Ackenzal is a large elective monarchy that is home to a variety of languages, ethnic groups and cultures. Historically it has been the site of the final battles of the Rebellion of Man, as well as the former sanctuary of the Anachitis. It is currently regarded as one of the most powerful nations in the world of Ruengoethe, though a long history of infighting prevents Ackenzal form ever seizing true global power as nations did in the ancient past. Ackenzal both refers to the continent and to the kingdom, though technically the island of Leovigild (not discussed in this entry) is also a member of the Ackenzal kingdom.
The history of small warring feudal states and land-grabbing has given complicated political structure that outsiders often find indecipherable. While formerly Ackenzal paid fealty to a single High King, since his departure the various duchies have created a system of elective monarchy, with a representative parliament composed of the noble houses and one special representative from the House of Guilds.
There is a Crown-Elect, voted into office by the Prince-Electors, who serves as the head of Ackenzal as a whole. The Crown-Elect is considered the head of Ackenzal’s army and navy, and carries considerable power in parliament. The Crown-Elect serves in his or her position for a decade, and cannot be re-elected.
The Prince-Electors are the Archbishop of Wyvar, the Grand Cleric, the Prince of Leovigild, the Marcher Lord, the Chancellor of the Spires, the Archduke, and the Earl Marshal. The Prince-Electors elect a Crown from the noble houses, and are forbidden from electing a Crown from the same noble house as the Archduke.
The Archduke or Archduchess rules over the capital of Ackenzal, and wields considerable power, though he or she commands no military forces beyond the Vhemic Guard, a kind if secret police, and oft employed Free Legion forces.
Ackenzal is primarily governed under the auspices of 12 largely independent duchies, a single principality, and the unique duchy of Wyvar. The duchies subdivide into baronies and counties, giving large freedom to the aristocracy to govern their small feudal holdings as they see fit.
From the north to south the continent stretches almost five hundred leagues, giving huge variance in climate between the disparate duchies that compose the realm. The northwestern region of Ackenzal is densely forested, as well as the majority of Usterine. Central Ackenzal is a series of hills and valleys, leading to great variance within the region. The south is home to some of the most fertile plains of the continent.
The most mountainous region lies in the northern duchy of Ehrenfried, home of the frigid Tagetbergs. Less treacherous mountains known as the Bloempikes stretch along the western border of Usterine. The Ronanka mountains form the background of the peninsula of Zudesvin.
The most important river of Ackenzal is the Gammelvand, which stretches from the northern mountains all the way to the southern sea. The capital is located along this river, and its many tributaries are the primary trade link between towns.
A unique geographical region of Ackenzal is The Char, the region of Ganza that was destroyed by the second starfall. A huge swath of land was made uninhabitable by that event, and the arcane radiation of the starfall has produced warped plants, creatures, and a new race giants within the region.
Ackenzal is home to about fifty million people, most of them humans of various ethnic groups. Around 400,000 of these people live in or around the massive city of Wyvar. There is a substantial slavebred population— some experts believe that one in six residents of Ackenzal are slavebred. The slavebred population has traditionally been concentrated in the south and the west, but since the successful rebellion many have began migrating to the more welcoming and less densely populated areas toward the north. In the south and in the capital it is common to find Littlefolk, who were originally taken as slaves but have since been incorporated into the population. An unknown number of giants reside in The Char, and have began to make incursions outward into Ganza. Elves, who have lived in Ackenzal just as long as humans, still maintain small villages within the dense forests of northeastern Ackenzal.
Ackenzal is currently the greatest power in global trade, possessing the largest navy in the world and producing a diverse range of products. With the House of Guilds representing the interest of merchants and craftsmen within the political sphere and a powerful organization known as The Syndicate directing trade with ruthless efficiency, the economy is extraordinarily robust, giving rise to a prominent (and very new) middle class. Ackenal produces crops such as grapes, oranges, and olives in the south, while the eastern region primarily relies on raising sheep and mining. The southern end of Zudesvin is where the important harvesting of Syanthazoa takes place. Central Ackenzal produces wheat, mines for salt and coal, and raises cattle. Central Ackenzal is also where a great many professional craftsmen and artisan practice their skills. The semi-arid region of western Ackenzal is the primary producer of cereal crops and also home to a great many fishing ports. The northeastern portion of Ackenzal has startling diversity in crop and animal production, as well as trading in lumber. Northwestern Ackenzal has traditionally been an economy based on raiding, though sicne their inclusion into the league of duchies has shifted its economy to raising cattle, primarily for dairy, and mining its mountains for iron, copper, and gold.
Ackenzal is home to a multitude of different languages, some spoken by only a few hundred people. Vulgate has remained the language taught to children in school as a common tongue, and Kuniksprog is taught to noble children as the language of the court. The most common language in the northern regions is Norsproch, in central regions is Havsprog, and in the southern stretches of Ackenzal Kuniksprog and Eidioma are spoken in almost equal frequency. Eidioma comes from a completely different language group brought to Ackenzal from settlers from Cairnaythiel, while Norsproch is probably closest to the language spoken by the first humans to populate the continent.
The official religion of Ackenzal is the Ascendant Church. Worship of the Saints, as they are called in Ackenzal, is almost universal, though the Elves and some residents of the north adhere to other religions. There are also divisive lines along which Saints are to be venerated, and which are regarded as Anathem, as well as separation over how to interpret the message of the various Saints. Recently the Feral Risings was fought on the basis of a particular interpretation of a Saint’s message, and this is not the first time that infighting has occurred based on hagiographical interpretation.
Many Elves of Ackenzal have turned to worship the primal spirits of The Loom, a religion introduced after the fall of their Lady of Blossoms to bring the Elves into an era of rebirth. Followers of this faith, known as Fíodóirí, have started converting some humans away from the Saints. Some Elves have tried to maintain a relation to the Lady of Blossoms by binding themselves to the Vestiges, the fractured spirits of old Walking Gods. The practice of this faith is regarded with extreme disgust by both the Ascendant church and the Fíodóirí.