first,” Martok replied. “Him and the other three boys. I was just trying to stop them from picking on that little girl.”
“You’re a liar,” she hissed. Shoving Martok aside, she bent down beside Desmond. A few seconds later the ground bubbled up and with a loud burp spat him out, almost as if the boy had left a bad taste in the very mouth of Lumnia itself.
He landed flat on his back, covered in dirt apart from the top half of his head. Evelyn began trying to brush him clean with her handkerchief to little effect. As Desmond began spitting up chunks of soil, Martok could not stop himself from grinning.
“You think this is funny?” snapped Sylas. “You could have killed him. What the hell were you thinking?”
“It’s those dragons, I tell you!” shouted Evelyn. “They’ve made him feral. He should be locked away.”
Martok opened his mouth to speak, but his uncle's hard stare silenced him. “I’ll see to it that he receives proper punishment, Lady Bronstar. You can be assured of that.”
Martok stepped back and squared his shoulders. “But I did nothing wrong.” He pointed to the little girl who was holding the hand of a tall, elegantly dressed woman, presumably her mother. “Ask her. She’ll tell you what happened.”
“Leave my daughter out of this,” the woman came back quickly. “All she said was that you boys were fighting. She made no mention of anything else. Don't you dare try to use her as an excuse for your disgusting behavior.”
He looked pleadingly at the girl, but she simply buried her head in her mother’s dress. He then looked to his uncle and was met only by a furious stare.
At this point, the other three boys ran up from the pond and began insisting that Martok had attacked them for no reason. He could only listen to these lies while his uncle fumed.
By the time Desmond was back on his feet, it was clear to Martok that he was not going to be believed, whatever he said. What was worse, his uncle appeared to think him a liar as well. Glancing over at the gate leading to the main garden, he saw that a small crowd had now gathered to watch the spectacle.
Sylas groaned as he also spotted the onlookers. “And unless I miss my guess…” he muttered despairingly.
As if on cue, a man with thick, shoulder-length blond hair and piercing blue eyes pushed his way through. The blue and silver robe he wore was hanging open and fluttered behind him as he approached with deliberate strides.
“What is all this about, Dragonvein?” demanded Lord Kytain Prustoni.
Before Sylas could respond, Evelyn jumped in to give him her grandson's version of the incident. Martok hoped that Sylas would cut in at some point and come to his defense, but he did not do so. When the woman was done with her incriminating story, Kytain looked down at Martok with a heavy frown. He was a tall man with broad shoulders and an intimidating disposition. Most people withered in front of him. But Martok stood proudly, with head high and shoulders squared.
“Do you have anything to say, young man?” Kytain asked in a commanding tone.
A warning look from his uncle stopped him just before a heated denial came forth. “No, My Lord. I have nothing to say.”
He regarded Martok for an uncomfortable few seconds before speaking again. “I see. This is, of course, a very serious matter. I hope you understand this.”
The lord looked to Sylas. “Take the boy to your chambers. Then I want to see the guardians of everyone involved in my study within the hour.” With a final glance at Martok, he turned and strode briskly away.
Lady Evelyn followed closely behind him, her arm wrapped protectively around Desmond. By now, the parents of the other boys had arrived, and after a few insults directed not only toward Martok, but the entire Dragonvein family, they too ushered their children away.
Sylas waited until they were completely alone before starting back. He scarcely looked at Martok as they