About the Craft

 

A Harper's Life

 

Events in the Harperhall

 

Meet the Harpers

 

In the Vaults

Craft Dinner

January 2003

 

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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]

 

While waiting for the dinner to start, Reeba takes a few moments to weave in and around the gathered harpers, inspecting her students as well as doing simple fellowship with all.  A nod to one, and teasing glare at another, she meets and greets those already assembled.

 

Mireilla, the junior, moves as close to the wall as possible looking as if she might want to blend into the edges of mural and disappear.

 

Ylisa stands quietly by one of the walls, watching the assembling crowd, but looking as if she's not quite ready to mingle.  She's dressed for the occasion, however, and for once, neither of her firelizards is in sight.  Seeing another wall-hugger, she smiles.  "Hello, Eil, how's it going?  Is this your first Dinner?"

 

Mireilla just nods shyly to Ylisa before whispering, "Yes, and I wasn't even certain if I was too young to attend."

 

Walking in silently and looking around, Master JeDera takes in everything.  She knows few of the people here, coming from Fort as she did, but she smiles and nods at those she does.  A few steps puts her in the front where all the Masters are sitting.  She sits in her chair and begins her favorite sport: people watching.

 

Niara flounces into the room, flipping her skirt this way and that as she walks, dodging apprentices and journeymen and masters as she heads for a specially good seat. A cheerful wave is thrown Mynd-ways, though Niara doesn't let it distract her from keeping an eye out for a certain blue-streaked mum.

 

Tributary to the deluge of Harper flesh, though less to the growing din of speech and laughter, the Apprentice Flavian strides into the magnificent chamber, hitherto unseen by the young man judged by the expression on his pallid face.  At length, overwhelmed by the press of people, he seeks the nearest unoccupied seat in the midst of the other lower ranking Craft members, consequently proximal to Niara.

 

Ylisa gives Mireilla a friendly grin. "Oh, every harper in the Hall can come to these.  Don't worry, you'll enjoy it.  The food's usually excellent, and there's normally some news, maybe some promotions..."

 

From a dark corner in the room, Qovin steps out and walks quietly towards the apprentice table, and tries to stop his 3 'lizards from Causing a racket with the squawks of hunger they are making.. A few nods to fellow apprentices, and his blue just curls on the top of his head. Odd sight, no?

 

And indeed a certain blue-streaked mum has arrived.  In style, we might add.  Liesana, she of eternal tomboyhood, is resplendent in a fine gather dress of amber sisal just the right color to match her eyes.  The streak of prank-dyed hair has even been made somewhat fashionable, although the shade doesn't quite match her dress, woven into the high circlet that's gathered her hair.  Not one to make undue fuss with her entrances, the Harper of Smith Hall simply appears in the doorway leading from the Great Hall, and smoothly joins the tide of harperfolk ebbing and flowing their way to their respective tables, giving a nod here, a grin there, and a blown kiss to foster-daughter Niara before settling in at the Master's table.

 

Rislyn walks over to the new Harper, Flavian. "Hello." she says with a smile, "You must be new to the craft? Well, I am Rislyn." and she extends her hand to him.

 

Mireilla seems to perk up a bit after hearing that information. "It is really exciting." She looks around and adds, "There are people here that I have only seen from and distance and some that I have /never/ seen before!" Her girlish voice seems to reflect the noted mood as she 'rubber-necks' while she talks.

 

As the throng gets larger, Reeba heads towards the table where her fellow journeyman are congregating.  Every so often, her eyes dart to the stairs or door, as if looking for someone.  A grin and a wave is sent in Liesana's direction, amazed at her attire but says nothing to her friend the master as Journeyman Veldeen takes her attention away.

 

Just as Niara slides easily into a seat, the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She fiddles with her skirt, using it as a cover to look around the hall from 'neath lowered lashes. Ah... Liesana's entrance is noted, as is the attempt to disguise the streak of harper blue running  through her hair. Niara allows a small smile to curl the corner of her lips before turning toward her companions. She smiles at Flavian, adding her own introduction. "And I'm Niara. Don't think we got introduced the other morning." Rislyn is offered a smile as well.

 

Qovin looks about with his dark eyes, and a pencil is taken from his ear, and fingered nervously. his browns are dealing with their hunger by trying to eat his hair, and he yelps as Byron tugs a good deal of hair out. "Byron!" is said, as he rubs the now bare spot on his head. ow.

 

Taking the offered hand and shaking politely, the Apprentice replies: "Indeed my Lady, I am called Flavian.  It is a pleasure to meet you."  At length he adds with the respect to his recent admission to the Craft, "The Hall has been most welcoming."  A gesture is given to one of the few unclaimed chairs across from him, assuming Rislyn came forth to join them. 

 

Janicka enters quietly, dressed in blue, just like almost all the other harpers. Her face is fixed in a cheerful expression as she heads for the APPRENTICE table, casting amused glances at the sr. apprentice table. Mustn't make same mistakes as last dinner, can we?

