A community forged in partnership between the guinea pig and penguin nations battles a barbaric nation of mouse warlords.
Rolling green hills stretch all the way to a distant ocean horizon beneath a cloudless blue sky. Cresting the hills and trekking down into the valleys comes a long line of figures. They’re GUINEA PIGS, walking on hind legs and wearing clothes medieval in fashion and material. By the way they drag their legs and breathe raggedly while carrying their belongings in packs and wagons, it’s clear that they have been travelling a long distance. A YOUNG’N (around the age of eight or nine) asks his MOTHER for some water and she replies that they’re almost out and have to ration what’s left. She gives him a pawful of berries instead. A second YOUNG’N tries to steal a berry and the two begin fighting. The MOTHERS get involves, fighting over whose child started it, and soon the FATHERS get involved as well, pushing and threatening. The scuffle gets interrupted by BUC (40s), the leader of the tribe. With a few choice words of authority, the exhausted guinea pigs break up their fight and go back to their beleaguered trekking.
Buc rejoins his mate, MARY (40s), at the front of the line and expresses concern over being unable to find a new land for the nomadic tribe that has struggled for years to find a suitable home. He brings up the lives lost to dehydration and exhaustion in the last few weeks alone. Mary consoles him, certain in Buc’s leadership. They reach the top of the next hill first and see an enormous city in the distance made of stone and surrounded by high walls. The tribe seems relieved at first, but Buc remains dubious. Some of the starving Mothers and Fathers protest that they know nothing of the city. Buc counters that they knew nothing of the large city in the north that they laught refuge at, either, and the denizens slaughtered their numbers until they barely escaped with the handful of survivors he currently leads. The guinea pigs flinch in sad remembrance. Buc leads their tribe in the other direction. Each of the other Guinea Pigs gets a clear view of the distant city and a murmur of concern spreads through the crowd as they continue.
In the middle of the night, with the hills lit by moonlight, the Guinea Pigs finally stop and begin setting up camp. A YOUNG’N hears a sound like babbling water and runs away from his PARENTS and the rest of the camp. Buc is the first to notice the running child, grabs a lantern, and runs after the Young’n until he follows him around a corner and finds a stream of babbling, flowing fresh water. Buc can’t help but embrace the Young’n, thrilled with the discovery. He walks around the stream and discovers freely growing crops and edible plants like corn and potatoes. Their cheers of discovery bring the rest of the tribe around the hill, leading to a great celebration. It seems a perfect home has been found. Mary is the first to ask Buc what the new town shall be named. The entire tribe looks to him expectantly. He names it Guiniloupay. The hills echo the triumphant, jubilant cheers of Guiniloupay’s first residents.
Several months later, a perimeter of grass walls barely taller than the guinea pigs surrounds Guiniloupay, now a bustling village full of grass huts. Simple structures form neighborhoods and districts where guinea pig families hustle and bustle, bartering goods in the marketplace and doing chores around their homes. YOUNG’Ns run and play while their PARENTS look on, smiling. One male, GUTHRO (40s) suddenly rushes through the picturesque scene, asking, “Buc? Has anyone seen Buc?” A MALE tells Guthro he’s out hunting and Guthro runs through the gates of Guiniloupay and out into the fields of crops and farmlands.
Buc draws an arrow into a bow and fires at a small shrew-sized mammal. Direct hit. He and some fellow HUNTERS walk through thick underbrush to retrieve their game when the entire brush seems to rustle from movement heading straight towards them. Buc and the Hunters pull their bows back, ready to fire, when Guthro leaps out of the underbrush. They lower their weapons as Guthro delivers the urgent news: Mary is in labor. Buc and the others rush through the wilderness back towards Guiniloupay.
In Buc and Mary’s hut, Mary’s pained cries give way to the cries of a NEWBORN. Buc arrives just in time to meet his new son, who Mary names PRINCE on the spot. Buc holds Prince in his arms and his son’s cries are replaced with calm cooing.
PRINCE (now 12), stuffs Mary’s cooking into his mouth as he hurries out of the hut to play with his friends. Mary and Buc block his path just long enough to find out where he’s going. They warn him not to get too close to the sea and not to wander too close to the Northern Hills, where the feared Mouse Empire sits. Prince agrees and squirms past his parents to get outside. He runs through Guiniloupay, now a decade further in its development, with more grass huts and more RESIDENTS within its grass walls.
