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Kaladin

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Kaladin
Kaladin and Syl.jpg
by User: Exmakina
Family
Parents Lirin, Hesina
Siblings Tien, Oroden
Born Late 1153[1]
Abilities Surgebinder (Adhesion/Gravitation)
Shardbearer
Titles Captain of the Bridgemen

Knight Radiant

Aliases Kaladin Stormblessed

Bridgeboy

Profession Soldier

Bridgeman (formerly)
Apprentice Surgeon (formerly)

Groups Knights Radiant (Windrunners)
Bridge Four
Birthplace Hearthstone
Nationality Alethi
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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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 to Sylphrena[2]

Kaladin (Alethi pronounciation: [ˈkæl·ə·dɪn] KAL-a-din), nicknamed Kal, renowned as Kaladin Stormblessed, is a darkeyed Windrunner of the Knights Radiant from Alethkar. Although 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 has 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.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Kaladin is a fairly tall man. He is muscular and has multiple scars on his body.[3] He has tan skin[4] and shoulder-length wavy black hair typical of an Alethi. He is born with dark brown eyes,[5] though after swearing the Third Ideal of the Windrunners, his eyes turn very pale blue that glow while holding Stormlight.[6] Like most Rosharans, Kaladin's eyes have an epicanthic fold[7] that appear faintly colored amber when he is holding Stormlight.[8] 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.[9] He is branded on his forehead with a sas nahn glyphpair indicating his slavery and a shash glyph meaning "dangerous".[10]

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.[5] 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.[11][12]

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;[13] 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;[14] and 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.[10] At his lowest point, Kaladin falls into apathetic despair and becomes suicidal.[15] He is also prone to seasonal depression, feeling a sense of heavy melancholy during the weeks of the Weeping.[16]

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 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.[6]

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.

History[edit]

Early Life (1153–1168)[edit]

Childhood[edit]

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 is born two years later. Kaladin grew up isolated from the majority of the townsfolk due to the class disparity between his family and the other townsfolk (who are of fourth or fifth nahn), as well as superstitions surrounding his father's work as a surgeon. As a result, he becomes very close with his brother and, at the encouragement of his parents, Laral Wistiow, the daughter of the citylord.[17]

Starting at the age of eight, he trains with his father in surgery, though he dreams of becoming a soldier. In 1164, he assists his father in amputating one of the fingers of a fifteen-year-old girl named Sani. When they are finished, they discuss Kaladin's future; despite Kaladin's wishes to be a soldier, Lirin announces that he plans to send Kaladin to train in the Great Concourse of Kharbranth when he turns sixteen.[17]

Two years later, Kaladin and Laral are walking together outside when Kaladin finally tells her about his father's plans to send him away. Laral encourages him to become a soldier instead, implying that he could marry her if he won a Shardblade in battle, thereby becoming a lighteyes. Kaladin misses this implication, even though he is attracted to her. Eventually, they encounter a group of older boys, one of whom makes the claim his father had won a Shardblade in the wastescum skirmishes. At Laral's prompting, Kaladin contradicts him, which leads to the boy Jost challenging Kaladin to a quarterstaff fight. Although it is his first time holding a weapon, his natural talent for combat manifests. However, seeing that he has hurt Jost, he stops himself from fighting anymore. Jost, having no similar inhibition, beats Kaladin to the ground. Kaladin asks Jost to teach him, but the older boy declines, telling Kaladin to "go be what you are." Joined by Tien, Kaladin makes his way home while contemplating what he wants to be. Arriving home, Lirin informs him that Citylord Wistiow has died and has bequeathed a goblet full of spheres to Kaladin so that he could study in Kharbranth.[18]

Two months later, a thirteen-year-old Kaladin attempts to treat a five-year-old girl named Miasal on his own. Miasal has suffered multiple severe wounds. Kaladin starts treatment, but it is too late as Miasal dies from blood loss. An hour later, his father finds Kaladin in front of the surgery room crying to himself. Lirin tells him he is proud of Kaladin's work and there was nothing he could have done to stop Miasal's death. Kaladin tells Lirin he did not want to be a surgeon, but Lirin answers that he would have to learn when to care.[19]

New Citylord[edit]

Near the end of 1166, Kaladin has a conversation with his mother and realizes that his parents had encouraged him to spend time with Laral in the hopes that the two would marry. As Kaladin mulls over the conversation, Lirin arrives with the news that the new citylord has arrived. The entire family is present in the town square for the arrival of Citylord Roshone. Roshone arrives in a carriage and barely acknowledges the crowd. When Lirin tries to welcome him to town, he responds by blaming Lirin for being the reason he ended up in Hearthstone and abruptly leaves.[20]

Citylord Roshone's arrival brings misfortune to Kaladin's family. Believing that Lirin had stolen the spheres from Wistiow, he coerces the townspeople to stop making donations for Lirin's work, which is the primary source of the family's income.[21] While the townsfolk acquiesce, they still secretly provide provisions to Lirin and Hesina.[22] Tien is apprenticed to a carpenter because he is unsuitable as a surgeon while Kaladin is still unsure if he wants to join the army or become a surgeon. About a year after Roshone's arrival, three masked men try to break into Lirin's surgery room while he and Kaladin are inside, demanding Wistiow's spheres. Instead, Lirin reveals that they are not highwaymen as Kaladin had initially thought, but Luten, Horl, and Balsas, normal townsmen presumably hired by Roshone. Ashamed and caught off guard, the men leave without taking anything.[21]

Half a year later, Roshone invites Lirin to the mansion for dinner. Although Lirin and Hesina try to hide the meeting from Kaladin, he finds out and attends anyway. Roshone discusses their situation and wants them to return the spheres; when Kaladin responds with an outburst, Lirin sends him away to the kitchens. In the kitchens, Roshone's son Rillir walks in with Laral and, confusing Kaladin for a servant, orders him to fetch them supper. Kaladin, protesting that he isn't a servant, loses an argument with Rillir and is humiliated. As Lirin and Kaladin leave the mansion, Kaladin admits to his father that he had been considering joining the army but has resolved to become a surgeon so that he would have the education to stand up to the lighteyes. During the conversation, Kaladin realizes Lirin had indeed stolen the spheres from Wistiow. Kaladin resolves to use the spheres for his training, but would pay them back to Laral.[22]

