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Moonlight shone down on the figure of a hare. It carried with it a round form swathed in white cloth, two tiny ears poking out from the blankets. Snow crunched between the hare's paws as it loped along at a quick pace, bundle clutched tight to its chest. It seemed to be making for a dark shape perched on top of a snowy hill. As the hare neared, the shape enlarged to become a massive stone structure, encircled by a moat. The hare rushed to the edge, yelling out into the night.
" Open up, 'tis only General Rockwing, bringin' Ol' King Rango 'is babe!"
" Righto, mate!" the faint reply came. Rockwing nimbly leapt aside as a great wooden drawbridge slammed down with a thump! The hare leapt aboard the surface, running along it even as it was being hauled up. He threw a quick salute to the old hare in the gatehouse and dashed into the palace. He was greeted by the sight of a snowy courtyard, a frozen fountain in the center. The beauty was lost on Rockwing as he flung open a wooden door and raced down the passage, hushing the babe's cries as he went. At last, Rockwing burst through another door and collapsed in a huge stone room.
The ceiling of the cavern was massive, stretching up high to end in a point. Long glass windows arched up with the walls, displaying the snowy scene outside. Below, a hare clad in a magnificent purple cloak was seated on a marble throne. Two hares dressed in silver armor lifted Rockwing to his paws and pried the bundle from his grasp. Boots clicking on the polished floor, they strode forwards and knelt before the throne.
" Y'Majesty, 'ere's the babe," Rockwing panted. The King of the Mountain Hares blinked and leaned closer to look at the bundle. One of the guards pushed back the blanket to reveal a little harebabe, sucking one miniature paw. The King sighed and leaned back, signaling for the guards to rewrap the babe. He turned to face Rockwing, brown eyes full of worry.
" An' wot of Elister?" he rasped. Rockwing dropped his gaze.
" Dead, sah, last request for me ter bring the babe to yer." The King closed his eyes.
" Very well. Rockwing, give the babe to Risa to care for. When she grows up, git 'er a swordmaster to teach 'er, but I don't want to see-"
" Majesty!" the doors were flung open with a bang, and a hare covered in a tattered grey gown stumbled through. She lifted her head, and her eyes were shut tight. The hare was blind.
" Cessa," the King looked none to pleased at the arrival of the old hare. " Wot brings yer here?"
" The babe!" Cessa cried, holding out her arms. " Give me the babe!"
" Why?" The King's eyes sharpened with suspicion. " Wot are ye playing at, old hare?"
" Give me the babe!" Cessa's voice rose to a shriek. Mystified, Rockwing exchanged a glance with his King. The hare nodded, so Rockwing took the harebabe and placed it in Cessa's paws. The old creature looked at the babe and began to moan. " No, oh. Oh!"
" Wot is it?" the King gripped the armrests of his throne.
" Rockwing... is it a full moon tonight?" Cessa whispered.
" Aye, 'tis," the General replied, confused. Cessa let out a wail.
" You don't know, then? Have I never told you? King Rango, surely you remember!"
" Wot, that nonsense about full moons an' death? Ye can't 'spect me to believe all yer mumbo-jumbo!" he cried. Cessa shook her head and slumped to the floor.
" 'twas not mine saying, 'twas those generations before mine. A babe born on the last winter's night in the full moon will bear a silver scar. They are fated to meet another of their kind, another beast with a silver scar. Their fates will not be free until one has destroyed the other. Ahhh!" Cessa slumped forwards. The babe began to wail. Rockwing rushed in and picked her up from the blind hare's paws. Cessa muttered and wailed, but did not stop him. As he exited the chamber, Rockwing risked a glance back at his King. Rango was confused. He did not know what of Cessa's words were lies, and what was truth!