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|More from AvatarAang7||Drama||M||Please do||Irregular|
July 25th, 2016
The journey to Omashu was a smooth one. Even though the wind wasn't very cooperative, Korra managed to snag enough of it to keep the Aurora moving across the sea.
What was a genuine problem was that Asami was starting to realize the situation the captain had forced her into. Of course, it hadn't really been Korra's goal to hold her hostage, but here they were anyway. There had been some resentment, but since the ship was only a small place, she didn't really have a choice but to deal with it. That, and Korra's offer to sleep with the crew instead of in the captain's quarters had been a no-brainer.
Asami had spent most of the journey on the quarterdeck in some makeshift shade, reading books from Korra's shelf. There had been some sexist remarks from the crew, but Asami had basically just ignored them all. Heck, one of them saying, "Wouldn't mind you shivering me timbers" even managed to get a chuckle out of her.
One thing that had to be noted was that there was no doubt about the crew's loyalty to their captain. Korra's authority was unquestionable, as was most easily noticed by the fact that no one had dared to touch the heiress, despite her noticing that there were several lusting gazes thrown her way.
-"Sato," the captain beckoned. Asami looked up, seeing her back in her long blue waistcoat, a blue bandana to keep her hair back, white linen pants, and brown boots. In spite of her resentment towards Korra, the heiress had to admit that she was attractive. She was glad to see the waistcoat, since it was sleeveless, displaying her muscular arms, her right arm even being tattooed with a tribal band around her (impressive) biceps. Tattoos were out of the question in the Fire Nation, as they were exclusively seen as marks of criminal organizations, but it had to be said that it looked really good on the captain. It wasn't like Korra was a beacon of civility among her crew anyway, she was just as rude and foul-mouthed as the rest of them and had the same lack of manners.
Still, Asami couldn't help but feel a certain amount of attraction to the captain, which was definitely not good. First off, she was a pirate. The amount of damage it would cause their name if it got out that the heiress would be 'more than amicable' with a pirate would be irreparable.
Second, she was from the Water Tribes. Asami's personal opinions notwithstanding, people from the tribes were generally considered to be lower than people from the Fire Nation and Ba Sing Se. This was partly because of their relatively primitive lifestyle and dark skin, but mostly because slave merchants like her father liked to propagate that notion so that he could capture people there and sell them off like cattle without public uproar.
Third, and perhaps most pressingly, she was a woman. Sodomy still held the death penalty in the Fire Nation, even if it was something that Asami had always been curious about. For the sake of her father, she had kept this to herself, but being here out at sea with the massively attractive captain, her dark and exotic skin, her beautifully muscular arms (let's not forget the abs, which she had already seen during their first encounter), her impossibly blue eyes...
Mentally slapping herself out of it, Asami finally looked up. "Captain?" she acknowledged her. She had decided it to be wise to use her rank instead of her name, given that it was probably better if she wanted to stay on her good side.
-"Come on, we have something to discuss." Korra walked into her cabin, taking a seat at her table with her feet on the table. "Have a seat." The heiress reluctantly sat down, trying to look past the soles of her captain's boots. "We'll drop anchor in Omashu before long, and I think it's probably best if I give the heads up on a few things."
"Captain, I've been in harbors before, I know what I can expect."
She scoffed. "Sweetheart, I'm guessing that you've docked in Mapaku?"
"Yeah, how'd you know?"
-"I've been sailing these parts longer than you think, I know every bit of it. Those harbors are safely tucked away between military bases and behind massive fleets, keeping pirates out. The Dai Li suppresses every bit of crime with an iron fist, so you can walk around safely." Korra briefly paused. "Omashu is nothing like that. Pirates were sick of the King's rule, so they overthrew him, and by the time reinforcements arrived, they had taken the fort and shot at anything military crazy enough to get close. That's been the case for the past 50 years, so you either need a reputation or the skills to keep shifty characters at bay. I have both. You have neither."
Asami sighed, because she sensed where this was going. "You want me to stay on the ship."
-"That would be best for both of us, but I have a feeling that if you really want to go ashore, you'll find a way. You wouldn't make it very far before taking a dick up the ass anyway." She sighed, pulled her boots off the desk, and leaned over it. "That being said, you can't walk around on my ship barefoot any longer, and you need clothes of your own. Ergo, we're going into town tomorrow and get you some proper things. Make a list of what you need, because I'm only going with you once. After that, you're on your own." Korra stood up again, preparing to go back outside. "Ink and paper are in my desk."
"Wait," Asami said. "Aren't you going to send a message to my father?"
This stopped her in her tracks, and she thought about it for a moment. "I'll let you know." The captain turned to face Asami again. "Make sure your list is practical." With this, she really was out the door again.
The heiress sighed. It was fairly hard to get a read on the captain, but it was pretty apparent that she wanted her to be safe. Not that she'd be worth much if she was dead, but still.
