Summary:The Way of Kings
This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of The Way of Kings. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book.
Prelude to the Stormlight Archive
Kalak, one of the ten Heralds, wanders through a torn landscape littered with dead humans, thunderclasts, and other beasts. He is traveling to the Heralds' preordained meeting place (a rocky spire) for those who survived the Desolation.
Upon arrival, he finds only their leader, Jezrien, waiting for him. At first, Kalak assumes that the other eight must have died for the battle was "furious". However, he notices seven Honorblades driven point-first into the ground at the base of the spire. Jezrien then informs Kalak that the other Heralds have departed, abandoning the Oathpact. Kalak then admits to Jezrien that he can't return to "the place of nightmares", the waiting place of the Heralds between Desolations. Jezrien then tells Kalak to relinquish his blade as well, for "...it is time for the Oathpact to end." This effectively leaves Talenel (Taln), the only Herald who died in the battle, alone to uphold the Oathpact and the sole sufferer of the pain and torture in the waiting realm.
Kalak shows horror and disgust that both Jezrien and himself have been broken by the cycle of Desolations and that they are too weak to face their suffering. They plan to lie and tell the people that they finally won against the "enemy", saying it might even turn out to be true. Their abandonment of mankind is somewhat diluted by the fact that Ishar, another Herald, believes that "...so long as there is one of us still bound to the Oathpact (Talenel), it may be enough. There is a chance we might end the cycle of Desolations." Jezrien points out that mankind also has the Radiants.
Finally, both Jezrien and Kalak summon their Blades and slam them into the ground, along with the other seven. They depart in opposite directions along the barren landscape, vowing to go their own ways and to not seek one another or any of the other Heralds. As Kalak is leaving the ring of swords, he looks back and notices a single open spot, "The place where the tenth sword should have gone." Kalak feels deep sorrow and shame for Taln's exclusion, thinking to himself, "Forgive us..." as he walks away.
Prologue: To Kill
The love of men is a frigid thing, a mountain stream only three steps from the ice. We are his. Oh Stormfather...we are his. It is but a thousand days, and the Everstorm comes.
4500 years later, Szeth, a Truthless Shin assassin, waits quietly in a large room, watching the Alethi celebrate the signing of a peace treaty with the Parshendi. He leaves the room, noting that his Parshendi masters will soon withdraw. Szeth wears white under the orders of the Parshendi to follow their traditions so that King Gavilar could see him coming.
When he reaches the area just outside the King's quarters, Szeth uses his abilities as a Surgebinder to fight his way past the guards. As he reaches the king's quarters, he is confronted by a Shardbearer as the King flees.
Szeth fights his way past the Shardbearer but soon realizes that the Shardbearer, not the man he is chasing, is King Gavilar. He returns and fights him, eventually defeating him by causing the balcony he is standing on to collapse, mortally wounding him. Szeth is nearly killed in the fight. When Szeth tells Gavilar the Parshendi sent him, Gavilar is confused and says, "The Parshendi? That makes no sense."
Gavilar then gives Szeth a strange black sphere and tells him, "You must take this. They must not get it." He then instructs Szeth to tell Gavilar's brother Dalinar that he must "find the most important words a man can say."
As a Shin, Szeth considers a dying wish to be sacred, so he leaves a note for Dalinar written in Gavilar's blood. He takes the sphere and flees.
Part One: Above Silence
Chapter 1: Stormblessed
You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me! While the sun is still hot, I die!
- Five years later
Cenn, a new recruit in Brightlord Meridas Amaram's army, is terrified. He is about to face his first battle and has no real idea of what to expect. Cenn is pulled into a new squad, that of Kaladin Stormblessed, at the last minute for reasons he doesn't understand.
Dallet, a sergeant, picks Cenn up and returns him to the squad. They are soon joined by Kaladin, who asks Dallet to take care of Cenn during the battle as he won't know the group's signals. They then fall to discussing tactics.
The opposing force arrives and the battle begins. Kaladin's squad does not lose a single man. At one point, Kaladin singlehandedly fights off six enemy spearmen to save Cenn. When an enemy Brightlord appears, Kaladin and his squad attempt to defeat him. They are hindered, however, by the arrival of an enemy Shardbearer. Cenn blacks out from blood loss, and the scene cuts out.
Chapter 2: Honor is Dead
Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?
- Eight Months Later
Kaladin is now a slave in a caravan, waiting to be sold and struggling to retain his ability to not think like a slave.
When approached by another slave about escaping, Kaladin gruffly tells him that he has no plans to escape because it will never work. A second slave approaches Kaladin and asks how he came to be a slave. When Kaladin doesn't respond, the other men tell their stories. It eventually comes out that Kaladin killed a man, but the one he did not kill is the reason he's a slave.
Kaladin idly toys with a leaf of blackbane, contemplating using it to poison Tvlakv, his slave trader. A windspren in the form of a slender young woman only a handspan tall speaks to Kaladin and wants to know what the blackbane is. Kaladin is surprised that she knows his name. As they converse, he observes that she is much more intelligent than a typical spren. When she asks why he doesn't fight anymore, he says that he has failed.
Kaladin sees Tvlakv going to inspect a sick slave. Kaladin tells him that the man has the grinding coughs and will survive if given extra water. Tvlakv removes the man from the rest of the slaves, and Kaladin thinks he is going to give him water. Instead, Bluth brutally murders the man. Kaladin is upset over his failure to save him.
In his anger at the other slave's murder, he crushed the blackbane against the bars of the wagon, losing most of it.
Chapter 3: City of Bells
A man stood on a cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears.
After a short conversation with Captain Tozbek of the Wind's Pleasure, the boat she arrived on, she gets word that Jasnah Kholin, the woman she has been chasing for several months, is still in the city.
Shallan and one of Captain Tozbek's sailors, Yalb, make the trip up to the palace so Shallan can speak to Jasnah. When they arrive, she asks Yalb to wait for her outside the palace. It is revealed that Shallan had requested to be Jasnah's ward, and that Jasnah told her to meet her in Dumadari. Shallan has been chasing her from city to city ever since.
Shallan is very nervous as her house's finances are in ruins since the death of her father, and if she doesn't find some source of income or other means of controlling their rival political houses, her house won't last long. She also reveals that her request to be Jasnah's ward is somehow related to resolving her house's crisis, though she does not make clear how.
The chapter ends with Shallan turning a corner and seeing Jasnah.
Chapter 4: The Shattered Plains
I'm dying, aren't I? Healer, why do you take my blood? Who is that beside you, with his head of lines? I can see a distant sun, dark and cold, shining in a black sky.
Kaladin is sitting in the slave wagon, waiting for the caravan to stop for lunch and noting that it's well after the time the caravan usually stops. After a few minutes, he realizes that it is because Tvlakv is lost. Tvlakv remembers that Kaladin was once an Alethi soldier and might have knowledge of the lands. When he asks Kaladin to help them find the way out, Kaladin tears his map to pieces and tells Tvlakv that he doesn't know the way out.
In the conversation that follows, Tvlakv says that he is only comfortable with the idea of Kaladin escaping because he knows that he wants revenge on Brightlord Amaram more than he does on Tvlakv. Kaladin realizes that if Tvlakv knows about Amaram, then he also knows that Kaladin isn't actually a deserter, in contrast to the official story given when he was sold. Tvlakv acknowledges this but says that it's the story they will stick to because men who are guilty of high crimes are difficult to sell at a good price.
A short time later, the windspren comes back. She had apparently left during the recent highstorm, but now tells Kaladin that there is a large group of people not far away. A few minutes later, Kaladin realizes that it's an Alethi war camp, and that their destination is the Shattered Plains.
The other slaves express hope that they will be treated fairly in the warcamps. Kaladin has his doubts, thinking of the many lighteyes who have proven to be corrupt in the past. His one remaining hope is that he will be allowed to fight again.
Chapter 5: Heretic
I have seen the end, and have heard it named. The Night of Sorrows, the True Desolation. The Everstorm.
As Shallan meets Jasnah Kholin for the first time, she admires Jasnah as the ideal beauty – tall, Alethi tan skin, long dark hair. She is talking to a man who Shallan later identifies as King Taravangian of Kharbranth.
Jasnah and Taravangian seem to be negotiating over something, though Shallan can't tell what. As they begin to walk, Jasnah beckons for Shallan to follow. After a preliminary conversation, Jasnah mentions that because Shallan was so persistent in seeking her out, she will hear her petition to be her ward. Shallan is shocked, as she had believed that she had already been accepted as Jasnah's ward.
A lengthy conversation about Shallan's level of education ensues, in which it is decided that Shallan has passing skill in most subjects, is very good in the sciences, excels at drawing and writing (the feminine arts), and is sadly lacking in history and philosophy.
They arrive at the entrance to a room which has been blocked off by a large, fallen stone. Shallan realizes that the king's granddaughter is trapped in the room, and Jasnah is planning to use her Soulcaster to remove the stone in exchange for access to the Palanaeum.
Jasnah Soulcasts the stone, transforming it into smoke. The king retrieves his granddaughter and, when asked, agrees to take Jasnah to the Palanaeum.
Jasnah rejects Shallan as her ward because of her lack of education in history and philosophy. Shallan is frustrated, but decides to persevere. It is then that Shallan reveals that she wishes to become Jasnah's ward not out of scholarly pursuit, but in order to steal her Soulcaster to help her family's finances recover.
Chapter 6: Bridge Four
I'm cold. Mother, I'm cold. Mother? Why can I still hear the rain? Will it stop?
Kaladin and the rest of the slave caravan have arrived at the Shattered Plains, specifically at the warcamp of Highprince Sadeas. They are taken to a woman who is to decide whether she can use any of the slaves or not. When Kaladin tries to convince her to let him fight, Tvlakv tells her that Kaladin is a deserter, dashing his hopes.
The woman decides that Kaladin and his companions are to be made members of the bridge crews. Kaladin and his new immediate superior, Gaz, take an instant dislike to each other, and as a result, Kaladin is placed in one of the worst locations on the bridge when they are called on a bridge run, without the benefit of shoes or vest for protection.
After several hours of agony carrying the bridge, they arrive at the chasm where the enemy Parshendi are waiting on the other side. They take volleys of arrows while placing their bridge. Kaladin is the only survivor in the front row.
He wakes up hours later when the windspren who's been following him shocks him with some sort of energy. Kaladin realizes that if he doesn't hurry, he will be left behind. The spren tells him that her name is Sylphrena, or Syl.
Though he is exhausted, Kaladin takes a spot on the bridge and begins the long way back to camp.
Chapter 7: Anything Reasonable
They are aflame. They burn. They bring the darkness when they come, and so all you can see is that their skin is aflame. Burn, burn, burn...
Shallan is en route to the Palanaeum, hoping to convince Jasnah that she is worthy to be her ward. She believes that it is critical that she find a way to do so, as without her father, her family can no longer Soulcast its way into wealth or manipulate others into doing as they want.
She is allowed to wait for Jasnah in her reading alcove, though she is denied access to the Palanaeum itself. While she waits, she sketches several Memories from the past few hours, then writes a letter to Jasnah containing arguments for her reconsideration. She is interrupted by an ardent introducing himself as Kabsal. He asks to wait for Jasnah with Shallan and praises her sketches highly.
Kabsal tells Shallan that he is trying to convert Jasnah, an avowed atheist, to Vorinism. He leaves, asking her to let Jasnah know that he had come by to speak with her. She agrees, and begins to lacquer her drawings. She realizes that she's been there for quite a while and begins to gather her things, leaving the letter for Jasnah. Before she can leave, however, Jasnah appears in the doorway, looking displeased.
Chapter 8: Nearer the Flame
Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn.
Jasnah scolds Shallan, telling her that she had already made her decision. Shallan is embarrassed that she disturbed Jasnah again and leaves. After only a few moments, however, Jasnah calls her back and apologizes to her and gives her Shallan's money pouch that she had left behind.
Shallan asks Jasnah to read the letter she had written for her earlier. Jasnah is impressed that she is self-taught and agrees to accept Shallan as her ward once she has adequately learned philosophy and history. Shallan is pleased by this, but worries that she cannot learn fast enough to save her house.
Shallan leaves the Conclave and meets up with Yalb, who has been gambling with some guards. Yalb insists that she is talented enough to be accepted if she would just be more persistent, so she decides to buy a bunch of books on history and philosophy and return to start studying right away, planning to impress Jasnah with her rapid learning just before Jasnah leaves Kharbranth. Before long, however, she is interrupted by Jasnah, who had paid the servants to tell her if Shallan returned to the Palanaeum.
Jasnah asks to see Shallan's satchel. When she comes across Shallan's sketches with notes on biology, she asks why she made them, to which Shallan replies that she wanted to. It is ultimately the fact that Shallan pursues scholarship in her free time, along with her persistence, that convince Jasnah to accept her as her ward.
Shallan reflects that now she's completed the first phase of her plan, but now needs to discover how to accomplish the rest of it without being caught.
Chapter 9: Damnation
Ten people, with Shardblades alight, standing before a wall of black and white and red.
Kaladin has now been a member of the bridge crews for somewhere between two to four weeks. Of the twenty five who survived his first bridge run, only one other man is still alive.
A few new arrivals are brought in, and Kaladin sees a young boy who reminds him of his younger brother Tien. In general, Kaladin is handling the transition to life as a bridge crew member poorly, snapping at Syl and becoming despondent. Syl leaves, unable to continue watching him in his current state.
The bridge crews are called on another run, and the boy who reminded him of Tien is killed, as well as the only remaining man from Kaladin's first bridge run. Kaladin thinks to himself that he is dead inside, then begins to cry.
Chapter 10: Stories of Surgeons
- Nine Years Earlier
When they finish amputating Sani's middle finger, Lirin asks Kaladin why he was late to arrive, and Kaladin replies that he was with a boy named Jam learning to use a quarterstaff. This sparks a debate between Kaladin and Lirin about the relative merits of being a soldier or a surgeon. Lirin meets Kaladin's claim that it's possible to save lives by killing others with the assertion that doing so is like "trying to stop a storm by blowing harder." Eventually, Kaladin simply stops arguing and goes back to cleaning up the room.
Lirin quizzes him on various things a surgeon should know, then tells him that he plans to send him to Kharbranth to train under the surgeons there if he can find a way to do so. Lirin also tells him that he's incredibly gifted when it comes to surgery, and he shouldn't waste himself on soldiering.
Chapter 11: Droplets
Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.
