by Katie Payne
|Abilities||Edgedancer, Shardbearer, Old Magic|
|Groups||Huqin's crew (formerly), Knights Radiant (Edgedancers)|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”Someone has to care. Too few people care these days.—Lift
- 1 Appearance and Personality
- 2 Attributes and Abilities
- 3 History
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Development
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Notes
Appearance and Personality
”I'm pure. I'm a child and stuff. I'm so storming pure I practically belch rainbows.
Lift is thirteen years old when the True Desolation begins. She has long, straight black hair that she wears down to her waist. Her skin is tan and she has the rounded features of the Reshi. It's unknown what her original eye color was, but by the time Dalinar meets her in Azimir, her eyes are a pale, clear color, likely the result of her being an Edgedancer. Lift always keeps a diamond mark in her pocket, which she considers lucky.
As would be expected from someone of Lift's age, she often acts child-like. For instance, although she is thirteen years old, she claims to be ten because she believes that any number to which she cannot count on her fingers is unlucky. Lift is often sarcastic and irreverent, which annoys her fellow Azish thieves. She also enjoys mocking her spren, Wyndle, calling him a Voidbringer instead of a spren because she knows it annoys him and not due to any sort of dislike she has for him. Lift also has little patience for Wyndle's extremely technical explanation of the Realmatic Theory behind her abilities. Despite her teasing, she truly does like Wyndle and is genuinely worried for him when she thinks that Darkness is following her to try and kill Wyndle.
Lift has an interesting perspective on the morality of her thievery. She does not think it wrong because it does not hurt anyone. Lift is also totally uninterested in stealing typical items such as gold, jewelry, spheres or anything traditionally of value. Instead, she likes to break into places and eat their food. She steals food for the challenge, rather than trying to gain any sort of wealth for herself. She uses the Surge of Abrasion often in her thefts.
For all her flaws, Lift has a good heart. She has seen much death in her life, but it still impacts her greatly when someone she knows dies. For instance, when Gawx was mortally wounded, she cared enough to return to try to save him, despite the fact that she was risking capture and death to do so. Lift cares for other people because she believes that someone has to, which seems to be a temperament that is shared by other Edgedancers. Once, Lift tried to stop caring about others, possibly during her time in Rall Elorim, but she quit because it was worse than being dead.
Attributes and Abilities
Even without any sort of magical help, Lift is a skilled thief. She can scale walls easily and is a skilled enough pickpocket that she can easily steal as many spheres as she likes without it being any sort of challenge. Her mastery of thievery is possibly what drives her to break into heavily guarded locations and steal something so unconventional as food.
Lift has formed a Nahel bond with Wyndle, which grants her the ability to Surgebind, although Lift herself is not entirely certain whether she believes this. As with all Surgebinders, Lift gains superhuman strength and speed when she holds Stormlight, as well as the ability to heal quickly from non-mortal wounds. When Lift is invested with Stormlight, she refers to it as her "Awesomeness." She is a member of the order of Radiants known as the Edgedancers. This gives her access to two Surges, Abrasion and Progression. Lift also has a rare and possibly unique ability to convert food to Stormlight through consumption. While this may seem a great blessing, she lacks the ability to gather Stormlight from gemstones and other sources.
Abrasion allows her to change the friction of her body against her surroundings. She refers to this ability as her "Slickness." Lift uses this ability often to make quick getaways. She reduces friction on all parts of her body except the soles of her feet and palms of her hands, and then kneels and propels herself swiftly forward using her palms. This also comes in handy when Lift is escaping pursuers, because it is nearly impossible for them to get a grip on her. She can also use it to increase the friction of herself, making it extremely easy to climb walls with even the slightest handholds.
The Surge of Progression allows for two different sorts of abilities. The more basic of these two is simply called Growth. Lift can use Stormlight to increase the rate of growth of plants. When Lift uses Growth, plant life that she illuminates grows at an extremely accelerated rate, and she has some measure of control over the way that it grows. She is less practiced at this ability, but she uses it for things such as making vines grow to force a locked window open. It is unknown if this allows Lift to enhance the Growth rate of animals or not.
