Sunset Lake: History and Rumors
More an oasis than a lake, Sunset Lake is named because of the ridge along its eastern edge. This tower of rock forms a wall around the waters and blocks the sunrise to anyone who is not on top of it. Those who study the land think this is a crater lake, the result of impact from some heavenly body. The locals living on the outskirts of Huangjin and around Valianto say it was a heavenly body all right, or at least the fist of one. They claim that Corath, angry at the peoples of Huangjin for denying his followers a temple and uncovering several of their evil schemes, struck the land with his fist and caused all the forests west of the punch to die. The strike was so savage it drove the rock ahead of it, forming the eastern ridge.
According to stories, several things came of this. First, the sun can no longer be seen rising; rather it is seen on its trek to ending the days light, and this is said to please the Mad God. Second, locals say that the waters are tainted with his insanity and that is what causes the wildlife to go crazy with rage. More than that, the locals point out that the legend of Corath's fist also explains the Redlands; the desert is just beyond the eastern wall, and the force of the godly blow pushed devastation ahead of it. The same can be said of a star-sphere crater of course, although those who live close point out that it would have been in more of a circle around the impact than in a specific direction.
Regardless of whether this is true, one thing is certainly true of Sunset Lake; the fish, the animals around it, and the water itself are odd. The fish, mainly carp, grow large and have an oily black sheen. They are aggressive, fighting with each other and anyone uninformed enough to swim in the lake, although they have not grown fangs or claws and can do no more than slap against an intruder. Animals drinking from the shores become hostile as well although there are precious few of those. Many a traveler not familiar with local legends has been shocked when his docile old cow or mule turns and kicks him after watering at this lake, however.
As the natives of Valianto have found, blessing and purifying the water makes it usable if not tasty. Those of a scholarly bent have tried to find the reason in science for whatever affects the lake, but so far, it seems the local tales have a fair chance of being right as no other explanation can be teased out of the waters.