Crimson Gallows

The Crimson Gallows stand as a reminder of a, less enlightened time in Falkensburg history. The Gallows are located just outside city limits, north of the Elendsviertel District. Despite this, they remain a popular tourist attraction and a definitive part of Falkensburg history. The rust-shaded wood of the gallows now resides under a small awning, to help preserve the wood against the ravages of the weather, but is otherwise open to the world.

The gallows were originally erected in 503, when a small uprising was put down by the current Herzog, who desired to make a public example of the ringleaders. For years, the gallows remained in place, seeing regular, though infrequent use. However, they came to acquire their current moniker in 578, at the height of the Heilig Perlustration. The religious orders of the time were possessed of a righteous zeal to root out and destroy all heretics, real or perceived. As is common in these cases, the definition of heresy varied considerably.

While a great many of their judgements were questionable, none had the legal, political or moral wherewithal to stand against them as they condemned pretty much everyone who read anything besides Scripture, including a great many natural philosophers of the time. The gallows were pressed into service as the instrument of their punishment, with upwards of half a dozen bodies hanging every day.

Not content to merely sentence innocent people to death (the Vermilion Cabal having been devoured by it's own demon), the Perlustrators added their own innovation to the already gruesome executions. Wanting to be assured of the swift and unavoidable death of their victims, the Perlustrators replaced the traditional rope with a particularly vicious style of barbed wire. Not only did this put the victim in extreme pain as it was initially tightened around the neck, but combined with the force of the long drop, the barbs were sufficient to tear clean through the flesh and bone of the neck, completely decapitating the victim.

This was a messy, gory process, as one can easily surmise. Blood would often spray considerable distances in the process, spattering on the gallows, or even the crowd in some instances. This quickly led to a decline in the popularity of public executions, and furthermore helped increase disapproval and censure of the Perlustration. By 591, the power of the religious orders was broken and the Perlustrators were disbanded. The gallows remained in place, and were used for executions (with simple hempen rope) afterwards. However, the horrific memory of the wire hangings led future generations to eschew hanging as a form of capital punishment.

-Magister Wickham

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