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unhealthyfanobsession · 5 months ago
I am so fucking JEALOUS of people who are going to find ACOTAR in like 5-10 years (maybe 20 at this pace lol...) when it’s all complete and they can finish a book with raging questions and emotions and fears and doubts only to have all of those answered by... the next book. Which will be immediately available to them.
Like we really spent 3 years waiting for Nessian and now we gonna wait 3 more to find out about the whole love pentagram situation (Az, Elain, Lucien, Gwyn, and Vassa) and there will probably also be soft, established Nessian in that book as well which we are all STARVED for and we gonna have to wait and see if Rhysand is gonna make Night Court Imperialism a thing and then years after that to find out what went down with Mor and Eris and if Emerie and Mor is gonna be a thing and if Beron is ever gonna die and just like 1000 other unanswered questions about these characters. Imagine finding this series when it’s complete... it hurts.
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vassiensupremacy · a month ago
Lucien Vanserra 🍁
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Artist: Jemlin
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shadow-singing · a month ago
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“A bird of flame… and a lord of fire. I wondered if they’d found each other yet.”
Art by me
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offtorivendell · 2 months ago
"What if the Cauldron was wrong?"
Or, why I believe the Cauldron gifted Elain and Lucien to each other at Hybern, so they could BOTH have a second chance at a Mate. 
Please do not screenshot this post without permission.
Disclaimer: all opinions are my own, and make no claims of being canon. This post is not anti any character, but it aims to discuss the underlying dynamics of the following relationships. 
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Many readers of the ACOTAR series have noticed not only the natural chemistry between Elain Archeron and Azriel, ever since they met in the human realm, way back in ACOMAF when Elain was still a human, but also the distinct lack of chemistry between Elain and her Cauldron-gifted mate, Lucien Vanserra; Azriel and Elain also appear to display much stronger examples of SJM-style “mate behaviour” than do Elain and Lucien, which has, understandably, led to some confusion within the fandom. 
Given Lucien didn't react as a mate would on seeing Elain restrained and threatened at Hybern - as Cassian did with Nesta, and as Rhys did Under the Mountain with Feyre - until Elain was released by the Cauldron, I think it is safe to assume that his bond with Elain did not predate her being turned fae. 
Why would the Cauldron choose Elain for Lucien, when she is so different to his first love, Jesminda? Jesminda, whom he thought was his mate, and with whom he was just waiting for the bond to snap… 
Why not choose Azriel, when Feyre herself said how well matched he and Elain would be? 
What sequence of events happened at Hybern that led the Cauldron to so royally screw up? 
This post is pro “all the involved characters,” as well as being pro Elriel, and pro Vucien, but anti El*cien - please don’t read any further, if you aren’t open to a twist on the multiple mates theory. 
TW: for mention of canon violence, kidnapping, murder and other mature themes and events. 
Jesminda and Lucien Vanserra 
Jesminda was Lucien’s first love, their story ending in tragedy thanks to his abhorrent father. Back in ACOTAR, Tamlin told Feyre about Lucien’s past, and included the fact  that Lucien had actually suspected that Jesminda was his mate, though no bond had ever snapped into place for them. While this appears to shut down any chance of them having been mates, a closer read of the text demonstrates that it may have actually been the case that they were. 
“Lucien fell in love with a faerie whom his father considered to be grossly inappropriate for someone of his bloodline. Lucien said he didn’t care that she wasn’t one of the High Fae, that he was certain the mating bond would snap into place soon and that he was going to marry her and leave his father’s court to his scheming brothers.” A tight sigh. “His father had her put down. Executed, in front of Lucien, as his two eldest brothers held him and made him watch.” - Tamlin, ACOTAR, chapter 18 
Then, early on in ACOMAF, Lucien relayed his own story to Feyre in a misguided - at best - attempt to explain Tamlin’s actions to her (Lucien’s role in Feyre's trauma is a complex subject that involves his own trauma, and would deserve a whole post on its own by someone able to expertly discuss the topic - I am not a mental health professional, so I won't elaborate). As we have come to expect from SJM's mated couples, there are often parallels in stories, behaviours and phrases used that become obvious during a re-read; the following passage informs us that Lucien heard Jesminda's heart stop beating, and that he heard Feyre's neck snap when Amarantha killed her Under the Mountain - but there is no mention of him hearing Feyre's heart ceasing to beat. We know that it did, because Rhys felt her die. 
“I was forced to watch as my father butchered the female I loved. My brothers forced me to watch.” My heart tightened for him—for the pain that haunted him. “There was no magic spell, no miracle to bring her back. There were no gathered High Lords to resurrect her. I watched, and she died, and I will never forget that moment when I heard her heart stop beating.” My eyes burned. “Tamlin got what I didn’t,” Lucien said softly, his breathing ragged. “We all heard your neck break. But you got to come back." - Lucien, ACOMAF, chapter 3 
Firstly, how strong must Lucien be, to have gone on after losing Jesminda, whom he loved like a mate, even if she wasn't one? Although, as I mentioned, I suspect that she was. Feyre and Rhys found the experience so terrible that they made a pact to go out together, rather than experience it again - and they only felt the loss for a fraction of the time that Lucien has known without Jesminda. Secondly, why then, if Lucien could hear Jesminda's heart beating, was he unable to hear Elain's heartbeat, his supposed Cauldron-gifted mate, as she sat next to him in the polarising scene in chapter 24 of ACOWAR (that I will discuss later)? Contrast this to Rhys' experience of the events Under the Mountain, when Feyre, his then-human mate, was killed by Amarantha. Like everyone present, Rhys heard Feyre's neck snap, however, he also felt her die. 
"If you were going to die, I was going to die with you. I couldn’t stop thinking it over and over as you screamed, as I tried to kill her: you were my mate, my mate, my mate." “But then she snapped your neck.” Tears rolled down his face. “And I felt you die,” he whispered. Tears were sliding down my own cheeks. “And this beautiful, wonderful thing that had come into my life, this gift from the Cauldron… It was gone." - Rhys, ACOMAF, chapter 54 
The wording isn't identical, possibly because it would make the link too obvious, and SJM wants to keep us guessing, but it can't be a coincidence that Rhys and Lucien, whose stories with Feyre and Elain have such strong parallels (Rhys' bond with Feyre snapped when she was already in love with Tamlin, as did Lucien's bond with Elain when she was engaged to Graysen etc.), each mention that they felt or heard the moment that Feyre and Jesminda died.
There are also small analogues between Elain and Azriel, who many suspect were intended mates, until the unfortunate series of events that occurred at Hybern, and Jesminda and Lucien. Elain has, to date, not uttered Azriel's name once that we've heard, in the entire ACOTAR series - and here we have Feyre mentioning that Lucien hadn't "spoken her name" before, when he was telling her about Jesminda… and this was only after the Cauldron (we assume) mated him to Elain. Both males have also said that they "didn't care" that there were reasons why they shouldn't pursue a relationship with their respective partners. 
“After Jesminda, they would.” Jesminda. He’d never spoken her name. Lucien slid between the swaying, bobbing stalks. “She was one of them.” The words were barely audible over the sighing barley. “And when I didn’t protect her … It was a betrayal of their trust, too. I ran to some of their houses while fleeing my brothers. They turned me out for what I let happen to her.” Waves of gold and ivory rolled around us, the sky a crisp, unmarred blue. “I can’t blame them for it,” he said. - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 11 
One theme that seems to reoccur among ACOTAR's males is that, after meeting their mates, and realising that they're mated, they tend to stop seeking out partners for sex, and find it hard to "stay away" from their respective mates - we saw both Rhys and Cassian go through this with Feyre and Nesta, Lucien was unable to stay away from Jesminda, despite the wishes of his father, and Azriel is in the middle of this struggle now (assuming, of course, that he and Elain are "true" mates). The point is, that mated males tend to be loyal to their mates, even before the bond has been accepted, and Lucien demonstrates this devotion to Jesminda yet again when decades - maybe even centuries - after her death, he still feels like his bond with Elain is a "betrayal." On the other hand, Lucien does seem to be able to stay away from Elain, with Feyre noting that he doesn't seem to be interested in "bridging" the gap between them (ACOFAS).
He just wanted a walk—and a few books. It had been an age since he’d even had free time to read, let alone do so for pleasure. But there she was. His mate. She was nothing like Jesminda. Jesminda had been all laughter and mischief, too wild and free to be contained by the country life that she’d been born into. She had teased him, taunted him—seduced him so thoroughly that he hadn’t wanted anything but her. She’d seen him not as a High Lord’s seventh son, but as a male. Had loved him without question, without hesitation. She had chosen him. Elain had been … thrown at him. 