Prince and his friends BIT and PATCH (both 12) play “War” with wooden swords until they hear movement further into the woods. They crouch low and sneak their way through the underbrush until they see a tall, dark figure hiking through the woods a few feet away. They lose sight of the figure, exchange confused looks, and hear the rustling suddenly come up behind them. The young’ns turn to see PINTAE, an imposing adult penguin that stares down at them with distrust, demanding to know why he was being followed when he was simply trying to hunt for his village. The young’ns express surprise, having never seen a penguin or heard of such a village. Prince introduces himself as the prince of Guiniloupay. After sizing each other up, Pintae invites the young guinea pigs to follow him to the Penguin Village. He tells them they should meet the king of his village. They follow Pintae, all expressing confusion and concern to Prince. Prince keeps a brave face to hide his nerves.
The Penguin Village sits behind tall grass walls guarded by two PENGUINS who watch the guinea pigs carefully as they follow Pintae inside. The guinea pigs marvel at all the hundreds of PENGUIN RESIDENTS and their tall grass huts. The tallest hut at the back of the village is the home of KING PENJAY GUIN, the elder and leader of the village. King Penjay bows before Prince, much to the lad’s surprise, and proposes an alliance between the penguins and the guinea pigs. Long ago, he explains, his peaceful community was conquered and his people run out by the Mouse Empire and the mouse Emperor, Bandit. This Mouse Empire is revealed, in their description, to be the city the guinea pigs nearly sought refuge at so many years earlier. King Penjay led his people to a new land to build a modest village. He has watched the Mouse Empire with concern and Guiniloupay with hope for an alliance. If they combine their forces, they could not only withstand another invasion from the mice, they could beat them for good. Prince considers this carefully and tells the King he’ll discuss this with his father. As Pintae leads the guinea pigs out of the village, King Penjay calls for his sons, PRINCE PENGY and PINGY, and tells them about his intention to move into the guinea pig community. He looks at a sword on the wall and announces a will to defeat the guinea pigs if they refuse.
Buc and King Penjay shake hands in a neutral meeting ground in a field. Their respective princes stand behind their fathers, sizing up one another with some uncertainty.
Many months later, Guiniloupay sits behind a large wooden wall and features triple the population, now hosting both guinea pigs and penguins alike. An enormous marketplace holds dozens of fully-realized villages around it. The alliance has allowed Guiniloupay to thrive.
King Penjay joins Mary and Prince at Buc’s death bed. Coughing his last breaths, Buc tells Prince that he is too young to lead such a large kingdom and he is bequeathing the throne to Penjay. Mary regretfully agrees with this decree and Prince runs away, insulted and devastated. As he cries in his room, Mary knocks and enters. She’s crying, too. Buc has passed away. Mother and son embrace and grieve together.
A small group of PENGUINS construct the first walls of a new castle as Prince and Mary look on. Prince exchanges some tense words with Pengy and Pingy until King Penjay approaches, splitting up the tension by insisting Prince and Mary will be able to live there along with the royal penguin family.
GENERAL ROCKY trains a small army of hundreds of young GUINEA PIGS and PENGUINS. Among the guinea pigs are young warrior-wannabes MIRO and Guthro. Among the penguins are trainees SLEIGHBELL, SLEIGHBIDE, and PINTO. Prince struggles to wield a metal sword against a wooden dummy as General Rocky steps over to correct his swing. Prince Pengy struggles to properly wield his bow and arrow, once again requiring corrections from General Rocky. Rocky informs the warriors-in-training that they’d better start getting the knack of fighting, as King Penjay expects some enemy activity soon. Rocky approaches the penguin trio Sleighbell, Sleighbide, and Pinto, and tells them that they’re to spy on Mouse Empire and report on any suspicious activity. Miro and Guthro mutter something about penguin favoritism and Rocky silences them with a glare. He tells Miro he can join them.
