Romulan Star Empire
Ki Baratan, Romulus
|Nr of Eyes:||
|[ Source ]|
Respect is the basis of Rihannsu society -- to be disrespectful is to show a lack of Mnhei'sahe. Showing respect to elders and superiors is a must in day-to-day Rihannsu life.
Every Rihannsu knows by the bearing and actions of another what rank and social status that person has. Non-verbal cues, reputation, military rank, and past experience all dictate the respect owed to each individual Rihannsu.
To an extent, Rihannsu social status and the rank of military personnel operate in parallel. Because the Rihannsu are a militarily oriented society, geared to the protection and promotion of the Empire, military service and accompanying rank are very important indicators of social status.
The person with highest status in the Empire is the Empress and Galae`Fvillha. Next most important is the Shiar`Fvillha, or chief Praetor, the Speaker of the Praetorate and one of the highest authorities within in the Empire, followed by the other members of the Praetorate. Other people's status is ordered according to rank, house status and personal accomplishments in a long chain until ending with the lowest status, that of a prisoner. Prisoners are considered even lower than slaves -- a prisoner is without honor and is not fully Rihannsu.
The Rihannsu social structure is actually much more complicated than what is presented above: there are structures within structures within structures, to the point where it is rare for any two Rihannsu to have the exact same social standing. Finally, although prestige and social standing are often related to rank, social status should not be confused for military chain-of-command. Ranks effect social structure, not vice versa.
There are many methods of which an individual may rise in status: merit and achievements (as well as military honors), subterfuge and betrayals (including blackmail and strategic use of personal or political secrets), the gaining of powerful allies, "elimination" of opponents, wealth (buying of support) and pressure tactics.
To better understand the Rihannsu culture of today one must look at the Vulcan culture of the past. The Vulcans of the past were an extremely warlike and emotional people. It was the only teachings of Surak that brought about the logical Vulcan culture of today. It was a student of Surak's, S'task, who determined after the deception of the people by a barbarous and cruel universe that logic and peace were not the answer. Thus, he lead a group of people out into the stars to create a new way of life. Based on the fundamentals of ancient Vulcan society, Rihannsu culture is a liberal admixture of old Vulcan traits and ideas evolved during their travels, called The Journey of Sundering in the ancient texts of both the Vulcan and Rihannsu people.
There is an old Rihannsu proverb that sums up the culture rather well:
"Certain it is and sure: love burns, ale burns, fire burns, and politics burns. But cold were life without them."
Rihannsu people enjoy all aspects of life to the fullest, reveling in their experiences. Even seemingly unpleasant experiences like death, and war, are cherished for their intensity.
Rihannsu religion is similar to the practice of Wicca or Druidism. They have no particular Gods or Goddesses. Rihannsu religion instead centers around the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Space, as well as the Archelement which oversees all. In connection with this, the Rihannsu celebrate festivals to honor these elements. Each element has a festival devoted to it, with one culminating festival to the Archelement. Some of these festivals likely date back to the pre-Reformation era on Vulcan as do a few other Rihannsu practices in the area of religion. Though Rihannsu do not preserve katras as the Vulcans do, many religious ceremonies retain a distinctive Vulcan flavor.
Surprisingly, there are priests and priestesses of various sects in large numbers. Each element has, in theory, a single sect devoted to it (although in reality, many sects exist for each, some competing at cross purposes. But such is the way of the Rihannsu). There is no central leader to the sects, only a five person "Key". The Key is a group of High Priests and Priestesses (one from each of the primary sects of each major element) who hold the sects together and advise the Praetorian directly when asked. As already mentioned, there are 5 major elements -- Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Space. Strangely, there is no sect for the Archelement, although all sects join together to worship and celebrate it equally. Each of the sects has three scrolls as its basis.
These scrolls govern the daily life of the Elementals and the populace. S`Task and his followers created these scrolls and each tell of tales or legends for easy understanding without misunderstanding the true meaning. Each scroll stands for Mind, Heart, and Soul. Together they are the key to the understanding of the Archelement. There are many, many rituals, ceremonies, prayers, songs, poems, stories, tales, legends, and sonnets for respect and empowerment.
