|Natural Wonders of Esair||Monoformation|
The main mountain chain to the North grows ever higher and formidable to become the colossal Earth Back, a range of insurmountable mountains too high and cold for anything to live on it (although the people of the North talk of snow monsters attacking their trade airships in the crossing... but then nobody in his own mind would believe a Northerner story!). High up on these mountains grows some of the largest wooden monoformations, widely exploited for its excellent quality timber. Monoformations are one of the natural wonders of the Esair, essentially a single tree forest, these massive plants grow at an amazing rate to a truly impressive size, a single trunk often covering areas of several square miles! Nobody really knows how big a Monoformation can grow, the main thrust of the plant is horizontal and therefore there is no practical limit to the lenght it can reach; nobody ever reached deep in the denser forest areas where hundreds of these vigorous plants grows with their bulky trunks twisting one on the other. One reason for this, apart of the practical difficulty of moving inside the intricate mass of so substantial trunks is that there are many species of deadly parasites living in symbiosis with the immense trees. The most well known are the orchid-lichens, organisms that characteristically forms an ever-flowering branching growth on monoformation tree trunks, and release wispy clouds of toxic spores at the faintest movement of air. Orchid-lichens spores are used by alchemists in the preparation of many medical remedies as well as a bioalchemical weapon.
At the fringes of these impenetrable wild forest domesticated monoformations are grown for commercial use by timberfarm villages. These giant horizontal trees are trained to the most convenient shapes as they grow, and kept free from parasites. Ripe trunks are cut down and set to mature, and every year a number of new young sprouts is planted, so that plants of any age and size are always available. Some of the larger timberfarms are many centuries old and can provide beams of virtually any size!
There are many varieties of Monoformations but perhaps the most valuable is the Thorntangle that grows in the Underlands and provide amazingly light and at the same time strong and flexible beams highly prized all over the empire. Thorntangle itís absolutely irreplaceable as the main material for the construction of airships all of sorts and the Empire keeps the tightest control over its production and trade. From the Kardachian hills where it is farmed it is taken by well guarded caravans to the harbour of Varas, from where it is shipped all over the Empire, all the time under the close supervision of warships that never fail to escort merchant fleets that carry such valuable material.
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