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Chapter 8

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Welcome to my liveblog of Rhythm of War! Index post here. Beware of spoilers.

 

Chapter 8 (Surrender)
Epigraph: Bronze for the seeking fabrials makes obvious sense. Heliodor is associated with (checks the cheat sheet) Ishar and the Bondsmiths, with a soulcasting property of flesh. It’s the obvious choice if you want to be alerted to people nearby, as we saw in Rysn’s interlude in Shinovar, but this epigraph confirms that you can use other gems in the same type of cage to detect other things. 

Just this bit of information drastically expands the range of effects possible with fabrials, since it demonstrates things can be added combinatorially. We aren’t just looking at an effect per gem type, as the theorizing around the WoK and WoR ars arcana posited, but rather an entire system of effects that is amenable to engineering and the scientific method. This justifies the field of artifabrication and makes sense of the slow progress there. It won’t be obvious how to arrive at a viable result when you have so many degrees of freedom.

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The suppressor fabrial made Syl feel “faded. As if I wasn’t quite here.” Sounds like a forced separation between the physical and cognitive realms. Two major questions: Is it specifically tuned to Honor’s investiture (and Cultivation’s, presumably) or is it a general effect? Would a Bondsmith-created perpendicularity overcome the effect for any Radiants in range?

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As he moved away from the inferno behind, Syl giggled.
“What?” he asked.
“Your backside’s on fire,” she said.

Keepin’ it classy, Syl.

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He started through the dark stone tunnel, counting on his Stormlight to provide  illumination. 

This really doesn’t seem like a reliable approach to navigating dark areas. It’s the second time they’ve used it in the past three chapters. I’m not sure whether this is just an instance of Brandon exploring a mundane usage for phenomenal powers, or if he’s setting us up for a “don’t glow in the dark if you want to avoid getting eaten by a greatshell” moment. Or possibly a “you used up your stormlight battery walking around in the dark, so now you can’t do magic” moment.

And here’s the Moash ambush. (Incidentally, Vyre is still a terrible name, and the renaming at the end of OB was a mistake. More complaining likely as we see more of him.)

The knife isn’t glowing. Is it a normal knife, or is it the special one that killed Jez? Has Kaladin just not noticed?

Moash is surrendering? Well crap. Yet another person willing to exploit the Windrunner’s sense of honor. This can not bring anything good.

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As frustrating as it is to basically have Shallan pick up where she left off, it actually makes a ton of sense that she would plateau for a while (possibly a full year, until a conveniently timed sequel could start up) before progressing again in her truths. Having Veil point this out specifically is a good move.

Red and Gaz are trying to banter! Shallan really has corrupted them. Squires indeed.

Gaz has two eyes now? I wonder if that has improved his mood at all. He sure seemed to focus his paranoia on that encroaching darkness back in WoK.

The wine is definitely an offworld import. Adolin is identifying it as Shin, but we all know that just means foreign enough to be familiar to Earth-bound readers.

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“I wish I had shoes to take off so my brain would work right.”

Don’t we all, Pattern. Don’t we all.

Oh, I was wrong. Just a Shin wine (probably) that was the key to the puzzle box of a room. Nice description of the puzzle solving without devoting too much wordcount to extraneous descriptions, though.

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I feel dumb for having forgotten Roshone’s role in what happened to Moash. In the previous scene I was reading it as a challenge to Kaladin-- “look what you should be doing; I’ll force your revenge to supersede second chances.” It wasn’t that subtle. This was Moash executing the target of his own grudge, who happens to also be someone Kal hates. He was taking his chance at revenge before Kal could rescue him to a less accessible place.

Then again, it’s been a year. I have a hard time believing that Moash couldn’t have tracked Roshone down in that time. This was still a targeted message aimed at Kaladin more than it was an act for Moash’s benefit.

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“Everyone you love, everyone you think you can protect. They’re all going to die anyway. There’s nothing you can do about it.”
[...]
“Do you remember the chasm, Kal?” Moash whispered. “In the rain that night? Standing there, looking down into the darkness, and knowing it was your sole release? You knew it then. You try to pretend you’ve forgotten. But you know. As sure as the storms will come. As sure as every lighteyes will lie. There is only one answer. One path. One result.”

This is scummy and insidious and exactly the right spot to hit Kaladin if you want him to stay down and out of your nihilistic way.

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“I’ve found the better way,” Moash said. “I feel no guilt. I’ve given it away, and in so doing became the person I could always have become—if I hadn’t been restrained.”

...or you could be going for a “join the dark side” recruitment speech. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that might be overextending a bit.

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“The answer is to stop existing, Kal. You’ve always known it, haven’t you?”

This is sounding less like a recruitment now. 
 

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“I need one thing from you,” Moash said. “I need you to admit that I’m right. I need you to see. As they keep dying, remember. As you fail them, and the pain consumes you, remember there is a way out. Step back up to that cliff and jump into the darkness.”
Syl was screaming, but it was only wind. A distant wind…
“But I won’t fight you, Kal,” Moash whispered. “There is no fight to be won. We lost the moment we were born into this cursed life of suffering. The sole victory left to us is to choose to end it. I found my way. There is one open to you.”

Eeesh. Well, that sets up this character conflict pretty definitively. 

This light that just exploded into the room. Is that Dalinar doing Bondsmith things? Is it Syl pulling an awesome rescue?

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Moash shied away from the light—but a version of him, transparent and filmy, broke off and stepped toward the light instead. Like an afterimage. 

Afterimage, like Szeth’s.
WAIT, IT’S RENARIN! Has to be. This has Truthwatcher written all over it. He can’t make illusions like Shallan, but he can sure illuminate underlying truths and possibilities, paths not taken. There’s a reason Glys isn’t a cryptic.

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“No!” the real Moash screamed. “No! Take it! Take my pain!” 

So can this cut through Odium’s passion-stealing gimmick because Glys is a turncoat, or could any Truthwatcher have pulled this?

Yup, it was absolutely Renarin. Called it! Not really anything else it could have been short of a Stormfather interrupt. Or maybe Herald shenanigans, since apparently they have six more books worth of abilities we don’t know about. Or… I guess there are other possibilities. But it was Renarin.


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