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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 Windrunner, Shardbearer
Bonded With Sylphrena
Titles Captain of the Bridgemen, Knight Radiant
Aliases Kaladin Stormblessed, Lordship, Bridgeboy
Profession Soldier, Bridgeman (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)
Birthplace Hearthstone
Residence Urithiru
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 also displays several classic symptoms of clinical depression, amplified the loss and pressures that were 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.[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 was 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 were of fourth or fifth nahn), as well as superstitions surrounding his father’s work as a surgeon. As a result, he became very close with his brother and, at the encouragement of his parents, Laral Wistiow, the daughter of the city lord.[17]

At the age of eight, Kaladin began training with his father in surgery, though he dreamed of becoming a soldier. In 1164, he assisted his father in amputating one of the fingers of a fifteen-year old girl named Sani. Once they finished, the discussed Kaladin’s future. Despite his wishes to be a soldier, Lirin announced his plans to send Kaladin to train in the Great Concourse of Kharbranth once he turned sixteen.[17]

Two years later, Kaladin and Laral were walking together outside when Kaladin tells her of his father’s plans to send him away. Laral encouraged him to become a soldier instead, implying that he could marry her if he won a Shardblade in battle, thereby becoming a lighteyes. Kaladin missed the implication, even though he was attracted to her. Later, they encounter a group of older boys, one of whom makes the claim his father won a Shardblade in the wastescum skirmishes.[18]

You go be what you are, Kal. I'll be what I am.
—Jost to Kaladin [18]

At Laral’s prompting, Kaladin contradicted him, which led to the boy, Jost, challenging Kaladin 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 stops himself from fighting anymore. Jost, having no similar inhibition, beats Kaladin to the ground. Kaladin then asked Jost to teach him, but the older boy declined, telling Kaladin to “go be what you are.” Joined by Then, Kaladin made his way home while contemplating what he wants to be. Once home, Lirin informed Kaladin that Citylord Wistiow had died and bequeathed a goblet full of spheres to Kaladin so he could study in Kharbranth.[18]

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

You have to learn when to care, son. And when to let go.
— Lirin to Kaladin after Miasal's death [19]

New Citylord[edit]

Near the end of 1166, Kaladin had a conversation with his mother and realized that his parents were encouraging him to spend time with Laral in the hopes that the two would marry. As Kaladin mulled over the conversation, Lirin arrived with the news that a new citylord had arrived. The entire family went to the town square to await the arrival of Citylord Roshone. Roshone arrived in a carriage and barely acknowledged the crowd. When Lirin tried to welcome him to the town, he responded by blaming Lirin for the reason he ended up in Hearthstone and abruptly left.[20]

Citylord Roshone’s arrival brought great misfortune to Kaladin’s family. Beliving 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.[21] While the townsfolk acquiesced, they still secretly provided provisions to Lirin and Hesina.[22] Then apprenticed to a carpenter because he was unsuitable as a surgeon while Kaladin still debated whether or not he wanted to join the army or become a surgeon.[21]

About a year after Roshone’s arrival, three masked men tried to into Lirin’s surgery room while he and Kaladin were inside, demanding Wistiow’s spheres. Instead, Lirin revealed that they were not 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.[21]

Half a year later, Roshone invited Lirin to the mansion for dinner. Although Lirin and Hesina tried 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 sent him away to the kitchens. In the kitchens, Roshone’s son, Rillir walks in with Laral, and confusing Kaladin for a servant, ordered him to fetch them supper. Kaladin, protesting that he wasn’t a servant, lost an argument with Rillir and was humiliated.[22]

As Lirin and Kaladin leave the mansion, Kaladin admitted 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 lightens. During the conversation, Kaladin realized that Lirin had indeed stolen the spheres from Wistiow. Kaladin resolved 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 determined that Rillir’s injuries were already fatal and tended to Roshone instead, despite his protests. They anesthetized both patient and began surgery on Roshone. 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.[23]

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 [23]