While on a hunting trip, Roshone and Rillir are seriously injured by a whitespine and brought to Lirin's surgery room. Kaladin and Lirin determine that Rillir is already fatally wounded and tend to Roshone, despite his protests. They anesthetize both patients and begin surgery on Roshone. Lirin hesitates when he discovers a piece of the whitespine's tusk near Roshone's femoral artery. Kaladin considers how easy it would be to fake an accident, but they continued on to save Roshone's life, as Rillir died. When Kaladin asks his father why he had not let Roshone die, Lirin answers that they have to be better men than the lighteyes.[23]

In the Weeping of 1168, as Kaladin's family grows increasingly desperate, being forced to spend some of the spheres, Roshone assembles the townfolk in the town square. Meridas Amaram, a general for Highprince Sadeas, has arrived in Hearthstone to recruit soldiers for the army. There, Kaladin and his family are shocked to learn that Laral is now engaged to Roshone himself after Rillir's death. Meanwhile, since only six men have volunteered, Amaram asks Roshone to announce the list of conscripts. As citylord, Roshone was barred from placing Lirin or Kaladin on the conscription list because they served a vital function to the town. However, Roshone places Tien's name on the list instead; when Kaladin tries to take Tien's place, he is denied because the law gave the choice to Roshone alone. Left without any other option, Kaladin enlists in the army in order to protect Tien and promises his devastated parents that he would bring Tien back in four years. Amaram promises Lirin that he would make Tien a messenger boy for a while.[13]

Amaram's Army (1168–1172)[edit]

Tien's Death[edit]

Kaladin receives his initial training under Tukks, where he learns the importance of controlled passion—to be passionate without losing control of his emotions—a lesson that he does not initially understand.[24][25] During his training, Kaladin demonstrates his natural talent and learns the spear faster than everyone else in his cohort, barely even needing instruction.[24]

Despite Amaram's promise to Lirin, the older messenger boys, including Tien, are soon organized into several squads of reserve units to make up for a shortfall in recruitment. Dalar assures Kaladin that these squads would not see combat unless the army is in serious danger. Less than four months after his enlistment, Kaladin takes part in his third real battle. Amaram's army is attempting to hold a hilltop; as the battle deteriorates, messenger boys are assigned to Sheler's company. Hearing that the messenger squad has sent to the front, Kaladin runs recklessly through the battlefield in an attempt to reach his brother. On the southeast side of the hill, Squadleader Varth places 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, reaches Tien only after he is killed. Weeping and bleeding from wounds taken during his run, he hugs Tien's dead body until long past the end of the battle.[26]

Stormblessed[edit]

Kaladin sends a letter to his parents informing them of Tien's death and his decision to not return to Hearthstone.[14] He spends the next year driving himself to exhaustion every day on the practice yard, vowing vengeance and to never let another person die because of his lack of skill. He becomes the best spearman in his company and is rumored to be the best in the entire army. He eventually meets Tarah, who coaxes Kaladin out of his single-mindedness, claiming it would burn him out.[27] The two are romantically involved, but are separated after some time, for which Kaladin blames himself.[28] He joins the Takers under Tukks' leadership.[10] He meets Durk, who becomes a mentor figure to Kaladin.[9] Eventually, every member of the Takers are killed except for Kaladin.[10]

Kaladin is promoted to squadleader at the age of eighteen, becoming the youngest one in the army, and becomes known as Kaladin Stormblessed.

Fighting the Shardbearer[edit]

On the Ishi 1172, Kaladin fights his final battle in Amaram's army. Prior to the battle, Kaladin meets with Squadleader Gare and two of his sergeants. Kaladin bribes Gare to transfer Cenn, a young and inexperienced soldier, to Kaladin's own squad, whom he entrusts to his sergeant Dallet. He also bribes the surgeons to give priority to his men. While bribing the surgeons, the money pouch sticks to his hand by what Kaladin assumes is a windspren, although it is actually his first meeting with Sylphrena. Kaladin goes to the front lines and prepares for battle after consulting Dallet.[14]

Once the signal to march was given, Kaladin's well-disciplined squad uses non-standard tactics to avoid taking any casualties. The larger battle, however, doesn't go nearly as well, and after the larger body of Amaram's force breaks, Kaladin's squad is left in the middle of the enemy. During the chaos, Kaladin single-handedly defeats six men to save Cenn, who had been stranded alone without the rest of the squad.[5] After treating Cenn, Kaladin sees an enemy battalionlord and decides kill him, hoping that such a feat would allow him to be transferred to the Shattered Plains, where Kaladin believes the real fight and honorable men can be found. Kaladin and two of his subsquads execute their plan flawlessly, with Kaladin himself striking the killing blow on the enemy battalionlord.[14]

Immediately after, an unknown enemy full Shardbearer, later revealed to be Helaran Davar,[29][30] appears and cuts through Amaram's army, killing Cenn, Dallet, and two more of Kaladin's men. Helaran continues on to attack Amaram, whose honor guard has abandoned him. Enraged, Kaladin and his twenty remaining men chase after Helaran. Helaran is able to kill sixteen of Kaladin's men before Kaladin finally manages to kill him, saving Amaram's life. Amaram and Coreb, one of Kaladin's men, urge Kaladin to claim Helaran's Shards, as it is his right to do by ancient tradition. However, Kaladin is disgusted by the thought of wielding the same Blade that has claimed the lives of so many of his friends. Instead, Kaladin gives the Shards to Coreb and walks away.[14]

A few hours later, Kaladin is called to Amaram's warcenter, where he meets Amaram and a group of his men along with the four surviving members of his squad. After a short conversation, Amaram and his men ambush Kaladin, killing the surviving members of Kaladin's squad while Kaladin himself is restrained. Amaram apologizes, but says that this was the only way to ensure secrecy. He informs Kaladin that he had thought it over for hours before finally being convinced by Restares that the best interests of Alethkar would be served if he wielded the Shards himself. As an act of mercy and gratitude, Amaram spares Kaladin's life and has him branded with the sas nahn glyphpair to mark him as a slave and sold.[31]

