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The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
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Megan Whalen Turner
“Are you badly hurt?"
"Hideously," said the king, without sounding injured at all. "I am disemboweled. My insides may in an instant become my outsides as I stand here before you.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Relius looked away. "He said that you...cried," he said softly.
"But not that he cried as well," said the queen, amused at the memory. "We were very lachrymose... would you like to hear more romance of the evening? He told me the Guard should be reduced by half, and I threw an ink jar at his head."
"Is that when he cried?"
"He ducked," said Attolia dryly.
"I had not pictured you for a fishwife."
"Lo, the transforming power of love.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I knew I would be in the story somewhere," Eugenides interjected.
"Oh no," said Phresine, "This was a humble servant."
"Ouch."
"Though very courageous."
"Not me," whispered Eugenides to his pillow.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“That is ridiculous," she said.
The king agreed. "Like falling in love with a landslide. Only you could fail to notice.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I am not sure I trust you."
"You can trust me with your life, My King."
"But not with my wine, obviously. Give it back.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead in the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Will there be poppy juice in it?"
Phresine shook her head.
"Good. My wife and I agreed that only my wine was to be poisoned.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“You're awake," he said.
"Phresine is not," pointed out the queen.
"Oh?"
"You gave her lethium."
"She gave it to me first.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I was listening," the king said, aggrieved. "I closed my eyes to listen better."
"What did you hear?"
"I'm not sure," he said." That's why I was listening so closely. I may have to ask the baron to repeat some parts of his report on his grain tax."
"I am sure you can arrange an appointment."
"I am sure I can too.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Sometimes, if you want to change a man's mind, you have to change the mind of the man next to him first.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“It isn't deep," the Eddisian Ambassador said from the other side of the bed. He was leaning over the wound, looking critical and mildly disappointed. Eugenides didn't miss a beat.
"It is...too...deep!" he insisted, outraged.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“...her queen danced like a flame in the wind, and the mercurial king like the weight at the center of the earth...”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Then come out," said the king, helping him, "knowing you'll never die of a fall unless the god himself drops you.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“One of us might be assassinated and then my heir will be king. Don't give up hope just because chances are slim."
"For the assassination or the heir, your majesty?”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“My beautiful queen. Your entire court is staring at you, and I can't blame them."
They were, too. The queen turned to look. Her glance swept through the crowd like a reaping sickle through grain. Mouths slammed shut on every side. There was a scuffling sound as the people in the back shifted, trying to screen themselves from view. The queen looked back at the king, who was broadly smiling.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Safety is an illusion, Costis. A Thief might fall at any time, and eventually the day must come when the god will let him. Whether I am on a rafter three stories up or on a staircase three steps up, I am in my god's hands. He will keep me safe, or he will not, here or on the stairs.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“How do you know that, Philo, dear?"
But Philologos had had enough of being condescended to. "Because, Lamion, I am not as dumb as you think I am, even if you are."
By the time Lamion had parsed this to make sure that there was in fact an insult at the end of it, Hilarion had laid a restraining hand on his arm.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I have a whole guard room full of brawny veterans who'd enjoy a chance to drag two Eddisians out of here, particularly if you kicked a lot and they could kick you back.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“If you are feeling more yourself, there is a problem best addressed immediately," said the queen.
"In my nightshirt?" The king wriggled, as ever, out of straightforward obedience.
"Your attendants. I have spoken to them. You will speak to them as well."
"Ah. They have seen me in my nightshirt." He looked down at his sleeve, embroidered with white flowers. "Not in your nightshirt, though.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Tell me a story then...keep me occupied."
"A story?...What makes you think I can tell a story?"
"Insight," said the king, "Go on.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Ornon said, "I have seen him jump across atriums four stories above the ground, a distance that would make your blood freeze, and I heard him once confess that he sometimes thinks the distance is beyond him. He always jumps, Your Majesty. The Thieves are not trained in self-preservation. I beg you would take my advice.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Your Majesty, you just-" Costis stopped.
"Just what?" the king prompted wickedly.
Nothing would induce Costis to say out loud that the king had almost fallen from the palace wall and that Costis had seen him manifestly saved by the God of Thieves.
The king smiled. "Cat got your tongue?"
"Your Majesty, you are drunk," Costis pleaded.
"I am. What's your excuse?”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Would you like to hear more romance of the evening? He told me that the Guard should be reduced by half, and I threw an ink jar at his head."
"Is that when he cried?"
"He ducked," Attolia said dryly.
Grown more confident of the queen's humor, Relius said, "I had not pictured you for a fishwife."
"Lo, the transforming power of love.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“He waved at his attendants. "I dragged them like a ball and chain all the way across the palace and back."
"If sterner measures are called for, we can find a larger ball and chain." The queen turned and disappeared into the partment.
"Oh, dear," Eugenides muttered as he followed...The queen's sterner measures, dispensed by the Eddisian Ambassador, arrived before dawn.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Because not wanting the prize the gods have arranged for you - that just might offend the hell right out of them.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“You didn't know I could do that, did you?" he asked, conversationally.
"I did not, Your Majesty," Teleus gasped.
"My grandfather killed a man that way once, using the edge of the wooden sword."
"I hadn't realized the Thieves of Eddis were so warlike."
"They aren't, mostly. But like all men, Teleus, I have two grandfathers." Teleus rolled his eyes to look up at him, and the king said, "One of mine was Eddis."
"Ah," said Teleus.
"Ah, indeed," said the king.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“The prison keeper choose an inopportune time to look around the doorway into the cell. He and the king locked gazes, and the king's eyes narrowed while the prison keeper's widened.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“If we truly trust no one, we cannot survive.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“These people make my family look easy to get along with.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“The window opened in the same direction as the king's, and there, summer-bright and framed by the darkness of the stairwell, was the same view. Costis passed it, and then went back up the stairs to look again. There were only the roofs of the lower part of the palace and the town and the city walls. Beyond those were the hills on the far side of the Tustis Valley and the faded blue sky above them. It wasn't what the king saw that was important, it was what he couldn't see when he sat at the window with his face turned toward Eddis.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“The queen was settling on the edge of the bed, ungainly with hesitation and at the same time exquisite in her grace, like a heron landing in a treetop.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“Your Majesty, please get down. My friend Aris is really a very good man, and if you fall off that wall he's going to hang for it, and so will his squad, most of whom are also nice men, and though I can't say I really care if your attendants hang, there are probably many people that do care, and would you please, please get down?"

