I am now trying something new and different. A big long chapter story that I haven't actually finished. Yeah I know. If there are people reading it, it'll give me incentive to finish it.
This isn't like the stuff I've written before, in that it actually has a plot and isn't a mindless emotional fluffy oneshot or short story. There will be emotion and perhaps some fluff later, I haven't decided, but there will also be character development and drama.
Plus... original characters?! This is a story about pirates, so I had to make up some pirates.
So, tell me what you think! It'll probably take me longer than usual to put up chapters, but bear with me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
"Kwan! Kwan, wake up!"
Kwan ignored his little sister as she burst into his room. He was taking a nap, and she would just have to learn to be respectful. Unfortunately, that was when she decided to start shaking him.
"Kwan this is serious!" she squealed.
Kwan sat up abruptly. "What is it Lin?" he demanded grumpily.
"I was just down at the docks and-"
"What were you doing at the docks? It's almost sunset. You know what Dad said."
She just shook her head as though her father's rules didn't matter. "Would you listen?" she burst out in frustration.
"Why should I? I'm ten, you're six. I'm older and I was taking a nap."
"But Kwan, I saw the Raven's Shadow!"
Kwan stared at her. "Don't lie," he snapped.
"I'm not lying!" Lin squeaked frantically. "I saw a ship with black sails out near the reefs. You know the only ship with black sails on this sea is the Raven's Shadow."
Kwan didn't respond. She was right about that. "Well… did anyone else see it?"
"No, the fishermen all came in early today. The catch is always bad this month."
Kwan jumped to his feet and grabbed Lin's hand, not bothering to put on his shoes. "C'mon, we have to find Dad. If it really was the Raven's Shadow, we have to tell everyone," he said quickly, pulling her out of his room and running through the house. "The Demon of the Sea isn't known for showing mercy."
"So why exactly did we pass in clear view of the port?"
The Demon of the Sea smiled. "Keely, Keely," sighed the Demon. "If you are going to be a part of my crew, you will have to learn to trust me."
Keely tossed the Demon an appraising glance, crossing her arms over her chest. "Yeah, sorry," she sighed, not sounding as though she meant it. "I'm just not used to your tactics."
"Of course you aren't," the Demon replied lightly. "Because you've never actually worked in a real crew. You and your friends are professional stowaways, Keely."
Keely let out a snort of laughter but didn't say anything.
"The dynamic of a real crew is something new, which is understandable," the Demon continued, unhindered. "But you must remember that you are no longer the gang leader, so to speak. So my authority is not to be questioned. Got it?"
Keely sighed. "Fine, sorry," she muttered, sounding at least somewhat sincere this time. "But may I ask why you use these tactics?"
The Demon smiled again. "That depends. Why are you asking?"
Keely shrugged. "Learning experience."
The Demon laughed. "Alright, but get Robin and Dodger first. Might as well make it a learning experience for everyone."
Keely smirked and walked away without another word, disappearing below deck. The Demon watched her with narrowed eyes, still not sure what to think of this girl and her two friends. They had crossed paths many times before, but the three of them had only recently joined the Demon's crew.
The trio emerged momentarily. First came Keely, the cool, calculating, dual-sword wielding firebender extraordinaire. Next was Robin, the quiet young martial artist from the Fire Nation, followed by Dodger, the trigger-happy waterbender permanently attached to his crossbow.
There was a rare smile on Robin's face. She and Keely were best friends and talked incessantly. Other than that, Robin was unusually quiet for a seventeen-year-old girl, especially when compared to Keely and Dodger.
"Alright, children, pay attention," the Demon said loudly, making them all stop in their tracks and glare. They didn't like being called children by someone only eight years older. "We passed in plain sight of the port town. Why?"
The three of them remained silent, Keely and Robin exchanging an exasperated glance.
"Because we are pirates," the Demon continued airily. "Not just pirates, but good pirates. We have honor, in some small dose. So we give the people an hour or two to prepare themselves before we attack. One, because it's more of a challenge and keeps us in shape. Two, because the plunder is so much more rewarding if we've fought for it. And three, because we're pirates. Giving them an hour's warning is the only decent thing we do."
"Aye!" Dodger roared, waving his crossbow in the air. The Demon stared at him. Keely and Robin rolled their eyes. Dodger glanced at them. "What?"
"Everyone understand?" the Demon sighed.
Keely shrugged. "Makes sense to me," she said simply, turning and walking up to the bow of the ship. Robin just smiled a little. Dodger glanced at her.
"So, uh, Robin…" he began, but she had already followed Keely.
The Demon laughed and clapped Dodger on the shoulder. "She'll hear you eventually."
"It's strange, isn't it?" Dodger replied. "How uh… normal we are, when we aren't off attacking people."
