There are sections in Redwall where the course of the entire story (and fate of the Abbey) hinges on one moment in time. While usually our heroes make the right choice or are successful in these moments, one wonders what could've happened if things went a bit differently. There's a few of these moments that come to mind, but for this post I'd like to pick one from Mattimeo for a little fun speculation.

What if Log-a-log and the shrews were too late in their discovery of the cave-in that trapped Matthias and company?

In the story, Matthias and his fellow Redwallers were tricked by Slagar into rushing into a cave, where the crafty fox sealed them inside via a rock slide. As the air dwindles down, only Matthias is conscious enough to try and burrow out (with a little help from the Spirit of Martin). As he digs, Log-a-log and the shrews stumble on the scene, and are able to rescue the trapped beasts just in time before they suffocated.

But what if they were late in their arrival? How would Mattimeo's story changed from this one crucial moment?

We know the events at the Abbey with Ironbeak wouldn't change, since this didn't have any bearing on that plot, but it has significant ramifications for the Matthias/Mattimeo/Slagar story.

If Log-a-log was late, most, if not all of Matthias' allies would've passed away due to the lack of air. Matthias might've been able to rescue himself from death, but most likely Orlando, Basil, and the others wouldn't have made it.

Now, without the full force of Matthias' allies, would Mattimeo and the other young beasts be able to escape their fate in Malkariss? Mattimeo and the other young abbey beasts would've led a revolt in Malkariss, but with a greater loss of life among the slaves. There wouldn't be as many survivors, but at this point of the book, Mattimeo could've put up a good amount of resistance to Slagar and the rats of Malkariss. If Matthias survived his ordeal, I think he'd make his way to Malkariss and still put an end to Slagar, but I could also see Mattimeo getting his revenge on Slagar.

What do you think?