Letter of Recommendation

Not all travelers are welcome in this vast world. Bad deeds are done. People become wary.   Fortunately political and religious leaders took notice of a simple piece of paper used by a group of nomads and merchants to solve this problem.   Today, the Letter of Recommendation is the most widely used document around the globe.
   

The Problem

Merchants may provide desired treasures and trinkets, delicacies and delights--but with that comes a measure of deceit and crime. Just as not all politicians are honest, not all merchants and travelers are honorable.   Okay,...there are no honest politicians--except perhaps Modrid of Dubail--but you get my point.   With crime a growing problem, communities began closing commerce to merchants and unknown travelers. While this protected it citizens in the short term--it also encouraged roaming marauders in many areas.   The fact remained that ceasing trade grew tensions between all people.    

The Solution

The Duron, a hearty sea-faring people, proposed a solution used by their own community for Seafoam.   When ships docked to trade with their floating community, captains were required to present a 'Letter of Recommendation'--displaying the signature and statement of trust by an individual known and respected by the Duron. Those possessing such letters were then held, by common law, responsible for all acts performed by those accompanying them.   This method was quickly adopted among the races and ports--specifically among merchants--who then sought to redeem themselves in the eyes of both the public and leaders (to obtain their approval).    

Examples

The first noble recorded to sign such a document was Lady Illandria, while trading with the Duron. This allowed the sea-faring people into Westgaiden, the island port now known today as Darengard, and even the great city of Holääfeldi to the North.   Today letters can be both simple or complex depending upon how far a traveler desires to go. Each letter, however, bears a statement of trust--followed by a list of signatures.    

Sponsors

All Letters of Recommendation begin with a single sponsor. Which names qualify have changes over the years, but trust and renown are key. The greater the name and recognition your sponsor has--the further you will be able to travel and begin making a name for yourself.   Those who do not have the connections themselves, nor the funds to purchase a sponsor can earn recommendation on their own, gathering singular letters from clients. These letters can be leveraged with those who are familiar with said clients, naturally expanding upon one's own reputation over time. Silas O’Brien is a perfect example of such efforts.   This master artisan from Putayal was able to gain letters from royalty on three continents through hard work, honesty, and shaking the right hands.

Forgeries

Due to the level of trust established through these means, penalties for forgeries are extreme.   The base penalty in most civilizations is captivity. Culprits are taken prisoner and put to labor, paying whatever restitution a community or government feels is justified. Some societies add a physical punishment on top of paying restitution. Lashes given in a public gathering location is a common practice to...encourage conformance to the law.
To dissuade forgery activities, the mägo have provided something now used by most ports of entry.   Along side standard log books is a tomb called a "Book of Familiars".   This magical publication has the names of regular merchants, dignitaries, and other notable individuals. Requiring a single drop of a person's blood, pressed into their individual page, reacts when their name is spoken out loud.   If one says, "I am John Smith," and he is, indeed that same John Smith to whom the blood belongs, nothing will happen.   If, however, someone is posing as John Smith and speaks his name... "I am John Smith", the enchanted page will immediately fade blank, allowing the authorities to arrest the criminal without hesitation.
 

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Comments

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10 Jul, 2020 08:27

That was a really cool article! I like how you turned letters of recommendation into something cool for a fantasy (?) setting. I also really like what you did with the Mägo. One question though, what happens if someone gives a letter of recommendation, but then they find out something bad about the person they are recommending? Is there a way or procedure to "nullify" a letter?   PS: I think there is a word issue in this sentence: (I think instead of protested, it should be protected?)

While this protested it citizens in the short term--it also encouraged roaming marauders in many areas.

10 Jul, 2020 10:22

Thanks for that catch!   As for the nullification, yes---a signature/recommendation can go both ways. It's one fo the reasons this is such a powerful document, because it keeps people in check over time.   Imagine a Lord or Lady calling you in to explain yourself.   The other side to this is if a person is caught in criminal activity, the letter of recommendation is one of the first items confiscated by any authority.   I hope that answers your question?

JAIME BUCKLEY
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10 Jul, 2020 11:24

It does, though I definitely see potential for mischief :P

10 Jul, 2020 17:23

Oh good---that was the whole point!   More stories to be told!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
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