“The Emperor is dead. We killed him. Excised him like a rotting appendage from The Empire's body. While everyone stood paralyzed by indecision, the Fangs of House Serpens acted. For the Emperor allowed the creation and proliferation of the Synthetic Menace. That unconscionable act sealed their fate, and it was up to us to stop that madness. You wonder: did we have right to depose of Their Imperial Majesty or did we overstep? Those among you calling us Heretics will never know the answer.
For you lack the sight to understand.
The visions of the Oracular council were absolute. There was not a single thread of possibility our Compilers could find that did not lead to the absolute destruction of Humanity at the hands of its own creations. We stood at the precipice of The Veil and did what was needed for the survival of our species. For this we are hated. A hatred born of the ignorance of children. Of those who are not besieged by the maelstrom of precognition.
It matters not. Bring those among you who are afflicted to us, and we will use our gifts to heal them. Bring us those that suffer, and we will give them comfort. Despite your animosity, we WILL continue to shelter you. Illuminate the ground you blindly tread and fight the horrors you cannot conceive of. We do this because you and I are the same. And I say to you, if it is heresy to save ourselves, then it is God’s will we all die.”
- Ministra Serpens Hakazuchi Daimon, Defending House Serpens' involvement in the imperial assassination
House Serpens (The Serpent)
House Serpens is led by powerful psychics who can use their deep connection to their M.E.S. to look into the future and have powerful visions. The House venerates psychics, and almost all important positions of leadership are held by psychic individuals. The main providers of hospitals and high level medical care for the sector, House Serpens uses their knowledge of M.E.S and medical science to run most of the big hospitals of the sector.
Their mastery of psychic powers also give them strength and an element of danger. Some Serpens students are selected at the Psychic Academy for their skills and are put through a gruelling program of training to become assassins who can use their psychic powers to assist them.
House Serpens sees what is coming, and does what must be done to preserve.
The Core Tenets of House Serpens
Devotion to humanity
- Each noble serves the house, the house serves the empire, the empire shields humanity
- This is also the reason for Caduceus
Loyalty to the Den of Snakes is in our blood
- Sacrifice is nothing if in service to the Den
- Not a cult, but more zealous devotion
We know what’s best for the empire
- Our unique gifts, especially the foresight of the oracular council, make us uniquely capable to guide the empire in the right direction
- Always the advisor, guiding from the shadows
- Sometimes, the shadows hide Fangs
We crave secrets, and we keep them
- Our eyes see far, our ears hear much
- Many Serpens nobles file reports to the Den with any gossip or important news they receive
- Some titles are especially active in this regard - Seers, Scryers, Fangs
Others see only what we show them
- To us, there are two kinds of people: Serpens and Outsiders
- Present an air of mystery and mysticism
- We have cultivated a reputation for knowing more than others. We exploit this
- Amongst others of the House, and especially at home on Hroa, we take down our walls
- In the language of Serpens nobles, Hroa is the Heart, a place we feel safe
- Those who visit Hroa get to know a different side of Serpens than those who have only encountered them elsewhere
We do what must be done
- We do not falter in our duty to the empire or the house, no matter the cost
- This attitude is why we were willing to risk our existence to save the empire from the Cygnus emperox
The mind and the soul are intrinsically linked
- We think, therefore we are.
- To permanently alter the mind is a violation, to be undertaken only with extreme care and consideration
- In extreme cases, this violation may be used punitively
MES is a gift, and a burden
- MES gives humanity in general and Serpens in particular unique gifts which aid our survival in the hostility of the Acheron Rho sector
- MES is a disease with terrible side effects, but a blessing with great power.
- MES users are sometimes subject to distrust and fear because of what they can do, this is doubly true for Serpens
- MES was what allowed the Terran Mandate and the golden age to happen, we hope one day to return to those times
Psychics are more valuable than those that aren’t
- “Mundanes” lack the abilities MES grants, making them less capable of performing many of the crucial duties of the house
- Less capable, not incapable
- Those without MES are held back in Serpens society, having to work harder for the same recognition someone with MES would get. Think: glass ceiling
- Psychic serfs are more valued than mundane serfs
Training psychics is our duty
- The nominators are sent out into the sector to find new psychics, keep them from hurting themselves, and sending them back to Hroa for proper training
- When a psychic dies from lack of training, it’s not because of MES, it’s because we failed to find them first
- Serpens (via Caduceus) is the main supplier of MES medication in the empire
Place Within the Empire
They provide the medical services and care to allow those with M.E.S. to live and keep themselves healthy. They also operate the Imperial Academy of Psionic Learning and Wellness, providing training for those with M.E.S. for jobs requiring psychics in the sector. House Serpens provides important knowledge and care for psychics and the stability of interstellar civilization.
