As some may recall from my account of the voyage of The Sea King's Treasure, I recently acquired a trove of ancient books and scrolls which are the legacy of Ereon the Great, founding ancestor of my clan, the House of Ereon. Ereonis scholars have succeeded in deciphering the ancient elvish dialect in which they are written, and I have set myself the task of translating the texts.
Following is the first completed translation, from a scroll entitled The Days of Monsters. It appears to be a collection of folktales telling of the origins of the dangerous creatures of Draia. The age and authorship of the tales is unknown. I suspect they are so-called "fireside tales," told on cold, stormy nights to amuse a company of friends, and they may or may not be authentic to the history of our lands. The following story, however, does bear an obvious similarity to the classic poem "A Rabbit's Life" by the bard T'lan, which leads me to think it has some historical validity.
I dedicate this submission to my friend, the talented Enly. I hope all will enjoy it, especially on a cold, stormy night.
Peino Ereonis, 27th Moon Bear Lord, House of Ereon
A RABBIT’S TALE
From the scroll Days of Monsters, Second Book of Ereon
translated by Peino Ereonis
Once upon a time there was a little white rabbit named Fluffy Bunnykins. Fluffy Bunnykins lived with his mother and father and all the other little white rabbits in the forest of Tirnwood. There they had all the snug burrows and tasty lupines that they could ever need.
But not everything was wonderful in Tirnwood.
“Be careful, Fluffy Bunnykins,” the older rabbits said. “Keep your wits about you and your little pink eyes open, or the People might get you!”
“What are People?”, Fluffy Bunnykins asked.
“They are terrible things that kill rabbits every time they see one.”
Fluffy Bunnykins did not want to be killed by People, so he kept his little pink eyes open and ran from anything that rustled or fluttered anywhere near him whenever he went out to nibble lupines. It was a hard life, and it seemed rather pointless. For he soon realized that People were everywhere, hunting down innocent rabbits willy-nilly and bashing them to death with bones and sticks and even swords, or sometimes just stomping their little heads in with their great big feet. Fluffy Bunnykins lost many friends and heard many screams echoing through the forest, day and night.
“Why do the People hate us so?”, he cried to his mother. “Why do they kill us?”
“They take our skins because they have no fur of their own,” his mother told him sorrowfully. “If not for the skins of rabbits and beavers, their naked ears would freeze right off in the cold.”
“If the Queen of Nature did not want their ears to freeze off, she would have given them fur!”, Fluffy Bunnykins declared angrily.
“The Wraith gives them many things, but not fur,” said his mother.
“What is the Wraith?”
“The Wraith is what gives People all their powers and strength.”
From that day on, Fluffy Bunnykins went out to nibble lupines with a burning resentment in his little rabbit heart. Every shadow he ran from, every tiny scream in the distance, fed his anger more.
“Some day, I will go to the Wraith and get powers and strength,” he vowed, though he had no idea what or where the Wraith was.
Then, one day, his turn came.
Two People surprised him in the woods, one armed with a bone, the other with a staff, racing to see who would kill him first. Fluffy Bunnykins dropped his lupines and ran as fast as he could. He dodged this way and that, using all the evasion skills he had ever learned, but the People would not give up. They chased him to the edge of a pond, blocking all ways back to the trees. There was no way out!
“Maybe if I can get to that rock in the middle of the pond, I can escape,” cried Fluffy Bunnykins in his panic. “Surely, they are too heavy to swim.”
Fluffy Bunnykins plunged into the water. Struggling and splashing, he swam desperately for a hole in the rock that looked like a burrow, reached it at last and scrambled in.
Bump, bump, bump! Down he fell into a dark, cold place.
For a moment, he could see nothing but the dim glow of small torches. He heard water dripping and a disturbing slithering noise all about him. A terrible smell made him gag on every breath. As his eyes got used to the dark, he saw that he was in a cave. Meat and bones and skins, rotting in the damp, hung upon the walls and from the ceiling. The skins of all kinds of animals were there, even rabbits, and others he had never seen before -- thick, lumpy green hides and hideous, coarse white-ish furs with horns and claws attached. The slithering noise that filled the foul air came from hundreds of snakes writhing on the floor. They twisted upon themselves and each other, as if they didn’t know Fluffy Bunnykins was there.
“Excuse me, what place is this?”, he called out to them.
