The Olimian wastes
The Olimian Wastes is a large desert area taking up a majority of the landmass in the southeast of Vreathe. Originally it was a large grassland with an expansive Silver Age kingdom called Olimia. It was the most advanced kingdom on Vreathe for thousands of years and was a center of magical research and technology alike. Even the gods themselves marveled at the many accomplishments the Silver Race accomplished here.
Then the Cataclysm happened at the end of the Silver Age. Originating from within the center of Olimia, a magical shockwave spread around the world. Olimia suffered the most concentrated, and therefore worst of the effects. The vast majority of living things in this area were instantly crystalized. Without life to hold any water the area quickly turned into a desert. In the tens of thousands of years since, most of the kingdom was swallowed up by sand and all that remains are petrified husks that were originally alive.
I know why you forsook me. I know why you forsook Arden and Bell. Our Elven Heritage is...undesirable in the face of the church and you had to annul your marriage with mother so you could become King of North Cassel. I accept that. What I do not accept is that you believe us useless to your kingdom. I do not accept that the moment you annulled the marriage you disowned us. Was my years of magic torture to become Cassel's Scion of Fire for nothing? I will prove to you my worth. I will go into the Silverwaste desert and retrieve a Dragon's Egg. It will serve the North for a thousand years, as will I.
the Olimian Wastes are located in the interior of the Argen Continent, almost entirely surrounded by three different mountain ranges: The Towers of Altus, the Crystal Mountains, and the Skytree Mountains. Naturally, the area doesn't get much rainfall and by all natural laws, should be a desert. There is no obvious rivers carved into the landscape and any that existed were covered by the sands long ago.
Other than the large gap in the mountains to the southwest, said to be protected by large stone sentinels, there are not many ways to access the wasteland. There are several mountain passes south of Cassel, and there are several tunnels running through the crystal mountains. Due to its remote location, the area is mostly unexplored and unknown by Iron Age explorers.
Of the Petrified Remains...
The remains found in the desert are made of Silicon Dioxide. While the vast majority of these remains are buried beneath large amounts of sand, there are plenty of areas where they are exposed to the elements. Depending on how close these remains were to the epicenter of the cataclysm, they were crystallized in different ways. Some formed into colorful Opal, others into Chalcedony or Quartz crystals. Normally this process would take millions of years and require geological conditions that are not possible in this area of the world, but the wave of mana that swept over the area during the cataclysm flash froze nearly every living thing into crystallized form.
A unique property of Silicon Crystals, especially Quartz, is that it can store information when charged with mana. Explorers are able to view the last thoughts of the people turned to stone. They do this by charging the crystalized heads with mana and observing the memories they find. Most of the memories are all the same, several seconds of looking at an impossibly bright light before darkness hits them. Some memories are considerably longer, stretching back several days or weeks before the cataclysm ended them.
The closer to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the purer and more transparent the crystalized remains become. These store more mana and more memories. The few examples recovered from this area have memories going back ten years or more from the point of crystallization. The heads of these remains also store the knowledge of long forgotten magic and are highly sought after by scholars. Explorers often risk their lives attempting to reach the innermost parts of the desert in an attempt to find these due to how profitable it is, even though it is extremely dangerous to do so.
Expedition Log #3, August, 2982 I.A.
It's been three Weeks and there is no Dragon in sight! Why are we in this desert again? I get that the girl wants to prove her worth to the King, but this is a foolish quest.
All we've found so far are these crystalized heads. They'll fetch a decent price to the right mage, but there is something unsettling about them. I decided to peer into the memories of one of them and saw nothing but a flash of light then darkness. I did it a second time and after the flash of light and darkness, I was staring at myself! These things are able to gain new memories, as if they are still alive!
...I can't believe I'm carrying three of these out of the desert with me. I only pray that if these people are still alive that they forgive me for disturbing their final resting place.
The history of the Olimian Wastes stretches back almost four hundred fifty thousand years to the earliest of recorded days when the Olimians, or the Silver Race, first explored the majority of Vreathe. Their race was large in number and needed to settle every bit of land not occupied by the Alimyans, or Gold Race. The majority of them wandered into a large, arid grassland, then called Shen-Fosias by the Alimyans. It was a relatively flat but fertile plain, with a river that ran through the center. The Olimians decided this would be the perfect place for their kingdom.
Within a few thousand years, the Silver Race built up a kingdom that took up nearly all of the grassland. They built large watch towers on the mountain ranges surrounding it, especially along the Crystal Mountains. They went beyond the borders of Olimia, building outpost cities across much of Eastern Vreathe. The main city in Olimia, called Tenali, was a large metropolis, covering as much as a quarter of the kingdom's area. Silver Age technology was advanced and their ability to weave magic was unmatched by all except the Gold Race and the Gods.
Then around a hundred thousand years ago, something changed in the Olimians. The Dark God Tarcur gave them promises of greater power. He explained to them a way to cast a spell that would grant them the power of the gods, that would change their mortal forms to that of immortals. His price for this knowledge was the capture of the remaining Gold Race.
