Chapter 40 - The first peace meeting.
Campion-rah looked at the rabbits that had come to his call as he looked down at each one of them for a short while before speaking out. "We are going to head off to Watership Down again but instead of going there to fight them, we are going there to discuss peace." Campion-rah paused as he looked again to each one in the eye before he continued. "I have the council's approval on such matters and I believe that we are on the verge of change, good change that will do this warren good." Campion-rah paused. "However, if there is anyone that doesn't want to go or think that this will be a waste of time, then they should remain here and leave the warren by the time I get back."
Campion-rah looked at each one again as no one moved before he nodded his head in approval. "Thank you, we shall leave immediately." Campion-rah turned around and spoke to a rabbit behind him. "Please advise their marks that they have left the warren with me and that they will have to cope without us for a while. If anything comes up then they are to go seek advice from the council." Campion-rah turned his head back again and then hopped off the tree stump, landing onto the ground with a thump before he walked through them.
Blueberry turned around as he started to follow, then the others began to turn around at the same time as they walked. Captain Carpgrass came up next to Blueberry and smiled. "Well, glad to see that you're one of us again, knew that things would go okay, no hard feelings on arresting you before?"
Blueberry shook his head. "No, no hard feelings. You had a job to do regardless if you liked it or not." Campion-rah chuckled as he spoke up. "Ah, so you're beginning to learn, well good for you. Maybe you have a future after all." Blueberry didn't say anything back as they started to pass some sentries.
Dewdrop slipped back as he turned his head to Grounsel. "So how've you been, sir?" Groundsel replied back. "I'm doing okay, thanks for asking. My injuries have healed up which is a good thing." Dewdrop nodded his head. "It was lucky that you managed to get away from that stoat, could've been a whole different thing altogether." Grounsel frowned. "Aye, that would've been terrible, I wouldn't be around anymore, but at least I managed to kick it in the nose, quite hard actually..."
Campion-rah smiled. "Ah, Efrafans, always with picking fights with elil if they get the chance. Groundsel you really are getting too old for doing that." Captain Grounsel snorted as he looked up at where Campion-rah was and replied back. "With all honesty sir, you're not that young yourself anymore."
When Campion-rah laughed, the rest followed suit as Blueberry chuckled, seeing something different for the first time with the officers. He had from the last time never seen any laugh or enjoying themselves, but now, it looked like there was hope after all. However, Blueberry lowered his head as he looked at the ground while walking.
Dewdrop who was still trying to get to know his captain better, looked at Groundsel and then hopped forwards a bit as he turned his head to him. Blueberry slowed down and allowed Groundsel and Buckwheat to pass as Dewdrop looked at Blueberry. "What's up?" Unknown to them both, Campion had slowed down and nodded for Groundsel to take the lead as he pulled up alongside them both before Blueberry looked at him. Campion nodded his head as Blueberry replied. "I'm worried that Carbi will throw a fit with me coming back to Efrafa but to actually offer my services again he may not understand." Blueberry paused as he looked at Dewdrop. "He didn't have a good time there at all."
Dewdrop replied back. "Well, we guessed that would've been it, even when you returned we guessed it but we didn't get proof until later." Campion-rah added after Dewdrop spoke. "I knew after you told me about the offer Hazel wanted to do, though I don't understand why you didn't speak truthfully to the council." Blueberry replied back with a frown. "I didn't want Vervain to win, it's as simple as that."
Campion-rah nodded. "That will be the first and last time I will ever accept you to lie, you understand?" Blueberry nodded his head as Campion-rah spoke. "Then you're forgiven, I expect my officers to be truthful as well as loyal, captain."
Without saying another word, Campion-rah headed off to the front to leave Blueberry and Dewdrop along as they carried on running through the field that they were currently in. "So," Dewdrop said after a short while. "Just from you to me, were you involved in Bigwig escaping?" Blueberry nodded his head. "I'm sorry Dewdrop, but it was something that had to be done, some wanted out from that warren and well, I and Bigwig are the type that wouldn't have allowed it to continue. You understand once you get to meet him."
Dewdrop smiled. "I did once, he told me off when I made a mistake in my training, he has a loud voice that rabbit does." Blueberry chuckled. "Oh you have no idea, but he means well." Blueberry went silent again for a bit before he spoke up again. "So, tell me about yourself Dewdrop."
