The Empire of Akino is considered a beacon of hope. A bastion of civilization, strength and tolerance. A nation that stands proud against the neighbouring and more barbaric folk that want to destroy it, out of fear and envy. For many foreign nations, the Empire of Akino isn't the benevolent neighbour. Many dread the Imperial military and see them as a threat to their own sovereignty. The Imperial tolerance is preceded by unforgiven and often shady warfare, conducted by Imperial operatives. For those who are unlucky to be born outside the Akinian Empire, the nation is nothing but a danger lurking on the horizon.

History

The Empire of Akino has a rather complicated history, compared to many other nations that reside within the known world. Though relatively new, the Empire's history is defined by its precursors. 

Fire Country

The Empire's history can be traced all the way back to the first days of the Fire country. At the waning years of the Warring Clans Era, the Hanamoto clan became powerful. With selective marriages, treaties and careful planning the Hanamoto clan started to become both more influential as powerful. The growth of their wealth, possession of land and commanding larger armies started to open more room for them to expand their sphere of influence.  Shrew diplomacy, threats and very small military operations saw various clans fall underneath the banner of the Hanamoto clan.

The larger clans would eventually fall to the might of the Hanamoto. Not through bloodshed but through giving concessions and autonomy, the Hanamoto secured the foundation of the Fire country somewhere between 398 and 401 ADS.

The use of fear and a modicum of respect, the Hanamoto kept the clans in line. The country started to flourish as the Hanamoto poured a lot of effort to prevent the clans from continuing the bloodshed with each other. While many clans had lost their sovereignty and were forced to abide by the laws made by the Hanamoto, unrest seemed to be minimal - save it for a few particular sites within the newly forged realm.

As peace replaced war, causing clans to be less violent and warlike, it also started to have another effect on the people. Luxury started to replace the stern and modest Hanamoto dynasty as various other clans. Slowly, the Hanamoto dynasty would start to become decadent. Though attempts were made to govern over the large variety of clans and people residing within the Fire country, it became apparent to most that the Hanamoto dynasty and her members seemed to enjoy the luxuries far more than to guide the Fire country to a brighter future. 

By the time of the Great War, the Hanamoto dynasty wasn't what it used to be. Just a handful was left and none of them seemed interested in continue to build and rule the Fire Country as their predecessors once had done. Slowly but surely the Hanamoto line would vanish into the annals of history. Being replaced by a side branch of the dynasty, the Jinryu dynasty. While attempting to rule as efficient as the Hanamoto once had ruled, the Jinryu had the worst of luck. Their influence nor respect wasn't anything near to that of the Hanamoto's. And before they could consolidate any of their influence the Fire Union was established. Making the Hokage in terms of power and political influence much more important for the country than the Daimyo.

Fire Union

In 473 the foundation of the Fire Union was established by Hisoka Uchiha, the Fourth Hokage. The Fire Union was a unique diplomatic federation with Konohagakure as its designated capital. Regions around the Fire country could swear an oath of fealty and alliance in exchange for military protection and easier trade regulations. As Hokage, Hisoka Uchiha had a large control and influence over the military. This made it rather difficult for the Daimyo of the Fire Country to restrain or even contain the growth of the Fire Union. The danger of the Fire Union for the Fire Daimyo also started to become more prominent. Daimyo of the surrounding countries swore an oath to the Hokage and not to the superior, which was the Fire Daimyo.

The Fire Union would gain access to establish outposts and bases for their military within the client states, that were part of the Union. While not beneficial for the Jinryu dynasty the states that were part of the Union saw their countries gain more wealth with the treaties, as chances of outside threats making a move diminish with the presence of a larger military.

Imperial Reform

The reform of the Fire Union into the Akinian Empire happened in 476. It led to the demise of the Jinryu dynasty, who turned out to have started a plot against the newly formed government. While the start of the Empire didn't go that smoothly, it continued the same progress of the Fire Union.

At the end of the year 476, the Empire of Akino is one of the large powers in the world. Sporting one of the most disciplined military and a very strong economy, many neighbouring nations start to feel the Imperial gaze bearing down upon them.

