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The Way of Kings: Chapter 49

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<< TWoK Chapter 48: Strawberry / TWoK Chapter 50: Backbreaker Powder >>
Twok49


Radiant / of birthplace / the announcer comes / to come announce / the birthplace of the Radiants.


Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: The Shattered Plains

Kaladin and his team are on permanent chasm duty, but they have different plans; Kaladin will begin training his men to be warriors with the hope of escaping the Shattered Plains, knowing they may have to fight their whole way free. Kaladin still has hopes of a clean getaway through the chasm or some other avenue that would present itself, but he’ll prepare his men as best he can.

As they walk in the chasm, Teft probes Kaladin with questions about feeling strange such as “odd surges of strength” or “feeling that you’re light,” which Kaladin hasn’t. The questions remind Kaladin of people who sought the Old Magic including Extes, who had sacrificed his son to the Voidbringers and would suffer everyday by having his arms torn off. The boon Extes had wanted was to know what happened the day he was fated to die. Sometimes Kaladin feels as if he only lived under the auspiciousness of some evil spren that kills everyone around him while he lives.

Kaladin has the men line up and tells them that most trainers would cut down new recruits to toughen them up, but this was unnecessary as the crew are all more than tough for surviving this long. Instead, they must learn that it is okay to care and find a reason to fight. This is their first lesson of the day and one Kaladin hopes the men will remember even if they don’t understand it just yet.

The second lesson is all about stance. Kaladin calls Skar up to try and throw Kaladin off balance. Skar fails, and so Kaladin asks Moash and Drehy to help Skar. All three try to force Kaladin to lose his balance, but he easily uses their own force against them, all the while explaining to the group that losing one's balance would likely mean death in combat. Skar, Moash, and Drehy begin to work more in unison, but Kaladin calls them off.

He breaks the group up into pairs and and begins teaching them how to maintain their stances, not locking their knees, and also how best to each hold their center of balance. When Kaladin orders Teft, Teft answers so swiftly and affirmatively that Kaladin can tell Teft had military training. Kaladin is glad to have someone else other than himself who had been in the military within his fold, though it seems Teft wishes he hadn’t given himself away.

Kaladin then speaks to Rock, who has been standing by the side, clearly not intending to join in the training because he believes fighting was beneath him. When questioned about this, he replies that he isn’t a fourth son and that only fourth sons become warriors. Though Kaladin would prefer to have Rock with them in a fight, he comes up with an alternate plan: Kaladin asks Rock to take Dabbid, Lopen, and Shen to complete the crew’s salvage mission with Syl's help; she will find the caches for them as she did when they were looking for reeds. Syl reveals herself to Lopen for the first time. Kaladin assures Lopen he still plans on training him, but needs him now as a scavenger more than another spear.

Kaladin asks Rock to draw a map of the chasm in hopes of finding a way out eventually. Rock is worried about chasmfiends, but that that was a worry anyone who went into the chasms faced. Hence, he believes that their best chance will be escaping to the east from the chasm, but they will still face the possibility of chasmfiends, spotters for the Alethi, and perhaps even the Parshendi.

For the next few hours, Kaladin watches the men and gives tips as they practice their stances. Moash, Skar, and Drehy take to the training quickly. As Kaladin looks around, he realizes Sadeas had inadvertently given him the best new recruits he had ever trained.

- by Michael Pye[1]

Quote of the Chapter:

"Our passion is what makes us human. We have to fight for a reason. So I say that it’s all right to care."

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