Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: Chapter Sixteen

On November 17, 2020, The Stormlight Archive saga continues in Rhythm of War, the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Brandon Sanderson’s #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy series.

Tor.com is serializing the new book from now until release date! A new installment will go live every Tuesday at 9 AM ET.

Every chapter is collected here in the Rhythm of War index. Listen to the audiobook version of this chapter below the text, or go here for the full playlist.

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Want to catch up on The Stormlight Archive? Check out our Explaining The Stormlight Archive series!


 

Chapter 16
An Unknown Song

My final point of the evening is a discussion of Fused weapons. The Fused use a variety of fabrial devices to fight Radiants. It is obvious from how quickly they’ve fabricated and employed these countermeasures that they have used these in the past.

—Lecture on fabrial mechanics presented by Navani Kholin to the coalition of monarchs, Urithiru, Jesevan, 1175

 

Navani held up the dark sphere, closing one eye to inspect it closely. It was different from Voidlight. She held up a Voidlight sphere for comparison, a diamond infused with the strange Light gathered during the Everstorm.

They still didn’t know how the enemy infused spheres with Voidlight; all they owned were stolen from the singers. Fortunately, Voidlight leaked far more slowly than Stormlight did. She probably had a few more days before this one went dun.

The Voidlight sphere had a strange glow to it. A distinctive purple-on-black, which Rushu described as a hyperviolet—a color she claimed existed in theory, though Navani didn’t know how a color could be theoretical. Regardless, this was a purple-on-black, coexisting in such a way that both shades simultaneously occupied the same space.

The strange sphere that Szeth had provided seemed exactly the same at first glance. Purple upon black, an impossible color. Like the ordinary Voidlight sphere, its blackness expanded, making the surrounding air dim.

But there was an added effect with this sphere, one she hadn’t noticed right away. It warped the air around it. Looking at the sphere for too long was a distinctively disorienting sensation. It evoked a wrongness that she couldn’t define.

Gavilar had possessed Voidlight spheres—she remembered seeing them—and that fact was befuddling enough. How had her husband obtained Voidlight years before the arrival of the Everstorm? But this other black sphere. What on Roshar was it?

“Assassin,” Navani said. “Look at me.”

Szeth, the Assassin in White, looked up from within his cell. Sixteen days had passed since Navani and Dalinar had returned from testing the Fourth Bridge in battle. Sixteen days spent catching up on mundane work in the tower, like overseeing planned expansions of the market and dealing with sanitation problems. Only now did she have a large chunk of time to dedicate to Voidlight and the nature of the tower.

The strange individual who had contacted her via spanreed had not spoken to her again. Navani had decided not to worry about them—she didn’t even know if they were sane. She had plenty else to worry about, such as the man sitting in the prison cell in front of her.

Szeth cradled his strange Shardblade in his lap, the one that leaked black smoke when unsheathed. When challenged about letting the prisoner remain armed, Dalinar had replied, “I believe the safest place to keep the thing is in his possession.”

Navani questioned that wisdom. In her opinion, they should sink the strange Blade in the ocean, like they’d done with the gemstone that contained the Thrill. Szeth did not seem stable enough to be trusted with a Shard, particularly not one so dangerous as this. In fact, she wished the assassin had been executed as he deserved.

Dalinar disagreed, and so they’d decided together to leave Szeth alive. Today, the Shin man sat on the floor of his stone cell, eyes closed, wearing white clothing by his own request. He had been given what few amenities he requested. A razor for shaving, a single blanket, a chance to bathe each day.

And light. A great deal of light. Dozens of spheres to illuminate his small stone cell and banish all traces of shadow.

They’d fitted the front of the room with bars, though those wouldn’t keep the assassin contained should he decide to escape. That Shardblade could reduce objects to smoke simply by nicking them.

“Tell me again,” Navani said to him, “of the night you killed my husband.”

“I was instructed by the Parshendi to execute him,” Szeth said softly.

“Were you curious why they’d kill a man on the very night they were signing a peace treaty with him?”

“I thought I was Truthless,” Szeth said. “That status required that I do as my master commanded. Without question.” His voice bore only the faintest hint of an accent.

“Your master is now Dalinar.”

“Yes. I have… found a better way. Throughout my Truthless existence, I followed the way of the Oathstone. I would obey anyone who held that stone. Now, I have realized I was never Truthless. I have sworn to an Ideal instead: the Blackthorn. Whatever he wishes, I will make reality.”

