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…
A desolate region is almost entirely without normal vegetation. Local plants are able to unroot themselves and crawl along the ground in search of water and fertile soil. The inhabitants fence their crops in to keep them from wandering off and put heavy stone thresholds in the doorways of their huts to keep wayward plants out.
The plants sense by chemical cues, lacking sight or hearing, and tend to avoid herbivores or anything that smells of "dead plants". Characters with horses are likely to be unwelcome among the locals.