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Grappling with the knife, atn Tywin

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As part of the program Master Kilrin had decided on to boost morale and improve training, Visar had a few trainees and guards he was goong to coach. Group classes were more efficient to train a large group of people, but the dropout rate was extreme, and the Guard needed more members. It was either change the way you trained, or lower the standards, and neither Visar nor Kilrin would have the latter spoken about with broken teeth to the offender. If they were lucky.


Instead, the weed out started right away; if trainees could not pass the fitness courses, which under Kilrin's supervision had become a real gauntlet of pain and misery, they usually went home on their own, and that freed up guardsmen and warders to teach those that had already survived their firstnfew weeks.


Visar glanced at his list, a much crumpled up piece of paper that was becoming more difficult to read. He had to help three trainees with the sword, two others with staff or spear, and only one that was interested in the dagger. How strange, that with a weapon warders wouls face more than any other, and had killed many of Visar's friends when he was growing up in Tear, that so few warders trained to use or defend against? It didn't make sense. But then again, the bruises, dislocated joints, and broken bones, not to mention the frequent humiliation of being tossed onto the ground over and over again. . .it certainly was not as dignified and heroic as the sword or the bow.


He finished giving the other trainees their preparatory assignments, and that left the last, and hopefully best, trainee for last. He circled the training yard casually, not knowing who "tie-win" was. Finally he gave up guessing who it was and realized he was putting things off again. Not much for it but to shout,


"Trainee Tywin! You get your bloody Warty behind over here this instance!" He yelled in the angriest voice he could muster. It was always easy to get angry about something. Taking it out on trainees was cathartic, even if Visar felt a little guilty for making these poor lads and girls' lives any worse. He knew how hard it was, and he suspected things were easier with the previous Master at Arms around.


A young man, already sweating from his morning's exercises, ran up, looking somewhat bewildered. He presented himself bravely.


"Trainee, you may call me Visar Gaiden. I'm to instruct you in some knife work. First, i need to see what you already know. Try to kill me."


Visar tossed a blunt metal training knife, the blade almost as long as a forearm, at Tywin's feet. It was thick and bulky, and made deep purple bruises when it found its mark, but was enough like a real knife to train realistically without risk of lethal injury. Visar cupped his hands at his breast, a good position to defend against any attack but not appear very defensive, and waited unarmed, a silent challenge.


-Visar Falmaien, come on show me what you got :)

Edited by Visar Falmaien
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Well, Tywin decided, this was already better than the guy who taught the staff. That was a series of endless drills that he could do in his sleep now and it looked like his chances of actual sparring were somewhere between the Dark One kissing his feet in joy and his dad showing up to practice. He picked up the training weapon feeling the solid weight of the weapon in his hand. The blade was longer and heavier than he was used to. In truth, he had signed up (well made markings that looked like what Coraman had pointed out his name looked like. He could neither read nor write) because the dagger was the weapon he had the most experience with. He had never really learned forms and likely had a bunch of what the instructors referred to as "bad habits," but he had seen far too many cut down in their prime by a child for a scrap of food.


He moved into a stance that had his feet slightly wider than his shoulders and held the knife diagonal across his front in his right hand. His left was crossed behind it and felt weird without the second smaller dagger he was used to. He knew he was going to get into a lot of trouble for trying to block along his left forearm without that dagger against it, but it was habit. He moved forward in a thrusting motion intending to feint, but the knife's reach was longer than he was used to and he had little choice but to commit to the thrust.


ooc: I'm not very good with action sequences and unsure how much I can get away with without it seeming god-moding. You can beat pretty close to the snot out of him, if you so desire. If you want me to try for more action, I will do so. :smile:

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(Ooc: you're doing just fine, nothing too complicated about knifework; hopefully my responses are not too moddy, if they are i will cyange them; just let me know what you want to do/done)


Visar took note of the young man's stance. He was of similar height but wiry thin, about the build Visar had been when he was just starting as a trainee; he had widened out a bit since then. This man was going to be a challenge, as he already looked like he had seen a few knife fights, and he had the perfect build for a daggerman. Now to gauge his skill..