Kaladin is outside just after a highstorm, going to the Honor Chasm to commit suicide. Gaz stops him, accusing him of trying to steal spheres left out in the Highstorm from others, but Kaladin simply ignores him and goes.
Just as Kaladin is about to step into the chasm, Syl reappears, carrying a single blackbane leaf which she had brought hoping to make Kaladin happy. When Kaladin expresses his frustrations at his previous failures to protect people, Syl convinces him to try again, arguing that the bridgemen are going to die anyway, so his efforts cannot hurt.
Kaladin returns to the camp and attacks Gaz, throwing him to the ground. He demands that Gaz make him bridgeleader of Bridge Four, and that he give Kaladin full control of it. In return, Gaz receives one fifth of Kaladin's wages.
Kaladin then goes inside the barracks and begins asking the other bridgemen's names, noticing for the first time how pathetic they all are.
Interlude I-1: Ishikk
Ishikk, a fisherman in the Purelake, is just returning home after a long day of fishing. After pausing to talk to Thaspic he meets with Maib, a local woman who has been attempting to get him to marry her for years by trying to keep him in her debt, mostly by giving him food. Ishikk tries to counterbalance her efforts by bringing her fish that cure her aches in her joints.
Following a brief conversation with Maib, Ishikk goes to meet with a group of foreigners. They ask him about whether he has any new information for them, and Ishikk tells them that he has been to many villages in the area and none of them know anything about the man the foreigners are looking for, revealed to be Hoid. The foreigners (all worldhoppers, namely Demoux from Scadrial, Galladon from Sel and Baon from Taldain) argue amongst themselves for a while, then leave Ishikk to his thoughts.
Interlude I-2: Nan Balat
Balat Davar, Shallan's brother, is torturing various small animals in the gardens of their family's estate. He reflects on how Shallan is doing most of the work to save their family and tries to convince himself that he isn't a coward for remaining at home to manage the estate. He admits to some resentment of Shallan because of all of their siblings, she was the only one their father never truly got angry at, but is shortly interrupted in his thoughts by Wikim, another brother, coming to find him with the announcement that they have a big problem.
Interlude I-3: The Glory of Ignorance
Szeth is now serving a man named Took, who uses him to gain the admiration of mine workers (and free drinks) in the small towns they pass through. As a demonstration of Szeth's total obedience, he has him do various things, such as jump up and down and cut his own arm. When he orders Szeth to kill himself, Szeth informs him that he cannot be ordered to kill himself, and returns to his own thoughts. The others are shocked at how refined his speech is and are slightly discomfited, associating him with the lighteyes. Szeth reflects that his speech and mannerisms may well be part of the reason that his masters never keep him for long, since his masters know that he is capable of so much more than they are using him for, and that in many ways, he is much more refined and intelligent than they are. Szeth revels in his common labor, though, as it means that he is not being used to spill more blood.
As the night passes on and it becomes apparent that the townsfolk are no longer really listening to Took's stories, Took and Szeth leave. However, on the way out of town, Took is killed by a group of thugs, who consider selling Szeth to the slavers. Then one of them picks up Szeth's Oathstone, and he informs them of his obligation to serve them as long as they hold it. When asked for clarification, Szeth tells him that he must obey any order except to kill himself, and thinks to himself that he can't be asked to give up his Shardblade either, but the man need not know that. The man muses for a moment on the possibilities he has with such a servant.
Part Two: The Illuminating Storms
Chapter 12: Unity
Old friend, I hope this missive finds you well. Though, as you are now essentially immortal, I would guess that wellness on your part is something of a given.
Adolin Kholin Adolin is on a chasmfiend hunt with Dalinar, Renarin, Elhokar, and Sadeas. He is troubled by Dalinar's increasingly strange behavior, especially his fits during the highstorms, and worries that his father is going mad. Sadeas also continually taunts Dalinar over his lack of recent success in capturing gemhearts, which frustrates Adolin.
Dalinar Kholin Meanwhile, Dalinar, riding up by Elhokar and Sadeas, tells Elhokar that if they had a proper vantage point, they could observe the progress of the soldiers crossing the chasms. Elhokar charges off to a nearby rock formation, betting Dalinar five broams that he can beat him there. Dalinar races after him, at first thinking only of Elhokar's safety, but eventually getting into the thrill of the contest. Just as Dalinar is about to win, he remembers the strange voice in his dreams, who he presumes to be the Almighty, telling him to "unite them." He hesitates, and Elhokar beats him to the top. When he sees how thrilled Elhokar is to have beaten him, Dalinar is glad to have waited. They watch the soldiers cross for a few minutes, then begin to return to the others. Adolin watches their return, all the while giving orders for his men to circle around to various plateaus, securing the area.
Adolin Dalinar and Elhokar return, and Adolin gives his report to them. Elhokar reluctantly agrees to wait for the rest of the soldiers to cross, setting up a small awning to wait under, and conversing with his courtiers. Adolin questions Dalinar about the purpose and the wisdom of their hunting expedition, particularly where it leaves Elhokar open to a potential Parshendi ambush. Dalinar replies that a victory such as a successful hunt, in a controlled, safe environment, will bolster the king's reputation and increase his self-confidence as well. Just as Adolin begins agreeing with him however, he voices a thought about how the Alethi should be in Alethkar, not on the Shattered Plains. This shocks and upsets Adolin.
After a brief conversation with the King's Wit, in which Wit tells Dalinar that Renarin is not as fragile as he thinks, Dalinar and Adolin meet again with Elhokar and Sadeas, making final preparations for the hunt. After only a few minutes conversing with Bashin, the hunt master, however, Dalinar and Adolin realize that something is wrong. At this point, the chasmfiend they have been hunting appears, climbing onto the platform with all of the courtiers and scribes, rather than the smaller plateau the hunt was supposed to take place on.
Chapter 13: Ten Heartbeats
I realize that you are probably still angry. That is pleasant to know. Much as your perpetual health, I have come to rely upon your dissatisfaction with me. It is one of the cosmere's great constants, I should think.
Dalinar Dalinar, Adolin, and Elhokar all immediately begin to race for the chasmfiend, hoping to kill it before it can harm any bystanders. Sadeas uses his grandbow, weakening it from a distance while Dalinar and Adolin go for its many legs and Elhokar distracts it. While doing so, however, the strap on Elhokar's saddle breaks, causing him to be thrown to the ground. Just as he is about to be crushed by the chasmfiend, Dalinar hurls himself beneath the descending claw and, with Shardplate-enhanced strength, catches it, giving Elhokar time to escape.
Adolin Adolin continues to cut off its legs, and the chasmfiend is eventually unable to support its own weight. Elhokar summons his Shardblade once again and uses it to kill the felled chasmfiend, then harvest its gemheart.
Chapter 14: Payday
Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. I have found a good home for it. I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say.
Kaladin Kaladin gets up before any of the other bridgemen, resolved that he will fight for a better existence, even in his terrible circumstances. He attempts to rouse the rest of Bridge Four, but none come. After Kaladin physically carries Moash out of the barrack, however, the rest of the bridgemen reluctantly get up. Kaladin then informs the men of bridge four that instead of sleeping in each morning, they will be training, and that he intends to do everything he can to ensure that Bridge Four never loses another man.
The other bridgemen all refuse to participate in Kaladin's training once Gaz informs them that they don't have to. Kaladin goes to Gaz and gets his pay for the week, returning one of his five spheres as a bribe. Gaz tells Kaladin that he has no authority and will be unable to sway the bridgemen, then leaves. Kaladin, worried that Gaz may decide Kaladin is more trouble than he's worth and kill him, asks Syl to watch over him at night and wake him if Gaz tries anything.
Kaladin then proceeds to spend his morning training, jogging back and forth across the lumberyard with an unfinished board of a bridge. He does this for several hours before meeting several of the men from Bridge Four to dismiss them for lunch. Syl informs Kaladin that she is changing, becoming better at remembering things and understanding new concepts and abstract ideas. Kaladin realizes that she feels much the way about her new understanding of life as he does about his current position –- afraid to continue, but sure that he can't go back.
Chapter 15: The Decoy
You do not agree with my quest. I understand that, so much as it is possible to understand someone with whom I disagree so completely.
Adolin Adolin is overseeing the cleanup four hours after the chasmfiend attack while the group waits for a bridge crew to come, replacing the bridge the chasmfiend had destroyed in its rampage. He reflects that many of the other lighteyes are treating Dalinar slightly more respectfully and carefully after his earlier rescue of Elhokar, and thinks to himself that it can't last. Having finished his rounds, he approaches Elhokar's pavilion to give his final casualty report.
Dalinar In the pavilion, Elhokar chides Dalinar for not making serious efforts to win gemhearts, comparing him to Sadeas. Eventually, the conversation deteriorates to taunting, until Adolin calls Sadeas a coward. Sadeas in turn calls Renarin useless, nearly sparking a duel and possibly a war then and there, until he retracts his statement. Wit appears and taunts Sadeas for a while before actually praising Renarin's intelligence.
Adolin Adolin and Dalinar then go to examine the strap of Elhokar's saddle to see if it could have been cut. Adolin wonders why they're bothering until he realizes that Elhokar believes that the strap was cut as an assassination attempt, at which point he remarks on Elhokar's increasing paranoia. Dalinar tells Adolin to take the strap to a leatherworker to examine, to talk to the grooms about the saddle, and to double the king's guard. Adolin wonders whether Sadeas is behind the cut strap. Dalinar then approaches Highprince Vamah, manipulating him into making greater use of Elhokar's Soulcasters, ensuring continued income for Elhokar.
Sadeas approaches Dalinar to tell him of the success of their manipulation of Vamah, and Adolin realizes that the two of them had planned the entire thing between them. After a brief argument, Adolin and Dalinar leave. Dalinar then tells Adolin that though he hates Sadeas, he's certain that he wouldn't hurt Elhokar. Dalinar reveals that Sadeas was the decoy the night of Gavilar's assassination, attempting to lead Szeth away so Gavilar could escape. He then tells Adolin that Sadeas has sworn to protect Elhokar at any cost, then further discusses Gavilar's assassination and his final words. Elhokar approaches, asking if they've learned anything about the saddle. He and Dalinar then begin arguing, Elhokar insisting that someone is trying to kill him and Dalinar insisting that Elhokar is simply overreacting.
Dalinar Elhokar leaves, and Dalinar sends Adolin to prepare the soldiers to move. As he begins to make his way back to camp, Dalinar reflects on his failure to determine the meaning of Gavilar's last words and his desire to protect Elhokar.
Chapter 16: Cocoons
- Seven and a half years ago
Kaladin is talking to his friend Laral about his father's plans for him to be a surgeon. Laral encourages him to become a soldier and win a Shardplate and blade for himself. Tien interrupts their conversation and gives Kaladin a rock, intended to make him feel better. Tien and Kaladin then go hunting for lurgs, a type of small, slimy creature.
Kaladin and Laral go to talk to some of the other boys, questioning why they aren't working in the fields like usual. Jost, another boy, claims that his father was cheated out of a Shardblade, but Kaladin insists that the area where his father fought wouldn't have had any Shardbearers, and Jost's father must be remembering wrong. Jost gets angry and challenges Kaladin to fight him.
Kaladin gets in a few good hits, and is surprised by how good the quarterstaff feels in his hands, but he is outmatched by Jost. Tien helps him up, and they return home. There, Kaladin is informed that Brightlord Wistiow, the Citylord and Laral's father, is dead. He left Kaladin a large number of spheres for him to go to Kharbranth, be trained as a surgeon, then return to Hearthstone to serve the people there with his new knowledge.
Chapter 17: A Bloody Red Sunset
Might I be quite frank? Before, you asked why I was so concerned. It is for the following reason:
Kaladin visits an apothecary, hoping to get some antiseptic. He is charging considerably more than Kaladin can afford, so he only gets some bandages and sewing materials.
He has only been back in camp for moments when a horn sounds, calling the bridgemen for a bridge run. Though he is exhausted, each time the bridge stops, Kaladin remains standing rather than collapsing to the ground as most bridgemen do. When they reach the final chasm, Kaladin takes Rock's position at the front of the bridge instead of taking his privileged position as bridgeleader toward the back.
All four of the other men in the front row, the deathline, are hit with arrows almost immediately, but Kaladin takes only minor injuries as arrows zip by him. As soon as the bridge is placed, he begins finding bridgemen who were wounded in the approach and treating their wounds. He then has his men carry the wounded back to camp on top of their bridge, removing them when they get to a chasm so the soldiers can cross. Gaz objects to the idea, but Kaladin gives him an extra bribe, a dun sphere that was infused just before the battle.
Chapter 18: Highprince of War
Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him. Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met.
Adolin Adolin is out walking with Janala, the woman he has been courting. He visits the leatherworkers who were inspecting the strap from Elhokar's saddle, and they tell him that the strap was almost certainly cut, but it's possible it was a buckle from the saddle itself that sliced it. A horn is sounded, signalling that a chasmfiend has been spotted close enough for Dalinar's men to attempt to reach it first. Adolin is disappointed when Dalinar elects not to seek it.
Dalinar Dalinar, meanwhile, is working with several of his scribes in attempting to manipulate the other highprinces into following Elhokar in truth. Teshav, the wife of one of his officers, questions the number of troops Dalinar has set patrolling, and Dalinar instructs her to set more patrolling anyway to combat the increased banditry in the area. Renarin comes to talk to Dalinar, and Dalinar promises him that if he captures a new suit of Shardplate and a Shardblade, they will go to Renarin, to help compensate for his blood weakness and allow him to fight like any other man.
Adolin Adolin seeks out Kadash, an ardent, to ask his opinion on Dalinar's dreams during highstorms. Janala leaves him, growing frustrated with his lack of attention. Kadash expresses the opinion that Dalinar is either going insane, or the visions are just particularly vivid products of his own mind.
Dalinar Dalinar visits Elhokar, making his reports for the day. While there, he asks Elhokar how long he intends to continue the war, and suggests that he consider withdrawing. Elhokar is shocked that Dalinar would even consider an end to the Vengeance Pact. Dalinar eventually backs down, instead saying they need a new approach, a way to win the war instead of simply trying to outlast the Parshendi. Dalinar suggests that Elhokar appoint him Highprince of War, and Elhokar tells him he'll consider it.
Dalinar meets up with Renarin, intending to ride back to their camp. However, before they can get there, they are forced to take shelter in one of their own barracks to avoid a highstorm. They barely make it inside before the storm hits.
