ART OF DECEPTION, concluded

From the death-cell confession of Kevya of Morvogrod -

I have no illusions that my statements here tonight will ever be known to the world at large. It is not just the nature of my crimes - killing not one, not two but three of your leaders, along with Minister Pryshenko and some of his guards - but the very fact that I was able to commit them at all. I can see in your faces - do not forget that I am a studious observer of personalities and their natures - I can see in your faces that what I have done has shaken your system to its very core. Even now, I suspect that my paintings are being taken down from every wall where they hang in Morvogrod, my sculptures removed from garden and hallway, my name removed from every place it may happen to be written. If these things are not happening as we speak, I am sure they soon will be. I've lived here long enough to know how things work in Morvogrod. I will be erased from your history far more thoroughly than Sasha Tomitky ever was.

But I am now an irrevocable part of your history, and nothing you can do will ever change that. And I feel that your attempts to do so will only hasten what I have already started. Even as I made my final preparations for ending Yurdurov's life, I could sense a change in the wind. More and more news of Redwall and Mossflower is reaching your closed society, in spite of your best efforts. And things go badly for you in Argochad, no matter how much you try to hide the fact. My kinsfolk there inflict greater losses upon you with each season that passes. Your occupation has turned us into fanatics, willing to die for our cause if we can take a few of you with us. The news of your soldiers' deaths reaches their families here, and there has been too much grieving to be kept secret any longer. Yurdurov and Pryshenko may have possessed the necessary talent for oppression and tyranny to keep things going as they were, but something tells me they were the last of a dying breed. Soon the voices of your citizens will rise up for the occupation of my homeland to cease, for your troops to be brought home to Morvogrod, and you will not be able to ignore their wishes. The time of great change is nearly upon you, and I fear you will find it most painful.

I might almost not have moved against Yurdurov, had it not been for the one dim ray of hope that I found shining in the Morvogrod court. Pryshenko will not now succeed Yurdurov, I have made sure of that. So who will? My guess is that Mikhail will fill that void. He is popular with the other functionaries, who see him as competent without being overly threatening. I have been watching him for some time now, and I have hopes that he will be able to resist the usual temptations of tyranny. I have only spoken with him a few times, but I detect a genuine concern for the folk of Morvogrod in him. He will not seek to ruthlessly oppress them, and he will not be content to allow his soldiers to keep dying in the fruitless morass of Argochad. He will change things, if he is not crushed by his own system first. What, will you rush out from here now and seek to stop him? You are powerful, but I think you overestimate even your own power if you imagine you can stop the change that is coming. If you make an enemy of Mikhail, you will be making an enemy of the people of Morvogrod, more than you can afford to, and then you may be faced with a bloody revolution instead of the bloodless one Mikhail promises. The choice is yours. Do you want to risk ending up like Pryshenko, only with your heads on stakes outside your own palace? Remember your last revolution, and remember it well. The citizens of Morvogrod can explode in most unpleasant ways if they are pushed too far. And they just might do exactly that, if you take away from them the promise that Mikhail holds. Yosef and Yurdurov and Pryshenko may have been able to terrorize them into submission, but all your leaders with such tyrannical talent are gone now. Terror will turn to disaster for you now ... and if you do not believe me, try it. My spirit will watch from the next world as you drown in your own blood.

You want to know where I get the courage and the strength to defy you, even now? Then go to my studio after you are finished with me, and you will find one of my last paintings leaning against the wall by the door. You will know it when you see it: a large, red-brick building, bathed in the warm sunshine of a summer I have never seen myself. It is Redwall, of course - your longtime ideological adversary, the place at the center of Mossflower which stands for peace and freedom as certainly as Morvograd has always stood for tyranny and oppression. I have never seen Redwall with my own eyes, any more than I ever got to shake paws with Sasha Tomitky, but I know both equally well. Just I have heard Sasha's music, and know his spirit through that, so I have spoken at length with creatures who have been to Redwall, and even lived there. I have shown the finished painting to beasts who have seen Redwall in person, and they have told me that I've captured its essence quite well. I will present that painting to you, since you have never succeeded in capturing Redwall in actuality, and this may be as close as you will ever come. I certainly will have no need for it anymore, once I am quietly executed. I know your temptation will be to destroy it outright, along perhaps with all of my works, but I suggest to you that that would be folly. Look upon my painting, and look hard, and you will see all that is lacking in Morvogrod, and why your citizens are so miserable. Give them sun instead of eternal night, give them plenty instead of constant want, give them freedom instead of tyranny, and perhaps you will never need to capture Redwall. You will have everything they have, right here.

That is my dream: a Morvogrod that is more like Redwall, an Argochad which is free from your occupation, and a future in which hope has replaced despair. This is not your dream, I know, because your power will be lost in such a world. But it is coming, whether you like it or not. At least, I hope and believe that it is coming. I have done my part. I will be rewarded for my efforts once I have left this world. And I will be watching from the next, to see whether my prognosis bears out. I am confident that it will.

I am ready to die. You may kill me now.

(Interrogator's Note: The prisoner remained silent and spoke not a word more after that.