Row Well and Live

Zod hates his oar.

But being bound to his oar in a slave galleon, Zod (发音) the son of Kaghan the Khitan, pushes himself towards a death sentence, to be nailed to a wooden cross in a wasteland.

Zod is familiar with what will become of him on his cross. He has witnessed his father condemn hundreds to torture and death on crosses; crosses which would dot the landscape of the burned, ruined villages.  Villages whose leaders dared to withhold tribute from the ‘great and terrible’ Kaghan.

But now it is the warlord’s son who will face the tragedy of a wooden cross.

Zod’s memory races back to his childhood as he pushes.

Zod broods about how his hands and feet will be pierced with nails. How his flesh will burn in the sun and how the carrion will devour him.

Zod recalls his mother the Yoggite, and then flashes to memories of her, and then to a certain memory of good feelings, of peace, and his father’s estates.

Zod lingers in his mind on how his mother dotes on him, and how she loves him… how she loved him… with tears Zod pushes his oar and remembers her, a Yoggite. Her strange religion fascinated him and he would listen to her tell the stories of her Darfari people with fanatical interest.

Suddenly Zod remembers that father is not religious!

This memory of his father snaps Zod out of his mental revelry. —Snap! Crack!– “Get back to yourself Sir Zod! You’re to ROW not DREAM and WEEP!”;  —Snap! Crack! — “You are not in your father’s house anymore! You are in the belly of my hell for you!… your Lordship!”– Snap! Crack! –“So row!!!!, or I’ll break your back and throw you overboard, you dirty Khitani thug!”– Snap! Crack!–

Zod steadies himself and employs his full strength against the oar to avoid another lash just as his shipmates start to sing, drowning out sounds of lashing and cursing —Snap! Crack!–:

Here ye’s are me mateys
And late for mother’s supper, we push the oar

For gruel and dried boar, we push the oar
For Mitra, or Set orn’ ore, we push the oar

So here ye’s are me matey’s
Avoid the lash, push the oar

Singing, Zod pushes, and beside him his “clan of hyenas”– a nickname that Zod has recently given his shipmates, collectively.

The “hyenas” and Zod push, and sweat, and curse the day that they were brought to be in the bowel of such a dark ship, on an equally dark voyage.remos1-600x315

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