Myths of the Sea: The Stormbrand Corsairs
Some believe that Maria van der Zee and her crew are the fanciful imagination of Besmara's faithful. That one of the Pirate Queen's heralds would come to them in their time of need would not be hard to imagine for these sailors, particularly in a stressful situation in which they might already be begging for her appearance due to the myth. Others suspect that she may be a skeletal apparition crossing over from the Ethereal Realm, visible only to those on the brink between life and death, her crew made up of souls clinging to some semblance of 'life'. In these tellings of the myth, she is said to sail to the storms from the River Styx, serving as one of Charon's thanadaemons. It must be noted that this telling has never been confirmed by any sailor miraculously spared by the Corsairs, and is largely popular in the inner regions of Valathe where religion rules many minds. Yet others suspect she is an aboleth abomination; an illusion created by the sea's true masters to capture the lives of those who pass above. The hideous creatures are in constant need of more slaves for their expansive undersea cities, but many who suggest this theory cannot place why an aboleth would let others be free. In truth, it is extremely likely that the Stormbrand Corsairs are the followers of Maria van der Zee, who is likely Besmara's champion. The myth has been around in various forms for the past few hundred years, easily within the lifespan of one mortal if gifted advanced life by her patron, and Besmara has notably been mysterious on the matter when consulted by the few clerics she has.