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follow a cobblestone path through the gardens of Gar Hold. It appears to be
well kept, as it is one of the favorite spots of the hold. Stone benches are
set at regular intervals for people to sit and talk, especially young couples.
Camelia bushes of all colors are the focus of the gardens, with rose bushes
and azaleas as accents. Cobblestones and gravel pave all the paths, and stones
surround the beds, keeping greenery from growing where it ought not. The mixed
scents of the bushes are strong enough to be noticed, but not overpowering,
delightful. The whole effect is very relaxing, except that the usual
tranquility is interrupted by the addition of rows of white wooden... [look
It is a summer midmorning. Admiring
the reflection in the basin are four firelizards. You see Wishbone here.
Cerran, Natch, Radel, Ylisa, Moonn, Quayna, Caeran, April, and Niara are here.
claps even harder than he did the last time, then orders a plate of
meatrolls from a passing drudge. His flit is getting a bit restless.
adjusts her skirts neatly as she takes a seat on the stage, her
expression becoming more confident as she settles her gitar properly into
position. With a quickly strummed chord to gather attention, she declaims in a
clear voice, "I have a tale to tell... a tale of love and despair, of
feuding families and sweet passion." It's a story that's been told over and
over, in one way or another.
in the applause for Cerran, then settles down on a nearby chair to
listen to Quayna's story. She's smiling rather rigidly, now - she'll be going
on herself soon - but tries to pay attention.
modulates to a sad minor as she continues, letting the gitar fall
silent with her words. "Two cotholds, both alike in wealth and renown,
were separated only by a tall stone wall. This wall had been in place since the
First Pass, to separate the families' farmlands. Nothing could stop the feud;
no-one had tried in recent Turns, and their Lord Holder was continually fining
both families for the bloodshed and angry deeds that passed between them."
one day, at a Gather held by the Lord Holder, a young man and a young
woman, one of each family, chanced to meet. She was beautiful, he was handsome;
they thought they knew one another, but weren't sure, and so events continued
that evening at the Gather as to be expected." Quayna picks out a happy
dance tune on her gitar. "They danced, they drank fine Benden wine.... and
at the end of the evening, they kissed. Once, twice, and again, to pledge their
being a Harper-type (and a rather late one, at that), hurries through
the crowd, searching out other Harper-types who might be able to tell her where
exactly they are in the concert. Ylisa's spotted, and, as she doesn't seem
to be actively performing at the minute, Kirsyn takes the opportunity to slip
over and whisper, "Where are we?"
fingers draw some soft, almost sad music from her gitar as she
continues. "Finding out that his young lady was a fosterling of the Hold,
the young man - let us call him Rommero - determined that night to call up to
her window. But by this time, the Lady Holder had told her fosterling -
who we shall name Giulia - that the handsome young man should be one of her
bitterest enemies. And so the young man, standing below her window, heard Giulia
sobbing in despair: "Why, why do you have to be from that family? My only
love, borne of my only hate?"
forward as she listens. Lovely story, one might almost shed a tear
A cry of loneliness is dragged from the gitar by Quayna's fingers before she
continues, voice throbbing with the passion of the story. "Calling out to
his love, Rommero made himself known to her - and let it be known that
he'd betray his family for her love." A dramatic ripple of notes follow
vowed that she loved him above all else... and weaving her sheets
swiftly into a rope, allowed Rommero to climb up to her."
Love can triumph over much," Quayna muses, almost to herself, letting her
fingers pluck out another happy ripple of sound... that once more modulates
into something deeper, darker. "But alas," she declaims to her
audience, "It was not to be. Though the lovers were not found out, Rommero
had been marked at the Gather the night before by Giulia's cousin. They were
well known to one another, and so during the following day, Rommero found
himself confronted." Quayna's fingers pluck daggers of sound from the
gitar. "A fight... a fight... Rommero was wounded, and Giulia's cousin
killed outright. Rommero fled.... And Giulia, believing him a criminal and the
killer of her cousin, fell into mourning." Quayna's gitar gently weeps,
soft notes like teardrops.
to Kirsyn, and beckons her to a seat, but just whispers "Third item"
in response to her question. Then she turns her attention back to the
stage, delighted with Quayna's story.
the meantime, Rommero had fled to the next Hold, fearing to be held
responsible for the death of Giulia's cousin. But news came to him - not merely
that Giulia had fallen into a decline, but a full-fledged rumor that she was....
dead!" A quick strum across the gitar gives a dramatic sound suitable to
Quayna's lead-up of suspense.
truly enthralled by the story. He listens intently, forgetting for a
moment that he had a concert to run.
nothing was left now but sorrow. From so much joy, came so much pain...."
