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Heralds are keepers of History and chroniclers of Events.

Heralds have two functions, generally: to serve as voice of the government to the people, and to maintain records. In many places the Heralds do not serve as governmental voices--for example, historically, the Marlovans had their Herskalts, and the Venn their Skalts. The early Marlovan government, in replacing the Iascans, did not trust the Heralds' Guild because of its connections to Sartor, and so they reduced them to record keepers until they had their own Marlovan heralds bred up; until that time, the Herskalts were chosen from the King's Runners, under whose supervision the Heralds came. Gradually the two branches melded, until Herskalts were chosen from Heralds, and the King's Runners became the Castle Guard.

In Colend and Sartor, Heralds and Scribes are trained in parallel, and there can be a great deal of crossing over. For many centuries Heralds were only trained in Sartor; Colend, at its beginning, had scribes who were heralds in all but function. The first king, in declaring sovreignity, created the Heralds of Colend, who eventually were admitted to be part of the Guild. Where Colend led, others followed.

Basically, Heralds can be messengers, or the voice of the government, and scribes are seen but not heard, they handle unofficial correspondence--but that can mean correspondence of important meaning. Both keep records, though the Heralds are in charge of archives. Yet the Scribes have archives, and because magic is often involved in correspondence, mages and scribes often work together. It is not uncommon for Scribe-mages to be trained for specific purposes. The emphasis is always that they cannot directly influence events, and are forbidden to take action.

This tension between keeping the secrets of the homeland and international connections exists in a lot of places, and so there is a great deal of rule and ritual among Heralds, helping to smooth interface between them and local authorities. Like Scribes, Heralds are trained in effacing themselves, keeping an impassive demeanor, in seeming detached from life around them. Much is made of Heralds' search for, and preservation of, artifacts of the past. What isn't always told is how Heralds work with the Mage Council to keep records of the present, including evaluating current movers and shakers. Their mission is to protect the past, but it is also to preserve the compact with the indigenous races as much as they can.

Heralds have thus sometimes interfered with governments they think might be dangerous, but rarely, and not always successfully when too direct. However, knowledge is power, and the art of the oblique action is still being contemplated. . . the Heralds all remember, even if everyone else has forgotten, that the first Lirendi king was a Scribe-Herald. And he's not the only one who took action when it was required.

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Page last modified on September 24, 2009, at 11:06 AM