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|“||There is one you will watch. Though all of them have some relevance to precognition, Moelach is one of the most powerful in this regard. His touch seeps into a soul as it breaks apart from the body, creating manifestations powered by the spark of death itself. But no, this is a distraction. Deviation. Kingship. We must discuss the nature of kingship.||”|
–From the Diagram, Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: paragraph 15
Progression of the Chapter:
Kaladin hobbles toward the palace, hoping he's not too late; at the King’s door, he finds two strangers in Bridge Four uniforms; he disables them and enters the King's chambers, to find Elhokar unmoving on the couch.
... Adolin fights Parshendi by the light of Navani's fabrials; they are trying to keep him distracted and out of the main battle; he considers the singers and their position against a rock formation; an idea occurs.
... Dalinar shouts at the Stormfather; the Stormfather answers; the battle goes badly for Roion’s forces; Dalinar calls upon Navani and her fabrials for help; their desperation maneuver succeeds in providing an opening; he hopes it’s not too late.
... Kaladin rouses a drunken Elhokar and attempts to escape; one of the guards has recovered and stabs the king; Kaladin kills him and leads the king away, both bleeding profusely; Moash and Graves catch up with them.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“|| "Fleet kept running," Kaladin growled, getting back under Elhokar's arm.
"He couldn't win, but he kept running. And when the storm caught him, it didn't matter that he'd died, because he'd run for all he had."
"Sure. All right." The king sounded groggy, though Kaladin couldn't tell if it was the alcohol or the blood loss.
"We all die in the end, you see," Kaladin said. The two of them walked down the corridor, Kaladin leaning on his spear to keep them upright. "So I guess what truly matters is just how well you've run. And Elhokar, you've kept running since your father was killed, even if you screw up all the storming time."
"Thank you?" the king said, drowsy.
Development of the Chapter:
Adolin, Dalinar and Navani - for all the work they're doing in this chapter - are almost placeholders: they remind readers that the battle is still happening out there somewhere, and things are pretty desperate. And, for some reason, Dalinar can now have waking conversations with the Stormfather.
Adolin fights like a one-man army, but it becomes apparent that the others are mostly trying to keep him busy, out of the main battle. Being Adolin, once he figures out that they're trying to divert him from the Listener singers, he immediately sets to work to figure out how to get there.
Meanwhile, Dalinar has a few arguments with the Stormfather, but a messenger brings bad news from the front lines, and he has to get back to being a general. He turns to Navani for a miracle to rescue a large chunk of his army, and ... she gives him two. (See the Ars Mechanica section for more on this subject.)
Now, the main focus of the chapter: Kaladin. The "Patriots" and their plans. This chapter, he puts it into action, though the wisdom of the path he chooses is ... questionable.
Kaladin stumbled into the entryway. No guards at the doors. Bad sign. Should he have raised the alarm? There weren’t any soldiers in camp to help, and if he’d come in force, Graves and his men would know something was wrong. Alone, Kaladin might be able to see the king. His best hope was to get Elhokar to safety quietly.
Mightn't this have been stupid? It makes for a more satisfying resolution to have Kaladin up here alone, but it really would have made more sense for him to either ask the ardents for help, or send a messenger to the Bridge Four barracks asking for the few left in camp to join him. On the other hand, this is Kaladin; between his normal stubbornness, his pain, and the effect of his new understanding, he's not thinking as clearly as could be wished.
Of "satisfying resolutions" though ...
But storm it ... the king tried. He actually tried. The man was arrogant, perhaps incapable, but he tried. He was sincere.
There is something in Elhokar for Kaladin to respect: perseverance. Even though he constantly fails to live up to his father's standard of charisma and leadership, or his uncle's standard of military skills and integrity ... even while knowing he was failing to live up to the high bar set by his predecessors, he still keeps trying to do better. That's not nothing.
