You can visit the lake. You can even swim in the lake, if you stay near the shore.
Don't go diving deep. You won't like what you find, and you'll like what happens to you even less.
Lake Kelestra is the third-largest continuous lake in the borders of the Aletheian Empire, and is the largest in the Undric Region
without contest. Its borders are home to Celesthem Temple
, along with many other smaller fishing villages and adventuring camps. In addition, the lake shares the dubious honour of standing beside the tainted lands of Tenaerul
- forever at risk of corruption if Ypolita
's shield ever fails.
Celesthem Temple does actually extend far beneath Lake Kelestra, but those areas of the temple are protected and off-limits to pilgrims and travellers. These guarded areas are rumoured to be the rooms holding protective runes and wards that keep both the Temple and lake safe from evil influence, and that maintain Tenaerul
's shield after the events caused by Eskandar Nerezan
. No sign of these tunnels can be seen from the lake's surface.
Lake Kelestra's geographical situation is an interesting one. The River Steorra once flowed across the path leading between Solariste
, its source lying somewhere within the Everfall Mountains
. Unfortunately, the construction-work and mining operations deep inside the mountain disrupted this source, and the river ran dry. For a period of five years - an event known as the Coming Hunger to those who lived around the lake - its only water was that which rained from the sky, and that which the country's magic-users could summon.
Thankfully, the work of a dedicated team of druids and miners uncovered the true source of Steorra. Through their work over the next three years, a new path for the river to flow was carved - vastly speeding up the process of nature. However, this new river was forced to run underground and replenish the lake from far below. Whilst this didn't affect the lake's rate of recovery, it did impact the citizens of villages that had once been used to fresh water. Many fled to the outskirts of Undria
or migrated to the lake's borders; others simply stayed and tried to manage.
Nowadays, the lake's eastern-to-northwestern side is lush and plentiful in a large variety of flora and fauna. The southern-southwestern sides, however, are where the Ubukhu Swamp
lies, home to the town of Ashmire
. The swampy wetlands are far lower than their surrounds, allowing the lake's water to spread across them. Grippli
, in particular, flourish in this environment.
Flora & Fauna
The lake boasts far too many different species of water-dwelling creatures to cover simply: it is thus enough to say that it has plenty of variety. Aquatic elves and undines take up residence near or within small villages; grippli and grindylows flourish within the damper areas such as Ashmire. Non-sapient life is seemingly everywhere, even within the depths of the lake.
However, the deepest areas of the lake are too dangerous for most adventurers to want to explore. Ashmire's legends speak of a bronze dragon that watches over the lake from its depths, but attempts to find it in recent years have made no headway - though not because of the creature's absence. Every party sent to explore the deepest parts is only ever found when their bodies wash ashore, littered in disturbing injuries that speak of dangerous creatures hiding just out of sight. Some scholars from nearby Celesthem Temple have suggested that lingering corruption from the crack in Tenaerul's barrier has driven the wildlife in the depths to violent evolution.
Some of the land-living folk think us mad for growing food in water. I say they're missing out.
A common source of food for those living around the lake would be the lake's varied collection of fish, largely untouched by the pollution of dwarven
mining machines or Vexua
-inspired technologies. The citizens of Ashmire
have also pioneered farming in the swampy areas on the lake's outskirts, saturating their fields with water to cultivate breeds of rice, leeks, and other vegetables and herbs.
Whilst the trees within Ubukhu Swamp
are usually left alone (as the natives like to build their houses in them), the trees elsewhere by the lake's shore are regularly logged (sustainably) for use in building houses, crafting tools, and creating furniture. They are often paired with strong reeds and other plants in place of easily-farmed string, though some brave souls do attempt to harvest especially strong thread from the giant spiders native to the Undric Region.