The Emperor's Transcription Office (Itrani: Nebo Skresatami ne-Tairazun) is an office situated in the Internal Court, answerable to the Emperor himself, and responsible for his daily matters as well as for administrative functions including the drafting and proofreading of edicts, the recording of Imperial Conference minutes, and other such matters, in effect serving as the Emperor's secretaries.
This office was founded by Lein Durun, upon his founding of the Lein Dynasty itself. A unique feature of this office is that it is staffed exclusively by females.
The 12-year war that ultimately installed Lein rule thoughout the realms of the Tranon, as well as the highly centralised system of government that Lein Durun introduced to help ensure the future stability of the empire, also meant a hugely increased workload for the Emperor himself. Whereas most previous rulers of the Empire, or of huge Imperial fiefs, had to write their own edicts and read all petitions, this was recognised early on as being almost impossible for a single person to achieve, if he had the entire Empire under his view.
It was to this end that the new Emperor, while consolidating his new dynasty and overseeing the expansion of the bureaucracy, organised the Transcription Office to better handle this work. Why females were chosen has not been made very clear, though the emphasis often is for females from non-noble families to be promoted directly to ths office for their skills; it is also well known that Lein Durun, who loved calligraphy but was far from skilled at it, simply preferred narrower, more elegant scripts whose authors tended to be women (Calligraphy was an art widely practiced by both genders amongst the Tranon, even though there were many females who were employed in dictation who actually did not know the meaning of the words they wrote). These females were often also chosen for their memory, and often did the work of looking for certain petitions, checking laws, and recalling the previous history of edicts, in essence serving as additional brains for the Emperor.
Staff and Training
The Office comprises:
- The Transcription Section, headed by the Imperial Personal Secretary who is also the chief of the office, and responsible for drafting edicts and recording minutes;
- The Readings Section, a team of proofreaders;
- The Literary Section, a team of talented poets who write for the Emperor's entertainment; and
- The Domestic Section, a team of high-ranking servants responsible for the Emperor's room's arrangements, his dress and decorum, who along with the Emperor's personal eunuchs also serve as his go-getters and runners within the Palace.
During the reign of Lein Loran, the four sections had staffs of 4, 4, 2 and 8 respectively; during the reign of Lein Sora, whose reign saw a huge expansion in the Imperial lands and accordingly in the workload of the offices, the sections had 12, 9, 4 and 10 people respectively.
Most staff of the Transcription Office have served as scribe girls in noble houses or other offices (where young girls used as scribes, with precise handwriting but without the comprehension of what exactly they are writing, are valuable workers); they are often selected at the age of 13 to 14 for their handwriting, intelligence, and other merits. Once selected, they are then put through gruelling training, including lessons in rote memorisation and calligraphy practice for days on end, to train them for their role; most of these girls then officially join the Office at around the age of 17 or 18, being personally selected by the Emperor after several examinations.
The skills of these girls in memory and speed of writing is legendary; many writers speak of 'mere young girls, who can recite a hundred edicts two days after reading them, without pause or hesitation'. While this may be an exaggeration, that the people are skilled and intelligent workers is beyond doubt. Many of these girls are often talented writers on their own merit, especially those within the Literary Section.
Due to the nature of their memories, and the sort of information they are allowed access to, these women who serve the Emperor are also under heavy restrictions. Their building within the Palace Ground is under heavy guard, and they are not allowed to marry while they remain within the Office, which may be for up to 10 years. Six months before they are released, they are in effect locked away from the documents, in order to 'clear out' their memory and make it irrelevant. Even then, though these girls may be around 28 when they are finally eligible for marriage, they are nonetheless much sought after for their skills. Many of them, in the domestically oriented women's society of the Lein, became matriarchal figures of noble houses for their sheer ability.