When an opposing army brings in the big weapons, your kingdom has no choice but to ante up or fold - and a trained Battle Mage from the Guild of Arcane Combatants if nothing if not a big weapon. But what happens your generals and their generals have a common goal?
The PCs have been traveling for a long time down the same stretch or round with no sign of anything suspicious. As they cross over to the next hill they see a gigantic splater of blood with a bleached dragons scull in the center of it. It the dragon skull's mouth is a tattered backpack with something wiggling inside of it.