The northern and eastern regions of Duray are separated from the rest of the continent by the Desiccated Lands, a large desert. According to unconfirmed legends, it once held lush plains that were scorched by the fury of an angered god. Today, it is sparsely populated by humans and Lan (mostly of the stout variety), as well as some gnolls here and there, having been further harmed by demonic invasion a few centuries ago. In the south, settlements of the old Ahn-Seli empire are still inhabited, and in the east, most people live near the western banks of the Galay River; similarly, people of the west tend to inhabit the coast. Towns and cities can be found in each of these areas, as well as villages near scattered oases, but there are also nomads in this region. Among the most notorious of the nomadic peoples are the northern stout halflings, who have mastered the bow and utilize effective guerilla tactics against their enemies, usually rival tribes, predatory monsters, or Qistan soldiers. However, most of these groups are not warmongers and will fight only if it contributes to ensuring their survival. There are also multiple outposts set up for traders along the routes between Shobre and Caberia, and the ones between Vayha and the kingdoms of Duriac. The Desiccated Lands are the ancient homeland of the elves that became the changelings millennia ago, and several oral histories of the Lan (halflings) claim their ancestors originated here. Rumor has it that a holy city thrives in the hottest region, maintained by a gnoll archdruid. Legends also speak of a city with white buildings, made invisible from afar by illusions. Strangest of all is the Wandering Oasis, a lake said to teleport across the desert every few weeks. Vayhan astrologers and diviners have attempted to predict its movement, with no success so far.
The Desiccated Lands range from the west coast of Duray between South Caberia and Shobre to the middle of the Galay River, and form the northern border of Vayha as well. This region tends to be divided into four smaller areas by cartographers: the slightly more hospitable south where the northern provinces of the Ahn-Seli Empire once were, the areas near the western coast of Duray, the region between the Sculpted Mountains and the Galay River, and lastly, all of the land in between. Being a very large region, elevation varies, with valleys, flat land, dunes, plateaus, hills, and mountains all throughout. The Desiccated Lands are extremely hot and, as the name implies, dry, difficult to survive in even during wet seasons. However, temperature is greatly reduced during the nighttime.
Fauna & Flora
Plants are rare away from bodies of water, though some species have adapted to the scarcity of liquid. Grasses and shrubs are the most common plants, though date palms often grow near water. Small animals include scorpions and resilient insects. Various birds and reptiles (especially finches, ostriches, snakes, kruthiks, and lizards) live here, and mammals include jackals, foxes, gazelles, hyenas, goats, and sheep. Horses, donkeys, and camels have been brought by humanoids. Though both originate in the peninsula to the east, griffons can be found in the skies above the Desiccated Lands, and serpopards on the ground. Originating from the Center in Kivosia, the bizarre scorpionfolk have spread here as well.