1. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting when he wrenched the crate open, but it hadn't been a sentient haired, copper winged little bird who he immediately felt responsible for.
2. Those warped wings, the tangled locks, the way he giggled and smiled in spite of these disabilities made the corsair fret and worry in a way he would never admit to feeling.
3. He could ignore the cuts sustained from those ragged copper wings, knowing it was his simple presence that brought the little one comfort when it snuck into his hammock in the middle of the night.
4. Embry, he told the child, meant ember as in 'the shining drop of hearth fire nestled among the rags' but he could never mention it to the other pirates as they'd mock him for being poetic.
5. He fell overboard once and it took all of Ossa's willpower not to cry out, despite his heart stopping in his chest and his blood turning to ice in his veins.
6. Even with Antler's begrudging aid it still took half the day to find the copper winged child's hiding place and drag him kicking and screaming to the bucket of soapy water and if truth be told, the end result wasn't worth it.
7. He was a bold and fearless little thing but trusting to a fault; “Don't believe everything the others tell you.” Ossa warned.
8. The little one always wondered why Ossa would put a day aside every year to brush his hair and spend his breaks with him, though the corsair would never tell him what a birthday was or why they were celebrating it.
9. He was a true seafarer; the corsair could tell from the way he lay on the deck just to feel the boat rocking beneath him, the way he roared in the face of the sea spray and dashed outside the moment he glimpsed the flashes of lightning, like a moth drawn to a flame.
10. Chasing after him with a towel as he streaked naked across the main deck amidst the laughter of the crew wasn't worth it either.
11. Too many times he had to raise his hand against the little one when he got in the way and got underfoot, and yet Embry never cried when he was flayed upon.
12. Watching him defending the ship often had the pirate wondering how it must feel to soar above the clouds and over the waves in a way that the ship never could.
13. Dreadlocks suited him. They would have suited him even better if they hadn't bled or moved and made him wonder just what sort of alien monstrosity they had picked up on the waves.
14. He never feared the canons but met them head on with furious challenge, bearing the scars upon his copper wings for the sake of a grateful crew and Ossa had never been more proud.
15. As the child grew, the corsair saw less and less of him, forcing himself to turn away to rid himself of that stigma of attachment; he was not soft, he would not bring shame to his crew.
16. “Touch the stars, little one.” He said softly one evening as the two of them lay on the deck. “You've got the means to carry yourself there and leave us so far behind.”
17. It struck him that day that Embry didn't understand death, didn't understand loss, couldn't understand where Morrig had gone even though Ossa tried to explain what had happened and why it was all his fault.
18. “He's so worn down he can't carry his duty out any longer, we might as well be rid of him.” No captain, he wanted to say, he's as much a part of this crew as you or I... but instead his head bowed, his eyes falling closed. “Tell me what I gotta do.”
19. “Ossa would rather coddle children than slit throats, Ossa has become a nursemaid, not a pirate.” It wasn't true, he could never let it be true, he had to push the child away.
20. One night he flew into a rage and lashed out at the boy, striking him until he bled, throwing him in the hold and barring the door... yet when morning came, Embry was still sitting there, ready to forgive him despite his split lip and bruised ribs.
21. Even as he lifted the phial to his lips, a tear slid down his cheek at the realization that he had never once told Embry he loved him... dear thing that he was, he would never know.
22. He'd heard Ossa singing once when the corsair had been at the grog and embarrassed him forever after, asking him to sing lullabys even when he was half grown.
23. He turned away from the crew after that, unable to look upon the faces of the men he'd fought alongside for so long, realizing too late that reputation wasn't important, had never been important and now he could never go back.
24. A creature so awkward on land should not have been so graceful in the sky, should not have danced upon the wind with such ease, should not have looked so ethereal and a world apart when he had raised him with his own two hands.
25. Emby's cries cut into his heart like a blade, but he continued to tell himself it was better this way, it was better that he remembered him as an unforgiving corsair so he'd never try to come back, never try to find him again.
26. He closed the door quietly behind him, wincing as he heard the muted thud of a crumpling body. Trewoolfe would put him to better use, the gold would be worth it, the captain had promised him as much.
27. Heavy copper alloy bound and fettered him, chained his wings and weighed down his hair but even in his terror he whimpered Ossa's name, certain that the corsair would soon come to his aid.
28. “Ossa. Love you.” it was whispered to him in the dark, and though it moved the corsair to tears he couldn't bring himself to reply, only laying his hand on the dreadlocked hair and pressing a kiss to his brow in reply.
29. There had been so much trust in his eyes as he'd slipped a braid into Ossa's hand, pressed himself against the corsair's side, ready to follow him to the ends of the earth and beyond, simply because the other had asked him.
30. “You fool,” he wanted to tell him, he wanted to weep as he embraced the boy dearly for the last time. “I am a pirate, a fiend and a deceiver. You should never have trusted me.”
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