Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Rhythm of War Read-Along Discussion: Chapter Fifteen

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Welcome back to another Tuesday, and another discussion of the events in this week’s preview chapter! If you haven’t read it yet… what are you doing here?! Go check it out!

Fair warning. This week’s discussion is going to be full of discussion about Warbreaker and broader Cosmere theory, so be prepared for that.

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.

In this week’s discussion we also discuss some things from Warbreaker and overall Investiture theory in the Cosmere Connections section, so if you’re unfamiliar with that book or the general theories, best to give that section a pass. Though… from here on out, it’s going to get harder and harder to “skip” stuff like this. The interconnectivity of the books is getting more blatant, so we may begin just pointing out which books are referenced in the relevant sections rather than giving direct spoiler warnings here in the front matter.

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin
WHERE: Urithiru
WHEN: Day 11 (ten days after the mission to Hearthstone)

Kaladin is formally relieved of duty, and takes a trip down to visit Zahel, looking for some guidance on what he should do with his life next. On the way there, he runs into Rlain and tells him about how he’s forced an honorspren into accepting a bond with him, but Rlain refuses. Once Kaladin finds Zahel, he asks if he can become an ardent. Zahel tests him with a little duel, then sits him down and dumps a whole lot of Cosmere theory on the poor bridgeboy’s head.

Overall Reactions

“An honorspren?” Rlain said. “Who is willing to bond with a listener? Truly?”

“Vratim’s old spren, Yunfah. He was delaying choosing someone new, so Syl and I gave him an ultimatum: Choose you or leave. This morning, he came to me and agreed to try to bond with you.”

L: ::wince:: Oh, Kaladin. No. No no no.

A: As a slight aside, Lyn & I knew about this (obviously) when we read along with the earlier chapter—which is why we went back and carefully reviewed our reactions from the beta, to make sure we weren’t being influenced by later knowledge.

L: This is one of those cases where being beta readers makes our job here much, much harder…

A: Based on what Kaladin said in chapter 10, many of you argued that Kaladin didn’t order Yunfah to bond Rlain, merely to try to work with him (as I acknowledged in recent comments). If you’ll recall, his words to Yunfah at the time were, “I forbid you to bond anyone else unless you try to work with Rlain first.” Now you see Kaladin’s own thoughts on it, and it looks pretty obvious that he considered it essentially an order to form a bond. In Kaladin’s mind, there was no “try” about it.

L: Well… we don’t know that he didn’t have another discussion with Yunfah, either. It’s entirely possible that in the interim between scenes, Kaladin had another conversation with a much more direct order.

A: That’s true, particularly if Yunfah tried to get Kaladin to reconsider. I notice that Kaladin apparently didn’t say anything to Rlain until Yunfah agreed—either that, or he hasn’t seen Rlain since they got back. Perhaps despite his apparent confidence, Kaladin really was concerned that Yunfah would nope out.

L: Regardless, however… This reminds me of parents who try to force their children to be friends with the “outsider” or unpopular kids in their classes. Very few people want to be chosen only out of pity, and not for who they really are. I’m reminded of a quote from Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show recently: “Black people want equality, not charity.” While the racism displayed towards Rlain and his people obviously isn’t a 1:1 analogy, there are a lot of similarities. And Rlain is clearly bothered by this:

“Would you take a spren who was forced into the deal, Kaladin?” Rlain asked.

L: The bond between a spren and a Radiant is deeper and more nuanced than just a friendship. It’s so troubling that Kaladin tried to force this. Troubling… but understandable, considering the circumstances. He’s never been in the position that Rlain is, so he can’t see how it’s making his friend feel.

A: That whole “be grateful for what you can get” is just sick-making in the context. ::shudders:: Understandable, perhaps, but still painful. To be fair, there’s a valid reason Kaladin is so confident that “try to work with” equals “form a bond with” Rlain. He’s such a good and honorable person, it’s just unimaginable that a spren wouldn’t take him after an honest attempt. But the spren still shouldn’t be arm-twisted into the attempt.

“I’m not trying to tell you that you shouldn’t think, Rlain,” Kaladin said. “I’m trying to help.”

