The Northern Kingdom has a tradition that takes the pollution that natural death leaves wherever it dies very seriously. They believe that the natural death in the home pollutes that home and makes it unlivable. They have no choice but to move away from that home. Murders and accidents don't cause the pollution because they are sudden and unexpected. Natural death comes slowly and is believed to be a disease and so the final hours causes it to saturate the house.

Because of this the culture believes in a death walk for those that are getting near natural death, whether it be from oldness or some kind of terminal sickness. They are to leave the home and go through the Death Gate into the Sullen woods where they spend the last days of their life. Once they pass through Death Gate they are never allowed to return. Sullen Woods are huge and the gate is simply that, a large stone gate that acts as the 'official' entrance in the ritual. A type of funeral procession in scale to the importance of the walker is usually arranged.

1) The ritual is taken so seriously the kingdom believes that their entire capitol city will be polluted if the king dies there. The current king is very old and his capacity has quickly decreased proven by his bloody cough. He is very stubborn and refuses to believe that he is dying. If he dies naturally in the castle then they will have to move the capitol that is very well established. He is too well loved for them to kill him or lie and say he was killed. The pollution would happen and they believe in it to strongly to do anything other then tell the truth if it truly was an accident.
a)Need to convince the King that he needs to talk the walk through the Death Gate for the good of the kingdom.
b)Hired to actually assassinate him by some lesser nobleman in the city that sees the necessity for it.
c)Hired to create a public 'accident' so there is no question on how he died to the people that may be too knowledgeable about past deaths and would riot if there was an assassination. Or possible there is a rivalry for his throne where an assassination would cause a civil war.

2)Departed relatives start coming home from the through the Death Gate.
a)Zombies raised by some necromancer with ideas of taking over the capitol.
b)In Sullen Woods they have found a sort of fountain of healing that can heal/cure any affliction that happens. Protected and can only be found by those that are truly mortally wounded/diseased/whatever. Players hired to find it and finally do when they are almost killed by whatever there is in the woods.

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Iain Cheka Man Grey