We never touched the Great Sand Sea, but it touched us. The road from Bahan Hollow to Hellpsort overlooks the southern reach of the Southlands’ most lethal desert. The sun was descending into the Ocean Delb as we walked west. A few paces beyond the road, the cliff tumbled in a frozen flight of sheer-stepped rock and scrag shrubs down and down into the clouds of sand and dust that perpetually shift over the Great Sand Sea.
We continued along, far above–or so we thought–the breath of the Great Sand Sea. The sun set and an evening storm of electricity and shadow quickened and swept inland from the Delb. It spread fast. Before the first of the Six Sisters had pierced the dusk, black and blue lightning leaped from clouds to sky and down. Winds came at us; we had no shelter along the wide road, atop the cliff. We did what seemed best: moved off the road, away from the drop, toward the shrublands.
Dust pursued us, pushed by the storm. Thunder resounded. I looked back, compelled by other sounds, too: howling that was too animal for the wind, a snapping like fire. Sharp sand, like thistles of glass, stung my face.
I tell you that the Great Sand Sea holds eldwyrms. I saw one riding the shadow and lightning currents blown in from the Delb. Before I could look away and plunge into a sheltering cluster of shrubs, I saw its tattered wings like rags and did not understand how it held itself in such winds, how it rode them, its electric carnivorous eyes incomprehensible with joy, terror, or both; I could not tell.