Your character is part of a noble House. At the current moment in ven history, six Houses rule the ven Senate (four remain “veiled” and shamed — wearing the black). You can read about them below.
Blooded of the Bear
“Give me a man and I’ll make him a Bear.”
Families: Burghe, Steiner, Rusu, Reinhold, Bowen
The House of the Bear holds lands far to the North, away from the reach of “civilized” hands. While no Blooded noble would ever say so to his face, the Blooded of the Bear are considered less refined than their southern neighbors. The House of the Bear know this, and could not care less. Legends of the House founder—Jacob Burghe—are told all around Shanri. His Strength and courage are unquestioned, equaled only by his desire to be left alone. When the Betrayer Curse fell, Steiner took his family and followers North, far from the war they left behind. Some say he sought lands where he could teach his inheritors independence. Others say he wished to escape the inevitable politics that were sure to follow. But all agree on one motivation: he didn’t trust anyone he could not call kin. The Burghe’s motives live on in his descendants. They are fiercely independent, strong, capable, and isolated in their tundra. Children are taught how to fend for themselves, shunning subtlety and politics for pure honesty.
Blooded of the Elk
“Nobility is not only in the Blood, but in the purpose.”
Families: Steele, Thayl, Jasnine, Uvan, Ballan
One of the most powerful families in the land, the Thayl held the Imperial Throne for centuries. The last Thayl Emperor, however, was driven insane by his own ambition. He was put down by the other Blooded families but not before he could impart a curse upon each one. His final curse shattered the land, sending all the families to the five corners of the world. Ever since then, the Blooded of the Elk have sought to restore their family’s name. Regardless of their past, the Blooded of the Elk are still masters of the Subtle Game. They are the backbone of the courts, the power behind the thrones. Nearly every Great House has an Elk advisor, putting them in key positions all throughout the land. Despite their unique position, many Laws restrict their Strength. These Laws, passed by the Senate, restrict how much land the Blooded of the Elk may hold and what sorceries they can practice. All of this ensures the family that almost destroyed the world will never have the opportunity to do so again.
Blooded of the Falcon
“I am all that I own.”
Families: Thorne, Askhen, Krev, Sinjin, Thali
After the Betrayers Curse fell on the Houses, the Blooded spread across the face of the world looking for lands amidst the ruin. The lands were snatched up quickly, leaving little room for stragglers. One House, the Blooded of the Falcon, didn’t look to the land for a home, but looked within themselves. For centuries, the Falcon had no homeland. Instead, they wandered the lands by both caravan and ship, maintaining their Bloodline through discipline and strict code. Mistrusting all other Houses, developing secret symbols, signs and rituals to identify true cousins from false ones. I am all that I own. But fifty years ago, the Falcon made a daring move. Striking from the forests and wild lands, they took lands as their own, carving out their own provinces, unveiling their banner in the halls of the Senate. Because of their position, the Blooded of the Falcon are the noble house closest to the common folk. They Operate in the world of the unblooded, dealing with their issues, facing their troubles. Of all the houses, the peasantry trust the Falcon more than any other.
Blooded of the Fox
Families: Yvarai, Silja, Q’n, Eshu, Tammel
Their names are as elegant as silks and their poetry is like spice. The Blooded of the Fox take a special pride in Beauty, elegance and indulgence. They are the harvesters of culture and etiquette, masters of innuendo and double-meanings, speaking in elaborate codes that only the initiated may decipher. The House of the Fox was founded by a man obsessed with excellence in all things. “If one is good, ten is better.” Their music is loud and full of passion. It was the Fox who brought the Courts of Romance to the Blooded Houses, introducing the concept of courtly love with stories, poems and songs, and they are the masters of Opera—the high alchemical art—filled with stories of doomed lovers and grand tragedies. They are also masters of sanjien, a martial art that binds the soul and Sword. The House of the Fox views hedonism, ajurna, as the “art of pleasure.” Knowing one’s limits is the first step of this art: knowing when to stop the pleasure before pain begins. Excess causes pain, and the first lesson of ajurna is how to indulge in pleasure while avoiding the consequences of pain.
Blooded of the Serpent
“I carry Wisdom’s price.”
Families: Mwrr, Jalan, Ovjen, Ru, Valar
The House of Jalan was instrumental in Thayl’s downfall, freeing the other Houses from the mad emperor’s tyrannical rule. This historical fact has not been forgotten by the other Houses, but it does not diminish the level of mistrust they hold for the Blooded of the Serpent. Houses must deal with politics, intrigue, and sorcery. All of these things have one element in common: the element of secrecy. The Serpent is a symbol of dangerous Wisdom in ven mythology. He is the trickster spirit with poison that kills the weak and enlightens the strong. The Blooded of the Serpent are the only house who do not trace their lineage back to a man, but back to Serpent himself, the grand trickster, who fooled a mortal woman and begat his children through her (although some suggest it was she who fooled Serpent). No other House knows more about Shanri than the Serpent. Her mysteries and secrets, her hidden ruins and strains of ork. Vast libraries document Serpent’s knowledge of the world, available only to those strong enough to carry the pain of Wisdom.
Blooded of the Wolf
“We are either tools or weapons.”
Families: Adrente, Banin, Drew, Sheeda, Tal
The Blooded of the Wolf live in the central isles where mountains reach up from the waters. They are a small people, dark-haired and dark-eyed. They who revere memory can list their lineages by heart. They take pride in knowledge and scholarship, but are best known for another trait: in combat, they are completely mad. The House of the Wolf see knowledge as a weapon—just like everything else in the world—that a ven must use to maintain his freedom. They are fanatical scholars and truth-seekers. In fact, one could say the Wolf are fanatical about everything—at least the things important to the Wolf. The dichotomy between scholar and berserk is the defining trait of the Wolf. The founder of the House, Tal Adrente, was a small man of great mirth and anger. Easily riled, he carried no weapons. “I’ll just take his,” he once said of a particularly rude opponent. He did, and beat his enemy to death with his own Sword.