Updated: Mar 7, 2021
A Court of Silver Flames
by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book #4 in the Court of Thorns & Roses Series
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive.
And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Very Steamy New Adult Thrilling
Violence High-Fantasy Emotional
*TRIGGER WARNING* - Mental Illness, descriptions of sexual assault, and abuse
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas is her fourth full length novel in her Court of Thorns and Roses series, and switches focus to the prickly, and most controversial character in the series, Nesta Archeron, Feyre's oldest sister, and Cassian, general in the night court, and one of Rhysand's and Feyre's closest friends. The war with Hybern is over, but the scars inflicted are still painful. Nesta, forced into a world she didn't want to inhabit, struggles with her haunting memories, driving her to self-destruction. In an effort to help her, her family gives her an ultimatum: go into seclusion in the House of Wind, cut off from all her vices, training with Cassian, and working in the library with the priestesses, or live in the human lands. Knowing she will not be welcomed among humans, she is forced to face her demons, along with the one person who infuriates her more than anyone: Cassian. Of course, he is also the person who makes her feel things she never thought possible. While training her body, and trying to heal her mind, she starts to open up, and let people in. But the world is once again on the edge of a knife. The human queens have set their sights on war, and have a dangerous new ally. And the only person who might be able to do anything to stop it is Nesta.
Did everyone get their books? I know there were a lot of shipping delays, and a lot of upset Maas fans out there. I preordered a special edition from Indigo months ago, that hasn't arrived yet, but thankfully, my trusty Kindle came to the rescue. I waited too long for this book, and I refused to wait a day more. And I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO glad I didn't.
I have seen quite a few people say they were not going to read this book because it centers around Nesta. I need to say this. You are wrong to not read this. Wrong. I love this series. Like most fans, when asked which book is the best in the series, I would say A Court of Mist and Fury. Well, I would have. Until this one. Is Nesta a difficult character? Yes. No one can say she is perfect. No one can say she isn't a total bitch. She is. Sarah does a masterful job writing a heavily character driven novel, centering around a journey not excusing Nesta's behavior, but accepting the consequences of it. It centers on healing. On familial bonds, chosen and blood. In a high-fantasy, it's incredibly real, with its depictions of mental illness, and the true struggle of, if not fully overcoming it, at least trying to. It is wonderfully original, it's plot and characters are rich with depth, and it still maintains the same feel as the past books. I'm just ... wow. I loved it. I loved it.
I was always intrigued by Nesta. I didn't really like her because of the things she says and does. But once I read A Court of Wings and Ruin, I just knew - her story was going to be good. I wanted to know what happened between the Nesta who stepped up in Wings and Ruin, and the Nesta we get in the novella, Frost and Starlight. And we do. Again, I need to say, Sarah J Maas does a fucking amazing job not excusing Nesta's behavior. She doesn't shove it aside. Everything Nesta has said, and done (and hasn't done) is brought up. Her journey in healing throughout this book is absolutely breathtaking, and brutal. And let's not forget about Cassian. I've loved him since we met him in Mist and Fury. His character usually makes me laugh, and his sense of humor is needed as a balance in a story such as this. But we see a different side to Cassian, and I am so for it. Cassian, for all his sarcasm and strength, is also wise. Some of the best lines in this book come from Cassian's talks with Nesta, about healing from the past, and many of them, applicable in real life. Let's just say that I loved him so much in this book, that he has beat out Rhys in this world for book boyfriends.
Before I continue, I NEED TO BRING UP THE SEX. Yes, it happens. We KNEW there was going to be sex. Sarah said in one of her insta-live's that it was the sexiest to date.
If you have been on this site before - you KNOW I read A LOT of romance. I'm no stranger to smut.
But holy fucking shit.
I had no idea you had it in you! Even I was blushing at some parts!
AND I FUCKING LOVED IT!
And, in case you were wondering - the threesome scene she was told to cut out - it's obvious who it was with - and I stan. (I can't actually believe I said stan.)
I'm rambling, I know. It's what I do.
Before I end off, I am going to post my thoughts on some things, but it will be hidden due to it's spoilery content. If you have read the book, highlight to check out my thoughts. If not ... don't do it. Spoilers are no fun.
