Isle of Dogs
Dras-da Ro, "The Wild Fields"
With the fall season comes the fall of human civility, as those on the trail from Gillian’s Legacy march headlong into “Red Week,” a period in which citizens migrating to the fall pastures must first drive off the banished, the criminal, and all those other citizens of anarchy-ridden Dras-da Ro who, in the year past, decided to stay behind and away from any form of government rule. The reclaiming of the territory comes with much bloodshed, due to losses incurred both by criminal resistance and the following citizen-on-citizen violence under the season’s lawless culture. To call Dras-da Ro a Sanctuary City is wrong on two fronts: on one, there is no city to speak of; on the other, very few find sanctuary here. Dras-da Ro is actually a vast expanse of mostly structureless land, undisturbed save for hunting and citizen residence on sun-covered knolls and cool, shady natural alcoves. What few structures one might find are all the remnants of much older fortifications, constructed by the earliest ancestors of the Isles. With their stone walls worn and wooden constructs rotted over time, these forts are often more valued as hiding places than defensible grounds. Often, though, the first few weeks of the season are filled with boiling conflict between rag-tag bands of citizens hoping to claim the few defensible fortresses for their own, all the while having their numbers thinned by sharply increasing numbers of beasts, illness, and the conflict inherent in men who know those around them.
At the changing of seasons, when Fall turns to winter and the majority of citizens head towards Grey Breakings, many cannot handle the looming threat of structure and law that the winter city represents. These people stay behind, shifting together into new factions from the fragments of the old or striking out on their own in an attempt at complete independence. These people are quick to discover that the Wild Fields offer plentiful hunting year-round, if you can survive the ever-present beast threat. This comes as a serious surprise, as even Alklaron is only sustainable by hunting for roughly half of the Spring season. These people grow accustomed to their individualistic or brotherhood-centric lifestyles and the copious bounty of resources available over the course of the year. This way of life becomes challenged when the next Fall comes around, bringing thousands of travelers over cliff and through forest to escape the mass influx of beasts and threat of eventual starvation due to their main crop’s annual growing cycle. These men, called Fallen or Wild Men, hold off the mass exodus through guerrilla tactics as their numbers are eventually dissipated through slaughter or re-assimilation. Then the real problems begin, as men and women harboring grudges throughout the rest of the seasons have a prime opportunity to remove the source of their ire away from the influence of any real governing body. This conflict, called Red Week, usually drags on for 5-10 days and claims the lives of many, punctuating the entire quarter of a year with fear and bloodlust which, in combination with the extremely mild psychotropic and hallucinogenic effects of the region’s primary produce, causes the interesting side-effect of an urge for competitive comraderie which is comparable to what the more stable Sanctuaries would describe as an extreme case of ‘team spirit.’ Dubbed ‘Falling Sickness’ or ‘the red,’ this attitude causes those it effects more extremely to become immensely gratified by bloodshed.
Law or Something Like It
Dras-da Ro is a collection of anarchist communes baring few to no ties to each other, and any occasional law is at the discretion of the most influential force within an area. These forces tend to have a vague semblance of control around the more advantageous fortifications, which wanes into an absolute wildland of forest and field. Even within the fortifications, though, wicked behavior is commonplace, an expected cost of living. Due to relationships developed in the other seasons, many less-than-savory folk wear their Changing Grounds mask through the majority of the Fall months. Because of this, any real means of law enforcement by the moment’s governing force is typically immediate, as a suspect of a crime will be difficult to identify once they rejoin the population. Removing a person’s mask against their will is unheard of, both for spiritual and cultural reasons as well as a reluctance to render anonymity non-viable. Vigilantism and honor killing are a daily occurrence in the larger collectives, though factions in power are often more lax upon those who are of value to the faction, and meet the killing of essential figures with swift, escalated vengeance.
Security and Factional Warfare
The people of Dras-da Ro, once the initial waves of killing are over with, are defended primarily by the largest factions present at the time. Larger groups hoping to win over recruits do so with bold involvement in conflict, both against human forces and the beasts of the forest, as the possibility of family and friends from other cultures being among a given population makes intimidation a very complicated tactic. By recruiting steadily, and enveloping beneficiary populations, larger groups vie to hold control of valuable natural resources, such as fruit trees, ore deposits, fishing spots and aforementioned fortifications. For the past several years, power has been distributed fairly evenly among 3-5 major factions, with at least 1 of which holding a fort by the end of Red Week. A faction leader operating under the name of Goblin has consistently managed to be the first to hold down a fort, and his faction is always the last to have to abandon a fort due to a scarcity in any resource. The reasons for this are, to date, unclear.