Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Nine

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Here we are again, all ready for another tense chapter full of Kaladin charging around the Tower, fighting people who ought to overpower him, and learning more bits and pieces that will start to come together a few chapters downstream. ::deep breath:: This week he faces both the Pursuer and Raboniel, and things get pretty dodgy. Come on in and join the discussion!

Reminder: We’ll 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 (this includes Edgedancer and Dawnshard as well as the entirety of Rhythm of War), best to wait to join us until you’re done.

In this week’s discussion there are no Cosmere spoilers.

Heralds: Vedeledev (Vedel). Edgedancers. Loving/Healing. Role: Healer.

Talenelat (Talenel, Taln), Herald of War. Stonewards. Dependable/Resourceful. Role: Soldier.

A: Um… Wow. So Taln is pretty easy—Kaladin is 100% soldier here, from his love of the spear to his fight with the Pursuer. Why is Vedel here, though? The scalpel? That seems awfully tenuous. Kaladin trying to help the Sibling? But he’s not doing anything to heal the Sibling, just trying to keep Raboniel from corrupting them.

Let’s see… Vedel is also associated with Diamond (her polestone), Lucentia (essence), the eyes (body focus), quartz/glass/crystal (soulcasting properties). The only thing I see in that list is the diamond Raboniel is using to draw the oddly-colored Stormlight from the sapphire. Since I’d venture to guess that’s actually Lifelight, the Sibling’s own light and also the Light that our special little Edgedancer Lift uses, I suppose that connection might be enough to warrant Vedel as one of the Heralds this week…?

I don’t know. Anyone else have an idea on this?

Icon: Banner and Spears, for a Kaladin POV

Epigraph: From Rhythm of War, page 10:

This point regarding the Rhythm of War’s emotional influence will be of particular interest to El.

P: This is definitely Raboniel, and I worry about anything she or El think are interesting.

A: I’m with you on that one! I’m curious as to what “point” she’s referencing, but it certainly gives a sense of foreboding—especially once we started learning about El. (Worth noting, this is the first mention of him, so at this point on a first read we had no idea what that could possibly mean.)

P: Which is par for the course for Brandon. We don’t know what a lot of stuff means!

Chapter Recap

WHO: Kaladin
WHEN: 1175.4.6.5 (immediately following Chapter 58)
WHERE: Urithiru

(Note: For the “when” notations, we are using this wonderful timeline provided by the folks at The 17th Shard.)

RECAP: Based on the urgency of the Sibling’s plea for help, Kaladin races for the perimeter of the tower, where he swings down from a third-floor balcony to the second floor, escaping the pursuing guards. With a combination of Adhesion to get past smaller guideposts and the hidden Stormlight-powered doorways to cut across between passageways, he finally reaches the atrium wall. There, he finds Raboniel and the Pursuer examining the second node. He fights the Pursuer to the third body twice, the second time leaving him trapped in a hidden room with no exit. Returning to the node, he destroys the gemstone, gets stabbed by Raboniel for scientific study, has a bizarre conversation with her, and finally flees, trusting Syl and the Sibling to help him hide.

Overall Reactions

Kaladin knew there was a chance he was making a huge mistake. He didn’t understand the nature of the tower or what was going on with it and Navani. He was risking a great deal by revealing himself.

Terror, combined with a plea for protection, was not something Kaladin could ignore.

P: Risking a great deal. But what other choice does he have? He’s a Windrunner, driven to protect, even to protect the Sibling. It’s who he is. It’s what he is. He really does have no other choice and he really can’t ignore the spren’s plea for help.

A: He also really can’t ignore the possibility that Raboniel could complete the corruption of the Sibling; that would end any possibility of resistance the humans might have.

He was fatigued mentally and physically. As he ran, he drew a field of exhaustionspren, like jets of dust.

He leaned on the spike of energy that coursed through him, even before he drew in Stormlight. He let that control him, instead of the fatigue.

