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|Owners||Kaladin, Hoid (former), Torol Sadeas (former)|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
A Trailman's flute is a musical instrument used by storytellers to aid in the telling of their stories.
Hoid is the only person known to play the Trailman's flute. Hoid's flute is made of a very dark wood that is heavier than it looks. It is smooth and has holes along its length. It is played by holding it sideways to the mouth and blowing air over it, unlike other flutes commonly seen in Alethkar that are held out downwards in front of the user. The origin of the name "Trailman's flute" is not known.
Hoid is able to use the flute to make a wide range of sounds, from a soft, melancholy melody to fast, crisp scales or screeching high notes. He is able to use echos to simulate playing a duet with himself, and some of his melodies sound "alien" and from "another place and time".
”If you knew the history of that flute, it would make your brain flip upside-down.—Hoid, to Kaladin
By the time of the War of Reckoning, Hoid had carried his Trailman's flute for an exceptionally long time. He referred to the flute using feminine pronouns and mentioned that he did not use it as often as he should, even worrying that he would forget how to play it, even though he never could.
Kaladin's first meeting with Hoid occured after he investigated music he was surprised to hear coming from the Shattered Plains, where Hoid (as Wit) had set up a campfire next to the chasms. Kaladin mentioned being drawn to the sound of the flute and that its pitch was lower than others he had heard. Hoid bantered with Kaladin in his usual cryptic manner before using the flute to tell the story of the Uvara and the Wandersail. Kaladin was transfixed by Hoid's virtuosic playing and storytelling. After the story was finished, Hoid gave the flute to Kaladin, emphasizing that he should learn how to play it and eventually master it. Hoid also mentioned his "apprentice" Sigzil being promoted, implying that the flute may have a connection to Hoid's status as a Worldsinger.
”When you can make the music sing back at you, then you’ve mastered it.—Hoid, to Kaladin
Kaladin was skeptical about learning how to play the flute and still held the traditional Alethi view of music as a feminine pursuit. He kept the flute but did not place much value on it, and he accidentally left it in the Bridge Four barracks after moving out of Sadeas's warcamp. Hoid knew Kaladin had lost the flute and was annoyed and disappointed; Kaladin was apologetic but still did not seem to grasp the flute's significance. Torol Sadeas found the flute and had possession of it before his death, and Hoid wanted it back. If Hoid were to recover the flute, he would not let Kaladin have it again.
Shallan later encountered Hoid in Kholinar, telling the story of Queen Tsa. After finishing the story, Hoid remarked to Shallan that he missed his flute. A year later, Rock berated Kaladin again for losing it just before he departed for the Horneater Peaks. During the occupation of Urithiru that occurred shortly thereafter, Hoid managed to draw Kaladin away from the nightmares Odium was sending him into another dream; as he told Kaladin a story about a dog and a dragon, Design accompanied Hoid in the background on his old flute.
Lift found the flute that used to belong to Hoid before Urithiru's occupation. She got it from the bin of a merchant in Urithiru who sold salvage from the Shattered Plains in the Breakaway, and Dabbid recognized it as Kaladin's when he saw it. After Urithiru was freed, Lift returned it to Kaladin via Dalinar.
- Hoid's flute may be related to Meridas Amaram's collection of flutes.
- The origins of Hoid's flute will be revealed at some point in a future work.
- How the flute ended up in the salvage bin in Urithiru is significant, but the identity of the owner of the shop is not.
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