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Lift

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Lift
Lift.jpg
by Dominick Saponaro
Born 1160[1]
Abilities Edgedancer
Profession Thief
Groups Huqin's crew
Nationality Reshi
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
You're my pet Voidbringer, and no lies are going to change that. I got you captured. No stealing souls, now. We ain't here for souls. Just a little thievery, the type what never hurt nobody.
—Lift to Wyndle[1]

Lift is a Reshi thief who works in the city of Azimir in Azir on Roshar.[1] She has Surgebinding abilities that correspond with the Order of Edgedancers.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Someone has to care. Too few people care these days.
—Lift[1]

Lift is thirteen years old, and has long straight dark hair that she wears down to her waist.[1] Her skin is tan and she has the rounded features of the Reshi. Lift always keeps a diamond mark in her pocket, which she considers lucky.

As would be expected from someone Lift's age, she often acts child-like.[1] For instance, although she is thirteen years old, she claims to be ten because she believes that any number that she cannot count to 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.[1] 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.[1] 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.

History[edit]

Lift by User:Exmakina.

Early Life[edit]

Despite Lift's race, she was not born in the Reshi Isles.[1] 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.[1] It is unknown what Lift's boon or curse are, but it appears that her request was to not change.[2] Wyndle believes that the Nightwatcher altered her to exist partially in the Cognitive Realm.[3] 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.[1] 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.

Bronze Palace Heist[edit]

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.[1] 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.[1] 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[1]

Lift stated the second ideal of the Edgedancers and performed Regrowth for the first time to heal him.[1] 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.

Time in Yeddaw[edit]

Lift ultimately left the Bronze Palace in Azimir and set out for Yeddaw.[2] 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. She 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[4] and avoided death by grabbing onto Wyndle to slow her descent.[3]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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 by 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[6].

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.[7] She then tailed Darkness through the city, ultimately to his base of operations within the city.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10] She traveled to the large building to find information about the other Surgebinder in the city.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

When she 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[16]

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.[17]

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. They ended up on the roof, where Lift stated the second ideal of the Edgedancer, which allowed Wyndle to form a shard weapon to block Darkness' Shardblade. Lift 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.[18]

I will listen to those who have been ignored.
—The Third Ideal of the Edgedancers[18]

Lift was able to help the Stump to 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.[19]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Thievery[edit]

Even without any sort of magical help, Lift is a skilled thief.[1] 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.

Surgebinding[edit]

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.[1] 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, Friction and Growth. Lift also has a rare and possibly unique ability to convert food to Stormlight through consumption. While this may seem a great blessing, it hinders her ability to gather Stormlight from gemstones and other sources.

Abrasion

Abrasion allows her to change the friction of her body against her surroundings.[1] 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.

Progression

The Surge of Progression allows for two different sorts of abilities.[1] 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.[1] 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.

Old Magic[edit]

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.[1] 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.[1] 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.[20] 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. She can also convert the energy reserves in her own body into Stormlight. These abilities are unique to Lift.[21] However, this power can be dangerous too, as she often risks malnutrition when she burns through all her excess energy.[1] There is another issue with the fact that Lift can gain Stormlight from food. She does not learn how to drain Stormlight from external sources, so the amount of Stormlight she can use 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.[14] The actual boon and curse are still unknown.

Quotes[edit]

I'm pure. I'm a child and stuff. I'm so storming pure I practically belch rainbows.
— Lift[1]
What's the point of sneaking into a palace if not to get in trouble?
— Lift[1]
Stealing regular stuff was no fun. She wanted a real challenge. Over the last two years, she'd chosen the most difficult places to enter. Then she'd snuck in.

And eaten their dinners.

— Interlude, Words of Radiance[1]

Development[edit]

Lift is a character that Brandon Sanderson has had in his head for quite a while.[22] 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, Sanderson wants 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. Sanderson wants the Knights Radiant to be something different than classical European knights. He doesn't want them to all be young, white, men swearing oaths of chivalry and valor. Sanderson 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. 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.

Lift's appearance in an interlude in Words of Radiance will be the first of many.[23] Sanderson decided to write an interlude featuring her, as a sort of "seed" for her future appearances.[24] She is one of the flashback characters for the second five book arc in the Stormlight Archive,[25] something that Sanderson has planned for a long time.[22] As one of the characters in the back five books, Lift will become even more prominent as the series continues.[26] Sanderson intends to perhaps even write a few more short stories featuring Lift before he publishes her books.[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Words of Radiance interlude I-9
  2. a b Edgedancer chapter 1
  3. a b Edgedancer chapter 4
  4. Edgedancer chapter 3
  5. Edgedancer chapter 5
  6. a b Edgedancer chapter 6
  7. a b Edgedancer chapter 7
  8. Edgedancer chapter 9
  9. Edgedancer chapter 10
  10. Edgedancer chapter 11
  11. Edgedancer chapter 12
  12. Edgedancer chapter 13
  13. Edgedancer chapter 14
  14. a b Edgedancer chapter 15
  15. Edgedancer chapter 16
  16. Edgedancer chapter 17
  17. Edgedancer chapter 18
  18. a b Edgedancer chapter 19
  19. Edgedancer chapter 20
  20. What she can do is she can metabolize into investiture instead of sugar.
    17th Shard forums - February 20, 2015
  21. Lift is one of a kind.
    Theoryland - August 13, 2014
  22. a b You will get a lot more with Lift.
    Theoryland - Apr 16th, 2014
  23. Lift, specifically, is one of the characters in the back five.
    Theoryland - March 19, 2014
  24. Lift is seeded there because she will be very important later on.
    Theoryland - March 11, 2014
  25. Yes, Lift is one of the characters who was originally planned for the back five.
    Theoryland - March 21, 2014
  26. It will focus mostly on different characters
    Theoryland - August 31, 2013
  27. And I'll probably do some more shorts with Lift because she is so much fun.
    Theoryland - March 21, 2014
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