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Elhokar Kholin

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Elhokar Kholin
Elhokar by Marie Seeberger.jpg
House Kholin
Spouse Aesudan
Children Gavinor
Parents Gavilar, Navani
Siblings Jasnah
Relatives Dalinar, Adolin, Renarin
Ancestors Dalinar's father, Sadees
Born 1147[1][2]
Died Siege of Kholinar 1174[3]
Abilities Shardbearer
Titles King of Alethkar
Nationality Alethi
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

Perhaps the liar here is me—lying to tell myself I could do this, that I could be a fraction of the man my father was.

—Elhokar[4]

Elhokar Kholin is the king of Alethkar on Roshar, and the nephew of Dalinar.[5]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

I will figure this out. I will be a king to be remembered.

—Elhokar[6]

Elhokar is Alethi, with tan skin and epicanthic folds over green eyes.[7][fn 1] He keeps himself clean-shaven. His face is considered very handsome, with full lips, a broad forehead, and a firm chin. He bears some resemblance to his father, though Elhokar has fewer scars than Gavilar did.[5]

Elhokar is deeply paranoid, fearing assassins every since his father was killed by one, and thus wears his Shardplate far more often than other Shardbearers.[8] Due to Elhokar's youth and paranoia his ability to rule was questioned by those under his rule and he maintained a weakened authority over the ten Highprinces. He also has a strong complex about being compared to his father. He vacillates between extremely spoiled, demanding respect for the sheer fact of being a king, and fearful, keenly aware that he does not measure up as a ruler.[6] He lacks the spine or accomplishments to stand up to Dalinar when the latter starts to take more and more power, and the highprinces often talk around him, with Elhokar himself serving more as a unifying figurehead than a true leader.[9] He has a habit of surrounding himself with sycophants and people intent on using him for their own purposes.[10][11] Perhaps related to that, he seems to have very low self-esteem. Furthermore, his paranoia was furthered by his ability to see strange creatures in mirrors.[8]

While Elhokar is by no means an exceptional leader, he does have some potential, albeit deeply-buried. Despite his own uncertainty in his ability to rule, he's capable of making decisive action and manages to control the Highprinces, if just barely. He displays a certain sense for politics, and can display startling insight into the minds of others.[12] Over time, he comes to acknowledge his own flaws and take steps to rectify them, starting by trying to learn by example from Kaladin and becoming more selfless.[4] He's also a devoted husband and father, and though he can't spend much time with his family, he cares for them dearly.[11]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

I see their faces in mirrors. Symbols, twisted, inhuman.

—Elhokar Kholin[8]

By the time of his death, Elhokar is a budding Surgebinder of the Order of Lightweavers, although he passes away before he can finish stating the First Ideal.[11] In the months or years leading up to his death, he's been seeing Cryptics, in their Shadesmar form, in mirrors.[8] He seems to have also spotted a Physical form of a Cryptic at some point -- possibly the spren that intended to bond with him.[13]

He's a Shardbearer, with both a Shardblade and Shardplate. His Blade is called Sunraiser; it's long and thin, with a large crossguard and the ten basic glyphs etched up the sides of the blade.[14][5] He also owns several other sets of Plate and Blade, including Gavilar's Firestorm and his Shardplate. Those are often loaned out for training and duels to lighteyes that don't have their own.[15][16]

He has a fondness for maps; he's constructed a massive gallery of them in the Pinnacle, often studies them, and even draws his own when necessary.[17][18]

History[edit]

Early Life (1147 - 1166)[edit]

The Roshone Affair[edit]

A year before Gavilar's dead, Elhokar was left in charge of the kingdom while his father was out on his expeditions. Elhokar was good friends with the lighteyed Roshone, who owned several silversmith shops. Roshone didn't like the competition from a pair of darkeyed silversmiths, Moash's grandparents. At Roshone's request, Elhokar had them brought in on made up charges. He then seemed to have forgotten about them, causing them to die in the dungeons while awaiting their trial.[19][10]

War of Reckoning (1167 - 1174)[edit]

