Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Rhythm of War Read-Along Discussion: Chapters Four and Five

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Welcome back to the read-along post for discussion of this week’s preview chapters of Rhythm of War! Alice and I are so excited to dig into this week’s material, and we’re so happy to have you along for the ride.

If this is your first time joining us, in the article we’ll bring up any relevant plot points or character progression notes that we feel are worthy of discussion, as well as putting in some reminders to things that you may have forgotten from previous books (or things you may never have picked up on to begin with, like the existence of the Aimians, which is pretty subtle and Easter-egg-y). Remember that the comments section is available to you for any comments you have on the chapters for this week, for everything from simple squee-ing over how much you liked something to in-depth theory-crafting. Just be respectful of others’ opinions and have fun!

Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the entirety of the series up until now—if you haven’t read ALL of the published entries of the Stormlight Archive, best to wait to join us until you’re done.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Shallan/Kaladin
WHERE: The Shattered Plains/Hearthstone
WHEN: RoW Day 1 (The same day as the previous chapters. Let’s just go with approximate RoW days for the timeline, okay?)

Radiant/Veil/Shallan are taken to be initiated into the secret society of the Sons of Honor, but they decide that their plans have to be accelerated when the Sons let on that they have a spy in Dalinar’s inner circle. Unfortunately, Adolin misinterprets what’s happening and his men swoop in to “save” Shallan just as she’s finally about to be brought to Ialai.

Kaladin and the other Windrunners engage in combat with Leshwi and her Fused over Hearthstone. Kaladin fights a one-on-one battle with Leshwi, with his squad members one by one checking on him to make sure he’s all right. He’s been suffering from nightmares and not sleeping, and it seems as though those closest to him are starting to take notice. The creepy-red-light-teleporting-Fused shows up again, but only briefly… then Roshone mentions that some prisoners are being held in the mansion, and he and Godeke the Edgedancer head off to rescue them.

Overall Reactions

She’s intrigued by the airship, Kaladin thought, following. She likely wants to gather as much information about it as she can. In Jasnah’s interviews with the two Heralds—who had lived thousands of years—it had come out that they too were amazed by this creation. As incredible as it seemed, modern artifabrians had discovered things that even the Heralds hadn’t known.

A: I have to say how much fun it is to see the ancient ones—both the Heralds and the Fused—having their socks knocked off by the creativity of the modern Rosharans. Thank you, Taln, for giving them time!

L: Yeah, this is incredibly cool. I always like seeing how technological advancements in fantasy books happen in regards to magic systems, and Sanderson is an absolute master of this. ::looks sideways at Mistborn era two::

“We already know,” the man said, chuckling. “We have a source far closer to [Dalinar Kholin] than you.”

L: Oooooooooh! Now here’s a fantastic hook!

A: Granted that they don’t know who Shallan is, it’s disconcerting that they think they have someone close to Dalinar, and Shallan has no clue who it might be!

A: Other than that, my general reaction is amusement at Shallan’s spying, and a big Wheeee! for Kaladin fighting in the air again. This suits him so much better than skulking around pretending to be a refugee. It’s a little concerning, though, to see how worried the Windrunners are, always checking on him. It would appear that something has been developing recently, and it doesn’t look good.

L: Yeah, Kaladin’s so much more at home in the air. It’s always nice to see him soaring.

Humans

The Windrunners rose around Kaladin in a defensive spread. They hung in the air like no skyeel ever could: motionless, equidistant.

Below, refugees stopped—despite the chaos of the evacuation—to stare up through the awespren at the sentinels in blue. There was something natural about the way Windrunners swooped and banked, but it was another matter altogether to be confronted by the surreal sight of a squad of soldiers hanging in the sky as if on wires.

A: Oh, what a mental image! And it’s funny, but until this scene, I never really thought about what this would look like. Awe-inspiring indeed!

