A RedQuest Tale - Prologue & Chapter 1 (clean)

Story by

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 of A RedQuest Tale


A RedQuest Tale

Author's Note : This was my first attempt at writing a novel of sorts, taken from ideas I had of Redwall at the time but wanted to try something new but in the same aspect, a new world, lands but with hints of Redwall'ish from within it. Unfortunately the story wasn't completed but after long thoughts I decided to post it up nonetheless. This was written during the month of November back in 2005.

Please be aware, that even though this chapter doesn't have any adult material, other chapters in this series does, just a warning but each chapter will say 'clean', 'adult' or 'extreme' if it calls for it in the title as well as being put into right category.

If anyone likes to add keywords to this, please do.

Prologue :

A cool breeze washed over the castle battlements, sending over a bright orange leaf that swirled around and around in the air as it slowly made it's way down to the gardens below. Down below within the garden were apple trees, in full autumn colour as the grass lay covered in nature's beauty of reds, oranges, yellows and browns. In the centre of the garden, lay a large fountain, pebbled pathways leading away from it.

There stood in the middle of a small island, were a otter and a ferret. Both were holding paws while their spare paws carried their weapons. The otter who was larger than the ferret had a huge sword, finely crafted hilt which looked pale in comparison to the real one held at the time. The ferret paw was grasping around a small sling loaded with a pebble that hung to the side but ready to flick into action. Both dressed in simple clothing, the ferret wearing a simple tunic, which had a belt around the waist while the otter was wearing only pants, his upper body was bare apart from the strap to keep his sword in place on his back when not needed. Both looked to be of stern warriors.

In between them was another form, lying face down while looking out with lifeless eyes, a large head of a adder, slained as it looked out with dead eyes while water came out from it's open mouth as it dropped into the deep pool of water. Some leaves floated on top, wobbling to the waves that the fountain was causing as they floated off to the edge of the fountain. Blue marble stone surrounded the outside, thick enough for creatures of the castle to sit down and relax.

It was at this time that off in the distance, that Mortimer was making his way towards the fountain while making sounds of his walking stick hitting the pathway with a slight thunk, thunk, thunk sound mixed with his steps. Slowly getting louder, an old mouse was slowly hobbling his way towards the fountain while leaning on a cane with one old wrinkled paw, the mouse was carrying an old book with the other under his arm. Being small, the mouse was grey all over, with whiter grey patches around his whiskers. Having a moustache that thickened out his whiskers, there was thin metal spectacles balancing on his nose that rocked slightly side to side as he hobbled on his way.

Coming to a stop near the fountain, his large pink ears, flicked about and he gave off a slight sigh. Placing the book onto the blue marble shelf, he slowly tightened his grasp on the thing stick and turning around, he slowly sat down. Hearing a few joints crack and pop, the old mouse gave a slight frown before feeling his rear touch the cool surface of the marble through his clothing.

Closing his eyes, the mouse moved his right paw over the other one and placed his thin fingers grasping onto the other paw while holding his walking stick upright. For a short while the mouse didn't do anything but listen to the autumn breeze blowing overhead and through the tree's of the garden. The sound of leaves rustling on the branches of on the ground was soothing, mixed with the sound of slow trickling water coming from behind him. Sniffing the air, the sweet smell of rotting apples, made the old mouse drool slightly as he gave a slight cough and spoke gently. "Ah my friends. It looks like another fine day again. I so love the autumn, don't you?" The old mouse slowly turned his head towards the two figures behind him and gave a soft chuckle. "I remember so many things, my friends." Opening his eyes again, the old mouse looked at the statue and gave a sly grin. "But I am fooling myself, you wouldn't have liked to stay in one place for too long without some sort of action, but I am too old now in body to do what we used to do. But I never forget our first time we met all those years back, even if it was a short time. I knew you both had something to do. I hope you did accomplish it."

