Ira Zaii is a privateer captain from the Corsair Coast, a tropical land west of the Shaklebreaks in the Jaddess Ocean.
The Corsair Coast is a land of ancient peoples, planted by the Mhytyrdese as a network of martitime trade colonies, Conquered and developed by the Horizon Empire of the Jaddess, fueled by the international slave trade and incorporated during its twilight years as a protectorate of the Jadean Union before its ultimate collapse. Now it is nominally governed as a bailwick of the Jadean Union, with a Lord Seneschal as its governor. Rule of law has largely collapsed and the peoples of the Corsair Coast have largely gained autonomy. For this reason, the Corsair Coast has become a den of thieves and earned its reputation as a lawless frontier backwater.
Ira Zaii is a Cimarron by birth, an independent society of descendants of slaves which worked the Mhytyrdese sugar plantations of the the interior. Ira grew up deep in the jungles of the interior in this free-wheeling society of warriors. He made his away to the Corsair Cities as a lad, where he contracted on a crew of a privateer merchant ship which was often contracted to work in the shipping lanes around the Shaklebreak Isles.
The commodore who owned and operated the fleet of privateer merchant ships, Fi Zett, soon recognized his talent and gave him command of his own privateer merchant vessel.
Ira gained a reputation as a charismatic captain, fiercely loved by his crew (which he personally recruited), a shrewd businessman and a feared privateer. He eventually earned enough to buy out his stake in the privateer fleet of Commodore Fi Zett. He used the proceeds to buy his privateer merchant vessel and sailed southeast to seek work in new lands with the Alamastran Empire and the Amyran Federation. His port of operation for a time was the Alamastran port of Ides. He named his vessel the Grand Duchess in honor of his lover, the Grand Duchess of Ides. Hinting at the colorful adventures which eventually resulted in his exile from the Crown of Ides. After a decade working as a privateer in the Lower Jaddess, he returned the Corsair Coast to outfit a new ship and pay his last remaining creditors with his vast fortune. His new ship, he named the Burning Duchess in honor of his former lover - again hinting at his colorful adventures during this time. He also renamed the Grand Duchess, the Weary Heart. During this time on the Corsair Coast, he reconnected with Commodore Fi Zett who approach him about joining a syndicate of privateers forming to rooted out the pirates of the port of Turquoise. Ira, now a Commodore in his own right, declined after being approached with a lucrative contract from various commercial interests of the Amyran Federation. His fleet was to be hired to transport highly sensitive magical objects northbound from the Amyran Federation to the city of Lume on the Jaddess Coast.
He ran afoul with Commodore Fi Zett after a run on the high seas with the infamous corsair, Dread Fon Fora and his fearsome warship, the Gaunt. He encountered the Gaunt fleeing a squadron of Sea People. The Gaunt was creeping along, weighed down by booty from its raid on a Sea People flotilla and taking on water from the resulting battle
Ira hailed the Gaunt and drew up along side it as it made its last stand against its pursuers. He made a deal with the Dread Fon Fora, to half his booty to fight off the Sea People squadron. Ira over the years had outfitted his vessel at great cost with the areomantic and pyromantic weaponry of the Sea People. He needed the the windfall of Fon Fora's treasure to pay off his new creditors in the city of Ides.
The Gaunt, the Burning Duchess and the Weary Heart put the Sea People to flight. Then Ira ordered his crew to prepare to board the Gaunt as it appeared to be preparing to flee again. The privateers boarded the Gaunt and even took the Dread Fon Fora himself captive after a blood skirmish on the deck. The Dread Fon Fora offered to throw open his entire hold as a ransom payment for the release of his person, crew and ship.
Iran accepted the terms and took the Dread Fon Fora's full treasure haul into his possession as penalty for attempting to renege on their bargain. However, he turned the Gaunt free to go its way - violation of the terms of his privateer license issued by the Brotherhood of Corsairs. This effectively barred him from safe harbor in any ports of the Corsair Coast by revoking his status as a privateer....now he would be known with contempt as a pirate, just as the Dread Fon Fora.
He immediately sailed to the Amyran Federation to pay off his Idean creditors and to begin his new contract in magical freight.