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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Brimstone

Blizzard and his servants landed near some caves with a medium sized meadow.  The rabbit that had been holding Thorn dropped him on the ground at Blizzard’s paws.  Blizzard looked at the kitten before looking at his servants.  “Start digging the warren in the caves.”
The rabbits hurried to do their master’s bidding.  The change had made the formerly dead rabbits claws sharp enough to burrow through rock and Blizzard figured the caves would be the perfect warren for him and the young kitten who was cowering before him.  Blizzard lied down in front of the kitten who was crying for his marli and parli.
“What’s your name little buck?”
“Thorn.”
“Your name doesn’t suit you.  Do you know why I kidnapped you from Watership Down?”
“No.”
“I sense you will be a strong buck with proper training and nurturing and I need a successor to take over Brimstone if I’m to die.  Not that I will die.”  Blizzard chuckled at his last sentence.  “I have plans for you little one as well as all four of those warrens who would gladly have torn each other apart.  You should be thanking me for I spared your warren from being destroyed for now and saved you from death.”
“Marli and Parli will kill you for kidnapping me!” Thorn shouted at the rabbit before him.
“Your marli is already dead.  My servant fatally and mortally wounded her before snatching you and your parli is no condition to come after me with his broken leg.”
Blizzard pinned Thorn to the ground with one paw while they waited for the other rabbits to finish digging the warren. Five hours passed as the sun began to set in the sky before the rabbits came out.  One of the rabbits hopped over to Blizzard.  “Master the warren is finished.”
“Good.  Enjoy your silflay.  My son is coming with me.”
“I’m not your son!” Thorn shouted.
“You will be soon once you’re changed.”
Thorn was terrified.  He was surrounded by strange rabbits, his marli had been killed, his parli injured and he’d been kidnapped from his warren and his siblings. Thorn knew there was no way he could make it back to Watership Down as he was too young and he didn’t even know where they were.
“Why do you want to destroy rabbits?”
“I don’t want to destroy all rabbits.  Just Watership Down and those other three warrens.  Captain Holly left me to die after I was attacked by a badger instead of taking me with him, Bluebell and Pimpernel.  Our warren had just been destroyed by man.  They gassed the tunnels with poison and threw nets over the holes to keep any rabbits from getting out.  Any rabbit that did escape was usually too full of the poison man had pumped into the runs and was shot by man or the boy who was with them.  The runs were blocked with dead bodies. This is all Fiver and Hazel’s fault that Sandleford was destroyed.  They and the rest of the Watership Down rabbits deserve to pay.  Including any warrens in alliance with them.”
“You won’t get away with this!  Hazel and the others will stop you!”
Blizzard laughed. “No I don’t think they will be able to.  See I left them a surprise.”
“What surprise?”  Thorn asked with fear in his voice.
“My power slipped into the warren when I blasted the ground and where I killed the rabbits that are with us.  It will affect any rabbit it touches that has anger in their hearts and they will be automatically transported here to Brimstone to serve me.”
He picked Thorn up by his neck and carried him into Brimstone and through the runs into his burrow which was larger than the other burrows.  There he dropped Thorn on the cave floor.  “Now it’s time that I changed you.” 
Blizzard let his power surround him.  The black cloud hovered around his body and crackled with lightning.  Thorn tried running around Blizzard but Blizzard sent the black cloud to block the entrance to his burrow trapping Thorn with him.  “Once this touches you Thorn you’ll belong to me and won’t remember anything of your old life.  I’ll make it painless for you.”  Blizzard backed Thorn up against the cave wall and let the cloud and his power hover over and around the small kitten.
“No!  Marli! Parli! Help!”
Blackavar winced in pain as Prince Rainbow rested his paws on his leg.  A yellow light covered Prince Rainbow’s paws and seeped down into Blackavar’s injured leg and through his body healing the wound where the dark rabbit had bitten his shoulder.  Cold spread through his body making him gasp for breath and then changed as heat spread through his body.  Prince Rainbow sat back and watched Blackavar.
