While people may feel somewhat more sympathy for a member of their own House, friendships very often cross the bounds of the Houses. This occasionally leads to the birth of a Houseless child. Such children were in previous ages abandoned to the elements at birth. While that practice is uncommon in this enlightened age, the Houseless are still very much scorned and even despised. For this reason, most will try to disguise their true status, a ruse which is no doubt sometimes successful, but is punishable by heavy fines for a first offence, and exile from the Empire for a subsequent violation.
The Ostraka, founded by Brother Cleas, is an organization working to protect the Houseless and promote their rights.
- 1 Various Documents Related to the Houseless
- 1.1 From the Almas Genara
- 1.2 From Six Paths to the Centre
- 1.3 Instructions to Candidates for the Priesthood
- 1.4 Diary Entry of Patriarch Cleophas, 1844 A.F.
- 1.5 Literary Political Pamphlet, signed Gervais Haddix, mid-20th century
- 1.6 Patrician Society Constitution
- 1.7 Scientific Paper by Prof. Fiodora Jaquez, 1883 A.F.
- 1.8 Excerpts from the Writings of Rev. Mother Jermicia
- 1.9 Letter from Marbod Gause, 1st of Eighth-month, 2059 A.F.
- 1.10 Undated Apocalyptic Tract
- 1.11 Excerpt from the Codex Lunaticium
Various Documents Related to the Houseless
From the Almas Genara
In the long night before the dawn, there were six sisters born of one mother who brought them forth alone. They were alone in the land at the edge of the void and when they grew to reason, there were no mates for them. They asked their mother How is it that you have children, yet you have no mate? And their mother said I am the matter and you are the form, and the second cannot make the first. And she saw that her daughters were unhappy with this answer. So she told them If truly your hearts cannot rest without mates and your wombs ache for children, go forth to the border and call your mates unto you and they will answer your call.
So the six daughters went to the edge of the darkness, where they had often seen their mother call being from nothingness. The eldest, a tall, strong woman, stepped to the very brink and called Send me a mate who is worthy of my strength! And from the dark nothing there came forth a creature of tremendous size, fierce and strong: a bear. And the eldest sister was pleased. Then the second sister, quick and nimble, stepped forward to the edge and called Send me a mate who is faster than my eye, slender as a whip! And from the darkness there came forth a creature both slim and fleet: a lizard. And the second sister was pleased. The third sister, who was stolid and peaceful, stepped forward and called Send me a mate who will never quarrel, who will help me in everything I do. And from the blackness there came forth a creature large but calm, helpful but docile: an ox. And the third sister was pleased. The fourth sister, clever and crafty, stepped to the boundary and called Send me a mate who is swift of mind, swift of foot, and swift of spirit! And from the nothingness there came forth a creature that seemed made of pure quicksilver, formed into a shape both strong and sharp: a wolf. And the fourth sister was pleased. The fifth sister, quiet and thoughtful, stepped to the border and called Send me a mate who is wise but does not speak his thoughts too readily. And from the emptiness there came forth a creature flying on silent wings, with bright eyes to see all: an owl. And the fifth sister was pleased. And lastly there stepped forward the sixth sister, and she was the most beautiful, but also the youngest and most guileless. She thought for a time on what all of her sisters had asked for and what they had received. And then she stepped forward to the rim of darkness and called Send me a mate who is beautiful and who will love as I love, for she could think of nothing better than to love and be loved. And from the void there came forth a creature sleek and handsome, amorous but fickle: a cat. And the youngest sister was pleased, though she realized she should have asked for a mate who would love only her.
With their mates, the sisters returned to their mother, but they found her missing. They were fearful and searched everywhere, but found her not. And then they heard her voice speak to them. She said I am not here, but I am near. You will find a part of me in your mates, for I am the matter and only I can call forth the form from the void. And the sisters were saddened, for they knew then that in bringing forth their mates, they had consumed their mother. And their mother spoke again, saying You will bear many children. But take care that when your children grow to reason, they do not mate outside their own kind, for that which was sundered may not be joined again, until the great day is at an end. And her voice fell silent and no matter how her daughters called to her, they had no answer. But for the first time, they saw the sun rise.
