Caravans pass both East and West through the City of Zangiers on a nearly daily basis, carrying trade goods to and from the Kingdoms of the West and the Great Empire (but not nearly so Great as it used to be…) in the East. Starting at the Imperial Borderlands (which can be quite and adventure to get through in and of themselves) the only commonly taken route follows the River of the Sun to the Cataract of Insight. Above the falls, the river becomes the Oued, but they are truly different waters.
The trade-road (such as it is) follows the oddly sluggish and silted waters of the River Oued for over fifty miles before it passes through the city, and then another seventy-odd to the Crossing of a Million Pebbles. It is tradition that any traveler through the desert bring a stone from their homeland (or in some cases, due to superstition, a coin or smell gemstone) and drop it at the crossing. From here the Oued climbs into the rock-strewn and increasingly mountainous hills to the north, to wherever it’s source may lie.
The passage along the Oued is considered the safest part of the journey through the Sunamyo proper, but only because it is a stable landmark in a region otherwise disinclined to play fair with travelers. The waters of the Oued are not potable – in fact they seem to provide no sustenance to man or beast, who may well die of dehydration even while gorging themselves on the stuff. Fortunately for the City of Zangiers plants seem to have no problem with these waters or the silt they carry, although the oddly random cycles of flooding do pose a challenge to agriculture.
Past the crossing the great desert and the ruins it hides stretch out for at least three hundred miles by the best estimates of the mapmakers and seers who have studied the region. Many merchants and camel-pullers would dispute this figure as far too low. Indeed, travel through the region is notoriously risky and even random. A good caravan-master is expected to be able to recognize a hundred or more different landmarks that might be encountered in the desert, because one never knows what the Sunamyo will reveal on any given trip. Furthermore they must recognize dangerous places from as long a distance as possible, so that areas where the group might be trapped or struck down by wild, ancient magics can be well avoided.
When the caravan finally exits the desert it will be into wild coastal scrub-lands, possibly several more hundred miles to the south of any of the Western Kingdoms. There can occasionally be found a traveler’s rest in the northern sections of this region, but the constant wars and petty feuds in the West often spill south, and one is just as likely to find nothing but a burnt-out shell of a caravanserai, or a demolished port.