The realm. In her time as a squire she had seen more of it than most people knew existed, from the damp and mossy streets of Pearlmouth to Northwatch Fortress. She had hunted pirates in the west, built up dams against floods in the east. Mountains, green valleys, desert–she had ridden or walked in them all, measuring them with blisters and grit. Was this what was meant by “the realm”? Or was it other things: a little girl with a muddy doll, Buchard of Stone Mountain livid with grief and rage, a king who admitted a law was wrong, Lalasa in her bustling shop with pins in her mouth. If they were the realm, then so too were griffins, sparrows, dogs ugly and beautiful, Stormwings, foul- and sweet-tempered horses, spidrens.
If she owed duty to the realm, then it was not the dry, withered thing it sounded in people’s mouths. Duty was what was owed, good parts and bad, to keep the realm growing, to keep it as fair as life could be kept. Duty was an old man, snug in his fur-lined robe, snoring lightly somewhere behind her.
—  Squire, book three of Protector of the Small