@wylan-van-eckk
April 🦋

"𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘶𝘴𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦." | queer | he/they | its mostly kanej and zoyalai tbh | I write soft stuff with the occasional angst

Posts
362
Last update
2022-06-19 17:57:56

    grishaverse incorrect quotes as things me and people I know have said

    8-year old kaz! au

    Kaz: would you like some hot chocolate, coffee or juice?

    Person: sorry, I don't have any coin on me *keeps walking*

    Kaz:

    Kaz: *shouting after him* paypal exists!!

    .

    Jesper: what's nihilism?

    Kaz: a philosophy where everything is meaningless

    Jesper: but that's...

    Jesper: meaningless

    Kaz: exactly

    .

    I swear this one's a joke

    Jesper: did Shu Han attack anyone?

    Nina: no, but they want to attack Ravka

    Jesper: well everyone wants to attack someone

    Jesper: I want to attack the Vatican, just to see what happens

    .

    Kaz: does anyone want to get stabbed?

    Jesper: stab me!!

    Wylan: me

    Matthias: me.

    Nina: me!

    Inej: stab me!

    Kaz: *to Inej* not you

    .

    Matthias: *steals Nina's notebook*

    Nina: drüskelle, give it back right now!!

    Matthias: *keeping it out of reach*

    Nina: *finally gets it and turns to Kaz*

    Kaz: you can beat him up, I allow it.

    .

    Kaz: you have a nice tan, Nina!

    Nina: oh, thank you ;)

    Kaz: that means you spend a lot of time outside

    Nina: ...okay... *suspicious*

    Kaz: that means you're not working

    Nina:

    Kaz: next time

    Kaz: be

    Kaz: PALER

    .

    Wylan: why did stalin and tito argue?

    Jesper: because stalin was an alpha male and tito had authority issues

    .

    Literally no one:

    Nina: *leaves home in the middle of a zoom meeting but lets it continue on her laptop, crosses the street and waits 20 minutes for an old car to arrive, buys eggs from the driver, a woman she chatted with on twitter, because the woman owns chickens and sells the eggs in the city each week, then returns to the zoom meeting and acts like nothing happened*

    I want what they have 🤌🤌🤌🤌🤌 there angst is literally god tier

    Why can't people say these things in real life!!!???

    MY SWEET NEMESIS !!!🧎‍♀️🧎‍♀️🧎‍♀️🧎‍♀️

    Need I say more??? **insert lip biting emoji

    Cardan IS A BOTTOM but for Jude and jude only!!

    But like imagine how it would have backfired🤭🤭😭😭

    My sweet little boy is so lost 💀💀

    This right here is real romance. I am getting a toothache

    elytrians

    is there any look hotter than disheveled and slightly bloody

    chegayvara

    um?? dishevelled and slightly bloody, with a sword under their chin

    tododeku-or-bust

    Ahem. Dishevelled, slightly bloody, with a sword under their chin, while smiling lasciviously

    moonyinthesky

    for your consideration: dishevelled, slightly bloody, with a sword under their chin, while smiling lasciviously, and kneeling

    explorerrowan

    I am afraid we are all extremely queer.

    whatagrump

    Apparently a lot of people get dialogue punctuation wrong despite having an otherwise solid grasp of grammar, possibly because they’re used to writing essays rather than prose. I don’t wanna be the asshole who complains about writing errors and then doesn’t offer to help, so here are the basics summarized as simply as I could manage on my phone (“dialogue tag” just refers to phrases like “he said,” “she whispered,” “they asked”):

  • “For most dialogue, use a comma after the sentence and don’t capitalize the next word after the quotation mark,” she said.
  • “But what if you’re using a question mark rather than a period?” they asked.
  • “When using a dialogue tag, you never capitalize the word after the quotation mark unless it’s a proper noun!” she snapped.
  • “When breaking up a single sentence with a dialogue tag,” she said, “use commas.”
  • “This is a single sentence,” she said. “Now, this is a second stand-alone sentence, so there’s no comma after ‘she said.’”
  • “There’s no dialogue tag after this sentence, so end it with a period rather than a comma.” She frowned, suddenly concerned that the entire post was as unasked for as it was sanctimonious.
  • thewritinggrindstone

    And!

