Mouseguard: Fifth Patrol

Entry 8: 1154, Heart of Winter
Weathering the Storm; The First Axe; Garrow's Sacrifice

Through the Winter, Byron stayed as a “guest” of Lockhaven, and after consultation with the Matriarch agreed to submit to the laws of the territories. As a consequence, his starving city was now under the protection of Lockhaven, which agreed to open its stores for Walnutpeck’s emergency relief. Based on their close involvement with the events of the city, most of the fifth patrol volunteered to escort this shipment, along with the new “mayor of Walnutpeck.”

The patrol was on their best form, and successfully navigated the hardships of the winter weather. Misfortune struck, however, in the form of an encounter with the wild mouse Gamilion and his band, which saw the patrol as intruding on their scarce shelter. Their cooperation was unhappily forced by the spotting of a nearby wolverine, which seemed to have caught their scent.

The patrol dug down as far into the snow as they could, huddled together with the wild mice, and dared not to make a sound. Byron discovered that one of the wild mice was Midnight—leader of the Midnight Rebellion and the First Axe—who had apparently survived beyond the scent border by falling in with Gamilion’s band. Neither side dared act on this though, for fear of rousing the wolverine.

Unfortunately, the wolverine attacked anyways, forcing the mice to evacuate. Garrow ran out alone to draw the creature’s attention, while the wild mice and the rest of the patrol ran their separate ways. Garrow successfully stalled the creature to let the rest of his patrol reach safety, incapacitating the wolverine at the cost of his own horrific mangling—the loss of his left arm, and mortal wounding. Finn successfully saved Garrow’s life, and Walnutpeck’s suffering was lifted by the successful delivery.

Entry 7: 1154, Heart of Fall
Captured; The Second Axe; Smoke and Violence

After a grueling year, the fifth patrol was given an early reprieve on return to Lockhaven to recover from their losses in the fox war. However, Gwendolyn confided to Rowan that a message has arrived from Walnutpeck, attempting to ransom Kenly’s life in exchange for food and medicine for the winter. After long consideration, the matriarch determined that she was not content to leave Kenly in certain peril as a prisoner of the Walnutpeck mice, and requested that the fifth patrol attempt to rescue him from the city.

Thorn and Rowan attempted to infiltrate the city through a series of tunnels which connected Walnutpeck to the Darkheather and enabled the city’s original fall during the Winter War—however, the Walnutpeck mice vigorously patrolled these tunnels, and the two of them were captured and discovered. They were taken before the leader of Walnutpeck—Byron, a mouse styling himself as the Second Axe—who locked the two of them away alongside the starving Kenly. Rowan managed to conceal the fact that there were two other members of his patrol, however, allowing Finn and Garrow to make a rescue attempt.

Garrow and the tenderpaw decided to fill the Walnutpeck tunnels with burning leaves, using the smoke as cover to access the city covertly. They managed to sneak through the tunnels while the guards were distracted with the fire (fearing a weasel attack), and were able to locate the stocks where the guardmice were being held. However, the guard was being actively interrogated by Byron when the two arrived, resulting in a fight. Finn bested Byron and was about to kill him when the Walnutpeck mice surrendered, agreeing to come with the patrol as prisoners.

Once back in mouse territory, Rowan explained that they now had to release Byron, as the law of the territories prevented the guard from interfering in the cities. However, the captain successfully manipulated their captive into following them to Lockhaven of his own free will, in order to plead to rejoin the territories instead of attempting to extort from them.

Entry 6: 1154, Late Summer
Her cloak is lost; Finn is eaten; witnesses to betrayal

After the disaster of the fox’s death, the surviving patrol quickly formed a plan to rescue the wounded. They determined that there was a river nearby which would block the spread of the blaze, but the creek had run dry due to a blockade of some kind earlier in the year. The fifth patrol was assigned to remove the block and set the river flowing again, while other patrols formed dirt walls, scythed away grasses, and moved the wounded.

