Herald Nalan
Drawing by Isaac Stewart
Biographical information
Gender Male
Status Alive
Abilities Surgebinding
Social Information
Aliases Nalan'Elin, Nalan, Nin
Title(s) Herald of Justice
Occupation Herald of the Almighty
Appears in The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Arcanum Unbounded, Edgedancer, Oathbringer

Nale is one of the ten Heralds of the Almighty. He is the Herald of Justice and the reluctant, but eventually acceptant, patron of the Order of Knights Radiant known as Skybreakers. He was associated with the number Nan and the divine attributes Just and Confident.[1]

He is known as Nalan'Elin or Nalan in Vorinism, and Nin amongst the Shin.[2]



Relief of Nalan'Elin
Fan art by Greg Call

This image is a depiction of Nalan by Alethi stonemasons, with the sword of retribution held over his head.[3]

Nale is a dark-skinned man (like a man from the Makabaki region), distinguished by his dead eyes and the white mark on his cheek; a pale, hooked crescent. He dresses in a crisp black uniform with silver buttons and a silver shirt underneath and wears thick gloves with stiff cuffs, extending halfway back around his forearms.[4][5]


Little is known of Nale in the past, except that he exemplifies the virtues Justice and Confidence.

In the current timeline, he is cold and detached, showing no emotions even when he is thwarted. Still, he believes that Justice does not expire.[4] The only time Nale appears agitated is when one of his minions breaks a law, which prompts him to physically discipline the minion and instruct him/her to give himself/herself up to the law while giving his captured criminal (i.e., Lift) a chance to escape.[6]

Though still remaining true to an ideal of Justice, his ideal appears to be somewhat warped, as he fanatically strives to uphold the letters of laws to perfection, stating that "it is the only genuine beauty in the world".[5]

While he might well be called the Herald of Justice, his point is in following a chosen code and sticking to it no matter what. In that sense he makes a perfect example of "Justice is blind."

In Nale's chosen code, up until the Edgedancer story, being a Surgebinder is - to him - the biggest crime, so much so that other crimes are petty in comparison.

Now, Nale's hypocrisy is that he is using other, sometimes smaller crimes to make hunting Surgebinders valid.


And thus were the disturbances in the Revv toparchy quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, Nalan’Elin betook himself to finally accept the Skybreakers who had named him their master, when initially he had spurned their advances and, in his own interests, refused to countenance that which he deemed a pursuit of vanity and annoyance; this was the last of the Heralds to admit to such patronage.

–From Words of Radiance, chapter 5, page 17[7]

Last DesolationEdit

After their victory in the Last Desolation, Nale abandoned the Oathpact, along with his fellow Heralds, except for Talenel.[8]

Six Years AgoEdit

Nale was present in Kholinar during King Gavilar's assassination, accompanied by a short and thin Alethi man (i.e., Kalak). At one point during the feast, he was engaged in conversation with Elhokar, and afterwards encountered Jasnah while talking in an abandoned hallway with his Alethi companion.[9]

The PresentEdit

Nale found Ym - a budding Surgebinder and an unintentional accomplice to murder 40 years ago - in an unknown city. After a brief chase, Nale caught and killed him with his Shardblade.[4]

Later, Nale pursued Lift, a fledgling Edgedancer and a young thief, from Marabethia to Azir. He followed her into the Prime Aqasix’s palace, which she'd infiltrated during the holy conclave, in session electing the new Prime and, after a chase, he eventually caught her. As he was about to execute her, the new Prime, Gawx, appeared and pardoned her of her crimes, which made Nale stand down and let her go.[6]

He observed Szeth's fight with Kaladin (at least the finale), and used some sort of fabrial to restore Szeth to life after Szeth died and fell from the highstorm. (Szeth's death occurs only in the rewrite of Words of Radiance - i.e., initially the paperback version of Words of Radiance following the original hardcover copy.) He identified himself to Szeth as the Herald of Justice, and recruited him, despite Szeth's objections.[5]

"You? Not worthy? I watched you destroy yourself in the name of order, watched you obey your personal code when others would have fled or crumbled. Szeth-son-Neturo, I watched you keep your word with perfection. This is a thing lost to most people - it is the only genuine beauty in the world. I doubt I have ever found a man more worthy of the Skybreakers than you." [5]

He agreed that Szeth had indeed destroyed himself and that he'd died; that Szeth's bond to his Blade had been severed, that all ties - both spiritual and physical - had been undone. Yet Nale offered Szeth training and ... a new Shardblade; a large black blade trailing black smoke in a metal sheath which spoke in Szeth's mind. This blade is Nightblood from Warbreaker.[5]

Later, in his renewed conflict with Lift in the city of Yeddaw in Tashikk, and on the third floor of Tashi's Light Orphanage while staring out a trapdoor in the ceiling, Lift urges "Darkness" to look at the storm behind him. A sorry, sad group of evicted parshmen stand on the ground below. Their eyes glow with the red of the lightning. Nale attempts to deny this and Lift tells him he's failed, that it has come. Looking into the storm, Nale realizes she's right. He calls out to his fellow Heralds and admits he's failed. He bows his head and starts weeping. Lift then hugs him. He clings to her and weeps. Then, he pushes himself away, starts to glow, shoots into the sky, and vanishes.[10]

Abilities and PowersEdit

Nale is in the possession of an undescribed Shardblade, which may be his Honorblade, given that Lift notes he was glowing faintly and running too quickly when he was chasing her. This suggests that he is either the one who recovered one of the Honorblades from the Shin, or that he is able to infuse Stormlight on his own.[6]

He also has a larkin, and uses its ability to absorb Stormlight to then drain Stormlight from the Surgebinders he hunts.[6]

Nale has the ability to restore life after death, even if the individual's soul has been been cut through - dead for certain - as long as the brain of the individual hasn't also died, with the right fabrial (as he does so for Szeth).[5]