Sumner’s Stories: The Mouse Craft, Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Lord Tsar

Lord Tsar was the leader of the Rat Army, and he was a tyrant. Not only that, he was a mongoose. Every rodent in his army knew when he was getting angry, because his eyes would turn red like hot coals. Lord Tsar was a golden brown color, with a limp because he had been bitten by a non-venomous snake long ago. His old injury left him with a pesky limp, and he knew all the rats and ferrets whispered about it behind his back. Members of his army even made up the silly rumor that Char, the poisonous snake, bit him and the only reason the poison hadn’t killed him was because he was so cruel. Lies, obviously. Who would believe such a silly pony tail (fairy tail)? Besides, Char’s poison always killed rodents right away.

Scrail scurried up to him, “My L-Lord, sir, we just found the skeleton of a mouse regurgitated.  We think Char has been busy,” Scrail screeched.

“Beat it, your voice is like claws on a strip of oak bark (fingernails on a chalkboard),” grunted Tsar.

Scrail scurried out of the room, as fast as a hare with a fire blazing on its little cottontail. No one in Lord Tsar’s fortress would dare disobey him, because of the dreaded bee swarm. On command, the bees would sting anyone who neglected his orders. The only trouble was they kept dying as soon as they stung one rat or ferret.

Lord Tsar needed new torture equipment, that’s why he was planning to capture the cat, known as Ragnar, to do his dirty work. Ragnar was a white cat with one blue eye that pulsed between light blue and dark blue, and a green eye that circled through all the shades of green imaginable. Not many rats would live to tell the tale of running into this fearsome foe, for her eyes hypnotized anyone who got too close, and then she ate them. The very few that survived told the tale willingly, rumor has it that Ragnar lives with Char, the snake, and they both kill prey for each other. But snakes and cats are both independent animals so how could that be?

Lord Tsar was worried, Char was always hungry after he tasted mice blood. He decided he would order all his soldiers to stay inside of the fortress for the next week or two. They had plenty of provisions to last them eleven years at minimum. Lord Tsar and his army stole all the food and water from nearby towns – willow bark from Graywood and nuts and honey from Blackthorn. He just hoped the town mice didn’t get any ideas about rebellion, because they had some warriors with some wickedly good fighting skills.

“Scrail, lead a hunting expedition to try to capture Ragnar, bring sleeping darts you’ll need them,” commanded Lord Tsar.

Just then one of his chefs came came in the room and squeaked, “ Lord Tsar, your snake egg is ready. Fresh from Char’s lair.” Lord Tsar took the snake egg with haste. Snake egg was his favorite treat. After he had filled his stomach he dozed off.

But soon he was awakened by Scrail’s annoying screeches, “Got you, filthy feline! You won’t get away this time.”

Lord Tsar heard the angry screeches of a cornered cat, but then the ropes that were holding Ragnar snapped and the feline fled. The glow of Lord Tsar’s red eyes petrified Scrail as he was suddenly swept away to the dungeons to be hung by his nails with Lord Tsar’s swarm of bees as company. Scrail’s screaming was music to Lord Tsar’s ears. The tyrant king would have Scrail hunt for Ragnar another day … once he was satisfied the ferret had paid for his failure.

Copyright: Sumner’s Stories, Once Upon Alaska, 2018