Legends of Belariath

The Southern Lands

The lands to the south, both within and beyond the Ilifrian Empire, are wrought with dangers that come from the harsh desert climate as well as those who inhabit it. Past lush forests that dominate most of the northern hemisphere of the continent, beyond arid plains and plateau’s. These lands are not as fertile as the river rich systems to the west and north; although attempts have been made, they have become lands more suited to nomadic and savage people, who work not to tame the land, but to survive it.

The more commonly traveled southern path that lay within the Empire’s borders is often referred to the land of the mah’hul, though it may pointedly refer to the human tribes that wander these deserts and not the name of the location. These lands run under the rule of the Pasha Qu`Selashya, a loyal subject to the Emperor Stormbringer, from her ‘city’ of tents does she watch the border and its scattering of people. Though the settlement is compromised of animal farmers, soldiers and traders, at least half of the inhabitants are nomadic by nature and so a more permanent residency has become improbable and less likely – this suites the needs of its people, as survival in these blazing climates depends on flexibility and stamina.

Beyond the watchful eye of the Pasha, the desert stretches – at times harsh, nothing but golden sand, dunes that shift with the frivolous wind. There is the occasional oasis, offering respite and rare water sources for the weary traveler, but dangers come in more than just the ever present thirst. There are creatures that make the sand their home, beasts of the two legged, four legged and non-appendage variety; that would make a fine meal or slave of an ignorant traveler. Miles and miles these stretches of inhospitable land will run, at its very center, those sands turn black like coal, and a deep and destructive magic has taken root. They called it the Desert of the Doomed, or the black sands, here few but the damned roam, though some of the region’s more savage occupants have called this fringe their territory for centuries now.

There are sightings of footprints all over the sands that lead out into its vast and arid void, but soon disappear altogether. Rumors surfacing that the dead of Shaharezhar, a land and time only whispered at within the arid climates, continue to walk to desert, forever cursed to remain in their ignorance. The footprints usually come coincidentally with the sandstorms that come and go.

There are also a race of nomadic beings called the K`sir that hide rather well in the desert. Lone and rare sightings of the K`sir report them to appear like giant scorpions, with the upper bodies of a human. For their size, they are swift and very silent in the desert. They do whatever it takes to strike with quick precision if they ever decide to raid bordering villages and towns, and they are generally an unfriendly race of beings that choose to kill first and ask questions later. Those along the coast are usually the most affected by the K`sir raids, though they have been spotted outside of the desert, but no more than a day’s distance.

Sha`Shir and Har`Amrun

Along the coast, where the black sands do not tread, a bustling town of commerce and trade of the exotic fruits and wares that can be found from the villages that also outline the coast. The folk here specialize in pottery, ceramics, and brewing. Two of the well-known towns and cities in this area is Sha`shir, the center of all trade and commerce along the coastline, and south of that, the High Elven City of Har`Amrun, which features the Academy of Veirun, a centralized and probably the only school of Arts within the dry, acrid climates.

Sha`shir, a bustling port-city located south of the Svargon Islands and along the western coast, has just recently come under Imperial rule. After the K'sir war, when its city was ravaged by invaders and saved by the forthought of the Empire, it was absorbed under Stormbringer's rule as reward for it's diligence and sacrifice.

Har`Amrun is located south east of Sha`Shir - deeper into the desert with the ocean just a few miles west, this city remains a close ally and political neighbor of the Ilifran Empire. It is surrounded by thick walls and boasts bardic warriors and fire dancers among its elven population - scholars and students of the art flock to the city and its customs, drawn by the promise of exotic knowledge.

These cities feature grandiose monuments of architectural splendor, some dating back long before the Empire to the north had come into play, others restructured under the elven and human influences of the regions. These buildings are known for their limestone and brick facades, as well as the hieroglyphic and pictorial languages recounting the stories of origin and rulers of the ancient cities.

The Desert of the Doomed


Long ago, before the time of the Ilfirian Empire and what those know to exist, there was a lush and harmonious kingdom known as Shaharezhar in the sands of the Great Desert. For its time, it was a highly advanced empire. Trade, architecture, brewing, even merchants were renowned for their sophistication. Vast monuments decorated the kingdom, honoring those of current rule, and of those whom had ruled before them.

