Water conditions around Gehennum are ideal for coral, and so the islands of Gehennum are surrounded by barrier reefs, and there are many atolls in the Gehennum archipelago. Atolls and barrier reefs enclose bright calm lagoons, in which the Gehennese can play and fish.

Gaps in the coral are crucial for harbours in Gehennum. The best occur where the run-off from a river makes the water too fresh or muddy for coral. Others, caused by peculiarities of the waves or the sea-bottom, are more precarious, and may be navigable only under favourable conditions of weather and tides. A local pilot is essential in all but the best Gehennese harbours.

Coral reefs increase the propensity of ships to be wrecked in Gehennese waters: there is not often an option to run aground safely. But crews usually survive, most wrecks taking place fairly near to islands.

Coral reefs support the densest fish populations to be found in the sea, and are the best areas for spear-fishing. This makes them favourite haunts for merfolk, who, especially in the later periods, stake out claims to sections of reef, husband the resources of fish and shellfish within them, and even modify the reefs to their requirements. Merfolk propitiate the daimons of their reefs as air-breathers do the daimons of their fields and forests.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.