"No one may harm us unpunished"
The most diplomatic of the other great houses of Arvum would describe the houses of the Lyceum as clever, pragmatic and flexible. This is at least the polite approach when safely out of the hearing of the southern houses that dominate the city states that make up the Lyceum, as words such as 'treacherous', 'backstabbing', 'corrupt', 'sinful (but fashionable dressers)' are far more common place. With House Velenosa's house words of promised retaliation, one would be prudent to be wary of slighting the honor of that great house, but in truth the Velenosa might well relish in the reputation in private. The Lyceum's loose confederacy of all its city states has long been unofficially governed by the notion that the house that is cunning enough, that has enough guile and talent in manipulation, that outfoxes its adversaries to emerge as the most powerful... that house deserves to lead the Lyceum as first among equals. It's no accident that the purple sigil of House Velenosa is a fox, after all.
Even among the notoriously morally flexible houses of the Lyceum there is an admiration for the mastery of sly intrigue that House Velenosa has displayed throughout its history, causing one duke to quip shortly before his suspicious death, "Their plans are as cunning as a fox who has been appointed Head Professor of Cunning at Vellichor's Academy." Not that Velenosa's path to becoming the enormously powerful and ostentatiously wealthy house ruling over the city state of Lenosia has been easy. More nobles in the Lyceum have died from poisoning than the rest of the Compact combined, even considering the reprisals for such actions very rarely are seen in public- the southern houses tend to prefer to handle problems on their own and quietly. Preferably with the problems walled up in a cellar where their pleas will go unheard.
House Velenosa is well aware that the rest of the Compact has mixed feelings about the Lyceum. Velenosa knows it ranges from outright hatred by the (painfully) honorable and (boringly) honest longtime foes in House Valardin, to a mixture of admiration and distrust by House Grayson, to perplexed tolerance by House Redrain, and an (appropriately) tempestuous sometimes-alliance with House Thrax. Never trusted, and almost always the first blamed for an suspiciously unfortunate accident, House Velenosa still somehow stays a step ahead of its enemies. Leaders of House Valardin loudly and publicly sometimes ask just how the hell they manage it.
"Of course the foxes are up to something. Duplicity is part of House Velenosa's charm." - Prince Donrai Thrax