The Tome of Lore: Table of ContentsSryth™ Expanded Info Entry
Originally named after the spider of the same
name, Stoneback Hill has a rich, if somewhat tragic history.
Long considered cursed, Stoneback Hill, rising out of the forest north of
the city of Trithik , has been avoided by the locals and
travelers alike for over three centuries. Local folklore has it that anyone
foolish enough to set foot on the hill will carry away a part the curse with
them -- a curse that will ultimately result in an unimaginably hideous death.
Centuries ago, before the area was considered cursed,
a monastery in honour of Srythak, The All-Father was built at the base of Stoneback Hill. The monks who built the monastery
claimed that the hill was holy land and decreed that the hill's summit
would serve as a final resting place for the faithful.
The monastery, known as Stoneback Monastery, became a place frequented by travelers through that part of
Tysa , for the blue-robed monks who dwelled therein were most
hospitable to the roadworn who arrived at their door. However, the monastery was
not without its oddities.
Indeed, journals kept by the monks reveal that over the two centuries that the monastery
stood at the base of Stoneback Hill, monks and travelers alike had often witnessed
strange, eerie things on the hill and in the forest around it.
Local folklore declared that the dead, risen out of the graves atop Stoneback Hill,
roamed the woods around the monastery at night, looking for victims. The locals often
joked, making sport of the monks legendary hospitality, saying that should the
roaming dead knock on the monastery door they would be treated to a hot supper and
a warm bed.
This local folklore grew into what was jokingly referred to as 'The Curse of Stoneback Hill'.
Then, on a cold autumn night, over three centuries ago, the monks that inhabited the monastery at
the base of Stoneback Hill simply disappeared. According to records later found at
the monastery there were twenty-four monks inhabiting it at the time. Not one of the
twenty-four was ever found, and their disappearance could never be immediately explained.
Days later, however, a traveler arrived in Trithik and told a harrowing tale of
a night that he had recently spent in the monastery. He told of a ghoulish legion
of what he referred to as the "woken dead" that assailed the monastery in the middle
of the night. He claimed that he barely escaped the attack with his life, and that many
of the monks had either been killed or had fled wildly into the dark forest.
As word spread of the traveler's account, the 'Curse of Stoneback Hill', which had been
little more than entertaining local folklore, suddenly took on a new, more profound
and sinister meaning.
Upon learning of the tragic and mysterious events that had taken place in the forest
north of Trithik, the King of Tysa sent a group of six border rangers to investigate the hill and the surrounding area. They never returned.
With the disappearance of the border rangers, the King of Tysa demanded that the monastery be torn down and he promptly decreed that
it was unlawful for any to tread upon the ground where the monastery formerly stood.
Furthermore, treading on the cursed hill itself would now be a crime punishable by death.
So, the monastery was razed to the ground, and in the minds of everyone Stoneback
Hill became a dark, terrifying place that was to be avoided at all costs. The King also
decreed that a stone wall was to be built in the forest, encircling both the hill
and the remains of the monastery, to serve as a warning to those who might unwittingly
stray too near the cursed ground.
The wall, made up of stones that were found about
the forest stood about waist-high and proved to be a massive endeavour, taking
many years to complete. The wall still stands to this day, as an ever-present, ominous
reminder of what lies in the forest beyond it. The wall is still maintained to this
day, and is known (as you might expect) as Stoneback Wall.
The law which
punishes any who would dare trespass on the hill with death still stands to this day,
although it has never had to be tested. No one is known to have ever dared set foot
on the cursed hill since.
These days, the Curse of Stoneback Hill remains very real to many in the
Kingdom , and especially to the citizens of Trithik and its
outlying areas. A few mossy stone blocks, still visible off in the woods near
the spot where Stagrun Road meets the Old North Road are all that remains of
the monastery. A stone monument, in tribute to the monks of Stoneback Monastery,
still stands at that very spot.
A cautionary verse inscribed at the base of the monument still warns travelers
that to stray onto the cursed ground of Stoneback Hill is to do so under the
penalty of death.