It would catch up to him eventually. But for now, he could pretend to be strong. Pretend to be a soldier again.

P: You don’t have to pretend to be strong, Kaladin. You are strong. Despite the depression, despite the anxiety. You power through what you need to for the sheer fact that it needs to be done and, well, somebody’s got to do it.

A: But you can see what he’s saying, too. He is strong, yes, but he’s also exhausted, as well as being oppressed by the tower’s inverted protection. The fact that he manages to keep going by sheer force of will is astonishing, given the conditions.

P: I really can see what he’s saying. People tell me I’m strong all the time and in my mind, I’m like, “But I’m really not.”

A: But somehow, you’re still strong enough to take the next step. That’s really all you can do.

Kaladin caught the spear as the singer thrust it. He then yanked, throwing the enemy off balance. He’d been taught that maneuver by Hav, who said it was necessary to learn, but almost impossible to execute.

P: Hav, a blast from the past. Did you not know our Kaladin at all?

A: Heh. Well, at the time Hav knew him, Kaladin was a 14-year-old kid just learning to be a soldier, so… he might have some excuse for not realizing what Kal would become!

He kicked a spear up and seized it out of the air. Hello, old friend. I keep finding my way back to you, don’t I? Perhaps it wasn’t Teft’s addiction he needed to worry about. There was always an excuse for why Kaladin needed the spear again, wasn’t there?

P: But it’s not because it’s an addiction; it’s because it’s a necessity. There’s a difference, Kaladin. Some people may argue with me but I definitely don’t see Kaladin’s need to protect, even if it means that he has to kill, as anything remotely resembling an addiction. He picks up the spear to protect because, as I’ve said and will continue to say, that’s just who he is.

A: I’m not disagreeing at all, but I can kind of see what he’s thinking. He’s always enjoyed the spear, even just doing a kata; something about it resonates with him. He’s more than ordinarily skilled with a spear, and… well, there is something deeply enjoyable about using a tool you’re really good with, right? At the same time, if there were no one to protect, no need to fight, he’d be just as happy doing katas with a staff and maybe the occasional practice fight. Not being a soldier myself, I could be wrong on this, but I think Kaladin enjoys the skill, and sometimes enjoys the contest. I don’t know that he ever enjoys the killing; that’s just the thing that needs to be done in some circumstances. (He’s a lot like Adolin in this, now that I think about it. Adolin enjoys dueling for the contest and the proof of his skill; he serves as a soldier and kills enemies because it’s what needs to be done.)

P: That’s a great comparison. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding Kaladin enjoying the contest, and he enjoys being talented at something.

“No,” Kaladin said, hoping the tower’s spren could hear him. “There will be a guard post at the bottom. I can already hear them responding to those shouts. To reach the second floor, we go out a perimeter balcony, down the outside, and then head inward. That will lose any tails we pick up.”

P: But of course, they can hear you, Kaladin. It’s their tower. The Sibling could probably eavesdrop on any person anywhere in that tower, or on all of them at once.

A: Well, they could have at one point, anyway. In the current circumstances, their vision is limited to the areas around conscious, bonded Radiants (or proto-Radiants). I’m not sure if that applies to hearing as well, but I assume so. Still, Kaladin being a conscious bonded Radiant, you’re right—the Sibling can hear him anywhere in the Tower.

P: And here, I was thinking that he doesn’t have the time or the energy to climb down to the next balcony on brush handles, for Kelek’s sake! Little did I know he was going to go all Tarzan.

He stuck his spear to his back by infusing part of it and slapping it against his shirt, then he unwound the rope around his waist. A quick infusion on the end let him stick it to the railing as he stepped up in a fluid motion and leaped off, sticking the other end to his shirt in case he slipped, then holding tight.

He swung out and around, then onto the balcony below.

