[Pony] The Definitive Sand Lore Guide
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Look thar'! Look at that fancy title I just typed up! (You can tell I'm excited because the word definitive is in there!)
Anyhows the following lore guide was typed as a favour to anyone who feels like joining in on my little adventure RP. This Lore guide was meant to be referred to and read so we don't have to spend ages re-establish a new cannon for the rp. Well to be fair we kind of still have to, but this lore guide will give so much background information you won't know what to do with it! (And hopefully it'll be helpful too!)
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Locations of The Great Desert:
The Great Desert: A vast mostly uninhabited desert located at the very eastern border of the Great Equestrian Empire. The Great Desert is home to one of the most extreme climates found on the world of Equestria, reaching as high 49 Degree Celsius (Or about 120.2 Degree's Fahrenheit) during the high afternoon and as low as -25 Degrees Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit) during the middle of the night. The region also plays host to the occasional mass sandstorm and these sand storms often effect areas as large as 500 kilometers (311 Miles). The Great Desert only has one major town by the name of Oasis however a massive sandstorm of nearly 500 kilometers wiped Oasis from the face of the desert. The Great Desert in terms of geography is exactly what'd you'd imagine a desert to be, a massive collection of sand dunes where the occasional rocky outcropping juts dramatically into the skyline. The Great Desert is home to almost a half million ponies, most of them of the Oasis Pony breed, a slightly different breed from that of the equestrians. The Great Desert's main export and source of revenue is Desert Iron found beneath the sand or it's refined product, Desert Steel.

Oasis: A very old township, established well before the rise of the Equestrian Empire to the West. A collection of some half million oasis Ponies and Equestrians alike, Oasis was for the most part a trade town. The town sits right smack dab in the middle of The Great Desert on top of a desert oasis from which the name Oasis is derived, making it the only major city in the entire desert. Oasis was ruled by a council of leaders, each representing a certain part of Oasis Living. All were equally important and significant when it came to running the township. The Oasis government upon meeting the Equestrians, became very close allies with them, providing a mutually beneficial trade agreement that would last for almost a century. The town itself is mostly populated by Oasis Ponies, a slightly different species then the Equestrians that also call Oasis their home. The town itself was deceptively large, holding numerous residences, a town clock tower, a town bell tower, and as rumoured by many, the largest library in the known world, filled to the brim with books from all corners of the world. The town of Oasis would prosper for centuries to come and by some act of luck never got hit with sand storms. That is until one day a massive sandstorm did finally hit an unprepared Oasis, destroying or burying the town under mounds of sand, ending the age of prosperity.

New Oasis: The town of New Oasis can only be described via a very famous movie quote from a certain Obi-Wan Kenobi. *ahem* "You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Well references aside, New Oasis is built upon the very buried building of the original Oasis is almost exclusively populated by the residents who once lived in Oasis and survived the massive Sandstorm. Now New Oasis is under the iron grip of the Nola Desert Syndicate, turning New oasis into an oppressed city with crime running rampant throughout the streets. The town has turned into a rough collection of tents, shacks, shanty homes, and still inhabited ruins that all co-exist in a small area hastily walled off by Nola Desert Syndicate repair ponies. The town still hangs on by a thread thanks to the fact the water's of the oasis still flow underneath all the sand. Many will tell you that living here means you were the lucky ones, as at least you are not beyond the relative safety of the walls, out in the greater desert.

The Iron Ring: Stretching a few hundred kilometers, The Iron Ring is a catch all term for the geographical ring of terrain that surrounds Oasis. It is here where the majority of Desert Iron is mined by slaves of the Black Diamond Slavers and shipped to the Nola for processing and refinement. The Iron Ring is of course home to the Black Diamond Slavers, and a large number of enslaved ponies, of almost all descents. The slaves work around the clock under the desert sun producing vast amounts of raw desert iron for sale to black market dealers elsewhere in the world. The Iron Ring geographically is almost completely just endless dunes of sand, where the iron in question is located beneath several meters of sand. The Iron Ring's outer border's are defined by a peculiar ring of sharp rock outcroppings making slave escape attempts into the Badlands nearly impossible.

The Badlands: The Badlands encompasses the rest of the desert that isn't classified as the Iron Ring or the town of New Oasis. A number of smaller nomadic settlements exist here. This is the part of the desert where the most brutal of conditions can be found with constant heat and possible sandstorms ravaging the Great Desert on almost a weekly basis. The Greater Silver Sand Bandit Clan calls the rocky outcroppings and interconnected tunnels in the face of the rock their home. The badlands is basically as lawless as it gets, constant threats of violence, thievery, and killings keeps most sane ponies out of this area. Indeed the clan of bandits is so feared that even the Equestrian military fears stepping into the Badlands. The Badlands is where you'll find the majority of rocky outcroppings. Weather in the area is easily the most brutal in the desert where temperatures can soar well above 45 Degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) during the afternoon and drop well below -20 Degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) during the night.