For hundreds of years, this kingdom flourished in peace and prosperity. All manner of trade and commerce sought to come to and fro from its streets, and it was once considered the crossroads of the world... but there was a prophecy written down in what is now called the Scrolls of the Doomed.

"On the 10th Day of Kismha, the Year of Blood, a great and powerful evil will befall us all. A child, born with the mark of the great Eye, will begin our downfall. The very sand itself shall run black as night, and what was once our land will sink into darkness. Cursed we will be... forever to walk the desert for all eternity, and harmony shall be broken."

The Scrolls of the Doomed were cast away as heresy by the Shi'la, the ruling figure of the great kingdom. The people ignored the prophecy and continued on with their lives. Many years had gone by, new Shi'las ruled the kingdom and all had been peaceful, but the Year of Blood had now befallen Shaharezhar. The Shi'la and his mate bore a son with the mark of the great Eye upon his arm years before, and he grew to be a strong figure... but he had a dark side unto him. His father would whip him when he did not live up to his expectations to be the best, and over the years, that inner fire grew into a desire... the desire to kill.

The Year of Blood saw the son of the Shi'la come of age, and the Shi'la had grown old. It was time to pass on the great rule of Shaharezhar onto the one born with the mark of the great Eye, but it would not happen as it had been intended. The son had made a secret pact to their God of Darkness for revenge, to usurp the throne and lead with an iron fist when the time was right.

During the night before the official coronation, the 10th Day of Kishma, the son had stalked through the halls of the palace, sneaking into his father's room with a blade. He drove it into his father's heart... killing him almost instantly, and awakening the prophesized darkness within the Scrolls of the Doomed.

The God of Darkness, twisting his bargain to the son, unleashed his evil onto the kingdom. The starry skies grew black with evil, as fire rained down upon Shaharezhar. The vast monuments were broken; people dying in the streets, burned by the dark power unleashed by the murderous act... even the sands itself were burned in his rage.

The dark storm lasted for a full day, burning all in its path as it blanketed the entire desert. The sands itself began to swallow the once prosperous Shaharezhar into its blackened depths, forever lost to time, cursing its people to wander lifelessly in the sandstorms that now plague the desert every Summer. As for the son, no one knows what befell the Doombringer as he is now called in legends. Some say he was also killed during the evil time, others suggest he walks... forever damned for his deeds. All that now remains standing of the once beautiful kingdom is a large obelisk of obsidian, depicting the time of darkness in the ancient pictograph language of the Shaharezhar people.

The Desert of the Doomed, as it is called to this day, now stands in its curse. Black sand blanketing the vast expanse, footsteps could be found all over the desert, but with no sign of life to pinpoint them upon. A single, black obelisk rises high in the very center of the desert, if any can ever find it, detailing the fateful day when Shaharezhar fell from grace and became entombed beneath the dark sand. No one knows who created the obelisk, or how it remains unblemished after thousands of years.


As one would expect the climate of a desert to be, it is arid and hot year round. The black sands are painful to tread upon while barefoot. Some who have tried found their feet to be burned badly due to the blackness of the sand absorbing the sunlight. At random, a sandstorm may occur within the desert, blinding folks whom are not prepared for it, as well as impeding travel. There is only one safe locale within the desert, and it is found near the large black obelisk. An oasis surrounds the mysterious marker with a freshwater pond that does not seem to dissipate despite the raging heat and atmosphere of the desert.


The wildlife of the blackened sands can be treacherous in its own right. Scorpions, snakes, lizards, and spiders can be found skittering and slithering across the sand of various sizes from the small, to about the size of a horse. A species of scorpion-like flying insect called Screechers also roam the arid lands, known for their high pitched chittering and scorpion-like tails that are every bit as lethal as a normal scorpion. There are also legends of a monstrous worm-like creature that burrows beneath the sands…The Juggernaut Worm. Currently, it remains dormant beneath the black sands, but it has been known to breech the sands at night to feed upon anything and everything in its path.

Tribes and Towns

Because of the curse foretold by the Scrolls of the Doomed, the desert itself does not have any civilized towns or castles hiding in the sands. Ruins and broken monuments may sometimes be uncovered by the sandstorms, revealing evidence of the once lush and proud civilization of Shaharezhar, but the largest portions of the ancient world are buried deep within the sands, guarded by the Juggernaut Worm as it uses the ruins as its nest.