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Forgiveness Is Not Mandatory

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Captain Loetrlona of ‘The Steel Trap’, now retired and obscenely wealthy, was enjoying her sixtieth Nameday lounging on the open porch of her seaside home, when a handsome young Miqo’te came visiting.

She had been expecting him for the better part of the week, honestly, ever since one of her lads alerted her to the boy sniffing about Kugane docks asking about her, trailing after her old crew and scoping out their haunting spots. She found it amusing, that it took so long for him to get the guts to finally look. He’d been travelling in and out of the place for the better part of the year now – busy, with his Scion work, big hero now and all – but it was only now that he turned his sights in her direction. Still that little brat from all those years ago, then.

The sun was sinking towards the Ruby Sea, and from her porch, she had a perfect view of one of Kugane’s many piers, the large ships with their sails folded up for the evening, the torches beginning to spring to life, one by one, as last-minute loading and unloading happened. She loved the sight. Lord Musa had been kind to her when he gifted her with this home all those decades ago for her loyal contributions to his household. She was sad when he died. Absolutely gutted. He never stiffed her on payments.

She stubbed out her cigar when the clomp of heavy boots echoed on the solid wood of her porch, puffing out a smoke ring. She didn’t look to see who it was, “Was wonderin’ when you would turn up,” she rasped, her eye never wavering from the pier, “Been sittin’ ‘ere all year waitin’ for you.”

Boots scraped against the wood, and Loetrlona half-turned her head so her good eye could see the handsome Miqo’te move. He’d grown up well, even if he was still a runt, with a well-toned body and a hard, proud look. Those eyes… still had that fierce, tiger look about him. She still remembered when the cheeky fuck called her a cunt right to her face, despite shaking like a leaf under her hand.

She’d been remembering him a lot, recently.

“I had more important things,” the grown-up tiger said, his voice low and smooth. Ah, Takehiko had been so right when he said he would grow up pretty, “I didn’t think you’d remember me, anyway.”

“Sold a lotta brats in my time,” Loetrlona admitted, “But none o’them managed to stick one o’ my men with an arrow.”

The Miqo’te just stared at her, his expression blank and cold.

Loetrlona had no illusions as to what was going to happen. It was why she sent most of her lads away with a bit of extra coin, told them to go enjoy themselves instead of falling on this runt’s sword out of loyalty to her. She dug her grave long ago, and when she heard the stories of this new Warrior of Light, slaying Primals and killing Garlean Princes and the like, and saw an actual picture of him, well, she made her peace with her fate long ago if he ever thought to come looking for her. Her old mates will be sad, but so long as they carried on, she was fine with whatever happened.

Besides, she had no regrets. She lived a long life on the seas and long enough to retire. Not many pirates get to enjoy that.

“Well, before y’stick me with an arrow, or that slab of iron y’call a sword,” she said, “At least lemme have one last drink.”

The Miqo’te didn’t move, so she took that as permission. Her bottle of wine was already open – she already had several glasses, got nice and sozzled for this meeting, and grasped the bottle with a faintly trembling hand. Weakness of the joints, bah. Old enough for her own body to turn traitor on her.

She managed to pour the drink at least, that was all that mattered.

“I’ve hated you, for a very long time,” The Miqo’te told her, quietly.

“Lot’sa people ‘ave hated me for a long time,” Loetrlona laughed – which quickly broke off into ragged coughs. She stifled them with a deep swig of her wine, “’Ow’d you think I got so rich, hm?”

“By being a slaving fuck,” he said, stone-faced. Loetrlona laughed in his face.

“Whatcha thinkin’s gonna happen?” she asked him, “You tell me ‘ow you suffered – which is bullshit, by the way. I know. Lord Musa treated all ‘is pretty lil’ cats nicely – an’ you stabbed ‘im to death in his sleep anyways. Coulda lived in a nice gilded cage all yer life if you wanted, and instead y’caused yer own misery.”

“It never would have happened if you didn’t kidnap me and my sister.”

“Lotsa things never woulda happened, if I didn’t kidnap you and yer sister,” Loetrlona slurred, “You’d be a totally different person. Probably still runnin’ about the woods like a savage, instead o’savin’ the world and whatnot.”

The Miqo’te went quiet.

“Listen ‘ere, ‘cause I can’t be fucked listenin’ to yer sob story. I already know it,” Loetrlona said in dark amusement, “I don’t regret a single fuckin’ thing in my life. I ran a good, long life on the seas. Ruled my crew with an iron fist. Pushed my lovely Steel Trap all over the seas, pickin’ up good loot and fuckin’ over them Limsa fuckwads an’ Garleans in equal measure. An’ look where I ended up? Wealthy an’ happy.”

She waved a hand aimlessly, encompassing the lovely home she had. The Miqo’te didn’t look.

“I’m pretty ‘appy with my lot,” she told him plainly, “Don’t care much if y’decided to stab me right now. I’ll be goin’ to the other side laughin’. So, if yer expectin’ me to fall to my decrepit knees, beggin’ for forgiveness, well, lad, yer gonna be disappointed.”

The Miqo’te eyes were dark and intense as he looked at her, and really, if she was twenty years younger and he was still a slave, she would’ve been all over him like a kraken on a fishboat. But she wasn’t, and he wasn’t, so she settled for looking at him with a little smirk, sprawled in defiant casualness in her little deck chair, her bathrobe half open. She wasn’t the beauty she used to be, but confidence was an attractive quality all on its own, and she never lacked in it, ever.

“I haven’t decided if I’m going to kill you yet,” he finally said, finally looking away from her. He looked out over the sea, shifting his weight back so his rump rested against the wooden banister of her porch. The sun caught his hair, making it glitter like gold.