The Equestrian Military Line: Maintaining some semblance of order on the Western Border of The Great Desert is the Equestrian Military Line. A huge build up of militarized Equestrian units reside here forming a solid defensible wall of troops that make sure the criminal element of the Great Desert doesn't spread towards Equestria. Troop numbers are unknown but are speculated to be in the tens of thousands, all staffing a improvised wall that was built when the criminal factions of the Great Desert came to power. The Equestrian Military has orders to cast spells or engage in combat at first sight, no questions asked, making the Equestrian Military line perhaps the most dangerous place in The Great Desert.

The Blue Ocean: The Blue Ocean is a large mostly uncharted ocean that lies on The Great Desert's Eastern Shore. This massive body of salt water makes escape from the Desert almost impossible as no pony in known history has successfully sailed the ocean's rough seas to explore lands to the North and South (Both borders are closed off by sheer mountains). The Ocean itself remains a mystery to most who see it, described as a one giant solid mass of the purest blue water expanding forever.
Factions of The Great Desert:
The Nola Desert Syndicate: The Nola Desert Syndicate is about as classic as the syndicates get, an old organization, originating before the sandstorm, but in a much weaker form. A gathering of some of the brightest in the criminal world the Nola Desert Syndicate are considered by many the most civilized of the three crime factions. It was the Nola Desert Syndicate that managed to negotiate an uneasy truce between the three major crime factions of The Great Desert and it is under their rule that desert iron is received from the slavers and is constantly refined or worked into whatever needs metal at the time. The Nola Crime Syndicate offers some semblance of order inside the walls of New Oasis, that is if your willing to pay protection fees to them on a constant basis. These fee's vary constantly but for the most part comprise of Equestrian Bits, used as a trade currency. The Nola Desert Syndicate are infamous for their crimes in racketeering, kidnapping, political assassinations, blackmailing, and extortion. It was indeed the Nola who killed or exiled the remaining authority figures that did survive the great sandstorm. 

The Ponies of New Oasis: The ponies of Oasis is a term used to define the survivors of the sandstorm. A mix of equestrian and oasis ponies, these ponies subside day by day in the heavily over crowded New Oasis under the constant threat of violence perpetrated by either the Nola or their hired muscle the Bandits. Those who managed to cram themselves into the lawless city did their best to rebuild their lives under a more oppressive and demanding rule and have established what best can be described as a collage of tents, huts, and shanty homes that now stand side by side within the hastily built walls of New Oasis. These ponies are constantly exploited by the Nola and are often subject to the occasional murder, kidnapping, or extortion. This has basically become the average day in the life of the Ponies of Oasis and many still struggle to find some way to escape from the place.

The Black Diamond Slavers: Another older faction, The Black Diamond Slavers are for the most part exactly what they sound like, which is plain and simple slavers. Or so they would like you to think. The Black Diamond Slavers are arguably the biggest group in the trio of crime that rule the Great Desert and provide an industrial back bone to the ambitions of the Nola Desert Syndicate. With a massive slave force laboring underneath their control the amount of raw desert iron that flows from their domain of the Iron Ring provides enough money for the Nola to continue their oppression of New Oasis while also seeking opportunities for expansion. The Slavers themselves are famed for their brutality to their slaves and constant torture, malnutrition, and even death is common throughout their many slave sites set up around desert iron mines. The Black Diamond Slavers by tradition hold a neutrally beneficial relationship with Nola Desert Syndicate in that in exchange for the raw iron the slavers get money, tools, weapons, and metal for building and conquering larger swaths The Great Desert. However due to this massive concentration of wealth, the slavers are a constant target of the Bandits, meaning the two are constantly at war. Even now with the uneasy truce negotiated by the Nola, the Bandits and the Slavers still are at each other's necks over smaller incidents of conflict.
 
Slaves of The Black Diamond: Another catch all term referring to the mass of slaves that labour underneath the hot sun of The Great Desert. They are of almost every nationality and species and for the most part labour dutifully and without question underneath the discerning gaze of the Black Diamond Slavers. This massive melting pot of labour means that things like fights and riots are an inevitability but for the most parts most slaves seem to agree they need to work together to get out of the situation they are in. Over time there has only been one attempt of escape by a naive slave group seeking freedom beyond the sharp rocks of the Outer Iron Ring, this escape failed and the slaves were brutally killed.  All slaves upon entering a Black Diamond camp will either have their horns broken or removed or their wings clipped to prevent the unicorns and pegassi of the slaves from escaping the quarries.

