In the Cloudscraper
*****In the Harper Hall Ballroom, Master Poirot runs into the sharp side of Leyte's tongue *****
Poirot looks shocked, but turns towards to the Office. "Is Master Jueann available?"
Leyte eyes the fastidious little Master with a wary eye, and a rumble deep in her chest, but remembers her place long enough to growl. "She'd be in th' Office, like as not... but you dasn't be hasseling her, y'hear!"
Poirot's right eyebrow goes up to his hairline, "A drudge telling a Master what he can or can't do?" He mutters to himself as he heads for the office.
Leyte has long since stopped considering herself just another drudge... The heavyset elderly woman sees herself more as the Hall's equivalent to a watch-wher, and eyes interlopers such as Poirot with suspicion accordingly. She continues to sweep.
****Later in the day, Master Poirot heads for the Cloudscraper Lounge, as he was told Master Jueann was hiding there. *****
Deep blue carpets the floor, cushioning tired soles and muffling
footfalls. Several tables of dark wood, polished to a high gloss, are scattered
across the room, surrounded by an escort of comfortable leather chairs. The
walls are paneled in the same dark wood, occasionally sporting a jewel-toned
tapestry or painting. A long counter stretches along one wall of the room, stone
sides and brass accents gleaming from careful polishing. Glassware hangs
overhead within easy reach, a rack of bottles stands behind. Glass-paned double
doors let the sun in to light the room, reflecting off the gleaming wood and
brass of the furniture before being broken up into thousands of tiny fragments
by the... [look closer]
Poirot intrusively enters the Cloud, his eyes take in the whole room with a sweep, noting all the exits and the contents. A little higher class then the Mug for sure. A slight bow to a passing drudge, "A bit of Benden White, if you please? yes?"
Leaning on the counter and absently rubbing his shirt over one of the brass accents, giving it a bit more of a shine, Andron is talking quietly with an elderly looking drudge woman who seems perfectly capable of bench-pressing the entire Hold. Something he says has her turn to lift a pair of bottles from the racks, which he takes in hand to turn slowly as he reads the worn, smeared label. He lifts his head to glance over at Poirot, trading one of the bottles for a pair of glasses. "Afternoon," he greets as he passes over a glass, a shake of his head going to the drudge Poirot'd tagged. "Unusual seeing people in here so early in the day."
Poirot makes himself comfortable near Andron, "Excuse me, have we met? I am Master Poirot, I was told I could find Master Jueann here. She has this knack of disappearing I find disturbing." Taking the offered glass, and like the expert of fine wines that he is, he checks out color, fragrant and textile as he tastes the Wine. "A bit new to be served, is it not?"
Laurah waddles in, quite pregnant, and not wearing at all what her desc says she is... So there.
Andron's lips curve in a faint smile that only broadens as Poirot continues. "Yes, she does, doesn't she? I'm Andron, the Hold's warder. I was told about you, but this is the first chance I've had to meet you. A pleasure." Steady hands pour a measure of wine into his own glass, and he glances at the label curiously. "Mmm. Not really. This turn's pressing does have a bit of a young flavor to it, though. You aren't the first to comment on it." The two men both stand at the long counter, apparently discussing the wine open between them.
Poirot bows slightly to Laurah, before returning to Andron. "And what have you heard about me? Eh? My reputation precedes me. I'm wounded." He takes Andron's offered hand and bows over it, then releases. "Tell me, has everyone in the Hold heard of me?"
Laurah looks up at the motions, eyeing first the knot on a certain Harpers shoulder, and then the mysterious re-appearing Andron. She has the presence of mind to return the bow, and looks like she's about to head back outta the room... But, no. "Hello..." she says quietly.
"What have I heard of you? Little, other than that you are a Harper and a Master," Andron says absently, turning to flash a smile at Laurah. "Hello, Laurah-dear. You're looking well." The glass is lifted ever so slightly in the direction of the younger woman, before green eyes track back to Poirot. "If you're in a hurry to find Jueann, I can send someone to try and find her for you. What brings you to Ista, anyway?"