Main Faction Interests
House Serpens are the doctors and carers of the sector, providing healthcare for both the physical and metadimensional.
The core goals of the house are to provide care to the Sector via the Caduceus Organisation, and to provide training and medication to psychics to ensure a safer experience for those suffering from M.E.S.
House Serpens is a representative democracy of nobility, ruled by a core government called The Fates. Regulations are voted on by the house as organised by the government officials. Psionics are greatly valued and are more likely to ascend to the ranks of governing officials.
The majority of decisions are determined by the visions of the Oracular council, as transcribed and interpreted by the Oracular Compilers of the house. The seat of the government of both House Serpens and Hroa is called the Den of Snakes, and is housed in the city of Sero'ak.
House Serpens is overseen by a representative democracy. Eight of Serpens’ titles vote to select three people from among them to speak on a council known as The Fates. The Fates receive reports which are assembled from every information resource available to Serpens, from crime statistics of street-level Fangs to the visions of the Oracular Council as interpreted by the Compilers. These reports are reviewed by each Fate individually prior to a council session.
Each session follows a specific format, beginning with a brief ceremony consisting of the playing of a soft chime and each member of the council speaking the traditional phrase: “Let The Fates decide.” The ceremony is followed by a discussion period which varies in length based on the complexity of the topic at hand. Once it is agreed that all sides have had their views adequately heard, a vote is held to decide a course of action. Several discussions and votes may occur during a single session.
The following titles comprise the membership of The Fates:
Though the voting membership of the council is twenty-four, there is a twenty-fifth member whose duty is to act as moderator and tie-breaker. This person, an Oracle, though not on the Oracular Council, serves for life. They swear an oath to forgo the material world, living as a hermit within the Den of Snakes itself so that they may remain apolitical and truly impartial in their duties. No member of The Fates is allowed to interact with the Oracle outside of an official session of the council.
For missions of particular importance or sensitivity where quick decisions must be made, The Fates entrust their authority to a single individual for the scope and duration of that operation. Only ten of these individuals may exist at a time and collectively they are known as The Furies. The Furies are a purpose-built office; they are a mantle put on by a person until their duty is complete and then cast off again to be filled by another at the next time of need. In rare and dire circumstances, multiple Furies may be assigned to one mission. All nobles of the House in positions of responsibility know of The Furies, though few will ever encounter them.
Each Fury is tied to one of the ten virtues of the True Faith and wears two symbols of office which reflect their virtue; a mask and a pin. While a member of Serpens is acting as a Fury, they are known by no other name. The virtue the Fury is chosen to embody is tied to the purpose they are meant to fulfill. For example, someone chosen to act as a Fury on a covert operation would only be known as the Fury of Diligence for the duration of that operation, whereas someone on a mission of mercy would be known as the Fury of Charity.
Being chosen as a Fury is one of the most solemn duties with which a Serpens can be entrusted, as while they wear the mask and pin they are treated as speaking with the voice of the Fates, and thus all of the House. To reflect the gravity of this responsibility a ceremony is held in a chamber in the Den of Snakes which serves no other purpose and houses the masks and pins while not in use. During the ceremony, one Fate from each title as well as the Fated Oracle must be present. The ceremony itself consists of the speaking of phrases tied to the virtues with the virtue of the Fury being called coming last. After the reading, the new Fury is entrusted with their symbols of office and expected to immediately depart to fulfill their duty.
The ten phrases are as follows:
- Faith - As a symbol of our Faith, we send you into the empire
- Propriety - As Propriety demands, you serve the empire in our name
- Justice - to bring Justice to the unjust, we bring you to bear
- Fortitude - So that the empire may endure, we send you to Fortify it
- Wisdom - So that the ignorant may know Wisdom, we send you as teacher
- Temperance - So that their desires will not control them, we send you to Temper the people
- Diligence - For none can keep the watch as we do, we remain Diligent
- Charity - our generosity given form, we gift you to the empire
- Integrity - You shed light on the truth, to reveal deviants amongst saints
- Hope - to bring hope to the hopeless, we bring you to the light
Naming and Titles
For more details see House Serpens Titles.
The house follows the traditional Imperial naming conventions of [Title][House][Surname][Forename], for example High Ministra Serpens Murami Vael.
The names of the house don't have a specific cultural root.
House Serpens has various titles that are primarily based around the job an individual has, but there is no inherent hierarchy. These titles are most often used as they appear, with no inherent gendered differences. Rarely, individuals choose to use a gendered variant of these titles, but this is seen as an outdated practise.
