A Flood in the Archives
Thirty-second day of spring, forty-first Turn of the Tenth Pass.
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Shainman Rehearsal Hall
The largest room in the Istan Harper Hall, save the Ballroom, this room has wonderful
acoustics that make sound bounce off the walls just so. From lessons to rehearsal to
just listening to the marvelous sounds that fill the room, there's always a surplus of
people about: harpers of every rank, and even a few holders. Tiers fill almost every
wall in the room. The choir levels are on the right, with a deep curtained-off space
beneath that serves as a repository for chairs and other nameless items. The orchestra
benches are directly in front, with smaller areas for group rehearsal on the left. The
back wall, containing the entrance, is decorated with a large 'mural' illustrating a
well-known ballad. The room is spotlessly clean and only completely empty in the early
hours of the morning when most harpers have to tear themselves away from their work for
a few winks of sleep.
Ylisa walks into the Rehearsal Hall carrying her gitar in one hand and two sets of
pipes in the other. It looks as if she's got a busy session coming up! She glances
round to locate her students, and calls, "Everyone who's expecting to rehearse with me
now, over here please."
Tytom says, "Hello Journeywoman Ylisa" walks over towards her.
Laok tosses Daemon into the air before sauntering over to Ylisa, "Aye Journeywoman
Ylisa." He pauses to remove a little tambourine from his pack.
Majori rushes in. Late again. At least she's looking tidy, carrying her pipe, and
suitably apologetic. "I'm so sorry, Journeywoman. I can't think how I came to...."
She stops suddenly, aware that she's not in fact missed anything. Yes, well.
Ylisa gives a half-smile as another couple of apprentices arrive after Majori. "Well,
you weren't the last. Is everyone ready? Get tuned, then, please. Laok, while the
rest of us are doing that, would you go into the archives and bring us the manuscripts
on the table near the door? There's a little pile of them. Music by Master
Menell." She gets out her gitar and starts plucking strings.
Laok sighs and stuffs his tambourine back in his pack, leaving the whole thing there as
he steps out.
Laok rushes back in and sidles up next to Journeywoman Ylisa, "Erm, Joyrneywoman Ylisa,
methinks we'd best be gettin' to the vault... it's floodin'..." He's shifting his feet
back and forth, not quite sure what to do.
Majori blows an 'A' and looks expectantly at one of the boys that arrived after her,
but Laok's arrival puts an end to that. "It's what?" she echoes.
The gitar falls silent. "Flooding?" Ylisa is wide-eyed at first, then looks shrewdly
at Laok. When she speaks, she sounds surprised, naturally, but maybe also a touch
suspicious. "What do you mean, flooding? There's water on the floor?"
Laok sighs, completely exasperated, "/No/ Joyrneywoman, I mean aye. Feh! Aye there be
water on the floor, there be water comin' in from the wall too!" He takes a step
towards the door, trying to urge everybody out the door through agitated body language.
Tytom rises from the seat, pocketing his pipes and moves tentatively towards the door.
Ylisa is convinced, and mutters "Shells!" under her breath. "Well, we'd better have a
look, then." Laying down the gitar, she sets off for the Archive Vault. "That's all
we need - and in the Archives of all places!" She quickens her pace as she makes for
All move to...
A cool dry chamber kept sealed when not being used for research, the shelves are full of volumes of every description and subject. Birth and death records, songs, even kitchen recipies from the last Pass can be found catalogued and stored here. A few sturdy worktables allow for students and masters to spread out their projects in comfort.
Actually, the Vault isn't so dry right now. Most of the floor is covered in water, which seems to be coming from a crack in the wall behind one of the book-cases. Unfortunately, it's the one which happens to hold some of the oldest and most valuable of the Hall's archive collection, including the early records of Ista Hold.
The scent of old books and a little bit of must pervades the room, tickling your nose with antiquity.
Tytom looks around for a bucket to bail the water out with.
Majori is right behind Ylisa on the way out. She's abandoned her pipe on
a bench somewhere, and crossing the Ballroom, she's grinning as she
murmurs, "So much for that rehearsal!" to Tytom. "I hate it when she
gives us new stuff anyway." She hurries into the Vault, pushing ahead a
bit. Oh! My feet are wet!"
Laok grimaces at the crack in the wall and rushes over, sloshing water as he goes. He reaches the endangered bookcase and grabs hold of it, "We
needs be movin' this one out of the way aye?" He's taken the initiative, but he's still looking to Ylisa for direction.
