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"To understand House Lyra you must understand that for centuries they were lost. Lost amidst peers who seemed to have more meaning, lost amid the stars on a long journey, lost in their lives. That collection of artists found their place in the stars when they came to terms with death. Only death can grant meaning. A life well lived results in a greater more meaningful death. Just as one day I will return to The After so to will Lyran Culture always return to this truth." ― Tehuti Lyra Maus Timor[[source]]

House Lyra

House Lyra is one of the seven Minor Houses of The Empire. From their homeworld of Orpheus on the edge of the Imperial Core they have spread throughout the sector. It is a rare noble house that does not have a Lyran trained political adviser in their retinue, and rarer still to find a city without Lyran theaters, galleries, symposiums, mausoleums, and brothels.

From the beginning the Lyrans have developed a strong culture of aesthetic development, philosophical debate, and reverence for death and the dead. Operating with surprising efficiency despite their seemingly disorganized hierarchy, they show a great deal of unity for a largely dispersed people.

Culture and Aesthetics 

The idea of the right aesthetics lies in the heart of all Lyran life. From creative and artistic ventures to life and death itself. Description of the right aesthetics is complicated but yet poignant. It is somber but still hopeful for what awaits us all in the After; Dark yet colorful; Gothic yet romantic.

Fashion

Fashion is a key expression which house Lyra use to spread its idea of the perfect aesthetics.Both for its own members and the wider sector. Even the means of spread said fashion is sometimes done by unconventional methods.

Ash makeup (Elegy)

House Lyra use Elegy makeup made from human ashes created in the embalming and burning process. The rules and traditions regulating how and where this make up can be used goes far back. Breaking these is a great faux pas and will bring you great shame to you and your family

The rules and traditions surrounding this are complex and have all kinds of exceptions but generally it goes that if you wear a mask, you cannot wear sleeves, symbolizing that while you hide your emotions, you show how there is nothing up your sleeves. If your sleeves are covered, then your face must be exposed, symbolizing that you are showing your emotion, but that will not tell what's up your sleeves. If you wear a mask, your arms use the Elegy makeup, and conversely, if your arms are covered, your face has Elegy makeup. The origin of this macabre tradition came into being from Lyrans desiring to never to forget or abandon their loved one.

Style

There are many styles of House Lyra and they are under constant change. One of the popular styles of clothing is Glam Goth. Glam Goth came from a subset of Lyrans’ desire to celebrate life more fully to grant death even greater meaning. This subculture took the Lyrans’ already rather flamboyant styles and took them to a further extreme.

Another popular style among the more somber parts of house Lyra is to wear high collar black robes with white accents. Lyrans consider this form of dress to emphasize the serenity and peace of death through its minimalist beauty.

On Orpheus breathing masks are required because of freak weather. These masks have evolved to being incorporated in fashion, and are often decorated to be aesthetically pleasing.

Cultural expressions

Art Troupes

Some members of house Lyra join together in art and theater troupes. These travel throughout The Empire serving as entertainers for high ranking noble officials in the other houses. Mirroring the Renaissance style of actors being hired by nobles to be in their court.

The art troupes also serve as the eyes and ears of house Lyra and frequently act as information gathering agents or spies, gathering intrigue and social knowledge in order to manipulate the Noble houses from the inside out.

Nadaism

Nadaism is an art movement encompassing art works, literature, theater and film exploring the meaninglessness of existence in a chaotic uncaring universe. It began as a esoteric art collective in post blood eagle Djebashi in 2960 and quickly grew among the disillusioned Merets living there as they saw the large amount of refugees around them.

By making nonsensical art they challenged the current political norms as well as the hyper structural art conventions of the times. The movement began to splinter as soon as it started but greatly influenced the development of non-euclideanism, post-existentialism, imagnialism and cosmicism .

The last Nada group and the most known Nada artist was Meret Lyra Karawane Hugo who wrote the poem “ph’ngui R’lyeh” on a portrait of the first emperor. Shortly after he traveled with his fellow followers to the “land between the stars” and was never seen again.

Lyran Music

Main article: Lyran Music and Preforming Arts

As the spreader of culture throughout the empire, House Lyra have a vibrant music culture. The best music of any genre are made by Lyran artist and musicians. From catchy pop preformed by beloved Hekates to traditional and classical music by ancient and new compositors and grand operas evoking every feeling possible. The Lyran music tradition have something for everyone in the empire.

Festivals

Main article: Lyran Festivals

Lyrans love their festivals and commemorate and celebrate every big event in their history and life with a myriad of festivals. Often inviting the whole empire to take part and get a taste of cutting edge Lyran cultural development.

Psionic Arts

House Lyra has developed several unique telepathic arts. During The Silence they could not treat MES but could partially train psychics. This lead to a system of special breeding of telepaths and very strict controls on their use. Even so during that dark time they developed new abilties unique to the House.

Memory Painting

Some Lyran telepaths possess the ability to paint memories of people. These paintings can be commissioned at any point in life. In particular, we paint memories people have when they are near death, or dying. It’s all based around the beauty of our last memories before we face the unknown of death.

Psychomentric Imprinting

Another technique Lyrans have developed is psionically imprinting objects with energy so that when touched, they evoke a certain feeling, or emotion. This can be used as an art form, such as statues we allow people to touch, or for more subtle uses, like setting up a pen to invoke a specific emotion to sway someone when they are in the middle of writing something.

Pre-Birth Psionic Inception

Before the birth of houses members, some Lyrans use a psionic technique to implant subliminal messaging and begin education. The specific information and ideas vary to some degree. This technique is used to keep the House's secrets safe. The inception encourages loyalty, and discretion, but is not outright mind control.

Psionic Noctilucent Paints and Inks

Main article: Psionic Noctilucent Paints and Inks

A much more recent psionic artform made by house Lyra. Created by taking a very special mixture of paints and inks and applying a technique similar to that of psychometric imprinting.The result of this process creates a usable medium in which the skilled artists of house Lyra can create designs that not only shine in the darkness, but also create limited short range mental and emotional effects to occur to those that view said art.

Psionic Instruments

Main article: Psionic Instruments

Perhaps one of the more popular psionic artforms, to Lyrans anyway, is the creation and utilization of psionic instruments. Through a long process of specialized psionic imprint, wielders of psionic instruments can forcibly bend emotions of others (if given enough time). There are many Lyran musical groups that use these subtle powers to gain popularity and fans quickly, and while most Lyrans know about this, you would be hard pressed to find someone out of house who knew anything about the process.

Traditions for the Here and After

Lyra believe that everything is in the Here is in transition towards the After and signify that with ceremonies to mark key moments in a Lyra members life.

Baptism

House Lyra, out of respect for the High Church, has a ceremony for baptizing its young as members of the glorious empire. The ceremony itself is quite simple and, over the years, as become more of a reason for a celebration. On the first of each month, communities in the cities of Orpheus gather in their small groups and bring forth their young. The children are then anointed with fake ashes and declared Baptised by the light of the High Church.

Communities then partake in small parties together to celebrate the safety of their children, honoring the beauty and place in Here. Their trips to the After can wait for now.

Coming of Age Ceremony

The Lyran Coming of Age ceremony is one of the most important times in a Lyran’s life. All Lyrans require breathing masks to breathe their planet’s atmosphere without the use of some level of tech. It is a fact of life. However, at the age of 14, a Lyran is given a chance to design a personal mask, one that embodies a form of their self-expression. The child is assisted by skilled Merets, assembling the pieces by hand to truly place their being into the object. At the end of the process, the new adult steps forth with their mask and is fully accepted into Lyran society. They may then officially accept a path of study to attain a title beyond Xeper and continue their growth. The mask itself can be worn or left at one’s home. Lyrans treat this item as an extremely personal item and mistreatment of another’s mask is considered a heinous crime in Lyran society.

The Oath of Shadows

The Oath of Shadows is a mysterious oath taken by all Lyrans during their Coming of Age Ceremony or sooner in special cases. This oath has the young Lyran swear to not reveal any of House Lyra’s secrets or plans to anyone outside the house unless they receive permissions from the shadows. This oath must be taken before a representative of each title and specifically a Keeper of Ammit. Breaking this oath is penalized to their soul being dammed to the Void after their death. The only way to avoid this fate is to “correct” all that should know.

Wedding Ceremony

The weddings of House Lyra are events that afford much celebration and joy amongst the House. Members of House Lyra take the bonding of  souls very seriously, it is a commitment made in the Here and the After. The joining of souls is eternal, so that they may find each other in the After. They create a bond so deep that they cannot lose each other, even when separated in the Here.

Making and Exchanging of the Mask

A Lyran must first give themselves completely to their partner, with that comes their mask. A mask is not only an extension of the themselves but a symbol of complete and utter trust. This mask represents the trust that is given to a partner. With this gift, they give their partner a promise that they will share all their feelings with the other. They will exchange masks giving that vulnerability over to the person symbolizing their bond Here and Now.

Part of the ceremony is the Making of the Mask, if a partner does not hail from House Lyra they must create a mask. This is a deeply personal and intimate creation, for it informs this person of their very being. This mask is made to give to their other half, their partner forever After, After the creation of the mask, both are exchanged symbolizing the utmost trust acceptance of the other’s self.

Tying the Knot

Another important aspect of Lyran marriage is Tying the Knot. During the ceremony the couple’s hands and arms are ceremonially knotted together to represent their bond that will connect them to each other in order for them to find each in the After. This represents the sleeves that certain Lyrans chose to wear, with the joining of their sleeves, their unity is demonstrated, that all plans and thoughts are now to be shared. This cord is generally silver in nature and made of a cloth like material, it is sturdy material designed to never break, these souls must never separate, not even in the After.

Living Memory

The ceremony is performed in the company of church official along with the friends and families of the participants. While the ceremonies are quite quiet and intimate by Lyran circumstances, the parties that follow are raucous loud occasions. Not only are they extremely successful parties but they are dedicated to telling the story of the couple. To commit their union to a living memory, to strengthen their connections to each other and the After. When a Lyran loses their significant other, the gifted mask is entombed with their partner. They create a new one to demonstrate that they have been changed by this loss. The silver cord is also entombed with the dead to signify the Journey to the After. A wedding in House Lyra is impactful and important, it signifies that an individual's journey  to the After now includes another.

The Funeral Ceremony

Main article: Lyran Funeral Traditions

House Lyra believe that there is only truly meaning in death, in a souls ascension to the After. In order to truly reach the After, a body must be preserved and a soul must be remembered. In reaching the After, a soul must be first honored in the Here, before it’s long journey to the After. Those of House Lyra know that they make their own mark Here, that they impact the now. Through creation, through art, through connection. The expression of their art and their passion, is what changes the Here and connects the noble members of House Lyra to the After. Leaving a permanent mark Here and a forever After.

House Structure and Government

House Lyra are organised in five orders all responsible for different aspect of Lyran culture and tradition. All orders are generally seen as equals and operate in a relatively flat hierarchy. This is because Lyrans pride themselves on having found the perfect gene breeding techniques for making the perfect noble. Some family names are regarded as more prestigious than other but that is mostly for contact with non Lyran nobles. Rarely people of non-noble blood are brought in but then only as concubines, mainly to incorporate blood lines of great psychic power. However only their children may be regarded as nobles. Such children may never even know of their “true” biological parent. The extent of this practice is unknown to both the other houses and most of the house Lyra members.

Nameing Structure

[Title] Lyra [Family Name] [Given Name]

Example: Meret Lyra Koebel Adam

The Orders of Lyra

Title Role

Meret

Artists
Tehuti Philosophers
Neshmet Funeral Directors
Horuset Diplomats & Influencers
Hekate Idols
Xeper Undecided

Merets

A population of artists and philosophers of course value the trait of creativity highly. The Meret are a group that have managed to build themselves into a position of influence through reputation as the most skilled in their art form. From mastery of ecstasy to beautifully laid out musical composition, many seek the genius touch of a Meret.

Neshmet

The Neshmets of House Lyra are the keepers of the After. Learning their craft in the sacred catacombs of the Academy of Ma’at, Neshmets are the more subdued members of House Lyra, and are often more comfortable embalming bodies and removing brains rather than interacting with other people. Neshmets care deeply for the dead and they will do anything to ensure the journey of soul to the After. Neshmets are often the most heavily ash-tattooed Lyrans.

Horuset

The Horuset are enactors of treaty and pioneers of inter-house problem solving. Trained with efficient reasoning skills and to present an objective outlook in debate, they typically serve as the official primary diplomats and mouth pieces for House Lyra. At times the Horuset can represent other houses as intermediaries when a situation requires tact. In such cases, is not uncommon to find two Lyran Horuset speaking with each other while acting on the behalf of two other, external, disagreeing parties.

Hekate

Main article: Hekate

From its inception, Lyra has been at the forefront of artistic expression in the empire. There are those who dedicate their life as Lyrans to perfecting their art, finding their own manifestation and honing their craft like none other. However, there are those who excel at their practice and stand above the rest. These Lyrans are known the Hekate, the elite idols and pride and joy of House Lyra. At any given point in time there are only a few hundred Lyrans who are blessed by this title and it remains the only one given at birth, only relinquished under the strictest of conditions or upon passage to the After.

Tehuti

Culture is an integral aspect of life and Tehuti work tirelessly to track trends and predict changes in the sociopolitical structure of Acheron Rho. They are the ones thinking about the past and future of House Lyra and the Empire at large. Being the philosophers of House Lyra they tend to be historical researchers or scientists, comparable to the ancient greek philosophers. Always searching for the knowledge and art forgotten after the Scream and developing new ideas and technologies to make Lyran culture and art even more impressive than ever.

Xeper

It is typical for those that are not specialized to be titled ‘Xeper’. These are the agents recognised as highly capable despite lacking a specific modus operandi - because of this, typically their skillsets are comparable to a ‘jack-of-all-trades, master of none’. It is not looked down upon to maintain this avoidance of specification even after advancing in skill.

Keeper

Main article: Keepers of House Lyra

The title of Keeper is assigned to those who wish to act in the defense of and as the will of House Lyra. They are the internal police force, the standing army, and special protectors of House Lyra.Possible recruits often begin training at a very young age, not long after their Coming of Age ceremony.

During this time, they partake in intense training in multiple discipline, often working alongside former members of other Houses to improve their skills. All Keepers, to appease the empire, are also trained for a time by House Crux in standard Imperial procedure and practice, including the submission of reports to Crux on a regular basis. Rarely, an adult can partake in training as well, though their path is no easier. Keepers often have unique or odd procedures when seen by others in the empire. The House of art, philosophy, and self expression has produced some rather eccentric Keepers over time.

Keepers place the protection of Lyra over all else. Should an internal matter need to be handled without the eyes of the empire coming onto Lyra, Keeper procedures do exist to sweep those crimes under the rug. These are often handled by special operation groups.

Those who were not chosen or had to leave the Keepers can choose one of the other titles, just as everyone else can.

The Shadow Council

Governing structure of house Lyra are a mystery to most of its even its own members. There are rumors that they are ruled by a Shadow Council. The Shadow Council has no name. It is sometimes whispered of as “The Ptah”, “The Distillate”, or “The Collective Will”. But truly no one knows what it is. Throughout the life of a noble member of House Lyra they will, maybe never, maybe often, receive orders from the Shadow Council.

The agents of this mysterious ruling body of House Lyra will sometimes appear with orders, sometimes the council will approach nobles directly in their dreams or thoughts. Those who refuse to carry out their duties suffer the “Curse of Apep” a combination of extreme permanent writer’s block and an inability to focus. The length and severity of the curse depends on how much they disobeyed the will of the council. It is the secret presence of the council as the guiding hand within House Lyra that keeps them efficient and united. As House Lyra guides The Empire, so are they guided quietly from within.

Lyran Splinter Groups

Main article: Forbidden Arts and Splinter Cults

Despite the Shadow council and house Lyra's best effort not every member wants to follow the program. Be it by participating illegal and heretical art forms or organizing in splinter groups and cults with goals contrary to House Lyra and the Empire at large. These groups tend to be very small and secretive and careful to not be found by House Lyra Keepers or Crux officials.

Honorary Lyran

Within House Lyra, there exists a program that allows one to become an Honorary member of Lyra. This process does not require marriage into the House or any formal proceedings. In fact, it is a complete secret from the other houses involved. It often goes as far as being a secret from the participant until it is too late.

The Cult of House Lyra actively looks for assets from other Houses to convert to the teachings of House Lyra. Should the chosen person make their way onto Orpheus, they unknowingly run the risk of being slowly indoctrinated by the whole of House Lyra. Over time agents of the House encounter the target and slowly ensure that they will place House Lyra’s interests first. They become part of the ‘family’ of House Lyra, even when afar.

Honorary Lyrans are used sparingly due to the extreme risk involved in the indoctrination process. No psionics are used while converting another and, as such, it can take an unknown amount time until the target is broken down well enough to begin their full conditioning.

Leaving House Lyra

The process of leaving any House in The Empire for any reason is always a serious matter.

Deciding to depart from House Lyra is an especially dangerous action. Family in Lyra is no mere matter of blood. All are connected and belong to the After in the end. The secrets of House Lyra must better reach the ears of other houses and silencing those memories is all too important. That said, there are two methods of departure depending on where one goes, be it to another house or into the dreaded world of non-nobility.

Marriage into another house is a regrettable decision, but remains an expression of one’s self. The noble in question must give up their mask, leaving it behind. Their home is lost and they must walk the path out of the city on their own. It is often a sad event, but malice is generally looked down upon. Should they wish to return and amend their “error”, the mask and love from other Lyrans will always be waiting.

Throwing away one’s nobility is a heinous action and the process for removing them is purposefully harsh. Publicly, a person choosing to leave House Lyra must shatter their mask, donning a generic breathing mask simply necessary for survival. Their assets are claimed for general use by House Lyra. And finally, one must leave their home city dressed in drab rags. It must send a message to those who dare to leave that this action is unacceptable.

Behind the scenes, no matter where they may be going, those who leave are made to forget the secrets of House Lyra. Memories are ripped away, thoughts made hazy. All is done to protect Lyra.

Lyran Society

Main article: Lyran Society

House Lyra prides itself with its lasting and powerful connections it fosters within their members. Lyra boast to even feel these bonds from those in the After. The vast majority of Lyrans would defend their house and its members from all threats. Despite not being directly related Lyrans tend to treat all within their house like family.  This way of thinking is not entirely an organic. Lyran from birth are raised to live for and strengthen the house and all its members so that in turn, the house will provide for them. This teaching persist throughout their education through stories, word problems, games, and even tests, all designed to foster a sense of unity in their members.

Serfs within Lyra also are given a similar teaching, but with a more subservient tone. These teaching might foster unity within Lyrans, but subtly create an initial distrust of outsider especially ones who do not believe in similar beliefs, but are taught to never show it. Most Lyrans tend to always hide their true thoughts to outsiders until a positive relationship is formed. While the teaching try to make all Lyrans act the same when it come to their members and outsider it promotes individuality. All Lyrans are encouraged to show their uniqueness and its is these differences that still work together that makes Lyra special.

Language 

Court Lyric

Court Lyric a secret language only spoken by and taught to Lyran nobles who are forbidden to teach it to outsiders. A language of education, status and ritual, Court Lyric is a form of reconstructed ancient Egyptian made to sound archaic, strange and magical. It uses a writing system of stylised and simplified hieroglyphs for symbolicly and ritualty important words combined with Sino-Japanese signs and some aspects taken from of the Coptic and Amharic alphabets.

Common Lyric

Common lyric is a collection of languages, dialects and creoles consisting of mainly semitic languages with a large amount of japanese, greek and Sino-English loan words and grammar. It can be heard being spoken by the lower classes on Orpheus and everywhere in the sector where a large diasporas of Orpehans can be found. It is usually written in Arabic script but can be seen written in a wide variety of alphabets, syllabaries and sign systems.

Common Lyric flourished during the reign of the VII Emperox, The Masked One, when Common Lyric was the second most used language in Imperial society. In the years following The Masked One’s return to the After, its influence has been greatly reduced as a spoken language outside of Orpheus, though it is still known by many. However, as a literary language it is still thriving and almost every noble home has poetry, plays or novels written in it.

History

"House Lyra originated as being in charge of the art and philosophy of The Empire. Over time, our exploration of these two led to a great many changes. Many of the original members of House Lyra came from lineages from the Northern coast of Africa and the Aegean Isles. As artists and philosophers we drew from many cultures but these remained strong touch stones as well as minimalism inspired by modernist movements around the world. As we traveled to the Acheron Rho sector we lost touch with many practices and religions. Eventually, a responsibility was placed upon our house that would change House Lyra forever."

Excerpt from: The Histories of House Lyra, volume 4 by Tehuti Lyra Maus Timor

Birth of the Death Cult

Main article: Truth of the After

House Lyra began as a society built upon vision. It questioned what was possible in the mortal realm and sought to put all that it found on display. Philosophers questioned tirelessly. Merets created without end. Neshmet, spawned from questions of loss and religion, protected the fallen. Orpheus was a planet of imperfections that Lyran nobility hoped to mold into something better than it was, a microcosm of the sector on a whole.

The scream ruined that. The planet became nearly uninhabitable. Surviving Lyrans were forced into their mountain city, unable to leave as storms and bacteria took over the surface. Their society was gone. Centuries of work were wiped out in an instant. Despair took over. The people, noble and common alike, demanded to know how such a thing could have occurred. And a small group of Lyrans returned with an answer. They were once seen as outsiders, mad people who were too close to their work. They would become the founders of Lyra’s hope. They created the Truth of the After.

Age of Mourning

Following the bloody rule of the Aquilan Empress, known throughout The Empire as The Blood Eagle; The Empire once again risked falling into civil war. Without a clear successor, the Houses Major and Minor were struggling to agree, which house should elevate to the imperial throne. An unlikely candidate broke the impasse: House Lyra stepped up to the task. Usually satisfied to be a power behind the throne, they promised to enforce the peace accord of 2960 and lead The Empire through mourning, recovery, and reconciliation.

The first major reform was the signing of “The Formal Agreement for Noble Grievance” which forbids violent conflicts between nobles outside of formally regulated duels. Duels performed either by the conflicting parties or by bravos from Reticulum to fight in their name. Over time, the practice of dueling for one’s own honour fell out of favour, and is now considered gauche, when one could hire a professional duelist raised from birth in House Reticulum.

The Masked Emperox

Main article: The Masked Emperox

The Masked Emperox’s true name was never revealed, and their face always went covered by an elaborate black mask to signify their role as an impartial mediator more than a despotic ruler. Everyone agrees they likely had powerful psionic abilities, as nobles and their envoys often needed not even speak their requests or complaints before a fitting compromise was laid forward. However, it is possible this had more to do with House Lyra’s sprawling diplomatic structure and expertise in the arts of covertcy.

The Masked Emperox’s reign was a time of cultural renaissance and revival with fresh art and literature movements flourishing, spreading Court Lyric all over The Empire. Countless monuments dedicated to the lives lost and The Empire’s struggles during The Silence and the years of bloody conflict were also erected.

Notable Members of House Lyra

Lyra Lilith

For main article see: Lilith A lost Lyran soul. Guest player on the show.

Lyra Lin Nicola

For main article see: Lyra Lin Nicola

Cultural attaché on the crux ship Prudence(NPC on the show)

Tehuti Lyra Maus Timor

For main article see: Tehuti Lyra Maus Timor

Tehuti Lyra Maus Timor is a literary legend of house Lyra. Most known for being the first after the scream to write a comprehensive history of House Lyra, ''The Histories of House Lyra'', going as far back as the arrivals of the constellation ships. But the mastodont work in 14 volumes are more than just a history book. It’s an epic, a grand opera reliving and exploring the thoughts and feeling of the Lyrans of the past and the Lyrans to come.

Meret Lyra Hackett Perry

For main article see: Hackett Perry

A prominent novelist of House Lyra. Most known for his satirical fantasy epic "Quackeron Rho"

Meret Lyra Nashu Gilbert

For main article see: Meret Lyra Nashu Gilbert

A famous Lyranchef amongst the sector he is known as restaurateur and cook book author. He is especially known for his hits "Cooking Amongst The Stars: Gilbert’s Guide to Gastronomic Art for Hekate" and "Cooking With Your Heart". You can find his latest endeavour in Djebashi with his new restaurant "Gil and Sam's"

Meret Lyra Jane Kala

For main article see: Meret Lyra Jane Kala

A famous Lyran concert pianist who has been dominating the classical scene for over 40 years. She goes on multiple tours a year and is famous for her piece "Little Bird" dedicated to her daughter. While she is not generally a teacher, she will sometimes give lessons to a select few.