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House Vela

​​House Vela was one of the Houses Major. They were the keepers of the star charts and builders of the Great Library Server.

As a major player in the sector, House Vela's political and economic decisions and moves were contributing to shaping the fate of the sector.

For main article, see Velan Faction Turn Fluff

After ​​House Vela joined the Sector Trade Organization, signed the Treaty of Cabina, and one of the STO’s members, the A.C.R.E. corporation, attacked House Aquila on Diomikato, ​​House Vela was cast out of the Empire and stripped of its nobility.

In the wake of this event, the people of Perithr declared themselves a free and independent nation, The Velan Ascendancy, and established a system of democratic meritocracy. The transition from the Imperial system to the new independent government is commonly called The Velan Reformation.

For main article, see The Velan Ascendancy

For more detailed spoiler-heavy information around events leading up to this, see Events Around the Formation of the Velan Ascendancy

Place within The Empire

House Vela's responsibilities within The Empire were twofold:

Keepers of History

The Great Library Server is the biggest library and server in the known universe. Some say the records of House Vela go back to the time where humans first discovered the Acheron Rho sector.

There are rumors that Velan record keeping dates back to times before humans ventured from Earth. But no-one has been able to verify this so far.

The Great Library offered various services from free information to research assistance that could be requested from every system in the Empire and several non-affiliated systems and worlds in the sector.

The Velan Ascendancy still owns the Great Library and continues to offer the same services, although it may be harder for Imperial worlds to access them at the moment.

For main article, see Great Library Information Services

Keepers of Star Charts & Teachers of Navigation

House Vela had the monopoly on creating, storing, and updating star charts. The Lighthouse Integrated Navigation & Exploration System (LINES) was used by every ship in the sector.

The Velan Ascendancy is still offering these services.

For main article, see LINES Subscriptions & Services

LINES also provides a free monthly navigational forecast for the Acheron Rho sector, that gets distributed by PRISM as widely as possible.

For main article, see LINES Navigational Forecast

Velan universities were the only ones allowed to train people in navigation. Imperial law required a House Vela or Vela-trained navigator aboard every star ship operating in sector Acheron Rho.

Velan Sector Catalogue Number

When first mapping the sector, House Vela had to find a way to number the different sector regions in an easy to understand manner. The House's navigators came up with a simple system of combining two number pairs to be able to translate drive space into a simple 2D representation. These numbers are known as Velan Sector Catalogue Numbers (VSCN) or Hex Numbers (Hex#).

Vela Navigators
VelanFashion1

The uniform of a Vela Navigator

Vela Navigators were easily recognizable by their bright Velan Blue uniform with face veil. They were praised as the most talented navigators in the system and were sworn to absolute neutrality while serving on a ship.

Seeing the face of an on-duty Vela Navigator was considered bad luck. Attacking a Vela Navigator was a major criminal offence.

All Velan Nobles served at least four years as Navigators on a ship. Not serving as Navigator led to getting stripped of your noble title. This rule excluded the Royal Family, but many Royals made it a point of honor to get trained as Navigators and serve their four years. They were usually stationed on Royal ships though.

Immersion and the Zen of Navigation

According to House Vela, the ability to interpret and use the Star Charts is only available in the mind of a Navigator. While candidates from outside of House Vela learned this on a solely scientific basis, House Vela Navigators took a different approach to navigating ships. They focused their mind through ancient meditation practices when they don their veil. Commonly this was known as Navigator Trance or Immersion.

Technically Vela Navigators weren't doing anything different than any other navigator. Their spiritual preparation and almost religious dedication to the craft made it seem different in the eyes of the public though.

Synth Navigators

There were rumours that some projects and collaborations with House Cygnus were approved to teach highly developed Synths in navigation. House Vela denied this vehemently.

Places of Influence

Homeworld & Home System

House Vela's primary star system was Perithr in Hex 0606.

