Yes, I know,' she said in answer to the unasked, for there was no time for explanations. 'Yes. My face is spoilt.' Grandible's jowl wobbled and creased. Then, for the first time that Neverfell could remember, he changed to a Face she had never seen before, a frown more ferocious and alarming than either of the others. 'Who the shambles told you that?' he barked. 'Spoilt? I'll spoil them.' He took hold of her chin and examined her. 'A bit sadder, maybe. A bit wiser. But nothing rotten. You're just growing yourself a rind at last. Still a good cheese.
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Tips for aspiring writers: don't be afraid of writing rubbish. It's very easy to become hypnotised by an empty page or screen. It's tempting to abandon a half-finished work because you can't make it perfect. I hereby give you permission to write things that aren't perfect, make mistakes, try things that don't work, experiment with styles you're not used to and generally throw words around. You'll learn much faster that way.
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Desperation is a millstone. It wears away at the very soul, grinding away pity, kindness, humanity and courage. But sometimes it whets the mind to a sharpened point and creates moments of true brilliance. And standing there, nose tickled by the dusty hide of the stuffed deer head, such a moment visited Mosca Mye.
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Mosca and Saracen shared, if not a friendship, at least the solidarity of the generally despised. Mosca assumed that Saracen had his reasons for his persecution of terriers and his possessive love of the malthouse roof. In turn, when Mosca had interrupted Saracen's self-important nightly patrol and scooped him up, Saracen had assumed that she too had her reasons.
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I generally find, ' Clent murmured after a pause, 'that it is best to treat borrowed time the same way as borrowed money. Spend it with panache, and try to be somewhere else when it runs out.' 'And when we get found, Mr. Clent, when the creditors and bailiffs come after us and it's payment time... ' '... then we borrow more, madam, at a higher interest. We embark on a wilder gamble, make a bigger promise, tell a braver story, devise a more intricate lie, sell the hides of imaginary dragons to desperate men, climb to even higher and more precarious ground... and later, of course, our fall and catastrophe will be all the worse, but later will be our watchword, Mosca. We have nothing else - but we can at least make later later.
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But in the name of all that is holy, Mosca, of all the people you could have taken up with, why Eponymous Clent?" murmured Kohlrabi. Because I'd been hording words for years, buying them from peddlers and carving them secretly on bits of bark so I wouldn't forget them, and then he turned up using words like "epiphany" and "amaranth." Because I heard him talking in the marketplace, laying out sentences like a merchant rolling out rich silks. Because he made words and ideas dance like flames and something that was damp and dying came alive in my mind, the way it hadn't since they burned my father's books. Because he walked into Chough with stories from exciting places tangled around him like maypole streamers... " Mosca shrugged. "He's got a way with words.
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I don't know. How can you know? I... I'm a monster. When I'm hungry, I might do anything." "Oh no, of course I couldn't possibly understand you." Violet's shadowed face seemed to be wearing a grim and serious smile. "I know, you woke up one day and found out that you couldn't be the person you remembered being, the little girl everybody expected you to be. You just weren't her any more, and there was nothing you could do about it. So your family decided you were a monster and turned on you." Violet sighed, staring out into the darkness. "Believe me, I do understand that. And let me tell you - from one monster to another - that just because somebody tells you you're a monster, it doesn't mean you are. "just now you told me what you did because you want me to stop you from eating Pen. If you were a real monster, you wouldn't have done that, would you?" Trista's eyes stung, and she wiped strands of cobweb away with her sleeve. "Idiot, " added Violet, for good measure.
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At one o'clock, the ever-logical Right-Eye Grand Steward woke up to discover that during his sleep his left-eyed counterpart had executed three of his advisors for treason, ordered the creation of a new carp pool and banned limericks. Worse still, no progress had been made in tracking down the Kleptomancer, and of the two people believed to be his accomplices, both had been released from prison and one had been appointed food taster. Right-Eye was not amused. He had known for centuries that he could trust nobody but himself. Now he was seriously starting to wonder about himself.
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Mosca said nothing. The word 'damsel' rankled with her. She suddenly thought of the clawed girl from the night before, jumping the filch on an icy street. Much the same age and build as Beamabeth, and far more beleaguered. What made a girl a 'damsel in distress'? Were they not allowed claws? Mosca had a hunch that if all damsels had claws they would spend a lot less time 'in distress'.
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Truth is dangerous. It topples palaces and kills kings. It stirs gentle men to rage and bids them take up arms. It wakes old grievances and opens forgotten wounds. It is the mother of the sleepless night and the hag-ridden day. And yet there is one thing that is more dangerous than Truth. Those who would silence Truth's voice are more destructive by far. It is most perilous to be a speaker of Truth. Sometimes one must choose to be silent, or be silenced. But if a truth cannot be spoken, it must at least be known. Even if you dare not speak truth to others, never lie to yourself.
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I find it hard to believe that a lady like...' Pertellis hesitated, and coughed. 'There is something elevated in the female spirit that will always hold a woman back from the coldest and most vicious forms of villainy.' 'No, there isn't,' Miss Kitely said kindly but firmly, as she set a dish in his hand. 'Drink your chocolate, Mr Pertellis.
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My child, you have a flawed grasp of the nature of myth-making. I am a poet and storyteller, a creator of ballads and sagas. Pray do not confuse the exercise of the imagination with mere mendacity. I am a master of the mysteries of words, their meanings and music and mellifluous magic.
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