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The Adventures of Superstripe the Unrealistic
(And his trusty hare, Edwin)

Chapter Eight: "Unreal"

The rose-red stones of Redwall Abbey shone warmly beneath the grey midday skies, where in the bleak and leafless wastes of late November’s Mossflower Woods it stood alone as a haven for comfort and good cheer. The Abbey was, as per usual, filled with song, and feasting, and jubilant creatures rushing to fulfill their happy duties. This will not be described at length. It is expected that the reader is already familiar with these sorts of proceedings from other sources, as they have been documented extensively already and remain always unchanged with the exception of the individuals involved.

One such individual was known as Superstripe the Unrealistic.

Appearing more like a small metallic grizzly bear than a badgerlord due to his enormous and fully-armored frame, Superstripe strode further down the beaten path at a leisurely pace. At least, it was a pace Superstripe considered leisurely, though it was actually several times greater than the marching speed of most armies. A non-descript hare was also present. This was Edwin, Superstripe’s sidekick, who the heavily-equipped badger pulled behind him in a makeshift wagon of his own devising to compensate for the unrealistically unceasing clip he was moving at.

“Look, Edwin – we’ve made it to Redwall at last!” Superstripe cried, pointing down the path upon which he and his sidekick were walking. The Abbey was indeed finally in clear view. “What an incredible place! Is it everything you’ve always imagined it to be?”

“We were here about a season ago, sah,” Edwin reported. “Having already seen the place leaves little to the bally imagination, wot?”

“Strangely enough, you may actually be right,” Superstripe replied, stroking the fur beneath his chin contemplatively. “Now that I think about it, it might have been my last sidekick who never made it to Redwall. Ah, poor Dwight, the dear fellow… you would have liked him, Edwin. He was just as comical as you, and equally a hare, as I recall. He could be joining us now, if only it hadn’t been for that tragic accident…”

Edwin raised an eyebrow. “Er, isn’t Dwight the one who y’ found swingin’ from the rafters next to a note written in his own bloody handwriting?” he inquired.

“Yes… yes, that was the one,” Superstripe answered slowly. “You know, for the life of me, I still can’t figure out how that happened.” Edwin grew more certain of the answer to that mystery every day.

Superstripe slammed one of his enormous fists against the Abbey gates, the wood splintering slightly under the weight. After a few moments a thin piece of wood slid back to reveal an opening, behind which they found a mouse peering discerningly towards them. Upon sighting Superstripe, the mouse gasped and bit at his claws. “Oh, fates save us,” he squealed, “it’s you!”

“Why yes, it is!” Superstripe replied delightedly. “How did you know?”

The mouse cowered behind the door, hiding his eyes behind his paws. “A-are you going to b-blow people to bits again with your m-m-magical powers?”

The badgerlord laughed warmly. “Ohoho, you silly little mouse. Of course I will! I mean, what else would I do? I am a super powerful bloodthirsty behemoth on a righteous quest for nigh unstoppable bloodshed, after all!”

The mouse screeched and slammed the panel shut, leaving Superstripe with a quizzical look upon his face. His amazing badgerlord hearing, which exceeded the auditory senses of the blindest bat tenfold in range and accuracy, perceived a stifled conversation behind the door. Another beast was hushing the worried mouse, assuring him of something… and now there were footsteps, drawing closer to the door.

The squirrel named Brother Tombal opened the tiny window, looking as bright and cheerful as an Abbeybeast is supposed to be. “Ah, Master Superstripe!” Tombal cried delightedly. “How good to see you again! I suppose the vermin are invading yet again?”

“Well, let’s hope so,” Superstripe said with a laugh, “or I’d be out of a job! May I speak to the Abbot? I need to warn him of the impending doom that besets… aw, but you know the drill,” he finished with a dismissive wave of his paw.

“Certainly! He’s in his quarters at the moment, discussing the plans for our upcoming Herbal Festival,” the brother answered, unlocking the gate as he did. “He’s been expecting you for some time now!”

“Huh,” Edwin muttered, hopping from his tiny adorable wagon as the gates of Redwall creaked open. “I’m surprised they let us in so easily after all th’ irresponsibly needless vermin deaths last time.”