She was the most beautiful female he’d ever seen. Betrayal, queasy and oily, slid through his veins. He’d said the same to Jesminda once. But even as shame washed through him, the words, the sense chanted, Mine. You are mine, and I am yours. Mate. - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 24 
In addition to Lucien being able to sense Jesminda's heart as it stopped beating, the loyalty he still holds for her - and everything else that I have mentioned - the events that occurred as he fled to the Spring Court after Jesminda's murder also hold some parallels to the actions of Rhys' father after his mother and sister were murdered. Rhys' father - and Rhys - killed Tamlin’s father and two brothers, who were responsible for the deaths of his mother and sister, though Rhys' father also murdered Tamlin’s mother, despite her innocence (as Rhys said later, he could be cruel). While Lucien is obviously not to blame for the circumstances, as he was defending himself, the end result was that he - and Tamlin - killed two of his own brothers, who were there when Jesminda was murdered. This makes me wonder if Lucien will play a role in the death of Beron, whom he assumes is his father - perhaps in partnership with Eris, the only brother who seems to care for him? 
So, it could be a big stretch, but given the textual evidence, I don't think it's completely implausible to consider that Lucien and Jesminda may actually have been "true," or "original" mates, just as Elain and Azriel were intended to be (theoretically, at this point), before Beron had her killed. As to why this hypothetical mate bond didn't snap between Lucien and Jesminda: we know that two fae can know each other for years and not even realise they were mates until they slept together, even if they were in love - such as Kallias and Viviane. We also know that two mates can have a lot of sex and, even if both suspect they are mates, the bond wouldn't fully snap into place until they were emotionally ready - such as Nesta and Cassian. Given the stress Lucien and Jesminda must have felt, with regards to Beron's approval of their relationship, I don't think it's too out there to assume that their bond might not have snapped into place because either (or both) of them were not in the right place to allow it to do so. 
This is why the Cauldron deemed him an acceptable choice for Elain. Not only is Lucien a decent male at heart, with strong powers to rival her own - from both his mother, and Helion's suspected Day Court magic - but he no longer had a mate of his own in existence. Lucien was a safe choice for the Cauldron to make for Elain, as Elain was for him, as Azriel had been struck with a faebane coated ash arrow, and the Cauldron thought him dead, when it gifted Elain with both her powers and a new mate.
Elain Archeron and Azriel  
Many people have outlined the individual instances in which Azriel and Elain display the typical attraction, trust and defensiveness of successfully mated couples from both the ACOTAR and TOG series; there are many, so I’ll be as brief as possible (Reader, I'm sorry; I truly tried, but this is not short), but the running joke - that Azriel and Elain have consistently behaved in a more “mate-like” manner towards each other than any canonically mated pair in ACOTAR - exists for a reason.  
From their very first meeting, when Elain's dress matched the blue of Azriel's cobalt siphons, Feyre noticed that Azriel closely observed Elain; she saw that he noted the anxiety that Elain couldn't quite hide, the tight grip on her fork giving her away. This behaviour was then mirrored in the way Cassian watched Nesta as she ate; it's subtle, but both couples were demonstrably drawn to each other from the start. 
A faint smile bloomed upon Azriel’s mouth as he noticed Elain’s fingers white-knuckled on that fork, but he kept silent, focusing instead, as Cassian was subtly trying to do, on adjusting his wings around a human chair. - ACOMAF, chapter 24 
Elain, in turn, was able to read Azriel, and she trusted what she saw. When it looked as if the discussion about sleeping arrangements might be heading south, Elain looked to Azriel to gauge the situation, and relaxed when she saw that he wasn’t too stressed. 
Rhys chuckled, Cassian’s wrath slipping enough that he grinned, and Elain, noticing Azriel’s ease as proof that things weren’t indeed about to go badly, offered one of her own as well. - ACOMAF, chapter 24 
Azriel then showed a huge amount of trust in Elain when they shared tea in the townhouse garden, early on in ACOWAR, where he was both relaxed and comfortable enough around her to sun his wings in her presence. I have discussed this scene before but, for an Illyrian, who would have been taught from childhood to protect his wings at all costs, making himself - his wings - so vulnerable demonstrated the inherent trust that Azriel has for Elain, and mirrored the same trust that Rhys had for Feyre, when he allowed her to see his wings - and told her of his love of flying - towards the end of ACOTAR. Aside from the vulnerability, this wing-display could also be classified as peacocking, though Azriel, unsurprisingly, was much more discreet than Cassian, who not-so-subtly showed off his wings to Nesta, in chapter 29 of ACOWAR. 
Elain sat silently at one of the wrought-iron tables, a cup of tea before her. Azriel was sprawled on the chaise longue across the gray stones, sunning his wings and reading what looked to be a stack of reports… - ACOWAR, chapter 24 
One of the underlying themes that SJM uses between her mated characters is that they inherently tend to seek each other out. As Rhys said to Feyre in chapter 54 of ACOMAF, and Cassian said about Nesta in chapter 17 of ACOWAR - the only two examples of this phrase being used in the first three books and novella - they couldn't "stay away." We then have Azriel, in his bonus chapter of ACOSF, thinking that he had been right to "stay away." While this may initially sound like Azriel admitting to being able to keep away from Elain, unlike Rhys and Cassian ultimately being unable to avoid Feyre and Nesta, we know that Azriel is struggling with it, and it mirrors both Rhys and Cassian living through periods of separation from their mates, before they eventually came back together. 
Additionally, before the events of solstice in ACOSF, Elain and Azriel did seek each other out; the time they spent together was most likely where the small touches and glances that Azriel mentioned in his bonus chapter occurred. Of course, for the rest, we only have the snapshots that we saw narrated through Feyre, Nesta and Cassian's eyes, but there were mentions of Azriel choosing to spend time with Elain from ACOWAR onwards, culminating first in their lengthy late night chat at solstice in ACOFAS, then in their rendezvous after everyone else was asleep at the next winter solstice, in ACOSF. 
Azriel and Elain remained in the sitting room, my sister showing him the plans she’d sketched to expand the garden in the back of the town house, using the seeds and tools my family had given her tonight. Whether he cared about such things, I had no idea, but I sent him a silent prayer of thanks for his kindness before Rhys and I slipped upstairs. - Feyre, ACOFAS, chapter 22 
Azriel might not care about gardening - or he may, we have no idea - but what is certain is that he does care about Elain, and I think we might find out that winter solstice in ACOFAS was when he started to fall for Elain as more than a friend; it may have even been when their touches and glances began. 
Touch is another theme that ACOTAR's mates have in common, and it's something that Azriel often seeks from Elain, perhaps without even knowing he's doing it in the beginning. For a list of all the times Azriel sought Elain's touch in ACOWAR, look no further than this heartwarming post, but perhaps the most iconic example is when Azriel carried Elain, bridal style, in through the front door of the townhouse; this has led many to suggest that Elain and Azriel will eventually live in the townhouse, given Nesta - and Cassian - were gifted the House of Wind. 
Azriel arrived first, no shadows to be seen, my sister a pale, golden mass in his arms. He, too, wore his Illyrian armor, Elain’s golden- brown hair snagging in some of the black scales across his chest and shoulders. He set her down gently on the foyer carpet, having carried her in through the front door. - ACOWAR, chapter 24 
In addition to mates seeking "touch" from each other, terms such as wanting to “taste” and “smell” them are also common. Cassian's bonus chapter in ACOMAF, Wings and Embers, held strong parallels to Azriel’s bonus chapter from ACOSF, in that both Cassian (and Nesta) and Azriel (and Elain) began with the woman/female initiating contact, followed by the male wanting to beg on his knees to touch, smell or taste her. 
... there was taunt enough in it that she placed a brazen hand on his chest. - Nesta, W&E  
Slowly, Elain pivoted into his touch. Until his palm lay flat against her neck. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
Every instinct in his body came roaring to the surface, so violent he had to choke them with a brutal grip or else he’d find himself on his knees, begging her for a touch, for anything. - Cassian, W&E  
He’d beg on his knees for a chance to taste it, but Azriel just stroked her neck again. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
Cassian breathed in the smell of her into his lungs, stirring his c*ck as it latched onto some intrinsic part of him and sank its talons deep. - Cassian, W&E 
Her arousal drifted up to him, and his eyes nearly rolled back in his head at the sweet scent. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
A low laugh broke from those lips, which he’d been fully prepared to taste, to devour— - Cassian, W&E 
Just this taste (kissing Elain) in the dead of the longest night of the year, where only the Mother might witness them. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
The brief Lucien POV from ACOWAR demonstrated that he also ran through these instincts, upon seeing Elain for the first time since Hybern and, finally, we saw that Rhys also touched, smelt and tasted Feyre when they were acting as Keir's distractions at the Hewn City, when Azriel was stealing the Veritas in chapter 42 of ACOMAF, though the instances are too spread out to quote concisely. 
