Syrio Forel stepped between them, tapping his wooden sword lightly against his boot. "You will be stopping there. Are you men or dogs that you would threaten a child?"
Out of the way, old man, one of the red cloaks said.
Syrio's stick came whistling up and rang against his helm. "I am Syrio Forel, and you will now be speaking to me with more respect."
Bald bastard. The man yanked free his longsword. The stick moved again, blindingly fast. Arya heard a loud crack as the sword went clattering to the stone floor. "My hand," the guardsman yelped, cradling his broken fingers.
You are quick, for a dancing master, said Sir Meryn.
You are slow, for a knight, Syrio replied.
Kill the Braavosi and bring me the girl, the knight in the white armor commanded.
Four Lannister guardsmen unsheathed their swords. The fifth, with the broken fingers, spat and pulled free a dagger with his left hand.
Syrio Forel clicked his teeth together, sliding into his water dancer's stance, presenting only his side to the foe. "Arya child," he called out, never looking, never taking his eyes off the Lannisters, "we are done with dancing for the day. Best you are going now. Run to your father."
Arya did not want to leave him, but he had taught her to do as he said. "Swift as a deer," she whispered.
Just so, said Syrio Forel as the Lannisters closed.
Arya retreated, her own sword stick clutched tightly in her hand. Watching him now, she realized that Syrio had only been toying with her when they dueled.