About the Craft

 

A Harper's Life

 

Events in the Harperhall

 

Meet the Harpers

 

In the Vaults

Seamus' Exam

[ Up ] Jayla ] Jerran ] Jueann ] Kestria ] [ Seamus ] Teraille ]

 

Fletcher nods as he examines the table and shrugs. "Well, it seems Master Shinnai and Master Namire won't be coming. Now, let's begin with the basics. Name, rank, place of birth, specialty, main instrument, voice level, and name of Journeyman Project."

Seamus clears his throat to find voice. His musical tenor filling the room, "Seamus, Harper Apprentice. Born within Ista Hold. Specialized in Law, player of gitar, and my Project is The Foundation of Guilt."

Fletcher's stylus works busily until he notes a gap in the sheet below his hand. His eyes lift up a fraction and request, "Voice level?" 


Seamus blinks, taken aback that he'd forgot something in his nervousness. "Tenor, sir."

Fletcher adds the requisite note and sits back from his hunched position over the annoyingly formal paper, his poise significantly less strained. "Now, we'll go over some of the things you answered when you first Apprenticed, to see what's changed. What is it you think the Harpers do?" 


Seamus smiles quietly as he recalls the question first asked what seems a year ago. "A Harper represents the moral values of Pern, they embody the knowledge held within the Records. Harpers, as a whole, are the Bards, the Entertainers of the Holds and Weyrs. Being the emdbodiment of the Records, we are also the Teachers of the young and old. We spread the knowledge of language and music through the various lessons that we demonstrate to ourselves and others. Also, we are the Judges of Pern, the ones who are impartial and unbiased. It falls to us at times to either preside over cases or offer advice on legal 
matters. We seek to teach the Laws of Pern to those within Hold, Hall, and Weyr. That is what a Harper does."

Fletcher smiles and nods to Seamus' answer, looking down the row of Masters who nod slowly to the words. He looks back to Seamus, nodding slowly. "Yes, all right. Why do you like being a Harper?"

Seamus chuckles quietly, leaning back in his chair as he sets to answer... 

 

Seamus seems to smirk with amusement as he retells this answer, much changed from when he first entered the Craft. "Why do I love being a Harper?" he asks, rewording the question slightly. "The Harpers form the foundation of all knowledge within Pern. Because of out Lessons, those younger generations before us have the opportunity to learn, grow. Through us, Pern is taught the ways of Law, Music, and Language. But, the most fascinating aspects of Harperdom number two reasons for me. The first and foremost is my own Specialty: Law. The Laws that we uphold, that we enforce, bind Pern together. The Laws we practice keep the citizens of Hold, Hall and Weyr safe. But the most intricate, beautiful thing that Harpers have over any Craft is the Music. Through simple melodies and songs, we can shift th e mood aof a crowd, bend it to invoke images of beauty or sadness. Music is the root of all humn emotion, the foundation s upon which we stand..."

A general sound of Mmmmmm comes up from the Master table, some of them nodding, including Fletcher, who poses the next question, "How do you perceive yourself as a Harper? What do you think of your time here, the way it's affected you, and the way it works into your life now?" 


Seamus ahs as he settles upon an answer. Seamus turns a level gaze to Fletcher as his tenor echoes through the room. "Being a Harper has given me purpose, a goal so to speak. The HarperCcraft has shown me countless lessons, given me a vast understanding. How has this affected me? Greatly ... It is through the Harpers that I've grown to understand and comprehend the intricate Laws of Pern. It is because of the HarperCraft that I can perform the Music that I do now. The Harpers have demonstrated much kkindness and understanding to both my Life as it was and the Life that I lead. The HarperCraft as a whole has given me a home to stay, a place where I could belong." 

Fletcher gives the traditional mmm and nod, as does everyone else on the table, jotting down something on a sheet of paper before him. "Yes, well. Now, please tell me the three most important precepts of Pernese law." 

 

Seamus hmms quietly as he ponders. Seamus blinks aas the information slowly comes to mind. "One important aspect
of Pern Law is the autonomy held within the Hold, Hall, nad Weyr. It is because of therse that the three are protected from each other, so to peak. The Hold can protect itself from the other two, the Weyr and Hall, because of the independence of the situation. It provides the right for either of the three to set to trial any of the crimes commited upon their grounds, without
fear of retribution."

