A land is reigned by a circle of powerful men who control every aspect of the citizen's life. This cabal changes members often. In reality, the spectres of a small necromantic covent possess and control the people in power. Since they simply possess the bodies, they can leave when old age overcomes their shells and possess a new up-and-coming noble.
King Addas loves charades, and has a troupe of mimes in his harem. To ensure that they can never cheat he has had their tongues cut out, which is why they always look so miserable and never open their mouths (the stump of a tongue is not a pleasant sight).