From Six Paths to the Centre
As there are six spokes to the Wheel, there are six paths to the Centre. Six times the Wheel turns for each of us, six times the sun rises and falls, and six lives will we all live before the end of our day. So too are there six Houses, and each shows us another way to journey ever closer to the Centre. From the Bear, we learn of strength and courage. From the Lizard, cunning and stealth. From the Ox, sincerity and fortitude. From the Wolf, creativity and discovery. From the Owl, wisdom and patience. And from the Cat, beauty and love. So it is that we must pass through each of these Houses, as a traveller in a lodging along the path to the Centre.
If one should step from this path, which is both narrow and fraught with difficulties, what then will become of them? When they arrive before the final judgement, they will not have learned all that they should have. They will be deemed unworthy and their essence consigned to the Void, unless by some great mercy they may be spared.
Instructions to Candidates for the Priesthood
As to whether kindness or cruelty should be offered unto those who, through accident of parentage, come to have parents of different Houses.
Kindness is the way of the Centre. Yet do not give false hope. For just as one should not promise sight falsely to the blind, one should not promise salvation to the Houseless. Better that you should help the unfortunate to understand their state and to accept it. Though we have no certain knowledge of whom to the Void and whom to the Centre will be assigned, it is folly to lead Houseless to false belief as well as false hope by promising what may not be. Above all, it is your duty to instruct these souls not to beget progeny, in order that they not compound their parents' error.
As to whether marriages should be conducted between those of different Houses, or among Houseless.
Under no circumstance should you perform a marriage for two individuals of differing Houses. Moreover, in those of the first generation (those who are themselves Houseless), you should not do so. It is improper to conduct such a ceremony under any circumstance. In the second generation, you may consider a ceremony if one of the spouses has only one Houseless parent, but has thereafter been accepted into the house of the other parent, and providing that all parties thereto are aware of the applicant's state. However, you may reject such a union if you see fit. But if one of the spouses has two Houseless parents, or if each of the spouses has one Houseless parent, do not conduct the ceremony. In the third generation and beyond, you should conduct the ceremony, for it is likely that the original offenders are dead, so it may be that there are none who can attest to their true Houses, and none therefore who could guarantee that the applicant(s) are indeed Houseless.
Diary Entry of Patriarch Cleophas, 1844 A.F.
Called upon today to officiate at the opening of the new fountain in The Grand. Was confronted by two or three angry young women covered in filthy rags, declaiming falsehoods and cursing me. Though it was but a few moments before my guards confined them, much commotion ensued. I was told later that they were Houseless, and were attempting, in their own imbecilic way, to flaunt their condition, as if there were aught I could do about the course of the Wheel. Such arrogance, that they should think themselves to have entered a blessed state from having been born of many Houses rather than One. Only one mortal man has any right claim many Houses, and it is I, and only so long as I wear the white. Even I claim no extraordinary right to achieve the Centre, to bypass the natural order and achieve in one life what for others requires many. That these beggars should think themselves fortunate to be many in one is testament to their wickedness and infirmity of logic. It is to be hoped that in time the current trend towards tolerance of such detestable unions will be reversed, for if the day comes when such unions are numerous, then the inculcation of restraint in licentious matters into the mass of the populace will be nigh impossible.
Literary Political Pamphlet, signed Gervais Haddix, mid-20th century
There are some who have accused me of hating those who are Houseless. This is a vile manipulation of my political Enemies, those whose lack of firm conviction on any Matter of Import leads them into all sort of Immorality. The Houseless are not to blame for their condition, and so I bear them no ill-will. It is the parents of such Wretches to whom I turn a scornful Eye (and yes, perhaps a Knout of the Whip), for not only have they violated Society's Order, they have defiled each other and brought a Monstrosity into the World.
Is it not the case that we are divided into six Houses, each given the name of an animal? It is. And is it not true that these are not simply Names, but reflect the very Nature of the person? Indeed, for so it is written! And in that Name, and in that Nature, is reflected a fundamental Fact - that being that while Ox and Lizard, Cat and Bear, Wolf and Owl may seem alike, they are of a different essence. It is well-known that in elder days there were great oxen scaled like lizards, and these we called Gorgons. And are these not vile Beasts, to be destroyed? Our Ancestors surely thought so, for the Creatures are no more! So too the ferocious Owl-Bear. We need not hate it, but we must remove its Danger.
