A Shadow Across Amber
A vast desert shadow, with notes of Arabian Nights and the fertile Crescent.
Sorcery and High Compelling are strong here, but rare. Unlike the fictional counterparts, the Djinn and Efreet have overthrown their former sorcerer masters and have, in turn, become the rulers. The caliphs and sultans are now slaves, the sorcerers now bound to their new masters’ wills.
The land is effectively divided into two regions; the Djinn rule the seaboards, oases and rivers while the Efreet claim all land areas including the deserts and mountains. This division has been in dispute for thousands of years; the borders fluid and changing, with each side grasping for more territory/power. Cities spanning a border are often very chaotic (think Jerusalem or similar contested cities.)
Within the semi-established boundaries realms, the Djinn/Efreet rulers have divided up territories into Feudal dominions; this is where the true division of power lies. More powerful elemental rulers tend to have larger kingdoms or at least larger power centers. (One of the most powerful Efreet kings rules a very small area of only a few dozen square miles. However, they surround an active volcano, so…)
Over the past 20 years, there has been a great unrest between the Efreet lords; many of them feel that Amber has been treating them unfairly in various Golden Circle trade agreements. Worse, there are at least some fringe extremists in both Efreet and Djinn counsels that claim Amber has been intentionally manipulating the Shadow lands to destabilize the environmental boundaries and try to incense the tensions already flowing.
A group of Efreet recently acted upon a series of events strongly pointing towards Amber; they had sorcerers, through immense blood sacrifice, fashion a great portal to the borderlands of Amber itself, staging a massive attack. Although they were eventually beat back and the portals sealed, their assault was able to destroy large numbers of Julian’s Rangers and almost claimed Julian himself.