Chapter 19: Starfalls
He holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards. Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm. Because I assure you, Rayse will not be similarly inhibited.
Dalinar The moment the storm hits, Dalinar finds that he is no longer in the barracks, but in an unfamiliar barn in the middle of a clear, cool night with only a small girl for company. The girl is terrified of something, and thinks that Dalinar is her father. After a few moments of hushed conversation, a strange creature bursts through one of the walls of the barn and attacks. Dalinar is able to avoid the creature long enough to grab the girl and escape to a nearby house where a woman who thinks he is her husband is waiting for him.
Once in the house, Dalinar has the woman bar the door. Shortly thereafter, however, two more of the strange creatures force their way in, and Dalinar is forced to fight them off using an iron poker from the hearth. When he kills them, he notices that rather than bleeding, their wounds seem to release smoke of some sort.
Dalinar takes the woman, Taffa, and the girl, Seeli, to try to escape the creatures by moving along the course of a river. He deflects all of the woman's questions about why he doesn't remember them or their surroundings at all by saying that he hit his head in the fight. Before they can arrive at the river, however, the group is attacked by more of the strange creatures. Just as Dalinar is about to be killed, two Knights Radiant appear and help him to kill the creatures. They tell him that the creatures aren't Voidbringers, but rather Midnight Essence. They invite Dalinar to Urithiru to train as a Radiant, then leave to help others.
Taffa begins to speak to Dalinar, but it isn't her voice. Dalinar recognizes her voice as the same voice he's heard in his previous visions, the one he suspects belongs to The Almighty. The voice tells him to "Unite them," and offers cryptic advice, telling Dalinar that it can't be of much help. Dalinar asks the voice if he should continue to trust Sadeas, and is told yes.
Dalinar continues to question the voice, but before he can receive answers, he wakes up back in the barrack on the shattered plains, surrounded by soldiers who have been holding him down, keeping him from acting out his visions. He tells them that his mind is clear and they can release him, then takes Renarin and leaves.
Chapter 20: Scarlet
- Seven years Ago
Kaladin is performing an unexpected surgery on a girl from his village. He had fortunately been nearby when the girl was injured. He begins working to stop her bleeding. After a short time, he succeeds in stopping the bleeding, but realizes that his success was not due to his treatment but rather because the girl has died.
He leaves her father to grieve over her, trying to cope with the fact that he was unable to save her. His father finds him and tells him that his work had all been good, and her death wasn't Kaladin's fault. He leaves Kaladin, telling him that he'll have to learn when to care and when to let go.
Chapter 21: Why Men Lie
One need only look at the aftermath of his brief visit to Sel to see proof of what I say.
Kaladin lies in bed, debating whether or not to get up. Eventually, he forces himself up and realizes that the other bridgemen had all been watching to see if he would get up and continue his training routine from the previous day. Kaladin goes to check on the wounded from the previous day's bridge run. Two of them are, for the most part fine, but one of them badly needs antiseptic.
Kaladin washes the man's wounds with water, then goes out to perform his morning training routine. While jogging with his plank, he talks to Syl. She tells him that some of his men think he's gone mad, and asks him why men lie. Kaladin is unable to give her an answer. Syl claims that the king's uncle doesn't lie, but Kaladin cynically remarks that if someone has lighteyes, they lie.
Gaz approaches and tells Kaladin that Sadeas has ordered that his wounded men not receive food or pay for the duration of the time they can't run bridges. Kaladin is furious, as this means that he'll have to find another way to care for them.
Kaladin goes to the men of Bridge Four and asks them to split their food with the wounded and to contribute their pay for medical supplies. Most laugh at him and leave, but Rock agrees to share some of his food with Hobber, the man who he feels has the best chance of recovering, because he feels he owes Kaladin for running the deathline in his place the previous day. Rock also says that he can see Syl, though she hasn't specifically revealed herself to him.
Chapter 22: Eyes, Hands, or Spheres
In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered. Presumably to prevent anyone from rising up to challenge Rayse.
Dalinar goes with his sons to the king's feast. Adolin reports that according to the leatherworkers he consulted, the strap was cut, though it could've been an accident. They discuss the king's paranoia and Dalinar refuses to talk about his episode in the highstorm, saying that perhaps it was good for the men in the barracks to witness it, as the rumors about his condition were perhaps worse than the truth.
Dalinar chafes at the sloppy fashionableness of the other nobles and the fact that their drunkenness is in violation of the Alethi War Codes. The king's Wit sits on a stool at the entrance to the island and insults everyone as they go to the feast. He warns Dalinar that the rumor has spread of his suggestion to the king that they retreat and abandon the Vengeance Pact. Lady Navani, Gavilar's widow, unexpectedly shows up to the feast, having just arrived to the Shattered Plains. Dalinar tries to hide his attraction to her with the utmost propriety, addressing her as a sister.
King Elhokar then announces that in light of the recent attempt on his life with the cut girth strap, he is appointing Sadeas to Highprince of Information to investigate. This is to snub Dalinar, who he believes is not giving the investigation serious attention. Dalinar realizes that this is Sadeas's way of outmaneuvering his Highprince of War idea.
Chapter 23: Many Uses
You have accused me of arrogance in my quest. You have accused me of perpetuating my grudge against Rayse and Bavadin. Both accusations are true.
Kaladin Bridge Four is on rock duty, finding stones to soulcast into food. Kaladin has Rock and Teft searching for knobweed to extract the antiseptic sap from. Rock, who can inexplicably see Syl, finds knobweed quickly guided by her. Kaladin ties bundles of the reed to the bottom of the cart to conceal them. Syl comes to him excitedly, telling him that she led Rock to a pile of dung as a joke. He makes small talk with the bridgecrew, trying to soften their attitude towards him, with little success. Kaladin realizes that even though he has saved lives in Bridge 4, no one will follow his leadership unless he finds a way to make their lives worth living.
Later, Kaladin, Rock, and Teft sneak into the wagonyard to retrieve the knobweed. Relieved that it's still there and not too dried out, they head to where Syl found the chipped, discarded liquor bottles to use for the knobweed sap. They then head to the Honor Chasm to squeeze the sap into the bottles.
While working, they talk. Teft asks Kaladin why he tries to lead the bridgecrew. Kaladin says that the responsibilities of the bridgeleader are his to decide. Kaladin asks Rock how he came to be a bridgeman. Rock tells him that his leader, or nuatoma, dueled Highprince Sadeas to try to win his Shardplate. When he lost, Rock, his cousin and servant, was bound to Sadeas. He was a cook, until he snuck chull dung into Sadeas's food, which caused his fall to bridgeman status. Teft asks Kaladin for his story explaining why he is a bridgeman. Kaladin says that he killed a man, though it wasn't murder and he was thanked by someone important. He cryptically says that he is a bridgeman because a lighteyes did not take it well when he turned down a gift.
Chapter 24: The Gallery of Maps
Neither point makes the things I have written to you untrue.
Dalinar Dalinar stands in the king's Gallery of Maps, waiting for Highprince Roion to come and meet him. Dalinar's ultimate goal is to follow his visions by uniting the highprinces, and he thinks he can start by working with another prince on a joint plateau assault. Since Roion has won the fewest gemhearts of all the princes, Dalinar tries to convince him that working together would be more effective. Roion is suspicious of this because he is afraid Dalinar will take any gemhearts and shards for himself. Dalinar compromises, saying that they will split gemhearts and that the first set of plate can go to Roion. Roion rebuffs this offer, instead insinuating that Dalinar is growing weak and deluded by his lapses from sanity during highstorms. Roion says he'll think about a joint assault and leaves.
Adolin A few minutes later, as Dalinar is thinking about how to discover what Gavilar's last words really meant, Adolin meets Dalinar. He asks him how the meeting went and when Dalinar tells him that it went poorly, Adolin tells him that Sadeas is asking for permission to enter their warcamp to investigate the threat to the king. Adolin is worried that he may create false evidence framing Dalinar, but Dalinar tells Adolin to allow him to because his vision said to trust Sadeas. At this, Adolin becomes irate, telling Dalinar that to stake the future of their house on hallucinations is folly. Adolin shouts at Dalinar that his visions are just figments of his imagination. Dalinar tells Adolin to leave.
Chapter 25: The Butcher
- Seven years ago
Kaladin Kal overhears some villagers speaking poorly of his father's work, accusing him of stealing the spheres and suspicious of how Lirin can write. Kal meets with his mother, Hesina, who tells him not to hate the villagers for repeating what they have heard. They respect Lirin but are intimidated by his status as second nahn. Kal realizes his parents had hoped to marry him off to Laral. He can't decide if he wants to be a soldier or a surgeon.
The new citylord, Brightlord Roshone, arrives. He is less than pleased to be in a backwater city. He blames Lirin for his predicament because Lirin let Wistiow die. Lirin and Hesina don't know if things are better or worse for them with this new citylord.
Chapter 26: Stillness
I am being chased. Your friends of the Seventeenth Shard, I suspect. I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them. They'll be happier that way. I doubt they have any inkling what to do with me should they actually catch me.
Dalinar Brightness Litima reads the The Way of Kings to Dalinar. Renarin is with him. Listening usually comforts Dalinar, but not this time. It reminds him of Adolin's arguments. Dalinar is disturbed by the nature of his visions. Dalinar tells Renarin that Highprince Aladar refused his offer of an alliance, just as Roion did. Horns sounds outside. Dalinar enters the war room and gives Teleb an order to march. Teleb presses Dalinar on the idea of using faster bridges carried by men, and he finally relents and gives Teleb permission to recruit and train one crew. Sadeas comes to interview Dalinar's soldiers. He is insistent that the investigation continue despite the imminent battle, so he follows Dalinar and his army. Dalinar and Sadeas talk about the Thrill. Usually men don't speak about it.
Dalinar summons Oathbringer and together with Adolin they attack the Parshendi. The Thrill gives him strength, focus, and power until he feels a sudden stab of powerful revulsion to the scene of death around him. He forces himself to continue to fight but feels sick. Dalinar hears a voice saying "Life before death," but nobody is near enough. He starts to fight for his men.
Dalinar wins the battle and Adolin takes the gemheart. Dalinar is looking eastward, toward the Origin, when he notices a group of Parshendi on a nearby plateau. Among them is a large Parshendi wearing Shardplate. Dalinar wonders why the Shardbearer hadn't participated in the battle. The group flees toward their base at the center of the Plains.
Chapter 27: Chasm Duty
If anything I have said makes a glimmer of sense to you, I trust that you'll call them off. Or maybe you could astound me and ask them to do something productive for once.
Kaladin visits the apothecary again to sell his knobweed sap. He pretends that "wild" knobweed isn't as effective and tries to swindle Kaladin. With the help of Syl, he sees through the ruse and gets a better price. He considers escaping, but he can't bring himself to leave the bridgemen. Gaz has changed Bridge Four's work duty to chasm duty because the other bridges resent them for getting away with breaking rules by bringing back wounded.
Down in the chasms they have to look for corpses to get their equipment and whatever else can be found. Kaladin, Teft and Rock walk ahead talking. They find Dunny listening, try to make him participate, and it works. As the tension eases, they discover that Dunny can sing. The other crew members still remain aloof.
Eventually they find a lot of corpses and begin their morbid work. Kaladin picks up a spear and gets overwhelmed by his memories. At first, most of the others jeer him for pretending to be their leader, but after he finishes his kata, they stare in amazement. Remembering that they have work to do or they'll get in trouble, he drops the spear and tells them to get to work. Teft is clearly impressed, but Kaladin down plays the issue.
Later, Syl looks with Rock and Dunny for more corpses and they find Parshendi. They discover that the Parshendi's armor is grown from their bodies.
The crew finishes their chasm duty and goes back to the ladders. Kaladin muses how to get the crew together and comes up with an idea. Back at the barracks he and Rock buy a cauldron and supplies and Rock cooks an evening stew for all the men of Bridge Four. One by one they all eventually come out of the barrack and sit around the fire, eating Rock's stew.
The next morning, many more members of Kaladin's crew get up early to work out.
Chapter 28: Decision
For I have never been dedicated to a more important purpose, and the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here. I ask again. Support me. Do not stand aside and let disaster consume more lives. I've never begged you for something before, old friend.
I do so now.
Adolin While on an inspection Adolin studies his father and worries about what he sees. Teleb demonstrates a prototype of a new portable bridge which fails. Adolin encourages him to continue working on the design. As they move off to start inspections, Dalinar wonders why there are no Shards for ordinary people and asks Adolin if he feels the Thrill. On their way to the fifth Battalion, Adolin praises his father's decision to allow the soldiers to bring their families to the Shattered Plains. Dalinar muses about the political and economic impact of the continual harvesting of gemstones and de facto colonization of the Shattered Plains. He tells Adolin that soon he will have to consider this.
After inspecting the 5th Battalion, Havrom leads them to the ten soldiers that were questioned by Sadeas. Dalinar pointedly delegates the interrogation to Adolin. It becomes clear that the grooms' loyalty to Dalinar probably made the situation worse -- they only offered blanket denials to Sedeas. Dalinar asks Tadet to interview the men separately and find out specifics.
Adolin then questions why Dalinar keeps giving him the lead. Dalinar tells him that he has a decision to make, but before he can elaborate, he notices a messenger in Thanadal's colors. The messenger informs Dalinar that Thanadal has to cancel their meeting. Dalinar presses the messenger, and he says he is instructed to say that Thanadal does not wish to do a joint plateau assault with him. All eight highprinces have refused his offer, leaving only Sadeas. He tells Adolin to continue the inspection without him, making a vague excuse about something that needs to be done.
Dalinar Dalinar is confident that his son will do well as highprince as he tries to decide whether he should abdicate. He orders Niter to bring him his war hammer, then orders some workers out of the new latrine pit. He uses the hammer to work on the latrine himself so he can think through his decision. He worries about how he is losing his thirst for battle and how the book, the Codes, and the Visions have changed him and how the others are regarding him and by extension his sons. As he gets to the end of his work, he feels that he is close to a decision. He is interrupted by Navani. She reminds him that he had an appointment with her. He continues to work, and she eventually gets him to apologize. She tells him that Jasnah's Spanreed is flashing. He quits work on the latrine and they go to take the "call."