  • “If you’re breaking dialogue up with an action tag”—she waves her hands back and forth—”the dashes go outside the quotation marks.”
  • writing-is-a-martial-art

    Reblog to save a writer’s life.

    lesson one

    a Kaz Brekker fanfiction

    TW: underage drinking (like,, one glass and its Kaz)

    CW: none

    “No,” Kaz Brekker said simply after drinking a strong-looking drink in one swallow, setting the glass down.

    Jakob cringed at the sight. The only alcohol he could handle was a glass of fine wine. Once, he tried his father’s expensive whiskey-it did not go well. And yet, here this child, four years younger than him, downed the drink like it was nothing and didn’t even react. Along with the criminal’s reputation all this strongly intimidated Jakob. He tried not to let it get to him.

    “I’m afraid you can’t just say no, Mr. Brekker,” he replied after trying to calm his trembling voice. Kaz raised an eyebrow.

    “Oh?” Getting offered the opportunity to explain, Jakob felt a surge of confidence; he did, after all, trust in this programme, in the law and in the Merchant council. They’ve chosen him for this job for a reason, and he wasn’t planning on letting them down.

    “If you refuse the KCRP, I have the authority to arrest you. You’ll spend up to two years in prison.” Kaz sighed, more bemused than anything else. He glared at Jakob for a long time and it took all of the young man’s self-control to not look away. Then, Kaz shrugged.

    “Fine,” he said. “You can follow me around for a bit. But for the record, I’d get out of your measly little prison in one night. However, I have things to do. I’m not going to waste my time on going through the whole arresting procedure.” He started walking, and Jakob followed him.

    “Oh, please,” Jakob said, clearly seeing through Kaz’s bluff. That’s what everyone said when they agreed. But they were frightened. Frightened of Ketterdam’s prison, of its law. They knew what it was like. They knew they couldn’t get out. Kaz was just the same, lying about his skills to make himself feel better. “Our prisons are well guarded, well built.”

    Kaz turned around with a cold look: “I got out of the Ice Court, dear, you think your prison means anything but a minor inconvenience to me?”

    And suddenly Jakob’s heart dropped. Because he could clearly see that Kaz wasn’t lying. Unable to think of an answer, but set on being right, Jakob turned to another topic.

    “The Ketterdam Criminal Redemption Programme isn’t just following criminals around. We spend time with criminals for two weeks, showing them the good and lawful way of life. It works most of the time. They turn to a good citizen life instead of crime.”

    Kaz let out a laugh as they walked past the staircase towards the door.

    “Whatever you say.”

    The outside was cold, for it was late October and the sea liked to bring the cold, northern wind with its waves. Jakob wrapped his coat tighter around him, commanding his body not to shiver, he had to keep up appearances after all. His body refused to listen.

    “Where are we going?” Jakob asked. He had practiced the things he’d say to Kaz in front of a mirror for the last three days, but now he found it hard to find the words.

    “I told you, I have work to do.” Kaz said. He led Jakob through alleyways the man didn’t even know existed.

    “Like…crime?” he asked, cautiously. The idea of comitting illegal acts, or even just witnessing them, made him deeply uncomfortable. A wicked grin spread on Kaz’s face.

    “Who knows, maybe at the end of this you’ll be corrupted instead of me being redeemed.” Jakob told himself it was a joke and a stupid one at that. He still started nervously fidgeting with his hands.

    They reached a street in a better part of town, next to a canal, and Jakob breathed in relief at being out of the Barrel. Here, the canals carried the salty scent of the seaside with them, for they were in the far end of Ketterdam. The Barrel was near the sea too, but there the scent of exotic spices and suffocating perfumes overpowered everything else.

    The houses here were narrow and slightly crooked and tilted in the Ketterdam way, with calm facades and small windows. Jakob felt at peace in the more known surroundings. It was only when he took another deep breath of the fresh air that he noticed Kaz was already way up the street.

    Jakob almost ran after him, reaching him in a few seconds, completely out of breath. He wasn’t good at exercise. Luckily, Kaz had stopped in front of a dark blue-gray house. He looked up at the gable, its design signalling the house had been used for commerce of spices from Shu Han, even though it now looked abandoned. Underneath the gable a small hook pointed out of the wall.