Sleighbell, Sleighbide, Pinto and Miro move stealthily though fields of farmland by moonlight, approaching the foreboding stone walls of Mouse Empire. A quick-moving blur of activity takes their attention as they draw their weapons. In a flash, ten MOUSE GUARDS in full armor surround them and draw their own swords. “Seems the village in the east has an army of their own,” the mice laugh. A Guard SLASHES Miro’s face and Miro retaliates by lunging with his sword. The other Guards descend quickly on the penguins, slashing Pinto’s throat. Sleighbell and Sleighbide lash out with their weapons, slashing and swinging with longer reach than the mice, cutting down eight mice. Miro swings his sword at a mouse, but the guard blocks the blade with his own and knocks the sword aside before impaling Miro. Sleighbell and Sleighbide, suffering too many cuts and bruises to keep fighting, run away from the remaining mouse guards. ARRICK, the commander of the Mouse Army, runs out of Mouse Empire and approaches the remaining guards. They explain that they killed two out of four spies and Arrick responds by beheading one of the guards with one effortless swing of his sword. To the astonished surviving guard, he says, “Never spare an enemy.”
The sun rises as the two surviving penguins rush back to Guiniloupay and relay what happened to King Penjay. He nods somberly. “Tell General Rocky to rally the warriors and resume training immediately,” he says. “War is imminent.” Mary accuses Penjay of inciting war with his espionage, but Penjay insists this was inevitable from the war-mongering mouse tribe. Prince eavesdrops from inside his room.
TRAINING MONTAGE: Prince, Guthro, and the penguins throw their strongest efforts into target practice, firing arrows at bull’s-eyes. Rocky spars with each of them, teaching them crucial fight and block moves with swords and shields. Prince and Pengy spar with their swords, working out frustrations with each other as they trade parries and blows. Pengy gets knocked backwards by the force of Prince’s sword as he blocks it with his shield. The two princes catch their breath and Prince extends a hand, helping Pengy to his feet.
Daybreak in Mouse Empire. EMPEROR BANDIT, the elder and ruler of the mouse empire, leaves his palace and walks the streets of the city. MICE SUBJECTS greet him reverently as he passes. He walks into the BLACKSMITH’s residence, where the mouse works to fit KNIGHTS in brand-new armor. Bandit tells the Knights to accompany him to the Bay to check on the progress of his new fleet. “War,” he tells them, “is approaching.” At the Bay, wooden ships are being built by scores of MICE hammering and toiling away. The FOREMAN tells Bandit that the three ships will be ready in a week.
After a long day’s training, Prince and Pengy continue to practice their archery apart from the others. Pengy tells Prince that his mother was killed in the mouse invasion that destroyed their old village, further bonding the two princes of Guiniloupay together.
A MOUSE KNIGHT runs up to the entrance of Emperor Bandit’s castle, where his advisor RATO receives the news that the fleet is ready. He runs through the luxurious palace to Bandit’s quarters to inform him. Bandit strokes his whiskers with a smile and tells Rato to sound the alarms.
An army of hundreds of MOUSE KNIGHTS forms in the center of Mouse Empire, led by General Arrick. Bandit addresses them from his castle, telling them that a village in the east has trespassed and they will be shown no mercy. The army files out of Mouse Empire, across the fields and into the fleet.
Guiniloupay proceeds as if it’s any normal day, with the marketplace bustling and families going about their business. Two guinea pig GUARDS outside the wooden walls see the fog over the bay part to reveal the masts of oncoming ships: the mouse fleet. The Guards run into the nearest entrance and secure, running through the city at top speed. They reach the new castle, now fully constructed, and rush inside to King Penjay. They tell him the mice are coming. General Rocky jumps to action, sounding a bell and hollering into the city for all of his knights to form. Penguin and guinea pig knights alike rush to the castle, shouting at the citizens of Guiniloupay to return to their homes. The army gathers at the foot of the castle and General Rocky joins them. Pengy, Pingy and Prince are the last three to join the ranks. They begin marching out of the city to the bay and King Penjay grabs Pengy and pulls him out of the army. “Go to the castle and hide. You’re next in line for the throne and too valuable to lose, son!” Despite his protests, Pengy is sent inside. He runs to the highest point of the castle to watch as the fleet docks at the bay and hundreds of mice file out.
