Log Entry 160620.182

Traeth began his tale with the words 'a thousand years ago', but like most legends, the date could not be told with any accuracy. It could just as easily have been a few hundred years or ten thousand years ago, so let's just say long, long ago instead.
Long, long ago, the Dirrians were no braver than they are now when it comes to the sea. For preference, they lived inland and the more affluent you were, the further inland you lived, much as it is today.
Farrell was born to a very poor family of farmers. So poor were they that their lands sat atop a cliff overlooking the sea. The views were both spectacular and frightening and as a young boy, Farrell would look out over the sea from the cliff tops and watch the animals that lived within it swarming below its surface and leaping above it from time to time. In the distance, like a big green pimple on the silky blue surface of the ocean sat the island of Tikarra. Remote and untouchable, Farrell often wondered about it. He would sit near the cliff's edge staring out to sea at it, wondering if people lived there and if so, what they were like.
Behind him their farmland stretched with their home on the horizon, but the land was as poor as the family. It wasn't particularly fertile and produced barely enough to feed the animals let alone the family, but for generations they had persisted, tending the crops and animals. They managed, but only just until deep in the middle of one winter's night, a great storm blew up. Storms were not uncommon but this one was particularly bad. The waves battered against the cliff face relentlessly for hour upon hour until finally, it gave way. With a mighty roar the land tore itself free and crashed into the sea, sinking below the waves, gone forever. Come morning, the extent of the devastation became clear. Farrell's family had lost nearly two-thirds of their farmland to the sea. How would they survive now?
Farrell, a young man by now, felt he had to help his family as best he could, but while his father, mother, brothers and sisters worked day and night trying to keep the family solvent by working the land and scavenging for extra food from the forests, Farrell turned to the sea. It was the sea that had stolen something from them, and it was the sea that should recompense them.
Farrell set about a project and determined to build a raft so that he might get closer to the animals that lived in the sea and catch them. He built it in secret, though, because he was as fearful of the sea as the next Dirrian, yet he had a strange desire to explore it. He had always felt its calling and now he had an excuse to adventure further than any other Dirrian ... as long as his courage held.
It took several months for Farrell to build his raft and several more to design a net to catch the fish, but when he came home one night with his first catch, his parents were both horrified and delighted. That night they dined on fish—probably the first Dirrians to ever eat fish and it was beautiful.
The next day, Farrell's mother took the rest of his catch into town and sold it making a handsome profit. Soon, word reached the palace of this new food and it wasn't long before Farrell was fishing for the High Emperor himself. Each day, Farrell would collect his nets and take his little raft out onto the ocean and fish. Each night, he would return home with his catch which his mother would then take and sell to the palace ... and so the days rolled on.
But Farrell was still a young man and it was a lonely existence on the sea. No other Dirrian, even his siblings, were prepared to venture out with him. The sea still held great terror for them so while Farrell's fear diminished each day with its familiarity, his boredom increased until finally, he declared that he was going to go to the island of Tikarra. His parents pleaded with him not to, but Farrell would hear none of it. In the end, all they could do was make him promise to light a signal fire when he arrived to let them know he had arrived safely, and a second one before he left.
The following morning on the beach, Farrell's parents said farewell to him, his mother sobbing softly and continuing her pleas but to no avail. Farrell set sail and they watched from the shoreline as their son sailed off towards the island of Tikarra. It was a beautiful, clear day and they could make out his little raft almost all of the way across until it was nothing more than a speck. An hour or so later, they saw the smoke from Farrell's signal fire rise into the sky and felt great relief ... but that was the last they ever heard or saw of Farrell. There never was a second signal fire.

Log Entry 160605.181

Rutter drove the boat up onto the island, beaching it on the sand. It wasn't quite as white and pristine as the one we had left. There was lots of debris strewn across it; twigs and leaves from the surrounding woodlands as well as the shells of molluscs and bits of seaweed. It was still incredibly beautiful though, just more relaxed and informal.
Al and I helped Traeth out of the boat and he darted from our hands up the beach to the nearest tree, which he threw his arms around, sinking onto the ground. He hung onto it for dear life, as though afraid that if he let go, the dry land would disappear from beneath him.
Rutter, Al and I got everything out of the boat and then I told Rutter that he could arrange for the Earhart to retrieve it.
"Ah! So we won't be sailing back then?"
"No way," I said quietly. "Traeth's done well to do it once. We'll beam him back to the mainland at the end of the expedition."
Rutter's brow furrowed.
"I think I'd rather leave it here, if you don't mind. Just in case ... You never know..."
I laughed. "If that's what you'd prefer to do, I don't have a problem with it."
It was getting quite late in the afternoon and, ideally, it would have been perfect to camp here on the flat sands of the beach, but I knew we should move inland if Traeth was going to regain enough of his senses to continue the journey. We collected our stuff together and mounted what we needed onto our backs and took Traeth's packs to him. He looked up at me pitifully, his face ashen.
"I am so sorry," he mumbled, tears forming in his eyes.
"Don't be daft, man!" I chastised. "You've just done something that no other Dirrian has done before you. You're a true adventurer among men."
"No," he said. "You don't understand," and he began to sob, dropping his head shamefully. I bent down to him and with my knuckles, gently pushed his head to look up at me.
"What don't I understand?"
The tears came hard and fast now.
"Come on, Traeth. You need to tell me. What don't I understand?"
"HE LIED!" he screamed hysterically, so loudly that we all pulled back a little. A few moments passed but it seemed Traeth wasn't going to volunteer anything more, so I asked.
"Who lied?"
In between broken sobs, he finally replied. "The High Emperor ... he lied."
Al, Rutter and I exchanged glances. We could see this was going to take a while, so we settled ourselves around Traeth, making ourselves comfortable, and then he confessed everything that he knew.