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... [look closer]
Watching from a bit of artistically carved lintel are six firelizards.
Artist's Workshop Archive Vault Harper Office Harper Classroom Shainman Rehearsal Hall Great Hall Instrument Workshop Curving Stairways
Jueann nods to Siallon as she goes by, "Hello....?"
Siallon is standing in the old 'parade rest' position outside the office door, his eyes half closed as he mulls over the various facts of the investigation, "Hello, ma'am.."
Jueann smiles slightly, "Is it safe to go and tidy up the office now? The body has been moved right?"
Siallon nods, "It has.."
Jueann raises an eyebrow, he really didn't answer the first part of her question. "Can I go and tidy up the office now? Or is it still off limits?"
Siallon stands there, "You can do as you will with it.. I'm just considering parts of the investigation, thought this would be as good a place as any for that.."
Jueann hmms.... and then sighs. "Care to come in while I start cleaning? So you won't miss anything?"
Siallon shrugs, 'Sure.." he says after a moment, many things on his mind.
Siallon walks into the harper office.
office is cheerful, the light reflecting off of whitewashed walls and ceiling.
A pattern mimicking musical notation in colors runs along the tops of the
walls, shelf upon shelf rising from the floor to meet it.
Desks, cabinets and filing drawers are arranged about the room,
workplaces for those whose job it is to keep the harpers and hall in order.
air is fresh, tangy with sea and hides and well-seasoned woods.
from a high shelf are eight firelizards.
see Staff Tackboard, Opree, Project Reference Book, Useful Facts for Harpers,
Oldeara, Face Painting Description, Harper Progress Board, Art Lesson Plans,
Jueann's Medicine, and Benden Spring Wine here.
Jueann sighs as she enters, dreading it mostly. The body has been moved and most of the bloody reports and papers. "Ohhh it'll take days before I sort everything out. Whata mess. Why did this have to happen.... All that work...."
Siallon gets out his notebook and begins taking notes. "Where were you on the night in question?" he asks. Might as well get this portion over with.
Jueann sighs as she goes to her chair, thinking she'll just order a new chair, instead of having it cleaned. Then she starts at his question, "Uhh... huh? Ohh... " she just stares at him. "What did you say?"
"Where were you on the night of the murder?" The guard asks steadily. His voice calm and dead steady, portraying no emotion
Jueann blinks and stands there. "Ohh. Where was I? I was were you anyone can find me, in my suite upstairs pouring over old records." She blinks, "At least I think that's where I was. I rarely go out or away."
"Hmm... and was anyone with you that can corroborate this?" Siallon asks as he writes quickly and evenly into the notebook
Jueann blinks again and pales, "Should I have an alibi for being in my own rooms? I have no lover and I have no one living with me. I'm quite alone."
"It is my job to ask these sort of questions.. just as it is yours to teach and mediate.." Siallon says coolly. The consummate guard. "What of the aconite? Do you normally leave your medications outside of your room?"
Jueann blinks and leans against the desk, unable to bring herself to sit where Poirot had. "I... I understand.... Am I a suspect? Ohh of course I am. Silly me... I didn't do it, you know...." She blinks again, taking out her glasses and putting them on. "Aconite? It's a poison but used correctly it can help with night terrors and hot flashes. I never leave it outside my rooms. Either I take it with me or I leave in on my table in my rooms."
"To be honest about three quarters of the Harper Hall are suspects at this point... I've found motive that can be substantiated for most of you... that tutor.. Jelfen.. Jeflen.. whatever his name his.. Poirot was hitting on his wife... Poirot was trying to usurp control of the hall from you... he was harassing numerous others on various levels.." Siallon says as he writes down the information. "How then did the aconite come to be here in this office rather than in your possession at the time of the murder?"
Liesana steps silently in from the ballroom.
"Jellem. And Poirot was making all the women of the Hall uncomfortable, including me." She sighs and nods to Liesana as she walks in. "Liesana, what were you doing upstairs?
Jueann says, "Jellem. And Poirot was making all the women of the Hall uncomfortable, including me." She sighs and nods to Liesana as she walks in. "Liesana, what were you doing upstairs?"
"The same thing Sergeant Siallon is doing down here, Jueann," replies Liesana with the air of one with a permanent and nasty headache. "Investigating. There's already a massive paper trail to follow. But... don't let me disturb you." And with that and a nod, the younger master makes her way to a filing cabinet.
Siallon writes down the correction in the name to make sure it's noted correctly but isn't put off of his original query about the aconite. "Did you notice the aconite to be missing at all from your rooms prior to coming down and finding Poirot?" asks the guard.
Jueann frowns a
bit, "uhh... I...." she thinks real hard, "Honestly I don't
remember seeing it or not. I didn't
need it that day. I just walked out
and came down here. I wanted to make sure
Quiet rustling sounds, also known as Liesana leafing through a large collection of recent reports hides, emanate from the back of the room. Her hands and eyes might be otherwise occupied, but her ears are trained on the questioning going on.
Siallon writes down everything, down to the reactions of Jueann as she speaks and quotes from what she says. "From the way you described this medicine you needed it fairly often didn't you?"
Jueann shrugs, "Stress, sgt. Stress was causing more flair ups then normal. Jaqui asked me to stay calm but with someone like Poirot causing headaches... how can any not not have stress?"
Liesana snorts quietly. "Even in death, the man is finding ways to inflict more," she sums up from the back of the room, having found her report and having taken a seat at a desk to pore over it.
Siallon writes down both observations, adding some notes of his own but not vocalizing those for the other two. "Did this Poirot use your office often?"
