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Kaladin waits to be seen by Amaram, with his four surviving men. He wonders if he was a fool for giving away both Plate and Blade and ponders why saving Amaram’s life is considered worth the lives of his men. He thinks on Amaram’s reputation and demeanor, how he demands that his men be treated with respect, but allows his men to treat those under them like slime. He remembers that the highmarshal let Tien die.
Amaram enters, accompanied by one of his stormwardens. He compliments Kaladin’s bravery, leaving the young man at a loss for a response. Kaladin reminds him about the events of Hearthstone, but they don’t seem to register with Amaram. He asks why Kaladin refused the Shards, and isn’t content with Kaladin saying that he just didn’t want them. Kaladin insists again that they be given to his best man, Coreb, who will take care of the survivors once he becomes a lighteyes.
Amaram looks at Coreb, then has him and all of Kaladin’s other soldiers killed.
Kaladin curses Amaram again and again, while the lighteyes explains that he needed a story for why he was taking the Shards for himself. As the best-trained wielder of the Shards, he thinks he could save thousands of lives. He couldn’t have just asked for them, as rumors would have spread, and in the end Amaram isn’t convinced that Kaladin wouldn’t ask for them back. He says that this is what must be done for the good of Alethkar. Kaladin is less than pleased with his rationale:
|“|| "It’s not about Alethkar! It’s about you! Storm it, you’re supposed to be better than the others!" Tears dripped from Kaladin’s chin.
Amaram looked suddenly guilty, as if he knew what Kaladin had said was true. He turned away, waving to the stomwarden. The man turned from the brazier, holding something he'd been heating in the coals. A small branding iron.
"It's all an act?" Kaladin asked. "The honorable Brightlord who cares about his men? Lies? All of it?'m
"This is for my men," Amaram said.
"I can't worry about the lives of a few darkeyed spearman when of people may be saved by my decision.
Amaram tells his men to brand Kaladin "sas nahn," a slave’s mark. He says this is an act of mercy. In exchange for Kaladin saving his life, Amaram will spare Kaladin’s. He seems to feel guilty for a moment, then leaves the tent. The branding iron descends, and Kaladin screams in agony.
-by Carl Engle-Laird
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| " ... why Thaidakar would risk this?" Amaram was saying, speaking in a soft voice. "But who else would it be? The Ghostbloods grow more bold. We’ll need to find out who he was. Do we know anything about him?"
"He was Veden, Brightlord," the stormwarden said. "Nobody I recognize. But I will investigate."