L: The thing about the wires reminds me of Kung Fu movies, and that’s absolutely how I see the Windrunners movement! That and stage productions of Peter Pan, when you see Peter just hanging there in mid-air.

“The town’s new leaders keep prisoners in the manor’s stormcellar, Brightlord,” Roshone was saying, pointing at his former dwelling. “There are currently only two people there, but it would be a crime to abandon them.”

“Agreed,” Dalinar said. “I’ll send one of the Edgedancers to free them.”

“I will accompany them,” Roshone said, “with your permission. I know the layout of the building.”

A: I wonder what made Roshone step up and take active responsibility, as he seems to have done. He’s a very different man than the one we saw in the beginning of Oathbringer, much less the vicious rat he was in The Way of Kings. Maybe it was as simple as unequivocally losing all his privilege, and needing to prove to himself that there was a way to actually be a leader anyway.

L: Amazing what a little perspective in regards to your privilege will do to change your world view.

A: Right? It’s actually kind of a beautiful thing. Up until now, he claimed his position by right of dahn and nothing else, but when the fit hit the shan, both Roshone and Laral—even in positions of servitude—became much better leaders for their people than they’d ever been. (Well, Laral was fairly solid already in terms of seeing the responsibility as well as the privilege, but Roshone is improved beyond measure. That Sanderson, creating redemption arcs for people and making me believe them!!)

L: …I still don’t want one for Moash though.

A: #noredemption

Singers/Fused

They’d learned much about the Fused from the Herald Ash. Each of those Heavenly Ones was an ancient entity; ordinary singers had been sacrificed, giving up their bodies and lives to host a Fused soul.

A: I’m going to assume from here on out that anything we learn about the Fused, and which Our Heroes have no other logical way of learning, will be information gleaned from Ash. It’s a good way to explain a lot of knowledge!

Also, in case you aren’t tired of hearing me hate on it, that whole thing about ordinary singers giving up their bodies to host a Fused soul still gives me the creeps.

L: Mmhmm, that’ll never not be creepy. At least they do seem to have to give consent, but even so…

Yes, this was Leshwi. A leader among the Fused—high enough that the others deferred to her, but not so high that she stayed behind during fights. A status similar to Kaladin’s own.

A: So here’s Leshwi again. We met her back in Oathbringer; she’s the one Moash killed when he was travelling with Graves & Co. Later, she’s in Kholinar, where she frees Moash, and later takes him to Hnanan for the assignment of killing Jezrien. Afterwards, she’s the one who gives him Jezrien’s Honorblade and the name Vyre. (Keep in mind, of course, that Kaladin doesn’t know any of that.)

L: Obligatory f*** Moash, since I haven’t yet in this series of articles.

In small-scale skirmishes, the Heavenly Ones preferred to wait for opportunities to fight one-on-one, instead of doubling up on enemies. It wasn’t always so—Kaladin had twice been forced to fight multiples at once—but the more Kaladin fought these creatures, the more he respected their ways. He hadn’t expected to find honor among the enemy.

L: Honestly I hadn’t expected this either, so it’s nice to see.

A: It’s almost like a formal contest rather than an actual war. I wonder if it was that way in the past—or rather, for how long it was that way, because it has to be a carryover.

… the Heavenly Ones were ancient, practiced, and cunning. They had trained for millennia with their powers, and they could fly forever without running out of Voidlight. They only drained it to heal, and—he’d heard—to perform the occasional rare Lashing.

A: I’m sure this has been noted before, but do you suppose it’s safe to assume that the reason the Fused can hold Voidlight so perfectly is that they store it in their gemhearts instead of their bodies?

L: That seems to scan for me, but here’s my question: if that’s true, that would mean that their gemhearts are perfect gems, right? So why isn’t there a huge cache of these lying around? Perfect gems are exceedingly rare. I know that the Parsh/Singers/Listeners/etc were always very particular about how their corpses were dealt with (namely, that they weren’t to be touched) but doesn’t that mean that there should be perfect gemstones lying around all over the place on the Shattered Plains, from corpses that have decayed and left them behind? Even the parshmen/women, before they were awakened, would have left these behind, were this true.

