|Groups||Sons of Honor|
|Residence||The Alethi warcamps, formerly Kholinar and Urithiru|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
Appearance and Personality
She is short, squat, and curvaceous, with a large bust and a slender neck. She has a wide mouth, thick lips, and green eyes. She has black hair, although she reportedly has partial foreign ancestry and dyes her hair black to appear fully Alethi. She wears dresses in the latest Alethi fashions. Towards the end of her life, after several stressful events, she takes on a gaunt, haggard appearance.
Ialai has been known to be underhanded since her youth. She is constantly assessing every person and situation, looking for weaknesses to exploit. Jasnah Kholin believes that Ialai is as shrewd as Torol, and the pair constantly scheme against their political rivals. Ialai and Torol are so self-serving and unprincipled that Mraize believes them to be wholly unpredictable.
Attributes and Abilities
Ialai runs the best network of spies and informants in the warcamps at the Shattered Plains, and is able to keep it a closely-guarded secret. Her network also includes assassins. As the wife of a Highprince, she regularly attends notable events in Alethkar such as duels, feasts, and even military meetings, giving her personal access to a wide range of information and members of the nobility.
She is generally a perfect Alethi woman in public, but likes to lounge in private. She can write using women's script and is knowledgeable about wine. Unlike most Brightladies, she enjoys food typically served to men. Her name is considered mildly blasphemous by the Vorin church, which holds perfect symmetry holy.
After Torol's death, Ialai continued to run a spy network in Urithiru and then the Shattered Plains, even learning bits and pieces about the activities of the Ghostbloods; she is among the few Rosharans at the time that are aware of Shadesmar and civilizations on other planets. She remains adept at seizing power when it is available for the taking.
Ialai married Highprince Torol Sadeas prior to the unification of Alethkar and immediately became involved in Alethi politics. At a feast in 1143, Ialai tried to persuade Dalinar to enter into a political marriage with Evi, despite her assessment of Evi as "vapid". After Dalinar and Evi were married, Ialai and Navani often tried to convince Evi to be more assertive. As the wives of two influential Highprinces who were often away in battle, Ialai and Navani often worked together in Kholinar during this time in order to maintain a stable kingdom. Gavilar had no issues leveraging Ialai's schemes to eliminate political rivals.
The Shattered Plains
During the War of Reckoning, Ialai lived in the Sadeas warcamp on the Shattered Plains. When Shallan Davar arrived to the warcamps with news of Jasnah's presumed death, Ialai haughtily asked her about the succession in Jah Keved.
Ialai and Torol spent much of their time on the Shattered Plains conspiring against the other highprinces and currying Elhokar's favor while simultaneously defying the authority of the throne. Dalinar had become a longtime rival of Torol's, and he and his son Adolin were often the target of their plots. They became uneasy when Dalinar nearly executed a plan that would have allowed Adolin to challenge Torol to a duel, and they vowed to destroy Dalinar by any means necessary.
Using her spy network, Ialai uncovered Navani's notes on Dalinar's visions. She altered the notes in a way that was intended to defame Dalinar and released them at a lighteyed feast. However, Dalinar embraced the release of the visions and was able to maintain his credibility. An unsuccessful attempt was then made on Dalinar's life when a carpenter in the Sadeas's employ intentionally collapsed a bridge while Dalinar was crossing it. Ialai felt that she had failed when Dalinar survived.
The pair then considered a coup, but decided it was not necessary since Dalinar would likely be killed during his assault on the Parshendi. However, they did not anticipate Aladar shifting his allegiance to Dalinar's cause. The addition of Aladar's army to the combined Alethi forces during the Battle of Narak allowed Dalinar to hold off the Parshendi long enough to unlock the Oathgate to Urithiru.
”Did you know that after whitespines make a kill, they will eat, then hide near the carcass? I used to wonder at this behavior until I realized the kill will attract scavengers, and the whitespine is not picky. The ones that come to feast on its leavings become another meal themselves.—Ialai to Adolin during his "investigation" of Torol's murder
Ialai moved to Urithiru after the Battle of Narak and the advent of the Everstorm. Torol was murdered a few days after their arrival to Urithiru. Ialai initially threatened to move back to the warcamps, although in reality she would not leave the seat of power. She was genuinely upset by Torol's death, and believed that someone in the Kholin army killed him; she lashed out at Adolin when he asked her some questions about the murder. She was also angry at Dalinar, although she did not think he was the killer. She enlisted Meridas Amaram to investigate Torol's murder. Amaram was not able to discover that Adolin was the culprit.
During this time, the Ghostbloods revealed that they were actively watching Ialai. Mraize personally posed as a Sadeas soldier in order to get closer to her. He believed that she was exceptionally unpredictable since she would always approach any situation with her own motives ahead of all others.
After Torol's death, Ialai was no longer openly adversarial with Dalinar, which worried him since it meant she was likely undermining him behind his back instead. She named Amaram the new Highprince of House Sadeas, in an affront to Dalinar's authority. She attended the meeting of monarchs when Dalinar was trying to unite Roshar, defying tradition by refusing to carry her own chair. She tried to sabotage the Kholin's efforts by suggesting an invasion of Shinovar and insulting Queen Fen. At a later meeting of the remaining coalition, she and Ruthar verbally sparred with Jasnah, indirectly causing Dalinar to have a revelation that the Voidbringers were likely to attack Thaylen City instead of Jah Keved.
