As the music began again, Anthero lost himself in it, heedless of what impression he might be making on the others in the bar. Time stood still for him, there was only the music, the beat in the blood, the roaring sound of it flooding through him. Only as the music changed, became softer, more melodic, did he realise that his over-senses were screaming an unrecognisable threat warning at him. He pulled himself back to the now and glanced about him, hearing at last the fragment of conversation that was aimed not to him but at him.
"Cabbage mute. Could cut me a piece of that sometime."
"Had me a taste once. On Galloway. Just a child really, beautiful, all soft and wide-eyed." The second voice was reminiscing, soft with a pleasure remembered, but it hardened with the added caution: "Just beggin’ for it, she was, and so docile..."
Anthero listened, realising that he had almost drunk the entire contents of the glass he held and he was still thirsty. He moved closer to the bar again and wondered how he went about ordering more of the liquid. The voices followed him. In the mirror over the back of the bar he located the Blaines who watched and followed him. The warning scream at the back of his head pealed again.
"...moved like a dancer, and those eyes, you’d never forget eyes like that. Followed me out all knowing, open like, you could smell the need on her, and then..." He smiled grimly. "Soon as I get the little bitch on my own..."
"She screamed Clanley at you?"
"Worse. Bitch is male!" His companion roared with laughter at his expense, and slapped him roughly on his back.
Anthero wondered what was so amusing. Would it matter what sex the other had been if all the man wanted was to share? If the other had been too young, that might have been a problem, but it was not amusing.
"...just be warned, Kain, all that comes belled and bracelet-rattling ain’t always female," the man rebuked his friend.
"Sour grapes, man, just because he spoiled your fun!"
"Spoiled nothing! I took me a piece of the brat anyways." And he laughed, a cruel sound that made Anthero go cold as he realised these men had flanked him. A heavy hand fell on his shoulder and turned him to face the Blaine, who leered at him and spoke with loud confidentiality. "New here, Clanley?" he asked with gruff affability.
"Today." Anthero nodded slightly.
"You working the Sinks?"
Anthero was not sure he understood this question, and glanced from man to man for confirmation.
"He means, are you licensed?" the other explained gently, putting his arm around Anthero and stepping much closer. Since it was apparently the Urthan way, Anthero permitted him the liberty, but he still did not understand. The other male, with hugely solid muscles and fine blond hair, regarded him speculatively with pale blue eyes, and smiled the odd twisted smile caused by the scar that ran down to his mouth. He stroked the scar thoughtfully, remembering.
"Licensed or not, pretty one, I think we’ll be taking you outside for a little...cultural exchange..."
The air became electric around Anthero as he looked up and saw the apparition which had silenced the conversation in the bar and made heads turn even as his own entrance had done. A kind of relief flooded through him. Surely this man would know what these Blaine wanted, he would explain.