(Note: There are two versions of this chapter: the original written when the comic was started, and a revised version, known as Redux 1, which covers the same events with improved artwork and some added details. Redux is considered the "official" version and is what this synopsis covers.)
A pair of young hamsters, named Sam and J'Aime, have become lost while travelling, and spent the last week wandering the expanses of an abandoned golf course trying to get their bearings. They have no food or water, and Sam is distraught about the situation, while J'Aime tells him not to worry so much. The two friends stumble onto an old thieves' hideout, and investigate for supplies. Finding some water but nothing to eat, the hamsters smell food cooking and rush outside. They see a parked caravan with a squirrel preparing a meal, and J'Aime initiates some quite eventful introductions.
Checkpoint: Page 10
As dark falls, the squirrel, Hickory, invites Sam and J'Aime to share his food. The three talk while eating, and it turns out there is another hitchhiker, a female mouse Hickory came across and offered a ride to. J'Aime teases Sam about staring, and after feeding the snail pulling the caravan, the mouse goes around to the other side, seeking privacy while cradling an ornate staff with a large jewel at its tip. She is ambushed by a figure dressed as a bandit, who she recognizes. Oblivious to this, Sam and J'Aime finish eating, and accept Hickory's invitation to travel with him since they share a destination, the city of Crosond. The bandit demands the mouse's staff, referring to her as "Miss Noumou" and it "the Rod". The mouse refuses, and the bandit calls upon reinforcements, making the others aware of his presence as they are surrounded, the leader offering a choice between the Rod or their lives.