A great bird so rare (according to some legends only one exists), that with its high intelligence and uniqueness it deserves the status of an NPC.
Aurelius is a hermit slightly different from the others. If you think you can provoke the gods without a punishment, you should meet him.
An environmentally-minded dwarf who opposes the mining of the Kalorsan, the exploitation of goblins in mines and the poisonous, choking fumes from the furnaces of Tr’S-Nang. He is an active member of “Green War”, the dwarfish environmentalist sect, who (though they have renounced their innate dwarfish industrialism) have yet to reach the stage of pacifistic demonstration.
A little way up the narrow valley, before they reach the woods, the PCs notice the squat, tumbledown buildings by the riverside. They are hardly big enough for a human to stand in, and the complex cogs and shafts that occupy the central cavity of one of the buildings are perplexing. What were these buildings? And how safe are they to explore?
Alternatively a desolate place is the perfect setting for a derelict chapel or croft. There needn't be any actual physical encounter involved, but it adds atmosphere to a place to see its dead history. For instance, in the Outer Hebrides there are whole deserted villages which were razed to the ground by the English during the Clearances. Such stories give a setting authenticity and character.