Picking up from where I left off last week in Book Two of the Academy of the Accord series. Creative punctuation warnings apply
The dark-haired boy looked at Marsden for a moment then turned to the figure on the ground behind him, crouching down and gently rolling him over; he fell to his knees as Marsden joined him, and looked up at him, tears sliding down his cheeks.
Marsden knelt, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder while he felt for a pulse on the other boy. “I’m sorry, son,” he said quietly.
“I… I was too late.”
Marsden looked at the stolen food, now scattered near the body, and the scene became clear to him; the boy had returned to find his friend being beaten and kicked by the other two and had dropped everything to step in to defend him.
“It’s not your fault, son,” Marsden said, his voice quiet, and the boy looked up at him.
“You’re going to arrest me, aren’t you?”
“Hadn’t planned on it.” Marsden’s voice held a note of gentle amusement. “What’s your name?”
“Kordelm.” His light brown eyes were wary, wondering what the man wanted, but he shrugged inwardly: it wouldn’t be the first time he’d pleasured a man, either for money or to avoid punishment.
“How long has your friend been coming here?”
“I – I don’t know, I never met him.” He looked up at Marsden. “I was just coming down the alley and they were attacking him and… and I had to step in, had to stop it…”
“You’d never seen him before?”
“His name was Portri, and he was an apprentice wizard. I was looking for him, but apparently found him too late.” He stood up, picking up the broken body of the young boy. “Come on. Let’s get him to where he can have a proper burial, then let’s you and me have a talk.”
Marsden smiled at the wariness and defiance in the boy’s voice.
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