Then there are Elementals, people with whom have special gifts. While the Rihannsu are not generally psychic as a race (despite their Vulcan heritage), these Elementals are able to harness the power of the Universe in one, or (although extremely rare) more, elements. All of the exhibit powers over their bodies and their surrounds as bound by the element they specialize in, as well as other psychic powers such as telepathy.
Elementals are usually priests, and trained for such: to be both Elementals and Priests. However, there are very few people outside the priesthood who are Elementals and are never trained. These few are feared and usually vanish, some presume by (or perhaps even, into) the Tal'Shiar. There is no known list of these Elementals, but some one in ten million people have such abilities. One in one hundred million harnesses more than one element. One in one ten billion harnesses all elements.
They naturally gain power in some form, and go on to contribute to the race. Elementals carry and create spell books. Also, only Elementals use a form of Runes and glyphs for their second language which mysteriously none learn but all know. Elementals who are not in the priesthood are notorious for their sexual appetites, and their skills in various endeavors.
There is no black or white in the Priesthood itself, but the rare Elementals are known to be diverse and operate in three ranges: Black, White, or Gray. By using spells, ritual, prayer, runes, crystals and so forth, they harness the power given to them for any purpose they wish. Some Elementals of Fire are known to be able to withstand and throw bolts of plasma and even control fire and temperature. Water Elementals are excellent swimmers and manage long periods of time and incredible depths under water. They can also control the temperature of water in any and all forms. Air is managed by Air Elementals and can control climate and weather, also can throw bolts of electricity at times they also make excellent pilots. Elementals of Earth are excellent farmers and sometimes predict or control tectonic movements. Also they can create or find gemstones, and other interesting abilities with their actions. There is no known Elemental of Space, but if one existed, it would have been S`Task.
The Rihannsu also consider the Universe itself to have borderline sentience, much as a favored pet. It craves attention, and responds to such (or the lack of it) with affection (or annoyance). The Rihannsu further believe that the existence of a thing gives it the right of nobility -- to be honored and appreciated; to be named, and hence to be able to respond to that name. The Rihannsu language is therefore rich with phrases which acknowledge the sentience of the Universe such as: "Oh Elements, avert it!", "What in the Element's name?", "Elements be thanked!", "Oh Fire & Air & Earth!", "Powers and Elements!", "Elements granting" and so forth.
This handsome, dusky olive skinned race is a passionate race. They are fierce in war, love, and play. In this respect, they have changed little from their heritage of Ancient Vulcan. They enjoy good food and trustworthy companions. Their love of life is seen in the stunning vitality, clarity and ferocity of their art.
Their devotion to duty, and their loyalty to the Empire exceeds even that of the most fanatical Klingon. Rihannsu starships are all equipped with powerful fusion explosive devices for use in the destruction of the craft. Rather than be taken prisoner, the Rihannsu would rather die with their ship. In the history of contact between the Rihannsu and the Federation, only a handful of Rihannsu officers have ever been captured, and all killed themselves during imprisonment.
Cautious at best, xenophobic at worst, the Rihannsu people have a right to paranoia born of their violent history. The experience with the Orion pirates on ancient Vulcan burned a lesson into their minds forever: Never trust an alien. In the mind of a Rihannsu, only another Rihannsu person is worthy of respect and civility. All others are discounted.
Though xenophobic, Rihannsu still carry an interest and curiosity about the Federation, particularly the human race, and admired their delicacies and history in artistry. More importantly, Rihannsu archaeologists theorize that perhaps one of the ships from the original caravan of refugees of Rihannsu people may have crashed into or on Earth.
The reason for this theory lies in the Orient. The singsong languages of Earth's Asian countries are fairly similar to ancient Vulcanese, and the Chinese and Japanese foods are prepared similar to many Vulcan and Rihannsu dishes. Plou'mek soup, otherwise a form of avian meat filled spiced soup with a form of noodle or worm (Terrans call it Chicken Noodle Soup) is curiously found in Vulcanese cookbooks thousands of years prior to the creation of it on Earth. More importantly, the original Karma Sutra is a book that contains rituals of Ancient Vulcan, many still used by the Rihannsu today. If it is true that a colony ship did land on or crash into Earth early on in their journey, then perhaps it may have been one carrying predominantly scientists and artists.