A: Yeah, that’s a snag in the logic, because I cannot imagine humans losing that particular bit of knowledge and not taking advantage of it. I’m not sure of anything here, so let’s hold these theories loosely. Is it possible that Voidlight is just easier to contain than Stormlight? That could be another reason. Readers, what are your interpretations of this? What do you think is going on?

Leshwi’s spear was lined with a silvery metal that resisted Shardblade cuts. More importantly, it was set with a gemstone at its base. If the weapon struck Kaladin, that gemstone would suck away Kaladin’s Stormlight and render him unable to heal—a potentially deadly tool against a Radiant, even one infused by Dalinar’s perpendicularity.

L: Silvery material = aluminum, right?

A: I wish I knew! I’ve generally assumed any reference to a silvery metal meant aluminum, but several recent discussions have made me less confident of that. So I don’t know whether it’s aluminum, or a god-metal we haven’t identified yet. Or something else.

L: That gemstone sucking away Stormlight is a pretty terrifying weapon. I wonder who invented this. Was this an invention from the old days, or do the Fused have fabrial technicians of their own?

A: Good question. We haven’t seen enough from their perspective yet!! Maybe we’ll learn more when we get a Venli POV; those are supposed to be forthcoming in this book. That ability certainly is frightening.

The enemy started humming one of the Fused songs, gritting his teeth as he tried to spear Kaladin.

They saw Kaladin as a challenge, a test. Leshwi always got to fight Kaladin first, but if he disengaged or defeated her, another was always waiting.

A: More of that contest mentality, but what I really loved about this was the Fused humming one of the Rhythms. Kaladin notes this several times throughout this battle, in fact. I know, it’s just Brandon being consistent, but I love these little details. Also, it’s a strong reminder (at least for me) that, Fused or no, these are people, not just enemies. There he goes with the sympathetic opponent again.

He’s out anyway, Kaladin thought as the creature’s arm flopped down at his side, useless and dead from a Shardspear cut. What good is another death?

Kaladin lowered his spear, then gestured to the side. “Go,” he said. Some of them understood Alethi.

The Fused hummed a different tone, then raised his broken spear to Kaladin—holding it in his off hand. The Heavenly One dropped the weapon toward the rocks below.

A: I don’t know why, but I love this little scene. They’ve wordlessly agreed that they don’t have to fight to the death every time.

L: Yeah, this is really nice. And it makes a lot of sense from Kaladin’s point of view. Every time they kill another Fused, that Fused won’t die… but some Singer will, to give over their body to the Fused in question. I’m not sure if Kaladin’s thought that through far enough, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had.

Relationships & Romances

So she’d have to keep working on this—and they’d therefore also have to find more ways to sneak Adolin out to spend time with Shallan. The girl wilted if not given proper loving attention.

L: This makes me really happy to see. I’ve often been a voice of criticism of Sanderson’s handling of romance in his various books, so seeing characters actively admitting that they need some attention like this is, to me, a sign of growth.

A: I do love it. It’s interesting to have it framed in Veil’s perspective; she recognizes Shallan’s need (yay!) but at the same time manages to sneer about it.

Lyn came swooping in, wearing a brilliant blue Alethi uniform, Stormlight puffing from her lips as she spoke. She wore her long dark hair in a tight braid, and carried a functional—but ordinary—lance under her arm. “You all right?”

“I’m fine,” he said.

“You sure?” she said. “You seem distracted. I don’t want anyone stabbing you in the back.”

“Now you care?” he snapped.

“Of course I do,” she said. “Not wanting us to be more doesn’t mean I stopped caring.”

He glanced at her, then had to turn away because he could see genuine concern in her face. Their relationship hadn’t been right. He knew that as well as she did, and the pain he felt wasn’t for the end of that. Not specifically.

