Tales of the Guard

The Serpent of South Haven

When we came to Copperwood, they told us this tale: Long ago, a community grew in their town of mice who believed that it was wrong for the Mouse Guard to hunt the predators who feed on us. They left Copperwood to establish a town beyond the southern extent of the Scent Border, which they called South Haven. Some time later, news came that South Haven was besieged by a terrible snake, so a young hunter took Copperwood’s sacred horn and traveled south to free them from this tyranny. He was never heard from again.

And so we traveled south, beyond the Scent Border, to the isolated town of South Haven. We were met with hostility and suspicion. Since they had come so far to avoid the Guard, we offered to simply wait while they brought us the horn, but they refused. We heard about the sacrifices made to the serpent, and though the practice disgusted us all, I accepted that these mice had made their choice to live here in this way, and I had no right to force them to do differently.

We still needed the horn, though, and it belonged rightfully to Copperwood, not them, so we ventured into the serpent’s den ourselves in pursuit of the hunter. We found him there, dead, but not eaten by a snake. No, he lay atop an ancient set of snake bones, shot to death by arrows. The mayor followed in after us with his archers, intent on killing us as he had killed the hunter. The snake had died long ago, but the mayor continued to offer sacrifices to it, convinced that his town would continue only so long as the people continued to live in fear of the serpent. The mayor did not know, however, that a younger snake had moved into this burrow. He arrived at that moment, with the mayor and his archers between it and us. We rescued them and defeated the serpent. We took the horn and returned to South Haven, where we told the mice about the mayor’s sacrifices and the fate of the serpent. I will not tell the mice of South Haven how they must live, but neither will I let a few old mice rule over the others by using secrets to manipulate their fears. I have no right to force them to live how I say they should, but neither does some greyfur.

We have collected the Five Sacred Horns, a task they said we could never accomplish. We must act quickly now. We have seen how active Volker has been. He may be ready to march to war soon. Thousands of mouse lives hang in the balance. We must return to Ferndale, to the home I left behind years ago, to face the dark god that killed my mother and obliterated my home. We go to drive off the Destroyer of Ferndale.

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magodesky Jason

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