The patrol followed the dry creek upstream to near the mouth of the river, where they discovered that a decrepit beaver dam was slowing the river’s flow to a trickle. The dam was in very poor state, and removing a few key supports would release the river entirely; however, the still pond was now a breeding ground for bullfrogs, and the tepid waters were writhing with spawn.

Finn volunteered for the dangerous job of breaking the dam’s supports, while Clove and Garrow watched for approaching frogs to ward them away from Finn as he worked. They missed a bullfrog which had ensconced itself inside of the dam already, however, leaving Finn and Rowan to fend for themselves. The bullfrog successfully seized and halfway swallowed Finn, but the dam burst before it could drown, sweeping the tenderpaw away in the debris.

Rowan refused to give up on Finn however, and the patrol followed the debris down the river, trusting the rest of the guard to successfully escort the wounded. The patrol manage to recover Finn before anything worse than what he had already suffered befell him, finding him attempting to return to the guard and complete the rescue.

Due to the success of this coordinated effort, the survivors of the battle were dragged free of the blaze, and the fire was contained from spreading further into the mouse territories. However, Rowan’s first student Kenly was spotted being lead away from the battlefield as a prisoner of the Walnutpeck mice.

Entry 5: 1154, Late Summer
Marching to war; The flaming behemoth; a world on fire

Late into the summer, Thorn returned from his scouting mission to track the movements of a female fox which had slipped past the scent border. The fifth patrol was to reinforce a united attack from the militiamen of the three westernmost cities, headed under the generalship of Guard Captain Folker. The army’s objective was to kill the fox, or drive it from the territories.

Because the fifth patrol was already positioned at Elmoss, they were charged with recruiting military support from Elmoss for the attack. Following the disaster of the Fever, Elmoss was notably cagey and reluctant to support a united assault, arguing that each city must stand on their own. Garrow in particular openly derided this way of thinking, but Rowan was able to negotiate Elmoss into providing its contribution. The army rallied in Elmoss, then traced the fox to its lair.

In the battle plan, the mice took up defensive positions in the upper boughs of a nearby tree near the fox’s den, then blocked the entrance to the fox burrow with scattered debris. The debris was then ignited by siege weaponry and the smoke was used to drive the fox from its burrow. However, the beast emerged from a secondary, hidden entrance and rushed the army’s formations. It was killed in the assault, but not before injuring several dozen mice and destroying the sprucetuck siege weapons, sparking a fire which consumed the tree the army had fortified. The mouseguard, with the fifth patrol among them, rescued as many of the survivors as they could, but the spreading blaze threatened to overtake the wounded faster than they could be dragged to safety.

Entry 4: 1154, Early Summer
A bloody beauty; brotherly love; the musfire fever

After the harrowing experience of the previous mission, the fifth patrol was given a simple assignment to help with their recovery: manage recruitment for the mouseguard at the Musfire games in Elmoss, escorting travelers along the way. This was particularly problematic for Finn, who had run away from home to join the guard and left on bad terms with his family. Additionally, Garrow discovered that the merchant Ivy was one of the travelers he was charged with protecting, and there was no love lost between the two.

On the road to the city, the caravan encountered a wandering skunk which was attracted to the food the merchants were escorting. Although Rowan attempted to defuse the conflict to prevent the grain from becoming contaminated by the skunk’s musk, Garrow attacked the creature to draw it away from the rest of the caravan. Although the skunk was successfully driven off, Ivy was injured in the conflict, marring her award-winning beauty.

At the games, Finn attempted to keep a low profile, but wound up registering for the games in an effort to impress his mentor. As a result, his family learned of his return, and he was drawn into a passionate argument with his brother Connor very near to the recruiting booth. He was able to control his temper well enough that the recruitment efforts were not very well disrupted, although the two failed to overcome their differences.

On the second day of the games, the patrol discovered that one of the foreign mice had brought a sickness with them to the games—an epidemic that was later called the Musfire Fever. The patrol worked tirelessly with the city’s doctors to tend to the sick and control the spread of the infection, successfully containing the disease before it became a raging pandemic. However, the city of Elmoss was ravaged as a consequence, and would not soon recover from their losses.

