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“Kestrel's eyes slipped shut. She faded in and out of sleep. When Arin spoke again, she wasn't sure whether he expected her to to hear him.

'I remember sitting with my mother in a carriage.' There was a long pause. Then Arin's voice came again in that slow, fluid way that showed the singer in him. 'In my memory, I am small and sleepy, and she is doing something strange. Every time the carriage turns into the sun, she raises her hand as if reaching for something. The light lines her fingers with fire. Then the carriage passes through shadows, and her hand falls. Again sunlight beams through the window, and again her hand lifts. It becomes and eclipse.'

Kestrel listened, and it was as if the story itself was an eclipse, drawing its darkness over her.

'Just before I fell asleep,' he said, 'I realized that she was shading my eyes from the sun.'

She heard Arin shift, felt him look at her.

'Kestrel.' She imagined how he would sit, lean forward. How he would look in the glow of the carriage lantern. 'Survival isn't wrong. You can sell your honor in small ways, so long as you guard yourself. You can pour a glass of wine like it's meant to be poured, and watch a man drink, and plot your revenge.' Perhaps his head tilted slightly at this. 'You probably plot even in your sleep.'

There was a silence as long as a smile.

'Plot away, Kestrel. Survive. If I hadn't lived, no one would remember my mother, not like I do.'

Kestrel could no longer deny sleep. It pulled her under.

'And I would never have met you.”

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“For once he didn't stop himself. The pressure of song was too strong, the need for distraction too great. Then he found that the music caged behind his closed teeth was the melody Kestrel had played for him months ago. He felt the sensation of it, low and alive on his mouth.

For a moment, he imagine it wasn't the melody that touched his lips, but Kestrel.”

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“I can't - Kestrel, you must understand that I would never claim you. Calling you a prize - my prize - it was only words. But it worked. Cheat won't harm you, I swear that he won't, but you must...hide yourself a little. Help a little. Just tell us how much time we have before the battle. Give him a reason to decide you're not better off dead. Swallow your pride."

"Maybe it's not as easy for me as it is for you."

He wheeled on her. "It's not easy for me," "You know that it's not. What do you think I have had to swallow these past ten years? What do you think I have had to do to survive?"

"Truly," she said, "I haven't the faintest interest. You may tell your sad story to someone else."

He flinched as if slapped. His voice came low: "You can make people feel so small.”

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“He lifted her up onto the table so that her face was level with his, and as they kissed it seemed that words were hiding in the air around them, that they were invisible creatures that feathered against her and Arin, then nudged, and buzzed, and tugged.

Speak, they said.

Speak, the kiss answered.”

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“Arin wondered if she would lift her eyes, but wasn’t worried he would be seen in the garden’s shadows.

He knew the law of such things: people in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark.”

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Extrait ajouté par wicca64 2015-02-17T02:00:30+01:00

"Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

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