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WoR Prologue


Point of view: Jasnah Kholin
Setting: Kholinar, six years ago

Progression of the Chapter:

A princess prefers the company of assassins, despite her father’s recommendations; shadows prove troublesome; a palace disintegrates in favor of another world entirely; hostile diplomacy is opened with spren; an appointment is kept; a killer is hired, but not for killing; strangers pass by unrecognized, discussing lordly blades; screams replace drumbeats; magic is witnessed; His Majesty Gavilar Kholin, King of Alethkar, First of his Name, is killed; and an expected peace gives way to war.

Quote of the Chapter:

He glanced at her. "Ah, Jasnah. Retiring so early?"

"It’s hardly early," Jasnah said, gliding forward. It seemed obvious to her that Gavilar and Amaram had ducked out to find privacy for their discussion. "This is the tiresome part of the feast, where the conversation grows louder but no smarter, and the company drunken."

"Many people consider that sort of thing enjoyable."

"Many people, unfortunately, are idiots."

Her father smiled. "Is it terribly difficult for you?” he asked softly. "Living with the rest of us, suffering our average wits and simple thoughts? Is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance, Jasnah?"

Development of the Chapter:

Jasnah is working as a spymaster for House Kholin. She’s the cannier of her father’s children, if not quite the more suspicious, and her drive to ferret out the truth dovetails with the skillset necessary for the role. However, since this is Alethkar, everything there is too dysfunctional for her to be asked to do that job. Instead she’s spying on her sister-in-law, with an option on future killings. Still, she doesn't have any official support. Jasnah is juggling a few too many unknowns; if she could've devoted her full attention to Szeth, or to the strangers in the hallway, or to Gavilar and Amaram, she might've solved one of these mysteries. As it happens, they all slip through her fingers.

The inky-black, sword-wielding shadowspren have some serious style. It hasn't been confirmed just what kind of spren to which Jasnah is bonded, but it is likely that the swordsman who bows to her is indeed Ivory. That challenge giving way to respect may be the formation of what will become her Nahel bond with him.

It seems like the preferred method of testing the worthiness of a potential Elsecaller is to just drop her in the ocean and see if she drowns. Unlike when Shallan Davar first visited Shadesmar, none of the spren that Jasnah encounters there communicate to her just what she has to do to survive while there. Presumably, a Surgebinder with the capacity to become a primary liaison between the physical realm and cognitive realm will figure it out.

Jasnah’s intuitive understanding of Shadesmar is much better than that of Shallan. She understands immediately that each sphere within the 'sea' is a plan for an object in the real world, and that she can use one to form a structure out of others. She doesn’t yet understand the Stormlight exchange, but the light goes dark and she feels the energy leaving her as she shapes Shadesmar to her will.

She also sees Szeth do his best Windrunner impression, running down the walls after murdering her father. Her defensive obsession with his Surgebinding drives years of research. However, what she’s seeing is different from what she did. The mysterious strangers mention Szeth using “[their lord’s] own Blade."

Battar, the Herald of Wisdom, is the patron of the Elsecallers, Jasnah’s Order of Knights Radiant, which is why she gets special attention here. The man with the scar is Nale, and it's likely his companion is Kalak. He isn’t Jezrien, who they discuss, or Talenel'Elin, who is still in Damnation. The only other male Herald this could be is Ishar, who is depicted as an old man with a long beard, which makes this unlikely.

The two of them are discussing Shalash, who they call 'Ash', the Herald of Beauty. They're concerned about the sanity of their minds and not the statues being destroyed though this likely sparked the conversation. Kalak states, "We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse." This likely is a reference to how broken the Heralds are after so many Desolations. When he goes on to say, "I don't like this. What we've done was wrong. That creature carries my lord's own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it. He ... ," they (Kalak and Nale) likely gave the Honorblade to Szeth because of reasoning later revealed.

- Paraphrased from Carl Engle-Laird[1]

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