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message 2: by AttWaq, Head Mod (last edited Jun 19, 2019 01:37AM) (new)
*Need to find some good new releases for this month and the next.
*I need to finish Black Beauty before this year ends, despite the fact that it is simply boring!
message 3: by AttWaq, Head Mod (last edited Jan 11, 2019 12:02AM) (new)
Lets turn pages
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Gone was the witch who had slept and wished for death. Gone was the witch who had raged at the truth that had torn her to shreds.
And in her place, fighting as if she were the very wind, unfaltering against the Matrons, stood someone Dorian had not yet met.
Stood a queen of two peoples.
Aelin’s hand drifted to her heart and rested there.
It is the strength of this that matters, her mother had said, long ago. Wherever you go, Aelin, no matter how far, this will lead you home.
Chaol drew in a deep breath, willing his heart to calm. He hadn’t the faintest idea where Dorian might be, if he’d gone with Aelin to Terrasen. The soldiers
Nesryn and Sartaq had interrogated had not known. What would his friend have chosen? He could almost hear Dorian yelling at him for even hesitating, hear him ordering Chaol
to stop wondering where he’d gone and hurry to Anielle.
She snorted, but made no move to pull away. Neither did he.(hide spoiler)]
So brow to brow and soul to soul, they stood there amid the bitter wind and lashing waves, and waited to see what the ruks might discover.The hammer glinted in the firelight as it rose over her knee, Cairn’s breath sucking in, anticipation and delight mingling on his face.
Fenrys blinked, over and over and over. I am here, I am with you. It didn’t stop the hammer from falling.
Or the scream that shattered from her throat.He hated the trembling that began to coil around her bones as strolling footsteps scuffed beyond the square room and the iron door into it.
The only way in. No windows. The stone hall she sometimes glimpsed beyond was equally sealed. Only the sound of water entered this place.“I don’t want the Bane spread too thin,” said Aedion, studying the fire. So different, this flame—so different from Aelin’s fire. As if the one before him
were a ghost compared to the living thing that was his queen’s magic.Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom …“I don’t care about that.” He didn’t. He’d never spoken truer words. “I only wish to make things right.”
Her lip curled. “I would be inclined to believe that if I hadn’t seen you crawling after Maeve on the beach.”
Lorcan blinked at the words, the hatred in them, stunned enough that he let her walk past this time. Elide didn’t so much as look back.
Not until Lorcan said, “I didn’t crawl after Maeve.”
She halted, hair swaying. Slowly, she glanced over her shoulder. Imperious and cold as the stars overhead.
“I crawled …” His throat bobbed. “I crawled after Aelin.”A booted foot nudged Aelin’s spine, a subtle jab forward. Harder into the glass.
No amount of breathing could draw her far enough away to rein in the muffled whimper.
She hated it—hated that sound, as much as she hated the queen before her and the sadist at her back. But it still made its way out, barely audible over the thundering falls.
Fenrys’s dark eyes shot toward her. He blinked four times.
She could not bring herself to blink back. Her fingers curled and uncurled in her lap.“You know how quickly this can end, Aelin,” Maeve said. Aelin kept her eyes shut. “Tell me where you hid the Wyrdkeys, swear the blood oath … The order doesn’t matter, I suppose.”
Aelin opened her eyes. Lifted her bound hands before her.
And gave Maeve an obscene gesture, as filthy and foul as she’d ever made.
Maeve’s smile tightened—just barely. “Cairn.”
Before Aelin could inhale a bracing breath, hands slammed onto her shoulders. Pushed down.
She couldn’t stop her scream then.
Not as he shoved her into a burning pit of agony that raced up her legs, her spine.
Oh gods—oh gods—So close—only twenty or so miles to the mountain house he’d built. He’d planned to take Aelin there one day, though it was nothing but long-vanished ashes.
Just to show her where the house had been, where he’d buried Lyria. She was still up here, his mate-who-had-never-been.
And his true mate … She strode unwavering through the trees. No more than a wraith.Then she asked softly, “How long?”
It took the entirety of his three centuries of training to keep the devastation, the agony for her, from his face. “Two months, three days, and seven hours.”“They healed me after each … session. So that I stopped knowing what had been done and what was in my mind and where the truth lay. But the healers couldn’t remember how long
my hair was, or Maeve wanted to confuse me further, so they grew it out.”The sob that came out of Aelin at the hawk’s bellow of fury cracked Lorcan’s chest.
But she kept running for the trees, for their cover. Lorcan and Gavriel fell into step beside her, and when she again stumbled, those too-thin legs giving out, Lorcan gripped her under the arm and hauled her along.
Fast as a shooting star, Rowan dove for them. He reached them as they passed the first of the trees, shifting as he landed. They threw themselves into a halt, Aelin sprawling onto the pine-covered ground.
