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This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of Edgedancer. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the novella, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire novella.
Lift and six other thieves climb over a wall of the Bronze Palace as they intend to rob it while a new Prime Aqasix is being chosen by the vizierate. Lift sees Nale in the distance and frets that he is still pursuing her somehow. The thieves climb up the palace wall and Lift chats with her spren Wyndle, who says that he wanted to choose someone else with whom to bond but ended up with Lift since she had visited the Old Magic. Lift and Wyndle bicker as they infiltrate the palace. Huqin says they are there to steal clothes which aren't well guarded but will sell for a lot. Lift disobeys Huqin and wanders the palace with Gawx accompanying her. Lift tells Gawx that she wants to steal the prime's food and she heads towards the Prime's chambers while he goes to the vizier quarters to find spheres. Wyndle helps her further infiltrate the palace while he teaches Lift about spren and her odd ability to convert food into Stormlight. Lift sneaks into the dining area and hides under the table as the vizierate reviews applications for Emperor. Lift listens as they debate what to do since no one wants to be Prime due to the recent assassinations. She steals a dinner roll then hesitates as she notices that Nale is there. She tries to flee but is caught, and Nale has her arrested and tells the vizierate that he has the proper forms. She tries to use her ability to escape but is inhibited by a larkin which drains her Stormlight. The head vizier protests that Lift will be executed for mere thievery, but Nale adds the crimes of trespass and interrupting a holy conclave in session.
Lift escapes long enough to get a half-eaten roll which she quickly eats before being captured again. After a short time, Lift gains enough Stormlight to evade her captors, though she sees Nale has abilities also as he chases her carrying a Shardblade. One of Nale's companions slits Gawx's throat, and Nale recaptures Lift, then berates his ally for killing the boy without filling out the correct paperwork. Lift escapes but then decides to save Gawx because someone has to care, and Wyndle says that her regrowth ability could help if she was more trained. She returns to Gawx' body and breathes Stormlight into his mouth before Nale again captures her and identifies her as an Edgedancer and tells her about their order. Nale says he hunts her because her abilities could bring Desolations back to the world. Nale draws his Shardblade to kill her but she is suddenly pardoned by the new Prime Aqasix, Gawx, who was elected due to his miracle survival. Nale obeys the pardon to release Lift and praises Yaezir and leaves. Lift congratulates Gawx on his election and asks for food.
Lift practices using the Surge of Friction while staying on her feet as she travels south from Azimir. She has "escaped" from the palace because she was afraid she would lose her identity with all the lessons, nice clothes, etc. Wyndle questions Lift's decision to leave and tries to convince her to turn back.
Lift arrives at Yeddaw, a city "cut out of the starvin' ground" with Shardblades. As they approach the city, she and Wyndle discuss the Everstorm and the strange things going on in the world. Lift also mentions one of her goals while she is in the city -- eating all ten varieties of pancakes that people eat during the Weeping in Yeddaw. They encounter a long queue of refugees waiting to enter a well-guarded entrance. Lift sneaks toward the front of the line.
Guard captain Hauka inspects a cart of grain. The man with the cart is obviously not a farmer, but an opportunist, harvesting someone else's grain while the war is on. She consults with the deputy scribe, and they decide to let the badly-needed grain in but charge the thief triple tariff. Hauka returns to the cart and Lift pops out of a bag, munching on the uncooked grain. Refueled, she slides into the guardhouse, grabbing a pancake and causing a huge ruckus. Then she dumps the grain into the city below and jumps in after it.
Wyndle scurries ahead of Lift and acts as a rope, letting her land safely. The grateful populace quickly gathers up the grain. They start to walk along the strange streets dug into the earth, and Wyndle starts whining again about being bound to Lift. He wishes he could have been bonded to the nice cobbler instead. Lift is hungry again and hopes to trade a book she stole from the guards for food. Wyndle "reads" it and tells her it's a worthless logbook. She tosses it away, hitting a random woman in the street. A guard identifies her and gives chase. Lift ducks into an alley.