The Surge of Progression grants Lift another power as well, known as Regrowth. It allows Lift to heal others from serious injuries that would otherwise be fatal. When Lift uses Regrowth, she breathes out clouds of Stormlight which then flow into the injured person's mouth, healing them.
As a Knight Radiant who has access to two Surges she also has a resonance. Edgedancers, such as Lift, are suspected of having the ability to communicate especially well as their resonance, though Brandon has RAFO'd this.
”This is a creation specifically meant to defy my will!
Lift's visit to the Nightwatcher leaves her with a rather unique trait, one that is not among the typical power set of the Edgedancers. She exists partially in the Cognitive realm, which grants her some special abilities. The first is that she can touch spren, something that is supposed to be impossible, as they exist mostly in the Cognitive realm. This ability greatly helps Lift with her thievery, as Wyndle takes the form of a vine. He can make handholds or increase the width of ledges for Lift by growing where she needs to go, but no one else is able to see or touch him.
Lift's other power is even more impressive. Most Surgebinders need to draw Stormlight from an external source in order to manipulate the Surges. Lift, however, can metabolize food directly into Stormlight, instead of sugar. Food that she can metabolize quicker, such as bread can be metabolized into Stormlight faster than something like sausage, but may provide less Stormlight overall because it has fewer calories. However, this is limited to substances that she can normally digest into nutrients. She can also convert the energy reserves in her own body into Stormlight. These abilities are unique to Lift. However, this power can be dangerous too, as she often risks malnutrition when she burns through all her excess energy. As Lift can only gain Stormlight through metabolising food, she is limited by the amount of food she has eaten.
It is hinted that Lift wished to remain the same, not change, or to remain young. The actual boon and curse are still unknown, but as an effect of one or the other, her spirit-web has been given the ability to convert mass directly to Investiture.
According to the Stormfather, Lift's boon is unique, as it allows her control over the visions entrusted to him by Honor. She is able to enter the visions without the Stormfather's help, leaving on her own and taking Yanagawn with her. This infuriated the Stormfather, as the Nightwatcher had effectively diminished his authority.
Despite Lift's race, she was not born in the Reshi Isles. The only reason that she knows that she is Reshi is because her mother told her so. She never lived there or knew her people. Lift grew up in the city of Rall Elorim, the City of Shadows, in Iri. Lift had a difficult childhood there. It appears she grew up on the streets there, learning to move through crowds with ease. It is possible that Lift learned her thieving skills in Rall Elorim. She eventually left Rall Elorim for unknown reasons, possibly due to her difficult life. It also seems likely that this was the time in her life when Lift attempted to stop caring.
Lift also visited the Valley to see the Nightwatcher and ask a boon of her. It is unknown what Lift's boon or curse are, but it appears that her request was to not change.Her boon does not appear to have stopped her from aging, but it is possible she is incapable of growing up. Wyndle believes that the Nightwatcher altered her to exist partially in the Cognitive Realm. Due to this incredible power bestowed upon Lift by their mother, the Ring decided that Wyndle should be sent to bond with her, so he could mold her while she was still young. This granted Lift her Surgebinding abilities.
Lift spent some time in Marabethia, where she was hunted by Darkness, because he believed that her Surgebinding could bring another Desolation to Roshar. She fled Marabethia and went to the capital of Azir, Azimir. There, Lift fell in with a crew of thieves. The crew was made up of Tigzikk, who Lift called Tig, Huqin, his nephew Gawx, Maxin, and two unnamed brothers who were quick with knives. Tigzikk was the only one Lift knew well. An informant told him which night would be good for robbing the Bronze Palace, while the vizerate was busy choosing a new Prime Aqasix, following the death of the last two at the hands of Szeth. Lift could have robbed the palace on her own, but she felt like she owed it to Tigzikk to help him, and she wanted to make sure that he would be safe.
Sometime between visiting the Nightwatcher and the events of her first interlude, Lift met Hoid.
