About the Craft

 

A Harper's Life

 

Events in the Harperhall

 

Meet the Harpers

 

In the Vaults

Poirot's Arrival in Ista

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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 class or simply passing through... [look closer] 
Watching from a bit of artistically carved lintel are six firelizards.
You see
Leyte here.
Poirot is here.
Obvious exits:
Artist's Workshop, Archive Vault, Harper Office, Harper Classroom, Shainman Rehearsal Hall, Great Hall, Instrument Workshop, Curving Stairways

 

You see Poirot glance your way.

 

Jueann comes out of the harper office and stops, "Hello, can I help you?"

 

Poirot

A small and fastidious man, neatly attired, and perfectly coifed. He has actually trimmed his impressive black mustache. Even his tirelessly manicured fingernails show what might easily be viewed as an unnatural attention to detail. His movements are almost dainty, and his diction is flawless, but still under it all his voice carries a quiet authority.
He wears a carefully pressed floor length blue robe and sandals. About his waist is a simple belt.
Poirot wears the knot of a Harper Master.
He is an elderly adult of about 53. He is awake and looks alert.

 

Jueann

Jueann's gentle nature hides her true age. She seems timeless with her brown hair with streaks of grey. When asked about her true age, she'll smile and say, "A lady should have some secrets."
Her brown doe-shaped eyes glows darkly of love and warmth. Wisps of escaping curly strands of hair halo her face as the rest of her long hair is pulled into a single fat braid. A pair of lenses perch on her dainty nose. Around her her neck and rest over her heart, a gold chain peeks out.
Jueann is wearing a clean white short-sleeved tunic that is slightly unlaced in the front. A dark wide tightly-laced leather girtle the rest comfortably under her well-endowed bosum down to her slim waist, protecting her blouse. Her navy blue skirt shows past ink-stains, but try as she mihgt, she just can't keep it clean. On her girtle, a big leather brown pouch keeps her archives supplies and anything else she needs for the day. her tunic from most of the ink stains. Braided into her Harper Master's knot are the colors of Ista Hold.

Poirot bows deeply and then replies in carefully modulated tones, "Ah, no thank you so much. I am simply roaming the Hall and sorting through some points I came across in the archives this morning."

 

Jueann notes the master knot of a Fort harper. "Hmm... You must be Master Poirot that we were expecting?" She looks nervously at the fastidious man.

 

Poirot pats his forehead with his fingertips, "Ah me! Of course! I beg your pardon! As soon as I arrived and was settled into my room, I found the archives and became so engrossed in them that I forgot my duties in making myself known. Please do forgive me. I am Master Poirot of Fort as you have surmised." He bows once again.

 

Jueann nods, "I am Master Jueann, in charge of the Hall here at Ista. Are you settled in alright?"

 

Poirot says, "Most wonderfully. Istan hospitality is everything I had always heard it would be, thank you so much, Master Jueann. It is all most impressive!"

 

Jueann smiles and nods, "Why thank you. How is Master Oriana? Is she doing better? Would you like to come into the office or the Mug for something to drink?"

 

Poirot nods vigorously (and not one single hair moves from its appointed place in the process). "Master Oriana is inundated with the affairs of the craft, naturally, and sometimes takes perhaps too much upon herself, but it is the way with so many leaders, no? Yes yes! A drink would wash away the dust of the archives in a most welcome manner, thank you again!

 

Jueann nods, "The Mug then?" waves a hand to the archway to the main part of Ista and where the tavern is. "I'm afraid, it's the only tavern we have, unless you want to travel to Gar and use theres?" Oh dear she's babbling, not a good sign.

 

Poirot says, "Oh but I am sure the Harper's have settled nearest the best wine in the vicinity, is it not so? Do please lead on, master Jueann! I follow close upon!"

 

Jueann nods and leads the way, hoping he likes the current favor vintages they serve.

 

Jueann goes to the Great Hall.

Poirot walks in from the Main Hall and Ballroom.

Jueann opens a door labelled The Flying Mug and pass through.

 

The Flying Mug

A few shades too bright for the lighting to ever be called quite dim, the interior of the Flying Mug reveals upon closer inspection the marks of a much-frequented bar. Although the tables all match and the chairs are of a set, one or seven chairs have a wobbly leg, a few tabletops have big gashes across them, and each surface has an intricate pattern of turn-old mug rings. A well stocked, well polished and well maintained bar stretches across the expanse of the wall, facing the series of shuttered windows looking out on the courtyard. The bar stools are better maintained than the chairs, with low backs. And they spin, too! An intricate 'mural' covers the ceiling and there's a 'note' on the wall.
High in the rafters are thirty-three firelizards.
You see Bartender Lem here.
Obvious exits:
Dining Hall, Great Hall

 

 

Jueann stands in the rather rambunctious Flying Mug.
Poirot walks in from the great hall.
Mamo walks in from the great hall.

