In a recent malarklina post you mentioned having many headcanons 👀 Care to share with the class?
So I went over some character hcs for the three of them in this post! But here are a few that are specifically Malarklina. (Some of these are set in an Immortal!Mal AU and some aren't, sorry if it gets a bit confusing).
Aleksander has a competency kink and is attracted to Alina showing off her sun powers and Mal showing off his tracking abilities.
Alina makes them both little suns that follow them around to always light their path. This is especially meaningful to Aleksander, although he'd never admit it, because he used to be afraid of the dark as a child.
Mal reminds Aleksander of Luda, and he often goes into depressive states when considering the fact of Mal's mortality. Once Alina fully grasps the reality of the situation, she often suffers from them as well. During these times, Mal tries to be there for them as much as he can, but it's a heavy burden to bear alone.
They all have difficult relationships with gender and sexuality and at one point actually end up sitting down (completely by accident, because Aleksander is allergic to emotions) to talk about this aspect of their lives in more depth.
Aleksander usually sleeps in the middle because he's a) touch-starved and b) an attention whore, but they switch it up on occasion.
Mal is the most clingy sleeper in the history of sleepers. Aleksander and Alina have both woken up on more than one occasion to Mal literally laying fully on top of them and wrapped around them like an octopus. Aleksander likes the weight and usually just snuggles in deeper but Alina has to wiggle out of the way most of the time so she can breathe.
Mal likes Aleksander with short hair but Alina likes him with long hair. This is the source of many fights in their relationship, none of which Aleksander is actually apart of.
Alina and Aleksander both like Mal with longer hair and so he's press ganged into growing it out.
Mal and Alina love every single song Aleksander hates.
When Mal pisses Aleksander off it's no sex for a day even after a dozen apologies, but when Alina pisses him off all she has to do is say sorry and he'll just eat her out right then, not a care in the world.
Aleksander is very physically affectionate, but Mal and Alina have phases of liking it and disliking it, so they have to balance a way to take care of each other's needs without pushing boundaries.
Aleksander is directionally challenged because I said so and Mal and Alina constantly have to make sure he doesn't get lost.
Kissing scars has become a very intimate practice between them all.
Aleksander keeps an obsessively clean house but Alina's paint supplies get everywhere, that paired with Mal just shucking off his hunting outfits anywhere in the house and dumping his gardening/hunting supplies wherever's most convenient means that Aleksander is in a constant state of annoyance about their living situation.
Alina makes a Rule about Mal and Aleksander fighting after Mal straight up tackles Aleksander off the side of the roof when they're trying to figure out how to replace shillings.
They all spar with each other at least once every other day. This mostly started as a means of keeping themselves sharp in case of danger, but it quickly became a bonding routine of sorts. Turns out Aleksander has a lot of information stored up about fighting. That paired with Mal's military training makes for some very intense spars as well as the rapid growth of all three of them into some of the most dangerous fighters on the planet.
@mal-zoya now has me convinced that it will take at least 500 years for Mal and Aleksander to admit they love each other.
Aleksander likes it when they wear his clothes. Alina likes wearing Mal and Aleksander's clothes. There is a lot of clothing sharing going on. It gets to the point where the only way they can tell who's clothing is who's is based on color scheme and the quality of the cloth and occasionally (but not always) the size as well.
Mal and Alina infodump all the time about their passions and Aleksander eats it up. He loves it. He thinks his partners are the smartest people in the universe.
When Alina is suffering from artist's block she goes to Aleksander for inspiration. When she's inspired she goes to Mal to create.
Mal is generally the one who cooks all of their meals because Alina will get distracted when she's going on an art spree and Aleksander will just straight up forget he's a human sometimes. But when Mal doesn't do it Aleksander does it because he has Standards and he's not about to let his partners starve to death, thank you very much.
Aleksander and Mal used to cook plainer foods in the beginning of the relationship but they both slowly shake off some of the chains of their upbringings and previous ways of life to slowly try out more elaborate and lush recipes. Alina has come home on more than one occasion to see them collaborating on a new recipe Aleksander managed flirt/finagle out of one of the old ladies from the nearby village.
Alina likes to ride out every day and sometimes ropes Aleksander or Mal into going with her. There are lots of picnics and packed lunches in their life. When they go to an especially scenic spot, she'll sit there for hours and draw.
Mal won't ever be able to fully understand the meaning of Alina's immortality. It would be impossible to, even with many explanations and having to deal with Aleksander's own traumas as a result. But that doesn't stop him from attempting to learn as much as he can to make things easier for both of his partners.
Alina attempts to join the local ladies' knitting group in the nearby village but hates it. Aleksander, on the other hand, finds it to be the most valuable source of gossip in the village. He rapidly becomes a part of the club and returns home with boatloads of gossip by the day. Alina and Mal have no idea what to do with literally any of this information, but Aleksander certainly does. Getting involved in small town drama is, in his opinion, one of the best things he ever decided to do. Mal and Alina are beginning to think he needs some therapy.
