The Kaldara is a seemingly endless expanse of desert which dominates most of the central-eastern area of the continent of Euristan, its hot, dry sands have been the death of many who have become lost or stranded there. Despite this, many people live within the desert's confines, and its position between the Centric Sea Sea of Gormallis means that many trade routes snake through its dunes. To those who know how to navigate it principal amongst them the hardy Ma’Jalis people who are native to the region, the desert is full of life and potential, but all who frequent its sands know that the Kaldara can take away any abundance found there in the blink of an eye.
The area of the Kaldara comprises most of the central-eastern part of the continent of Euristan, and it connects the north and west of the continent to the southern and eastern most parts. It is surrounded on its eastern and western by water, with the western coast being that of the Centric Sea and its eastern coast being that of the Sea of Gormallis . It is bounded by two mountain ranges on its northern and southern borders, with the enormous Heavenspire Mountains to its south and the more diminutive Sand Hills to the north. The Kaldara itself is an enormous expanse of sand, which is constantly shifting and being buffeted into sand dunes by the winds that come down from the Heavenspire Mountains to the south. To those in the know this does mean that an easy way to try and navigate through the Kaldara is to look at the dunes, for most will be angled towards the north. The whole region has an arid climate and it can experience incredibly high temperatures at all times of the year. Most of the expanse of the Kaldara is too hot and dry for things to grow, but the shifting of the sands means that underground reservoirs or water or natural springs are either brought close enough to the surface or are completely uncovered to allow an oasis to form.
Fauna & Flora
On the face of it, the Kaldara appears to be a lifeless void, but those that know the desert intimately are keenly aware of where to look for life amongst the desert sands. Wherever springs break the surface of the sand, or wherever underground reservoirs of water get close to the surface, life springs up. Seeds can lie dormant amongst the sand for centuries waiting for water and they will grow vigorously whenever the conditions are right. Most of the plant life found in and around the Kaldara’s oases are predominantly date palms, spiny grasses and acacia trees. There is as well animal life that survives in the Kaldara. Insect life, rodents and snakes form their own lower food chain whose dramas play out unbeknownst to most creatures, but larger animals such as sand goats, camels, antelope and lions also exit amongst the sands. One marker of how much life is hidden in the Kaldara is the fact that large predators, Desert Samaban along with the native humanoid population of the Ma’Jalis are able to survive in the region. Whilst there are not thought to be too many Samaban, as the species is long lived but does not reproduce frequently, thousands of people are thought to make up the Ma’Jalis population, with the harsh climate of the desert meaning that they must subsist through hunter gatherer activities, which requires a certain level of other animals and plants in the food chain to sustain it.
Civilisation and SettlementsAside from the Ma’Jalis, other peoples have set up their homes within the Kaldara. The two principal geopolitical entities that have established themselves within the desert are the Sultanate of Binsharaz in the north west and the The Merchant Court of Alkashar in the south east. Snaking between these two islands of civilisation and the The Merchant Princedom of Hastellion beyond the Kaldara's borders to the south west are numerous tradeways, which have a number of communities set up along their way to cater to travellers and trading caravans traversing this harsh environment. In addition, ruins spread throughout the Kaldara speak of another population that once dwelt here, though separate to the Ma’Jalis. An ancient temple city, almost entirely swallowed by the sand can be found on the Kaldara's eastern coast, with numerous similar ruins spread throughout the dunes. Those who dwell in the Kaldara, say that these ruins belong to the Sepulchre Court, a long dead kingdom of people cursed by the goddess Inthanata to spend eternity without the rest of death.
The Kaldara is known to possess deposits of natural resources, which have attracted many would-be prospectors to travel to and settle in this harsh region, hoping to find riches there. Deposits of mundane metals and outcrops of hard decorative stone, primarily granite and marble all of these resources can be gathered in the desert, but are more easily harvested with much less hassle elsewhere in Kelbonnar. What really attracts people to the Kaldara are the rich deposits of gold and gems that can be found within its sands. The most prosperous gem fields can be found in the southern-central region of the desert, around the prospecting town of Malbar's Crater. For the Ma’Jalis people who dwell in the Kaldara however, it is a different story beyond the excavation of gems and gold. Their knowledge of the desert means that they are able to create wild gardens of date palms and hardy, heat resistant vegetables around oases and hunt the other resilient animals of the desert for food, or shepherd herds of camels and sand goats for their milk, meat and pelts. The most precious resource for the Ma’Jalis people however, is Sapphire Water. Rare and precious wellsprings of this liquid can be found deep beneath the sands of the Kaldara and Sapphire Water, as well as having much greater fortifying properties than normal water, is regarded as a sacred material by the Ma’Jalis, who use it in their religious rituals.