Dewdrop replied after thinking for a short while. "Well, I was born within Efrafa itself from those who were allowed to breed at the time. It was hard at first as well, they had to see if you would fit into being a owsla rabbit. Most wanted to as you got better privileges than those that weren't in the owsla." Blueberry nodded his head as he spoke. "I can understand that, keep things so bad that you have a lot applying for the position."
"Well, I was smaller in the litter and my parli didn't want any of his bucks to not make the grade so I ended up doing a lot of work to get stronger, even got more food than the does. Needless to say after training a lot I was accepted into the owsla and became a officer." Dewdrop said as he looked ahead to where the others were talking themselves.
Blueberry spoke. "That must've been hard for you, so what made you decide that Efrafa had to change?" Dewdrop replied. "It was after Woundwort denied anyone to help after a run had collapsed killing my marli and the rest of the does that were part of my family. Of course my parli was all for it, saying that they had to go in to that dangerous part to dig out a new section since we were overcrowded but even he didn't cry after it happened, he had other does to breed with. I kept up with it all but I lost all respect for the way the warren had become. Shortly afterwards you and Bigwig arrived."
Blueberry sighed as he looked at Dewdrop. "I'm sorry, but hopefully we should be able to change things for the better. Just think about it, you're going to be part of Efrafa's new history where we change and become better for everyone." Blueberry's words made Dewdrop smile as they kept running with the group.
Vervain was surrounded by rabbits as they travelled away from the rivcr and was now coming near to where the warren lay. Captain Ebony was up ahead as he called out to one of the sentries. "Go inform Darkclaw-rah that we have a new prisoner, ask him if he wishes to see this new rabbit. He looks like he could fight."
The rabbit nodded before spinning on the ground and running off as Captain Ebony smiled back at Vervain. "You may have to fight tonight, see how long you survive, though most newcomers never make it through the first night."
Vervain felt himself shake as he didn't like the sound of that at all. "What if I don't want to fight?" He asked Captain Ebony who chuckled. "You don't have a choice in the matter, you will be facing someone tonight whether you want to or not. You can just not fight and get killed, if you're willing to end it quickly, that would be fun as well."
Vervain looked about for any sign of escape but he couldn't see any, there were rabbits about now as he saw the ones in front move to the side as they surrounded the hole which Captain Ebony said. "Come on, get down below, let's go see if Darkclaw-rah wishes to see you."
Swallowing, Vervain nodded as he ducked his head down and slowly went down the run with Captain Ebony behind him. As he reached the bottom the rabbit that had ran off before had arrived and spoke. "Sir, Darkclaw-rah does wish to see him, he wants to know if he is the one." Captain Ebony laughed. "Him, the one, I don't think he is but then again that isn't up to me to decide. I don't think he could beat one of our officers, never mind the chief." Captain Ebony pushed Vervain to the left. "Come on, move down this way."
With being pushed into the right direction, Vervain was slowly moved through the warren as he was led deeper into it until he arrived into a large burrow. Sniffing about, Vervain gave a shudder as he saw a large rabbit lying on the ground and swallowed as Captain Ebony spoke. "Sir, this is Vervain, we found him lying unconscious on the river bank. You were right when you ordered us to go check on that area daily."
Darkclaw-rah nodded as he looked at Vervain who was now shaking. "Ah, you don't look like the one at all, in fact I don't think you will be much fun tonight either." Darkclaw-rah got up as he walked over to where Vervain was and sniffed him. "So where are you from?"
Vervain replied though he fought hard to try and stop shaking. "I'm from a warren known as Efrafa. I do not know where it is as I have lost all memory of how I got here after jumping into the river. I only woke up and found myself surrounded by your officers. Why do I have to fight?" "Why?" Darkclaw-rah asked as he looked at Vervain. "It is what we do around here, we're waiting for someone to arrive. Someone to lead us to victory, isn't that right Whisp?" Vervain looked about and didn't detect another rabbit in the burrow but the weird voice that came from the dark shadows nearly made him jump.
"He isn't the one but the time for his arrival is nearing." Wisp said as he slowly came from within the shadows and looked at Vervain carefully. "However, there is something about this rabbit here. I think he should fight tonight, it may be a sign of things to come."
