Storyteller's note: This article can be read in The Tradesmaster's Dispatch, a Wezellian newsletter. This particular edition can be found in the van Zaar residence in Zaarbrügge.
The Tradesmaster's Dispatch
Räderhafen - 11 / MXXI
The Attack on Free Thought
as illustrated by the persecution of the Argonauts.
The Royal Guild of Argonauts was founded by Lord Solar Macharius, King of Pendrell and Corillia in YE 89. The guild was tasked with preserving the secrets of navigation and astronomy, and for centuries it was the backbone of the Pendrellian navy; only on few occasions did any one not a member of the guild rise to admiralcy.
The guild served the Royal House of Pendrell with honour, adhering to the mandate laid down by Macharius. We ourselves owe them some gratitude for the prosperity brought by the trade routes opened by the Argonauts before the Wezellian Renaissance. Let us not forget that early in this age, our kingdom stood without the wealth of enlightenment other realms inherited from the Scythian Empire.
The Argonauts have lost a great deal of influence, prestige, and resources over the last generation. There have been a few scandals involving prominent Navigators, but the greatest blow is a most recent one: the Tribunals of Pure Thought. These tribunals, as the astute reader will know, have been founded in order to weed out freethinkers and heretics, and are strictly counter-Enlightenment. They follow the doctrines laid down by the Presbyterium, and operate outside the Habeas Corpus. To date, at least twenty-three gentlemen of standing have been sent to the pyre by these tribunals, several more have been imprisoned or exiled. It should also be noted that the property of the convicted does not befall the Crown, as is customary, but the Parliament.
That such an ancient order as the Argonauts are being eradicated should be cause for concern for all enlightened gentlemen, for if the secrets of navigation are to be suppressed, the very foundation of reason and commerce is threatened.
The Tradesmaster is informed that over the last year, the Board of Onkels have granted asylum to several prominent scholars, thinkers, peers and gentlemen of good standing, all of whom have had to flee from unjust persecution and slander. It is the conviction of the Tradesmaster that the outcome of these horrendous actions can only lead to a dilution of the very essence of Erian civilisation -- that of pursuit of wonder tempered by rational thinking and enhanced by scientific achievements and philosophical advancements. Was it not these very qualities that enabled Man to emerge victorious from the Second World War? Should we then abandon our best hope in the face of what may well be the greatest peril Man has ever faced?
We, as a culture, nay, as a race, are now besieged by great and terrible forces -- forces of darkness, corruption and ignorance. The Syndikaat has committed itself to this conflict, this war, this, the Third World War.
The Tradesmaster can do nothing but condemn those that seek to shackle and make mute those gifted individuals who are our best hope for salvation. If war is the only way to survive, we must all answer the call to arms. The Third Age is ending, and the Fourth Age must be born in blood. We must strike down those who wish to poison and destroy our brothers with furious anger, whatever they be, where ever the are. Let us not fear this struggle!
The fate of the Navigators is but one example of the tyranny of evil men. What sets it apart from the Temple's rampant persecutions of free thought and enlightened vision is that it happens with the blessing of the Cabal of Pure Thought. If the thought is no longer pure, let us then, for the sake of our sons and daughters, abandon it and embrace the truth. The seeing must lead the blind, lest we all perish.