Lyn: Welcome back, Edgedancers! We’re getting close to the Oathbringer release now (one month! ONLY ONE MONTH!) and whether you’ve been reading the preview chapters here on Tor.com or holding out for the full book, things are starting to feel more real! Until that massive tome is in all of our greedy hands, however, we’ve got this reread to tide you over. And with an Everstorm on the way, pancakes to eat, and scribes to harass, things are beginning to heat up for everyone’s favorite Edgedancer!
Chapter 13: Lift arrives in the Grand Indicium and confounds a fat scribe. The scribe sends for Hauka, the guard from the beginning of the story whom Lift evaded. Lift manages to get a message off to Gawx before the guards arrive to arrest her, and she Awesomes her way out of their hands until a message comes back from Gawx instructing the scribes to help her.
Chapter 14: While ordering around her new squad of scribes, Lift learns about the oncoming Everstorm. She demonstrates the type of “strangeness” she wants the scribes to look for, then sits and waits (and eats pancakes) while they hunt through the records. A guard arrives to inform them that everyone needs to take cover for the impending storm. As the scribes scramble to find safety, Lift realizes that Darkness already had an investigation underway… The results of which she can steal for her own purposes.
Kadasixes and Stars
It was good to remember that life wasn’t only about scratchy things. Sometimes it was about soft pillows, fluffy cake. Nice words. Mothers.
L: ::clears throat, begins to sing:: Raindrops on Shardblades and whiskers on axehounds, bright glowing spheres and freshly baked pancakes, grasses that retract and skyeels with wings, these are a few of my favorite things…
Alice: Spren-bonded horses and chicken in curry, cremlings with purpose and scribes in a hurry, Storms full of power, a Wit who can sing, these are a few of my favorite things…
L: Aw man, you managed to get the rhyme! I couldn’t find anything appropriate to rhyme with either hounds or pancakes. ::sulk:: This round goes to you, Alice. So… I admit I only chose this one so I could have an excuse to Stormlight-ify a Sound of Music song. Clap me in irons and take me away, but do it in song in an obvious way!
A: Don’t take her away! I’d never survive this reread without my Lyn to connive!
Still, this was one of the quotations I’d marked, because it’s a peek into the well-buried wistful side of Lift. Or… formerly well-buried, anyway, because we’re seeing it more and more as we go.
L: I hope Lift gets herself a mother figure sometime soon. Kid’s breaking my heart.
A: Hear, hear! Poor child.
Storm might be coming, but people will still need to eat. The world ends tomorrow, but the day after that, people are going to ask what’s for breakfast.
L: Once again, Lift displaying a surprising amount of wisdom for her age. Tragedies happen; homes are destroyed and lives are lost, but for those who survive, life must go on. It’s a sobering thought, but also a somewhat comforting one.
A: Incidentally, I love the image of Lift lecturing the emperor of Azir (well, okay, Gawx) on his duty. It’s a very Lift-ian, pragmatic, earthy sort of insight: the kind that comes from experiencing heartbreak and finding that you still … go on.
L: I believe Doctor Malcolm in Jurassic Park said it best:
“She’d presented the card, where she’d sketched the words that Wyndle had formed for her with vines.”
L: I find it really interesting that Wyndle can read and write. For some reason I never really thought that spren would have much use for a written form of communication. Granted, Wyndle has proven himself to be a very scholarly fellow, and maybe he learned it in those lessons he’d sat in on for Lift. But let’s take a step back and consider this from a broader perspective. Do the spren residing in Shadesmar have a written language? Several languages? How do they communicate over long distances? Is there even any communication, or are they insular? There’s just so much we don’t know about Shadesmar!
A: Huh. And here’s me, just giggling about the mental image of Wyndle forming himself into letters for Lift to draw. Now that you mention it, though, how much are the spren aware of the human version of written communication, and do they have any need for it themselves? The “deleted scene” about Jasnah certainly implied that there’s a functioning civilization of some sort in Shadesmar, so I do hope we learn more about it someday.
“Mistress!” Wyndle cried. “Oh, mistress. Don’t get stabbed! Are you listening? Avoid getting hit by anything sharp! Or blunt, actually!”
A: Okay, I’m horribly predictable, but I just have to chortle every time Wyndle goes off like this. I do think our little cultivationspren is developing a real affection for the crazy child.
Journey before Pancakes
L: Ah-hah! We finally have some new pancakes to talk about!
“It was a dense variety, with mashed-up paste in the center that was too sticky and salty. The one beside it was covered in little crunchy seeds.”
