“He was swimming in a sea of other people’s expectations. Men had drowned in seas like that.”
“The only way was forward, whatever lay at the end.”
“Moiraine: It seems Ryne was wrong as well as a Darkfriend. You were better than he.
Lan: He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you're dead.”
“Change what you can if it needs
changing, but learn to live with what you can’t change.”
“In war, you say a prayer for your dead and ride on, because there is always another fight over the next horizon."
“Lan shook his head sightly "He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you're dead.”
“Almost ten years past now that Edeyn had watched him ride away from Fal Moran, and been gone when he returned, yet he still could recall her face more clearly than that of any woman who had shared his bed since. He was no longer a boy, to think that she loved him just because she had chosen to become his first lover, yet there was an old saying among Malkieri men. Your carneira wears part of your soul as a ribbon in her hair forever. Custom strong as law made it so.”
“They were bonded. He rose smoothly, sheathing his sword, studying her. “Men who weren’t there call it the Battle of the Shining Walls,” he said abruptly. “Men who were, call it the Blood Snow. No more. They know it was a battle. On the morning of the first day, I led nearly five hundred men. Kandori, Saldaeans, Domani. By evening on the third day, half were dead or wounded. Had I made different choices, some of those dead would be alive. And others would be dead in their places. In war, you say a prayer for your dead and ride on, because there is always another fight over the next horizon. Say a prayer for the dead, Moiraine Sedai, and ride on.” Startled, she came close to gaping. She had forgotten that the bond’s flow worked both ways. He knew her emotions, too, and apparently could make out hers far better than she could his. After a moment, she nodded, though she did not know how many prayers it would take to clear her mind. Handing her Arrow’s reins, he said, “Where do we ride first?” “Back to Chachin,” she admitted. “And then Arafel, and….” So few names remained that were easy to find. “The world, if need be. We win this battle, or the world dies.” Side by side they rode down the hill and turned south. Behind them the sky rumbled and turned black, another late storm rolling down from the Blight.”
“There were questions one asked, and questions one did not. That was strong custom. And friendship.”
“In his cradle he had been given four gifts. The ring in his hands and the locket that hung around his neck, the sword on his hip and an oath sworn in his name. The locket, containing the painted images of the mother and father he could not remember seeing in life, was the most precious, the oath the heaviest. “To stand against the Shadow so long as iron is hard and stone abides. To defend the Malkieri while one drop of blood remains. To avenge what cannot be defended.” And then he had been anointed with oil and named Dai Shan, consecrated as the next King of Malkier and sent away from a land that knew it would die.”
“Nothing remained to be defended now, only a nation to avenge, and he had been trained to that from his first step. With his mother’s gift at his throat and his father’s sword in his hand, with the ring branded on his heart, he had fought from his sixteenth nameday to avenge Malkier. But never had he led men into the Blight. Bukama had ridden with him, and others, but he would not lead men there. That war was his alone. The dead could not be returned to life, a land any more than a man.”
“Lan shook his head slightly. “He was better. But he thought I was finished, with only one arm. He never understood. You surrender after you’re dead.”
“A lean heron of a fellow darted ahead of the others, and Lan danced the forms. Time like cool honey. The graylark sang, and the lean man shrieked as Cutting the Clouds removed his right hand at the wrist, and Lan flowed to one side so the rest could not all come at him together, flowed from form to form. Soft Rain at Sunset laid open a fat man’s face, took his left eye, and a ginger-haired young splinter drew a gash across Lan’s ribs with Black Pebbles on Snow. Only in stories did one man face six without injury. The Rose Unfolds sliced down a bald man’s left arm, and ginger-hair nicked the corner of Lan’s eye. Only in stories did one man face six and survive. He had known that from the start. Duty was a mountain, death a feather, and his duty was to Bukama, who had carried an infant on his back. For this moment he lived, though, so he fought, kicking ginger-hair in the head, dancing his way toward death, danced and took wounds, bled and danced the razor’s edge of life. Time like cool honey, flowing from form to form, and there could only be one ending. Thought was distant. Death was a feather. Dandelion in the Wind slashed open the now one-eyed fat man’s throat—he had barely paused when his face was ruined—a fork-bearded fellow with shoulders like a blacksmith gasped in surprise as Kissing the Adder put Lan’s steel through his heart. And suddenly Lan realized that he alone stood, with six men sprawled across the width of the stableyard. The ginger-haired youth thrashed his heels on the ground one last time, and then only Lan of the seven still breathed. He shook blood from his blade, bent to wipe the last drops off on the blacksmith’s too-fine coat, sheathed his sword as formally as if he were in the training yard under Bukama’s eye.”
