Page 146: Man, Woman and Bow
Man, Woman and Bow
Summary: Aeric and Liliana make their acquaintance over talk of bows and sea battle.
Date: 08/12/2011
Related Logs: None, really.
Aeric Liliana 
Bowyer — Tall Oaks
Though the majority of the smallfolk of Tall Oaks are able to string a bow, fewer can make them. The room has a large holder over embers that are stoked slowly. Here is where the bows are carved, stretched and dried. A few stools and work tables ring the outer walls but the roof has a hole in the center to allow for the smoke to rise out. The skill of bowmaking is handed down from Master to Apprentice and is why Tall Oaks is renowned for its bow making.
08 Dec 288 AL

If you cannot do it dressed as a Lady, then perhaps you ought not to be doing it at all. The words of Lord Ser Jerold. Words the woman of Camden and Terrick seemingly as taken to heart, even here, at the bowyers, as she's settled at one of the work benches, her Eli sitting not far from herself, working at what looks to be sums. One parchment for the problems, the other for her carefully thought out answers. Liliana, for her part, seems both more and less engaged, as she sorts through a high stack of arrows, dividing them into piles which seem to be designations of their current state of (dis)repair. It's careful work, but not slow, the woman seeming to have an eye for it, and the sorting moves apace, "And you've made certain that everything we need to take back with us is packed, Eli?" The maid in question nods, brows still furrowed over a problem, "Yes, my lady. Everything that you requested was brought, and I did the packing myself." A nod, from Liliana, "Thank you, you know I always appreciate your efforts."

Exploration. Its part of who Aeric is these days. He's sailed for so long that seeing new horizons and new places has become second nature. Its why he ended up in the bowyer despite the fact that he himself is only a fair archer. He'd spend more time at it only he finds more use out of catapults. As he enters the shop, he pauses just to the left of the entryway to take a look about. "Ahh, Lady Liliana. Good day to you." He smiles.

Liliana's eyes rise from her work, and she slips easily off of her seat, dipping into a polite curtsey, "My Lord Ser Mallister. A good day to you. I did not expect to see you again so soon. I thought perhaps you might have departed back for the Roost with my Lord Uncle and the Lady Harlaw and their company." She does settle back onto her seat, after offering the seat opposite her at the table, if the man is so inclined.

"My purposes here at Tall Oaks were not yet fulfilled, Lady." Aeric answers with a dip of his chin. He takes a moment to regard the interior again before taking up her offer of the seat. He adjusts the chair so that he can easily draw his blade and watch the door both but he's not on edge at all. Likely, its a force of habit. "I see you are adept at the art of your House. I'm afraid, I do not consider myself an archer of any repute."

"Nor mine, though I plan to make the journey later today. I hope you have found the oaks to your liking, and that your business goes well, my lord." The slightest tilt of her head, as she watches the manner in which Aeric seats himself, but Liliana makes no verbal comment, "I am not so skilled as some within the House, but I have trained since I was a small child. All women of the Oaks are, in some fashion. Some to the bow, some to the woods, some to the ways of the hawk. Each to their own temperament and ability. But it is no mark against you that your skill is not so great that you would remark on it. I would venture that a ship's captain has little need for the bow upon a ship."

"It is true." Aeric allows with a nod. "Am I to hear right that you are a ward to Lord Jerold of Terrick's Roost? If so, then I would make myself an escort to you upon your return as I will be doing so shortly and it would spare your Lord Camden the assigning of men to the task. Less your personal protection, of course." He, again, turns his eye to the room. "I have found few bows that are suitable to my frame and strengths. Might you recommend one before I am to depart?"

"The Lord Ser Jerold welcomed me into his home, and I have been his ward these three years past. I have enjoyed my time there, and thank them for what I have learned there." A smile, at the answer, before it's joined by a dip of her head, in lieu of a curtsey, "Indeed, I shall be riding back today. And I would be honoured to have your company, if you would not mind going by the forest paths. The road is a long and tiresome journey." As for talk of the bow, "I can make the attempt. But you might do well to have a bow made for you, if you find one to your liking here in the workshop." Liliana rises, moving away from the table, and towards the line of bow ready to be sent to the armoury after final inspection, looking between then, and the lord still seated at the table, "Have you much skill with staff fighting, my lord?"

