Family isn't a tangible thing, but rather a feeling of belonging and security.
Family is a puzzle. There's missing pieces, and pieces that don't quite fit in. It grows with time, sprawling, never ending. It's a long struggle, but every moment is worth it.
serendipity (the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way)
It had always been Fiver and Hazel. Two brothers, matched in the way their hearts were entwined in a sort of love that could only be reached by the two. Fiver was sure that Hazel was the greatest rabbit in the world.
He was young and stupid when he reached the childish decision that Frith had made Hazel just for him, not to be shared by littermates or friends or does. He's since grown out of that mindset, but sometimes he finds himself indulging in the notion he once held as truth.
Hazel was stronger than he would ever be. Hazel was kind and understanding. Hazel was everything Fiver ever wanted in a friend.
While he was kicked around by the other Sandleford rabbits, Hazel remained unwavering. A charming young rabbit, certain to join the Owsla once he grew into his lanky legs. Hazel was going to be respected. Hazel didn't want that.
Fiver desperately wished that Hazel would stop holding himself back for Fiver's sake. Just go silflay with the other rabbits, stop waiting around with me. They'll go on without you.
Hazel was charming, and kind, and understanding. He never did what Fiver asked. That was his one vice. He was too stubborn for his own good. Perhaps his stubbornness was what got them to Watership Down, and what got those does out of Efrafa. Maybe it was his kindness. Maybe it was his patience. Fiver had no idea. Hazel was just so good at taking what life hurled at him.
But Hazel was more than that. He was complicated.
He was much more complicated than Fiver could ever imagine. Fiver knew every inch of Hazel. He noticed the way his ears would twitch when he was annoyed. He knew that he tended to play with his paws as he become bored, or sometimes when he grew tired. Fiver liked complication.
Most of all, Fiver was happy around Hazel. There was no need to explain his actions, no need to shy away from encouragement, wondering if words were meant or merely spoken. Nothing was a lie around Hazel. Not words, not actions. Hazel was pure, like a kitten. Hazel was the purest being Fiver ever met.
Even as the warren filled with friends and family, nobody could doubt the extent of their love.
moiety (each of two parts into which a thing is or can be divided)
Bigwig was the most confusing rabbit Hazel had ever met. Maybe that was a good thing. Maybe it was meant to be.
Where Hazel found comfort in words, Bigwig found solace in actions. Bigwig held a certain grip around Hazel, completing his leadership as the taker, not the giver. Not in a bad sense, but sometimes Hazel found himself giving and giving and giving to those in need. At those times, Bigwig would step up, a silent nod. Bigwig knew when to take, and so he did. But he never overstepped boundaries. He knew Hazel was the real leader, and he would never dare undermine him.
But Bigwig just seemed to make himself so comfortable so easily, walking around like he owned the place and dared anyone to question his authority. Nobody did, of course. Why he reserved himself to accept Hazel as he did when he barely gave the time to day to anyone else, Hazel would never know.
Bigwig was his own. Even with Hazel in the spotlight, shining wisdom and leadership, Bigwig still managed to keep his own in the background. In the dark, away from view, but still a very domineering presence with everyone else.
Two halves of a whole, Hyzenthlay would say. Like the sun and moon.
But maybe in another life, that would be it. A partnership between two rabbits to keep a warren safe. Hazel knew it was more than that. They were friends, and Hazel thanked Frith each day for Bigwig's company.
If Hazel was El-ahrairah, Bigwig was sure to be Rabscuttle.
ineffable (too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words)
Blackberry was no doubt the intelligent one of the lot. Bigwig found him consistently useless for the beginning of their journey, save for one or two moments where he saved their tails from danger. Bigwig isn't sure if he thinks that anymore.
Blackberry is an enigma, spouting nonsensical ideas and words, cogs and wheels forming in his head that just never seem to stop. Bigwig just never really got Blackberry.
He's no fighter. He can't hold his own against anyone else, with a light, thin body that can barely force itself against wind. But he's got heart – heart can make up for a lot of things. That rabbit has more heart than anyone else Bigwig knows. He has enough heart for all of Watership Down.
The best thing about Blackberry was when he mused out loud. Bigwig never understood quite what he was talking about, but hearing the buck make decisive conclusions about things he saw happen around the warren was comforting in a weird sort of way. While the rest of them lived a day at a time, Blackberry seemed to live his whole life at once.
Not just with his ideas that flooded out, and not just watching him sit back and take in the situations they got themselves in with those knowing eyes flicking about, remembering every little detail in case he needed it. It was through the way he just enjoyed everything that he did. Nothing ever got him down. He was perpetually cheerful. Not in the way Bluebell was, telling jokes and stories. No, it was in his own way.
The Blackberry way.
The kind of way someone would enjoy problem-solving, using the current circumstances to find a new, exciting way out. A way never reached before. The Blackberry way.