Nesta and Cassian -----------------> I fucking knew it! I called it! I knew they were mates, and I LOVE IT! Cassian's character needs a partner that is just as strong as him, and Nesta needs someone who won't put up with their bull. And can I just mention the sex again? Because WOW! <---------------
Nesta and her family ------------> One of the things I love about this series, is that it really hits home that family is what you make it. Nesta had blood family, and by the end of the book, she knows she loves them. But one of the best things, is her chosen family. Just like Feyre loves her blood sisters, she acknowledges she is closer with her chosen family - the night court. Nesta's bond with Gwyn and Emerie is phenomenal, and I love her friendship with Azriel. It's quiet, and calm, but they understand each other, in a way. <-------------
Nesta's purpose ----------> Who else is obsessed with the Valkyrie. I am OBSESSED with it. We see it in Wings and Ruin - her want to fight for what is right. I love that when she finds out about the Valkyrie, as she trains, it eventually turns into a desire to reform the Valkyrie (which was a band of strong and brave female warriors, who died out a long time ago). It's just ... perfect for her. And her encouraging other women who have been traumatized, not to train to fight and become Valkyrie, but to just exercise the body, and learn to defend themselves? Ugh. Love it. <-------------------
Feyre and Rhysand ------------> I was VERY surprised that Feyre ended up getting pregnant so quickly. Was also surprised by the complications of the pregnancy, and it wasn't something that I, as a reader, truly thought about. Thanks to Nesta, it turns out good. But I wonder ... Nesta said the Mother changed Feyre's anatomy to be able to birth future children with wings, and even mentions herself, for when Cassian and her eventually decide to have children. But she doesn't mention Elaine. This is either because we need to assume that it happens to Elaine as well, or, she doesn't bother, because Elaine is mated to Lucien - who doesn't have wings. The problem with this, is that if Az and Elaine do end up together, will they be able to have children? Or is this foreshadowing that Elaine actually gives her mate a chance? hmmm. ASIDE FROM THAT ... how freaking adorable does that baby Nyx sound? <---------------
THE SOLSTICE GIFT -----------> I shit you not, I was not expecting that, and I don't think I saw anyone else guess it either. But what a thoughtful gift. I'm partial to a man who gifts a woman a book. <-----------
Those special edition scenes -------------> I did a bad thing. I looked up pictures on the internet of the special edition stories. My copy, that has yet to arrive, has the Rhys and Feyre story, but to be honest, I just didn't want to wait. The Rhys and Feyre one is okay. It's right after they tell Nesta, Cass and Az about the pregnancy. It's a nice moment between the couple, happy about their son, and still blissfully in love. The one I was interested in, was the Azriel one. It. Was. Good. It confirmed my suspicions that he was falling for Elaine. That gift he gave her was wonderful, and I love that her gifts to him have been so wonderfully odd and thoughtful. And while I understand why Rhys, when catching them about to kiss, is angry, and concerned about the political problems, I hated how he treated Az here. Just ... ugh. I want to hug him. That being said ... I think that Azriel and Elaine are NOT end game. I'm throwing my chips in with Azriel and Gwen. There is just something there ... <-------------
Crossover? --------------> If you've read Sarah Maas's Throne of Glass series, you know there there has already been a bit of a crossover. When Aelin was falling through multiple worlds, she see's a couple, a winged male, and a pregnant female, on top of a mountain (Rhysand and Feyre). Rhysand uses his power to slow Aelin down. She travels through another world, and see's Crescent City, Sarah Maas's other book series. The possibility of different realms was mentioned a lot in this book. Sarah could do a lot with this. A big crossover, where character's actually meet? Just teases of her other series'? But I always wondered, how did Rhysand know to slow Aelin down? Is it possible that Merrill's research opens up all these worlds? <---------------
Okay. Judging by the word count here, it's obvious I loved this book. Don't wait. Read it ASAP! Let me know if you loved it as much as me.
Nesta, Cassian, and Azriel having dinner together, with Nesta and Cass trading barbs at one another
Nesta helping Gwyn out with the book
"The book is about ... a book."
Cassian and Nesta's fight turning into a hot make out in the hallway
The Night Court's reaction to Feyre and Rhysand's news
Cassian coming to Nesta's bedroom to owe a debt
Nesta's threesome daydream. HOT!
