As the only land artery through the Esbalt Mountains between the Sultanate of Fashaddon and the Emirate of Taqwal, the Estret Pass should be alive with the flow of trade and people, but instead is a heavily militarised area, and the front line for the Emirate in the defence of the Vermell Peninsula.
The Estret Pass wends its way circuitously through the eastern and western Esbalt Mountains leading from the Sonsuz Desert
in the north to the Vermell Peninsula
in the south. As the pass ascends up into the mountains proper, the sand of the Sonsuz gives way to the bare rock of the mountains themselves. The northern end of the pass is often the most difficult part of the Estret to travel through, as the strong winds that roll off the desert frequently choke the entrance to the pass with thick drifts of sand, which can make it impassable to heavy traffic. The sharply ascending nature of the Esbalt Mountains that flank the pass means that it is very difficult for someone travelling along the pass to veer off into the mountains, or attempt to navigate around the pass once they are in it. The pass itself is quite wide, nearly five miles wide at its thickest point, but the steeply sloping sides up to the mountains often make the pass seem much narrower than it actually is.
In addition, the terrain of the Estret Pass is made more difficult by the intricate system of defences that the Emirate of Taqwal
have constructed along the pass’ length to slow and hopefully stall the ever present threat of military incursions from the Sultanate of Fashaddon
. As almost no non-military traffic moves through the pass it has been littered with traps and hazards and has had small defensive walls, towers and trenches built along it to provide a constant defence presence and over watch of the area. The numerous attempts by the Sultanate to force their way through the pass are commemorated by the concentration of bones that have been left where they fell, to bleach in the sun and act as a deterrent for any other of the Sultans forces that would travel that way.