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The Wandering Woods.

Exians may refer to it as 'the little woods,' 'the place where you never get lost' and 'the garden,' but the Flatlanders are proud of their Wandering Woods. The name began in a folk tale: one day, a group of young trees in the Forest of Ex were rude to their grandparents, and refused to apologise when ordered to.

"We'll run away!" they threatened.

"Run away then," said their parents and grandparents. They thought it would teach the young trees a lesson. But the young trees got lost in the Flatlands and never came back, and that was the start of the Wandering Woods.

In fact, as the lyrical botanist Pieter Sprod pointed out, the story is impossible. The two forests do not share the same flora.

"The trees in the Wandering Woods are open-hearted, they are wide, they console, they are fat and golden and in the autumn they coat the cold earth with their largesse. They are the kindest of trees. The trees of Ex are tall, they fill one with awe, but the trees of the Wandering Wood are broad, they fill one with happiness.

Under the trees in the heart of the Woods, the moss is thick and delicately detailed: there are a thousand tiny featherings and branches in one strand, so minute that they are almost transparent, save for a gold-green blush along their thickest parts.

Try to walk on this moss: you cannot. The moss is too springy, it turns every step into a leap, a hop, and soon you are not walking but bounding, thrust forward through the silent honey-coloured air. You are thrilled and frightened. This is solemn fun, but you have just realised that you do not know where you are going."

Or, as Tran Hurl put it in Book Two of his Crossroads wide as the Skies:

"... a world apart from the other world, a world of stubborn generosity, unbreakable gold ... the oaks are holding out their crenellated branches low and wide ... Mushrooms blooming in a mattress of moss they lay their plump heads on the top of the green bed ... peek-a-boo fat spotted cushions you look too firm to eat ..."

Fleets of Land Pirates use the Wandering Woods as an occasional base of operations, but do not tend to prey on the Woods's inhabitants, preferring to attack merchants and other travellers.