Fifty such ships arrived in the islands 6 months ago and were barely defeated by a combined fleet from Maui and the Big Island. But the oracles and refugees all say this is just a scouting party. Most of the great kings think the islands must unify, but they all have differing opinions about who should lead.
Oahu is lead by the incompetent and decadent king Elani. But Oahu is wealthy, and heavily populated and despite its weak ruler, crumbling economy and disorganized army is considered the heart of the islands.
Pi'lani is the current Mo'i of a unified Maui and Moloka'i. Highly respected as a skilled administrator with great acumen he is credited with the completion of the highway around the island as well the great temple. Maui is currently well organized and wealthy, but also extremely rigid in its religious views resulting in much resentment among the oppressed menehune. Other kings sneer at Pi'lani as untrained in the art of war as the inhuman denizens of Lanai still harass his shores.
Kamehameha is the new king of a unified Hawaii. He personally crushed the rival chiefs in battle and sailed the combined fleets out to meet the foreign threat. His kingdom is new and untested, and despite his personal strength he is not considered a serious contender for unification. He has been eyeing the great drifting hulk of nine masts that drifted into the water. The ghosts that are seen haunting it at night do not frighten him, for he wants the magic it displayed when it first limped into the islands.
Kaumuali'i is the King of Kaua'i and also claims suzerainty over the feuding chiefs of Ni'hau. The far islands are considered somewhat 'different' from other Hawaiians due to their accent and Kaumuali'i aims to keep it that way, calling the foreign threat no concern of his people. He has rallied some of the isolated north western isles into an alliance against any attempt to "unify" them into a greater Hawaii. He has even been rumoured to be in talks with the dreaded Elves who tried to conquer the islands a thousand years ago. Their floral banners have been seen on his island.
The Empire of Tongo has sent emissaries to the courts of all of the major kings and is keenly interested in the events unfolding. The instability on the island and the increased trade has seen an erosion to the feudal system to include more of a monetary economy and more class mobility than usual. Golden coins of Elven or even stranger origins are now in circulation, traded for a dozen engraved pearls each. The more mundane transactions involve simple polished stones of vivid colours, twenty to a pearl. And this is where the adventurers come in, enterprising low caste individuals with nothing but the shirts on their backs looking to become landed nobility or respected kahunas but probably winding up dead.