The Wandering Feather
Written by: Kevin (KS) Sharbaugh

Chapter Twenty

Originally intending to assemble in the Chief's office, the meeting place was moved to a more spacious locale once Charity arrived... there had been no one larger than a rat in the tribe prior to the adoption of the Rose family, so no provisions had been made to accommodate badgers. The new site chosen for the audience was Council Chamber, a cavernous auditorium used for both tribal ceremonies and trials. At one end was the Matriarchs' Gallery, a semi-circular solid wooden table with a podium rising from the center and four places set out to either side, on the side of the table facing the rows of public seating were carvings of the eight animals for which the Clans were named, each delineating the seating for the Clan Mothers... the podium in the center bore the Great Seal of the tribe. By the time the Chief finally showed up, Gadget and all of the tribe's Clan Mothers, with the obvious exception of Carol Halfshell, had gathered together. The Chief, who had not been told of the full nature of the meeting, was noticeably shocked by their combined presence... he knew something was up, and hoped it wasn't going to be his time as Chief.

"This better be d***** important," he blustered, hoping an assertive attitude would avail him well in whatever was going to be thrown his way, "I was just getting ready for bed."

"I was already in bed, and I had to go through a lot more to get ready to go out than you did and you don't hear me whining about it," June replied sharply, "So sit down and shut up."

The seats meant for the Clan Mothers that were usually kept in their places in the Gallery, but had been moved for this particular meeting closer together for convenience. They were still arrayed in a semi-circle and were set facing a single seat, that seat was the one in which the Chief sat for this meeting.

Once the Chief had taken te seat left open for him, Dee began the proceedings. "You remember what I told you about what happened earlier tody?" she asked.

"Yes," the Chief acknowledged in an annoyed fashion.

"And you said that everything that Charity and I based our charges against Carol on were unproven allegations," Dee recounted, "Well, we have proof." She continued, for the sake of those who had yet to be made aware, "Earlier today, I, my maternal sister and her friends, the Rescue Rangers, went to speak to a French rat... We had reason to believe he intended to impregnate the city's water supply with a chemical that would have been lethal if consumed. In a zealous attempt to ensure he was not prevented from his carrying out his ‘work of art' he set a trap... which we fell right into. As it happens, my sister, Gadget, had manufactured a small listening device, a wire, which she was wearing in anticipation of giving it a trial run during our visit with said rat. As he was tying us up, that rat, Philippe, unknowingly activated the wire... it recorded everything that followed." Dee gave a nod to Gadget who activated her device to play back the recording. All who were present listened as the playback opened with the last few lines of ‘Que Sera, Sera' as sung by Philippe as he finished tying up the unconscious Gadget.

When the recording finished, all the Clan Mothers cast their eyes on the Chief. He felt angry, humiliated and betrayed. He was also terrified that the Clan Mothers would hold him accountable as an accomplice for letting Carol use him. The Chief realized his only hope was complete compliance. "What do you want?" he asked the assembled matriarchs.

"That you stop protecting her," Dee started, "She will stand trial for treason, assault and attempted murder of tribal citizens and attempting to flee prosecution." Aware that the Chief likely hadn't heard of the attempt, she pointed out, "She did try to escape tonight, and in doing so attacked me and tried to kill my sister."

"Since we're throwing out suggestions," June joined in, "The other elder Clan Mothers and myself all haff lists of names of people who haff been acting as Carol's enforcers within her Clan. Since she stated she was going to warn them of her part in this conspiracy to poison the community, they can and will be taken into custody for their infolvement. Once they're safely off the streets, I'm sure there will be a flood of information from members of the Turtle Clan about Carol's flagrant abuse of power... You can expect to see charges of abuse of power and any other charges concerning what Carol ordered her thugs to do to maintain control ofer her Clan." The other elders all nodded in agreement.

"And what about the city?" the Chief inquired, "They're going to want to put her on trial too, who gets her first? Giffen what she's tried to do it's unlikely they'll let us prosecute her first for all the comparatifely little crimes she's committed against the tribe."

The Clan Mother's all exchanged looks with each other, searching for a suggestion. The slightly overweight matriarch of the Beaver Clan stepped forward with an idea. "I say we kick her out," she stated bluntly, "Expel her from the tribe, then let the city haff her." Everyone seemed to like the idea.

"Considering all the trouble she's tried to incite between members of our tribe and the rest of the city residents," the thin matriarch of the Heron Clan began, "Publicly stripping her of her tribal citizenship and expelling her in complete disgrace, making her one of them, would be fitting punishment."

"And there's no one in the city that's going to suggest going easy on her," the tall matriarch of the Deer Clan pointed out, "She'll be lucky if she doesn't wind up getting a harsher sentence than that Philippe character."

"This will haff to be done in pubic," June advised, "And that recording will be played for everyone to hear, so there will be no lingering doubts about Carol's true loyalty."

"I can talk to the city prosecutor about letting us go first," Dee offered, then continued, smiling broadly, "I'm sure once he hears what we intend to do with her, he'll be more than happy to wait... they'll finally get her without the fear that anyone will accuse them of ‘going after' our people, she won't be our people, Carol would be completely within the city's right to dispose of her as they choose."


With matters in the city no longer requiring immediate attention, Dee and her guests retired to her mill for the rest of their vacation. A day later, returning form business in the city, Dee found her fiancé atop the mill, watching the afternoon clouds go by.

"How did it go?" the relaxed chipmunk inquired.

"Better than I thought," Dee remarked, "Mr Bentwood was practically gleeful that we're going to banish Carol from the tribe. He said as long as she was completely divested of any political or legal advantage that would give her an edge compared to any other criminal, we could take as long as we needed to do it right." After a brief pause she continued, "He may ask that her trial be closed to the public, at least when Gadget's recording gets played... Playing that before a packed courtroom during her trial would be asking for a riot. Having Carol torn apart by an angry mob wouldn't help the city's image."

"You really think people outside the tribe hate her that much?" Chip asked in surprise.

"Beats me," Dee replied, "But Daryl's not willing to take that chance." An awkward silence befell the lovers. Dee eventually broke the silence, "So... what about us?"

"What about us?" Chip asked.

"Well, with me being a Clan Mother I can't exactly move in with you if we get married," Dee explained with obvious concern.

"When we get married," Chip replied, taking her paw gently, "we'll work something out. Monty's parents haven't lived together for years, but they still make it work. If anything, it may actually do us some good."

"How?" Dee asked, no seeing Chip's point.

"For one thing," Chip began, "We both like having our way. People like that who spend too much time together can wind up having their relationship fly apart at the seams. And if we are apart, we'll appreciate the time we do have together so much more." Looking at the beauty beside him, chip asked, "So, do you really think you want to return your ring?"

"I never really though that," Dee answered with a blush and a smile, "I just didn't want to invest my heart into a relationship if it was going to fall apart at the last minute because we didn't thoroughly examine potential pitfalls before we're faced with the ‘I do's."

Chip allayed any of Dee's lingering fears as she pulled her into a loving embrace, silencing any unwanted ‘what if's with his lips. This was his vacation, he didn't want to spend it over- analyzing things.

The End

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