    The hooks could be found all over Ketterdam. They were used to pull cargo up to the higher floors. In the days after learning about them in school, Jakob paid more attention to them. Sometimes he would get caught up in watching them being used, strong men pulling the rope with which the cargo was raised to the upper floor. He’d been late to school once because of it. Whenever he’d look at the hooks on his way through the city, he’d notice most people didn’t pay attention to them. Of course, they were something normal. But to Jakob, they felt like a secret he shared with the city.

    He forgot about then after a few days.

    Kaz opened the door and simply walked in, it appeared to be unlocked. Jakob followed. They took the stairs up and towards the upper floor, then entered a dark and dusty room. There was no furniture and the single window at the very end of the room posed as the only light source. Kaz walked over to it, leaning against the wall and looking out of the window.

    “What now?” Jakob asked after joining him and being silent for a few minutes.

    “Now we wait on the boy with the goods,” Kaz said.

    “What are the goods?”

    “Something illegal.” the young criminal’s eyes glinted. Jakob looked away, once again uncomfortable by the thought of crime.

    They waited for maybe half an hour at most, when a boy, maybe thirteen or fourteen, appeared by the house. He wore an oversized brown jacket and held a big pack wrapped in newspaper in his hands. Kaz simply acknowledged the sight of him with a tilt of the head, while Jakob’s eyes widened.

    “You involved a child in your crime?" he asked in disbelief.

    “I didn’t involve him. He wished to prove himself to me.”

    “He’s just a child!”

    “He made his choice.”

    “You don’t understand! Everyone can see him, they’ll tell on him when I report this and he’ll go to prison-” Jakob stopped abruptly at the realization of what he’d just said. Kaz raised his eyebrows, but something in his expression told Jakob he wasn’t the least surprised.

    “Don’t report it, then.” Kaz said. Jakob let out an irritated breath.

    “I have to, it’s my duty. I believe in the law.”

    Kaz said nothing, but Jakob didn’t want to stop scolding him.

    “Seriously, letting a child go to prison? That place is too cruel for such a young, fragile mind-”

    “I’m not the one sending him to prison,” Kaz cut him off. “That’s all your precious law’s doing.”

    Jakob didn’t know what to reply to that.

    “Do you know what the first lesson I teach my new gang-members is?” Kaz asked. Jakob shook his head.

    “I give them a job that they can’t manage without being seen, which gets them arrested.”

    “How is that a lesson? It just sounds like getting rid of all your gang-members,” Jakob replied, confused.

    “First of all, it teaches them to be more careful,” Kaz said, checking his pocket watch. “Second of all, after I don’t come get them out, it teaches them that there’s no saviour looking over them. They have to rely on themselves, first and foremost.” He glanced at the boy outside. “Third of all, it teaches them how to get out of prison. Most of them figure it out after a day or two. You’d be surprised how tough and clever children raised on the streets are.”

    “And if they don’t get out?” Jakob asked.

    “Then they rot in prison for all of their sentence,” Kaz said, not very interested in the conversation anymore.

    “I still think it cruel,” Jakob murmured, more to himself than anyone else.

    “Well, the boy hasn’t done anything yet. You still have time to stop him. That’s what you lot do, right? Turn criminals into good boys and girls.” The mocking tone in Kaz’s voice was clear, but Jakob had to try. The poor child has clearly somehow been fooled into this. He needed to tell him he had other choices, other options. He needn’t turn to crime. He left the room with a low: “Don’t go anywhere.”

    “I wouldn’t dream of it,” Kaz said, his smirk somehow heard in his voice.

    The cold air hit Jakob stronger than he’d expected, and he felt the need to curse this city. Most houses were already cold; and then, somehow, the outside was even colder. He stepped out of the door and walked towards the boy. The boy had dark, zemeni skin and dreadlocks.

    When he approached, the boy looked up.

    “I brought what you asked of me, sir.” the boy said, louder than necessary. Jakob frowned in confusion, but the boy continued before he could stop him.

    “Please, let this be enough.”

    “What?” Jakob asked, because there wasn’t really much else to say.