Aeric laughs. "Not as such, no. Not since my time as a squire anyway. I keep the squires on their toes but I've not kept up with it. No, I'm afraid I've most kept my training with a blade sharp and the other trades have suffered for it." He rises with her and follows her steps with his gaze. "Of a curiosity, why do you ask?"

"It would determine the type of bow you might wish to use. A long, or flat bow, for example," and at this, Liliana draws one down from the rack, nearly of a height with her, well, close, at least longer than five feet, "Can be used unstrung as a crude staff, if needs require it, though I would not advise it. Particularly if you make use of a cable-backed design." here she indicates a shorter bow that has what looks to be sinew threaded around the length of the bow. "A smaller bow, I would say, would be to your benefit upon a ship. It is what most of our archers use, to avoid tangling a longer weapon in the trees and brush of the forest." Her eyes turn away from the knight, and she sets to stringing the longbow, not an easy process, but she seems to have strength enough to manage bending the bow to the task.

Aeric brings his hands behind his back and stands attentive as he listens to her discourse on bows. Clearly, he considers her a subject matter expert and gives her that respect. "It is logical. And, I would agree, that the rigging and beams of a ship are duly similar in environ. Unfortunately, bows are of little use until we arrive at boarding distances. Which isn't to say a good volley isn't in order before that happens but more often than not they are dropped after a single one. Once the press begins, you're as like to hit your own man as not."

There's a decided clench of her jaw, as Liliana uses nearly all of her strength to string the bow, but once done, she moves to set it to lean on the edge of the table, before she moves to pick a small shortbow, a simply stick, almost, from the rack and nocks that as well, much more easily. "if you are fighting a boarding party, my lord, how many men can you fight at once? Let us give you a sword in each hand?" Liliana brings that one over as well. The last she moves to draw, for the now, is a recurve bow, much in keeping with the type she uses herself, and while a bit larger than she's used to, she works at that one as well. "Let us say…four, perhaps five, if you are truly skilled?" Liliana turns, watching the lordling, "Any one of our rangers, from a good perch, can fire twenty arrows a minute. Imagine a single skilled archer in a crow's nest, and the damage that could be done. A bow aboard a ship is not a weapon to be discounted so lightly as to fire once and throw it away."

Aeric quirks a brow at her efforts and explanation. "Lady Liliana, if you can provide me with an archer who, in strong wind, upon a rocking boat, can aim through the web of rope and sail to pick off a single man in the crush of two score mingled souls? Not only would I be impressed but he would be hired." He smiles.

"A good archer learns to work with his environment, not against it, my lord. You say a rocking boat in strong winds, I say at the top of a swaying tree in a windstorm in summer, with the limbs all a tangle and still bearing their leaves. The environment is different, but the conditions are the same. However, if you wish to test some of our rangers aboard your vessel, I am certain I could speak with my Lord Uncle to see if he would give some of them leave to demonstrate for you." Liliana returns to the table, picking out an arrow from the 'in working order' pile, and offering it to the sea captain, "If you please, my lord, nock an arrow in the longbow. Hold it, but do not loose."

Aeric accepts the bow with a gracious nod and pulls the string a few times to gain a familiarity and refresh old reflexes before he takes up an arrow and nocks it. As he draws back and aims, it is clear he finds no difficulty with the tension and holds the fletching near to his nose. He's skilled enough if his poise is any indication but he's no expert as there's a degree of unfamiliarity with his stance.

It would seem, from the ease of the draw, that it was not the lady's intention to test the lord's limits, but only to do as she appears to have done, which is to allow her to access his technique and his stance. "If I may, my lord?" Liliana steps in, just at the inside of the lord's personal space, but makes no move to touch him. Eli, regardless, sits up, lowering her parchments and giving Liliana the eagle eye. "Your draw was good, a single smooth motion, but I can see you have been out of practice." Her hands reach out, but again, she uses them only to gesture and does not touch the man, even in the slightest. "Hold your elbow taut, but do not lock the joint, it will cause it to ache after only a short time." Again, that assessing look, that has nothing in it of a woman's appraisal of a man, but rather that of a teacher and a student, "Your stance, settle more of your weight on the balls of your feet, it will make you more flexible than if you settle on your heels. Like so." Liliana lifts her skirts, only enough to reveal the feet of her boots, turning to mimic Aeric's stance, and then the slight correction. "Unnock when you are ready. And we will try the next, if it pleases you, my lord." he did wish to find a bow she would recommend, after all.

