“I am the fourth. The fourth seer. The seer of Sunstone.”
Moneywort, Pumpkin and Fiver were silent at this revelation. “How long have you been at Sunstone?” Moneywort asked the doe while Pumpkin and Fiver waited with bated breath.
“Two months now.”
“What’s your name?” Fiver asked.
“Moonblossom. I was waiting for you to contact me but since it’s almost the full moon I was ordered by my master to contact you.”
“You’re master! You’re working for Blizzard!” Pumpkin shouted
“Blizzard has my master imprisoned. Neither my master nor myself work for that rabbit.”
“Then who is your master?”
“My master is…”
Birch and Zen had come to their senses and fought Blizzard’s power for two moons with the help of Blackstone and his rabbits. The darkness was at bay for now but from Blackstone they learned it would be a long time before they could truly hold it at bay. Until then they could never return home to Efrafa and there was still the fact that no rabbit could escape Blizzard and Thanatos.
“Who is Thanatos?” Zen asked Blackstone one day as they were on guard duty one evening.
“Thanatos is formerly the kitten that was stolen moons ago from Watership Down,” Blackstone said simply.
“Blackavar’s kit?” Birch asked in shock.
“Yes. He is now Thanatos and has no memory of being born in Watership Down or of his real parli and marli thanks to Blizzard and the change.”
Zen and Birch were surprised that the kitten hadn’t been killed yet also shocked that he was so evil. “How…” Zen started.
“We don’t know how he was corrupted by Blizzard-rah,” Fern said speaking up. “Maybe it had something to do with being kidnapped and seeing his marli injured. Or maybe…”
“Maybe he was just evil from the beginning and Blizzard changing him brought it to light.”
Blizzard walked into his favorite prisoner’s burrow. This rabbit was guarded twenty-four seven all year long. The burrow wasn’t in the prison run. It was a few burrows down from Blizzard and Thanatos’s and was three burrows-the guards who were ordered to watch his prisoner night and day slept in two burrows to the sides and the prisoner slept in the center burrow.
The Owsla guards who were on duty bowed before their master and stepped aside as he entered the burrow. “How are you doing today?”
The jet black rabbit looked at him in disgust. “Don’t pretend that you care about my welfare Blizzard.”
“Now Shingetsu don’t be like that. You have a nice warm burrow and all the grass you can eat.”
“I don’t have all the grass I can eat! You’re the one who is keeping me trapped here and draining my powers for your own gain.”
“I am merely using your powers to make a better world and better rabbits. But first Watership Down and her allies need to be destroyed. Anyone who associates with Hazel’s warren deserves to be killed.”
“What you are doing is against Lord Frith’s law!” Shingetsu snarled, his eyes flashing in the dim light of the burrow.
Shingetsu lunged at Blizzard but the Owsla pinned him to the ground. “Give him one-eighth rations,” Blizzard said smiling as he sent Shingetsu flying backwards across the prison burrow and into the stone wall before turning and going to see who he could torture.
Blackstone looked up as he heard the squeal from the prison burrow that housed his master’s favorite and most secret prisoner. None of the rabbits of Brimstone knew who this prisoner was except for the Owsla who lived in the two burrows and whose job was to guard the prisoner day and night. He shook his head sadly and glanced at Pecan who had also stopped to listen to the scream of the poor rabbit. Knowing they would be punished if they were caught lingering by that run they hurried on to patrol the main part of the warren where the main rabbits were kept. Blizzard had marked the rabbits and put them in either the Neck Mark, the Fore Mark, the Off Fore Mark, or the Near Hind Mark. Blizzard had taken this idea after learning of how things had been run under a rabbit named Woundwort.
“That poor rabbit. I wish we could help it somehow,” Pecan said to Blackstone.
“As do I my friend. But there’s nothing we can do for it. We wouldn’t make it two hops down that run.”
Pecan nodded and the two rabbits continued on their way. There just had to be a way to kill Blizzard and the evil rabbits. For if there wasn’t then their lives and the lives of all rabbits would be forfeited as their master took over.
“Well who is your master if not Blizzard?” Moneywort asked.
“My master is the Black rabbit of Inle,” Moonblossom said.
There was an uncomfortable and long silence as Moneywort, Pumpkin and Fiver tried to digest and understand what they had just heard.
“The Black Rabbit?!” Pumpkin squealed in terror.
“My master isn’t evil if that’s what you’re thinking. He’s actually really nice to his Owsla and the rabbits of his warren in the Shadow Land.”
Every rabbit knew that the Black Rabbit of Inle served Lord Frith by taking the souls of dead rabbits to his warren in the Shadow Land. His Owsla was made up of dead chiefs and it was no place for the living. Other than that is all they knew about him. Moneywort, Pumpkin and Fiver couldn’t believe that Moonblossom was the servant of the Black Rabbit of Inle.
“Come to Sunstone and see me. There’s a journey we have to go on and hopefully it will help me rescue my master and save the alliance as well as the good rabbits of Brimstone as well.”
