About the Craft

 

A Harper's Life

 

Events in the Harperhall

 

Meet the Harpers

 

In the Vaults

Caught!

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Main Hall and Ballroom

The ballroom's vast space is simply and tastefully decorated, combining images and materials from many parts of Pern. Opposite the main entrance, a broad balcony is supported by pillars of the finest northern marble; polished to glassy smoothness, they contrast the toning blues of the walls. A staircase of the same stone rises in sturdy flights to the upper level. The high vaulted ceiling with its round wrought-iron window is white, brightening the room, while the varnished floor is the deep red-brown of a Lemos hardwood. High on the west wall, a large 'mural' shows a map of Pern, framed by images of harper life and symbols of the Craft, while the bright 'tapestry' opposite offers an informal scene. Glowbaskets rest on marble stands of different heights, turned to give both direct and reflected light, while carved stone benches along the walls provide places to sit for those attending functions, or simply wishing to rest. For everyday use, rush matting protects the most frequented parts of the polished floor.

Jueann enters, but not in her usual confused, fussy self. She's dressed in tunic, pants and boots.  nodding to Ylisa.  "Are we ready?"

Ylisa is standing by the wall, apparently doing nothing but with her eyes glued to the door of the Rehearsal Hall.  As Jueann speaks, she turns with a brisk nod.  "They went down more than an hour ago, so it won't be long now.  The plan was to send another party from the garden entrance and block both ways out."

Small sack thrown over one shoulder, soft steps announce Fas to the ballroom in general.  Eyes glance towards the expanse below as he decends, an absent, thoughtful look making it's way to the Senior Apprentice's face as he switches to watch the ground before him.  Best to keep eyes forward and ears attentive, rather than the other way around.  Ylisa's statement of 'the plan', however, slows Fas down slightly, but after making his way to the last step of the stairs, footsteps shift to start bringing him towards the passageway to the Hold...

Jueann nods.  "Are the guards all in place?"  Seeing Fas, she nods to the apprentice.  "Fas, I would like you to keep an eye on any errant apprentice.  Won't do to have any of them hurt?"

Ylisa nods in agreement with Jueann.  "Might be an idea to keep the younger ones out of the way," she tells Fas, then answers the Master's question.  "Yes, the ones that were watching the gardens reported when the suspects went into the Moon Garden, and the ones here went down then to block off the side tunnels and stop them coming out this way; then the other group were going to follow at a distance and block of the way back to the gardens.  Then they'd move in."  Her face is grim.

Steps slow in the movement towards the nearest exit, and Fas turns to nod back at Jueann.  "Alright," he agrees, allowing a slight grin.  From eavesdropper to enlistment, and in record time.  "I'll keep an eye on them."  Apprentice pauses for a moment, before he questions, "Would it be too much for me to ask -- what exactly are the intentions past pushing them into a corner...?  I mean -- what are we to do once we catch up with them...?"

Jueann turns to Fas, "Whatever works.  Until I get more people in here, I'm counting on you as a senior apprentice to keep the younger ones out of the way."

Ylisa chuckles, but she's not much more enlightening.  "First, we make sure that they're who we think they are - though there's not much doubt of that.  Shame we couldn't get someone who actually knows them to keep watch, but it wouldn't do to let them know they'd been spotted.  They've been putting different guards out each day, and that sort of thing.  We were starting to think they'd left, but they turned up eventually."  

Once again, the Senior Apprentice pauses, before giving a nod back to Master Jueann in acknowledgment of the task.  "Understood," he agrees again, before turning to seek out the Apprentices he's just been put in charge of -- and pausing again.  Hesitation lasts a moment, but without results.  Fas moves off, quickly beginning to round up his charges.

Falada enters the Hall, arms full of quarterly reports and such from the Smith Hall.  She gazes around, eager to catch up on the whisperings of gossip she's managed to catch.

Jueann sighs.  "So we wait here?  I hope the guards don't flush them out in my lap."