L: Hmmm… sticky and salty, eh?
L: I did warn you that I’m a denizen of the gutter, no? Anyway, moving on. I did a quick search on foods like this, and it seems as if this is pretty common in Asian countries. Miso in Japan, doenjang in Korea, chunjang in China… (I’ve only had miso personally, so I could be wrong on the taste of the others.)
A: Well, you’re miles ahead of me in the pancake department no matter how you look at it. For reasons unknown, my foody adventures have gone in other directions.
L: As for the seeds… chia? Sesame?
A: Poppy? Coriander? Caraway?
L: Whatever they are, they sprout and start growing a bit later in the chapter, so they must not be cooked!
“One has sugar in the center.”
L: This must be one we’ve seen already. In chapter 8 one of the varieties was described as being sweet…
Friends and Strangers
“She’s been seen trading spheres for ones of lesser value. … The report says she takes money from criminal enterprises as donations, then secretly transfers them to other groups, after taking a cut, to help confuse the trail of spheres.”
L: Something about this is tickling my poor lethargic memory, but I’ll be hanged if I can remember what it is. If it’s true (I… I think it is?) I like that it’s a clear example that not all the proto-Radiants are entirely good people. Of course… it could just be that we’re not seeing her side of things yet. Kaladin and Shallan did some pretty terrible things, depending on whose perspective you’re considering (Oathbringer PREVIEW CHAPTERS SPOILER, highlight to read: and don’t even get me started on Dalinar).
A: Being somewhat simplistic in my approach to these things, I assumed that “trading spheres for ones of lesser values” was a matter of trading larger dun spheres for smaller infused ones, but on reflection, I’m not sure if that makes sense. Stump doesn’t actually know she’s using the Stormlight yet, does she? Beyond that, I’m not sure how much of the report I believe. It could totally be based on what they expect someone to be doing with a sphere-trading gig.
Or it could be true.
Storming Mother of the World and Father of Storms Above
“Voidbringers,” he said, voice small. “It’s happening. Sweet virtue… the Desolations have returned…”
L: Okay, so for starters I like that he says “sweet virtue.” This is a great curse and I don’t think we’ve heard it before. I like it enough to actually use it in day-to-day life! Secondly, I love how shaken he sounds here. Like he’d been trying to deny it to himself and now he no longer can. Poor Wyndle.
“Tashi,” a scribe whispered. “God of Gods and Binder of the World!”
A: This isn’t one I’d use, obviously, but it’s cool, and it might give a hint as to who “Tashi” is supposed to be. Or not, I don’t know.
L: Binder of the world? Interesting. With all this talk of uniting people coming from Dalinar’s corner, I have to wonder if there’s a correlation.
Darkness & Co.
She hated him more for the fact that it seemed like he did what he did without a shred of guilt.
L: Again… my personal theory is that the guilt – his very humanity – has been repressed to the point of nonexistence in order to do the things he’s been forced to do. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if, when we eventually get some sort of backstory for him, we discover that he started out on this mission of his hating every minute of everything he did.
A: Well, we know that he was the last of the Heralds to accept the Skybreakers as “his” people, or his responsibility in any way. I wonder if that ties in — either in terms of just being naturally antisocial, or in not wanting to be linked to their notions of justice. Did the pressure of the Ideals force him into this rejection of guilt along with humanity?
These supple Azish coat and robes were the wardrobe equivalent of silky pudding.
L: This is going to be my new go-to description for satin.
Lift wouldn’t have thought that they’d give scribes so much food. What did they need so much energy for?
L: Aside from the fat-shaming Lift’s doing here (we can forgive her, since she doesn’t know any better), I just find it continuously fascinating how everything for Lift revolves around food. Of COURSE she’d frame this scribe’s body in regards to energy output – it’s so integral to her very being. Lift can’t even seem to conceive of someone enjoying food just for the sake of the taste and the enjoyment of it – it’s all about practicality, about energy. She’s had to scrounge for every scrap, so someone eating to savor it must be such a foreign concept to her.
“They even had this spren that hung out here, one Lift had only seen a couple of times. … Wyndle called them concentrationspren.”
L: Always cool to see a new type of spren show up.
A: There must be a whole huge section of the Dragonsteel Wiki devoted to the different spren, what they look like, what it takes to draw them, etc.
L: I look forward to the day that we eventually get a “Cosmere Compendium” like A World of Ice and Fire or the Wheel of Time Companion. So far as I know, no such thing is in the works (yet) but someday I bet it’ll exist!
