The Newarks are a familiar and influential family in the Commonwealth of New England
In the Time of Dying Stars, countless children warped by the black rain were slain after birth as monsters and hellspawn. A special one lived, to her dismay.
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.