The Piggyback Acorn (Chapter 1-7: Bryn Colledig)

The dirt road gives way to stone bricks divided by gravel. Q'uonan panting slows as he ascends the final slope to Bryn Colledig. His gaze fixes on the dusty logs at his feet, half-buried in the hill to form shallow stairs.

Q'UONAN: "Do the people of the south not fear waste? They use many trees for building."
WOODBERRY: "Isn't that what all humans do?"
Q'UONAN: "The clans from which I come, we build with ice and stone. Wood is much valued for fire only, no building."

Q'uonan slaps at his leathers, then ruffles hair violently, producing a cloud of dust, leaves, gnats and twigs. From the East, a delicious scent rolls down from a two-storied building with windows stained in the colors of sunset. Q'uonan stumbles toward it, passing Sir Soanso in the center of town, who faces a tall stone Monument, as promised, with his arms crossed. We hear the Barrel Knight muttering underneath his helmet.

SIR SOANSO: "Hmm... Dominus Decimus. Passed from dysentery after alerting twenty-three villagers about a poisoned well. Such an honorable achievement... one may only hope to leave such a mark upon the world..."
WOODBERRY: "He seems deep in thought. Let's leave him be for now."

A bearded man wearing an eye patch walks downhill towards us. His longbow is so tall compared to his stocky stature, it almost drags on the gravel underfoot. He offers a grimacing smile behind a few  missing teeth.  Chest extended, Q'uonan steps aside.



MAN: "Comin' in from Bogshire?"
Q'UONAN: "Hm?"
MAN: "You smell like you got dragged into the swamp by a herd'a banshee! Hope you got 'em, at least!"

The man turns westward with a bark of laughter, marching past Sir Soanso, and enters a wide building where billows of green smoke erupt from the chimney.

WOODBERRY: "Y'know, Q'uonan, I've seen birds take baths in dust, but I hate to say it might not be working for you. You kinda blended into in the woods, so I didn't say anything: Since we're in a human village, though, I think you should probably clean yourself up before we talk to anyone else."
Q'UONAN: "Hm... yes. Wood-Daughter speaks a blunt truth. Let us search for a basin."

Q'uonan steps further aside onto the grass, past a row of well-kept bushes and a tall painted sign. Hanging from two rusty black chains, the sign depicts a mug and plates with generous helpings of meat and bread, held by a beautiful, woman with flowing black hair and red lips.

WOODBERRY: "Is this the Tavern? What's that say?"
Q'UONAN: "I cannot tell. But the smell inside is excellent."

Woodberry takes flight, scouting around the corner. She lands on a windowsill and tries to look through the windows

WOODBERRY: "Hm... Too smoky inside."
Q'UONAN: "Ah! Here is a washing basin!"

Q'uonan's double-sided axe thuds heavily on the grass, along with every piece of leather on his body, except for his loincloth. He slams his head into a pool of water contained in a barrel that has been sawed down the middle. When he comes up for a lungful of air, an enormous arc of murky water splashes onto Woodberry, and half the side of the building.

WOODBERRY: "Eek! Watch it!"
Q'UONAN: "Yesssss! Such refreshment!"

Q'uonan plunges one arm in, then the other, splashing as he rubs dirt off each, followed by his chest and underarms. Suddenly from the nearby building, a Chef kicks open the rear door. He wears a soup-stained apron that is too tight around his waist, and chomps on a pipe resting beneath a thick moustache. He aims a heavy butcher knife at Q'uonan. 

CHEF: "Hey! "


CHEF: "That's washing water for our plates, you bloody idiot! You've contaminated our Tavern's basin with your filth!"
Q'UONAN: "I- I am much sorry, I--"
CHEF: "Geddamn out-of-towners with piss for manners! If you can't afford a room to clean yourself up proper, find a bucket and use the well up the hill! While you're at it, clean and refill my basin with fresh water, or I'll show you how good of a butcher I am!" 

The chef slams the door shut. With one leg still hanging in the basin, Q'uonan turns to look at Woodberry, who clutches at her acorn.

WOODBERRY: "...We'll wait for you around front."

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