Amaram and the Sadeas army joined Odium's forces during the Battle of Thaylen Field, but were ultimately defeated by the Knights Radiant and their allies. Amaram was killed, and Ialai left Urithiru in disgrace.
Return to the Shattered Plains and Death
After Amaram's death, Ialai returned to the warcamps at the Shattered Plains; Mraize did not accompany her there. Soon after her arrival, Thanadal was assassinated and Vamah fled, leaving her in control of the local economy. She also became the leader of the Sons of Honor, learning some secrets that she had not previously been privy to. However, due to the loss of both Gavilar and Amaram, there was little she could do to help them recover their previous influence. She retained some followers who referred to her as the true queen of Alethkar, but the group operated more like a cult. Still, Dalinar had some concerns about letting Ialai operate unchecked with an Oathgate nearby. The other Alethi assumed that Ialai was also behind Thanadal's death. Shallan was sent to infiltrate Ialai's group, using her powers to disguise herself as a merchant named Chanasha. She was eventually able to trick Ialai's followers into taking her through a secret tunnel to a fortress near the former Sadeas lumberyards where Ialai was living. She was sleeping in a small closet-like room and refused to leave the fortress.
”I've fought so long. And now I’m alone … sometimes it seems the very shadows work against me.—Ialai, to a disguised Shallan
A noticeably frail and paranoid Ialai assumed Shallan to be a Ghostblood agent, offering her wine and engaging in some wordplay. Ialai revealed that Thanadal and Vamah had been assassinated by the Ghostbloods despite their attempts to negotiate and flee. Although Ialai was angry with Jasnah and Dalinar, she had no designs on being queen herself, believing Gavinor to be the rightful Alethi monarch. She feared assassination and decided to bunker down hoping to be left alone. She believed that the Ghostbloods were eliminating the Sons of Honor due to their knowledge of the gods on Roshar and possibly beyond. Shallan's three personas were conflicted; although Veil wanted to kill Ialai, Radiant did not agree. Even when Shallan summoned a Shardblade, Ialai seemed ready to accept death. As she was apprehended, Ialai suddenly died of poisoning; evidence pointed to foul play, but officially she was said to have killed herself. Before she died, Ialai gave Shallan a clue to search her quarters; Shallan then discovered her notes, in which Ialai recorded numerous attempts to contact Restares. She also displayed some limited knowledge of Shadesmar and other planets in the cosmere, along with some theories about Thaidakar and Ba-Ado-Mishram.
Ialai's death confused Shallan, and she assumed that a spy among her team, possibly another Ghostblood, had killed her. Her attempts to find the spy were fruitless, and Radiant later admitted that she had taken over Shallan's psyche and administered the poison in an attempt to protect Shallan's mental health. Shallan subsequently regained her memories of killing Ialai.
Torol was intrigued by Ialai's blasphemous name when he first met her. It is likely that she and Torol were very young when they were married; at a feast around the year 1143 when Torol was approximately twenty years old, he and Ialai were already husband and wife. He notes that she has never been considered a beauty and is not aging particularly gracefully, but he has always been attracted to her "dangerous" personality. The couple often fondly scratch each other's backs. Ialai and Torol are like-minded and regularly share information about the politics, personalities, and happenings of Alethkar. They collaborate on schemes to increase their personal wealth and influence, typically with little regard for the welfare of others. Ialai was distraught when Torol was murdered.
Ialai and Dalinar seemed to have a cordial relationship in their youth, during Gavilar's unification war. Ialai served as a matchmaker of sorts for Dalinar's political marriage to Evi and she even joked with Dalinar on occasion. However, the Sadeas's thirst for power eventually turned them against Dalinar. This led to them plotting against him and eventually becoming outright enemies; they attempted to defame and even assassinate him. After Torol was killed, Ialai redoubled her efforts to plot against Dalinar. She did not believe that Dalinar killed Torol, but she defied his authority and sabotaged his coalition. She continued to undermine him at every opportunity.
Ialai did not have a good first impression of Evi, calling her "vapid". She and Navani counseled Evi to be more assertive during her marriage to Dalinar. Evi thought Ialai was clever and admired her wit.
Although Ialai had worked closely with Navani in their youth to further their common goals, any vestiges of friendship seemed to be gone by the time Navani got together with Dalinar.
After the Battle of Narak, Mraize and the Ghostbloods keep a close eye on Ialai because of her unpredictable nature. Mraize infiltrated her inner circle through unknown means and was present for some of her important meetings in Urithiru. Mraize did not accompany Ialai back to the Shattered Plains after she left Urithiru in disgrace. Ialai apparently realized Mraize's true nature at some point, and subsequently lived in fear of the Ghostbloods until her death.
- Brandon noted that the rise and fall of Ialai's mini-empire when she returned to the Shattered Plains could have been a major thread in a Stormlight Archive novel, but by the time it occurred in the overall story arc, he wanted to move on from the earlier group of antagonists that Ialai represented (and whom had already been defeated). Ialai's story had the potential for exciting political intrigue, but it did not fit into the narrative of an expanding war epic.
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