Contest Entry – Hunting the Vorpal Bunny

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Tancred knelt quietly in the field and parted the soft earth with his hands. The gardener at the bank had told him planting this little thorn in a farmer’s field would stir forth a magic rabbit that carried beautifully colored eggs which would be a prized item in any rares collector’s home. Being a knight, wealth was one thing Tancred didn’t have in abundance, but if he could slay the darkest evils of Hythloth, surely, he could handle a little rabbit.

“It’s gonna pop out really fast” warned Shen, one of his fellow knights in the Fellowship of Virtue. Tancred nodded and placed the thorn in the small hole. Nearby also, Sinoval could hardly keep his giggling under control or his bottle of ale from sloshing all over himself.

They had found him half concious in the tavern on the way out of town, trying to order yet another round of drinks but without any gold in his pockets, a sure sign it was time to go. Collecting their fellow knight and heaving him up on his horse, they had stuck a full bottle in his hand to keep him pacified for the ride to the fields.

“We’ve come all this way for a stupid… rabbit?” spewed Sinoval in a mist of ale. He could barely remain upright in his saddle and the bottle was already nearly empty.

“Quiet or you’ll scare it away!” Tancred barely managed to keep from yelling under his breath.

“We should have just brought some carrots and explosion potions” Sinoval chuckled.

Tancred stood up and focused on the little mound of dirt he had made burying the thorn, the tip of the thorn just peeking out at the top. If the rabbit really did come, and he got the rare eggs, he could sell them for a small fortune. Certainly enough gold to host a New Year’s Eve banquet for the Fellowship, maybe even enough left over to keep Sinoval’s thirst in check that night.

“Hey, if we bury this bottle when I’m done with it, maybe a beer fountain will pop out!” laughed Sinoval.

Tancred and Shen frowned at each other, maybe they should have left Sinoval in the tavern to face the music after all.

Suddenly, the ground rumbled and the dirt mound collapsed. A bright streak of fur shot by with the incredible speed of a lightning bolt. A few yards a way sat the vorpal bunny, drawn to the surface by the scent of the thorn. The little rabbit almost seemed to glow with it’s iridescent fur glowing in the afternoon sun, clearly no ordinary bunny.

“Get it!” yelled Tancred as he ran forth drawing his broadsword. Shen rushed after him, unsheathing his katana, while Sinoval stared in drunken amazement. As Tancred lunged forward to swing at the rabbit, it darted past him with the ease of a fish in water. It came straight at Shen and playfully zipped to the left, barely missing the edge of his sword. The two knights clambered after the rabbit as it fled towards the trees at the edge of the field. Sinoval began laughing hysterically at the sight of two mighty, armored warriors futilely chasing after a little rabbit.

“Check any holes in the bottom of the trees” Tancred yelled while he began searching, as the rabbit had disappeared from sight.

“Right!” shouted Shen in reply as he reached into a hole at the base of a large ash tree. Reaching in, he felt some fur and grabbed it tightly. Instead of a frightened bunny rabbit, he had found a rather angry racoon, unhappy with it’s home being invaded and eager to defend it. Shen cursed as he fended off the furry ball of claws and sharp teeth trying to take off piece of his arm.

Sinoval, who had trotted his horse over to continue watching the mirth, fell out of his saddle at the sight, roaring with laughter uncontrollably.

“I thought we were looking for a rabbit, not a coonskin cap!” chortled Sinoval.

Tancred mumbled a curse under his breath, wondering just how inhospitable the drunk tank in Britain could be and if guards were the only ones who could put people in there.

“There it is!” yelled Shen as the rabbit popped out of some undergrowth and dove into a hole at the base of a large oak tree.

Tancred threw himself onto the ground and jammed his hand into the hole.

“I can just feel some fur, but I can’t quite grab onto it” Tancred said with his arm stuffed in the tree. “It’s not going anywhere, it cant dig through wood.”

“Maybe if you just grab the rabbit’s foot, you will have good luck catching the rest of it” yelled Sinoval has he rolled in the grass laughing.

“Perhaps we could smoke it out?” suggested Shen.

“Good idea, Shen” Tancred replied, “Let’s try building a fire.”

“How about we just wait til Easter when it has to come out to go to work and then grab it?” laughed Sinoval. “I ain’t got all day ya know, Happy Hour at the Blue Boar starts in a while and I want to get there early to get a good seat!”

Shen and Tancred rolled their eyes at each other as they began stacking some sticks near the hole for a fire.

“Guys… seriously…” Sinoval began in a quiet voice as the two turned to look at him hopefully, “…if you don’t sit near the counter in the back, it takes forever to get another drink!”

“Oh jeez!” groaned Tancred increduously as he turned around.

“Fine!” sighed Shen. “Let me see if I can cast Fireball to get the fire started so we can catch the rabbit and get this idiot back to town before I try cutting him open to see if he has any rare eggs inside him!”

Shen stood over the small pile of sticks they had gathered next to the hole and began concentrating.

“Vas Flam!” Shen incanted. A thin shrill of a fizzling sound filled the air.
“Vas Flam!” again he tried. Again a fizzle.

“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”

Still no sparked stirred forth from his hands.

“This may take a while, magery was never my thing” the warrior said. “Let me keep trying.”

“By all means” replied Tancred as Sinoval began to fidget with nervous impatience.

“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!” echoed the forest as the minutes dragged on.

“I KNOW I can get this!” Shen pleaded. Tancred nodded at him kindly while Sinoval began to pace around watching the sun sink lower towards the horizon, a little too fast for his liking.

“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”

Still nothing. More minutes ticked by as the sun began to embrace the horizon. Tancred began rummaging through his pack to find his flint and steel kit to start the arduous firemaking process by hand, a very time consuming activity.

“I can feel it getting closer, any time now for sure. Im feeling more familiar with the magic words” Shen quietly whispered with his eyes shut in concentration.

“Oh jeez! We’ve got to get going! Happy Hour will start soon!” yelled Sinoval as he moved forward with his large battle axe hefted in his hands to swing at the tree.

“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”
“Vas Flam!”

A fireball leapt forth from Shen’s hands and the pile of sticks suddenly burst into flames just as Sinoval slammed his axe into the tree with drunken fury. His blow split the tree open but also sent flaming pieces of the small fire into the air with some landing on his clothing.

“AHH! I got some on me!” Sinoval screamed as his cloak began to catch fire. Now it was Shen and Tancred’s turn to roar with laughter as Sinoval ran about flailing his arms in a trail of smoke and embers. Shen tackled the lumbering drunk to put out the burning cloak when Tancred suddenly noticed the rabbit peeking it’s head out of the hole, trying to escape the flame and smoke. Tancred lunged forward and snatched it quickly by the neck like a fox with a great shout, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!”

That night, with a fistful of gold left over from paying the provisioner in advance for a New Year’s Eve feast, the three Fellowship knights sat comfortably in the Blue Boar. Sinoval’s collection of empty bottles was, unsuprisingly, considerably larger than Tancred and Shen’s put together.

“That was quite an effort for a stupid little rabbit and a few brightly colored eggs, even if they are rare” said Shen as he lifted his bottle for a swig.

“Well it certainly paid off in the end. The tamer I sold them to at the bank was more than happy to buy them and said she would gladly buy more for her collection,” Tancred replied, also lifting his bottle for a drink. “I think tomorrow I will even buy our champion of the flames here a new cloak” he chuckled.

“Very funny guys” grumbled Sinoval, “Next time I say we try the carrots and explosion potions!”

Tancred almost laughed the ale out through his nose, “No way, next time we just need to take you hunting even closer to Happy Hour!”

Last modified: March 27, 2011

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