Mal starts a little farm outside of their cottage and Alina starts a flower garden. Alina also begins to amass a small library over time, with the help of Aleksander "is this an original text?! maybe so" Morozova. Mal is not expecting to come home one day to an entirely new room built into the house and a massive collection of books lining the walls.
Alina and Aleksander will use their powers actively all day. In fact, they both get so comfortable with summoning that they just start letting their emotions affect their summoning all the time. And so Mal has a very good indicator for whether or not his partners are upset or happy based on the way the shadows and lights get flicker, much akin to the way people judge how their cats are feeling based on what their tails are doing.
Also, though, Mal just feels proud that they both trust him enough and feel comfortable enough around him and in their home to feel as if they don't need to watch themselves constantly.
Alina still likes mapmaking and, after a few years of peace where she starts to get restless, she slowly begins to do it again. Every two months or so she'll go out on a long trip to map a few of the nearby areas. She quickly builds up a side business of selling her personal maps to the people of whatever town they're living near.
Aleksander eventually opens up enough to share some of his past with Alina and Mal. He especially begins to engage more with the pieces of his culture that he had to forsake in order to assimilate over the years. Alina and Mal are always more than willing to help him puzzle through a half remembered recipe or a phrase in his native tongue that he's partially forgotten. They feel honored every time he shares a small piece of his history with them.
Nightmares are a common occurrence between all of them and whenever one happens a cuddle pile of epic proportions ensues. Also sometimes they talk about feelings have some pillow talk to work through things. Aleksander will also sometimes sing them back to sleep. His lullabies are haunting, but his singing voice is beautiful, and it usually does the trick. He refuses to sing for them outside of these moments, however.
Alina adores the height difference between her and her very tall partners. She thinks its fucking stellar.
Alina and Mal start up an orphanage on many occasions throughout the centuries. Alina loves kids and constantly helps them when she can. She mourns the fact that she won't ever be able to adopt without having to watch them grow old without her.
They've all discussed having kids at multiple points throughout their lives, and they all want to do so. But Aleksander wants to wait until Grisha persecution is no longer even the hint of an issue. Alina and Mal agree to wait, largely because they want some time to think on it too.
Mal tries to teach Alina how to shoot one day and she accidentally clips Aleksander as he's coming outside with lunch. He never lets her live it down and on more than occasion attempts to use for sympathy points, even hundreds of years later.
Aleksander is both the big spoon and the little spoon, but he likes being the big spoon (in reality he's a knife, of course). Mal likes being the little spoon but is often relegated to the big spoon, and Alina likes being both.
Alina paints a portrait of Mal and Aleksander cuddled up in bed once and no matter how much they entreat her to burn it she absolutely refuses to do so.
Aleksander is basically a walking, talking source of illegal activity, and he can't be taken anywhere anymore without expecting some sort of crime to take place.
Alina tries to adopt a little black cat one day and Aleksander gets outrageously jealous. He spends about two months being bitter, then another two months trying to chase it off, but the creature stays with them all until it dies of old age (and he'll never admit to privately grieving it's loss, although Mal and Alina both know it).
All of their communication skills are absolutely atrocious but Alina is the best. Mal is the second best. Aleksander doesn't even rank. Over time, they get into the habit of it, though. They practice at it painfully for years until they reach the point where healthy communication becomes second nature.
Mal proposes to Alina one day (after much talk between all three of them) and they get married. A couple years later they both propose to Aleksander (after zero talk, he is suitably surprised and also maybe a bit teary eyed). They have an illegal wedding on holy ground at midnight with a bribed and essentially kidnapped pastor.
Aleksander spends an excessive amount of money on Alina and Mal. He buys them things constantly and lavishes them with gifts. Alina loves it but it grates on Mal for a time until he realizes it isn't a means of manipulation as much as a love language and a shoddy attempt at communication and expressing feelings.
Once they reach the modern world (in an Immortal!Mal AU), they all get phones and send each other the most cursed texts in all of history. The group chat is a hellspace and the individual chats are just pure shittalking. Nowhere is free.
Shopping in the modern world consists of chaotic impulse buys and the excessive waste of money. They're all each other's impulse control, but they can't always go out together at the same time, so it's usually only in groups of two. Which means that when Alina's gone, Aleksander fills the cart with sweets. And when Mal is gone, Alina fills the cart with an inordinate amount of bananas (which are new) and microwavable easy to eat meals and paint supplies and oh! look at these pretty notebooks on display!. And when Aleksander is gone the cart its legitimately just a free for all. He comes home and there's mincemeat and apple pies cooking for some reason. Mal has a new apron. The fire alarm has been replaced. Turns out they stopped at an ikea on the way back and now they have a better dining table.
Alina is the best driver of them all. Aleksander goes way too fast but he never crashes. Mal refuses to even step foot in a car for about half a decade.
Aleksander is actually the one that gets into makeup. He quite enjoys it and thinks maybe his partners need to live a little for once. They both very firmly disagree.
Alina loses the tv remote constantly and it drives Mal absolutely wild. Sometimes Aleksander will steal it just to watch Mal go into a frenzy looking for it.