P: THIS WAS STORMING AMAZING! I have to read it several times each time I encounter this passage because it’s so crazy and dangerous and risky and everloving incredible that I just want to whoop and holler! I can see it in my mind; it looks as glorious as it reads and as it sounds as narrated by Michael Kramer.

And I thought he was going to use brush handles. Pssh.

A: It was pretty awesome, all right! I was just thinking how handy it was not to have to worry about tying knots, risking a fall, dropping his spear, or any of that. Just stick it on with some Stormlight, and you’re good to go!

He drew attention, naturally.

P: Naturally. And not just because he’s dashing through the tower at night with singer guards on his tail—though, admittedly, a lot of it is that. It’s the first real resistance they’ve seen. But it’s also because he’s Kaladin Stormblessed.

A: I know this comes up very soon in the text, but can you imagine what it would be like, seeing him like this? For the singers, it would be a shock, and for the humans it would be… hope.

Feeling his solitude more than ever, Kaladin dodged the net by retreating. He wanted to infuse one of the nets and stick it to the floor so it couldn’t be recovered, but he couldn’t bend over to touch it.

Maybe I should remove my boots, he thought. That idea flew counter to all of his training, but he didn’t fight like he once had. These days, a stubbed toe would be healed instantly—while being able to infuse the ground he walked on would be a huge advantage.

P: I’m actually surprised it’s taken him so long to think of this. But then, he’s never been without Gravitation so it’s not something that would have come up before, I don’t imagine. Still BOOTS!

A: As he noted earlier, he still hasn’t internalized the fact that Gravitation doesn’t work now. It requires some different ways of thinking, when he can use one Surge and not the other. I’m glad his mind is working well enough to be putting these things together, though. Also, BOOTS!

“Brightlord Stormblessed!” he exclaimed.

“Radiant,” he said. “How? How do you still fight?”

“The same way you do,” Kaladin said. “One day at a time, always taking the next step.” He took the man’s wrist with his hand.

“Don’t get yourself killed. But also don’t give up hope.”

The man nodded.

P: Always taking the next step. This just gives me chills. And this story will spread like wildfire among the humans, and then the hope will grow. I’m getting goosebumps, y’all!

A: I wonder if Kaladin (or anyone else) has heard about Dalinar’s “most important step” realization back in Oathbringer. (Also, I had to go check to see if anyone else would have heard it at the time, and of course I had to read the whole chapter again… so that took longer than it should have…) Anyway, the echo of “the most important step you can take is the next one” is pretty cool here, and fits well with Kaladin’s determination to keep going despite his exhaustion.

The other was, as he’d noted earlier, the Pursuer. A hulking mountain of chitin and dark brown cloth, with eyes glowing a deep red.

P: That guy just gives me the creeps. And then he gives my creeps the creeps.

A: Know whatcha mean there… ::shudders::

“See?” the femalen said in Alethi as they spotted Kaladin. “I told you he’d come. I keep my promises, Pursuer. He’s yours.”

P: Growl. Despite how cool Raboniel can be sometimes, it’s well to remember that she is the enemy.

A: For sure! She couldn’t care less about Leshwi’s “prior claim” authorization from the Nine. For that matter, I’m pretty sure she couldn’t care less about her promise to the Pursuer, except that it’s useful to her right now. She has no moral standard except herself—and we need to keep that in mind.

“No one has ever defeated me twice,” the creature whispered. “But if you somehow managed such a feat, I would keep coming. We are no longer confined to Braize at the end of the war, and I am immortal. I can follow you forever. I am the spren of vengeance.

P: Who’s full of himself? This guy!

Seriously, the guy is so sure of his own superiority that he doesn’t think he’ll ever meet his match. I can’t wait for him to become the Defeated in Chapter 103. In… almost… a year. Okay, never mind. I can wait.

A: It’s really a pity that in all those Desolations, no one managed to kill him at the right time for him to be trapped on Braize by the Heralds before he could get back to Roshar. Maybe he wouldn’t be so cocky about it now. Then again, it makes his ultimate defeat by Kaladin (okay, and El…) that much richer. So there’s that.

