Excerpt from the recordings of Redwall Abbey

Abbess Mimsie has ordered a day of feasting in honor of our guests. I could tell Lin and Oakfur, my mother and father, were delighted; they both love the delicious fare of the abbey and they don't get to enjoy it often. My older sister, Oaklin, remarked this morning that Redwall cooking is worth a kingdom. That may be true, but I hope she doesn't mean it seriously; she is the heir to the Foeseeker throne, after all!

My son and daughter have found a companion and cohort in my youngest sister, Ral (that's short for Ranguvar). She's a few seasons older than they but she is every bit as troublesome, energetic, and cheerful. In fact, I can hear some shouts outside right now; the terrible trio is probably up to something again. Vouron, my only brother, who's three seasons older than Ral and is my junior, has been spending most of his time in the kitchens. For a prince he's a rather good cook. Kareil and Melanda, her mother, have taken the day off to assist Meekayel – Melanda's husband and the head cook – with the preparations for the feast; that's why I'm doing the recording today. I'm lucky to have a wife who's as good in the culinary arts as in the literary ones.

I can see Kareil's grandfather and his friend, Doogy Plumm, through the window as I write. They're watching a couple of youngsters practicing with staves. Even though Redwall has no need of warriors at present, Tam insists on everybeast having some basic knowledge of weapons. "Ye never know when danger might come," he says. Doogy always backs him up; "Vermin have a way o' sneakin' up on ye unawares, ye ken."

Tam has taken it easy ever since he passed Martin's sword on to me. He's getting a bit stiff with age, but even though he now uses a walking stick he's still as hale and hearty as ever. Armel hasn't changed much from when I first met her; she never does. Both of them are still very important figures in Redwall, and the young ones – well, everybeast – looks to them for advice. While Armel isn't the official infirmary keeper anymore she still helps there quite often. Dilnrae and his wife, Anilrae, two healers formerly of Tarenta, have taken over her duties since Mimsie (Armel's former assistant) was made abbess six seasons ago.

Oh yes, we have other visitors besides the Foeseekers (who are now quite happy with their combined nation of Tarentians and the original Foeseekers). Lin's old ally, Gareth, has come here to visit and brought his family with him. His wife, Vittonae, has her paws full with their three youngsters. Nya is the only female and favors her father; the two little dogfoxes, Rath and Loq, both have the red fur of their mother. The three of them have joined the mob of Redwall dibbuns. They are quite charming and, like their parents, defy the usual vermin stereotype.

I think Gareth is enjoying this time away from his duties as leader. After the great battle some the vermin who'd survived decided to make a home for themselves, and a few knew of two uninhabited islands where they could settle. I've been there once; it's quite a remarkable place. There are two semicircular islands with a channel between them. Each island has a few little villages, primarily along the coasts, and quite a few farms. They lack good timber, so Tarenta, Volkendo, and the Twin Islands have formed a steady trading partnership. Gareth was looked to for leadership from the vermin due to his relationship with Groomyer, their former leader, and I'm told he accepted it with his usual quiet determination. That was my mother's words, not mine; I even born at the time. In fact, Mother and Father weren't even married.

I'm going to finish this and head off to assist with the tables in the orchard. The Foeseeker squirrels are busy there already. I'll leave you with this little poem my mother wrote. Fare thee well, and never forget that Redwall's doors are always open.

Every day there is a dawn
Every eve the stars burn bright
And every day we carry on
Down our paths of dark and light

The anonymal path is content
It lies in one small place, the home
Not for a leader is this meant
They walk the mountain ridge alone

I chose to take the rocky way
And forever the simple life I'll miss
Long and hard is every day
But nowhere else could I find such bliss

Be ye great or be ye small
Listen well and listen all
Follow true your given way
And in eternity you'll be someday

Silvan Foeseeker, Warrior of Redwall Abbey in Mossflower country

The End.

So, how was it? Please tell me. Remember, this is only the first draft; I'm going to go back and revise the beginning, cut and paste some stuff, edit, update, and tweak. So basically a total overhaul. I'd really appreciate it if you guys could tell me as much as you can about how you think the final version should be. What you did and didn't like, stuff that you'd like to see, ideas you have – anything, really. The story itself is staying the same, I'm just adding extra detail (such as more time with Gareth) and removing unnecessary stuff.

On the last chapter (not the Epilogue); I actually didn't originally intend for the story to end there. There were supposed to be about two more chapters with a lot of the information provided here in the Epilogue (Lin's family, fate of the Foeseekers/Tarentians, etc.). However, that ending sounded so good I decided to leave it and see what you all thought. (If it wasn't clear to you in the Epilogue: Lin and Oakfur married and had four children in this order; Oaklin (daughter), Fauro (son), Vouron (son), Ral (daughter). Fauro decided to live at Redwall and became the Abbey Champion. Melanda married a squirrel named Meekayel (there will be more information about him in the final version) and they had a daughter, Kareil. Kareil and Fauro married and at this point have two children whom I didn't name.)

Oh yeah, was the storytelling in the second-to-last chapter (not counting the Epilogue) okay? I was having fun with that format and decided to experiment. I can always change it later if it gets negative reviews, anyway.

Wow, this story took me almost three years. Wonder how long my book-I-want-to-publish will take?

God bless!