Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Millen, City of Slaves

On the continent of Yofga there are four walled cities. These cities were constructed by the Lujggao, or at least by their giant slaves. These cities are massive urban sprawls with high walls and structures of black stone. Each of these four cities contains a furnace of creation and a purifier, and from these four cities flow the nearly limitless resources that allow humanoids to flourish on Yofga.

So we're going to  talk about the third of these four cities, Millen, City of Slaves.

The history of Millen might be described as somewhat tragic in nature. For reasons unknown, the majority of the lower portions of the city and its main thoroughfares were filled with rubble. As with the other three cities, the structures and walls of Millen were entirely intact, but the main thoroughfares and below ground portions of the city were filled with rubble and debris. Mostly broken stone. When the city was originally discovered by early humans and goliath, this debris naturally prevented them from finding the furnace of creation and purifier deep within the city.

It took over three decades for the early settlers of Millen to clear all of the debris filling their city. In a history spanning several centuries, these decades do not seem like such a delay when compared to the other three cities. However, it exposed the early people of Millen to decades of plague and starvation that the other cities did not experience. This naturally led to a significantly reduced population and a much more predatory society than that found in the other three cities. Unfortunately, when the furnace of creation and purifier were finally discovered, it was not as much of a boon for the people of Millen as it was for the other three cities.

The furnace of creation within the depths of Millen produced a great deal of seeds and other plant material, but Millen lacked the population to fully utilize those resources to begin widespread agricultural efforts. Additionally, the furnace of creation within Millen produced significantly less of every other resource. Millen had supplies for food to be grown, but not enough people to tend to crops. It had materials, but not enough raw material to make enough of any tools to do anything with them and not enough people to use them if they could.

During the early years of Millen's history, life was brutal. It was cheap and it was a trial. Almost as brutal as the life of the tribes in the deep desert. The city spread slowly and even to this day controls less overall territory than the other three cities. For most of the early decades of the city's history, it was a society of might makes right, with the strongest and most brutal individuals rising to power. Where Mennum developed a strong warrior culture, Millen developed a strong culture of anarchy and bloodshed. There were times when the desire for resources grew so violent that blood soaked the streets and the population was reduced to less than a hundred family groups within the walls.

After what is estimated to be two and a half to three centuries of pointless violence and scavenging, an individual name Kashmar Indocen rose to power in Millen. He was an outsider from one of the local desert tribes, likely from the Sequon Shardens or the Toothy Ghosts. Kashmar came into the city with a wagon full of supplies and a group of hardened desert raiders. They fought their way through the malnourished brutes and citizens of Millen till they found the antechamber of the furnace of creation and the purifier of the city, and there they made camp. Surrounded by twenty well fed hardened warriors in a fairly defensible position, Kashmar informed the populace of the city that he was now king and he would manage the resources of the city.

King Kashmar instituted a policy of slavery. You could buy seeds and sapling from his furnace of creation for five years of your life. He and his warriors branded citizens and gave them seeds and told them to go out and farm them one way or another and bring him the results. This was a crude and ineffective system. There were no plans or guidelines, Kashmar was not a planner, he just bought people and told them to do things and killed those that didn't do it.  It was crude and ineffective and clumsy, but it stopped the majority of Millen's senseless bloodshed. It forced people out into the areas surrounding the city and got them doing something instead of scavenging off of each other. Kashmar  then turned his attention to the skilled tradesmen. There weren't many, so he looked elsewhere.

Supposedly, Kashmar ordered his thugs and other individuals in the city to kidnap skilled tradesmen from other cities and desert tribes. Records from other cities do not offer any concrete evidence that this actually happened, but historical accounts from so long ago are unreliable at best. Regardless of how it came about, suddenly Millen had tradesmen able to make things. Which were then sold by Kashmar for years of servitude.

Kashmar ruled for almost four years before he was murdered by individuals that historians assume were members of his crew of thugs. The city of Millen naturally descended into complete anarchy once again. His tradition of servitude in exchange for resources did not stop though. With each new ruler the system of slavery grew more organized and more productive. As brighter and brighter minds ascended to power, the efforts of the slaves became more clearly directed and the city didn't quite flourish, but it was finally able to expand in an organized manner.

