Updated: Nov 17
Kingdom of Ash
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury
Book 7 in the Throne of Glass series
Aelin Galathynius has vowed to save her people ― but at a tremendous cost.
Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. The knowledge that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, but her resolve is unraveling with each passing day…
With Aelin captured, friends and allies are scattered to different fates. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever. As destinies weave together at last, all must fight if Erilea is to have any hope of salvation.
Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an explosive conclusion as Aelin fights to save herself―and the promise of a better world.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Violent High-Fantasy Thrilling
Steamy New Adult Emotional
Kingdom of Ash is the seventh and final book of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It goes back and forth from several characters perspectives: Queen Aelin Whitethorn Galathynius of Terrasen, Aelin's mate and consort Prince Rowan Whitethorn Galathynius. Aelin's court members: Prince Aedion Ashryver, Aelin's cousin and leader of the Bane, Lady Lysandra, Lady of Caraverre, Aelin's best friend, shifter, and spoiler ahead --------->mate and future wife of Aedion<---------, Lady Elide Lochan, Lady of Perranth and -------->mate and future wife to Lorcan<---------. We also have Rowan's cadre ------->and Aelin's future court members<---------, Fenrys Moonbeam, and Lorcan Salvaterre, known as the most powerful demi-fae in existence, and former Commander of Maeve's cadre, -------->and future husband to Elide and Lord of Perranth<---------. We also get POV's from King Dorian Havilliard of Adarlan, powerful wielder of magic, Lord Chaol Westfall, former Captain of the Royal Guard, now Hand to King Dorian, and married to Yrenne Westfall, a powerful healer who is also a main protagonist. Manon Blackbeak, a half Crochan, half Ironteeth witch, and the last Crochan Queen. She is now allied with Aelin, and is King Dorian's lover. Nesryn Faliq, former Captain of the Guard for King Dorian, and now future Empress of the Southern Continent, and a few small POV's from Lady Evangeline, Lysandra's ward.
Whew. That's a lot of characters, and it's not even the tip of the iceberg. I'm not even bothering with a book description like I usually do. Let's just say, it picks up after the events of Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn, and it's time for the final battles of war, and everyone has a part to play.
Kingdom of Ash was an excellent finale to the series, that answered a lot of questions, and did a good job of not romanticizing war. It was brutal, often dark, and emotional. It's a big book, and I cried more than once throughout. Sarah Maas did a great job writing battle scenes, making them easy to picture. Despite there being so many main characters in play, all their stories flowed really well together, making up a book that I couldn't put down. This series as a whole really showcases Sarah Maas' growth as a writer, starting from the first book that wasn't my favorite, to the rest of the series, that only gets better and better. I still maintain that this book is New Adult, despite it being labeled as Young Adult. Whatever age this book/series is aimed for, the writing is wonderful, the story is imaginative (despite it feeling a bit Game of Thrones-ish at times ... but I think that's going to be the case for any fantasy that involves kingdoms and war), everything is well-thought out and consistent. I can tell and appreciate the amount of work and heart Sarah put into it.
The characters are great in this book. Sarah is great at writing deeply flawed characters that you can't help but root for. She humanizes her characters in that way. No one is perfect in this series, even our star character, Aelin. If anything, she might be the most flawed of them all. It makes the series a bit more interesting when you go back and forth between loving, and disagreeing with a character. Not to mention, this whole series doesn't hide from issues like depression and PTSD, and is a prevalent and consistent battle that many characters suffer through, which makes sense considering what is going on throughout the series. Best of all, by the end of the series, these characters are continually working on themselves, for the better.
Kingdom of Ash is a HUGE book, at almost 1000 pages, so I'm going to do my character evaluations differently than usual, especially considering HOW many characters there are. Below, the characters I feel like mentioning are below, with a short little blurb of what I liked about their arc throughout the series. Any spoilers, will be pointed out by the arrows, and you will need to highlight the text if you want to read them.
Aelin - went from an assassin hiding who she truly was, to a Queen worthy of the name. Strong in so many ways. She is one of the characters who suffers from depression, and considering everything she goes through and suffers, it makes complete sense. -------->After the events of Kingdom of Ash, she admits to herself that she will always have the stain of what Mauve did to her, and shows signs of PTSD, especially when it comes to being caged. The fact that she realizes this, but it doesn't ruin her happiness, shows a lot of growth, considering way back in Heir of Fire, the book starts out with her drunk on a rooftop, essentially giving up on her quest and life.) I also appreciate the fact that she ends of losing most of her magic. While certainly handy, she doesn't need it to rule.<----------.
Rowan - went from a depressed, angry warrior who was ordered to train an equally depressed, angry, and just as hard headed Aelin, to a male who has devoted his life to his mate, his wife, and his Queen, Aelin. Now that he learned the truth about Aelin being his mate in the last book, Rowan's character remains pretty consistent in this book. His arc throughout the series though is a great one, especially considering Aelin and him work together to heal from depression.
Aedion - went from the "whore of Adarlan" to --------->blood sworn to his cousin and queen, Aelin. Which was his dream.<-------. His perspective in Kingdom of Ash was brutal, but the ending was superb. Some of my favorite moments in this book, he was in them. ----------> And just like I suspected, he acknowledges that Lysandra is his mate, and their future marriage, on top of him finally being blood-sworn to Aelin, is awesome. His father's death, right after he decided he wanted to get to know him though ... ugh ... brutal. Fucking brutal.<-------.
Lysandra - her character has been pretty consistent since Queen of Shadows, since Aelin and her decided to become friends, and Aelin made her a Lady of her Court. Loyal to a fault, and brutally so. -------> I love that she is getting her happy ending with Aedion. <----------
Lady Elide - Elide, despite her injury, is a fighter, and incredibly intelligent woman. She doesn't let people walk all over her. A great example of a female character that doesn't need magic to be a loyal and strong person. -------->Lorcan and Elide's relationship was my favorite of the book. She brings out a whole new side to Lorcan and I am all for it.<----------.
Lorcan - I make no secret of loving cranky, angry characters, so I have a soft spot for Lorcan. He remains himself, but -------> his love for Elide gives his character more depth. I suspected they were mates, and I suspected he would give up his immortality to tie his life with her's, and I was right. And I. Love. It. <---------
Fenrys - Kingdom of Ash really fleshed out his character to whole new levels. ------> The bond him and Aelin build while they are both Mauve's prisoners is amazing, and heartbreaking. His sacrifice to save Aelin, and her gift to him to save his life, is one of my favorite moments in the book. The fact that they have one another to lean on when healing is perfect. And the fact that Aelin lets him get his shot at vengeance ... awesome. I suspect much like Aelin though, he will always suffer from some level of PTSD<-------- .
Dorian - Dorian is one of those characters who has shown a lot of growth throughout the series. He goes from a playboy prince, who is scared to stand up to his father, to a King who is willing to sacrifice anything for those he loves, and his Kingdom. He is another character who has suffers from depression, and he really ------->only begins to see life worth living by the end of Kingdom of Ash, when Manon hints that she is willing to one day marry Dorian. Which in my opinion, is amazing, because Manon seems like his perfect equal. <--------.
Chaol & Yrene - I loved his arc this series too, but I feel like Tower of Dawn really finished off his characters growth. In Kingdom of Ash, he really maintains that growth, and -------> his dreams really came true. He has the perfect wife for him, and he is going to be a father. Amazing.<-------.
Nesriq - Just like Chaol, her character's arc really finished up in Tower of Dawn. The small bits we get of her in Kingdom of Ash is really to just confirm what we have learned of her character in the last book, and to see how the ruksin fare in the war.
Manon - Manon's character, I feel like, had the most growth in the book. She embraces her heritage in Kingdom of Ash, and -------> her actions prove her intentions to the Crochans, who end up being vital in the war. <--------. By the end of the book, Manon is a changed woman in more ways than one. Whereas Dorian has begun his journey of healing, Manon is only really beginning hers, --------> Now that she is without her Thirteen after that brutal sacrifice <--------.
Kingdom of Ash, despite being almost 1000 pages, didn't FEEL as long as it was. Every page is worthy of the time put in to read it. Nothing is filler. It's brutal, and raw, and by the end of the book, everything good that happens still feels bittersweet, considering the war and how many good people died. The series of the whole is a wonderful read, and Sarah J Maas has made me a lifelong fan.
That being said, I'm ending this review with something I haven't done before. Questions I am left with. I know this is really left to readers imaginations and hopes, but I am curious, what do you think happens afterward? Let me know in the comments!
Questions I am left with after the series ended: (spoilers below, be careful!)
Do Aelin and Rowan eventually have children? I assume that the dream they both had of them with 4 children, about to be 5, is a real look into the future.
Is Aedion immortal? If he is, will he tie his life to Lyssandra's? I assume shifters are not immortal, due to Her uncle's aging after his bargain with the spider.
Does Elide choose to go through the painful ordeal of having her foot healed? Do her and Lorcan ever have children?
Does Fenrys ever find his mate? He has a rough time in this series, and I want happy things for him.
Do Dorian and Manon marry? It's hinted that they both want to be with the other long-term, despite Dorian worried about Manon feeling caged. They seem to be really well-suited for each other. I think the only issue would be in terms of heirs, since witches have a low pregnancy survival rate.
Does Aelin manage to introduce democracy to her Kingdom?
Yrene standing up to Chaol's father
Manon finding out Abraxos and Narene (Asterin's wyvern) are mated. Just freaking adorable
Aelin's escape/rescue, and her saving Fenrys
Aelin finding wedding rings for her and Rowan
Aelin and Rowan claiming one another as mates
Everyone trying to eat the horrible porridge so the innkeeper didn't feel bad
Aelin and Fenrys continuing their secret blink system to tell each other they aren't alright
Chaol and Aelin reuniting
Chaol telling Yrene he knows about the pregnancy, and how happy he is about it
Aelin and Chaol's father meeting
Manon fighting her grandmother, and afterward, being declared Queen of Witches
Elide saving Lorcan
Aelin saving the army by released the magic she had been saving to face Maeve
Manon asking Dorian to stay
Dorian betraying Maeve
Elide getting the last word with her uncle
Aedion comforting Evangeline
Darrow giving Evangeline a job to distract her from the battle
Manon, the Thirteen, and the Crochan coming to battle
LORCAN AND ELIDE!
Asterin being the one who kills Manon's grandmother
Everyone coming to honor the Thirteen's sacrifice.
Chaol and Dorian's reunion
Aelin saving Dorian, and trying to save Elena
Darrow making Evangeline his heir
Aelin leading the army on the Lord of the North
Aedion and his father. "Together."
We finally learn the kings name
Aelin giving Fenrys the blow to Maeve that keeps her down while Aelin kills her
The end of Maeve and Erawan
Aelin giving the blood oath to Gavriel in death
Elide and Lorcan's engagement <3
The witch's curse breaking
Aelin offering Aedion the blood oath at her coronation, like he once wished
Manon and Dorian's reuniting, and the unspoken promise between them
Where to Buy
Paperback (Amazon Canada)
Hardcover (Amazon Canada)
Throne of Glass Box Set (Chapters/Indigo)
Lysandra: "It was real, Aedion. All of it. I don't care if you believe me or not. But it was real for me."
Crochan: "And who, exactly, are you?"
Dorian gave the witch one of those charming smiles and sketched a bow
Dorian: "Dorian Havilliard, at your service."
Crochan: "The king."
Dorian: "That I am, too."
Manon: "You killed the spider."
Dorian: "She was a threat."
Manon: "She could have killed you."
He gave her a half smile
Dorian: "No, she couldn't have."
Manon: "I'm tired of talking."
Good. So was he.
Dorian: "Is there something you'd rather do instead, witchling?"
Her only answer was the slide over him, strands of her hair falling around them in a curtain.
Manon: "I said I don't want to talk."
She lowered her mouth to his neck. Dragged her teeth over it, right through that white line where the collar had been.
Dorian groaned softly, and shifted his hips, grinding himself into her. Her breath became jagged in answer, and he ran a hand down her side.
Dorian: "Shut me up, then."
Chaol: "Yrene is the finest healer of her generation. Her worth is greater than any crown."
Yrene: "You don't need to bother proving my value to him. I know precisely how talented I am. I don't require his blessing."
He had killed his way across the world; he had gone to war and back more times than he cared to remember. And despite it all, despite the rage and despair and ice he'd wrapped around his heart, he'd still found Aelin. Every horizon he's gazed toward, unable and unwilling to rest during those centuries, every mountain and ocean he'd seen and wondered what lay beyond ... It had been her. It had been Aelin, the silent call of the mating bond driving him, even when he could not feel it.
They'd walked this dark path together back to the light. He would not let the road end here.
Vesta: "You could be sparring with Lin right now."
Dorian: "I just watched Lin nearly knock Imogen's teeth down her throat. Forgive me if I'm in no mood to get into the ring with her."
Vesta arched an auburn brow
Vesta: "No male swaggering from you, then."
Dorian: "I like my teeth where they are."
Manon: "You are not a cold person."
He arched a brow
Dorian: "Is that your professional opinion?"
Manon studied him
Manon: "You can descend to those levels when you are angry, when your friends are threatened. But you are not cold, not at heart. I've seen men who are, and you are not."
Dorian: "Neither are you."
Manon: "I am one hundred seventeen year old. I have spent the majority of that time killing. Don't convince yourself that the events of the past few months have erased that."
Dorian: "Keep telling yourself that."
Dorian: "Is it so bad, to care?"
Manon: "I don't know how to."
Dorian: "You do care. You know it, too. It's what makes you so damn scared of all this."
Her golden eyes raged, but she said nothing.
Dorian: "Caring doesn't make you weak."
Manon: "Then why don't you heed your own advice?"
Dorian: "I care. I care about more than I should. I even care about you."
Aelin: "The guards talk when you're gone, you know. They forget I'm Fae, too. Can hear like you."
Cairn said nothing
Aelin: "At least they agree with me on one front. You're spineless. Have to tie up people to hurt them because it makes you feel like a male."
Aelin gave a pointed glance between his legs.
Aelin: "Inadequate in the ways that count."
A tremor went through him
Cairn: "Would you like me to show you how inadequate I am?"
Aelin huffed another laugh, haunty and cool, and gazed toward the ceiling, toward the lightening sky. The last she'd see, if she played this right.
Aelin: "Oh, I know there's not much worth seeing in that regard, Cairn. And you're not enough of a male to be able to use it without someone screaming, are you?"
At his silence, she smirked
Aelin: "I thought so. I dealt with plenty of your ilk at the Assassins' Guild. You're all the same."
A deep snarl
Aelin only chuckled and adjusted her body, as if getting comfortable.
Aelin: "Go ahead, Cairn. Do your worst."
Aelin: "I didn't break."
His heart cracked at the words.
Aelin: "I didn't tell them anything."
Rowan: "I knew you wouldn't."
Aelin: "You should have gone to Terrasen. It needs you."
Rowan: "I need you more."
Lorcan: "How much longer am I supposed to atone?"
Elide: "Are you growing bored with it?"
She only glared at him
Elide: "I hadn't even realized you were even atoning."
Lorcan: "I came here, didn't I?"
Elide: "For whom, exactly? Rowan? Aelin?"
Lorcan: "For both of them. And for you."
Lorcan: "On that beach, my only thought was to get Maeve to forget about you, to let you go -"
Elide: "I don't care about me! I didn't care about me on that beach!"
Lorcan: "Well, I do. I cared about you on that beach. And your queen did, too.
Manon: "I care. I care if we lose this war, I care if I fail to rally the Crochans. I care if you go into Morath and do not return, not as something worth living. Now do you wish to tell me that caring is not such a bad thing? Well, this is what comes of it."
Aelin: "I'm your mate. And you are mine."
Rowan: "Do you know what I wish? I wish that you had told me. When you realized it. I wish you had told me then."
Aelin: "I didn't want to hurt you."
Rowan: "Why would it ever hurt me to know the truth that was already in my heart? The truth I hoped for?"
Aelin: "The male I fell in love with was you. It was you, who knew pain as I did, and who walked with me through it, back to the light. Maeve didn't understand that. That even if she could create that perfect world, it wouldn't be you with me. And I'd never trade that, trade this. Not for anything."
He extended his hand. An offer and invitation.
Aelin laid hers atop his, and his callused fingers squeezing gently.
Rowan: "I wanted it to be you. For months and months, even in Wendlyn, I wondered why you weren't my mate instead. All this time, I wanted it to be you."
Rowan: "We'll face it together. And if the cost of it truly is you, then we'll pay it together. As one soul in two bodies."
Rowan: "You're my mate."
Aelin tipped back her head, baring her neck to him.
Aelin: "You're my mate. And I am yours."
Aelin: "Do you plan to sail with us to Terrasen?"
Aelin: "And you plan to join us in this war?"
Lorcan: "I'm certainly not going there to enjoy the weather."
Fenrys: "If I tell you he's a prick and a miserable bastard to be around, will it change your mind?"
Lorcan snarled, but Aelin snorted.
Aelin: "Isn't that why we love Lorcan, though?"
Manon: "There is a better world out there. And I have seen it. 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."
Manon lifted her chin.
Manon: "You are my people. Whether my grandmother decrees it so or not, you are my people, and always will be. But I will fly against you, if need be, to ensure that there is a future for those who cannot fight for it themselves. Too long have we preyed on the weak and relished doing so. It is time that we became better than our foremothers. There is a better world out there. And I will fight for it."
Rowan: Shall we?
Aelin scowled and took his hand, letting him haul her to her feet.
Aelin: So pushy.
Rowan slid an arm around her shoulders
Rowan: That's the most polite thing you've ever said about me.
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.
Aelin: "I knew you would. I knew you'd do it."
Gavriel: "Aedion is my pride."
Aelin: "Lorcan Salvaterre, formerly or Doranelle, and now a blood-sworn member of my court."
As if that weren't a shock enough, Aelin winked at the imposing male. Lorgan scowled.
Aelin: "We're still in the adjustment period."
Aelin: "Fenrys ... You know, I don't actually know your family name."
Fenrys threw a roguish wink at the queen.
Aelin: "It is not."
Aelin hissed, choking on a laugh.
Fenrys laid a hand on his heart.
Fenrys: "I am blood-sworn to you. Would I lie?"
Aelin gave Fenrys a vulgar gesture that set Hasar chuckling, and faced the royals.
Aelin: "Their barely housebroken. Hardly fit for your fine company."
Aelin: "Shall we discuss where you all plan to march once we beat the living shit out of this army?"
Falkan: "The threads of fate weave together in strange ways."
Aelin: "What's so funny?"
Rowan: "That for once, you are the one who gets knocked on your ass by a surprise."
Borte had gone back to studying the Fae males. Not their considerable beauty, but their size, their pointed ears, their weapons and elongated canines.
Aelin: "Make them roll over before you offer them a treat."
Borte: "You look just how Nesryn said."
Aelin: "I hope you only said horrible things about me."
Nesryn: "Only the worst."
Aelin: "I was her captive until nearly a month ago. When I got free, they found me again."
Hasar: "We'll make the bitch pay for that, won't we?"
Aelin: "Yes, we will."
Aelin: "I don't know what to do."
Rowan: "You fight. We fight. Until we can't anymore. We fight."
Rowan laid a hand on her chest, right over that burning heart.
A challenge and a summons.
Aelin: "We fight."
Elide: "I don't see why you're so shocked. Even with her being immortal and cold, you loved her. You must have accepted those traits. What difference does it make what we call her, then?"
Lorcan: "I didn't love her."
Elide: "You certainly acted like you did."
Lorcan: "Why is that the point you keep returning to, Elide? Why is it the one thing you cannot let go of?"
Elide: "Because I'm trying to understand. How you could come to love a monster?"
Elide: "Because it will help me understand how I did the same."
Sartaq: "Come to bed."
Nesryn: "We've a battle to launch tomorrow. Again."
Sartaq: "And a day of death has made me want to hold you. And do other things with you."
Chaol: "I know."
Yrene: "Know what?"
Chaol interlaced their fingers. And then laid their hands atop her still flat abdomen.
Yrene: "Oh. I - How?"
Chaol: "It's true, then."
Yrene: "Do you want it to be?"
Chaol slid a hand against her cheek
Chaol: "More than I ever realized."
Yrene's smile was wide and lovely enough to fracture his heart.
Yrene: "It's true."
Chaol: "How far along?"
Yrene: "Almost two months."
Chaol: "You didn't tell me, I'm assuming, because you didn't want me to worry?"
Yrene: "Something like that."
Chaol: "And when you were waddling around, belly near bursting?"
Yrene whacked his arm
Yrene: "I'm not going to waddle."
Chaol: "You'll waddle beautifully, was what I meant to say."
Yrene: "You'll be a brilliant father. The most brilliant one to ever exist."
Chaol: "High praise indeed, coming from a woman who wanted to toss me from the highest window of the Torre a few months ago."
Chaol: "I need to introduce Aelin to my father. Before they run into each other."
Yrene cringed, though amusement sparked in her eyes
Yrene: "Is it bad if I want to join you? And bring snacks?"
Chaol's father looked over the warrior-prince at her side. Then he turned his head toward Chaol
Lord Westfall: "I assume they met in Wendlyn. After you sent her there."
Aelin clicked her tongue.
Aelin: "Yes, yes, let's get all that out of the way. Though I don't think your son really regrets it, does he? I think he made out rather well for himself."
She frowned up at her consort.
Yrene: "Yrene, at least, doesn't seem like the sort to hog the blankets and snore in one's ear all night."
Yrene coughed as Prince Rowan only smiled at the queen
Rowan: "I don't mind your snoring."
Aelin: "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."
Manon: "I'm surprised you're not groping yourself.
Dorian: "Who says I haven't already?"
Dorian: "Tell me to stay. Tell me to stay with you, if that's what you want. But you won't say that, will you, Manon? Do you know why?"
When she didn't answer, Dorian let one of those phantom talons dig in, just slightly.
She swallowed, and it was not from fear.
Dorian leaned in close, tipping his head back to stare into her eyes
Dorian: "Because while you might be older, might be deadly in a thousand different ways, deep down, you're afraid. You don't know how to ask me to stay, because you're afraid of admitting to yourself that you want it. You're afraid. Of yourself more than anyone else in the world. You're afraid."
Cresseida: "We came to at last rid us of a thorn in our sides."
Manon: "You came because we pose a threat. You came, because you are afraid. You came, because you have no true power beyond what we give you. And you are scared to death that we're about to take it away. You came alone for that fear. That others might see what we are capable of. The truth that you have always sought to hide."
Manon: "Rhiannon Crochan held the gates for three days and three nights, and she did not kneel before you, even at the end. I think I shall do the same."
Fenrys: "Someone better say something inspiring, or these men are going to piss themselves in a minute."
Lorcan: "You've got the pretty face. You'd do a better job of it."
Elide: "I promised to always find you. I promised you, and you promised me. I came for you because of it; I am here because of it. I am here for you, do you understand?"
Lorcan slid his other arm around Elide, bringing his mouth close to her ear
Lorcan: "You have to let me go."
Each word was gravelly, his voice strained nearly to the point of uselessness.
Lorcan: "You have to. You have to, Elide. I'm too heavy - and without my weight, you might make it to the keep in time."
The salt of her tears filled his nose.
Lorcan brushed his mouth over her damp cheek, ignoring the roaring pain in his body. The horse galloped and galloped, as if she might outrace death itself.
Lorcan: "I love you. I have loved you from the moment you picked up that axe to slay the ilken. And I will be with you ... I will be with you always."
Manon: "And if I asked you to stay?"
Dorian: "I'd need a very convincing reason, I suppose."
Manon: "Because I don't want you to go."
Aedion: "We fight as one. We die as one."
Elide: "Did you mean it? What you said."
Lorcan: "Yes. I meant every word. And I will until the day I fade into the Afterworld."
Elide: "I love you."
He was glad he was lying down. The words would have knocked him to his knees. Even now, he was half inclined to bow before her, the true owner of his ancient, wicked heart.
Lorcan: "I have loved you from the moment you came to fight for me against Vernon and the ilken. And when I heard you were somewhere on that battlefield, the only thing I wanted was to be able to tell you that. It was the only thing that mattered."
Aelin: "You're starting to like the notoriety."
Rowan arched a brow
Rowan: "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
Rowan: "This is far better than Cold-hearted bastard or I heard he killed someone with a table leg."
Aelin: "You did kill someone with a table leg."
Rowan's smirk grew
Rowan: "And you are a cold-heart bastard."
Rowan: "I never said those whispers were lies."
Aelin looped her arm through his.
Aelin: "I'm going to start a rumor about you, then. Something truly grotesque."
Rowan: "I dream the thought of what you might come up with."
She adopted a harsh whisper as they passed a group of human soldiers
Aelin: "You flew back onto the battlefield to peck out the eyes of our enemies?"
Her gasp echoed off the rock
Aelin: "And ate those eyes?"
One of the soldiers tripped, the others whipping their heads to them.
Rowan pinched her shoulder
Rowan: "Thank you for that."
She inclined her head
Aelin: "You're very welcome."
Chaol: "I don't make deals with bastards. I'm certainly not going to start with you."
Rolfe: "Privateer Rolfe. Commander in Her Majesty's Armada. And Heir to the Mycenian people."
Lord Sloane: "The Mycenians vanished an age ago."
Rolfe: "Vanished, but did not die out. And we have come to fulfill an old debt."
Darrow: "Well, we have the gods to thank for that."
Lysandra: "You have Aelin to thank for that."
Maeve: "You are young, and brash."
Dorian sketched a bow again
Dorian: "I am also exceedingly handsome and willing to offer up my throne in a gesture of good faith.
Maeve: "I could sell you to Erawan right now and he would reward me handsomely."
Dorian: "Reward you - as if you are a hound bringing back a pheasant to its master."
Chaol: "I'm sure you already know this, but Aedion is as stubborn and hotheaded as they come. Aelin and Aedion might as well be twins. Both of them will often say one things, but mean something else entirely. And then deny it until their last breath."
Chaol: "My father is a bastard. He has been in my life from my conception. Yet he never once bothered to ask the questions you pose. He never once cared enough to do so. He never once worried. That will be the difference."
Gavriel: "If Aedion choose to forgive me."
Chaol: "He will."
Gavriel: "Why are you so certain?"
Chaol: "Because you are his father. And no matter what might lie between you, Aedion will always want to forgive you. And Aedion will realize, in his own way, that you went to save Aelin not for her sake or Rowan's, but for his. And that you stayed with them, and march in this army, for his sake, too."
The Lion gazed northward, eyes flickering.
Gavriel: "I hope you are right."
Chaol: "I wish - I wish I had been so lucky to have you as my father."
Surprise and something far deeper passed across Gavriel's face. His tattooed throat bobbed.
Gavriel: "Thank you. Perhaps it is our lot - to never have the fathers we wish, but to still hope they might surpass what they are, flaws and all."
Maeve: "What you felt in there - that is why I left their world. Every day, that was what I felt."
Dorian: The king I wish to be is the opposite of what you are. And there is only one witch who will be my queen.
Vernon: "You mean to leave me in their hands, utterly defenseless?"
Elide: "I was defenseless when you let my leg remain unhealed. I was a child then, and I survived. You're a grown man. We'll see if you do, too."
Ren: "It would have been an honor. To serve in this court. With you."
Aedion shut his eyes, swallowing hard.
Aedion: "It would have been an honor indeed."
Aedion: "Before my first battle, I spent the entire night in the privy."
Aedion: "Oh yes. Quinn, the old Captain of the Guard, said it was a wonder I had anything left inside me by the time dawn broke."
Evangeline let out a little laugh
Evangeline: "That's disgusting."
Aedion: "It certainly was. So you're already much braver than I ever was."
Evangeline: "I threw up earlier."
Aedion: "Better than shitting your pants, sweetheart."
Evangeline let out a belly laugh that made her clutch the cup from spilling.
Aedion grinned, and ruffled her red-gold hair
Aedion: "The battle won't be pretty. And you will likely throw up again. But just remember that this fear of yours? It means you have something worth fighting for - something you care so greatly for that losing it is the worst thing you can imagine. Those bastards out there on the plain? They have none of that."
He laid his hand on hers and squeezed gently.
Aedion: "They have nothing to fight for. And while we might not have their numbers, we do have something worth defending. And because of that, we can overcome our fear. We can fight against them, to the very end. For our friends, for our family ..."
He squeezed her hand again at that
Aedion: "For those we love ..."
He dared to look up at Lysandra, whose green eyes were lined with silver
Aedion: "For those we love, we can rise above that fear. Remember that tomorrow. Even if you throw up, even if you spend the whole night in the privy. Remember that we have something to fight for, and it will always triumph."
Aedion: "Take Evangeline and go. There is a small tunnel in the bottom level of the castle that leads into the mountains. Take her and go."
She shook her head
Lysandra: "To what end? Morath will find us all anyway."
Aedion: "Please. I am begging you. I am begging you, Lysandra, to go."
Her chin lifted
Lysandra: "You are not asking our other allies to run."
Aedion: "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. Only afraid of the dark mass that swept toward them, staying within formation above that endless army. Afraid of what that legion would do to her, to Evangeline.
Aedion: "I should have told you. Every day after I realized it, all these months. I should have told you every day."
Manon: "We have no master. We come to honor a friend. We came to honor a promise made to Aelin Galathynius. To fight for what she promised us."
Darrow: "And what was that?"
Manon smiled then
Manon: "A better world."
Manon only looked to Aedion, that smile lingering.
Manon: "Long ago, the Crochans fought beside Terrasen, to honor the great debt we owed the Fae King Brannon for granting us a homeland. For centuries, we were your closest allies and friends. We heard your call for aid. And we have come to answer it."
Manon: "I would rather fly with you than with ten thousand Ironteeth at my side. Tomorrow we will show them why."
Her coven grinned, wicked and defiant, and touched two fingers to their brows in deference.
Manon returned the gesture, bowing her head as she did
Manon: "We are the Thirteen. From now until the Darkness claims us."
Lysandra: "I thought we were going to die today."
Aedion: "We were."
Lysandra: "I'm still angry with you. But ..."
His brows rose, light she has not seen for some time shining from his face
Lysandra: "But I shall think about what you said to me. That's all."
A familiar, wicked grin graced his lips
Aedion: "You'll think about it."
Lysandra: "Yes, I will think about it. What I plan to do."
Aedion: "About the fact that I am in love with you."
Lysandra: "Och. If that's what you want to call it."
Aedion: "Is there something else I'm supposed to call it?"
He took a single step toward her, letting her decide if she'd allow it. She did.
Lysandra: "Just ... Don't die tomorrow. That's all I ask."
Aedion: "So you can have time to think about what you plan to do with my declaration."
Aedion's grin turned predatory
Aedion: "May I ask something of you, then?"
Lysandra: "I don't think you're in a position to make requests, but fine."
That wolfish grin remained as he whispered in her ear
Aedion: "If I don't die tomorrow, may I kiss you when the day is done?"
Lysandra: "If you don't die tomorrow, Aedion, then we'll talk. And see what comes of it."
Aedion: "Until tomorrow night, then."
Dorian: "I will take care of it. Of Adarlan. For whatever time I have left. I will not abandon it."
Gavin: "I know. I have always known that."
Aedion: "Let's make this fight worthy of a song."
Aelin: "I am human, deep down, Faerie queen nonsense aside. I had human parents, and their parents were human, mostly, and even with Mab's line running true ... I'm a human who can turn into Fae. A human who wears a Fae body."
Rowan: "On the other hand, I'd say you were a human with Fae instincts. Perhaps more of them than human ones. Territorial, dominant, aggressive ..."
Aelin: "Your skills when it comes to complimenting women are unparalleled."
Elide: "Have you ever done it? Rebuilt a city?"
Lorcan: "No. I have only destroyed them. But I should like to try. With you."
She saw the other offer there - to not only build a city, but a life. Together.
Heat rose to her cheeks as she nodded
Elide: "Yes. For however long we have."
Elide: "I need help. Getting into the bath."
Lorcan: "Do you, now."
Elide: "I might slip."
Lorcan: "A dangerous time, bath time."
Lorcan: "We only go as far and long as you want."
Yet she dared to glance down his body - to what strained under his pants.
Her mouth went dry
Elide: "I - I don't know what I'm doing."
Lorcan: "Anything you do will be enough."
She lifted her head, scanning his face
Elide: "Enough for what?"
Another half smile
Lorcan: "Enough to please me."
She scoffed at his arrogance, but Lorcan brushed his mouth against her neck, His hands bracketed her waist, his thumbs grazing her ribs. But no higher.
Elide arched into the touch, a small sound escaping her as his lips brushed just beneath her ear. And then his mouth found hers, gentle and thorough.
Her hands twined around his neck, and Lorcan lifted her, carrying her not to the bath, but to the cot behind them, his lips never leaving hers.
Home. This, with him. This was home, as she had never had. For however long they might share it.
And when Lorcan laid her out on the cot, his breathing as uneven as her own, when he paused , letting her decide what to do, where to take this, Elide kissed him again and whispered
Elide: "Show me everything."
So Lorcan did.
Her second, her cousin, her friend, smiled, eyes bright as stars.
Asterin: "Live, Manon."
Asterin smiled wider, kissed Manon's brow, and whispered again
Glannis: "Be the bridge, be the light. When iron melts, when flowers spring from fields of blood - let the land be witness, and return home."
Yrene: "I've heard so much about you, Your Majesty."
Dorian only winked, a ghost of the man he'd been before
Dorian: "All bad things, I hope."
Dorian: "I have always wanted a sister."
He leaned to kiss Yrene on either cheek.
Dorian: "Welcome to Adarlan, Lady."
Yrene's smile turned softer - deeper, and she laid a hand on her abdomen.
Yrene: "Then you shall be pleased to hear that you'll soon be an uncle."
Rowan: "I do not accept this."
Aelin: "I do."
Rowan: "You have never accepted anything in your life. And now you are suddenly willing to do so?"
Aelin: "What am I supposed to do, Rowan?"
Rowan: "You damn it all to hell! You say to hell with their plans, their prophecies and fates, and you make your own! You do anything but accept this!"
Rowan: "I would go in your stead if I could."
Aelin: "I know."
Rowan fell to his knees before her, putting his head in her lap as his arms wrapped around her waist.
Rowan: "I can't bear it, Aelin. I can't."
She threaded her fingers through his hair.
Aelin: "I wanted that thousand years with you. I wanted to have children with you. I wanted to go into the Afterworld together."
Her tears landed in his hair.
Rowan lifted his head
Rowan: "Then fight for it. One more time. Fight for that future."
Chaol: "What do you need us to do?"
Aelin: "Be here. That is enough."
Rowan: "No sweet farewells, Princess?"
Aelin: "They seem dramatic. Far too dramatic, even for me."
Rowan: "Even when you're ... there. I am with you."
He laid a hand on her heart
Rowan: "Here. I am with you here."
She laid her own hand on his chest, and breathed his scent deep into her lungs, her heart.
Aelin: "As I am with you. Always."
Rowan kissed her.
Rowan: "I love you. Come back to me."
Aelin: "Leave her be, and go."
Elena: "Aelin, please."
Aelin: "You bought me that extra time. So I might live. Let me buy this for you."
She would live. She would live, and they could all go to hell.
A better world. With no gods, no fates.
A world of their own making.
Aelin: "I came back."
Darrow didn't try to stop him as Murtaugh walked off the battlements. Slow. He looked so slow, and old, and frail. And yet he kept his chin high. Back straight.
If she'd been able to choose a grandfather for herself, it would have been him.
Fenrys: "It's too early for that sort of philosophical bullshit."
Elide: "I never cared if you had magic or not."
Aelin: "Why? Everyone else did."
Elide: "Who you are isn't your magic."
Aelin: "I owe it to your mother to see that you survive this."
Elide: "You owe it to my mother to live, Aelin."
Borte: "Here are my thoughts."
Aelin smiled slightly
Borte: "Hasar is cranky and cold. Sartaq is used to these conditions and doesn't care. Kashin is trying to make the best of it, because he's so damned nice, but they're all just a little nervous that we're marching on a hundred thousand soldiers, potentially more on the way, and that Erawan is not out of commission. Neither is Maeve. So they're pissed. They like you, but they're pissed."
Aelin: "I'd gathered as much, when Hasar called me a stupid cow."
Borte: "Hasar calls everyone a stupid cow. You're in good company."
Hasar: "When I return to Antica, I am never leaving again."
Kashin: "No taste for adventure, sister?"
Hasar: "Not when it's in a frozen hell."
Lysandra: "He was a good man. A brave and noble man. So are you. And when this war is over, however it may end, I will still be here, with you. Whether in this life or the next, Aedion."
Aelin: "What is your cost?"
Fenrys: "Do you really want to ask?"
Dryad: A better world. Even for us.
Darrow: "What would you decide?"
Evangeline: "I should have very much liked to live at Caraverre. Murtaugh showed me the land - the rivers and mountains right nearby, the forests and hills. I saw the gardens by the house, and I would have like to have seen them in the spring. I would have liked for that to have been my home. For this ... for all of Terrasen to have been my home."
Darrow said nothing, and Evangeline set a hand on the castle stones, gazing to the west now, as if she could see all the way to Allsbrook and the small territory in its shadow. To Caraverre.
Evangeline: "That's what Terrasen has always meant to me, you know. As soon as Aelin freed Lysandra, and offered to let us join her court, Terrasen has always meant home. A place where ... where the sort of people who hurt us don't get to live. Where anyone, regardless of who they are and where they came from and what their rank is can swell in peace. Where we can have a garden in the spring, and swim in the rivers in the summer. I've never had such a think before. A home, I mean. And I would have liked for Caraverre, for Terrasen, to have been mine. So I would choose to fight. Until the very end. For my home, new as it is. I choose to fight."
Darrow: "Someone very wise recently told me that Terrasen is not merely a place, but an ideal. A home for all those who wander, for those who need somewhere to welcome them with open arms. I formally recognize Caraverre and its lands, and you as it's lady."
Lysandra's fingers found Evangeline's and squeezed tight
Darrow: "For your unwavering courage in the face of the enemy gathered at our doorstep, for all you have done to defend this city and kingdom, Caraverre shall be recognized, and yours forevermore."
A glance between her and Aedion
Darrow: "Any heirs you bear shall inherit it, and their heirs after them."
Lysandra: "Evangeline is my heir."
Darrow: "I know that, too. But I should like to say one more thing, on this perhaps final night of ours."
He inclined his head to Evangeline
Darrow: "I never fathered any offspring, nor did I adopt any. It would be an honor to name such a wise, brave young lady as my heir. I should like to face my enemies knowing that the heart of my lands, of this kingdom, will beat on in the chest of Evangeline. That no matter the gathering shadow, Terrasen will always live in someone who understands its very essence without needing to be taught. Who embodies its very best qualities."
Aedion: "I love you."
Sorrow filled her beautiful face.
Lysandra: "And I you."
She gestured to the western gate, to the soldiers waiting for its final cleaving.
Lysandra: "Until the end?"
Aedion: I will find you again. In whatever life comes after this."
Lysandra: "In every lifetime."
Aedion: "We have to get the gate shut again, or they'll overrun the city before out forces can regroup."
Gavriel: "Then we shall shut them. Together."
The word was more of a question, subtle and sorrowful.
Together. As father and son. As the two warriors they were.
Gavriel - his father. He had come.
And looking at those tawny eyes, Aedion knew it was not for Aelin, or for Terrasen, that his father had done it.
Rowan: "I hope you found peace, my brother. And in the Afterworld, I hope you find her again."
Lysandra: "She - she has no magic left. 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.
Aelin raised her shield, and flames encircled it, too.
Burning bright, burning undaunted. A vision of old, reborn once more.
The cry went down the castle battlements, through the city, along the walls.
The queen had come home at last.
The queen had come to hold the gate.
Aelin sketched a bow to Erawan
Aelin: "We've met a few times, but never as we truly are."
She winked at him. Even as her knees quaked, she winked at him.
Aelin: "Pretty as this form is, Erawan, I think I miss Perrington. Just a little bit."
Maeve's nostrils flared.
But Erawan's eyes slitted in amusement.
Erawan: "Was is fate, you think, that we encountered each other in Rifthold without recognizing the other?"
Aelin made herself shrug
Aelin: "Fate, or luck?"
She gestured to the battlefield, her wrecked city
Aelin: "This is a far grander setting for our final confrontation, don't you think? Far more worthy of us."
Aelin: "I feel sorry for you, you know. That you've now shackled yourself to that immortal bore."
Yrene: "You are my joy."
Chaol: "Go save the world, Yrene."
Aelin: "You should have known better. You, who feared captivity and did all this to avoid it. You should have known better than to trap me. Should have known I'd find a way."
Erawan: I took his name. I wiped it away from existence. Yet he only remembered it once. Only once. The first time he beheld you.
Lorcan: "I think you might be my mate."
Aelin: "Anything to say?"
Lorcan smiled grimly, surveying the Fae and wolf-riders wrecking havoc on the spiders.
Lorcan: "Long live the queen."
Aelin: "You came here to escape a husband you did not love. A world you did not love."
Aelin: "And you love this world. You love Erilea."
Maeve: "Yes. In the way that I can love anything."
Aelin kept her hand outstretched. The unspoken offer in it.
Aelin: "And if I choose to banish you, you will go wherever it is we decide. And never bother us again, or any other."
The queen bowed her head, panting, and took Aelin's outstretched hand.
Aelin drew closed. Just as she slid something onto Maeve's finger.
Aelin: "Then go to hell."
Aelin: "We'll pretend my last words to you were something worthy of a song."
She stopped before the table where Gavriel had been laid.
Aelin: "I wished to wait to offer you the blood oath until after your son had taken it. But I offer it to you now, Gavriel. With honor, and gratitude, I offer you the blood oath."
Her tears plopped onto the blanket covering him, and she wiped one away before drawing her dagger from the sheath at her side. She pulled his arm from beneath the covering.
A flick of the blade had her slicing his palm open. No blood flowed beyond a slight swelling. Yet she waited until a drop slid to the stones. Then she opened up her own arm, dipped her fingers into the blood, and let three drops fall into his mouth.
Aelin: "Let the world know, that you are a male of honor. That you stood by your son, and this kingdom, and helped to save it."
She kissed his cold brow
Aelin: "You are blood-sworn to me. And you shall be buried here as such."
She pulled away, stroking his cheek once.
Aelin: "Thank you."
Manon: "Live, Elide. Live."
Elide waved him off, but Lorcan kissed her
Elide: "What was that for?"
Lorcan: "As me to stay."
Her heart began racing
Lorcan: "Ask me to come to Perranth with you."
Her voice broke, but she managed to say
Elide: "Come to Perranth with me."
Lorcan nodded, as if in answer, and his smile was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Lorcan: "Ask me to marry you."
Elide began crying, even as she laughed.
Elide: "Will you marry me, Lorcan Salvaterre?"
He swept her up into his arms, raining kisses over her face.
Lorcan: "I'll think about it."
Elide laughed, smacking his shoulder. And then laughed again, louder.
Lorcan set her down.
Elide: "I'm just ... I'm Lady of Perranth. If you marry me, you will take my family name."
Elide laughed again.
Elide: "Lord Lorcan Lochan?"
Lorcan blinked at her, the howled.
He swept her up in his arms again, spinning her.
Lorcan: "I'll use it with pride every damned day for the rest of my life. I will marry you, Elide Lochan. And proudly call myself Lord Lorcan Lochan, even when the whole kingdom laughs to hear it."
He kissed her, gently and lovingly.
Lorcan: "And when we are wed, I will bind my life to yours. So we will never know a day apart. Never be alone, ever again."
Elide covered her face with her hands and sobbed, at the heart he offered, at the immortality he was willing to part with for her. For them.
Lorcan: "If you would like that."
Elide slid her arms around his neck, feeling his thundering heartbeat raging against hers, letting his warmth sink into her bones.
Elide: "I would like that more than anything."
Yrene: "You never stop teaching, do you?"
Hafiza: "This is life, Yrene. We never stop learning."
Glennis: "Only together can it be undone. Be the bridge. Be the light."
A bridge between their two peoples, as Manon had become.
A light - as the Thirteen had exploded with light, not darkness, in their final moments.
Petrah: "When iron melts,"
The Thirteen had melted that tower. Melted the Ironteeth within it. And themselves.
Bronwen: "When flowers spring from the fields of blood."
Manon's knees buckled as she stared out at that battlefield. Where countless flowers had been laid atop the blood and ruins where the Thirteen had met their end
Glennis: "Let the land be witness."
The battlefield where the rulers and citizens of so many kingdoms, so many nations, had come to pay tribute. To witness the sacrifice of the Thirteen and honor them.
Silence fell, and Manon whispered, her voice shaking as she held that small, impossibly precious flower in her palm.
Manon: "And return home."
Glennis bowed her head.
Glennis: "And so the curse is broken. And so we shall go home together - as one people."
Aelin: "So there it is."
Nodding toward the dark stain on the balcony stones
Aelin: "Where Erawan met his end at the hands of a healer."
Aelin: "I hope it will wash off."
Aelin: "I mean it. It'll be odious to have his mess there. And I plan to use this balcony to sun myself. He'll ruin it."
Rowan: "If it doesn't wash off, we'll throw a rug over it."
Aedion frowned at the dark stain on the stones.
Aelin: "We're putting a rug over it."
Lysandra: "Something tacky, I hope."
Aelin: "I'm thinking pink and purple. Embroidered with flowers. Just what Erawan would have loved."
Aelin: "Don't you lot have anything worthwhile to contribute? Three of you are ancient as hell, you know. I'd have expected better from cranky old bastards."
Aelin: "I saw you from a distance - once."
Galan: "I'm going to assume it was during your former profession and thank you for not killing me."
Aelin: "Thank you."
They faced her again.
She swallowed, and put a hand over her heart
Aelin: "Thank you for coming when I asked. Thank you on behalf of Terrasen. I am in your debt."
Ansel: "We were in your debt."
Rolfe: "I wasn't."
Aelin flashed him a grin
Aelin: "We're going to have fun, you and I."
She surveyed her allies, worn and battle-weary, but still standing. All of them still standing.
Aelin: "I think we're going to have a great deal of fun."
Darrow: "Rise, Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen."
She swallowed a sob. And slowly, her breathing steady despite the heartbeat that threatened to leap out of her chest, Aelin rose.
Darrow: "Long may she reign."
Aelin: "You said you wanted to swear it before the entire world. Well, here you go."
Dorian: "Go to the wastes. Rebuild. But consider it - coming back. If note to be my crowned rider, then to train them. And to say hello every now and then."
Manon: "It is only a few days by wyvern from the Wastes to Rifthold. I think Bronwen and Petrah will be able to lead if I occasionally slip away. To help the rukhin."
He saw the promise in her eyes, in that hint of a smile. Both of them still grieving, still broken in places, but in this new world of theirs ... perhaps they might heal. Together.
Yrene: "You could just marry each other."
Dorian whipped his head to her, incredulous
Yrene: "It'd make it easier for you both, so you don't need to pretend."
Chaol gaped at his wife.
Yrene: "And be a strong alliance for our two kingdoms."
Dorian knew his face was red when he turned to Manon, apologies and denials on his lips.
But Manon smirked at Yrene, her silver-white hair lifting in the breeze, as if reaching for the united people who would soon soar westward. That smirk softened as she mounted Abraxos and gathered up the reins.
Manon: "We'll see."
Yrene: "We're a long way from Innish."
Aelin: "But lost no longer."
Aelin: "Will you let me cry in bed for the rest of today like a pathetic worm if I promise to get to work on rebuilding tomorrow?"
Rowan arched a brow, joy flowing through him, free and shining as a stream down a mountain.
Rowan: "Would you like me to bring you cakes and chocolate so your wallowing can be complete?"
Aelin: "I'm going to have a terrible headache from all this crying and you're not helping."
Rowan laughed, and kissed her again.
Rowan: "Very queenly."
Aelin: "I am, if anything, the consummate portrait of royal grace."
He chuckled against her mouth
Rowan: "And humility. Let's not forget that."
Aelin: "Oh yes."
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