Chapter 1-The Boy on the Rainbow

"SAM. SAM. WAKE UP, SAM."

These were the words that drew Sam out of what he thought was a normal night of sleep. As he began to stir, the first thing that he noticed, even before he opened his eyes, was how bright it was. What the hell, who opened my curtains? As he opened his eyes and rubbed out the blurriness, a marvelous sight came into focus. The first thing he noticed was that where his ceiling was supposed to be, he saw clouds and blue skies, and those clouds looked awfully close! "What th-" he began as he sat up. What he saw took the will to speak out of him. The reason the clouds seemed so close is because Sam was sitting on what could only be described as a pathway floating in the sky made of rainbow! Sam looked down and saw a sprawling countryside. Immediately below him, he could make out a medium sized farm with a field that appeared to be filled with almost ready crops. The more he looked around, the more sights he saw: an old crumbling bridge that was half destroyed, some train tracks, a winding river, and way off in the distance, he saw what looked like a coal plant. There was a building spewing black smoke, giving the entire area a gloomy look. But to his right, he saw the most wonderful sight of his life. Sitting on a high hill that almost radiated safety and peace, he saw a lone beech tree with its branches gently swaying in the wind.

"AH, I SEE YOU HAVE AWAKENED. DO YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE, YOUNG ONE?" A voice from behind Sam and surprised him so badly, he almost fell off the rainbow. Only a sudden gust of wind helped him keep his balance. "HAHA, MY APPOLOGIES, I CAN UNDERSTAND YOU BEING SURPRISED, THIS MUST SEEM A BIT ODD. ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF: MY NAME IS PRINCE RAINBOW."

Prince Rainbow? Like, from Watership Down? Sam turned in the direction of the voice and received yet another surprise. The figure was at least thirty feet tall and was dressed in a flowing robe that covered him from the neck down. The robe seemed to contain every color Sam could think of. As he looked up, he saw a face that was both old and wise, and as Sam looked in Prince Rainbow's eyes, he immediately felt a bit calmer. Sam hesitantly replied, "Um, right. Hi there…Prince Rainbow…my name is Sam." Alright, this is messed up. I must be dreaming, I mean, I'm floating on a rainbow for God's sake! Oh well, I might as well play along. "So, where exactly am I? I mean, it's a nice view and all, but I'm…on a rainbow. How did I get here?"

"OF COURSE YOU ARE CURIOUS, AND I DO NOT BLAME YOU. HERE IS AS SHORT OF AN ANSWER TO YOUR INQUERIES: THE REASON YOU ARE HERE IS BECAUSE I HAVE CHOSEN YOU TO BE MY MESSENGER TO A VERY SPECIAL GROUP OF LORD FRITH'S CHILDREN. I AM SURE YOU KNOW OF THEM, FOR THEY ARE HAZEL'S BAND OF RABBITS THAT WILL BE ARRIVING ON WATERSHIP DOWN IN THE NEAR FUTURE. YOU CAN SEE THE DOWN FROM HERE, IT IS ON THE SAME HILL YOU WERE LOOKING AT BEFORE WE BEGAN SPEAKING."

"Wow," Sam finally said after a moment of stunned silence, "so I'm in a world with the Watership Down rabbits, and I actually get to meet them? That's awesome! This is the coolest dream I've ever had, and it's so clear too! Maybe I'll remember some of it when I wake up!"

Upon hearing that, Prince Rainbow was genuinely surprised. "YOU MEAN TO TELL ME YOU THINK ALL OF THIS IS A DREAM?"

"Well duh," Sam replied arrogantly, "of course it's a dream. I mean come on, right now I'm sitting on a rainbow miles in the sky talking to a fairy tale character that's telling me I'm going to go meet my literary heroes? Of course it's a dream!"

"WELL, I SUPPOSE WE SHALL HAVE TO GET THAT FOOLISH NOTION OUT OF YOUR HEAD RIGHT NOW." And with that, Prince Rainbow conjured a book out of thin air and threw it at Sam, hitting him in the stomach and knocking the wind out of him.

"Ow!" said Sam, caught off guard by the sudden act of aggression. "What was that for?"

"READ THE FIRST FEW WORDS," Prince Rainbow replied, ignoring Sam's question.

"Whatever," Sam said. He picked up the book and began to read, while at the same time thinking this dream might not be as cool as he originally hoped. "The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon." He finished the quote, still confused and annoyed. "There, I read it, now what does that prove?"

