No one really knows how the long sliver of metal wound up in the hands of Baran the Shipwright. There’ve been many inquiries into the matter, many attempts to decipher the crazy code that he kept his final notes in. As of yet, there have been no satisfactory explanations.
What is known, however, is that as soon as he carved the place in the keel of the newly laid skeleton of what would prove to be his final creation, the rains started. Despite the soaking the finely seasoned wood absorbed, Baran took up his overseer’s lash, screaming and exhorting his men into continuing work. For five long years they labored, slowly driving the master shipwright’s business into bankruptcy, in both the fees for wood and waterproofing, and the price of funerals for the workers struck by the lightning.
As the last board was laid, Baran climed through the whipping wind to the Crow’s nest, where he took it upon himself to crow forth his triumph to the winds. Ironically, it was the winds who had the final triumph, a powerful gale sweeping him over the railing to his death on the main deck beneath. It was to be the last death upon the Winter’s Bounty in its making.
The Winter’s Bounty was purchased by a merchant of more superstition than sense from the grieving widow. A month of sacrifice to the storm later, he set sail with a great cargo of spice and silks, the full fury of the winds filling his sails. Ne’er before had a boat crossed the Great Western Sea with such alacrity - nor with such casualties. Fully half the crew was slain by the cold winter voyage, gaining the ship its name.
Holding the largest shard of Monsoon in its keel-board, the Winter’s Bounty is ‘blessed’ by the touch of the storm. Any waters that the Winter’s Bounty plies are always storm tossed, at least a perpetual light storm in its vicinity. Fierce winds claw frequently at the deck, forcing sailors and navigators to learn their trade to the utmost.
The howling storms however, have their benefits to join with the dangers. With winds rising from brisk to near gale force, the ship is capable of reaching incomprehensible speeds for a sailing ship, the vast power of the Shard keeping it from being torn apart. These storms frequently serve as the first line of defense against pirates: Few have the skill to sail near the Winter’s Bounty. More, at the will of whatever poor soul stands in the Crow’s Nest throughout, the storm can actually be directed to strike at other ships with vast sheets of hail, ice, and lightning! This individual, however, is faced with all the chaotic, stormy tendancies that the Shards of the Storm visit upon their users, in addition to having to survive the tearing, graspy wind that swirls about the crow’s nest: A far more difficult task than most sailors are capable of.