Rowan of Rin
- Bronden breaks down completely after seeing a vision of her dead best friend in the swamp. It's hard to take from a character who up until that moment was so stoic and fearless.
- Val breaking down into tears as she confesses her inability to be separated from her twin brother, and her apologizing for her 'weakness' and not being able to continue with their quest any longer.
- Allun's guilt and remorse at not being able to help Marlie, Rowan and Jonn any longer on their quest because he is unable to cross a major obstacle in their path. There's also Marlie's reaction to hearing that Allun cannot swim, and the tearful farewells made between the four friends before they cross the expanse of water and leave Allun behind.
- The moment when Allun reveals his reasons for not bothering to learn how to swim. It turns out that he was too afraid of being bullied by the other children any more than he had been and didn't want to go through the humiliation of having to learn to swim among three-year-olds. And when Marlie protests about it, surprised about his choice, he points out that in Rin, you have to have every possible physical skill or you are considered useless (as he himself and also Rowan know fully well). He says it so bitterly and its so obvious that he's experienced what he's talking about that you have to feel sorry for him.
Rowan and the Travellers
- Sara's thought that Allun is caught between the Travellers and the people of Rin, and that it often causes him to have trouble belonging in the village. No matter how hard he tries, he can't be fully accepted because he's half-Traveller, and most of Rin look down upon the Travellers as weak and do not trust them.
- Lann denying the Travellers access to the village becomes this, when you remember that Sara and Allun are great friends with them (and actually most likely consider the Travellers family, since Allun's father was a Traveller and the Travellers are a very close-knit tribe). It must have really hurt them, to be forced to keep so many secrets from them and refuse all of Ogden's friendly invitations to sit down and talk together, whether it was at the Travellers camp or in Sara's house.
- Allun's panic when he finds Marlie in the enchanted sleep. If there's any doubt as to his feelings for her beforehand, at that moment it's clear that he really does love her and is terrified and anguished at seeing her in that sleep state.
- Similarly, Allun's reaction to seeing his mother asleep. He is visibly shaken, and plainly terrified and grief-stricken for her, and the thought that the Travellers may have caused this is probably causing him a lot of anguish.
- Rowan seeing Star and the bukshah caught in the sleep spell, and his realisation that he helped cause that, since he had made Star bring the herd back to Rin after Star had tried to lead them away from the danger. All Star had been doing was following his orders... and now she and the entire herd was asleep and possibly dying.
- Zeel's reaction to Rowan's accusation that she is a Zebak spy. She looks truly hurt by it. It's made even more sad when you think that she's probably had to go through this a lot of times, whenever someone (most likely Travellers) realised she was Zebak and automatically judged and rejected her because of it. It's likely that the only people who love her unconditionally and refuse to judge her because of her race are her foster family.
- Allun realising that he unwittingly brought disaster into Rin by taking the Mountain berries down from the Mountain. The bitterness in his voice is heart-wrenching. It's worse in that it is partly his fault— his desire to be fully accepted by his own people is what led him to bring the berries to Rin.
Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal
- Rowan's reaction upon hearing that his mother has been poisoned.
Rowan and the Zebak
- Zeel having a mental breakdown in the Wasteland after seeing an ishkin and recalling a horrifying rhyme she had to learn as punishment when she was a toddler and living in Zebak city. It's heartbreaking seeing one of the most badass and stoic characters in the series break down so much.
- And it doesn't stop there. Later while they are all in Zebak city, Zeel keeps her distance and is cold and unfeeling toward them because she is afraid that her friends all despise her now that they know how cruel and jerkass her race is. Her admitting this to them is really sad to see, as it shows just how much her constantly being judged because of her race has affected her. She expects her own friends to reject her because of what she is, when she should be able to trust them as her friends not to judge her because of her looks but accept her just as she is.