Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fire Moon

In a small burrow beneath a hollowed out tree a single kitten was born.  The young back was red with a lavender stripe that went from its nose up between its ears and down its back to its tail.  The doe shivered from the cold wind that blew on the down.  She knew her son was special.  Shingetsu came to the doe as her kitten nursed from his mother.
“My Lord is it time?”
Shingetsu looked at the kitten beside its mother.  “Your kitten is a seer. You should be proud of him.  What shall you name him doe?”
“Fire moon isn’t it?”
The doe nodded.  “Do not worry Starlight about your kitten.  He’ll be one of my best and most powerful servants. It is him that will change the world.  I will give you another week to live and look after him but then you must come to the Shadow Land with me.”
“What of…”
“A rabbit will come to you who will take care of your kitten along with his doe. He’ll be in safe paws.”
“Thank you My Lord.”
Shingetsu smiled and went back to the Shadow Land.  Starlight looked down at Hitsuki and then fell asleep.    A week passed when Starlight heard something outside the burrow. She poked her head out of the burrow.  A few rabbits were on patrol.  Starlight didn’t know that she was in the boundaries of the alliance and was near Watership Down. Looking back at Hitsuki she returned to the safety of the burrow as her son snuggled next to her.  He was still blind and without fur.  Starlight knew there was no way her kitten would survive without her.  She had to get him to a warren.
She cautiously came out of the burrow and began to feed.  Blackavar was out on sentry duty that night and saw the rabbit in a patch of moonlight. He checked to see that he wasn’t being watched and ran towards the doe before pinning her to the ground.  “Be quiet,” he hissed in the doe’s ear.
“What’s your name?”
“Starlight huh?  What are you doing here Starlight?”
“Please don’t harm me or my kitten,” Starlight pleaded with Blackavar.
“Kitten?  Let me see. Don’t worry you can trust me,” Blackavar added as he noticed Sitara’s fangs.  “I swear to you as Captain of Owsla that I won’t harm your kitten.”
Starlight looked at Blackavar.  For some reason she could sense that he meant her or Hitsuki no harm.  She led him back to her burrow and Blackavar followed her down.  Blackavar peered at the kitten in the dark and saw the lavender stripe across its back and face. “Tell me did the Black Rabbit visit you at all?”
“Yes.  Why do you ask?”
“He visited me as well and told me that there would be a kitten with the exact description of your buck that I would need to protect. It seems this is the one he spoke of.”
Starlight nodded.  She saw the Black Rabbit behind Blackavar who smile and nodded.  “What is your name Owsla Captain?”
“My name is Blackavar.”
“Blackavar.  Take care of my Hitsuki for me Blackavar. I leave him in your charge,” and with that she took her last breath and passed from the mortal world.
Blackavar sighed and picked up the kitten gently in his mouth before turning and running back to his burrow where he set the kitten down next to Mist.  “Blackavar?”
“Go back to sleep Mist.  I’ll explain everything in the morning.”
The next morning Mist woke up to see a strange kitten nestled beside her.  Blackavar lay next to Mist looking at the kitten.  “Blackavar what is this about?”
“I found the kitten that the Black Rabbit told me of.  Do you remember?”
“This kitten is the exact one that the Black Rabbit showed me an image of.  His mother just died.  It’s our duty to protect and care for the young buck Mist.”
Mist nodded and licked the little kitten before settling back to sleep as Blackavar watched over them both. He would die to keep his promise he’d made to Starlight. Nothing would harm this kitten as long as he lived and he knew Mist would also give her life for the kitten entrusted to them.
Two months passed and little Hitsuki grew.  Blackavar and Mist’s remaining kittens were protective over the addition to their family and felt that this kitten was given to their parents in replace of their lost brother Thorn.  The kittens would snuggle against each other when they slept while Blackavar and Mist looked on in happiness and worry. 
One autumn day Hitsuki and his siblings were playing tail tag when Hitsuki suddenly fell to the ground shaking.  Because of the lavender stripe on his back and the fact that his mother had died a week after he was born many of the rabbits made fun of him.  Hitsuki knew that he had been rescued by Blackavar and that Blackavar and Mist weren’t his real marli and parli.  He had no idea who his parli was and neither did Blackavar or Mist.  Vine ran up to the fallen buck and watched helplessly.  He recognized the shaking as what had happened to their old seer, Fiver.  Hitsuki was a seer!
