"I am able to achieve greater goods for the mice of the Territories, without answering to any settlement or Matriarch. All the while never ruling or controlling anymouse. I put the needs of all mice before my own. I have shaped the courses of wars. Ran predators beyond our borders. And carved portions of our very landscape."
―Celanawe mentoring Lieam during the winter of 1152.[1]

Celanawe (unknown – 1152) was a male mouse, a former member of the Mouse Guard, and, unbeknown to most mice, a descendant of Farrer and wielder of the Black Axe. He was fiercely independent, skilled in combat, philosophical, and possessed the ability to speak the languages of many different beasts.

Celanawe served in the Mouse Guard until 1115, when his only living relative Em of Appleloft informed him of his ancestry, and he then retrieved the Black Axe from the ferret King Luthebon on the island of Ildur.

In 1115, Celanawe returned to the Mouse Territories and learned of the recent death of his love, the Matriarch Bronwyn. Consumed by grief, he went to the Haven Guild at Shorestone and discovered that the descendents of Farrer were not to wield the Black Axe to facilitate its passing to the next worthy possessor.

But Celanawe believed he had sacrificed too much to retrieve the Axe. Between 1115 and 1152 he lived the hermit life in open country, secretly using the weapon himself to run predators beyond mouse borders.

In the fall of 1152. the Guardmouse Midnight thieved the Black Axe from Celanawe's hut. Celanawe joined Kenzie and Saxon in thwarting Midnight's attempted usurpation of the Mouse Guard and retrieved the Black Axe once more.

During the winter of 1152, Celanawe mentored Lieam during a mission for medicinal supplies for Lockhaven. Celanawe was killed by a great horned owl while defending the young Guardmouse and the previous cargo. With his dying words, Celanawe named Lieam the next Black Axe.


Early lifeEdit

"Because you do not understand a creature doesn't mean they haven't anything important to say."
―Celanawe's journal entry
Ever since his sister Rosalea died from fever Celanawe was a lonesome mouse. Her death had affected his parents, that they didn't speak very much with him. In Summer 1090, Celanawe found a book that comforted him titled "Piper The Listener". The more he read it, the more fascinated he became about communicating with the birds and beasts. Being able to speak to animals would stifle Celanawe's loneliness and eventually prove to be useful in his life as a Mouse Guard.[2]

Celanawe grew up to become a member of the Mouse Guard. Eventually he became a trainer to Loukas. By 1114, Loukas graduated and Celanawe personally gave him his cloak. After the graduation, Celanawe was sent to take watch in Frostic. Loukas would take a turn to watch the post whenever Celanawe was needed elsewhere.[3]

Quest for the Black AxeEdit

"I stand only to defend my own and reclaim what is ours."
―Celanawe, talking to King Luthebon
In the Spring of 1115, one moon cycle before the summer began, Celanawe was in Frostic constructing a new Guard outpost. He was just about to leave for Lockehaven and leave the outpost in the care of his former tender-paws Loukas, when he heard something overhead. An old mouse named Em, landed on the island riding on a crow. Em revealed to Celanawe that she was his only living kin, but soon after the crow was killed by a four Fishers. The Fishers hunted Em and Celanawe, but they made it to the shoreline where Em called for a duck and they rode it to safety. Em told Celanawe that Bronwyn, the matriarch of the guard, had sent her to retrieve the Black Axe.

Em and Celanawe rode the duck to Port Sumac, and went into the Mariner's Bell Tavern. They saw Conrad arguing with a mouse named Roarke. When Conrad's father had died he gave him his boat, and Conrad was arguing that his father's title and seat on the Council of Captains where his as well. Celanawe broke up the argument and offered Conrad the opportunity to prove himself by sailing them across the North Sea. Conrad accepted and Celanawe helped him load the ship for the voyage.

Celanawe spent the first few days plotting a course on maps until they reached open sea. He set some strict rationing. One night he discussed the history behind the Black Axe with Em, when Conrad was asleep. When the food supplies ran out, Celanawe had to eat fish, something he did not like. After being at sea for two months, the worst storm raged, overturning the ship and sending the three mice into the rough sea.

The next day, Celanawe regained consciousness and found himself with Em on the Island of Ildur, but no sign of Conrad. Over a rocky ridge, the two mice found the remains of Benn. With the aid of some crows, they followed the trail to a hall situated on a hill. After burrowing their way under the sealed doors, Celanawe detected the scent of Ferrets. Sure enough they were confronted by King Luthebon and his personal guard.

After a brief exchange of words, assuring no hostility with one another, Em questioned about a mouse who possessed the Black Axe. Luthebon explained how the foolish mouse Merek tried to conquer the island only for the ferret king to devour him whole and confiscated the Black Axe as a warning to other would-be mouse assassins, so he refused to hand it over to Celanawe even as the mouse offered his services.

At that moment, ferret hunters Kiethazel and Garthazel returned carrying Prince Aronebon, who was killed by the briar fox. As Luthebon grieved, Celanawe volunteered to kill the beast, despite the king's doubts. Em suggested that the Black Axe would make the task easy. Luthebon allowed this on condition that Em stay behind as collateral and to bring back proof of his deed. This left Celanawe two days to complete his task. The brave mouse handed over his sword, took the axe and headed for the briar forest.

Becoming the Black AxeEdit

Celanawe trekked through the briar forest, getting used to the weight of the Black Axe and reflecting on his task. He formed a burrow for safety. The morning mist made it harder to see. After climbing a thorny branch for a better view, he stays petrified at the sight of the fox. Fortunately he remains unnoticed.

As Celanawe got into some swinging practice with the axe, he found Conrad. After whispering the tale of events, he claimed to be the legendary Black Axe wielder. Conrad was honored to join in the battle of against the fox. They followed some fox tracks, but the fox found them first. The two mice climbed up a branch and Celanawe landed a blow on the fox's nose.

