Government: Feudal monarchy
Current Monarch: Valeyr III
Languages: Kendish, a national language descended chiefly from Alinduri and the now-dead indigenous language, Fresar, dominates throughout the kingdom. The trade tongue is widely understood and there are smaller pockets of expats speaking heir own tongues in large cities.
Religion: The High Path is the dominant faith of the entire land, and the realm's patron saint is Saint Luyan of Solstrom. His symbol, the sun, forms the major identifying symbol of the land and its government. In larger port cities there are smaller communities of foreigners who generally practice their own religions; Tharan is especially represented, as well as very small Damwena groups.
The standard of the realm is a blue field, over which a white equilateral cross is placed. A golden sun is centered on it. Four great rays point to the four directions, representing the four provinces. Four smaller ones at the midpoints represent the Senechals of the realm, and the sun itself the king, and the faith.
Akaryth fills a great sweeping valley and plains, beginning with the Ironsfist Mountains and sweeping south and west towards the waters of Maraseri. Great rivers, such as the beloved Alayne, spring up from the mountains and water the lush and fertile land.
The kingdom is divided into four great provinces, called simply the North, East, South and West, although each also has a traditional name. The provinces vary geographically. The North, or Amundy, occupying lands close to the Ironfists, is rockier and hillier. The East, Avinyar, where the land meets the sea, is dominated by a river delta and lush farmlands surrounding it. The South, Maleceny, rides up against the southern spar of the mountains, which are much lower, and home to great mineral wealth. The West, Estaran, occupies rocky highlands and foothills, as well as the lusher mouth of the valley. Cardas Pass, the one reliable overland route between Akaryth and Keledon, opens into the West. A fifth, central region surrounding the capital is ruled by the king, and includes the great lake of the kingdom in its entirety.
The king of the realm is an absolute monarch who weilds supreme authority within his realm. The king maintains a council of advisors who offer opinions on matters political, legal, military and economic. This council, called the Cynosure Royal, varies in size and composition at the whim of the king. Two roles always exist--the Lord Chancellor, who serves as chief servant and deputy of the King, and the Lord Exchequer, who is concerned specifically with the counting and collection of taxes and the funding of the realm and its interests. Each serves at the whim of the King, and no longer.
The realm is divided into four great provinces, called 'the North', 'the West' and so forth. Each of these provinces is overseen by the appropriate Seneschal (Senechal of the North, for example), who also carries the title of Prince. Within their territory, the Senechals possess nearly unlimited authority, subject to the King's will. Traditionally, so long as the peace is kept and the taxes collected, they are allowed a free hand in enforcing the law of the land. A fifth province, Angourre, occupies the heartland around Morcham Keep, and is the king's directly.
Beneath the Senechals the kingdom is a feudal one; each province is divided into estates, baronies, earldoms and so forth. The right to decide life and death is not universally extended to the nobility; tradition and legal precendent are both highly respected and capital punishment is limited in application (death is the punishment for murder, rape, treason, and similar offenses).
Knights serve as warriors of course, but many also dispense justice and law at the local level, as proxies to their liege-lords, Senechal, and King.
Akarthan law applies to all within the kingdom with the exception of the king, who is unlimited in his authority. Maintaining order within the kingdom is a paramount concern. While the legal system is complex and highly developed women are certainly considered second-class citizens although they are not without rights. Inheritance is through the male line and women may not become knights or Senechals; Akaryth has never been ruled by a queen.
Slavery is illegal in Akaryth but servitude is not. There is little difference, save that a servant may not be killed at an employer's whim, and is entitled to a wage. Knights serve as judges and dispensers of justice in smaller towns and villages, while the nobility hears complaints in serious matters. The Senechal of the Reach is the supreme legal authority in his land.
The priesthood of the High Path wields considerable influence as well. Many positions in government are occupied by clerics, and they maintain a strong hold on the scribe and book industry.
Each noble in the hierarchy of the kingdom maintains a military force; these are usually enough to defend one's holdings from invasion. The four Seneschals draw upon these forces for levies, adding them to their own forces, when need requires. The Crown maintains its own forces, which provide security and law in Morcham Keep in addition to protecting the King and serving as a military.
Knights serve as the elite troops of the kingdom and each is expected to become well versed in military history and tactics. These skills are tested at frequent tourneys and festivals. Most nobles divide their regular troops into units, each under the command of a tested and experienced knight. The Senechals keep a close eye on troop movements and recruitment in their own provinces, never allowing any one noble (or alliance of nobles) to gain too much power.
The military is ultimately under the control of the king, though historically some companies have demonstrated greater loyalty to their immediate commanders or leige-lords than the king.
PeopleEditThe people of Akaryth tend towards darker hair and eyes, though lighter shades of hair are slightly more common in the West, near the border with Keledon. Most of the kingdom's people are farmers and other common workers.
Men tend to keep their hair short, and sometimes wear both beards and moustaches. Women tend to grow their hair long and, among commoners, wear it in braids or other styles that are functional. Noble women tend to wear theirs in elaborate styles, often accented with gems and jewels.Clothing among the commoners is warm, functional and utilitarian. Men tend to wear loose, light tunics over pants and boots, as well as a garment similar to a long vest, known as a shamil. Sometimes a small hat or skullcap is added as well.
Women tend to wear long dresses, usually white or grey due to the expense of dyes, although many bright colours appear during festivals and celebrations. Unmarried women wear the dresses alone, often belted with a small belt or length of robe. Married women wear a garment over their dresses known as a shamali. This garment is similar to the shamil, but is formed of a laced-up bodice and a long over-skirt. the shamali is often black, green or red, but there are no restrictions on its colour.
Akarthans are a hard-working people, but tend to celebrate with abandon when the opportunity arises. The fertility of their land, its easy summers and its short (though harsh) winters have made life much easier for them than some of their neighbours, such as the people of Sen. Wine is much loved in the land, and much more of it is consumed than ale, although the latter is also popular, especially among the lower classes.Among the upper classes a strong tradition of honour holds sway. Like many such codes, it is the appearance of honour, rather than the truth, that matters. Male nobles often wear clothing in black, blue or red, which are considered manly colours (green, brown, and purple are considered feminine). Slashed fabrics, revealing another colour beneath, are a common feature of noble dress; law forbids commoners from wearing such garments. Noble women often wear clothing fashioned from richly embroidered fabrics, strange textiles from lands far away, and gems. Low-cut necklines and long, flowing skirts are common features of these women, who would never be caught dead in attire better suited to men (such as pants).
The wearing of the shamil and shamali fell out of fashion among the nobility centuries ago. Today the wearing of such is so associated with the lower classes that ancient paintings of members of the nobility in which these garments are worn have been altered in recent decades to conceal them.
The High Path is the dominant religion of Akaryth and is followed by nearly all the people of the kingdom. The priesthood, especially that of Saint Luyan, is well represented in government. The aforementioned saint, as patron of Akaryth, is beloved by most of the pious.
Akarthan characters will tend towards dark hair and brown or blue eyes. Common character classes include fighter, cleric and thief. Their native language will be Kendish, and most will speak some Common as well.