Mirrortac’s “Worlds” — 2. Faug Forest
What a surprise! The Mountain at the End of the Earth is not at the end of the Earth. Beyond is the Faug Forest, but to an erfin it could well be the Netherworld. The forest is gigantic compared to the woodlands of Eol. It’s damp, hot and inhabited by all kinds of annoying creatures and plants — some quite dangerous. First in the dangerous category is the giant leech known as the gorkle that lives in the Bludstream. It will not only suck an erfin dry in minutes, but any attempt at chopping it into pieces only produces more gorkles. But its terrible reputation pales against the size and range of the much larger serpent called the snerk. These are green above and blue below, and their rattling sound can be heard far in the forest where its immense body slithers over the boughs of many trees. It visits the tree-top communities of the people who call this forest home — the faugs — and can consume several faugs in one venture. It is the most terrifying of all the creatures to the faugs who rarely descend to the ground.
The faugs themselves are winged like that of bats, and have bodies like gibbon monkeys. They do not fly, but rather glide from tree to tree or catch updrafts above the forest to travel greater distances. They eat fruits of the forest and a yellowish rodent called the tarmut. The tarmut lives on the ground and in the lower reaches of the trees, foraging for insects and other small creatures. The faugs also enjoy the fruit of merma, which is highly valued among faug folk for its many restorative qualities. The red berries can be eaten at night to restore energy while the juice is made into an invigorating and intoxicating beverage called merma-mead. The oil of the plant is made into Essence of Merma for healing wounds and soothing tired muscles. Merma is also an ingredient to create Essence of Yu, which has magical qualities.
The faugs enjoy playing games, and often use their archery skills to pop the amusing buzz-blop creatures that look like an upside-down fish flying in the air. Buzz-blops suck in air into their lung-like bodies while chasing insects, and will explode if they encounter a flame beetle. And it is this that the faugs use in one of their archery games.
One forest creature that is not a threat, but rather looked upon as a good luck sign is the cooit bird. This pink bird lives in isolated pockets of the forest, feeding on berries including the merma berry, which enhances its rainbow phosphorescence in the male’s fan-like tail. Its call is sweet and melodious, and once heard is never forgotten.
While the trees of this tropical forest are high enough, one tree stands higher than the others; in fact it is so high and so large that it rises above the clouds that permanently blanket this land. It is here in Greenfaug that the royal community lives within and around the Sacred Tree of Yu. The tree is said to embody the spirit of Yu who the faugs worship as their guardian deity. Even the snerks cannot reach up this far … in normal circumstances. The trunk of the tree contains the Sacred Chamber of Yu where the Prince and Princess take their thrones. Fresco reliefs of faug history are carved into the walls, and flowering vines and orchids drift down from an opening high in the chamber.
The faugs possess one other weapon — a slish axe — which is a double-bladed axe of quartz bound with twine and attached to a handle of Yu-wood or a lesser wood. It is usually carved with the design of a snerk or other creature, or the Yu-tree itself. All the carvings are done by the Daughters of Yu who live within the Greenfaug community.
I will mention one last plant — the thock — which is actually a tree with some dangerous attributes. This soft-barked light coloured tree is capable of absorbing any animal that lies against or near it. Thocks living at the edge of the forest also have the ability to move through and under the sands of the desert.