MasterHarper of Pern | Chapter 5 of 9 - Part: 1 of 39

Author: Anne McCaffrey | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 23141 Views | Add a Review

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Robinton had become so adept at keeping emotions to himself that it had become a habit. And though he yearned to tell his mother, he knew she was busy with lessons this afternoon. He'd just have to hold his good news in. It was something to relish,


anyway. As relieved as he was that he wouldn't have to take Theory under his father, he was most excited at the prospect of leaving the Hall on his first official assignment. He also knew he'd had a hint of something the oldest apprentices would die to hear: he suspected that Master Gennell was about to reveal who would walk the tables - the best of all the traditions in the Harper Hall. The announcement of who had made journeyman rank could be any day now; there was a lot of talk about its imminence in the dorms.


Sometimes the lucky ones were warned to pack what they'd need, but just as often no clue at all was given until Master Gennell called out the names. That was always a great evening. The Masters loved to surprise the fourths, make them sweat a little before giving them the reward for four turns' work. At least he'd have time to warn his mother of his leaving; but he knew she'd be pleased for him. Even being assigned as assistant harper was an honour.


Robinton paused in his varnishing, whooshing the fumes away from his nose. The reek was stifling.


"That's the ticket," Master Bosler said, pausing by Robinton's work station. He gave him a quick pat on the back. "One of the nicer ones with all that careful inlaid pattern. And the skybroom wood! Very good! We can get a good price for it at the next Gather."


"With skybroom wood hard to come by, I think I might just keep it for a while," Robinton said, watching Bosler's expression. Would the Master have an idea of Robinton's immediate future? He knew that Master Gennell listened to the opinions of his Masters. As an apprentice, Robinton's studies were governed by what all the Masters - probably his father, too - thought of his progress, so maybe Master Bosler was aware of his good news. But no, the lined face and keen eyes did not alter.


So much for that, Robinton thought and, with a smile for his Master, he went back to applying the varnish. He wasn't using a quick-drying type because he wanted to avoid any brush strokes.


By dinner-time, his mood had swung in the opposite direction and his stomach was churning. Maybe it had been Petiron's idea in the first place, removing the unwanted son from the Hall? His father was more likely to suggest he go drudge for someone in a back-of-beyond small hold, too far away for him to take time off and come back to the Hall. It'd be ironic if Robinton was assigned


to Master Ricardy at Fort Hold. He already had three assistants and another, elderly harper who did nothing but entertain for the old aunties and uncles of the Hold. No, definitely, Master Gennell wanted him to help teach. That had been the crux of the interview: would he be willing to teach?


Though the dinner was one of Lorra's better ones, Robinton found himself unable to eat, a fact immediately noted by his table companions who were well aware of his voracious appetite.


"Inhaling varnish all afternoon has put me off," he offered as explanation.


Falawny gave him a startled look. "First time in three turns it ever has," he remarked. "Ah, well, more for us certainly, eh, fellows?" And he speared a third slice of roast from the platter being passed.


Robinton hadn't seen any packs in the hallway, so no one had been warned that tonight might be the night to walk tables. He sneaked a glance at the fourth-term table; judging by the way dinner was being consumed, their appetites weren't affected.



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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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