“I know you are, sir. But I have no interest in taking ‘what I can get.’ And I don’t think you should force a spren into a bond. It will make for a bad precedent, sir.”

L: The key moment, here, I think, is what Kaladin does now. He’s had his mistake pointed out to him, but he doesn’t dig his heels in and insist that he was right, thereby invalidating Rlain’s experience. He almost does, but thankfully he does come to the right conclusion in the end:

And Kaladin hadn’t forced Yunfah. Kaladin had given an order. Sometimes, soldiers had to serve in positions they didn’t want.

Kaladin hated feeling he’d somehow done something shameful, despite his best intentions. Couldn’t Rlain accept the work he’d put into this effort, then do what he asked?

Or maybe, another part of him thought, you could do what you promised him—and listen for once.

L: Atta boy, Kal. I’m so glad to see him continuing to grow in this respect, to analyze his own ingrained prejudices and lack of insight and listen to the disenfranchised around him. It’s a similar situation to when he just assumed that Lyn didn’t want to fight and would rather be a scribe. We consistently see him being confronted on his biases, and after a few moments to process, he shifts his world view.

A: I have to admit, the first part of this quote—the part where he’s being defensive and aggrieved over Rlain’s failure to cooperate—had me worried. (I really hate that attitude. “I worked hard to give you this opportunity, so you have to take it even if you don’t want it. You owe it to me to accept my “gift.” UGH.) That last thought, though. That’s what we, or rather they, needed. Fantastic.

L: But enough about Kaladin and his reaction. I’m so happy to see Rlain stand up for himself, here. Imagine how hard it must have been, to say no to something he wants so badly: the chance to truly belong to Bridge Four, to be a Windrunner in more than just name, and he gives it up because it’s the right thing to do. He won’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, as has been done to his people for so long. I so hope that he does find a spren that truly wants him! Watching his character slowly grow and change has been one of the more rewarding arcs in Bridge Four, in my opinion. Rlain doesn’t solely exist as a foil to teach Kaladin about privilege—he has his own agenda, his own fears and flaws, and he’s working through them like everyone else. I love that about him. I want him to find his place in this new world, and to be happy! And hopefully to become the hero we all know he can be along the way.

Humans

One learned to evaluate soldiers by the way they kept their uniforms. A neatly pressed coat would not win you a battle—but the man who took care to polish his buttons was often also the man who could hold a formation with precision.

L: I’d just like to point out here that this is probably one of the many reasons Kaladin holds Adolin in such high regard (albeit sometimes grudgingly).

A: Nice catch! I hadn’t really connected the two as such. The odd part is that he learned this way to evaluate soldiers while serving under Amaram. Which kind of freaks me out—but it also explains why it was so difficult for Dalinar to believe Kaladin’s accusations against Amaram. /rabbittrail

Singers/Fused

[Rlain] usually wore warform these days, though he’d confessed to Kaladin that he disliked how it made him seem more like the invaders, with their wicked carapace armor. That made some humans distrust him. But workform made people treat him like a parshman. He hated that even more.

L: Understandably so. Would you rather be seen as an enemy to be hated, or a slave to be looked down on? At least the enemy is respected and feared.

A: Not a pleasant choice, and I’d definitely have gone the same way he did. I wonder why he’s not able to take something like nimbleform, though; it’s less armored, and it doesn’t look much like the “slaveform” either.

L: I’m not sure, honestly.

And I can’t get humans to sing the pure tones of Roshar.

L: This whole concept of pure tones connected directly to the planet intrigues me so.

A: Right? I don’t suppose he’s had the opportunity to talk to Navani, or any reason to mention this to her. She thought she heard a tone, a pure note, when Dalinar opened a perpendicularity. And last week one of the Nine made some comment about how humans know little about “the nature of the tones of the world.” Are these all related? It’s such a fascinating concept.

…he didn’t suspect I was a spy. He just thought I was too smart. A clever parshman frightened him. So he offered me up to the bridge crews.” Rlain glanced back at Kaladin. “Wouldn’t want a parshman like that breeding, now would we? Who knows what kind of trouble they would make if they started thinking for themselves?”

L: Oof. This is so, so painful.

A: Ouch.

