|Titles||Captain of the Bridgemen, Knight Radiant|
|Aliases||Kaladin Stormblessed, Bridgeboy|
|Profession||Soldier, bridgeman (formerly), bodyguard (formerly), apprentice surgeon (formerly)|
|Groups||Knights Radiant (Windrunners), Bridge Four, Kholin army, Amaram's army (formerly), Sadeas army (formerly), Kaladin's squad (formerly), Takers (formerly), Kholinar Wall Guard (formerly)|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”I don't know what I am either. A bridgeman? A surgeon? A soldier? A slave? Those are all just labels. Inside, I'm me. A very different me than I was a year ago, but I can't worry about that, so I just keep moving and hope my feet take me where I need to go.
Kaladin, nicknamed Kal, renowned as Kaladin Stormblessed, is a darkeyed Windrunner of the Knights Radiant from Alethkar. Despite being trained as a surgeon from an early age by his father, his chosen profession is that of a soldier. He is famed as the captain of Highprince Dalinar Kholin's personal guard, a unit known as Bridge Four, and commander of the bridgemen battalion.
Kaladin has known adversity and loss throughout his life. He has suffered repeated oppression and betrayal by the lighteyed nobility, including being driven from his home by the citylord of his hometown as a teenager and being sold into slavery by the commander of his army. Kaladin has also been unable to save numerous patients, comrades, subordinates, and even his brother Tien from death.
Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, Kaladin is driven to protect others. Utilizing his skills as a surgeon, he attempts to save as many lives as possible. As a soldier, he rescued thousands of soldiers during the Battle of the Tower, liberated a thousand bridgemen, and defended Dalinar Kholin and King Elhokar Kholin from numerous assassins.
He has bonded with the honorspren Sylphrena, more commonly known as Syl. This bond allows him to discover his powers as a Surgebinder and destiny as a member of the Knights Radiant, an order which has been defunct ever since the Day of Recreance. Kaladin, along with Shallan Davar, is one of the first new members of the Knights Radiant in centuries. Their public revelation during the Battle of Narak serves as the catalyst for the re-founding of the Knights Radiant.
After the re-founding of the Knights Radiant, Kaladin helped the expansion of the Knights Radiant by taking on Bridge Four as squires, with most of them eventually becoming Knights themselves.
Appearance and Personality
Kaladin is a fairly tall man, standing around seven feet tall. He is muscular and has multiple scars on his body. He has tan skin and shoulder-length wavy black hair typical of an Alethi. He was born with dark brown eyes, though after swearing the Third Ideal of the Windrunners, his eyes turn a pale, glowing blue whenever he summons Syl as a Shardblade, and for a few hours after he dismisses her. Like most Rosharans, Kaladin's eyes have an epicanthic fold that appear faintly colored amber when he is holding Stormlight. His face is square and firm with strong lines and a proud chin. He prefers to be clean-shaven but during his time as a slave, he grows a long, scraggly beard. He is branded on his forehead with a sas nahn glyphpair indicating his slavery and a shash glyph meaning "dangerous". These brands disappear after Kaladin swears the Fourth Ideal.
”Authority doesn't come from a rank. [It comes] from the men who give it to you. That's the only way to get it.—Kaladin
Kaladin is a natural leader who inspires belief and confidence in his men. His squad members in Amaram's army call him lucky and believe that being in his squad grants them supernatural protection. Kaladin also transforms Bridge Four from a dejected and despondent group with the worst reputation into a highly-motivated and effective fighting force. Dalinar Kholin remarks that his men are remarkably loyal and think very highly of him.
Ever since childhood, Kaladin has had a strong protective instinct, which only grows once he begins discovering and swearing the Immortal Words. He uses his medical skills to save people, first as an apprentice surgeon and later as a battlefield medic. As a youth, he joins the army so he can look after his younger brother, Tien. As a squadleader in Amaram's army, he recruits the youngest members with the least training to his squad so that he can train and protect them As captain of Dalinar's personal guard, he protects Dalinar and the king from assassins on multiple occasions.
Kaladin shows a deep sense of loss when those under his protection die and has a tendency toward depression in various forms. By the time he joins Bridge Four, he has lost so many people that he has fallen into a deep depression. He thinks himself cursed because he always survives when others do not. At his lowest point, Kaladin falls into apathetic despair and becomes suicidal. He is also prone to seasonal depression, feeling a sense of heavy melancholy during the weeks of the Weeping.
Kaladin is deeply conflicted about killing, finding it philosophically hard to justify and the notion that one must kill in order to protect ironic and paradoxical. Although he is a soldier, he has been trained as a surgeon, whose highest calling is to save all lives. Additionally, as a member of the Order of Windrunners, he lives by the Ideals of his order, to which protecting life is central. It is further irony that Kaladin's powers of killing appear to be at their strongest when he is actively protecting something or someone. This paradox has plagued Kaladin and Syl, who have both been unable to explain why killing is justified if the protection of life matters.
Kaladin also displays several classic symptoms of clinical depression, amplified by the loss and pressures that are forced upon him. He is prone to depressive episodes, particularly during the Weeping. Despite the outward confidence he is often able to show, he often feels like a failure, focusing on the many deaths that he feels he could have prevented. During these times, he feels morose and chapters from his point of view describe that he was feeling "gray" and morose spiraling farther into depression.
Kaladin draws a black and white distinction between lighteyes and darkeyes, harboring a deep resentment and distrust for virtually all lighteyes, fueled by the betrayals of people like Roshone, Amaram, and Katarotam. Ironically, Kaladin himself is noted to have many lighteyed qualities. Many characters remark that Kaladin has the bearing of a lighteyes—meaning a leader or noble, since the term "lighteyes" encompasses these qualities in the Alethi language—and others have noted that "Kaladin" sounds like a lighteyed name, rather than a darkeyed name. Further, when Kaladin comes into his true power as a Knight Radiant, he becomes lighteyed. Kaladin despises these qualities in himself, because they make him more similar to lighteyes.
Due to his recent struggles, Kaladin shows hostility and resentment, although at times his wit, sarcasm, and intelligence show through. He appears to have got his sense of humor from his mother and is constantly questioning the world around him.
Attributes and Abilities
Kaladin has the ability to manipulate the Surges of Adhesion and Gravitation through his Nahel bond with the honorspren Sylphrena. By breathing in Stormlight, he gains superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, stamina, and healing, as long as he has access to Stormlight. While his honorspren is present with him, his movements are enhanced by her, which Kaladin describes as "being guided by the wind." This gives Kaladin a superior natural fighting talent, although it does not replace skill by itself.
Kaladin often refers to his powers as the Three Lashings. The Full Lashing is sticking objects together with Adhesion. It is the first of the Three Lashings Kaladin mastered, as it is the easiest to perform. He can use this Lashing to bond rocks to a sheer chasm wall and create a ladder, and similarly to use brushes as portable handholds for climbing. He also uses the Full Lashing to disarm his opponents by yanking their weapons with his own and neutralize them by bonding them to surfaces while sparring. Full Lashings cannot affect a Radiant's skin, but they can affect hair and clothing.
Basic Lashings involve manipulating Gravitation to make an object or person fall in a different direction. After his encounter with the Assassin in White, Kaladin manages to duplicate the ability to perform Basic Lashings. He has since learned how to perform multiple Lashings on a single object, as well as partial Lashings. He is able to fly by Lashing himself into the air, and has gotten quite good at instinctively dismissing and renewing Lashings in different directions to achieve complex maneuvers such as looping and banking. He can also use this ability to transport people over long distances by Lashing both themselves and himself multiple times in a direction. He typically does this while over the highstorm so as to avoid running out of Light.
The Reverse Lashing is the most Intent-centered Lashing of the three, and as such is generally more difficult to use. It involves infusing an object and commanding it to attract a specific other object. Kaladin unconsciously performes this Lashing during the bridge runs for the entirety of his time as a bridgeman, infusing the bridge he carries to attract the Parshendi arrows being shot at him while approaching the target plateaus. Later at the Battle of the Tower, he infuses the shield he is carrying to draw an entire volley of arrows shot at Bridge Four. He also uses this Lashing to rip The Pursuer's head from his body.
As a Knight Radiant who has access to two Surges he also has a resonance. Windrunners, such as Kaladin, have an increased number of squires, more than any other Order. The squires are also more powerful than those of the other Orders.
After Kaladin swore the Third Ideal of the Windrunners, Sylphrena gained the ability to become a Shardblade. Kaladin can summon her in the form of any weapon he chooses, as well as a shield, and transform it from one to another almost instantaneously. His preferred weapon for fighting is a spear, but he usually summons Syl in her default Blade shape when showing her off. Later, the Fourth Ideal allows him to additionally summon windspren and manifest them in the Physical Realm as Shardplate. His Plate glows blue at the seams, and is emblazoned with the glyph of Bridge Four on the chest. The spren that can create it are always present nearby, though not always manifest; this allows Kaladin to summon it at a moment's notice. He can also send it out to manifest on other people and protect them this way.
During his time in Amaram's army, Kaladin's natural talent blossomed him into a master at spear-fighting. He was the quickest learner among the members of his cohort. His effortless ability surprised his drill sergeant, Tukks. Kaladin spent the year after his brother's death driving himself to exhaustion each day at the practice yard. He eventually grew to be known as the best spearman in Amaram's army. He was able to take down six spearmen by himself in seconds even before he discovered his abilities as a Surgebinder. Combined with Stormlight, he held off dozens of Parshendi almost single-handedly.
While the spear is his preferred weapon, Kaladin has training with other weapons as well. He often carries throwing knives as a secondary weapon and is able to use them with considerable accuracy. He has at various times wielded a quarterstaff, a hammer, and a halberd. After becoming the Kholin bodyguard, he started training with the Swordmaster Zahel, though he is by no means an expert with a sword yet. Syl has also confirmed that Kaladin's preternatural skill with weapons, evident since the first time he picked up a quarterstaff as a boy, comes from their bond.
Kaladin also possesses a capable mind as a military commander. He became the youngest squadleader in Amaram's army when he was eighteen years old. He managed to reduce the casualty rate of his squad to the lowest in the entire army. He was able to train Bridge Four with barely any resources. He is able to quickly analyze a battlefield and assess the tactical situation.
Kaladin started training in medicine with his father and assisting him in surgery when he was eight years old. His training was mostly concentrated in, but not limited to, surgery. After joining the army, he had considerable practice as a field medic, attending to his fellows soldiers injured in combat. He has some level of understanding of pharmacology, as he is able to harvest and extract his own antiseptic from knobweed sap. He also has a basic grasp of neurological disorders like epilepsy.
Kaladin has had a varied social standing throughout his life. His birth to Lirin, a darkeyed surgeon of the second nahn, set him at second nahn originally. When he was branded a slave by Amaram, his rank changed to tenth nahn, like all slaves. When Dalinar rescued him and made him captain of the Kholin guard, his nahn was uncertain, since captain was a rank usually given only to lower-dahn lighteyes. During this time, he was treated as an oddity outside of the normal caste system by many.
Once Kaladin began summoning Syl as a Shardblade, his eyes would temporarily change to blue, making him a lighteyes, before fading back to brown, making him darkeyed again. Dalinar decided that his status as a Shardbearer made him a lighteyes of the fourth dahn, regardless of his current eye color. Since fourth dahn is a landed title, Elhokar gave Kaladin a small piece of the Eastern Crownlands to rule over. This technically makes Kaladin a landed lord, despite him not actually having any control over his territory, as it was taken over by Voidbringers shortly before he obtained it.
As Bridge Four grew into the refounded Order of Windrunners, Kaladin was promoted from captain to highmarshal. Shortly before the Fused occupation of Urithiru, Kaladin stepped down, at Dalinar's request, and became a surgeon. His notoriety as Stormblessed and the high social status of Radiants made his effective status remain high, even if he was technically just a surgeon. He was reinstated briefly as highmarshal during the occupation, although he renounces command again upon the retaking of the tower.
Early Life (1153-1168)
Kaladin was born in late 1153 to Lirin and Hesina, a family of second nahn, in the town of Hearthstone in Torol Sadeas' princedom in northwestern Alethkar. His younger brother, Tien was born two years later. Growing up, Kaladin preferred the shorter name Kal to his full name, which he felt sounded like a lighteyes’s name. At the age of eight, Kal began training with his father in surgery, though he dreamed of becoming a soldier. At first, he became sick at the sight of wounds and injuries. Over the next couple of years, he grew used to the sight and assisted his father during surgeries which he figured would come in handy on the battlefield. However, the amount of time Lirin spent with books and sick people, coupled with their class disparity, made people uncomfortable to be around Lirin and Kal, by association. As a result of his isolated upbringing, Kal became very close with his brother and, at the encouragement of his parents, Laral Wistiow, the daughter of the citylord.
Surgeon or Soldier
In 1164, Kal assisted his father in amputating one of the fingers of a fifteen-year old girl named Sani. Once finished, Lirin asked Kal why he was late. Kal admitted it was because he went with Tien to see what Jam, a boy two years older, had learned from his quarterstaff training. Kal was excited because Jam’s father was a soldier in Brightlord Amaram’s army. Lirin replied that he knew Jam’s father, having operated on his leg three times, a “gift” from his time as a soldier. Kal argued they needed soldiers, but Lirin claimed they needed surgeons more. Lirin doubted that his son could actually hurt someone as he cried nearly every time someone was brought to them. Kal promised he would get stronger causing Lirin to ask who put these ideas in his head. Kal countered that it was about honor and that no one told stories about surgeons. Lirin told him there were two kinds of people in the world, those who save lives and those who take lives, that one couldn’t protect by killing. Lirin then informed Kal that once he turned sixteen, he wanted to send Kaladin to train with real surgeons in Kharbranth. Lirin told Kal he had a gift from the Heralds and he didn’t need to waste it on the small dreams of other men.
Two years later, Kal and Laral were talking somewhere east of Hearthstone while Tien gathered rocks nearby. Kal told her of his father’s plans to send him to Kharbranth to train to become a surgeon. Hurt, Laral asked why he hadn’t told her. He lied, saying he didn’t think his father was serious. Laral wondered about his previous plans to be a soldier. His expression became gloomy as he was conflicted on which path to choose, surgeon or soldier. Sensing his distress, Tien ran up to Kal with a rock that he found, giving it to Kal to make him feel better. Kal did feel better and went with Tien to find a lurg. Laral rejoined them, commenting that Tien changed Kal for the better. Laral continued to encourage Kal to become a soldier, and that he shouldn't let his father force him to do something he didn't want to. She even implied he could marry her if he won a Shardblade. Kal replied he still had time to decide as they wouldn't take him until he was sixteen.
Later, they encountered a group of older boys, one of whom made the claim his father won a Shardblade in the wastescum skirmishes. At Laral’s prompting, Kal contradicted him, which led to the boy, Jost, challenging Kal to a quarterstaff fight. Although it was his first time holding a weapon, his natural talent for combat manifested. However, seeing that he hurt Jost, he stopped himself from fighting anymore. Jost, having no similar inhibition, beat Kal to the ground. Kal then asked Jost to teach him, but the older boy declined, telling Kal to “go be what you are.” Joined by Tien, Kal made his way home, where Lirin informed Kal that Citylord Wistiow had died and bequeathed a goblet full of spheres to Kal so he could study in Kharbranth.
Two months later, thirteen-year-old Kal attempted to treat a five-year-old girl named Miasal on his own. Kal started treating her, but it was too late as Miasal died from blood loss due to multiple severe wounds. An hour later, his father found Kal in front of the surgery room crying to himself. Lirin told him that he was proud of Kal’s work and there was nothing he could have done to stop Miasal’s death. Kal confessed to Lirin that he doesn’t want to be a surgeon, but Lirin just answered that he would have to learn when to care.
”You have to learn when to care, son. And when to let go.—Lirin to Kal after Miasal's death 
Near the end of 1166, Kal was walking through the city of Hearthstone when he overheard two women claiming that his father stole the spheres from Citylord Wistiow upon his death. Gritting his teeth and knowing that was his father, Kal stepped out of the alleyway and gave one of the women a sharp look, causing both to flee inside the bakery. His satisfaction was short-lived as he didn’t understand why people said such things about his father. He was still stewing when he turned a few corners, walking to where his mother stood on a stepladder. When Hesina asked about his lessons, he blurted out that everyone hated his father and that they believed he stole the spheres from Wistiow. He also lamented that he didn’t have friends and asked what would happen if he wanted to become something other than a surgeon. Hesina reminded him that he had Tien and that he shouldn’t be so quick to discard his studies because he wanted to be like the others. She also told him not to hate the townspeople as they were just repeating what they had heard. Seeing her glance to the citylord’s manor, Kal debated whether or not he should try to see Laral again. Each time he had tried, he’d been turned away by her nurse. He wondered what it would be like marrying Laral and if he did, would he always feel inferior to her. He was still considering this fact and debating whether or not to be a surgeon or a soldier when Lirin ran in declaring the new citylord had arrived.
Kal went with his parents to the town square to await the arrival of Citylord Roshone. Tien was already there, having already picked out a spot. As Tien ran by, some older boys made an unintelligible remark about him which made Kal furious, wanting to confront them, but knowing it wasn’t a good time. Kal joined Tien to view the procession of a dozen wagons and a carriage. The carriage stopped and a middle-aged man stepped out. The lighteyed man scanned the crowd with a distasteful look on his face before turning to climb back into his carriage without addressing the crowd. Before he could, Lirin called out, trying to welcome him to Hearthstone, introducing himself as the town’s surgeon. Roshone responded by blaming Lirin as the reason he ended up in “this pitiful miserable quarter of the kingdom.”
