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Stormlight Archive: The Regency Romance

133 posts in this topic

UPDATE:


This whole story can be found broken into cohesive chapters on Archive of Our Own.  It is a more up-to-date and better proofread version with proper formatting, without all the random comments from other people scattered in between.  Feel free to comment or leave a review here or in the comments section on AO3.

There is also an option to download the story in EPUB or PDF format to read on your eReader or mobile phone.


 

 

 

This was originally posted as part of this thread, but since it was a multiple part entry I decided to post it here where it would be more visible and easier to find.  The original idea started here and I decided to extend it.  The author I was stylistically trying to emulate was Charlotte Bronte, but if you read through you can tell that there are more modern influences in my writing style.

 

 

 

The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART ONE

 

 

"That ship, you may have noticed, had two very fine cabins that I hired out for us at no small expense," said Countess Jasnah, with a sigh of dignified resignation.  "It is rather a shame that I cannot say likewise for the quality of these...lodgings.  And it seems my dearest cousin shan't be gracing us with his presence – he has engaged a proxy to escort us to the Court."

 

Shallan hadn't thought the journey tedious - not at all:  it was one thousand nautical miles from Kharbranth to the great port of Varikev in Roionshire, most of it spent splendidly barefoot and scandalously clad only in her chemise and petticoats.  The days on the road since had been less pleasant, of course: fifty miles a day by carriage, a night spent in a common coaching house, fifty miles the next.  It was only a wonder that the constant rhythmic rattle and clop of the horses hadn't been drummed permanently into her head.

 

But now they had arrived at the very last coaching house, curiously named "The Black Thorn Inn".  The idea of her marrying still seemed strange to Shallan, though it hadn't necessarily been one she was dreading.  Day by day the journey had shortened ahead of her, and though she was glad of it, she had mused on what few joys she had left.  Kholinar Court, the hereditary seat of the Kholin dukes, was the destination - the terminal, one could say, and Shallan was briefly solemn as she was reminded that it could very well be the place where her body was interred.  It was not her home; it could never be - it was not a place where friends awaited her arrival with fond welcome.

 

Shallan and Countess Jasnah stood under the shaded eaves of the inn, porters scurrying around them to pile up their numerous steamer trunks, travel valises and awkwardly shaped hatboxes.  As they watched, a cloud of dust slowly drifted over the horizon to soften the sharp blue of the sky with a fringe of golden mist.  A line of carts - that was it - clattering down the road, gaily painted in Kholin blue, preceded by a carriage with the Duke's arms in white upon the doors. 

 

"Hallo!" cried the man sitting on the high driver's seat next to the coachman.  He was a lanky man whose long legs bumped up against the coachman's on the narrow shelf of a seat.  With unexpected grace, he swung himself to the ground, and Shallan noticed that his shoulder-length hair had not been tied into a tail as current fashion dictated.   He had on a plain gentleman's suit - no sign of ducal livery - the wool worn shiny on knees and elbows. "There you are.  We must make haste-"

 

"If it pleases you...sir," said Countess Jasnah, rather coldly.  "Might I have the pleasure of an introduction?  Cousin Adolin promised a trusted proxy to receive us, but I am afraid I do not recognise you."

 

She did not hold out her hand for a kiss.  He did not bow.

 

"Doctor Kaladin," said he, pulling a leather wallet from the inside of his coat.  "The Duke's personal physician.  My letter of introduction, addendum by the Prince Dalinar and reference from the Duke's brother the Marquess of Kholinshire." 

 

He held it out to Countess Jasnah, who stared at it for a second, then took it stiffly.

 

"You must be the girl, then.  A Scot," Doctor Kaladin said, as he turned to Shallan, looking her up and down, then added, "though I can hardly imagine that you would be any more of a nuisance than the Duke's, ah, previous matches." 

 

Shallan felt unpleasant emotions rise up in her throat; she was scarcely aware of what exactly they were, though she was certain they were neither becoming nor ladylike.  She did know, however, that impertinence answered by impudence was fair and just, and that Jasnah was out of earshot directing the porters to load the carts with their luggage. 

 

If this stranger, this Doctor Kaladin, had been properly courteous - or even good-humoured in the least, in his manner - Shallan would have felt no inclination to respond with insolence.  But he had not the air of an elegant gentleman; that surely would have made her shy instinctively towards girlish hesitance.  Doctor Kaladin had instead a dark face with heavy brow furrowed in irritation; though he was young - not much older than her, on inspection - his face had none of the softness or gentleness of youth; his lips were set into a stern line.  This Kaladin creature spoke with the cultured tones of gentle breeding; despite this, he seemed set on being disagreeable from the start: Shallan had always thought herself sympathetic with those of lesser station, but here, she could feel nothing but antipathy.

"Aye, ye be addressing the Lady Shallan," said Shallan, exaggerating her rural accent to one fitting of the servants back home.  Her former governess, Madame Tyn, made a study of regional accents and dialects, and had taught her on the condition to never speak like that in front of distinguished company.  That would hardly apply to Kaladin.  "Pledged clanswoman and shieldbearer to The McValam."

"You don't sound like a lady," remarked Kaladin bluntly.

She gave him shallow curtsey, no more than a mere dip of the knees, and with a curt toss of her head, circled around him.

"Ye dinna look like any doctor I ken," Shallan said.  "A real surgeon would ha' better hair than yers, I reckon.  Do ye keep it for emergency bandages?"

Kaladin sputtered.  "Emergency bandages-"

"Too stringy fer tha', maybe.  Emergency sutures, more like."

Kaladin's brows gathered together, and his mouth twisted down with ire.  "You do not seem like any lady, would I not be mistaken if I judge you an opportunistic impostor who has managed to deceive herself into Lady Jasnah's good graces?  And I, Miss, am no leech-peddling barber surgeon."

"E'en tha' job's got folks looking foward to yer comin', aye," said Shallan, "I'd think ye'd be better suited fer bailiff...or hangman.  Ye would'na need a rope when yer breath would work faster."

Kaladin's face reddened pleasantly, or so Shallan thought, and his body stiffened.  He took a breath, then stepped closer to her, hands clenched in tense fists by his side.  "Look, you-," he began.

"Lady Shallan, the carriage awaits," called Countess Jasnah.  The last trunk had been loaded onto the last cart; the first had already departed and was now a merry puff of golden dust on the road ahead.  "Doctor, your credentials are in order.  My uncle the prince recommends you warmly, I am most astonished to see."

"Yes," Kaladin said, and after a pause, "thank you."  He turned finally away from Shallan, and took the offered wallet from Jasnah's hands.  He did not offer the wallet to Shallan; instead he tucked it into his coat's inner pocket.

Lady Jasnah nodded; a footman bowed as he held open the carriage door painted with the tower-and-crown in white with gold details.  The folding steps had already been pulled out.

"A Kharbranth Academy scholar, I was naturally impressed to see that," said Jasnah, holding her skirts, as she ducked into the soft curtained dimness.  "Will you be joining us for the ride to the house, Doctor?"

Doctor Kaladin's eyes flicked sideways at Shallan.  He had composed himself by now, and she observed that when he wasn't dis-tempered, he made a well-formed figure of a man - taller than most, with handsome breadth of shoulders, and graceful hands etched here and there with pale white scars over tanned fingers and knuckles.  His face, though it lacked in beauty or elegance, had its own decisive character made more distinguished by darkly perceptive eyes.

Shallan tore herself away and took the footman's guiding arm into the carriage.  She did not look back.

"I shall ride with the coachman, if it pleases you, Lady Jasnah," said Kaladin after a few moments.  "I would not want the road dust from my journey here to soil your clothes nor the upholstery - my Duke had it cleaned for your arrival.  He comes from The City to-night and expects Lady Shallan's informal presentation for this evening after supper."  

There were a few clinks and creaks as footmen found their places, and the horses shuffled impatiently in their traces, then the carriage started moving.  

Shallan twitched aside the pale blue lace curtains on the window and watched the warm green countryside trundle by, dotted and dashed with the occasional hayrick or wind-breaking treeline.   She now felt a thrill; elation gently warmed in her chest: the world suddenly seemed to blossom around her when not very long ago she had imagined that it was like a box folding inwards and unstoppably inwards.  She had dealt with that Doctor Kaladin, unpleasant as he was, with remarkable ease; no doubt this unfamiliar southern land would be filled with many such as he, but she could - yes she would - crest over such trifling difficulties and find herself comfortably settled as a lady Duchess that all of Anglethi society would look to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

The last time I wrote short stories or fanfiction was 4 or 5 years ago, so I'm a little rusty with my prose.  For stylistic influences in this work, though I'm copying the writing style of classic period romances in general (not the modern paperback bodice-rippers), I would name Charlotte Bronte as the main inspiration to fit with the thread topic.  Of course there's some Austen in there as well, mixed with more modern authors for the dialogue lines because I feel using old-style for that sounds too stiff and lacks emotional impact.

 

A few hundred years ago, barbers and surgeons were the same thing.  Physicians diagnosed illnesses, but it was barber-surgeons who did the actual surgery and amputations.  Their razors could cut skin and give a close shave.  Shallan is joking Kaladin on his unfashionable and messy hair.  A bailiff in medieval times collected taxes as part of their job.  I also referenced the scene in the hallway of Elhokar's palace when Shallan meets Kaladin for the second time in Words of Radiance.

 

If you're wondering why I made Shallan Scottish, it's a reference to the post from a similar thread here, and since all those classic romances took place in England, I tried to make a weird fusion for humourous reasons.

Edited by sheep
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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWO

 

 

 

The carriage had arrived and the luggage brought up to the House - it would be a disservice to call Kholinar Court, with its long curving drive, cultivated gardens, fancifully mismatched architecture, and parade of servants waiting outside the front door to greet them, a mere house.  It was a House, a Grand House, one of the ten in this country; Shallan hadn't the fortune to see any other for herself, but she could not imagine a House grander; Dun McValam was a quaint folly in comparison. 

 

She had, with the help of a housemaid, changed from her hard-wearing travelling clothes in muslin and wool to the best she had for now - a blue silk dress from home she had, on a bit of whimsy, embroidered on the skirt and hem with mathematically inspired designs.  The current Duke and his younger brother were bachelors; the House had not seen a feminine touch since the death of the Duke's mother ten years before: the Prince their father had not seen fit to remarry, and thus the House had gone without lady-in-waiting or lady's maid for a decade now.

