The Great Desert/Sanctuary
I was rereading something and was inspired to give a little blurb on one of All World’s defining geological features. It’s known as the Great Desert. It’s a gigantic expanse of sand that covers a good portion of Seiryu’s East along the border to Genbu’s North. It has a bad reputation though well-earned. I’ll tell you how it came into existence as well as why it has been reputed as a dangerous place.
Back in the beginning, the Great Desert was called Sanctuary. It was where the Almighty breathed life into the world and where all creatures and plants of the earth had their beginning. Sanctuary is the birthplace of the Kings, the Shogun, and the Sovereign as well as the forerunners of all creatures, including humans. In the garden that it was, there two special trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the Descent occurred and the human forerunners were banished, Sanctuary was guarded by the Almighty’s flaming Sacred Sword. It guarded the Tree of Life and Sanctuary became a forbidden place. When the Landless Time buried the Continent and Island Reptilia underwater, Sanctuary was destroyed and reverted to a desert after the waters receded. Legends tell that the Sword of the Almighty still stands guard where it was placed. Legends also say that the dead remains of both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil still stand. The flood waters had uprooted and drowned many, many tree but those two in particular were two of the very few whose roots prevented that from happening.
The Great Desert, as it came to be called, became associated with evil because those who wandered into it seeking the Trees never came out again, even if they went in fully prepared with food and water. It’s also the only place in All World that is truly dead. Nothing grows or lives in it. Shogun Yamata no Orochi claimed the desert as his territory because his duty is to prevent others from entering it and to find those struck down by the Sacred Sword and reunite them with their souls. That is the Sword’s ability. It cuts down any and all who manage to find it and the remains of the Trees. The souls cut free from their flesh are stuck in sort of limbo until Orochi is able to use his God-given ability to reunite them with theirs bodies.
Over the course of the six thousand year history All World has seen since its formation, the numbers of wanderers into the Great Desert number only in the low one-hundreds, a vast majority being humans. Orochi himself is successful 95% of the time at turning the curious away from the desert. The other 5% were those who either disregarded his warning or never met up with the gigantic eight-headed serpent. Orochi is not permitted to violently prevent anyone from entering his territory. He can do little more than to warn the curious of the dangers but the choice is ultimately up to them. Out of all those who went in and met their fate from the Sword, Orochi was successful in saving all of them except thirty. Those thirty souls weren’t found in time. Their bodies expired and the souls were taken into Paradise. The Shogun, as written in his bio, originally had no intention of policing the border to the Great Desert but was compelled into service.
Though Orochi has immunity from the Sword’s soul-rending power, even he dares not enter the Desert unless needed. The Sword acts of its own accord and has attacked him every time he came to retrieve a body rent of its soul. The Almighty had granted the Shogun special armor that he wears at all times to make the serpent well-protected from the duty-bound Sword. Orochi is always uneasy in its holy presence because he is evil by virtue of All World’s fallen state and the Sword strikes down all evil that comes across it. Innocent or vile, it makes no difference. All who live in a fallen world are judged the same by the Sword.
The Almighty has told the Kings that when All World’s clock ticks down to zero, He would remove the Sword from its place in the Great Desert and that would be the sign that the end was at hand. As the Desert is in Seiryu’s Domain, the dragon King has made it his unending duty to keep a close watch on the sword from his Castle, via the Seer’s Ball. Even ancients like himself fear the Desert and the Sword within but they haven’t forgotten Sanctuary, their birthplace. Their hope is to see it again in Paradise when things finally tick down to zero and are reset.