Bruised & Broken

Kaladin’s anxiety began to subside, and he pushed through the worst of the darkness. He always emerged on the other side. Why was that so difficult to remember while in the middle of it?

L: This is so, so real.

A: Whether it’s day to day, or weeks in between… it is hard to remember when you’re in it.

Kaladin found the experience humiliating. Everyone applauded his heroism even as he was forced out.

L: I can only imagine how hard this must be, for someone who’s wrapped up so much of his sense of worth in his position like this.

A: This is one where I simply cannot relate, because who I am isn’t really defined by what I do. Still, imagination says it would be really hard. He wants so much to protect everyone, and how can he do that now?

L: I can relate. At one point in my life I was bedbound and unable to do any of the things that made me me. It left me feeling very lost and unsure of who I was, if I didn’t have my job or hobbies or any of the other things in my life that I’d come to use to define my sense of self. If you’ve never had this experience, dear reader, I hope you never do. It’s a truly terrible feeling.

“Why do you fight, Kaladin Stormblessed?”

L: Okay, to start with, these words are incredibly powerful spoken all on their own. This gives me shivers. It has the feel of a big, important moment.

A: It reminds me irresistibly of some of those deep questions from Babylon 5—those questions that get to the heart of your motivations. Who are you? What do you want? Why do you fight? What do you fear?

“But your men are now as safe as they could ever be. They can care for themselves. So why do you keep fighting?”

L: A very good question.

“You love the fight, Kaladin. Not with the Thrill that Dalinar once felt, or even with the anticipation of a dandy going to a duel.

“You love it because it’s part of you. It’s your mistress, your passion, your lifeblood.

L: This is really beautiful—and a wonderful analysis of Kaladin and his mindset.

A: Is it really? Does he truly love the fight, or does he fight to protect? Really? I guess he’ll have to figure that out.

L: I guess… I kinda looked at this like, the actual physical expression of martial arts. It can be very freeing and rewarding, even if you’re just doing katas, or integrating sparring. You don’t always have to be fighting to the death, it doesn’t have to be violent. Martial arts can also be almost a dance, a form of physical expression that can be quite beautiful. That’s how I read Zahel’s words here, anyway. I may just be projecting, of course. Katas and forms are almost a form of meditation for me.

A: I’d agree, except that Zahel specifically ruled out dueling, which is (at least that we’ve seen so far) dangerous but usually stops short of killing. So it’s not just the contest, your skill against another’s. And it doesn’t seem to be about the form, it’s about the fight itself, somehow. I … honestly don’t know. Maybe Zahel is right. It’s been hinted ever since Kaladin’s earliest flashbacks, after all that there was something in him that was irresistibly drawn to spear-fighting.

“Return when you hate the fight,” Zahel said. “Truly hate it.”

L: Oof. Wow. This… this hit me hard. I don’t know if I want this for Kaladin, or not. If he loses this one thing that brings him purpose and joy… I’m sure that he would find something else. He would change, for sure, but… would he be the same character we’ve come to know and love? Would it matter, as long as he’s actually happy for a change? This is a really heavy concept.

(This is, of course, assuming that Kaladin ever gets to this place.)

A: While I’m not 100% convinced that Kaladin actually loves the fight, I am convinced that he doesn’t hate it. IMO, he fights because he truly believes it’s the best way to protect the people who need it. I don’t think it’s the only way—but at the same time, I think we do need people like Kaladin, who will use their skill in the fight to protect those who cannot fight for themselves.

Interestingly enough, his father truly hates the fight—at least the kind of fight they’re talking about here—and that’s been a bone of contention throughout the series. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Cosmere Connections

REMINDER: There’s going to be a lot of discussion about Warbreaker in this section, since Zahel is really Vasher from that world. If you’d rather not be spoiled, skip on down to “Fabrial Technology and Spheres.”

“I’m going to—against my better judgment—seek wisdom there.”

L: Oh boy oh boy, here comes Vasher!

A: This made me laugh so hard. Against my better judgement, indeed.

Here, at the outermost of the drying lines, Zahel was carefully hanging up a series of brightly colored scarves.