“What if Dalinar dies?”

“I… will seek another Ideal, I suppose. I had not considered it.”

“How could you not think of that?”

“I simply did not.”

Storms, this is dangerous, Navani thought. Dalinar could speak of redemption and mending broken spirits, but this creature was a fire burning unchecked, ready to escape the hearth and consume any fuel it could find. Szeth had murdered kings and highprinces—over a dozen rulers all across Roshar. Yes, much of that blame fell on Taravangian, but Szeth was the tool employed to cause such destruction.

“You didn’t finish your story,” Navani said. “The night you killed Gavilar. Tell me again what happened. The part with this sphere.”

“We fell,” Szeth whispered, opening his eyes. “Gavilar was injured by the impact, his body fatally broken. In that moment he treated me not as an enemy, but as the last living man he would ever see. He made a request. A holy request, the last words of the dying.

“He spoke a few names, which I do not remember, asking if those men had sent me. When I assured him they had not, he was relieved. I think he feared the sphere falling into their hands, so he gave it to me. He trusted his own murderer more than those who surrounded him.”

Including me, Navani thought. Storms, she’d assumed she was over her anger and frustration with Gavilar, but there it was, twisting around itself in the pit of her stomach, causing angerspren to rise beneath her feet.

“He told me a message to give his brother,” Szeth continued, his eyes flickering toward the pooling angerspren. “I wrote the words, as it was the best I could do to fulfill that dying request. I took the sphere and hid it. Until you asked me if I’d found anything on his body, whereupon I recovered it.”

This he’d done only a month ago because Navani had thought to ask the question. Otherwise he would simply have gone on without saying a word of this sphere—as if his mind were too childlike or stressed to realize he should speak up.

Navani shivered. She was in favor of comforting the sick of mind—once they were carefully contained, and things like evil talking Shardblades were removed from their possession. She had a list of facts she’d collected from him about that Blade, and she thought maybe it was an Honorblade that had been corrupted somehow. It had been given to Szeth by one of the Heralds, after all. She found it difficult to study, however, because being around Szeth made her feel sick.

At least the sword’s spren had stopped speaking into the minds of those who passed by the prison. It had taken three demands from Dalinar to get Szeth to finally restrain the thing.

“You’re certain this is the exact sphere he gave you,” Navani said.

“It is.”

“And he said nothing about it to you?”

“I have answered this question.”

“And you will answer it again. Until I’m certain you haven’t ‘forgotten’ any more details.”

Szeth sighed softly. “He did not speak of the sphere. He was dying; he could barely force out his last words. I am not certain they are prophetic, as the voices of the dying sometimes are in my land. I followed them anyway.”

She turned to go. She had more questions, but she had to budget her time with the assassin. Each moment near him made her feel physically ill; even now her stomach was beginning to churn, and she feared losing her breakfast.

“Do you hate me?” Szeth asked from behind, calm, almost emotionless. Too calm, too emotionless for words spoken to a widow at his hand.

“Yes,” Navani said.

“Good,” Szeth said, the word echoing in the small chamber. “Good. Thank you.”

Shivering and nauseous, Navani fled his presence.

***

Less than an hour later, she stepped out onto the Cloudwalk, a garden balcony set at the base of the eighth tier of the tower. Urithiru was nearly two hundred floors tall, ten tiers of eighteen floors each—and so the eighth tier was near the top, at a dizzying height.

Most of the tower was built up against the mountains, with chunks of the structure embedded fully into the stone. It was only here, near the top, that the tower fully peeked up above the surrounding stone. The Cloudwalk rounded almost the entire perimeter of the tier, an open stone pathway with a sure railing on one side.

It sported some of the best views Urithiru had to offer. Navani had often come here during their early months in the tower, but news of the spectacular views had spread. When once she’d been able to walk the entire Cloudwalk without encountering another soul, today she was met by the sight of tens of people strolling up here.

She forced herself to see it as a victory, not an encroachment. Part of their vision for this tower was a city where the different peoples of Roshar intermixed. With the Oathgates providing direct access to cities around the continent, Urithiru could grow to be cosmopolitan in ways that Kholinar could never have dreamed.

As she walked, she saw not only the uniforms of seven different princedoms, but people wearing the patterns of three different Makabaki local governments. Thaylen merchants, Emuli soldiers, and Natan tradesmen were represented. There were even a few Aimians, remnants of the humans who had escaped Aimia, the men with their beards bound in cords.