Citylord Roshone’s arrival brought great misfortune to Kal’s family. Believing that Lirin had stolen the spheres from Wistiow, he coerced the townspeople to stop making donations for Lirin’s work, which was the primary source of the family’s income. While the townsfolk acquiesced, they still secretly provided provisions to Lirin and Hesina. One night while drunk, Lirin told his son not to make the same mistakes he did and get sucked back into this tiny, foolish town. Kal argued that Lirin had always told him to come back, but Lirin admitted he’d been an idiot when he said that, adding that the townspeople didn’t want him there. Kal asked him why they couldn’t just spend the spheres, but his father said the spheres were for his education. Besides, if they did spend them, they would be doing exactly what Roshone wanted them to do. Instead, they did the best with what they had with Kal continuing his studies, Hesina taking on random jobs, and Tien apprenticing with Ral, a carpenter in town. At the same time, Kal was secretly still trying to decide what path he would take in the next several months, that of a surgeon or a spearman. A series of thumps interrupted Kal’s thoughts, sending him scrambling out of his chair. His father pulled open the door revealing not a monster, but three masked men demanding the spheres. However, they weren’t the highwaymen as Kaladin initially thought, but rather Luten, Horl, and Balsas, normal townsmen presumably hired by Roshone. Ashamed and caught off guard, the men left without taking anything.
”If you’re going to confront him, then you should have someone to support you.—Kal to his father before dinner with Roshone
Half a year later, Roshone invited Lirin to the mansion for dinner. Although Lirin and Hesina tried to hide the meeting from him, Kal found out and attended, wanting to support his father if he confronted the citylord. As they rode through the city, Kal asked his father why they tried to hide the meeting. Lirin admitted that he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to attend as a part of him just wanted to take the family and flee to Kharbranth or another Alethi town. Lirin confessed that he had tried to leave once, but there was a tie between a man’s heart and his home and he couldn’t bring himself to leave. Having cared for the townspeople for so long, he couldn’t leave them in the hands of Roshone. Once they arrived, the pair were led to a dining room where Roshone was already eating. A servant gestured to a side table set up in a room off the main dining hall, but Lirin sat down at Roshone’s table insisting that he was of second nahn and surely he could have a place at his table. Not wasting any time, Roshone discussed their present situation and asked them to return the spheres, ending their defiance. When Kal responded with an outburst, Lirin sent him away to the kitchens. There, Roshone’s son, Rillir walked in with Laral, and confusing Kaladin for a servant, ordered him to fetch their supper. Kal, protesting that he wasn’t a servant, lost an argument over his calling with Rillir, leaving him humiliated. As Lirin and Kal left the mansion, the latter admitted to his father that he had been considering joining the army. However, he had resolved to becoming a surgeon so that he would have the education to stand up to the lighteyes. During their conversation, Kal saw something unfamiliar in his father’s eyes, guilt. He then realized that Lirin had indeed stolen the spheres from Wistiow, changing everything, but also changing nothing. He resolved to use the spheres for his training, but would eventually pay them back to Laral.
Somebody has to start
”Somebody has to start. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right, because it is right. If nobody starts, then others cannot follow...Because, son. We have to be better than they are.—Lirin to Kaladin 
While on a hunting trip, Roshone and Rillir were seriously injured by a whitespine and brought to Lirin’s surgery room. Kaladin and Lirin determined that Rillir’s injuries were already fatal and tended to Roshone despite his protests. They anesthetized both patients, Roshone for surgery and Rillir for mercy. During the procedure, Lirin hesitated when he discovered a piece of the whitespine’s tusk near Roshone’s femoral artery. Kaladin considered how easy it would be to fake an accident, but they continued on to save Roshone’s life as Rillir died. When Kaladin asked his father why he did not let Roshone die, Lirin answered that they have to be better men than the lighteyes.
A decision made
In the Weeping of 1168, Kaladin found himself increasingly hoping for the sun and the wind again, the weather making it difficult for him to get things done. One day, when Kaladin was lying on the roof during the rain after repairing a leak, Tien called up to him, wanting to join him. While Kaladin didn’t think anyone else could cheer him up, he knew Tien could because somehow he just always knew the right thing to do. At first, it was just the two of them sitting in silence. Then, Tien presented Kaladin with a gift, an intricately carved horse that he made at Ral’s shop. Kaladin asked if he showed the beautiful horse to Ral, but Tien confessed that it got him into trouble because it wasn’t useful. Not a bit discouraged, Tien said he would make him proud tomorrow by finishing a chair. Kaladin found himself amazed at his brother’s ability to smile even in the darkest of times, swearing things grew brighter around them in that moment.
However, it was short-lived as Kaladin admitted his concerns about their father having to spend the spheres to not only Tien, but also his mother. Hesina promised him that there would be enough spheres for him to go to Kharbranth in two months. Kaladin suggested that perhaps the entire family should come with him, not wanting to leave them behind, especially with Roshone “strangling” them. Hesina informed Kaladin that they only spent the spheres to make Roshone think he was winning, not because they needed to. Once Kaladin left, the spheres would be safe in the hands of the ardents while he studied to become a surgeon. However, Hesina reminded him that that his life was his own and that he didn’t have to become a surgeon to make them proud. They sat for awhile, Kaladin considering her words and what Tien could possibly like about the rain, when Lirin came with news that there was a gathering in the square.
”In four years, I will bring him home safely. I promise it by the storms and the Almighty's tenth name itself. I will bring him back.—Kaladin's promise to his parents
Roshone assembled the townsfolk as Meridas Amaram, a general for Highprince Sadeas, had arrived in Hearthstone to recruit soldiers for the army. There, Kaladin and his family were shocked to learn that Laral was now engaged to Roshone himself after Rillir’s death. Meanwhile, since only six men had volunteered, Amaram asked Roshone to announce the list of conscripts. As citylord, Roshone was barred from from placing Lirin or Kaladin on the conscription list because they served a vital function to the town. However, Roshone placed Tien’s name on the list instead. When Kaladin tried to take his brother’s place, he was denied because the law gave the choice to Roshone alone. Left with no other option, Kaladin enlisted in the army in order to protect Tien and promised his devastated parents that he would bring Tien back safely in four years. Amaram also promised Lirin that he would make Tien a messenger boy for a while.
Amaram's Army (1168-1172)
Kaladin received his initial training under Tukks, who taught him the importance of controlled passion—to be passionate and to care without losing control of his emotions—a lesson that he did not initially understand. During his training, Kaladin demonstrated a natural aptitude for being a soldier, learning the spear faster than anyone else in his cohort, barely even needing instruction, much to Tukks’ surprise. After freezing on the battle field the first time, Kaladin was assigned cleaning duty by Tukks. Not to punish him, but to help him fit in more. Tukks explained about how many soldiers stuggle with the need to hurt the enemy. However, Kaladin didn't believe he froze because he was afraid to hurt someone, but because he realized he could kill, if needed.
”It’s good to care when you fight, so long as you don’t let it consume you. Don’t try to stop yourself from feeling. You’ll hate who you become.—Tukks to Kaladin on his first day of training
”Don't worry. I'll bring you home. I'll protect you, Tien. I'll bring you back...—Kaladin weeping over Tien's body 
Despite Amaram’s promise to Lirin, the older messenger boys, including Tien, were soon organized into several squads of reserve units to make up for a shortfall in recruitment. Dalar assured Kaladin that these squads would not see combat unless the army was in serious danger. Less than four months after his enlistment, Kaladin took part in his third real battle. Amaram’s army was attempting to hold a hilltop, but as the battle deteriorated, messenger boys were assigned to Sheler's company. Hearing that the messenger squad was sent to the front, Kaladin ran recklessly through the battlefield in an attempt to reach his brother. On the southeast side of the hill, Squadleader Varth placed Tien and two other boys in the front lines, successfully using them as bait. Kaladin, killing a man for the first time during his run, reached Tien only after he had been killed. Weeping and bleeding from wounds taken during his run, he hugged Tien’s dead body until long past the end of the battle.
Kaladin sent a letter to his parents informing them of Tien’s death and his decision not to return to Hearthstone. He spent the next year driving himself to exhaustion every day on the practice yard, vowing vengeance and never letting another person die because of his lack of skill. He became the best spearman in his company and was rumored to be the best in the entire army. He eventually met Tarah, the daughter of an assistant quartermaster, who coaxed Kaladin out of his single-mindedness, claiming it would burn him out. The two became romantically involved, but they separated soon after she was transferred to a scribe’s job in Mourn’s Vault. Kaladin blamed himself for their failed relationship, knowing that he’d been stupid not to send responses to her letters. He later joined the Takers under Tukks' leadership. There, Kaladin met Durk, who became a mentor to him. Durk was impressed with Kaladin’s abilities, considering him a natural born soldier, an artist with a spear. Unfortunately, every member of the Takers was eventually killed with Kaladin being the lone survivor. At the age of eighteen, Kaladin was promoted to squadleader, making him the youngest one in the army and became known as Kaladin Stormblessed.
Fighting the Shardbearer
Four years later, in Ishi 1172, Kaladin fought his final battle in Amaram’s army. Prior to the battle, Kaladin met with a Squadleader Gare and two of his sergeants. Kaladin bribed Gare to transfer Cenn, a young and inexperienced soldier, to Kaladin’s own squad, whom he entrusted to his sergeant Dallet. He also bribed the surgeons to give priority to his men. While bribing the surgeons, the money pouch stuck to his hand by what Kaladin assumed to be a windspren, although it was actually his first meeting with Sylphrena. After consulting with Dallet, Kaladin went to the front lines to prepare for battle.
Once the signal to march was given, Kaladin’s well-disciplined squad used non-standard tactics to avoid taking any casualties. However, the larger battle didn’t go nearly as well. When the larger body of Amaram’s forces broke, Kaladin’s squad was left in the middle of the enemy. During the chaos, Kaladin single-handedly defeated six men to save Cenn, who had been stranded alone without the rest of the squad. After treating Cenn, Kaladin saw an enemy battalionlord and decided to kill him, hoping such a feat would get him transferred to the Shattered Plains, where Kaladin believed the real fight and honorable men can be found. Kaladin and two of his subsquads executed their plan flawlessly, with Kaladin himself landing the killing blow on the enemy battalionlord.
Immediately after, an unknown enemy, a full Shardbearer, later revealed to be Helaran Davar, appeared and cut through Amaram’s army, killing Cenn, Dallet, and two more of Kaladin's men. Helaran continued on to attack Amaram, whose honor guard had abandoned him. Enraged, Kaladin and his twenty remaining men chased after Helaran. Helaran killed sixteen of Kaladin’s men before Kaladin finally managed to kill him, saving Amaram’s life. Amaram and Coreb, one of Kaladin's men, urged Kaladin to claim Helaran’s Shards, as it was his right to do so by ancient tradition. However, Kaladin was disgusted by the thought of wielding the same Blade that claimed the lives of so many of his friends. Instead, Kaladin gave the Shards to Coreb and walked away.
”It’s not about Alethkar! It’s about you! Storm it, you’re supposed to be better than the others!—Kaladin to Amaram.
A few hours later, Kaladin was called to Amaram’s warcenter, where he met Amaram and a group of his men along with the four surviving members of his squad. After a short conversation, Amaram and his men ambushed Kaladin, killing the surviving members of Kaladin’s squad while Kaladin himself was restrained. Amaram apologized but said this was the only way to ensure secrecy. He informed Kaladin that he had thought it over for hours before finally being convinced by Restares that the best interests of Alethkar would served if he wielded the Shards himself. As an act of mercy and gratitude, Amaram spared Kaladin’s life and branded him with the “sas nahn” glyphpair to mark him as a slave to be sold.
Kaladin spent the next eight months under at least six different slavemasters, including a man named Katarotam, suffering from constant and squalid conditions. Initially, Kaladin was defiant, making ten escape attempts. Although several of them were successful, he always ended up getting re-captured. In his tenth escape attempt, he led a group of twenty armed slaves, including a man named Goshel. However, they all died, leaving Kaladin to believe he failed them. By the eighth month, Kaladin fell into despair and stopped making any escape attempts.
Though he should have been killed for his tenth escape attempt, Kaladin’s master found him “intriguing,” and branded his forehead with the shash glyph, meaning “dangerous”, and sold him. Eventually, Kaladin was bought by Tvlakv and it was during this time that Kaladin hit his lowest point. He found and hid away some poisonous blackbane leaves, unsure of whether or not he wanted to use them to commit suicide, kill his master, or something else. Regardless, he took comfort in having options open to him. However, when a fellow slave took ill, Kaladin’s instinct to protect and heal re-emerged and Kaladin attempted to save his life. His attempts failed as Tvlakv had the slave killed in order to avoid the infection spreading.
It was during this time that Kaladin first noticed Sylphrena. Though she’d been following him for several months, Kaladin believed her to be nothing more than the average, albeit mischievous windspren. As Kaladin was rubbing the blackbane leaves between his fingers, Syl asked him what he had. At first, he ignored her, but not without noticing some oddities about her, such as the exceptionally long period of time that she had been following him. When she called him by name, he was shocked as he didn’t believe that spren could use people’s names. To his knowledge, spren could mimic voices or expressions, but they didn’t have actual intelligence or memory. Kaladin thought he was insane at first, but he eventually started to converse with Syl. During the course of their first conversation, Syl asked Kaladin why he didn’t fight like he used to. Kaladin continued to question how she knew both his name and what he did weeks ago. He finally confessed to her that he had failed, remembering the deaths of Tien, Cenn, Dallet, Tukks, and the Takers. After the slave took ill and Tvlakv had him killed, Syl asked Kaladin why he didn’t cry. Kaladin replied that it wouldn’t change anything and maybe she should ask the Almighty why men cry. During a storm, Syl chased after it, but eventually returned. Kaladin wondered why she didn’t go with the other windspren, but she told him she liked it there with him.
Finding the way after all
Days passed and the wagons continued to roll on until one particular day when they didn’t stop at their usual time, leaving Kaladin to wonder why they hadn’t stopped for their afternoon slop. Well past noon, they finally rolled to a stop and Bluth and Tag joined Tvlakv. The three quickly started arguing as they held up a piece of paper. Kaladin called out, asking Tvlakv if he was lost and offered that perhaps he should seek guidance from the Almighty who had a “fondness” for slavers. Tvlakv walked over and asked Kaladin if he knew anything of the area. Kaladin requested the map and without even reading it, he ripped it into pieces, much to Tvlakv’s horror. Tvlakv called for the mercenaries, but both Bluth and Tag declined to intervene. Realizing that Kaladin was probably invaluable at that point, Tvlakv asked what the former wanted in exchange for guiding the caravan. Kaladin suggested a cliff, not for a vantage point as Tvlakv assumed, but one to throw the slaver off of.
Annoyed, Tvlakv told Kaladin it was good that he was fueled by hatred because it would make him strong, but cautioned that it could keep him from getting vengeance. Kaladin countered, saying he didn’t want vengeance as he learned a long time ago it didn’t work. Tvlakv argued that Kaladin was young still and that he could escape his fate and hunt down the man who sold him into slavery, Highlord Amaram. Shocked, Kaladin asked how Tvlakv knew about Amaram, but the slaver just said men talk. Though Tvlakv knew the truth about Kaladin’s brands, he told the younger man that they both had to play the game for now to avoid an even worse fate. However, they were at crossroads because Kaladin had left the map in shreds. Kaladin admitted he had never been this way so he didn’t know where to go. As Tvlakv walked away, Kaladin cursed, realizing he almost found himself liking the slaver.
The wagons continued to roll on after their exchange, even through highstorms. Well before the end of one of them, Bluth lowered the sides of the wagon, allowing the rain to soak the slaves. Kaladin argued that it was too early to be taking down the sides, but Bluth stated that Tvlakv wanted them clean today. Realizing they were probably nearing their destination, Kaladin scanned the landscape wondering where they were going. Syl returned to tell Kaladin there were many others like him nearby. As she pointed eastward, Kaladin was shocked to see the enormous army encampment he’d heard stories about, the place Tien wanted to go in the end, the army he spent years trying to get into - The Shattered Plains.
In 1173, Tvlakv sold Kaladin and the other slaves to Hashal, the wife of the lighteyed officer who was in charge of the slaves in Highprince Sadeas's army. She was not impressed with the slaves, but Kaladin stood out as he was still far more muscled than the others. When asked, Kaladin confirmed he used to be a spearman in Amaram's army. After inspecting his brands, and remarking that a "shash" glyph meant death, Hashal asked how he got here. Kaladin responded that he killed someone while drunk, and spoke of his talents with a spear and asked her to give him a chance to fight again in her brightlord’s army. However, Tvlakv told Hashal not to listen to him as he was a deserter, and could not be trusted as he had led rebellions before. Any slaves he might have had corrupted were assigned to be bridgemen while Kaladin was assigned specifically to Bridge Four, the bridge crew with the worst reputation and casualty rate.
Kaladin was placed under the command of the bridge sergeant Gaz and was immediately forced to go on a bridge run completely unprepared and unequipped. Bridge Four was sent to carry a large bridge, allowing Sadeas' soldiers to cross the plateaus of the Shattered Plains and assault the Parshendi. Gaz ran beside Bridge Four, calling out commands during the run due to their most recent bridgeleader having tossed himself down the Honor Chasm. He sent Kaladin to the open slot at the tail of the bridge. Without a vest, the wooden supports dug into Kaladin’s skin causing his shoulders to bleed. As they ran, a nearby bridgeman offered Kaladin advice. Eventually, Gaz called them to a stop and they lifted the bridge into place, allowing the army to pass. They repeated this process, with Kaladin eventually asking why they weren’t turning around. One of the other bridgemen just chuckled and told him they weren’t there yet and to be glad they weren’t. After more than a dozen times, Gaz ordered Kaladin to the front for the final push, declaring that newcomers get to go first. Kaladin quickly realized why arriving was the worst part. The Parshendi volleys launched, killing the men around Kaladin. They eventually got the bridge dropped, but at the expense of the bridgemen, resulting in many casualties. Kaladin just collapsed, knowing he should move or at least bind his wounds, but he just couldn’t, falling unconscious instead. Kaladin was about to be left for dead by the retreating bridge crews, until Syl called out his name and urged him to move. He forced himself to his feet and asked the windspren if she had a name. As he limped through the casualties, he found the body of the leathery faced man who had been nice to him. He harvested his vest and shoes, tying them on as the windspren introduced herself as Sylphrena.