“There are no good rabbits at Brimstone,” Pumpkin said.
“Yes there are. There are seventeen changed rabbits who are good plus all the prisoners. As well as my master.”
Fiver closed the connection so they could converse in private. “What do you guys think? We need help destroying Blizzard and stopping him from killing us. I say we go with Moonblossom.”
“That’s true,” Moneywort said. “But allying ourselves with a doe that is in the service of the Black Rabbit?”
“It does seem odd but what choice do we have?” Fiver asked.
After some hesitation he got a ‘yes’ from Pumpkin and Moneywort and Fiver opened up the connection again. “Very well Moonblossom we will come to you.”
“Thank you. Master will be pleased to know that I finally made contact with you three.”
Moneywort left early the next day and headed for Vleflain where he would meet up with Pumpkin and together they would go to Watership Down before heading to Sunstone. Pumpkin was waiting above ground for Moneywort to arrive from Efrafa. When he arrived they headed for Watership Down and reached it at noon.
“Hello Fiver,” Pumpkin said before setting to nibble on some grass. Moneywort nodded to his friend and set on the grass as well as he had left at dawn and hadn’t paused to eat anything on the way to Watership Down. The three weren’t sure what to make of Moonblossom or of the vision that Moneywort had had but it looked like it would be a good day for traveling to Sunstone.
“Hello Pumpkin and Moneywort,” Pipkin said. “Lovely day isn’t it?”
“Yes it is Pipkin,” Moneywort said between mouthfuls of grass. “What are you up to today?”
“I’m going with Dandelion and Hawkbit to the farm to get some fresh carrots.”
“Be careful Pipkin. You have to watch for Tabitha and Duster as well as the man.”
“Don’t worry Moneywort. I’m always careful.”
“Better not let your hunger get to your head young buck,” Moneywort said chuckling. “It might get you in trouble or even killed.”
“Where are you going?”
“Can I come?”
“No you can’t,” Pumpkin said. “Besides aren’t you going to the farm?”
“Yeah but I could always go later,” Pipkin said.
Into the darkness you must go to fight the evil that threatens all. Four united and minds opened will crush the darkness but if one should fall then all shall follow. Trust the fourth for she holds true. To save a master you do not know you must follow the light through fog and shadow until you come to the frozen pool. There you’ll see what has been blocked from you.
Fiver shook his head as the vision faded. The other three rabbits were looking at him with worry. “Go on and have fun at the farm Pipkin but please don’t tell Hazel where we’re going.”
“Because it’s something only we seers can do and we can’t have any outside interference. Stay safe at the farm.”
They turned and made their way to Sunstone. “Fiver did that make any sense to you?”
“Well obviously the fourth is Moonblossom. We should trust her and I think the darkness is Blizzard so the four must mean the seers of the alliance since it’s one seer from each warren. But I’m not sure about ‘save a master you do not know’ or what that other stuff means.”
The three seers made good time and arrived at Sunstone during afternoon Silflay. They passed through the magical barrier. A jet black doe with a silver streak between her ears hopped over to them. “Greetings seers. I’m Moonblossom. Come follow me to my burrow.”
Moonblossom led Fiver, Moneywort and Pumpkin to her burrow and watched as the three rabbits entered. She held up a paw to keep them quiet and reached towards her master. It took longer than normal which worried her but finally there was a faint light as their minds connected.
Master I have contacted the three and told them your common name.
Very… good… my… servant. Moonblossom could feel her master’s strain to hold the link.
What happened Master?!
Blizzard merely decided to teach me a lesson in pain. Since he’s draining my powers I don’t have the super healing ability at the moment and he cut my rations down to one-eighth a day as punishment for arguing with him.
Should I tell the three about you’re real name Master and of their history?
Yes it is important that their minds are opened. Take them to the Shadow Land where everything will become clear. They need to learn that all seers are my servants. Hurry Moonblossom for I fear I won’t last much longer.
Yes Master Shingetsu.
Shingetsu. It’s been a while since you’ve called me that. Good luck my servant. There was a flash and the link closed.
“Hurry…” Shingetsu gasped as the pain of his injury shot through him.
Moonblossom turned to the entrance and placed her paws on one of the burrow walls. An orange light flowed from her and the burrow suddenly became soundproof while the walls moved together sealing off the burrow from the rest of Sunstone.
“What do you know of the Black Rabbit of Inle and of the Shadow Land?”
“The Black Rabbit is Lord Frith’s servant who takes the souls of dead rabbits to his home in the Shadow Land. His Owsla is made up of dead chiefs and it is no place for the living,” Fiver said.
“That’s all we know,” Pumpkin added.
“That’s all any normal rabbit would know. My master is not a phantom like you’ve been lead to believe. He’s actually a real solid rabbit.”
“If he’s a solid rabbit then why does he appear as a phantom when he shows up in visions and takes dead rabbits away?” Moneywort asked.
Moonblossom shook her head. “It’s punishment from Lord Frith. Rabbits may think Lord Frith is kind and good but he’s not. Settle back and I’ll tell you my master’s story.”