It’s an alley or perhaps a broad street, or perhaps a docking station in the middle of trackless space.
Where ever it is, if you’re one of this crowd, you know where to find it.
You knock. The door opens a fraction of an inch. “Hun, Hoyden or Dinerite?”
“I er… don’t know?”
The person — you presume it’s a person, though all you can see is one enormous eye peering out at you — sighs with a gust like the wind of a thousand bellows. “His Grace Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater is?”
“The King’s Witchfinder?”
“I see. Athena Hera Sinistra, just another cuddle bunny, right?”
“I see. And if you’re a Usaian you have…?”
“A fanatical devotion to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness?”
“Yes, but that applies to the Huns and Hoydens too. What else do you have?”
“My scrap of flag!”
“Right. Come on in.”
The door opens wide, allowing you into a space that’s a medieval tavern, unless it’s a space bar. Two things you can’t avoid noting. The person — it’s a person, right? — who let you in is a huge dragon wearing a t-shirt that says Drak. And over the bar/counter/serving table, a board/electronic board/blackboard says “Try our Cthulhu- Mari. It’s to die for.”
As you edge further in, an orange cat rubs around your ankles, and you wonder if he’s a pet or a guest.
The dragon catches up with you and puts a friendly claw around your shoulders, “Okay, this is all self-explanatory. If the floor looks shaky, wait till it solidifies to step — we’re between dimmensions. That guy over there is Statist Josh. Don’t get in a government discussion with him. He gets odd. Other than that he’s perfectly fine.”
“Oh, I see. He’s a big government fan?”
The dragon looks at you with an immense eye. “Oh, very no. Why would you think so? And that,” Points at the nice lady in the corner with a laptop. “Is Celia Hayes. Don’t interrupt her. We like her writing. That,” he points at a young woman surrounded by kids, “Is Foxfier and the royal family of elvenland. Don’t ask. It was a merger deal. That,” He points at a wallaby sipping something that foams and bubbles and occasionally tries to crawl out of the glass. “Is RES, which, it will not have escaped you, is Latin for thing. Don’t have a punning contest with him when life is on the line.”
“But what about that guy sitting across from him? Who– He looks…”
“Oh, yes, that’s SPQR. He’s a vampire and sometimes a wear feline. He denies that he’s in fact undead Julius Caesar.”
“Denies it? How can–”
“Well, he’s had a lot of practice as a politician, right?”
At that moment, the entire place shakes and a roar echoes.
You ask, “Transdimmensional earthquake?”
Drak looks unconcerned. “That? Oh, no. THAT is just herself. We locked her in the basement until she finishes Through Fire.”
“Yeah,” an athletic man says, as he walks up wiping sweat from his brow. “She almost got loose that time. She tried to turn into a hedgehog and cute her way out. When that didn’t work, she tried to become a dragon and bite her way through the door. I don’t know how much longer we can keep her locked up.” He extends a hand to you, “I’m William O’Blivion, btw.” He turns back to Drak. “Knighton and Jeff Gauch and Garsys and I really need something to drink, if we’re going to keep holding the fort. She keeps demanding to see the political news now. And poor Dr. Mauser was flamed in the fracas. He’s trying to recover, but you know what it’s like.”
Drak sighs. “Yeah, I hope she finishes Through Fire soon, or we’re going to have to get reinforcements. Also, thorazine.”