Ylisa nods.  "I suppose so.  Or in there."  She gestures towards the Rehearal Hall.  "It's a bit less public if anything were to... well, you know."  She glances round at the various people in the Ballroom, and in the process, spots Falada.  She waves.  "You've caught us on the hop, Falada."

Falada lifts her chin in greeting and advances curiously.  "And what are we hopping about?  I've only heard rumors.  The missing lady has been found?"

Jueann turns to Falada, "We are flushing out a couple of people that have been responsible for alot of thieving around here."

It doesn't take Fas very long to start gathering up those he's to watch over -- with a little help from the first he plucks out.  "Lasara?  Lovely name -- do me a favor, and find the rest of the group, and once you get a good number of them, come find me with the lot of them in tow."  After soothing the other Apprentice's apprehensions for a few more moments, Fas moves on to give much the same command to a male Apprentice named Chetren, adding, "Oh -- and welcome to the Harper Hall.  Congratulations on your knot," before making his way back towards Jueann, Ylisa, and, now, Falada, and from there, keeping an eye on his two roaming gatherers.

Ylisa rolls her eyes.  "What have you heard?  We were hoping to keep things a bit quiet, until we've caught our fish, so to speak.  The guards are down in the tunnels right now, and they could be back any time.  With a bit of luck they'll have our villains with them, and some of the stuff that went missing - but whether it's /our/ stuff remains to be seen."

Falada blinks and then nods slowly.  "I had heard something..."  She glances around and then quickly steps into the office long enough to deposit her reports before returning.  "I don't know if I can help, but as always I am at the service of the craft."  She watches with appreciation the efficient herding of the apprentices.  She shakes her head to Ylisa.  "Not a whole lot, actually.  There was a missing lady, and some items have disappeared...  As far as actual facts go, however, the gossip chains have been unbelievably discreet.  I was beginning to think the rest of Pern had ceased to exist."

Ylisa gives a wry chuckle.  "Well, I suppose that's better than it might have been, though we were trying to /spread/ the news about Lady Alebra, and get people to watch for her!  But still..."  She breaks off as faint sounds start to drift through the open door of the Rehearsal Hall. "Was that someone shouting?"

Jueann shhhs softly, "Listen....."

"I wouldn't say anyone who's been thieving has been acting very lady-like at all," Fas covers absently,  "So if it is our little Apprentice, I wouldn't go ascribing her such positive attributes so readily..."  It's nothing personal towards anyone, you see -- a deliberate misinterpretation directed for those Apprentices that're milling close enough to hear, mostly.  At least until the story's decided upon.  Head tilts slightly as Fas continues to watch his appointed gathers.  At Ylisa's question, Fas motions on the air for a few moments, and catching sight of it, Chetren and Lasara start to close back in on him.

Falada stiffens and turns towards the open door to listen intently...

Ylisa glances round at Fas and his charges, then looks to Jueann.  "Should we perhaps move in there?"  She indicates the Rehearsal Hall.  "Fasulkad could keep folk out for us until we know what's going on - he seems to be doing a good job so far."

Jueann nods.  "Carefully.  Where's the guards?" Looking around for them. 

The sounds continue, growing slightly louder.  A male voice can be distinguished, and a few muffled words that are definitely not polite conversation.

Light nod is aimed towards Ylisa in reply to the compliment, before he turns back towards his group as they finish their approach, conversing in a hushed manner to allow as much listening as possible for those nearer to the Rehearsal Hall.  "Alright -- good job, Lasara, Chetron.  You two stay near me.  You -- you four," Fas' hand roughly motions towards a small cluster.  "You seem to like to chat.  So you stay here, and keep guests away from the Shainman.  If someone's coming in, I expect one of you to preceed them so I can get to the door and handle it myself.  Understood?"  The four, unsure if they were just reprimanded or spared, give a hesitant nod, before Fas nods at the rest of the group.  "Everyone else, follow slowly..."

