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Worldbuilding – The Block October 5, 2009

Posted by Yarnspnr in Worldbuilding.
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Although volume upon volume is written
to prove slavery a very good thing,
we never hear of the man who wishes to
take the good of it by becoming a slave himself.

– Abraham Lincoln

An Invitation To Experience

The Block

Debt and Indenture in the Empire of Uppsala

© D. Erick Emert


We visited the small village of Thelra just off Rigga Sea and the dangerous lowlands of Kyrrell Swamp where a young girl was birthed to Lobot Cord.  We also joined Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs on his first trip to Uppsala since becoming an OutSider in the great Empire.  Now we travel to New London, the capital city of the Rejoinder of Aingland.

Pretty much the world agrees that slavery is an evil endeavor.  With the exception of the native exterminations, the Empire of Uppsala has not been at war for over a hundred years.  Only a few of the native tribesmen ended up on Uppsala’s infamous block.  The great majority of slaves in Uppsala are people in debt who chose indentured service to repay their debts.

The Indentured Service Office or ISO is located in every major city in every Rejoinder of Uppsala.  It is a huge government bureaucracy with agents and investigators whose tentacles reach into every corner of the Empire.  The purpose is to supply the State (especially the wealthy) with forced labor without the evil ramifications of slavery.

The system starts with a complaint being filed with the ISO of a debt owed.  The ISO tracks down the debtor and explains the situation they’re in and what options if any they can choose from.  If the debt is small, it is handled locally within the Rejoinder that the debt is owed.  If the debt is large, the debtor is charged with a felony and tried in court at the Rejoinder capital.  The trail is basically for show as all deals were cut before the trial ever commenced.  The trail simply makes the conclusion legal.

Once a conclusion at trial is reached, the debtor is sentenced an amount of time it will take for the debt to be worked off.  Someone is then chosen by the debtor to serve the debt.  It might be the debtor himself, his wife or any number of his children.

After the trial, the debtor is transported to the Block in Uppsala.  Now, the Block is not some kind of auction block where the debtors are sold.  It is actually a whole city block in Uppsala.  Administrative offices, schools, barracks, cells, a laundry, a large cafeteria, tailory along with a large interior square where the debtors are arraigned for sale to the public.

If the government requires indentured servants, suitable individuals are not sold, but are selected.  In fact, upon the arrival of the debtor they take a battery of tests to indicate their talents to show where their skills might bring a higher price at sale.  Depending on the needs of the buyer, a debtor might receive intensive training to increase their indicated skill level.  The cost for this is added on to the length of time the debtor must serve.

No debtor is forced into sexual service.  However, they may choose sexual service in order to half the time the debtor must serve.  No children under the age of sixteen may opt for sexual service.  Sexual service can be opted only by the person serving the debt.  No family member may place a charge (such as a wife or older child) into sexual service.

In The Myth of Kyrrell Swamp, you met a few people who were in the charge of the Indentured Service Office.  One was Brigg’s lover, a crib girl chained to her bed in an Inn in Selga.  Later in the novel, one of Ahllie’s Lobot Cord members is sold to Briggs’ friend, Taylor.  She works as a singer/musician at his villa.

In The Block, you will meet the Farmer family.  The father owes a huge sum of money to a local gambling house.  You will follow the family’s story as two of his children are chosen to work off his debt.

The first two chapters will be given over for your enjoyment.



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