The Piggyback Acorn (Chapter 1-3: Woodberry)


A circular lid is pulled from our field of vision, revealing a blinding light. A gigantic figure appears, out of focus, leaning towards us. Its voice is like an earthquake.

GIANT: "Whaaaaaaaaa!!! There's a prize inside!"

We reach out with our will, attempting to speak.

???: "...Inside... what...?"
GIANT: "Omigosh, are you a spirit? I love you guys!"
???: "...Where... am I?"
GIANT: "Inside an ACORN, of course! I almost ate your house - sorry about that!"

The sound of wet leaves shuffling. 

GIANT: "...Hey, could you hold on for a sec? My mouth is watering, and there's a ripe plumper right over there that's begging to have some teeth sunk into it. Be right back!" 

The Giant moves out of view. Shafts and sparkles of light dance between distant trees. It seems we're looking upward. Nearby, we hear a startling pop. The thunderous monster returns into view.

GIANT: "No prize in this one. Only juicy, savory meat."

The Giant bites into the side of an acorn as if it were as soft as of cheese. We hear moist, voracious chomps. 

GIANT: "Hrmmmmmmff.... oh, man... mmmfff...."

Slobbering, heavy breaths shake our entire world. 

GIANT: "You forget how good these are until your next mouthful. So sweet... yet salty... grainy and soft... with just the right amount of kick..."
ACORN: "Where are we?"
GIANT: "The woods. Obviously. Hold on - I need to concentrate. When you've got a mouthful of the good stuff, you've got to savor it properly. The way it reacts with your saliva... mmmfff.... the secret is finding the discipline to hold it in place, contemplating each unique flavor profile..."
ACORN: "What are you doing?"
GIANT: "For heavenlies' sakes, can't a girl get a second of peace? I'm having a moment, here!"
ACORN: "...Sorry."
GIANT: "Mrrrfff... mnnnnch... Uuuggghhh... Faeries love acorns. You don't even know. So crunchy... filling... and yet there's always room for more. I really shouldn't eat so many, but they're in season. I can't help it! One more bite! Grrrrpppmmmffffff… mmmmngggghh…."

A few more bites, and the acorn is no more. The Giant wipes her mouth with an enormous forearm covered in fuzz.

GIANT: "Okay. That's enough for now. I'm supposed to be on a diet. I'll put the rest away for a snack."
ACORN: "How did I get inside an acorn?"
GIANT: "How the huckleberry should I know? Maybe you're one of those lost souls."
ACORN: "I am?"
GIANT: "Aren'tcha? You probably met some gruesome, untimely end and got all laid to rest near one of those trees over there. Now you’re a restless spirit of eternal vengeance, looking to punish those who wronged you. Anything like that? Ringing any bells?"
ACORN: "Bells... I do seem to remember hearing bells..." 
GIANT: "Uh-huh. When I took a deep whiff of you, I did get a glimpse of something. Like... smoke? And humans shouting at each other?"
ACORN: "You saw it, too?"
GIANT: "I guess? I dunno. My mind drifts to a lot of places when I'm eating. My sisters say visions aren't uncommon, seeing as how acorns are the fruit of the earth. I tell ya, a heaping mouthful does things to you."

The Giant wrings its arms. 

GIANT: "Urgggghh... no... mustn't think about eating more. Got to get my mind off those savory, nutty temptations." 

Twisting, the Giant snaps up and claps its hands. The noise is enough to split our heads. 

GIANT: "Hey! I know! Since lost souls have burning insatiable vendettas, how about I help you out? I’ve got to keep my mind off my stomach… at least until suppertime."
ACORN: "You can help me? How?"
GIANT: "...Shouldn't you - erm, don't you have something, or someone, to settle the score with?" 
ACORN: "I... don't remember."
GIANT: "Guess you wouldn't... seeing as how you don't have a brain anymore. Isn't it funny, how that works? That you can feel things, but not remember them. I've met a few lost souls here and there. Nice folk, mostly amuse themselves knocking things over and making spooky sounds. Helps pass the time, I suppose, if that's what you're into. Doesn't seem like the best way to find eternal satisfaction, if you ask me, but what business is it of mine? None, that's what."

The Giant crosses its arms, tapping a cheek. We are are relieved to find the thuds aren't as loud as they would have been a few moments ago.

GIANT: "I suppose, considering your size... hmm... Ah! Maybe you can channel yourself through a human!"
ACORN: "I can do that? How?"
GIANT: "Dunno."
ACORN: "But you said -"
GIANT: "C'mon I'm digesting. I can't make heads or tails of anything right now. It's not like I've ever been a vengeful spirit before."
ACORN: "There must be some way I could at least get off the ground."
GIANT: "Hmm... how about this? If you promise to keep me honest with my diet, I could carry you around and put you in someone's pocket! There are lots of humans wandering around these days, and they're pretty dumb. Wouldn't even notice the extra weight."
ACORN: "...Better than lying on the ground by myself, having nightmares."
GIANT: "Not that I'm saying you're dumb, if you were ever human."
ACORN: "...No offense taken. Your idea is worth a try."
GIANT: "Okay! Great! I can't wait to watch the catastrophe of your possible former life fall into place for my entertainment!"
ACORN: "...The pleasure is mine."
GIANT: "Oh! I never told you my name, did I? It's WOODBERRY! I'm a Faerie!"
ACORN: "I'm... um, I don't remember."
WOODBERRY: "That's okay! I can give you a name. How about... Nugget?"
ACORN: "..."
WOODBERRY: "Pleased to meet'cha, NUGGET! Say, since we're going to be best friends, want to hear something else that's interesting about acorns?"
NUGGET: "..."
WOODBERRY: "Y'know how they carry all this potential to grow into huge, powerful oak trees? Momma says that's not the only reason they're so satisfying in the tummy - but it could be that's why you're living in one, too! I bet, with a little bit of water, light, and god soil, you're going to grow mightily. Isn't that fun? It's my prediction for you. My Faerie prediction."
NUGGET: "...Thank you."

Woodberry strains to lift Nugget. 

WOODBERRY: "Oof! All right... shouldn't take long to find a Horsie wandering around. You ready?" 
NUGGET: "...As I'll ever be."

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  1. So we get where the title comes from! Woodberry is a blast. Now we just hang on until we see how these tie to the player character of the ruler.


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