A slender woman of medium height and skin the color of
tanned cherry wood. Her features, while not really pretty, are distinct - high
cheekbones, a straight nose between deepset almond-shaped eyes of an aqua so
deep as to appear nearly black. Her face is shadowed by escaping wisps of dark
brown hair, its length wound into a woven bun at the nape of her neck. Her
figure is draped in light but voluminous robes, typical of those who dwell in
the Igen deserts. Off-white cotton makes up the inner layer, covered with a robe
of indigo and sashed, in the only ornamentation, with a broad, embroidered silk
cloth of harper blue. Across her back is slung a gitar case, well-cared-for and
yet well-beaten-up, in its time. A complex shoulder knot of blue and white
signifies a Harper Master, a patch mounted to show in the center of it bearing
the device of Blacksands Hold. She is awake and looks alert. You notice Shinnai
looking at you. Shinnai is 32 Turns and 1 month old.
You see a young man with long dark hair in a ponny tail.
He is tall and a bit thin, but well trained. His eyes are a mix of green and
brown, which seams to change after the weather: when it's sunny outside they
tend to be green, but when rain falls they become deep brown. His hands are thin
but quick, exellent for playing gitar or similar instruments. He is a bit quiet
and often waits untill everybody else has spoken before talking. Because of this
people often don't notice or forget about his presence. He often smiles and in
the presence of friends and people he trusts he likes to joke. When he breaks
out of his silence he is a good leader and a man who likes to organize. People
often trust him and he has an easy time getting friends, despite his somewhat
quiet appearance. He learns easily and an exellent memory which has made studies
alot easier. Around his neck is a necklace formed as a half sun. Keven has
sheathed his Longsword. Keven wears his Harper apprentice knot with great pride.
Before you, you see a medium sized, agile man. Fasulkad
only stands at about 5'10", but his ever alert eyes and quickness give you
the idea that he has wits and a deftness around him that greatly exceeds most
people. His dark brown hair blowing in the wind, his blue eyes shining with
mischief and laughter as he looks back at you. He is wearing a reletively new
tunic, matched with a pair of worn Wher hide pants. His boots being well worn
are extremely broke in. Fas' backpack hangs loosely from Fasulkad's shoulder,
weighed down only by her usual supply of meat and food for herself, her
firelizards, and her pets. Hiding on Fasulkad's shoulder is Winterwing. Perched
on Fasulkad's shoulder, scrutinizing everything around him with a suspicious
glance, is Payshent. Perched upside down on Fasulkad is Tiny. He wears an
Apprentice Knot for the Harper Craft with pride He is awake and looks alert.
Fasulkad is 16 Turns, 8 months, and 10 days old.
A tall , broad young man, his sparkling eyes are set in his tanned and well-chisseled face. He is muscular and agile, he moves with grace and control and his fet are always moving. His face displays his emotions clearly, and his eyes betray which ladies he watches. His long blond hiar is tied behind his head, anf the blue tattoos show faintly on his Celtic nose. All that he wears is a pair of wherhide shoes, some tight wherhide trousers which apparently allow free movent. His bronzed and muscular chest is only just covered by a black waistcoat, which hangs loosely about his shoulders. A Sack hangs heavily from Ruiseart's shoulder. Ruiseart has sheathed his Blue Dagger. Ruiseart wears his Harper apprentice knot with great pride He is awake and looks alert. Ruiseart is 21 Turns and 15 days old.
A solid wooden doorway opens on a spacious, arched
cavern, the dark stone twinkling with the deep light of gems of all kinds.
However, broad spaces have been smoothed on the wall just at person-height,
small chunks of chalk left on the ledges beneath. Music stands are kept in an
irregular corner, extra chairs lining the walls except when a class is in
session. Into the
Gallen walks in from the
Crafter and Residents' Hall.
Fasulkad walks in from the Crafter and
Shinnai looks up from her desk, and smiles. "Ah,
you're here." She stands, putting aside the hide she had been working
on, and walks to the front of the desk to greet the apprentices. "Hope
it was a nice trip for you."
Kestria smiles and nods, "Oh yes, lovely
Fasulkad grins and nods. "Oh, yeah! Fun!"
You say, "Have you
stopped in the kitchen for refreshments yet, or shall I call for some?
It's not a short distance, I know."
Kestria tilts her head curiously, and nods, "Hmmmm... should get one of those installed between Efe's office and my room. Save me having to walk down the hall all the time."
