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The Way of Kings: Chapter 38

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<< TWoK Chapter 37: Sides / TWoK Chapter 39: Burned into Her >>
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Born from the darkness, they bear its taint still, marked upon their bodies much as the fire marks their souls.

–I consider Gashash-son-Navamm is a trustworthy source, though I'm not certain about this translation. Find the original quote in the fourteenth book of Seld and retranslate it myself, perhaps?


Point of view: Kaladin, Teft
Setting: A dream/vision, then a barracks in Sadeas's warcamp.

Kaladin dreams that he is floating and returns to his home in Hearthstone. He is there with his family but he is a grown man, and he feels that he doesn't quite fit with them. His father Lirin is shaking his head and questioning how this ever happened, saying he thought Kaladin wanted to be a surgeon.

Intermittently, throughout Kaladin's Pov during half of the chapter, he is running through his knowledge of his wounds and how to treat them. Kaladin seems to have bruised and/or broken bones from beating against the walls and roof, patches of lacerated skin from exposure to the highstorm winds, hypothermia from exposure to extreme cold, and "hallucinations" from blows to the head.

Occasionally, Kaladin opens his eyes to find himself in a cold and dark room made of stone with a high roof. He sees others lying in blankets in lines around him, and he compares these wounded or dead bridgemen to corpses. He wonders how he's not dead and thinks of all the people he's failed, and tells himself he must not fail Bridge Four.

Kaladin begins to see deathspren swarming around him; they are many-legged, fist-sized and black, with glowing red eyes and leaving trails of burning light with their movement. They make whispering sounds like that of tearing paper, and Kaladin thinks to himself that only the dying are able to see deathspren.

He then sees a tiny figure of light among them; she is not translucent like usual but is instead glowing pure and white. Her usually soft, feminine face is now angular and noble, like a warrior of a forgotten time. She wields a radiant blade of light and fends off the deathspren away from Kaladin. He then runs over more treatments for his wounds and passes out.

The Pov now shifts to Teft, who enters the dark barrack at midday. The five wounded men are outside in the sun, all of them healing well. Teft contemplates what's been happening lately; most of the camp heard Sadeas condemn Kaladin to the Stormfather's judgement, and yet Kaladin survived. The bridgemen have been allowed to cut Kaladin down from his bindings and care for him indoors, but they are walking a thin line. News of Kaladin's miraculous survival has spread throughout the camp, and soldiers have been going out of their way to get a peak at him. Teft knows this must be very displeasing to Sadeas; he can't directly kill Kaladin without damaging his reputation, but other lighteyes may want to please their Brightlord and discretely rid him of his problem with a poisoning or suffocation. For this reason the men of Bridge Four always have someone guarding Kaladin.

Skar is on guard when Teft enters. Kaladin is sweaty and bandaged with many bloody rags, and Skar tells Teft that he's been mumbling about deathspren. Teft relieves Skar of his guard shift for time alone with Kaladin. He watches Kaladin for a while and asks "Why now? Why here? After so many have watched and waited, you come here?" Teft considers that he knows nothing about it for certain, but he has assumptions and fears. He vaguely reflects about his mysterious past. The narration reveals that Teft rejected the Envisagers, and he places three stormlit spheres he had been saving into Kaladin's hand. Teft tells Kaladin that he can't save a bunch of doomed men and suddenly leave them like this.

After Teft doubtfully waits a few moments, Kaladin gasps and the light from the three spheres disappears. Thin wisps of light emit from his skin, and when Kaladin's eyes snap open light shines outward from them as well. Some of these wisps of light wrap around one another near Kaladin's exposed cuts and knit themselves together closer to the wound. The light slowly vanishes after a short while, and the puffy red areas around several of his cuts are gone.

Teft is shocked and he exclaims "It is true." He bows low to the ground, tears in his eyes, thinking about what to do next. He eventually rises and takes the spheres from Kaladin's hand - now dun - and decides to progressively continue the process at a slow enough pace that Kaladin's healing isn't suspicious. Teft thinks about how he needs the Envisagers, but that they are all dead and gone because of what he did. He doesn't know who to tell about it, and decides to keep quiet about it until he he can figure out what to do.

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