The Story
Chapter information

She's a Pirate



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Release date

June 17th, 2017

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Last chapter

The Interrogation

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The Exchange

The Story

Asami woke up from the light shining through the high windows of Korra's cabin, and part of her hoped that everything had been a dream. Soon enough though, she felt the captain's arm wrapped around her waist and realized that it wasn't. This was real, and her father had tried to have her killed.

She tried to move away and get up, but as she did that, Korra's arm held on to her a little tighter, preventing her from getting up. It did make the heiress smile, feeling that strong arm and the sense of security that it brought with it.

In fact, now that she thought about it, Asami didn't know what to think anymore. She had been terrified when her own ship was boarded, rightfully so, at first, but then Korra stepped in, and everything changed. She was rude, sure, but she also cared for Asami. It was crazy. A pirate captain had to protect her from her own father, whom she had trusted her entire life. Hell, Korra hadn't even hesitated to do so, even when she was practically unarmed.

Asami's thoughts of home suddenly felt a lot more distant. There had been this pit in her stomach, growing slowly ever since she got that letter from her father. Going home again would mean leaving the Aurora behind and everything that came with it. The rough-around-the-edges crew, most of whom were still good people underneath. The adventure, not knowing what they were going to run into when they left the relative safety of the port of Omashu. The swordsmanship, that she surprisingly enjoyed. The freedom of being able to think and say and do whatever she damn-well pleased. Sleeping and rising with the sun, instead of rigid times enforced by their butler.

And Korra.

The heiress wasn't about to fool herself, Korra was no small part of why she liked it here so much. There had never been someone in her life as down-to-earth as Korra. Sure, she was rude, but that was also part of her charm. She did show a little more restraint around Asami than she had when they first met, which was a good thing. The threats had stopped after their first encounter with Amon, because they both knew Korra wasn't going to do anything. They had a connection.

And yet... She was still an enigma. The longer she thought about it, the more Asami realized she knew very little about Korra before she became captain of the Aurora. From the stories she'd heard going around the ship, Hakoda was one of the few men who knew more but kept his cards close to his chest on that matter, saying it was not his place to share. That, and the fact that he'd be cleaning the head for the rest of the year if he would do that was a pretty good motivation to zip it.

Asami relaxed into Korra's grip again. It was a little warm, especially given that it was summer, but that hardly mattered to her. She was from the tropics anyway, she was used to being warm. And it felt safe here. No one could touch her when she was like this, least of all her father.

God. Her father. What would he think about all of this? Not that it really mattered, he'd already written her off. As far as he was concerned, she'd be resting in peace by now. Asami owed him nothing anymore. Hell, even the money wasn't really a concern to her. The walls of the Sato Estate back on Ember Island were there as much to keep her in as to keep unwanted visitors out.

She let out a dry chuckle. Asami realized that she'd had more freedom as a prisoner on this ship than she did back home. It was just like Korra had said back at the springs. No one cared that she drank rum, let slip a few swear words every now and then, disregarded table etiquette at dinner. Korra hadn't even been angry when Asami kissed her, she was more surprised than anything else. Their current position was nothing if not indicative of this.

The captain stirred in her sleep, and Asami felt the arm around her vanish. She rolled over, seeing that Korra was actually waking up and stretching. "Morning," she said.

-"Morning. How long have you been awake?" Korra asked.

"Not very long."

Korra took a deep breath. "And how are you holding up?"

Asami sighed and sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "I don't want to think about it right now." As she actually stood up, she realized that she wasn't exactly decent right now, so she quickly picked up her pants and slipped them on.

The captain followed suit, got out of bed and took off her tunic, before throwing it on the bed and walking over to the closet for a fresh one. It revealed almost all of her scars again to Asami, but for once, her eyes lingered on the brand. Her brand. The crest of the Sato family, burned into someone's chest.

Without really even thinking about it, Asami reached out and was about to put her fingers on Korra's skin but was stopped when the captain grabbed her wrist just before she actually got there.

"Sorry," she said while quickly pulling her hand back.

