Monday, 30 November 2015

Stations in Life #3: Soldiers and Slaves

A warrior of Mentis, City of the Blue Women
Third and final social classes extract. Today Soldiers and Slaves. 

Soldier
Attributes: Add 3 points to Body and 3 to Machines.

Found among: Atlanteans, Tlavatlis and Muvians.

You are part of the military elite, those children of the citizens and nobility, male and female, who live and work as professional soldiers. You are not a member of the rank and file, but part of a secondary aristocracy that maintains and uses the greatest machines of destruction. The Soldier castes heavily concentrate themselves in these latter days among those who ride the mighty chariots of land, sea and sky, and wield the destructive power of vril in world-shattering ways.

Your contemporaries are the heroes of your people, and the forces of which you are a part have their own rich mythologies, their own secrets, their own religious forms and rituals. Atlantean armies segregate their regiments by gender, while Tlavatlis and Muvians allow men and women to bunk and fight alongside each other, much to the disgust of the Atlanteans.

You:
• Can read and write, but not with all that much facility;
• Rarely display affection;
• Are at the peak of physical fitness;
• Treat your regiment, crew or creche-barracks as your family;
• Expect the deference of the Citizen classes, and expect to defer to the Nobility;
• Expect members of your culture to be happy to see you;
• Know how to handle a sky chariot and a vrilspear;
• Don't generally need money, since the army supplies everything you need;
• Might be the child of professional soldiers;
• Own your own arms and armour.

Slave
Attributes: Add 3 points to Body and 3 to Hands.

Found among: Lemurians, Rmoahals, Tlavatlis, Atlanteans

You were a slave, and you were almost definitely born into slavery or sold into slavery at quite a young age. You might have recently ceased to be a slave. Maybe your master died, or you ran away. Maybe you were recently freed by a master for some reason or other.
The Tlavatlis and Atlanteans are the slave-taking cultures; if you're a Rmoahal or Lemurian, you were enslaved by those other two cultures (Muvians taken into slavery might be technically slaves too, but they never internalise the state, and never stick around long enough to do so, Muvian honour demanding escape or death, and nothing else).

To be reduced to a chattel does something to a person, and slaves' psyches are often fractured in some ways.

The Tlavatlis hardly treat their slaves well, branding them and beating them almost as a matter of course. In the Five Islands, the testimony of a slave is inadmissible in a court of law unless gained by torture, regardless of how willing the slave is.

Still, these are nothing compared to the indignities the Atlanteans visit upon their slaves, especially the Lemurians and the Rmoahals, which are so hideous that the vast majority of Atlanteans, even those who campaign from their comfortable position for emancipation, can't even bring themselves to believe that such things happen, even when faced with irrefutable evidence. Atlanteans lobotomise their slaves; they amputate limbs and install tools in their place; they deafen them or blind them; they have them gelded or spayed. You were probably one of the luckier ones, but you have suffered.

You:
• Have good reason to hate your former owners;
• Can't read or write, unless you were trained as a pedagogue;
• Carry a visible sign of your life as a slave, whether scars, brands, ownership tattoos or some other alteration to your body;
• Probably do not know where your family is, nor do you know if you have a family at all;
• Were expected to obey without question, or face violence;
• Might still own the shackle that was riveted together around your neck;
• Are likely hunted;
• Are recognisable as a slave or ex-slave by members of a slave-owning culture, and face being identified as such, and patronised or treated with contempt;
• Own nothing save the clothes on your back and perhaps a handful of money;
• Experience nightmares or flashbacks to your former life.

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