The Old Lag Passes on His Wisdom
I bet you’ve all already decided that nothing I say is any use to you right? Well guess what? Tough. You have to listen cos there’s nowhere else to go, just as I have to tell you because i’ve nothing better to do with my time. and despite what you think, it’s damn good advice. Thats why its worth the telling and why its worth you lot listening.
It used to be that this place was a real nightmare; an experiment gone both wrong and right. Just throw the bad ones away, they said, they’re worse than animals and live like it. So they walled off the island, and sent us here, with no guards and no rules other than regular food shipments. You’d think there would be an outcry but the world just turned away, figuring we’d deserved it. Too many terrible crimes, too many uncontrollable prisons. Time to rehabilitate those you could, and put the rest beyond harms way.
When I arrived here you smell the blood when you got off the boat. They left you with only the clothes you stood up in, and a couple of days of food, and got back out to sea as fast they could, whilst the inmates – your new brothers – circled looking for the weak and vulnerable. Someone always died in the first days, unable to find a niche for themselves, but I never had that problem, before or since.
But one day I found a sapling in a corner of the main square, and decided to protect it. I grew up on a farm you see, before I moved to the big city, and always liked a bit of green around the place. Had to kill a few people to keep it safe, people trying to make a point, get to me or mine, and in one case some poor sap who was just too hungry to know better. And the blood made the tree stronger, and the tree reminded everyone that something could grow here, at a cost.
And now the tree is still here, and things grow all over the place. No-one touches it still, because although I’m old there are others to take my burden, and any of you lot touch it they’ll kill you and feed you to it’s roots. It’s a symbol, you see, that we don’t have to be just animals, and that we can build something even from the worst of us. But it’s also a symbol that there is a price for that, in places like this, and you forget that at peril of your life.