House Vela's home planet and center of government was the planet of Haqani, an atmospherically-corrosive world with a strange and alien biosphere that is immiscible and deadly to humans. All of Haqani's population resides in subterranean habitat cities built long before the Scream to protect the population from the elements.

Much of House Vela's other major infrastructure, like the Great Library and the College of Navigation, could be found on the moon of Pharos. The moon had become a major destination for business and diplomatic visits, though it was only secondary in importance to Haqani on that front.

History of House Vela

Pre-Scream

According to House Vela's history, the House has always been the keeper of knowledge and the star charts. The House still mourns its Great Library lost in the Scream and desperately tries to recreate this fountain of knowledge.

The Rebuilding

After the Scream in 2665, the citizens of the Empire were separated and trapped on their planets. After House Fornax reinvented the modern Spike drive in 2671, Houses Fornax and Vela worked together to remap the system. Many of the ships provided by House Fornax and mainly crewed and navigated by House Vela, were lost in this endeavor.

For main article, see Timeline Sector Rediscovery

With the finished map of Acheron Rho unveiled by House Vela in 2792, the Houses of The Empire came together for the first time in 2800 to commemorate the brave explorers, who sacrificed their lives for the unity of The Empire.

For main article, see Crews lost during The Rebuilding

Emperox VIII

The VIII. Emperox, was Emperox Vela Padma Noy, also known as The Shining Star.

The Shining Star's reign was a time of peace and prosperity. Promoting collaboration between the Houses, as well as between the Houses, Churches, and the private sector, Emperox Vela Padma Noy fostered an atmosphere of innovation and creativity. The Empire saw an immense growth in wealth and technological improvements during their reign.

For main article, see The Shining Star

Conflict with the Empire

After ​​House Vela joined the Sector Trade Organization, signed the Treaty of Cabina, and one of the STO’s members, the A.C.R.E. corporation, attacked House Aquila on Diomikato, ​​House Vela was cast out of the Empire and stripped of its nobility.

In the wake of this event, the people of Perithr declared themselves a free and independent nation, The Velan Ascendancy, and established a system of democratic meritocracy. The transition from the Imperial system to the new independent government is commonly called The Velan Reformation.

For main article, see The Velan Ascendancy

Organization of House Vela

House Government & Political System

House Vela mainly understood itself as a democratic meritocracy, but officially the House was a constitutional monarchy with a member of the Royal Family as Head of State. Outside of the Royal Family every single titled member of the House had served as a navigator on a ship to prove their dedication and loyalty to House Vela. Many nobles of the House proudly displayed their merits in the form of medals, pins, sashes, stoles, or rings.

For main article, see House Vela's Honors

GrandForum

The Grand Forum on Haqani

The Velan parliament was called the Grand Forum and was located underneath the original landing site on Haqani. Every titled member of House Vela, regardless of age or accomplishments, had a seat and voice in the Grand Forum.

Every four years the Grand Forum elected House Vela's leadership, the Raja and Rani, a diarchy. The Raja was responsible for defense and internal affairs, while the Rani looked after diplomacy and external affairs.

The Royal Family & The Council of 12

The Royal Family of House Vela, the original Vela family, could trace their line back to the Age of Colonization and the first human settlement on Imperial Prime. They were always a voice of reason and moderation in the sector, promoting cool reasoning, technological advancement, and peaceful cooperation. Several members of the Royal Family sacrificed their lives in the efforts to recreate the map of the sector during The Rebuilding. The challenges during these dark times had forged strong bonds with House Fornax, bonds that led to several Royal marriages with Fornax spouses.

The Royal Šāh

The Royal Šāh was the Head of the Royal Family and highest member of House Vela. The Royal Šāh also acted as a non-party political Head of State. While the Royal Šāh held formal authority and the government legally operated in the monarch's name, in modern times the Royal Šāh no longer personally set public policy or chooses political leaders. Instead they entrusted the day-to-day politics to the elected officials, Raja and Rani.

