Guineawick hasn’t seen a non-mouse in generations, so when a wounded rabbit warrior is found outside of town, Hester knows there’s more to his story than he’s letting on.
“Pawsgaard: A Guineawick Tale by Jon Thysell” is a short fantasy story written for older children, and introduces the principal characters of the Guineawick Tales series. It occurs chronologically before the novel “Hester and the Kookaburra King”.
The crowd quieted to whispers. A tall black mouse wearing a bright teal sash approached, and was let to pass the Guard’s barricade. He strode straight up to the gurney and leaned in over the brownish green mass. The mayor-regent pursed his lips and raised his grey-tuft eyebrow.
“Captain Essl,” he said. “Report, if you please.” The grey-fur offered a sharp salute.
“It’s a rabbit, sir, and he’s hurt pretty bad. We found him-” Two high-pitched voices interrupted him.
“Hey, you didn’t find him, we did!” Then two little boys, one black, one grey, ran out from behind the gurney. “Dad, he was laying down by Hodge River-”
“Zach? Toby? What were you two doing-” However the mayor-regent was interrupted himself by Rizo, who had finally made her way through the crowd and barricade.
“Argile, what’s going on?” Rizo ran to her husband’s side, then, seeing their sons, hunched down to their level, poking and prodding at their fur. “Are you alright, were you hurt? What were you two doing by the river? Where was your sister?”
Everyone turned to Hester, but her eyes were fixed upon the gurney. It wasn’t possible. Her parents tried to get her attention, but she walked right past them. The figure was covered in a massive green and brown cloak, which rose and fell with hoarse, ragged breaths. Hester’s heart pounded in her ears.
She reached up a single paw and pulled off the cover.
The townsmice gasped: the rabbit was at least eight times as large as Hamma. He wore magnificent plates of metal armor, though it was dented and tarnished all over. A Guardmouse stood nearby, carrying the broken remains of a spear and a large metal helmet with a smashed crest.
“It’s a real rabbit,” Hester whispered. But it was more than that. She stared at the unconscious body, and her heart beat ever faster. For under the stains of dirt and grass and blood, the rabbit’s fur was as white as snow.
As white as her very own.
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The story “Pawsgaard”, was originally in 2009 as a submission to my creative writing group. Since then it went through several revisions, mostly to codify itself as the start of the Guineawick Tales canon, in preparation for the forthcoming novel “Hester and the Kookaburra King”.
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© 2009-2012 Jon Thysell. Some Rights Reserved.
Pawsgaard: A Guineawick Tale by Jon Thysell is licensed under a
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