That might be how you killed him: trap him in the fourth body. Either that, or catch him by surprise and kill him before he could eject, which was what Kaladin had done before.

P: Oh how I wanted this to happen. I wanted Kaladin to trap him and kill him again. Yeah, I can be bloodthirsty! So? 

A: I don’t know how anyone can read this and not long for Kaladin to kill him again. He’s such a git.

“I said step away.

“You’re a Windrunner,” she said. “You won’t hurt me if I’m not a threat.”

“Touching that gemstone makes you a threat. Step away.”

P: I mean, I would even venture so far as to say that her very presence in the tower is a threat. Don’t you all agree with me? Of course, you do. 

A: Absolutely agree. “Not a threat” my eye, lady. Every Fused, every Regal, every singer is a threat when they’re part of an occupying force.

Kaladin retreated through the opening into the outer corridor, infusing the floor again, using up a large amount of his Stormlight. He was able to roll away from the Pursuer’s next attack, which again left the creature rooted. But Kaladin couldn’t step forward and reclaim the Light he’d used, not without getting within the Pursuer’s reach.

His Stormlight was almost gone, something the Pursuer had clearly figured out.

P: Watch it, buddy… You beat him once without Stormlight and while the guy is big and scary, he doesn’t appear to be a complete idiot.

A: I think that’s one of the most frustrating things about this; even if Kaladin could fight him and kill him six different ways, he’s smart enough not to fall into the same trap twice. Even under normal circumstances, there’s no guarantee that Kaladin could kill him in a “fair fight” (whatever that looks like) every time, so each confrontation means that Kaladin has to find a new way to outsmart him. Honestly, the relief when El stuck the Pursuer with that stinking dagger was huge, even though the implications of the dagger itself were rather frightening.

Storms. The other Fused—the femalen—had returned to the gemstone and was working on it again.

“We have to destroy it, Kaladin,” Syl whispered.

She was right. He couldn’t defend this place on his own. He’d simply have to hope that the other nodes were better hidden.

Though… how could something be better hidden than in the middle of a wall?

P: I know that they’re listening in on Navani and the Sibling, but would she really have told Navani the location of this node? Or did they just happen to discover that hidden little corridor on their own?

A: No, they were really cagey about not telling Navani anything about the location of the nodes after that first one. I think the Fused found the corridor by looking along the outside of the tower for the node, like they started to in the Venli chapter a bit back. Once they found the gemstone, the Deepest Ones probably just followed the corridor back and destroyed the door. It was well hidden from the inside, but from the outside not so much.

P: Well, that makes sense. I hadn’t thought of them finding it from the outside, but of course they would have looked after Venli accidentally mentioned it.

When he’d killed the creature before, Kaladin had used the Pursuer’s assumptions against him. This time he wasn’t making the same mistake, but he was still so very confident.

Use that. Let him defeat himself.

Kaladin turned and started running in the opposite direction.

Behind, the Pursuer began laughing. “That’s right, human! Flee! You see it now! Run and be pursued.”

Syl zipped up alongside Kaladin. “What’s the plan?”

“He’s called the Pursuer,” Kaladin said. “He loves the chase. When we were doing what humans shouldn’t do—trying to fight him—he was deliberate and careful. Now we’re fleeing prey. He might get sloppy.”

P: And if not sloppy, then far too overconfident. Maybe he really is just a big, dumb brute.

A: It’s a good observation on Kaladin’s part: Lezian is very careful when someone is behaving in unexpected ways, but he relaxes when they do what they “should” do and run away from him. He expects fear, and his years of killing humans has probably given him a pretty good idea how they behave when they’re afraid of him.

“I need another hidden room. One with only a single exit—and with a door that will open and close fast.”

You’re going to hide? the Sibling said, hysterical. You can’t—

“I won’t abandon you, but you need to do this for me.”

