|Archery is for girls|
|Summary:||Sibling rivalry as Aron gives Ceinlys a lesson in marksmanship|
|Haigh Camp, Stonebridge Outskirts|
|5th January, 289 A.L.|
Mid-afternoon, and all the Haigh gathering have to do is hurry up and wait for news. What better way to spend their time than practicing the delicate art of how to swiftly kill a man? Or woman. It's Ironborn they'll be fighting, after all. While most groups spar with fists or dulled blades, a few linger off on the periphery, between the tents, where a temporary range has been constructed. The brutes selected by Ser Aron do tend to prefer the down and dirty school of thought when it comes to combat but there are always some who appreciate the finesse and advantage offered from a distance.
And among those scant numbers stands the young Lady Erenford, watched over for the time being by the thuggish favourite of her brother, Taggett. He knows better than to press his presence upon Ceinlys, but in this moment he stands a short distance behind her shoulder, crossed forearms resting lightly atop a longbow as he offers her his own gruff and coarse class of marksmanship. "..didn't grip the arrow tight enough." he remarks, oh so helpfully, as the girls latest loosed arrow soars toward the edge of the target, then glances harmlessly off the edge and topples to the ground. She doesn't reply. Merely takes up the next and notches it. Though she lacks in skill, as yet, she takes her time in setting things in place, drawing and loosing a slow breath as she draws the string back by her cheek. Breathe and release.
"Too tight, that time." Is Taggett taking pleasure in her lack of ability? For all her grace and composure in so many aspects, Ceinlys is hardly built to be a warrior - childhood illnesses having left their mark in the form of a willowy, fragile build and a pallor just a touch too pale. It has no effect upon her irked countenance, of course, ire flashing in her blue eyes as she turns slowly to face the 'knight', a scathing retort no doubt on the brink of being flung at him.
<FS3> Aron rolls Marksmanship: Good Success.
And strolling up to the small group of archers, Aron draws immediate respect from the men-at-arms that he passes. Men rise to their feet, pressing hands to chest or bowing - and he recognizes each with an easy wave, or a quick word. The man inspires fear as much as respect, but he is also a showman born, and knows how to court the affection of those who serve him. Folding his arms loosely across his chest as he watches Ceinlys square off with his counterpart, Aron smiles lazily - baring a bit too much teeth. "If you cannot accept criticism, dear sister, I suggest you return to embroidery. Here, look.."
The knight takes a bow from one of the retainers - a full-sized war bow, requiring massive strength to draw, and turns toward one of the targets. "Hold your arrow nocked against the string by gripping the string itself with a finger on either side to keep it in place. Draw back smoothly, to the jaw, use your top feather to guide your aim, and.. release." As he speaks, he follows his own command. The arrow smacks solidly into the center of the target, and he turns to grin at Ceinlys again, lowering the bow. "Now you."
<FS3> Ceinlys rolls Marksmanship: Good Success.
"There. -That- is how one teaches." Ceinlys snaps at Taggett, punctuating her words with the stab of a pointed finger in her brother's direction. "You, Ser, simply state the obvious rather than seek to remedy it. Go back to kicking people." It's rather admirable, given that she's still in dusty travelling attire and muddied boots, that a young lady can invest a flounce merely in her manner of turning her back on someone. But she pulls it off, shaking her dark curls back out of her face as her attention returns to the -real- lesson at hand. Flashing a wintery smile, only mildly sardonic, toward Aron as his arrow lands beautifully embedded in the cloth-covered wood, she takes up another arrow, holding his gaze at first, then focusing upon his instruction. That momentary glimpse of amusement privately insinuates she wasn't even really annoyed with his friend, merely enjoying rebuffing him. It might be true, or she might be covering a rare loss of composure in Aron's presence. Who knows.
