Jacopo was a known shyster and fraud, a huckster who made his living selling empty promises and publishing outright false or merely poorly researched information. He hit on the idea for a Duat colony after hearing about the Jacobi Expedition, which he essentially copied without any of the research or preparation. The plan was nearly identical: colonists would descend in waves to a point deep within the Duat, build subterranean farms, and mine precious metals. A mapped route from the surface to the colony would provide an itial supply line, then eventually a trade route to carry the wealth of the colony to the surface.
Jacopo even claimed to have already discovered a very rich vein of gold. It should be noted that at the time he made this claim, there is no evidence he had ever set foot in the Duat.
An initial wave of two thousand colonists set out, carrying some food but mostly home-making supplies, including a seed crop of plants Jacopo claimed could "grow and flourish in absolute darkness!". The group carried lanterns but little fuel as they were told glass jars of "special algae" they carried would provide light once they were deep enough. It should be noted that each member of this group "bought in" to the entire expedition at a price of roughly 2,000 gold pieces. Many had to take out loans and sell everything they owned, relying entirely on the equipment provided by Jacopo.
The second wave followed six months after the first, three thousand strong: it was mainly women and children, the families of the first wave. No one had yet heard anything from the first wave (who were supposed to remain in regular contact), but Jacopo assured the second wave that this was fine.
A third wave followed three months on the heels of the second, over three thousand strong. These were young men and women: mostly the children of merchants or other people of some means, who had paid to go on the expedition to stake their claim on the rich new territory. Most of the survivors came from this group.
Numbers of survivors from the expedition are as follows:
- First Wave: 1
- Second Wave: 3
- Third Wave: 111
Reportedly, when the third wave descended, they found the remains of the second wave in chaos. Though many were then still alive, they were mostly starved and half insane. At least one survivor account indicates many of the third wave were murdered by members of the second for food.
A few second-wave survivors claimed they never found the colony site, and became lost when their lamps ran out. They found the sole survivor of the first wave alone, completely insane. Very soon the lamps ran out all together and what they could make of torches and fires ran out, and the second wave was thrown into dissarray. Much like the man from the first wave, many of the second went insane.
When the third wave arrived they had already nearly exhausted their supplies. What little they had left did nothing to relieve the stricken second. A handful of survivors made it back to the surface, many of whom died on subsequent rescue attempts.
Strangely, Jacopo, who by all accounts knew the entire endeavor was a massive fraud, actually accompanied the third wave. Accounts vary as to the manner of his death, but all agree that it was neither "pleasant" nor "slow enough".