A: Hi, Lyn! I needed to include this for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t know whether she’s still a squire, or whether she just hasn’t reached the third Ideal yet, but she doesn’t have a Shardblade. It seems likely that, as with Kara earlier, she may be waiting for a spren to bond. But what I really wanted here was to point out that Lyn was (at least in my interpretation) clear-headed enough to know that the relationship—even with Stormblessed—wasn’t good for either of them. She clearly still cares about him, both as her commander and as a person, but as a ship, it wasn’t the right thing. And he knows it, too. (Now if Syl and Hesina could understand that…)

L: Even though he knows it wasn’t right, he’s still being a little snippy about it, which I actually really like. How many of us are 100% mature and level-headed when it comes to break-ups, even ones where we know that it’s for the best? I like these little reminders that, hey. Kaladin’s still pretty young and inexperienced. He’s, what? 20 in this book? That’s still incredibly young, and while he’s gone through a lot of experiences that have matured him, there are still a lot of areas in which he’s learning and making mistakes as he fumbles his way through life. As do we all.

Bruised & Broken

Radiant didn’t like sneaking about or pretending, but she trusted that Veil and Shallan knew what they were doing. She instead did her part: judging the danger of the current situation.

A: I’m half tempted to put this in Relationships, because… wow, Shallan has a weird intra-self relationship going on here. I often say things like “well, part of me wants to do this thing, and part of me wants to do that”—but with Shallan, it’s terribly, frighteningly different parts of her that are wanting to do the different things. The way each of them has a separate thought process, distinct priorities, and different ways of dealing with the situation—this all combines to remind me that Shallan is one broken girl, and her current state is very worrying.

L: I agree, but at least they’re working together well in this book so far! That’s…. Sort of good, right?

Veil stepped back, letting Shallan take over. Radiant could fight, and Veil could lie. But when they needed a problem solved quickly, it was Shallan’s turn.

A: Well, at least they all realize that Shallan is necessary…

L: Yes, that bodes well. I hope.

“I’ll pass the word,” Teft told Kaladin, but seemed hesitant about him. “You sure you’re well, lad?”

“I’d be better if you’d stop asking.”

“Right, then.” Teft shot into the sky.

Kaladin dusted himself off, eyeing Syl. First Lopen, then Teft, acting like he was fragile. Had Syl told the others to keep watch over him? Just because he was feeling a tad tired lately?

L: It’s never a good sign when your friends are noticing that there’s something off about your emotional wellbeing before you’re willing to admit it…

A part of him wondered if this was why he was so tired lately. Even little skirmishes were a slog, never giving him a break.

A deeper part of him knew that wasn’t the reason at all.

L: Well. At least he recognizes it, even if it is deep down.

“The others keep checking on me,” Kaladin said to her, “like I’m some delicate piece of glasswork ready to fall off the shelf at any moment and break. Is that your doing?”

“I didn’t say anything to them,” she told him. “I know how anxious the nightmares make you. It would be worse if I told anyone about them.”

A: This is heartbreaking. All through this chapter (and the previous ones) there is an oppressive weight of “something wrong” building. Nightmares, sleeplessness, exhaustion… Is it depression, or is there a magical component to it? I know depression can be absolutely debilitating, and in itself could be a perfectly adequate reason for everything he’s feeling. At the same time, I can’t help wondering about outside influences—Odium, or the Unmade—that might be exacerbating it. Lyn, do you have any thoughts on that?

L: I don’t think there’s anything supernatural happening here at all. We have plenty of evidence in the text to point to the fact that he’s got damn good reason for his depression and his PTSD. Sometimes, a chicken is just a chicken.

Weighty Words / The Knights Radiant

“See,” the woman said, looking to one of her companions. “If she’d been a Radiant, she couldn’t have sworn a false oath.”