"SAM, BEING THE SMART BOY THAT YOU ARE, SURELY YOU DIDN'T FORGET TWO KEY THINGS THAT AREN'T POSSIBLE IN DREAMS? THOSE OF COURSE BEING THAT YOU CAN'T FEEL PAIN, AND THAT BOOKS HAVE NO PRINT IN THEM. SINCE THESE TWO THINGS BOTH OCCURRED, THEN LOGICALLY, YOU MUST NOT BE DREAMING." Prince Rainbow's analysis was meant to appeal to the ever-active logical side of Sam's mind, which it succeeded at.

Sam was thinking it through, and although he wasn't quite sure on the book theory, it was true that you can't feel pain in dreams. But if you can't feel pain in dreams…but it can't be true, it just can't! "Prince Rainbow, how is this possible? How do I just suddenly appear in some other world? This doesn't make any sense!"

"CALM DOWN, SAM!" Prince Rainbow said as he felt a wave of panic rush through the teen, "YOU ARE MAKING A PROVERBIAL MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLE HILL. BESIDES, I THOUGHT YOU WERE UNHAPPY WITH YOUR OWN WORLD, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE TO GET AWAY FROM IT FOR A WHILE?"

At this Sam glared at Prince Rainbow, "Listen here, my world may be messed up, but that doesn't mean I wanted to leave it! You can't just steal me away from everything without any type of permission! I demand you take me back!"

Prince Rainbow lost his temper after hearing this. "YOU THINK TO DEMAND SOMETHING OF ME YOU FOOLISH CHILD? HOW DARE YOU! YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A GIFT THAT MANY PEOPLE WOULD KILL FOR, A CHANCE TO ACTUALLY MEET AND INTERACT WITH YOUR HEROES, AND IN YOUR PANIC YOU DEMAND TO THROW IT AWAY? WELL THAT IS UNFORTUNATE, BECAUSE I HAVE MY ORDERS DIRECTLY FROM FRITH HIMSELF: YOU ARE TO FOLLOW AND HELP THE WATERSHIP RABBITS TO THE BEST OF YOU ABILITIES UNTIL THEY ARE AT PEACE. THIS IS YOUR ONLY OPTION IF YOU WANT TO FIND YOUR WAY HOME, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME, SAM?"

"I…I…fine," Sam said, feeling defeated. "I'll play your little game Prince Rainbow, I'll help them." But Sam's optimistic attitude couldn't help but resurface. "Besides, it will be pretty cool getting to actually meet all of the Watership Down rabbits. So…how exactly do I get off of this rainbow?" Sam looked around, but he didn't see any immediate way down.

"WE WILL GET TO THAT. BUT FIRST I HAVE GIFTS FOR YOU, AS THIS IS A DANGEROUS WORLD YOU ARE GOING TO BE ENTERING. YOU MUST HAVE WAYS OF PROTECTING YOURSELF. MY FIRST GIFTS, ARE THESE: YOUR WEAPONS." Prince Rainbow waved his hands and three things appeared in the air in front of Sam: two identical wicked looking knives, and a black pole that was a bit longer than Sam's forearm. "THE STAFF YOU SEE BEFORE YOU WILL BE YOUR GREAEST TOOL IN THIS LAND. YOU AND IT ARE CONNECTED, AND IT WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR QUEST."

"Right. It's a bit short, don't you think?" Just as Sam said this, he noticed a nondescript crack in the middle of the rod. Upon closer inspection, Sam realized it was a button. Well, here goes nothing, he thought to himself as he pressed the button. As soon as he did, the ends of the rod extended outwards until the staff was a total of nine feet long! "Cool," Sam said, as he took a few practice swings with it, "it's weirdly natural, almost like it was made for me." It was then that Sam noticed that the ends of the staff had odd holes in them. He decided to ask Price Rainbow, "What are these for?

"IF YOU LOOK AT THE HILTS OF THE TWO KNIVES, YOU SEE THEY ARE THE RIGHT SHAPE TO FIT INSIDE OF THE HOLES, GIVING YOU REMOVABEL EDGES ON THE END. I DESIGNED THE WEAPON LIKE THIS SO THE WIELDER COULD DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO USE THE WEAPON FOR LETHAL FIGHTING, OR SIMPLY FOR SELF-DEFENCE.

"Well I have to say," Sam said with an impressed tone in his voice, "this thing is pretty solid. I am honored that you allow me to use it."

"YOU WILL NEED THEM. THE STAFF ITSELF WILL NOT DEGRADE OR BREAK, AND THE BLADES WILL REMAIN EVER SHARP. BUT I HAVE MORE FOR YOU, MESSENGER." With that, Prince Rainbow laid his hands on Sam's head. Just as Sam was about to ask what he was doing, he felt a warmth flow thought him.

