Chains of Silver and Blood
Slavery is a fact of life everywhere outside of the City of the Chained God. Citizens in Dir-Jal are forbidden to hold slaves by law (a fact that some members of the Cult of the Chained God cynically explain by saying that it is easier to revolt against a single master who doesn’t feed you that against the man who might employ you tomorow), but slaves are held by nobles and rich merchants along the rest of the coast.
In the Twelve Thrones of the Isles, slaves are either bought from the Guild, or made into slaves through crime or debt. Most of them tend the fields or are used to build ships, roads and other infrastructure, but a minority are sometimes used as tutors or artisans. The territories in the south of the Kingdom are more liberal towards slavery, capturing them from rival powers and using them not only in their fields or in the mines of the Mirror Mountains, but also to replace servants for the rich and powerful. Some of them are beastmen from the far south, where animals reign over men.
Along the Pearly Coast, the mountain people named the Gao (distant cousins of the Hazan) make up the majority of the slaves, and raids are sometimes mounted against the last free Gao villages. As time went on, “city gao” and “mountain gao” have grown into two disctinct populations, the customs of the former changing to adapt to their captivity. Both populations worship figures they call the Shining Ones, and Gao slaves wait for the day when the Shining Ones will come back to free them and bring them back to their long-lost mountains.
While the Hazan do not practice slavery, their tradition of “lending” the sons and daughters of defeated chiefs to the victors of conflicts can sometimes be interpreted as such. What’s more, they participate in the slave trade throught their role as mercenaries, and sometimes get taken as slaves themselves by the Twelve or the people of the Pearly Coast. Hazan banished from their tribes often become bandits and then slaves when captured alive.
Outside of the immediate area, traditions vary even more : In the Empire of Prasad, only members of the Dragon Clan are allowed to possess slaves (though they can lend them to their subordinates). In Ysir, only the sorcerers are recognised as free, and all mortals are otherwise considered slaves (in practice, life for high-placed Ysirian slaves is mostly undistinguishable from freedom). In the city of Illuvar, slaves can only be taken amongst those not worshiping the patron god of the city, offering the simple choice of conversion or slavery to those captured by Illuvari privateers…