Oh, you sweet soft breeze, Veil thought. Bless you for being so naive. We’re not all Bondsmiths or their ilk. The Windrunners or Skybreakers might have had trouble being so glib with a broken promise, but Shallan’s order was founded on the idea that all people lied, especially to themselves.

A: Oh, the danger of assumptions! Not that you want people to get into the habit of mistrusting anything Radiants say, but where did they get that idea, anyway? I wonder… If Dalinar’s memoir was blunt about his past, would that have made people think that all Radiants were bound to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

L: Well, history seems to have painted them that way. Rose tinted glasses, and all that. Or… wait a second. Now that I think about it, people really didn’t seem to think kindly of the Knights Radiant before they started returning, did they? That was way back in Way of Kings, and it’s hard to remember that far back, with all the changes in Roshar that have happened since!

A: History seems to have a deeply mixed-up view, honestly. The Recreance and the Heirocracy painted the Radiants in a bad light, but that’s been changing dramatically as people decided that magic-wielding soldiers are a pretty good thing when you’re fighting legends. And there are older stories, of course, where the Radiants weren’t traitors and all that. I almost wonder if the rebound has ordinary people idealizing them, now. And of course, the SoH want to see Radiants as perfect, because it fits their agenda.

L: It’s almost like societal views on history are deeply nuanced and constantly changing. Weird. ::wink::

A: Could it be?? Heh. As an aside… Before anyone complains about “sweet soft breeze” being a ripoff from Game of Thrones, let me point out that GRRM did not, in fact, coin the phrase “sweet summer child.” This has been a way of describing an innocent, naive person since the 1840s, and was very popular during the Victorian period.

L: Today I learned!

Almost all of the surviving original members of Bridge Four had bonded a spren by now, as had many of the second wave—those who had joined him soon after he had moved to Dalinar’s camp. Even some of the third wave—those who had joined the Windrunners after moving to Urithiru—had found a spren to bond.

There, unfortunately, progress stopped. Kaladin had lines of men and women ready to advance and say the oaths, but there weren’t willing honorspren to be found.

A: So the honorspren as a family don’t seem to have agreed with Syl’s choice after all. Some, but not enough to fight the entire array of Fused.

L: That’s assuming that there are enough Honorspren. We don’t really have any idea how many of them there are, do we? We know that there’s a city of them, but we have no way of knowing how well populated it is. In Oathbringer Syl spoke about the fact that it’s rare for new spren to be born, and we know that a lot were dead-eyed after the Recreance. For all we know, maybe they’ve just run out of available living Honorspren!

A: I could well be making unfounded assumptions. With the ship they sailed on in Shadesmar and the way other spren talked about them, I had the impression that there were a lot more than we’ve seen here. Impressions aren’t proof, though, so… dunno? There might only be a handful still resisting the idea of bond—or there might be other reasons, such as Fused attacking their ships and suchlike, that they aren’t available.

L: Fair enough. We just can’t know for certain!

A: Just for clarification… First wave = Bridge Four, The Way of Kings. Second wave = other bridge crews plus some of the Cobalt Guard, right? Basically anyone who served under Kaladin’s leadership during Words of Radiance. Third wave = anyone who joined them during Oathbringer, including a bunch of scouts as well as soldiers. So… who do we have? Lopen and Drehy have clearly joined Kaladin and Teft in the third Ideal; we’ll have to watch for more. Leyten and Skar are here, but it’s not clear what level they’re at. Kara is identified as one who doesn’t have a spren yet, though Kaladin is sure she’d be at the third Ideal if only there were spren available to bond.

A wave of power surged through the battlefield, causing Windrunners to burst alight. Dalinar had fully opened a perpendicularity, becoming a reservoir of Stormlight that would instantly renew any Radiant who drew near. It was a powerful edge, and one of the reasons they continued to risk bringing the Bondsmith on missions.

A: As noted on a previous chapter, Dalinar has gotten way better with this than he was at the end of Oathbringer.