    “Please, just leave me and my family alone! We did everything you’ve asked and more!” the boy now almost shouted, a few tears falling down his cheeks. An older woman looked at him with a kind, worried glance, then turned a suspicious glare on Jakob. He started stuttering out a confused explanation, but she’d already walked on, quickening her pace.

    “Calm down, I’m not the guy who hired you. I just want to introduce you to a little something called the KCRP-”

    Before he could finish, the boy dropped the goods in Jakob’s arms and bolted, running away.

    This was not good.

    This was not good at all.

    Jakob could feel suspicious gazes on him from everywhere on the street. He knew he had to get rid of whatever he was holding, because he knew it clearly looked like something illegal. It was also too heavy to carry. He offered an awkward smile to the people that wouldn’t stop staring at him then took a deep breath before shouting: “Brekker! A little help here?”

    A single gloved hand reached out through the window, fastening a rope on the hook and letting it fall down to the ground. As quickly as he could, Jakob took the rope and tied it around whatever illegal thing was packed into the newspaper, then pulled the rope’s other end to bring it to the upper floor. Two gloved hands took the pack and the rest of the rope fell to the ground. Jakob gathered it up and quickly disappeared into the house.

    “I can’t believe you made me do that!” he shouted at Kaz. Kaz raised a brow again, now holding onto the pack tightly with one arm.

    “I didn’t make you do anything,” he said.

    “You left me outside with a suspicious pack in my arms!” Jakob answered, still shouting. His voice was awfully high, as if in panic. “And that child... what the hell did you do to him? He went on rambling about his family and stuff-”

    Kaz interrupted him with a simple “Let’s go.”

    Jakob didn't want to go, he didn't want to stop shouting. But then he did it anyways.

    They were walking down a narrow street, when it happened. One moment, Kaz was next to Jakob, the autumn air crisp, the evening slowly darkening. Kaz noticed a crow in the middle of a small square and walked over there to feed it. Jakob was surprised at the sudden very human action of the criminal, but he took it as a good sign in his attempt of redeeming him, and followed him onto the square. He watched as Kaz took a small pouch of seeds from his pocket and let the bird eat out of his gloved hand.

    The next moment, Jakob was surrounded by the stadwatch and Kaz was gone. Only the crow was left, looking up on Jakob with those hungry, lonely eyes.

    “Jakob Van Hertzoon, you are arrested for criminal acts,” one of the officers said.

    “What?” Jakob frowned, but still raised his hands in defeat. Another officer approached him and took hold of both his hands rather harshly, cuffing them behind his back.

    “You were spotted blackmailing a poor boy into giving you the many pounds of stolen golden jewellery from a Merchant’s wife earlier today,” the officer explained. So that’s what was in that pack.

    “You have the right to remain silent…” the words faded out as Jakob realised he had been set up by Kaz. He felt numb and heard his own heartbeat in his ears. The boy that worked for Kaz, he was acting. It was all an act. Kaz challenged him and Jakob fell for his trick. He cursed himself and Kaz and that little child over and over again.

    This was it. He was going to prison.

    Right before being pulled around the corner, out of a dark shadow of the square right next to Jakob’s ear, a whisper sounded:

    “Lesson one. Can you do it?”

    grishaverse incorrect quotes as things me and people around me have said

    Wylan: can I ask you something?

    Jesper: oh god, please let it be not serious like "can ants sing"

    Jesper: wait

    Jesper: can ants sing??

    Wylan: JESPER FOCUS

    Jesper: don't kill each other

    Jesper: if for no other reason, because it hurts

    Nina: hey jesper

    Nina: if you say 'pik' before you sneeze you'll say 'pikachu'

    Jesper:

    Nina:

    Jesper:

    Nina:

    Jesper & Nina: *burst out laughing*

    Kaz: what

    *reading a poem written by a guy talking about how another guy should be with the person who's POV the poem is written in, not a girl*

    Jesper: wait,, is this poet simping for a guy?

    Inej: no, you watch too much heartstopper. it's about a girl telling a guy to date her instead of another girl.

