The Two Crowns, Silver and Gold

Year 1160: Fall 1
Memorial, Celebration, and Initiation
Year 1160: Summer 4
Escape from Darkheather Vale
Year 1160: Summer 3
Tales, Trails, and Traps Part 2
Year 1160: Summer 2
Tales, Trails, and Traps Part 1

Rest and Restock at Darkwater

With no further obstacles, Scout Squad Five return safely to Darkwater. Once there, they reclaim their riding hare mounts and restock their depleted supplies. The next morning, they set out on their journey back to Lockhaven.

Mission: Return the Silver Crown to Lockhaven

Scout Squad Five on their riding hares keep a swift pace on their way back to Lockhaven. Halfway through their journey, they are surprised and stop abruptly when they find an armored mouse lying in a pool of his own blood in the middle of the crossroad path, however. Bundt and Landon immediately jump down from their mounts to help the wounded mouse. He is barely able to breath beneath the heavy armor, so they try to quickly remove it. While helping to remove the armor, Landon recognizes many stab wounds from a sword. He can tell that the hits were struck between the armor’s weak spots and informs the group that only an agile, skilled swordsman could have landed these blows.

In between fits of coughing, the mouse says that his name is Marcus the Ironhide. He explains he was sent out to find and defeat the tiger-striped salamander that has been terrorizing Ironwood just south of the crossroad. By this point, the whole team is trying to help seal his wounds and stop the flow of blood. With his last words, Marcus the Ironhide begs the guard mice to uphold their promise to protect and destroy the menacing salamander. Trying to stay strong and not cry, Bundt holds they dying mouse close as Marcus the Ironhide takes his final breath.

Year 1160: Summer 1
A mysterious legend lost to time..

Destination Lockhaven:

Confused and slightly nauseated, the members of Scout Squad Five along with Morwyn now stand outside the gate entrance to the city of Lockhaven, home and headquarters of The Mouse Guard. The tenderpaws, Bundt, Darow, and Landon, stare in amazement at the city’s high, ivy-covered, stone walls; this is the first time that they’ve ever seen Lockhaven in person. Patrol Leader Dina and Morwyn immediately head to the grated gate and hail the guard to grant them passage. They are met by an armored mouse sentry who recognizes both of them and sends a hand signal to others guards within. The squad hears a metallic grinding noise as the heavy iron gate starts to ascend, and all are ushered into the gatehouse. Dina hands one of the messenger guards a rolled and sealed parchment, which contains her mission report, and asks that he deliver it immediately to Gwendolyn the Matriarch of The Mouse Guard.

In the small, squat room of the gatehouse, the tenderpaws gawk at the gate guards in their heavy shining armor with tall copper shields in paw. In Saint Louren, the Guard Post isn’t as heavily guarded nor do the guards there have such armor or shields for protection. Morwyn grins and tells them that he will have to give them a tour another time. For now, they must head to the Library Study to see his Uncle Tellus, a member of the High Council of Mystics. There they will present the Serpent Stone and their findings to him. All five mice exit the gatehouse and enter into the main hallway of Lockhaven.

Traversing their way through the main hallway, the great detail and intricate designs of the woven tapestries lining the hall takes the tenderpaws breath away. A few large scenes depict an army of mice and an army of weasels fighting on a snowy winter landscape. The young mice know from their history lessons that this is a rendition from the events of Winter War of 1149. Other artwork pieces on the walls display fallen heroes of The Mouse Guard to honor and memorialize their sacrifices. Several active serving guard mice also pass them along the way. Longing for Guard cloaks of their own, the tenderpaws regard them with reverence and then start to discuss the cloak colors that portray each mouse’s personality or spirit. They also make subtle hints to Dina at which color would best suit each of them once they are initiated as Guard mice.

Morwyn and the members of Scout Squad Five finally make it to the Library Study after a few more turns and straightaways. The entrance is tucked into a stone alcove off of the main hallway. Its two arched doors are made of a dark-brown oak wood and are adorned with many mystical symbols and lettering. Morwyn whispers a few indecipherable syllables and the doors open on their own. From the viewpoint in the hall outside, it looks somewhat small, but that is far from the truth once they step foot inside. Almost every wall in the Library Study is covered in bookshelves filled with several varieties of books except for a small portion of the back wall which is contains an open fireplace carved directly into the stone. Near the hearth, they find an elderly grey mouse reading a book while sitting on a cushioned chair. The chair looks as if it were once a small tree that had grown into this shape on its own. The old-fur mouse puts down his book, greets the newcomers, and introduces himself as Tellus the Wise.