As they walk to the viewing room, she hints at starting a relationship, but Dalinar refuses, holding to the tradition that a widowed sister-in-law is a sister in truth. Dalinar is surprised to find Adolin, along with his clerks and their attendants, also already in his sitting chamber. Adolin introduces his new love interest and clerk Danlan Morakotha. He and Jasnah have a short exchange about their family, then Jasnah asks him to repeat his first encounter with the Parshendi, seven years ago.
She also wants to know when he first saw Shardblades in their possession. He replies that he only saw them after Gavilar's death. She then has her new ward (Shallan) draw what is referred to in a book as a Voidbringer, although she doesn't believe it to be one. Dalinar and Adolin identify it as a chasmfiend. Dalinar urges Jasnah to come back to the Shattered Plains as soon as possible. The conversation ends, and he finds himself alone with Navani. He reveals that he is going to abdicate. She believes that to be a big mistake.
Interlude I-4: Rysn
Rysn and her babsk Vstim visit Shinovar to trade with the Shin. She's annoyed at the strange grass that doesn't retract. Vstim has her set up a fabrial that warns when people are approaching. When the Shin arrive, she thinks the guards are servants because they are dressed plainly, and Vstim explains that Shin farmers are highest in the social order and warriors are the lowest. Vstim offers Thresh scraps of soulcast metal in exchange for chickens and other valuable exotic goods. The metal is certified to be soulcast from organic materials and not mined. Vstim asks if Thresh has another servant like the one he gave him seven years ago that was so obedient. Thresh says that he was a worthless Truthless (Szeth) and that he hoped there wouldn't be another one like him.
Interlude I-5: Axies the Collector
Axies the Collector
Axies the Collector wakes up in an alley in Kasitor lying in rotting garbage. He had gotten drunk the night before to see if he could spot Alespren, and he's been deposited here, naked. He manages to grab a ratty blanket from an insane beggar and walks out into the streets, drawing stares. He heads to the docks, where many people are waiting. Cusicesh the Protector appears in the water, leaving him feeling drained. A street urchin grabs his blanket, leaving him naked again. He's hauled off to jail, content at having seen two new spren. Perhaps he will finally see the elusive captivityspren.
Interlude I-6: A Work of Art
Szeth sits in a gambling den as his owner, Makkek, parades about with a woman on each arm. He has grown fat and rich since coming into possession of Szeth. He gives a signal to Szeth, and he heads out on his latest assassination assignment: Gavashaw, a new arrival in town who had hoped to challenge Makkek with his own gambling den. He sneaks into his house and hears nothing in his room, so he sends in a decoy -- a wooden knob "dressed" in a robe (curtain) -- by lashing it to the far wall. The decoy isn't attacked, so he slinks into the room, finding Gavashaw's severed head. A new master is there, who produces Makkek's head and Szeth's oathstone. He is given a list of high ranking noble men to assassinate.
Part Three: Dying
Chapter 29: Errorgance
The ones of ash and fire, who killed like a swarm, relentless before the Heralds
Shallan is talking to her brothers and Balat Davar's betrothed, Eylita Tavinar over spanreed, in her quarters, discussing how to get to Jasnah's Soulcaster. She considers how difficult it will be for her not to fall in love with the freedom and the studying, when Balat informs her, after having sent his brothers out, that Luesh has died. He also tells her that some "friends" of their fathers came by some weeks later "suggesting" Balat should return the Soulcaster. Balat believes that they are the owners of the Soulcaster and are very dangerous. Balat has Eylita draw a picture of a symbol found on a pendant worn by Luesh, he also mentions that one of the "friends" had the same pattern tattooed on his thumb. The conversation ends, and Shallan burns the transcript in the sitting room's fireplace before heading back to her studies.
Five hours later as she is studying the Alethi monarchy. She tells Jasnah that she thinks the authors are "errorgant". Jasnah informs her that this is the "Assuredness Movement" in which the authors overstated their cases. Shallan wonders why she is researching events as recent as the murder of King Gavilar, to which Jasnah replies that she thought to ease Shallan into true scholarship this way. The discussion moves on to Shallan's habit of saying the first passable clever thing that comes into her mind and the incompetence of her former tutors and their punishments. Jasnah believes Wit would find her amusing. They move on and talk about what Shallan has learned about Gavilar's murder, and later about youth and scholarship. Shallan wonders what it is that Jasnah is working on.
Two hours later Taravangian comes to their balcony joining them at lunch. After Jasnah breaks the silence with a question about his granddaughter, he asks about Jasnah's Soulcaster, but Jasnah evades the question. He then asks Shallan if she could do a drawing of him, which he intends as a gift for his granddaughter. While Shallan is drawing, Taravangian and Jasnah discuss the Almighty, Jasnah's lack of faith, and the concept of right and wrong. When inspecting her finished picture Shallan realizes that she has drawn some creatures with symbols as heads (Cryptics). She hurriedly crumples the page and claims to have made a mistake. She offers to do a new one for the King by the end of the day. After the King has left, Jasnah and Shallan have a talk about him, during which Jasnah claims not to be closed to the possibility that she might join a Devotary at some point. The two continue the discussion about faith for a short while before Jasnah tells Shallan to get on with her sketch for the King.
Chapter 30: Darkness Unseen
They were suddenly dangerous. Like a calm day that became a tempest.
Kaladin leaves the barracks with the first light of the day in rather good spirits, as he is followed by all twenty nine members of Bridge Four. He thinks that the last holdout Bisig might have been bullied by Teft and Rock but chooses to ignore it. Kaladin has the bridgemen do exercises from his military days, stretches and jumping motion for warm up. Several carpenters and soldiers are watching and laughing at them. Kaladin notices Gaz before deciding that there's still some time before breakfast to practice hauling the bridge.
Gaz is contemplating on the loss of his eye and what the ensuing darkness could be hiding, when Lamaril calls him over, to pay his bribe. Gaz only has half of it, one topaz mark, but Lamaril is more interested in Kaladin, noting him as a problem for Gaz. Gaz is unsettled by Bridge Four's training and wonders if Kaladin really did train in the military. Gaz and Lamaril discuss the use of Bridgemen and that Kaladin could become more dangerous. Gaz offers to kill him, but worries about the loss of Kaladin's bribes. Lamaril tells him not to because that would just make the young Bridgeleader into a martyr. He wants Kaladin to fall on a run. Before leaving he threatens Gaz with making him a bridgeman himself. Gaz worries that if Kaladin does get killed, he, Gaz might still end up a bridgeman for not being able to pay off his debt to Lamaril.
Kaladin and Bridge Four are practicing setting the bridge down from a raised position and Kaladin is wondering what it would take for them to practice on a real chasm. He is surprised how good they are considering they have only been training for two weeks. As he sends his team for a break he considers that the last two weeks were in part lucky since they had only two runs and on one they were late. On the other one they "only" lost two men, Amark and Koolf, and only had two wounded, Narm and Peet, but he worries that they only have twenty-five members who can carry since five are wounded in all. Syl joins him telling him that she saw Gaz and Lamaril talking and didn't like the look of them, though she didn't hear what was being said. Considering his men's protection, Kaladin is studying a half finished bridge thinking about using it as a shield. He tells Teft, Rock, Skar and Moash about using a "side carry." It's very awkward to carry that way, so they ask him why they should try it. He doesn't reveal his shield idea but instead tells them it's so they can use different muscles. Before leaving, Moash wants to know why Kaladin made him a squad leader. After Kaladin tells him it's because he's strong-willed, he tells Kaladin that he doesn't trust or like him but is obeying because he's curious what will happen.
Gaz is stunned as he sees Bridge Four do the "side carry." He waves Kaladin over and demands an explanation. Kaladin gives him the excuse about utilizing different muscles. Gaz realizes that this might get Kaladin killed on an actual assault and suggests that they should try it on a run.
Chapter 31: Beneath the Skin
- Six years ago
A drunken Lirin tells Kal not to come back to Hearthstone after his studies at Kharbranth. Kal wonders if the reason that the people mistrust Lirin was because he looked under people's skin as a profession. He is angry that at a word from Roshone, people stopped giving donations to their family. Kal suggests they should spend the spheres, but his father is against it. He and Hesina even tried to get Kal accepted for an early admission, but the surgeons at Kharbranth refused. Lirin and Kal talk about the difference between Roshone and Wistiow. After that Kal gets back to his studies. He pulls a rock out of his pocket and thinks of Tien. He's been learning carpentry from Ral since he won't be able to learn surgery -- he can't stand the sight of blood. As Kal's thoughts wander to becoming a spearman, he is interrupted by banging on the door. It turns out to be a mob of villagers including Luten, Horl and Balsas, demanding the spheres that Lirin has stolen. Lirin confronts them, daring them to rob and attack him. The villagers melt away into the darkness outside.
Chapter 32: Side Carry
They lived high atop a place no man could reach, but all could visit. The tower city itself, crafted by the hands of no man.
Lopen joins Bridge Four. He and Dabbid bring a water cart for the first time. Near the final assault, Kaladin sees that the Parshendi are already set up. He realizes that if they lose a couple more men, the bridge could topple and crush the entire crew. Kaladin orders Bridge Four to do the side-carry technique to prevent them from being killed.
Bridge Four succeeds and none of them die, however Kaladin realizes that he undermined the entire assault. Most of the other bridges fell, either due to the concentrated fire from the Parshendi or their unpracticed attempts at emulating Bridge Four. Only a few bridges land, and when they do they are scattered. Sadeas's forces are separated from each other and are forced to retreat.
Lamaril and Gaz show up with some men, ready to execute Kaladin on the spot. Kaladin instead convinces them he will be needed alive, to convince Sadeas that it wasn't their idea. Lamaril orders that Kaladin be beaten as Bridge Four watches. His dun spheres are scattered from a kick to his belt pouch.
Chapter 33: Cymatics
They changed, even as we fought them. Like shadows they were, that can transform as the flame dances. Never underestimate them because of what you first see.
Shallan is thinking about how she sometimes gets distracted by the enormity of the Palanaeum. Along with a Parshman servant, she is on her way to get a copy of Dialogues, though she now has an hour each day to do her own research. She has decided on natural science. She thinks about how she could fill gaps in her understanding and has to remind herself that her true goal is to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster. Hiding in one of the library rooms, she goes through some of the sketches she has of Jasnah soulcasting and hopes that with it she will be able to create the mineral deposits to save her family. Comparing her expectation of Jasnah the heretic and the real one, Shallan worries that she might not be able to actually do it. She speculates about talking to Jasnah about the use of a Soulcaster but is startled by a light and decides to get back to her task. She realizes that she's in the room where she can find Shadows Remembered. She was surprised to find that it contained children's stories.
When Shallan returns to the alcove, she finds that Jasnah has not yet returned, but to her surprise Kabsal is present. Apparently he wants to show something to Jasnah, but has some bread and simberry jam to share with Shallan. After a discussion about the meaning of the jam and Shallan's personality, they move on to Shallan's appearance and what she thinks of herself. They also discuss Jasnah's heresy. Shallan considers Kabsal in a romantic light for a short time before dismissing it. Kabsal tries to get Shallan to switch Devotaries even though it is apparently frowned upon to recruit. Kabsal intended to show Jasnah proof of the Almighty, which Shallan is curious to see. He gets out a book where he shows her four patterns of the cities Kholinar, Vedenar, Thaylen City and Akinah. Using a metal plate with sand and a bow he recreates the patterns in the sand through the resonance telling her that this is called Cymatics. Telling her of more examples he considers proof he guides the conversation to saving her soul. When Jasnah appears she is not surprised to see Kabsal but not pleased either. She reveals that she knows about Cymatics but doesn't seem impressed by it. After Kabsal is gone, Jasnah warns Shallan that Kabsal is only interested in Shallan to get to Jasnah and her soulcaster.
Chapter 34: Stormwall
I walked from Abamabar to Urithiru.
Kaladin gains consciousness to find himself tied upside down by his ankles outside the barrack. Syl tells him that Lamaril was executed and Gaz was left in his position. Kaladin is to be judged by the Stormfather -- left out in the highstorm to see if he will survive. Syl leaves and comes back with Rock, Teft and Moash. They tell Kaladin about the disaster caused by the side carry of Bridge Four. They say that Bridge Four will remember Kaladin for what he had done, and that they will not go back to how they were before. Kaladin, just a bit light in the head after being beaten and hung up upside down, tells them he will survive. Though there is a very little chance of surviving a highstorm outside, they want to believe him. Finally Teft gives him a dun sphere as a kind of lucky charm before the three retreat to the barracks. The stormwall arrives.
Chapter 35: A Light By Which to See
Though many wished Urithiru to be built in Alethela, it was obvious that it could not be. And so it was that we asked for it to be placed westward, in the place nearest to Honor.
The stormwall hits Kaladin, flings him around, presses him against the side of the barrack. When he screams, the coldness of the storm courses into his mouth. He clutches the sphere as if his life depends on it. Syl stays by his side and tells him to grab the roof. He does and comes to lay on the roof. For more grip he snatches the ring where his ropes are tied to and fights against being cast down by the highstorm, always clutching the sphere. In some brief moments he sees Syl standing before him as if trying to hold back the storm. His grip grows numb and he's flung about again. He sees a brief vision of an enormous face. Kaladin feels a deep chill running through his body. He looks at the sphere now glowing brightly. He falls unconscious.
After the highstorm subsides, Rock leaves the barracks, followed by Teft. Though they had wanted to believe that Kaladin could survive the highstorm, they didn't expect it. They find Kaladin, his body in terrible shape. His eyes snap open. The bridgemen gasp and fall to the ground in shock. Rock yells for the others to help get him down. Teft sees Kaladin dropping the sphere. It is dun.
Chapter 36: The Lesson
Taking the Dawnshard, known to bind any creature voidish or mortal, he crawled up the steps crafted for Heralds, ten strides tall apiece, toward the grand temple above.
Shallan almost steals Jasnah's Soulcaster while serving as her bathing attendant, but can't do it. Jasnah decides to teach Shallan philosophy hands-on by taking a walk at night in a dangerous part of town. When attacked by murderers, Jasnah Soulcasts one of the men to fire. As the frightened attackers leave, Jasnah Soulcasts another to crystal and uses Stormlight lightning to kill the last two. After returning to their rooms, a shaken Shallan decides that Jasnah doesn't deserve to use a holy thing like the Soulcaster and swaps it out with her broken Soulcaster.
