Sunday, 15 July 2012

Finn's Almanac - Early Spring 1153

Weather: Calm/Spring Rain
Wind: Faint Westerly Breeze
Sky: Cloudy Gibbous Moon
Spring comes in with adders' heads and goes out with pheasants' tails.

...After a long yet comfortable stay here in Lockhaven this bitter winter, it warms my heart to hear that spring has finally arrived and Gwendolyn has begun assigning orders to patrols. Though I do not regret having spent the cold season here in the headquarters of the Mouse Guard, I lack skill in one of the common trades to feel useful throughout my tenure here during the long, dark months. Menial tasks such as organizing post and pouring over the old maps I know by heart did little to relieve the monotony. How I longed to be out in the wilds again.

But I shall dwell upon that no longer now at last the season has begun to turn fair and Gwendolyn has tasked myself and another guardmouse by the name of Kole a simple but vital mission. We are to carry a load of correspondence from Lockhaven to it's recipients in the settlement of Darkwater and help the micefolk in any task they require the Guards' assistance on. Upon hearing our destination was one of the major port towns of the north sea, I, (perhaps too eagerly) made request upon the condition that the mice of Darkwater had any needs fulfilled, I may set sail for Port Sumac with the intention to see my kin. Gwendolyn was quite generous to accept my impromptu proposal, though I am now admonishing myself for stepping out of place making such a postulation to our leader. The prospect of seeing my family so soon coupled with anticipation of setting forth from Lockhaven overwhelmed my better judgement, so I am to make doubly sure the folk of Darkwater are secure and content before I set paw upon a boat to Port Sumac. I've allowed myself a this brief period to write this journal entry before I pack my gear: Walking staff, Paper, Ink, Quills, Scrollcase, Pipe, and my Bow and a dozen arrows.  

...My companion and I left Lockhaven in good weather; clear, though with a slight chill. Reading these signs for fair travelling, we departed swiftly. Kole is an interesting, though not practical mouse. Although I packed lightly for our journey, Kole seems to have decided to carry with him the contents of his workshoppe. Aside from wearing a shirt of armour and bearing a great shield along with a spear, he has insisted on toting a collection of smithy and mining tools! His impedimenta has left me to carry the sack of post, which does not hinder me at all; in fact I'm forced to slow my pace so he can keep up with me. This delay I fear caused us to be caught in a heavy downpour after a third of our journey. We have just crossed a brook swollen by the rain, and are now settling in for the night in a small root grotto. I hope our luck or the weather changes for the better soon, as I don't wish to continue this lumbering pace in the rain.

...The weather chose not to change for the better until we had just reached outskirts of Darkwater, perhaps this means our luck is to improve as well? Kole and myself are exhausted after our slogging trek. We've dropped off the mail and have checked into the guard post where I'm making this note. Apparently a local down-harvester by the name of Skelly has been missing for several days, and we're about to talk with his wife Agwene and then meet with the mayor and his sons to search for the lost mouse. As much I as wish to rest, duty calls.

...After some concerning developments, Kole and I discovered what became of the harvester. Our search party arrived at the pond where the missing mouse frequently gathered down from geese nests upon a small islet. The owners of the nests were currently frequenting the far side of the pond, so we left the locals to wait at the shore as we traveled to the islet using one of two boats and a series of wooden piles to the far bank. Upon landing, we began to scour the islet for evidence to the lost mouse's whereabouts and came across not only his tracks and those of the resident geese, but a pair belonging to a member of the
Mustelidae. We were quick to guess a weasel, though I do not rule out mink given the aquatic terrain they are known to frequently to habit. Together the tracks revealed to us their story: When the waterfowl briefly departed their nests, Skelly approached to gather fallen feathers and down. He then apparently became aware of the mustelid's approach from the west, fleeing eastward. The mustelid then raided the nests, and soon after left the direction it came. The mouse appeared to drop his sack of down before attempting to hide in the shallow waters of the pond. 

Whilst Kole and I investigated the shore for signs of the harvester, we were beset by a large and hungry bullfrog that emerged from the waters. Fearing our quarry fell to the predations of this batrachian glutton, we quickly decided we must affirm this foul notion and met the eager bullfrog in combat. To his great merit, Kole skilfully wielded his shield, deflecting the lunging attacks from our foe, as I manoeuvred for position and send volley after volley at it. After a tiring battle, we emerged victorious over the bullfrog, Kole landing the killing blow using a knife found already stuck-fast in the beast's rugose hide. This knife, as our suspicions were later confirmed, belonged to the late Skelly we sought, and further evidence of his untimely demise were made evident as we gutted the beast to inspect it's most recent meals. Such a horrible end for a mouse, surely nature is cruel as it is generous to us.

Angered and further exhausted from the fight and the days previous, we returned with the remainder of our search party to Darkwater, breaking the tragic news to his wife Agwene and to the rest of town. Writing this account has alleviated my anger somewhat at this unfortunate situation, though am still troubled and do not know if I will easily gain the respite my body craves tonight. The mustlid tracks have made us wary, and we have issued warning to the micefolk of the town to avoid venturing out in that direction.

-Finn, Patrol Leader of the Mouse Guard

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