(OOC: I’m actually Will the DM’s irl son who lives in another state. He'd been trying to get me to play from the beginning. Also! I meant to say “now in his fourth DECADE” in my first post as I don’t think a four year old halfling would be very useful... )
Jhary kept waving the wax-sealed scroll for a moment before thinking better of it. He wasn't completely confident in his forgery, wondering if maybe he should just stick to the details and avoid any flagrant lies.
Quickly he tucked the parchment into his belt, extending his hairy hand instead as the gnome approached.
The small white mouse in the halfling’s pocket spun in place then ducked in and out of sight with an audible screech.
Just relax, Jhary, they can sense your jitters. You're just busking in the market square, same as ever… The hobbit’s mind raced along as the party approached the breakfast table.
“Sorry…” He coughed, “My mind is fuzzy from the Balrog Blast I shared with Weleand before I came after you. You... You must be Clalick.” He glanced over at the dwarf. “And… The lady Dorana, right?”
It wasn't hard for the halfling to pretend he was hung over; he was sweating bullets, barely remembering the names after repeating them in his mind over and over and over.
“So glad I managed to catch up! I'd honestly thought I'd lost you and this wonderful opportunity!” Jhary wiped at his forehead with his sleeve. “Barely managed to find that damn wizard!” He started to laugh unconsciously.
Wrap it up, fool! The young urchin thought to himself. Keep it simple…
“Anyway! Here I am. Mind spotting me for breakfast? Weleand wasn't able to pay me my half up front… He was in a hurry…”
Almost on cue, the little white mouse popped up again, sniffling its tiny nose at the smells of sustenance.
“Thanks!” The halfling abruptly ended, shoveling any available food into his mouth, almost as if to avoid speaking.
Aego was about to ask the innkeeper about the magic used to shield the place against intruders, when the newcomer arrives.
The elven wizard studies the halfling with a blank face, not giving away his thoughts. Then Aego watches the reactions from his companions to Jhary's story.
To the elf, it does not really matter if the halfling is truthful or not, but if he can convince the others of his story, then his skill is without question. That could be useful.
After all, Aego can always discover the real truth through eldritch means.
When he is satisfied about his companions' reaction, Aego once more turns to the innkeeper. "I wonder, dear Frat, how do you enable the magic that protects this place? Is it a spell I can learn, perhaps?"
Frat says: "Sounds like ol' Weleand is gettin a bit daft in his old age, forgettin about this chap and all. As far as the magik, that's Weleand's doin. All I have to do each night is snap my fingers and say the word he gave me and I'm as snug as a bug in a rug, or a mouse in a vest eh Mr. Jhary?"
"Like I said to Mister Frat here, name's Jhary, Jhary O Connah..." The halfling trailed off, letting his extended hand turn into a wave to the group as a whole.
Whew! They're buying it! ...at least for now...
The street urchin was grinning ear to ear as he noticed the elf accepting him as one of the party. The smile slightly lowered as he noticed the gnome pulling his chair out of arms reach and disappeared completely as he saw Dorana's puzzled staring.
Wasn't there another dwarf? Jhary thought to himself. A gruffer, a more scary-looking one? Perhaps he'd been accosted by the ruffians he'd mentioned in passing. Hopefully not... We need him between us and those hordes of rabid kobolds...
Jhary made a cringy face toward his little pet mouse as if the rodent could hear his thoughts. The entire dramatic effect was lost behind all the food Jhary shoveled into his face.
It seemed the little hobbit and friend hadn't eaten in days.
"Well like I said..." Jhary said, not sure if he actually HAD said or not, "Came up in the City State of the Invincible Overlord. Mind you not that I've met him myself. Mind you not that I was born in the City...I do recollect some green fields from my younger days...I think maybe my momma was from there...not that I remember much else..."
Jhary was talking through biscuits and jam being shoveled into his hobbit hole. After rambling for a moment, he thought he might be saying too much and instead started to eat even faster to cover up the words.
The little white mouse seemed too agitated to eat, running to and fro on the table.
