Changing of the Guard
Forming the Mouse Guard
In the not too distant past, mice lived in tiny tree hollows, under logs, in stone cracks and other wayward, forgotten places. They lived scattered across the wild without community or support. They were hunted by predators, subject to harsh weather, and had few supplies to sustain them in the face of calamity. In fact, these mice were far more likely to perish from depredation, exposure, illness or starvation than live a long, prosperous life.
Against the overwhelming forces of nature, a few disparate groups made a stand. They staked a claim on a handful of safe patches of wilderness. As word of these safe havens traveled, other mice flocked to them. The most famous settlement grew quickly from a hiding place to an outpost to a fortification and finally to a citadel—fortified walls surrounding a prosperous town, defended by a dedicated guard. This place is now called Lockhaven, and it is the center of what is known as the Mouse Territories.
As Lockhaven became more and more secure, its guardians reached out to other settlements. At first, the Lockhavenites tried to bring everyone they found back to the safety of their city. Many came, but many also would not. Other communities, perhaps less safe but still prosperous, had formed in the wild. They were reluctant to leave what they had begun, despite their precarious position. There was a debate within the ranks of Lockhaven’s guardians. What to do about these other settlements? Should they be forcibly moved? Should they be abandoned? In the end, the guardians decided there was only one true answer: Lockhaven must use her strength to defend and support these communities. All mice must prosper or all mice will fail.
Therefore, these guardians struck out to the distant settlements, marking paths and noting which directions gave them more cover, better viewpoints and quicker routes. These brave, selfless mice quickly became known as the Mouse Guard. As their numbers grew and their protection was extended and came to be relied upon, the far-flung settlements did indeed prosper.
Lockhaven itself changed as well. It became less of a bustling city and more of a central hub for the Guard. Eventually, the Guard took over the administration of the citadel completely.
The first mouse to organize the defense of Lockhaven was female. Thereafter, it has remained tradition that the Guard be commanded by a female mouse given the rank of Matriarch.