I have recently picked up this particularly grim profession, and was curious about the name and the profession itself. None of the other professions seem quite so… focused. The Monster-Hunter is, well, a hunter of monsters, the Correspondent continues in the research of that grossly incandescent language, the Midnighter still collects information and deals in a wide array of secrets, and the Glassman has all of Parabola to survey. The Licentiate, though, is restricted to just that single, pointed list and has a very interesting payment:

[spoiler]Bazaar Permits. I do not think any other of this tier of profession is so directly or so, ironically, overtly employed by the Bazaar itself. Especially considered what ‘Licentiate’ means (it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that the ‘license to practice a profession’ aspect means that the bearer has a license to kill and ignore that it also refers to someone who has a ‘license to teach’, or the latin root itself, ‘freedom’), I’m genuinely worried I have inadvertently become a hired assassin for the Masters themselves; where else would I acquire so hefty a sum of documentation allowing the liberty of murder? Are there other channels, indicated by the licentia of the title, funneling resources to me, ensuring I hunt down and murder… what seems to be a rather long and growing list of someones? Where does the list come from? What drives one to seek it out? There seems to be very little information on this (or any of the tier 3 professions at all, really).

Considering my rather abyssal destiny, I’m concerned that proceeding to Strangler may further bind me to whatever agency is already subsuming my own, and keep me from that bright, searing fate deep beneath the zee.[/spoiler]

The Bazaar is indeed plotting something with these Professions. Advancing further in any of them is absolutely a terrible idea that almost everyone will do because who can resist the allure of a new and powerful piece of equipment? I’m pretty sure we won’t be forced into anything just for reaching the top, but something will happen and I look forward to seeing just what that is.

As a Licentiate, you have risen through the ranks in service to those whose motives are unknown - and that the knowledge thereof is irrelevant. First as an Enforcer, then a Murderer, and now as a Licentiate you have, more and more, traded your own free will and discretion in exchange for greater monetary gain. The same can be said of other professions, but its more nefarious in your case because your job is murdering people.

That said, I have always suspected that the Masters were the ones hiring the Licentiate. However - there are other powers at work in the Neath to rival or even surpass Hell and the Bazaar. For all we know it is the Bazaar itself that is hiring you and not the Masters. The only certainty is that another promotion will bring you into the employ of even more insidious entities.

edited by Owen Wulf on 4/13/2014

It is, however, a certainty that the glorious study of the Correspondence is without these dangerous ties. For all pales next to the majesty of its unparalleled circumference of the mind, the blazing tendrils which sweep through vast reams of knowledge, the language intoned from the whispers of time immemorial! Mad, they called me, mad!

I’ll show them!

A Correspondent is no less a pawn, whatever your motives it was the Masters who guided you onto the path. Who do you think sent you the Unsigned Message? Your knowledge will grow, and grow until you may yet rise another rank.

Perhaps one day you will be asked to investigate a secret on behalf of certain entities in the Neath - and perhaps they will seek to eliminate you once you have outlived your usefulness. If the secret itself does not kill you that is.

Take my favored profession, the Monster-Hunter. Now, why would the Masters keep something so dangerous around? Well, just in case they need something killed. Something the average man could not withstand, whose mind would shatter at the mere thought of facing it, whose will would melt like candle-wax before a flame ere its approach is nigh.

the question is not whether I will kill it, but whether my sanity would survive the encounter…

edited by Owen Wulf on 4/17/2014

A further note on the Correspondent: is the Correspondence not the language of the Bazaar, and of its kin, and of those whose message it bears? Perhaps you can think of another purpose a human able to understand such a language might fulfill.

[quote=Owen Wulf]

the question is not whether I will kill it, but whether my sanity would survive the encounter…

edited by Owen Wulf on 4/17/2014[/quote]

Considering that the title of the next profession in the chain is probably Laocoonian, the answer is ‘not likely’.