Thanatos watched the opening of the prison run as two of the Owsla came out with a rabbit between them. The rabbit had recently been captured in a scouting party on another warren. Blizzard stood beside Thanatos as the rabbit was led out and shoved in front of them.
“Now Thanatos watch me.”
“Okay parli,” Thanatos said.
Blizzard looked at the rabbit with distaste and shot out a bolt of lightning at the rabbit. The rabbit screamed as it jerked in the arms of the two Owsla members who were holding it. Blizzard gave the rabbit a couple minutes of breathing room before he again shot lightning at the rabbit. Its screams filled the warren, echoing off the stone walls. The other rabbits in the prison run shivered from fear.
“Now you try Thanatos.”
Thanatos looked upon the prisoner who was being held roughly by the two Owsla members and closed his eyes as he felt the energy inside him. He focused on the energy and condensed it into a ball before smiling and shooting the ball of energy at the prisoner. The rabbit screamed and dropped to the ground. Its right flank was burned. Thanatos concentrated harder and sent a bigger ball of energy at the rabbit that threw the rabbit and the two Owsla members back into the wall.
“Very good Thanatos. But next time try not to harm the Owsla. They need to be in top shape for when we confront the enemy.”
“Not only will we need to focus on your energy you’ll also need to learn how to fight with your claws and teeth as well form and shoot lighting out of your paws. So you will have three training sessions a day. One with the Owsla who will teach you how to fight with claws and teeth and two with me to learn how to control your energy and learn how to form lightning from now on. Now I’ll let you go to the Owsla to train with them. Try not to kill any of the prisoners. They need to be kept alive for you to practice on.”
“Okay Parli.” Thanatos turned and hopped down the run to find the Owsla run so he could begin his training. Blizzard looked at the burned prisoner and the Owsla members. “Take this rabbit back to its cell.”
“Yes master,” the Owsla members said. They picked up the rabbit and dragged it back down the prison run before shoving it into its burrow with three other rabbits. Blizzard went back to his burrow and lay down. “I never thought I would enjoy having a kitten like Thanatos but he’s such an evil little buck and strong too. It may be a problem if he gets more powerful than I am. I don’t like it but I may have to end his life if he surpasses me in strength and power. He’s still a kitten so I have a while to see how he progresses.”
In the prison burrow where the rabbit had been returned the other three rabbits looked at the burn. Thankfully it wasn’t deep. “Thanatos is evil,” one of the rabbits said.
“That rabbit has been brainwashed and changed by Blizzard, Blueberry. He’s the real evil one.”
“Maybe Zornith but you have to admit that kitten has changed for the worse ever since Blizzard changed him.”
“Pox the wound should heal. But I’m more worried about you being shot with lighting twice and then thrown into the wall,” Moonstone said.
“I’ll be okay Moonstone. I must admit I didn’t see that blast coming. I didn’t think Thanatos would be that powerful in such a short time. It’s only been a couple of months since he was reborn.”
The other three rabbits nodded in agreement. Thanatos was evil and already exhibiting characteristics of Blizzard. Thanatos seemed to enjoy inflicting fear and pain on both the Owsla and the prisoners. Everyone in the prison run was as afraid of Thanatos as they were of Blizzard because both those rabbits brought pain to the run and its inhabitants.
“Shouldn’t we try to escape and warn one of these warrens about Blizzard’s plans?” Blueberry asked quietly.
“No. The last rabbit who tried was killed in front of the entire warren,” Moonstone reminded the doe. “The Brimstone Owsla is super-fast due to the changes Blizzard put upon them after he killed them. We’d never out run them.”
The four rabbits fell silent after that. They were from a warren known as Thornbush Warren. The entrance to the warren had been behind a thorn bush which is how it got its name. Their chief had turned them and seven other rabbits over but had been killed anyway along with the rest of the warren.
“The rabbits of Brimstone are strange. They all have strange powers,” Zornith said shaking her head sadly.
“I think that’s due to Blizzard,” Pox said. “Somehow when they were reborn as the evil rabbits they are now they inherited powers. It’s against nature. Only Prince Rainbow and the Black Rabbit should have any powers.”
“Not all of us are evil in Brimstone. Some of us have managed to fight the darkness that Blizzard has inflicted on the majority,” a voice said.
The rabbits flinched and looked cautiously out their burrow before relaxing as black rabbit with white spots came up to them. “Winterberry what are you doing in the prison run?” Pox asked the Owsla Officer.
“Coming to check on your wound Pox. Now the rest of you step aside so I can see how Pox is doing,” Winterberry ordered. He looked over the wound. “I’ll try to find Lummis and see if she can get down here to heal your wound for you Pox.”
“Where’s Pecan and Fuser?”
“On a scouting patrol with Blackstone and some other Brimstone Owsla members. Why?”
“We were thinking of trying to escape and warn one of those warrens Blizzard is always ranting about that he’s going to attack them.”
“I imagine those warrens already know and they’d probably kill any of us changed rabbits on sight. They don’t know that not all of us are evil.”
“Why is that?” Pox asked Winterberry.
“Why is what?”
“How come you, Blackstone, Pecan, Fuser, Lummis and a few others despite being changed aren’t evil?”
“It’s because we were gentle rabbits to begin with and we died to protect our warren.”
“Then what about the changed rabbits from Watership Down and two of the other warrens?”
“The way I understand it from Blizzard’s constant ranting is that those rabbits already had evil in their hearts. In a way Blizzard, without realizing it of course, did Watership and the other warrens a favor by killing them because they would have tried to overthrow their respective chiefs and bring darkness upon their warrens.”
“So they would have destroyed their warrens?”
Winterberry nodded. “It doesn’t make sense to us either. Anyway I have to go above ground. I’m on guard duty with Chaos.”
The four rabbits jerked in fear at the name. “Why are you on guard duty with that rabbit?” Blueberry asked, her voice shaking in fear.
“Blizzard’s orders. Nothing I can do about it. You all know that.”
The rabbits nodded. “Be safe Winterberry,” Moonstone called after the departing rabbit.
“Always am Moonstone.”