Forest of Voices

Spiking the sharp hills cascading from the Spine Mountains, the Forest of Voices is unusual. No flat forest floor absorbs footsteps and the trees don't mute the sounds of speech. Rather, the majestic tengai pines stand apart from each other, aloof, allowing the rush of wind to blow across their slender trunks unimpeded. The ground is rocky with a light dusting of soil and needles, making footing precarious. Sturdy plants with shallow roots cling to whatever purchase they can find and lichen carpets most everything else. Sounds seem magnified; even hushed tones reverberate off the solid hills. And everywhere is the echoing chatter of the chindan monkey, calling, scolding, and whispering.

Honored and protected, the chindan monkey swung from every tree in the forest before Bloodstone and is now making a comeback. It is for this little cat-sized tree dancer that the Forest of Voices is named; the chindan monkey makes many sounds, speaking to its kind incessantly. Carried by the wind, these sounds mimic human speech. Some of the distinct words they use are sst-sst-ee-ee, ch-ch-ka, rruh-eee, chichichi, and hrrr-ka. Many birds nest in the lofty treetops of the tall pines, adding their song to the monkey's voices; with the spontaneous brooks and streams gurgling along during rainy season.