Over next few weeks, Kaladin grew more and more depressed. Of the twenty-five men who had survived his first bridge deployment, twenty-three had died leaving only Kaladin and one other man. Bridge Four continued to be replenished, with many of those men dying to only to be replaced. They went through countless bridgeleaders, which typically was a favored position on a bridge crew, always getting to run in the best places. However, in Bridge Four, that didn’t matter. Kaladin didn’t bother to learn the names of the bridgemen as it just seemed pointless. One day, as they were working in the lumberyard, new recruits were brought in to be assigned to the bridge crews. Kaladin looked up and a young boy barely fourteen or fifteen caught his eye, reminding him of Tien. He had the same frightened eyes which immediately made Kaladin’s protective instinct kick in. However, all he could think of was how everyone he’d tried to protect ended up dead. Syl, unable to bear seeing Kaladin in such a hopeless state, decided to leave, afraid of what would happen to her if she stayed. On the next bridge run, the youth and the last man that survived Kaladin’s initial bridge run died, leaving Kaladin the senior member of Bridge Four. Faced with losing Syl, his only friend, and his inability to protect the boy, Kaladin seriously contemplated suicide. That night, he went to the Honor Chasm, intending to jump off.
Before Kaladin could step off the ledge, Syl returned, excitedly carrying a leaf of blackbane with her. Syl, in her naivety, having seen Kaladin previously take heart in having the poisonous leaves with him, assumed they would make Kaladin feel better. Syl recalled how everything seemed to go wrong when he lost the leaves, how he used to fight and make his soldiers feel like family. She admitted that was one of the things that drew her to him to begin with. Kaladin just lamented that he failed, that everything he touches withers and dies. Syl pleaded with him to give it one more try, reminding him that he couldn’t hurt the bridgemen any worse. Opening his eyes, he left the chasm and resolved himself to become bridgeleader. He marched up to Gaz and seized the man by the throat, sweeping his legs out from under him. Kaladin then intimidated and bribed the man into giving him the position along with the autonomy to run Bridge Four. Entering Bridge Four’s barrack that night, Kaladin found the men all huddled inside just as he left them. Kaladin visited with each man, introducing himself as bridgeleader and learning each of their names. Later, Kaladin went to sleep with a sense of purpose in protecting the men.
Reforming Bridge Four
The next morning, Kaladin resolved to make some changes in Bridge Four. The first of these included training early in the mornings, putting an end to the group’s sleeping in. When Moash protested, Kaladin punched him in the gut and threw him over his shoulder, taking him outside. The others, shocked and not wanting to suffer the same fate, filed out into the sunlight. As Kaladin outlined his plan, he was immediately met with resistance from his fellow bridgemen who felt chores and bridge runs were more than enough to build their endurance. Kaladin argued that his primary duty was to keep them alive and since he couldn’t do anything about Parshendi arrows, he had to make them stronger. Moash called over to Gaz and asked if they had to listen to Kaladin to which Gaz replied that the bridgeleader only had authority on the field. Moash looked back to Kaladin and told him to storm off, causing the rest of the men to leave as well. Kaladin, undeterred by the men’s resistance, went off to the lumberyard to train by himself. He eventually attracted a crowd that included Teft, Rock, Dunny, and some of the other members of Bridge Four.
Before the next bridge run, Kaladin visited an apothecary to purchase some supplies so he could tend to the wounded. However, he quickly discovered that antiseptic was expensive, despite knobweed reeds growing just outside of camp. Kaladin settled on a needle and gut as well as some bandages, spending the four marks he had left from paying Gaz off. Returning to camp just as the bells sounded, Kaladin yelled for the men to line up for the next bridge run. As the men neared the Parshendi lines, Kaladin demanded to switch with Rock, taking the most dangerous center-front spot of the bridge for himself, a rarity for a bridgeleader. During the assault, Kaladin was adamant on rescuing the six who fell. He dragged Hobber and Dabbid to safety with the help of Rock. As he turned to go back out to the field, Teft and Rock stopped him, going back to check on the other three. They returned with Leyten, the only other survivor. Kaladin quickly started to work, providing medical care to the wounded men. After the long battle, they returned to camp with their three wounded in tow much to Gaz’s protests.
Because bridgemen were supposed to be expendable, Kaladin was told that he could keep tending to the wounded men, but they would not be paid or fed while they were unable to work. Not wanting to give in to Brightlord Sadeas, the bridgeleader asked other members of Bridge Four to pitch in money and food to care for the men. However, all refused except for Rock. He offered to share his food with Hobber, who was the least injured of the three. Knowing it would only be a matter of time before the rotspren were attracted to the wounded, Kaladin came up with the idea of collecting knobweed stems during stone-gathering detail. With the stems, he could create the antiseptic the men desperately needed and even sell some to get more supplies and food. Gaining the trust of Rock and Teft, Kaladin enlisted their help to find and collect the knobweed during their new detail. Syl assisted as well, finding patches of knobweed and guiding Rock—who was mysteriously able to see her—to them. While working to extract the sap that night, Kaladin started building camaraderie with the two men, even managing to get Rock to open up and share some of his life story.
Kaladin returned to the apothecary and made a deal for his bridge crew to gather knobweed sap in return for a skymark per bottle of sap and some bandages. Upon returning from selling the sap, Gaz sent Bridge Four to do chasm duty, recovering valuables from the war dead who had fallen into the chasms. In the chasms, Kaladin continued to build rapport with the men, bringing Dunny into the fold, who sang for the men while others hovered behind. Through their work, Kaladin came across a spear in the chasms. Picking it up and holding it drew the ire of Moash, Sigzil, and Earless Jaks, who began taunting the bridgeleader. Ignoring their gibes, Kaladin closed his eyes and went into a trance. He performed an advanced practice kata with the spear, revealing his talent as a genius spearman to the men, leaving them speechless. During the display, Teft, along with some of the other men, noticed an unknown spren—actually Syl—zipping around Kaladin. Through the rest of their chasm duty and on the walk back, more men started to open up. The night culminated in Kaladin using the money he had earned to purchase food and assigning Rock to cook a stew. Not a single person refused to partake in eating around the fire. The next day, a majority of the men followed his orders to rise out of bed and practice.
Kaladin managed to get all the men to submit to his authority and participate in training. The training cut down on their losses, but Kaladin was still unsatisfied. Realizing that the bridge itself could act as a shield, Kaladin started training the men to shift the bridge and carry it on its side. The practice was slowing going, which left Gaz pleased at the prospect of Bridge Four losing more members. Prior to the next bridge run, Kaladin gained Lopen as a member from a new batch of recruits. They were immediately sent the next run. Realizing it was going to be a difficult approach, Kaladin ordered Bridge Four to perform the side carry as they engaged the Parshendi. The side carry was a success as it completely protected Kaladin’s men. However, other bridge crews tried to emulate the side carry. Not having trained in the maneuver, the other bridge crews failed. Lacking a sufficient number of bridges to cross the chasms and with the timing of the assault desynchronized, the battle was thrown into chaos and Sadeas lost. Understanding that he’d undermined the army’s strategy, Kaladin ordered Rock and Teft to stand down and Kaladin stepped up to Gaz and Lamaril to accept his fate.
The Stormfather's Judgement
”I want you to go back into the barrack and tell the men to come out after the storm. Tell them to look up at me tied here. Tell them I’ll open my eyes and look back at them, and they’ll know that I survived.—Kaladin to Rock, Teft, and Moash before the highstorm 
As punishment for the failure, Highprince Sadeas demoted several officers and executed Lamaril, the lighteyed officer directly in charge of the bridgemen. Sadeas declined to execute Kaladin directly, but instead decided to let the Stormfather judge him. Kaladin would be freed if he could survive being tied to the side of Bridge Four’s barrack during the highstorm. Prior to the highstorm, Rock, Teft, and Moash came to see Kaladin and promised they would remember him. Kaladin asked them to tell the men to come out after the storm and they will see that he had survived. Teft gave Kaladin a dun sphere for good luck and the men retreated into the barracks as the storm approached. As the storm raged and slammed into Kaladin, Syl told him to grab the roof and then the ring that his rope was attached to. He did as she said knowing that if he let go, he’d be dangling in the air again. However, the rain numbed his fingers and caused him to slip, flapping in the air again. As he hit the roof, everything went black and silent. During the darkness, Kaladin met the Stormfather in the form of a large, inhuman face. Immediately after, Kaladin’s Surgebinding abilities manifested and he drew upon Stormlight from the glowing blue sphere before falling unconscious.
After the highstorm, the bridgemen followed Rock and Teft to go check on Kaladin. The bridgeleader hung by his ankles, his skin sliced in a hundred places. Just as the men gathered around him horrified, Kaladin’s eyes snapped open. His hand dropped the sphere that had been given to him, now dun, shocking Teft who knew the sphere should be infused. Wanting answers, he told Kaladin he better survive and the men rushed to cut him down. They cared for him and posted a constant guard by his bed. His injuries were severe, even attracting Deathspren. While recovering, Teft brought three infused spheres telling Kaladin he couldn’t leave them. He watched as Kaladin unconsciously consumed the Stormlight, causing Teft to suspect he may be a member of the Knights Radiant. Ten days later, Kaladin made a miraculous recovery and his men, never having known of his previous army service, revived the name Kaladin Stormblessed.
Transforming Bridge Four into spearmen
After his recovery, Kaladin accompanied Bridge Four on their next bridge run. Once they dropped the bridge, Kaladin watched the battle raging on the next plateau alongside Rock and Sigzil. The latter asked why the bridgemen weren’t allowed to use shields during runs. Rock suggested that shields would slow them down, but Kaladin realized it was because they were bait. Kaladin slipped into despair as he realized there was no hope for his men. Things were compounded the next day when Kaladin met Matal, their new commander, and was re-acquainted with his wife, Hashal. She informed Kaladin that her husband would not run the bridge crews with the same laxness as his predecessor. Hashal then permanently assigned Bridge Four to chasm duty. Given the new orders and knowing their place as bait, Kaladin realized that further training as bridgemen would be a futile endeavor. Instead, he proposed training the men to become spearmen in order to escape, which his men accepted.
During a highstorm, Kaladin dreamed he was the storm, traveling east to west, seeing the ground from the perspective of the storm itself. He passed over the Shattered Plains, the Sea of Spears, Kholinar, the Horneater Peaks, and countless other cities and villages. His path crossed Szeth’s in the middle of an assassination. Finally, he met the Stormfather once again, who left him with a cryptic message regarding the Oathpact being shattered and Odium reigning. Kaladin gasped awake to find himself being restrained. He attacked his “assailants,” but quickly realized they were just members of Bridge Four. They told him he had been in a fever dream and that he tried to walk out into the highstorm. Shaking off his vision, Kaladin went to clean up, even letting Rock give him a shave. Later that day, Bridge Four was given a new recruit, a parshman that Kaladin named Shen. Kaladin found himself walking around Sadeas’ warcamp an hour later, still worried about his dream. He asked Syl if she knew anything about Odium, which caused her to hiss and flee immediately to a nearby building. Before he could ask why the word set her off, Kaladin heard a series of curses behind him. Turning, Kaladin witnessed Adolin Kholin saving a prostitute from being beaten by a lighteyed officer. Choosing to escort the prostitute to the border, Adolin threw an emerald chip to Kaladin and told him to deliver a message that he couldn’t make his meeting and would reschedule. Kaladin took the money, but didn’t deliver the message due to his disdain of Adolin’s attitude and lighteyes in general. Syl returned, but was distressed at Kaladin’s increasingly dark attitude concerning lighteyes and his breach of the implicit agreement to do as Adolin asked.
During their chasm duty detail, Kaladin secretly began training Bridge Four, which had now dwindled to twenty-four members, as spearmen. To assist with the training, Kaladin tricked Teft into revealing that he had been a soldier and appointed him to oversee the men. To maintain their cover of working in the chasms, he assigned Lopen, Rock, Dabbid, and Shen to do the actual salvage work with Syl’s assistance. Kaladin was impressed at the men’s progress after only a few hours and remarked that thanks to their adverse conditions, they were ironically the most motivated and fit recruits he had ever seen.
In one of the next bridge runs, Dunny was killed. Frustrated, Kaladin began rescuing members from other bridge crews, commanding his men to carry them back to the barracks despite barely having enough resources to care for his own men. Kaladin’s actions coupled with the fact that the arrows seemed to dodge him when he ran point further raised Teft’s suspicions about the bridgeleader being a Knight Radiant. During chasm duty a week after Dunny’s passing, Bridge Four found slightly more than an emerald broam’s worth of money, including an actual emerald broam. With the money, they realized they could not only feed and care for the wounded bridgemen, but they could also advance their escape plan. Kaladin decided to turn over the emerald broam—an amount of money that no bridgeman could ever safely spend—but kept the rest. Rock, though an avowed pacifist, took up a bow and attached the pouch to the underside of one of the permanent bridges using an arrow. Lopen covertly retrieved the money during their next bridge runs and turned the money over to Kaladin.
Discovery of Surgebinding powers
In one of the next runs, Bridge Four dropped to just twenty-six members when both Maps and Arik died. Kaladin struggled to deal with their deaths, worried that soon he’d be the only one left. The rest of Bridge Four also appeared anxious as they fell in with their bridgeleader. Returning to camp, Kaladin dismissed the men, who in turn gave him a salute that Teft taught them. Teft lingered, allowing the bridgeleader to look at his arm. Under the ruse, Teft punched Kaladin, forcing him to unconsciously use his powers to defend himself. Kaladin demanded to know what Teft was doing, who just replied that he was testing something. Before either man could discuss it further, Lopen pointed out that Kaladin was glowing. Grabbing Teft, Kaladin demanded to know what he’d done to him. Teft denied doing anything, pointing out that Kaladin had been feeding off Stormlight since he’d been sick. Seeing Syl out of the corner of his eye, Kaladin confronted the spren about his powers. Realizing they come from the Knights Radiant, Kaladin grew scared and wanted to be rid of them. Syl questioned why he’d want to be rid of something of the Windrunners. Kaladin wondered if he was cursed, which caused Syl to run away. When Lopen and Teft found him, Kaladin fled, overwhelmed at his new discovery.
That night, Kaladin came across Hoid, who told him the story of Derethil and the Wandersail, a story that Kaladin interpreted as one about taking responsibility. Before Hoid left, he gave Kaladin a Trailman's flute and charged him with looking after his apprentice, Sigzil, who he now graduated to a full Worldsinger. Syl, who was present for the story, returned to Kaladin and explained she was behind what was happening to him. Syl offered to cut off their bond, but it would leave them both crippled. However, Kaladin decided to accept the responsibility that Surgebinding represented and use the power to help others.
Kaladin spent the next week trying to learn how to use his Surgebinding powers with Teft’s help with little to no success while Bridge Four continued to train under Rock’s leadership. While trying to learn Surgebinding, Teft told Kaladin what he knew of the Knights Radiant, teaching him the First Ideal of the Immortal Words.
”Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.—First Ideal of the Knights Radiant
Their training was interrupted when Hashal came to visit. She informed Kaladin that Bridge Four would now go on every bridge run, citing they were a “model” for the other crews. They would no longer get the normal break between runs, a further reprisal for the side carry incident, and would now do chasm duty at night. Responding to the increased danger this change brought, Kaladin came up with a plan to use the skins of dead Parshendi found in the chasms as armor. In order to bring the armor out of the chasms, Kaladin successfully managed to use his powers to run up a wall and attach the armor to the underside of the permanent bridge they originally used to hide the spheres.
During one of the next bridge runs, Kaladin donned the carapace armor and ran ahead of the bridge crews, drawing the attention of the Parshendi. The desecration of a Parshendi corpse enraged the warriors who focused all of their efforts on Kaladin, ignoring everyone else on the battlefield. Drawing in Stormlight, Kaladin dodged arrows, his muscles reacting quickly. As Bridge Four came into range, an arrow cut open Kaladin’s arm, but to his surprise, it began to seal up instead of bleed. Continuing to serve as a distraction, Kaladin’s Surgebinding abilities protected him and the bridge crews from any harm, marking his plan a resounding success. While Bridge Four was resting and watching Kaladin treat a Thaylen man, a group of Parshendi soldiers attempted to ambush them. However, Dalinar Kholin came to their rescue and saluted them as he left. Given the success of the carapace armor, Matal gave Kaladin permission to outfit all of Bridge Four in the armor, with his wife Hashal claiming it was her idea the entire time. He set Leyten, an apprentice armorer, to work on making the sets of carapace armor with the help of the wounded men. Meanwhile, the spearmen’s training advanced rapidly, with Moash and Skar emerging as the most skilled.
Battle of the Tower
Ten days later, on Tanatashev 1173, Bridge Four participated in the Battle of the Tower, where the combined armies of Highprinces Sadeas and Dalinar assaulted the Tower. By this time, they had not only perfected using the carapace armor and large wooden shields, but they had made enough sets to outfit the entire unit. Kaladin led the charge, staying in front of the other decoys, trying to distract the Parshendi forces as best he could. However, his efforts weren’t as successful as the first time he donned the armor. Five bridge crews dropped, slaughtered right where they ran. While Bridge Four fared better, they didn’t arrive unscathed. Skar and Teft both suffered injuries, which Kaladin tended to once they reached the Tower. Once Kaladin finished, he surveyed the battlefield and to his surprise, Sadeas was retreating. At first, he thought something must be wrong, but then he quickly realized that Sadeas had set up a trap, abandoning Dalinar and his men on the Tower with no means of escape.