All this changed when House Vela took up the mantle of Emperox. The Royal Šāh became Emperox and their rule over the sector was absolute. Members of the Royal Family dedicated their lives to the study of Imperial history, government, and politics so that House Vela always maintained a worthy Šāh candidate for the Imperial Throne. The reign of the Emperox The Shining Star set a precedent more in line with modern Velan political structures though, as the Velan Emperox appointed both Rani and Raja as their personal advisers.

The Council of 12

For the longest time Velan Society was organized as absolute monarchy, with the Royal Šāh wielding unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people. The only advisers that could influence the monarch's decisions was a council of the 12 oldest families of the House, known as the Council of 12. They together with the Royal Family were instrumental in driving House Vela to rediscover the map of Acheron Rho.

Horrified by the reign of The Blood Eagle, Velan society quickly reformed with the full support of the Royal Family. The Grand Forum soon replaced the Council of 12, but the 12 families, also known as "The 12," were still very influential within House Vela.

For main article, see House Vela's Council of 12

The Four Branches of Velan Society

All titled members of House Vela were part of one of four branches of Velan Society. Most of the titles associated with the branches were gendered once, but House Vela no longer used them this way. Velans chose which version of a title they wished to use and no roles were restricted by gender.

For main article, see Velan Titles

Culture

Important cultural artifacts of House Vela

  • The Great Library Server, on the moon of Pharos
  • The College of Navigation, on the moon of Pharos
  • Lighthouse Integrated Navigation & Exploration System (LINES), on the moon of Pharos
  • The Network of Obelisks distributing LINES
  • A great memorial to the many crews lost while re-charting the sector after the Scream, on Haqani
  • The Grand Forum, on Haqani
  • Alien ruins, on Haqani

Language & Cultural Background

​​House Vela was primarily rooted in Middle Eastern, African, and Indian / Pakistani traditions. The predominant languages spoken were Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and Hausa. The House used a wide variety of alphabets, and signs were usually written in at least three different languages plus the common trade language.

Get some first impressions of the Velan Society here.

House Vela was very diverse, not only in cultures of Origin, but also in current duties, places of birth, and philosophies. There were 4 very clearly distinguishable cultural backgrounds in House Vela, or rather 3, as one the cultural groups left the House to form House Pyxis.

Cultural Background: Haqani

Haqani was the origin and heartland of House Vela. It was the place where the old noble families resided and where the House's politics were made. Haqani’s citizens were usually conservative and fiercely loyal to the House. They were proud of their accomplishments and perseverance, always prepared for new catastrophes, and mistrustful of everything and everyone non-Velan. This could border on isolationism.

Traditional roles: Politicians, protectors, and historians

Predominant religion: High Church, stronger than ever since The Shining Star was Emperox

Common sayings:

  • Haqani and proud.
  • Strong as Her bones.
  • We can do it!
  • What have they ever done for us?

Cultural Background: Pharos

Pharos was the intellectual hub of House Vela. The moon’s citizens enjoyed scientific and philosophical debates and ware used to collaboration with all other Houses and corporate entities. Pharos’s citizens ware usually open, poly-glottal, and eager to engage in debate. They ware open to adopting new ideas and run experiments. This could border on recklessness.

Traditional roles: Scientists, teachers, programmers, and navigators

Predominant religion: High Church or Church of Humanity, in general less religious than other Velans

Common sayings:

  • WDLS (What does the Library say?)
  • Sometimes you just have to try.
  • Smells like discoveries!
  • Debate me!

Cultural Background: Sumgin 2, Maintenance Ships, Shuttle Service, "Trade" Network

The orbit around Haqani was very busy and many Velans maintaining the space station and ships around the planet never traveled down the gravity well. Instead they lived in tight-knit families and crews on their ships. They upheld old traditions from before landfall and saw themselves as the grease that keeps the system going. These "spacer" Velans were usually practical and goal oriented. They followed a "live and let live" philosophy, but were fiercely protective of their House. Many saw themselves as the first line of defense for Haqani and Pharos.

