Zoya Nazyalensky Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Zoya Nazyalensky. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Most women suffer thorns for the sake of the flowers, but we who wield power adorn ourselves with flowers to hide the sting of our thorns
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Get a message to the Crow Club,” she said. “Tell Kaz Brekker the queen of Ravka has a job for him.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Say something spiteful.” “Why?” she asked faintly. “Because I’m fairly certain I'm hallucinating and in my dreams you're much nicer.” “You're an idiot, Nikolai.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
You are strong enough to survive the fall
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
This is what love does. In the stories, love healed your wounds, fixed what was broken, allowed you to go on. But love wasn’t a spell, some kind of benediction to be whispered, a balm or a cure-all. It was a single, fragile thread, which grew stronger through connection, through shared hardship and trust.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I suppose that's why I love you." His eyes flew open and his face lit in an extraordinary grin. "All Saints, say it again." "I will not." "You must." "I'm the queen. I must do nothing but please myself." "Would it please you to kiss me?
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I would give you a crown if I could," he said. "I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn." He reached into his pocket. "And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
You do realize you just referred to yourself as the queen. That means you agreed." "I am going to kill you." "So long as you kiss me again before you do.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
He had wanted her for so long that it seemed impossible he should actually have her beside him every day, that he might lay down beside her every night. Not impossible, he supposed. Just improbable.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I would make you my queen because I want you. I want you all the time.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I will always seek to make it summer for you.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I will kneel to only one ruler, and I will se only one person crowned this say. The age of the Lanstovs is over." He sank to one knee. "Let the Nazyalensky dynasty begin. All hail the Dragon Queen.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
He knew what Zoya would say: You are owed nothing. Steel is earned. Remember who you are.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Don’t go,” he said, still half asleep. “I have to bathe. I smell like a forest fire.” “You smell like wildflowers. You always do. What can I say to make you stay?” His words trailed off into a drowsy mumble as he fell back asleep. Tell me it’s more than war and worry that makes you speak those words. Tell me what they would mean if you weren’t a king and I weren’t a soldier.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
None of this had been fated; none of it foretold. There had been no prophecies of a demon king or a dragon queen, a one-eyed Tailor, Heartrender twins. They were just the people who had shown up and managed to survive. But maybe that was the trick of it: to survive, to dare to stay alive, to forge your own hope when all hope had run out.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
And if...if I wished for more?" She felt his fingers on her chin, turning her head. There was an unwanted ache in her throat. Zoya forced herself to meet his gaze. In this light, his hazel eyes looked almost golden. "Then I would gladly be your prince, your consort, your demon fool.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Only he looked to the stars and demanded more.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
That squash is as wide as I am tall, " Nikolai said beneath his breath as he smiled and waved. "And twice as handsome. " "Half as handsome," he protested. "Ah, " said Zoya, "but the squash doesn't talk.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Sorry,” I mumbled. “Maybe you’re hungry,” said Zoya. “I always get mean when I’m hungry.” “Are you hungry all the time?” asked Harshaw. “You haven’t seen me mean. When you do, you’ll require a very big hanky.” He snorted. “To dry my tears?” “To stanch the bleeding.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
Has she at least done it before?" said Kaz. "For this purpose?" asked Sturmhond. "I've seen her do it twice. It worked splendidly. Once".
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Alina nodded. "The real question is how you're going to outdo this gown for the royal wedding." "Don't get ahead of yourself," Zoya said. "Nikolai hasn't asked." "Can you blame him?" Genya said. "He hasn't had much luck with proposals." Alina snorted. "Maybe he should have offered me a dynasty and not a piddly little emerald.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
My king lies bleeding. I am his subject and his soldier, and I come to fight for him.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
If he gets any more charming, men and women may start lying down in the street for the privilege of being stepped on by the new Ravkan King.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
She brushed the hair back from his face, placed a kiss on his forehead. "I would stay forever if I could", she whispered.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Do you read novels?" "I read when I have time." "So, no." "I read when I can't sleep." "So, regularly then.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Toss him over,” Zoya said. “Break his heart cruelly. I will gladly give our poor prince comfort, and I would make a magnificent queen.” I laughed. “You actually might, Zoya. If you could stop being horrible for a minute.” “With that kind of incentive, I can manage a minute. Possibly two.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
I will put a bullet in your brain before I let that happen, Nikolai." "My ruthless Zoya, I'll load the gun myself.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Who would speak for Lilyana, for Genya and Alina and Baghra if she did not? Who will speak for me?
