History of the Eternal Desert

Most scholars hold that the Eternal Desert was not always a harsh and sand-covered waste. There are many indications that, thousands of years ago, it was a lush and green paradise. Furthermore, it was the home to the first true civilization in Shaintar, the Empire of the Golden Sun (sometimes called the Empire of the Golden Crown in variant translations).

There is considerable argument over what the dominant race of the ancient empire was. Many scholars assume the Fae must have been at the center of it, as the writings and rules that have been found have many linguistic links to the elvish language. However, there are also runic connections to dwarvish, and many of the clues about the construction techniques used in the region give some scholars and archaeologists reason to point to that race as the primary one.

Frustratingly, neither the Fae nor the Dwarves can point to anything in their own historical accounts that gives a conclusive answer.

There is a small-but-growing contingent of historians and delvers of knowledge, a younger branch to be sure, that hold forth the idea that humans were actually the foundation race of the Empire of the Golden Sun and, therefore, the primary civilizing race of the ancient world. Traditionalists scoff at this notion, insisting that the longer-lived Fae and dwarves clearly brought their social and technical gifts to humans as civilization developed in Shaintar.

The new school of thinking, however, points to the very people living in those lands now, the Youlin Aradi. A mounting body of evidence suggests that they have been there always, while there is little sign that the Fae, dwarves, or any other people ever lived there in any great number. As well, the amalgamation of Fae and dwarvish influences is a strong indication that there was a “collating factor,” which the humans of Shaintar have always been where other racial influences are concerned.

The most compelling evidence, however, was discovered only very recently, during the “Hundred Years‟ Peace” following the War of Betrayal. An archaeological expedition exploring ruins found somewhere between Mara and Quadir discovered a perfectly-preserved tomb. Mummies are said to have risen and attacked the party, unfortunately devastating much of the find. One artifact did survive, however, and is being studied even now at the Zayid Library – a series of scrolls, apparently telling the story of the noble family that was buried in the tomb. Scholarly and magical means have been employed to reveal that the finds are many thousands of years old. The language used by the people of that time incorporated many pictures, and there are also diagrams and sketches that were found with the scrolls, and even some pottery. Every depiction of a person indicates that the people were neither Fae, nor dwarven: they were very clearly humans. As well, the depiction of the god they worshipped at the time, Raz'Dash the Sun God, made it clear they saw him as a human, as well.

No matter which race ruled that ancient empire, it disappeared many thousands of years ago. The “Sky Basin,” a mile-wide crater some 50 miles southwest of A'Morgal, leads many to believe that a great stone fell from the sky and caused terrible devastation, ultimately leading to the fall of the Empire and the transformation of the lush lands into a desert. What communities survive cling to the rivers that flow through the land, providing what life there can be, or else to the outskirts of the desert where there is still land to till or earth to dig in. The occasional oasis crops up around some few freshwater springs, though most are hidden and guarded secrets.

The history of the lands after the Golden Sun is one of constant warfare as the different tribes, forming under powerful and charismatic leaders nearly 2000 years after the old empire fell, constantly battle over what land or resources are worth having. The Youlin Aradi managed to come together for a short time when the Kal-Anar Empire invaded in 1753, but they could not fight well enough together to resist being conquered. Only the love of a Warlord for one of their own led to their freedom in 2562.

Unified for a time, they once again fell to infighting and internal strife. Not until 3008‟s “Gold War,” when the Malakar Dominion invaded and took many gold mine holdings in the northeast, were the major Princes of the Eternal Desert able to finally make progress towards a more unified peace and understanding.