Harper Hall - Archives
Carved from a large and wide cave, it extends deep into the rock until the back curves into a semi-circle shape and it gives the illusion that the Hall has no ground beneath it. The Archives are their own separate 'bubble' of sorts and the ceiling is supported by well placed stone pillars carved from the natural stone and etched with knotwork designs. Hundreds of floor to ceiling bookshelves fill this cavernous room and while packed full it is obvious that the material here is handled with utmost care and meticulously categorized and kept from decay and damage. Glows and the newer addition of electrical lights allow ample enough lighting and a few tables and chairs are arranged for use for anyone wishing to quietly read over the information they seek. Somewhere amidst the stacks is a plain wooden door leading to the modest and small printing room, a leftover from earlier times when AIVAS requested one to be built but most of the machinery now moved to another Hall.
Summer in Fort usually means that many are trying to make the most of it. It's a season that does not last long in this part of the continent and so far, unlike the spring months, it's proven to be unusually hot and dry. That's not the reason why Rayathess is indoors though. Doesn't matter what the weather is outside, if there's work to be done (there always is), he's likely holed himself up somewhere to whittle away the hours doing it. Today it's the archives and he's settled himself at one of the smaller and older wooden tables, several large and ancient looking ledgers and books opened and spread out in front of him and nothing but the intermittent sound of his writing tool scratching across the thin parchment he's taking notes on. Distantly the sound of music drifts in, muffled by the layers of stone below and around the archives.
Heading into the archives is Briari, who has been in and out of Fort quite a bit since her brother impressed to his lifemate. She was at one point a staple here in Harper Hall before she returned home to Monaco Bay to begin a career in following her Aunt's footsteps. With guitar slung across her back and wearing a peppy summer dress of blue and gold trim, she gives a bright smile to Rayathess. "How did I figure I'd find you here? There is sunlight out in the sky, you know. You could try soaking some of it up."
Rayathess has always been in the Hall since he was accepted as an Apprentice despite his advanced age well out of the usual norm. The rare times he does leave are to go to the Weyr or make his circuits among the northern cotholds in Fort's range, including his home. Pausing midway through writing another sentence, he looks up as Briari enters and approaches, his eyes betraying a faint look of curious interest and a slight frown as he shuffles through his memory. Give him a moment! "… Briari, right? And what's wrong with the archives? I get plenty of sunlight when I travel." he replies dryly as his eyes already begin to lower again to the parchment he was writing upon. "What brings you up here?"
"Don't tell me that you've forgot who I was. Maybe I should have caused more of a ruckus when I was in training." Briari approaches the desk with a careless stride as she blows a curly lock of blonde hair away from her face. Settling her palms upon it, she leans forward slightly. "Just poking my nose about and seeing who was around. And, rumor is, you don't travel as much as you think you do. Summer is almost over, come on out of this dusty office and let's get some sun on your skin." Her fingers lightly drum along the top of the desk. "I could also use a trained ear to listen to a song I just wrote, but there is something bugging me about it."
Rayathess quirks a brow as he glances upwards again, a faint smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. "I haven't entirely forgotten. Only I can often place a name but not a face. Just wanted to be sure first before I opened my mouth," he points out and when she approaches and leans forwards, he will set his writing tool down and lean back into his chair. "There's a lot of rumours about me," he states and now visibly smirks. Clearly, Briari's offer has not yet swayed him to give up his work for the day. "Didn't think folks cared whether or not I got some sun for the day. Afraid it'll have to wait," he gestures with a flick of his hand to the desk. See? For her music though, his head tilts a bit. "Voice and music is not my strength. I could try to help you but… you'd be better off pestering the Masters for that or another musically inclined Journeyman." Hey, at least he's honest on his abilities?
"And what is it that you're working on anyways?" Briari asks with another smile upon her face as she places a finger on the piece of paper and slides it over and around to her to take a peek at it. "You signing papers all day is just going to cramp your wrist you know. Make you all limpy armed, like a wet noodle." Pulling a chair over, she settles in to it across from him, straddling it so not to damage her guitar. "Yes, I'm sure I could bother one of them." He arms cross upon the top of the chair.