The son of a warrior now mad with power comes back from the dead to finish what was started.  Changed at birth and changed at death the one we miss is gone and will seek to destroy the ones who wronged him.  Enslaved to their master the servants cry but their blood will flow at the claws of the alliance.  Battle will once again ring through the land.  But if they hope to avoid the darkness two alliances must unite or all will perish.  All will perish.
“Hitsuki!” Vine shouted.  Hitsuki got up and shook his head.  “Vine? What happened?”
“I knew it!  I knew there was something odd about that rabbit!” A voice shouted.
Vine and Hitsuki looked up and Vine groaned.  It was Glengloss, a kitten of Willowbark and Skylark.  “You have no clue what you’re talking about Glengloss,” Vine says standing quickly in front of his rescued brother.
“That Hitsuki just had a vision didn’t he? He’s a bloody seer! You know they’re outlawed in the alliance Vine.  So your parents have been harboring an enemy for two months? Wait until Oakleaf-rah hears about this.”
“You’re not going to tell anyone about this,” Vine growls before he shoved Hitsuki carefully away from them. “Go find marli,” he whispered and carefully positioned himself in front of Glengloss. 
Vine tackled Glengloss to the ground ripping into his ear.  Glengloss screamed in pain. “If you EVER report this to anyone I’ll tear your throat out myself,” he hissed before letting Glengloss up and watching the other rabbit walk away.  
“Vine!” Vine flinched as he saw his marli come running up to him. 
“Hi marli,” Vine said weakly. 
“What do you think you were doing just now to Glengloss?”
“Hitsuki had a vision marli,” Vine muttered under his breath. “Glengloss overheard it and threatened to tell Oakleaf-rah and I… may have over reacted a bit.”
“Vine I appreciate you wanting to protect Hitsuki but threatening another rabbit isn’t the way to go about it,” Mist said sighing as she looked at her son.  “We could all be killed for harboring Hitsuki if his ability gets out to the warren or the alliance.”
“So we’re just expected to abandon him to live on his own?!” Vine shouted.  “If that’s the case then why did parli even bother rescuing him?”
“VINE!” Mist shouted suddenly losing her temper.  She lowered her voice.  “Your parli did a good thing by rescuing Hitsuki.  We won’t abandon him or see him killed. Blackavar and I will give our lives to protect him and you and your siblings as well.”
“A seer!” Oakleaf-rah shouted at Glengloss who smiled. “There’s a seer in Watership Down, a seer in the alliance?!”
“The buck that was taken in two months ago by Blackavar and Mist is the seer Oakleaf-rah.  I heard him having a vision and Vine threatened to kill me.”
“Send the Owsla to Blackavar and Mist’s burrow.  Kill Blackavar and Mist but bring the seer to me so I can finish him myself.”
Dogwood ran immediately to Blackavar and Mist.  “What’s wrong Dogwood?”
“Blackavar!  Is it true you’re harboring a seer?”
Blackavar and Mist’s eyes widened. “How do you…?”
“No time! You must all leave immediately.  Glengloss told Oakleaf-rah. He’s going to see you both as well as your kittens killed and kill the seer himself!”
Blackavar let out a snarl. “Thank you Dogwood!” Blackavar and Mist ran for their burrow and gathered up their children.  They turned to leave only to find the Owsla standing before them. 
“So you’ve been harboring a seer all this time Blackavar?” Captain Marsh asked. “We’re under orders from Oakleaf-rah to kill you, your mate and your kittens.”
“If you want this seer you’ll have to get through Mist and me Marsh,” Blackavar snarled.  Mist took up position on her mate’s left and they bared their fangs at the Owsla members. 
NO!” Hitsuki shouted.  A blast of fire hit the Owsla making them scream in pain as they burst into flames.  “Run Blackavar and Mist!” Hitsuki shouted before he collapsed.  Blackavar picked up the poor kitten and his family followed him up the run.  They had just managed to get to the entrance that came up between the roots of the beech tree when they were blocked by Oakleaf-rah and some more Owsla.
“So is this the little buck?  He doesn’t look like much.”
Blackavar twisted his head and threw Hitsuki out of the burrow.  “RUN!  Run and don’t look back!” Blackavar lunged at Oakleaf and began biting and clawing at each other.  Mist took on one of the guards but they closed in on her.  She screamed in pain as they tore open her right hind leg.  “Mist!” Blackavar shouted running towards his mate.  Suddenly five more rabbits tackled the Owsla that had been attacking their kittens. 
