About the Craft

 

A Harper's Life

 

Events in the Harperhall

 

Meet the Harpers

 

In the Vaults

Under House Arrest

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Jueann's Suite

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 over-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 a spring noon . You see Jueann's Gold Mark and Harper Lesson Plans here.

 

Andron knocks at the door from the Harper Lounge.

 

You say, "Come in?"

 

Andron has arrived.

 

Jueann is busy making tea, taking the kettle off the brazier and was heading for the table, when she hears the knock, sighing.  Now what?  "Yes?  Who is it?"  She looks very tired and careworn.

 

Andron nudges the door open with his hip after fumbling with the catch, his hands occupied. One pear is in Andron's right hand, half-eaten already, but the left carries a small basket of fruit, one representative each of redfruit, orange, pear, citron, and a small bundle of mixed berries. "A visitor," he says simply by way of answer, a smile slanted at Jueann. "You look tired." The blunt words are softened by an edge of concern as he enters, eyes regarding the older woman thoughtfully. "You have my support, you know, in this whole affair, however unpolitic it is of me to say so."

 

Jueann blinks, "Andron!" She almost spilled the hot water.  "Come in and set the basket down on the table.  Come have a cup of tea." She sighs, of course she looks tired. She isn't sleeping properly.  "Thank you for the vote of confidence but you have to remain neutral for your Hold's sake." She waves at him, "A cup of tea? Or something strong?  Natch sent over a couple of bottles of something."

 

A somewhat annoyed look passes over Andron's features as he says, "Neutral or not, you didn't do it." He fancies himself a good judge of character, so of -course- he has to be right. The annoyance isn't turned on Jueann, and fades as he nods his head slightly when he sets the basket down on the table. "Just tea, actually, and thank you. I'm trying to cut back on all the rest." A faint emphasis on the word trying hints that he might not be as successful as he'd hope. "How're you doing? Keeping yourself entertained?"

 

Jueann goes and gets a second cup, smiling slightly. "I have my books and my reading.  You know me, a good book and I'm lost." Pouring out another cup.  "This tea is a special blend. It's very relaxing." Setting from the kettle, "I must say, for all the evidence against me, I'm amazed how everyone just knows I didn't do it. Tell that to the guards.  I hope they still haven't stopped looking?" Settling herself down at the table, "One lump or two?"

 

Andron takes a nibble from the pear he'd walked in with, chewing the bite as Jueann speaks. A grin is on his lips as he says, "One, please," and then continues, "Perhaps you just don't have the properly menacing image needed to convince us of your guilt. The evidence though--" Here he falters, shrugging slightly. "It is rather a neat picture. I hate to say it, but even if the guards are still looking I doubt they'll be looking as hard. I worry that whoever -did- do it will slip away."

 

Jueann shrugs, "Well, we'll see.  You know I left Ista to get away from politics.  Mainly as I'm very bad at it.  Still bad at it. But I have faith in Liesana.  She's a good one for finding out the truth." Passing over the cup and the sweetener, "Well, I get the forced vacation everyone wants me to take." See she's trying to keep her spirits up.  "At least someone did me a favor, I guess.  I would hate to leave Ista Island , though.  This is my home."

 

Jueann sips her tea for a moment. His humor is appreciated but... sighs, "I'm getting rumors mostly.  Everyone is telling me what they think I want to hear.  Radel stopped by and wanted to pump me for information."  Rolling her eyes, "He's not even a ranking harper.  he had some note from Liesana. I need to talk to her about that.  That is if she's still talking to me." Sighing, as she sips more tea.

 

Andron's eyes narrow, a thoughtful look as his gaze slips past Jueann to a point over her shoulder. "I've heard of Radel a few times, but I don't think I've met him. And I haven't gotten a chance to talk to Liesana either." A wry flatness enters his words as he says, "I imagine she might be a bit busy." His eyes rest on Jueann again as he smiles faintly. "I can think of more pleasant ways to earn a vacation. Is there anything I can do to help you without sacrificing that dear neutrality you mentioned? Sneak in a few more books?"

 

Jueann smiles, setting down her teacup, "Well..... company would be nice but as I said, I have my books. I can't leave my rooms, you know."  Looking at Andron, "A few new books would be nice as well a bottle or two of something.  I'm not a wine expert as some harpers are.  A happy face..." She's rambling but....

