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Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast
Episode 7: Marlish


[The show opens with a wide shot of the stage, where the band stands poised to play Slagar to his desk... but Slagar is nowhere in sight. A few coughs sound through the otherwise Dark Forest Studios as its occupants wait patiently for their host with bated breath.]

TREEROSE: [Whispering] Vitch! [Pauses, then whispers more audibly and urgently] Viiitch!

VITCH: [Poking his head out from behind the stage's curtain] Look, I don't know where he is either, okay?

TREEROSE: [Whispering] Well, what are we supposed to do? Do we have a Plan B for these kinds of mishaps, or what?

VITCH: [Whispering] I guess I could run downstairs and get Gartar to pull the feed, but at this point why -

GELLTOR: [Suddenly, in a loud, pronounced voice] I am a Marlfox!

TREEROSE: Gah! Where did he come from?!

VITCH: The Great Inland Lake, I think.

TREEROSE: That's not what I meant, you prat of a rat. He wasn't here a moment ago, and then he just appeared out of thin air!

GELLTOR: I go and come as I please! For I am a Marlfox!

HALFCHOP: Kachunk...?

THREECLAWS: [Wails in dismay] You're right, Halfchop! If magic's possible in our world then all bets're off! 'S only a matter o' time 'til someone invents gunpowder, or 'til we're all wrapped up in some kinda deep-seated social commentary!

MOKKAN: [Appearing suddenly] Fear not, lowly viewers, for the secret of we Marlfoxes does not truly lie in mysticism, but in our overly-large brains, and our spectacular skills of stealth!

GELLTOR: I, I am a Marlfox!

MOKKAN: Yes, Gelltor, they know! They have already been made aware of your spooky lineage by your black fur, and your appearance out of nowhere.

GELLTOR: [Shakily] I... okay.

CLECKY: Wait, this still doesn't make a lick o' sense. Even if you are blinkin' camouflage savants, how can y' just randomly appear in the middle of a stage that doesn't even have any places y' could hide?

PREDAK: [Appearing] Because we are Marlfoxes! And we Marlfoxes go and come when we please, however we please!

MOKKAN: Yes, sister Predak, I believe we have covered that issue satisfactorily! These fools have all been made aware of the incredible powers of transportation we Marlfoxes hold at our disposal!

ZIRAL: [Appearing also] Did somebody say something about Marlfoxes? I'm a Marlfox!

MOKKAN: Yes, yes, we know...

VANNAN: [Doing the thing that is the opposite of disappearing] Hey, am I late? I was trying to find a parking space, but the -

MOKKAN: Oh no, Vannan! You are just in time, for we are instructing this piteous excuse for a... what does that overrated harlequin Slagar call them... an audience, in the ways of Marldom!

[The audience, as well as the cast, gapes at the bizarre display unfolding on the stage.]

GELLTOR: I am a Marlfox!

MOKKAN: Gelltor, stand down!

ZIRAL: Yes, cease and desist, foolish brother!

PREDAK: Has it not occurred to you that these ridiculous ideas of yours are precisely the reason you have been voted "Worst Marlfox" by the Aggregation of Marlfox Siblings, 90 seasons in a row?

GELLTOR: I am a... hey, shut up! For all you know, my plan of repeatedly crying "I am a Marlfox" until all other creatures fell to their knees and worshiped us as the deities we are was proceeding successfully! Furthermore, I am not as terrible a Marlfox as our other brother, Ascrod!

MOKKAN: Astounding! Gelltor has actually managed to raise a point of some validity. Yes, my brothers and sisters, let us join paws in berating our unfortunate brother Ascrod, who has yet to show his face on this program, probably out of fear of being marked for the cad that he truly is.

ASCROD: I'm right here, you moron.

[Ascrod does NOT appear suddenly, but instead walks onto the stage, with Slagar trailing sluggishly behind him.]

ASCROD: I was just having a drink with Slagar... we know eachother really well, we used to work together before Slagar got his advice column gig... so I had to talk him into doing the show tonight. Speaking of which, don't you have something to say, Slagar?

SLAGAR: Right, fine... [Muttering distractedly as he walks towards his desk] Good morning, ladies and people, this is Slagar the Cruel Live, please enjoy your stay. [He flops into the chair at his desk, pouting.]