 

Shallan was used to dressing herself and the housemaid unused to dressing another.  She had crouched down on the floor in front of the mirror to lace herself up as she did at home; she'd found that it was easier to settle the layered underskirts in place whilst lying on her back, but a timid false-cough from the maid had reminded her that she would now have to rely on others - one habit with which she was haltingly unfamiliar. The dress was cut simply and more suitable for a burgher's wife than a noble lady; it was designed so that one could dress and dress alone.  Shallan decided then that she would gleefully welcome the label of "eccentric" if it meant not having strangers' cold fingers wandering over the bare skin of her back.

 

***

 

Shallan had not attended many formal dinners before, but she could not say that this one had been a success.   The servants had made an effort, yes - that could not be disregarded.  There must have been an intense debate downstairs over how to arrange the seating; everyone who aspired to call themselves well-bred and had read a manual on etiquette knew that in hosting mixed company - which they were, and none of the three of them wed - you alternated gentlemen between the ladies and made up the difference with obligation-invitations when you found your number woefully uneven.  But Countess Jasnah, though the rank of her peerage was the lesser of her cousins, was Family, and with the Duke currently absent, the highest in precedence at the table.  So Jasnah had been seated at the head of the table but not on the Duke's personal chair, with Shallan on her left and Doctor Kaladin at her right.  This made his seat directly opposite Shallan's, and implied that his status was not just of trusted Family or personal retainer, but an associate considered almost socially equal.  How very puzzling.

 

She had observed that they seemed to use more elaborate settings than perhaps Doctor Kaladin was used to; they were also, though it wouldn't do to point it out, more elaborate than what she herself was accustomed.  She watched Doctor Kaladin heft the cutlery in his hands as the first course was brought in and served from the left elbow; neither she nor Jasnah addressed the servants but Kaladin murmured his thanks.

 

"They're aluminium plated, you know," said Kaladin. "They're lighter than the silver set and do not polish up to so high a shine."

 

Shallan looked at the fork in her hand.  The handle had been cast with the shape of a shield at the end, with the tower-and-crown embossed in relief. 

 

"I know," she said.  She did not use her exaggerated country milkmaid's accent this time.  "I once had a necklace made of aluminium links.   It was very light for its size."

 

"Had?  What happened to it?"

 

"We sold it.  It was quite pretty, but after using this aluminium fork, I am glad we did.  Aluminium appears to have no taste so I cannot regret that we chose food over it."

 

Shallan met his eyes and smiled politely, trying to look as nonchalant about it as she wished she really was.  It seemed to work; Kaladin looked away and stabbed the filet of sole with his aluminium fork.  Ah, she thought, now I see: when that man is kept off-balance he cannot sustain the ill-humour necessary for his outward unpleasantness.

 

Countess Jasnah, noticing a lull, cleared her throat, then engaged him in a conversation over the use of indentured labour that the civilians of the losing side were fated to when they were conquered by the Anglethi.  Jasnah was of the opinion that the vast numbers of the indentured would lead to some sort of a rebellion or uprising in the near future; Doctor Kaladin believed that the labour they provided lessened the burdens on the native Anglethi working class.

 

Shallan did not have an opinion.  These indentured "marshpeople" were relatively uncommon in her northern homeland.  Their contracts were bought and sold and her father, Laird Davar, had a few of them:  she could not remember that they had been differently or worse treated than any other menial.  They were not family retainers, of course, nor could they claim the rank of servant, who were obliged the few rights a patron-employer was law-bound to respect.  Their contracts had later been auctioned off with most of the other Davar liquid assets.

 

The discussion grew heated, and Shallan did not volunteer a remark, nor were any inquiries on her opinion offered.  Shallan observed that Countess Jasnah and Doctor Kaladin had lapsed with their formal address; from what she had learned of Jasnah over the months they had worked and travelled together, she could see that the countess was pleased to finally have a conversational partner her equal in intellect.  Jasnah had attempted to debate with Shallan in the past - to while away the days on the Wind's Pleasure - but Shallan was non-confrontational in her temperament; her disinterest in assertive argumentation drove Jasnah to seek stimulus, unsuccessfully, elsewhere.  Though Kaladin's view of the marshpeople was what Jasnah considered banally populist, he was undoubtedly widely-read and well-spoken; that almost excused his disagreeable sympathies with the lower classes. 

 

It was with grateful appreciation that Shallan accepted an escort to the retiring room when the last course had been served.  Countess Jasnah and Kaladin had elected to stay at table, and the servants, unwilling to interrupt their debate, had continued pouring drinks and refreshing the platter of cheeses and dried figs.  She was certain they were listening avidly to the debate and the main points would be parroted downstairs later; they would, assuredly, support Doctor Kaladin's sentiments that the foreigner marshpeople working in mines prevented the same fate being forced onto good honest Anglethis.

 

The retiring room was decidedly masculine in its furnishings.  Glassy-eyed hunting trophies decorated the wall - buffalo and crocodile and peculiar crab-things were more common than deer; even as it lacked the tartan lap rugs or carved bog monsters of home, the wooden panelling and warm yellow lamps reminded Shallan comfortingly of her father’s house, with the added benefit of her father not being there.   

 

“Shall I bring you some tea, my lady?” asked the footman who had shown her in.  He was now throwing another log into the fireplace.  “The ladies’ parlour was ordered mothballed after…ahem …and we were never given any orders to the otherwise.    The butler said we daren’t risk it with the Duke away, but we should make you feel comfortable as best we can.  If there’s anything at all, my lady.”

 

“Can you bring me the book I left on the nightstand in my room?” said Shallan.   Jasnah had given her a list of readings that she had forced herself to plough through on the journey, and if she had the opportunity now to indulge in some pleasure reading without the countess impatient at her shoulder, she should not hesitate to take it.

 

“Very good, my lady,” came the reply.

 

If only all of the Duke’s creatures were as amenable.

 

And thus Shallan found herself in a corner of the room, reclining with a book while a pot tea sat snugly in its cosy on the low table.  It was quite comfortable; solitude without the constant rattle and shake of carriages was a novelty that she was eager to reacquaint herself with – preferably with good company that lacked the ability to speak.   It was to the turning of pages, the warmth and stillness, and the soft, rhythmic ticking of the wall clock that she drowsed and finally lapsed into the contented ease of sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

I've been trying to keep the character personalities "on canon" while also making sure they meld with the alternate universe 1800's England-ish setting.  Alternate universe would probably be the best way to describe it.  The classism may seem weird to you but some things I think are best kept realistic to retain the flavour of the Regency era. 

 

Some backstory for you: in this universe, the Anglethi united Ireland (Irenatan?) into one Kingdom.  They did not like it, and King Gavilar I was assassinated by rebels.  There was a Vengeance Pact, etc etc.  Kaladin studied to become a physician in Kharbranth.  Tien was a carpenter's apprentice at home and when the war happened, he volunteered out of patriotism.  Lirin already had his prized surgeon son by then so didn't do a good job of stopping him.  Kaladin joined the army as a combat medic when he found out, but Tien still died.  Tien has to die in every universe, like Batman's parents.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THREE

 

 

 

 

 

The door of the retiring room opened, there was the heavy tread of feet, and then the door closed with a snap.

 

Shallan awoke.  Her body was held in peaceful paralysis; her mind was soft and dazed with the stupor of nameless interrupted dreams; the book lay with pages down on her chest.  She was on her back on the three-seater sofa and there was someone in the room with her.  No, she thought, as her befuddled mind swum slowly back out of the serene depths and into consciousness - there was more than one person in the room.

 

“…You’re late; they’ve all gone to bed by now.  We were expecting you hours ago.”  That was Doctor Kaladin.  No one else had that – she fumbled for the appropriate description – annoyingly derisive tone in their speech, as if somehow he knew and flaunted the secret that exempted him from the unspoken rules of social conduct that held the rest of the civilised world in their sway.

 

“I was delayed, you see,” she heard.  This was an unfamiliar voice that spoke with the refined enunciation of the properly educated.  Although this man’s manner of speech was gentlemanly and his delivery confident, she could hear no sign of Jasnah’s aristocratic imperiousness in it.

 

“You should have sent word.”  Very curiously, Kaladin had managed to sound more concerned than irritated.

 

“I was on my way here but my royal aunt intercepted me with a summons to view her new Shardcannons,” came the voice again.  “Apparently they're some sort of shrapnel artillery device, very useful for repulsing infantry, with some interesting naval applications as well.  But I had to detour to a rather remote paddock at Kholinshire Park where they had them set up for testing.

 

“Would you pour me a drink?  The Tokaj – no, not that one.  The yellow one in the round bottle with the wolf’s head stopper.  Good man; have some yourself.”

 

There was a clink of glasses, then a glug as the wine was poured, and a tap as a glass was placed on a table.  There was a step, step, step as Kaladin started pacing near the drinks cabinet and side bar; Shallan could see his feet move back and forth from under the legs of the sofa.  Should she announce her presence?  Was it better to lay quietly and wait for them to leave?  They need never know she was here: the sofa’s back faced the door and hid the tea tray on the low table.  She was, however, curious about the voice.   She slowly bunched up her skirts and tucked them between her thighs to prevent a rustle from giving her away, and sat up, peering over the edge of sofa. 

 

Doctor Kaladin paced by the wall.  The second man was sitting in a winged armchair by the fire, in waistcoat and shirtsleeves, his coat draped over the chair’s back.  He was more sprawling than sitting, his legs hooked over the leather upholstered arm of the chair.  Such a posture, especially in the presence of company, would have been deemed shockingly indecent in the north – both men and women in Shallan’s homeland wore skirts.   But this was a well-proportioned Anglethi man; he wore trousers, and his rolled up sleeves revealed tanned arms firm with muscle.   He had a handsome, open countenance, his features were pleasant and symmetrical; he was fairer of skin and appeared to lack the acerbic temperament with which Doctor Kaladin was chronically afflicted.    His hair was a queer blond colour - somehow striped, and much too short to tie up in a tail that was the fashion for modern gentlemen.  It was not short enough, either, to be mistaken for a soldier’s or worker’s crop; it tumbled softly halfway down his forehead and was trimmed tightly in the back, leaving his neck bare.   

 

“…Anyways, Parliament won't support Father - Ruthar has roused the Opposition and deadlocked us.  The other Dukes refuse to say yea or nay whilst the Crown – as usual - has yet to make up its mind…”

 

Shallan carefully adjusted her position on the sofa, pulling her legs up.  She was not careful enough.  The sofa, with its antique wooden frame, creaked.

 

Storms.

 

“…Father was depending on Lord Torol to back us ... but Father is Father and he expects more of people than they are ever likely to–“

 

“What was that?” said Kaladin.

