Lezian

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Lezian
The Pursuer by rspixart.png
Died 1175, killed by El[1]
Abilities Fused
Titles The Pursuer
Species Singer
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Any time he is killed, Lezian ignores everything else until he has claimed the life of the one who killed him. Seven thousand years, and he’s never failed.

Leshwi explaining Lezian's tradition[2]

Lezian, the Pursuer, is one of the nex-im, a rare Fused brand on Roshar which has access to the Surge of Transportation.[2]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Appearance[edit]

Lezian is described as being easily seven feet tall. He has hair the color of dried blood, and it seems to meld into his clothing, which is woven out of his hair. His skin is pure black, with lines of red marbling around his softly glowing red eyes. He also has a markedly wicked-looking jagged carapace, with a strange pair of carapace fins/horns rising above his ears.[3] Kaladin describes him as a hulking mountain of chitin and dark brown cloth, with eyes glowing a deep red.[4]

It is unknown which of these characteristics (other than his skin color and patterning) are uniquely his, over being shared with other nex-im.

Personality[edit]

Lezian considers it of the utmost importance that his tradition (of killing whoever killed him) continues, and it doesn't matter to him whether he beats and kills his quarry in genuine combat, or murders them when they are defenseless and unconscious.[5] Venli remarks that in this, he is more like a spren, with his tradition taking over his reason. She also notes that in this, Lezian also has a madness to him, much like many of the other Fused, even if the way it affects him is subtler.[2] Even Lezian calls himself a spren of vengeance, someone who would never stop hunting his quarry, giving them no respite. The fact that the Everstorm allows the Fused to continue their cycle of rebirths without going to Braize only makes this more certain, and Raboniel corroborates it.[4]

Lezian - like many of the Fused - prefers not to speak Alethi (or any other modern human language) though he is proficient enough to be able to understand and speak it if he wants/needs to.[3] According to Leshwi, Lezian takes great pride in worming his way into the stories of the humans, and manages to do so every Return.[6] She also notes that while he is respected for his determination, he is reckless, and has endangered plans and ruined missions with that particular quality.[2]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Surgebinding[edit]

As one of the nex-im, Lezian has access to the Surge of Transportation. This allows him to leave his body behind and shoot out of it as a spren-like flying ribbon of red-violet light, which can then expand to re-form a new body elsewhere. The old body collapses as if it was a dead corpse, and disintegrates into ash within minutes.[7] This effectively allows Lezian to teleport, using the ribbon of light to transfer between locations. Lezian can do four such "jumps" before completely running out of voidlight, and typically uses three of them in battle, using the fourth to retreat and resupply.[7]

Once Lezian leaves a body, the "corpse" that he leaves behind starts turning dry and fragile, with colors fading. The flesh turns to a light and porous stone, and the whole body (including the carapace) disintegrates into ash soon after.[7]

Combat Skills[edit]

Lezian uses a fighting style based around forms of grappling, and is extremely proficient at fighting Surgebinders. He can break off his sharp and jagged carapace spurs to use as improvised daggers.[7] He is also proficient at using the quirks of his powers to his advantage, such as when he breaks Battalionlord Teofil's battle lines by attacking from several directions and using his husks as decoys to sow confusion.[8]

Leadership[edit]

According to Venli, Lezian's troops have a fearsome reputation. They were among the strongest and proudest of Singer troops, and were known for treating the humans of Kholinar harshly.[9] During the occupation, they resent the fact that they were not allowed to kill during the original incursion into Urithiru, and both Leshwi and Venli see them as violent and bloodthirsty.[10] After a Warform singer is let live by Kaladin, and flees, Lezian's troops consider him a coward and assign him to waste detail. They also yearn to spill the blood of Kaladin's family, after he kills a Regal.[10]

Lezian is also extremely proficient at using the forces at his disposal to assist in his hunts. During the initial occupation, he has his forces combing for fallen radiants throughout the sixth floor, when they first run into Kaladin. Lezian is immediately able to bring this entire force to bear, repurposing it to hunt for Kaladin specifically.[11] Later, Venli notes that Lezian has been using his troops to slowly comb through the fifteenth floor, further noting that he had already searched the eighth.[12] It can be inferred from this that Lezian had been sequentially combing through the floors, from the bottom up.