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I believe in all kinds of things. Ghosts. Gnomes. True love.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
He would not beg Zoya to stay. It was not in his nature to plead with anyone, and that was not the pact they shared. They did not look to each other for comfort. They kept each other marching. They kept each other strong. So he would not find another excuse to get her talking again. He would not tell her he was afraid to be left alone with the thing he might become, and he would not ask her to leave the lamp burning, a child's bit of magic to ward off the dark. But he was relieved when she did it anyway.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I am Zoya Nazyalensky and I am getting truly sick of the cocktail party in my head, you old lizard.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
You should have said yes, she thought for the hundredth time. You should have told him you love him.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I’ll call it a victory.” “Then enjoy it,” Tolya said, climbing atop his huge gelding. “People only say that when they know it won’t last.” “Of course it won’t last,” said Zoya. “What does?” “True love?” suggested Tamar. “Great art?” said Tolya. “A proper grudge,” replied Zoya
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Blessing and curse are different words for the same thing.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I think fatigue suits you, Zoya. The pallor. The shadows beneath your eyes. You look like a heroine in a novel. " "I look like a woman about to step on your foot. " "Now, now. You're managing remarkably well. And the smiling hasn't killed you yet." "Yet.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
What if I say I can't bear to lose you?" A smile tugged at her lips. "I'd say you're a liar. That claims like that belong to romantic ninnies." She raised her hand and let her fingertips trace the line of his beautiful jaw. He closed his eyes. "We would go on, you and I. If I couldn't be queen, you would find a way to win this battle and save this country. You would make a sheltering place for my people. You would march an bleed and crack terrible jokes until you had done all you said you would. I suppose that's why I love you.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Because you are strong enough to survive the fall.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Zoya stared up at Nina in wonder. “You’re alive,” she said. Her gaze slid to Matthias, thrashing like the biggest, angriest butterfly ever pinned to a page. “And you’ve made a new friend.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I'm not the queen Ravka needs. "And if you're the queen I want?
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
If this stains my teeth orange—” said Zoya. “It will,” interrupted Genya, “but I promise to put your teeth back whiter than they were before. I may even fix those weird incisors of yours.” “There is nothing wrong with my teeth.” “Not at all,” said Genya soothingly. “You’re the prettiest walrus I know. I’m just amazed you haven’t sawed through your lower lip.” “Keep your hands off me, Tailor,” Zoya grumbled, “or I’ll poke your other eye out.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
You are strong enough to survive the fall. They were plummeting toward the sea. Zoya felt Genya’s arms around her, Liliyana holding her tight. She felt Nikolai’s presence beside her and Juris’ sword in her hands. With a wild, gasping breath, she felt her wings unfurl.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Only one person can unite this country and bring peace to our nations. Soldier, Summoner, and Saint.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
It's only my loyalty to the king that keeps me from pulling the air from your chest and crushing your lungs like hollow gourds. " "I've seen her do it, " said Nikolai. "Makes a funny sound. " "Kind of a pop? said Tamar. " Wetter, " Nikolai said. "More of a squelch.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I would choose you Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
But lately it felt hard not to be known, like keeping herself together was all the more difficult without someone to see who she truly was.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I'm sorry we don't visit more often. There's a war on and, well, no one likes you." The Darkling touched a hand to his chest. "You wound me." "All in good time," said Zoya.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
We're not helpless. Novels are full of ragtag bands facing impossible odds.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
War can make it hard to remember who we are.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
They said she was cruel because she’d been harmed in the past. They claimed she was cold because she just hadn’t met the right fellow to warm her. Anything to soften her edges and sweeten her disposition—and what was the fun in that? Zoya’s company was like strong drink. Bracing— and best to abstain if you couldn’t handle the kick.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I can't do this," Genya whispered. Her face was swollen from crying. Her vibrant hair lay limp down her back. "You don't have to do anything," Zoya said. "Just be here. Stay standing." "Not even that." "I've got you. I won't let you fall.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Kirigin cleared his throat. "It's of no matter to me. I just wondered if I should have that cordial she likes waiting. Is Commander Nazalensky well? " "Pretty as a picture and brimming with spite." "She is lovely, isn't she?" said Kirigin dreamily....