 

Jueann looks around and finds a nice table, and heads for it. "Lord Warder Andron keeps a nice stock. He was the head bartender before Lady Charis promoted him." She waves to the master to have a seat as she pulls out a chair for herself.

 

Poirot looks all around the Mug from the entrance, his quick eyes catalogging each detail. Through his beaming smile, he addressly Jueann in a voice clearly capable of being heard throughout the room, "Ah, this is a most genial tavern indeed! I cannot wait to sample their wares. What do you recommend, Master Jueann?" He quickly dusts off the seat beside Jueann and sits down, his face still fixed in a smile.

 

Jueann slips into a chair, leaning her elbows on the table, "Ohhh Gar cider, of course. Holder Natch sends the best in her tithe to Ista. We are quite proud of it."

 

Mamo looks around the room. Seeing Jueann and Poirot he slowly walks towards the table. "I just stoped by pay my respects to the new master harper."

 

Poirot says, "A touch of Gar cider then!" He turns to observe Mamo before replying ...

 

Jueann nods to Lem, "Two glasses of Gar cider, please Lem." nodding to Mamo, "Master Poirot, this is Mamo, he's been away doing research studies and has just returned to us."

 

Without standing, Master Poirot bows slightly to Mamo and responds with the very same smile he has had since he arrived. "Thank you, young apprentice. I am Master Poirot. What do they call you when you are not in trouble, eh?" His tone is good natured and jovial.

 

Mamo grins and holds out his hand. "Nice to meet you sir."

 

Poirot pauses for just an instant to look at Mamo's hand before taking it gingerly in a quick grasp. "Well met, well met! I'd wager you get your share of the chores involving the most lifting, would that not be so, eh?"

 

Lem comes over with two glasses of cider and sets them down on the table and leaves. Master Jueann picks her glass up and looks at it for a moment before sipping as she listens to Mamo and the master converse.

 

Sandie walks in from the great hall.

 

Mamo quickly nods his head. "Yes sir I due try."

 

Poirot says, "Of that I have no doubts! What studies do you pursue then so diligently, Apprentice Mamo? I am always fascinated to hear from those who are beginning the long journey." He takes the glass of cider and absently wipes the rim of the glass with a napkin before taking a sip. "And where were you studying, eh?"

 

Mamo says, "I like helping people understand each other. Thru song or words it dosn't matter to me." He pause to think about how to explain.

 

Poirot ever so carefully blots at the trace of cider on his mustache with his napkin as he listens to mamo's reply.

 

Jueann hmms softly as she sips her cider, as she listens. Very glad the attention is off her for the moment.

 

Mamo says, "I think that helping people is the greatest thing someone can do." "Teaching a child and watching his mind expand as he comes to understand about our wonderful world."

 

Mamo says, "Or when I can help to people who are fighting see that there is more then one side to a story."

 

Poirot becomes quite animated at this. "Yes yes! I understand completely! The process of teaching and learning! It is the most exciting thing, is it not? The persons, always study the persons. They are an endless source of information, is it not so? And where have you been so recently as you were studying the persons, Apreentice Mamo?"

 

Mamo says, "says, "Home sir, I just came back." His face"

 

Jueann watches and frowns slightly with this interest of the young apprentice but says nothing as she sips her cider, thinking deep thoughts.

 

Hynolonie walks in from the great hall.

 

Poirot peers closely at Mamo, "I see you have come by boat and indeed, your home is not far from Fort Hold if I am not very much mistaken! I hope you were not affected by the sea sickness as some are?"

 

Mamo says, "Just a little sir. It was the sea or the dinner my mom stuffed me with before I left sir."

 

Poirot laughs gently with Mamo's admission, "Well, even the worst cook adds love to the meal when she cooks for her children, eh? I am sure it was the sea! But now that your feet are firmly back on the ground all will be well!"

 

Hynolonie wanders in, sleepy and dragging her feet, managing to wander over to a table and drop the rather large scroll she's carrying. She wrinkles her nose and sneezes at the dust that flies off the scroll and groans a little a she tries to flick some of that dust off of herself. She looks at the glows in the room, inwardly reguards them as much brighter then waves Lem over for some klah.

