“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.”
“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when in reality you need to let it go.”
“She turned to look at him, and he was already looking at her. “I’m going to miss you when I wake up,” she whispered, because she realized that she must have fallen asleep under the sun. Arin was too real for her imagination. He was a dream.
“Don’t wake up,” he said.”
“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”
“I don’t mind being a moth. I would probably start eating silk if it meant that I could fly.”
“There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else’s idea of honor without question.”
“An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that it wasn’t how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she’d heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer.”
“He did not want her to know.
He did not want her to see.
Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me.
She lifted her eyes, and did.”
“She’d felt it before, she felt it now: the pull to fall in with him, to fall into him, to lose her sense of self.”
“Her fierce creature of a mind: sleek and sharp-clawed and utterly unwilling to be caught.”
“His dear face, dear to her, dearer still. how could she love his face more for its damage? What kind of person saw someone's suffering and felt her heart crack open even wider, even more sweetly than before?
There was something wrong with her. It was wrong to want to touch a scar and call it beautiful.”
“You snored,” Kestrel said. “I did not.” “You did. You snored so loudly that the people in my dreams complained.”
“Brother, you are mad,” said the queen. “He loves me,” Roshar protested. The cub was sleeping huddled against Rosher’s leg. “And when it has grown, and is large enough to eat a man?” “Then I’ll make Arin take care of him.”
“She breathed in the cold, and it felt free, so she felt free, and it felt alive, so she felt alive.”
“You can't see both sides of one coin at once, can you, child? The god of money always keeps a secret.
The god of money was also the god of spies.”
“So you give me nothing.”
“When have I ever given you anything?”
Softly, Arin said, “You gave me much, once.”
“Arin hadn’t fallen asleep on the deck of his strangely still ship, yet, it felt as if he’d been dreaming. As if dreams and memories and lies were the same thing.”
“Someone was coming through the velvet.
He was pulling it wide, he was stepping onto Kestrel’s balcony—close, closer still as she turned and the curtain swayed, then stopped. He pinned the velvet against frame. He held the sweep of it high, at the level of his gray eyes, which were silver in the shadows.
He was here. He had come.
“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when what you need is to let it go.”
“The guard hit Kestrel across the face. “I said, what did you give him?”
You had a warrior’s heart, even then.
Kestrel spat blood. “Nothing,” she told the guard. She thought of her father, she thought of Arin. She told her final lie. “I gave him nothing.”
“Kestrel’s laugh was white in the cold. “We could gamble for your coat.”
“Ah, love, why don’t we skip to the part where you win and I give it to you?”
“Sometimes, Arin almost understood what Kestrel had done. Even now, as he felt the drift of the boat and didn't fight its pull, Arin remembered the yearning in Kestrel's face whatever she'd mentioned her father. Like a homesickness. Arin had wanted to shake it out of her. Especially during those early months when she had owned him. He had wanted to force her to see her father for what he was. He had wanted her to acknowledge what she was, how she was wrong, how she shouldn't long for her father's love. It was soacked in blood. Didn't she see that? How could she not?
Once, he'd hated her for it. Then it had somehow touched him. He knew it himself. He, too, wanted what he shouldn't. He, too, felt the heart chooses its own home and refuses reason. Not here, he'd tried to say. Not this. Not mine. Never. But he had felt the same sickness.
In retrospect, Kestrel's role in the taking of the eastern plains was predictable. Sometimes he damned her for currying favor with the emperor, or blamed her playing war like a game just because she could. Yet he thought he knew the truth of her reasons. She'd done it for her father. It almost made sense. At least, it did when he was near sleep and his mind was quiet, and it was harder to help what entered. Right before sleep, he came close to understanding. But he was awake now.”
“Once, he'd hated her for it. Then it had somehow touched him. He knew it himself. he, too, felt how the heart chooses its own home and refuses reason.”
“Her blood felt laced with black powder. How could she have forgotten what it was like to burn on a fuse before him?”
“How did you ever survive, little slave, with that mouth of yours?”
“The sky was a feather blanket of clouds, save for one blue hole in the fabric. A blue cloud in a white sky.”
“He did not want her to know. He did not want her to see. But: Look at me, he found himself thinking furiously at her. Look at me. She lifted her eyes, and did.”
“Arin would trade his heart for a snarled knot of thread if it meant he would never have to see Kestrel again.”
“The world went luscious, and slow, and still.”
An emotion clamped down on her heart. It squeezed her into a terrible silence. But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that wasn't how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she'd heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer.”
“Will to Gundar: I'm looking for fighting men. I plan to sack a castle, and I hear you people are rather good at that.”
“And then I get why Wes can’t stop smiling, even though it looks silly with his eyeliner and jet-black hair and hard jaw and scars. I am not alone. The words dance in my mind and in his eyes and against our rings and our keys, and now I smile too.”
“His wedding gift, clasped round my throat. A choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat.”
“She laughed and broke into a run, racing out to grab handfuls of raindrops from the air, all alone in a world of diamonds.”
“Straight guys only feel three ways about girls . . . First, either they love you, and they show it by writing a song about you, like Gabriel, and asking you out, and everything is nice and fun like it should be. Second, they love you, but they’re scared of their passion for you because it’s so strong, like your boy Christopher, so they stuff it way, way down and ignore you, or do stupid things like make fun of you because they don’t know how to express it any other way, because they’re immature little babies and are too shy to, say, write a song about you. Or third, there’s something wrong with them, and they start out nice and loving and then turn around and do stupid things like sleep with other girls behind your back, like Justin Bay. But we’ll never figure out what went wrong with them, and neither will they, so it’s not worth thinking about. Okay? That’s it. The end.”
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