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I have heard some learned scholars say that the scorching winds that scour the face of Jir’Azad are sent by the gods to drive mortals apart. Certainly the Caliphs of Bal’Teth seemed to endorse this view when they left the Azadi mainland so many generations ago. Certainly the Ssarachi tieflings seem to endorse this view as they rove the sands and share naught but the sun and sky with any other living being. Jir’Azad does not share its riches with us lightly, these scholars say, and it is only natural that we do not share them in turn.

Others I have heard say that the winds drive us together as the sands in a dervish, that they are sent by heaven to bind mortals to each other in the face of the desert, polish us as they do rock and gem. Certainly the Sandsea Confederates seem to endorse this view as they strive to overcome their differences and tame the expanse. Certainly the Azure Sultanate and its elvish water barons seem to endorse this view as they ply their trade without regard to nation, race, or creed. Jir’Azad has enough bounty for all, these scholars say, but it will take the effort of all to win it.

I do not know which of these groups may prove to have the right of it. For myself, I believe that Khalim sends the winds to push us each in our assigned path. What remains to be asked is whether the greater half of these paths lead toward unity or toward isolation, and whether we will push against the wind that drives us. Perhaps none can resist the Scalefather’s tempests, just as none can resist the earth put under their feet or the water put in their canteens by his sisters. Were that the case, though, I do wonder how it is an earthen well is able to stand in the midst of a sirocco.

How do the winds drive you, traveler?

The Burning Sultans

Becker kudzu