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... [look
Kirsyn walks in.
Niara watches the errant pet flitter around the room with a bemused expression, gnawing on her lip and ducking as it flies back to his owner. Spying Kirsyn's crossing, Niara waves politely, wondering who the boy-crazed apprentice had her sights on now.
Laidony eyes the firelizard and nods, turning back to the mural. "Yep, they're pretty. A lot of stuff here is." Then she turns to look at who Niara's waving at and waves to her as well. "Hello!" She's sitting cross-legged on a stone bench at the moment.
Kirsyn plays dutiful little apprentice. Her sights are not on
anyone, Niara, dear. They are on the lovely wall. And the lovely
ballroom. And even the lovely errant flitters. Kirsyn also dutifully
returns both waves -- on to Laidony, the other to Niara. Of course, as
soon as she's quite sure no one's looking, a leer's given towards a
passing journeyman. But he doesn't seem to catch her meaning. Pft.
Niara saw the leer, her lips tightening in disapproval for a moment before she shakes her head and relaxes. She's the last one to talk...
Laidony doesn't catch the passing journeyman, but tries to stimulate conversation with the two apprentices. "So you're both apprentices here?" Without waiting for a reply, but not intentionally rude either, she asks, "Do you like it a lot?"
Kirsyn's hit counter for the day is, unfortunately, about zero. So excuse her if she's in a slightly sullen mood. Niara and Laidony seem viable sources of non-moodiness, and a way to keep her mind off her unlucky day, so she slips over. "Hello." It's a slightly lackluster trill, but it is Kirsyn's attempt at one. "Yes. And yes," is noted somewhat briskly to Laidony, at her comment.
Niara glances out of the corner of her eye as Kirsyn approaches, noting the lack of...twinkle? in her tone, though she refrains from comment. "Yes. I couldn't imagine doing anything else," is her response to Laidony, her eyes going soft as she remembers the forever it took to get to this point.
Laidony smiles at both the girls' affirmations. "Good. I'd really like to do it too. I was raised at the Hall in Fort. I've always wanted to." Happiness at the thought of her future is obvious in her tone. "How are the masters and people here?"
Kirsyn gets the misty-eyed look, as well. "I remember when I was just starting out...And now I'm a senior apprentice," is added in Laidony's direction, before Kirsy's head swivels about to face Niara. "It's sort of chilling, isn't it, to think I'll be a journeyman someday? Hopefully, that is." That statement could be misunderstood, of course, but let's hope it's not. Her frown deepens, though, as Laidony mentions something. "That Master Poirot is odd."
Niara blanches and gets glassy-eyed at the mention of the new master, a grimace breaking across her face as she nods slowly, not wanting to meet either girls' eyes. "Did...did he interview you?" she squeaks.
Laidony 's brow furrows. "No, what's wrong with him?" She looks at Niara with concern, then glances to Kirsyn. "He's one of the really mean types?" she guesses. "Or what? What's he do?"
Kirsyn shuddertwitches. "Yes, he did. Luckily, though, it seemed to be shorter than some of the ones described to me by other apprentices." Of course, those were the apprentices prone to exaggeration and drama. Cough. "Some...very inappropriate questions," is added. To the room, in general.
Niara twitches herself, looking down at her shoes and keeping silent, though the tension in her body is undeniable. The hands clasped behind her back are bloodless-white, with little indentations where her fingers curl. She glances away from the pair and tries to clear away the lump in her throat, the sound harsh and grating.
Laidony pauses. "Oh," she frowns, not requiring further explanation. "Doesn't anyone...report him or anything?" She glances around the room, as though she'd be able to pick him out having never seen him before. She opens her mouth to say something else but a concerned look at Niara and she stops.
Kirsyn shakes her head at Laidony. "He's a master. Who would you tell, after all? And it wasn't even...that bad." I mean, it's not like the old man touched her, or anything. It can be excusable, then. Even if it's not so excusable. Even Kirsyn gets slightly nervous when people ask her things like that.
Laidony has disconnected.
Niara scowls, her eyebrows connecting in the middle. Without looking up, she spits out bitterly "Well, maybe not iff'n you're used ta that kind of thing, Kirs" Eyes go wide, and hands fly up to cover her mouth as she realizes she spoke that out loud.
Kirsyn jawdrops. "Nee-ah-ra! Where did that come from." Sniffing, Kirsyn swivels about, deciding that talking to Niara will be taboo for the day. "I'm going to complain to Liesana about you." With that, Kirsyn's gathering up her skirts. See? She can tattletale, when she wants to.
Niara stamps her foot, angry tears gathering in her eyes. "Go
'head...I'm prolly gonna get kicked out anyways." She holds back a sniffle
and storms after Kirsyn, not sure whether to defend herself or not.
Liesana is calmly at work in the Vault, a stack of books beside her at a a desk, and a glowlamp casting added illumination. Ensconced in matters of Law, the young Master is unaware of any drama heading her way.
Kirsyn storms in. "Liesana, Niara made slanderous comments about me." Cough. Maybe someone should inform Kirsyn that being a tattletale, generally, is something only small children are prone to do? Arms are crossed in general disapproval of the whole affair, and occasionally a sniff is shot back towards Niara.
Niara sniffs. Maybe someone should inform Kirsyn that slander has to be untrue. Following the flouncing Kirsyn in, the look of defiance fixated on her at odds with her sniffling. She holds herself still and tight, her spine ramrod straight, her hands curled in white-knuckle balls at her side. There is more to the tension in her body than a sisterly-spat can account for, but she refrains from saying anything in her defense, as that would only require explanations.