 

Rislyn smiles and takes a seat. "Well met Flavian, I'm glad you decided to join." she looks over to Niara. "And how are you Niara?" and she looks around again searching for someone.

 

The old master takes in them all.  Apprentices and their antics, Journeyman and their discussions of classes and travels and of course the residents and visitors from the Hold.  Something is said by the Hold visitor next to her and JeDera smiles and answers back softly.  She seems friendly enough, but, well... a Master from Fort can't be that friendly, right?

 

"I do not believe we have," is Flavian's rejoinder to Niara, "it is a pleasure to meet you as well."  Sapphiren gaze follows the form of Liesana, his expression belying gratitude for the impending start of proceedings.  

 

Niara beams as Janicka enters, waving her hand to catch her attention. "I'm doing wonderful," she snickers before leaning in and whispering to all assembled. "Did you hear about the prank someone pulled on Master Liesana? Take a look at her hair..." Niara's voice trails off as she nods and points more attention toward the streak of blue running through Liesana's hair. You'd almost think she was -proud- of the joke... Nah.

 

Jueann smiles as she makes her way to the Master's Table and her seat.  She stops long enough to talk to a few friends.  Seeing Reeba, "Where's Jellem?"

 

Liesana flashes a non-masterly but entirely Liesanish grin back at Reeba, before settling in a chair with an attempt at dignity.  The unauthorized addition to her haircolour is serenely ignored now that she's given it her best shot at making it respectable.  Spotting JeDera near, she gives the older master a nod and a "We meet again... any idea how long before Jueann arrives?  My runner tossed a shoe."

 

Correcting the ambiguous implications of 'someone', Flavian adds, "The handiwork of Journeywoman Mimi as it happens," then in reference to the unusual blue streak in her hair, "I think Master Liesana is coping with the indelible blemish quite well; perhaps it is after all a fashion statement and no prank at all."

 

Rislyn smiles. "I didn't even hear a /thing/?" she shrugs it off, "I have been visiting my aunt for a couple sevendays, she got sick for some reason, But she got better just in time for this." and she smiles happily.

 

Mireilla makes her way to the farthest place she can find from her superiors, but her wide-eyed appreciation of everything around her continues to occupy the expressions on her face.

 

Janicka smiles and abandons her course towards a seat. As she nears her, she grins. "Wow, I hadn't noticed." She glances around for a friend and smiles to and waves to Qovin, whose flit is attacking him.

 

Ylisa is keeping half an eye on who's here, and decides it's time to move.  She starts threading her way towards a table that still has space, pausing to say a word here and there to friends already seated before settling in a vacant place.

 

Niara suddenly leans forward in a choking fit as Flavian assigns blame to Mimi for the "unauthorized addition". "'scuse me...," she gasps as she regains control of herself. "Journeywoman Mimi? You don't say..." Niara's eyes are twinkling a little /too/ much in glee over that, me thinks. "Well, as far as fashions statements go, they aren't allowed. /Especially/ on Masters. Nooo... I have it on good authority that Liesana was /not/ pleased..."

 

Sighing, Reeba responds quietly to Master Jueann, "I don't know Master.  He was supposed to be here a while ago."  With that said, she sits at the table and keeps her attentions on the stairs and doorways, looking for her mate.

 

Rislyn smiles and looks up at the Masters table and waits for things to start.

 

JeDera turns to Liesana and shrugs.

 

Jueann nods, "Well, I guess I better join the other masters." She finds her seat, nodding to JeDera and Liesana.  She does signal for the food to be started as she makes herself comfortable.

 

"Perhaps she is not, and I would not blame her for taking that opinion, but the admission must be made that blue was an astute selection of color, if one were to endeavor the defacing of a Harper Master."  Flavian exchanges a merry glance with Niara, making no mention of the fact that she wasn't present to witness the mischief in question.

 

Qovin stands with a small tear in his eye, as Byron happily chews on a wad of hair.. leaving a large pink spot on his head. Again, ouch. he notices Janicka, waves, before taking his hair back from Byron. "ow.."

 

Janicka grins at Niara's words. "I can imagine..." Blue and amber? She thinks to herself, biting her lip. With a smile to Niara and her audience before reheading for the table.

 

JeDera finishes. "I learned long ago that you never know about Masters."  She nods to Jueann as she enters. "Speak of the absent one and she appears.  How's your runner now?  That young woman in the stables is quite good with them."

 

"Indeed," Liesana agrees to JeDera, leaning on one elbow in a mild rustling of sisal.  Hmm... A pleasant sound, that.  She might just be getting a clue as to what Andron sees in his shirts.  She gives Jueann a friendly nod, since things seem to be settling down, and she's behooved to act - Faranth forbid - formal. Waving is out.  "And she's doing all right.  Storm is too old a hand at distance travel to run on an unshod foot for long.  Stablemaster Synte's fussing over her now..."