After the assassination of Gavilar, Elhokar vows to avenge his father by waging war against the Parshendi, who claimed responsibility for the king's death. He makes the highprinces swear to the Vengeance Pact to help him in his conquest, thereby managing to keep his kingdom together for now. During the early years of the war, Elhokar sent messengers to the Parshendi asking for explanations, but no answers came.[20]

Chasmfiend Hunt[edit]

Several years after the start of the war, in 1173, Elhokar lead an expedition including Dalinar, Sadeas, Adolin, Renarin and many other lighteyes and a thousand soldiers on to the shattered plains for a greatshell hunt. When they close on the hunting grounds, the king galloped of in his shardplate to a rock formation with a good vantage. Dalinar was forced to chase after him. At the summit, they discussed Elhokar's fear of assassination. When the huntmaster placed the bait one plateau over, the Chasmfiend climbed onto the viewing plateau.[5] Elhokar lead the assault on the creature together with Dalinar. He went to distract the beast so the others could fight it. Suddenly his saddle girth broke, and Elhokar fell to the ground. Dalinar urged him to get away from the fight, but Elhokar charged the Chasmfiend instead. In the skirmish, the king got knocked of his feet by the beast. Only the timely arrival of Dalinar, who caught the beast's claw, saved his life. Glory spren appeared when Elhokar held the captured gemheart up.[14]

During the march back, Elhokar discussed the war with Dalinar and Sadeas. As Dalinar has not won any gemhearts recently, the king encouraged him to start using faster bridges like Sadeas's. The king asked Dalinar to look into his saddle strap. Although Dalinar ensured him that he took the investigation very seriously, the king kept expressing that he felt Dalinar doubted him.[20]

Plotting a Strategy[edit]

Elhokar was visited by Dalinar and Renarin in his palace. Elhokar had a private conversation with Dalinar on the balcony. They discussed the lack of progress in war. Dalinar expressed his worry that the war was going on too long and had put too much strain on the kingdom. Elhokar countered that it was Dalinar who had proposed the strategy in the first place. He asked his uncle if the latter thought him a poor king, which Dalinar vehemently denied. Elhokar added that Dalinar started to sound more and more like Gavilar in his last days. Dalinar relented, and agreed that they could not just leave, but needed a better way to fight together. He brought up the old specialized highprince positions, suggesting he be made Highprince of War. The king considered and rejected the idea, fearing a revolt by the highprinces. He then warned Dalinar that he had been acting erratic lately, including his fits during the storms. In the end Elhokar told Dalinar that if he showed the others were willing to work with him, the king would name him Highprince of War.[21]

The King's Feasts[edit]

Two days later, the King threw a party on his feasting islands. He sat at the main table, where he dined with several highprinces. Many of the attendants discussed the latest rumors that Dalinar Kholin wished to abandon the Vengeance Pact. At some point during the feast, Elhokar announced that he had appointed Brightlord Torol Sadeas to be Highprince of Information and had charged him with the investigation into attempt on Elhokar's life. When Dalinar came to question the king, he revealed the appointment had been Sadeas's idea.[2]

A while later at another of the kings feasts, Sadeas proclaimed in front of Elhokar and the assembled lighteyes the results of his investigation. He had concluded that Dalinar was not involved but someone had tried to use him as a scapegoat. Also an unknown individual had placed weakened gemstones in the king's Shardplate.[22]

Watching the Duel[edit]

Elhokar went to watch the duels, accompanied by Sadeas and Dalinar. Dalinar and Sadeas discussed The Way of Kings, with Dalinar quoting one of the stories from memory while Elhokar mostly watched the duels. When the duel between Adolin and Resi began, they all paid attention. Elhokar remarked that Adolin was very good, better than Gavilar or even Dalinar. After the duel, the discussion focused on the war. Elhokar accused Dalinar of continuously making references to peace, while claiming to have given up the argument for abandoning the war. The king pressed on, and Dalinar confessed that if he would have had the power he would have taken the armies back to Alethkar. Elhokar then started to question who was behind Gavilar's assassination, was it really the Parshendi, or was someone using them as a distraction. He mentioned real villains in his own camp, that he saw their faces in mirrors. Talk turned to the joint plateau assaults done by Dalinar and Sadeas, who argue about the use of the different types of bridges. Elhokar suggested a compromise where Dalinar used Sadeas's bridges for the march and only would join the battle after Sadeas had cleared a foothold. Dalinar reluctantly agreed.[8]

