Akhenism is an ancient monotheistic religion. It is the most widespread faith in the world, with both human and Exekian followers. While it has no official clergy, there are communities for followers who have devoted their lives to prayer and service, and a great deal of religious art and architecture has been created over the centuries.
In more recent years, religion has lost influence over the people and no longer has as much sway in political and social spheres. The vast majority of the population might claim to be Akhenists, but atheism and agnosticism are on the rise, particularly among the younger generations.
The faith revolves around worship of Akhen, a creator deity usually represented by the sun. Driven by a constant desire to create, Akhen is said to have made the universe for his pleasure and sentient life out of loneliness. The first sentient being he created was a spirit without a physical body, similar to himself, but lacking divine power. The spirit, Zius, grew frustrated with its helpless, incorporeal state and turned against Akhen, fleeing to the mortal plane to wage a holy war against him for all eternity.
The earliest known religious texts originate from roughly ten thousand years ago. Who wrote the Mandorlin, or Holy Books, is unknown. The name "Akhen" is Exekian in origin, meaning "Creator".
The Exekians believed that Akhen created humans to serve them. Religion was thus used as an excuse for slavery in the Old Exekian Empire. The humans privately claimed this was not the case, but rather Zius had influenced the creation of the Exekians, making them inherently evil and poisoning their blood.
After the fall of the empire in the First Exekian War and the creation of the kingdom of Wallachia, Akhenism was declared the official religion of the humans. Ancient Exekian art and writings were destroyed, and the humans began depicting Exekians as devils and monsters bearing the mark of Zius' evil.
Foundation of Vormundism
During the reign of King Tristan, the human prophet Vormund founded Vormundism, which is considered a branch of Akhenism. Vormunds do not believe in Zius, maintaining that evil is simply the product of sin, which they define as disobeying Akhen. The Vormunds refer to Akhen as "the god" and maintain that all life was made by Akhen, and therefore all life is sacred.