There are few places more treacherous than pools of quicksand save for a sea of quicksand. Those who tread here quickly find that the lust for adventure or coin might leave them with a sinking feeling of despair.
I dream of rain; I dream of gardens in the desert sand
--Sting, Desert Rose
The wastes are cruel, and beneath the desolation they hide many secrets.
The Ocadian Desert is a desolate place. The spirit of the land has been crushed, changing the region from a series of islands with evergreen forests and animals in a shallow sea, to one of the most inhospitable places on the Sphere.
Patterns in surnames: There are many ways a surname could have evolved over centuries. One possibility is migration. A Roman name may have traveled to France and hence to England where it was later Anglicized. Case in point - the surname Lawrence went from Laurentius (Roman) to Laurent (French) to Lawrence (English) and then to Lowry (Scottish). There is also natural etymological evolution. For example, a Middle English spelling may have evolved to a modern English spelling (e.g. Stiward to Stewart). Where did your character's Surname come from?