Traditional roles: Engineers, mechanics, navigators, protectors

Predominant religion: Many follow the old Soul ex Sol religion, although they were not agreeing with many aspects of the Church of Humanity.

Common sayings:

  • Nothing a bit of wire can’t fix.
  • Crew is family, family is crew.
  • Eyes to the stars.
  • Live in the now.

Cultural Background: Exploration Fleet

The crews and families of House Vela’s exploration fleet were a key factor in the remapping of the sector. They were driven by scientific curiosity and a desire for discovery.

During the reign of The Shining Star this part of the House split off to form House Pyxis.

The Family Structure

The Status of Twins in Velan Society

In Velan families twins were believed to be special. Linked spiritually, the firstborn of the twins was known as Taiwo while the second was called Kehinde. For the succession in the family it was important to note that the second twin was considered the elder twin. The reason for this was that the Taiwo was sent by the Kehinde to judge if the world was fit and beautiful before they descend.

Education

Lycaeum

Whether a Noble of House Vela or a commoner living under their auspices most schooling started at home with parents teaching their children up until the age of eight. At eight they would enter the public schooling system by attending a Lycaeum. Lycaeum were ultimately run by the Eamid but most Lycaeum were run day to day by the student body in order to teach leadership and administration skills. Additionally older students would be encouraged to teach younger students on subjects that interest them. There were no exams to sit, simply research projects that were graded accordingly by the Eamid and those working under them, these were also passed to the Khutat to be added to the Great Library if appropriate. Students left the Lycaeum once they were fourteen and had handed in a final dissertation.

Musaeum

Following education at a Lycaeum most would attend a Musaeum. Musaeums would focus in on a students main area of interest and trained them to be experts in that particular field. The subject area of navigation was given special attention and taught differently to the rest. Nobles who wished to become navigators were trained at the Velan College of Navigation at the Musaeum on Pharos.

Non-nobles could attend the Eskendria Navigation College and Research Institute to receive training in navigation if they were a recipient of a Noble or Corporate Sponsorship. The facilities were slightly less impressive but the same level of care was taken to ensure students attending were as competent a navigator as if they had been born noble. Nobles sometimes used this Musaeum for refresher courses. For other subjects any Musaeum will teach the subject to anyone, though nobles tended to attend the Musaeum of Pharos and a select few others while non-nobles attend the others in a similar manner creating a degree of separation.

After the Treaty of Cabina was signed and all non-STO students of the Musaeum were sent home, the Musaeum of Pharos was opened to all citizens of the STO. The Eskendria Navigation College and Research Institute started mainly running courses for navigators, who had to renew their LINES Account Number (LAN) at the Department of Space Vehicles (DSV), while the non-noble students of the institute gradually transferred to the Musaeum on Pharos.

Rites of passage

Marriage, Old age and Death

Marriage Practices

Group marriage was very common in House Vela. In fact every marriage contract had the option to add more spouses later on so long as everyone in the marriage agreed to this.

While many Nobles arranged marriages to solidify contracts and ties between families and Houses, love marriages were also not entirely uncommon.

Burial Rites

It was customary for Velan nobles to be shot into the star of the nearest solar system, although many of the more prominent families were bringing their dead home to Haqani or Pharos for funeral ceremonies, culminating in shooting the deceased into Perithr. This way the Vela noble sailed for one last time "On Sails of Light." This manifested the Velan believe that they reached a state of Nirvana and became one with the universe after death or reincarnate.

The funeral often included a religious ceremony performed by a Lyran Neshmet and a priest of The High Church of Messiah-as-Emperor.

This burial tradition goes back to the Age of Rebuilding after The Scream when many Velan ships set out to rediscover the worlds of the sector to recreate the star charts. Velan sacrifices were high and burials held wherever the ship was at the moment as it wasn't guaranteed that the crew would return to the Perithr system.