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
As your general, I should tell you that would be a terrible decision." [...] "As your king, I should tell you that no one could dissuade me. No prince and no power could make me stop wanting you. [...] I would give you a crown if I could, I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
He nudged his broadsword with one hand. "Zoya of the lost city. Zoya of the garden. Zoya bleeding in the snow. You are strong enough to survive the fall.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
This time I saved you. This time, I got it right.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
The secret... I suppose the secret is that I cannot stand being alone. But there are some places no one can go with us.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I need to go to him,” Genya whispered. “One last time.” She had pulled a notebook from her pocket, the pages held open. It took Zoya a moment to understand what it was. She glimpsed a few words in David’s scrawl: Ideas for compliments—hair (color, texture), smile (causes and effects), talents (tailoring, tonics, sense of style—inquire on “style”), teeth? size of feet? “His journal,” Zoya said. Where David had written down all his little reminders for how to make Genya happy.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
True,” said Nikolai. “But they know what you are too, Sankta Zoya.” “Do not call me that.” “It has a nice ring to it,” said Tamar. “Our Lady of Dragonfire?” Suggested Nadia. “Sweet scaly vengeance?” Said Genya. Zoya turned her back on all of them and strode towards the tents. “I’m going to go live in a cave.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Then you'll be branches without blossoms,' he whispered against her hair. 'And you let the rest of us be strong until the summer comes.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
These people did not deserve her tears, only her anger.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I know the pain is bad,” said Elizaveta as she drifted through the thicket. “But the thorns will keep you from forcing the darkness to recede.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I am a soldier, I've been a soldier since I was a child. Would you have a girl who has spent her life down in the trenches of battle wear a crown? Would you have a soldier queen? I am a Squaller, a Grisha. Some of our enemies will call me a witch. And some of our own people will agree. Will you have a Grisha queen? My father's name was Suhm Nabri, and I am his only daughter. Will you have a Suli queen?
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
„Of course it won't last,” said Zoya. „What does?” „True love?” suggested Tamar. „Great art?” said Tolya. „A proper grudge,” replied Zoya.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
You look absurd in that outfit." "Absurdly dashing, I agree.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Zoya, the grouse we caught need cleaning." She stared at him and didn’t budge. He rolled his eyes. "All right, they need cleaning by someone else. Please go find somebody to order around." "My pleasure.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
Are you thinking of killing me, Zoya?" "Yes." "Your king wouldn't be pleased." "I'm not going to do it," she lied. "I just enjoy thinking about it. It's soothing, like humming myself a little melody.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
„Pilgrims came through only a day ago,” said Zoya. „Followers of the Starless One. They claim this is punishment for the reign of a faithless king.” „How unfair. I have plenty of faith,” Nikolai objected. Tolya raised a brow. „In what?” „Good engineering and better whiskey.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Zoya said. “I need Sturmhond to take a message to Ketterdam for me.” “I hear he’s very busy these days.” “I think he’ll appreciate the reward.” He lowered his voice. “If it involves you out of that dress, I have no doubt I can convince him.” “You won’t stop until you’ve created a scandal, will you?” “The demon made me do it.