The king looked at him, eyes narrowed. "I don't think I've ever heard you say that many words in a row. You sounded almost articulate.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I CAN DO ANYTHING I WANT!”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“I'm sorry, Dite."
Dite shrugged away the apology. "You have spared my brother when you could have killed him and you have offered me escape from the cesspit of my family and this court. You know what it means to me, to make music in the court of Ferria. You've put a purse and an impossible dream in my hand. I don't know why you should apologize."
"Because I am exiling you, Dite. I intend to raze your patrimony and salt its earth. You emphatically do not need to thank me.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“It isn't an easy thing to give your loyalty to someone you don't know, especially when that person chooses to reveal nothing of himself.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“She met the magus's stunned look with a smile. "The Thieves of Eddis have always been uncomfortable allies to the throne, Magus. There is the niggling fear that if you fall out with a Thief, he might see it as his right and responsibility to remove you. There are some checks, of course. There is only ever one Thief. They are prohibited from owning any property. Their training inevitably generates the isolation that makes them independent, but also keeps them from forming alliances that might become threats to the throne. It is not the folly you might think.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia

Megan Whalen Turner
“He limped slowly over to his own wooden sword and stooped awkwardly to pick it up. Trailing it on the ground behind him, he limped toward the queen, and the courtyard quieted as he approached and was silent again as he dropped to his knees before her and laid the sword across her lap.
“My Queen,” he said.
“My King,” she said back.
Only those closest saw him nod his rueful acceptance. He lifted his hand to brush her cheek softly. As the entire court listened breathlessly, he said, “I want my breakfast.”
The queen’s lips thinned, and she shook her head as she said, “You are incorrigible.”
Megan Whalen Turner, The King of Attolia


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