|Village of the Red|
Village of the Red is the home of a big tribe, who dye their babies skin red as soon as they are born, and repeat as they grow up. Red is seen as lucky, bold, brave, protecting. No one knows when they started doing this, and it is a tradition that they cannot imagine quitting. In truth, red is used (by the leaders) because it promotes anger and mistrust, as well as firing people up. As a result there are a lot of disagreements and fights between members of the community.
They spend a lot of time in training- target practice with bows and arrows, tightrope walking blindfolded, 1-to-1 combat, standing on one leg for long periods of time, making human pyramids, climbing to the top of poles, chanting for hours. They show incredible discipline, and believe in the reason they’re doing it- to be strong as one in the face of danger.
Their weapons are made from renewable resources- something like trees, but that re-grow incredibly quickly. When they shoot their arrows, they go really fast. Carla is horrified to see that they are killing and eating animals. She wants to stop them.
The Village of the Red is surrounded by a thick, tall fence made from the same material as the weapons. It is strong and impenetrable. Even though the Map is a peaceful place, The Village of the Red is always ready for an attack.Red is the leader. He is tall and muscly, with long red hair and years-tanned, leathery skin. He is fierce, driven and hard-working to the point of insanity. People say he sleeps only one hour every night. He doesn’t want to help the people of Drail (NW) to escape. He thinks they are weak, dependent and pathetic and they brought their problems on themselves. To Red, the most important thing is the strength of his community. He doesn’t want them weakened by risking dying for others, but more importantly he doesn’t want their minds weakened by contaminating them with other ideas.
The most strange and harsh thing that they do is the ‘mothers initiation test,’ in which new mums are given a test that involves rescuing their baby from a dangerous location. When Jack and Carla arrive, one of these tests is going on. They meet Marnie outside the walls of the town, trying to find a way to climb a pole to rescue her baby in the crib balanced on the top. She is in tears at the bottom, with no strength of body or mind to try. She can’t do it and later her baby is taken away. It turns out this is not the first time. She has two other children, who live with their father. Marnie tells Carla and Jack about the system of men bringing up children as fighters, and women only allowed to help if they can prove themselves. She tells them that her two older children do not even recognise her anymore (when she saw them out, practicing at fighting, they looked at her like she was a stray or something). Inside the town Carla and Jack see plenty of children practicing with weapons and training. Because of failing the tests, Marnie is not deemed strong enough to be a part of their upbringing. She lives with other ‘women failures’ in a big room. They help with the old peoples tasks of farming and cooking, which is seen as a great dishonour. They get the chance every year- on the child’s birthday- to try again to prove themselves. Some of them train fiercely, spurred on by the idea of another year kept separated from their children. Marnie, however, has given up. She is one of the only people who doesn’t believe you need to be fierce and brave to bring up children, although she keeps these thoughts to herself.
Marnie has short red hair, tanned dark skin and bright green eyes. She wears a red shirt with a black belt and black trousers. She is sweet, caring and maternal (although of course this is not recognised as ‘maternal’ in the village of the red). She doesn’t know any different because she’s never gone far from the Village.
Marnie’s husband Hugo used to be much more like her. They were really in love when they got together but he has been influenced so much by the community’s attitude towards fatherhood. He is now much harder than his previous, soft self, and is in agreement that Marnie is not fit to help him look after their three children.
Carla and Jack convince Marnie to leave with them. She doesn’t want to leave her children, but Carla points out that she doesn’t get to see them anyway, and if they succeed in their mission then it may well change things for the people in The Village of the Red too.
Carla and Jack are captured and sort of held hostage (until further notice) in the room where the ‘failure women’ are. They escape across the ‘step if you dare’ stones, where they then nearly fall into the pit.
|Bird Bath Bay|
Bird Bath Bay has tons of birds in it. It is a place on the beach to socialise, sing and bathe. There are bottles and bottles of bathing products dotted along the beach as well as shower caps and scrubbers and those circular shape things to scrub with. The hum of singing is always in the air. The birds are all different colours and all types. There are no other animals there, so when the children and Marnie arrive, they cause quite a stir, Freddie especially.
After making their peace with the birds, the children go bathing. Freddie, however, is in a grump and refuses to go in.
The birds are from all different walks of life. When they are at bird bath bay none of this matters. They don’t talk about their lives, or anything in particular. They sing and enjoy being together and bathing. The air smells lovely! It is a place of vanity and relaxation and some of the birds are very self-absorbed. Two of them are having a conversation comparing the softness of their feathers.
Carla meets a bird/birds that she knew when Mother Gray used to feed the birds back on the mountain. The bird has news of Mother Gray- perhaps not good news?