“You are lucky that you were only bitten by that rabbit.  I’ve managed to heal both your leg and the wound.  If I had gone any deeper than you would have been turned by Blizzard.”
Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and Hyzenthlay watched Blackavar and Prince Rainbow.  Prince Rainbow had appeared after they had fixed their warren and helped Honey, the Watership Down healer, heal the rabbits that had been injured in the attack before Blizzard had come.  “Blackavar will need to rest for a week and then he should be as good as new.”
“Thank you Prince Rainbow,” Hazel said bowing his head to Frith’s messenger.  The other three rabbits did the same.  “I don’t know how we would have managed without you.”
“What about Mist?  How is she?”  Blackavar asked. 
“Not doing well.  The wounds on her took a far worse toll then I feared.  She will need to remain at Sunstone for a long time.  How long I can’t say.  I have never seen this type of power before in all life.  Sadly Lord Frith doesn’t know about this type of power either.”
The rabbits remained silent at Prince Rainbow’s words.  “I have to go to Mist.  I have to make sure she is okay.”
“No you have to stay here and look after your kittens while their mother is being healed.  Besides you are in no shape to be going anywhere right now.  Though your leg and the wound have been healed it’s best that you stay put for now.  Get some rest Blackavar.  Not many rabbits would have risked their lives like that.”
Prince Rainbow turned and left the burrow with the four Watership rabbits following him.  “He will need to be guarded so that he doesn’t try anything foolish Hazel.  Have your rabbits take shifts watching him to make sure he doesn’t leave Watership Down.”
Hazel nodded at Prince Rainbow’s orders.  “I am not sure if this magic will affect the rabbits in any of your warrens so be careful.  Have you heard from Campion and Groundsel?”
“Yes they plan on coming here to discuss what has happened and how we can deal with this threat to our survival.”
“Good.  Now I must be off.  I have other business to attend to for Lord Frith.”
“Of course Prince Rainbow.  We will see you again?”
“Yes but I am not sure when.”
The rabbits nodded and Prince Rainbow disappeared.  “What should do we Hazel-rah?”  Bigwig asked.
“Follow Prince Rainbow’s advice I guess.  Bigwig inform the Owsla that Blackavar must be guarded twenty-four seven for a week.  Have them take shifts.  It wouldn’t hurt to train some of the regular rabbits in guard duty as well.  No rabbit is to leave Watership Down unless they’re sent on a message to Vleflain or Efrafa.  You and Captain Holly might consider taking out some wide patrols like Campion has been teaching us to look for danger or any signs of Blizzard or those dark rabbits.”
“Yes Hazel-rah.”  Bigwig went off to find Captain Holly and round up the Owsla.  “Hyzenthlay gather the does with kittens and move them deeper into the warren where they’ll be safe.  If Blizzard comes back use the escape tunnel and get the does and kittens out of Watership Down and start a new warren somewhere else.”
“But Hazel…”
“No Hyzenthlay.  I won’t see Watership Down destroyed.  If that rabbit kills us all then you need to take the does and kittens far away from here and flee this place.”
Hyzenthlay sighed and nodded at her mate and chief.  “I’ll do it right now.”  She turned and ran off.
“Fiver do you know what’s going to happen us?”
“I don’t know Hazel.  You know my visions don’t work like that and I can’t make them come to me.  They just appear whenever there’s danger nearby.”
Hazel rubbed an ear and shook his head sadly.  “Fiver I want to lead Hyzenthlay and the others if we die.”
“Hazel I don’t have the ability to lead a warren.  I’m just a seer.”
“You’re braver than you think Fiver.  It might be good to have Campion and Groundsel dig escape runs as well so some of their rabbits can make it to safety as well.  Then it will be a new warren of Efrafa, Vleflain and Watership Down.”
“What about Sunstone?”
“I don’t think anybody would like to have Sunstone rabbits among them. Though they did seem happy didn’t they?”  Hazel asked referring to the former rabbits of Shining Wire Warren.
“Yes they did.  I’m glad they found peace finally.”
“Hazel!”  Bigwig shouted stopping before he plowed into Hazel and Fiver.
“What is it Bigwig?  Did Blizzard come back?”

“No Hazel.  Blackavar and the kittens are gone!”

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