"No!" Vervain shouted but he gave a yell as Captain Ebony bit into his ear as he growled. "You do not speak until you are allowed to, scum." Vervain lowered his head to the ground as he laid there while Darkclaw-rah chuckled. "Forgive my captain, he's very sensitive to any rudeness that a newcomer does, but you shall learn the rules if you live long enough."
Whisp had already moved back into the shadow as Darkclaw-rah looked at Captain Ebony. "Take him away and put him into a burrow. Make sure he has a last meal and keep him under guard." Darkclaw-rah looked at Vervain. "There's something about him that makes him look more dangerous than what he is currently letting on."
Captain Ebony bowed his head as he replied back. "It shall be done, sir. Can I decide on who will fight him tonight? Perhaps, maybe one of the slaves that have been here for a while?" Darkclaw-rah nodded his head. "Sure, make certain that it will be a entertaining night though." Captain Ebony smiled. "Oh it will be, you can be assured by that." Captain Ebony growled at Vervain. "Get up, come and get up!" He kicked at the side of Vervain, making him get up. Keeping silent Vervain moved out of the burrow, looking rather rejected.
It was late afternoon when Campion-rah, captain Blueberry, officer Dewdrop, captain Groundsel, captain Carpgrass and officer Buckwheat had reached the bottom of the down. Coming to a stop, Campion-rah looked up as he made the sign for the patrol to stop as he saw three rabbits coming down the hill slowly. Campion-rah turned his head back. "Blueberry, come up front if you will." Blueberry nodded his head as he walked up past the others before standing next to Campion as he saw the familiar faces of Hazel, Bigwig and Hawkbit. When they were a few hops away, they came to a stop as Hazel spoke. "Ah, Campion-rah, thank you for accepting our offer, would you like to come up and make yourself at home?"
Campion-rah smiled as he replied back. "We would welcome a rest. Please lead on." Slowly they began to walk forwards again as Hawkbit came up to Blueberry and fell in line. "It's great to see you again, so you decided to join them."
Blueberry nodded his head as he turned to face Hawkbit. "Yeah, I think it's something that I have to do and all. You know, you could always come and join yourself if you wanted, could do with another friend there."
Hawkbit gave a thoughtful look as he turned his head back up to where the hill was right in front of them and the ground started to go upwards. "Well, I have to give it some thought, I don't want to get a mark though." Blueberry nodded his head. "Well, what about if you came and visited for a while and see what it is like there now. We are trying to change things and there's one thing you should know. Vervain's gone, it's pretty much over for any of the old Woundwort lot in high positions."
Hawkbit blinked as he looked at Blueberry. "It would seem that you have a lot to tell us since we last saw Campion-rah by the river. How did he go?" Blueberry was about to answer as Campion-rah turned his head back before calling out. "That will be explained later on." Blueberry nodded his head and went quiet again as they continued up the hill.
When they all got to the top of the hill, Blueberry saw Carbi and as he went over to meet him, he saw Carbi turn his head around and then walked the other way. Blueberry came to a stop and sat down, just as Fiver came up and sat down next to Blueberry. "He took it a bit hard." Blueberry nodded his head as he looked to where Carbi was making his way to another part of the hill. "I hope that he will understand the decision that I have made."
Fiver nodded. "He will in time, that's all he needs at the moment, just time." Blueberry bit his lower lip but nodded his agreement on what Fiver had just said before speaking again. "How has he been?"
"He still gets some bad dreams about the experience, though they are starting to distance themselves from when he has them. He does sleep some nights now without waking up." Fiver replied back quietly. Blueberry looked about the area as he saw the big tree and smiled. "I am glad to be back here though, it's just so welcoming here."
"It's as though you feel a warm glow in your heart?" Fiver asked as he looked at the tree directly. "That's what I felt when I first saw this place when I had a vision about it." Blueberry blinked as he turned to face Fiver. "Huh? Well, maybe but perhaps that's just because of the company as well." Blueberry turned his head around to where Campion-rah was talking to Hazel-rah and gave a thoughtful look.
"You're worried, aren't you?" Hazel said as he looked to where Blueberry was looking. "You're worried that peace may not happen and that you have made a choice to join them with loyalty and there's a possibility that you may end up seeing us as enemies again." Blueberry blinked as he turned his head back towards Fiver. "Has anyone ever told you, you're just annoying when you're always right?"