An important part of House Vela's burial traditions was remembrance. Each Velan became part of the living memory of the House in form of the Great Library Server. Memorial celebrations and the "speaking of the name" also played a big part in this.

Religious Practices

House Vela didn't have any restrictions when it came to religious practices and any Velan could believe whatever they wanted.

Predominant Religions

The High Church of Messiah-as-Emperorx

The majority of the nobles of the House as well as the citizens of Haqani and the whole Perithr system were in favor of the High Church. This support was always strong, but became almost fanatical when The Shining Star took the Throne. Since the Shining Star signed the Treaty of Cabina a slow shift to the "Old Religion" Soul ex Sol could be registered.

The Church of Humanity, Repentant

The Church of Humanity had supporters mainly in the scientific community of Pharos and the spacer community of the Perithr system. Many of the followers of the Church of Humanity traditionally followed or rediscovered an old Velan cult, which had developed into a sect of the Church. With the Shining Star signing the Treaty of Cabina, a slow shift towards the Church of Humanity could be seen in the Perithr system.

Soul ex Sol

Soul ex Sol had its origin in the spacer culture in Haqani's oribit. The Velan version of the sect was mainly focused on the warship of stars as source of life and light. According to them every human carries The Light in themselves and is responsible for spreading it by living a good life and performing acts of kindness. After the recent rediscovery of old Earth documents in House Vela's Preceptor Archive, more and more Velans considerd it possible that not only humans but all living things carry at least a spark of The Light within themselves, maybe even Aliens. This had led to some heated discussions, which also included debates if Synthetic Humans could be considered alive. The closer House Vela’s ties with the Church of Humanity got, the more Velans became convinced that all life is sacred, and that Synths were indeed alive.

Meditation & Navigation

Navigation was always a big part of House Vela and some Velan navigators took this to an almost zealous extreme. Their lives revolved around navigation and their attempts to reach the perfect state of Immersion. To this end they spend a lot of time studying the stars and star charts as well as practicing meditation. This could be either in the form of seated Zen meditation or Sufi dancing. Their goal was to achieve a transcendent state that let the Navigator become one with the universe while still alive.

The Speaking of Names

For House Vela everything that existed needed to be cataloged in the Great Library. Over the course of the centuries this also had led to a believe in the reverse: Only what is part of the Great Library truly exists.

Combined with the Velan believe that they reached a state of Nirvana and became one with the universe after death or reincarnate, this led to the tradition of the Speaking of Names. The life and deeds of the dead were diligently recorded in the the Great Library and during festivals or anniversaries, the names of the dead were read out loud to keep them in the living memory of the House.

Proverbs, Sayings & Greetings

Velan proverbs, sayings, and greetings revolved heavily around naval traditions and navigation, as well as the preservation and gathering of knowledge. Haqani's corrosive atmosphere and immiscible biosphere had also influenced Velan sayings, as being outside had become synonymous with a hostile environment.

For main article, see Velan Proverbs, Sayings, and Greetings

Fashion

Velans usually wore long, flowing garments in bright colors, although many Nobles of House Vela tended to wear blue. Velan culture didn't have any gender restrictions when it came to fashion, everyone could wear whatever they wanted.

All Nobles of House Vela wore a face veil to indicate that they were trained Vela Navigators, although some had it only attached to one side of their face. Many non-noble citizens imitated this in their fashion choices and face veils could be seen worn by all classes on Haqani and Pharos.

Fabrics were often heavily decorated with prints, appliqués, or embroidery. Accessories like turbans, shawls, stoles, canes were also very popular, as well as filigrane jewelry.

(Expand gallery to the right)


Holidays

The Great Journey

The Great Journey was a holiday hosted by the noble Houses Vela, Fornax, and Pyxis, held in recognition of the sacrifices made during the reunification of The Empire. The festivities took place over the course of a number of days in the month of January, during which the celebrants travel from Maja to Haqani to Imperial Prime. These trips were often taken in historic space ships that were built during the the Rebuilding.

