Though often thought of as a gentler follow-on from the
more splendid Phosphorus Era, the Argon Era was splendid enough in
its own way. Moreover it has an aura of mystery, of romance, which
its mightier predecessor in some ways lacked. Perhaps also its
culture possessed a certain serene wisdom which originated in the 24
minutes' bath of emanations from the Bank of Light.
Era 18, the Argon Era, lasted 12,666,934 days,
or 516 Uranian years, equivalent to 43,350 Earth years.
In this period the profession of Wayfarer flourished as
never before. Partly this was because fewer resources remained for
the more expensive patrols by airship or dlax. But also, it was
fitting that lone travellers should henceforth provide most of the
statistics on which the peril contours of maps were based - since the
concepts of Syoom and Fyaym became somehow more immediate and personal
in the humility of this era, in which era 15's pursuit of, and belief
in, power, had become muted, and mankind had come to terms with the
fact that Fyaym could never be conquered.
The change was not only in the methods of wayfaring but
also, partly, in its objectives. Argon Era Wayfarers, unlike
Phosphorus Era patrollers, were not expected to understand.
As in all later eras, they were required only to try their best to
survive their journeys. Survival or non-survival provided the only
data which the cartographers were interested in recording.
Admittedly some of the greatest adventurers did succeed in understanding
what they saw and in clearing up some mysteries and solving some crises,
but this was beyond what was perceived as the call of duty. The
change, the lowering of expectations, was perhaps the most important
aspect of the general "trimming of sails" which civilization underwent
in the transition between the two great eras, 15 and18.
>> Nalre Zitpoidl and the
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