Bridge Four retreated with the rest of Sadeas’ army, lagging behind so they could carry their wounded. As Kaladin carried the bridge, he had the idea of using the battle to escape, allowing the army to think that his men had been killed. Once Matal agreed to leave them behind, Kaladin explained the details of the escape to the men and offered to stay behind with the wounded men. Bridge Four protested, but Kaladin commanded them to stick to the plan. However, there was more than just the wounded men plaguing him. Looking back to the Tower, he watched as Dalinar and his men continued fighting. The men of Bridge Four asked if there was anything they could do, but Kaladin refused, claiming it would be suicide. Syl, who had taken up the form of a full-sized person, spoke up and revealed that she remembered being an honorspren, a spirit of oaths, promises, and nobility. After a moment of internal conflict, Kaladin ordered his men to turn around and head back towards Dalinar’s army.
Kaladin led Bridge Four as they charged the plateau in hopes of giving Dalinar’s army a chance to escape. He was filled with one purpose only and that was to protect. He ran ahead, dodging arrows, but he quickly realized something was wrong. Syl drew his attention back to Bridge Four and the many arrows pointed at their unshielded flank. He ordered them to go into the side carry position to deflect the arrows, something they hadn’t done in weeks. Reaching his crew, he turned just in time to see more archers behind them drawing for a large volley. He screamed and threw every bit of Stormlight he could into his shield, pulling over a hundred arrows into it. Seeing what Kaladin had done, both groups of Parshendi that had released volleys turned and fled. Knowing that Kaladin was in no condition to run the bridge, Moash led the rest of the men onwards to help Dalinar. Kaladin crawled to the edge of the chasm and asked Syl if she could help make him stronger, but she shook her head. As he listened to the sounds of war and death around him, he was transported back to the most horrible of days, the day Tien died. When he snapped out of his trance, Syl asked him if he knew the Words. Wanting to save his men, Kaladin took up a spear and spoke the Second Ideal of the Windrunners, progressing his path to becoming a member of the Knights Radiant.
”I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.—Second Ideal of the Windrunners
Kaladin fought with amazing prowess, his natural talents enhanced to unnatural levels by Stormlight. He single-handedly engaged and defeated dozens of Parshendi. Kaladin and his men held the bridge until Dalinar’s soldiers were able to fight their way to them. During the brief respite, the bridgeleader checked on his men, learning they had suffered three casualties and several injuries. Kaladin organized the retreat, putting Teft in charge of the bridgemen and keeping Moash by his side. Upon closer inspection of the Alethi soldiers, Kaladin realized that neither Highprince Dalinar nor Adolin were with them. Heading back to the front lines, Kaladin found the Cobalt Guard, the group sworn to protect Adolin, still fighting. Knowing they wouldn’t leave without their highprince, Kaladin searched for Adolin and ordered him to retreat. However, Adolin refused to leave without his father. Kaladin convinced him to go with Moash while he went to retrieve Dalinar. He leapt over the chasm to where Dalinar was fighting with Eshonai, both of whom were utilizing a full set of Shards. Fighting a Shardbearer for a second time, Kaladin rescued Dalinar and retreated with what remained of his army. Dalinar commended Kaladin for his actions and promised that he would ensure their safety from Sadeas.
A Promise Kept
When they arrived back at the warcamps, Kaladin and the rest of Bridge Four accompanied Dalinar to confront Sadeas. Dalinar offered to pay an exorbitant sum of money, sixty emerald broams each, for the freedom of each bridgemen, but Sadeas refused. Finally, Dalinar offered his Shardblade Oathbringer in exchange for the men, which proved to be an offer Sadeas couldn’t refuse. With the deal made, Dalinar walked up to a shocked Kaladin and instructed him to gather the men he left behind and go to his warcamp. Later that night, Dalinar offered to make the bridgemen soldiers in his army, with Bridge Four becoming his personal guard. Kaladin accepted an appointment to the rank of captain, agreeing after Dalinar promised him an extraordinary amount of authority and autonomy for a darkeyes.
Kholin's Bodyguard (1173-1174)
Rebuilding the Army
After the massive casualties at the Battle of the Tower, Kaladin was tasked with turning the remaining bridgemen into a standing army. He promoted Teft, Moash, Skar, Rock and Sigzil to lieutenants, a rank between captain and sergeant, to form a command structure for a thousand men. More specifically, Kaladin named Rock quartermaster, with Lopen as his second, and appointed Sigzil to be their clerk as he was the only one who could read glyphs. He put Teft in charge of training, suggesting that he combine the remaining bridgemen into twenty crews and train two members in each to go back and train the others. Kaladin promised a few men to assist Teft, but explained that would have to do as most of Bridge Four, including Moash and Skar, would be needed to keep Dalinar alive. Without the highprince, Kaladin feared that the bridgemen would just be sold back to Torol Sadeas by his successor. With word spreading that the emperor of Azir was dead at the hands of the Assassin in White, Kaladin reminded Teft that the assassin had already killed Gavilar and they just had to hope he was done. Regardless, they had to protect Dalinar at all costs.
Freedom, Bridge Four
Once in agreement, they rounded up the rest of the men in Bridge Four and went to get their slave brands covered with tattoos. Hobber sat down first, with each man following, receiving tattoos that said “Freedom, Bridge Four.” Sitting down last, Kaladin closed his eyes and waited for the tattooist to finish. She cursed, revealing that the tattoo ink wouldn’t take. Kaladin sighed, realizing he was unconsciously holding Stormlight in his veins. He banished the Stormlight and she tried again, the ink taking this time. He looked in the mirror, seeing his slave brands covered up for a moment. Syl landed on his shoulder and he unconsciously sucked in Stormlight which melted the tattoo. The tattooist cursed again and picked up her rag, preparing to try again. However, Kaladin insisted that it was fine and tossed a small bag of spheres to the tattooist.
”The scars haven’t finished with me yet, it appears. I’ll try again another time.—Kaladin to the rest of Bridge Four when his tattoo melted away
Upon Bridge Four’s return to the barracks, Rind was waiting for them with their new Cobalt Guard uniforms. While the men eagerly tried on their uniforms, Teft hesitated, unsure if he deserved to wear something like this again. Kaladin objected, saying the uniform was what he was and not to let the slave rule him. Teft countered, asking Kaladin when he was going to admit he was doing the same thing. Teft tried to convince him that he needed to show Dalinar that he was a Surgebinder and a lighteyes. However, Kaladin confessed that he had everything taken away from him by the lighteyes and for now, he couldn’t let them take this too. Dropping the subject, Teft put on his uniform and joined the others. With the uniforms sorted out, the men cut off the insignia of the Cobalt Guard, declaring themselves Bridge Four.
Becoming What Dalinar Needs
Kaladin set up rotations to protect Dalinar, always assigning himself, Moash, or Skar for the Blackthorn. After a small council, Dalinar wished for Kaladin and his best men to take on more duties extending to protecting Navani, his sons and eventually King Elhokar himself. Dalinar confessed that there may have already been an attempt on the king’s life when the gemstones on his Shardplate seemed to be sabotaged. Unsure of who to trust, Dalinar asked Kaladin to familiarize himself with how the King’s Guard works and to learn from them. Once their training was complete, Kaladin would be in charge of a new group guarding the king consisting of some of the old King’s Guard and Kaladin’s own men. Kaladin worried that his men were stretched thin, but Dalinar said he was not alone in that problem.
During a trip to the chasms, Kaladin asked Syl what she thought about Dalinar’s plan to reform the Knights Radiant. She exclaimed that not only was it a wonderful idea, but she was jealous that he thought of it first. He then asked her if a spren could be writing the glyphs on the wall. While she didn’t know, Syl admitted that she had seen a spren like red lightning, a dangerous spren. Kaladin asked Syl if there were more like him. Though she expected the question, she didn’t answer him at first. She eventually told him that there were others like him as spren, those she didn’t know, tried to reclaim what was lost. Syl goes on to say that Kaladin has to become what Dalinar is looking for and not to make him search in vain.
While in the chasms, Sigzil conducted some baseline tests of Kaladin’s Surgebinding abilities with Rock and Lopen’s assistance. They had to rely on counting as Sigzil didn’t have a proper clock to time Kaladin, nor did he even know how to measure Stormlight. Kaladin suggested that they use chips since they were weighed before being encased in glass. However, Sigzil worried that he was wasting Kaladin’s time as there was still so much about Stormlight that they didn’t know. Lopen reassured him that it wasn’t a waste and asked if Kaladin could stick him to the wall. Able to do so, Rock commented that this skill could be very useful in battle. They continued to experiment further with his new abilities, the others taking up spears to test him. Just like with his spear, Kaladin knew these new abilities would take lots of practice. This meant Kaladin would have to find a new person like himself to spar with. Calling it a day, the men returned to the warcamp and to the news that a hero had come to the Shattered Plains. Kaladin’s heart became ice when he heard the hero was none other than Highlord Amaram, the man who stole Kaladin’s Shardblade and branded him a slave.
Preparing for the Assassin in White
Kaladin led a patrol through the Lighteyes' training grounds with Moash and Drehy, to guard Adolin and Renarin. Syl encouraged Kaladin to tell Dalinar about Amaram, but he refused, thinking he wouldn't be believed. Kaladin talked with Zahel, an ex-soldier ardent, but was left alone soon after. Kaladin asked Syl if she found Zahel weird, and she replied saying all humans other than Rock seemed weird. Later, Kaladin watched Zahel train Renarin. Zahel was having Renarin jump off the roof of the grounds to practice being comfortable with Shardplate's strength. Kaladin mocked Renarin's clumsiness, but Zahel countered, saying Renarin had a good attitude about it. Zahel offered Kaladin the chance to train under him, but Kaladin declined. Kaladin participated in a mock duel with Zahel, who used a blunted Shardblade. Kaladin lost, but Zahel believed Kaladin could have given someone enough time to escape in a real fight. Adolin, who had been practicing further away, insulted Kaladin, which angered him. Kaladin charged at Adolin in a fit of rage, but was quickly defeated, as Adolin was wearing Shardplate. Zahel berated the prince for his carelessness. Kaladin used Stormlight to heal himself, and ran at Adolin again, only to lose his strength and collapse. Zahel commended Kaladin for his quick thinking, but claimed it would not be enough against a Shardbearer. Kaladin asked Syl why his energy suddenly dissapeared, and she responded, saying he was not protecting anyone while attacking Adolin.
During each highstorm, Kaladin gathered all those who were under his protection in one location to make it easier to keep them safe. However, he blamed himself when the countdown to the Everstorm continued to appear. After a particular highstorm, King Elhokar was nearly killed after the railing of the balcony he was standing on broke free. Kaladin and Dalinar concluded that the support was cut with a Shardblade and that it was an assassination attempt.
Later, Kaladin approached Dalinar and told him about Amaram's betrayal and Kaladin's branding. Dalinar was doubtful, believing Amaram to be an honorable man, but agreed to look into it. This angered Kaladin, leaving him unsatisfied with Dalinar’s promise. Kaladin figured he'd take matters into his own hands, but Syl countered, saying Kaladin was not a Skybreaker and was worrying her.
Soon after, Dalinar requested that Kaladin and his men learn how to ride horses, as they might be useful in the future. The groom thought it was absurd for darkeyes to learn horseback riding, but she taught them anyways. Kaladin was hesitant to learn at first, but he did so anyway, at the wishes of Dalinar. At first, he rode an old, mellow horse named Spray, until Adolin rode by and taunted him for not riding a fast horse. He jokingly told Kaladin he should ride Dreamstorm, a wild and violent horse. Kaladin decided to do so, and mounted the horse. As it bucked him wildly, he was forced to lash himself to the saddle using Adhesion, lest he get flung off. He was whipped around, until he finally ran out of Stormlight, flinging him several feet in the air and landing across the stable. The attempt impressed Adolin, so he apologized for taunting him. Kaladin talked with Natam about the assassination attempt, and who was on the balcony. Natam told Kaladin that the only person on the balcony after the storm was Moash, before riding away.
The next highstorm, Kaladin had a dream in which the Stormfather visited him. The Stormfather said that Kaladin would soon betray Syl, thereby killing her. When he woke up, Syl told him that something was wrong, and that The One Who Hates was coming. Kaladin, trusting Syl's word, entered Dalinar's room and warned the of the impending danger. Dalinar trusted Kaladin's instincts, so he retrieved the king and they all fled from the palace. Hobber and Beld scouted ahead, while Moash and Elinor stayed by Elhokar. As they ran, they came to a dark hallway with the spheres drained and a large cut in the wall. Szeth appeared from the darkness shortly after. Kaladin, Dalinar, and Adolin fought Szeth, while Renarin and other Bridge Four members escorted the king out of the palace. Eventually, Adolin was defeated and Kaladin's arm was severed by Szeth's Honorblade. This left Dalinar to fend for himself. As Dalinar fought Szeth, Kaladin arrived and pushed both him and Szeth through the hole in wall, and they tumbled to the ground. As they fell to the ground, Kaladin consumed Stormlight from Szeth's reserves, which allowed him to heal himself from the fall. Szeth was shocked at Kaladin's survival, and denied the return of the Knights Radiant. He fled after he saw Kaladin heal his arm, and Kaladin collapes from exhaustion.
Kaladin soon woke up and reentered the palace, searching for any dead or injured. He found Dalinar and the others resting and tending to any wounded. Dalinar expressed his surprise at Kaladin's survival, and Kaladin lied, saying he lived due to Szeth's abilites. Kaladin left to search for his men, and found Beld's dead body, along with Hobber, who had lost his legs from Szeth's blade. Upon seeing he could barely defend against a Shardbearer, visited Zahel and asked if he could train under him.
Kaladin continued to lead training of the bridge crews, and assigned Teft to train Bridge Seventeen in the chasms. Kaladin wanted to defeat Szeth, now that the bridgemen were mostly safe. While he surveyed training, Kaladin met with Sigzil, Rock, and Lopen, to further discuss Kaladin's abilities. After many attempts, Kaladin fianlly Lashed himself to the chasm wall. Kaladin experimented a little, before he and the others returned to the barracks. They were met with a tense dinner gathering. Renarin Kholin had come to the fire, and asked Kaladin if he could join Bridge Four. Kaladin allowed him to join, albeit with discomfort at letting a lighteyes join their ranks. Moash, Teft, and a few other bridgmen requested Kaladin go out with them to get drinks, but Kaladin declined the offer, and got some stew.
After accepting Zahel's offer to train, Kaladin, Teft, Moash, and Yake visited the training grounds. Zahel had them each practice with one of the King's blades to get comfortable with the sight at one. They also practiced basic sword stances, which would allow them to better attack and defend against a Shardbearer. While taking a break, Kaladin noticed Shallan enter, who had come to update the Shardblade and Plate record. He walked with Adolin towards her, and they shared some banter. Kaladin returned to the water barrel, and Moash arrived shortly after. They discussed the reason for Moash's hatred towards the King, and Kaladin agreed to meet with the Moash's partners. He talked with Syl about what was right, and mentioned Dalinar's maneuver when fighting Szeth to Zahel, a lastclap, before training some more with the other men.
Kaladin surveyed some of the bridge crews one night, before Syl convinced him to relax a litle and get some stew. He made his way back to Bridge Four's barracks, and was met with two Herdazians: Lopen's "cousins." Kaladin found Shen stacking bags of grain in the storage room, and Kaladin apologized for being hesitant to arm Shen. He handed a spear to Shen, before being called out by Moash. Upon Moash's prompting, Kaladin agreed to get drinks with some of the bridgemen. When they arrived, Peet got them a table and Rock told the story of his people. Eventually, Moash took Kaladin aside, and they met with Graves and some others, including Danlan, a women Adolin had previously courted. Graves asked Kaladin to consider assisting them on their mission to assassinate Elhokar, and Kaladin hesitantly agreed, to Syl's dismay. As they left the room, Kaladin forbid Moash from talking or meeting with Graves and the others again.
”How long had it been since he felt this good, this triumphant, this alive?—Kaladin reflecting on his flight
One night, Kaladin strolled along the Shattered Plains, looking for the place at which he met Wit, months before. Upon reaching the desired location, Kaladin stepped off the edge, plummeting into the chasm. After sucking in Stormlight to assist with the landing, he took off in a jog and practiced Lashing himself to the walls of the chasm. After some time, he was able to do so without stumbling, and was soon able to repeatadly Lash himself quicker and more accurately. He threw caution aside and Lashed himself upward, towards the sky, and experienced true freedom and triumph for the first time after Tien's death. Soon, he was hurtling past chasms and plataues at incredible speeds. Kaladin Lashed himself higher and higher, before reluctantly returning to the ground, fearing he would run out of Stormlight. He conversed with Syl for a moment, before he retured to the warcamps. But rather than returning to Dalinar's camp, he traveled to Sadeas', realizing he could kill Amaram right then and there. Syl pleaded for him not to and reminded Kaladin of the experience he just had. Intent on not tainting the memory, Kaladin returned to Dalinar's camp. Upon returning, he encountered Shen, who said he was had to leave, and gave Kaladin his real name: Rlain. He then departed.
Adolin was guarded under Kaladin on the day he was supposed to meet with Shallan. As the pair made their way to the carriage, Kaladin realized the driver was none other than Wit. As the carriage moved along, Kaladin spoke with Wit, who revealed he knew about Kaladin's abilities. When they arrived at Sebarial's camp, Shallan hugged Wit, to everyone's surprise. Kaladin accompanied the couple to a menagerie in the Outer Market. On the way there, he rode in the carriage with Adolin and Shallan, as he was suspicious of her. Upon their arrival at the menagerie, Kaladin realized Wit was gone, replaced with one of Adolin's servants. Kaladin talked with Syl and walked with Adolin and Shallan as they observed the animals. Soon, Dalinar arrived, accompanied by Amaram, who was wearing a strange cloak. Dalinar then announced that the Knights Radint had been reestablished, with Amaram at their head.
