Though an inveterate wanderer, he has only recently left Bourth in search of a cure for a friend who fell afoul of dark magic. He himself is a healer of no particular distinction.
Rafferty was born in 5019 to a human herbalist named Moira. Moira lived in a shack on the outskirts of a small village that was itself on the southern edge of the Wyrdeep Forest. She had a reputation among the villagers of being a witch and consorting with the 'dark forces of the forest', but in truth she was just a woman with a small magical talent and a whimsical nature. Rafferty was the second of her children by passers-by, the first being a human daughter named Callis who later took over the nearby village's bakery.
Rafferty was born with a misshapen left eye that he quickly learned to hide from the village bullies and their mockery. They called him 'witch's familiar' and 'changeling' and often beat him when they caught him alone. He learned to fight back but vastly preferred the solitude of the forest to the company of humans.
He took to wandering farther and farther from home at a very young age, and his mother's neglectful parenting habits only facilitated this. He would find and visit various elven encampments within the Wyrdeep and much of his social acceptance came from them.
His mother died of natural causes when Rafferty was in his mid-twenties, and his sister in his forties, both of heart trouble when he was away on his rambles. Not long after his sister died, his nephews were killed when the village was wiped out by marauding trolls.
With nothing to to go back to, he wandered, sometimes even through other parts of Bourth and the rural outskirts of bordering territories. Eventually he was welcomed into a small Sylvankind community on the north end of the forest.
It was there that he made a close friend of a young sylvan man named Brand. Their interactions were characterized by mischief and camaraderie, often devolving into light-hearted sparring and dares. It was Brand who gave Rafferty the nickname of Hawthorn that he later used in place of a surname.
Brand fell afoul of the dark magic at the heart of the Wyrdeep when he ventured too far. Unlike many, he returned, but he came back changed; he was cursed, his limbs twisted, sprouting fur and strange bone spurs. The healers could do nothing for him, able only to ease his pain and keep him asleep. Rafferty chose to leave the settlement and look for a cure, or better healing techniques, so that he could help his friend -- but also because he couldn't bear to watch Brand's suffering and be helpless to stop it.
The 'Parrot' Egg
At the tail end of Eonatos in 5118, a peg-legged parrot began periodically visiting Rafferty to generally make a nuisance of itself. Eventually the parrot revealed it could hold an actual conversation when it told him it lost its leg to a shark bite. It later told him that its name was "Cap'n Peg Bird" and it was looking for a crew for its ship.
In early Lormesta 5119, the parrot brought him a small green egg and asserted (loudly) that it had laid the egg and Rafferty had gotten the parrot pregnant by looking at her. While he absolutely refuted this claim, he did agree to care for the egg as a favor to the parrot. As such, he acquired a neckpouch and lined it with an ermine pelt so the egg could have a warm nest in the winter.
While he'd told the parrot not to tell anyone about this wild parental accusation, word quickly spread about the egg and its alleged provenance. People began regularly asking Rafferty how the egg was doing and when it would hatch. Periodically, the parrot would check in on Rafferty and the egg. Most times, Rafferty suggested it take the egg back, but the parrot continued to insist that the egg belonged to him.
Almost precisely a month after the egg was foisted upon him, it started to exhibit some odd behavior. While it had cheeped quietly and rocked a little previously, occasionally it made a noise that seemed too deep for a baby bird. More concerning, whatever was inside the egg began reaching out to his mind, planting cravings for raw meat and calling him "Daddy".
A couple days later, an empathic boy named Chayka told Rafferty the egg was bad and he thought it was cursed, and that he should get rid of it. He thanked the boy for his insight but chose not to get rid of the egg; whatever it was, it deserved a chance to live and choose its own path. Consequences come after actions, after all. Rafferty worried that he might have exposed the egg to some malign force when he'd helped with the recent banishment of the murderous dolls. He decided to ask for spiritual assistance to cleanse the egg.
Enlisting the help of Nimarue, a Sylvankind priestess of the the Huntress, he brought the egg to a treetop shrine of Jaston, the patron of birds. Nimarue blessed the egg, and both were subjected to brief, disjointed visions of people fleeing in terror, freezing in mid-stride as they turned to stone. The priestess talked at length to the egg's occupant, which seemed to respond positively with further impressions of domestic bliss and happiness at the time.
But as Fashanos drew to a close, the egg became restless. It shook and shivered, and Rafferty's cravings for fresh, raw meat grew more insistent. Birds in his vicinity began to act oddly, becoming agitated, eating each other and focusing their hunger on him. When the time came for the egg to hatch, Rafferty and a group of curious adventurers (and one far too celebratory Whick) protected it from waves of huge, angry ravens, marsh owls, and even rampaging cockatrices. When the egg finally hatched, it revealed itself to be a cockatrice itself, though oddly parrot-like around the beak and head.
The hatchling turned the peg-legged parrot to stone when the bird rejected it. Rafferty's attempts to soothe the little beast by feeding it fresh meat only made it grow rapidly, at which point it turned on the party and attempted to eat them as well. The hatchling was disabled but not killed, and eventually it calmed down. Finally responding to Rafferty's appeals to its better nature, it promised to go far away. He countered that it could come back if it would behave. With a last nuzzle of affection and apology, the oversized parrot-cockatrice hatchling flew away, followed by the remaining riled-up birds.
In a stroke of good fortune, the hatchling's stone gaze wore off and the peg-legged parrot survived the encounter, dazed but intact.
- You see Rafferty Hawthorn.
- He appears to be a Half-Sylvan.
- He is taller than average. He appears to be an adult. He has mottled hazel eyes and light olive skin. He has shoulder length, wavy russet hair. He has a narrow, scruffy face. He has a faded brown leather eyepatch covering one of his eyes.
- He is in good shape.
- He is wearing a deep hood of moss green suede, a riveted thick leather knapsack, a small tan shearling neckpouch on a knotted cord, a dark-stained leather baldric over a fitted moss green suede jerkin, an open-necked linen shirt with rolled sleeves, some rough leather handwraps layered over pale cloth, some fringed buckskin pants, and a tall pair of side-laced umber leather boots.