The Blackberry way got Fiver and Pipkin out of the river and got Bigwig out of the snare and out of Efrafa. Without that nonsense-speaking rabbit, Bigwig would surely be dead.
Bigwig owes a whole lot to the Blackberry way.
eloquence (fluent or persuasive speaking or writing)
Just because Blackberry valued the facts he found in the world, it doesn't mean that he doesn't value the stories that Dandelion weaves. In fact, he's rather jealous at how easily it comes to his friend.
Ever since they were kittens, Dandelion was the imagination for the both of them. Born to a young mother and beside only one other kitten, Dandelion learnt how to be creative almost instantly, making up games to impress his sister and pulling stories out of thin air to recite to his mother.
Blackberry knew that Dandelion was different when they first played little childish games together. Dandelion's sister had little capacity to think outside the traditional rabbit myths, whereas Dandelion easily thought of original stories, not necessarily about El-ahrairah.
Two peas in a pod, so said Blackberry's mother. Both with wits and smarts that were rare in Sandleford. Rare in the rabbit world.
Their minds were wired in the same vein.
Dandelion didn't enjoy having a sister. Sure, he loved the air-headed doe with his heart, but he often called Blackberry his brother. Kin, not bound by blood, but by a close friendship. There were things you spoke to a brother about, like the Owsla and raids and stories and the big, wide world beyond the hills visible in the morning fog.
Blackberry and Dandelion were brothers, there was no doubt about it. They were vastly different from Fiver and Hazel, but by looking at them, you couldn't tell otherwise.
forbearance (patient self-control; restraint and tolerance)
Holly knew when to make his move, which is something Dandelion was fascinated by. Since the move to Watership Down, Holly had seemed to make it his priority to settle himself, take a step away from guard duties and spend it relaxing in the daisies and heather plants, watching beetles bustle about on the ground around him.
Dandelion was sure Holly had grown from the argumentative rabbit back in Sandleford, and Dandelion caught himself occasionally glancing to Holly during discussions around the warren, waiting for him to speak up.
He never does. His eyes are old and tired, seeing far too much in his time. His limp ears flop by his scarred face and he doesn't make a sound. He's silent, like a mouse, waiting, watching.
Holly lets the kittens crawl over his body, never shying from questions to recount the story of Sandleford. Sandleford was a distant memory for most of the rabbits, yet Holly could not let it go. He understands that Sandleford is now part of the ever-growing story of Watership Down and pushes through his fear.
Besides, not even Holly is immune to the excited kittens and their pleading and sweet, hopeful faces.
He is regarded as a legend amongst the younger rabbits. Dandelion sits in on his stories sometimes. He doesn't have the expression for storytelling, but he gets by with what little he has.
Holly tells stories about wars and fighting, mimicking the stance and batting his paws into the air, fighting an imaginary enemy. Dandelion likes to wonder who he sees. Perhaps Cowslip or Woundwort, maybe even The Threarah, the poison that seeped through the runs, The Black Rabbit himself.
He mostly kept his composure. Sometimes growing too agitated by his recounts, sometimes cutting himself off and disbanding the gathering rabbits.
But Dandelion would linger. He always lingers. Holly never overstepped the boundaries he put in place for himself through his years of owsla-ing, and that was something to admire.
cynosure (a person or thing that is the centre of attention or admiration)
Clover was beautiful. Holly knew that.
What drew Holly to her wasn't her long fur, constantly picking up dirt and nettles. It wasn't the perfectly shaped head she held with poise and dignity. It wasn't her deep, insightful brown eyes, or the elegant way she carried herself.
It was just her.
There was this air about her. Not untouchable like he had expected her to be. She was warm, cosy. She was home.
Clover was eager to learn the ways of wild rabbits, and nothing was going to stand in her way. Clover made sure of that. She fought and fought to be taken seriously amongst the new Efrafan does who hadn't yet gotten comfortable with the idea of living with a hutch rabbit who they saw as nothing but a liability.
Clover was patient. She enjoyed with little things in life, like lazing about with Holly, licking his wounds and helping the does with their kittens. She was a mother through and through, and a fierce one at that.
Clover was different to the other hutch rabbits that escaped with her. Boxwood was too meek and Haystack too easily flustered by the wide, open world to integrate properly. She was willing to stray from the warren, not afraid by the looming sky or the expanse of green hills in front of her.
Clover wanted adventure, and she got it.
Holly loved that the most about her. Let's go a little farther, she'd always beg, her paws itching to run and jump. Holly would always relent. He was never able to say no to her.
She may never get the hardships they all faced before reaching the heavenly down, but she never tries to get it. She knows she's different, and she takes it all in stride.
What a worthy rabbit.
lissom (thin, supple, and graceful)
Hyzenthlay is perfect, everything Clover had imagined a wild doe to be.