History[edit]

Previous Desolations[edit]

Lezian was the first Fused to have ever been killed by a human. To avoid the shame that came from this, he went into battle seeking only the human that had killed him, ignoring all orders and rationality, and succeeded in killing him. This started his tradition - every time someone managed to kill him, Lezian would single-mindedly chase them and claim their life.[13] He never failed at this, always successfully managing to find and kill the humans who had bested him before every Isolation. Once an Isolation began, he would kill himself to avoid having to return to Braize without killing his killer in turn.[2] When not actively pursuing a previous killer, Lezian would seek to go after the strongest enemy Radiants, effectively creating a cycle of either chasing after and killing the strongest enemies, or getting killed by them, and then pursuing them until they die, then picking some other strong Radiant, and so on and forth.[2] Lezian was good enough at this that no human or singer had ever managed to best him and kill him twice.[4]

He was so successful at this that the other Fused encouraged his tradition, giving him leeway to act and Pursue his quarry even outside normal command structures, though he was also reckless enough to have endangered others' plans, ruining missions and undermining strategies.

Kaladin battling Lezian

The True Desolation[edit]

The Evacuation of Hearthstone[edit]

Lezian first appears at Hearthstone in 1175, just before the Knights Radiant and the forces of the coalition land the Fourth Bridge there in an effort to evacuate the village.[3] Kaladin and the Fourth Bridge had been spotted while flying to Hearthstone, and Lezian, alongside a group of shanay-im under the command of Leshwi, were sent by the Nine to gather intel on the Fourth Bridge, and test a new suppressor fabrial that would prevent Radiants from using their powers.[2]

Watch for me from the corner of your eye, Windrunner. We’ll meet again soon.

—Lezian[7]

Lezian leads a small squad of warforms, and is able to successfully find and identify Kaladin from his description, who takes to the skies.[3] Lezian engages him immediately, and his novel powerset and his brutal and expert fighting style give Kaladin a hard time. When Kaladin eventually starts predicting and reacting to Lezian's jumps, Lezian leaves him, warning Kaladin to watch for him from the corner of his eye.[7] He shows up again later, when Kaladin and his windrunners are engaged with Leshwi and the rest of the shanay-im, but Kaladin sees him coming, and Lezian retreats without engaging.[14] He then gathers a squad of warform singers, and starts accosting a group of civilians, as well as Godeke the Edgedancer, to lure Kaladin to him.[15][16] When Kaladin lands and challenges him, Lezian takes Godeke, and retreats into the manor with the remaining squad of Parshmen, saying he will fight him inside. Once Kaladin follows, they trigger the suppressor fabrial powered by Voidlight to stop Kaladin from summoning Syl or using his powers. Lezian assumes that Kaladin would not be used to fighting without his powers and mocks him, but Kaladin quickly overpowers four of the warform Singers, and then proceeds to kill Lezian by successfully predicting where he would teleport to.[16]

Lezian is then reborn again, soon after, and is summoned by the Nine to provide a report on what happened at Hearthstone. He refuses to take blame for losing the device, and immediately claims his right to Pursue Kaladin by his tradition. He is angered, and lashes out when Leshwi challenges his sanity and his right to Pursue Kaladin, which undermines his claim, and leads to the Nine allowing Leshwi - or someone else if the situation demands it - prior claim on Kaladin's life. Lezian storms out of the meeting, and is later seen conferring with Raboniel soon after the invasion on Urithiru is decided upon.[2]

Occupation of the Tower[edit]

Lezian loans his troops to Raboniel for the invasion.[9]

You, who were once banished for recklessly endangering our kind in your attempts to exterminate humankind? You, Lady of Wishes, ask for restraint?

—Lezian[5]

During the invasion, he approaches Raboniel, and gets permission to continue his hunt for Kaladin from her, as he is confident that if Kaladin was not already at the tower, then he would return to try and liberate it. He also advises Raboniel that the captured Radiants were dangerous, and should be beheaded.[5] Lezian is later instrumental in breaking apart Battalionlord Teofil's final stand, as he is able to teleport across their entire line faster than they can reorient and readjust themselves.[8]

Lezian is next seen tracking Kaladin, after the latter kills one of the Singers that came to Lirin's clinic to collect any Radiants that might be getting cared for there. He repurposes the entire force sent to go through the homes on the sixth floor looking for unconscious Radiants to instead hunt for Kaladin.[11] While Kaladin manages to avoid him once, and is able to distract him further with Syl's help, he doesn't manage to permanently lose him, and Lezian always catches on after a while. Kaladin ultimately manages to escape the Purser and his forces with the Sibling's help.[11]