Once the introductions are complete, Tellus orders one of his young mouse attendants to bring refreshments from Lockhaven’s kitchen for the weary travelers. The old-fur gestures for them all to take a seat around the fireplace and implores them to tell the details of this last mission. After all are seated, the attendant comes back with a serving tray full of freshly baked gabcroons, which were drizzled with the fabled sweet honey from Lockhaven’s honeycombs. There’s another kitchen servant following close behind with a set of cups and a clay pitcher filled with cool cider. As he notices the refreshments, Bundt’s eyes grow big with anticipation and a little drool can be seen sliding down the side of his furry cheek. The servants hand each mouse a gabcroon and a cup of cider then they exit the Library Study. Dina begins the reporting while the tenderpaws eagerly eat. Tellus listens to every word and says nothing. As usual, Bundt is the first mouse done with his food and drink. He then licks each finger on his paws and starts to pick the scraps out from his fur as the others are still eating. After Dina’s report is finished, the attendant comes back to clean up and gather the kitchen trays and cups.

Ever curious, Tellus the Wise takes Morwyn’s staff which holds the Serpent Stone in its apex. The orb remains inactive as the old-fur carefully examines it. Remembering the Mystic Scroll tucked into his belt pouch, Morwyn hands this to his uncle as well with hopes that he will be able to decipher the ancient text without too much trouble. Tellus squints at each glyph on the scroll and thinks that it may be written in the language of The Lost Ones if he recalls correctly. However, he says it has been ages since he’s seen this language and will not be able to translate it without a special codex book. The old-fur describes what the cover looks like and tasks Morwyn and the three tenderpaws with locating it while he further inspects the Serpent Stone.

Working as a team, the young mice each start searching opposite ends of wall of shelves for the book. Bundt and Darow take the left side wall, while Landon and Morwyn take the right. After a few moments, Bundt and Darow notice something weird during their search. They couldn’t believe what they say when one of the books seemed to shift and move. A mumbling growl could also be heard for a brief moment when they neared it. Noticing a pattern, the two mice try to capture whatever it was they seem to be chasing. Once they successfully cornered it at the end of the shelf, they inadvertently spotthe codex book. With quick reflexes, Bundt grabs it and finds himself face-to-face with a one-eyed, leathery creature poking its flat head out from inside the book’s pages. Its mumbled growls get louder, and its yellowish eye glares at him with a burning hatred. Scared for his life, Bundt decides not to open the book and runs it straight to Tellus who grabs the book from the mouse’s shaky paws.

Morwyn chuckles at Bundt’s antics but also tells him that he has nothing to fear. Then, Uncle Tellus introduces the tiny creature in the book as Fitzgigigit, his guardian companion. At the same time, it impishly winks its eye at Bundt. The old-fur mouse lightly pets the leathery creature on its flat head and unrolls the Mystic Scroll to show it to it. Fitzgigigit takes one brief look at it and quickly disappears from the codex book. Another growling mumble from the right side wall indicates where the odd thing ended up. Morwyn runs over and grabs a book that the creature is in now from the lowest shelf; it’s an old dusty tome that he then brings over to the group. Tellus the Wise takes it in his wrinkled paws and explains that it is the Tome of Legends. This ancient text contains tales that have been gathered over time from many sources within the Mouse Territories. He opens it to where Fitzgigigit resides and begins reading the Crown of Silver, Crown of Gold legend to them.

Journey to Darkwater:

Upon finishing the story, Uncle Tellus recalls that the ruins of Rosestone lie in the east near the water port city called Darkwater. He offers to translate the Mystic Scroll for them but will need a few hours. In the meantime, Dina heads to the Lockhaven’s mission control room to report a possible new mission status.

After consulting with Gwendolyn, the scout leader returns with new orders from the matriarch. Scout Squad Five will now be dispatched to Rosestone to search the ruins. Uncle Tellus finishes translating the Mystic Scroll, and he is only able to say that it will protect them when it’s most needed. Having used the last of Uncle Tellus’ emergency teleportation stones, Morwyn apologizes to Dina. She says there’s no need and states she’s been granted the use of riding hares from Lockhaven’s stables to travel to Darkwater. The team spends the rest of their time preparing for their next journey.

After six long days, Scout Squad Five uneventfully arrives at the visitor’s center of Darkwater and are greeted by a long-snout shrew named Devon. While questioning him about Rosestone and its location, they find out that the ruins have been renamed to Ghastly Garden Grove by the locals. This is in part due to the haunted spirit that resides there; folk lore says it is the long-dead ghost of King Avidar himself. Devon shows them its general location on their map and warns them of denizens of the swampy marshes that surround the place. Without further delay, the scouts head out.

The Tomb of the Corrupt King in Ghastly Garden Grove:

As Scout Squad Five reaches the outskirts of the swamp marshes of Ghastly Garden Grove, they notice the area is covered in a dense fog and stifling humidity. It almost feels as if it’s draining the life right out of them. All of a sudden, a determined Black Raven swoops down upon the scouts before they enter the swamp and is determined to make a quick meal of the mice. The team fought hard against the bird and drove it off; it decides that some berries are an easier target than these tough guard mice.