Bronze Palace Heist
”What's the point of sneaking into a palace if not to get in trouble?—Lift
When the crew entered the grounds of Bronze Palace, Lift spotted Darkness in the streets near the palace and quickly climbed the wall to escape. She used Wyndle to gain access to a room which the thieving crew began ransacking for clothes and shoes. Lift was supposed to keep watch in the room with Gawx, but she left in search of food, and he followed. They disagreed about where to go; she wanted to go to the Prime's quarters where she could find food, but Gawx wanted to go to the Vizers' quarters, which he thought would be mostly empty. They each went their separate ways.
Lift managed to successfully sneak into the Prime's quarters because of the commotion caused when Gawx was caught. However, before she could eat much food, Darkness arrived, along with two associates, bearing forms that gave him the authority to arrest and execute her. Lift was briefly captured and managed to escape, but during the process one of Darkness's men cut Gawx's throat. Despite the fact that she was safely away, Lift decided to return to try to heal Gawx from his wound.
”I will remember those who have been forgotten.—The Second Ideal of the Edgedancers
Lift stated the second ideal of the Edgedancers and performed Regrowth for the first time to heal him. Consequently Darkness captured her and dragged her away to execute her. However, the viziers thought that Gawx healed himself, and believed that it was a sign from the Heralds that Gawx was to be their new Prime Aquasix. They thought it meant that he could survive future attacks from the Assassin in White. Gawx hurriedly pardoned Lift for her crimes, and Darkness was forced to release her.
Arriving in the city
After some time in Azimir, Lift left for Yeddaw, uncomfortable with how she was settling in at the palace. While attempting to enter the city she interrupted a local guard, Hauka, while she was reviewing a smuggler who was also trying to enter the city. Lift avoided capture after being discovered in the smuggler's pile of tallew, and then tipped the cart over into the immigrant district of the city. She then jumped off the ledge after it and avoided death by grabbing onto Wyndle to slow her descent.
She then went in search of urchins to find a place where she could eat, since she expended most of her Stormlight evading the guards. She met a girl who told her of the Tashi's Light Orphanage, a place where she could potentially get a meal if she got on the good side of the woman who ran it.
When Lift arrived at the orphanage she was told to wait which upset her. While waiting she saw a mother come by the orphanage to drop off her child, as he was hurt and she could no longer care for him. When the Stump came to bring the child in, Lift was told that she would be given only three meals at the orphanage. After getting her first meal, she talked with an old man sitting on one of the stone benches in front of the orphanage. He told her that the woman who ran the orphanage liked to trade spheres, and that if she could find someone who would trade with her then she might let Lift stay at the orphanage.
After she left the orphanage, Lift set out in search of the guard she met at the gate. She found Hauka and followed her to her home, where she saw Darkness go in to question her on her altercation with Lift. She then tailed Darkness to his base of operations within the city. After eating his food, she spied on Darkness and learned that he had two recruits in addition to Szeth. She overheard them talking about searching for her and for another person within the city who was a potential Surgebinder.
After this, Lift returned to the orphanage to claim her second meal from the Stump. While she was there she saw the boy whose mother dropped him off during her first visit. She noticed that his condition seemed to have significantly improved. The Stump blamed this on him faking his injury all along so he could take from the orphanage. She also had another conversation with the old man outside the orphanage.
Lift went off in search of a place where records in the city were stored. She traded for information with a woman who pointed her to the Grand Indicium at the center of the city. She traveled to the large building to find information about the other Surgebinder in the city. She went straight to the front of the building, and told the scribe at the desk that she was a friend of the emperor of Azir. The scribe did not believe her so Lift used a spanreed to contact the Aquasix in Azimir who bade the scribes to assist Lift. She ordered the scribes to search the information for any strange events that have happened in the city recently, but none of them seemed pertinent. The scribes abandoned the search due to the incoming Everstorm. Lift realized that Darkness' minions likely got the same idea to track down the Surgebinder as she did, and heads off in search of where in the building they might be.