“Vermin deaths are never needless, Edwin!” Superstripe chided his sidekick as the pair followed Brother Tombal inside. “Unless they are miraculously good vermin, in which case, I mean, be fair, my sister-in-law’s married to a vermin, isn’t she? Regardless, what has me perplexed is that the Abbot knew I was coming. I never announce my arrivals!”

“I’m sure,” Edwin replied, obviously disinterested. “Anyways, I’m going to find someplace to get a drink while you’re chatting it up with the Abbot.”

Superstripe glowered suspiciously at the hare. “You do not wish to chime in with humorous comments while I warn of impending doom?” he whispered.

“Err, well, sure I do… right after a bally scoff, o’ course!” the hare added, dancing about and flinging his paws wildly in the air as he did so. “A bloody scone with meadowcream would hit the flippin’ spot, wot? Flippin’! Bally! Wot wot! Haha, crazy hare antics.”

The badgerlord laughed uproariously. “Far be it from me to stand in the way of a hare’s appetite! Yes, Edwin my boy, scoff away! I’ll just spend a bit of time taking care of this unprecedented invasion of the forces of darkness, and then before you know it we’ll be back on the road, hunting for yet another pressing menace to all of Mossflower country that I can destroy instantly.”

“Yes, sah,” Edwin muttered. He was already fleeing through the grounds, heading past throngs of mice and squirrels carrying supplies and erecting banners in the direction of the Abbey’s wine cellar.

Superstripe allowed himself to be lead by Brother Tombal into the Abbey buildings, shuffling past the scurrying workers in the Great Hall. Every Abbeybeast seemed to immediately blanch upon sighting the fearsome armored spectacle. The badger wondered for a moment if he could have contracted a highly contagious albino disease, before recalling that he was immune to all illnesses and poisons.

They proceeded hurriedly up the stairwell, listening as they went to a conversation between Abbot Esomar and a young hedgehog serving as his consultant which carried from the Abbot’s quarters.

“Now see here, Jenral, I want this Herbal Festival to be something really special,” the Abbot insisted in a quivering voice. “So I’ve come up with some new festive herbal concoctions I’d like for us to try out this season.”

“Well I guess it couldn’t hurt, but I think you’ll have a hard time coming up with something nobody’s done yet,” Jenral replied. “My research indicates that some blind herbalist named Simeon already tested out every possible configuration of herbs available in Mossflower many seasons ago.”

“Supposing I take a stone of Sasparilla, one-fourth stone of Spice Wood, half that amount of Birch Bark, some Sassafrass, some Ash Bark…” the Abbot began.

“Uh-huh, and simmer it into a beverage?” the hedgehog replied forthrightly, unmoved by the Abbot’s earnestness. “Herbal recipe number two hundred and seven, called it Root Beer. Simeon did it!”

“Okay, in that case,” the Abbot continued, sounding annoyed, “perhaps we could make a tea using Roses, Hibiscus flowers, Meadowsweet herb…”

“Oh, Simeon did it! Simeon did it!” Jenral wailed, only ceasing his annoying cry when he noticed the monstrous badger carrying a leviathan death blade who had entered the room.

“Abbot Esomar,” Brother Tombal announced, “your guest has arrived.”

“Ah, how delightful!” the Abbot cried, feebly rubbing his paws together in delight. He reached for his walking stick and rose from his rocking chair. “You can run along now, Jernal, and you too, Brother Tombal. The badger and I have much to discuss!”

Once the Abbeybeasts had followed his instructions Esomar closed the door behind them, producing a rusty padlock with which he sealed it shut. Superstripe began to wildly orate. “My good Abbot, there are evil forces stirring outside your Abbey! Vermin charge from the north, from the left, from above! You are not prepared for this challenge, and it will be upon you all too soon!”

“I know of the coming invasion,” Esomar replied, taking a slightly less geriatric tone than before. He made his way to the other side of the room, obviously distracted.

