You just punched a prince, Alina. I guess we can add one more act of treason to our list.' I shook out my sore hand. My knuckles smarted. 'First of all, are we so sure he really is a prince? And second, you're just jealous.' 'Of course I'm jealous. I thought I was going to get to punch him. That isn't the point.
He'd broken his leg dropping down from the rooftop. The bone didn't set right, and he'd limped ever after. So he'd found himself a Fabrikator and had his cane made. It became a declaration. There was no part of him that was no broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken.
I told them you hate herring.' 'Why?' 'And that you love plum cake. And that Ana Kuya took a switch to you when you ruined your spring slippers jumping in puddles.' I winced. 'Why would you tell them all that?' 'I wanted to make you human, ' he said. 'All they see when they look at you is the Sun Summoner. They see a threat, another powerful Grisha like the Darkling. I want them to see a daughter or a sister or a friend. I want them to see Alina.
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What is she to you anyway?" "Here's my answer captain. She's the thing that made this all okay-the threadbare coats and the old boots and the guns that jams when you most need them to fire, the loneliness of knowing that you don't matter, that you will never matter, the fact that you're just another body, another uniform to be sent into the fold or the frost, another good boy who knows his place, who does his job, who doesn't ask questions, who will lie down and die and be forgotten. What is she? She's everything, you dumb son of a bitch.
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She'd shown him in a thousand ways that she was honorable and strong and generous and very human, maybe even more vividly human than anyone he'd ever known. And if she was, then Grisha weren't inherently evil. They were like anyone else-full of the potential to do great good, and also great harm. To ignore that would make Matthias the monster.
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She tilted her head back, breathing deeply. It was a stone gray day, the sea a bleak slate broken up by whitecaps, the sky pleated with thick ripples of cloud. A hard wind filled the sails, carrying the little boat over the waves. 'It feels good to be this kind of cold, ' she murmured. 'This kind?' 'Wind in your hair, sea spray on your skin. The cold of the living.
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They wanted a Grisha queen. Mal wanted a commoner queen. And what did I want? Peace for Ravka. A chance to sleep easy in my bed without fear. An end to the guilt and dread that I woke to every morning. There were old wants too, to be loved for who I was, not what I could do, to lie in a meadow with a boy's arms around me and watch the wind move the clouds.
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Mal was quiet for a long moment. Then he said, 'I'm not sure who my first kill was. We were hunting the stag when we ran into a Fjerdan patrol on the northern border. I don't think the fight lasted more than a few minutes, but I killed three men. They were doing a job, same as I was, trying to get through one day to the next, then they were bleeding in the snow. No way to tell who was the first to fall, and I'm not sure it matters. You keep them at a distance. The faces start to blur.' 'Really?' 'No.
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You're very welcome, " she said, giving my hair a hard tug. "You should be used to being gawked at by now." "And yet I'm not." "Well, if it gets too bad, give me a signal, and I'll get up on the banquet table, toss my skirt over my head, and do a little dance. That way no one will be looking at you.
Remember our friend Mark?" Wylan winced. Let's say the mark is a tourist walking through the Barrel. He's heard it's a good place to get rolled, so he keeps patting his wallet, making sure it's there, congratulating himself on just how alert and cautious he;s being. No fool he. Of course every thime he pats his back pocket or the front of his coat, what is he doing? He's telliing every thief on the Stave exactly where he keeps his scrub." "Saints, " grumbled Nina. "I've probably done that." "Everyone does, " said Inej. Jesper lifted a brow. "Not everyone." "That's only because you never have anything in your wallet, " Nina shot back. "Mean." "Factual." "Facts are for the unimaginative, " Jesper said with a dismissive wave.
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That first winter, when it was time for her friends to leave, the girl ventured out into the show to say goodbye, and the stunning raven-haired Squaller handed her another gift. "A blue kefta, " said the math teacher, shaking her head. "What would she do with that?" "Maybe she knew a Grisha who died, " replied the cook, taking note of the tears that filled the girl's eyes. They did not see the note that read, You will always be one of us.
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I rolled my eyes. "For defending my honor, you dullard." He yanked me beneath a shadowed awning. I had a moment's panic when I thought he'd spotted trouble, but then his arms were around me and his lips were pressed to mine. When he finally drew back, my cheeks were warm and my legs had gone wobbly. "Just to be clear, " he said, "I'm not really interested in defending your honor." "Understood, " I managed, hoping I didn't sound too ridiculously breathless.
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My stories usually begin with the characters and some elements of how power (personal, political, magical) functions in the world. The rest develops as I write, and research helps a great deal with that. If you're going to write about an agrarian economy, research agrarian economies. If your main character is starving, then you should know what it means for a malnourished body to break down.
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