In 1140, a young mouse named Eskel from Barkhamsted is laying bait for an enormous beast, which has been terrorising the area for some time. From up in the tree, Eskel sees the beast (which is revealed to be a brown bear), jumps down and impales it with his sword. The he escapes on a branch, ties a rope to the branch and swings across, landing on the beast's chest. Eskel abseils up the beast's fur, climbs up it's face and fatally stabs it in the forehead, thus ensuring Barkhamsted's survival and potential to grow. Eskel requests to become a member of the Mouse Guard.