Water or Blood
To the East of Aru lies this set of small baronies the shell of a broken kingdom. It’s trade with the Empire has always been limited due to the lawlessness of the boundary, but some quality goods do get exchanged.
This land once had dominion all the way west to Old Aru (the city the Empire destroyed), It is now a reduced shell of small clans and no unifying rule. The only reasons it has yet to be assaulted/assimilated by the empire is its lack of threat and lack of wealth.
While the majority of the land is broken and harsh there are lush valleys in the high places and many small stronghold protecting them, leaving a multitude of small warlords in control of these resources raiding and pillaging for more maintaining the high degree of in stability inherent in these lands. Every once and a while a leader emerges that unite many of these bands and causes trouble abroad, but fractious succession has always torn these short lived kingdoms apart.
Though much may be found in its ruins to those who are clever enough to go. A practice some Librarians are fond of organizing expeditions for.