”Honor is dead. But I'll see what I can do. If this goes poorly, take care of my men.—Kaladin to Dalinar before jumping into the arena.
During Adolin's duel against Relis Ruthar, Elit Ruthar, Abrobadar, and Jakamav, Kaladin guarded Dalinar and Elhokar while they watched the duel. After seeing Renarin enter the arena and quickly fall to the ground, Kaladin proclaimed honor dead, and asked Dalinar to take care of his men if things went poorly, before jumping into the arena to help Adolin.
As he entered the arena, Syl promised this would be different than when Kaladin defended Amaram. Relis ignored Kaladin at first, but quickly realized his opponents' skill. Kaladin regrouped with Adolin and told him to focus on breaking their opponents Shardplate. Adolin requested Kaladin watch out for Renarin, who was very vulnerable. Kaladin drew Relis' attention while Adolin fought Elit and Jakamav. Relis dueled Kaladin for a short time, but then returned to fight Adolin. Kaladin used a lashing-enhanced kick to knock Relis down, breaking his own legs in process, though he was able to heal them using Stormlight. Kaladin noticed that he cracked some of Relis' shards with his kick. Adolin's own armor was mostly cracked, though he managed to land a strong blow on Elit's chest plate, cracking it and slowing Elit greatly, giving Kaladin the chance to force Elit to yeald.
The remaining three opponents gathered to battle Adolin, while Renarin sat alone in the sand. Kaladin demanded Elit give him his helm, who complied, and used it as a armored gauntlet, then continued to help Adolin. Relis and Jakamav both tried to attack Kaladin, but he was able to dodge their Shardblades or block them with the helm, until he ran out of Stormlight. At this point, Kaladin realized that he had been feeding it to the Plate in order to keep it from shattering. Kaladin eventually was backed against a wall, until Adolin appeared and grappled Jakamav to the ground. Kaladin noticed that Abrobadar had been defeated by Adolin as well. Relis, the last man standing, rushed toward Renarin, who was vulnerable. Kaladin followed, and yelled for Renarin to yield, however Renarin only dismissed his Blade, and did nothing more. Relis raised his Blade toward Renarin, but ended up swinging it at Kaladin, who then caught it in a lastclap. Relis heard the scream that came from Kaladin holding a Shardblade, and ran from the arena, forfeiting the duel. Jakamav demanded for Adolin to fight him as he was held down. Rather than actually fighting, Kaladin placed his knife in a crack in Jakamav's plate, and told him to yield. Jakamav yielded and Adolin was declared the victor. Adolin laughed joyously at the spoils he won and asked Kaladin to help him remove his drained armor.
Elhokar announced how impressed he was by the duel, and offered Adolin a boon. Kaladin noticed Sadeas trying to leave the arena, but before Sadeas could slip away, Adolin demanded the right to duel Sadeas, right then and there. Kaladin, who realized this was his chance to duel Amaram, also demanded the right to challenge him, for his crimes of murder and obstruction of justice, which caused Amaram to cower. Next to Kaladin, Adolin groaned, and the crowd silenced. Elhokar ordered Kaladin to be arrested.
After the duel, Dalinar, Elhokar, and Kaladin conversed in Dalinar's rooms. Kaladin sat chained to a seat, while Dalinar and Elhokar argued. Elhokar argued for Kaladin getting punished, Dalinar against. Eventually, they reached a compromise: imprisonment. Elhokar left, and Dalinar berated Kaladin for his actions. Soldiers soon came to take Kaladin, all of them respectful. As he shuffled through the camp, the eyes of soldiers and scribes fell upon him. When Kaladin reached his cell, he promised to never trust a lighteyes ever again.
Kaladin's prison cell was nicer than most, but he still hated it. He talked with Syl about Dalinar, and said he was just like all the other lighteyes, though he quickly took it back. He tried to consume Stormlight from a nearby gem, but failed. Soon, Wit entered unannounced, and sat on a bench. He carried a stringed instrument, which he was tuning. Despite Kaladin's reluctance, Wit began his story, one of a man named Fleet. In the story, Fleet raced against a highstorm across Roshar. In the end, Fleet reached Shinovar but collapsed and died from exhaustion, leaving his spirit to live in the storms. As Wit told the story, Kaladin interjected between lines, prompting Wit to continue. Kaladin was able to clearly see Fleet and the story being told in his head while his eyes were closed. As the tale came to a close, Wit and Kaladin discussed the origin of stories, before Wit left.
Life dragged on in Kaladin's cell, though his accommodations were nice. When Dalinar entered the room, Kaladin jumped to attention and saluted him. They spoke about Elhokar and Dalinar's attempts to free Kaladin. Dalinar revealed what he knew about Roshone and how he ended up in Hearthstone, much to Kaladin's surprise. Dalinar encouraged Kaladin to act better, lest he ruin the reputation Kaladin had built for darkeyes. Upon Dalinar's departure, Kaladin contemplated what he would do, eventually coming to the decision that Elhokar had to die.
As Kaladin's release seemed to seem further and further away, the gloom drew closer. Kaladin was able to reach the nearby gem and suck in some Stormlight, albeit a very small amount. Syl worried about Kaladin and started to grow distant. Finally, Kaladin was released. As he left his cell, Kaladin realized Adolin had locked himself up, in protest of Kaladin's imprisonment. When Kaladin and Adolin exited the room, Bridge Four was there to greet them, saluting and cheering. Adolin offered a full set of Shards to Kaladin, though he declined, and instead gave them to Moash. As Moash eagerly put on the armor, Rock demanded they all celebrate with a feast, and Bridge Four retreated to their barracks. Kaladin helped put the rest of Moash's armor on and agreed to help "accomplish their task." Moash ran to the sparring grounds to practice with Shardplate, and Kaladin rejoined Bridge Four.
In the Chasms
Kaladin joined Dalinar, Adolin, and Shallan on a scouting expedition across the Shattered Plains. As they crossed the plateaus, Kaladin noticed Syl's absence, and his inability to consume Stormlight. Dalinar talked with Kaladin regarding Renarin's inclusion in Bridge Four and how it was affecting him. Then, Kaladin talked to Adolin about a potential attack from Szeth, and how they would defend against him. Eventually, they reached the final scouting plateau, one that has a dead chasmfiend on top. As Kaladin carried a bridge with Bridge Four across a machanical one, a carpenter from Sadeas' camp pulled an emergency lever, which caused the bridge to collapse, sending Kaladin and Shallan to plummet into the chasms. As they fall, Kaladin managed to suck in a small amount of Stormlight, saving his life. Shallan did the same, though neither recongnized the other as Radiant. They wandered the chasms for a while, and begin to argue. Soon, they heard a large scraping noise: a chasmfiend. Shallan began to lure the chasmfiend toward them, so she could get a sketch of a live one, much to Kaladin's dismay. Eventually, they left and continued back towards the warcamps. They bantered for a bit, Kaladin assuming Shallan's life was easy and pampered. Shallan responded saying that her father was abusive, and that her life was far from easy. Syl continued to dissapear at random times and not respond to Kaladin's pleas.
Soon, they heard a chasmfiend again, and they hid in a small fissure to escape it. The chasmfiend swiped at them, but was unable to hit them. Kaladin planned to fight it, but Shallan, desperate for a way to escape, gave him her Shardblade to fight with. Kaladin jumped out of the fissure and they both distracted the chasmfiend, Shallan with Lightweavings and Kaladin with a Shardblade. The chasmfiend managed to bite Kaladin in the leg, severely weakening him, though as it came for another attack, Kaladin stabbed it in the heart with the Shardblade, finally killing it. As the highstorm approached, the pair grew gloomy at their imminent death. Kaladin realized they could use Shallan's Blade to cut a cubby out of the chasm wall, which would provide them protection from the storm. Shallan climbed upon the chasmfiend's back and started cutting handholds upward towards the water line. Finally, she finished, and started helping Kaladin climb up, as his leg was weakened. Kaladin barely reached the cubby as the stormwall hit. Kaladin received a vision from the Stormfather, in which he was told he had betrayed Syl, killing her. When the storm ended, the pair found their way back to the warcamps, with Bridge Four there to meet them. Dalinar soon came, and Kaladin saluted him, despite his leg. Dalinar tells everyone to meet the needs of Kaladin, as he was a hero for bringing back Shallan.
The Third Ideal (1174)
After his return from the chasms, Kaladin stayed at the warcamps to heal, as Syl had disappeared. He went to the starting plateau to see Bridge Four off on the expedition to the center of the Shattered Plains. Dalinar noticed Kaladin, and asked Amaram, who was nearby, to come speak with him. Dalinar confronts Amaram about the rumors about him. Amaram confessed as Dalinar placed his Shardblade at Amaram's throat. Dalinar told him to take off his Radiant cloak, and lets him go, despite Kaladin's protest. Kaladin thanked Dalinar, and left to go rest.
With the Weeping underway, Kaladin felt the darkness return. Moash visited him and went over the plan to assassinate Elhokar. Kaladin walked through the empty camp, and tried to put his losses behind him. When he returned to his barracks, he found Elhokar there, and they conversed about Elhokar's confidence as king. Elhokar mentioned that Kaladin felt special, and that the shadows that haunted him vanished when he was near. He apologized for imprisoning Kaladin, then left. Later, Kaladin walked throught the lighteyes' sparring grounds, and talked to Zahel. He asked about Wit, and tried practicing with a spear, though his weakened leg . Kaladin then came to the realization that Elhokar is Dalinar's Tien, before quickly making his way to the palace.
When Kaladin returned to the palace, he found no guards, worrying him further. When he entered the king's room, he found Elhokar lying on a couch, unmoving. Kaladin realized quickly after that the king was drunk, not incapacitated. He said that assassins were coming and that they needed to leave. As they do, one of Graves' men appeared and stabbed Elhokar in the side, before Kaladin stabbed the man with his spear. As they fled, Moash and Graves appeared, both in Shardplate. Kaladin argued with Moash about what was right, and Moash readied himself to fight. Moash attacked Kaladin, and Kaladin fell to the ground. Graves and Moash attempted to make it look like Szeth attacked, and Kaladin heard an argument between Syl and the Stormfather. Kaladin stood, though with great difficulty, and placed himself in front of Elhokar. He then said the third ideal of the Windrunners, at Syl's direction.
”I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.—Third Ideal of the Windrunners.
Syl finally returned to Kaladin, in the form of a Shardblade. He sucked in Stormlight and healed himself, exploding with power, which caused Graves and Moash to flee. Syl told Kaladin that something was very wrong.
”The sky and the winds are mine, I claim them. Just as I now claim your life.—Kaladin to Szeth
While Dalinar and the others were fighting the Parshendi, Kaladin plummeted towards the Shattered Plains, rejuvenated with power. Szeth, who had come to kill Dalinar, reacted in horror at Kaladin's arrival. Bridge Four tossed infused gems to Kaladin, prompting him to attack Szeth, seeking revenge for the fallen bridgemen.
As Kaladin and Szeth clashed in the skies, the two storms raged below. Kaladin wondered why a highstorm had come, and Syl answered, saying the Parshendi had summoned it. Syl became a spear to help Kaladin better parry Szeth's blows, who was denying the return of the Radiants. Kaladin fought Szeth expertly, using different forms of Syl to defend and attack. Because of the hightstorm below, Kaladin's gemstones were renewed with Stormlight. After fighting for some time, Szeth returned to the ground to kill Dalinar, and Kaladin followed. Upon landing, the pair found an empty plateau, with no signs of activity. Szeth realized that the armies had used the Oathgate and traveled to Urithiru, and flew off to the west, with Kaladin in pursuit. Kaladin managed to stab Szeth in the foot, and then hit Szeth in the shoulder. Szeth finally acknowledged the truth, realizing he was never Truthless. Szeth stopped, and Kaladin went for a killing blow, but sliced Szeth's wrist instead, causing him to drop his Honorblade. Without the Blade, Szeth plummeted into the storms and chasms below. Kaladin grabbed the Blade out of the sky, and gave Syl and compliment. Kaladin returned to the ground, and found some of Bridge Four there, before using the Oathgate to transport them to Urithiru.
Kaladin met with Dalinar and Shallan, with Dalinar revealing he was a Bondsmith and had bonded with the Stormfather. Kaladin decided he would return to Hearthstone, to reunite with his parents and save them from Roshone.
Return to Alethkar (1174)
Returning to Hearthstone
Kaladin traveled to Hearthstone to warn his parents about the approaching Everstorm, doing what he could to prepare other villages and towns as he went. However, he was too late as the Everstorm had already struck. Walking through the destruction, Kaladin was surprised to find light emanating from the manor house. Entering the house, Kaladin was stopped by one of Roshone's soldiers.
The guard led Kaladin through the manor where the sounds of wounded led Kaladin to a makeshift triage room. There, he found his father, Lirin, and his mother, Hesina, attending to the wounded. After an emotional reunion, the soldiers insisted that Kaladin be taken to Roshone. Lirin offers to buy his writ of slavery, insisting that they will not take his son, lest they have to find themselves another surgeon. Kaladin observes the wounded, determining they were not signs of battle, but rather of natural disaster. The soldiers sent for Roshone who was surprised to see Kaladin alive and insistent on seeing his brands. Before the conversation went much further, Kaladin punched Roshone for his friend Moash.
Kaladin apologizes for his actions and promises not to hit the brightlord again, but rather that they need to talk. Roshone refused at first and insisted that his soldiers attack Kaladin, but they refuse after Kaladin summons Syl. The brightlord tells Kaladin that the parshmen escaped, but they fled instead of attacking the city. Kaladin asks what direction they went, but Roshone's soldiers do not know. Kaladin promises to tell Elhokar about the city's destroyed food supply. In return, he requests a horse to go hunt the parshmen and tells Roshone that he can't stay. He warns the brightlord that he must stand up and lead his people. Laral promises they will do it and arranges for Kaladin to use a spanreed. Kaladin questions whether or not she is truly happy and he is surprised to find she is content with her life in Hearthstone. Kaladin dropped the argument and returned to see his father. Lirin is happy that he returned and is well, but is concerned that he is caught up in war. Kaladin tells him that he is a "watcher at the rim" and must do what he can to protect others. His father understands and asks him to see his mother before he leaves. On his way, he runs into Laral who has the spanreed set up for Kaladin. He gives an update to Dalinar, who encourages him to find out what the enemy is doing without taking any unnecessary risks. After their conversation, Kaladin goes to see Hesina who introduces him to his new brother, Oroden. Before leaving, Kaladin promises he will come back for Lirin, Hesina, and Oroden, but Lirin insists that he must stay if the Desolation is upon them. He assures them he will return and that Dalinar has refounded the Knights Radiant and this time, they will not fail them.
Finding the Parshmen (1174)
Upon his departure from Hearthstone, Kaladin pursued the Voidbringers. After two days, he arrived in the village of Hornhollow. There, the townspeople had gathered for a town meeting. Syl transformed herself into the shape of a Shardblade and he was welcomed by the crowd. A lighteyed man asked Kaladin if he'd rather rest and eat or attack the rogue parshmen. Kaladin ordered the man to take him to them.
An ardent informs him that the parshmen, about fifty in number and presumably in warform, sought the grain out specifically. Two men were hurt during the attack, Khem and another man. Kaladin then seeks out the citylord who tells him that his scouts know which direction the parshmen went, towards Kholinar. The citylord offers to have his men escort Kaladin, but he departs alone, saying they would only slow him down.
Traveling with the Parshmen
When Kaladin finally caught up to the Voidbringers, he was surprised to find they not only were playing cards, but that they looked very different than what he expected. Rather than being red and black marbled like Rlain, the parshmen's skin was marbled white and red. They were not wearing warform, nor did they have red eyes. Kaladin observed them for awhile and tells Syl they had been wrong. These parshmen weren't the destroyers they had been told about. One of their number noticed him, sounding the alarm. As they took up their cudgels, Kaladin hesitated. Though he knew he could easily defeat them, it didn't sit right, so he surrendered instead.
The parshmen bound Kaladin to a tree while they debated what to do with him. Against Khen's wishes, they didn't kill him, but yet pulled him by a rope as they traveled. Kaladin talked up Sah, his captor, explaining card game strategies to him. As they walked, Kaladin realized that the parshmen weren't monsters, they were just slaves, like him. Sah argued that Kaladin couldn't possibly understand what they had been through, but Kaladin felt he did understand a little. Continuing on, Syl panicked, worried that the parshmen could see her or at least the spren could. Syl explained that the spren leading the parshmen must be from him, a Voidspren. Syl stayed close to Kaladin, just in case he needed to summon her.
Kaladin eventually spoke up, complimenting the parshmen and offering them assistance in their travels. Sah refuses and they continue their pace until they stop for a break. Sah's little girl, Vai, brings Kaladin some water and she asks him why his people won't leave them alone. He struggles to figure out how to explain the war and her ancestors to a seven-year-old. She retreats as the parshmen make camp and Kaladin asks Syl to help cut his rope. Rather than summoning her as a Blade, he dropped a rock alerting the parshmen to his freedom. He asked for his knife so he can build a fire and after a short conference, they allowed him to do just that.
Over the next few days, Kaladin spent his time showing the parshmen how to cook food, bind wounds, and build equipment. Sah becomes frustrated though that he needs Kaladin's help at all, that he fled one master just to have to listen to him explain things that he should already know. Kaladin explained that "freedom" is a strange word and that despite serving another brightlord, he feels more free now than ever. Once Sah finished the hatchet, he asked Kaladin why he isn't afraid to show them these things. Kaladin explained that he has a choice and that it doesn't have to come to war. Despite his own words, Kaladin fears that the war is inevitable, so Syl encourages him to find the middle ground.
