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Episode 3: Dibbuns
[The camera pans over the audience of deadbeasts before focusing upon the stage, as Gartar delivers a voiceover from offstage.]
GARTAR: live (or shod i say ded lolz) fro m teh DARK FORRST STODIO, its SLAGER TEH CRAUEL COASTOCOASTO COST! wit ur host, salgar da crul, nad tonites topic - eX-DIBBUNS OF REDAWL, nad tonites guests -
[Slagar darts quickly onto the stage.]
SLAGAR: Okay, who's idea was it to let Gartar deliver some kind of generic talkshow introduction?
TREEROSE: His own, I'd imagine. You DID make him the technician and stage manager, remember?
SLAGAR: Yeah, but that's just because he's the only one I could find around here who's adept with computers. And you know how intricately the technical aspect of the show is tied with those computing devices.
CLECKY: Uh, y'know Slags ol' chum, despite Gartar's somewhat phantasmagoric origins, I doubt he really knows more about the processin' machines than you or I.
SLAGAR: You know, because I run an advice column via e-mail. But Gartar can do more than that, so much more that it totally vindicates my otherwise outright ridiculous choice of hiring him. Why, he's the one who inserts full-color stills from our tapings into every transcript of our show that gets put onto the internet, with his "HTTP" programming.
CLECKY: But there AREN'T any images in th' flippin' pts!
GARTAR: i m goin 2 put 1 rite ther 2 prove u rong, nad if u still dont blve me tahn haha "blink "tag" taht is mie most avdansed websiting trik yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
SLAGAR: ...um, sure it is. Hey, can we wrap up this little preliminary discussion of ours? Not that it isn't fascinating, and not that it's steadily causing my unquenchable thirst for slaughter to grow even greater every second, but... oh, stow the sarcasm. I've grown sick of your babble already, and this is the one night when we can't be wasting airtime.
VITCH: Huh? Uh, Slagar... [anticipating abusive response] I mean, Mr. Slagar the Cruel, SIR, Master of Life and Death, what was that about airtime? Is the show being shortened for tonight, or something like that?
SLAGAR: Oh, something like that, Vitch. Something like that. Haha. Oh yes, it will be... SOMEthing... LIKE THAT! Bwa-hahahahaha!
VITCH: You didn't quite answer my question, sir.
SLAGAR: Patience, Vitch! The sinister machinations behind this episode's shortening will become apparent to all of you soon enough. But until that fateful moment of painful realization... please welcome our first guest!
[A slim mouse carefully steps onto the stage and towards Slagar, glancing nervously around himself every few steps. He bumps into several pieces of set decor in the process. Slagar speaks as the mouse inches towards his seat beside Slagar's desk.]
SLAGAR: On tonight's show, we'll be hearing from ex-dibbuns of Redwall (watch the table, there), whose care at the Abbey led to their lives going horribly, horribly awry! (Careful, you lummox.) Surely this shall convince all of you in the world of the living that Redwall is a horrible place (That's a camera, not your chair! How could you even - just get over here! Yes, right now!) which must be destroyed, and its remnants cast to the four winds.
[The mouse finally sits down next to Slagar.]
SLAGAR: So, tell us a bit about yourself, mister... what name did you go by again? It's the funniest thing; I just can't seem to recall!
???: Uh, I'd rather not... disclose my name, for, ah... insurance reasons.
SLAGAR: Wow, I've got to hand it to you, that was pretty creative. But seriously, get on with it, mouse. Introduce yourself to all of our viewers at home.
???: H-h-hi, everybeast, m-my name is... [Awkward pause.] T.M.B.?
SLAGAR: Your full name! GET ON WITH IT! REVEAL TO OUR VIEWERS YOUR TRUE MONIKER!
MOUSEBABE: [Wailing] My name is MOUSEBABE! The Mousebabe! Are you happy now?! Oh fates, the shame! The horror! Why am I called The Mousebabe?!
SLAGAR: [To the audience] Why... INDEED?! [Turning back to the Mousebabe] Now, The Mousebabe... can I just call you Mousebabe? I think I will, your name's ridiculous enough as it is. So Mousebabe, describe what life was like for while you were growing up in the Abbey.
