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The Tome of Lore:  Table of Contents

Sryth™ Expanded Info Entry

Stoneback Hill

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.

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