P: I love this plan! 

A: I love the way we don’t quite know what he’s planning. It really increases the anticipation.

Syl cried, “He’s almost here!”

“As soon as I walk in,” Kaladin whispered to the tower’s spren, “start closing the door. Then lock it.”

He glanced back, and saw the red light rapidly approaching. So, taking a deep breath, Kaladin ducked through the once-hidden doorway. As he’d asked, it immediately began to grind closed. Kaladin turned to face outward, anxious as he pulled free his scalpel. He made it look like he intended to stand and fight.

Go for my back again, like you’ve done before. Please.

The ribbon danced in over his head. Kaladin leaped forward, squeezing through the tight doorway as it closed, right as the Pursuer appeared in the room behind him.

P: Heh… Big, dumb brute fell for it.

Though I have to admit that this was one of my face-clutching moments during the beta read. Like, please be okay, Kaladin, please be okay, pleasebeokay!

A: Tense indeed, and without knowing the plan, it really had me holding my breath on the first read! One thing bothers me about it, though: By using one of these hidden doors to trap the Pursuer, Kaladin gives away their existence. It may be that the Pursuer won’t admit to anyone else how he was captured, but he does know now that there are moving doors and hidden rooms, and that seems like dangerous information to give him.

Kaladin leaped forward and shoved the Fused back, trying to knock her off the cliff. That caused her to exclaim and fall out of her trance, though she grabbed a protruding rock and prevented herself from falling.

P: It’s just because he’s so tired. He’s had a long, trying night. Any other time he’d have booted her right outta there. Has nothing to do with needing to keep her around awhile longer.

A: Well, as noted below, she’d have just come back and grabbed another body, so all they’d have gotten was a day or so reprieve. And then she’d have come back cranky.

Kaladin slammed his rubble into the gemstone, cracking it. That was enough—cracked gemstones couldn’t hold Stormlight—but he slammed it a few more times to be certain, breaking the sapphire free of its housing and sending it tumbling into the void outside.

Kaladin felt something when it broke free. A faint sense that the darkness in the tower had grown stronger—or perhaps Kaladin was only now recognizing the results of the Fused’s recent attempt at corrupting the tower.

P: Perhaps with the weakening of the shield, the dampener grew a bit stronger?

A: That’s my assumption, anyway. The Sibling needed the Stormlight from that exterior gemstone to power their shield. Navani had to charge up the first one, and the other two… I don’t know how they’re getting Stormlight. This was the one that had the greatest Stormlight charge feeding the shield, so it’s reasonable that there would be a noticeable effect.

A shadow moved in front of him, and he forced himself alert—but not before the Fused in the topknot managed to ram a knife into his chest. He felt an immediate spike of pain and pulled out his scalpel, but the Fused jumped back before he could strike.

P: She’s very stabby, isn’t she? Storming Lady of Pains. Right when Kaladin is out of Stormlight, she decides to stab him in the damn chest. Growl. She wasn’t trying to drain his Stormlight. Did she really just want to see if he would be able to heal?

A: Yup. All part of her scientific observations. She doesn’t really believe he’s a threat to her, so she’s satisfying her curiosity about Adhesion and Windrunners as a little side project.

“You continue to heal,” she noted. “And I saw the use of Adhesion earlier. I assume from the way you move, confined to the ground, that Gravitation has abandoned you. Does your hybrid power work? The one your kind often uses to direct arrows in flight?”

P: She’s so interested in him, as she’s interested in everything, I suppose. She has to believe he’s of the Fourth Ideal, or close to it.

A: I kind of love her even though I hate her, you know? She’s so interested in learning things—all the things. She’s curious about every new thing, useful or not, and that’s the trait that makes her likeable. Of course, you also know that she’s filing away everything she learns. If it turns out to fit into something else she’s studying, she’ll put puzzle pieces together to support her own ends, and that makes her… well, hateable. As does this:

“If you kill me,” the Fused noted, “I will simply be reborn. I will choose the most innocent among the singers of the tower. A mother perhaps, with a child precisely old enough to understand the pain of loss—but not old enough to understand why her mother now rejects her.”