Slavery (1172–1173)[edit]

Sas nahn and shash

Kaladin spends the next eight months under at least six different slavemasters, suffering from constant beatings and squalid conditions. Initially, Kaladin is still defiant, making ten escape attempts; although several of them are successful, he always ends up re-captured. In his tenth escape attempt, he leads a group of twenty armed slaves, including a man named Goshel. However, they all die, leading Kaladin to believe that he has failed them. By the eighth month, Kaladin falls into despair and has stopped making any escape attempts.[10][16]

Though he should have been killed for his tenth escape attempt, Kaladin's master finds him "intriguing," and brands his forehead with the shash glyph, meaning dangerous, and sells him. Eventually Kaladin is bought by Tvlakv. By now, Kaladin is at his lowest point; he even finds and secretes away some poisonous blackbane leaves. Kaladin is unsure of whether he wants to use them to commit suicide, to kill his slavers, or for something else, but takes comfort in having options open to him. However, when a fellow slave is sick, his instinct to protect and heal re-emerges, and Kaladin attempts to save his life. His attempt fails as Tvlakv has the slave killed in order to avoid the infection spreading.[10][32]

It is during this time that Kaladin first notices Syl. Although Kaladin notices that Syl has been following him for several months, he believes it is nothing more than the average, though mischievous windspren. At this point, Syl acts much like a normal windspren, though Kaladin notes some oddities about her, such as the exceptionally long period of time that she has been following him. Just before Kaladin is sold to Sadeas, Syl begins talking to him and calls him by name, an unprecedented occurrence; although spren can mimic voices, Kaladin doesn't believe them to have intelligence or memory. Kaladin thinks he is insane at first, but eventually starts to converse with Syl.[10][32]

Bridgeman (1173)[edit]

Becoming bridgeleader[edit]

In 1173, Tvlakv finally brings Kaladin to the Shattered Plains and sells him to Highprince Sadeas's army. Kaladin speaks up to Hashal, the wife of the lighteyed officer in charge of slaves, and begs to be allowed to fight as a spearman in the army. However, due to his shash glyph, reputation as a deserter, and attitude during the exchange, he is sent to Bridge Four, the bridge crew with the worst reputation and casualty rate, to work as a bridgeman.[3]

He is placed under the command of the bridge sergeant Gaz and is immediately forced to go on a bridge run. During this initial bridge run, Kaladin is sent out completely unprepared and unequipped as part of Bridge Four to carry a large bridge, allowing Sadeas's soldiers to cross the plateaus of the Shattered Plains and assault the Parshendi. During the assault, Parshendi archers target the bridge crews and inflict heavy casualties. Although Kaladin wishes to render aid to the men, he is unable to and falls unconscious. Kaladin is about to be left for dead by the retreating bridge crews, until Syl calls out his name and urges him to move.[3]

During this time in Bridge Four, Kaladin grows more and more depressed at his situation. Eventually, Syl is unable to bear seeing Kaladin's state and leaves Kaladin but promises to return. On the next bridge run, the last man that survived Kaladin's initial bridge run dies, leaving Kaladin as the senior member of Bridge Four.[33] Faced with losing Syl, his only friend, and such a grim reality, Kaladin seriously contemplates suicide. He goes to the Honor Chasm at night, intending to jump off. Before he can do so, Syl returns, 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, assumes they would make Kaladin feel better. This innocent gesture ironically gives Kaladin the will to live again. Kaladin leaves the chasm and, resolved to become bridgeleader, bribes and intimidates Gaz into giving him the position along with autonomy in running Bridge Four. That night, he learns the name of every men in Bridge Four and goes to sleep with a sense of purpose in protecting the men.[15]

Reforming Bridge Four[edit]

All of the men in Bridge Four are resigned to die since Bridge Four has the worst reputation, even compared to the already-deplorable conditions of the other bridge crews. Because of this, none of the men socialize with each other—in fact, they don't even know each other's names. The next morning, Kaladin announces to Bridge Four that the current state of affairs will change under his leadership. He first tries to get the members of Bridge Four into training for runs to increase their chances of survival, but is met with resistance and ridicule. Undeterred, he proceeds to do training by himself.[2]

On the next bridge run, Kaladin leads from the front, demanding to switch with Rock, taking the most dangerous center-front spot of the bridge for himself, a rarity for a bridgeleader. He also starts to provide medical care during this bridge run, purchasing medical supplies from an apothecary beforehand in order to tend to wounded bridgemen while still on the battlefield. Additionally, instead of leaving wounded bridgemen behind to die, Kaladin manages to recover three wounded bridgemen from the battlefield and takes them back to the warcamp.[34]

Since the bridgemen are supposed to be expendable, Kaladin is told that he may keep tending to the wounded men, but they will not be fed or paid while they are unable to work. He asks the other members of Bridge Four to pitch in money and food to care for the men, but he is refused—only Rock offers to share food, and only to Hobber who is the least injured.[35] Instead, Kaladin comes up with the idea of collecting knobweed sap, a valuable antiseptic that he can use to care for the injured and sell for money. Gaining the trust of Rock and Teft, Kaladin has them help collect the knobweed sap. Syl helps as well, finding patches of knobweed and guiding Rock—who is mysteriously able to see her—to them. While working to extract the sap, Kaladin starts building camaraderie with the two men, managing to get Rock to open up and share some of his life story.[36]

Kaladin returns to the apothecary and makes a deal for his bridge crew to gather knobweed sap in return for a skymark per bottle of sap. On returning from selling the sap, Gaz sends Bridge Four to do chasm duty, recovering valuables from the war dead who have fallen into the chasms. In the chasms, Kaladin continues building rapport with the men, getting more of them to open up about their pasts.[24]

While working, Kaladin comes across a spear in the chasms and goes into a trance. He performs a practice kata with the spear, revealing his talent as a genius spearman to his men. During the display, Teft, along with some of the other men, notices an unknown spren—actually Syl—zipping around Kaladin.[24]

The night culminates in Kaladin using the money he earned to purchase food and assigning Rock to cook a stew. Not a single person refuses to partake in eating around the fire. The next day, a majority of the men follow his orders to rise out of bed and practice.[24]