 

Shallan quickly yanked her skirts out from under her legs from where they were pinned, and lay back.  She closed her eyes, threw an arm over her face; as an afterthought, she placed her book open on her chest.

 

There were footsteps, drawing near.  Not a moment too soon.  She didn’t dare to try and peek through her lashes; their nervous flutter would give her away.

 

“It’s the girl.”  That was Kaladin.

 

"ls it her?  Storms, it is!  Pretty, but rather fragile looking, she is.  Wouldn't you say she's delightfully delicate?  Should we wake her?” 

 

“Delightful?  Delicate?  She is anything but!  I struggle to find words to describe her other than "utterly unsuitable".  I trust your judgment to be sounder on the matter of horseflesh than maidenflesh: the former, at least, would give you a ride without a throw; look at her - she is skinny and speckled like a frog.”

 

“These days, I am under the impression my dearest father would accept a frog as a daughter-in-law without complaint,” the blond man replied.  

 

“Would you accept one?” said Kaladin, charming as ever.

 

“If a kiss could prove a Scottish frog a princess, I would have no cause for regret.  Summon a servant for her, then, Kal.  I am going up.”

 

She heard the clink as he placed the wine glass on the tea tray.  There were footsteps drawing farther away, then the sound of the door opening and closing with a final click.

 

“I know you’re not asleep,” said Kaladin.  “Sleeping people don’t hold their breath like that.”

 

Shallan didn’t move.

 

The wine glass was picked up, she heard a gulp, and it was set back down again. 

 

“Go to bed.  I’m sure you’ve done enough sneaking about to easily find your own room from here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Backstory in context - though you probably have already guessed at some of it, Prince Dalinar is fighting a war against the marshpeople in Ireland.   There are rebels, rebel sympathisers, and anti-Anglethi factions, all very mysterious, and Laird Davar and Helaran Davar were part of them.  Laird Davar caused the family's bankruptcy lending money to the wrong group, and Helaran ran away from home for ideological reasons.

 

Kaladin has not had good experiences with red-haired foreigners and suspects most of them are spies or terrorists.  However, the Scots/Vedens have been part of the Anglethi Kingdom for hundreds of years and although they aren't Anglethi, they are still loyal subjects in the eyes of the ruling class.

 

 

FEEL FREE TO POST COMMENTS/FEEDBACK, GUYS!   ALL INPUT IS APPRECIATED SINCE I ONLY WROTE A PLOT SKELETON UP TO A CERTAIN POINT.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART FOUR

 

 

 

 

Shallan was woken by a housemaid at quarter-to-nine, when the curtains around the bed were dragged open with no warning.  Bright sunlight and fresh, wholesome country air streamed in; it was probably what doctors all round the country ordered for curing the feminine hysterics – she would not be the least surprised if it was a cure that particular Doctor was fond of recommending.  Shallan, completely gracelessly, rolled onto her stomach and heaved the blanket over her head.

 

“Lady Shallan!  If you don’t rise now, your bath shall get cold – and Her Ladyship has requested your presence in the Teal Drawing Room at half-past-nine for breakfast.”

 

Oh.  Lady Jasnah.  Things to do to-day.  Doing things, what an absolutely dreadful concept.

 

Shallan groaned and stirred; waking up – rather, being woken up – never failed to make her feel cross and fatigued.   It took minutes to regain her faculties, and in the meantime her limbs hung leaden and clumsy.  That was why when she kicked the blanket off, the cold bed-warmer fell from the bed onto the parquet with a loud clank, spraying a cloud of ash down the side of the linens that settled slowly onto the floor. 

 

This is what came of bothering to get out of bed in the morning.

 

Numbly, Shallan allowed the maid to drape a dressing gown over her nightdress, and lead her lethargically down the hall towards the bathing chamber and the waiting bath.  The chamber’s floor was of alternating tiles in blue and white, and the walls were painted white and scattered with framed pictures of artistically stylised towers.  She undressed while staring at the wall with no particular interest; her eyes were unfocused and her mind was still dully contemplating the dream she was having when she was so rudely awoken.  It was something about beads, endless beads under an endless black sky ... strange, wasn’t it, how quickly dreams fled from the mind in the light of day. 

 

When she stepped into the lukewarm water of the tub, the events of the previous evening hit her with humiliating clarity; she shuddered with the desperate cringing embarrassment of hindsight and slid her face underwater.  No one heard her screams: there came only the sound of occasional splashing; merry bubbles rose gently to the surface.

 

After the bath, Shallan felt much better.

 

 

***

 

 

Shallan arrived at the Teal Drawing Room three minutes past the half-hour.  True to its name, it was tastefully papered in delicate shades of teal and pastel turquoise; the moulding on the ceilings was white and resembled frozen tidal waves.   Jasnah was seated already, looking perfectly refreshed for the morning - there was a cup of tea by her left hand and a rack of news sheets hanging from a wooden dolly on the floor by her right.    Her hair was fashionably done up with carved bone sticks, and her lips were painted a deep red. 

 

A footman with a tray drew next to Shallan’s elbow and started unloading plates.  Toasted bread rolls in a basket, fruit preserves, a small bowl of bland but healthful broth, miniature scones with butter and cream, fresh fruits peeled and sliced with a small jar of powdered white sugar on the side.  The cutlery was silver today; the shields in relief on the handle were enamelled in white.  She felt a pang when the footman retreated and she saw that there was no oatmeal; nothing on the table was made with oats.

 

“You look well this morning,” commented Jasnah.  She took a sip of tea.  Her lips left no red smear on fine white porcelain.   How did she do it?

 

“I’m as well as could be expected,” said Shallan.  She loaded her plate and started eating.  How convenient it was that the Kholins had servants that made sure all their bread was buttered, whether they were going to eat it or not.   

 

“You should present a more amiable temperament, Shallan, if you want the gentlemen more favourably disposed towards you.  Especially in the morning.”

 

“By the time they find out what I’m like in the morning, it will be too late,” replied Shallan through a mouthful of bread and jam.  Strawberry jam; that was a delight.  She had not tasted jam this nice in years.  The inns’ guest breakfasts served cheap jam made with more aspic than sugar, which left an unpleasant lingering aftertaste: after a disappointing try at the first inn, she had eaten her bread plain for the rest of the journey.

 

“Nevertheless,” sighed Jasnah, “we want you to make a positive impression.   If one cannot be congenial, one should always defer to courtesy.  However, if all goes well and Cousin Adolin is pleased to make your acquaintance, we shall have an official presentation for the Family next week, before my uncle returns to the front.

 

‘’I have confidence that, if this suit proves successful, we should remain firm allies.  There is much work to be done, and a mutual co-operation would be ... beneficial.  The queen dowager, my mother, has influence but no power.  My sister-in-law, the queen, has no interest.  You understand, Shallan.”

 

There was truth in that, an unexpectedly tentative truth, but it was still there, feebly revealing itself to her.  Jasnah, in a roundabout fashion – was she even aware of it? – was showing Shallan something of her own vulnerability, as brief a view as it was.  She had helped Jasnah bathe and had seen her undressed; Jasnah had not lied yet to Shallan nor ever had any reason to – but suddenly this last sentence outstripped the level of intimacy to which she had previously been privy.   Shallan was queerly gratified to know that the confident Jasnah could feel she might falter from the weight of bearing her burdens alone.

 

Shallan took a gulp of tea to wash the bread down.  It was very hot tea.

 

“I am grateful,” she gasped, clearing her throat.  “For the opportunity.  Of course.  But would you not have accomplished your objectives sooner with a girl more biddable?”

 

“A compliant girl would be next to useless at court; she would not be able to hold my cousin's overeager attentions: I have tried that before.”  

 

“And … have you not tried for an advantageous match of your own?” asked Shallan.  This was very forward, but Shallan was no Anglethi, after all.  She had been curious, and there never had been an opportunity – before this – to know; inquiries to others on the subject would have felt a duplicitous intrusion, as most information from second- or third-hand sources was likely to be no more valuable than common gossip.  Jasnah, as a historian and scholar, was naturally disdainful of anything that wasn’t primary.  Even that, sometimes, required wary scepticism.

 

Jasnah looked at Shallan.  Shallan sensed that Jasnah was looking in her direction, but wasn’t looking at her.  Their eyes didn’t meet, but rather wavered to and fro; no doubt each woman was gazing intently at the other’s nose without making it obvious that she was.  A pervasive tension hummed in the air; she felt that Jasnah was as likely to share another truth as she was to tell her to stop asking prying questions and finish her breakfast. 

 

Jasnah finally spoke: “There are certain – responsibilities – involved in marriage that I find I cannot accept.  I will admit to this: I rank as Countess rather than Princess not because of relegation, no matter the rumour, but by my own choice.

 

“I am grateful – though I cannot say I am approving – that you willingly make yourself beholden to a man, even if society judges him to be a good one and a smart match.   If ever the responsibilities become ... unpalatable ... to you, you must inform me while there is still time.

 

“But never mind, the day passes; we must get on.”

 

Jasnah plucked the napkin off her lap and dropped it on her plate; as if on cue, the footman on duty at the door was by her side to pull out her chair.   The newspaper rack was carried away and the settings were cleared as Shallan finished her last bite.

 

Jasnah, standing now, said, “My cousin was expected to arrive after dinner last evening; we meant to make the first introduction then.   He was delayed, so we might as well do it now.  They are in the North Courtyard for their morning constitutionals – shall we join them?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authors Notes:

This is the scene that I wish had been the first chapter of WoR.  Jasnah proves she has a heart!  A shrivelled, dusty heart with a few dings in it, but it’s still there and she wants to protect Shallan while still using her at the same time. 

I write Shallan as snarky but not non-stop puns because 1) it doesn’t fit the genre 2) I am not funny 3) I found it kind of annoying after a while.   I also don’t write Kaladin as the 100% angry jerk some people expect him to be, because here his character has already developed since he became friends with Adolin earlier than the original timeline.   He has already figured out that not all noblemen are trash and to replay an AU version of the notoriously polarising WoR Prison Scene would be make me go blaaarrgghhh.   YMMV, etc.

