School of t'Hôterie
|School of t'Hôterie|
|Proficiencies||Hunting Knowledge, Literary Arts, Rogue Training|
|Origins||Madame Devoie t'Hôterie, resident of Ithania|
The School of t'Hôterie was born half a century ago when twenty-four volumes of salacious literature were published as a set in Ithania. Within the pages, women found the strong and dominating character Madame Devoie t'Hôterie, supposedly a real woman, who had ten years of experiences with men of her choosing. The book, unsurprisingly, got a following in Ithanian Culture which allowed it to thrive, spreading out to the rest of the Regalian Empire where it has been met with horror by conservatives and quiet enjoyment by many hundreds of other women.
The School of t'Hôterie has a curious origin, even for an all-text School. It originated with the epic twenty-four volume series, “Tales of Baroness t'Hôterie and the Haute Homme,” written by the legendary Madame Devoie t'Hôterie. The volumes tell a number of stories, all about the various illicit exploits of the titular Ithanian noble lady as she pursues various men, all of whom she later married in the final volume of the series. There is only one problem: there are no Ithanian records of a Madame Devoie t'Hôterie who lived in Hivre Agennes-sur-Livres, where the books were first published in 253 AC. As a result, many outsiders view the stories as entirely false. A woman writing under a nomme de plume or a series of women (given the length of the series) have been suggested as the true author, but regardless of who wrote it, it became an overnight underground sensation. Ithanian women loved the texts and consumed them voraciously, though largely in private as the Regalian Empire loomed large over the region and likely would have suppressed the book if they had known just what sort of content it contained. Unfortunately, they did not, and the Tales spread to the south, first into Daendroc where the great printing presses of Daenshore went into overtime producing box sets for clientele across the Empire and then even further south into Altalar lands by 270 AC. It was the Altalar who first alerted the Regalian Empire of the book, but by then it was already far too late; given twenty years to grow in popularity, the books ultimately developed into a form of Ithanian cultural expression that was embraced in private by women across the Empire. Over the next 30 years, the Tales of Baroness t'Hôterie would find themselves translated into ten different Languages, and came to be hailed as a School in their own regard. Today, the School of t'Hôterie is widely utilized by women Aloria-wide, who seek to use the teachings of Madame Devoie t'Hôterie to net their own men but also help them maintain a position at the top.
There are no formal educational centers for the School of t'Hôterie. Prospective students learn by buying or borrowing the books and reading them start to finish. The only place that comes close is the t'Hôterie Museum in Hivre Agennes-sur-Livres, where every edition and every translation of the Tales exists for the viewing pleasure of the public (though they cannot remove them from the Museum). The facility also runs a class once a month focusing on a chapter of the book - they have done so for 30 years and are still only on volume six - where women can come to both witness and learn the skills. The Museum aims to get them involved with the Tales as a whole and serves as a place for well-taught Ithanian women to brag about such talents.
Code of Conduct
The School of t'Hôterie follows the Code of t'Hôterie as laid out by Madame Devoie t'Hôterie in her first volume. The full list is somewhat absurd, reaching 100 notations, usually serving as a bit of comedy in later volumes as she makes new ones up to fit her situation. There are unsaid rules, primarily that this is a female-based School and what they do should only be done to men. Students of t'Hôterie should also have a healthy appreciation of Ithanian Culture, due to the many references to otherwise-unknowable Ithanian popular culture, as well as the frequent use of idioms and jokes that would only make sense in the Ithanian language. The prime five written notations though, which never change or are contradicted by later rules, are as follows:
- 1. “It’s not you, it’s them.” Strictly speaking, students of t'Hôterie don’t believe what they are doing is wrong. They fully believe what they are doing is embracing their bodies and their own desires in a healthy, logical way as described for over sixteen pages by Madame t'Hôterie in volume one.
- 2. “Dress to impress.” One of the most boring parts of the Code and a bit cliche, it is still followed religiously by t'Hôts. They present themselves in their best but also most revealing clothing, especially when meeting men. Ithanian women, in particular, embrace this to the fullest extent through their bizarre fashion.
- 3. “Don’t forget the legs.” This piece of guidance has a large double meaning. On the one hand, it refers to how one dresses and that they should be sure to let their legs be free enough to roam around when seated at tables. The other is that when they have secured a man, they shouldn’t forget to tie up his legs. One of Madame t'Hôterie’s earliest men managed to get away from her when she didn’t tie his legs up properly. He ended up turning around to check for her and running right into a rather thick tree, knocking him unconscious at the end of volume three in a dramatic cliffhanger.
- 4. “You’re on top.” This advice has a very literal meaning, but also a more mental one. To t'Hôts, they are all that matters and deserve to get what they want for all the hard work they put into what they do.
- 5. “Diversity is key.” The School of t'Hôterie enshrines the need for pluralism in romantic relationships, thus giving the student great freedom, but also seeks to make sure they understand doing the same thing over and over against isn’t good. People need to think creatively and diversify their approach to situations in order to be truly successful as a t'Hôt.
The School of t'Hôterie has a very informal style of learning, as it is a self-taught form of education like the School of Huntverk. Prospective students need to acquire access to all twenty-four volumes and read them, cover to cover, in order to fully learn all the skills Madame t'Hôterie makes use of herself throughout her some ten years of escapades. Thankfully it does not take someone ten years to read such content, but five years has been the number virtually all readers have found themselves hitting, even if they are fast readers. Most start around the age of eighteen to twenty, as anyone younger might have a hard time with the dense text or grow confused at certain references.
OOC Rules for the School
- Five years is the minimum anyone can complete the School of t'Hôterie in. Anything less and no other t'Hôt will believe you fully understand the text you’re reading.
- The School of t'Hôterie has seen much use by female Ithanian spies in recent years, mainly due to its perceived ability to offer women a fast path to the secrets of the men they are contracted to target.
- Male readership of the Tales has rapidly increased within Regalia in recent years, with some speculating that the openly homosexual Emperor Cedromar I may have spurred the interests of similarly-minded Regalian men. Ithanians largely fear though that men will gradually become “wise” to the various tactics of the School and render it all useless.
- The activities of t'Hôts are largely frowned upon by Imperial culture, due to its flying in the face of monogamy and gender roles within the household, as well as its flagrant display of Ithanian values.
- Just some of the various men Madame t'Hôterie interacted with include James the Jacobian, Vargen the Velheim, Hough the Highlander, Hustace the Heartlander and Kareem the Foreigner. All men have actual names but are colloquially known to all students of the School by these monikers.