Rowan was instantly before her, hands going to the mask on her face, the chains, the blood coating her arms, her torn bodyThe rage in Rowan’s eyes could devour the world. And that rage was about to extract the sort of vengeance only a mated male could command. With a final look toward Aelin, his frozen rage a brewing storm on the wind,
the prince and the Lion were gone, charging back toward the chaotic, bloody camp.“I have seen witch and human and Fae dwell together in peace. And it is not a weakness to do so, but a strength. I have met kings and queens whose love for their kingdoms, their peoples, is so great that the self is secondary.
Whose love for their people is so strong that even in the face of unthinkable odds, they do the impossible.”Then a call went across the breaking lines.
The fleeing men began to pause. To turn toward the direction of the news.
Aedion skewered a Morath soldier on his sword before he fully understood the words.
The queen has come. The queen is at the front line.
For a foolish heartbeat, he scanned the sky for a blast of flame.
Dread settled into his heart, fear deeper than any he’d known.
The queen is at the front line—at the right flank.
Lysandra had taken on Aelin’s skin.
He whirled toward the nonexistent right flank.
Just as the golden-haired queen in borrowed armor faced two ilken, a sword and shield in her hands.
The word was a punch through his body, greater than any blow he’d felt.No.
He pushed men out of the way, the snow and mud hindering each step as the two ilken pressed closer to the shifter-queen.
Savoring the kill.
But the soldiers slowed their fleeing. Some even re-formed the lines when the call went out again. The queen is here. The queen fights at the front line...He took it back; he hadn’t meant a word of it, not really. Lysandra tried to rise on her injured leg. The ilken laughed.
“Please,” Aedion bellowed. The word was devoured by the screams of the dying. “Please!”
He’d make any bargain, he’d sell his soul to the dark god, if they spared her.
He hadn’t meant it. He took it back, all those words.
Useless. He’d called her useless. Had thrown her into the snow naked.
He took it back.
Aedion sobbed, flinging himself toward her as Lysandra tried again to rise, using her shield to balance her weight.Chaol was glad he was sitting down.
Nesryn breathed, “Holy gods.”
Chaol was inclined to agree as Aelin Galathynius, Rowan Whitethorn, and several others entered the tent.
They were mud-splattered, the Queen of Terrasen’s braided hair far longer than Chaol had last seen. And her eyes … Not the soft, yet fiery gaze. But something older. Wearier.
Chaol shot to his feet. “I thought you were in Terrasen,” he blurted. All the reports had confirmed it. Yet here she stood, no army in sight.
Three Fae males—towering warriors as broad and muscled as Rowan—had entered, along with a delicate, dark-haired human woman.
But Aelin was only staring at him. Staring and staring at him.
No one spoke as tears began sliding down her face.
Not at his being here, Chaol realized as he took up his cane and limped toward Aelin.
But at him. Standing. Walking.
The young queen let out a broken laugh of joy and flung her arms around his neck. Pain lanced down his spine at the impact, but Chaol held her right back, every question fading from his tongue.
Aelin was shaking as she pulled away. “I knew you would,” she breathed, gazing down his body, to his feet, then up again. “I knew you’d do it.”“Yrene Towers,” the queen breathed as his wife stepped to his side.
The two women stared at each other.
Yrene’s mouth quivered as she opened the silver locket and pulled out a piece of paper. Hands trembling, she extended it to the queen.
Aelin’s own hands shook as she accepted the scrap.
“Thank you,” Yrene whispered.
Chaol supposed it was all that really needed to be said.
Aelin unfolded the paper, reading the note she’d written, seeing the lines from the hundreds of foldings and rereadings these past few years.
“I went to the Torre,” Yrene said, her voice cracking. “I took the money you gave me, and went to the Torre. And I became the heir apparent to the Healer on High. And now I have come back, to do what I can. I taught every healer
I could the lessons you showed me that night, about self-defense. I didn’t waste it—not a coin you gave me, or a moment of the time, the life you bought me.” Tears were rolling and rolling down Yrene’s face.
“I didn’t waste any of it.”Chaol’s father said simply, “Last I looked you were not Queen of Adarlan.”
“No, but your son is Hand to the King, which means he outranks you.” Aelin smiled with horrific sweetness at Chaol. “Haven’t you told him that?”Prince Rowan, however, said to the man, “You’ve defended and prepared your people admirably. We have no plans to take that from you.”
“I don’t need the approval of Fae brutes,” the lord sneered.
Aelin clapped Rowan on the shoulder. “Brute. I like that. Better than ‘buzzard,’ right?”
Yrene had no idea what the queen was talking about, but she held in her laugh anyway.
Aelin sketched a mocking bow to the Lord of Anielle. “On that lovely parting note, we’re going to finish up our dinners. Enjoy your evening, we’ll see you on the battlements tomorrow, and please do rot in hell.Yrene smiled all the same as she bowed her head—just before Aelin slammed the door in the Lord of Anielle’s face.