    Jesper:

    Jesper: BUT IT'S WRITTEN BY A GUY

    Jesper: I speak four languages

    Inej: no you don't, you speak three

    Jesper: yes I do, I speak french too

    Inej:

    Jesper: oui oui mon ami je m'appelle baguette

    Inej:

    Jesper: wait no I meant lafayette-I KNOW THE HAMILTON LYRICS

    Inej:

    Jesper: *scary voice* there is a ghost in europe...

    Jesper: it's karl marx and he goes to random airports and signs their copies of the communist manifesto

    Inej: wanna watch this show with us?

    Kaz: nah I don't really like it

    Kaz: *proceeds to stand there for 45 minutes watching it because he secretly likes it but refuses to admit so*

    *watching a show*

    Jesper: damn dude you're whispering in his ear?

    Jesper: that's kinda gay

    Kaz: HE JUST STABBED HIM

    Wylan: *reading from his workbook* what's your opinion on genetically modified organisms? ask for your classmate's opinion as well.

    Wylan: well, classmate, what's your opinion?

    Jesper:

    Jesper: I want watermelons to be even bigger

    !! important!!

    if you follow me on instagram, please unfollow me this second and block me!! ignore any messages you get from me, I've been hacked and locked out, it's not me!!

    instead please follow my other account @wylanvaneck.backup

    I love you all, hope everything ends up being okay

    grishaverse incorrect quotes as things me and people around me have said

    CW: a little bit of swearing

    Inej: woah, that church is so pretty!

    Kaz: I'm not a christian

    Inej: me neither, but still! :)

    Kaz: religion will fall apart

    Inej:

    Kaz: any questions?

    Jesper: do fruity people get any privileges?

    Nina: I hope so

    Wylan: I hope so

    Kuwei: I hope so

    Kaz: what the fuck

    Kaz: *holding a bottle of oil* do yk what intrusive thoughts are?

    Jesper: ...yes

    Kaz: well I just had one of pouring this oil on you

    Jesper: that's n-WAIT WHAT

    Nina: okay so this is how we're going to take back the ravkan town Fjerda took from us

    Matthias:

    Nina: *seriously, with a map* first we convince the Shu that they're Ravkans

    Matthias: what

    Kaz: tomorrow will be 81 years since Germany attacked Yugoslavia

    Nina:

    Nina: and 48 years since ABBA won eurovision

    *walking behind a slow person*

    Nina: *sarcastically* oh, no, please, don't walk faster, it will ruin the romance!

    Inej: did you like the batman movie?

    Jesper: I loved it

    Jesper: batman as a pale freak who needs to wear sunglasses while eating blueberries and cannonically listens to nirvana?

    Jesper: amazing.

    *staring at a little boy running around with a crossbow*

    Jesper: WHO GAVE THE KID A CROSSBOW

    Nina: YOU

    *watching the boy try using the crossbow and fail miserably*

    Kaz: I could teach him how to use it

    Inej: absolutely not.

    Inej: hey, what does JFK stand for? I know he's a kennedy but what are the j and f

    Nina: John Fernando Kennedy

    Inej: I don't think-

    Jesper: jentucky fried kitchen

    the first meeting

    !! crooked kingdom spoilers!!

    the story of how Jesper absolutely terrified Wylan before he met with Kaz for the first time

    DISCLAIMER: some of the events mentioned are a bit mixed up, some happen later in the books, ignore that please svshsbhs

    TW: mention of violence

    The rain fell down in heavy curtains, covering Ketterdam’s streets and filling the air with a fresh scent.

    The badly-made streets of the Barrel quickly turned to mud, the pubs and parlors filling with people who didn’t wish to get wet, while only criminals and people with nowhere to go stayed out in the dark streets. Jesper didn’t mind—he had quickly gotten used to the rain, even with the memory of sunny Novyi Zem still strong in his mind—but the privileged boy he had been dragging with him was used to spending rainy afternoons in the warm indoors, with a cup of tea and a fireplace, or at least underneath a huge, quality-made umbrella. Jesper could see Wylan came from a fancy part of the city, even if the boy did look a bit worn-out; but his shoes were well-made and of good quality, his hair precisely cut not long ago, even his dirty clothes hadn’t lost all the charm they seemingly used to have.

