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Lake Paxeux ([leɪk pæks:əʊks])

Lake Paxeux is a vast store of fresh water East of Bezélan and mostly fed by the Aszilousii River, though the Blànaneux (or Blànanoùsii in Foyiitùn) filters in a little also. Due to its sources, much of Lake Paxeux appears blue, in various tones and depths, during the daytime. This is true regardless of most weather types, with the exclusion of thunderous, or dark, clouds.   At the Northern end, where the rivers flow into the lake lies Nirryi Isle, which is connected to Bezélan Minor by a nameless bridge.   While no one lives on its banks, the lake is rich in natural life making it the central place for the fishing industry. Regulations, unfortunately, had to be introduced to ensure over-fishing did not result in an ecosystem collapse.

Naming Convention

  Anyone who is familiar with Foyiitùn - even after a cursory introduction - will note that this name is not derived from that language. It is, in fact, a variation of archaic Common Tongue known informally as Qalashev, meaning a combination of Qalathii and Shevezzi terminology. It's name literally means "Peacewater", which if rendered in Foyiitùn would be Ousànpìch or Pìchousii.

Pronunciation

  If the reader is not familiar with the scribed pronunciation at the top of this document, then a layperson's transcription would be:   Layk Paks-ohks
 

Flowing Out of the Lake

  Much of the water that flows into Lake Paxeux remains there, save that reclaimed by the Elements of Erdé, Aevyen and Ethkiel. However, there are two primary outflows from the twinking lake.  

1. Settlements and Outposts

East Guard
On the southern edge of Lake Paxeux is East Guard, a small fenced-off area with an exceedingly tall lookout tower. As it sits a good thirty minutes' walk from Faiqal Gates, the Guards keeping watch there find it easier to drink from the Lake than anywhere else. How safe this is will be discussed later. That said, King's Yield Farms is nearby and they, along with some help from the Alchemists of Bezélan have purified their supplies of water to produce the highest possible quality of crops.   Minor Farms
This is not the name of a specific place, just an acknowledgement that there are small scale farms (with specialist herbal crops, for example) and one unnamed building around the water's edge.  

2. Life-Drain Stream

While this is not the appropriate place to discuss the naming of the stream, known originally as Umbous Aivyt, this is the primary natural outflow from Lake Paxeux, providing some measure for the lake to refresh and replenish itself the way the Elements intended. The Umbous leaves the lake on the South-Eastern edge, passing through the Bruhàn Bernàrii (Hopewood), the Shan Da San and eventually leads to the Oasis of Tarran.  

Bezélan Minor?

Some argue that Bezélan Minor's residents are likely to be using some of the lake's water for drinking or bathing. From my own research, it seems they're more likely to take it from the Aszilousii simply due to it being more accessible. Having spoken with a few that others acknowledge as leaders among the poor, they see taking their fresh water from the Lake as the last resort.
by F J Brodie
While it would be technically quicker to draw water from Lake Paxeux, the people do not wish to draw attention to themselves, especially as the entire lake can be viewed from the walls of Bezélan. Therefore, they either pass through the East Gate and North to the Aszilousii, or out of the West Gate and attempt to walk on the very narrow strip between the walls of Bezélan Minor and the Aszilousii to draw water.  

Purifying Water

While a detailed examination of this warrants a full article of its own, a summary is relevant here. While Bezélan is the singular largest user of water - and closest to the most water in the Realm - it is the Elelupii in the Verdant Hills who have the greatest experience in the Alchemic Experimentalist Movement. Given their business knowledge, expert contacts and extensive experience, it was the Elelupii who guided and set up the almost-invisible water purification facility at East Guard, on the south-eastern edge of Lake Paxeux.  

How the System Worked

Consisting of a small water-wheel, which is turned by the ebbing and flowing of the water's edge, impure water is funnelled through a system of "boxes". At each box, grills of varying densities enable solids to be extracted via a lid, while the grills become finer, capturing other materials - grit, sand, the occasional semi-precious stone and the like. Once the water reaches the final two "boxes" the Elelupii Alchemic concoctions clear the water of any dissolved impurities. While this does leave something of an unpleasant taste, having tested their system themselves, no Elelupii became ill as a result of consuming it.  

Disposal

Materials collected in each "box" were disposed of in different ways - according to their odour, usually. Anything clearly "waste" was manually removed and either buried deep in the Shan Da San, or would occasionally be delivered to farms to nourish crops. If a box smelled natural, or "fishy" then it was returned to the Lake, but further North. When the concoctions needed replenishing, the relevant boxes were emptied completely and their contents taken back to Bevérohii to retrieve remnant ingredients or as a basis for a top-up treatment.  

