|Only if you try…|
|Summary:||Harold and Serica finally manage to talk without tears or yelling.|
|A little glen in Highfield|
|A small and sparse copse surrounding a grassy meadow in its center provided the summer ideal for a picturesque picnic, a fairytale landscape of buzzing bees and their fatter hairy bumblebee cousins, of dragonflies and butterflies. That thin line of slender trees with its vibrant canopies which went through every shade of green provided both a wind break and protection against prying eyes.|
|16 Aug, 289|
Roddy had been true to his word, a small and sparse copse surrounding a grassy meadow in its center provided the summer ideal for a picturesque picnic, a fairytale landscape of buzzing bees and their fatter hairy bumblebee cousins, of dragonflies and butterflies. That thin line of slender trees with its vibrant canopies which went through every shade of green provided both a wind break and protection against prying eyes. And he'd already been there, sometime the evening before, likely, as Seri was joined by her husband and no longer needed his company, riding out from the Keep to set up a big target at the far end, painted in circles and made of hard pressed straw. If it had taken anything from his own sleep, it was hard to tell. He looked as ready and solidly dependable as he ever did.
He'd taken her there three hours ago, now. While Harold might not be much of a shot, Roddy was. He had a longbow he'd produced, which she might not have the strength to draw, but that he'd be happy to use to give her some competition, or direction, or just to amuse himself. All depending on her level of skill and how much she really -wanted- help.
Seri was a hobbyist, at best, a sketchy one at that. It was more…something outside that helped to channel a little bit of that temper that she was so capable of. So, while the woman recognized the care he'd taken in ensuring that there was a target put it, to call attention to it only ran the risk of embarrassing them both. So she'd thanked him simply, instead, when they'd first arrived and then proceeded to amuse herself.
And with Roddy, that was exactly what she'd done. Left to borrow his bow as well, and for all she'd not the strength to send an arrow hurtling so far as he, she could still manage well enough to learn. The truth was, she'd not brought one. Mostly because foolishly, she hadn't expected to be left to entertaining herself on a visit that Harold had requested. So she took his help, for all that her skin could be likened to a childs, but she took it with ease and laughter. For every arrow that fell short enough to send her dancing back in fear of her skirts and blushing for her failed efforts, to nursing stung fingers when caught by the string. To the one time she /had/ managed a solid effort and the arrow had gone so wide that…like as not it'd never been seen again.
"I am /terrible/ at this," but it was given with the sort of self depreciating smile that still left her eyes full of humor and a joy that was almost child-like in its glee. She didn't feel judged by him. Nor trapped to the point where she was afraid that every slight and failure would disappoint.
"As you say, m'Lady," Roddy said in a deadpan tone, his eyes full of wry humor while she struggled with the bow that was easily as tall as she was when unstrung. "You're pretty horrible." It wasn't said with judgement or accusation, or making fun of her either. Just an acknowledgement that the girl was useless with the bow. "But only -this- bow. Tryin' yer hand a longbow might not've been the best way to start." Which was an understatement. "We'll have to get you a proper huntin' bow instead, m'Lady, one to fit your bodytype." Which was small and slender, rather than broad shouldered and with strong arms which was what was required to send arrows with this particular weapon. At least more than one or two, without feeling like one's arms had been torn off.
Harold had intended to come sooner, but a fight had broken out in the levy encampment and he had been forced to intervene, get to the bottom of it, and then eeke out punishment to the guilty. All of which should have given him a fair dark mood, except that something in the way the sun hung so bright on the sky, making the grass and the flowers send out clouds of summery smells, and the sky was as blue as it ever go, and what clugs drifted about were the storykind fluffy bright white ones, a few here, a few there, with enough fantastical shapes they could be anything if you had a bit of imagination. He saw horses and dragons and even a naked nymph winking at him, up there in the skies.
There was more than a little warning before he appeared at the glen, because Harold wasn't the subtlest of sneaks. He pushed through the underbrush, stepped on old dry twigs, and generally made sure that all the game in a mile around him fled.
