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The interior sea is a long narrow body of water slanting from the warm central gulf northeast to temperate regions. It spans time shard #9 and #10 at the mouth; time shards #15, #16, #17, and #27, in the middle; shards #36, #37, and #35 at the far end; plus inland waters of shards #34 and #50. Most of it is relatively shallow, although there are some deeper areas in the center and where it spreads at the far end. The maximum depth in the central trench reaches about 6,500 feet (about 2000 meters) and the average depth is about 1,300 feet (about 400 meters). The southwestern mouth is particularly shallow and cluttered with islands. The wide shallow shelves give rise to coral reefs in the tropical region.
Due to precipitation, river flow, and lower evaporation rates in temperate regions this sea has a lower salt content. It is brackish at the northeastern end, gradually becoming saltier as it moves toward the gulf, which is quite salty. The interior sea has rock and sand in shades of red to brown; most beaches are light brown or cream, but there is a "bloody beach" with lots of jasper in shard #50 toward the northern end and a "chocolate beach" in shard #15 toward the southern end.
Species adapted to the shifting salt levels of the sea are able to move along it freely. Species adapted to other environments, such as the very salty central gulf, are less likely to move up the sea unless they happen to be especially flexible about their habitat. Many animals in the interior sea have brown, red, and/or cream coloring to match the surrounding geography.
Human population varies along this hairpin coast. The mouth is densely populated, a core part of the Empire -- but the sea itself cuts the Empire nearly in half. Travel between the continental lobes goes mainly across the mouth or certain narrow parts of the sea. Water quality around the mouth has often been poor due to human activities. Some parts farther northeast are sparsely populated and considerably cleaner.
Before Upheaval: Species included blimpfish (several types), interior soldierfish, interior weed-eater, and southeastern trapjaw; additional species of trapjaw and weed-eater were also present.
Sundered Times: The Upheaval had a particularly dramatic effect on the interior sea. While some sections remained relatively large, other sections were diced into small bits; not all of them retained megafauna populations during this time. Even those that retained some went down to one or two species as the smaller populations died out. This was very hard on the food web, but it made water travel much less risky in the interior sea compared to other times there or other places, especially in bits that had only herbivores or lost everything large.
Time shard #9 lost all its sea monsters. Time shard #10 had interior soldierfish. Shard #15 had the interior weed-eater. Shards #16, #17, and 27 lost all their sea monsters. Shard #36 had blimpfish, which developed into interior blimpfish while isolated. Shards #35, #37, and #50 lost all their sea monsters. The inland part of shard #34 had interior soldierfish and interior weed-eaters.
Modern Times: Once the time barriers started falling, the megafauna moved to reclaim former ranges. They also expanded into areas that had few or no sea monsters during the Sundered Times. This created another wave of major changes in the food web throughout the interior sea, and it has still not really settled down from that. The barrier between time shard #10 and #15 collapsed in 1265. The one between #9 and #10 collapsed in 1280. The barrier between #12 and #10 collapsed in 1310 (also giving access to #11).
So far the really big and nasty sea monsters have not ventured into the interior sea; most of them wouldn't fit and/or wouldn't suit the habitat. The deathfin is a possible encroacher, but dislikes shallow water; the red harpoon snail is more unlikely, as it requires very clean water, and the mouth of this sea has some pollution. The western dreamskate has appeared only on the western edges of shards #9 and #10, and the central dreamskate along shards #14 and #12, so they are right near the mouth but not up inside the sea yet. The giant sea turtle traveling through shard #12 is still exploring and may well enter the sea.
Time shard #9 gained the interior soldierfish, interior weed-eater, Southern blimpfish, southern soldierfish, southern trapjaw, and western dreamskate. Shard #10 gained the interior weed-eater, southern blimpfish, southern soldierfish, and southern trapjaw. Shard #15 gained the interior blimpfish, interior soldierfish, interior weed-eater, and southern blimpfish. Shard #16 and #17 gained the interior weed-eater and southern trapjaw. Shard #27 gained the interior blimpfish, interior soldierfish, interior weed-eater, and southern trapjaw. Shard #36 gained the interior soldierfish, interior weed-eater, and southern trapjaw. Shard #37 and the inland parts of shard #50 gained the interior weed-eater and southern trapjaw. Shard #35 gained the interior soldierfish and interior weed-eater. Time shard #34 is the only shard in the interior sea that hasn't gained any new sea monsters yet. The southern trapjaw seems like a possibility there, but perhaps it doesn't care for the local habitat.
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