 

The subtext:

  • The Davar kids traded the aluminium necklace for oats.  Oatmeal now gives Shallan homesickness.  She would probably throw up if she had to eat plain oats boiled in water again, but it’s still nostalgia.
  • Jasnah is sour about Amaram, who is Viscount Meridas in this universe.  She is obliquely referring to him (“even if society judges him to be a good one and a smart match”) while Shallan thinks she is talking about Adolin.    And saucy details: a Countess (female Earl) can refuse a suit from a Viscount without scandal, and as a landowning peer cannot be easily married off to a foreigner by the King as a Princess might.  I know entailment and inheritance didn’t work that way historically, so I will wave my hands and say that because Elhokar is King and Jasnah is the older daughter, Gavilar indulged her and made sure she was provided with an income, especially since they started liking each other more before his death.
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Very good, still waiting for Adolin to jump into the story for real  :P Love Jasnah.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART FIVE

 

 

 

 

The morning constitutionals – if that was what they were – were still ongoing when they had arrived at the North Courtyard.  Jasnah, after eyeing the butler directing the footmen in raising a large white tent outside their viewing pavilion, summoned a servant to run back to their rooms to collect some personal items for their diversion.  Shallan now had her satchel of sketchbooks and pen boxes, and Jasnah a few books.

 

The North Courtyard was a sunny area screened from the drive by a row of ornamental topiary.  It was paved with large square tiles of smoothly pebbled concrete; unlike the courtyard and entryway at her father’s house in Scotland, this Courtyard had no cracks from which persistent weeds crawled out of the ground.    A hemi-circular colonnaded pavilion jutted from a wing of the House, and was furnished with an oval table and cast iron chairs that servants had cushioned before allowing them to be seated.    Aproned servants were now setting up a smaller table by wall, snapping out crisp white cloths and pushing trolleys clattering with porcelain settings.

 

Shallan was now sketching the capitals – the elaborate twining reliefs on either end of the sandstone columns.  They were stylised grapevines and leaves; it was a novel drawing exercise for her – she was an amateur scholar of natural history, dabbling now and then into botany, but she had few specimens on which to practise her taxonomic skills.   The estate around her home, she thought rather wistfully, had thistle and heather, hare and dogs and deer.   There was a considerable amount of each, but the lack of variety was – one might admit – not particularly rewarding.

 

After turning to a new page in her sketchbook and scraping a fresh point onto her charcoal with a folded paper sleeve of emery, Shallan noticed a sharp clack, clack, clack-ing had risen above the general murmur and hubbub of servants at work.  It was something that one got used to, after a time - the sounds of servants were like creaking cicadas.  They eventually faded into the background and you forgot they existed until you needed something - at that point they were nowhere to be found.  She supposed that was why the best butlers and ladies’ maids were habitually poached from one Grand House to another: everyone found valuable in a servant the rare talent of having at hand what you needed before you had even realised it yourself.

 

On the courtyard, two men were whacking one another with sticks.   They were not plain peasant sticks, as one could find on the ground or in a stack of firewood, but polished and weighted sticks three feet long, with round leather guards to cover the hands.  The men were wearing thick white quilted jackets and peculiar hood-like head coverings with stiff wire netting over the face; flat muslin pockets of coloured chalk were pinned to cover the tops of their heads and half their foreheads.   One man had pink chalk, the other had blue.  Smears of chalk were evident on their chests and shoulders.

 

She had seen the middies and cabin boys of the Wind’s Pleasure being taught to hit each other with sticks in a similar fashion by a sailor.  Shallan had been told that it was a way for the boys to strengthen their arms and reflexes in order that they be prepared for the day when they might bear cutlasses to repel unwelcome boarders.   She could scarcely enjoy watching people willingly – or not – be hit by sticks for sport when the idea of it made something in her chest quail with uncharacteristic panic.

 

She turned her thoughts away from that dark path, and picked up her charcoal to continue her sketching - this time of the tall and strangely shaped kettle device that the servants had set up in the corner.  It looked like a teapot perched on an urn; it was enamelled with an elaborately colourful flower design where its gold plating didn’t peek through.

 

“It’s a samovar,” said Jasnah.  “A wedding gift from the family of my late aunt the Duchess.  It is rather convenient – you can make chocolate and tea at the same time, and it stays warm for hours, which unfortunately has the effect of encouraging guests to linger when–,”  she paused, “–it seems now is the time to tread the boards.”

 

Shallan looked up, startled, then hurriedly swept her pencils into their wooden box; she rose to her feet.

 

Two men were approaching the pavilion, followed by servants.  One was the tall and uncomfortably familiar figure of Doctor Kaladin – she felt her ears going red in humiliation – and the second was only slightly shorter but more solidly built; he walked with the carelessly confident poise of the high nobility: was this –?

 

“Jasnah!” he called, waving an arm at her.  He jogged up.  He wore a loose shirt with collar unbuttoned under a blue waistcoast, and he had no neckcloth; a darker blue coat was slung over an arm.   On the courtyard, the tent was being efficiently dismantled.

 

Behind Shallan, Jasnah sighed and stepped forward.

 

“Cousin Adolin.”  She closed her eyes and inclined her head for the requisite kiss.  The Duke did not have to bend to kiss her on both cheeks; her dressed hair with its carved hairsticks gave her the impression of equal height although she was a few inches shorter.    “May I present my new ward?”

 

“Yes, of course, one ought to do things properly,” said the Duke.  Doctor Kaladin had caught up with the servants; they exchanged meaningful glances and turned towards Shallan. 

 

Shallan’s breath felt as if it were rising up to choke her; she thought that if she coughed, she would not be surprised if it fell in curd-like chunks from her lips.

 

“Adolin, this is Shallan Davar, daughter of Lin, Laird – Baron by our measure – of Loch Davar, of the Clan McValam.   She has been my travelling companion and ward these last six months.”

 

Shallan drew up her skirts and dipped into the low curtsey one made as a social inferior in a formal setting.  When was the last time she had properly practised it?  Before her mother’s unfortunate death?  The last time she could recall needing to curtsey perfectly with straight back and shoulders and bent knees was when she was thirteen years old, pledging herself as kinswoman in front of The McValam for the one time necessary to confirm her entry to the clan. 

 

She held the position for two beats and stood upright; when she straightened, she saw she was eye level with the Duke’s chin.   He really had the most remarkable hair: she had thought it blond with stripes in the firelight last evening, but the stripes were actually individual strands of black upon closer inspection.  His brows were the same mottled colour.   Upon gazing at his chin – she hadn’t met his eyes, and hadn’t wanted to – she found herself curiously contemplating the colour of his beard; he was clean shaven now, but if he grew it out, would it match his hair?  … Would his – other – hair be like that as well?   Her ears remained unbecomingly warm at the brazenness; she was suddenly pathetically grateful that her own hair was red and that she had worn it down to-day.

 

“Shallan, I present my cousin, His Grace the Duke Kholinar, Adolin Kholin.  Major–“

 

“–Lieutenant Colonel.”

 

“–Lieutenant Colonel,” Jasnah corrected smoothly, “of His Majesty’s Home Regiments.”

 

He gave a courtly full bow – more appropriate for someone his own social equal, like Jasnah – and took her right hand with his left.  She looked down at their hands:  hers was slim and freckled with grey smudges of charcoal over the knuckle and down the wrist where she had brushed against her sketched pages; he had larger squared fingers with callused palms, and blue chalk dust was caught under a few of the nails.  He held her hand unexpectedly gently and raised it to his lips.

 

She met his eyes.

 

She had always thought that blue eyes were neither rare nor special – everyone in her family had them – and she was satisfied in this confirmation: his eyes were not a particularly unique shade of blue.  They didn’t glow or twinkle or sparkle or appear mysterious in any way like the novels said they should.   They were not mysterious at all; rather, they were friendly and open, but in the whole, quite ordinary.  It was a pleasant contrast to Kaladin; his looked like he was thinking about all things you were doing wrong, even if you just happened to be walking past minding your own affairs.

 

His kissed the air above her hand.  Of course that was correct and proper for a bachelor greeting an unwed lady for the first time, but Shallan couldn’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment.

 

She quashed the thought.  She was supposed to feel heartsick at leaving her beloved highland home, and becoming Jasnah’s ward was a hard-won childhood dream that she had desired ever since she had found and read that very first essay.  To put a halt to her research, to throw it away, all for the sake of a handsome man – even at Jasnah’s behest – that felt like weakness and wrongness.  It was to be borne – or rather, suffered, however uncomfortably – as the necessary price of so advantageous a connection.  If Shallan were to do it, to become a sorrowful but willing sacrifice on the altar of matrimony, aching regret ought to be the very least of her emotions.

 

He winked, then released her hand.

 

The disappointment could not be suppressed. 

                                                                                                                                                     

“Now,” Jasnah said, clapping her hands.  “That’s done with.  Shall we to luncheon?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

The exercise they are doing is the traditional British stick fighting sport, singlesticks.  It is used as practice for swordfighting, because I thought that foil fencing was too "continental" for Adolin and too fancy for Kaladin.  The tent that was being set up is a changing room, in case you were wondering.  And yes, in this universe, Kaladin is aware of what colour Adolin's "other hair" is. 

 

I'm only writing from Shallan's perspective because romance novels are mostly all written from the girl's PoV.  And I think she's the only one I can write while keeping consistently on-character.  Post feedback if you like - I haven't done fiction writing in years and keeping to the Bronte/Regency tone is a real struggle.  If you're reading closely, you can tell when I'm lapsing in and out of it, ugh.

We are nearing the end of my plot skeleton and drafted notes, sadly. 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PART 1

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PART 2

 

 

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OK you got me with the "other hair" part... This is exactly the kind of thought Shallan would think but Brandon would not write  :o

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OK you got me with the "other hair" part... This is exactly the kind of thought Shallan would think but Brandon would not write  :o

 

What's the point of reading a romance if it's G-rated?  :rolleyes:

 

I think the best way to get a confirmation on "other hair" is to ask Brandon if weird Roshar hair genetics extends to armpits.  What if Natans had fluffy underarms???

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What's the point of reading a romance if it's G-rated?  :rolleyes:

 

I think the best way to get a confirmation on "other hair" is to ask Brandon if weird Roshar hair genetics extends to armpits.  What if Natans had fluffy underarms???

 

Huh well.... I don't expect anything not G-rated from Brandon  :o This being said, I'd like to point out I picture all Alethi as chest shaved -_- They don't grow hair there -_-   :ph34r: Never  :ph34r: Because I don't like it  :ph34r: Or maybe Kaladin do, but not Adolin  :ph34r:

 

So other hair means... other hair  :ph34r:

 

I wouldn't want to be the one ask this one to Brandon at a signing... Imagine the scene... A endless string of fanatic readers asking about allomancy, the Cosmere, the realm and Hoid only to stumble upon on crazy one...

 

"Hi Mr Sanderson. I have a question... You have introduced this interesting concept of hair coloring within the Stormlight Archive. For instance, Adolin has blond hair with strand of black. I have wondered.... would this genetic extend to his other hair? You know the... special ones...."