She walked over to behind the desk and quickly found that only one drawer was unlocked, the one containing the stationary. Making the list was fairly easy, because there were a few things that she had realized over the past few days that she didn't have. Most obvious one was a pair of good boots, since the only shoes that she had were high heels, not really helpful on a ship, as she quickly discovered. She also doubted that Korra would let her get any dresses, so she wrote down to get herself a few pairs of pants, tunics in her own size, and preferably a short waistcoat or some other means of restraining the excess of the tunics. Lastly, a few practical items, things like a toothbrush, perfume, and soap.
Asami sighed. Wearing pants wasn't common for Fire Nation women, let alone how she looked in Korra's pants. These were too short and hung quite high, exposing her ankles. Normally, exposed ankles meant that the woman in question was a prostitute, so she had to stay close to Korra.
For a moment, Asami thought about writing a separate letter to address it to her father in town anyway, but if the captain's warnings were justified (and she had no real reason to lie) that would be a bad idea.
Still, Asami wanted to get word out to him. Tell him the truth, and she wasn't even planning on making Korra look bad somehow by flat-out lying and saying that she was constantly being raped and everything.
With a sigh, the heiress picked up another piece of paper and started writing the letter to her father. In it, she told him the full truth, that the ship was taken by the pirates and their cargo was taken. She didn't mention Korra's name, but she did say how she was being treated well and that he didn't need to worry about her just yet. However, that's not to say that she didn't urge him to give in to whatever demands the pirates would make, because she did want to go home. Lastly, since it wasn't unthinkable that she wouldn't be able to get another message out, she signed the letter with 'All my love'.
She quickly folded the letter and stuffed it in her breast pocket. If someone was to cop a feel and discover it, she'd at least have an excuse to shoot him and draw attention away from the letter.
With a deep breath, she went outside, seeking out Korra again. "Here," she said, handing over the list. "I assume you want to check it?"
The captain took it, letting her eyes slide over the list. "Perfume? Sato, no one here is going to care how you smell. Scratch that, the rest is fine. We go into town after the cargo has been taken care of. Now come and have a look at this." Korra coaxed her over to the railing, urging her to lean over. "Look at that."
Laid out before her were the three mountains of Omashu and its surroundings, and it was beautiful. Because of the dusk, some of the lights had been lit, but it mostly bathed the city in a gorgeous orange-red hue. In the bay before the city were dozens of ships of all sizes. The Aurora was among the bigger ships, but she was by no means the biggest. Plenty of three-masters were anchored here, but no one seemed to take notice of the simple two-master slowly gliding into the harbor.
Korra spent her time yelling orders at her men to slow the ship down as much as they could, before she weighed the anchor relatively close to shore. "Men! Listen up! We won't be unloading anything tonight, it's too close to dark for the lighters to get near. We'll unload her in the morning, but for now, I want you to prepare the haul so that we can do that as fast as possible. The only one to go ashore for now is Mako, so that he can arrange lighters for first thing tomorrow. After we've unloaded, you're free to go to the whores and drink as much as you want, but tonight, you stay here."
A groan went through the crew, but Korra seemed unfazed by this and turned to her first mate. "Take one of the longboats and two men you can control, and have at it. I don't think we'll need two lighters, but I leave that to your judgement. Come on, chop-chop, it's nearly dark," she smirked.
Asami followed the whole thing with amazement. The whole thing seemed to go down so easy, but then again, this wasn't the first time this crew docked somewhere. They were like a well-oiled machine, working off-each other like clockwork.
Later on, there were more unpopular decisions, as the captain limited the amount of rum they could drink. She needed them to be fresh in the morning.
This did pave the way for music night though. The men all sat on the upper deck together, while Asami sat on her usual spot on the quarterdeck, enjoying the music. It was a mishmash of instruments, and yet somehow, they made it work into some quite enjoyable tunes. Two of them were good singers and made it memorable.
-"Not quite what you were expecting us to be, did you?" Korra piped up, two cups in her hand. She handed one to Asami, who carefully sniffed it.
"Is this rum? I thought you said 'no drinking'."
The captain chuckled. "Nightcap, we could do with one." Asami smiled and cautiously took a sip, while Korra sat down next to her. They sat in silence for a while, listening to the music, and she felt at peace. "None of us are evil through and through," Korra started. "We might do bad things, but only because circumstances forced our hand. Some don't care, and they keep on fighting until they die, spending all their plunder on drink and whores. Others are smarter, they save up so that they can have a way out of this life one day."
"You're pirates," Asami countered. "And you have never denied it."
Korra chuckled. "No point, it's true. But pirates aren't professionals, it's not something you're schooled for. These men here, most were stuck in a life that would be the end of them. They have moral centers, know the difference between good and bad. Yes, there are people like Tahno, but be honest with yourself; if all of them really were evil down to the bone, do you think you'd still be a virgin?"