The overgrown vegetation and sticky marsh mud pose quite an obstacle for the team, but they persevere. Darow takes a moment to clean off his ax in the murky water but is immediately surprised by a big Bullfrog. Bundt had a sneaking suspicion about the water near Darow before the attack and had already readied an arrow in his new bow. His aim was strong and true; the arrow struck the Bullfrog right in its croaking throat before it was able to snap Darow up in its great maw. The creature died instantly. With a great cheer from his camarades, Bundt was celebrated for his courage! The team began declaring him “Bundt the Bullfrog Slayer”.

As evening turned to night, a darkness began to shroud the Ghastly Garden Grove. Scout Squad Five was on high alert now. Ever watchful Dina sensed something in the darkness stalking her team as they got closer to the ruins of Rosestone. A strange smell crept from somewhere in the distance; Landon, all too familiar with it, demanded the scout team start to make a run for it. They all ran toward the stony outcroppings just in the distance that were the damaged remnants of Rosestone’s city once formidable walls. All the scouts are now able to hear the mysterious creature chasing and closing in right behind them. The crescent moon shed little light to see by, but the mice’s nocturnal instincts kicked in. At last! They sighted the entrance to the tomb amidst some shattered, fallen pillars that were once part of a grand monument to King Avidar. The whole team entered just in time and quickly pushed the stone door of the tomb closed with all their combined might. A claw scratch against stone was the last thing they heard as the door slammed and sealed shut.

Conflict: Ghost King Avidar and the Thorny Snapdragon:

The tomb itself smelled of mold and mildew. Also, the stench of sulfur drifted in and out from the fetid swamp. A small spiral staircase led them down into the hallway preceding the mausoleum. The forest’s vegetation above grew rampantly over the years and caved in some of the stone ceiling and walls of the underground structure. Several sconces, now aged and broken, lined the tomb’s hallway with bits and pieces of them scattered about the floor. The scouts stood in awe before the partially opened door to King Avidar’s resting place. Inside they saw the scant moonlight shining down through a large break in the ceiling just above the king’s sarcophagus.

Morwyn, young and inquisitive as he is, went straight to the sarcophagus and began reading some of the inscriptions set in the stone. The others decided it best to open it to see if the king was buried with his Silver Crown or not. Upon opening the sarcophagus’ lid, a cold chill filled the room. Landon finds the Silver Crown still resting on the dead king’s skull. He picks it up, wraps it in a silken cloth, and places it safely in his backpack. All of a sudden, a blue spirit shimmered into existence; it was none other than the ghost of King Avidar! The malevolent spirit charged straight for Bundt with a hateful grimace on its transparent face. Recalling Uncle Tellus’ words, Bundt pulls out the Mystic Scroll, holds it in front of him, and closes his eyes fearing what’s to happen next. When the spirit tries to claw at Bundt’s chest, it shrieks in pain and winks out of existence instead. They all are able to relax after several minutes when they see it doesn’t return to harm them again.

Continuing with their mission, Bundt decides it best to help Morwyn to copy some of the scripture from the king’s coffin. Darow and Dina search their surroundings for anything of value beginning with the urns and other various offerings left in the mausoleum. They don’t find much but do notice a disturbing amount of assorted skeletons from different species of rodent-folk littering the floor. Not a moment sooner, a thorny plant-like creature known as a Thorny Snapdragon descends from the hole in the ceiling above. Its two menacing sprout heads snap at the nearest guard mice. Thick vine coils shoot forth from the plant’s base and slam against the door of the mausoleum shutting them in. Scout Squad Five decide to fight off the vicious creature and draw their weapons. Darow successfully chops one of the sprout heads right off and goes for the other, while Dina starts to hack at the thorny vine coils barricading the door. Not a moment sooner, a new sprout head pops forth from the main body of the plant. Morwyn tries his best to take one out but isn’t so lucky to land any hits. Landon with his long sword and Bundt with his bow and arrows team up against the large head of their common foe. After many coordinated attacks, they successfully destroy the Thorny Snapdragon. Its regenerated sprouts die off as well. Embedded deep in its roots, they find a weird book bound in leather. Master Chef Gusto’s Official Recipe book was printed on its front cover. No one other than Bundt would need or want this item, so he wraps it in cloth to keep it dry and packs it away in his satchel.

The scouts feel their exhaustion creeping in and need to rest for the remainder of the night. They choose to setup a safe camp in the hallway and fortify the two stone doors at each of its ends. Each one takes turns guarding the team as they sleep, still fearful of the mysterious creature that chased them earlier. In the morning, the scouts reluctantly open the tomb’s entrance door and make sure the mysterious creature was not about. They head straight back to Darkwater.

