The Silent Sands are something of a geographical oddity. The desert is at the base of the Cliffs of Ronin, a shelf that is so tall at the eastern point where it meets the Caribre Mountains, that it towers hundreds of feet above the Sands. The Cliffs are home to their own, vertical, ecosystem. However, they also have the effect of redirecting rain, and stifling any water that might want to fall on the desert. The weather patterns are strange and disturbed in the southern edge of the kingdom, and are given to vortices and sand storms.
The Silent Sands are bordered on their north by the tall Cliffs of Ronin, and on the south by the Narrows. To the west, where the cliffs drop from their precipitous height and fade into the landscape, desert turns to scrubland, and then the sparse edges of the Glittering Forest.
The desert is driest and hottest in the eastern half, south of the highest parts of the cliffs. To the south, along the shores of the Narrows, are wetlands fed by a number of rivers that penetrate deep into the desert. Most of these rivers are not drinkable, full of strange minerals and substances that filter down from the Cliffs. But, a few are sufficiently filtered that the water is drinkable. Knowing which are safe and which to avoid is one of the secrets of the Sands.
The Silent Sands tend to be a world onto themselves within the greater Kingdom of Calibran. With the nigh impassible Cliffs of Ronin to the north, and the forbidding and strange Glittering Woods to the west, they can seem cut off, and difficult to reach. The most common path into the Sands is up from the south, where small port towns hide among the wetlands along the Narrows. House Trystane were the rulers of the desert long before the greater kingdom came together.
There are tales that, long ago, the Silent Sands were ruled by a huge and ancient dragon. The dragon is long gone, but its hoard of gold and jewels is supposed to still be somewhere in the desert. Expeditions have gone into the Sands to find the treasure. Those that have returned are not always empty handed. The dragon's hoard, however, remains lost.
Cities have occasionally been found under the dunes of the desert. These are remnants of some long lost civilization that must have thrived in the area before it turned to desert. The buildings that survive have a strange architecture, and the mosaics and paintings that survive often show bloody and unnatural habits. Many powerful magical artifacts have been found in these ruins, however.
The ever adaptable humans are the only race that has managed to tame the Sands enough to live there. The chief export of the Sands are spices and other goods made from the strange and unique plants found on the Cliffs of Ronin. The inhabitants venture north to the base of the Cliffs, and harvest the plants, sometimes climbing high to reach the best growths. This is the driest and least hospitable part of the desert, and so they spend only a short time there before retreating to the oases where water and rest can be found. On a regular basis they take their crop to Wert's Dune. This is the biggest city in the Sands, home of House Trystane. It is here that the plants are turned into the spices which fetch such high prices in the markets of Cathedra Gate and Mil Dundohr.
Though less common, the Silent Sands also export, on occasion, strange magical artifacts found in the ruins that are occasionally revealed by the shifting sands. House Trystane lays claim to all such artifacts, paying the finders a bounty, and then selling them at auction for a massive profit. Some seek to smuggle the more valuable artifacts out of the desert so as to keep all the profit for themselves. House Trystane deals with these criminals harshly.