The Greater Silver Sand Bandit Clan: A newer organization, The Greater Silver Sand Bandit Clan is a gathering of a number of bandit camps that used to roam the Badlands of The Great Desert. During the time of Oasis they were mostly subdued by the Oasis Security forces, but with the sandstorm basically wiping out Oasis, the Bandits finally were given free reign to continue their work exploiting those unlucky enough to end up in the Badlands. The bandits are arguably the most brutal of the crime trio of The Great Desert, known well for their work as killers for hire, often working on behest of the Nola. Their reputation of death and blood often proceeds them and just a whisper of their name can send anypony into hiding in fear of their lives. The bandits are among the strongest when it comes to battle and often their strength and knowledge of terrain wins them battles against The Equestrian Military, and indeed it was mostly the bandits who drove Equestrian Military efforts into the ground during the first few months after the Sand Storm. The Bandits also maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the Nola providing them hired muscle in exchange for money and weapons. However they are at odds with the Black Diamond Slavers, mostly over desires for the wealth that the slavers hold.
 
Timeline of Sand:
The timeline of sand is told through a viewer at the present moment Sand is taking place, five years after the massive Sandstorm. As such dates will be relayed as months and years after the sandstorm.
Year 0, Month 0: The Massive Sandstorm hits Oasis. Almost half the population is instantly killed by being buried underneath massive piles of incoming sand. oasis collapses almost overnight. Building's fall and the local government collapses.
Year 0, Month 1: The sandstorm passes after pounding the town for nearly 4 weeks. The ponies who survive emerge from the ruins of their homes and shelters into the new desert sun. Almost everything is destroyed. Ponies begin banding together into minor communities in an effort to maintain order.
Year 0, Month 3: Word finally reaches the Equestrian Empire that the town of Oasis is now destroyed. Relief efforts are immediately ordered to aid the communes of survivors in the ruins of Oasis. Re-occurring sandstorm begin to hit the Oasis area, causing ponies to start to disband communes as they retreat to shelter.
Year 0, Month 9: The Equestrian relief efforts begin in earnest as caravans of supplies are run towards Oasis. At the same time sand storms shift towards the Badlands causing delays for relief efforts but allowing Oasis ponies to once again emerge. Old communes are broken and the Nola Desert Syndicate takes charge by offering basic services to the survivors of Oasis. The town of New Oasis is re-established, along with a number of smaller communes scattered in the desert.
Year 1, Month 0: Equestrian relief efforts finally catch a small break in reaching Oasis with a small amount of relief supplies however local Nola officials deny to communicate with Equestrian relief effort workers. Many delivered supplies go missing, never reaching the survivors. The Silver Sand Bandits seeing weakness in the equestrian caravans begin their raids on the relief supplies, cutting off the flow of supplies to Oasis and causing an increase in the Nola's hold on the area.
Year 1, Month 4: Equestrian Military finally decides to intervene in the multiple bandit attacks and send several units to actively combat bandit forces hidden in the Badlands. Initial efforts seem to prove successful for the equestrians.
Year 1, Month 11: The town of New oasis is almost fully built, now compromising of mostly tents and make shift huts that all rely on Nola procured necessities for survival. Equestrian supplies effectively come to a halt as the war with the bandits turns the tables and starts favoring the bandits.
Year 2, Month 4: New Oasis is fully built, Equestrian War efforts begin to slide off as better motivated and terrain intelligent bandits wage a highly effective guerrilla war on the organized Equestrians.
Year 2, Month 7: It is around this time the Nola see opportunities to expand and reaches out to the constantly warring factions of bandits and slavers. A uneasy truce is established and both of the warring factions come to a peace treaty. 
Year 3, Month 2: The three crime factions begin their rise to power. The Nola begin rationing off essential supplies in New Oasis increasing dependence. The Slavers begin their mining operation into the Iron Ring, chasing down refugees of the sand storm that managed to survive until now. The bandit's continue their war with the Equestrians constantly gaining ground and wealth through connections with the Nola and weapons made from the iron and steel provided by the Slavers and the Nola.
Year 3, Month 8: The Slavers start to expand even more into mining by procuring and enslaving over ten thousand ponies of almost every nationality who managed to get stuck in the desert. The Nola begins distributing desert steel and iron to illegitimate buyers in Equestria and beyond. 
Year 3, Month 11: The Equestrian Military facing total defeat finally withdraw to the western border of the desert and set up a defensive line to evacuate refugee's who manage to stumble across the border. Some military are now tasked with search and rescue and the Equestrians begin construction of a great wall that would prevent the bandits from gaining even more ground.
Year 4, Month 1: Equestrian search and rescue make little to no progress as continual attacks by bandits makes recovery efforts harder and harder. Bandits even begin disguising themselves as refugee's and attacking when the Equestrians guards are down. These incidents gives a call for all those maintaining the now finished wall to shoot spells on sight.
Year 4, Month 4: More minor sandstorms hit the Badlands, causing a total halt in Equestrian military activity in the entire Great Desert. This causes the bandits to finally let up on assaults and maintain a tense stalemate with Equestrian forces at the border. This also gives bandit's time to begin their regular activities of bandit-ing as they take to the now clear sands in search of the odd refugee lost in the sands.
Year 4, Month 6: The Nola begin offering shelter to even more refugee's cramming a large amount of ponies into the improvised walls of New Oasis. Oppression has reached a new high as a attempted uprising is crushed brutally by hired bandits.The bandit's also make their name by crushing a slave uprising in the Iron Ring.
Year 4, Month 9: New Oasis is bursting at the seems and The Nola begin looking for opportunities to expand their control and wealth. The Slaver make an example of those involved in the first uprising and torture as many as a thousand slaves at random.
Year 5, Month 2: The three crime trio's could not be stronger then they are now. The Nola rule New Oasis with iron hooves. The Slavers work their slaves day and night producing countless amounts of raw desert iron for sale and distribution while the bandit's enjoy prosperity as hired muscle whenever the Slavers or the Nola need them. This is when Sand takes place.
Other Useful Facts:
Other Useful facts is a collection of fun facts that don't really fit anywhere else in the Lore guide and are really just a collection of random little facts that might be useful for those who want to know!
Did You Know...
Desert Iron is chemically almost identical to normal Iron, save for the fact that it takes on the colour of Moon Glow white when refined into ingots. Nopony is quite sure why this phenomena exists, but the signature white colour makes the iron and it's refined product Desert Steel a popular and expensive metal. Desert Iron is found nowhere else in the known world. Due to this Desert Iron and Desert Steel are the most common materials used for weapons, tools, and armor in The Great Desert.

