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<< WoR Ch. 74: Striding the Storm / WoR I. 12: Lhan >>
WoR Ch75


The cosmere itself may depend upon our restraint.


Point of view: Dalinar, Shallan
Setting: The Warcamp

Progression of the Chapter:

Amaram attempts to intercede with Dalinar for Sadeas as supplies and soldiers are staged for the march; Dalinar refuses to treat with Sadeas, despite Amaram’s chiding about authority; a messenger brings word - Kaladin has come out of the chasms, then delivers the gemheart, and Shallan lies about how they got it. Navani arrives and promptly adopts Shallan; Dalinar confronts Kaladin about being a Radiant, but Kaladin denies it. Shallan, having reported to Dalinar and Navani, listens to Pattern report on the conversation they held while she bathed. Trying to determine whether she’s Radiant enough to open the Oathgate, Pattern reveals some surprises about spren and the Recreance. Adolin arrives suddenly, and much affection is expressed; he promises to protect her forever, and things get tense. Dalinar and Navani enter, and Shallan requests that she be allowed to accompany the expedition; she also recommends that the parshmen be left behind, and Dalinar agrees to both.

Quote of the Chapter:

"I will make sure you aren’t ever hurt," Adolin said fiercely. "I should have realized that you could be caught in an assassination attempt intended for Father. We’ll have to make it so that you aren’t ever in that kind of position again."

She pulled away from him.

"Shallan?" Adolin said. "Don’t worry, they won’t get to you. I’ll protect you. I - "

"Don’t say things like that," she hissed.

"What?" He ran his hand through his hair.

"Just don’t," Shallan said, shivering.

"The man who did this, who threw that lever, is dead now," Adolin said. "Is that what you’re worried about? He was poisoned before we could get answers - though we’re sure he belonged to Sadeas - but you don’t need to worry about him."

"I will worry about what I wish to worry about," Shallan said. "I don’t need to be protected."

"But - "

"I don’t!" Shallan said. She breathed in and out, calming herself. She reached out and took him by the hand. "I won't be locked away again, Adolin."

"Again?"

"It’s not important." Shallan raised his hand and wove his fingers between her own. "I appreciate the concern. That’s all that matters."

Shallan has the nightmare of her past fresh on her mind, from having talked it all out the night before during the storm ... but she was talking to Kaladin. Adolin hasn’t a clue, but she lights into him anyway. She spent a good chunk of her life being "sheltered" and "protected," and it was a prison of constant, terrified anticipation of what would go wrong next. Still, it's hardly fair to hiss at Adolin about it. For the past two days, she’s been alive and working hard to stay that way; he’s been grieving the "death" of someone he was growing to love, and feeling guilty that he was running the other direction (no matter how worthy the cause) when she fell to her presumed fate.

Commentary:

Amaram is difficult to deal with. However, he has embraced the task Dalinar has given him and takes his responsibility seriously. He is concerned with unifying Alethkar, and with advising Dalinar well, and he really is serious about the Voidbringers coming. He even has some good advice: that if Dalinar is going to give people authority, he needs to let it stay given instead of reclaiming it whenever he wants. But Amaram has other motivations, and he’s actively trying to deceive the man who gave him his lofty position.

Kaladin presents Dalinar with the gemheart of the chasmfiend he killed but can’t tell the true story; explanations would be distinctly awkward, especially for Shallan. She lies about it because she’s not supposed to have a Shardblade and because the lie is far more believable than the truth.

With regard to Navani, after all her time of grief and denial, she claims Shallan suddenly and fiercely. Likely, she first had to come to terms with her loss, and then she needed a stimulus to provoke her to active acceptance. Clearly, the sight of Shallan "in half a filthy dress" was enough of a trigger; from there, there’s no going back.

Stormwatch:

It's the next day. There are now only 8 days left in the countdown.

Sprenspotting:

Gloryspren is the name used by Rosharans - or at least the Alethi - and they aren’t always fully aware of what specifically attracts a spren. They’re called gloryspren because they show up when someone is reveling in or being lauded for a major accomplishment; whether they’re drawn to that concept of "glory" per se, or whether it’s the approval (from oneself or others), or something else, might never be known. But they’re called gloryspren, and they show up to replace Kaladin’s exhaustionspren when he reveals the gemheart he and Shallan brought back with them. That really was quite an accomplishment!

