Like I mentioned before, the project started with three ideas. Sean and I evaluated the three and picked the one we liked the most. In this case, it was the third and final concept I'd done. That one, originally jotted down by yours truly as simply "Shadow of the Colossus meets Mouse Guard!", turned into "Potential".
The first story idea I wrote down was to be about the creation of the Mouse Guard's "scent border", which relies on a concoction created by mouse chemists that prevents massive and freaky predators from encroaching en masse into the Mouse Territories. The heroine, Shani, is a young chemist in the city of Sprucetuck who dreams of greater things, but is constantly berated by her overbearing father to simply accept the life she leads.
One night, she overhears a Guard complain that there are too many predators in the Territories and they are losing good Guardmice. He wishes that mice were stronger and more able-bodied - then they could just build a giant wall and be done with it! Shani half-jokingly suggests doing the very same - but with her own chemical concoctions instead of timber. The Guard is intrigued, and tells the Matriarch of the Guard the idea. This results in Shani being invited to Lockhaven, where she (quite hesitantly) assumes command of the greatest undertaking in the history of the Guard - to create enough of the concoction, and then use it along all the borders of the Territories.
(Map artwork by David Petersen)
As the Matriarch writes: "Long has the Guard attempted to ward these beasts through brute force and primitive traps. No longer must we put ourselves in such danger, for the unlikeliest of heroes has saved more lives than I can count. Shani of Sprucetuck is a testament to the potential of our kind. Her work has given me pause - that this, our greatest victory against the predators, was not won by a seasoned warrior at the tip of a sword, but by a meek science-mouse whose breath quickened at the very sight of Lockhaven. We must continue to seek out such outlandish ideas, for they may be the savior of all mouse-kind!"
Sean and I ultimately scrapped this story because it contained absolutely no action whatsoever. The story did focus on a series of values I wanted to instill in the narrative - about a young non-Guard who gives up their normal life to achieve a higher purpose - but Mouse Guard is also about rousing adventure and action, something this story seriously lacked.
I'll go into detail about the other story treatment next time - which will hopefully not take so long to write up.