Dalinar's Fury[edit]

After Sadeas's betrayal at the Battle of the Tower, Dalinar came to visit Elhokar in his sitting room. Elhokar started talking but Dalinar interrupted him by kicking him in the chest while still wearing his shardplate. When the king shouted for his guards, no one responded. Dalinar overpowered the king and pointed out that the guards were his men. Elhokar then admitted it he had cut his own saddle strap, in an attempt to draw attention to his safety. Dalinar then placed his hand on the king's chest and made clear that if he wanted Elhokar dead it would have already happened. Dalinar then ordered Elhokar to name him Highprince of War. He then laid out his plan for the future. Elhokar was astonished when Dalinar told him he was now courting his mother.[23]

Assassination Attempts[edit]

Kaladin arrived at the king's room to change the guards. Elhokar was impressed by his thoroughness. The king held council with his family and their most trusted advisers. The king was worried about the response from the highprinces to the recent proclamations. He feared Dalinar's actions could end the kingdom. Dalinar then explained his plan. He wanted the highprinces to be mad, to make them think about their roles and actions, combined with the threat to take it all away. He suggested that Adolin started dueling other shardbearers for their shards. Elhokar responded by saying the highprinces won't like it. They enjoyed their sports and fun, and would likely send assassins. Dalinar insisted they needed to do it anyway, and added, to Elhokar's amazement, that he was going to refound the Knights Radiant.[24]

Elhokar was sheltering for a high storm in his palace with Adolin and Renarin with Kaladin guarding them. Adolin questioned Kaladin's presence. He explained that when you least expected it, he needed to guard against assassins. The king found that a good explanation. When the storm ended, Dalinar and Navani joined from the adjacent room. They discuss the duels, and Elhokar asked eagerly if Adolin tried anyone from Sadeas's camp. He had not as Amaram was the only shardbearer. Dalinar thought he might be able to have him change sides. Most of the group left the palace.[25]

After the storm, Elhokar went outside on his balcony. The part of the railing he leaned against gave out and the king was hanging from the railing. His guards could rescue him just in time. On investigation, Kaladin and Dalinar noticed the railing had been cut by a shardblade and the mortar had been chipped away. Afterwards, Elhokar insisted that Dalinar put Kaladin in charge of his guards.[26]

Return of the Assassin in White[edit]

In the next storm, the king was sheltering in his palace again. Kaladin had dozed off for a second. When he woke up he insisted something was wrong and they needed to get the king to safety. The king disagreed as did Adolin. A moment later Dalinar woke from his vision, and agreed to follow Kal's instincts and leave. They quickly organized a retreat through the kitchens. Suddenly the corridor ahead was dark and they noticed a hole in the wall and a body on the ground. In the corridor stood the Assassin in White Dalinar ordered Renarin to protect the king and take him back out while Dalinar, Adolin and Kaladin confronted the Assassin in White. During the fight the assassin said he did not come for Elhokar but for Dalinar. It ended when Kaladin pushed himself and the assassin out of the hole in the wall, plummeting into the air.[27]

He's come for me. I always knew he would. Like he came for Father...

—Elhokar whimpered when being towed away by his guards on Szeth's arrival[27]

When Kaladin made his way back into the palace, Elhokar was the first to accept his story on how he survived the fall with the assassin. He praised Kaladin for alerting them to the danger. When Navani asked why the assassin had come, Elhokar said he came to claim him. Neither Dalinar nor Kaladin corrected him. A bit later, the king went int his bedroom to get more wine. On the door he found a new series of glyphs with a countdown.[28]

Interviewing Taln[edit]

Elhokar and Dalinar talk with Bordin who had brought a madmen from Kholinar to the warcamps. The man repeated the same things over and over, and called himself Talenel'elin, Herald of War. He had an unbonded Shardblade which befuddled them.[29]

Persuading the Highprinces[edit]

After the attack, the king held a council with all highprinces and their wives. Many feared another attack and brought their shards.[30] During a break in the meeting, Shallan Davar arrived. The Highprinces argued over the assassin. The king insisted they had to follow his commands, which many found ludicrous. Dalinar made the case for an expedition to defeat the Parshendi once and for all. This ended the meeting. Shallan went to inform Elhokar of the dead of his sister Jasnah. The king also sealed pardons for her retinue.[9]

