Of Kings and Dragons
This hidden, dark lake lies amid the Stormspear foothills that stretch across the north of the Thanelands. The nearly perfectly circular basin gets its name from the legend that the war god hurled one of his weapons to smite a priest that had blasphemed; it struck the ground and formed the lake even as it obliterated the heretic. The perpetually frozen mere is notoriously difficult to locate. The surrounding hills are nearly identical, with many similar frozen bodies of water nearby. Also, whatever rests at the bottom of the Tankard interferes with compasses and wayfinders, making their needles spin endlessly, and disrupts divination and teleportation magic as well.
An ancient saga describes rough directions to Gorum’s Tankard. In this epic tale, a hero named Bjorlan swims to the center of the lake to retrieve the god’s weapon (what the weapon is seems to vary from telling to telling). Bjorlan uses the blade to subdue a dragon and defeat his archnemesis, the dragon witch Aservalg, then returns the weapon to the gods. Unfortunately, the saga is written in an archaic form of Skald in oblique and stilted narrative prose, making the directions to the Tankard somewhat vague and difficult to interpret. An order of dwarven druids guards the site, and heroes who wish to approach the Tankard must complete a series of trials to prove their worthiness. The region around the lake is subarctic, with temperatures well below freezing nearly all year round. Only in midsummer does the ice become thin enough for sledgehammers to break through it, and even then, the water below is still numbingly cold. While there are certainly valuable skymetal ores underneath Gorum’s Tankard, something dreadful lurks in the lightless, frigid ooze at the bottom of the lake; the last two divers to attempt the lake’s depths never resurfaced.