'Your eyes tell me you want a story. A story with heroism, friendship, and a scattering of romance, no? I have the perfect story. Let me tell you how our holt came to be, it starts with escape, and a brave young otter known as Iran.'

0o0o0o0o

Swhish! Crack! Iran cringed as the whip came down on his back. "Row wi' tha drum otter, nae slower, ye ken!" A fat ferret pulled back his arm for another blow. Another swish. Another crack. Iran gave a small yelp of pain, then mentally kicked himself for showing it. Flayhide sneered, "Ye wee beastie, did ah hurt ye?"

The young otter glared daggers at him, but never stopped rowing, "Ye may have hurt me psychically, but ye can't touch me mentally."

Swish! Crack! Such was life on the Bloodrider. At least, for the oarslaves.

0o0o0o0o

Night had fallen, the moon's bright light was reflecting off the waves. One wave lapped into the oarhole, making Iran's cuts sting. Pink seawater lapped over Iran's feet. "Are you okay? That ferret whipped you pretty hard."

Iran turned around, behind him was another sea otter, she must of come in during the most recent raid, "I've been through worse."

Her eyes widened, "Is it really that bad here?"

Iran shifted uncomfortably, she had him in a noose, he didn't want to worry her, but he didn't want to lie to her either, "Er, not often." He finally stammered, "What's er, your name?" He said, attempting to change the subject.

"Yedali, but don't change the subject."

"My name is Iran." Iran kept on forging ahead with the names subject, hoping she would let it go.

"Do you ever think about, escape?"

That startled Iran, he had given up on it, and had blotted words like escape, freedom, and land from his dictionary, "Not since...quite a long time ago."

Yedali sighed, "I already miss it, the sun, my family, freedom."

"Er, maybe we could escape, somehow. If we both can't escape, I'll give my life to let you escape. It's different, after awhile it all just washes away, you become mindless, there's no world outside of your whip marks and the oar, only then are you truly enslaved. Hearing the word escape sorta brings you back, then you melt back into slavery."

Yedali studied him closely, "You think a lot about this."

Iran turned back forward and shrugged, "Not much else there is to do." He bent his back and pulled on his oar, a whip scar showing clearly where it had torn his tunic.