Turtle-Horse-Day

Turtle-Horse Day was a fairly new holiday that originated in an obscure theater play and TV show shortly after the split between House Vela and House Pyxis. It had since become a public holiday in both Houses, commonly celebrated by expressing the commonalities and differences of the Houses. It was also the day of the year where families torn apart by the split came together to honor and strengthen their bonds by sharing a meal and stories about their ancestors. This often ended in heavy drinking and partying.

Cuisine

Velan food production almost entirely relies on mushrooms and microfungi. With modern food techniques developed in the culinary institute of Derinkuyu, these mushrooms can substitute for almost every common and many uncommon ingredients.

Especially Haqani's population still remembers times of scarcity though. The family coming together to share at least a meal a day is a high priority for all Velans. Usually this is the last meal of the day, which is taken rather late in the day.

These family meals consist of a selection of several dishes, all served at the same time on large trays and plates in the center of the table. Dinner guests then use flatbread to take the food they want by hand. While less common, it is also accepted to use cutlery or chopsticks.

Common dishes: Kebab, Falafel, Humus, stuffed vegetables, Mezze, Tsebhi, Maafe, Shawarma, Curry, Daal, Naan, Tajine, Couscous, Pastilla

Common desserts: Baklava, Malva pudding, Shuku Shuku, Halva, Kheer, Ras malai, Modak

Common beverages: Tea (especially mint and apple tea), Masala Chai, coffee, Ayran

Entertainment

Entertainment, art, and the finer things in life were as varied as the multitude of cultures House Vela was rooted in. From the wild and libertine atmosphere of Babili to the sophisticated heights of Pharos, Velan artists were as diverse as they were passionate. Here just a few of the most famous artists of the House.

Illuminous

Originally a group of Velan historians at the Pharos Musaeum. Through their research they discovered the beauty of traditional Earth music and are since then trying to recreate it. They are known for their Byzantine style, countertenor lead singer, and the light installations that accompany their live concerts.

Listen to a sound example here.

Océane Lemaire

Ameerah Vela Lemaire Océane is a Tyros native and channels the mysterious atmosphere of Haqani’s twilight city in her music. Her melodic songs often revolve around death and decay, but also touch on philosophical and religious themes.

Listen to a sound example here.

Emir Vela Barış Bakr

Contemporary playwright most famous for being the writer of Behind the Veil, which lead to the TV show of the same name and ultimately to the celebration of Turtle-Horse-Day. Emir Bakr is still active and using his substantial wealth from the rights to Behind the Veil to put each of his new plays on the stage of the most famous theaters in Perithr, regardless if they are successful or not.

Ameerah Vela Marro Samira

A famous Velan artist from the mid-to-late 2800s. Samira spent much of her early life traveling the far reaches of the Empire and studying the arts with her Lyran relatives. Much of her work is famed for its commentary on the duality of imperial culture by illustrating the struggle between peace and violence throughout the history of the Empire.

Rumors

Everything in this section is not commonly known. If people hear about it, then in whispers and half-truths.

Revenge of the Navigators

People were very hesitate to use violence against Vela Navigators and that not only because attacking them was a major criminal offence. There was also talk amongst Spacers that whoever kills a Velan Navigator just vanishes. Spacefarers get lost in space. Inhabitants of planets or moons get up one day and never arrive at their workplace. Coincidence? You tell me.

The Redactor

Nobles who served in higher functions and were privy to House secrets display strange gaps in their memory, sometimes not being able to recognize family members and childhood friends. Rumor had it that this was the work of the Redactor, a psionic member of a specifically bred branch of the Royal family, who was a high-ranking member of the Musir.

The Secret Library

There are rumors abound regarding a mysterious font of knowledge maintained by House Vela, commonly referred to as the Secret Library among the more "romantic" spacer circles throughout the Sector. The exact nature of such a facility or entity is unknown and all rumors were unconfirmed.

FAQ

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Further Resources

For main article, see House Vela Social Media