 

The drudges bring in the platters of steaming hot food from the kitchens.  They start at the Master's table, working their way to the lowest apprentice tables.  Holding up her glass, Jueann watches as one of the drudges pour out one of her favorite wines. 

 

A knowing nod from old master to young is followed by the knowing comment.  "As much as we travel, you cannot replace a fabulous and reliable runner.  Where did you buy yours?  I admit to a fondness for the speedy ones from Keroon."  Formal?  JeDera can be formal too, but it seems a little stiff. 

 

"I'm sure the prankster would be most gratified to hear that you approval of their color choice," Niara rejoins primly, though the effort she takes to keep the smile from her lips is soon overcome. "Oooh, food!" she exclaims happily, slipping her hands under her legs to keep from clapping them like child. "I always love Dinners. I think they keep us on water rations the rest of the time to save up for them," she chatters brightly.

 

"I should introduce you to my aunt, then," smiles Liesana.  "She's the head of the Hold's stables, and I'm a Keroonian lass myself, by blood and raising...  Storm Dancer's an Igenbred, though.  A gift from my parents for my thirteenth turnday."  she reminisces, holding her glass out to be filled with one of the white wines.  "Of course, I just showed how young I am there,"  she winks.

 

Resigned to eating without her mate, Reeba fills her plate sparingly.  Listening to conversations on her left and right, but not getting very involved in any or the nearby conversations.  Her eyes continue to dart around, in hope that her husband would make his customary late entrance.

Janicka has disconnected.

 

Wine?  JeDera's eyes light up as the wine comes her direction and her glass is hastily made available.  Too many years apprenticing and journeying under Parker to not appreciate a good wine.  "Family there?  My, you are lucky.  We must go visit.  My runner is getting a bit long in the tooth and needs to be set to pasture to live out her old age in peace.  Much like her Master I'm starting to think.  Do you think your aunt might have something spry for an old Harper Master?"  She winks at Jueann.  "I wouldn't want a runner that was too much to handle you know.  Might throw me or something."

 

Qovin sighs, and now sits at the table, and starts feeding his lizards. all except the blue, which seems quite happy with laying in his lap, sleeping. Byron and Peppy both happily gorge themselves, before falling asleep themselves, and leaving Qovin to eat himself..

 

Servitors at last reach the tables occupied by the lesser ranking Craft members, offering various dishes of meat and vegetable, another with an enormous basket piled with rolls of caramel colored bread.  Flavian feigns a look of shock, "Approve?  My Lady, it is not my place to approve or disapprove of the Master's inclinations for self-adornment, I merely think it was astute choice of color; blue being commonly associated with Harpers of course."  Similarly suppressing the slightest of grins, the young man samples a morsel of each proffered dish, tearing a roll in half, "I wonder what we Apprentices shall be served to drink."

 

Jueann taking a sip of her wine, then with a sigh of resignation, as she really hates being the focus of attention, stands.  She leans on the table for a moment surveying her harpers, young and old.  "Can I have your attention please? I would like you all to welcome Master JeDera back from her travels.  I'm sure a lot of you don't know or remember her, but she was one of my vocal instructors when I was an apprentice.  So everyone give her a warm welcome."

 

Ylisa chats idly with her neighbors at the table as the food works its way in their direction. As the servers reach her, she takes a good helping of the various vegetables on offer, but goes light on the meat and bread.  Also a large glass of juice - no wine for her, of course!

 

Mireilla carefully spoons her food as she looks around attempting to not be too conspicuous, but watching and listening to as much as her position will allow.

 

If you're watching closely it seems to look as the old Master jumps.  Her face colors a little as Jueann suddenly announces her name and JeDera tries to smile serenely.  It ends up being more, well, sick looking. 

 

"Keroon's beasts are spirited, much like Keroon's people, but I'm sure Rilna will ha--"  Liesana's mild hustle on the part of the family business is silenced by Jueann's motion and speech, the young master straightening with another rustle of her gown to sit at attention, wineglass held in a properly casual grasp to telegraph the message of 'shhh and listen' to the apprentice population as easily as possible.   She lowers the wineglass to the table to applaud at JeDera's introduction, shooting the older master a grin for her discomfort.

 

"To a pleasant return," bellows Flavian in a polite tone, though loud enough amid the clatter of cheers for JeDera to hear, applauding gently in similar fashion to many other, "and welcome."  Countless mugs and glasses are lifted in tacit toast.  The newest Apprentice settles again, his attention focused on the face of Jueann for further news and accolades.

 

Lifting her wine glass, Reeba nods at Master JeDera in greeting.  She takes a sip of her wine before returning her glass to the table as she waits to here what other craft business needs to be addressed at this gathering.

 

Jueann smiles to her fellow master.  Looking over at Master Liesana. "We have a few promotions to get through, So who wants to go first?  Reeba or Liesana?"

 

Reeba promptly nods her head towards Liesana, "Masters first I do believe." she says with a grin.

