Yet the god at his shoulder did not tell him to run, or to fight.
The cut bit of crystal that contained the sole bloom of kingsflame from Orlons reign.Even amid the shining metals of the crown, the red-and-orange blossom glowed like a ruby, dazzling in the light of the morning sun as Darrow lifted the crown from the pillow.
He raised it toward the shaft of light pouring through the bank of windows behind the dais. The ceremony chosen for this time, this ray of sun. This blessing, from Mala herself.And though the Lady of Light was forever gone, Aelin could have sworn she felt a warm hand on her shoulder as Darrow held up the crown to the sun.Could have sworn she felt them all standing there with her, those whom she had loved with her heart of wildfire. Whose stories were again inked upon her skin.
And as the crown came down, as she braced her head, her neck, her heart, Aelin let her power shine. For those who had not made it, for those who had fought, for the world watching.Darrow set the crown upon her head, its weight heavier than shed thought.
Aelin closed her eyes, letting that weight, that burden and gift, settle into her.
Rise, Darrow said, Aelin Ashryver Whitethorn Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen.Rowan clapped him on the shoulder. Another thing hed make Maeve pay for. You might not have even found him, anyway.
Fenryss jaw tightened. He could be anywhere.He could be dead, murmured Princess Hasar.
Or injured, Chaol cut in, wheeling to the walls edge to survey the battlefield below and distant dam beyond it.Aelin, a few feet away, gazed toward it as well, her blood-soaked hair ripping free of its braid in the harsh wind. Flowing toward those mountains, the destruction that would soon be unleashed.