Ancestors and Prelates
An Ancestor is an important figure for those of the Empire. Everyone tracks they’re lineage and from whom they are descended. The Great Houses are each descended from a ajor Ancestor and all their descendants take on that Ancestors name as a last name and so build the legend of their house.
All Great Ancestors were exceptional in some way and act as an example of how to live to their descendants, the worst thing a member of the family can do is fail to live up to their Ancestors legacy. Many people petition to have their Ancestor raised to the status of a Great House but only with a majority vote of all the Houses can permit the entry of a new Ancestor and the House that it is associated with it. This has not happened for over four hundred years with the inclusion of House Fiorlini
Most Ancestors are thought to to have existed simultaneously at the founding of the Empire. This does not stop the spreading of Tales talking of Fiorlini or Thenkil interacting with other more ancient ancestors like Vaile.
As a result of Ancestor worship cremating or death by burning is considered the most serious punishment imaginable as only those who are buried can be united with their Ancestor. Thus all the Shrines and temples are crypts presided over by Priests. The head of each sect of the Great Houses is known as a Prelate and is of the same gender as the original Ancestor to better act as their servant.