The Piggyback Acorn (Chapter 1-6: Entering Town)

WOODBERRY: "Giddyap, Horsie! Leg it!"
Q'UONAN: "Yaaaahhhhh... ugggghhh..."

Q'uonan's sandals clap against a dusty road, surrounded by an ocean of overgrown hills. He groans climbing each slope and thunders down with careless stomps. At the summit of one especially steep incline, Woodberry shades her eyes with a tiny hand.

WOODBERRY: "Look! Way over there, at that smoke! A real-life human village! At last! I tell ya, after all this sitting and bouncing, I could certainly use a break to stretch my wings..."

With a primitive grunt, Q'uonan's pace intensifies.

WOODBERRY: "Hey! Watch out!"

The exhausted mount slams his full weight into what appears to be a scarecrow, wearing a barrel and an old war helmet, standing watch on the other side of a summit.


Lifting Nugget away the nick of time, Woodberry watches the bodies of two men kick up clouds of dust and pollen until they roll to a stop twenty feet down. Human limbs violently thrash from inside the barrel.

Q'UONAN: "Much sorry! Apologies!"
SCARECROW: "Oh, dear! Deeply begging pardon!"

Q'uonan looks like a muddy swamp beast rolling onto its hands and knees, as the dust clinging to every inch of him mixes with sweat. He rushes over to the Scarecrow.

Q'UONAN: "Please - cough! Allow me to help you stand!"
SCARECROW: "Mischievous pinnacles... I daresay I can hardly see or hear anything one inch away in this thing!"
Q'UONAN: "Ten-thousand apologies, my friend."

The men rise to their feet, patting themselves clean with minimal success.

SCARECROW: "No, no, the fault is mine."
WOODBERRY: "Bad horsie! Not paying attention! And you, Scarecrow - why were you standing in the middle of the road like that?"

The scarecrow looks around, startled, adjusting his helmet for a better look.
SCARECROW: "What in the heavens...? A Faerie! I - that is - yes, of course - I had foolishly stopped in a conspicuous place to admire the fine scenery. Forgive me! I had been deep in thought and would certainly have moved out of the way if I had been paying the least bit of attention."
Q'UONAN: "It is no trouble. Are you harmed?"
SCARECROW: "Oh, a little dusty, but it's nothing, nothing!"
Q'UONAN: "We have traveled very far and my exhaustion blinded me."
SCARECROW: "Travelers, eh? Please, in that case, allow me to introduce myself."

The Scarecrow grips the barrel around his waist and tilts forward. The gesture resembles a bow.

SCARECROW: "I am Sir Langley Hemingway of House Soanso, proud defenders of Tir Gwylit for many generations."
WOODBERRY: "Hmph! I'm Woodberry, Daughter of the Wood. And this is my clumsy beast of burden, Q'uonan."
SIR SOANSO: "An honor! Where do you hail from, Q'uonan?"
Q'UONAN: "...I am forbidden to speak its name, until I am worthy."
WOODBERRY: "Why's that?"
Q'UONAN: "...Q'uonan is forbidden to speak of that, as well."
SIR SOANSO: "I understand. Say no more, for each of us carries a secret burden, do we not? Hmm... Perhaps I could make amends for my carelessness by offering direction, if you are in need of any? I am well acquainted with this province."

Woodberry slaps a relatively clean circle of flesh away on Q'uonan's shoulder and sits, wrapping her arms around the Acorn.

WOODBERRY: "We're looking for a town called... uh... what was it?"
Q'UONAN: "...Wood-Daughter said she was remembering."
WOODBERRY: "...What's that town over there?"
SIR SOANSO: "Up the road? Why, that is none other than Bryn Colledig."
WOODBERRY: "...Was that it?"
Q'UONAN: "We are looking for a man... ehm... his name is..."
WOODBERRY: "Great. You made me panic, Q'uonan, and I forgot!"
SIR SOANSO: "Perhaps if I told you about it, that may jog your memory?"
Q'UONAN: "Yes, please!"
SIR SOANSO: "I fear I do not have a map handy, but Bryn Colledig is located roughly in the center of this fair country. While not a large town, it has earned its notoriety as a crossroads, of sorts."

SIR SOANSO: "See yonder, that circular structure on the North hill? That is the world-famous two-way Portal! Said to be the last of its kind. Owing to its very complex magic, the Portal is maintained by a brilliant scholar. If you wish to travel around Tir Gwylit, I am certain you will want to introduce yourself to him."
WOODBERRY: "Hm... does that sound familiar?"
Q'UONAN: "I do not recall."
SIR SOANSO: "No worries! On the West side of town is the Forge, run for many years by a chap who will be able to help you, if you are in search of equipment suitable for adventuring."
Q'UONAN: "Ah! Yes, I wish to see this man."
SIR SOANSO: "Mind, he has something of a... passionate temperament. If you speak with him, I would advise you not to mention that you saw me this morning."

Woodberry shifts her weight uncomfortably.

SIR SOANSO: "To the East is the local Tavern, which is managed by a most radiant Matron. Should you desire rest, refreshment, or if you wish to trade supplies, be sure to stop in and say hello from me!"
WOODBERRY: "I wonder if we could sell that Pelt over there?"
SIR SOANSO: "As for myself, I stand watch at the Monument, located on the south side of the Village, near the entrance. 'Tis a solemn place, where the names of those who have served this land are honored."
Q'UONAN: "Hm..."
SIR SOANSO: "Bryn Colledig may appear to be a modest village to passersby, yet it hides many charms. There is no finer place to pass through on one's daily business. And with that, I conclude my tour! What sayest thou, dear Woodberry? Absolvest thee of my carelessness?"
WOODBERRY: "...For now."
SIR SOANSO: "Very good! You have my sincerest gratitude. As you are undoubtedly eager to resume your journey, I shall hinder you no further. Go in peace, my friends, and I pray that I shall see you again soon, in excellent health!"

Sir Soanso adjusts the barrel hanging from his shoulders, and hobbles toward town.

WOODBERRY: "...I hope someone we meet in town is dressed..."

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