"Master Roddy," the lady replied, with the bow's tip resting against the top of a slippered foot so's not to scuff it on the ground, and her elbow resting atop its point; mostly for humors sake in due part to its size and her height, "That was quite possibly the kindest thing you've said all afternoon. I was playing down my complete lack of skill, you most certainly did not have to agree with me," she finished on a laugh; glancing from man to bow and back again, before offering it unto him anew.
"Still, it will have to do until I can get the other. Perhaps we can find a crafter in that minute excuse for a township that can accommodate me. Do you think we could go tomorrow?" Inquired, her tone hopeful and because it was something she'd decided that she really wanted, there was a flutter of long lashes in a near coquette measure. Playful and winsome, entirely out of character which in her case, only made it all the more funny.
"Until then, you shall simply have to show me how it's done. Properly this time too, no more underplaying your skill." And for all that she was focused, it was impossible not to miss the sound of someone approaching; so that first sound, she'd tucked herself in behind Roddy's frame, pressing close to his back while peering inquiringly around his shoulder towards the source of the sound. Frowned too, when it made itself place. While she didn't come out from behind Roddy, she at least angled herself so that she was looking off, instead of so near his back and her shoulders had slumped too, while most of the joy had fled her face; leaving behind once more the quiet girl so often reserved. "Perhaps…another time." Half whispered, not in an attempt to keep it unheard, but quiet instead, for the disappointment in it.
"Aye, might be worth a trip," Roddy agreed. "Tho' if we're havin' one te fit yer perfectly we're better off makin' an order te the bowmaker in Hollyholt. Highfield ain't grown to the point of bein' able to attract a true Master. In the mean time you husban' has a huntin' bow in his possessions that he never uses, but I still have to make sure his squire an' page remember to oil an' care for." The greying armsman passed her a tiny smile - he wasn't one for big open show of emotions around his betters - but it was earnest enough that its size didn't really matter for its impact. "He'll say its because he prefers the boar hunt, but between you an' me, m'Lady," there was just a hint of conspiracy there in his eyes. "I think he mostly doesn't like havin' to search for his arrows all the time." He scratched at his cheek. "But a trip to the township to get you some gloves an' a bracer to protect your arm."
When she'd asked him to show her, he nodded agreeably enough, and was just about to lightly indicate how her posture should change when the sound of Harold's arrival drew his attentions. Immediately he was putting an arrow on his bow, ready to to feather someone. He only relaxed in his duty once Harold's massive frame appeared, bullying forward like an angry ox. He dipped his head in welcome.
Which Harold returned, before turning his attentions towards Serica as she sheltered behind his armsman. "My Lady," he said with a bemused and self ironic shake of his head. "I hope Roddy showed you a better way through," he couldn't actually tell with her all but hidden, "or I fear for the state of your dress."
Of course Roddy had. Harold was just so used to relying on Roddy to guide him, and he'd not had the patience to go around in search of a better path.
"Mm," Seri mused in response to Roddy's mention of Harold and his lack of skill, quite a lot of determination gone into ignoring the statement completely because she wanted to enjoy the day without fretting and worrying and standing beneath the cloud that always left her fretting in the rain. "Though I suppose I shall simply borrow his bow. And we can still go into the township for the rest and to get away. Today has been very refreshing, much needed outing."
But then there was Harold. "Master Roddy has been more than considerate in guiding me around the bramble, my Lord," Seri replied, slowly stepping from behind the retainers frame for all that she didn't move closer towards her husband. "Though I must say, I am surprised to see you. I was not informed that you were to be joining us." While the tone of her voice said she didn't like surprises and perhaps a pinch of accusation, as if Roddy had conspired it while leaving her out of the loop.
"I'm surprised I could find the time myself," Harold admitted with a slight shake of his head. His clear eyes were lingering on her face, on her eyes, a directness in them that he never really considered much himself. A sharp sense of paying close attention, even if his features wore a mellow expression of grumbled bemusement. Before Roddy felt the need to defend himself, his old friend was there with a deflection: "Roddy only let me know where you were, as a precaution, but I thought to myself that if I had a smidgen of opportunity to steal away and join you, I'd be a fool not to take it."