Other notable similarities are in appearance. The Asian people are similar in appearance, language, and ways. Appearance wise, they have sharp facial bone structures, almond shaped eyes, very light skin complexions (which are almost golden-olive in color), straight hair (usually worn short or long, rarely in between) and almost always cut in sharp lines, although variations appear after global expansion. They are excellent tacticians and gifted at creating technology on a miniaturized scale. They are usually inclined to stay with their own genetic kind, though that has changed over the years as to be expected. A pure Asian descendant is more likely to fall into these examples and as such, is usually devoid of most characteristically human body hair on the chest, arms, back, and legs. Most Asian people are best with logistics and are highly an emotional and traditional people -- such as the Rihannsu are.
Another reason for the theory is the belief at the center of the Rihannsu code of behavior: the importance of Mnhei'sahe. It is a measurement of inner strength and a status symbol in their culture.
Mnhei'sahe, or "the Ruling Passion", centers around a strong appreciation of honor, duty, courtesy and strength. It mirrors the Ancient Japanese samurai code of Bushido. Like the samurai, the Rihannsu intensely dislike any form of rudeness.
In all interactions between Rihannsu, it is imperative that all parties leave afterward feeling that their honor, their status (their face if you like) is intact. To do otherwise would be to deny the Mnhei'sahe of the offended party. If the offending party feels he can apologize without himself losing face, he does so. Otherwise, a duel may be in order. Or, if the disgraced party is beyond recall, those present may simply kill him, in order to preserve the memory of his honor and prevent further disgrace.
Above all, Mnhei'sahe is sensitive to the context of the situation. It is not a hard set rule, instead it is an unspoken consensus which guides the actions of all Rihannsu.
Rihannsu honor their word, when it is given to another Rihannsu -- to break with one's word means dishonor, a fate worse than death. Politeness, respect, and quiet dignity are always required if Mnhei'sahe is to be satisfied.
Rihannsu honor power as much as they honor loyalty. The goal of each Rihannsu is power -- if not for them self or their House, then always for the Empire. Though Rihannsu are always loyal to the Empire itself ((not any one person)), they can go against the 'official' government if they feel it benefits their people. For the Rihannsu, power can not be defined in the Terran terms of monetary wealth, it is the power of Mnhei'sahe, and it defines the structure within Rihannsu society.
Spitting at another's feet is a vile insult, as is cursing one's ancestry. A Rihan's vocabulary is sure to include a rich variety of original invectives for use on one's adversaries.
Mnhei'sahe is not a vague or academic term. Wars, executions, and even the deaths of entire Households can be required to satisfy Mnhei'sahe. If Mnhei'sahe is always intact within the Empire, the Rihannsu believe that they can never lose.
There are some people who have no honor. These include those who are not Rihannsu, those who dishonor themselves to the point where no one respects them, and those who act in opposition to the collective will of the empire. This is one reason why slaves are permitted. Although it stems from ancient Vulcan in historical context, it has been permitted to continue because of honor.
Most slaves are either Rihannsu criminals and miscreants or people from outside the empire (usually from the subjugated worlds conquered by the Rihannsu). In Rihannsu society, these people have no honor, and are treated as such. If these people regain some of their honor through devoted service or through other acts, it is possible that their master will set them free. The master does this to respect the honorable conduct of the slave. He or she also does it to preserve personal honor, since it is highly dishonorable for any Rihannsu to keep an honorable being in slavery.
A typical Rihannsu family is made up of a mother and a father, with as many children as the parents desire. Each family unit is within a House, and Houses can be huge. The family unit does not look to one parent as superior, both mother and father have equal status. Although boy children are favored, girl children do not have a social stigma. Divorce and separation are rare with Rihannsu families, because the bond between the husband and wife is so very deep. A typical Rihannsu family is very happy and devoted to each other, with the bond of love. Within the family unit the first lessons in Mnhei'sahe will be taught, to ground a child in the basic morality of Rihannsu life. The family also includes every single blood member of the House. Each member of the House is responsible to see that all of the children are raised in the proper traditions of the House and that the lessons of Mnhei'sahe are taught and learned.
