South-East Outer Perimeter
There were the sounds you grew used to, living in a city. Raised voices. Terse, sharp commands or long, rolling advertisements. Animals of all kinds, wailing and braying and neighing. Wagon wheels crunching and creaking along cobbles. Feet, bare and shod, running across them. The muted sounds of industry, from blacksmiths to masons and tailors, murmuring from inside or under buildings. In this part of the perimeter, it was mostly... domesticated. Food being cooked. Clothes being washed. Children playing, in that raw and adventurous way all city kids played. But walking down that street, one could hear a new sound.
Well, not new, perhaps. More unexpected. Steady and rhythmic, and accompanied ever five bits or so by soft footsteps on bare stones.
And before each report, there would be the slight sound of breath, a grunt that was almost a gasp, air exhaled-
-as Kasoria's arm became a blur-
-as did the thing he held, as it flew from his fingers, and-
He was getting used to that sound, too. The handle of the throwing knife smacking against the dummy - or, once or twice, the wall behind it - and then clattering onto the stones. There were a half-dozen of them around its "feet", as if he'd been carrying them and someone had startled the mannequin into dropping them. But three... three were sticking out of its chest. And now, Kasoria knew what they were impaling.
"Liver," he muttered, pointing with knife number ten at the bottom blade sticking out of the dummy. Then he moved up: "Left lung... and that one... maybe the heart..." He sighed and lowered the knife. "Nah.. right lung."
He looked to his side a the little table by the backdoor. More of a stool, really, but big enough for the book to be open and the hideous diagram of a man to be staring up at him. He was surprised at how big the lungs were, where the heart was, how the liver seemed to rest across most of a man's stomach, and under that...
He didn't have to think hard to remember what they looked like. Intestines, they were properly called, not just "guts". He'd ripped open enough stomachs and seen those steaming nests uncurl over a man's feet to know. But even spewing all over the cobbles, they didn't kill a man quickly enough. It could take bits. Might not even work. But the lungs, the heart, the neck, the head... these were all targets for him.
Well, the first two, he reminded himself, straightening his shoulders and raising the knife again. Baby steps.
He slid his dominant foot back, and rested his weight on it. As he did, his right arm came up, until the knife was held up past his head.
Hammer grip. That's what it was called. Not holding it by the blade but by the handle, like you were about to use it to hammer in a nail. He'd seen people toss them by the blade, yes, but he wasn't remembering them.
They weren't Wicked.
Kasoria saw that face, that sneer, those breasts and gaping mouths in those tailored blades. Tried to ape the memory's movements as his arm started moving forwards-
-weight shifting forwards as his arm snapped towards the target-
-fingers gripping lightly until his arm straightened all the way, hand and blade obscuring the target and then-
-his fingers snapped out, releasing the knife-
It whirled and spun and Kasoria could hear the faintest whisper of metal slicing through still air as it went hurtling across fifteen feet of stone-
Kasoria smiled to himself as he watched the handle wobble at him from the torso of the dummy. Not where he'd aimed, but good enough for now.