The Mouse Army charges the Army of Guiniloupay. The two sides collide and chaos ensues. Mass confusion sets in as a cacophony of clinking steel blades and shields crash into each other. The mice, handily outnumbering their enemies, force a line of knights straight through the Guiniloupay army and force it aside into two halves. With a clear path to Guiniloupay’s walls now available, mice with log battering rams run to the walls. The battering rams slam into the walls, sending splinters flying and the walls shattering backwards, raining upon the people of Guiniloupay. The citizens retreat from their homes as the wooden walls tumble, retreating into the marketplace in the center of the city. At the battle at the bay, a mouse Knight knocks Prince’s sword from his hands. He pulls out his bow just in time to send an arrow straight into the knight’s throat. He looks around for more knights to battle, but finds ten knights aiming swords straight at him. All around him, slain penguins and guinea pigs lay on the ground. The rest of the mice march over the fallen walls and into Guiniloupay.
Prince Pengy runs away from Mary and King Penjay and draws his sword as he exits the castle and rushes into the mass of mice. Arrick tackles Prince Pengy, knocking the sword away and taking the prince captive. Prince Pengy watches helplessly as the citizens of Guiniloupay, collected in the center of the city, are all bound in chains and marched helplessly through the city and towards the ships.
Knights burst into the castle and take King Penjay and Mary hostage. The King averts his eyes as a knight sets fire to the wooden walls of the castle and the entire palace goes up in flames. The fire soon spreads across the ruins of Guiniloupay.
The ships sail away from the ruined, burning city. Mary, King Penjay, Pengy, Pingy, and Prince are reunited on the main ship of the fleet, where Arrick declares to the penguins and guinea pigs that they are now slaves to Emperor Bandit of the Mouse Empire.
Mouse Empire. Emperor Bandit watches the army drag the captives into the city limits. He tells Arrick to take them to the slaves quarters. Their work assignments will be given the following morning. He gives King Penjay and the princes a sarcastic bow as they pass.
In the moonlit dungeons, the penguin princes attend to their fatigued father as Prince attends to his frightened and heartbroken mother. As the captives are forced into the dungeon, a PENGUIN grabs a sword from a GUARD and holds the blade to the Guard’s throat, threatening to kill him. With expert speed, a second GUARD pulls his bow and launches an arrow into the upstart penguin’s head. The penguin captive falls dead to the ground as the Guards lock the dungeon doors and walk off, laughing into the night.
What was once the beautiful Guiniloupay is now an enormous construction site as Mouse Empire’s SLAVERS inform the chained and imprisoned citizens of Guiniloupay that they shall be tearing down and rebuilding their beloved city in Emperor Bandit’s image, a planned expansion to the Emperor’s estate. The enslaved citizens of Guiniloupay perform back-breaking labor across their city, carrying heavy loads of wood and stone past the remains of their former homes. Mary attempts to push a wheelbarrow until her legs buckle beneath her. Prince sees his mother collapse across the site and rushes to her despite threats and cracking whips from the Guards. He holds his mother’s head up and they exchange heartfelt words. Before she passes away, she encourages her son to take the reins of Guiniloupay back. The Guards catch up to Prince and send lashes across his back as he wipes his tears and returns to his work.
The line of slaves file past the bodies of deceased penguins and guinea pigs left as warnings to the survivors. Prince navigates around the miserable captives he once called his subjects, evading the eyes of the mice until he finds Prince Pengy and his brother, Pingy. He expresses his desire to start a rebellion to free Guiniloupay’s people and escape. Prince Pengy, traumatized by a second loss at the hands of the mice, expresses deep fear. Pingy whispers encouraging words to his brother, reminding him of his royal duty to his subjects. Pengy agrees to support the battle.
In the dungeon that night, the penguin princes talk to their ailing father about their plans for an uprising. The Mouse Guards enter the dungeon and take King Penjay away, telling him the Emperor wants him to be his new personal slave. The penguins protest and are quickly silences by threatening gestures from the Guards’ swords. The princes swear revenge. Meanwhile, Prince moves through the darkness of the dungeon to find Guthro, the once mighty and admired hunter. He asks Guthro to help the uprising. Guthro says he’ll consider it as he joins other guinea pigs and penguins on the night shift, marched out of the dungeon and into Mouse Empire.
