"How far? Ye’ll know ye’ve found Malver’s Way when ye sees the Arch."
Gnomes, fascinated with magic, tried to find a way to safely access it, and instead wound up addicted in the deadliest way.
Thaumatechnology - in a world where straight magic has an unnerving tendency to get the user killed, either by magical catastrophe or by being lynched by an upset mob, this is a much safer form of magical use… Even if it does occasionally explode.
Just off the road a man lies dead, pierced through the heart from behind by an expertly thrown and ornate dagger which remains in the body. A long strip of cloth torn from the man's shirt has been tied around his neck; on the tag end an unknown hand has written a cryptic inscription: "For Djaygo."
When you get to the next town, everyone is talking about a mercenary woman found slain in exactly the same fashion in her room at the inn where she was staying.