The Duel[edit]

Elhokar accompanied Dalinar, Navani and Amaram to watch Adolin's latest duel against two opponents. He liked the plan the Kholins had made. Everyone was surprised when four opponents appeared where two were expected. Dalinar wanted to have Adolin pull out of the context. Elhokar questioned that, as the Dalinar would forfeit all six of his family's shards. Adolin started of well, but could not keep up against four assailants. Dalinar wanted to get help for Adolin and asked the king for his blade. Elhokar refused, as without plate Dalinar would be defenseless. Dalinar insisted, but Elhokar counseled caution and warned of a trap. Then Renarin joined the battle, followed shortly after by Captain Kaladin.[12] Together with Adolin, they managed to defeat the four opponents in an impressive display. Elhokar then announced that he was greatly pleased by their accomplishment. He offered Adolin a boon, who demanded the Right of Challenge to duel Sadeas. Then Kaladin demanded the right of challenge as well against Amaram. The king instantly ordered Kaladin's arrest.[31]

Afterwards in Dalinar's warcamp, Dalinar and Elhokar argued over Kaladin's fate, while the latter was chained to a seat. Elhokar was furious that Kal had dared to insult someone so much above his station, while Dalinar tried to defend him. When Kaladin tried to speak, the king shouted at him to stay silent as he had ruined everything. The king wants to have him executed, which Dalinar finds ridiculous. Elhokar then asked Dalinar if he would stop him. Dalinar evaded the question, leading Elhokar to challenge Dalinar on Dalinar's respect for the throne. In answer, Dalinar said executing Kaladin would make Dalinar an enemy to Elhokar. Finally, Elhokar relented and agreed to send Kaladin to prison until further notice.[32]

Discussing Leadership with Kaladin[edit]

When Dalinar, Shallan and Adolin lead the expedition onto the Shattered plains during the weeping, Elhokar stayed behind. He went to the barrack of Bridge Four to meet Kaladin, who was recovering from his ordeal in the chasms. He chastised Kal for having made excuses for not coming to the king when requested. After sending away the guards, Elhokar asked Kaladin bout being a hero and how to know what to do. He asks directly if Kaladin finds him a bad king, to which the reply was "yes". Elhokar then admitted that he had ruined the plan after the duel, and not Kaladin.[6]

Assassination attempt by the Diagram[edit]

During the night, Kaladin came to the palace with the intend to warn the king about the assassination plans from Graves and his group. He noticed the guards were Graves's man and took them out. He then found the king laying drunkenly on a couch. He tried to evacuate the king, who was barely able to walk. One of the 'guards' managed to plunge his knife into Elhokar's side. Kaladain quickly bandaged the wound, and they continued their escape. In the hallway, the king slumped to the ground and then Moash and Graves arrived, both with blade and plate.[33] Kaladin fought them, and swore the third ideal of the Windrunners in the process.[34]

After Kaladin had saved him, Elhokar went into hiding and was given shelter by The Lopen and his family. Lopen's mother forced the king to eat more as he looked to pale.[35] The Herdazians later escorted Elhokar to the Oathgate and Urithiru.[36]

The True Desolation (1174 - )[edit]

Dalinar and Navani's wedding[edit]

Elhokar attended the wedding of Dalinar and Navani on the top of Urithiru. He had been recuperating after the attempt on his live. When Dalinar expresses his sorry for usurping Elhokar's power, he responded that Dalinar always was and that it never stopped him from acting. He gave the couple his blessing as it would make his mother happy.[37]

Diplomacy & Leadership[edit]

Later, Elhokar hoovered outside the room where Dalinar and Navani were negotiating with the different monarchs. When Dalinar noticed him, he asked if the other monarchs refused Dalinar because the thought he would usurp their thrones. He continued, that Dalinar is better at being king than Elhokar. That perhaps he, Elhokar, was a fine king but not an extraordinary one, while with the current events the world needed more than a fine king. He asked for witnesses and against Dalinar's objections swore allegiance to Dalinar. Then Dalinar expressed his sorry for the pain he caused Elhokar. When questioned he formed the rules for the high king and his relation with Alethkar.[4]