 

"The special hair? You mean his beard? I believe it is stated it follows he same coloring"

 

"Well no.... You know the other hair... I mean the ones not his head... I really want to know which color Adolin's other hair are, purely for personal imaging purposes."

 

Poor Brandon  :o  :ph34r:

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"Well no.... You know the other hair... I mean the ones not his head... I really want to know which color Adolin's other hair are, purely for personal imaging purposes."

 

Poor Brandon  :o  :ph34r:

 

To not freak him out, it would be better to specify the "other hair" as chest hair or leg hair, at first.  There are other people in line behind you, and they are listening on.  You wouldn't want them to think that you're some kind of crazy perv, would you?

 

If he does want to know the real reason why you ask, the best answer is the refuge in audacity.  I would say that I needed the information to make a "Roshar Fundraising Swimsuit Calendar"  ;) , because the Knight Radiants need Stormlight and what better way than to sell calendar folios for spheres.  :ph34r:

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To not freak him out, it would be better to specify the "other hair" as chest hair or leg hair, at first.  There are other people in line behind you, and they are listening on.  You wouldn't want them to think that you're some kind of crazy perv, would you?

 

If he does want to know the real reason why you ask, the best answer is the refuge in audacity.  I would say that I needed the information to make a "Roshar Fundraising Swimsuit Calendar"  ;) , because the Knight Radiants need Stormlight and what better way than to sell calendar folios for spheres.  :ph34r:

 

I was going for bolder... I suspect he may answer: "Oh you mean chest hair?" "Huh... no... lower than that..." "Leg hair?" "Huh no... higher than that"  :ph34r: "Ooooooooooooooooooooh those hair.... Huh... Peter? Do we have an answer for this?" 

 

Imagine if it got recorded... It would end up in the Events and Signing sections  :o  :ph34r:

 

Priceless. 

 

For anything else, there is Mastercard  -_-

 

Love the found raising calendar idea  :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART SIX

 

 

 

 

 

The Duke did not wait for a footman to show Shallan to her seat; instead, he pushed in her chair himself before finding his own, to her right.  Doctor Kaladin did not oblige Jasnah equal courtesy; he found his own seat opposite theirs silently.  Jasnah did not appear to notice Kaladin’s show of tactlessness, and she did not seem to care.  Even so, one had to wonder if it was caused by an excess of gross insolence or gross ignorance; either option marked any character as unpleasant - which was, of course, perfectly applicable as a description of the Doctor.

 

As they were unfolding their napkins and settling into their seats – Shallan inconspicuously toeing her sketchbooks and satchels under the table, the Duke and the Doctor folding their coats over the backs of the seats – the butler, carrying boxes, approached the table.  He approached the seated Duke, bowed, and offered him the first, smaller, box.

 

There was a ring inside it.  It was a heavy gold seal ring with an oval face, with a design carved deeply in reverse.  The Duke slipped it onto his left hand, the hand nearest Shallan; she saw that it was of a crown over a tower, surrounded by an engraved linked chain that curved all the way around the bezel as a border.   The empty box was handed back to the butler, and the second, a flat square box, was offered to Kaladin. 

 

Kaladin waved it away, she heard him mutter “afterwards”, and the butler withdrew with both boxes. 

 

The first course – a clear broth – was served and a white wine was uncorked, tasted, and poured for all but Kaladin.  A servant took away his wineglass and replaced it with a short glass of watery smallbeer. 

 

How was it that Kaladin could do everything different from everyone else, yet there were no comments on the ungraciousness contrariness of his manner?  As a retainer to the Duke, should he not have more respect for the guests of his employer?  It was by the benevolence of his superiors – and their indulgent condescension – that he was seated at this very table, eating their food; it was incredibly galling to Shallan that he seemed not to care either way.  She, at her father’s estate, struggled to find suitable companionship her social equal; there was no-one within a day’s travel higher than the daughters of farmers who owned their holdings outright.  Even her governess, the well-educated daughter of a diplomatic attaché, was no more than middle class.   Madame Tyn had been born and raised abroad, and yet she was easily Kaladin’s superior in social decorum. 

 

She was intent on dissecting the evidence of Kaladin’s ambiguous status – was he really middle class?  He was a confirmed physician; Jasnah had accepted his credentials as genuine.  Was he a natural-born son of someone important?   He could not possibly be the Duke’s brother – they shared no resemblance – a reveal of illegitimacy, or even a claim of it, would have been scandalous enough gossip to reach even the most distant of country estates in the frigid northern highlands.

 

Thus she was surprised when her half-finished bowl of broth was gently slid out from under her raised spoon and replaced by what appeared to be the second, third and fourth removes simultaneously.  Shallan’s senses returned to her. 

 

The Duke and Kaladin were intent on eating; footmen were continuously circulating with trays and tongs to refresh their plates.  On the side table with the samovar, the butler was furiously carving a whole poached chicken into even white slices; behind him, two more chickens were awaiting the knife.   Jasnah was tapping Shallan’s feet under the table with her own, and wiggling her eyebrows in a meaningful way.   It occurred to her that no-one had said anything since the luncheon’s start.

 

“Your Grace–,” she finally managed to say.

 

The Duke winced and, rather reluctantly, put down his fork.  “Please.  I notice that you and Jasnah have dispensed with proper address; although decency would disapprove: so recent was our introduction – you may do so with me.  Such formality is unnecessary, for now, whilst we are here among friends.”

 

“Of course, m—Adolin,” she said, floundering for something to talk about.   She had not expected to be chastised this early, however gently. “Um.  Your hair is nice.”

 

Blessed Heralds.  As soon as she returned to the House, she would have to have a bath drawn and then she would see if she could fit her foot into her mouth.

 

The Duke – Adolin – blinked.  He glanced at Kaladin, who shrugged and continued eating.  Jasnah was intently studying something on the ceiling of the pavilion.  Maybe it was the carved vine leaves.   The footman pouring a thick peppery gravy onto Adolin’s sliced chicken had his eyes downcast, but he was smirking.

 

“My hair?”

 

Almighty, save me.

 

“Yes,” said Shallan desperately, “blond hair and stripes are rarely seen in the north.”

 

“You know,” said Adolin, returning to his food.  It seemed that very little could dampen his appetite, not even pathetically awkward – verging on rude – personal comments. “Some people would say it is a mark of my bloodline being impure.”

 

“Everyone must come from somewhere, sir,” said Shallan.  Manners, ground in from years of instruction, objected to the thought of addressing so fresh an acquaintance by his Vorin name.  Her mind cast about for something to say that would offend no-one.  “Back home we consider you Anglethi to be the foreigners.”

 

…Storms.

 

“Really,” said Kaladin.  He was inspecting an asparagus spear impaled on his knife. 

 

“We Scots,” she began, “have been on these fair isles years before anyone from the East Continent ever beached a hull here.  My former governess made a study of languages; she once told me that the word ‘Anglethi’ originated from a tribe from a northern peninsula in the East.”

 

Adolin smiled.  “Were you aware that my mother came from the East Continent?” 

 

“Then your blood is as pure - more pure - than those who seek to tell you otherwise.   In any case,” she paused; her eyes met Kaladin’s for one brief moment.  “The fact that I am here shows that wealth speaks a language anyone can understand.”

 

“Yes, I suppose you're right.   That is not something any woman has ever had the temerity to admit.”

 

He was agreeing instead of bewildered now.  It was a change that Shallan could work with; she thought she was starting to get the hang of talking to gentlemen.

 

“And in my experience – limited as it is – a nobleman who boasts of his purity appeals to his pedigree,” Shallan said, “because if it was merely wealth that elevates a man, then every common man should have the potential in him to be noble.   So what makes a man noble?”

 

Shallan glanced across the table.  Jasnah was nodding, a faint smile on her face.

 

“Some would say it is ultimately granted to us by the Almighty,” remarked Adolin.   It was the typical response one learned at church; Adolin said it rather flatly - it sounded like something that had been memorised and recited countless times in the past, and now could be regurgitated on command.

 

“Ah, the inherent dignity; that is a topic on which Jasnah is fiercely keen on lecturing,” she said.

 

Jasnah sighed loudly.

 

Shallan continued: “It has always urged me to wonder, if some men are elevated over others, and they above other men, by the Almighty's grace, how would we tell? ” – here her eyes flicked across the table.  Adolin looked blank, Kaladin was eyeing her over the rim of his glass with his darkly inscrutable gaze – “Does His grace exist in some tangible form?  If it were so, then I daresay we should be using the King's clysters to cure cholera.”

 

There was a gagging sound.  Kaladin had apparently – somehow – managed to spray his smallbeer out through his nose and was now coughing vigorously.

 

Adolin, who had been smiling, burst into laughter, and slapped the table.  He had not the type of laugh that could ever be considered pretty, or delicate, as ones cultivated by governesses everywhere; it could be described as a sort of happy guffaw that Shallan would have liked to hear again and again.

 

“Blasphemy and lèse majesté in one go!  Impressive – I quite like it!”

 

Shallan reddened slightly, pleased.  “This conversation was begun by your insisting on familiarity, sir."

 

“It's remarkably refreshing, in honesty,” said Adolin, looking at her directly.  He seemed more disposed towards friendliness now than before – compared to previously, which perhaps in hindsight seemed mere charitable condescension; it was as if a dam of cautious reservation had broken at last and now something in him could no longer recognise her as either a threat or a stranger.  “I should enjoy growing used to this.  Now I see why Cousin Jasnah has become so fond of you – and it is rare of her to willingly suffer the company of others.”

 

“Dear Cousin,” said Jasnah, smiling.  “You wound me!  Should I remind you of your own companions, or lack thereof?”

 

“Kal is right here, you know,” Adolin said.

 

“Thank you for noticing.”  Kaladin had wiped his face with a napkin.  Shallan thought the twenty or so undignified seconds where he was gasping for breath and choking on his drink something she would remember for years.

 

“Your father and your aunt my mother would find him neither suitable nor capable for their purposes ... in a manner of speaking,” Jasnah said.  Kaladin cleared his throat loudly at that, then muttered something unintelligible under his breath.  “Nevertheless, if ever you find yourself disinterested in maintaining an acquaintanceship with Lady Shallan, I should be pleased to take her back to Ivory Lane with me.  I am to return there shortly.”

 

“She is a strange woman indeed, but here I find myself rather … pleasantly intrigued.  What are your plans, Cousin?”

 

“I am for the The City to-morrow,” Jasnah replied, “there are some things I must see to at the Palace and I think it best that I stop to visit my own house.  I shall be back within four days.”

 

“Lady Jasnah, will you go unaccompanied?” asked Shallan.