The heiress looked up in surprise. "How'd you...?"
The captain chuckled again. "You don't have a ring on your finger, and you're high society, ergo, you're a virgin. Wasn't a difficult leap."
Asami sighed, because it was true. There was honor to be saved, marrying a man in high society would be virtually impossible if she wasn't pure anymore. It would bring shame to her name if she somehow lost it, even if it was by force.
-"You can go and sit with them, they won't bite," Korra said and then finished her drink. "Hell, even if they do, you have your pistol and my blessing to blow their nuts off. Meanwhile, I'm going to bed. You might wanna do the same."
Asami smiled. "I'll be down in a bit," she said. "Gotta be fresh in the morning."
Korra smiled back, knowing what she meant.
The next day, Asami woke up from Korra dressing herself. Sharing a room with her wasn't too bad, it was just that since the captain most definitely wasn't a morning person, she didn't really make an effort to stay silent while dressing. She had knocked over a metal cup, making a loud rattle. Of course, it didn't help that the captain followed up on it with a loud swear.
"Morning to you too," Asami mumbled, not bothering with opening her eyes just yet.
-"Go back to sleep, we'll be done in a few hours. It would be best if you don't show yourself on deck just yet."
The heiress sighed, resigning herself to a morning locked in this cabin. Mako soon came by with breakfast for her but left without saying a word. After making sure both he and Korra were busy, she took out the letter again, reading it one more time.
True to her word, the captain came for her after a few hours. "Ready, Sato? We can catch a ride on the last lighter, get a head start on your list."
Asami put down her book and pulled on her heels. "Sure."
Walking around Omashu was an experience in and of itself. There was bustling like she had never seen before, everyone was busy hauling cargo (most of it probably stolen, but that's beside the point for now), making announcements, fetching supplies, the whole nine yards. More amazing than that, there wasn't any form of police or military, and yet it hadn't turned into a huge fist fight.
-"Something else, huh?" Korra chuckled, walking around like she owned the place. Though it should be said, given how most people gave her a wide berth, that probably wasn't very far from the truth.
Going shopping in a pirate's town with a pirate captain as her babysitter was weird. Still, it could be a lot worse, since there was a large variety of clothes and shops to pick from. Even though Asami was tempted for a moment to go for beautiful fabrics and intricate patterns from all over the Earth Kingdom, Korra's disapproving glare and raised eyebrow ultimately made her decide against it.
Ultimately, she settled for a pair of good leather boots, dark brown pants easily long enough to tuck into them, white tunics, and a dark red waistcoat. It gave her a simple but stylized appearance, and she'd blend in fairly well with the rest of the pirates.
There was still the small matter of the letter she wrote for her father, though. She'd have to find a way to sneak away from Korra for a few minutes, because she had seen a messenger post quite near to where they came ashore again.
Turns out, the opportunity presented itself.
-"Alright, given that you've stirred up far less trouble than you could have since we captured you, I'm gonna get you something small," the captain said when they were close to the docks again. "Wait here for a minute, will you?" When Asami nodded, she walked through the crowd and into a shop a few buildings down.
Asami leaned against a pole, hoping that her presence would go unnoticed. It immediately became apparent that without Korra's reputation around her, she was vulnerable. She still had the pistol tucked in her waistband, hidden from view by her waistcoat, but it only gave her a small degree of comfort.
Still, now was her moment. She quickly paced off, making her way through a few alleys to where she had seen the messenger post. It went well, right up to the point where she came face to face with two very large men, neither of which looked very friendly.
-"Well, well, well... What do we have here, Gombo?" one of them smirked, slowly pacing towards Asami.
-"Looks like a lost bird to me," the other replied.
Asami knew she was screwed now. "Gentlemen, I'm only looking for the messenger post," she said, trying not to let her voice waver.
They both burst out into loud laughter. "'Gentlemen'?" one of them scoffed and roughly grabbed her arm. "You've got the wrong guys for that."
In panic, Asami punched him in the face with her free hand, forcing him to let her go. She drew her pistol, aiming it in their direction. "Back off!"
Gombo slowly walked towards her, straight down her barrel. "You're not going to shoot me. If you were, you'd have already done it. Even if you would, you have one shot, and there are two of us."
Before she realized it, Asami was within his reach, and he grabbed the pistol, forcing her hand up. Reflexively, she pulled the trigger, but the bullet went in the air. He pressed her against the wall, one hand to hold her up straight, one grabbing her by the neck. "You and I are going to have a great time, love," he whispered, his foul breath streaking over her lips.
The heiress closed her eyes, practically certain that this was it. If only she had listened to Korra's warning and hadn't tried to be smarter than her. If only she'd listened to her own instincts. Hell, if only she had listened to her father, who she had to persuade to try this enterprise.
