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Chapter 99



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

Chapter 99 (Not Bound)
Icons: Betab and Jester–caution and an offworlder. Possibly consulting with Wit via the radio, possibly just learning about wider cosmere events, or maybe Azure returns? Oh, wait. This is Jasnah’s chapter header. Betab for Elsecaller, Jester for Wit. It’s just a cast list.

Epigraph: Okay, three big things here. First, identity of El: he had his title stripped from him so he probably is/was a Fused, and Navani’s confusion was just lack of context. Second, in addition to the title, he had his rhythms stripped away. HOW? What does that mean? I am terrified at some of the possibilities. Third, he seems to have floated the idea that listeners and fused should enslave humans rather than exterminate them–the very outcome that was flipped around on the parshmen after the capture of Ba-Ado-Mishram. So it’s neither a new tactic nor one that is uniquely human, though admittedly nobody else went for it and El himself was shamed as a result. 

Jasnah’s security is pretty good for being on a campaign. Traps and alarms in all the surrounding rooms, including below, so she has sufficient warning of any attack. Plus Wit is there, so any assassins that make it past her fabrials probably won’t be entirely undetected.

Yeah, I guess that first assassination attempt leaving her stranded in Shadesmar left a lasting impression.

I can understand the frustration to a veristitalian of having to throw away her laborious reconstructions once an eye witness to the past is suddenly available.  At the same time, I think they’ve already established that Ash, Taln, and the rest are hardly unassailable in their memories. But settling academic debates about history and motives is a pretty convenient use for immortals coming to the fore.

I’m not sure the right answer to this quandary is that “relying on the past is flawed.” The conclusion is that “precognition is terrifying to compete with.” Don’t just give up on the tools you’ve learned to use so expertly.

Wit, that is uncharacteristically intimate of you–both of you. Removing her glove and kissing her safehand? This is making me think there’s something besides Fortune behind the way you’ve lingered at Jasnah’s side for almost two years.

Oh wow, yes. They are being entirely more familiar in their flirtations (Jasnah! Flirting!) than would have been expected. I didn’t know this was a legitimate ship. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m on board yet, since I was really expecting Jasnah to be ace and that’s been my headcanon of her character for a while. I guess I’ll watch and see how it develops.

The way she’s describing Wit, though, maybe she’s ace but not aro? Not clear yet.


She didn’t trust him, of course. But that was part of what intrigued her.

Okay, I take it back. It’s teasing and flirtatious, yes, but apparently not intimate to any degree.

I am sad that the Awakened card games never featured in our views of Nalthis. Maybe they are played outside Hallandren, or in a different time period? I’ll hope for an appearance in Warbreaker 2 when that book comes out…eventually.

Good analogy, though. Rigging the games compared to manipulating the future. Odium can anticipate what is going to happen as well as someone who knows all the factors influencing an outcome, but there can still be surprises and other cheaters.

Also, who won Hoid’s Breath from him?

Hm. Sounds like maybe they are physically involved, but she is some degree of ace after all. So Wit is interested, but hasn’t revealed enough of himself to earn trust, and may run off at any moment. Not too surprising.

Wit’s wordplay is all alliteration and only some degree of cleverness. I did like the soulless stars slumber line, even though jasnah didn’t get it.

Wit really doesn’t have a Rosharan perspective here. “If we lose, it just turns your planet into hell. 

I find myself entirely skeptical of the idea that this sort of contract would be effective in forcing Rayse to comply with it. Except, just as I’m about to rant about that, Wit says this:


“He will have to abide by those terms, as they are part of the promise Rayse made by taking up the Shard of Odium. To fail that promise would give others an opening against him, and said failures have killed gods before. Odium knows it.”

It sounds like there were more strings attached at the beginning than are readily apparent, and that may be the primary reason Hoid turned down the opportunity. I’m confused about how that promise is actually efficacious, though.


[Wit] wisely turned down the power the others all took–and in so doing, gained freedoms they can never against have. I, Jasnah, am someone who is not bound.

So, yes. The obligations that come with power are the problem. And, maybe this is something that was already known, but it sounds to me like this means Hoid was the only non-Vessel present at that time. All the others took one of the shards, with no other abstentions according to this.