Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's short blade was returned to him after he had reached the third rank. Like the sword, his skill with the short blade increased as he climbed up the ranks.
The first short blade he obtained had a wooden handle, though he received an all metal variation at a later rank. In both instances, he carried the short blade in a sheath strapped across his back, with the handle facing down.
In a similar fashion to Altaïr, Ezio Auditore was equipped with both a medium weapon and a short blade, though they were sheathed together at his side. He could purchase various types of short blades from blacksmiths, each with unique speed, damage and deflection properties.
In battle, he would wield the short blade much as Altaïr did, utilizing the same icepick grip, though he did not learn to use it alongside throwing knives until he became a Master Assassin.
Several of his allies, such as thieves and courtesans, also used short blades in battle. Certain guards and assassination targets, such as agiles and Rodrigo Borgia, made use of short blades as well. However, none of these held their weapons in an icepick grip.
Short blades could strike more quickly than medium weapons, which made them ideal for dispatching large numbers of low-ranked enemies. However, as an enemy's rank increased, the short blade's effectiveness diminished, due to the higher quality armor that they used.
For Altaïr, the special, close-ranged attack of most short blades could only be performed from behind, and took the form of slitting an enemy's throat, or stabbing them in the shoulder or the back, which would always result in an instant kill.
When used with the short blade, Altaïr could throw a single throwing knife mid-combat. Similarly, Ezio could dual-wield the short blade with throwing knives, and could throw multiple throwing knives at once.
In Assassin's Creed, Altaïr is the only person to use a short blade other than Malik & his brother until Malik loses his arm and when his brother dies. All other NPCs use long blades.
In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, once all throwing knives have been used up, the special attack of the short blade is switched to that of the fists, in which Ezio throws sand to momentarily blind and incapacitate his target.
In the blacksmith stores in Brotherhood, the Notched Cinquedea has the store image of the Channeled Cinquedea, and vice versa.
Unlike in Assassin's Creed II, in Brotherhood, the Channeled Cinquedea is a weapon that cannot be purchased, and can only be taken from a guard.
In every Assassin's Creed game to feature the short blade as a usable weapon, there is a kill animation that Altaïr and Ezio possesses where the blade is not used at all. It involves breaking an enemy's leg with a kick, and then hooking their free arm around the enemy's head and snapping their neck.