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WoR Ch83


Obviously they are fools The Desolation needs no usher It can and will sit where it wishes and the signs are obvious that the spren anticipate it doing so soon The Ancient of Stones must finally begin to crack It is a wonder that upon his will rested the prosperity and peace of a world for over four millennia

–From the Diagram, Book of the 2nd Ceiling Rotation: pattern 1


Point of view: Shallan, Adolin, Dalinar, Kaladin
Setting: Narak, the Pinnacle

Progression of the Chapter:

Shallan arrives on the circular plateau; she and Renarin reason out why it must be the Oathgate and must have been preserved in this way; Pattern realizes that the Voidspren are raising a storm; Renarin recognizes that the wind is blowing the wrong way, and that it is the Everstorm; his comments give Shallan the creeps; her team searches for anything strange; at the center, she finds a large mound; she asks Renarin to slay it.

...

Adolin looks around a dark chamber in the mound he just slew; it is an enormous building with many rooms; they find the far wall of the building, which the Parshendi are using for protection; he outlines the assault plan, then carves an exit; and behind the singing Parshendi, he leads the charge, and it’s far too easy, with almost no resistance, and with no Thrill to help him block it out, he is disgusted by the slaughter; he is attacked by the Shardbearer Eshonai and he turns eagerly to an honest fight.

...

A wounded Dalinar returns from battle to the command tents; though about half of Roion's army is saved, they have lost the northern plateau; Dalinar's surgeon is stunned by the scarring, but Dalinar focuses on the battle; Navani is upset but understanding; Adolin has won his plateau, and Aladar is holding steady; an even match is a loss with the Everstorm coming; Roion gets hysterical, but Dalinar’s reprimand is interrupted by the Stormfather; an actual conversation ensues, but is unhelpful; the Stormfather promises only a cleansing storm to wash away their corpses; they are abandoned.

...

A wounded Kaladin stands between the unconscious King and Moash; Moash tries the " ... we're Bridge Four ... " argument and Kaladin turns it around on him; Kaladin argues for going after the right people instead; Graves and Moash claim that it's too late; Moash prepares for a fight.

Quote of the Chapter:

He looked up at Navani grimly, expecting to be dressed down like a recruit who had forgotten his whetstone. Instead, she took him by his good side, then pulled him close.

"No reprimand?" Dalinar asked.

"We're at war," she whispered. "And we’re losing, aren't we?"

Dalinar glanced at the archers, who were running low on arrows. He didn't speak too loudly, lest they hear. "Yes." The surgeon glanced at him, then lowered her head and kept sewing.

"You rode to battle when someone needed you," Navani said. "You saved the lives of a highprince and his soldiers. Why would you expect anger from me?"

Development of the Chapter:

Shallan and Renarin are sort of working together ... at least when they're united against Inadara's pedantry. Inadara thinks in terms of current culture: how would the current Alethi Highprinces think of something like the Oathgate? It's all about control and tactical advantage. Shallan's studies, however, have given her a different perspective about the Silver Kingdoms. (It might be that Inadara and Shallan grate on each other, and if Shallan says up, Inadara will say down just on principle.) So Shallan looks for the Oathgate in the most prominent place.

Adolin is slaying his own rocks, and finding an enormous building; there seems to be plenty of room for his thousand soldiers to have to work their way through it to find the other side. Who knows what it was originally; it is at least two stories high, and contains scattered remains of bones and what might once have been furniture. Once they’re on the other side, he can actually hear the Parshendi song resonating through the walls, so ... out they go, right on target.

... Often they’d come to just before he killed them - blinking to consciousness, shaking themselves awake, only to find themselves face-to-face with a full Shardbearer in the rain, murdering their friends. Those looks of horror haunted Adolin as he sent corpse after corpse to the ground.

Where was the Thrill that usually propelled him through this kind of butchery? He needed it. Instead, he felt only nausea. Standing amid a field of the newly dead - the acrid smoke of burned-out eyes curling up through the rain - he trembled and dropped his Blade in disgust. It vanished to mist.

For whatever reason, he didn’t get the Thrill at all this time - whether from the lack of actual battle, or because he is moving closer to Honor and away from Odium, or some other reason, can't yet be said with certainty.

And then Eshonai shows up.

Roion's army has been extracted from its plateau. It is lost to the Parshendi, but thanks to Navani’s interventions, the archers were able to engage the Parshendi enough to save the Highprince and Captain Khal (General Khal's son), along with about half of the army. They also retrieved Teleb's Blade, though they had to leave his body and his Plate.

Aladar's plateau doesn’t really enter into the chapter other than as a path for Shallan’s team to get to the Oathgate, and a comment that he’s holding steady. There's likely no one left in Narak any more.

Sebarial is busy staying out of the way on the command plateau. This is also where Dalinar has the extremely frustrating conversation with the Stormfather, which is confirmed as an actual conversation but is extraordinarily unhelpful. It ends thus:

I AM CALLED. I MUST GO. A DAUGHTER DISOBEYS. YOU WILL SEE NO FURTHER VISIONS, CHILD OF HONOR. THIS IS THE END.

FAREWELL.

"Stormfather!" Dalinar yelled. "There has to be a way! I will not die here!"

Silence. Not even thunder. People had gathered around Dalinar: soldiers, scribes, messengers, Roion and Navani. Frightened people.

"Don’t abandon us," Dalinar said, voice trailing off. "Please ... "

Then, Kaladin is seen in the Pinnacle, thinking ...

This would be a sad place to die. A place away from the wind.

