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WoR Ch63


Now, look what you've made me say. You've always been able to bring out the most extreme in me, old friend. And I do still name you a friend, for all that you weary me.


Point of view: Shallan
Setting: Sebarial and Kholin warcamps

Progression of the Chapter:

Shallan converses via spanreed with Adolin, who is mysteriously occupied; at the same time, she is attempting to spy on the Ghostbloods who are attempting to spy on her; she finally figures it out and sends Pattern to find the spy; he then carries a Veil illusion and draws the spy out of her hiding place; getting the drop on said spy, Shallan-as-Veil initiates a conversation, resulting in the two proceeding together on the mission rather than Iyatil sneaking along spying on Veil; a little sleight-of-Illusion gets them into Dalinar's warcamp without Iyatil seeing the means Shallan uses; once they enter the temple grounds, Shallan gets them into the monastery building by claiming that Iyatil is her sister and is doing seriously weird things with this mask gig; Iyatil reluctantly plays along, keeping the Ardents occupied while Shallan seeks out her quarry - the man who calls himself Talenel'Elin; he recites his muttered litany about Desolations and loss, bronze and steel, preparations and training; Shallan writes it all down and double-checks it, since he says the same thing every time; when she draws in Stormlight to replace her disguise, however, he comes unglued and grabs her; he seems to recognize her as a Radiant, though he can’t quite put all the pieces together, but then gives up and settles back into his repetitions; as she again attempts to slip out the door, she sees a group coming right to this same cell, and one of them is Amaram.

Quote of the Chapter:

"My name," the woman said. "Iyatil."

"I’ve never heard one like it."

"Unsurprising. Your task today was to investigate a certain new arrival into Dalinar’s camp. We wish to know about this person, and Dalinar’s allegiances are uncertain."

"He’s loyal to the king and the Throne."

"Outwardly," the woman said. "His brother knew things of an extraordinary nature. We are uncertain if Dalinar was told of these things or not, and his interactions with Amaram worry us. This newcomer is linked."

"Amaram is making maps of the Shattered Plains," Shallan said. "Why? What is out there that he wants?" And why would he want to return the Voidbringers?

Iyatil didn’t answer.

Iyatil doesn't really care about Dalinar’s allegiance to king and throne; she’s more concerned about his possible involvement with one of the "secret society" organizations about which little is as yet known. Was Gavilar actively committed to the goals of only one group, or was he linked to several of them? There are just too many shadowy groups with overlapping and contradictory goals here.

Commentary:

The Ghostbloods are now very interested in Dalinar’s "madman," mostly because of Dalinar’s connections to Gavilar and Amaram. Neither the Ghostbloods nor Dalinar know/believe who the guy is, but his "identity" is far more critical to current events than they seem to realize. The Sons of Honor, on the other hand, believe he is who he claims to be, and take it as a sign that their purpose will be fulfilled ... but they don’t seem to realize what horrible things may have been unleashed.

As Shallan and Iyatil approach Dalinar’s temple, it is made apparent that along with prayer and counseling, the Ardents provide both "trade school" and "liberal arts" education.

Darkeyes from almost any nahn could come to be taught a trade, exercising their divine Right to Learn, as mandated by the Heralds. Lesser lighteyes came to learn trades as well, and the higher dahns came to learn the arts or progress in their Callings to please the Almighty.

A large population of ardents like this one would have true masters in every art and trade. Perhaps she should come and seek Dalinar’s artists for training.

So, any person in Alethkar (save those at the lowest level of nahn without the right of travel) could go to the Ardents to learn any trade appropriate to their means and skills. Those of sufficient rank or wealth without the need for a trade could still come to be educated in the visual arts, music, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, etc.. Education would have been available in the level and form suitable to the individual’s skills and inclinations.

Regarding Shallan's brief interaction with Talenel’Elin, most of what he says is the same that he continually repeats ... with two exceptions. Early on, she whispers, "Who are you?" and he gives his name and cognomen. Later, as she prepares to resume her Ardent disguise, something about it gets his undivided attention - to the point where she summons her Shardblade - but after a few mutters about "Ishar's Knights," he gives up and goes back to his bed. However ...

Shallan inched forward, and found he was back to whispering the same things as before. She dismissed the Blade.

Mother’s soul ...

"Shallan?" Pattern asked. "Shallan, are you mad?"

She shook herself. How much time had passed?

