Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Berk Sample Character: Annie "Oakleaf" Dell

There's more where these came from. Image from Wikimedia Commons
Name: Annie Dell
Species: Ent
Faction: Redwood Deputies


Annie Dell is the grandsapling of Colonel Aloisius Dell, the legendary Ent rancher who is the unofficial leader of the Ents living on the ranches and farms around Redwood. Back in his day, Colonel Dell would ride out with a group of his ents and bring to justice anyone who harshed the mellow of a farmer or rancher. Now, the Colonel is content to sit in his rocking chair on the porch of his ranch-house, smoking his long-stemmed pipe and watching the goings-on from under his mossy eyebrows.

Annie grew up strong and straight on her father's ranch. Her father, "Bough" Dell, once rode out with Colonel Dell and he told Annie stories of the old man's exploits and wisdom. Annie was a rough-and-tumble child, climbing anything she could reach and scraping the bark from her knees when she fell until she learned not to fall.

Colonel Dell did his best to spoil little Annie rotten, but she was always more interested in his tales of adventure and danger than in the sprout-dolls he brought back from Redwood. So the colonel taught her how to ride and how to shoot, and there are few better teachers in the Berk area.

The only time Annie really got into a fight with her grandfather was when she announced that she wanted to become a deputy in Redwood. The sheriff had heard of her accomplishments in tracking down some cattle rustlers in the hills and in stopping a six-legged mutant puma from eating her father's horses, and he offered to make her a deputy if she would uphold the law out on the ranches. Colonel Dell insisted in his patient way that the ranchers did not need a silver star to do what's right. But to Annie, it was important to have a sign of legitimate authority. In the end, Annie won the argument, and she became a Deputy of Berk.
Annie became a common sight both in Redwood and in the surrounding ranches. People began to take note of her exceptional shooting ability, and it became a recurring event to wager money on a shot that Annie couldn't make. An Ent Researcher was visiting from the Great Library when he saw her throw three leaves into the air and put a hole through all three with two shots of her Winchester. He declared her "Annie Oakleaf." Nobody knew why he thought that was so clever, but the name stuck.


Annie is one of the more humanoid Ents. She has mahogany skin and her hair is a deep, verdant green. Her face is long and thin, with a pretty smile that can appear so suddenly that people are caught by surprise. When she looks stern, though, her face goes very still, and even bigshot troublemakers will slink awayrather than face her wrath.

She wears loose clothing in earth tones with wide sleeves and trouser legs, and her boots are of tough reddish leather. She usually wears a tan, wide-brimmed hat with a strap hanging down under her chin. She also keeps a kerchief around her neck in case of dust storms. Finally, when she is traveling, she wears one of the "rug" ponchos that Redwood Ents are famous for.


When she is on the job, Annie wears a six-shooter in a quick-draw holster, with cartridge loops all around the thick belt. She carries a lever-action rifle in the same caliber as the pistol to allow her to use the same ammunition for both.

Annie always carries a thick-bladed knife in a leather sheath on the opposite hip from her pistol. While she is capable of using it in a fight, it is more a tool than a weapon. She also carries a length of good rope and a pocket knife with various folding blades. If she is traveling with non-Ents, she carries some wrapping paper so that they can smoke her leaves, which yield an energetic high.

Greatest Secret

Annie can't whistle. At all.

1 comment:

  1. For a few weeks after he heard Annie had been sworn in as a deputy, Colonel Dell refused to talk to Annie, but then he came around, because even the thick-barked old Ent has a soft spot (not termites, he assures you!) for the young sprout. After he started inviting her by again for tea, she asked if she could use his famous Henry rifle, which hangs above the mantel under the painting of an ancestor wearing a gray uniform (though it's possible the painting has just faded with age). The old Ent stroked his mossy mustache and looked with glittering eyes at the old weapon, which remains well-greased and loaded. "Well," he drawled, taking a long pull of his pipe, "Maybe one day, but ah think ah might still get some use out of that ol' iron."