"Noone is foolish enough to travel the desert without a guide. And no better a guide than a Shasreel." - A common traveler's saying.
Shasreel is the name the Dahlen
uses when referring to the various groups of nomads living within The Sands of Sturn
. Although the groups tend to be separate from one another, they are treated by outsiders as being under one banner. The nomads are few in number but widely known throughout all of Nioyaathep and even discussed beyond the country's borders. Rumors of snake-riding travelers braving the terrible sandstorms and offering austere guidance to travelers in the desert tend to be widely appreciated by most listeners.
The Shasreel are most widely known for their preferred method of travel. They ride on a Sand Skiff, a vehicle made of light wood and skin sails with a variety of reins and pulleys that they harness up to the Nehebek, the great serpents traveling just beneath the sands of the desert. Incredibly aggressive, the Nehebek were said to be untamable outside of the High Priestesses of the Dahlen. The Shasreel have proven otherwise. By utilizing their skiffs attached to the tamed serpents, they are able to travel great distances through the harsh desert with ease. They wear garments made of a special fabric that can resist the often fatal sandstorms found throughout Nioyaathep. Where they harvest this from or how it is spun is a mystery to anyone outside the Shasreel and there are many within the Dahlen cities who would pay plentifully to find out these secrets.
"The desert and her mistress choose who I take, it is not up to me. Pray harder to the gods and may they be more merciful on your next journey. If you survive to make one." - Yammut Geheb, Shasdjed
Many travelers aiming to traverse the Sands of Sturn aim to employ the services of the Shasreel to guide them. Each group led by their shaman, the Shasdjed, can navigate the desert's everchanging dunes like no other. Travel is not guaranteed to everyone, however, regardless of the ability to pay. The nomads are particular in who they will transport, often no one from nobility and certainly not the High Priestesses or their retinue. The Shasreel claim that the desert is alive and that Dahlia
speaks through it. Only those who she allows can be guided by the Shasreel. The High Priestesses have denied these claims in full, stating that they are the true voice of Dahlia in Nioyaathep. Many commoners believe that Dahlia uses this as a test for the priesthood and other nobility to prove that they can handle themselves and listen to her without a guide.
Even when chosen by the Shasreel, payment is still required, though it can vary just as wildly as their clientele. The rich claim to have to proffer great sums of wealth in jewelry or Magickal Apparatus. The poor claim to have to give up the clothes on their back, only to receive them back at the end of their journey. Requests for odd tasks to be completed or interesting stories to be told are not uncommon in exchange for guidance.