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A Court of Silver Flames

Sarah J. Maas

  For every Nesta out there—

  climb the mountain

  And for Josh, Taran, and Annie,

  who are the reason I keep climbing my own



  A Court of Thorns and Roses

  A Court of Mist and Fury

  A Court of Wings and Ruin

  A Court of Frost and Starlight

  A Court of Silver Flames

  A Court of Thorns and Roses Coloring Book


  House of Earth and Blood


  The Assassin’s Blade

  Throne of Glass

  Crown of Midnight

  Heir of Fire

  Queen of Shadows

  Empire of Storms

  Tower of Dawn

  Kingdom of Ash

  The Throne of Glass Coloring Book


  Part One: Novice

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Part Two: Blade

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Four

  Chapter Thirty-Five

  Chapter Thirty-Six

  Chapter Thirty-Seven

  Chapter Thirty-Eight

  Chapter Thirty-Nine

  Chapter Forty

  Chapter Forty-One

  Chapter Forty-Two

  Chapter Forty-Three

  Chapter Forty-Four

  Chapter Forty-Five

  Chapter Forty-Six

  Chapter Forty-Seven

  Chapter Forty-Eight

  Chapter Forty-Nine

  Chapter Fifty

  Part Three: Valkyrie

  Chapter Fifty-One

  Chapter Fifty-Two

  Chapter Fifty-Three

  Chapter Fifty-Four

  Chapter Fifty-Five

  Chapter Fifty-Six

  Chapter Fifty-Seven

  Chapter Fifty-Eight

  Chapter Fifty-Nine

  Chapter Sixty

  Chapter Sixty-One

  Chapter Sixty-Two

  Chapter Sixty-Three

  Part Four: Ataraxia

  Chapter Sixty-Four

  Chapter Sixty-Five

  Chapter Sixty-Six

  Chapter Sixty-Seven

  Chapter Sixty-Eight

  Chapter Sixty-Nine

  Chapter Seventy

  Chapter Seventy-One

  Chapter Seventy-Two

  Chapter Seventy-Three

  Chapter Seventy-Four

  Chapter Seventy-Five

  Chapter Seventy-Six

  Chapter Seventy-Seven

  Chapter Seventy-Eight

  Chapter Seventy-Nine

  Chapter Eighty


  The black water nipping at her thrashing heels was freezing.

  Not the bite of winter chill, or even the burn of solid ice, but something colder. Deeper.

  The cold of the gaps between stars, the cold of a world before light.

  The cold of hell—true hell, she realized as she bucked against the strong hands trying to shove her into that Cauldron.

  True hell, because that was Elain lying on the stone floor with the red-haired, one-eyed Fae male hovering over her. Because those were pointed ears poking through her sister’s sodden gold-brown hair, and an immortal glow radiating from Elain’s fair skin.

  True hell—worse than the inky depths mere inches from her toes.

  Put her under, the hard-faced Fae king ordered.

  And the sound of that voice, the voice of the male who had done this to Elain …

  She knew she was going into the Cauldron. Knew she would lose this fight.

  Knew no one was coming to save her: not sobbing Feyre, not Feyre’s gagged former lover, not her devastated new mate.

  Not Cassian, broken and bleeding on the floor. The warrior was still trying to rise on trembling arms. To reach her.

  The King of Hybern—he had done this. To Elain. To Cassian.

  And to her.

  The icy water bit into the soles of her feet.

  It was a kiss of venom, a death so permanent that every inch of her roared in defiance.

  She was going in—but she would not go gently.

  The water gripped her ankles with phantom talons, tugging her down. She twisted, wrenching her arm free from the guard who held it.

  And Nesta Archeron pointed. One finger—at the King of Hybern.

  A death-promise. A target marked.

  Hands shoved her into the water’s waiting claws.

  Nesta laughed at the fear that crept into the king’s eyes just before the water devoured her whole.

  In the beginning

  And in the end

  There was Darkness

  And nothing more

  She did not feel the cold as she sank into a sea that had no bottom, no horizon, no surface. But she felt the burning.

  Immortality was not a serene youth.

  It was fire.

  It was molten ore poured into her veins, boiling her human blood until it was nothing but steam, forging her brittle bones until they were fresh steel.

  And when she opened her mouth to scream, when the pain ripped her very self in two, there was no sound. There was nothing in this place but darkness and agony and power—

  They would pay. All of them.

  Starting with this Cauldron.

  Starting now.

  She tore into the darkness with talons and teeth. Rent and cleaved and shredded.

  And the dark eternity around her shuddered. Bucked. Thrashed.

  She laughed as it recoiled. Laughed around the mouthful of raw power she ripped out and swallowed whole; laughed at the fistfuls of eternity she shoved into her heart, her veins.

  The Cauldron struggled like a bird under a cat’s paw. She refused to relent.

