I know the truth in your heart. The loneliness. The growing knowledge of your own difference. The ache of it.
“In this moment he was just a boy —brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by eternity.”
He was the darkling learning loneliness at his mother’s knee. No land, no life. just a uniform and a gun.
Or even the Darkling, the look on his face as his mother had disappeared beneath the clouds. How could he be so cruel and still so human.
"I never wanted him to feel the way I had as a child," said Baghra. "So I taught him that he had no equal, that he was destined to bow to no man. I wanted him to be hard, to be strong. I taught him the lesson my mother and father taught me: to rely on no one. That love - fragile and fickle and raw - was nothing compared to power. He was a brilliant boy. He learned too well.”
So many men had tried to make her a queen. Now she understood that she was meant for something more. The Darkling had told her he was destined to rule. He had claimed his throne, and a part of her too. He was welcome to it. For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning. She would rise.”
The Darkling & Alina Starkov, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (via blueanniepl) —
Well, if I’m going to be a monster, I might as well be king of the monsters.
“I want you to know my name,” he said. “The name I was given, not the title I took for myself. Will you have it, Alina?” […]
“Yes,” I breathed.
After a long moment, he said, “Aleksander.”
A little laugh escaped me. He arched a brow, a smile tugging at his lips. “What?”
“It’s just so … common.” Such an ordinary name, held by kings and peasants alike. I’d known two Aleksanders at Keramzin alone, three in the First Army. One of them had died on the Fold.
His smile deepened and he cocked his head to the side. It almost hurt to see him this way. “Will you say it?” he asked.
I hesitated, feeling danger crowd in on me.
“Aleksander,” I whispered.
His grin faded, and his gray eyes seemed to flicker.
“Again,” he said.