"The Blizzard be strong outside, lads; settle yehself in and breathe the steam; we'll pass the time with a story."
An ancient shrine of a mischievous goddess. The proper offering will give you her blessing, but 'ware you don't feed her wrong!
The desert is a curse from the Water God upon the wicked people who live in the South.
Said people offended the Water God in some way, and so the Water God placed water-trappers, bizarre, water-sucking beings, in the soil, and within years, the wilderness became a desert.
Thus, the desert folk shamans have special powers that allow them to find water-trappers so that they can be dug up and their water harvested.