A typical Rihannsu family is made up of a mother and a father, with as many children as the parents desire. Each family unit is within a House, and Houses can be huge. The family unit does not look to one parent as superior, both mother and father have equal status. Although boy children are favored, girl children do not have a social stigma. Divorce and separation are rare with Rihannsu families because the bond between the husband and wife is so very deep. A typical Rihannsu family is very happy and devoted to each other, with the bond of love. Within the family unit the first lessons in mnhei'sahe will be taught, to ground a child in the basic morality of Rihannsu life. The family also includes every single blood member of the House. Each member of the House is responsible to see that all of the children are raised in the proper traditions of the House and that the lessons of mnhei'sahe are taught and learned.
Women and men are equals in the social structure. Sexuality is expressed via eye color changes. Violet and Black. Violet is the color showing sexual desire or desire for a mate. In time to choose a mate, is involuntary and only occurs with a mate who also exhibits the same reaction in direct contact via palm to palm. If no reaction or if one-sided, then there is no contact. If the reaction is mutual then mating is found to be possible. Recent social changes have enabled multiple mates to be enjoyed, but only one life bond can be chosen.
When the time is not for finding a life bond (usually during the middle of the year known to Vulcans as ‘Amok Time’ and around the 30 to 40th year of life is it generally practiced though no age is set) but is for 'romantic' interludes, of which can produce a life bond in time, it is more of actual interest than biological (though can also be interesting and not limited to just mating with the Rihannsu people). This form of mating is akin to serious dating in humans. In this instance, a conscious or unconscious change in eye color is available to show desire. Bonding does not require the religious sect but can be brought in for marriage or even to break or strengthen bonds. Only bonded mates are telepathic with each other. Other than this bonding, which is both empathic and telepathic, there is no other psychic ability apparent except for in the Elementals.
Romulan Names (Brief)
The Rihannsu are rather proud of their names and heritage. First and middle names are usually given with reservation, usually to friends and family. The last name is the family/clan name. A fourth name, a very private and personal name, is rarely spoken, and only known by those who are lifelong intimates.
A woman's clan name is often preceded with (t') and a man's name is usually preceded by (tr').
Examples of women's names: Thue t'Radaik, Arrhae ir-Mnaeha t'Khellian, Ekkhae t'Thusaith, S'anra t'Hwaehrai, Hanaj t'Eleijha, Ael t'Rihaul, Aidoann t'Rehu, N'ale t'Rllailieu, Dhiove t'Hrienteh, Janicka t'Maekh, S'Tarleya t'lllailhlae, Meira t`Kethry, Ullho t`Rhenn.
Examples of men's names are: Valdus tr'Tomalak, H'daen tr'Aimne, Lhaesi tr'Khev, Vaebn tr'Hheinha, M'Narth tr'Lhell, Nnerhin tr'Hwersuil, Lai I'Ranmau tr'Ehhelih, Llunih tr'Raedhoel, Tiercellus tr'Khnailmnae, D'tan tr'Keirianh, Donal tr`Rhagarokk.
Romulan House System
At the root of Rihannsu political organization is the House system. Houses are family groups or clan-like organizations, with hereditary succession structures. Unlike feudal family organizations, however, Rihannsu Houses encompass a much broader spectrum of society. For example, servants of a House Lord are considered part of the family, and adopt the House name and use it as their own. That is not to say that they are equal members, but they are included.
Each house has its own rank and status accorded to Rihannsu society. Houses are considered either Great Houses or Lesser Houses. Great Houses have many family members that are high in the social standing of the Empire. The members of Great Houses have proven their service to the Empire in past honors and loyalty. Lesser Houses have not received the honor and glory, but serve an integral and vital role within the Empire. It is their quiet service that supports the Empire and brings greater glory to it. The status of House members reflects directly on the status of their House and vice versa.
Within each House, are various positions, as detailed in the following table:
|hru'hfirh||Head of House|
|eri'hfirh||Heir of House|
The most important person in a House is the hru'hfirh or Head of House. The hru'hfirh is responsible for the members of the House, maintaining the House's mnhei'sahe, and the day-to-day financial and social dealings of the House. The eri'hfirh, or Heir, assists the hru'hfirh. The status of the House and the responsibilities are decided by the hru'hfirh, but usually the importance of House members is as follows: hru’hfirh, eri'hfirh, Auethnen, and then Llaugh and Rianov with equal rank. The other status and importance follow as listed above. As you can see in the chart above, there is the added complexity of adoption. An adopted member of the family has the same rank and receives the same respect as a blood member, but with the added responsibility of another House, perhaps. Adoptions are commonplace.
Another commonplace is a unique form of revenge, usually prompted by a mnhei'sahe in the case of the murder of a child, which is known as "hostage fostering". In this situation, a House steals the children of a rival House and rears them as their own. A family that has lost their child in this manner usually never sees them again.