Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.
Interlude I-12 (Taravangian)
Compassionate Vargo on top, with more Vev in the icons. “Loving” is getting a bit of a workout over the past chunk of chapters.
I can understand Taravangian’s struggle to say things without outright betraying his deal with Odium, and thus invalidating Kharbranth’s protections. It must be a struggle to figure out how to thread that needle when his own mind is unreliable, especially since Rayse told him that the agreement is one that he honors in spirit, not in letter. There will be no rules-lawyering his way through loopholes.
Taravangian forced to slowly create a new mastermind scheme without his prior superpowers is a comic book trope that I didn’t know I needed injected into this story. It’s refreshing seeing it apply to a character so different from the standard protagonist role/demographic.
There’s nothing in the Diagram about Nightblood. But he did get an agent to interview “a former bearer.” That’s got to be Azure, since I don’t see Zahel being particularly free with information. I wonder what they are both up to these days? We haven’t seen either around recently, especially Azure. I hope she shows up at some point during the last part.
Luring Szeth and Rayse into the same place sounds like something that will immediately depart from whatever you planned. It’s worth a shot, but seems insufficient as a measure against Odium.
A weird cryptic? No, Sja-Anat. Very cool. I was not expecting that. How is she projecting herself so far? It’s a neat trick. Taravangian’s fear is convincing and a good reminder that the Unmade are more potent than “big spren.”
Sja-Anat knows about Cultivation’s touch, and speculates that the Old Magic was a cover for her to be able to influence things directly without everyone noticing. A fair conclusion, I’d say, though there’s probably much more to it.
The power behind him is strong, but his mind is exposed. The mind and the power seek different goals. This leaves him…not weak, but vulnerable.
“Exposed” is an interesting word here. By pulling against his power, Rayse the vessel emerges close to the surface and can potentially be struck separately.
So, Odium isn’t watching Taravangian all the time, or anyone else. And as Bondsmith Dalinar is scary enough that most voidspren spies keep their distance. That gives a bubble for plotting in.
Corrupted spren to lure in Odium sounds like a bait that is removed enough from Szeth/Nightblood that it shouldn’t trigger any suspicions. I can see the first elements of this plan. It will need a lot more to become useful.
You are not protected from him as many on this world are. You have made deals that exempt you from such safety.
I am intrigued by this line. I have a lot of questions about what binds Odium to act more circumspectly with those who haven’t made such deals. Is it his nature? Is it some sort of pact between the shards of Roshar? Is it the threat of Cultivation responding if he extends himself? It doesn’t really make sense with what I know of shards.