Women and men are equals in the social structure. Sexuality is expressed via eye color changes. Violet and Black. Violet is the color showing sexual desire or desire for mate. In time to choose a mate, it is involuntary and only occurs with a mate whom also exhibits the same reaction in direct contact via palm to palm. If no reaction or if one sided, then there is no contact. If the reaction is mutual then a mating is found to be possible. Recent social changes have enabled multiple mates to be enjoyed, but only one life bond can be chosen.
When the time is not for finding a life bond (usually during the middle of the year known to Vulcans as "Amok Time"and around the 30 to 40th year of life is it generally practiced though no age is set) but is for 'romantic' interludes, of which can produce a life bond in time, it is more of actual interest than biological (though can also be interest and not limited to just mating with the Rihannsu people). This form of mating is akin to serious dating in humans. At this instance, a conscious or unconscious change in eye color is available to show desire. Bonding does not require the religious sect, but can be brought in for marriage or even to break or strengthen bonds. Only bonded mates are telepathic with each other. Other than this bonding, which is both empathic and telepathic, there is no other psychic ability apparent except for in the Elementals.
The Rihannsu are rather proud of their names and heritage. First and middle names are usually given with reservation, usually to friends and family. The last name is the family/clan name. A fourth name, a very private and personal name, is rarely spoken, and only known by those who are life long intimates.
A woman's clan name is often preceded with (t') and a man's name is usually preceded by (tr').
Examples of women's names: Thue t'Radaik, Arrhae ir-Mnaeha t'Khellian, Ekkhae t'Thusaith, S'anra t'Hwaehrai, Hanaj t'Eleijha, Ael t'Rihaul, Aidoann t'Rehu, N'ale t'Rllailieu, Dhiove t'Hrienteh, Janicka t'Maekh, S'Tarleya t'lllailhlae, Meira t`Kethry, Ullho t`Rhenn.
Examples of men's names are: Valdus tr'Tomalak, H'daen tr'Aimne, Lhaesi tr'Khev, Vaebn tr'Hheinha, M'Narth tr'Lhell, Nnerhin tr'Hwersuil, Lai I'Ranmau tr'Ehhelih, Llunih tr'Raedhoel, Tiercellus tr'Khnailmnae, D'tan tr'Keirianh, Donal tr`Rhagarokk.
At the root of Rihannsu political organization is the House system. Houses are family groups or clan-like organizations, with hereditary succession structures. Unlike feudal family organizations, however, Rihannsu Houses encompass a much broader spectrum of society. For example, servants of a House Lord are considered part of the family, and adopt the House name and use it as their own. That is not to say that they are equal members, but they are included.
Each house that has its own rank and status accorded in Rihannsu society. Houses are considered either Great Houses or Lesser Houses. Great Houses have many family members that are high in the social standing of the Empire. The members of Great Houses have proven their service to the Empire in past honors and loyalty. Lesser Houses have not received the honor and glory, but serve an integral and vital role within the Empire. It is their quiet service that supports the Empire and brings greater glory to it. The status of House members reflects directly on the status of their House and vice versa.
Within each House, are various positions, as detailed in the following table:
|hru'hfirh||Head of House|
|eri'hfirh||Heir of House|
The most important person in a House is the hru'hfirh or Head of House. The hru'hfirh is responsible for the members of the House, maintaining the House's Mnhei'sahe, and the day-to-day financial and social dealings of the House. The eri'hfirh, or Heir, assists the hru'hfirh. The status of the House and the responsibilities are decided by the hru'hfirh, but usually the importance of House members is as follows: hruÃhfirh, eri'hfirh, Auethnen, and then Llaugh and Rianov with equal rank. The other status and importance follows as listed above. As you can see is the chart above, there is the added complexity of adoption. An adopted member of the family has the same rank and receives the same respect as a blood member, but with the added responsibility of another House, perhaps. Adoptions are commonplace.
Another commonplace is a unique form of revenge, usually prompted by a Mnhei'sahe in the case of the murder of a child, is known as "hostage fostering". In this situation, a House steals the children of a rival House and rears them as their own. A family that has lost their child in this manner usually never sees them again.