A: That’s brutal. It’s also one of the ways she can control a Windrunner (and most of the other Radiants, for that matter). Promise harm to an innocent person, and she’s safe, because it’s 100% believable that she’d do exactly that.

P: So brutal. And a good reminder of who she really is.

“I have Fused and Regals on their way to join us and finish his work. You might escape them, if you leave now.”

P: It’s odd that she tells him this when she could keep him around and have him outnumbered. It probably wouldn’t have taken much, either… talking about Navani, perhaps. But no, she basically tells him to go in order to avoid capture. So odd, our Raboniel.

A: It’s hard to know whether she views him as a nice source of potential diversion if she gets bored, or a potential resource, or… quite why she decides to encourage him to live. She doesn’t seem to care one way or the other about killing people.

Kaladin hesitated, uncertain. His instincts said he should do the opposite of whatever this femalen said, out of principle. But he thought better of it and fled into the corridors—his side aching—trusting in the tower spren and Syl to guide him out of danger and to a safe hiding place.

P: Yes, dear… retreat and find some Stormlight and heal. And then storming rest. You’ve done enough for one night.

A: I understand that feeling—wanting to do the opposite on the principle of the thing. And sometimes you need to be prepared to do just that, depending on the situation. This time, though, it’s actually good advice.

Music, Mechanisms, and Manifestations of Light

The Pursuer was here, standing with another Fused and inspecting a strange device at the end of the short tunnel, right where it ended and opened to the air. A glowing sapphire, easily as large as a chasmfiend’s gemheart, had been set into a built-in stand rising from the floor. The entire mechanism was covered over in crem, so it had been here a while, and the Fused had needed to break off a crem crust to reach the gemstone.

P: The node. Is their only purpose to reinforce the shield? I don’t recall, but is that the only reason to expose it to Stormlight? Doesn’t it actually help to power the pillar?

A: According to what the Deepest Ones told Venli, and is confirmed elsewhere by the Sibling, these nodes were installed shortly before the Recreance, during the False Desolation. Melishi decided the Sibling needed a separate defense system, and set this whole thing up independent of the rest of the Tower systems. So no, I don’t think it helps power the pillar/Tower at all; that power comes from the Sibling themself, creating their own Towerlight.

As he approached, he spotted a glass globe, perhaps six inches in diameter, set into a small alcove in the wall near the gemstone. At first he thought it was some kind of lighting fixture, but it was wrapped in metal wires like a fabrial. What on Roshar?

A: I have to remind myself that Kaladin didn’t see the one Navani powered up and then destroyed, so he doesn’t know what all this is. And we don’t know what happened to this part; he notes later that it’s gone but doesn’t know why. (Well, okay, we don’t know now what happened to it. We’ll see it again in a couple of chapters.)

P: And not knowing what it was, he wouldn’t think to ask about it and destroy it, too.

She didn’t seem to be corrupting it. Indeed, she had brought out a large diamond and was holding it up to the sapphire—drawing light from it. Stormlight, it seemed, although it was tinged faintly the wrong color.

P: Is this Lifelight? How would there be any left in the sapphire if it’s recharged with Stormlight?

A: My assumption is that it’s Towerlight, which is created by the Sibling themself. Earlier, Raboniel had seemed to be pushing Voidlight into the gemstone, trying to corrupt the Sibling, but now she’s pulling out Light that’s faintly the wrong color. That fits with Navani’s observation (which comes in Chapter 61) when Raboniel shows her a diamond full of light that’s faintly teal. It’s probably this same diamond, for that matter.