In the Weeping of 1168, as Kaladin’s family grew increasingly desperate, they were forced to spend some of the spheres. Roshone assembled the townsfolk in the town square. Meridas Amaram, a general for Highprince Sadeas, 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 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 tries to take Tien’s place, he is 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 would bring Then back in four years. Amaram promised Lirin that he would make Then a messenger boy for a while.[13]

Amaram's Army (1168–1172)[edit]

Tien's Death[edit]

Kaladin received his initial training under Tukks, where he learned 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 demonstrated his natural talent and learned 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 assured 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 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, hugged Tien’s dead body until long past the end of the battle.[26]

Don't worry. I'll bring you home. I'll protect you, Tien. I'll bring you back...
— Kaladin weeping over Tien's body [26]

Stormblessed[edit]

Kaladin sent a letter to his parents informing them of Tien’s death and his decision not to return to Hearthstone.[14] He spent 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 became the best spearman in his company and was rumored to be the best in the entire army.[27] He eventually met Tarah, who coaxed Kaladin out of his single-mindedness, claiming it would burn him out. The two became romantically involved, but separated after some time, for which Kaladin blamed himself.[28] He later joined the Takers under Tukk’s leadership.[10] There, Kaladin met Durk who became a mentor figure to him.[9] Eventually, every member of the Takers are killed except for Kaladin.[10] At the age of eighteen, Kaladin was promoted to squadleader, marking him the youngest one in the army and becoming known as Kaladin Stormblessed.

Fighting the Shardbearer[edit]

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 is actually his first meeting with Sylphrena. After consulting with Dallet, Kaladin went to the front lines to prepare for battle.[14]

We’re taking him. Imagine it Dallet. Real soldiers. A war camp with discipline and lighteyes with integrity. A place where our fighting will mean something.
—Kaladin to Dallet before attacking the battalionlord [14]

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.[5] 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 execute their plan flawlessly, with Kaladin himself landing the killing blow on the enemy battalionlord.[14]

Immediately after, an unknown enemy, a 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 continued on to attack Amaram, whose honor guard has 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.[14]

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 member’s 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.[31]

It’s not about Alethkar! It’s about you! Storm it, you’re supposed to be better than the others!
— Kaladin to Amaram after his men were struck down for the Shardplate [31]

Slavery (1172–1173)[edit]

Sas nahn and shash

Kaladin spent the next eight months under at least six different slavemasters, 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 slaved, including a man named Goshel. However, they all died, leading Kaladin to believe he failed them. By the eighth month, Kaladin fell into despair and stopped making any escape attempts.[10][16]

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 slaves, or for something else. Regardless, he took comfort in having options open to him. However, when a fellow slave takes ill, Kaladin’s instinct to protect and heal re-emerged and Kaladin attempted to save his life. His attempt fails as Tvlakv had the slave killed in order to avoid the infection spreading.[10][32]

It was during this time that Kaladin first noticed Syl. Although Kaladin noticed that Syl had been following him for several months, he believed she was nothing more than the average, albeit mischievous windspren. For the most part, Syl acted much like a normal windspren, though Kaladin noted some oddities about her, such as the exceptionally long period of time that she had been following him. Just before Kaladin was sold to Sadeas, Syl began talking to him and called him by name, an unprecedented occurrence. Although spren can mimic voice, Kaladin didn’t believe them to have intelligence or memory. Kaladin thought he was insane at first, but he eventually started to converse with Syl.[10][32]

Bridgeman (1173)[edit]

Becoming bridgeleader[edit]

In 1173, Tvlakv finally brought Kaladin to the Shattered Plains and sold him to Highprince Sadeas's army. Kaladin spoke up to Hashal, the wife of the lighteyed officer, who was in charge of the slaves, and begged to be allowed to fight as a spearman in the army. However, due to his “stash” glyph, his reputation as a deserter, and his attitude during the exchange, he was sent to Bridge Four, the bridge crew with the worst reputation and casualty rate, to work as a bridgeman.[3]

