The Wreck of the Winand L'if
The Winand L'if was the flagship of the Tin Shield Alliance's navy, a large carrack which patrolled the waters of Lake Salamis and protected the shores and ports of Salamis. Equipped with four masts, three decks, and multiple stations for siege weaponry and magic users to fire from, the Winand L'if was the most intimidating vessel of the day. Her crew numbered variably from 200 souls during times of low conflict to 400 during periods of open war, and turned the tide in many naval conflicts including the Battle of the Crown Straits, the Shield's Folly, the Battle of Middleham, and the Straits of Cojucht, and aided in significant land battles including the Hay Penny Skirmish and the Siege of the Wineland Ruins. The Winand L'if construction predated the Tin Shield Alliance, originally built by the last Imperial commander of Salamis and commandeered by Chieftain Solyse. The Winand L'if wrecked shortly before the coming of the reign of the Empyrean Hold. Many have speculated that without the presence of the Winand L'if the Tin Shield's navy was vastly weakened and was easily swept aside by the naval might of the Empyrean Hold. Beyond this, the history of the Winand L'if is so wrapped up in the legend of the Winand L'if little more can be stated with confidence. In fact, many claim the Winand L'if did not wreck at all and was rather destroyed. As one can hear of the exploits of Captain Kollick and the crew of the Winand L'if in most any waterfront port, we will only delve deeper into the legend of the wreck here. Official records indicate that the Winand L'if ran afoul of the shoals in the Crown Straits, driven from their normal patrol route by tempestuous storms on the lake in the dead of night. No survivors were found following the wreck, and little of the ship remained to be found let alone salvaged. However, competing accounts of the night have trickled across the realm from folk who claimed to have seen the event. According to these accounts the Winand L'if was caught in a storm but was not thrown off course by the weather. Instead, these eyewitnesses claim that a monstrous serpent attacked the Winand L'if and ultimately sank her. Some accounts hold that the serpent remained in the water, others allege the serpent took to the air around the ship, but all maintain that the serpent utterly destroyed the Winand L'if. As such, what wreckage was found is said to be all that remained after the monstrous assault rather than being all that surfaced following the ship's sinking. There is some merit to various aspects of these claims, but on the whole the story of a monstrous serpent has been dismissed by the majority of scholars and chroniclers. The official record cannot account for how a seasoned crew sailing under a veteran captain in familiar waters would have mistaken their location and crashed, but the storm in the area likely threw off their navigation capabilities. Further, though the lack of survivors is peculiar given the shallow nature of the water where the remains of the Winand L'if were found it does not mean that the crew didn't abandon ship before the actual wreck. And most sailors agree that serpents of the size alleged by eyewitnesses typically remain in the seas surrounding Tentandia, though some have journeyed into Lake Salamis in the past. No matter what perspective one takes on the Wreck of the Winand L'if, the event is regarded by all as a tragedy.