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The Nine Houses:

During the first shaky years of the Sadiri Empire, the responsibilities of managing the state were divided among the royal bloodline of Thayon and Laisha. Each brother or sister was given an area of control that has been passed on through their descendants. Now, almost two millennia later, the aristocracy are allowed to chose their own course. However, it is highly frowned upon for them to reject their hereditary positions.

Arishnea

Presiding over the whole of commerce in the empire, Arishnea is traditionally the most logical and systematic of the Houses. They were originally in charge of only taxation and laws, including the enforcement of such (with the help of House Garron). Additionally, they decided where and on what the money would be spent. If a royal piece was to be spent in the Empire, it was House Arishnea that had to approve of it.

However, from the discrediting and near-destruction of the Houses of Talshia and Urra onward, Arishnea has since revoked their duties as members of the royal family and taken them on as their own. This has expanded their sphere of influence into both Trade (Talshia) and Logistics (Urra), enabling them complete control of the economical situation of the Empire. It was only due to extensive petitioning from Houses Soreeth and Ramiri that prevented them from wiping out Talshia and Urra completely. To this day, only the loyalty and duty felt towards them carries them on by the royal family.

House Arishnea is centralized strongest in South Sadir where the majority of surplus is produced. With House Parthanís help, roads have been established across the entire empire as well as ships across the Sea of Sadir, increasing the power and influence of Arishnea so their presence can be felt even when they arenít there.

Duties: Commerce, Trade and Logistics

Central authority: South Sadir

Alignment: Lawful neutral

Garron

For many centuries, House Garron was a crucial part of the royal family. Constant war meant Sadir always needed new soldiers as well as officers to command and train them. This was for House Garron to provide, which they did with enthusiasm and dignity.

But when the wars stopped, there was little for this massive body of restless soldiers to do. To correct this, a law was past decreeing city guards must be members of the military. This did much to abate the problem but that many guards began to make the people nervous. And so House Parthan and Arishnea put forward the idea of turning the ex-army into a skilled workforce. Many of the projects (roads, aqueducts, etc.) would be far more efficient if peasantry were not used. One, so they could remain tending their tasks and return to producing for themselves and the Empire. Two, simple peasants had no training as engineers and so persistently made mistakes, thus, by converting the military academies into schools they could make a large force of skilled workers. And three, it solved the military restlessness.

For the most part, everyone approves of this situation from the royal houses to the soldiers and peasants. The only ones who think this is a bad idea are a few higher members of House Garron. They consider it demeaning for their soldiers to be put on build-duty. However, with no wars to be fought, their position has little support by anyone.

Duties: Military and Engineering

Central authority: South Sadir

Alignment: Lawful Good

Ramiri

The mediators of and for the Empire, House Ramiri holds a lot of sway over others. Their prerogative of ensuring stable relations between Sadir and the rest of the world allows them as much power as possible without the direct action to back it up. Thus, all trust them to have the best interests of the Empire in mind, above and beyond petty power struggles with other houses.

Due to House Arishneaís desire of an autonomous empire, Ramiri has lost its traditional role of training and sending ambassadors to foreign nations (except for a few of the more organized Freeland states which donít account to much). For the most part this does not bother House Ramiri too much, they have more than enough to do with tending to relations within the Empire without having to deal with the eccentricities of Thannist and Tal cultures.

Without House Ramiriís presence, the Empire would have been divided centuries ago, probably as soon as the first shaky years of war were over. The Coming of Thane was an avoidable incidence, which Ramiri is not about to let happen again. Since that time, and the circumstantial division of North Sadir, there has been little conflict within the Empire. Ramari has made it their priority to stop any problems before they start.

Duties: Diplomacy

Central Authority: South Sadir

Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Nadia

Although they could easily be the most powerful of all the houses, House Nadia is too introverted to care. New discovers are been made frequently within the realm of magic, each one unlocking a piece of a greater mystery, a pursuit which ties up all the time of the higher levels of the hierarchy. By collecting funds, in the form of fees for attending their schools, independent of taxes or trade, they can completely afford to tend to their own needs without having to weave through Arishneaís economic bureaucracy. This causes their house to be quite isolated from the rest in addition to the uneasiness felt around them by others, their power too alien to be easily accepted by laymen.

Outside of their own, House Nadia rarely associate on a common level with anyone but House Parthan or (occasionally) Soreeth. House Parthan silently resents this for two reasons, both closely related. One, Nadia is arrogant, never showing appreciation for Parthanís contributions (acting like, ĎOh, I was just about to think about thatí attitude). And two, the rest of the populace treats Nadia with kid gloves, in awe of their massive knowledge while treating Parthanís more universal innovations (like aqueducts, roads, gnomons, etc.) as commonplace drudgery when just a few decades before they were miracles.

House Soreeth contributes is in the relation between theurgismís theories in relation to philosophy. By extrapolating on what is known about theurgism and the physical world in general, Soreeth comtemplatives can better understand the connection between the two. This is why Soreeth feels so strongly about the halting research in the area of Matter Conversion; it was they who suggested its possibility and they who ultimately bear the blame for any disaster that results from its use.

