* * * * *The High Emperor was not pleased at the loss of his fisherman—the only fisherman on the whole of Dirria, so he made a very dramatic decision. He ordered the captain of the Imperial Guard to build a raft to take twenty men to Tikarra Island.
You'd have thought it would have been simpler to just order some of his servants to go fishing instead but (ignoring the ingrained fear of the sea that all Dirrians harboured) no one other than Farrell knew how to fish. So it was that the captain of the Imperial Guard recruited a band of carpenters to build the raft and twenty unlucky souls to man it.
Progress was incredibly slow. You have to remember that Dirria had no maritime history at all. Rafts, sails and oars had to be designed completely from scratch—and tested in water. Neither the carpenters nor the sailors were happy and over the following months, an unprecedented number of foot injuries were recorded.
Highly skilled carpenters became unusually clumsy, dropping hammers on sandaled feet and managing to drive nails through toes. It was a voyage of discovery in so many ways, because no one knew how to swim either. No one had even considered the possibility of swimming, so basic life jackets had to be designed to help keep a newfound sailor afloat should he fall overboard.
The project could so easily have been thwarted but over time, those carpenters and unlucky sailors became heroes. Considered especially brave for working so close to the water, they became revered and were treated as honoured guests wherever they went. Ladies buzzed around them like bees around honey, and their families were held in high regard simply by their association.
The accident rate dropped, but progress didn't go any faster as no one felt inclined to kill the golden goose. The carpenters dragged out the work to make the most of it, and the sailors stretched out their training in shallow water as long as they could, to delay the fateful day when they would have to go out of their depth and sail across the sea.
It was nearly a year but finally, they were prepared for the voyage. The raft was made, the training had been completed and they were ready to sail.
A great celebration was held on the beach to bid the brave crew farewell and bon voyage. The Emperor was there and his kitchens laid on an exquisite banquet on the beach with the crew and their families as VIP guests. At midday, the raft was launched and the crew set sail for Tikarra Island among a sea of tears and joy. A little under five hours later a signal beacon was lit indicating their safe arrival and then ... nothing more was ever heard of them again.