“Yes, I am serious, Abbot! Thousands of scores of platoons, all swooping down from the great beyond to devour… wait, really?” said Superstripe, his enormous paws falling from the position in the air where they had been illustrating the number of vermin assailants he meant to discuss. “Um… how would you know that? You don’t know that, you can’t know that! Only I know about it… I mean, there isn’t even anything close to feasible evidence of the invasion yet!”

“I suspect our sources are not so different,” the Abbot continued, as he stopped in his tracks before a bookcase on the far end of the room. Dropping his staff to the ground, he pushed the bookcase aside with the strength of a beast far younger than himself, revealing a strange glowing door covered with mysterious glyphs that Superstripe could not decipher. “We can discuss these matter on the other side,” he stated in a deep, commanding voice, as he pulled the gateway open. “Come, follow me.”

“I don’t know, my good Abbot,” Superstripe answered nervously. “I really don’t remember seeing this secret portal radiating with occult power in your quarters before. And I can actually see through bookshelves, my eyes do that. Forgive me if this sounds presumptive, but… sir, you’ve been brainwashed by evil witch-vermin who are trying to bewitch me in some kind of phantom witch zone, haven’t you?”

The Abbot sighed and placed his face in his paws exasperatedly. “Yes, Superstripe, my mind is actually being controlled by insidious vampire rats, hailing from the yet unseen country of Ratsylvania. They’re hiding on the other side of that door, and demand that you defeat them in single combat immediately.” As predicted, Superstripe flung himself through the open door. Esomar followed him inside and closed the gateway behind him, causing it to disappear into the wall without a trace.

Superstripe found himself in a place quite unlike anything he had seen before. It was as though he were at the bottom of a great well, standing upon dark earth and surrounded by a shadowy border. The walls shone only with a field of glittering lights, seeming for all the world to be carved from the night sky, and at the top he could see a luminous mass of barely-visible otherworldly presences stirring.

Esomar strode confidently towards the center of the bizarre cylinder where Superstripe stood gawking incredulously. “You should take a seat,” the mouse suggested. “We could be here for some time.”

“By Brocktree’s hammer,” Superstripe gasped, “I don’t believe what I’m seeing! This place… there are no vampire rats here at all! I’ve been deceived! You are no Abbot, sir! You are a vermin-sympathizer, and you must be stopped, once and for all! EULALIAAAAAAAAA!” With that, the badgerlord rushed at full speed towards the aging mouse, holding his double-edged battle sword aloft.

“I asked you to take a seat, badger,” the Abbot coldly repeated. The elderly mouse lifted his shriveled paw, and white lighting flared from within his eyes.

At once a thousand tiny arms shaped from earth erupted from beneath the ground and latched on to Superstripe’s armor, dragging him backwards and towards the ground below. The badgerlord struggled against them with all his might… but somehow, for the first time, all of Superstripe’s might wasn’t enough to solve his predicament. He collapsed, bound firmly to the ground.

“What… have you done to me?” Superstripe wheezed at last. “Normally I could just rip these things apart, or teleport away, or… or something! You’re… not really an Abbot, are you?”

“No more than you are a real badgerlord,” Esomar replied, producing in his paws a new staff, more like the scepter of an emperor than an elder’s cane, from the ether. “I am the avatar of a Moderator. Welcome, Superstripe the Unrealistic, to your final judgment.”

Mice, squirrels, otters, and other miscellaneous woodland creatures paraded across the lawn, laughing and signing of the medicinal properties of broccoli, or something of that nature. It was perhaps the happiest Herb Festival the Abbey had ever seen, or at the very least it was exactly as joyous as the thousands of Herb Festivals which no doubt preceded it in much the same manner since time immemorial.

Not everybeast present had a grin on their face. Sprawled out alone beside the Abbey pond was Edwin, his ears drooping over his eyes, taking a draft from a bottle of October Ale given to him by a gracious cellarhog. The clamor of revelry surrounding the hare was clearly doing nothing to improve his spirits.

Edwin heard grass crunch beneath sandals, somewhere behind his head. “How do you do, Edwin?” somebeast asked. “I’m not sure you realized, but you’re present at a celebration. Care to join in?”

