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The Rune Guardian idea seems solid especially when, in addition to their slightly better than average intelligence) their description explicitly notes they are able to work with other minions.
Also sounds like a good low-level quest too. A wizard who hires out one or more Rune Guardians during harvesting season has had one of them kidnapped by criminals who thought it was just a glorified magic item. As tracking down and killing all the bandits takes more resources than hiring low level help, the wizard sends his familiar (Raven or improved familiar as it would need to talk) to hire some murderhobos to make an example of them and recover his stream of income. This could even be used to assemble the party the first time. The Raven/Arbiter/Pesudodragon/Whatever flies around town and tells obvious murderhobos from above that its master will pay them X Gold (the rate each PC will get after an even split) to kill a few criminals and they should meet at *insert public space that isn't a tavern or inn her* in a few hours to apply. Once the PCs are there the familiar weeds out a few non-PC applicants for various reasons before the PCs move someplace more private for the details.