Brandon Cornwell

Blacksmith, Woodsmith, and Wordsmith

The Deserts of the Burning Sands

The Burning Sands

The lands on the other side of the mountains that make up Lonwick’s eastern border are dry, salty expanses of lifeless sand and rock. Few plants and fewer animals frequent this region, being concentrated around the scattered oases that dot the region. While not a kingdom, per se, as there is no organized government for the entire region, there are multiple city-states centered around the oases, some of the larger city states encompassing several nearby havens.

In the lowlands of the desert, miles upon miles of salt flats reach as far as the eye can see, stifling any form of life except brine shrimp and the birds that feed upon them. Cities that neighbor these lands harvest the salt and export it to the west, where it is in high demand due to its purity and use in preserving meat. Some of the largest consumers of this salt are the coastal cities of Lonwick, for its uses in preserving fish.

In the highlands of the north east, mountains rise out of the desert, covered in towering pines, firs, and cedar. The lumber from the cedar trees is prized across all nations, as it is resistant to rot and strongly aromatic, deterring pests such as termites and moths. The cities that are established on the lower slopes of these mountains log the slopes, and have established a sustainable rotating style of logging, where they will replant the trees before moving on to another region. Once the trees have regrown, they repeat the cycle, expanding their forests with each pass. These man-made forests cover the western slopes of the great mountains that form the eastern border of the region.

Far to the south, there is a massive gorge that runs most of the length of the region. Legends say that the gods of the Burning Sands battled with the tribal gods of the southern jungles, and where they made war, the ground was split asunder by great and terrible magics. Any who dare to cross the great gorge are swiftly dispatched by the tribes who live there, never to be seen again. Rumor has it that the tribes south of the gorge are cannibals, feasting on the flesh of man, elf, and dwarf alike.

To the north, the land flattens, and becomes covered by scrub brush. Great dust storms ravage the land between the mountain ranges, making the settlements few and far between. Those settlements that do stand against the wrath of the land, however, have enormous walls, and extend far beneath the earth, where hot springs bubble, and gems and minerals are abundant. Some of the finest emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds come from these lands, cut and polished by the master gem workers who live there. The greatest jewelers in Lonwick hail from these lands, and their work commands a high price.

 

The People of the Burning Sands

The vast majority of the people in the Burning Sands region of Erde are humans or dwarves. The citizens of the cities, the merchants, and most of the slaves one will see are human. While humans of all types are seen, the majority of them are shorter than their western counterparts, with dusky brown skin and brown eyes. Their clothing consists of layers of earthtone robes to keep out the hostile environment, and bland in to their surroundings. Most of the men wear wrapped turbans to cover their long black hair, while the women cover their heads with a shawl and a veil. The sexes are deeply segregated, with men and women seldom working together, but the races mix with very little prejudice. Even elves and dwarves can be seen working hand in hand, when their caste permits it.

The elves of the Burning Sands are the undisputed leaders. Whether they are roving bands of raiders or bejeweled kings and queens, they elves have established themselves as the top of the food chain. With skin as black as charcoal and eyes that burn purple or red, the sight of a dark elf raider bearing down has frozen many a merchant or traveler on fear. Their robes are often as black as their skin, and accented with brightly colored sashes and glittering gold ornaments, often studded with red, blue, or green gemstones. Rubies are prized by the dark elves, as they are said to be the blood of the planet, containing the power of their gods. Many a dark elf wizard has spent their fortune on acquiring flawless rubies.

The dwarves that inhabit the Burning Sands region are not far removed from their western cousins, with fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red or black beards. However, being on a much more equal footing in their society leaves them in a better place, and dwarven stone or metalwork is celebrated as the greatest in the land. Indeed, many of the great cities of the northern areas of the Burning Sands were founded, built, and maintained by dwarves, though their gates were opened to men and elf alike. Not fond of woodworking, as it is seen as too soft to last the ages, the vast majority of dwarves own property with a small home in or near a city. Upon entering their home, however, one would find that the vast majority of it is underground, where they can escape from the extreme temperatures that makes the Burning Sands so inhospitable.