Touch her, smell her, taste her— The instincts were a running river. He fisted his hands at his sides. - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 24 
In addition to the instincts I just mentioned, mates also act to protect and defend each other. Feyre rescued Rhys from Hybern's soldiers in chapter 49 of ACOMAF, not long after Rhys had vowed to tear the world apart to rescue Feyre if Lucien had taken her against her will, in chapter 48. 
I sipped from my wine. “And if he had grabbed me?” There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.” - ACOMAF, chapter 48 
These words are then repeated, in a fashion, by Azriel in ACOWAR, after he realised that the Cauldron had captured Elain. At this point, they had only been friends for a few months, and both were still dealing with their past loves (Mor and Graysen). This always struck me as too strong of a reaction to Elain’s kidnapping, when her own sisters were not nearly as enraged; concerned, upset, angry - yes, but not enraged… nor did their eyes glow golden. 
And what Hybern would do to Elain, might already be doing— From the shadows near the entrance to the tent, Azriel said, as if in answer to some unspoken debate, “I’m getting her back.” Nesta slid her gaze to the shadowsinger. Azriel’s hazel eyes glowed golden in the shadows. Nesta said, “Then you will die.” Azriel only repeated, rage glazing that stare, “I’m getting her back.” - ACOWAR, chapter 64 
Elain also acted to defend Azriel in turn, when, in the middle of their escape, as Hybern’s hounds were attacking Azriel as he attempted to fly them to safety - as well as coaching Feyre to fly! - she used her bare feet to kick them off Azriel’s back and wings. This demonstrates that the instincts to protect and defend go both ways between Azriel and Elain. 
Azriel’s roar echoed off the rocks as the hound slammed into him, dragging those shredding talons down his spine, his wings— The girl screamed, but Elain moved. As Azriel battled to keep them airborne, keep his grip on them, my sister sent a fierce kick into the beast’s face. Its eye. Another. Another. It bellowed, and Elain slammed her bare, muddy foot into its face again. The blow struck home. - ACOWAR, chapter 65 
Many people have analysed the following scene, but it is so quintessentially Elriel, that here it is again. Azriel gave his knife, Truth-Teller, that he never let anyone else handle, to Elain; then Feyre the Prophet used mate-like language to describe it acting as a “bridge” between the two of them. If this was just Azriel being generous, why not give Elain any other knife? This scene also parallels the moment that Rhys armed Feyre, in chapter 19 of ACOMAF, before they visited the Weaver’s Cottage. It seems that mates instinctively protect their partners, but also arm them as well, as a contingency plan. 
Azriel, still limping, merely nudged aside Cassian and extended another option. “This is Truth-Teller,” he told her softly. “I won’t be using it today—so I want you to.” … 
Elain’s eyes widened at the obsidian-hilted blade in Azriel’s scarred hand. The runes on the dark scabbard. “It has never failed me once,” the shadowsinger said, the midday sun devoured by the dark blade. “Some people say it is magic and will always strike true.” He gently took her hand and pressed the hilt of the legendary blade into it. “It will serve you well.” “I—I don’t know how to use it—” “I’ll make sure you don’t have to,” I said, grass crunching as I stepped closer. Elain weighed my words … and slowly closed her fingers around the blade. … 
I saw the painting in my mind: the lovely fawn, blooming spring vibrant behind her. Standing before Death, shadows and terrors lurking over his shoulder. Light and dark, the space between their bodies a blend of the two. The only bridge of connection … that knife. - ACOWAR, chapter 69 
As Nesta said in chapter 1 of ACOSF, “Most males bought their wives or mates jewelry for an outrageous Winter Solstice present,” and what do we have Elain receiving from both Lucien and Azriel? Jewellery. From Lucien, a pair of pearl earrings - the meaning of which was discussed in this post - that don’t bode well, and from whom she shrank away… and from Azriel, a personalised necklace, which she asked him to put on her, and then leant into his touch. Let me make it clear that I don’t think Lucien is “bad” for getting Elain a gift; I think he is stuck in this bond as much as she is, and that is what pains him, but I will elaborate further down. What I do find interesting is that Elain seems to lose her identity around Lucien; Lucien rarely refers to her by name, and even Cassian labels her as Lucien’s mate.
He and Lucien did not exchange gifts, though the male had brought a gift for Feyre and one for his mate, who barely thanked him after opening the pearl earrings.  - Cassian, ACOSF, chapter 58 
But tonight, here in the dark and quiet, with no one to see.. . He pulled the small velvet box from the shadows around him. Opened it for her. ... "It's beautiful," she whispered, lifting it from the box. The golden faelight shone through the little glass facets, setting the charm glowing with hues of red and pink and white. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter
The ability to communicate without spoken words is something else that we have seen SJM’s mates have in common; Rhys and Feyre were doing this well before Feyre knew that they were mates, a prime example being at Feyre’s intended wedding to Tamlin, when she panicked and sent it down their bond, “help me, help me, help me,” unintentionally calling Rhys to her “through whatever magic was between” them (ACOMAF, chapters 4 and 5). Azriel and Elain, apparently, are no different; in his bonus chapter, Azriel let us know that he doesn’t need his shadows to “read” Elain, and Elain, in turn, instinctively knew the reasons behind Azriel choosing to avoid her. 
Elain's large brown eyes flickered, well aware of all that. Just as he knew she was well aware of why Azriel so rarely came to family dinners these days. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
Azriel’s apparent ability to both see and smell the mating bond between Lucien and Elain should not, as far as we know, exist - mating bonds that haven’t been accepted should not be detectable by anyone other than the pair of mates in question - and I discussed this further in an earlier post. The fact that Azriel can sense it, and it’s enough to make him so uncomfortable that he had to stay by the door, is a massive hint that something more is going on, and we will have to wait for their book to find out. 
Are Elain and Azriel carranam? Mates? Both? Something else entirely? 
Because her mate had been in the family room and Azriel had needed to stay by the door the whole time because he couldn't stand the sight of it, the scent of their mating bond, and needed to have the option of leaving if it became too much. - ACOSF, Azriel’s bonus chapter 
And finally we get to my favourite of Az’s lines in ACOSF, when Cassian was - understandably - at risk of spiralling down into his worry about Nesta, and Azriel reassured him that even though Nesta was at risk in the Blood Rite, she was still alive. 
He tapped his brother’s chest with a scarred hand. "Right here - you'd know, Cass." - Azriel, ACOSF, chapter 68
This line, when first read, was a beautiful example of Azriel comforting his brother through his concern about Nesta (and Emerie and Gwyn). Azriel rarely opens up emotionally - according to Rhys, he typically only does so once Mor has pestered him past the limits of his patience - so it is significant that he'd talk about so vulnerable a thing around Cassian, to help ease his mind. However, once the emotional dust from the final few chapters had settled, it stuck in my mind, as I know it did for many others.
What does it mean, as far as mating bonds go? How did Azriel, who has had no mate of his own mentioned throughout the entire series, know what it would feel like when a mating bond goes silent? We know from Feyre’s perspective, in chapter 77 of ACOWAR, after Rhys - temporarily - sacrificed himself to repair the Cauldron, that she felt an emptiness in her chest and soul, “at the lack of that bond, that life.” 
I believe that Azriel may have felt the same thing when Elain was captured by the Cauldron, then “contained” by the steel chains that glowed violet, even if he could not identify what he was experiencing at the time. I would love to know the point at which he realised what that feeling, or lack thereof, truly meant. 
It was Azriel who asked softly, “What about Elain?” and let her sisters know that she wasn’t accounted for; it was Azriel who vowed, with rage in his stare, that he was “getting her back;” it was Azriel who could, I suspect, no longer feel what Elain was feeling, so rage rippled off his invisible form when he couldn't tell whether or not the screams from the tortured humans were Elain, why he asked her if she was hurt; it was Azriel who did not put Elain down as they walked back into the camp, even though he was bleeding out - I assume he needed the physical comfort of her presence; and, finally, it was Azriel who made sure everyone knew that removing the spelled chains that Elain still wore was a priority, before he finally let himself be taken to a healer, only once Elain was back in the arms of her sisters (ACOWAR, chapters 63 to 65). 
I suspect that the faebane coated ash arrow that Azriel took to his chest in chapter 63 of ACOMAF, when everything at Hybern went south, along with the containment spells that the King of Hybern had in place at the time, spells that blocked Feyre from sensing Rhys through their own bond, led the Cauldron to assume that Azriel - despite the fact that he shouted, back arching, when Elain was selected to go first into the Cauldron (chapter 65) - was either dead, or close enough to being so, that it no longer considered him a viable option for a mate, and he was replaced by Lucien. 
