The Nobles of Vartanadel play a yearly game of politics that climaxes at the yearly Naming ceremony that changes everything. It is then that the King names his favorite and they all find out if they are still labeled as a King's favorite or if their lives will be forfiet.
Entering a new city there are street urchins, hustlers, con men, kidnappers, thieves and burglars looking to make their day’s prophet. The victim, in many cases the PC, is known as the mark and is the target of whatever kind of hustle they have planned. These hustlers are always on the lookout for easy pickings.
Because of this the culture believes in a death walk for those that are getting near natural death, whether it be from oldness or some kind of terminal sickness. They are to leave the home and go through the Death Gate into the Sullen woods where they spend the last days of their life. Once they pass through Death Gate they are never allowed to return. But having a death gate in your own backyard may create more problems then it solves.
A secret MLM (pyramid) company that offers eternal life, but in fact it transfers the life forces of its members to those position "above". If you get high enough, (meaning you get enough new members) you start to enjoy the benefits. Maybe a willing sacrifice is much more effective for the transfer. But no one says, that a suddenly unwilling member, threatening to tell the authorities, may not loose it involuntarily... thus start people to vanish, and aged corpses are deposited somewhere safe.