The hare craned his neck back to meet the confident gaze of a mouse partially dressed in armor. It was Malben, the Abbey warrior, holding a steaming flagon full of some steaming herbal concoction.

“I’d like very much to, Malben,” Edwin replied, staring across the pond towards a pair of frolicking dibbuns. “But… well, you know what company I bring. At any moment my involvement could get creatures kicked into space, obliterated by laser beams, turned into bran muffins… the usual nonsense.”

“It’s not you who does those things, though,” Malben said with a frown. “You have neither right nor reason to take credit for Superstripe’s handiwork.”

“No, but I’m his herald,” Edwin answered. “Well, technically my job description is ‘comical hare sidekick’, but essentially what that means is that I’m doomed to show up right before something meaninglessly violent and profoundly silly occurs, try to maintain sanity in the face of a ridiculous situation, fail to do any good, and repeat the cycle anew.”

The hare gulped down the last of his October Ale. “It’s become a very tiring and depressing job,” he continued, smacking his lips, “and I’m beginning to believe it’s one I’ll never be able to escape.”

Malben thought over what he had to say to Edwin for a moments. “Let’s suppose you were no longer under Superstripe’s command. What’s the first thing you’d do?”

Edwin laughed bitterly. “Supposing that Superstripe was distracted from his eternal conquest of Mossflower country long enough to release me from my mandatory duties… without trying to blast me to smithereens moments later on the grounds that I’ve failed his test of my loyalty?”

He glanced at the shimmering, murky waters of the pond. “I’d go back, Malben. Back at once to my home… back to the wife and kids I was forced to desert when Superstripe teleported into our burrow and demanded I join his demented ranks. I’d pick up the pieces of the life I’d left behind.”

Malben shifted his footpaws uncomfortably. “Can you, ah… tell me where this home of yours is?”

Edwin opened his mouth, prepared to answer at once… but no words emerged. He reached into the part of his mind set aside for his most personal thoughts, the memories of his beloved family and his old life. Alarmingly, he found this corner completely blank. Where he came from… the names of his family members… there was nothing there.

Nothing before Superstripe.

“Oh, no,” Edwin cried, leaping to his footpaws and wringing his ears in horror. “No, no, no! Superstripe was right all along… secret vermin conspirators have tainted the Abbey’s October Ale reservoir with amnesia juice!”

Malben shook his head and seized the distressed hare by the shoulder.

“What if I were to tell you that you can’t remember your past,” the mouse whispered, glancing around to be sure that nobeast was listening, “because you don’t have one?”

Superstripe continued to writhe fiercely in the stony grip of Esomar’s devising, never making any progress but showing no signs of realizing this. The Abbot – Moderator? – floated through the air, paws folded and legs crossed in a meditative stance.

“EULALIA! You’ll never get away with this, you sheep in Abbot’s clothing!” he growled. “I’m on to your little scheme. You think keeping me here will allow your little vermin friends a chance to invade the Abbey before I can warn them, eh? Well, I’ve stationed my comical hare sidekick back at Redwall, and as soon as he realizes that his wonderful, much-loved master could be in danger, he’ll expose your plot for what it is! EULALIAAA!”

“Oh, stop it, you know you can’t break free of those,” said Esomar with a hint of annoyance. “Besides, I’ve already told you, everyone in the Abbey who should know about the invasion already does.”

“And I’ve already told YOU that’s impossible, fiend!” Superstripe roared. “I’m the only one who could possibly know of a vermin attack before it happens!”

”Really! And what, might I ask, is the source of your omniscience?” the Moderator laughed.

Superstripe considered the question for a while. “Well, I draw my unrealistic powers of intuition from the same source which grants me my peerless physical prowess, of course, which is far too complex to even begin to explain, especially to foolish vermin sympathizers such as you! EULALIAAAAA!”

“I very much doubt that. You see, the sources of our powers are the same,” said Esomar.

He gestured with his scepter to the stirring aurora borealis of strange entities floating far above the pit. “It’s them, isn’t it? The Fandom, I mean… the ones who shape our world and control our every move.”