As to how she’s doing it… I have no idea. This being Raboniel, it’s quite possible that she saw something that triggered an interesting thought, and she simply decided that instead of corrupting the Sibling by pushing Voidlight through this node, it would be worth pulling out the Stormlight and then keep pulling to see what happens. She’s perfectly capable of changing her plans on the fly if she gets an idea—and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think the humans or the Sibling are really going to be able to resist very long anyway.

P: Yes, she’s in no hurry, and she’s happy to run a little experiment if the mood and the idea strikes her as she’s confident that they’ll get through the shield.

Spren and Shadesmar

“Put him down!” a stern voice said as a red spren strode across the floor. “Right now! We need him. You can kill him after!” The Pursuer relaxed his grip, perhaps stunned to be given an order by a Voidspren. Kaladin elbowed the Pursuer in the chin—which hurt like a hammer to the elbow—forcing the creature to let go.

P: Honor love you, Syl. Pretty amazing acting and disguise to give the Pursuer pause.

A: So funny! He wasn’t taken in for long, but it was long enough.

Bruised and Broken

…a part of him panicked these days every time he went to pick up a weapon.

P: Damned PTSD. It’s always waiting there to storming interfere in anything and everything you want to do. But Kaladin can overcome it; he knows how to set that aside and do what needs to be done. Even if it does damage him more in the long run.

A: He’s so terrified that he might freeze again at a critical moment, poor guy. Much as he loves the spear, it’s only when he’s using it that people depend on him for defense (he thinks), so it would be better never to pick it up. Well, he may be wrong (or partially wrong) about all that, but it’s certainly understandable.

Oaths Spoken, Powers Awakened

Kaladin growled despite himself, stepping forward.

“Yes,” the femalen said. “A true Windrunner, all the way to your gemheart. Fascinating. You had no continuity of spren or traditions from the old ones, I’m led to believe. Yet the same attitudes, the same structures, arise naturally—like the lattice of a growing crystal.”

P: A Windrunner doesn’t need continuity of spren or traditions. They are what they are. Who they are. You know less than you think you do, Raboniel.

A: As a scholar, I can see why this would interest her, though. There’s a ton we don’t know about the spren back in the early days, including whether she actually knew any spren (like Leshwi did) or just knew of them and didn’t bother with personal relationships. In either case, she saw the beginning of the Heralds and the Radiants way back then, and would have observed the consistency in the Orders over the course of many centuries. To know that there was a complete break—not only no traditions, but no surviving spren to remember the traditions—and then see that the new Radiants have the same priorities and characteristics as the ancient Orders? That would be fascinating for someone like Raboniel.

Singers/Fused

She’s corrupting the pillar, Kaladin thought, using this as a conduit to touch it. He leveled his spear at her.

She stopped and turned to regard him. “The Pursuer isn’t lying,” she said in accented Alethi. “He will hunt you forever. To the abandonment of all reason and duty.”

P: Then what good is he, really? If he’s so single-minded that he’d hunt someone forever to the abandonment of all reason and duty, what storming good is he? That’s something I don’t like about the idea of the Pursuer. He’s a scary monster, sure, but what does he contribute? Anger? *smh* Get the crem outta here.

A: He contributes terror. “Never forget that terror is also a means of communication.” (I’m not sure I got that exactly right, but the B5 fans here will probably recognize it anyway…) The knowledge that if someone kills him, he’ll gain a new body and come after that person again until he kills them… that would create a sense of terror and hopelessness. That’s useful. Plus, once he kills that quarry, he seeks out the strongest Radiants to fight, knowing that eventually he’ll manage to kill them. Granted, he messes up big plans all the time with his egocentric approach, but apparently the overall result is worth it. For now.

“He has placed Voidlight gemstones in stashes nearby, so he can reinfuse himself and make new bodies.”

