The landscape of Gehennum, shaped by recent vulcanism and heavy erosion, is an extraordinary and striking one. The skyline is dominated by the peaks and rims of hundreds of dormant and semi-active volcanoes. Swift but small rivers, often arising from geysers and hot springs, cascade down their sides and meander across the narrow littoral plains. Nearly all the islands are ringed by barrier reefs of coral, which enclose bright lagoons rich in fish. The mountains are extremely rugged, and enclose lakes and little fertile valleys. Here and there the basalt cores of long-extinct volcanoes, exposed by erosion, protrude from softer rock, sheer-sided and capped with thick jungle. These hills, especially if rising from plains, are the favourite refuges and strongholds of flyers. Volcanic calderas, some prone to steam like giant witch’s caldrons, are not uncommon. Other striking landforms are provided by heavily-eroded limestone and marble formations, such as uplifted coral reefs and river-cut valleys.

In the Classical Period most of the flat land is covered with bright paddy fields, and some of the gentler hillsides are terraced. Steeper slopes bear orchards, plantations, and market-gardens. The rugged mountains are left to forests of majestic teak.

In the Decadent Period the paddies have crept up the slopes, and the plantations have grown somewhat at the expense of the forests, but vast areas of inaccessible jungle remain, especially on the island of Bethany.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.