Terrence notices that that lizard fellow is getting quite a bit of attention and heads in that direction to see if he can get a share of the spotlight. "Well, hello there, friend!" he offers. "Quite a stir, eh? These provincials can be real specie-ists. You know I, myself, played one of you fellows in a play one time, so I think I have some inkling of how you must feel—judged, shunned, too few lines. It's criminal! Have you tried the dates?"
A young server presents Rallaak, Quiberron, and Tyrects with a tray of stuffed dates and Parmesan mushroom caps.
Terrence stuffs his mouth with mushroom caps and then washes them back with some more champagne. He addresses the raven-man, "You know, I almost played one of you fellows, too, but they said I was too tall—can you imagine? I told them that there are no small parts, only small actors!" He leaves an irritatingly long pause between the 'act' and the 'ors'.
Rallaak blinks wordlessly; and Tyrects looks at the energetic man, confused and getting more off-put by this whole situation. Unsure of what to say, Tyrects turns to the server and asks in a low, almost purring growl, "Do you have any meat? Raw?"
"Yes, server, get this man some raw meat,” Terrence natters on, “there's a good fellow. As I was saying, my Lizard Man performance got glowing reviews for its sensitivity. My secret is that I try to put the emphasis on the man and not on the lizard." Terrence grabs his fourth and fifth champagne flutes, respectively. "You know, I've been to quite a few parties thrown at the end of a run, but I must say this is the first time I've ever been to a party to start one off. Do you fellows have any idea what all the suspense is about?"
Quiberron looks askance at the mushroom caps—he detested mushrooms—and grabs a stuffed date. He too is a bit overwhelmed and confused by the party and the array of strange guests. Figuring that the best way to get more comfortable is to try to learn more, he addresses the loud man speaking to his companions. “Excuse me, who are you, and what are you doing here?”
"A fair question my good man!" Terrence puts his boot on a chair and folds his arms over his raised thigh. He smiles his trademark winning smile, then lets his voice drop an octave and projects from core. "I am Terrence Highwater. Artist. Poet. Performer. Odist. As for what I'm doing here—" Terrence produces—seemingly from nowhere—a hand puppet. Like Terrence, the puppet is wearing an evening jacket and white pants. Like Terrence, it has golden hair and steely blue eyes. "I'll let my friend here tell you about that. Say hello to the man with the owl, Little Terry.”
The puppet smiles a winning smile. "Hi! We're here to conquer an uncharted wilderness and bring art to the common man. What's your name, mister?" One would have to admit that they're quite impressed that the puppet also has its own champagne glass.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Terrence and, uh… Terry,” Quiberron says. “I’m going to guess from your response that you don’t really know what Lord Fennix wants with us either. It seems a bit unusual for a performer like you to want to venture into the wilderness; what about Fennix’s posting interested you?” Quiberron, of course, was making reference to High Lord Fennix’s posting on the local job board that had brought many of the guests to his house this evening. The post read, Needed: Brave, unattached souls to venture into The Wilds. If interested, see High Lord Fennix. Some of the other guests had received personal invitations, but Quiberron didn’t know that.
"Well, I don't know if you're a patron of the arts, sir, but I'll tell you it's not enough to be amazingly good-looking and to have a voice like chiseled thunder; you have to have a weathered soul! I can tell a man like you knows what I'm talking about—to imbue a performance with life, first a man has to live!"
The puppet chimes in, "He was out of money, too!"
"Shut up, Little Terry!" Terrence must actually be a pretty good actor, cause he looks really mad at the puppet. Terrence drags his gaze away from Little Terry to say to Quiberron, "Er... You seem to have the advantage of me, sir. Might I know your name and, well, what's in it for you?"
“My name is Quiberron, Quiberron Libran. We ended up here through a rather involved series of events, the gist of which is that someone in Asphyxten seems to have wanted to get rid of us for reasons which are not entirely clear. For myself, I also have reason to believe that a man I am searching for may have ended up in the Wilds. The man, Khyber Tenrex, was my mentor and foster father, so I am rather eager to find him.” Then he adds, as an afterthought, “I’m also seeking new creatures to add to my book, and the Wilds seems like a good place to look.”
A waiter returns with a plate of raw venison. The meat is cubed and skewered on polite toothpicks. The man holds the plate out for Tyrects to take some.
"Well, if you're not going to try one, I will," Terrence says grabbing a cube of venison from the plate. "Don't worry, old fellow. I'm sure they wouldn't try to poison you just because you're a..." Terrence freezes, the venison halfway to his mouth and sizes up the server. "You wouldn't poison him would you?" He pops the raw meat into his mouth. At first he chews it happily but then with increasing displeasure.
Tyrects grabs the bite-sized morsels by the handful and eats each fistful whole, toothpicks and all. In a moment the platter is empty, without a moment spared for chewing. "Uh, thank you," he says, in an attempt at politeness. Tyrects then opens his mouth slightly and lets out a sound like a staccato mix between a belch and a croak. "I might like this gathering.”
Terrence slaps the Lizard Man on the back. "The way you ate all that free food, I might take you for an actor as well!"
Rallaak takes a deep breath still trying to observe all of his surroundings. At the very least, Tyrect’s actions were amusing to watch in the process.
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.