Maintenance

Despite it being an ongoing cost, Qal'ath paid the Elelupii to regularly replenish the Alchemic mixtures either on a schedule or when East Guard reported that a wrong "box" smelled of waste.   Thus, while Minor's waste was funnelled into Lake Paxeux, the "perfect image of the Capital" was not tainted so long as the purification facility was working as intended.  

Localized Phenomena

As mentioned in our discussion of Nirryi Isle, Lake Paxeux appears to be blessed by Orma, which give it the appearance of being filled with stars, even during daylight hours. With the combination of its natural blue hues and this etheric starlight spectacle, the Lake is something of a jewel in the proverbial crown of Bezélan, if not Qal'ath as a whole.  

Fauna & Flora

Silverdart

While, even now, no one scholar has managed to document all the species of fish and water-lizards in Lake Paxeux, all biologists and alchemists (who document anything that could be termed an "ingredient") agree on one thing: the existence of the Silverdart fish.   The Silverdart appears to have been an evolution from the Common Dart, a slim fish about the length of a span with uncommonly-quick swimming. Taking advantage of the star-like surface of Lake Paxeux, the Silverdart has developed silvery scales on its back, thus attempting to camouflage itself from land-bound and airborne predators (including humans and human-like beings). Such was their success that the price of Silverdart is often so high, even moderately-wealthy families in the capital would see it as an indulgent meal. That said, it has been known for Kyadii Fishers to be employed, prized for their sense of smell, though this is rare given the pride of that race.   While its existence is known, to most non-Kyadii fishers it is known as "Fool's Silver" or "Foolsdart", as one could fish for days and not catch a single one.  

Common Dart

This fish forms the basis of many everyday meals in Qal'ath. Due its ability to reproduce and grow rapidly, it is the only fish in Lake Paxeux that is permitted to be caught using nets, rather than rods, or similar. An adult Common Dart is also a span in length, and only those that have reached that length are permitted. Others must be returned to the Lake. Unlike the Silverdart, the Common Dart is a brown variety and is usually fatter than its silver counterpart.  

(Bearded) Mini-Dragon

Classified as a "water lizard" (Ouskàlii in Foyiitùn), the mini-dragons are the only known predator of the Silverdarts. Capable of living under water through its gills, this unusual creature uses its "wings" to move swiftly underwater, much the same as its airborne cousins do in the air. As the Silverdarts camouflage from predators above, the Ouskàlii of Lake Paxeux camouflage themselves from prey underwater. Their scales are of dark teal and green, each tipped with white. While such a combination would be fatal to a land-lizard (Skàlerdii), the white tips serve as false stars to either draw a Silverdart to them, or to create an apparently safe environment, making capturing them easier.   Male "mini-dragons" have extra flesh and scales under the chin, hence (bearded) being written into the name.

History

Aside from the unrecorded natural history, what has been written about Lake Paxeux predominantly surrounds the issue of sewerage and waste disposal.  

A Lack of Cleanliness

When the "new Qal'ath" (for want of a better term) was founded, its original builders had routed the sewer system into the lake. This eventually led to some species of fish and plants being killed and was also deemed a factor in the plague that struck early Qalathians (or Qalathii to those who do not draw a distinction between old and new inhabitants) in the first century of the Realm's life.   The sewers had been built in that direction simply out of a need to dig them quickly and a fear that one mistake going seaward could flood and destroy the fledgling Capital. With the awareness of this "system" being the cause of many issues for Bezélan, alterations were eventually made that ensured the waste from the Capital proper were funnelled into the Grànousii-an-Ormàszil Ocean and as low down as the Miners and Constructors dared to delve. How all this applies to Lake Paxeux will become clear shortly.  

Bezélan Minor's Waste

However, this work was carried out prior to the construction of Bezélan Minor. Wanting to invest as little as possible to shelter the needy and excluded from the Capital, the sewer system there was poorly designed and implemented with even less care. Given Minor has two levels of accommodation underground, the stone tunnels ran dangerously close to the homes of some residents, before eventually making their way under the southern tip of Minor into Lake Paxeux.   Aside from it being a very costly exercise, actually connecting Bezélan Minor's sewer system to the Grànousii-an-Ormàszil was impractical and potentially very dangerous. This is due to the fact that, to even reach the sea, such "funnels" would need to be dug either under, or around Lake Paxeux itself, or in the very least under the Aszilousii. Even then, the most direct route would have been to connect such a funnel to Bezélan (Major)'s system, which could have caused instability of the outer wall.   Thus a combination of natural barriers, underfunding and a lack of care led to Minor's waste being dumped into Lake Paxeux's South-Eastern and Southern edges.
  For more information, click/tap here to read the section on purification.
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