D/s or Dominance/Submission is a power exchange, ritual, and lifestyle practiced by citizens in Elysia. Due to the large number of practitioners among the founding members and in the early days of Elysian City, the practice has been included heavily in the continuity and in Elysia's backstory.
The Story So Far (IC)
After the original Revolution and the end of the first Novari Occupation, much of colonial Elysian life began to become a distant whisper. Though free from the machinery of oppression, the Elysian people were unsure what to do with their newfound liberty.
This was especially true of the massive population of worker slaves, many of whom had been second, third, even fourth generation slaves, and the unwilling garrison Masters that had reluctantly worked them against their will. Without education, resources and purpose, the former Novari slaves faced a long, painful poverty and eventually, a complete extinction. The rulers of the young nation knew this.
Xavier, first King of Elysia, rather than suffer this fate, took the initiative. He set about educating the slaves, offering them full citizen’s rights, status, and even communal lands, titles, self-governance to help get them started. At the outset, this helped to preserve their unusual, often overlooked culture, and moreover offered them a livelihood. Many of the former slaves tended livestock, raised crops and started families, and in so doing escaped their past.
As time went on, however, it seemed that some hung onto the fond ties between Master and slave that did occur, many inspired by the few benevolent and kind owners who were often harshly put to the sword during the Revolution. Some surviving slaver-owners had their slaves return to them and offer themselves back into their service. Under the noses of officials who had outlawed the practice, slaves even searched for new owners to replace their old ones. This proved to be a tide that the authorities could not understand nor stem. From this was borne the ‘pet’: a furre servant, companion and loved one, owned by a Master, or Mistress, of their mutual accord.
"King Billy"'s Reign
This new practice did not, however, come so easily. Many took this willing slavery as an affront to all those who had fought and suffered for freedom. By the time of King William’s reign, isolated cases of lynching, violence and revolt sprang up around the issue. William feared that Xavier's work to provide self-sufficiency for these former slaves was a great legacy, wasted on those few who would willingly throw it away.
After years of interpreting what his father would have wanted, William finally relented in a startling turnaround. He ordered a new decree, officially legitimizing the practice of D/s in Elysia and criminalizing any act intended to stand in the way of a pet's personal choice. He famously addressed a conservative and highly skeptical audience:
" History records that slavery ended with my father's Revolution against the Novari. I regret this is untrue. Slavery continued long after, and will continue long after the end of my reign, and long after that, until all of the old demons that the Novari sowed in us all are vanquished… The demons of control, of judgment, of fear that conquers personal freedom. Until we trust our neighbors, and ourselves, we are all still slaves, and Elysia still not a free nation."
This was a pivotal turning point in the history of the Elysian pet. William continued to reform the law in the following months, decriminalizing prostitution, burlesque, gambling and other such practices as well as liberalizing the trade of alcohol and narcotics.
Initially trying to take a more proactive stance in his country's lifestyle, William eventually became more libertine in his policy. Those in the lower classes more prone to the behaviours he decriminalized fondly remember him as a uniting figure, and many songs and stories are repeated in his honour. He is generally referred to as "King Billy" or "The Whore's King" somewhat less politely.
Even though not all lifestyles endorsed by William are accepted universally, even among his critics William is commended for the emancipation of the D/s practice. The ‘Kneeling’, as William’s father had called it, had been ushered into a new age of freedom, one that survives to this day.
Pet registry is offered by provincial government in the North and South in a very similar way to marriage licenses. Pets may undertake a contract of ownership only when coercion has been entirely disproved and when their owner is of sufficient financial means. Both parties must be shown to be entirely consenting in this matter. It is not illegal to practice D/s without registration, however, registration allows certain legal safety net in the event of problems.
Once the registration has been completed, the owner now legally owns the pet. Either party can break the contract at any time of their choosing with no reason stated. During the ownership, the pet is financially and personally beholden to the owner - they surrender control of their finances, their freedom, or any other aspect of their lives their owner sees fit. The legal code in both provinces states, however, that any severe abuse or body modification must be agreed to in writing and witnessed by a Notary in advance of the act. This is thought to protect pets from unwanted abuse.
Generally pets work for the betterment of themselves and their owners. The vast majority live with their owners, and serve many purposes. They typically perform household and personal duties, though in a highly ritualized way. Some owners pamper their pets and provide them with no chores or errands to perform. Others put them to more practical use.
Though D/s hasn't become the most reputable practice in the land since William's time, it has become surprisingly widespread and tolerated. There are private academies for pet training, numerous books from reputable authors, and organizations that share advice and promote the lifestyle.
There are as many as a half dozen organizations that promote this practice, in the Southern Province alone, with almost as many in the North. Pets also can maintain careers and occupations depending on the whim of their owners. Many pets and former pets are employed as servers, guards, bankers, shopkeepers, farmers, fisherman, and some even hold government positions, albeit small. Unowned pets can legally perform any job, purchase any wares or land and undertake any contracts they choose.
This is a generic term (might not necessarily imply the use of collars) used to describe the ceremonial or ritual taking of a pet by an owner. It is common practice to mark an owned pet with a collar, however many other means suffice (rings, other jewelry, body markings, clothing, etc).
To prevent any old schlub from unwisely choosing to be a pet, most potential Owners prefer their potential pets be trained at special academies. These can be from large schools to private trainers, and their student success will depend on their reputation as quality trainers. Often these schools enforce coloured clothing as a ranking system, and sometimes implore their students to wear certain items or jewelry after they graduate to help represent the school and identify their alma mater (scarves, sashes, anklets, certain colours, etc).
Many aspects of pet training involve ritualized body poses, fluidity of movement, enforced behaviour patterns and pleasure training.
Some academies offer classes on how to perform the duties of an Owner, stressing the responsibility of Collaring a pet. Some of these include bondage techniques and other pet-relevant information.
Some prejudice is still applied to pets. Without a protective owner they often are denied jobs and loans, and sometimes persecuted for immoral behaviour.
Also, there is a problem of unowned pets having difficulty supporting themselves. Though many who have been trained or owned possess a diverse skillset (typically domestic skills), some are unqualified and uncompetitive for jobs available, and many lack the savings money to help them form new careers or in intermediary periods. They typically fall to prostitution and low-paying jobs. Exploitation has resulted from this.
To combat this problem, measures enacted by Queen Gia now require all pet owners to provide their pets savings only accessible by the pets themselves and only in the event they become un-owned. This savings account is exempt from the usual legal requirement of the pet to surrender any finances their owner asks for. In addition, many pets receive government business loans on a priority basis. Despite criticism, these measures have been highly effective so far, with censuses showing a high rate of upward mobility among unowned pets.
A really friggin' important OOC note
In EC we strongly promote safe, sane and consentual BDSM practice, whether in online roleplay or otherwise. For these reasons, we do not allow non-consentual ("Slave") BDSM relationships to be Roleplayed in our dream. Any BDSM or Dom/sub relationship -must- be a contractual, consentual IC arrangement. We appreciate your patience with this request.