Ylisa stops in horror just inside the door, crowding the apprentices behind. Swallowing back an expletive, she says sharply, "It won't just
be your feet, either. Those are the Ista Hold records from the early passes and intervals. Murray, Lennor, find Leyte and Dernila and some
mops and buckets, then see who else you can round up to help. Laok, that's heavy, you could spill all the hides. We'll have to take them out
of the shelves." She thinks for a moment. "The art room. We can stack them on the workbenches there for now."
The two apprentices that Ylisa named scurry out on their errands.
Tytom grabs an armful of records just before the water gets to them.
Ashlao enters having just heard the news that had spread through the hall like the water, seeping in little by little until she had to see it for
Laok tchs at himself for his own foolishness and gingerly gathers up the crumbly hides from the bottom-most shelves. He sloshes out, deftly
dodging the increased occupants of the room, to deposit the ancient hides somewhere safe.
Majori steps across the wet floor, wrinkling her nose as her feet get wetter. Bending, she starts to pick hides from the next-to-bottom shelf,
until she's got an armful, then heads out to deposit them in the Artists' Workshop as instructed. She grumbles as she goes. "This is going to
take forever if we have to clear the room!"
Tytom follows Laok out of the room, and returns for another load.
Leyte bustles in with mops and buckets, and holds one out to Tytom. "'Ere, why don't you give me a hand, lovey. Many hands make light work,
as my old Ma used to say. Ooh, this is going to be a story to tell!" Trust the Hall's gossip-in-chief to spot the potential!
Ylisa grins as she heads for the door with her own pile of books. "That's a good idea, Tytom. And can someone - ah, Lennor, good." One of the
messengers has returned. "Can you go and tell Master Jueann what's happened, or Master Liesana." The boy turns round and heads straight out
again, with a grin that suggests he's enjoying the kerfuffle.
Ashlao sees what needs to be done, not much explaining needed. She grabs a stack of brittle yellowing hides closest to the water, trying to keep a
balance of hurry and being careful not to damage the records. Now that her cargo was lifted beyond the water she follows another who was
retreating with a stack of hides to where they must be deposited.
Tytom accepts the offered bucket, and gets to work trying to abate the water.
With more apprentices bustling in and out, the Vault is starting to look rather crowded, but the mopping efforts aren't having much effect on the
water. It's trickling through the crack as fast as Leyte and Tytom can mop it up, though fortunately, no faster.
"Where do all of it be comin' from?" Laok huffs, becoming a bit winded from running back and forth between rooms, to Ylisa, "Can't we be
stoppin' it? Ye don't think it'll flood the whole hall?"
Ashlao returns, her eyes fall on a big volume at least a handspan. Torn between the knowledge that the water was getting close and that the book
isn't exactly a featherweight she hoists it up and stumbles slightly losing her hold on one cover. Fearing that some loose pages would fall
into the water she flips it over and sees what's inside. "Huh, this looks like maps to the hold.. but i've never seen that passage before.." she
says. "It looks like a lower level maybe?"
Majori comes back in for another load, and practically trips over Leyte's bucket. "What the - oh. Sorry. Hmm, you're not winning there. It'll
be all over this floor if we can't stop it." She cranes her neck to see what Ashlao's looking at. "There aren't any! We're on the ground level."
Tytom continues mopping while he scoots over to peer at the map. "Perhaps there is a way one of us can go down there and find out what's going on."
Ashlao "I don't know, seems like everything else is mapped alright.." she says a bit indecisivly hearing Tytom's comment she nods. "Yeah it might
be flooding in through those tunnels, if it was through populated tunnelsl
someone would of noticed them by now."
Ylisa comes in in time to catch Laok's question, and answers while picking up more books. "Good question, Laok. I just sent someone to the Hold
and someone to the Weaver Hall - it's got to be getting in from one of those. Maybe they've got some problems too." She looks curiously at
Ashlao. "Water tends to flow down, rather than up. I wonder where those are? Anyway, no time for that now - just move it, don't read it!" She
suits actions to words and heads out with another armload.
Ashlao turns red missing that obvious little factor. Heaping a few more hides on it she carefully moves out to the Artists Workshop, there she
places it to the side as she wanted to take a look at it later, this warranted some good after curfew exploring. She returns back and
continues transporting hides, by now was contemplating helping mop, it didn't seem to do much good but then it would be good to take a break
from such lifting.
Majori follows Ashlao out, carrying another load. These hides seem old and frail, and she holds them carefully in her hands rather than piling
them in her arms. She even seems to move slowly with them. Maybe that's why she's a long time in returning, or maybe she's just getting sick of
the effort. "How much more have we got to clear? That bookshelf's just about empty?"
Tytom walks over to the hole, and shoves his mop in it, trying to plug it up.