Gallen looks out the door, then takes
While the arrivals settle themselves from the walk, Shinnai
crosses the room to the instrument cabinets, taking down her guitar,
checking its tuning, and carrying it back to the desk, which she leans against. "Um,
Fasulkad?" she gives the boy a quizzical look, "Perhaps
you want to unload some of your creatures during the lesson?"
Danton wanders happily in from the Crafter and Residents' Hall.
Shinnai speak, and nods, "Thank you, ma'am." he says quietly, procuring
a seat and nodding to all.
Fasulkad nods and sets down all his pets,
save his firelizards. "Umm, they're pets, ma'am, not
Fasulkad puts Flame gently on the ground. Fasulkad drops Ember. Fasulkad watches as Mystery slides off him onto the ground. Fasulkad drops Coldstone. Fasulkad sighs as his ferret slides noiselessly to the ground. Fasulkad drops Klah. Fasulkad drops Agile.
Shinnai grins at Fasulkad, then smiles gently to Evvie. "Just set them here, Evvie. Thank you very much." The girl does so, placing the tray on the desk. Then Shinnai adds, "If you can get out of the kitchen this afternoon, please come by for the end of the lesson, if you'd like."
Flame yawns and wraps himself up around
one of the legs of Fas' chair, as does Ember, Mystery, and Coldstone,
while the ferrets look around the room, though not venturing far from Fas.
Shinnai grins after the young girl. "One of the miner's daughters," she briefly tells the students as she begins pouring klah and invites them all to come an' get it afore it's gone. "Nice girl," is her comment, taking a meatroll and removing a mug of klah from the tray to reserve for herself.
Shinnai watches all the creatures - they really _are_ creatures, you know - with some amusement. Luckily, everything important is kept off the floor. :)
Kestria jumps up quickly before the boys can beat her to the
food, she's had experience with meatrolls and 'Mak and takes a couple
meatrolls and a mug of klah, returning to her seat.
to Keven, gesturing him in. "Come in, come in, have some klah and rolls
after your trip up," she invites.
Danton grabs up a meatroll and a mug of klah. "This stuff tastes bad," is muttered before he hastily downs half the mug. He slips back into his seat, watching Shinnai.
Keven smiles and look over the room... food!, perfect after that long trip. He smiles politely at all the other harpers, "Quite a crowd here!"
Fasulkad sips at his klah, not at all in a hurry to gulp it down, and keeps one eye on his pets as always, and the other on Shinnai.
Keven gets some klah as well as some meatballs, he also keeps an eye on Fasulkad's pets, careful not to let them get to close to his precious food.
Ruiseart Slides smoothly in from the Crafter and Residents'
Ruiseart nods politely, and raises an eyebrow.
Sojourner eyes some food, but he's too nice to steal it. Instead, he gets a tidbit from Fas, who absently hands it to him as he listens to Shinnai.
Kestria tilts her head curiously, preparing to
listen as she watches Shinnai's fingers on the gitar.
deeper into one of the chairs, making it comfortable while observing
Shinnai as she starts her story.
Danton raises his hand slowly, licking
Fasulkad grins as he continues feeding his ferrets from a small wherry slice, one of many, he keeps in his backpack. He motions for his pets to go take a nap while he listens to Shinnai and grins. Never assume anything. Very close to 'innocent until proven guilty', a phrase which he's very familiar with. ;)
Shinnai's fingers change gradually from light, random testing of the strings to a definite pattern, lightly accompanying a folk melody as she sings in a rich alto. The words are semi-fragmented, in a typical form of poetry from other Ancient songs, but work out to a tribute to the land and its gem and mineral wealth.
Ruiseart takes his guitar to cradle in his lap...and swivels his head to listen.
Danton sighs lightly and drops his hand, focusing solely
on Shinnai's lips for now.
The song is short, lasting only two
stanzas, but does mention such landmarks as Ista Hold, in its first
years. Shinnai stops playing, muffling the strings with a hand as she
speaks again. "It's not a Teaching song, precisely, but does give us
some clues as to the origins of Holding on Ista. Specifically, mining.
Danton, you had a question?" she wonders, nodding to the boy.
shakes his head, "No, I just can't hear you playing..." He sips
his klah and smiles, "I get the idea though."
Kestria frowns a
little then nods and murmurs quietly, almost under her breath, "Hmmmm... interesting."
Ruiseart smiles slightly, his eyes unfocused,
he listens intently, and frowns thoughtfully.
Fasulkad nods slowly for a moment, then sits back and sips at his klah as he thinks the song over.