He was 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 was 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, the Parshendi archers targeted the bridge crews and inflicted heavy casualties. Although Kaladin wanted to render aid to the men, he was unable to and fell unconscious. Kaladin was about to be left for dead by the retreating bridge crews, until Syl called out his name and urged him to move.[3]

Kaladin sitting by the Honor Chasm by Maddi

During this time in Bridge Four, Kaladin grew more and more depressed at his situation. Eventually, Syl was unable to bear seeing Kaladin’s state and she left him, promising to return. On the next bridge run, the last man that survived Kaladin’s initial bridge run died, leaving Kaladin as the senior member of Bridge Four.[33] Faced with losing Syl, his only friend, and such a grim reality, Kaladin seriously contemplated suicide. He went to the Honor Chasm at night, intending to jump off. Before he can do so, 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. This innocent gesture ironically gave Kaladin the will to live again. He left the chasm and resolved to become bridgeleader. He bribed and intimidated Gaz into giving him the position along with the autonomy to run Bridge Four. That night, he learned the name of every man in Bridge Four and went 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 one another—in fact, they don’t even know each other’s names. The next morning, Kaladin announced to Bridge Four that the current state of affairs would change under his leadership. He first tried to get the members of Bridge Four into training for runs to increase their chances of survival, but he was met with resistance and ridicule. Undeterred, he proceeded to train by himself.[2]

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

Since the bridgemen were supposed to be expendable, Kaladin was told that he may keep tending to the wounded men, but they would not be fed or paid while they were unable to work. He asked the other members of Bridge Four to pitch in money and food to care for the men, but he was refused. Only Rock offered to share his food and only to Hobber, who was the least injured.[35] Instead, Kaladin came up with the idea of collecting knobweed sap, valuable antiseptic that he could use to care for the injured and sell for money. Gaining the trust of Rock and Teft, Kaladin had them help to collect the knobweed sap. Syl helped 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 started building camaraderie with the two men, managing to get Rock to open up and share some of his life story.[36]

Kaladin returned to the apothecary and made a a deal for his bridge crew to gather knobweed sap in return for a skymark per bottle of sap. 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, getting more of them to open up about their pasts.[24]

While working, Kaladin came across a spear in the chasms and went into a trance. He performed 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, noticed an unknown spren—actually Syl—zipping around Kaladin.[24]

The night culminated in Kaladin using the money he earned to purchase food and he assigned 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.[24]

Transforming Bridge Four into spearmen[edit]

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

Prior to the next bridge run, Kaladin gained Lopen as a member from a new batch of recruits. They immediately are sent on a bridge run, where Kaladin ordered Bridge Four to perform the side carry as they engage 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.[38]

As punishment for the failure, 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 a building during a highstorm.[39] During the highstorm, Kaladin met the Stormfather in the form of a gigantic, inhuman, smiling face. Immediately after, Kaladin’s Surgebinding abilities manifested and he drew upon Stormlight before falling unconscious.[40]

Kaladin survived the highstorm, though he was severely injured. His men cut him down, cared for him, and posted a constant guard by his bed. While recovering, Kaladin unconsciously consumed Stormlight in order to heal, causing Teft to suspect that he may be a member of the Knights Radiant.[8] Ten days later, Kaladin made a miraculous recovery and his men, despite never having known of his previous army service, revived the name Kaladin Stormblessed.[41]

After his recovery, Kaladin met Matal, his new commander, and was re-acquainted with his wife Hashal. Hashal informed Kaladin that their working conditions would become less lax and permanently assigned Bridge Four to chasm duty. Given the new orders, Kaladin realized that training the bridgemen further would be a futile endeavor. Instead, he proposed training the men to become spearman in order to escape, which he men accepted.[16]

During a high storm, Kaladin had a dream that he was the storm, traveling east to west, seeing the ground from the perspective of the storm itself. He passed over the Shattered Plains, Kholinar, Sesemalex Dar, and many other cities. 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 broken and Odium reigning. During this vision, Kaladin was in a trance and almost walked out into the highstorm, but his men restrained him and woke him.[9]

