My story is set in a rather old fashioned alternate universe. Sort of midevial/fudal but with some other stuff thrown in. Imagine Tamora Pierce's Tortall but minus the magic. There are three kingdoms, a few scattered democratic city-states that don't exactly get along with the kingdoms, and a group of native nomadic people who look quite different and are therefore strongly discriminated against to the point of murder. A very main part of my plot involves the disappearance of a number of people (children and/or adults) I'm having a lot of trouble coming up with a culprit who doesn't seem like a cookie cutter bad guy. The protagonist spends the first part of the book convinced it was traders from the city-states (which i don't think it is) and goes off to avenge/rescue them. I don't really know whats happening to these people yet. There is no magic or advanced technology so unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of options. I could have them be sold into slavery somewhere, I could have them be part of an army but that seems a bit illogical, or I could go darker and have them be murdered for something. I can make it the city-state traders, the monarchy, a rival kingdom or some other random bad guy... But no matter who did it and no matter their motives it feels like a flat, boring, cliched, antagonist. I can't come up with a way to make them sympathetic, or a way to make it morally ambiguous as to who's good and who's bad. Does anyone have any insight on how I can fix this? or ideas in general on the plot?? Thank you!