Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.
Chapter 94 (Sacrifice)
Icons: Vev. Loving?
Epigraph: Now you’re just being a tease. “Oh, yes, I know the secrets of the Recreance. I will tell them to you after five more paragraphs of filler to fit into epigraphs, so that the readers don’t learn anything interesting.”
Resolving not to let Shallan rescue him would be the right answer if it weren’t tinged with such dejection and feelings of worthlessness. We love you, Adolin. You may think the world needs more Radiants, not Princes, but it absolutely needs more people like you.
Kelek’s indisposed, Shallan’s incarcerated, and Sekeir has the knife. Not a great situation. Actually, I wonder if the knife functions any differently in the cognitive realm. I presume not, but it’s hard to say.
Maya is the final witness. I guess that solves how she’s going to get to the trial. I was imagining her wandering in at the end, but that strained plausibility. This is much cleaner.
I see. Sekeir has legal recourse to say whatever he wants until the witness shows herself able. She’s not a witness, she’s an object lesson and a chance to use his own words.
That hurts. Adolin admits that Maya isn’t more than a slave, no matter how much he wants it to be otherwise. It has less stigma perhaps in Roshar where slavery is a matter of course, but he does not relish the prospect of being her slave master. Credit to him for not flinching from the reality of it.
Not a good look there, Sekeir. The human is pleading for mercy for the deadeye that you are restraining and agitating.Your words will spin this for many, but the optics are not in your favor and your enemies will not be convinced. I guess a majority is all you need, so it’s a worthwhile attempt. (At least until it blows up in your face, but we haven’t gotten there yet.)
“I had this fortress working in an orderly, organized manner before you arrived. You have no idea the frustration you have caused me, human.”
Exactly. Sekeir’s grudge is against Adolin challenging his power and authority, threatening the system he’d built at Lasting Integrity. It’s not about Radiants and bonds, or about murdered spren. It’s about the humans who intruded on his domain and upset his control.
“I refuse judgement! I don’t need to give it. In the end, her testimony is the only one needed. Her condemnation is all we ever needed.”
This is a power move, and I have to admire it. By not rendering judgement, Sekeir says that the trial was a farce because precedent was so well established. He forces any critics to contend with the history rather than anything that was done in this event.
At the same time, by declaring “no judgement” he has just removed the legal hold on Adolin when Maya does upend his whole argument.
And here it is. What does she say? She says “We Chose.” Aww, and she says his name. That makes my heart happy :-)
Sekeir tries to recover, spin it (or perhaps to make sense of it in his own mind as his worldview is utterly challenged), but Maya is having none of it.
“You cannot have my sacrifice.”
So good. Sekeir, the honorspren, Adolin–none of them are allowed to appropriate her sacrifice for their own ends. They don’t speak for her, they don’t take credit or blame for what she did.
I feel it’s especially appropriate here that she is a cultivationspren, the companion spren of Edgedancers. Usually Edgedancers listen to the unheard, but usually that doesn’t mean themselves. Adolin here has lent enough strength to Maya so she can make her own voice heard by all. I love it.
Blended is the only one hanging around. I would have thought Amura would want to investigate, given how much of herself she dedicates to the deadeyes.
I like that Maya is the one invoking Strength Before Weakness. Usually the spren viewed with the sort of personhood to need that development and commitment.
Silly thought: Maybe instead of the standard nahel bond, they’ll get one that’s somehow inverted. Maya will draw on Adolin for power and strength, and he will be allowed to grow in new ways by being drawn into the cognitive realm. Actually, this started as a silly thought with Maya wielding a little Adolin sword, but the more I think about it the more I like the concept. Nahel bonds in general are governed and constrained by whatever Ishar did to codify the oaths, but Maya has already broken those constraints and paid the price. She and Adolin could well be capable of forging their own path.
Blended suggested this tactic, “playing both sides.” That didn’t make sense to me until she revealed the stake she had in it: trying to prove whether Maya was more alive than anyone believed when Adolin told them. Or rather, that they have a friendship.
Blended confirms that the bond between Adolin and Mayalaran is not a nahal/Radiant bond, but that something is indeed happening.
Very good point, Blended. If the spren were complicit in ending the age of Radiants, then the current spren may have far better reasons for avoiding humanity than simply fear of death. Adolin may have convinced them that humanity aren’t horrid monsters, but he probably hasn’t secured the type of help he was hoping for.
You know, I didn’t really get why this is a big deal at first, because as a reader I’ve been assuming for a long time that the spren must have been complicit to some degree in the recreance for it to have been as widespread as it is. But in-world it seems that until this point nobody entertained the idea that it could be anything but murder. This is not like the anticlimax at the end of Oathbringer where the “humans are invaders” fell flat, but it is a reveal that hits very differently for the readers and the characters.
Maya says they didn’t know it would kill them, though they expected terrible pain.
Blended echoes Sekeir’s words, but with different intent: Maya’s judgement of Adolin was the only one that ever mattered. Is that something Blended went into this believing, or did she arrive at that opinion after all of the reveals from Maya? It matters because I would be much more charitable about the way she put Maya on display here if she started out with the belief that Maya should be given the opportunity to judge Adolin for good or ill. But if she couldn’t know Maya’s ability to push through as powerfully as she did, then Blended gets a lot less sympathy from me.
Yay Adolin! Even now he’s working to reframe things in his mind away from self-centeredness and towards concern for Maya, respect for Maya. Definitely Edgedancer material.
Hm. Adolin says he wants to get back to the Oathgate to share the news. But the map of their journey definitely continued south from Lasting Integrity rather than returning to Urithiru. So how are they going to know to go the other direction? Will news of the Sibling’s unmaking be spreading through Shadesmar?