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Why do you hold a razor in one hand?
So men remember that I am sharp as any edge.
And why do you hold broken glass in the other?
So men remember that I am always watching. -- Susan Dennard
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Take the god's gift. Become the Fury.
It was time to become the monster Merik had been all along. No more numbed distance. No more fighting the Nihar temper. Only vicious, hungry heat.
One for the sake of many; vengeance for those he'd lost. -- Susan Dennard
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There was nothing to deflate a man's ego like a bit of frill around the collar. -- Susan Dennard
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There was pain too, though Aeduan could ignore that. After all, pain was nothing new. -- Susan Dennard
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She was broken. She was useless. She was the pointless half of a friendship. The one who would live forever in shadows, no matter what she did. No matter whom she fought. -- Susan Dennard
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The Airwitch had gone from reading nothing in his life to never stopping, buying every novel or history book he could get his hands on. -- Susan Dennard
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We waddled through life blindly, hoping to find something - and someone - worth fighting for. -- Susan Dennard
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Where are my blades, Threadwitch?" He stubbornly still spoke in Dalmotti.
So Iseult stubbornly answered in Nomatsi: "Hidden. -- Susan Dennard
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Oh, I know!" Safi clapped her hands, delighted by her own genius. "I shall call you Un-empressed."
"Please," Vaness said coldly, "stop this immediately."
Safi absolutely did not. -- Susan Dennard
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Even the greatest feats of man lose their luster when one's head is filled with storm clouds. -- Susan Dennard
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And there it was - that was who she was. Split right down the middle, she bore her father's strength, her father's drive. She carried her mother's compassion, her mother's love for Nubrevna. -- Susan Dennard
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Mama forbade me to attend the Exhibition after an over-heating spell, yet she insisted I gallivant in the park in the midafternoon sun. I almost wanted to pass out again just to spite her. -- Susan Dennard
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That's a very comforting response, Oliver. Of course I can trust you implicitly when all you care about is using me for your own designs. -- Susan Dennard
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He was good. The best fighter she'd ever faced. But Safi and Iseult were better. -- Susan Dennard
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No stopping, though. Only running onward through the weak rain. Men charged with blades, but swords were so easy for Iseult to evade with Aeduan at her side. Together, they arced, they lunged, they ducked, they rolled. A fluid combination of steps built on blood and Threads. -- Susan Dennard
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There are degrees of freedom. Complete freedom isn't always good, nor is the lack of it always bad. -- Susan Dennard
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She did have regrets. Thousands of them, and the weight was too heavy for her to keep moving. She was a ship that could not sail, for its anchor - its thousands of anchors - locked it to the sea floor. -- Susan Dennard
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Iseult knew what she had to do. She knew what Safi would do in this position. What Habim or Mathew or her mother or anyone with a backbone would do. So why was she finding it so hard to summon any words? -- Susan Dennard
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Stop seeing what you want to see, Merik Nihar, and start seeing what's really here! -- Susan Dennard
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Until at last, they could pause and let the arrows fall harmlessly around them. -- Susan Dennard
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Allow me to serve you, Safiya. We have spent too many years apart." "And I have spent too many hours between meals." A glare. "Give it to me now, Polly, or I shall castrate you with a fork. -- Susan Dennard
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He was younger than Iseult had imagined. No older than twenty, if she had to guess. Yet he felt old, with his voice so gruff. His language so formal.
It was in the way he carried himself too, as if he'd walked for a thousand years and planned to walk a thousand more. -- Susan Dennard
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Dead grass is awakened by fire,
dead earth is awakened by rain.
One life will give way to another,
the cycle will begin again. -- Susan Dennard
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And if I don't answer... Then what?... Oh, no. Someone protect me from the bad man with a knife. - Admiral Kahina -- Susan Dennard
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The world shivered and smeared before him. Still, his training took over. With his free hand, he checked that his baldric was still in place. The knives ready for the grabbing.
Then he readied his stance, for though blood might burn, Aeduan's soul would not. -- Susan Dennard
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Safi snatched the other side of his shirt. These go inside these. -- Susan Dennard
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As Aeduan walked onward, he was pleased to find he'd left a trail of muddy boot-prints throughout the house. -- Susan Dennard
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I can still make a fist, and breath still burns in my chest. So look at my face. Look at my mortal soul, and remember it. You did not crush me, and you will have the rest of eternity to think on it. -- Susan Dennard
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Can't say I'm surprised you were here. You have the curiosity of a cat and the common sense of a goldfish. -- Susan Dennard
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Weasels piss on you, Iz. I'm not done yet. -- Susan Dennard
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The assassin in the night. The fire on the Jana. The woman in Judgment Square. Each event had led Merik here, to Noden's temple. To a fresco of the god's Left Hand.
