[[quoteright:340:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mouse_guard_3457.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:340:You know, like a nice game of ''Mouse and Cat''.]]

->''"Let me tell ye about the Guard. We mice have little chance in this world, considering all the critters that eat us. We know how to build our cities hidden and protected; deep within rock outcroppings, in tangled root, and beneath loamy soil. We survive. But how do we live? Travel in the open between our towns is dangerous. The Guard has been in existence longer than our history. They are the trail blazers, the guides, the escorts, and defenders of us."''

Imagine a cross between ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'' and ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'', add in some very lush illustrations, and you get ''Mouse Guard.'' This bi-monthly comic book by David Peterson is published by Creator/ArchaiaEntertainment and featuring [[TalkingAnimal talking mice]] in a [[MouseWorld medieval-type setting]], where there are no humans, but plenty of predators.

The first mini-series, ''Mouse Guard: Fall 1152'', starts off with three of the Mouse Guard, Saxon, Kenzie, and Lieam, setting out to find a grain merchant who disappeared. Meanwhile, a comrade called Sadie is told to check up on a Guard Mouse at a remote post who has not been in contact with his superiors for some time. While performing these seemingly unconnected missions, they come across something else, a plot even more deadly than they could imagine...and an oldfur named Celanawe, who might prove to be a lost, yet vital, part of the Guard's history.

The second mini-series, ''Mouse Guard: Winter 1152,'' deals with the fallout of the deadly plot in Fall. Saxon, Kenzie, Lieam, Sadie, and Celanawe have been sent to gather supplies from other mouse villages, as Lockhaven, the Guard's base, is woefully understocked. Things do not go according to plan, and they discover a dangerous secret that puts all the Mouse Territories in peril.

The third mini-series is ''Mouse Guard: The Black Axe.'' This prequel reveals the life of old Celanawe when he was a young Guard Mouse. An old mouse called Em of Appleloft has discovered Celanawe to be her only living relative, and her arrival at his solitary post sets him off on an adventure toward his destiny...

There is a fourth series in the works, tentatively titled ''Mouse Guard: The Winter War,'' which will tell the story of a [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal war with a weasel warlord]] that takes place two years before Fall 1152. ''Mouse Guard: Spring 1153'' will be the fifth book, and pick up where Winter left off. There is also an RPG, which uses a modified version of the BurningWheel system and won the 2009 Origins award for Best Roleplaying Game.

On the sidelines, there is a mini-series called ''Legends of the Guard.'' It takes place in an inn, where the innkeeper holds a contest for the best storyteller, promising to clear the winner's tab. The stories are written and illustrated by David Peterson's friends and co-workers, and are mostly non-canon, but offer beautiful illustrations and a good insight into the fictional culture being created. And, of course, Peterson offers some gorgeous artwork of his own, along with snippets of some of his own legends. A sequel is currently being planned.


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'''This series provides examples of:'''

* ActionGirl: Sadie, who goes in search of another of the Mouse Guard who is missing.
** Also Isabelle. The only action she's done so far is ride a hare in a rescue mission, but she's a tough-looking mouse with a red cloak and multiple earrings in each ear who comes from a back-woods town named Wolfpointe. Odds are she's going to earn the title quickly.
** And Gwendolyn, too, though her work as a ReasonableAuthorityFigure means we don't get to see her fight as much as other girls do.
* AllThereInTheManual: as noted below, the RPG manual has a large number of ancillary details about the world.
* AnAxeToGrind: Celanawe, naturally, given that he is [[spoiler:the Black Axe]]. [[spoiler: Lieam]], by the end of Winter. [[spoiler: Midnight]] also uses such a weapon (and [[IncrediblyLamePun has an axe to grind]] with the Guard).
* AnimalStereotypes: Played straight and subverted with every species shown.
* AntiVillain: The Fox in The Black Axe.
* AnyoneCanDie: and they usually do so via HeroicSacrifice
* AStormIsComing: "Winter is coming." Also possibly a ShoutOut to ''ASongOfIceAndFire''.