"It's not strange, kid," the Demon replied simply. "We're pirates, not platypus bears. There isn't a pirate in the world that wasn't a normal person at some point."
Dodger looked steadily at the Demon. "Normally I'd believe that, but coming from you?" he said with a grin.
The Demon fixed him with a level look. "You're hilarious."
"I try, Demon old pal," Dodger replied airily. "I try indeed. Now if you would excuse me, I have to make sure my crossbow is ready for some serious piracy tonight."
The Demon turned toward the port. The sun was setting behind it. There were few clouds in the sky. They would need to make their own cover.
"Dodger, get back here," the Demon said suddenly. Dodger stopped and turned. "I need you to help me make this ship invisible."
Kwan pulled his little sister by the hand, running through the town in a crouch. The sun had set, the moon was shining in the cloudless sky, and the town was quiet as everyone waited. The two children were racing to the docks in the shadows, hoping to remain unseen.
"Kwan, maybe we should go back home," Lin whispered nervously.
Kwan stopped and peered around a corner onto the street. "Don't you want to get a look at the Demon of the Sea?" he hissed back.
"Yeah…" Lin admitted slowly. "But won't we get killed?"
"Of course not," Kwan said quietly. "Dad and the other earthbenders and Earth Kingdom soldiers will protect us. They're all down at the docks waiting."
They darted around the corner and abruptly ran into somebody. The children were thrown to the ground, while the person they ran into just stumbled.
"Whoa, sorry. Are you okay?"
Kwan and Lin looked up. They both gasped in surprise.
"You… you're the Avatar!" Lin squealed in awe.
The young monk laughed a little, scratching the back of his conspicuously bald head. "Uh, yeah, but you can call me Aang." He extended a hand to Lin to help her up. A pretty girl with dark skin and bright blue eyes bent to help Kwan to his feet. A strange chattering lemur was balanced on her shoulder, blinking at the children curiously.
"Are you okay?" the girl asked kindly, smiling.
Kwan blushed, mumbling an affirmative as the Avatar helped Lin up. The children exchanged a look of pure excitement. The news of the Fire Lord's defeat at the hands of the Avatar had come just over two years ago. They had heard he'd been traveling the world since then, and here he was, the world's hero. The girl must have been Katara, the first female waterbending master in a century. There were as many stories being told about her as there were about Aang.
"What brings you here, Avatar Aang?" Lin piped.
"Well, my sky bison is sick, actually. He's been having trouble flying," the Avatar said with a sigh. "We think it's just from exhaustion, so we're resting here for a while. My friends are with him now."
"Sokka and Toph?" Kwan asked excitedly.
Katara and Aang laughed a little in embarrassment. "I keep forgetting we're all famous now," Katara admitted quietly. The lemur curled its tail around Katara's neck and rested its head tiredly on its front paws. Katara smiled a little, but made no more indication that she had noticed the lemur falling asleep on her shoulder.
"We were just wondering where everyone is," Aang continued, looking around the deserted street. "We're camping on the outskirts of town, and we haven't seen anybody all evening."
"Everybody is inside," Lin said in a hushed voice. "All the soldiers and earthbenders are down at the docks. I saw a pirate ship right before sunset."
"Pirates?" Katara said sharply, exchanging a meaningful glance with the Avatar. "We've had some dealings with pirates before. They could be here for us."
"You've seen the Demon of the Sea?" Kwan whispered, awestruck.
Judging by the blank looks on the pair's faces, they had dealt with different pirates.
"Who?" Aang asked after a long pause.
"The Demon of the Sea," Kwan repeated. "The terror of the western waters. The Demon's ship, the Raven's Shadow, is the only ship this half of the world with black sails. Lin saw black sails, so we know it's them."
"Take us to the docks, please," the Avatar said seriously. "We're going to help your town."
Kwan and Lin grinned. "Okay, follow us!" Kwan said, excited to now have a good reason to go to the docks without permission. The two of them ran off, the Avatar and the waterbender hot on their heels.
"You see that, Kwei?"
Kwei, the father on Kwan and Lin, squinted into the dark port. Something was growing on the horizon. Something large and amorphous, crawling across the water. Kwei glanced at his fellow earthbender.
"Yeah, I see it. Fog?" he replied quietly.
The other man shook his head. "Looks like it, but fog doesn't move like that on its own."
"Well, pirates usually have at least one waterbender in their crew," Kwei pointed out darkly.
"One waterbender couldn't do that."
"Oh, that's not true. I could do that," said an unmistakably young female voice.
The men turned around in surprise. A young woman with a sleeping lemur on her shoulder was standing behind them, peering out at the fog moving quickly toward the docks. The men's eyes flicked from the girl to the children next to her, then to the young man beside them.
