I do writing improv most mornings. Sometimes I ask a friend "What do you want me to write about today?" if I can't think of something myself. Often, I can. These develop into 'thumbnail' sketches. Sometimes I go further with them - sometimes I don't. My dreams typically provide fodder and always the grammar and spelling is attrocious. :)
This morning I got a request from a friend's twelve year old to write something Fantasy and with bunnies. Who am I to turn down a bunny request?
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Originally they'd been bred to be food for dragons. Giant rabbits made it less likely for dragons to raid the farms for sheep and cows, they could run to stimulate the hunting senses and they were supposed to have bred like, well, rabbits. Unfortunately for the dragons, the rabbits developed intelligence past their tiny originators and were quite willing to take their own destiny in their own paws early. As the years passed, they decided the two foots weren't all bad, some were worth knowing, and it led to the forming of the King's Messengers. No one could get across the Kingdom faster than a rabbit and her rider. No message was safer, no messanger more trusted. The dragons had to go back to sheep.
Tasi stood back from grooming Goldenpaw. It was a stupid name, but she'd named him when she was six. Whatever his rabbit name was, he hadn't told her. Some did, some didn't, you just learned to humour the rabbit. "So now that all loose fur is gone, food stains removed, and your ears are perfect, you'll go find some dirt to dig in, right?"
The rabbit sighed and turned his tail to her. He didn't have much patience for her teasing, but she could stick to him like a burr and they'd broken trail records, so he put up with her. Well, that and she knew where to scratch.
"Oh, don't be like that." Tasi said, stepping into the next stall so she could look in his deep brown eye. She stood on tiptoes, to lean chin on the top of the three-quarter wall between the stalls. "C'mon, it's time for inspection, and you know I look bad if you look bad."
He twitched his ear in her direction but otherwise didn't acknowledge her existance.
Tasi took her turn to sigh and wished horses could approach the speed of rabbits. The dumb beasts were a lot easier to deal with than giant, moody, finicky, demanding, brats. "I was going to scrounge some mint from the gardens.."
His nose started wriggling despite his trying to play disinterest.
Tasi grinned and hopped back out of the empty stall, "Just stay there! I'll go get some.." Fortunately, mint was plentiful and the rabbits easily bribed.
She was barely out of the stable doors when she was stopped by the lead messenger. "Has Masoc returned yet?"
Tasi lost her smile, despite the summer's day and her mini-victory over Goldenpaw. "No." He was three days late. He was the second to go east that hadn't returned. Diruc, once a messenger like her, but now one legged and on a crutch, looked down at her. "I'm getting to skip out on inspection, aren't I?"
"You are. Ride fast. Don't find fights, find truth." Diruc told her, holding out a messenger's satchel.
Tasi nodded and turned back to the stables. "CHange of plans, 'paw. We've got a run."
The rabbit did one of the whirling turns he was so good at and his nose was going a mile a minute. His ears were cocked forward and his tail was up. One eager bunny.
"Daysil and Masoc are now gone too. Three days late. No word, no pigeon." Goldenpaw knew the score as well as she did. She grabbed her travel pack, prepared for two days now and tied the satchel onto the front. She took a run and a sprint and was up on Goldenpaw's neck. He shook his head. Not for the first time she wished the rabbits would allow saddle or harness.
The rabbit walked sedately enough out of the stables, his eyes scanning skies and road as soon as they were in daylight. Diruc watched them grimly as Goldenpaw stretched his warm up and Tasi took a good grip of his underfur. A final shake of his head to make sure she had a good grip and he was off. Three bounds across the stableyard, one over the fence, a blur of gardens and shrubbery and he was on the main lane and pelting through the grounds. The guards at the gate saw them coming and dropped the rabbit railing above the main defensive gate. Goldenpaw tucked his ears down behind his head, either side of Tasi, as he lept between the top of the gate and the wall above. Some of the taller riders had to duck, but Tasi was short enough that she was in no danger.
Riding a rabbit was a learned talent and the ability to put up with a pounding on your tailbone. They did gain into a steady pace once they started to lope, but it was still a lurch back and forth for the rider - and pity the human whose forehead smacked the rabbit or their shifting threw their mount off stride. A rabbit was not above dumping the rider and taking the packs without them. They didn't *need* humans, but having someone who could talk for them, write, and more importantly do all the work, was to their liking. Unless, of course, that rider interferred with the things the rabbit loved - running, racing, and eating.
Well, Tasi supposed girl bunnies came into it somewhere, but she wasn't about to ask 'paw about it. If she had any sort of social life to speak of, she was pretty sure he wouldn't want to hear about it and she certainly didn't want to hear about how many kits he did or didn't have. The giant rabbit females could control their own fertility - a male had to prove his worthiness. Tasi's experience said the does were even more of giant pains in the butts to deal with than the bucks, so she could only imagine the hoops the bucks had to jump through to prove their worthiness.
Being a glorified servant to a moody furball was all worth it when they were on the road or trace, though. Wind whistling through her hair, the taste of freedom on her lips, it was worth all the sorting of clover, the drying of hay, the grooming, nail trimming, and discontent. The Messenger quarters and their warrens were at the edge of the king's preserve, north of his city, it wasn't long before they were out and on dirt tracks that rabbit claws dug into so well.
If she was lucky, sunshine and fair wind would follow her all the way east.