Chaol turned to his father, any hint of amusement expertly hidden. “Well, you saw her.”
Chaol’s father shook with what Yrene supposed was a combination of rage and humiliation, and stalked away. It was one of the finest sights Yrene had ever seen.
From Chaol’s smile, she knew her husband felt the same.
message 23: by AttWaq, Head Mod (new)
She would pay what the gods demanded. What she owed Terrasen, the world.
Yet if Dorian chose to end it himself, to forge the Lock … her stomach churned. He had the power. As much as she did, if not more so.
It was meant to be her sacrifice. Her blood shed to save them all. To let him claim it … she could let Dorian do this. She trusted him.
Even if she might never forgive herself for it.
Her debt, it was supposed to have been her debt to pay. Perhaps the punishment for failing to do so would be having to live with herself. Having to live with all that had been done to her these months, too.
She had seen Rowan’s face when she spoke of what his deception with the collar had prompted her to do. Had noted the way her companions looked at her, pity and fear in their eyes. At what had been done to her, what
For the companions around her, to lift their despair, their fear, she wouldn’t yield.
She’d fight for it, claw her way back to it, who she’d been before. Remember to swagger and grin and wink. She’d fight against that lingering stain on her soul, fight to ignore it. Would use this journey into
the dark to piece herself back together—just enough to make it convincing.
Lorcan sent a flicker of his power to wrap around her ankle. The limp vanished.
A hand on the knob, she gave him a small, grateful nod. “I missed that.”
He heard the unspoken words as she disappeared into the busy hall.
I missed you.
Lorcan allowed himself a rare smile.
Her mate went still. “With what goal in mind?”
Aelin sat up, and picked at her nails. “Convincing them to disband her army. Start a revolt in Doranelle. Kick Maeve off the throne. You know, small things.”
Rowan just looked at her. Then scrubbed at his face. “You think a letter could do that?”
“It was strongly worded.”
He gaped a bit. “What sort of nefarious plans did you mention?”
“Desire to conquer the world, her complete lack of interest in sparing Fae lives in a war, her interest in Valg things.” She swallowed. “I might have mentioned that she’s possibly Valg.”
Rowan was still smirking when Aelin emerged from the communal ladies’ bathing room.
“See?” She fell into step beside him as they aimed not for their room and ravishment, but for the hallway where food had been laid out. “You’re starting to like the notoriety.”
Rowan arched a brow. “You think that everywhere I’ve gone for the past three hundred years, whispers haven’t followed me?” She rolled her eyes, but he chuckled. “This is far better than Cold-hearted bastard or I heard he killed
someone with a table leg.”
“You did kill someone with a table leg.”
Rowan’s smirk grew.
“And you are a cold-hearted bastard,”/ she threw in.
Rowan snorted. “I never said those whispers were lies.”
Aelin looped her arm through his. “I’m going to start a rumor about you, then. Something truly grotesque.”/
He groaned.“I dread the thought of what you might come up with.”
She adopted a harsh whisper as they passed a group of human soldiers. “You flew back onto the battlefield to peck out the eyes of our enemies?” Her gasp echoed off the rock. “And ate those eyes?”
One of the soldiers tripped, the others whipping their heads to them.
Rowan pinched her shoulder. “Thank you for that.”
She inclined her head. “You’re very welcome.”
But Aedion kept his attention fixed on Lysandra. “Please. I am begging you. I am begging you, Lysandra, to go.”
Her chin lifted. “You are not asking our other allies to run.”
“Because I am not in love with our other allies.”
For a heartbeat, she blinked at him.
Then her face crumpled, and Aedion only stared at her, unafraid of the words he’d spoken.
Rare, Evangeline had learned, for either the Ironteeth or the Crochans to report anything to the humans. That the Crochan soldier had found her,
had known who she was … It was pride, more than fear, that had Evangeline running up the stairs, then across the battlements to Lord Darrow.
The idea of it still made Dorian queasy. And the memory of Aelin choosing to throw him out of that non-place still made him grind his teeth. Not at her choice, but that his father—
He’d think about his father later. Never.
His nameless father, who had come for him in the end.
The queen atop the white stag did not balk with each gained foot toward the awaiting legions. She only flipped her sword in her hand—once, twice, shield arm tucking in tight.
The immortal warriors at her side did not hesitate, either, their eyes fixed upon the enemy ahead.
“You look how I feel,” Chaol managed to say.
Dorian slid sapphire eyes toward him, a spark of humor lighting the haunted depths. “I know a king shouldn’t slouch,” he said, rubbing at his blood-and-dirt-splattered face. “But I
can’t bring myself to care.”
And there she was.
In the deepening blues of descending night, amid the snow beginning to fall, Aelin Galathynius had appeared before the sealed southern gate.