A: It has to! Possibly not in my lifetime, but it has to happen someday.
“…they had so much starvin’ paper in the place that they needed parshmen to cart it about for them!”
L: Uh-oh. That’s not gonna bode well for them when the Everstorm shows up!
A: Well, the job market’s gonna open up a bit, for anyone willing to do the work.
L: I was more thinking that they’re going to create a ton of havoc inside those closed doors… but yeah, replacing all that free slave labor will be a hassle too. Maybe they can employ some of Stump’s poor orphans.
A: I love that idea! There are also a lot of people out there in the immigrant quarter who might jump at the chance. Question, though… if the parshmen were locked inside the Indicium, would the Everstorm affect them? I don’t think we know the answer to that yet.
L: Hunh. That’s a good question… Do they have to be actually out in the storm for it to affect them, or does whatever power changes them do so through barriers like walls?
Wyndle grew up along the wall and sent vines across the nameplates. “My, my. These are important reeds. Let’s see… third one over, it will go to the royal palace scribes.”
L: I want to know what those other nameplates said! Who else can this scribe contact?! My curiosity is piqued!
A: Everyone who is Anyone has a spanreed here, right? Not in this room, of course – this would be only the really important ones, and I too would like to know where they connect. Do you suppose they’re mostly from the Azish empire or would someone like Jasnah or Navani qualify for this exalted space?
L: I’d imagine that if this scribe is as important as all that, she’s probably got lines to all the major players! Even… ::shudder:: Taravangian.
A: In any case, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Tashikk is the main information relay point for the planet, and Yeddaw itself appears to play a significant role, though it’s possible there are other Tashikki cities who also have a similar facility. Back in WoR, Tyn had a spanreed in Tashikk, as did the Ghostbloods and Dalinar’s scribes. Shallan also went to one of the warcamp’s information stations to have a letter sent to Valath via Tashikk, to then be sent by messenger to her brothers on the family estate. So it definitely seems to be the information hub of the world.
Then, slowly, all three looked up at Lift with wide eyes.
L: This is just so satisfying.
A: Yeah, how about a little proper respect around here now? Heh.
“He’s right about that … your Pancakefulness.”
L: I adore the pun on this. Full of pancakes indeed!
A: And we won’t mention anything else she’s full of…
L: Hey! I’m supposed to be the potty-mouth around here!
“When’s it going to hit?”
“The storm? It’s hard to judge, but it’s slower than a highstorm, by most reports.”
L: I wonder why it’s slower. Do we have any WoB about this, Alice?
A: I … don’t think so? But Ross Newberry is working on a Stormwarden sort of article that may, perhaps, explain some of the dynamics. We can hope!
“But what of the Voidbringers they say are in the storms?”
“I’m workin’ on that part,” [Lift] said.
L: Lift, for Honor’s sake, LET US INTO THAT HEAD OF YOURS! What are you planning really?
“Lift, this is your home now. You don’t need to live on the streets anymore.”
L & A: ::sniff::
“Anybody glowing, like they’re some stormin’ benevolent force for good or some such crem?”
L: ::gigglesnort:: I feel like this should be engraved on a plaque under a portrait of Kaladin. “Some stormin’ benevolent force for good or some such crem” just fits him so nicely.
A: So Kaladin can scowl at his scowling portrait? That would be pretty entertaining, actually.
A: Also, have you noticed that if you say scowl too often, it ceases to sound like a real word?
…spren acting odd every morning outside a woman’s house unless she left out a bowl of sugar water.
L: This is such an odd little thing to mention. I feel as if the others are red herrings, but this one… this one made me pause for some reason. I have a suspicion that someday (maybe years down the line) we’re going to find that there’s more to this.
A: It would be a very Sandersonian thing to do, wouldn’t it?
Well, okay then. Things are definitely speeding up, and the Avalanche approaches along with the Everstorm. And sunset. Join us in the comments, and let’s chat! (Just remember to white out any spoilers for the early-release chapters of Oathbringer!)
Lyndsey will be taking a road trip through haunted locations in Massachusetts this weekend with a couple of friends and fellow amateur paranormal investigators, in honor of the season. She invites you to follow her spooky adventures on facebook or twitter.
Alice has very little of interest to say about herself this week, as she’s mostly focused on middle-school volleyball these days. However, she would like to remind everyone to keep an eye out for more Stormlight-related articles here by various authors, such as the above-mentioned Stormwarden post from Ross, another Cosplay article from Lyn, and several others in the not-quite-five weeks leading up to the Oathbringer release.