“You will be constantly moving through The Dance. There are a number of reasons for this, and the entertainment value is only the smallest of them. The main reason is that, when your rings return, they will be coming back in force. The Dance is timed in such a way that your body will be moving in the same direction as the rings when they return. Once you catch them, there will be a pirouette or a sidestep or some other move that is designed to absorb the impact of the rings’ momentum and then use that energy to fling them again with more power than had you just been standing still. This is also why we always begin with the Standard Steps, and why we drill those every day – they build the initial momentum.
“Of course, you won’t be able to keep this up forever. The rings will naturally slow as they meet resistance. You will be able to get in a handful of throws – the number varies depending on which ones you choose and how adroit you have been with your timing – before you begin to lose the momentum. When that happens, just go through the Standard Steps again to build the momentum back up.”
Sybilance demonstrated, shifting through the now-familiar Standard Steps then flinging the wooden practice glaives. They cut a narrow arc through the air and returned, and Sybilance caught them as she moved to her left, then spun and released them again. When they returned the second time, she caught them, spun again, then finished with the briefest of poses as her feet came to a standstill.
“Of course, before we get to that, you need to be able to catch them in the first place. The real rings have incredibly sharp edges, and there is a knack for holding and catching them so you don’t cut your own hands off. We’ll begin with the basic step and throw. It’s called Cascade, and it looks like this.”
It all looked so easy. It was not. By the end of the day, Shae had moved from confident and pain-free to shaken with a good number of lumps and bruises on her wrists and forearms. But among all the misses were interspersed a few clean catches, and the feeling of elation they gave her spurred her forward through the pain.
“That’s enough for today.” Sybilance gave her a smile as she stowed the practice glaives on their hooks on the wall. “I know your arms feel otherwise, but you did quite well– it takes many people days or even weeks to get their first clean catch, but you had four – well, three and a half – on your first day. So well done. See Mendici – she has some numbing salve you can put on those bruises to help ease the pain.”
Shae nodded as she clutched her aching arms. They hurt, but it was a good clean pain, simple and understandable. She smiled as she left the training room -she would take bruises on her arms any day over what she had escaped.