Most of the world was embroiled in war, but Urithiru stood apart. A place of calm serenity above the storms. Soldiers came here when rotated off active duty. Tradesmen brought their wares, enduring wartime tariffs to avoid the cost of trying to deliver goods across battle lines. Scholars came to let their minds spark against those working to solve the problems of a new era. Urithiru was truly something great.

She wished Elhokar had lived to see how wonderful it was becoming. Best she could do was see that his son grew up to appreciate it. So, Navani opened her arms as she reached the meeting point. The nursemaid set Gavinor down, and he rushed over, jumping into Navani’s embrace.

She hung to him tightly, appreciating the progress they’d made. When Gavinor had finally been recovered, he’d been so frightened and timid he had cringed when Navani tried to hug him. That trauma, now a year past, was finally fading from the boy. He was often solemn—too solemn for a boy of five—but at least with her, he’d learned to laugh again.

“Gram!” he said. “Gram, I rode a horse!”

“All on your own?” she asked, lifting him.

“Adolin helped me!” he said. “But it was a big horse, and I wasn’t scared, even when it started walking! Look! Look!” He pointed, and she lifted him up as they peered toward the fields far below. It was too far to make out details, but that didn’t stop little Gav from explaining to her—at length—the different colors of horses he’d seen.

She gave him an encouraging smile. His excitement was not only infectious, it was relieving. During his first few months in the tower, he’d hardly spoken. Now, his willingness to do more than barely go near the horses—which fascinated him, but also terrified him—was a huge improvement.

She held Gav, warm despite the chill air, as he talked. The child was still far too small for his age, and the doctors weren’t certain if something strange had been done to him during his time in Kholinar. Navani was furious at Aesudan for all that had happened there—but equally furious at herself. How much was Navani to blame for leaving the woman alone to invite in one of the Unmade?

You couldn’t have known, Navani told herself. You can’t be to blame for everything. She’d tried to overcome those feelings—and the equally irrational ones that whispered she shared blame for Elhokar’s death. If she’d stopped him from going on that fool’s mission…

No. No, she would hold Gav, she would hurt, but she would move forward. She pointedly thought on her wonderful moments holding Elhokar as a little boy, not fixating on the idea of that little boy dying to a traitor’s spear.

“Gram?” Gav asked as they looked out over the mountains. “I want Grampa to teach me the sword.”

“Oh, I’m certain he can get to that eventually,” Navani said, then pointed. “See that cloud! It’s so huge!”

“Other boys my age learn the sword,” Gav said, his voice growing softer. “Don’t they?”

They did. In Alethkar, families—particularly lighteyed ones—would go to war together. The Azish thought it unnatural, but to the Alethi it was the way of things. Children as young as ten would learn to serve as officer’s aides, and boys would often be given a training sword as soon as they could walk.

“You don’t need to worry about that,” Navani said to him.

“If I have a sword,” Gav said, “nobody will be able to hurt me. I’ll be able to find the man who killed my father. And I could kill him.”

Navani felt a chill unrelated to the cold air. On one hand, it was a very Alethi thing to say. It broke her heart regardless. She hugged Gav tight. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Will you talk to Grampa, please?”

She sighed. “I’ll ask him.”

Gav nodded, smiling. Her time with him was short, unfortunately. She had a meeting with Dalinar and Jasnah in under an hour, and she needed to check with some scientists up here on the Cloudwalk first. So, she eventually turned Gav back over to the nursemaid. Then she wiped her eyes, feeling silly at crying over something so trivial, and hurried on her way.

It was just that… Elhokar had been learning so much. During these last years, she’d seen him growing into something great—a better man than Gavilar, worthy of the kingship. A mother should never have to grieve for her children. Should never have to think of her poor little boy, lying alone and dead on the floor of an abandoned palace…

She forced herself forward, nodding to those soldiers who chose to bow or—oddly—salute her, hands to shoulders with the knuckles out. Soldiers these days. She supposed with some of their commanders learning to read and some of their sisters joining the Radiants, life could get confusing.

She eventually reached the research station set up at the far end of the Cloudwalk. The head scientist in charge of atmospheric measurements was an ardent with a particularly long neck. With his bald head and the sagging skin under his chin, Brother Benneh resembled nothing so much as an eel who had put on robes and grown a pair of arms through sheer determination. But he was a happy fellow, and he spryly bounced over to her with his notebooks.

