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The Uukaptai

"The sword cares not for the intentions of the hand which grasps it; it revels only in the keenness of its edge."

From The Art of
Becoming the Sword.

 The Uukaptai are an elite military order who answer directly to the Denayi Circle. Save for a few special cases such as assassins or spies, the entire corps of Uukaptai soldiery benefit from Enhancement: a magical infusion of energy that renders them stronger, tougher, and more resilient than any purely human fighter. In addition, the Uukaptai receive the best training and equipment available. The result is soldiers without peer, the instrument with which the Circle enforces its will upon often recalcitrant subject nations.

The Denayi Uukaptai are only one branch of an ancient tradition stretching back to the legendary days of the fall of the Katashi Empire. That nation had employed Enhanced soldiers, and the practice was continued by its successor kingdoms in the centuries of warfare that followed its collapse. Yet, according to the orderís own sacred texts, it was the Enhanced monk Hirnata who first laid down a coherent philosophy on how to raise, train, and employ Enhanced soldiery in a way that would guarantee their loyalty to the ruling Circle. Under the patronage of the Kings of Ruh, Hirnata founded the first true Uukapatai monastery, becoming known as the First Akka, and wrote the seminal works of philosophy including his Art of War (often called The Uukpatai Art of War) and the Art of Becoming the Sword. Hirnata argued that the ideal Uukaptai (a Katashi word meaning Spiritually-Fortified Warrior) should pursue excellence in all martial endeavors, seeking fulfillment and spiritual purpose through the perfect exercise of his art. A sword, argued Hirnata, is judged excellent or deficient by its balance and edge, by its cutting, not by whom it cuts. So too, is an Uukaptai a tool whose excellence lies in his execution, not his aim, which is utterly directed by his masters. His philosophy found favor among many Circles, and Uukaptai teachings and monasteries spread quickly beyond the Kingdom of Ruh.

Study of these works continues by all Uukpatai today, and does much to preserve and spread the heritage of the Katashi language in which they were written.

The Denayi Uukaptai has several different combat branches.

The bulk of the Uukaptai serve in the Regulars. The Regular regiments are trained to fight conventional battles, either alone or in conjunction with unEnhanced forces. The Uukaptai Regulars utilize standard infantry tactics -- disciplined volley-firing soldiers supported by artillery and cavalry -- but their combat doctrine stresses the charge and close combat far more than unEnhanced armies do, for it is in hand-to-hand that the Ukaptaiís greater strength and resilience best come into play. For this reason, the Regulars also maintain a higher proportion of cavalry than do other armies.

The standard kit of an Uukaptai Regular infantryman includes a flintlock musket for ranged fire, and a sword for close combat. Use of the sword is not confined to officers alone, and many regulars carry trophy or heirloom swords of irregular design that suit their personal combat style. The Regular uniform is a deep purple with golden trim.

Sub-divisions of the Regulars exist for other combat environments, such as the Uukaptai Mountain Regiments, the Uukaptai Marines, and the Uukpatai Jungle and Winter Regiments, or specialize in unusual equipment, like the Uukaptai Rifles or Longbows. Their kit and uniform varies according to mission.

The Uukaptai Specials constitute the elite Uukaptai regiments. The Specials act as scouts, as commandos, and guerilla fighters. Specials must often act alone, and are trained to develop their initiate and independence. The Uukaptai masters work to bring out the individual marital excellence of each Special. The Specialís uniform is black with silver trim, and they may have any Enhancement, although Cloak of Shadows is virtually universal for Specials.

The Uukaptai draw recruits from all social classes and Worlds. With each Soul Tax, the Uukaptai takes its pick of the most athletic and hardy youths. The Uukaptai also draws volunteers from the sons of veterans, nobility, and the civil service. Whatever their origins, training for recruits begins in the early teens and lasts for several years. The Uukaptai Academies offer training to all. For those destined for positions as Regular enlisted soldiers, this consists primarily of weapon training and sword mastery, and lasts for three to four years. Potential officers and Specials receive tactical and linguistic training. Enhancements come slowly as trainees advance, and Uukaptai Cadets often serve long apprenticeships in the field.

The Uukaptai offers advancement to all promising candidates whatever their origins, but it is not truly class-blind. The sons of higher nobility who enter service are guaranteed officer rank, and most lower-class recruits do not rise above the rank of sergeant. Yet it is also true that the Uukaptai masters screen all pupils for signs of talent. Many commoners enter the specials and officer classes, and some sons of lowly soul-taxed peasants have risen to become Akkas. And to be even a common soldier in the Uukpatai is to have prestige, wealth, and deadly skill.

The standard term of service for an Uukaptai is twenty years of active duty. After five ten and fifteen years survival an Uukaptai often undergoes further Enhancement and transfer to a more prestigious assignment, such as NCO status, transfer to the cavalry, to a specialized regiment or the Specials. Most enlisted Regulars serve their tour of duty and then retire to a generous pension, often becoming local headmen or civil servants. Others elect to continue in some more specialized capacity, often becoming Specials or Officers. The Uukaptai can arrange for Enhancements to prolong the lives of its most promising soldiers, so fatal or crippling injury, rather than old age usually marks the end of the active service of a talented career soldier. The Uukaptai enlisted ranks include Sergeants and Sergeant Majors, but no corporals.

Officers typically serve the first years of their career in the Regulars, but rarely end there unless death or injury terminates their service. Officer Ranks are fewer in number than in modern designations. A Captain is any officer who leads a company of men, with one or more Lieutenants serving under him. A Colonial leads a battalion of men, with one or two Majors between him and his Captains, a General or Akka any larger unit. Most Officers serve as a lieutenant in the Regulars before undertaking the same rank in the Specials, and then rising to captaincy in the Regulars. Only the best gain a Captaincy in the Specials. Beyond the rank of Captain, there are Colonelcies and Generalships in the Regulars, and then the rank of Akka on the Uukaptai council, led by the Grand Akka.

Officers from the higher nobility often lapse early into semi-retirement, spending some years managing their estates before returning to their old posts periodically in times of need or crisis.

 

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