|The Kelp Forests.
The kelp forests off the eastern coast are vast and deep. A few intrepid souls live here in glass houses filled with air; these pot-bellied glass fruit have been incorporated into the trunks of the kelp trees, which grow around their fat bodies and hug the walls in a fleshy embrace. They bob, these houses, with their noses lifted to the surface of the sea, and fisherpeople from other areas have been known to mistake them for nursing manatees.
The people live arboreally, soaring between the submerged branches with the grace of birds. Their diet comprises fish, sea-insects, and parasitic weed growths that attack the kelp leaves. They are uneasy on land.
"The Forest of Ex smells, it's too quiet, there's no taste in the air."
"When I move in an environment I like it to have a sweet taste, like the sea."
"The land is too dry. It makes me cough."
"The light is wrong."
"I stood at the bottom of one of those land-trees and I almost couldn't breathe. If I could stand at the bottom of a tree at home I'd be dead."
The last speaker went on to point out that the bottoms of the kelp trees are so far below the surface of the water that none of his people has ever seen them. Sunlight dies before it reaches their roots. Rumour has it that they have no roots at all, and that the water there does not end, but goes on, downward, forever. The fish that live in that darkness glow and so do the sea-insects, with a terrible blue fire. People have died because they have become disoriented while swimming and swum down into that darkness, mistaking it for the sky and the illuminated insects for stars.
Read about a famous inhabitant of the Forest in Epitaph for a voice.