Her recklessness almost cost her as she buzzed a group under the protection of Godeke the Edgedancer.

A: Tai’Shar Godeke! (Excuse me, I’m busy crying over here.)

L: I got you, Alice. For those who never had the pleasure, Steve Godecke was a Sanderson beta reader and a frequent attendee of JordanCon. In the paraphrased words of fellow beta and sometimes contributor here Ross Newberry (who knew Steve far better than I), he was a wonderful and kind soul and dealt with massive health problems in a serene and uplifting way, with unshakable faith. Even when his disability got in the way of communication (he had a trach tube), he soldiered on, did his best, enjoyed his friends, and gave what he could to others. It’s lovely to see him memorialized this way.

A: So perfect. He was a great example of the First Ideal in many ways. Brandon offered to tell Steve the whole plot of the SA, but he declined; he said that the joy was in the reading. Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.

L: ::sniffles::

A: Excuse me while I wipe the tears off my keyboard again. He was—is—an inspiration.

“Squires beneath rank CP4, you drop to the ground and guard the civilians—don’t pick a fight with a Fused unless they come at you first.

L: I just want to note that this is an interesting ranking system, and I hope we find out more about what it means at some point.

A: Indeed! It’s great that they came up with a way to designate who does what—but I want to know who and what… :D

When Rock saw Kaladin gesturing, the large Horneater snatched a spear from a pile placed there and Lashed it into the air.

L: Cool to see Rock using squire powers here!

Windspren darted from the sky and fell in beside him as he curved in a gut-wrenching turn,

L: Here we go again with the windspren gathering around him. The theory is that eventually they’re going to wind up forming Shardplate, if only Kaladin could swear that darn next Ideal!

A: Right‽ I’m dying to see the Plate form for reals, right there on the page.

Red was the first one they’d embedded into the Sons of Honor, but his persona—that of a darkeyed workman—hadn’t been important enough to get any real access.

A: And there we have our first confirmed Lightweaver squire-turned-Radiant. At least, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have tried embedding him if he couldn’t maintain the illusion with his own powers instead of needing Shallan close by, right?

Secret Societies

They suspected Ialai had taken over the cult, now that Amaram was dead. Her faction was planning to seize the Oathgate at the center of the Shattered Plains. Unfortunately, Radiant didn’t have proof of these facts, and she would not move against Ialai without solid proof. Dalinar agreed with her, particularly after what Adolin had done to Ialai’s husband.

Too bad he didn’t find a way to finish off the pair of them, Veil thought.

That would not have been right, Radiant thought back. Ialai was no threat to him then.

Shallan didn’t agree, and naturally Veil didn’t either, so Radiant let the matter drop.

A: Aside from more of Shallan’s personalities arguing with each other, and the fact that Shallan didn’t have much chance to know Ialai, I keep wondering why Dalinar didn’t recognize the threat Ialai posed. We saw in his flashbacks that he knew her for a manipulative and very clever schemer. Sure, he feels guilty about his son killing her husband, but it seems like he ought to be more concerned. Then again, I guess Shallan is here looking for proof, and they’re right not to do too much without proof, so… maybe? But I don’t trust any organization that involves Ialai Sadeas.

L: To be fair, he knew what a snake Torol Sadeas was too. Even after he abandoned them to die in Way of Kings Dalinar never took direct action against him. This is par for the course, for Dalinar.

A: The Sons of Honor, though… have they always been this overdramatic?

L: I don’t know but I hope so. I love it.

A group of people in black robes stood around her, each holding a brightly shining diamond broam in one palm. She blinked at the sharp light. Their hoods looked a fair bit more comfortable than her sack. Each robe was embroidered with the Double Eye of the Almighty, and Shallan had a fleeting thought, wondering at the seamstress they’d hired to do all this work. What had they told her? “Yes, we want twenty identical, mysterious robes, sewn with ancient arcane symbols. They’re for… parties.”