"Coming up with whoever /that/ is, I sincerely hope!"  Ylisa paces quietly towards the door of the Rehearsal Hall.  "Fas, can you stand guard on the door and make sure none of the apprentices comes in?  We're not going to want an audience for this. Thanks."  She heads into the other room.

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.

Jueann walks in from the ballroom.

Fasulkad walks in from the ballroom.

Jueann shhh... whispering, "I'm hearing things.  I hope it's guards...."  putting a hand out to silence any noise.

The shouting increases in volume, though the source isn't obvious and there's nobody in the room except the little group of Harpers.  It might be coming from somewhere under the choir stalls, near to which there's a roughly stacked pile of chairs and other dusty items that's not normally there.   There's a sound that might be a fist impacting against some part of someone's anatomy, then footsteps. Finally, the curtain at the side of the choir tiers is pushed aside to reveal a detachment of guards who are manhandling a man and a woman.

Having been given instructions to uphold, Fas takes a few moments to follow into the Rehearsal Hall, but makes his way in as soon as he's finished giving a few modified instructions back out to his band of Apprentices, leaving Lasara and the newly-Apprenticed Chetron in charge and closest to the door, as well as with a few extra instructions in case they're needed.  Slipping in, Fas carefully closes the door behind him, and stands in front of the crack between door and frame.  One foot keeps against the door, while the other remains slightly in front to support his weight against it.  Eyes remain pinned on the tiers, but Harper doesn't relax his stance even as the Guards show themselves to be in control of the situation.

Dennell comes out shouting.  He appears to be shouting at Majori.  "....Useless!  You didn't bring in anything useful, you didn't bring in anything at all for the last few sevendays, you've just been skulking in those tunnels, and now you've got us caught!"

Majori screams at the top of her voice, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN  USELESS, YOU WORTHLESS PIECE OF WHERRY DUNG!  FATHER WAS RIGHT ABOUT YOU1"  She never said she didn't have a harper's trained voice.  "It's all your fault!"

Ylisa murmurs, "He was, was he?  Well, that settles that question."  She glances at Jueann for permission to speak, and asks quietly, "So, you still want me to handle it as we discussed?"

Jueann sighs at the language, "It's your show J'man Ylisa.  Carry on."

Eyebrow slightly raises at the pair's shouting, but alertness doesn't fade from his eyes, nor careful blockade fade from his stance.  "If we do not quiet them into something close to reasonable tones," Fas suggests quietly, "We may not have reason to worry over any Apprentices being in here with us.  This room, after all," he admits, motioning with one hand at nothing in particular, but indicating the room itself.  "Has excellent acoustics."

Dennell isn't put off his flow of invective.  "You couldn't even find out about the sharding Harpers, and you were living with them!  Stupid bitch!  Going on about that old geezer - anyone would think you were really one of them!"  He's not just shouting, though. The final words are accompanied by a struggle for freedom that has him elbowing one of the guards holding him in the stomach and driving a knee into the groin of the other.

Ylisa steps forward, ignoring Dennell and the groaning guard - several more are piling themselves on top of him, after all.  Her target is Majori, whom she addresses in cool tones that cut clear across the room.  "Lady Alebra, I presume."

Fighting the arms that hold her, Majori wants a piece of Dennell, "YOU rotten Threadbait! LET GO OF ME!  My father will have your hide for touching me!"  Majori is in full voice, and is ignoring the fact that everyone is watching her.

Dennell, at least, is silenced - not by Majori's tongue-lashing, but by a burly guard's efficient right hook.  The man, who seems to be in charge of the detachment, gives a satisfied nod as his prisoner sinks to the ground.  "That's enough of /his/ noise, at least."  He eyes Majori as if wishing he could do the same to her, but restrains himself, turning instead to the Harpers.  "We'll be taking him to cool in a cell, then?  Or do you want him sent to Nabol straightaway?"

Jueann sighs at the violence.  She never really cared for it.  Shaking her head and looking at Majori, drawing herself up and walks over to the girl and a *SLAP!* right across the girl's cheek.  "That's quite enough out of you."