Quayna continues, voice dark with sadness for the story. "Rommero,
believing Giulia dead, took his own life... and when she learnt this news.... so
did she!" A pause is left for audience reaction, although they're all no
doubt familiar with the old, tragic love story.
at her eyes. A speck of dust seems to have lodged in each one.
rather saddened by the story. He knows he has heard it before, but had
completely forgotten how it ended.
A final few
chords of measured melancholy finish the tale. "With the death of
their children, the two families became reconciled.... and the wall was pulled
down, to build the tombs of the lovers." Quayna bows her head to the
with, "Though the story is well known... there never was a tale of such
woe, as that of Giulia and her Rommero." Rising to her feet with a flick of
her skirts, she takes a small bow. Her story is done.
claps, slowly and softly at first, as befits the mood woven around them
by the harper.
stands, hoping none notice him wiping tears from his eyes. He in fact
hugs Quayna as he gets up on the stage. "Thank you, Quayna.
That was lovely."
edges her gitar quickly out of the way of being squashed, but she's
clearly pleased by Cerran's hug - beaming as she steps off the stage and slides
her gitar into its case.
releases his little blue's tail for the first time to clap for the girl's
story, smiling in a rather melancholic way.
wipes a single tear from his cheek as he applauds the touching
disentangles herself from the ecstatic embrace of her neighbor, and
smiles, clapping Quayna. "Good, wasn't she? Oh, I think I'm
next." She retrieves her gitar from its case and quietly checks the
tuning one more time.
applause dies down, Cerran announces the next act. "Next, please
Senior Apprentice Ylisa, who will delight us with a song." He
retakes his seat off to the side, and a group of Harpers silently surround him
to discuss something.
nods, taking up a seat next to Ylisa - oh, wait, there we go, the fellow
Harper's going up. Please say she's not next, is she? Ohhh.
Kirs's not the most...erm...enthusiastic of performers. Hyperactive
nervous syndrome, if you will. Twitch. Fidget. It's really a
shame, because she was too busy worrying to appreciate Quayna's piece fully.
But she does quiet down to listen to Ylisa.
onto the stage, gitar in hand, her calm demeanor and poised bearing
concealing any nerves she may be feeling. She hopes. She's going to
sing standing, so she slips the gitar strap over her head as she turns to face
the audience, and settles the instrument into position. Then she smiles,
takes a couple of deep breaths, and begins.
introduction to Ylisa's song establishes a fast pace and a bouncy rhythm.
The harmonies are simple and cheerful, and Ylisa plays confidently.
scoots over closer to Kirsyn, nudging her in acknowledgement. "Are you
performing today?" she whispers, her eyes not leaving the stage.
listen to your Auntie as I sing to you this rhyme.
thought I'd ever live to see so bad a time,
children aren't ashamed to act the way you youngsters do,
So let me
tell you how it was when I was young like you.
were days of peace and plenty: Thread was quite unknown,
cornfields would produce a bushel crop for each grain sown,
would always fall at night, the sun would shine all day,
was many Turns ago and very far away.
the audience as she sings, looking from one to the other and making
eye contact, trying to convey the character of a crotchety old Auntie.
children don't know how to act! You should have been like me,
were never known to fail in any courtesy;
pleaded for the privilege of doing every chore,
the meal was served, we'd never think to ask for more.
our elders called, we always ran to do their will,
dearest wish it was to learn, to master every skill,
our work with no complaints and always did it well,
was many Turns ago, more Turns than I can tell.
verses are long, repeated phrases and a tune whose second half
answers the first serve to keep the song moving. Ylisa has got into
her stride now, and grins as she plays the few quick chords that lead into the
children don't know what you're missing, misbehaving so.
simply don't apply yourselves to what you ought to know,
could read and figure by the time that I was three,
no-one learned their teaching ballads quite as soon as me.
was five I read through all the records of our hold;
By ten I
was advising everyone both young and old;
Harper said he'd never seen a child so diligent,
was many Turns ago - I wonder where they went.
silently to Niara, meekly murmuring her answer. "Umm.
still rather apprehensive about the whole thing, hopping on hot coals if you
sings the last few words, Ylisa lets herself stare reflectively into
space for a second, then plays a longer link, letting the gitar repeat the
melody of the final bars of the verse. But there's plenty more to come,
and Ylisa varies the accompaniment. The claims get more and more
outrageous, but she sings more lyrically, as if reminiscing about past wonders.
taught me all he knew, that's why I am so wise!
had mastered every craft - I'm telling you no lies.