* {{Badass}}: Lieam (who, early on, ''kills a snake''), Conrad and Celanawe. Most Guard Mice in general can be expected to be one.
** Lieam also kills an ''owl'' in Winter.
** Celanawe kills a ''fox'' in The Black Axe story.
** One mouse in ''Legends of the Guard'' kills a ''bear.''
* BadassAdorable: Every single one of the Guardsmice could qualify.
* BadassBoast: When Celanawe speaks with the Owl just before their battle the Owl says: "This Ends In Death"
* BasedOnATrueStory: Invoked InUniverse in ''Legends of the Guard'', where the point is telling the best story that is neither [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory complete truth nor lie]].
* BattleCouple: Kenzie and Sadie. Saxon and [[spoiler: Gwendolyn]].
* BattleInTheRain
* BearsAreBadNews: The preview comic given for ''Spring'' at Free Comic Book Day? It showed the Guard doing some very dangerous things to give tribute to an awakening bear.
* BeeBeeGun: Lockhaven has a colony of bees, so they unleash them on the Axe instead of arrows.
* BerserkButton: Do ''not'' suggest that bats are untrustworthy to their faces.
* BerserkerTears: After [[spoiler: Celanawe dies]], Lieam visibly weeps. About two seconds later, he massacres the owl responsible.
* BigBad: [[spoiler: Midnight]] during the Fall story arc.
* BigDamnHeroes: Celanawe, Saxon, and Kenzie have one in the last Fall issue. Lieam gets one all to himself in that same story.
* BigLabyrinthineBuilding: Darkheather in Winter. It's so big, [[spoiler: it stretches to the very foundations of Lockhaven, making a weasel invasion not only possible, but insanely easy]].
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Midnight and his army is defeated, but winter is coming and supplies are low. Also, Rand suffers a leg injury]].
** [[spoiler:The ending of Winter is another one: they got the medicine back safely, and found their traitors, but Celanwe was killed in the process]].
* BlackCloak: [[spoiler:Midnight]] and all the rest of the Axe wear these.
* BladeOnAStick: Gwendolyn wields a mean halberd. Spear-like weapons are also implied to be a traditional weapon for the Matriarch.
* BloodKnight: Saxon. When a confrontation with an owl is resolved without an actual fight, he is disappointed that there was "no swordplay."
* BoisterousBruiser: Saxon.
* CannotSpitItOut: In Winter, we discover that [[spoiler:Saxon, of all mice, can't. The object of his affection? The Matriarch, Gwendolyn.]]
** [[spoiler: He can and does by the end.]]
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: [[spoiler:Midnight, who is a darkfur and is actually the leader of the Axe]].
** As a matter of fact, the RPG guide explicitly states that a mouse's cloak color is indicative of his/her personality and that their mentor chooses it carefully before they are promoted from tenderpaw to guardmouse.
* CoolOldGuy: Celanawe, and Conrad (middle-aged, whatever).
* CoolSword: Saxon and Lieam carry swords. However, the first to actually get a Cool Sword is Lieam, who obtains a fancy gilded weapon for the last battle in Fall. In Winter, [[spoiler: Saxon gets the sword of his old mentor, which contains a little compass in the hilt.]] Cool indeed.
* CruelMercy: Gwendolyn spares [[spoiler: Midnight's]] life at the end of Fall, [[DontCreateAMartyr just to be on the safe side]]. She is not, however, averse to throwing him outside of mouse territory and letting the wolves deal with him instead.
* CuffsOffRubWrists: Saxon and Lieam both do this at different points during the Fall story arc.
* CulturedWarrior: Kenzie, a capable if pensive fighter, is the one to give a word of advice to Lieam through a well-placed quote. He's also the one who always starts singing an old mouse ballad when the plot takes a meditative turn.
* CunningLikeAFox: Celanawe and Conrad faced one in their younger days. [[ForegoneConclusion They won, of course]].
* CurbStompBattle: Lieam ''destroys'' the owl that [[spoiler: kills Celanawe]] during Winter 1152.
* DeadpanSnarker: Lieam.
--> Your [[BigBad commander]] lives in a rotten log?