Flicking an ear, the old mouse chuckled. "It seems like I haven't managed to sneak out as I thought. My old friend is coming to check up on me. Bless him." Turning towards the sound of talons hitting the pavement, he called out. "Rawstripe. I am over here you old codger, you."

Coming near to the mouse was a large adult crow, dooking his head down slightly while giving the old mouse a slight frown in his look. Clacking his beak in annoyance, Rawstripe cawed and gave the pebble a slight irritating scratch on the ground. "There you are?! I've been looking all over for you." Sitting down beside the old mouse, the crow ruffled his feathers and began to preen himself. "Why do you keep on doing this to me? I end up as grey as you one day and I'd rather keep my black feathers by the time I am at your age."

Giving a soft chuckle, Mortimer looked at Rawstripe and placed a paw on the crow's wing. "My dear friend, I can't help it. I used to have adventures in my young life and they still hold dear to me. However, it is such a nice day and we won't have many of those when winter sets in."

Rawstripe relented in his anger and his voice came out smoother and calmer. "I know, I know. But I do have a responsibility of looking after you. What would the young ones say if they didn't have their favourite storyteller and teacher around?" The crow paused and turned to look at the statues before caw'ing softly. "You miss them, don't you?"

Mortimer slowly fixed his spectacles on his nose and nodded his head slightly. "I would be lying if I said I never gave them a thought. I do, everyday and I am thankful that they managed to bring peace back to our kingdom. But no matter where they are or if they are alive, I hope that they are doing well."

The crow wrapped a paw around the old mouse's neck and gave a laugh. "From what I heard about them, although I was too young back then to really get to know them. No doubt, even at your age they would still give a few a run for their money. Especially that Rowan."

Giving a slight grin, the old mouse nodded his head. "Aye, Rowan. Little rascal that she was. Always getting into trouble and mischief. But speaking of little rascals I think I can hear small paws heading this way. Could you look for me, my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be."

Rawstripe turned his head around and looked about as he could see a small bunch of little ones running up along the path as he chuckled, releasing his arm around the mouse's neck and cawed. "Ah, I see them. You're hearing is as good as ever though. I think they escaped again from their evil cub sitter."

Nodding his head, Mortimer smiled and gave his book a pat with a paw. "It certainally looks like it, we have to keep them here until someone comes for them. Can you do that?" He saw Rawstripe nod his head and smiled back at his friend as he didn't have time to say anything else as the loud arrival of young creatures came all around the two, all shouting and making noises. Mortimer picked out the two ringleaders right away. "I might have known it was you two. Bren and Oaktail." Mortimer looked at two young creatures. One was a male otter, while the other was a female red squirrel. Holding up both of his paws, the old mouse coughed and wrinkled his nose slightly. "Quiet please. You are far too loud for a old creature like me to put up with a racket like that." Watching the small crowd quieten down, he gave a looked to Rawstripe and gave a hidden wink. "Tell me, my friend. What do you think they have come for?"

Rawstripe saw the wink and began to rub his beak with a wingtip as if in thought. "Oh I don't know. They sound far too excited to sneak up and attack us. Maybe that's it, they were sneaking away from getting a bath or going to bed.."

There was a resounding. "No, we want to stay up and play!" That nearly bowled over both Mortimer and Rawstrip into the cold water behind them. Giving off a slight chuckle, the old mouse pulled up the book into his lap and shrugged his shoulders. "Oh, so you want to stay up and play is it? We can't have that as it's time for your bed." The mouse sighed as he saw the looks of the young ones. "I have to go and have my meal and see other furs but I feel like I may have to cancel that and come to school you tomorrow. However." The mouse smiled a bit more looking at the young ones.

Slowly getting back up again with the help of Rawstripe, the old mouse smiled. "It is time for you lot to go back and get a bath before bed, is it not?" He saw the young ones shake their heads as he held a empty paw and shook it at them. "Now, now. I may be old and all but I do know when it is time for you lot to get ready for bed. Some of you will be old enough to hear this tale soon enough." He gave them a look over his spectacles and smiled. "If you do this then I will forego any schooling tomorrow and you can play in the leaves and have the day off. What say you?"

