The International Guild of Heralds is another creature of The Great War. Created in 528 CE, during The Treaty of Amiens, the “Unification Document”, as it was styled, unified the national “Heraldic Colleges” of the participating countries. Each national colleges became a member guild. Heraldic conventions were codified into a new International Heraldic Standard; ambassadorial status was granted to all guild members of journeyman status or above, with apprentices covered by the status of their masters. In truth, these changes were more ceremonial than anything else, as the heraldic standards of blazonry were pretty much uniform anyway, as was genealogical notation. What few changes were made, were at the margins. The one thing the unification did do, was to clarify the definition of ambassadorial immunity, and make it applicable throughout the modern world. Heralds were to remain neutral in all matters under their care; they were messengers, not diplomats; record keepers, not judicial or political partisans. So long as a herald stayed within their purview, they were non-combatants, they were to be neither attacked or imprisoned for discharging the duties of their office. That was the bargain struck.
Since the war’s end, not only has the number of participating countries grown, so has the scope of the guild’s charge. It’s duties now cover:
- Genealogical record keeping, including deaths, births, marriages, divorces, knighthoods, changes in peerage, etc.
- Land patents, title records, and infeudations, including the surveying and platting (the actual work is usually contracted out) as well as maintenance of deeds and titles.
- Ambassadorial duties include:
- Courier duties on behalf of local, regional, national and international governmental bodies.
- Treaty negotiations.
- Ceasefire negotiations.
- Legal service of process.
These duties, and the powers of immunity that go with them, are now virtually universally recognized, even by countries that have not formally agreed to the international convention.