 

Jueann smiles gratefully at Andron, "I favor Gar wines, myself. And my teas.  So tell me the news your ways? Yatyl hasn't thrown Mynd out of his rooms yet? And what's this about a new headwoman?  And how are those twins of your's?"

 

Andron laughs quietly, the beginning of what will one day in the future be decided laugh lines shadowing the corners of his eyes. "To take it in backwards order, my intended visit to Gar was cut rather short by this affair, so I haven't seen as much of the girls or heard as much as I'd like. Yatyl's family is out to take over Ista, as this is his older, I think, sister who is headwoman. She's very competent, though, and the two don't even argue -- around me, at least. Mynd I haven't seen a hair of, although Yatyl reports that he is doing well now, although he had been somewhat shaken. As for myself--" He sighs, lifting the tea to drain the cup with a slight smirk. "It's been a busy few -- sevendays."

 

Jueann blinks, ohhh..... Standing she goes for more hot water, "More tea?" Her back is turn so he can't see how cheery his news is for her.  Turning back, "I think all the harpers are shaken up.  Something like this does a lot of harm to a craft."

 

"No thank you," Andron says, picking up his pear again with a slight grin. Sweet tooth? Yup. "True, however you have a lot of very good people at Ista. Liesana will do well holding things together until you can return to your duties. I don't know even a sizable portion of the people in your Hall here, but those I do know have always impressed me."

 

Jueann sighs as she returns to her seat. "Ohh, I don't know. We have some good people here.  I don't know why Poirot came.  I think he heard I was a push over and thought he could just take over.  His style might be good at Fort but here at Ista.... We are like family."

 

Andron's grin turns to a slight smirk. "I've heard that he had said a few less than kind things about the Hold and Hall here, but you're right. Smaller it may be, but it's all to the better if you ask me." He chomps the last possible bite from the fruit decisively, and with it stands. "And on that relatively cheery note, it reminds me I'm expecting a messenger from the mainland. I'll be back in a few days with a book and some wine. Can you find to forgive me for my abrupt, impending exit?" Flowery language, while not of a flirting nature, is still his forte.

 

 Some time later...

Liesana knocks at the door from the Harper Lounge.

 

Liesana has arrived.

 

Jueann is just sitting and staring into space, a cup of cooling tea by her elbow.

 

With a quiet word to the guard still posted outside the door, Liesana is let in to the room, a covered basket with a pair of wine bottles poking out tucked under her arm.  "Jueann?  Are you doing all right?  This is the earliest I was able to get loose to come see you."

 

Jueann blinks, blinks again, coming back to reality.  "huh?  Oh I'm fine.  I'm fine." She winces as she drinks a her cool tea.  "How goes the craft? I got a note from the miner's wanting a posting."

 

Liesana leaves the basket on an end table for later, and takes a seat opposite Jueann.  "The Craft is holding together... it misses you, though.  I think I've managed to get the worst of the gossip and dissent put down, and I encouraged everyone to get themselves out to a dance contest Mimi and Radel had organized.  Morale boosting."  It might be noted that Liesana might have been taking care of the /Craft/, but a look at her would prove she hasn't been doing the same for herself.  "I've asked Reeba to take on your defense, and I've been helping her with it as much as I can, ethically.  I've been in contact with Oriana, and she's called your trial for ten days hence.  This will all be over soon,"  she assures.

 

Jueann sighs and nods, taking in Liesana's appearance.  "Reeba has stopped by. I'm afraid, I haven't been much help." Pushing her cup away, "I must say for being on the opposite side, you are doing your best to see that I get cleared.  I'm impressed with your work.  If you weren't already a master, I would promote you just on your work on this alone."  Knowing that she couldn't get the younger master to quit working herself to death, she doesn't try.  "I wonder if Oriana will stop by and see me? before the Trial?  And who are all she is bringing?"

 

"That's the thing about a frame, Jueann.  They're generally constructed so that the person framed can't clear themselves on their own."  Liesana recounts with a wry twist of her lips.  "And of course I'm doing my best... it's the job of the investigator to find the truth... not just what's convenient.  Even if you weren't my friend, my honor wouldn't let me do anything less...  I just hope my sanity can keep up."  She trails off to let Jueann ask her question, and then pulls a folded hide from inside her vest.  "Now that's quite interesting...  Oriana has decided that this case divides the Harper Craft too deeply, so she's called for your jury to be made up of Masters from the other Crafts."