* {{Determinator}}: Lieam and Celanawe are this in moderation. Saxon is a more bull-headed example of this.
* DontCreateAMartyr: About the only reason [[spoiler: Midnight]] isn't executed upon capture. Instead, he's banished beyond the scent border and left to fend for himself [[CruelMercy in territory infested with predators]].
* DressingAsTheEnemy: Lieam who [[spoiler:pretends to be a part of the Axe.]]
* DueToTheDead: Given in a VikingFuneral. Sadie wants to return to a dangerous outpost to give one for [[spoiler: Conrad]], but Gwendolyn can't allow it until winter clears up.
* EarlyBirdCameo: Quite literally, in fact. The owl from Winter 1152 (and his subsequent battle with Lieam) first appeared in the bonus material printed in the Fall Collected edition.
** The June Alley Inn, which served as the setting for ''Legends of the Guard,'' was briefly shown in ''Fall 1152.''
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: In Lieam's first solo scene, he [[LetsGetDangerous gets dangerous]] and takes down a snake several time his size single-handedly. He only gets better after that point.
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: The mice are the most vulnerable species in their world. The Guard was formed to protect them.
* FantasticRacism: Although most relationships between the species are based on very real conflicts (as predator/prey, competitors, or pests), the relationship between bats and the other species is based on the other species distrusting bats, and bats despising them in return.
* FantasyWorldMap: Well, not the world, but certainly a map of the two cities, Lockhaven and Barkstone. The hardcover editions of ''Winter'' and ''Fall'' have a map of the territories inside the cover.
** Maps of the world are included in the hardcovers and RPG.
** Two more cities, Sprucetuck and Darkheather, were included in Winter.
* FieryRedhead: Lieam's not nearly as HotBlooded as Saxon, but he still qualifies.
* FirstKiss: Saxon and [[spoiler: Gwendolyn]]'s first kiss occurs in Winter.
* FiveManBand: One gets put together for the winter supply run.[[note]]Note that this configuration only applies to the team interactions in-universe, and not to characterization as a whole. Lieam may be the protagonist, but he's not leader material just yet, and therefore he is not leader of this band.[[/note]]
** TheLeader: Kenzie is an experienced leader of Guard Patrols, and it shows in his level-headed decision-making skills.
** TheLancer: Saxon takes the role of second-in-command to play up his and Kenzie's RedOniBlueOni dynamic.
** TheSmartGuy: Celanawe, doubling as TheMentor, not just to Lieam, but to everyone else as well.
** TheBigGuy: Lieam, doubling as [[NewMeat the pack horse.]] [[BadAss He also gets to take on an owl and win, so...]]
** TheChick: Sadie, who proves to be good at settling Kenzie and Saxon's fights, and whose relationship with Kenzie is the most developed romance so far.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: By the RPG rules, Lieam [[spoiler:couldn't have killed the owl]], and the snake example of combat gives him a rather extraordinary amount of luck, even ''after'' giving everything he has to stack the odds in his favor to a downright obscene level. Still, RuleOfCool.
** Likewise, Tenderpaw mice are supposed to not have cloaks, but their depictions in the artwork doesn't back it up.
** The Weather Watcher skill. Plot-wise, it allows your guardmouse to predict the weather. Since that's actually pretty underpowered, its mechanical effect is to let you ''control'' the weather. If you succeed on a Weather Watcher roll, you can decide -- within certain limits -- what the weather will be the next time it changes.
* GiantEnemyCrab: Sadie and Conrad encounter some.
* HandicappedBadass: Conrad, the peg-legged pirate wannabe. The reasons for his badassery are explained a bit more in The Black Axe, when he actually loses his leg to [[spoiler: Celanawe and the Black Axe]] in an unfortunate fight with a fox. He didn't even complain that much when a tourniquet was applied, ''and'' he went on to become a legendary Guard Mouse.
* HeldGaze: Sadie and Kenzie realize they love each other when they have a couple of these in short succession.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Saxon and Kenzie, who are possibly too dependent on each other. Regardless, they balance so well that Gwendolyn always puts them together on missions.
