Five men were down, dead, or dying by the time Arya reached the back door that opened on the kitchen. She heard Sir Meryn Trant curse. "Bloody oafs," he swore, drawing his longsword from its scabbard.
Syrio Forel resumed his stance and clicked his teeth together. "Arya child," he called out, never looking at her, "be gone now."
Look with your eyes, he had said. She saw: the knight in his pale armor head to foot, legs, throat, and hands sheathed in metal, eyes hidden behind his high white helm, and in his hand cruel steel. Against that: Syrio, in a leather vest, with a wooden sword in his hand. "Syrio, run," she screamed.
The first sword of Braavos does not run, he sang as Sir Meryn slashed at him. Syrio danced away from his cut, his stick a blur. In a heartbeat, he had bounced blows off the knight's temple, elbow, and throat, the wood ringing against the metal of helm, gauntlet, and gorget. Arya stood frozen. Sir Meryn advanced; Syrio backed away. He checked the next blow, spun away from the second, deflected the third. The fourth sliced his stick in two, splintering the wood and shearing through the lead core.
Sobbing, Arya spun and ran.
She plunged through the kitchens and buttery, blind with panic, weaving between cooks and potboys. A baker's helper stepped in front of her, holding a wooden tray. Arya bowled her over, scattering fragrant loaves of fresh-baked bread on the floor.