Visar observed that there was nothing wrong with Tywin's stance, the left arm could cover if need be and the right would fight; it was balanced for defense and offense. He saw hesitation in the man's attack though, as if he was unsure whether to commit his strike or feint. Visar took well advantage of that, as he had plenty of time to react to try something fancy.


He shifted his upper body to the side, slapping in his hand to deflect Tywin's wrist, and the dagger connected to it, harmlessly to the side. In the same motion, Visar obtained a vice-like grip on the lad's wrist with his left hand, and using his other hand to grab the blade, he wrenched it out of Tywin's grip with a well-practiced twisting motion. As long as the blade didn't slide on his hand, Visar knew, he would not likely be cut at all, or at worst just a small scratch.


Visar did not wait for any reaction from Tywin, who was likely surprised to be disarmed so easily, and instantly flowed to tye next technique; the fight wasn't over once you disarmed someone. He kept the dagger in his right hand, and twisting Tywin's wrist again, he ducked under the now outstretched arm to Tywin's right to avoid a kick or punch. He undercut Tywin with his shoulder, causing the yong man to lift slightly off the ground. Visar stepped with his right foot to behind Tywin's knee, and kicked up with his heel while twisting his upper body to the left. The combined motion landed Tywin unceremoniously on his back.


Visar was still not done, as he still had a strong hold on the offending wrist. Twisting it again for good measure, Visar sank his knee on Tywin's arm to pin it, shifted the knife so that he held it properly by the hilt, and stabbed down to hit Tywin in the chest. The whole sequence took less than three seconds.


"And you are dead," Visar announced gravely before helping Tywin back up to his feet. He explained Tywin's actions; all of them good, but could be tweaked to be more dangerous. He smiled warmly and disarmingly. "A good attack, Tywin, but I saw it coming a hundred paces away. Most knife attacks, you don't see the knife before it strikes for you. Your stance was more defensive and your attack slower because it did not have your full strength behind it."


While he was expaining, Visar subtly shifted the training knife behind his back, as he moved slowly closer to Tywin. You had to be close, the closer the better, to give your victim less time to react.


"Come, i'll show you what I--" Visar put his hand on Tywin's shoulder, as if he was letting him in on a good secret. Then without warning, he shoved Tywin's shoulder to expose his side and get him off balance, and rammed the training blade towards his lower side before he was finished speaking.


"Mean," Visar finished grimly.


-Visar, being mean :p

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And Tywin was glad he had not used the last of the bruise balm Coraman had given him. On top of the new bruises, there was tingling down in his fingers from the wrenching of his shoulder. He absorbed the lesson, though. Commit to your attack. And something he should know all too well: never let them see it coming. Oddly enough, it was a little like running a trick or con. Perhaps if he treated it as one? Though this knife was far too big to shove up a sleeve... He picked up his own weapon.


"Understood," he replied moving so that they were not so close together. "Although this is a rather large knife to hide. Wouldn't the attack have been better with a palm sized dagger?" He made to demonstrate the size using his own palm and while the other man's attention was on his free hand he moved he knife towards Visar's ribs. He knew his move would not hit-warders seemed to have an odd sixth sense when it came to attacks. He waited until Visar committed to the same wrist grab as before, no doubt wanting him to learn to block such a move, and brought the fist of his free hand now fisted up to connect with Visar's face.


ooc: you're great on the god-moding bit. And I have no clue what I am doing, so short it is. :smile:

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Visar nodded at his question, and almost relaxed too much, as the trainee sprang a surprise attack. This one was bold and learned quickly: good!

Visar'a training was to always focus on the hand holding the knife, and if he could not see the hand, he assumed there might be a weapon concealed. The attack came, and clevely, as Tywin punched out just as Visar deflected the thrust and grabbed a hold of the arm. Visar brought his hand up palm out to stop the punch, then decided not to block and went for the knife instead. He had a feelong Tywing would be surprised his punch landed. Visar felt himself grin even as he absorbed the pain by rolling his head back a little. His muscle memory did not fail to do the rest.


Two seconds later he had disarmed Tywin again, stolen the knife, and struck twice, once to slice Tywin's wrist of his extended arm, and twice to stab him in the gut.