    “Come on,” Jesper muttered and pulled Wylan’s arm a bit harsher to get him going, for he seemed to prefer walking slowly and trembling in the cold. Once again, the sharpshooter wondered why Kaz wished to see the kid.

    Wylan murmured something under his breath but obeyed, quickening his pace and keeping up with Jesper. He still had some of that toxic paint on his face and clothes from that cheap place he worked in. His eyes were tired, his skin pale and his whole demeanour dark and Jesper got the urge to ask what a boy like him was doing in streets like these. But for once, he stayed quiet.

    “So what’s he like?” Wylan asked when they rounded into a narrow alley with a roof made of old planks built overhead, which gave them a break from the unkind weather.

    “Who?” Jesper asked, his mind elsewhere.

    “Kaz,” Wylan said. “Kaz Brekker? Your boss? I’ve heard people whisper his name. He sounds creepy.”

    Jesper burst out laughing at the remark.

    “What?” asked Wylan, hunching a bit as if he wished to hide, while also furrowing his brows in a stubborn way, ready to defend himself.

    “I’ve never heard people describe Kaz as ‘creepy’,” Jesper kept laughing.

    Wylan arched a brow. “So he’s not that scary, then?”

    “Oh, no, Kaz is the worst of the worst. ‘Creepy’ just isn’t enough of a bad adjective,” Jesper said, watching a slight shiver go through Wylan with the greatest amusement.

    “He can’t be that bad,” Wylan mumbled as they rounded another corner and stepped into another alley. Lost in thought, the boy let the sharpshooter lead him until all of the sudden, everything was dark.

    “What the-Jesper?” Wylan called out, confused by the sudden darkness of what he figured, was, another alley. He looked up at the sky, which had now turned into a dark night covered in clouds. No light from stars, neither from oil lamps or candles or windows or even the bustling of the Barrel. There was just Wylan and the quiet, dark alley. At least the rain had stopped.

    “Jesper?” he tried again, cringing at how high and scared his voice sounded. Where did that idiot go now?

    “Let me tell you the story of how Kaz recruited me to his gang, the Dregs,” Jesper said after a pause, but Wylan couldn’t pin his voice down. It seemed as if it was everywhere.

    “This isn’t funny,” Wylan said. Once again he asked himself why he had agreed on meeting Kaz Brekker, why he had let the strange, barely older boy lead him somewhere dark. A terrifying thought suddenly hit him. What if this is an ambush? Another cruel trick from my father?

    He stepped back and felt something cold behind him, a stone wall. If he followed it, he could get out of this alley, out of here. But, as much as he hated to admit it, he didn’t feel safe in the deepest parts of the Barrel without the sharpshooter looking out for him, even if he did so with the utmost sarcastic attitude.

    “A few weeks prior to the first time me and Kaz met, my university friends dragged me to a gambling parlor,” Jesper’s now dramatic voice sounded again, this time from further away. “‘Come on,’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun!’

    “They weren’t wrong, but ‘fun’ was, in my opinion, a terrible understatement. That first night was amazing. I won many little prizes and gifts, not to mention the pure adrenaline I felt with every spin of the Makker’s wheel, the pure pride I felt with every win. I-well, I got a bit addicted to the whole thing.”

    Wylan heard a sound from the other side of the dark alley, startling with a gasp. But when he looked over, no matter how hard he tried to see or hear something, nothing was there.

    Jesper’s voice sounded again, this time closer. Or at least Wylan thought it was closer this time.

    “So when my friends moved on to other thrills this lovely city has to offer, I stayed here, in the Barrel and played away, ignoring the fact that I barely won after that first night, ignoring the fact that I was slowly spiraling into destruction. One night, after hours of playing and enjoying the wonder of horrible, cheap lager, I step outside, not feeling entirely stable and decide to get back to the dorm. I take a shortcut.”

    A long pause. The next sentence was a whisper right next to Wylan’s ear, along with the hiss of a match being lit, its small flame barely illuminating Jesper’s hand.

    “Never take a shortcut in the Barrel.”

    Wylan startled again and quickly turned around, but before he could scold the storyteller Jesper was gone again, the match blown out, plunging them both back into darkness. By now, Wylan couldn’t decide whether he was irritated or frightened, but his feeling was strong, negative, and pointed towards Jesper.

