A kingdom where, if there are multiple princes (princesses can't rule unless they have no siblings), the princes fight to the death in the arena to decide who gets to rule. A simple way to make sure your brother cannot make a bid for the thrown, and keeps the royal blood in one line.
Just off the road a man lies dead, pierced through the heart from behind by an expertly thrown and ornate dagger which remains in the body. A long strip of cloth torn from the man's shirt has been tied around his neck; on the tag end an unknown hand has written a cryptic inscription: "For Djaygo."
When you get to the next town, everyone is talking about a mercenary woman found slain in exactly the same fashion in her room at the inn where she was staying.