The Silver Race originally entered Vreathe as Warriors to fight off Tarcur's assault on the world Tree, to fight off the Dragons, but now, the Silver Race worked for Tarcur, and they became warriors once again. They build a massive army, more vast and terrifying than any in history. They then spread out across Vreathe and the dark lands beyond, hunting down the Gold Race, handing them over to Tarcur for an unknown purpose.
The Silver Race fought and captured the Alimyans they could find. They fought and sealed lesser Gods in their quest, slayed Elder Dragons, went into unknown lands and defeated unknown terrors beyond Iron age understanding. When they captured a large enough number of Alimyans, Tarcur gave the Silver Race the information they sought. The means to build a Mana Tower, one that would grant them immortality and power to match the Gods.
This Tower was quickly built in the center of Tenali, their greatest City. Most of the crystals that made up the crystal mountains were mined and used to build the tower. This Tower was the greatest construction project of the Silver Age, greater than the Dams of Karrask, Greater than the Watch Towers, Greater than the Ark that was to be used to explore other worlds. All that was left was to turn the tower on and activate its magic...
The moment the tower was turned on, everything went wrong for the Olimians. The Tower was built to the exact specifications Tarcur gave to them, but it was not a tower that would grant immortality. Rather, the Tower was built as the conduit for a powerful god spell, one that would drain the Elder Gods of their power and give it to Tarcur. It would also cause the destruction of the Silver Race and destroyed the city of Tenali and the Olimian Kingdom as a whole.
The Tower glowed bright when it was turned on, glowing brighter than the sun. then it exploded, sending out a magical shockwave that affected every member of the Silver Race, no matter where in the universe they were. It also caused irreparable damage to the Olimian Kingdom. Nearly every living thing was instantly crystalized within the kingdom. Outside the kingdom, the magical shockwave was slightly weaker, and had no effect on anything that wasn't of the Silver Race, and every single member of the Silver Race was altered forever.
Some of the Silver Race were crystalized like in the Olimian Kingdom. The vast majority were deconstructed into unidentifiable masses of flesh and bone, and died within seconds. Some were altered considerably less but they were forever altered. Those that survived formed the many different types of Fey: Elves, Sea Elves, Fairies, Orcs, Centaurs, and more. They are all descended from Silver Age humans that attempted to play god and were met with their destruction.
Since everything was dead, plants and animals, the fertile grassland was quickly replaced by a vast desert. It only took a few thousand years for it to grow to its present size, burying everything under the sands.
Expedition Log #5, September, 2982 I.A.
Even though most of the city is still beneath the shifting sand dunes, what is visible is beautiful beyond words. Though ruined beyond any possible metric, the amount of stonework and intricately detailed carvings present is greater than the greatest Casselian cities. Not even Wrethilin, the City on the Mesa, comes close to the ruined city of Tenali! The desert heat and the almost disastrous encounter with the dragons made the journey worth it! I only hope the dangers are behind us now.
Dangers of the desert
While the outer edges of the Olimian Wastes are safe to explore (not accounting for usual dangers of a desert), the further towards the center one travels, the greater the dangers. The Olimian Wastes are one of the few places on Vreathe where waking dragons roam. They all seem to originate from the same valley system in the northern area of the wasteland. While dragons are intelligent beings and can generally be reasoned with, they assume that any human wandering into the desert is there to learn its secrets and need to be tested for their worth. Because of this, dragons generally attack any human on sight.
There are worse dangers if one can get past the dragons. In the very center of the desert, at the exposed ruins of the City of Tenali, there are stories of Crystal beings that wander the area. While accounts describe them as human shaped, accounts also describe them as terriyfing. These crystal guardians attack any living thing on sight, using mana charged crystal shards. If one is hit with these shards, the process of crystallization starts, turning surrounding living tissue to stone. There is no cure, and many explorers have returned from the Desert with crystalized limbs after a nearly fatal encounter.
All of the other members of the expedition are dead. We were attacked by the Mother Dragon and forced into the deepest parts of the desert. My face is forever scarred from her fire, but I was saved due to my knowledge of Fire Magic. I did it though! I got a Dragon's Egg! But...my arrogance and need to prove myself started the expedition's downfall.
Upon reaching Tenali, we were met with something I still can't describe. The Crystals around us started coming to life, forming the shape of humans and more terrifying things. They then attacked everyone around me. Their bullets striking and tearing apart flesh, going through armor as if it wasn't there. We managed to defeat them, and made our escape, but then members of the expedition started to slowly fall. Where the bullets struck, their skin started to turn to stone and crystal, until it spread through their whole bodies. All other members of the expedition are dead now...
I was the only one that was lucky and didn't turn, even though I was struck several times. Was it because I am a Half Elf? Is it because you are my father and we are descended from Saint Nora herself, her Elder God blood protecting me somehow? I do not know...
I don't even know why I am writing this letter as it may never reach you. I am alone in the desert, holding this dragon egg close to keep myself warm at night. I am now in the same area as the mother dragon. I have decided to return the egg to her and accept my fate.
If this letter is found, somehow intact, please give it to King Brenon Vernandor of North Cassel or one of his descendants, so my story may not be forgotten