Nesta trying to get the priestesses in the library to train with her
Nesta standing up to Bellius for Emerie
Azriel purposely interrupting Nesta and Cassian in the dining room
Rhys using his power to help Nesta through a nightmare where her power was taking over
Nesta telling Cassian when he was healed up and looking pretty again, she would let him fuck her anywhere in the House
Cassian looking into Nesta's eyes when her power overtook her, and bringing her back to herself
Nesta coming out of the swamp with the mask on
Their first time
Nesta pointing her finger at Tamlin
Cassian comforting Nesta by the lake, and Nesta deciding to try
Lanthys confirming what we always assumed
Gwyn recording in the book of the Valkyrie their names
Cassian and Nesta dancing
Finally finding out what that solstice gift was ... and holy god was it thoughtful.
Nesta and Cassian's fight, that leads to them deciding to be together, them making love, and staying the night for the first time.
The house granting all the girls requests, and the sleepover
Gwyn being the first to cut the ribbon
Emerie, Gwyn and Nesta finding each other in the Blood Rite, and telling each other their stories and still accepting and loving one another.
Learning what the name of her magic sword was - Inner Peace.
LOVED Nesta finally saying the word mate when she was kicking Bellius's ass
Nesta using her power to kill the queen
Nesta giving up the power she stole from the cauldron to save Feyre, Rhys, and their baby
Cassian: "I'll be back in an hour to see how things are proceeding."
Nesta: "Don't bother. I'll be there on time."
Cassian: "That's not what I was asked to do, I'm to see you from door to door."
Nesta: "Go perch on a chimney."
Nesta: "I suppose this was your idea."
Cassian: "It was. We're going to have a wonderful time together."
They'd likely kill each other.
Cassian: "You'll be staying in your old room. My room's a level above that."
Nesta: "Why would I need to know that?"
Cassian: "In case you have a bad dream and need someone to read you a story. Maybe one of those smutty books you like so much."
Cassian: "Glad to see you woke up ready to play, Nesta."
Nesta: "If you think this training nonsense is going to result in you climbing into my bed, you're delusional. I'd sooner let in a mangy street dog."
Cassian: "Oh, it's not going to result in me climbing into your bed."
Nesta snickered, victory achieved, and had reached the stairs when he crooned,
Cassian: "You'll climb into mine."
Amren: "Let her dig her own grave, boy. Then offer her a hand."
Cassian: "I thought that's what this past year has been."
Amren: "Keep reaching out your hand."
Azriel: "I hope you're not giving my brother a hard time."
Nesta: "Is that a threat, Shadowsinger?"
Cassian took a long drink from his own tea. Drained it to the dregs.
Azriel: "I don't need to resort to threats."
The shadows coiled around him, snakes ready to strike.
Nesta gave him a smile, holding his stare.
Nesta: "Neither do I."
She leaned back in her chair and said to Cassian, who was frowning at both of them
Nesta: "I want to train with him instead."
She could have sworn Cassian went still. Interesting.
Azriel coughed into his tea.
Cassian: "I think you'll find that Az is even less forgiving than I am."
Nesta: "With that pretty face? I have a hard time believing that."
Cassian: "Doesn't count when you use your hands to do most of the work."
Nesta: "I bet that isn't what you've been telling yourself at night."
Azriel's shoulder's shook with silent laughter as Cassian sat down his fork, his eyes gleaming with challenge.
Cassian: "Is that what those smutty books teach you? That it's only at night?"
It took a heartbeat for the words to settle. And she couldn't stop it, the heat that sprang to her face, her glance at his powerful hands. Even with Azriel now biting his lip to keep from laughing, she couldn't stop herself.
Cassian: "It could be anytime - dawn's first light, or when I'm bathing, or even after a long, hard day of practice."
She didn't miss the slight emphasis he put on long, hard.
Nesta: "Sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands, Cassian."
Azriel: "You're in deep shit."
Cassian: "I know."
Azriel: "You two need a chaperone up here?"
Cassian: "I thought you were the chaperone."
Az threw him a wicked smile
Azriel: "I'm not entirely sure I'm enough."
Gwyn: "I don't need to be coddled. Only spoken to like a person."
Azriel: "I doubt you'll enjoy the way I speak to most people."
Gwyn: "Try me."
Cassian: "The only thing that's obvious is that you're talking to yourself."
Nesta: "I'm talking to the House. Which is a considerable step up from talking to you."
