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Calengaer, the green ocean.by Frederic Perronet
As the elves know it:
Ages ago sciences and technics were taught to us by the men from Blackmoor, but those sciences were corruptive and soon, men were not able to see that the most perfect machine was Nature. We had to flee their destructive folly. So we took shelter in a secluded valley to give Nature another chance, and there she bloomed. But once again men came and tried to baffle Her. Then happen Ornmeletyaré, the day of the big trees, and men perished. Since then, we have been living on Calengaer. Humans have reappeared, and their numbers have grown, so we hope they also have grown in wisdom.
As the immortals know it:
BC3500: Elven clan Anuliinde leave Evergrun to settle near Blackmoor and start to follow the way of technology and sciences.
BC3200: Belorfiwyn from Clan Anuliinde invents dirigible balloon. Under his tutelage, the researches of the clan are oriented towards ecology, renewable energy and so on...
BC3100: Anuliinde Clan clashes with the empire of Blackmoor for ecological reasons. The retaliations are severe and decimate about 80% of the clan population, which remains under the military jurisdiction of the empire.
BC3005: The Anuliinde, led by Belorfiwyn, flee Blackmoor on 10 gigantic dirigible balloons they have secretly built.
BC3000: After a 5 years journey, 8 dirigibles reached Evergrun where Clan Anuliinde find shelter among Clan Nadriendel. The pessimistic provisions made by Belorfiwyn become reality and the destruction of Blackmoor forces both clans to take refuge in the dirigibles to flee Evergrun.
BC2990: After the great rain of fire, only 5 dirigibles remain. Under Belorfiwyn will they have been united to form one formidable flying city, Filmaelle, a self-sufficient community.
BC2900: Tired to live in a confined space the Nadriendel elves rebel against the Anuliinde. The conflict has a dire consequence since it forces the flying city to crash on the continent known as Skothar. The wreckage has badly damaged the dirigibles and the city of Filmaelle is immobilised. The region is very cold and desert, it is a simple tundra stuck between high mountains. Life becomes so harsh for both clans that they join their efforts to survive.
BC2898: Using the agricultural methods and the technics from the dirigibles, life grows and a first city is built around Filmaelle. It is named Ymlyn (Ebony) after the first tree to be planted (which seed came from Evergrun).
BC2886: Belorfiwyn creates the Marwar, a parasitic fungus which increases both the culture's resistance to the climate and the production.
BC2882: Belorfiwyn take the air with his fixed dirigible the Celorfimir, in order to gather all the tree species he can find around the world.
BC2500: Last flight of the Celorfimir, which tows the four other dirigibles in the valley to provide a core to four new cities. The Celorfimir settles around Ymlin.
BC2400: Newly born forest dots the landscape. They are composed by the different species Bellorfiwyn brought back from his trip: Oaks, Acacia, Maple trees, Poplars, and so on...The four new cities are named Celithrarith (Oak City), Elvawen (Maple Tree City), Sebrildur (Chestnut Tree City), and Manereteriel (Cedar City).
BC2000: Magnificent forests cover the totality of the valley. The Ainuliinde and Nadriendel clans have merged and are named from now on the Anuliindriendel.
BC900: To celebrate the second millennium since their arrival, Belorfael (descendant of Belorfiwyn) develop the Trarwar (a variety of Marwar which double the growing capabilities of the trees).This fungus is inoculated to the five symbolic trees of the cities and planted at the core of the cities.
BC550: A Nithian expeditionary force takes control of the valley. Nithian priests and magicians discover the remains of technology used in the dirigibles. They conduct experiments on the five dirigibles.
BC540: Belorfanwyl (also descending from Bleorfiwyn), creates a mutated version of the Trarwar, the Uurwar (almost immediate effects and ten times stronger than the Marwar). Helped by the Elven resistance, the fungus is spread everywhere in the valley. The elves secretly prepare themselves to a radical and swift change of their environment. When the fungus are magically activated, the trees mutate and grows hundred of meters high in a matter of hours. The Nithian expeditionary force is disorganised first and then crushed by the elvish resistance. Meanwhile, the elvish population settles up at the top of the trees. While renouncing to the last remains of Blackmoorian technology, the Anuliindriendel starts a new life.