ROOP: Hurr, oi knowed 'ee Slagger b'ain't fond o' 'ee Marlyfosskers, but this yurr be -

PREDAK: It is pronounced Marlfoxes, impudent denzien of the soil! Get it right or pay the price!

MOKKAN: No, Predak! Allow him to continue utilizing that rustic perversion of our race's mighty title, for the word "Marlfox" is not fit to be enunciated by his inferior tongue!

THREECLAWS: So, uh, chief, what's gettin' y' down?

TREEROSE: Well, Slagar hates Marlfoxes, Threeclaws. That's been common knowledge since -

SLAGAR: It's not just that! It's... it's Matthias.

THREECLAWS: Matthias? Matthias of Redwall?!

CLECKY: Consternation!

VITCH: Uproar!

GELLTOR: I am a... uh, stonished! I am astonished! At this development, I mean. Additionally, I am a Marlfox.

SLAGAR: Oh, shut up, the lot of you. Permanently. Anways, you know how Matthias (sort of) showed up during the last episode to announce his plans to run my show off the air? Using any means possible? Well, that louse of a mouse is making good on his promise... he's got his own show now, "Warriors Weekly", and as luck would have it, it airs in our time slot. Do you know who they've got on his show tonight? Martin the Warrior. I don't even mean the wishy-washy unimportant one from Pearls of Lutra, I'm talking the Martin.

TREEROSE: Are you serious...? But Martin doesn't do interviews! His publicists always say he's too busy writing cryptic rhymes or making visits to Redwall.

SLAGAR: Apparently he's decided to make an exception for that infernal "I Am That Is". So I'm stuck interviewing these clods, who as you know I loathe intensely and cannot even stand speaking to, while Matthias gets an exclusive interview with the mouse who has had a hand in pretty much everything that's ever happened. To put it lightly, we're unequivocally, emphatically screwed. Now do you see why I was so hesitant to do the show tonight?

VITCH: Ooh, an exclusive interview... can I go watch it during the commercial break, chief?

SLAGAR: Can you get fired? AGAIN?

MOKKAN: Dispense with these trivialities at once! Do you have any idea whose presences your show has been blessed with? We are Marlfoxes! Our greatness echoes through the ages!

SLAGAR: Okay, Mokkan, I'm aware that you guys are -

ZIRAL: Excuse me... what was your name again... I want to say "Fowlhound"? Excuse me, Fowlhound, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but our fur is uniformly and strikingly black!

VANNAN: Indeed, fellow non-descript Marlfox sister! Our pelts and mysterious vibes are the stuff of legends! Our all-consuming specialness has been documented in books, books on tape... uh... bubblegum cards...

MOKKAN: Oh no, dear sister, whom I both love for being a member of my wondrous lineage and despise for having been a potential rival for the crown of the Marlfoxes while we were alive, our likenesses do not yet appear on bubblegum cards! But make a note of this, Slagar: we are in talks! Yes, our "people" are entangled in serious deliberation with the bubblegum card "people", and let's just say that the bubblegum trade shall enjoy a golden age of interest and revenue in no time at all! I don't think you have your face on hypothetical bubblegum cards, do you, Slagar? Or perhaps the hypothetical bubblegum stores I attend are simply too classy to carry them.

PREDAK: Haha, yes, very good, Mokkan! Truly a zinger worthy of the Marlfox brand!

[Ascrod's paws are in the pockets of his black robe, as he tries to pretend not to know the other black-furred vulpines which surround him on the stage.]

SLAGAR: ...amazing. Absolutely amazing. You actually have the nerve to lecture me about derailing the show with trivialities, when all you have to report about your stupid little clan is that you're all getting your pictures printed on bubblegum cards.

MOKKAN: Yeah, well, but, our faces will be printed on other things as well! And we have many other deals in "the works". Our entire publicity campaign is getting a revamp this season!

PREDAK: Yes, so tremble in fear, for the Season of the Marlfox is at hand!

ZIRAL: And only we, the Marlfoxes, could engineer such a brilliant plan!

GELLTOR: I am a Marlfox!

