The Piggyback Acorn (Chapter 1-10: Monumental Responsibility)
WOODBERRY: "What's so interesting about that hunk of stone?"
Woodberry tugs on Q'uonan's ear, urging him away from Needham's Tavern. Down a gentle slope of wild grass, Sir Soanso paces around the Bryn Colledig Monument. He mutters beneath his helmet.
SIR SOANSO: "Young and old... the soil hungers for us all to return to its embrace. Oh, my soul... what are we, but leaves in the wind?"
WOODBERRY: "...Sir Soanso?"
SIR SOANSO: "Hm? Ah! Graceful Woodberry and Brave Q'uonan! My new friends have found their way!"
WOODBERRY: "Are you feeling all right? I hear you've been standing here for a while."
SIR SOANSO: "I confess, time does seem to escape one's perception whilst contemplating the names written here. So very many lives lost... and yet, who stops to remember, but once per year?"
Q'uonan shudders, glaring at the dozens of moss-covered stones beneath his feet.
Q'UONAN: "All of these, it marks the graves?!"
SIR SOANSO: "Only in name, my good man, written upon those ceremonial wooden tablets. See?"
SIR SOANSO: "'Sulten Bakonegg, aged 42. Perished two weeks ago in East Fairplain, confronting a giant boar.' Poor soul; a confident, worthy man. Such a fine legacy trampled underfoot. His passing was not in vain, however - for upon hearing of his demise one night, I was moved to hunt down the beast myself! Bryn Colledig dined well that night, let me tell you."
Q'UONAN: "This tale pleases me."
SIR SOANSO: "That was... the last commission I undertook before my... carapace was forcibly shed from my back."
SIR SOANSO: "I needn't gaze upon your incredulous faces to know what you are thinking. Surely you do not believe it is the tradition of my proud House to venture into battle wearing common barrels, found discarded behind Taverns? Nay - until recently, I was the custodian of a most invaluable family treasure, the mighty Armor of Truth!"
Sir Soanso glances at us.
Q'UONAN: "Hm! That is sounding most powerful!"
SIR SOANSO: "Indeed, indeed.... yet, I must beg your pardon, for the wounds are far too fresh. Too fresh. Please... do not ask."
WOODBERRY: (We didn't.)
NUGGET: (Don't be rude.)
SIR SOANSO: "Sigh... As the heavens aligned to place me here, I have conscripted myself to this sacred ground, that I may contemplate its significance. With a heavy heart, I stand guard over this beautiful, historic village."
Sir Soanso lifts a hand to the enormous stone, brushing off some dust.
SIR SOANSO: "In the height of Bryn Colledig's prosperity, The Monument is said to have been shaped using very advanced magic. Hmm... what was its original purpose, again? A signpost, or relay of some matter? Alas, a man with a head of steak cannot purport to understand such workings."
WOODBERRY: "I only see a few dozen tablets. Are those all the people who died in your country?"
SIR SOANSO: "No; if you had only come a few weeks past, you would have seen the Monument covered from top to bottom, three tablets thick."
WOODBERRY: (That sounds like a lot...)
SIR SOANSO: "It is often far too dangerous to recover the remains of our revered heroes. Thus, the annual tradition of Bryn Colledig is to at least offer their names up to the sky."
SIR SOANSO: "And because the Monument is made of such a rare, otherworldly material, fire only makes it shine like new and the ore within glows all manner of colors for days afterward."
Q'UONAN: "I wish to see this ceremony."
SIR SOANSO: "You are certainly welcome, if you have a mind to remain in Tir Gwylit until next spring. Our people come from every corner of the country to offer thanks - even the Duke himself."
Q'uonan scratches his chin.
Q'UONAN: "Hmm... that is much time from now..."
WOODBERRY: "Speaking of which, we'd better move along, or your name is going to end up on the Monument too, due to old age."
Q'UONAN: "I am moved by such honors for the fallen in this land... perhaps someday I, too, will add the name of Q'uonan to these tablets."
Sir Soanso slaps his barrel, releasing a hearty laugh.
SIR SOANSO: "Your speech is like a spear through my heart, friend! For us adventurers, there is no greater honor than to sacrifice oneself in the service of others, is there not?"
Q'UONAN: "Yes! Let us die well, and proudly join our ancestors at the great feast!"
WOODBERRY: (Nugget... all I've learned on our adventure so far is that shirtless, pantsless human men seem to love big rocks and wooden tablets. I'm going to be honest with you: I don't know what to do with this information.)
NUGGET: (...Beats me.)
WOODBERRY: "Q'uonan, let's go. Mush! We've got a letter to deliver."
SIR SOANSO: "Ah, - of course. Godspeed, brother. May you find success in all your endeavors - today, and every day!"
Q'UONAN: "And yourself as well, cousin!"
Q'uonan slaps his chest so violently, a passerby jumps aside. A red hand-print remains on the hairy skin over his heart.
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