Idea from the Aeneid. Could make an intriguing encounter when searching for firewood..."Quite near there happened to be a mound of earth, at the highest part of which were growing thickets of cornel and a dense cluster of spiky myrtle-stems. I went up there and tried to wrench the green growth from the ground to provide a leafy covering for our altar. There I was confronted by a horrible and astounding miracle. For from the first bush which I tried to break off...blood oozed in dark drops, fouling the earth with its spots...A piteous moan came from the base of the mound and I heard a human voice answering me: 'Why, Aeneas, must you rend a poor sufferer? I am buried here...for I am Polydorus. Here death overpowered me in a crop of piercing iron-pointed spears. And so a crop resembling javelins has grown over me...'"
As you emerge from the shop in the alleyway, not-too-distant clanging and stamping makes you wary. Further investigation reveals a massive Balgrian protest march flooding the main street, banners roaring about the inhuman conditions in which this ethnic group is forced to live. City guards stand helplessly by, beating up the odd protestor, but unable to hold back the flow. Onlookers throw vegetables at the Balgrians, and shout abuse.
In a city where the justice system features judicial dueling, plaintiffs and defendants are permitted to request a champion to take their place in the duel: Someone chosen by lot from among the foreigners in the city. When anyone first arrives, they are given an enchanted ceramic pendant that marks them as a candidate for "court duty".
Wealthy folk entering the city are often escorted by burly guards, paid to carry pendants on their behalf: They elude court duty in that way.
Adventurers may seek work as a rich man's proxy or may find themselves magically summoned to serve as a champion.