L: Brightly colored, eh? YOU DON’T SAY

A: What on Roshar would he want brightly colored scarves for? I just cannot imagine. ::snort::

…and he wore a rope for a belt.

L: A rope which, if you’ve read Warbreaker (and for the love of the Stormfather why are you reading this section if you haven’t read Warbreaker) is a weapon, for him.

A: To be fair, everything is a weapon for him, as long as there’s any color nearby. But the rope is often… primed, shall we say?

“Why did you join the ardents?”

“Because I learned that conflict would find men no matter how hard I tried,” he said. “I no longer wanted a part in trying to stop them.”

L: Veeerrrrrry interesting.

A: In context of the ending to Warbreaker, this is indeed interesting. One of those “other names” of his was Warbreaker the Peaceful—the one who ended the Manywar. And then, despite all he’d done, conflicts and wars arose again and again. I can understand why he’d want to just give up on it. It’s an exercise in futility.

“But you couldn’t give up the sword,” Kaladin said.

“Oh, I gave it up. I let go. Best mistake I ever made.”

L: The subtext here, of course, is that Kaladin is speaking in broad terms while Zahel/Vasher is quite clearly referring to one sword in particular. Nightblood.

A: That was a real zinger. It almost sounds like he didn’t intend to give it away, but he made a mistake that let someone else take it from him? But now he’s glad it happened? I really want that story. I wonder if he went to see the Nightwatcher, and ended up inadvertently giving her Nightblood in exchange for the ability to draw in Stormlight.

L: That’s an excellent theory.

Zahel carefully wound one of the scarves around his arm. He had no weapons that Kaladin could see, though that ragged tan robe might conceal a knife or two.

L: Oh boy oh boy. ::grin:: I don’t know what it is about seeing different worlds’ characters go up against one another. It’s like those “matchup” threads that people do, “Who would win, Goku from Dragonball Z or Superman?” There’s just something so inherently satisfying about watching the main characters from two different series canonically interact!

A: This was a great scene. Poor Kaladin—he had no idea what he was up against. I also can’t help wondering how it would look if both of them were able to use all the Investiture and skills they possess. But at this point, it’s more fun—and more important—to see Kaladin fight with a known limitation against an opponent with unknown skills.

A face and figure formed in a nearby sheet, puffing toward Kaladin as if someone were walking through on the other side. He struck immediately, driving his sword through the sheet. It ripped—the point was still sharp enough for that—but didn’t strike anyone beyond.

L: There we go. Zahel’s starting to use some Investiture, here. He’s using Breaths to Awaken inanimate objects. And he continues to do so:

Zahel deflected the strike with his arm, which he’d wrapped with cloth. In his other hand he carried a long scarf that he whipped forward, catching Kaladin’s off hand and wrapping it with shocking tightness, like a coiling whip.

L: This is really a miniscule amount of Breath he’s utilizing for all this, considering how much he certainly has.

A: I just realized… he’s not giving audible commands at all. It’s been too long since I read Warbreaker, but didn’t he always have to speak the commands out loud? If I’m right, and he holds enough Breath to do Mental Command, he’s Tenth Heightening. That’s God-King level. Yikes. The next question would be… can that Heightening be achieved with Stormlight instead of Breaths?

L: Yeah, the main reason he came to Roshar was to be able to use Stormlight rather than depending entirely on Breath, right? Maybe he’s using some sort of combination of the two?

A: Interesting thought. We know that while it would be possible to Awaken using Stormlight, it’s a real trick, and so far all the Awakening we’ve seen has been from Breaths the person brought with them (Azure & Hoid). We also know that Zahel can use Stormlight to replace that weekly Breath he needed back on Nalthis. So… I rather like the idea that he could be sufficiently Invested with Stormlight to essentially be Tenth Heightening, but he still has to use Nalthian Breaths to actually Awaken things. Fortunately, Breath seems to be endlessly reusable…

New recruits were often surprised at how well a nice thick cloth could stop a blade.

L: He’s not wrong, but… in this case, he’s not right, either.

A: Hah! Yeah, Kaladin, you have no idea…

Kaladin didn’t see any Stormlight coming off the ardent, and he had no reason to believe the man could Surgebind . . . but the way the cloth had gripped Kaladin’s arm had been uncanny.