“Can you not see that the seer is vital to our warren as well as to the alliance?!”
Oakleaf turned to look at the rabbit who had spoken.  It was Falkner.  “What is the meaning of this?! How dare you and your pack of dogs defy the order that Hazel sent down!”
“I was there when Hazel-rah died.  Before he took his last breath he said ‘Fiver… what I have done?’ That leads me to believe his order was a mistake.  No doubt a mistake forced on him by Frith.  Without seers there would be no rabbits! They aren’t a threat to us!”
“Hazel is no longer chief!  What I say goes and if you don’t like that you will die along with your rabbits.”
“Go ahead and kill me then Oakleaf if you dare try.  Neither I nor my friends will allow you to harm the seer.”
A white rabbit slammed into one of the Owsla that had been going for the seer. He ripped into its throat and there was a sickening rip as the flesh and muscle was torn out.  Blood dripped onto the grass as the rabbit turned and glared at the Owsla.  Falkner, Blackavar, Mist and the kittens were slowly backing out of the burrow.  “Come after us and you’ll be sorry,” Falkner shouted.  He turned and picked up the kitten that was now getting to its feet. 
“Are you alright little one?” Falkner asked looking at the young seer with concern. 
Hitsuki was unsteady on his feet but nodded.  Oakleaf and his remaining Owsla that had been in on the attack charged them.  “STOP!” Hitsuki shouted as the ground exploded below them sending the attacking rabbits down into the warren.  Hitsuki fell then and lay still.
Falkner and the others stared at each other.  The little seer had a lot of power.  “Come on!”
Falkner and the others took off down the hill and across the down.  The rabbits ran as far as they could go, pushing their bodies to the limit before they collapsed in utter exhaustion.  Falkner set Hitsuki down on the ground before he collapsed and lay there panting.  The rabbits shook with fear of what had just occurred.  Blackavar and Mist explained what had happened to the Owsla who had been sent to kill them and take Hitsuki.  They were all shocked that the little seer had burned five rabbits of the Owsla to death. 
“Then we must protect him at all costs.”
“But where will we go? The only warren we’re aware of is Brimstone and that was destroyed,” Kori said. 
“We’ll just have to hope there’s somewhere out there we can go to. Or we have to make our own warren.  Either way we must get outside the boundaries of the alliance or we’ll be killed.  Oakleaf will no doubt send word to Vleflain, Efrafa, and Sunstone to hunt us.”
Five pairs of glittering red eyes appeared in the night.  Four black rabbits and a burgundy rabbit appeared in the small plot of trees looking in silence among the rabbits.  Falkner opened his eyes and stared in horror at the rabbits before him.  Before he could shout a warning one of the black rabbits tore out his throat and he fell.  “Find the seer and bring it to me,”
“Yes Thanatos-rah,” the four black rabbits muttered. Their gold collars shone beneath the moonlight as they advanced on the sleeping rabbits.  Thanatos calmly sat there listening to the screams of the rabbits as they tried to fight the rabbits of Zorn but of course they were helpless to stop the attack.  Normal rabbits against four rabbits that each had a different power?  An attack against rabbits that were enslaved to Thanatos for life?  It wasn’t even a contest. 
There was a squeal of pain and one of the enslaved rabbits was blasted into a tree.  It hit the tree and slid to the ground in pain.  The three other slaves came walking back.  A kitten was dropped before Thanatos.  Thanatos stared at the kitten with the lavender stripe along its back and head.  “So you’re the seer that was cast out of your warren?” Thanatos said and then smiled.  “Well then I think I’m going to enjoy this.”  He brought a fisted paw down on Hitsuki and the poor kitten blacked out.  Then the five rabbits vanished from view.  There was a pitiful moan of pain as something moved in the place of death.  Kori and Vine got shakily to their feet and looked around them at the scene of destruction.
“Marli! Parli!” Vine shouted crying as he ran to the still forms of his parents.  Kori suddenly felt sick.  They had failed to protect Hitsuki from the evil rabbits. What’s worse he had recognized the black rabbits with patterns as he had seen them before at Brimstone.  “Oh Kuu no!  The evil son lives. The seer’s vision… it’s true!”   In front of him Vine’s painful wails of pain and loss were loud in the dark night.

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