His lips cruised with the beginnings of a smile once he came all the way up, putting a hand against her delicate shoulder while he leaned down to brush his lips against her cheek. In a quiet voice he murmured: "Can't a husband have realize he missed his wife, and that his work was consuming more time than it should, and decide it was time to do something about it?" But of course Roddy was there, and likely Vesta as well? Regardless of one or two witnesses, the show of affection was a brief one, after which he leaned back.
"Tell me, could you give me a demonstration of what you've learned? Though.. that is a very big bow."
"Of course you can." Came the entirely appropriate reply to his inquiry on just how he might spend his time, for all that she'd not warmed up anymore, once she'd started tucking the pieces away. "And it was well of Master Roddy to ensure that you knew of my where-abouts." Promptly offered, before it seems that Harold wasn't the only one beating about in the bush. It wasn't that she'd come without Vesta, it was simply that….Vesta was also the one who with kindly mutters and a hint of amusement, went about collecting every arrow that'd gone astray. And for all she might mutter about being an old woman, still had a twinkle in her eye for the fact that her young charge, and she still considered Seri her charge married or not, looked a little more like herself.
"I should love to offer you a demonstration," she would not. She wasn't either. "But I'm afraid that my arm can not stand another draw." And she didn't feel like recanting bits and pieces of information over to him to prove she'd gotten it right as if she were a child or worse, his page. From anyone else, she might have taken it as a simple question. Might have offered an explanation and laughed again, for all her foundering. Just…not from him.
"A pity," he said with genuine regret, and the feeling that for all their brief time of joy together, things were heading straight back into a chilly wall of distance. "Well, let me have a go, then. If nothing else, you can all have a bit of a laugh at my expense." They likely would, too, because Harold was no proper shot. He'd had his lessons like everybody else in his youth, but the bow was in his mind a peasant weapon, and would stay that way, too. Though a part of him acknowledged that his general contempt of a bow had as much to do with his inability to master it as anything else. The knight was a proud man. But not so proud he felt the need to hide, either. Besides, he figured, perhaps she would feel comfortable loosening up a little if she saw that he was about useless.
So he took the bow, with Roddy's eyes telling Harold that he knew catastrophe in the making. "Ah, shush," he muttered. "No lecture, please. I don't need to hear everything I'm doing bad. Just watch it unfold, and you can laugh at me afterwards." A snort from Roddy made Harold frown, his eyes squinting in mock warning, his mouth thinning as he lifted up a warning finger. "I said -after-, not before."
An arrow on it, the beautiful bit of craftmanship drawn back until the feather stuck to his ear. And once Vesta was -truly- out of the way. Preferably so far away out of the target area that she was -behind- Harold and not infront of him. He let loose the arrow. It missed completely.
Now Harold might've been the kind of man who could've conceivably pretended to miss to get her to feel better. But that look of chagrin on his face was hard to fake. Even as he took it with good humor, he just wasn't someone who liked to fail. At anything. "Another bloody arrow. And I've changed my mind. No laughing. If you feel the need to smirk, smirk while facing away from me."
But a woman does not make fun of her husband and there wasn't enough left of Seri to feel comfortable with it now. So she did what she did best, she smoothed her hands down the front of her dress, cast a hopeful little smile in Vesta's direction when she joined them and watched with an expression that revealed absolutely nothing at all. Not even a flicker of humor for the way he jested with his retainer, though it was good to find some other glimmering of how their friendship might have begun all those years ago in watching the way one attitude seemed to compliment the other.
A man good with people, was her husband. Inspiring or charming them, intimidating them. Truly he was a good man, with considerable talent to go with it. So he couldn't use a bow particularly well. Neither could she. It would not be her to point out his faults. Just like there'd be no one who could point out her lack of manners, either. And because she was struggling to think of anything…nice to say, Seri just didn't say anything at all.