BC530: The five cities are moved to the top of the trees they were named after. The foot of the trees, already difficult to reach is made impossible to reach because of the toxic emanations of the Urwar. A web of trails is set in the foliage allowing easier communications between the cities.
BC500: The first Amber pearls are discovered.
BC450: First apparition of the flying jellyfish and of the Taurinangwas.
BC220: Eoradreinduil from Manereteriel builds the first cyme-raft, a sort of boat allowing to navigate on Calengaer.
AC150 Eoradrienduil now settled in Celithrarith builds the first gondolfière, first ship to really float on the Calengaer
AC800: The five cities of the Green Ocean are just like we know them today. Numerous forester villages dot the canopy. Cyme-rafts and gondolfières travel the valley, their crews are called Sylmarins, the sailors of the Sylph.
AC1000: Time of the gazetteers.
Geography and ecology.
Located on the continent of Skothar, Calengaer, the Green Ocean, is a fantastic forest at the north-eastern end of the valley. Its surface is around 100000 square kilometres. It is surrounded on three sides by high mountains, and is limited at the South West by the confluence of the Ringsirith and Sirûth rivers which flow to Urcdacil lake. Only the top of the forest is accessible, and the cyme of the trees constitutes the domain of the Ainuliindriendel elves. By foot or using their special ships they travel across this green ocean, fishing the Amber Pearls and fighting the Taurinangwas or the Ornloces (the dragon of the depths). The vegetation is so dense, that no one knows what the soil looks like 900 hundred feet below. Here and there, even bigger trees go through the foliage, and onto them are set the five elvish cities and numerous smaller villages.
Although under a relatively high latitude, Calengaer has the advantage of a mild climate. This is mainly due to the heat released by the forest. Only in the north do snowfalls happen.
The forest is made of all the essences of trees but all of them are incredibly high. The average height of the foliage is 900 feet. That diversity is also rendered in the surface where different types of foliage meets. The nature of the trees has a direct impact on the possibilities of travels among the trees (branches of different size, thickness of the foliage) thus allowing a fast progression or not (both for the ships and by foot). A great number of parasitic fungus can be found among the trees, some of them eatable, other being used as combustible stuff or rough wood for the local craftsmanship.
Mainly based on fruit gathering. Fruits can be picked to be consumed dried or fresh, like cherries, apples, plums, peaches, nuts...but most of the food is based on chestnuts and olives.
One of the rare animals to be raised to be eaten is the khouli-khouli, raised in flock, those multicoloured birds look like big dodos. Their flesh tastes like spicy chicken, their feathers serve for arrows, and their shimmering eggs serve as plates and exotic cups. The main problem with the placid Khouli-khouli is their behaviour which respond to the intonation of the voice. With them, it's better to speak with calm, or to throw them into panic or make them aggressive. The exceptionally rare and mythical wild Khouli-khouli is much bigger and much more dangerous. His powerful beak can pierce even the strongest armours. There are also pigeons and cyme-quails.
Numerous birds and rodents are hunted with blowguns or bows just to diversify the food. The taurinangwa and the wild Khouli-khouli are hunted for sport, even if the flesh of the second is famous for its delicious taste and because a part of the anatomy of the first is used to make air-masks.
Water is quite rare when you live at the top of the trees. Celithrarith (Oak-Port) , located straight above lake Urcdacil , has an ingenious mechanical system which uses the waterfalls of the Sirûth river to convey water up to the city itself. Elvawen ( Maple-Port ) collect water from the neighbouring mountains to the north and canalise it in wooden pipes. Manereteriel ( Cedar-Port ), has a well inside its trunk coupled with a wind-animated system to bring up water to the level of the city. Ymlin ( Ebony-Port ), and Sebrildur ( Cestnuttree-Port ) , use the same ways as the villages: they import water and gather it with dew-sails. Little ponds exists in the hollow of the branches but their location are jealously kept secret.