MOUSEBABE: It was pretty cool overall. I got into a lot of trouble and was considered cute, which is pretty much the norm. I spent some time hanging out with a kindly old rat named Blaggut...
SLAGAR: I ask you all to note that he could only find solace in the company of vermin! Not to jump to conclusions or anything, but this is clear and irrefutable proof that the savage brutality of vermin life is universally superior to the subdued and pacifistic Abbey lifestyle.
MOUSEBABE: Well, not really. I also used to hang out with a molemaid named Furtill a lot. And I looked up to a lot of the Abbey elders, and those who had gone on journeys, like Rufe Brush...
SLAGAR: Yeah, but see where it led you?
MOUSEBABE: My troubles actually stemmed from my name, from the most part. I mean, as great as my life was when I was a dibbun, I just had trouble getting taken seriously. Abbeybeasts were still overseeing my bathtimes when I was twenty-six years old (or the equivalent in seasons, at least).
AUDIENCE: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!! [Collectively.]
MOUSEBABE: Yeah, it was that bad. I became bitter, shameful, depressed... and then, the... addiction took me. [Clears throat.] You see, I had been partial to Candied Chestnuts all my life, and I often swiped the delicious glazed nuts from the Abbey kitchen for quick emotional relief. But at some point I just lost control. At one point I was popping the nuts like there was no tomorrow. I consumed two, maybe three jars daily. Eventually, Furtill and some of my other friends organized an intervention, but I just couldn't abide by the thought of somebeast taking my precious nuts away from me, and so I fled! They found me several days later, face-up in a gutter, leaves clinging to the thick coating of glaze that I had collected upon my fur. For me, this was an unpleasant experience.
SLAGAR: Ah, good nuts - er, job, at telling your story, Mousebabe. Even if you seem to have exhausted the word "chestnuts" and its derivatives. If I may add my two nuts - er, cents, to your exposition, I'd like to note that all of your problems seem to be rooted in the degrading, childish name that was given to you by the Abbeybeasts!
MOUSEBABE: Oh, the Abbeybeasts didn't give me this name.
SLAGAR: Come again?
MOUSEBABE: You see, all the dibbuns raised in Redwall start out as orphans. The brothers of the Abbey simply find defenseless children and take them in, without renaming them or anything. So really, the creatures in fault are my parents, not Redwall. Redwall was actually really great for-
[The commercial opens with Horty, Fenna, and Springald standing in a darkly lit room, wearing habits of the Redwall order that are in some way specially colored or sewn. They step towards the camera one at a time as they speak.]
FENNA: We... are different. We play by our own rules, and we don't let the man tell us how to dress.
SPRINGALD: We... express our individuality the only way we know how: by shopping at the same store, because we were told to so by a commercial.
HORTY: We... are here to tell you 'bout the trendiest way to go up against the bally norm ever seen, wot? Just shop at the most widespread underground garment shop in th' Dark Forest... Old Abbey!
FENNA: Wait, what?
[Suddenly a bunch of brightly dressed old Abbey mice march into view, singing.]
ABBEYMICE: Old Abbey! Old Abbey! Old Abbey performance habits! Old Abbey! Old Abbey! Old Abbey perforMANCE habits!
FENNA: This is ridiculous! Old Abbey doesn't even try to pass itself off as edgy or counter-cultural! I thought we were advertising for a store like... I don't know, Fox Topic! This has to be the worst commercial satire that
[Cuts away to an "Old Abbey" logo, with the subtitle Be Different - Everyone Else Is Doing It!]
SLAGAR: Welcome back, folks. Uh, I'm Slagar the Cruel. And... this is my show. It's, um... it's called Slagar the Cruel Coast to Coast. [Pauses. Coughs. Sips some tea from a mug on his desk. Pauses Again.] Alright, so what were we doing before I kicked that mouse off the set?
VITCH: Well, you said that you were going to tell us why tonight's episode was shorter than usual after we came back from the break...
SLAGAR: Oh, right, now I remember, this is the ex-dibbun show. Send out the next guest! [The next guest is indeed sent out. It's another mouse, this time seeming a bit less shakey.]
SLAGAR: Alright, so who are you?
[The mouse replies by firing a slingshot pellet right into Slagar's jaw.]
SLAGAR: Agh! You archfool! What the hellgates is your problem?!
