What if instead of being sent across the Fold, Mal and Alina were sent to the northern border? This is a draft because I feel like there could be more to follow only I’m not sure what
Let’s face it, the Darkling would only want the best trackers to find Morozova’s stag so when Mal’s incredible tracking skills earn him attention, he is reassigned.
As for Alina...does it really matter where she is assigned?
Up in the north, Alina is more vulnerable to the cold due to not using her powers (look what happened to Baghra)
She isn’t popular and her vulnerability in the snow impedes her mapmaking progress.
When Mal comes back, he immediately seeks her out, having missed her after weeks of separation. He is horrified to find her near freezing.
They move away from the camp to huddle in an isolated section of the forest. Why? Because Mal wants her relocated but he doesn’t want to be separated from her either. Same goes for Alina. They need to think of a plan.
What should they do?
Desert? They would have to cross the Fold... but what is there for them here anyway? Mal has to fight Fjerdans. Alina has to fight the winter chill. But if they surivive the Volcra, they could be free.
Alina asks if Mal is willing to give up his rising career for her.
Mal: none of that matters when it comes to you. All that time we were apart, I had never realized how much I took you for granted. But now I know. And I see you, Alina.
Alina would have responded, but something caught her eye.
Alina breathed, “Mal, look.”
She spoke softly so as not to startle the majestic stag with moonlight fur and gleaming antlers.
Alina belated noticed that there were hinds following him but was distracted by the sound of Mal cursing. “Damn it. I don’t have any rope. We need to capture the stag alive.”
Alina stood in front of the stag, and blocked Mal with her shivering arms flung out wide. “Don’t you dare!”
“But Alina,” Mal entreated, “once the stag is captured, I can get reassigned. We don’t have to desert and face punishment if we’re caught.”
But Alina was stubborn as ever. “I’d rather freeze to death than give this stag to the Darkling.”
Mal: that’s treason
Alina: we were planning on it anyway!
Alina suddenly felt a snout muzzling her hair. She recalled she had been previously lying on a haystack and there must be some hay still stuck in her hair.
Giggling, she turned around and cradled the stag’s head. She felt warm when she touched the fur. It was like he was calling to her and wanted her to answer.
Alina had no idea what answer the stag was hoping for, maybe more hay or carrots. But some part of her answered anyway.
Mal: um, Alina...you’re glowing.
Alina looked down at herself before looking up at the stag. “I think he saw me freezing and wanted to help. Still think you can stomach turning him over?”
Mal grumbled but could not deny his gratitude to see Alina’s face flushed with warmth and the stag’s mystical presence.
Mal: so then what do we do?
Alina shrugged. “No clue.” She peered at the stag. “Got any ideas?”
Before Alina could see if the stag could actually talk, she heard an unwelcome but familiar voice shouting out, “the stag! Quick, get some rope!”
Alina turned around quickly, just in time to see Dubrov’s back as he ran back to camp with a few other trackers. They had probably come in search of Mal. Mikhael was easing down the slope, trying not to startle the stag.
Turning around, Alina stared deep into the stag’s eyes and urged him with a whisper. “Run! Now! Don’t come back.”
The stag didn’t move. He was still staring at her like he was mesmerized by her light show.
Mal yelled, “hurry up with that rope!”
The hinds were startled and ran off. The stag snorted but galloped after them. Mal could have sworn the stag was practically saying “Real subtle.”
Mikhael: what the hell? You startled it, Mal.
Mal: how was I suppose to know my shout would chase it off when yours didn’t?
Mikhael stared at Alina. “did the stag really make you glow?”
Alina: I was freezing! I think he wanted to help.
Mikhael shook his head. “And what about the rest of us freezing on Fjerdan lands? Sheesh. Just like the fairy tales. Pretty deer only want to help maidens while boys have to fight dragons.”
Alina snapped, “Maybe the stag wasn’t impressed with your attitude or desire to capture him!”
Dubrov returning with the tracking party but too late. Their captain believed their story about the deer, seeing the massive hoof prints for himself. But he was skeptical when not only Dubrov and Mikhael, but two more trackers, gave their witness testimony that Alina had been glowing.
Which sucked because now the captain decided to use Alina as bait, without fire to keep her warm in the clearing.
Only, Alina felt like she could summon some heat into her bones whenever she looked up at the stars for company. She didn’t want to glow again but she did miss the warmth.
Eventually the captain decided to use a different girl instead. Which made Alina unpopular with them. Like she made the switch suggestion herself. Typical.
It didn’t help that Alina started having an appetite and they could no longer scavenge her leftovers.
After maybe a month of this, of trying to map out their new border with Fjerda, Alina was surprised to see the Darkling arrive.
Looking to Mal for answers, he could only offer what he suspected. “The Darkling must really want that stag. The captain wrote a report on the whole thing as usual, to explain why we’re sitting here instead of ranging the forests.”
Only the Darkling wasn’t interested in the trackers so much as Alina.
Alina’s brain was whirring at the idea of giving her own testimony to the Darkling himself.
Darkling stared at her from his desk. “Were you tested by a Grisha examiner before?”
Alina nodded, confused. “Yes, when I was eight.”
Darkling: but they concluded you didn’t have any power
Darkling: only I was told you just summoned light
Alina: that wasn’t me. It was the stag.
Darkling: the stag can’t give you power unless you already have it. And ever since then, you’ve been able to summon heat to survive the cold nights and even your health has improved from what I hear.
Alina: I’m not Grisha.
Darkling: only one way to find out. Come here.
Alina took a few steps to the middle of the room.
Alina walked until she was in front of the Darkling. “It wasn’t me.”
Darkling: lift up your sleeve.
Alina frowned. She pushed up her jacket sleeve, underneath, there was no sweater. But the Darkling could feel the sunshine heat somehow coating her skin.
The Darkling lifted his palms and Alina was terrified to see darkness blossoming. “Now let’s see what you can do.”
His palms met and the darkness spread.
Alina glanced around frantically and startled when she felt the Darkling’s cool fingers close around her arm.
Instantly she was met with another call. Albeit this one was more cool and bossy than the stag’s.
Alina felt something inside her start to answer. Like it answered the stag or her longing for warmth.
She was hesitant to answer the Darkling’s call. But her body had already been summoning for so long, it reacted.
To her surprise. She began to glow. It was gentle, practically hesitant in front of the Darkling, dimmer than the radiance she showed in front of the stag.
Alina looked around and saw the Grisha were slack-jawed.
The Darkling let Alina go but she still glowed like a small sun.
Alina: you’re like the stag...
Darkling nodded. “And you’re Grisha.”
Alina: wait, what?
Darkling: Ivan, see to my sleigh. We leave for the Little Palace before nightfall.
Alina shied away from the huge man in the red kefta. “Hang on! I think there’s been a mistake. I’m not what you think I am.”
Darkling: I doubt you have any idea what you are.
The Darkling turned to Ivan. “Go.” Then addressed the captain. “Keep searching for the stag. It was drawn to the sun summoner but we can’t risk the Fjerdans getting her.”
Needless to say, Alina spent the carriage ride with the Darkling protesting as he tried to explain what being a Grisha meant and lowering her défenses.
When the Darkling admitted he intends to use the stag’s antlers to amplify Alina’s abilities, she downright protested.
Darkling: is one life worth so many of Ravka’s people?
Alina hesitated. “Give me another amplifier. There has to another powerful one.”
Darkling: there is, but we would have to cross the Fold to reach it.
Alina: Can’t you amplify my powers for that?
Darkling: I have an army to run
Alina pretty much gives the Darkling the cold shoulder from that point onwards.
1 note · View note