The Crystal Expanse
As I stood upon the sumit and looked down across the fields of ice, I could only think in wonder of how much the gently rolling dunes of snow and ice resembled a wedding cake, it's icing sprinkled with sugar crystals.- Taran Undal, Adventurer and Author Very few individuals make the journey to the isolated Crystal expanse. Even fewer survive the journey. Only those who can endure the freezing storms of the mountains or navigate the ice flows and bergs of the ocean can make it. Those who do survive to see the rolling dunes are confronted by a native people suspicious of outsiders and unaccomodating to the disrespectful.
Spralling in the space between two arms of an ancient mountain range and the frozen Northern Ocean, the Crystal Expanse is a desert of immense proportions. Largely comprised of rolling dunes of glittering snow, the cloudless landscape is punctuated by giant ice pillars that jut into the sky like arms reaching for the heavens; remnants of long melted, but unforgotten, glaciers. The ice and snow that makes up this desert comes not from frequent snow storms or blizzards, but instead from the freezing salt water that is blown off the sea to the south. That is not to say that their aren't storms and the like which add to the desert, but the position of the mountain range means that the only storms that occur are powerful, having formed over the sea.
Fauna & Flora
The landscape of the Crystal Expanse is very sparsely populated with animals and plants. A lucky traveller may come across an arctic fox or two, dancing across the frost in search of the few small herbivorous creatures that live in burrows beneith the compacted surface. Mice, weasels, and white-furred rabbits are all common creatures, inhabiting ever-changing tunnel networks under the slowly-shifting dunes, living as close to the cold-loving roots that grow in the frozen earth. Pine forests - home to larger beasts and birds of prey - colour the northern edge of this desert, hugging close to the mountains.
This place is not known for its resources. Those few that choose to live here either use the forests to build wooden homes and hunt what they can. Alternatively, they live on the coast to the south, making a living off the few arctic fish that they catch. The primary resource of the Crystal Expanse is silence. Peaceful, unending silence. Hermits and holy men come here to meditate, and those who call it home from birth find it easy to go weeks without speaking, using gestures instead.
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