Utkan the Bold
I spent what was perhaps the most surreal night of my life in the company of Utkan the Bold, a man just as capable of mercilessly throwing someone overboard without a second’s thought and discussing in the most charming and informed manner international trade across Turoza, all in the same five minutes….Maximilian Hoherberg Von Zottehal One of the most feared people to sail the high seas around Turoza, Utkan the Bold commands the warships and crew of the Red Hawk Corsairs, an organisation that he founded following his desertion from the Royal Navy of the Sultanate of Fashaddon.
General Physical Condition
Standing at about 5.7ft, Utkan is not particularly tall for an Elf, but it does make it a bit more convenient for a life at sea, with a plethora of low ceilings to deal with. He has a lean, but distinctly muscly physique, that speaks of a lifetime spent at sea, and which is continually honed by Utkan’s continual mucking in with the working life of the ship, something that makes him incredibly popular with his crew. The rough and tumble life that Utkan has lead, first as a member of Fashaddon’s navy and then as an active pirate have left visible marks on his body. Utkan has only one eye, and wears an eyepatch to cover the empty socket of what was once his left eye, and has numerous scars across his face and body. He is also missing two fingers from his left hand. Despite this, he still maintains his youthful good looks, and he still believes that just a smouldering look from his emerald coloured eye is enough to make the heart of anyone flutter. He wears his dark-brown/black hair, tinged here and there with streaks of grey long, normally in a ponytail.
Growing up, Utkan never knew his parents. He grew up in an orphanage in the town of Evlimani, far in the south of the Sultanate of Fashaddon, though it is unknown whether he was actually born there or not. Few Elves live in the Sultanate, and even fewer live in the coastal town of Evlimani, meaning that Utkan’s origins are shrouded in mystery. It is not even certain that he was indeed born in 402S.E., it is simply the date that appeared outside of the orphanage as a babe, so he adopted it as his year of birth. Growing up in the orphanage was hard at the best of times, and Utkan had to learn to fight quickly, to strike hard and fast in order to keep himself safe from the older boys that frequently picked on the younger children for sport, and were especially keen on trying to aggravate the small, slim, pallid Elf child who was an anomaly in the orphanage’s community. The skills that he learned here were quickly transferred onto the streets, where Utkan began to make a living through pickpocketing and petty crime. By the time he was 9 years old he left the orphanage for good and joined a small criminal organisation based out of Evlimani, that principally focused on stealing and selling on supplies appropriated from the stores of the town’s large naval base. Utkan spent the next decade of his life honing his skills in criminal enterprise, and soon he had developed a strong side-line as a conman, selling rotten supplies thrown out by the Sultanate’s navy on to the travelling merchants and visitors that arrived at the town, and passing them off as good, fresh rations. This turned out to be a very lucrative endeavour, especially as Utkan grew into a highly eloquent and convincing individual but eventually suspicion began to grow around the venture. When the merchant who had become Utkan’s accomplice in enterprise was approached by the town guard, he was quick to sell out Utkan as the mastermind behind the scheme in exchange for a reduced punishment. In the winter of 421S.E., the Evlimani town guard burst into Utkan’s lodgings and arrested him. Utkan was given a choice, either have his tongue cut out and have to pay an extensive fine for his criminal activities, or be pressed into at least 20 years of service in the Sultanate of Fashaddon’s navy. Unsurprisingly, Utkan opted for servitude rather than mutilation. This proved to be a surprisingly good move for Utkan, as unlike his life on the streets he was clothed, fed and watered without having to worry about it. The work was hard, and the pay was minuscule, but all in all for an Elf with no attachments to the world, the naval lifestyle proved rather to his liking. Utkan quickly began to rise through the ranks, partly because he had a natural aptitude for the tasks he was given, partly because he was generally interested in what he was doing, and partly because the Sultan’s navy saw a great advantage in training up an Elf, whose lifetime of servitude had the potential to be much longer than the majority of the other naval servicemen and women. On the whole, the first part of Utkan’s service was predominantly sedate, with most of the navy’s duties revolving around patrolling the coastline of the Sultanate, occasionally escorting merchant convoys through dangerous areas beyond Fashaddon’s waters, and ensuring that no raiders or monstrous creatures established themselves on the shores or seas of the Sultanate. By the year 456S.E., Utkan had not only been promoted into the Officer’s mess, but had been made a Captain and placed in command of the his own warship, the Red Hawk. Life, however, became infinitely more difficult in the year 465S.E., when the Emirate of Taqwal seceded from the Sultanate. Suddenly there was an enemy state within the Safir Sea, and the Sultan’s navy began a bitter, protracted naval conflict for supremacy in the area with the forces of Taqwal. The fortunes of the Sultan’s navy in this conflict changed almost as frequently as the tide, but throughout, Utkan managed to keep his ship and its crew mostly intact. However, his resolve was waning, he had served for over forty years in the Sultan’s navy when the conflict broke out, by rights if he had been a Human or a Half-Orc, as many of his sailors were, he would have been discharged and retired either to a desk job or a life of retirement. Matters came to a head in the year 471S.E., when during a heated battle, Utkan lost his left eye to a Taqwallian arrow, which nearly took his life as well. During