Del finds herself staring at the Pale Elf who just entered. Once she realizes she is being rude, she averts her gaze to the woman with the dog. "Can I pet your dog?"
“Why of course, sugar,” the woman says, holding the quivering creature out to Del. “And don’t mind his shaking. He just doesn’t like being around all these people.” As Del pets the tiny animal, the woman says, “My name is Helena, and this is Charlie Chubbs III. What is your name, sugar?”
"I'm Del. I'm here looking for work." Del tries to soothe the dog.
“Aren’t we all, sugar?” Helena chuckles. The dog continues to shake beneath Del’s hand.
Standing near the fireplace, a pair of gnomes converse. They giggle as they point subtly at other guests and whisper. They seem to have taken quite an interest in a very large woman with grayish skin and the tiny white dog she almost squashes in the crook of her arm.
Arriving in the main hall of the manor home and seeing the size of the crowd inside, Sabal overcomes his first impulse to turn around and leave Haleford for good. But, he is, after all, eager to speak with High Lord Fennix. When he greets the Lord Fennix at the door, Sabal tells him that he was sent here to meet him, but he receives the same cordial greeting as all the other guests.
Sabal is nervous and has no appetite. He finds a part of the room where he can remain as inconspicuous as possible. He expects, nonetheless, that everyone is keeping a wary eye on him—a subterranean elf among surface dwellers; his pale skin, white hair, and almost silver-blue eyes made him into quite the stereotypical spectacle. His “kind” were known for their treacherous acts, and though they were on fine political terms currently, the subterranean races were always watched carefully.
And as expected, Sabal certainly does draw several looks. The pair of gnomes in particular raise their brows and begin to chitter quickly with each other. The one makes a quick hand motion to ward off evil.
After greeting the High Lord and his wife at the door, Del slides into the room. She appears human except for her blue hair and small red eyes. She wears modest, unassuming travelling clothes, but around her neck hangs a carved malachite pendant in the shape of a cunning fox. She smiles weakly at Terrence as she steps up, as if to say hello, but actually she just reaches for the sandwiches on the nearby server's tray and begins to eat.
The little sandwiches—a fine bite of soft bread, arugula, goat cheese, and tomato—are quite pleasing to the palate. The salmon puffs, Parmesan mushroom caps, and stuffed dates also look quite appealing.
Terrence is surprised—but not that surprised, mind you—to have a fan come up to him this far from Asphyxten. But you know theater fans—they never forget a powerful performance. And with that blue hair, she's most definitely the artsy urban type!
He turns his head away to check his breath in his cupped hand. He runs his fingers through his golden locks and flashes a practiced smile as he turns back... only to find that the young lady is petting someone's—is that a dog? At a human party? Something is not right here.
As the early Spring sun drops behind the horizon and the cool of the evening creeps in, guests begin to arrive at the large manor home of High Lord Fennix. Servants welcome them in the foyer, taking their coats, bags, and weapons, tucking the items away for the visit before directing the guests through the halls to the dining room. The tiled floors are polished smooth, echoing beneath footfalls, and stunning paintings of rolling landscapes adorn the walls. In contrast, over head, carved wooden beams decorate the ceilings and give everything a more rustic, homey feel. The space is both comfortable and expensive.
High Lord Fennix and his wife stand at the door of the dining hall, greeting each of their guests as he or she enters. They are both perhaps in their early fifties, draped in simple, though elegant, Southern Urbane evening wear, and they move with a sort of unrefined grace. The calluses felt on High Lord Fennix’s palm reflects the Southern Urbane values of hard work and leadership in equality.
"This isn't an audition is it?” Terrence asks sincerely with a dazzling smile as he shakes the High Lord’s hand a little too enthusiastically. “I was led to believe that I already got the part!" The confused look on the High Lord's face makes Terrence think it would be better to mingle rather than risk losing this job. Maybe the High Lord didn’t get the joke—or maybe there wasn’t a joke at all—and if Terrence didn’t get paid he wouldn't be able to afford the carriage back to Asphyxten. So, instead of babbling on, the actor excuses himself and sets about filling his pockets with little sandwiches.
There are somewhere around forty people present, including the Fennixs, and some look starkly out of place in such a high class setting. Others, however, are more suited to such an environment, easily moving about the room and selecting hors d’oeuvres and champagne from trays carried by soft-spoken waitstaff. Terrence looks about for someone to impress with his stage resume. He lifts a glass of champagne from a tray, downs it, then selects two more lightly fizzing flutes in his quest across the dining hall.
In the far corner of the room, a string quartet plays quietly. The hum of the instruments fill in the gaps of silence or simply provide background noise to the conversation.
In a dangerous political climate, several expeditions are made to the infamous Wilds in hopes of expanding the country, Urbane, and avoiding an all out civil war. But, when the lord in charge of the excursions is almost assassinated, tensions increase and put new pressures on the brave explorers.