Visar stretched his jaw; it stung from the punch, but it had not distracted him from the real threat, and if these had been sharp


"A fine move, but it does not follow the most imortant rule: always seek control of the knife, whether it's in your hands or an enemy's. Seek control first, either by keeping me from stabbing or cutting you repeatedly, then you can do whatever followup move you like. Now, there are smart knifemen, and i already count you among that number, who will figure out how to conceal the blade they need for the occasion, ambush you without warning, and feint or hit you with their offhand leading. Even I have no perfect defense against an assassin, despite years of training. You have no guarantee of survival, and make no mistake, if you are attacked with a knife, you will probably get cut."


Visar paused for a moment, letting that sink in, then casually pulled his own training knife from where it was hidden under his shirt, and gave Tywin a low thrust to defend against. This time the trainee caught on and defended. Visar showed him how to take the knife from his grip, even though it was strong, and they established a drill; they would share a knife, and whoever held the blade was the attacker, and whoever did not was to defend and then take the blade. Visar conversed casually as he did this; he had done this drill so many times he could probably do it in his sleep. It was good to learn the basics.


"Fortunately for you and me, there are a lot of wool-brained idiots out there who will give you ample warning and a predictable attack; when someone is angry and wants to kill you with a knife, they will do so without subtlety. You will learn how to defend against this, and there will be many drills like this, and many more bruises for each mistake, each failure to defend yourself and gain control."


visar could feel Tywin already testing him, trying to figure out how to counter the counters without knowing the basics first. Visar called a halt,thinking of another strategy.


"We could drill for hours and months, and we will so you can learn the techniques. But only you can learn how to apply them. I want, in additin to our regular sessions, for you to take an assignment. Think of it like a game of tag of you will. You may use any training knife so long as it is dull enough. Your task: to 'kill' me when i'm out and about the city or the grounds. Only the yards themelves are exempt. During this time you will have a pass from me to see the city. You are to use your street smarts, find me, and get me with that training knife however you can. Then when you succeed, we switch places, and you have to defend yourself. You may run if i give you an out, and i will as well if you let me."


Visar quickly scrawled a note which would give Tywin a pass into the city for 'training purposes', and handed it to him.


"You begin whenever you feel ready," Visar said with a smile.

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Things were going better with the knife than Tywin had dared to hope. Living in the streets had given him an unforeseen understanding of knife tactics. The fact that he had managed to punch the other man, even if it had been a calculated move on Visar's part, raised his spirits. It had been so long since he had felt like he was learning something useful-his swimming lessons actually-that he was ready to jump from the city walls into the river if it was asked of him. He didn't miss the amount of trust that was being placed in him with the note as he pocketed it. It meant that they didn't think he was going to run. They actually thought that he had a future here. The idea delighted him and his characteristic half smile became a full blown one. He sobered up a the thought of the task before him, though. He had done his best to avoid assassination work while he had been in Caemlyn. He thought the work the worst kind of sin.


"Visar Gaidan," Tywin began hoping the other man would not think him a coward for his objections, "I do not wish to become an assassin. If I do as you ask, won't that be my fate?"

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Visar listened to Tywin's misgivings about his assignment, and while part of him had the urge to laugh at the lad, he thought of how that might come across, and satisfied himself with a warm smile. Tywin was afraid, but that did not make him a coward; it just meant he had normal feelings and emotions.


"Tywin, the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, but i cannot help believe we have command over the choices we do have. I cannot say what your path will be, that will be for you to find for yourself. I am not training you to become an assassin. I am training you to defend, protect against, and defeat darkfriends and other villains, assassins or merely armed thugs. Anyone, even children and women,have knives on them, and can kill even the finest warrior if they are caught off guard. You have to be alert and prepared for anything if you're to serve a Aes Sedai as a Warder, and learn how to see threats, how to avoid fights when possible. And to do that, you must understand your enemy, and learn how to think like him. Stealth, caution, good timing, discretion, cunning: you will need all these things, and it is up to you how to know when to use these skills; for the wellbeing of others or to harm them for your own gain."


