The Dsja'taresh Desert Geographic Location in The Chronicles of Evalaw | World Anvil

The Dsja'taresh Desert

Stories from ancient, long dead civilisations have fuelled the imagination of many storytellers and fabulists for generations with their telling's of the vast desert that lies buried deep below the surface. Said to cover such an immense expanse far beyond anything seen on the world above, illuminated by the dying light of a forgotten celestial body, lost from the heavens long ago. According to these myths, the souls of the deceased would wander aimlessly for all eternity in an endless desert deep beneath the world with naught but dust and sorrow to quench their undying thirst. Naturally many accomplished academics and seasoned explorers have dismissed such tales as merely prattle, claiming such a place is impossible and could not possible exist below the surface, being nothing more than the work of overactive imagination. Linking the origin of the story of this underdesert to numerous Ancient Aelfaune mythology and superstitions surrounding the afterlife and what awaited them. Had one not dug a little further into these tales, they would discover that the denizens of the underworld and those intrepid enough to delve into the inky black depths would offer a very different opinion indeed.   Dsja'taresh, the name given to the immeasurable subterranean vault that shares its name with the nigh endless desert of infamy that resides within its confines. The true scale of the desert is largely unknown, it is by far the largest and most inhospitable environment in underworld and has never been successfully charted. Pieces of existing maps and known trade routes have been stitched together to chart something resembling a map of the region, and the dangers that lay within.  


W ithin this immense underground vault lies a vast, seemingly unending area known as the Dsja'taresh desert. Stretching as far as the eye can reach and without any prominent monuments or features in the wide open sands, the desert is far from empty. Many ancient tombs and antediluvian structures litter the landscape, often only visible for a few moments before disappearing into the dunes once more. Skeletal remains of ancient and long decomposed monsters of unbelievable size are known to be sighted throughout the inner regions of the desert where few souls have ever wandered. The sands themselves are said to be living, moving, and shifting all the time, and no map has ever been correctly documented. Only hazy paths have been marked out by travellers and caravans, and maps that are continually exchanged and updated by every cycle identify particular topographical features and points of interest, making it easy for any wayfarer to find their way. It can be an arduous and unforgiving place for inexperienced travellers, only the bravest would dare to go off the beaten path, and those who do will be punished.   The climate is dry and arid, the days are burning hot under the hollow sun, and the nights are bone-chillingly cold as it fades away. Because water that falls to the ground during the day evaporates nearly instantly when it comes into touch with the ground, desert nomads will advise any visitor to the region to collect water late at night. Lightning storms and sandstorms are common occurrences. When exposed to the violent sandstorms that afflict the wide desert regions, there isn't much you can do. When a storm hits, you must seek refuge or be ripped to shreds by the tremendous winds.  
Natural occurring seismic activity in the underworld cause waves within the vast caverns walls, ceilings and floors, generating air flow and currents throughout the underworld. Within the vast vaults of the Djsa'taresh this occurs on a much larger scale, generating wind that sweeping across the sands and forming the dunes and other features one would expect from deserts found on the overworld.

Habitable areas

Despite the inherent risks and dangers that may be encountered when confronted with the topography of the Dsja'taresh, there are safe havens and enormous inhabited areas that provide a respite from the scouring sands. The most noticeable are the areas that follow the course of the Nirkana, the desert's largest river. The lofty shelves, plateaus, and canyons of the Dsja'taresh highlands, the lush, tropical primeval world of the PLACEHOLDER Jungle, and finally the verdant Nirkana river valley and delta, most commonly referred to as Phyraxgia, which reaches through the desert lands and into a great sea far beyond the horizon.   Isolated havens brimming with verdant life and life-saving pools of crystal clear water; though these are often well guarded by the desert's native inhabitants, both beast and humanoid nomads, many travellers find themselves relying solely on these oasis spots for drinkable water and shelter as they travel from one end of the desert to the other. Many caves and dug-in holes snake around the massive rock columns that rip through the dunes; these small networks of caves and tunnels are best known for being home to the indigenous fauna that built them, but they are also excellent refuges for travellers during sandstorms and scorching heat when the hollow sun reaches its zenith.

The Hollow Sun.

by Noah Bradley
The ominous crimson glow of Aulreths prize is a hauntingly beautiful visage to behold in the depths of the world. The Phenomenon that is the Hollow Sun is an aspect of the Dsja'taresh that has perplexed and confounded many scholars and chroniclers that have stumbled across it's reference from accounts that have reached back to the surface, from merchants and explorers across the centuries. The impossible sight of this dying heavenly body, entombed in the underworld is enough to addle even the most sanest of minds. But there, above the twisting sands of the vastness of the Dsja'taresh, the foreboding unnatural light lingers, swallowed up by the darkness. The denizens of the underworld have come to call it the Hollow Sun, explorer from the overworld instead have given it the moniker of the black sun after its striking appearance. A solid black sphere surrounded by a pulsating red light that grows into a vivid orange, and wanes into almost nothing. This cycle is a cruel mockery of the day and night cycles of the overworld.
"By the one, I don't understand…. Why is the sun here? We've been descending further and further into the abyss, not climbing surely? Is this some foul Aelfier trick of the mind, or am I truly going mad?"
— Comments recovered from the journal of a unnamed explorer crossing the threshold into the Dsja'taresh Desert.


The Crystal Desert
Geographic Location | Dec 30, 2021

Large crystal reefs disrupt the dunes as the Dsja'taresh's boundaries near the Amaranth tunnels. These crystal reefs, known simply as the crystal desert, reflect and increase the harmful light that saturates the area.

Dsja'taresh Highlands.
Geographic Location | Jan 27, 2022

The Highlands are a vast series of great shelves and plateaus set into over two hundred miles of cavern wall, descending toward the Dsja'taresh Desert.

Geographic Location | Jul 6, 2023

An ancient subterranean desert realm of antediluvian temples, great obelisks, and vast ziggurats. Phyraxgia a decadent, sinister menace, a cradle of dark magic where the living worship capricious gods and the dead refuse to stay silent.


Terrors of the Sands.

Like much of the underworld, the underdesert is no exception to finding itself crawling with many strange and unusual dangerous creatures. Due to the varied topography that the great vault offers, there are numerous dangers that prowl the landscape of the Dsja'taresh.

Dsja'taresh Bestiary

Articles under The Dsja'taresh Desert

Cover image: by Laspainter


Author's Notes

The Dsja'taresh originally began life in Evalaw simply as a endless vault that held the Hollow Sun, imprissoned beneath the surface to be forgotten. It was esentially an oubliette (I love a good oubliette). It was later, when working on the Ameranth region on the long forgotten minecraft project, that the Phyraxgians and the idea of a underground desert came to life. However, the difficulty of a inhospitably hot and cold underground desert climate came into question. That's when we remembered that giant intombed celestial body beneath the surface. Hey presto, the Dsja'taresh was born! A fading sun that ebbs and wains casting dying light on the vast dune seas, rocks craggs and the lush river valley far below the endless vault that holds it there.

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