[The foxes continue their mindless self-congratulatory remarks, until they degenerate at last into simply shouting the word "Marlfox" repeatedly.]

SLAGAR: Enough, you disgraces! How in the world you can be so egomaniacal, or even bring your hearts to continue beating, when besides Ascrod the six of you are unadulteratedly... wait, there's supposed to be seven of you! [Begins taking a headcount] Let's see, there's Ascrod... Mokkan... Van Gogh... Kodak... Chuckles... Blitzen... hey, where's Lantern?

LANTUR: Coming!

[The last of the Marlfox siblings knocks the doors to the studio open, and begins torturously shoving a huge curtained palanquin towards the stage.]

LANTUR: [Interrupted by periodic grunts while pushing the bed towards the stage] I'd like - to see any - of you - get here - faster - pushing this - daft thing around...

SLAGAR: Uh, I think you got some bad information. This is the studio for Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast, not Slagar the Cruel: Crazy Box Pushing Convention.

LANTUR: You stu - pid fool, I'm - not just pushing - this thing 'cause - I want to...

SILTH: [Suddenly and unexpectedly from the poster bed] We must go faster, daughter of slowness! I demand you increase our speed at once!

SLAGAR: Oh no. NO. There is no WAY I'm letting her on the show. We only signed to interview exactly seven of you, remember?

LANTUR: Well that's - too bad, 'cause - my punishment is - taking care of - [Comes to a halt as she realizes it would be impossible to push the palanquin up the steps leading to the stage] Look, would one of you washed up boneheads please help me carry our mother?

SILTH: Boneheads! Yes, they are heads of bone! They hardly ever write! This infuriates me, the Queen!

MOKKAN: Lantur, you traitor! I, Mokkan, was right to murder you in order to claim the crown of our senile mother! But then, I am right in all things!

PREDAK: I demand that her likeness be excluded from the projected Lego figurine deal in response to this insult!

VANNAN: I concur! In turn, I demand that I be given more lines than her in the Marlfox movie script that we are thinking about shopping around! (Only in theaters, this eon!)

[Slagar clamps his paws over his head, looking to be in pain]

SLAGAR: Show... becoming... too Marlish... Can't... take... much more... Sentences... breaking... uncontrollably... CUT TO COMMERCIAL!


[The advertisement opens with a dibbun staring dully at some type of boring "Summer Reading"-ish book in his paws.]

ANNOUNCER: Hey, kids! Reading is cool, right?

[The child looks at the camera with a confused expression on his face, and nods his head cautiously.]

ANNOUNCER: Ha, ha~! I don't mean that kind of reading, Timmy. I mean the fun kind! You know, the kind kids buy in droves? The kind that accumulates enough revenue to put children's literature on the map?

[Timmy still looks puzzled.]

ANNOUNCER: You know... [Whispered] Wizard kid books, Timmy!

TIMMY: Oh! You mean the Har-

ANNOUNCER: Don't say that name! I'm afraid that, legally, we can only vaguely allude to said wiz-kid books in this advertisement. Also, I'm fairly sure that said books do not exist in the Redwall universe. But that's not going to stop us from shamelessly attempting to recreate them in order to make a quick buck!

[The volume in Timmy's hand is instantaneously replaced by another]

ANNOUNCER: If you liked those other wizarding kid books, you'll absolutely tolerate "Haireye Rotear and that Halfchop Dunce"! And hey, here's a fun fact for you... this was originally a critical literary piece about two vermin who had curried the difavor of the author, Jodd Squirrelhare. A few creative editing decisions later, and it became the fantastical book about vermin children attending a school - but with magic!!! Oh, and we decided to refer to the author as J.W.L.S.T.F.F.W.H.L.L.P.C.H. Squirrelhare, since recent statistics show a booming market for children's books written by authors whose names conform to the "First Initial - Middle Initial(s) - Last Name" syntax convention.

TIMMY: So what's the book about?

ANNOUNCER: Haven't you been paying attention, Timmy? It's a school! With WIZARDS! It's practically the same as those popular books, so why do you even care about anything else?! Such behavior is demographically illogical!

TIMMY: But I mean, if this is just a pale rip-off of pre-existing books, why wouldn't I just read the real ones?