Transforming Bridge Four into spearmen[edit]

Kaladin manages to get all of the men to submit to his authority and participate in his training. The training cuts down on their losses but Kaladin is unsatisfied. Realizing that the bridge itself can act as a shield, Kaladin starts training the men to shift the bridge and carry it on its side.[37]

Before the next bridge run, Kaladin gains Lopen as a member from a new batch of recruits. They immediately go on a bridge run, where Kaladin orders Bridge Four to perform the side carry as they engage the Parshendi. The side carry is a success as it completely protects Kaladin's men, however, other bridge crews try to emulate the side carry. Not having trained the maneuver, the other bridge crews fail; lacking a sufficient number of bridges to cross the chasms and with the timing of the assault desynchronized, the battle is thrown into chaos and Sadeas loses.[38]

As punishment for the failure, Sadeas demotes several officers and executes Lamaril, the lighteyed officer directly in charge of the bridgemen. Sadeas declines to execute Kaladin directly; instead, he decides to let the Stormfather judge Kaladin—Kaladin will be freed if he can survive being tied to the side of a building during a highstorm.[39] During the highstorm, Kaladin meets the Stormfather in the form of a gigantic, inhuman, smiling face; immediately after, his Surgebinding abilities manifest, and he draws upon stormlight before falling unconscious.[40]

Kaladin survives the highstorm, though he is severely injured. His men cut him down, care for him, and post a constant guard by his bed. While recovering, Kaladin unconsciously consumes stormlight in order to heal, causing Teft to suspect that he may be a member of the Knights Radiant.[8] Ten days later, Kaladin makes a miraculous full recovery and his men, never having known of his previous army service, revive the name Kaladin Stormblessed.[41]

After his recovery, Kaladin meets Matal, his new commander, and is re-acquainted with his wife Hashal. Hashal informs Kaladin that their working conditions will become less lax and permanently assigns Bridge Four to work chasm duty. Kaladin realizes that training to be better bridgemen will be a futile endeavor. Instead, he proposes to begin training the men as spearmen in order to escape, which his men accept.[16]

During a highstorm, Kaladin has a dream that he is the storm, traveling east to west, and sees the ground from the perspective of the storm itself. He passes over the Shattered Plains, Kholinar, Sesemalex Dar, and many other cities. He comes across Szeth in the middle of an assassination. Finally, he meets the Stormfather once again, who leaves him with a cryptic message regarding the Oathpact being broken and Odium reigning. During this vision, Kaladin is in a trance and almost walks out into the highstorm, but his men restrain and wake him.[9]

Later that day, Bridge Four is given the parshman Shen as a new recruit. Kaladin, still worried about his dream, asks Syl if she knows anything about Odium, which causes Syl to immediately flee to a nearby building. A moment later, Kaladin witnesses Adolin Kholin saving a prostitute from being beaten by a lighteyed officer. Choosing to escort the prostitute home, Adolin throws an emerald chip to Kaladin, telling him to deliver the message that he can't make the meeting and will reschedule. Kaladin takes the money, but doesn't deliver the message due to his dislike of Adolin's attitude and lighteyes in general. Syl returns and is distressed at Kaladin's increasingly dark attitude and breach of the implicit agreement to deliver the message.[9]

Later, during one of their chasm duty sessions, Kaladin secretly begins training Bridge Four, which has now dwindled to twenty-four members in total, as spearmen. To assist with the training, Kaladin tricks Teft into revealing that he had formerly been a sergeant and appoints him to oversee the men. To maintain their cover of working in the chasms, he assigns Lopen, Rock, Dabbid, and Shen to do actual salvage work, with Syl's assistance. Kaladin is impressed at the men's progress after only a few hours, and remarks that thanks to their adverse conditions, they are ironically the most motivated and fit recruits that he has ever seen.[25]

Discovery of Surgebinding powers[edit]

In one of the next bridge runs, Dunny dies. Frustrated, Kaladin starts rescuing members of the other bridge crews and commands his men to carry them back to the barracks, even though he barely has enough resources for his own men. His actions cause Teft's suspicions about Kaladin being a Knight Radiant to grow stronger.[42]

One week later, Bridge Four finds slightly more than two emerald broam's worth of money, including an actual emerald broam. With this money, Bridge Four can feed the wounded bridgemen they have been caring for and advance their escape plan. Kaladin decides to turn over the emerald broam—an amount of money that no bridgeman could ever safely spend—but keep the rest. Rock, though an avowed pacifist, takes up a bow and attaches the pouch to the underside of one of the permanent bridges using an arrow.[43]

Lopen covertly retrieves the money during one of the next bridge runs and turns the money over to Kaladin. During the run, Teft's suspicions about Kaladin come to a head, and he tricks Kaladin into unconsciously using his powers. Kaladin, now realizing that his powers are of the Knights Radiant, is scared and wants to be rid of them. He confronts Syl, and during the argument, Syl grows angry and runs away.[44]

Later that evening, Kaladin comes across Hoid, who tells him the story of Derethil and the Wandersail, a story that Kaladin interprets as one about taking responsibility. Before Hoid leaves, he gives Kaladin a Trailman's flute and tells him to look after his apprentice Sigzil, leaving Kaladin to inform Sigzil that he is now a full Worldsinger. Syl, who was present for the story, returns to Kaladin and explains what she remembers and knows about Kaladin's powers. Syl offers to cut off their bond, leaving them both crippled, but Kaladin finally decides to take on the responsibility that Surgebinding represents and use the power to help others.[44]

Kaladin spends a week with Teft unsuccessfully trying to learn how to use his Surgebinding powers while Bridge Four continues training to be spearmen. While trying to learn Surgebinding, Teft tells Kaladin what he knows about the Knights Radiant, teaching him the First Ideal of the Immortal Words.[45]

Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination
— First Ideal of the Knights Radiant

Since Bridge Four's performance is now excellent thanks to their training, Hashal informs Kaladin that Bridge Four will go on every bridge run, without the normal break between bridge runs, as further reprisal for the side carry incident. In response to the increased danger that this change brings, Kaladin comes 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, he successfully manages to access his powers to run up a wall to attach the armor to the underside of the permanent bridge that was used earlier for spheres.[45]

