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A Harper's Life


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

Poirot is fussing with a bit of lint on his sleeve as he descends from the stairs, looking pleased and yet bored as he adjusts his collar.


Liesana, on the other hand, looks anything but pleased. The young master is wearing an expression of firm control, but the look in her eyes does not bode at all well for the target of her gaze. Which happens to be the descending Poirot. From her spot in the exact center of the ballroom, she calls upwards with a brittle tone "A word with you, Master Poirot."


Poirot's mind is on the fair-haired blonde he just left, when he is hailed by the young master, "Ahhhh... Master Liesana, a pleasant day, isn't it?" He gives her a bright winning smile.


"Skip the pleasantries, Poirot." replies Liesana, one hand on her hip, and the other holding a heavy roll of report hides. "I know what you've been up to, with those apprentice girls. And you're not going to be getting away with it any further."


>From the balcony above, Ylisa walks down the curving staircase to the ballroom below.

Ylisa walks down the curving staircase from the balcony hallway.


Poirot's smile fades but a little, as he gives a slight bow to Liesana, hearing footsteps behind him, turns to see not the lovely apprentice that he spent the afternoon with but Ylisa. Disappointed, he turns back to Liesana, "What am I doing, pray tell? I'm only asking them questions and getting their opinions on this craft. Nothing more."


Ylisa descends the stairs, apparently deep in thought. She's clutching a small roll of hide in one hand, and glances at it as she reaches the foot of the staircase. The sight of two masters in conversation registers only enough for her to murmur a polite greeting as she approaches them. "Good day, Liesana, Master Poirot..." She wanders past, oblivious to what they're saying, and heads towards one of the benches.


Liesana's gaze is steady at she regards the older master, "Oh, don't give me that..." she murmurs, before raising the sheaf of hides. "I have here written and signed depositions from several female apprentices and Journeywoman Reeba that your questions veered far away from inquiries about the Craft, and ventured into the realms of their personal and love lives. As someone in a position of power, such behavior is unacceptable. I've sent copies of these reports on to Master Jueann, to do with them as she sees fit."


>From the balcony above, Niara slips softly in from the Dormitory Lounge.

Niara slips softly down the curving staircase from the balcony hallway.


Poirot dusts an imaginary bit of lint off his jacket, then looks at Ylisa and Niara, before slowly returning to Liesana, "I see. And how did you manage to get the girls to write such lies about me? I'm only a simple master on a fact finding mission. I get my authority from Master Oriana herself." he shrugs, "Come now, be reasonable."


Ylisa unrolls her hide and delves rapidly into her belt pouch for something to write with. She makes what looks like an urgent note on the bottom of the document, which seems to consist of a number of such notes, half of them crossed out. Then she surveys what has been written there, her expression one of relief now that whatever-it-was is safely recorded.


"Lies, Poirot?" inquires Liesana in a smooth drawl, bearing slipping into the stance usually scene when she's in the middle of a court of law. "How quickly you pass them off as such. And your reaction... an innocent man would hardly take such a serious accusation so calmly. Besides... I didn't go to the girls, they came to me. Separately. One story I can disregard. Two I grow suspicious about. Five separate stories is entirely more than coincidental, wouldn't you agree? But I've got copies of the reports to send on to Oriana, if you wish... I'm sure she'd be fascinated to know what you've been up to."


Poirot shrugs again, straightening his cuff. "Ohh I'm sure she would, if she believes them. Of course, you would be over-stepping your authority if you don't get Jueann's endorsement and that poor master can barely keep the days of the week separate let alone know how to run this craft."


A familiar tone of voice - Liesana's voice - penetrates Ylisa's concentration, and she looks up in time to catch Poirot's remark. Briefly, she stares, then frowns. With some embarrassment, she quickly starts to clean her pen and tuck her writing things back in her belt pouch, then glares at the still drying ink on the hide.