Fletcher nods slow agreement of that answer, making another jotted note before turning his clear emerald gaze to the Apprentice, his stylus dangling between his fingers.

Seamus pauses, once again looking back through memory. Seamus emerges from his search unsuccessfully. "I can't recall," he says adly.

 

A round of mmming an haaaing goes around the table, some of the Masters looking sideways to eachother. Fletcher finally speaks up after the other settle down with an attempt at a comforting smile. "That's all right, Apprentice. On to something else... Do you recall Journeyman Caramak's famous law problem involving Southern Boll and Fort and the criminal?"

Seamus, head down from diappointment, silently nods. "I do," he says. 

 

Fletcher mmms softly, nodding. "Good. Apprentice Daerin once posed the solution to fake the man's death in Southern Boll to appease the Fort Lord Holder, smuggling the man somewhere else under a brand new identity. Do you think that would be a good choice on the part of the Harpers advising the Southern Boll Lord and for the HarperCraft in general?"

Seamus shakes his head with vigourous determination. "We couldn't do that in goo conscience. I admit, the idea was admirable, but the solution would not be worthy of the possible repercussions. Think, for a moment, wwhat would
happen if the Harper's ties were found out? Not only would the effort have been futile, but our trust and reputation among the other Holds, Halls, and Weyrs would rapidly decline. That solution would prove far too dangerous to the Craft than say, advising the Holder to refusing to hand over the man. Above all else, the Harpers must keep their integrity in line so as not to
alienate ourselves from the others. Otherwise, all aour work and planning would be fore nothing..."

A soft murmer of approvals by some of the Masters is met by the low hum of not-quite-approval by some of the others. Fletcher, though, grins and nods to Seamus, then asks, "Who do you think a Harper owes their first allegiance to? Their Lord, their Craft, their MasterHarper, or Pern?" 

 

Fletcher adds, "Or someone else?"

Seamus lifts his head, his own conscience still plagued by his recent failure. He rests against the back of his chair, meeting Fletcher's gaze as he wonders...

Seamus smooths his clothing a trifle, adjusting pieces here and there. "Sir, that question is hard to answer, considering each Harper will interpret their allegiances in a different light. Me? My allegiance falls to my beloved Pern first. Above all else, Pern must flourish, must expand. Some would question my loyalties with tht answer, some would not. My reasoning is thus: Holders,
even Lord Holders, will come and go. They aren't permanent in their position and when title is taken, what iwll the Harper do? Second, loyalty to the Craft is impossible. If the Craft were destroyed, would one no longer be a Harper? And lastly, even the MasterHarper must leave, either through age or death. While worthy of the most immense respect, one should never swear
allegiance to just one person. When that one erson is gone, you've nothing left, nothing to sustain you. And that leaves eternal Pern, Pern will remain, Pern will always be here for those who follow and guard the world from dangers and perils, and teach those who reside upon it. So, that explains hwy all of Pern will get my sworn allegiance over just one person or Craft..."

A Journeyman near the end of the table looks to Fletcher for acknowledge, then asks of Seamus when it's received, "How it it determined what is best for Pern, then? If I might detail the question a bit, who should you listen to to make decisions?"

Seamus looks sharply at the Jouneyman, seemingly abashed a such a question, then cooly replies...

Shinnai walks in from the ballroom.

Fletcher looks up and give a little grin at the tardy Master, offering a seat near him silently as he awaits Seamus' response.

Shinnai says, "Fletcher, Seamus. Sorry I'm late..." 

Seamus clears his throat, ready to stand on his proverbial sop-box ( er, soap ... sop is another thing, but I regress ), "Sir, one must always follow one's Heaart when coming to a decision, even those upon which reside the fate of Pern. If I may be so bold to ask, are you some form of machination? If a Master asked you to plummet off Volcano Cove, telling you it's for the betterment of Pern, would you do so? I, for one, have other reasons to believe otherwise. One should always follow your instincets, follow your feelings when confronted with a problem. The people residing upon Pern are usually kind and generous, not monsters; so I believe you could come to a reasonable decision with little advice, though advice is often appreciated."

You whisper, "The last question asked was who a Harper should listen to to make decisions- they Lord, their Craft, their MasterHarper, or what they feel best for Pern." to Shinnai.

Shinnai walks around to her desk, taking a seat as she quickly gets rid of the papers that forced her to be late in the first place, listening to Seamus' response.