Poirot takes his knuckle and brushes his moustache, then with a shrug, "Ohh I'm on a fact finding mission. I'm finding out all kinds of interesting things. Like the Hall has the most wonderful taste in their ladies and that there are more lady apprentices than male." Then with a wave of his head, "No need to bother Jueann. I'm sure I'll catch up with her soon enough. Eh?" Turning to Laurah, "Excuse me? I'm not disturbing you, lovely lady? Eh? I'm harmless." Giving her a winning sort of smile.
Laurah returns the smile weakly... Maybe it has to do with the fact that a certain someone was still one of those apprentices not to long ago? Nah... "No, no sir, you're not disturbing me... I'm sorry, I just came up to check on something, I'll be going now..."
Laurah goes home.
Andron blinks in surprise at Laurah's retreating back, but shrugs it off with a roll of his shoulders. "Fact finding, hmm?" An eyebrow arches as he puts both elbows on the surface of the bar, leaning over to replace the bottle. "The women of the Harper Hall are wonderful, I'll agree. Not only do they have innate wit all Harper's seem to posess--" Here the warder nods to Poirot with a slight smile, compliment dropping easily. "--but they are also lovely as well. I've often wished I could carry a tune, so that I might've joined."
Liesana steps silently in through the double doors from the east hallway.
Poirot smiles and nods to Andron. "Ahhh... yes... they are lovely as well and interesting. I find the younger ones so malleable, so fresh...."
Eyebrow heading further upwards at Poirot's choice of words, Andron laughs agreeably enough as he avoids further comment by lifting the glass of wine to his lips. He takes a slow sip, then finally ventures, "I don't know that I'd say malleable. All the younger ones I know could outstubborn any runner." And then some.
Quiet footsteps on the dense carpeting herald the arrival of one of the Harper women in question. Hardly a malleable one, though. It's Liesana, sharp tongue, quick wits and all. "A good evening to you, Master Poirot," she calls over. "Are you discussing the apprentice girls, or fresh potter's clay?" Helping herself to a drink from the bar, she tips a wink to Andron, and settles herself in a chair near the two men.
Poirot places a hand over his heart, "I'm hurt. First I get insulted by that person that calls herself a drudge and now this...." he bows to Liesana, still clutching his heart. "Truly offended."
Andron makes a vague, sputtering noise that is quickly converted into a cough as he turns his head away, a raised hand hiding the smile Liesana's words provoke. A quick cough later and he raises his head with a grin for Liesana. "And good afternoon to you. In the mood for a white? Benden, of course," he adds, swirling is glass in her direction as his gaze tracks to Poirot. "Not your day, is it?"
"You've read my mind, my dear Lord Warder," is Liesana's breezy comment, arranging herself more comfortably in her chair. "Any of the pressing from two turns past? I heard the climate there had been exceptional that turn for grapes..." she trails off to eye Poirot with a slightly lifted eyebrow. "Somewhat of a thin skin, for a Master Harper, Poirot," she notes simply. "I was merely teasing, as your choice of words rather caught my wicked sense of humor,"
Poirot's eyes twinkle with merriment as he nods to the Master, running a knuckle over his mustache again. "Ahhh yes... What passes as humor here is a bit primitive." Raising his glass of wine, "As I too was teasing but I still wish to file a complaint against that woman you call a Head Drudge. She doesn't know her place."
"Maybe if you ask nicely," Andron says teasingly as he moves his way around the counter, inching behind it to run a finger down the racks until he pauses over a bottle. He turns, pulling it out easily with the movement to set it on the counter with a bit of a flourish and a wink for Liesana as he sets a glass down next to it. "Ah. Her. She's -- formidable. She's been here longer than I've been alive and then some," he says, a faintly amused look turned up at Poirot as he makes his way back to -his- glass. "I suspect she'll be here until the Hold falls into the sea, sometimes."