The Akinian Flag

The flag that represents the Empire of Akino is designed with the following colours and symbols in mind;

The royal blue field represents a variety of things. It is the colour of the Homura dynasty, adopting the blue flames of the Nibi - its royal protector and mascot. The blue colour also stands for determination and alertness, which are demanded of the Akinians as they face rivals from all sides. The black diamond stands for ethnic heritage and overcoming obstacles, fitting for the Akinian Empire due to its diverse population and beliefs. The white presents the peace that the Empire brings with its discipline and laws. The Sun is the Homura dynasty's sigil but further represents that the Empire is above its rivals, looking down upon them. The adversaries of Akino consider this a sign of arrogance; the Akinians are to take pride in that there isn't anything above them.

Imperial Akinian Military

The forming of the Akinian Empire didn't just see a change in its political structure but also a reform of its military. It didn't go as fast as the political and government structure but within almost a year the Imperial military would be larger and more organised than that of the Fire Union.

There is the Imperial military divisions, which count up to a number of around 100.000 combat-ready personnel. But each province and clan are allowed to field their own military, as long as it is loyal to the Empire as well beneficial for the realm. These regional forces are semi-independent and need to fund their own equipment, yet are still under supervision of the Imperial military in order to prevent 'incidents' as somewhat improving the military of various clans and regions. For the better of the Empire.

The Empire has a limited conscription law which dictates that every twenty-year-old male, that doesn't live in or underneath the rule of a clan leader, has to enter the military - in various regions. There the conscript will be trained for a period of two years before placed within active service or reserve. The total required time that a conscript has to serve is six years. There is a pass that can be bought, that will allow a citizen to bypass to be drafted into the military. Certain professions also are granted a pass of exception, such as writers, teachers and doctors. Clans are required to offer a supply of manpower or resources, according to their size and capacity.

Important Sites

The major cities within the Empire of Akino.

There are many wonderful and fascinating places to visit within the Empire of Akino. Yet there are a few that stand out due to their history, importance in economics or military value. Or simply due to political institutions that have made one or two sites of great importance for the Empire.

This list is in alphabetical order, not in order of importance!

The port-city of Aegir is located in the southern-eastern part of the Empire. It is one of the main cities where the Empire trades with the island realms to the south, as various others.

One of the largest city within the Yakimara heartlands. It is a most important city for the Yakimara clans, as this is the site where they gather to settle disputes and attempt to cooperate to combat crises. Most who venture to Aerilon are welcomed to a city that seems to use nature, to enchant their buildings with a beauty that rivals the likes of other grand cities.

Though the River province isn't renowned for its amazing architecture, the provincial-capital that is known as Amegakure is a marvel to behold. Even if it can't compete with the beauty of other cities, it has grown to become a major urban site. Due to the near-constant rain pour, its architecture is renowned for draining water away and combating erosion.

A city that is growing in importance due to its location and political meaning. Its founding is to craft a secondary Imperial capital, one from which the Imperial crown can reign better over its western half. Due to various bright minds, the city is likely to rival other major sites in terms of beauty and significance.

The capital of the Sarutobi clan. It is an important site because the city was founded to prepare the welcome of a future king. The Sarutobi believe in the legend that in the future a figure will rise to unify all the Sarutobi people into one solidified clan. This would lead to various mistreatment at the hands of the Fire Daimyo. These days, Ardara serves as a gathering point where the Sarutobi nobility hold their assemblies - to oversee important matters, settle feuds and organise communal projects.

Dagny, or Nondang to many Taika, is an important staple market. The large city is one of the few places where a large concentration of Chonobi and Taika coexist without much friction. Many goods are being brought from the southern parts of the Empire, to then be exported to other points. But at the same time, it serves as a gateway to the southern parts of the Empire.

A large port-city within the River province. It is often considered a sort of appendage of Hanaguro, as trade flows between the two cities through the large rivers that connect both sites. While less renowned and political valued than Hanaguro, Fukunaga is an important site. Trade exists with other port-cities that exist on the southern coasts. And its military value exists due to the large shipwright that can be founded in Fukunaga.

Fura is considered the major port to the northern seas. Through the wide river that leads northwards, the denizens of Fura are capable of sailing towards the Gaikotsu Bay. Despite being a large Chonobi city, Fura is rather welcoming to outsiders. For as long as they remain in the districts that are open to them.

The Jewel of the Green Land, Hanaguro is a major city. Its importance to the Empire due to the large amounts of wealth that flow into the city, able to provide easily for provincial taxation. Many consider Hanaguro as one of the most beautiful cities that exist on the western side of the Empire. Being the capital of the River province, its political importance can't be ignored either.

