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“Steel does not shatter nearly so easily as glass.”


One | Two | Four | Five | Six

A year after Sam’s death, he still hadn’t stopped marveling at - everything. How… similar it was to life. So vibrant and rich and brimming with a thousand untold stories. It was strange, sometimes he would forget that he was dead.

But he never could, not when a phantom memory of pain lingered in his dreams. Not when the image of Celaena’s blood staining the barren earth of Endovier was imprinted on his eyelids.

Watching Celaena had, as Elena said, been a test, to prove that Sam would not forget those in his life. The female’s words came back to him, uttered when he was trembling on the ground, longing for pain and comfort but finding only tears.

You cannot pass through the barrier. You can see them, can touch them, even, sometimes, but never pass through. They will never know you are here. It is our burden to bear, to watch those we love live, while we can do nothing to stop their pain.

He cringed at the memory of the words as he made his way through the crowded streets. His surroundings were almost like Rifthold, with the bustling throngs of people. But the diversity here… there were people from all over the world, from Wendlyn, from the Southern Continent, from Eyllwe. So many people, each trying - and failing, Sam thought with bitter amusement - to help or hinder those in their lives.

A sprinting figure came up to him, panting beneath the heavy cloak they wore. They skidded to a stop, barely avoiding crashing into him.

“Please. You have to help me.” They grabbed his wrists with thin, pale hands. Sam tilted his head, attempting to discern the face beneath the cloak. Coils of bright red hair, and tanned skin. He pulled his own hood farther forward, shielding his face. Her - he supposed it was - voice was urgent. “They’ll find me, and take me. Help me.”

Sam shook his head, hesitant to become involved in this woman’s troubles. But… Celaena wouldn’t hesitate to help her. “Slow down,” he said, keeping his voice down. “Who will find you?”

She trembled, so much he could make out the quivering beneath the heavy garments. “We must find somewhere safe, first. Then I will explain.” She inclined her head, motioning for him to follow, before running off into the busy streets.

She ran, hoping that the young man would follow. If not, she’d figure it out. She would do what was necessary to ensure her survival.

She reached an alleyway, grimy and dim. Looking back, Syleena paused, searching for the man. She couldn’t spy him in the crowd, and her heart sank. But - there. A figure dashing towards her, sprinting. She recognised him quickly, and caught his eye. She smiled, and turned into the dark alley.

The walls pressed in on her, and the faint smell of refuse threatened to make her sick. She tamped down on the urge, and slowed to a brisk walk. When she neared the end, Syleena stretched out a hand, probing the wall carefully. There. Her fingers met a slight edge, and she pressed in, before knocking twice.

“What are you doing?” She jumped at the voice, whipping her head around. The man had crept up on near-silent feet, a feline grace to every movement. She willed her racing heartbeat to slow, her voice to steady.“Finding somewhere safe.” She knocked once more, and waited. They stood in silence for a moment, almost as if expecting something grandiose. “What’s your name?” she asked, into the quiet.

The young man started, as if he had forgotten she was there. He swallowed audibly, before responding, “Sam Cortland.” He seemed to war with himself, before asking, “You?”

“Syleena Furybloom.” She practically spat the words, hating the way the words sounded on her tongue. She didn’t have a last name, so she used the one of her former masters. For a moment, Syleena was engulfed in memories.

The water splashed, and the joyous laughter of children met her ears. But Syleena could find no merriment in it, only callous cruelty and indifference. She swirled her fingers through the surface of the water, the water she had once loved so fiercely. A part of her longed to wield and create, to heal her scars with beauty. But the power, what she had once treasured - she couldn’t. What they had made her do… Syleena shivered, withdrawing her hand from the water. She hugged her knees to her chest, red hair falling over her face. Her skin glowed in the dappled sunlight, as if she had been bathed with the flickering warmth of firelight. A leaf drifted down from above, falling onto her arms. She gazed at the colours in it, transfixed by the simple beauty. Green and yellow and brown, jewel bright hues swirled together to create something soft and ethereal.

Syleena started, jolting back into herself. Sam stared at her, brows furrowed with concern.

“Are you okay?” He asked, tugging his hood forward. “You blanked out for a moment.”

She let out a breath, before responding, “Yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.” There was a beat of silence, deep and expectant. It was the kind of quiet that made Syleena think of chill winter nights, when the moon washed the snow covered forest with a silver glow.

She sighed longingly, remembering Terrassen’s cold, endless winters. How she had loved those winters, the still nights and breathless days. The frozen lakes and towering evergreens. And the riot of colours in the spring, the roaring Florine.

Syleena was snapped out of her memories by a low, eerie creak. Sam whipped his head around, and she snickered slightly at his shock. The brick wall slid away, revealing a long passageway of shadows. She heard Sam swallow.

“Are you afraid?” she teased, smirking beneath her hood. He stiffened, tensing at her mild words.

“Of course not,” he spat. She could practically feel his eyes burning into her. He stalked into the tunnel, not looking back.

Syleena huffed a breathy laugh, before following him into the gloom.