L: It’s a shame that Kaladin doesn’t know as much about Worldhopping as Shallan does, at this point. I do wonder if he’d suspect, if he knew…

The fool woman [Azure] will have to get through Cultivation’s Perpendicularity first, so I won’t hold my Breaths waiting for her to arrive.”

L: Hmm. So… she’s still stuck over in Shadesmar, then? I’m curious how Zahel knows this…

A: Well, Adolin passed on Azure’s message to Zahel, so presumably he also shared what he knew about her plans. If—and it’s a big if—Zahel has a way to know what’s going on in the Peaks around Cultivation’s Perpendicularity, he may have reason to know that she’s not getting back that way any time soon.

“I don’t have to believe,” the voice drifted back. “I know gods exist. I simply hate them.”

L: I meeeaaaan… is he referring to the Returned? That seems a little disambiguous in terms of this conversation, he should know damn well that they’re not “gods” in the context that Kaladin is using the term right now…

A: I thought about that, but I think it’s more likely he’s referring to the Shards. He clearly knows what happens to make a Returned, and he seems to hold it against Endowment. He may know enough about the Shards to think they’ve made a mess of the Cosmere.

L: Which is, to be honest, a pretty fair assessment. At least half of the Shardholders we’ve seen so far have been jerks (or at the least have been corrupted by the powers they held).

A: Well, they were willing to destroy God and pull him to pieces, so… one might reasonably question their character.

“You can’t join the ardents,” Zahel said to him, kneeling and touching one of the cloths with his finger, then lifting it and pinning it onto the drying line. He did the same for the others, each in turn.

L: Reclaiming his Breaths, presumably.

A: Again, wordlessly. Wow.

He tossed his scarf at Kaladin’s feet. Though it must have been a different scarf, for the one he’d started with had been bright red, and this one was dull grey.

L: And if anyone had had any doubts about his identity up until now… I’d hope that this squashed them. You don’t get more blatant than this other than him going “Hey, yeah, by the way, my real name is Vasher and I’m from another world.”

A: Oh, you mean he’s been draining the color from his scarf for Awakening??? ;)

L: Whaaaat?!

“I don’t think there’s anyone else quite like Hoid. I knew him by the name Dust when I was younger. I think he must have a thousand different names among a thousand different peoples.”

L: Interesting! The only time we’ve seen this nickname was in Words of Radiance. If memory serves, in Warbreaker he was going as Hoid.

A: Yes, he was. Apparently in some of the earlier drafts of Warbreaker, he was called “Dust,” but then Sanderson decided he wanted to make the identity a little more obvious, and switched to just calling him Hoid.

I’m also a Type Two Invested entity. Used to call myself a Type One, but I had to throw the whole scale out, once I learned more.

L: ::runs both hands back through her hair:: Hoo boy. Okay, so… up until now, Sanderson’s been pretty much on the “you don’t really need to know about the other Cosmere worlds in order to enjoy these books” train. But I think this is where that train careens off the tracks. I honestly can’t imagine how anyone who hasn’t realized that the Cosmere is a thing would read this. Readers? Are there any of you out there who aren’t super invested (heh heh) in the Cosmere? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments!

A: Yeah, all pretense of being alone in the Cosmere is gone right here. There’s SO much lore here. I guess if you haven’t read Warbreaker, you have no idea what he means, and maybe that’s okay? But all his talk about other worlds, and how some are super old, and all this “Invested Entity” business… it’s really obvious there’s a lot more going on, and someone who has only read is the Stormlight Archive with no wider Cosmere awareness would have to be wondering what this is all about.

L: They’d be in good company with poor Kaladin, anyway. He’s so confused.

A: Indeed. And he came to Zahel for advice…?

I had to laugh at the crack about science always coming along with new information, ruining perfectly good systems for the minor inconvenience of being wrong, though.

“My soul,” Zahel said, “is like that fossil. Every part of my soul has been replaced with something new, though it happened in a flash for me. The soul I have now resembles the one I was born with, but it’s something else entirely.”