Qovin nods to Jedera slightly, and sets down the bit of fruit he was about to eat..he sighs, and his heart leaps suddenly at the word 'promotion' before the feeling leaves him. he waits calmly, and idly moves his hand as Byron tries to gnaw on it in his sleep.

 

Mireilla stops eating and leans back in her chair to concentrate on the happenings and imprint this dinner into her mind for reference.

 

Niara clapped along politely with the rest, though now her attention turns towards her plate. The word 'promotion' blithely passes in one ear and out the other, but not so with the meat and vegetables and fruit and bread she has piled up. Yum!

 

Ylisa looks with interest at the newly-returned Master, and claps politely before turning her attention back to Jueann.  She nibbles daintily at her bread, but stops when promotions are mentioned: this is more interesting than food, even the excellent fare in front of her.

 

"Oh, nonono..." Liesana counters with a twinkle in her eye and a sip of her wine.  "Age before experience,"  she points out to her slightly-older friend.  "You first, Reeba."  Liesana has a salad that needs her attention.

 

Reeba chuckles and then stands quickly, "Why thank you my deer Master Liesana."  Striding down he aisle between the tables, she reaches the end of the apprentice tables, her eyes scanning for an apprentice or two.   "Oh, there you are.  Sioned my dear, would you mind assisting me in something?" she asks aloud.  The female apprentice stands up confidently but a little confused.  "Yes, Ma'am." she replies politely.

 

Jueann sits back down to listen to the promotions for the moment.  She has her own agenda, so she waits patiently.

 

Flavian trails Reeba with his gaze, first arching a brow in the assumption the unknown Sioned would be the one acknowledged as promoted, but instead settles back in his chair, nursing a vessel of klah in the meantime before attention is allowed to fall once more to food and conversation.

 

JeDera tries to be attentive, she really does, but then the food arrives.  It looks delectable, delicious, and other 'd' words that denote yumminess.  Salad, fruit, meat, vegetables.. there's too much to take in, and too much to keep her fading slimness slim.

 

"Well, as you apprentices will learn as you grow old" Reeba says with a grin being all of 29 turns herself, "You'll learn that sometimes you need help.  Men's ties for example are nearly impossible for me.   So is, well, knots in general.  So Sioned, I'd like you to assist me with a knot.   Please demonstrate to the apprentices how you don a Senior Apprentice knot since my hands are too sore to do so."  Reaching from behind her back, she presents a knew knot to the apprentice.   Fumbling a bit, she removes her old knot and dons the spanking new one.  "For your hard work, you deserve this, well done Sioned." Reeba says before turning to find another apprentice to address.

 

Liesana idly stabs at innocent pieces of lettuce and other salad greens, well-covered with dressing to mask the fact that she's eating something healthy, drat the Healers who've managed to get the drudges to sneak in rabbit food on her plate.  She lowers her fork to applaud for Sioned.

A chorus of applause, especially loudest from the apprentices next to the stunned Sioned, deafens those in the room.

 

Leaning forward on her elbows and nearly tipping over her juice, Eil watches in fascination as the Sr. Journeyman moves to make her proclamations and embarrass her helper. apparently. Then she applauds as she realizes the purpose of Reeba's machinations.

 

 

Ylisa grins at Reeba's teasing of Sioned and joins in the applause, then takes a moment to tuck into some of the steaming vegetables on her plate, while they're still steaming.

 

Qovin nods to Sioned, before deciding to eat a little of the fruit on his plate.. he looks about, and sighs. Byron bites his finger hard, and then Peppy bites the other one.. a small yelp is held back, as he thwacks both browns hard, and they squawk in hunger. he sighs, and gives them both some meat, trying to get them to be quiet while the promotions go on.

 

Niara looks up as Sioned is knotted and smiles happily, though whether from the mouthful of food or for the now senior apprentice is had to tell. Though, why does it have to be one or the other? Another forkful is shoveled in...in a lady-like fashion, of course.

 

Walking down a few paces from where Sioned was sitting, another female apprentice catches the gaze of Journeywoman Reeba.   "Aye, sometimes we don't get to see apprentices in the hall as often as we would like.  Apprentice Rislyn is one such as these but let be it known, that we do keep tabs on all of our harpers.  So I now ask that Rislyn stand to receive her own Senior Apprentice knot which she has worked so hard at Ista Weyr and here to earn." Reeba says with great pomp and circumstance as she hands over a new tidy knot to yet another stunned apprentice.

 

A lean, a stare, a blink.  JeDera /peers/ at Liesana's plate.  "Is that /all/ they are going to feed you?"  She looks back at her own plate piled with fascinating goodies and shakes her head.  "Who did you irritate?"  She speaks quietly of course and cannot be heard over the din except by those at or closest to the Master's table.  Respectful of the promotions she is, but well... that salad looks way too healthy.

 

Mireilla is completely fascinated by the glitz and glitter of the craft get together as the little girl again claps loudly with a glowing face for the promotion of another apprentice.