The darkness was thick and gloomy, almost tangible. Sam breathed in slowly, the air filling his lungs cold and sour. There was a quiet, but steady dripping noise coming from somewhere to his right. The echo of his footsteps was swallowed by the pooling shadows, disappearing beyond the far recessed of what was known. Syleena’s soft breath behind him was the only other sound.

A part of Sam wanted to speak, ask where she was taking him. But he didn’t want to disturb the silence, this momentary peace. It was obvious that Syleena had her scars, But - foolishly, idiotically - he was afraid to. He didn’t want to know. Celaena would laugh herself hoarse if she were here, would tell him to damn his fears, his reservations. But she wasn’t here. Celaena was in Endovier, being whipped and worked to her death. That she was even alive after a month astounded him. His only consolation was that at least they would be together soon.

“Wait,” Syleena’s soft whisper of a voice penetrated the silence, dragging him from his thoughts. Sam halted, footsteps fading away. “We’re here.” She walked in front of him, sidling past him with a wraith-like elegance. The hem of her cloak brushed the underside of his wrist, and he shivered.

The thin, razor-sharp edge of dagger tracing along his veins. A thick, muscle-corded hand gripping his forearm. Pain everywhere, blood dripping onto the table beneath it. Shallow breaths and erratic heartbeat. He wanted it to be over, to end. He wanted this agony to leave, to fade away into a star-kissed blanket of death. Wanted -

He slammed into himself, spiralling through his memories. He blinked his eyes open, which he had screwed closed. He turned around, spinning on his heel slowly.

Where nothing but endless shadows had been before, now an indomitable wall of rough stone blocked his path. Vaguely, from the light emitted from the torch in Syleena’s hand, he made out the faint imprint of a door. Sam frowned at it, wondering how they would open it.

He went up to it, examining the masonry closely. He felt Syleena come up behind him, close enough he could feel her breath scraping along his ear. Except, the breathing was so much heavier, the touch less light.

That wasn’t Syleena.

Sam spun around, hands instinctively searching for weapons that weren’t there. A hooded figure indeed stood there, but far taller and burlier. Syleena was shoved behind the man, against the stone wall.


His breath quickened slightly, heart thumping in his ears. How had someone snuck up on him like that? Were they really that quiet, or was he just distracted?

“Come with us, or your friend… well she won’t die, but it will be very unpleasant for her.” The voice was gravelly, as if it had been made to be so. It reminded him of Celaena, and her ridiculous mask.

But what could he possibly do to her here? Was the man bluffing, or was there truly some way to harm people?

“Very well,” he said, fully aware that he would likely regret it. But he couldn’t have the pain of an innocent on his hands - a silly thought, when he was a trained assassin who had killed dozens of people. But this, somehow, was different.

The man bound Sam’s hands behind him, patting him down, as if searching for weapons. A bag was thrown over his head, and the darkness crowded in, memories surging forward.

A thud, and he tried to writhe away from the strong arms gripping him, to no avail. A heavy blow landed against his skull, and Sam knew no more.

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“Steel does not shatter nearly so easily as glass.”


One | Three | Four | Five | Six

Sam couldn’t feel anything. He flexed his fingers, his toes, his arms, but couldn’t feel it. He couldn’t see, either, but somehow knew he was moving. If this was death, it was… empty. Empty, and silent. It was a waiting quiet, a complete absence of sound that even the ringing in his ears couldn’t penetrate.

No, this was not death, he was certain of it. A gateway, perhaps, to the afterlife. There was no pain in this in-between world, no fractured bones or aching muscles. There was nothing but shadows and silence here, a presence that seemed to linger in the air, swirling and writhing.

Wind and stars and dreams, dew and mist and rain.

Sam searched for light, searched for purchase in this endless void. There was nothing, nothing but emptiness. And yet…

Far in the distance, a glimmer of - something. Not of light, but a glimpse of colour, seen by the eye in perfect darkness. A leap of hope bounded in Sam’s no longer beating heart, that perhaps he would not be alone in this hopeless abyss. Somehow, he felt himself drifting towards it, a slow, steady motion. He was nearly there, the colour was growing clearer, gaining dimension, a concrete form. The light at the end of a long tunnel, the first star just rising above the horizon.

A woman stood with her back to him, silver hair trailing down her back in waves of moonlight. A pale lavender dress was hung on her lithe frame, with embroidery that seemed to flow like quicksilver through the silk.

“Who are you?” he asked, the words echoing oddly in the silence. She turned, the material of her dress pooling in a shimmering heap at her feet. Sam gasped at her alluring features’ ethereal beauty. Delicately arched ears poked up through her unbound hair. Bright, startlingly sapphire eyes glimmered with a thousand glistening stars, and an ancient grace and wisdom seemed to radiate from the swirling depths. Fae. This woman - this female - was Fae.

