SEASON 1/EPISODE 1: Snurgle Snort

Content Warnings: Animal death, animal eating habits, animal mating habits, animal violence, animal injury, missing persons, animal attack, human death, humans as food source for animal, wilderness injury

SCENE 1

                 EXT. DAY. FOREST.

 

                                        Adventurous music plays.

                         
                                        SEBASTIAN is driving down a dirt road. You hear a creature snoring.

 

SEBASTIAN:                   Hey there! This is Sebastian Verwood coming at you live from the                                                McKenzie Mountain Wilderness to my audience of literally no one but                                          me! Nah, that’s a lie. I’m sure that there’ll be… maybe four people                                                listening to these. I have procured a… very generous grant from                                                    Dr. Vivien Warren, a history professor at Talbot University, to                                                          unofficially study the magical creatures of the world around us called                                            Fae. The Fae are any creature that are, for the most part, unable to be                                          seen by humans because of a thing called the Veil. As far as we know,                                          it's a magical barrier guarding Fae from prying human eyes. There are                                          Fae all around us and we can’t see them because of that, but, guess                                            what? I was born with the Sight, which is the ability to see past the                                                Veil and into the Otherworld. The other... world where the fae live.                                                Otherworld. So far, I am the only living person that I know of to have                                            this ability, but it has been recorded plenty of times throughout                                                    history. I’m here to release a squonk back into the wild. Alvin here,

                                        our squonk of the day, was caught by a pair of hunters and brought to                                          a vet. Apparently, they thought Alvin was just one really weird looking                                          pug that wandered out into the woods. Luckily, that vet, Dr. Annabeth                                          Hale, has worked with me before and called me the second Alvin was                                          brought in. It’s not common for a fae to get picked up like that, but,                                              from what I’ve heard, it happens from time to time. The veil isn’t a                                                guarantee. I mean, how else do you think we ended up with stories                                              about gorgons and sirens… or mothman. There a couple of tricks in                                              the lore to allow for someone to see past the veil into the

                                        Otherworld. One way is to just get hilariously lucky around                                                              Midsummer, Midwinter, or Halloween during an in-between time                                                  like… sunset or sunrise. That sort of thing. The most common way to                                            see past the veil is to get your hands on an Adder Stone. An adder                                              stone, which can also be called a sight stone, is any rock with a                                                      naturally-created hole running through it. You'll mostly find these by                                            a river bed or on a beach.

                                       SEBASTIAN turn off of a dirt road and it transition to grass. The cage                                           begin to rattle and ALVIN becomes excited.

SEBASTIAN:                   Yeah! We’re here buddy! It’s your home! Isn’t it pretty?

                                       The key are pulled out of the ignition. SEBASTIAN opens a car door.

                                       ALVIN glances around in his cage. SEBASTIAN opens the trunk. He

                                       grabs his gear. ALVIN becomes excited and the cage rattles. 

                                       SEBASTIAN opens the car door.

SEBASTIAN:                   Are you excited?! Yeah?! Okay, let’s get you out.

 

                                       SEBASTIAN undoes the cage clasp. The snorting goes wild.

SEBASTIAN:                   Alright, come here. Oof, have you put on weight? Have you? Have                                                you been eating without me knowing?

                                        Lots of snorty, puggish breathing.

SEBASTIAN:                   Alvin, here, is a flat-nosed squonk, one of the four squonk species in                                            North America and in the world. They are fascinating little fellas with                                            layers upon layers of skin folds protecting them from both predators                                            and the cold. When frontiersmen first explored North America for                                                logging, furring, and discovery, they would document fae creatures,                                            like Alvin, and call them the “fearsome critters” of North America.                                                How could anyone call a squonk fearsome? I have no clue. In these                                              lumberjack tales, squonks were said to be so ugly that they’d cut                                                  themselves off from the world and weep at how bad they looked.

                                        (To Alvin, in doggy voice)

                                        But you aren’t ugly are you? No, you’re not! Oh no, you’re not! Oh                                                no, you're not!

                                        (Sebastian laughs)

                                        Alvin is six months old and has a great looking dark brown coat. He’s                                            a handsome bachelor and probably wandered out searching for a                                                mate when he was captured, but, but we’re going to make sure you                                              get a second shot at love, aren’t we? Now the first thing you need to                                            do before visiting any forest is to knock on the bark of a tree. It can be                                          any tree, but typically the bigger or older the tree, the better. This                                                notifies tree-dwelling nymphs called Dryads of your presence. If there                                          is ever something dangerous lurking nearby, they will warn you. 

 

                                      SEBASTIAN knocks on wood.

