Poirot Meets the Lady Natch
In the Flying Mug:
Natch sits sipping wine, watching the unusual newcomer. She thought she'd seen all the harpers on the island. Silly her. "Hello," she nods a short greeting.
Poirot bows at the lady as he enters, giving her a winning smile, "Evening Dear Lady." He dusts off a fleck of lint off his sleeve and gives his mustache a knuckle smoothing as his eyes twinkle with humor.
Natch watches the fastidios man with interest. He might be just the person to brighten her day, if he is as charming as he first seems. "I don't believe we've met," she motions to a chair. "I'm Natch of Gar Hold."
Poirot heads to Natch, sizing her up, then he clicks his heels and bows slightly, "Master Poirot, at your service." Holding out his hand to her, "How could I have missed a lovely lady as yourself in this lowly hold? Hmm?"
Natch takes the offered hand with her competent fingers, a light coloring coming to her cheeks as if she were a mere girl. "Why I'm not here often," she admits. "We'd not have met, perhaps, seeing as how I live at Gar. But I'd not call Ista Hold lowly, if I were you. Please, do sit," she ends with small chuckle and another motion to the empty chair across the table from her.
Poirot glides into the offered chair, with a flick of his wrist, he orders a glass of Gar Cider, then turning to the lady, "Ahh lovely Natch, can I get a refresher for you? Yes?"
Natch somehow finds herself with a mostly empty glass of wine and holds it up to make sure, finally smiling and nodding to Master Poirot. "Do tell me where you have come from?" she asks, truly curious. "I can't even remember catching a glimpse of you at Gathers."
Poirot smiles at Natch as he orders for her as well, "I am from Fort Harper Hall. I've come to do a bit of fact finding for the Master Harper, but alas, no one told me how out of the way Ista is from everything. Duty has prevented me from attending gatherings, you understand. Tell me, why is a lovely lady as yourself doing running around with a proper escort? There is no lord looking after you?"
Natch's lips curl up in a mirthless smile. "I am a widow, Master. Several times. My steward looks after me, if I need it. I've never thought of us as out of the way here. We might move a bit more slowly than those at cold High Reaches, but we've no need to push too hard here."
Poirot's eyes take on a calculating look as his mouth curls with charm. The drudge returns with his order. "Why lovely lady, you should be at Benden or at Fort, a lovely person as yourself shouldn't be without a husband as a foil to show out your charm and graces. No?"
Natch takes her glass with an unexpected smile and nod of thanks to the drudge, holding her glass to Poirot before sipping and ah'ing out her approval, though it's probably from the same bottle as the first glass. "I'd shrivel in the cold, Master Poirot," she chuckles "My blood has been too long in the warm. But do tell me what news from Fort Hold? We get so few visitors at Gar with news from the continent."
Poirot smiles as he swirl the cider in his glass looking at color and texture, then sniffs the brew, then a taste. A nod of approval, he takes another sip, "Ahh... this is lovely little brew. Too bad it doesn't travel well." Setting down the glass, "News? Master Oriana is recovered nicely, if that is what you mean? No? But I'm more interested in you and this hold. Do you know the many craft masters here? The Lord Warder? A charming man but not at all what I would expect to see running a Hold like this."
Natch smiles "What a relief that she is recovering. It's frightening to think of it.. at her age, too. Lord Andron?" she chuckles "He's more competent than one imagines," she confides, "Considering his affectations."
Poirot leaning closer to Natch, pushing his glass away for a moment, "Affectations?" With a wave of his hand, he dismisses Andron for the moment, "And do you know Master Jueann? How do you find her .... ahhh competent?"
Natch puts her own glass down, but doesn't let go of it. Easier to keep track of it that way. "Master Jueann?" she smiles "Of course I know her, and consider her a friend, if an absentee one these days. She used to teach the children when she was posted at Grinstead, that's the hold just south of Gar," she tells the man who probably knows that anyway. "She's competent, loyal, knowledgeable, a hard worker.." she trails off and chuckles again. "I make her sound like she's perfect, though she is close."
Poirot shrugs, still leaning in, "Ahh... She is fortunate to have a good friend. She's going to need them soon enough." Leaning back a bit, sipping his wine. "And you, lovely Natch, what if I told you, there's a chance that she will be replaced soon?"
Natch leans back herself, back straight as she stares at Master Poirot, her lips shedding any vestiges of any smile. "Now why would Jue need friends, specifically?" she asks, not noticing she's not used "Master Jueann" when she refers to her friend. "And why would she need to be replaced? The Harper isn't transferring her someplace else, is she?" Natch looks bereft at the idea.
Hynolonie walks in from the great hall.
Poirot nods to the little harper apprentice as he turns back to Natch, "Ahh... Hrper Business, I'm afraid." he shrugs, "Tedious, no? I wish I could explain, lovely lady but as you can see...." Spreading his hands, "My hands are tied." Turning back to Hynolonie, "Come join us, child?" He gives her his winning smile.
