|More from AvatarAang7||Drama||M||Please do||Irregular|
August 7th, 2016
Korra was glad to be out at sea again. After the keeling, they had stuck around the Bay of Pigs at first and the town near it later, so the men had easier access to more whores (they were simple creatures). But it had been a while since they were really sailing, and Korra couldn't help but notice that the Aurora was easier to maneuver now.
Of course, 'easier' is a relative term, but still. She could come about further, and her speed was greater. All in all, she had complimented the men on a job well done.
The downside of this was that the men were restless. Korra was kind of making her way to Omashu, so that she could gather some information on the merchants, see if there were any interesting prizes to be captured. Preferably one carrying coins instead of cargo, because getting to spend the booty directly is always good for morale.
-"SAIL!" the lookout cried out. "West of us!"
Korra rushed to the railing, spyglass already in her hand. Now came the difficult part: identifying the ship.
-"Got any ideas what it is?" Mako asked, standing beside her.
"Nope, but I sure hope it can be a prize. We need one of those, quite badly." Continuing to look as the ship got closer was the best way to try and find something. "Northern Tribe colors. South-eastbound, so chances are her hold is full of treasure."
Korra handed the spyglass off to her first mate and thought about the order of things that needed to be done. The guns needed to be loaded. The sails shipped. Weapons handed out. Sato... needed to stay below decks, at least for now.
-"Fuck me..." Mako swore.
He handed the spyglass back to his captain. "Top sail, main mast. Look closely."
She did, and then her heart sank. "Red spot... It's the Equalist," she breathed. "All hands on deck!" the captain yelled. "Ship the top sails, we go full canvas! Mako, come about, heading south-south east!" There was some hesitation among the men, not sure what she was going for. "It's the Equalist, and she's coming for us! We make for Omashu, NOW!"
Asami came on deck as well as she heard Korra yell. "What's going on?"
-"We have company, and unless we can outrun that ship over there, we're fucked," the captain said, gesturing to a ship in the distance. "Now get out of my way, I have work to do."
The heiress took Korra's spyglass from her hand and looked over. There was a very distinct red circle on one of the sails, one that Asami, unfortunately, was familiar with. "Captain!"
-"Sato, now is not a good time!"
"Captain, I know that ship. They're here for me."
Korra stared at her incredulously. "How the hell..."
Asami sighed. "It's the Equalist, and Amon is her captain. Hides behind a mask. You have to fight him, because he's never going to give up."
At this, the captain pushed her forearm into Asami's throat, forcing her to lean back over the railing. "Sato, I don't know how you know all that, but you are going to tell me when I have the time. Right now, I have to prepare to outrun a ship, because even though he has twice the men and twice the guns, Amon has no friends in Omashu and I do. He's good, but he's not invincible. Now go to the sick bay and help prepare it for a fight. After you're done there, get to my cabin and stay out of everyone's way. That's an order, Sato."
With that, Korra paced away, yelling more orders as she did. It really was all hands on deck, because everyone was putting in overtime. Clearly, none of these men were stupid enough to think they could take on Amon alone.
Asami decided to follow Korra's orders and made for the sick bay. It wasn't hard to prepare, and quickly, she could feel the ship lurching, making subtle course changes as Korra plotted the shortest route to Omashu. After about an hour, she went to the captain's cabin, where the waiting game began.
She had little experience with Amon but knew enough that he was probably one of the only men her captain was afraid of. Either that, or she was smart enough to know not to mess with him.
A little while later, the doors flew open. "Alright, Sato. I have little time, lots to do, and the Equalist is gaining on us, so you better talk quickly."
"My father works with Amon," Asami admitted, and this was enough to capture Korra's full attention. "I only saw them together once, it's not a relationship he publicizes. He pays Amon for scouting ahead, escorts, sometimes even taking out other pirates, which is why I assume he doesn't have a lot of friends in Omashu."
-"That's right, he targeted us pirates, and that makes enemies. It does explain a lot, though," Korra sighed. "How'd he trail us?"
"Probably via messenger hawk. That's the quickest way to get a message to him."
Korra scoffed. "This is just brilliant. You didn't think to mention this earlier? That Amon would be hunting us?!"
"I didn't know!"
The captain stomped out of the cabin but halted at the door, turning halfway back to face Asami. "You better hope that we can outrun him, because if he catches us, I'll kill you myself."
Asami felt like her feet were made of lead, because she was pretty certain that wasn't an idle threat.
Coming back up, Korra really hoped she wouldn't have to do what she just said. While it was true that she liked Asami, the least she could do if she was killed by Amon, was make sure that he'd lose as well. She liked her crew more.
But there was no time to think about that for now, because she was coming up to the quarterdeck again. "How's our tail?"
-"She's still gaining, Captain." Mako looked nervous. "I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I think we might have to prepare to fight."
Korra sighed. "Mako, you know I trust these men to be capable of a fight but not against that ship. It's suicide." She hesitated for a moment. "They're here for Sato. Maybe if we throw her overboard, they'll stop coming."
-"Do you really believe that? You know just as well as I do that Amon won't stop." Asami came up to the quarterdeck as well. "He's a horrible man, and none of us are going to benefit from doing that. I might have an idea."
The captain lowered her hand to the hilt of her sword. "Sato, you are getting dangerously close to being insubordinate. Get out of my way and out of my business."
Mako stepped between them. "Captain, she is a major prize. The men like you, but if you throw away a prize this big so that we can run away with our tail between our legs, I'm not sure you can hold on to your title. It's going to be mutiny. We should at least hear her out."