Out of nowhere, Gombo let go of her arm, quickly followed by the hand around her throat. Asami backed away, seeing her captain standing there, having pinned his hand to the wall with a knife. She drew a pistol of her own and shot the other guy without thinking twice about it.
Gombo started tugging on the knife, but this caused him to scream in pain, giving Korra the opportunity to draw her sword and put it to his throat. "Wrong girl, asshole," she hissed. "Move one fucking muscle and you end up like your buddy."
Korra took a step back, taking a closer look at Asami. "You whole?"
"Yeah," she managed.
-"Good," Korra said, and while she grabbed her knife again, she turned to Gombo. "You listen to me," she hissed, turning the knife, getting a massive cry of pain from him. "Don't let me ever find you doing this again, because next time, I'll cut your balls off and then your head." She yanked her knife back, finally freeing him. "Get out of here, before I change my mind."
He quietly stumbled off, clutching his bleeding hand.
-"What the fuck were you thinking?!" the captain snapped at Asami while turning around. "Why are you all the way out here?!"
"I-I..." The heiress sighed, knowing there was no way she could lie her way out of this one. She took the letter out of her pocket and handed it over.
Korra quickly scanned it, before crumpling the paper and stomping off. Asami now knew for certain that the warnings were just, so she stayed just close enough to see her captain throw the letter into a fire.
-"You want to write a letter so badly? Then come with me." Korra went into a tavern, walking over to the bar. "Kya, could you get me a drink and some ink and paper?"
An elderly woman behind the bar smiled. "Coming right up, Korra."
While they were waiting, Asami took a look around, seeing a few things out of place. First of all, there were a lot more women than she would expect in a tavern like this, and... Oh. On second thought, that explained a lot. Over in the corner, one of the women was sitting on a man's lap, already topless. The heiress quickly turned away, trying to find a part of the room to stare at that had the fewest half-naked people in it. This was a brothel.
Once the captain had everything, she silently gestured Asami over to a table. "Write what I tell you to," she said, taking a gulp from her drink. "Seven years ago in early spring, your father conducted a raid on the Southern Water Tribe, capturing over 300 slaves. They were led to Harbor City, where they were distributed over three ships. One of those ships, the Resolution, is the ship I'm after. It carried a female slave, 36 years old at the time, and her name is Senna. I want her, her release papers, and 50.000 gold pieces, and in return, I'll hand you back to your father. The deal is to take place here in Omashu port. He is to handle this personally, if he is not here himself, the deal is off, I slit your throat and throw you into the bay. Did you get all that?"
Asami looked up in shock at that last part. "Are you... serious?"
-"You know better than to test me, Sato. Are you done writing, yes or no?"
She turned back to writing her own ransom letter, while the captain finished her drink.
-"Sign and date it," Korra said once Asami stopped writing.
She did, and Korra immediately took the paper and scanned it for any hidden messages. Content that she couldn't find any, they briskly walked over to the messenger post, where she sent this new letter to Ember Island.
They took a longboat back to the Aurora in awkward silence, the tension between them almost tangible.
Back on board, Asami went back to the captain's quarters, while Korra went to check on the new inventory.
The heiress nervously paced back and forth inside, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. Mostly, Korra's threat was still ringing through her head. The captain had killed someone right in front of her, so there was no question about whether or not she was capable of doing it. That just left her father needing to absolutely give in to her demands, but that wasn't a guarantee. What if this woman was already dead? And who was she in the first place?
Korra walked in, looking less than pleased when she spotted Asami. "Sit down," she commanded, and Asami complied. "So far, you've been enjoying my good graces, and you just burned a lot of those. You are going to join the crew and work with them. Since I don't think you are fit for rigging, you'll help with any repairs necessary that can be made on deck, and if there aren't any, I want you in the galley helping the cook. Is that clear?"
Asami sighed. "Yes, Captain."
-"Good. Don't worry about any unwanted advances from my men, those rules still apply. But be warned: Step out of line like that again, and I might let them have their way with you. There are plenty of ways for me to make your life miserable while you're on this ship."
There wasn't anything for her to say to that. A 'thank you' didn't really seem in place, given that the threat of gang rape had just been made, and she would be working for the remainder of her stay here.
-"Now get down to the galley and help prepare supper for any men still on the ship." Asami didn't immediately comply, and Korra got impatient. "That wasn't a suggestion, Sato. Quickly, before I make you."
Asami sighed and went below decks, where Bato, the cook, told her to start peeling a mountain of potatoes. The captain's second threat was already starting to become real.
For those of you who are wondering, I based the design of the Aurora on the Interceptor from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Seems like Korra's style to me, sacrificing size for speed. More to come, people, more to come.
For the collective works of the author, go here.