He bred a
line of runnerbeasts, so fast and strong were they
could cross the continent in just a sevenday.
his ship around the world and brought back treasures grand;
He dug a
mine that yielded sapphires bigger than my hand;
the Lords and Masters came to hear what he would say;
was many Turns ago, and very far away.
swings into the final verse, Ylisa returns to the original driving chords
in the accompaniment, her voice firm and cheerful, until the song slows in the
slides into the seat next to Kirsyn, ,giving the other apprentice an
encouraging and relieved smile. She starts to chuckle at Ylisa's song - not so
loudly that she might spoil people's listening.
we had a Gather, oh, it was the best of all!
a thousand crafters came and each one had his stall;
that they brought with them were the finest ever made,
boots that never would wear out and cloth that could not fade,
that you could never break and grapes the size of pears,
the traders liked your face, they'd give away their wares;
a hundred Harpers came to please us with their song,
was many Turns ago and you can't prove me wrong!
Eyes and face showing her amusement, Ylisa slows the pace on the last line,
emphasizing each word as she throws out the final challenge. She holds the last
note for its full length, playing the final chords with emphasis before voice
and instrument are silenced.
breaks out into full laughter, and applause too, showing her appreciation
of Ylisa's song - and the way it's turned the mood of the concert back to
walks in from the Hold Field.
claps wildly and laughs aloud. It's just how his aunt used to talk.
Even in his
impromptu meeting, Cerran couldn't help but listen to Ylisa's song,
and he accidentally laughs as a Harper makes an important statement.
"Excuse me, but I must go conduct my duty and I'll be right back to our
giggles and remembers and old Auntie /she/ used to know.
grins nervously at Quayna, for it's always nice to have
fellow-Harper-type supports, giggling herself. Well. Ylisa's was a
rather humorous song, you see, and Kirsyn had trader family. Who...have
been somewhat known to do that, on occasion.
heard of some sort of Harper event at Gar, Breena curious as always had
to investigate. Now that she is here however stays to entrance of the gardens.
Looking around to see how is there and what's going on.
stands facing the audience, relaxing visibly now that the song is over and
breaking into a smile. After a quick nod to acknowledge the laughter and
applause, she heads off the stage rather less decorously than she entered, gitar
tucked nonchalantly under one arm.
whistles loudly as he claps, interrupted by his own belly laughs. This
wakes his impertinent little bleu with a tart sending it searching for a hiding
place under the nearby stage.
casts a curious look towards Cerran - something's obviously in the
planning. Reaching into the pocket of her gitar care, she pulls out her
drumsticks, and starts twirling them idly between her fingers. "Great song!
Haven't heard that in ages," she hisses at Ylisa.
walks in from the Hold Field.
again takes the stage, as befitting the Announcer. "Thank you so
much, Ylisa. I'm sure we can all relate to that song." He
chuckles and turns back to the audience. "We now have Apprentice
Kirsyn." He claps for her as he
the stage. Yes, a short intro but he now has a lot on his mind for his own
beams nervously, squinting against all the /people/, before making her
slow way to the performance stage. Eek.
not much of a performance artist, you see, so she's sort of
nervously-hobbling upwards towards the stage, clutching her gitar tightly. She's
also rather tempted to have 'um' be the prelude to her introduction of the
piece, but refrains. "This is a somewhat lively tune, from some
cotholds near Ista. I hope you enjoy it." Deep breathing,
Kirsyn. Hesitantly at first, she
pluck out a few spunky little chords of melody.
settles back into her place next to Quayna, and grins. "I'm surprised
you've heard it at all! I don't think I've played it more than twice since the
thing I wrote it for - but it did win this for me." She rubs an
hand over her gitar, which is rather well crafted. "Time it had a
proper airing." She sighs, and sinks against the chair-back
"I'm glad that's over.
quietly moves towards the back row of wooden chairs. The harpers have
always fascinated her and a performance should be interesting. Taking the first
empty seat she can find, Breena smoothes her skirt and waits for the song to
all right. Kirsyn's a novice at this sort of performing-thing, so
the piece isn't perfect. And it's not entirely lively, although it does
approach it. Kirsyn's also not one to excel at sing-and-play, so the song
doesn't have a consistent set of lyrics - although the song does have some
lyrics to it. As Kirsyn proves, rather soon. "I caught my man
out in the weyr,
was riding blue"
her eyes and snorts, hand quickly flying to cover her mouth. Trust
Kirsyn to sing out about catching a man...doing /anything/.
that bluerider, the benefits of instant travel, he surely taught me true."
