The Dry Season
One of the most important parts of the building season in the islands is the harvesting of rynwood. Rynwood is a golden-brown wood with extremely valuable properties. It is a light-weight, weather-resistant and magically receptive wood – it is the only organic material currently known to the islanders that can hold permanent flight enchantments, and so is the only building material available for the floating ships of the islanders. Because it is not especially sturdy, warships are often reinforced with paneling of thicker woods, but rynwood remains the primary building material for both commercial and combat ships.
Some small part of the supply of rynwood is grown in the islands themselves. Carefully protected and maintained groves exist on some of the elven and orcish islands, and were used to build the original flying ships in the early history of the islands. as But they grow slowly and not especially large the fleets of the islands have long since outpaced the regrowing trees. They are an emergency reserve, and hardly an adequate one.
This leaves the dangerous process of harvesting below the islands as the primary source. Unlike some of the larger species, which can tower hundreds of feet up towards the sky, rynwood trees usually grow only deep below the canopy of the great forests. This is also the area inhabited by a wide variety of predators, from leopards and jaguars to young dragons and mighty forest giants. Harvesting crews are quick and well-trained, but rynwood must be harvested carefully, or the fragile wood will splinter and break into useless pieces. Casualties on the crews are quite high, and indentured human servants are popular choices for the job, although paid harvesters are also common among those willing to trade risk for high pay.
Hunters from all races join the crews as well, and bring back fine skins and dried meat stores, but hunting groups capable of killing a giant – much less a dragon – are rare and highly valued, usually only working alongside government or nobility-backed harvesting crews.