Harold sensed her quiet withdrawal; how could he not. And of course their servants sensed her withdrawal as well, and though they might pretend not to, from their demeanor her husband learned that she'd been happy before his arrival. Or at least content. It left him with a distinct and uncomfortable feeling of being the odd man out, even if he was the lord and husband, and they were all of them -his-. It grated on him, too, because Harold was a man who rarely had trouble finding welcome.
He tried another arrow, and this time even worse then the other one, as if the tension in the air had sunk into his lumbs and left him without even a hint of skill. Not that he had much, but he'd thought he had some. "Hmph," he said, scratching his cheek and passing the bow back to Roddy, who of course had gone quiet now. It wasn't the mans place to interfere between the lord and lady.
"Small steps, I suppose. Sometimes all that's necessary are a few small steps." A sideways glance at Serica's direction when he said it, an invitation of sorts.
"Indeed," said Seri, in the wake of Harold's words as if she'd not see him miss his mark twice in a row. Was that not the sign of a good wife? To look past her husband's shortcomings and accept him for what he was? "Small steps. And from the hour I am sure that it is time I should be taking mine. Lest it become Vesta's chidings I hear on fouling a stitch, much as it was Roddy's look you suffered when claiming the bow." Serica offered her husband a small smile with it, her head bowing politely in curtsey. "So while I am touched to have had you join us, my lord, I fear that I shall have to beg your forgiveness for slipping away and leaving you to your business." She'd taken his invitation in a completely different direction, intent on using it as an excuse to slip away.
"Don't, Seri," Harold said, his weariness bleeding into his gruff voice before he managed to catch himself. There was no point in trying to hold her prisoner to his company, and if nothing else she'd offer him a child in a few months that he could shower with affection and have it returned. Children were easy like that. So he waved his hand and followed up his earlier plea with a more steady: "Of course, wouldn't have that. If you feel your stitches are more important, my Lady Serica, I would not wish to hold you here." The bow was back in Roddy's hands, who looked a touch unsure what to do. Harold quickly gave him directions, a brisk dismissal with his hand to say he was bound to Serica presently. Quietly the man started to follow after the departing Lady.
Leaving Harold staring at the target, frowning.
The girl paused when he said don't, a slender brow arching in question as she waited for him to speak. A faint furrow of her forehead to follow it, bottom lip tucking in between her teeth. It didn't last long before she found an inquiring smile to offer in his direction. "My apologies, my lord. Do you wish to continue with your sport then, far be it from me to deny you the pleasure of having a spectator. Shall I send Vesta to fetch again, perhaps? Or was there somewhat you wished to say, that…could not be said later, when there's no longer some pressing requirement on your time."
"I don't think you're fool enough to believe I'm here to shoot a bow, my love," Ser Harold said as she lingered with her polite questions, cutting at him with the razor sharpness of her formality. He scrubbed at his face with the ball of his palm, his head tilted back until he saw the great dome of blue above him, and the few puffs of white floating about. One looked like an angry demon. Another looked like a man getting his head chopped off. A third looked like a horse screaming in its last throes of death agony, an all too human sound you got almost-but-not-quite used to on a battlefield. A spear in its chest. Blood splurting.
"I do not," Serica replied, "In truth, I am not sure why you are here at all, with your time stretched as it is." And she had not invited him. Mostly because she didn't want him there to hamper what enjoyment she might claim. Vesta was pretending, quite suddenly, to be very interested in looking at the scattering of flowers over near the underbrush. Short bright blooms that took the eye and the mushrooms that grew near them. "Much," she continued, "As I am not sure why -I- am still here, when I had planned to be gone yesterday. But here I am."
"You already know why I'm here," and this time his voice had a bit of mild annoyance in it, as if she were being purposefully obtuse when the answer was right there infront of her. Like a grumpy teacher with a willfully ignorant student. "I came because we've barely seen each other outside your quarters, and when I heard you'd gone out to enjoy some fresh air it seemed like something I could enjoy being part of." He was still studying the clouds, which were continuing to show him only the most macabre and depressing imageries.