Chapter 37: Sides
- Five and a half years ago
Kal helps his mother with the cooking as Tien shows off another pretty stone he has found. Kal immediately leaves when he sees a carriage from Roshone come to pick up his father. He insists on coming along. Lirin is surprised because Kal shouldn't have known about it but lets him join. This meeting is about the spheres that Lirin got from the former citylord Wistiow. Lirin and Kal sit down to eat with Roshone, but Lirin refuses to eat. He and Roshone argue about the spheres, Roshone offering a settlement: he takes nine-tenths, leaving the rest to Lirin. Kaladin is indignant and is dismissed from the table by his father. Kal goes to the kitchen and meets Laral and Roshone's son Rillir. He treats Kal like a servant and Laral plays along initially. When Kaladin refuses to serve him, he continues to taunt him. Laral pleads with him to stop, and they leave. His experience with the haughty lighteyes has changed his mind again: he wants to be a surgeon, not a soldier.
While on the way home Lirin tells Kal that he made Roshone believe that he probably will bend on the topic of these spheres. Kaladin realizes that it's a tactic designed to make him focus on a deal rather than proving the truth -- that the spheres really were stolen. Kaladin is shocked to belong to a family of thieves. Lirin justifies it by saying that Wistiow would have given him the spheres anyway. Kal makes another decision that night: he starts going with his full name "Kaladin," for it is a man's name.
Chapter 38: Envisager
Born from the darkness, they bear its taint still, marked upon their bodies much as the fire marks their souls.
Kaladin lies in Bridge Four's barrack, suffering fever from the wounds he got being strung up in the highstorm. Most of the time he's unconscious. In his rare lucid moments he sees deathspren, and Syl, a small figure of pure white light holding a sword made of light. She fights the deathspren with her sword and wards them off. Kaladin just wants to relax and die, but he fights to survive because he doesn't want to fail Bridge Four like he did Tien, Dallet, and others. He notices more deathspren each time he is lucid enough to see them.
Skar watches over Kaladin. They keep a guard on him at all times to keep away prying eyes and possible assassination attempts. Teft comes to relieve him to test a theory, a belief he once rejected as a child of Envisagers. He puts three diamond spheres into Kaladin's hand, then waits. When he nearly thinks that he wasn't right, Kaladin gasps, breathing in Stormlight. Teft sees Stormlight rising from Kaladin's body, knitting some of the wounds. The Stormlight is depleted quickly, but Kaladin seems more relaxed than before with more color to his skin. Teft curses Kaladin for revealing the truth to him now, in this place. He knows that Kaladin can heal, but he has to do it carefully, a little at a time, to conceal what is happening.
Chapter 39: Burned Into Her
Within a heartbeat, Alezarv was there, crossing a distance that would have taken more than four months to travel by foot.
Shallan is sitting in her room restlessly drawing the deaths of the four robbers from three nights ago, even though she didn't deliberately take the memories. As she draws, she thinks about different concepts of logic and philosophy, considering Jasnah's actions and reasons in the context of the different schools of thought. She also worries about her own actions in stealing the Soulcaster in the same way. Her mind wanders for a while and she looks at what she's been drawing. She's shocked to see a completely different scene being sketched -- one of a richly-dressed man lying in a pool of blood. Panicked, she hurries from the room and runs into a servant who informs her that one of her spanreeds is flashing and hands it over to her. Going into the main room, she is glad to find her brother Balat talking to her. She tells him that she has managed to steal the Soulcaster but hasn't left yet so as not to draw suspicion onto herself. Balat informs her that the "friends" of their father visited again. Shallan frets even more about the theft and when a chambermaid comes to their quarters, she starts worrying about the Soulcaster's safety. She decides to put it into her safe-pouch and leaves the room with a basket full of bread and Bluebar jam left by Kabsal.
Two hours later sitting in the palace gardens, Shallan has calmed down and is drawing some snails and plants. She notes the symbiotic relationship between a snail she is drawing and the shalebark it is on, writing it down next to her drawing. After making sure she is alone, she gets the Soulcaster out to try to puzzle out how to use it since Luesh can no longer show them how. She has no luck and tries to think of other ways to get it to work or save her family.
Chapter 40: Eyes of Red and Blue
Death upon the lips. Sound upon the air. Char upon the skin.
Kaladin leaves the barrack for the first time after his judgment in the highstorm. He is fairly weak, but his wounds are mostly gone. The members of Bridge Four, doing daily bridge training, nearly stumble over one another when they see him. Moash tells him that it's only been ten days and Rock says Kaladin must have bones like granite. When the horns blow for a bridge run and Bridge Four -- on duty -- gathers, Kaladin joins them, helping Lopen and Dabbid with the water. Later he watches the battle, thinking about what he did with the side carry and comes to understand what's the purpose of bridgemen: to be bait for the Parshendi because bridgemen are cheaper than soldiers and don't need training and equipment.
Later that evening, Bridge Four gives Rock a razor as a gift for his making the stew every evening. With tears in his eyes, he runs into the barrack, leaving the others wondering if the gift was a good idea. Dunny starts to serve the stew to the others. Only Sigzil doesn't join in, so Kaladin seeks him out for a conversation. He tells Kaladin about Marabethia and their method of execution. Eventually Rock comes back, shaved, happy and grateful and tells Bridge Four that he will shave everybody who wants it. Kaladin despairs that the old wretch is coming back because he knows the bridgemen really have no chance to survive.
Chapter 41: Of Alds and Milp
- Five and a half years ago
Brightlord Roshone and his son Rillir were attacked by whitespine while on a hunt. Rillir is mortally wounded. Lirin tries to save him, but realizes it is hopeless, so he turns his attention to Roshone, who demands that he go back to helping his son. Lirin refuses, explaining the guidelines of a surgeon with two patients: if the wounds are equal, treat the youngest first; if the wounds are not equally threatening, treat the worst wound first. The third guideline supersedes the first two: a surgeon must know when someone is beyond their ability to help. While stitching up part of Roshone's wound, Lirin's knife is dangerously close to a major artery. He hesitates and his hand shakes, but he continues and saves Roshone's life.
Kaladin asks Lirin later why he didn't cut the artery and let Roshone die, as it would've solved all of their problems. Lirin says it would have been murder, and he is not a killer. Even if the lighteyes don't care about life, somebody has to start caring. Kaladin realizes that, given the option, he would have let Roshone die. He decides that just as some body parts are beyond repair in a surgery, some people need to be removed.
Chapter 42: Beggars and Barmaids
Like a highstorm, regular in their coming, yet always unexpected.
Shallan tells Jasnah that she thinks she was technically right to kill the footpads, but she acted immorally and unethically. Jasnah is satisfied that Shallan has learned a good deal from the lesson and dismisses her for the rest of the day. It's been two weeks since the Soulcaster was stolen, and Shallan is puzzled that Jasnah hasn't seemed to react at all. Back in her chambers, she attempts to use the Soulcaster while humming for half an hour. She wonders if Jasnah might have duped her with a fake. She takes a break and starts sketching, and she suddenly hears a voice asking "What are you?" A maid cracks open the door, and Shallan convinces herself that she must have interpreted the random sounds of cleaning nearby as words. She scolds the maid for going into Jasnah's room, then sends her off to tell Jasnah so she can enter herself. She hurries in hoping to find notes on soulcasting. She instead finds a notebook focused on Natanatan, the Unclaimed Hills, and the Shattered Plains. The two others contain notes on Urithiru and the Voidbringers. Shallan wonders why a nonbeliever like Jasnah would concern herself with what she herself considers fables. A knock on the door reveals Kabsal, who having heard that she has free time, brought some bread and jam for a picnic.
Kabsal explains the stories behind the Truthberry jam. Shallan laments that she isn't much of a scholar since she prefers the outdoors. Kabsal starts flirting, and although Shallan thinks that it wouldn't work out for them, she encourages him. He implies that he might leave the ardentia for her. Shallan steers the conversation to Jasnah. He reveals that his initial plan was to get Shallan to help him steal her soulcaster, but his superiors disapproved. They were afraid that Elhokar might start a war with Kharbranth. Shallan probes for some hints on how to use it. He says you only have to tap a gem and touch the object you wish to change, but Jasnah doesn't do that. Kabsal leaves and Shallan returns inside, finding a note from Captain Tozbek informing her that he will arrive in one week. She wants to study as much as possible before leaving, so she goes back to Jasnah to read.
Chapter 43: The Wretch
They lived out in the wilds, always awaiting the Desolation—or sometimes, a foolish child who took no heed of the night's darkness.
Kaladin wakes up feeling dread and despair, as he realizes that all of the Bridgemen are simply bait, destined to die. He finds the rest of the men lined up and waiting for him to lead them in practice. Before he can tell them how useless it is, he sees Lamaril's replacement: Brightlord Matal and his wife Hashal. Hashal speaks for her husband and tells Kaladin that the Almighty has simply given Kaladin another chance to prove himself as a bridgeman, nothing more. She claims that her husband is a well respected and honored associate of Sadeas, and Kaladin wonders out loud how he ended up in this position. Hashal directs one of her men to beat him, but Kaladin catches the spear aimed at him. In his mind he sees how to beat not only the soldier attacking him but his three companions as well, but decides against it, letting go of the spear and letting the next hit land. She informs them that they'll only be doing chasm duty from now on.
Kaladin climbs down into the chasm. Syl wonders why he isn't happy from surviving the highstorm. Kaladin chafes from not fighting the soldiers, but it wouldn't have helped to protect the men. Syl vaguely remembers helping men kill, to Kaladin's shock. Sometimes it is right to kill. The rest of the men climb down and Kaladin starts walking. Rock asks what they are going to do next in order to fight, and Kaladin insists that the fight is over. They find a pile of bodies and get to work. Teft stops by and also asks what's next, and Kaladin angrily replies that there is no hope, leading some of the men to grumble. Teft argues that it's not about surviving, quoting part of the Radiant oath "journey before destination." Syl likes the saying and encourages Kaladin to not give up. Kaladin thinks for a while and finally decides to try again, announcing to the men that the only chance is to try to escape. He offers to train them as spearmen, hoping it will increase their poor odds of escaping. All but Rock eagerly agree. Fighting is beneath Rock; he will cook instead.
Chapter 44: The Weeping
- Five years ago
Kaladin lays on the roof after making a temporary repair. Tien joins him and gives him a beautifully carved wooden horse. Kaladin worries because his father had to spend another sphere. Their mother comes out and joins them, trying to assuage his concerns. The only reason he spent one was to try to bluff Roshone into thinking they were growing desperate. They discuss his future prospects, including the possibility of pursuing other professions, but Kaladin is set on becoming a surgeon like his father. Lirin comes out and tells them there is a gathering in the square. When they arrive, they notice that Laral is engaged, apparently to Roshone himself. Kaladin is appalled and starts forward to "stop it," but Lirin tells him to stand down. Roshone announces that Amaram is here to recruit, and several young men volunteer. The quota is not met, however, so Amaram tells Roshone to read the list of conscripts. The last name read is Tien. Amaram is familiar with the situation and asks Roshone to provide a different name, but Roshone insists. Kaladin tries to volunteer to take his place, but again Roshone insists that Tien be conscripted. So Kaladin instead volunteers in order to protect him. He is relieved, but their parents walk away devastated and crying. Kaladin swears an oath that he'll bring back Tien in four years.
Chapter 45: Shadesmar
Yelig-nar, called Blightwind, was one that could speak like a man, though often his voice was accompanied by the wails of those he consumed.
Shallan continues her study of Gavilar's meetings with the Parshendi before his death. She notices a discrepancy about Gavilar's uncharacteristic scholarly interest in the Parshendi. She plans to leave for Jah Keved the next day to take the stolen Soulcaster to her family. Under the pretense of looking for another book, she researches a little of her own about the Voidbringers, knowing that it's Jasnah's true research interest. After studying for a couple of hours, Kabsal finds her. After a theological discussion about the Voidbringers, she tells him of her plans to leave. He requests a likeness of him from her, and after paying her for it, asks for another one with himself and her in the picture. She draws two creatures in the background, with symbols for a head. Frightened, she runs to her room while being pursued by the creatures, which continue to show up in her sketches as she runs through the halls. Trapped in her room, she begins to summon her Shardblade and one of the creatures asks her what she is. While touching a glass goblet filled with diamond spheres, her response of "I'm terrified" transports her to Shadesmar where she Soulcasts the goblet to blood. Back in her room, Jasnah calls to her from outside her door. Terrified that she will discover her soulcasting, she cuts herself to explain the presence of the blood.
Though I was due for dinner in Veden City that night, I insisted upon visiting Kholinar to speak with Tivbet. The tariffs through Urithiru were growing quite unreasonable. By then, the so-called Radiants had already begun to show their true nature.
Kaladin rides the highstorm as he sweeps across Roshar. In the dream Kaladin views many places and people, a large portion of which he had never seen or heard of before. Blowing southwest and then westward, Kaladin sees flashes of lights, almost appearing to be physical things he could touch. Approaching them he sees that they came from a building amidst a city built of a triangular pattern. He bursts in there and sees a man with large Shin eyes, a Shardblade, wearing white (Szeth - the Assassin in White), just after he has committed an assassination. It feels to Kaladin as though the assassin could see him. Nearing the western ocean, Kaladin separates from the storm after hearing a booming voice that shakes the stormwall. This voice calls Kaladin a child of Tanavast and of Honor and warns him that Odium comes. Kaladin asks why there is so much war, and the voice responds, "Odium reigns." Kaladin then awakes inside his barracks, held down by dark figures. He instinctively starts to fight them off before realizing they are his bridge mates. They had to hold him down to stop him from running out into the highstorm while dreaming. They all go out to bathe in the riddens, and Kaladin decides to accept a shave from Rock. Rock reveals that Sigzil is a Worldsinger. Bridge Four is assigned a new crew member, a Parshman who can't bother to give them his name, so they call him Shen.
Kaladin walks around camp to think. He asks Syl about Odium, and she hisses and zips off without a word. Kaladin sees an officer beating a whore in the street and starts to intervene, but he sees a high-ranking officer in blue (Adolin) come onto the scene. The officer backs down and Adolin offers to escort the lady out of the camp. He flips an emerald chip at Kaladin and tells him to pass along a message for him. Kaladin takes the chip but doesn't pass along the message.
