Some Laughs And Games About Redwall
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Slagar the Cruel:
Coast to Coast
(And his trusty hare, Edwin)
Chapter One: "Clocked By A Badgerlord"
It was late in the day in Mossflower Country, and as the burning summer sun began to sink behind the trees, the large wooden doors of the Bundlebrush Tavern swung open. Through the entrance came all sorts of woodlanders: working beasts, tired from a long day of labor; travelers, looking for solace from the dusty paths; and even a few Abbeybeasts from across the river.
There was only one thing that linked all of these creatures together. They all wanted a drink, and there Daniel Needlespine could help them.
Daniel Needlespine, a stout, middle-aged hedgehog with an authoritative air about him, ran the Bumblebrush Tavern nearly independently. The Tavern was originally created as a home for the Needlespine family by Daniel's grandfather, and the sturdy building had served quite a few creative purposes over different generations of Needlespines, each with different trades. Daniel carried on the ingenuity and worth ethic of his family in his operation of the Bundlebrush Tavern, working as both a manager and a barkeeper. He matched these traits with a sharp wit and a commanding presence, both of which proved useful in dealing with his customers. Now Daniel sat in a chair behind the bar, watching the customers flow into the building.
Daniel groaned as a familiar figure walked through the tavern's doors. It was one of Daniel's regular customers - a gray mouse named Ives. Every time he dropped in on the tavern, it was the same thing. Ives would pull up a chair at the bar, order a single drink, and ramble on foolishly to either an adjacent drinker or to Daniel himself. But Ives was still a customer, and so Daniel pushed back a grimace as Ives took a seat in front of the bar.
"The usual, Ives?" Daniel asked, working to keep his irritation from showing in his voice.
"Yes sir," Ives exclaimed with a bright grin. Rolling his eyes, Daniel filled a glass with Elderberry wine and pushed it towards Ives, who looked it over before sipping it tentatively.
"So," Ives said, gesturing towards the growing crowd of woodlanders in the tavern, "busy night, huh?"
"After a scorching day like this?" Daniel snorted, beginning to show a bit of impatience. "By Hellgates, of course it's gonna be a busy night!"
"Hellgates," Ives repeated slowly. "You know, I've been thinking."
That caught Daniel's attention. "Oh? What about?"
"Well, the word Hellgates," Ives continued. "It's a bit cumbersome, don't you think? I mean, sure, we need a word like that to make exclamations and the like, but I think we should shorten it a bit."
The barkeeper sighed, carrying out another order while listening to Ives. "Really. And what would you propose we shorten Hellgates to?"
Ives paused for a moment, and scrunched his face as though deep in thought. Suddenly, he exclaimed, "Oh, I know! From now on, let's say 'Ellg'! I think that has a nice ring to it, don't you?"
Daniel shook his head impatiently, muttering under his breath. He might have caved in and given Ives a hearty blow to the head, if not for a stranger bursting through the Tavern doors. A stranger quite unlike anything Daniel had ever seen, who would perhaps change his life, and the life of everyone in the tavern.
A mangy-looking searat with an eye patch walked into the tavern, holding a scimitar high. "Arr," he exclaimed in a harsh voice, "I'm Slashdeath, the meanest, toughest, mouse-slicen'-est searat that ever sailed th' seven seas, and I'd sell me own mater fer some grog!" Slashdeath took a look at his surroundings, lowered his scimitar and asked, "Uh, this is the 'Boneskull Pub', right?"
Daniel shook his head, laughing. "No no no no no. This is the Bumblebrush Tavern. You won't hit the Boneskull Pub until you continue south down the main trail for about two days, turn left, and then go straight 'til you hit the clearing. Somebody gave you some pretty bad directions, buddy."
Slashdeath stared blankly at Daniel for a moment, and then began speaking again. "Do you... have grog here?"
"Well, I could make some," Daniel replied.
Slashdeath shrugged. "Eh, okay, I'll settle for this place," he said, and he proceeded to take a seat at one of the tables.
Daniel went back to answering an order. Okay, so maybe the stranger didn't change any lives, but he did give Daniel a break from Ives, who was now asking all of the woodlanders near him if they'd ever tasted grog before. Daniel relaxed. Perhaps tonight wouldn't be so bad after all.
That's when Superstripe and Edwin walked in.