Alina builds up a large following for her art (and the art of her 'ancestors') over the centuries. Modern day Alina is basically famous, but luckily nobody knows her face.
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I want to talk about something that struck me the other day, which I have been thinking about for a little while since finishing the Shadow and Bone trilogy. And that is the way empathy is built into Alina's character as a core trait. I didn't necessarily notice it between the bouts of craving power, but she is empathetic in her thoughts and actions. I just didn't label it as empathy because it's reasonable to assume she's just this young woman who doesn't want to kill a stag, right? Right. And surely she's just not used to this new world and looking for approval and belonging, right? Right. She is looking for belonging and approval and no no she's not really comfortable harming the mystical creatures... or her best friend (OBVIOUSLY). But those go along with her being empathetic.
It's also there when she narrates her thoughts towards others, when she treats them with kindness, when she tries to understand them, and when she looks for the underlying motivation into people's actions... With Mal when they are hunting the stag but he won't tell her what happened and she's concerned, with Genya's backstory and betrayal, with Nikolai's story... and yeah.. with the Darkling.
And if you ship Dark!lina, this is your warning that if you continue to read, you might not like this post.
But this where this gets interesting.
Because he plays off of Alina having empathy in order to get closer to her. He immediately opens up and tells her the parts of his sad backstory. Her empathy actually softens her to him, and allows her to see him several times as "just a lost boy" when she knows he's ancient.
He even draws the comparison between them which makes her empathize more, as she sees him as what she might become.
In Lord of the Rings, Gollum had the One Ring for a very long time before Bilbo took it to the Shire and eventually gave it to Frodo. Gollum was once named Sméagol, and he was happy. But as the ring corrupted him, Gollum became a violent, shriveled up and boney creature living under a mountain. And yet, Frodo finds him strangely pitiful. Deep inside of Gollum, there remains the last shred of Sméagol. And as Frodo feels himself becoming corrupted, he wants to believe Sméagol can be saved.
The Darkling is the Gollum to Alina's Frodo. A dark shadow of what she might become if the temptation of power overcomes her. Not just a foil, but a warning of what's to come. He says she will become like him as she ages, that it's inevitable and even good to become detached from morality and humanity... if she is disgusted by him right now, well then, he wants to wear down her empathy so she can join him--they will both be ageless and lonely and bitter and cynical and maybe they can rule together in misery... once she gets tired of losing otkazat’sya and gets past hating the only other nearly-immortal Grisha. Eventually she will understand, right?
Except she doesn't want to.
Instead, Alina, empathetically, wants to believe in his redemption, that she can bring him hope. Again, because of her empathy. Because there's maybe still just a speck of the little boy in there who was burdened right?
He tries to appeal to her empathy by making her out to be responsible for him, as if she should be his "balance." the ONLY one who can save him. But that's not her job.
"You might make me a better man."
"You might make me a monster."
And when she sees him for what he is, when she rejects his justification for evil, when she refuses to be part of his plan, he lashes out. He sneers, "Fine, make me your villain," when he's on a path that he chose. It is not Malina's fault that he went on a few murder sprees.
He also preys on her empathy by threatening her with Mal's life, and then later with the lives of children.
But Alina doesn't play his game. She rejects his philosophy of psychopathy AND keeps her empathy in tact. Her empathy won't be manipulated by lies. Her empathy won't be worn down. And her empathy won't be controlled by fear.
In fact, instead she weaponizes her empathy against the Darkling. She didn't kill him out of cruelty the way he would have done with his enemies. And that is why, even while the man she hates is dying, she's still able to empathize with the little boy he once was.
He didn't succeed in destroying Alina's empathy. And that is why she truly won when he died.
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You and I are going to change the world - a darklina playlist.
Tagging : @iambecomeyourvillain @the-blackdale @inejghafasupremacy @coffee-fandoms-and-chaos @niastormsanctuary-bolastairkanej @ghafascortana @booksarealwaysbettersworlds-blog @clarys-heosphoros @reyna-herondale @gods-shadowsandcrows @just-here-to-escape-from-reality @fortheloveofthecarstairs @herondalesunsetcurve @icycoolslushie
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Nobody asked for it but here it is
This dream though…she didn't exactly remember all those things, yet she knew, deep inside, that they had occurred.
She laid in bed, blankets up to her chin, staring up.
Saints; she couldn't even remember their names.
She was supposed to head down for breakfast, but instead she buried herself further into the clear sheets of her bed, a few stray tears falling down her eyes.
Despite the warmth of the blankets, she couldn't stop shivering.