And only a fool ignored Noden's gifts. -- Susan Dennard
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It was time to make amends. Time to bring justice to the wronged. Time to bring punishment to the wicked. -- Susan Dennard
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The shanty soon ended, but Ryber kept pounding the drum and hollered, "'The Maidens North of Lovats!'" - which Merik knew was her favorite song, since she was a maiden from north of Lovats. -- Susan Dennard
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Safi ignored him--he was clearly an idiot -- Susan Dennard
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The holiest always have the farthest to fall. -- Susan Dennard
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So Merik embraced the rage. He let it course through each of his breaths. Each of his thoughts. He could use the anger to help his hungry city. To protect his dying people.
For although the holiest might fall - and Merik had fallen far, indeed - they could also claw their way back up again. -- Susan Dennard
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The music slowed. She pulled away first, slinking back the required four steps. Merik didn't look away from her face, and he only distantly noticed that, as she pulled away, his Windwitchery seemed to settle. Her skirts stopped swishing, her hair fluttered back to her shoulders. -- Susan Dennard
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Merik turned away, pretending not to hear. Not to care. But the truth was, he did hear and he did care. -- Susan Dennard
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Safi was sick of dancing. Literally, she felt ill from all the spinning, and her breath - she'd not had a single moment to catch it since ... Merik. Prince Merik. The man who couldn't dress himself properly had turned out to be royalty. -- Susan Dennard
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You think you're so selfless, you think you're working to save everyone, but what if you're going about it all wrong? At least when I live as a boy, no one gets hurt. But you pretendin' to be a martyr? Pretending to be the Fury? That hurts everyone. -- Susan Dennard
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There were advantages to being a dead man. -- Susan Dennard
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I brandished my parasol at him like a rapier. You, sir, are an abominable scalawag of a man, and I'll be damned if I let you threaten me. -- Susan Dennard
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Sorry to make you wait!" Safi roared over the rapid four-beat race. Her legs were bared, her silk gown shredded, and she clutched a pitchfork to her stomach. "And sorry for the trouble on my ass! -- Susan Dennard
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Sometimes justice was all about the small victories. -- Susan Dennard
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Though we are safe with our friends near, we are safest with our enemies nearer. -- Susan Dennard
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I'm a domna. I can smile at even the ugliest toad and flatter him on his perfectly placed warts. -- Susan Dennard
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I told you, Hell-Bard. Everyone lies. It's in the way we banter with our friends. It's in the mundane greetings we give passersby. It's in the most meaningless things we do every single moment of every single day. Hundreds upon thousands of tiny, inconsequential lies. -- Susan Dennard
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This girl had fought Aeduan - tricked him and broken his spine. She had battled city guards and faced cleaved Poisonwitches head-on, yet never had Aeduan seen her show fear. -- Susan Dennard
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To pile on the agony, once we reached Shantytown-a collection of shacks around the Exhibition that fed off the scraps of rich tourists - the ribbon on my bonnet decided today was the day it wanted freedom. It dangled before my face in a taunting display of rebellion. -- Susan Dennard
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You are strong and independent, I told myself as I unlocked the door. Capable and clever. No males needed. -- Susan Dennard
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What did you drop?"
"Nothing. Stand aside, Empress."
"So you were hiding."
He set his jaw, and I noticed his face was freshly shaved. It made his skin look soft.
"I've places to be," he growled. "So if you don't step outta my way, I will move your imperial figure myself. -- Susan Dennard
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Eleanor," Daniel said. "Miss Fitt! Wake up!"
I fluttered my eyelids open. "I'm not a misfit anymore," I rasped. "I thought I told you that. -- Susan Dennard
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The fault is not in our stars," I whispered to the ceiling. "But in ourselves. This was my choice. -- Susan Dennard
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You're chained up." A wince pulled at Safi's eyes. "I upset the Admiral." "Of course you did." "It's not funny. -- Susan Dennard
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Don't pet the cat that's had a bath. -- Susan Dennard
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Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed."
I grinned. "Then I daresay it's good I'm a woman. -- Susan Dennard
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How could I dream when I knew I could act instead. -- Susan Dennard
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Never had Safi seen so many furled sails. Or circling sea gulls.
