Writing 2014-06-29

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Larrikan arrives at the dojo on time, dressed neatly as he usually is. He did take the time for breakfast and has been up for some time.

Raven does not seem particularly to approve of Larrikan’s timeliness; he merely expects it of a student. He is not unhappy. He briskly tells Larrikan, “We’ll run those clothes. Put this on instead.” and gives the fox a loose fitting white top and pants. It is a fairly typical martial arts gi, although Larrikan does not recognize it, having never seen one before.

Having changed, Raven tells Larrikan, “First thing we teach you is how to fall down. I guarantee you will do it a lot, and you need to do so without hurting yourself.”

Larrikan says, “Yes, sir.” and listens.

For someone who will say terrible things about non-humans, Raven is patient and clear while teaching one. The goal of the lesson is easy, but getting right it harder than it looks. Raven starts in slow motion, explaining what will happen, what should happen, and how to make that happen. He then slowly and carefully tips Larrikan over, on to the ground. Once Larrikan has that, they throw is faster, then faster. By the end of the day after much advice and many throws, Raven tells Larrikan, “You understand, but need to make it automatic. That comes with practice.”

Larrikan learns to fall, and to get up quickly. Raven says, “Faster!” and throws the fox to the ground almost as fast as Larrikan can get to his feet. The throws begin coming from many directions, in different styles. Larrikan flounders when the throws change the first time, but soon keeps up. This gets a bright laugh from Raven.

On the third day, one of the city guard is doing their own exercises, pull-ups and handstands and things. He watches and finally asks Raven, “New student?”

“Yep,” replies Raven, not breaking stride, “Starting with the basics.”

“Mmmm,” says the soldier, “he’s fast.”

“Yep,” Raven replies, “Gonna be fun.”

Larrikan doesn’t reply. He’s sore and ahs been thrown to the ground for hours. He is just trying to keep up, to fall and get up again without stopping. His teacher demands it, and he does not want to disappoint Professor Djarlee or let this man get the better of him. He will succeed.

“How long you been at it?” the guardsman asks.

“What do you think?” returns Raven cheerfully.

The guardsman shrugs, “Eh, couple of weeks. That fall is looking pretty stable, and you’ve got him looking worn right out.”

Raven laughs, “Three days! This little fox is a glutton for punishment, and hasn’t shied away from anything! He’s doing better than I expected.”

“That’s something, all right,” the guardsman replies. “We should be lucky the Shy Folk aren’t all trained like that. They could take over the world.”

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