Liesana steps silently in from the great hall.
Natch raises her glass to her lips and sips, looking thoughtful as she watches Master Poirot.
Hynolonie wanders in quite boldly and heads directly for the bar. "Ten meatrolls, Lem. I'm starving. I'll prolly need a pitcher of juice to wash it down with as well." She grins, gingerly stepping towards the bar as that master she met a while ago smiles and calls her 'child.' That is definitely no way to win the heart of an apprentice so near to adulthood. She turns on her heel, waving to Lem that she'll be over there, before heeding Poirot's request. He is a master after all. Lonie courtsies to Natch then to Poirot before taking a seat. "Thank you."
Natch chuckles "Hardly a child, are you?" she winks at Hynolonie.
Liesana slips into the Mug as quietly as ever, taking up her seat at her favorite half-shadowed corner table and pulling out a few message hides from her carrysack, reading them over with an intense concentration that slowly shifts to watching Poirot's table, and in particular how he acts towards her mentee, with a calculating gaze.
Poirot's knuckle smoothes back his mustache and bows, "I stand corrected, She is not a child but a lovely young flower in amidst the other lovely flowers, such as yourself, lovely lady. One ripe for plucking, no?"
Natch's jaw is a bit slack as she searches for words to answer Poirot, not wanting to insult the Master. She swallows and takes a breath "I'm not sure I'd use just that turn of phrase," she tries somewhat cautiously, her smile disappearing fully again.
Hynolonie leans towards Natch and winks. "I've not been a child for 2 turns, but certain milemarkers in a girl's life don't always connotate maturity." She smiles, speaking freely with the lady holder, but a little more reserved with the harper Master. "Ripe? Plucking? My dear sir. You hardly know me." Ahh.. the multiple ways that could be taken. She smiles a little, weakly before raising an eyebrow at Natch. "Is this gentleman bothering you, Ma'am?" She grins a little. The tomboy comes out.
"Master Poirot..." comes the call from Liesana's corner, tone light and certainly not threatening in the least. Neither is the fact that the younger master is miming writing down a report the least intimidating. To an outside view. But the message is clear. Liesana is watching.
Natch pushes her glass to the middle of the table, not willing to admit taking it might have been a mistake. Well, not in words anyway. She does smile at Hynolonie "I'm capable of walking away if he were," she says but avoids Master Poirot's eyes.
Poirot blinks, looking over at the young master then to the apprentice, "My dear. I can if I want flick a wrist and you will be on water rations for a week if I choose. But I came here to relax and to have a pleasant conversation with a lovely creature such as Lady Natch."
Natch gives Master Poirot a scathing look. "I do believe you are getting close to being rude to this young woman," she tells the harper in her best I-Am-The-Holder-Here voice.
Hynolonie raises an eyebrow at Poirot for a moment. "Water rations?" She coughs a little and spies Liesana in the corner. Intersting. "You have a very strange definition of pleasant conversation." She smiles a little as the waitstaff brings over her plate of meatrolls and pitcher of juice and glass. She smiles at the Harper Master and pours herself a glass. She takes a sip before picking up a meatroll and muttering to herself before eating, "Perhaps you ought to have your wrist checked out by the healers."
"And /I/ believe," calls the Voice From The Corner again. "That /you/ are overstepping your authority, Master Poirot. Visiting masters are granted privileges as a courtesy, not as some feudal right. Any water rations will have to be cleared with Jueann. Who, I might note, was /very/ interested in my reports I've given her." Liesana then subsides, apparently deciding that open, if subtle war has been declared.
Natch listens to the words from Master Liesana with interest. She's not quite ready to abandon Hynolonie so invites Liesana to join them. "Three is such an awkward number," she smiles in the woman's direction.
Well so much of charming the lovely Holder Lady, Poirot sighs, "See? I get no respect here? No respect? I'm surround by people that clearly have no respect for rank." Standing, he pushes away his glass of Cider, "if you'll excuse me?"
Natch nods at Master Poirot, giving him an almost kind "Of course, Master," she emphasizes the word.
Poirot walks through a door into the great hall.
**** Jueann and Poirot passes each other in the Great Hall without speaking to each other. *****
Natch looks at the apprentice then the remaining master "Now what is /his/ problem?"
Disgusting, lecherous, scheming old sot..." This charming evaluation of Poirot's qualities is muttered by Liesana with a baleful glance to the retreating master's back as the younger of the rankers takes his seat at the table with Natch. "His problem? He has many of them... And I aspire to become a large one for him. Beyond that... it's Harper business. How are you, Natch?"
Hannah walks with youthful grace in from the great hall.
Natch drinks more than a sip from her glass before she answers "I'm fine..." trailing off as she watches the door, not moving her eyes as she asks "But what did he mean about Master Jueann," she looks at Liesana. "She's not gotten herself into trouble, has she?"