Lezian continues to sweep the upper tiers for Kaladin, sending Raboniel reports periodically.[17] He manages to capture Kaladin's family and intends to exact revenge for the Regal he killed, once he's done interrogating them.[10] Venli learns of this, and asks Leshwi to intervene, who promptly takes Kaladin's family into her custody, protecting them from the Pursuer and his troops.[10]

During the occupation, Lezian instructs all Singers to watch out for signs of Radiants.[18]

Hunting the Shield Nodes[edit]

The Pursuer isn’t lying, he will hunt you forever. To the abandonment of all reason and duty.

Raboniel about Lezian[4]

When Raboniel finds a node powering the Sibling's defenses exposed to Stormlight, the Sibling asks for Kaladin's help, who finds Lezian and Raboniel waiting for him there.[18][4] Lezian immediately engages him in a duel, dropping his first body as a husk and teleporting to get close. This time, he makes it much difficult for Kaladin to predict where he would materialize, but Kaladin still manages to use his powers and spear to immobilize both of Lezian's hands. In response to this, Lezian just drops his second body and teleports away, using its husk to trap Kaladin's spear and keep it away from him. he is able to capitalize on his close quarters fighting style, alongside Kaladin's relative inexperience with fighting an opponent like him, to pin him with a chokehold, and explains that even if Kaladin manages to beat him a second time, he would never stop coming for him, as the presense of the Everstorm means that the Fused are no longer bound to Braize.[4] However, Syl distracts him by acting as a voidspren, which allows Kaladin enough leeway to break free, leaving Lezian stuck to the floor with Adhesion, who promptly drops a third body and teleports away to reinfuse and resupply.[4] When Lezian returns to continue the duel, Kaladin quickly makes him drop two bodies by using full lashings to stick him to the floor, and then rolling away out of reach. However, Lezian notices that Kaladin is running low on stormlight, and - using the husk of his second body as an impromptu floor - stops Kaladin from retrieving his stormlight from his full lashings.[4] Kaladin realizes that in this kind of one-on-one brawl, Lezian will always have the advantage, and simply turns around and starts running away. Lezian uses the respite to resupply from some of the voidlight that Raboniel is carrying with her, and gives chase. This time again, Kaladin is able to bait him into materializing and dropping several bodies quickly, and then, with the Sibling's help, is able to use Lezian's tendency to materialize behind him to trap his fourth and final body in a closed room.[4]

When you die, I will find the next Radiant your spren bonds and kill them too. As payment for the trouble you have given me.

—Lezian[19]

The Pursuer next shows up when the second-last node powering the Sibling's shield is found, inside the well in the market. He is waiting for Kaladin, and ambushes him as soon as he shows up. He manifests his first body to announce his presence, and - falsely assuming that Kaladin was using Gravitation to move about - is curious how Kaladin recovered his access to it.[19] Kaladin, who was actually using the modified fabrial glove to quickly traverse the Tower, uses it to shoot away. Lezian immediately drops his first husk and gives pursuit, manifesting his second body to grapple with Kaladin. He is thrown off by the presence of the glove, as it affects the close quarters, grappling focused fighting style he prefers, and soon drops another husk to disengage. This time, instead of immediately and aggressively attacking Kaladin again, he keeps to his red ribbon-like spren form, staying around and distracting him, keeping him away from the node.[19] Kaladin, however, guns straight for the node, forcing Lezian to materialize his third body to engage with him. Lezian successfully grapples Kaladin into a chokehold (again), who uses a previously hidden scalpel to cut at Lezian's arms repeatedly. This forces him to spend precious voidlight healing those cuts and wounds, consequently making him drop his third body before he loses the voidlight to do so.[19] As usual, after dropping his third husk, Lezian retreats to resupply. By the time he returns, Kaladin has already engaged with Leshwi in single combat, and he has to respect her right to fight Kaladin over his own.[19]

After Syl locates the node, and Kaladin disengages with Leshwi to deal with it, Lezian is again free to interfere. He is prepared for this eventuality, of Kaladin having to dive into the well, and smiles as he seals Kaladin inside by putting a wooden lid on top. He then directs people to stand on it to account for Kaladin's potential use of lashings to lift the lid.[19] While he waits outside for Kaladin to suffocate, Kaladin is able to escape by finding a different way out.