** The first word of the trope name might have even been questionable, if not for [[spoiler:the events of Winter 1152 when Saxon finally declares his love to Gwendolyn.]]
** And at the same time it looks like Kenzie and Sadie might have a budding romance.
** Because of this, some readers didn't realize Kenzie wasn't a girl until somebody used a male pronoun for him.
** On the other hand, Celanawe points out that Saxon and Kenzie balance each other out ''too'' well and they endanger themselves by having the other cover his weaknesses.
* HeroicFantasy: Very straight forward. Except with mice.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Conrad, the Mouse Guard Sadie was sent to find, distracts the crabs so she can get away, but he dies in the process]]
** Also [[spoiler:Celanwe could be considered one as well, as he fought the owl to allow Lieam to return to Lockhaven with the medicine. The fact that Lieam then killed the owl did not diminish this]].
* HiddenInPlainSight: [[spoiler: The secret tunnel into the Matriarch's study is concealed by a portrait of the Black Axe. Incidentally, only the Black Axe knows about it up until his BigDamnHeroes moment]]. This is later put to good use to [[spoiler: hide Rand from his would-be murderer]].
* TheHighQueen: Gwendolyn, along with all the Matriarchs who came before her.
* HoldingHands: Kenzie and Sadie do this often.
* HonorBeforeReason: The Mouse Guard [[spoiler:except for Midnight, the blacksmith]].
* HotBlooded: Saxon, fitting his cloak color (red). This actually works against the group in ''Winter'', as the reason Kenzie and Sadie are separated from him is that he can't keep his mouth shut when they are accosted by the bats.
* ImDyingPleaseTakeMyMacguffin: [[spoiler: Celanawe passes the Black Axe to Lieam when he dies]].
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: Happens to [[spoiler: Conrad, when he is overwhelmed by crabs after his HeroicSacrifice]].
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Conrad uses a contraption that is basically a rope with a fish hook tied onto one end and a jug of rum on the other. And it is BadAss.
* InvoluntaryGroupSplit: Happens when they discover the cave. In ''Winter 1152'' Kenzie, Saxon and Sadie fall into an underground cavern, forcing Lieam and Celanawe to continue on without them.
* KilledOffForReal: Just about everyone who dies on screen.
* KnifeNut: Sadie uses tiny throwing knives as her primary weapons. Lieam also proves to be quite handy with a knife in a pinch.
* LadyOfWar: Gwendolyn, who is the latest in a long run of Ladies of War, since the Guard is always run by a female mouse.
* LegacyCharacter: [[spoiler:The Black Axe, as Celanawe passes the moniker from himself to Lieam at the end of Winter.]]
** Interestingly, [[spoiler:Celanawe was never supposed to be the Black Axe, as it is revealed in the ''Black Axe'' mini. Celanawe's bloodline harbors the axe and find its eventual wielders, but by tradition they are not meant to wield it themselves]].
* LetsGetDangerous: Lieam gets this kind of look on his face whenever he's about to pull off the seemingly impossible...like, say, killing a snake from the inside or taking down an owl mid-flight.
* LikeAnOldMarriedCouple: HeterosexualLifePartners Saxon and Kenzie argue so much that Sadie actually points it out.
--> '''Sadie:''' You two squabble like an old mouse couple.
--> '''Saxon:''' We do not!
--> '''Kenzie:''' Well, you do.
* LoveEpiphany: Kenzie and Sadie simaltaneously realize they like each other. HoldingHands and SleepCute ensue.
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Rand wields a shield as his primary weapon, in keeping with his [[StoneWall character]]. However, a gap in his defenses does leave him critically wounded at one point, so the title of this trope might be a bit ironic.
* {{Macguffin}}: [[spoiler: The Black Axe]] functions as one in the Fall arc. Celanawe soon puts an end to that, though.
* ManlyTears: Lieam when [[spoiler: Celanawe is mortally wounded]]. Saxon when [[spoiler: he finds his old mentor's remains in Darkheather]]. Sadie's tears at [[spoiler: Conrad's death]] qualify too.