"Kwan? Lin? What are you doing here?" Kwei asked seriously.
"Dad, we brought the Avatar!" Lin said excitedly. The men looked at the boy again. He smiled and waved a little. Kwei glanced back at the girl.
"This is my friend, Katara," the boy said. Katara smiled.
"And you are Avatar Aang?" Kwei asked, looking back at the boy. He nodded. Kwei grinned and shook Aang's hand merrily. "Well you picked a wonderful time to arrive." He bent and kissed Katara's hand. "Thank you."
"Oh, no need to thank us," Katara said, laughing a little in embarrassment. "It's our job."
"So what can you tell us about the Demon of the Sea?" Aang asked.
"One moment," Kwei said quickly, crouching before his children. "Well done, you two. Thank you for helping the Avatar. Now I want you to go home."
"It's not safe here," he continued quietly. "We will do our best to defend the village, but I can't do that if I'm worrying about you. So go home where it's safe, okay?"
Kwan sighed heavily. "Fine," he grumbled, grabbing Lin's hand and stalking off down the street. Lin turned and took one last look at Aang and Katara before they disappeared around a corner.
Kwei smiled. "They're good kids. Just a little too curious for their own good sometimes."
Aang, fifteen years old and still too curious for his own good, just nodded. Katara caught his eye and they both grinned.
"Right, the Demon of the Sea," Kwei said, causing them both to look away from each other quickly and blush a little as though they had been caught doing something bad. "Apparently, no one outside the Raven's crew has ever actually seen the Demon and lived to tell the tale."
"Oh… good," Aang said with a sigh.
"Is he a bender?" Katara asked.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Kwei said, shrugging. "All I know for sure is that the Demon has a special weapon. I don't know what it is, but I've heard it's deadlier in the Demon's hands than an arrow to your head."
"What about the crew?" Aang asked warily.
"Like no pirates you've ever faced," Kwei said grimly. "They're the elite. Weapons, martial arts, benders from all three nations, you name it, they've got it."
"Is there anything they're known for?" Katara sighed, grasping at straws. "Do they take prisoners or do they just loot and raze?"
"They don't kill civilians," the man beside Kwei said. "Only those who get in their way. They generally don't raze. But they do a lot of pillaging and looting."
"So they only kill people who fight back," Aang clarified slowly. He turned to Katara. "Maybe I should just go out and see if I can make a deal with them."
"No, Aang, don't," Katara said immediately, a touch of pleading in her voice. "I think that qualifies as getting in their way. I don't want you to die."
Aang smiled at her. "Okay, I'll stay here," he said simply. She smiled back. Kwei watched them curiously. The Avatar had introduced this girl as his friend, but there was something slightly more than friendly about the two of them.
Katara looked back at the bay. "It might be too late, anyway," she sighed. The fog was creeping up the docks, obscuring the port in a thick cloud. She reached up and gave the lemur a gentle poke to the side. "Wake up, Momo. We've got a fight on our hands." The lemur spread its arms, revealing wings. He jumped from her shoulder and took off into the night sky, spiraling overhead. Katara smiled at the Avatar. "Aang, shall we?"
Aang nodded. The two of them stood side-by-side and took a simultaneous deep breath. They both, turned, and with a great pushing motion, the fog was blown back out into the ocean, revealing the dark hull of a great ship with black sails.
And at the ends of the docks, pouring out of several identical longboats, was the crew of the Raven's Shadow.
I'd just like to point out that Keely, Dodger, Robin, and the Demon are borrowed ideas. There's a girl on deviantArt (fencingamer6) who drew a scene from my oneshot Maybe It Isn't Only the Music, and she made up some pirates in a Caribbean setting a while ago. I've adapted them to Avatar, with her permission of course.
Here are the links, just put the punctuation in place of the parentheses:
http (Colon) (Slash) (Slash) fencingamer6 (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) art (slash) Bad (Hyphen) People (Hyphen) Keely (Hyphen) 68852080
http (Colon) (Slash) (Slash) fencingamer6 (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) art (slash) Bad (Hyphen) People (Hyphen) Dodger (Hyphen) 68852241
http (Colon) (Slash) (Slash) fencingamer6 (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) art (slash) Bad (Hyphen) People (Hyphen) Robin (Hyphen) 68852392
http (Colon) (Slash) (Slash) fencingamer6 (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) art (slash) Bad (Hyphen) People (Hyphen) Demon (Hyphen) 68852663
And here is another piece of art she just did, featuring those crazy pirate kids:
http (Colon) (Slash) (Slash) fencingamer6 (dot) deviantart (dot) com (slash) art (slash) Bad (Hyphen) People (Hyphen) The (Hyphen) Cerberus (Hyphen) 71921770
Many thanks to FG!