ANNOUNCER: Because you are a kid and kids are stupid enough not to pick up on the difference between - oh, wait! That thought wasn't supposed to be vocalized! Anyways, it is worthwhile to purchase several copies of this book on account of it being made out of holographic gold foil! Or something! Also, just try to rip the book's cover!

[Timmy does, and succeeds]

ANNOUNCER: Look, Timmy! REALISTIC BATTLE-DAMAGE! And that's not all! If you use the remote control taped to the back of the book, you'll find that the book can sprout small wheels and be driven around at a range of up to 15 feet! If that isn't a clever literary device, then call me a wizard!

[Switches to a logo that reads "Milo & Bro's Publishing".]

ANNOUNCER: From Milo & Bro's Publishing! Cheapening the written word to cash in on a craze we can barely understand since earlier this quarter.


[The Roaringburn Four play's some welcoming music. A notable chunk of the audience has left the studio since the commercial break, most likely in an attempt to catch the interview with Martin the Warrior.]

SLAGAR: Alright, we're back, and I'm feeling much better about tonight's show. What can I say, punting Vitch around during commercial breaks is just plain theraputic.

GELLTOR: Another thing that is therapeutic is the Marlfox Stress-Reliever Squeeze-toy Thing! Coming soon, to wherever fine Squeeze-toy Things are sold!

MOKKAN: I applaud you, foolish brother Gelltor, for making this atypically astute observation! Yes indeed, lowly viewers, if you have not taken a hint so far, the paws of the Marlfoxes stir in many sinister soups! Of licensing!

SILTH: [Still at the foot of the steps, with Lantur] Ugh! I am still on the same level as these cheap-seat ugly peons known as an audience. I must be surrounded by beauty! Children, I demand you help your sister at once by lifting me onto the stage. But not near Slagar, because he is ugly and badly-dressed and I must be surrounded by beauty!

[Ascrod, who had been standing with his arms crossed at the time, sighs, disappears, reappears beside Lantur, and helps her to lift Queen Silth's palanquin onto the stage.]

PREDAK: It figures that Ascrod, that outcast to our brood, would assist Lantur, the other outcast to our brood, in the transportation of our mother, who I guess has yet to make a serious infraction against our brood but who is still kind of odd!

CLECKY: Hrmm... Ascrod and Lantur do seem decidedly different than the other blighters.

ROOP: Hurr, that b'ain't so, hare-zurr. Y' must be amemberin' that oi'd been aloive at 'ee time yon Marlfosskers came t' Redwall... 'ee two be the only 'uns actin' even sloightly normal, hurr.

ZIRAL: That's because Ascrod is a dirty scab! By which I mean that he's a traitor in the midst of a strike, not that he's a crust developed ver a healing wound. Though I'm not ruling that out, either.

CLECKY: Hey, calm down, Ziral! Don't get viral on us! [Laughs uproariously] Ha! My impromptu insults are as brilliant as the next chap's, wot?

GERUL: Ah, Clecky you jolly japer, as me ould mother would say, do us a favor an' don't quit your day job.

ASCROD: Actually, Ziral's assessment is correct. While the rest of my siblings opted to quit their Dark Forest jobs as souls in eternal torment in favor of an ironic punishment, I mastered my pride and did not. As you can see, I was right in my decision, since everyone else's already overbearingly arrogant personality was exaggerated by the Dark Forest until it would be ironically punishing enough for them to just spend time with eachother. Oh yeah, and Lantur ended up with a different ironic punishment, so -

TREEROSE: Ooh, wait, I missed my cue, didn't I? Sorry... ahem. [Sounding very forced and scripted] Dark Forest... job? But what is a... Dark Forest job?!

SLAGAR: [Sounding very methodical and rehearsed as well.] A fair question, cast member Treerose. The truth is that Slagar the Cruel: Coast to Coast and its advice column cousin, "Ask Slagar", have introduced a number of ideas regarding the nature of the afterlife in our world that many casual observers of the Redwall universe just don't get. In order to better facilitate new viewers, this show will now support a new feature: Quasi-Canon Corner. [Sounding like himself again] Remind me, why do we have to show this again?

