Nitauma and Tautauma
According to a verse in the ancient Dwarven Law-scriptures, only seven species have souls: Dwarves, Elves, Goblinoids, Humans, Halflings, Orcs, and Gnomes. These species are called ni-tauma, or “clay of the earth.” Their souls are believed to reincarnate after death.
All other species are called tau-tauma, or “earth of the earth.” In contrast to the ni-tauma, the tau-tauma lack souls. After death they do not reincarnate, but rejoin the nature spirit of their species. For example, all deceased water buffalo rejoin the spirit Water Buffalo.
The distinction between ni-tauma and tau-tauma species had been all but forgotten for many centuries. It was effectively a relic of the past, known only by its appearance in the ancient Dwarven Law-scriptures. Recently, however, the distinction was resumed by Imperial theologians in order to justify the importation of Tabaxi slaves. The Decree of Emancipation of ZY1095 had declared “all intelligent souls” to be free, but peace with the powerful Halfling Merchant Companies depended on a trade concession enabling the importation of Tabaxi slaves. Since Tabaxi were not ni-tauma, argued the theologians, they were not covered under the auspices of the decree. Therefore, their slavery was allowable. The practice was legalized in ZY1100 under the Freedom of Trade Proclamation.