“Brightness!” he said, pointedly ignoring Elthebar the stormwarden, who was taking his own measurements from the nearby instruments. “Look here, look here!”

Benneh pointed out the historical barometer readings he’d recorded in his notebook. “Here, here,” he said, tapping the barometer—which was set up on a scientific table with thermometers, some plants, a sundial, and a small astrolabe. That was in addition to the various astrological nonsenses the stormwardens had erected.

“It rises,” Benneh said, almost breathless, “ahead of a storm.”

“Wait. The barometer rises ahead of a storm?”

“Yes.”

“That’s… backward, isn’t it?”

“Yes indeed, indeed. And see, the temperature readings before a storm rise slightly too. You wondered how much colder it was up here on the Cloudwalk than it was below near the fields. Brightness, it’s warmer.”

She frowned, then glanced toward the promenading people. No sign of their breath in front of their faces. It felt colder up here—she herself had noted that—but could that be because she expected it to be? Besides, she always left the interior of the tower to come out; it was impossible not to compare it to the warmth inside instead of the temperature below.

“How cold is it right now?” she asked. “Down below?”

“I asked via spanreed. Measurements are conclusive. At least five degrees colder on the plateau.”

Five degrees? Storms. “Heat in front of a storm and a rise in pressure,” Navani said. “It defies our understanding, but has anyone done readings like this from such an elevation? Perhaps what is natural near sea level is inverted up here.”

“Yes, yes,” the ardent said. “I could perhaps see that, but look at these books. They contradict such a theory. Measurements taken from various Horneater trading expeditions… let me find them…”

He started digging through papers, though she didn’t need them. She had a suspicion of what was happening. Why would pressure and temperature rise before a storm? Because the structure was bracing itself. The tower could adapt to the storms. More proof; the data was growing as mountainous as these peaks. The tower could regulate temperature, pressure, humidity. If Urithiru could be made fully functional, life up here would improve dramatically.

But how to fix it, when the spren that had lived here was supposedly dead? She was so absorbed by the problem, she nearly missed the bowing. Her subconscious initially assumed the bows were for her, but too many people were involved. And they were going too low.

She turned to find Dalinar passing by, Taravangian at his side. People backed out of the way before the two kings, and Navani felt like a fool. She’d known they were meeting this afternoon, and this was one of their favorite places to promenade. Others found it encouraging to see the two kings together, but Navani did not miss the gap between them. She knew things others did not. For instance, Dalinar no longer met his former friend beside the hearth to chat for hours. And Taravangian no longer attended private meetings of Dalinar’s inner circle.

They hadn’t been able—nor were they yet willing—to excise Taravangian from the coalition of monarchs. His crimes, though terrible, were no more bloody than Dalinar’s own. The fact that Taravangian had sent Szeth against the Azish emperors had certainly strained relations and increased tensions within the coalition. But for now, they all agreed that the servants of Odium were a far more pressing enemy.

Taravangian, however, would never again be a man to trust. At least Dalinar’s terrible actions had been part of an official act of war.

Though… she had to admit some moral high ground had been lost upon the early circulations of Dalinar’s memoir. The Kholin troops—once so proud, they’d bordered on imperious—walked with slightly slumped shoulders, their heads no longer held quite as high. Everyone had known about the atrocities of the Kholin unification war. They’d heard of the Blackthorn’s fearsome reputation, and of cities burned and pillaged.

So long as Dalinar had been willing to pretend his actions had been noble, the kingdom could pretend along with him. Now the Alethi had to face the truth long tucked away behind justifications and political spin. No army, no matter how clean its reputation, walked away from war untainted. And no leader, no matter how noble, could help but sink into the crem when he stepped into the game of conquest.

She spent a little longer going over readings with Benneh, then checked on the royal astronomers, who were erecting a new set of telescopes made with the highest-quality lenses out of Thaylenah. They were certain they’d be able to get some spectacular views from up here once the telescopes were calibrated. Navani asked the women a few questions as they worked, but left when she felt she was becoming a bother. A true patron of the sciences knew when she was hindering instead of helping.

As she turned to leave, however, Navani paused—then dug Szeth’s strange Voidlight sphere from her pocket. “Talnah?” she asked one of the engineers. “You were a jeweler, weren’t you? Before taking up lens work?”