Lift rests after a half hour chase. Wyndle asks why she doesn't visit her home in the Reshi Isles. Her only response is to explain why she left Azir. Her thoughts turn to her mother, but they are interrupted by hunger. She sets off to find some urchins.
Lift talks to a couple of urchins and finds out she can get some food from Tashi's Light Orphanage. She arrives and knocks on the door in the alley side near a small amphitheater. She's told to wait; food comes later. As she waits, she sees a despondent mother leave a child at the door of the orphanage. He appears to be injured and incapacitated. A woman emerges from the orphanage and accepts the boy, but she tells Lift she can only have three meals. An old man nearby advises her to not judge "Stump" too harshly; she can only do so much. Lift threatens to steal from her using her awesomeness, but then she would just be hungry again. The old man tries to engage her in a philosophical discussion that mostly bores her. She finishes her clemabread and heads off to an "appointment."
Lift goes back to the guardhouse and follows Hauka to her home. She uses Wyndle to climb up to the roof, then settles in for the night. She tells him to watch if anyone goes in the building. Later, Wyndle wakes her up and reports that Darkness has entered the building. She reveals that this was her plan all along: show her powers so he would come looking for her, then she could try to protect the Radiant he is hunting in Yeddaw. She creeps down to the window and hears him talking to Hauka. She reports to him what happened at the guard post. He tells her to keep a watch out for Lift and to report it if she's seen again. He leaves, and Lift follows.
Lift follows Darkness to a public market, where she grabs a fruit. The shopkeeper yells, but he's actually yelling at another girl who's stolen a whole basket of fruit. Darkness snatches her, and when she looks into his empty eyes, she panics and pulls out a knife. He runs her through with his shardblade. The shopkeeper is furious at the severity of the punishment, but Darkness justifies it based on an exact interpretation of the law. After he leaves the scene, Lift tries to bring the girl back as she did Gawx, but she is already fully dead. She resumes her chase, and they arrive at a large cistern. She crosses over directly on the bridge while he circles around. She loses him briefly, then sees him enter a building. She "grows" a nearby tree and slips in through a window. She sneaks about, avoiding an old guard, and finds three pancakes, which she gleefully devours. She sets out to spy on Darkness.
Lift creeps up to a room where she hears Darkness's voice. He is chiding two of his minions for not fulfilling their duty. They need to concentrate on finding Surgebinders so the Voidbringers will not return. Szeth is also in the room, and he disagrees with "Nin," saying the Voidbringers have already returned (as he witnessed during the Battle of Narak). Darkness dismisses them as stragglers from another age. He commands the two initiates to find the Radiant that has been in the city a while. He will deal with the new one. Lift and Wyndle nervously retreat.
Lift returns to the orphanage, where the children are playing outside. She gets her second clemabread roll. The drooling boy from the day before, Mik, is much better, asking about his mother. Stump is annoyed at the boy for faking his disability. The children are herded back in, leaving only the strange old man. Lift asks him how to decide what to do, to be human. He wonders what she is doing there in the city.
Lift wanders through the streets as Wyndle encourages her to say more Words. They wind up at a garden and Lift reasons out how to find the other awesome person that Darkness is searching for. She badgers a woman nearby for information on a place where all the stuff that is written down is kept. She calls it the Grand Indicium. Lift sees it for the first time, towering above the city.
Lift climbs out of the slots to observe some farmers who are planting things out of season because of the unusual Weeping. Wyndle asks what her plan is, and all she has come up with is to sneak in and have Wyndle read everything. He convinces her that that's impossible, so she goes off to steal some clothes instead.
Lift puts on some Azish robes and walks into the Indicium. She tells a scribe that she is from the Azir palace, but she doesn't believe her. She steps out for a moment and Lift overhears that the guard (Hauka) is coming. She gets Wyndle to help her write a note via spanreed to Azir so they can vouch for her. Hauka arrives with several guards, and they almost have her captured when a reply comes. They look at her incredulously and ask what she wants them to do.
