“Gwynriel wouldn’t be a thing without the bonus chapter” and why is it b*llshit
Or, in other words, a list of ALL the gwynriel moments in ACOSF, minus the bonus chapter.
Gwyn had been distracted today—one eye on the other side of the ring. Cassian could only assume she was watching his brother, who had given Gwyn a small smile of greeting upon arrival. Gwyn hadn’t returned it. Cassian cursed himself for a fool. He should have asked her if she’d be comfortable with Azriel here. Perhaps he should have asked all the priestesses about including another male, but especially Gwyn—whom Azriel had found that day in Sangravah.
She’d said nothing about it during the lesson. Only glanced every now and then toward Az, who remained dutifully focused on his charges. Cassian couldn’t read the expression on her face.
Gwyn let out a high-pitched noise that was nothing but pure excitement. Azriel, on the other side of the ring with the rest of the priestesses, half-turned at the sound, brows high.
“Done,” Gwyn declared, the white ribbon fluttering in the wind where it hung from the beam. Behind them, a few of the priestesses working with Azriel had turned to see what the ribbon business was about. The shadowsinger crossed his arms, angling his head, but remained in his half of the ring.
But Cassian made a contemplative noise, gesturing to the other half of the ring. “Az told me you also started preliminary work with the steel blades while we were gone.” He nodded to Gwyn and Emerie, the former glancing toward Azriel, who watched in silence. “So show me what you learned. Cut the ribbon in two.”
“We slice the ribbon in two,” Emerie asked Gwyn warily, “and our training is complete?”
Gwyn again glanced to Azriel, who drifted closer. She said, “I’m not entirely sure.”
“You’re oldest,” Gwyn said, nudging Emerie toward the ribbon. Emerie groused, but stepped up to the dangling ribbon, grudgingly taking the sword Cassian extended. Azriel murmured over a shoulder to the priestesses under his charge as they watched. They instantly began moving again. But Azriel’s attention remained on the ribbon.
(Important to notice what a very different reaction he had when Gwyn was the one cutting the ribbon. (See chapter 60 below.))
Nesta was leafing through a tome of military history in the library—that had one paragraph on Valkyrie ambush strategies—when Gwyn appeared. “Tell me you found their secret to cutting the ribbon.”
“You and that ribbon,” Nesta muttered, shutting the tome. Of all of them, Gwyn had become the most relentless about succeeding.
I find it very telling that Nesta is the one acknowledging Gwyn’s little obsession with the ribbon, considering what she then tells Azriel on chapter 60. 👀
Azriel had winnowed her and Cassian here after training, but hadn’t lingered. Apparently, Gwyn wanted him to go over dagger handling, so he’d left them with a promise to return in an hour.
Having private training sessions already. I see I see.
They fell silent again as Gwyn shifted her feet, angling the blade. The wind waggled the ribbon again, as if taunting her.
Cassian glanced over at Az, but his attention was fixed on the young priestess, admiration and quiet encouragement shining from his face.
Azriel went wholly still, as if he, too, had felt the shift. As if he, too, were aware that far larger forces peered into that training ring as Gwyn moved.
Azriel clapped his hands, and all the females straightened. “You’ll work in groups of three.”
Gwyn asked Az, her teal eyes bright, “What do we get if we finish the course?”
Az’s shadows danced around him. “Since there’s no chance in hell any of you will finish the course, we didn’t bother to get a prize.”
Boos sounded. Gwyn lifted her chin in challenge. “We look forward to proving you wrong.”
This scene singlehandedly ended the “lightsinger” theory, too bad antis pretend it doesn’t exist. His shadows normally dance around Gwyn, whether she sings or not.
Gwyn threw Azriel a withering stare as she strode past him. “See you tomorrow, Shadowsinger,” she tossed over a shoulder.
Az stared after her, brows high with amusement. When he turned back, Nesta grinned. “You have no idea what you just started,” she said. Az angled his head, hazel eyes narrowing as Gwyn reached the archway.
“Remember how Gwyn was with the ribbon?” Nesta winked and clapped the shadowsinger on the shoulder. “You’re the new ribbon, Az.”
The three of them made it to the third stage only once in the next two weeks. Roslin, Ananke, and Deirdre were close on their heels, propelling Gwyn to push her group harder. She wanted to be the first. Wanted Nesta and Emerie and her to be the ones who wiped the smirks from Azriel’s and Cassian’s faces. Especially Azriel’s.
“Especially Azriel” you say? Interesting.
And when Gwyn reached the finish line, bloody and panting and grinning so wildly her teal eyes glowed like a sunlit sea, she only extended her battered hand to Azriel. “Well?”
“You already have your prize,” Azriel said simply. “You just passed the Blood Rite Qualifier. Congratulations.”
To notice how she immediately went to Azriel 👀
“There are plenty of other unspeakable things that could be happening to her,” Cassian said, voice thickening. “To Emerie and Gwyn.”
The shadows deepened around Azriel, his Siphons gleaming like cobalt fire. “You—we—trained them well, Cassian. Trust in that. It’s all we can do.”
Let me know if I missed any!
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