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4.12.1 The Vertani Culture: a Compendium

Physically, the Vertani can range from two and a half metres to nearly  
four metres in height, albino to ebony in skin tones, and slender to    
stout in body types. Due to their required military service, obese      
Vertani are a rare sight. Practically all Vertani have one golden eye;  
the other eye is of a more standard colour. A Vertani's rank in their   
society can usually be used to determine their look. The lower-ranked   
Vertani are required to shave their head and are tattooed with the      
markings of their House. Highly ranked Vertani are permitted to grow out
their hair, with colours generally ranging from white to black.         
A lucky few Vertani, known as the Daq, are born with matching eye colour
of gold. "The Daq", which means "the same" in their tongue, is          
considered a sign of an "old soul". They enter mandatory military       
service at the young age of six and serve there the rest of their life. 
In return, the Daq hold nearly all the upper echelons of power in the   

There is little resentment for this monopoly of power, as most Vertani
believe that at some point in the cycle of reincarnation they too will be
reborn as Daq.
There is a strong emphasis on the military regardless of the            
individual's house or status. All Vertani are required to join the      
Empire's military training at the age of nine. At sixteen they will     
enter full service, which they serve for six more years. After this     
military time they are allowed to return to their House. A refusal to serve
results in execution and is essentially unheard of.                
The Vertani fight in highly disciplined legions composed from a variety 
of forces. Despite fighting in very regimented units they also have a   
strong sense of individual honour. It is not unusual for them to pause 
mid-battle and watch a display of martial prowess by two people caught in a
It is unheard of for a Vertani to refuse a duel. They consider this a   
great dishonour to both themselves and their House. Because of this,    
their duels are rarely to the death, and in fact the combatants might   
drink and laugh together after the duel.                                

Despite the Vertani's rigid society, they have a fun-loving festive side
as well. They consider any excuse for a party an acceptable one, and    
they are known to be extremely wild during them. Even their funerals are
parties rather than sorrowful affairs. They believe in celebrating life 
rather than mourning death.                                                    

The Vertani believe that after dying, the soul reincarnates into a      
newborn with no memory of its previous life. This gives them a great    
appreciation for life, as noted by their extravagant funeral parties.   

They value life greatly, assuming it is useful life - especially since they
go through much effort to make sure every citizen is useful. The casual
disregard of it by Achaeans frustrates them.

Early in Vertani history, they argued that being revived cheapened the  
sacrifice made in battle and diminished the beauty of life. Thus, their 
Priests petitioned to the All not to grant this resurrection. The Vertani
believe that because of this, they are the only ones who truly          
appreciate life.                                                        
The Vertani revere something they call the All. The All is the power   
behind creation, a force that binds reality together,  but a physical God 
does not embody the All. The Vertani consider the All to be the sum of 
creation; everybody is part of the greater power known as the All. 

While they acknowledge the Logos as being substantially equivalent to the
All, they scoff at Sapients' representation of the All in the Logos. They 
consider the Logos to be an inadequate and overly personified depiction
for the All. The other Gods are also recognised as being aspects of the All.   

Priests in the Vertani Empire work with the spirit element instead of   
worshipping a God. They consider spirit to be the representation of the 
All. Vertani priests are non-combatants, and all of their priests are   

They feel attuned to the rhythms of the natural world. As such, they place
great store in things like comets, star positions and constellations, and
atmospheric patterns.

In a way, civilisation is the state religion. The Vertani feel that they
have a duty to expand civilisation wherever possible.                          
The Vertani Empire's core consists of nine Houses, themselves based off the    
nine core territories that originally formed the Vertani Empire. The    
head of each House is the Solarn. 

The Houses rotate rule as picked by the Imperial Oracles, who decide which 
House's rule it is by prophesy. The Imperial Oracles are idiot savants who
live in horror after having been what is euphemistally called 'touched by
The All'. They are kept restrained and confined for their own safety, as
they constantly try to kill themselves otherwise. Their sole function is to
prophesy the next Ascendant. 

The Overlord of the Vertani Empire, the Ascendant, is the Solarn of the 
House whose cycle it is to rule. There has never been an Ascendant who was 
not of the Daq. The cycle doesn't turn when the Ascendant is slain, only
when there is some sort of indication from their oracles. 

The Solarns of the other Houses sit on a council that advises the Overlord, 
though each Solarn serves to further their own House's goals as well. The 
Houses are united by the firm belief that their civilization is superior to
all others, and that it is their duty to enlighten all others.                 
o HOUSE KORTUL: This house is reputed for their great military          
strategists. Their house colours are black and gold. The current        
Ascendant is from this House.                                           
o HOUSE GAVIIR: One of the three mercantile Houses. This house is known 
for their cunning merchants and excellent business sense. Their colours 
are green and gold.                                                     
o HOUSE TSEZ: One of the two mage houses, this house considers          
themselves to be the most scholarly. They are reputed for being stiff,  
formal, and ascetic. Their colours are blue and silver.                 

o HOUSE RAKUM: One of the most cunning houses. They consider themselves 
to the merchants like Gaviir. There are rumours of more sinister         
activity, but these rumours have yet to be proven. Their colours are red 
and black.                                                              

o HOUSE HASII: Home of the spiritualists of the Vertani Empire. They are
considered enigmatic by the rest of the Empire and claim to see a more  
basic reality in the All. They are reputedly the most serious of the    
Vertani Houses. Their colours are violet and silver.                    

o HOUSE JYDAV: A warrior House notable for their battle lust, especially
their Berserkers. While House Jydav is feared for their ferocity in     
battle, their tactics leave much to be desired. The House colours are   
black and silver.                                                       

o HOUSE BAVINGOR: The third merchant House. They enjoy a luxurious and  
expensive lifestyle. House Bavingor takes great pride in their display  
of wealth. Their colours are saffron and blue.                          

o HOUSE CUPWR: The artists and craftsmen of the Empire. They believe    
that the greatest expression of Truth is in their works of creation.    
Their House colours are copper and green.                               

o HOUSE FERANKI: A mage House known for their blending of science and   
magic. This condescending and arrogant House considers their form of    
magic as the best and highest. Their colours are indigo and red.