there was a cat-like wizard on this here coach?"
" I saw him get on with a little pussy-cat on his shoulder" Denny drawled " Least wise I thought I saw a pussy-cat! EXCUSE ME!" with that he ran off as a dog to squat down.
Another were - hound intoned " Brother Dillard how you expect us to run good when we all gots the runs?"
"Forget it, head back to the ship." Dillard ordered; then went dog and squatted down.

"If any of you folks don't want to sleep outside tonight; there's a little room behind those briars with a lumpy straw bed" Moldred told the other coach passenger tiredly. They all staggered off except Sneak-sneak and a small white rabbit in a cream colored suit without lapels; who sat quietly alone and never spoke.
"Bofs; bofs how'd you know about the room?" Phyrrt asked
"Used to come here with a very foxy young lady in my ill spent youth......." at which point Moldred passed out for the night. That much high magic always knocked him out.
In the morning Patty's foresters found them and escorted them the short distance to The Crossroads Inn; Where Patty and Vive were setting up a royal funeral for Phillip the king and Vincent the innkeeper. When Vive saw Moldred she dropped what she was doing; nearly flew into his arms.
"Papa's dead tore apart by hounds like the old scary stories we used to read. He sent you away and you could've saved him if you'd been here but you weren't and now he's gone and Little Vinny can't run this place and mom's been gone 8 years now I'm left in charge of this whole big place and I gotta plan his funeral and ZOOKIES! the Kings too and organize a procession all the way to Brook Lined Heights and find enough food for everyone and I hear you were attacked on the way here and barely escaped and who's the little wharf cat with your bag? You want to tell you me found another girl-friend that would be the last straw and I couldn't handle it; REALLY!
Zookies it's good to see you and hold you and know you're Home. See you later; bye now." She said breathlessly and 'flew' off somewhere.
"That's my sweetheart and my 'sister', long story" Moldred intoned still a little dazed.
"How far back in the woods are we?" Sneak-sneak whispered.
no wonder he hasn't tried me, we're not related; she thought. Later when he explained she was glad she'd kept quiet.
When things settled down a little Patty came over. Sat with Moldred and said:
"Glad you got back in one piece! We've got a problem. My sister's missing. She wasn't aboard the last few ships from Lynden where she was last seen and told what's going on. She ran out of a restaurant and vanished. I want you to go find her!"
"Why me?"
"1. We got to keep this quiet. No ruler, No government.
2. You survived the trip here. Maybe you can live long enough to find Catty.
3. If you find her quick I'll give you and Vive and your servant girl there (pointing at Phyrrt, who bared her pointy little fangs) a nice cottage in the Forested Hills west of here. I don't want to be Queen! Not my style.
4. Catty knows how to deal with Diplomats, dukes, earls,
and High Priests. I usually just piss them off."
"Listen Princess! You can handle this kingdom for as long as you have to" Moldred stated using a little of 'the voice' to boost her confidence. " My apprentice; Not Servant! (a big toothy smile lit up Sneak-sneak's face) and I will search for our new Queen; 'the one' save her. after all how long could it take?"

Almost ten years later...
Sitting on the docks in North Baston's back bay after traveling the known world twice and even off world in "the Empire". Moldred, Phyrrt, and Vive (who joined them whenever she could) were at the end of the last trail and the last clue they could dig up. Watching the tide roll in.
"Hey aren't you that tyler scene wizard from mid guard on" A big young tigress/girl came up to them " It's Ripper remember me? What brings you back around here?"
"We're looking for a rascally rodent that happens to be Queen of Midgardon. Have you seen her?" Phyrrt asked
"Mhyrrt-tee-neow? My how you've grown" Moldred said looking up at her six foot three healthy frame. " This is my gal pal Vive and Phyrrt-de-yow my apprentice. Vive, Sneak this is my old friend Mhyrrt-tee-neow daughter of General Ahyrrad-tee-neow who won't go telling her father we don't have a Queen; will she?
" No worries! He never hears I word I say anyway. Did you say you were looking for a mouse or something. Funny; I'm in town looking for someone to help my pet mouse. I found her in camp a few weeks after I met you Moldred. She was weak and hungry and must have been someone's lost pet. She had; and still has a gold collar. At first she wouldn't eat anything. No mouse chow, no mouse pellets, not even cheese from the mess tent. Finally I stole some of my bratty sisters fancy imported cheese and CATT (that's what it says on her collar. Weird name for a mouse, Huh?) gobbled it right down. Been feeding her that ever since. But now her neck is to big for her collar and we can't get it off! She's choking and can barely swallow."
"Zookies! does the collar have little crosses on it?" Vive.
"Yeah" Ripper
"Quick! Where is she? Lead the way"
Using a green tipped wand and a few mumbled runes Moldred removed the 'Haven Binder' and Queen Catherina The Cosmopolitan stood before them.
" You know what this big pussy tried to do to me? She threw a horny hamster in the cage with me and expected me to 'mate' with it." Catty stated flatly
" You looked lonely " Ripper said

Catty worked out a complex treaty where Patty and her foresters would patrol the western deep woods on the Haven border and if ever an army marched into Midgardon, the Hordes of Hel would invade Haven from the north with transport by the Midgardonian navy (pirates and were - dolphins) and Air Force ( were - eagles, hawks and rocs).
Ripper signed on as Moldred's second apprentice and moved to Midgardon. After a little resistance (which was useless) Phyrrt was more than glad to have another female around the place; especially one who could do heavy lifting.

As for the cottage in the Forested Hills and settling down with Vive:
When Mercy was nine news came of the return of the true Queen of Midgardon and a side note about the wedding of Moldred the Malcontent to his Fiancée Vivica Volpone. "If anyone knows why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony; let them speak now or forever..." "NOW!! Here's Why!" Shirley leading Mercy down the isle. "Daddy!" Mercy shouted just like mommy rehearsed her to. "OH MY GOD" chorused everyone present except an old white rabbit in a leisure suit off to one side. "M mmOlDrEdd; you got some 'splainin' to do" Vive sputtered. Shirley's second job ten years ago was to go on to Lynden to eliminate Catty for Dillard; unbeknownst to anyone in Hel. This put a damper on the ceremony. The Queen recognized her right away as the person that had grabbed her in mouse form outside the restaurant and jammed the binder collar over her head. Shirley gave Moldred a choice. Either he could move to Haven and work for Dillard or she and Mercy would follow him 'all the days of his life'. He choose 'd' none of the above and had the little minx escorted to the border; but he did give Mercy the choice to come live with him. Mercy decided to go with her mommy for now. Vive decided to wait and see if any more ghosts from Moldred's past would show up.

Catty amended Patty's gift of a house. Moldred got to live in the cottage; but it still belonged to the crown. He would have to undertake quests to prove himself worthy of Lady Vivica's hand and to "pay the rent". Vive and Moldred still disappeared up to the old ruins whenever they could and R & S covered for them. They can't marry without royal approval. Shirley now has much better people to take care of Mercy; Aunties Vive; Sneak and Ripper! Shirley can work for anyone she wants. Mercy can teleport short distances but is keeping it quiet for now. 


So that's how things stand as our first story opens

(old content)


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