“Right now I'd like all my troubles to stand in front of me in a straight line, and one by one I'd give each a black eye. ”
“... If we don't tell strange stories, when something strange happens we won't believe it.”
“If we're mad, we're mad in large numbers, at least larger than yours.”
“When you get tired of worrying and mourning your horse and trying not to be afraid, tell me and I'll do it for you a while so you can shut your eyes and sleep peaceful.”
“She closed the book and put her cheek against it. There was still an odor of a library on it, of dust, leather, binding glue, and old paper, one book carrying the smell of hundreds.”
“I, Geric-Sinath of Gerhard, declare that you're beautiful and you're perfect and I'll slay any man who tries to take you from my side. Goose girl, may I kiss you?”
“Its important to know stories. I felt the earth shift to make a place for you when you were born, and I came to tell you stories while you are young. And like me, you were born with a word on your tongue.”
“Yes, we'll yell, 'Help, help us, goose girl, and bring the terrifying legion of warrior geese'.”
“They finished laughing and caught their breaths, and looked at each other, and Ani thought Geric looked at her too long, as though he forgot he was looking, as though he did not wish to do anything else. She looked back. Her took heart took its time quieting down.”
“You saw my leg?"
"How can a man help what he sees?" he said. "And, if I could add, you possess a very fine leg.”
“We know it's all just daydreaming...But sometimes, it'd be nice just to hold something real in your hands that felt like a measure of your worth.”
“...all things speak, in their way, don't they?”
“But in a country where you hang your dead up on walls and pride whether or not a man bears a javelin more than his character, how am I to persuade you out of a war? It would be suicide for Kildenree to war on Bayern and butchery for Bayern to attack Kildenree. If you don't believe me, then send me back. Or if you don't trust me to leave, I'll return to my little room on the west wall and tend your geese, and you can be sure that on my watch no thieves will touch my flock.”
“Clearly she was expected to say something, but panic at having to speak stole the thoughts from her head.”
“She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.”
“My friends call me by my name."
"You don't have any friends."
"I don't want you to be my friend, Selia, or my servant, not now. I thought you were both. You have let me know I was wrong. So are you to treat me so. You are wrong.”
“But when she turned her back to the lights, she saw that the night was so dark...She could not see the stars. The world felt as high as the depthless night sky and deeper than she could know. She understood, suddenly and keenly, that she was too small to run away, and she sat on the damp ground and cried.”
“No more crying. It's all wetness and no comfort at all.”
“We know it's all just daydreaming. In all likelihood, no one in this forest'll ever get a javelin, and I'll never see my mother's kingdom again, let alone be hailed by crowds as the jewel of Kildenree. Maybe it's vain to wish for it. But sometimes, it'd be nice just to hold something real in your hands that felt like a measure of your worth. Right Finn?”
“Geric," she called.
He turned back around.
"What kind of flowers were they?"
"I don't rightly know," he said. He made faltering gestures with his hands, forming their size and shape from the air. "They were yellow, and smallish, and had lots of petals."
"Thank you," she said. "They were beautiful.”
“You, what are you? The brat of lucky parents who were related to a childless king. There is no such thing as royal blood. I believe we are what we make ourselves, and as such, you, Crown Princess, are nothing.”
“Isi, I’m trying to say that you’ve been… no, you’re so, you’re–” He stopped.
"You are,” he said. His hand found hers, and he held her finger tightly, as though he did not dare to do any more than hold her one hand, and look at her, and breathe deeply.”
“I can see that one can never pay back Gilsa for the fear that she will give again.”
“Poor gosling. It hurts to be lost. And worse to be home with no kind of homecoming...I'll be lucky if I can do as well as you when all this's done, just a bit out of breath, a bit bruised and scratched, a bit wiser and sadder for it all.”
“Ah, now, don't cry over lost years and forgetfulness. The tales tell what they can. The rest is for us to learn..”
“She answered by standing and kissing him first and held his cheeks and closed her eyes and felt sure as bones and deep as blood that she had found her place.”
“Oh, but I like my geese. Like cats, they can't be told what to do, and like dogs, they're loyal, and like people, they talk every chance they get.”
“Go on, son, you're not doing me any good by bleeding.”
“Ani felt a stirring, a hope, a winged thing waking up in her chest and brushing her heart with it's feathers.”
“Some people are born with the first word of a language resting on their tongue though it may take some time before they can taste it.”
“I will not fail,' the water bearer's daughter vowed. 'But worse than failing is not to try at all. For then there can be no hope of success.”
“hat was then Now Johannes Cabal and Joey Granite stood before Billy Butler and said nothing. The smell of smoke said it all for them. Butler smiled nastily. “Oh. It’s—” As famous last words go, they lacked a certain something. “Uppercut, Joey,” said Cabal. Joey Granite delivered an uppercut of surpassing science and pugilistic artistry. It was a thing of beauty and kinetic poetry that might be long admired among people who enjoy watching other people beat the living daylights out of one another. It was also powerful enough to lift a small building off its foundations. Anything up to a branch library would have tottered and fallen. Billy Butler, despite a bit of a gut, simply wasn’t in the same league weight-wise. By some miracle, his head stayed on his body, but there was little doubt that the police would be making enquiries long before he hit the ground again. “Let us leave, Joey,” said Cabal as Butler vanished through the cloud base.”
“All my life I wanted somebody who knew more than I did to tell me the truth.”
“I thought we’d already decided we weren’t that, either.”
Grabbing his shoulder, I stopped him before he could reach the door. “Look, I’m sorry! I’m sorry I did this to you.”
He turned to look at me, his brow raised high. “You’re sorry. So, what . . . we go back to being cool again?”
“I don’t know, man. But we can’t do this.”
“And why can’t we? You couldn’t stand to let me have one normal day with her. Have I done anything to you since she and I broke up?” He paused, but I didn’t respond. “No. I haven’t. You dealt with it by being an ass, so let me deal with this my way. And my way doesn’t include acting like you didn’t steal my girl from me.”
“I didn’t steal Harper!”
He opened the door and took a step outside, his shaking hand gripping the outer knob. When he looked back at me, his eyes were flat and lifeless. “You stole my entire world.”
“The best place to start an adventure is with a quiet, perfect life … and someone who realizes that it can’t possibly be enough.”
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