Quiet sigh passes from the Senior Apprentice by the door.  Not going very well, is this?  For the time being, he keeps his peace on a matter which seems otherwise to want to avoid peacefulness.  Eyes raise slightly as the guard speaks, and Fas prepares a knock for the door to retrieve his two second-in-commands.  He allows a quiet pause after Jueann takes, perhaps, the most violent action he's ever seen her take, before he offers quietly to the other staff in attendance, "Journeywoman Ylisa -- if they're to leave through the Hall, we'll be flooded with onlookers the Apprentices may not be able to handle on their own..."

Ylisa tells the guard, "He'll go to Nabol when we've finished with him - and the Hold, and the Weavers, and the Herders, and the Healers, if he's done all we think he's done.  For now, let's have him in your cells."  She swings round to face Fasulkad.  "Then bolt the door behind them!"  Then she steps up beside Jueann and looks coolly at Majori.  "Well, now.  The real question is, what are we going to do with /you/."

The guard sergeant details four of his men to carry the slumped Dennell off, which they do - after first tying his hands and feet.  As they approach Fasulkad and the door, one of them mutters, "Shouldn't have untied him for the ladder - should've hauled him up like a side o' herdbeast."  So much for Dennell.

Majori stunned by the Craftmater's slap, glares at the harpers, "When my father gets here, he'll deal with you.' she threatens, like the spoilt Holder girl she is.  "Yes, I'm Alebra.  What of it?"

The Harper Hall -- close it's doors?  Senior Apprentice nods, and sounds two knocks on the door, stepping to one side, but placing his foot slightly in front of the door.  It creaks open after a moment, but upon hitting Fas' foot, he instructs the boy whose profile appears on the other side, "You and Lasara -- bolt the doors after our guests leave.  Go."  And that is all.  Eyes face forward again, and as the guards approach, Fas opens the door for them, offering a sympathetic grin for the muttering guard.  "At least he was caught, no?"  Door closes again behind the guards and their captive, and Fas returns to his previous stance, grin already fading away.

"You want us to return you to your Father?  You didn't seem so keen on his company before - when you ran away without a word of explanation."  Ylisa's tone is icy.  "You have spent a Turn in this Hall as an apprentice, when half the planet was looking for you.  You have been involved with a man who is a thief and a renegade, and it appears that you have been involved in his crimes.  Why?"

Majori shrugs, "I was bored!  Being a harper was fun.  Why should I care what my father does or not do? he never cared for me only my dowry!" She sneers, "I wanted fun, adventure and it was fun being someone else.  now return me to my father like a good little harper."

Jueann crosses her arms, "Sounds like she wants both worlds.  Too bad, it doesn't work that way."  She studies Majori/Alebra for a moment, thinking.

Sentry position resumed, Fas seems to have little inclination to do anything but his currently assigned task: keep charge of the door.  Gaze, now limited in options by a number of guards and a man he'd already been questioned about, instead turn to watch and listen to Majori.  "No, it doesn't," Fas agrees with Jueann.  "To become a /real/ Harper, you pledge yourself to your Craft with devotion -- just like any other Craft.  Not for amusement."

Ylisa sounds positively cynical.  "Dowry, is it?  And how much dowry will he need to give to find a good match for you now?  As for going back, you won't be doing that for a while.  There's a little matter of..."  Her eyes drift towards the large bag that one of the remaining guards is holding.  "That."  She nods to the guard, who sets the bag on the ground and opens it.

Majori looks from the craftmaster, Ylisa to the bag and shrugs, "So what?"  She sneers, "I'm still a daughter of the Bloodline.  You can't touch me."

Jueann sighs, "But I can.  I have rank equal to your father.  And I accepted you into the harpers.  You are mine to do with what I want."  Sounding tired.  

The bag contains a pile of items that people round the Hold and Crafthalls might recognise. These include a shoulder bag containing a set of weaver's tools, a bracelet with green stones, a jade necklace, a hand mirror, a metal flute, a silver music box, a pretty enamel jar full of sweet-smelling oil and a necklace with a ballet-slipper charm, as well as many other small valuables.

