Nolan ferrets through his old notebooks of stuff he saw through Amara’s eyes, looking for clues to what’s really going on with her healing powers.
But first: a whole bunch of depressing shit!
Once, her parents had watched her from the palace gates.
“Don’t look,” the caretaker had told her. “It’ll just be more difficult.”
Amara had looked, anyway, letting Nolan see her parents
for the first and only time. Their descriptions went on for a
We also learn that Amara had a relationship with the servant prior to Maart, a stable-girl named Nicosce, but she died when one of the pursuing mages shot her by mistake with an arrow. I guess working for Jorn doesn’t come with a long life expectancy.
(I’m kind of surprised Amara hasn’t even thought about this before)
Then Nicosce wasn’t
Nicosce anymore, simply the servant before Maart, and a narrow
Dit-and-Alinean boy with an unfamiliar palace mark took her
He became familiar, solid Maart later. Except now Maart
wasn’t Maart anymore, either.
TIME FOR EVEN MORE DEPRESSING SHIT later that night Pat swings by Nolan’s room and talks about how she’s jealous of all the attention he gets from their parents. But on the other hand we also get this:
Pat mimicked the vulnerable look they’d been practicing
for her play. “Don’t worry about me. I’m just having seizures every
two seconds. Woe! Be still, my aching heart!” She paused to contain
a grin. “But I’m fine. Really. Why are you so worried? I don’t understand!
BRB, writing angsty poetry.”
Nolan slapped the cabinet shut and reached for the key.
“BRB, locking cabinet full of angsty poetry.”
You rock, Pat.
Nolan acts like an asshole but is unable to explain that he’s still reeling from the death of someone else’s boyfriend in another universe and so can’t really ask for the space he needs. Pat stomps off all mad, Nolan settles down for some journal-writing.
EVERYTHING IS AWFUL
Amara wakes up to see Nolan using her hands to sign “I’m sorry”. That would get very freaky very fast.
Nolan steers Amara out of bed, much to her chagrin.
She needed sleep. A few hours
to herself before life went on. Quiet and dreams and darkness
and nothing at all.
Oh, the dramatic irony.
Amara!Nolan packs a bag, then Nolan tries to convince Amara to run for it. Thankfully at this point the book stops rendering Nolan’s communication by describing sign language and just treats it as verbal speech. There have been a few cases like this, such as Amara’s own sign language- once the reader has been reminded of it often enough her “dialogue” is just presented as usual, presumably to avoid cluttering the book.
Amara reaches the obvious conclusion, that Nolan is just doing this out of guilt and running would be suicide. As soon as Nolan returns control to her she moves to put everything back and go back to bed.
But then! Movement!
But the movement wasn’t Jorn. Cilla crouched by her side.
YES DO IT RUN AWAY TOGETHER
Also kiss for fuck’s sake, the sexual tension in this rebel safehouse is thick enough to cut with a knife.
A vague attempt is made to humanize Jorn by talking about how he used to not be a complete human vacuum (nope not working) and Cilla tells Amara that Maart was actually the one who told Jorn about the mage. WHOOPS. FAST-TRACK TICKET TO AWKWARD TOWN STATION.
Cilla asks to go with Amara. Amara protests she totally isn’t running, no way, but then Nolan swings by again to convince Cilla to convince Amara to
wow this is getting complicated
Anyway Nolan says that his notebooks have the location and names of Amara’s parents (which Amara has forgotten) and they can go to them and seek shelter.
Cilla’s lips pursed. “If we tell you to leave, you leave. And
you don’t take control unless she asks.”
I’m going to assume there’s also an “about to get skewered with a sword” clause in this arrangement.
“He. Killed. Maart.” Cilla’s eyes hardened.
And, oh, Amara knew Cilla was right, she knew, but part of
her could not help thinking, That’s what it took? That’s how far
he had to go?
Cilla really is kind of an ass.
Eventually, after weighing the pros and cons, they decide to run for it. Unfortunately stabbing Jorn in the neck before they leave isn’t on the table.
The smile might have gone, but as Cilla packed, her every
movement contained a barely restrained excitement. Was this
an adventure to her? She could take the risk of running. She’d
get off easily if they were caught. Maybe her only punishment
would be watching Amara’s.
As much as I’m rooting for Cilla and Amara to end up together, the massive imbalance in their social status means that the relationship would be inherently kind of fucked up.
But never mind that! Nolan, Amara and Cilla are working together (kind of) and they’re off on a grand adventure!
Now Jorn just needs to get hit by a cement truck or something and I’ll be happy as a clam.