You whisper, "Already asked him the basics. How he felt as a Harper, what he feels the Craft does, some law basics which he botched slightly, and an ethics question." to Shinnai.

Shinnai nods consideringly, pushing her hair out of her eyes and looking rushed, but slowing settling down now that she's here.

Seamus nods a sorrowful greeting to the Master, still atrifle upset he failed to answer a question.

Fletcher mmmms softly, nodding in slow acknowledgement of the answer. "Yes, I see..." he leans over to eye the Journeyman who asked the question. "Is that all, Reran?" The other Journeyman nods in response, so Fletcher looks up to his Master. "I've asked all I can think of presently, Master."

Shinnai nods. "Alright... I apologize if I'm repeating questions, but here goes." She reaches for a ledger book in which she generally keeps notes, taking her lead stylus from its holder.

Seamus turns an expectant gaze to Master Shinnai, trying his best to smile as he waits for further questions.

Shinnai says, "Seamus. I don't know if this has been asked already, but name the authority structure in a typical Hold."

Shinnai says, "For instance," she clarifies, "Who has first power, who next, etc. Who has the right to judge?""

 

Seamus shakes his head, "Tat's a new one..." he says, pausing slightly toinhale...

Seamus smiles, hoping this answer will suffice, "In a Hold, first authority goes to the Lord Holder or Holder of that particular hold, followed by the Hold's Steward. When it comes to the matter of court, the first choice of judge should fall upon the shoulders of the Lord Holder him or herself. Next in line will go to the Hodler of that Hold and then the Steward. Of course,
if through some unfortunate circumstance, the Holders or Stewards are unavailable, a Harper should be called in to act as Judge by a Master Harper, if not *the* MasterHarper."

Shinnai nods. "Good, and what function do harpers *normally* serve in this chain of command?" she follows up.

Seamus grins, "The Harpers usually perform nothing other than advisor duties unless called upon otherwise. In a ranking scheme, I'd say a Harper of a particualr Hold would rank alongside the Hold Steward for argument's sake. Due to the fact that the Harper would be trained in Law, he'd have as much knowledge of Hold mechanics of the Hold as the Steward, if not more so."

Shinnai nods. "True." She makes a note, and looks down a list for another question.

Shinnai says, "Alright, hypothetical question. You are approached by a Holdless man, dressed raggedly and looking like he hasn't seen the light of day in turns. He tells you that he's been wronged by a small holder, who stole some marks off of him when he tried to attend a gather." 

 

Shinnai takes a breath, then continues. "The small holder insists that he's never seen the man before, and his guard says the same."

Seamus nods, "And you'd like me idea as to the outcome of such?" 


Shinnai leans her chin on her hand casually. "What do you do?"

Seamus grins, "Very well, it's actually simplistic in an intricate fashion." 


Shinnai raises an eyebrow, listening.


Fletcher is quietly paying attention to this interplay between his Master and his Apprentice.

Seamus leans further back into his chair, folding his hands before him. "Seeing how this is, or had, occured at a gather, one ould not want to approach the holder as first choice inthat instance. Not to sound harsh or conspiratorial, one would seek the other persons present at the crime scene first. I realize I said that most of Pern are kind, generous sorts of people, but when it omes to Law, you need to get the suspects to stab themselves in the back, so to speak. If you find evidence before questioning the likely suspect first, you could catch them in a possible lie. I highly doubt that one would approach a known thief, asking if they stole something. So, your first rule is to hunt down character witnesses, eyewitnesses, then the Guards for any information regarding the case. Only after all the available clues have been gathered should one approach the suspect themselves..."

Shinnai says, "And yet, it's one man's word against another."

Seamus nods as he continues.


Shinnai points out, "A Holdless man might have any number of reasons for accusing a Holder of a crime."

Seamus shakes his head thoughtfully, "When it comes down to one mans word against the other, that's where the burden of proof comes in. Seeing that the man is holdless, his creditability is in question anyhow. If he can not furnish the required evidence as to the crime in question, I must side with the Holder on this issue."


Shinnai nods. "And if the accusation is false, what then?"


Seamus winces, "If the accusation has been proven flse, the man must himself be taken into custody. I admit, having been Holdless myself and haivng my nature as it is, I'd personally measure the weight of the accusation. If the poor man looked hungry, dying, and out of luck, I may take pity on him. If he seems more vindictive than anything, I'd throw him into a prison ( with the Guards permission, of course ), and await his trial for bearing false witness. Even then, that might improve the Holdless one's living conditions..."