Journeyman Ferdie peeks round the door. "Ylisa? It's coming from the Hold kitchen. They're doing something to the water supply, and
something's leaked. I found some fellow in the Steward's office, and he says they'll stop it as soon as they can." He eyes the room, where the
bookshelves near the offending trickle are now looking distinctly wet. "You got those out just in time."
Ashlao stops to limber up her sore shoulders. "I think so, we shouldn't have to much left." She says to Majori. She leans forward looking out for
anyone that would overhear. "Afterwards want to check out where that passage is?"
The water just runs over the top of the mop that's trying to block it.
Leyte trundles off to empty her bucket, and returns with her sidekick, Dernila, who joins in the mopping efforts, moaning vociferously about all
Laok cocks an eyebrow as he passes, just catching the information of the source of this headache, "The kitchens eh? Hrm." He passes out again,
laden with hides.
Tytom pulls his mop out , and returns to shifing water, and asks Ylisa. "Is one of those passages on the map under this room? Could we drain all the water from this room into it?"
Jueann enters on the heels of a harried apprentice who had a time finding her. "Shards! What's going on? Report!" she looks like she was asleep as her appearance is very unkempted. Sleep creases on her arms and face.
Ylisa grins at the tousle-haired journeyman. "Thanks, Ferdie." She surveys the scene. "If it's going to be a while, we ought to clear the other lower shelves as well. And anything that's old... Hope they get it fixed soon." She starts on the bottom shelf of the next bookcase, only to stop again as Jueann enters. "The water's coming from the Hold kitchens, Master Jueann. Coming in quite fast. We're clearing the shelves that might get wet, and putting the hides in the Art Workshop." She looks slightly relieved to see the Crafthead.
Majori looks at Ashlao, biting her lip, then shakes her head. "Might be dangerous. Specially if they've flooded - I remember old - I mean Journeyman Oldeara saying something about old passages from ages back that weren't used because they were flooded. And even if it's not dangerous, they'd be /dirty/." Which is a prime reason for avoiding them, in Majori's book.
Ashlao nods, she didn't exactly want to get dirty and all, unless she had some old clothes she could wear but the thought of flooded caverns put a bit of a damper on her spirit. "Yeah I guess so.."
Journeyman Ferdie is now carrying a pile of books so high that it almost totters. "I saw one of the steward-chappies, Master Jueann. They're trying to fix it." He flashes a brilliant smile at Ylisa.
Jueann looks around at the mess only to get a lap full of water. "What....? Kitchen!? " Looking around a bit confused. "Right. Save the scrolls and archives!"
Tytom keeps mopping.
Ylisa nods. "That's what we're doing. It looks as if we might have to empty the room if it doesn't stop soon - the damp won't do anything any good. Ah, well done!" The last is to Tytom and the two drudges, who seem to be gaining on the water at last. Ylisa peers at the crack, from which water is still running. "Am I imagining it, or is that starting to slow?"
Ashlao bids Majori good bye for now, time for more work. The wet hides didn't smell to pleasant and she carefully breathes through her mouth. She returns to see that the tide of water seemed lessened, or perhaps it was her imagination as she was begining to look forward to her next lesson with Jeranium, something that surely signaled imminent doom-dom. She heaves up another large stack trying to keep in mind to be more careful now that the flow seemed to be slackened.
Jueann moves to where Ylisa to peer at the crack. "This the problem?" Adjusting her glasses, "Hmmm.... What's going on here?"
"Slow? Mayhaps..." Laok mumbles as he situates a double pile of hides under each arm and hustles them out, using his superior height to step around the others.
Majori wanders back in for another pile of hides. She's not showing much enthusiasm for the task. "Well, something got wet. That smells vile. Hey, Tytom, want to carry for a bit, while I mop?"
"Yes, that's where it's coming through." Ylisa crouches by the base of the crack, commenting with a sigh, "I'm glad I didn't have a skirt on today." She peers at the flow of water. "Yes, it's slackening." Her gaze drifts up the ruined wall and the damp bookshelves. "This place is going to need decorating, once it's dried."
Journeyman Ferdie ushers in another gaggle of apprentices, with the result that it's getting hard to move in the Vault. "Fresh pairs of arms for you, Ylisa," he grins. "You might want to let the first shift take a break!"
Jueann sighs and nods. Turning to the apprentices, "The mopping can wait. I want all the archives moved out of here NOW! Or you'll all be on copy duty until you are masters. Move! I want every scroll, book and scrap of paper, parchment and hide saved!"
Ashlao finally cracks a grin when she hears Ylisa saying it was slackening, and things brightened quite a bit for her. The aura of saving old hides and books containing the secreats of pern had faded quite a bit.
