Known by those who respect and depend upon it as "The Great Mother," and by those who revile and fear it as "The Great Tyrant," Cresce /kreɪʃ/ stands on par with Alderode as one of the most powerful countries in Kasslyne. Westernmost on the continent, Cresce enjoys a stable, educated society that places supreme emphasis on material equality. It is the first and only country in Kasslyne with a "moneyless" economy, exercising rigid state control and social pressure to declare "Greed" as great a crime as murder.
Cresce's political system involves a matrilineal monarchy held by a succession of Queens, and a cabinet of advisers, industrial masters, and ambassadors. Below the monarchy, an expansive but rigidly controlled web of state offices control Cresce's seventeen districts. These districts are in turn split into democratically self-governing cities that plan, manage, and maintain themselves, with the state acting as intermediary for resource distribution from group to group, and as a larger governing force to manage a higher judiciary, the military, international trade, and so on.
The current queen of Cresce is Manaraishala Sonorie, whose family has governed Cresce for approximately 400 years. With a cultural emphasis on the Mother Goddess of the Gefendur religion, and a history that began one-thousand years earlier when the country was won in battle by the warrior-queen Crescia, it's perhaps no surprise that Cresce tends towards a matriarchal culture.
Cresce's climate is temperate, verging on tropical further south. It is a rich and fertile, well-organised country with a powerful military, engineer corps, and merchant marine.
Cresce founded the West Kasslynian Alliance, a group of countries that stands allied and united against invasion and other outside military threats. To protect this alliance, Cresce's allies are frequently patrolled by the Peaceguard, who are charged with maintaining national borders against criminals and enemies of the state, providing humanitarian assistance, as well as promoting cooperation with other nations. Ulestry is one such allied country.
Cresce has a long history of strife with its northern neighbour, Alderode. The two countries hold diametrically opposed views on each others' politics, culture, values, religious practises, geography, and history, and frequently go to war with one another. While Alderode is viewed primarily as an unreasonable aggressor, Cresce is seen in a more tolerant light by most denizens of Kasslyne.
Ethelmik is a Crescian city prominently featured in Unsounded.
Cresce's is a largely planned and closed economy that is managed in equal parts from the bottom-up and the top-down. The country is split into 17 districts and myriad cities. Each city is led by a democratically elected ruling council that, with citizen cooperation, determine its wants and needs. Because all cities require teachers, doctors, police officers, wrights, and certain others, cities will bid each other for the best, offering beautiful houses, office facilities, and special privileges to the best candidates to convince them to relocate.
Every city that is capable of it produces its own food. Cities that require state assistance must justify their resource requirement by production of its own resources (mining cities produce ore, university towns must graduate a quota of students, factory towns must produce goods, etc.) which can be traded to the state or to other cities for food, building resources, additional military protection, and so on. When a city becomes insolvent the state steps in and "retires" it, relocating families to other cities and occupations around the country.
Each citizen is expected to work a certain number of hours a week depending on their age and health. As compensation for this, they are guaranteed housing, food, and a certain number of Labour Points, or LP. LP is a small steel coin that serves as a programmed token of an individual's labour and the time they spent performing it. Every LP is assigned to a single individual at the time of issuance, cannot be spent by anyone else, and can only be redeemed at nationally or municipally licensed businesses. Once spent, the token is returned to Cresce's Labour Office to be reprogrammed and redistributed. LP require the Breath system to operate, a pymarically-backed national network.
Cresce stresses small and functional over huge and unwieldy. By ensuring its citizens are fed, educated, and entertained, it's maintained a relatively stable - if unorthodox - society that takes pride in taking care of its own. However it is not run by idealists. Royal Peaceguard and other military forces are a constant presence, and deviance, corruption, theft, and "treason" are all treated harshly and definitively.
Every child is required to finish a certain level of education, after which they can attempt to qualify for specialized programs for medicine, pymary, advanced military, etc. Intelligence and ambition are rewarded in Cresce, with achievement leading to better work assignments, better allotments, and more LP. However, failure to achieve means one's city will step in and assign whatever employment is available, often unsavoury street-cleaning, sewage maintenance, garbage burning, field or factory work. This incentivizes achievement without creating a starving and impoverished underclass.