Seeing the young ones run off quickly as they ran away, screaming and shouting about getting their bath first and who could get to sleep quicker than anyone, Mortimer turned to face his old friend and shook his head. "This tale isn't for them, it has too much hatred and evil and they never sleep again. I think up another story to tell them, but please. Help me get back inside."

Rawstripe nodded his head as he let the mouse lean on him as both slowly made their way back towards the castle. The crow cawed softly. "Yes, they don't need to know such things yet. One day it will my friend. One day it will."

***

The large dining room was busy of those who were sitting about impatiently as they awaited the arrival of Mortimer. King Fleetpaw, now old, sat in his chair the red squirrel had slowly turned grey over his aged seasons. Looking to Finepetal, he smiled and patted her paw. "I am sure that he will be here soon. I know he has spent ages getting this story together."

Finepetal nodded her head. "Yes, I know dear." She looked at the door herself and turned her head to the king. "I just didn't know it would take such a long time to get information about what happened."

Everything in the big hall went silent as the door opened to show Mortimer coming in with the help of the crow next to him. Looking about, the mouse placed a paw onto his spectacles and coughed. "I never had that happen to me before. Tell me, you haven't all come to hear me tell a story have you?"

Mortimer blinked as he heard a loud roar come from everyone in the room stating that they did want to hear story. Several started to bang on the table as he looked down to the other end. The King got up and called out loudly. "Quiet, quiet I say!" He looked about the whole of the room and coughed. "You know why you are here you old rogue." King Fleetpaw said while holding his paws behind his back. "So come up here, get something to eat and start the story before I have another mutiny in my paws."

Nodding his head, Mortimer slowly made his way along the hall while noticing every eye was on him. Reaching the other side he bowed to the king and queen and then made his way to his seat on the main table and slowly placed his book down. Coughing he looked about and spoke. "As you have known I have written the first part of the story of what had happen so many seasons back. And as such I am prepared to tell the tale as far as I have written tonight. So far I have had a lot of records, accounts of others on what has happened and was able to piece it all together to get a account of the times that we have had ages ago."

Leaning forward, the mouse picked up a mug and slowly drank some cool ale as he looked about, taking his time. Blinking he smiled as he heard a cough coming from the king. "Anyways, this is a tale of when Bloodstripe came to our land. I have only managed to get through one part though but this tale will tell on how Bloodstripe managed to take away our freedom."

Sitting down, Mortimer slowly opened his book and caressed the page with his paw. While everyone was listening with the golden sun sinking down to be replaced by the many candles in the room, Mortimer began to speak.

Book 1

Chapter 1 - Bloodstripe the Merciless

Bloodstripe stood on deck as he watched his crew continue to work some of the slaves cleaning the deck. He was a well muscled tiger who had a golden ring through his right ear. Wearing a red scarf on his neck, his yellow cat eyes took in everything around him. Calling out to one of the rats as he spotted a old skinny ferret not working fast enough. "Hey, Greasefang. Why isn't that one working?"

The rat scratched his head and looked to where the tiger was and shrugged his shoulders. "Captain. He's too old and weak to work like the others that we picked up. But they still get fed the same as well."

Bloodstripe ran his sharp claws through his white chin fur and nodded his head as he moved towards the rails and looked down at the main deck below him. Seeing a lot of old slaves struggling to keep up with the heat of the sun, he slowly dug his claws into the wood. "Hmmm, I do see a problem here." He gave Greasefang a look and nodded his head. "Right, then I suppose we best do some cleaning then."

The look of the slaves that were on the boat at the time stopped and looked up in horror to the words that came out of Bloodstripe who was standing up with arms about his chest. "Alright, I want all the slaves brought up on the main deck. Those that look healthy and fit are to go at that end." The tiger pointed forwards towards the bow of the boat. "Those that are not fit or unwell are to come to the aft part of the main deck." Grasping the rail again he snarled. "Come on, get on with it you miserable lot!"

