The Verdant Empire’s end was a slow collapse, and the Inner Sea was the place it was felt the most. Beginning in the Fifth Age, the hinterlands were gradually abandoned by Imperial troops because the expense of garrisoning them was too great, and those troops that could be spared were generally of low quality, useless for anything other than holding static fortifications against lightly-armed raiders.

With more and more of the countryside left to its own devices, the Inner Sea soon became the lifeline between the Imperial heartland and those cities that were too large and too wealthy to give up. Ferries running up and down the great rivers and through the Inland Sea were the lifeline between cities like Iskandria and the heartland. Carrying food, materials, troops, and passengers, these ships were often decades old and ramshackle, with many additions and modifications that made them less than seaworthy.

With few skilled shipwrights left, and those that remained busy with naval ships to fuel the ambitions of power-hungry Imperial governors, the ferries were left to their own devices, and they frequently ran aground, capsized, and even sank.

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