Each Houseless Man, Woman and Child, though gentle-seeming and fair of Face, is like the beasts of eld, a mixture never intended to be. So it is best that we be rid of them, by whatever means we can, and impose the harshest possible Sanctions against those who by Craft or by vile Conjugation flout natural Boundaries.
Patrician Society Constitution
WHEREAS the members and rulers of the compact of Houses have falsely decreed those of mixed birth to be lost to the Centre;
WHEREAS we, despite our parentage, strive eternally for self-improvement and the fulfilment of the Grand Design of the One;
WHEREAS no man or man-made institution has the right to impose its will on those who would not accept it;
WHEREAS knowledge of the Centre and the paths to it are knowable by any layman of inquisitive spirit and congenial temper;
WHEREAS man is given name and essence by his natural Father;
We, the undersigned, attest the following:
THAT the Blood of Man follows the Name of Man, and that just as the Father passes his name unto the son, so too does the Essence of the Father's House pass unto the son;
THAT no child ought to be punished for the deceptions and wickednesses of his mother, even if she deceive his Father as to her blood;
THAT, since a man has no House but that of his Father, THERE IS no Houseless man, woman or child, save he who is Houseless in his heart;
WE THEREBY reject the unfounded doctrine that a man who is born of parents of two Houses himself has None. There are six and only six paths to the Centre, and just as every man has a Father, every man has a House, even though he knows it not. We vouchsafe to protect and edify those who as yet lay in corruption due to their ignorance and the wickedness of the present sovereignty. We proudly take upon ourselves the mantle of our Fathers? colours and creed, and in so doing, if we err according to Law, we do not err in Faith.
[Followed by a series of signed surnames only, without given names.]
Scientific Paper by Prof. Fiodora Jaquez, 1883 A.F.
[The bulk of the paper is a series of statistics and case studies of people labeled by number.]
Conclusions: Although this study was most trying to conduct, and the results must only be taken as tentative, still I believe the fruits have made it worthwhile. As can be seen from table 7, at the present day, approximately 25% of the population of the Aveyrone Empire is technically Houseless. Many of these, however, five or more generations removed from the miscegenation incident. Out of that group, I estimate that between 12% and 15% manage to successfully conceal their status and pass as House-members (Table 8).
While these statistics are informative, serving to answer questions that have long been unanswerable, my study also demonstrates a previously unsuspected trend. Observing both Table 12 (Castalia entrance examination scores, 20-year duration) and Table 13 (Castalia statistics, 20-year duration), we see a striking correlation. Those students who demonstrate the most magical aptitude on the entrance examinations are regularly those who are of doubtful lineage. While it is premature to suggest that the greater the degree of intermixture between Houses, the greater the magical talent that ensues, I would propose this as a direction for future research. In addition, from Case Studies 120-155 inclusive, we can see that many of these students are unaware of their true parentage, so we must proceed very carefully in this matter. I recommend the severe restriction of the spells I have developed in order to conduct this study.
Excerpts from the Writings of Rev. Mother Jermicia
[Reverend Mother Jermicia, Order of the Owl, c. 770-790 A.F. She was eventually expelled from the Church for her controversial views, and died in obscurity.]
Furthermore, the division of our society into six Houses is an archaism of barbaric origins. Though the Almas Genara says that we must take care that when our children grow to reason, they do not mate outside their own kind, for that which was sundered may not be joined again, we must not take this as an injunction against the marriages between Houses. For what is meant here by kind? We are told of six sisters, each having her own talents, her own skills, and her own desires. What is meant by this legend (for we must admit that it is a myth, not meant to be taken literally)? The core of the story is the desire within each person to have a mate who is similar them in temperament and inclinations. The mother's instructions for these children not to mate outside their own kind can thus be seen as an admonition for us to choose for our mates those who are like us, not in terms of birth, but in terms of disposition and nature. And, as we have all no doubt learned, at many times we feel more in common with members of other Houses than we do with our own....
In addition, we in the priesthood are not bound by our birth into an Order. Instead, we choose one when we are at the age of reason by examining our own inclinations and calling. Are we called to fight for the faith? Then we may join the Order of the Bear. To teach the young? The Order of the Wolf will become our home. So too, should we not be permitted to choose our House upon reaching the age of reason? For most people, no doubt their temperament would call them to the House of their birth (as indeed most priests are called to the Order of their House). But for those who feel misplaced in their family, or for those who were born without House, why should they not choose which House to belong to and thus be accepted for displaying what they feel in their hearts?...
