Posted: Oct 13 2015, 02:54 AM
If you leave Vegas and walk north for twenty or so miles, camp the night in the caves in the foot hills, and then walk west up the small fork of the dry riverbed there, you’ll be stopped by a pair of guns holding some soldiers with red flowers tattooed on their necks. And by stopped I mean shot in the chest. This is because, beyond the guns and another bend in the riverbed, there is a beautiful bowl shaped valley with good dirt and a deep well, and that valley is billowing edge to edge with red poppies. In the daytime, it’s just another farm, specked with leather-backed slaves working life into the soil. It’s distinguished only by its size, it’s shocking color, and the guns positioned strategically along the perimeter. In the night, however, when the slaves shuffle home and collapse, music and strange laughter echoes from the opium dens on the valley floor. Merchants and representatives of the Cartel are shown a good time there. They leave in the the morning only because they know overstaying their welcome would be a fatal mistake.
Welcome to the Plantation.
THE WARLORD / MARLON BRANDO / FIFTIES
THE WARLORD is the bossman of the Plantation, and the owner of several satellite opium poppy farms across the farmlands north of Vegas. A mercenary-turned-businessman, he leaves the farming to a handful of cowed overseers and focuses his energies on the guts and glory: protecting his fields, undermining/massacring rival farms, finding slaves, and navigating the tense relationship the Plantation has with the Cartel (Status games and manipulation galore). Though his wealth provides him ample comfort, he's more of a warrior king that a courtly king, riding into battle with his bonny reavers and spilling his fair share of blood in defense of the valley. His lodgings are humble and his slaves are fed, if worked to the bone. He's a strong, primal sort of leader, effective for all that he's brutal.
THE WARLORD had a son by Kinniki's mother, by the way. That's why he kept Kinniki alive when his men dragged her and her father into his lodgings for judgement, about ten years ago, when the plantation was just getting it's roots into the dirt; Kinniki is the spitting image of her late mama. What kept THE WARLORD from disemboweling Kinniki's father, the man who stole his woman only to fail to protect her from savages out in the dust? THE WARLORD wanted a mapmaker badly for some reason, some reason more than a simple desire to expand his farmland, and overwhelming his bone-breaking desire for revenge. THE WARLORD must be looking for someplace, some place hard to find or far away. His men, sitting around their bonfires in the evening gloom, like to play at guessing what that place might be, but even the ones who've been with him since the Plantation began eventually shrug and move the conversation on to women and booze.
THE LOST BOY / JAMES DEAN / TWENTIES
THE WARLORD’s son, and Kinniki’s elder half-brother, THE LOST BOY vanished from his bed when he was four years old. Where is he, and why was he taken? What connection does he have to the mysterious place that his father is trying to find? THE LOST BOY is an enigma, but THE WARLORD’s men never gossip about him around the fire. In fact, it’s been many years since anyone on the plantation has been brave enough to say his name out loud.
THE LOOSE END / ANTONIA THOMAS / TWENTIES
Razing small farms and villages, taking slaves: To THE WARLORD and his men, it’s ordinary. Sometimes it’s a little exciting and sometimes it’s a little demoralizing, but at the end of the day it’s just another day’s work gone. THE WARLORD and his men go home, drink some booze and pass out. And do it all over the next day.
But to every farmer gutted, every woman raped, every child bound and sold or set to work the rest of their sorry lives in the hot sun, their own death or stolen life is the most brutal, the most devastating. It eclipses the sun.
So it is with THE LOOSE END. She was a sweet farmer girl from a sweet secret village between Vegas and LA. THE LOOSE END’s life was leveled by the casual atrocities of THE WARLORD’s ambition. Her village’s millet fields were burned and plowed over, fertilized by the bodies of the village elders, and planted with opium poppies. Every able-bodied man and woman was enslaved and made to work their own violated land. All the unruly ones were silenced- all except one. THE LOOSE END escaped, and now she aims to destroy THE WARLORD and all of his land.
It’s a hell of a thing to devote your life to when so many have suffered similar fates. Even so, THE LOOSE END’s conviction borders on religious. She can’t see the bigger picture; her village’s sad story isn’t just another sad story, it is The Great Atrocity. Now, she and her little gang of renegade friends don’t make much of a dent in THE WARLORD’s affairs, but they are ambitious and tireless. And still young.
Who would guess that THE LOOSE END would be the one to lead THE WARLORD to his promised land? PS. THE LOOSE END’s shattered village- you know who found it and told THE WARLORD? You got it. Kinniki. Yeah, so she’s gonna have to pay.
THE OTHER PLAYERS // ALL AGES
The farmers, the heroin cooks, the peddlers, the den flowers, the slaves- there are so many more characters tangled hopelessly in this story. THE OTHER PLAYERS are smart and strong and wounded. They have all kind of vengeance to feed and all kinds of addictions to nurse. Their fates are all knotted up in surprising ways- many having to do with THE WARLORD’s secret place. Your turn to imagine their stories.
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