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…
Culture/Religion: based on fear and respect. Gods are very dangerous creatures, sometimes friendly, often not. Temples are the way to make contact with them... if not easier, then at least more concentrated in one place. Were it not for the temples, gods could be running amok among the people. Therefore, mortals have to keep the gods close to temples, entertained and worshipped. It doesn't make the bad ones any friendlier, though (and is no guarantee some won't go on trips now and then). Still, there have to be priests that are hardy men, able to survive the rigours of their position, get a sufficient number of worshippers to make the gods feel important enough, and mediate the contact between mortals and immortals.