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.
What if when a character died and the price to bring him back into the world was to allow an evil or good version to be placed in the world with the sole purpose of killing the character that just got its life back? The copycat character would die apon completeing his mission.....or would he?
Could come across a band of refugees. Could have been thrown out of their town by a tyrant taking of their land, bought out by somebody unexpectedly, fleeing a battle they know is coming their way. Could be proof of what they are searching for, hints and tips of what is to come, or just to broaden the reality of the world.