The halfling finished breakfast in a more subdued manner, trying to blend in to the party's regular routine. Although, it was hard for him to slow the pace of his eating. He was eager to take a look closer at Weleand's crude map and formulate a plan, but didn't want to appear greedy.
"Almost to Bobby Bard's, aren't we? How many kobolds do you reckon there could be? You think they might have a leader of some sort we could reason with like civilized folk?"
O Connah tried to sound business-like.
The little white mouse ran up Jhary's arm and back into the halfling's front pocket.
"Oh! Heehee..." Jhary grinned, patting the mouse gently on tiny head. "This is Kitty... he's been with me through everything..."
The halfling inhaled deeply then paused.
Don't tell them about all the robbing... Maybe don't mention the scheming and scamming...
"Although I can barely remember me Ma and Pa...I do have this one dream...a reoccuring one at that...
He kept chewing and talking.
"Pa had made some devils...or maybe demons...angry...real angry...Ma couldn't have that... she was crying...I think something really, really BAD happened...Last thing I remember Pa saying...
The small, hairy guy had a tear in his eye.
"Don't worry 'bout US son... I'll always be by your side..."
Jhary made a clenching motion with a hand held over his heart. He was in full dramatic mode.
After a moment, he paused and looked around. His bushy eyebrows furrowed and he glanced down at the mouse.
"Anyway, I apologise for the tangent... Not sure why my mind was wandering that way..."
Jhary stuffed a few hard-boiled eggs and crusts of bread into his pockets as he stood up.
"I'm ready when you fine citizens are ready. Although I'll confess a personal curiosity toward the strange, exotic steaks being served next door..."
Jhary realizes that there will be no Second Breakfasts nor Elevensies for quite some time.
Frat says, "Well folks you best be on your way. Not quite two days travel to Bobby's place. Take care on the road, keep a good fire at night, and guard your camp well, there be many things out there that you do not wish to meet." As you leave the Battleaxe you notice there is no line at Luby's and there is a sign on the door that states: NO STEAKS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! The streets of the village are mostly deserted.
You travel for most of the day to the east along the caravan road. The map indicates a lesser traveled path slightly to the northeast that leads to Bobby's place. That path heads toward a lightly forested area. After moving on that road for another hour you see that the sun is starting to set and you realize that you should be looking for a place to camp for the night. As you survey the area near the path you see what looks to be an elf lying face down in some underbrush. His clothing is ripped but strangely it seems to have been ripped from the inside out and he has no visible wounds. He is breathing but is unconscious.
Aego moves up to the elf, assessing the situation.
Does the stranger breathe? Yes, check.
Is he conscious? No; let's not wake him until further examination.
Does he appear too cold or too hot? Not really, but his clothing is ripped so covering him up may be a good idea.
What does his clothing look like? Torn, apparently from the inside out. What does that mean?
To the others, Aego seems to be muttering to himself while doing his inspection.
There it is! The sob story and next comes the plee for coins or help... Clalick thinks to himself as he pulls out his spell book and buries his head in it to study, and avoid the plea he is sure is coming.
"Yes definitely on the road." He answers without looking up from his book. No hint of deception on his face at all.
Clalick is to preoccupied trying to figure out what this newcomers scam is to give the sign he reads a second thought. He is friendly while they travel but makes sure to keep an eye on his things when ever Jhary is near.
When they come to the Elf he moves closer to Jhary and lets Aego investigate.
He tried to ignore the gnome's suspicious stares and keep smiling.
Jhary, with mouse still in pocket, crept up next to Aego and the flattened elf. The little guy was unusually quick and quiet until he shouted: "Oi there! You alright, sir? We've come across you, it seems, in distress! May we be of assistance, goodly elf?"
O Connah screamed his fool head off, red in the face, as if the fallen fellow were extremely hard of hearing.
He took out his hanky and started to fan the gentleman with the ripped clothing, offering water and a bit of biscuit.
The little mouse watched with interest from the security of Jhary's shirt.