 

Ylisa briefly glances over to the next table as the sound of hungry firelizards reaches her, grins sympathetically at Qovin, then claps enthusiastically as Rislyn is promoted.

 

Liesana /does/ so like the stunned looks the newly-promoted get.  She's been lucky in that her own moments of utter crogglement have been mostly private.  She murmurs out of the corner to her mouth in reply to JeDera, letting the applause for Rislyn cover the dry comment of "Oh... they'll let me eat things like plain meat and vegetables and rolls... but I don't get dessert."  Mourn.

 

Flavian claps inclusively to congratulate both Sioned, which comes as something as a surprise, and Rislyn, "Well done Ladies."

 

Qovin now nods to Rislyn, and eats more of his fruit, before peering at his fingers, which are quite red.. he rubs them, and smiles at the new senior apprentices as much as he can, ignoring his finger's pains.

 

Jueann smiles as she raises her wine glass in a salute to each of the new promoted.  Taking a sip of her wine, she waits patiently for her turn.

 

JeDera looks a little stunned at Liesana's announcement.  No desert?  That's awful.  Why else be a Harper Master but to get the tastiest morsels, the yummiest appetizers, the most tempting deserts?  Well, the work can be fun and rewarding, but why else live if you cannot eat?  She settles back in her chair and mutters out of the corner of her mouth, "Don't you worry about a thing.  I'll take care of that for you."

 

Liesana's tone loses none of it's dry quality, but a distinct hint of amused gratitude creeps in.  "I would be eternally grateful... oops, looks like it's my turn now."  The topic-switch in midstream is prompted by Reeba finishing her terrorizing of the apprentice cohort.  She nods to her friend, and stands in a rustle of her skirts, stepping down from the Master's table and stalking silently through the rows of apt pupils with the eye of a hunting falcon.  Whooooooo's it going to be?

 

Rianne sweeps confidently, with just the slightest hint of a whisper in through an arch from the great hall.

 

Niara looks over her shoulder as the sound of the guard changing catches her attention, though not for long. The prowling of the harpermaster holds little interest for her, or at least less than that big bowl of mashed tubers heading her way for the second time.

 

Mireilla continues to watch in fascination knowing that in a turn or so it might be her that the seniors look for in that crowd of dining harpers. 

 

JeDera tries to pay more attention to the promotions, she really does, but her attention is about equally divided in watching the antics of apprentices fighting for the last slice of carved herdbeast at their table and the plate of carved herdbeast that appears in front of her.  A modest slice manages its way onto Liesana's plate.  Hmmm, what else is there to pilfer?  She's nearly as bad as the apprentices.

 

Perhaps Liesana planned it, knowing her foster-daughter, or perhaps she's merely taking advantage of a situation too good to pass up, but as Niara's attention wavers from ceremony to food, there's suddenly a young harper master with blue-streaked hair hovering behind her left shoulder.  In a loud, carrying voice, Liesana intones "Apprentice Niara.  To your feet and face me!  I have something I'd like to discuss with you..."

 

Rianne enters the room with a quick, purposeful, eager walk, stripping off riding gloves as she goes. Harper Hall. Farnath. Harper Hall. She looks around at the ceiling, the stairs, even the floor as she pauses, completely still for a moment, her eyes searching the crowd like someone who's been away too long. "Lies!" she finally exclaims, unable to stop herself. Managing to get some of her training back, she manages to glide fairly serenely in Liesana's general direction. And stops herself, managing to hover a few feet away and not come any closer as she addresses the apprentice.

 

Jueann looks up at Liesana and smiles, standing, "Are we done with the sr apprentice promotions?"  Seeing the rider, "Welcome back Rianne And what do we own this honor?  Come join us at the master's Table." Motioning for a nearby drudge to set an extra place for the rider, "more wine too!"

 

Niara jumps and drops the bowl of mashed tubers, the clatter of the dishes crashing into each other serving to further embarrass the girl. Slowly she stands and steps out from her seat, one hand swipe surreptitiously at a glob of tuber dripping down her skirt. She forces herself to raise her eyes to her fostermother--and then she makes the mistake of letting them go even higher. Up to the streak of blue that is starting to work it's way loose from Liesana's careful hair-do. *snicker* "Yes, Ma'am?" she responds, carefully keeping a guilty expression from her face.

 

Mireilla looks between her elders in the room a wondering look crosses her face at their antics.

 

Qovin turns to Niara and Liesana, before staring at them. he lets a dripping bit of meat drop to be eaten by his blue, and his eyes are fixed staring at them.

 

Liesana would ordinarily pounce on Rianne with a hug and a glad cry for her apprentice-days friend.  But... she's got Niara in her sights now, drawing herself up on her dignity and staring sternly down at the apprentice, the blue sidelock escaping and falling against her cheek, curled slightly.  "Something you'd like to tell me about my hair, apprentice?  And give me your knot, please,"  she notes, holding out her hand for it.

