The Destiny of Kord
Lake of Steam
Lake of Steam: Despite its name, the Lake of Steam (also called Arnaden) is a saltwater bay of the Shining Sea. Its stinking yellow waters give off clouds of steam due to volcanic activity beneath the waves, so its waters are always warm and cloaked with impenetrable mists on cold nights. Shallow as a pan, the lake is less than two hundred feet deep at its deepest, and only a few dozen feet in depth for most of its eastern arm.
The warm, iron-strong, undrinkable waters are rich in minerals that spur weeds, shellfish, and fish to grow to great size; the lake has been called "the Breadbasket of the Seas." Predators here grow very large, too, from birds and otters to dragon turtles. Dolphins are common, and sharks and leeches (some as large as rowboats, and given to hunting ashore during wet nights) are frequent, outnumbering more fearsome aquatic monsters. The lake is also known for the redish hued and sometimes green coloured pearls of its oysters.
The islands in the Lake of Steam change as volcanic stacks collapse and rise, but tend to be concentrated at Arnaden's western end. The Arnrock is an active volcano that exploded about a thousand years back, and is now a low, wide, open-topped dome with a cauldron filled with woods and always active hot springs and fumaroles. It's the abode of a small settlement of halflings who call themselves the Am. They fish, farm, and do a little copper-casting using volcanic rifts at the cauldron's heart.
The island of Felmer's Keep looks like a castle but is actually a steep-sided extinct volcano, its outer flanks rocky ramparts, and its heart a verdant meadow.
The Strait of Storms (also known as the Suldolphos Strait or the Wide Water) links Arnaden with the Shining Sea, and waters flow through it dangerously fast. To voyage north into the lake, ships wait on strong winds, and favorable tides, sometimes for days.