Date: 2010-12-13 04:51 pm (UTC)
xtricks: color snail picture w/ xtricks (Default)
From: [personal profile] xtricks
I can think of a few things for your misplaced Opener:

1. You said he was fleeing some sort of conflict from where he came from. What if one of his enemy/an assassin/a strange monster thing designed to kill him, followed? Not only does he have to figure out how to find food etc, he’s got to defend himself and possibly others.

2. There’s some reason why magic is thin here … a guardian, a weird effect etc – and tis affecting him, or chasing him. More or less the same as above but from here.

3. It’s very unlikely that people will someone starve on the streets, even in a poor community (sometimes, especially). In that era, in a rural area, people might take him in/let him sleep in the barn in exchange for menial labor. Remember that pre- the ever present impersonal social services was a larger tendency for individuals to help others, even strangers. It’s also likely that a church would be providing some social services … a daily meal, a basement to sleep in. Which is an interesting change from what he did before. He might break into or steal food/shelter and get arrested etc – more interaction with our side/police etc.

Plot two –

1930’s is pre-WW2 (obv) and alas, the culture we live in now with it’s horror of human experimentation and it’s issues about treatment of medical patients wasn’t present in the same way there. In that era, ‘mentally ill’ people (which included lesbians and gay men, the elderly, minorities, disobedient children and so one were frequently experimented on in all sorts of awful ways. Other examples include the Tuskegee experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment) The Freemen lobotomy history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobotomy#Walter_Freeman) and the history of non-consensual sterilization of women in prison/mental institutes. So, basically, it’s actually pretty easy to assume that there would be plenty of people who would be quite capable of thinking these strangers were ‘not human’ and plenty of laws to support it.

One thing to consider, in adding tension, is if these folks are coming from somewhere … why and what resources can they access if they’re not imprisoned to protect themselves/get revenge/ help their fellows? Maybe Augustine is helped to escape and he, not unreasonably, decideds to get together the elven hordes and descend on the institute/the US/the world and your protagonist has to decide what, if anything she wants and can do about it.

Three: you stop a brewing uprising by discrediting the symbol/leader/etc. In this case it would be the kid. Is there some social problem with being part waumpus? Falling in love with them? Perhaps the claim the boy is not really the son of ‘X’ and use something in the waumpus lands/people to try and prove it?
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