Later that day, Bridge Four was given a parshman, Shen, as a new recruit. Kaladin, still worried about his dream, asked Syl if she knew anything about Odium, which caused Syl to flee immediately to a nearby building. A moment later, Kaladin witnessed Adolin Kholin saving a prostitute from being beaten by a lighteyed officer. Choosing to escort the prostitute home, Adolin threw a emerald chip to Kaladin and told him to deliver a message that he can’t make the 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 and was distressed at Kaladin’s increasingly dark attitude and breach of the implicit agreement to do as Adolin requested.[9]

Later, during one of their chasm duty sessions, Kaladin secretly began training Bridge Four, which had now dwindled to twenty-four members, as spearman. To assist with the training, Kaladin tricked Teft into revealing that he had formerly been a sergeant and appointed him to oversee the men. To maintain their cover of working in the chaos, he assigned Lopen, Rock, Dabbid, and Shen to do 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 are ironically the most motivated and fit recruits he had ever seen.[25]

Discovery of Surgebinding powers[edit]

In one of the next bridge runs, Dunny died. Frustrated, Kaladin began rescuing members of other bridge crews, commanding his men to carry them back to the barracks, despite having barely 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 on chasm duty, Bridge Four found slightly more than emerald broam's worth of money, including an actual emerald broam. Kaladin realized that with this money, they could not only feed the wounded bridgemen, but they also could 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.[43]

Lopen covertly retrieved the money during one of the next bridge runs and turned the money over to Kaladin. During the run, Teft’s suspicions about Kaladin came to a head and he tricked Kaladin into unconsciously using his powers. Kaladin, realizing that his powers were of the Knights Radiant, was scared and wanted to be rid of them. He confronted Syl, and during the argument, Syl grew angry and ran away.[44]

Later that evening, 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 told him to look after his apprentice Sigzil, leaving Kaladin to tell Sigzil that he is now a full Worldsinger. Syl, who was present for the story, returned to Kaladin and explained what she remembered and knew about his powers. Syl offered to cut off their bond, which would leave them both crippled, but Kaladin finally decided to take on the responsibility that Surgebinding represented and to use the power to help others.[44]

Kaladin spent a week with Teft unsuccessfully trying to learn how to use his Surgebinding powers while Bridge Four continued to train to become spearmen. While trying to learn Surgebinding, Teft told Kaladin what he knew of 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

Given Bridge Four’s excellent performance thanks to their training, Hashal informed Kaladin that Bridge Four would go on every bridge run, without the normal break between runs, a further reprisal for the side carry incident. 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, he successfully managed to access 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.[45]

During the next bridge run, Kaladin wore the carapace armor, drawing the attention of the Parshendi. The desecration of a Parshendi corpse enraged the Parshendi warriors who focused all their attention on Kaladin, ignoring everyone else on the battefield. Kaladin’s Surgebinding, which had slowly grown, protected him from any harm, his plan a resounding success. While Bridge Four was resting, a group of Parshendi soldiers attempt to ambush Bridge Four, but Dalinar Kholin came to their rescue and saluted them as he left.[28]

Since the armor was so effective, Kaladin ordered Leyten to make a set of armor for every man in Bridge Four, not just those running in front. Meanwhile, the spearmen’s training advanced rapidly, with Moash and Skar emerging as the most skilled.[27]

Battle of the Tower[edit]

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, but they had made enough sets to outfit the entire unit.[46] The battle began well, with only Skar and Teft receiving relatively minor injuries.[47]

Shortly after the battle’s start, Kaladin received the order to retreat. Kaladin, who quickly assessed the state of the army, realized that Sadeas had set up a trap, abandoning Dalinar on the Tower with no means of escape.[48] During the retreat, Kaladin had the idea of using the chaos of battle to escape, allowing the army to think that his men had been killed.

