- 1 Something's Wrong
- 2 Pride
- 3 Injustice
- 4 Sin
- 5 Demonic Attacks
- 6 False Doctrine
- 7 Corrupt Worship
- 8 False Priesthood
- 9 Sorcery
- 10 Hate & Murder
- 11 What do the people want from the Dogs?
- 12 What do the demons want?
- 13 What do the demons want the dogs to do?
- 14 What would happen if the Dog's didn't come?
Malcolm Trumbull had an affair with his brother's wife, causing a minor scandal and resulting in Malcolm moving west. He settled in Laskey's Crossing and grew prosperous by loaning money to the farmers when times were hard in a cruel winter 10 years ago, during which many children died as a result of influenza. Malcolm is now the landlord to most of the Faithful and gentiles who live in and around Laskey's Crossing.
Jennifer Trumbull believes she is Malcolm's niece, but in actual fact she is his daughter: relations at home have become very strained, for reasons that she is unaware of, and Malcolm has telegraphed his brother to say that he would like to see his 'niece'. Jennifer is a well educated young woman, so Malcolm is supporting her as the town's upper-school teacher.
Rosemary Halsted has been the teacher of the lower-school for children of the Faith for nearly all her life: she believes that she understands better than anyone what is best for them, even their own parents.
The older children attending Jennifer's upper-school have begun applying a critical eye to the Faith after her lessons about history, literature and science. They believe that they are the future of the Faith and have the right to question it.
The parents of the older children have forbidden them to attend Jennifer's classes anymore and have set a strict curfew to stop them from mixing with gentile children in an attempt to curb their insolent attitudes.
Malcolm Trumbull is threatening rent rises for all those who boycott Jennifer's classes: publicly this is because he is investing in the future of the town and can't afford to lose money to 'backsliders' but privately he is angry about their treatment of his daughter.
Rosemary has taken to beating the younger children for infringements of the 'law' in her classroom and this practice has spread to many of their households, epsecially in those houses which also have older children.
Solomon Reed, a 15 year old boy of the Faith, has become infatuated with Jennifer and the two of them have entered into an illicit affair.
Rosemary Halsted has fought back against Jennifer's modern teaching by incorporating colourful myths & folk tales into her lessons. She teaches all these stories as if they were true history, raising them to a status above mere fact. These superstitions have then entered the home lives of the children in her care. The demons have used this as their ingress: they ensure that bad luck befalls any of the Faithful who do not practice these superstitions.
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child: children are too simple to understand true faith, so obedience must be beaten into them. They have also been taught that Dogs punish bad children who do not learn their scripture by burining them with hot irons or taking them away from their families forever.
Rosemary is also teaching that reason is the enemy of faith: science is a test of faith to trap the unwary with its seductive lies. Having faith in anything beyond the mortal world is better than having no faith at all.
The older children from Jennifer's class have begun meeting in secret to discuss & debate the Book of Life rationally, with a critical eye. They see the book as no more than a moral guide, not a literal truth, and think they are best qualified to steer the Faith into the modern era.
The young children are being taught the Faith strictly by rote: they must be able to recite scripture word perfect from memory or be punished.
Superstition is becoming part of daily ritual and ceremony: touching wood, spitting when you do something of ill omen, gestures, words and actions, all taught by Rosemary Halsted.
Isaac Leominster, an 18 year old youth, has begun to lead the older children in their own version of ceremony, in which they rewrite passages from the Book of Life. Solomon Reed is one of his followers.
Many of the Faithful now consult Rosemary and her select group or widows & spinsters over matters of child-rearing and the correct procedures to keep away ill omen and encourage good luck. Rosemary is happy to advise and enjoys her new covert status as a figure of authority: her inner circle just enjoys meddling in the affairs of others.
Rosemary has made a pact with the demons to unite them against their common enemy: those who follow reason rather than faith and do not blindly obey the word of their elders. She believes that the demons are as much a part of the world of faith as the King of Life and happily accepts their assistance in purging the town of reason. She feels secure in the knowledge the she is powerful enough to get even demons to carry out the will of the King of Life.
Hate & Murder
Isaac Leominster and Jennifer Trumbull bear the brunt of Rosemary's enmity: Isaac may suffer a severe beating or other humiliation when he is found out, but Jennifer must be driven out or made to recant at any price. If she will not bend to Rosemary's will, she must die for her sins against faith.
What do the people want from the Dogs?
The young children want to impress them with their knowledge of scripture so that they will not be punished or taken away.
The older children want the Dogs to go away and leave them alone, seeing them as soldiers of the old ways who will do as directed by the elders to preserve the Faith.
The parents of the older children want the Dogs to bring their sons & daughters back into line and stop all this nonsense.
Rosemary Halsted and her inner circle want the Dogs to drive Jennifer Trumbull away, whether by coercion applied to her 'uncle' or force if necessary.
Jennifer Trumbull fears the Dogs, knowing about them only what she has heard whispered amongst the children, but she wants them to talk to the parents of the older children and make them see reason.
Solomon Reed wants the Dogs to convince Jennifer to stop being so stubborn and convert to the Faith so that they can be wed.
Isaac Leominster wants to face down a Dog in public in a test of faith & will, to show all that he reprsents the true way forward for the faith.
Malcolm Trumbull wanst the Dogs to mediate the situation and get everybody talking peacefully again: if they can't accept his niece's presence, they'd better look for a new town to live in, as he won't rent a cabbage patch to them.
What do the demons want?
To split the town in two, dividing them between Rosemary's way of superstition & blind obedience and Isaac's way of rewriting the Book to suit the situation.
What do the demons want the dogs to do?
Publicly support one or both sides in the conflict: by endorsing the extremes, they will help to drive the townsfolk further away from the true Faith into their own corrupt practice of it.
What would happen if the Dog's didn't come?
An 'anti-witch hunt', with the forces of Faith condemning and destroying reason: the younger children would grow up to be a new generation steeped in fear, practicisng the Faith by rote, not out of any real understanding. The demons would grow strong on fear of the dark and unreason; Rosemary and her inner circle would grow very powerful, with no-one with the knowledge to stand against them.
The older children would part company with the Faith, creating a schism and a missing generation as they left Laskey's Crossing to seek out their own vision of the faith.