Chapter 47: Stormblessings
- One year ago
Kaladin's enlistment is almost up, but he has already decided to re-up because he can't face his parents for his failure to protect Tien. Kaladin bribes another squadleader to transfer a new recruit (Cenn) to his squad. Kaladin wonders why the Alethi fight amongst themselves so much when they also join together to fight against real foreign invaders. He walks by the surgeons to hand over another bribe so his men will receive quick aid on the battlefield. A windspren makes the pouch stick to his belt, making him stumble. He tosses it to Ven, the chief surgeon. When he gets to his squad, Cenn is already there. He looks so much like Tien, Kaladin has to look away. After scanning the battleground and conferring with Dallet, Kaladin's squad charges forward at the horn call.
Kaladin is looking for Cenn in the Battle and spots him in the middle of the enemy. He rushes to the boy's aid and quickly dispatches six opponents. Other members of the squad arrive and surround them while Kaladin bandages Cenn's wounded leg. Kaladin decides to attack a lighteyed officer on a horse, hoping to bring him down and earn a spot on the Shattered Plains. The officer underestimates his spearmen and is quickly dispatched. Toorim spots a Shardbearer in golden Shardplate with a majestic Shardblade. The Shardbearer tramples Cenn and kills others of the squad on his way to Amaram. Cenn utters his death rattle and dies. Kaladin and the remaining twenty men of his squad charge after the Shardbearer while everyone else is running away. They fight ferociously but with little effect. The Shardbearer effortlessly cuts them down with sweeps of his blade, killing all but four of the squad. Just as he approaches Amaram, Kaladin attacks again, aiming for the head. His spear is severed by the Shardblade, but he catches the spearhead in mid-air and slams it into the eye slit of the armor, killing the Shardbearer. He refuses to take the blade because that would make him one of "them," a corrupt lighteyes. He tells Coreb that it's his.
Chapter 48: Strawberry
They take away the light, wherever they lurk. Skin that is burned.
Shallan is sketching while in a hospital and on suicide watch. She is growing accustomed to the creatures with the symbolheads who have been lurking in her drawings. She has her safepouch buttoned in her hospital robe. She notes how similar her current situation is to her time back home on her father's estate, having every need seen to but being unable to leave. The suicide attempt will make for an easy excuse to go home, so she can use the trip home to learn how to use the Soulcaster. She finishes her picture of the place she went to when she soulcast and figures that the Symbolheads must have something to do with Soulcasting. King Taravangian comes to visit and agrees to let Shallan have visitors. Jasnah enters and tries to apologize but doesn't do very well because of little practice. Jasnah then gifts Shallan with the "Book of Endless Pages" and explains the metaphor behind it. Kabsal enters with a basket of bread and strawberry jam. Jasnah seems curious about the jam and smells it, but does not eat any. She does eat bread with the others. Kabsal insists that Shallan try some of the jam, but to Shallan it smells awful, like it's gone bad. Even so, Kabsal scoops out a big glob and shoves it into his mouth, claiming it tastes good. He suddenly gets up and starts running from the room, but he collapses to the floor. Shallan rushes to his side, but she also starts feeling dizzy. Jasnah shouts that Shallan has been poisoned and that she needs a garnet. Thinking that Jasnah can't save her with the broken Soulcaster, Shallan upends her safepouch revealing the stolen one. She feels a flash of heat through her insides before all goes black.
Chapter 49: To Care
Radiant / of birthplace / the announcer comes / to come announce / the birthplace of Radiants.
Kaladin and the rest of Bridge four are walking through the chasms. Kaladin thinks about where the water goes and if it might be possible to escape to the east if his dreams were real. He is pulled out of his thoughts by Teft who questions him about his health, whether he feels surges of strength or perhaps light. Thinking about it, Kaladin notes how fast he healed and wonders if he might be cursed like someone who sought out the old Magic. He considers if maybe Syl is not the only spren following him, but maybe an evil one as well. They find themselves at a crossroads and Kaladin decides to use this spot for their training. He tells the Bridgemen that normally in military training, the sergeant will attempt to humble the soldiers at first. But they don't need that because they don't dream of glory; they just want to escape and survive. His first lesson is that a soldier should care, not be cold and emotionless. He drops the spear and tells them that the second lesson is to learn to stand before holding a spear. He tells Skar to push him over, and he can't do it, even when others come in to help. He tells Teft to pair them off to practice and to oversee the training, and Teft responds like a soldier, revealing his past military experience. When he looks at Kaladin he can see that Kaladin also noticed it. Kaladin goes a little apart with Rock, who explains why he can't fight. Kaladin sends him along with Lopen, Dabbid, and Shen to collect salvage. When Rock notes that they can't do the work of a whole Bridge crew, Kaladin has Syl make herself visible to the rest so that she can help them search more quickly. Kaladin assures Lopen that he will still receive training but that it is more important now to bring up the quota of salvage so as not to be discovered. He rejoins the crew and helps Teft. The men learn in hours what should have taken them days to learn. Kaladin realizes that the Bridgemen have been prepared for training by the physical intensity of their bridge duty.
Chapter 50: Backbreaker Powder
Flame and char. Skin so terrible. Eyes like pits of blackness.
Shallan wakes up in a private hospital room, feeling oddly healthy. A woman sees her awake and rushes out. Shallan has some trouble remembering what happened, so when she sees a guard looking in on her she asks what happened to her. Though he doesn't answer, she suddenly remembers being poisoned, and also Kabsal. Asking if he is alright, the guard only turns back, but when she tries to get up he glares at her, causing her to stay in bed. She remembers that she returned the stolen Soulcaster to Jasnah. Half an hour later Jasnah comes in and demands to know who ordered her to steal the Soulcaster. Shallan tells her that she stole it of her own volition to try to save her family from financial ruin. Jasnah tells her that Kabsal was trying to poison her all along with the bread. The jam contained the antidote so Shallan would survive. Jasnah tells Shallan how disappointed she is in her, and that she now understands that it was the guilt of the theft that drove Shallan to attempt suicide. No one will take her in as a ward now; she has thrown away a promising career. Jasnah leaves, leaving Shallan alone.
Chapter 51: Sas Nahn
- One year ago
Kaladin is waiting in one of Amaram's waiting rooms. Only four of his twenty-six men survived -- he had actually begun to believe those who called him lucky. Numb, he thinks how he can now be considered among those who have killed a Shardbearer like Lanacin the Surefooted, or Evod Markmaker, but he just doesn't care. Refusing the Shards was probably the stupidest thing anyone has ever done, but the thought of taking them revolts him. Amaram enters the room along with a Stormwarden. They are discussing the identity and motives of the shardbearer. The rest of the squad enters along with some lighteyed officers. Amaram asks Kaladin why he charged the Shardbearer and why he rejected the Shards. Kaladin doesn't want to reveal his disdain of lighteyes, and becoming one of them, so he replies that he doesn't know why. Amaram makes a signal, then his soldiers slaughter the four spearmen while Kaladin is held back by guards, shrieking in anger and agony at seeing his men murdered. Amaram looks guilty, but he justifies his actions by saying that he is trained in the sword and that Kaladin would demand the Shards back in a few days anyway. Since Kaladin saved his life, he will spare his. He will promulgate the story that he (Amaram) killed the Shardbearer and that Kaladin fled the scene, the rest of the squad killed by the Shardbearer. The Stormwarden brands Kaladin a slave.
Interlude I-7: Baxil
Baxil and his cousin Av walk down a corridor of the palace of Ashno of Sages. Their mistress walks ahead and stops at an intersection. She asks for his bag of tools, and she proceeds into the Hallowed Hall where she begins to destroy works of art--slashing paintings with a knife and pounding on sculptures with a mallet. As she works, Baxil and Av talk about going to the Nightwatcher. Baxil claims he can avoid the curse by phrasing his request just right, but Av says it doesn't matter what your boon is, you get a curse no matter what. Baxil wishes he could get some courage using the Old Magic.
Interlude I-8: Geranid
Geranid and Ashir are two ardents in the twilight of life devoted to each other and their research. Geranid studies spren; Ashir uses cooking to experiment with chemistry. He wonders if he should change his Calling because food may not be needed in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms. Geranid measures a flamespren and notes that it stays locked in its current state once it is measured. Ashir tells Geranid to go into the other room. He will call out three numbers, one the true measurement, and she is to only write down one. When he calls out the actual measurement, the spren locks in place. It seems to know when it is being measured.
Interlude I-9: Death Wears White
Szeth kills two guards and crashes through a door, entering the king's banquet, and starts to kill. King Hanavanar of Jah Keved yells for help. Szeth slaughters many of the people trying to flee and makes his way over to the king. Two Shardbearers come out from hiding and another squad wearing half-shards enter the room to attack. Szeth drops his sword and uses his Windrunner abilities to fling the attackers about the room. He infuses a stone multiple times and lashes it toward one of the Shardbearers, crushing him to death. He kills the rest of the honor guard easily and slams himself down on the king, pinning him to the floor. He puts his Shardblade through his face.
Part Four: Storm's Illumination
Chapter 52: A Highway to the Sun
I'm standing over the body of a brother. I'm weeping. Is that his blood or mine? What have we done?
Dalinar discusses his decision to abdicate with Adolin, who is not ready to become Highprince. A highstorm approaches, and Adolin and Renarin tie Dalinar down in preparation for the coming vision.
Dalinar enters the vision as a guard atop Feverstone Keep. Casting about for the reason he's been sent to this time and place, he is the first to notice an approaching army. The army is identified as Radiants, specifically the orders of the Stoneward and Windrunners. Dalinar senses that something is wrong, and runs out the keep's gate to approach the Radiants. He is not far away when the first one sticks his Shardblade into the ground, and then shucks all the pieces of his Shardplate, turns around, and walks away without a word. The other two-hundred or so Radiants do the same. Dalinar feels a tremendous sense of loss and tragedy at their abandonment, and tries to get one of them to tell him why they are doing this. One of them stops beside him, and in the voice of the one who has addressed Dalinar in previous visions, tells him, "They were the first, and they were also the last." Dalinar identifies the event he's just witnessed as the Day of Recreance.
Returning to himself, Dalinar and Adolin resume their discussion. Adolin wishes for Dalinar to simply recognize that the visions aren't true, ignore them, and continue leading the princedom. Dalinar refuses, saying that if he is to lead, he must trust his conscience and judgement, and therefore, the visions. Otherwise, he would second-guess himself at every decision and lead the house to ruin. Renarin interjects with a suggestion that it may be possible to verify whether Dalinar's visions are true or not. Dalinar asks Navani to scribe it for him, and then communicate with Jasnah to ask her if she can prove or disprove any of the details.
Chapter 53: Dunny
He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!
Dunny is trampled on a bridge run, and Kaladin blames himself for not being able to save him. To cope with Dunny's loss, Kaladin decides to save the wounded bridgemen from other bridges. The bridgemen hesitate at first because helping other bridges drains their resources. Kaladin lectures them on honor and the hypocritical lighteyes, and they start helping him, ashamed. While working, Teft reminds Kaladin to keep his pouch of spheres infused and on his person at all times, and comments on the good luck Bridge Four had, sustaining zero casualties during all their approaches. Four of the wounded bridgemen survive.
Chapter 54: Gibletish
The burdens of nine become mine. Why must I carry the madness of them all? Oh, Almighty, release me.
Elhokar hosts a feast, which Dalinar attends. Wit sits next to Dalinar, and tips him off that Sadeas intends to reveal something at the feast. He tells Dalinar he has to leave, and disappears. Dalinar gathers Adolin and his guards about him, just in case, then goes to confront Sadeas and see what the announcement is. Sadeas announces to all present that the strap was definitely cut, but that it happened while the horse was in the king's palace complex. He says that Dalinar is an "unlikely suspect." After the announcement, Sadeas and Dalinar discuss their estranged friendship and the war. Dalinar admits to having called for retreat, but says that he now favors finding a tactic to win the war once and for all instead. He proposes an alliance with Sadeas, sketches out some preliminary ideas for how they could complement each other, and Sadeas agrees.
Chapter 55: An Emerald Broam
A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal.
Kaladin witnesses the first joint plateau assault of Sadeas and Dalinar. The fight goes so quickly and so well that Bridge Four is sent down into the chasms right after returning from the run. They find a dead lighteyed officer who has an emerald broam (worth two hundred days of a bridgeman's pay), in addition to a pouch of lesser spheres. Kaladin hatches a plan to sneak the pouch out of the chasms without surrendering it, but it hinges on the ability of someone to tie the pouch to an arrow, and then shoot the arrow at the underside of a permanent bridge so it can be picked up later. As nobody else has the necessary proficiency with a bow, Rock finally admits that he can make the shot and nails it perfectly, all the while insisting that he may shoot bridges with it, but that he will never use a bow in battle.
Chapter 56: That Storming Book
Light grows so distant. The storm never stops. I am broken, and all around me have died. I weep for the end of all things. He has won. Oh, he has beaten us.
Dalinar and Sadeas attack another plateau together. Just as it appears that they have won, a second Parshendi army appears in direct response to the new Alethi strategy of combined assaults. Dalinar lays out a new strategy for the army to follow to adjust for the new threat, but then sees that Sadeas is right in the thick of where the Parshendi have come. Dalinar mounts Gallant and the two of them bound across the chasm, leaving a line of death in their wake as they make their way towards Sadeas. When they arrive, Dalinar finds that his old friend has fallen and is being beaten down by a horde of Parshendi. Dalinar kills them all and defends Sadeas single-handedly until Adolin and his guard are able to penetrate the Parshendi line and relieve the Highprinces. Sadeas asks why Dalinar would take such a risk for him, to which Dalinar repeats principles that have been instilled in him by The Way of Kings. Sadeas is displeased that it holds such sway over Dalinar, calling it "That storming book." He warns Dalinar that those ideals will get him killed one day.
Chapter 57: Wandersail
I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.
Maps dies of an arrow wound in the chest, and Kaladin agonizes over the loss, as he always does. After the bridge run, Kaladin insists on treating Teft's wounded arm. Teft prods Kaladin to see if he has had any "odd experiences" lately. When Kaladin tells him he's noticed nothing, Teft moves to punch Kaladin. Reacting instinctively, Kaladin breathes in all the Stormlight in the spheres he's carrying in preparation for self-defense. Teft points out that all the spheres are now dun, and Lopen notices that Kaladin's medical pack is sticking to the side of a barrel. Panicking at finally noticing his powers, Kaladin runs off to try to get rid of the Stormlight and figure out what's wrong with him. Syl admits that she's not a Windspren. She doesn't remember much, but she knows that she binds things. She says that Kaladin is changing because of her, that she takes something from him, and gives something in return.
