“Alek was right behind her now, his body pressing close as he adjusted her sword arm. She hadn't realized this fencing business would be so touchy.
He grasped her waist, sending a crackle across her skin.
If Alek moved his hands any higher, he might notice what was hidden beneath her careful tailoring.
“Always keep sideways to your opponent,” he said, gently turning her. “That way, your chest presents the smallest possible target.”
“Aye, the smallest possible target,” Deryn sighed. Her secret was safe, it seemed.”
“She smiled, turning toward Alek. "You don't know what a friend you have in Dylan.”
“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
“I go where the lizards tell me.”
“Lilt pulled away. "I saw what he was doing, so I cleared a path for him. I helped him do it..." She shook her head, tears tracking the dust off her face, and turned to stare at the fallen tower. "Have we all gone mad to want this?”
“The world rests upon a turtle, which itself stands on the back of an elephant!”
Alek tried not to laugh. “Then what does the elephant stand on, madam?”
“Don’t try to be clever, young man.” She narrowed her eyes. “It’s elephants all the way down!”
“You’d best ask the lady boffin, sir,” Newkirk said. “Midshipmen aren’t allowed to have opinions.”
“Dr. Barlow, it is, of course, customary to check with the caption before, uh, giving away his ship."
“Alek: "Am I that obvious?"
Deryn: "No. Im just dead clever.”
“So my foolhardiness has produced the correct strategy, Count?”
“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
“But it wasn’t any of those reasons that had set her on this course, Deryn knew. Alek was here in the city and needed help. Perhaps it was daft to risk everything for some barking prince, a boy who didn't even know she was a girl. But it was no more daft than Alek walking across a glacier to assist a wounded enemy airship, was it?”
“But it won't be much of a battle, will it?" Alek asked. "What can an airship do to a pair of ironclads?"
"My guess is, we'll stay absolutely still for an hour. Just so we don't fall into any bad habits.”
“The Germans were still hunting Alek, trying to finish the job they’d started on his parents. Someone had to be on his side.
And, as Deryn had gradually admitted to herself these last few days, she didn’t mind if that someone wound up being her.”
“Aya, that's the barking strangest thing about battle - that it's real”
“A country with two kings will always falter.”
“We see a world of abundance, not limits. In the midst of a great deal of talk about reducing the human ecological footprint, we offer a different vision. What if humans designed products and system that celebrate an abundance of human creativity, culture, and productivity? That are so intelligent and safe, our species leaves an ecological footprint to delight in, not lament?”
“ls the Conjugial Angel stone
That here he stands with heavy head
The backward-looking pillared dead
Inert, moss-covered, aIl alone?
The Holy Ghost trawls ln the Void,
With fleshly Sophy on His Hook
The Sons of God crowd round to look
At plumpy limbs to be enjoyed
The Greater Man casts out the line
With dangling Sophy as the lure
Who howls around the Heavens' colure
To clasp the Human Form Divine
Rose-petals fall from fallen hair
That in the clay is redolent
Of liquid oozings and the scent
Of the dark Pit, the Beastly lair
And is my Love become the beast
That was, and is not, and yet is,
Who stretches scarlet holes to kiss
And clasps with claws the fleshly feast
Sweet Rosamund, adult'rous Rose
May lie inside her urn and stink
Whlle Alfred's tears tum into ink
And drop into her quelque-chose
The Angel spreads his golden wings
And raises high his golden cock
And man and wife together lock
Into one corpse that moans and sings”
“Under a sky that hasn't been blue for weeks.”
“Pay attention to everything the dying person says. You might want to keep pens and a spiral notebook beside the bed so that anyone can jot down notes about gestures, conversations, or anything out of the ordinary said by the dying person. Talk with one another about these comments and gestures. • Remember that there may be important messages in any communication, however vague or garbled. Not every statement made by a dying person has significance, but heed them all so as not to miss the ones that do. • Watch for key signs: a glassy-eyed look; the appearance of staring through you; distractedness or secretiveness; seemingly inappropriate smiles or gestures, such as pointing, reaching toward someone or something unseen, or waving when no one is there; efforts to pick at the covers or get out of bed for no apparent reason; agitation or distress at your inability to comprehend something the dying person has tried to say. • Respond to anything you don’t understand with gentle inquiries. “Can you tell me what’s happening?” is sometimes a helpful way to initiate this kind of conversation. You might also try saying, “You seem different today. Can you tell me why?” • Pose questions in open-ended, encouraging terms. For example, if a dying person whose mother is long dead says, “My mother’s waiting for me,” turn that comment into a question: “Mother’s waiting for you?” or “I’m so glad she’s close to you. Can you tell me about it?” • Accept and validate what the dying person tells you. If he says, “I see a beautiful place!” say, “That’s wonderful! Can you tell me more about it?” or “I’m so pleased. I can see that it makes you happy,” or “I’m so glad you’re telling me this. I really want to understand what’s happening to you. Can you tell me more?” • Don’t argue or challenge. By saying something like “You couldn’t possibly have seen Mother, she’s been dead for ten years,” you could increase the dying person’s frustration and isolation, and run the risk of putting an end to further attempts at communicating. • Remember that a dying person may employ images from life experiences like work or hobbies. A pilot may talk about getting ready to go for a flight; carry the metaphor forward: “Do you know when it leaves?” or “Is there anyone on the plane you know?” or “Is there anything I can do to help you get ready for takeoff?” • Be honest about having trouble understanding. One way is to say, “I think you’re trying to tell me something important and I’m trying very hard, but I’m just not getting it. I’ll keep on trying. Please don’t give up on me.” • Don’t push. Let the dying control the breadth and depth of the conversation—they may not be able to put their experiences into words; insisting on more talk may frustrate or overwhelm them. • Avoid instilling a sense of failure in the dying person. If the information is garbled or the delivery impossibly vague, show that you appreciate the effort by saying, “I can see that this is hard for you; I appreciate your trying to share it with me,” or “I can see you’re getting tired/angry/frustrated. Would it be easier if we talked about this later?” or “Don’t worry. We’ll keep trying and maybe it will come.” • If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Sometimes the best response is simply to touch the dying person’s hand, or smile and stroke his or her forehead. Touching gives the very important message “I’m with you.” Or you could say, “That’s interesting, let me think about it.” • Remember that sometimes the one dying picks an unlikely confidant. Dying people often try to communicate important information to someone who makes them feel safe—who won’t get upset or be taken aback by such confidences. If you’re an outsider chosen for this role, share the information as gently and completely as possible with the appropriate family members or friends. They may be more familiar with innuendos in a message because they know the person well.”
“There's nothing worse than a label to cement people's loyalties.”
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