Grain Shipment: Spring 1152

Editorial Note: T. is a good friend of mine and guest columnist here at the Chaos Grenade. He’s also the one who donated the web space for this site, and amongst his many talents and practices is a gamer, a writer and an artist. He continues his series looking at his experiences with the Mouse Guard role playing game.

It is the first thaw of Spring, and the Guard is at its busiest.  Patrols are out trying to catch up on the neglected tasks that can not be done during the winter.  Gwendolynn, the Matriarch of the Guard, summons the patrol to her planning room.  Apparently near the end of the winter, a rush shipment of grain was supposed to get into the port of Calgero, but this grain had never made it.  They were to make it to Calgero and find out what happened to the grain.

scoutSo the journey begins, the paths to Calgero are not thawed  yet, as it is one of the further north cities in the territories. The Tenderpaw, Tarvis, was allowed to do some of the scouting, but between the loss of trail marks, the desolate wasteland of the snow banks, the patrol had lost its way.  They peered their heads above the drifts, and really seeing nothing more than the snow itself.  A light rumble strikes below the patrol’s feet, and as they turn, they witness an avalanche of snow coming straight towards them.

Tristam pulls his shield putting it in between the snow and himself, then grabs Tarvis, keeping a death grip on him.  While braced, Tristram can not keep up with the wall of snow, it presses against his shield and knocks the feet from out of under them.  Thankfully, Tristam and Tarvis manage to get on top of the shield, using it as a makeshift sled.   Cale fairs a bit better in the initial avalanche, bracing his spear into the hard packed snow, he and Taryn are kept upright as the avalanche engulfs them.  Tarvis swings his hook and line, and manages to get his hook to sink into the bark of a close by tree.  Tristam goes over to the edge of the shield, and looks for his other two patrol members.  By this time, the hard packed snow holding the spear gives way, and Taryn and Cale are getting swept away.  Cale thrusts his spear upward, and is seen by the mice on the shield.  Tarvis ties the end of the line onto the shield as Tristam sinks his arm down into the snow, grabbing Cale’s spear.  Taryn slides further away, but at least finds Cale’s tail, and holds onto dear life as the white oblivion surrounds her.

leaf_iconAnother great snow wall comes at our guard, and it bucks the shield and mice high into the air.  All manage to keep their death grips on and as they slam into the snow, there are no more submerged mice  in the snow.  Cale and Taryn manage to get up and get grips onto the side of the shield, and the patrol just hangs onto the shield turned sled for dear life, bouncing and letting the rolling snow go underneath them.  The snow fall eventually dies down, and they have a clear snow path leading right to Calgero.  The four mice pull themselves up the line, manage to get the hook out of the bark, then start riding the shield down the snow bank towards Calgero.  Halfway down, the mice hit another bump, flinging Cale and Taryn off the shield.  Tristam and Tarvis slalom into town without an issue, followed by two large snowballs hitting the town walls and revealing Cale and Taryn.

At this point, the mice decide to rest up in the in, Cale immediately gets some medicinal tea and rests.  Taryn maintains she is not sick, and tries to ignore her sniffles.  Eventually she is persuaded to take some medicine, but she does so extremely grudgingly.  Tristam orders up a beer, and then the patrol heads up for a decent nights rest.

The next morning, Cale is almost in top shape, however Taryn is still extremely sick, but will still go on.  Over breakfast at the inn, Cale tries to find out any information about the grain shipment, but is met with people just mad about the fact the grain never came like it should, and no clue about what happened to it.  So the patrol decides they should go investigate the docks.  They find nothing at the docks themselves, but farther up the coast, a few remnants of the crates of grain, surrounded by some crab tracks.  The follow the tracks to a hovel, and inside boxes of grain, stacked up neatly inside the hovel.  There is some damage to the boxes done by the crab claws, but the patrol suspects further fowl play at hand and decide to stay in watch at the hovel.  Taryn and Cale set up a defense inside the hovel, while Tristam and and Tarvis go out and climb into a tree, watching for any signs.  Mid afternoon, Tarvis and Tristam see coming through the snow banks, mice peering and when they get to a clearing, about 20-30 mice are counted.  These mice are coming direct towards the hovel, the two haul their bodies as quickly as they can, get Taryn and Cale out of the hovel, and take them nearby to a rocky crag they saw while in the tree.

They watch, as the small army of mice surround the hovel, a few go into it, take a few boxes, and then they march off.  The patrol breathes a sigh of relief as the arm did not notice them, but from further back in the crag, a screech is heard.  The patrol has went into a crab den, and the crab is none too happy about it.  The crab starts striking at the mice, trying to get them out.  Tristam stumbles, and the other mice are pushed back by the claws.  The is no real room to maneuver and the mice do not want to harm this crab.  Eventually the mice manage to escape the burrow, and the crab does not pursue.

From here, the patrol goes back to the inn to discuss what they had found, and to relax and rest up, for the next couple of weeks may be extremely interesting.