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…
As far as everyone knows, the Maze has always been there; the strange pair of gates set in the side of a mountain a common feature in every painting of the area, no matter how ancient. One white, one red, nobody knows what they're made of but they resist any attempt to damage them; they’re always slightly cool to the touch no matter the weather, they have a very reflective surface, and if you look at them in a bright light, sometimes it looks as if they glow on their own.
The important thing is what’s on the other side of them, of course. The Maze itself is a strange place where the normal rules are suspended, and its own set takes their place. It’s a place filled with puzzles and riddles, monsters and traps; it’s always consistent with itself in any single run but is never the same two times around, and sometimes you could swear it has a sadistic streak, delighting in tricking the unwary adventurer.
It is a dangerous place, as so many people will rush to tell you; most people who go in never come out, and even those who do usually end up scarred for life. They also bring out with them enormous piles of riches, which is why people keep going in anyway.