Visar paused for a while, deep in thought about morality, his choice to become a Warder, and whether or not he was making a good impression on this warrior. He allowed Tywin to respond, then continued


"Every day we train from here on, i will teach you through drills and sparring how to use a dagger or knife, and how to defend with or without one. When you are done with your structured training, feel free to seek me out here or in town and we can play our hunting game, for as long as you find use in the experience. If you feel like it's wrong for you, then you can stop; I won't force you to do something that your heart says is wrong. What do you say?" Visar asked, inwardly eager for the challenge himself.

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Tywin listened as the other man spoke, his face unusually somber. It was important to him to be able to hold onto what little bit of a moral code he had. He had not thought about it in the form of learning how an assassin might go after him or his charge. It was an interesting perspective and one that he knew would be invaluable. He was not being asked to actually stalk and kill anyone-though that could lie in his future if it was a case of getting the other first. He began to realize how well he had done in choosing Visar for his mentor. He hadn't lied to him and tried to reassure him that such a fate was not in his future. He had laid out the facts and waited for Tywin to decide that he wanted more than just a working understanding of the weapon.


"I think this plan has merit," a quick smile curved his lips. "I look forward to this game of cat and mouse." 


~A few days later~


The cold had begun to set in, especially in the poorer sections of Tar Valon. At first, Tywin had thought this to his advantage. The weather forced anyone who had one to wear cloaks and coats that were perfect to hiding any number of knives. However, cloaks also hid the identifiable features on a person and with so many being wore the chances for duplication of the cloak were just about a guarantee. It made tracking Visar, who wore a different cloak each time and never his warder one, a task even with filling a trough with a sieve. But still, he kept on with in.


Tywin waved at one of the tavern owners he had gotten to know on his trips to the city and the rotund if dirty man shook his head. He had circulated a description of Visar among the tavern owners he could either bribe or charm (he had also made sure that they knew he and the warder weren't actually going to kill each other after a concerned innkeeper had sent for the Tower Guard and both of them had nearly spent the whole night in lock up) and he frequently used them as his first line of defense. Not that he relied on them overmuch. He walked inside the lower end establishment and walked the full length of the floor to the farthest corner table his eyes flicking left to right in a search for the gaidan. He caught sight of a man at the bar who, despite the heat thrown into the room by the large smokey fireplace, kept his hood on. Tywin threw his back and then had to join a card game in the corner with a few men he had cultivated a friendship with for their abilities to acquire rumors.


The barmaid, a painfully thin blonde woman who might have been pretty once, swung by to put a dented tankard of the watery brew that passed for ale here next to his elbow as he was dealt in. Tywin reach out and grabbed her wrist-behavior he would use if he was not in the establishment that he was-and pulled her into his lap. "Smile," he hissed in her ear as he slid a few coppers into her apron pocket. "The man at the bar with the hood..." he described Visar rapidly, " laugh if he matches my description." The woman laughed and bounded up from his lap the second that he let her go. Good. Now all he had to do was wait. He also made a note of the fact that the tavern keeper would change sides as quick as the money could land in his palm.


ooc:that ended up horribly long, but oh well. I intend to have much fun with this...

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(Ooc: no worries this should be fun!)


It was another night of the game. After a botched first attempt, Tywin had slowed down his approach, and apparently was trying to network among many of the inns and taverns Visar frequented. Visar, with his short stature and dark skin, normally stood out in the xity, but with the cold winds blowing incessantly from the north, it was easier to hide in the streets during the day. Which meant that when he went inside at night to try to stay warm--Visar loved many things about Tar Valon but its harsh winters were not one of them---the plucky trainee was sometimes not far behind.


Lost in thoght again, Visar did not notice Tywin coming in, but he did get suspicious when he heard artificial sounding laughter from one of the barkeeps. His first thought was that someone needed a speaking to about how to treat a woman; and then he recognized Tywin's form. He quickly glanced away. He had found him already, but with the crowd--Visar wasn't the only one trying to stay warm--it woukd be difficult for Tywin to get to him.


That gave him time to think and time to finish his cider. Then, slowly, he put the money down on tye table, and got up to leave. Once he was out the door, Visar began to run through the streets, going for the safety of dark alleyways to hide. Exactly how a hunted man would behave; to try to ecape first, and act in fear. Inwardly Visar wondered how Tywin would handle this, as before he had tried to attack him openly with a whole inn watching. They hadn't known it was just for training; that had been tricky to get out of. Tonight it was a brand new scenario.


