We’re mice, not men

Absolom frowned at the corpse laid out in front of him.  It took him a few moments to recognize the face of the traitor Benedict, who had been leaking information to the armies of the Kingdom for quite some time.  He shifted his gaze from the face of the traitor, barely recognizable from a multitude of nicks and cuts, and settled on imperious little figure standing on it, a bullhorn in one paw.

“I would thank you, friend mouse, but I’m almost positive that there’s something you want in return.”

Harald the mouse was the finest specimen of his kind alive in those days, and while a human child could simply fall on top of him and crush his tiny frame, he was a mountain of a mouse, and had proved his worth in many battles with the Rat tribes of the underground.  He raised the bullhorn (while mice most commonly scampered up the shoulders of men to speak into their ears, bullhorns were used in more formal exchanges, such as negotiations) to his lips and spoke loudly.

“Your eminence Lord Absalom, leader of the United Nations of the South, the mice of Dagaland wish to propose an alliance, and we offer the body of this man as a token of our (trustworthiness?).”

“I see.  Your country has been famously neutral in past wars, sir Harald.  Why would you request an alliance now?”

“It is no secret that the Rats, backed by the armies of the Kingdom, have been making sorties into our territory.  Already two of our dens have been wiped out, and we do not believe we can hold out much longer.  Our ruler has sent me out as an official represenative, to ask for your aid in helping to push back the Rats, and we in turn would aid your cause against the Kingdom.”

The mouse placed the bullhorn down to await Absolom’s reply.  The leader stroked his beard unconsciously, his mind whirring in all sorts of directions at the same time.  He’d had very little contact with mice, who were known more as merchants than warrior, although this particular mouse looked like he wouldn’t back down from a fight with any man, mouse, or rat.  He chose his next words carefully.

“I am…intrigued by your offer, and thankful of your aid in this…matter of the traitor Benedict.  I also offer you my condolences for all the lives you have lost, for we too have felt the loss of life keenly.  I mus ask you however, what we have to gain from all this?  My armies are stretched thin as it is, and to aid your cause… is something that would require much deliberation.  How exactly does dagaland expect to aid us?”

Harald let out a small grin.  He’d been expecting this question, this test.   He raised the bullhorn to his mouth.

“We’re mice, my lord, not men.  We realize we’ve little to offer you in terms of military strength, but we can be useful in many ways.  For example, we knew about the traitor long before you did, and managed to catch him when he evaded you.  The eyes of mice are everywhere, and even the keenest eyed human would never know that they were being watched.  We offer you recon(find full spelling), communication, and espionage, tools that every general requires to win a battle.”

Absolom smiled.  He had judged rightly, and was now certain that the mice would prove useful as allies, especially this one.

“Well said, sir Harald.  I’m sure that your people will be marvelously useful in the battles to come.  Rest assured that our armies are with you, and will aid you in every possible to be rid of the recent plague of rats.”

Harald took off his small helmet and bowed. “Thank you my lord, you are most gracious.”

“I will have my assistants prepare an official copy of the treaty right now.  Would  you like any refreshment?  I’m sure you must be exhausted.”

“Well…now that you mention it lord, a slice of cheese and some wine would be most excellent.”

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