Year 1160: Spring 5
Serpents never sleep at night...

The Search for the Serpent Stone:

Scout Squad Five and Morwyn barely slept a wink the previous night for fear that Cyprus would come back for another try at a midnight snack. Despite the odds against them, they begin a search for the legendary Serpent Stone early that morning with their bellies full from a good breakfast. All six mice collaborate a plan to split up into groups of two’s and search each building of Copperwood Outpost. Bundt and Toryan search the Mess Hall, while Landon and Dina take the Guard Barracks. Darow and Morwyn are left with the Armory.

As Bundt and Scout Captain Toryan investigate the Mess Hall, they have to cover their sensitive mouse noses with cloth; the decaying smell seems to have gotten worse after just one day. A search of the empty dining area results in nothing. One step into the kitchen and both mouse are reeling and on the verge of vomiting but are able to gain back their resolve after a few seconds. Then, they begin sifting through the remains of fellow mice to find any clues about the Serpent Stone’s whereabouts. After a thorough inspection, they can take no more of the sights and smells and decide to leave the Mess Hall. With grim faces, Bundt and Toryan take a seat on the steps just before noontime to wait for any news from the others. Not too long after, they see Landon and Dina exit the Barracks with disheartened looks. Finally, they all decide to head over to see if Darow and Morwyn have found any clues in the Armory.

Upon entering the squat building, the four mice see a strange light coming from Morwyn’s staff. It’s not as bright as the result of last night’s strange invocation but is enough to lighten up the dark and windowless Armory room. Also, they find Darow behind an emptied weapon rack along the right wall. He is using one of the swords to pry at a hidden hatch in the wooden flooring. It takes all of the mice working together to get the heavy darkwood hatch open; the smell of mold and old dust floats up from the unused tunnel beneath the flooring. Each mouse drops down, one after the other, into the secret tunnel. With Darow in the lead and Scout Captain Toryan following close behind, the two mice search for any traps or tricks that may endanger the patrol. None are found even when they reach the end of the secret tunnel. The six mice file into a round anteroom and are confused by the strange knob-less door covered in exotic runes that now stands before them.

Morwyn is the first to take a look at the weird door and runes. He takes a small well-worn book from his small waist pouch and begins reading the runic lettering. He then tells the members of Scout Squad Five that he is certain that the legendary Serpent Stone is held within the chamber behind the door; however, he has no clue how to get the door open. Darow takes the initiative and inspects the door to find that it is trapped. He is able to successfully disable it nonetheless. In doing so, he triggers the door to open, and all six mice feel the ground tremble beneath their feet.

Within the hidden chamber, the wary mice look for any signs of enemies or other traps but find none. Centered in the room, they crowd around the small square pedestal adorned with more exotic runes. Atop the pedestal is none other than the Serpent Stone which is brightly glowing green. The only other objects in the square chamber are six odd sconces set into its walls. Nevertheless, the mice are very leery about touching the stone. Since it is his task to obtain the stone, Morwyn is the first mouse to grab it and tries to lift it from the pedestal—it doesn’t budge. Seeing that the stone doesn’t seem dangerous, the other mice try in pairs to lift the stone but are unsuccessful. Scout Captain Toryan gets an idea when he noticed that a few of the sconces along the wall lit up as the others touched the pedestal while pulling on the round orb. All six mice touch the pedestal at the same time; all of a sudden, the Serpent Stone lost its glow while the sconces are now glowing bright. Morwyn feels his wooden staff being drawn to the stone and uses it to lift it from the pedestal. They hear a crackling sound in the next instant and feel energy flowing through the pedestal. All light goes out from the sconces as the energy completely dissipates. Soon after, the mice are left in the darkness of the ancient chamber.

Conflict: Cyprus the Copperhead

Scared of what may lurk in the dark, the other mice ask Morwyn to use more of his mystical powers to create light from his staff again. However, he is unsuccessful for some reason; he suspects that the Serpent Stone may have something to do with it. Landon just happens to have some tinder and flint rock, while Darow crafts a makeshift torch from the supplies in his backpack. With a torch in hand, Landon safely navigates the patrol back through the secret tunnel and into the Armory’s weapon room.

Back above ground, all six mice discuss the patrol’s next plan. They are still faced with the dangerous Cyprus the Copperhead, who may strike at any moment. Always thinking about survival, Scout Captain Toryan decides that it’s best to remain at Copperwood Outpost instead of making their stand out in the surrounding forest area. The leaders then direct the tenderpaws and Morwyn to fortify the watch tower and gather any other supplies that can be found before nightfall. Just before sunset, Scout Squad Five and Morwyn complete their tasks to the best of their abilities; Darow begins the first guard shift this night.

