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9.22 Dragon – Lothering

The lunch after the Sermon, started quietly, as usual. But when Leandra stood up and went to the kitchen for the roast, Ralph turned to Malcolm and continued their debate.

"I was right! They shouldn't speak about us like this!"

"Ralph, what happened to you? You cannot do this! You must be careful! You can not attack everyone who says something wrong about mages!"

"About us, father! And what happened?! Did you not hear? Did you not see? That fucking bitch frightened Bethany with her damned superstition about us!"

"Not again, not now, and… not 'fucking bitch' –" , Malcolm tried to hide his proud smile when he looked at his son, and stay rigorous. " 'Revered Mother' the term you’re looking for... Ralph don't---"

"Yes, quieter, they'll hear it... " , Ralph snapped, "Well, let them! They must hear it! I don't fear from them, I don't fear anything! Eh, I know... just... you'll go away again, for work, and I'll face Bethany's fears!"

"You should fear too", Malcolm said quietly, "but especially for sake of Bethany, you have to be careful!" Malcolm looked at Bethany, who concentrated on her meal and worked to look very busy spooning the soup. "Do not endanger her! Do not endanger us all! I try to keep us safe, Ralph, and that means I make many compromises, I hope you'll see sense, too, as soon as is possible. Don't be an idiot, my son, you're smarter than that!"

Leandra came in with the food. "...Ralph, I heard, you... and the neighbour girl… Peachy... you tried to kiss her, you not?" She didn’t like when they argued. Especially not at the table.

"That was not exactly how it happened...she tr..., mom, she's just a friend, nothing more."

Malcolm looked at his son, smiling. "That girl is beautiful---"

"Yes, Peachy is undoubtedly beautiful...", Ralph shook his head, sighed and smirked. "I wish she had a brother.", He kept his eyes on Leandra: "Don't change the subject, mom" , then turned back to Malcolm. "Yes, father, you always speak of compromises, safety – how much more should we swallow? Where’s your limit on what you will tolerate from them? I don’t care, I will not let anyone scare Bethany!"

Ralph angrily got up from the table, but Malcolm grasped his arm. "And I'll not let you endanger her –us!– with your thoughtlessness, young man!"

Bethany spooned the soup in silence. Carver kicked her ankle under the table, but she ignored now... She just wished to disappear.