The rest, as they say, is history. 
Elain Archeron and Lucien Vanserra 
From the moment they met, which we can safely assume to be one of the worst of Elain's life - and not high up on Lucien’s list, either - Elain and Lucien were thrown at each other. Neither expected it, or even appeared to want each other very much (despite Lucien’s cultural investment in the bond, he has never been very emotionally enthusiastic about Elain herself), and the situation between them hasn't got any better since. 
Lucien told Elain that she was his mate in a moment that Elain will (probably) forever associate with her trauma. Lucien was not to blame for the bond snapping into place, or for inadvertently blurting out that Elain was his mate - I'm sure he was as shocked as she was - but we cannot blame Elain for not moving past this association. Contrast this with when Rhys and Feyre's bond snapped, once they were free of Amarantha - he managed to leave before he said anything. 
“I almost told you then, but … You were so sad. And tired. And for once, you looked at me like … like I was worth something. 
I couldn’t force the bond on you. I couldn’t try to seduce you into accepting the bond, either. Even if it gave Tamlin license to wage war on me. You had been through so much already. I didn’t want you to think that everything I did was to win you, just to keep my lands safe. But I couldn’t … I couldn’t stop being around you, and loving you, and wanting you. I still can’t stay away.” - ACOMAF, chapter 54 
Despite Lucien’s claim that Elain was his mate, he didn't react as a mate typically would upon first seeing her restrained, when Hybern's soldiers brought Elain and Nesta out in chains. Cassian, though battered and bleeding out from his shredded wings, reacted whenever Nesta was threatened so, if Lucien’s bond with Elain existed before she was Made, he should technically have done the same. 
Before Elain went into the Cauldron, after an unconscious, magically isolated Azriel still managed to give a shout as the king of Hybern selected her to go in first, Lucien and Tamlin both responded in a similar fashion to each other - with Tamlin actually reacting first each time - and were then bound by the King of Hybern's spells for their troubles. Lucien wasn't even fully focused on Elain here, as he kept glancing at Tamlin. This is reflective of the relationship that existed between Lucien and Tamlin until this point; Lucien took his cues from Tamlin, no matter his own opinion - and I am not faulting Lucien for this, as his friendship with Tamlin was inherently imbalanced. 
Tamlin said, “Stop.” The king did no such thing. Lucien, beside Tamlin, again put a hand on his sword. “Stop this.” … 
Tamlin spat at the king, “This is not part of our deal. Stop this now.” “I don’t care,” the king said simply. Tamlin launched himself at the throne, as if he’d rip him to shreds. That white-hot magic slammed into him, shoving him to the ground. Leashing him. … 
“That is enough.” Lucien surged for Elain, for the Cauldron. And the king’s power leashed him, too. On the ground beside Tamlin, his single eye wide, Lucien had the good sense to look horrified as he glanced between Elain and the High Lord. - ACOMAF, chapter 65 
Lucien, in fact, did not solely respond to Elain's distress until after she came out of the Cauldron, at which point a secondary mating bond could have been superimposed over her theorised "true" or "original" bond with Azriel. The following scene, though, in which Lucien breaks free of the king's spells, is just as much a hint that he is Helion Spell-Cleaver's son, as it is that he is now Elain's mate, and reacting to her situation. 
Elain was still shivering on the wet stones, her nightgown shoved up to her thighs, her small breasts fully visible beneath the soaked fabric. Guards snickered. Lucien snarled at the king over the bite of the magic at his throat, “Don’t just leave her on the damned floor—” There was a flare of light, and a scrape, and then Lucien was stalking toward Elain, freed of his restraints. - ACOMAF, chapter 65 
Now Lucien, who grew up respecting the mating bond, as all fae did, and who we know felt its pull once it did exist - evidenced by him snarling first at the King of Hybern, going to Elain's side, claiming she was his mate when the bond snapped, then snarling at Tamlin to "get her back" after Rhys and Mor had winnowed Azriel, Cassian, Elain and Nesta out of Hybern (ACOMAF, chapters 65 to 67) - still didn’t feel drawn enough to Elain to go after her, even once he, Tamlin and Feyre were back and settled at the Spring Court. He was clever enough to realise that Elain was in no immediate danger, as Feyre wasn't panicked about her safety but, as he said to Feyre: 
“I want to see her. Just once. Just—to know.” “To know what?” He hitched my damp cloak higher around us. “If she is worth fighting for.” - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 12 
None of this sounds like Rhys, or Azriel, who in similar situations vowed that they would get back their respective Archeron sister. Lucien actually snarled at Tamlin to get Elain back, not that he would do so himself, and this was before he realised that she would be safe in the Night Court. While Lucien did take Feyre leaving the Spring Court as motivation to travel with her to Velaris, to Elain, his thoughts strayed to Jesminda along the way and, once he was situated at the House of Wind, his internal monologue when he unexpectedly ran into Elain showed that he'd just wanted a walk, and wasn't necessarily thinking about her, even though she was now living under the same roof. 
He just wanted a walk—and a few books. It had been an age since he’d even had free time to read, let alone do so for pleasure. But there she was. His mate. She was nothing like Jesminda. - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 24 
I absolutely understand that Lucien was being respectful of Elain's space here, and leaving her be, as Feyre had asked; however, in saying that, I would imagine Rhys' thoughts upon seeing Feyre in a similar situation would have been much more focused on Feyre, and having wanted to see her before then. Sadly, I do read this as indicative of Lucien's future actions, where he appears happier away from Elain, with Vassa and Jurian, his Band of Exiles, than when he is near her.
He shook off my grip and headed for the door. “I can’t stand to be in the same room as her for more than two minutes. I can’t stand to be in this court and have your mate pay for the very clothes on my back.” - Lucien, ACOFAS, chapter 18 
This sentiment is repeated in ACOSF, when Lucien told Cassian that he wasn't always in Velaris for Elain - the words "my mate" literally demonstrating his discomfort with her and, I assume, their bond.  
“Why are you here?” Cassian asked, unable to help the sharpness. “Where’s Elain?” “I am not always in this city to see my mate.” The last two words dripped with discomfort. “And I came up here because Feyre said I should. I need to kill a few hours before I’m to meet with her and Rhys. She thought I might enjoy seeing Nesta at work.” - ACOSF, chapter 40 
Other people have considered this scene between Cassian and Lucien, and some have suggested that, after Mor said, much earlier in ACOSF, that Lucien could no longer be fully trusted - a sign, perhaps, that his allegiance is changing to the Band of Exiles, instead of Elain - Feyre had sent Lucien to see Nesta train, to witness her power, and remind him of the strength of the Night Court, for whom he is supposed to be working. 
Mor took another bite from her pastry. “Lucien can’t be entirely trusted anymore.” Cassian started. “What?” “Even with Elain here, he’s become close with Jurian and Vassa. He’s voluntarily living with them these days, and not just as an emissary. As their friend.” - ACOSF, chapter 4 
The following scene is often touted as an indication of romance, or romantic potential, between Elain and Lucien, but the fact that we are told that she looked away, then angled her head as if searching for an answer among the city view, led many to believe that Elain was never talking to Lucien, and even if she was, he could not hear hers in return. 
She looked away—toward the windows. “I can hear your heart,” she said quietly. He wasn’t sure how to respond, so he said nothing, and drained his tea, even as it burned his mouth. “When I sleep,” she murmured, “I can hear your heart beating through the stone.” She angled her head, as if the city view held some answer. “Can you hear mine?” He wasn’t sure if she truly meant to address him, but he said, “No, lady. I cannot.” - Elain and Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 24
Lucien could, however, hear Jesminda's heart beating, which I discuss in full in the Jesminda and Lucien Vanserra section of this post. Not only that, but he remains emotionally loyal to Jesminda, to the point that he felt acknowledging Elains beauty is a betrayal of her memory - this is one of the (many) points that made me think that Jesminda may have been his mate, as well as his true love. 
She was the most beautiful female he’d ever seen. Betrayal, queasy and oily, slid through his veins. He’d said the same to Jesminda once. But even as shame washed through him, the words, the sense chanted, Mine. You are mine, and I am yours. Mate. - Lucien, ACOWAR, chapter 24 
Poor Lucien; he thought he'd lost his chance at a mate for decades at least, maybe even centuries, and when Elain did come along, his mating bond wasn't all it was supposed to be. 