Raising the bow, her own plain, lighter and far smaller, Ceinlys pays heed to the advice given, adjusting the grip of her fingers on the string before drawing it back as hard as she can alongside her jaw. Those icy eyes narrow a fraction and then she lets the arrow fly, blinking in surprise as it not only strikes but finds one of the gaudy painted rings. Not as good as her sibling, but a great improvement nonetheless. "Oh.." she breathes, her austere mask slipping again, this time to reveal a grin of genuine warmth and the subtle dimples the expression elicits in her cheeks as she regards her results.
<FS3> Aron rolls Marksmanship: Success.
Aron is the first to applaud - when Taggett hesitates, the handsome young Haigh buries his elbow deep in the other man's ribs. It is a testament to the young lordling that Taggett does not simply split him in half - instead, the man blinks, then begins clapping as well. And quickly, the squires and men-at-arms in the area follow suit. "Well /done/, Ceinlys!" Aron's warmth is as genuine as his sister's - he laughs aloud in delight, as though it had been him to launch the arrow. For a moment, the sardonic edge seems to have left him.
"Next time, I want you to draw back the string on an inhale, and release as you exhale. And hold the bow steady until the arrow has hit its target. When you get better, you'll be able to lower it sooner - as soon as the arrow fully leaves the string - but for now, just practice keeping it steady afterward." Still smiling as he instructs, Aron draws back his own bow and releases toward the target. He only manages to hit one of the outer rings this time, and immediately thrusts the bow back toward the hapless soldier he grabbed it from. "This bow is warped. Fetch me another."
The faintest hint of rosy warmth fades slowly from the young lady's cheeks, and she waits for this before twirling and dipping an elaborately elegant curtsey to the applauding onlookers. Her brother is not the only one who courts attention, at times. "Thank you." she replies toward him, resettling herself at full height and brushing aside an errant lock of her hair. The last traces of her smile fade as she listens attentively to his further words and she inclines her head in a slow nod of understanding. A squire, having picked his moment carefully, hastens toward the pair with some of the fallen or retrieved arrows, leaving only those most recent to mark any improvement in this impromptu contest. It -is- a contest, nobody here is fooled. Everything is, with Aron.
That much is made perfectly clear as his next shot, though still fine, is deemed worthless and blamed upon the bow he had been handed. It'll likely serve as kindling within the hour. And even -more- likely is that there was nothing at all wrong with it. Still, having fine things is well and good; it takes true nobility to destroy them needlessly before the eyes of those less fortunate.
Back to the moment at hand. Obligingly drawing a deep inhalation, almost uncomfortably as she takes a little long to ready her arrow, Ceinlys focuses on the target and releases the string with a slowly breathed sigh, keeping the bow aloft as her brother had told her and watching with a strangely intense interest to see what comes of it.
<FS3> Ceinlys rolls Marksmanship: Success.
<FS3> Aron rolls Marksmanship: Success.
Ceinlys's arrow strikes on one of the outer rings as Aron grabs up another bow from the returning soldier. He mutters a curt "Well done," caught up now in the competition between himself and his less martially-inclined sister. Studying the bow carefully, he hooks his calf around the lower half and somewhat clumsily strings it. Clearly, archery has not been the focus of the knight, but he grimly sets himself to the task.
Accepting one of the target arrows from the returning squire, Aron lifts the bow quickly and sights along the top fletching, precisely as he had instructed his sister. In a smooth motion - the man is nothing if not graceful - he draws the string back and releases, the powerful sinews snapping against his forearm hard enough to raise a red welt as the arrow courses to the target - and strikes only a hair's-breath inside his sister's. By the look on the young knight's face, that is far from good enough.
"Of course, some soldiers spend their whole -lives- perfecting archery," he announces airily. "But truly, who has time, eh, sister? You and I have so many better things to occupy ourselves with." Beside him, Taggett grins and opens his mouth to offer some taunt - but the youg lord simply turns toward him with a stare, and the brute shuts up. "Couldn't do any better myself, Ser," admits the huge man.
