Slavery, unfortunately, is a very old and well-established institution. Among the territories of Mann, slavery rarely ever reaches the level of malignancy as was practiced in the American south. In large urban areas, where labor is cheap and plentiful, attitudes towards slavery could almost be considered progressive. In the distant rural areas, slaves are more likely to be treated like property.
There are three different types of slavery. The first and most common slave is one who sells himself or is sold into slavery to cover a debt. This type of slavery only lasts for seven years. During this time the slave owner is responsible for feeding, clothing and housing the slave. The slave owner may physically discipline the slave, but if any permanent physical harm is done to him, the slave is freed and all debts or fines are considered paid in full. In many ways this type of slavery is like the apprenticeship many young boys go through starting at the age of seven.
While in many places failure to pay any debt or fine can result in seven years of slavery, in some areas (particularly the larger cities) the length of service may be adjusted in proportion to the debt. It can be as short as a day (even shorter if the judge wants to make a point regarding the merits of the case) up to, but not greater than, seven years.
The second form of slavery is the prisoner of war or one convicted of manslaughter. (Murderers are almost always executed.) This second type of slave must pay for the life they have taken with a lifetime of service--though sometimes (particularly in the case of prisoners of war) they may ransom their freedom. These slaves have no rights and are considered true property that can be bought or sold. The only restriction on the owner is that he cannot kill or cripple them outright. Such abuse may result in a fine and or having their slave taken away.
The third type of slave is also a slave for life. Sometimes a slave who has a good master may develop a special relationship and wish to continue serving him even after the seven years are up. If he swears to serve his master faithfully for the rest of his life, he becomes a bond-slave until his master dies or chooses to release him.
Children of slaves are not automatically slaves. However, the law does not recognize children of POWs or convicted killers as belonging to them.
Signs of slavery
Lifelong slaves, such as POWs, killers and bond-slaves are usually marked to designate their status. In the case of POWs or killers, they may be branded or tattooed on the forehead and/or on the right hand. (POWs who are likely to be ransomed are usually not marked or branded unless it was a bitter conflict and the owner is really mad at the other side.) In the case of a bond slave, they are sometimes tattooed with their master's mark, but usually only given a gold ring in their right ear engraved with their master's mark.