What is interesting, however, is that although Lucien feels "queasy" with betrayal for Jesminda around Elain, he appears to be drawn to Vassa, comfortable with her, well before it became completely obvious that Elain was less than interested in him, and despite the fact that she still lives. The following scenes hint at Lucien’s enthusiasm towards Vassa as early as ACOWAR, and Vassa's own comfort with Lucien. This is in direct contrast to Lucien’s unease and discomfort around Elain, which I mentioned above. 
“The human queens are still out there,” I said. Maybe I’d hunt them down. “Not for long—not if Vassa has anything to do with it.” “You sound like an acolyte.” Lucien blushed, glancing at Elain. - ACOWAR, chapter 78 
Jurian leaned against the opposite door frame. “Queen Vassa offered me a place within her court.” Indeed, Vassa still remained inside, chatting with Lucien animatedly. I supposed that if she only had until dawn before turning back into that firebird, she wanted to make every minute count. Lucien, surprisingly, was chuckling, his shoulders loose and his head angled while he listened. - ACOWAR, chapter 80 
“He’s keeping everything running. I think he’d have been crowned king by now if it wasn’t for Vassa.” A twitch of the lips, a spark in that russet eye. “She’s doing well enough. Savoring every second of her temporary freedom.” - ACOFAS, chapter 18 
Both Jurian and Lucien stared at her, the former’s face utterly unreadable, and the latter’s pained. - ACOSF, chapter 7 
Despite Lucien's apparent interest in Vassa - he gushed about her, blushed when Feyre called him on it, and his body language when chatting with her was described for a reason - he has continued to make a token effort towards Elain. Some readers believe that this is because he wants Elain herself (and that is a perfectly valid interpretation) especially as Cassian mentioned the pain and longing he saw in Lucien’s face at solstice in ACOSF, but I suspect that Lucien is anxious about the bond itself, rather than Elain specifically. 
He and Lucien did not exchange gifts, though the male had brought a gift for Feyre and one for his mate, who barely thanked him after opening the pearl earrings. Cassian’s heart strained at the pain etching deep into Lucien’s face as he tried to hide his disappointment and longing.  - Cassian, ACOSF, chapter 58 
Given that the fae regard mating bonds with such reverence, I imagine that there would almost certainly be some level of shame involved with being a rejected mate, especially for the males, given they are still a patriarchal society. Lucien is, I assume, making this effort because it is what is expected of him, and is likely confused at his possibly-developing feelings for Vassa… just as Azriel is probably confused at his feelings for Elain, and his mate-like instinct towards her, given she is technically mated to another. 
Again, please do not read this post as anti Lucien, it absolutely is not; he's a complex character who has experienced a variety of different traumas, none of which he deserved - to be clear, no one, not even a villain, ever does. What Lucien does deserve, though, is to be chosen by someone who loves him unconditionally, who matches his personality. Unfortunately, I doubt that this person is Elain. 
Going Forward 
What will happen in the future books is currently a hotly debated topic, and we will have to wait for SJM to release the information - or the book itself - to know for sure, so this is purely conjecture, but I personally think that Elain (and probably Lucien, too) will ultimately want to reject their mating bond. Unhappy mated couples, and the fact that the bond can be rejected, have been mentioned since the beginning of the series - I suspect that we are about to see one play out in real time.
Will we find out if there was a deeper reason behind the Cauldron-gifted bond between and Lucien? Was the King of Hybern working with Koschei, and did he have orders to shoot Azriel specifically with the poisoned ash arrow, in order to prevent the three brothers from falling for the equally matched Archeron sisters? Why would Koschei want Azriel to remain unmated? Is it because he wants Azriel, and maybe Elain, too, so isolated that they are easy pickings when he is ready for them? Did the Cauldron give Lucien to Elain to counteract the interference with fate, so that Lucien would leave the Spring Court for Velaris, then finally be sent on his way to get Vassa and the human army? Is the bond between Elain and Lucien even real?!
I suspect that, while there is some sort of bond - mating or otherwise - between Elain and Lucien, we may find out that the bond itself is made up of different components. If the mating bond consists of both thread/s and a bridge, then one of the threads between Elain and Lucien is there - the "thread" that Lucien referred to in chapter 29 of ACOWAR, but the "bridge" is not, because the bridge from Elain's soul/heart already went to Azriel; perhaps the other threads did, too. The idea of mating bonds and bridges is discussed further in this fantastic post.
My feeling is that when Azriel didn't die at Hybern, after the Cauldron gifted Elain and Lucien to each other assuming that he had (or would), but Lucien beat Azriel, who was unconscious at the time, to helping Elain, the new bond between Elain and Lucien snapped in a moment of heightened stress, but it couldn't snap fully, because the path to Elain's soul was not free. This is why Elain acts with suspiciously mate-like behaviour towards Azriel; it's why Azriel can sight and scent the bond between Elain and Lucien, and why he knows what the lack of a bond feels like; and it's why Lucien still felt loyal to Jesminda's memory - if the theory that she was actually his mate holds true - despite his new bond with Elain. 
When it comes to bond rejection, I believe that Elain, or perhaps Nesta, will Unmake the single bond thread between Elain and Lucien, and that one of them will Make a new bond between Lucien and Vassa a bit further down the line, if that's what they choose… we only have small hints at their feelings so far, and while I think they're both attracted to each other, there's a long way to go between new love and accepting a lifelong mating bond. That being said, the little we know of Vassa makes her sound much closer to Jesminda, in terms of personality, so on paper she appears to be a better match for Lucien, mating bond or no. I also suspect that Vassa, the firebird, may either end up being Made herself, or could have phoenix-like rebirth/renewal properties, so that she is able to live a long, long life with Lucien. 
As for the bond between Azriel and Elain, will it snap fully the moment that her bond between Lucien is Unmade, or will Elain (or Nesta) need to re-Make the parts that the Cauldron gave to Lucien in ACOMAF? While I'm keeping my hopes low for a full and complete detailing of mate-bond lore - SJM does have a plot to deal with, after all - I would love to find out the intricacies of which parts exist from both parties being of age, and which parts require the perfect storm of meeting and emotional availability to snap. 
Could a faerie have a fully realised mating bond with a human, but because Elain was in love with Graysen at the time, and Azriel perhaps still in love with Mor, their bridge formed when they met, but the threads didn't snap? Or, could the threads not snap fully until Elain was Made?
Either way, both Elriel and Vucien serve poetry:  
The lovely fawn, blooming spring vibrant behind her. Standing before Death, shadows and terrors lurking over his shoulder. 
A bird of flame... and a lord of fire. I wondered if they'd found each other yet. 
Reader, they have. 
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unhealthyfanobsession · 3 months ago
Him: what’s wrong?
Me: it’s nothing.
My brain: ok but with the amount that SJM has Feyre always torn up about right and wrong how has she never even CONSIDERED telling Lucien that the man who killed his lover and tried to kill him isn’t actually his father? Has she ever talked about it with Helion? I’m sure Rhys said no for political reasons but when has that stopped Feyre? She knows that Lucien has no real home and lives in constant pain that his mate wants nothing to do with him and even literally describes himself as an exile but instead of offering this life changing information Feyre just laughs at the name he came up with for his found family while not even giving him a chance to find his real family? And who all knows this secret? It seems like Cassian and Nesta don’t since Cassian notices a “flame” he didn’t know Lucien had in his eyes... but then there’s also this weird side narrative of Feyre being close enough with Lucien the she’s sending him to check on Nesta for her. And Lucien might be in love with Vassa but she’s mortal so how would that even WORK? Would he just end up heartbroken again when she dies in a handful of decades? And Elain is a seer so does she avoid Lucien because she knows they wouldn’t work out? Or is it because she knows they WOULD and she just isn’t ready? And if the magic of the land is clear enough that people know Eris is the heir of Autumn and that Tamlin was Heir of Spring then how do people not know Lucien is heir of Day? Lucien is a from book one character who keeps getting pushed aside and I just NEED HIM TO HE HAPPY PLEASE!!!
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vassiensupremacy · a month ago
What is it about fictional romance that we love so much? It's characters being passionate with their emotions and affections. It's them finding peace and happiness in their partner. It's them being awestruck around their partner and them being floored everytime the other smiles. It's in them priortising their partner's safety over their own. It's in how they choose their partner over everything and everyone else 💕
It's in how Rhysand feels when Feyre finally smiles at him.
It's in how Cassian is flooded by admiration when he sees Nesta with her hair unbound for the first time.
It's how Azriel is always ready to be there for Elain whether it's about the garden or after a fight she's had with her sister.
It's Lucien finding some sort of peace in his conversation with Vassa and her reminding him what it is to be at ease with himself and that he can let his guard down and really just breathe for a second.
It's in how Varian makes it a point to get a message out to Amren in the middle of being attacked during a battle.
It's in how Feyre finds inspiration and beauty in her journey with Rhysand.