“Change what you can if it needs changing, but learn to live with what you can’t change.”
“Only a fool believed women less dangerous than men, but women often seemed to think men fools when it came to women.”
“An honorable man protects whoever needs protecting, but children above all, and women above men.”
“Let others know you possessed a secret, and some would work to learn it; that was a fact of nature.”
“There was a limit to how many insults a man could swallow in silence.”
“So your luck still holds with women, too.” Ryne’s laugh had an edge. Perhaps he fancied her himself. “The Light knows, they can’t find you handsome; you get uglier every year. Maybe I ought to try some of that coy modesty, let women lead me by the nose.” Lan opened his mouth, then took a drink instead of speaking. He should not have to explain, but it was too late for explanation with Ryne in any case. His father had taken him to Arafel the year Lan turned ten. The man wore a single blade on his hip instead of two on his back, yet he was Arafellin to his toenails. He actually started conversations with women who had not spoken to him first. Lan, raised by Bukama and his friends in Shienar, had been surrounded by a small community who held to Malkieri ways. If Lira did share his bed tonight, as seemed certain, she would discover there was nothing shy or retiring about him once they were abed, yet the woman chose when to enter that bed and when to leave.”
“Men listened closer to calm tones than to the loudest shouts, so long as firmness and certainty accompanied the calm.”
“a man’s word must be as good as an oath sworn beneath the Light or it was no good at all.”
“People had a way of folding what they saw into what they knew and what they wanted to believe.”
“Dark-eyed Lira reached Lan only moments before Bukama, the pair of them gently parting slashes in his clothes to examine his injuries. She shivered delicately as each was revealed, but she discussed whether an Aes Sedai should be sent for to give Healing and how much stitching was needed in as calm a tone as Bukama, and disparagingly dismissed his hand on the needle in favor of her own. Mistress Arovni stalked about, holding her skirts up out of patches of bloody mud, glaring at the corpses littering her stableyard, complaining in a loud voice that gangs of footpads would never be wandering in daylight if the Watch was doing its job. The Domani woman who had stared at Lan inside agreed just as loudly, and for her pains received a sharp command from the innkeeper to fetch the Watch, along with a shove to start her on her way. It was a measure of Mistress Arovni’s shock that she treated one of her patrons so, a measure of everyone’s shock that the Domani woman went running without complaint. The innkeeper began organizing men to drag the bodies out of sight.”
“Death came for every man eventually, and seldom where or when he expected.”
“once was happenstance, twice might be coincidence, but thrice or more indicated the actions of your enemies.”
“When she drifted off, she was thinking of Ryne, strangely. A pity if he was afraid of her, now. A great pity if he turned out to be a Darkfriend. He was charming, and quite pretty, really. She did not mind a man wanting to see her unclothed, only his telling others about it.”
“It was easier to ask forgiveness, than permission.”
“Change what you can if it needs changing, but learn to live with what you can’t change.’ You’ll only get a sick stomach, otherwise”
“He never understood. You surrender after you’re dead.”
“only the dead could afford oblivion.”
“I want to wake up beside you, see your curls on my pillow. I want a chance at falling in love.”
“Are you going to put on your old cheer uniform?”
Ryan was a little too excited by the thought of me in a costume, so I squashed that idea, and fast.
“In your dreams.”
“Not exactly.” Ryan grinned wickedly. “In my dreams you’re usually dressed like Wonder Woman.”
Ugh. I wondered how long it would take for him to start in on the superhero crap. Obviously, not long. I was not amused, but Ryan seemed to think
himself hilarious. I could also tell by the look on his face that he was quite confident he’d have me in costume one day. “Never gonna happen,” I
assured him. “Ever.”
And of course he responded with that classic, cocky smile. “Just like you were never gonna be my girlfriend, right?”
“Since Lenin died, every Soviet leader had been a liar. They had all glossed over what was wrong and declined to acknowledge reality. The most striking characteristic of Soviet leadership for the last sixty-five year was the refusal to face facts.(1075)”
“His eyes, blind to external reality but highly perceptive in the realm of the inner life, rose from the book to the ceiling and returned to the book.”
“Once upon a time, I lost everything and I was so alone. The sadness, the hurt, it all seemed so infinite. When you're wandering alone in a storm, you can't see the end, or if there even is one, and how close it might be.
I'm still wandering, but maybe I don't feel so lost now.
I'll keep trying. I promise.”
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