When she found the room where Darkness' lackeys were looking for the information, Lift had Wyndle follow them inside to listen for who they were targeting. She stayed outside the room which was guarded by Szeth, who was sitting in the hallway outside the door. Wyndle did not gather much information other than the fact that the Skybreakers had found their target, so Lift followed them when they left the room. She was confronted by Szeth who partially unsheathed Nightblood. Outside the building Szeth had a conversation with Lift, he informed her that he did not attack her in the hallway because Nightblood liked her. He told her the other Skybreakers were in search of the old man who often sits outside the orphanage. There were rumors that he could change his appearance and he was marked as a potential Lightweaver. He told her she had no chance of catching up to them in time, but Lift set out after them anyway.
When Lift reached the orphanage, she heard a scream that made her believe she had come too late. The Stump confronted her outside the orphanage, believing her to be the source of the scream. Lift asked for the last of her three meals to replenish her stormlight before going off to confront the Skybreakers
Outside Lift found that instead of the old man being the one harmed, it was in fact the two Skybreakers who lay dead on the ground. The man revealed himself to be Arclo a Dysian Aimian. He went on several tangents about philosophy before revealing that Darkness would go after the other Surgebinder if she were to flee. Arclo then guided Lift to the conclusion that the Stump was the other Surgebinder, leaving Lift to go back running towards the orphanage.
She arrived at the orphanage to find that Darkness had beaten her there. They fought and he ultimately trapped her with his knife until the Stump came back down from the roof of the orphanage. The Stump struck Darkness with a wood board, which allowed Lift to free herself. Darkness stabbed the Stump and left her to bleed out while he chased Lift. Wyndle encouraged Lift to "Say the Words". Lift said that she'd spoken them in her heart, but wondered how they could help. They ended up on the roof, where Wyndle formed a shard weapon to block Darkness' Shardblade. As Nale taunted her, Lift spoke aloud the third ideal of the Edgedancer. She urged Nale to view the raging Everstorm and parshmen transformed into Stormform Listeners which convinced him that the Voidbringers were back, and that there was no point in killing Surgebinders.
”I will listen to those who have been ignored.—The Third Ideal of the Edgedancers
Lift was able to help Stump heal, and explained to her some of the abilities she has, like the ability to heal herself and those around her. Lift then left to head back to Azimir.
Lift next appeared during a vision Dalinar was sharing with Yanagawn. She advised her friend not to trust Dalinar, as she sensed he had a bloodthirsty past, before helping the emperor leave the vision early. By then, she and Yanagawn had a close bond — he always listened to her opinions and took them into account when making his decisions.
She reappeared in the vision where Odium visited Dalinar, though only making herself known after the Shard left. This time, she talked with Dalinar at length and was more willing to listen to him, even agreeing to visit Urithiru as long as she would be provided with good food. The two met again in Azimir when Dalinar arrived to negotiate, and she recognized — supposedly by his smell — that he too had visited the Nightwatcher. As with most people, she stole his food; however, after chatting with him, she decided to share some of it back. She came to Urithiru sometime afterwards along with Yanagawn, and then traveled with him to Thaylen City aboard Azish ships.
Following the revelations of Eila Stele, the coalition that Dalinar had built fell apart, and the Azish fleet sailed away at the urging of Yanagawn's other advisors, despite Lift insisting that they remain. Though she was aboard as they left, she knocked out her guard and escaped to rejoin the other Radiants in the city.
During the Battle of Thaylen Field, Lift initially joined Dalinar; however, he tasked her with retrieving Honor's Drop, a perfect gemstone that the Fused had recently stolen from the city's gemstone reserve. Though neither of them understood its importance at the time, Lift agreed, and departed before Dalinar could meet Odium.
She spent most of the battle chasing after it, initially alone with Wyndle, then accompanied by Szeth and Nightblood once they arrived at Thaylen Field. However, when Szeth unsheathed Nightblood, the sword went out of control, attempting to devour his Investiture and destroy him. Lift attempted to heal him from the damage it was causing; however, when she touched him, she was trapped by Nightblood's tendrils and almost overcome as well until Dalinar's Perpendicularity provided enough power to sate the blade, allowing Szeth to re-sheath it.
