Even the most despicable and evil Tyrant will be convinced they pale in comparison to this monstrosity.
"What, another murder?! How can this happen?! No leads at all? I didn’t think so. Something’s got to be done about the children, I suppose…"
"A doll for your child, sir? Only two coin. My dolls want to be played with, sir. That’s why they were made. They’re very special dolls, sir."
Princess Matriax was the daughter of Lord Greybaer, known from the war as "The Butcher of ..." a handful of towns and a couple provinces. If that wasn’t enough, the princess had her own guard, troupe of guards, that was hers to see trained and use as she see fit.
She didn’t need a defender, not in the sense of some bodyguard. She was quick to take offense, because it amused her to have an excuse to strike people herself, to "quell the insurgents" herself.
She uses her purse to bash people. Her purse is her defender.
The wall unsealed, Mirror Serpent peered inside, ready to gaze upon the riches within. But he recoiled. There was only a withered corpse, and in its hands, a flickering lantern…
The player characters, experienced and somewhat well known, hear rumors and travelers' tales about a distant area being overrun by dragons (or other terrifying monstrosities). The locals have sent them a message, begging for heroic aid.
When they investigate, they discover that nothing of the sort is going on. It turns out that a group of thieves wanted them out of the way so that they could rob them (or someone who would normally receive their protection).