The Empty Waste
The Desert Regions
To a city dweller of Falak or the northerners of Alyssia, Falak is made up of one desert that dominates all of Falak (of course with the exception of the fertile lands surrounding Dunya and Furat). The name of this desert is formally called The Great Desert, although it is often called the Desert of Falak or the Falakian Desert. To some northerners, the desert is just called Falak, as many of them do not know about the lush, fertile lands around the springs. However, to a Badawi, this region is made up of numerous distinct, and different deserts with individual names and characteristics.
Rocky v. Sandy Desert
Each desert region is classified as a sandy or rocky desert. The difference is important and will greatly affect travel time (See Travel time and Map Scale). There are other, important distinctions.
Rocky Desert: The rocky desert is made of hard packed dirt and/or rock. It is easy to walk upon and the ground provides a stable surface. As a result, there are different types of succulents that grow easily in this type of desert which in turn, provides a vibrant ecosystem that includes various mammals and numerous birds, as well as an abundance of reptiles and vermin. It is usually easier to survive in this type of desert. Even when there is no water to be found, many large succulents hold enough water to revitalize a person dying of thirst. The only potential movement problem in the rocky desert is the abundance of……well, rocks. There may be times that the number of rocks may create difficult terrain.
Sandy Desert: The sandy desert is quite beautiful, but is an extremely harsh environment in which to live. There is almost no vegetation and very few mammals are found in this desert; however, reptiles and vermin are quite common. Additionally, magical beasts and other fantastical creatures are found here. Water is scarce, making the rare oasis even more exceptional. Sand storms are common and can even be deadly. Finally, although there are plenty of places where the sand is hard packed, and easy to walk on, the loose sand quite often creates difficult terrain (roughly 50% of the time).
Different Desert Regions
Tormented Coast: This is the desert coastal region that winds along the entire Western Coast all the way to the fertile area around Dunya. It only goes about 20 miles inland. The land is a rocky desert and is so named because there is so much water to see, with none to drink. A man dying of thirst is tormented by the crystal blue waters of the Endless Ocean to the west and the Mariners Sea to the north. The Tormented Coast, however, can provide the traveler ample food from these same ocean waters. Further, the Tormented Coast gets more rainfall than the other regions, but it is still not enough to create actual bodies of water.
Ochre Flatlands: The area that stretches north to Dunya and south all the way to Furat is called the Ochre Flatlands, or more commonly, the Flatlands. It borders the Tormented Coast on the west and goes east about 20 miles past the Sultans' Road (the road that connects Dunya and Furat). It is a large area that is rocky desert. The area bordering the Sultans' Road is fairly devoid of dangers, but if someone strays away from the road, they will encounter numerous dangers, including the Giant Scorpion and Emperor Scorpion, both delicacies of the Badawi.
Burning Sea: South of Furat, stretching west to the Tormented Coast and east 40 miles past the borders of Falak, is the Burning Sea. This large sandy desert extends to the south about 100 miles past the southern border of Falak. This area is characterized by countless dunes and rippling sand. It is one of the hottest regions. Few mammals survive in this desert, but the Badawi know numerous reptiles roam this desert, providing ample food.
Forbidden Coast: The small coastal region east of the fertile region of Dunya stretching east to the Falak border and 50 miles south of the coast is the area the Badawi call the Forbidden Coast. This rocky desert region has numerous water sources that all are poisonous. No living creature calls this region home. The Qhatan teach that this region was cursed by Molach after the inhabitants claimed began worshipping the other gods of Alyssia. Further, they claim all Falak faces the same judgment. This judgment is coming soon. Whether any of this is true is debatable, but what is known is that the area is full of great, abandoned ruins that eclipse anything man has built since.
Dark Barrens: The area south of the Forbidden Coast, east of the Ochre Flatlands and north of the Burning Sea is known as the Dark Barrens. This sandy desert stretches to the eastern border of Falak and surrounds the Rock Forest and the Enchanted Desert, both small regions that will be discussed below. The Dark Barrens are made of a dark red sand that looks almost black. The Tah-neen consider this desert holy and claim it is the home of Khoth, their dragon god.
Rock Forest: This is a small area in the northeast corner of the Dark Barrens that has large rock formations that stand tall, similar to trees. The rock formations in this rocky desert create numerous mazes. Badawi tradition holds that the mazes guard vast treasure from long ago. One of the most intriguing elements of this region is that many arcane spells do not work properly, or not at all.
Enchanted Desert: This small region is found in the southern portion of the Dark Barrens near the eastern border of Falak. This sandy desert is distinguished from the Dark Barrens by the almost yellow color of the sand. The area is known for mirages and illusions that are quite hard to detect. The Qazzam claim the area is inhabited by desert fey. Whether this is the case or not, the area is avoided by most of the Badawi.
The Grey Waste: South of the Burning Sea is the Grey Waste, a vast rocky desert that is made up of hard packed grey caked soil. There is no known food or water, so few travel into these lands. Its full size is unknown, but it is much larger than the country of Falak. Only the Hakami know much about this area, but they keep the secrets found there tightly sealed.
Black Waste: East of Falak is a vast sandy desert known as the Black Waste (sometimes called the Desolate Waste). It is made up of black sand and has very little food or water. The Sadira Valley is located in the Black Waste and will be discussed below. The Black Waste extends to the east as far as anyone has traveled in recent times.
Sadira Valley: This small valley located on the western side of the Black Waste near the border of Falak is of utmost importance fo the Badawi. In the valley are located the life-giving waters of the Sadira Springs. The springs only produce enough water to rise to the surface during the months of Tarine and Aldrine, when most other sources of water disappear in the various deserts. At this time, all tribes of the Badawi come together and live in harmony. Even the Banu Salid keep the peace during this time.
Rumored Lands: To the far south are rumors of a frozen desert. To the far east are rumors of lands that overlap with the elemental planes. It is unknown if these lands truly exist, but even if they do, it would be considered impossible to travel there.