Liesana snorts softly, and gives Poirot a little nod, but hardly of defeat. More like that of a fencer readying for a match. "Perhaps I would," she agrees, ever so softly. "But surely in your snooping, you've learned my nickname. My authority and its' limits mean little to me when it comes to protecting the acolytes of my Craft against those who would use their power against them. And besides... I've left copies of my reports with Jueann. I'll be glad to let her dispose of you." This last sentence is given with the tone one might use to discuss removing tunnelsnake remains.


Niara gingerly feels her way down the final step of the stairway, her face hidden by the stack of hides and ledgers she carries. A familiar tone catches at her ear and she nearly calls out, refraining as the tone forms itself into words. "Lies is at it again..." she murmurs softly to herself, slowly pivoting so she can see who is the recipient of Liesana's displeasure. She gasps and throws herself at a bench sequestered in the shadows as Poirot's form comes into view.


Poirot turns to Ylisa and frowns slightly. Does he lose his calm? Does he look like he's going to sweat? "Dispose of me? Dear Lady... No one disposes of Poirot. I've got more seniority then anyone one here. Master Jueann, for all she's a Craftmaster, doesn't have the rank to tell me what I can or can not do. Dispose of me? Not bloody likely."


Ylisa blows impatiently on drying ink, glaring at the hide with an expression not unlike that which Liesana is directing at Poirot. Movement catches her eye, and she turns to see Niara arriving at a nearby bench. She gives the younger girl a look that conveys a warning, then indicates the two Masters with a sideways glance and a wry expression.


Liesana doesn't seem terribly moved by the trumpeting from Poirot. In fact, the slim woman only looks that much more dead level as his reply goes on. And on. "You bluster." she notes calmly, the fencer now En Garde. "You feel the need to trot out claims to authority which fail to impress me in the least. You." she notes serenely. "Are feeling cornered. No innocent man would be acting as you do. And your rank means less than a tunnelsnake's stones to me. Poirot." she half-snarls the last word, a flicker of Keroonian raising coming out to play.


Niara eyes the scene wide-eyed, nodding back as Ylisa's warning registers. Rare had she seen Liesana angry, and never quite like this. She shuffles to the corner of her bench, turning sideways and pulling her feet up to peer at the combatants over her knees.


Poirot isn't a violent person as he prefers intimidation over physical contract. "Dear Lady. To get angry over something that isn't your concern is hardly fitting for a person of your rank and you do a disservice to Harpers. How you ever got to be the rank of master, shows me how little the harpers here handle tradition and the age old try and true methods."


"I'm no lady, Poirot. Don't condescend, please. It doesn't suit you." replies Liesana shortly, tone back to dead-level after that minor outburst. "And I fail to see what part of this isn't my concern. A Master's duty is to her Craft, and if the apprentices of that Craft are being intimidated by one in a position of power and I Do Nothing, then I've failed, not just in my duty, but in my basic humanity."


Ylisa rolls her small hide into a tight cylinder, annoyance showing in her rapid movements. She thrusts the roll into her pouch and fastens the strap, then turns on the bench as if to get up and leave, but then she hesitates. Eyes trace the path to where she was going - which takes her straight past Poirot and Liesana. Her glance drifts round the Ballroom, looking for other possibilities.


Niara snickers. She can't help herself. Liesana was a woman, a mother, a Master...many things, but not a lady. At least not in the 'popular' sense of the word. She wraps her arms around her knees and continues to watch the scene with vicious delight. Lies might not be gelding him, but... She flutters her hand at Ylisa, indicating that there might be a path near her.


Poirot frowns slightly. All thoughts of that lovely vision he just left vanishes as he's confronted with this bit of nastiness. "Very You aren't a Lady and you aren't dear.... You are also being very annoying. I have nothing to warrant this attack. If you must know all those girls didn't seem to mind my probing questions and I'm sure Master Oriana will find my reports most enlightening and recall the Masters here and leave me in charge to bring this craft back into order."


