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|Died||Executed ? 1173|
|Profession||Ardent of the Devotary of Denial|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”We are sycophants. The queen's ardents tell her only what she wants to hear.
Pai is an ardent that is a member of the Devotary of Denial. A Vorin zealot, Pai is willing to sacrifice anything for her cause and has become concerned about the Alethi queen's recent actions. Pai's denouncement of the queen and the Alethi government led to her own execution and rioting in the streets of Kholinar.
Appearance and Personality
Almighty anymore? Sure, they curse by his name. Sure, they talk about the Heralds, burn glyphwards. But what do they do? Do they change their lives? Do they listen to the Arguments? Do they transform, recasting their souls into something greater, something better? ”Does anyone among the Alethi elite care about the— Pai to Lhan
Pai's appearance is unknown, but she is a young woman. She often speaks softly or in a whisper.
Pai has a huge amount of passion for her faith and the poor of Alethkar. Pai wants people to work hard to transform their lives into something better by following Vorin teachings and listening to the ardents. She genuinely fears for the spiritual well-being of the lighteyes. She feels they do not truly believe in the Almighty. She does not know when they stopped acting in accordance with Vorin beliefs, and began to instead merely speak as if they were true believers. She also wonders whether or not the Hierocracy was acting in accordance with the Almighty's will, as he did not send his Heralds to stop the ardents. Pai believes there is something deeply wrong in Alethkar, although she is not sure precisely what is wrong. Pai is also a very strong advocate for the poor. She is deeply angered and disgusted by the excess and wastefulness of the lighteyes' lifestyles while the poor starve in the countryside.
Pai is also a very disciplined young woman determined to live a simple lifestyle in accordance with her faith. She has no desire for the luxuries and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the queen's ardents, and the very mention of their lifestyle angers her. Pai is stubborn and uncompromising in her beliefs, unwilling to abet the corruption at the heart of the Alethi monarchy, even if it allows her to help some of the poor and hungry. Her passion is such that she is absolutely unafraid of physical harm. Pai speaks her mind regardless of the consequences, openly condemning the government and the Alethi Throne, accepting that her words will lead to her own martyrdom.
Nothing of Pai's early history is known. It is uncertain when she joined the ardentia, but she chose the Devotary of Denial as her sect of Vorinism. She began living a life of asceticism and abnegation around the year 1168, eating only simple meals of boiled tallew with the occasional piece of fruit on special occasions. Around the year 1172, Pai began serving as an ardent in the Alethi capital city, Kholinar. She requested with some persistence to be assigned to be a member of the retinue of the Alethi queen, Aesudan Kholin, and after a year working in the city her request was granted in late 1173. Pai's superiors were worried that her zealotry and her principles of self-denial would cause trouble in the court. They asked Lhan, another ardent already in the queen's retinue, to speak to her.
Member of the Queen's Retinue
”I don't know what I'm suggesting. Only that something is wrong. All of this is just so very wrong.— Pai to Lhan
Pai met Lhan in the morning, at the monastery next to Kholinar Palace. They walked through the Circle of Memories and into the eastern wing of the palace, conversing about Pai's new position within the queen's retinue. Lhan tried to explain to Pai that a life of luxury was now hers, but Pai was more concerned with the queens recent actions, canceling the Beggar's Feasts, leaving food to rot while the poor starved, and her general excess and debauchery. Despite Lhan's explanation that the queen gave her ardents easy lives because she feared that the Almighty was displeased with her, Pai maintained that they were merely sycophants and needed to be honest with the queen.
Lhan took Pai to the service yard behind the kitchens to show her a number of piles of rotting food, explaining that the extra food there had once been distributed to the poor by another ardent who had died. Lhan told Pai that if she kept quiet and did not interfere with the ardents' lives, she could do a great deal of good for the needy of the city by regularly distributing this food. He also told her that if she made too much of a commotion, nothing would change and she would simply be sent away. He asked Pai to think about her decision, and left her sitting by the piles of rotted food.
Pai sat and stared at the food until that evening, when Lhan returned to speak with her asking after her decision. Pai asked him what he thought of the spiritual cost of his actions. She wondered if any of the Alethi elite even cared for or believed in the Almighty anymore. She also asked him why no one heard from the Almighty anymore, why the Heralds had not returned to denounce the Hierocracy if it had been so evil. She told Lhan that she had decided that she would remain in Kholinar to do good and try to be an example for others to follow.
Protest and Execution
Pai left Lhan and went to the People's Hall, the location from which the monarch typically addressed the people of Kholinar. Working by spherelight through the night, she wrote the glyphs of the ten foolish attributes before the dais upon which sat the Common Throne. Beneath each glyph Pai wrote explanation of how the queen exemplified the attribute. These paragraphs were not just an attack on the queen, but a denouncement of the lighteyes and the government itself. Pai remained bowed there before the Throne until she was discovered by Lhan and the other ardents in the morning. Pai was executed the morning of the very next day for her actions. Queen Aesudan would later falsely claim Pai had been trying to refound the Hierocracy.
In the evening after her execution, the citizens of Kholinar began to riot. It is uncertain what precisely set off the riots, or whether it was in support of Pai's denouncement of the government, in anger over her execution, or both. However, Pai's actions certainly played a heavy role in causing the rioting, which exacerbated the chaos when the Everstorm first hit Kholinar. The riots continued through the end of 1173 and were ongoing in the first few days of 1174, when Highprince Dalinar Kholin heard of them via spanreed.