It isn’t the hiding that protects you, it is Lady Leshwi’s favor. Without it, the Pursuer would kill you, no matter what you did to prove yourself. He’d kill other Fused, if he thought it would let him fulfill his tradition. And the others would applaud him.

—Venli to Lirin and Hesina[20]

After this event, Lezian is left with more free reign in leading the occupation efforts, as Raboniel is focused more on her research. His troops dominated the Tower, and reports of singer violence against the humans grew.[20] As rumors of the confrontation in the market spread, the Fused try to counter Kaladin's growing reputation by spinning the narrative, and Venli thinks that Lezian is behind their messaging, as she feels that Raboniel would have taken a subtler approach.[20] Later, when people start marking themselves with the shash glyph as a sign of defiance against the Fused, and support for Kaladin, Lezian orders his men to beat those that do so. Raboniel, however, revokes this order the next day.[21] Though Raboniel tries to rein him and his men in, he keeps pushing for more brutality in the Tower. Raboniel's occasional orders to maintain peace in the Tower barely restrain him and his men, and humans tended to avoid the area where they were housed.[22] He posts several Regals on rotation in the infirmary where Lirin and Hesina have been hiding, and Lirin suspects that this is specifically because Lezian knows they are there, even if he cannot do anything while Leshwi's influence protects them.[21] Leshwi, on the otherhand, thinks that Lezian is not so subtle, and that this was more Raboniel's hand showing.[22]

I’ve heard what people say about you. Your life isn’t the blood in your veins, but the legend you live. Each death kills that legend a little more.

—Kaladin to Lezian[23]

When the final node is found, and Kaladin and company make preparations, Kaladin and Teft realize that like the last two times, the Pursuer would be waiting for him with a trap ready.[24] Meanwhile, Raboniel, who has sent the Pursuer to break the node, suspects he is deliberately stalling to lure Kaladin, and sends Vyre out to do the task.[25] As Kaladin approaches what he expects to be a trap, he sees the Pursuer sitting in the center of the atrium waiting for him, and engages.[25] Their contest quickly takes centerstage, and even the Heavenly Ones descend to watch.[23] Like before, Lezian immediately drops his body as his first husk, streaking forward in ribbon form to grapple with his opponent. Kaladin expects this and drops his spear, catching Lezian's wrists as he manifests a body, willingly entering the grapple. Lezian manages to hook Kaladin's foot and shove him to the ground, but Kaladin is able to pull him down with him. As before, Lezian taunts him, but this time, Kaladin correctly surmises that the most important thing to Lezian is his legend, and that each time he loses to Kaladin, that legend dies a little bit more.[23] He then uses Navani's fabrial, which he has shifted around from a glove to a belt, to break the wrestle.[23]

The Sibling's Restoration[edit]

You’re no soldier. That’s what I realized about you, Defeated One. You’ve never faced death.

—Kaladin to Lezian[26]

As Kaladin and Lezian wrestled, the Singers cleared the atrium of civilians. The Shanay-im floating and watching from the air, and the crowds watching from the upper balconies, the atrium is effectively turned into an improptu arena between Kaladin and Lezian.[26] Lezian begins this second round of their fight by lunging for Kaladin, who immediately engages his fabrial to pull back and stay out of range. Lezian, who begins to understand the stakes of this contest, wants to end it quickly, and drops his second body, shooting towards Kaladin as a ribbon. They wrestle again as Lezian materializes his third body, and Kaladin tries to use a knife to wound Lezian, as before hoping to force Lezian to spend his precious voidlight healing. Lezian, who is taking this contest extremely seriously, manages to make Kaladin drop his knife. But Kaladin continues to goad him, declaring that Lezian is no soldier, not having faced death as frequently as Kaladin as has. As he takes the upper hand, he further taunts him by saying that thousands of years of life have not prepared Lezian to face someone like Kaladin, who doesn't fear him. And as Kaladin pulls out a second knife from his boot, Lezian, thrown off his game, drops his third body, streaking out as a ribbon and manifesting his fourth and final one, in which he is vulnerable. Kaladin declares him "the Defeated One."[26]