Cassian: "It doesn't talk back."
Cassian: "I didn't mean what I said last night - about everyone hating you."
Nesta: "It's true."
Cassian: "It's not. You're here because we don't hate you. I wanted you to know that. That we don't - that I don't hate you."
Nesta: "And I have never hated you, Cassian."
Gwyn: "I don't with to learn what might come crawling out of that darkness if you, Cauldron-Made, fear it. Especially if it's ... drawn to you."
Cassian: "The first time I saw that look on your face, you were still human. Still human, and I nearly went to my knees before you. Your power is a song, and one I've waited a very, very long time to hear, Nesta."
Cassian: "Do you know what I'm going to think of tonight? I'm going to think of t hat look on your face. I'm always thinking of that look on your face."
Nesta: "The book, is about ... a book."
Cassian: "Interesting. Sounds great."
Cassian: "We'll do the warm-up, and then we're moving into some core work."
She gaped. Her ... core?
he clarified, and pink washed across his face.
Cassian: "Filthy mind."
He flicked her cheek
Cassian: "Too much smut."
Nesta: "I am not like you and the others."
Cassian: "That's never bothered me one bit."
Nesta: "Let go."
Cassian: "Make me. Use the training and make me."
Nesta: "You're an arrogant bastard."
Cassian: "And you're a haughty witch. We're evenly matched."
Nesta: "Look who decided to grow claws after all. Maybe you'll become interesting at last, Elain."
Cassian grinned and said to Azriel
Cassian: "We're going to be uncles."
Feyre: "Mother help this child."
Azriel's own grin bloomed at that, but Feyre's gaze slid to Nesta.
Feyre: "Thank you. You'll be an aunt, you know."
Cassian: "Gods help this child indeed."
Cassian: "Turn a blind eye, chaperone."
Nesta's stare seared him from across the ring. Cassian might have flexed his stomach muscles as he approached the chalk-lined circle. Az shook his head and muttered,
Azriel: "Pathetic, Cass."
Cassian: "You're drooling."
Nesta: "If there was anything enticing, it was seeing Azriel punch your face."
Cassian: "Keep telling yourself that, Nes."
Cassian: "Just relax."
Nesta: "You're the one who's fidgeting."
Cassian: "Because you're making me fidget."
Bellius: "Do you know who I am?"
Nesta: "A drunk fool wasting my time."
Cassian: "Thanks for that."
Azriel: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Az said, even as he smiled down at his food.
Azriel: "Don't show your hand all at once, Cass."
Cassian: "What's that supposed to mean?"
Az nodded toward the doorway.
Azriel: "Save something for later."
Az took a bite.
Azriel: "You let her suck your cock in the middle of the dining room. At a table I'm currently using to eat my dinner. I'd say that entitles me to an opinion."
Rhysand: I don't know what the fuck the two of you have been doing in this House, but it reeks of sex.
Cassian: A polite male never tells.
Rhys's laughter rumbled in his mind
Rhysand: I don't think you know what the word polite means.
Cassian: Thank the gods for that.
His brother laughed again.
Rhysand: I told Az playing chaperone would be useless.
Amren didn't so much as blink in remorse, but Varian frowned at her.
The Prince of Adriata gave her an exasperated smile
Varian: "Haven't we talked about this? About ... being nice?
Amren rolled her eyes.
Azriel: "What is her power?"
Rhys: "Death. Pure death."
Nesta: "I have no interest in bedding a male who looks like he's been in a tavern brawl."
Cassian: 'We can dim the lights."
Nesta: "When you're healed and looking pretty again, then I'll let you fuck me wherever you please in this House."
Cassian: "Let go of the stones and bones, and then you and I can play."
Feyre: "I don't like this. You haven't had enough training."
Cassian: "She has two Illyrian warriors guarding her. What could go wrong?"
Rhys: "Don't answer that."
Rhysand: You wear your heart for all to see, brother.
Cassian: "I thought you were dead today."
Nesta: "So did I. I thought you were dead, too."
Cassian: "You must have been happy."
Nesta: "It did not make me happy."
Nesta: "There can be nothing more than sex, Cassian."
Cassian: "Then I'll take whatever you offer me. And I'll take you however you wish me to."
Nesta: "And if I wish to take you?"
Cassian: "Then I'll beg you to ride me into oblivion."
