The Rising Storm
First word comes from Setarco. House Pravus' powerful fleet has been kept close to home as a precaution due to the troubles in the Isles, and Admiral Alrec is able to show why that decision was extremely wise. A full dozen longships, heavily armed and flying kraken banners, were seeing coming from the Saffron Chain and trying to sweep close to Setarco waters before Pravus' fleet intercepted them and destroyed them. It's a great victory, and wildly celebrated in Setarco, but there's a disquiet as Alrec discovers that many ships seemed to be nothing more than scouts trying to slip into Lycene waters.
Separately, Prince Victus led a party searching for answers to the crisis in the Isles and received a warning of some terrible coming towards Darkwater Watch, but without evidence of what that might be. It's not so long after that the first reports come.
Hundreds of longships and a number of dromonds sighted in the Saffron Chain, all flying a banner of a kraken, with at first many thinking the number must be wildly exaggerated. But more and more report it, a vast fleet slowly inching its way with glacial slowness towards Lycene waters. That would be cause enough for alarm, but at the same time, reports come from the north near the far ice flows past the furthest most Isles holdings. An equally massive force of hundreds of ships is sailing towards Stormwall, the domain of House Crovane and the one port belonging to the houses sworn to House Redrain. And then finally come the reports to Prince Victus himself, giving word that a third force, just as massive with hundreds of ships has drifted clear of the Darkwater Deeps and headed directly towards Darkwater Watch.
Word is only just reaching Arx when a single galley with kraken sails drifts into the Bay of Thrax towards Arx, and the Iron Guard ships move to intercept. The ship is adrift, and it is rapidly seen why- every member of the crew has been flayed and crucified on the deck, with a single parchment addressed to, "To the pretenders of 'the Compact'." It reads:
"The Isles are mine by rights. Return my kin to me, and your holdings will not be destroyed. My fleet, Maelstrom's End, comes to claim what is mine. Resist me, and the weak shall perish."