* MasterPoisoner: [[spoiler:Abigail]] in the Winter arc. She sabotages Lockhaven's food stores, nearly kills Rand, and attempts to poison the well.
* {{Matriarchy}}
* MeaningfulFuneral: For [[spoiler: Celanawe]].
* MeaningfulName: Quite a few:
** Saxon: "Knife"
** Kenzie: "Wise"
** Rand: "Shield"
** Gwendolyn: "White Ring;" her fur is white, and the "ring" part is perhaps foreshadowing her [[spoiler: engagement to Saxon]].
** Sienna: "Orange-red,'' a background character who wears an orange cloak.
** Midnight: Black-furred mouse who wears a lot of black.
* MissionControl: Rand serves as this during Fall. Landra takes over for him when [[spoiler: he falls sick]] in Winter.
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Midnight]] in Fall 1152 and [[spoiler: Abigail]] in Winter.
* MomentKiller: Saxon, particularly when it is Kenzie and Sadie having the moment.
* MoreExpendableThanYou: [[spoiler: Celanawe]] explicitly states this as the reason behind [[spoiler: his HeroicSacrifice]]. This way, [[spoiler: the Black Axe can live on through Lieam]].
* MouseWorld: Literally
** Somewhat debatable. There are no humans in the Territories-- at all-- so the world doesn't fit the "hidden from humans" aspect of the trope. However, the mice ''are'' hidden from predators, who often have their own cultures and live out in the open like humans would, so the trope is rather [[SubvertedTrope subversive]] in its execution.
* NaturalWeapon: When caught by two enemy spear-wielders without his own weapons, Lieam improvises by ''biting the blades off of the spear shafts'' and [[BadAss hurling them at his opponents]]. Gotta use those sharp rodent teeth somehow.
* NeutralityBacklash: This is what the bats claim happened to them long ago, hence the BerserkButton referenced above.
* NewMeat: Lieam is presented as Kenzie and Saxon's "tenderpaw" trainee, who, though not loathed, is still somewhat naive after two years of training and needs some steady guidance. And then he kills a snake single-handed...
* NoPronunciationGuide: Celanawe. This is lampshaded at the end of Winter, where one mouse comments that he thought Celanawe's name was pronounced "sell-an-a-we," and another points out that Lieam pronounced it "khel-en-aw."
* TheObiWan: [[spoiler: Celanawe]] serves as this to Lieam.
* ObiWanMoment: Suitably, [[spoiler: Celenawe]] dies in this fashion.
* OneHeadTaller: Kenzie is significantly taller than Sadie. And most of the rest of his fellow guardmice for that matter, but this trope's about the romantic relationship, so...
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: [[spoiler: Celanawe]], in response to [[spoiler: Midnight]] claiming he's the Black Axe:
-->[[spoiler: '''Celanawe''']]: You are not the Black Axe. ''I am!''
* PowerTrio: Saxon, Kenzie, and Lieam are the main trio, but Saxon, Kenzie, and Rand also worked together in the past. A couple of trios also get formed temporarily. One thing's for sure, though...David Peterson ''really'' loves his trio tropes:
** BeautyBrainsAndBrawn: At one point, Sadie, Kenzie, and Saxon, as a rare not-completely-female PowerTrio of this type.
** BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Kenzie, Saxon, and Lieam, a somewhat rare male version.
** ChromaticArrangement: Saxon (red), Kenzie (blue), and either Lieam (green) or Rand (yellow). The characters don't always conform to the character archtypes.
** FreudianTrio: Lieam as TheEgo, Kenzie as TheSuperEgo, and Saxon as TheId. When Rand was around, he took Kenzie's place as TheSuperEgo and Kenzie was TheEgo.
** KnightKnaveAndSquire: Kenzie, Saxon, and Lieam.
** TwoGuysAndAGirl: Kenzie, Saxon, and Sadie again.
*** This also goes for Celanawe, Conrad, and Em in the prequel.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Gwendolyn.
* RedheadedHero: Lieam.
* RedheadInGreen: Lieam again.
* RedOniBlueOni: Saxon and Kenzie. Their cloaks even match the colors!
