The Happy Harper
You find yourself in the well-lit Happy Harper. It seems to be perhaps one of the most cared for items of the hold. The walls have deep-red wood panelling, and glow baskets placed at a very regular interval. There are about six tables for eight and four booths in the corners. All the tables and chairs seem to be of a very nice quality and very well taken care of. Serving also as the center of social interaction at Gar hold, it is usually where one looks to find anyone.
Nassa and Miles are here.
Miles looks up from behind the bar and the book he's copying. "Hello!" he greets with a smile, "I'm Miles. Can I get anything for you?"
His 5' 11 stature and large frame give him a solid presence, but his motions are free and easy. Miles' very expressive eyes are of such a pale blue that, in dim light, they appear colorless. It is obvious that his light brown hair has been recently cut, and combed neatly away from his face. What can be seen of his smooth skin has a healthy tan to it.
He is wearing dark brown trousers of a stout weave, intentended withstand hours of weeding in the vinyards. Miles' short-sleeved, lightweight tunic has been nicely tailored to his torso and arms. There is a bit of embroidery circling the neck and sleeve openings, giving it a slightly formal appearance. The tunic's deep red color looks suspiciously close to that of red wine...
A double cord, twinning forest green and royal blue loops once over the shoulder of his tunic. Just below the shoulder is a craft badge; a white field, upon which a dark red wineskin is pouring into a glass. A Gar junior apprentice Vintner.
Miles is 21 Turns, 10 months, and 18 days old.
An almost tall man at 6'1, his narrow blue eyes and easy movements nicely offset his athletic build. His skin has been darkly tanned by hours in the sun. There is a deep sadness about him. His sun bleached hair has a great deal of grey in it, mostly on the sides, and falls past his shoulders; obviously needing to be cut. His right hand has a few faint traces of scar tissue in it.
He is wearing a pair of woven grey pants under a serviceable pale blue tunic. The tunic is belted by a bright green satin sash, which has been wrapped twice around him and secured with a square knot. Over the tunic is worn a stained brown leather vest that doesn't hang quite right. His scuffed boots and pony-tail tie appear to be of the same leather as his vest. Nassa's backpack hangs heavily from Nassa's shoulder. Perched on Nassa's shoulder is Bowrider.
A well tied Seacrafter's Apprentice knot is affixed to the shoulder of his vest.
Nassa is 36 Turns, 11 months, and 15 days old.
Linora wanders in, happily distracted, then looks up surprised to hear a voice. "Oh, hi," she says, going up to the bar. "I'm Linora." She looks again. "You work here?"
Miles nods, "Yes, I do." He looks at Nassa through the sides of his eye, "Although some might argue the point."
Linora grins. "In that case, can I have some juice, please?" She scrambles up onto one of the high stools in front of the bar, sparing a quick look at the other man. "Hi," she says politely.
Nassa looks up from his large breakfast, and salutes with his mug of klah, "Not this morning I won't."
Nassa nods to the young lady, "Good morning."
Miles grins, "Of course." He sets down a mug for her, and lifts two pitchers from behind the counter, "Redfruit, or citron?"
Linora looks from one pitcher to the other. "Redfruit," she finally decides.
Miles wonders why everyone picks redfruit... grinning at the girl, he fills her mug with the appropriate beverage, and slides it across to her. "Anything else for you today?" Spying her knot, he teases, "I thought you Starcrafters only came out at night?"
Nassa falls asleep.
Linora grins as she wraps both hands around the mug. "It's not light yet," she reminds him. "'sides, I've only been in the StarCraftHall a few days, so I haven't /quite/ got the hours down yet."
Miles chuckles as he looks through the door, "Ooops." he chuckles. "Sorry, I don't normally work this early." He shakes his head, and grins at her, "Do you like your craft so far?"
Linora nods, beaming. "Yeah. I'm learning /lots/." She takes another look at the knot and craft badge and looks up at Miles. "How long you been a Vintner?"
Miles smiles, "Not quite two years, and I've enjoyed..." he ponders for a moment, then grins, "Almost all of it."
Linora giggles. "Well, that's good... good you enjoyed it. I don't know a lot about VintnerCraft. Never even had wine," she admits, a bit sheepishly. She takes a sip of her juice.
Miles smiles warmly, "Well... plenty of time for that once there's a bit more to you." he winks at her. "Besides, we vintners make things other than wine. Some of it doesn't contain alchohol even." He leans in close to her and lays a finger alongside his nose, "If you'd like to try some wine, I can arrange it for you."
Linora grins. "Okay," she says, completely unfazed by the man's proximity, in fact leaning closer herself to whisper conspiratorially, "So what else do vintners make?"
Miles smiles and whispers into her ear, close enough now for her to feel his breath, "We make juices, 'hard' liquors, cordials, liquers, just about anything involving alchohol, or flavored syrups for cooking."