There's a glance of scrutiny as Aeric measures her intent which passes as things continue to be 'proper' ish. Once that is settled in his mind, he looks back to the bow and adjusts his stance and hold as she recommends. The change is noted and he seems pleased, flexing himself a little to test the feel and differences between what he was doing before and her suggestions. "I can tell you've a knack, Lady Liliana." He offers with a smile. "It is either that or I truly am a novice." Which may well be the case.

"I have only had more practice than you have, that is all." With his stance corrected, Liliana steps back, moving back to a safe distance. "Now that I have a gauge of your technique and stance, we can work on begin the task of finding a bow that suits you. A gesture of her hand indicates the recurve. But it is not in the more standard shape, rounded body, but slender, almost flat along the body, with the grip built up into a true handhold, "I chose this recurve, taking into consideration your environment and the obstacles you will be faced with. The ship, the sails, the riggings. The need to move at speed without impediment. The necessity of keeping a good hold of the weapon."

"Will it take to moist salted air?" Aeric sets the bow he holds aside and moves to pick up the indicated bow. Naturally, unstrung, it takes him a moment to process the thing as a bow but he's quick. He quickly hooks a foot around the leading edge and bends the bow to string it. He grunts, flexes the wood, and loops the sinew deftly. Then he's testing the weight and pulling the string. He actually overestimates the strength of this bow and pulls it back a little too quickly, catching himself in the cheek with the back of his hand. His head jerks back then he eyes the bow with a frown and Liliana with a bit of a raised brow.

Liliana waits, silent, as she watches the stringing, and the nock. Not even a hair of a curve of a smile touches her lip as the lordling hits his face. But at the look, she offers a dip of her head in apology. "You are not an archer by trade or practice. And in the heat of battle, it will not be the bow, but the sword and dagger that will be your primary weapons. A lighter draw, designed to give you a good range and accuracy, without overtaxing the muscles of your arms and your wrists, so that when you switch to your primary weapons, you will still be at full strength. And yes, if you choose to have us make a bow for you, we have resins, such as those we apply to the bows of the rangers who guard out western borders, which we can apply which will weather the salt and the harsher weather of the sea."

Liliana waits, silent, as she watches the stringing, and the nock. Not even a hair of a curve of a smile touches her lip as the lordling hits his face. But at the look, she offers a dip of her head in apology. "You are not an archer by trade or practice. And in the heat of battle, it will not be the bow, but the sword and dagger that will be your primary weapons. A lighter draw, designed to give you a good range and accuracy, without overtaxing the muscles of your arms and your wrists, so that when you switch to your primary weapons, you will still be at full strength. And yes, if you choose to have us make a bow for you, we have resins, such as those we apply to the bows of the rangers who guard out western borders, which we can apply which will weather the salt and the harsher weather of the sea."

There's a circumspect look given to the bow as Aeric relaxes the pull on the bow until he can release the string without ill effect. There's a moment, he considers belaboring the point as he sets it down then.. yes.. "Lady Liliana, I assure you I won't be making a habit of shooting a bow. If I do, what I will need is the strongest thing I can get my hands upon because it will likely be a long shot anyway. If I have to resort to shooting with regularity? I've done something wrong." A point in which he finds some irony. His mild smirk says so.

No answer to the smirk, just the same calm expression, as Liliana turns, "As you like, my lord." She moves away from the table, and over towards a cabinet on the far side of the bowyer, taking care in the opening, before she takes the time to look over the bows laid out for her there. finally, her hand picks one of the bows. The bow she draws out is quite a bit different from the ones set out around the workshop. Composite, looking as though it were made of wood, bone and sinew. Unstrung, though Liliana brings the carefully wrapped string with her as she carries it back to the man. "This might be more to your needs then. We have few war bows in our armory, but this is one of them. The draw is difficult, so be warned."

Aeric takes the bow with a nod and eyes it a moment before setting it against his calf to string it. His first effort proves not up to the task and this draws a smile. He enjoys a challenge. There's a setting breath taken then his face grimaces as he flexes the bow to string it. Hefting it in his hand, he holds it out a moment, eyeing as though it were pulled, then reaches for an arrow to nock it. He aims well away from anyone, just in case, and pulls it back. Its not exactly fluid given the pull and his inexperience but he has strength to spare and he knows how to use his whole body to great effect. The arrow is pulled back and he holds it steady a moment with his teeth clinching being the only show of effort. When he relaxes the pull, he lowers it and looks to her. "I'll want to practice with it but this may well be what I'm looking for. Having the pull of an ox is useless if I can't hit anything with it." Now, he smiles. "I thank you for your efforts, Lady."

