“I lifted my face to meet the kiss, wanting the comfort of his touch as much as I was willing to provide the comfort of mine. The contact was sweet and soft, yet at the same time desperate.
It was Zane who pulled away first. "Danica, I think..." He trailed off and kissed me again, this time briefly, just the barest touch of lips to lips. "I love you."
From a man who frequently uttered eloquent speeches, the tentative declaration was not the most flattering of compliments-especially when every movement he made and look he cast my way had shown the long truth before now.
But coming from the serpent who had once informed me that he did not love me and did not think he ever could, whose cool, polished words could cut to the bone and freeze the Earth's frozen molten blood — whose eyes right now were just a bid dazed, and whose expression was as open and startled as I had ever seen it — the words were more than enough.
"I know," I answered. Then, soft but certain, I answered, "I love you too."
His smile matched mine and said the same as mine: I know.”
“I ask for trust. It is a lot, I know; it isn't easy to give. But it is all I ask.”
“Live it well and this life can be grand.”
“My prayer is simple my dear one, my dear one. May you never need understand. My prayer is for peacetime, my child, my child. Live it well and this life can be grand.”
“The question then is, how much are you willing to give?"
And I answered, "Anything."
A breath later, Zane echoed my response with, "Everything.”
“ Do you trust him?
When had we reached the point where the answer to Rei's question had become yes without hesitation? When Zane had sat by my bedside for hours while I was drifting in and out of consciousness? When he had arranged for me to be visited by entertainers and friends, or had carried me home when I was too tired to walk? Or when I had first seen him cry and had wanted nothing but to comfort him?
I do not know how, yet somehow, impossibly, we are here. ”
“I wish to you sunshine, my dear one, my dear one. And treetops for you to soar past. I wish to you innocence, my child, my child. I pray you don't grow up too fast.
Never know pain, my dear one, my dear one. Nor hunger nor fear nor sorrow. Never know war, my child, my child. Remember your hope for tomorrow.”
“I could not cry for my own brother; he would not want me to. But I found myself crying for this hated stranger and the endless slaughter that I had almost contributed to." (page 8)”
“I’m not asking for anything beyond your company in sleep. Just let me rest with the sound of your heartbeat beside mine.”
“By the time I found sleep that night, back in the Hawk's Keep, my throat was tight with too many tears unshed, screams unuttered and prayers whose words I could never seem to find.”
“They say the first of my kind was Alasdair, a human raised by hawks. She learned the languages of birds and was gifted with their form.”
“Days and weeks and years. My brother never returned last night. Days and weeks and years. How long until their assassins find me? Danica Shardae Heir to the Tuuli Thea”
“Other, dryer customers came and went, having just stepped out of their conveyances or popped down the street from their houses in the town. They left their umbrellas dripping at the door, and looked at her with that particular combination of sympathy and amusement that the soaked seem always to elicit in the dry.”
“If you had chosen differently, you would have never found me.”
“Shocked at this rebuke, Sarah took a step backward. “But I…I am the daughter of a marquess. I cannot marry either—”
“You are new here, so I will explain. In this land, nobility comes not from one’s fathers or a title or from the land one owns, but from one’s actions.” His voice was hard-edged, and his words seemed harsh to her. “The MacKinnon brothers are the highest nobility to those who live on the frontier—true warriors, men who know how to fight and survive, men who put the lives of others before their own. Your family’s wealth, your title, your virtue—they mean nothing out here. They won’t fill your belly, and they won’t keep you alive. What matters most right now is your survival.”
“Let the goal of the whole be your goal. Don't seek any private goal. Just be a part, and an infinite beauty and grace happens.”
“the people who can finish and finish at the same pace or stronger than when they started, those are the ones who are going to succeed; those are the ones who are going to be great.”
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