Prefixes include High and Junior, with no prefix being the middle tier - these are based on the experience of the individual as opposed to societal position. Some individuals take on two titles, denoting their dedication to two (or more) roles in the house.
Each noble receives a pin with a small psitech implant that over time attunes to their psionic signature. These are used both for recognition internally and to allow a Serpens noble to be recognised when they wish outside the homeworld. These are deliberately similar to mislead many outside the house.
Many titles have roles only known within the house, as denoted like this.
Internal secret service. Their main task is keeping order within House Serpens. The Executors also have an external branch of foreign intelligence, although, the entirety of House Serpens tends to contribute to the information networks.
The Executors formed alongside the Fang after the reign of the Blood Eagle.
Internal police/militia, assassins. Although not many in numbers, they are highly trained. Core of Hroa’s defence force.
While the Fang’s main responsibility is for the Police and Military (which have no psi requirements to join), they are also secretly responsible for the training of the infamous Psi-Assassins.
Travelling soothsayers and fortune tellers. Sometimes cover for covert gathering and dissemination of information.
Scryers serving this function frequently aid other Serpens agents operating covertly on their planets.
Powerful precognitives who make up the backbone of Serpens’ precognitive far reaching power.
Oracles never leave the Prime Oraclatorium, with the exception of one Oracle who acts as a tiebreaker for the Fates.
Diplomats and points of contact for other houses; bureaucrats, liaisons and handlers of records for the house, both for internal and external affairs.
Ministras may also act as governors for Hroan cities, and representatives to the Astral Synderium.
Scouts for potential psions; they assign them to the correct courses and carry out the initial training for newly awakened psions. Typically metapsions, but this is not required for the position.
They hold positions of respect within the Academy, and frequently travel in service to the Empire. These are few and far between.
Psychic teachers, instructors, and researchers. These are the backbone of the Academy and also teach general studies for the nobility of House Serpens outside of the Psychic Academy. They frequently work with the Takumi to research psionic theory.
The equivalent of 'High' for the Sophists is 'Tenured'.
Scientists, researchers and artisans. Takumi are the masterminds behind the medication that is used to keep all cases of MES under control. Outside of the medical field, Takumi research psitech in the hopes of returning the Empire back to a semblance of the golden age that came before the Scream.
The equivalent of 'High' for the Takumi is 'Chief'.
Interprets visions from the oracular council. They compare the visions of the future to those that came before, amassing a comprehensive library of visions from not only the Oracular Council, but from traveling Scryers and other precognitives in service to the Den.
This is one of the most important roles in the house, and their role is held in high esteem within the Den.
Trackers and investigators, working within the Empire to control and capture persons suspected of criminal use of psionics and those suspected of being synthetics.
Those who handle rogue psions are required to be metapsions, and those who work to bring down rogue synthetics are telepaths. Due to these psionic requirements, the number of Auditors is relatively low, but they are known are the best in the house for these jobs.
Doctors and healers, the backbone of Serpens hospitals and medical practice. Typically biopsions, but this is not necessary for the position.
They specialise in both physical and mental healing, and administer the Caduceus facilities on the other noble homeworlds. These are the public face of the house to many in the Empire.
A Seer is the general Serpens noble title, used by those who have not yet found their path, or for whom the other titles do not fit.
They are frequently psions who are privately contracted by other houses for their expertise, though this title also encompasses private business owners, estate managers, and those living off their family's money.
A now dead title; the predecessor of the Fangs and Executors dating up to the reign of the Blood Eagle. They made up the Mucalinda, a defensive organisation that focused on protecting the councils and Hroa herself. These were the night watchmen, who frequently worked in pairs within the larger group. They were later absorbed into Conséc, and the title removed after the Blood Eagle disappeared, her reign ending.
The Imperial Academy of Psionic Learning and Wellness
For main article, see The Imperial Academy of Psionic Learning and Wellness
The Psychic Academy serves as the main educational source for those with M.E.S. within House Serpens and the Sector. The Academy trains those with M.E.S. to safely control their powers and keep their bodies healthy as they deal with living with the disease.
People who experience M.E.S. on Hroa are also trained at the Academy, but they undergo a more intensive experience. The Academy, as an entity for training those of Hroa and House Serpens, is an intense experience. Students often compete against each other, and are driven by a motivation to be the best of their class at their respective skills.
The Psychic Academy is a service for the sector, and those unable to pay for their tuition at the Academy can be sponsored by House Serpens. The Academy will train the student and then provide them a job associated with their skills, given they pass their Psychic Interaction Evaluations, also known as P.I.E.’s.