  Everything it had stolen from her, from Elain, she would take from it.

  Wrapped in black eternity, Nesta and the Cauldron twined, burning through the darkness like a newborn star.





  Cassian raised his fist to the green door in the dim hallway—and hesitated.

  He’d cut down more enemies than he cared to tally, had stood knee-deep in gore on countless battlefields and kept swinging, had made choices that cost him the lives of skilled warriors, had been a general and a grunt and an assassin, and yet … here he was, lowering his fist.


  The building on the north side of the Sidra River was in need of new paint. And new floors, if the creaking boards beneath his boots as he’d climbed the two flights had been any indication. But at least it was clean. De
finitely grim by Velaris’s standards, but when the city itself had no slums, that wasn’t saying much. He’d seen and stayed in far worse.

  He’d never understood, though, why Nesta insisted on dwelling here. He got why she wouldn’t take up rooms in the House of Wind—it was too far from the city, and she couldn’t fly or winnow in. Which meant dealing with the ten thousand steps up and down. But why live in this dump, when the town house was sitting empty? Since construction had finished on Feyre and Rhys’s sprawling home on the river, the town house had been left open to any of their friends who needed or wanted it. He knew for a fact that Feyre had offered Nesta a room there—and had been rejected.

  He frowned at the door’s peeling paint. No sounds trickled through the sizable gap between the door and the floor, wide enough for even the fattest of rats to meander through; no fresh scents lingered in the cramped hallway.

  Maybe he’d get lucky and she’d be out—perhaps sleeping under the bar of whatever seedy tavern she’d frequented last night. Though that might be worse, since he’d need to track her down there instead.

  Cassian lifted his fist again, the red of his Siphon flickering in the ancient faelights tucked into the ceiling.

  Coward. Grow some damned balls.

  Cassian knocked once. Twice.


  Cassian almost sighed his relief aloud. Thank the fucking Mother—

  Clipped, precise footsteps sounded from the other side of the door. Each more pissed off than the last.

  He tucked his wings in tight, squaring his shoulders as he braced his feet apart. A traditional fighting stance, beaten into him during his training years, now mere muscle memory. He didn’t dare consider why the sound of those footsteps sent his body falling into it.

  The snap as she unlatched each of her four locks might as well have been the beating of a war-drum.

  Cassian ran through the list of things he was to say, how Feyre had suggested he say them.

  The door was yanked open, the knob twisting so hard Cassian wondered if she was imagining it as his neck.

  Nesta Archeron already wore a scowl. But there she was.

  She looked like hell.

  “What do you want?” She didn’t open the door wider than a hand’s breadth.

  When had he last seen her? The end-of-summer party on that barge in the Sidra last month? She hadn’t looked this bad. Though he supposed a night trying to drown oneself in wine and liquor never left anyone looking particularly good the next morning. Especially at—

  “It’s seven in the morning,” she went on, raking him over with that gray-blue stare that always kindled his temper.

  She wore a male’s shirt. Worse, she wore only a male’s shirt.

  Cassian propped a hand on the doorjamb and gave her a half grin he knew brought out her claws. “Rough night?”

  Rough year, really. Her beautiful face was pale, far thinner than it had been before the war with Hybern, her lips bloodless, and those eyes … Cold and sharp, like a winter morning in the mountains.

  No joy, no laughter, in any plane of it. Of her.

  She made to shut the door on his hand.

  He shoved a booted foot into the gap before she could break his fingers. Her nostrils flared slightly.

  “Feyre wants you at the house.”

  “Which one?” Nesta said, frowning at the foot he’d wedged in the door. “She has five.”

  He bit back his retort. This wasn’t the battlefield—and he wasn’t her opponent. His job was to transport her to the assigned spot. And then pray that the lovely home Feyre and Rhys had just moved into wouldn’t be reduced to rubble.

  “The new one.”

  “Why didn’t my sister fetch me herself?” He knew that suspicious gleam in her eye, the slight stiffening of her back. His own instincts surged to meet her defiance, to push and push and discover what might happen.

  Since Winter Solstice, they’d exchanged only a handful of words. Most had been at the barge party last month. They’d consisted of:


  Hello, Nes.



  After months and months of nothing, of barely seeing her at all, that had been it.

  He hadn’t even understood why she’d shown up to the party, especially when she knew she’d be stuck on the water with them for hours. Amren likely deserved the credit for the rare appearance, due to whatever bit of sway the female held over Nesta. But by the end of that night, Nesta had been at the front of the line to get off the boat, arms tight around herself, and Amren had been brooding at the other end of it, nearly shaking with rage and disgust.

  No one had asked what had happened between them, not even Feyre. The boat had docked, and Nesta had practically run off, and no one had spoken to her since. Until today. Until this conversation, which felt like the longest they’d had since the battles against Hybern.

