The Akhelians are the warrior caste of the Idoneth Deepkin, raised from a young age to become masterful warriors. Like the Isharann, the Akhelians are drawn from those among the Idoneth Deepkin born with fully formed souls, and as such, possess the long lifespan of their kin – lives they dedicate towards the absolute mastery of warfare. The Akhelians are strictly meritocratic – lines of succession don’t mean much when most of your children are born as Namarti!
The origins of the Akhelian way of war lie in the time after the founding of the Idoneth Deepkin. When Teclis told the Cythai of the aelves of old, he told stories of cavalry from antiquity that rode horses and dragons into battle – the sea monster-mounted warriors of the Akhelians emulate this ideal.
The leaders of the Idoneth Deepkin are either Isharann, practitioners of magic, or Akhelian, the warrior nobility. They are the inheritors of rich, vibrant souls, the fortunate few elevated above the majority, who are born with withering souls and doomed to a life of servitude.
As the ancestors of the Idoneth Deepkin gave birth to new generations, three distinct castes developed within their society. The great majority of their kind are classed as Namarti, those aelves doomed to die prematurely unless they can be revitalised through stolen life-force. Yet one in a hundred are born as hale as were the Cythai themselves. These blessed individuals are destined to join one of the two noble classes of the Idoneth Deepkin.
The other ruling caste of the Idoneth Deepkin are the Akhelians. These aelves are the warrior elite, the lords, princes and other nobles of martial rank that command the Idoneth's armies. No matter who holds the power within an enclave, the Akhelians are the undisputed leaders on the battlefield.
At a young age, Akhelians are entered into the asydrazor, a programme of study that prepares them for military leadership. Grand strategy and tactics are studied, and they embark on a strict physical regime that will inure them to hardship. Blessed with long lifespans, these warrior apprentices remain in training for decades, and will only be named full-fledged Akhelians after passing the trials of mhair (endurance).
Novice Akhelians join the Idoneth's armies as crew, manning the weapons of bond-beasts such as Leviadons or Allopexes. Those who prove themselves worthy in battle rise to become crew leaders or Fangmora Eel riders. It is the goal of every Akhelian to one day be given command of their own phalanx, an honour which is earned rather than inherited. Consequently, each phalanx is led by its most experienced warrior, who is named King or Queen. Should a commander fall, a military council of enclave elders convenes to name their successor.
With the exception of the Fuethán, most enclaves seek a balance of power between the members of their Isharann and Akhelian castes. Even if one faction outnumbers the other, they share rule of the enclave. Throughout the histories of many of the major enclaves, however, this status quo has not always been maintained; for long periods of time, either the Isharann or Akhelians have dominated.
Despite the Idoneth's constant research, they still possess no understanding of how bloodlines are passed on among their people. Isharann, Akhelian and Namarti all bear the same chances of producing healthy or cursed offspring, hence a tendency for merit to be the determining factor in matters of promotion rather than lineage.