Thanatos and his rabbits arrived back at Zorn. Thanatos thought it a fitting name since Zorn in lapine meant ‘destroyed’ or ‘murdered’. After awakening and punishing the few cowards who had run away but returned Thanatos and his pitiful band of slaves had wandered the countryside looking for a new place to make a warren, all the while capturing rabbits to bring up the warren. Each rabbit wore a collar and bracelets on their necks and legs-even the does and kittens. Thanatos would not risk any rabbit disobeying him or trying to kill him like had happened with Blizzard and he enjoyed seeing other rabbits suffer and scream.
Hitsuki was dropped on the floor of Thanatos’s burrow as he sat there and contemplated the rabbit before him. “So little one what is your name?”
“Hitsuki. Do you know who I am?”
“N-no I don’t.”
“My name is Thanatos, son of Blizzard. And you my dear rabbit are now my prisoner. Take him to the burrow next to mine. Guards posted around the clock,” Thanatos said. “Oh and to make sure you don’t try to run…” A silver collar inlaid with rubies appeared on Hitsuki’s neck. “That collar will kill you if you try to run away and it can’t be taken off.”
Thanatos’s guards escorted Hitsuki to a small burrow next to his. Hitsuki was pushed into the burrow shoved over to the wall where a silver chain shot out of the wall and fastened around the collar on Hitsuki’s neck. The guards smirked and then left the seer in the burrow. Hitsuki was took weak from the bursts of power the previous day and so collapsed onto the ground panting heavily and trying to stop the images of his parents, siblings and the other rabbits who had gone with him from Watership Down being murdered by Thanatos’s rabbits.
“Do any of you know about seers?” Thanatos asked his Owsla.
“No master,” the rabbits murmured. Thanatos snorted in disgust. “Go to the does and ask them though since they’re does I suspect it will be a hopeless cause. Still I may get lucky.”
The does were questioned and finally one doe admitted she knew something of seers. She was taken from her burrow and dragged before Thanatos who looked at the doe with disdain. To Thanatos does were only good for breeding more kittens-namely bucks though Thanatos wouldn’t have does killed as he knew without does there wouldn’t be any life in the warren and no more fresh slaves to control and shape. Having does made it easier Thanatos to build Zorn instead of having to send his bucks on countless raids to steal rabbits. Thanatos didn’t take pity on elderly, or injured rabbits or does who were no longer able to bear young. They were disposed of.
Thanatos looked at the doe in front of him. “Well what do you know of seers?”
“Master I know that seers have visions of what is to come. Some can see into a rabbit’s heart and enter other rabbits’ minds. Some can shoot fireballs out of their paws. Some can talk with the rabbits in the Shadow Land. They are traditionally and naturally feared by…
“Get to the point,” Thanatos hissed.
The doe shook beneath her master’s gaze. “All seers are powerful master but I have never heard of a seer being able to do anything other than the powers I listed above. I’m not aware of any seer ever taking over a warren. Usually they are killed or driven out when disaster befalls a warren.”
“So how was it that one of my rabbits was blasted away when we attacked the seer and its friends?”
“I-I don’t know master. I have never heard of a seer being able to do that.”
“Kill her,” Thanatos said turning away. “She hasn’t been very helpful.”
The doe pleaded but Thanatos walked away. He smiled as he heard the sharp scream before it was cut out. Thanatos knew he should get a doe so he could have an heir to Zorn in the event that anything happened to him. It had never concerned him before to bother getting a doe. After all the one doe his father had tried mating with hadn’t given him kittens and she had been destroyed. Thanatos snorted as he thought of his parli. His parli had the right idea with killing all of the alliance but was a rather horrible chief.
Thanatos ran right into a doe as he walked around his warren checking to make sure his rabbits were where they were supposed to be. Thanatos sat up and knocked the doe off her feet for her stupidity. The doe remained on the ground beneath her master as he walked over to her and held her down.
Other rabbits began poking their heads cautiously out of their burrows to see the unfortunate doe pinned beneath Thanatos-rah. The doe whimpered in pain as Thanatos pressed more weight on the doe. “Well?”
“Master I was just coming to look for you. I’m… I’m sorry that I ran into you. I should have paid more attention to where I was going. Please forgive me!”
Thanatos paused. He had never had a rabbit willingly go looking for him-buck or doe. He yelled for two of his Owsla to grab the doe and drag her back to his burrow. The doe was hauled to her paws and was dragged rather roughly through the warren until they got to Thanatos’s burrow where Thanatos went inside and the doe was thrown in after him.
“Nobody is allowed into my burrow until I finish speaking to this doe.”
“Yes Thanatos-rah,” the two Owsla members said and obediently walked out of their master’s burrow to take up stations outside of it.
“Now what were you coming to look for me for?”
The doe remained crouched on the floor, not daring to raise her head to look at her master. “Master…I noticed that you have no mate and I was wondering…”
Thanatos continued staring at the cowering doe before him. She was light orange and had pale grey eyes. Honestly he had no idea why he hadn’t punished the doe for running into him in the first place. As he took in the doe’s silky fur he felt his breath hitch in his chest. Any other rabbit would have been severely punished, if not killed (depending on his mood) for running into him yet he hadn’t so far struck down the doe before him. “Get to the point doe. I have better things to do with my time then listen to someone who doesn’t even know how to speak.”
“Forgive me master. I meant to say that I noticed that you have no mate and appear… lonely. I was… wondering,” the doe paused and glanced up at her master before dropping her head again. “I was wondering if I could become your mate and bear your kittens,” the doe finished.
Thanatos didn’t show it on his face but he was shocked at the doe’s outright declaration. Gotta say the doe has guts being straight forward with me like this, Thanatos said chuckling to himself. “Why do you think I should choose you for my doe and the mother of my kittens?”
When the doe didn’t say anything to that Thanatos smirked. He lay down so he was on eye level with the doe and watched her intently. “Well since you can’t bother to tell me why I should choose you to bear my kittens and the future chief of Zorn then why don’t you tell me your name instead?”
“Do you understand what is to happen if you become my mate and the mother to my heir and kittens? You will no longer live in the main part of the warren. You will live with me in my burrow and there will be guards around you twenty-four seven. Any buck that is not I or one of my Owsla that wishes to speak to you will be severely punished. You will only exist to bear me my heir and kittens and that is all you will be fit for.”
“Yes master. I understand.”
“How old are you Renmay?”
“I just turned a year Thanatos-rah.”
“Have you borne any kittens before?”
“Very well. Before I make my decision you will stay in my burrow and be under constant watch by my personal guards. You have a week to come up with an answer to my question. If you want to be my mate you better have an answer and be on your best behavior.
“Furner and Legalos get in here!”
The two guards ran into the burrow and bowed before their master. “This doe, Renmay, says she wants to be my mate. You will watch and guard her for a week and report to me at the end of said week on just where her loyalties lie.”
“Yes master,” Furner and Legalos said.
“Kill any buck that goes near her,” he added before leaving his burrow. Thanatos didn’t bother waiting for a reply. The collars and bracelets would force all the rabbits to comply with his orders or suffer a long and slow death. The guards knew that they were to kill any regular buck that went near her. The Owsla would be watching her from a safe distance as well and if they went anywhere near her they’d face Thanatos’s wrath. The guards escorted the doe up above ground to feed and began their job of watching the possible mate of their master.