Voski Kasabian, Sarhang of the Elmaovo Chapter of the original Honoured Sons
|Recruitment Populations||Constancians, Raspurids, Elw, Surenids, Black Travellers, Šlovedks, Anticans, Coriaks, Hasanis|
|Services||Clerical work, corporate security, auxiliary policing, corporate hospitality, human resources|
|Patrons||Honourable Company, N&H, Raspur Pact, International Mandate|
|Strength (1697 AN)||
The Honoured Sons were junior writers ("scriveners") of the Honourable Company, taken on as apprentices in their early to mid teens and trained in account-keeping and clerical work for the Residencies and Subsidiaries of the ESB Group and its continental directorates. Junior writers could be expected to serve for a period of eight years before being acknowledged as an Honoured Son, after which new career options, including becoming an apprentice trader, transfer to the Financial and Legal Directorate, or the Security Directorate, would become available in addition to continuing along the senior writer career path that would lead ultimately towards either the coveted posting of Observer, or the elite institutions of the Secretariat.
Originally a mark of respect addressed to veterans of the long stranded ESB trading post on the Isle of Jaris, the term Honoured Sons subsequently came to acquire a distinct meaning in the Krasnocorian port of Elmaovo and later on in Tiegang, referring to those men of the Honourable Company who had diversified their business activities to better reflect the realities of their somewhat precarious and anomalous position in Krasnocorian society.
Since the year 1653 AN ESB recruitment agents had been observed operating in international waters sending landing parties ashore to recruit young female Black Travellers for ill-defined waitress vacancies in Shirekeep. ESB representatives introduced into the region had worked industriously in seeking to make contact with promising young gupneks who might serve as talent scouts and recruiters on the ground in Krasnarus and the Florian Serb lands.
Of those who made the journey westwards the majority - far from becoming serving staff in bars and restaurants - became bathhouse attendants, a very disreputable profession in the former territories of the Imperial Republic. It is estimated that about 20,000 Black Traveller women had been trafficked by the gupnek gangs to Shirekeep, which was the result of a series of backdoor deals on the latter. The implications of this, which place high-ranking officials in unsavory positions, have stirred controversy among the Parliamentarians of Krasnarus.
In 1659 the remaining Black Traveller population was sold to the ESB Group of Shireroth at the asking price of 1,589 Erb ($25) per head. Because Benacia had already enjoyed a decade long glut in cheap labour, the Black Travellers - excepting the 30,000 strong corps of bathhouse attendants already established - were to be resettled in Constancian territory to work on ESB projects overseen by its Euran Directorate.
The process of rounding up and herding together such a large population engendered a certain level of resistance, and it took several years to complete the relocation of the entire population.
The Honoured Sons went on to play a quiet part in the Srbozemskan Civil War, hiring Black Travellers at highly favourable rates to smuggle arms and munitions across Krasnocoria to the Srbozemska region, for use subsequently against the Krasnocorian Armed Forces.
With the collapse of Krasnocoria in 1687 AN, the Honoured Sons were, along with their dependants, registered as agents of the Company and engaged to serve in the evacuation of the warehouse stores, and personnel of ESB Jaris to the International Mandate, whereafter they became responsible for protecting the property of the Honourable Company and for securing the requisite commercial premises and harbour frontage for the resumption of trading operations. In this manner they would be put forward by the Honourable Company as their contribution to the policing of the International Mandate Settlements.
Since 1697 AN it has come to be understood that the Honoured Sons of the Company are those junior employees of the Honourable Company, usually taken on between the ages of thirteen and sixteen as apprentices (a "Bonded Son of the Company"), who serve as writers, the so-called scriveners, and who would learn the art of administration, book-keeping, and ledger-work. A junior writer would expect to spend eight years working through the grades in order to be finally acknowledged as an "Honoured Son of the Company" and thereafter either join the ranks of the senior writers as a Clerk of the Office or else submit their petition to the Board of Trade for the Continental Operations Directorate for their place of residence to be appointed as an Apprentice Trader.
Recruitment & training
After 1704 AN the Honoured Sons would only be those who had passed through centralised training establishments, organised subordinate to each continental directorate of operations but overseen by the Secretariat, prior to their dispatch to the residency where they will undertake their apprenticeship.
The Schola Scriptura, also known as Reception & Indoctrination Centres in the Benacian Union, are the receiving sites for boys between the ages of thirteen and fifteen who have been purchased into the service of the Honourable Company. In jurisdictions that require it, this is reported as paid tuition and a private education. The children assembled at these institutions come all manner of cultures and from across a wide geographic area. So as to prevent the forming of cliques, each child is deprived of his former identity, receiving instead the surname of a company martyr and an ID number, the last three digits of which are to be paired with the memorial name to form the new identity bestowed upon the individual for the duration of his apprenticeship as an honoured son. As a Bonded Son of the Company, the initiate into the Schola is of the lowest grade of any person in the employ of the Honourable Company. He will be assigned to a cohort of up to three-hundred and sixty others such as he, selected in such a way as to ensure, insofar as is possible, that he will find no familiar face amongst those whom he must now call his comrades for the next four years.
The first year spent as a bonded son of the company is devoted to instruction in the commands spoken in the Common Tongue (Istvanistani) which will need to be heeded and obeyed promptly at all times under the threat of the severest penalty. The bonded son is not only subject at all times to the discipline of his adult instructors but also to those of the dutiful sons, those boys in the cohorts of the year above. In this way the importance of hierarchy and obedience is instilled from the moment of the schola reception parade and unceasingly thereafter. The bonded son will also be forced to relearn the rudiments of arithmetic, so as to be prepared for his first contact with the Honourable Company's exacting and peculiar accounting system. Finally, and most importantly, the cumulative impact of all aspects of the highly regimented life into which he has been cast will commence the bonded son's life-long indoctrination into the Company Mindset, the value appreciated above all else in dutiful employees by the Board of Directors.
The Honoured Sons were instructed on how to proficiently record the details of accounting, managerial decisions, and activities related to the Honourable Company, such as minutes of meetings, copies of directives and contracts, and filings of reports and copies of cargo manifests, ship's logs, and transportation movements.