Danton smiles, "It's not the
words..." he grins, "it's the music...I have to be touching the gitar
to 'her' it." He shrugs, "But please go on, don't let me hinder
You say, "Ah! Of course. If you'd like, you can bring your chair
up here." You say, "But for now, no more songs." She puts her guitar
away on the desk, and folds her hands in her lap. "Ista was originally
settled as a mining colony, we know that first, in our time-line, from
songs, and secondly from records."
Ruiseart cradles his left-hands'
fingers, and silently ouchs.
Keven frowns thoughtfully
"Excuse me Shinnai, could I ask a question?"
Shinnai nods. "Please,
Keven says, "I'm not sure I remember... Where did the name Ista
Danton flicks his gaze from speaker to speaker, watching
each in turn. He raises a brow towards Shinnai at this
Sayanna walks in from the Crafter and Residents'
Shinnai smiles slightly. "That's uncertain. The records that we
have simply mention that it was originally called the Big Island. In
subsequent records, it's called Ista."
Sayanna tiptoes in and leans against the wall in the back.
Shinnai smiles to Sayanna, inviting with a gesture to the refreshment tray - just klah and meatrolls, and continues the lesson. "Now, in the records that were uncovered at Landing, some other theories have come to light. Unfortunately, there's relatively little extant documentation there."
smiles up at the new arrival.
Fasulkad nods a hello to Sayanna and checks on his pets, who are all sleeping happily under his chair, and mutters something about hoping they don't wake up.
Kestria smiles and nods in
understanding, finding the lesson fascinating as she awaits its
Shinnai grins. "After all, there's nothing else that
would suggest the name 'Ista' to you, do you think?" she asks the
Sayanna thinks of her baby brother, who would say "Is da rock"
but keeps quiet.
Shinnai shrugs. "So there you have it. We don't
know, in answer to your question."
Keven smiles and shrugs "Oh well,
maybe one day we will..."
Danton smiles slightly, shifting in his seat
and resting his gaze once more on Shinnai's mouth.
briefly. "Now where was I?" You say, "Ah, yes. Mining. Originally, a
mining colony. Records suggest that
Keven smiles at Shinnai "Well does the record
tell if they had any luck finding anything?"
Sayanna nods. "Could Ista be some ancient word for what was found?"
thoughtfully again "We don't have any gems called Ista do we? I'm not
that good at gems so I wouldn't know"
Shinnai smiles. "Yes, in fact, they had enough luck that Ista Hold was eventually built as a permanent settlement. The island was considered quite rich, and has, for as long as the harper records go back, been the sole source of gems for both Craftmasters and Lords Holder."
her head. "Not that's indicated. There are records of many settlers
from Landing, and the name Ista never appears. That's not a definitive
'no', however, since it's obvious that many of the records are simply
Keven says, "So what names ARE actually mentioned that later became holds?"
Sayanna says, "But anyone important enough to get the name of the island would likely have been mentioned more than once, I'd think."
*THUD!* Fas becomes the victim of a bad joke enacted by his pets as he slumps into his chair, unconscious, after one of his firelizards 'accidentally' dropped a nice big rock on his head. Well, as soon as he regains consciousness...... ;) OOC: Gotta' go! Bye!
Shinnai pauses in the lesson long enough to call through the speaking tube for a healer to come and remove the unconscious apprentice, then continues. Just for the sake of In-Character-ness. :P
Sayanna is surprised. "That big? How did they know
there would be that many people eventually?
Shinnai grins at the
disbelief. "Impossible, you say? Well, of course, I don't mean all in a
day. In one massive building effort, however, yes. It's documented in
Ista's own earliest records."
Keven says, "And the Harper hall? Was it built at that same time?"
The drudge calls another one to deal with the pets.
Shinnai replies to Sayanna. "They surely realized that a population which, as Landing's records indicate, had already expanded so quickly was not likely to level off anytime soon. The whole point was, as we understand it, to settle Pern. That means babies," she grins, "and lots of 'em."
Sayanna grins, and then blushes.
Ruiseart grins ,
Shinnai shakes her head to
Keven. "No, the
Istan Harper Hall was built quite a bit later, added on in the sixth
Sayanna says, "What else was added on later?"
her head as she makes some notes in her Scribe's book... it's all so
Ruiseart says, "the guards and stables?"
Keven raises one
of his eyebrows "Ohh.. So what's the story behind that? Or should we
take that some other time?"
Sayanna figures they outgrew the
You say, "Many things have been re-done, rooms rearranged as to function - yes, the stables were added later, and the guard room, if I recall right, was added only during the eighth Interval, in Fax's time."