“Sam Cortland,” she said, her voice soft and lilting. She drifted closer, fingering a strand of frosted starlight draped over her shoulder. “I am Elena, and that is all you need to know about me. Let us speak about you, now.” He cocked his head slightly, her brisk manner disconcerting. Who was Elena, what was she, that she didn’t want to reveal her story… Sam didn’t want to know. “You were correct in assuming that this is no Afterlife. A gateway, as you put it.” He flinched, the words resounding in his mind. How did Elena know what he had thought? Sam didn’t pretend to understand the ways of magic, and didn’t particularly care to. “The Afterlife is not far from here, though not in the literal sense. I am sure that you will find it much more to your liking.” A smile softened her eyes, crinkling the smooth skin at the corners. “But, however, there is a catch. You must pass a test, of sorts.” The hope that had begun to flicker in his heart dimmed to nothing but a faint ember, and he slumped, despair overtaking him. What sort of test would this be? It seemed people were always testing him. Arobynn, Lysandra, even Rolfe, and now Elena. One day, perhaps Sam would just erupt, and prove to all those who claimed he was worthless that they were wrong.

“And no, it is not like what you are thinking,” Elena continued, features softening once more, this time with sympathy. “Think of it as a test to see whether you are ready to move on or not.” Elena tilted her head, as if asking whether he understood. Sam nodded, willing the silent words to rise up in his eyes. Whatever it takes. She closed her eyes for half a moment, too long to just be a blink. “So be it.” Elena waved her hand, and the darkness melted away to reveal harsh, dry light. He squinted, eyes struggling against the onslaught on his senses.

A lovely form, golden hair trailing down her back, turquoise eyes defiant. Celaena. His throat closed up for a moment at that swagger, that bold arrogance. But that was a glimmer of loss gleaming in her eyes, a glint of silver limning the gold. Yes, his death would have broken her, too. But where was she? At the thought, her surroundings were revealed in a swirl of white. Rocky mountains and wooden huts, and a crowd of teeming people clad in rags and dirt. Oh no.

A man, with tangled hair and muddy eyes, beside Celaena, spoke, leering gleefully, just a Farran had before Sam’s death. “Take off your shirt,” he ordered, pushing her down on her knees. Celaena obliged, even as she clenched her fists, curling her fingers around an imaginary blade. And as her sun-kissed tan was exposed to the frigid air, Sam stumbled forward, realising what they were doing. The overseer uncoiled a whip from his belt, lowering himself to meet Celaena’s eyes. “I would say this won’t hurt too much, but I don’t want to lie.” He rose up, grasping the whip with a practiced hand. A whistle, and a crack. Celaena gritted her teeth against the pain, and he gasped, as if he could feel it himself. Another lash landed, but still Celaena did not scream. Even in death, Sam could read the words in her eyes. The words he had given her. My name is Celaena Sardothien and I will not be afraid. And yet another blow landed, this time on top of the first. Celaena cried out, a scream shattering from her throat. He curled inward, the sound exactly the same to his yells when Farran was torturing him.

And before another lash could be inflicted on her, Celaena brought her head up, golden hair matted in blood streaked clumps. Her turquoise eyes were dull, her usual manner dissolved into pain. But she smirked, though it came out as more of a grimace. And spat blood in the overseer’s face.

The look on his face would have made Sam laugh in a different circumstance. But the tears Celaena fought to keep back, the screams she could not silence, erased any amusement he may have felt.

Still, she seemed to rally her courage, her strength, and spoke with a weary version of her insufferable swagger. “You can whip me, and torture me, and mutilate me. But you will never, never, break Celaena Sardothien.”

The words snapped something in Sam.

He was at the barrier, pounding and pounding and pounding. He couldn’t feel it, not really. One moment his hand was moving, the next it wasn’t. He longed to bleed, to break and to bruise, if only so his Celaena would not be alone. But no pain came, nothing but an empty hollowness in his soul.

Through it all, Elena watched, cold and grave. A flicker of grief flashed through her sapphire eyes, dimming the stars which revolved around an inky pupil.

“Please,” he begged her, voice already raw from screaming. “She needs me.”

But Elena did not move, did not speak. And Celaena was whipped again and again and again.

There was nothing Sam could do. Nothing he could do, as the one he loved was mutilated and brutalised as he had been.

And despite everything, they were both alone.

In the end, Sam spent the better part of a year in that in-between world, watching Celaena’s misery.

He kicked and scratched, at the barrier separating them, at his own tanned skin. Despite how he had bled, how he had screamed ere his untimely death, he desired more. To share in Celaena’s suffering, to prove to himself that this was real, not just another form of torture spun for him.

And through it all, Elena watched him, ever stoic and grave. She did not seem to be moved by Sam’s pleading, by Celaena’s suffering. A cold and unyielding Fae queen, born of pain and ashes.

It could have continued forever, until Celaena was turned to nothing but dust and ashes brought on a fell wind. It could have never ended.

But one day, it did.

Watching Celaena’s haggard, gaunt face, her empty eyes which once sparked with such wicked delight and untamed wildness, Sam could have watched forever. But Elena crouched before him, bending down to his eye level, silver hair brushing his cheekbones.