  SEBASTIAN:                Squonks have a very cool defense mechanism besides being                                                         incredibly fast. If you notice the folds of their skin, you’ll see just                                                   how much of it there is compared to the rest of their body. Just like .                                           the spiny mouse in Africa, Squonks are able to shed their skin! They                                             have an incredible regrowth rate and are able to grow back the tissue                                           they lost within a few days. Alright, buddy. Are you ready?

 

                                      Wheezing snorts

 SEBASTIAN:                 Yeah? Okay… In THREE. TWO. ONE!

                                      ALVIN scampers off, wheezing.

 

  SEBASTIAN:                Mating season won’t be over for another week or so. The males will                                              court females and, three months later, a litter of four to six pups is                                                born. Squonks are marsupials and carry their litter around in a pouch.                                          Okay, now that that’s done, I gotta head back to the city to meet up                                            with Dr. Warren about reassignment to another base. The cool thing                                            is that--

 

                                       The sound of a low ca-haw is heard. An low pitched eagle's cry.

 SEBASTIAN:                No. Way. Hold on. Listen.

 

                                       More ca-haws

 SEBASTIAN:                Where are you? Oh… If I manage to see one in the wild.

 

                                       Crunching leaves, the sound of a bush being moved.

 SEBASTIAN:                 Oh, God. Wow. You. Are. Beautiful. Would you just take a look at this?                                         I mean-- You can’t, obviously. But I just I can’t believe we were able to                                           run into one on our first trip here. Man, we are so lucky! What I’m                                                 looking at right now is the Speckled Griffin, the smallest species in                                               North America. It is the same size as a bobcat. This is an adult female,                                         fully grown, with a beautiful set of plumage. Being the size that she is,                                         her wingspan is about seven feet? So she only weighs approximately                                           11 pounds. Can’t know for sure unless we managed to get her onto a                                           scale. She gets her name from the dapple of black on her feathers, the                                         rest of her is a light brown with white accents. There isn’t too much of                                           a difference between males and females in terms of looks, but the                                                 adult Female Speckled Griffin is larger than the males of the species.

                                       Now, let’s see if I can just…

 

                                       Snapped branch. Skittering up the tree.

 SEBASTIAN:                 Whelp. There she goes. Griffins are remarkable climbers, using all four                                         limbs and claws to drag themselves up trees. When most people                                                   picture a griffin, they see a bald eagle attached to a lion with four legs                                         and two wings on their back. In real life, however, the wings of the                                                 griffin are placed on the back of their forelegs, just like the wings on                                             gliding mammals and reptiles. I wish her litter were nearby, they lay up                                         to three eggs a year in a nest roughly four to five feet in width and two                                         to four feet in depth. I say litter because griffins have been said to be                                           the result of breeding eagles with lions, but that’s obviously just a                                                 misconception, but you can see why people think that. If you take a                                              look at the tail feathers of the griffin, there is, in fact, a working tail                                                underneath, much like that of the dinosaurs griffins are descendants                                            of. Along… with that, griffins have a decorative mane of feathers                                                 running down the length of their head and neck. All in all, they are                                               absolutely breathtaking to see in person. Just beautiful. Alright, let’s                                             see what else we can find while I’m here. I'm feeling lucky. Pixies and                                           Sprites are the most common kind of fae that you’ll run into if you go                                            out and take a look. They have evolved to look like the insects and                                                plants around them. There are probably thousands upon thousands                                             of species of sprites and pixies. I just wish I could document them

                                       all in my lifetime, but that’ll never be possible. So far, I work with                                                   fifteen people studying Fae as closely as we are, but we are all based                                           in either North America or Europe, so there's no telling just what's out                                         there.

                                       High pitched squeaking.

 

SEBASTIAN:                 This little guy here is the Common Pine. Here, come on. Aw, there you                                         go. It’s okay. It’s okay. He’s crawling on my arm now, getting used 

                                       to me, exploring. Pixies are playful creatures. They like playing tag,                                               exploring boundaries, and have an absolutely curious sense                                                           of adventure. To give you a rough idea of Just how intelligent Sprites                                           and Pixies are, both groupings of fae are of about the same                                                           intelligence as a raven. Some are even able to learn to mimic human                                           language apparently. He’s in my hair right now. If one of them ever                                               ventures into your house, you’d probably end up finding it rummaging                                         through clothes or books. The Common Pine can grow up to six                                                   inches tall, this little guy is about only four. The outer shell of the Pine                                           mimics the colors and rough feel of tree bark, making him an                                                         excellent hider. When the Common Pine feels threatened, they’ll latch                                         onto the bark with their claws and lay up against it, hiding                                                               their underbelly. Can you crawl back into my hand? Yeah? Okay…                                                 Thank you. Thanks. I’m moving my hand back to the tree to let you                                               off. There you go… There. Back on your home. You know, Pixies were                                           some of the first fae I ever ran into. I thought they were just regular                                               bugs or flowers, but then I… learned otherwise. They’re a really cool                                             species to see on the day-to-day because of just how much variety                                               they have. 