In Penjay’s palace, now occupied by Bandit, Rato tells King Penjay to kneel before the conquering Emperor Bandit. Penjay refuses. Bandit throws a sword down at Penjay’s feet, demanding a duel. Penjay is so exhausted that he can barely lift the sword, but he attempts to nonetheless. Bandit rushes him and gets in several painful, fatal slashes as Penjay lies down and dies. “I never knelt to you, and neither will Guiniloupay,” he says as he passes away. In a fit of rage, Bandit tosses Penjay’s dead body from the window.
Guthro and the other night slaves see King Penjay’s corpse toppling to the ground. This is the final straw for Guthro. He whispers to some of the other slaves: the penguins SLEIGHTIDE, PENGI, PENSLY, and PENDAE. The rebellious penguins nod along to his whispered, inaudible plan. Tonight, they agree, will be the night.
In his slave duties, Guthro doubles over, feigning stomach pains. He winks to the other guinea pigs and they begin to claim stomach injuries as well, citing the poor quality of the slave food. The Guards SIGH and drag the guinea pigs to an outhouse to the side. Mouse Empire CITIZENS shout threats and insults from their windows as the guinea pigs enter a farm hut to rest. The moment they enter the hut, Guthro springs into action. He grabs a sword from an unsuspecting guard and runs him through, spinning and slashing the second Guard’s throat. One of the other guinea pigs runs out of the farm house and calls the attention of some other Guards, saying the other slaves are quite sick. The ruse works a second time as they lead them to a second hut, where Guthro waits to ambush them.
MONTAGE: Sleightide, Pengi, Pensly, and Pendae all feign stomach pains separately, leading their mouse slavers to separate huts and turning on them, stealing their swords and slashing their bellies. The rebellion that began in a single hut spreads quickly to six, then ten, then twenty, until some other Guards begin to realize how many of their fellow Guards are missing.
The Guards enter the first hut and are immediately cut down with stolen swords by the guinea pigs and penguins, led by Guthro, Sleightide, Pengi, Pensly, and Pendae, all fierce and vengeful warriors set loose of their chains.. All of the allies now armed, they rush out of the farm house and move through the shadows, cutting down the mouse Guards one by one. The night shift slaves are free. A mouse CITIZEN steps out of her house to tell the guinea pigs to quiet down and they storm the mouse and tear through her house, destroying everything. They move to the next house, then the next, destroying everything in their path. Guthro takes keys from a dead Guard and hurries through Mouse Empire to the dungeons.
At the dungeons, Sleightide and Pendae unlock the doors and find Prince, telling him the uprising has begun. They relay the awful news about King Penjay to Prince Pengy and Pingy. The prince’s devastation turns to fury.
Rato pounds on Arrick’s door, waking him to rally the army. “The slaves are revolting!” he cries. Arrick looks out his window to see a massive group of slaves all smashing property and houses in a wave of destruction. He sounds an alarm and Knights begin hurrying out of their residences, swords drawn and armor fitted. In the viciousness of the unexpected ambush, however, the slaves of Guiniloupay have the upper hand. The freed slaves from the dungeon join the destruction already in progress, wielding anything and everything they can find as swords and shields. Even the FEMALES and YOUNG’Ns of the enslaved city are joining the battle. The Knights try to stand in their path, but the soldiers of Guiniloupay run to the front of the wave and slash away with Mouse Empire’s swords, led by the warriors that began the brave rebellion, Sleightide, Pendae, Guthro, Pensly, and Pengi. The Knights get mowed down by the onslaught and trampled by the mass of slaves as they plow into the gates of Mouse Empire as a unified community and rush into the night.
Arrick leads a team of Knights across the fields and hills of the landscape, chasing after the escaped slaves. Sleighbell, Sleighbide, and Guthro lay in ambush at the top of the hills nearest to the remains of Guiniloupay, running downhill with the advantage of higher ground. The Knights are massacred. Arrick lands a fatal cut across Guthro’s belly, killing the warrior instantly. Sleighbell and Sleighbide team up on Arrick, wounding him deeply and holding him captive as Prince runs up the hill with his sword drawn. He beheads the mouse General, screaming with vengeful rage, now old beyond his years. He slashes and slashes until his sword is knocked away by a familiar face – GENERAL ROCKY, now free, who advises Prince to save his energy for the fight to come.