-Visar, running from the 'assassin'

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Tywin swore violently as Visar made his escape. He tossed a few coppers on the table to cover his drink and waved off the questions of his companions. He'd catch a little bit of hell for it later, but right now he knew that he could not loose Visar in the twisting alleys. He managed to catch the tail end of the other man's cloak as he ducked into one of the alleyways that was used for drainage access-that meant that the alley dead ended in combined sewer/rainwater drain access. The knowledge allowed Tywin to slow on approaching the alley's mouth and draw both of his knives. The right knife was half the length of his forearm and slightly hooked at the end. The left was the full length of his forearm and held reversed so that the blade was against his forearm with what would normally be the sharp edge facing out. Neither was sharpened, but they would still leave nasty bruises. Carefully, he edged into the alley mindful of the fact that Visar could try take him by surprise by either bolting out of the alley or going on the offensive.


He breathed deeply and was glad for the fact that his eyes had adjusted on the run over. There were no street lamps or alley scones. The only light came from a street lamp outside the alley and a good ten paces to the right of it. He saw Visar coming to the end of the alley and Tywin moved to rush him before he turned around and spotted Tywin in the alley as well. He moved for a blow that would take Visar in the left kidney-a guaranteed kill if a painful one.

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Visar ran down an alley, even though his survival instincts told him to keep going. It was too cold for a long extended run anyway, and most people running from death would panic at one point or another. He heard a faint sound behind him, kept going. Tywin would be in hot pursuit, the young man was determined and clever enough to track him. He was fast, too!


Visar still had some tricks up his sleeve, however. He knew this area well; for most people this would be a dead end, but he knew of an escape. The drainage tunnel, which led into the sewer labrynth, had a sizeable opening that was hard to see in the dimlit street. It was large enough for a man to jump into, as long as he didn't mind getting wet. But this time of year, the water would be dangerously cold, and that was hardly something Visar wanted to go through. There were a few openings along the sewer line to get out of.


Was it worth the risk? Visar had no time to decide as Tywin rushed at him from behind. Visar reacted on instinct, turning and deflecting the blade. Even so, he felt a light impact; if it were sharp he would have been wounded, but likely would have lived. He turned, twisting his hand to grip Tywin's wrist. Another blur of motion, and Visar thanked his luck he had only engaged one hand to the fight. The clever trainee had two knives! Visar grinned and deflected the other one and grabbing the weapon arm.


They froze for half a moment, discovering they were both in a bind: Tywin was struggling to get his arms free and hit Visar; Visar was trying to control Tywin's arms. They strugled like wrestlers for a few moments, trying to read what the other was doing by feel alone, since it was too dark to see. Visar's arms were likely getting 'cut' by the knives but in the heat of the fight he couldn't tell. Then Visar felt Tywin push him. Instead of pushing back, Against the real threat, Visar did the unexpected and pulled, dropping his weight at the same time as if sitting down sharply. Pulling Tywin over him, Visar kicked out with both feet as he rolled, hurling the trainee backwards over him in a stomach throw, aiming straight for the sewer opening, its dark, freezing waters rushing by.


-Visar, care for some hypothermia? :p

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The cold from the partially frozen drainage water took Tywin's breath away. He was also very thankful for the grizzled old guard who taught the swim course for making sure they could all tread water while at least partially geared. Water added weight to any piece of cloth and filled his boots. It was harder to keep above the waterline. It was deep enough that Tywin had to choose between breathing and walking to the large stone indentions that served as a built in ladder. He cursed fluently in his mind as made his way as quickly as possible to it. He knew better than to open his mouth. He had seen men who fell into the sewer or drainage water who made it back out only to die in agony from plague or disease. Tywin kept his hands on the last wrung just below the alley's pavement, and eased his head over to see if Visar was still there. He was. It was well-known that Tywin was not a good swimmer. Clearly, he wanted to make sure he wasn't going to have to plunge in after him.