She's small, thin, with strong legs. Her sense of authority is overwhelming. She really is the perfect rabbit.
Hyzenthlay is one of the rare few rabbits who would voluntarily spend afternoons with Clover, speaking of nothing of much importance. In an odd, possibly morbid sort of way, Clover thinks they're one in the same.
Well, Clover was never held prisoner in her warren, but she did know the confronting transition to freedom. She knew the longing to feel the warm sun on her fur, and to play and silflay freely.
In the night, sharing burrows and kittens, the two would share stories. Whispering in the dark, terrified that someone would hear.
Hyzenthlay would tell her of the day she lost her mother, to her multiple litters she beared in Efrafa in appalling conditions, and watching young kittens perish in the crowd. Comforting the young does who were too scared of what would come if they were called upon by the officers. Getting struck and snapped at with every word that didn't fall in line with their beliefs.
Clover would tell her of the day she was separated from her family, tucked into a box and then delivered into a cage with the same four walls around her every day of her life.
Hyzenthlay is small, thin, and came out of Efrafa kicking and screaming.
Some of the does retreated into themselves, constantly on edge from years of mistreatment. Hyzenthlay didn't. She was strong, fierce. She was given the role of co-chief for a reason after all. What didn't kill her made her stronger, as the saying goes.
Clover was in love with those qualities. She longed to be like Hyzenthlay, with fire burning inside her somewhere. Clover knew that the fire would never burn out. Hyzenthlay was her own rabbit, nothing holding her back from making up for lost time.
She's small, thin, and Clover loves that doe to death.
ingénue (an innocent or unsophisticated young woman)
Hyzenthlay called the shots in the little gaggle of does back in Efrafa. That left Vilthuril to spend time in her own little world. Hyzenthlay was more than willing to let her do so.
There was a great need to protect some of the younger ones, keep whatever was left of their innocence. Vilthuril was one of them. She was only a few months younger than Hyzenthlay, but there was a kindness about her. She was childlike, often daydreaming. Sometimes, she would say, it was about a new world where they could all live in peace. So, Hyzenthlay made it her job to keep her as she was.
Vilthuril was strange. She hardly partook in discussion about rebellion. She spent a lot of time alone. She wasn't worried about the outcome. Hyzenthlay, thinking back on it, wonders if she had visions like Fiver did.
No, of course not. She was just a dreamer.
Dreaming of a better life with that childish nature of hers. An idealist, seeing the silver lining even when it was near impossible. Hyzenthlay wished she had the calmness that seemed to come so naturally for Vilthuril.
She was great at comforting everyone. Sometimes there'd be a missed opportunity, or one of the does who get reprimanded for their efforts, and all they needed was a bright, sunny it'll be okay Hyzenthlay, we'll get it next time and spirits would be lifted.
Vilthuril was a rock. Stable and steady. Her presence was a necessity in the harsh life at Efrafa. If she wasn't there, they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did. They wouldn't have been charging towards the finish line with Thlayli and his bird of thunder. They would have been dragging their half-dead bodies over that river.
Hyzenthlay planned, Vilthuril dreamed. In the end, it all worked perfectly.
brood (think deeply about something that makes one unhappy, angry, or worried)
Vilthuril loved nervous, twitchy Fiver from the moment she had met him.
She loved him like you would a sickly kitten, with a desperate need to shower him with encouragement and affection. It didn't take long for the love to take shape.
Fiver was never happy. Vilthuril found that out fairly quickly. He would fall into a strange type of contentment with the current situation, but he was never happy. He jumped at little sounds, on edge, waiting for something to jump from the bushes.
Vilthuril, on the other hand, was always cheerful. Rabbits would comment on the strange bond between the two. Fiver thought too much, and Vilthuril not enough.
Fiver liked to curl up beside Vilthuril when they slept by each other. It was a comfort for him to know that he wasn't alone, Vilthuril knew that. She never asked him about it. She respected him too much to do that.
But there were some times where he would relax. He would bounce about in the long grass, his muscles no longer tense beneath his fur. Vilthuril was grateful for that. He was hardly younger than she was. He had no right to carry such a burden by himself.
Vilthuril's litter was born soon after her arrival to Watership Down. Fiver still sat in a miserable state of constant despair, but it was lifted around the kittens. There was knowledge that in Sandleford, he would likely not have gotten a mate. It was a moment of relief for the runty rabbit. It was a moment of bliss for his adoring mate.
Fiver was never happy. But Vilthuril was now a warm fuzzy feeling in his chest, and in a way, it almost made up for everything they had been through.
a/n: aaaah its-a me, flora! i'm here to tell you that I've got exams on for the next two weeks so like, don't expect to see me around doin stuff alright. cool thanks xx love you all stay hydrated!
also if the latin title is incorrect please tell me I googled this so