"Stuff" Is Rayathess' infuriatingly cryptic and blunt reply, which he follows up with a crooked smirk. Nice try? He'll promptly try to grab that parchment back from her, giving her a frowned look. She mind? That could be sensitive information! Not that it is, in this case. It looks like legal notes on marriages between two cothold families. How… dull? "Hardly. I've had plenty of practice but thank you for your concern." he drawls and watches her silently as she takes a seat. He snorts, "But you're not going to, are you?"
"Neeewp. I'm probably not going to." Briari says with a grin upwards to him as she peeks out from under her blonde tresses. "Come on Raya, we've known each other since we were toddlers, even if you can't always remember my name. You know, stunning blonde with one of the greatest voices of our generation.. I'm pretty forgettable. I'm bored, hungry." She smiles, finger tapping along the top of the pieces of paper in front of her, making it wiggle left and right. "You got an hour to eat and listen to my song and catch up with a friend."
Rayathess's brows lift and he gives her a bit of an incredulous look. "Afraid you've got me mixed up with another guy then because I was never part of the Hall since toddlerhood and if I knew you then I'd think I'd recall? I only came here well into my teens." he corrects her and chuckles dryly. "You and how many others have the greatest voice?" Try again. "So you came up here while bored and hungry rather than the dining hall?" It's said in a rougher tone but he's far from looking annoyed. He does try to reclaim his parchment again, while giving her another lingering look. Thinking, no doubt, of his options. He smirks, "You're not going to give me much of a choice in the matter, are you?"
"Alright, you caught me. I was making it up. I was living in Monaco Bay anyways at the time also." Briari says with a laugh as she keeps her finger planted firmly on the parchment. "You always have a choice. You got a choice to get lunch with me and catch up, or, you can.. you know.. sign paperwork and go hungry and then by the time you get to the dining hall, all the good stuff is gone, most important of which is the stunning blonde with the greatest voice of our generation." Her voice rings out in a bit of a laugh as she lets the paper go. "I really just wanted to catch up with a friend, that's all, if you're busy I'll go pester someone else. My brother just took off to hang out in Xanadu to watch his eggs cook so I don't have really anyone else to hang out with."
Rayathess smirks. He thought so! "Why'd you make it up?" he asks, curious for her motives behind that. His good humour beings to wane when she continues to keep her fingers planted firmly on the parchment. Maybe it is important work? He gives another firm tug at it but does not seem keen on seeing it damaged. "I know to you it seems I work too hard but I don't skip meals." Not always, anyways but he doesn't share those particular details with her. Finally, he gains his work back and he hastily tucks it safely out of the way. "So your brother is S'ai, then? Zeruth's rider." Looks like someone keeps tabs on Fortian clutches and riders. "Why don't you go and pester him in Xanadu?" It's another curious question and not a dismissal, though it may seem that way. Rayathess has never been clear on his emotions and often sends mixed signals.
"Fine, fine, I'll just go then." Briari says with an indignant sniff as she pushes herself backwards on the chair, then turns it around and slides it back into place. "Sorry to be a 'pest' to you. Eesh." With that, she starts off for the desk and back to the door. Running a fingerless gloved hand back through her hair, she gives it a bit of a ruffle to tousle the curls a bit away from her eyes.
Rayathess sighs and swears under his breath. What IS it with women? He's never going to sort them out at this rate. "That's not what I meant!" he grumbles as he hastily closes the heavy ledgers and books, tucking the smaller ones into his bag, along with his notes and writing materials. "Briari, wait!" he calls, as loudly as he dares less he bring the Master Archivist down on both their heads for disrupting the otherwise 'quiet' of the place.
Pausing, Briari turns around and slips her hands down upon her waist. "It's alright, if you're busy, I'll poke my nose about and find someone I recognize around here to hang out. It's fine. It's not like we're best buds or anything, so you can blow me off. I'm not going to take offense."
Rayathess lifts his hands up slightly in a warding gesture. "Woah. Don't have to get snarky with me! I wasn't blowing you off. I was actually curious as to why you'd not visited your brother if he's stuck in Xanadu! Way you put it, you two seem close." Something he can understand, given how protective he is over his own siblings. "Well, clearly I've offended you?"