The guard sergeant suggests deferentially, "Well, ladies, I don't know about that, but Lady Risana will want to know if she and 'im have been stealing from the Hold.  Seems to me she should go in the cells too - or maybe under guard in the Hold, seeing as how she's a Lord Holder's daughter."

"On top of that," Fas adds after Jueann's claim, "Once you were accepted into the Harpers, you became one, for better or for worse.  Until you are /released/ from the Hall by /consent/ of the Hall -- you are under the jurisdiction of the Hall.  If you are released, /then/ you return to the jurisdiction of your father's Hold -- assuming, of course, that Lady Risana does not wish to detain you for your thefts against the Hold."  Someone does, after all, have a specialty in law.  "Your father may not like it -- but, those are the rules.  Whatever happens now is at Master Jueann's whim.  Be it to release to you the guards, give you back to your father, or otherwise."  All in all, Fas' recommendation: know whose palm you're in the hands of before you speak.

Ylisa snaps at the unfortunate guard.  "Not until we've found out what we want to know."  She turns back to the young woman.  "Alebra, you did not come here for fun.  You have never shown any interest in your studies, except perhaps for dancing - and all those questions you were asking Master Tony about what you call Harper spies?  Asking about becoming one, in fact?  Was that the idea?  To get into a position where you could protect your renegade friends from the Harper Craft's investigations?  Pass them information, and so on?"  The questions are fired one after the other with scarcely a pause, and Ylisa ends up standing right in front of the girl.

Majori pouts.  "So what?  I've always been good at spying.  There is no crime in that."  Looking up at the harper, it takes more then a mere harper to intimidate her.

Jueann sighs.  "Ylisa.  I think maybe we should put her in a cell with Dennell for a few days.  I have the authority and Bramero and Risana has nothing to say about it.  She needs to learn a few hard lessons."

Ylisa nods briefly to Master Jueann, but returns to staring at Alebra.  The tone of her reply is cutting.  "Good at spying?  Master Tony tells me that you didn't understand basic principles.  And there is certainly a crime in stealing from this Hall and others.  I gather that the bag there contains stolen property.  Was that just a bit of fun, too?  Stealing from the people you lived with, people you shared a dormitory with?  People who tried to be your friends?"  She's not sounding as if she's proposing to let up any time soon.

Eyebrow is raised at Majori's claim in what could most easily be called amusement.  Three light taps on the door interrupt his musings on the claim, however, and Fas opens the door, allowing Mimi a quiet enterance, before he closes the door on his minio -- /fellow Apprentices/ with a few quick compliments passed their way to keep their spirits up on the matter.  Position is resumed against the door, and Fas continues to keep track of the words being exchanged.

Mimi strolls into the room, eyebrows knitted, after having seen some /interesting/ things taking place outside. Like a man unconcious. And a crowd of apprentices. What else to do but investigate? The journeywoman gives a nod to Fasulkad as she slips into the hall, but remains just barely beyond the door.

Majori shrugs, as tears start to form.  "You're mean.  All I wanted to do was be me.  Dennell wanted me to steal to proved that I was like him.  He accepted me and loved me.  He said so."

Ylisa's voice drops now; it's soft enough to be scarcely heard across the room.  "He said so - but what did he do?  He loved you - so he made you steal and spy?  He accepted you - so he made you into someone like him, rather than some one like you?  You wanted to be you - is that really what you are?"  She's looking the girl right in the eye.

Majori lets out a huge sob and nods.  "But I loved him.  He was different from all the others and father hated him."  Huge tears fall roll down her cheeks.  Do you believe her?

Nod is returned to Mimi, but past that, eyes remain on the situation itself, at most switching between Majori, Ylisa, and the occassional glance towards Jueann when she adds her opinion to the matter.  For the moment, Fas seems to have nothing to add.

Jueann sighs.  "mimi, can you go through that bag by the guard?  See if that mecklace of your's in there? And my hand mirror."

