In the land of Aviontix there are ruins. A lot of ruins. There are many sand buried cities, king’s tombs (They were a very religious people, focused upon their leaving to the afterlife), and huge statuary. However, Aviontix was a kingdom so long ago, that everything has been looted. (Figure there has been a whole historical epoch or two since then) There might be a hidden tomb or something somewhere in the lands, but it is unlikely. This does not stop people from selling maps to them all the time.
Five men are herding fifteen horses down the road. They won't be very talkative, but are willing to sell a horse, or more horses if the heroes are interested. These men are horse thieves. They are already sought by regional militiamen. Anyone with a stolen horse (all are marked) may get into trouble. If found guilty, horse thieves face prison or even a hanging execution. Similar thefts have happened only a month before, and a reward is offered.