Kaladin wanders off to be alone as evening falls. He finds Hoid playing a flute. He tells him the story of Derethil and the Wandersail. At Hoid's prompting, Kaladin concludes that the moral of the story is taking responsibility. He decides that he must take responsibility and do whatever he can to save Bridge Four, even if that means embracing strange and frightening powers. Hoid gives him a flute and tells him to take care of Sigzil. Kaladin returns to the group and asks Teft how he knew what he is. Teft says that when he was a youth, his family belonged to a secret sect that awaited the return of the Knights Radiant. He asks Teft how much he knows of his powers, and Kaladin decides to try to find out more.
Chapter 58: The Journey
Re-Sephir, the Midnight Mother, giving birth to abominations with her essence so dark, so terrible, so consuming. She is here! She watches me die!
Adolin is drinking at a wineshop in the outer Market, accompanied by his date Danlan, and fellow lighteyes Jakamav, Inkima, Toral and Eshava. They debate why Sadeas has not moved against Dalinar and whether Dalinar should step down due to his visions and unpopular restrictions on the army. Adolin leaves to prepare for a duel with Brightlord Resi. While walking through the market, he ponders what his father is doing. He notices that officers from other armies look less disciplined and more casual about the war. He begins to agree with what his father is doing.
Dalinar recites a passage from The Way of Kings about Nohadon's journey to Urithiru to Sadeas and Elhokar as they watch some lesser lighteyes duel while they wait for Adolin's bout to begin. Sadeas dismisses the story as boring and sentimental and insults Dalinar, though Dalinar doesn't get angry. Elhokar jokes that Sadeas could be the new Wit, since Hoid vanished as he does periodically. As Adolin and Resi duel, Dalinar states that if he were in charge, he would withdraw the army to Alethkar to stabilize their homeland and send envoys to the Parshendi to investigate Gavilar's murder. Elhokar praises Dalinar's explanation and speaks of plots against him and inhuman faces that he sees in mirrors. Dalinar thinks that he is paranoid. Elhokar gets Dalinar to agree to a joint assault with Sadeas where both army's bridge crews are used, as an experiment. Adolin wins his duel easily. Sadeas asks for a clerk to be sent to him with a copy of The Way of Kings.
Chapter 59: An Honor
Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew.
Kaladin and Teft are in the Bridge Four barracks while Rock runs drills outside and Lopen stands watch at the entrance. Kaladin tries to draw light from an infused sphere but fails, and wonders if he really is a Surgebinder and potential Knight Radiant as Teft insists he is. Teft lectures Kaladin on the First Oath and speaks of The Way of Kings which his mother had read, and which the Radiants based their Ideals on. Brightness Hashal appears, stating that Bridge Four would be on full-time bridge run duty during the day, and chasm duty at night, and that they should feel honored by this, though Kaladin realizes it is a death sentence for his men. After Hashal leaves, Kaladin and the others debate their options, and Kaladin accidentally breathes in Stormlight and starts glowing faintly.
Kaladin gathers his crew in the chasm for their shift and they start spear practice. They still need weeks of practice to be able to escape. Teft leads the drill as Kaladin and Syl investigate some Parshendi corpses. Kaladin cuts off some Parhsendi carapace and has Lopen gather some Parshendi bones. He puts them all in a sack. They proceed to a shallow chasm where Lopen had dropped some rope on a prior bridge run. Kaladin whispers the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant and breathes in Stormlight from his pouch of spheres, then uses it to create a makeshift ladder of stones to climb up the chasm wall and tie the sack to the bottom of a bridge for later retrieval. Syl tells him to just cut the rope he's hanging from, ensuring him that he'll be alright. He cuts the rope and falls forty feet to the ground. He lands on his feet and uses his remaining Stormlight to immediately heal his injuries. He tells Lopen to retrieve the sack during their next bridge run.
Chapter 60: That Which We Cannot Have
The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended.
Dalinar has decided not to abdicate to Adolin. The two wait for the coming highstorm in Dalinar's chambers with Renarin and Navani. Navani has a new fabrial, an early model of a painrial, which she shows the three by using it on an ache in Adolin's hand. Despite all the discoveries the engineers have made with fabrials, they are no closer to making new Shardblades and Shardplate. Dalinar speculates that they were provided by the Heralds themselves, then the highstorm hits, and he enters another vision.
He talks with a man with a regal bearing, who Dalinar later realizes must be a younger Nohadon, writer of The Way of Kings. A Desolation has just ended, and 90% of the people Nohadon ruled are dead. Some of those still alive try to cast blame on the Surgebinder Alakavish, who began a war just before the Desolation started. Nohadon contemplates giving up his throne if he cannot actually do any good with his leadership. Dalinar, who Nohadon believes is his advisor Karm, tells him to write a book about his philosophy on leadership and how people should live. Nohadon scoffs at the idea and says that action and the sword are what is needed. He would like peace, but "to be human is to want that which we cannot have." He walks off. Just before the end of the vision, Dalinar repeats Nohadon's statement.
He comes back to the present time and believes he did little about discovering any facts about proving his visions true or false. Navani cuts him off, asking him to repeat the last thing he said. She then tells him she believes he has been speaking in the Dawnchant, a dead language, and the phrase he just gave her may be the key needed to translate the language. She tells Dalinar and his sons that this is the proof they were looking for and that the visions are real.
Chapter 61: Right for Wrong
In the storm I awaken, falling, spinning, grieving.
Some hours after his last vision, Dalinar sits with Navani and Renarin. Adolin has gone for the highstorm damage report, appearing shaken that the visions are real. Navani asks Dalinar why he thinks the man in his vision was Nohadon. Dalinar can't give evidence but he's sure that it was him. Prodded on her knowledge about the Desolations, Navani tells what she knows but insists that Jasnah is the historian. They continue to debate, thinking about the Old Magic but discard that option. Dalinar is also disturbed that the visions are real, and he asks to be alone. Renarin leaves immediately, but Navani lingers. She tells Dalinar why she really came back to the Shattered Plains. She felt useless, expected to fade to the background and not be involved. She closes the door and they kiss passionately. Afterwards she tells him that something is wrong on Roshar, something bigger than the War of Reckoning they are fighting. She shares her knowledge about the assassination of the King of Jah Keved by a Shin Shardbearer wearing white.
Chapter 62: Three Glyphs
The darkness becomes a palace. Let it rule! Let it rule!
Kaladin and Bridge Four are on another bridgerun. He's nervous because this time he wants to try distracting the Parshendi archers with his self-made Parshendi armor and shield. On the way to the battlefield a soldier who doesn't want to wait for the army's water crews tries to force his way to Bridge Four's water skin. Because Kaladin's armor is hidden with the water Bridge Four persuades the soldier to back down. On the final approach Kaladin manages to draw the full attention of the Parshendi archers by wearing Parshendi armor and shield. He uses Stormlight to improve his speed, heal his wounds, and draw arrows to his shield. Sadeas rides up and is forced to promote Matal because "his" idea of distracting the Parshendi worked. Kaladin himself suffers from shock after using so much Stormlight. As always, the members of Bridge Four look for wounded from other bridge crews and care for them. Suddenly Lopen calls out, as he spots a group of Parshendi archers coming back to the chasm and aiming at Bridge Four. While the men try to escape out of range they are surprised to see Dalinar dashing into the Parshendi force and striking them down. When done, Dalinar raises his blade in a salute at Bridge Four.
Chapter 63: Fear
I wish to sleep. I know now why you do what you do, and I hate you for it. I will not speak of the truths I see.
Kaladin tells Leyten to make carapace armor for every member of Bridge Four except for Shen. Kaladin observes spear practice and notices that Moash is very skilled. He asks about his purpose, and Moash replies that he wants vengeance, but declines to say on whom. Kaladin and Rock discuss their plans to escape. Teft asks Kaladin to teach the bridgemen but he declines, saying that he would become too eager and impatient, and Kaladin admits that he failed in the past and that it got to him.
Chapter 64: A Man of Extremes
They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory.
Dalinar and Navani continue to see each other in secret. Dalinar tells Navani that he was interested in courting her, but he instead deferred to Gavilar when his brother also showed interest in her. That was the nature of the siblings' relationship. Navani thought that Dalinar hated her because he was cold towards her for the last two decades, out of trying to conceal his true feelings. Navani says that Dalinar and his wife were a perfect match in temperament. Dalinar also reveals that he keeps a tight rein on himself to avoid reverting to his past tyrannical self. Their conversation is interrupted as alarms sound indicating a chasmfiend is located at the Tower plateau, where Dalinar wants to run a dual assault with Sadeas.
Bridge Four lines up for the assault. They all wear carapace armor, expertly crafted and ornamented by Leyten. Every man also has a shield crafted from Parshendi bones, some ornamented with smaller bones to create a rattling sound. The other bridgemen look on in astonishment and admiration and cheer Bridge Four as they raise their bridge to shoulders.
Adolin was shocked to learn he was wrong about his father, but he's glad that he was. Now he could trust him fully. Dalinar, Adolin, and Sadeas confer at the staging area, and decide to bring fifteen thousand troops, as many as they can muster, to try to finish off the Parshendi army in one fell swoop.
Chapter 65: The Tower
I see them. They are the rocks. They are the vengeful spirits. Eyes of red.
Dalinar and Sadeas watch as the Parshendi army of roughly ten thousand lines up, while they still try to remove the gemheart. Sadeas suggests they attack together, but Dalinar knows that many of the bridgemen will be killed. He holds to the Code and won't order what he himself wouldn't do. Dalinar will follow Sadeas's army once a bridgehead is cleared.
Kaladin leads four other decoys in drawing Parshendi arrows away from the bridge crews, though he draws the most missiles by far, until all the surviving bridges are in place and the army rushes across. Kaladin then goes to help Teft and Skar, who were hit by arrows, and starts operating on Teft, as there are enough soldiers in the area to protect them.
Dalinar orders a crew to set a bridge for his army to cross, and he leads his men into battle along with Adolin. Some Parshendi target him with large rocks, but he goes after them and takes care of them easily. After some time in the battle, Dalinar feels the Thrill, but loses it as he faces down a youthful Parshendi. He starts having doubts about fighting, and thinks about the Codes and Gavilar's murder and the visions, trying to decide what is the right course of action. Adolin interrupts his reverie to point out that another group of Parshendi have arrived. Dalinar wonders why Sadeas's scouts didn't give them warning. He climbs to the top of the rock formation to see that Sadeas, with his army and bridge crews, have fled from the Tower plateau, leaving his own army surrounded and cut off from retreat.
Chapter 66: Codes
That chanting, that singing, those rasping voices.
Kaladin finishes working on Skar, saying that he will be able to walk normally once he heals up. Kaladin then notices that Sadeas is retreating even though the battle seems to be going well, and realizes that the Highprince is betraying Dalinar. Kaladin sees that Sadeas is unharmed, and hears him say that Dalinar's honor would someday get him killed.
Adolin yells at Dalinar that he knew that Sadeas's betrayal was inevitable, as they fight off waves of Parshendi, and Dalinar agrees in resignation. Adolin refuses to blame his father though, saying that his honor would not make him behave differently, which surprises Dalinar. Dalinar tries to motivate his soldiers with a speech, saying that they will all die with glory and honor intact. Dalinar silently regrets that he will leave Renarin alone to inherit, surrounded by enemies, and says good bye.
Chapter 67: Words
Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!
As Sadeas's forces withdraw, Bridge Four lags behind. Having wounded and already being low in number, they are unable to move ahead of the army and help with the crossing of the staging plateau. Instead of crossing with the army, Kaladin tells Matal that they will rest, use their bridge to follow and catch up later. Kaladin gives the pretense that he doesn't want to slow the rest of the army. The army continues westward without Bridge Four. Kaladin explains to the men that now they can simply escape without fighting. Everything is perfect except the wounded back at camp. Kaladin insists that he stay with the wounded and escape later. Kaladin feels unsettled, and not just because of the men he would have to leave behind. He sees Syl next to him as a regular-sized woman. She stands looking back at the battle with an expression of horror. Kaladin also looks back at the battle. He sees the thousands of dark eyed soldiers hopelessly surrounded. Syl says that she now remembers what kind of spren she is. She is an honorspren. The spirit of oaths, promises, and nobility. Kaladin thinks that trying to save Kholin's army would be suicide and that he and his men owe Dalinar nothing. He is determined not to be fooled again like the time he saved Amaram. Finally he remembers his father's words: "The lighteyes don't care about life, so I must. So we must." With the Ideals of the Radiants forming in his mind he tells the members of Bridge Four that they must go back. They agree and lift their bridge, heading back to the Tower.
Dalinar's Shardplate grows weak. It is losing Stormlight from many small cracks, lending Dalinar less strength. Dalinar continues to fight, with Adolin at the front line of his army, when he sees a lone bridge crew moving towards the chasm. Unsure of their purpose he shows Adolin who thinks it must be some kind of trap. Still unsure, they grab onto this small hope and prepare their men to push towards the bridge crew.
The Parshendi have seen the approach of Bridge Four and prepare to loose arrows. Dalinar has seen too and is trying to make his way there in order to escape. Kaladin barely dodges the arrows, then Syl points to a new contingent of archers, aiming at the unprotected bridgemen. Kaladin yells the command for side carry right and expends a huge amount of Stormlight, attracting all the arrows to his shield. The Parshendi say "Neshua Kadal!" and flee at the display of power. Kaladin is completely drained from the excessive use of Stormlight. The men set down the bridge and prepare to fight another group of Parshendi who heavily outnumber the bridgemen. Kaladin can only lay on the ground in despair, having failed to protect again, just like the day that Tien died . . .
- Kaladin (flashback)
Kaladin's squad is all dead, and he is commanded to go back to the reserves for reassignment. He tries to find Tien's squad and gets caught up in the chaos of battle. After a brief exchange with an enemy soldier, he is conscripted into a new squad. Kaladin sees three messenger boys placed in the front of the battle as a distraction. He rushes over to help defend Tien but is too late.
- Kaladin (back in the present)
Syl prods Kaladin to say the Words. He forces himself to his feet and grabs a spear. He runs into the battle and notices that the bearded Parshendi have infused gems woven into their beads. He breathes in Stormlight and regains his strength and heals his wounds. A voice in his head urges again: "the Words." Although he never learned them, he knows them, and whispers "I will protect those who cannot protect themselves."
Kaladin explodes with energy and light. The bridgemen watch in wonder as Kaladin furiously fights.
