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November 20, 2007, 12:38 pm

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The Hanging Mill

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The outlaw city of Warhorse has only one form of law- vigilante justice, and nothing represents the vengeful feuds of the bandits of the outpost like the Hanging Mill.

The Hanging Mill was built soon after the founding of the original Warhorse Inn, when it was determined by Ku’uban the Waathaxian (proprietor of the inn and bandit warlord) that after a long ride on the hot, dusty, desolate plains of Hugachii, the various outlaws, bandits, and tribesfolk who visited his establishment and used it as a base for their roamings and raidings would be more apt to get along if there was enough water to go around. Though the Inn was built upon the banks of an oasis, the water was often fouled when Ku’uban had many visitors.

To this end, Ku’uban hired a Gyici scholar, who devised for him a gigantic windmill, similar to the kind used in the foothills of the Thunderclap Mountains to pull water from the ground. It was a construction project taking an entire year, but when it was finished, the massive wooden skeleton of the windmill loomed over the squat compound of the Warhorse Inn, casting a strange shadow, part flower, part predatory bird.

But it became clear to Ku’uban the Waathaxian that a new solution would have to be found. Though it turned for months and months, not a drop of water was turned up. The windmill was bone dry.
The first victim of the Mill would be the Gyici scholar, who had stayed on to witness the glory of his creation. When Ku’uban grew tired of the Gyici’s assurances that the mill would soon draw water, he responded with characteristic cruelty: he served the man’s horse for dinner that night, roasted with dirt-peppers. Then, when the moon was out, he and a group of his bandit confederates pulled the Gyici from his bed, beat him viciously with whips, hacked off his feet and hands with swords, and hung him from the mill so that his body swayed back and forth for all to see.

In the days after the Conquest of Bingdah, refugees and bandits flooded westward into Hugachii fleeing the marching banners of the Nikani, whose Emperor, the implacable Cihuki, had decreed the expansion of his borders "for the welfare of the people of Nikan and for the education of the barbarians beyond our borders".
War brought great profit and population explosion to Warhorse. Bandits and castaways of all kinds flocked to the small town of the plains, which became a kind of hidden bandit city. Warhorse was swollen with criminals and desperate folk, and tempers ran hot. Violence, a knife shadow in the corner of every Hugachii wanderer’s eye, was never far away on the wind-whistling streets and low mud-brick winehouses of Warhorse.
Blood feud, vengeance, and vigilante justice stalked the streets. As a city ruled by and populated with bandits, vagabonds, and criminals, there was no central authority to impose order by boot or sword. The proprietor of the Warhorse Inn, who at this time was a mysterious individual known as House Of Bones, kept a wary peace within the Inn’s compound and on the adjoining streets through the use of a crew of brutal Zhalar barbarians in their characteristic red peaked caps (the Zhalar chieftan, a man known as Chu Number Seven, became something of a deputy to House Of Bones and would later take over the running of the Inn). Other establishments throughout the city began to employ their own security forces. Tensions increased. The various clans with clanhouses in Warhorse began to send out patrols of their various bravos. Clashes increased as tribal and interclan tensions mixed with the squabbles of syndicates and bandit groups and simple terror and greed and hatred.

It was at this time that the Hanging Mill recieved its name. Though half a century earlier, it had been known for a short while as Dead Gyici Mill, it had eventually just returned to being called the Mill. It was a scarfaced Hugach tribesman named Digang White Striped who conceived for the Mill the use which it retains to this day among Warhorsers.
Digang White Striped, a vicious drunk, half-Hugach and half-Nikani by way of rape of his mother, was known in those days as an enemy of the Spotted Dog Clan (one of whose clansmen had insulted Digang in a drunken argument). One evening during the Fourteenth Year Of The Era of Supreme Glory (as the Nikani call the reign of Cihuki), an altercation occurred between Digang White Striped (along with some of his Hugach tribe-kin) and a Spotted Dog bravo on Second Whore Street. Though the details of the incident are lost to history, what happened next has become legend. Digang and his compatriots, after beating the Spotted Dog clansman black, hauled him up Second Whore Street calling for him to be pelted with dung. On the corner of Spreadlegs Alley and Second Whore, a pair of Spotted Dogs attempted to come to the rescue and were given a similar treatment as their friend.
The Hugach hauled the clansmen to the great weedy field around the dead windmill. Then, the Spotted Dogs were strung up from the windmill and unceremoniously hung, their kicking legs casting strange shadows in the torchlight on the facades of the buildings all around.

The next morning, the whores gathered beneath the windmill. The bodies of the clansmen, already bloating and purpling over, running with blood raised by the Hugachs’ tight knots, swung gently in a hot breeze that raised a smothering cloud of dust in the vacant square around the mill. The whores giggled and prodded at the bodies, and then they began to pick up stones and pelt the deceased Spotted Dogs.



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Comments ( 1 )
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Corinth
April 15, 2007, 22:51
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Very...Interesting. Hmm, yes, I think I saw a special about an Ol' West hanging mill a while back. Maybe the death of the scholar awoke some dark desert god. His death could have been treated as a sacrafice, perhaps this diety was imprisoned in a desert so gallows' fruit would never again decorate the trees of his land. In return for the sacrafice, and the steady stream of them to follow, the dark diety grants the gift of water, tainted, unholy water that will bring the vagabonds under his will, an army of living undead to rise from the sands...

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