Kaladin secured a private storm bunker for the growing group of parshmen in the Vamah city of Revolar after Syl warned him of an approaching highstorm. Khen was pleased with Kaladin's work and the group hunkered down for the storm. While it raged outside and Kaladin debated how much longer he could delay returning to Urithiru, the yellow Voidspren appeared beside him. Kaladin told her he could see her and she replied that she wanted him to. She asked Kaladin why he was still there and after a lie, he admitted that the world is changing and he wanted to see which way it went. She asked Kaladin if he would fight them and he questioned if he would be allowed. She admitted that the final decision isn't with her, as she is just a messenger, but that he will find out once they reach their destination. She finally asked Kaladin how he knew of the approaching highstorm. He said he felt it in his bones and she said humans can't feel storms. She gave him a knowing smile and then disappeared.
While in Revolar, the number of parshmen camping around the city continued to grow exponentially reaching at least 40,000-50,000 in number. Sah told Kaladin that the number was amazing, that he always imagined the parshmen having their own city and now they do. As they walked through the city, Kaladin saw not only signs of the Everstorm, but also of looting. He asked Sah is this what he wanted, to conquer a kingdom and destroy humankind. Sah confessed that he didn't know, but that he couldn't be a slave again. Kaladin countered that they are his people and that a war to exterminate one side or the other can't be the answer. Sah offered that maybe it doesn't have to be that way, but that he could fight alongside them in something bigger, oppressed against the oppressors. Once he passed where Syl was, she told him that there are a lot of yellow spren around and another highstorm is coming. As Khen's group approached the Parshendi leaders of the small town, the scribe evaluated them and asked about Kaladin's presence. Yixli spoke highly of him, but the scribe said that the Fused would have to label him free. He stepped out of line and saw a tall parshwoman with red eyes, like those of the Shattered Plains. Seeing the Fused, Kaladin knew it was time to go. He sucked in the Stormlight from Khen's pouch and took the pouch from her. He thanked Khen for her kindness, warned her of the impending storm, and said that no matter what she is told, he didn't wish to be her enemy.
He launched himself into the air as the Fused began to scream. Once in the air, Kaladin looked over the scores of parshmen and he told Syl he can't help but feel a kinship to them. She argued that they're Voidbringers and they conquered the city, but Kaladin explained that they are people who are angry and have good reason to be. He reminds her of how he felt about Elhokar, but she countered that he changed his mind. They continue to argue and Kaladin confessed that he just wanted an absolute right on this, not a moral code with exceptions. Kaladin looked down at the city once more and they both realized the parshmen guarding the humans had not done any preparations for the impending storm. Kaladin Lashed himself down to them and shouted warning of the highstorm. They just stared at him, so Kaladin summoned his Blade and warned the people to take refuge wherever they did during the last storms. He charged the parshmen guards to do better and that if they wanted to claim moral superiority over the humans, they have to treat them better than they were treated.
During the exchange with the guards, something crashed into Kaladin, tossing him backwards. As they grasped for his throat, Kaladin kicked them off and he Lashed himself into the air. The red-eyed parshman that attacked Kaladin glowed with what looked like dark Stormlight. Another creature appeared and Kaladin Lashed himself straight toward the stormwall. He pleaded with the Stormfather to show mercy and spare the people below. The Stormfather seemed to consider his request, but said it was something that could not be done. Kaladin zoomed to the ground hoping to find the people safe, but it was all for naught. He hit the ground and dropped Syl, seizing a young father, his son, and another woman. He led them to a group of two dozen people and walked with them. Consumed with pain, Kaladin sucked in Stormlight and deflected the storm while the battered people huddled behind him. He provided them with cover, diverting the storm long enough for the people to reach the bunker. Syl was impressed with what he had done, but Kaladin was dissatisfied that it wasn't enough. Kaladin pushed himself out of the stormwall and then rode in front of the storm for a good hour. Syl instructed Kaladin to follow the wind's nudging as the Stormfather's way of apologizing. He allowed the winds to channel him for hours and by the time the storm passed, he found himself outside of Urithiru.
Siege of Kholinar (1174)
Training and Recruiting Bridge Four Squires
The morning after his return, Sigzil came to Kaladin with a list of tasks and decisions for Kaladin to make. He had a lot of details of running an army to tend to. Together they went to the quartermaster's office to check out the royal emerald reserve, to be used for training. Later, Bridge Four went to train and hold try-outs on the Shattered Plains, with Rock providing food & drinks. King Elhokar came by to watch the training to ask Kaladin to join the Kholinar mission. Kaladin helped Hobber breath in Stormlight for the first time and Hobber start healing his legs. The group spotted smoke in the distance, they found a caravan that was attacked by Voidbringers. Among the caravan was Rock's family, who are introduced to Bridge Four.
Kaladin attended a conference of the Radiants and leaders. He argued with Jasnah about the motives of the Voidbringers, arguing that the common Parshsmen just want a place to live. He also vehemently disagreed with Jasnah's suggestion to find and kill the Heralds. Later Bridge Four continued training, with almost all of Bridge Four now being able to draw in Stormlight. Kaladin was worried that none of the new recruits had drawn in Stormlight yet, but by the end of the session Lyn was the first new recruit to do so. After a later training, Bridge Four gathered at Rock's cook fire to talk about fitting in, belonging, expectations, and how it sometimes made them feel alone. Afterwards Kaladin noticed Rlain sitting alone, and asked Rlain to explain how he felt.
Arriving in Kholinar
After his return, Elhokar asked Kaladin to join his mission to open the Kholinar Oathgate and transport the team by flying them with Lashings above the highstorm, which would constantly renew their Stormlight. Before doing so, Kaladin practiced transporting a large group in this manner by flying Dalinar, Navani, and others from the Oathgate in Stormseat to the warcamps, and by flying with Shallan to unlock the Thaylen City Oathgate after Queen Fen Rnamdi finally agrees to have it opened. Afterwards, Dalinar pulled Kaladin aside to inform him that as a Shardbearer, he was a lighteyes suitable to have a landed title. As such, he was granted an area of land on the Deathbend River.
After travelling to Thaylen City, Kaladin, along with Elhokar, Adolin, Shallan, Skar, Drehy, Ishnah, and Vathah, undertook a trip atop the next highstorm, using it as fuel to travel from the Shattered Plains to Kholinar. Along the way, he noted that although he cannot reproduce his ability to influence the strength of the winds, he did create a sort of 'channel' that kept the group together as they flew. During the trip, he also briefly had a conversation with Syl about his interest in Shallan, after he reflected on how she seemed to embrace flying above the storms. Once the group arrived, they discussed the beauty of the storm, and Kaladin split from the group to scout below the clouds. Over Kholinar, he identified the banners of humans rulers, and noted the construction of Singer stormshelters. Kaladin finally gave in to his urge to gawk, but was alarmed by the dark aura around the palace. Returning to the group, he consulted them and the group decided to sneak into Kholinar, regardless of the fact that it was still in human hands.
The group approached the city wearing disguises made by Shallan. Kaladin's illusion was particularly hideous. The king commanded Kaladin to succeed, believing that he himself would fail. The Wall Guard denied them entrance, but the group quickly entered when the guard was distracted by an attack of the Fused. Kaladin wanted to help the guards, but Adolin persuaded him to ignore it. They sheltered at Adolin's tailor's house, and made plans. Kaladin brought a letter from Elhokar to Shallan, for her to deliver to the palace. Meanwhile, he watched the palace and helped Shallan get back to the tailor's after she escaped.
Infiltrating the Wall Guard
During the next planning session, Elhokar charged Kaladin with infiltrating the Wall Guard. Adolin and Elhokar attended a lighteyes feast to gain contacts, and Kaladin went as the head of their guards. Before joining the lighteyed guard tent he went for a walk along the wall. A patrol of the guards met him, and immediately tried to recruit him. They offered him a free meal, no strings attached. Over the meal, the guards tried to recruit Kaladin with offers of regular meals and comradery. They were willing to ignore any man's history so long as he was able and willing to fight with them. Later Highmarshal Azure came by on her daily round, and Kaladin was flabbergasted to discover she was a woman and the Wall Guard kept that secret.
On Elhokar's orders, Kaladin joined the Wall Guard and went out with them on patrol. He quickly found a familiar sense of belonging with the squad and their banter. The squad helped deliver food to the city, followed by wall duty. Kaladin tried to get information about Azure out of the men. The wall was assaulted by the Fused and Kaladin started giving orders to get the defenders ready, but the attacks ended up elsewhere. Kaladin reported his findings to Adolin and Shallan while they waited out the highstorm in a winehouse. After the high storm, when his platoon was having dinner with Highmarshal Azure, Kaladin was sitting at the officers' table. The highmarshal and Kaladin had a barbed exchange, both trying to get information from the other without revealing anything themselves. They were interrupted when the wall was attacked.
Kaladin and Azure charged up the stairs to the wall and focus on the defense. The guard was in chaos under the coordinated attack. Kaladin took charge of a platoon and in the following fight was drawn into a one-on-one fight with a Fused. He managed to kill the Fused and forced himself to use only the bare minimum of stormlight to heal himself after the encounter. The Wall Guards were in awe as it was the first Fused killed. After the battle, Azure pointed out he assembled Voidbringer army, ready for the assault. When she heard about his kill, he reveals he is here on orders of the king. He convinced the highmarshal to reveal the hidden room lined with aluminum where the Soulcasters are working. In return, Kaladin told about the Oathgate and how it is the only way to save the city. The Wall Guard send five to six hundred troops led by Azure and Kaladin to join the assault on the palace.
Assault on the Royal Palace
When readying for the assault, Elhokar gave Kaladin the duty to save the Queen and the heir. While the other with the troops storm the palace, Kaladin, Shallan, Skar, and Drehy used their Radiant powers to engage and distract the Fused. They seized the Sunwalk and the eastern gallery, using Shallan's illusions to fake their death, and meet the others in the palace. Kaladin joined Elhokar to lead a force, including Noro's squad, up the stairs to the royal chambers. They found the queen, who has lost her mind and joined the enemy. Kaladin searched the room and Syl found little Gavinor surrounded by red spren. Using his Sylblade Kaladin cut one of the spren, and scared of the other spren. Elhokar and Kaladin then fled down the palace followed by the Queen's Guard. They were met at the bottom by a group of parshaman, led by Sah, Kaladin's friend. Kaladin froze when he noticed he had friends in multiple of the fighting groups, the conflicting loyalties overwhelming him. He tried to stop the fighting, but his efforts were in vain. He was watching Elhokar starting to speak the First Ideal, when Moash came in and killed the king. Drehy, Skar, and Adolin enter just in time to save Kaladin and pull him to safety. Kaladin was in shock and watched while Shallan activated the Oathgate and the group ended up accidentally in in Shadesmar.
Trip through Shadesmar (1174)
Kaladin, Syl, Shallan, Pattern, Azure, Adolin, and his Blade's deadeye found themselves stranded in Shadesmar. Kaladin immediately drew in Stormlight and started hovering, however, this drew the attention of all nearby spren. At Syl's increasingly urgent requests, he let go of the Light. Kaladin was in a broody mood and barely talked, despite Adolin's urging, while the group made their way to the land that represented the Windrunner River in the Physical Realm. They made camp as they were all exhausted.
The next morning, Kaladin was sitting on a rock watching the surroundings when Syl came to speak to him. She asked why he didn't sleep, and he evaded the question. She knew something was wrong with him, despite his denials. Later, Adolin started performing a morning kata; Azure joined him, as did Kaladin, who still struggles with the movements. The group discussed their supplies and strategy. Kaladin pressed to go back to the Oathgate to help the city. Moreover, he was shocked to learn about Shadesmar and the existence of spren cities among other things. The group marched along the peninsula corresponding to Windrunner River in the Physical Realm. Kaladin was frustrated and felt like they are abandoning Kholinar and its people, though was aware his thoughts were irrational and linked to his depression coming back.
When the reached the lighthouse at the end of the peninsula, Kaladin tried to sneak up on it. As he attracted anticipationspren, he was quickly spotted by the lighthouse keeper, Riino. Riino believed Kaladin was there to have his fortune told, while Kaladin wanted to go and get the others. When he understood what Riino was talking about, Kaladin was aghast at the idea of seeing the future, and said they were looking for passage on a ship. Outside the clouds changed as a highstorm is passing in the Physical. Kaladin is attracted by the globe on the table which was shining brightly and touched it. He had a vision of Dalinar with nine shadows and the danger he was in, then a flash of Thaylen City. Later, Kaladin sat to recover while the others arranged passage and supplies. They debated the destination, but had to take the ship sailed by Reachers to Celebrant.
The next morning, Kaladin woke up on the ship. The captain, Ico, took him to the hold to get the special device that could make water for the humans. He then talked with Syl, about the ship and why she was wearing a disguise. Shallan and Kaladin discussed spren and the weird ship. When arriving in Celebrant, the group split up; Kaladin went with Adolin and Syl to change money and buy supplies. Kaladin got distracted by a stall selling paintings, including a painting from the Court of Gods seemingly depicting a figure with nine shadows. The group soon discovered that the city was under control of the Fused. They narrowly escaped when Syl surrendered herself to a ship of honorspren.
The honorspren sailed south-west, letting the group move freely on deck except Syl who was kept captive. Kaladin was very angry over Syl's imprisonment, and wanted to fight her free. Eventually, Kal went to the high deck to use a spyglass. He confronted the captain, and in the process revealed that Dalinar had bonded the Stormfather, which impressed the honorspren very much. Shortly thereafter, they spoted eight Fused in pursuit of the ship. They were close to Longbrow's Straits, here a land area, with Thaylen City on the other side. Using the bead of a room, Adolin, Shallan, Kaladin, and their spren snuck into the bead ocean while the honorspren and Azure held off the Fused. Kaladin flew them part of the distance, and the group had an exhausting hike across the land to get to the Thaylen City Oathgate, only to find it guarded. The group attacked the Oathgate in an attempt to get back to the Physical Realm. Kaladin used some of the remaining stormlight to attack the Fused, he managed to draw four into an extended chase. he managed to disarm one of them, and one of the others offered a challenge. Exactly then his stormlight ran out, and he dropped into the beads. Syl pulled him out of the beads, and during the whole fight encouraged him to speak the fourth ideal. Kaladin wasn't ready yet.
Battle of Thaylen Field (1174)
Dalinar then opened Honor's Perpendicularity, allowing Kaladin, along with Shallan and Adolin, to return to the Physical Realm. When appearing out of the perpendicularity Kaladin blocked Amaram's blow that was meant to kill Dalinar. Dalinar then ordered Kaladin to guard him and settle the score with Amaram.
Kaladin set off into the sky, and felt at home again. He attacked Amaram, who was wielding two Shardblades and had a red glow in his helmet. Kaladin's fight was complicated as he also had to watch Dalinar, and defend him from Fused. Slowly Amaram was getting access to the Surges while he was transformed by Yelig-nar. Kaladin was surprised by those, and had trouble adjusting his attacks and defenses. During the fight, Kaladin was suddenly hit with a club by a Fused hidden nearby. Kaladin disabled the Fused's arms with his Shardblade, to focus on Amaram again. He fought alternating with Amaram and the Fused. Then Amaram launched into a lecture about honor, which Kaladin dismissed. Kaladin attacked again and broke the highlord's breastplate revealing a large crystal underneath. Kaladin attacked the gem and Amaram fell, followed by an attack of eight Fused. The fused swarmed Kaladin, and he tried to dodge them while keeping them engaged away from Dalinar. When Dalinar trapped the Thrill, the Fused fled and suddenly Amaram appeared again. Kaladin whispered "Bridge Four" when Amaram got shot by Rock with an arrow in the head. Afterwards, Lopen brought Stormlight to Kaladin to heal.
Later, Kaladin sat down on a rooftop overlooking Thaylen City. He noticed Shallan kissing Adolin in an alley below. He showed Syl a rock he found on the battlefield, one that changed color when wet. They talked about the Recreance and what it means for the current Radiants. He flew to Bridge Four and had a heart to heart with Teft about the struggles of life. Later a scout came with an urgent message. Kaladin flew over the ocean to southern Alethkar, where he found Skar and Drehy. They were hiding among the refugees together with little Gavinor.
The War Continues (1174-1175)
As the war raged on, Kaladin was spread increasingly thin, which was only amplified by the fact that many of the original crew had started picking up squires of their own. In addition to splitting his time between battlefronts in southern Alethkar and Azir, he oversaw the Windrunner training at Urithiru and organized patrols to watch the coalition fleets from the skies. At some point, he was promoted to highmarshal.
When Navani requested Windrunners to go on an expedition to Akinah to find the Oathgate there, Kaladin initially suggested sending Teft. Navani refused the suggestion due to the risk of sending a "key" to the Oathgate, in the form of a Shardblade, should it already be taken by the enemy. Instead, Kaladin sent Lopen, Huio, and Cord (who replaced Kaladin's original choice of Rock), telling them their mission was to see if the Oathgate was still functional and whether it has fallen into enemy hands.