                                       The dryads knock. It comes from all over.

 

SEBASTIAN:                 Remember when I said the Dryads warn you about imminent danger?                                           Well… Now’s that time. Let’s see what this guy is... 

                                       SEBASTIAN walks a perimeter. Leaves crunch underfoot.

 

SEBASTIAN:                  I’m carrying an iron sword right now. Iron weapons are the best items                                            for self-defense, but should only be used for self-defense. The fae are                                          already distrustful against humans as is, but to attack them                                                           unprovoked with iron? You’d insult them beyond repair. Fae are                                                      allergic to iron and it burns them upon contact. With a cut from a                                                 sword like mine, it takes time for the creature to heal. I try my best not                                         to… use it. Let’s see what you are… I’m going to walk a cautious                                                   perimeter around the area. I’m keeping my distance because it’s still                                             dangerous, but… It’s something I have worked with before and am                                               familiar with the habits of. This big lump of a guy is the Hide-Behind,                                           another one of the “fearsome critters” from lumberjack tales but… in                                           this case, is a critter you should actually be afraid of… Or, at least, very                                         cautious. Just like the Common Pine, the Hide-Behind uses                                                           camouflage to hide from prey, but keeps its distance behind trees                                                 until it is ready to pounce. The Hide-Behind evolved from the                                                         Ground Sloths, a now-extinct cluster of sloths that could grow up to

                                       17 feet in height. Like sloths, it is a slow mover and sleeps most of the                                         day… Because of that… It relies on stealth before launching itself at                                             prey passing by… It is faster than its ancestors. If… I move over here.

                                       Crunching leaves.

 

                                      Ah, yeah. Look at you… He’s a male. You can tell because of the dark                                          lines on his face running around his eyes. That and his height are the                                            only differences between a male and female Hide-Behind. He is small                                          for his species. Only about 10 feet tall. The amazing thing about this                                            species is that, like their ancestors, they have the capability of bipedal                                          movement.They are able to walk on their hindlegs for an extended 

                                      period of time and keep their balance with their long claws. Because of                                        their size, they are unable to live up in trees like the sloths of today,                                              but, instead, live in dens or caves that they dig out for themselves. He                                          is an omnivore, mostly snacking on plants, but will hunt fish or                                                        larger mammals such as deer…  or… people. He will keep his distance                                        now that he knows that I know about him… but if I didn’t…let’s just say                                        there’s a reason people go missing in the woods when out hiking by                                            themselves. They really are majestic creatures. Very intelligent hunters                                          that are able to learn migration patterns. I’m going to get out of his                                              way and move on… He shouldn’t follow me if I keep my eye on him.                                            Do you remember the Boo in those old Mario games? They tend to                                              work like that. Aren’t you brave when I’m not looking? Look at him inch                                        around that tree to get a look at me. He’s craning his neck out just                                                a tad so he can see if I’m still watching. I still am bud!Okay, I should be                                        out of his line of fire right now. I should get a move on before it gets                                            dark. Let me tell you, that is a loaded day today. I was not expecting to                                        see all of that. Hoping every expedition I take will end up looking like                                          this. Catch you guys later.

 

END OF EPISODE.

ADVENTUROUS MUSIC PLAYS.

CREATURE FUN FACT: There are four species of Squonk in North America: the dappled squonk, the black-footed squonk, the flat-nosed squonk, and the northern rockback. The northern rockback is the largest species of North America and can grow up to 6 feet in length and 3 feet in height.

CREDITS:

 

The Viridian Wild is created, written, and produced by Davis Walden with creative consulting by Nicole Miller. Our music is composed by Daryl Banner. This episode features the voice of Davis Walden as Sebastian. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as The Viridian Wild or email us at theviridianwild@gmail.com. Learn more and find transcripts of this episode at theviridianwild.com. We would like to thank our first Adventurers joining us on this journey: Joe and Mandy Walden. You can support Sebastian’s study of the magical world around us on our patreon at www.patreon.com/theviridianwild and gain access to bonus material such as bloopers and book recommendations. The Viridian Wild is a product of Always in My Head Productions. Till next time, happy trails!