Shallan has blanked out yet again. So, did Pattern ask if she was mad because she summoned her Blade, or because she went blank after she dismissed him? And, did he use "mad" in the sense of "angry" or "crazy"?

Stormwatch:

This is the day after Dalinar’s visit to Kaladin; there are 18 days left in the countdown.

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

Shallan thinks of the gnarly tree as sort of a cross between a dendrolith (literally, treestone) and a dalewillow (valley willow?). In any case, it’s a clever place to hide something when one wants to be sure to see who picks it up; another either has to approach slowly, which is rather obvious, or the tree will pull in its fronds, which is also rather obvious. (Of course, if one really doesn't want anyone to see that for which it is being used, maybe it’s not such a good choice. Either way it's approached, it’s obvious. The Ghostbloods don't really care about that aspect, though; they just want to be sure they see Shallan pick up the instructions, so they can follow her.)

Ars Arcanum:

Pattern and Shallan really get their Lightweaving on! They put to use the things they were discovering previously. They’ve now moved from simply attaching a picture to Pattern, to a sequence of movement allowing him to "walk" the Illusion where others will see it and not be suspicious.

First, though, there was the trick with Shallan's hideout; arriving in the dark to create an extension of the shed on top of the building and, this time, with a missing brick or two so she can see out. Points, also, for realizing that she was being watched. Fortunately, the Ghostbloods don’t know that she has several ways of getting around their precautions. Sending Pattern to find the spy was genius and a very Shallan thing to do.

Shallan is becoming quite deft at disguises: two versions of Veil; a quick switch from Veil to Shallan and back to Veil; the Ardent in the monastery; and, Veil again. She must have had a whole sleeve-full of infused spheres to fuel all that!

Shallan took a deep breath and pulled on her hat, breathing out a second image, one that covered her over and transformed her into Veil. The one on Pattern would remain so long as he had Stormlight. That Stormlight drained from him a lot faster than it did from Shallan, though. She didn’t know why.

Just why does the Stormlight drain from Pattern so much faster than from Shallan?

Haven't We Met Somewhere Before?

Iyatil is obviously baffled and intrigued by Veil's methods; "I sent a double" can cover Pattern/Veil’s trip to the cache, but getting into the Kholin warcamp isn’t so easily explained. (Shallan is wise not to try, and lucky that her persona would be disinclined to share such secrets.) So, if Iyatil found out what Shallan was doing, would she be more interested in the Lightweaving itself, or in how to use it to accomplish her goals on Roshar?

She's a Worldhopper, but why she’s on Roshar, why she’s teaching Mraize, whether she’s part of one of the known inter-world organizations, which one, and what its ultimate goals are remain in question.

"Why the mask?" Shallan asked, leaning forward. "What does it mean? Why do you hide?"

"I have many times asked myself," Iyatil said, "why those of you here go about so brazenly with features exposed to all who would see them. My mask reserves my self. Besides, it gives me the ability to adapt."

Heraldic Symbolism:

Shalash and Talenel are here for fairly obvious reasons: Shalash, for her Lightweaver-in-training and all the clever Illusions being wrought; and Talenel for himself. Brandon has been a bit cagey about whether or not this person really is Taln, but it's easier to assume that he is, until textual evidence reveals that he isn’t ... if, in fact, it does.

Does the title "A Burning World" have something to do with the reality that Taln has known for the last 4500 years, or what he expects to be happening on Roshar in the near future?

Shipping Wars:

Communicating with Shallan via spanreed, Adolin has to have an Ardent do the reading and writing for him, while he teases the Ardent in the process. Although Shallan is just a little too good at lying to her betrothed, she could hardly tell him what she’s really doing at this point.

Clearly new to the courting game, she’s bemused that Adolin seems so surprised at her lack of jealousy. His reputation is largely what makes the women he’s courted so wary of any attention he pays anyone else, but at the same time, their jealousy is also part of what destroys any real relationship that could have otherwise developed between them. Shallan is a perfect, refreshing change from everything he’s known before. She’s willing to actually trust him.

Perhaps she should cling more firmly, but the thought of it nauseated her. Such behavior reminded her of Father, holding so tightly to everything that he eventually broke it all.

... No, Father’s way was not right. If she wanted to keep Adolin, she had to try something far more difficult than just clinging to him. She’d have to be so irresistible that he didn’t want to let go.

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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