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Damson
Damson
Birthplace: Mistmantle Island
Species:
Gender:
Family: Juniper

You have always be my son. - Damson

- And you are my mum! - Juniper


Damson was a female squirrel and Juniper's foster mother.

Unlike most squirrels who lived in Anemone Wood, Damson's home was by a waterfall far from Mistmantle Tower. It was by the waterfall and streams that she singlehandedly raised Juniper. Consequently, Juniper grew up mostly among otters instead of squirrels, and he became an excellent swimmer and stone skimmer. Not having any offspring, Damson had been widowed when her husband died in a storm.

At the time, she lived by a rocky cliff and it was there that she befriended Spindrift, Juniper's biological mother. Spindrift's family had also died in the storm. Damson remembers Spindrift as pretty, dark-furred and sweet-natured, but too trusting. When Damson first met her, Spindrift was pregnant, living alone and waiting for her husband to come for her. Damson remembers when Juniper was born, he was a beautiful baby who was very much like his mother. On the night that Spindrift's husband finally came for her, Damson heard the cries of an infant, sounds on the cliff and a scream. Curious, she went to investigate and saw a figure place something in a boat and pushing the boat out on the water. The figure kept searching the shore until it found something, picked it up and threw it into the sea.

After the figure left, Damson hurried down the cliff to the shore and found baby Juniper in the water. She rescued him and brought him home. As a result of falling down the cliff with his mother and then being thrown into the sea to drown, Juniper's hind paw got twisted and he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life. Damson let Juniper believe he was born that way and never told him about that fateful night until many years later. Out of fear and because she couldn't identify the murderer, Damson did not tell anyone what she had witnessed. She knew Spindrift's husband had pushed her down the cliff, placed her body in a leaky boat and tried to murder their baby, but she still didn't know who the murderer was.

When Captain Husk wed Lady Aspen many years later and all the Mistmantle animals attended the wedding ceremony, Damson finally realised that Husk was the murderer, Spindrift's husband and Juniper's father, all in one. Damson did not have the heart to tell Juniper that his own father had killed his mother and left him orphaned and crippled. She kept the truth from him and it was a burden that she carried for the rest of her days until her deathbed, when she finally confessed her secret to Juniper.


Damson - who was a childless widow and already old when she found the injured and abandoned infant squirrel - decided to shelter and raise Juniper herself. She brought him up in secrecy in a remote area so that his existence could be safeguarded, especially during the days of culling. Damson became the mother Juniper never knew, and he became the son she never had before. She devoted herself to caring for him and keeping him safe, and he in turn was devoted to her, particularly in her old age. They shared a special bond and the strength, depth and tenderness of this bond is described in Book 3. Damson was especially pleased and proud that Juniper had turned out well and would soon become a priest of Mistmantle.


In Book 3, Damson succumbed to the fouldrought epidemic and died after telling Juniper about his origins. Her last gift to Juniper was an oatmeal colored priest's tunic that she had been secretly sewing for his ordination as a priest. She became ill and died before she could finish the garment and there is an unfinished pattern of juniper berries on one shoulder. Needle, Thripple and Sepia had wanted to complete the tunic for Juniper but decided that the garment should be left just the way Damson had left it upon her death. Juniper wears this tunic and keeps a shawl that belonged to Damson in his room in the highest turret in Mistmantle Tower.

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