"Adventure," repeated Up. He gazed up at the spot where the eagle had disappeared. "Grand, epic adventure!"
"What type of quest are you proposing, dear brother?" asked Down.
"We shall scale the mountain and bring back a feather of that magnificent eagle!" Up declared.
"That is indeed grand and epic and all those things you said. But quite risky. We have but our spears and the rations on our backs. You think we'll survive?"
"I don't know, Down, but that's what makes it an adventure! Who knows if we'll live to tell the tale? It's a risk worth taking."
"I don't know," Down said nervously.
"Come on, Down! This is why we left! Our lives in the village were the same every day, no excitement, no danger, no meaning. We would be just as forgotten as all the other farmer rabbits. But this? We'll be heroes! This is an opportunity that won't come again." Up extended his paw to his brother, urging him to go along. "Will you live, Down?"
Down stared at the ground for a long while and shifted from foot to foot uneasily. He was silent.
"Up," he said finally, "I can't go with you. I'll go back home and tell them your tale, but I shan't be a part of it." Down picked up his spear and handed it his brother. "Take it. Try not to die."
Down turned and walked solemnly into the woods, his head hanging along with his ears. Up watched him disappear into the trees, and then sat on a rock and wept.
That night, Up built a fire at the base of the mountain and lay on his back staring up at the peaks until he fell into a restless sleep.
The sun awoke at the same time as Up the next morning. He put out the small embers that remained of his fire, gathered up what few supplies he had and put them in his pack, and slung his pack onto his back. He picked up Down's spear begrudgingly, and tied it diagonally across his back. Then, picking up his own spear, he set off up the mountain.
From the bottom, the mountain looked steep, but easily navigable. After but an hour's climb, Up found this to be a deception on the part of nature. The jagged rocks were loose and sharp and slick, making traversing them very difficult. Up fell and rolled many times, cutting and bruising his body. But, undeterred, he trudged on. He dug his spear into the gravel as he went, leaning on it as a walking stick. As the sky began to slowly don its dark gown of night, the already sharp winds became more violent, and rain started to fall, and so Up started searching frantically for shelter. He soon found a large stone cave and darted inside. He shed his wet pack and shook out his fur and flapped his soggy ears. Shivering, he leaned against the wall and watched the rain outside.
A low rumbling shook the cave floor. Up assumed it was just thunder, and shut his eyes. It rumbled again, stronger this time. Up rolled over, stretched, and laid his head on his ears. The cave floor shook violently. Up jumped to his feet and looked into the cave, where he saw two huge black eyes gazing straight at him.
A growling voice emanated from below the eyes.
"I wasn't expecting company..."
To be continued...