Superstripe was a towering badgerlord, decked out in badger plate mail with protruding shoulder spikes, wearing a war helmet upon his head, chain mail on his neck, and a great shield of death upon his back. In his hands, which wore studded leather gloves, he carried a super-sharp, double-bladed sword. In his belt he carried an elastic silk sling, a serrated hatchet, a throwing axe, a war mallet, a leviathan death blade, a badger war hammer, a blow dart gun, flint, a smoke bomb, the axe of Brocktree, a flagon of magic ale, and a turban, in case surprise is needed. It seemed that he could easily stand tall over the next largest badger any of the tavern's inhabitants had ever seen, and his incredible physique showed that he could overpower even the most powerful of rogues.
Edwin was a hare.
"Hear me out, good creatures of the forest!" Superstripe exclaimed in a booming voice. "I am a badger lord, ruler of Salamandastron! You may call me Superstripe, the Unrealistic! I gained the title of 'Unrealistic' because my overwhelming power defies the standards most beasts have set as 'realistic'! Therefore I take it as more of a compliment than an insult! Furthermore, I'd like you to know that I am on my way to defend Redwall from an impending vermin invasion, which threatens to wipe the Abbey off the map! For good! I have stopped here only to partake in food and drink before going on to my destination! Not because I need it, mind you, as I can survive for over a month without food, drink, or sleep! Still, I do enjoy partaking in leisurely sorts of things, and that is why I have stopped here for food and drink!" He paused, and then finished, "that is all! Thank you!"
As Superstripe closed his speech, and the customers turned their gawking stares away from Superstripe to mutter secretly amongst themselves, Superstripe bent over and whispered to Edwin. "So Edwin... how was that?"
Edwin grinned and gave Superstripe a gesture of approval. "Great, sah! Why, I bet that was the best bally introduction these blokes've ever seen! But then, you've always known how to make a flippin' entrance, wot?"
Superstripe turned away from Edwin and sniffed. "Yes, I suppose you're right. Since you're familiar with the barkeeper, you may take up a conversation with him. I am off to partake in food and drink at a table."
“Yes sah, bally good idea! I’ll catch up with you in a few minutes, wot?” Edwin said, maintaining his cheerful tone. With that, Superstripe went to find a table to be served at, and Edwin approached the bar.
Daniel had been wincing from the moment the pair walked into the Tavern. He was certainly familiar with Superstripe and Edwin. They certainly weren’t regular customers like Ives, though they usually stopped by whenever their travels took them through the area. But one meeting with Superstripe the Unrealistic was enough to make a lasting impression on anyone’s mind.
“Some Tummytickle Brew, Edwin?” Daniel asked as Edwin took a seat at the bar.
Edwin slumped into a depressing shape as he sat down. “Make my Tummytickle a double, Daniel,” he said in a gravelly voice quite unlike the one he spoke to Superstripe in.
Daniel felt a twang of pity for Edwin as he mixed the drink. Lowering his voice, he spoke to Edwin. “Has he been that bad lately?”
Edwin took his head in his hands and groaned. “You don’t know the half of it,” he quietly replied. “We’ve been marching all over Mossflower Country – and I mean all the way from Salamandastron to here. Want to know why? Because he had a hunch that Redwall was in danger. A hunch. No visions from his ancestors or anything (not that he hasn’t claimed to have tons of those), just a signal from his ‘incredible intuition’.” Edwin took the drink as Daniel passed it to him and drank deeply.
Daniel shook his head. “Honestly, I don’t know why you put up with him, Edwin. What’s obligating you to stay under his command?”
“That’s simple,” Edwin replied darkly. “He can’t conceive any normal beast being annoyed with him. He thinks he has ‘unrealistic charisma’, too. If I were to try to back out of being his sidekick, he’d suspect me of being some sort of traitorous vermin in disguise, and then –“
Over at one of the tables, Superstripe’s ears perked up. Interrupting Edwin, he shouted, “VERMIN? DID I HEAR SOMEBODY SPEAKING OF VERMIN? I AM ETERNALLY ENGAGED IN A WAR AGAINST THE VILLAINS, AND MY AMAZING HEARING CAN PICK UP EVEN THE SLIGHTEST MENTION OF THEM! DOES ANYONE NEED ME TO DEAL WITH A VERMIN THREAT?”
For the second time in just a few minutes, the entire Tavern was staring at Superstripe. Edwin turned to the badgerlord and quickly stretched his face into a grin. “Oh, n-no, sah! I was just tellin’ this chap ‘bout how you take care of vermin blighters, wot?” Edwin finished his explanation with a nervous laugh and a gulp.
Superstripe paused. “Oh,” he said in a considerably lower voice. “Alright, but if anybody here is having trouble with a vermin threat, don’t be afraid to come to me.”
Edwin groaned. “Now he’s done it,” he whispered to Daniel.
