The deceptively named Crystal
Lake is anything but crystal. Its waters
are a dark stain in the otherwise clean
waters of the Luquador River. A fetid swamp now lies where there once was a
pristine lake. Like some stinking wasteland it corrupts what could have been
good farmland and fishing grounds. Strange and frightening creatures swim
beneath murky depths, unnamed things slither and crawl amongst bubbling mud,
and ill abominations fly through putrid air. Some who enter do not leave, and
some who do not leave stay to haunt the swamp and hunt those who adventure.
Description. Clean rushing waters flow down the Luquador River from the midst of the Shaded Forest sped along its ways by the blessing of the Injerín. But in a bend of the river, the waters slow and the far banks are naught but a thick sludge. Squirming it's way through this mud is a small, choked inlet into the Crystal Lake. It is as if the river itself tries to block off that diseased growth that is attached to itself. Despite its efforts, there is no stopping the encroachment of the turgid waters of the lake, only the help of the Injerín and their expenditures magic keep the river mostly free from the lake's scum.
The outer areas of the lake are a moldering sore spot of the area. Cool mists from the Hovel Frond Forest move into the region, but seemingly hit some wall for they either dissipate or get heated into a thick steam. This steam along with the possible underground hotsprings that feed into the lake creates a humid region that gives the area a unique flora, fauna, and enviroment. Shallow waters covered in a thick grime lap restlessly against banks covered with vines and all manner of growing things.
Following the entrance to the lake from the Luquador River one can quickly notice that the cool waters are now tepid in temperature. Moving closer and closer to the middle of the lake, the water's temperature rises until in the midst muddy bubbles shudder and burst expelling noxious fumes. In fact the very substance of the water changes as one nears the center. No longer is it clear or fluid, rather it progressively thickens until the center is naught but a mass of scum covered mud. It is not known if this is because there is actually an island in the center of the lake whose muddy surface blends into the swampy waters.
Location. Bolstering the Diorye'oleal's rotting lands it sits just North of the Hovel Frond Forest. It is said that the Ash'mari to the West would rather be impaled on the walls of the Castle of Darkness rather than be forced into the Crystal Lake region. North of the lake lay the Kuglimz homelands who for once agree with the Ash'mari and avoid the region. Eastward stand the grim Mountains of Oro.
Climate. Clothing sticks and suffocates in the humid air. Winds, that are few bring no relief, only a rotting stench. Nowhere is there cool water to quench thirst, when one goes to wipe the sweat from their brow all they will find there is a dripping slime. Those who brave this cursed place joke that if the foul creatures, stinking bog, or part of Diorye'oleal don't kill you, then the climate will.
Flora. Due to the humid enviroment and the swamp-like characteristics of Crystal Lake there are many varieties of plants that are not found anywhere else in area. One of these is the lifereed, though it varies from the standard in the way that it is darker in colouration and produces a small ill smelling flower. Also the yealm reed can be found growing in thick rotting batches throughout the mud. Diseased looking trees perch themselves around the lake and even grow in clumps out of the midst of the lake. Long strands of thick green moss hang all of the way to the waters, being swallowed up in the muck that covers the waters.
Fauna. Few fish are found in the lake anymore, the only known one is the mithanjor, like so many things it is no longer as it used to be. No gleaming, sparkle is left on this silver fish, now it is a dull gray as if the sickness of Crystal Lake has tarnished this animal. Yellow bogsnappers are known to inhabit Crystal Lake and snap up any unwary small animals. The most well known and feared inhabitant of this swamp is called by nearby inhabitants Ortom'tog (Great Worm). It is feared and respected for its agile and deadly abilites. Snake, swamp dragon, abomination, it has been called all of these and more.
Myth/Lore. Several stories tell of a Kuglim by the name of Vuk'ine (Brave Axe), so named for the heroic deeds he accomplished with his trusted axe. He was a member of the Cur'tyr Kuglim well known to ride off on his own, ever seeking out dangers to conquer. Fearlessly he would ride into the Mountains of Oro harrassing the orcs there. It is even said he ventured into the Hovel Frond Forest once, though that is not known for sure. Also, and likely the feat that many a bard has regaled halls with is that of Vuk'ine and Ortom'tog. It tells of how Ortom'tog grew restless and hungry one summer and squirmed its way out of the swamp to the nearby Cur'tyr encampment of Zei'kor (Lake Camp). During the dead of night it snatched children and elderly alike and then made its way back to Crystal Lake. Some stories say Vuk'ine's son was one of those eaten, others say his grandfather was, whatever the case, he followed the beast. There was an epic battle. It is said that Vuk'ine hurt Ortom'tog more than anyother could. For righteous anger and great skill were on his side. But in the end trapped by the muck of the Lake he perished. The Cur'tyr bards say that even though he died, he put so much fear into Ortom'tog that he never ventured from Crystal Lake again.
History. In 598 b.S. the Crystal Lake was not like it is today. It was a pristine lake, hence the name. The Diorye'oleal built a shipyard along its southern banks and launched a shallow draft fleet along the Luquador River. It made its way North using dark magics to keep the Kuglimz away from them as they passed through their lands. Continuing northward they made it all of the way to the Injerín city of Elin'dor. Caught unaware the Injerín suffered horribly and much of their natural city was destroyed. Rallying they ended up pushing back the Diorye'oleal. Flush with victory the Diorye'oleal fall into a trap and are crushed by waves of Injerín archers. Getting together some Arthyrón mercenary ships and some of their own the Injerín head southward intent on carrying the fight to the Hovel Frond Forest. Knowing that the they could not at that time stand against the forces coming for them the Diorye'oleal hatched a devious plan. So it was that when the Injerín and Arthyrón ships entered the Crystal Lake, nearly every Diorye'oleal mage put together their powers and brought decay to the lake. The ships were held fast and became sitting targets for the Diorye'oleal attack. The lake had now turned into a muck strewn with dead bodies. Since that incident, the area has never been the same.
Information provided by Drogo