Full Item Description
It looks like a large, thick sewing needle, of the type used by sailmakers. It’s perhaps four inches long, and an eigth of an inch thick. It has a large eye at one end.
Jom was a half-wit sailmaker’s son. Though he was nearing thirty, he still thought and acted as a child of seven. He was aimiable enough that people didn’t mind him, and big enough that the local louts had learned to let him be. He was also given to wandering around the tiny port town, and picking up whatever caught his eye. His father was just as glad to have him out of the way, for he had long since given up the idea of his only son taking over the business.
It was on one of his daily rambles that Jom found the large metal splinter. It was partially embedded in a piece of driftwood that had washed up after a particularly violent storm. Jom found it sufficiently intriguing and shiny to dig it out, and bring it home with him.
As it happened, that very day, Jom’s father had broken the large needle he used in his work. This did not please him, because getting a new one would set him back three days. Normally, he would have paid no attention to what Jom brought back with him, dismissing it as some useless trash. But the large metal splinter was the right size and shape to be a needle, and even had a point in one end. All that remained was boring a hole for the eye, which took the local blacksmith approximately ten minutes. Jom’s father was so pleased that he bought his son a candy apple (a treat Jom dearly loved, but seldom was able to get).
The sailmaker finished the sails he had been working on faster than any other he had ever made, and he made a handsome profit on them. The sails were duly sent to the shipyard, where they were used in the trading galley Fairwind.
The galley set out to sea with a full cargo, and for a day, seemed to be making good time. Then, two days out of port, a raging storm blew up out of nowhere. The Fairwind weathered it for three days before capsizing. It sank, with all hands. The storm cleared up soon after, and the wreckage was found floating near where the ship had gone down. There wasn’t much of her left, just a few shattered spars and the sails. Oddly, for such a bad storm, the sails were perfectly intact. Closer examination revealed that the rigging had given, but the canvas sails had not. In fact, with new rigging, they could be used again.
Word of the sailmaker’s achievement spread quickly, and he soon found he had more commissions than he could fill. Though pleased, he hasn’t the faintest idea why his sails are suddenly of such good quality…
The Sailmaker’s Needle is closely tied to the powers of the storm, and passes some of these traits to things worked with it. Any sail made with the needle will never be destroyed in a storm, no matter how violently the winds might rage. However, this benefit does not extend to the rest of the ship, and if the storm gets bad enough, the ship will disintegrate normally, except for the sails.
All of that is all well and good, except for a minor drawback. The Sailmaker’s Needle is a shard of the essence of the storm, and like calls to like. Storms of varying severity are attracted to anything the Needle is used on. This can cause numerous effects, including being blown off course or being blown along at accelerated speed. A ship with sails made by the Needle might weather countless storms, but sooner or later, there’s going to come a storm that the ship can’t handle. Unless magically reinforced or made of sterner stuff than most ships, any ship with sails created with this needle will eventually sink in a storm.
This could eventually lead to tales of cursed ships, or, depending on the rumors, cursed sails.
This is one of the Shards of the Storm.