The Lost Continent
Slavery in Urda
Slavery, an unfortunate fact of life in Urda, appears in two basic forms. In the civilized nations, slavery is generally limited by law to “debt bondage,” wherein an indebted person sells their freedom for a finite amount of time in order to pay off what they owe. Such people are usually well protected under the law, but in actual practice the debt bondage system varies widely depending on location. In the Garic Federation, for instance, indentured servants tend to serve for an average of five years, usually working on a private farm or public works project near their home city; most return to their old lives when their terms of service are concluded. An indentured servant in Areen, however, is likely to have a very different experience. Debtors there often work for a decade or more before being released and are likely to eventually return to slavery for a second or third term; Areenian slaves also have a much higher incidence of permanent injury, generational debt, and forced relocation.
“Chattel” slavery, wherein the enslaved person is considered permanent property, is outlawed in the Garic Federation, Skarl, and Wistron; Areen makes an exception for the capture of “enemy combatants.” All non-humans in Lumen are automatically enslaved upon capture, and it is estimated that as many as 75% of humans live in a state of permanent servitude. In the Talarian Empire the selling of slavery usually only occurs between races. (E.g. orcs enslaving goblins.)
Though the existence of slavery is encouraged or tolerated in most parts of Urda, there are some who wish to see it exterminated in all forms. This way of thinking, though uncommon, has gradually been gaining followers, especially in the Garic Federation; the Circle of the Broken Shackle is probably the most important and widely known organization dedicated to ending slavery.