It's in how Nesta knows that she's safe to challenge Cassian and be vulnerable with him at the same time.
It's in the way Elain silently observes Azriel and tries to make him feel comfortable by gifting him things to attempt at treating his headaches and sleeping schedule.
It's Vassa choosing Lucien as her favorite person, the one she chooses to talk to for the little time she has as a human.
It's in an ancient Amren rushing to get help for Varian at the Summer Court despite knowing that she might face death.
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acourtofvassien · a month ago
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“A bird of flame, a lord of fire. I wondered if they'd found each other yet.”
Artist: Solarisa_art
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rhyssescups · 28 days ago
During an IG live with JLA back in November, Sarah said the following:
Now, I know that I’ve already done another post on this topic where I discussed Elain + Azriel’s connection to various plot points presented in ACOWAR + ACOFAS + ACOSF, but in this post I will just be focusing on the Blood Duel and going more in depth with the foreshadowing presented throughout the series.
In the clip above Sarah states the following:
“each of the upcoming books beyond that [ACOSF] will also feature one couple getting together and having their own little plot that then ties into this bigger plot…”
Each romantic pairing that is featured in the spin-off novels will have their own “little plot” that ties into the “bigger plot”.
In Azriel’s bonus ACOSF chapter, we received a glimpse of Elain + Azriel’s subplot that ties into the main plot:
“Rhys growled, “Allow me to make one thing very clear. You are to stay away from her.” “You can't order me to do that.”  “Oh, I can, and I will. If Lucien finds out you're pursuing her, he has every right to defend their bond as he sees fit. Including invoking the Blood Duel.” “That's an Autumn Court tradition.” The battle to the death was so brutal that it was only enacted in rare cases. Despite being an outsider, Azriel had wanted to invoke it when he’d found Mor all those years ago. Had been ready to challenge both Beron and Eris to Blood Duels and kill them both. Only Mor’s right to claim their heads in vengeance had kept him from doing so. “Lucien, as Beron's son, has the right to demand it of you.” “I'll defeat him with little effort.” Pure arrogance laced every word, but it was true. “I know.” Rhys's eyes flickered. “And your doing so will rip apart any fragile peace and alliances we have, not only with the Autumn Court but also with the Spring Court and Jurian and Vassa.” Rhys bared his teeth. “So you will leave Elain alone. If you need to fuck  someone, go to a pleasure hall and pay for it, but stay away from her.” (ACOSF - Azriel’s POV)
Sarah handed us the plot of the next book on a silver platter.
Something that I noticed during my numerous scene rereads and searches was the inclusion of this line in Azriel’s POV:
“If Lucien finds out you're pursuing her, he has every right to defend their bond as he sees fit. Including invoking the Blood Duel.” “That's an Autumn Court tradition.”
I was surprised when I first noticed that the line was a bit strange. The scene where we originally learned of the Blood Duel and it’s history is noticeably missing an important piece of the puzzle:
“Sometimes they return to challenge the male she chooses for herself. Sometimes it ends in death. It is savage, and it is ugly, and it mercifully does not happen often, but … Many mated pairs will try to make it work, believing the Cauldron selected them for a reason. Only years later will they realize that perhaps the pairing was not ideal in spirit.” I scrounged up the jeweled, dark belt from an armoire drawer and slung it low over my hips. “So you’re saying she could walk away—and Lucien would have free rein to kill whoever she wishes to be with.” Rhys turned from the mirror at last, his dark clothes pristine—cut perfectly to his body. No wings tonight. “Not free rein—not in my lands. It has been illegal in our territory for a long, long time for males to do that. Even before I was born. Other courts, no. On the continent, there are territories that believe the females literally belong to their mate. But not here. Elain would have our full protection if she rejects the bond. But it will still be a bond, however weakened, that will trail her for the rest of her existence.” (ACOWAR - Chapter 24)
In the conversation above Rhysand never mentions that the Blood Duel is conveniently an Autumn Court tradition.
Instead, it’s implied that it’s normal for the other Courts to partake in and uphold the Blood Duel and its traditions.
So, why emphasize the Autumn Court’s connection to the Blood Duel in Azriel’s bonus POV ?
Because by doing so Sarah is able to establish a direct connection between the Blood Duel, a subplot that has been building since ACOWAR, and one of the main plot points in the spin-off series - Beron + the Autumn Court.
I’ve already discussed my thoughts and theories regarding the Blood Duel and Beron being an important figure in the events that unfold so I will not go too in depth on this topic, but please read that portion of my post if you’re interested in seeing my thoughts and predictions !!
The tumultuous political relationship between the Night Court and the Autumn Court was highlighted throughout ACOSF:
“Explain what the fuck you mean by Beron pledging his forces to Briallyn.” “It’s exactly what it sounds like. He caught wind of her ambitions, and went to her palace a month ago to meet with her. I stayed here, but I sent my best soldiers with him.” (ACOSF - Chapter 7)
“But no one had been able to decide which was the bigger threat for them: Briallyn and Koschei, or Beron’s willingness to ally with them. While the Night Court had been trying to make the peace permanent, the bastard had been doing his best to start another war.” (ACOSF - Chapter 8)
“Beron knows another war that pits Fae against Fae would be catastrophic. Many of us would be wiped out entirely. Especially …” Rhys tilted his head back to take in the apple blossoms. “Especially those of us who are weakened. And when the dust settles, there would be at least one court left vacant, its lands bare for the taking.” (ACOSF - Chapter 14)
“So we’ve got them on one front, and Beron here, ready and eager to go into war with Briallyn so he might expand his own territory after the carnage halts.” (ACOSF - Chapter 20)
It’s been made abundantly clear that Beron poses a serious threat to the Courts of Prythian. He’s been unchecked for far too long and now he’s presumably aiming for the throne of the High King.
As Cassian stated above, the main antagonists that were set up in ACOSF were Briallyn, Koschei, and Beron.
Coincidentally there just so happens to be three main antagonists as well as three main spin-off novels in the series…👀
Nesta + Cassian received the first spin-off novel and Briallyn was eliminated in their book, which leaves Beron + Koschei as the main antagonists in the final two novels.
In ACOSF Briallyn + Beron were both working under Koschei to help further his agenda, so one would assume that they have to be taken out and disposed of before Koschei (who is the main threat) is terminated.
In ACOSF, Nesta + Cassian had to locate the three main Dread Trove items and race against Briallyn whilst doing so.
Based off of the information and foreshadowing that we’ve been given, it’s safe to assume that Elain + Azriel will be tasked with locating the fourth Dread Trove item in their novel.
So, someone will have to replace the role of Briallyn and work against Elain + Azriel while they’re attempting to search for the “bit of ancient bone”.
Nesta reduced Briallyn to a puddle in ACOSF (so she’s no longer in play) and Koschei is still confined to his lake (so the only thing that he’ll be able to do is command his minions - a.k.a. Beron - to do his dirty work for him) which leaves Beron as the only one who is able to actively work against the NC and their search for the fourth Trove item.
Taking all of this into account, Beron will (presumably) have to be dealt with in the upcoming novel.
How can the threat that Beron poses be dealt with within the next novel ?
Through the Blood Duel.
(If you want to read my full thoughts on this topic and how everything will play out then, once again, read the post that I linked above !!)
The Blood Duel is an opportune moment for everything between Beron + the Night Court to come to a head. It provides an opportunity for the NC, Eris, Lucien, Lady of Autumn, Helion, etc. to kill Beron and be done with his horrid actions once and for all while facing little political ramifications for his death.
I know that in posting this some will argue that Lucien has more of a connection to Beron so he will be the one to deal with him, but I disagree with this viewpoint.
In ACOSF, we receive this conversation between Eris + Vassa + Lucien:
“Vassa peered at her hands, fingers flexing. “I fear what may happen if he ever gets free of the lake. If he sees this world on the cusp of disaster and knows he could strike, and strike hard, and make himself its master. As he once tried to do, long ago.” “Those are legends that predate our courts,” Eris said. Vassa nodded. “It is all I have gleaned from my time enslaved to him.” Lucien stared out the window—as if he could see the lake across a sea and a continent. As if he were setting his target.” (ACOSF - Chapter 7)
I believe that the last line says it all, don’t you ??
Lucien set his target on Koschei, therefore I believe that he and Vassa will be the ones to take him down in the final novel.
A very brief bullet point summary about what I believe will happen in the upcoming novels (these are just my thoughts + predictions, it’s totally fine if you don’t agree with me !!):
• I believe that Elain + Azriel will find the fourth Dread Trove item + the location of Koschei’s onyx box / a way to defeat him in ACOTAR 5.