Liesana's pondering of a lovely and heretical possible interpretation of a ruling is suddenly shattered by the arrival of a mentee and a daughter. Sigh. "Is there no peace..." she mutters to herself, before turning and taking in the scene. Her eyes widen slightly as she looks at Niara, taking in the fact that All is Not Well. "Well..." she begins. "First of all, sit down you two. Second, tell me what's going on. Kirsyn first, Niara rebutting afterwards."
Kirsyn begins. "We were talking about Master Poirot's 'interviews,' and I stated that while it was embarrassing, it wasn't the worst possible thing, because it's not like we had to touch him or anything. Asking about prior 'experience' is slightly disturbing, though. And she said -" cue the finger-pointing, "- 'Well, maybe not iff'n you're used ta that kind of thing, Kirs.' Like it happened to me every day, or something." Outrage colors that tone. It seems a black and white issue, to her.
Niara blows a large breath of air out through her nose as she flinches, her eyes flitting around the room as if searching for something...or someone. Refusing to meet her mother's gaze, she instead scowls at Kirsyn's back, silently cursing her for dragging them before Liesana. What? Hadn't Poirot pointed out to her how much trouble he could make for an apprentice if he chose to?
"Oh." intones Liesana, something dangerous sparking in her eyes at the mention of the other Master's name, although tone and carriage remain as poised as ever. "Poirot's interviews, hmm...? I've been hearing things about Master Poirot's interviews... I wonder." she notes, patting two seats to either side of her. "Would you be willing to each give me a report of yours?" Liesana knows something's not right, and Liesana's not very happy with Poirot for other reasons, too.
Kirsyn shrugs, still glaring at Niara. One can see where her attention is. "He just cornered me, and asked me how much 'experience' I had, is all, really." A dismissive wave's given, although, of course, it probably upset her a bit more than she's letting on (or thinking about) at the moment. "Anyway. Make Niara apologize."
Kirsyn has disconnected.
Niara crosses the space to obediently sit, pulling the chair out and sliding into it without looking at her fostermum. Somehow she knows that Liesana would be able to see right through into her mind if she does. A roll of her eyes is all the response she deign gives Kirsyn, not understanding why she'd be so upset. Kirsyn's...ahem...exploits prior to joining the hall were legendary, and Kirsyn had never seemed to mind before...
Liesana shakes her head as Kirsyn stalks out suddenly. "I'll talk to her later." she notes with a little sigh, and a look like she's got a headache, before she turns in her seat to cant her head at Niara. "Nia... pet... what happened when you went to see him?" she asks, the smoulder in her eyes about Poirot damped down by concern for her daughter's well being.
Niara's gaze flickers up for a second before she tries to casually shrug, her hands reaching out for a random bit of hide to fiddle with. "Nothing...he...just...asked some question. Like how I liked the hall... and the dorms..." her voice trails off and and she looks down the table away from Liesana, her chest caving in as she hunches her shoulders forward protectively, her face miserable.
Liesana moves from her seat to wrap an arm around Niara's shoulders, not letting her withdraw. "Questions like that," she notes, very softly indeed. "aren't enough to make you this upset, pet... If he did anything to upset you, you can tell me. Don't worry about getting into trouble. I have more sway here in Ista than he ever will..."
Niara blinks, turning in her seat slightly to tilt her head toward her fostermum, the surprise in her face giving her away. "But he said he was gonna be Crafthead someday..." she says hesitantly, a spark of hope flaring in her eyes. "He asked me about you and what you had taught me and what you thought about things, what it was like living with you...and he looked at me...like..." her voice trails off, a grimace curling her mouth as she searched for words to put to the situation. "Like he was waiting or thinking or hungry or something."
Liesana lifts an eyebrow, the fire returning to her gaze, sparking and smoldering like a delayed-timer fuse. "Oh really? He said that, eh? Well, love, it'll be a blizzard in Igen before he's head of any Crafthall I'm a member of... I'll see to that. So he was... making you uncomfortable, then? I'll have to have a little talk with him, I think..."
Niara eyes her mum's expression warily, weighing whether to continue with the report of the interview or not... Ah, well...In for an inch, in for a mile. "Mummy? He wouldn't be able to kick me out, would he? He said I was a nice girl. That I should keep on being a nice girl 'cause he'd be able to help nice girls..." She sighs and leans into the arm Liesana has wrapped around her shoulders, drawing strength from them before continuing. "Then he kinda shook his head and said something about not being able to let troublemakers stay in the Craft." She blinks wide eyes desperate for encouragement. Liesana had never lied to her yet...
Liesana shakes her head firmly, expression hard even as she gives a reassuring hug. "If anyone gets kicked out of the Craft," she notes ominously. "I'll see that it's him. You haven't done anything wrong, pet. Poirot is over the line... and you're not the only female Harper he's been troubling. I think," she notes, with the hint of a feral light coming to color the flames in her amber gaze "That Master Poirot hasn't realized just what we've got going, down in Ista. And that he's been pushing his limits far enough. He was... trying to manipulate you, Nia. That's all."
Niara nods and looks down, though this time she wasn't fighting herself to tell. Leaning, or rather sagging, into Liesana's arm for a moment, she closes her eyes and allows the relief to wash over. With a deep breath and a mental shake, she pulls herself together and looks up, a dangerous gleam in her eye. "Mum...are you going to geld him?" she queries, a wicked smile playing about her lips.
Liesana snuggles Niara up against her reassuringly, keeping her face firmly out of her foster-daughter's line of sight as she comments that "No... Regretfully, I can't. He'll not be doing this sort of thing ever again, though. I promise you that. Just as soon as I've got enough evidence..."
© 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!