Dwellers of the Forbidden City in Auran Empire setting

Hello all,

I have been percolating a campaign idea inspired by Dwellers in the Forbidden City, Sir Richard Burton’s expeditions, King Solomon’s Mines, that kind of thing. The idea would be to base it in a city on a North Africa/Horn of Africa like coast (tentatively named Aswara), with expeditions inland into deserts and jungles full of ancient ruins and hostile tribes. In Greyhawk, I’d set it in the southwest corner, in Hepmonaland, for instance. My idea is that for some reason the region has just recently been opened for exploration and adventure, and various powers are contending for influence in the area as well. The PCs would be westerners exploring the exotic east.

Question is where to put Aswara in the Auran Empire setting? Somewhere in the Narrow Sea could work, but that is close to off the map. I am tempted to add in a big inlet, maybe between Kemesh and Opelenea, or just deepen the bay around Pireus until it goes right through the Meniri mountains. With no water, the Waste isn’t a very tempting area to explore beyond dipping into it to go raid a ruin for treasure. It doesn’t seem like a place to clear and colonize. Though I realize it’s relatively undeveloped and one could easily plop rivers, jungles, or an inland sea into it.

Related question: perhaps the war with Skysostan could be the reason Aswara just opened to trade and exploration. Maybe Kemesh or Somirea blocked access to it before, but now they are distracted by Skysostan. I don’t really understand the threat of Skysostan though. How are they a threat to the Auran Empire when they are on the far side of the Sunset Kingdoms and Jutland? Did the Tarkaun march his armies west just to defend trading partners? Where is the battle with Skysostan supposed to have occurred, roughly?

P.S. Browsing the Discord I saw discussion of Archon’s Heart of Darkness campaign. This is exactly the kind of thing I am thinking of. I’d love to know more about it. Have there been maps, accounts of play, etc.?