Note: Small spoilers for an early puzzle in the game. I wrote it to address some of my discomfort with one of the concepts in an otherwise fine game.

Tearing Down To Rebuild
by Estirose
c 2011

Maro looked out at where the masked people were walking around the village. They wore four basic kinds of masks - blue, yellow, red, and purple. She wasn't too sure of the significance, but she knew that she was scared every time she got near a red mask without knowing quite why, and the orange ones yelled a lot, the blues were open to persuasion, and the purples… well, they'd talked to one purple mask, and Armina had been glad to take off their mask join them after Nila fixed her up, but the other purple masks weren't willing to talk.

Around her, the others were talking about tearing down the statue that was near the berry bushes. Either that, or the one nearest the lab. In either case, they were guided by Orange Masks, and she wasn't sure what would get them to go away. The blue ones they could talk to, scared though they were. She and the others had spent quite some time talking to them.

She hoped they could gain access to the berry bush like they had the mausoleum - after all, that hadn't required pulling down a statue. With everything that had happened in the generations that had been on Isola, their duty was to build up, to repair, to restore. Not to destroy, no matter how it might help the people.

Lutho was advocating tearing it down; that's what the Guiding Hand would have wanted, after all. Did the Guiding Hand not send down bees to strike the masked ones, he asked? Send butterflies to delight the children? Hit the red masks with electricity when they were in the villagers' way? Sometimes building up meant tearing down the old. Besides, the people here would see the Guiding Hand's awesome power and come to join them.

She felt uneasy about this. Sure, tearing down the totem might dishearten the Red Masks and the Orange Masks, but it was the others she didn't want to hurt. After all, even if these people had lost faith in the Guiding Hand, what faith they had was to be honored, not destroyed.

But she had no choice in the end. The Guiding Hand struck the Orange Masks with bees and lightning, and she and the others were pulled to tear it down. It was a sure sign, Lutho said, that it was what the Guiding Hand, their god, favored. And it turned out when they were done, that the masked ones didn't bother to come around to the bushes any more.

Still, Maro felt uncomfortable as she looked at the remains of the statue. Did building up really mean tearing down, and was the Guiding Hand right to do what it did?

Maybe she was losing faith too, but she didn't see the point.

Virtual Villagers fanfic