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.
Small village tavern specialty of the house is fresh cow blood mixed with milk. For each order they go out back and actually draw blood from a cow by puncturing a vein in it's neck. Fresh blood brought to the table where they poor milk into the glass of blood in front of the customer so they know how much blood they are getting.