Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Six Knights and their Quest

On this fair night, six of the strongest, bravest, and most whimsical knights in all the land gathered to discuss their plans. For each had vowed, hours earlier, to embark upon a mighty quest: a quest that would take them through many challenges, far from the place they called home. Sages and fools both argued against them, but the knights were resolute; their hearts were pure, and their goal was noble. Together they swore to pursue this Quest: to venture out, into the fog-filled night, catch a Rabbit from among the pestiferous horde that thronged the land, and bring it to the Ladies of the court, as a token of some kind. This they swore!

Roll call!
Maximillian, stoutest and strongest of the knights!
Damian, who knew not fear!
Lothar, ever ready for anything!
Constantine, tallest and humblest!
Tristan, known for his passion for liquid entertainment!
and Percival, keenest of eye and sharpest of ear!

Together they set out into the night, disdaining mail and armament as unbecoming of their task. They carried instead only this: four towels, with which they might frighten and trap the rabbits, and two boxes, with which they might contain them for transport. This was all they would need!

They found rabbits close to their beginning, but met little success; their coordination was poor, and experience none. The rabbits fled for the bushes, and escaped to the canyon's edge, where the knights could not pursue. Several times they tried to surround a rabbit, and each time it fled to a gap in their circle; until they exhausted the supply of rabbit on the field they trod, and split up in hopes of better luck elsewhere. Tristan, Lothar, and Maximillian went one way; Damian, Constantine, and Percival went the other. The former group had little luck in their search; but the latter found a group of three rabbits, in a narrow corridor that was easily surrounded. The three of them decided not to wait for the others, and Constantine went to the far side of the corridor while Damian and Percival guarded the others; but the rabbits were tremendously swift, and easily slipped through the guard the knights set up. Into the darkness the rabbits went, as the knights looked on, dismayed.

When they met again, it was with renewed intent and practiced skill. They found a rabbit, forced it against the side of the building, trapped it in a tiny corner. Triumph - so close! The rabbit was theirs for the taking! Tristan waded into the bushes while the others put themselves between the rabbit; the rabbit cowered, darted back and forth; and still in the end it escaped, shooting outwards and forever away.

Yet the knights were undaunted! Into the darkness they went, towards a vast grassy field they knew, wherein which they hoped to find Rabbits. Another rabbit they spotted en-route, and encircled the creature, attempting to pin it against a nearby structure; but Constantine closed in before the circle was ready, the rabbit fled, and Tristan attempted to catch it by hurling his box at the creature, failing and provoking much merriness in the others.

The knights found nothing at the field; not a single rabbit! This portion of the expedition seemed ill-omened indeed; a carriage passing on a nearby road speared them unexpectedly with a beam of light, causing several of the knights (Lothar, Damian and Percival) to fall to the ground in hopes of evading its seeking gaze. Nothing came of the matter, but it put the knights in a somewhat apprehensive mood for some minutes, in fear that some witch or warlock's trick might soon assault them.

Now the knights traipsed to another place, like a wide canyon of stone and glass; in the daylight it thronged with movement and life, but now, in the darkness, the only movement came from the knights themselves, and strange, shifting lights from above. There, in the centre of a large patch of grass, awaited a still, solitary Rabbit.

"Let us capture it!" cried Damian, and the knights set about their task. The rabbit was in the open, so they were forced to surround it from all sides, leaving wide gaps in their circle; so it was no surprise when it escaped them, fleeing at tremendous speed towards a nearby building. The knights gave chase, whooping and hooting with delight at the sport; to their delight, the rabbit fled into a narrow alley, but there was lost. Maxmillian swore up and down that it had hidden itself within a bush, and the bush in question was roundly thrashed with towel and box; but no rabbit appeared. The knights wandered off, investigating a nearby loading-dock, through which the rabbit might easily have escaped; but when they returned to the bush, the rabbit appeared again, bursting from the leaves at high speed to return whence it came! Again the knights pursued; but again the rabbit vanished, and not the slightest clue remained as to where it might have gone. It was lost.

Slowly, the knights made their way back to the place from which they began. Several more rabbits they encountered, and several more rabbits escaped between their guards; no success was even as near as it had been earlier, in the incident with the corner or that of the bush. But no sorrow showed on the knights' faces, no tragedy burned like acid within their breasts. For while they had not succeeded in their quest, neither had they failed, per se; and there were many more nights in which to hunt. The Rabbits would be waiting.

This is the beginning of the tale, but it is not the end! The knights remain yet; Maximillian, Damian, Lothar, Constantine, Tristan and Percival, all united by a common ethos and shared goal, brothers in every sense short of blood! They will complete their quest! They will catch a rabbit!

Or they'll get bored or forget about it, and remember months later; "Wow, whatever happened with that?"

One of those.

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