They did not answer. They just slithered and writhed, and their dead eyes stared at nothing.
Fluffy Bunnykins moved on into the cave, hoping to find another way out. He soon came to a great, dark throne wrapped in shadow. As he gazed into the shadow, a man seemed to take shape within it. A dark form within the darkness, the man stepped forward and gazed down upon the little white rabbit with reptilian eyes, and spoke in a thin, slippery voice that wormed its way into Fluffy’s fluffy ears.
“I will give you power over them,” the man whispered seductively.
Fluffy Bunnykins blinked up at the dark figure with his little pink eyes.
“Are you the Wraith?”, he asked.
The man hesitated, seeming to consider the question. “Um...sure,” he said at last, adding with a crooked smile, “What do you want from me, little rabbit?”
The words came out of Fluffy Bunnykins even before he could think of them, driven by the force of his anger.
“I want to be so strong that no People can kill me!” he cried. “I want them to run when they see me coming, for a change! I want to crush them for what they have done to rabbit-kind! Forever!”
“Then give yourself to me,” said the dark man, towering in the deathly shadows. “Give me your skin, your bones, and your soul. Swear loyalty to me, and I will give you power.”
“I swear it! I will serve you always!”, shouted Fluffy Bunnykins, and the next thing he knew, he was thrown into a terrible, blind, screaming darkness. Pain racked his body as if he was being torn apart, over and over and over, and just when he thought he couldn’t stand it anymore -- poof!
He was outside again, on the grass by the pond in Tirnwood.
He quickly checked himself over. Paws, ears and tail were still all attached. He was just the same as before, but he didn’t quite feel the same.
And as the little white rabbit patted his fur and ears and made sure of his tail, Selain, Father of Monsters, rose from his temple under the pond, eager to show off his latest creation.
“Mortos!”, he cried to the winds. “Come! See what I have wrought!”
In answer to his call, Mortos the Destroyer appeared like the smoke of war and looked where the Lord of Corruption pointed.
“It’s a rabbit,” said the god of war.
“Not just any rabbit,” grinned Selain. “Behold, here come some humans. Let us watch.”
Three young men, new to the lands, hunting rabbit furs to warm their ears with, came through the forest, bones and sticks in hand. They spotted Fluffy Bunnykins and went at him.
But this time, Fluffy Bunnykins did not run. The sight of three People bearing down on him filled him not with fear, but with a fierce kind of joy that he had never felt before. He turned to meet them, and what was different about him now became obvious.
The carnage was swift and terrible. Fluffy’s sharp teeth ripped through flesh as if it were but tender lupine shoots. Blood filled his mouth like the juice of fresh lupine leaves. The People were quickly torn to pieces, and Fluffy Bunnykins laughed over their bloody, mangled remains. And as he laughed in madness, his body still pulsing with the god’s power, drops of spit flew from his mouth. As they hit the ground, the magic of Selain caused them to pop up into more fluffy white rabbits, born thirsting for blood, their pink eyes burning with hate.
“I can make more of me!” cried Fluffy Bunnykins in crazed delight. “Come, my brothers! Let us FEED!”
And as the little white bundles of death lollopped off into the forest, the evil gods shook the land with uproarious laughter.
“Oh, Selain,” gasped Mortos, wiping tears of merriment from his eyes, “you are too bad.”
“Sometimes I even scare myself,” said the Vile One with a wink.
“Aluwen is not going to like this,” said Mortos, when he was able to catch his divine breath, “but she deserves it. Her so-called People enjoy killing as much as any ogre, but she lets them run wild as long as they praise her name, as if she makes war any differently than I do. It will amuse me to see her followers pay for their goddess’s hypocrisy in the jaws of an itty-bitty bunny. I suppose her ‘heroes’ will learn to fight them off in time, but until then, let the sons of Fluffy teach wisdom to Aluwen’s fools.”
Thus it came to pass. Eventually, with much loss of life, the champions of Aluwen did succeed in clearing the Lady’s lands of these tiny, brutal monsters. They were driven out to the farthest, emptiest places, where they lurk with their smoldering hatred to this day, while the paths of Tirnwood were made safe again for the People.
But remember, all you young ones, as you go out hunting for rabbit furs with which to warm your ears, how the Fluffy Rabbit, Monster of Revenge, was born.
Edited by peino, 08 December 2007 - 01:57 PM.