The Two Crowns, Silver and Gold

Year 1160: Fall 1
Memorial, Celebration, and Initiation
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Year 1160: Summer 4
Escape from Darkheather Vale
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Year 1160: Summer 3
Tales, Trails, and Traps Part 2
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Year 1160: Summer 2
Tales, Trails, and Traps Part 1
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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 gate’s guard to grant them passage. They are met by an armored mouse sentry who recognizes both of them and signals to the other mice within to open the gate. The mice hear 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 immediately delivers it to Gwendolyn the Matriarch of The Mouse Guard.

In the small, squat room of the gatehouse, the tenderpaws gawk at the few gate guards in their heavy shining armor and 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 to protect them. Morwyn grins and tells them that he will have to give them a tour another time, but they must head to the High Council of Mystics to present the Serpent Stone and their findings to his Uncle Tellus. All five mice exit the gatehouse and enter into the main hallway of Lockhaven.

Traversing their way through the main hallway to the uncle’s Library Study, the tenderpaws have their breath taken away by the great detail and intricate designs on many of the woven tapestries that line the hall. A few large ones depict an army of mice and an army of weasels fighting on a snowy winter landscape, and the young mice know from their history lessons that these represent the events of Winter War of 1149. Other artwork pieces on the walls display the fallen heroes of The Mouse Guard to honor and memorialize their sacrifices. Many of the living Guard mice also pass them along the way. Longing for Guard cloaks of their own, the tenderpaws regard them with reverence and talk about the many different 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 syllables of words and they open on their own. From the 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 a variety of books except for a third of the back wall which is taken up by the open fireplace that’s carved directly into the stone. Near the fireplace, they find an elderly grey mouse relaxing with an open book on a cushioned wooden chair, which looks as if it were chopped from a small tree with branches that just happened to grow themselves into the shape of a sitting chair. 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 all the other mice to take a seat around the fireplace and implores them to tell the details of this last mission. After all the mice are seated, the attendant comes back with a serving tray full of freshly baked gabcroons drizzled with sweet honey, which came straight from Lockhaven’s honeycombs. There’s also a 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 in 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 leave the Library Study. Dina begins her reporting while the tenderpaws eagerly eat. Tellus listens to every word and says nothing yet. 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 eat. After a while, the attendant comes back to gather the kitchen trays and cups and to clean up.

Ever curious, Tellus the Wise takes Morwyn’s staff which now holds the Serpent Stone in its apex. The orb remains inactive while the old-fur carefully examines it. Remembering the Mystic Scroll tucked into his belt pouch that he found from the stone’s pedestal beneath the Copperwood Outpost Armory, Morwyn hands this to his uncle with hopes that he will be able to decipher the ancient text without much trouble. Tellus squints at each glyph on the scroll and thinks that it may be written in the language of The Lost Ones. However, he informs them that it has been a long time since he has seen anything written in this language and will not be able to translate it without the codex book which is somewhere in this library. The old-fur describes what the cover looks like and tasks Morwyn and the three tenderpaws with locating the codex as he finishes inspecting the Serpent Stone.

Working as a team, the young mice each took a wall of shelves and started scouring each shelf for the book. Both Bundt and Darow notice something weird during their searches of the left-side wall. They thought they saw one of the books shift and move. They could also hear a mumbling growl for a brief moment which would then stop once they neared the source. Noticing a pattern, the two mice try and capture whatever it is that they seem to be chasing. They successfully corner it at the end of the shelf and inadvertently find the 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 glared 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 companion and guardian. 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 sniff 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 the old tome in his wrinkled paws and tells them that it is the Tome of Legends, which 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 the other mice.


Journey to Darkwater and Locate The Forgotten Tomb in Ghastly Garden Grove:

Conflict: Thorny Snapdragon and Ghost King Avidar

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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 was awoken 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 white 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 takes a small yellow trinket from his pouch and tells her that it will allow them to travel to their destination in an instant. He informs the rest of the mice to gather near him and throws and breaks the trinket at their feet. Afterwards, they all feel a significant jarring effect and see that they are now standing at the entrance gate to Lockhaven.

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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.

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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 death. 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.

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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 comes 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.

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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 and helped 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 the daily chores were completed, Bundt headed 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-delivered 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 was 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 that 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, which is 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 noticed Dalek had quickly switched his platter with Moka’s. As they were walking towards the 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 faked seizures to distract the judges and switched the pastries back during the commotion.

The judging began. Three gabcroons were chosen on specific qualities the judges preferred; Julia had chosen 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 recognized a Chocolate Stinger Scarab, which was an insect with a deadly sting strong enough to kill a full-grown snake. At that time, Primo ordered 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 continued to eat it with caution.

After the taste inspection was completed, the judges ordered all contestants out except for Bundt and Moka. They deliberated in hushed whispers while the two remaining contestants stood in the center of the room. Unanimously, the judges chose Bundt as the contest winner and congratulated him on becoming an apprentice in The Guard. Upset and almost in tears, Moka left the room and ran back to her home. Julia escorted Bundt to her office behind the bakery hall once all the other guards left. She explained to him that she and the other judges had 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 was running back with a letter from Julia in his hand to present to his mother. Misu read the letter ecstatically and let Bundt know that he had one day to prepare for his apprenticeship and to spend time with his family. When Carot came home, he took Bundt to his study and explained how happy he was for his son. Out of an old, wooden box, Carot pulled 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 accepted the knife with a big smile and headed to bed since it had been a long day and has yet to know that there are many more to follow.

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