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Chapter 84



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

Chapter 84 (Scholar)
Icons: Another 3-image header, with Palah being repeated, and Jez and Chach each getting a single instance. Am I reading too much into this? Palah being learned matches the title of scholar and the research Navani will be doing. Chach for destruction or bravery, Jez for protection? I’m not sure why this one deserves another departure from the established pattern.

Epigraph: Hmmm. Does this use of Midius indicated Hoid (most likely) or the person that Hoid stole that name from? That’s not a very likely possibility, but it’s possible that some of the heralds also came from Yolen. Just throwing out some wild speculation.

It’s nice to see that Navani was having a measurable effect on the research effort, even if it was unwittingly by providing access to the Sibling. Her contributions mattered, so she can expect to matter again–especially now that without her input Raboniel’s progress has slowed.

Navani could have done science earlier, “but there had been a Blackthorn to seduce.” At least her priorities are in order. 

Her requisitions from Kholinar included “many gemstones bearing corrupted spren to power fabrials.” 
Somehow I totally forgot that Sja-Anat was actually in Kholinar and nominally working with Odium’s forces there, which means that Navani has access to her through the occupying Fused. She’s felt very distant, so I wasn’t expecting a direct hand in things that wasn’t part of hidden plots. My mistake, of course.

She made Indiana Jones spike traps! She’s going to turn the pillar room into the Temple of Doom! I thought the heist chapters were fun, but now I can’t wait for the lost city adventure sequence.

It’s a toss up for me whether Raboniel will be fooled by the disguised weapons. I suspect that she will assume a subversive, hidden function but won’t have the fabrial knowledge to know what each one does. 

Magnets to activate the traps is clever. I had sort of forgotten they had access to some of those mundane engineering tricks.

Raboniel can’t make warlight by herself (as far as Navani can tell). So what’s different about Venli? Is Timbre close enough to Lifelight to help with that process, or as a surgebinder is that type of attunement restricted to Stormlight? Where does Venli’s talent and ability come from?

Actually, the wording is more general than that: “The Fused couldn’t create it without a human’s help.” So presumably the Fused are too in tune with Odium to harmonize with Stormlight, while Navani at least is too deaf to directly manipulate Voidlight. With that backdrop, Venli creating Warlight would have been unsurprising, but the use of Lifelight in place of Stormlight for the alloying process is still odd enough to be worth noting.

Why does Navani think that the mystery sphere contained Anti-Voidlight, as opposed to Anti-Stormlight or Anti-Lifelight, or any of the other options that she doesn’t know about? Is it just the color similarity? Because that doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily specific or predictive once you are dealing with “opposites” along arbitrary conceptual axes.

Raboniel’s daughter (do we have a name? Is it the one Rlain invoked, perhaps?) is humming a human song. That’s intriguing.

The spren reacts to the same tone as the stormlight, which isn’t surprising but is important. And the spren is too large to escape the gem the same way that light does.

Wait, what? Releasing a flamespren from a split ruby results in two flamespren? That’s fascinating and strange. What’s going on there?

Hm. Jezrien’s death was a complication to the anticipated capture. I had assumed that the herald capture/killing was at Odium’s orders, and that one outcome was as good as the other, but this sounds more like it’s a research project Raboniel is running, and she has plans for the souls she captures.

Who is She Who Dreams, and what is her relationship to Raboniel? I’m very curious. 

The dagger only captured half the spren? That’s important. Oh, and the two halves remained conjoined? And not only that, but active? This is huge. In the drawing from the notebook, the gem in the dagger was a ruby. Could the dagger have worked to capture the flamespren if a different gem had been affixed? What else would change with interchanging the gems? How would that conjoining be affected?

Huh. And the movement is amplified (possibly by an integer multiple of three) from dagger to free ruby. Hmm. Navani posits it’s a size difference (mass or volume would give the same ratio, so hard to say which is important) that causes the force amplification.

Where did Raboniel get sand from Taldain? Presumably by trade or seizure, but with Autonomy’s isolationist stance that sort of export is going to be exceptionally rare, even by the standards of offworld items. 

That compliment is well earned, but feels premature after Navani only just resolved to try scholarship an hour ago. Even though we the readers have been expecting it for weeks of in-world time, Navani is facing it much more abruptly and won’t be able to accept it.