Blood and Jazz
Slavery is a system under which people are forced to work or are otherwise exploited in such a manner that they are deprived of the ability to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Until fairly recently, slavery was institutionally recognized by almost all societies of Ërdin. Currently, slavery has been outlawed in most countries by treaties such as the 3986 Tynwëan Convention on the Rights of Ërdin’s Peoples; however, such treaties invariably fail to recognize certain sentient beings as “peoples”, allowing slavery to persist through exceptions.
When slavery is practiced on an institutional level, slaves tend to be peoples who can readily be characterized as “other” from the slaveowners and perceived as primitive or incapable of managing themselves; accordingly, it has generally been considered taboo to enslave members of one’s own people or species. This taboo, in its turn, is sometimes used as evidence in support of making slaves “other”—for instance, gnolls made up one of the eight royal lines of the Yashoru Empire, notorious for its slavemaking through prisoners taken by conquest in Komwë including gnolls, and thus the fact that gnolls were involved in the enslavement of other gnolls was used as justification for the enslavement of gnolls by Tynwëan peoples. Naturally, of course, such enslaved gnolls were not considered by the royal gnoll line of the Yashoru to be members of their own people, any more than dark elves are considered to be members of the same people as high elves.
Slavery predates written records and is historically ubiquitous. Furthermore, despite the pejorative connotations that the word has acquired by recent convention, the demand for it has not significantly decreased. Some forms of slavery that persist today include:
Chattel Slavery: Almost gone thanks to treaties such as the 3986 TCREP, but still applies to certain sentient beings excluded from the TCREP, such as the white and red dragons commonly enslaved for food, labor, and mounts by the giant tribes of Dvirhim. It also continues on an institutional scale in Ki-Tan and the Kraken Deep.
Child Soldiers: Practiced legally in many jurisdictions by many of the warlords of Komwë in order to replenish armies and acquire particularly strong loyalty from their fighters; legal action cannot be taken unless warlords recruit child soldiers in an Aasim, Aglon, or other Tynwëan protectorate in which the practice may violate local law. Ki-Tan also technically practices this, as it often drafts elves into its armies for training while they are still sexually immature (though they are usually still many decades old).
Debt Bondage: Practiced legally and extensively in Aasimique, Aglondale, Cassily, Dvirhim, the Elven Kingdoms, Färchaia, Gazadhim, Ki-Tan, Lusitola, and Orogos.
Forced Marriage: Practiced legally in Dvirhim, Färchaia, Gazadhim, Ki-Tan, Qri Rakshas, the City of Feiyning, and many jurisdictions in Komwë.
Magical Compulsion: Used internationally through spells such as Planar Binding, Dominate, and Command Undead, in addition to their natural magic equivalents seen in examples such as the vampire-thrall bond. Legal limitations of this practice are only as strong as limitations of use of the spells themselves; laws specifically forbidding the use of magic as a means of forcing protracted slavery are rare.
Indentured Servitude: Practiced legally in Aasimique, Aglondale, Cassily, the Elven Kingdoms, Färchaia, Ki-Tan, Lusitola, Qri Rakshas, and the Reeflands.
Serfdom: Practiced legally in Aglon Saimoi, Dvirhim, Gazadhim, Ki-Tan, Orogos, the Reeflands, the City of Feiyning, and many jurisdictions in Komwë.