Chapter 68: Eshonai
They named it the Final Desolation, but they lied. Our gods lied. Oh, how they lied. The Everstorm comes. I hear its whispers, see its stormwall, know its heart.
Adolin cuts through the Parshendi lines leading the remaining Kholin forces down the slope of the 'Tower' towards the bridge at the western side of the plateau. The maneuver is reckless but his troops are well trained and they make their mad dash for freedom.
Meanwhile, Teft, along with the other members of Bridge Four, are transfixed watching Kaladin engage the Parshendi. He moves with inhuman speed and precision. He also moves with a glow that Teft knows is Stormlight. Members of the crew momentarily gawk at Kaladin's unnatural skill. But Teft quickly commands them into a defensive formation intended to support Kaladin and to hold the bridge's position on the plateau.
Dalinar fights, making his way to the bridgemen he had seen return to the plateau. Now unable to see them, he thinks that they have certainly died by now. But he thanks them for giving him and his men purpose as they fight to their doom. But as he approaches the chasm he finds that the bridgemen are indeed holding their ground. He orders Adolin forward to support the bridgemen and he turns his attention towards maintaining the corridor that is allowing his men to escape. However, a seven-foot-tall Parshendi in Shardplate steps forward. Dalinar is surprised by the Shardbearer's late arrival but concludes that he is there to prevent Dalinar's retreat which was now possible. Dalinar quickly finds himself at a disadvantage due to the damage to his Shardplate already sustained but is able to lure the Shardbearer up on a rock formation where he cuts the rock out from under his attacker. This topples the Shardbearer onto the ground. He cuts free another piece of rock onto the Shardbearer, but the damage to his own Shardplate slows Dalinar too much to take advantage of Shardearer's position. Unable to flee, Dalinar continues to fight.
Kaladin and Bridge Four fight to hold their bridgehead for what seems like hours to Kaladin. During this time Kaladin finds himself gaining respect for the Parshendi's battlefield ethics. He seems to find in the Parshendi what he had hoped to find in the warcamps of Alethi. The Kholin army finally breaks through the Parshendi lines and takes control of the bridge, defending both sides of the chasm. Kaladin stops to take a report from his men only to find that Malop, Earless Jaks, and Narm are dead. He orders his men back across the bridge to the staging chasm. With Moash, Kaladin looks to the lead of the retreat. Unable to find a suitable officer, Kaladin promotes a very young lighteyed soldier and gets him to organize the retreat. He then finds an officer of the Cobalt Guard and asks why they aren't crossing; they are sworn to protect Adolin, so they refuse to go. So Kaladin finds Adolin and commands him to cross the bridge. He doesn't want to abandon his father, so Kaladin promises to help him while they retreat. The Cobalt Guard follows Kaladin but can't keep up.
Dalinar takes multiple hits to his helm, which finally explodes, leaving him dazed and confused. His Parshendi enemy doesn't finish him off, though, instead leaning down to him and saying, "It is you. I have found you at last." There is a disturbance in the Parshendi ranks, and Dalinar sees a glowing Spearman approaching.
Kaladin finds a hole in the armor of the Parshendi looming over Dalinar and strikes, using Stormlight-enhanced strength. The surrounding Parshendi start chanting "Neshua Kadal" and fearfully back away, not attacking. He finds Gallant and brings him over to Dalinar.
Dalinar gets up and wants to finish off the Shardbearer, but Kaladin calls upon his honor to retreat immediately since no one will leave without him. He agrees and calls the retreat, galloping toward the bridge with Kaladin and the Cobalt Guard following. They go across and the Parshendi do not give chase. The Parshendi Shardbearer salutes Dalinar. He finds Kaladin and vows to protect him from Sadeas if he will join his army. Kaladin agrees since they can't very well escape now with so many wounded and little supplies.
Chapter 69: Justice
All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.
At Sadeas's staging area Navani forces her way through the crowd after hearing rumors that Sadeas came back from battle without Dalinar. Renarin follows her. Sadeas tells Navani that the Parshendi overwhelmed Dalinar's forces, forcing him to retreat to save his own men. He claims to have witnessed Dalinar fall to Parshendi hammers. Unwilling to believe Sadeas's account, Navani creates an enormous Thath glyph across the staging area stone ground in burn ink. Navani releases her prayer for Justice by lighting glyph, which leaves a scorch mark on the stone. Shortly after the flames die, one of Sadeas's message runner approaches with news of Dalinar's survival.
Dalinar rides at the head of his remaining force. Seething with anger, he contemplates his confrontation with Sadeas. He knows he must first protect Alethkar despite his desire for revenge. As his force approaches the warcamp, Dalinar dismisses his wounded to his camp and offers to send Kaladin's bridgemen with them, but they are determined to see his promise to buy their freedom through. Unwilling to force them to go, Dalinar allows them to accompany him into Sadeas's warcamp. He unexpectedly finds Renarin and Navani in Sadeas's warcamp. He embraces his son and later Navani. He tells Navani that he sees the world differently now and is now unwilling to let 'lying men' control his life. Releasing Navani, he confronts Sadeas. Publicly they feign civility. Sadeas apologizes for overestimating the threat against Dalinar's forces and retreating too soon. But, standing close so as not to be overheard, Dalinar privately asks Sadeas why. Sadeas responds referring to his oath to protect Elhokar, saying that Dalinar is going insane and becoming weak. He feels that these ideas are infecting Elhokar. And, in the end, he just wanted Dalinar gone. In this admission of guilt, Dalinar realizes that acting honorably would never win Sadeas's loyalty.
Kaladin watches the conference between Dalinar and Sadeas with the members of Bridge Four. The private conversation ends, and Sadeas states aloud that their alliance was "unfeasible." Dalinar claims the bridgemen, but Sadeas refuses to let them go. He offers sixty emerald broams for each member. But Sadeas is unwilling to sell, stating that he would not sell them for 1,000 broams and tells Dalinar to leave his camp. Kaladin turns away, thinking Dalinar would not be able to fulfill his promise when there are gasps of surprise. Kaladin turns to see that Dalinar had summoned his Shardblade. Dalinar offers his Shardblade for all of Sadeas's bridgemen. Sadeas accepts and mocks him for giving up his Shardblade for worthless slaves. Unable to believe what has just happened, Kaladin asks Dalinar why. Dalinar explains that Kaladin saved him and two thousand of his men. All of whose lives are priceless. In his opinion, one priceless sword is a small price to pay for two thousand lives, especially to keep his honor.
Dalinar finds Elhokar in the sitting room of the palace wearing his Shardplate. Dalinar initiates a quick brawl in which he kicks Elhokar several times, cracking his Shardplate and repeatedly keeping him from summoning his blade. Dalinar ends the "fight" by breaking Elhokar's breastplate, subduing him. He then demands to know if Elhokar himself cut the girth on his own saddle to get Dalinar to take him more seriously. Reluctantly, Elhokar admits to cutting the girth. An exasperated Dalinar then explains the consequences of this -- including Sadeas's betrayal. Additionally, Dalinar demonstrates how easily he could kill Elhokar, stating that he could have done it a hundred times over and that he is not Elhokar's enemy. Releasing his nephew, he tells Elhokar that tomorrow he will appoint Dalinar as Highprince of War. Determined to finally see the war won and Alethkar united, he decides to stop trying to be Nohadon the peacemaker and return to being the Blackthorn, the warlord. Elhokar is reluctant, fearing rebellion from the various highprinces, but Dalinar turns to leave, confident that he will make the appointment and content knowing the challenges that are before him. Just before exiting, he also informs Elhokar about the courtship between himself and Navani.
Part Five: The Silence Above
Chapter 70: A Sea of Glass
Shallan lay in her hospital bed lamenting her actions and, to her surprise, Kabsal's death. But as she recalls the events leading up to her poisoning, things do not completely add up. She wonders why the antidote did not work for Kabsal and why Jasnah was not poisoned since she too had eaten the poisoned bread. She finds her sketchpad and draws an imperfect drawing of Jasnah examining the strawberry jam, remembering that she was not repulsed by the smell. Then she draws Jasnah eating the bread. In her drawing, it looks like it is melting. Realizing something, she leaves the hospital and walks in the darkness to the Conclave wearing only her hospital robe. She tells Jasnah that she knows that Jasnah uses a fake Soulcaster. Showing her the picture Shallan had drawn of Shadesmar to a shocked Jasnah, she concludes that Jasnah never had a working Soulcaster. Jasnah disregards Shallan's statements as fatigue induced delusions. To prove her statements Shallan attempts to return to Shadesmar. Holding her partially dun garnet sphere, she speaks with the twisted symbol-headed spren. They request a truth, preferably a secret truth, to form a bond. To form the bond, Shallan admits to killing her father. She falls into the sea of beads. She begins to drown but is rescued by Jasnah who reprimands her for going to Shadesmar with only a single dim sphere. Shallan asks to be part of Jasnah's work in truth and be trained in Soulcasting. At first Jasnah objects, but Shallan apologizes and explains that she could be someone that can share Jasnah's secrets. Jasnah relents and makes Shallan promise never to lie or steal again and gives Shallan her notes on the Voidbringers.
Chapter 71: Recorded In Blood
Szeth, working as a porter, walks the streets of Kharbranth towards the King's palace. Having assassinated the other names on the list given him by his unseen master, he is in Kharbranth to finish his work and kill King Taravangian. Using his Shardblade, he cuts a hole in the servants privy to access the king's portion of the palace. Szeth easily subdues Taravangian's guards and enters the king's study. Following his instructions, Szeth informs the king that he has killed the others and is there to finish the job. But the king reveals himself to be Szeth's unknown master. He put his name on the list to deflect suspicion should Szeth fail. The king claims the assassinations are necessary to build a stronger Roshar for the coming years. Szeth accuses the king of using him to do his dirty work and, as a response, the king takes him to his secret hospital. The hospital is filled with dying people who are having their blood slowly drained. Here the king shows Szeth that his hands are not clean, having drained the blood of many. He explains that the dying see something important as they die, and here they record their words. He believes their words may contain the key to everyone's salvation. He then adds a name to Szeth's list that he had hoped to avoid but recent events had made necessary: Dalinar Kholin.
Chapter 72: Veristitalian
Before reading Jasnah's notes on the Voidbringers, Shallan asks Jasnah how she soulcasted her blood multiple times if she was so unskilled in organic material. Jasnah replies that blood is one of the Essences and is therefore easy to soulcast, unlike the strawberry jam which she had never seen before. Shallan has a great many additional questions about soulcasting, but Jasnah returns the conversation back to the Voidbringers. Shallan asks how Jasnah could believe in these myths when so many trusted scholars considered the Voidbringers a fabrication. Jasnah replies that she in general seeks to find natural meanings to supernatural events. She believes that something real caused the legends of the Voidbringers. Reading from her notes, Jasnah helps Shallan see that the humans on Roshar did not destroy or banish the Voidbringers. They instead enslaved them as the Parshmen.
Chapter 73: Trust
Kaladin waits at Dalinar's warcamp's staging ground as requested by Dalinar himself. As he waits he wonders with Syl whether he can trust Dalinar. Syl seems to feel that Dalinar is indeed honorable. Kaladin feels conflicted about his actions that day. He wonders again whether he could truly protect by killing and whether the three lives lost from his bridge crew were worth the thousands of soldiers and lighteyes that they saved.
As the middle moon finishes rising, Dalinar joins Kaladin on the staging ground. They discuss the condition of the bridge crews and how many Kaladin thinks will stay in the army. Dalinar wants Kaladin and Bridge Four to replace his honor guard who had been nearly wiped out earlier that day. He wants the rest of the bridgemen to be trained as a company of spearmen. Kaladin agrees on condition that the men agree and Dalinar makes him a captain. Dalinar also gives Kaladin his cloak that he wore in battle that day as a token of appreciation.
Kaladin returns to Bridge Four's barrack to find his men engaged in their nightly tradition of eating Rock's stew. They talk to him about his extraordinary abilities and they want him to teach them how to do it too. Kaladin is unsure if it's teachable but agrees to try. They decide to create experiments to test his abilities, and Kaladin demands an oath of silence about his abilities. He then relaxes knowing that he has finally succeeded in saving someone.
Chapter 74: Ghostblood
Shallan finishes reading Jasnah's notes concerning the Voidbringers and comes to the same conclusion as Jasnah, that the parshmen are the Voidbringers. They discuss the frightening ramifications of this conclusion, and they make plans to travel to the Shattered Plains to continue investigating King Gavilar's death and the Parshendi transformation into warriors. They also discuss the Ghostbloods, a secret organization seeking answers about the Voidbringers. Jasnah names Kabsal a member of the Ghostbloods and after seeing their secret symbol, Shallan realizes that her father was also likely a member.
Chapter 75: In the Top Room
During the next highstorm after Sadeas's betrayal, in one of Dalinar's visions, he finds himself in a white rocky landscape with smokey figures rising around him. The voice again tells Dalinar to "... unite them." Dalinar then demands to know why the voice lied to him with regards to trusting Sadeas. But instead of answering, the voice appears in human form and continues exhorting Dalinar to prepare for the Everstorm, showing him a wall of darkness approaching a ruined Kholinar. Dalinar continues to ask questions and demand answers but soon realizes that the voice cannot hear him and never could. The voice continues telling Dalinar that this vision is a glimpse into the future born of his fears. Dalinar then sees that the wall of darkness is a wall of dust and as it passes by, the ground falls away leaving the land and where Kholinar was an empty void. Only the space where Dalinar stands remains. The voice tells Dalinar that someone must lead, unite and protect the people. He then commands Dalinar to rebuild the Knights Radiant, explaining that unity will be key in facing The True Desolation. The voice then ends by proclaiming that he was God (the Almighty) and that he is now dead after being killed by Odium.
Epilogue: Of Most Worth
Wit has a conversation with some guardsmen in Kholinar. He asks them "What is the talent that men value most?" One of the guardsmen suggests art, to which Wit replies in the negative. At this point, Taln stumbles into the main courtyard, bearing a prophecy about the Everstorm, before collapsing on the ground, his Honorblade beside him. Hoid finishes by saying it is timeliness that men value most, and that Taln has arrived 'too late'.
Above silence, the illuminating storms--dying storms--illuminate the silence above.
The Endnote is about thoughts from Joshor, Head of His Majesty's Silent Gatherers, on a ketek told by a dying Herdazian who barely spoke the Alethi language, and unlikely had the education that he had heard of such a ketek before. They decided to leave this death quote to Taravangian to solve the puzzle that it tells.