"I can't answer that question, tough," as to why she was still here. "I had thought your discomfort lay in the Keep, and my family. But now that I see it lies in me, there's little reason for you to stay. I don't want you unhappy on my account, so if you're simply worried about my displeasure, I can assure you, Seri, I won't hold you leaving against you."
"If you had wanted, and had time, within your schedule and wanted to do some outing with me, Harold, then I do not think that it would have hurt you at all to simply ask. So that then we could settle on something that we might have actually enjoyed together." His wife replied, smoothing a hand against her stomach and brushing at the folds of her skirt before it folded neatly with its twin.
"We have these rare moments, shining things that fill me with such warmth it feels as if I could fly. Perhaps Katrin's visit helped, to remind me a little of who I was before, of what. I do not know how to recreate those moments either. Nor do I know how to ignore that gnawing sickening sense that something will still disappoint you and I believe that it is because of those moments, the shining ones that lead me into care. Because I do, Harold," his wife offered and meant, "I do care for you. Not simply because it is expected but because when you laugh, or I have said something to make you smile then I get the most pleasurable of little flutters here," a hand rose to gesture, "in my stomach."
"But the rest of the time, you are a man I do not know, with interests that hardly if all touch upon my own, if both of us are honest and while I trust you to keep me safe, because you are a man of honor and one who tends his property…I do not know you so well as to trust you with the parts of me that can not be safe guarded by sword and shield. And my lord," the girl bowed her head, "Forgive me. But I remember too well how quick you were to turn and put your family above…me. And while I was wrong to speak as I did before the Naylands, I have not forgotten how quick nor harsh the promise should I disappoint you again. And so, it makes it hard to be anything but precisely what is expected around you."
"And archery is something we couldn't possibly enjoy together, Seri?" Harold asked, befuddled and unable to grasp the method of her thinking, for all that he tried so very hard. A kinder note to his voice, then, as he turned away from the skies and back to her, his eyes settling on her gaze. "I'm at loss with you. I lack the tools to reach you, and if I've simply settled into watching you coop in your rooms, then it's not because I've no desire to spend some time with you - I'm sure I could find some even with my duties and schedules - but because I've no inkling of how. You go silent, you retreat, you made your preference for our quarters obvious, and I've simply.." He frowned, grasping for a way to put his frustration into words in a way that wouldn't make the little bird he'd married flutter away. "Tried to accommodate you."
A weary shrug, then, as he looked down at his broad and brutal hands. "Aye, I dealt with you harshly. There was a venom in you I could not simply stand idly by. A venom of hate and spite, and while there were gentler ways to handle such.. I'm not always a gentle man. Fearing that you would actively undermine me and my house, a poison viper in our midst, touched on a nerve. When I say House, you may think of it as an abstract; many do. I see it as you. I see it as our children. As my brothers, and my mother, and my nephews and cousins. I see it as all our futures, our safety, in a world where we have enemies who would take all of it."
"-You- are part of all that. An integral part, whether you know it or not. I'm not a cruel man, my love. I'm not looking for an excuse to hurt you, or shame you, or punish you. I'd go to extreme lengths to avoid it. I'm looking for every excuse I can to treat you with care and affection. I've plenty in me, but you have to open yourself to me."
Roddy had pointedly backed away long before this, and e'd nudge Vesta away with him if she didn't move off as well. Out of earshot, if not out of sight.
"And I appreciate that you have tried to accommodate me. In truth I have fared much better with it than weeks of you forcing your attention as if I were never a person at all, and it was never a body beneath you that had a mind that could think and a heart that could hurt. Regarded as you may your sword, used when necessary, cleaned and then tucked away." But at least she had managed to speak and converse upon the topic now without feeling the need for tears, or the urge to rail at him in anger. Just words now. Not that the hurt wasn't still there, but…time had taken away the raw nature of the wound.
