Hey there Mouseketeers, so I am reading through Mouse Guard that I picked up recently and even though I never heard of Burning Wheel or Mouse Guard before I have fallen in love. In fact I like it so much I wrote a tale that can lead to interesting adventures or just flavor of background to the world. It is sorta a “where did we come from?” tale that has a touch of an old tale we all know.
I hope you enjoy. (Sorry it is a little long.)
The Tale of Gilliana and Magfilious
We all know of the tale of Gilliana, the first matriarch, and the creation of Lockhaven and its Mouse Guard. But what of the time before, the time of the Books?
Many years ago there was a time that Micehood lived only as Prey in fear of the world around him. In that time the Mother, Green One, was not the only God that the Mice spoke of. There were many other Gods that did not care about or notice us mice that wondered through their creation and realm. It was a hard time of fear and the time for the unjust. It was a time that the Mice were ignored and allowed to be nothing more than the Prey for the world.
It is said that during that time there was a God that looked upon the Mice and took notice. Today it is told by the Tale of Gilliana that it was the Mother, The Green One, that first noticed and had intervened in the fate of Mice. But it was another. Lucida, The Shaper.
Lucida, also called the Mischievous, was a God that had no hate in his heart and he loved to wonder, guided by his curiosity, and had a bad habit of interfering with the world for the sake of experiment. This did not please the other Gods, but they ignored him most of the time because he did nothing to harm the world.
It was then many years before even Gilliana was blessed that Lucida took noticed of a Mouse. It was then that he did something no other God did previously; he felt pity for us.
Under the shadows of the trees there was a mother mouse that ran with her child as a fox played with its food. It batted around the mother as she held and protected the child knowing there was no hope for herself and her young son. The names of the mice were never remembered and their fate was the same as all mice before them. Yet something different had happened then that had not happened before, a white crow perched above and watched as this mother could do nothing to spare herself or her child from this fate, and it felt.
The White Crow is known as Lucida’s favorite form to take when in the world of mortals and it was he who watched and thought why do the Mice always have to be nothing more than food for the rest? So he devised a plan, unseen by the other Gods to give the Mice an upper hand against their fate.
He wrote Five Books, known as the Books of Mischief, and sent them down to the world as gifts to five different Mice, which were given by five crows. In these books contained the knowledge of fire, metal work, stone masonry, and agriculture. But hidden in these books underneath the other words were the words of power known as magic.
As we all know the Weasel kind also took knowledge of these things from us by cruel ways because they were jealous we did not always flee from them and found ways to protect ourselves. But this is another story.
These books were indestructible, whenever a flood, fire, or violent actions were taken against these books they would be destroyed but then that night the books would be found again as they were before. And ones with anger in their heart could never possess these books.
It is also true that even though any Mouse could read the knowledge of mortals only a very select few could read the words beneath the words. And in these Mice a power would grow and they learned to shape and change reality to their will. These Mice were to become the leaders of small groups of mice, but as the will of The Mischievous is unpredictable some of these Mice would wonder off and live in seclusion contemplating the world.
Things changed for Mousehood as we learned to tame nature to protect ourselves and we had a few champions to who were masters of reality that we could hide behind for protection. But we were still uncivilized and most still lived as Prey for the world when not around a book possessor.
Then another God who’s name we do not know, did something cruel, had tainted the Books of Mischief so that those who were cruel at heart could possess them.
Power hungry Mice then hunted for these books to benefit themselves alone, and after several cruel owners possessed and tortured much of the creatures and reality around them the Many Gods then took notice. And they were not pleased.
Some of the Gods wanted to punish all of Mousekind for stepping above our place in the world, and they most surely would have. Then one Mouse, a possessor of a book, swore an oath to secure the books and allow no other mouse to possess the power reserved for Gods. This Mouse’s name was Magfilious.
Magfilious was no saint before this oath, he too was power hungry in his youth and used the Books’ powers to hold power over others. But then one day a White Crow came to visit him.
Though this great Mouse possessed a Book of Mischief he did not know this crow for who he was. It is said that the two had a conversation of the meaning of power and its consequences when the crow had Magfilious ride upon his back as he showed him the lives of those he ruled over.
This became known as the Flight of Sorrow, and Magfilious did something he had never done before; he cried.
After the flight Lucida reveled who he was and told him the history of the Books of Mischief and admitted it was his greatest mistake. It was then and there that Magfilious swore the oath and was given the responsibility to make right the world once more.
Magfilious battled the other book owners in fierce battles and one by one he collected the Five. Then upon the request of the Gods he was asked to never rule over any Mouse or Creature, otherwise the punishment of the God’s would be swift. But one Goddess spoke up then and said that he may guide and help Mousekind find a natural way for the Mice to live not in fear of the world. This Goddess had seen Lucida’s grief of good intentions gone wrong, and she too felt the pity he had felt so many years before.
So it happened that the mice were spared and Magfilious took the role of a watcher over the Mice. And he did for many generations, but the Mice were once again living in dangerous time, for there was no Mouse Guard or great habitats for us to live in or book possesors to rule and protect us. We lived much like we lived before the Books despite our knowledge of metal, fire, stone and other worldly things. And we forgot the time of the Books.
Many years pasted and the time of darkness laid upon the Mice once again and The Mother knew the Watcher Magfilious could not protect Mousehood and keep his oath to the Gods. So she devised a plan.
Many of her creatures that she loved and watched had found ways to protect themselves by gathering in communities to protect one another in groups. She decided that the Mice needed a leader once more but it could not be an owner of a Book, so she went to Magfilious with an offer. If he would find and teach a Mouse to be a true leader and band us together he would be released from his immortal role as protector of the Books. To this he accepted.
After many years of searching he found his way into a clearing where a young female was weeping over a spot he knew a predator had just been. Her Mother and Father had become food for Weasels and she was only spared when a murder of crows came down and drove them off. The Old Mouse knew the sign of Lucida and knew this is the Mouse blessed by The Green One.
So he took her in to his hole in an old oak and raised her. He never told her who he was for the several years it took her to blossom in to an adult but he taught her the power of words and sword. He showed her how a civilization would bring protection and give Mousehood a chance to raise above. And so she became wise and charismatic. This was the young life of Gilliana and the kind old mouse that saved her from her grief.
Gilliana gathered together the Mice in a story all of us know, the story of Lockhaven and the Mouse Guard.
After Lockhaven was created Magfilious knew his task had come to an end. So he gathered the Books of Mischief from their hiding spots and went to a clearing where many crows circled. And High in a branch a White Crow perched watching with joy in its eye as the Old Magfilious laid out the books upon the ground and smiled as the crows swooped down and snatched up the books one by one.
Then when all but the White One had flown off Magfilious said goodbye to the only Mouse to learn of this tale. It was I, Berwynn, Scribe of the Spruce Tree, who watched as he collapsed to the ground with a smile and a sigh of relief. And I watched as the White Crow flew down and lifted the Old One gently in his grasp and flew into the sun where I could see them no more.
Now we Mice are in charge of our own destiny. Whether the dream of Lockhaven comes to flourish is to be seen, but it is true that none of this would have happened if it weren’t for a curious crow and a mouse that found redemption.