This parchment, curiously, was found inside one of the tomes bestowed to the Great Compendium by the Republic of Anis-Anpagan. It is a copy of a letter believed to be over more than two thousand years old (the reproduction itself, scholars argue, may be over two hundred years) written by the Krath Emperor Dearan Asaen at his early teenage years as an Imperial Appraiser. It offers intriguing insight to the ingenius political paradigm Asaen would later instigate. The letter also sheds valuable light on how Dearan Salador Asaen may have first found out about the pervasive corruption of the Empire's officialdom.

o my noble and learned friend Aeolus,

I am increasingly confronted by the idea that freedom of speech is central to the progress of discussion and critique, two practices, which – I think - are most valuable in that they not only expose a society’s greatest injustices but also can potentially change them (hopefully for the better). This, I believe, results from the intellectual trend of recognizing democracy as the pinnacle of the political process recently gaining force in the Zhunite plains (the roots of which, rather predictably, can be traced back to the Krean colonization of ca. 3500). I presume we will be of the same mind when I state that the self-regulating mechanisms of many civilized societies hinge on the presumption that speech (or to put it in broader yet perhaps more accurate terms: expression) is and should be free: By protecting free speech, we are protecting the capacity for a transparent process of critique, and subsequently, a possibility for social change. Although, I must admit that I still harbour doubts on whether this assumed and unqualified merit of freedom is unquestionably sound.

This drift is indisputably guided by the fine oratory traditions of Cusca, which, I cannot help pointing with a degree of pride, were prompted by the Krean ideologies they were exposed to. It is of little doubt that the height of democracy in Zhun historically corresponds to the creation of the city-state (under which the characteristically Krean decision making structures for the regulation of public life, such the Assembly of State, flourished). As the spoken word became the chief instrument of power, public meeting places where decisions could be debated and agreed to by the public sprang into life. You are very correct in noting my rather sceptical use of ‘public’; I am still shocked at how frequently and habitually the word is employed interchangeably for men (or to be even more precise: men of a certain social standing) in ‘public’ matters here in Zhun. You may very wisely point out that such political definitions often reflect the perceptions of the society they arise from. Indeed it is no coincidence that children and the uneducated do not have a right to vote in the Twin Kingdom.

While I do acknowledge that democracy is probably the best political system humanity has so far come up with, clearly I do not favour the blind veneration of such evocative notions as freedom and democracy. Certainly I do not defend the idea of freedom without boundaries. Although it cannot be denied that with the Empire’s rise to power in Zhun, democracy and freedom of speech slowly faded from the political foreground, I am not inclined to say that this has been purely for the worse. Imperial supervision brought the stability and safety the arbitrary execution of an infant democracy failed to provide. In the end democracy is only a principle we employ to bring about the goals of certain policies (such as the betterment of life and prosperity in our societies).

However alluring let not these musings pall the real intention behind this letter. My dear Aelous, I fear I must rely on your support yet again! Following up on what must surely be a clerical error I have discovered (with great mortification) that my department is not in possession of the annual Cuscan budget. Can you contact the relevant authorities on my behalf and request a detailed account of the past seven years headed by an overview on: the main sources of income and heads of expense, how public funds allocated through the Regional Imperial Trust (Section I: Subsection III) have been put to use within the period, and a synopsis of their current long and short term schemes? It is imperative that the aforesaid records reach my hands by I'shati-xo-sha the seventeenth - promptly seven days from the calculated arrival of this letter – as I am to deliver a preliminary report to the Emperor in twenty-seven days. I am aware that asking for a statement to be delivered within such pressed time limits on such short notice must appear very exacting of me at first glance. However, assuming most of the reports must have already been completed, asking their scribes to reproduce copies by the end of the week I believe is quite a reasonable request. Along with this appeal, could you also inquire what may have impeded the timely delivery of these documents during the office of my predecessor?

I am very much obliged for your generous assistance at this hour of distress.

Please pass on my best wishes to your House,


Déárán Sáládor Asáén,
Imperial Appraiser to the Coastal Region of Southwestern Zhun,
Servant of the Light of the Land, His Highness Grand Karoth, Emperor of the Krath Realm


Letter written by Coren FrozenZephyr View Profile