DescriptionWhen the morning light graces the waters of Mermaid's Rest, birds with vibrant colours fly up at its shores, the waves calmly caress the land, and all the sorrows of the world are forgotten.
Excerpt from the book "Newborn hope" by Nypha Wingborn, Halfling poet and novelist
Mermaid's Rest is not only a beautiful lake, it is also the biggest one in Delvaroth. Almost 300 miles long and 150-200 miles wide, it is the main water source for five cities as well as numerous smaller villages and towns. It is so deep that nobody has reached its ground yet, and over the centuries, many tales of wonder and mystery have been told about what is hidden down there. When Virthys died and Ashandri was created, at least some of its secrets were given away - in the most gruesome way possible. During the first day after the rebirth of the world, thousands upon thousands of bodies were washed ashore: Mermaids. Whatever happened deep in the lake must have destroyed an entire society, or at least big parts of it. In some places, the bodies were accompanied by their former possessions - most of them destroyed. But some locals found wondrous art, chests full of jewelry or even the occasional magical item. For days, people combed through the shores, looking for treasure. Others cared for the bodies and gave them proper burials. But at some places, the mermaid corpses were just left to rot. Of course, people didn't realize back then that the souls of the dead would be tied to the world. To this day, the Unbound Spirits of the mermaids roam the lake, some of them furious about how their dead bodies were treated or that people just stole their belongings. These spirits, among other things, make it dangerous to sail across the waters of Mermaid's Rest. But not all of them are angry souls, and some ignore travelers or even help them. After what happened here on the first day, the lake was given a new name. It was known as the Maiden Lake before, but without any official declaration, people just started calling it Maiden's Rest. This name has stuck to this day. The original name referred to a spirit being that lives in the deep waters. Simply known as The Lake Maiden to most, she is revered in Maidenville, a town that was founded by one of her worshipers. While she is no deity, the Maiden occasionally grants special powers to chosen followers. Most of the stories describe her as a helpful, loving spirit with many motherly attitudes. But a few ones hint at a darker side. Criticizing the Maiden is a surefire way to upset most locals in Maidenville.
ResidentsIt's hard to say what hides in the depths of the lake. The mermaid spirits still roam the waters, while those species that prefer the land live in the cities and villages on the shores. Most of them have a rather calm attitude - probably something that just happens when you live at the edge of a beautiful lake. The big exception is, of course, Bridgepoint, the great bustling trade city at the Blackriver Bridge. A group of Slumberpool halflings have come here about a year ago. They built a swimming wooden island resembling the floating villages from the Ocean Heart - just far smaller. The halflings, led by a man called Ric Sablewood, travel from city to city to trade. But rumours are they are here to dive deep into the lake and find out its hidden secrets.
Important charactersRic Sablewood is the leader of the Slumberpool Halflings that are currently exploring the depths of the lake. He's not from Phloxfish Stead, but from a village farther up north. When the earthquakes from the world's rebirth hit, he was on a boat with several friends far on the Slumberpool lake. They hoped they could escape all the fighting there. As the waves crashed against the boat, it was halfway destroyed, and some of his friends died. Three of them clinged to the remains of the boat, until they lost their strength, and drowned... almost. Marisha Veilbreaker's magic swept over them, and turned them into the new race later known as Slumberpool Halflings. The four Halfling friends made it to the shore alive, and later gave a vow they would never run again. The group gathered several other Slumberpools around them, and now they travel the world hunting every dangerous monster they can find. And this is exactly the reason why they are at Mermaid's Rest now. Because, if their sources are correct, the mermaids here didn't die because of a natural disaster. They were slaughtered by something. And Ric and his followers and friends are looking into it. Sarivi Aluva is a Spellvessel Dragonborn with a deep-seated hatred for dragons... which, understandably, got worse after the apocalypse. She was headed here even before the world ended, on the hunt for a specific type of spell that, allegedly, could kill dragons in one strike. Unfortunately for her, the landscape around the lake has changed so much that her old map is little more than a guideline. So Sarivi knows the approximate area where the spellbook should be hidden - somewhere between Maidenville and Grimhome. But without any further clue, her search probably won't be successful. Recently, some strange humans clad in black clothes appeared in the two nearby towns, asking questions about Sarivi. Rumours are they prefer to let the spellbook stay lost, and that its former owner was insane. Others believe the humans are simply trying to get it for themselves. Whatever the truth is, it doesn't look like this will be settled peacefully. Hyondrus is a Dwarf, a Child of Kkruuvarr. As a cleric of Kkruuvarr, he was sent here on a mission from his temple. He says that the earth itself was harmed here, and he is looking to heal it. Most people don't know what he is talking about, but he recently paired up with an Ashfolk woman called Avathi. She's a wizard and claims that there is something bad going on in the depths surrounding the lake. So she helps Hyondrus with his task, and even supports him as he is building a temple somewhere between Blackhaven and Seeker's Furnace.
The DeadrocksIf you sail about twenty miles south across the lake from Bridgepoint, you come upon a small island. It's really not much more than a couple of rocks sticking out of the water, less than fifty yards wide. Visually, they are pretty boring - what's interesting are the myths surrounding them. According to the legends, a former pirate captain and his best friend, a sorcerer, used magic to bury and seal a great treasure here. Chests full of jewels and gold and powerful magic, all the wealth the two friends acquired over the decades. They put a spell on the rocks that would kill anyone setting their foot here, returned to the land - and got lethally poisoned by an enemy the same night. These stories are over two hundred years old, but now and again, people go looking for the hidden treasure. And those few that return always confirm one thing: The rocks here kill you. But not just that: There are sea monsters here, and it's almost as if they're guarding the little island. So while it's unclear whether the pirate tale is true, something is definitely going on at the Deadrocks.
Local rumours and news
- Cho'Akin is a Human merchant from Bridgepoint who has been highly interested in Mermaid's Rest since about two years. He is currently looking for someone to do an underwater mission for him: He wants a specific chest retrieved from the depths of the lake. He already has a map and a magical key to the chest, only the treasure itself is still missing. He's not willing to tell what's inside the chest, but he is willing to pay well.
- A group of Ember Orcs has been seen near Grimhome. They killed a local fisher and stole his boat, heading out into the lake. All they left was a note: You will not get it. You will pay. The locals are, understandibly, afraid, and are looking for adventurers to search for the orcs and find out what they want (and, if necessary, stop them).
- A new species of water snakes has been seen in the lake. They grow about thirty feet long, and several boats have been attacked by them. The residents of the surrounding cities all want them gone, but there's a druid called Vandra in Bridgepoint claiming they are important for the future of the lake. So far, people haven't listened to him.