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It's All About Politics

Writers: Estelle, Paula
Date Posted: 25th February 2020

Characters: Tasni, Eilomar
Description: Tasni speaks to Eilomar to find out about Forest Springs Hold and Holder Giffin
Location: Harper Hall
Date: month 1, day 5 of Turn 10
Notes: Mentioned: Corowal, Jayala, Rizpaulen

Once choir practice was over, Tasni waited while the other journeymen
and apprentices filed out of the hall. It was getting close to the
Turn's End concert and the Choir Master was not always in the best of
humours, but today the rehearsal had gone relatively well and she hoped
he might be in the mood for talking.

"Master Eilomar?" She gathered up her score and hurried after him as he
headed for the door, easily catching up. "I'm sorry to bother you, but
there's something I wanted to ask you. Do you have time?"

"Journeywoman Tasni? Yes, I have a moment before the next class,"
Eilomar replied, eyeing her curiously.
He knew who she was, although they really hadn't interacted before.

"Thank you." She turned her best hopeful, appealing gaze on him. "Maybe
you know that I specialise as an archivist, and I transferred here to
study the history of the Southern territories since the plagues. Up
until now I've been working on Emerald Falls itself, but one of the
masters suggested I should look at the outer holds to understand how
they affect the decisions made here. So, I'm looking for people here at
the Hall who might have a family connection. One of the other journeymen
said he thought you had family at Forest Springs, so I was hoping you'd
be willing to tell me something about the place."

"Yes, I have niece and some grand-nieces and nephews there," Eilomar
confirmed. "My sister, she was quite prolific and her children are
married all around Emerald Falls. Lycina married one of Holder Giffin's
sons. He has plenty of those too."

**He is well connected,** Tasni thought, wondering if Holder Giffin
having a Master Harper in the family would be a problem if they did
detect that he was up to no good. "Have you ever visited Forest Springs,

"Not since my youth as a travelling singer. Must be over forty Turns
ago.. I visit my sister in Black Rock Hold often enough. My relatives
visit the main Hold often enough and I see them then," Eilomar replied.

"Forty Turns?" She thought back. "That must have been just after the
plagues." Despite her specific reason for wanting to know about Forest
Springs, she was actually rather interested in his memories of that
time. Her research told her that was when the Crafts had voted to
exclude women, and she wondered if the Hold attitudes had been
influenced by that decision or if they'd been pushing for the ban
already. "Oh - sorry, Master, I don't mean to keep you standing here.
Would you like to talk in your office, perhaps? I could bring you some
klah and maybe a small snack..."

"Yes, it was," Eilomar confirmed. "A klah would be nice, thank you but I
better not take a snack. My wife wouldn't like it," he replied to the offer.

Tasni hurried to fetch a jug of fresh klah from the kitchens, not
wanting to lose this chance to get the Master Vocalist talking, and
returned to his office carrying it in one hand and two mugs in the
other. "Here you are, Master Eilomar." She set down the mugs and poured
out the klah for both of them. "It's very kind of you to talk to me like
this. It'll be of great use to my research," she explained. "Everything
must have been changing so fast when you travelled to Forest Springs.
May I ask, was Giffin the Holder there at that time, or has he taken
over more recently?"

"Not many people ask me about those times, so I don't get much changes
to even remember them," Eilomar said and nodded a thank you when he
received the klah. "Giffin was very recent Holder, having taken over
after Plague, when his father died. Despite performing at his wedding, I
never felt welcomed in Forest Springs. That family had an issue against
Harper Hall even before the Plagues arrived. Something about the Hall
meddling too much. I remember my father complaining about it. They
trained their own harpers, and he was worried about what kind of
education the children in that Hold received."

Tasni thought of the Hall fire; most of the rumours suggested the Lord
Holder had been behind it, but it sounded as though he wasn't the only
one who wanted the harpers taught a lesson. "I can see why you didn't
want to go back. Have you heard anything from your family about what
they think there of the changes since Lord Corowal took over, with the
Harper Hall returning from the Weyr and allowing women to join the craft?"

"According to my niece, Holder Griffin was most unhappy when Corowal
started to fill in those empty Holds around his and put a stop of him
stealing resources from them. He still don't allow women to craft in his
Hold," Eilomar replied. He sipped his klah. "Which is why women like my
niece teach their daughters in secret. Whether it's singing or mixing
herbs to simple cures. Other than that, women are generally treated
well, abusive husbands are punished if abuse is found out. Giffin's wife
might have something to do with that."

"That's good to know." Tasni made a note to remember that. If she made
it to Forest Springs Hold, it might be interesting to talk to the wife
and to Eilomar's niece, and find out about the secret crafts. She
thought Master Jayala would like to hear that. "Do Holder Giffin or his
family ever come here to Emerald Falls, to visit? I suppose it must be
difficult if he's not in agreement with the Lord Holder."

"I know he attends the Turn Over festivities. To a man like him, it's
more important to show up in occasions like that than his feelings
about people hosting it. It's all about politics," Eilomar replied.

"I expect it must be, in a Hold the size of Forest Springs." She
considered asking about the fire, but decided against it; it would be
too suspicious, and besides she already knew from the Records that
Giffin had been in Emerald Falls at the right time. "So he's stopped his
encroachments on the nearby Holds?" He'd have needed loyal guards for
that, she thought. Maybe Gilbek had been involved.

"He had to," Eilomar confirmed.

Tasni wondered about that. In her experience, greedy men rarely changed
their ways. She'd come across cases of holders in the North paying their
stronger neighbours for "protection" or agreeing to trades that were
little more than robbery. Still, she ought to keep an open mind until
she saw Giffin's hold with her own eyes.

"At least those holders must be grateful for the Lord Holder's support,
even if he isn't. Did you ever meet anyone with land nearby?" It might
be prudent, she thought, to have a safe haven close by where the people
were more in sympathy with the harpers.

"Yes, I've met them. Rizpaulen is very new in his job but he seems
strong and not afraid of Giffin. I heard they had a quite a head butting
at his son's wedding," Eilomar replied. He did love a good gossip.
"Thing was, his son married Giffin's granddaughter," he grinned
mischievously. "The family occasions are going to be interesting."

"Family occasions often are," Tasni replied with a glint of amusement in
her eye. Of course, she didn't know from personal experience, but like
most archivists she'd worked on plenty of legal cases between disputing
relatives. She'd have to look up this other holder, Rizpaulen, too.
"What about his heir? Perhaps the next generation will be more inclined
to the Lord Holder's point of view."

"Hard to say, probably getting impatient to inherit," Eilomar replied.
"I'm not sure which of his sons is the official heir," he admitted.

Probably all jostling for position, if it was a rich Hold, she thought.
That could be interesting. More than ever, she couldn't wait to get to
Forest Springs Hold. "Let's hope it's someone more sympathetic to our
craft." She finished her klah. "Thank you for taking the time to talk to
me, Master Eilomar. This has been very useful for my research."

"I was delighted to be of assistance. People should ask me more about
these kind of things," Eilomar replied.. Mostly people just asked about
singing from him. He had other things to offer too.

Last updated on the May 31st 2020

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