Kennit Ludluck is a pirate captain who desires to become King of the Pirate Isles by capturing a liveship.
The pirate Igrot raided the Key Island settlement and killed or enslaved most of its inhabitants. Igrot tortured Kennit's father to death, cut out his mother's tongue and abandoned her on Key Island, and took Kennit prisoner on the Paragon.
Kennit suffered severe physical and sexual abuse at Igrot's hands, to the point that he twice died on Paragon's decks and had to be revived by the ship. Kennit was also forced to blind Paragon with a hatchet. Eventually, Kennit gave Paragon the memories of the trauma he had experienced. As a result, Kennit developed an all-consuming desire for revenge on Igrot.
Kennit mixed a chunk of wizardwood from Paragon's mauled face into the crew's dinner, poisoning them. He then killed the crew and beat Igrot to death belowdecks. To bury the deed and his trauma forever, Kennit convinced Paragon to agree to kill himself by sinking.
As an adult, Kennit embarked on a successful career of piracy. He took captaincy of the ship Marietta, with the intelligent but uneducated Sorcor as first mate. He also became a regular customer of the prostitute Etta in Divvytown.
Kennit is tall and handsome, with black hair and pale blue eyes. He has a beard and mustache, which he keeps impeccably groomed with lemon oil. On one of his wrists he wears a small wizardwood charm which bears his face. In Ship of Magic, he loses a leg, which he later compensates for with a pegleg and a crutch.
Kennit is markedly cold and calculating, dismissive of emotions, and indifferent to others' suffering. This is a result of the frequent physical and sexual abuse he endured throughout his childhood. After Kennit confessed suicidal thoughts to the Paragon, the ship accepted the memories and emotions of Kennit's trauma. This enabled Kennit to survive, but left him lacking in empathy and with single-minded focus on his goals. One of these goals is that his own accomplishments far overshadow Igrot's, thereby erasing Igrot's existence from the collective memory of the world.
Kennit visits Other's Island, seeking a prophecy that tells him he will become King of the Pirate Isles as he desires. However, his soothsaying does not go as planned: he is unsettled by the tone of the prophecy he receives, and is accused of stealing treasure from the island. He manages to thwart the island's attempt to ensnare him with the help of his wizardwood charm, and escapes with a single ruby earring in his pocket, which he later gives to Etta.
Kennit approaches Sorcor with his idea of becoming a king, but it is poorly received. Sorcor later expresses interest in supporting Kennit's dream of controlling passage through the Pirate Isles, but insists that Kennit also take steps to dismantle the slave trade. They reach an agreement: for every liveship Kennit attempts to capture, the Marietta will capture one slaver and free its human cargo.
Kennit repeatedly attempts to chase down the liveships he encounters, but is foiled by their speed each time. At the same time, the slavers he frees win him much acclaim throughout the Pirate Isles. Not all are happy with Kennit's rise to power, however, as he finds when he thwarts an assassination attempt in the Divvytown brothel where Etta works. He removes Etta from the brothel and takes her aboard the Marietta.
While the crew of the Marietta attempt to capture the slaver Sicerna, a sea serpent engages the ships. In the ensuing chaos, Kennit's leg is bitten by the serpent, and Etta cuts it off before he can be devoured.
Etta supplies Kennit with a plan to capture a liveship by herding it into a dangerous passage. They attempt the plan on the next liveship they encounter, the Vivacia. Due to a storm and the slave revolt aboard the Vivacia, the plan is not executed properly, but the newly free slaves put up a truce flag, which enables Kennit to take control of the ship. Kennit, whose wound has become infected, informs Wintrow Vestrit that he will spare the lives of Wintrow and his father only if Wintrow successfully amputates his leg.
Wintrow successfully amputates Kennit's leg, but Kennit dies shortly after the operation, and Wintrow and Vivacia work together to revive him. During the revival, Kennit's and Wintrow's memories briefly blend together.
After he recovers, Kennit sails Vivacia to Key Island, where he greets his mother and abandons Kyle Haven and the former slaves Dedge, Saylah, and Ankle. He attempts to abandon the priest Sa'Adar as well, but when the man proves reluctant, Kennit allows him back in the ship's gig. On their way back to Vivacia, Kennit pushes Sa'Adar out of the gig and leaves him to drown.
Kennit encourages Vivacia to develop an enthusiasm for piracy and challenges Wintrow's distaste and moral outrage. He cultivates competition for his attention between Etta and Vivacia. He also attempts to cultivate a sexual relationship between Etta and Wintrow, intending that Etta bear a Vestrit child that Kennit can use to control Vivacia; the two become friendly instead, with Etta educating Wintrow in knife-fighting instead of sex.