DWOPPLE: Just introducing myself! I'm Dwopple! Pleased to meetcha!
SLAGAR: And did growing up at Redwall warp you into some sort of horrible, twisted, pest of a mouse?
DWOPPLE: Nope, I was always like this. I actually spent most of my childhood with a traveling band of performers. In fact -
SLAGAR: What?! This is terrible. You're terrible. Who booked this guy?
ROOP: Stan' on moi tunnel, oi burleev et wuzz oi! Ee'm an 'orrible likkle varmint, but oi used to journey wiv him en 'ee former loif, so oi thought et'd be gurt to invoit 'im onto yon studio! Oi gess ee'm unturprudded et to be a an invoitation to gessthood, hurr hurr!
SLAGAR: "Gurt" for you. Security!
[Threeclaws and Halfchop promptly skewer Dwopple with a glaive and drag him offstage.]
SLAGAR: So, let's move on to our next real guest - Rollo! [A dignified-looking bankvole wearing spectacles and a (non-brand-name) Abbey habit waddles onto the stage and into the chair next to Slagar's desk.]
SLAGAR: Well, thanks for stopping by, Rollo. Say, haven't I met you before?
ROLLO: I believe we met briefly before you and your cronies murdered my mother.
SLAGAR: Oh. ...well, this is kind of awkward. How is your mother these days, anyways?
ROLLO: Well, she's fine now. Albeit still quite dead.
SLAGAR: Ah. Well, enough of this, let's cut straight to the point. Allegedly, your mind was warped by Abbey life as a child and you turned to a life of serial arsony. And what's this? It says on my notecards that you singled out churches in your attacks!
ROLLO: Serial arsony...?! Slagar, I only ORDERED the burning of ONE structure, and it was because evil Jackdaws used it as a hideout. And also because YOU used to use it as a hideout. And also because CLUNY used to use it as a hideout. And also because it wasn't even a real Church! Didn't you ever hear the ballad? It was just a house that some random mice built and painted "THIS AIN'T NINANS" on. The rain washed away everything but "SAINT NINIANS".
SLAGAR: Oh, right. A "house". If I remember correctly, this "house" had a steeple and was lined with pews.
ROLLO: Well... yeah. But even if it is a Church, it's not like there's any religion we could practice in it.
[A squirrel in the audience stands up and shouts a response.]
ARVEN: That is completely and patently false! I grew up under the care of Abbey elders - including Rollo, as a matter of fact - and look how I turned out! I was the Abbey Champion, I became the Abbot...
SLAGAR: You're just deluded because your mind has been so warped by a childhood in Redwall Abbey.
ROLLO: The only one with a warped mind here is you, Slagar.
THREECLAWS: You gonna take that, chief?
SLAGAR: As a matter of fact I am not, Threeclaws! Luckily, I am always prepared for such encounters...
[Slagar pulls out a bottle labeled "Anti-Vole Serum", uncorks it, and splashes its contents into Rollo's face.]
ROLLO: That's the best you can muster? Forget it, I don't know why I came on this stupid show in the first place. Good day!
SLAGAR: ...and that's the last guest I have lined up. Boy, that didn't work out as I had planned... I blame myself.
THREECLAWS: Aw, it's okay, chief! I guess some of these shows are just bound to not work out.
SLAGAR: I meant that I should have added more baking soda to that serum. It didn't seem to effect that guy at all.
VITCH: Lemme guess, the only reason why this episode was a bit shorter than usual is because you suspected how terrible and fruitless it was going to turn out to be?
SLAGAR: Pretty much. Hey, wait a minute, I could just interview you! You were a dibbun when I killed you, right?
VITCH: Not this again...! I already told you, Slagar, I was just really short!
SLAGAR: Slagar? That's Slagar the Cruel, lord of life and death, Vitch! I believe a flogging is in order!
VITCH: Ugh, I don't have to take this. I quit!
SLAGAR: Surely you jest. Do you know how hard it is for a vermin to find a new eternal designation in the Dark Forest that doesn't involve excruciating pain and torture?
VITCH: On the contrary, I've already got another job lined up. The Ex-Abbot who founded the Old Abbey wants me to help him start a new chain of clothing outlets. We're gonna call it... Abbot Crombie & Vitch!
[The band plays a rimshot.]
SLAGAR: ...get out.