A few months into ?, Kaladin flew to Hearthstone. It was a pre-arranged visit for him to meet and extract a rebel Herdazian general, who would be hidden by his parents. While Kaladin tried to sneak into the town as part of the line of refugees, some Fused had arrived. They were looking for someone with the Windrunners description and found him. Kaladin fought with this new type of Fused who could turn into a light, move quickly and turn back into a Fused. The Fused almost killed the Windrunner by repeatedly severing his spinal cord, but Kaladin managed to escape. They continued to fight, while Syl and Kal recognized it was a dangerous foe. Kaladin noticed that after three teleports the fused needs a break to get more Voidlight. After loosing the Fused, Stormblessed returned to Hearthstone and was suddenly exhausted. When Syl said they had shown him, Kaladin replied he was almost killed twice. Syl then expressed a worry about Kaladin, who insisted he was fine. While approaching the town, Syl wondered why Kaladin had such trouble sleeping, as humans slept every day and even babies could do it. Kaladin had no reply and felt disconnected from others. At the town, Kal told the singer to fight him, or leave. Six fought him and one died, after which the rest retreated, and left with the others.
Kaladin walked to where his mother was waiting and greeted his brother Oroden, who called him "Gagadin". His mother inquired after Lyn, and Syl replied she had broken up with Kal. His mother and Syl talk about him as he wouldn't talk about personal issues. He moved to the shed where his mother had hidden the Herdazian general. He found several guards but the general had sneaked off, so Kal asked the guards to pass the message with an invitation from Dalinar. Moving on, he was approached by his father who reprimanded him for not approaching covertly enough. The Windrunner cut the fight short and told his father to start packing. Knowing his parents would not leave the people of the town, he had brought an airship to evacuate them all.
The highmarshal escorted his father up the ramp of the Fourth Bridge and introduced him to Dalinar and Navani. After Lirin left to inspect the accommodations, Kaladin apologized for his father's behavior which had been lacking in politeness. They quickly discuss the new Fused and the need to defend the ship, and Kal gets a new charge of Stormlight from the Bondsmith. He launched into the air, but not before touching the place where the old bridge was embedded in the deck. Kaladin organized his Windrunners while they watched the Heavenly Ones advance in the distance. He hoped Leshwi would be among them, as he looked forward to fighting her again. The Fused offered the Windrunners one-on-one combat, creating an organized battle field. Leshwi spotted the highmarshal and invited him for a duel. They fought in the sky with Leshwi leading and Kaladin pursuing. Their flight led them around the battlefield and through the town. When they got near the airship, the Fused slowed to inspect it more carefully. This gave Kaladin the opportunity to get a normal spear from Rock that he used a moment later to Lash towards the Heavenly One. With some fancy maneuvers, the Fused managed to escape, leaving Kaladin on the ground where Teft asked if he was alright. They exchanged status reports, and Kaladin ordered the Windrunners to fight defensively. A new Fused appeared and Kaladin accepted its challenge.
Kaladin fought with the Fused, and was winning quite quickly as the enemy was using up his light rapidly. When Kaladin had him defeated, he decided to let the Fused go as killing him wouldn't help as he would be reborn soon. When the Fused dropped its spear and drifted away, Kaladin noticed a red light streaking for him and started evading instantly. Lyn swooped by checking in on him, and he sent her off with a message to look out for the teleporting Fused. Kaladin remarked to Syl how the others were checking in on him and flew to Dalinar, who was just getting a report from Roshone. The former citylord offered to accompany an Edgedancer to free prisoners from the manor's cellar. Syl made Kal admit that the man had improved despite Kal still hating him.
Later Kaladin had to watch while Sigzil was fighting with Leshwi, who was clearly the more skilled. He found it very hard not to interfere and help his friend, despite knowing that breaking the rules would be bad for the bigger picture. In the end Leshwi defeated Sigzil but spared his life in return for the Fused Kaladin had spared. She then challenged the highmarshal. They fought and dashed through the air, and he noticed most of the fighting was over. They left the town, and the Windrunner realized he knew the terrain very well from his childhood. He used this knowledge to trick Leshwi and scored a hit on her. Shortly after, they managed to stab each other at the same time, draining each other's Light. They both pulled out at the same moment and called it a draw. They scanned the terrain and noticed the Fused from before near the manor go after some civilians. Leshwi then gestured Kaladin to go and save the civilians.
Near the manor, Kaladin noticed the strange Fused with a captured Godeke entering the building. He entered as well, and they fought while a Singer soldier activated a device that blocked the Radiants' powers. The Fused taunted Kaladin that without powers he was nothing, but the Windrunner used his experience and killed the soldiers and the Fused. LIft had slipped in and was helping Godeke leave, and Kal asked her to bring the device to Navani. Kaladin moved onward to the cellar where Roshone had gone. He ran trough flames into the tunnel to the cellar, where he found two prisoners already dead. He turned and found Moash, who held Roshone and slit the former city lord's throat. Moash asked whether Kal came to save one of his enemies. When Kaladin jumped to attack, Moash dismissed his Blade and surrendered. They then argued over whether Roshone and Elhokar deserved their fates. Then Moash started speaking in a fatalistic way, saying that everyone was going to die and no one could be saved. This hurt Kaladin and started to exaggerate his depression. The Windrunner froze when Moash outright suggested that Kaladin should kill himself. Then a light exploded in the room that created a vision of who Moash could have been: a Windrunner protecting people. This led Moash to flee, and the light faded to show Renarin, who took Kaladin back to the airship.
The airship had left Hearthstone by the time Kaladin started to come to himself. He looked so bad, one of the ardents brought him soup as if he were one of the refugees. Even his Stormlight gave him no energy, and he became depressed thinking about failing Tien and Elhokar. When Syl informed him that Laran had sworn the Third Ideal, he didn't want to join the crowd to congratulate her. His spren noticed his darkness was stronger and didn't know how to help him. Teft came to see him and didn't let Kal send him away. He told the highmarshal he would go congratulate the Windrunner, and then they talked about Moash. The former sergeant also mentioned that Renarin had reported he had found Kaladin frozen in place again. Without answering, Kaladin got up and went to Laran to see her new Blade. Then he led the Windrunners that flew Dalinar and staff back to the Shattered Plains.
When they approached the Shattered Plains, Kaladin was feeling a bit better. Syl came to him and brought Yunfah, the only unbound honorspren willing to bond a Radiant. Kaladin wanted the spren to consider Rlain, but the spren was hesitant. So Kaladin ordered him to try to bond with Rlain before bonding anyone else. The highmarshal then surveyed Narak while landing. He walked to where the Windrunners had landed their passengers and asked Dalinar to go back to Urithiru. The king denied it as he wanted to speak to Kaladin. They spoke about the war, tactics against the Heavenly Ones, and the need for more Windrunners. Syl explained the other honorspren found the humans dangerous. The king praised the highmarshal for building up the Windrunners as military force and then relieved him of duty. Kaladin was distressed and at first disagreed, but after a heated argument he had to agree he needed a break from active duty. He wondered what if something happened to one of the others because he wasn't there, to which Dalinar countered by asking what if something happened because he was there and froze. Dalinar let him keep his rank and offered him a position in training the new forces. Kaladin wasn't sure that was right, and he was allowed some time to think on how he wanted to contribute.
After they took the Oathgate to Urithiru, Kaladin was thinking about how he had almost no squires left, as most of Bridge Four had become Knights and taken their own squires. Many of them invited Kaladin to join them for one activity or the other, but he declined them all and wanted to be alone. The moment he stepped into his rooms he broke. He sank down next to the door, and his emotions overwhelmed him, with the exhaustion and agony washing over him. He thought again about Moash's words, about how everyone was going to die and he would not be able to stop it. He was taken out of his thoughts when someone started knocking on the door. It was Adolin, who had been fetched by Syl. The highprince insisted that Kaladin join him for an evening out and wasn't accepting any more excuses. Kaladin was forced to admit he shouldn't be left alone that night, and when they left he did thank Syl.
”Is there anyone who doesn't like smart girls?—Kaladin in reply to Veil who said Kal liked smart girls.
Adolin took them to his favorite winehouse, Jez's Duty, where he had his own booth at which Veil was sitting already. When the barmaid came, he ordered an orange wine, as he knew alcohol would be bad for him in his current mood. Veil and Kaladin exchanged reports on their respective missions. Radiant took over and explained that they had found a balance as the Three, but that there was more going on with her. Kaladin admitted he wasn't sure he could help, as he could barely keep it together himself. Adolin returned, and he and Veil talked about the ongoing wedding party and how Kaladin didn't notice the bar staff. Veil changed the topic of the conversation to finding someone to set up with Kaladin, to the Windrunner's horror. Adolin and Veil took turns suggesting women, and Kal rejected them all. This went on until Veil left to get another drink.
”Let her know you care, listen to her. Be encouraging, but don't try to force her to be happy. And don't let her be alone, if you're worried about her..."—Kaladin's advice to Adolin to help Shallan
After a bit of silence, Adolin sat closer to Kaladin. He asked what was going on, and eventually Kaladin admitted he had been relieved of duty. Adolin responded supportively and even allowed that his father could be wrong. He did not know how to, but he wanted to help, thinking that it might also provide him with a way to help Shallan. The highprince eventually got Kaladin to give him some advice on how to help Shallan, and Kaladin's suggestions were exactly the things Adolin had been doing for him that night. The bridgeboy called his companion a fool and suggested they needed to get him a spren, saying that getting rid of his Shardblade would help; Adolin refused this adamantly. Later, Veil joined them and the evening went on.
Two hours later, when Rock came to the booth, Adolin and Veil left to let them speak alone. Kaladin tried to avoid the conversation, but Rock insisted as Kaladin had refused several times before. Rock agreed it had been good to wait and give his family time to rest, but now he had to return to his people. He had to face the consequences of his action of lifting the bow to save Kaladin's life. Kal warned him about Moash, but Skar and Drehy had agreed to escort Rock and his family to the peaks. Kaladin considered going with them, but he realized it would not solve his problems. They embraced in a final farewell, as Rock didn't expect to come back from his journey.
Ten days after the return from Hearthstone, Kaladin attended a ceremony where Sigzil was promoted to run the daily business of the Windrunners while Skar was promoted to lead the missions. The highmarshal was still figuring out what new role would suit him. He went to the sparring grounds looking for Zahel, but the swordmaster was out on the field, as he had laundry detail that day. While walking to the field, Kaladin made a short detour to visit Rlain on the growing fields. The listener was overseeing the use of gemstones to aid growth of crops. Rlain complained that humans could not hear the rhythms nor sing the pure tones. Despite that they were making progress. Kaladin told Rlain that Yunfah would try to bond with him. When Rlain learned the spren had been pressured, he didn't want the bond. He then told Kaladin how he became a bridgeman simply because he answered a question from his master.
Kaladin found the swordmaster along the laundry lines. He told Zahel about his retirement and asked in a circumspect way if he could join the swordmasters. They discuss reasons to retire, and then Zahel demanded Kaladin fight him. They fought between the laundry lines, with Zahel evading Kaladin while making use of the sheets and a bunch of colorful scarfs. During the fight, the swordmaster continued to question the Radiant on his motives. When Kaladin was defeated, Zahel declared that he could not join the ardents, as Kaladin still loved the fight. They moved to the edge of the plateau, and Zahel gave Kaladin a lecture on Realmatic Theory, explaining how he, the Heralds, and the Fused were all Type Two Invested entities. He told him that one would need a special weapon that could unravel their souls to kill them, and those weapons are dangerous.
Surgeon and Mental Health work
Some days later, Kaladin used the Oathgate to travel to the Shattered Plains while he contemplated what role he wanted. He had come to meet the Fourth Bridge and the refugees from Hearthstone on it. He took his parents to Urithiru and gave them a tour of the quarters set aside for the people from Hearthstone. His parents and Syl exchanged joyful banter while they moved about. After looking through the communal spaces, Syl and Kal showed Lirin and Hesina the suite of rooms they had prepared for the family, including a fully-stocked surgery room. Despite the fact that it was stocked with the best and newest inventory, Lirin felt it was useless, as the Radiants had superseded the need for surgeons. Kaladin disagreed and explained that as they had very few Radiants who could heal, normal surgeons were still very much needed. At Syl's prodding, Kaladin revealed that he had retired, and his father immediately concluded that Kaladin would start working with him again as a surgeon.
Before leaving with the envoy to the honorspren, Adolin came by the clinic to say goodbye to Kaladin. Adolin noticed a long line of mostly women waiting to be helped and told Kaladin that he was now Alethkar's most eligible bachelor. Syl explained how this new job was helping Kal. The highprince shared some advice from Zahel about war and suggested they spar when he came back. Kaladin continued to work as a surgeon, which kept him busy and made him "not sad." When the girl who was reading for him left, Syl suddenly started to read the medical reference book for Kaladin, she had learned to read the week before. During a break on one of the balconies, he saw a group of Windrunners flew by and gave him a salute. On his return his next patients was Teft, who couldn't leave with the army. He has had enough of the war and his struggle with his addiction. They argued a bit, but Kaladin had to accept Teft who not leave him alone.
Kaladin and Teft went to track down a patient who had come through the surgery a while ago. He had been sent to the ardents who after a suicide attempt send him to the Devotary of Mercy. The bridgemen found the monastery and a dark corridor full of people in solitary confinement.They were shocked and questioned the treatment, which was defended by the ardent. Kaladin talked to the patient Noril, and could relate to his depression. Against the ardents protests, they took Noril to a balcony to talk and exchanged experiences. Kaladin then talked to the ardent who said this wasn't in the book of treatments.They had only one treatment for all patients, and Kaladin realized different illnesses need different responses. He was going to try something new.
Kaladin started his efforts by focusing on the men with similar symptoms as Noril, battle fatigue, nightmares and melancholy. He organized a group therapy session where they could exchange experiences. His mother was impressed by the results, and Kaladin explained how it was important to be able to speak with someone who actually understood what you felt. And for them to not just know but feel that they weren't alone.
Some time later, Lirin and Kaladin discussed the treatment of the patients. Lirin explained how he did not know how little they knew about mental health. Kaladin followed up that the social stigma had prevented research taking place. He wanted a medical revolution, but his father cautioned that change was hard. While they talk, Kaladin slowly realized he could have ended up in the sanatorium. Then Teft came in telling that Dabbid had been missing for three days. They went to search.
Teft and Kaladin went to the winehouse for drinks, both sticking to orange. Shortly after, they were joined by Rlain, the whole place falling silent when he entered. They talked about the war and their time running bridges. Then they talked about Dabbid and how Kaladin thought the meetings might be helpful for him. The others including Syl make clear they think Kaladin himself should also join them. He admitted it was helping him.
Capture of Urithiru
While still at a tavern in Urithiru, the capture of Urithiru began when Teft fell unconscious and slipped into a coma. Kaladin, while feeling some effects from the Sibling's corruption, turned out to be the only Radiant who remained conscious still in the tower due to how close he was to his Fourth Ideal. When Kaladin took Teft to the clinic that Lirin ran he discovered several other Radiants unconscious. Kaladin wanted to resist against the invaders initially, but was convinced to stand down knowing what may happen to his family if he were discovered. During the first day of the invasion, he went delivering supplies and news to the people of Hearthstone, staying up through the night helping others. However, when several Regal and singer soldiers were going around the tower collecting fallen Radiants, Kaladin could not risk them taking Teft, and he fought back and killed a Regal. He and Lirin argued, and Kaladin was told to go; to attempt to protect his family, Kaladin took Teft and ran into hiding. With the help of Syl, Kaladin went far up into the tower, as far away from other people as possible, but was chased by the Pursuer. With what would be revealed to be the help of the Sibling, he was lead to a hidden room for refuge.
Kaladin continued to experience severe nightmares and visions while in hiding. After waking for the first time in hiding, he realized he needed a way to gather supplies so he could resist the Fused and take care of Teft. Kaladin, with the help of Syl, snuck around the tower gathering Stormlight and approached Kuno to ask him for supplies and ensure he could help him in the future. Once he returned to his hiding spot, Navani contacted Kaladin for the first time through the Sibling's veins throughout the tower. Together they developed a plan to scout the Oathgates and determine how the Fused were able to work them even with Kaladin's powers not working as they should.
While taking care of Teft, Dabbid was able to find the hidden room with the help of the Sibling. Kaladin felt a sense of relief knowing that Teft would not die if Kaladin died or was captured; he put Dabbid to work taking care of Teft while Kaladin went on his mission to observe the Oathgate. When night fell, Kaladin went with Syl to spy on the Oathgates. He had to climb the side of the tower to avoid being spotted since his Lashings were not working to their fullest capacity. He saw the Oathgate flash with Voidlight that night and determined that they would probably use the Oathgates as infrequently as possible to avoid being spotted. Kaladin decided to steal a spanreed the Fused were using to gather information. Syl changed colors to mimic a Voidspren in order to distract the singer guards so Kaladin could steal a spanreed. Just as Kaladin got matching spanreeds, the Sibling begged for his help; one of their nodes had been discovered by the Fused.
Kaladin, unsure whether he was risking exposing himself to the Pursuer, decided to find the node anyways. When finding the location of the node, Raboniel allowed the Pursuer to attack Kaladin while she corrupted the Sibling. Kaladin tricked the Pursuer into being locked into another hidden room of Urithiru and was able to destroy the node to minimize the Sibling's corruption. By the time Kaladin was able to stop Raboniel, he noticed a considerable difference in his healing in particular, especially after Raboniel injured him to observe how his powers were fairing. Raboniel allowed Kaladin to escape, and he ran back to the hidden room and collapsed. Navani came up with the idea of using the glove created by her ardent Tomor for Kaladin to use in replacement of his missing Lashings, and with some training, he was able to use it in combat.