* RedSkyTakeWarning: The day before the climatic battle in Fall 1152, the enemy army marches in the rain. Note the red-tinged backgrounds.
--> Red sky at night, Guard Mouse's delight. Red sky in morning, Guard Mice take warning.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Justified in that mice are the protagonists, and snakes generally eat mice.
* SavageWolves: The Guard has driven predatory wolves out of mouse territories but they are still not a force to be trifled with, as [[spoiler: Midnight]] finds out.
* SaveTheVillain: Gwendolyn saves [[spoiler: Midnight]] from decapitation by Black Axe in the climax of Fall. [[GenreSavvy Notably not due to any kindness on her part]]:
-->'''Gwendolyn:''' [[DoomedMoralVictor If he dies]], [[DontCreateAMartyr he becomes a martyr]].
* SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl: Kenzie is a competent fighter, unlike most guys in this trope. However, his true area of expertise is thinking, and he gets paired with Sadie, the biggest ActionGirl the series has so far.
* SecretUndergroundPassage: [[spoiler: There is one in Gwendolyn's study]].
* SimpleStaff: Kenzie both speaks softly and [[CarryABigStick carries a big stick.]]
* ShoutOut: David Peterson has already done two of these for StarWars. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo can be seen in the crowd during the duel between Saxon and Kenzie, and on one of the Winter covers there is a miniature Millenium Falcon hidden amidst a pile of bones.
* SleepCute: Kenzie and Sadie in Winter. Naturally, Saxon makes fun of them.
* SnowMeansLove: The first two romantic relationships in the comic naturally start during the Winter arc.
* SnowMeansDeath: The Winter 1152 cover says it all.
--> This is a winter not every Guard may survive.
* TheSouthpaw: Saxon is visibly left-pawed in Fall, wearing his scabbard on his right side, even. This might be an artistic mistake, because he consistently wears the scabbard on his left side in Winter, but even then he holds his sword in his left paw. There is a possibility that he is ambidextrous, or that he learned to fight with both paws if only to say IAmNotLeftHanded. Either way would suit his personality perfectly.
* StoneWall: Rand, the captain of Lockhaven's defenses.
* SufferTheSlings: Sadie likes her ranged weapons.
* TalkingAnimal
** And more than mice--Winter shows bats and hares speaking the same language as the mice, and the owl has its own that Celanawe speaks. No BilingualBonus possible, unfortunately.
* TenderTears: [[spoiler: Em of Appleloft, when her loyal crow steed is eaten by fishers]].
* TheSiege
* ThreePlusTwo: At the beginning of Winter, Saxon, Kenzie, and Lieam's PowerTrio is joined by Sadie and Celanawe.
* UnholyMatrimony: [[spoiler: Midnight]] promised this to [[spoiler: Abigail]] in return for [[spoiler: her]] help in defeating Lockhaven.
* UnreliableNarrator: One of the ground rules set by June for the stories in ''Legends of the Guard'' -- they can neither be complete truths nor complete falsehoods, and exactly how much of each story qualifies as either is left as an exercise to the reader.
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: [[spoiler:Midnight, the Guard's blacksmith]], wants to make all the cities safe by controlling them and exterminating any and all enemies.
* VikingFuneral: The funeral pyre version seems to be the default for just about anyone who dies; the ferrets aren't shy about using their very cooking fires for this purpose. [[spoiler: Em of Applecroft]] gets the "floating away on a current" version.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Saxon and Kenzie.
* WeNeedADistraction: played straight, when Saxon and Kenzie swordfight so Lieam can find the map-maker.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Midnight]] and the Axe, want to protect all creatures... by ruling them all.
* WhoWillBellTheCat: A fun take on this old myth, the members of the Mouse Guard actually ''volunteer'' to bell the cat (which may actually be a bear/owl/snake).
* WickedWeasel: The Winter War of 1150 was fought against a tyrannical weasel warlord. The mice won, [[spoiler: but not as completely as they might have suspected]].
** Subverted inasmuchas weasels vary, morally speaking, about as much as mice.
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