Fatigue has taken its toll on all the mice. None of them have gotten much sleep the previous night due to the ever-vigilant snake. The mice not on watch fall asleep quickly and soundly. During the first two shifts, both Darow and Landon think they hear slithering sounds, but nothing happens. So, they attribute it to their sleep-deprived minds playing tricks on them. Bundt is woken up by Landon for the next shift. He remained watchful and on his guard for about the first few minutes. However, he falls asleep due to the abnormal quietness of the night while relaxing against the wood railing of the watch tower’s balcony.

A subtle but continuous pounding noise against the outer wall of Copperwood Outpost wakes Bundt and Morwyn in an instant. They both peer over the edge of the railing and notice the wooden posts of the guard wall shake and vibrate in the ground with every thud. Suddenly, there is an explosion of splintering wood, and chunks of log posts are hurled from across the training grounds into the Mess Hall building. Every mouse is now wide awake and staring wild-eyed over the railing’s edge into the darkness. They spot a scaly body mass and a spade-shaped head just within the breach of the wall. In a split-second, Cyprus the Copperhead slithers in and coils himself around the foot of the watch tower. The mice look on in terror as the rippling, muscular body of the snake constricts the wooden posts that make up the tower’s base; they hear crunching and splintering from below and feel the tower itself begin to wobble and shake. Scout Captain Toryan quickly knocks an arrow in his weathered bow and takes a shot at the snake, while Dina yells for the rest of the them to brace themselves. The arrow scores a hit in the snake but is not enough to deter Cyprus. As the captain readies another arrow, the barely injured snake now constricts with all his might and snaps all the log posts at the tower’s base bringing it toppling down with a resounding crash.

Even though they are dazed, Scout Squad Five and Morwyn are able to extract themselves from the debris and try to escape and hide in the fortified Armory building. Instead, they are blocked by Cyprus the Copperhead and his massive body. Now, they are forced to gather into a meager fighting formation and ready their weaponry for this near impossible conflict. The oppressive snake rears his head back preparing for a swift and deadly strike. In the meantime, Morwyn and Scout Captain Toryan, who are more towards the back of the formation, notice that the Serpent Stone has a bright, green glow again. In the blink of an eye, the copperhead snake strikes forward poisonous fangs bared directly at Bundt. Morwyn points the staff set with the gleaming orb in the face of the snake at the same time. A radiant green beam of light blinds Cyprus the Copperhead causing his strike attack to barely miss Bundt. Yet, one of the poisoned fangs was still able to scrape Bundt’s paw. The powerful orb also caused Morwyn to black out for a brief moment.

The copperhead snake quickly gains his sight back and makes his move towards Landon next. Normally level-headed, Landon is abruptly struck with fear at how swift the snake is and was not quick enough to maneuver away; the snake coils around the mouse and begins to crush the breath out of him. In response, Dina climbs atop the back of the beast and begins stabbing downward with her sword. Scout Captain Toryan knocks and shoots another arrow with his bow at the snake’s head, while Darow hacks at the snake’s side with his sharp axe. Cyprus is now angered and tries to strike out at Dina. Nonetheless, the female mouse has dealt with the likes of snakes before and swiftly dodges the attack. This distraction allows Landon the chance to get out of the snake’s grasp but causes Darow to drop his axe and fall down flat on his front. Finding Darow as an easier and tastier target, Cyprus stares into the wide eyes of the frightened mouse while rearing back for the next strike.

Quick as lightning, the snake’s attack is successful; however, Darow is shoved out of the way by Scout Captain Toryan who had dropped his bow and took the intended victim’s place. All the other mice, including Morwyn, watch in horror as Cyprus’s poisoned fangs dig deep into the captain’s body. As if in slow motion, the snake’s head then snaps back towards its scaly body and coils the mouse in a deadly embrace. Dina commands the young mice to retreat into the Armory and to hide in the secret passage beneath the building. Angered with rage at the loss of Scout Captain Toryan, Dina tries to save him and stabs at the snake’s sides with her sword, but Cyprus the Copperhead just tightens his body’s muscle and takes the hits, not willing to let this meal go. Finally, Dina finds her efforts futile and escapes into the safety of the Armory.

During her fit of anger, Dina did not realize that Bundt had gone unconscious during the conflict from the effects of the copperhead’s poison. Lucky for him, Darow and Landon were able to drag him into the Armory while they were escaping. For fear that Cyprus would try to come after the rest of them, the other mice hide in the small weapons room and barricade themselves in there. Next, they all collapse on the floor and a bleak mood overtakes all but Morwyn. Having no clue how to cure Bundt, Morwyn is determined to find out more about the Serpent Stone’s powers to see if it is possible to use it. He gets up and returns to the ancient chamber and inspect the orb’s pedestal further. He finds a tiny rolled-up scroll in a hidden compartment in the pedestal after much investigating; however, it is written in a language unknown to him and has a strange mystical feeling to it. Morwyn travels back to the others and shows them his find. None of the other mice are able to read the scroll either, so he puts it into his pouch for safe keeping.