 

Rianne turns to Jueann, letting the roguish grin that was the horror of her tutors slip onto her face. "There was a time, Master, when seeing me here would have produced /quite/ another effect," the bluerider says, her tone reminiscent and warm as she offers a playful curtsey to Jueann, the way an apprentice would to a master. "But I'll /attempt/ to behave," she says innocently. "Thank you. It's good to be home at long last," says /Mari/anne, holding her skirts behind her, but hesitates to full sit down, no doubt waiting to do some pouncing herself. She's changed. But not /that/ much.

 

Ylisa takes her eyes off Liesana's progress for a few moments to help herself to more meat - and there's nobody fighting for it at /this/ table - until the crash of descending pottery reclaims her attention, and she looks over at Niara and Liesana with a startled intake of breath, followed by a grin that hasn't entirely got to do with the dialogue between Master and Apprentice.  /Blue/ hair?  She must have missed something.

 

Niara gasps, suddenly horror-stricken. Her tongue seems to refuse to work, hindering her so that she stammers unintelligibly for a moment, her eyes flickering from Liesana's face to the hand imperiously held out for her knot. "But... oh, please. I'm sorry! Please don't kick me out!" she begins to whimper as tears pool in her eyes. Her fingers fumble at her knot even as she tries another tactic. "You always tol' me I should! I was jus' tryin' to be like /you/!" Hey-if the wailing doesn't help, maybe the appeal to her vanity...or shame.

 

Mireilla, in an attempt not to stare finally gives her plate some attention and shoves an over-large tuber into her mouth.

 

A smile flickers over JeDera's mouth for a moment as her attention is turned from her plate to Niara.  The wistful look in her eyes doesn't quite fade as you can almost see the memories that cross her features before she comes to herself and settles back in her chair to watch.  Entertainment at dinner that isn't her.  Oh fun."

 

Jueann smiles at Rianna, tossing her a crouton, "Behave?  Since when?"  She chuckles as she turns her attention back to Niara and Liesana.   Her eyes winkle with merriment and mischief.

 

Less surprised than Niara, Flavian pivots slightly in his seat to view the discourse between Master and Apprentice.  Coloring his face, another slight smile is suppressed at the girl's reaction.

 

Liesana blinks as Niara promptly bursts into wailings and gnashings of teeth, but, legist that she is, can't quite resist the opportunity to gather a little information.  One hand is held behind her back as she cocks her head at her daughter.  "Well now... that depends.  I think you'd better tell the assembly here just what exactly you did,"  she notes sagely, as if she herself knows. 

 

"Shhhhhh, Master, you'll give me away. I'm supposed to be a respectable rider now," Rianne says, settling it as it seems that Liesana is going to be awhile at her teasing, and attempting, creditably, due to her training, to look perfectly prim and proper. "Hey!" she exclaims as the dodges the crouton, and her eyes sparkle laughingly as she, with a perfectly straight face, watches Liesana and Niara. That /doesn't/ explain, however, how there comes to be a piece of fruit flying in Jueann's general direction. Wide eyed and innocent, Rianne waits for Niara's story, her lips twitching. She could tell a few of that master's apprentice days herself. Faranth, she sounded like an old woman!

 

Mireilla swallows the tuber and immediately begins to work diligently on cutting a slice of meat as if all of her attention is required for this one, all important process.

 

Niara valiantly tries to snuffle back the outburst, the back of her hand raking across her eyes to remove the tears beading on her lashes before she turns to face the Master's table. Her chin quivers as she clasps her hands behind her back, her knot clenched in one hand. "I... I... I dyed Master Liesana's hair..." A foot kicks out to scuff at the floor, her eyes fixated on a spot just below all the Master's feet.

 

Jueann stands, leaning on the table, "You did what to Master Liesana?" turning to Liesana, "And you didn't do anything, Master Liesana?" Ignoring the fruit that is tossed at her for the moment.  Palming another crouton, she looks from apprentice to master.

 

JeDera stifles a laugh in a cough and tries to look stern and forbidding.  She is really trying not to laugh at Niara.  Her lips dance between smiling and frowning as she suddenly seems to go back to complete interest in pilfering an extra bubbly onto her plate to save for Liesana later.

 

Keen interest is kindled on the face of Flavian, a brow arching and a hand lifted to stroke his beard, Niara indeed.  Like the rest, he maintains vigilant in watching the young woman's apparent, if drawn out, promotion. 

 

"Really?"  Liesana looks and sounds quite surprised at this.  "And then you had the nerve to waltz right back in and chat to your victim?"  she asks further, hand still behind her back as she lets a lengthy pause stretch out, giving time for all sorts of horrible fates to bubble up in Niara's mind, before she sighs briskly and moves onwards.  "That takes guts, m'dear.  In more germane news, you have been dedicated and talented enough in /non/-prank-related studies that it's my honor and delight to promote you to the rank of senior apprentice.  /Now/ give me your knot?"

