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I was completely heartbroken that I never had the chance to meet him. He was my Barron, and it broke my heart to lose him.

So…no, the Barron I’d been assigned to wasn’t my Barron. He was just someone who was supposed to fill the space that my Barron had filled, but couldn’t anymore.-

This was a good book, and an interesting one, though it didn’t hold any surprises to me personally. I wasn’t even surprised when I found out who it was that was evil.

What I found most interesting about this book was Darius’s first lesson to Kaya. Naturally. I love swordsmanship and I enjoyed greatly his instructions on how to hold the katana and the proper stance. I know that when I get my own katana, I’ll be coming back to this for reference.

I was mostly happy that this was only the first book in a series ~ or a duology, or a trilogy, or whatever. I don’t actually know how many there are. But I look forward to coming back and seeing what happens in future novels.

Anyway, I’ve got a lot of quotes to go through, so on we fling.

“She was heartbroken. Soulbroken. Nothing can truly heal someone after a loss like that.”-

Kaya never understood what her father meant by the term “soulbroken,” but the instant I heard the word, I knew. Later Kaya DID find out, and this is what she discovered: “The pain was overwhelming…My heart ached. My insides felt hollowed out. I was hurting, and there was no end in sight for my pain.

To be soulbroken is to endure the worst emotional pain imaginable. And most of all, to feel like that pain will be ever present. That you will never be free from it. I don’t know how someone can take this pain and not lose hope. I don’t know what it takes to break a soul ~ I imagine it’s quite a bit ~ but I don’t want it to happen to anyone. (Especially you, sehnesin. I will fight to make certain you’re never alone.) A broken soul could drive a person to suicide ~ or insanity of the most dangerous kind.

His voice was instantly familiar to me, like a song I’d heard once long ago, but forgotten.-

The moment that Trayton spoke, Kaya felt comfortable with him. I like to think that this is what it’s like to find your soulmate. You hear their voice, and you just sort of feel…more complete, like they are filling a spot in your heart that you didn’t know was empty. And from that moment on, whenever you’re around them, you get good vybes.

They feel like home.

Trayton stepped forward slowly, as if asking my permission with his hesitancy. I met his eyes, so dark, so full of questioning. He looked so fragile, like he’d been hurt before. The last thing I wanted was to be responsible for causing Trayton any pain.-

I think that a lot of people ~ maybe all people ~ have some sort of pain deep inside. And it’s very rare that you find a person that can see that pain. As one who can, I would say it’s both a blessing and a curse. Seeing that kind of pain and sensing how alone they feel hurts you. And usually you can’t see it in everyone ~ just a few select people, or maybe just one person. But even though it hurts, it gives you the opportunity to step in and help that person, and it gives you a special kind of connection because you can see their pain, and you can feel your own, and that kind of makes you feel like you’re in the same place as them. It makes you feel not quite so alone.

He met my eyes then and his became warm, all tears gone, all sorrow tucked neatly at the back of his mind. It had to be unbearable to live with that kind of pain.-

When you’re in constant emotional pain, you get awfully good at hiding it. You learn to tuck it away into the back of your heart, to distract your mind with other things, and to build up the walls so nobody even knows you’re hurting. In some ways, that’s a good thing, but in others, it’s really not. When you tuck it away, it doesn’t stop the pain or lessen it at all. It just makes it fester, like some form of mental illness, and it makes it hurt even more when you’re lying alone in the dark.

As we stepped outside, Trayton’s hand found mind and squeezed. A peculiar warmth spread through my hand and up my arm ~ a wonderful tingling sensation. I glanced at Trayton ~ at my Barron ~ and couldn’t help but grin. Trayton was blushing and grinning too. I squeezed his hand back, a surge of excited hope filling my soul. A connection was there ~ a real, strong, certain connection, like nothing we’d ever shared before.-

This appears to happen quite often when you find yourself trapped with someone else in mutual trial and tribulation. I’ve said it many times before because it never stops being true: hardship brings people together. It forms a bond that I don’t know if it’s possible to form in any other way. You’ve been through tough times with this person and you know for sure that someone ~ that they ~ understand what you’ve been through. What could be more reassuring than that?

“Hey. It’s okay. They can’t get through the wall. As long as you’re inside, you’re safe. And when you aren’t, I’ll protect you.”-

Trayton said this because it was his job to say it. It was his job to protect Kaya. But I think he meant it beyond just his job. Trayton truly cared for Kaya, and I believe he would have protected her to the best of his ability even if he wasn’t duty-bound.

I seem to hear the voices in my head say this a lot. I think they’re lying.

As I stood, Trayton caught my hand in his, his eyes sparkling. He didn’t need to say anything. I could see it in his expression. He cared for me. And I cared for him.-

The best friendship you can have with a person is one that doesn’t require speech. When you can communicate with just a look ~ that’s what I want.

“Bravery gets you into trouble. Bravery leads you into battle. But if you really want to survive in battle, you must first know what it is to fear death.”-

People always assume that the men in the military that are on the frontlines fighting all the time are so brave. They run out there and risk their lives every day, and they never complain about it. But I think what they’ve got is that they have learned how to use their fear. Almost guaranteed, they’re all scared out there. Who wouldn’t be? But they can use their fear to fuel them, to remind them of the people back home, of what they’re fighting for. Fear of death will be your greatest asset in a fight because it can strengthen you.

As Graplars clashed with students all around her, she twirled in slow circles to the music in her head. I’d never thought anything would frighten me more than a Graplar. But seeing Instructor Baak lose her mind completely, watching as her madness took over any ounce of reason that she’d once had…it terrified me.-

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