As an engineer I have traveled the whole of Atys and studied the Homin choices of architectural solutions adapted to their environment. And I find Hominkind admirably clever. In my studying days, we learned how to create foundations for typical Zoraï buildings. A lot of thought goes into creating sturdy foundations as the structures we love to build are heavy, and furthermore we like to apply the ground’s inherent ability to bear their weight. This is not always easy to predict, and often the plans need to be adjusted as we dig the building site. But enough boring talk about the Zoraï delving into the ground; let’s have a look at what the Trykers face with regards to challenges!
The Trykers love to build stilted buildings just off the shore and connected with walkways. This requires sturdy pile foundations below the main buildings and it is rumored the Trykers have come up with a secret way of treating the piles to prevent them from rotting in the water. My good friend, Pealiam Parman, a well renowned Tryker engineer, has been so kind as to offer up the story behind this phenomenon.
It goes a long way back in history when a clever Tryker noticed some dead trunks of a certain type of palm standing on an islet that been flooded as the water rose in the small pond it was situated in. This came about because a waterfall feeding the pond took a different course and doubled the water flow. This little pond quickly became a favourite for Tryker kids to play, and the palms served as climbing frames, diving spots and various props in whatever games the tryker kids played.
Time passed; the children grew, and had their own small ones, and so on and so forth, but the palms never became rotten. An enterprising soul called Keety Jiler one day decided to get to the bottom of this mystery from his childhood. It turned out to become his lifelong pursuit and obsession. Firstly he studied the palm type and compared with other types of palms, but this track did not lead anywhere. However, taking samples of the trunks could indicate they were slightly different to the ones of the same sort growing in nearby dry places. To be able to detect the difference with certainty, he had to develop some laboratory procedures that are still the secret of the tryker engineers.
Whenever he traveled in Trykoth, he tried to sample as many palm trees as he could lay hands on, but it was not an easy task, and often at the risk of his life. His search were finally crowned with success after an especially daunting expedition, where he managed to take a sample of a palm growing near a lake in the middle of an island. He died in the effort, killed by a menacing Kirosta and was rescued by faithful friends.
In his laboratory he found similarities in the wood structure and he realized that he had finally taken a step further in the solution of this puzzle. But what could cause this change to occur in a very few palms? The answer he decided must surely lie in the ground; and the next step would have to involve some digging. That said, he set out for the little pond equipped with a sturdy pick.
The water around the palms was deep enough to prevent him from standing on the bottom. In the end he was forced to dive, dig a little, get some air, and dive down again. But after what seemed like an eternity and a lot of huffing and snorting he managed to get a little sample of red hot sap. Triumphantly he returned to his laboratory and starting planning an expedition back to the island to check out the ground around the palm tree he had sampled.
It took weeks to get the expedition together and he was fuming with impatience, but it took a lot of work to gather supplies, equipment and friends that could accompany him. In the end they managed to reach the spot he was aching to examine, and while his friends kept watch and cleared any Kitins and Torbaks getting too close, he dug and to his immense delight found some red hot sap!
The rest is history as they say, to this day the palms with this ability is very scarce. Experiments have been carried out planting more palms, but nature has its ways and refuse to grow many of them. They are used only below the most precious buildings and show a remarkable resistance against rotting. To this day tryker engineers send warm thoughts to Keety Jiler and his lifelong pursuit of the secret of the palm trees in his childhood playground.
— as told by Guni To-Sa, a Zoraï engineer