“Oh great, a religious nut,” Superstripe snorted. “Give me a break, Esomar! You know perfectly well that systems of belief are strictly prohibited in our world!”

“But how would you know what a system of belief was if not for some link to a world outside this one?” Esomar asked knowingly.

“Err… well, you see… I know many things that are unknowable!” the badger spluttered.

“And I know a great deal more,” the Moderator replied coolly. “Your perception of existence is greatly confused by the flaws of your creator, but I’m sure you’re at least dimly familiar with the True Creator. Perhaps you know him as the bearded one, the Teller of Tales…”

“Well, of course I know who Brian Ja-er, what I mean is, I would know who you’re talking about if he was real, but he isn’t!” Superstripe barked.

“It was he who laid the blueprints for our universe, you know,” the Moderator continued, speaking with practiced eloquence. “With mighty pen and fearsome paper, he laid the groundwork for a world of beast and war and really descriptive meals. But the medium he used to create this world were nothing so simple. The seeds of Redwall were sown in minds.”

“When the first of the Fandom set their eyes on the plans of the True Creator, the seed unfolded within them, becoming a world. This happened again with the second of the Fandom, again with the third, and so on until fragments of our universe existed independently in thousands of minds. The bearded one worked to produce more history for this world, releasing these new chapters of our existence into the ether in much the same way… but in time, the Fandom wanted more. They desired to create something themselves.”

“Many of these beings joined forces, merging their worlds and shaping them together. Each member of these pockets within the Fandom quickly created creatures to serve as their personal avatars in these larger worlds, lasting legacies of their unique creative energy. You and I are only two of many such avatars in our particular amalgamated world. This is why we are conscious of things others cannot be, and the planning of events yet to come… invasions of vermin, for example.”

The metaphysical monologue seemed to pacify Superstripe a bit, and he ceased his struggle against his restraints. “I suppose all that’s true,” he admitted. “But if you knew your Abbey would soon be under attack, why wouldn’t you do something to stop it?”

“Because I know my place, you nincompoop!” the Moderator cried. “I understand that the Fandom wishes this invasion to happen without a single Abbeybeast showing any sign of being the wiser. We’re simply actors, playing out a part written for us by our creators. Unfortunately for all of us, not all creators are created equal. The author of your actions is clearly juvenile and naďve, if not totally insane. He has no sense of propriety, and allows you to show all do all sorts of things that are silly, irregular, and… well, just plain unrealistic! My creator, on the other hand, is a being of great wisdom and authority who has at last grown weary of you. He has demanded an evaluation of your worth as a member of our world.”

“So that’s why I’m here!” Superstripe exclaimed. “The Fandom has gathered to decide whether or not my feats of unrealism have been valiant enough to qualify me for some kind of award? You should have just said so in the first place… which, incidentally, is clearly the placement I’ve earned in any contest of greatness these godlike beings are conducting.”

“Your optimism really knows no limits, does it?” said Esomar. “But no. The only decision to be made here today is whether the punishment for your discretions shall be your creator’s exile… or merely your own obliteration.”

Back at Redwall, Edwin had been receiving information from Malben that was not very different from what Esomar had been discussing with Superstripe. The two had retreated to the Warrior’s Cottage to carry out their conversation in total privacy.

”So you’re telling me that everybeast is created and controlled thereafter by one of these… Fandomites,” said Edwin, rubbing his forehead in confusion. “And that’s why I don’t have a past? Because I’m the product of some sort of spontaneous generation? The theory doesn’t hold water, Malben. I’ve met plenty of creatures who know all about where they came from!”

“Your case is a little unique, Edwin,” the warrior explained. “Well… in comparison to creatures like myself and Superstripe, anyways. You’re what we call an N.P.C. – that’s a non-playable character. The being who created Superstripe is also your creator, you see…”

Edwin squinted in disbelief. “The sadistic lunatic who spends his time reveling in destruction and chaos by living through Superstripe is also pulling my strings, even though the great dimwit revolts me to my very core…? Is this some kind of joke?!”