Leigh Burdugo
Fear is a phoenix... You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
You will wed a Taban sister who craves a crown," she said. "Or a wealthy Kerch girl, or maybe a Fjerdan royal. You will have heirs and a future. I'm not the queen Ravka needs.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
How? How do you survive a world that keeps taking?
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Did you sleep?" she asked. "Of course not. Someday we'll see an end to war, and then you and I will take a nap together." "Is that your idea of seduction?" "These days? Yes." "I'll be honest- it's incredibly compelling.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I hope you’re all enjoying yourselves.” Tamar hooked a scarf over Nadia’s neck and drew her in for a kiss. “Oh, for Saints’ sake,” complained Zoya. “Is everyone pairing up now?” Genya snickered. “Take heart. I’ve seen Stigg casting mournful glances your way.” “He’s Fjerdan,” Zoya said. “That’s the only kind of glance he has. And I can arrange my own assignations, thank you very much.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
Who enforces the laws?" Zoya asked softly. "Rich men. Rich men who do what they wish. Power doesn't make a man wise." "I'm proof enough of that." "You're occasionally a useless podge. But you're a good man, Nikolai, and a good king.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Turns out the easiest way to schedule a meeting is to get arrested," said Zoya.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
I'm not the queen Ravka need. "And if you're the queen I want?
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Mati en sheva yelu. This action will have no echo.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
They’d been told they would be meeting with only two members of the Triumvirate, but three people stood by the pool. Jesper knew the one-eyed girl in the red-and-blue kefta must be Genya Safin, and that meant the shockingly gorgeous girl with the thick fall of ebony hair was Zoya Nazyalensky. They were accompanied by a fox-faced man in his twenties wearing a teal frock coat, brown leather gloves, and an impressive set of Zemeni revolvers slung around his hips. If these people were what Ravka had to offer, maybe Jesper should consider a visit.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
She keeps that haughty look, but her shoulders stiffen and she has to work a bit harder to lift her perfect nose in the air. I know I shouldn’t enjoy her misery as much as I do. I also shouldn’t have a second buttered roll with my breakfast every morning, but sometimes one must indulge.
Leigh Bardugo (The Tailor (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1.5))
Nikolai winked at her. "If I had anyone but Genya Safin in charge, I might be worried." Zoya rolled her eyes. "She doesn't need your flattery. She already thinks enough of herself." "Let him go on," said Genya. "David never gives me pretty compliments." "Don't I?" asked David. He patted his pocket absently. "I have the list of your good qualities you gave me somewhere." "You see what I endure?
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
None of this had been fated; none of it foretold. There had been no prophecies of a demon kind or a dragon queen, a one-eyed Tailor, Heartrender twins. They were just the people who had shown up and managed to survive. But maybe that was the trick of it: to survive, to dare to stay alive, to forge your own hope when all hope had run out. For the survivors then, Zoya whispered to herself as the people before her knelt and chanted her name. And for the lost.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
One eternity is enough. I want to walk the world once more. Return to the shores of my homeland. Maybe fall in love again. I want to swim in the sea and lie in the sun. I want to age and die and pass into realms I have never explored.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Inej nodded. “I gave your letter to the guard at the door, and it did the trick. They brought me directly to two members of the Triumvirate.” “Who did you meet with?” said Kaz. “Genya Safin and Zoya Nazyalensky.” Wylan sat forward. “The Tailor? She’s at the embassy?” Kaz raised a brow. “What an interesting fact to forget to mention, Nina.” “It wasn’t relevant at the time.” “Of course it’s relevant!” Wylan said angrily. Jesper was a little surprised. Wylan hadn’t seemed to mind wearing Kuwei’s features at first. He’d almost seemed to welcome the distance it gave him from his father. But that had been before they’d gone to Saint Hilde. And before Jesper had kissed Kuwei.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Because I am greedy for the sight of you. Because the prospect of facing this war, this loss, without you fills me with fear. Because I find I don't want to fight for a future if I can't find a way to make a future with you. But he was a king and she was his general and he could say none of those things.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
He buried his face in her hair, inhaling deeply. "How is it I smell like goose shit and cheap whiskey, and you smell like you just ran through a meadow of wildflowers?" "Ruthlessness." He breathed in again. "What is that scent? It reminds me of something, but I can't place what." "The last child you tried to eat?" "That must be it.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
She had been Zoya’s teacher, feared and beloved, powerful beyond measure. “I watched her throw herself from a mountaintop. She sacrificed herself to stop you. Was that her martyrdom?” The Darkling said nothing. Zoya couldn’t stop herself. “Grigori was eaten by a bear. Elizaveta was drawn and quartered. Still, they returned. There are stories whispered in the Elbjen mountains of the Dark Mother. She crowds in when the nights grow long. She steals the heat from kitchen fires.” “Liar.” “Maybe. We all have stories to tell.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
That first winter, when it was time for her friends to leave, the girl ventured out into the snow to say goodbye, and the stunning raven-haired Squaller handed her another gift. “A blue kefta,” said the math teacher, shaking her head. “What would she do with that?” “Maybe she knew a Grisha who died,” replied the cook, taking note of the tears that filled the girl’s eyes. They did not see the note that read, You will always be one of us.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
But whether Nikolai lived or died this day, there would be no Sainthood for the Darkling. He would have to find some other way to appease the monk. Yuri was a boy in search of a cause, and that at least was something Nikolai could understand. He turned to Zoya. “You have the order? If the monster takes me—” “I know what to do.” “You needn’t sound quite so eager.” To his surprise, Zoya seized his hand. “Come back,” she said. “Promise you’ll come back to us.” Because he was most likely about to die, he let himself cup his hand briefly to her extraordinary face. Her skin felt cool against his fingers. “Of course I’ll come back,” he said. “I don’t trust anyone else to deliver my eulogy.” A smile curled her lips. “You’ve written it already?” “It’s very good. You’d be surprised how many synonyms there are for handsome.” Zoya closed her eyes. She turned her face, letting her cheek rest against his palm. “Nikolai—
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
Don’t go.” He shut his eyes and gripped her hand in his. Zoya knew the Healer had noticed it, knew he would probably gossip about it later. But she could weather the gossip. Saints knew she’d endured worse. And maybe she needed to feel his hand in hers after the shock of what they’d witnessed. She couldn’t stop seeing those women burn. “You shouldn’t be here for this,” said the Healer. “It’s an ugly process.” “I’m not going anywhere.” The Healer flinched and Zoya wondered if the dragon had emerged, shining silver in her eyes. Let him gossip about that too. Nikolai clung to her hand as the Healer stripped the ruined flesh from his arm. Only then could it be replaced with healthy skin. It seemed to take hours, first one arm, then the other. Whenever Zoya left the king’s side—to fetch a cool cloth for his head, to turn up the lanterns so that the Healer had better light—Nikolai would open his eyes and mutter, “Where is my general?” “I’m here,” she repeated, again and again.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Ravka might fall. The Grisha and the Second Army might scatter. But the world would be safe from Elizaveta and the Starless One. She thought of the cubs in the snow, of Liliyana shelling hazelnuts by the fire, of the Hall of the Golden Dome back at the Little Palace, crowded with Grisha, laughter echoing off its walls before the Darkling attacked. She thought of Nikolai facing the demon, the thorn like a dagger in his hands. This time I saved you, she thought as she collapsed. This time, I got it right.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
This was where Zoya had been seen sneaking off to all those nights—not to a lover, but to this monument to grief. This was where she had shed her tears, away from curious eyes, where no one could see her armor fall. And here, the Grisha might live forever, every friend lost, every soldier gone. “I know what I did is unforgivable,” she said. Nikolai blinked, confused. “No doubt you deserve to be punished for your crimes … but for what precisely?” She cast him a baleful look. “I lost our most valuable prisoner. I’ve allowed our most deadly enemy to regain his powers and … run amok.” “‘Amok’ seems an overstatement. Wild, perhaps.” “Don’t pretend to shrug this off. You’ve barely looked at me since I returned.” Because I am greedy for the sight of you. Because the prospect of facing this war, this loss, without you fills me with fear. Because I find I don’t want to fight for a future if I can’t find a way to make a future with you. But he was a king and she was his general and he could say none of those things.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Dusk had fallen. Outside the lanterns in the garden were being lit, a string of stars strewn across the grounds. She had missed this room, who Nikolai became in this room, the man who for a moment might let the mantle of king fall away, who trusted her enough to close his eyes and fall in to dreams as she stood watch. She needed to get back to the Little Palace, check on Princess Ehri, talk to Tamar, forge a plan. But this might be the last time she saw him this way. At last she rose and turned down the lights. "Don't go," he said, still half asleep. "I have to bathe. I smell like a forest fire." "You smell like wildflowers. You always do. What can I say to make you stay?" His words trailed off in to a drowsy mumble as he fell back asleep. Tell me it's more than war and worry that makes you speak those words. Tell me what they would mean if you weren't a king and I weren't a soldier. But she didn't want to hear any of that, not really. Sweet words and grand declarations were for other people, other lives. She brushed the hair back from his face, planted a kiss on his forehead. "I would stay forever if I could," she whispered. He wouldn't remember anyway.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I relied on him to find answers I couldn’t, to blaze a path when I found myself lost. David saw things no one else did. He saw through the world to the mysteries on the other side. I know that he’s gone on to solve those mysteries.” A faint smile touched Nikolai’s lips. “I can see him in some great library, already lost in his work, head bent to some new problem, making the unknown known. When I enter the laboratory, when I wake in the night with a new idea, I will miss him…” His voice broke. “I miss him now. May the Saints receive him on a brighter shore.” “May the Saints receive him,” the crowd murmured. But David hadn’t believed in Saints. He’d believed in the Small Science. He’d believed in a world ordered by facts and logic. What do you believe? Zoya didn’t know. She believed in Ravka, in her king, in the chance that she could be a part of something better than herself. But maybe she didn’t deserve that. All eyes had turned to Genya now. She was David’s wife, his friend, his compatriot. She was expected to speak. Genya stood straighter, lifted her chin. “I loved him,” she said, her body still trembling as if it had been torn apart and hastily stitched back together. “I loved him and he loved me. When I was … when no one could reach me … he saw me. He…” Genya turned her head to Zoya’s shoulder and sobbed. “I loved him and he loved me.” Was there any greater gift than that? Any more unlikely discovery in this world? “I know,” said Zoya. “He loved you more than anything.” The dragon’s eye had opened and Zoya felt that love, the enormity of what Genya had lost. It was too much to endure knowing she could do nothing to erase that pain
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
Your heart is in your eyes, Your Highness,” murmured Tamar, wiping the sweat from her brow. Tolya poked his twin in the arm with a sparring sword. “Tamar knows because that’s the way she looks at her wife.” “I am free to look at my wife any which way I please.” “But Zoya is not Nikolai’s wife.” “I’m standing right here,” said Nikolai. “And there is nothing in my eyes except the never-ending dust you two kick up.” He was glad to see his general. There was nothing out of the ordinary about that. Her presence brought a perfectly understandable relief, a feeling of calm that came with knowing that whatever the problem was, they would best it, that if one of them faltered, the other would be there to drag them along. That comfort was not something he could afford to get used to or rely on, but he would enjoy it while he might. If only she weren’t wearing that damned blue ribbon again.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
For a life of the kind you and I have never known and will never know— quiet, peace, the surety of love.” “There is nothing sure about love. Do you think love will protect you when the Fjerdans come to capture the Stormwitch?” She didn’t. But maybe she wanted to believe there was more to life than fear and being feared. She yanked down the shade and tapped the roof. The coach travelled on, up the cramped cart track in slow switchbacks. At last, they rattled to a stop. “Stay here,” she said, hooking his shackles to the seat. She descended from the coach, closing the door behind her. Mal and Alina stood on the sanatorium’s stairs, but when Alina saw Zoya, she smiled and raced down the steps with arms open. Zoya blinked away an embarrassing prickle of tears. She hadn’t known how Alina might greet her, given the circumstances. She let herself be hugged. As always, Ravka’s Saint smelled of paint and pine. “Is he in there?” Alina asked. “He is.” “You bring me the worst gifts.” The tabby had returned from its sojourn and was twining through Misha’s legs. It padded over to Zoya. “Hello, Oncat,” she murmured, hefting the cat into her arms and feeling the comforting rumble of its purr.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I’m coming with you,” said Zoya. Nikolai cast her a long look. “I’m all for reckless choices, Zoya, but this is a delicate matter. You will have to bite your tongue.” “Until it bleeds.” She wanted a closer look at the people gilding the Darkling’s memory. She wanted to remember each of their faces. The gate rose and a hush descended as the king rode out of the city and into the crowd. The pilgrims might not care for Ravka’s young ruler, but there were plenty of people who had come to the capital on other businesses, to trade or visit the lower town. To them, Nikolai Lantsov was not just a king or a war hero. He was the man who had restored order after the chaos of the civil war, who had granted them years of peace, who had promised them prosperity and worked to see it done. They went to their knees. Re’b Ravka, they shouted. Korol Rezni. Son of Ravka. King of Scars.
Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars (King of Scars, #1))
I would give you a crown if I could,” he said. “I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn.” He reached into his pocket. “And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day.” She reached out, her fingers hovering over the coil of blue velvet ribbon resting in his palm. Then she pulled back her hand, cradling her fingers as if they’d been singed. “You will wed a Taban sister who craves a crown,” she said. “Or a wealthy Kerch girl, or maybe a Fjerdan royal. You will have heirs and a future. I’m not the queen Ravka needs.” “And if you’re the queen I want?” She shut her eyes. “There’s a story my aunt told me a very long time ago. I can’t remember all of it, but I remember the way she described the hero: ‘He had a golden spirit.’ I loved those words. I made her read them again and again. When I was a little girl, I thought I had a golden spirit too, that it would light everything it touched, that it would make me beloved like a hero in a story.” She sat up, drew her knees in, wrapped her arms around them as if she could make a shelter of her own body. He wanted to pull her back down beside him and press his mouth to hers. He wanted her to look at him again with possibility in her eyes. “But that’s not who I am. Whatever is inside me is sharp and gray as the thorn wood.” She rose and dusted off her kefta. “I wasn’t born to be a bride. I was made to be a weapon.” Nikolai forced himself to smile. It wasn’t as if he’d offered her a real proposal. They both knew such a thing was impossible. And yet her refusal smarted just as badly as if he’d gotten on his knee and offered her his hand like some kind of besotted fool. It stung. All Saints, it stung. “Well,” he said cheerfully, pushing up onto his elbows and looking up at her with all the wry humor he could muster. “Weapons are good to have around too. Far more useful than brides and less likely to mope about the palace. But if you won’t rule Ravka by my side, what does the future hold, General?” Zoya opened the door to the cargo hold. Light flooded in, gilding her features when she looked back at him. “I’ll fight on beside you. As your general. As your friend. Because whatever my failings, I know this: You are the king Ravka needs.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
It's all prickles and spines and anger, covered in pretty, useless blossoms and fruit too bitter to eat. There is nothing in it worth loving." "How wrong you are." Zoya's gaze snapped to his, her eyes flashing silver- dragon's eyes. "Am I?" "Look at the way it grows, protecting everything within these walls, stronger than anything else in the garden, weathering every season. No matter the winter it endures, it blooms again and again." "What if the winter is just too long and hard? What if it can't bloom again?" He was afraid to reach for her, but he did it anyway. He took her gloved hand in his. She didn't pull away but folded in to him like a flower closing its petals at nightfall. He wrapped his arm around her. Zoya seemed to hesitate, and then with a soft breath, she let herself lean against him. Zoya the deadly. Zoya the ferocious. The weight of her against him like a benediction. He had been strong for his country, his soldiers, his friends. It meant something different to be strong for her. "Then you'll be branches without blossom," he whispered against her hair. "And you'll let the rest of us be strong until the summer comes." "It wasn't a metaphor." "Of course it wasn't.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))
I would choose you." The words were out before he thought better of them, and there was no way to pull them back. Silence stretched between them. Perhaps the floor will open and I'll plummet to my death, he thought hopefully. "As your general?" Her voice careful. She was offering him a chance to right the ship, to take them back to familiar waters. And a fine general you are. There could be no better leader. You may be prickly, but that what Ravka needs. So many easy replies. Instead he said, "As my queen." He couldn't read her expression. Was she pleased? Embarrassed? Angry? Every cell in his body screamed for him to crack a joke, to free both of them from the peril of the moment. But he wouldn't. He was still a privateer, and he'd come too far. "Because I'm a dependable soldier," she said, but she didn't sound sure. It was the same cautious, tentative voice, the voice of someone waiting for a punch line, or maybe a blow. "Because I know all of your secrets." "I do trust you more than myself sometimes- and I think very highly of myself." Hadn't she said there was no one else she'd choose to have her back in a fight? But that isn't the whole truth, is it, you great cowardly lump. To hell with it. They might all die soon enough. They were safe here in the dark, surrounded by the hum of engines. "I would make you my queen because I want you. I want you all the time." She rolled on to her side, resting her head on her folded arm. A small movement, but he could feel her breath now. His heart was racing. "As your general, I should tell you that would be a terrible decision." He turned on to his side. They were facing each other now. "As your king, I should tell you that no one could dissuade me. No prince and no power could make me stop wanting you." Nikolai felt drunk. Maybe unleashing the demon had loosed something in his brain. She was going to laugh at him. She would knock him senseless and tell him he had no right. But he couldn't seem to stop. "I would give you a crown if I could," he said. "I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn." He reached in to his pocket. "And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day." She reached out, her fingers hovering over the coil of blue velvet ribbon resting in his palm. Then she pulled back her hand, cradling her fingers as if they'd been singed. "You will wed a Taban sister who craves a crown," she said. "Or a wealthy Kerch girl, or maybe a Fjerdan royal. You will have heirs and a future. I'm not the queen Ravka needs." "And if you're the queen I want?" ... She sat up, drew her knees in, wrapped her arms around them as if she would make a shelter of her own body. He wanted to pull her back down beside him and press his mouth to hers. He wanted her to look at him again with possibility in her eyes. "But that's not who I am. Whatever is inside me is sharp and gray as the thorn wood." She rose and dusted off her kefta. "I wasn't born to be a bride. I was made to be a weapon." Nikolai forced himself to smile. It wasn't as if he'd offered her a real proposal. They both knew such a thing was impossible. And yet her refusal smarted just as badly as if he'd gotten on his knee and offered her his hand like some kind of besotted fool. It stung. All saints, it stung. "Well," he said cheerfully, pushing up on his elbows and looking up at her with all the wry humour he could muster. "Weapons are good to have around too. Far more useful than brides and less likely to mope about the palace. But if you won't rule Ravka by my side, what does the future hold, General?" Zoya opened the door to the Cargo hold. Light flooded in gilding her features when she looked back at him. "I'll fight on beside you. As your general. As your friend. Because whatever my failings, I know this. You are the king Ravka needs.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))