Elhokar then continued, that he was planning to lead a force to retake Alethkar. Dalinar suggested a small infiltration to open the Oathgate would be more effective, which Elhokar liked. He wanted to go and rescue his wive and son. They discussed the need for a Radiant to accompany Elhokar, preferably Kaladin so he could fly them there.[4]

During a later conference, Ialai Sadeas entered and announced she was naming Amaram as regent and heir to the Sadeas Princedom and for the king to ratify this. Elhokar questioned the legality, which Navani directly confirmed. After a nod from Dalinar, Elhokar acknowledged the regency.[38]

Elhokar visited Bridge Four who were training on the Shattered Plains. He had asked them before when Kaladin would return, eager to talk to him. Elhokar asked and pressed Kaladin for a promise that he would fly the king to Kholinar. Kaladin gave it, but also wanted time to train his men. The king then watched the training.[39] Later, Elhokar joined Adolin on a inspection of Taravangian's army in Vedenar.[40]

To practice for the expedition, Kaladin and his squires flew Dalinar, Navani, Elhokar and several others from the Oathgate to the warcamps. Elhokar was pleased with the speed of their journey.[41]

After Elhokar had received several merchants, Shallan came into his audience chamber. He tol her she shouldn't have waited. They talked a bit about flying and the risks involved. Shallan asked to talk in private, and Elhokar ordered his guards out. She then put on one of her illusions, and explained she had been preparing a team of spies and offered her services. Elhokar then gave her a formal request to Dalinar for her aid on the mission.[42]

Mission to Kholinar[edit]

During a highstorm, Kaladin and two squires flew the team including Shallan, Adolin and Elhokar towards Kholinar. When they approached the city, Kaladin scouted ahead. He reported the Parhendi were still besieging the city. Elhokar immediately wanted to get down and go into the city. Kaladin countered that something seemed wrong with the palace, and advised caution, which Adolin seconded. Elhokar gave in and they landed close to the city.[43]

The next morning, Shallan gave them all illusions and disguised Elhokar as a lighteyed woman, to which he didn't object. Together they looked like refugees trying to enter the city. Before the reached the city, Elhokar spoke to Kaladin about the stakes of the mission. He expected to fail, and commanded Kaladin to succeed where he failed and save the city. When they found the city gates to be blocked by soldiers, Elhokar took the lead and demanded entrance. The guards refused unless his soldiers would join the Wall Guard. Elhokar asked after their commander (a highmarshal Azure he had never heard of), and who commands him (no one). Elhokar could not understand it, but refused and said he needed his guards. Everyone was distracted when the Fused assaulted the wall, and the group used the confusion to sneak into the city. Adolin then led them to his tailor.[44]

Later events[edit]

After recovering from the attempt on his life. Elhokar moves to Urithiru and gives his blessing to Dalinar and Navani's marriage.[37] He later tries to abdicate in favor of Dalinar, but they settle on the title of Highking, giving Dalinar authority over Elhokar and his kingdom. They agree to keep this unofficial until Kholinar has been freed and they are sure Elhokar still has an Alethkar to rule over.[4]

Death[edit]

Shortly before his death, Shallan sketches Elhokar as a righteous and proud king and Elhokar, moved by the drawing, is inspired to be a good ruler for his people, despite all the faults he finds within himself. He is clutching this drawing when he is killed, using it as inspiration to become a Radiant. Unfortunately for the king, he is stabbed to death while speaking the First Ideal, unable to complete the words in time to save himself.

Elhokar is slain in Kholinar while trying to escape to the city's Oathgate with Adolin, Kaladin, Shallan, Skar, Drehy, and Azure. During their escape, the city is invaded by a parshmen army and several Fused. The army kills almost the entire Wall Guard, but it is Moash who slays Elhokar, by stabbing him through the chest and eye. Immediately before his death, Kaladin hears the king begin to mutter the First Ideal, and sees the king start glowing with Stormlight, but the king was not able to finish the words before he was run through by Moash. Later, Hoid rescues a Cryptic hiding near the scene of his death.[45] His body was eventually burned with honors.[46]

The king's son, Gavinor, survives and remains in Kholinar with Drehy and Skar while the others are transported to Shadesmar. The former three, along with Vathah, Red, Ishnah, and a local merchant managed to escape and send for help via spanreed. They are rescued by Kaladin after a scribe sent by Dalinar informs him of their location.