Three hours later, scribes are still searching for "strange stuff" that has happened in the city. The liaison scribe, named Ghenna, talks about reports from around the world about the Everstorm. Hauka comes back and reports that the Stump is running a money laundering scheme, trading dun spheres for infused ones of lesser value. The scribes continue their search, but they have found too many strange things to investigate. Lift can't decide what to do. A guard bursts into the room; an emergency has been declared on account of the approaching storm. The scribes scatter and Lift wanders off. Wyndle suggests that the female minion was probably using scribes to investigate too. Lift runs back to follow this lead.
Ghenna tells Lift that a woman had indeed hired some scribes for an investigation two weeks back in room 232. She heads off to find the room and hears the two minions, trailed by Szeth, talking quietly to Nightblood. They go into the room, and Wyndle volunteers to sneak in and listen. Lift waits impatiently. After some tense moments, Wyndle "runs" out of the room, and they hide while the apprentices leave. Szeth sees her and draws his sword a bit. Lift feels nauseated. Then he just turns and leaves. Wyndle reports that they are headed to the suspected Radiant to perform an execution. They start to follow.
Lift follows them out of the building. The two apprentices fly off, but Szeth chooses to stay behind. He knows Lift is hiding nearby and starts to talk with her. They are hunting a suspected Lightweaver. Szeth reiterates that Nale is wrong about the Voidbringers and probably crazy too. Lift is unable to follow the flying apprentices, so she asks Szeth where they are headed. It's clear from his description that the target is the crazy philosopher at the amphitheater. Szeth warns her that she doesn't stand a chance against them, but she must follow.
Lift engages her awesomeness and tries to skid to the orphanage, but she keeps falling and crashing into things. She runs instead, running out of fuel before she arrives. She hears a scream from the alleyway, and Stump thinks it's her trying to trick her way in. She drags Lift inside. Mik recognizes her; he appears completely healed. Lift is confused because she doesn't remember healing him. Stump starts handing out pancakes, and Lift gets two, her last free meal. When Stump isn't looking, Lift steps back outside.
Lift walks slowly into the dark alley and finally stumbles into a body. A flash of lightening reveals that it belongs to the woman apprentice. She jumps back in shock and bumps into the other minion's body. The old man is there and starts talking philosophy again. Lift realizes that he is actually made up of many interlocking cremlings. He assures her that he's on her side and is not the one Darkness is looking for. Lift realizes that Stump is the one healing the children and runs back to the orphanage.
The storm is starting to rage in earnest now as Lift approaches the orphanage. The door is ajar, having been cut clean through by a Shardblade. She enters and hears heavy footsteps upstairs. She yells to Darkness and leads him on a merry chase through the house, hoping to drain his supply of Stormlight. She's eventually cornered and pinned by a knife through her clothing. Just as Darkness is about to deliver a killing stroke with his Shardblade, Stump appears and whacks him with a plank of wood. He easily defeats her and stabs her with a conventional knife, baiting Lift to try to heal her. Instead she zips up to the roof and emerges into the terrible storm. Darkness follows and swings, but Wyndle transforms into a rod, Lift finally speaking aloud the words she had uttered in her heart: "I will listen to those who have been ignored." She points out the evicted Parshmen out on the plain with glowing red eyes and convinces Darkness that he's failed. He breaks down crying, and Lift hugs him. He flies off; she rushes back down to heal Stump.
Stump gives Lift a heap of pancakes, pretending for her sake that they weren't meant for her. Mik's mother came back for her son even though she couldn't have known he was healed. Stump starts to gripe about the scheming mother and then realizes that she was the one who healed him. Lift helps her identify her spren and realize that she is also a Radiant. Ghenna arrives with the spanreed to Azir so Lift can check in with Gawx. Lift finishes her pancakes and makes an excuse to go to the bathroom, but she's really leaving. She uses up all of her Stormlight healing the refugees at the entrance to the city as she starts her journey back to Azir. She feels like she will be needed there.
Lift is one of Brandon's favorite characters in the Stormlight Archive and will have a larger role in the series in future books. This novella accomplishes two things: 1) shows the progression of Lift through her oaths, and 2) shows how Nale changes his mind about killing off the Radiants.
The fact that Lift still thinks she is ten years old, even though she has lived for thirteen years, is more than just a joke.