 

“Your scholarship must continue even while I am absent.  There are tasks I will expect you to have seen to when I return.”

 

“Of course.  Adolin, when we were at the village yesterday, I spied a church there that I am most eager to visit.  Would it not be possible to borrow a carriage to pay a call?”

 

“I am expected in the village to-morrow to approve some tenancy contracts.  The good Doctor was to accompany me, but I am delighted if you were to join us.  We must make it an event: have luncheon with me.  If you are to stay here - and I dare hope you may - you must at least familiarise yourself with the village of Courtlea,” said Adolin.  He patted his lips with his napkin, then tossed it onto the table.

 

“Of course, it would be my pleasure,” Shallan said.  She untwisted her own napkin from where her nervous fingers had knotted it during her earlier blundering attempt at conversation.  There were grey marks on the white linen where charcoal had rubbed off.

 

The servants were clearing the dishes now, so she stood.  Adolin rose too, followed by Jasnah.  Kaladin remained sitting.   He didn’t rise for a lady, and he didn’t rise for the highest in precedence at the table, that storming man.  But he rose for the chicken.  A footman was reaching over the table for an empty ribcage on a tray.  There was a forlorn drumstick on the side; Kaladin stood and plucked it off.  He ate it while Shallan glared at him.  He looked rather smug, which was something he could somehow do, without smiling or giving the impression that anything made him happy.

 

Well, I know what you look like shooting beer out of your nose, she thought to herself.  It was a cheering thought.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s Notes:

Any resemblance to the scenes in WoR where Shallan and Adolin met for the first and second times is not accidental.

  • Adolin has a personal seal because spanreeds don't exist and people still write letters.
  • Kaladin’s box had a gun in it.  He doesn’t put it on at the table not because he doesn’t want to be rude and frighten the ladies, but because he is sneaky and doesn’t want Shallan to know he has one.  He is a part-time bodyguard which is why he gets invited to things even though people don’t want him to be there.
  • Every Regency romance has to have baseless assumptions and conclusions being drawn out of nowhere for drama reasons, when they could have easily been cleared up just by characters talking to each other.
  • I can’t write funny so I wrote cringe comedy.  If you felt second-hand shame on Shallan’s behalf while reading this chapter, I did it right.
  • The original Anglo-Saxons came from Angeln, which is somewhere around modern Denmark/Northern Germany

 

The subtext:

Kaladin thinks Shallan is high-handed and he’s right.  She snarks on the divine right of kings, but is elitist and very socially conscious and isn’t really aware of it.  She forgets that there are servants around when they’re right in the room, which is why she says things that could be construed as treason.

The East Continent is Europe.  Adolin’s mother in this universe is ethnically German and probably Prussian. Adolin doesn’t speak German; he doesn’t even like reading Anglish.

“Wealth speaks a language” - Shallan is trying to tell Kaladin that she’s a gold digger, not a spy.

Medieval medicine is weird.  They used to think things that were shaped like noses could cure sneezing, and that sacred body parts like saints' knucklebones were miracle cures.   Magical holy clysters for cholera is Shallan referencing this.

Kaladin gets the joke faster than Adolin.   “Neither suitable nor capable” is Jasnah commenting that Kaladin can’t produce an heir, and that Adolin should be looking for a companion who can.   Everyone snarks better than Adolin. :(

 

I’m nearing the end of how far I’ve plotted.  I have enough notes and drafts to write one more chapter before I run out of material.  I never thought I’d properly write out the story so I never thought of an ending apart from the obligatory “they do”.

Edited by sheep
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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PART 3

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PART 4

 

 

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I was going for bolder... I suspect he may answer: "Oh you mean chest hair?" "Huh... no... lower than that..." "Leg hair?" "Huh no... higher than that"  :ph34r: "Ooooooooooooooooooooh those hair.... Huh... Peter? Do we have an answer for this?" 

 

Imagine if it got recorded... It would end up in the Events and Signing sections  :o  :ph34r:

 

Priceless. 

 

For anything else, there is Mastercard  -_-

 

Love the found raising calendar idea  :ph34r:

 

If you have the opportunity to ask Brandon about "other hair" at a signing, you should also also ask if Alethi even grow chest hair, and if the answer is some do, some don't just like Earth humans, then you have to ask if Dalinar has it.  Many people imagined Dalinar had a beard until a WoB confirmed he was clean shaven most of the time. And Dalinar's head hair is mixed colours, black and grey as well....

 

You don't need to give your real name at a signing.  ;)   Ask without embarrassment, because no one will ever know. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

You sure do like that :ph34r: smiley, don't you.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

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If you have the opportunity to ask Brandon about "other hair" at a signing, you should also also ask if Alethi even grow chest hair, and if the answer is some do, some don't just like Earth humans, then you have to ask if Dalinar has it.  Many people imagined Dalinar had a beard until a WoB confirmed he was clean shaven most of the time. And Dalinar's head hair is mixed colours, black and grey as well....

 

You don't need to give your real name at a signing.  ;)   Ask without embarrassment, because no one will ever know. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

You sure do like that :ph34r: smiley, don't you.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

The probability of me going to a signing are slim to none as I do not happen to live anywhere close to where he usually goes to. Even if I were to go to one, I have no idea what kind of question I would ask. Not many people ask character related questions: it makes me self-conscious to ask one  :unsure:

 

Anyway, it is stated in book Dalinar his graying a temples. I believe he is described as clean shaven... I sure never imagined him with a beard... As for his chest hair, I heard SA3 had a scene where he walks around half-naked....... So we are bound to find out  -_- Not Brandon provide another modern day scene with his son so we can compare the rule of genetic, rumors has it Adolin looks nothing like his father.  :ph34r: 

 

I love this smiley  :ph34r:  Here read my other 3141 posts? There are full of  :ph34r:

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I am enjoying the this immensely! Thank you so much for writing this! I am so excited when I see the thread has been updated.

I wasn't expecting the sketchbook pages. A welcome inclusion that adds so much :-)

Post feedback if you like - I haven't done fiction writing in years and keeping to the Bronte/Regency tone is a real struggle...

We are nearing the end of my plot skeleton and drafted notes, sadly.

What sort of feedback do you want? I don't want to give you plot suggestions or style notes that you aren't looking for.

I would especially hate to risk making you think this is less than wonderful by pointing out something negative.

Edit: I thought the clysters joke was hilarious, though I was even slower than Adolin since I had to look up what that word meant. You definitely know your period vocabulary, and use it to great effect.

Edited by ccstat
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The probability of me going to a signing are slim to none as I do not happen to live anywhere close to where he usually goes to. Even if I were to go to one, I have no idea what kind of question I would ask. Not many people ask character related questions: it makes me self-conscious to ask one  :unsure:

 

Anyway, it is stated in book Dalinar his graying a temples. I believe he is described as clean shaven... I sure never imagined him with a beard... As for his chest hair, I heard SA3 had a scene where he walks around half-naked....... So we are bound to find out  -_- Not Brandon provide another modern day scene with his son so we can compare the rule of genetic, rumors has it Adolin looks nothing like his father.  :ph34r: 

 

I love this smiley  :ph34r:  Here read my other 3141 posts? There are full of  :ph34r:

 

At least you live on the same continent.  :ph34r:   I looked it up and the last time Brandon came to my city was in 2012.  I only started reading Mistborn and Way of Kings in ~2013.  People don't ask character questions because most of them enjoy the books for the expanded universe and want to know more about that, but I personally have never cared about Adonalsium theories.  Character questions do get asked, like which arm Lopen is missing and how he eat non-chouta foods.  I remember the artist Botanica asking about and getting a really in-depth answer with input from Ben (the interior artist) about the havah and Alethi clothing.    If you get self-conscious, simple solution - go in costume, preferably with a mask.  :ph34r:  People will pay attention to the costume and not the perv questions. :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

I don't think there's any description of Dalinar's facial hair in WoK.  After I read it, I imagined him with one because it seemed to fit.  I still think of Elhokar as bearded even though he's described as canonically clean shaven in WoK...but then again WoK says he has yellow eyes which are changed to green in WoR.

 

If Dalinar has a shirtless scene, the real question is if Brandon will actually describe it instead of giving a broad strokes description as he usually does when things could veer off the G-rating.  Adolin is mentioned to like bathing, he bathes after training because the new upgraded arena has prep rooms with baths - but we get no shirtless scenes!!! :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  Disappointing!!!  :(:ph34r::(  Maybe if it is because if Shallan saw Adolin shirtless it would kill the love triangle just as quickly as Shallarin died when she called him a creep.

 

Maybe I should use this smiley more. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

If Renarin + criticism is the magic spell for summoning Feather

Adolin + :ph34r: is a beeping pager for maxal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am enjoying the this immensely! Thank you so much for writing this! I am so excited when I see the thread has been updated.

I wasn't expecting the sketchbook pages. A welcome inclusion that adds so much :-)

What sort of feedback do you want? I don't want to give you plot suggestions or style notes that you aren't looking for.

I would especially hate to risk making you think this is less than wonderful by pointing out something negative.

 

I think it's a waste if you have a character who can draw, but you don't include drawings.

 

I read a novel recently with a musical main character, and the book included original sheet music excerpts with lyrics, to fit with the setting, like "Dad's lullaby" and "Organ music at the pier".  I can't read scales but I thought it was a wonderful idea - you get a better sense of a character than if the author just said "btw Charlie is also a rockstar".   Same with another novel that had a MC who wanted to be an illustrator - the book had full page comic strips in between text chapters.  A character just feels more than two-dimensional when you mix media and show that they have legitimate skills, not just informed ones.  If you've ever read "The Book Thief", art interludes can really have impact.

 

 

Well, critique is good for self-improvement.   And I want to get better at writing.

Does anyone find it jarring or thrown out of the story when I mix modern writing with Bronte-ish prose?  

 

 

"She thought she was starting to get the hang of talking to gentlemen"

 

These sorts of colloquialisms happen because I can't think of a translation of my thoughts into concise "old timey speak" and the slang phrase is more direct and unambiguous, but still anachronistic.  So what this story really is, rather than a true Regency romance, is my contemporary voice being stapled onto a Regency setting, in some places more crudely than others, and I'm wondering if readers see this patchiness as ruining or cheapening the experience.

 

I also feel bad about info-dumping in the Author's Notes section.  I hate over-exposition or explaining jokes in the main text, so I leave it off there, but I feel like my writing would be better if it were clearer, so a reader could understand the reference straight off.  I write things that I would understand, and feel like that characters in-universe would too, but sometimes I forget about you valuable reader people.