“Come, Sam Cortland. Your time here is done,” she said, offering him a hand. He glared at it distrustfully, the slender shape and pale skin. She smiled sadly, sensing his hesitation. “You will still be able to watch Celaena, or anyone else you wish to. But you cannot remain here forever.” He found himself nodding, despite his reservations. And still her hand was extended, fine boned and elegant.

He took her hand.

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“Steel does not shatter nearly so easily as glass.”


Two | Three | Four | Five | Six

He rose to consciousness slowly, drifting through a sea of hazy darkness like a feather on water. He didn’t open his eyes, not yet. Sensing his surroundings, reaching out with his instincts.

Sam lay on an unyielding surface, the cold chill of metal seeping through his clothes, down into his bones. His wrists and ankles were pinned to the table, arms and legs stretched away from him, muscles straining with every breath. Cuffs ground into his skin, sharp edges already drawing blood.

Darkness pressed in on his closed eyelids, clawing and grappling with his reason. He peeled his eyes open slowly, oh so slowly. Blinking away the blurriness that came from a drug-induced sleep, and wincing from a crick in his neck, he raised his head, craning to see the room. It was shrouded with shadows, but training had sharpened his senses, his instincts. A heartbeat had him assessing the scene, the sparsely furnished area. A wooden chest, simple and plain, rested against the wall opposite him, nothing more. A window was cracked open above him, a slice of balmy air working its way through. Not enough to escape.

Oh gods.

As he surveyed the room, memories came rushing back, a throbbing headache with them. Rourke Farran’s men, at first knocked to the ground, dead or unconscious. Then rising up, taking advantage of his surprise. A sharp, metallic scent in his nose. And darkness

Sam had insisted that Celaena stay away, terrified of what Farran would do to her should they fail. He knew he was right to do so, right to take on this task alone. Even if it led to his death… she would live. Though alone once more, she would live.

Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t hear the footsteps until it was too late.

The door creaked open, a shaft of pale, dry light illuminating Farran’s burly figure. Dark, shaggy hair fell into his sunken eyes, moon white skin distinctly contrasting with his lightless eyes. Sam inhaled sharply, a shiver of fear winding up his spine. At the noise, Farran straightened slightly, a cruel smirk curving his lips, and he walked over with a casual stroll.

“Ah, Sam… you’re awake,” he drawled, voice a soft and deadly purr. Dripping with the promise and violence and death. Sam knew the tones, the threats. He’d heard them from Celaena’s lips so many times before. Had spoken with them himself.

Farran sauntered to the chest, a lethal gleam buried in those obsidian depths. He lit a torch, attaching it to a sconce by the doorway. With a heaving moan, the trunk was opened, Farran’s arms straining to heft the heavy lid. Faint light glinted on the ceiling, flickering and changing with the firelight, molten quicksilver skittering across the room. Sam groaned, fighting to control his breath. He could guess what the box contained, even without the tinkling of metal on metal.

“No, not that one. Maybe… No, not yet,” the crime lord muttered to himself as he foraged, examining various torture devices with a critical eye. Sam knew what he was doing, why he was doing it. Farran enjoyed toying with his prey, and he wanted them to be absolutely saturated with fear.

It was working.

He forced his breath to calm, his thundering heartbeat to slow.

Farran crept back, twirling a pair of pliers through his long, pale hands. Sam stared at him, defiant, even as his bones quaked. “Now, Sam Cortland, let’s begin.” He brandished the pliers menacingly, his yellow teeth bared in a crazed leer.

Sam knew what was coming next. Removal of fingernails was one of the first forms of torture he had learned to withstand in the Assassin’s Guild. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but… he could survive. He would survive.

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid. He repeated the words to himself, willing them to be true. My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid. Farran lined up the pliers with Sam’s right thumb, humming merrily to himself. I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid. A small suction sound, and -

He bit down on the scream working its way up his throat, blood oozing from his finger. Tears swam in his eyes, blurring his vision, but he blinked them back, refusing to let any weakness show. My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid. His pointer finger was next, the pain so much more intense the second time. His middle finger. Soon all of his right hand was bleeding and fingernail-less, throbbing steadily with a dull ache.

Farran frowned at his stone-faced reaction, his icy refusal. “We can’t have that, can we? You’ll ruin my fun,” he pouted, jet black hair covering the dangerous glint in his eyes. He reached for Sam’s uninjured left hand, jewel embedded rings pressing into his scars and calluses. The hand was lifted up, or as much as it could be with the shackles. “Now, which finger did you hold your sword with? Was it this one?” Farran grasped Sam’s index finger, holding it in his hands for a moment, before -

Snap! Crack!

Sam gritted his teeth, salty tears pooling in his eyes. He couldn’t blink them away, he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t -

“Or was it this one?” Farran continued, this time clenching his middle finger. A moment of silence, and roaring heat coursed through his hand. Oh gods. Oh gods.

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid.

But he would endure it. For Celaena, for himself, he would endure it. For the people they both used to be, before the killing and the bloodshed and the rivalry, he would endure it.

