"We treasure names," she said. "They're the most powerful words, and our favorites. After all, what makes you respond more immediately than your name being called?....As long as a Rihannsu has someone to speak his name, or even if it's written, or remembered, that person is real. Afterward.... nothing. The shadows, some say. The place where the Elements are unmixed, more real than here, say others." she shrugged. "But either way, names are life..."
-- D.Duane: My Enemy, My Ally
The Rihannsu naming system does indeed seem daunting at first; but is actually quite simple, and once learned is never forgotten. All Rihannsu have four names. The three easiest ones to explain are: the First name, the Third name, and the Fourth, or secret, name.
First names are considered gifts from the Rihan's parents; a wish fulfillment for what they hope for their child as they grow and live out their life.
Third names are the clan, or House name of which the Rihan belongs. These Third names are always either preceded by a t' for women, or a tr' for men.
The Fourth name is an unspoken, or secret name; known only to lifemates, or close family members or friends who have become like a blood-relation to the Rihan. This fourth name is known as "rehei" or "true name", but also translates to "Soul's name", and is considered the name of which the Elements know you by. The fourth name is not something that you are given; it can only be found within yourself.
The most difficult name to understand, yet rather easy to explain, is the Second name. This name can carry many different meanings, and we will attempt to explain them all.
Firstly, a second name is often an indicator of where the Rihan in question was born, and will indicate if the Rihan was born in the city proper (indicated by the prefix i-), or a providence, or suburb thereof (indicated by the prefix ir-) For instance, let's say that your character was born in the capital city of Ra'tleihfi. Your second name, therefore, would be i-Ra'tleihfi. If you were born in a providence (a small township or suburb, but close to the city), your character's second name would be ir-Ra'tleihfi.
Secondly, the exception to the prefixes outlined above is this: If you are born to a major city or providence of a city that begins with an 'I' (ie, i'Rammau) then you would use the prefix e- (for the city proper), or er-(for the providence).
Thirdly, being adopted into a different House, or if your character (if female) were to marry into a Greater House, these factors would also effect the character's second name. In either case, your original House name would replace the second (or birthplace) name, and your new House name would become your new third name.
Let's use Diane Duane's character from The Romulan Way as our example:
Arrhae ir-Mnaeha t'Khellian
Now, the first name is easy for us to understand, so we won't concern ourselves with that one. The names of interest here, are the second name and the third. The fourth name, of course, is secret. So will not be discussed here.
Arrhae's second name: ir-Mnaeha tells us that she was born to a providence of the city of Mnaeha. If she had been born in the actual city itself, it would have been: i-Mnaeha
Arrhae's third name tells us that she is a female (indicated by the prefix t') of the House of Khellian. Had Arrhae been a male, her third name would be: tr'Khellian.
Now later in Arrhae's life, she married into a Greater House, and her name changed thus:
Arrhae i-Khellian t'Llhweiir
Her old House name became her second name with the prefix of i-, indicating that she had married out of this House. Had she been adopted into another House, her second name would've used the prefix ir-. Her third name is now the name of her New House.
When male Rihannsu marry, they often take the House name of their wives, as the Rihannsu still use the matriarchal system that the ancient Vulcans did. However, in the case of marriage, males have the option here to leave their original second name alone, or to replace it with their old House name. Because Arrhae married into a Greater House, she took the name of her husband's House as her third name, and replaced her second name with her old House name. Such is the custom of the Rihannsu.
S'Task (no longer used. A revered name)
Tellus (no longer used. A revered name)
Rrhiol ch'Chulla (the valley of chula)
Rihannsu within the RSE (past and present)
Ael t'Kazon (Riov)
Alba t'Raala (Virha'Erien)
Argelian tr'Verelan (Khre'Riov)
Ar'ika t'Liefvai (Erien)
Bheloth t'Lahzar (Arrain)
Darius tr'Onto (Erien)
Donal tr'Rhagarokk (erie`Ssiebb / Senator)
Geraxus tr'Krakken (Khre'Riov)
Jahrik tr'Nairrehk (erie'Riov)
L'Kroog tr'Groth (Erien)
Llyriha ir'Rhehiv'je t'Lhoell (erie`Riov)
L'Vraedd tr'Kunto (EnArrain)
Niqualmi t'Laris (Eredh)
Ra'Toh tr'Kal (Eredh)
Razerious (Galae En'Riov)
Rhian Vrih tr'Elenhh
Rylan tr`Tuhmek (Enarrain)
Ryu Suwader tr'Kandeen
Shiarrael t'Rehu (Ael'Riov)
To'laer Krotash (Arrain)
tr'Raith IV (Erie'Riov); [also Raith I, II, III, V, VI]
Vaebn tr'Kierlanh tr'Kath (Arrain)
Ships and Starbases within the RSE (past and present)
RIS Fvullhajun Ra`dhuil