The Roadhouse, part six

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Arthur noted how people started to arrive. He saw a maddening variety of clothes, but four of the arrivals almost sent him screaming through the door. One resembled a nightmarish carnivorous gorilla, large tusks clearly meant for ripping meat apart, and Arthur was already rising from his seat when he registered that no one else seemed to care. The other three shorter, standing barely a meter in height. Something primitive in Arthur's mind yelled at him to run and hide.

Damn, they're scaring everyone else as well!

Three walking lizards, scales glimmering and each wearing a perpetual grin showing long lines of sharp teeth.

Arthur fought down the ghost in his mind, a ghost helping his ancestors to survive long before they could even grasp the concept of mankind. The sight of sentient reptiles made him want to crawl away never to be noticed by them.

"Such audacity!" a voice behind him hissed.

He turned and saw the giant ape glaring at the lizards. Even though he understood what it had said he also realized it had spoken in a language he'd never heard before.

"Why is that?" he asked in an attempt to bite down on his rising panic.

"Raiders from the west. You're lucky not to have seen them before. They burn and kill. Only good teeth or the gift of tale telling will save you."

So that was it. The naval blockade that made Harbend swear. Arthur groaned at the irony. The very reason making it possible for him to escape returning home was here making him long desperately for the safety of Earth. He shuddered, but curiosity got the better of him.

"But if they are raiders from across the sea, how can they be here now?"

"A very good question, very good indeed. You have raised an issue that needs looking into," the ape answered as if Arthur had revealed an important secret.

He was about to rephrase his question when a surge of air and a soft boom caught his attention. Two men materialized out of thin air on the floor just across the table. They had their backs to him but still sat down on a chair each as if they had known beforehand they would be there.

"What the bloody hell..."

Arthur was cut short. "Escha! By the thousand gods, you never jump inside a building!" A black skinned woman in shirt and skirt, both the color of bone, closed in on the table. Fury shone from her eyes.

"What a darling reception! So fiery yet so to the point," the leftmost backside spoke. Arthur still hadn't seen their faces.

"Are you totally out of your mind? You could have killed us all you idiot!"

"Ah, you're so beautiful when you show your feelings. There has to be certain advantages to living so close to the ocean, so far from the jungle. Darling, you have to send my greetings to your relatives in the trees there."

"You Grank" Arthur heard the word but didn't understand it anyway. "smelling soldier's whore! I'll tear your lungs out of your perfumed body!" A spinning wheel of static charges started to form between her outstretched hands.

"Enough!" The roar silenced the room. Arthur reeled from the pain inside his head. The old man who'd received Arthur stood in the doorway. "You'll not use the gift while in a Taleweaver's Inn, or, by the gods, I'll have your name struck from history and your life's content undone for all generations to come!"

Now that's a way of threatening someone! Arthur had to admire the man.

"You, Trai, stop harassing the woman! You'll not bring your petty war here! If all men were like you there'd be no Khanati today."

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