The Sibling sensed that the Fused had found their node in the well on the main floor of Urithiru, and while Kaladin was trapped in another nightmare, Dabbid nearly went in his place to protect the node. Once awake, Kaladin hurried to the main floor, and there the Pursuer was once again waiting for him. While fighting the Pursuer, Kaladin challenged Leshwi to a duel, knowing that a fight with her would be more honorable and would keep the Pursuer at bay. Kaladin, with the help of Syl, aimed himself towards the well, to avoid further injuring himself after going through a loophole to avoid a true duel with Leshwi. Kaladin was able to swim with help from Tomor's device and destroyed the node in the well. Unfortunately the Sibling's corruption had gone so far that his healing was nearly gone, which was especially noticeable since Raboniel had injured him again. Kaladin went to escape the well, knowing he would be surrounded by Fused, but he and Syl were separated and the Pursuer locked him in by adding weights to the top of the well. Kaladin escaped to the underground reservoir and attempted to get to his hidden room but was at risk of being surrounded by singers. Instead, he escaped to the outside of the tower during a highstorm to wait for his Stormlight to renew. While on the side of the tower, Dalinar was able to contact Kaladin through the highstorm; after falling unconscious, Dalinar pushed him into the tower using the winds.
Kaladin was taken back to the hidden room by Dabbid, but he fell into a coma, having his consciousness taken to Braize by Odium. During this time on Braize, Kaladin found Wit, who created a bubble of protection to prevent Odium from discovering him for a short amount of time and told Kaladin the story "The Dog and the Dragon".
”You told me it would get worse. It will, but then it will get better. Then it will get worse again. Then better. This is life, and I will not lie by saying every day will be sunshine. But there will be sunshine again, and that is a very different thing to say. That is truth. I promise you, Kaladin: You will be warm again.—Wit to Kaladin
Dabbid went to ask for help from Rlain, as he believed Kaladin was dying, and Venli helped get Lift out of her prison to heal Kaladin. Lift healed both Kaladin and Teft, and they began to develop a plan to protect the Sibling's final node. When they learned that the final node was in danger, exhausted, Kaladin went to face the Pursuer once more with the remnants of Bridge Four, Lift, and Venli. Kaladin destroyed the Pursuer's reputation, deeming him "the Defeated One", and defeated him by humiliating him. But, after feeling energized, he discovered Teft dead by the hand of Vyre and was rendered catatonic.
The 4th Ideal (1175)
After Teft was killed by Vyre, Kaladin became emotionally broken. He killed the Pursuer in a rage, while a Heavenly One took Lirin up to the top of Urithiru. Kaladin followed, using Navani's fabrial, whereupon the Heavenly One grew frightened and dropped Lirin.
Kaladin stood atop Urithiru, watching Lirin fall, and realized why he came to the top of the tower. At Honor's Chasm, he chose life, and so this time, he made the opposite choice: he jumped, attempting suicide. However, Dalinar, riding the storm at the time, demanded that the Stormfather give Kaladin more time to think. The Stormfather took Kaladin into the "place between time" and talked to him, albeit unsuccessfully. Dalinar, using his Bondsmith abilities, took Kaladin into a vision connected to Tien. The apparition of Tien convinced Kaladin to embrace the moment and accept that all people must eventually die, admitting that he chose to be used as cannon fodder to cheer up the other boys. Returning to the real world with newfound sense of peace, Kaladin kept falling, but found the strength to declare his Fourth Ideal.
”I accept that there will be those I cannot protect!—Kaladin's Fourth Ideal
Sylphrena, known as Syl, is the honorspren that Kaladin has bonded. Syl is Kaladin's constant companion and perhaps his best friend. In addition to providing Kaladin with companionship and guidance, Kaladin's bond with Syl is what allows him access to his Surgebinder abilities and to become a member of the Knights Radiant. Syl is also a living weapon and is able to manifest herself as a Shardblade. Syl's existence, the Knights Radiant, and Kaladin are linked together. When Kaladin doesn't live up to the oaths that he has made as a Knight Radiant, Syl slowly loses intelligence and is eventually "killed." When Kaladin reaffirms his oaths, he is able to revive Syl, although it is implied that there is a way for Kaladin to more permanently kill Syl.
Initially, Syl is attracted to Kaladin because of his urge to save others. In this initial stage, she behaves much like a normal windspren, having no sentience. As her bond with Kaladin grows, she gains intelligence, progressing from child-like naivety to understanding complex concepts. She also begins to remember parts of her past; for example, she remembers her own name (and her nickname) when Kaladin asks her if she has a name. She also gains the ability to manifest herself into different forms, initially as things like a ribbon of light, a leaf, and a young woman, and eventually into a Shardblade.
Kaladin shares with Syl his regrets of not being able to save those closest to him, and when he is at first unable to swear his Fourth Ideal, Syl is very supportive of him. Because she wants to understand Kaladin better, she goes to Dalinar and asks him to Connect her to Kaladin so she can feel what he feels; he doesn't do exactly what she was expecting, but in remembering her former Knight Syl does begin to feel grief and other shades of sorrow that help her understand Kaladin's depression.
Kaladin's younger brother, due to the difference in nahn between his family and the rest of the town Kaladin had no real friends growing up and instead would spend time with Tien. As a result the two of them became extremely close with Tien being the only one who could cheer Kaladin up when he became depressed, especially during the Weeping. He is also very protective of his brother as shown when he effortlessly ignored his fathers pleas and threw away his chance at training in Kharbranth. In the end Tien's death scarred him to the point where he spent the whole next year practicing with the spear to escape his pain, to the point where it nearly killed him even. Years later, Kaladin still feels remorse because of his inability to help Tien. He forces himself to relive his grief every time someone close to him is killed. this causes him to develop a serious case of depression, to the point that he actually jumps off of the Radiant City, Urithiru.
Kaladin and Shallan are among the first new Knights Radiant in centuries. They both reveal themselves independently during the Battle of Narak, together serving as the catalyst for the refounding of the order. Kaladin and Shallan initially have a strained relationship. During their first meeting, Shallan tricks Kaladin out of his new boots. During their later meetings, Kaladin suspects Shallan of being a spy or opportunist at worst, and a privileged, unempathetic lighteyes at best. This clash of personalities is reflected in their respective spren, as the Cryptics (to which Shallan's spren Pattern belongs) and honorspren are involved in a complex spren conflict.
Later, when Kaladin and Shallan are both stranded in the chasms of the Shattered Plains, they grow to respect and admire one another. During this time, they reveal some of their personal history and secrets to each other, including the fact that Shallan has a Shardblade. Although unsure of their own natures as members of the Knights Radiant, this incident causes them to suspect each other of being more than meets the eye. As time passes, the two of them grow closer together, with Shallan admitting that Veil is attracted to him. In the end, however, she chooses Adolin instead. When Syl asks how Kaladin feels about this, he claims that she lifted his burdens a bit and reminded him of Tien (possibly since they were both Lighweavers), but that he never actually loved her.
Kaladin first sees Adolin saving a darkeyed prostitute who is being harassed by some lighteyed officers. Despite this Kaladin, due to his past interactions with lighteyes, marks it up as an act. Their relationship sours even more when they next meet face-to-face, with Kaladin seeing Adolin as spoiled and arrogant and Adolin disliking Kaladin's condescending attitude and willingness to order those clearly above him in rank. Their interactions manifest in glares and taunts with each only tolerating the other out of necessity.
This changes when Kaladin, at a suicidal disadvantage, aids Adolin in a battle against four other Shardbearers. After the duel, while the king offers a boon to Adolin, Kaladin unknowingly embarrasses Elhokar by demanding a Right of Challenge to face Amaram in the arena, resulting in his incarceration. This only further convinces Kaladin that lighteyes can't be trusted. Upon being freed, however, he discovers that Adolin had demanded to be locked up in the same prison, and had refused to be released until Kaladin was pardoned. When questioned why, the prince only says that it wasn't right after Kaladin had saved his life. Adolin then offers Kaladin one of the newly won sets of Shards, though the former bridgeman refuses both, stating that the artifacts had killed too many of his friends for him to want anything to do with them. Confused, the prince instead gives the set to Moash at Kaladin's recommendation. From there the two become good friends, although their friendship is stressed due to their mutual attraction to Shallan Davar. After a while, Shallan and Adolin confess their love to each other and Kaladin gives up on her for good.
Throughout their relationship, Adolin notices Kaladin's numerous depressive spirals and helps to break him of them, subtly or not, by forcing Kaladin to spend time around friends and not be alone with his thoughts. Adolin's support of Kaladin is highlighted after Kaladin is relieved of duty as Highmarshal, resulting in Kaladin's depression worsening, and Adolin insists he accompany him to winehouses and various outings.
Wit and Kaladin's relationship is strange but positive; they've only met and had serious conversations a few times but each time Wit has taken the effort to give Kaladin some needed emotional support and reinforcement, thus far by telling him a story that goads Kaladin into some sort of growth (despite Wit's protests that the stories have no inherent meaning and anything Kaladin gets out of them is entirely up to Kaladin). Wit generally spares Kaladin his barbs and mockery, and treats him more kindly than most. Kaladin seems to enjoy the encounters with him and even asked for a story in when they meet in his nightmare, something Wit says people almost never do.
”Back when Kaladin was called Merin, he didn't work well as a character. He was too much the standard "farmboy who becomes a nobleman" from fantasy genre cliché.—The Way of Kings annotations
Kaladin's precursor in the Stormlight Archive was Merin, a character Brandon came up with in the year 2000. In the original draft for The Way of Kings, The Way of Kings Prime, Merin wins a Shardblade after defending Elhokar on the field of battle. Much like Kaladin, Merin is of low social rank (it's unclear if the concept of eye color denoting social status was already present). As such, there are people who don't wish to him to have the Shards; however, at the insistence of Dalenar (proto-Dalinar), Merin is made a Shardbearer and adopted into House Kholin.
However, Brandon was very dissatisfied with Merin's character, feeling as though there was nothing interesting to him after he accepted the Shardblade. As such, he set out to add more personality to him. The surgeon backstory came first, followed by the personal tragedy of losing a family member and the decision to have Merin deny the Shardblades, with all consequences thereof. Finally, Brandon decided to give the character depression to round him out. Overall, it took about eight years for Merin to evolve. The Shattered Plains plot, originally of Dragonsteel, was moved to Roshar partially to assist in that, giving more context to Merin's slavery.
Merin's name was up for change for a while at this point, as it sounded too much like Perrin. Moreover, this new character felt too different to be still called Merin, and Brandon wanted this new protagonist to have a new, more mythic-sounding name; thus, Kaladin was born.
”Perhaps you should pray to the Almighty for guidance. I hear he has a fondness for slavers. Keeps a special room in Damnation just for you.—Kaladin to Tvlakv
”Men are unreliable in many things. But if there's one thing you can count on, it's their greed.—Kaladin to Sylphrena
”Death isn't better. Oh, it's easy to say that now. But when you stand on the ledge and look down into that dark, endless pit, you change your mind. Just like Hobber did. Just like I've done. I think you've seen it too.—Kaladin to Teft
”Tradition is the blind witness they use to condemn us, Teft. It's the pretty box they use to wrap up their lies. It makes us serve them.—Kaladin about lighteyes
”Soon you'll hardly be a spren at all. You'll be a little translucent philosopher. We'll have to send you off to a monastery to spend your time in deep, important thoughts.—Kaladin to Sylphrena
”Storm you! Look at that! Who cares for them? Not Sadeas. Not their fellow bridgemen. I doubt even the Heralds themselves spare a thought for these. I won't stand there and watch while men die behind me. We have to be better than that! We can't look away like the lighteyes, pretending we don't see. This man is one of us. Just like Dunny was. The lighteyes talk about honor. They spout empty claims about their nobility. Well, I've only known one man in my life who was a true man of honor. He was a surgeon who would help anyone, even those who hated him. Especially those who hated him. Well, we're going to show Gaz, and Sadeas, Hashal, and any other sodden fool who cares to watch, what he taught me. Now go to work and stop complaining!—Kaladin about members of other bridge crews
”I've been here before! What happened last time? I've learned! I won't be a fool again! I owe you nothing, Kholin.—Kaladin yelling before helping Dalinar's army
- Kaladin is currently immune to the Thrill, although he may have felt it in the past.
- Kaladin spoke the Second Ideal of the Windrunners in modern Alethi.
- At some points Brandon wanted to have a second flashback book for Kaladin, but the plan has since changed, with each of the ten Stormlight Archive books having a different flashback character.
- Kaladin's name comes from the combining of the name Kalak and the Alethi suffix 'din'. His name means 'born unto eternity'.
- Kaladin and ex-queen Aesudan Kholin are distantly related, through Hesina.
- Kaladin's physical appearance is modelled off someone with mixed Japanese and Pacific Islander heritage, although Kaladin could also be mistaken as someone who has mixed Japanese/Middle Eastern ancestry.
- Kaladin is most likely a Hufflepuff.
- Kaladin is referred to as "Child of Tanavast" by the Stormfather, while many other character are called "Child of Honor". There is a reason for this.
- During the events of Rhythm of War, Kaladin was as close as it was humanly possible to be to the 4th Ideal, without having sworn it. This, along with how much he exemplified Windrunner-hood, allowed him to resist the effects of the partially corrupted Sibling's influence. 
- Word of Peter - 17th Shard post
— Arcanum - 2014-01-25#
- The Way of Kings chapter 14#
- FanX 2021
— Arcanum - 2021-09-16#
- The Way of Kings chapter 6#
- The Way of Kings prologue#
- The Way of Kings chapter 1#
- Oathbringer chapter 5#
- /r/fantasy AMA 2013
— Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
- The Way of Kings chapter 38#
- The Way of Kings chapter 46#
- The Way of Kings chapter 2#
- Rhythm of War chapter 110#
- The Way of Kings chapter 73#
- Words of Radiance chapter 75#
- The Way of Kings chapter 44#
- The Way of Kings chapter 47#
- The Way of Kings chapter 11#
- The Way of Kings chapter 43#
- Words of Radiance chapter 87#
- The Way of Kings chapter 57#
- The Way of Kings chapter 62#
- Words of Radiance chapter 52#
- The Way of Kings Ars Arcanum#
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- Words of Radiance chapter 12#
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- Words of Radiance chapter 41#
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- Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
— Arcanum - 2015-01-06#
- Firefight Phoenix signing
— Arcanum - 2015-01-21#
- Words of Radiance Chicago signing
— Arcanum - 2014-03-22#
- Oathbringer chapter 7#
- Rhythm of War chapter 114#
- Rhythm of War chapter 111#
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- ICon 2019
— Arcanum - 2019-10-15#
- Words of Radiance chapter 5#
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- Rhythm of War chapter 3#
- Rhythm of War chapter 18#
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- Rhythm of War chapter 63#
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- General Signed Books 2015
— Arcanum - 2015-11-26#
- The Way of Kings chapter 4#
- The Way of Kings chapter 9#
- The Way of Kings chapter 17#
- The Way of Kings chapter 21#
- The Way of Kings chapter 35#
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- Words of Radiance chapter 22#
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- Words of Radiance chapter 33#
- Words of Radiance interlude I-6#
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- Oathbringer chapter 50#
- Oathbringer chapter 61#
- Oathbringer chapter 62#
- Oathbringer chapter 63#
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- Oathbringer chapter 73#
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- Oathbringer chapter 78#
- Oathbringer chapter 79#
- Oathbringer chapter 81#
- Oathbringer chapter 82#
- Oathbringer chapter 83#
- Oathbringer chapter 84#
- Oathbringer chapter 85#
- Oathbringer chapter 89#
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- Oathbringer chapter 97#
- Oathbringer chapter 99#
- Oathbringer chapter 102#
- Oathbringer chapter 108#
- Oathbringer chapter 110#
- Oathbringer chapter 115#
- Oathbringer chapter 116#
- Oathbringer chapter 117#
- Oathbringer chapter 119#
- Oathbringer chapter 120#
- Oathbringer chapter 121#
- Oathbringer chapter 122#
- Dawnshard chapter 3#
- Dawnshard chapter 13#
- Rhythm of War chapter 1#
- Rhythm of War chapter 2#
- Rhythm of War chapter 5#
- Rhythm of War chapter 7#
- Rhythm of War chapter 8#
- Rhythm of War chapter 9#
- Rhythm of War chapter 12#
- Rhythm of War chapter 15#
- Rhythm of War chapter 21#
- Rhythm of War chapter 23#
- Rhythm of War chapter 33#
- Rhythm of War chapter 37#
- Rhythm of War chapter 38#
- Rhythm of War chapter 39#
- Rhythm of War chapter 41#
- Rhythm of War chapter 42#
- Rhythm of War chapter 43#
- Rhythm of War chapter 44#
- Rhythm of War chapter 46#
- Rhythm of War chapter 58#
- Rhythm of War chapter 59#
- Rhythm of War chapter 61#
- Rhythm of War chapter 70#
- Rhythm of War chapter 71#
- Rhythm of War chapter 80#
- Rhythm of War chapter 85#
- Rhythm of War chapter 83#
- Rhythm of War chapter 108#
- Words of Radiance chapter 74#
- Words of Radiance chapter 84#
- Oathbringer chapter 118#
- Rhythm of War interlude I-1#
- Words of Radiance chapter 78#
- Words of Radiance chapter 28#
- Words of Radiance chapter 36#
- The Way of Kings Annotations
— Arcanum - 2017-12-08#
- Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
— Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
- Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
— Arcanum - 2016-06-11#
- 17th Shard Interview
— Arcanum - 2010-10-03#
- A StompingMad YetiHatter Collaboration Interview
— Arcanum - 2010-09-16#
- The Way of Kings chapter 30#
- SpoCon 2013
— Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
- /r/fantasy AMA 2013
— Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
- 17th Shard Interview
— Arcanum - 2010-10-03#
- Stormlight Three Update #4
— Arcanum - 2016-09-09#
- Holiday signing
— Arcanum - 2015-12-12#
- Legion Release Party
— Arcanum - 2018-09-19#
- Steelheart release party
— Arcanum - 2013-09-24#
- Skyward Denver signing
— Arcanum - 2018-11-15#
- Stuttgart signing
— Arcanum - 2019-05-17#
- YouTube Livestream 23
— Arcanum - 2020-12-17#