“Still am, some seasons,” the short woman replied. “I put in a few hours at the mint last week, checking sphere weights.”

“What do you think of this?” Navani said, holding up the sphere.

Talnah tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and took the sphere, holding it up in a gloved hand. “What is this? Voidlight?” She searched in her jacket pocket and pulled out a jeweler’s loupe, then pressed it to her eye.

“We’re not sure,” Navani said.

“Stormfather,” the woman said. “That’s a nice diamond. Hey, Nem! Have a look.”

Another of the engineers came over and accepted the sphere and loupe, whistling softly. “I have a higher magnification in my bag over there,” she said, waving, and an assistant engineer helpfully fetched a larger magnifying device, one you could look through with both eyes.

“What is it?” Navani asked. “What do you see?”

“Practically flawless,” Nem said, clamping the sphere in some small grips. “This wasn’t grown as a gemheart, I can tell you that. The structure would never align so perfectly. This sphere is worth thousands, Brightness. It will probably hold Stormlight for months without leaking any out. Maybe years. Longer, for Voidlight.”

“It was left in a cave for over six years,” Navani said. “And was glowing—or whatever you call that blackness—the same when it was retrieved.”

“Quite strange indeed,” Talnah said. “What an odd sphere, Brightness. That must be Voidlight, but it feels wrong. I mean, it’s black-violet like others I’ve seen, but…”

“The air warps around it,” Navani said.

“Yeah!” Talnah said. “That’s it. How strange. Can we keep it to study it?”

Navani hesitated. She’d planned to do her own tests on the sphere, but she had to see to the needs of the tower and work on new iterations of her flying machine. To be honest, she’d been planning to run tests on this sphere ever since she’d received it—but there was never enough time.

“Yes, please do,” Navani said. “Run some standard Stormlight measuring tests for luminosity and the like, then see if you can move the Light to other gemstones. If you can, try to use it to power various fabrials.”

“Voidlight doesn’t work on fabrials,” Nem said, frowning. “But you’re right—maybe this isn’t Voidlight. It certainly does look strange…”

Navani made them promise to keep the sphere hidden and to reveal the results of their tests only to her. She gave them leave to requisition several real Voidlight spheres, captured in battle, to use in comparisons. Then she left the strange sphere with them, feeling agitated. Not because she didn’t trust the two—they dealt with extremely expensive and delicate equipment, and had proven reliable. But the piece of Navani hoping to study this sphere herself was disappointed.

Unfortunately, this was work for scholars. Not her. She left it in their capable hands, and moved on. She was therefore the first to arrive in the small windowless chamber near the top of the tower where Jasnah and Dalinar held their private meetings. These top floors were small enough to control entirely, with guard posts to regulate access.

Too often down below, rooms and hallways felt oppressive. As if something was watching. Openings in walls—running as air ducts through the rooms—often led in bizarre patterns barely mapped by the children they’d sent to crawl through them. You could never be completely certain that someone wasn’t listening at an opening nearby, eavesdropping on private conversations.

Up here though, the floors often had a dozen or fewer rooms—all carefully mapped and tested for acoustics. Most had windows, which made them feel inviting. She felt lighter even in a windowless stone chamber like this one, so long as her mind knew open sky was right beyond the wall.

As she waited, Navani puttered in her notebooks, theorizing about Gavilar’s dark sphere. She flipped to a testimonial she’d transcribed from Rlain, the listener member of Bridge Four. He swore that Gavilar had given his general, Eshonai, a Voidlight sphere years before the coming of the Everstorm. When Navani showed him this second sphere, his reaction had been  curious.

I don’t know what that is, Brightness, he’d said. But it feels painful. Voidlight is dangerously inviting, like if I touched it, my body would drink it in eagerly. That thing… is different. It has a song I’ve never heard, and it vibrates wrong against my soul.

She flipped to another page and wrote some thoughts. What would happen if they tried to grow plants by the dark light of this sphere? Dared she let a Radiant try to suck out its strange energy?

She was writing along these lines when Adolin and Shallan arrived with the Mink. They’d periodically been entertaining him these last few weeks, showing him around the tower, dividing out space for his troops once they arrived with the Fourth Bridge in the next few days. The short Herdazian didn’t wear a uniform, merely some common trousers and a buttoned shirt cut after simple Herdazian styles, with suspenders and a loose coat. How odd. Didn’t he know he wasn’t a refugee any longer?

