Greyhawk 4E: Cryllor
The pirates of the Azure Sea and Jeklea Bay were at their height at the same time that Keoland was at the peak of its power; while the King of Keoland looked north to conquests in Ket and Veluna, the Keoish navy was neglected.
Nearly unchallenged, these self-proclaimed “Princes of the Sea” sallied forth from coves and bases in the lands south of the Hool Marshes, claiming their choices of shipping across the whole of the Azure Sea from Gradsul to Onnwal.
After Keoland turned from imperialism to rebuilding, they once more looked to the Azure Sea, but by then even a rebuilt Keoish navy and its allies were unable to do more than slow the raiders, rather than wipe them from the seas. Still, after a few sharp naval actions, some of the wiser of the Sea Princes retired to estates they had carved out around the pirate towns that had formed in the no-man’s land they were operating from. They turned from piracy to trade, sending their ships south to the Amedio coastlines, where they took the treasures of the jungles north to the markets of the Flanaess. Over time, the Sea Princes went from pirates to merchants, and their mainland possessions had grown large, with plantations and mines sprouting up.
For nearly a century they were considered the preeminent sea power on the Azure Sea, with a small and efficient army and strong trade ties with Keoland, the Prince of Ulek, and lands beyond. The sole controversy that remains is their use of slaves—criminals, those captured at sea, and as well those bought in their trades with the barbarians of the Amedio jungle, prisoners from the wars between the tribes. The Yeomanry has protested the use of slaves by their southern neighbor most strongly, but this has not led to changes in their behavior yet.
It is said that Prince Jeon II of Monmurg, pre-eminent among the Sea Princes, would abolish the practice, but many of his fellow nobles – most notably the Prince of Toli, the Plar of Hool, and the Grandee of Westkeep, along with the Commodores of the Islands – stand fast against this threat to their economic livelihood. It is believed, judging by the fragmented and confused reports from refugees, that this was a contributing factor to the civil strife which currently wracks the Hold, but no one yet has been able to fully explain what has led several of the Princes to make war against their fellows.