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WoR Ch54


There came also sixteen of the order of Windrunners, and with them a considerable number of squires, and finding in that place the Skybreakers dividing the innocent from the guilty, there ensued a great debate.

–From Words of Radiance, chapter 28, page 3


Point of view: Shallan
Setting: The Shattered Plains

Progression of the Chapter:

Shallan walks through the rain in the Unclaimed Hills to meet with several members of the Ghostbloods; Mraize is surprised that "Tyn and Shallan" were able to enter Amaram's house and is impressed by the pictures she provides; Shallan has carefully chosen which bits of information are actually revealed by the pictures, but inadvertently reveals that she can draw very accurately from memory; Mraize realizes that Shallan killed Tyn and is working on her own, and commends her for it; as she is dismissed, she realizes that in his parting words, Mraize has given the others tacit permission to try to kill her; in a slight panic, she creates an Illusion of a boulder and hides in it, while sending Pattern to use her voice to tell the carriage driver to return to the warcamp; hoofbeats follow and then return; Mraize speaks to an unidentified companion of various other persons interested in these matters; when her Illusion dissipates, she begins the long walk back to the warcamp while practicing accents with Pattern; their practice is disrupted by the discovery of her carriage burned, her coachman and his parshmen murdered; she continues her walk more somberly, pondering how she could have handled this so no one died.

Quote of the Chapter:

"We will need to find how much he knows." Mraize's voice."You will bring these pages to Master Thaidakar. We are close, but so - it appears - are Restares’s cronies."

The response came in a rasping voice. Shallan couldn’t make it out.

"No, I’m not worried about that one. The old fool sows chaos, but does not reach for the power offered by opportunity. He hides in his insignificant city, listening to its songs, thinking he plays in world events. He has no idea. His is not the position of the hunter. This creature in Tukar, however, is different. I’m not convinced he is human. If he is, he’s certainly not of the local species."

Thaidakar, Restares, Taravangian ... So far, Mraize seems to know more about all these subversive groups than anyone else, but Gavilar apparently knew something about a couple of them, at least. And what about "this creature in Tukar"? Could it be he’s referring to "that god-priest of theirs, Tezim"? What creates the legend of a god-priest on Roshar? An Unmade? Someone holding an Honorblade? A Surgebinder/Proto-Radiant? A rogue Herald?

Commentary:

Shallan’s planning and presentation was nearly flawless, but the whole thing almost unraveled by a few thoughtless words. When playing games with the Ghostbloods, the stakes are high; if one isn't careful, innocents may pay the price on another's behalf. Shallan learned these lessons a long time ago. She's been caught in this kind of game since she was a little girl ... and the innocent always seem to pay the price. Young Shallan was nearly murdered for the beliefs of her mother and her "friends." Shallan's own innocence was destroyed in her own self-defense. Her father's burden of protection drove him into madness, whereby he maimed the servants as an outlet for his anger at her. All of it was tangled up with Ghostbloods, Skybreakers, and possibly other subversive organizations or fanatic cults. High stakes and lives on the line are not a new experience for her. The difference is that this time, she’s deliberately taking an active role, and is therefore more directly to blame when the innocent are murdered. And she knows it.

Still, she did acquit herself well for the most part. She replaced all the writing with appropriate but uninformative wiggly lines, and she only gave Mraize a small chunk of actual text which might serve to get him talking. She also had her story worked out so that the reasons for the missing information was perfectly plausible. However, admitting that she could draw so well from memory was a slight, but deadly error.

Well, she was bound to make some mistakes. At least this one wasn’t life threatening. Probably.

Stormwatch:

This is the same day as the previous chapter, and the reason Shallan had to refuse Adolin's dinner invitation. Thirty days remain.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

The general wild beauty of the surroundings form an idyllic backdrop to what turns out to be a vicious, deep, and twisty narrative. Shallan has so much fun, initially, enjoying a walk in the rain and observing the thirst-emboldened grass and the proliferating vines. She gives herself a little biology review as she strolls along, and compares the vegetation to what she’d be likely to find at home in Jah Keved. And then the politicking starts, and she doesn't get to enjoy the vines any more.

Ars Arcanum:

Shallan sketches a lady's pace beautifully, including the angles of the feet, and then proceeds to draw Veil walking in a very different manner.

It occurred to her that this person she became when she put on the hat and dark hair was not an imitation of someone else, not a different person. It was just a version of Shallan herself.

Practicing her her accents with Pattern, Shallan comes to a realization.

"What I need to do," Shallan said, "is train you to speak along with my images."

"You should have them speak themselves," Pattern said.

"Can I do that?"

"Why not?"

"Because ... well, I use Light for the illusion, and so they create an imitation of light. Makes sense. I don’t use sound to make them, though."

"This is a Surge," Pattern said. "Sound is a part of it. Mmm ... Cousins of one another. Very similar. It can be done."

"How?"

"Mmmm. Somehow."

"You’re very helpful."

"I am glad ... " He trailed off. "Lie?"

"Yup."

This is the first clear indication (unless one has read the Ars Arcanum) that Illumination uses more than just light to do its thing; control of this Surge confers the ability to manipulate other waveforms, too. So if she can figure out how to do it, Shallan should be able to include sound in her Illusions.

Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before?

Readers have been given to understand that Mraize is Thaylen, but he’s also been confirmed as a Worldhopper. Is his involvement in Rosharan affairs beneficent, benign, or self-serving? Has he returned because things started heating up, or did he trigger it? Comversely, is he only tangentially interested in Roshar as it affects the Cosmere in general?

Heraldic Symbolism:

The Heralds in this chapter are Shalash and Ishar. Shalash is fairly obvious, with her connection to Shallan’s Lightweaving. What about Ishar? It might be he’s there for Mraize, but whether as the Vorin ideals of Pious/Guiding, the opposite, or the "associated madness" remains in question. There is so much about Mraize and the Ghostbloods that is still unknown.

Words of Radiants:

There seems to be some divisiveness among the Knights Radiant. Just what was the occasion, that place, and what were their various reasonings? Apparently, this Epigraph is here to give the reader A) hints of a conflict between Orders; B) a reveal that Windrunners have squires; C) a peek into what the Skybreakers were all about.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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