• Something will happen towards the end of their novel, either Koschei will end up being freed somehow or Vassa’s time will be up and she will be forced to go back to his lake.
• ACOTAR 5 will end, ACOTAR 6 will begin with either Lucien attempting to free Vassa from her curse or the pair attempting to find and defeat Koschei with the help of Jurian + the IC.
Also, if my predictions regarding the Blood Duel are correct, then Lucien would learn of his true parentage in ACOTAR 5 and could use that newfound knowledge to experiment with powers that he might’ve inherited from Helion and eventually help free Vassa from her curse…👀
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nikethestatue · 9 hours ago
Elucien’s Bond
And what’s wrong with it?
*crack-ish theory*
This is a theory and an opinion, just based on observations and reading of the text. If you are a huge Elucien fan, you are probably not going to like this.
First things first--I think that the bond is real. I don’t think it’s a fake bond, because Elain literally felt it inside of her when tugged on it. Azriel can smell it. So the base for the bond is real. 
But there are some odd things going on with that bond:
Neither party seems to be struggling with its presence, beyond it being an inconvenience to their other budding romances.
We know that Elain was never into the bond, and her first words to Lucien, when he walked in on her back in HoW was ‘you were there. You betrayed us.” 2 years later, she is even less into the bond, because she’s been avoiding Lucien every time he’s been around, doesn’t use his gifts, ‘shrinks into herself’ in his presence, and of course, now we know that she is interested in Azriel. 
Lucien was definitely more affected by the bond, at least initially. He reacted strongly when Elain was thrown into the Cauldron, and once she was spit out, he gave her his cloak. Now, interestingly though, when Rhys and Mor winnowed them all away from Hybern, Lucien did not attempt to follow, but yelled at Tamlin telling him to ‘get her back!’ Feyre, while in Spring Court, observed that Lucien was not interested in any women as a ‘newly mated male’.
When they returned to Spring Court, Lucien’s first thoughts were about Elain. He wanted to see her, wanted to get to know her, wanted to be in her presence. That was pretty regular mate behavior.
And then came the famous, uncomfortable scene, where Lucien was trying to figure out what was ‘wrong’ with Elain, and they were sitting and not drinking tea, under the supervision of Nesta, Feyre, Amren (I do kind of feel bad for Lucien, not gonna lie), with Rhys and Cassian outside, and Cassian peacocking in front of children Nesta, and her craning her head like crazy. But I digress...
Of course, at that time, none of us were aware of Lucien’s paternity. He is Helion Spell-Cleaver’s son. 
And then, he tugs on the bond. And Elain reacts. 
And after that, things begin to change and unravel for the two of them. 
While before that tug, Elain seemed to have been at least tolerating the thought of him around her, after the tug, things turned a different direction--for her, but also for him.
He volunteered to go find Vassa, soon after, leaving his mate behind. It’s unusual behavior, for a mated male to willingly leave his mate, but let’s say he felt unwelcome, useless, and wanted to give Elain some space. That’s what he told Rhys and Feyre.
Now, let’s go back to what Feyre said--that he wasn’t interested in other females when the bond was new. Fast forward a VERY short period of time, literally a few months, and he is living with Vassa and Jurian. Not only that, he is clearly interested in Vassa, and not just as a friend.
Elain, in turn, was still pining for Graysen, and told him that the bond doesn’t matter and that it ‘means nothing’. Fast forward a few months as well, and by Solstice, she is placing special orders for headache powder for Azriel. 
While we know that the bond is not as strong for females, especially not ‘accepted’ bond, Elain’s is remarkably weak. Let’s take Feyre and Nesta--both were willing to sacrifice themselves for their mates, BEFORE having accepted the bonds. Both went feral and wild when Rhys and Cassian were hurt. Elain, in contrast, saw Lucien go, without any protection into the Human Lands and it seems that she’d never even asked after him, and whether he was alive. He might not have been in any direct danger, but it seems like her bond did not indicate anything to her. Now, we know that SHE was in danger, when Hybern stole her, but Lucien never questioned it, and it seemed that he remained unaware that she was kidnapped.
Furthermore, while we know that Rhys felt Feyre and Tamlin through the bond, and suffered for it, and Cassian was certainly aware, and it’s hinted that he felt Nesta and her paramours as well though the bond, neither Elain, not Lucien seem to notice that the other party is interested in someone other than them. We don’t know what’s going on with Lucien and Vassa, so I don’t want to speculate about a sexual relationship. Obviously by 2nd Solstice we know that Elain and Azriel are interested in each other sexually, but of course they haven’t acted on it.
Yet, while Azriel is nauseated and very greatly affected by the Elucien bond, can smell it and is so traumatized that he can barely stand being in the same room with them--it’s so apparent that even Nesta notices it--Lucien, seemingly feels or senses nothing. The only time he ever reacted to Azriel was in the very, very beginning, when Azriel brought Elain into the townhouse and took her to the garden. ‘Azriel is not the ravishing type,” Lucien was told. 
So, what’s the point of all this?
I wonder if when Lucien pulled on the bond, he unwittingly began to unravel it. Bonds can’t be broken, at least that’s what Amren said, but can they be weakened? It IS a bond, a tie of sorts. Often described as a thread or a string, and that’s what Elain felt--a sting pulled on her rib. It’s a string or a cord that wrapes around couples during consummation.
What if his power--that of a spell-cleaver, inherited from his father--gave him the ability to do just that? Untie the bond? 
And that instead of the rejection, breaking, and all kinds of dramatic things, it will be a gentle un-making of the bond for both of them. To be sure, the thread may remain forever. But perhaps, this is why Elain does not feel compelled to act on it, and doesn’t really care about it at all. Maybe, she stopped feeling it? And so did he? The presence is still there, hence the smell that only apparently Azriel can scent (that’s another post though). But they don’t feel the push and pull of the mating desire, and therefore, neither one wants each other sexually? We know that the bond is primarily sexual in nature, and drives people to extremes and offers endless desire. The Elucien bond doesn’t do any of it, even for Lucien. Sure, he is a well-mannered, polite, cultured male, so he is not going to be ravishing or pressing Elain against the walls, but someone, somewhere, would’ve observed so sexual interest from him towards her. We know that the last time he came to the NC, he didn’t even meet with Elain. Why is his bond not raging inside of him at the close proximity to her?
Finally, Helion. What if Helion, and we assume that LoA is his mate, was able to untie their bond, so it didn’t torment them, when she had made the decision to remain with Beron. Yes, they still acted on it, and the fruit of that acting is Lucien, but perhaps, Helion, not wanting to bring this constant push of the bond on LoA, especially in her situation, was able to loosen it? It also allowed him to be rather amorous as well in his life. 
Now, this is a total speculation (though there was a tiny hint at this in the book). We know that Tamlin did everything to try to nullify the bond between Feyre and Rhys. And he sent Lucien to Helion and other places, to find a method to do just that. Now, if the bonds are so permanent, why would Tamlin--who IS a High Lord after all, and isn’t without knowledge--assume that it could be broken? By someone else? He began, of all people, with Helion. Helion the Spell-Cleaver. He assumed that of all people, it was Helion who might have possessed that power and ability. Helion declined. So Tamlin went to Hybern. But what if Helion does know? And what if Helion maybe told something to Lucien, in passing? And Lucien, maybe even unwittingly, acted on the suggestion?
And what if this weakened bond allowed for another bond to sneak in?
But that’s another post.
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hacawijo · 6 days ago
Just a reminder that you are allowed to disengage from heated discussions for your own mental health and well-being 😌 You’re not being a coward or giving up, you’re just prioritizing yourself! That in and of itself is a radical act🧡
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acourtofvassien · a month ago
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“Lucien currently hunted the continent, dodging armies, for an enchanted queen. To find a scrap of salvation.”
Artist: @tellmelater
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theteeniestpinecone · 9 days ago
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🔥✨A bird of flame and a lord of fire✨🔥
I love the symbolism and potential of these two so much.
I know this wasn’t actually what they were wearing at the manor, but it’s how they appeared in my head. Plus I wanted to give Vassa’s dress a little Swan Princess type moment 🦢
IG: @theteeniestpinecone
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batboyazriel · 6 days ago
Do you know how interesting it would be if SJM went the Elriel/Vassien route?
Elain rejecting the bond and choosing for herself who she wants (possibly having a second mating bond with Azriel, idk we haven't seen that before and I'm kinda curious about it)
Lucien also rejecting the bond to find happiness with Vassa. Like how would that play out? Would Vassa stay human? Would she become High Fae?
The ramifications from Elain rejecting the bond with the Autumn Court. How would Beron react to this? He'd want to save face because no one knows that Lucien isn't his son except for a few people.