Nesta: "When do we get to do something of use? When do we start on archery or swords?"
Cassian: "You think you're ready to handle a sword?"
Emerie let out a fizzing noise, but kept working.
Nesta: "Only you can tell me that."
His nostrils flared.
Cassian: "Get up."
Gwyn: "Seven years?"
Cassian: "You think children should be swinging around a real sword?"
Gwyn: "No. I just meant - do you plan for us to practice with wooden swords for seven years?"
Cassian: "If you three keep giggling, then yes."
Nesta stalked toward the two males. She met Lucien's stare as she approached the archway, and said nothing before continuing into the House. As if words were beyond her.
Only when her footsteps vanished did Lucien say
Lucien: "Mother spare you all."
Feyre: "Can you show Nesta how to ward it herself? Something perhaps with a bit more ... oomph?"
Feyre: "Oomph. We can't all be silver tongued like you.
Rhysand: "Good thing you benefit from it, Feyre darling."
Nesta: "I still need more."
Cassian's head lifted, eyes flashing
Cassian: "I know."
Nesta: "How can I need you again so soon?"
His eyes flickered
Cassian: "I've needed you from the moment I first met you. And now that I get to have you, I don't want to stop."
Nesta: "Yes. Yes."
Rhysand: "This is a bad idea."
Cassian: "That should be written on the Night Court crest."
Nesta: "If you want to play warmonger, go right ahead, Eris. I like an interesting opponent."
Tamlin: "You're exactly as nasty as your sister said you were."
Nesta: "I'd hate to disappoint."
Tamlin: "Put that finger down, you witch."
Nesta: "I'm glad you remember what happened to the last person I pointed at."
She was a wolf who had never learned how to be a wolf, thanks to that cage humans called propriety and society. And like any maltreated animal, she bit anyone who came near. Good thing he liked being bitten.
Gwyn: "I think the Valkyries were even more sadistic than the Illyrians. No amount of Mind-Stilling will get me through these exercises. What was that phrase they used? I am the rock against which the surf crashes. A rock never had to hold a lunge, though."
Cassian: "I am going to tell you that you will get through it. That you will face all of this and you will get through it. That these tears are good, Nesta. These tears mean you care. I am going to tell you that it is not too late, not for any of it. And I can't tell you when, or how, but it will get better. What you feel, this guilt and pain and self-loathing - you will get through it. But only if you are willing to fight. Only if you are willing to face it, and embrace it, and walk through it, to emerge on the other side of it. And maybe you will s till feel that tinge of pain, but there is another side. A better side."
Cassian: "Everyone deserves happiness. The road there isn't easy. It is long, and hard, and often traveled utterly blind. But you keep going. Because you know the destination will be worthwhile."
Cassian: "You don't need to become some impossible ideal. You don't need to become sweet and simpering. You can give everyone that I Will Slay My Enemies look - which is my favorite look, by the way. You can keep that sharpness I like so much, that boldness and fearlessness. I don't want you to ever lose those things, to cage yourself."
Emerie: "We slice the ribbon in two, and our training is complete?"
Gwyn: "I'm not entirely sure."
Cassian: "A warrior's training is never complete, but if you're able to slice this ribbon in two, - with one cute - then I'd say you can hold your own again most enemies. Even if you've only been training for a little while. Who's first?"
Again, the three of them swapped glances. Nesta frowned. Whoever went first would get the brunt of the humiliation. Gwyn shook her head. No way in hell.
Emerie's mouth popped open
Emerie: "Why me?"
Gwyn: "You're oldest."
Emerie groused, but stepped up to the dangling ribbon, grudgingly taking the sword Cassian extended.
Gwyn: "Should we bet?"
Emerie: "Shut up."
Nesta: "Go ahead, Emerie."
Cursing under her breath, wings ticking in tight, Emerie lifted the blade in near-perfect form and slices at the ribbon.
The white silk fluttered and bent around the blade. And absolutely did not slice in two.
Emerie: "Let's all admit we knew that would happen."
Cassian clapped her shoulder
Cassian: "Looks like I'll see you at training tomorrow."
Gwyn: "Your story is worth telling, you know."
Cassian: "You lead, I'll follow."
Nesta: "What if my presence would go unnoticed but yours sets off a trap? We can't risk that."
His throat bobbed.
