Suddenly, Marya’s hand flashed out and caught Naganya’s mouth and nose. With the other hand she grabbed the back of the vintovnik’s head. Naganya’s chest heaved, searching for breath, but Marya did not let go. She forced the imp to the ground, lamping her face in her fierce hand, leaping astride her, the better to pin her to the forest floor. Marya’s heart lept and exulted in her. All unbidden she thought of a book of poems tossed into the snow, and a red scarf torn in half. She bore down harder. Slowly, black, oily tear pooled in Nasha’s eyes and trickled down over Marya Morevna’s knuckles as Nasha struggled, squirmed, and finally went still beneath her. Marya grinned, her braids brushing her friend’s walnut arms. Finally, she let Naganya up. The imp gasped and spluttered, chagrined and hoarse, wiping at her tears.
“Let that be a lesson”, Marya Morevna said cheerfully. “Mind your trigger in mixed company! When I tell you to do something you must do it.” Perhaps all a Tsaritsa is is a beautiful cold girl in the snow, looking down at someone wretched, and not yelding. Marya thought these thoughts, her breath and pulse calming. Of late, she had felt that coldness in herself, and though she feared it, she loved it too, for it made her strong. – Deathless, chapter 7, Catherynne M. Valente