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.
There is a group that believes no good can come of trying to change to future to render a prophecy or prediction incorrect. They believe that meddling will either cause the prediction to be true in the first place, or make something worse or more extreme happen.