TREEROSE: Because if it's not in at least three episodes, the Dark Forest Broadcasting Corporation will forcibly remove your show from their airwaves and you from their studio for failing to appeal to viewers who don't have the time to read through hundreds of "Ask Slagar" answers and boring transcripts of earlier episodes?

SLAGAR: Right. Take it away then, Rob.

[The camera switches to footage of a small, well-groomed, spectacled rat sitting in a chair in front of a fireplace.]

ROBERT GARRISON: Good evening, compatriots! I'm your host, Robet Garrison. You may know me from my adventures outside the canon Redwallian universe in the series "The Adventures of Superstripe the Unrealistic", in which I died, and ended up popping into the Dark Forest for canon characters as a result of a very strange coincidence which also made Gartar a part of this continuity. Anyways, tonight on Quasi-Canon Corner I'll be discussing the idea of "Dark Forest punishment" in-depth.

[Robert Garrison stands up, produces a pointed, and gestures towards a piece of parchment hanging on the wall which depicts a smiling mouse and a grimacing weasel standing side by side.]

ROBERT GARRISON: Now the Dark Forest, as anyone who's paid attention while reading through the chronicles of Redwall will know, is where the souls of those in this universe who have died end up. For a while, this system worked without a hitch, but after a time a problem arose: good creatures [Points to the mouse on the parchment] and bad creatures [Points to the weasel] occupied the same ethereal plane. You see, the Dark Forest is a rather comfortable place, which provides most of the luxuries you'd expect for everyday afterlife, and as the lives lead by evil creatures clearly does not warrant the same treatment received by goodbeasts, many complained that the system was unfair. So it was that, in the Summer of the Hairy Pinecone, the dead goodbeasts of the Dark Forest petitioned for bad creatures to be subject to a different set of rules.

[Robert Garrison then tears off the part of the parchment with the weasel on it, revealing another sheet of parchment beneath it depicting a weasel engulfed in flames while shoveling coal]

ROBERT GARRISON: So it was that the evil dead were placed under the jurisdiction of the great Vulpuz, father of foxes, creator of evil, and all that rot. He lives just around the way near the Hellgates, the seal that keeps unsavory evil characters from breaking out of the Dark Forest. At least I think that's what it does. Maybe it leads somewhere. Nobody really gave me a briefing on any of this, you know, I'm mostly just making this up as I go based on the little information there is to be gleaned from the general hearsay and the "transcripts" I've been provided with, which are really not up to par in terms of descriptiveness, and furthermore if I'm mostly just regurgitating information that is already widely available then why...

VOICE OFF-SCREEN: A-hem.

ROBERT GARRISON: Er... sorry, folks! Sometimes I forget myself... oh yes, Hellgates, right. Yes, after the case of Goodbeasts v. the Evil Dead, all evil creatures had to suffer neverending anguish and despair by working in the Mines of Misery, which as you might have guessed is not a fun place to work. Job dissatisfaction was so high, in fact, that evil creatures decided to band together and request yet another set of rules. Having already been made second-class citizens in death, however, they needed to be severely compromising in their demands. Ultimately, the best they were able to get was a choice: either they could work in the Mines of Misery, or they could after-live a normal after-life with some form of severe handicap or in some unsavory role, designed specifically to make them just as miserable as they would have been otherwise.

[Robert Garrison tears down the second piece of parchment, revealing a picture of two smaller weasels - one engulfed in flames, and the other wearing a bear trap on its head.]

ROBERT GARRISON: Usually this will involve taking the soul in question "down a peg" in the most horrible way possible, insulting their pride and dignity in a nearly unbearable fashion. This is why Slagar T. Cruel has to run an advice column and is made to put up with creatures he despises on a regular basis. Other times this punishment may force a vermin to face something they hate on a regular basis, such as forcing Tsarmina Greeneyes to work in an Aquarium. The vermin might be forced to retain a condition which plagued them in life, such as madness or gingivitis. In rare cases, the soul itself will become altered or exaggerated slightly in order to better punish that vermin as well as those made to stay in close quarters with the being in question. This is the case of our friends the Marlfoxes. It is also worth noting that the rules of the Mines of Misery have become somewhat more lax, allowing creatures time off proportional to how much good they had in their hearts while they were alive. So our friend Ascrod would get, like, 2 hours off per day maybe, since he was never as domineering and self-important as many of his siblings were. Or so I'm told. And also you can get your punishment toned down a bit by utilizing loopholes in certain contracts with television networks, or... something, I don't know. Well, what do you know, dear viewers, our time is up already! Or it was a few minutes ago! Until next time, I am -

[The feed switches back to Slagar]

SLAGAR: ...getting a raise, if I have anything to say about it! That explanation was so insanely verbose that we barely have any time left. This interview's going to have to be EXTREMELY short! [Chortles with glee]

MOKKAN: Nooo! No fair! We still have so many important product tie-ins left to advertise!