An old otter looked at the ferret and shook his head. "We're for it now, mate. It's the fishes for us... Ow!" He felt a rat smack him on the back of the head as it snarled. "Shut your mouth, riverdog." The old otter growled under his breath but stopped as he felt the ferret place his paw on his own. Looking at the otter, the ferret gave a soft smile and whispered. "Perhaps but they never be able to take our freedom from within." He went quiet as they were both pulled up and dragged over to where the line of useless slaves were being placed.

The main deck was a hive of activity with slaves being pushed about by crew. All the time, they were under the gaze of Bloodstripe who had begun to pace up and down, his eyes not taking their gaze from what was happening. Slowly the slaves were sorted out as he called out. "Get out the logs!" Moving back to leaning on the rail, he looked down at the old and weak slaves standing next to each other underneath him and he spoke to them in a low hiss. "Now my pretties. You see them over there? Well we're going to have a little competition. You know the rules by now as most of you have won this so many times before when you replaced the old and the weak. Pair off into three's and the best of luck to you." The tiger looked to the younger and fit slaves who were looking glum and he looked back down again. "After the new lot we picked up recently, you're going to need all the luck you can get."

Standing back up again as the logs was placed in front of the slaves who looked down at them disheartened. One young squirrel looked in front of him to where his father was placed opposite to where he stood and the younger squirrel started to feel his eyes wet. The mouse to the side of him, muttered. "Don't let them see it affect you." The squirrel ended up biting his lip so hard to stop his tears that a thin line of blood started to run down his chin.

Bloodstripe saw what was going on and he gave a large toothy grin, then he saw the glare that the mouse was giving him. The tiger glared right back for a few seconds but turned his head away and turned his attention to other things as he straightened back up and began to talk. "For those who do not know of why you are here, I will explain fully to you now. This ship only has enough food and water supplies to sustain so many of your miserable lives that belong to me." The tiger slowly moved up and down his deck as he watched the slaves. "And we have too many slaves right now, but I am a fair person. Everyone has a chance to survive. So this is what you are going to do." He pointed down to the logs that lay before them. "You will each in three's pick up those logs." He looked at them all who had now been chained into three's. All of the crew were on deck and were armed to the teeth with swords. "And hold those up above your heads. You will be against these old slaves and they have beaten many of you." Bloodstripe pointed down to them and snerked.

"Look at them all, they are so weak and skinny. Most of them have seen the whip from the oar master during their lives on this vessel. But do not let looks deceive you all, they will be fighting to remain on here. You are well fed, watered and have a roof over your head." Placing his paws onto the rail again, Bloodstripe licked his teeth slowly. "You won't like what will happen if you fail."

Bloodstripe turned to a black panther on the deck and nodded his head. The black panther padded about between the two lines of slaves. "As you know by now I am the first mate on this ship. My name is Blackthorn and I will be called sir at all times. That goes for the crew but if defiantely goes for you lot." Stopping and looking at a very young otter. "My captain speaks the truth. Pass this test and you will be rewarded. Fail and you will be punished." Making his way to the port side of the ship, he stood erect and called out loudly. "Slaves, pick up the logs, now!"

Reluctantly the slaves began to lift up the logs. The fresher, younger ones had them up while the older slaves barely managed to get them up. Immediately one pair of three slaves gave up as one died on the spot, clutching his chest. Several rats went over and began to tug on the chain with the two protesting mice tried in vain to try again but it fell on death ears.

The old ferret grunted as he runed his head to the otter next to him and whispered. "What's your name?" The otter frowned as he felt his arms heavy while holding up the log. "Benjam. And you?" Noticing that the otter wasn't in a talkative mood, the ferret just simply replied. "Patch." A white rabbit next to the ferret ground his teeth slightly and mutters. "I wish you two would shut up. Save your strength to keeping this up."

