"You do not need to be a cleric to bring light into the world."
(a Mage follower of Isis, npc suitable for any fantasy campaign with gods of light.)
Magic is a blessing and curse, life and death, birth and undoing, a goal and a way.
Once the daughter of a royal family of the Living Lands, Golden Tears Mistress forsook her family’s ancestor offerings in exchange for the privileges of the court of First and Night-Crowned Wolf.
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.