The Desert at the Edge of Existence
The Desert consists mostly of dune seas, only occasionally interspersed with areas of desert pavement, dry lakes, and salt flats. In the northeast, parts of the Melancholy Mountains rise up from the shifting sands.
And while the Desert surrounds the populated lands of Eden on all sides, it is itself encircled by the River Without End. In this way, the sloping Desert might be seen as a huge beach—a huge beach which might kill you at any moment, in any number of ways.
The Desert is extraordinarily arid, with only sparse vegetation. But it is home to several predatory species, including a subspecies of nahnlaríx which has adapted to “swim” the dune seas as expertly—and frighteningly—as they do the waterways of the world.
The Desert is notable for its complete absence of precipitation. Though clouds often pass overhead on their way from the River Without End to the more habitable regions of Eden, those skies above the Desert at the Edge of Existence never crack open.
Beyond that, the Desert seems to shift and adapt with a mind of its own—and a malice one at that. It’s almost as if it has been charged by the River to keep any and all sapient beings from ever reaching the water’s edge.
And it seems to delight in doing its job.
Many a wary traveler, thinking they had finally spotted the River in the distance, has been turned right around by this antagonistic stretch of arid earth.
But much to the Desert’s chagrin—and the River’s—these intrepid humans and elves and others like them, they always seem to find a new reason to hope in the confines of border towns like East Dumbstruck, and they just keep on trying.