Bloodstripe ordered a chair to be brought up on deck so that he could take a rest. Several of the guards went and brought it up. Sitting down, the tiger looked up at the bright sky which was cloudless, offering no shelter for the slaves down below on the main deck.

With each passing hour, several more slaves gave up as Blackthorn ticked off the numbers. He watched the slaves panting heavily now under the hot sun, while the guards taunted them by drinking water. Bloodstripe was enjoying this but he was watching to see who would win out of the two squirrels that took his notice before. Moving his glare down to where the older father and then to the younger son. He bent over and spoke. "You see him, don't you old squirrel. Why don't you give yourself up now and save us a lot of trouble. Give up."

Gritting his teeth, the old squirrel looked at his son on the opposite side and watched as his eyes met with the other pair. Feeling the weight of the log begin to get heavier, he grunted and pushed up with his own with all of his might. Teeth bared fully now as the squirrel sucked in air, swallowing it down and ignoring the salt in his eyes and the scorching hot sun beating down onto his weakening limbs.

Young eyes stared at his father, the young squirrel wanting to scream out to his father to fight to stay alive. His lower lip stung from where he had bitten before as the salt settled in. Watching as his old father began to fade slowly before his eyes, the hours past on and with tearful eyes, the youngster slowly saw the log begin to slowly drop. With tears falling from his eyes now, the youngster muttered under dry lips, unable to get any sound from his parch throat. "No, please don't give up...."

Bloodstripe got up as he lent against the railing again and slowly watched as the two beside the old squirrel had faded and it was just the squirrel holding up the log on his own. But the tiger could see that he would fail soon, the legs had bent slightly and he gave a look to the Blackthorn who nodded and made his way to where the squirrel was and in a flash, pulled the squirrel's nose. "Get your legs straight, now. All of you!"

The sound of a log falling onto the deck came from elsewhere on the deck as he turned to see small young ones kneeling down onto the deck and weeping. Several rats moved over and picked them up, carrying them to where the other failures were and dropped them down. Several of the older slaves began to sooth the youngsters down.

Giving a bored yawn, he looked at Blackthorn and gave a questionable look. The black panther put up two fingers to indicate that they needed to lose six more. The first one came as the old squirrel couldn't fight as he collapsed onto the floor, the log hitting him on the head and knocking him out flat.

A coarse wail came from the other side as the son watched his father collapse onto the deck and wanted to go to him but was stopped by the others next to him who growled. "Don't let him see you die as well. Live for him." One of them hissed. The young squirrel redoubled his efforts.

The day was slowly coming to a end but the heat had done its damage. Patch, Benjam with the rabbit collapsed onto the floor of the deck, exhausted. Bloodstripe got up and nodded his head as the last three were dragged to the others. The guards moving the other slaves to the younger ones as Blackstripe moved down the steps onto the main deck, protected by his crew. Turning to face the unfortunate slaves, he shook his head. "It is such a pity that you could not show me how much you appreciated my care and hospitality." The tiger paused and looked at his claws on one paw, inspecting them slightly. Moving his attention back to the slaves, he moved up to where they are and pointed at the young ones.

With a frightened squeal, two rats pulled them from the grasp of the older ones while a third battered them with a stick. Pulling them up to where Bloodstripe was, he nodded his head as one rat began to tie a rock to a young vole leg. The large tiger continued to speak again. "Therefore you are not wanted anymore and I will give you your freedom. You are free to go wherever you want if you can survive and swim to shore. Moving forwards, he picked up the vole by the neck and lifted him up. Blackthorn opened up the side of the ship and with terror in every slave eyes that bared witness. Bloodstripe kicked the stone off the edge. Lifting the vole to his face, the tiger eyes burnt with evil. "Bye." His paw let go and the vole fell to the deck, bounce and went over the edge, dragging the other two with them, just their screams of terror could be heard and then a splash. The three youngsters tried their best to keep their heads above water, but the weight of the rock was pulling them down. The vole went under first, fatigue and injured from hitting the deck.