Had appeared before Erawan and Maeve.
Her unbound hair billowed in the wind like a golden banner, a last ray of light with the dying of the day.
“She has nothing left.”
Still Aelin lifted her sword.
Flames ran down the blade.
One flame against the darkness gathered.
One flame to light the night.
The queen had come home at last.
The queen had come to hold the gate.
Her name was Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius.
And she would not be afraid.
“Go save the world, Yrene,” he whispered, and kissed her brow.
Her hands curled into fists. Iron groaned.
Spirit that could not be broken.
You do not yield.
She would endure it again, if asked. She would do it. Every brutal hour and bit of agony.
And it would hurt, and she would scream, but she’d face it. Survive against it.
Hers was not a story of darkness.
This would not be the story. She would fold it into herself, this place, this fear, but it would not be the whole story. It would not be her story.
“How,” Maeve asked again. “How did you not break?”
“Because I am not afraid,” Aelin said. “Your fear of Erawan and his brothers drove you, destroyed you. If there was ever anything worthwhile to destroy.”
But Dorian said, “My father’s name.” His voice did not waver. “You took it.”
He hadn’t realized that he wanted it. Needed it, so badly.
A pathetic, spineless man, Erawan seethed. As you are—
“Tell me his name. Give it back.”
Erawan laughed through his screaming. No.
“Give it back.”
Rowan’s clear, deep voice filling the room, Aelin looped her arm through Aedion’s, and let him lean on her as they walked back to the Great Hall. “Darrow called me ‘Your Majesty,’ ” she said after a minute.
Aedion slid his red-rimmed eyes to her. But a spark lit them—just a bit. “Should we be worried?”
Aelin’s mouth curved. “I thought the same damn thing.”
Elide began crying, even as she laughed. “Will you marry me, Lorcan Salvaterre?”
He swept her up into his arms, raining kisses over her face. As if some final, chained part of him had been freed. “I’ll think about it.”
Elide laughed, smacking his shoulder. And then laughed again, louder.
Lorcan set her down. “What?”
Elide’s mouth bobbed as she tried to stop her laughing. “It’s just … I’m Lady of Perranth. If you marry me, you will take my family name.”
Elide laughed again. “Lord Lorcan Lochan?”
It sounded just as ridiculous coming out.
Lorcan blinked at her, then howled.
She’d never heard such a joyous sound.
It didn’t stop Aelin from catching Lorcan’s stare. And giving him a warning look that conveyed everything she didn’t bother to say: if he broke the Lady of Perranth’s heart, she’d flambé him. And would invite Manon Blackbeak to roast some dinner over his burning corpse.
Lorcan rolled his eyes, and Aelin deemed that acceptance enough as she asked them all, “Did anyone bother to sleep?”
Right in the path of that wave.
“Oh gods,” Fenrys breathed, seeing her, too.
They all saw her.
The queen on the plain.
The endless wall of water surging for her.
The keep stones began shuddering. Rowan threw out a hand to brace himself, fear like nothing he had known ripping through him as Aelin lifted her arms above her head.
A pillar of fire shot up around her, lifting her hair with it.
The wave roared and roared for her, for the army behind her.
This defeat, these deaths, rested upon his shoulders alone.
Down the line, motion caught his eye—just as a fuzzy, massive head poked between Prince Galan and one of his remaining soldiers. A ghost leopard.
Green eyes slid toward him, drained and bleak.
Aedion looked away first. This would be bad enough without knowing she was here. That Lysandra would undoubtedly stay until she, too, fell.
He prayed he went first. So he wouldn’t witness it.
She let the flame encompass her, a golden glow that she knew could be spied even from the farthest lines of the army, from the city and keep they left behind.
A beacon glowing bright in the shadows of the mountains, in the shadows of the forces that awaited them, Aelin lit the way north.
Manon turned to Asterin and said quietly, “I need another wyvern.”(hide spoiler)]
Her Second only stared at her.
Manon repeated, “I need another wyvern.”
But they all looked at one another. Like they’d had some unspoken conversation and agreement.
The Thirteen stalked toward their own mounts. Sorrel clasped Manon’s shoulder as she passed, then climbed onto her wyvern’s back. Leaving Asterin before Manon.
Her Second, her cousin, her friend, smiled, eyes bright as stars. “Live, Manon.”
Asterin smiled wider, kissed Manon’s brow, and whispered again, “Live.”
Manon didn’t see the blow coming.
The punch to her gut, so hard and precise that it knocked the wind from her. Sent her to her knees.
She was struggling to get a breath down, to get up, when Asterin reached Narene and mounted the blue mare, gathering the reins. “Bring our people home, Manon.”
Manon knew then. What they were going to do.
Her legs failed her, her body failed her, as she tried to get to her feet. As she rasped, “No.”
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