TREEROSE: Okay, so then Mokkan, Predak, Gelltor, Spyro, and Donatello got turned super-arrogant so that they would get on eachother's nerves...

ASCROD: They're acting even worse than usual tonight, actually... Slagar beat them in the Dark Forest Magazine's "Coolest Fox or Fox-related Group" poll, you see, and they want to prove how important they really are.

VITCH: Hey, I saw that poll! Chief did pretty well in that, I think. He only got beaten out by Ruggan Bor... and Urgan Nagru... and Bane... and Reynard Chopsnout... and Farran the YEAAAAGH! [A knife appears embedded in his forehead, thrown by Slagar]

SLAGAR: [Coolly] I think that me and the Marlfoxes will both be able to agree that said poll was totally rigged.

TREEROSE: But then why are Lantur, and I suppose Silth, unaffected?

LANTUR: Besides the fact that I have to live with these idiots? I have to continue taking care of my infernal mother, at every waking moment of my life. And as for her punishment, well, besides that she's still senile... actually, you'll be seeing in a couple of seconds.

TREEROSE: And what exactly is that supposed to mean, fox?

[All of a sudden, Urthwyte the badger bursts into the set and onto the stage, screams a terrifying scream into Silth's face until the old vixen sobs in horror, laughs, then runs out again.]

LANTUR: That happens every hour, on the hour. She was terrified of a "white ghost" just before she died, see, and -

VANNAN: Still your tongue, Lantur! We have so much left to say, and so little time in which to say it!

MOKKAN: Thank you, sister! Yes, Lantur, Vannan's delightful and charming order must be obeyed! For we are Marlfoxes, and Marlfoxes have places to see, and people to go! Go kill! Because we are menacing!

PREDAK: And fearsome!

GELLTOR: I am a Marlfox!

VANNAN: Whoah, me too!

ZIRAL: We are all Marlfoxes! Right, Lantur?

[Lantur sighs, trying to ignore Ziral for a few moments]

LANTUR: Right. I'm such a Marlfox. [Makes a weak fist pumping gesture, and makes a dull imitation of cries of enthusiasm] Woo, woo, woo.

MOKKAN: That's right, Lantur! Embrace your heritage! Get over the fact that I murdered you, which I'm sure is an event which has completely consumed your afterlife in its awesomeness, and rediscover yourself by helping us discuss our soon-to-be-unleashed merchandising empire!

SLAGAR: Well, I might as well just get this over with... what have you seven been working on lately?

MOKKAN: More things than your puny brain could ever comprehend, Slagar! But, just recently, we filmed a TV pilot. It's a reality show! Not only because those are inexpensive to produce, but also because it produces a sense of revolting verisimilitude not present in shows that actually have thought behind them.

SILTH: Revulsion is ugly! I must be surrounded by beauty!

MOKKAN: No time for aesthetical consideration, old mother! We must roll the clip before it is too late!

GERUL: Ah, y'know, I have an ould mother too...

SLAGAR & MOKKAN: SHUT UP.

[The clip opens with a shot of a small replica of Castle Marl. An announcer, who sounds a bit like Mokkan, is reading lines loudly.]

ANNOUNCER: Coming this Fall! Seven ordinary Marlfoxes, which is to say EXTRAordinary, have to bunk together! And also with their mom! Find out what happens when things stop being real, and start becoming Marlish! Introducing - THE MARLISH LIFE!

[Cuts to a scene of Mokkan, Gelltor, Predak, Ziral, and Vannan running around a small room in circles yelling wildly about how great they are, while Ascrod and Lantur look on in contempt, and Silth lies in a poster bed shouting about being surrounded by beauty. This continues for a minute or so.]

