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The Arrows Trilogy
Arrows of the Queen
- Chapters 2 through 5 are a constant string of minor but touching heartwarming moments, being the story of how a girl who was insulted, beaten and marginalized in her childhood comes into a place where people respect her opinion and genuinely care for her. Watching Talia's opinion of herself- and the world- changing is really beautiful.
- Jadus comforting a then-friendless Talia and teaching her to sing.
Talia: You mean- music lessons? Teach me? But-Jadus: It would be a shame to waste your Talent; and you do have it, youngling. It would truly be something that I would enjoy sharing with you.Talia: If you think it's worth wasting your time on me-Jadus: (tilts Talia's head up so she's looking him in the eyes) Time spent with you, my dear, will never be wasted.
- Talia babysitting Elspeth and 'un-spoiling' the girl. Talia is never slow to discipline Elspeth when she does something wrong, but she's equally fast to praise her when she does something right.
Talia: I'm sorry for you. It's awful to be lonely and alone. I know; when I was your age, they sent my best friend away to be married to a ghastly old man, and I never saw her again.Elspeth: Did you cry?Talia: I did when I was alone, but I didn't dare around other people. My elders told me that it was sinful to cry over something so unimportant. I think that that was very wrong of them because sometimes crying can make you feel better. Are you feeling a little better now?
- In particular, their second meeting. Hulda note has left Court, and Elspeth is crying because she thinks Hulda is her Only Friend.
Elspeth: Promise you won't laugh?Talia: I promise- but I wouldn't anyway.Elspeth: Hulda laughed. She said it was a stupid name. (looks down) It's Elspeth.Talia: There was no reason for Hulda to laugh; you have a very nice name. It's nicer than Talia.Elspeth: Hulda said only peasants are named Elspeth.Talia: That's not true; I know that for sure. There were three Queens of this Kingdom named Elspeth. (lists them) You'll have a hard time living up to the name of Elspeth. Especially if you want to become the kind of person that could win a Companion and be the Heir.Elspeth: I- I don't know how. And Companions- I'm afraid of them. Can you- help me? Please?Talia: Well, first you have to start by treating people nicer than you do now- and I mean everybody, highborn or low. If you do that, you'll start having more friends, too, and they'll be real friends who like being with you, not people who only act friendly because they think you can get them something.Elspeth: I treat people nicely!Talia: Oh, really? (imitates the grimace Elspeth makes when throwing a tantrum) If that's treating people nicely, I'd hate to have you mad at me! Do you really think that anyone would want to be a friend of someone like that?Elspeth: N-no.Talia: If you want to change, you have to start by thinking about everything you say before you say or do it. Think about how you'd feel if someone acted like that to you. (hugs Elspeth) I can see that there's a very nice person named Elspeth sitting here, but there's an awful lot of people who can't see through the Brat. That's what they call you, you know.
- Later, when Talia asks Elspeth's name.
- Talia curing Elspeth's fear of Companions.
- Keren jumping into an ice-covered river to save Talia after a gang of bullies push her in. And later reproaching Talia for not telling the Heralds she was being bullied.
"We lose enough of the Circle as it is- we're not about to lose you through carelessness." Keren paused, and then added (half in anger, half in hurt), "-and next time, youngling, tell somebody when there's something wrong! We could have avoided all this- maybe caught whoever was chewing your tail! Heralds always stick together, dammit! Did you think we wouldn't believe you?""I- yes-" Talia said, and was horrified to find that her mouth had once again betrayed her. To her further horror, tears began to fall, and she was powerless to stop them.(...)
- The book's final lines.
And with a lighter heart, she turned back down the path that led to the Collegium.The Collegium- and home.
- Talia and Dirk finally getting their happy ending. Just... yes. This. And damn if they don't deserve it a thousand times over.
The Mage Winds
Winds of Fate
- Darkwind realizing that Starblade's cold, cruel behavior towards him was the only thing that a horribly broken, brainwashed man could do to prevent his own son from being victim to the same fate. The relief he feels at knowing that the father he loved was always there is nearly enough to bring him to tears.
- Starblade finding healing and redemption through a new romance with his Healer and a new bond bird.
- Need showing Nyara some of the only affection the poor girl has seen ever, while training her to survive and fight.
- Darkwind proposes to Elspeth, by giving her one of Vree's decorated feathers and using the words to signify a Hawkbrother marriage.
- doubles when Elspeth pulls out a ring, with a braid made of her Companion's hair sandwiched between metal and a hertasi version of resin. Verges into Crowning Moment of Funny when they realize they had hertasi craftsman make them at the very same time, and how much the hertasi must have been laughing about the silly humans since.
- Darian casually telling a mildly despondent Keisha that no, he isn't particularly impressed by her more vivacious, popular sister and he quite enjoys Keisha's company instead. By the way she reacts, one has to feel for the girl, who hasn't been told she's ugly or cruel... just taken for granted and ignored, which can still hurt too.
- Darian traveling hundreds of miles, facing numerous perils, tracking an incredibly cold and faint trail... and finding his parents again.
The Collegium Chronicles and Herald's Spy
- When Mags first meets Lena, she is crying over her pet rabbit, Bumper, dying. He offers to help bury Bumper. His eulogy for the rabbit is awkward and heartwarming.
"He was a good rabbit. An' he was a friend when Lena needed one. Reckon that's how ye knows a friend, they be there when ye need them.