While Kaladin was working out the details of the escape, Syl uged him to save Dalinar’s army, revealing that she remembered that she is 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.[49]

Kaladin charging the Parshendi by Pam Hage
Bridge Four charged the plateau to set their bridge and gave Dalinar’s army a chance to escape. During this charge, Kaladin overtly performed two great feats of Surgebinding: first, he drew over a hundred arrows to his shield. A few moments later, he spoke the Second Ideal of the Windrunners, progressing his path to becoming a member of the Knights Radiant and unlocking a new level of power. Having spoken the Second Ideal, Kaladin generated 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 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. Kaladin organized the retreat, but neither Highprince Dalinar or Adolin were with them. Adolin was still fighting nearby, forcing the Cobalt Guard to stay on the field as well. Kaladin convinced Adolin to order a retreat while he went to retrieve Dalinar. Kaladin found Dalinar 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. While returning to the warcamps, Dalinar promised Kaladin he would ensure their safety from Sadeas.[50]

When they arrived back at the warcamps, Kaladin accompanied Dalinar to confront Sadeas. Dalinar offered to pay an exorbitant sum of money for the freedom of the 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.[51]

Later that night, Dalinar offered to make the bridge men soldiers in his army, with Bridge Four becoming his personal guard. Kaladin accepted an appointment to the rank of captain and agreed after Dalinar promised 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 equivalent to that of a sergeant in companies made solely of lighteyes, because he needed a rank between squadleader and captain to form a command structure for a thousand men.[52] Kaladin set up a rotation to protect Dalinar and his sons, always assigning himself, Moash or Skar for the Blackthorn. During this time, he was encouraged to send some of his men to the king’s 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 including the King himself. Kaladin complained that his men were stretched then, but Dalinar said he was not alone in that problem.[53]

Preparing for the Assassin in White[edit]

During the Highstorms, 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 numbers didn’t stop. After a particular highstorm, King Elhokar was nearly killed after 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. Kaladin later confronted Moash as he was the only one on the balcony after the storm. Moash then admitted to being an accomplice and Kaladin forbade him from meeting with the assassins again.

Zahel, a swordmaster who taught Adolin and other lighteyes, tried to convince Kaladin to be trained under him so that he could learn how to fight Shardbearers. Kaladin didn’t want to, as he still associated Shardblades with the shardbearer who killed his men while he was under Amaram. Zahel then goes after Adolin, pretending to be an enemy. Kaladin fought him, but was defeated because he was not protecting anybody and his Radiant abilities not aiding him.

Kaladin discussed Amaram with Dalinar, but Dalinar does nothing. He does not fully believe Kaladin, but says that he will look into it. This angered Kaladin, leaving him unsatisfied with Dalinar’s promise.

Later, 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 did not want to ride the horses, but he does as he was told. At first, he rode an old, mellow horse, but Adolin came by and taunted him for not riding a fast horse. He then found Dreamstorm, the most wild, violent house in the stables, and attempted to ride it. As it bucked him wildly, he was forced to stick himself on with Stormlight. He was whipped around, until he finally ran out, flying several feet in the air and landing across the stable. It hurt badly, because he was out of Stormlight. However, Adolin was very impressed and apologized for taunting him.

Kaladin then had a dream where he spoke to the Stormfather. The Stormfather said that Kaladin would soon betray and kill Syl. When he woke up, Syl told him that The One Who Hates is coming and Kaladin rushed to Elhokar’s room. Dalinar and Adolin were there, but so was Szeth. Kaladin defended them successfully, but his arm was wounded by Szeth's shardblade. He grew it back with Stormlight, leaving Szeth shocked and angry that the Knights Radiant were returning as evident by Kaladin’s Surgebinding. (Their return somehow seemed to exonerate him of whatever infraction resulted in his Truthless status, which destroyed his ability to distance himself from the murders he was ordered to perform.) He then left Kaladin alone. Upon seeing that he was barely able to fight a Shardbearer, Kaladin took Zahel up on his offer to train him.

Moash continued to be involved with the plot to kill Elhokar. Kaladin ordered him to cease involvement with the conspiracy, but he wished that their arguments were less persuasive. Moash agreed to stop meeting with them.

