Sondeshara is the name of a vast desert north of the Darkündlicht Mountains at the western end of Sonngefilde. It is also the name of the single city that lies in its center. All life in the desert and the city abide by the temporal authority of the Sondeckis who are their master and who make their home in the city, and the spiritual authority of the Ecclesia to whom the entire population converted shortly after 100 CR.
The Desert of Sondeshara is dry and sandy with frequent rocky outcroppings that afford shade and abodes for hermits and travelers. Vast empty stretches suffer the brunt of the sun's fire. What natural life lives in this area thrives near the coastlines or near the many oases that dot the landscape.
The coastline is much like that of Arabia or Egypt, dotted by villages and harbors, while the interior of the desert itself is similar to Arabia. There are vast stretches where one can look in any direction and see nothing but empty sand. But there are also places where the rocks burst through and the sand seems an afterthought.
Many of the rocky defiles hide deep wells, the locations of which Sondecki must learn before they are allowed to leave the city walls. The wells are protected by enchantments from mage clans friendly with the Sondecki which keep the water fresh and prevents any from poisoning them.
Hospitality is a cardinal rule for life in the desert. All travelers are afforded water and enough clothes to protect them from the sun. Not even criminals or prisoners are denied these basic necessities. To deny another hospitality is to risk death for yourself.
The city of Sondeshara is fashioned both from clay as well as stone quarried from the Darkündlicht Mountains. It is built around a massive oasis and several smaller ones that provide crops and pasturelands. A few small gardens are maintained near the main oasis, but even these are used for cultivating herbs and spices.
Many of the city streets are covered with stone, while most of the rest are covered with fabric. Streets are narrow and homes are small reflecting the short stature of those who are native to the city. The native population has a darker skin color than the rest of Sonngefilde, but only by degrees. The constant mingling with the Sondecki population most of which were born elsewhere prevents the local population from being as dark skinned as most Arabic cultures.
The natives live for their own families, but they all serve the Sondeckis or the Ecclesia. Positions of leadership are almost always filled by Sondeckis. Buildings used for Sondecki training or for them to live are off-limits to those not Sondecki. This is both to protect Sondeckis secrets and for the safety of non-Sondeckis. There are many things inside the Sondecki shrines that will kill anyone who does not possess a Sondeck with a single touch.
The Ecclesia Cathedral is the tallest of all buildings in Sondeshara, and has enough room for the entire city population in its main chapel and in the many smaller chapels and crypts below. The Ecclesia is the only authority to which the Sondeckis will submit, though the Bishop of Sondeshara is typically a Sondeckis as well.
Because of the nature of the magic of the Sondeck, the city of Sondeshara in its rhythm of life and in its people closely reflects the Follower ideals for lay life. Crime is defined as violation of Ecclesia moral teachings, and the Sondecki are very good at discovering when someone is acting against these teachings.
Similarly, the people of Sondeshara are not wealthy and never will be. They have made their home in the one habitable spot in the desert. While there are abounding riches to be mined from the Darkündlicht Mountains, the difficulty of the supply lines makes extended mining difficult. The people provide food and goods for the Sondecki, and they provide order, protection, and purpose for the people.