-"It... It's okay," Korra mumbled. "It's just a very bad reminder of everything that happened."

The heiress sat down on the bed. "Will you tell me?"

Korra looked up, raising an eyebrow. "You really want to hear it? It's not exactly going to lift your spirits."

"I know. Doesn't really matter, I'm in a bad mood anyway," Asami morbidly said. "Please? At least it'll take my mind off of my father."

At first, the captain didn't say anything. She just pulled a pair of pants out of her closet and slipped into them, clearly sunken in thought. After a moment though, she sat down next to Asami and took her hand. "I wasn't born into slavery, Asami. I was born a free girl in the Southern Water Tribe. When I was thirteen, my village was attacked. Contrary to what they say, slaves aren't being captured by the slavers themselves, they'd never stand a chance. Instead, we were raided by a neighboring tribe, who'd struck a deal with your father. Iron-forged weapons, guns, things they couldn't get on their own. In return, they'd conquer us, and we'd become slaves."

She took a deep breath, clearly struggling as she remembered it all. "We put up a fight. As you know, there's no rigid division between men and women fighting, so I tried, but they were too strong. We had whale-bone clubs and spears, they had swords and muskets. We never even stood a chance. They figured out quickly enough that it was my father who was leading the fight, so they singled him out and beheaded him to make an example. After that, it wasn't long before we were forced to surrender." Korra morbidly chuckled. "If I'd have known back then what would become of us, I'd have rather fought myself to death."

Asami didn't really know what to say to that. From what she'd seen, that wasn't hyperbole.

-"Anyway, both me and my mother were captured, stripped naked, chained up, and forced to march 20 miles through the melting snow of early spring. When we saw the ships lying there, we knew exactly what was coming. We'd heard the stories. Every one of us was branded, and me and my mother had the sense not to resist too much. Some did, and they'd put the brand on their face. If you worked with them, they'd at least place it somewhere on your body. Hardly a comfort, but still."

Korra guided Asami's hand up, putting it on her brand. The heiress could feel the rough skin in the shape of a cog, deep enough to make out even if it had been dark. She let her fingers glide over it, familiarizing herself with it, and then she traced around it, surprised by how smooth Korra's skin actually was.

-"After that, me and my mother were separated. I was a virgin, so they wanted to sell me separately, because virgin girls are worth a lot more than everyone else. I was taken to Ba Sing Se, where I was sold to a nobleman who preferred young girls. He fucked me twice a week, sometimes more, and also made me 'available' to his guests when he had them."

What amazed Asami was just how little emotion Korra was showing right now. She'd lived through it, and even though she was recounting everything, it wasn't affecting her the same way. Suddenly, it made sense that she seemed so detached when the heiress first came aboard. It's because circumstances had forced her to become so. "So how'd you become a captain from there?" Asami asked, because it still seemed like a long way to go.

-"Well, after about two years of that, the nobleman thought I was too old." Korra chuckled. "Too old. I was fifteen, and too old for his taste. He better hope we never meet again. Anyway, I was sold off, and those years could be worse. I became a house slave, but because I had a mouth on me, was sold off several times more, never really sticking around long enough anywhere to leave an impact. Eventually, I ended up on a big slave auction where I was sold in a large group. Some guy had bought a plantation in the Fire Nation and needed slaves to work the land, ergo, us. So me and about 100 other slaves were bought and put on a ship, pretty much exactly like what you saw on the Rhino."

"Is that where the manacle scars came from?" Asami asked, very much intrigued by Korra's story.

-"Not exactly, I already had those at that point. I was seventeen by then, and by some stroke of luck, was the youngest and the prettiest. The captain of that ship didn't give a fuck about rules with slaves, he knew that 20 of us would be dead anyway by the time we hit the Fire Nation, so he and his officers used me again as a fuck toy. Aboard that ship, it was every day instead of twice a week."

Asami had her hand in front of her mouth. "My God..." she breathed.

