After the fall of the Old Empire–a misnomer if ever there was one, as it was a gradual fragmentation and decline that no one alive at the time would have described thus–many areas experienced little, if any, disruption in the cycles of their daily lives. Others were abruptly reduced to husks of their former selves, bereft of the activities that had formerly filled them with so much life.

The Parking Lot Wastes are a good example of the latter.

In the vast and arid interior, around the porous boundaries between the Outland Empire and the innumerable principalities of the Beral Lands and Ativia, the latter days of the Old Empire had seen a massive growth in population fueled by cheap lands and low cost of living. Communities popped up everywhere, as did the massive shopping, service, and industry infrastructure they supported. Thanks to economies of scale, the Old Empire was able to provide them with the one thing they did not have in abundence: water.

But with the fall of the Old Empire–and once again, the term is used only for familiarity’s sake, the parallels to the fall of the empires of old being tenuous at best–the water dried up. Abruptly, the inhabitants found themselves going thirsty, and they departed in droves. Whole swathes of the arid West were all but abandoned, with only scattered small communities with access to steady supplies of water remaining. And abandoned with them were the massive parking lots which had once served them.

While technology in general had stagnated during the many years between the arguable peak of the Old Empire and its fragmentation, its construction technology had grown ever more sophisticated, resulting in vast lots that retarded the intrusion and growth of plant life far better than any the world had ever seen before. So they remain, even decades later, little-encroached by green.

Bordered as they are by some of the poorest sections of Ativia, the Outland Empire, and the Beral Lands, the Parkling Lot Wastes are tempting targets for would-be treasure hunters or fortune seekers. There are, after all, treasures aplenty that were abandoned in haste and still more for those willing to dig a little. But the long flat distances and the remaining pavement conspire with the stark western sun to produce scorching temperatures, while the few outposts of law and the many outposts of banditry keep a wary eye on travelers.

Many an expedition into the Waste has ended with a high-powered round from a rifle with a telescopic sight, as a skilled sniper with a nest in the tallest part of an abandoned shopping center has an uninterrupted view of the Wastes for miles around.

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