The Handshake Document

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The Handshake Doument was a highly secretive treaty signed between Pendragon Scott Sagen and Laytami Gudersnipe of the Gudersnipe Foundation.

Written in A.Y. 1992, very little is known about the infamous treaty; an official copy has never been found. Through the Ages, numerous fakes have been brought forward, claiming to be the original, but the actual document and its contents have never been revealed.

The existence of the document is known only through secondary sources, and no direct quotes exist.

Agreements of the Document

Though the exact wording and contents were never made public, the treaty was essentially an agreement by the Gudersnipe Foundation not to move troops through its GATE network. The agreement also stipulated that, wherever feasable, the Crimson Blade mercenary corps would act as a peace-keeping force and not take sides in a specific conflict.

While the second half of the agreement was violated time and again, the Foundation has never moved a sovereign army through the GATE; only its own troops and forces belonging to the Alliance.

Doubts About Existence

The existence of a physical "Handshake Doument" has been called into question many times, most notably in A.Y. 3412. It was first called into question in the early Second Age when historians came across other documents referencing it, but could not find the document itself. However, it was not until A.Y. 3412 that a major political incident would search for the actual piece of paper.

In 3411, Lal Soratami had outlawed Necromancy, and by 3412 was using Alliance troops to round up and slaughter necromancers. The political outcry was huge, and within the Gudersnipe Foundation, many people pointed to the Handshake Document as proof that Alliance troops could not be moved through the GATE. The Foundation responded by asking the Alliance to produce a copy of the original treaty, where none could be found. This was of course over 1400 years after the initial signing. If the document still existed at the time, Soratami probably destroyed it.

By the early Fourth Age, doubts about the documents existence had led to an important schism in historical thinking. In one camp, historians maintained that there was an actual, factual treaty signed by both parties, and that its contents should dictate current and future policy. The other camp, however, maintains that there was never a physical document, and that the very name (known only through secondary sources) identifies what it was: a handshake agreement.

Current Thinking

This was still a hotly debated topic when Herbet Patric Galactis composed the Accepted Histories in A.Y. 474, wherefore Galactis put forth a third hypothesis: there was a physical document, but a temporary treaty only to stabilize the very tense sitation. When the ninety-nine-years war ended and the new Alliance was forged, the old treaty no longer had any bearing, and instead official (and public) agreements between the Foundation and the Alliance were honored.

This was a rare move for Galactis, as the rest of his Accepted Histories dealt with things over which there was little debate. He either presented facts as they were known, or theories which had no evidence confirming or damning them. Postulating on such a hotly debated topic was a major departure from his style and goals.

However, as time moved on, Galactis's account won out, when evidence seemed to confirm his hypothesis. It didn't help, of course, that his "Accepted Histories" had by then become the source material for most schoolbooks. Though Galactis himself was very clear that it was only a personal speculation, that part was typically omitted, so a standard education presented the material as fact.