Through a scarlet haze of pain, he distantly heard Farran speaking, his voice triumphant. “Would you like to know a secret, Sam?” He leant closer, bracing himself against the table. “You are never going to see your pretty girlfriend again. Do you know why?” He cackled gleefully, a callous grin lighting his features. Farran leant closer still, his stale breath, smelling of ale and garlic, huffing against Sam’s neck. He stiffened, longing to slide away, to escape, to kill this man who had brought suffering down on so many. “Because Arobynn doesn’t like to share his belongings.” The words were barely more than a sigh of breath, and took a moment to register in his mind.

Arobynn doesn’t like to share his belongings.

Arobynn - betrayed them. Betrayed them so that Celaena, his perfect, lethal lapdog, would stay with him. And Sam would be out of the picture, forever erased from memory.

He couldn’t believe it - he wouldn’t believe it. And yet… some part of it made perfect sense. Arobynn had always enjoyed playing games, and what was this but another elaborate scheme to keep his protégée shackled to him? The King of Assassins had pitted them against each other, forcing them to compete for every job, every payment, every moment of his attention. Sam had always been second best, the spare. He had learnt to accept that, but… sometimes he still resented Arobynn for it. Not Celaena - never Celaena - but Arobynn certainly hadn’t made their relationship easy.

Farran whistled, drawing Sam out of his thoughts. “You didn’t see that coming, did you?” he snickered, gleeful and cruel. “Oh, and don’t worry about Adarlan’s Assassin. It’s either me or Endovier for her.”

White-hot rage flooded his mind, burning, burning, burning. How could he? Sam couldn’t see, couldn’t think, couldn’t feel anything but fury and desperation. How could Arobynn betray them to a sadist? Endovier would break Celaena, kill her within a month. He wouldn’t allow it, that final breaking. Even if he had to crawl out of here, he was not letting Celaena go to that festering hellhole.

“But, let’s continue.” He returned to the chest, gathering new supplies.

His breath quickened in expectation of what was coming, fear trickling into his core, flowing through his veins, pounding with every beat of his thundering heart. Farran returned, carrying numerous large cylinders of metal in both hands. He attached them to the side of the table, positioning the cylinders near his hands, feet, and abdomen. He went to the torch, lifting it from the wall, whistling audibly. As Farran neared, Sam tensed, breath hitching. Were those… Braziers. Oh gods.

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid.

Farran smiled at the evident fear in Sam’s eyes, drawing closer. He leant down, lighting the braziers. A lick of heat fanned against his fingers, still throbbing. Gods. Oh gods.

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid.

But the table was beginning to warm, the shackles on his limbs. And his hair would burn and crumble away, his skin would melt like wax. My name is Sam Cortland and I will -

The thought cut off suddenly, as he let out an involuntary bellow of pain. Heat lanced down his spine, through his nerves. He couldn’t think, couldn’t breath, couldn’t do anything but scream and thrash as the metal became unbearably hot, as his skin blistered and burned.He prayed for unconsciousness to take him, prayed to gods who had long since abandoned him.

But it did not come. There was no relief, no escape from this obliterating agony. Burning and burning and burning and burning and -

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid.

But the words were meaningless now.

He was afraid.


Sam didn’t know how long Farran worked, breaking his body and his will apart. The pain was all he knew now, this agony, this oblivion. Every part of him was shattered and broken and aching. Blood pooled beneath him, crusting his crumbling hair, his tender skin, his eyelashes. The metallic taste coated his tongue, the scent filling his nostrils. Tears tracked down his cheeks, and darkness closed in. He couldn’t see, thanks to Farran, his eyes nothing but bloody sockets. He could barely breathe, each breath shallow and gurgling. He couldn’t have spoken, even if he wanted to, his throat raw and hoarse from screams, from pleading and begging.

The agony was a song in his blood, and he knew there was no escape. He had long since given up hope of rescue, of release from this anguish. Celaena was nothing but a distant memory, a hazy form floating through his fragmented mind.

He could feel an end coming, cold and empty, a whisper of silence. He was nestled in Death’s clawed hand, each breath a struggle, his thoughts growing sluggish. A shadowed form seemed to loom over him, counting his heartbeats, his laboured breaths.

Still Farran continued, and likely would, even once Sam’s body was nothing but a vacant corpse. A sadist. Farran was a merciless sadist. He longed to beg, to plead for mercy, for a peaceful passing, though he knew it was futile. Was opening his mouth to do so, but -

You do not yield. He imagined Celaena’s voice in his ear, a whispered, comforting murmur. Her turquoise eyes seemed to peer at him from the depths of despair, a spark of joy, of unchecked wildness, belying those flames of gold. You do not yield. He imagined Celaena was with him, a presence only he could detect. He imagined that he was not alone, at this terrible end.

And he flung out his consciousness, willing her to hear it, as he felt himself fade away. I’m sorry I can’t hold on. I’m sorry I am leaving you alone.

Though Farran continued to torture him, whipping and mutilating and branding, it was distant, secondary. And though he screamed, and thrashed, and struggled, he was not afraid.

My name is Sam Cortland and I will not be afraid.

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deleted my Swapped AU and gonna rewrite it to include Iris. Excited :)

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Okay, I guess I’m just gonna start uploading this here because the more the merrier, right? This is the third platform where I’m uploading this story lol But I just really want people to read, cause… That’s why I wrote it, to try make people smile (okay, and cry a little) and I’m in love with it <3

You can find many many chapters in Ao3  

So, first and foremost, thank you @fleetingpieces for believing in this story when it was just a random idea in my brain that went something like “OMFG! What if Celaena was in a world without magic and she had to attend HS?” And then I started babbling for like… an hour… and through it all, @fleetingpieces listened to my rambling and interjected with ‘ahs’ and ‘ohs’ and ‘aws’ and then told me I should really write this story because she wanted to read it… so… I better stop rambling and let you read it ;)


Returning to the Living

She was so used to getting up at twilight and staying up all night, that being in the principal’s office at the early hour of seven thirty in the morning felt almost like torture. And Celaena Sardothien surely knew her fair share about torture.

“Good morning, Miss Sardothien, please come in,” the principal called as he signaled her in from the door of his office.

Begrudgingly, she followed him in as she stifled a yawn. She sat down in front of the old man, arranging her skirt and tucking in the front of the uniform’s white blouse.

“It is a pleasure to have you in our school,” the principal started. “I hope you settle quickly into the spirits of Adarlan Elite High, and to make sure of it, I have arranged for the president of the student council to give you a tour of the grounds. He was kind enough to come in early for this.” His voice was monotonous, like he was bored of speaking with teens all day, but he sounded stern at the same time, as if ‘settling into the spirit’ actually meant 'sticking to the rules’.

He had no idea that wasn’t going to be the case, Celaena had already broken more rules than most students, and she had yet to start her first day.

She heard the steps in the hallway before the door opened, and she turned around with her best smile at the same time as principal Allsbrook spoke again.

“Chaol Westfall, this is our new exchange student, Celaena Sardothien. Miss. Sardothien, this is Mr. Westfall, the president of the student council.”

If it wasn’t for all her training, her jaw would have fallen open; she knew him. The guy standing by the door wore his uniform immaculate and perfectly ironed, there was even that straight little line at the front of his dress pants. His white shirt was tidy and tucked in, his tie pulled almost all the way up; his chestnut hair was cut short on the sides and a little longer in the middle, styled with gel; and his copper-brown eyes were piercing into her, his eyebrows slightly lowered.

She was pretty sure he had recognized her.

“Morning, Celaena,” he said, smiling politely.

“Good morning to you, Chaol, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she said in an effort to be polite back, if only to keep the charade of a good girl in front of the old man sitting at the desk. 

She hoped for the slight chance that he wouldn’t remember meeting her a few weeks back, or that he didn’t recognize her with the small change of appearance. 

“Okay, off you go into the tour, I have plenty of things to do, and another student to greet soon,” the principal dismissed them with a wave of his hand.

Celaena followed Chaol out of the office, hoping that he wouldn’t mention the day they ran into each other in the secretary’s office. She hadn’t thought there would be any students in the school’s grounds during holidays; but of course the nerd of the class had been there and had almost found her hacking into the school’s database. She had been fast, getting off the computer, jumping over the counter and seating in the waiting area just before Chaol had walked in the door. 

She had claimed to be waiting for the secretary, that there were some papers she had to hand in; and she hoped that’d been enough to fool him.

“So, why does a senior student transfer schools?” Chaol asked her after showing her around for a while. “Wouldn’t you want to graduate with all your friends?” 

“I transferred because I had to move here, and the reason I moved is none of your concern,” she quipped, not being able to repress the little hiss sound escaping her lips. There was something about the guy, he was already pissing her off.

“Interesting,” he muttered under his breath. “Well, welcome to Rifthold then,” he said as he led her towards a new hallway. “So, this is the cafeteria,” he pointed to a set of double doors at the end of the hall. “And the gymnasium is in the next building over, out that side door,” he added, gesturing to their right.

They walked around for a few more minutes while she pretended not to know the place like she knew the palm of her hand. She had meticulously studied the blueprint of the building, and had snuck in during the night a few times to get familiar with her new surroundings.

“That’s about it, you can ask around if you get lost,” he finished, looking at his wrist watch. “We should go now, or else we’ll be late for the first period, missing homeroom is enough. Let me see,” he added pointing at the schedule in Celeana’s hand.

She passed it over to him and Chaol looked at it quickly and smiled, but there was still an odd look in his eyes. She could tell he didn’t fully trust her; she’d had to work on that.

“We’re together for the first two periods, so follow me,” he said.

“Sure thing,” she replied, flashing him with one of her best grins.

They walked into the classroom, and Celaena was already calculating her odds. Would this be the type of school where they had you introduce yourself? She half hoped not, but a part of her hoped it was; it would be good to read people’s expressions from the front of the room. And she couldn’t deny she’d enjoy the attention. 

She was only half disappointed when the teacher barely looked at her and nodded. “Oh, yes, one of the new students,” the guy said. He must have been in his late thirties, and looked a bit bored, but Celaena couldn’t help but notice how he glanced at her up and down quickly. “Just grab a seat wherever you want,” he brushed her off.

She analyzed the room and decided to sit around the middle, but to one side, so she’d have the security of the wall to her left, and the gossiping girls sitting to her right. She could already hear their whispers and see their eyes turning her way, heads close together as they talked. 

“Oh my God,” one of the girls was saying, “I think she’s got potential for prom queen.” Her voice was a little too loud to be considered a whisper.

“Shush, she can probably hear you! But you’re right, she’ll be good competition for Lysandra. Do you reckon she’ll join the bees? Looks like the type,” the second one replied.

Lysandra, she saved that name into her brain. Probably the queen of this school; pretty girls normally meant trouble, so she’d better keep her eyes and ears on that one.

“Have you seen the new junior already?” The first one asked after a few more hushed whispers. Celaena leaned on an elbow closer to them, pretending to look at the front while she eavesdropped.

“I haven’t, but I’ve heard he’s to die for!” 

“He’s really tall and handsome.“ Celaena rolled her eyes at that. "I hope I have some classes with him…. Do you know what his name is?”

“I think it’s Samuel.”

“Okay, attention class,” the teacher interrupted.

Celeana was glad for the interruption, she had had enough of the girls’ gossip for the moment being, and she hoped her school year wasn’t going to be all like that. That is, if she even got to the end of the year. Gossip was a good source of information, but it was also unreliable, and annoying. 

The first few classes went by fairly quickly, she sat to one side of the classrooms, interacted with a few students, and mostly listened to what everybody had to say about her and the other new student. Not many dared approach her, she must have looked as grumpy as she felt due to the lack of sleep. A few had said hello and introduced themselves, and she had filed every face and every name she could into her memory.

It was after her third class, while she was leaving some books in her locker, that she finally ran into him. Or most likely, that he found her.

“Hello, gorgeous,” he said in a mocking tone, standing behind her.

She turned around and glanced at the hallway, making sure that there were not many people around and that no one could hear them. 

“I still don’t know why you’re here, but just stay out of my fucking way, Cortland! Don’t ruin my plan,” she yelled under her breath, looking around to the few people still lingering in the hall.

“You know perfectly well why I’m here, and I can’t get in the way if I don’t even know what your plan is,” he hissed, and then he popped a hand against the locker, boxing her in.

Celaena wasn’t unaccustomed to him being so close, but his simple presence could still piss her off.

“Yes, I do know why you’re here,” she replied with a huff. “It’s because Arobynn doesn’t fully trust me after the… incident,” she finished, trying not to think about that night. “But I don’t know why he’d trust you,” she added, narrowing her eyes and almost spitting the last word out. 

She pushed his left hand off the locker in one quick motion, almost making him stumble. He had probably been expecting the move, as he shifted the weight to his right foot and popped his right hand on the other side of her head instead.

Sam Cortland looked at her with his brows tucked together, his face merely inches away from hers. It looked like he was going to keep arguing, he opened and closed his mouth. He looked hurt for a second, and angry, but then he turned around, looking ahead into the now empty hallway. The first bell had rung already.

“I’ll be around if you change your mind,” he replied over his shoulder before walking away.

“Asshole,” Celaena breathed as she closed her locker and walked quickly to her next class. She didn’t need the kind of attention that being late to class would give her, especially not for the class she was heading to… Especially not when she was about to see Aedion for the first time after nine long years.

She made it in time, and entered the room just before the teacher called the attention of the students. Celaena was glad for it, as she saw Aedion eyeing her when she walked in. She had to concentrate not to look at him directly as she made her way to the back of the class, where he would have to turn around if he wanted to look at her again. 

Once she was in her seat, she let her long golden hair fall as a curtain to the side of her face, covering her from Aedion’s turquoise eyes. He was sitting only two rows in front of her to the right, and she had a perfect view of his profile. 

“Welcome class, I hope you’re enjoying your first day so far. I’m Ms. Doranelle and I will be your math teacher for this term,” the short woman at the front said. She proceeded to write her name on the board and asked them to open their textbooks on page 15.

As soon as the lesson started, Celaena tucked her hair behind her ear, and looked at Aedion more closely. She had to admit, he had grown into a fine young man. He had broad shoulders that filled in the school’s jacket nicely, and his blond hair was only a shade lighter than hers. Celeana could tell he spent a lot of time in the sun, as his skin had a slight shine to it, same as his hair. She looked at her own hands, her ghost pale skin so opposite to his, and wondered if her skin would acquire that golden tan too if she started spending more time outdoors during the daytime. 

She’d probably find out soon.

“Celaena, what’s the answer to question five on the textbook?” Ms. Doranelle asked, probably catching her daydreaming.

She let her hair fall back onto her face, and read the question quickly.

“Twenty five,” she replied immediately, trying not to sound too cocky. 

A bit surprised, the teacher raised her thick eyebrows at her, but then nodded.

“Yes, that’s right… Just, don’t get distracted,” she added before continuing with the lesson.

