That’s when you no longer need an answer to the question. There is such a thing as too much loss. Too much has been taken from you both—taken and taken and taken, until there’s nothing left but hope, and you’ve given that up because it hurts too much. Until you would rather die, or kill, or avoid attachments altogether, than lose one more thing.
Not the thought. The thought was simple and predictable: Better to die than live a slave. But what you felt in that moment was a kind of cold, monstrous love. A determination to make sure your son’s life remained the beautiful, wholesome thing that it had been up to that day, even if it meant you had to end his life early.
The arguments that you have with the other advisors are more important: Your decisions affect more than a thousand people now. But they have the same silly, pedantic feel. Silly pedantry is a luxury that you’ve rarely been able to enjoy in your life.
A girl whose mother never loved her, only refined her, and whose father will only love her again if she can do the impossible and become something she is not.
Once, as you trained Nassun, you told yourself that it did not matter if she hated you by the end of it; she would know your love by her own survival.
The children complain that he’s not very good—none of your finesse, and while he goes easier on them, they’re not learning as much. (It’s nice to be appreciated, if after the fact.)
This is a terrible thing that she is saying. It is a terrible thing that she loves herself.
Now, she needs someone to blame for the loss of that perfect love. She knows her mother can bear it.
“Oh, uncaring Earth,” you whisper.
“This is a community. You will be unified. You will fight for each other. Or I will rusting kill every last one of you.”
Even if “hasn’t yet committed genocidal slaughter” is a low bar to hop, other communities haven’t even managed that much.