The floatforest is a constantly shifting sea of drifting plant covered islands, in some areas so dense as to be almost indistinguishable from land. Millions of Birrin call this tropical, dynamic world home, from sophisticated city dwellers to nomadic tribes with limited contact with the global civilisation.
The Birrin discovered that, when dried, the heavily compacted masses of dead plants that constitute the older larger islands can be burned as a very efficient fuel. In a short period of time mining began and factories sprung up in the old forest, large areas of vegetation being destroyed to supply fuel for cooking and industrial steam boilers. Soon steam powered ships plied the channels of the float forest , using the forest itself as fuel as they travelled, or purchasing high grade and dried peat from retailers.
As seen here, some more enterprising groups combined the two and use huge ships to transport peat for sale in towns across the forest. The tall hull of this vessel contains racks of high grade peat, being dried on the go and kept warm via heat diverted from the steam ships' own boilers. To counter balance the height of the ship, much of the vessel lies under water in an expanded hull filled with ballast. This added mass also gives the ship the inertia needed to ram through sections of forest, using the blade like prow to first life and then cut the mats of vegetation floating on the waters surface. The flared disk built out around the bow catches vegetation and forces it downwards, keeping it from impacting against the front and sides of the vessel.
Anchored and with boiler firing to dry the latest shipment, this peat-merchant paddle wheeler has stopped off at one of the larger suppliers in the oldest parts of the forest. Over the next few days it will be loaded as the crew relaxes a little, and set off into the narrow channels to deliver its wares across the inland sea, using a portion of its peat load as fuel.
A few locals, curious, look across the water towards it on their morning swim.