The Bright Lands is a region apart, with its own dark history and areas of high adventure. Two millennia ago Flan
civilization reached its zenith on the arid grasslands of Sulm. Here, the ancient Flan learned the secrets of agriculture, ironwork and engineering, and founded great cities and raised majestic temples to their gods.
With its success Sulm grew, absorbing neighboring states. And like many empires, hegemony bred arrogance and decadence. With those black seeds planted, an evil rot eventually disintegrated the Sulm civilization.
The final doom of the Sulm came suddenly, when its last ruler—a mad sorcerer named Shattodos—was granted a boon from his divine patron, Tharizdun. The dark god's gift took the form of a powerful artifact called the Scorpion Crown, which promised to allow Shattados's true and everlasting dominion over all of his subjects. What it did was transform almost all of Sulm's people into hideous manscorpions bound to Shattados, and precipitated the eventual decline of the Sulm's lush grasslands to a wasteland of sand and rock.
Thus Sulm passed into history, languishing all but forgotten until events transpiring in the City of Greyhawk thrust these accursed lands into the minds of the great and the good.
The treacherous acts of Rary and his co-conspirator, Lord Robilar, on the Day of Great Signing was the first overt act that brought the Bright Desert to the forefront of Flanaess politics. His conspiracy thwarted and his plotting exposed, Rary fled civilized company. He wrenched his entire tower from the very foundation-rock in Lopolla and transported it, along with Lord Robilar and his fanatical followers, thousands of leagues eastward to the Brass Hills. In short order Robilar's forces pacified the peoples of the central desert forcing them to pay homage to the red and blue of the fledgling empire.
The rise of a new military power in the region would normally be met with little more than indifference in the surrounding nations but doom-laden warnings from the Circle of Eight awoke the Flanaess to a dire threat. The mage Mordenkainen has made it known that the Traitor knew of the ancient histories that cluster thick about the Bright Lands and that he likely seeks the catalyst of Sulm's unnatural fall, an artifact of surpassing power said to contain a portion of Tharizdun's essence. All is not lost, however. Although warriors of many desert tribes swell the empire's ranks some few tribes still resist Lord Robilar's forces and in other places small pockets of those professing neutrality still survive. None stand so bitterly opposed to The Traitor's machinations as the Hueleneaer—a race of desert dwelling centaurs. A fierce and proud people, they war with the outlanders, seeing Rary as evil and ambition personified. Their guerrilla tactics have won many victories against Robilar's soldiers and their constant raiding continues to tie down and harass the empire's forces.
Now, Rary and his general Lord Robilar, granted unnatural long life, seek to spread their darkness onto the Pomarj
Peninsula, which they see as a resource ripe for the picking. Many learned scholars in the Grand Spire see Rary as the ultimate threat to peace in the Flanaess, and backroom meetings are already being conducted to see what can be done to curb this evil.