With the danger of being devoured past, she and Szeth returned to their hunt for Honor's Drop and, after extensive chase, managed to obtain it. To throw the Fused off their trail, Lift took the Drop to Shallan and had her create an Illumination copy on a regular rock, then allowed the Fused to steal the fake. At Szeth's urging, Lift was the one to enter the Thrill and give the Drop to Dalinar. Afterwards, she remained to see him trap Nergaoul.
Voidbringer, and no lies are going to change that. I got you captured. No stealing souls, now. ”You're my pet
Wyndle was assigned to Lift by the Ring, the ruling body of the Cultivationspren. The two start off on the wrong foot, as Wyndle doesn't appreciate Lift's particular train of thought, while Lift considers him - perhaps half-jokingly - to be a voidbringer. She enjoys teasing him and making fun of him, and he admits that he'd much rather pick someone calmer to bond, if it was up to him. Though Wyndle knows a lot about Realmatics and the mechanisms of Radiance, Lift isn't interested in listening to him, and will sometimes withhold information from him in turn.
Over time, their relationship vastly improves. Wyndle learns to understand what hides beneath Lift's bravado and grows to care for her well-being, while she starts treating him like an actual partner rather than a portable ladder, and eventually stops calling him a voidbringer. By the time of Thaylen Field, the two form a highly capable duo, despite the fact that Wyndle still prefers to transform into a rod rather than a Shardblade.
Lift met Gawx when she joined Huqin's crew in Azimir. The two infiltrate the Brass Palace together, and when one of Nale's apprentices kills Gawx, Lift rescues him, and the freshly-minted Prime Aqasix pardons her. This forges a strong bond between the two; following those events, she remains in Azimir at his side, and when she does briefly leave for Yeddaw, he's ready to grant her his authority with the local government. 
By the time Dalinar begins to curry favour with the Azish, Yanagawn considers her one of his closest and most valuable advisors, even if he must on occassion listen to others; she, in turn, strives to aid him as best she can. While he does have a guard stationed by her quarters as the fleet leaves, he doesn't begrudge her knocking them out and leaving.
”Your butt is too nice. Old guys shouldn’t have nice butts. It means they spend way too much time swinging a sword or punching people. You should have an old flabby butt. Then I’d trust you.
When Lift first sees Dalinar, she is highly mistrustful of him, both because of his past as the Blackthorn and because he is unlike other government official she's familiar with (in her words, "his butt is too nice"). She is more open to listening to him after seeing his first confrontation with Odium. She steals his food when he's waiting for the officials' decision in Azimir. That he does not begrudge her for it seems to earn him some points with her, and she even agrees to share some of the stolen food back.
Following their face-to-face meeting, Lift's opinion of Dalinar is drastically better. She argues for him with Yanagawn after the Azish choose to pull out of the coalition and is ready to face Odium by his side and follow his orders without question. He, in turn, treats her like another soldier rather than a child, and trusts her to do her job, which might be why she takes a shine to him.
Szeth and Nightblood
Lift first encounters Szeth in Yeddaw as one of Nale's apprentices; she's also the only person known to see the "afterimage" he leaves behind as the after-effect of his resurrection. Her first interaction with Nightblood has her feel nauseous - the mark of a "good" person according to the sword. Though she and Szeth are nominally on the opposite sides and she considers him exceedingly strange, they aren't hostile to each other, and Szeth wishes her best of luck in attempting to foil Nale.
Lift is one of the few people among the Radiants to trust Szeth. During the battle of Thaylen Field she is happy to work with him and Nightblood on recovering Honor's Drop, and attempts to rescue him when Nightblood begins devouring him. She perceives the sword as having a female voice.
The herald Nale has been hunting Lift for some time by the time of the Bronze Palace heist, though she only knows him by a moniker she gave him, "Darkness". As with all non-Skybreaker surgebinders, he's initially highly antagonistic, and attempts to kill her, under the pretense of executing her for thievery. However, he gives up on it after she is pardoned by the Prime Aqasix. Lift, however, does not forget him, and spends some time attempting to track him down by rumours and reports after he leaves Azimir. When she locates him in Yeddaw, she leaves the palace to find him again and protect other people from him.