As a consequence of the mutation of the trees, they are now fireproof. the only fuel available are some parasitic mushrooms , and the guano from the khouli-khouli, but the latter emits unfortunately a foul and unpleasant odour.
Under the foliage:
The density of the foliage is so high that beneath the surface , that is to say one or two meters below it is as if you were in an aquatic environment. For about 150 meters (450 feet) moving is similar to swimming in an emeraldish sea which soon becomes opaque. The absence of visual landmarks tends to make horizontal moves hazardous. The natural gravity helps people figuring out where is up and where is down. But it is very difficult to evaluate the distances. The Pearl fishers which evolve at this level use four "stabs" , sort of glove which can be unfolded like the wings of a bat and allow the diver to stabilise itself at a certain height by increasing the lift effect. After 30 meters (90 feet) , the air is filled with toxic vapours emanating from the Uurwars. Elves then use air-masks to filter the air. Those heights (or depths) are the hunting ground of the taurinangwas, also called forest sharks. The following 100 meters (300 feet) are constituted by trunks and branches but without any leaves because there is no light reaching that depth. The trunks have diameters varying from dozen of meters to hundred of meters for the biggest. They are so big that you can't see further than 18 meters (36 feet).The vision is all the more difficult that no light comes from above. it is there that Taurinangwas nest. They are the only creatures occupying those depths apart from the embryonic flying jellyfish. Under the bark of the trees one can find the rare Amber Pearls , along with the Uurwar fungus. Moving at that depth requires a climbing set. The last fifty meters before reaching the ground are occupied by a tangle of gigantic branches which have covered everything ( the first elven cities also ). Bathed in a permanent darkness, the air is not toxic anymore because it is located under the Uurwars zone.
The wild khouli-khouli:
That big bird related to the dodo is not as rare as the legends say, but because it is capable of perfectly finding its way through the foliage and because it is not affected by the toxic emanations of the Uurwars, it is rare to meet them on the surface. It is a vegetarian animal which if threatened defends itself with terrible beak strikes.
These animals look like tiny sea horse with diaphanous wings. They have the amazing ability to spontaneously reproduce short musical tunes. No need to say that they are the joy of the kids.
Wrongly named also forest shark by the first human who saw one of them, it is affiliated with the lizard, but the bony crest behind its head and which sometimes emerges from the foliage gave it the name of forest shark.3 to 9 feet long, it has four palmed and clawed legs and an impressing set of teeth. It easily finds its way into the foliage and swims in it. Its powerful muscles allow the biggest of them to jump from one trunk to the other. It is the predator of this ecosystem where it hunts in packs the wild khouli-khouli. However it is so afraid by the light that it seldom comes to the surface. His biorhythm seems however to be diurnal, a fact sages think is related to its affinity with Uurwar which gas production diminishes at night. That hypothesis was confirmed by the death of living specimens when exposed for a few minutes to a healthy atmosphere.
Like big translucent bags filled with hot air, they are related to their aquatic cousins. Tossed by the air currents at the tops of the trees, they let their poisonous tentacles hanging to capture colibris, rodents and other small creatures. Then they digest them slowly. If multiple precautions are taken , it is possible to capture them and to devitalise them (just like a taxidermist does) to use only their external envelope. Their slough serves in the making of Gondolfières. Of course it is more easily said than done and capturing and preparing those rare creatures with fairylike colours is very difficult. The choice of the preservative ointment is a crucial step for the longevity of the balloon.
They first arrived in Ebony-Port a century ago in the luggage of a traveller. Those first two doudilains were set free by the death of their owner. Since then they have abundantly proliferated and the elves have tamed some of them, before sending them towards the other Ports of the valley. The absence of dogs and cats is not a sufficient reason to explain the infatuation for this animal, it is just a very affectionate animal.