"So you admit to those questions, then!" Liesana pounces, taking advantage of a little theatrics and the presence of witnesses. "After first denying them and slandering the names of apprentices. I'm sure Master Oriana will be thrilled to hear that report... although somehow I doubt you'll include it..." she drawls, glancing to the apprentices and lifting her eyebrows before rounding on Poirot again. "And simple because the girls failed to complain did not make what you did proper, or even simply right. And if you intend to take control of Ista's Hall, it will be done over someone's dead body. Mine."


Poirot dusts off the last of the lint off his sleeve, "I admit nothing, Master Liesana. My plans are already set and thre is nothing you can do about them."


>From the balcony above, Reeba strides quickly down the curving staircase to the ballroom below.

Reeba strides quickly down the curving staircase from the balcony hallway.


"We'll see. Watch yourself, Poirot. We Istans aren't as soft as you'd like to think we are. 'Nor nearly as stupid as you need us to be." And with that, and a crisp "Good day." Liesana ducks into the Archives.


Liesana steps silently to the Archive Vault.


Reeba descends the stairway, holding open an old hide as she walks, apparently studying something on the go. With the sound of Liesana's apparent retort, Reeba looks up and spies Poirot so she was hardly surprised at Liesana's tone having her own 'encounter' with him. Frowning, she continues down to the ball room floor.


Poirot turns as Reeba walks down the stairs and glances over at Ylisa, "What are you looking at Apprentice? Listening in on Masters' conversation. I shall report you." Then at Reeba, he smiles winningly, "My offer still stands. I could use someone of your skills."


Niara erks and scrambles to gather her materials, racing out the door before Poirot rounds on her.


Niara slips softly to the Great Hall.


Ylisa stands, expression a study in blankness. With no inclination to answer his question, and no real need to do so as he's now talking to Reeba, she stalks off towards the rehearsal hall to resume her interrupted errand.


Knowing that she should not talk back to a Master even if the man annoyed her with his previous actions, Reeba would have to hold her tongue in check in front of the apprentice. "I appreciate your vote of confidence Master Poirot, but I would prefer the freedom of journeying so as to make the best use of my diplomacy specialty." responded Reeba who really wanted to say that she wanted freedom from him.


Ylisa walks into the rehearsal hall.


Poirot tugs on his cuffs one last time, clearly not happy with the way things are turning out. No does not lose one's composure in front of apprentices. It just isn't done. "If you'll excuse me. I'm sure I can find someone more amiable for my needs."


Afraid whom the master will find to meet his needs and even more disgusted when she thinks about what his needs might be, Reeba responds simply "I'm sure Master." Holding up her hide that she had been reviewing, she says "If you don't mind Master, I have some work to do in the archives. Good day Sir." With her farewell expressed, she retreats to relative safety of the archives and Liesana.


Reeba strides quickly to the Archive Vault.


Poirot's mind returns once again to the fair blonde apprentice he spent his morning with and decides to seek her out. She was so .... charming. He walks away humming to himself back up the stairs.


Message 17 of 17 on *Harper (#711):
Date: Sun Nov 17 17:12:58 2002 CST
From: Liesana (#19291)
To: *Gossip (#627) and *Harper (#711)
Subject: Things Are Heating Up At Harper Hall!

Overheard around Ista:

"Well, you know that Harper Master from Fort that's been poking his nose into everybody's business down at the Hall here? Yeah, Poirot, that's his name. The one who's been interviewing all the people in the craft, especially the pretty female ones? Well... it seems that all of his snooping's gone and stirred up some trouble for him!

"That young master, Liesana. Well, she went and confronted the man in the middle of their main Ballroom with a stack of report hides in her hand, and a look I sure wouldn't want directed at me! Seems some of his questions to the prettier ladies of the hall have been a little more personal than they ought to have been. And it seems like Liesana's gone and called him on this. Seems like he thinks he's going to get away with it, though...

"Still, I wouldn't sell the Istan Harpers short... they can be just as crafty when they want, and Poirot's made himself no allies down here, much as there's mutterings about him wanting to take over the Hall."

*** Disconnected ***





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