The Master Harper Of Pern | Chapter 15 of 28 - Part: 1 of 6

Author: Anne McCaffrey | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 23306 Views | Add a Review

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So here he was.  Falloner had diplomatically slid down the off-side of Falarth, thus avoiding a meeting with Carola who, with S'loner, greeted their MasterSinger guest and her son, thanking them profusely for accepting the invitation.

"Come to Benden?" Merelan laughed.  "I've been dying to." Then she was introduced to Stolla, the headwoman of the Lower Cavern, a tall woman of middle years who in turn introduced the MasterSinger to the blue rider, C'gan, who was Weyrsinger, a slight man whose boyish face was eager and earnest, and so was obviously thrilled to meet Merelan.  The other woman, Miata, handled basic lessons at the Weyr.  Robinton made his best bow to them all, and then S'loner took him by the shoulder.

"Go off with Falloner, Robinton," he said, grinning broadly.

"We'll take good care of your mother, never fear."

"I don't worry, not when she's in the Weyr," Robinton answered boldly and, before his mother could reprimand him, he slipped around behind Falarth to join his friend.

"C'mon, there's a lot to see," Falloner said and led the way, running across the Bowl to the black maws of the Hatching Ground.

"This is the most important place in the Weyr.  Any Weyr ..."

"Is that son of yours to be a harper, Merelan?" Robie heard S'loner asking.

He didn't hear his mother's exact answer and he wondered, once again, if maybe he could possibly be harper and dragonrider.  And he'd Impress a bronze, too.  Well ...  he'd settle for a brown and be in Falloner's wing and fight Thread when it came back.

Falloner showed him everything.  The Hatching Ground was awe-inspiring, with the great vaulted roof, the steep ranks of seats where guests could watch Impression and the raised stone couch where the queen stayed, guarding her clutch and viewing the Hatching.  Then there were some places which Robinton wasn't sure visitors were usually shown.  Falloner took him up steps at the side of the Hatching Ground and pushed through a door into what had to be the Weyrwoman's quarters.  Robinton gulped, hoping that Feyrith was still fast asleep on her ledge and that Carola did not take a sudden urge to leave his mother.  He walked on tiptoe and noticed that Falloner was putting his feet down more quietly than usual.  From there, they went to the Council Chamber, with its immense stone oval table and the massive stone chairs where the Weyrleaders and wingleaders sat for meetings.  Then down into the musty-smelling rooms which housed the Weyr's Records.

"Our Archives smell exactly like this too," Robinton remarked, feeling a little safer this far from the Weyr and Feyrith.  As he ran one finger across the spine of a bound volume, leather rubbed off, and he hastily cleaned his finger and hoped the mark wouldn't show.  The Weyr really needed to have these seen to: they were in far worse condition than those Master Ogolly worried over.

Falloner had noticed and now snorted.  "That's another thing I like about Benden Hold, they keep their Records in good condition so that you can actually read them."

Which Rob allowed was true enough.  There was one drudge whose sole job was to dust and oil the leather-bound Records, and check that no insects had burrowed into the hide pages.  His mother had shown him some of the oldest ones, the ink still bright and who-knew-how-many-hundreds-of-Turns old.

Only when they had gone back up and out the way they had come in to the Weyrwoman's quarters did Robinton draw a sigh of relief.  He did wonder why Falloner was venturing up here: did he do it because it was a way to annoy or get back at Carola for not liking him?  Sneaking into her private quarters was a bit silly, Robinton thought, but he was glad he had had the chance to see the

Council Chamber.  This was where the bronze riders would assemble before a Threadfall.  But those Records ...  Wouldn't they be needed then, too?  And in much better condition than they were in now?

Moving quickly across the warm sands, Robinton expected to go back to the main living area of the Weyr, but Falloner beckoned him towards the top of the Bowl with a wicked grin on his face.

"Show you something not even many weyrbred know about," he said.  Casting a glance around to be sure that no one was looking in their direction, he ducked behind a large boulder.  When Robinton hesitated, Falloner hauled him along by his sleeve.

Though there was still a good deal of spring daylight, the space was dimly lit, only showing a cleft in the cliffside through which Falloner disappeared.  A moment later a light sprang up inside, and Robinton nervously gulped as he bravely stepped towards whatever new surprise Falloner had in store for him.

Falloner held a small glowbasket over his head, the glows still bright enough to make shadows on the walls of the narrow fissure.

"Don't talk loudly," he whispered, his mouth close to Robinton's ear, "because there's an echo and anyone near the Ground will hear it."

Robinton nodded vigorously.  He didn't want his mother to discover that he was doing something possibly forbidden, maybe even dangerous, at Benden Weyr.  Falloner led him down the twisting passage.  Anyone even two hands taller would have had to duck, and it was as well both boys were slender, because once or twice they'd had to suck in their stomachs to get past protrusions.

Then suddenly there was a dull light ahead and they came to an uneven crevice where they could stand erect and look directly out at the Hatching Ground.

"This is where we come to watch the eggs while they're hardening," Falloner murmured.  "I even got out there and touched the eggs last time we had a clutch."

"You did?" Robinton was truly impressed by Falloner's daring.

"Did you get caught?" Would that be one of the reasons the Weyrwoman didn't like him?

"Naw," Falloner said, flicking his fingers in dismissal.


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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