“That would be kind of funny,” Malben mused, “but no, you misunderstood me. While Superstripe is the avatar of this particular Fan, you’re simply an incidental character, not much different from the nameless crowd of Abbeybeasts celebrating outside. You were created to simply accompany Superstripe without really impacting the world at large. There have been a few such hare sidekicks, as I recall…”

Edwin cast his eyes downwards. “Then I’m just another useless curiosity in Superstripe’s inventory,” he whispered. “I’m not even a real person, am I?”

Malben shook his head. “That’s not true at all! I mean, technically none of us are truly ‘real’ in the sense that we’re made to pretend we are, but we exist in our own humble sort of way regardless.”

“No, the only real difference between me and you is that your strings aren’t being pulled by anyone in particular. And it’s because of this that you’re able to notice and develop opinions about ridiculous elements around you, such as Superstripe. You’re a genuine inhabitant of the mental patchwork that makes up our universe, Edwin, and that grants you access to whatever thoughts and feelings can be found in its depths.”

Edwin shook his head, trying to come to grips with this new view of his existence. “So… if our entire reality exists in the collective consciousness of this Fandom, and my original purpose was to be nothing but a subservient hare, the fact that I turned out to be something different means that the Fandom has ended up finding something else they needed to use me for after all?” he guessed.

“Sort of,” Malben answered with a nod. “They might not have authored the events of your life explicitly, but you’ve filled a logically necessary niche for everyone who observes what goes on here: reaction to Superstripe! Most of the Fandom feels shocked and confused at seeing the bizarre ideas he pollutes our world with. All of that ends up getting projected onto the nearest blank slate, and that slate just happened to be you.”

“I’m defined by my reactions to Superstripe,” said Edwin, clearly worried by the idea. “What would happen to me if I got out of working for him, then?”

“Well, I guess you’ll find out,” Malben answered. He drained the last few drops of cold liquid from his flagon. “Edwin, the real reason I’ve come to talk to you is that Superstripe is being tried for being a really, really awful character. The verdict hasn’t been reached yet, but I assure you, he’ll never return. For all intents and purposes, you’re being relieved of your duties.”

The hare was lost for words. “I… I never thought it would end this way. I have no idea of what to do, where to go… I don’t even know if I’ll continue to exist! Please, Malben… what’s going to happen to me?”

“That’s something to be discovered by forces beyond you and I,” Malben replied as he rose from his seat. “Well, I’ll be returning to the festival, now. I hope this little talk has helped you, and, well… good luck, Edwin.” And then he was gone.

Edwin sat alone in the Warrior’s Cottage for a very long time, pondering his future. Late that evening he set out from Redwall for the last time, journeying forth into the recesses of collective imagination.

What happened to Edwin next is up to you.

(He probably got eaten by a fish or something.)

“Your time is up”, said Esomar suddenly.

“Most tubular!” Superstripe cried as his restraints cracked and dissolved back into the soil. “So I can go back and save Redwall now, right?

Esomar groaned, banging his staff against his skull in frustration. Shaking himself back to his ordinary calm alertness, he continued his announcement. “Superstripe the Unrealistic, you and your creator have been found guilty of magic use, player-killing, unrealistic roleplaying, and other disruptive behavior.”

“NOT GUILTY!” Superstripe quickly replied.

“I didn’t say you were accused, I said we… ugh, never mind,” the Moderator groaned. “Your sentence is total and immediate removal from the universe, id est execution.”

The ground split into a grin beneath Superstripe, then burst open into an enormous mouth, filling with lashing tongues of stone which reached out for the badger as the hands did before.

“Wait, wait! This isn’t fair!” Superstripe screamed, as he was slowly dragged down into the abyss below. “So my author and I have a different perspective on Redwall than everyone else! Is that so wrong? It’s creative license, that’s all! Yeah, that’s it, I’m promoting creativity by being so off the wall! That’s totally aligned with this place’s goals, and so you, er, the high and mighty lords of fandom, you should cut me a break and, uh, give me time to develop my unique worldview into a contribution worth of, um… oh, for fate’s sake, just don’t kill me off! I’m too awesome to have a death scene this weak!”