Briari raises a brow upwards. "I am -not- being snarky. I don't think you even know what the word snarky means. I'm being honest, if you're busy, I'll bugger off. It's not a big deal. And, I am close with my brother, yes, but I've been here for the last week or so hanging out with him. I am going to head back to the Bay tomorrow and I just wanted to catch up and get lunch with you. I'm not offended. I don't get offended. Life is too short to be offended at the small stuff. Besides, I'm used to Fortian men blowing me off." She says with a smirk on her face.
"Yeah, I do know the meaning of snark. I was a master at it." Rayathes smirks and then lifts a finger while she speaks as if to signal his point. "See? You're saying your not offended and yet claim I am blowing you off. I was being honest too by saying I had work but I never meant to imply that I was too busy that I wouldn't eventually go down to the dining hall." Another snort and he shakes his head. "Why's that even matter?" There is a slow, calming breath that spills past Briari's lips, followed by a bright and sunny smile. "Well, then, perhaps when you've got a break in your work we can get lunch then. You can always write me a letter, or take a trip, or, perhaps I will be back to visit my brother again when he gets back. I'm sure we'll find a way to make it work."
Rayathess is breathing a quiet sigh of relief. At least he's not having stuff thrown at him this time? "Well… I've packed my stuff up now? Guess I could nip down quick to the dining hall and eat." he offers with a shrug. "Or that." He means the letter writing. When all else fails! It's a good thing that there isn't anything near by that she can put her hands on and lob it in his direction then. Briari smiles as she turns and starts off once more through the hall. "Up to you. I'm hungry and I'm going to eat."
Oh, there's plenty of artillery in the archives! She'd just have to answer to one very pissed off Master Archivist at the end of the battle! Rayathess pauses for a moment, giving a furtive glance back over his shoulder to the table where he was seated moments ago. His brows knit and then smooth as he makes his decision. "Wait up," he calls quietly to Briari as he trots to catch up to her, shouldering his bag more comfortably.
Giving a smile over her shoulder, Briari leans in and bumps against him gently. "I'm really glad you came. It gets .. frustrating to eat alone, every day here.. and.. uh… be ignored." Sliding one of her arms into his, she gives him another sunny grin. "And, I guess I'm starting to realize I don't have many friends. Uh.. in general.. sorta too focused on work my entire life."
Rayathess grunts softly when he's bumped and he returns it with a smirk. There's something in her answer that he can understand and even relate to and he shakes his head, "Yeah, I know how that goes but I often prefer the solidarity. But you? Ignored?" He's finding that hard to believe. "What'd you do to piss everyone off? Seems to me like your reputation and past are pretty untarnished." Compared to his. His brows lift when she claims to be focused on her work. Oh really?
"Well, I am my father's daughter. I guess boys find me to be a pretty face but they can't stand being in the same room as me soon as I open up my mouth." Briari says as she holds on to his arm as they head through the halls. "I got called a liar and a cheat the other day by someone because I was not forthcoming with the fact I am very good with darts. He assumed I pretended not to know how to play because I wanted to steal money, when in fact, I was trying to be.. girly.. and flirt with a guy I found attractive. He then went on a tirade about how the leadership here may throw me out on my butt because I'm 'dishonest'. You know, because.. darts are serious business."
Rayathess quirks a brow. "Sounds like you're hanging around the wrong boys…" he mutters with a smirk, only to frown as he listens politely. "Maybe flirty ad girly wasn't his liking?" There's another snort, faintly amused about darts being serious business and he chuckles dryly. "Some do take their games seriously, especially when marks are involved. Which is why I don't bother if there's wagering involved. Anyways, who cares? And why not… just be yourself? You know. Skip the girly and flirty act if it isn't you?"
"Well, I didn't take any marks. I just threw the darts at the board and they happen to score very high. I can't help it if I like my sports as much as I like my sundresses." Briari says with a grin. "And I like flirting and being girl. It's the best part about being a girl. It just seems that the Fort boys here are stiff as boards and just want to do paperwork." She teases him as her fingers tap his arm as they walk. "So, what do you think, hmm?"
Rayathess looks a little confused when she mentions sundresses. Huh? What's that got anything to do with wagering? "Ahh, I see." he murmurs and smirks again, giving her a sidelong look just before shaking his head. "Or they just don't like flirty girls? To each their own and you can't fault them for turning you down." he gently teases back and he looks down at her fingers, puzzled again. "What do I think of what…?"