During the next bridge run, Kaladin wears the carapace armor, drawing the attention of the Parshendi. The desecration of a Parshendi corpse enrages the Parshendi warriors who focus all of their attention on Kaladin, ignoring everyone else on the battlefield. Kaladin's Surgebinding, which has slowly grown, protects him from any harm, and the plan is a resounding success. While Bridge Four are resting, a group of Parshendi soldiers attempt to ambush Bridge Four but Dalinar Kholin comes to their rescue, and salutes them as he leaves.[28]

Since the armor is so effective, Kaladin orders Leyten to make a set of armor for every man in Bridge Four, not just those running in front. Meanwhile, the training for the men is advancing rapidly, with Moash and Skar being the most skilled.[27]

Battle of the Tower[edit]

Ten days later, on Tanatashev 1173, Bridge Four participates in the Battle of the Tower, when the combined armies of Highprince Sadeas and Dalinar assault the Tower. By this time, they have not only perfected using the carapace armor, but have made enough sets to outfit the entire unit.[46] The battle begins well, with only Skar and Teft taking relatively minor injuries.[47]

Shortly after, Kaladin receives the order to retreat. Kaladin, on assessing the state of the army, quickly realizes that Sadeas has setup a trap, and has abandoned Dalinar on the Tower with no means of escape.[48] While retreating, Kaladin comes up with the idea of using the chaos of battle to escape, allowing the army to think that the men have been killed. As Kaladin is working out the details of the escape, Syl urges Kaladin to save Dalinar's army, revealing that she has remembered that she is an honorspren, spirit of oaths, promises, and nobility. After a moment of internal conflict, Kaladin orders his men to turn around and head back towards Dalinar's army.[49]

Bridge Four charges the plateau to set their bridge and give Dalinar's army a chance to escape. During this charge, Kaladin overtly performs two great feats of Surgebinding ability: first, he draws over a hundred arrows to his shield. A few moments later, Kaladin speaks the Second Ideal of the Windrunners, progressing his path to becoming a member of the Knights Radiant and unlocking a new level of power. Upon speaking the Second Ideal, Kaladin generates a wave of stormlight powerful enough to throw back an entire enemy rank of Parshendi.[26]

I will protect those who cannot protect themselves
— Second Ideal of the Windrunners

Kaladin fights with amazing prowess, his natural talents enhanced to unnatural levels by stormlight: Kaladin single-handedly engages and defeats dozens of Parshendi. Kaladin and his men hold the bridge until Dalinar's soldiers are able to fight their way to them. Kaladin organizes the retreat, but Highprince Dalinar is not with them and Adolin Kholin is still fighting nearby, forcing the Cobalt Guard to stay on the field as well. Kaladin convinces Adolin to order a retreat, while he goes to retrieve Dalinar. Kaladin finds Dalinar fighting with Eshonai, both of whom are utilizing a full set of Shards. Fighting a Shardbearer for the second time, Kaladin rescues Dalinar and retreats with the remains of his army. While returning to the warcamps, Dalinar promises Kaladin that he will ensure their safety from Sadeas.[50]

When they arrive back at the warcamps, Kaladin accompanies Dalinar to confront Sadeas. Dalinar offers to pay an exorbitant sum of money for the freedom of the bridgemen, but Sadeas refuses. Finally, Dalinar offers his Shardblade Oathbringer in exchange for the men, an offer which Sadeas cannot refuse.[51] Later that night, Dalinar offers to make the bridgemen soldiers in his army, with Bridge Four becoming his personal guard. Kaladin accepts an appointment to the rank of captain and agrees after Dalinar promises him an extraordinary amount of authority and autonomy for a darkeyes.[11]

Kholin's Bodyguard (1173—)[edit]

Kaladin wearing his Captain's uniform.

Kaladin promoted Moash, Skar, Teft, Sigzil and Rock to lieutenants, a rank which is the equivalent of sergeant in companies made solely of lighteyes, because he needs a rank between squadleader and captain to form command structure for a thousand men.[52] Kaladin set up a rotation to protect Dalinar, and his sons always using either himself or Moash or Skar for the Blackthorn. During this time he was encouraged to send some of his men to the kings guard to learn from them. After a small council Dalinar wished for Kaladin and his men to take on more duties extending to protecting Navani and then eventually protecting the King himself, Kaladin complains that his men are stretched thin, Dalinar says that he is not alone in that problem.

Preparing for the Assassin in White[edit]

During the Highstorms Kaladin gathers all those who he is supposed to protect in one location to make it easier and blames himself for not stopping the numbers. After a highstorm the king is nearly killed after the balcony he was standing on broke free, Kaladin concludes with Dalinar that the support was cut with a Shardblade and this was an assassination attempt. Kaladin later confronts Moash as he was the only one on the balcony after the storm and Moash admits to have been an accomplice, Kaladin forbids Moash from meeting with the Assassins again.

Zahel, a swordmaster who teaches Adolin and other lighteyes, wants to prove to Kaladin that he needs to train from him, and learn how to fight Shardbearers. Kaladin does not want to, as he still associates Shardblades with the shardbearer who killed his men while he was under Amaram. Zahel then goes after Adolin, pretending to be an enemy. Kaladin fights him, but is beaten, because he was not protecting anybody and his Radiant abilities did not help him.

Kaladin discusses Amaram with Dalinar, but Dalinar does nothing. He does not fully believe Kaladin, but says that he will look into it. Kaladin is unsatisfied and angry.

Dalinar wants Kaladin and his men to learn how to ride horses, as they might be useful in the future. The groom thinks that it is absurd for darkeyes to learn horseback riding, but she teaches them anyways. Kaladin does not want to ride horses, but does as he is told. He at first rides an old, mellow horse, but Adolin comes by, and taunts him for not riding a fast horse. He then finds Dreamstorm, the most wild, violent horse in the stables, and attempts to ride it. As it bucks him wildly, he is forced to stick himself on with stormlight. He is whipped around, until finally he runs out and flies several feet in the air, and lands across the stable. It hurts badly, because he is out of Stormlight. Adolin is very impressed, and apologizes for taunting him.