Cursed birds. -- Susan Dennard
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Two girls who'd once shared tea and gossip were now bound together by death. -- Susan Dennard
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Each Well was linked to one of the five elements: Aether, Earth, Water, Wind, or Fire. -- Susan Dennard
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If you wanted to, Safiya, you could bend and shape the world. -- Susan Dennard
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She felt no relief at having survived this attack. No heady satisfaction surged through her because she'd made it to shore. She felt only a growing emptiness. A gathering dark. For this was her life now. Not boredom and lectures, but hell-flames and assassins. Massacres and endless flight. -- Susan Dennard
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It wasn't freedom she wanted. It was belief in something - a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what. -- Susan Dennard
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My feet hurt, Hell-Bard."
"Good for you."
"My wrists hurt too."
"Fascinating."
... "You're a bastard. -- Susan Dennard
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Unbidden, a memory stirred in the back of Aeduan's mind. Another child, another basket, another lifetime, and a monk named Evrane, who had saved him from it all.
Evrane's mistake. She should have left Aeduan behind. -- Susan Dennard
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Then her Truthwitchery exploded - a coating, scraping sensation against her neck that heralded wrongness. -- Susan Dennard
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It was the circle of perfect motion. Of the light-bringer and dark-giver, the world-starter and shadow-ender. Of initiation and completion. It was the symbol of the Cahr Awen. Cahr Awen. -- Susan Dennard
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Initiate. Complete. -- Susan Dennard
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There are degrees of everything, which doesn't fit well into your true-or-false view of the world. -- Susan Dennard
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The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
"And the foolish can cite Shakespeare. -- Susan Dennard
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Real love isn't about drama or heartbreak. Real love just is. -- Susan Dennard
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Which left Aeduan, as always, on the edge of a scene, watching while the world unfolded without him beneath a darkening sky. -- Susan Dennard
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And do all Hell-Bards waddle like a duck, or is it just you? -- Susan Dennard
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I'll strip with you," Safi offered, grabbing for her shirttails. "If anyone shows up" - the shirt slid over her face, muffled her words - "I'll dance around and distract them. -- Susan Dennard
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Yes," Safi breathed, swaying into one of the men holding her up. She flashed a grin at him and said, "I'm Safiya fon Hasstrel, and I can do anything. -- Susan Dennard
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I hate this. Both the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be 'we'? Why not just me?"
"Because 'just me' isn't who we are," Iseult hollered back. "I'll always follow you, Safi, and you'll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end. -- Susan Dennard
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But the cleaving Tidewitch didn't care. His blackened eyes had latched on to Safi now. His bloodstained hands clawed up and he barreled toward her like a squall. -- Susan Dennard
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Iseult hated herself for that truth, but there it was. She wanted to go after Safi; she wanted Aeduan to lead the way; she wished this child would simply disappear.
Monster, she told herself. You're a monster. -- Susan Dennard
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Well, Safi was calling horse shit on that. She didn't lack initiative - she was initiative. -- Susan Dennard
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Safi was beyond anger. Beyond temper. This was her life now - forever running, forever changing hands from one enemy to the next until eventually the enemy severed her neck. It had been inevitable, really. Her magic had cursed her from the day she was born. -- Susan Dennard
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Shut the door, he ordered. Safi did, but tensed her muscles. She might have danced and fought with this man, but that didn't mean she trusted him in a room alone. -- Susan Dennard
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and she and the mare set off after Safi. -- Susan Dennard
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When Aeduan had said he would kill her in Lejna, she hadn't believed him. When he'd said he would kill her last night, she had. -- Susan Dennard
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There was no heaven here. Eternal life meant waking up as a putrid corpse. -- Susan Dennard
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Darkness is not always a foe. -- Susan Dennard
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No rage, no hate, no love, no past. Just now. -- Susan Dennard
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Iron might weep, but it did not break. -- Susan Dennard
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And perhaps they too would one day be lost to history. -- Susan Dennard
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Plague? the guard interrupted. -- Susan Dennard
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It was incredible to watch. Inhuman, really, this gift to heal one's body. The power of the Void. The power of a demon.
