Staring at the burning sands and rock that surround me, I wonder if the title of this book is a little presumptive as I have yet to return, either way I plan to research and explore the different natural components of this hellish landscape to further the collective knowledge of the Southern Kingdoms and beyond.
Little to nothing grows here, which makes since as the environment is reminiscent of the Desert Princes natural landscape. Though having spent a little time in the desert, I could safely say the temperatures here far exceed those. The days well exceed 120 degrees and the nights bring the fear of frostbite as if in the snow covered landscape of Northern Olara, and the only safe time to travel is a few hours before sunrise and sunset when the temperatures become somewhat bearable. With this harsh environment it is easy to understand the features of the local flora and fauna, small tough shrubs dot the hills in sparse numbers and the few animals I see are small reptilian creatures that scurry from one small source of shade to another. And those are the few living things I have seen while traversing the jagged rocks and burning sands, but with the shadows circling above I know there are much bigger and scarier creatures here as well.
A few days ago I was able to kill one of these native lizards. Its scales sported a reddish color and course texture to which I assume allow it camouflage in its desert environment, but the most unsettling feature of the creatures was it being covered head to tail in sharp poisonous spines. After dissecting and removing the lizards poison sacks the meat immediately became saturated with the powerful toxins and was in no way longer edible, if it ever was to begin with. Observing the creature it boasts are large frill at the base of the neck, to which I believe to be used for mating or for intimidating potential predators. Every inch of this lizard has adapted perfectly to this environment, this making me fear what is to come if in order to survive this place requires one to have tough hide, sharp spines, and powerful poisons.
I’m assuming to be the first Alchemist to study and record this creature and assume that its species naming is my right. All of the creatures characteristics are leading me to name it a Frilled Sand Devil. I understand this creature was not in fact a “devil” but this landscape seems to corrupt its inhabitants and this lizard was definitely touched by the power of Flame that permeates this land. I begin to worry that staying here too long could have similar effects on us all. Every Alchemist whom truly knows this craft learns from the very beginning to never use corrupted components, as you will never be the same afterwards, and so I hope to find our way home again soon. With that said until then I will continue to study this alien world and its inhabitants in hopes of gaining greater understanding of how to survive this place.
Professor of Alchemical Studies, Gilbert Grimm