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).
The Nomin gypsies have a fiddling competition every year, known as the Danse de Velose. Beaters hit out the rhythm on taut drums and the competitors start to play, slowly at first. Youngsters can compete, but are soon pulled away by worried mothers, before the competition becomes too dangerous. After two hours the haunting tune has become dazzlingly fast. You can resign at any time, but the moment you make a mistake you receive an arrow through the neck. Strings may snap, but the players must play on. The whole affair never lasts much longer than three hours, and the last fiddler playing is crowned king of the gypsies.
An artist is commissioned to paint frescoes in a cathedral, and is imprisoned because of his unconventional style.
When you sleep, your soul briefly returns to the place where it was created/goes to when it dies, and seeks nourishment. Everybody's soul is created with a little link (or you could say a greater entity calls it back) to that place so that it can return easily, but upon death, the soul returns via that and annihilates the link as if returns.
Also, as an added thingy, you could say the entity supplying the link, or residue of the links themselves, (whichever) is the source of all arcane power.