Sea of Dust
A bleak desert of powdery gray ash fills this enormous basin that was formerly the Suel Imperium. A fertile landscape once extended for 1,000 miles west and south until it was inundated by the Rain of Colorless Fire, sent in retaliation by the survivors of the Baklunish Empire after it had been brought low by the Invoked Devastation cast by the Suloise a millennium ago.
What remains is an endless vista of ash and dust shaped into dunes. Howling desert winds often whip the surface into choking clouds that strip flesh from bone, making vision impossible and breathing a torment. This environment is made even worse by the addition of volcanic ash and cinders that rain down from the Hellfurnaces to cover the already ghastly landscape. Below the dusty surface, the ash is packed and nearly hard as rock; no plant will grow here.
Natives of the Sulhauts and explorers from distant lands sometimes enter the Sea of Dust and explore its few ruins in search of treasures of the ancient Suel Imperium. (The Passage of Slerotin is lately used.) Those ruins visible from the mountain heights are the most frequently visited, but very little is recovered from these fairly accessible locations anymore. It is believed that vast wealth and magic lie in the recesses of the ruins, or in the lost capital of the Suel Imperium, somewhere in the central expanse of the Sea of Dust. Now called the Forgotten City, this buried metropolis is said to remain nearly intact, with only its tallest spires protruding from the ash.
Incredibly, life exists in the Sea of Dust. In addition to hideous monsters that ooze, scurry, or creep through vast tunnels carved beneath its surface by even greater monsters, intelligent fire newts dwell in the lower Hellfurnaces. The fringes of this vast basin also hold examples of humanity. A tall, slender folk of ebony hue dwells on the southwest edge of the desert, pursuing a nomadic life where the caustic dust gives way to fertile soil. Another human race lives under the shadow of the Hellfurnaces on the desert’s eastern border. These short, stocky people cover their bodies with an odorous wax to protect against the caustic dust and burning sun.
It is speculated that both these peoples must have special knowledge of the ruins near their territories, which would be of great value to expeditions from foreign lands. However, it is unlikely they are willing to provide any assistance without powerful inducements, for they are notoriously difficult to threaten or intimidate. They also prey on explorers in a weakened condition.