the long period of his recovery, which he insisted was spent aboard the Red Hawk, where he directed the affairs of the ship from his sickbed, he began to contemplate what his next move should be. One massive thing that was in his favour, was that his crew adored him. They often joked that they did not fight for the Sultan, but for Utkan their Captain, and this planted the seed of an idea in his mind. Utkan had to wait for the right opportunity, but in 473S.E. when he was fit and well again, he commanded the Red Hawk to attack an unprotected Taqwallian merchant convoy, in an encounter that saw them capture three ships, their crew and goods. With the decks of the Red Hawk groaning under the weight of all of the booty they had seized, Utkan made a passionate speech to his crew, inciting them to desert the Sultan’s Navy alongside him, and live and work for themselves alone, and idea that was met with wild enthusiasm. That day saw the founding of the Red Hawk Corsairs and was the beginning of Utkan’s piratical career. Initially, the Sultan’s Navy viewed Utkan’s escapade as foolish and inconvenient, but did not see it as a particular threat. Two minor warships were dispatched to deal with the Red Hawk mutineers, but these ships never returned to report on their success. Frustrated, more minor warships were dispatched to bring Utkan to justice, but he and his crew were able to easily brush them aside. These attacks somewhat angered Utkan, who was insulted by the little stock the Sultanate put in the threat that he posed to them, and he devised a daring plan to show the Sultanate how much they had underestimated him. This turned into his famous Raid on Evlimani, which struck right at the heart of the Sultan’s Navy, and saw him and his crew not only purloin enough rations to keep them going on the high seas for months on end, but also all of the wages that had been stockpiled to pay the Navy and two brand new warships specially built to match the strongest ships the Emirate of Taqwal could bring to the table. This raid cemented Utkan’s place in history, and was the foundation stone for his continued success as a pirate chief today. Some have even suggested that Utkan’s raid on Evlimani, which crippled a huge chunk of Fashaddon’s fleet was one of the main reasons that the Sultanate was not able to draw the Emirate back into the fold. To this day, Utkan, and the small fleet of ships that make up the Red Hawk Corsairs continue to ply their illicit trade on the oceans and seas up and down Turoza, and with Utkan still being well within the prime of his long Elven years, it looks to stay that way for centuries to come.
As a child, Utkan had no formal education whatsoever, other than what he learnt on the streets of Evlimani to survive. On entering the Royal Navy of Fashaddon as deck-hand, he was extensively trained in combat, ship maintenance and the day-to-day running of a warship. He was tutored more and more in areas such as navigation, numeracy and literacy as his potential began to be realised and he moved up the ranks, until he finally underwent two years of in-depth training at the Sultan’s Navel College in Evlimani, on his promotion to the rank of Officer.
Utkan’s first official job was as a deck-hand in the Sultan’s navy, but prior to this he had scratched out a living carrying out petty crimes on the streets of Evlimani and as a conman. Following a betrayal by his partner in their con-work and his subsequent arrest he chose to be press-ganged into the navy, rather than suffer a more damaging form of punishment at the hands of the town magistrate. He began his naval career in 422S.E., and served before the mast for over 50 years during which time he ascended to the rank of Captain and was placed in command of his own ship, the Red Hawk that he captained under the banner of the Sultan for nigh on 17 years. Following his desertion in 473S.E., he took up the title and role of Cardinal of the Red Hawk Corsairs that he has held ever since.
Utkan is well known for being both thoroughly charming and absolutely ruthless at the same time and it I these two qualities that have allowed him to retain his iron grip on the piratical organisation he founded for the last 80 years. Is this charm that aided him greatly in quickly rising through the ranks of the Fashaddonite navy, and that also enabled him to convince his crew to defect from the Sultanate with him, a move that would probably have seen most Captains lynched by the same crew they hoped to persuade. Equally, Utkan’s sheer brutality is regarded as legendary. Any hint of dissension from within his crew or captains is dealt with extremely harshly. On one memorable occasion, Utkan is reported to have hung half of one of his ship’s crew by their feet from the main mast when he suspected that their captain was planning to mutiny against him and attempt to steal his ship and strike out on his own. When eventually one of the poor sailors spilled the beans on the plan and testified against the unfortunate captain, Utkan had the captain suspended upside down from the mast of his flagship until he died as an example to the rest of the corsairs. The sailors who refused to testify were taken far out to sea and thrown overboard into the Safir Sea, whilst the sailor who had broken and revealed the plan was spared this fate, but had a hand cut off in punishment for his part in the scheme. When dealing with Utkan the Bold, those who are drawn in too deeply by his charm and smooth words run the risk of meeting a slow and painful death, they are lulled into speaking too freely, and Utkan picks up on the slightest hint of treachery, or dishonesty.
Wealth & Financial state
Given that he is the head of the most notorious piratical organisation in the far south of Turoza, Utkan is widely considered to be a very wealthy man, but in reality no one knows for sure how great his fortune is. Sources from within the Red Corsairs plainly state that as the Cardinal, Utkan automatically claims a 10th of any loot taken in a raid, and his position also entitles him to de facto ownership of all assets that belong to the Corsairs, including all seven of their warships.