Chapter 7: Progression (part 4)

Racieus had nearly made it back to the guild when a tap on his shoulder alerted him to Lieran’s presence. He jumped slightly, but kept running, hoping his teacher missed the small movement. The guild master didn’t of course, but he refrained from commenting on it and instead matched the halfling’s pace as the they continued towards the guild. “How much did you see?” asked the halfling after several silent moments.

“Most of it. The parts that I witnessed were more or less skillful, but judging by what I saw as you left the house, I’d say that part didn’t go as well.” Racieus turned a sidelong look on him, disbelief and condescension mixing on his face. “Am I wrong?”

“Very” replied the halfling. “Do you have so little faith in me?’ Lieran said nothing, only gestured for his student to continue, which he did. “The man went home and immediately started trying to drink enough liquor to knock out a giant. I approached him, pretending to be something I was not, and robbed him though I was standing right in front of him. I wasn’t about to let him take what little challenge thievery presents away from me.”

Lieran started chuckling halfway through Racieus’ defense. When the halfling had finished he shot the tall assassin an annoyed glance. “I’m sorry halfling,” came the eventual apology after the laughter had subsided. “You just remind me very much of another.”

“Another… student?” And the guild master shook his head.

“Myself,” and suddenly Lieran was sprinting, leaving a surprised Racieus in the dust. The halfling grinned, and accepted the unspoken challenge, increasing his own speed and racing the taller assassin to the guild house, which now loomed in the distance. Although he lost, the race was a close one, the halfling doing well to close the gap between himself and his longer legged opponent, touching the large double doors a second after.

“So… when are you… going to teach me… my special topic?” panted the halfling between breaths.

“Well if it’s a mildly interesting topic, we can start right away if you wish” came the reply, and Racieus marveled that the guild master hardly seemed to be winded.

Instead of entering the house, Lieran led the halfling around to the back of the large building. By this time, there would be too many people in the training hall to teach any sort of lesson, so when the opportunity called for it, the teacher and student had taken to using this area behind the building for their practice. “So what do you want me to teach you?” asked Lieran, raising his eyebrows and steepling his fingers.

Racieus smiled in anticipation, “I want you to teach me something that I’ve wanted to learn ever since I saw you do it. Teach me how to throw a dagger.”

“You don’t disappoint halfling” Lieran said with a grin. Clapping his hands together he launched right into the lesson, “There are different types of knives, as I hope you are aware. Your technique when throwing them will be just about the same, but where you hold will differ.” With a slight flick of his wrist, so infinitesimal that Racieus nearly missed it, the tall assassin made a knife appear in his hand. The halfling made a mental note to look into a wrist sheathe in the near future.

“This knife you’ll notice is not balanced like yours are. This is a blade heavy knife, meaning, of course, that the the blade is heavier than the handle. You will always want to throw the weight, and hold the opposite. You won’t have to worry about that with your balanced knives, but in this case, to throw it you’d be holding on to the handle. With a handle heavy knife it’d be the opposite, and you’d be holding the blade.”

Holding his blade with one hand, Lieran showed Racieus how to grip it. “Some people like to wrap their whole hand around the knife, and keep their thumb along the back of the handle, like they’re holding a hammer. I don’t recommend this however, because your thumb tends to cause wobble. Instead,” He adjusted his grip slightly, so that his thumb was one side, parallel to the handle, and his three larger fingers were gripping on the side with his smallest finger hanging off, "hold it like this.”

“With this grip, all you have to do is open your hand slightly and the knife will continue along uninterrupted. Let’s see your grip.” Racieus drew a dagger, and imitated his teacher’s hold on the knife. With an approving nod, Lieran continued. “Good. Now when you throw, unless you throw the knife straight, with no spin at all, which is a new technique in itself, your knife will need to spin in the air. Adjusting the angle of the knife influences the amount of spin on it, and judging how much spin you’ll need is something that comes with practice.”

The guild master held out his arm in demonstration. “For a close range throw you need to bend your wrist back towards your forearm. The knife will spin faster, which is necessary since the target is so close. For a medium range throw, you bend your wrist like before, but not quite as far back, and for a longer throw, you won’t bend your wrist at all. Again, this comes with practice, and there are obviously more positions than just short, medium, and long.”

“When you throw, your arm will be coming over your shoulder in a straight line, much like it would when you are chopping logs. Make sure you keep a firm grip on the knife, then, once your arm is pointing towards your target, release and allow your arm to follow through on the movement. The rest is based on how the process works for you, and will require fine tuning that only you can provide yourself. Once that is all done,” Lieran turned swiftly and whipped his knife through the air into an abandoned wooden carton.

The tall assassin looked to his apprentice now, who took a deep breath and mirrored Lieran’s throw. The knife bounced hilt first off the same carton, but it had been on target. He just needed to adjust his spin. The halfling retrieved his knife under the watchful eye of his teacher, who said nothing, leaving it to Racieus to figure things out. That was the best way to learn after all.

Another throw skipped off its target, and once again, the small recruit ran out to go grab it. Bending his wrist just a little bit more, Racieus paused for just a moment before launching the dagger forward.

Both teacher and student smiled as the knife stuck into the carton with a satisfying thunk.

The End

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