 

Poirot sips carefully again from his glass of cider, holding his mustache out of the way as he sips.

 

Sandie enters in the cavern, darting eyes to just who is in and who is where, before slipping towards the bar giving the bartender her order. That task completed, the apprentice turns to decide just where she should sit.

 

Jueann nods to the new apprentices, "Come and meet the new Master from Fort. Master Poirot, this is Sandie and Hynolonie."

 

Poirot turns his never-failing smile now to the two new arrivals, "Sandie and Hynolonie? It is a great pleasure to make your acquaintence, but I am hardly a new master! I am a fairly old master, I should say, heh?" He chuckles softly.

 

Mamo moves out of infront of the table. He then walks over to the bar and asks for a mug of cider.

 

Hynolonie blinks over at Jueann and tries to blink her eyes open enough to make her face out. She sounds like Master Jueann, but the girl was so used to looking at text right now, it seems that the woman's facial features were just words to her. She grins and leaves the scroll merrily behind as she walks up to Jueann and Poirot and courtsies. She comes back up from her courtsey with a bright smile and nods. "Ahh.. Yes.. it is a pleasure. Well met. What brings you to Ista?" She's ever the inquisitive one.

 

Poirot taps the side of his nose although his words don't really seem connected to the odd gesture, "I am seeking knowledge as are we all, all good Harpers, no? I am comparing the archives here with those at Fort. But now let ask you, young Hynolonie, do you not wear usually the knot of your craft? Although surely the scroll dust marks you as a harper just as clearly, no?" He laughs softly, still smiling.

 

Sandie takes the drink the bartender slides to her, and curiosity piqued (as well as her name having been mentioned) she moves over to examine this 'new' Master Poirot. "I'm Sandie," she says, for clarification. "It's nice to meet you." Most of what she would've said Hynolonie says, so she leaves that at that for a moment or so, before asking Poirot a question of her own. "Um, sir. Master. What do you major in, if I might ask?"

 

Jueann hmms softly, "Would you like more cider, Poirot? Are you enjoying it?"

 

Poirot continues to smile as he indicates his glass, still nearly full, "No no, I am enjoying the delicate bouquet. No need to rush it."

 

Mamo taking his mug of cider. He walks over to sit at a table near but not next to where the two masters are siting. He plans on finshing his reading his scroll that is due later that week and see if he can find out about this new harper master.

 

Poirot replies to Sandie, "The endless fascination of the writing of those who have gone before holds me in its sway. I breath the dust of the archives and it smells like the fresh flowers in the field just before dawn on a cool spring morning."

 

Hynolonie raises an eyebrow and eyes her shoulder, furrowing her brow a bit. "where I grew up, knots were only for formal occasions, not necessarily for everday usage. It was a very informal environment." She smiles a little and looks him over. "That's very estute of you, Master Poirot. Do you make it a habit to watch people or are you just strict with apprentices underneath you?" Her tone is far from critical. it actually dances with curiosity and amusement. She grins merrily at him for a moment, that single eyebrow still raised as she repeats a single word. "Archives?"

 

Sandie repeats Hynolonie's ending word, herself, but with a tone of disgust of sorts. "Archives." Ponder. "No, they kick my allergies. I hate archive duty. Nice to meet you, none the less. I'm a dancer." Sandie gives Poirot a smile. "I've always wanted to dance. I'm so glad I can finally be doing it in the Harper Hall..."

 

Poirot says, "Ahh! So you often do without the knot? I see, I see. Things are different of course at Fort, but who is to say what is right and what is wrong. As for me, I hope there are no apprentices 'under' me!" He pauses to peek comically under the table. "I should trip over them and make such a mess!"

 

Jueann smiles, "We're pretty informal around here, as you will find Master. We aren't as large as Fort, but just about and we have all kinds of apprentices with different kinds of study."

 

Poirot responds to Sandie with, "The dance! Marvelous! You learn to use the movements of the human form as the writer uses the words." He smiles at Jueann, "Indeed, I understand why you would not do all as it might be done by Master Oriana at Fort. It is quite understandable! I shall not say another word about it."

 

Hynolonie continues to smile, looking to Jueann for a moment then back to Master Poirot. She was just a little relieved that Jueann backed her up a bit. She didn't want to find out from a visiting master that she is doing things wrong. Lonie watches Sandie for a moment as the conversation drifts over to her for the time being, letting her dusty almost frumpy appearance drift out of the spot light for a moment. Things are better that way. "I shall endeavour to stay out from under foot when I see you then." Her comment is more of a whisper before falling silent again.