The city of Kanazawa is a city with a proud history. Even if it isn't one of the largest cities, compared to the likes of Hanaguro or Magnhild, it is of great strategic importance. Both in the sense of economic and military. Trade flows in and out of the city, being often the first large urban centre that one visits when travelling into the Uchiha heartlands.

The old capital of the Fire, Keishi remains a vital city in terms of economics and history. The grand palace of the Fire daimyo is a site of where Imperial clans are gathered together, still giving lenience to Keishi's political importance. Even while it has been surpassed by Konohagakure in importance to the Empire, Keishi hasn't been forgotten by many.

The current capital of the Empire, Konohagakure status and importance has risen with the years. Found by the cooperation of the Senju and Uchiha clan, it has grown to become one of the largest cities found in the Empire. The last two decades have seen an increase of Yakimara and Chonobi denizens, while large Imperial projects have managed to conjure impressive complexes. The city's importance has managed to reach a new level, where its prestige is attracting bright minds to come study at the Homura university, traders to bring exotic wares and nobility willing to pay in large sums to be close to the Imperial crown.

The fortress-city of the Hon clan, it is often mistaken as 'the' capital city of the Hon clan. While the Hon clan is divided into many various jarldoms, Magnhild has grown to become the largest city within the boundaries of the Hon clan. It is thus not entirely wrong to state that Magnhild is 'the' capital of the Hon clan, for its political importance has allowed the ruling nobility to keep a near iron-clad influence over the other Hon nobility.

  • Misuni, governed by the Uchiha Clan

The largest city within the Uchiha heartlands. Misuni was considered the capital city of the Uchiha clan, before the founding of Konohagakure. The large complexes that are used by various Uchiha institutions are often being copied by other clans - even if they are too arrogant to accept such realities. Even if these days the Uchiha clan is ruled from Konohagakure, the importance of Misuni hasn't decayed. It is still the place where many heroes, whether they are from commoner or noble origins, are buried - if they receive the blessing of the ruling Lord of the Uchiha.

  • Morine, governed by the Tamiyo dynasty

Morine is another large city within the boundaries of the River province. From the many rivers, trade flows and out of Morine. It has become an important economical site, from which supplies and wares are being brought over the many rivers to other parts of the province. While not as politically important as Hanaguro, Morine's role within the province is considered as vital.

The northeastern parts of the Empire are dominated by the Chonobi. Yet, in Shimoda reside various enclaves of Taika denizens that have been tolerated by the local Chonobi rulers and people. The large city provides a  large number of supplies and wealth. But more recently has become a site that is visited by scholars and poets, that wish to experience the interesting dynamic between the local cultures and religions - that manage to coexist together.

  • Shisaski, governed by the Fujima dynasty

The capital of the Grass province, Shisaki is a prospering city. From Shisaki, the Grass province is governed with delicacy and near-paranoid control by the Fujima dynasty. It is often in Shisaski that traders from the Earth country arrive to sell their wares, before returning once more to the north.

The Tokugawa's capital, Vindex is a rather large city. As crafty as the Tokugawa are, it has become a rather important trade-centre - able to catch some of the wealth that flows towards the Imperial capital. Besides the strategic economical importance, Vindex is a city of learning and culture. The Tokugawa has completed many large projects and seems keen on inviting Yakimara and Chonobi people to migrate to the city. To the point that some wonder if the Tokugawa aren't slowly attempting to recreate a second Konohagakure.

Demographics

Population

Being one of the largest political entities on the western continent, the population of the Akinian empire is very diverse. Made up of various cultures that can be further divided into clans and regions, they are considered all underneath the Empire as Akinians, assuming that the respective have citizenship. The largest cultural groups within Akino are:

The Taika seem to encompass the most of the overall population of the western part of the Empire. Followed up by the Chonobi who seem to be the dominant in the eastern as southern part of the Empire. The Chonobi is starting to gain more influence as grip on the Imperial military. Last but not least is the Yakimara cultural group. They are the smallest and in terms of political influence and power, they are the weakest. Being located in the western sphere of the Empire, the Yakimara culture group is however treated with equal amount of respect as the other cultural groups.

Slowly an ‘Akinian culture’ is growing within the Empire. Most notably in the direct crown lands that is between the Senju, Sarutobi, Hon, Hanta and Tokugawa clans. This culture is slowly spreading further but is for now most popular within the crownlands of the Homura dynasty.