Poirot sips his wine and shrugs, not convinced. Setting his glass aside for a refill. Looking at the Master, "So tell me Liesana, it is Liesana isn't it? Why is Jueann avoiding me? I've hunted for her and I can't find her? And why are you here? I thought you were posted with the Smiths some ways away?" he spread his hand, "I need these for my reports, you see."
Andron laughs softly at Liesana's words, nodding once in agreement. "As I never think of anything before you do, I'm going to have to agree with Poirot. The humor here is primitive." He falls silent as he lets the Harper's banter, nodding once at a random drudge to go ahead and refill Poirot's glass.
"Oh, now I don't know about that, Andron dear," drawls Liesana with a wicked twinkle in her eyes. "I've heard you think up pick-up lines quite quickly, upon spotting a susceptible woman."
"Shame there's so few susceptible women," Andron drawls cheerfully, shaking his head slightly with an amused curve to his lips. He lifts the glass of wine, emptying it and setting it back on the counter. "Good day, Harpers. I'm sure I'll see both of you around, but until then -- duty calls, away from my wines no less."
Andron slinks past the double doors out of the Cloudscraper.
Poirot leans back, thumbing his mustache, watching Liesana for a moment, "So tell me Liesana, have you figured out why I am here yet?"
"Oh I believe so," replies Liesana, running a finger around the rim of her wineglass to start the crystal singing. "I believe you share the same specialty as myself. And that you're here on a fact-finding mission. I also believe that you're under orders from some of Oriana's subordinates."
Poirot sips his wine as he watch her for a moment with an almost predatory look. This one he'll have to watch out for. "For the most part. And what do you think of your Craft leader? Do you think she is dull-witted as she makes herself out to be?"
Liesana lifts her face and meets Poirot's gaze steadily, large eyes and delicate features belied by the firm set to her jaw and the cool control of her words. "If you're looking to stir up disloyalty against Crafthead Jueann, who, I might note, was appointed by Oriana herself, I believe you'll have to look elsewhere. I have my honor, thank you. But in answer to your question, no. One doesn't make Master in this Craft without some measure of intellect, and Jueann is no exception. Be wary of pushing her too far, Poirot."
Poirot sips his wine, breaking eye contact. It's too soon to plan out his plan and shrugs, "We will see. I understand she was once married to Master Seamus. He reports that she has been in the past unstable. I'm just on a fact-finding mission. No need to get hostile."
Liesana interlaces her fingers over the top of her wineglass. "That arrangement was before my time with the Hall," she admits. "But I was lead to believe that it was not the most amicable parting. Far be it from me to cast aspersions on the observational abilities of a fellow Master Harper, but I would note that matters of the heart can often lead to tangled judgement. I have found her to be a competent and well-liked leader of the Hall here."
Poirot shrugs again, "I have found that affair of the hearts can also affect one's judgment. She is the Craftmaster here and has had no real challenges to her authority? No? She is admittedly an Archivist and more fond of her scrolls and books then in people?" Leaning closer to Liesana, "I would have preferred someone more like you in her place, someone with a bit more fire and spirit in their veins? No?"
Liesana lifts an eyebrow at Poirot, and tenses slightly as he leans in, but decides she'd better find out what he's up to. Schooling her expression to look more like one at home on someone of her years, she blinks. "Me... master Poirot?" she asks, essaying incredulity. "Surely... surely you must be joking."
Poirot chuckles softly, almost a purr as he leans back. Standing, he bows to the young master, "We shall see, shall we? Indeed, this has been a most entertaining evening. Most entertaining. If you'll excuse me? Yes? I must find Jueann. She has some records I must have."
Liesana nods her head, keeping her eyes widened and her expression innocent for as long as the older Master is watching her. "Oh! Yes, don't let me keep you, Master Poirot... and if there's anything I can do to help..." she trails off, before turning her face away from him and picking up her wine, her expression, now unseen, switching to a quietly hard anger. Oh, we shall see indeed...
Poirot bows to the young master as he heads out.
*** Disconnected ***
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