Kaladin then has a dream where he speaks to the Stormfather. The stormfather says that Kaladin will soon betray and kill Syl. When he wakes up, Syl tells Kaladin that The One Who Hates is coming, and Kaladin goes to Elhokar's room. Dalinar and Adolin are there, and so is Szeth. Kaladin defends them successfully, but has an arm wounded by Szeth's shardblade. He grows it back with stormlight. Szeth is shocked and angry that the Knights Radiant are returning when he sees Kaladin's surgebinding. (Their return somehow seems to exonerate him of whatever infraction resulted in his Truthless status, which destroys his ability to distance himself from the murders he was ordered to perform.) He then leaves Kaladin alone. Kaladin sees that he is barely able to fight a shardbearer, and takes Zahel up on his offer to train him.

Moash continues to be involved in the plot to kill Elhokar. Kaladin tells him to cease involvement with the conspiracy, but wishes that their arguments were less persuasive. Moash agrees to stop meeting with them.

Kaladin guards Adolin while he is meeting with Shallan. Adolin objects, but Kaladin refuses to leave him by himself. He meets Wit, who informs Kaladin that he is aware of his new surgebinding powers. Kaladin is shocked, and angry at Wit as he often is. Wit leaves when they are not looking, and convinces a bystander to take his place driving the wagon.

Adolin's duel[edit]

Adolin is having a difficult time getting people to duel him, so he tells Relis that he is allowed to bring "anyone else he wants', expecting him to bring one other person. However, Relis brings three others. Adolin is a skilled dueler, but not against four opponents, so Renarin goes in after him. Renarin is unskilled at fighting, so Kaladin jumps in after.

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[53]

Kaladin tells Syl that this better end differently than when he saved Amaram, and Syl promises that it will. Relis ignores Kaladin and pays the price as he gets stabbed in a crack in his armor. Kaladin guards Adolin's back and says that Adolin will need to break their foes' shardplate for him. Adolin says for Kaladin to distract one foe and to watch out for Renarin while he fights the other two and Kaladin agrees. Kaladin draws Relis' attention while Adolin fights Elit and Jakamav. Relis fights Kaladin for a short time but then goes back to fight Adolin who is skillfully dueling his two foes, so Kaladin uses a lashing-enhanced kick to knock Relis down, breaking his own legs in process though he is able to heal them. Kaladin sees that he cracked some of Relis' shards. Adolin's own armor is mostly cracked but he gets a strong blow at Elit and cracks his chestplate, slowing Elit greatly. Kaladin sees Abrobadar waving his blade at the ground and Sylphrena exclaims about something mysterious and flies over toward Renarin. Kaladin uses his broken spear to strike Elit in his exposed armor and forces him to yield. The remaining three opponents gather to battle Adolin, leaving Renarin alone to sit in the sand. Kaladin asks for Elit's helm and is given it and puts it on his hand as an armored glove, and arms himself with a knife to help Adolin. Kaladin tricks Relis into backing away then he goes to help Adolin. Relis and Jakamav both try to attack Kaladin with Sylphrena circling around him, and he dodges their shardblades or blocks them with the helm until he runs out of stormlight, realizing the helm drained it from him. Kaladin is backed against a wall, but Adolin appears and grapples Jakamav to the ground. Kaladin sees that Abrobadar was just defeated. Relis who is the last man standing rushes toward Renarin and Kaladin follows, yelling at Renarin to yield but he only dismisses his blade and does nothing. Relis raises his blade toward Renarin but ends up swinging it at Kaladin, and Kaladin catches it then hears a scream that sounds like Sylphrena. Relis hears the scream and drops the blade and vacates the arena, forfeiting the duel. Jakamav yells at Adolin to fight him as he is held down and Kaladin walks up to him with his knife and places it by a crack in his armor and tells him to yield or else. Jakamav yields and Adolin is declared victor. Adolin laughs joyously at the spoils he won and asks Kaladin to help him remove his drained armor.

Elhokar announces how impressed he is by Adolin and offers him a boon. Kaladin notices Sadeas trying to leave the arena, but before he does, Adolin demands the right to duel Sadeas there and then. Kaladin also demands a boon to challenge Amaram there and then for the crimes of murder and obstruction of justice, causing Amaram to cower, Adolin to groan and the crowd to silence. Elhokar orders Kaladin to be arrested.

In prison[edit]

Kaladin is furious at being put in prison again; for defending a lighteyes. He is treated better in the prison than he was as a slave, but still hates it. He is furious at Dalinar, and compares him to Amaram. Syl forces Kaladin to take it back, and he does. When Dalinar walks in, Kaladin jumps to attention, even though he currently hates him. Dalinar tells Kaladin that he is trying to convince Elhokar to free him, but Elhokar is worried that he will be seen as weak. Dalinar still does not believe that Amaram stole his plate and blade, and says that if Kaladin wants Darkeyes to be respected, he should be a good soldier, not challenge people like Amaram to duels. He thanks Kaladin for saving his sons, and leaves. Later on, Wit comes. He brings a stringed instrument, and tells Kaladin the story of Fleet, the man who tried to race a highstorm from one end of Roshar to the other. He waits for Kaladin to prompt him, before playing his music and telling the rest. In the end, Fleet makes it to Shinovar, where no highstorms can blow, but then dies of exhaustion. His soul then races the wind forever. Wit claims that he didn't know at all about the story of Fleet, and that Kaladin told it and invented it. Finally, Kaladin is set free. He sees that Adolin had locked himself in prison, to protest Kaladin's imprisonment. He has taken a few baths, shaved, and is wearing perfume, claiming that he didn't have to be completely barbaric, but is very thankful to Kaladin for saving his life. When he leaves the prison area, all of Bridge Four is there, celebrating his freedom. Adolin offers Kaladin Shardplate and a Shardblade, but he refuses. It reminds him of Amaram, and gives it to Moash. Kaladin can't find Syl, and is unable to use Stormlight. He does not know why.