Cassian: "I can't risk you."
Nesta: "Gwyn and Emerie are my friends. But ... I think you might be too, Cassian."
Cassian: "I've always been your friend, Nesta. Always."
Nesta: "I know."
Nesta: "We're in a book."
Gwyn: "Our stories are worth telling."
Cassian smiled at her, and the world faded away.
The music was no longer the most beautiful thing in existence. He was.
Lucien: "How's the training?"
She gave him a smile - a true one.
Nesta: "Good. We're learning how to disembowel a male."
Lucien choked on his drink, nearly spewing it onto her head.
Cassian: "As you'd expect, Nes excels at it.'
Mor: "My favorite part of training."
Nesta: "I am not with you. I am fucking you.'
Cassian: "The only thing fit for a bastard-born brute, right?"
Nesta: 'I didn't say that."
Cassian: "You don't need to. You've said it a thousand times before."
Nesta: "Then why did you bother to cut in at the ball?"
Cassian: "Because I was fucking jealous! You looked like a queen, and it was painfully obvious that you should be with a princeling like Eris and not a low-born nothing like me! Because I couldn't stand the sight of it, right down to my gods-damned bones! But go ahead, Nesta. Go ahead and fucking marry him and good fucking luck to you!""
Nesta: "Eris is the brute. He is a brute and a piece of shit. And I would marry him, because I am just like him!"
His pained face gutted her.
Nesta: "I deserve Eris."
Her voice cracked.
Cassian panted, his eyes still lit with fury - and not with shock.
Nesta: "You are good, Cassian. And you are brave, and brilliant, and kind. I could kill anyone who has ever made you feel less than that - less than what you are. And I know I'm a part of that group, and I hate it. You are everything I have never been, and will never be good enough for. Your friends know it, and I have carried it around with me all this time - that I do no deserve you."
Nesta: "From the moment I met you, I wanted you more than reason. From the moment I saw you in my house, you were all I could think about. And it terrified me. No one has ever held such power over me. And I am still terrified that if I let myself have you ... it will be taken away. Someone will take it away, and if you're dead ... it doesn't matter. I do not deserve you, and I never, ever will."
Cassian: "You're not going to marry Eris."
Cassian: "There will be no one else. For either of us."
Cassian: "Say it."
Nesta: "You're mine. And I am yours."
Emerie: "Cassian must be really good at sex, if you're so tied up in knots while he's gone."
Nesta: "He's ..."
She made a low noise in her throat.
Emerie: "I figured. He's got the Walk."
Nesta: "The Walk?"
Emerie: "You know, when a male knows how to use his cock well and struts around with that swagger that basically declares it to everyone.
Nesta rolled her eyes.
Nesta: "I'd hope he knows how to use it well after being alive for five hundred years."
Nesta: "I wish for us to have the courage to go out into the world when we are ready, but to always be able to find our way back to each other. No matter what."
Gwyn: "I am the rock against which the surf crashes."
Nesta straightened at the words, as if they were a prayer and a summons. Gwyn lifted the blade.
Gwyn: "Nothing can break me."
Emerie: "Nothing can break us."
Gwyn: "What do we get if we finish the course?"
Az's shadows danced around him.
Azriel: "Since there's no chance in hell any of you will finish the course, we didn't bother to get a prize."
Boos sounded. Gwyn lifted her chin in challenge.
Gwyn: "We look forward to proving you wrong."
Emerie: "We'll try again tomorrow. We keep trying until we wipe that smug look off their stupid perfect faces."
Indeed, Azriel and Cassian had just leaned against the wall, arms crossed, and smiled at them the entire time.
Gwyn threw Azriel a withering stare as she strode past him.
Gwyn: "See you tomorrow, Shadowsinger."
Az stared after her, brows high with amusement. When he turned back, Nesta grinned.
Nesta: "You have no idea what you just started."
Az angled his head, hazel eyes narrowing as Gwyn reached the archway.
Nesta: "Remember how Gwyn was with the ribbon?"
Nesta winked and clapped the shadowsinger on the shoulder.
Nesta: "You're the new ribbon, Az."
Amren: "That's the key, isn't it? To know the darkness will always remain, but how you choose to face it, handle it ... that's the important part. To not let it consume. To focus upon the good, the things that fill you with wonder."
She gestured to the stares zooming past.