One of the slaves that had survived screamed and ran out with three others, knocking down two rats. They made their way over towards Bloodstripe but were pounced on by the time they got halfway across the deck. Using their sticks to batter the three slaves on the head, the tiger roared in anger and watched as the rats began to drag the three unconscious slaves towards the open door. "No, wait!" The tiger growled. "Put them on the lower deck, right at the front and no food and reduce their water by half. Also whip them twice as much and if they give you trouble, whip them until they stop and then work them." Nodding their heads, the guards dragged the three unconscious forms down from the main deck. Each slave watched an otter, raccoon and hare leaving the scene.

The next to go was the two mice that were attached to a dead person. They fought all their best but were beaten off the ship as one swift heavy stick made one mouse's arm snap on impact, before becoming unconscious to the pain. The sound of bodies falling into the sea could be heard. The last mouse that was able, brought his head up to the surface and took a last breath before feeling the weight of two unmoving bodies that dragged him down into the dark depths, arms flailing in a lame attempt to get back up for air.

The young squirrel watched in horror as he saw his father being dragged with his two companions and then glaring at Bloodstripe, the young squirrel teeth were bared and he managed to growl. The tiger heard it as his ear twitched and walked over before giving the young squirrel a punch in the face. "Shut up slave. Your father is a useless slave. He deserves to die." The tiger saw the squirrel wipe blood from his lip again and replied back. "I am not your slave. My name is Sam Amber and one day I will kill you." The young squirrel got punched in the face again and fell onto his tail with a yelp. The tiger snarled. "Not today you will or any other day." Turning around, he growled. "Throw his father overboard."

Looking up as Bloodstripe walked away, the young squirrel saw his father looking at him and then he heard his father shout. "I love you son. Exact my revenge!" Bloodstripe was screeching now. "Get that, fucking filth off my ship!" The old squirrel fought and bit but was eventually overcome and fell over board with his two other companions. There were only three slaves left and both Patch and Benjam looked at each other. Slowly taking in a breath, they all released it slowly and shook paws. "Well, glad to actually talk to you." Patch said sadly. "Sorry that it's been so short though."

The rabbit blinked and looked at them. "Snow, glad to know you two as well, even if it is short." Patch smiled and shook paws as did Benjam. "Nice to know you Snow, the otter is Benjam, I am called Patch." The otter looked and saw the crew coming for them. "They're coming lads. At least we die free." Snow scowled. "Wouldn't be nice to take a few of them down before we did go overboard though." Patch shook his head. "We be run down before we did."

Feeling themselves being lifted up, the guards yanked all of their arms about and tied them up in rope in front of them on the wrists as Bloodstripe sneered at them. "You lot lasted the longest and therefore you look like you could actually survive. Therefore I am going to make things a bit harder for you." Laughing, the tiger moved off as he called back. "Say hello to your friends down on the sea floor, won't you."

Resisting the three were prodded, poked, kicked and punched towards the end of the deck and just air between them and the sea down below, lapping against the side of the ship. Slowly they fought back but then Patch lost his footing and went overboard, taking both the rabbit and the otter overboard. With a loud splash, the tiger nodded his head in satisfaction and called out. "I want the sails down and the slaves put back where they are and get those oars rowing again, we're heading south to warmer waters!" The ship turned and before a rat could close the gate, a log rolled off and fell into the sea. Looking around and noting that no one saw it, the rat closed the gate, locked it and headed off to the mast and began to climb it quickly to help with the sails. He hoped that he wouldn't be found out as it meant death for a mistake like that.

With speed, the slaves were led back down to the oar decks, looking dejected and not wanting to give a fight as most had lost family or friends but didn't want to cause trouble as they had survived until the next landfall and more new slaves came aboard. A few weeped as they went down the stairs again and they were watched all the time by Bloodstripe and Blackthorn. "Blackthorn." Bloodstripe purred softly and patted the panther on the shoulder. "Are you sure you got the right information from the new slaves. That there is a big castle full of riches to the south?"