Yet when Iseult glanced at the Bloodwitch's sleeping, dirt-streaked face, she didn't see a demon lying limp before her. -- Susan Dennard
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I can feel their Threads waiting. -- Susan Dennard
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Mhe varujta. Trust me as if my soul were yours. -- Susan Dennard
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Merry... you look awful. - Vivia -- Susan Dennard
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He would find a chest full of barbed arrows awaited him. -- Susan Dennard
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Sitting still is a quick path to madness, she reminded herself - as if this might explain the trembling. -- Susan Dennard
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They each wore ill-fitting black suits and well-fitting black scowls. -- Susan Dennard
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Is that what you think I am? All this time, and you still haven't sorted it out? Why am I surprised? You didn't notice me when we were on the Jana. You couldn't even remember my name back then, so why should I expect you to understand - to see me for what I am now! -- Susan Dennard
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Oh, the Bloodwitch named Aeduan was no longer bored. No longer bored at all. And now he had work to do. -- Susan Dennard
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She already fought so hard to separate herself from her emotions - if she got rid of her thoughts too, what would be left? -- Susan Dennard
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Because it is always easier to blame gods or legends than it is to face our own mistakes. This land is no more cursed than any other. It is simply steeped in too much blood. -- Susan Dennard
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You have the curiosity of a cat and common sense of a goldfish. -- Susan Dennard
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Stasis, Iseult det Midenzi told herself for the thousandth time since dawn. Stasis in your fingers and in your toes. -- Susan Dennard
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He feeds off their fear and fans it to flames. -- Susan Dennard
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After tonight, Safiya fon Hasstrel would be free. -- Susan Dennard
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No regrets, keep moving . . . -- Susan Dennard
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Mountain bats, those massive serpentine creatures of myth. Those ancient scavengers of the battlefield. -- Susan Dennard
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No more stalemates because they thought her unqualified and unhinged.
No more tiptoeing around a room because women oughtn't to run. To shout. To rule.
And above all: no more blighted regrets. -- Susan Dennard
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Please just get us through this alive. -- Susan Dennard
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Before Nubrevna, it had been Dalmotti. Before Dalmotti, it had been Marstok. For centuries, this peninsula had changed hands, and for centuries, no one had ever fully won - or ever fully lost. -- Susan Dennard
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Aeduan didn't contradict her. She was what she was, and fighting one's nature only brought pain. Sometimes death too. -- Susan Dennard
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So this is how I will die. Aeduan had never thought it would be flames. A beheading, perhaps. Old age, more likely. But not fire - not since he'd escaped that death all those years ago. -- Susan Dennard
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And they fell. Together. -- Susan Dennard
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Of course, the three men in the tavern who'd decided to attack Iseult had never made it back home at all. At least not with intact femurs. -- Susan Dennard
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Always. There was always blood where Aeduan went. -- Susan Dennard
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Nothing negated beauty faster than boredom. -- Susan Dennard
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They aren't for disguise at all. You just didn't want to leave behind your favorite book. -- Susan Dennard
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that you have learned how to work a button. -- Susan Dennard
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In that moment, Iseult knew what she had to do. Logic didn't matter, nor Threadwitch practicality, nor even the opposing halves of her heart.
What mattered was doing the right thing.
So Iseult made her choice, and she ran. -- Susan Dennard
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Iseult's nostrils twitched. Her face hardened. The defiance, the determination - they were back, and against his will, Aeduan's lips twitched upward. -- Susan Dennard
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Habim had told Iseult once, War is senseless. She'd always thought he'd meant it figuratively. Now she knew he'd meant it exactly as he'd said. War was senseless, overwhelming her sight, her touch, her hearing. Even her witchery. Every piece of Iseult was crushed. Crumbled. Shattered to shreds. -- Susan Dennard
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Who betrays whom first. -- Susan Dennard
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Who the rut is that Nubrevnan Windwitch? And: He should really learn how to button a shirt. -- Susan Dennard
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It is always easier to blame gods or legends than it is to face our own mistakes. -- Susan Dennard
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Simply because I have lost faith in the cause doesn't mean the training has lost all of its usefulness. -- Susan Dennard
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And together we wept on. For all we had fought.
For all we had given up.
And for all we were never meant to lose. -- Susan Dennard
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Aeduan bundled her up and stood. She was so light, so fragile. A bird in his demon arms. -- Susan Dennard
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How is that for service? Do you know how many men onboard would kill for the use of a spoon?"
"And do you know," she retorted, "how many men I can kill with a spoon? -- Susan Dennard
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Curiosity is a strong fire, and once ignited, it is not easily put out. -- Susan Dennard
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those who win wars are those who write history. -- Susan Dennard
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Run, my child, run. -- Susan Dennard
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Why so much fighting? Is the land valuable?"
"There is nothing of value here. Yet men have always believed that they know better than those who came before. That they will be the ones to claim the Contested Lands. -- Susan Dennard
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Someone's magic was cleaving. -- Susan Dennard
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But he could smirk at her - and wave too. A flicker of his right fingers and then a tapping of his right palm. -- Susan Dennard