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Were You Here Then

Writers: Ames, Estelle
Date Posted: 21st February 2019

Characters: Tasni, Almeric
Description: Tasni meets a fellow journeyman, Almeric, and they discuss the fire that happened at the Hall.
Location: Emerald Falls Hold, Harper Hall
Date: month 9, day 4 of Turn 9

Tasni hurried into the dining hall and slid into a seat at the end of
the journeymen's table. She'd managed to find a few minutes to spare
after gitar practice to finish writing up a report for the Northern
Hall. As always, she had to be careful about what she wrote; since her
messages had to go by runner and ship, there was a good chance that
someone from the Southern crafthall was intercepting them. It was only
when she was finally satisfied and rolling up the paper ready to be
dispatched that she'd realised she was nearly late for dinner.

She helped herself to slices of wherry meat from a dish that was passed
to her, and passed it to the journeyman opposite her with a friendly
smile. "This looks good! You do have delicious food down here in the South."

"Um, yes," Almeric replied absently. He reached for the dish that was
being passed his way. He had been focused on sketching out his plans
for the mural he'd been asked to create. As his hand grabbed the dish,
he misjudged and the bowl teetered, nearly crashing to the table.
Almeric quickly dropped his sketching tool to grab the dish with both
hands. Specks of paint he missed in scrubbing were still visible on
his hands.

"I'm sorry. I should have paid more attention," he said, finally
looking up and seeing Tasni for the first time.

"Not to worry. I should have noticed you were busy. But there's no food
on the floor, so no harm done." She'd reached across to steady the dish
and let go once she saw he'd got it safe, but not before she'd caught a
glimpse of his work. "Oh, that looks interesting! Are you an artist?"

"Hm," Almeric replied at first, almost absent mindedly while he
processed her question. Looking at his sketchpad, he answered, "Yes, I
am an artist. I'm currently planning a small mural as a gift for a
family who assisted me during my early days visiting as a journeyman.
I'm Almeric, by the way." He hoped he didn't already know her and
forgot. He tended to be a bit forgetful with names and faces.

"Well met, Almeric. I'm Tasni, visiting from the Northern Hall." Her
interest was sparked when she heard that he was an artist, since that
was the speciality of the Hallmaster. Her Masters back in the North had
asked her to report on anything she could find out about him, but she
hadn't had much success so far. Maybe his journeymen would know
something useful.

She decided not to ask about that right away, though. It would only
arouse suspicion. "That's a lovely gift for that family. Do they live
close to Emerald Falls? Or will you have to journey to them?"

"They are close the Emerald Fall actually," Almeric replied. "I wanted
to stay close by when I first started my journeying. I did make my way
a few other places before I decided to return here to work further on
my skills and studies. You've _really_ traveled far. What brings you
from the North down here to join us?" Almeric was curious about the
North, but not enough to actually want to venture there at this time.
**Maybe someday,** he thought, **I will explore all the areas of

"I'm an archivist, and I've come to study the history of the Southern
Continent," Tasni explained. She couldn't help smiling at how grand that
sounded. "Well, not _all_ of it - that's far too much for one harper.
Mainly I'm looking into the time when the ban on female crafters was
brought in, up until the burning of the Hall. In the North, we don't
know very much about that period, since our crafts didn't have much

She helped herself to vegetables, then passed the dish on to him. "Were
you here at that time? The fire, I mean?"

Her question sparked his attention. Almeric looked at her intently,
reliving the moments from so many Turns ago.

"Aye, I was here, then. I had just walked the tables and received my
journeyman knots. The fire broke out only days later. In the end,
rather than moving with the Hall here to the Weyr, I chose to start my
work traveling since I felt as though the home I had loved was lost to
me." Almeric's eyes hinted at a sadness he felt during that time. "It
was a difficult time for all of us."

"I'm sorry." Tasni tried to imagine how it must have been. To have your
home burned to ashes, all your work lost, and knowing that the arsonist
was out there in the dark... "Sometimes it's easy to forget that what
I'm studying was a disaster for those who were there." She shook her
head. "It's hard to believe that anyone would do such a terrible thing."

Almeric shook the thoughts of that time away. "It was a terrible thing
for sure. If the holders hadn't been so stubborn and close minded none
of the destruction would have happened." He frowned. "Change can be
hard, but change can lead to good things. It's time for a change here
in the South, but I just don't know when the others will finally see
reason." Almeric felt strongly about this subject after the fire and
seeing firsthand how women crafters had led to changes within the
Harper Hall itself.

"It seems like the Hallmaster agrees with you about change," Tasni said.
"After all, he let me come here to study. It was brave, to carry on
admitting women to the craft even after the fire."

"He has been a great leader for the hall, for sure. I hope others here
in the Southern Continent take his lead someday soon. Change is hard,
but in the end it will lead to better things for all of us," Almeric
found that when he discussed things such as this he was less
distracted and more attentive to the people around him. "How long will
you be staying Tasni?" He hoped they might have the chance to speak
with her more, but it was drawing time for him to meet with his
assigned group of apprentices to go over basic brush work with them.

"Oh, quite a while, I think. Six months at least, maybe as much as a
Turn. There's a lot to study here, and I'd like to travel a bit, if I
can manage it." She smiled. "So you'll probably see me around,
especially if you drop in to the archives."

"I look forward to talking with you again, Tasni. I'm afraid I've got
a group of apprentices to see to now. See you around the hall,"
Almeric said, standing and scooping up his supplies.

Last updated on the February 28th 2019

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