The group gets to the edge of town and the wall that surrounds the city. Out of the corner of their eye, they see Frank the coroner with his covered cart and pony. Presumably, he had finished his business at the manor.
The guards at the gate snap to alert as they are approached. “What business outside could you have at this time of evening?” the main guard asks, addressing the party.
Sabal stealthily falls back behind Flynn, Rallaak, Terrence, and Málean to avoid direct line of sight with the guards, and Terrence steps forward and uses his best baritone. "Listen up, soldiers! Your high lord is on his death bead, poisoned by the forces of evil! We're on our way to retrieve the ingredients necessary to help him recover from some wild card named Erandis. Your options are to point the way and stand aside, as this town needs guarding more than ever (Nice job earlier, by the way. You really screwed the pooch on that one.) or to hinder us and face court martial for treason when your lord dies because you delayed us. Decide quickly—we're coming through!”
The guards peer at Terrence through the dark, raising up torches to see better. The puppeteer’s feeble, pale-looking face is unconvincing, and his voice trembles slightly with strain and the wear from the previous coating of stomach acid.
“You have no authority here! If such things were true, another guard would have been sent—or at the very least, a signed letter.”
Terrence regroups. "I can see that the fault is entirely mine. If there's one maxim in my profession that begs heeding, it is this: read the room. I erred in thinking that you stalwarts would assess the urgency and import of the situation by my tone alone; but, if I may press a metaphor, even a halfling will leave a deep print in the soft muck, while a even a horse might not leave a track if the earth is very dense. Do you get what I'm saying? Here we are in need of some narrative. Allow me to explain...
"Our story starts with a hero, as every worthy story does—a hero with aplomb, acumen, and above all—VIRILITY!"
With that, Terrence produces Little Terry from his pocket. "What's virility, Terrence?"
"I'll tell you when you're older, Little Terry. You'll be the hero in our little play... We title this play, The Misdirection."
Terry addresses his party. "Are you boys paying attention? I think you'll find this story quite distracting... Now, our hero finds himself with a dinner invitation..."
"Oh boy!" shouts Little Terry excitedly.
Terrence attempts to hold the guards’ attention with a distracting puppet show to allow Sabal, and possibly everyone, to slip away. Terrence uses small magics to provide lighting and sound effects to his puppet show. Kids adore it when he does this. Surely the guards will too!
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.