I walked by the deeper world of the forest, exploring and watching as the thin walls of wind whispers across the faltering and young leaves of the trees
My feet bare touching the wet and soft yet edgy grasses and soil that was scattered everywhere in this green and beautiful world that I lived in
"Alina... Alina where are you?" a voice called out of no where
I looked back to the direction where the voice came from and replied
"I am here within the center aleksander" I responded
as soon as my response was heard, I began to hear his fast paces, he's running towards me like always
"Aleksander to your left" I said as soon as I began to see his well nourished body and undeniably attractive face
He looked at my direction and smiled, walking slowly as if he was enticed by some goddess he doesn't expect to see
As soon as he reached the same spot I'm in he turned me in my back and hugged me from behind
And there in the middle of the forest in its very heart our whispers of adoration and loud beats of love was heard
"I love you alina... I love you with all of me, with my whole eternity" he whispered, his breath ragged and fast from the situation he was in earlier
"I love you aleksander with all your sunshines and darkness, with all of your flaws"I kissed his forehead as my hands went to the back of his neck to hug him
This isn't the power he wanted, this isn't the darkness I expected
This is the happiness that both of us had wanted.
P.s. they visited my dreams in the exact same scenario so I thought I should share it to all of you.
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GrishaVerse Characters as things my coworkers have said at work:
Inej: what if I just jammed this knife into your chest?
Kaz: it’s plastic
Inej: and your point is?
Jesper *makes fake guns with fingers and winks*: I bet you can’t name one person hotter than me, go ahead, try.
Guest: do you have breakfast available?
Mal: I want you to look at the pitch dark sky outside and ask me that once more
Alina: I’m sorry, I’m lonely and drowning in madness, would you like to join?
The Darkling: I would so flirt with [Alina] if I wasn’t scared she was about to stab me
David: how about this nice fork, yeah? Pratical, useful, and if you get angry, it’s a perfect weapon
Genya: if one more man looks at me like that then I’m going to poison those skinny b*****s salad
Guest: I would like to talk to your manager, please
Zoya: what makes you think I’m not the manager?
Guest: well, are you?
Zoya: I’m more qualified to be, that’s for damn sure
Kaz: I wonder how many pairs of gloves I can put on till I can’t feel my hands
Tolya: my head hurts
Tamar: *kicks his leg*
Tolya: ow! What was that for?
Tamar: worry about that injury now, p***y
Baghra *sits in space between fryers and frys station*: so f*****g cold
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If I had something that I'd like to get a smidge beta read this weekend is there anyone interested in that? Looking for a review on general flow of a second chapter of Last Night Sipped the Sunset that I've got hopes of having done soon.
I didn't mean to write more, but now I have so...yeah!
(also sorry to any of my old GOT followers on this account, I'm not making ANOTHER fandom blog)
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nothing says romance quite like the guy you kissed a couple times molding antlers into your collarbone in order to have complete control over you
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The level of internalized misogyny it takes to look at Mal and be like “yeah, that’s the kinda guy women should want” is insane.
Mal is like a character from a bygone era, the era of films/shows where the female character’s only purpose was to get the guy to notice her. Like, I can’t count how many films or tv shows have that shitty “girl pines endlessly for guy she’s known forever who doesn’t notice her, then she transforms into someone ‘special’ and suddenly guy who has never noticed her pining suddenly sees it and gets possessive, and they live happily ever after” 🤮 story. That’s basically Mal.
Mal as he exists in the Grishaverse is a toxic fuckboy who feels entitled to Alina because she’s suddenly special. She has been his “best friend” since they were children, yet he has ignored her feelings for ages. He has also ignored their friendship for years, and yet I’m supposed to be happy that he suddenly likes her now that she’s getting attention from the rest of the world? He even had the balls to be resentful of her powers, the fact that she was thriving without him, just like his fellow fuckboys would do, and yet LB and self righteous antis on the internet want me to root for this guy? Let’s not forget the giant red flag that is his disdain for Grisha and their powers.
If your ‘friend’ has been taking your relationship for granted for years and they suddenly start to be extra attentive/possessive/resentful when you become famous and powerful and start hanging out with other famous and powerful people, they are literally not good friends.
If the guy you’ve have been pining for forever only starts to notice you when a better guy starts to notice you, and then chooses to shame you about your relationship with the other guy, slap him. That’s literally the only option. Slap him to make sure he’s listening when you tell him to fuck off.
Anyway, Mal is shit for so many reasons, but the ultimate one for me is that he’s the kinda supreme fuckboy that wants to be the center of your universe without actually doing anything to deserve that. That’s basically what he does to Alina in TGT. He tells her she’s “just Alina” and then we the audience have to suffer through Alina the Sun Summoner spending her entire journey trying to be “just Alina.” Then she accomplishes nothing, kills her soulmate, makes her country/people (Grisha) worse, looses her powers, and fully becomes “just Alina.” 🙄
Again, I want to know what LB expected the young women she’s so concerned about to learn from this. You know, us young women she’s protecting from falling for 500 year old immortal men with sharp jawlines.
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So like, is anyone interested in a sneak peek of chapter 9 of Lights Corruption??
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Something I find interesting about Darklina! is how it has this very seductive, sexy quality to it, which is part of why so many people ship it. It makes me think of the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera and how he was often paralleled with themes like fire and lust and sensuality. Both the Darkling and the Phantom represent these sort of darker fantasies and their relationships with the heroine focus on sexual attraction.
