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chapter one

Finally they were ready to leave.

After a lunch of pickled parsnips, when the slowest eaters had finished, a message arrived from the gravely High Mountain Clans, delivered by lava rat to say the Gorm were approaching. It gave them a map worn with age. The dreaded Gorm were on the way and the rabbits were in grave danger. The Steepwater warren was too new and the young saplings were barely classed as protection. The warren was never going to survive an onslaught.

The three rabbits , Phich (the oldest and bravest) , p

ebble(a toddler who was always hungry) and Pokin(an extraordinary young rabbit with a mace that couldn’t break) , left the comfort of a cosy home and warm food. Their journey was to the Ridgeback Caves would take many moons but the Gorm couldn’t come because of the cold but first according to the map they had to sneak through far North Castle, over the treacherous lava, through the Dark Forest Camp at the Leaning Tree of Wisdom cross the ever feared Frost Bridge sail up the glacial river.

Even the all powerful Gorm could not come to the Ridgeback Mounting Range, the iron of their armour would rust in an instant, making movement impossible. The thee
Siblings knew that if they reached the destination they would be safe. The well known paths would be patrolled by vicious Gorm scouts ready to attack. However the map pointed out ancent little paths hidden from unwanted eyes.

Desperately clinging to the rope of the rickety old bridge, as scared of the vast river with its boulders and fast rapids but pokin was reluctant to be crossing over the bridge and be reaching the steep cliffs on the other side. After a long walk Pokin trudge into the north castle, its vast hall stretching on and on and dark metal protruding from the wall snarling with aggressive anger. A Gorm turned a corner, its aluminium armour flashed as it caught the little light coming from the dingy window, Pippin squealed as she caught its blood red eye. A deep metallic voice grumbled “I’ve found them.” “Run” screeched Pokin “where’s pebble” brought out pich you “had him”. “He is on the floor.” “I will get him”said Pokin as he dived towards the Gorm and grabbed his ears

When they were out, darkness was on the horizon, the trio ran desperately to a worn down inn wall and they settled down for a meal of dried mushrooms and hazelnut cakes from home. There was a big dead manar ash tree nearby and the tired rabbits heaved a log the tree as a makeshift ladder with the last of their strength they heaved themselves up the tree for an uncomfortable night sleep.

Pokin’s fond sleep didn’t come easy that night his mind swelled with images of the vast hall of steepwater and of black metallic creachers tossing and swarming around in his mind. Would they ever be going to reach the ridge back montings alive?

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