The goblin pirates of the North Sea are a pernicious plague to enterprising merchants. Of course, they are no threat to the great shipping houses and the wealthier kingdoms, who can afford the most powerful of ships, and so they continue to pillage unabated. Why would those who have the power to stop them do so if it brings them no profits? Indeed, why would they do so when it could harm them in the end, allowing upstarts a chance to take the field, and perhaps even show them up?
But there is still a cost. For these goblin pirates worship dark gods and parley with demons, and all such masters have voracious appetites that must be served. They seek purchase in the lands of the living, and they achieve it through the bodies of the dead. Immense, demonic leviathans lurk beneath the briny waves, churning up the ocean floor in anger at the vapid world of men. They reach out to those who drown in their waters, thrown overboard by thieving pirates. They inject these corpses with new life, filling them with tainted coral bones and molluscular musculatures, then return them to the surface.
These coral men—as survivors call them — wash up on beaches along the coast, in search of the living. It takes a keen eye to spot the exoskeletal architecture of their coral-encrusted humps poking above the water, but once emerged, they are hard to miss. On the island of Inkstvarr, fishermen are especially wary of anything floating on the water — it could be the dead
come back to haunt the living!