Fiver chuckled. "I think Hazel-rah has a few times, Bigwig has and oh Hawkbit as well." Blueberry nodded. "Well, I am in a way. I think I'm more in common with Bigwig, I take loyalty to a chief rabbit very seriously as well as a warren." Blueberry laid down on the ground. "I think I changed after my warren was destroy in such a descructive way."
Lying down as well, Fiver looked to where Campion-rah was now talking to Bigwig as Hazel was listening before speaking out. "Man does a lot of things like that, but I think if we survive such things it will make us stronger. They can't kill us all off and I think that may be the reason why they try so hard. It's like we're confronting their authority and not obeying the laws that they have laid down."
Blueberry looked about before he saw Bracken, Birch and Straw talking to Carbi then turned his head back again as Fiver spoke. "I think they want to speak to you." Blueberry turned his head around and nodded as he got up and walked over to where Bigwig, Campion-rah and Hazel-rah were standing. "Ah, Blueberry, there you are." Campion-rah said as he looked at him. "We've agreed on something, that we're going to make a new warren and that Grounsel is going to be the new chief." Blueberry nodded his head as he replied back. "That's good to hear, sir."
"I thought you would say that, we have also decided that me and Hazel-rah that we have forged an agreement of peace between our two warrens." Blueberry blinked as he spoke. "That was fast." Hazel-rah nodded. "It usually is when we come to end the war with each other. We're all friends here now."
Blueberry smiled as he looked out over from where the ground went down and to where the land lay out in front of him. "You know, I think things are going to turn out just right after all." Bigwig chuckled. "Don't they always but you don't know what else that needs to be done." Blueberry turned his head around as he stared at the other three. Bigwig added. "Since you're now an Efrafan we need to have a rematch on our bobstone contest again. Winner will take on whoever wins between Hazel-rah and Campion-rah."
Blueberry smiled. "You're on."
Things were far from good for Vervain as he stood in the middle of rabbits blocking his every possible escape route from the warren. There as he looked over to the other side was a strong rabbit who looked like the constant digging that he had to do had helped to bulk him out. Captain Ebony smiled as he looked about before calling out to the others to quieten down as Darkclaw-rah spoke up. "Welcome everyone to yet another battle for you to be entertained." Darkclaw-rah heard the whole place erupt as he stood up onto his hind legs. "The rules are simple. Whoever wins this fight will gain a rank within the owsla, the loser will be killed. Do you both accept?"
Vervain swallowed as Trabark nodded his head. "I accept!" He called out before levelling his head again to fix his eyes on Vervain's. Darkclaw-rah smiled as he called out. "Then let the fight begin."
Vervain blinked as he saw Trabark race over towards him and turned around to flee. The whole crowd surrounding them broke out into laughter as Vervain kept ahead of Trabark as Darkclaw-rah turned his head to where Captain Ebony was. "You call this entertaining?" Captain Ebony nodded his head. "He won't last long, besides if he gets too near to the edge, they only go and trip him up." As Captain Ebony was saying those words, Vervain was tripped up by a rabbit as he flew into the air and landed heavily onto the ground and skidded. Trabark leapt up and landed heavily on top of Vervain, making the buck gasp out loudly. Digging his claws into the side of Vervain, Trabark growled softly. "Well, that was fun but thanks, you just bought my freedom." Vervain tried to squirm about as he felt the hot breath over the back of his neck.
Suddenly there was bodies flying apart from one end of the circle as a large rabbit came running down before slamming into the side of Trabark. The large buck turned around to face Trabark as he got up with a growl and before the smaller buck knew what was happening, the larger buck had ripped out his throat and dropped the dead body to the ground.
Vervain blinked as he stared at the large buck standing next to him and felt his heart skip a beat before the large buck turned around and looked directly to where Darkclaw-rah was. "I challenge you."
Vervain got up as he stared and while he gasped for air he said one thing. "General."
Authors Note : At the moment, the final book may not happen. I originally planned for this to be in three books. A trilogy of sorts where everything comes about to an end at the last book. I'm unsure if I'm able to write the final book and keep a continuity that has been done with book one and book two.
As such this is all I will upload. There is five chapters on Book 3 but it's unfinished and I don't think it be worth uploading it onto here. As such, I hope those that have read from the start have enjoyed this fanfiction.