Skyships of the Wastes
Sprinkled like islands about the deadly dry wastes are the Oases. These are each centered around a pool which bubbles up from a Wellspring below. Water is life, and life thrives in the Oases. Most pools overflow with the life-giving water sending out streams of water that wind through the Fringes into the wastes, where they evaporate away. Trees, plants, and crops all grow readily in the moist rich soil, and storms tend to hit them with less force. While the residents of an oasis must ration their resources, they can live quite comfortably.
Some Wellsprings are larger than others, and so are some Oases. Some small ones can support no more than 20 people, while a few rare ones supply enough water to support over many thousands. Larger Oases have larger fringes around them.
In some areas many Wellsprings are small and close together. This is called an Archipelago. These areas are mostly fringe-land. The Pictan Archipelago is a good example of this.
Generally, oasis dwellers can’t comprehend why anyone would live in the harsh life of the fringes.
Oases generally act as independent city states which are populated almost entirely by a single race. Many small oases operate as colonies of neighboring city states, especially if they have some valuable resource. The Empire covers many oases, but many of them are small and not too far apart.