I'd like to see Elain and Lucien become friends because I feel like they could be friends it's just the bond and how it was formed getting in the way of that.
If something happens to Elain (like being captured by Beron) I'd love to see an Azriel/Lucien tag team to get her back.
Azriel finally having someone he has feelings for reciprocate them. My boy needs some love and for once I'd love to see him get the girl
How would Rhysand react to this (I love you dude but that bonus chapter had me screaming at him)
Forbidden love tropes/friends to lovers. The pining on both sides
We've got 4 books of build up for Elriel and at least 2 for Vassien (I don't remember a lot from ACOFAS). I'd be disappointed if these two couples weren't endgame
Idk y'all I think it would be different and cool to see how two people reject the mating bond to find love with different people.
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vassiensupremacy · 2 months ago
The cursed firebird and spell-cleaver
The lovely fawn and death
A bird of flame and a lord of fire. I wondered if they'd found each other yet.
Light and dark, the space between their bodies a blend of the two.
“I’ll go,” Lucien repeated, rising to his feet. “To find this sixth queen. I will find Vassa. This eye can see things that others... can’t. Spells, glamours... Perhaps it can help me find her. And break her curse.”
From the shadows near the entrance to the tent, Azriel said, as if in answer to some unspoken debate, “I’m getting her back.”
Mor said, “It will be—very dangerous.” A half smile curved Lucien’s mouth. “Good. It’d be boring otherwise.”
Nesta said, “Then you will die.” Azriel only repeated, rage glazing that stare, “I’m getting her back.”
Vassa still remained inside, chatting with Lucien animatedly.
Azriel and Elain remained in the sitting room, my sister showing him the plans she’d sketched to expand the garden in the back of the town house.
“Jurian isn’t an exile,” I said. Vassa, yes. Lucien, two times over now.”
Feyre smiled. “Elain was the only one who guessed. She caught me vomiting two mornings in a row.” She nodded toward Azriel. “I think she’s got you beat for secret-keeping.”
I supposed that if she only had until dawn before turning back into that firebird, she wanted to make every minute count. Lucien, surprisingly, was chuckling, his shoulders loose and his head angled while he listened.
He chuckled, unable to suppress the impulse. "No wonder you didn't want me to open it in front of everyone." Elain’s mouth twitched into a smile.
“I think he’d have been crowned king by now if it wasn’t for Vassa.” A twitch of the lips, a spark in that russet eye.
Elain smiled again, ducking her head. Azriel mastered himself enough to say, “Thank you.” I’d never seen his hazel eyes so bright, the hues of green amid the brown and gray like veins of emerald.
“Not for long—not if Vassa has anything to do with it.” “You sound like an acolyte.” Lucien blushed, “She’s got a foul temper and a fouler mouth.”
I couldn’t tell if she was looking at his blue Siphon or at his scarred skin beneath as she breathed, “Beautiful.” Color bloomed high on Azriel’s golden-brown cheeks.
“He’s still at the lake,” Lucien said carefully. Lucien had been there, Cassian recalled. Had gone with Nesta’s father to the lake where Vassa was held captive.
Azriel stiffened. “I know. I helped rescue Elain, after all.”
Cassian could have sworn flames rippled across her blue eyes. Both Jurian and Lucien stared at her, the former’s face utterly unreadable, and the latter’s pained.
Rhys was frowning, Cassian and Mor were both grimacing, and Azriel... It was pity on his beautiful face. Pity and sorrow as he watched my sister.
“And Jurian and Vassa?” “At each other’s throats, as they like to be,” he said, a tad sharply. She wondered what that was about and for the life of her couldn’t read it.
Azriel offered her a small smile that Elain quickly looked away from. Cassian tucked away his puzzlement.
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aeronem · a day ago
I have this feeling that Lucien will eventually fall in love with Vassa ("A bird of flame.. and a lord of fire", acowar) if that's not enough clue. And it's as clear as the sky Elriel is the end game. Idk. I can't wait for the last two installment of this series.
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unhealthyfanobsession · 5 months ago
Excuse my horrible handwriting but I literally sat down to sketch out this disaster and this is the funniest shit to me
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I included any couple I’d seen considered on tumblr/ that there were hints too so I’m not necessarily endorsing or writing off any of these but I wanted to include them all for the fuckedy of it. Lmk if I missed anyone!
Eris and Azriel are there for Mor but crossed out because she’s on record as romantically gay but physically bisexual so we tossed those boys in as “hopelessly pining at some point”
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elrielonlyfans · 2 months ago
azriel helping elain with her seer powers and giving her lessons in stealth and lucien helping vassa break her curse it’s all coming together
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vassiensupremacy · a month ago
Vassien is a crack ship.
Let’s take a look at what Google has to say:
“A crack ship is a ship that is highly ridiculous, bizarre and unlikely to ever become canon. The characters never interact and are in different canons or timelines.”
I never realized that two characters who literally chose to live together belong in very different timelines and have never interacted. I mean Lucien only went on a quest to find Vassa and talked about her like an acolyte and blushed on being teased about her. He was only happy, interested and laughing like never before with her. He actively tried to find loopholes to make her stay, his eyes sparked with interest, his lips twitched with amusement while talking about her. He visited her often enough and chose to move in with her. Mor and Cassian claimed that his reports will always be in her favour. He was pained on thinking about her curse, he set Koschei as his target because of what he made Vassa go through. But I mean, it’s not really much right?
Vassiens are just Elriels in disguise.
It’s hilarious they even think so. Why would so many users create accounts for a ship only to go against your pathetic ships. You guys are too obsessed, no one has got the time to create accounts for a ship they don’t even like, and actively post about characters that are not their favourite. Vassien is my #1 ship but apparently it’s not possible to have Vassien as your main ship!? The fact that they think people’s ships are nothing but an attempt to get back at the opposite ship is so baseless and disrespectful.
Vassien is just a convenience ship made by Elriels because they are jealous of El*ciens and Gwy*riels.
When El*ciens post about Gwy*riel, that’s just support for a ship they also like, but when Elriel shippers post about Vassien, then they are only using the ship against your ships? That’s not support apparently, and Elriels can’t ship other ships cause only El*ciens and Gwy*riels have that right. Do they even hear themselves? The delusion is real. They really need to stop giving themselves so much importance. Who even gave them the right to assume things and say that our ship was created by other shippers for use and not by us because we love the ship and the characters? How is it fair to assume that we don’t exist or we’re just convenient shippers or that our ship is just a ruse to support another?
People ship Vassien because they hate El*cien and Gwy*riel.
Again, these people are giving themselves too much credit. We ship Vassien because of their potential, dynamic and the foreshadowing text. Whether your ships exist or not doesn’t matter cause they are not happening canonically.
People ship Vassien because breaking the mating bond leaves Lucien alone and with Vassa they have someone to put him with.
Lucien is my #1 favourite character in the whole series, why would I just ship him with someone for the sake of it? Baseless much?
Vassa is human. Lucien has been longing for a permanent home. He would be with Vassa for only a few years before she dies.
How is Vassa being human a reason to not ship them lol? All three Archeron sisters were human once. Vassa is literally a cursed firebird. How do we even know she is still totally human? Jurian isn’t a complete human as well. Even Cassian wondered about whether Jurian was a human anymore. That is something that we’ll find out in the next books. I wasn’t aware that El*ciens and Gwy*riels were in contact with Sarah who told them that Vassa was canonically still a human who will die, leaving Lucien alone.
Vassien is a new ship and people started shipping them post ACOSF.
It’s so funny how they think that Vassien is a new ship. Reality check: the only “new” ship in the fandom is Gwy*riel. The moment I read the poetic lines Sarah wrote for Vassien, I was just hooked. The moment Lucien blushed and when he was all relaxed and happy while listening to Vassa talk, I was a shipper. I’ve shipped them right from ACOWAR, which is the book Vassa was introduced in. Just because stans decided to post more evidently about them only now or they chose to join Tumblr now to be less lowkey about shipping Vassien doesn’t mean they are new or convenient shippers. There are still so many shippers who are not on Tumblr or who prefer to ship lowkey cause they hate ship wars.
Vassien is a valid ship and if there is any ship definitely happening after Elriel, it’s Vassien. Yes, Elriel is the most evident ship. They have been established too much to only be broken apart. They are getting book five, followed by Vassien getting book six. Gwyneth is a lovely character but she is not a main character and is nowhere connected to the main plots or the sub plots in ANY way. Vassa on the other hand is directly tied to all the three main plot points. There is literally nobody as connected to them as much as her. My post about how Vassien connect to the main plot points is linked here.
Lastly, y’all talk more about our ship then your own. Focus on yours and stop assuming things about us. Not that hard, honestly.
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