Saturday, 25 April 2015

Ix: The Deserts of Ix, Part 2: Inhabited Regions

Following on from the previous post, here are detailed the regions of desert in which the Sandestine dwell.

Regions of Sandestine Dominion

1. The Broken Land
West of Zjom, east of the night, and north of the transparent wastes lies a region of barren, dusty plains, cliffs, and jagged rock formations. The land itself seems to have been rended and broken asunder. Akin to the floating oasis, Zjom, cyclopean chunks of earth hang ominously in the bruised sky.

The Sandestine of this land are few. They are of the Jilka (moon-shadow) clan and dwell primarily underground, out of the feared gaze of the looming rock-chunks. The Jilka are protected by Seraphs of the utter darkness, who have taught them a secret art of communion with the void.

2. The Seething Sands
The sands of this region are so hot that they scorch unprotected flesh. Not only does the sun bear down here with a merciless intensity, but the earth itself seems to be heated from within. Great, black worms writhe beneath the surface. The Sandestine who dwell here, the Rigpa (talon poised to strike) clan, are not numerous, but are renowned as experts of steel-working and navigation.

3. The Desert of Spires
A region wracked by incessant winds and roiling dust storms, the name comes from the presence of the many protrusions of sandstone which jut in curious forms out of the orange sands.

This northern region, beyond the main influence of the Empire, is now one of the most heavily populated Sandestine domains. It is ruled by the Kadga (knife-blade) clan, who are great merchants and are famed for their wines and cloth.

4. The Pacific Dunes
A swathe of gentle, rolling dunes, dotted with many small oases, wells, and ruins. Continuous human habitation in this area for millennia has rendered the wilderness to the south (towards the great oasis cities of Aakla and Lillurm) tame. The northern and eastern reaches, where Templars and Slavers venture less often, remain treacherous.

Regarded as the ancestral homeland of all Sandestine, this region is now hotly contested with the Empire of the Radiant One, who also claim it as their central dominion. This, along with the profusion of slavers (who are not in any way averse to kidnapping Sandestine), has led to many bloody conflicts and the gradual exodus of Sandestine from the area. A tenacious clan, the Sagrka (diamond) people, remain here. They are a people of war and poetry, and bitterly hate the Empire. They exclusively worship the eagle-headed Arch-Seraph Mamman, who has dominion over light, burning, birth, and re-birth.

5. The Desert of Lost Ages
A region plagued with political turmoil, located between the religious core of the Empire (the Cathedral of Tears) and its military bulwark (Bardash and the Fortress of Resplendence). Many ancient ruins lie here, the remnants of civilisations crushed by war. Indeed, legends tell that the last battle of the great war, when the world was broken, was fought on the sands of this region.

Harried by Templars, the reclusive Ulgpa (sole of the foot) clan call this desert home. They are masterful herdsmen and are said to move without a sound. It is rumoured that the matriarchs of the Ulgpa clan know of hidden ways into the ruined city of Bosj, and have witnessed perilous secrets about which they refuse to speak.

6. The Birdplains
Between the unrelenting  vortex of the Bowl of Shifting Sands, to the north, and the threatening barrens of the Mountains of Madness, to the south, lies this land of wide-open vistas, rocky crevasses, hidden springs, and stunted savannah. Giant mountain eagles range in the skies above, hence the name.

The Sandestine who dwell here are of the Kalam'h (withered leaf) clan, and are renowned for their hospitality, their feasting, and their exquisite tents.

7. The Mutoid Wastes
Only marginally habitable, this barren expanse of dustland rolls eastward to an indeterminate end. The land here is tainted with an energy of unknown origin which causes the mutation of biological life. The native flora and fauna is twisted and hostile. The eastern reaches of this land are so infused with mutagens that humans perish there within days.

A scant few Sandestine call the western regions of this land (south of Hul Nostra) home. They are of the Zkamga (lizard fang) clan and are known as breeders of lizards of all kinds and manufacturers of the most advanced osmosis suits.

8. The Scorched Dunes
A region of black sand, scarred by ancient war. Deep wells exist here, around which unusual plants and animals dwell -- all have taken on an ashen hue and shun daylight.

A near-extinct Sandestine clan lives here, known as the Hlahla (gullet). The ongoing war between the Empire of the Radiant One and the deamon-city of Agra rolls back and forth across this land, devastating it and its native people. The Hlahla are unusual among Sandestine in that they have a patriarchal society, ruled over by a shamanic order called the Dahron. They are masters of herbs and fungi.

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