The Wahiba Desert
Known now as ‘The Sea of Sand’, the Wahiba Desert covers much of the central portion of Northern Cisterra in ever-expanding dunes of sand. This area was not always a desert; though it is unlikely any Mortals have lived long enough to remember, it was once part of The Mistwood and the Great Central Plains. Being in the center of the continent, this area has been frequented by traders, caravans, and militaries traveling north, south, east and west across Cisterra. Even this kind of wear and tear would not raze a dense forest leaving behind just bare sand, though; the Wahiba Desert has a much more bloody history underneath its dunes.
Before the Orcs had emerged from The Sarai Wastes, the Mistwood was home to both Elves and Dwarves. During the Ancients’ War, the Elves swarmed through the Great Central Plains and assaulted the Dwarven cities in the Mistwood, and much of the wood was caught aflame by the sorcerors’ magic and the draconic flames. The Dwarves used their own terrible weaponry in defense, and the explosions from their bombs and cannons cleared as much of the wood as the Elves’ careless ensorcellments. The setting of the stage for the area’s desertification was due to the wanton destruction of the Dwarven chemical reservoirs. Alchemical stockpiles were ruptured, and dangerous chemicals, mutagens and re-agents seeped into the soil through the Mistwood and the plains.
After the Elves’ defeat at Kaldheim Keep, their retreat, and the end of the Ancient’s War, the Mistwood was a decayed shroud and the Great Central Plains were covered in blood and gore. Very few Cisterrans knew of the alchemical agents inert beneath the soil, but among them was then-professor Haslam of The Academy of Arcaro. This knowledge was harmless until The Siege of Arcaro, when The Tribes of the Sarai Wastes emerged from their caves and assaulted the Academy. In a magic-strewn battle that took place across more of the Great Central Plains, professor Haslam, in a feat of extreme perfection of his theurgical art, activated the inert agents in the soil, causing poisons to cloud, explosives to blow, and the wildlife to mutate into horrendous, aberrant creatures. The majority of the Orcish forces died in one day, and many more carried toxins home to the Wastes or were followed by fell beasts that now ravage Sarai.
In a matter of weeks, the Great Central Plains were gone—only carcasses and sand remained. The Mistwood was cleared, leaving only a small eastern portion still alive. Professor Haslam was promoted to Ephor, and later became leader of the entire Academy. Since the massacre, the Wahiba desert has proven deadly in many ways to those who cross it. Some hope that the strange flora of the Mistwood will slowly recapture the lost territory, and some researchers at Arcaro are dedicated to correcting the ecological damage that has ravaged the Sea of Sand.