[COPIED] The Sand Sea surrounds the village of Sunagakure as a grand expanse of desert which acts as a natural defense in addition to the Great Cliffs of Sunagakure. To the natives who have spent their lives adjusting to their village's weather conditions, this stretch of land is considered a popular training ground as long as they do not venture too far from the village.
As its name suggests, The Sand Sea is indeed an ocean created of the earth's most iron rich sands. Acting as a natural defense between Sunagakure and the other villages of the world, traversing the shifting dunes is difficult as it would seem that the formation of the land itself is constantly changing. Littering the area in small gatherings is the occasional cliff and boulder which a tired traveler could possibly find shelter behind. Here the climate is extremely harsh save for the location of the Temple Oasis. Temperatures often times scale high above the 114 degrees Fahrenheit mark due to the country’s relentless sun. The abundance of frequent sandstorms leaves little doubt as to where the Land of Wind got its name. This, along with the fact that water is not naturally found anywhere besides the infrequent oases, makes travel though the vast stretch of land extremely dangerous unless one is naturally accustomed to the harsh conditions and prepared to face them. Even a native Suna nin, if traversing the lands unprepared, will quickly meet their demise.
Along with the dangers of its climate, this desert proves to be a dangerous place filled with hordes of fauna; often gigantic, poisonous — or even more likely, both.
Great Sand Worms
- The Great Sand Worms which are commonly found swimming beneath the sands are of colossal size and hunted as a source of food for the villagers. Despite being edible, they are not mild cattle content to be put to the slaughter but rather fierce predators of the sands. The local herds are carefully monitored as they are a main source of diet in the region. From time to time organized hunts are called where shinobi pit their strength and wits against the creatures to hunt them in the manner of their ancient ancestors. To hunt a Great Sandworm has also been used as a test of skill in Sunagakure before one can gain a promotion in rank. As are all the creatures of the desert, these Sand Worms are hunted with respect. Periodically the creatures have been known to exhibit atypical behaviors, or go rogue and run amok. While usually avoiding settlements single beasts have been known to attack Sunagakure's walls. Such episodes have been explained away as simply being an isolated event where fear or malfunction of the brain has caused a single beast to attack settlements. One wonders if this is indeed the reason or just an easy explanation to mot panic the masses. Shai-Hulud is an ancient Al-Kahtar term for the worms. As with many of the ancient words, it has multiple layers to its meaning and is more than a descriptive term for the physical. It alludes to the belief among the ancient one's descendants that the sand worm is the physicalization of the one god who rules and maintains the universe. As such, it is a word spoken in hushed tones of reverence indicating their awe, fear, and respect. The word Shai-Hulud has many translations; all speak to size, age, and power of the sandworm: 'Old Man of the Desert', 'Old Father Eternity', 'Grandfather of the Desert', 'Royal Eternity'.
- With hard exoskeletons and a highly poisonous sting, these large predators act as the natural enemy to the Great Sand Worms. With adult scorpions growing to the size of buildings and juvenile the size of buses, there is no doubt that these predators of the sands have firmly positioned themselves high upon the Sand Sea’s food chain. Although dangerous, these creatures have their uses as they are sometimes restrained and milked by Suna nin for their venom as it curiously enough acts as a potent antidote if properly prepared. Strange tests of courage and skill are rumored to involve these monstrosities of the sands and the elite warrior of Sunagakure, but this as yet remains an unsubstantiated rumor. In the classic fashion of a people who scratch a living from such a harsh environment, Scorpion exoskeletons and stingers have found their way into the shinobi of Sunagakure's armor and weaponry.
- Although the traveling bands of Bedouins are not considered "fauna" of the desert, they still prove to be a threat to all strangers who cross paths with them. These people are not specifically trained in the ninja arts, though are still more than capable of destroying foreigners who they deem as threats. They live off the desert itself and apparently have adapted their bodies to not need the normal amount of water. In terms of relations towards Sunagakure, these bands have established an almost symbiotic relationship with the ninja. In return for rare desert herbs and collections of Giant Scorpion poison, Suna nin provide them with goods such as textiles and fresh food (namely fruits and vegetables). Even with this limited trade agreement between the two people, few if any of the shinobi have ever visited the Bedouin Refuge to the south of Sunagakure.