As she looked to the right, Celaena caught his eyes. Aedion Ashryver’s turquoise eyes were just as she remembered them; but she didn’t really need to remember, because they were equal to the ones she saw in the mirror every morning. The golden ring around his pupils was visible even from a few seats away, and Celaena was glad she had chosen to wear brown contacts, since to anybody paying only a little attention, it would have been so obvious that their eyes looked alike.

Aedoin squinted his eyes, as if trying to figure out if he knew her from somewhere. Looking away would be suspicious, so she held his gaze, little snippets of memories coming back to her.

She remembered the two of them running around her parent’s yard back in Terrasen, playing tag; kicking each other under the table during the ostentatious business banquets, and being told off for it. She recalled Aedion curling up on her bed during a sleep over because she had had a nightmare; and him fighting with some bullies in primary school after they had pulled on her braids. 

And her last memory, that of Aedion hugging her goodbye before moving away from Terrasen when his father had been transferred to run the company in Rifthold. That had been barely a few weeks before the accident, before her whole life had come crashing down. She had been so excited for the visit, thinking she’d finally be reunited with him.

But it was all so different now, and none of that mattered. Neither of them were the kids they used to be, they were strangers now. And as Aedion Ashryver looked away, Celaena Sardothien kept her eyes on the back of his head, thinking how she would find out the truth, and take her revenge. She was sure he wouldn’t be an obstacle, he was merely a suspect. 


Here’s my version of Celaena for this fic, with contact lenses and all <3


Annnnd that’s it for today!! All comments and forms of love are highly appreciated, we writers live on coffee, sugar, and lovely comments in case you didn’t know <3

I will do my best to remember and update this often! How often? Not sure yet, maybe 3x week? 

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In CoM when Chaol is talking to his father he says, I will marry whomever I please whether she be a scullery maid, (Aelin in HoF) a slave (Celaena in TaB and start of ToG) or a princess (Aelin). 

This is an easter egg, and shows that through all the pain Chaol still loves her. Even tho she is way out of his league.

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Arobynn: I need to test out my new signature.

Aelin: Here use this.


Arobynn: This is a death certificate.

Aelin: Yes, go on, sign.

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An Insider’s Guide to the Throne of Glass: Celaena Sardothien at the Yulemas Masquerade Ball, 1/?

What was she doing here?

Dorian almost dropped his drink as he saw Celaena Sardothien atop the stairs. Even with the mask, he cognized her. She might have her faults, but Celaena never did anything halfheartedly. She’d outdone herself with that dress. But what was she doing here?

He couldn’t tell if it were a dream or reality until several heads, then many, turned to look. Though the waltz was playing, those not dancing quieted themselves as the mysterious masked girl lifted her skirts and took a step, then another. Her dress was made of stars plucked from the sky, and the whorls of crystals in her grey mask glittered. 

“Who is that?” Breathed a young courtier beside him.

She looked at no one as she descended the staircase, and even the Queen of Adarlan stood to see the late arrival, Nehemia also rising from her seat beside her. Had Celaena lost her mind?

‘Walk to her. Take her hand.’ But his feet were leaden, and Dorian could do nothing except watch her. His skin flushed beneath his small black mask. He didn’t know why, but seeing her made him feel like a man. She was something out of a dream- a dream in which he was not a spoiled young prince, but a king. She reached the bottom of the stairs, and Dorian took a step forward. 

But someone had already arrived, and Dorian clenched his jaw tight enough for it to hurt as she smiled and bowed to Chaol. The Captain of the Guard, who hadn’t bothered to wear a mask, extended his hand. Celaena stared only at Chaol with those starlit eyes, and her long, white fingers floated through the air to meet his. The crowd began chattering as Chaol led her from the stairs, and they disappeared into the throng. Whatever conversation they were about to have, it wasn’t going to be pleasant. He’d be better off staying out of it.

“Please,” said another courtier, “tell me that Chaol doesn’t suddenly have a wife.”

“Captain Westfall?” said the courtier who had spoken earlier. “Why would a pretty thing like that marry a guard?” Remembering who stood beside him, he glanced at Dorian, who was still staring, wide-eyed, at the stairs. “Who is she, Your Highness? Do you know her?”

“No, I don’t,” whispered Dorian, and walked away.

- Chapter 38, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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The entire Throne of Glass series summarized:

Everyone: “Celaena, no.”

Celaena: “Celaena, yes.”

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It is time to introduce you all to my favorite series of all time by my favorite author of all time, that is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. 

This also means that the whole review will basically be one giant hype-train, even if I will keep spoilers to a minimum. 

So let’s take a deep dive into the story of Adarlan’s greatest assassin, Celaena Sardothien, the most sassy character that I have ever met, and one of the badass women in the series.

Keep reading

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Chaol and Dorian : what does ily mean?

Celaena : I love you

Chaol and Dorian : aw we love you too, but what does it mean?

Celaena :

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*celaena/aelin in The Assassin’s Blade*

Celaena : I’ll kill y'all myself, who cares about stupid beings.

*aelin in HoF,EoS,QoS*

Aelin : if anyone tries to kill you, I’ll kill them myself.

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