A: I’m reasonably sure he’s referring to what happens when someone on Nalthis Returns. We already knew that the Returned are actually Cognitive Shadows who are reattached to their original bodies, and that they don’t remember their former lives. This sounds like a new hint about Cognitive Shadows—that it really is a shadow, an imprint of their soul but not the soul itself. This is getting … heady.

“The Heralds too,” Zahel said. “When they died, they left an imprint behind. Power that remembered being them. You see, the power wants to be alive.” He gestured with his chin toward Syl, flying down beneath them as a ribbon of light. “She’s what I now call a Type One Invested entity. I decided that had to be the proper way to refer to them. Power that came alive on its own.”

L: I’m sure that all you Cosmere Scholars are having a field day with this.

A: They’d better be! It makes my head spin, and I used to think of myself as a Cosmere Scholar.

L: The weird thing is, he says that the Heralds left an imprint behind when they died. But… they were all reborn. So… did that power get reclaimed when they were reborn? Or is there a bunch of… of Herald-Investiture just floating around out there, somewhere?

A: I wish I knew. One possibility is that their real souls actually did go Beyond, and it’s just the imprint that stays to act as a Herald. Whatever the thing is that stuck around, though, it seems to always have a physical body, whether it’s on Braize or back on Roshar. At least… I think they have a physical body on Braize; it’s just not a body that can die like normal, so it can be subjected to centuries of torture.

The longer one of us exists, the more like a spren we become. Consumed by a singular purpose, our minds bound and chained by our Intent. … That’s why she takes our memories. She knows we aren’t the actual people who died, but something else given a corpse to inhabit…”

“She?” Kaladin asked.

L: ANSWER THE MAN’S QUESTION, ZAHEL.

A: IMO, he’s obviously talking about Edgli/Endowment, but it would have been nice of him to say so.

L: The comment about being bound and chained by Intent is really interesting. We’ve seen this in a lot of the spren—the honorsprens’ almost obsessive adherence to oaths, the cryptics’ obsession with truth and lies. This also begs the question… if every piece of their soul has been replaced, are they even really the same person, anymore? What exactly is a soul, if it isn’t the essence of the person? Their personality and memories? Is it just a word for the power that imbues a person’s body?

A: Deep questions, indeed. Assuming Zahel’s thinking is shaped by his origins, it’s worth remembering that when a person Returns, they have a purpose. An Intent. They don’t remember their previous life, and they mostly don’t even know what their Intent is… until they meet it. But they still, to some extent, live according to it. (The story of Calmseer is a good example: she died of an illness, and Returned so she could give her Breath to heal her daughter of the same illness. In the meantime, she helped people however she could, particularly the sick.)

I think the spren are a little different, in that they’re the personification of the ideas at their core, so it’s less an obsession and more just… what they are. But Zahel seems to believe that the longer a Cognitive Shadow remains in place, the more they shift from the complexity of a living person to the single-mindedness of the non-sapient spren. In the same way a flamespren is fixated on flames, a Cognitive Shadow becomes fixated on their Intent.

Oddly enough, the sapient spren seem to shift the other direction; they don’t lose their defining characteristic, but they become more and more complex individuals, the more they connect to their Radiant.

Here’s another interesting thought, though. Was there something about the Oathpact that enhanced this, and something about breaking it that inverted the Intent of the Heralds? Last week in the comments, Isilel was speculating that perhaps Ishar and one or two others may have done something to bind Taln more deeply, making it virtually impossible for him to break. Could they have shifted something about the Oathpact so that his attributes “Dependable & Resourceful” completely suffused his being, and became his sole Intent? I’m not sure how that plays for the ones who broke the Oathpact and began inverting their Intent, but… it seems like a possibility.

Syl-logisms

A: No, I know they aren’t syllogisms. Go away. I wanted the wordplay. Syl has been begging for it.

L: Reaction.

Think about it, Kaladin. Everything else that comes out of your body you dispose of quickly and quietly—but this strange stuff oozes out of little holes in your head, and you let it sit there? Gross.”

L: I… I have to admit, she’s got a point.

A: When you think about it that way, um… yeah?

I think we’re losing, Syl said. To a guy wielding something he found in Adolin’s sock drawer.

A: Bahahaha! I don’t even have anything to say about this. I just couldn’t not quote it. Such an excellent metaphor.

