(Extracted from Quite simply, the
countryside, by Delphine Medieval.)
"The Fly River
divides the country roughly in half, flowing from the Two Shows
Ranges in the south to the Bay of Ex in the north. It is the
country's largest and most conspicuous natural feature. Sluggish in
some places, lively in others, changing from dark brown to light
brown to clear as it sweeps soil down from the mountains and
disperses it along its banks in chocolate-coloured strata, the river
feeds, ferries, entertains and drowns its people with generous ease.
Two breeds of people are associated with the Fly. One breed
make their homes near the riverbank; they are the inhabitants of
villages such as Nibble in the south, and Rest and Trio in the
north; or they are lone folk who live in isolation, listening to the
eternal gurgle and mutter of the water running past their walls. The
second breed are the ferrypeople or ferryists who spend their lives
carrying goods and travellers from one end of the country to the
other. Sometimes they travel on lightweight rafts, and at other
times on houseboats. They spend their lives on their boats, rarely
setting foot on land. They regard the river as their country, with
its own set of grimly obeyed customs and rituals.
species of fish roam the length of the Fly, but most confine
themselves to one or two areas where the water has a flavour and
mood to suit their fishy temperaments. The villagers in the south
know that they will never see the white-eyed jet-black stickleback,
as long as a child and with the faint taste of apples in its blood,
that the villagers of the north pull out of the water in such
abundance; while the northeners will never net shoals of tiny
southern finger-fish, so satisfying when you tilt your head back and
drop them down your throat, still whole and raw and full of minute
bones, delicately curved and exquisitely pointed, which come out in
your shit hours later. The middens of the south are peppered with
tiny, rotting eyes.
Both ends of the country are wary,
however, of the carnivorous hippopotomi which have been known to
take off a person's leg in one bite. The hippopotomi prefer to eat
fish, but they are not averse to any other meat they can find. They
are to be found most often where there are large trees lining the
bank, for when they doze, they doze in shade."
more about the Ferrypeople.