A Secret Meeting
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You enter a comfortable but richly paneled room with a faded braided rug on the floor. Tucked in one corner is a Jueann's desk, piled with scrolls and writing instruments. A table with three chairs are pushed against another wall with a vase of dried wildflowers sets prettily on it. An old ver-stuffed couch piled pillows and stuffed toys rest opposite the table. Tacked on the walls are different but colorful displays of children artwork.
It is an autumn afternoon.
Jueann is busy puttering around her rooms. She's busy making sweet rolls. Hands in the dough as it were. She isn't much of a musical harper. She does her best thinking baking.
Liesana first knocks on the door, and then opens it enough to poke her head around it, querying "Jueann? Are you in?" A hand holding a wineskin emerges from around the door as well, as Liesana continues that "I've sent my advanced law students off to go take case reports and practise their court law skills down in the guard tower, so I've got time for some plotting of my own."
Ylisa catches up with Liesana at the door. She's carrying a rolled hide that's rather scruffy in appearance, and wearing a worried expression. A finger taps impatiently against the hide. "I'm back, Master Jueann, Master Liesana. I've sent messages to the other Masters, but I don't know if anyone else will be coming."
Jueann looks up from her baking. Her room has that nice homey smell of fresh baking bread, old parchment and linseed oil. "Come on in, you two. Let me get these in the oven and I'll be right with you." Nice that she has a small kitchenette in her suite that she doesnt' have to share it with anyone.
"Oooh, I'd forgotten about your having your own oven in here." Liesana perks, eyes intent and businesslike, but her tone bantering for the sake of keeping things light as long as possible. She helps herself to a seat in the sitting area, and draws one knee up against her chest. "I'll have to bother you to make me cookies some time. But what's the latest word on our dusty old lower level?" she wonders. "I went poking about with a glowbasket myself, and mostly succeeded in getting lost."
Ylisa follows Liesana in and immediately starts looking for a flour-free surface. "Where can I spread this out? Is it all right to use the table?" She grins at Liesana. "Very prompt of you - I'm glad you made it out in time! We do at least now have a map to prevent us from wandering forever. Probably just as well - it's a big area."
Jueann grins at Lies. "Perks of the craft." Dusting off her hands with a damp towel, she checks the timer. "These should be done soon. So what's up?" Moving to the table, "Clear off the table. It should be clean enough."
Liesana moves to help out with the clearing-off, stacking up a few hides and books and relocating them to the nearest end-table before going to rummage around Jueann's shelves in search of wineglasses. Ylisa gets a grin and a shrug. "Well, now that I've been laden down with a Master's rank for so many turns, it's not like I get too many chances to go be active and adventurous anymore. Maybe I should try and wheedle Dashvard into letting me go on patrol..." she trails off, mock-wistfully, and then turns her attention back to Ylisa. "Map? Excellent. Who made it?"
Ylisa shifts various small objects towards the edge of the table, then unrolls the hide in the space and uses the various bits and pieces to weigh down its edges. "Tytom and Realilina, of all people. They came to the office an hour or so ago and told us about it." An eyebrow twitches as she explains. "They've not only found the way into the lower levels, they've explored them thoroughly, found another exit, mapped it all - and they think they've found where Majori's staying. And Dennell. And a lot of stolen goods."
Jueann comes over to the table to peer at the map. "Are you sure it's Dennell's hide out? Have they found Majori? I really would like to get my hands on her."
"What evidence did they see to convince them of that?" Liesana wonders, tone gone coolly detached and thoughtful as she pulls out a notebook and commandeers a quill and inkpot. "And did they suggest it was Majori and Dennell, or did they just report what they'd seen? Did they see any signs of them? More importantly, were Tytom and Realilina seen?"
Ylisa shakes her head, equally precise. "They didn't see either of them, and they don't have proof that it was them. Fortunately, neither was there. But there was male clothing, female clothing, signs that the room was being lived in, and a pile of what looked likely to be stolen goods. As far as they know, they weren't seen." She purses her lips. "But I wouldn't like to guarantee they weren't heard. Anyone living down there would be able to move about more easily than someone who didn't know it. And - Majori was last seen heading into an empty Rehearsal Hall, which is where the entrance is. I should think it's high probability that it is them."
Jueann sighs, shaking her head. "So now what? You need to turn everything over to Dash and see it gets back to their proper owners."
"Not... immediately." Liesana holds up one hand as the other scratches away with the quill. "We don't want to spook our runners while there's still a hole in the fence, to use a metaphor." Looking up from over her book, she folds her hands overtop of the pages and offers a counter-proposal that "I think we should leave things untouched, swear Tytom and Realilina to silence on their name's honour, and still be -publically- looking for the tunnels. Privately, we suss out what other exits there are to them, and then, when we're ready, we and the guards nab our runaway Lady and her lover in one tidy little swoop. -Then- we collect the loot."
Ylisa settles herself into one of Master Jueann's chairs. She says cautiously, "I did swear them to secrecy, and Lina and Tytom very sensibly didn't touch anything - a shame it then took them four days to come and tell us about it! They were planning an ambush of their own, but fortunately thought better of it." Her finger traces through the path the apprentices took. "It's here. Well inside, unfortunately." She looks thoughtfully from Jueann to Liesana, and back, nodding slowly. "That's what we should do, but... Master Jueann, what do you want to do with Majori?"
Jueann nods. "Well, that's reasonable. I just want Lord Bramero off my back." she sighs as she remembers the latest letter she got from him. "I think both he and his daughter should've been drown at birth. When we caught Majori. I have special plans for her before we turn her over to him. She's in my craft and under my authority. Got that?"
"She's also a young woman whose immediate future includes being wedded off to whatever young Lord she can be used as a bargaining chip for." Liesana points out, apparently not entirely without sympathy for Majori/Alebra's tale of romance and risk. "I know that's the way of things for the Blood... but if she wants to stay with us, can't we keep her?" she wonders, looking for all the world like she's going to promise to see that Majori gets daily feedings and walks and a basket in front of the fireplace.
Jueann turns to her oven. "No, she's mine. She joined the harpers. She gave up her rights to her birthright by applying and being accepted. Now if you guys excuse me? I'm sure you both have things to do?" She goes about pulling out freshly baked goodies. "Don't forget to take a couple of these on your way out."
Ylisa responds grimly to Liesana, "Not necessarily - not if it's publicly known that she ran off with a renegade, it isn't. She'd not be a good catch at all - Bramero could have to farm her out to whoever'd take her, however ancient or unpalatable. It's not a good life for blooded women, sometimes." She ponders for a moment. "But then, do we know that she wants to be a Harper? She lied to get in, if those stolen goods are what went missing from here, she's stolen from us..." Finally heeding Jueann's dismissal, she rolls up the map again. "Maybe I should do a few copies of this - I'd rather no-one else saw it." She looks at the homebake and moves to help herself to a couple of items. "Those look great!"
"Thank Faranth I'm a Keroonian craftbred." Liesana agrees to Ylisa with a wry look, snabbling up a couple of the offered treats as she passes them. "You're a woman of many talents, Jue. And I'll go apprise Dash of the latest developments. Enjoy the wine!" And off she goes on the other younger harper's heels.
Logfile from Ylisa.