Lezian realizes just how visible this contest is, and how many people are watching. He sees his own legend, his own lore and reputation begin to crumble, and hums to an increasingly panicked Rhythm. As Kaladin begins walking forward, Lezian stumbles back into his own soldiers holding the perimeter. Kaladin unhooks Navani's fabrial from his belt, and goads Lezian, who charges him.[27] Kaladin simply presses Navani's fabrial device to Lezian's chest, and locks it on with a lashing, launching him backwards. He hits the glass window of the atrium and cracks his carapace, but is unable to heal himself as he lacks the voidlight to do so. As Kaladin stalks forward, repeatedly and powerfully commanding him to flee, Lezian, dripping blood from his wounds, loses his resolve and runs away.[27] Kaladin notes that everyone present and watching understood that while Lezian had retreated from battles before, it meant something more, something different this time. In running from Kaladin, Lezian's title was broken, and he was no longer the Pursuer.[27]

After Moash has broken Kaladin's resolve by showing him a dead Teft, he grabs a gagged and bound Lirin, and waits for Lezian, who arrives as a shameful ribbon. As he materialized a body, Moash hands him Lirin, and commands him to kill him if Kaladin regains his senses. Lezian doesn't quite want to accept it, as he wants to go kill Kaladin immediately, but folds for the time being, as Moash explains to him what will happen should he interfere with Kaladin grieving.[27]

My legacy is untouched! And this is complete madness! I will prove myself and continue my tradition!

—Lezian[28]

Lezian is restless regardless. He hands Lirin over to Leshwi, and as she cuts away his bonds, berates her for trying to turn the Nine against him, saying she wants to destroy his legacy. Leshwi argues that his legacy is already dead, and that it died the moment he ran from Kaladin. This enrages Lezian, and he loudly declares that his legacy is untouched, and that he can prove it, as he drops his first body as a husk and streaks as a ribbon towards Kaladin.[28] He materializes his second body just above him, and breaks off a spur off his elbow to stab him. However, the moment he touches Kaladin's shoulder to lift him up and stab him, he howls with pain, then grabs Lezian's arm and turns and twists, ending up behind him. Kaladin pulls out a knife and stabs Lezian through the throat, which he barely manages to avoid by ejecting from his own body, barely in time. He quickly reforms into his third body and tries to wrestle with Kaladin again, but is completely outclassed at this point, getting stabbed first through the arm, and then almost getting stabbed in the face. Lezian has to eject again, dropping his third body.[28]

He materializes into his final body right next to his soldiers, and commands them to kill Kaladin, and then the other radiants. He then charges Kaladin, and his soldiers seemingly follow, but shy away from Kaladin and his glowing yellow-red eyes, leaving Lezian to fight him alone. Lezian, who at this point has to engage Kaladin or lose any chance at salvaging any of his reputation, meets Kaladin in front of the massive window of the Urithiru atrium. As he tries to grapple Kaladin, the latter simply turns and folds into it, and then slams them both against the window. He then manages to bind Lezian (who is in his final, fourth body, and is thus unable to drop it) to the window with a full lashing, leaving him stuck there. Kaladin then reverse lashes Lezian's head to the floor, making it pull towards the ground. Between these two opposing forces, Lezian is literally ripped apart, as Kaladin turns and walks away from him.[28]

Aftermath of the Occupation[edit]

When Lezian returns after this death, El annihilates him with a dagger charged with anti-Voidlight in order to test whether the inverse Light functions as Raboniel theorized. It does, and Lezian permanently dies.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b Rhythm of War chapter 116#
  2. a b c d e f g h Rhythm of War chapter 14#
  3. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 1#
  4. a b c d e f g h i Rhythm of War chapter 59#
  5. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 41#
  6. Rhythm of War chapter 11#
  7. a b c d e f Rhythm of War chapter 2#
  8. a b Rhythm of War chapter 42#
  9. a b Rhythm of War chapter 31#
  10. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 53#
  11. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 44#
  12. Rhythm of War chapter 67#
  13. Rhythm of War Preview Q&As
    Arcanum - 2020-10-06#
  14. Rhythm of War chapter 5#
  15. Rhythm of War chapter 6#
  16. a b Rhythm of War chapter 7#
  17. Rhythm of War chapter 51#
  18. a b Rhythm of War chapter 58#
  19. a b c d e f Rhythm of War chapter 70#
  20. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 74#
  21. a b Rhythm of War chapter 79#
  22. a b Rhythm of War chapter 83#
  23. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 103#
  24. Rhythm of War chapter 100#
  25. a b Rhythm of War chapter 102#
  26. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 104#
  27. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 105#
  28. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 106#
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