Blackthorn licked his small knife with a tongue and nodded his head. "Aye, captain. It's amazing what one would tell when they face death." The black cat laughed. "I promised him that he wouldn't have to go through that today but he did after all." He felt the claws dig into his shoulder and coughed. "He's still alive, captain. You want to speak to him yourself." Blackthorn felt the grip relax, then when Bloodstripe let go, the panther began to rub his shoulder with a paw. The captain nodded his head as he saw the sails come down, catching the wind as the boat began to move again as he looked at Blackthorn. "Yes, send him to my cabin later tonight and make sure that I have some food and drink. I want to know all about this castle." The tiger thought to himself that this could be a very profitable trip overall. Turning around, he headed across the main deck and slipped inside through the door.

***

Benjam felt the other two begin to pull him down as he grunted, nose flairing out air as the otter pushed up with all of his might and broke the water again. Gasping, he gulped more air; he pulled Patch up above the water and bit him on the cheek. "Wake up!" Growling loudly, the otter dug his webbed paw down and found something thin and soft. Gripping his paw around Snow's ears he yanked up and brought the rabbits head up.

With water running off his head, Snow came around more quickly then Patch and yelled at the top of his head. "Ow! Ow! Owwww! Do you mind letting go of my fucking ear!" Shanking his head quickly side to side, he pulled his ear from the otters grasp and went under again but came back up. "Phew, this is hard work." The rabbit looked about and shook his head. "Great, no land in sight at all, freedom he said. I wouldn't mind to go back and then tell that tiger what I really think of his meaning of freedom."

Benjam was busy holding the ferret up. "Look, just shut up for now and help me keep this one up while I try and wake him." The otter's voice was growling as he struggled to keep up the form. Looking a bit worried, he turned to face Snow. "I don't think he's breathing."

Snow kicked about as much as he could do and grabbed hold of Patch. "Right, give me some room here." Holding up the ferret by the back with his bind paws, the rabbit crossed his legs since he had one still attached by chain. "Right, I need you to blow into his nose while keeping his mouth shut."

Benjam blinked at Snow. "What?" Snow frowned. "Look, just do what I said. This worked once when one of my leverets once fell into a river. A water shrew did this." Benjam just blinked and Snow snapped. "Will you just give him a kiss on the nose and blow hard into it, then move aside and I will squeeze his lower body. Come on, just do it!"

The otter nodded and went right up to Patch, trying to get his paws around the ferrets muzzle as he felt the bind about his wrists cutting into his skin. Wincing he looked at the rabbit. "I need you to get rid of this."

Snow nodded and lent his head forward, placing his incisors onto the bind and bit down hard. With a snap the binds were free, leaving the otter to grab hold of the ferret. "Quick, let go and I hold him. Try and get out of the binds your paws are in, since they put them in front of us." He saw the rabbit nod and took care of his bonds, before moving in between the otter and the ferret and ducking in, freeing the ferrets and popping his head back up. "His arms are free." Snow said as he moved back to where he was and wrapped his arms about the ferret holding him there.

Benjam slowly took hold of the ferret's wet face into his paws. Moving his fingers to go underneath the ferret's chin the otter wrapped his other fingers about the nose ridge and tightened his grip. Placing his lips against the cold dry nose that tasted of salt and sea water, the otter blew hard, feeling the air go in underneath his fingertips. Moving aside, he saw the rabbit grunt as he tugs his paws right into the ferret's belly. "Do it again." Snow spluttered and spat out some of the sea water. "Come on, damn you. Breathe!"

Floating in the waves, the two kicked their paws as they fought to fight for the ferret who lay against the rabbit as both worked hard to get their friend to breathe. Panting heavily Snow shook his head. "It's no good. He's gone." Benjam shook his head and blew into the ferret's nose again hard. "No, he'll come around in a moment." The otter repeated it but slowly he stopped and looked at Snow despairingly.

The rabbit looked about and then spotted something. Turning his head back to the otter, he spoke. "Look, we have to ditch him or we're going to get dragged down as we can't hold him up all the time. Have any of us got something to unlock these chains on our ankles."

