The Crystal Desert is the land that lies between the nations of Ascalon, Orr, and Elona. It is said that every grain of sand in the desert was in fact a tiny crystal, giving the region its name. The southern reaches of the Crystal Desert is full of sulfurous wastes where normally only the dead and demonic may pass, called The Desolation. The Crystal Desert is famous for many legendary landmarks, including Glint's lair in the north, Augury Rock where Ascension was possible, and at least two portals into The Mists were formed there, one in the Tomb of the Primeval Kings leading to the Hall of Heroes and another at the Mouth of Torment leading to the Realm of Torment.
Over the past millennia, many nations had tried to settle these lands, each one eventually succumbing to the sands. In modern day, Palawa Joko has extended the borders of Elona to the southern reaches of the Crystal Desert, while the Elder Dragon Kralkatorrik has branded the eastern portions, and to the northwest of the desert, defectors from Joko's empire had established new homes along the Bay of Elon and the highlands connected to the Shiverpeak Mountains.
Before a thousand years ago, much of the desert was known as the Crystal Sea, though there are mentions of a desert in those times. Back then, what is now the Desolation was once a verdant coastline. In those times, the only inhabitants were the Forgotten who served Glint. When humanity was still new to Tyria, the sea-faring humans known as Margonites thrived in these waters and in the Clashing Seas. When the magic gifted by their patron god Abaddon was revoked by the other five gods, the Margonites defaced statues of the five gods in the Temple of the Six and turned their boats into towers attempting to physically reach Ascension to join their god, but all this did was incite a war between them and the Forgotten faithful to the Six Gods. This sparked into a war between Abaddon and the five gods themselves, eventually leading to Abaddon's defeat, the creation of the Desolation, and the drying of the sea and turning the lands inhospitable to most races. Following this, the gods left in an event now called the Exodus of the Gods.
Over the following millennia, many groups made pilgrimages to the region, following the footsteps of the Margonites in attempting Ascension or other knowledge and hopes. Among them were the Primeval Kings who established many tombs in the region during their reign, mysterious Seekers who searched for a new home, the colony Elonia established by Turai Ossa, and Ascalonians who built towering statues of themselves. Elonia fell to internal strife sparked by the three priests who held the Vision Crystal created to gather the gaze of the gods to them. And during this civil war, the Elonians created a powerful weapon that wiped out at least one of the few cities they established, and also warred against the local Forgotten, who they had mistaken as mindless beasts of the desert like the local hydras or scarabs. How the Seekers and Ascalonians perished is unknown, all that is known is that they were there and they died. The only group to have managed to "survive" the desert in this millennia was the Awakened undead of Palawa Joko who took their home in the Desolation, but he too fell when he warred against Elona and fell to Turai Ossa.
In the year 1072 AE, the Chosen foretold in Glint's Flameseeker Prophecies arrived in the desert, driven from Kryta by the White Mantle. With the aid of the restless spirits of Turai's fallen pilgrimage, they were the first to succeed in Ascending, and gained the Gift of True Sight that would allow them to fight the mursaat. With this act, the souls of the Elonians were finally able to move on to the afterlife, and Turai took his place in the Hall of Heroes. Three years later, Nightfall came, and Abaddon's return began to twist the southern reaches of the desert into a nightmarish land, worse than it was before and saw the return of Palawa Joko to regain control of his former lands.
Around 1135 AE, Palawa Joko launched a new invasion into Elona, which was victorious. During this invasion, he dammed and redirected the Elon River from north of Vabbi to make it flow into the Sea of Sorrows. This flooded the desert just north of the sulfurous Desolation, turning its nearby area into a green and growing verdant oasis. Joko's victory over Elona, and spreading further north, prompted Tyrians to lockdown travel into the desert though they still took the refugees that fled Joko's empire until they stopped coming nearly 150 years later. Despite this lockdown, the Order of Whispers remained in contact with Elona, and the Durmand Priory have made a few expeditions into the desert.
After the Elder Death Dragon, Zhaitan, rose from underneath Orr, the northern edge of Elona's borders in the desert became a warzone between the risen and Joko's forces. Furthermore, when the Elder Crystal Dragon Kralkatorrik awoke and flew south in 1320 AE, it corrupted parts of the northern desert, spreading his branded among the northern highlands of the desert.
In 1330 AE, one of the Six Gods had returned. Balthazar made his way into the Crystal Desert with an assembled army to take down Kralkatorrik and take its magic. Upon arriving in Crystal Oasis, the Commander discovers Balthazar's army, the Forged, attacking a nearby village.
- Explorable Zones
- Guild Halls
- Windswept Haven (80)
- Concept art
Concept art of Destiny's Edge in the Crystal Desert.