“…think you could teach me?” Shallan was saying. Red hair and no hat. “I really want to know how you got out of those cuffs.”

“There’s an art to it,” the general said. “It’s more than practice; it’s about instinct. Each set of confines is a puzzle to be solved, and your reward? Going where you shouldn’t. Being what you shouldn’t. Brightness, it is not a particularly seemly hobby for a well-connected young woman.”

“Trust me,” she said, “I am anything but well-connected. I keep finding pieces of myself lying around, forgotten…”

She led the Mink over to the other door to point out the guard post beyond. Adolin gave Navani a hug, then took the seat next to her.

“She’s fascinated by him,” he whispered to Navani. “I should have guessed she would be.”

“What’s that clothing he’s wearing?” Navani whispered.

“I know, I know.” Adolin grimaced. “I offered him my tailors, said we’d get him a Herdazian uniform. He said, ‘There is no Herdaz anymore. Besides, a man in uniform can’t go the places I like to go.’ I don’t know what to make of him.”

Across the small room, the Mink glanced at one of the stone air vents, nodding as Shallan explained the room’s security.

“He’s plotting how to sneak away,” Adolin said with a sigh, putting his feet up on the table. “He lost us five times today. I can’t decide if he’s paranoid, crazy, or merely has a cruel sense of humor.” He leaned toward Navani. “I suspect it wouldn’t have been that bad if Shallan hadn’t been so impressed the first time. He does like to show off.”

Navani eyed Adolin’s new gold-trimmed boots. They were the third pair she’d seen him wearing this week.

Dalinar arrived, depositing two bodyguards outside the front door. He kept trying to get Navani to accept some guards of her own, and she always agreed—when she had equipment she needed carried. And honestly, Dalinar couldn’t complain. How often had he ditched his own guards?

The room had been set up with a few chairs and only one small table, the one Adolin had his boots on. That boy. He never leaned back in his chair or put his feet up when he was wearing ordinary shoes.

Dalinar passed by, rapping the boots with his knuckles. “Decorum,” he said. “Discipline. Dedication.”

“Detail, duel, dessert…” Adolin glanced at his father. “Oh, sorry. I thought we were saying random words that start with the same sound.”

Dalinar glowered at Shallan.

“What?” she said.

“He was never like this before you arrived,” Dalinar said.

“Stormfather help us,” Shallan said lightly, sitting beside her husband and laying a protective hand upon his knee. “A Kholin has learned to relax once in a while? Surely the moons will stop orbiting and the sun will come crashing down.”

Neither Shallan nor Dalinar would admit to squabbling over Adolin—indeed, Navani suspected Dalinar would insist he approved of the marriage. But he’d also never needed to give up one of his children to the influence of an outsider. Navani felt Dalinar blamed Shallan too much for the changes in the boy. Shallan wasn’t pushing him to be something he was not; more, he finally felt free enough to explore an identity that wasn’t tied to being the Blackthorn’s son.

Adolin was highprince now. He should have the opportunity to define what that meant for him.

For his part, Adolin just laughed. “Shallan, you’re really complaining that someone is too intense? You? Even your jokes sometimes feel like a competition.”

She glanced to him, then—instead of being provoked—seemed to relax. Adolin had that effect on people.

“Of course they are,” she said. “My life is a constant struggle against boredom. If I relax my guard, you’ll find me knitting or something dreadful like that.”

The Mink watched the exchange with a smile. “Ah… reminds me of my own son and his wife.”

“I should hope,” Dalinar said, “they are a little less frivolous.”

“They’re dead, in the war,” the Mink said softly.

“I’m sorry,” Dalinar said. “The Everstorm and Odium have cost us all much.”

“Not that war, Blackthorn.” The Mink gave him a look laden with implication. Then he turned toward Navani. “The highprince mentioned maps for me to inspect? He said they’d be waiting, but I don’t see any in here, nor a table of proper size to roll them out upon. Should we fetch them? I’m very curious to see your troop layouts against the Voidbringers.”

“We don’t use the term ‘Voidbringers’ anymore,” Dalinar said. “It has proven to be… imprecise. We call our enemies the singers. As for the map, it’s right here.” He looked to Shallan, who nodded, taking in a breath of Stormlight from the spheres in her satchel. Navani hurried to prepare her notebook.

Together, Shallan and Dalinar summoned the map.

Excerpted from Rhythm of War, copyright ©2020 Dragonsteel Entertainment.


 

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