Linora giggles as his breath tickles her ear. "Sounds yummy," she whispers. She draws back a bit and looks up at Miles with twinkling eyes. "Well, the juice is, anyhow."
Miles returns to his normal place behind the bar, "would you like to try one that I made?"
Linora blinks and looks at her mug. "Juice?" she asks.
Miles nods, and chuckles, his eyes hinting at mischief, "Unless you'd preffer wine at this hour..."
Linora's eyes widen, then she grins. "Don't forget it's nearly bedtime for me," she reminds him. "But I'll wait on wine, thanks."
Miles sets down the gallon jug of Hot Juice, causing it's contents to swirl.
You slip your finger into the jug's ring and pick it up.
Miles takes the gallon jug from the brazier, and sets it on the counter, along with a fresh mug for her.
You gently pull the stopper from the mouth of the jug.
The sweet, spicey smell of multiple citrus juices and spices is in the steam from the thick, nearly boiling juice. The smell of cinnamon is almost overpowering. The vapors penetrate quickly, and can relieve almost any head congestion. The aroma lingers pleasantly, and as the cinnamon disipates, the more complex nutmeg, and ginger are revealed.
You carefully pour a glass of the near boiling juice into a heavy earthenware mug that is quickly brought to a nice hand-warming temperature, perfect after a few hours outside in cold weather. The brownish orange liquid swirls in your cup, the pith from the fruits revealing the direction of the currents within the cup. At about the same time your hands are warmed, and the vapors have cleared your head, the juice has cooled enough to drink without burning yourself.
Initially the almost unbearably hot juice sears cleanly down your throat, warming you from the inside. The citrus clings to your tongue and the roof of your mouth, and as it cools, the full range of flavors is revealed, citron, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, with just hints of redfruit, and apple. Nutmeg and ginger help to round the flavors nicely as the cinnamon finally recedes.
You push the stopper into the mouth of the jug, then thump it to ensure a good seal.
You carefully set down the large jug of juice.
Miles slips his finger into the jug's ring and picks it up.
Miles smiles at Linora, "Do you like it?"
Linora looks amazed. "That was wonderful," she breathes, cradling the still-warm mug in both hands.
Miles grins, "I'm glad you like it. It's best in the fall and winter. Clears your sinuses right out." he winks. "But that's the kind of stuff we vintners do."
Linora looks up at Miles with a big smile. "Wow. Thanks," she says. "I never knew that."
Miles grins, "See? Learn something new everyday." He chuckles, "We try to sell the stuff we make. Most of it I sell comes with a 'free refills' clause, but some of the rarer vintages... they're one of a kind items."
Linora nods solemnly, then roots through her pockets. "I don't know how much I got..." she says uncertainly.
Miles shakes his head, "Bah. You're marks are no good here!" he waves for her to stop digging, "I wouldn't charge for a taste that I asked you to take!" He looks at her, "Now then, if you wanted a whole /jug/ of the stuff... I'd have to charge /something/ for that I suppose..."
Linora draws back, surprised, regarding Miles carefully. Is he teasing? Then her expression clears. "Oh," she says finally, grinning, the barest flush apparent against her tanned skin. "Sorry."
Miles winks at her, "Starcraft marks are just as valuable as any other." Then continues, in a calm voice, to reassure her, "But I won't accept them from you for a mug of juice." Such a lovely color comes to her cheeks... "No need to appologize." He grins at her, "So, what is it that you do with the Starcraft?"
Linora smiles. "Thanks, then." She rests her elbows on the bar and drops her chin into one hand. "Mostly all I do now is study. I really just came to the StarCraft within the last sevenday or so. There's lots to learn."
Miles nods, and takes a drink of klah, "I hear that from most Starcrafters. It certainly appears to be pretty complicated stuff from the few equations I've seen."
Linora's eyes widen. "Um... I haven't seen equations yet. Shells, I thought the planets were confusing." She shakes her head ruefully. "They're gonna toss me right outta there..."
Miles shakes his head, and pats her gently on the arm, "Not to worry. I'm sure that you'll be given enough time to learn each bit as you go." He smiles, "From what Nassa was telling me, the equations define the motion of the planets, and somehow or other," he makes a vague motion towards the ceiling, "By knowing what time it is in Tillek, and looking at a star, and a book, you're supposed to be able to know where you are. Anywhere in the world."
Linora follows Miles's hand with her eyes, seeing not the ceiling of the Harper, but the night skies of Pern spread out above them, her eyes shining with an expression akin to joy. "How wonderful," she breathes. "I can't /wait/ to learn that..."
Miles sees the change in expression, and smiles. Glad that he was able to get her to see the joy in her work instead of the /work/ in her work, "I'm sure that you will. Probably sooner than you think. Who knows, perhaps you will write the new books."