Hynolonie wrinkles her nose. "what a strange man. Imagine that." In the time it Poirot to get offended and leave and for the Liesana and Natch to exchange remarks, Lonie eats 4 meatrolls and picks up a 5th. "Me on water rations? The healers will have me declared unfit and needing to be fed by the end of the day." She smiles a little and shrugs. "Shall I bother him some more, Liesana? I didn't say anything bad, So it didn't really require such a strict punishment. Perhaps I can get some more documentation on his behavior that way, and we can take that to the MasterHarper." She grins merrily and sticks her meatroll in her mouth.
Hannah slips quietly into the Flying Mug, intent on getting something to drink before she heads back to the weyr. Surprised to find her sister, she moves forward a little more quickly, calling out as softly as she can but still loud enough that her sister might hear, "Lonie!"
Polop walks in from the great hall.
Trik roves with uncoth grace in from the great hall.
Natch looks at Hynolonie with eyes wide then watches the greetings with Rider Hannah. She's wondering what she's been missing and it shows on her face.
"Be my guest, Lonie," replies Liesana to her mentee with a wicked little smile. "And if he tries to punish you, drop me a firelizard, and I'll cheerfully thwart his plans." Ah, guerrilla warfare... She gives Hannah a nod and a wave, though her levity drops as she answers Natch, "Poirot wants Jueann's position... He's not going to get it, though."
Jueann enters quietly, passing Poirot in the Hallway, only to see that he has gone before her. "What's this? Hello Natch."
Natch huffs at Liesana "He'd better not..." then rises quickly to greet her old friend "Oh, Jue..." she grabs her arm. "I've met the most horrid little man."
Hynolonie turns her head away from Natch and Liesana to look over as Hannah enters. She smiles and waves merrily. "Hannah!" Her cry is much louder, still significantly less shy than her fostersister. She looks over at Natch again, and grows puzzled as well. Perhaps she was being rude. "Do you mind if I invite my sister to sit with us? She's quiet and not at all like Master Poirot. In comparison, you'll absolutely love her." She raises an eyebrow. "Really? What an idiot. Jueann's job isn't all flowers and bubblie pies. Even if he did get it, the apprentices would revolt and the hold would protest." She hasn't noticed Jueann yet.
Hannah blushes a little when she realizes that she's ignored the others sitting around Hynolonie. Giving everyone else a small, quickly, shy nod and a warm, "Hello," she turns her attention back to her sister. But not before Trik gets a small lift of fingers as well.
Polopcolloquirenae trots in, flask of wine cradled in her right arm, and sashays up towards the counter, forming an audible plop as she settles down on one of the stools. As Lem moves over to serve her, a firm shake of the head's given. "Nuh-uh. S'too expensive when I have m'own stuff," the Ista resident notes firmly.
Jueann grabs Natch only to steady herself. "Horrid? Ohh I bet you ran into Poirot." She sighs. "I'm going to have it out with him. Honest but he keeps ducking me."
Natch is oblivious to the others as she tries to pull Jueann aside.
Hannah smiles brightly at Lonie before face is shuttered again in shyness. Much better than she used to be, the goldrider isn't quite yet the sparky kind. Waiting for Lonie's friend's approval before she joins her sister, she orders something juicy to drink. "It's so good to see you, Lonie," is said quietly to her sister once her juice has been procured.
And Of course a return of poised wiggling fingers back towards Hannah, does the peroxide-head Rider Trik take an ungainly spill into a chair, slumping into cushion and fabric -- presumably does she order; Oh, don't worry yourselves! She's only eavsedropping! -- and the same wiggle of fingers is offered towards Hynolonie. Aw, No feelin's hurt there. Lem is give a kosher marred wink, crinkling both oculars before the bartender is off and fetching juice.
Hynolonie raises an eyebrow at Trik and smiles and nods in greeting before turning to Hannah. "Definitely good. How goes? Already fleeing the child and leaving her with the nannies for a night?" She grins and winks at her sister, not wanting to offend her, but definitely in the mood to tease the maternal instinct. "You know I will, Lies. I'll give him a delightful hard time and keep well with in the rules." She grins merrily, and keeps her eyes on her master's face for a moment longer incase the woman renigs.
"Not to mention he'd have to deal with /me/," smirks Liesana to Hynolonie, before giving a little nod. "Of course your sister can join us, Lonie. The more the merrier, so long as they aren't lecherous little Harper Masters." the non-lecherous, non-little Liesana quips, waving to get the attention of a serving drudge.
Jueann is pulled away with Natch. "Calm down Natch. It's being handled."
Natch whispers, "He sounded an awful lot like he was threatening
Natch storms from the room like a Woman With A Mission.
Natch makes her way through a door into the great hall.
Jueann nods to Natch, with a worried look in her eyes.
Hannah coughs, blushing a little. "Yeah, something like that. I went to the trader gather to try and find something for Saria's retirement, but I didn't find anything." Giving Liesana a little less shy of a smile, she slips into a seat near her sister. "I'm good. Just busy."
Jueann sighs. With a wave to Liesana, she follows Natch out the door.
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