No one can draw everything from memory~
First, "supposedly impassible desert". Of course, the degree to which terrain is impassible depends on your investment and technology. For example, the Ancient Egyptians couldn't travel long distances through the Sahara as they lacked camels, forcing them to use donkeys that consume 4 times more water. Once camels were introduced to Africa, caravans across the Sahara trading gold, salt, ivory, and slaves started up. If the Doumerlatians(?) have camels or camel analogues, then an impassible desert would have to be even larger and even more arid than the Sahara. That doesn't mean that they would spend the effort to cross a smaller desert—for instance, you can cross the Darién Impenetrable Rainforest on wheels, you "just" need some ATVs, a lot of spares and supplies, a lot of vaccinations, a machete, and a month or two... but would you?
Secondly (addressing the main point), most true deserts are surrounded by semi-arid areas which, while in some locations are well suited to grazing, are typically not moist enough to support arable agriculture of all but the most drought-hardy of crops. There are a couple of exceptions—or apparent exceptions—to that rule. The first examples are locations like Commerson Crater on Réunion, Rangiroa in New Zealand, and certain locations in the highlands of Iceland. All of these are relatively barren, with visible erosion and little vegetation, yet are surrounded by verdant areas. This is because they are all recent volcanic landscapes and actually experience so much precipitation that vegetation cannot become established in the exposed rock. Areas further behind the mountains of Doumerlas could be truly arid.
The second example is the Loess Plateau in China. While this does indeed have a climate that borders between humid and semi-arid, the monsoon rains in the summer provide ample rain for agriculture and make the area green in summer, unlike mediterranean areas with similar precipitation which typically have a semi-arid character in the summer. However, the fertile soil of the area is highly erodible—indeed, it is a primary source of the 黄河's namesake yellow mud—so much of the area is badlands, either natural or created through poor farming practices. To the east lies the fertile North China plains, to the west the steppes and deserts of the Gobi.
That said, I like really like how you portrayed Pembrooke and Pyrs. Seeing her on a horse makes her seem more, *ahem* down to Earth.
*cracks knuckles* I love these kinds of questions because I get to go into detail.
To address your first point, everyone in the known world assumes that the desert is impassible because no one has come from it nor has anyone who has entered it ever returned in recorded history. Not to say that in the future it might be traversed, but there is something decidedly odd and eerie about the desert. As my character Yokov once observed - The desert stretched off to the east of them and was visible from the road. It wasn’t a gradual shift but an abrupt change from forest to rock and then deep barren trenches and canyons as far as the eye could see beyond. They said it was caused by the Gods’ War many many years ago. Nothing grew in the desert and nothing lived there. Rivers either stopped abruptly at the border, went underground, or skirted the outer borders of it like a protective barrier. It was said that no one who had tried to cross the desert had ever returned to say what was beyond it, if there was anything beyond, and no one had ever come from the desert indicating there was anyone living there. Nothing could grow on that hard, rocky ground either. Farmers had tried and failed and finally given up.
Addressing your second point I need to reference the above excerpt. This is not a “natural” desert, but one that came into existence due to extreme magical upheaval about 300 years ago. Before that, it was a temperate rainforest (but no mortal knows that, only the world’s gods ). There are many odd geographical things going in the entire world, not just on the border of Doumerlas. North of Doumerlas there is an entire city build on what they call “Gods Glass” which is like obsidian. This is not from any volcanic activity, but from powerful magical forces melting the rock. The world (which I call Wayu for now until I come up with something better) does not have a known ocean either. I’ll be addressing that quirk in my NaNoWriMo story next month Just north and west of Doumerlas there is a plateau above the desert that is more like the high plateaus of Idaho.
All of this makes me realize that I really need to make a map of my world, just to show how weird the whole situation is. Also to show that many of the geographical features look suspiciously like huge giants got smashed into the ground
Hmm, looking forward to your story! And I liek maps...
They look like they're enjoying themselves. Nice job on the horses too!
I love that they both are really happy. Great job with the picture!
I love how you did the grass and shadows. You did amazing! ^v^
Thank you! The grass is a brush that comes with Photoshop
She was so fun to draw, I especially love her tail