Shinnai grins. "There is a story behind the Harper Hall, of course. Perhaps it's something you should research for your project," she suggests to Keven.
hides a smile as Keven gets assigned more duties for his
project, burying her nose in her book as she writes quickly.
chuckles "Well at least it's an interesting topic, we'll see."
Shinnai nods. "At that time, as you surely know, many Holds - especially those closer to the west, and Fax's holdings - developed better Hold Guard systems. Ista was one of many. However, I'd not hoped to get so close to the present in this lesson, but rather stick to the Ancient records."
Ruiseart looks up
"erm...sorry for my interruptions"
Shinnai nods. "That's alright, ..." she searches for the new student's name.
"Ruiseart. Questions are
always welcome, that's the only way we can really learn," she smiles.
"But back to the building of Ista. Records tell us that Ista Hold was
built in much its present form over the course of about seven
Keven raises an eyebrow and mumbles quietly to himself. "Seven
months? Wonder how long it would take to do that today."
Kestria blinks her surprise, looking up
from her book and note taking to gaze at the Master in surprise, "Seven
months??? How???" she asks in shocked tones.
Shinnai smiles. "A long time. We know that they used stonecutting devices, and the recent excavations at Landing have uncovered the reason why they fell out of use," she tells them.
"Why?" Keven asks.
a brow, "Why /did/ they stop using all the old stuff,
Sayanna says, "Land shifts?""
ignores Ruiseart's unlikely scenario, allowing the other apprentices to
muffle their giggles before answering. "Fuel. While the specifications
haven't been found, inventory records indicate a limited quantity of
specialized fuel for stonecutters as well as some vehicles meant for
Kestria nods slowly,
"Ahhh... that would explain
it then, yes."
Ruiseart shuffles his feet.
Keven looks interested "Long-distance vehicles? Has any ever been found?" Schuyler flitters around a bit and then lands on Danton's shoulder. He wraps his tail around the little boy's neck and then tilts his head as he watches the other humanpets curiously.
Sayanna is surprised they
didn't' guard the fuel more
Shinnai nods. "There has been one found, deep in the cliff
politely "erm...I must leave...I am
terribly...sorry...Ma'am. Ruiseart turns and walks out.
You say, "Oh, it's not a question of guarding. If they'd not used it on Holds, none of us would likely be here," she tells Sayanna, then nods with some surprise to Ruiseart. "Fine..." she trails off as he leaves abruptly. "
Keven brightens "It has? If we could find a way to produce fuel for the thing we could get something that has been solely restricted to the dragonriders, an easy way of transporting between the holds and weyrs. Has it been examined by the smith craft?"
You say, "As the Landing records tell us, Pern is deficient in the components needed to make the fuel." Shinnai smiles wryly. "You can imagine what the smiths think of that."
Kestria tilts her head,
"Hmmmm... I don't suppose there's
another way to perhaps come up with a something close to the original
fuel... like say Agenothree?"
Kestria chuckles a little and grins at
Danton, her thoughts clearly running a similar thread to
Shinnai grins, and holds up her hands. "Can't you people stay on topic? We're not smiths, let the smiths take care of fuel! The fact is, simply, that the Ancients ran out of fuel, didn't have the components or the capability to create more, and subsequently travel and stonecutting was done by hand."
Shinnai shrugs. "Look at all the hand-carved Holds. This one, for instance," she gestures around the rough walls, bedecked with gems unremoved by the builders.
You say, "There was a great overload already at Fort, as we
know. Many of the extras came to Ista, taking to the seas for food as
well as farming. This all gave the minecraft the support it needed to
fully establish the mines."
Keven twists his mouth slightly as he
thinks, then turns once more towards the master "Shinnai, if this was
the first mining hold, then why isn't the minor craft placed
You say, "Did I say it was the _first_
smiles. "Rather, I said that Ista was settled primarily for
"Ohh.. sorry, misunderstood."
Shinnai glances at the large hourglass-type-contraption in the corner. "Gosh, we've been at this a long time. With all your questions, we've hardly gotten where I'd intended," she grins, "but I think we've done relatively well. How about a last question-answer session, and we'll call it a day?"
You say, "The fishercraft came for the seas, and the excellent port location," she answers Sayanna, "and the dolphineers came with them. Shipbuilding also became an important part of the Hold."
Kestria scribbles in her
book furiously as she tries to get down all the facts.
"Ista has, since it was established as a formal hold, been a major port
of the Seacraft and the Fishercraft both."
Danton smiles, "Traders come
here too..." he adds.
Keven adds with a grin "And Harpers."
nods. "That makes sense. Oh, harpers will go anywhere."
chuckles lightly. "Harpers go where there's Teaching to be done.