After much contemplation, Morwyn decides to use the Serpent Stone on Bundt any ways. He moves the orb closer to the poisoned mouse and realizes that the orb changed from its usual green glow to a blood red hue. Then, he touches the stone against the scrape on Bundt’s paw and thinks that he feels a mystical power working to remove the poison from his body. The other mice are a little frightened and awestruck by the strange powers of the Serpent Stone but are hopeful that Bundt will be saved.

The next morning, Bundt rose early with faint hints of dizziness in his head. He wakes up the rest of the mice who tell him the details of the battle and the grim news of Scout Captain Toryan’s sacrifice. After a meager breakfast of gabcroons and berry juice, Scout Squad Five remove the barricade from the doorway of the weapons room and stealthily check outside the Armory to see if Cyprus the Copperhead is around; there is no sign of the snake except for the deep gouges left in the ground from its body during the battle. Bundt does find Scout Captain Toryan’s bow beneath some debris and intends to keep it in honor of the captain. A little jittery and frazzled from the past few days occurrences, the patrol decides that they want to leave Copperwood Outpost immediately. Morwyn convinces Dina to travel to Lockhaven to report their findings directly to Gwendolyn and also The High Council of Mystics. At first she is not willing to travel so far after all this, but Morwyn explains he has a way to get them all there in an instant. After explaining his reluctance to use it the other day without sufficient power, the novice mystic takes a small yellow trinket from his pouch. He informs the rest of the mice to gather near him, and then he throws the trinket which breaks at their feet. Afterwards, they all feel a significant jarring effect and see that they are now standing at the entrance gate to Lockhaven.

Year 1160: Spring 4
Outside Copperwood Northeast Outpost

First Mission: Find Any Survivors at Copperwood Outpost

Scout Squad Five starts their next day scouting the outside of Copperwood Outpost. Captain Toryan thinks it may have been deserted for several days; no sounds or signs of life. With Dina in the lead, the team takes the path leading to the back of the outpost. She explains that there is a secret rear entrance that she discovered while serving here in her earlier days in The Guard.

The squad reaches the hidden entrance and finds out that the locking mechanism is rusted and has not been used for several seasons. Using his mechanical ingenuity, Darow tries to get the mechanism to unlock but is unsuccessful. Bundt has a great idea and smothers berry juice over the inside. Darow tries to unlock it again and is able to trigger the secret entrance to open.

Each of the team members takes their respectful scouting positions, and Dina peeks inside the entrance. She notices no sign of any mice or other living beings at this time. Next, she leads them to the Armory to investigate there. The Armory has no windows, so they must stealthily head to the front entrance. As they reach the door, the squad is hit by an awful dead and musky smell emanating from within. Once the door is pushed open, they see a pair of dead silver-stripe weasels in heavy armor heaped on the floor. Bundt takes a look at the armor and discovers a detailed insignia—an ouroboros around a spider web with a shiny orb in the center. Captain Toryan picks a rolled parchment off one of the weasels. He translates the orders: Destroy the outpost and find the orb at all costs.

Bundt, Landon, and Dina inspect the Barracks next while Darow and Captain Toryan finish checking the Armory. The three mice find another dead silver-stripe weasel within the Barracks, but no living enemies. However, they are appalled to find several of the Guardmice slain in their beds. Neither tenderpaw can stand to see dead mice or the decaying smell; they leave the Barracks to get sick. Dina finishes the inspection and figures out that the outpost was raided at night.

Finally, the whole team meets up in the training yard in the center of Copperwood Outpost and moves to inspect the Mess Hall. Inside the main seating area, they find no mice or dead weasels. Upon entering the kitchen, a macabre scene frightens and disgusts them all. On the dish preparation table, the master chef mouse was carved up and made into the main dish on a silver platter. In the huge baking oven, there are charred bits of clothing, a few crispy limbs sticking out, and a terrible burnt stench permeating the kitchen. It’s as if the poor baker mouse had been shoved recklessly into the oven and baked at the hottest temperature. All five mice, especially Bundt, are severely affected by this and leave the Mess Hall.

Outside the hall, the leaders try to formulate a plan but can only resort to having the tenderpaws look for survivors and useful items. Bundt and Darow decide to take a look in the high watchtower and climb the ladder up. At the top, they find a peculiar mouse holding a wooden staff staring back at them.