Korra took a step back and looked at the Equalist, which was slowly becoming bigger. It probably couldn't hurt to hear her idea. "Fine."
-"When Amon and my father were talking, I heard them about the lack of armor on the ship. That was a while ago, but I don't think he could have fixed it in the meantime. You don't have to defeat Amon, you just have to cripple the ship. Then we can outrun her and make it to Omashu, where you have the advantage."
She thought for a moment. "Go on the offensive?" She turned to Mako. "What do you think?"
-"It's risky, but I don't see any other options."
The captain nodded. "Alright. Load the guns on the port side, don't roll them out yet. Mid-ship cannoniers load chain shot and aim for the mast, bow and stern gunners aim for the waterline."
Mako looked confused. "Captain? She's gonna come up on our starboard, we'd never get a shot!"
Korra just shot him a glare. "Do it."
With a sigh, her first mate turned to the crew. "Load the guns! Port side!" He continued repeating her orders, while Asami walked up closer to her.
-"What are you planning, Captain?"
Korra sighed. "The craziest stunt I've ever pulled. You better be right about this."
Soon, the guns were loaded, and the Equalist was drawing in closer, just like Mako predicted, on the starboard side of the Aurora.
-"Captain?" he asked.
She was doubting. The timing for this had to be perfect. Too soon, and Amon would have time to give them a full broadside. Too late, and they wouldn't line up properly. "Drop the starboard anchor," she said.
-"What?! You want to clubhaul with full canvas?!"
"I don't have time to argue! Do it!"
He sighed. "Drop the starboard anchor!"
They did, and the rope began to go down. Luckily, the sea wasn't too deep here, so this would work. Probably. "Roll out the guns!" Korra yelled, and her order was executed. "Brace!" They were at the end of their anchor rope, and with a violent jerk, the Aurora came to a halt. Because of her momentum, the ship started to bank heavily but did start her full 180 degree turn.
Soon, they were lined up with the Equalist, who had also opened her gun ports, but they were still busy loading. For the briefest of moments, Korra saw eye to eye with the masked captain, seeing him standing on the quarterdeck of his ship.
"Ready on the guns!" It was a mad scramble to get everything ready, but it worked. "Ready!" So close. They were so close to being lined up. "FIRE! Fire all!"
With a deafening roar, the cannons unloaded their deadly cargo, right at the Equalist. They did significant damage, but the mast didn't fall. "Stern and mid-ship, load chain shot! Reload, reload! Aim for the mast!"
But then it happened. The guns on the Equalist opened fire as well, cannonballs tearing through the hull. "Prepare to board!" Korra heard someone yell over there.
"Mako, cut the anchor, get us underway!" He quickly cut the line, and the Aurora started moving again. It wasn't fast, but there was forward motion, and soon, the second volley let loose. Because they were prepared for it, they were moving quicker, and the Equalist wasn't ready to go just yet.
This one had more success. When the cannons stopped firing, Korra saw how the main mast began to fall. "Well, fuck me sideways, Sato was right..." she mumbled.
It had worked. They soon opened up a gap between them and the Equalist, which was good enough for Korra. Slowly, they circled back around to make course for Omashu again, avoiding Amon at all costs. There had been plenty of hits, but fortunately, most of the damage was only to the hull.
A quick inspection learned that they were only taking a drizzle of water, which was a fairly easy fix once she'd put Bolin on that. Asami actually had some medical knowledge, which was useful, because one of her crew had his leg ripped off by a cannonball.
Korra leaned on the railing of the quarterdeck when Mako came walking up to her. "What are we going to do?" he asked.
"Hope that the Waterbender is docked in Omashu. Captain Kai owes me for giving him the heads-up about Zaheer."
-"That's pretty thin, Captain. He has his girl on board, he'd be cautious about picking a fight with someone like Amon. Zaheer nearly killed him."
Korra sighed. "Aye, that's true. But Amon is after me, I'd only need him for deterrence. Two small ships are harder to fight than one big one." She looked down to the forecastle, where Asami was resting against the mast. "Our main advantage is that we have her."
-"A slim one," Mako pessimistically sighed. "She's not exactly a third ship to add to the fleet."
This made the captain chuckle. "No, she's not, but if Amon really is working for Hiroshi Sato, she can be used as leverage. Put a pistol to her head and tell Amon to back off, or he goes back to his boss empty-handed."
He wasn't convinced but gave in anyway. "Aye, Captain," he said before walking down to check on the repairs below decks.
Korra looked up again at the heiress sitting against the forward mast, clearly shaken from the whole ordeal. Or maybe it was just the threat she had made.
That would make sense, because for better or for worse, they were becoming closer. This really did make Korra wonder: would she be capable of doing it? It wasn't even the killing part, it was more that... Asami was her first friend, basically, since she was taken from her home and forced into slavery. A few fellow slaves she got along with, but that never lasted very long for her, as either Korra herself was sold, or they were sold instead.
Aboard the ship, things were marginally better but still not brilliant. Somehow, at every turn, she was still above her friends, because at the end of the day, she was still the captain.
And then Asami came along. A golden ticket, thrown into her lap out of the blue. Someone who, by all conventional measures, should hate her guts but just didn't. She was too kind and compassionate to hate Korra, even though she was forcing her to stay here. It was even likely that Asami was attracted to her, and that that attraction was slowly becoming more than physical.
The captain got a strange sensation in her gut. Doubt.
For the first time in years, Korra doubted whether or not she could live up to her words.
For those who read it, the mention of Kai is indeed a little nod to words-with-dragons' Anchorverse.
For the collective works of the author, go here.