Finally, let us examine what is written about the Centre, and how we are to arrive there. In the Centre, we learn, there are no Houses. We are taught, however, that we must pass through each of the six Houses, as a traveller in a lodging, and from each we are to learn certain traits. But may we not just as easily learn any of these traits in any lifetime? Why is it that the Bear may only teach us of strength and courage? May not the Lizard display courage also, or the Cat strength? May not the Houseless too display such qualities? If these are the things we must learn in order to reach a state of perfect understanding, then we should learn them, but we will not do so from our Houses alone, but from the experiences in our lives. Each soul will be judged on its own merits, not on the merits of its brethren. So I say, there are not six paths to the Centre, but rather there are as many as there are souls in the universe.
Letter from Marbod Gause, 1st of Eighth-month, 2059 A.F.
It is with great sorrow that I hereby tender my resignation from the post of Master of Scales in the Castalia. Given the unusual and devastating circumstances of this occasion, I feel it necessary to explain myself to the Council, so as to prevent any accusation that I have intentionally or unintentionally deceived the citizenry.
About four months ago, I received a considerable bequest from a woman who was unknown to me. Upon the reading of her will, I learned that she claimed to be my mother's sister, a fact of which I was not previously aware. I also learned that she was of the Ox, whereas, as you know, I am (or was) of the Lizard. Upon further inquiry, I learned that in 2012 A.F., my mother took it upon herself to deceive a Rhenean family into adopting her into their family, and thereafter to marry my father. I am, alas, Houseless, and it is on this basis that I offer you, good gentlemen, my resignation, along with my apology for this inconvenience.
I have never considered myself to be a man of great faith, and I do not know what will become of my soul. These questions are not for a functionary such as I to debate. I know in my heart that my capabilities are none the duller, my loyalty none the less, for this revelation. But I also know that the foundation of any society is order, and our society is a sexpartite one by design. Whether or no I be reborn, order will suffer on this plane if Houseless such as myself (the words pain me still) are permitted to hold authority. Our body politick must be healthy and hale; though we may pity the hunchback or the cretin for their infirmity, we dare not - we must not - ask them to serve, lest they weaken those around them. Though the loss of my livelihood pains me, it, unlike the loss of my Empire's vitality, I can bear.
Appended note (in different handwriting): Resignation accepted.
Undated Apocalyptic Tract
That which was sundered may not be joined again, until the great day is at an end.
When our people are again as one, and the cruel and heartless system of Houses is no more, the great day will end. The church has taught us that this 'great day' is the journey of each soul through its several lifetimes, and that when it ends, the soul will have reached its judgement. But this interpretations does not bear scrutiny. For if at the time of judgement all will be 'joined again', what of the Void? Surely we will only experience the true blessing of ultimate unity in the Centre. Thus, the 'great day' will come when all have reached the Centre. This means two things: first, there is no Void, and all souls will reach the Centre upon the end of their cycle, there being formed into beings of perfect wisdom and beauty, with the accumulated knowledge of each lifetime. Secondly, the world as we know it will not endure forever, and the sun shall one day set. For when there are Houses no longer, we will have reached a more blessed state, the state of the Centre on Earth, and a new day will dawn.
Excerpt from the Codex Lunaticium
v. 17. Airamis
Bringing home the fruits of the vine and the lilies of the valley teaches us of hybridization, for we can see the strength that comes forth when two sides of a coin meet one another, each bringing its own virtues, while canceling out the flaws of its partner and then tapping as-yet unseen reserves of strength. In the joining of blood, two may become one and one may become two. A path that treads more quickly but over harsh brambles and rocky terrain may still bring all of the accumulated wisdom of a longer journey down a smooth highway. For we learn most by passing where no foot has ever passed before, moreso than by walking the same steps as each of our ancestors back into the murky depths of time. A touchstone - the love of one soul for another, regardless of their birth or House, can overcome any obstacle. You cannot unfold my love for Ilvena, nor can you stop the flow of the river to the sea. My blood is torn from the stock of trees not yet grown and their roots run deep.