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Night Out in Glantri - Part II

by Kit Navarro

"But the lines are so long! They go all around the block!" exclaimed Orkajin from the gondola.

Sean had given up answering Orkajin's question after the fourteenth time he asked if they had arrived at the Bastet.

"Of course," Goibban explained with all the seriousness of a Master at the Great School, elucidating a complicated principle of magic, "it's the most popular club in the city these days."

Sean was simply amazed at how Goibban could make a prosaic commonplace piece of trivia-which he had only learned about half an hour ago-seem such a profound revelation of cosmic knowledge and philosophical truth. Then again, Sean thought, considering his audience, it wouldn't be difficult.

"Why are they dressed comme a?" Patric asked-the first intelligent question that night, as far as Sean remembered-referring to the elaborate animal-shaped masks and headdresses that the would-be clientele of the Bastet were wearing.

"The owner of the Bastet is an aficionado of ancient Nithia-" Sean answered.

"-and he requires his guests to take the form of the ancient Nithian Immortals," Patric continued, reading Sean's mind and displaying the impressive contents of his own.

"So, Sean," asked Goibban, "why are they dressed up like beast-men?"

"Do we have to dress up like that too?"

Before Sean was submerged in a sea of stupid questions, their gondola thankfully came to a stop, near the end of the line of the Bastet's patrons. Patric had hopped out of the boat without waiting for his slower companions. Sean followed and strode deliberately to the start of the line.

"What about the line, Sean?" Goibban called out.

Sean continued on his wilful walk and without turning back said, "We are not going to line up."

At the entrance of the Bastet stood a tall, muscular, black rakasta, dressed in the outfit of a Nithian pharaoh. The rakasta surveyed the milling crowd carefully, and seemed to serve as both the bouncer and the arbiter of which guest to allow into the club.

Sean made his way through the pathetic hopefuls (nothing like a good stinking cloud spell to part a crowd!) and stepped right up to the rakasta. His entrance would have been perfect if Goibban and Orkajin had not bungled into him

Gaining his composure and puffing himself full of pomp, Sean addressed the wary rakasta.

"Good sir, my companions and I would like to go in," Sean said matter-of-factly.

The rakasta pinned his ears down and growled a decidedly unfriendly feral growl.

Goibban, who was pressed behind Sean and had his face at Sean's shoulder, whispered into his ear, "Ummm... Sean... the... she..."

At that point, Sean noticed that the rakasta's breastplate had full, curvaceous, womanly breasts.

"My apologies, milady!" Sean said in good-natured insincere cheer. "My friends and I would like to go into the club now, madam!"

The rakasta scrutinised the young fops and with a feline voice meowed out, "No!"

Sean was taken aback not so much of the outright rejection-The Bastet is, of course, the most exclusive of clubs, and Sean well knew that some of his companion are underage-but at the blatant air of impunity that the rakasta doorman (doorwoman? doorcat?) had.

Beside Sean, Patric began to move away, disinterested-whether of the club or Sean's abilities of getting them in, Sean did not know.

Sean decided, it was time to break some rules-and to break them with flair la Glantrian Wizard.

"Do you know who I am?" Sean shouted at the rakasta

"I am Sean McGregor! Grandson of Prince Brannart McGregor of Klantyre! Son of Marquis Alasdair McAllister of Dunvegan! Cousin to the present Prince of Klantyre! Heir to the throne of both Klantyre and of Dunvegan!"

"Mrreow! You cannot come in without a mask. And I can tell that your companions are underage."

Sean cranked up the self-righteous indignance, false as it may be. Puffing himself up and raising his voice to imperious level, Sean boomed, "You dare turn down a Glantrian wizard? A scion of a noble house? A future Prince of Glantri!?"

The rakasta, cool as a cat, merely repeated, "You cannot come in without a mask. And I can tell that your companions are underage. Mrreow!"

With Sean not willing to back down on his pompous bluff and the rakasta not caring any less, a stalemate was about to ensue.

Suddenly, a tall, slim man, wearing a debonair night-black cloak and a beautiful golden bull mask, strode up to the rakasta guard.

"Felice, my dear," he said, his voice hauntingly handsome, "Forgive my companions' impulsiveness. These young gentlemen are with me. We will get masks inside."

The rakasta's face softened, her ears and whiskers relaxing. A handful of ducats from the captivating bull-man it easier for her to yield to his charms.

Felice let the gentleman in. Sean and Patric did not hesitate to enter after him.

Even the two Krondaharans were, for once, quick to follow.