 

Rianne can't help it. She starts to giggle at Niara's explanation. Starts to positively giggle. How much was a whole lot of blackmail on a certain master's apprentice pranks worth at this point? However, she hides the expression with a serene smile and a /lot/ of difficulty, shooting a bright eyed glance at Liesana as she finally makes the promotion, nibbling on a few croutons of her own, as much to hide the laugh and temptation in her eyes as anything else.

 

Niara has gone very pale by now, her eyes closing tightly in an expression of almost sickly chagrin. At Jueann's question, she shrinks in on herself and nods miserably, quite certain now that all was lost, and she was to be banished and exiled and sent to wander the... wha-? Liesana's voice breaks in on her fantastically twisted horrors. "What?" she looks over her shoulder at her fostermother. "You what?" she says again dumbly, her knot still clenched in a death grip behind her back.

 

Finally understanding the way that things seem to progress in the promotion process, Eil grins mightily and (still holding her fork) applauds loudly as Niara who was seemingly hauled to her feet and intimidated is given her new knot. Then, she allows the little girl impulse out of nervousness to win, and Eil begins nibbling at the sweet desert that still remains on her plate.

 

From somewhere on the apprentice table, a male voice is heard to murmur, "Say, do you think if she'd done the whole head, Liesana would have made her a journeyman?"  Ylisa laughs softly at the comment, then starts to applaud.

 

"Nia..." drawls Liesana, now getting bored with the drama.  "You're a senior apprentice.  Now give me your old knot so I can give you a new one, and go eat my dinner,"  she chides, but affectionately.  The short-tailed double corded new offering is extended on her palm.

 

Niara just nods, snatching the new knot off Liesana's hand and tossing the old one, now wrinkled beyond repair, at her mother. With another wide-eyed glance, she's off--and as far away from Liesana as she can get.

 

As she sits back down, chuckling softly at Niara's reaction.  A crouton goes flying back at the rider with deadly aim.  The Craftmaster seems to be watching Niara and Liesana and doesn't even notice.

 

Liesana catches the old knot on the fly, moves to put it in her pocket, realizes that gather gowns don't come with such handy things, and instead just passes it off to a drudge on her way back to her seat.  "We have a few more apprentices to corner, but since they weren't able to attend the banquet, I /believe/ that concludes my part in all this fun.  Back to you, Master Jueann?"  she hands the reins over as she resumes her seat, eyes bright at the sight of JeDera's scroungings.  "You're /good/."  she murmurs to the elder master.

 

Treats, goodies and more yummy things assail JeDera's senses as the 'to-do; ravels down and Niara takes off.  A couple of cakes makes its way onto the Master's plate along with a couple of cookies and a very large pastry that somehow is quickly halved.

 

Mireilla, having decided that the food wasn't too bad at all, finally finishes what is left on her plate with a flourish and washes it down with a juice that leaves just a trace of red around her mouth making her smile look even bigger than usual.

 

"/Now/ may I steal the great Master?" Rianne, ducking the crouton with years of experience and a positively wicked grin at Jueann. As Liesana comes back to her seat, the rider grins and positively throws herself at the other woman in a huge hug. "That is," she concedes, "if she's still willing to speak to us lowly ones. Not that she'd have much choice at this point.

 

A mischievous smile returns Liesana's comment as JeDera sneaks the pastry half onto the other Master's plate and the rest of the goodies make their way onto a fresh plate.  A whisper to a drudge, a 16th mark palmed and the plate of treats will make its way into Master Liesana's room later on.  "you just let me know what you need, dear."  The OLD master quietly assures her companion.

 

Liesana has a wily JeDera seeing to her treat supply, and a dear friend giving her a hug.  Life is good.  She chuckles, gives Rianne a firm hug back, murmurs "We're /so/ talking after this," and then retakes her seat more permanently this time, settling upon some of the goodies with a rapt look, even if she manages to glance attentively at Jueann.

 

Jueann stands, "I want to thank Mimi for standing in for me as Crafthead during my month long vacation.  I have something for her in my rooms."  Turning to Reeba, "Reeba for her hard work in defending me, has been promoted to sr journeyman.  And I don't see Jellem here. So we can skip him.  So what's next on the agenda....?" She peers down at her list.  "Hmmm...."

 

More goodies go into JeDera's mouth than find their way to Liesana.  There must be a reason for the restrictions.. well, that and they are just too yummy to waste.  A bubbly pie goes down about as fast as some of the apprentices and only the smudge of purple on the Master's cheek gives her away afterward.

 

"/After/ this?" Rianne says, pulling back with a firm kiss to Liesana's cheek, grinning at her old friend with the abandon of the sixteen year old that was. "I've half a mind to-" But then Jueann begins to speak, and she manages to be quiet for now, nibbling on some more of the sweet things scattered around the table. "Who /is/ the cook these days? Whoever it is, make sure you keep them.." Mmmmm.

