I was writing this up for submission to the society section, when I realized I had not a clue what they did now. Here is the somewhat incomplete article.
A strange double hulled craft bumps the dock at Port Grensard, with a man dressed in somewhat tattered grey hanging from the rigging. He throws a light line to a dockhand, and runs out a gangplank. Oddly, he does not disembark, but merely begins puttering about on the deck of the catamaran and setting up a rack hanging with strange herbs and spices. He looks like he expects his customers to come to him.
Long ago, a few of the race of man decided that, far more important than the continual squabbles and fights of their fellows, was seeing the other side of that hill over there. Some of them went into the mountains, but that is another story. This story concerns those who came to the sea, stopped, and then continued onward.
Legend speaks of one of their number deciding that the sea must be conquered, and, having seen small boats and rafts in use in the small pond near his hometown, decided to do better. He went on to invent the first ship. This legend is almost certainly not true. However, it is almost certain that this man, remembered in song as Eldagan, the builder of Elda, invented the concept of multiple masts. The first ship was an enormous craft, which some claim still floats in the balmy equatorial regions, with nine masts. The poets claim that it took five thousand great oaks and fifty years to craft the ship, but this cannot be confirmed. If, however, the dimensions were anything similar to the larger ships used by the Seafarers today, it is entirely possible that with primitive tools and techniques it could have taken that much wood and time to construct Elda, an ancient Farahi word meaning turtle. When she was finished, Elda was taken laboriously to sea, with the first Seafarers and their families on board. Nine hundred men and women and children set out on that great craft, leaving fully five thousand on the beach. Those who remained on the beach founded the town of Rhiad, but, again, that is another story. The Seafarers were not seen again for many centuries.
It was within the last hundred years that the Seafarers reappeared. Although their disappearance was virtually undocumented, their reappearance was very well documented indeed. The legend of their existence had been around for millenia, and there was always a ship's captain in any dockside tavern who, for the price of a jack of grog, would tell you of his sighting of a great ship with many masts far to the south or of men and women walking on the surface of foggy water, but when the first quad-hull sailed up to the docks in Halvaridon, questions immediately began to surface.
The woman who piloted it gave no answers, however. She simply came ashore and asked where she could hire a large ship. An enterprising, although curious, captain named Gath of the Brissinti cog Oliya's Lament quickly agreed to follow her out to where she was insisting she needed someone to come. Less than a day out from Halvaridon, the woman, whose name is not known, sailed around the point of a nearby island and disappeared. When Gath followed her around that point, his breath was taken away by the sheer immensity of what he saw. An enormous catamaran sat at anchor in a very deep bay, her twin hulls holding the bottom of her deck a full yard above his jib boom.
When brought on board, he discovered that the masters of this ship called themselves Seafarers and required certain supplies. They then brought out gifts for the captain, nearly stunning him with the potential for profit inherent in their offer. When he brought them the things they required some few weeks later, they paid him handsomely and disappeared. Of course, the word of a real encounter with the Seafarers spread quickly, and now it is not uncommon to see one of their personal boats at a dock or quay in some small harbor, although it is still rare that they venture near large cities such as Halvaridon. They are known to allow outcasts to join them, and the rare herbs and unguents they bring from unknown lands command princely prices. They are consummate storytellers, although it is rare that they ever venture from their crafts. To this date, however, Gath's sighting of the huge catamaran is the only confirmed sighting of an actual Seafarer ship.
Any ideas for how they fit into a world?