Development[edit]

As a character, Elhokar is almost as old as Dalinar, and the two had always been nephew and uncle. In the earliest story featuring him, Elhokar, along with proto-Jasnah, is kidnapped when the proto-Gavilar is killed, leaving Jared (the early version of Dalinar) to take the reins of the kingdom. After the prince and the princess are rescued, Jared retains control, taking the time to teach Elhokar how to be a proper ruler.[47]

The next known incarnation of Elhokar appears in The Way of Kings Prime, the first draft of what would become The Stormlight Archive. There, Elhokar participates in the same battle as Merin (proto-Kaladin). Sheneras, the eldest of Dalinar's three sons (since written out) dies to protect him, and when that is not enough, Merin steps in and saves his life, winning Shards in the process.[48] This version of Elhokar is already established as a bad king; at the end of The Way of Kings Prime, Dalinar is forced to kill him. Brandon, however, decided to leave him alive for a short while, deciding that the interplay between the two would be more interesting.[49]

Nonetheless, Elhokar had always been intended to die, even if the circumstances around his death changed.[50] In the final version of the story, Brandon killed him off in order to showcase Moash's descent into villainy.[51]

Trivia[edit]

  • If Elhokar had lived long enough to speak his first Truth, it would be to admit that he was a bad king.[52]

Notes[edit]

Preceded by
Gavilar Kholin
Monarch of Alethkar
Succeeded by
Jasnah Kholin
  1. Brandon's Blog 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-11-01#
  2. a b The Way of Kings chapter 22 #
  3. Brandon's Blog 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-10-27#
  4. a b c d e Oathbringer chapter 12 #
  5. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 12 #
  6. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 80 #
  7. Miscellaneous 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-08-26#
  8. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 58 #
  9. a b Words of Radiance chapter 38 #
  10. a b Words of Radiance chapter 62 #
  11. a b c Oathbringer chapter 84 #
  12. a b Words of Radiance chapter 56 #
  13. Oathbringer chapter 74 #
  14. a b The Way of Kings chapter 13 #
  15. Words of Radiance chapter 16 #
  16. Shallan's sketchbookShard sketches
  17. The Way of Kings chapter 24 #
  18. Oathbringer chapter 67 #
  19. Words of Radiance chapter 44 #
  20. a b The Way of Kings chapter 15 #
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 18 #
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 54 #
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 69 #
  24. Words of Radiance chapter 5 #
  25. Words of Radiance chapter 22 #
  26. Words of Radiance chapter 23 #
  27. a b Words of Radiance chapter 32 #
  28. Words of Radiance chapter 33 #
  29. Words of Radiance interlude I-7 #
  30. Words of Radiance chapter 37 #
  31. Words of Radiance chapter 57 #
  32. Words of Radiance chapter 58 #
  33. Words of Radiance chapter 82 #
  34. Words of Radiance chapter 84 #
  35. Words of Radiance chapter 87 #
  36. Words of Radiance chapter 89 #
  37. a b Oathbringer chapter 4 #
  38. Oathbringer chapter 27 #
  39. Oathbringer chapter 37 #
  40. Oathbringer chapter 38 #
  41. Oathbringer chapter 50 #
  42. Oathbringer chapter 51 #
  43. Oathbringer chapter 60 #
  44. Oathbringer chapter 61 #
  45. Oathbringer epilogue #
  46. Stuttgart signing
    Arcanum - 2019-05-17#
  47. It's Here
    Brandon's website - 2010-8-31#
  48. The Way of Kings Prime chapter 1 #
  49. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-29#
  50. Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  51. FanX Spring 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-04-19#
  52. Skyward signing Seattle
    Arcanum - 2018-11-10#
Footnotes
  1. In The Way of Kings Elhokar is described as having yellow eyes. For Words of Radiance however Brandon changes them to green, so that they would match the color of Gavilar's to emphasize the family resemblance between father and son.
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