 

For instance, a "clyster" is an old timey way to talk about an enema, which is something that Kaladin would know about since he's a doctor in this AU.  So my dialogue isn't funny until you bother to Google, and by that time the moment has passed because explaining the joke killed it.

 

Just my thoughts.  I am the only one proof-reading so everything is clear to me but I have no idea what other people's impressions are.

 

 

EDIT:  I'm pretty sure the solution to obscure references is not to avoid them, but to make it so if a reader doesn't understand, nothing relevant story-wise is lost.   And if they do get it, it's an Easter egg.   I'm not even sure if I'm skilled enough to pull it off...

Edited by sheep
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At least you live on the same continent.  :ph34r:   I looked it up and the last time Brandon came to my city was in 2012.  I only started reading Mistborn and Way of Kings in ~2013.  People don't ask character questions because most of them enjoy the books for the expanded universe and want to know more about that, but I personally have never cared about Adonalsium theories.  Character questions do get asked, like which arm Lopen is missing and how he eat non-chouta foods.  I remember the artist Botanica asking about and getting a really in-depth answer with input from Ben (the interior artist) about the havah and Alethi clothing.    If you get self-conscious, simple solution - go in costume, preferably with a mask.  :ph34r:  People will pay attention to the costume and not the perv questions. :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

I don't think there's any description of Dalinar's facial hair in WoK.  After I read it, I imagined him with one because it seemed to fit.  I still think of Elhokar as bearded even though he's described as canonically clean shaven in WoK...but then again WoK says he has yellow eyes which are changed to green in WoR.

 

If Dalinar has a shirtless scene, the real question is if Brandon will actually describe it instead of giving a broad strokes description as he usually does when things could veer off the G-rating.  Adolin is mentioned to like bathing, he bathes after training because the new upgraded arena has prep rooms with baths - but we get no shirtless scenes!!! :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  Disappointing!!!  :(:ph34r::(  Maybe if it is because if Shallan saw Adolin shirtless it would kill the love triangle just as quickly as Shallarin died when she called him a creep.

 

Maybe I should use this smiley more. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

If Renarin + criticism is the magic spell for summoning Feather

Adolin + :ph34r: is a beeping pager for maxal.

 

I may live on the same continent, but not on the same country. The closest he's been to me is Boston which isn't exactly close. 

 

It is so much more interesting to talk about characters as opposed to world-building... Characters make the story, the world just makes the pretty setup  :ph34r: There are characters related questions, but there are a great deal more of other questions. One of the reasons may be asking about characters is tricky: the answer you get may not worth wasting a question on it. Still, I have gotten my hands on a few interesting ones recently.

 

As for wearing a costume, I am afraid the only one I owns is a clown costume  :o I wore it at my children's day care Halloween party. I had a nose which made noise: the kids loved it  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Would it work? I'm such the atypical Stormlight Archive fan: I do not have acceptable costumes. Though imagine the scene, a multi-colored clown walks into the signing line and ask questions about body hair coloring..... Seriously. 

 

Come to think of it, I don't recall if it was described or no. I may have just assumed he was clean-shaven because I hate facial hair, so this is the default for all male characters unless otherwise specified  -_- I never pictured Elhokar with a beard, but he has a big hack-like nose. All the Kholins have the same kind of nose, except Adolin. As for the eyes, Brandon explained he changed them from green to yellow to match his father's eye color. I assume WoK will be edited, eventually, to correct it.

 

Sadly, Brandon is not a character descriptor. He once said he prefers to leave those details vague such as to enable his readers to make up their own imagery. He only focus on the important physical traits: Dalinar is very tall, imposing, has short graying hair, an ugly face and a broken nose; Adolin is not as tall nor imposing, has blue eyes and blond unruly hair, he is very handsome; Kaladin is really tall, slightly curly hair cut shoulder length, not unpleasant to look at, but not handsome as Adolin, etc. 

 

The total absence of Adolin taking his bath, considering we got Jasnah's, was a serious flaw into the story  :o We totally need one of those  -_- but then again Adolin seems so self-conscious he would probably be incapable to walk around half-naked, a feat his father seemed to have no issue with it. In the scene, he is apparently dripping wet and Navani is watching  :o We have crossed a new boundary  :o Adolin can perhaps spend hours in his soiled Plate :ph34r: , but can he remove his shirt anywhere but in complete privacy?

 

If Shallan saw shirtless Adolin....... I can think of a great deal lot of things that could happen... 

 

Adolin is a beeping pager for me, typically  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: and this smiley  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

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I may live on the same continent, but not on the same country. The closest he's been to me is Boston which isn't exactly close. 

 

It is so much more interesting to talk about characters as opposed to world-building... Characters make the story, the world just makes the pretty setup  :ph34r: There are characters related questions, but there are a great deal more of other questions. One of the reasons may be asking about characters is tricky: the answer you get may not worth wasting a question on it. Still, I have gotten my hands on a few interesting ones recently.

 

As for wearing a costume, I am afraid the only one I owns is a clown costume  :o I wore it at my children's day care Halloween party. I had a nose which made noise: the kids loved it  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Would it work? I'm such the atypical Stormlight Archive fan: I do not have acceptable costumes. Though imagine the scene, a multi-colored clown walks into the signing line and ask questions about body hair coloring..... Seriously. 

 

Come to think of it, I don't recall if it was described or no. I may have just assumed he was clean-shaven because I hate facial hair, so this is the default for all male characters unless otherwise specified  -_- I never pictured Elhokar with a beard, but he has a big hack-like nose. All the Kholins have the same kind of nose, except Adolin. As for the eyes, Brandon explained he changed them from green to yellow to match his father's eye color. I assume WoK will be edited, eventually, to correct it.

 

Sadly, Brandon is not a character descriptor. He once said he prefers to leave those details vague such as to enable his readers to make up their own imagery. He only focus on the important physical traits: Dalinar is very tall, imposing, has short graying hair, an ugly face and a broken nose; Adolin is not as tall nor imposing, has blue eyes and blond unruly hair, he is very handsome; Kaladin is really tall, slightly curly hair cut shoulder length, not unpleasant to look at, but not handsome as Adolin, etc. 

 

The total absence of Adolin taking his bath, considering we got Jasnah's, was a serious flaw into the story  :o We totally need one of those  -_- but then again Adolin seems so self-conscious he would probably be incapable to walk around half-naked, a feat his father seemed to have no issue with it. In the scene, he is apparently dripping wet and Navani is watching  :o We have crossed a new boundary  :o Adolin can perhaps spend hours in his soiled Plate :ph34r: , but can he remove his shirt anywhere but in complete privacy?

 

If Shallan saw shirtless Adolin....... I can think of a great deal lot of things that could happen... 

 

Adolin is a beeping pager for me, typically  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: and this smiley  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

Brandon needs another international tour.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  His calendar says he is going to Dubai, but who lives in Dubai????

 

No one would be surprised if someone in a clown costume with colourful wig asked questions about coloured hair.  It's weird, but going in a clown costume would have already established you as a weirdo.  :lol:   I only have a Victorian-style costume I wore to a convention last year which I could only vaguely pass as something from Era2 Mistborn, but definitely no canon characters.  Still, asking simple questions may sound like a waste of a question, but they are insignificant enough that you're probably going to get a proper answer instead of a big fat RAFO. 

 

I'm not a huge fan of beards either, but a character having one is like shorthand for saying this guy has authority.  Kings have beards, so Elhokar should have one, and Dalinar should have one too because he tells the King what to do.  But then it turns out neither of them have one. 

 

 

The king beamed. His golden Shardplate gleamed in the noonday sun; he had his faceplate up, revealing light yellow eyes, a strong nose, and a clean-shaven face that was almost too handsome, with its full lips, broad forehead, and firm chin. Gavilar had looked like that too, before he’d suffered a broken nose and that terrible scar on his chin.

Chapter 12, "Unity", WoK

 

He's handsome!!!!   This pretty much means that Dalinar being on the low end of average is the ugly duck out of the whole Kholin family.   But in my mind, Elhokar is the ugly one (because I don't like his personality :ph34r:) and Dalinar is distinguished looking, and not ugly unless you hate wrinkles and old people or something.

 

WHAT.  NAKED OR HALF-NAKED DALINAR IN FRONT OF NAVANI.  :o :o :o  Does this actually mean that Brandon is going to confirm for reals that Dalinar has updated his relationship status from single?????   I mean after two books it's still completely ambiguous what base they're on, so it's high time we get a confirmation for pretty much the only canon couple.

 

Adolin not being able to take off shirt unless he's all alone is like guys who are bladder shy and can't use public urinals. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  But apparently his armourers are the ones who get him dressed in Plate, and wipe his bum when he's having a time out during a battle.  HE LETS MEN TOUCH HIS BUTT BUT HE'S AFRAID TO LET SHALLAN SEE UNDER HIS COLLAR.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Kaladin will have to show him how it's done and make him use the bridgemen's shower. :wub:  :ph34r:  :o   Hint hint: there's no shower and no shower curtains, only highstorm water.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   I've always wondered if Kaladin has whip scars on his back or if they got removed by leveling up his Oaths.

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Brandon needs another international tour.    :ph34r:   :ph34r:   :ph34r:  His calendar says he is going to Dubai, but who lives in Dubai????

 

2.5 millions of people, according to Google  -_- He must have a business case there if he is planning on visiting.

 

 

 

No one would be surprised if someone in a clown costume with colourful wig asked questions about coloured hair.  It's weird, but going in a clown costume would have already established you as a weirdo.  :lol:   I only have a Victorian-style costume I wore to a convention last year which I could only vaguely pass as something from Era2 Mistborn, but definitely no canon characters.  Still, asking simple questions may sound like a waste of a question, but they are insignificant enough that you're probably going to get a proper answer instead of a big fat RAFO. 

 

Do not underestimate the power of a RAFO. A RAFO for this specific questions implies the author may be tackling this subject in future books, so not a bad news  ;)  ;)

 

Victorian-style costume is much better, at least you look like something "appropriate". Mine is Giggles the Clown....

 

 

4843.jpg

 

If my goal were to walk in incognito, then I believe this would spoil it... 

 

 

I'm not a huge fan of beards either, but a character having one is like shorthand for saying this guy has authority.  Kings have beards, so Elhokar should have one, and Dalinar should have one too because he tells the King what to do.  But then it turns out neither of them have one. 

 

Chapter 12, "Unity", WoK

 

He's handsome!!!!   This pretty much means that Dalinar being on the low end of average is the ugly duck out of the whole Kholin family.   But in my mind, Elhokar is the ugly one (because I don't like his personality :ph34r:) and Dalinar is distinguished looking, and not ugly unless you hate wrinkles and old people or something.