“Oh ho?” Loetrlona laughed in wry amusement, “Yer tryin’ t’be noble, eh? The Scions put some decency into you?”

“No,” The Miqo’te said, “They won’t find out about this, so I’m not worried about looking noble.”

Looking, not being. Hah, he was still a vicious little cur then, just polished up a bit. Loetrlona looked down into her glass, swirling it contemplatively. Ever since she sold him to Lord Musa’s estate, she only saw him the few extra times. He’d been quiet, subdued… she thought the spirit had been beaten out of him at that point, but then she got the news that the brat stabbed his master in his sleep, and kept on stabbing until he was an unrecognisable mess. She hadn’t been surprised. Sometimes you had mutts that just went wrong in the head, that it was all cause of shit breeding, and this runt was some half-bred wild thing anyways.  

“You kidnapped me,” the Miqo’te said, pointlessly, “And because of that, you ruined my life.”

“I said I ain’t interested in yer sob story, lad.”

“But I barely remember what my life was like, before then,” he continued, like she hadn’t spoken. Rude, but he was the one with the weapon and killing intent, so he could do whatever he pleased, she supposed, “I don’t remember my mother, or if she’s even still alive, though I doubt she’d recognise me now anyways. It’s something I could’ve had… but you robbed that from me.”

“Yer point?”

“I don’t like that you’ve been given a nice, happy ending,” The Miqo’te said bluntly. He looked back at her with a smile. It wasn’t a nice one, “I don’t really care if karmically, you deserve it or whatever, that you worked hard for it by selling other people. I don’t care about them. I care about me.”

Loetrlona watched him and set aside her glass. “Not noble at all.”

“I care about the fact that you hurt me. You beat the shit out of me,” he pushed himself off the banister, and despite being a runt, he still towered over her sitting, withered form, “You sold me. You ruined my life. You caused the death of my sister. You. I hate you with every fibre of my fucking being.”

He didn’t shout, but there was a wild, crazed glint in his eye that was more intimidating than any yelling. Loetrlona met his stare with a smirk, understanding now. A wild, fucked up mutt indeed, “So, whatcha gonna do about it?” she asked idly.

She half-expected him to draw his stupidly huge sword and chop her in two. He didn’t. He eased back, stopped his aggressive posturing, looking at her from beneath his dark eyelashes.

So pretty. What a pity.

“Whenever I spoke to people about forgiveness and the like,” he said, sounding calmer now, “They always said that it was better to take the high road and try to forgive, or that extracting vengeance wouldn’t make me feel any better. I think that’s bullshit advice, because I know if I stab you right now, I’d enjoy every second of it.”

“Fair,” Loetrlona drawled.

“I’m not going to forgive you, because I don’t want to, and you don’t want it,” The Miqo’te said bluntly, “But at the same time, I don’t want to kill you cleanly, because while I’ll feel briefly better about it, you won’t care, because you’re dead.”

Loetrlona paused, realising what he was getting at now, “You want me to suffer.”

“Immensely,” he purred, low and hungry. “I really want you to suffer.”

She was wary now, because he was smiling at her, tiger-like. He could kill her slowly, and that wasn’t exactly ideal. Still, it wouldn’t the first time she was tortured by a pretty young thing, so she just smiled, tossing her thinning, white hair over her shoulder, even if it made her joints ache from the movement, “That’s hot.”

The Miqo’te laughed at her, “I can see how you’ve lived for so long.”

Loetrlona smiled, nonplussed at that comment, but he didn’t elaborate.

“Captain Loetrlona,” he murmured, sounding out each syllable in that lovely voice of his, “I really want to hurt you. So much. I actually had fantasies about it, where I’d find you and get my pound of flesh off you, and if this was about two years ago, that’s probably what would’ve happen.”

“And now?” she asked, impatient to know her fate.

“Now, I have to go back home and look someone in the eye after this, and tell them what I did,” the Miqo’te said, “And I refuse to disappoint them. Because I care more about them, than whatever happens to you, no matter how much I fucking despise you.”

“Aw, so you’re sweet on someone?” Loetrlone fumbled with her cigar box, almost damning her shaking hands as she lit it up and took a deep, long draw, “Or, should I say, you found a master you like? I wonder how long it’ll take for you to stab them in their sleep?”

The Miqo’te’s eyes darkened dangerously, but he didn’t rise to the bait. Shame.

“So, I’m leaving your fate in the hands of the Sekiseigumi,” he finished.

Loetrlona froze, “What.”

But the Miqo’te was turning to leave, looking darkly pleased, “You were right all those years ago, y’know? It’s great to have friends in high places… and low places too, thinking on it. I think they’ve probably already rounded up your lads.”

Loetrlona watched as he walked away, though he paused where the porch transitioned into a little stone path leading around the property, back out onto the public street, “You probably don’t care about yourself,” he said into the tense quiet, broken only by the distant sound of the docks, “But the fact you sent your men away, when you knew I was coming, showed your weakness. They absolutely adored you whenever I spoke to them. Very loyal. Would die for you.”

He turned back to her and smiled, “Well, they’re gone now. What a shame. Oh, and before I forget, Happy Nameday, Capt’n.”

With that, he left, and Loetrlona felt her cigar drop from her numb fingers, realising that the little fuck outplayed her. He hadn’t dithered visiting her all week, he must’ve been watching where her men went to enjoy themselves, her crew, her family, and struck accordingly. Those men were the only things she really cared about anymore, and that little bastard

She laughed – because it was all she could do, a harsh, rough noise, and slumped back in her seat, looking back out in the docks. What a vindictive fuck.

She stayed like that until the Sekiseigumi came for her. She didn’t really resist. She knew when to admit defeat.