The Scent of Blood and Salt
The Pirate-Lords were the rulers of the Ho-Kai-Ren before the Realm came. Each commanded a fleet of city-ships and war-ships, and raided traders and neighbouring islands for slaves and wealth.
Every Ho-Kai-Ren was guaranteed the protection of a pirate-lord and his fleet, and lived stable lives under the care of their adopted ship-gods.
When the Realm came, however, the Pirate-Lords lost the ability to protect their charges, and descended into barbarism. More thugs than nobles now, they steal from the people they once protected, and backstab and connive for their own gain.
Now, with the Realm close to being thrown from the isles entirely, the Pirate-Lords are returning to action, and the land-born will learn to fear the tides once again.