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I have discovered more and more that the one of the most argued things about the Redwall universe is whether or not Veil Sixclaw is a "good guy" or a "bad guy." He definitely showed a lot of bad traits, but in the end most people agree that he became good, because he saved Bryony's life. But that is basing an entire character off of one deed. To really show what "side" Veil was on, we should look at his entire life.
He was the son of the warlord Swartt Sixclaw. While this is not always true, it remains an undeniable fact that a lot of children take after their parents. In my opinion, Swartt Sixclaw was the most evil and savage warlord ever to appear in the Redwall series.
When Redwallers first found him, he bit them. That shows that he was vicsious. This is one trait that the larger part of the evil characters in Redwall have in common.
His name, Veil, is an anagram of the word "evil." Wow. Here's this ferretbabe who is named "Evil." A bit of foreshadowing, that.
He steals, and then lies about it. We all do things like that at some point in time, but I get the impression that Veil did it often.
He tried to murder Bunfold, simply because the friar always blamed him. That is a bad reason for murder, and usually portrays an evil character.
Bryony was always covering up for him and giving him second chances. That wouldn't help his good side much.
He swore vengeance on the Redwallers for a well-merited punishment. That speaks for itself.
When he got help from Ole Hoffy and his grandchildren, he robbed tham and attacked Ole Hoffy. That speaks for itself.
When he learned that Bryony and Togget were following him, even though he must have known they had good intentions, he attacked Togget and stole their food. That speaks for itself.
When he caught up with the foxes who had attacked him, he killed them without warning. Doubtless, they deserved it, but I am led to believe that Veil killed them out of spite and revenge instead of the desire to rid the world of an evil.
When he learned that Bryony and Togget were still following, he tried to kill them. Another bad excuse for murder.
Finally, we come to the event that makes most believe that he was good in the end: Jumping between his father and Bryony just in time to take the spear that was meant for her. Does this action officially make Veil a "good guy?" Let's look at this scene in more detail.
Sunflash the Mace is captured, and Veil and his father are by the fire, arguing heatedly. Neither of them notice Bryony creeping toward Sunflash until the latter coughs when she pours a drink down his throat. Swartt then grabs the mousemaid with intentions to harm her, but Veil attacks him.
It is important to note that Veil was not very impressed with his father, and that Bryony was the only creature who had ever loved him at all. Veil may have taken this action only to hinder his father.
Veil and Swartt get in a fight, but instead of running, as Veil told her to, Bryony continues her attempt to rescue Sunflash. Swartt sees this, and with no intentions to let the badger escape, he throws a spear at her. Veil leaps between Bryony and the spear and takes it himself.
Again, I present the argument that Veil did it just to bother his father. Some of you may be thinking, "But would a truly evil creature really give his life to annoy someone?" The answer is no, but we must take into account what Bryony later said about Veil: "I ... wonder if he would have saved me if he knew his father was really going to throw that javelin." (Outcast of Redwall, Chapter 48, paragraph 4) That's a good question. Did Veil doubt that his father would throw the javelin if he saw his son between him and his target? Maybe. Of course, that points out that Veil believed his father had at least a little affection for him. Assuming that that vile being could have affection of any sort showed that Veil either was completely unversed in the ways of good vs. evil or had some good in him. I prefer to lean toward the latter, but that little good proves nothing.
My very last argument is Veil's last words. While not really evil, they showed little repentance or love. "Go...back to your Abbey...shouldn't 'ave followed me...Go 'way...let me sleep!" (The Ouctast of Redwall, Chapter 44, paragraph 33) It could be argued that Veil said, "Shouldn't 'ave followed me..." because he did not wish for Bryony to be in the danger she had met. But in that case he should have said so. "Too dangerous," wouldn't have been that hard. But the next statement completely drowns this belief for me. Go 'way!? Well that's nice! If Veil had truly been good, he would have been gentler.
In the end, I believe that Veil was, for the most part, evil. Had he lived, he may have become good, learned the ways of Redwall from Bryony, and maybe in time be accepted into the Abbey again. But unfortunately he did not live, and there is no repentance after death, at least none that counts in life. Sadly, Veil was robbed of the chance to be good. He was, and remains, evil.