Kaladin grunted

A: (In response to Syl’s above comment) We haven’t really been tracking, but this is Kaladin’s seventh grunt. Heh. Worth noting, his father does it too. I grunt, therefore I am.

L: He could give Geralt a run for his money. (Also, fun fact, Henry Cavill is a fan of Stormlight. Hey, Henry, if by any chance you’re reading these, loved your work on the show!)

Fabrial Technology & Spheres

Logicspren react curiously to imprisonment. Unlike other spren, they do not manifest some attribute—you cannot use them to make heat, or to warn of nearby danger, or conjoin gemstones. For years, artifabrians considered them useless

L: I find it curious that they call out logicspren specifically. Wouldn’t this be the case for any of the “emotion” spren, like creation, glory, fear, etc…?

A: Navani’s notebook shows that she’s used a wide variety of spren: flame, cold, gravity, pain, heat, wind, anticipation, anger, disgust, sadness, love, hate, joy, trust, fear, surprise. Some of those are in the “pain knife” design, and some are in the “emotion bracelet” design, but it seems that emotion spren can be used. We haven’t yet seen anything involving creationspen or gloryspren, that I know of, but I sure am curious about them.

Syl hovered in front of him in the Urithiru hallway, taking the form of a fanciful ship—only with sails on the bottom. “What is that?” Kaladin asked her.

“I don’t know,” she said, sailing past him. “Navani was drawing it during a meeting a few weeks ago. I think she got mixed up. Maybe she hasn’t seen boats before?”

L: These are clearly eventually going to be proper airships and I, for one, am here for it. (For once my GIF finding skills are failing me, so just imagine the sky pirate ship from Stardust, okay?)

A: Or check out her notebook, if you like.

L: I mean, yeah, but that’s not animated. :P

Navani and her scholars claimed that these outer plates around the tower had once been fields.

How could that ever have been the case? The air up here was cold, and though Rock seemed to find it invigorating, Kaladin could tell it lacked something.

L: Yet more in the mounting heap of evidence that the Tower is meant to have Investiture somehow.

A: Right? Kaladin can feel the lack of oxygen, but the cold is probably a bigger factor in the difficulty growing plants. Either way, the altitude is not conducive to either humans or plants, so there had to be something more.

Why had the Parshendi wanted gemstones? … You could simulate the highstorm minerals the plants needed to form shells, but the cold air would stifle growth. Rlain had agreed this was true . . . unless you had an edge.

Unless you grew the plants by the light of gemstones.

Beside each lantern sat an ardent with a drum, softly banging a specific rhythm. This was the secret. People would have noticed if gemstone light made plants grow—but the mixture of the light and the music changed something.

L: Ooooh, this is fascinating. I find it so cool how much it is becoming clear that music is integral to life on this planet, and how the humans just never realized it until now.

A: I wonder if the ancient humans knew more about the music, and that knowledge was lost somewhere along the line—like in the Last Desolation 4500 years ago, when they were essentially driven back to the stone age. It’s possible that they simply never learned of this thing that’s so basic to the design and functioning of this planet, but it seems odd that they could live here for ten thousand years without ever stumbling across it.

In any case, we certainly didn’t know about it, but it seems this may be our book for learning about the light and the music. (I love that title.)

 

One last thing, before we leave…

“Wit never gives me answers. At least not straight ones.”

“That’s because Wit is an asshole,” Zahel said.

L: This… this brought a tear to my eye. Bless you, Zahel.

A: That was… um… unexpected.

L: I like to think that Zahel and Kelsier would be the best of buddies based on this assessment of Hoid’s personality.

 

We’ll be leaving the speculation to you in the comments, so have fun and remember to be respectful of the opinions of others!

Alice is fighting her way through a weird eye inflammation. Isn’t that fun, and just what you needed to know? What a life.

Lyndsey is missing her faire family dearly. In these bylines, she’ll be giving some shout-outs to fellow local performers or vendors who could really use the support. This week, check out Pigasus Books for books, maps, prints, games related to the middle ages and the renaissance. If you’re an aspiring author, a cosplayer, or just like geeky content, follow her work on Facebook or Instagram.

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