“If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman. She bound the monster up and cast him out, and the man who was left was saved.”
“I do fear him,” I said, which was close to the truth. “I fear him as I fear the desert sun and poisonous snakes. They are all part of the life I live. But the sun gives light, and snakes will feed a caravan if they are caught and cooked.”
“My sister is no fool and she is not tender-hearted,” I said. “My sister fights for her home, and takes what risks she must. That is why I put myself before her today—why I would not let you have her. My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.”
“Good men fall to monsters every day.”
“I am yours to command, husband,” I said to him, and met his eyes.
When my mother spoke to our father, she often said that. He liked it, the way she put herself in his hands. Until just now, I had not realized that since my mother was the one who allowed it, she had more power than even he might have realized. Lo-Melkhiin thought I was less than him; but his was not the only tally.”
“Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues’ eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade.
There was great beauty in this qasr, but there was also great ugliness and fear. I would not be like those men who turned their eyes from one to see the other. I would remember what those things cost.”
“My sister burns, and she does not burn for you.”
“There is life, and there is living.”
“The monster tested her, pulling at her soul and rending her spirit. She clung to life, and in the clinging she might have become a monster too, except she chose the path her story would take. She chose white stone walls and a golden crown. She chose to debate words of law, and to never grind her own grain. She chose to fight men every day, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.<...> If you listen long enough to the whispers, you will hear the truth. Until then, I will tell you this: the world is made safe by a woman.”
“There is life, and there is living—and that is what she learned.”
“Watch your world burn, light of my heart. Tomorrow we will find another one and burn that too.”
“If you are clever and you are good, the monster will not have you.
You should not believe everything you hear.
Good men fall to monsters everyday. Clever men are tricked by their own pride or by pretty words.”
“I had spent all the years I had been in Lo-Melkhiin’s body giving power to men who I thought would use it in ways that might serve me. I had given them great art and great thoughts, and they never guessed that they fed a terrible hunger in me that would require feeding until they died trying to sate it. They had done great things and made great tales, but I had been blind. All of this time, I had had access to more power than I had imagined, and I had missed it because I saw with men’s eyes. I had forgotten the girls who scrubbed the floors and spun the yarn. I had forgotten the women who dyed the cloth and worked with henna. I had married three hundred girls, and as much as eaten them all before they were done cooking.”
“Have you seen burning bone, my wife? It starts like a roasted goat, but then the meat strips away to feed the fire, and the bone is left naked and alone. It twists and shatters, marrow leaking into the flames, until only the dust is left."
"That is what happens to everything, my lord," I said to him. "If only the fire can be made hot enough."
"Would you like to see it?" he asked.”
“She chose to fight men everyday, and then fight their sons, who thought they knew better than their fathers.”
“He was the soul of politeness, my husband.”
“Our father would return to see his fairest flower gone and only the weed left for him to use as he saw fit”
“She had not answered my question. She had not told me that she loved his eyes or the sound of his voice. She had not said that his touch lit a fire on her skin. Then it came to me: she loved him because he did not seek to change her. If I had made him, or if my father had found him, it did not matter. My sister would have a husband who would not make her sit, veiled and weaving, in his tent. He would not take another wife, as my father had done. She would be his, and he would be hers, alone. This was why she loved him, and it made my heart glad to hear it.”
“I had tasted power and I had used it up, but now I would get more of another kind. We would share it, and keep each other from the dark.”
“When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies”
“When the dust rises over the desert, the villagers know that Lo-Melkhiin is coming with his guards to choose another wife. He always takes one wife from each village, or each district within a city. And she always dies.”
“I onda sam shvatila: voli ga jer je ne želi promijeniti. Jesam li ga ja stvorila, ili ga je moj otac proašao, to nije bilo bitno. Moja će sestra imati muža koji je neće tjerati da, zakrivena velom, sjedi u njegovom šatoru i prede. Neće uzeti i drugu ženu, kao što je to bio učnio moj otac. Bit će samo njegova, kao što će i on biti samo njezin. Zato ga voli, a meni se, kas sam to čula, srce ispunilo radošću.”
“Killing is for those with a sick mind.”
“my toenails have grown long. They are curling at the ends, confused about which direction they should be going in. Hard, like bone. I bite my fingernails to keep them short, spitting them out and leaving them where they stick, brittle and sharp around my desk. I am not a bloody circus performer, though: I can’t do the same with my toenails. Besides, I suspect my teeth wouldn’t be up to the job.”
“His look gets me to believe that there are really only two ways out of life, that you leave either unsatisfied or dissatisfied. That you leave either wanting more time or you leave cursing the life you led. That there are people who go through life not questioning a single thing, just doing things the right way, and it goes with the saying that ignorance is bliss. Maybe these people are happy in their lives, maybe they aren't, but when they are laying on their deathbed they start to think maybe they should have questioned more things in life. That they should have tried to be more curious. Unsatisfied. Then there are the people who question every single little thing, the people who are trying to reinvent the way to live life. The people who are searching for the meaning of life. Maybe these people are happy in their lives, maybe they aren't, but when they are laying on their deathbed they start to think maybe they shouldn't have been so ambitious in their life. That they should have just enjoyed the simple things that came their way. Dissatisfied. Then of course there are the people who don't see their deaths coming.”
“She always did like tales of adventure-stories full of brightness and darkness. She could tell you the names of all King Arthur's knights, and she knew everything about Beowulf and Grendel, the ancient gods and the not-quite-so-ancient heroes. She liked pirate stories, too, but most of all she loved books that had at least a knight or a dragon or a fairy in them. She was always on the dragon's side by the way.”
“In my mind, learning to fly was a very logical alternative. I honestly saw no other way to free myself from this torture other than to fly just like the birds did; the birds were completely free"
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