It has nothing to do with wagering. It's about being cute! "I wasn't being that flirty. I was at the… starting conversation and trying to get their name stage. I think this particular guy is just broken." Briari says with a soft laugh as she leans into his shoulder as they walk. "About girls in general. What kind do you go for?"
"Could be? Might be he's not into women either. Never know in a Weyr," Rayathess points out and then blinks, looking not exactly uncomfortable when Briari leans into his shoulder but he's not entirely relaxed either. "Uh," How is someone supposed to answer that? He clears his throat. "Not… sure? Don't think I've ever thought of a "kind" of girl. If she interests me, I guess I'll try and see if it goes anywhere?"
Giving a warm smile to him, Briari gives another squeeze of the arm that hers is wrapped about. "So, you'd be the one to make the move?" Her lips hook upwards slightly. "So, what do you want for lunch? I could go for just about anything. Though a salad sounds nice. Something light and fresh. Maybe a bowl of fruit to go along with it."
Rayathess smiles back but tentatively so and while he's not going to push Briari off of him, he does allow her to keep her arm wrapped around his. He's always been a gentlemanly type and so long as it doesn't push beyond that he'll eventually relax. "I guess so? It's led me into trouble before but…" He shrugs. What can be done? Nothing. "Salad and fruit sound good. Now we can only hope the kitchens have that to offer? At least we're not on rationed meat any longer."
"Asking a girl out led you into trouble? It just means you asked out the wrong girl." Briari says once they head into the dining area. Once she lets go of his arm, she heads over to pluck up some food, choosing on a small salad and a sandwich of sorts, then a glass of water. "I still think you're working far too much. When can you come visit me at the Bay?"
Rayathess grimaces, "I hadn't exactly asked her out. We'd already been involved it just got… complicated." It's a cryptic response but Briari is lucky she got any answer at all. Usually he clams up about his personal life. "Second girl was a brownrider. Didn't realize she'd taken my friendliness and teasing to be a sign of interest… So there was that." Awkward? Mostly for him. Once in the dining hall, he'll take his time in making himself a plate of food, opting for a large salad and a pint of cider. "Mhm, I hear that a lot." he drawls as he steps over to a table and sits down. "Bay?" he asks puzzled. "Monaco Bay, you mean? I… don't know, Briari. A lot of my duties are here in Fort and I've some family matters to attend to. A vacation that far?"
"It's like a two second dragon ride." Briari says as she sits across him with another grin on her face. "At least you've had .. complicated experiences. S'ai wouldn't let me date any boys." She props her chin up with the palm of her hand, grinning at him. "Now that I'm eighteen and he's got himself a dragon, I sorta have my own freedom to go out and meet a guy."
"There's a matter of time zones," Rayathess points out and takes a sip of his cider, only to quirk a brow at her again. His experiences have not been pleasant and anyone who's heard him play or sing a few of the songs his written himself will know. "Complicated isn't a good thing, experience or not," he mutters, digging into his salad now. "You're awful eager to find someone," he mumbles through mouthfuls of food, giving her a searching look. "More to life than just that."
"I'm not 'eager' to find someone. I'm not looking to get married, I'm looking to meet a guy and have a good time going out with 'em and hopefully go dancing and just hang out on the beach and tan or something. If you were cooped up your entire life with an overprotective brother and father, you'd be kind of biting at the chomp to experience something new. Maybe I'm a bit rebellious." Briari says with a smirk on her face. "Right now, life is pretty boring. I have my job, I have a few friends, I have my ocean and my beach, but I'd like to date once in awhile and feel.. I don't know… feel what it's like."
Rayathess just looks perplexed. "Isn't that the same thing? The whole going out to date or court or whatever? You're looking for a partner. Just a matter if it works or not." Someone's ideals are a bit dated! Or it's his holder-blood. "Can't say I've ever known what it's like to have an overprotective father," he mutters and there's a slight edge to his tone, which he masks by taking more bites of food. "Not much too it. Basically just like having a friend… only closer." How descriptive!
"Well, you probably think I'm some boy crazy girl or something now just because I brought up being interested in dating." Briari rolls her eyes upwards a bit and to the side as she looks a bit frustrated. She takes another bite of her food, big bites, swallowing quickly after a few chews, as if she was looking to hurry through it.