"So we danced from that, to you standing there and admitting that it was easier to think me something that would try to undermine you and your house, something to be cut away. But again, I understand. That was easier than trying to get to know me. So while you have explained your views on your house, let me expand upon it for you. Open your eyes just a little, because this is the reality. Marrying into a new house, being accosted by a bunch of strangers, being looked at like meat before being bedded by a man you never courted, these are not things to make a new member feel welcome. A house is something you build, stone by stone, plank by plank, fixed in with mortar to see it hold. Melded with stones that fit. Work goes into it. Time. Because if those pieces do not fit, then it will fall. You can not just pick up a rock and shove it in on the roof and expect it to fit without effort. Just like you can not pick up a stranger and expect things that she's known her whole life to change and be turned off over night."
"You take on a fosterling or a new page, a new squire, that devotion has to be built. That trust has to be earned. That comfort given time. You are a cruel man, Harold. You might hide it behind honor, but you are cruel. And you have been cruel. So I'm sorry if I find opening myself up to you a hard thing to do but you are the one who made it that way."
"Aye, it was easier to not think of you as a person and just another duty given me by my brother, those early days. We got off wrong, and as you retreated into your shell of chill hostility, so I retreated into a shell of a detached and indifferent lord. A mask I can wear if I have to, but it brought no pleasure or joy to either of us, and when you finally dosed yourself I'll admit I was relieved." Though his deep voice was calm as he spoke, there was no denying the notes of sad regret either. Harold had already admitted to her once that he had erred, and though he did not enjoy neither being reminded of it nor repeating it, once it was out in the open he didn't flinch from his mistakes either. "I'm trying to make amends. I understand it will take time. If it takes years to see you find yourself comfortable in my company, so be it. I will be patient. I -will- be patient. But I'm a man with hot blood, for all I control it usually so well that most think me tempered instead. You'll find me blowing up on occasion, and I merely ask you give me some understanding for it."
He stepped towards her, a slow and careful dance of measured distances, until he was close enough to lay his hand against her face. He'd frowned against her accusation. He'd frowned, because.. she was right. "Aye. Aye. I -am- a cruel man, sometimes. I promise though I am doing my very best not to be, with you. I've given you cause to be afraid of me, I hope you'll find cause to trust me, too."
"I told you that I trusted you, Harry," Serica replied, tilting her head up to look at him because her husband was a tall man, and the seven had never seen fit to give her height. "I meant it when I said you do. If it can be vanquished by a sword, then I trust you with all that I am to see it gone. But…my blood runs cold, like the river of the Green Fork that runs beneath the Twins," came the quiet flow of her voice, not soft, but steady, patient and winding, slow like the mighty rivers pace.
"Understanding I can give you. Companionship and a partner in cyvasse. Children." She paused, organizing thoughts, weighing words. "I followed you here chasing a feeling and a moment, but I am staying for me. I am staying to prove to -myself- that I can do it. That I am better. But for all of that, I can not just open and let you. Lucky for us, we do have time, should your hot blood not get the better of you."
With a twitch of her nose, the girl looked around and gave a soft sigh. "Pity you sent Roddy off with the bow."
"I live by the sword," Ser Harold acknowledge as he stroked his rough thumb against the hollow just beneath her delicate cheekbone. He was a knight, and there was no denying it, nor would he have ever wanted to. The raven crested man took pride in his warrior abilities, in the glories and victories that he had won, in the honor and respect that came from holding such position. "But it is not all that I am. You can talk to me of other things, and find that I can listen," his lips curled in a slightly dry smile as he added: "And even come with some input, if you're particularly lucky. But listen at least I can promise, and it'll be no burden either. I've spied a shining intellect in you, girl," and unknowingly used it as an endearment, even if it did underline the vast gap of generations between them. "That I admire. And I enjoy the sound of your voice."
"Even when it squeaks." An attempt to lighten the mood with the quip. "I find it nothing but endearing."
"Good, then. Good. I'm glad you do it for yourself. It's the only way to do something properly." He'd trained a few young noble sons over the years, whose only interest in arriving on the courtyard was to please their fathers. They never became great, no matter their inherit talents.