In the Chasm[edit]

Kaladin goes out on an expedition to the Shattered Plains, so that Shallan can sketch a Chasmfiend pupa. A bridge engineer working undercover for Sadeas falls the bridge while Dalinar is crossing in an attempt to assassinate Dalinar, and Kaladin and Shallan both fall into the chasm. Each one has Radiant powers, but neither knows that the other does. They wander the chasms for a while, and begin to argue. Kaladin explains to Shallan that the world must seem wonderful to her, because she is rich and hasn't seen terrible things. She then explains to Kaladin that her father was abusive, and she has experienced things just as terrible as he has. Kaladin asks her how she can be so cheerful, and she said that 'it help's if you are insane'. Then, a chasmfiend finds them. Kaladin fights it off by stabbing the top of his mouth, up into his brain, and Shallan helps by distracting it with large images of people. Neither see that the other is a radiant. A highstorm comes, and they hide in a hole on the inside of the wall. Kaladin sees one large figure, and a smaller deformed one come by. He then sees the stormfather's head, who tells him that he has betrayed and killed Syl. When they leave the chasms, Bridge Four is there to greet them, and celebrate. Kaladin brings the Gemheart, but Shallan says that it was dead when it was found. Without Syl, it takes him just as long to heal as an ordinary person.

Windrunner (1174 -)[edit]

Saving King Elhokar[edit]

Kaladin sees that all the men guarding King Elhokar are rebels working with Moash, and want to kill the king. He is convinced that everything is okay, and goes back to his barracks. He then gets uneasy, comes back, and finds the king half asleep on his couch. The soldiers were saying terrible things about him to make him drink, and be less alert. Kaladin sees this, and tries to carry the king out. Moash and Graves are there, and try to kill him. Moash asks Kaladin to leave, and when he refuses, punches him with his plate enhanced strength. It breaks Kaladin's ribs. They stab the king, and Kaladin tries to fight them off. He is badly injured, and thinks that he is going to die, but is happy to die while doing something good. He then hears the Stormfather speaking with Syl. Syl wants to go to Kaladin, but the Stormfather says that Kaladin will kill her again. She tells Kaladin to say the Third Ideal of the Windrunners:
I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right
— Third Ideal of the Windrunners
.

Syl returns to him in the form of a Shardblade. Kaladin can use surges again, and he heals with stormlight. He is able to defeat the assassins, and leave the building with Elhokar alive.

Fighting Szeth[edit]

The sky and the winds are mine, I claim them. Just as I now claim your life
— Kaladin to Szeth

Dalinar allies with several other highprinces to attack on the Parshendi. They summon an Everstorm, and Szeth comes to kill Dalinar. Syl tells Kaladin that something is wrong, and Kaladin uses his lashings to fly/fall towards the shattered plains. He sees Dalinar flying upwards, where Szeth has lashed him. He lashes Dalinar slightly more down than up, so that he floats slowly down. Kaladin then plummets down to Earth, leaving a sword shaped glyph in the ground where he lands, and tells Szeth that he claims his life. Kaladin and Szeth battle in the sky, using lashings to maneuver back and forth as the two storms crash into each other below. Szeth says the Knights can't be back but Kaladin retorts that they are and will kill him. Szeth manages to stab Kaladin but he is able to heal it, though it takes a lot of stormlight. Szeth boasts that he will win due to his experience but Kaladin says that the sky is and was always his. Kaladin starts fighting instinctually and manages to strike Szeth as Syl changes forms while they fight, though Szeth dodges a killing blow. Kaladin sees the top of the plateau crest through the clouds, spinning slowly. The top is Urithiru, and a fabrial, and Shallan has activated it. Szeth lands on the surface, chased by Kaladin. Szeth again yells that the Voidbringers can't be back, and goes back toward Dalinar to try to kill him. Kaladin follows Szeth into the storm as Syl warns Kaladin that the Stormfather hates him, and that although the winds are Kaladin's, the storms are the stormfather's. She warns him that a worse storm brews as well. Kaladin and Szeth both draw more stormlight from the storm. Szeth reaches the plateau before Kaladin but it is empty. Szeth screams at Kaladin as red spren zip around in the tempest. Szeth realizes that the armies went to Urithiru, and flies off toward the west, chased by Kal. Kaladin chases with difficulty and they both reach the stormfront and break through it, and Kaladin stabs Szeth in his foot. Kaladin manages to smash and stab Szeth further as they fight just ahead of the highstorm. As they fight, Szeth finally acknowledges the truth and says that he was right all along and never Truthless, and that he could have stopped murdering at any time. Szeth feints and Kaladin responds by stabbing the Shin through the chest, and grabs the shardblade at Syl's order from Szeth's falling corpse. Kaladin stays hovering surrounded by windspren, and Syl says she may keep Kaladin around. Syl demands compliments and a smile, which Kaladin gives.

Kaladin, Dalinar, Renarin, and Shallan meet in Urithiru. They are all finally aware that the others are Radiants. Kaladin plans to return to his hometown, and save his family from Roshone.

Returning to Hearthstone[edit]

Kaladin arrived in Hearthsone, after the Everstorm fearing the worst. He finds hims father and mother tending to wounded within Roshone's manor. The Parshmen invaded the grain storage, stole the food and left. His parents are happy to see him, and Laral doesn't care for him much anymore. As she is content with her life with Roshone. Kaladin takes off to pursue the parshmen.

Finding the Parshmen[edit]

Upon his discovery of the Parshmen encampment, he finds them playing cards and speaking exactly like Alethi darkeyes. Their names are also those of darkeyes. The capture him and he stays with them for a while, eventually befriending them and teaching them.