A: Okay, so that’s part of the answer to the question I asked (last week? Or the week before?) about renewing their Voidlight. The Pursuer can simply stash Voidlight gemstones to replenish their power, just like Radiants carry Stormlight gemstones. But we still don’t know where they actually get the Voidlight. Back in Hearthstone, the Pursuer had to be gone for a while when he ran out of bodies and needed to recharge, but… where did he go? And where/how do they recharge the Voidlight gemstones? Navani said earlier that they’d tried just leaving them out in the Everstorm and it didn’t work.

P: Yes, I’m still curious about how they recharge the gemstones with Voidlight. And of course, Lezian would be proactive enough to have stashes around the tower.

Humans

He grabbed his spear, then glanced over his shoulder and saw some humans peeking out of their rooms, watching the fight.

P: And thus he becomes legendary. No. More legendary.

Not only is he Kaladin. He’s a Radiant, awake. And he’s very obviously resisting. Against an army, sure. Against immortals, yeah, okay. But he’s still out there saying, “No, you move.”

Have I ever mentioned how much I admire Kaladin? No? You sure? Because it seems like something I would say. Repeatedly.

A: I’m reasonably sure you mentioned it somewhere along the line. Almost positive.

Again he had to hiss at people to close their doors and stay out of sight. Where was their sense of self-preservation?

Their eyes were hopeful when they saw him. And in those expressions, he understood why they had to look, regardless of the danger. They thought everyone had been conquered and controlled, but here was a Radiant.

P: Here was a Radiant, fighting back. Just as I mentioned above, he becomes more legendary. And inside a week, everyone in the tower will have been the ones to see him resisting, even though only a handful actually did. *chuckle*

A: Heh. I wonder if the Thaylen carpenter dude kept his mouth shut. Bet he didn’t… at least not around the humans. Probably around the singers, though.

As much as he’s come to dread folks depending on him, this moment of hope (and the legends it will create) is so needful to the people of Urithiru. Information is so tightly controlled, most of them probably aren’t sure if Navani is really alive or not—but they saw Radiants falling unconscious, and they were all fully aware of the consequences of hiding any Radiant from the Fused. Seeing a Radiant awake and fighting would be an absolute beacon of light for them.

Brilliant Buttresses

Kaladin added his own twist by infusing the shaft with a Full Lashing, making it stick to the guard’s hands. Then he shoved the weapon to the side, sticking it to a second guard’s spear as he spun.

Kaladin grabbed that spear, infusing it as well, then left both guards stuck to their weapons. As they shouted in surprise, Kaladin held the shafts of the crossed spears—one in each hand—and shoved them upward so the tips struck the ceiling. Then he smoothly ducked through the peaked opening, leaving the two men crying out and struggling as they tried unsuccessfully to free their weapons and hands.

P: This whole fight had me cracking up! Kaladin sticking singers to each other and hanging them from the storming ceiling… Oh my Honor, I’m cry-laughing.

A: The visuals were pretty funny—and so much the better because he’d had to use such careful subterfuge to get past them the first time.

“Kaladin,” Syl said, hovering beside his head as a ribbon of light. “To your left.”

P: I can’t be the only one thinking it, right? She should have said

 

We’ll be leaving further speculation and discussion to you in the comments, so have fun and remember to be respectful of the opinions of others! Next week, we’ll be back with chapter 60, in which Venli finds Rlain, and Mraize delivers Lift to Raboniel.

Alice is a Sanderson beta reader and administrator of two fandom Facebook groups. The Storm Cellar is specifically oriented to the people who reread here on Tor, though it’s not limited to them, and allows discussion of all Sanderson works. The Stormlight Archive group is, as you might guess, all about The Stormlight Archive, so discussion of other books has to be hidden behind spoiler tags. Alice lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two kids.

Paige resides in New Mexico, of course. She works full-time, goes to school full-time, beta reads part-time, mods/admins 3 Stormlight-themed Facebook groups part-time, and writes part-time. She wishes sleep wasn’t necessary because there’s just too storming much to do! Links to her other writing are available in her profile.

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