Entry 3: 1154, Late Spring
The edge of the world; An outsider army; A broken axle

In late spring, the fifth patrol was selected to join the team overseeing the re-pouring of the scent border along the western border of the territories. Their mission was to complete the lower third of the boundary, separating the city of Sprucetuck from the fallen town of Walnutpeck.

Almost immediately, the mission took a turn for the worst. Cold, heavy rain bombarded the patrol for nearly the entirety of the mission, and the patrol veered far off-course (due in part to Thorn’s map being completely ruined). While scaling a rain-slicked slope, the patrol lost control of the cart, sending it careening into the ravine and splitting the axle to render it unmovable. Several of the patrol were injured in the fall; Finn the tenderpaw was later injured while attempting to complete repairs, embarrassing himself in front of his mentor.

The patrol chose to take a day to recoup their losses and recover their morale, but the heavy rain turned to a powerful storm, robbing the deep-eared Thorn of any rest and the danger of their site stealing away any potential sleep. Now losing time and behind their timetable, the patrol chose to push onwards through the storm, culminating in a lightning flash felling a nearby tree and indirectly leading to a flash flood. The patrol successfully floated the scent cart through the storm, despite Garrow nearly drowning to keep it pushed above the tide.

After finally reaching their checkpoint, the fifth patrol was ambushed by a strange group of young mice, claiming to to come from the fallen city of Walnutpeck. They demanded the scent carts to protect their currently unshielded city, and threatened violence to get their way. Rowan and Finn successfully negotiated them down to half of what they wanted, and the two sides left peacefully.

Entry 2: 1154, Heart of Spring
A rescue in the depths; A cornered rat; A leader's guilt

Shortly after returning to Lockhaven, the fifth patrol was mobilized for an emergency mission. Captain Tryndall—one of Rowan’s former tenderpaws, noted for his occasional rashness—had failed to report, and Gwendolyn feared for the worst. The mission was to locate Captain Tryndall’s missing patrol and determine their fate.

Captain Rowan was able to successfully track Tryndall’s movements from his last known location, tracing him to the city of Copperwood, where he had apparently stalked a small band of weasels to the city’s famous mines. The patrol was greeted with relief by the workmen, as one of the primary mine shafts had been damaged in the preceding day, sealing the weasels (and Tryndall’s patrol) inside. The fifth patrol volunteered to descend down an adjacent mine shaft to rescue the guard mice and drive out the predators.

After searching through the dark, the patrol encountered a heavily wounded weasel captain, who was half-delirious and slowly dying from a poisonous wound. The weasel informed the patrol that Tryndall’s patrol was still alive (as his band had planned to use them as food), but trapped, and would not survive unless the patrol could recover them quickly. In exchange for medical treatment, the weasel revealed the patrol’s location, then escaped into the depths of the mine when Garrow attempted to double-cross it.

Following the weasel’s directions, Rowan located the delirious captain Tryndall and his surviving patrol members and saw that his wounds were treated. Garrow tracked down the escaping weasel captain and killed him just as he escaped the mines, and Clove located the source of the poisonous bites: a bloated, gangrenous wolf spider. Fearing her odds against it, Clove chose not to kill the spider, and the patrol escorted Tryndall’s wounded team to safety.

Entry 1: 1154, Early Spring
A village besieged; Murder of Crows

The fifth patrol, headed by captain Rowan, was reformed for the coming Spring. Their first mission was to re-establish contact with the village of Sandstone, which the territories have had no contact with since the preceding Fall. To this end, the patrol was to escort and oversee a mass supply trade between Lockhaven and Sandstone, then safely return with the village’s signature glass-work.

On arriving, however, the patrol discovered that Sandstone was under siege from a murder of crows which had taken roost in the heights of a nearby tree, and had been pillaging the city to steal their crafts-work. After rallying the mice of Sandstone, the patrol agreed to help them drive off the crows.

Using the Lockhaven supplies as a decoy, the patrol set a trap for the crows which prevented them from taking flight, successfully killing or mortally wounding most of them. They then tracked the survivors back to their roost and successfully destroyed their nests, recovering the glass-work and liberating the village.


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