Superstripe grinned. “Well, I don’t like to brag, friend, but you’re looking at the most powerful badgerlord Salamandastron, and indeed all of Mossflower, has ever known. Over my seasons and seasons of travels, I have fought in many wars, defended various strongholds, and won countless battles. Using my natural strength, speed, and adeptness with weapons, and combining them with powers drawn from sources too complex to even begin to explain, I have become able to overcome nearly any foe. You might say that there is no beast alive or dead who is as skilled in battling vermin as me!”
At another table, Slashdeath chortled through a sip of grog. Quickly swallowing, he reached for a piece of bread while speaking to a squirrel sitting nearby. “Harr harr! Unrealistic is right, huh? That story was th’ biggest load o’ hogwash I ever heard!” He took a bite of the bread nonchalantly.
Superstripe stopped his speech and turned to Slashdeath. “Hold on a minute,” Superstripe cried, “you’re a rat, aren’t you?”
Startled, Slashdeath spat the bread out of his mouth. “Uh, who, me? No, no! Definitely not! I-I’m just an ugly mouse! That’s all!” He grinned uneasily, showing two incomplete rows of sharp yellow teeth.
Superstripe growled. “Well, that’s good for you, because if you were a treacherous, dirty cutthroat, blending in with a crowd of honest, fine creatures…” Superstripe stood up and, pulling out his double-bladed sword, cut through the table illustratively. “I’d cut you down where you stand!” he finished. Afterwards he paused, and continued in a softer voice. “Unless you were a good honorable rat, whose defenseless parents had been killed by mice. If that was the case, then… well, some of my best friends are rats…”
Daniel had been annoyed by Superstripe ever since the badger walked through the doors, and he had been willing to endure it. But he drew the line at property damage. “I hope you’re willing to pay for that table, Mister Superstripe!” Daniel shouted from across the room.
Superstripe shrugged. “Sounds fair,” he responded. Then, with a wave of his hand, he caused a puff of smoke to appear next to Daniel. Inside the smoke was a bag of gold pieces equal to the cost of the table.
Everybeast in the Tavern, with the exception of Superstripe, Edwin, and Daniel (who were already used to this) gasped in astonishment. “That’s amazing!” Ives exclaimed. “How did you do that, Superstripe?”
“Now, now, my friend,” Superstripe responded calmly as he crossed his arms, “As I said, the source of my powers is so complicated that it would be impossible to explain it to an average beast.”
“I don’t get it,” replied Ives doubtfully. “You can’t even simplify the explanation enough to give us a basic idea of where your powers come from?”
Superstripe blinked. After a few seconds, he replied with a simple “no.”
Ives laughed incredulously. “But that’s ridiculous! Are you implying you don’t even have a basic knowledge of your power’s source? It’s just plain dumb!”
Without hesitation, Superstripe leapt towards Ives. Raising a powerful fist, he landed a blow on the mouse that sent him flying into a wall. Finally, Daniel found himself thinking, the badger did something sensible.
Superstripe’s eyes began to be clouded with red. “Does anybody else dare challenge the honor of Superstripe the Unrealistic? If so, step forward now, and meet your match!” Superstripe picked up his double bladed sword and let a cry of “EULALIAAA!!!” rip from his throat.
Edwin quickly rushed to Superstripe’s side. “Y’know, sah,” the hare said quickly, “We really shouldn’t waste any more time here! We’ve got t’ defend Redwall from that blasted ol’ dangers you had a hunch about, remember?”
Superstripe lowered his sword and sighed. “You’re right,” he admitted. “There’s no time to get in bar fights when we have bigger problems. Perhaps once this war-filled, vermin-ridden world of ours is made orderly, we will be able to afford such pleasantries, but for now, I must keep fighting. I must keep fighting for a future of happiness… for a future of peace. I must keep fighting for a world of bar fights.” A quizzical look ran across Superstripe’s face. “That didn’t come out right, did it?”
“Er, not really, sir,” Edwin answered honestly.
“No matter,” Superstripe replied. “Come, Edwin! Let us continue our journey!” He then proceeded to walk out of the Tavern doors, with Edwin following closely behind. For a long time afterwards, every creature in the Tavern could only stare after them disbelievingly.
Finally, Ives broke the silence as he stumbled back towards his seat. “Wow,” he exclaimed, “I’ve never been clocked by a badgerlord before! That was pretty exciting, wasn’t it, Daniel?”
The hedgehog simply rolled his eyes and replied, “oh, go to ellg.”
Redwall, Slagar, and all related properties (C) Brian Jacques and the Redwall Abbey Company. All rights reserved.