Kennit sails to Divvytown, but discovers that the port has been raided and burned, and that its citizens blame him for exposing them to such dangers. Kennit's attempts to placate them fail, and several members of the crowd move to attack him. To Kennit's surprise, both Etta and Wintrow spring to defend him. After fending off the attack, Wintrow speaks to the crowd, praising Kennit's actions and urging the remaining residents to restore Divvytown to Kennit's vision of the city. Kennit is amazed by Wintrow's effect on the crowd and is moved to believe the boy is his personal prophet.
Kennit brings Wintrow and Etta to Other's Island. There, Wintrow discovers She Who Remembers and frees her from her imprisonment, becoming gravely injured in the process. Kennit and Etta struggle to reach the Vivacia with Wintrow, and Kennit appears to perform a miracle when She Who Remembers assists them in returning to the ship.
In the wake of his supposed miracle, Kennit considers how to control his crew's impressions of him. When the memories Wintrow obtained from She Who Remembers are shared with the Vivacia, the ship's dragon persona Bolt emerges, subsuming Vivacia herself. Kennit is initially dismayed at the apparent loss of his liveship, and struggles to adjust to dealing with a dragon. Bolt assists Kennit in performing a healing on Wintrow, which further augments his crew's amazement at his apparent supernatural abilities. He asks Bolt to convince the other serpents to serve him, and Bolt conditionally agrees. With the serpents, Kennit's piracy reaches new heights.
Kennit is stunned when the refitted Paragon, captained by Brashen Trell, attempts to capture the Vivacia, as Kennit had believed Paragon gone forever. The serpents assist Kennit in thwarting the attack, and Kennit goes aboard Paragon. Paragon is upset by Kennit's bond with Vivacia and Bolt, but Kennit convinces him that they two are still as close as in Kennit's childhood. With his love renewed, Paragon agrees to die again for Kennit. Kennit locks Paragon's crew belowdecks and sets the ship on fire, satisfied that his past is finally gone. However, he notices Althea Vestrit and Jek struggling in the water, and he has them brought aboard against the advice of his charm.
Kennit separates the women and houses Althea in Wintrow's room, drugging her food with soporifics to keep her complacent and prevent her from reawakening Vivacia. He is fascinated by her resemblance to Wintrow, and eventually rapes her, trusting to the drugs to blot her memory of the event. Kennit feels a strong sense of relief from raping Althea, believing he has finally put the memories of his own abuse to rest. His charm ominously declares that Kennit has instead become exactly like his abuser.
Kennit fantasizes about repeating the act, but to his dismay, Althea retains her memories of his assault and announces his deed to the crew and the ship. Kennit discredits Althea's accusations to the crew's satisfaction, but Wintrow, Etta, and Bolt are doubtful of his account. He sends Etta to the Marietta, again against the advice of his charm, and prevents Wintrow from spending time alone with Althea.
Kennit meets the crew of the Motley, who arrive bearing the Satrap Cosgo for him, as well as Malta Vestrit. The Satrap is ostensibly there to negotiate the terms of Kennit's position as King of the Pirate Isles, but is little more than a hostage to Kennit's demands. Kennit is amused by extracting the terms he wants from the Satrap.
Kennit's entertainment is interrupted by Jamaillian ships, who surprise him by beginning an attack. Kennit and the Satrap both end up on a Jamaillian ship. Kennit briefly seizes on the Satrap's importance as the key to his own survival, but when Vivacia's crew boards the Jamaillian ship, Kennit is twice run through by a crew member's sword. Etta and Wintrow carry him to Vivacia's foredeck. Kennit's charm asks Etta to name her unborn child Paragon, and to be taken from Kennit's wrist. Vivacia then passes Kennit to Paragon, and Kennit dies in Paragon's hands, whole once more within the ship.
When Kennit takes over the Vivacia, he steps into the role of protector and mentor to Wintrow. He enjoys watching Wintrow's viewpoint change as he is exposed to Kennit's lifestyle and ideas. It is stated that Wintrow reminds Kennit of himself as a boy.
Kennit has ambiguous sexual feelings towards Wintrow. He finds Wintrow attractive, but never acts on his thoughts. It is unclear whether Kennit desires Wintrow only because he is reminded of his younger self, who experienced repeated rape at the hands of an older pirate, or as a person in his own right. When Kennit meets Althea Vestrit, he is extremely aroused by her resemblance to Wintrow.
Kennit appears to be sexually interested in Etta, but does not show concern for her beyond the extent to which her well-being affects his image and standing among the crew. In contrast, Etta is entirely devoted to him, which both pleases and irritates Kennit by turns. He regularly manipulates Etta's emotions and pits her against Vivacia as rivals for his affection. Kennit is distressed when Etta reveals that she is pregnant by him, as he is convinced that his childhood will repeat itself in his own abuse of his son.
Kennit forms a close working relationship with Sorcor, eventually coming to respect the man. However, Kennit often briefly suspects Sorcor of plotting against him, and does not shirk from the idea of killing him.