Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dogs in the Vineyard : Red Rock

RED ROCK
Red Rock lies between one and two weeks south of Bridal Falls. An exclusive settlement of faithful, it spans over ten square miles of dry, harsh land. When the dogs arrive, it is fall and the harvest is coming in… shy of expectations.

SOMETHING’S WRONG
Seven or eight months ago, Steward Peter passed on. His son, Seth, was expected to take over the position, but quickly the townsfolk determined they could govern themselves without a steward. Without a steward, the church was locked up, and the people expected to “manage” their families according to the word. Brothers Jackson and Levi rose to the highest ranks of the town, openly displaying their strength. Brother Seth (expecting to be steward) has been cuckolded by Jackson. Sister Ruth holds private readings of the book of life with women in the community.

PRIDE
The people believe themselves capable of self-control and governance, rejecting the notion of a steward. Seth believed himself the “next in line,” with or without the sanction of Bridal Falls. Sister Ruth now reads to some of the women who need direction in households devoid of faithful leadership.

INJUSTICE
The weak are generally ignored. The elderly have nothing to offer, spending their days sitting in vacant wonder at the conditions of the settlement. Seth’s wife has left him for Jackson. Seth, without children, works tirelessly to provide for himself. The townsfolk generally disrespect him (some children openly throw rotten fruit at him when he pulls his cart through town).

SINS
General pride and selfishness — no one specific sin stands out as a great transgression
Laziness — some children do not work and most elderly are expected to step aside
Temptation — some have started playing games like checkers during working hours and others imbibe coffee

DEMONIC ATTACKS
The demons have subtlety planted the seeds of discord through prideful action. Seth’s quick ascension to steward was firmly rejected by stronger members of the flock, fomenting a healthy dose of ego into some settlement members.

FALSE DOCTRINE
We can govern ourselves. We are righteous and divine. No sin shall deter us from our faith.

“Iron sharpens iron.” Only the strong deserve to be considered divine in the eyes of the King of Life.

CORRUPT WORSHIP
Sister Ruth reads with some of the women. In addition, Jackson and Levi carry weapons openly in the streets as a demonstration of their “alpha” status. The two consider strength a virtue and equate bullish behavior with strength.

FALSE PRIESTHOOD
There is no priesthood any longer, as such, everyone has strayed from the path, even those who continue to live justly.

SORCERY
In the face of the “might makes right” ideals of Jackson and Levi, mediocrity has taken ahold of the settlement. Those who have what they need, grow content, and overlook those in need.

HATE AND MURDER
Children openly mock Seth and Jackson makes sure to put Seth in his place whenever possible. Humiliation and contempt are the order of the day. Many people see that Seth is nothing more than a cuckold now and few have sympathy for what has happened to him. If something isn’t done, Seth will either be killed or he will hang himself out of desperation.

WHAT DO THE TOWNSPEOPLE WANT FROM THE DOGS?
The people want a fair appointment of a steward. If possible, the punishment of those have turned so far from the faith.

WHAT DO THE DEMONS WANT?
The demons want the people of Red Rock to fall further and further from the teachings, every so slowly… so that none notice their complete disregard for one another.

WHAT DO THE DEMONS WANT THE DOGS TO DO?
The demons want the dogs to place Seth in charge of the settlement. In a few months time, he will be dead or infirm and things will return to normal.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE DOGS DIDN’T COME?
Eventually Seth would die — either through suicide or murder. Gluttony and slovenliness would overcome the town. In another year, it would hardly recognize a settlement of the faithful.

KNOWN ISSUES
Brother Jackson is the true leader of the community. He walks with a natural swagger and openly displays a pistol in his belt. He is a natural for the position, with Brother Levi acting as his second. Levi is less natural in the role of a leader and mimics much of Jackson’s behavior.

Brother Jackson — who already has two wives — has taken on Seth’s ex-wife into his home. While they are not officially married, enough townsfolk have turned a blind eye as for it to not matter.

Brother Levi treats his wife like property, sometimes going as far as slapping her in front of others (although this is rare).

Sister Ruth holds private vigils in her home. People know of this, but convince themselves that it’s not happening.

Seth is openly disrespected by over half the congregation.

Adah visits with Sister Ruth for readings and is considered her most trusted “student.” Her husband (Bartlby) is blissfully unaware that there is anything amiss in the town at all.

Brother Issac and Sister Mary (and their two children) stand as two of the beacons in the community. They have not been taken in by any of the malingering or false worship. Sadly, they have done little to stop it, either. Issac sees an obligation to his family first and the community second.