Further, there's a little more he needs to grasp. He's now figured out that disliking someone isn't adequate reason to let them be murdered, but he knows there's something more, something missing. He still doesn't entirely know know why he needs to help Elhokar in particular. Fortunately, he's reached the point where he can act on what he has while trying to figure out the rest, and so when Moash comes to finish the job, Kaladin is actively trying to save the king's life.
Day Zero continues.
Dalinar can now hear the Stormfather while awake and functioning, even though no one else can.
|“||"I am the one left behind," the voice said. It wasn’t exactly as he'd heard it in the visions; this voice had a depth to it. A density. "I am the sliver of Him that remains. I saw His corpse, saw Him die when Odium murdered Him. And I ... I fled. To continue as I always have. The piece of God left in this world, the winds that men must feel."||”|
Is his use of the term "sliver" deliberate and correct? If so, that means he was "a human intelligence who has held all or a very large portion of the power of a Shard and has since released it." (He doesn’t appear to have entirely released it, but since the Shard has been splintered, maybe that doesn’t matter.) But if he's now a Sliver, who was he before? Jezrien? Ishar? Someone else?
It's also worth noting that Adolin remarks on the absence of the Thrill during this battle. Based on Taravangian's information, this may be an indication that Nergaoul (presumably the Unmade responsible for the Thrill) has left the Shattered Plains for more interesting conflicts. According to Taravangian’s Interlude, the Thrill is attributable to "an ancient, evil spren." This does not sound like a positive enhancement.
This chapter was Navani’s turn to shine.
Fortunately, the darkness had been pushed back somewhat, as Navani had sent fabrials to bathe the battlefield in an extraordinarily even white light.
They have to be burning through Stormlight at a ferocious pace, but it's better than fighting in the dark.
With Roion’s forces in deep trouble, Dalinar demands a miracle from Navani, and she produces one:
He was too distant to see her glare, but he felt it. Fortunately, she waved workers away from her current tarp and began shouting orders to her engineers. The women ran up to the chasm, where a line of rocks was arrayed. They were attached to ropes, Dalinar thought, though he wasn't sure how this process worked. Navani shouted instructions.
The engineers backed up at a barked order from Navani, and the workers shoved the line of some forty rocks into the chasm. As the rocks fell, tarps jumped fifty feet into the air, pulled at the front corners and centers. In an instant, a long line of improvised pavilions flanked the chasm.
This is exactly the fabrial readers saw Navani working on way back in Chapter 35, but in a much more practical application - not to mention less energy-intensive - as she raises a bunch of rain shelters, rather than a fighting tower. But this is merely the set-up for the third critical fabrial: the dehumidifier.
|“|| "We really should have had more time to test this," she warned to Dalinar, folding her arms. "Attractors are new inventions. I'm still half afraid this thing will suck the blood out of anyone who touches it."
It didn’t. Instead, water quickly started to pool around the thing. Storms, it worked! The fabrial was pulling moisture from the air. Roion's archers removed bowstrings from protected pockets, bending bows and stringing them at the orders of their lieutenants.
Chanarach: Brave, Obedient, Guard
Nalan: Just, Confident, Judge
Both are scattered throughout the chapter, but both are primarily reflecting Kaladin's arc. Chana is his choice to protect Elhokar, to guard him against the Shardbearing assassins no matter how hopeless it looks. Nalan, for all that he's currently a mess, still represents justice - and Kaladin has finally realized that "I think you’re a bad king" doesn't justify murder.
While not really part of the wars, this line looks both forward and back:
What had Shallan said about these inner plateaus? And the rock formations on them?
Words of Diagram:
It's almost like genius Taravangian was giving himself a hint about where to get updates, but if so ... might not that make one even less inclined to trust the Diagram? Any information gained through a splinter of Odium might most definitely be a bad thing.
While Taravangian may not be "evil" per se, despite his actions with regard to his "hospital" and the death rattles, the validity and benevolence of the Diagram remain in question.
- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson