The Great Houses

House Devante

The great house Devante is seen as the land's traditionalist. They're a warrior-centered organization that readily defends the desert's borders during times of war. At times of peace, they provide security via the butchering of monsters, wild animals, and bandits to keep the roads secure. They hold heavily that foreign influence and new ideals can present a problem toward the realm's stability and thus are skeptical of outlanders and their unique perspectives. Their ranks are open to the other wasteland denizens, but they hold rigorously to an everything earned ethos. In their eyes, if you suffer, it is likely because you're weak, lazy, or dishonorable. They cling to ancestral worship as a faction, carrying their fallen comrades' ashes as tattoos on their skin. This way, their glories are shared by those under the banner, even in death. 



House Del'Fluent

There is no rebutting that none has as much capital as the Del'fluent. Being cutthroat capitalists, they also cling to a meritocracy. As a collective, they behold the Verdant Dynasty and other factions of the sands as customers. What keeps their moral compass in line is a realization that disgruntled workers result in lower productivity and a higher likelihood of revolt. Through this free-market philosophy, many innovations have spawned, and by proxy, a degree of wealth has trickled down onto the lower class. The Del'fluents have reconstructed even the slums, supplying amenities never thought achievable outside of their holds. They are the most likely to work with outsiders if an alliance might benefit their bottom line. However, they are not opposed to "removing" economic threats should diplomacy or assimilation fail.
 


House Quil'Kovesh

One of the oldest lines, the Quil'Kovesh strength has waned over the centuries but is far from depleted. They make up the bulk of legally sanctioned assassins, maintain the spice market, and fund plantations across the empire. Aside from these significant roles, they fund the wandering gypsies to provide entertainment, distract the populace, and peddle drugs and gambling while begetting happiness to lower internal tensions. Secretly, this roving band is utilized as spies, keeping tabs and reporting any perceived uprisings to snuff them out early. They are the ears and the eyes of the government while feigning the roles of simple artists. It is a fact that is not known to many, and only a select few within their ranks are even aware of it.
 


Ashlandian Tribes

Ulkbesterish, Titerkerath, Assinimus and Morterken make up the tribes. They are the weakest and least advanced power within the sands, self-imposed isolationists who wander the land while adhering to the old ways. They consider the modern houses, technology, and budding culture as slander against the desert's heritage. Despite their disdain, they are scarcely antagonistic, preferring a more live and let live approach. In their minds, the world can revel in vice; they will just remain unplugged from such immorality. They don't have a written language and instead pass on history and sermons via their wise woman via oral tradition and song. The other houses look down on them, seeing them as a symptom of what is wrong with the desert. Meanwhile, their current beliefs have clashed with the theology of the state as they preach of an imminent messiah, the Mortetor, that will remove the three sins haunting the desert and wipe the slate clean.

 


House Quintar

The Quintar is the spiritual institution of the desert. They sermonize regarding the three beings endowed with "divine" enlightenment: Mazana, the witch of winter who occupies a world away from theirs. Valerna, the spinner of lies and agent of chaos. And Samara, the higher being made flesh who guides them with wisdom. All three are essential and inevitable manifestations that spotlight that ascension is possible amongst mortals within their worldview—that order and chaos. Truth and lies must battle one another to evolve one's cognizance further. Within their ranks are the Inquisitors, an elite and illustrious military branch that exerts their will and disposes of heretical beliefs that might devalue the spirit of the people's culture. While easy to dismiss as authoritarian. The Quintar are famed for their compassion and aid to the poor and sick. They believe that while the foreigner may not matter, those within their border manifest as their collective souls' strengths and weaknesses. That any temple is only as sturdy as its most worn brick...
 


 

House Khalil

This newly founded house inhabits cities carved into the mountains. The organization is structured around the pursuit of the alchemical and magical theorem and the culling of information. Within this federation of dark sorcerers, the act of necromancy is embraced, making up the bulk of their workforce. As a faction, they seek to unravel and catalog the mystery of the tangible and immaterial facets of the macrocosm. House Khalil believes that new ideas flourish when scrutinized and disputed by their peers. They have begun to institute libraries and universities that they hope to disseminate erudition to coerce the people via the appropriation and monopolization of information. They openly venerate Mirage, extracting kinship via the sphere they share, sometimes risking bargains to exchange knowledge for knowledge if rumors are to be believed. To this house, morality is a barrier deterring progress, and while the old ways are valuable, one should seek different venues to strengthen their community further. In short, they are not opposed to enacting morally dubious pursuits if they can feasibly yield a net gain when it comes to enlightenment. 
 

House Verisia

The Ahn'Khali hive and its Queen lead them. The faction's proprietor of technology and engineering also produces and vends honey and sugar to fund their endeavors. They also manufacture technology, which they guard against non-military personnel as its mere possession warrants execution. While they value merits of all kinds, it is the one through the armed force of the hive that is most revered. Each of its respected members operates under a brotherhood/sisterhood born through their mandatory military service, making them quite proficient at serving as a vanguard. Those without such bonds are no more than mere indebted servants, paying through menial labor to cover their expenditure of protection. They are not opposed to the diplomacy of other houses as their ultimate goal is a unified sands.