Story for the Day: Wait to be Seated

There is proper etiquette in all things, and while some civilities might be foregone in times of desperation, not waiting to be seated at an eatery when a sign bars one's way might have dire consequences.

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Fan art time! Danaco in colour, by Cassandra Florence

There were only a few tables occupied in the front room, one side of which was a glass wall, granting the long room an attractive prospect of the markets below. The latrations of the tradesmen calling out their wares were muted by the thickness of the glass, and the slight green tint tinged the room, cooling the black marble tables and wicker cherrywood chairs. The two guards were standing by the entrance, waiting to be seen by the matron or a waiter, all of whom were either in the kitchen arranging about the tea things for another table, or at the window watching the Lucentian below beginning to strike up another dance, their noses pressed to the glass, their eyes blazing in interest.
“What’s going on out there?” said one guard, his brows colliding in confusion.
He moved to approach the window, when the second guard put his arm in front of him to prevent his going any further.
“Wait,” said the second guard.
The first guard glanced at the hand in fornt of him and then at his partner. “What?”
“There’s a rope.”
The second guard gestured toward a small velvet rope, draped unconvincingly across the threshold to the long room. It was attached to two stands, one of which had a sign which read: Please wait to be seated.
The first guard read the sign and scoffed. “So?”
“You can’t just enter without being seated by someone,” said the second guard. “You have to wait.”
“It’s proper teahouse etiquette. You wouldn’t just barge into someone’s house even if the door were unlocked. You’d wait to be seen by the master of the house, and then you would go on. They have to seat you so they can start a tab and assign a waiter to you. If you just sit down anywhere and order from anyone, you won’t get proper service. There are rules.”
The first guard did not care for this sort of invective and had very little idea of propriety or teahouse regulations. He gave his partner a disdainful look. “What are you talking about? It’s just a rope. The matron is over there. I can see her. We’ll just—“
“Wait,” said his partner firmly.
A pressure pressed down on the first guard’s arm, he looked down, and there was a hand holding his wrist. He thought at first that it was his partner’s hand, coming to keep him from entering the main room unannounced, but upon closer inspection, he realized the hand was far too large to be his partner’s. Confusion prevailed, he glanced first at his partner and again at the hand: it was three times as large as the hand ought to be, and he followed it northward, finding an enormous arm, an immense chest, a wide neck, and then a jovial and smiling face.
“Hullo,” said the smiling face.
Rannig wiggled his fingers at the two guards. The first was bewildered and waved back, and the second was in the midst of saying, “See? I told you we can’t just walk in. They have guards for that—“ when Rannig grabbed their necks and dragged them away, taking them to the alley behind the teahouse before anyone could look away from the window.
Their demise was short and unexpected-- at least on their side of the question; less than a minute passed from the time they found themselves in the alley to the time they discovered their limbs all in the wrong order. They had been rearranged, bones had been broken and muscles torn without their being sensible of the manner in which it as done, and they had a moment of consciousness in which one guard said to the other, in a strangled voice, “This…is what happens…when you don’t wait…to be seated…” before each of them slumped to the ground and succumbed to the agony of their wounds.