- Due to Foreseers having a vision that is interpreted as the king being in danger from a foreigner and Mags discovering that his parents (and by extension himself) were foreigners, many of the other Trainees from all three Collegiums start distrusting him. His friends, including his teammates from Kirball, immediately stand up for him once they catch wind of the distrust, and make a point of sitting with him at mealtimes and escorting him to his classes.
- When Mags has to take the herbs that will force the memories of the clan his parents were from on him, he is able to hold on to his core self and not get swept away by the memories by focusing on his bond and brotherly love with his Companion Dallen, friendships with his oldest and best friends Bear and Lena, and love of his girlfriend Amily. In fact, Dallen and Amily are his twin supports, with the narration noting that a big part of why Mags loves Amily is that both can see past each other's respective labels to the true person beneath.
- Mag's and Amily's whole My Own Private "I Do", with only themselves, Amily's father Nikolas, their Companions, and the priest officiating the ceremony in attendance. The whole thing is very sweet, with Mags noting how lovely the wedding vows of the religion the priest is part of are. Nikolas states that he is happy to have witnessed his daughter's marriage note and won't have to worry now if duty causes him to miss the public wedding that's to come later.
- Lavan being questioned about the bullying he suffered. He's unable to control his anxiety and gets angrier and angrier, his Firestarting Gift on the verge of consuming him and everyone else...and then Kalira Chooses him.
- Everyone involved in uncovering the school's corruption, from guards to Heralds to aristocrats, is horrified that such atrocities could have happened, and do everything they can to prevent it from ever happening again. It just drives home the point that most people are generally good.
- A BFF-style version with Lavan and Tuck, when the latter calmly and methodically talks Lavan through the various legal definitions of murder and manslaughter, in order to convince Lavan that no, he's not a monster or a psychopath because he lost control of his Gift and killed the bullies who were torturing him. Possibly doubles as an intellectual Moment of Awesome, and triples as a Crowning Moment Of Friendship.
- every scene involving Lavan's sister Mercy visiting him at the Collegium. At least one member of his family can actually, truly, connect with him. it's really no wonder she ends up marrying Tuck, who's been shown to be smart enough to know a good thing when he sees it.
- Kalira's last words. Even through the excruciating pain she's feeling, the horrific war they're fighting, and Lavan's own encroaching madness, she manages to make this clear:
I- love- you...
The Exile Duology
- Not exactly a crowning moment as an ongoing and extended smaller moment, but all of Alberich's slow-burning romance with Myste. Even Selenay (in the crowning depths of her infatuation with Karathalen) thinks it's the most adorable thing ever.
- Kantor and Taver appearing Just in Time to save Alberich from a gang of vigilante Companions. The latter states vehemently that violence against a Herald will not be tolerated no matter his race, and that they will protect Alberich- with teeth and hooves if necessary.
- The "invasion of Karse" to rout the Tedrel camp - The Valdemaran army comes across orphans and camp followers who decided they had had it and were going to make their own lives without fighting as mercenaries. After a brutal last battle from years of a draining war of attrition, the Valdemaran army rejoices at a task that does not involving killing (no matter how justified) and takes them to a new, loving, safe home.
- In the epilogue, Alberich meets Vkandis Himself, who reassures Alberich as no-one else could that he has not betrayed Karse or the Sunlord.
- Read retroactively, Vkandis's words imply that Alberich's heroism will be immortalized in Karsite scripture itself. This is the highest honor a Karsite could ever dream of.
- After Alberich has a bout with Prince Karathalen in the salle, the Guards, who had been watching in increasing bemusement because Alberich was using a fighting style completely out of character for him against the prince, catch on very quickly as to why Alberich was doing it (summation: Alberich had his suspicions about the prince's intentions but didn't have enough evidence to pin him as more than an arrogant bastard) and subtly offer their support in keeping an eye on the prince. For a man who had been viewed with suspicion for a good deal of the populace of Valdemar for years, including the Guard and Palace staff and Heralds themselves, the quiet moment of trust in seeking a common goal is heartwarming.
- Alberich's presence immediately helping soothe a new Chosen who was a Tedrel orphan and was terrified that he was going to be thrown into Tedrel-style hellish military training. To clarify, the Tedrels' way of training boys who were entering puberty was taken right from The Spartan Way, including putting them into groups, feeding them little, and beating them senseless if they were caught stealing food.
The Mage Storms
- Talia taking time out of her very busy schedule as Queen's Own and mother to personally soothe Karal by reciting a script from Karse's holy book. Hilariously, Karal's second thought (after surprise) is just how appalling her accent is!
- Whenever people go out of their way to soothe and comfort An'desha, who is still struggling with a great deal of trauma and self-hatred from the events of Winds of Fury.
- When he storms off after his lover, Firesong, flirts just a little too much and publicly with Darkwind, Elspeth finds him and tells him that it's perfectly all right to be angry.
- Karal becomes unlikely friends with An'desha. At one point he deliberately pushes An'desha's emotional buttons and remains standing in front of him, undergoing great risk just to prove to An'desha that he is not a sadistic, sociopathic monster. An'desha rips up the entire room around them... but his magic doesn't so much as ruffle Karal's hair or clothes.
- Tremaine forges the Imperial seal- a crime punishable by execution- to ensure his soldiers get enough supplies to make it through the winter.