Korra chuckled again. "I could have used God on my side, but as usual, He was too busy judging gay people to care. Anyway, that was also my luck, because when all you have is pain, after a while, you start to become numb to it. It becomes normal, and you're capable of taking in your surroundings, looking around for ways out. And I saw mine in the boot of the first officer, who had a knife it in. All I had to do was wait for the opportune moment, and that came soon enough. He forced me onto my knees, making me suck his dick. But because it was just the two of us in the room at that time, I could reach down and draw his knife, cut off his dick and ram it through his heart. The bosun heard the ruckus and came in to check what was going on, but I had just enough time to hide, catch him by surprise, and slit his throat. I managed to take his keys and made my way down to the slave hold, where I freed and rallied them all to take over the ship."

"Just like that? I mean, weren't you practically unarmed and malnourished and everything?"

Korra nodded. "We were, but you are forgetting two things: we had the numbers advantage, there were about 70 sailors and 100 slaves, and we had nothing to lose. When you're in chains headed for a life of labor on the fields, things can only get better. We put up a hell of a fight, and by the time the dust settled, there were only about 50 of us left. I had managed to single out the captain and stole his sword, putting it through his chest where everyone could see it. That, paired with the fact that I was the one who freed everyone, made me the de facto new captain. I knew we couldn't go to any regular port, because we'd be back in chains before we could say 'we're free'. Instead, I took us to the place the rumors even reached the South Pole about: Omashu."

She took a moment to organize her thoughts again. "The ship we had wasn't brilliant, but we managed to retrofit it with a few more cannons, and then the first place I headed was back home. When we got there though, there was nothing left. The raiders had burned my village, and everything was gone. I didn't have a home left, so I made one. That ship was called the Avatar, but it was impractical, and when it was heavily damaged in a fight, me and the crew decided to trade up to the Aurora. And for winning that fight, Hakoda gave me this," she said, gesturing to her tattoo. "In the south, it's the mark of a warrior. He's from the south as well, and thought I was more than worthy of it. After that, the only thing I could do was try and stop slavers as often as I could. And finally, three years later, I ran into you."

After this, it fell silent. Asami didn't need confirmation from Korra to realize that she was one of few who actually knew her full story. Her hand had long been pulled back from the brand, but the captain was still holding it.

-"So now you know," Korra ultimately said.

The heiress nodded. "I never imagined it'd be that bad. I mean, I knew life was bad for slaves, but not that it was to that extent. It's amazing you have any faith left in humanity."

Korra scoffed. "It's the other slaves that kept that alive in me. But what was also made abundantly clear to me was that there were good and bad people everywhere, through all layers of society. Some are worth saving, like you."

Asami looked up and smiled, suddenly feeling a lot lighter that she said that. "That might just be the sweetest thing you've ever said to me."

They were interrupted by a knock on the door, but Korra wasn't done yet. "That's because it's true."

For a moment, they locked eyes, and Asami pressed a quick kiss on her cheek. "I believe that's for you," she said, nodding to the door.

Korra chuckled as she stood up to open up. It was Hakoda.

-"Morning, Captain. Brought some breakfast for you and Sato, you missed it. Thought you might want some after all."

The captain stepped aside and opened the door for him, and he walked in with the tray. Simple but nutritious food, and even though Asami wasn't very hungry right now, it did look pretty good.

-"How are you holding up?" Hakoda asked her.

Asami smiled again. She could see why Korra liked him so much. "I'll be fine, Hakoda. Thank you."

He nodded and went back outside but turned back to the captain before leaving. "By the way, Captain, you can take as long as you want. Mako is doing a fine job whipping the men into shape."

Korra chuckled. "I knew he could, but..." She looked over to Asami, and the two came to a wordless agreement. "We'll be out later."

The two women sat down at the table, and Asami couldn't help but smile. "Thank you."

-"For what?"


Korra chuckled. "You are welcome, Sato."

I've been sitting on this story for a long time now, you can probably tell from the detail. Backstories are fun to write, even if it does mean putting characters through hardships like Korra here. But... No, I don't really have anything else, hope it lived up to what you were expecting it was.

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