A Harper's Duty
A harper may be brought in as an arbiter in a dispute. It is, in such cases, the harper's duty to remain unbiased and impartial. If s/he cannot do so, s/he must remove her/himself from the dispute. The harper must listen to all sides of the argument, and work out a settlement which is fair and practical. In all cases, it is the harper's duty to uncover those sides to the problem which are not the obvious ones.
The Lord Holder, Craftmaster, or Weyrleader has final say in a judgement or punishment. If the matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved, a Conclave has jurisdiction.
At times, politics will rule the day and a matter may be settled unjustly but expediently. It can be difficult to sit back and watch this happen, but the harper must school him or herself to see all the sides of the issue, including those of the men and women who sit in judgement. Often, is is possible to find a balance which can be fair to those involved while still satisfying the imperatives of politics, but it can be a difficult job which requires originality, patience, and diplomacy.
One of the more pleasant duties a Harper is called upon to perform is that of uniting two people in marriage. Any Harper of Journeyman level or above may perform the ceremony that legally binds two people together. Oftentimes, it is the Harper who helps arrange marriages for young men and women both inside and outside the hold.
When most people think "Harper", the first thing that
pops into their mind is "entertainment". It is probably the most
conspicuous of the many harper duties because everyone can attend a performance
or look at artwork, although not everyone requires archives, the crafting of
instruments, or teaching for their entire lives.
Record KeepersThough each craft, hold, and weyr have records particular to themselves, Harpers are considered to be the living repository of Pernís history as a hold. The craft holds extensive archives pulled from all other areas, disseminating the history and traditions of the planet in the form of ballads, songs, and records. Apprentices are drilled in the archival and sribal methods necessary to maintain their status as official record keepers.
On Pern, the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic have been taught by rote by fosterers or Craftmasters, with the hold and journeying Harpers taking over History and the more advanced subjects, including the teaching ballads. Childrenís educations continue until they are fourteen, the age of reason and responsibility.
The Harper Hallís, and by default, a Harperís,
primary purpose is the distribution of information, which is accomplished by the
network of journeymen and Masters posted Pern-wide. In addition to their
teaching and entertainment duties, Harpers are expected to be barometers,
gauging the prevailing mood of a place and people, and countering
close-mindedness and ignorance when possible. Tactful inquiries and discreet
information gathering is an established, if necessarily covert, Hall practice.
© 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!