Sand. As far as the eye could see were thousands upon thousands of little grains of sand. Every so often you would come upon an oasis. An island in the sea of gold. Fresh water and palm trees and maybe even dates to eat. Thousands of times we were warned about the golden sea. The heat like Ra's wrath upon the Earth, and out there you were not sheltered by buildings or close to fresh water. Walking upon the golden sea was much harder than walking on the paved roads and the closest oasis was three leagues away, supposing you walked in the right direction. Then you had to outrun the hunting lions, the masters' pets that recaptured anyone who tried to escape.
The seven high masters of our city were unlike any other of the seven worlds. They were brothers of blood magic, and didn't hide it. They ruthlessly used it against anyone who opposed them. Including any of the lower masters, and especially slaves. Visitors from around the world came to meet the men who wanted to conquer the world. Some were diplomats, some were sent as gifts from other cities to maintain peace with the blood masters. The high masters who ruled the city had seven palaces. They were treated like they were sons of the gods. Maybe they were? No one could stand to oppose them and live. The gods would have sent someone or done something to save us from them if they were defiling their names.