Language

Much as in cultural groups, there are three dominant languages present within the Akinian Empire. The most dominant is the Taika. It is spoken by most, if not all, people within the borders of the Empire and considered the official language. Chonobi follows after it and is dominant in the eastern regions of the Empire but is currently in a slow spread as the clans and people of the Chonobi Culture start to open up. More factors, such as the increasing importance of the Chonobi nobility, has considered contributing a lot to the shift and growth as well.

Yakimara is much like the culture not spoken further than a part of the western sphere. It is quite known and used in the River province as the clan lands of the Yakimara.

Religion

It wouldn't be much of a surprise that there are also diverse kinds of religions being present within the Empire of Akino. Many clans have their own beliefs and traditions that set them apart from others while there is also the few monotheistic religions present. Even while the clergy within the empire isn't required to pay a tax, it is a safe assumption that religion isn't a major factor for political influence or power. Currently, the dominant faiths are the Chonobi beliefs and Way of Fire. No significant animosity has been shown between the faiths and religions residing within the empire's borders recently. Though there have been recorded moments where religion has sparked violence or distrust between different clans and groups of people.

Political Structure

At the head of the state is the Emperor or Empress. Ruling as an absolute monarch, they are able to form laws and issue decrees without much need for consent of ruling parties. And unlike the former feudal government of the Fire country, the Imperial government's structure seems to be split into two parts. Civic and military.

To be able to determine one's position we have to go from the top to the bottom. At the top, as confirmed before, is the absolute monarch. The emperor or empress, ruling over the entire realm from Konohagakure. Delegating the task of ruling over the provinces goes to the governors and kages. What is interesting to note is that both governors as kages aren't elected by the provincial population but by the ruler. The selection doesn't go without any advice or presenting candidates from the respective province. The position of either governor or kage is for life unless the ruler deems to revoke the position of the respective person.

The difference between the few kages and the governors is that the kages aren't just governors over a province. Usually, candidates, who have a good military record or education they are supposed to help the realm with making certain to lead the present the military in their regions, ensuring that the borders of not only their own province but of those next to their own are kept safe. This leads to that the governors are needed to cooperate together.

Council

Then there is the civic council. This council is elected by the emperor or empress, to guide and advise on civic as economic matters. These positions are usually held by those who have an experience to a good extent of political and economic matters. The war council is the same, though more or less organised by the various military positions. There are a few council members that are elected, gifted this prestigious occupation due to the trust of the emperor or empress in the individual's knowledge as expertise in military affairs.

Despite they have little formal power, the informal influence as prestige that stems from the council shouldn't underestimated. With the fact they can influence decrees of the ruler of the empire, the councillors are greatly respected by many.

The Scholae

The title and occupation of Scholae is one of prestige, trust and merit. Chosen by the emperor or empress, the members of the Scholae is an operative that isn't bound by the rules and laws as many others. Even the likes of the Ghost ANBU and Sworn Swords aren't as free as the Scholae. The individual isn't picked alone for their skill or abilities but on the trust that the emperor or empress of Akino can place upon them.

The Provinces

The empire is formed by various provinces. The main province and by far the most important is the Fire province. This is further proven by the fact that the empire is ruled from this region. Each province is either ruled by a governor or a kage. They are elected by the rulers and either serve till death or if allowed to be retired. In case that a governor or kage reigns poorly then the Empress or Emperor has the right to discharge them and put another in place.

Imperial Fiefdoms

The Imperial Fiefdom is a region located within the Empire of Akino. What sets this region apart from others is that it forms a particular political battleground. Whereas Imperial clans are forbidden to fight each other, they now compete for Imperial favour to be granted a fief. Even while the region is split into numerous amount of fiefs, it has become a strategic source for resources and wealth. Not to forget; marking themselves being favoured enough by the Akinian crown to receive such a boon.

Imperial Akinian Law and Citizenship

The Empire of Akino has their own laws and regulations that differ from their neighbours. It has become slowly the source of pride for some pro-Akinian factions that don’t hide that they consider their laws the product of a higher civilization than that of their neighbours. As such, it is slowly becoming a trend that Akinians demand to be trailed and judged by the Akinian laws and system than that of foreign countries. Springing forth the Akinian custom of ‘Civis Akenius Sum’ - "I am an Akinian citizen", in Yakimara.

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