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Runners provide one of the main forms of long-distance communication, carrying written messages between holds for a fee. The name runner appears to come from the fact that they literally run while carrying their messages. Runners make use of trails known as traces. Along these traces are Runner Stations, where messages can be picked up or dropped off. However, runners can pick up new messages at any time assuming the proper fees are paid. People or organizations wishing to avoid public identification will use this method, as messages dropped at a station are logged and tracked. Though sending a message usually requires payment, it is craft policy to carry Community messages for free.
The advent of AIVAS technology led to some concerns for the runners, as there were fears that runners would be rendered obsolete by new methods of communication. Some people, such as Lessa, however, maintained that runners would always be needed. Not all technology was threatening. The rise of printed books and notices allowed for the spread of accurate accounts of current events, which would be carried by runners where needed.
Runners generally have long legs. Some runners are better suited for sprinting short distances, while others are better at long-distance runs.
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