Interesting parallel. Dalinar, out there in the wind, refusing to die there; Kaladin in a palace corridor, thinking how sad it would be to die here away from the wind.

Turns out to be the same corridor where he'd fought a different assassin a while back, where the hole Szeth had made - and they’d fallen out - has been boarded up. Another parallel.

Moash challenges Kaladin for being willing to attack a member of Bridge Four, though Kaladin contends that going against Bridge Four's duty means you aren't a member any more. Moash keeps advancing, and Kaladin challenges him for being willing to attack his own captain and friend. Another parallel.

The case he makes to Moash is a good one, and comes from a good source:

"We have to be better than this, you and I. It's ... I can't explain it, not perfectly. You have to trust me. Back down. The king hasn't yet seen you or Graves. We'll go to Dalinar, and I'll see that you get justice against the right man, Roshone, the one truly behind your grandparents' deaths.

"But Moash, we're not going to be this kind of men. Murders in dark corridors, killing a drunk man because we find him distasteful, telling ourselves it's for the good of the kingdom. If I kill a man, I'm going to do it in the sunlight, and I'm going to do it only because there is no other way."

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. Another parallel.

Kaladin is starting over, and this time he's taking the parallel paths the right directions.

Stormwatch:

Day Zero continues.

Sprenspotting:

There are four spren - or their effects - in this chapter. The first is Pattern, talking with Shallan, about the second:

"Mmmm," Pattern said softly. "They are raising a storm."

"The Voidspren?" Shallan whispered.

"The bonded ones. They craft a storm."

It's only the bonded Voidspren who are involved in making the storm, though there are plenty of unbonded ones in it. This is likely the first time one amongst the Alethi realizes that the singing Parshendi are actually creating the storm. Obviously the Parshendi knew, but even though Rlain knew the song had to be stopped, he didn't know what its effect was. Pattern can see it now; presumably the Stormfather already knew, but he wasn't exactly aligned with the Alethi at this point. Might Glys have known?

Readers keep seeing Glys's effects, which are recognized quite clearly in hindsight. For example, Renarin is no longer wearing his spectacles. Only he is aware of certain nuances: the direction of the wind, the significance of the direction, and the terrible things it's bringing. Shallan merely thinks of him as being "creepy and whiny," which is probably understandable, all things considered.

The last spren, obviously, is the Stormfather. Dalinar is healing too well. He's obviously not healing perfectly; there is a lot of scar tissue, but according to the surgeon, he shouldn't even be able to use his arm after that many wounds. So, just how long has he been using Stormlight, however imperfectly, to heal his wounds? Since he took on Gavilar's mantle, following the Codes, maybe? Could his Shardplate have been somehow feeding him Stormlight, to help him heal?

Ars Mechanica:

Navani's dehumidifiers are still working nicely. Unfortunately, since the archers just ran out of arrows, they aren't doing much good any more. Also, Adolin and his crew have some large-gem lanterns, which is a good thing if you're trying to make your way through a building that's been crusted over with crem for thousands of years. Also unfortunately, they're starting to go dim from lack of Stormlight during the Weeping.

Heraldic Symbolism:

This city hid beneath time’s own illusion.

Thus, the chapter's title. Singularly appropriate, as both Shallan and Adolin are making use of their knowledge of the buried and broken city.

Shalash graces the chapter arch, presumably due to the importance of Shallan’s effort and insight in finding the Oathgate.

Talenel ... just about everything associated with Talenel comes into play in this chapter: Dependable, Resourceful; Rock and Stone; Soldier; Herald of War. He's noted in the epigraph as "The Ancient of Stones" a.k.a. the Herald of War. Shallan and Adolin are both resourceful in accessing the ancient city to meet their objectives. Nearly everyone is dependable - Shallan, Renarin, Adolin and his soldiers, Dalinar, Navani, Kaladin. (Roion, however, is hysterical instead, and the Stormfather is downright fickle.) Shallan, Adolin, and Renarin all deal with rock and stone in significant ways. And of course, all the soldiers are fighting.

Shipping Wars:

This is really just an enjoyable parallel between Shallan and Adolin with their slaying of rocks. In the last sentence of Shalan's PoV, she asks Renarin to kindly slay the rock/mound she suspects of being the Oathgate building; in the next sentence, Adolin raises a sphere to look around the chamber he'd just carved his way into. Adolin, of course, gives the credit where it's due:

"How did you know, sir?" asked Skar, the bridgeman. "How'd you guess that this rock mound would be hollow?"

"Because a clever woman," Adolin said, "once asked me to attack a boulder for her."

Adolin had wandered off before Shallan and Kaladin had the conversation about the rock back in Chapter 68. But there was another conversation, somewhat later in the chapter. Adolin and Shallan were strolling across a bridge, having given up on their horse and palanquin respectively, and she explained to him about the "hidden remnants of a structure she'd found inside that rock earlier." Then the carpenter pulled the lever and everything went pear-shaped. Clearly Adolin remembered that conversation quite well.

Words of Diagram:

This is where readers get confirmation that the occurrence of the Desolations was determined by the strength of will of the Heralds under the Oathpact. In the distant past, Roshar depended on the willingness of the Heralds to voluntarily remain under torture; they could leave at any time ... whenever the pain outweighed the lives of the Rosharan people. It is indeed a wonder that 4500 years have passed, with only one man's tenacity holding Odium at bay.

In that context, it's difficult to choose between amusement and anger at the various groups who thought that they could bring about the return of the Radiants, or the Heralds, through their own machinations. Had they only understood ...

- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson[1]

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