A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas
If I had not met an Illyrian warrior-in-training,” he said to Cassian, “I would not have known the true depths of strength, of resilience, of honor and loyalty.” Cassian’s eyes gleamed bright. Rhys said to Azriel, “If I had not met a shadowsinger, I would not have known that it is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters. I would not have known what it is to truly hope, even when the world tells you to despair.” Azriel bowed his head in thanks. Mor was already crying when Rhys spoke to her. “If I had not met my cousin, I would never have learned that light can be found in even the darkest of hells. That kindness can thrive even amongst cruelty.” She wiped away her tears as she nodded. I waited for Amren to offer a retort. But she was only waiting. Rhys bowed his head to her. “If I had not met a tiny monster who hoards jewels more fiercely than a firedrake …” A quiet laugh from all of us at that. Rhys smiled softly. “My own power would have consumed me long ago.” Rhys squeezed my hand as he looked to me at last. “And if I had not met my mate …” His words failed him as silver lined his eyes. He said down the bond, I would have waited five hundred more years for you. A thousand years. And if this was all the time we were allowed to have … The wait was worth it. He wiped away the tears sliding down my face. “I believe that everything happened, exactly the way it had to … so I could find you.” He kissed another tear away. And then he said to my sisters, “We have not known each other for long. But I have to believe that you were brought here, into our family, for a reason, too. And maybe today we’ll find out why.” He surveyed them all again—and held out his hand to Cassian. Cassian took it, and held out his other for Mor. Then Mor extended her other to Azriel. Azriel to Amren. Amren to Nesta. Nesta to Elain. And Elain to me. Until we were all linked, all bound together. Rhys said, “We will walk onto that field and only accept Death when it comes to haul us away to the Otherworld. We will fight for life, for survival, for our futures. But if it is decided by that tapestry of Fate or the Cauldron or the Mother that we do not walk off that field today …” His chin lifted. “The great joy and honor of my life has been to know you. To call you my family. And I am grateful—more than I can possibly say—that I was given this time with you all.” “We are grateful, Rhysand,” Amren said quietly. “More than you know.” Rhys gave her a small smile as the others murmured their agreement. He squeezed my hand again as he said, “Then let’s go make Hybern very ungrateful to have known us, too.