Shinnai nods again, jotting down a thought or two in the book. "Ah, I think you've likely asked these already, Fletcher - come take a look?"

Fletcher peers over the Harper's shoulder.

Shinnai says, "You see any new ones here?"

Seamus grins mischieveously, "Question 4 on page 3 is new..."

Raren leans over to look, shakes his head. "That's it, I think. Except for one thing."

Shinnai raises an eyebrow at Seamus, amusedly.


Seamus chuckles, whistling tunefully.

Shinnai looks blankly at Raren for a moment, until he taps his finger in the direction of the gitar hanging on the wall. "Aha! Yes, Seamus... you have prepared the Ballad of Gerontius, right?" There's a twinkle in her eye that might tell the initiated that he wouldn't have known about this at all.  

 

Shinnai stands, reaching for the gitar. "Seamus?" she carefully hands the gitar across the desk to him.

Seamus watches Shinnai, suddenly slack-jawwed. "A Ballad of Whos-is?"

Fletcher decides a secret little smile is in order so flashes one at anyone who wants to see it. No one does.

Seamus grips the gitar tightly, staring down at the thing as if it were laiev to him

Shinnai says, "Gerontius. You remember Gerontius, I hope. From the ninth pass, a Holder in Ista here who alerted the Weyr to an off-time Threadfall in time to save the entire island?"

Seamus turns an accusing glare to Fletcher, "I see," he says, frowning slightly. "I s'pose I could make an attempt..."

Shinnai nods. "Please."

Seamus places the gitar across his lap, playing idly with the strings for a moment. His mind searches back as his fingers play soft notes to rekindle past memory. With a smile, his hands cease all action for the briefest of moments before entering into the tune of The Ballad of Whos-is, which, of course, he knows but was not taught durig his studies ... Anyhow, his fingers
dance down the length of the gitar, evoking the osoft whispering tones of alling thread, the wind, and a gentle rain elsewhere.
Seamus's hands grip the neck a little firmly as he shifts from chord to chord, bringing forth the rich mellow tune of a lazy drift. The notes soar up into the air to cushion the weight of the falling thread. Entranced once more in the moment of song, he gives no notice to the others within the room. And on the song plods as the melodies dwindle to a lower range, the sound of hearts
beating, asleep, save one. The chords of Whos-is ring triumphantly throughout the Hall, a summons. Fast-paced notes racing around the room, alerting all present to the cushioned notes hanging in the air. With a startling rage, the harmonies sweep up into the air, crashing through the softer whispers, the sounds of dragonfire bursting from the strings of his gitar. And the interplay, soft and harsh, light and dark, continues for moments at a time. The melodic shifts hanging in the air, one side
overpowering the other, then back. The whirlwind of sound emerging into the forefront, drawing the listeners into the battle. One clear triumphant, almost defiant, chord erupts from the gitar, brining the whispers to a standstill. Silence takes over the Hall for the merest of moments, waiting, nothing stirring save the heartbeats. With an agonizing slowlness, the dirge of whos-is calls from within, a remembrance of a hero gone by and a time long past. Softly, the melodic wind creeps back in, in memory of Whos-is...

Shinnai has leant back in her chair, listening intently, obviously affected by the ballad.

Seamus cautiously opens an eye, then both as the song comes to an end. 

 

Shinnai is smiling at Seamus as he opens his eyes. As is most of the rest of the panel. Save, of course, old Journeyman Fregrin, who never smiles at anyone.

Fletcher adds his own toothiness to the entourage.

Seamus smiles, offering the gitar back to the master.

Shinnai says, "Thank you, Seamus. " She reaches over to receive the gitar back. "Do you have any comments that you'd like to make?" she asks the examinee."

Seamus shakes his head slowly, releasing a long sih, "None, other than this was enjoyable," he says, wincing slightly. "Just a little upset I still can't recall the answer to that question."

Shinnai nods. "I'm sure Fregrin will fill me in on that one," she catches the man's glance as he makes disapproving facial expressions at her. "Other than that, I think we're finished, am I correct?" she glances for confirmation at the rest of the panel.

Shinnai smiles. "Then, this session is adjourned, the test is complete."

Logfile from Fletcher

 

 

 

 

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