Cato had been in his share of bar fights through the years. In fact, drunken bar fights were practically a sport where he and Kyros had grown up. That did, of course, mean that most of his experience was in dragging his brother out of said fights, but it was all the same in the end. It wasn’t all that rare that someone would pull a knife, either, so Cato at least had some experience with that, as well.

But this was different. This lone tavern in a small port along the eastern coast of Orincia was populated by a group of patrons that were not only well armed, but seemed to have been simply waiting for an excuse to get their blades good and bloodied.

Ducking under a swing of a knife meant to open his throat, Cato drove the hilt of his sword into the attacker’s chest. The man stumbled back over one of the few chairs left standing, his cry of surprise barely audible over the rest of the chaos.

This was the real difficulty. While the patrons of the tavern seemed quite happy to draw blood, Cato, his brother, and their new friend, Kieran, were all doing their best to get out of the fight without any loss of life.

Cato turned around to see Kyros running across the bar, barely avoiding various cups and sharp objects being hurled at him in the process. That was Kyros in a single moment: running in plain sight, impossible to miss, and somehow remaining one step ahead of certain death. Also, smiling like a madman.

A sound behind him redirected Cato’s attention, and he turned just in time to bring his sword up and catch an incoming blade before it dug into his shoulder. The attacker growled something that Cato couldn’t understand, but could only have been a curse, and attempted to skewer Cato with his next strike. But the patron was slow, and very drunk, which made it very simple for Cato to bat the sword away and kick the man back into two others trying to find an opening.

As all three tumbled to the ground in a cursing, drunken mass of insanity, Cato turned and looked for Kieran. He found the Elf surrounded by five men, but having little trouble ducking, dodging, and parrying any kind of attack. It almost looked like Kieran was simply having fun with them, which made Cato wonder what he’d got himself into by helping him.

“Maybe it’s time to leave?” Cato called out, which got him more attention from some of the crazed tavern patrons than he’d expected.

Kieran sidestepped a knife thrust, grabbed the man’s wrist, and wrenched the blade free, “I hadn’t considered that!”

Cato jumped to the side to avoid a man barreling in to tackle him and delivered a good kick to the man’s backside, “Now would be the time, I think!”

On the other side of the room, Kyros leapt off of the end of the bar, landing on the back of a man nearest the tavern’s exit. Standing up, he delivered one good kick to the man’s back to make sure he stayed down, then motioned at the door, “Door’s open.”

Hopping up onto a table to avoid another man diving at him, Cato ran across and jumped off, barely avoiding the body of a man that had been sent flying thanks to a good kick from Kieran. The Elf was now surrounded by unconscious bodies and pieces of furniture, grinning proudly and wiping a bit of blood off of his green tunic.

It was clear that Kieran was about to say something witty, but immediately dropped down as a knife went flying by. Cato turned back and saw at least another half dozen patrons still coming for them, all brandishing small weapons of some kind and not discouraged by the fact that twice their number was on the ground, groaning or unconscious.

Kieran and Cato exchanged a quick look, nodded to one another, and ran for the door. Kyros immediately fell into step with them, and soon they were out on the dirty street in the small port, turning and heading for the docks at full tilt.

“You two sure know how to have a good time!” Kieran laughed, glancing back to see that their pursuers were still on their heels.

Cato was too busy running to find a proper response, but he was certainly considering that maybe getting passage on this ship was not going to be worth the trouble anymore. A bottle went past them, landing near their feet, and Cato let out the best sigh he could while running.

There was no turning back now. He could only hope that Anica and Pel were actually dealing with others on the ship, because it was looking like they’d need to cast off quite soon.