"Unlike my dear brother.." Ceinlys addresses those standing closest with a demure smile and a flit of her gaze through dark lashes. "..I am hardly built for any manner of feat requiring strength." Flashing her gaze toward Aron, she furthers the subtle compliment by adding, "I am merely pleased he would find the time to humor my feminine attempts in learning so feeble a skill as this." For all the lavish sincerity, though.. she still takes up another arrow from where the squire jabbed it into the soft earth between she and her sibling. "In truth, I simply wished a short distraction from my needlework. I will not trouble you much longer, Sers." Even as she speaks, she's nocking the arrow and raising the bow, her arm surprisingly steady, making up for the shortcomings in actual prowess in a way.
She hesitates, shaking her dark tresses back from her eyes as a stray breeze tosses them in a troublesome manner. Then, with the same steady inward breath, she draws back the string.. and releases. Frankly, how well this lands may decide the knight's demeanour for the remainder of the day. Is that a good thing or bad?
<FS3> Ceinlys rolls Marksmanship: Good Success.
<FS3> Aron rolls Marksmanship: Failure.
Ceinlys's arrow lands perfectly on the mark, just outside of center. Every single man here is gaping now, turning to look at her in outright - perhaps offensive - astonishment. Taggett recovers first, with a barrel-chested laugh. "Hur, hur, hur. We could use needlework like that against the Ironborn." He gives her an approving grin, his scar-twisted face scrunching up. Other men follow suit, laughing, and there is much talk of 'beginner's luck' among the men. Many could not shoot that well should their lives depend upon it.
Aron is the only one not laughing. He takes it one step further, bowing toward his sister and speaking solemnly. "Should you ever have need of an archer's talent, dear sister, I fear for your enemy. I insist that you practice every morning until we return home." Only the faint tension around his eyes reveals that he is not best-pleased with the young woman's surprising shot. He draws his own bow to fire, muscles flexing in his jaw. And just as he releases, Taggett leans over boldly-as-you-please and *gooses* him. The arrow goes wide, Aron turns to Taggett in outrage, and the brutal knight simply shrugs. "You have a cute bum." And all dissolves into laughter. Meanwhile, Aron's second does his best to catch Ceinlys's eye with a subtle wink.
Lowering her bow once her shot is made, Ceinlys permits herself a faint smile, casting a coy, almost sheepish look over those watching. Yes, it probably -is- beginners luck. But would a Haigh ever admit to such a thing? Not on your life. She does, however, hand the bow off to one of the youngsters waiting nearby. He and his friends seem to have developed a sudden interest in the 'game', seeing as their master is being so sporting about it. And she has made her point. Whatever it was.
"I shall." she assures Aron, at his commanding suggestion, dipping her head in a gentle nod of acceptance before wrapping her arms about her midsection comfortably, waiting to watch his play. Her lips part, as if to offer warning of the impending distraction.. but too late. Turning momentarily incredulous eyes upon Taggett, she catches his wink and relents to a slight grin and a shake of her head as all around hoot and guffaw their amusement. "Perhaps, dear brother, your friend plans to win this war simply by having you stoop to retrieve something from the ground?" A beat. "..I had best, then, return to the preparations for the celebration." Moving aside, skirts swaying heavily about her booted feet, the young lady clears the path for those who wish to try their luck. She's not really tired of the gane.. but it is definitely time to 'quit while she's ahead'. "Ser Taggett." she offers, in polite farewell to the stoic, grizzled knight.
Aron watches the young woman go, then turns and shakes his head to Taggett once she's out of earshot. His features are dark - but there is a certain condescending fondness to his tone as he speaks. "Who're you trying to impress, Ser Taggett? She's not for you. She's never -been- for you. She'll never -be- for you. Now go get in your armor and spend more time at the tilts than you do staring at my sister." The other man accepts the violent browbeating silently, then grins toward Aron, apparently having taken no offense from his young Lord's words.
"I know she's not for me, Ser Aron. No fear on that count. But she -does- have maids." Taggett guffaws as he turns away, wandering toward his much-smaller tent. Calling over his shoulder, the man says "And the pickings are always rather thin around you, old friend! I need all the help I can get." Despite himself, Aron grins back, his mood gradually lightening. "Maybe we can share next time!" And with that, he turns to follow his sister away from the archery butts.