A strange, young mouse named Morwyn…

Morwyn is a light grey mouse with a strange black birthmark on his right eye. He looks about the same age as the tenderpaws but seems very strange. Bundt and Darow introduce themselves. The rest of the team meets them at the top of the watchtower. The lone survivor warns them all of a great beast that prowls at nightfall. He also persuades them to gather any necessary supplies and make shelter up here tonight. The tenderpaws set off mid to late afternoon to complete their tasks while the leaders speak with Morwyn alone.

Captain Toryan and Dina listen to the strange mouse’s tale and learn that he has been on a mission the last year in search for the lost Serpent Stone. He has currently been at Copperwood Outpost for two days after the weasel raid. Meanwhile, the tenderpaws work together to find some edible foods and useful gear in order to survive the night. Darow devises a rope pulley to make hauling the heavy load up the watchtower easier. By the time they finish, they make dinner enough for all and make preparations in case they’re attacked. Shortly after nightfall, Scout Squad Five and the lone survivor hear a slight slithering sound. Morwyn quietly warns of The Great Cyprus the Copperhead but also tells them not to worry and winks his eye.

The copperhead decides to make his grand appearance later in the night to see how many tasty morsels are now in the watchtower. As he peeks his scaly head in, Scout Squad Five stands with weapons at the ready, but Morwyn blasts him with a telekinetic light spell and knocks him clear back. Blinded and confused, the snake slithers back off to whatever hole he came from.

The next morning, all mice are present and accounted for albeit somewhat perturbed about the events that occurred the previous night. Bundt makes a berry jam and gabcroon breakfast for everyone. After they eat, Morwyn explains that he was sent here by his Uncle Tellus because he believes the ancient orb is here. Scout Squad Five with the lone survivor in tow start seeking for the Serpent Stone in Copperwood Outpost.

Year 1160: Spring 3
Official Scout Training

Scout Field Training Exercise

Scout Squad Five, commanded by Dina, heads out on a three day field training exercise to the lands surrounding Saint Louren to learn to survive out in the wild as a team.

On their first day/night out, they are taught how to build a shelter, how to start a fire, and how to keep watch. Bundt and Landon still do not work as teammates, but Bundt is determined to become his friend. He learns that Landon’s mother used to cook a Sweet Seed Stew for him all the time and heads off to harvest some missing ingredients. He successfully makes the Sweet Seed Stew almost to Landon’s mother’s standards, and Landon actually sheds a tear while eating it in remembrance of her. The second and third days/nights are spent honing the same survival skills except now Dina has incorporated Scouting skills into their training. After their field training is over, they pack everything back up and head to Saint Louren Guard Post. Dina finds a mission order from Gwendolyn the Matriarch herself. She consults with Captain Toryan to get approval for her tenderpaws in Scout Squad Five to go. He approves on the condition that he acts as Captain on this mission.

First Mission Orders from Gwendolyn at Lockhaven

Gwendolyn’s first mission order for Scout Squad Five is to travel to Copperwood Outpost northeast of Copperwood. There have been no reports in 3 days from the guard post and rumors of an attack by weasel raiders. The squad is to bring back any survivors that they find for questioning and to avoid detection if weasels should still be in that area.

Scout Squad Five traveled three days to Copperwood Outpost and had a few obstacles due to rain and winds. Nearing dusk on the third day, they made camp in a copse of bushes in order to scout a good view of the guard post from a distance. The three tenderpaws kept guard that night with Dina starting the first shift though. During Darow’s watch, he thought he heard a slithering noise and woke up Toryan. They both inspect outside the copse but find nothing.

Bundt began his watch after and accidentally wakes Landon too early because he heard a crunching noise. Both wander off to investigate. As they scout in the bush across from their previous position, they are attacked by a Silk Spider. Landon cuts one of its legs off during the battle. The Silk Spider is injured and decides to escape as two mice are too much for it to handle; it abandons its current web. At sunrise, Dina tracked them down and scolded them for wandering off without notifying her. She advised them to get back to their position, tend to their wounds, and pack up camp as they will be heading towards Copperwood Outpost soon.

Year 1160: Spring 2
First Few Weeks...

Apprentice in The Guard

Bundt’s first day as an apprentice is spent learning the lifestyle and duties of The Guard. He has been specifically selected to enhance his knowledge and skills as a Baker/Cook under the tutelage of Julia, who is the Master Chef at Saint Louren Guard Post.

Two weeks later, he was accustomed to life in the Dining Facility and had also received several commendations on his cooking and baking skills. Although Bundt was content with staying at the Dining Facility, he would find out later that his leaders had more planned for such a skilled mouse. During a review, the leaders found that his grandfather, Capo, was a renown Scout. Bundt was then transferred to Scout Squad Five to see if he had inherited his grandfather’s skills in scouting.