Tywin sighed and heaved his weight over the lip. It was clear that he had lost this night. If it wasn't for the fact that Visar had stuck around to make sure that Tywin wasn't going to be feeding the fishes in the bottom of the river, he would have hightailed it into some deep dark hidey-hole Tywin could never pry him out of. He checked the forearm sheathes for his knives and sighed. They were soaked. There was no way he could but his knives back in there without having the quartermaster lay into him with gusto. He checked his pockets to make sure that he hadn't lost anything as he waited for Visar's critique.

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Visar stood, and cursed to himself; the water was cold enough for anyone to catch a chill, and he may have just sent a trainee straight for te river! He went closer, his mind racing to remember the next few exits where he might pull Tywin out. He was relieved to see that Tywin had not been swept away; if it was in spring with the water level higher, he most certainly would have.


Visar went over to help, though the drenched trainee got out entirely by himself. Visar handed him the knives he had dropped, and was glad the trainee didn't choose that timing for a cheap shot. He helped him to his feet and unclasped his cloak from his back. Tywin stood, seemingly waiting for what the lesson was, but Visar had other priorities first. His pupil was learning a lot and probably needed some encouragmement.


"Almost got me, that was close," he said with a somewhat tight grin. Visar left the fact that he had almost endangered the other man's life unsaid. He couldn't talk about it then. Better for the trainee to think everything had been under control. "Come with me, let's get you warm and dry. We can talk later. First thing is to make sure you're well. Training will resume only when you're feeling better."


Ignoring the fact that tywin's pride might make him protest, Visar put his cloak on Tywin so he had something between his wet clothes and the river breeze which could cut like a knife, and guided him back to the nearest inn. There he sent a messenger boy, or a stable boy he paid generously for the task, back to the Tower to get some dry clothes. In the meantime, Visar ordered dinner and hot mulled wine for the two of them.


"We can stay the night here if you wish. It's not getting any warmer out there, and it's a long walk back. How are you feeling?" Visar asked as they were given their food and drink. He had a feeling criticism would be very poorly timed right now; if Tywin was anything like Visar had beem when he started training, he knew that most of them were their own worst critics. Visar had only within the last year gone easier on himself in that regard, but it was a hard habit to break.


He sat and listened to Tywin talk, offering feedback when needed.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tywin cradled the mulled wine in his hands grateful for the warmth. Visar was right. He had almost had him. He hadn't been prepared for the other man to give in that way and hurl him into the river. He barely heard the other man offer for the two of them to spend the night at the inn. It was the smell of ice peppers in the stew that drew him out of his reverie. They weren't something native to Andor and its cooking, but something he had discovered while here.


"I feel like death warmed over," he said stuffing the stew into his mouth and following it with a bite of the hardy peasant roll placed on the side. "I should be alright, though." He flashed a quick grinned to show the other man that he meant it. "I didn't get any water down my throat." He shuddered in between bites as he remembered the death of a friend who's only crime was loosing his balance while dodging a cart and falling into the city drainage. "I'm also very glad I took that swimming class. I can't imagine what it would be like in full armor." He shook his head and took a swallow of the mulled wine letting the spices roll over his tongue. "You need to teach me when to drop like that. I've never heard of anyone doing that before. Is there a way to counter?" Back to business. He needed to absorb everything he could.


OoC: I live. just got back from honeymoon, ready to go!

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  • 1 month later...

Visar was relieved to hear Tywin talk; he'd be ok. The lad was made of tough stuff. Visar listened for the most part, sipping at his own wine. It was good to be out of the cold. Visar considered the move.


"It's an old folk wrestling trick, older than Hawkwing i'm sure, though nobody teaches those anymore. If someone's bearing down on you, using their own momentum against them is often the best thing, especially for smaller men like us. And of course, there are counters to just about everything, but the counter to this one is, at best, rather messy. Dangerous to practice, and it leaves you on the ground and vulnerable anyway. Best advice: don't charge someone like a buffalo," he said with a smile and a pat on Tywin's back.


"Well you look like you're picking up everything just fine; keep practicing and allow yourself to take it easy when you can, it's too easy to burn out with this training. Let's head back once we're finished. We'll resume tomorrow, only this time i want you to focus on defense. I'll be the hunter for a while," Visar had a feeling that was going to be fun.

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