|Civil Rights||Indentured Servitude|
Verdan is one of the equatorial ringdoms of Torei. It is best known for its paradisical gardens and skybridges on the upper levels. Below the surface, however, Verdan quickly loses its charm and beauty and becomes ...interesting... in the Verdan sublevels. As Verdan is quite literally built on sand, it slowly sinks into the ground and a new level has to be built on top of the old city every few centuries. As only the original, AI-era settlement is called Verdan, it is gramatically correct to refer to something in the current city as being 'on Verdan', not 'in Verdan'. The distinction has been lost over the centuries, however and it is as common for a Verdan native to say 'in' or 'on' Verdan interchangably.
The Ministry of Truants is so strong in Verdan that it is the de-facto police force and even has military duties, although there are more specialised branches of the armed forces that deal with outside threats.
Although Verdan has an aerospace port, it is mostly used for planet-range traffic. Verdan does not have a deep-space capable navy at the time of Letter of Mark
Verdan is a pyramid democracy, a social construct unique to Torei and this is how the legislative is elected. Most laws are ancient, and changes or additions to the legal code are rare. The interpretation of the law and day-to-day government is largely left to the torean ministries and a powerful local administration that oversees almost all facets of Verdan life. The bureocracy is distant, sometimes even cryptic, and can respond either depressingly slow or lightning fast to a given situation with no predictability whatsoever. Contacts within the higher levels of the Verdan administration are commonly assumed to be the only way to get ahead in life. Inter-department rivalries and power struggles are commonplace.
Officially, Verdan law does not recognize slavery. However, Verdan contract law allows for quite far-reaching 'contracts' and any woman who is not independently wealthy has a hard time finding employment outside a strict five, ten or even twenty year contract with various 'stipulations' regarding her code of dress, behavior and sexual self-determination. Most women you encounter in Verdan will be bound - often quite literally - by such a contract.
Verdanians race small, bunny-like creatures as sport in special coffee houses were patrons can bet on them.
In clubs, Verdanians like to dance in beautiful group dances that remind the onlooker of a school of shimmering fish.
Unlike the other two activities that are considered uni-sex, Verdan women also like to attend cryptic opera-like performances... while Verdan men like to enjoy Verdan women.
On Torei, people are commonly ranked in society by the number of people they have under them. Either as slaves, indentured servants or even as free employees. In Verdan, this is expressed by the Verdanian Entourage, a group of representative women that accompany verdan dignitaries - and wannabees.