  Cassian said at last, “Feyre is High Lady. She’s busy running the Night Court.”

  Nesta cocked her head, gold-brown hair sliding over a bony shoulder. On anyone else, the movement would have been contemplative. On her, it was the warning of a predator, sizing up prey.

  “And my sister,” she said in that flat voice that refused to yield any sign of emotion, “deemed my immediate presence necessary?”

  “She knew you’d likely need to clean yourself up, and wanted to give you a head start. You’re expected at nine.”

  He waited for the explosion as she did the math.

  Her eyes flared. “Do I look like I need two hours to become presentable?”

  He took the invitation to survey her: long bare legs, an elegant sweep of hips, tapered waist—too damn thin—and full, inviting breasts that were at odds with the new, sharp angles of her body.

  On any other female, those magnificent breasts might have been enough cause for him to begin courting her the moment he met her. But from the instant he’d met Nesta, the cold fire in her eyes had been a temptation of a different sort.

  And now that she was High Fae, all inherent dominance and aggression—and piss-poor attitude—he avoided her as much as possible. Especially with what had happened during and after the war against Hybern. She’d made her feelings about him more than clear.

  Cassian said at last, “You look like you could use a few big meals, a bath, and some real clothes.”

  Nesta rolled her eyes, but fingered the hem of her shirt.

  Cassian added, “Kick out the sorry bastard, get washed, and I’ll bring you some tea.”

  Her brows rose a fraction of an inch.

  He gave her a crooked smile. “You think I can’t hear that male in your bedroom, trying to quietly put on his clothes and sneak out the window?”

  As if in answer, a muffled thud came from the bedroom. Nesta hissed.

  “I’ll be back in an hour to see how things are proceeding.” Cassian put enough bite behind the words that his soldiers would know not to push him—they’d remember that he required seven Siphons to keep his magic under control for good reason. But Nesta did not fly in his legions, did not fight under his command, and certainly did not seem to recall that he was over five hundred years old and—

  “Don’t bother. I’ll be there on time.”

  He pushed off the doorjamb, wings flaring slightly as he backed away a few steps. “That’s not what I was asked to do. I’m to see you from door to door.”

  Her face tightened. “Go perch on a chimney.”

  He sketched a bow, not daring to take his eyes off her. She’d emerged from the Cauldron with … gifts. Considerable gifts—dark ones. But no one had seen nor felt any sign of them since that last battle with Hybern, since Amren had shattered the Cauldron and Feyre and Rhys had managed to heal it. Elain, too, had revealed no indication of her seer’s abilities since then.

  But if Nesta’s power remained, still capable of leveling battlefields … Cassian knew better than to make himself vulnerable to another predator. “Do you want your tea with milk or lemon?�

  She slammed the door in his face.

  Then locked each of those four locks.

  Whistling to himself and wondering if that poor bastard inside the apartment would indeed flee out the window—mostly to escape her—Cassian strode down the dim hallway and went to find some food.

  He’d need the sustenance today. Especially once Nesta learned precisely why her sister had summoned her.

  Nesta Archeron didn’t know the name of the male in her apartment.

  She ransacked her wine-soaked memory as she returned to the bedroom, dodging piles of books and lumps of clothing, recalling heated glances at the tavern, the wet, hot meeting of their mouths, the sweat coating her as she rode him until pleasure and drink sent her into blessed oblivion, but not his name.

  The male had already leaned out the window, with Cassian no doubt lurking on the street below to witness his spectacularly pathetic exit, when Nesta reached the dim, cramped bedroom. The brass-poster bed was rumpled, the sheets half-spilled on the creaky, uneven wood floor, and the cracked window banged against the wall on its loose hinges. The male twisted toward her.

  He was handsome, in the way most High Fae males were handsome. A bit thinner than she liked them—practically a boy compared to the towering mass of muscle that had just filled her doorway. He winced as she padded in, his expression turning pained as he noted what she wore. “I … That’s …”

  Nesta tugged off his shirt, leaving nothing but bare skin in its wake. His eyes widened, but the scent of his fear remained—not fear of her, but of the male he’d heard at the front door. As he remembered who her sister was. Who her sister’s mate was. Who her sister’s friends were. As if any of that meant something.

  What would his fear smell like if he learned she’d used him, slept with him, to keep herself at bay? To settle that writhing darkness that had simmered inside her from the moment she’d emerged from the Cauldron? Sex, music, and drink, she’d learned this past year—all of it helped. Not entirely, but it kept the power from boiling over. Even if she could still feel it streaming through her blood, coiled tight around her bones.

  She chucked the white shirt at him. “You can use the front door now.”

  He slung the shirt over his head. “I— Is he still—” His gaze kept snagging on her breasts, peaked against the chill morning; her bare skin. The apex of her thighs.