 

Jueann blinks, "Now that's interesting. She didn't think I'll get a fair trial with just the harpers?" She sits back, "Very interesting, indeed.  I hope the truth does come out.  I don't think whoever did this, thought too far in advance on what this'll do to the craft.  I keep getting the feeling that it was done in planning and haste. I mean anyone can get into my room and take the aconite.  Enough people knew I had the stuff. And the letter opener.  Why hide it?  I mean if I had killed him, I would've taken the thing up here and cleaned it and put it back later after the body has been found.  Why hide the knife?"

 

Liesana interlaces her fingers thoughtfully.  "I must say I don't know MasterHarper Oriana well enough to guess at her motives, but I think that, while that might be her official excuse, in practice she's trying to prevent further rifts in the Craft."  she speculates, before canting her head suddenly.  "That's... a good question."  she replies.  "That's an act of desperation, of panic... it doesn't fit with a meticulous frame-job."

 

Jueann runs her hand through her hair.  "I haven't been able to understand why it would end up in the archives vault.  The only time I go in there is to return scrolls, if I can't find someone to do it for me. And it's my opener, I have the right to take it up here and keep it in my room here, clean and in plain view after all. Just about any small dagger could've been used, so why something that is obviously mine? I didn't do it. I had more legal means at my disposal to get rid of him."

 

"That's what's bothered me about the whole 'frame' theory," admits Liesana.  "There is almost too much evidence for it, and it looks like the murder was executed in haste.  But if we don't say you were framed, then we're back to saying you did it, and I doubt that, even if, during the trial, I'll be forced to try my hardest to argue that you did..."

 

Jueann smiles and shrugs, "Liesana. You have to do your duty and your best.  If it comes against me, I won't hold it against you.  I know I didn't do it and even if the evidence points to me. But the one main argument is this:  I had already ordered him off Ista and back to Fort.  I had sent a note to the weyr for a rider to come and pick him up.  I had ordered Leyte to pack his things.  Yes, I argued with him, I slapped him.  It was my aconite and my letter opener that killed him.  But ..." She pauses, "But.... I as a Craftmaster had ordered him off Ista!  Now why would a craftmaster who had already used legal means to get rid of him, decide like a thief in the night, kill him when all I had to do is wait another day and he would've been gone?"

 

Liesana nods, looking a little relieved at her Crafthead's assurance on that point.  "If the decision of the jury /is/ against you, Andron and I have arranged to shove it through any channels necessary to see to it that you're granted asylum in Ista Hold.  Although with Reeba opposing me in the Court, I hope it won't come to that..."  She trails off, once again tensed.  A slow nod is given to Jueann.  "There is that, and here, in a room with a friend, it's a perfectly good explanation.  But as a prosecutor I'd rip that apart on cross-exam.  I've counseled Reeba to try for quick and dirty acquittal, rather than a sweeping legal victory.  The main flaw in the prosecution's case is that so many other people could have done it, and that's what I'm hoping Reeba can hammer into the jury."

 

Jueann sighs and nods. "Of course, you would rip that apart.  I'm not a law archivist, just a simple history and teaching specialist." She sighs again, changing the subject yet again.  "Have you seen Christatha lately or Quayna?  Both not been by to see me.  I've been wondering if they are regretting I took them on as mentees."

 

Liesana shakes her head slightly.  "I've been trying to find them,"  she says simply.  "Along with your other mentees, but I think they're avoiding me,"  she admits, giving a little shrug.  "Understandable.  I'm hardly the most reassuring person to be told wants to see you.  It never /used/ to be that way..."

 

Jueann snorts and nods, "You know that Poirot wanted to take Christatha with him as his mentee and I refused him?  I wonder..." She sighs and shrugs, "I've been doing a lot of wondering lately.  I should give it up and go to bed?"

 

Liesana's eyes sharpen briefly at that revelation.  "No... I didn't know that... I'll have to look into that situation a little more."  she pronounces, before dropping the analysis in favor of a concerned glance to Jueann.  "You /do/ look a little worn out...  I've left two bottles of a good red wine in that basket, if you need a sleep aid,"  she notes, standing and moving over towards the door again.  "Anything else you need?"

 

Jueann sighs and stretches, "uhh no... I'm fine." She keeps saying that. "I would think you could use some of that yourself." Standing, "if you'll excuse me?  I think I'll turn in?"

 

 

 

 

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