A: LOL. If there were a release party, it would be hilarious for a whole group to show up in these outfits.

L: Don’t give me ideas, Alice. For… you know. Eventual real-world-gatherings, when they someday happen again.

Veil gazed up with wonder and confusion, then shied back against the chasm wall, startling a cremling with dark purple colorings.

A: Oh, hello there, friend Sleepless. How are you?

L: A reminder for anyone who may be scratching their heads thinking, what? Read this page on the Coppermind.

A: Heh. I find it … interesting, that the Sleepless are apparently investigating the Sons of Honor. Or are they following Shallan? Either way, here they are.

“We guided the return of the Radiants,” the man said. “Have you wondered why they appeared? Why all of this—the Everstorm, the awakening of the parshmen—is happening? We orchestrated it. We are the grand architects of the future of Roshar.”

A: Well, if you’re going to have delusions, you might as well go for the really satisfying ones! (Also, please note that this is the source of the title for chapter 4.) Fortunately for my sanity, Veil clarifies what the reader has been thinking all along…

Mraize had explained about this group and their efforts to bring back the Heralds—who had actually never been gone. Gavilar had led them along, used their resources—and their hearts—to further his own goals. During that time, they’d briefly been important movers in the world.

A: Speaking of secret societies, there’s Mr. Ghostblood rearing his ugly head. He seems to have been telling the truth, though. Come to think of it, he mostly does tell the truth… just not all of it, and often phrased in misleading ways.

But back to the Sons of Honor and their delusions…

“We serve the rightful queen of Alethkar,” the woman finally said.

“Ialai?” Veil breathed. “Is she here?”

A: Seriously? In what firemoss hallucination is Ialai the “rightful queen” of anything? I could see Navani, as Gavilar’s widow, and obviously Jasnah as Gavilar’s daughter and Elhokar’s sister, but how in the storms does Ialai come into any kind of succession? She doesn’t even have the Kholin’s “right of conquest” to claim. Bizarre.

L: I guess if they don’t believe in succession by birthright, and rather by some other metric like intellect or something, this could make sense. They’ve only been a unified country since Gavilar anyway, so we’ve only had one generation to establish rule by succession.

A: I’ll totally agree that birthright isn’t necessarily a good way to choose a good leader. For that matter, I’m not all that fond of conquest-right, either. I’m just baffled by that “rightful queen” thing, because there’s no logic by which she can make that claim.

“Rise, Daughter of Honor,” the man said.

L: You know, I never really thought about the significance of this wording until just now, seeing it like this. I know, “Sons of Honor” has been the title all along, but the Stormfather calls Kaladin a son of Honor all the time, doesn’t he? I wonder if there’s more to this name in the case of this secret society than we’re getting. Have they appropriated a more ancient, meaningful title than they know?

A: It could well be. The Stormfather applies that title to both Kaladin and Dalinar, and the Nightwatcher uses it for Dalinar a couple of times. (Then again, she also calls him “Son of Odium…”) Is it possible that the Radiants were all called sons/daughters of Honor at one time, and there’s just enough legend left that these goons appropriated it?

Veil steeled herself as a cultist snatched away her notebook, probably to try applying charcoal to the other pages, which would of course do nothing.

A: Without quoting the extended passage, these people are so gullible. They must drive Ialai nuts sometimes; she was always more clever—and more suspicious—than this. An Illusion-breaker fabrial? It’s intricate and expensive; must be for real. Random tradeswoman claims access to Navani’s schematics? Oh, cool! Must be for real! (Okay, I’ll admit we know a lot more than they do, and Shallan’s lightweavings are convincing, but she plays these people so easily.)

What We Missed (In the Timeskip)

Would Leshwi be among them? He hoped she would, as they needed a rematch. He wasn’t certain he’d be able to recognize her, as she’d died last time. He couldn’t claim credit; Rock’s daughter Cord had done the deed with a wellplaced arrow from her Shardbow.

