Malyen “Mal” Oretsov Quotes in Shadow and Bone
The side of the Darkling’s mouth twitched, as if he were repressing a smile. His eyes slid over me from head to toe and back again. I felt like something strange and shiny, a curiosity that had washed up on a lake shore, that he might kick aside with his boot.
I closed my eyes, feeling tears slide down my cheeks, and I reached out to the thing within me that I’d kept hidden for so long. I’m sorry, I whispered to it.
I’m sorry I left you so long in the dark.
I’m sorry, but I’m ready now.
I called and the light answered. […] It surrounded me, blazing with heat, more powerful and more pure than ever before because it was all mine. I wanted to laugh, to sing, to shout. At last, there was something that belonged wholly and completely to me.
Suddenly, lots of things seemed easy. I wasn’t tired all the time or winded when I climbed the stairs. I slept deeply and dreamlessly every night and woke refreshed. Food was a revelation: bowls of porridge heaped with sugar and cream, plates of skate fried in butter, fat plums and hothouse peaches, the clear and bitter taste of kvas. It was as if that moment in Baghra’s cottage was my first full breath and I had awakened into a new life.
“Just admit it,” he sneered. “He owns you.”
“He owns you, too, Mal,” I lashed back. “He owns us all.”
He wasn’t at all shocked to hear of the contempt with which most Grisha regarded the King. Apparently, the trackers had been grumbling more and more loudly amongst themselves about the King’s incompetence.
“The Fjerdans have a breech-loading rifle that can fire twenty-eight rounds per minute. Our soldiers should have them, too. If the King could be bothered to take an interest in the First Army, we wouldn’t be so dependent on the Grisha. But it’ll never happen,” he told me. Then he muttered, “We all know who’s running the country.”
Dimly, I’d been aware that I still had a shard of the blue cup in my hand, that it was digging into my palm, but I didn’t want to let go.
When he finally set me down and ambled off to the kitchen to find his lunch, I had stood there, my palm dripping blood, my head still spinning, knowing that everything had changed.
Ana Kuya had scolded me for getting blood on the clean kitchen floor. She’d bandaged my hand and told me it would heal. But I knew it would just go on hurting.
I’d thought the stag was haunting me, a reminder of my failure and the price my weakness would exact. But I was wrong.
The stag had been showing me my strength—not just the price of mercy but the power it bestowed. And mercy was something the Darkling would never understand.
I had spared the stag’s life. The power of that life belonged to me as surely as it belonged to the man who had taken it.
I fumbled with the tiny black buttons of the kefta. There seemed to be a thousand of them. When the silk finally slid over my shoulders and pooled at my feet, I felt a great burden lift from me.