From the introduction:
Untold ages ago, the evil elemental lord of water, Kelizandri, conspired with the villainous lords of air, earth, and fire to defeat his rival, Lysianassa, the good elemental lord of water. After a great battle, Kelizandri imprisoned Lysianassa inside a gem called the Gasping Pearl and scattered her servitors throughout the multiverse. Foreseeing her downfall, Lysianassa used the last of her strength to breathe into an enchanted decanter. She then entrusted this artifact to her most powerful servant, a colossal nautilus named Riam the Unyielding. The decanter came to be called The Breath of Lysianassa, for wielding it granted dominion over the currents and tides of the Plane of Water. Riam fled with the artifact, hoping to govern the seas in Lysianassa’s absence.