Ioz was not the most successful pirate.
He was not the most intelligent either.
He lost what fortunes he did find quicker then a leviathan to the scent of blood. But he always had enough coin for a meal and to avoid being clothed in rags.
He would never out think a dartha eel. But he had never gotten lost at sea and he understood people as most did their own mother.
Yet he never stressed more then necessary for his reputation over those who mocked him.
For those who gained their riches spent the rest of their much shortened lives fighting to keep it. While those who survived on their cleverness were inevitably outwitted.
Whereas Ioz was still going strong at middle age, a rare feet for pirates.
Because he was not a fool.
When he found himself scammed by a monkey-bird and a youth with guileless blue eyes he could admire their cleverness.
Didn't mean he wasn't five seconds away from throwing them overboard when that compass flared.
Cocky youth never failed to surprise him from that day forth.
Besides, men had staked their fortunes on less then a lost kingdom and legends and come out the better for it. Ioz had no qualms with taking a few risks.
Of course, he had balked at keeping a stowaway aboard as crew, much less a woman. But Tula had quickly shown her worth and a good hand had value no matter its gender.
He had no issue with the lad being captain, inexperienced and sheltered pup that he was. He took to seafaring like a sponge to water with a few pointers. Ioz quickly found himself growing fond of the boy and for the first time in his life found himself growing almost – dare he say it – parental.
Ren's only flaw was that he remained far too noble, too ready to take up a cause and see the world in black and white. Thank the gods the quest could override that honorable spirit.
Until it couldn't.
The cause of slaves was too virtuous, too right for those blue eyes to ignore. Any reminder of the all important 'Quest' was brushed aside. What really got to him was that the boy had the gall to assume they'd join him.
Pirates didn't do causes. It was about time Ren realized what his heart of gold would cost him. So he took Tula and left the boy to his Monkey-bird revolution.
Never had he regretted anything so much in his life.
And through it irked him to set his sail to such a course Ioz vowed to complete the quest.
Of course, Ren soon proved he could cheat death with the same skill that he cheated that bloated sea-slug Bloth so his reputation suffered little from his foray into more Moral Pursuits. He made sure to remind his crew from that day forth the fundamental truths about piracy.
Pirates were selfish.
Pirates were greedy.
And Ioz was the pinnacle example of the breed. At least on the outside.