Benjam began to frisk the limp otter that Snow was holding up, tears in his eyes as he looked briefly at the ferret, eyes shut forever. Feeling around on the ragged top, he felt something and pulled out something in the pocket. "It's a nail, he must've found it on the boat-" Holding it up as he bobbed up and down from the waves moving about. He didn't have time to say anything else as the rabbit snatched the nail away from the otter with a paw. "Quick, grab hold of him and don't let go. I be back in a moment."

Snow took a deep breath and went under water, still close to the ferret; he went and worked on the lock around the Patches ankle, smiling as he saw it come loose. Bending himself, the rabbit worked quickly and freed himself before coming up for more air. Gasping he looked at Benjam. "Right, now it's your turn." The rabbit ducked down again and grabbed hold of the otter's ankle and moving the nail about in the lock, it came loose. Letting the chain go, he watched it fall down into the depths until it couldn't be seen anymore and came back up again, taking another deep breath of air.

Benjam had moved, taking the ferret close to his body as he cried. "I have to let you go now, Patch. I hope wherever you have gone that you are free and out of pain from this cruel world." Stroking the ferret's head fur gently with a webbed paw, he looked at Snow. "Did you?"

Snow nodded his head. "Yes, I unchained him, he's free. No one can harm him anymore. I didn't know him that well, even though he was a few lines behind me on the oars." The rabbit moved closer to Patch and gave the ferret a hug and a kiss on the nose. "Run free, my friend in sunny fields and think of me. We will meet again, sooner or later but please wait for us. We shall always remember you, no matter how short we knew you."

The otter sniffed and gave the ferret one more hug before letting go. Slowly Patch drifted and then he went down, the sea enveloping the ferret's body completely as he fell from sight. Snow was looking about again frantically while Benjam looked up and blinked. "What are you looking for?"

Snow replied back. "A log, I saw one before briefly, must've fallen off the ship. We need to find it, mate. Before we tire ourselves out and I am pretty much knackered right now as it is." Both looked about as they moved about slowly in the sea, but kept close to each other. Snow felt his eyes slowly drift shut as he kicked about weakly. Something crossed his vision as he shook his head and then blinked as all he could see was the wave rising up in front of him. Then he saw the log just in front of him and called out. "Log ahoy!"

Benjam came over to where Snow was as they both made their way to where the log was being lifted about by the waves of the sea. Slowly, they managed to make their way to the log and as both pair of arms wrapped around it, they gave a sigh of relief. Benjam shook his head. "Ah well, it makes for our deaths to be a bit more torturous."

Snow frowned. "Hey, if you want to go down now, then be my guest." Benjam shook his head. "Oh no, I am captain of this log and as such I am going down first." Snow blinked at the otter. "You're captain and who says you have to be captain. Why can't I be flipping captain?"

Staring back at the rabbit, the otter replied back. "Well, water creature against land. I would win." Snow gave a snort. "Well, then captain. Which way is it then to go for land?" The otter looked about and shrugged. "I won't know until it gets dark and that if our luck holds out and it stays cloudless." Pausing. "Which way we're we heading?"

Snow blinked. "As if I would know?" He paused and then thought for a moment. "Well, it was a lot colder. I know we headed up north a lot." He gave a shiver. "I remember that one alright. Flipping freezing it was at nights..." The rabbit stopped and looked at Benjam. "It's going to get cold isn't it?"

The otter looked away from the rabbit and then after a few moments he worked it out. "Right, the sun is heading westwards at the moment and I know we were heading south. We have a few hours before we end up having to cope with the cold." Starting to turn the log to the left as they both moved to face the sun. "Land is that way but how far I can't actually tell but I rather get moving now than just hang here."

Snow nodded his head. "Ah well, we may as well get started then." Both started to kick their legs as they moved through the sea in hopes of finding land, all the while keeping quiet as they kept the slowly moving sun in their sights.