|The Tzaltec Empire|
The Tzalteca are organized primarily in a theocratic monarchy, with the Teotlkan regarded as the living incarnation of Tzetultep's will. The bureaucracy and the priesthood is thus very difficult to distinguish. The monarch is advised by the Circle of Twelve, a collection of twelve officials drawn from the military, the priesthood, and the artisans. The four representatives are elected by their respective peers, and serve for life.
It is a truism in Tzalteclan that the blood of the dragon does not marry. While common Tzalteca engage in monogamous relationships, the Teotlkan is expected to maintain a harem of consorts drawn from the most esteemed houses of Tzalteclan. This, in turn, makes the idea of a direct hereditary succession something of a nightmare. Accordingly, the road to becoming Teotlkan is somewhat more involved.
Throughout the life of a Teotlkan, it is their duty to test their children, in both mind and body. These children are provided the finest tutors in the known world, and recieve an education ranging from Tzaltec law to civil engineering to military strategy. These tutors, in turn, report the gifted to the Teotlkan, and if they are very lucky they are named tlapepentli. Once so named, these individuals rise substantially in the hierarchy of the empire, and they work fiercely to maintain their status.
When the time comes for the Teotlkan to pass on, whether by unexpected disaster or the conscious decision of the aging Teotlkan, the tlapepentli are gathered together. They are sent into the jungle with naught but what they can carry, with a single mission - to return with the grandest prize within one week. The nature of the prize is intentionally open-ended, the better to foster creativity, and at the end of the challenge the surviving tlapepentli are judged by the Twelve. The winner ascends to become the new Teotlkan, invested with all the powers of a god, while the surviving losers are either eliminated by their paranoid sibling or given positions of authority within the empire.