A slam. Like someone’s fist against a table or wall. “You’d be executed.”
“No! It won’t be Zoya. Or me. It will be the one who is different, and your dark cousin will slip away like an eel when someone needs to be held accountable.”
Aleksander’s jaw clenches. But then Alina speaks again, and her voice is soft.
“It would be worth it.”
“If we have children-“
“I don’t have children! I have a wife. That is my family!”
“I want things to be different. For us.”
He hears Ivan’s heavy footsteps cross the room above him, and then stop, “You can’t have difference without death.”
“I can try.”
“I don’t want you to.”
“Someone needs to be willing to do something about it. And I’m the Sun Summoner.”
The words hang, until Ivan sighs. The heavy footsteps sound again, growing softer and softer until the noise is punctuated by an opening door.
“I didn’t marry a martyr, malen’kaya osel.”
Another footfall, and then the door closes.
Lone Candles - The Second Life: The Heretic
“You, I neither know nor trust.”
I could never get away with being so impolitic in Joya d’Arena, but lofty contempt seems to be the right tack in Invierne.
“ Weren’t you scared?” I ask.
“Yes. But it was a good scared.”
“There’s a good kind?”
“Oh, yes.” Her voice drops so low I have to strain to hear. “Orlín made me scared all the time. Scared I would starve. Scared I would get too cold. Scared he would hurt me again or get so mad that he’d throw me to one of the men. That was nasty bad scared.” She pauses, scuffing her boots against the floor. “But you never hit me, even though I’m your slave.”
“You’re not my—”
“You always feed me. You call me a true name. Now when I’m scared, it’s not because of meanness. And today I chose my own scared. It’s always a good scared, when you get to pick it your own self.”
I squeeze her hand again, whispering, “I think I know exactly what you mean. ”
The Bitter Kingdom - Rae Carson
“It’s a great honor,” said Fedyor. “To save a life. You saved many.”
“Not enough,” I murmured, thinking of the terrified look on Alexei’s face as he was pulled into the darkness. If I had this power, why hadn’t I been able to save him? Or any of the others who had perished on the Fold? I looked at Fedyor. “If you really believe that saving a life is an honor, then why not become a Healer instead of a Heartrender?”
Fedyor considered the passing scenery. “Of all Grisha, Corporalki have the hardest road. We require the most training and the most study. At the end of it all, I felt I could save more lives as a Heartrender.”
“As a killer?” I asked in surprise.
“As a soldier,” Fedyor corrected. He shrugged. “To kill or to cure?” he said with a sad smile. “We each have our own gifts.”
“Honor from death is a myth. Invented by the war torn to make sense of the horrific. If we die, it will be so that others may l i v e. Truly honorable death, the only honorable death, is one that enables l i f e”
Beside Ruby, the Darkling lay in his black kefta.
Who had tended him? I wondered, feeling an ache rise in my throat. Who had combed his dark hair back so neatly from his forehead? Who had folded his graceful hands on his chest?
The Inferni struck their flints. Flame leapt in bright arcs, circling and diving between the birches like darting birds, licking at the tinder until it smoldered and caught.
The fire grew, flames shimmering, the shaking leaves of a great golden tree. Around me, the moans and weeping of the crowd grew louder.Sankta, they cried. Sankta Alina.
My eyes burned with the smoke. The smell was sickly sweet.
No one knew his name to curse or extol, so I spoke it softly, beneath my breath.
“A l e k s a n d e r,” I whispered. A boy’s name, given up. Almost forgotten
Everyone remembered Ashara in high school, all the teachers had had her, all of them remembered her dance recitals, all of them asked after her health—dreading the answer because what if she tried jumping again? Allyria didn’t think she was anything like Ashara. She was boring in comparison, but then again, everyone was boring in comparison to Ashara—everyone thought so.