I suppose he could have changed," Neal said dryly. "I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil." The other pages snorted. Kel eyed her friend. "You do look yellow around the edges," she told him, her face quite serious. "I hadn't wanted to bring it up." "We daffodils like to have things brought up," Neal said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. "It reminds us of spring.
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Briar: "They never tell you some things. They tell you mages have wonderful power and they learn all kinds of secrets. Nobody ever mentions that some secrets you don't ever want to learn." Rosethorn: "All you can do is learn good to balance the bad. Learn and do all the good within your reach. Then, if you wake in a sweat, you have something to set against the dream.
Daja doesn't exactly need to be tested on whether she's honorable or not." "Doesn't she? Don't all of you? This is your first taste of the things which may come from your being powerful mages. People will offer you gold, status, even love. I want to know how you will react. If want to know if your teachers will release greedy, thoughtless monsters into the world.
Indeed Not. Stop kicking me, Daine. You understand, she is very important to a number of powerful nobles and mages in Tortall." Numair's voice was quiet, almost friendly; his eyes were hard. "Their majesties. Lady Alanna and her husband, the baron of Pirate's Swoop. Me. All of us would take iit amiss if we thought for a moment she was being trifled with, particularly by a young man who wasn't free to do the right thing by her." "Numair," Daine growled. "Can I speak to you privately for a moment? "No. Stepping on my foot won't work either. Do I make myself clear, Prince Kaddar?
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Pounce had it easier than any of us. No one noticed a black cat in the street. He stopped here and there to sniff aught of interest. Wherever our Rat stopped, Pounce was there, close enough to see up the Rat's nose. I was so proud. Now there was a proper god, making himself useful! Since my thought might be deemed blasphemy, I said silent prayers to the Goddess and to Mithros. I begged forgiveness and asked them not to misunderstand. Since I wasn't blasted where I stood, I guess they forgave me, or they hadn't heard my blasphemy.
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That night, the Raka conspirators had plenty of news to report, particularly Ochobu. Aly had not known that the mages of the Chain had been laboring to eliminate any mages who had worked magic on the Crown's behalf. So far they had killed seven of the most powerful. Chelaol would call this count of the dead another 'good start,' Aly thought grimly. This crude business of counting up lives taken struck her as a bad idea. It took the horror from death. When Ochobu named four mages on Lombyn who had had been killed in the streets of their towns, it had been about numbers, not lives. Maybe this is how you become a Rittevon, she thought. You get used to the dead being described as numbers, not fathers or daughters or grandparents. She turned to Dove when Ochobu finished, 'don't ever be like this,' she urged. 'don't think that it doesn't matter if you only hear of murder as a number. If you keep it at a distance.
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Don't die on me, " she whispered when the clock struck midnight and he still had not moved. "It's only a little shoulder wound. Goddess, George-don't die on me." His eyes flickered open and he smiled. "I didn't know you cared, " he whispered. "And why insult me? I won't die for a wee nick like this; I've had worse in my day." Alanna wiped her wet cheeks. "Of course I care, you unprincipled pickpocket!" she whispered. "Of course I care.
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And now you're off to Port Caynn. Watch them sailor lads. They'll have your skirts up and a babe in your belly afore you know what you're about." "Everyone keep warning me about sailors, " I complained. "Why can't someone tell the sailors to stay clear of me?" Granny snorted. "Oh, you're the fierce one now! Just take care no one else catches you unawares and knocks you on the nob!
Does your ma know you're this silly?" she demanded tartly. He nodded, comically sad. "The few gray hairs she has on her head are my doing. But" - with an exaggerated change of mood - "I send her plenty of money, so she can pay to have them dyed!" "I hope she beat you as a child, " Onua grumbled.
Mistresses, have you ever noticed that when we disagree with a male - I hesitate to say 'man' - or find ourselves in a position over males, the first comment they make is always about our reputations or our monthlies?' One of the new women snorted. Others snickered. Kel looked at the man, who was momentarily speechless. 'If I disagree with you, should I place blame on the misworkings of your manhood? Or do I refrain from so serious an insult' - she made a face - 'far more serious, of course, than your hint that I am a whore. Because my mother taught me courtesy, I only suggest that my monthlies will come long after your hair has escaped your head entirely.
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I told Ersken, "Lately it's been like living on the knife's edge, never knowing which side I'll fall off on" Ersken clapped me on the shoulder as we stepped into the street. "Cheer up, Beka. Maybe you were going to fall off that razor's edge before, but not today, " he said, as good humored as always. "Today we're doing to jump.