After the development of the institution of slavery, Millen's progression began to match that of the other cities, albeit at a much slower pace. Because of the fragility of the city in terms of access to resources, the city experienced many periods of fluctuating prosperity. Because of the frequent changes in leadership, lawlessness and anarchy were experienced frequently in the city's history. There were competent rulers, and foolish rulers, and insurrections, and leaders among the slaves that sought to end slavery.

The level of anarchy experienced by Millen has made it extremely difficult for historians to pin down the various periods of  its history and who did what and how and when. The few important details that we do know are that at one point early on, cannibalism was very prevalent within the city walls. It is also known that during several periods of unrest and more than a few of order, the people of the city believed that the descendants of the Lujggao were the cause of all the city's ills. These idiotic attacks were of course of no inconvenience to the descendants of the Lujggao. It is also known that during a lengthy period of unrest, several desert tribes attempted to assault the city to prey on the disorganized citizens. This assault was rebuffed by the breakers living within the city. The fragmented accounts of this incident share only one detail: at one point the army of desert raiders was approaching the city walls, then the breakers climbed atop the walls, and the entire army of desert raiders ceased to be.

Millen's history and early years are surely as interesting as that of the other three cities. Unfortunately, the frequent chaos in the city forces historians to rely on personal accounts of questionable value and the few records kept by the various rulers of the city, few of which have been overly concerned with the truth of events that transpire.

The current ruler of the city is Overlord Torgal Gralstaf (47 G M) and he has ruled the city for seven years now. His rise to power was rapid and involved some of the most savage and skilled political wheeling and dealing the city has ever seen in its history. He started out as a slave merchant and used that role to establish a strong financial power base as well as to make ties among other merchants and politicians. He is widely regarded as a harsh and dispassionate ruler, but he maintains order and his justice is fair, if unhindered by mercy, and his reign has been the most peaceful in Millen's history.

The government of Millen has almost always been one where might makes right, a monarchy at best, and a dictatorship in reality. This tradition continues in modern times. The current Overlord, Torgal Gralstaf, rules the city due to his immense wealth and the unflinching savagery with which he responds to threats to his power base and the stability of the city.

There is only one law in Millen: the word of the Overlord. Torgal Gralstaf is more evenhanded in that he does not appear to issue new laws on a whim and he appoints judges and lawmen who tend to adjudicate offenses in a similarly stable manner. That said, there is obvious corruption in the law of Millen, but the Overlord has been known to be ruthless in cutting out obvious or outright stupid manipulations of the system. The laws of the city have been designed to augment the system of slavery, with most offenses carrying what might be considered exorbitant fines that may be waived by the guilty agreeing to submit willingly to a term of slavery.

The economy of Millen is incredibly fragile. The city is almost completely reliant upon the resources of other cities to sustain its population, even with slaves taking a smaller portion of food and water supplies than regular citizens. The only resource that is of true value in Millen is its slave population, and even then only in certain circumstances. The other three cities and most towns have a reluctance to participate in the trade of slavery, with the practice being more or less outlawed in the other three cities. However, when deadlines approach and normal workers are too costly to employ, many towns turn to Millen and engage in trading resources to the city in exchange for brute labor. This is especially useful during planting seasons, which Millen is of course aware of.

Armed Forces
There is no official army or militia within the walls of Millen. Instead, most leaders of the city surround themselves with thugs and warriors that are competent and capable of taking orders. When the Overlord of the city deems it necessary, these individuals act as officers and generals (assuming fighting over who is in charge doesn't end with them all dead) and elite troops. They then make withdrawals from the slave population of the city to use as mobs of infantry.

Current Affairs
Even though the laws of Millen, like the other three cities, have outlawed cannibalism for centuries, rumors persist among slave and citizen alike that some still engage in the taboo act that was once commonplace in the city's early days. Those that speak of these rumors imply that ancient cults and secret societies that have existed since the early days of the settling of Millen are the practitioners of this dark act. Recently, new rumors have been circulating among the slaves of the city. They say that it is not secret societies that consume the dead, but instead it is members of the official government of the city. 

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