It's only in Yeddaw that Lift finds out that Darkness is, in fact, a Herald. After tracking him down again, the two have a confrontation where Lift manages to bring him back to a semblance of sanity and get him to acknowledge that the True Desolation is here. Though she's naturally afraid of him, she's capable of reaching out to him, even giving him a hug as he breaks down. However, his own thoughts on her are unclear.
Lift is a character that Brandon Sanderson has had in his head for quite a while. She is a classic example of what he is hoping to do with a broader series, such as the Stormlight Archive. With the extra space a multi-book series allows, he wanted to create a world full of cultures and characters that are less common in fantasy and science fiction. Lift is an outgrowth of this desire, as Sanderson wanted the Knights Radiant to be something different than classical European knights -- young, white men swearing oaths of chivalry and valor. Rather, he was looking for a character that would be interesting and popular, but no-one's first idea when they thought of a knight. Lift, a thirteen year old girl on a thieving crew with a weird sense of morality, is the result of that. Sanderson hopes that playing with concepts like these, and stretching our ideas of what a fantasy book and it's characters should look like will allow him to avoid the staleness that is a common complaint in science fiction and fantasy.
Sanderson decided to write an interlude featuring Lift in Words of Radiance as a sort of "seed" for her future appearances. She is one of the flashback characters for the second five book arc in the Stormlight Archive, something that Sanderson has planned for a long time. As such, she will become even more prominent as the series continues. Sanderson intends to perhaps even write a few more short stories featuring Lift before he publishes her books.
- There are foods Lift hates, but they are hard to find, though bacon is one of them.
- Lift sees Wyndle as a slightly longer vine in the Physical Realm than most Edgedancers see their cultivationspren, but the difference is slight.
- It is significant that Lift "stopped aging" at 10 years old. 
- Words of Radiance interlude I-9 #
- Oathbringer interlude I-9 #
- Oathbringer chapter 65 #
- Arcanum Unbounded signing Fort Collins
— Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
- Firefight Seattle UBooks signing
— Arcanum - 2015-01-06#
- Edgedancer chapter 6 #
- Words of Radiance chapter 46 epigraph#
- Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
— Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
- Oathbringer chapter 42 #
- Firefight signing Chicago
— Arcanum - 2015-02-20#
- Arcanum Unbounded signing Hoboken
— Arcanum - 2016-12-03#
- Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A
— Arcanum - 2014-08-13#
- Edgedancer chapter 15 #
- Out of Excuses 2016
— Arcanum - 2016-09-23#
- Edgedancer chapter 1 #
- Edgedancer chapter 4 #
- Arcanum Unbounded signing Hoboken
— Arcanum - 2016-12-03#
- Edgedancer chapter 3 #
- Edgedancer chapter 5 #
- Edgedancer chapter 7 #
- Edgedancer chapter 9 #
- Edgedancer chapter 10 #
- Edgedancer chapter 11 #
- Edgedancer chapter 12 #
- Edgedancer chapter 13 #
- Edgedancer chapter 14 #
- Edgedancer chapter 16 #
- Edgedancer chapter 17 #
- Edgedancer chapter 18 #
- Edgedancer chapter 19 #
- Edgedancer chapter 20 #
- Oathbringer chapter 56 #
- Oathbringer chapter 57 #
- Oathbringer chapter 116 #
- Oathbringer chapter 117 #
- Oathbringer chapter 118 #
- Oathbringer chapter 119 #
- Oathbringer chapter 120 #
- Jordancon 2014
— Arcanum - 2014-04-11#
- Words of Radiance signing Houston
— Arcanum - 2014-03-11#
- Ad Astra 2017
— Arcanum - 2017-05-05#
- Words of Radiance signing Philadelphia
— Arcanum - 2014-03-21#
- Oathbringer signing Leeds
— Arcanum - 2017-12-01#
- Oathbringer signing London
— Arcanum - 2017-11-28#
- Arcanum Unbounded signing Fort Collins
— Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
- Arcanum Unbounded signing Hoboken
— Arcanum - 2016-12-03#