"At least there I make rather quicker amends, than wait for years to pass." Because all it took was a whistle, and Roddy returned, having never been far away, his eyes passing steadily from one to the other, trying to judge the mood. "Seems we'll use the bow a bit more, after all."
"Ah," and that time, Serica actually smiled, "And there is the rub. You are capable of offering remarkable input, in fact, I do not doubt that there is nothing to which you would not have something to say towards. However, I am your wife, Harold and while I may be young yet, to the life which you have lived and I know it. I am not a child, nor do I particularly wish to be treated as one by my husband, so save your lessons for your boys because they only undermine my own attempts to push our differences."
Though his remark about squeaking, had the woman arching a brow at him, before she added, "And references to tumbling are not the way to put me into a pleasant mood when I am upset. I will not be led about by the flesh." Be herself, he'd said. Well, they could all just suffer along while she figured out what that was but…for the first time in a long time, this talking felt right. Like she'd finally figured out the proper way to approach it. To approach him. Could finally put words and labels and organize the voices in her head in a way that…brought him neither a frown that had him throwing out his own sort of distance, nor the hot flash of her temper. She might not have accomplished anything with the bow, but…for the first time since she'd met him, Serica felt like she'd accomplished something with her husband.
So much that there was even a smile when Roddy returned, as the woman reached out to take the bow when it was offered; before settling back to notch an arrow. "My husband and I have made a bet, Master Roddy. We each will shoot three arrows, the winner will then devote two hours, tomorrow, to whatever…pleasures outside the bedroom the other chooses without complaint; in an effort to…," Seri looked up at her husband then, "better come to know each other." And with that, the woman drew her arm back as she'd been shown, and let the arrow fly.
"I'm afraid I'm no good at keeping my advice to myself," Harold admitted with a grunt. "I'm too much of a drill master to find it easy to keep my opinions when I have them. Though I'll try, for the sake of the peace of my household." She might have had a life before she got married, but by the same token so had he, and he was likely twice as ingrained in his ways. There wasn't much help for it either, even if he might try; in the end it was too much a part of his personality.
He met her arched brow with a shrewd glint in his eyes, too. "Aye, but you're no longer upset, are you? I can tell these things. So your argument is thoroughly invalid." He didn't seem to have any issue from her correcting him, though. Infact it only served as a gateway to a bit of banter, of the kind he had with everybody else, but never seemed capable of striking up with her. "And my statement shall stand."
"Bravo!" He chortled easily with surprised delight when her arrow struck the target; finally someone other than Roddy hitting the damn thing rather than sending arrows off all hither. Of course that success only sparked on his own competitive drive into hypergear. When the bow was handed to him, he went through all his ancient lessons, trying to remember what he was taught as a child. How to hold his hands and how to hold his feet. Then he released it, and the arrow spun forward with twice the force Serica had put into hers - he'd drawn the bow all the way to his cheek. It thumped even closer to the center than hers. "Hah! Look at that." Both as surprised -and- delighted as when she'd hit hers.
"Your advice is fine to give, Harold, in fact at times you will find that it may be something I seek. It is the delivery that I am asking you to work on. There are ways of imparting knowledge without leaving the listener feeling as if they're eight," came steady reply, for all that it was kindly given and her smile had shyed away for offering it.
His mistake was in thinking that she'd been making a jest when she had made her remark about tumbling. "Upset no. Serious, yes. I did not appreciate the tactic and let you know." So -that- bit of banter, was nipped completely in the bud. "Nor do I feel this is the place for it." Because they weren't alone, whether he considered their servants to be people or not.
For all that she'd corrected though, there was still a smile for the fact that she'd struck the target with an light bit of laughter with it, enough that it touched her eyes as she passed off the bow to her husband to watch him. Nor did her laughter end, when he hit his and her smile had grown in measure for the light that touched his own. "Had it been a deer, darling, surely you would have dropped it," complimented, inclining her head for his skill. "Though it makes me suspect you sent the first two astray on purpose." Teased, lightly but all the same, a tease. /Now/ he could banter. The subject matter was appropriate.