As high as 70% of Oasis ponies are pegassi, another 25% are unicorns, and the last 5% are earth ponies. Oasis ponies despite being a majority pegassi, are not famed at all for their flight abilities, in fact most Oasis Pegassi are often near flightless as flying in the unstable weather of The Great Desert is always heavily warned against. As a result the pegassi of Oasis have evolved their wings as a secondary form of shielding against the blasting sands, as well as an added appendage for manipulating their environments, making their wings quite durable against damage as well as versatile for handling tools and weapons.

Most Oasis ponies have either a tan or white coat. These light colours allow their coats to reflect light and thus heat rather then absorb it. However due to this consistency it is often hard to distinguish one Oasis Pony from the other at first glance without memorizing their cutie marks.

The Unicorns of Oasis are known to be talented scholars. It is under their watch that the great Library of Oasis was built and subsequently filled with knowledge from all corners of the world. These unicorns would provide endless amounts of knowledge in book form over the years.

Oasis Ponies are believed to be political and social outcasts of the Equestrian Empire before it came to power. Over the centuries these Oasis ponies lost all contact with the Equestrians and thus were left to evolve into their own distinct sub-species in the desert. After some time the Oasis ponies reconnected with the Equestrians and eventually made peace with them.

It is rumored that the eccentric master smith Rosewood of Canterlot once called The Great Desert home. Known for her master crafted weapons that were presented to the highest ranking soldiers of the Equestrian Military, Rosewood was eccentric in that she liked creating unconventional weapons and tools for use by specially selected soldiers. It is rumoured after several attempts Rosewood created six peculiar tool and weapons and shipped them to the desert for use by highly regarded Oasis Security Force ponies. However this shipment was lost to a bandit raid en route. Over the years these weapons were lost to time and sand and are rumoured to be now somewhere in the desert. These six weapons and tools were said to be; A gardening hoe made of fine gold and equestrian steel said to be so sharp it could cut through solid rock with a single hack, A strange sectioned staff that split into three pieces made of fine redwood said to be imbued with fire, A parrying dagger that was curved in the style of the weapons of the Oasis and made subsequently out of Desert Iron said to be capable of poisoning anything alive into death within seconds, A bow and arrow made of fine ivory said to be able to be wielded via just thought, A long sword staff combo that featured one edged blades on either side of the staff that was said to be able to absorb energies to improve itself, and a strange shovel made with a strong shaft made of Rosewood wrapped around Desert Iron and a Desert Steel forged head engraved with strange runic carvings, said to be almost weightless to the user, but very heavy to the victim.
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* Woo! The basics are in! More details will be added as details become available via the rp!
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