Malina, on the other hand, is more focused on the emotional connection between both characters. It's about a love so deep and completely knowing and seeing one another. I think it's interesting how the story shows that while physical attraction and "sexiness" can be good things, feeling comfortable with the person you choose to spend your time with and feeling loved for who you are, are important as well. Reading Shadow and Bone, I remember feeling that Alina was a bit uncomfortable in her relationship with the Darkling, even before she knew the truth about him. But Mal, for her, represented a feeling of home. Comfort. In a world where everyone sees her for her usefulness to them (i.e. physical power to the Darkling, political power to the Vasily family, etc), Mal sees her for who she is. (And you can say the same things for the relationship dynamics with Christine and her love interests.)
Since we flock to ships like Darklina! and the Phantom x Christine for their inherent sexiness, we shouldn't overlook the importance of having a relationship that feels comfortable and represents multiple facets of love. Because it doesn't mean that Christine and Raoul or Malina have no sort of sexual attraction or chemistry; otherwise we wouldn't get the rooftop scene in Phantom or, you know, the sex scene in Ruin and Rising. But their love runs so much deeper than physical attraction. And I'm not saying the Darkling doesn't have any emotional connection with Alina or that people are wrong for shipping these people. I'm more so pointing out the beauty of a relationship where friendship is the building block for something deeper since these relationships get overlooked in comparison to the "more exciting," "sexier" relationships.
This is important to me because in real life, I think we're often encouraged to enter or maintain relationships because of the physical attraction we feel, rather than focusing on building strong relationships with people we can feel comfortable with. Because butterflies and nervousness might be normal at first, but they can become a warning sign later in a relationship that we're taught to ignore because it's "normal." Listen, find someone who makes you feel great, who you're attracted to, that you enjoy kissing or whatever with (if that's your thing), but don't overlook the importance of finding someone who will truly care about you for you.
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[ bouquet ]
Alina couldn’t help but smile down at the flowers. She hadn’t been feeling well these past few days, pretty much bedridden unable to get out of bed because she was feeling terribly sick. She had gone to the doctor and was just waiting for a call back today, but she should have known that her husband would have done anything to see her smile, including the obnoxious amount of flowers. Alina gratefully took the flowers smelling them, allowing the smell to wrap around her, much better than the smell that had been all over their home today. “These smell fantastic, my love.” Alina said softly setting the flowers on the other side of her. “I would ask you to join me in bed, but I don’t want to get you sick.”
The Sun Also Rises: Chapter 6, A Darklina story
Three and half months later—give or take a few days—Alina had read most of the Darkling’s books.
She spent the first hour of each day avoiding the Darkling, sometimes even setting a false path by lingering in one corner of camp. It seemed that he had some sort of homing signal as to her last location, but it was not so strong that she could not avoid it.
While he was out, she stole a book. Sometimes several at a time. She read in his tent for an hour or two usually—he never thought to go back to his tent right away—and then took what she was reading and moved on, hiding in various small hidey holes until nightfall.
She even got to fall asleep peacefully many nights in a row. That part was blissful.
And always, when she fell asleep, no matter what time of day, it all reset.
Several times she had taken another carriage ride with the Darkling. When she had a particular question. He always went with her when she asked him too. Always.
There were also bad days. It always hurt to let Mal and Alexei and the hundreds of Ravkans go off on the skiffs to die. She got to hide in camp with her reading and secret summoning practice while they suffered.
She comforted herself that eventually, on the last day, she would save them.
The last day was beginning to take on mythic proportions in her head. She wondered if she would know it when it came. Would it feel right? Like the light that now poured forth from her hands on command? Even bent into daggers and spears at her command?
She’d skewered a dozen winterbirds flying south during her practice.
She always left the carcasses at the rear door of the mess tent for the cooks.
There were worse days. Once the Senior Cartographer found her and forced her onto the skiff. He was furiously angry, as if he somehow sensed that she’d gotten out of it for months, instead of one day.
Alina had thought, perhaps, she was ready to use her light to fight, but when the skiff started into the dead sand and she’d heard the first volcra scream, she’d lost her nerve.
She’d leaped off into the pale sand and stumbled back through the halflight toward the yellow sand and the real light.
She’d been shot. Deserters from the skiffs were sometimes shot if they tried to desert at the edge of the Fold. She’d heard the Darkling shout in rage as he saw her face and saw her go down.
The next day she’d gone to the nearby town, the one that grew up to supply the military camp, and gotten drunk.
It didn’t take much kvas since she normally drank so little.
She drank far more that time.
She didn’t have a perfectly clear memory of that afternoon. She wasn’t even sure if she’d passed out or died of blood-alcohol poisoning.
“I’m the Sun Summoner,” she’d told one of the tavern maids, a girl who reminded her a little of a friend at Keramzin. “I’m friends with the Barkling. Darkling, I mean.”
“Sure y’are, soldier girl,” the maid said as she collected cups and splashed more kvas in the cups of the other soldiers and townsmen there. “You crossing tomorrow? You’ve got that look.”
“Nope. Can’t cross. Tried several times.” Alina had tried to count on her fingers, but the math didn’t work. “Maybe three?”