The denizens of Guiniloupay look around the burnt ruins of their home, distraught at the heavy loss of property and lives. Prince Pengy rallies everyone together to deliver a stirring speech to encourage them. In his speech, he expresses that Guiniloupay exists in the memories of the fallen and the spirits of the survivors. Prince Pengy and Pingy consult with Prince, deferring to him as the new ruler of Guiniloupay. Prince looks around at the fallen pieces of the once-mighty wooden wall. An idea occurs to him. He calls upon his subjects to follow his instructions for one final battle that will ensure their freedom forever.
Daybreak at Mouse Empire. Emperor Bandit observes the carnage and damage done to his captured city and mouse subjects through a telescope. The slave uprising left a path of destruction that leads straight to the front gates of the city. He throws a fiery temper tantrum, demanding to know where his general and army have gone. A few wounded KNIGHTS stagger up to him. A limping Knight relays the death of Arrick and many of the Knights. In a fit of rage, Bandit, draws his dagger and slits the Knight’s throat. He demands the other Knights begin training every young mouse in the empire for a war to end all wars.
Before the Knights can do anything, a low roar slowly approaches from the East. Bandit and Rato run to the top floor of the castle to find the source of the noise and see wooden tanks and catapults rolling over the hills in formation. He sounds an alarm and calls for archers to help defend his castle. The archers hurry up to the castle and begin launching flaming arrows over the wall towards the encroaching army of Guiniloupay. A few arrows hit the wooden war machines but the flames are extinguished by penguins and guinea pigs marching in formation alongside them. The catapults respond to the arrows by launching flaming logs through the air and over the walls. The logs crash into the center of town and one lands a direct hit into the side of Bandit’s palace.
The tanks roll into Mouse Empire as the mice run screaming, seeking shelter and hiding places. The remaining Knights charge at the tanks; Rocky, Sleightide, Pengi, Pensly, Pendae, Sleighbell, Sleighbide, Prince Pengy and Pingy emerge from within them, carrying axes and chopping into the mice armor, vanquishing their foes easily.
Running through the ranks of the Guiniloupay army comes Prince, sword held high, rushing into the castle of Emperor Bandit. He calls for Prince Pengy and Pingy to join him to reclaim their fallen fathers’ honor and they rush after him, chopping through the two GUARDS at the entrance and KICKING the doors down. They run up the stairs with fervor and kick down the doors to Bandit’s quarters. Bandit and the Princes of Guiniloupay exchange tense threats before Bandit tosses a sword to his lowly stooge Rato. Rato, trembling with fear, lifts the sword and make a few pathetic attempts at swings towards the three princes. Prince fights Rato as the two penguins rush Bandit. Bandit grabs a new sword and trades blows with Pingy and Prince Pengy, fighting two swords with one and exhibiting surprising skills before Pengy runs his blade through the cruel emperor’s chest and Pingy slits his throat. Prince shows mercy on Rato and sends the lackey scrambling for his life. “It’s what my father would have done,” Prince declares to the penguin princes.
The citizens of Mouse Empire watch in alarm as Bandit’s body is hung from his castle’s balcony. The princes emerge victorious from the castle and march with their army out of the Mouse Empire and back towards Guiniloupay.
Months later, the city of Guiniloupay has recovered nicely. Walls are rebuilt around new homes and storefronts. FAMILIES work, play, and bustle around the rebuilt marketplace. Fearless warriors of Guiniloupay Rocky, Sleightide, Pengi, Pensly, and Pendae all take part in leading training exercises as Prince Pengy and Pingy supervise the training of new SOLDIERS in a field beside the wall. Prince and his MATE rock their NEWBORN in the rebuilt castle. All seems peaceful and joyous. From the shadows of the woods across the hills, a figure watches through a telescope. Rato pockets his telescope, sneering at the seemingly victorious city. “You think you’ve won,” he spits as he hurries out of the woods and back towards the fallen ruins of Mouse Empire.
FADE TO BLACK:
Screenwriter: Eric Stolz