The party has been stopped by the watch near the market square in Hustwood. Their ragged appearance drawing the sergeants attention...
Mordikarr steps forward to try and explain the party's presence. As he does Suren gives the sergeant a sniff and a burbling greeting. The man seems a bit disconcerted by that, and takes a half-step back, glances at Mageta and Ava, perched on one of the mules, and mutters something beneath his breath, perhaps it was, "durn menagerie." Mordikarr explains that the group is just passing through, on their way to Auslaug, seeking only a place to spend a night or two. He calls for Maro to show the emblem given the group by Thambar the Prudent, Lord of Hembard Wilds, Defender of Highcliff Keep, Recognized Lord of the Peerage of the Kingdom of Jal, Meisterburger of Auslaug, Hustwood, and Brekkevale. Maro pulls out the necklace and hands it to Ohwatoo. With so many people crowding close, he has his hands full trying to control Mageta.
While this is going on, more people drift toward the group from the market square. Several people emerge from the inn, including a handful of halflings and a couple more militia. Several of these make their way to where Mordikarr, Ohwatoo and the sergeant are talking, the crowd parting before them. He's examining the medallion closely, muttering under his breath. Durego watches the approaching group uneasily, there's something tickling the back of his brain, something he should... "Uh oh!" He nudges Raúguey, "We may have a problem. Those are Locky's parents!"
As the sergeant hands the medallion back the halflings approach. "Where's Locky? Where's our boy?" It's clear that the plucky halfling's father, at least, has recognized someone in the group.
"Time for the priest to earn his keep, this is all you," says Raúguey shoving Durego forward. The priest straightens his ragged garb, makes sure his holy symbol is showing, and moves forward. "Mr. and Mrs. Leatherfoot," he says, hoping he remembered their name and title correctly, "I regret to inform you that Locky perished in battle several weeks ago. We were fighting the foul creations of an evil..."
Durego's explanation is interrupted by a shriek from Locky's mother. She half collapses to the dusty road, and her husband and one of the other halflings in the group, perhaps a servant from the inn, move to comfort her. The sergeant seems taken aback by the sudden scene, and there are murmurs from the crowd, and more than a few angry looks directed at the party.
"This isn't going to end well," whispers Jonquil to Tesso. "Be ready to get the mules moving."
"But where too?" mutters Tesso.
Locky's father leaves his wife in the care of the other halfling and turns back to Durego, stone-faced. "Where are his remains? We'll need to give him a proper burial."
"I... a... Sir, we could not bring him back. We were miles from this place. We gave him a proper burial, I assure you. I am a priest of Erlinga, my companion Dagmarten a priest of Agnia. All honor was given to our friend."
The halfling's face darkens and he stares up at the priest. "So you led my son off on a wild goose chase, got him killed, and then left him to rot in the wilderness, is that what you're saying?" He takes a step closer, eyes locked on Durego. "That's what I'd expect from a pack of ruffians, but from YOU, a priest of Erlinga, I'd expect more. Why I..."
"MURDERERS!" The sudden shriek cuts off whatever else he was going to say. "MURDERERS!" Locky's mother is on her feet, eyes on Tesso of all people. She rips herself away from the other halfling and charges the hapless man! "That's HIS CLOAK! I made it for my boy with my own hands! You murderous ruffians murdered him, stripped him, and left him to rot!" She is clawing at Tesso now, yanking at the cloak. "What else have you stolen? You MURDERERS!" Mageta matches this last shriek with a high wailing growl of her own, and Maro takes not a few claw swipes trying to hold her.
Tesso quickly unclasps the cloak, and the woman clutches it to her chest, weeping. Her husband and the other halfling (is that a family resemblence?) move up and begin to lead her away from the group. Locky's father gives Tesso a hard once over as he helps his wife. He stops near the sergeant, who looks a bit stunned, and says, "I don't know what happened to my son, but that's his cloak, and that man, he points at Tesso, "wears his sword. I bought it for him myself. What you say may be true, or not. That's not for me to decide. Lord Thambar the Prudent, Lord of Hembard Wilds, Defender of Highcliff Keep, Recognized Lord of the Peerage of the Kingdom of Jal, Meisterburger of Auslaug, Hustwood, and Brekkevale will make that decision." He stares at Durego. "Rest assured he will hear of this matter, as will Calen Gara." He straightens to his full three foot six height. "In the meantime," he continues in a loud voice, " you are not welcome here. Keep away from my inn!" He turns away, gently helps his wife to her feet, and moves through the angry crowd, which parts before them.
"Told you it wasn't going to go well," whispers Jonquil to no one in particular.