That means anywhere there are people." You say, "Traders will
certainly come to as busy a port as Ista's. Smiths, too, as you notice,
and any other craft of use to a Hold or which relies upon
trade." Shinnai looks around the class. "Other questions?"
grins "So... how did the Harper craft come into existence?"
shakes her head. She can't think of any now... Sayanna thinks it should
be the Gitar Craft anyway.
Danton shakes his head to
Shinnai, and licks his lower lip.
Shinnai chuckles to
Keven. "I think that's a bit out of
the scope of this Lesson."
Keven doesn't seem
surprised at that
answer but sighs "Well, maybe some other time."
You say, "However, as you will, I'm sure, learn over your years as an apprentice, Sayanna, there's far more to the Harpercraft than the gitar." Shinnai smiles. "But again, that's a topic for another day. My klah's cold, after all. Can't have that."
smoothing out her robes. "Then if that's it, the lesson is finished.
The rest will have to wait for another day."
Sayanna figures it's about
over, and rises to get ready to go.
Keven stands up but doesn't seem to
be quite ready to leave just yet.
Kestria puts her book away, and
stands, nodding her head to the Master, "One of the most interesting
lessons I've had in awhile. Thank you Master Shinnai."
smiles to Kestria. "Any time you'd like to visit, please come. I'm glad
you enjoyed it."
Sayanna says, "Thank you, Master
Shinnai. Good bye."
She nods and turns to go."
Sayanna walks to the Hallway.
stands, smiling lightly. "Thank you, Master Shinnai." he gathers
his few things. "That was enlightening." he grins,
Keven looks at
Shinnai "Could I have a word with you Master Shinnai, it won't take
Shinnai grins back. "I'm glad," she tells
Danton, then nods to Keven. "Certainly."
Danton smiles, heading out.
Danton wanders happily to
Kestria makes sure she's got all her belongings and with a quick bow, she's off on the trek home. Kestria walks to the Hallway.
moves towards the chair and seats himself "Well, I went around searching the whole place as soon as it was rebuilt.
Personally I didn't
find anything left from the ancients but I'm sure it's down there. As
for the second question, the only ones I've gotten to know are Heather
and Kythias, I like both of them very much."
You say, "How close is your project?"
Keven looks down at the ground, looking more then
slightly embarrassed "Umm.. well, I know what it's about now but I have
been having difficulties getting to good material about the subject,
actually I'm currently having some thoughts about extending the subject
from just the early history of our craft to the early history of Pern.
I don't know if that's a good idea."
Shinnai considers only briefly before shaking her head. "Keep the topic small, if you can. That's best for a project. If you broaden it to be all-inclusive, you can't get the depth that you need."
Shinnai smiles. "Good.
Where have you been looking for material?" she wonders. "You'll want at
least two primary sources among your other sources."
Keven says, "I've been digging in the archives over at Ista. I spent quite many nights in there trying to find what I was looking for, the records are realy hard to find. The longer back our history you dig, the harder it seems to be to find what you're looking for. That seems rather rational, but still... it's frustrating."
Keven says, "My thought was, the craft in general."
say, "Then you'll need the records from the main Hall. Have you been
in contact with the archives there?"
Keven shakes his head, "I was
due for Fort Harper hall some time ago. To visit my parents and get
some buissnes done at the harper hall, among other things I thought
about my project. Unluckily our ship was caught in a storm and we were
blown onto Paradise island, you might remember the incident... anyways,
since then I haven't even traveled to Fort.
Shinnai nods ruefully. "Ah, yes. That was something. Given that rather extraordinary situation, you might sweet-talk a rider into conveying you," she suggests with a smile.
grins. "He's a good bet," she agrees. "You'll want to talk to
the master Archivist there for good references," she suggests.
nods "Sounds good."
You say, "I think that, for the time being, you
might be better off at the Main Hold," she suggests, finally. "Until
your project is done, you'll have better access to the sources that
you'll need than you will here. You're certainly welcome to come and
snoop around anytime you wish, of course." Shinnai grins.
"Ok, thanks for your help Shinnai."
Shinnai smiles. "No problem. Please, do come visit. The
miners can be awfully dull," she grins.
Keven nods and chuckles "So I've noticed."
Logfile from Shinnai
© Design Copyright S. Minkus & L. Ledger, 2003
© Content Copyright the Members of the Harper's Tale Harpercraft, 1999-present
© Pern and the concept of the Harpercraft is the property of Ms. Anne McCaffrey, who kindly allows us to play in her world. Thank you!