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.
In a savage area, the bodies of the dead are cremated, and their ashes are placed in a hollowed out pod like a gourd or a coconout and tossed into a river to bring good luck to the tribe.