    “So I walk into an alley, quite like this one…” Jesper continues from the other side of the alley, his voice low, but still carrying down to Wylan. There was a long, eerie pause. Wylan could hear steps heading for him, but then heard the same steps far away from the other direction. At some point he was positive he heard them from behind, even though he was leaning against a thick wall made of brick. The dark and Jesper’s stupid story spoken in a quiet, scary voice were messing with his head.

    Suddenly, Jesper jumped in front of Wylan and lit another match, holding it underneath his face so the lightning looked scary. Wylan jumped back with a yelp and Jesper laughed.

    “When all of the sudden two figures attack me, pushing me against the wall and beating me, kicking me, barely letting me catch my breath. I’m slightly drunk, disappointed and very tired so naturally, I can’t fight back.” Jesper’s words were quick, his voice sounding like he had reached the heights of madness, but he never broke his focused eye contact with Wylan, which somehow made everything even scarier.

    “Then, a tall, dark figure appears behind them. I think the end is near, that the figure will join them and finish the job, but then the figure starts pulling them off me. It pushes them against the wall, to the ground, sends them scurrying in a few seconds. And then he pushes back his hair, steps into the light, shakes my hand and says: ‘You owe me.’ Those were the sweet, first words Kaz Brekker said to me, covered in blood, pale, looking every bit like the cold-blooded monster everyone thinks him to be. And then he leaves, rounding the corner and leaving me lying on the cold ground, injured. Right when I’m about to get up and get to the dorm as soon as possible he comes back and gestures with his gloved fingers for me to follow him. And I did.

    “A few weeks back I told this whole story to a friend and you know what she said?” Jesper leaned against the other wall of the narrow alley, lit a new match with the old one and threw the old one down on the still wet ground. It went out immediately. He laughs to himself about what he’s about to say, watching the flame playing over the thin piece of wood.

    “She said ‘He probably hired those boys to attack you so you’d feel indebted to him,’. And you know what the craziest thing is? She’s probably right.” Jesper stopped talking and looked up at Wylan expectantly.

    Wylan, still a bit shaken and very confused, frowned: “What’s your point?”

    “My point, sunshine, is that everyone who calls Kaz a monster is wrong. He’s not just a monster. He’s a demon, happy to make a deal with you and honest at keeping it, but not honest at anything else. You can’t trust him to be good, or kind, or fair. He’ll keep a deal with you, but he’ll twist it in his own, tricky way so you’ll always end up doing what he wants. That’s what he’s like. Honest in a demonic way.”

    “Gee, thank you for the introduction, Jesper,” a raspy voice sounds from the edge of the alley, which suddenly floods with light as a bunch of candles are lit. Wylan can spot the silhouette of whoever is lighting them in the corner of his eye, but whoever it is, they’re too fast and too easily hidden.

    “Of course, boss.” Jesper says with a wink, but Wylan doesn't miss how the sharpshooter’s body suddenly tenses. He raises his brows. Jesper looks at him and catches his gaze.

    What? He asks with his puzzled expression.

    You’re scared of him. Wylan’s knowing smirk and the spark in his eyes reply. Jesper turns away, but gestures to Wylan with one hand:

    “The troublemaker child.” he introduces and dramatically bows, his voice bored.

    “I’m only one year younger than you-” Wylan starts, but is cut off by Kaz walking towards him. His eyes are dark, his hair darker, his skin pale. A cane rests underneath one gloved hand, while Kaz holds the other out to Wylan.

    “So we finally meet, Van E-sorry, I mean Hendriks.” Kaz says with a secretive smirk. Wylan shakes his hand cautiously, not sure how happy he is with receiving the criminal's attention.

    “Indeed.” he tries his best not to stutter, intimidated by the Kaz's presence. No smirk or words can hide the cold of his eyes.

    A Suli girl drops down behind Kaz, her eyes cautious, but her smile friendly. She doesn’t need to introduce herself; Wylan had heard the whispers of the Wraith. Kaz—his smirk now replaced by a grim, neutral expression—gestures to the end of the alley, where it spreads into a little courtyard leading to a back door.

    “Let’s talk about this inside.”