As Conrad distracted the fox, Celanawe threw his whole weight with the axe, but missed and accidentally amputated Conrad's right leg. The guardmouse quickly eased the bleeding on Conrad's stump, then proceeded to trap the fox in the briars. With the beast trapped, Celanawe landed a lethal blow to the forehead. With the fox dead, Celanawe cut out one of its eyeballs for proof of his success.

Soon two more foxes came. Celanawe realised they were just kits and the fox he slew was their mother. He had no wish to slaughter them and in the best communication he could muster, he told them to stay safely in the briars. Celanawe and Conrad return just before the deadline to the Ildur Hall.

Although Celanawe was successful and presented the proof, King Luthebon was distressed and showed the dead body of Em. Celanawe was about to brandish his axe against him, but the king confessed that Em's death was caused by his healer Eberochre. Luthebon personally executed him. Celanawe accepted the king's condolences and funeral procession.

Celanawe studied Em's Black Axe journal for six days and read that his destination was Shorestone. He also longed to return to the love of his life, the Mouse Guard matriarch Bronwyn. The guard mouse requested Luthebon's subjects to help him build a ship. He cut the lumber with his axe, while the ferrets took care of the shell and sails.

Celanawe and Conrad sailed away from Ildur. With the aid of Luthebon's charts combined with Em's notes, the journey back to Mouse Territories was easier. Celanawe also enjoyed social time with his sailor friend, but Conrad would not take his advice to start over somewhere other than Port Sumac. He also dodged Conrad's questions about the Black Axe, trying to maintain its secrecy.

Finally after a full year of sailing, they finally reached the coast near Dawnrock, where Celanawe parted from Conrad, leaving him to sail back to Port Sumac, but promised to return to offer testament to their sea voyage. Celanawe made a two day walk to Lockhaven. He entered the secret tunnel that led straight to the Matriarch's office.

He did not find Bronwyn anywhere. He snuck into the private chamber of the Matriarchs, but found the Matriarch book decreeing that Browyn had been killed by a wolf two days before his arrival. As Celanawe's heart sank, he found that records of his name were missing except in the induction list. He realised the meaning behind Bronwyn's last letter to him. Stricken with grief, Celanawe pushed the pedestal with its contents on the floor and knelt down against the Black Axe, weeping.

Without anything else to do, the former Mouse Guard took a three day journey to Shorestone. He inquired about the Haven Guild, but he was directed to the archivist Arkin. Inside the archives, Arkin and Celanawe talked in private. He told the archivist about Em and Benn's deaths, who in turn told him about the dealings he had with Celanawe's family and the secrets that were kept around the Black Axe.

Celanawe wanted to take the burden of wielding the axe, but Arkin told him to find someone more capable as per the tradition, who is willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good of mousekind. As Celanawe left the guild, he considered appointing his former pupil Loukas as the next axe bearer among other young guardmice. Finally he decided Conrad could take the mantle.

Celanawe journeyed back to Port Sumac. He hid the Black Axe before heading to the cliff-top part of the town. He found Conrad drunk, who demanded that he tell the mice about their exploits. Celanawe doubted he could bear the Black Axe. Conrad grew aggressive and blamed his former friend for all his troubles. Refraining from fighting, Celanawe allowed Conrad to push him off the edge of the cliff. He managed to survive and fake his death, ultimately self-proclaiming the title as the Black Axe.

Midnight's RebellionEdit

"I trained Guardmice. You are no Guard!"
During the Fall of 1152, an old, unknown mouse dragged the two unconscious Guardmice, Saxon and Kenzie, from the gates of Barkstone to his home in the wilderness. After he trussed them up, he interrogated the two, believing they had stolen his legendary axe. The two Guardmice persisted that they didn't know what he was talking about, but eventually, the argument turned into an all-out brawl. During the fight, a fire started and the hermit's house burned down. Finally, the older mouse was convinced of their innocence, and revealed himself to be Celanawe, wielder of the Black Axe.
With no alternative, the oldfur marched with the two Guardmice back to Lockhaven, which Midnight's army was holding siege

Battle of LockhavenEdit

"You are not the Black Axe... I am."
After being led by Kenzie to arm themselves with weapons, Celanawe showed the two Guardmice a secret way into Lockhaven. The trio arrived in the Matriarch's office just in time: Midnight and his mice were fighting Gwendolyn, Rand, Sadie and Lieam. With the help of the reinforcements, the Guardmice succeeded, Celanawe defeated Midnight and he retrieved the legendary Black Axe. Celanawe attempted to behead Midnight but Gwendolyn forbade him from doing so, so Celanawe pinned Midnight to the wall with the Black Axe's helve (the axehandle).

Food Shortages in the TerritoriesEdit

"I have shaped the courses of wars, ran predators beyond our borders, and carved portions of our very landscape."
―Celanawe to Lieam
During the Winter of 1152, Celanawe escorted the group of Guardmice lead by Kenzie. When the group was separated, he accompanied Lieam back to Lockhaven with the supplies. Pleased with Lieam's performance as a Guardmouse, he took Lieam under his wing as his apprentice and showed him what it was like to be a true member of the Mouse Guard. After a vicious snowstorm, the two Guardmice were forced to dig in.


"I had to protect the greater good Lieam... You are now the Black Axe."
―Celanawe, Winter 1152
While underground, they were once again ambushed by the one-eyed owl and Celanawe sacrificed his life to save Lieam, naming him the new Black Axe. His body was brought back to Lockhaven and cremated in a pyre and his ashes scattered to the soil.


  1. Winter 1152, Issue 3
  2. Mouse Guard: Piper The Listener
  3. Mouse Guard: The Black Axe
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