A few more notes are plucked, once more, still a rather lively and cheerful
tone. It's progressing rather well for her, indeed. She has been
practicing, too. "I caught my man out in the craft of cleaning up the
rocks, And that Master, he presented me with seven uncut gems per box."
It's actually a Kirsyn kind of song, for those of you who know her well.
heard you rehearsing..." Quayna replies to Ylisa with a slight frown,
but is instantly distracted by Kirsyn's song - another one to make her chuckle.
housekeeper arrives to cart April off to bed.
caught my man out in the hold, where he was serving drinks...And he taught me
that 'fasting doesn't rest on how the man's mind thinks." Pausing,
Kirs plays a few note to slow down the pace, before picking out a few more.
"I loved my holder's mind so greatly, that scarcely was I hesitating - me
and the Master were soon 'fasted, two days after. To this day the fact
that he thought I 'fasted for love - that always brings me laughter!"
the piece with a few laughing chords plucked, and walks down,
flushed, but grinning. For her, she's confident that she did a fairly
passable job, and she likes that. Kirsyn didn't join the craft to play,
after all, but she is slowly learning to like it. Phew. She's done.
And now, Kirsyn can place that gitar back in its case, and quickly hop back over
to her fellow
"How'd I do?"
murmurs to Quayna, "Shells, I never inflicted it on the dorm, did I?
Sorry!" Then her expression slowly becomes fixed as the words of
unfold. Her hands rise to her mouth, and her color deepens. She appears
to be trying to suppress a fit of laughter. She's not being very
successful at it.
applauds loudly. He rather enjoys humorous songs.
her knuckles shoved in her mouth to stop her choking with laughter...
she's somewhat more successful than Ylisa in hiding the hysterics. Eventually
she plucks her hand free to applaud Kirsyn loudly. "Great! You did
great!" she tells the other apprentice
snorts softly as the song begins but that quickly turns to chuckling as
the lyrics go on. At least she can keep it soft even if she can't stop
laughing. Breena applauds loudly, lovely, hilarious song.
beams at Ylisa and Quayna, and even anyone who's clapping. "Great.
OhmydearFaranth, I'm so glad that's over. I think I have a definite fear
of performing live on stage," she admits sheepishly. Well. It's
well-known fact by now, but Kirs's going to state it anyway.
suddenly disappears ::between::!
takes the stage, laughing and clapping. "Just great, Kirsyn, you did
just great." He motions for her to exit the stage and then turns to
the audience, still smiling. "Now for another outstanding
performance... ME!" He wants for the groans and boos to cease, then
motions for the group of Harpers offstage to join him. "But no,
seriously, I have a lovely group of Harpers here who will be performing with me.
It's an old traditional tune, but it has always been one of my favorites.
And I am sure any 'Riders out there will enjoy it."
broadly at Kirsyn, and nods her agreement with Quayna's words.
seems a little beyond her at the moment, and she has to wipe away a
tear of mirth. Eventually she manages, "I love it, Kirsyn. I
don't think I'd ever have the nerve to do that!" then tries to concentrate
as Cerran announces a more serious item.
groan at Cerran's self-introduction, more for fun than anything
else. But she sits up expectantly, waiting to see which old favorite is going
to be played.
nine people join Cerran on the stage. Two men carry trumpets. A woman
carries a snare drum, and two of the men lift a bass drum onto the stage, one
of them taking his place behind it. Another man carries a guitar on his
neck. With that, the man that helped with the bass joins the other three
singers, one for each: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The woman singing
alto hands Cerran a flute, which he promptly raises to his lips and quickly
raises an eyebrow at the not-quite-flamboyant self introduction of the
harper apprentice. Settling back in her seat Breena crosses her legs, adjusts
her skirt and generally fidgets as she waits for the next performance.
set a standard marching pace, as befitting considering the name of the
song is "March of the Wings." Then, the guitar joins, adding a
harmony for the upcoming quartet of singers. They join in together, signifying
the unity of Pern
the song suggests.