The Field of Ashes is an area roughly a day’s ride across, cradled between a sluggish river and a slowly-dying forest. Nothing grows within it; the soil is utterly dry despite the river’s water, and coated in a layer of fine, powdery ashes. Here and there are ruined fragments of old stone buildings, mostly collapsed save for part of a wall here and there - just enough to outline the shapes and suggest that a mildly prosperous village once stood in these places; in one place, a small keep lies in ruin. Now, only ruin and ash remains, with a melancholy aura hanging in the air and weighing down on those who pass through.
Long ago, the Field of Ashes was a town; the name now lost to time, it was a comfortable enough place to live, blessed with fertile soil and clean water. With a mild surplus of food each year, the townsfolk were good neighbors to their neighbors, happily sharing without asking for repayment, content that they were blessed to do good deeds, that others might be well enough off to do good themselves.
Alas, then, that a lord beyond the area who fancied himself a great warrior and leader of men heard of their bounty, and called up his men to ride forth and seize it. The lord, a petty and cruel man by nature, did not care for the surplus offered freely by the townsfolk as he and his men rode into town; he coveted the entire bounty and the land from which it grew, envisioning the army he could feed from it. He was not pleased when the elders of the town refused to kneel to him, even when he spoke of violence against them and their children.