The Archer Mice of Middle-earth

by Varda


The Taking of Mousegiliath


Pipsqueak entered the great hall of Mouse Tirith and timorously scuttled across the wide tiled floor to the throne of the Steward of Gondrodent, Denemouse.

Pipsqueak was wearing armour given to him by Faramouse, son in disfavour of Denemouse. The Steward's favourite son, Boromouse, was at that moment trying to steer his Elfmouse canoe through the rapids of the Anduin, having been sent over the falls by mistake after his comrades found him sneaking a nap in the boat and thought he was dead....

Pipsqueaks's tiny paws made clicking noises on the polished tiles and he had to concentrate so that his tail did not drag. For a helmet he was wearing a thimble with holes cut for his eyes and whiskers, a mail shirt of knitted steel wool (00004 grade) and a tiny sword made of a ground-down hatpin. Many hats blew away across Dublin Four during the War of the Ring, their pins having been stolen by the heroic Archer Mice....

Courtier mice watched the scene from a safe distance, and Faramouse, the son in disfavour, watched from a dangerous distance. Denemouse allowed Pipsqueak to approach and his whiskers twitched eagerly. He got to his paws, his long, black robe, lined with cat fur, trailed out behind him. He was a tall and commanding mouse, and he boomed in his loud voice;
'Do you swear fealty to the Steward of Gondrodent?'
'I do!' squeaked Pipsqueak.
'I promise to serve the Steward of Gondrodent in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death us do part....'

'Wrong oath!' hissed Faramouse, but Denemouse was so happy to find a new servant he had not noticed. With his long snout held high he announced in rolling tones;
'Your fealty will be rewarded! Valour with cheddar, loyalty with stilton, disloyalty with endomice...'

'Father!' broke in Faramouse, unable to restrain his indignation.
'You can't possibly subject such a small and stupid mouse to the Endomice Oath....'
'Thanks a lot!' snapped Pipsqueak. 'You can have your thimble back right now...'

'Enough!' bellowed Denemouse the Steward of Gondrodent, drawing himself up to his full height on his hind paws. The courtier mice grovelled, Pipsqueak looked on in awe.
'Where the blazes is my dinner!'

A line of servant mice at these words ran into the hall bearing tiny trays of food on their heads. The trays were made out of Colman Mustard tin lids, and the food was kept hot with covers made out of the foil cups from chocolate boxes. The food was placed in front of Denemouse who fell on it right away, getting gravy and tomato sauce all over his cloak. Faramouse watched in disgust. Pipsqueak drooled.

'Anyway...' said Denemouse round a mouthful of food; 'We all know I only want Pipsqueak in my service so I can pump information out of him. You, however...'And he waved a chicken bone at Faramouse 'I want you to re-take Mousegiliath...'

Faramouse's silvery grey coat went pure white with shock.
'Retake Mousegiliath?' he shrieked. 'That is impossible! Mousegiliath is overrun with day trippers. The surfing is rubbish, the beach is too gritty and the shopping is useless. There isn't any Next Mouse or TK Mouse or Mouse and Spencer.......'

'Enough shopping!' roared Denemouse, spraying the servant mice with bits of chicken and tomato
'How gross!' said one.
'The more stupid my orders, the more willingly everyone will obey them!' shouted Denemouse. Faramouse and Pipsqueak looked puzzled. Then Faramouse brightened up.
'Father!' he cried. 'If I obey this senseless and stupid order, will you like me more?'
'No' replied Denemouse. 'I will wonder why you obeyed a senseless and stupid order. Now get on with it...'

Faramouse strode from the hall and went to put on his armour. This was made from a number of baked bean cans, the beans having first been removed, of course. It took a long time to hammer Faramouse into his cans. As he at last set off for battle, mounted on a hamster, Wizardmouse came running up to him;
'Faramouse! Faramouse! don't do this, don't throw your life away in the sales!'
Faramouse scrabbled at his vizor, but could not open it.
'Ze bronk faffr abny fenway lak Vorbomus' came from the metal depths of his helmet.

Pipsqueak was beside Wizardmouse.
'What brave last words did he say, Gandalfmouse?' he asked in tears as Faramouse rode out the front gate of Mouse Tirith to the cheers of a crowd of mice. The white-robed Wizardmouse sighed and said;

'I think it was;
'at least I'll snap up the last pair of Italian loafers at Fendi's before Boromouse can!''