In a high canyon in the mountains, the players find a skeleton in a cage suspended from a pole. A few miles further, they find another, and a third contains a partially rotten corpse. The fourth contains a living man who looks as if he hasn't eaten in days. Turns out to be the local way of punishing criminals.
There are two major (read feuding) provinces in the kingdom. The Lord of one is secretly a mad, power-hungry despot, constantly plotting against the king. The Lady of the other is secretly an ancient silver dragon.