The Hand of Glory

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Hand of Glory – The little rabbit who changed the future. (1500 words)

A great battle was about to take place in a meadow of summer wildflowers. The daisy and buttercups, wild wheat and sorghum were not interested. The lady bugs went about their business, nary a thought given to the mass of men flanking either side of the meadow. The birds were silent, not in anticipation but because they had been invaded and most of the surrounding woodland and meadow fauna had vacated or gone into hiding.

In the middle of the field was a rabbit hole.

Nothing really striking and unless you knew where it was, it didn’t exist. Now in this rabbit hole lived a young rabbit all on his own. His family had left the previous season in search of a safer place to live and feed because that about all rabbits did was live and eat and live and make more rabbits.

Mommy and daddy rabbit had been through many a skirmish by what they called the two legged nutters and had had enough of their home being knocked about. Not having any say in the matter the safest thing was to up fur and move and that is definitely what they had done. Momma rabbit had so many young teenagers around the house on the verge of leaving home she gave it not a thought when one of her sons did not arrive at the new place above the woods on the hill.

The little rabbit did search for his family but because he was alone never ventured across into the woods.

Now the ground under the meadow had been shaking all morning with the movement of the nutters. Some on horseback and some on foot but all of them very noisy stomping about. The little rabbit had peaked out of the hole when it had grown quiet and saw lots and lots of nutters on either side of the meadow.

He wanted to venture out but there was just too much activity so he stayed inside and munched meadow hay he had been collecting and storing up in one of the storage rooms that was not caved in. Rabbits do love to nibble, a lot.

Anyone who knows rabbits knows their warrens can stretch many yards in all directions. Most of the family warren had been caved in since the beginning of spring. This had become a recent hovel of nutter activity.

Now those known as two-legged nutters to the rabbits had staged several battles in this meadow and many of the dead from the battle were buried around the edge of the meadow under the trees. Most of the graves now blended in well, with wild flowers springing up on the freshly dug earth. Little rabbit didn’t know his family had been the last rabbit warren to relocate from the meadow to higher ground because he had only been born this year but his mother and father did share their stories.

The battle was actually over where the border of one kingdom stopped and another began. It was also a battle of non- secular and secular beliefs. The Non-Secs thought that the hill on the other side of the meadow was a place their higher power meant for them to have a place of worship. Elevation and worship went hand in hand. Just on the meadow side of the hill was a Secular or Sec village. So there was no way they were going to have the Non-Secs buzzing about.

At the same time the Secs had been fishing in the lake on the other side of the meadow for generations and the Non-Secs were putting a stop to that because that was where they set up another place of worship to the cleanliness of their higher power. This was not the only lake in the area but it was convenient and had lots of fish so who wouldn’t want to fish there.

So the nutters would meet in the meadow a couple times a year lose a few dozen soldiers each. They were very equally matched in power and strength of their fighters. It almost was feeling like a seasonal tradition each spring and late summer they would fight with no one getting the better of the other.

The leaders knew this and thought there needs to be a decision and a final one. This was becoming a tedious and costly game of tit et tat. So the leaders galloped to the top of the valley and discussed how they might come to a decision with less fatalities. An hour later they returned to their sides and each chose a champion to fight to the death. The winner would recess either back behind the hill or back behind the lake depending which champion won. The battle for all was to take place mid-morning in the middle of the meadow.

Until then they could all relax and have a safe evening on their own sides of the meadow.

Little rabbit had hoped they would get busy and leave soon because he really wanted to come out and nibbled some of the tender shoots that could only be found near the base of the wild grasses roots. As it was he was stuck in his empty warren the rest of the day.

Now he had become a bit of a lazy bunny sleeping in and staying up late. The next day there was a great commotion. He awoke late morning to the thunderous footsteps right over the top of the warren’s main living space under the exit hole. This was noise he had no memory of with clashing and clinking, the nutters grunting and swearing.

The Champions had converged in the middle of the meadow. They waited until the white flag of truce was dropped to commence their fight. Both were strong warriors, well ladened with their weapons of choice, shield and full dress leather gear as well as some armor. The Non-Sec champions preferred a broad sword while the Secs champion had a double edged axe.

They fought gallantly for 30 minutes and it looked as if both were tiring evenly. The troops were gathered round, at a fair distance. All were eager to see a decision and of course, each wanted their champion to win. The crowd of warriors roared insults at the opponents on the field.

When the Non-Sec man swung and connected hard with his opponents shield sending him off balance it looked as though the end was in sight. But the Sec man recovered and returned the blow with his axe connecting and causing the Non Sec to stagger.

The noise below was deafening to Little Rabbit and he inched up the exit hole as far as he dared. Afraid to look out.

As fate would have it the worst imagined happened. In seconds he was left no choice. At a level with a waiting room off the main exit hole he watched as the earth tumbled in. afraid for his life he jumped for freedom from the crashing earth out through the top of the hole.

The Non-Sec took a step forward swung again and found his right foot sinking to the shin into a hole. The intended place of impact for his broadsword was the head of the other champion but the fall into the hole had lowered his swing. His sword slashed deep into the Sec’s hip instead.

The Secular’s champions swung his axe a second before he felt the burning slice of the broadsword. As he stepped forward to launch his final blow he felt is foot caught on Little Rabbit and slid through his tender flesh. Who by the way didn’t have a chance in hell of getting out of that hole alive, one way or the other. Had he not slipped and raised his shield to balance the swing of his mighty axe he might have had a chance to block the blow from the broadsword.

Alas it was not meant to be as the slip may have help him to deliver his own deathblow it also made his own target shift. His axe’s aim was intended for contact with the left side of his opponent, under the man’s shield. Instead because of little rabbit’s intervention, followed closely by the strike to his hip, he brought his axe straight down in an even better spot, the top of the shoulder above the Non-Sec Champions falling shield arm.

Both had sustained fatal wounds. Each might have battled on a little longer and one might eventually won, had a little terrified rabbit not jumped from his hole. Both men lay within moments of death. Both armies stood stunned. Neither man able to tell the tale that turned the final battle and the war. Their world and boundaries changed by the whim of our frightened Little Rabbit.

The commanders came together over the dying champions and agreed that this was meant to be. That the line that divided the kingdom would run straight through the middle of the meadow. The champions were buried there on either side of Little Rabbit, with full honors.

The leaders agreed and made a pact.  Once a week the Non-Secs would hold their devotionals at the mountain their special day and the Secs would go fishing for a weeks worth of fish at the Non-Secs lake.

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