Again, that dip of her head, "Of course, my lord. I am glad that we found something that pleased you at the last." She is not idle, however, moving to return the bows to their positions on the wall, setting the room back as she found it, "You would be most welcome to practice at our field, if that is to your liking. if you would prefer to practice one we return to the Roost, I will make certain that we will have the leave of my father to take it with us." With Sarojyn away, Mikah Camden sits, as ever, as regent to Seryl. "And I will speak with the master bowyer to see about beginning construction of a bow of similar make and quality, but more suited to your place aboard your ship."

"Given that we are to depart soon, I might suggest the second of your suggestions." Aeric sets the bow to rest and brushes his hands off against the other. "Your diligence in this matter is appreciated, Lady." Looking to her, he further inquires. "When should you wish to depart and I will make certain I am ready."

"You are welcome, my lord. My hope is to give you another tool to insure the safety of yourself and your men, as well as your ship." Liliana takes a moment, to consider, likely mentally checking off the list of things a lady needs to survive while traveling off in her head, before she speaks. "Perhaps after the noonday meal? I have promised my Uncle that I would see him before I departed. And it will give me time to farewell my mother, while still allowing her time to give me my proper sending-off lecture. And make arrangements for the bow to be brought back with us." Eli, at that, claps her hands over her mouth to stop herself laughing aloud. Sending-off lecture. Finally, that hint of a smile from Liliana, "If that time does not suit, my lord, we are happy to fit ourselves to your schedule."

Aeric hmms as he considers the timing. That would put them halfway upon their journey before dusk and require camping. Not that he minds the elements. Its just the damned horses are a nuisance. "And you could leave no earlier?" He considers her a moment then offers. "It would save you the lecture. Make your excuses then and blame your Mallister guest for the poor timing on your part. I prefer to set upon journeys not long after breaking fast."

A slight, considering sound, and Liliana nods, "I could find a way to leave earlier, if that would be better to your liking, but I had planned to go by the forest paths and over the flatlands north of the Roost. A journey of perhaps six hours, seven, if we take our time at it, avoiding the roads that take us nearly to Stonebridge and back again." And then, the decision is made, and she dips in a curtsey, "I will go to find my Uncle and prepare our horses." Eli rises, rolling up her parchments, tucking them away in the rather oversized bag at her hip. "I shall see you at the morning meal, and then we shall set off?"

Aeric takes a moment. There's no sigh heard but the bland expression on his face says he wants to. "As you will then. Lord Dafydd wished to speak to me in any case and I purposed to see him before I departed in any case. Delaying a few hours will give him leave to do just that. I will be prepared in any event." He bows. "I thank you for your troubles. Until the 'morrow."

The expression on the lord's face, draws one of Liliana's own. That coolness that she draws around her, more often than not, when she resides at the Roost, looking less the lady of the woods now, and more the lady of the stone hall. "I think, perhaps, that we have two different journeys planned ahead of us, my Lord Ser Mallister. I do thank you for your offer to accompany me, but I think perhaps, as you have business yet to attend to at the Oak Hall, and I must depart before the day grows much longer, that we will not be able to travel together. I will make certain that all that we have discussed," a tip of her head towards the bow, "Will be handled to your satisfaction. It was no trouble at all. I bid you a good journey, when the road finds you." A gesture, to Eli, as she once again offers the lordling a polite curtsey, before starting for the door.

The internal sigh becomes a note of confusion. "Ahh." Aeric hmms. "Well. Shall we but see what the later day brings? If the Lord Dafydd concludes his business then I may yet accompany you. I leave it at the whim of the Seven." He smiles then, bowing in response to her curtsey. "And if our paths do not cross, may they guard your path."

Liliana does pause, at the lord's words, turning her eyes to meet him, "Whether they will or no, I know not, Lord Ser Mallister. It is not to the Seven that I pray, and so, I think, their eyes do not turn to me, as my heart does not turn to them. A safe journey, to you, and a hope that, if nothing else, we will meet again, once we both return to the Roost." And with their farewells offered and received, Liliana and Eli walking just behind, depart back towards the Oak Hall.