ANNOUNCER: Thrill as you discover exciting insights about the Marlfoxes you will certainly come to love because they are JUST LIKE YOU except they are much better and not at all like you, you disgusting waste of matter! You are not worthy of watching this show!

[The footage is now of Ascrod talking to Silth while they are both alone.]

ASCROD: So, uh... what's with all of those realistic eyeball carvings on your bed?

SILTH: I must be surrounded by beauty! And beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

LANTUR: [Appearing suddenly] She got a bunch of water rats to hold bees, plucked out their eyeballs, sawed hole for them into her bedů and the rest is history. [Disappears.]

ASCROD: Ugh.

ANNOUNCER: And for an exciting twist, watch as every week, a character is voted out of being a legitimate Marlfox!

[Cuts to a clip of all the Marlfoxes sitting in a room together again, while a mouse tallies votes from a jar.]

MOUSE: Let's see, that's seven votes for "Ascrod", and one vote for "Someone Else". Ascrod, I'm afraid it's time for you to go.

ASCROD: [Springing to his feet] YEAH! In your face! In your face! [Runs off]

SLAGAR: Alright, I... I think we get the basic jist of it, Mokkan.

MOKKAN: Remember, it's coming this Fall! Maybe. Well, try to hold your overwhelming desire to see this show at bay until then. Because, I mean, it's a reality show? So it's going to redefine reality.

PREDAK: Yes, in fact it already has! Reality, noun: Marlfox! Check any reliable modern dictionary, approved by the lexical department of Marlfox Inc., and you will see this definition.

SLAGAR: Alright, fine, thanks for appearing on the show guys, now let's all just... go home. And try to forget.

MOKKAN: Wait! I haven't even gotten to talk about the novelization of the Marlfox saga that's being written...

SLAGAR: The Marlfox saga started as a novel.

MOKKAN: But this one will be gold foil hologram covered! Did I mention that there will be a contest? Yes, a contest! If you buy a copy of the Marlfox novel that shines as though it has just been retrieved from some sort of literary gem mine, you may already be a winner. If you do not win, however, the dust-jacket will simply read, "please try again". This is sarcasm, of course. If you have already lost, then fate despises you, you are not as loved by nature and the cosmos as the Marlfoxes have been and this will not change no matter how many tries you might attempt.

SLAGAR: We'll keep an eye out for it, just go already!

MOKKAN: But... but we did not have ample time to cover the Marlfox etch-a-sketch!

ZIRAL: Or the Marlfox-themed collectible plates!

PREDAK: Or the Marlfox-flavored taffy!

VANNAN: Or the Marlfox computer game, Vannan Invaders DX, which is not in truth a deluxe version of any pre-existing game but it is so extra-special that I felt DX had to be appended to the game's title.

GELLTOR: Or "I am a Marlfox", my inspirational cassette tape designed for the Marlfox on the go!

LANTUR: Or the Marlfox muzzle, which I was planning to force upon all of you if you didn't shut your traps soon!

ASCROD: Or the... well, I don't really know, I just felt obligated to keep the sequence consistent.

SILTH: Or the beauty, which I must be surrounded by!

SLAGAR: ENOUGH already! Either the lot of you gets out right now, or I have you removed using force. And needless violence.

MOKKAN: Oh, a threat, eh? This colorful little clod thinks he's bad enough to take me on! Me, the prince of Marldom! Well do your worst, you chicken of a hound, for no matter what you do it will still - [His left arm is taken off my Slagar's whirling bolas.] Hmm. It seems I may have miscalculated a smidgeon. But no matter! [Picks up and reattaches his arm.] I still have an Ace up my sleeve! Now, let us see who the greatest fox / fox-based organization really is... Marlfoxes! Dissipate, congregate, and annihilate! [Pulls out his axe, holds it in front of himself, and cries in a booming voice] IT'S MARLIN' TIME! [Disappears]

PREDAK: [Pulls out her axe] Ooh boy, it IS Marlin' time! HAD AN IDEA THAT ONE TIME POWER! [Disappears.]

VANNAN: [Pulls out her axe] I concur! UTTERLY FORGETTABLE POWER! [Disappears.]

