Greetings fellow summoners, one and all. Yeah, like the title says I've got a western in store for you. I'll be presenting it in parts after I dream each piece up. Suggestions, critiques, and so on are totally prohibited, along with any personal opinions you might have. Without further ado I present to you chapter one of A League of Legends Western. This bit is a sort of sampler for the rest of the series.
A stupor had fallen over the capricious crowd. Mere seconds ago it had been a tumult of sound; people bantered, exchanged news or smalltalk, gossiped freely, and speculated about the proceedings soon to overtake them. The earnest mob stood beneath the blazing noontide sun before an ominous reinforced wood gallows. Though the noose hung limply, it was almost as terrifying in itself as the austere madman that had just stepped onto the stage.
He had no words for them, and though he was built quite stockily and had a natural high color, his features showed none of the killer's cunning or slaughterer's quirks that nested within him, save one. The lives of those he had taken shone is his black, soulless eyes. Despite the abrupt death of the crowd's chatter, their activity remained in the form of instinctive fear and hate. The doomed man -or was he a monster?- may or may not have been soothed by the barely restrained outrage; his stolid face would not bear to give lie to his feelings, if he harbored any. It was said generally agreed among the masses that he didn't.
“William 'Doctor' Mundo, y'are sentenced to death for the charges of manslaughter, unlawful trespassin', theft o' federal property, and more than a few cases of homicide. As sich y'are t'be hung righ' 'ere by the neck 'til yer dead.” The noose ensnared the neck of the deadly man, and the macabre shine in his eyes increased in intensity. Simon, among the next pair of convicts to face their death, thought that the spirits whirling within Mundo's irises were bright blue. A most unfitting color for a man who would play doctor and then murder his patients. The speaker, a muttonchop-mustache-sporting sheriff by the name of Malcolm Graves, looked no happier than the hollow shell of a man that he had put in the noose. He raised his voice one final time. “May God 'ave mercy on yer soul, if y'ave one.” Not a single person in the grim crowd felt a stab of pity for Mundo, and indeed he did not deserve any. The lever was dutifully pulled and Mundo fell, brought short by the potent twine noose. There, in the marionette-string of death he danced a final time. Gripped by spasms, the conscienceless killer wriggled for what seemed like an eternity as his face was suffused by shades of red, then purple. Finally, when Mundo's entire body resembled the hue of wine and his great red tongue had slithered from his mouth, he twitched no more.
Simon, neither quite so guilty or heartless as the dead 'doctor', was apprehensive but couldn't bring himself to be afraid. He would face his end with dignity, and not the quiet eeriness of his predecessor. To die alongside him was his partner, the brawn of the pair: the violent simpleton Warwick. He was a shaggy, thoughtless, wrathful man who was once Simon's teacher in the finer arts of crime. Age had stolen his wits but gained him a great black beard, which was little recompense in his pupil's opinion. Together the pair had been caught, quickly tried and convicted, and now the faced the gallows. Once the cadaver had been carted away, they too were marched to the pedestal.
“Simon Ned Geddry, alias Singed, and Wallace Warwick, y'are hereby sentenced t'death fer the charges o' homicide, theft, criminal conduct, and extreme disturbance of the peace. As sich y'are t'be hung 'ere by the neck 'til yer dead.” Singed felt the warm fibers against his neck, as did Warwick, though his restraints hindered its progress. Unlike his mentally unstable fellow, Simon bore himself with a sort of dark elegance. His hazel eyes and smooth bald scalp sharply contrasted the calamity of brown that was Warwick's noggin. Before two more breaths could be taken everything was set. “I mus' say, yew tew were a real trail t'catch. I''m afraid I'm gonna have to take what solace I cin fer my wasted months trackin' ye now that yer hangin' before me. I only wish Wilson hung with ye. God 'ave mercy on yer soul, sirree.” His hand brushed the lever, and Simon's black heart skipped a beat.
A twirling baton of fire arced lazily through the air and burst upon the gallows, setting the forlorn dry wood ablaze in an instant. Graved and a nameless associate dived from the stage as a black man rode up through the eager crowd on a spirited smoky horse. Another jar of fire was in his gloved left hand, while his ride firmly clutched the bridle. He grinned wickedly as Warwick and Simon twisted in their bonds away from the fire. The flames ate at the mechanisms, and before anyone could prevent it they had activated. From beneath Simon's feet the floor dropped, and he stifled a cry of despair.
For a moment he was stunned. In a daze he staggered to the ashy horse and climbed aboard, followed shortly by Warwick. Dimly he guessed that the fire-weakened noose had given way beneath the sudden strain of his body falling, which -for a reason he couldn't understand- he found incredibly amusing. As the three men rode away from the chaotic scene, a gale of mad laughter (Not to mention the second firebomb) marked their passage.
By the time the three had ridden through the night, the horse was thoroughly exhausted. Too fatigued to even whinny, it simply collapsed, sides heaving. Brand Wilson wanted to shoot it, but taciturn Simon managed to curb his fiery anger. Beneath the stars they made a crude camp with the thin leathery sleeping bags Brand had wisely thought to bring on the venture. A fire was no problem Brand, a gifted pyromaniac, but it did little to illuminate the vast stony barren they rested in the middle of. Only tumbleweeds, thorny brambles, and the ever-virulent spikegrass broke the parched group, and even they withered without water. They all awoke stiff in the morning, and continued at a slower pace to their customary hideout. The trip, though tedious and uncomfortable, was uneventful.
At the hideout the three settled into a usual routine, as if two-thirds of their number had almost been hanged yesterday afternoon. Warwick baked breakfast beans, Brand tended to their sore horse, and Simon opened up a celebratory cask of whiskey, his own brew. It was a simple and logical distribution: animals couldn't stand Warwick, so he cooked the simple meal, and Simon's liquid confections were always of top quality, be it liquor, potion, or poison. Despite the ambrosial taste of Simon's more benevolent mixtures, he seldom had the patience to ferment things into alcohol. He also reasoned that sober bandits were good bandits, but that didn't stop the trio from guzzling down whiskey whenever they came to an unfamiliar town. In fact, Simon was quite the connoisseur of beverages, though he never gave up an opportunity to leech off of minor successes.
Brand disturbed him from his relaxed, beverage-filled reveries. “Sorry to 'sturb ye, suh, but what're we gonna do? We can't 'ead back to Sarnville, Graves's just waitin' fer us t'show up. Nunna the east-towns, I reckon.” Simon treated him to a bored but thoughtful look, and rubbed his chin where the snapped noose had chafe it. “We will head south, then. I want to kill Graves as much as you two do-” Warwick looked up from his beans to snarl bestially. “But right now he's protected by power on high, and we can't touch him. We're his trophies: hanging us meant a lot to him and his career. He can't afford to lose us. So we'll head south, to the salt marsh town, Renekton I think it is. We've been rather slow recently, I think it's time we make some money.” Brand seemed happy enough about their destination. “Alrighty. There's a fine saloon in Renekton, and some o' the purdiest girls y'ever did see. When do we 'ead out?” After a spoonful of beans, Simon pulled a old bag of gear over, selecting a shotgun for Brand, a few rusty knives for Warwick, and he's preferred weapons: a metal-reinforced shield supplemented by a revolver. He shouldered his 'chem'stry set', as his companions called it. “Now's a good a time as any.”