Desert of Notus
Desert of Notus
|Etymology: Named by Vulcan after the Sphinxes|
The Desert of Notus is situated in the south east east quadrant of VulcanVerse.
Somewhere in the sands of the desert, three Sphinxes slumber in eternal repose, awaiting the next age of the gods, should it ever come. They are the Androsphinx, (human head, lion body), the Criosphinx (ram’s head, lion body) and the Heiracosphinx (hawk’s head, lion body). In that bygone age, mortals would seek out Sphinxes in search of wealth or knowledge. If they could answer the riddle that the Sphinx would set them, then the Sphinx would allow them a single question that had to be answered truthfully. If they failed the riddle, well then, the mortal’s life was forfeit and they were devoured on the spot. Now the three Sphinxes rest in small Pyramid Mausoleums, dreaming of riddles and tasty morsels of mortal flesh. Perhaps there dreams will soon be over, and they will once again stalk the hot sands of the desert.Once, the Great River rushed from the first Cataract of Oceanus, the father of rivers, in the far north, through the second Cataract of Tethys, down to the Shores of Psamathe at the southern edge of the desert, and into the sea. In that delta stood the mighty city of Iskandria. Here the Myrmidons lived, a warrior race armoured like ants, who fought for Achilles in the Trojan wars. Iskandria teemed with life, commerce, arts, and crafts. Ships plied the Great River, its banks were home to farms and fisheries, vineyards and breweries for the making of fine wines and barley beer. Irrigation canals ran from the Great River into the deserts, creating farmlands and oases to feed the Myrmidons. The land was blessed by the gods, and filled with abundant life, fed by the Great River.
The God Vulcan, on the creation of VulcanVerse, named the desert Notus after the Sphinxes, as detailed in the Book of Vulcan:
and the gathering together of the sands of time he called after the Sphinxes, rich in riddles—Book of Vulcan, 4
Geography and features
The desert is dominated by three large Pyramid Mausoleums that can be seen from beyond the borders of Notus. To the far south, the once Great River drains into the sea and at its delta can be found the ancient city of Iskandria. To the west, the desert borders the Underworld of Hades, with the Dunes of Doom separating the main expanse of the desert from the Land From Which No-One Returns.
Three of these are hidden in the sands of the desert awaiting discovery. Much smaller than the great pyramids of Egypt these mausoleums each house one of the Sphinxes of ancient times. They slumber, awaiting a new birth. Will it be mortal men who free them from their sleepy shackles?
The Great River
A river that meanders through the two cataracts from the north to the delta and the sea to the south. It is now dried out and is slowly filling up with sand. It nourished a fertile land, but now it is a barren wasteland of dust and sand.
The Great River surfaced in the north at the Cataract of Oceanus. It flowed south east, past the Shrine to Tethys before turning south west and coursing towards Iskandria. For the most part, the riverbed of the Great River is now dry, a ditch winding through the heart of the desert.
Cataract of Oceanus
This is the origin of the Great River that runs through the Desert of Sphinxes. Oceanus was the god of rivers, the well of all the fresh waters in the world. But now he sleeps, no longer needed, discarded, set aside. So the wellspring of the Great River has dried up, and the once fertile lands, fed by the river, have been reclaimed by desert sands.
Cataract of Tethys
This second cataract, half way on the Great Rivers journey to the sea, was used to divert waters into the irrigation canals. A shrine to the goddess Tethys was regularly tended, to ensure the free flow of waters but that too has fallen into rack and ruin. Tethys herself has long since departed.
The Cataract of Tethys, halfway between the Cataract of Oceanus and the sea diverted waters into irrigation canals. The huge water wheels that used to be powered by the gushing flow of the Great River now lie bone dry and sun bleached.
Shrine to Tethys
Tethys is a Goddess, mother of rivers, springs and streams. Her shrine stands alongside the Great River, where those on the river would stop off to seek her blessings, but as is the case with much of old Notus, she has now fallen silent.
At the Shores of Psamathe is Iskandria, a once thriving city that straddles the delta where the Great River meets the sea. Iskandria crumbles in the heat of the sun and only a small number of once powerful Myrmidons remain here now, as there is little left of what once was. With a human population invited to purchase land, there is hope yet that the one time thriving metropolis will see a return to its golden days.
A once great port at the mouth of the Great River where it spilled into the sea. Now the delta is silting up, and the great city is a shadow of its former self, slowly falling apart as the sun beats down upon it like a hammer taken to pottery.
The Dunes of Doom
Rolling dunes march across the desert, but be wary of one stretch of such dunes, the Dunes of Doom, for they are also home to Skorpius, the giant scorpion queen and her children. And they are legion….
Residents of Notus
Notus was once controlled by the Myrmidons, an armored warrior race who fought for Achilles in the Trojan wars. The Myrmidons are not as powerful as they once were, but they soldier on. Dragons have taken up residence amongst the temples, another concern for the weary traveler crossing the pitted dunes.