I wanted to give my two cents about how one writes about cover ups especially when it comes to stories that have a historical fantasy type setting.
If you want to write well written cover ups that are connected to very very, conniving characters, or for characters that have the purest intentions but do questionable things and try to cover them up then you have to ask yourself these questions:
Who is the one doing the covering up? How are they as a character? Are they perhaps a corrupt noble or some other influential character? Are they the leader of an antagonistic kingdom or rebel group? Are they some disillusioned religious cult leader? Are they a noble or a commoner trying to cover up a past sin?
What are they trying to covering up?
Here are several examples of why people cover up things: Either they or someone in their family such as a sibling or child has a mental or physical disability, they lost their wealth and status, got kicked out of a prestigious organization/company/school because of a small mistake or something as serious as hazing/rape/etc, they killed or conspired with someone else to have someone killed or they were involved in a massacre or genocide of a certain group of people, embezzlement, knowingly dumping harmful chemicals into a river and contaminating it and blocking any attempt from the local community of having it investigated, a religious leader using people's respect for them to do heinous crimes because no one would believe they could do something so evil, or good characters who get fed up with a certain individual they know is corrupt and confront them only to find out said person has already been been murdered or the good character kill said person accidentally and frantically try to cover it up and place evidence at the scene blaming someone else for the crime, etc.
What do they do to cover up the truth? How far would they go?
- Bribing with money
- Not talk about it; they'll get defensive if asked about it. They are wary of outsiders. They could even physically abuse those close to them to keep them quiet.
- Threatening harm to said person or said person's family or friends
- Killing said person themselves and hiding the evidence and constructing an elaborate story to escape suspicion
- Hiring someone else to do the deed and dispose of the evidence (could be a trained assassin or contract killer)
- Convincing or forcing someone else to kill said person as a favor or obligation
- Getting others to agree with them and turning the community against said person which leads to said person's reputation being "killed." Said person loses their job, their spouse and kids leave them, and people look at them with suspicion or throw things at them or paint things like "killer" or "traitor" on their house. This person could be a co-conspirator or an innocent person selected to be the fall guy.
How will this coverup affect the characters involved in this? Does the truth ever get revealed? How does life go on if it is? How will the truth affect others' perception of the one who tried to cover it up?