Patrol Leader Dina welcomed her new recruit that next day and explained his duties. She took him to the training area and introduced him to Landon and Darow, the other members of Scout Squad Five. Excited to meet new mice and make friends, Bundt comes off as too eager and over friendly towards Landon, but he impressed Darow quickly. Landon sees him as unskilled and does not believe that he should be in their squad.

Later on that same day, Moka came to visit Landon, but Bundt thought she was there to see him. The young male mice have an argument over her. Landon wins and takes her out on a date. That night, Bundt has a dream in which he challenges Landon to a fencing duel and then wins. The next day, Bundt talks with Dina and learns that Landon’s parents are dead, which may be the reason why he acts the way he does. Bundt continues his training within Scout Squad Five until the Field Training Exercise.

Year 1160: Spring 1
Joining the Mouse Guard

The Apprenticeship

It was a beautiful, sunny spring day that brought a sliver of hope to a tiny mouse with a huge destiny in the Mouse Guard.

Waking to the sweet aromas of baked breads and puffy pastries, Bundt got up bright and early to help his mother, Misu, with the daily chores within the bustling Le Grande Surprise bakery. Carot, Bundt’s father, was already out planting grain in the fields outside of the city of Saint Louren.

After completing the daily chores, Bundt heads out to the store front to take care of all the customer’s orders and delivery pick ups and drop offs with his little sister, Cina. About mid-morning, a courier from Saint Louren Guard Post hand-delivers a message addressed to Misu. It was a contest flyer from Julia, the Master Chef of Saint Louren and Misu’s long-time friend. In order to win, the contestants were to bake the best gabcroon, a dense bread filled with seeds, fruits, and nuts; they are a staple travel ration within The Guard. The winner would become an apprentice under Julia within the Mouse Guard. Bundt is determined with all his heart to win.

On the day of the contest, Misu gives Bundt a small satchel of her family’s secret spices—cinnamon, sugar, and crystal honey—to ensure his victory. While walking to the guard post, Bundt meets up with Moka. Spoiled and self-centered, she brags that her parents, who are the owners of Les Petits Gateaux bakery, have taught her the best gabcroon recipe, and she is going to win the contest because she is beautiful. Meanwhile, Bundt’s rival, Dalek, is lurking in the shadows and following them to the guard post. His parents are the owners of El Pan Negro, known for its signature black breads.

Out of all the contestants, Bundt, Moka, and Dalek were the major competition and held the attention of the three judges: Master Chef Julia, Guard Captain Primo, and Scout Squad Five leader Dina. Once the time was up, the contestants were ordered to bring their gabcroon to the judging table for visual and taste inspection. While Bundt was putting the final touches on his pastry with some sprinkling of his secret ingredient, he notices Dalek quickly switch his own platter with Moka’s. As they were walking towards the judge’s table, he thought he saw a slight twitching movement of something inside the pastry that Moka was now carrying. In order to protect her, Bundt fakes seizures to distract the judges and switches the pastries back during the whole commotion.

The judging begins. Three gabcroons were chosen on specific qualities the judges preferred; Julia chose Bundt’s, Dina chose Moka’s, and Primo chose Dalek’s. Guard Captain Primo was just about to dig his fork into the flaky pastry when Dina stabbed her hunting knife into the gabcroon to kill whatever had been moving inside it. Upon inspection, she recognizes a Chocolate Stinger Scarab, which was an insect with a deadly sting strong enough to kill a full-grown snake. Primo orders the guards to arrest Dalek and put him in detention for a possible assassination attempt. The scout leader let the captain know that the insect, once dead, is a chocolate delicacy in southern regions of the world, so he continues to eat it but with caution.

After the taste inspection, the judges order all contestants out except for Bundt and Moka. They deliberate in hushed whispers while the two remaining contestants stand in the center of the room. Unanimously, the judges choose Bundt as the contest winner and congratulate him. He has won an apprenticeship in The Mouse Guard! Upset and almost in tears, Moka leaves the room and runs back to home. Julia escortes Bundt to her office behind the bakery hall once all the other guards leave. She explains to him that she and the other judges figured out his ruse with switching the gabcroons after Dalek was arrested. Not only were his baking skills excellent, but also his compassionate quality had lead them to choose him as the winner.

On his way home, Bundt ran full speed with a letter from Julia in his hand to present to his mother. Misu read the letter ecstatically and let Bundt know how proud she was of him. She also read that he has only one day to prepare for his apprenticeship and to spend time with his family while he can. When Carot came home, he took Bundt to his study and explains how happy he is for his son. Out of an old, wooden box, Carot pulls out a knife that was handed down to him from his father. He tells Bundt of the stories of Capo, who was a legendary scout in The Guard. Bundt accepts the knife with a big smile and heads to bed since it had been a long day and has yet to know that there are many more of them to follow.


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