Friday, 10 April 2015

The Empty Lands

When Lozirians mean to say something's lost for good, then "it's gone to the Empty Lands". Most of Lozir is dry to say the least, but the Lozirians consider only the inner lands to really be a desert, with no known water sources or inland seas like Sawa and Gdera have. It is notoriously difficult to map and so, unknown indeed.
"A map of the Empty Lands would be either very useful or very useless. If it turns out you can't go there anyway the effort is wasted; so for now it's in our best interest to leave news of inner Lozir to the Areal travellers."
— Gramegar, Mappers' Guild spokesman
Some orders deliberately placed their strongholds or secret headquarters in the Empty Lands. That way their secrets are well protected, and they can always be sure that visitors are serious when it's so hard to reach their bases.
"The Knights of the East have their stronghold in the Empty Lands, but one can hardly ever see anyone come and go, and they remain silent when asked if they travel by Area. I wonder."
— Nelre dun Ruikin, citizen
Several tribes have vanished after crossing the imaginary border where the desert begins, the most famous being the rhu'khach after leaving the thrones of the Diamond Age - or so scholars assume.
Stone giants and plasmats roam the lands, and it's said the plasmats had a city, built of metals and precious stones they burned inside themselves, that's a sight to behold, and where no humans are welcome. It is one of the more colourful legends; many stories tell of the slow death, of halluzinations and mirages, and of travels that only happenend in the mind. Lost travellers are found clutching at air, holding their ears shut and having died screaming, many have died eating sand until choking on it.

Artists' notes
One of my favourite books ever was a gigantic, lushly illustrated two-part edition of the Tales of 1001 Nights that I had as a child - when stacked they were big enough to serve as a coffee table - and of course bits of that went into building Lozir. Other continents are not actually safer or easier to travel, but the meme of the mysterious desert remains alive in my imagination. I think part of that fascination is that an open desert invokes the feeling of being alone, while the forests of old have an air of beng watchful, and both are intriguing to have in a fantasy world.

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