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Ral-na

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Ral-na
Ral-na by Dragontrill.jpg
Family
Spouse King's consort
Children Talik[1]
Abilities Dustbringer
Residence Relu-na
Ethnicity Reshi
Nationality Reshi
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

Ral-na is the king of the community that resides on Relu-na, a greatshell island in the Reshi Sea on Roshar.[1][2] He is also a Dustbringer and is bonded to an ashspren.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Ral-na has dark eyes and graying hair. He prefers to wear voluminous, brightly colored robes.[1][2] He is a transgender man,[3] and his bond with an ashspren allowed him to heal his body to match his true gender.[1][4] Before transitioning, he looked like a middle-aged woman.[2] After transitioning, he is a short man with strong pectoral muscles.[1]

He speaks the Reshi language, and is usually soft-spoken when outsiders are present. He seems to have a calm demeanor, but he can be forceful if needed.[2]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Kingship[edit]

Ral-na is the king of Relu-na, a Tai-na the size of an island that slowly moves about in the Reshi Sea. As the king, anyone who wants to join the island permanently has to give everything they own to him. His commands are to be obeyed without question, and he is directly served by various workers and guards. The island's soldiers are well-trained, in contrast to the carefree lifestyle enjoyed by many of the residents. He also negotiates trade deals for the people, but uses his son Talik as an intermediary and an interpreter.[2] Ral-na is well respected by his subjects; they have full respect for his authority.[2] It is not known if Ral-na inherited the title of king or if the Reshi have some other method of succession.

Ral-na holds court at the top of Relu-na's shell near its head, hundreds of feet above the water.[2] He only leaves the island in truly extraordinary circumstances.[5] The king supervises offerings of fruit to Relu-na, who is worshipped as a god by its residents.[2] The Reshi people believe that they can communicate with their Tai-na, and each greatshell's will is the only authority that exceeds that of their kings.[2][5] The Tai-na also provide the Reshi people with an unusually high level of knowledge regarding Aimia and larkin.[6][5]

Surgebinding[edit]

Ral-na has formed a Nahel bond with an unknown ashspren, which grants him the ability to Surgebind. When he formed the bond, his body healed to match his gender identity.[1] Although he is not known to have formally joined the Knights Radiant organization,[5] his powers are those of the Order of Dustbringers, with the ability to manipulate the Surges of Division and Abrasion. Members of this order are relatively rare among the refounded Radiants.[1]

History[edit]

Ral-na recalled Vstim visiting Relu-na in his youth. In order to earn the people's respect so that they would trade with him, he slayed a coracot, an incredible feat for a foreigner. Vstim later served as Talik's babsk when Ral-na and his partner sent the young Reshi to train in Thaylenah.[2]

Trade with Rysn[edit]

Circa 1173, Vstim brought Rysn to Relu-na to negotiate a trade deal. At the time, Ral-na had not physically transitioned; his use of "king" as his title confused Rysn even though Talik told her it was perfectly normal. Rysn was unaware of Vstim's prior history with Ral-na and Talik; the trade deal was a setup intended to help teach Rysn how to negotiate on her own. Vstim feigned sickness and Talik was in on the ruse; Ral-na was presumably aware of their plan since the real trade was never in jeopardy. During the negotiations, Ral-na observed Rysn closely while Talik served as an intermediary. Ral-na was impressed by the fierceness of Rysn's arguments and gave her a chance to speak to him directly, which was itself an honor, but ultimately told her that the trade could not continue since Rysn had not earned the same level of respect as Vstim. However, Rysn refused to give up and unexpectedly climbed down a feeding rope to appeal directly to Relu-na. Ral-na seemed impressed, but quickly became concerned for Rysn's safety and commanded her to return. However, the rope broke and Rysn plummeted towards the water; she shattered her legs, but her life was spared by Relu-na and she was gifted Chiri-Chiri.[2]

Nahel Bond[edit]

At some point after Rysn recovered and departed with Vstim, Ral-na bonded with an ashspren by saying the First Ideal. After taking this oath, his body healed to match his gender identity. At first, his subjects believed it was a divine gift, but later concluded that it had something to do with the spren bond.[1][4]

Approximately two years after Rysn's visit, Ral-na was part of a Reshi delegation to Urithiru to meet with Dalinar Kholin. One of the purposes of the journey was to find more about his spren bond and the Knights Radiant. Talik was also part of the delegation, but he left the group at Azimir so he could meet with Rysn in Thaylen City. Lopen met with Talik and advised him that Ral-na should only speak to Dalinar about his powers.[1]

Relationships[edit]

Vstim[edit]

Ral-na considers Vstim wise and trustworthy. Vstim has a long history of trading on Relu-na, and trained Talik well. Ral-na has a very high level of respect for Vstim and is personally fond of him.[2]

Family[edit]

Ral-na has a partner known as the king's consort, who is also one of Talik's parents.[2] The king's consort may perform certain duties of the king, especially if the king is absent.[5] Talik regularly serves as Ral-na's interpreter. Talik seems to be comfortable with Ral-na's gender identity; he used the title of king without hesitation before Ral-na transitioned and became annoyed when Rysn questioned it, stating that "gender is irrelevant".[1] He later mentions that Ral-na's physical transition was considered a positive development.[2]

Trivia[edit]

  • Brandon has noted that Ral-na's transition helps represent the fact that there would be many transgender Knights Radiant due to the self-discovery that occurs while progressing in the Radiant oaths;[7] during the Heraldic Epochs, they would have had a progressive view of gender identity compared to the rest of society.[7]

Notes[edit]

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