"Wha-," Sam started, only to be interrupted by Prince Rainbow.

"I have imbued you with certain magical abilities, EACH ONE CORRESPONDING TO A DIFFERENT COLOR OF THE RAINBOW. HOWEVER, THESE YOU WILL DISCOVER ON YOUR OWN, WHEN YOUR NEED FOR THEM IS GREAT. AS YOUR POWER GROWS, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY BE ABLE TO CALL UPON YOUR POWERS AT WILL AND BE ABLE TO SHAPE THEM IN DEFERENT WAYS.

"Wow, all of this stuff is just…unbelievable. I know I was acting kind of childish at the start of all this, but thank you for helping my anyway Prince Rainbow." Sam put his new equipment away, the staff went into a holding tube attached on his shirt to the small of his back, and the knives went in sheathes on his belt.

…Belt?

"Hey, what happened to my pajamas?" Sam exclaimed, looking down at himself. Where before he was wearing polka dot pajamas, he was now wearing a dull grey tee shirt and similarly boring cargo shorts. He even had brand new hiking shoes.

Prince Rainbow chuckled. "SURELY YOU DID NOT EXPECT TO WALK AROUND IN THOSE FLIMSY THINGS THE WHOLE TIME? THESE CLOTHES WILL BE MUCH MORE SUITABLE. THEY ARE INCREDIBLY DURABLE, AND WILL AUTOMATICALLY REPAIR WHATEVER DAMAGE YOU DO DO TO THEM. SAME THING WITH THE SHOES."

The teen nodded, impressed. "Um…I don't supposed it would be polite to ask for a little color?"

"IT WOULD NOT."

"Got it, these will be perfectly fine. Thank you very much. Now, about actually getting to Watership Down?"

"YOUR GIFTS ARE COMPLETE, SO I SHALL TAKE MY LEAVE FOR NOW. BUT YOU SHALL BE HEARING FROM ME LATER, MESSENGER, DON'T FORGET. THE OF RAINBOW WILL TAKE YOU TO WATERSHIP DOWN WHERE YOU WILL SPEND THE NIGHT. I WILL SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN IN THE MORNING. FAIRWELL!"

As Prince Rainbow disappeared, Sam suddenly noticed the ground below him was moving. The rainbow carried him to the down at an alarming speed. Sam almost thought he would crash into the beech tree, but to his relief, the rainbow slowed to a stop when he got there. As Sam stepped off the rainbow and onto Watership Down, he was instantly filled with a sense of tranquility. He took another look at his surroundings from the ground level, and the sight was breath-taking. The countryside stretched as far as the eye could see on all sides, the evening sun giving the land an almost magical quality. Sam turned to the beech tree to see about finding somewhere to sleep for the night, when he made a shocking discovery: he had shrunk! The beech tree seemed as high as a skyscraper, and when he looked around a bit closer, he noticed that all the grass was up almost half way to his knees! Realizing there was nothing he could do about his reduced size, the teen began to search for shelter. He looked around the base of the tree for what he was hoping would be there. Come on, where is it…yes! He found a hole at the base of the tree that led to the famous chamber that would soon be known as the Honeycomb. With his thoughts racing through his head, Sam entered the burrow and lay down to sleep.


Meanwhile, on a hill near Nuthanger Farm, a familiar group of rabbits was digging scrapes for the night as well. Suddenly, the smallest one yelled out, "Hazel, Bigwig, look at the hill, it's a rainbow! Oh it must be a blessing from Prince Rainbow, he's welcoming us to our new home!"

"Yes Pipkin that's all well and good, but unless Prince Rainbow plans on helping us dig these scrapes, we can worry about that later." This came from a large rabbit with a distinctive tuft of fur on his head that worked its way around his neck like a lion's mane.

"Oh come now, Bigwig," said a brown, thin rabbit, "a blessing from Prince Rainbow shouldn't be ignored. It's a symbol of hope. Prince Rainbow is saying we made the right choice in following Fiver and leaving Sandleford and coming here."

"Of course Hazel," Bigwig replied sarcastically. "How silly of me to worry about shelter when there're rainbows about."

"Well, we'll get to see the full extent of that blessing tomorrow," said another smallish rabbit. "We should get there about midday, right Hazel?"

Hazel answered, "That's right Fiver, one last day as hlessil, and then we'll have a home forever. Now come on and get some sleep everyone. We still have a long walk tomorrow."