A: Welp. In the timeskip, Rock’s daughter has acquired a Shardbow. Does that imply that she has also acquired Shardplate to enable her to draw it? So far as we know, the only person who’s ever drawn one without Plate is Rock; maybe it’s unfair, but I tend to doubt Cord is as strong as her father.

L: I can’t wait to find out more about this, because it seems like Cord’s become a certifiable badass and I am here for it. There’s also this:

He waved to his older children—including Cord, who carried Amaram’s old Shardbow strapped to her back and wore the full set of Shardplate she’d found in Aimia.

L: She’d found in AIMIA? What?! I can’t wait to get this story.

A: TELL ME NOW!!! (Okay, I forgot it was in this chapter that we learned where she got it. Oops.) So casually dropped in there, though, that Rock’s daughter “found” a set of Shardplate.

Kaladin had some three hundred Windrunners at this point—though only around fifty full knights.

A: THREE HUNDRED WINDRUNNERS. Well, we definitely missed that little growth spurt during the skip! Of course, many of them are squires, but that’s still quite the force. Squires and second-Ideal bonded Radiants might not have their Shardblades yet, but they can still fly. That’s got to be very reassuring when you’re on a flying ship and need protection.

L: This is so, so cool. I don’t blame people for flocking to the Windrunners, either. Kaladin’s a born leader and inspires so much awe and respect from people that it makes sense for people to want to join up and emulate him!

A: Plus, who doesn’t want to fly?

L: Fair point.

Fabrial Technology & Spheres

A: Navani’s epigraphs in these two chapters are all about moving Stormlight from one gemstone to another. I’m glad to finally have evidence that this is part of fabrial science! It also seems to be rather a trade secret among the various groups of artifabrians, creating a headache for Navani. At this point, though, she only seems concerned with drawing the Stormlight out of a gemstone in order to pull a spren into it.

You know, it’s kind of hard to talk about epigraphs when you haven’t read them all, because you don’t know where they’re going!

The fabrial was set with two bright garnets, and had a series of intricate wire loops.

Shallan was particularly proud of that design. And although Veil had initially found it showy, she now recognized that was good for this group. They seemed to trust it implicitly as they held it up to her and pressed some buttons. The garnets went dark, and the figure proclaimed, “She bears no illusions.”

Selling them that device had been delicious fun.

A: Okay, that totally cracked me up. Delicious indeed! I’m assuming that pressing the buttons just drained the Stormlight somehow, which in itself is interesting, given Navani’s epigraphs about how to draw Stormlight out of gemstones to trap a spren. But creating a showy-looking fake fabrial for the sole purpose of letting these idiots think they could detect a Lightweaver’s illusions… that’s priceless.

L: I also love that it seems as though Veil and Shallan worked together to make this.

Syl appeared in the air before him in the shape of a young woman, hands on her hips. “And don’t you dare return!” she shouted up at the departing Fused. “Or we’ll… um… come up with a better insult than this one!” She glanced at Kaladin. “Right?”

A: This has no home, but it makes me laugh, so… here it is.

L: Bless Syl.

A: She has so many good lines in this chapter. But everyone has just read it, so I (barely) refrained from quoting all of them.

 

We’ll be leaving the speculation to you in the comments, so have fun and remember to be respectful of the opinions of others! Also, while spoilers are not even a thing in this forum, do be careful out there on the rest of the interwebs, and don’t spoil things for those who are trying not to read the previews.

Alice would just like to take this opportunity to congratulate Lyndsey on the successful Kickstarter and the publication of her novel Greencloak. Well done! It was so satisfying to watch the numbers climb and reach the stretch goals.

Lyndsey would like to take this opportunity to thank Alice for that, and all the Kickstarter backers for their support. She’s so excited to see what the reactions to her book will be! If you’re an aspiring author, a cosplayer, or just like geeky content, follow her work on Facebook or Instagram.

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