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Slaveryby Alex Benson
Randel's manner in handling slaves is different than most other Alphatian kingdoms. First, slaves are placed in categories. Slaves usually start out as a Level two. If they prove difficult in performing their duties, then they are punished by being made a level one or are slain outright. The threat of being made a level one slave and the promises being advanced to a level three gives Randel's slave force reason to behave.
This system was established in AY1260 (AC260) when a travelling cleric by the name of Acritarion (C15 of Tarastia) began a campaign to abolish slavery. He found limited support from the commoners and spellcasters. With legal avenues failing him, he planned a program of work stoppage in Dmireton. Acritarion chose Dmireton as it was the primary supply hub for part of the kingdom's military.
The program was supposed to bring the Alphatians to the negotiation table. Unfortunately, the labour strike was not well organised and a peaceful demonstration quickly turned into a revolt. The military moved in and mercilessly put down the unrest. For his part in the revolt, Acritarion was captured and executed for treason.
The revolt did bring to light a few things. First and foremost was that the kingdom's combat ability could be hindered by slave unrest. Secondly, most of the slaves that had revolted were not of Alphatian heritage. Not being Alphatian, the slaves had no loyalty at all towards the Empire. The slave situation amounted to a potentially dangerous body that could do much damage especially if the Randel Armed Forces were deployed overseas.
To address these concerns, the Randel monarchy and High Court established the Slave Level System to offer slaves some positive outlook. To reduce the number of non-Alphatian blooded slaves, a decree was issued strongly advising that the slave owners of Randel primarily use slaves of Alphatian heritage. Non-Alphatian slaves may be used but any disruptive behaviour by them will be the responsibility of their owner.
A Level One Slave is the lowest form of slave. For the most part, Level ones are either convicts or enslaved barbarians. They have no rights and spend their time performing menial and often hazardous, backbreaking tasks. Life expectancy is short for level ones. As a rule they are not referred to as even being human. They are not allowed to speak to anyone. Their given names are not used. Instead the number that is stamped upon their slave collar and branded upon their forehead is used as a name. Any level one not responding to his number faces stern disciplinary action. Once a slave is branded a level one, his fate is secured and there is no room for advancing. All level ones are owned or administered by the Randel government.
A Level Two is in much better shape. This is the starting point for most slaves. Slaves in this category usually have some skills or are taught them. They have a name and are referred to by it. Level twos wear a metal collar, which denotes their name, status, and owner. Level twos are still subject to the overall laws on slaves. The exceptions being that demoting a slave to level one status is employed instead of killing the slave outright and the hope of being promoted to a level three. However, a slave's owner can kill or sale a slave at any time.
A Level Three slave is about as good as a slave can get and still be a slave. They receive all the benefits of a level two. Plus their owner cannot kill them. Legal actions must be presented to and handled by the High Court. The slave can receive and keep gifts and money. A level three is hard to sell as the selling price is split between the owner and slave. Before selling a level three, most owners will just set them free.
To be promoted to a level three, a level two must serve his owner for a period of at least ten years before petitioning the court for the promotion. The level two must have some eligible skills to prove that he or she can function in society. It usually takes a year or two for it to be processed and made official. Promotions seem to focus on slaves of Alphatian heritage. There is an unwritten rule that slaves of Alphatian heritage receive primary consideration.
Once made a level three, the slave trades in his old slave collar for a medallion bearing his name, status, and owner. A level three is often given greater responsibility and as such better training. A level three is also required to be clothed in a better fashion. And a level three is recognised as a superior by level twos. A level three can also marry any other level three without permission. Marriage to a level two needs the permission of the owner. This includes slaves owned by other people as well as those owned by the same.
The one key advantage is that a level three can actually buy his or her freedom. And the law protects the slave so that his owner cannot confiscate, steal, or trick him out of his money. The Randel Judiciary handles the slave's finances. However, taking a bride greatly handicaps the process of saving money as personal expenses increase.
Once a slave saves enough to buy his or her freedom, it is summarily granted. It is customary for the Judiciary to return a percentage of the money so the freed slave has some money to start anew. Most of the time, the owner also offers the freed slave a position as a paid employee. The slave knows the job and is familiar with the owner. That option is usually taken especially if the slave has a spouse still in the master's service.