 

Sandie is flattered, really. "Such a compliment," she says, only slightly blushing. "I'm not sure how good I am. You'd have to check up with the masters. I'm certain I don't compare to some of the others.. but I try." She pauses for a moment. "I want to become the best, though. The best dancer on Pern." A her sudden spark of ambition, she takes a turn to mellow down some. "Excuse the outburst. I doubt I could ever be the best; I just set high standards for myself."

 

Jueann watches as the Fort master charms the apprentices. Looks like she'll have to instruct the journeywomen to take the girls aside and warn them about new faces and charmers.

 

Poirot sips daintily from his glass of cider before continuing, "Indeed! We must all aim for the highest standards, as I'm sure Master Jueann would agree. It is how we achieve more and better with each generation. Now I shall have to apply myself to elarning the ranks of the Harpers here at Ista so I do not mistakenly address a Journeyman as 'apprentice'. After Turns of relying on the knots to tell me, I have become, what?, lazy perhaps!"

 

Hynolonie smiles a bit and courtsies a bit. "If you prefer, until you are used to things, I can wear my knot so you do not mistake me for a fosterling?" She smiles, eyes still somewhat locked on Poirot. She looks over at Jueann and ponders for a moment. Was this the master that she had mentioned last time they talked? She turns her eyes to Poirot again, studying him with a smile on her face so that hopefully he won't mind too much. She's got to make a full report to Liesana when she gets back to the hall.

 

Mamo drinks his cider in one quick glup. Standing up and pulling his vest stright and walks over to the harpers. He stands behind and to the right of the two ladies. "Excuse me, I am going back to the bar could I get anyone anything?" Turning to ladies "I don't belive I have had the pleasure of you company before my name is Mamo."

 

Poirot chuckles, "A fosterling? Never. A master or journeyman surely!" He turns to Mamo, "Permit me! Apprentice Mamo, these are Apprentices Hynolonie and dancing Sandie. Ladies, this is Apprentice Mamo, recently returned from a trip to Fort."

 

Jueann chews on her bottom lip, watching this master as a fire lizard watching a tunnel snake, ready to pounce. but who's the tunnel snake and who's the fire lizard?

Synte walks in from the great hall.

 

Hynolonie turns and smiles to Mamo, courtsying again. "Well met, Mamo." SHe smiles before looking back to Poirot, mouth opening to deny the compliment but pauses as the stablemaster enters. The words leave her mouth and she presses her lips shut. There. If she wasn't speaking, she couldn't put her foot in her mouth in front of Synte again.

 

Sandie turns to face Mamo, and then is thus introduced by Poirot. "Yes, I'm Sandie," she says, brushing away a lock to better catch a glimpse of Mamo. She offers him her mug. "Could you get this refilled for me, please?"

 

Mamo he puts the mug down on the table and bows to both of them. "Nice to meet you!" "Can I get anyone anything?" "I was just about to go and get something to eat."

 

Mamo takes both his and Sandie's mug and starts walking to the bar slowly.

 

Poirot says, "Nothing more for me, thank you, Apprentice Mamo. This cider has perfectly hit the spot for me. I should return to the archives soon, but perhaps after I have returned to my quarters first to refresh myself after a long first day here at Ista." He stands and carefuly pushes his chair in. "Master Jueann, by your leave." He smiles as always and nods a quick bow."

 

Jueann nods to the Master and smiles, "I too must be getting back. I have reports to finish." She stands too.

 

Tall, dark, lethally handsome -- and brooding. The perfect form of the darkest anti-hero, the thing that goes bump in the night -- the villanious sort that makes the rest of his ex-Hold look like perfect angels... That would be Synte. Indeed, the tall, cloaked figure walks with a halting limp, yet it does not infer weakness: nay, he bears the jilted stride with a graceful lethality that defies all that nature says. "Lem, if you don't have lemonfruit cordial, I will be forced to pick up a dagger and show.." Lem's quick to reach under the bar, where he keeps all that nice lemonfruit cordial -- just for when the stablemaster gets into one of his moods. Mismatched green gaze, smoldering with internal emotion, shift over the bar in a perfunctory fashion - lingering on Hynolonie's form with a sharper look.

 

Mamo says, "Have a good evening Master Poirot and Master Jueann.""

 

Poirot says, "Ah yes, I commiserate. It seems there are always the reports, no? However, I bid you all a very pleasant good evening."

 

 

 

 

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