 

Mireilla  politely cleans the area in front of her placing plates in size order and setting them aside for the drudges to pick up. In this way she has only her glass and a clean table before her.

 

Jueann looks up, "Right postings.  Both Torlan and Aife are looking for harpers to help them at High Reaches and Ista Weyrs.  If you are interested, see either Liesana or me. (you must be active +2 hours or more, sr apprentice or higher to apply.)  Also, The Tuya at the Miner Hold is looking for a harper (You must be journeyman or higher). Also see myself or Liesana.  Now for the last bit of business of the night...." 

 

"Andron's personal pick, probably," Liesana replies to Rianne, hoarding her pile of illicit non-healthy food with an intensity Smaug would've admired.  Liesana's fond of riddles too, although that's neither here 'nor there.  Besides that murmured comment, she keeps quiet, cocking her head at Jueann's pause.

 

Smiling, "And lastly.  With the recent unpleasantness in the craft, I have been considering taking a new Craft second.  I need someone I can trust, someone to take over if anything happens to me." She smiles scanning the many harpers in front of her.  "It was a hard decision, all of 2 minutes. Really." Turning to Liesana, "Are you willing to give up the Smiths, Master Liesana?  I need you here."

 

Mireilla sits straight and listens to the masters hushing the boy next to her so that she can hear.

 

That sudden clattering sound, like a metal object hitting the edge of good china?  That would be Liesana's fork, laden with roast herdbeast, dropping from her hand midway to her mouth and eventually landing on the table.  The youngest of Harper's masters blinks a little, and after a moment it occurs to her to close her mouth.  That done, she blinks a little more, just for kicks, before managing to get out a carrying, disbelieving "...  What?  You're joking, right, Jueann?  I'm not even thirty..."

 

A kick under the table hits Liesana as JeDera smiles at her.  "Take it like it is, dear.  A compliment.  Age has nothing to do with effectiveness."

 

Oh, so politely, Rianne reaches over and puts Liesana's fork back onto her plate, grinning on behalf of her friend, and kicking her none too gently under the table. "Silly. Just smile and tell the nice Master yes," she councils so sagely as she uses her own fork to snatch a piece of herdbeast for herself, taking advantage of Liesana's shock, still grinning in a proud, pleased fashioned.

 

Jueann waits, "Well Liesana? Going to sit there like a lump?" she chuckles evilly, "Got someone in the Smiths on the hook you are afraid to leave?"

 

JeDera waves a hand in front of Liesana's eyes.  "I thinks she's passed out with her eyes open, Jueann.  Got some ice water we can dump on her head?"

 

"Ow!" Liesana meeps as both of her ankles are kicked almost instantaneously.  "Harper non-violence, my bum."  she mutters to herself, surreptitiously reaching a hand down to rub at them.  Realizing she's got an audience, though, she bestirs herself to a proper reply, full voice this time, favoring Jueann with a dry smirk.  "My hook's at Ista, and you know it,"  she counters.  "But... while I'm still not sure I'm the best qualified, you've got me if you want me, Jueann.  My duty is to my Craft.  I'll need a few days to sort things out with Smith Hall, of course."

 

Mireilla applauds as she whispers to the obnoxious boy beside her, "it is absolutely wonderful too watch the way that things are done within the craft. Maybe you should stop eating and listen. We won't be juniors forever, you know!"

 

Jueann nods, "Why of course. I don't expect you to move in over night.  you need to give notice to Ev... who's in charge over there now?  Cera?  I think...."  Turning to the harpers, raising her glass in salute.  "To everyone that has been promoted tonight.  Well deserved.  I am very proud of my craft and it's members.  I salute you all."

 

"Hook?" Rianne questions, her eyes lighting and her ears perking up. "Hook?" she repeats archly, kicking Liesana under the table for /quite/ another reason this time. Tossing her long, wind tousled curls over her shoulders, Rianne gives her a probing look, clapping with the rest at the promotions, but her attention is /entirely/ on this /most/ intriguing matter that has just cropped up. "Spill it, Lies," Rianne commands imperiously.

 

Niara blinks at the pronouncement, the initial dread of having her close after tonight's confession quickly being pushed aside by the real delight at the prospect. As the applause builds she joins in, happy to be right where she is when she is...especially if she can avoid Liesana until the dye fades.

 

Mireilla lifts her juice glass to the assembled to join in Jueann's honoring of her fellow harpers.

A grin replaces a smirk on JeDera's face and she raises her wineglass in salute to her tablemate.  "Good work and good luck."  She mutters under her breath.

 

Liesana lifts her glass as well, although this time she's quick enough to move her feet far enough from Mari's that all she ends up with is a glancing blow.  "You can meet him later,"  she replies, spilling nothing and giving JeDera a dry grin.  "Thanks, I think I'll need it..."

 

Tithing to the echoing chorus of applause and polite cheers, a staccato of clapping resounds from the direction of Flavian.  "Well done everyone."

 

Logfile from Niara

 

 

 

 

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