"Kind of?" Rayathess admits in open honesty as he enjoys a few more bites of his meal at a leisurely pace. "Not that there's anything wrong with it." He chuckles, "And really, I'm the worst sort to ask about these things." Can't be all bad if he's willing to poke fun at himself? "If it's your choice, who's to stop you? No one. You're your own person. As you said, you've your freedom." he explains gently and with a faint smile. "Hopefully you can find the right guy."
"Eh." Briari says as she finishes the plate of food, then plucks it up from the table and heads over to deposit it in the wash bin. Once she returns with a fresh glass of water, she eases herself down upon her chair again.
Rayathess frowns and pauses mid bite to lower his fork back down to his plate. He'll wait until she returns to give her another confused look. "Have I said something wrong?" he asks.
"No, it's fine." Briari says as she slips her guitar off her back and reclines in her chair to pull it across her lap. She gives a few lazy strums along the chords as her fingers find the notes fluidly. "Nothing to worry about, I assure you."
Rayathess continues to frown and hold her under a lingering gaze as he finishes that bite of salad and then mops up the last of his plate. "Uh huh. Doesn't seem fine?" he presses and pushes his empty plate aside. Leaning back in his chair, he grabs his cider and listens to the few cords she lazily strums. "You said you had a song you were stuck on…?"
"Everything is fine." Briari says, her tone taking a bit firmer edge as her brows tick downwards a bit. "And, I'm just going to scrap the song. It wasn't going anywhere as it is and I'm not very fond of it. So .. it's not a big deal." She plays a few more notes along the guitar as they zip up and down along the neck of the instrument. "I should get going." She decides after a few seconds of thought. "Just.. it's a good .. time for us to.. you know.. to go back to work. Thank you for joining me for lunch. It was nice seeing you again, Rayathess."
Rayathess isn't so easily deterred and worse yet when he senses something is amiss. "Something I've said or probably accidentally implied, has rubbed you the wrong way, hasn't it? You were keen on my help with it earlier. What's changed your mind?" he asks, keeping his eyes on her even as he sips at his drink. Shaking his head, he lowers the glass to the table. "So soon? You were keen to get away from work too! Was starting to think you were right too. I did need a break and lunch, so far, has been nice. But, if you have to go…" He won't stop her this time. "Same to you, Briari and maybe we'll cross paths if you're back this way?"
"I'm just not feeling very social now, that's all. More or less I sorta feel stupid." Briari pushes herself up to her feet and gives a stretch of her body once she slides the guitar on to her back. "I'm glad I got you out of the office, even if for a few minutes. Though, um… I don't know. See you later." There is a quick, guarded smile passed to him before she starts away from the table, running a hand back through her hair.
Rayathess looks surprised by her answer. "Stupid? Why…?" And then it clicks and he all but lifts his hand to his face. Crap, not again! He sighs, "Listen… just cause you're into the dating game and I'm a bit… not… uh, jaded I guess you can say? … doesn't mean we can't be friends?" He shrugs. "You said you were tired of feeling alone here and I'm not against hanging out. And yeah, you got me out of the archives. Consider that a success. Usually it's only my brother and sister who can or Laurali from Healer Hall." Frowning, he looks ready to question her hesitation but bites his tongue in the end. Smiling back, he lifts his glass in a parting toast. "See you later." Draining it, he too will strand and muttering under his breath about 'women being so sharding confusing', he'll shoulder his bag and stride out of the Hall. Maybe he should enjoy the sun and take his runner for a ride on the trails.
"Geez, Rayathess. I just asked you to hang out for lunch, I wasn't trying to get in your pants." Briari says, her voice snapping towards him and filled with awkward embarrassment. She turns back to him, looking frustrated now. "Just forget about it. I just wanted to get out for a night and hang out, and now this just got.. really weird."
Rayathess blinks and looks up as her voice snaps towards him and he lifts his hands up in a warding gesture again. "Hey. Woah? Jays, Briari, I'm sorry?" he's keeping his voice lowered, so that the few in the dinning hall don't get a chance to eavesdrop. "Alright, so I assumed and I was wrong to do that to you. I'm just… I don't relax very easily sociably? It was a nice lunch though." He grimaces, "So… yeah. My bad, I guess? Flirting has just… always puzzled me. And I know," He lifts his hands again. Wait! Let him explain. "It doesn't always mean anything! I've been told I'm thick headed. Takes me awhile to sort out social stuff. Alright?"
