Sails, Sabres and Swashbuckling on the Spanish Main
Dayak is an Iban headhunter a very long way indeed from Borneo. He is tall and rangy, all sinew and ropy muscle. His long limbs, slightly out of proportion to his body, and his way of going instantly from utter stillness to movement and then back to stillness, give him a disquietingly spidery air.
He has a mop of untidy black hair, often partially controlled with a headcloth, over a pair of worryingly emotionless black eyes and a nose that has clearly been broken at least twice.
His face changes entirely when he smiles, but only his friends get to see that. The rest of the world gets a stare that seems to say “I could kill everyone in this room and then sleep like a baby tonight”.
A “sea-dayak” of the Iban people from Sarawak, Borneo
Dayak was born curious. His curiosity led him far from Sarawak, through a period of Spanish captivity and a journey a quarter of the way around the world. His people take new names throughout their lives, and he decided to take the name “Dayak” as that’s what the Spanish always called him. It was a lucky name – carrying it he took the head of the Spanish captain, a purse of gold, two good sabers and a pistol.
The gold is mostly gone now, and Dayak’s curiosity has taken him still further round the world, often employed as “the scary looking guy standing just behind the captain and looking menacing” which is a role he both enjoys and excels at. He’s worked in this capacity for merchanters and pirates, from the Philippines to Africa and round the Horn to Europe, picking up spoken Spanish and English along the way, and learning to fit in aboard boats and in sailors’ dives and pirate townships.
He was working as second in command for Don Cristobal when both men were framed for the theft of holy relics from a church. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade and made their way to sea. They now survive as soldiers of fortune – if you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can afford them, maybe you can hire “el Don y el Dayak”
Cristobal is heading for the Caribbean to seek his fortune (and maybe find the guy who framed him) and Dayak has heard tales of the caribbean which make it sound like a terribly interesting place, with lots of things to see and do, where he can meet new people (and occasionally chop off their heads). How can he resist?
The evil Baron Iago is the sworn enemy of Cristobal and occasionally remembers to say “oh, and that Dayak guy he hangs around with” when ordering his minions to hunt him down and kill or capture him, making him a Minor Enemy for Dayak.
Nobody he meets seems to really understand the headhunting thing. It’s a sacrifice to the gods, a sign of success in battle, sometimes a dowry or a token of respect, plus it’s always nice to have a hobby.
Sadly for the Evil Baron Iago, Dayak cunningly thwarted his vengeance by managing to get brutally speared to death by some natives on an unnamed jungle island in the Caribbean.