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Surgebinding[edit]

Kaladin has the ability to manipulate the Surges of Adhesion and Gravitation through his Nahel bond with the honorspren Sylphrena.[44] By breathing in Stormlight, he gains superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, stamina, and healing, as long as he has access to Stormlight.[28] 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.[29] After Kaladin swore the third Ideal of the Windrunners, Sylphrena gained the ability to become a Shardblade. Unlike the dead Blades left after the Recreance, 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.[54]

Adhesion[edit]

Full Lashing is the first of the Three Lashings Kaladin mastered, and the first he used consciously. He was able to bond fist-sized rocks to a sheer chasm wall and create a ladder.[45] He used Full Lashing to disarm his opponents by yanking their weapons with his own and neutralize them by bonding them to surfaces, while sparring, although he stated he felt awkward due to lack of practice. His Full Lashing had no effect on himself at this time.[55] He later bound himself to the saddle of his horse, demonstrating that he can choose when his Full Lashing would bond him or ignore him.[56]

Gravitation[edit]

Though he has never used it consciously, Kaladin performed Reverse Lashings during the bridge runs for the entirety of his time as a bridgeman. He instinctively managed to infuse the bridge he carried to attract the Parshendi arrow shot at him while approaching the target plateaus.[3] Later at the Battle of the Tower, he infused the shield he was carrying to draw an entire volley of arrow shot at the Bridge Four.[26]

After his encounter with the Assassin in White, he managed to duplicate the ability to perform Basic Lashings.[57] Initially he had problems adjusting to the sudden change of perspective, but with practice, he managed to push down his panic and become accustomed to the altered gravity. He has discovered how to perform multiple Lashings in the same or different directions, as well as partial Lashings. He has achieved "flight" by Lashing himself to the air and shown that he can keep up with a more experienced Surgebinder like Szeth.[54]

Combat Skills[edit]

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.[24] 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.[27] He was able to take down six spearmen by himself in seconds even before he discovered his abilities as a Surgebinder.[14] Combined with Stormlight, he held off dozens of Parshendi almost single-handedly.[50]

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.[14] He has been known to wield a quarterstaff, a hammer, and a halberd.[54] After becoming the Kholin bodyguard, he started training with the Swordmaster Zahel, though he is by no means an expert with a sword yet.[58]

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.[14] He was able to train the Bridge Four with barely any resources.[11] He is able to quickly analyze a battlefield and assess the tactical situation.[38]

Medicine[edit]

Kaladin started training in medicine with his father and assisting him in surgery when he was eight years old.[17] 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.[5] He showed to have at least a basic understanding of pharmacology when he harvested and extracted his own antiseptic from knobweed sap.[36] He also demonstrated knowledge in neurological disorders like epilepsy.[57] After joining the army, he had considerable practice as a field medic, attending to his fellows soldiers injured in combat.[5]

Relationships[edit]

Sylphrena[edit]

Sylphrena, known as Syl, is an honorspren that Kaladin has bonded to. 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 become a member of the Knights Radiant. Syl is also a living weapon and is able to manifest herself as a Shardblade.

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.[3] 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.

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.

Shallan Davar[edit]

Kaladin and Shallan are the first two 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.

Quotes[edit]

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[32]
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 to Sylphrena[2]
Men are unreliable in many things. But if there's one thing you can count on, it's their greed.
— Kaladin to Sylphrena[34]
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[35]
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[36]
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[37]
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[42]

{{quote | 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[26] }

Trivia[edit]

  • Kaladin is currently immune to the Thrill, although he may have felt it in the past.[59][18]
  • Kaladin spoke the Second Ideal of the Windrunners in modern Alethi.[60]
  • Despite previous contradicting statements by Brandon, Kaladin is not likely to get another flashback book anymore.[Citation needed]
  • Kaladin was originally named Merin. One of the reasons for the name change was that Merin sounded too much like Perrin.[61] Another was it sounded too much like a female name. Brandon also felt that the character had changed so much that he couldn't think of him as Merin anymore.[62]
  • In the original manuscript of The Way of Kings, Kaladin saves the life of Elhokar from a Shardbearer and accepts the Shardblade. They try to take it away from him, but Dalinar insists that he be given it.[63]
  • Kaladin's name comes from the combining of the name Kalak and the Alethi suffix 'din'. His name means 'born unto eternity'. [64]

Notes[edit]

  1. Peter Ahlstrom's post about character ages
    17th Shard forums - 2014-01-26#
  2. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 14
  3. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 6
  4. The Way of Kings prologue
  5. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 1
  6. a b Words of Radiance chapter 87
  7. Do Shin have big eyes? - Reddit AMA 2013
    Theoryland - 2013-04-15#
  8. a b The Way of Kings chapter 38
  9. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 46
  10. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 2
  11. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 73
  12. Words of Radiance chapter 75
  13. a b The Way of Kings chapter 44
  14. a b c d e f g h The Way of Kings chapter 47
  15. a b The Way of Kings chapter 11
  16. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 43
  17. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 10
  18. a b The Way of Kings chapter 16
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 20
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 25
  21. a b The Way of Kings chapter 31
  22. a b The Way of Kings chapter 37
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 41
  24. a b c d e f The Way of Kings chapter 27
  25. a b The Way of Kings chapter 49
  26. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 67
  27. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 63
  28. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 62
  29. a b Words of Radiance chapter 52
  30. Words of Radiance chapter 73
  31. The Way of Kings chapter 51
  32. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 4
  33. The Way of Kings chapter 9
  34. a b The Way of Kings chapter 17
  35. a b The Way of Kings chapter 21
  36. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 23
  37. a b The Way of Kings chapter 30
  38. a b The Way of Kings chapter 32
  39. The Way of Kings chapter 34
  40. The Way of Kings chapter 35
  41. The Way of Kings chapter 40
  42. a b The Way of Kings chapter 53
  43. The Way of Kings chapter 55
  44. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 57
  45. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 59
  46. Words of Radiance chapter 64
  47. Words of Radiance chapter 65
  48. The Way of Kings chapter 66
  49. Words of Radiance chapter 67
  50. a b The Way of Kings chapter 68
  51. The Way of Kings chapter 69
  52. Words of Radiance chapter 2
  53. Words of Radiance chapter 56
  54. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 86
  55. Words of Radiance chapter 12
  56. Words of Radiance chapter 25
  57. a b Words of Radiance chapter 41
  58. Words of Radiance chapter 16
  59. Spokane Signing
    17th Shard forums - 2013-08-08#
  60. Kaladin spoke in modern ALethi - Reddit AMA 2013
    Theoryland - 2013-04-15#
  61. Mad Hatter's interview with Brandon Sanderson
    Theoryland - 2010-09-17#
  62. 17th Shard Interview
    Theoryland - 2010-10-15#
  63. Tor Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Theoryland - 2011-01-10#
  64. Orem Signing, December 12, 2015?
    — Google Docs
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