“You better stop now,” the girl said. “Or you’ll be kvas-blind tomorrow.”
Alina had shrugged. “I’m pretty sure this isn’t the path,” she’d confided. “But it’s very warm in here. The Darkling’s tent is surprisingly cold, day after day.”
The serving girl had rolled her eyes. “As if you know what the Darkling’s tent is like. He hates otkazat’sya.”
When the Darkling had burst the door open and stepped inside, along with a swirl of cold, wet air, the barmaid had gasped. She’d scurried away with a scared look at Alina.
Alina had looked at him with blurry eyes. “Yeah, I stayed here too long. Should’ve known.”
He eyed the run-down place with distaste. Alina thought he would drag her away somewhere, but instead he just jerked his head toward the door.
The place emptied like a shot.
Alina looked around and blinked. “They’re gone. Whenever I’m alone, I practice.” She put her hands up and summoned a ball of light. It was lopsided and dripping sparks. Alina lost her balance and had to drop it, grasping the small round table to steady herself.
“You’re drunk,” he said. “You’re the Sun Summoner and you’re drunk off your head.”
He sounded both bemused and disappointed.
“Don’t be mad, Aleksander,” Alina had said. “You can have a drink, too.”
He’d frozen and actually pressed his hand to his eyes, as if checking that he was not in a dream. “I would ask how you know my name, but that seems like the least of my worries just now.”
“I’m not a tankard,” Alina assured him. “I mean, a drunkard. This is a one-time thing. Have a drink.” She motioned at all the half-full cups the scared patrons had left behind in their flight from the room.
The Darkling had approached her and put his hand on her forehead, raising one of her eyelids with his thumb. “Your eyes are almost fully dilated. You’ve had far too much.”
Alina leaned her forehead into his hand. “I miss you sometimes. So many hours in your tent, but I hardly ever see you. Only on the carriage days.”
She’d put a hand on his arm to steady herself. Then she’d hugged him. Her face still burned when she remembered it.
His black kefta was suprsingly soft under her cheek.
His arms had tentatively come around her. She must have shocked him beyond his coldness.
“You’ll be alright,” he said quietly. “If you’re broken, I’ll fix you.”
“You often say that,” Alina had replied, “but who will fix you?”
“I don’t need to be fixed.”
She’d hiccuped. “So... so says the Black Heretic?” Because that was really why she was here, wasn’t it? She wasn’t drunk because she’d been shot yesterday, she was drunk because she couldn’t yet deal with what she had discovered.
Aleksander shoved her away from him.
She’d fallen to the floor and passed out. Or died. Hard to know.
So, what with one thing and another, Alina had made her way through most of the books. She’d not understood the importance of the journals at first. She knew that the Black Heretic had created the Fold and that he was an ancestor of the current Darkling.
It only made sense that Aleksander would study the demented man’s writing. If he wanted to destroy the Fold, he would want to know everything about its creator. But as she read, a familiarity crept in. She knew the author of this painful confession. She had spoken with him, ridden with him, died with him...
It’s impossible, she’d thought. The Fold had been created hundreds of years ago.
She read all of it and there was no incriminating evidence, except the thing about dying and changing his name. No name was ever written down and the journal had ended forty years later. It could still have been an ancestor.
But somehow... she knew it wasn’t. Kirigan was not his name. Aleksander was. The Black Heretic.
His last name she had not worked out yet, though she had some guesses. Several of the tomes he kept were public records, lists of births and deaths and family genealogies.
It had taken her several weeks to go back to the journal. (On the upside, she didn’t have the hangover she sincerely deserved after her drunken day. On the downside, she was beginning to think she was eternally bound to a mass murderer.)
But the second time through the journal, she’d found more. Perhaps she was less horrified and better able to focus. The woman mentioned several times, Luda. She was the key. Aleksander hadn’t recorded his feelings about her—he hadn’t recorded his feelings about anyone—but she could read between the lines.
Between his clinical and cold description of the Fold, his numerous attempts to undo it, and his equally cold description of his mother’s horror and abandonment, there was no room for his feelings. But they were there all the same, seeping onto the page like invisible tears.
When Alina was ready to face Aleksander sober, she’d allowed another carriage day. She managed to ask him about amplifiers before she knew the ambush would come. She’d leant in the corner and fallen asleep.
She repeated the carriage every now and then. He didn’t always answer her questions, but she was getting better at weaseling information out of him.
His memory of her strengthened, but the pace was uneven.
Once he had looked at her askance in the carriage. “Why, when I look at you, do I sometimes smell smoke?”
“Campfires,” Alina had said. “Everything I own smells like smoke.”
“Not that kind of smoke.”
Alina had pictured the warehouse and smiled.
Once he had put his hand on her face. He cupped her cheek and his thumb had stroked her chin and even her lips. “Why do I feel like I know you so well?”
That iteration had taken her off-guard. She had pulled away instinctively, surprised by what she felt. Her sunrise vision flared to life and she pushed it down.
She’d closed her eyes soon after, tucking herself in the corner of the carriage. One advantage of being constantly sleep-deprived; she could fall asleep almost on command.