Shrugging her shoulders slightly, Briari says, "It's alright. I'm terrible at this also." Rubbing the back of her neck, she lets out a soft breath. Shifting her jaw to one side, she makes her way back to the table and sits down across from him. Picking at one of her fingernails, she glances up to him with her ocean blue eyes. "So.. sorry."
Rayathess shakes his head. "Nah. You just happened to run across the one guy that's probably not the best for social fun," he remarks dryly and follows her back to the table. He waves a hand dismissively. "Don't worry about it, Briari. So. You really just scrap that song?"
"No, I didn't scrap the song." Briari says as she plucks up a napkin and fiddles with it between her well manicured fingers. "I can play it for you if you want to hear, but, people are going to start staring at us I'm sure." Her eyes flash almost teasingly.
Rayathess looks just a bit smug when he's proven right. A Harper entirely scrap a song? Never! "Oh? Is it a scandalous song? Bawdy?" he replies with a low chuckle. "Try me." Maybe he'll regret this but now he's intrigued and the dining hall doesn't seem all too full right now.
Once the guitar is back in her lap, Briari strums a few more times to pick out a pace. The melody is beautiful, gentle, much like the soft tickle of a Spring breeze. "If I were a ship, I'd sail to your shore. Just to see my true love, the one I adore. I would part all these provinces in my paper boat..and I'd kiss you and kiss you.. till' we both just.. float." As she sings, her foot taps along the floor beneath her. "If I were a bird, I'd sing out your name. Perched high up on my branch - and I'd harp that you'd came. I would spread both my wings…and I'd take to the sky. I would beg all the wind and the rain just to be by your side. If I were a song.. I'd be in just the right key - I'd be all the best instruments, in sweet harmony. Oh, I'd play oh so loudly! In hopes that you heard - because music is love.. in search of the words." As she croons to him, one can feel the eyes of the dining area slowly turn towards them and hang on every word as she sings to the man across the table at her. Soon all about them, other instruments come to life in the form of spoons rattling against tabletops and knives against glasses clinking.
Rayathess listens closely to the song and his foot quietly taps out the rhythm once he catches it. The lyrics he seems to focus on but they do not appear to unsettle him. If anything, he looks bemused and ignores the looks and the rattling of spoons and the clinking glasses. All he does is roll his eyes and snorts, "You'd think they've never heard a song like it. So what's wrong with it? Lyrics seem sound and the rhythm suits." Smiling crookedly, he then chuckles again. "And here I thought you were going to play something bawdy! Like the song I heard once of the Guard Captain who like to wear frocks…" He's lowered his voice low and just lets the rest of the sentence hang with a smirk that's slightly mischievous in humour. No need to guess what rhymes? Stretching, he's just about to get comfortable when a firelizard appears from Between and beelines for him. Frowning, Rayathess takes the note and then jolts a bit. "I've… got to go. Sorry, Briari. Work strikes, it looks like and I can't escape this. You'll have to catch me again sometime. I'd like to hear more of your work!" Who better to appreciate it and get an honest opinion than another Harper?
Smirking at him, Briari says, "There's nothing wrong with this song. I just wanted to sing it to you and try and get you to blush." At the sight of the lizard and his statement of having to leave, she gives a small smile. "Oh, well, alright. I'll catch you later then I am sure. Thank you for.. ah.. making this a .. interesting lunch." She pauses for a moment, then asks, "So, seeing that we're both idiots at this, would you like to go to dinner with me in a few days?"
Rayathess chuckles again and this time he actually grins. "Afraid it'll have to be a bit more than a love song to get that out of me," he explains. "But good try? And… yeah, thanks too. Really, it wasn't all bad." Just some miscommunication! It happens. Especially with Rayathess. He's half out of his seat when she asks him and he pauses, blinking and then considers it. "Don't see why not? It'd have to be local, mind you. Sorry." It's the one term he just won't budge on. "Send a firelizard, eh? I'll reply. See you around, Briari!" Dipping his head in a respectful nod, he'll shoulder his bag and then with a quick wave, take off.