Ylisa nods. "I think I'll go and take a look at the Art Workshop - we'll regret it later if we don't put the stuff in some sort of order. How about if Ashlao, Majori, Tytom and Laok come and help me with that? They've been working hard, and we'll be tripping over each other if everyone tries to get in here." She looks to Jueann for approval of her proposal.
Laok grins and salutes Jueann with a jaunty upwards tilt to his head as he bundles up another stack of hides, "Aye Master Jueann!" Then he swivels his head to Ylisa and pauses, arms full of hides and a scroll or two, waiting for pertinent orders.
Ashlao hearing Jueann goes back into hide and book saving with new energy, she didn't want to test whether or not Jueann would give out copy duty but she wasn't about to test her. With each load of heavy papers each following load grew heavier and when she heard Ylisa's proposal she had a fair glimmer of hope.
Leyte stops mopping and carries her bucket towards the door. She's apparently in a huff. "Well, if you /wants/ it all over the floor again, just when we was getting it dry..."
Jueann nods, "Alright Ylisa. But I want everything saved. NOW! See to it Ylisa. I'll leave you in charge." Jue isn't happy that her precious archives are being threatened.
Majori stops to wait for Jueann's answer, and she's out of the archive vault in a flash once the Master agrees.
Ylisa gives a faint smile. "Thank you." She turns to the crowd of apprentices. "All right, Laok, Ashlao, Tytom and - where's Majori? You're with me. The rest of you, clear one stack at a time, and when you bring them in, put them where we show you. Otherwise it'll take forever to sort it out." She gathers up a final pile of books and heads out of the room.
Jueann sighs, wringing her hands as she leaves too.
Ylisa and the four apprentices go to...
The first really noticable things in this room are the four oversized wooden worktables. Each of these is lined with wooden stools for the artists to work at. A large set of cabinets and counters line the four wall everywhere except at the door. These are strewn with paints, pencils, paper and all sorts of other things. Small stands site about the room with works in progressed and finished works alike, giving the room a very welcoming feel.
"Journeywoman, where should I start?" Tytom asks.
In the Workshop, a couple of the cabinets are now piled high with hides. Ylisa surveys the scene. "At least we've been putting the first ones all together. We can take that as the starting point and lay it out much like the archive room. Murray, when you go back, tell them to work outwards from the first shelf we cleared. The rest of you, when people bring things in, see what they are and put them on the right side. You'll need to stack them tightly."
Laok nods and steps lightly to one side of the room where he carefully deposits his load of hides. He rifles through the first few in both stacks as he hmms thoughtfully, then, seeming to make up his mind he grabs one of the stacks and redeposits it on the other side of the central pile. As he passes he wrinkles his nose, "Ey, shouldn't we be lookin' for the hides that got wet and hangin' them out so's they don't mildew the rest of 'em?"
Ashlao grins and follows Majori to the Artists Workshop. Perhaps she would be able to disguise catalouging for just perusing the book of maps, perhaps there were more hidden corridors, namely in and around the apprentice dorms. She goes for where it was hidden, trying to look like she was going for a random stack of parchement to sort, only to find.. it wasn't there! She blinks in confusion and speaks up, perhaps someone got to it first.. she eyes the other helpers. "Um.. has anyone seen that book o' maps?"
Majori replies briskly, "No. But I've seen the other forty that need stacking..." She's doing just that, taking things from the stream of apprentices that are now doing the carrying bit and putting them down in a neat pile.
Tytom follows Majori's example, helping keep things neat and organized.
Ashlao gives a shy grin, true there were others perhaps it was buried beneath some others. She decides to look for it later when things were all organized. She begins to put things in order and set aside parchment that was damp so it could dry.
Ylisa grins. "It can't have gone far, Ashlao. I think you must have found maps of the old part of Ista Hold, that hasn't been used since there was a great tragedy that wiped out the Lord Holder's family of the day. I've no idea whether any of it's still there, but perhaps we could worry about it later?" Still, she glances along the stacks of books. "I can't see it either. It was big enough to stand out." She frowns for a moment. "Anyway. Later."
Laok takes some scrolls from the incoming apprentices and places them in front of the pile. "Eh, what about those wet hides Journeywoman Ylisa? Feh! Can't ye be smellin' 'em?"
Tytom continues busying himself with the incoming records, trying to assist in maintaining some semblance of order.
Tytom passes out through the open french doors into the main hall.
Ashlao finished up her large bundle and wrinkles her nose at the icky smelly hides. "I like these a lot better when they are dry.." She could go on but by now she is exhausted.
The clearing of the archive room takes several more hours, at the end of which, everyone's shattered, the Workshop is packed to overflowing with hides on every surface, and that book of maps still hasn't turned up.