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The new Turn brought startling news at the Harper Hall - Hallmaster Vestian has named a woman as his new Hallsecond. Master Jayala has taken to her duties with her usual efficiency, but not everyone is pleased by a female harper taking the second rank in the Hall. One person who was delighted was elderly Master Zahira, who decided that her granddaughter's promotion meant she could return to Emerald Falls for the first time since the plagues.
Master Eilomar brought a surprise for his wife Merlish - an adorable little kitten. The gift was happily received, despite Eilomar ending up with a few scratches and gnawed fingers, but later an intimate moment between husband and wife was interrupted by feline crying. Will Eilomar end up regretting the new addition to the family?
Jayala continued her quest to recruit more female apprentices by offering a tour to one prospective applicant - Gesylle, the daughter of Trader Westyn - and invited her to the concert for the Lord Holder's birthday. She had a setback when the parents of another apprentice sent for her to return to their hold to be married.
Journeywoman Tasni has been continuing her search for the guard who was blamed for the fire at the Harper Hall. With the help of fellow journeyman Ueltin, she planned a trip to Forest Springs Hold, where the holder may have a grudge against Lord Corowal, and the two set off together in the guise of a bickering husband and wife. Unknown to her, Ueltin has been reporting back to Master Jayala about Tasni's activities. Is she a Northern spy, or does she have her own reasons for infiltrating the outlying holds?
There's plenty of mystery, politics and opportunities for new crafters at the Harper Hall!
Written by Estelle as L2 on September 27th 2020
The Harper Hall at Emerald Falls Hold had been in existence for a little over a century, but the harper presence had been there since the Hold's founding. The original building was a small stone structure, housing four classrooms and a few small sleeping rooms. There, the children of the Hold and nearby cotholds gathered for lessons. Several journeyfolk, under the supervision of one master, used it as a home base as they visited outlying areas. Occasionally a likely apprentice would be found, and would serve at the Hold until travel could be arranged to the Harper Hall in the North.
With growth of population and expansion of territories, it was decided that a Hall was needed in the South, both to aid in education of the general population, and to identify and train new crafters. Several locations were considered, but the presence of ready lumber at Emerald Falls decided the matter.
There it served for more than a century until then-Hallmaster Gilas changed his policy and allowed a female to apprentice to the Hall. This did not sit well with the ultra-conservative residents of the Hold. One night, two of the holders, drunk from ale and intending only to scare the Harpers into rethinking their new policy, set fire to the Harper Hall, destroying much of the buildings, instruments and records. Luckily, no one was killed in the blaze. The true arsons escaped without suspicion. One of the Lord Holder's trusted guards instead was accused of the crime.
The relations between Hold and Hall, which had been strained by the change in policy, had seemed to have taken a dangerous turn. It was decided by the South's Craftmaster that upon Gilas sudden retirement, his own Hallsecond, Master Almonteo would assume leadership of the Hall.
Along with Harpers, the Printer Hall found themselves homeless. With little other choice, save disbanding the Hall, it was decided that the Printers would merge with the Harpers, creating one Hall under Almonteo's leadership. In his hopes to ease relations between the two Halls, he has appointed a female Master Printer, Thanja, to serve as his Hallsecond. This was done despite the objections from some of the Harpers.
It was also decided that the Hall residents would leave Emerald Falls for their own safety and establish a new, temporary Hall at Dolphin Cove Weyr. Though many Harpers were wary of Weyrfolk and their scandelous ways, Almonteo has been determined to make things work, at least until a more permanent arrangement with a Hold can be made.
The Hall once stoods a good quarter candlemark walk from the Hold, making it easily accessible to the residents. However, after the Hall was destroyed by arsons, the Hall moved into the empty weyrs at Dolphin Cove.
From the original structure, wings were added in the four directions of the compass. The Hall now resembles a cross, with the North Wing housing vocal music and art, the West instrumental (including workshops), the East Wing housing and offices for craftsmen, and the South the kitchens, laundry, and staff quarters. The original edifice became a Great Hall, used for dining and performance, with adjoining rooms in each wing reserved as classrooms for local children. Construction of the newer portions of the Hall was of stone. Inside, a combination of wood paneling and padded fabric have been used both to soundproof, and to supply appropriate acoustical properties to the practice rooms.
The Hall was large enough to house up to forty-eight apprentices in four large dormitory rooms. Junior journeymen were housed in ten double rooms, and senior journeyfolk in twelve single rooms. Hallmaster, Hallsecond, and Master of Apprentices each have suites of rooms, while five additional masters have large single rooms with private baths. Of course, only dire need or event would bring all harpers assigned to the Hall within the walls at one time. Usually at least a half of the journeyfolk were on teaching rounds or special missions.
After the buildings of the Harper Hall were destroyed by fire, the residents relocated to the Weyr for their own safety. There they converted an unused portion into a new makeshift Hall. Meeting rooms and storage rooms have been converted into class and practice rooms, and weyrs into resident quarters.
The Harper Hall at Emerald Falls traditionally followed the lead of the Southern Craftmasters, banning female crafters. However, Harper Hallmaster Gilas in the third turn of the present Pass gave tentative approval to begin accepting female apprentices. This was not viewed with favor by many at Emerald Falls Hold, a more conservative Hold. Nor are many of the harpers assigned to the Hall happy about the new state of affairs.
After local Hold residents set their Hall ablaze, the Hall moved to the Weyr. There, Hallmaster Almonteo has begun the unenviable project of making his Hall co-educational. At the Weyr the young ladies have several Weyr trained female Harpers to look up to, along with those in the Printer Hall with whom they have been merged. However, it remains to be seen how easily the male Harpers will adjust to having female crafters in their midst.
Population and Plague Effects