“Creativity is what brought the Fandom together,” Esomar laughed, “but it’s a rare day indeed when we promote it! No, there can be no place for warped, iconoclastic interpretations in our world. Our world must remain unified! One world-wide vision… one voice, one hope! One real decision… to destroy all that could reduce us to fragments once more.”

Esomar gestured with his scepter and the mouth closed tightly shut.

“Goodbye, Superstripe the Unrealistic,” he whispered, “once and for all.”

As the Fandom floating above dispersed, satisfied with their victory over the overpowered badgerlord, Esomar dropped to the ground, reassuming his hunched, decrepit gait and shifting his scepter back into a gnarled walking stick. With his mission accomplished, his thoughts turned once again to the herbal festival. Perhaps he could still prove that insipid assistant wrong…

Suddenly the Moderator found he was whistling through the air once more, though this time quite against his will. He had been flung a great distance in the air by an eruption below.

Glancing downwards, he found the explosion’s source flying up to meet him. Superstripe, his armor torn mostly from his body, was now surrounded by a flickering yellow aura, his fur becoming rigid and golden to match. Half an instant later, Superstripe was beside the kindly-looking old mouse, to whom he delivered a fierce punch to the face which sent him careening back towards the shattered earth below.

As Esomar fell to the ground from the dizzying height he had managed to reach, Superstripe whirled in circles around him, his back to the shadowy walls. Using his unrealistic powers of telekinesis he caused his entire arsenal of worldly weapons, from his elastic silk sling to his axe of badgers to his collection of fire pebbles, to drift down in place beside them. Each time he made a pass around Esomar, the badgerlord grabbed one and used it to slice yet again into his mousey adversary.

Superstripe called his weapons back to his person and allowed the Moderator to crash into the ground. Immediately he teleported back to the apex of the Abbot’s trajectory. With a cry of “SPIRIT BOMB”, he sent a ball of lethal blue energy approximately the size of the cylindrical chasm containing it hurling down towards Esomar.

Just for the heck of it, Superstripe summoned a great white shark, loaded its gullet with vast quantities of explosives, and sent that hurling after the still-paralyzed mouse as well.

Once the smoke had cleared, the all-powerful Moderator Esomar, reduced to little more than a charred skeleton by Superstripe’s assault, rose once more to his footpaws. “Impressive,” he coughed, “but I guess your creator always had a way of orchestrating over-the-top battle scenes. Tell me, how is it that your power has been restored?”

“It’s not so much that my power to beat you has come back, fiend,” Superstripe replied in a deep, mighty voice. “I’ve just come to the realization that you have no real power to suppress it! Try as you might, you can’t govern my creator’s mind… and as long as that’s true, I can go on being as unrealistic as I want!”

“Just because I can’t control your creator’s mind doesn’t mean that I can’t control what’s happens here,” Esomar spat. He brought his hands together with a thunderous clap, and the walls above began drawing closer, closing Superstripe off from the ground below… and from the portal back to Redwall. “You and your creator will hereby be banished from this world for all eternity!”

“Who cares?” Superstripe cried, shrugging nonchalantly. “I don’t need you guys to save Redwall! My author is going to go make his own world… one that will be totally awesome! It’ll be filled with mayhem, and conquest, and none of this flowery descriptive stuff… a world where I’ll truly belong at last!”

“That would be the worst interpretation of Redwall anyone has ever seen,” Esomar bluntly replied, just as the bottom of the pit was shut off from Superstripe completely.

Superstripe flew upwards through what remained of the great cosmic well, traveling rapidly towards the glowing heavens above. “Worst ever, huh?” the badger said to himself. “We’ll just see about that! I mean, this guy created me, so he’s obviously a genius of some kind. But hey, if my author turns out to be a disappointment, I’ll just overthrow him and take the reigns for myself! And why not? I’m Superstripe the Unrealistic! There’s nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it! Stay in school, kids. EULALIAAAAAAAAA!”


DISCLAIMER: Redwall, Slagar, and all related properties (C) Brian Jacques and the Redwall Abbey Company. All rights reserved.