GELLTOR: [Pulls out his axe] I am a Marlfox! Just thought I'd kick mine off by mentioning that. INCOMPETENCE POWER! [Disappears.]

VITCH: So do you guys just stretch things out by repeating things in slightly different ways in a group for the heck of it, or am I missing -

ZIRAL: Quiet, you're ruining it! [Pulls out her axe] By the power of Castle Marl, I have the GETS KILLED FIRST POWER! [Disappears.]

LANTUR: [Slowly raises her axe] Much to my chagrin, I believe it is Marlin' time. LIVING WITH MY MOM POWER! I hope you all choke. [Disappears.]

[Ascrod is now the only Marlfox left standing. He sighs and beings to lift his axe into the air.]

SLAGAR: Ascrod, you're... you're not actually going to help them with whatever the hellgates they're trying to do, are you?

ASCROD: Understand, Slagar, that I'm doing this under protest. But, well... blood is thicker than water, you know? Especially when you have relatives who are as thick as mine. DART UP THE NOSE AT THE VERY BEGINNING POWER! [Disappears. For a few moments, nothing happens.]

TREEROSE: Huh, what a freakish lot that was. I wonder why they -

[Without warning, one gigantic Marlfox in shining obsidian armor materializes in the middle of the stage, wielding an enormous axe.]

ROBERT GARRISON: [Poking his head out from behind the curtains of the stage] Incredible! Marlfoxes appear to be able to utilize a series of loopholes in the semi-physical laws of the Dark Forest in order not only to disappear and reappear literally, but also to converge on a single point while reappearing, merging their ecto-physical forms into a single being! Or at least that's my guestimation, honestly such a ridiculous feat should not be possible!

MEGA-MARLFOX: [In an voice which sounds like all seven Marlfoxes speaking simultaneously] Hahaha! Now I, Mega-Marlfox, shall prove to the Dark Forest... er, or at least, to the small percentage of the Dark Forest still watching this show... that Marlfoxes truly are the greatest!

[The huge Marlfox makes as if to begin charging towards Slagar's desk, where the foxthief sits staring at them dumbfoundedly. As soon as it moves, however, it collapses to the ground.]

MEGA-MARLFOX: [Speaking in Mokkan's voice] Okay, who's working the legs on this thing?! [In Predak's Voice] I think I'm working the right arm... Ziral, you got left arm, right? [In Vannan's Voice] And I'm working the tail... [In Mokkan's voice] Oh, fates... Ascrod and Lantur are controlling the ambulation! [In Lantur's Voice] Muahahaha! Take that, you combined cretins! [In Mokkan's voice] Calm down, everyone! We'll get through this, let's just... let's try to, sort of, roll around... and we'll see how that goes...

[The Mega-Marlfox rolls feebly on its back, to no avail]

SLAGAR: Security, uh... whenever you please...? [Threeclaws and Halfchop pick up the flailing Mega-Marlfox on both ends and begin to drag it out of the studio] MEGA-MARLFOX: You've made powerful enemies this day, Slagar! More powerful than the next mightiest power taken to the twenty-eight power and then multiplied by the quantitative amount of power which has ever existed, and then... hey, I'm not finished... let go of me... I mean, us... I mean... I AM A MARLFOX~! [Finally leaves the audience's hearing range]

SLAGAR: Thank the claw that's over. So, all of you lucky people who have remained tuned into this show despite its mediocrity and the availability of something better on another -

SILTH: Loud non-Marlfox! Where have my children gone? Especially Lantur, she's usually changing my sheets around this time of day! I warn you, ugly jester-fox I will hurl bitter words in your direction if you do not answer my children!

SLAGAR: [Leans in Silth's direction] Oh, right, you're still here.

SILTH: Eek! Back away, hideous one. I must be surrounded by beauty!

SLAGAR: Surrounded by beauty? But wouldn't that make you look even worse by comparison?

ROBERT GARRISON: Famed early Redwallian villain Chickenhound, also widely known by the nom de plume Slagar, has just employed his tried and true "burn" technique, known for both its lack of wit and blunt ineffectiveness!

SLAGAR: ...cancel Garrison's raise.





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


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