Ylisa raises an eyebrow.  "Different from all the others?  From the honest ones, you mean?"  She turns on her heel and steps away, now facing Jueann.  "Well, I don't think there's much we can do for her.  She should stand trial along with him.  Your jurisdiction, Master Jueann."  She gives a decisive nod - and as her back is to Alebra, the girl will not see the wink that accompanies it.

Mimi nods from her own post by the door. She picks up the bag from over by the guard and hefts it up and down. "Hooeee," she mumbles under her breath,"Busy girl, no wonder you were late to class..." She drops the bag on a table and begins to sort through it. "Let's see...here's your mirror..." The hand mirror is pulled from the pile quickly, but Mimi seems to have a bit of jewelry sorting to do.

Majori sniffs.  "I won't let him take it.  But I wanted to show him...." 

Ylisa murmurs softly to Jueann, "Ready for you to take over, I think."

Quiet sigh passes from Fas again as he shakes his head.  "Foolish, foolish girl," he mutters.  "All this over what amounts to puppy love..."  An angry Lord Holder, a Renegade, a lonely daughter of the angry Lord Holder.  A rash of thefts, a chase through forgotten catacombs, an unhappy situation for the Harper Hall itself.  Eyes settle to watch Jueann, as Ylisa eases off her questioning and gives the stage over to Jueann.

Jueann nods, "Put her in lock down upstairs.  I think the last time we used that room was that apprentice that beat up another apprentice.  We put him there to decide it was a mutual fight or attempt murder.  Thankfully, it wasn't manslaughter."  Looking at the guards and Fas, "Show him the way, will you Fas? And remember, she's on water rations until further notice."

The two guards holding Alebra take a firmer grip on her arms and start to march her towards the door.  The sergeant follows, his face a picture of disapproval - but Jueann has the right of it, so upstairs it is.

Majori struggles.  Lock down?  She found that room.  "But.. the cell.... Dennell...." she looks at Ylisa and Jueann. "This isn't fair."

"Consider it taken care of," Fas accepts with a light nod.  Another task does not, however, absolve him of his original charges.  Door is opened, and Fas steps out, quickly instructing the Apprentices, "Remember, you're all Harpers -- we have situations which must be handled delicately.  For the time being, the Dormitory Lounge.  I'll be there shortly, after a few more things are taken care of down here.  Chetron, Lesara -- wait for me on the Balcony.  Make sure everyone else goes upstairs."  One must, after all, feed the Apprentices a /little/ bit.  Glance turns back inside the Hall, and Fas asks, "All set, then?  I assume the Guards will be returning to the Hold, so I'll leave two Apprentices near the door to keep watch..."

Ylisa comments dryly, "It'll give you time to consider your position."  And that's all she has to say to Majori/Alebra.  Instead, she wanders across to Mimi and bends over the bag.  "Well now, I'm glad to see /that/ again."  She's smiling as she retrieves a wooden box and opens it to reveal a silvery flute.  "Is your missing thing here, Mims?  A necklace, wasn't it?"

Mimi nods as she picks her missing silver necklace from the bag, and fastens it safely back on her neck. "Yes, it is. And to think, /she/ was making such a fuss that day I found it lost too." The journeywoman sniffs. Pah. 

Ylisa starts assembling the flute as she wanders off into a corner, and soon its crystal tones are resonating in the excellent acoustic of the rehearsal hall.  Ylisa's lost to the world!

Overly tired with the whole affair, Jueann orders, "Upstairs with her.  Bring me the keys from the door.  I'll be in the office writing up the report for Risana and Bramero.  I also want your reports as well.  Fas, you are to write one as well."

"If you like," Fas replies with a light nod, taking the absence of contradiction to his assumption to be confirmation thereof.  Glance is given to the guards holding Lady/Apprentice, and Fas nods towards the Ballroom.  "They've had enough time to get clear.  Time to go..."  Still holding the door, Fas motions the guards through, glancing back into the room, before following after the guards.

 

Logfile from Ylisa

 

 

 

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