RMCA Fiction:
The Mouse Knight II: Squibble's Story

Cutter Hays

The Great War
Day 3

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)
Today in the middle of the day, when most of us were resting, the enemy burrowed under our lines. They dug all the way beneath the river. It must have taken them from the beginning or before to accomplish it, but they succeeded. They swarmed us from four points inside our camp, and cost us nearly five thousand mice. It goes poorly for us. We retaliated harshly, with heavy artillery and bowfire, but the rest of them retreated back beyond their lines by the river. It was frustrating to be taken unawares like green soldiers. The enemy has created no small amount of hate in our men, but this, my father says, is also a tactic of his. Hate is his domain. He can use it to control us if he becomes powerful enough.

That night we took our vengeance as the supply wagon returned, bearing food, water, a gift for me from Vulcan and ... demolitions. It appears Squibble's agent Clyde is not entirely insane. He builds magnificent bombs. We sent several small cohorts over the river in cover of night with scents hidden by smoke. They placed the bombs and came back, trailing long lines of waterproof fuse over our bridges. We then rallied for an attack, and the enemy came forward to meet us, as always. The fuses were lit.

I would like to have seen the face of our opponent (for the very first time) as he watched his puppets go up in flashes of light. My father raised his sword high and commanded his troops to stay their places when the explosions rocked the ground. Except for his divine radiance and awesome charisma, they would have fled the bright lights and loud crashes; instead they saw massive numbers of the enemy blown sky high. It was grand for the morale.

As soon as the explosions died out, before the dust settled, we were on them. We charged across the river and took the fight to their side for the first time; it was glorious. Though they have no fear and would not retreat, we slew countless thousands before we sounded our own recall horns without losing even a single company. The monsters could not advance as my father lit the way with his torch of valiant steel.

We have taken flesh for flesh - pound for pound. We have cost them. Let the dark mouse chew on that!

Thus goes the fight. Back and forth, with the enemy showing no sign of weakening. Indeed, of himself, no sign at all. We have built forts and towers from which to shoot at their numbers. We have sent the caravan back with order for more arrows and bows, swords and shields, among other things. I understand the gun they sent has only one shot.

I am certainly saving it.

We are busy supplying the front line. We build and rebuild weapons, armor, shields, arrows, bows, and machines of war. We send them medical supplies for their medics. Heide goes into town for these and others, returning each day with a carload full of gear. This is all we do, day and night. Help the front line. While it makes everyone else feel as if they are doing something useful, it makes me feel pathetic. These thousand crack troops are basically my babysitters, and I resent it deeply. They would make an enormous difference on the battlefield, where they belong. I cannot possibly be so important. The very notion is absurd. This is not what I asked for. I said great hero, not delicate messiah. But they will not bend. So we work, and send the caravans back again and again.

Finally the enemy has unleashed some of the heavier forces. Snakes have come across the river on all sides of us and wreaked havoc in our camp. Just as we rode to and fro, relieving them of their heads, the air assault began.

Hundreds of thousands of insects, many of them barely empty husks, came flying at us from the dark skies. Most of the soldiers do not have armor strong enough to protect them. While we fought this new attack, the enemy charged and barreled into our camp. We were fighting for our lives against three fronts. My father's singing sword severed all it touched, but it could not be everywhere at once. Archers fired shot upon shot, and failed to make a dent in the swarm above us. We rallied together and fought from the center in a gigantic circle. A bad position to be in, but we had no choice. We fought like that for hours. The insects have no poison, though they have stingers. It takes many to them to kill a single mouse, and many more against a mouse in armor. It takes a thousand or more to bring down a rat, and the heavy cavalry are virtually invulnerable. Still, our numbers trickled away, and we had nowhere to retreat to.

My father slew the last of the snakes as we heard the noise. It was different than that of the undead insects, whose wings fluttered a bit too slowly. This new noise was louder. Angrier. It was vengeance upon the wind.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

It was the bees.

Coming to our aid en mass, they fell upon the swarm from Hell and slammed into them full force. My father shouted to them, telling them not to use their precious stingers, for then they would die, and be of no use to anyone. Still, they fell upon insect and undead alike, and drove the enemy back enough that we could regroup and harry them across the river once more. The enemy recalled his insects and the bees retreated to a nearby oak grove. Their Queen alighted in front of me and my father to tell us that their aid was but a horn call away. They had brought all they could: ten thousand bees. All the hives that had survived the drought.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

My father graciously thanked them and they departed. We set about to repair camp. We have lost another five thousand troops. We shall take revenge within the hour, but where is this getting us? From the earth, more zombies rise to meet us each time.

(Copyright 2006 Cutter Hays)

The Great War: Day 4