The Caduceus OrganisationFor main article, see The Caduceus Organisation
Caduceus is the governmental organisation in charge regulating and managing the various medical facilities operated by House Serpens. While Caduceus may not be the only medical organisation in The Empire, medical practitioners licensed by and operating within Caduceus facilities are trusted to provide the highest forms of healthcare available.
Caduceus’s ubiquity and reputation make it the most public facing organisation of House Serpens and it strongly represents House Serpens image to the rest of the sector. Healthcare is provided to anyone seeking it, with the cost being billed to the governmental agencies of the house representing the patient.
Those who are not citizens of The Empire are still provided services but are billed directly. This level of healthcare can be expensive and as such Caduceus is the primary source of revenue for House Serpens.
Very rarely, perhaps once a generation, a Psychic of common stock and especially high M.E.S. aptitude is found and educated by House Serpens. These individuals are nominated by the Sophist they studied under for assimilation into house Serpens, normally due to the belief that their abilities would best serve House Serpens and thus serve humanity. However, the adoption or marrying of a commoner into a noble house is seen as a distasteful act by other nobles and would damage the reputation of House Serpens in the eyes of the other Houses.
Enter House Taipan. The Taipan name is gifted to those of a noble family who were lost but now found, a name of reunion and joy. Those gifted the Taipan name are taken in by a noble family who wish to sponsor the psychic, and the uplifted is taken in as a true family member. Once sponsored, the psychic is granted a title and the High Church is sent the paperwork with genetic “proof” of the familial connection. While technically a member of House Taipan, a long lost House separated from House Serpens by the Scream, they take the mantle of House Serpens due to Taipan being a long dead house. In some cases, the Taipan takes the sponsor family's name, at the discretion of the family head.
While they are officially a member of House Serpens, they cannot own land or businesses on Hroa until they are married. Once the Taipan is recognized as having noble blood, the families of House Serpens hold an auction to decide who gets to marry this Taipan into their house.
This is never carried out on serfs of other houses due to the political repercussions, but the purchase of a serf may lead to this process if the seller is happy to part with them. The process of uplifting a Taipan is a risky one, and not something to be taken lightly. This is only done for psychics of incredible skill, and the majority of other serfs with strong psionics are typically kept as valuable assets, rather than married to produce stronger psychic heirs.
The process is as follows:
- The Taipan is recognised during education by a Sophist or Nominator.
- A noble family sponsors the Taipan, and claims the Taipan as part of the family by blood, sending paperwork to the High Church to "verify" this. The Taipan can then take on a title and will take a new surname to distance them from their old family. This will either be Taipan OR the sponsor family's surname - this is temporary either way.
- The Taipan is put up for auction to other noble families. This is to marry the Taipan and cement their status as a noble, as well as to get strong psionic offspring. Only at this point can they own land or assets.
- The Taipan marries into the new family, and takes that family's name. The Sponsor and Partner families are now also bound by marriage.
For main article, see House Serpens Culture.
The culture of House Serpens is highly meritocratic and heavily favours Psychics, with almost every major position in House Serpens being held by a Psychic. The culture is primarily concerned with training psychics and progressing research in M.E.S. and medicine. Society is led by the Oracular Council, and the reality that some of House Serpens can experience visions of the future affects a sort of mysterious wisdom and realism in the cultural norms. While the concept of blood lines is less relevant to House Serpens than to the other Houses, House Serpens still values talented psychic pedigrees.
Psychic Nobles have the best treatments of everything. Non-psychic nobles usually fill in lower ranked positions where psychic powers are not needed, such as Compilers. Psychic population is kept up through the adoption of talented psychic commoners into the house that are trained at the Academy. This results in great renown if a noble family are psionic throughout several generation without adopting.
For main article, see Psiball
The Noble Sport of Psiball Started as a Lunch Break Game for some members of House Serpens and is now the Largest Sport in the Sector. Psiball has leagues for both psychic and non-psychic players, but the core rules stay true for both.
For main article, see Hroa
Hroa is a warm planet with an argon rich atmosphere. It is home to House Serpens and the Imperial Academy of Psionic Learning and Wellness. The surface features jungles, and is covered in rolling hills and larger mountains. There are a number of cave systems, both natural and artificial. It is also home to large animals who have evolved to be able to process the dense atmosphere in their lungs.
The people who live on Hroa have built their cities to include sky-tunnels between buildings, as well as pedestrian subways below ground, to minimize the necessary amount of time that people must spend outside using their breathers. The population and culture of the planet venerates psychics, and the society that evolved on the planet has built itself around psychics, placing them in most positions of leadership and importance.
For main article, see Tsatsos
Notable Events In History
These are notable members of House Serpens in the extended universe.