Duty of a Son

Amongst the greatest merchant families, it has long been common practice to determine the training of each of the current Patriarch's children before they are even born.

Traditionally, the first child is called the Heir. They are trained to master numbers, the handling of money, and the skills needed to barter with the shrewdest of Calishite caravaners. When the Patriarch dies, it is this child who will come to lead the family business, and their own children will be trained to their respective roles.

The second child is called the Successor and is trained much the same as the first, save that, unless the first child meets an untimely end, they will spend their lives serving as the factotum and assistant to the Heir.

The third child is referred to as the Defender. They are trained in weapons, battle tactics, campaign strategy and the leading of men. When they come of age, they are often placed as commander of the Household Guard or are sent to squire for a notable knight, from whom they can receive additional training. They are born to be subservient to their elder siblings, and this notion is impressed upon them from an early age. While they command the troops, they are in turn commanded by the Heir and Successor.

The fourth child is trained in magic, and are referred to as the Sage. Almost from the moment, they are born, steps are taken to ensure the strength of their intellect. They are given access to the best books, the finest tutors, and all manner of resources to aid them in their study. While a few families are not prolific enough in their children to have a fourth child, the value of a trained wizard to a merchant company cannot be overstated. When the incipient wizard has reached an appropriate level of maturity and control of their magical abilities, they are given a task. They must read histories, listen to rumors, speak with caravan drivers from across the realms, all in the interest of locating a Master Wizard, to whom they may submit themselves for teaching.

Any further children beyond this point are given positions of influence within the company, and trained to their duties, but are not given titles.

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In a stone chamber, lit dimly by the glow of magical light, a man read a thick tome. His hair was dark, and in the wan light looked almost blue. His skin was pale from lack of sun, but he was still obviously healthy. The black and gold robes he wore, the colors of his house, fitted him in the way that only truly great tailors can manage. His name was Phineas, fourth son of the Tarlane family, and he was here in the Temple of Mystra for a singular purpose. He was waiting for a meeting with its Keeper.

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