In The Heart of the World
The Ta-ang Desert is a vast and inhospitable wasteland on the Western borders of the Xin Empire.
Temperatures fluctuate in the Ta-ang. In the mid-afternoon, the brutally hot sun is hot enough to deliver heatstroke in minutes, and boil eggs in their shells. In the evening, the temperature plummets, and icy winds and hail scour the white sands clean. Travel is only possible in the early morning and early evening, when the temperatures approach human habitability. Otherwise, the caravans who make the perilous journey across the desert must make camp for large portions of the day.
Of course, the inclement elements are not the only danger of the desert. A variety of sinister creatures have made the hellish Ta-ang their home, and the harsh nature of their environment has bred equally dangerous wildlife. Bandits are few and far between, but those there are are to be feared, for they have found ways to thrive in a place where few men dare tread at all.
The Ta-ang separates the Xin from the prosperous and mysterious Muraib Sultanate. Merchants trade raw materials and goods from both empires, as well as swapping tall tales, local legends, and caravan gossip. The danger and expense of such a journey is worth it to some, since goods from Xin fetch a high price in the Sultanate, and vice versa. The journey across the desert can make a man’s fortune – or see it dashed to ruins amid the swirling sands.