Celta Thursday - Jace at the Noble Social Club (Heart Fortune)
ace left D'Licorice's by the front door. Imagine, him, Jace Bayrum of Pentref Village going in and out of a GrandLady's house by the front door, as if he belonged. The noble estate itself was one of the few in CityCenter because it was attached to the main PublicLibrary.
A good walk away along the surprisingly empty avenues around CityCenter, was Laev T'Hawthorn's club.
Jace recalled the last time he'd been in Druida City, so many years ago. Young, at loose ends with gilt in his pocket, excited about whatever venture next came along. Nothing tied him down at that time. He'd met Glyssa during that long weekend in the city and that had been the most exciting circumstance of all.
He wished he could recapture those feelings from before. But CityCenter wasn't buzzing like the lower and middle-class district he'd been before.
He reached the club and stared at the stone building with fancily-lit bespelled letters glowing in the dark. Noble Club No. 1. He snorted, a simple name for a social club that catered to the highest strata of them all, the FirstFamilies. He hesitated outside the large wooden door. But his mouth was dry and he wanted a drink. Lord and Lady knew how expensive it would be, but how often would he have this chance to see the inside of such a club?
When he touched the latch, it was smooth and warm and the bronze metal felt like Flair ran through it. With the FirstFamilies, if a spellshield went up and he was caught in it, he'd probably be killed. But it reminded him that stepping into this club could be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. He went through the door.
Under the soft glow of a spell lamp Earth-sun-yellow, an elegant woman stood, eyeing him up an down. She probably knew to the last silver sliver how much his now-battered leathers had cost when they were new – years ago. The amount had been more than he should have spent on them, but he'd needed good protection for wilderness traveling.
"May I help you," she said in a proper, cool tone. One of those that both Glyssa and her mother were master's of. Yeah, she sort of reminded him of Glyssa, but this daughter of a no-doubt noble house had sleek black hair and blue eyes like ice chips. Glyssa had always had that fiery hair, springy in texture against his skin when they loved. No, when they had sex.
No, they made love, but he yet couldn't accept that simple phrase, that thought, and tonight was not the time for self-scrutiny. His mind was not in a good space tonight and his heart was jumbled.
"May I help you," she asked once more, the temperature in her voice dropping another thirty degrees.
He didn't quite lean against her podium.
"This club is for members only," she snipped.
"Jace Bayrum, guest of Laev T'Hawthorn. I believe you'll find me on the list," he said.
The woman pokered up even more.
He was sure of it. Laev T'Hawthorn might the highest of the high, but the man was a player and he wanted to do business with Jace, both for the leatherwork and the storytelling. And for those ends, Laev would be a friendly manipulator, pushing Jace in the direction the GreatLord wanted him to go. Laev had gotten Jace here, hadn't he?
But he probably wasn't in the place and that made Jace smile.
After a scan of whatever type of list she had, the hostess picked up a menu, her manner softening. Not all the way to deferential, but at least to polite. "Please follow me."