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 ProblemMerchants 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 SolutionThe 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).
ExamplesThe 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.
SponsorsAll 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.
ForgeriesDue 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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