"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.
A revolt or attack happens against a strong city/kingdom. All the losers of the battle that can be captured are brutally crucified along the roads that enter the kingdom to show their strength and as a demonstration of what happens to their enemies.