However, this is something far more significant than gloryspren:

"I was not me when the Knights Radiant existed. It is complex to explain. I have always existed. We are not 'born' as men are, and we cannot truly die as men do. Patterns are eternal, as is fire, as is the wind. As are all spren. Yet, I was not in this state. I was not ... aware."

"You were a mindless Spren?" Shallan said. "Like the ones that gather around me when I draw?"'!

"Less than that," Pattern said. "I was ... everything. In everything. I cannot explain it. Language is insufficient. I would need numbers."

"Surely there are others among you, though," Shallan said. "Older Cryptics? Who were alive back then?"

"No," Pattern said softly. "None who experienced the bond."

"Not a single one?"

"All dead," Pattern said. "To us, this means they are mindless - as a force cannot truly be destroyed. These old ones are patterns in nature now, like Cryptics unborn. We have tried to restore them. It does not work. Mmmm. Perhaps if their knights still lived, something could be done ... "

Stormfather. Shallan pulled the blanket around her closer. "An entire people, all killed?"

"Not just one people," Pattern said, solemn. "Many. Spren with minds were less plentiful then, and the majorities of several spren peoples were all bonded. There were very few survivors. The one you call Stormfather lived. Some others. The rest, thousands of us, were killed when the event happened. You call it the Recreance."

In one sense, spren aren’t living beings; they’re the personification of ideas. But in another sense, some spren become sentient individuals as well. At the peak of the Radiants’ power, just before the Recreance, nearly every spren who could be bonded, was bonded. It’s no wonder the Stormfather hates and distrusts those who would bond the spren; last time such bonds existed, almost all of the sentient - individual - spren died.

"These old ones are patterns in nature now, like Cryptics unborn."

Is this statement a reference to Shardblades? Have some portion of the betrayed spren been somehow released from Blade form, to become non-sentient natural spren again? That would explain why there are less than a hundred known Blades, instead of the many hundreds that should have been left if all the Radiants abandoned their spren in Blade form. Alternatively, on the assumption that the Lightweavers weren’t necessarily primarily fighters, were the Cryptics left in another form? And if so, what other Orders might have left their spren in differing forms?

All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:

When Kaladin & Shallan woke up and climbed down from their cubby, they took time to dismantle the chasmfiend far enough to retrieve the gemheart. Also, Shallan must have summoned her Blade again to do so; maybe she’s beginning to get more comfortable with the notion.

Ars Arcanum:

Pattern is willing to function as an intelligent and independently-mobile recording device.

It’s worth noting that the source of the above-quoted conversation with Pattern was the question of whether Shallan is enough of a Radiant to operate the Oathgate if they find it. While he can’t quite remember what else needs to happen, he’s doing all he can to urge her toward understanding herself better ... and that means remembering. Not just the stuff she told Kaladin the previous night, but all the way back through her mother’s death and to the time before, when she was newly bonded. When she can remember all of that and face it unflinching, she’ll likely be a true Knight Radiant.

Heraldic Symbolism:

Jezrien has plenty of reason to be here. Dalinar is exercising leadership, Amaram is parading around in his head-of-the-Knights-Radiant cloak, and Kaladin the erstwhile Windrunner has returned from the chasms. Vedel, on the other hand, seems most likely to reflect the activity of the surgeons, and perhaps Navani’s change of heart toward Shallan.

Shipping Wars:

Adolin has been out delivering Dalinar’s ultimatum to the other Highprinces, in an effort to stay busy and not think too much about Shallan. He ran for Dalinar, as the obvious target of an assassination attempt, but he lost Shallan in the process. He couldn’t possibly have known that the bridge would collapse; Kaladin was yelling and running toward someone on the far side of the chasm, and his instinct was to protect his father and Highprince from an attack. That didn’t make him feel any better; he’d saved his father, but his betrothed and an assortment of other men and women fell to their deaths in the failed assassination. Can he hardly be blamed for promising that he’ll never let it happen again?

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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