Duties: Magic

Central authority: West Sadir

Alignment: Neutral

Parthan

The backbone of the modern Empire, without House Parthan the Sadiri would be huddled in darkness and filth. Cities would have remained sprawled out cacophonies, reeking of human desperation and misery. The innovations of engineering, the aqueduct, roads and many other things have brought new comforts to the rich and comforts originally only available to kings to the lowest of peasants.

More recently, with the Imperial Army of House Garron being converted to engineers, House Parthan has been able to institute wide-scale modernization to the entire Empire. All royal or important buildings have been fortified or rebuilt to with stand the greater and lesser convergences. Crops have been irrigated, even in highlands where previously settling was unfeasible. Sewage systems, a fairly new creation, have spread rapidly in all the cities, allowing for greater cleanliness. All these and more have come about since the alliance between House Garron and Parthan.

As far as their status with the other houses go, House Parthan is somewhat of an unsung hero (and they know it). Much of the credit owed them is instead granted to Houses Arishnea (for providing the funds and the idea to convert the army into engineers), Garron (for their former army) and Nadia (for their magic). House Parthan deals with this ingratitude by avoiding the royal family and withdrawing into themselves and telling eachother of their superiority over the rest of society.

Duties: Science and Technology

Central authority: West Sadir

Alignment: Lawful good

Soreeth

Perhaps the only house who cares about the peasantry as more than a commodity, House Soreeth has the concerns of all in mind, not only that of the Empire and the wealthy. It has been their tireless appeals to the royal family that have eased the burden upon the poor. Often, this is with the support of House Ramiri who believe happy people are productive people. Without this back up, their influence would be negligible. But fortunately this alliance is quite strong.

To ensure the welfare of the people, House Soreeth remains quite vigilant in sending representatives and advisors throughout the Empire. These individuals, although preferring to move through official channels, must often conceal their true agendas in order to see what they need to see. For this reason, the other houses try to keep Soreeth out of the loop, for they interfere a great deal if concerned about something (the source of the common saying ĎWas your mother a Soreeth?í for someone who insists on meddling).

Despite their annoying reputation, House Soreeth has accomplished a lot through persistence and massive support from the common populace. Due to this, and because the Empire is so productive, feudalism has no place in it. Taxes, although high, are reasonable for the amount the people gain from it (Parthanís luxuries, flood and famine relief during convergences), but have been kept from soaring by Soreeth. Another area that has been greatly influenced by Soreeth is that of law. The laws themselves have been considerably softened, especially with regards to crimes amongst nobility and crimes amongst peasants. The other way they influence the law is through the positions of magistrates. The magistrates are almost exclusively from the Houses Soreeth and Ramiri, Soreeth handling violent/moral crimes and Ramiri handling crimes against the state.

Duties: Philosophy and Justice

Central authority: West Sadir

Alignment: Neutral Good

Talshia

Formerly the powerful house in charge of trade, Talshia took the brunt of the war between the houses. Now, their power and influence stripped, they only get by on the loyalty of the royal family. Although they still have voting power in council, they dare not go against the majority of the houses lest they be destroyed utterly. They know that, in the future, should they have trouble with anyone, all of the help of Soreeth and Ramiri will not save them.

Because of their lesser status, many young from House Talshia grow greatly bitter towards their own family; becoming hell bent on escaping the stigma. This they accomplish by marrying into or enlisting in the government of the other houses. Many take jobs as military officers or become mages to gain some respect.

Duties: (formerly) Trade

Central authority: East Sadir

Alignment: Neutral

Urra

While Talshia tries to regain/hold on to what little dignity they have left, House Urra has stopped caring completely. From the beginning, they were the least significant and inconsequential of the houses, being in charge of only logistics, a fact that made them pretty much under the control of Arishnea exclusively. The only reason they participated in the war in the first place was to gain some respect in the eyes of the royal family. When they lost what little duty they had they lost what little respect they had as well.

These unfortunate coincidences have made them sad victims of circumstance. They have abandoned the control they had over their own holdings into the more capable hands of the peasantry (East Sadir is the only place that letís commoners wield power). This leaves them with a lot of free time which they will by use of a drug derived from the kuri plant. With this being the only thing of pleasure for them, they can barely (and often donít) make their ways to council.

Duties: (formerly) Logistics

Central authority: East Sadir

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Kira

Before the war of the houses, House Kira had the important role to play of keeping everyone happy. Since then, most of this has been handed over to houses Soreeth and Ramiri, except for the area of fun. All festivals to be had are hosted and organized by House Kira. In fact, the way Sadiri behave in social circumstances is owed a lot to them. From the music they play to the clothing they wear, House Kira has inspired it all. Trendsetters of the Empire, House Kira tends to be very flighty.

All this has created somewhat of a demand for members of House Kira. They are both fun and charming; they make the people happy. This has been their saving grace that has protected them from such states like those of Urra and Talshia.

Duties: Entertainment

Central authority: East Sadir

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral