Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone

by

Tomi Adeyemi

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King Saran Character Analysis

The iron-fisted ruler of Orïsha, King Saran carried out the deadly Raid against the divîner people and continues to do everything in his power to destroy all traces of magic in the kingdom. He even murders his daughter’s servant and only friend, Binta, when he discovers that she can do magic. He is obsessed with making sure his family is physically strong enough to protect themselves, and forces his children, Amari and Inan, to fight each other with real swords. He only cares about Admiral Kaea, who also despises magic and is comfortable with violence. Amari eventually murders Saran when she realizes the extent of his cruelty and bloodthirstiness.

King Saran Quotes in Children of Blood and Bone

The Children of Blood and Bone quotes below are all either spoken by King Saran or refer to King Saran. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Henry Holt and Co. edition of Children of Blood and Bone published in 2018.
Chapter Twenty-Four Quotes

Growing up, Father led me to believe that those who clung to the myth of the gods were weak. They relied on beings they could never see, dedicating their lives to faceless entities.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), King Saran
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Thirty-Four Quotes

I don’t know what disturbs me more: that I killed him, or that I could do it again. Strike, Amari. A thin whisper of father’s voice plays in my ears.

Related Characters: Amari (speaker), King Saran
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Thirty-Six Quotes

“Those are Father’s words, Inan. His decisions. Not yours. We are our own people. We make our own choices.”

“But he’s right. Inan’s voice cracks. “If we don’t stop magic, Orïsha will fall.”

Related Characters: Amari (speaker), Inan (speaker), King Saran
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Thirty-Nine Quotes

Zélie’s memories don’t hold the villains Father always warned of. Only families he tore apart. Duty before self. His creed rings through my ears. My father. Her king. The harbinger of all this suffering.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran
Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Forty-Seven Quotes

This pawn was the only piece I managed to salvage. Shame ripples through me as I stare at the tarnished metal. The only gift he’s ever given me, and at its core is hate.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran
Related Symbols: Majacite Pawn
Page Number: 324
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fifty-Four Quotes

A pit of guilt opens in my chest, tainted with the smell of burning flesh. The fires I watched from the royal palace resurface, the innocent lives burned before my young eyes. A memory I’ve pushed down like my magic, a day I longed to forget. But staring at Zélie now brings it all back: the pain. The tears. The death.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran
Page Number: 364
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixty-Three Quotes

“I thought things could be different. I wanted them to be different. But after what we just saw, we have no choice. We can’t give people that kind of power.”

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran, Kwame
Page Number: 412
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixty-Six Quotes

In that instant it hits me: Zulaikha’s death. Zélie’s screams. They don’t mean a thing to him. Because they’re maji, they’re nothing. He preaches duty before self, but his Orïsha doesn’t include them. It never has.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran
Page Number: 432
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixty-Eight Quotes

Binta’s voice rings loud. The sight of her blood fills my head. I can avenge her now. I can cut Father down. While the maji take out the guards, my sword can free Father of his head. Retribution for all his massacres, every poor soul he ever killed […].

Related Characters: Amari (speaker), Binta, King Saran
Page Number: 443
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventy-Four Quotes

I stare at the blade; the inscription gleams in the moonlight. Its words simplify my mission, creating space for my pain. A soldier. A great king. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. Duty over self. Orïsha over Zélie.

Related Characters: Inan (speaker), Zélie, King Saran
Page Number: 476
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventy-Nine Quotes

As I approach Inan, Baba’s shaking grows frantic. I can’t let him break my resolve. I don’t want them to win, Baba. But I can’t let you die.

Related Characters: Zélie (speaker), Inan, King Saran, Baba
Page Number: 499
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eighty Quotes

As long as we don’t have magic, they will never treat us with respect, Baba’s spirit booms. They need to know we can hit them back. If they burn our homes—I burn theirs, too.

Related Characters: Zélie (speaker), King Saran, Baba
Page Number: 503
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eighty-Three Quotes

I cannot end it like this. If I do that, I’m no better than him. Orïsha will not survive by employing his tactics. Father must be taken down, but it is too much to drive my sword through his heart—Father pulls back his blade. Momentum carries me forward. Before I can pivot, Father swings his sword around and the blade rips across my back.

Related Characters: Amari (speaker), Inan, King Saran
Page Number: 513
Explanation and Analysis:
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Children of Blood and Bone PDF

King Saran Character Timeline in Children of Blood and Bone

The timeline below shows where the character King Saran appears in Children of Blood and Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
...maji suddenly lost their power eleven years ago. On that day, known as the Raid, King Saran took over, and Zélie’s mother was taken. Although they no longer have magic, those... (full context)
Chapter Three
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
...warns Amari that Binta, a divîner servant and Amari’s only friend, was escorted to Amari’s father, King Saran. (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
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Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
Worried that Binta may be in trouble with her father, King Saran, Amari excuses herself from the room and sneaks into a hiding spot in... (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
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Suddenly, King Saran stabs Binta in the chest with his sword, killing her instantly. Amari runs out... (full context)
Chapter Six
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Inan heads inside to face his father, King Saran, preparing for his wrath. He is intercepted by his mother, who pulls him... (full context)
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Inan suddenly remembers Zélie’s face, and feels a sensation like electricity under his skin. The King orders Inan’s mother to leave, and she does so. Both she and Inan fear that... (full context)
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Inan braces himself for punishment. Instead, King Saran tells him that he knows only Inan can catch the fugitive. He reveals the... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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Inan is shocked that Amari is the fugitive who took the scroll. King Saran says that in the past, his own father tried to be fair to the... (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Heeding these warnings, Saran began to use the alloy majacite, a special metal that burns magic users. But it... (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
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...shocked: shocked to find that the gods are real, and shocked to discover that his father was able to take magic away. He asks why Saran still killed so many in... (full context)
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Saran says that Inan must go with Admiral Kaea, his second in command, to find Amari.... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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...only their home in flames, she assumes the worst. When she thinks her brother and father have perished, she tries to drag Amari into the flames so that King Saran, too,... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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...horribly awry. He watches as villagers weep among the ruins and corpses. Thinking of his father, King Saran, he repeats to himself, “Duty before self.” He must put the safety of... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
...raid. Zélie says yes. Amari begins to apologize, saying she understands why Zélie hates her father, King Saran, and, by extension, her. Zélie feels herself softening towards Amari, but fights it. (full context)
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Zélie asks Amari about her scar. Amari reveals that Saran forced her and Inan to fight with real swords to make them stronger, because his... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
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Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
...vision she saw outside—of Chândomblé full of other people. Amari realizes with horror that her father, Saran, destroyed this place, filling her with shame. Moved by Zélie’s words, the man removes... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
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Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...and the bone dagger must be carried to a sacred temple for the binding ritual. King Saran found out about the ritual and slaughtered the sêntaros before carrying out the Raid,... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Inan has a vivid memory of Saran telling him to fight Amari. Amari refused to raise her sword, which Saran took as... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
...witnessed magic for the first time, Inan stands shocked. He feels that he finally understands Saran. He knows Orïsha cannot survive if that kind of power exists—but, he also thinks he... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
...privileged life in the palace, where she sipped tea while others suffered deeply. She sees King Saran’s royal seal etched into the wall, depicting a snow leopanaire. (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Four
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Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
...enters the room decorated with murals of the gods and is shocked by their beauty. Saran always said that the gods were weak and immaterial, but here they appear beautiful and... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Six
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...fights it back. He must focus on his mission. He looks at the sênet pawn Saran gave him, a reminder to stay focused and kill Zélie. (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
...summon her to the dream space. Zélie taunts him, asking if he’s proud that his father, the king, destroyed Chândomblé. He fights back the shame he feels, reminding himself, “duty before... (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
...Amari. Inan, she says, is a liability. She must force him to return to the King, because it is her duty. (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...Her hair is full of turquoise crystals, a mark of Inan’s magic. Inan knows his father will never forgive him now. (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Eight
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...There are three times as many boats as the day before. She wonders if her father, King Saran, knows or cares about these brutal games. (full context)
Chapter Thirty
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Amari is frozen in the chaos. Even though her father trained her to fight, she feels motionless and weak. As Amari cowers, Tzain blocks an... (full context)
Chapter Thirty-Four
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...an imposter. She is disturbed by the fact that she killed someone, an echo of King Saran’s commands. (full context)
Chapter Thirty-Six
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...She says that they won’t hurt each other, and that fear of magic is their father’s burden, not theirs. She says that they can make their own decisions for themselves, as... (full context)
Chapter Thirty-Nine
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...him, showing him a powerful vision of Zélie’s life. He sees the incredible pain his father’s rule caused Zélie. (full context)
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King Saran’s instructions ring in Inan’s ears. But with this new perspective, he can’t bear to... (full context)
Chapter Forty-One
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...his eyes off of Zélie. He suddenly knows he cannot be a king like his father, Saran. His father is everything he doesn’t want to be. (full context)
Chapter Forty-Four
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...because it is the root of all Orïsha’s problems. But she counters that it is King Saran, not magic, that causes so much suffering. Inan maintains that his father did the... (full context)
Chapter Forty-Seven
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...of Zélie’s memories of the Raid, he remembers the admiration he once had for his King Saran’s strength. (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
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...fighting who he is. Even the pawn that he carries as a reminder of his father, King Saran, is inflicting more than emotional harm. It’s made of majacite, a special metal... (full context)
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
Inan remembers how he got the pawn. He and his father, King Saran, used to play sênet every week before the Raid, a special time when... (full context)
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...who will always hate him for who he is. Inan tosses the pawn aside, realizing Saran’s lies. Though magic is dangerous, the way his father has tried to eradicate it has... (full context)
Chapter Forty-Eight
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Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
...was difficult to hold onto the feeling that magic was beautiful in the face of Saran’s hatred. (full context)
Chapter Forty-Nine
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...about to strike her with the bone dagger, but she thinks of all the pain Saran’s violence has brought. She cannot be like him. Instead, she knocks the girl unconscious. Amari... (full context)
Chapter Fifty
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...the encampment’s gate, his hands ablaze. He is a Burner, like the maji who incinerated Saran’s first family. As Zélie drops the sunstone, the Burner catches it, and his entire body... (full context)
Chapter Fifty-One
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...heals him, Zu begins to explain that she and a few others barely escaped after Saran attacked. Inan and Amari exchange guilty looks. (full context)
Chapter Fifty-Two
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...since Sokoto. They talk about his new status as a maji and the fact that Saran would kill Inan if he knew. Amari asks how she can trust Inan after all... (full context)
Chapter Fifty-Five
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...of her past. He says that seeing those memories made him realize how wrong his father, King Saran, is. (full context)
Chapter Fifty-Six
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...see that Inan is infatuated with her, but she warns that his loyalty to their father is stronger. Despite her instincts, Zélie maintains that she trusts Inan now, and thinks that... (full context)
Chapter Fifty-Nine
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Inan thinks they can convince King Saran to give up his fear and violence toward the maji. He thinks they can... (full context)
Chapter Sixty
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Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...is forgetting that and putting them all at risk, as well. Suddenly, horns sound. The King’s men have arrived. (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Two
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Watching Tzain mourn Zélie, Amari is wracked with shame. She wonders how many families her father, King Saran, has destroyed like this, and how much she is to blame. The thought... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Three
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...much time, and Zélie has to tell him how he can destroy the scroll. Otherwise, Saran will kill her. (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
Zélie knows that destroying the scroll won’t solve anything—Saran won’t stop until he’s wiped out the divîners entirely. Now, she says she will die... (full context)
Prejudice and Inequality Theme Icon
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King Saran enters, overwhelming Zélie with memories of the Raid. But her desire for vengeance outweighs... (full context)
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Saran asks if she killed Kaea or knows who did. Zélie thinks about revealing Inan, but... (full context)
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Zélie yells that Saran has murdered and exploited her people, thinking they would never fight back, but now they... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Four
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Saran calls in a physician who injects a serum into Zélie’s neck while Inan watches, horrified.... (full context)
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Saran scoffs at Inan, who feels the sting of his father’s disappointment. The guards pull Inan... (full context)
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
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...who she is. Crying, she says she can’t feel anything. Watching Zélie, Inan thinks of Saran’s refrain: “duty before self.” He thinks of Kwame bursting into flames. He realizes he must... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Five
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...says that seizing magic is the only way for the divîners to fight back against Saran and avoid being killed themselves. But first, they must save Zélie. (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Six
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Inan feels Zélie’s pain like a lingering presence. He enters King Saran’s office, and sees that his father is calm and collected: harming Zélie is all... (full context)
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
Saran says that Inan disgraced him, expecting Inan to cower. But for once, Inan talks back,... (full context)
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Saran says that they must go to these lengths to keep the kingdom safe. Other kingdoms... (full context)
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Saran says that Zélie deserves to be killed because she killed Kaea. He holds up a... (full context)
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After they kill Zélie, says Saran, they will parade her body around Orïsha to put down any thoughts of rebellion. He... (full context)
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Saran gives Inan an unexpected and unwanted hug, and Inan remembers when he hurt Amari as... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Seven
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...sneaks into Zélie’s cell. Zélie is bloodied and almost lifeless, in chains. Inan wonders how Saran can think the maji are animals when he behaves this way himself. Inan unlocks her... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Eight
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...She feels surprised by the venom in her voice; it reminds her only of her father, Saran. (full context)
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Suddenly, Saran appears, flanked with guards. He is enraged when he sees Amari. But for the first... (full context)
Chapter Sixty-Nine
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...him, terrified. He thinks it is a slaughter rather than a fair fight. He feels Saran was right—if magic is allowed to return, the kingdom will fall to slaughter and chaos. (full context)
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...Inan says he must stay to try to help them from inside the monarchy, since King Saran does not yet know that Inan’s allegiance has shifted. Privately, he thinks that his... (full context)
Chapter Seventy
Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
...Inan approaches gingerly, and all Zélie can think is that she can’t reveal how much Saran has broken her. She sees pity in his eyes, and it makes her furious. Wanting... (full context)
Chapter Seventy-One
Cycles of Violence Theme Icon
Zélie awakens, awash with confused memories of Inan, Saran, and the scars on her back. The girl who healed Zélie enters, smiling brightly. She... (full context)
Chapter Seventy-Four
Duty to Family vs. Self Theme Icon
Faith and Tradition Theme Icon
...stop thinking about Zélie, and he can’t shake the feeling that he’s lost her forever. Saran approaches and sees that Inan is wavering. Inan himself looks to the skies, wishing he... (full context)
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Saran surprises Inan by saying that he, too, wavered once. As a young prince, he watched... (full context)
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Hearing his words, Inan pictures the death and destruction he witnessed at the Gombe fortress. Saran says that Inan, too, must now choose duty and kingdom before himself. Saran presents Inan... (full context)
Chapter Seventy-Five
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...in the other warships. However, she is no longer driven by revenge. She must stop Saran so that he doesn’t destroy the rest of her people. (full context)
Chapter Seventy-Six
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...she used to think Amari was weak, because she was so obviously afraid of her father, King Saran. But now, Zélie says, beginning to cry, she, too, feels like Saran is... (full context)
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...apologizes that it took both her and Inan so long to realize just how wrong Saran was, and to begin to right his wrongs. She thinks of Binta, and, in her... (full context)
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...she has seen a change in herself. Where before she cowered at the thought of King Saran and the damage he could inflict on her, when she saw him in the... (full context)
Chapter Seventy-Eight
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...Amari hands her the artifacts and she prepares to attempt the ceremony. At that moment, Saran and his men jump out from hiding places around the room. Inan is there, too,... (full context)
Chapter Eighty-One
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...scroll in front of him and watches as the magic rips it apart. Zélie screams. Saran turns to his son with pride. (full context)
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A mercenary approaches King Saran from behind. Without thinking, Inan kills the mercenary with his magic. His father is... (full context)
Chapter Eighty-Two
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Amari sees Inan crumble, pierced by Saran’s sword. Amari runs towards her father. The king says that the gods have cursed him... (full context)
Chapter Eighty-Three
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Amari thinks about all the fighting Saran forced her and Inan to do as children, pitting them against each other so that... (full context)
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Amari says that Saran raised her to fight monsters, but only now is she realizing that he is the... (full context)
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Amari realizes Saran does not care about spilling his own children’s blood. This is his choice. She plunges... (full context)