Once he’d stroked her hair back from her forehead. “You don’t look... how I remember you,” he’d said. He’d looked confused even as he said it. For all he knew, he’d met her for the first time that day.
Alina knew what he meant though. She was stronger, healthier than she’d ever been. She practiced her summoning every day—well, except for that day when she actually got hit by a runaway horse and reset early—and her practicing made a difference. She was hungrier and more energetic.
Even Mal noticed one day. Alina allowed herself to talk to him sometimes, but not every day. She’d crater if she did it every day.
“I hesitate to say something so insane, but Poliznaya agrees with you,” he’d said. “You look... better.”
Today, Alina sat in the Darkling’s tent with her hands steepled in front of her.
She knew enough to move on. There wasn’t much more to learn from his books.
Aleksander Morozova was the only true Shadow Summoner Ravka had ever known. He had popped up in Ravkan history every generation or two. Once she had made the link with the Black Heretic, the other histories in his collection began to make sense.
What the books could not tell her was who he was now. There were no recent journals from the last hundred years, nothing signed Kirigan.
Nothing to tell her what his motivation was these days.
What did he want? He said that they would destroy the Fold, but she was not certain that was possible. As strong as her light had become—and still without an amplifier!—she could not imagine the power it would take to banish the merzost of the Fold. The Fold was not just the manipulation of physical elements, like a permanent night... it was a corruption. It would need to be drawn like poison, destroyed like a bowlful of maggots.
She did not know if her light would ever be strong enough.
That was another thing she couldn’t learn from books.
She waited in his tent for him to return.
He threw back the tent flap and froze.
His journal was in front of her, the one written by the Black Heretic. Her hands rested on it.
“Alina Starkov,” he said. He stepped in and let the tent flap shut behind him.
“Aleksander Morozova,” she replied.
His chin rose. “Not many know that name.”
“I do. I know you better than anyone, except perhaps your mother.”
“Baghra? Is she behind this? You know she is my mother?”
Alina smiled. “I didn’t before, but I do now.”
His jaw was already tight, the muscles pulsed with frustration.
“She isn’t behind this,” Alina said, taking pity on him. “I’ve never met her, except in your writing.”
Aleksander edged into the room. Shadows were growing in the corners, growing and flowing like mist. “Sun Summoner. What do you want?”
“I want to destroy the Fold.” She sighed. “But wants are like wishes and rarely come true all at once. I’ll need you to tell me what’s possible.” She tossed her head, rising to her feet and breaking the tension. “And I would kill for a bath. That’s one thing I haven’t quite managed to swing in the last few... months. Hiding gets very old after the first week.”
She summoned light to dissipate his shadows. Not a globe or a spear of light, but just enough gentle shafts of sun to dispel the dark corners. It could have been natural, except that the sunlight came from her.
“If not Baghra, who trained you?”
“You, to a certain extent. Fedyor was helpful, too.”
Alina came up to him and put her hand on his arm, the same place she grabbed when she’d steadied herself in the tavern. “But you know me, don’t you?”
“Dying in a carriage. Dying in the forest. Dying on the sand.” He ran his eyes down her, in her worn white shirt and military-issue trousers. “A tavern. Dilated eyes, flushed cheeks, vulnerable.” His lips quirked in a half smile. “Drunk and smelly.”
Alina laughed. “Harsh. Haven’t I admitted I need a bath?”
“Why do I not remember it all?”
“I truly don’t know. I’ve had to train myself for the most part. An amplifier would be helpful, but from what you’ve told me, no one’s seen Morozova’s stag in generations, or the other mythic animals.” Alina rubbed the back of her neck and rolled her head to stretch tight muscles. “I want to have a conversation today about the Fold, but first, seriously, can I get a bath? That hipbath on the other side of your tent looks glorious, and you order hot water brought, right?”
“Why would I do that?”
She patted his arm. “To get on the good side of your new Sun Summoner? Start off on the right foot?”
He cocked his head. “But this isn’t the start, is it? How did you—”
“Aleksander Morozova.” Alina slashed her hand and caused a dagger of light to impale the ground next to his left boot. She smiled at his dumbfounded expression. “All I’m asking for is hot water, is that so much to ask? No one knows I’m here, so I’m not in danger. This is a peace offering, give me one thing I want and I’ll tell you what you want to know. Again.”
Alina leaned back in the tub. The water was nearly scalding hot and she suppressed a groan of delight. The inferni were definitely worth something if they could heat water so quickly.
“This is the best thing in the world,” Alina said.
“I still have questions,” Aleksander said. He was waiting on the other side of the tent, behind the partition wall.
Alina answered his questions as she soaked. She would still be dirty tomorrow, but that didn’t take away from the bliss of soaking her grime and stiffness away in clean hot water.
When she quietly got out of the tub and dried off, she was loath to put her dirty uniform back on. She’d lived and slept in it for days.
Aleksander had fallen silent, probably thinking through the ramifications of a powerful Sun Summoner who knew most of his life story. It was, in some ways, a worst-case scenario for him; he probably needed a minute to adjust.
She threw open a traveling chest nearby and found some of Aleksander’s clothes. They were all black of course, but that couldn’t be helped. She took one of his long-sleeved tunics, which was long enough to reach nearly her knees. She found some soft pants that were probably for sleeping—did the man sleep?—and slipped them on, rolling up the hem.
She was well covered. She used the towel—the softest one she’d ever used—to rub her hair as dry as possible. It was cold now that she was out of the tub. His tent was always so cold.
She put her own socks and boots on and felt better. “I’m using some of your clothes,” Alina said. “They’ll be reset tomorrow.”
He looked up at her from where he was seated at his desk. He exhaled abruptly.
Alina narrowed her eyes. Maybe she’d made a mistake.
She hadn’t forgotten his possessiveness when he’d dragged Mal away from her, but for her, that was a long time ago.
“Don’t read too much into it,” Alina said. “Black isn’t really my color.”
He rose to his feet and came toward her.
“I answered your questions,” Alina said. “Now I want to talk about the Fold.”
“The Fold,” he repeated. He brushed back some of her wet hair.
“I’ve had to be very methodical.”
“I want to test various parts of my light. I think... the volcra have to come first, right? If I can fight them off, then I can worry about the rest of it. After that, I want to try the extreme edge of the Fold. If large change is possible, incremental change should be measurable...’
His hand slid around to the back of her head and he was kissing her.
Alina saw the sunrise again, good morning, my love.
And yet he was the Black Heretic!
And yet he was warm.
“I didn’t expect you,” he murmured. “I didn’t expect to... feel anything.”
“You didn’t want to feel anything,” Alina corrected, though she was more distracted by his kiss than she liked to think.
“Maybe I was wrong,” he said. He kissed her again, his hand at her waist pulling her close.
Alina, for the first time, touched his face, fingers trailing over his cheek and around his ear.
Maybe there was a future with that sunrise in it. Maybe she wanted it.
Maybe he wasn’t what he had been before.
And when she kissed him back...
Alina woke up on her cot in the barracks.
She lay there, in shock. It was the first time she’d reset without unconsciousness, and it was disorienting.
Was it because... because she’d kissed him?
Alina thumped her head on the flat cot. “What do you want?” she yelled at the ceiling. The same damn spider moved on its thread and Alexei opened sleepy eyes.
“What’s the matter?” he said.
Alina threw her arm over her eyes. “Everything.”
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It was time to start reading Shadow And Bone before seeing the show. The pace was fast enough to get to the chapter 16 where things got warmer, but i lost interest. In the book as well as the series.
The world was not rich enough for me. The plot was bland. Genya intrigued me the most but everyone else was boring. Of course the Darkling was charming but i actually thought a relationship between him and Genya would seem more appealing to me. If he wasn't evil, of course. There are things i don't know of course since i stopped reading it and maybe things didn't stay underwhelming, but, whatever.
Gonna try Six of Crows, though.
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Nikolina Appreciation Week 2021 ♛ Day 2: Nikolai POV (of canon scene)
It was in that moment, as our banter flowed effortlessly, that I realised I needed to kiss her again. I reached out and brushed the hair back from her face. She froze. I rested my hand in the curve of her neck and waited for her to bolt, to tell me to stop, to say something. When she didn't, I slid my palm up to cup her cheek. Her lovely, pink cheek. I longed to touch it more than once.
Then she spoke. She... she quoted me. I almost grinned like an idiot.
I moved closer, watching as the light from the meteor shower played over her beautiful face. I leaned in, watching her every move, waiting, giving her time to pull away. I stopped a breath away from her lips and whispered, "I love it when you quote me." And then I brushed my lips over hers once, briefly, then again. Less of a kiss than the promise of one. It was all I allowed myself in that moment of weakness, so close to her.
"When you're ready," I finally said. Then I laced our hands together and let the moment pass so we could watch the stars fall through the sky, as they illuminated the night. I hoped she couldn't feel my thundering pulse through our linked hands. I wished on a star we would do this again some day. And finish that kiss.
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Completed Book Aesthetics
The Hunt for Morozova's Stag ~ Shadow and Bone
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Olivia Rodrigo’s sour and the things i associate with them in the grishaverse
brutal - alina starkov, she’s a 17 year old trying to save ravka
traitor - i can only think of sergei, cause his betrayal really marked me for some reason
drivers license - alina to mal while in the little palace
1 step forward, 3 steps back - inej to kaz
deja vu - zoya
good 4 u - zoya to the darkling
enough for you - alina
happier - mal to alina while she’s in the little palace
jealousy, jealousy - zoya to alina (? this one was hard)
favorite crime - helnik (nina x matthias)
hope ur ok - wylan van eck
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I'm sorry in advance but you know I had to.
this is so cruel why would you do this?!?! 😭😭😭
Kill: Aleksander (I'm so sorry Sasha 😔)
(fill my inbox)
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MI CORAZÓN PALPITA COMO UNA PATATA FRITA ❤️🍟
Translation: my heart beats like a french fry.
It's only funny in spanish 😅.
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