The Honored Few
The company known as The Honored Few has a history that in many ways, mirrors the Hegemony itself. Formed shortly after the first wars of unification that the Hegemony would wage in its expansion across Ison, The Honored Few were comprised of ex-military personnel with a multitude of experience in combat. Like the Hegemony, the the company has unabashedly acknowledged acquisition of wealth as their primary motivation in any conflict. This driving value system has led to more than one petty lord finding himself at the end of an Honored Few’s sword when a better deal was presented. Luckily for the Hegemony, there are few kingdoms that amass as much wealth as they do, so they have been able to consistently purchase (or repurchase after a regime change) the loyalty of The Honored Few since their conception.
Throughout its history The Honored Few have been used for and against the Hegemony as a means of expansion and consolidation respectively. Some scholars have speculated the possibility of them being surreptitiously hired to attack Hegemony outposts as a way to silence quarreling within the Executive Convocation. Others have dismissed this proposition, saying that such a reckless measure would have the possibility of catastrophic failure. Regardless of which side one supports, it is obvious that The Honored Few generally come out on top.
A prominent group of Hegemonic scholars from the “Albanese” school of thought argue that The Honored Few have changed radically over time as leadership, tactics and members are rotated: “A famous philosophical Gnomish riddle talks about the ship of legendary general Greseus, who after conquering Orcs of old sailed back home. Throughout the journey his ship was damaged and repaired with scavenged parts, until no original part of the ship remained. This process of change and evolution can be seen with mercenary companies such as Honored Few, who re-form after major losses. The mercenary group of today is unlike any of its predecessors, and should not be judged along the same guidelines.”
A vitriolic response of this theory came from Gustavo Averni in an issue of Magic and Society which focused upon Hegemonic favoritism in academic writing:
“Another example of this cowardly rationalization comes from the “esteemed” group of ‘scholars’ that make up the ‘Albanese’ ‘school’ of ‘thought’. They argue with an overwrought and pretentious metaphor that since the famous Ship of Greseus was comprised of new materials, it was exempt from the actions of the previous ship. But they fail to recognize that it was still a ship! The Honored Few have demonstrated a willingness for wholesale slaughter of civilians and a consistent tendency of cowardice throughout their entire history, no matter who was leading them. The ship may have different planks, but they’re still rotten!”