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…
When running a new party, get around the question of plot density by having the first discovery to be a deck of fate, or whatever you call it. If you use a real deck, you should definitely stack it to have the desired outcome, which is to curse the party to attract weird things to happen and involve them. This should not be told to the players at the time, so that they won't just up and try to get themselves 'decursed'. Though quite why they would want to is beyond me.