Amren: "The struggle with that darkness if worth it, just to see such things."
Cassian: "Say what I've guessing from the moment we met. What I knew the first time I kissed you. What became unbreakable between us on Solstice night."
Cassian: "I am your mate, for fuck's sake! You are my mate! Why are you still fighting it? You promised me forever on Solstice. Why is one word somehow throwing you off that?"
Nesta: "Because with that one word, the last scrap of my humanity goes away!
Gwyn: "You two came looking for me."
Emerie: "Of course we did. It's what sisters do."
Male: "Fucking bitches!"
Emerie: "Oh, shut up! Find something new to call us!"
Gwyn: "So rather than try and fail, you would take the safe road?"
Emerie: "We would live. I'd love nothing more than to wipe the smirks off the lips of the males in my village, but not at this cost. Not if it costs us you, Gwyn. We need you to live."
Gwyn: "Is it living though? To take the safe road?"
Emerie: "You're the one who's been in a library for two years."
Gwyn: "I have. And I am tired of it. I don't want to take the safe road."
She pointed to the mountain, to the slender path upward.
Gwyn: "I want to take that road. I want to take the road that no one dates travel, and I want to travel it with you two. No matter what may befall us. Not as Illyrians, not for their titles, but as something new. To prove to them, to everyone, that something new and different might triumph over their rules and restrictions."
Emerie: "They call this climb the Breaking for a reason."
Nesta: "We haven't eaten in days. We're down to the last of our water. To climb t hat mountain -"
Gwyn: "I have been broken once before. I survived it. And I will not be broken again - not even by this mountain."
Emerie: "You are not alone, Gwyn. Do you hear me? You are not alone."
Gwyn: "We win to prove to everyone that something new can be as powerful and unbreakable as the old rules. That something no one has ever seen before, not entirely Valkyrie not entirely Illyrian, can win the Blood Rite."
Nesta: "No. We win to prove to ourselves that it can be done. We win the whole damn thing."
Emerie: "Come with us."
Nesta shook her head
Nesta: "Consider it the repayment of a debt."
A tear slipped down Emerie's cheek.
Emerie: "For what?"
Nesta: "For being my friends. Even when I didn't deserve it."
Emerie's face crumpled.
Emerie: "There is no debt, Nesta."
But Nesta smiled softly
Nesta: "There is. Let me pay it."
Bellius: "You really think you can beat me in hand-to-hand combat?"
Blood flowed from her mouth, her nose. But Nesta smiled anyway, its tang coating her tongue.
Nesta: "I do."
Bellius threw his first punch, putting the entire force of his powerful body into it. Nesta blocked it, driving her fist into his nose. Bone crunched. Bellius howled, falling back a step.
Nesta: "Because my mate taught me well."
Nesta: "You are my mate, Cassian."
Cassian: "And you're mine."
Rhysand: "Feyre darling -"
Feyre: "No good-byes. No good-byes, Rhys."
He stared at the bundle in his arms, his heart full to bursting, and said to where Feyre and Rhys sat on the bed, neatly remade with clean linens.
Cassian: "You have no idea how much trouble this one is going to get into."
Feyre: "Those pretty eyes will be to blame, I'm sure."
Cassian: "You could have ruled the world with your power."
Nesta: "I don't want to rule the world."
Cassian: "What do you want?"
Cassian: "You've had me from the moment you met me."
Nesta: "I want a disgustingly ornate mating ceremony."
He laughed, pulling away
Nesta: "Why not?"
Cassian: "Because Ill never hear the end of it from Azriel and Mor."
Or the Illyrians.
Nesta considered. Then pulled something from her pocket. A small biscuit, swiped from a tray in the birthing room.
Nesta: "Then here. Food. From me to you, my mate. That's the official ritual, isn't it? The sharing of food from one mate to the other?"
Cassian: "These are my two options? A frilly mating ceremony or a stale biscuit?"
So Cassian laughed again, and folded her fingers around the pathetic biscuit, leaning to whisper in her ear
Cassian: "We'll make a coronation of it, Nes."
Nesta: "I already have a crown. I just want you."
Cassian: "I grew up surrounded by monsters. I've spent my existence fighting them. And I see you, Eris. You're not one of them. Not even close. I think you might even be a good male. You're just too much of a coward to act like one."
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