Jueann shrugs, "This office is open to any ranker having business to deal with. Interviews even lessons are conducted in here. This room is never locked only the most sensitive reports and files are. Only the masters have the keys to those files. So yes, Poirot used this office."
"As a visiting Master," adds in Liesana, since she seems to be included in the discussion now. "Poirot hadn't been assigned his own individual office. When he wasn't prowling about or sleeping, he was here or in the Archives."
"So anyone could have come in at any time while he was in here, or anyone else was in here for that matter?" Siallon asks as he writes more in his notebook. It doesn't help him as much but it also takes the huge level of suspicion just off the master and journeymen types
Jueann nods and shrugs, "Anyone can come in, anytime. Usually Oldeara is in and out. But you won't get much out of her as she's hard of hearing and terribly forgetful. She won't take retirement. But usually either Master Kurt or myself spend the most amount of time in here, going over reports and lesson plans."
"I do find it odd, in that respect," comments Liesana thoughtfully. "That the body wasn't discovered until later in the morning by Jueann... The office is usually bustling from sun-up."
Siallon changes the focus of his next question from Jueann to Liesana, "And who is normally here first thing?"
Liesana ponders, drumming her fingers against the desktop. "That really depends. If I've spent the night at the hall, it would be me. Other mornings, it could be Reeba getting an early start. Jueann is usually the first ranking Harper to start keeping office hours, but apprentices are often poking in here to turn in assignments or collect old ones at the crack of dawn... Sorry to widen your suspect pool."
Jueann sighs, running her hand through her hair, "I'm usually the first one in here on any given day. I have so many reports to go through, drum messages, apprentice evaluations, the pile of work never gets small. But me usually."
"But since the office isn't locked you can't say for sure if anyone was here prior to you.." Siallon says. Making notes. "The state of the body from my examination showed that it couldn't have been here for more than a few hours prior to being found... so that narrows down the time frame.." Siallon says absently as he works, watching the two out of the corner of his eyes as he writes
Liesana drums her fingers some more, an idle motion, not one of communication. "So we need someone able to access Jueann's aconite /after/ she'd taken her evening dose, but /before/ she was up and about for the day." she theorizes. "So, someone either high-ranking enough to carry the skeleton keys for the Hall doors, or someone who knew her well enough to enter her rooms. Or, someone adept at sneaking around."
Jueann blinks as she finally sees where this is going, "now... wait a moment..... I... I didn't kill him...."
"And said person would have to be able to pick locks.." Siallon says before looking at Jueann, "I have not yet named anyone as my prime suspect.."
Liesana blinks at Jueann. "I never said you did, Jue," she says mildly, with a little grimace as the nasty little voice in the back of her brain points out how oddly the Crafthead is acting. "Even with my qualifiers, I can still name a handful of people, including myself, that would be able to get their hands on the poison."
Jueann sighs as she turns to the desk and starts sorting through what's left of her daily reports and whatnot, and frowns a bit but continues on. Seeing a half finished letter, "This isn't my handwriting,..."
"And if just getting your bottle of poison is the only qualifier I could name more than 300 in the immediate area that could retrieve it from your rooms as you slept without you even knowing they were there.. with me included as one of them.." Siallon says simply as he goes over his notes. "And where were you at the time of the murder?" he asks of Liesana, his gaze settling on her as he asks this his gaze goes back to Jueann, "Do you recognize the handwriting?"
Jueann holds it by the corners as she reads through the blood smears, "That... that... tunnelsnake..." She fumes. "how dare he....!"
"Either enroute between Smith Hall and here, or hauling my sorry carcass out of bed in my rooms at Smith, depending what time he was killed," is Liesana's reply, given easily, but without the too-glibness that hints at a lie. "You can ask my mentees and the Smith Hall drudges if you want to corroborate my alibi..." She reaches over to try and take the note for herself. "Fastidious hand... male, by the looks of it. The writing is regular, such as you'd see in someone old enough to know their own writing style. The curving of the letters speaks of Fortian training, and the tone... That's Master Poirot."
Siallon writes notes, including Jueann's vehement comments about the late Master. Those don't bode well for her for the 'motive' standpoint. "And what does the note say?" he asks
Jueann reads off the list of Jueann's faults ending with, "And in conclusion, I find Master Jueann unfit to be craftmaster and having me recalled to Fort to hide her incompetence proves my ....... The note trails off." She looks over at Liesana, then at Siallon.
"Self-righteous old windbag to the last," is Liesana's dry pronouncement, delivered somewhat flatly.
Siallon holds out a hand for the note, "I'll need that.." he says, leaving the stylus between the open pages of his notebook, holding it with the one hand as he holds the other out for the note.
Jueann carefully passes it over, "I guess you need it." She suddenly feels very tired and care-worn. "He really did want my position, after all."
"From the minute he approached me in the Cloudscraper with the offer of a Crafthead's knot if I helped him," comments Liesana with a dark look in her eyes. "I knew he was after your position. We're lucky he had no self-restraint in other matters, or he'd still be alive today."
"Frankly that would make my job easier... if he were alive that is.." Siallon says calmly as he looks over the note before he puts it in a safe place
heavily as she searches the desk for something, not seeing it, she shrugs.
"I.. I think I... need to go back to my room.
I have some work to finish up. Liesana?
Can you order a new chair for my desk? And see that
Liesana gives a steady nod, riffling through the report hides again. "Will do, Jueann. I'll also see when the Healers will be finished with the remains, so we can have a proper internment ::between::. He was still a Master of the Craft."
Jueann sighs and nods to both as she heads out. A worried frown crosses her brow but she makes no mention on what's troubling her. She sails out the door and up to her rooms to ponder alone.
© 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!