Kaladin guarded Adolin while he met with Shallan, much to Adolin’s objection, but Kaladin refused to leave him by himself. He met up with Wit, who informed Kaladin that he was aware of his new Surgebinding powers. Kaladin was shocked and angry with Wit, which he often was these days. Wit left when they were not looking, convincing 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[54]

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 and Shallan by LittleGreyDragon

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 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.[55]

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.[56]

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.[57]

Finding the Parshmen[edit]

Hornhollow[edit]

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.[58]

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.[58]

Traveling with the Parshmen[edit]

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 set right, so he surrendered instead.[59]

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.[60]

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.[60]

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.[61]

Revolar[edit]

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.[62]

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.[63]

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.[63]

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.[63]

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.[64]

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.[65] 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.[66]

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.[67] 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.[64]

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.[64] After becoming the Kholin bodyguard, he started training with the Swordmaster Zahel, though he is by no means an expert with a sword yet.[68]

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.[67]

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 to 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.

Tien[edit]

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.

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. As time passes the two of them get closer together with Shallan admitting that Veil is attracted to him. In the end however she chooses Adolin instead and when asked how he felt he claimed that she merely lifted his burdens a bit and reminded him of Tien, but that he never actually loved her.

Adolin Kholin[edit]

Kaladin first saw Adolin saving a darkeyed prostitute who was 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 so when they meet face-to-face with Kaladin seeing Adolin as spoiled and arrogant and Adolin dislikes Kaladin's condescending attitude and willingness to order those clearly above him in rank. Their interactions manifested in glares and taunts with each only tolerating the other out of necessity.

This changed when Kaladin, at a suicidal disadvantage, aided Adolin in a battle against 4 other Shardbearers. After the duel, while the king was offering a boon to Adolin, Kaladin unknowingly embarrassed Elhokar by demanding a Right of Challenge to face Amaram in the arena, resulting in his incarceration. This only further convinced Kaladin that lighteyes couldn't be trusted.[31] Upon being freed, however, he discovered that Adolin had demanded to be locked up in the same prison, and refused to be released until Kaladin was pardoned. When questioned why, the prince would only say that it wasn't right after Kaladin had saved his life. Adolin then offered Kaladin one of the newly won sets of Shards, though the former bridgeman refused 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 gave the set to Moash at Kaladin's recommendation. From there the two became good friends although their friendship was stressed due to Shallan Davar although the two has since moved on with Shallan and Adolin confessing to each other and Kaladin giving up on her for good.

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]
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.[69][18]
  • Kaladin spoke the Second Ideal of the Windrunners in modern Alethi.[70]
  • 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.[71] 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.[72]
  • 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.[73]
  • Kaladin's name comes from the combining of the name Kalak and the Alethi suffix 'din'. His name means 'born unto eternity'.[74]

Notes[edit]

  1. Word of Peter - 17th Shard post
    Arcanum - 2014-01-25#
  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 The Way of Kings chapter 1 #
  6. a b Words of Radiance chapter 87 #
  7. Arcanum entry 4079
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  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 i 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 c d The Way of Kings chapter 16 #
  19. a b The Way of Kings chapter 20 #
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 25 #
  21. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 31 #
  22. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 37 #
  23. a b 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 e 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. a b 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 5 #
  54. Words of Radiance chapter 56 #
  55. Oathbringer chapter 5 #
  56. Oathbringer chapter 6 #
  57. Oathbringer chapter 7 #
  58. a b Oathbringer chapter 10 #
  59. Oathbringer chapter 14 #
  60. a b Oathbringer chapter 17 #
  61. Oathbringer chapter 20 #
  62. Oathbringer chapter 23 #
  63. a b c Oathbringer chapter 31 #
  64. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 86 #
  65. Words of Radiance chapter 12 #
  66. Words of Radiance chapter 25 #
  67. a b Words of Radiance chapter 41 #
  68. Words of Radiance chapter 16 #
  69. Arcanum entry 10378
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  70. Arcanum entry 4049
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  71. Arcanum entry 10237
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  72. Arcanum entry 10099
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  73. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  74. Holiday signing
    Arcanum - 2015-12-12#
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