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Old 02-13-2016, 08:50 PM   #273
littlemanpoet
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A quarrel in the hall

Rowenna listened to Saeryn's diatribe with a smirk on her face, chewing and swallowing a piece of bread. She considered interrupting her, just to make the pot boil hotter, but decided to let her finish. She tipped her head quizzically and sardonically.

"It's nice to see you show up. I was not sure you had it in you. You might just have lasted more than a day with my brigands." She lowered her brow and allowed her smirk to slip to a menacing frown, and she leaned forward.

"It matters not that you don't make any sense. You're not used to being this hot headed, so I'll let it pass. But maybe you might explain just what has got you so hopping mad?"

Somewhere inside, Saeryn felt a prick of satisfaction that she had actually gotten under Rowenna's skin, despite Rowenna's cool front.

"It's you," she said. "You - stepping out of your place - and disrespecting your betters." She lifted one hand and reached to the tray, still holding several servings. "You've effectively driven Garreth out. I want you to take this to him." She held it toward Rowenna and met her eye, daring her to disobey. "Now," she said, quietly.

Now Rowenna was angry. "No-one is my better. You may hold a place of power and right by law, but that does not make you better than me. Take it to him yourself."

Saeryn shook her head, growing calmer as she felt she gained the upper hand. "I wasn't talking about myself," she said. "You drove him out. You'll amend it."

She set the bowl down by Rowenna's, retrieved her tray with a huff, and stood up.

"The plate will sit there until he comes for it or someone brings it to him. Did you see me with a whip and chair to drive him out? He left by his own will. He owns his deeds, not me. Go find some child to scold. And next time, make sure you know what really happened before you start your scolding."

"Some would count your tongue as a lash, Rowenna," Saeryn said, feeling the sting of it at that moment. "I need hardly stretch my mind to guess what passed between the two of you." She paused, waiting. Rowenna made no move. "So you will not take it to him, then?" Saeryn asked. "We shall see what is to be done." She turned and moved away.

That was a threat. Rowenna did not take it kindly. "So you would rather not know the truth, you just want your way, is that it?"

"Fine," Saeryn said, swinging back. "Tell me." And inwardly she added, 'It had better be worth all this trouble, or I swear, I'll make you pay.'

Rowenna stood. She looked at Harreld, and called him by name. He looked at her askance. "Please tell Lady Saeryn what passed between your brother and me."

Harreld stood up and cleared his throat. “Rowenna handed a plate to my brother but did not let go. He demanded that she let go, and she asked what she would get in return. He did not answer but walked out. I asked her why she harassed him and she asked why we men are served before the women. I had no answer.”

Saeryn turned from Harreld to Rowenna. She could not believe the stubbornness she had to deal with. “Why did you harass him?” she asked.

Truth be told, it was because Garreth had been the one who was foul to her in the first place. She had chosen not to be difficult with Harreld or any other man; instead she had allowed her rage to find an appropriate target, as it were; but she would lose face if she said that to Saeryn. “I harassed no-one! I worked as hard as any man today! I’ll not be treated like trash!” She stepped over the bench, leaving the bowl sitting where it lay, turned her back on Saeryn, and stormed out the door and into the downpour.

Saeryn stared after her. She almost followed her, but when she saw the pouring rain through the opening and closing door as Rowenna went out, she decided against it. She turned back to the table and looked down at Rowenna’s uneaten portion of food and the bowl meant for Garreth beside it.

Harreld was still standing, watching Saeryn. “Lady, I will take the food to my brother. He asked it of me.”

She looked at him and did not immediately respond, for her mind was still full of Rowenna’s words. At last she seemed to hear him. She shook her head. “No. Thank you, Harreld. I will take it to him myself.”

“Are you sure, Lady, that you want to do that?” Harreld looked uncomfortable. “My brother is - a - difficult man when he is angered, and you -” he paused and shifted his weight from foot to foot. “Please let me take it to him.”

Saeryn turned her head slightly and stared hard at him. “And I am what?” she demanded.

“You are - er -” he paused again, and reddened as he realized how many faces were looking up at him around the hall. He braced himself. “You are a woman, Lady, your pardon.”

Saeryn cracked a smile. “So I am,” she agreed. She took a quick glance around. Cerwyn had seen to the last of the serving. She set her tray down and picked up Garreth’s serving. “You have worked hard and are tired. Sit and enjoy your supper and stay warm and dry.”

“Lady, I have lost my appetite and I am going back to the smithy anyway. Please let me take it.”

“Harreld,” Saeryn said, firmly, but not unkindly. “I am not afraid of your brother. You will not let my good supper go to waste. I know men better than to think a woman’s quarrel will put them off their meat.” She smiled at him again and went back toward the kitchen to find a cover for the bowl before taking it out into the rain.
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