Once she was certain, she didn't waiver. I had to make her stop for water or a bite to eat. She obeyed, but she was restless. As clear as if she spoke to me, she was saying, "Very well, I know you want to keep my strength up, but scent fades, you know!" And I'd say, "I know, girl, buy you're what I have and I'm going to take care of you.
Curse him for being all tight muscle, with ivory skin and a mouth as soft as rose petals. Curse him for having hair as fair as the sun, and eyes as black as night. Curse him for having the grace of a cat and deft, cool hands. And now I am having the same argument on paper that I have in my own head on too many nights. I know my choice is sensible, but it isn't my common sense I think with, those times Rosto's stolen a kiss from me.
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Her free hand was clenched in a fist. I held still, waiting for her to say something, to tell me she should have never left me here, where her friends might look to me for help. Finally she looked at me. Her eyes were hard, but she'd let no tears fall. "This is where we blame those who are responsible, Cooper, she told me, her voice very soft. "The colemongers, and the bought Dogs at Tradesmen's kennel. We'll leave an offering for him with the Black God when all this is done, and we'll occupy ourselves with tearing these colemongers apart. all right? We put grief aside for now.
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Ah, " Gary said dreamily. " 'Free time.' I've heard about that. Don't fool yourself, Fire-Top. What with extra hours of lessons for punishments, and the extra work you get every day, free time is an illusion. It's what you get when you die and the gods reward you for a life spent working from dawn until midnight. We all face up to it sooner or later-the only real free time you get here is what my honored sire chooses to give you, when he thinks you have earned it." "And he doesn't give it to you at night, " Alex put in. "He gives it to you when you've been here awhile, on Market Day and sometimes a morning or afternoon all to yourself. But never at night. At night you study. During the day you study. In your sleep-
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I knew it!" he cried, jubilant. "I thought 'twas you, but there's more of you now. You should've seen the likes of her, boys, " he said, turning towards the other convicts as he pointed at Kel. "We was all outlaws, livin' on the edges, and this bunch of pages stumbled into our camp. We chased 'em back in a canyon, and her -" he jabbed his finger at Kel - "she gutted ol' Breakbone Dell, and him the meanest dog-skinner you'd ever hope to meet. Stood there afoot, her and her spear, cool as meltwater with Breakbone ridin' down on her with that neck-cutter sword of his. First time she got 'im in the leg, second in the tripes, and he was done. Her and six lads held us all back, just them. There she was, eyes like stone and that bloody spear in her hand. Lady." He bowed deep. Kel looked at him, not sure what to say. Finally she asked, "What's your name, soldier?" "Me? Gilab Lofts - Gil. Lady. It's - it's good to see you well." He bowed again and returned to his seat, whispering with the men on either side of him. Kel waited for them to quiet once again before she said ruefully, "I'm not sure that being known for gutting a man is exactly a recommendation for a commander." "It is in the north!" cried someone. Several men laughed outright; others grinned.
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All these nice clothes, all these jokes and drinks and food, what good does it do? Tomorrow, folk will be poor and starving and dying with a solder's pike in them, and these people will have another celebration, more nice clothes, more jokes, more gems. The suffering is forgotten or ignored - why sorrow? The war victims aren't our people. And then the wheel turns and suddenly they are our people.
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Sarra looked at her daughter and said reproachfully, "Speaking of war, I never raised you to be always fighting and killing. That's not woman's work." "It's needful, Ma. You taught me a woman has to know how to defend herself." "I never!" gasped Sarra, indignant. "You taught me when you were murdered in your own house, " Daine said quietly.
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Gran, for the gods' love, it's talk like yours that starts riots!" I said keeping my voice down. "Will you just put a stopper in it?" She looked at me and sighed. "Girl, do you ever take a breath and wonder if folk don't put out bait for you? To see if you'll bite? You'll never get a man if you don't relax." My dear old Gran. It's a wonder her children aren't every one of them as mad as priests, if she mangles their wits as she mangles mine. "Granny, "I told her, "this is dead serious. I can't relax, no more than any Dog. I'm not shopping for a man. That's the last thing I need.
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Yes Headwoman Azaze. But I never lie to Rosethorn. She, um, discourages it." "Evvy and I have an understanding." She grabbed the teakettle and poured hot water into the mug. "She tells me the truth, and I don't hang her in the first well we come to. It's a solution that works tolerably well for both of us.
You know something? There are sandstorms that strip man and horse and bury them - I've seen them. I saw bones piled higher than my head for the folly of a bad king and those who wanted his throne. I lived through a blizzard that froze every other living creature solid. Against those things, you're only a man. I can deal with you.