 

I hate beards: I was glad to see fashion among the Alethi seems to go clean shaven. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Over here, fashion wants it guys now have beards, such as big, fat beards. They all look as if they walk straight out of the wood: the only thing missing is the dead beaver and the arrow sash. Why? WHY? Now even my husband wants a beard.......  :o

 

Elhokar is not ugly! You missed that? Ah. Adolin says in his POV women he trusts have told him they found Elhokar quite handsome, not that he would be able to judge such thing, but he has it on good authority. It is also highlighted Gavilar was the handsome one as nobody ever called Dalinar handsome, even in his youth. Gavilar it seems, had the bearing of a king and Elhokar has it as well: he just lacks the capacity and the personality. 

 

There has to be a reason Dalinar transfers so much of his affection to Elhokar: he reminds him of Gavilar, physically.

 

And Dalinar is not handsome... It isn't just he is old (he isn't THAT old, 50 is not exactly old age) or scarred, he did not inherit pleasant facial features. It is why it is heavily assumed Adolin takes after his mother and not his father....

 

 

WHAT.  NAKED OR HALF-NAKED DALINAR IN FRONT OF NAVANI.  :o :o :o  Does this actually mean that Brandon is going to confirm for reals that Dalinar has updated his relationship status from single?????   I mean after two books it's still completely ambiguous what base they're on, so it's high time we get a confirmation for pretty much the only canon couple.

 

Oh you are going to love this... It isn't present day half-baked Dalinar we are getting, but young half-naked Dalinar  :o And NAvani is spying or something. I am not quite sure. As for their present day relationship, it has been hinted it was more than platonic... Pattern did spy on them, says they hold themselves close and started making weird noise not long after....  :o I nearly choked on my coffee when I read this one  :ph34r: Oh Brandon... did you really made the allusion they might be you know doing THE thing? :ph34r:

 

 

Adolin not being able to take off shirt unless he's all alone is like guys who are bladder shy and can't use public urinals. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  But apparently his armourers are the ones who get him dressed in Plate, and wipe his bum when he's having a time out during a battle.  HE LETS MEN TOUCH HIS BUTT BUT HE'S AFRAID TO LET SHALLAN SEE UNDER HIS COLLAR.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Kaladin will have to show him how it's done and make him use the bridgemen's shower. :wub:  :ph34r:  :o   Hint hint: there's no shower and no shower curtains, only highstorm water.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   I've always wondered if Kaladin has whip scars on his back or if they got removed by leveling up his Oaths.

 

Hey, my man used to be bladder shy: it is a real issue  -_- His armorers are helping him put on his Plate, but he isn't naked when they do so: he wears his ugly patted uniform. As for wiping his butt, I think he has no choices here.... I just try to imagine the scene where Dalinar calmly explains to his young too-fashionable teenage son the grim truth of warfare and how he has to leave such consideration back home  :ph34r:

 

As for taking a shower with Kaladin, while I am all for comparing anatomy :ph34r: , I do not dance on this side of the fence. I prefer my ships to remain canonically plausible, but I mean, if they are just bathing, then I guess no harm is truly done.  

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART SEVEN

 

 

 

 

Dinner was disappointingly subdued that evening, or so thought Shallan.  Jasnah had ordered their meal brought to the Teal Drawing Room again; she blithely disregarded protocol which dictated that such rooms, by the mere nature of their being Drawing Rooms, were designated for withdrawing – for after-dinner drinks and diversions, and occasionally mornings and early afternoons if one was entertaining.   Eating dinner, naturally, took place in one’s dining room; Kholinar Court had a particularly fine one that Shallan approved of heartily. She had held it in higher esteem than her dining companions - if the word “companion” could be stretched far enough to include Kaladin, she was sure it would break - since that first evening she had arrived to the House. 

 

“Could we have had dinner with the gentlemen?” asked Shallan, struggling to keep the petulance out of her tone.   “They must be wondering why we are missing.”

 

“I told Adolin that I had asked for your help in packing,” said Jasnah with a serene smile, “he wanted to know why I needed an additional pair of hands to pack when I was to be away for only four days - and to visit my own house.”

 

“Well, it seems a perfectly valid question to me.”

 

“And that is why neither of you are wed.  I am attempting to remedy that, of course.  You must trust me, and trust in my plan– “ she paused, “–so shall it succeed.  If you were curious as to the real reason, it was for his impression of you crystallise favourably whilst I buy time for your being prepared next you see him.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say.”

 

“When did you become an expert on the workings of hearts and men?  You’re almost a spinster!”

 

“I know enough of men,” said Jasnah coolly, “to welcome spinsterhood.  Your attitude is really doing you no favours; I now recognise that it was a remarkable stroke of foresight to keep you from dining in company.   However, your current agitation may be an auspicious sign.  How terribly splendid.”

 

“What do you mean?” Shallan demanded.

 

“You seem to have developed – I had the satisfaction to observe today – agreeable sentiments towards my cousin.   That is very good.  It would have been more difficult for you to go along with the plan if you had found his company intolerable, and it would have been even more frustrating for me to convince you to do so in spite of it.”

 

That was Jasnah, being mis-Jasnah-istic as usual, Shallan thought crossly.  But now she did have to wonder, how much of her ill-humoured peevishness tonight was caused by her disappointment in not seeing Adolin again?  Was her mind now befuddled by an excess of emotion?  It was hard to tell, but if Jasnah had noticed enough to comment, she must surely be making a villain of herself.  Was this love? 

 

She did not know if her heart had grown two sizes larger, and she was not aware that anything battered against her ribs with the yearning of cagéd doves’ wings.  She supposed that if she did feel something along those symptoms, the immediately sensible response would be to send for Doctor Kaladin; imagining him by her bedside, diagnosing her with an overabundance of feminine sentimentality and telling her he had just the cure for it, brought her a brief moment of surreal amusement.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

She spent the rest of the evening with Jasnah going over scholarly readings that they had collected in their months in Kharbranth and its extensive library.  The journey on the Wind’s Pleasure had involved much sorting and cataloging of sources; there did not seem to be any conclusive or consistent voice In the clamour of self-aggrandising past historians and philosophical theorists, but Jasnah believed that there was one thread they had in common:  the current unrest that had started on the East Continent and unfurled its vicious strangling tentacles into the Anglethi Isles they called home had been repeated in the past.  It was a cycle.

 

The assassination of King Gavilar I, Jasnah’s father, had been a crucial tipping point.  Of what sort exactly, neither Jasnah nor Shallan was sure; Jasnah was certain that it had been orchestrated by organisations unknown when the King was on the verge of discovering the same pattern that she was currently struggling to identify.   His death had sent the Anglethi into outraged animation; Parliament, the Dukes, and the Crown Prince had aligned as one for the first time in Shallan’s memory and thus the Vengeance Pact was born.  The war against the marshpeople of the western isle had, over recent years, eventually morphed from a justified reprisal to its current state of uneasy attrition.

 

Jasnah speculated that the Continent and the Isles were poised on the brink of something enormous, more than total war between all the civilised nations.  She thought that there was something more, something … unworldly.  Jasnah was not pious; she was more than once to be found mocking the superstitious beliefs of others – sometimes to their faces –  but lately all the material she had been reading and annotating were religious texts.  The Heralds were involved, Shallan was told; these holy servants of the Almighty were not just messengers who dropped legendary relics into the hands of the truly worthy, whenever historical – or religious – narrative called for a convenient bit of Deus ex machina.   No, they were more than that – they must be.  The books of Vorinism repeatedly mentioned the importance of symmetry; its value had become ingrained into Anglethi culture such that anything written in palindrome was holy by association. 

 

Where the Tranquiline Halls were reward for the devout and heroic, there was Damnation as punishment for those who were not.    Where the Almighty had raised men up and given them the choice to be good and honourable, conversely, men had also been granted the choice to be otherwise; when there was once the endless Darkness of nothing, the Almighty brought the Light of Cultivation.   Where there was a benevolent Almighty, there must be a malevolent … Something.   And that was the basis of the existence of the Heralds, or so thought Jasnah.

 

This was Jasnah’s Great Purpose.  To find the seeds of chaos, to find the place from whence they sprouted.  Their vile writhing tendrils were twining the Anglethi into their grip; King Gavilar’s death had seen to that.   Chaos and destruction and confusion; the pain and the hate and the fear that men felt – the Something fed on it, whatever It was, and wars on the Continent and in the Isles were symptoms of Its spreading power and influence.

 

The explanation that Jasnah had given Shallan had sent her reeling in shock the first time she heard it.  Shallan had always held her faith in Vorinism in a special place; it was a cherished comfort and a focus of clarity in her youth, when she had had need of it most.  The most common books of Vorin writings were held in her heart with the gentle fuzziness of childhood nostalgia; Jasnah’s insistence that she re-read them with the perspective of an analytical scholar searching for evidence of Apocalypse had near caused Shallan to question the decision to be her ward.

 

Shallan had eventually seen where Jasnah’s logic lay, however frightening it was to contemplate the fearful symmetry of a being whose ability, nay purpose, was to counteract all that was Grace and Light in the Almighty.    And it was thus that Shallan’s role was to study and locate “holy points”; she hypothesised, to Jasnah’s approval, that the Church of Vorinism was not only founded on the holy symmetry of palindrome – but the Church’s very stones were built on sites of ancient holiness, which harboured clues to the presumed location of either Heralds or their relics. 

 

The Teal Drawing Room had been commandeered by Jasnah for their communal study - there was a snooker table by the wall whose flat wooden cover had been ideal for laying down papers in orders of usefulness; the rack underneath now held books Jasnah thought were the most appropriate for quick reference.  Inside the Teal Room, chimney lamps shed light through glass funnels etched with waves-in-motion.  Outside, a storm lashed against the diamond paned window; rain drummed against the eaves and surged through the open mouths of the House’s fanciful statuary.

 

 

 

***

 

 

By morning, the rain had steadied to a grey and diffuse drizzle that clung to everything with a clammy chillness.  The horizon outside her bedroom’s window had been obscured by mist; the lawns of the Court were soft with feathered grey-white – Shallan, as she was laced up by the housemaid, wryly noted it was almost like the Castle-in-the-Clouds that frequently featured in old tales beloved by little girls and calculating governesses who aimed to show their charges the importance of an advantageous match. 

 

To the maid’s sniff of disapproval, Shallan picked out the boots that had been brought from Scotland.  After some hesitation – but no comment, fortunately – the maid took the heavy walking boots and knelt at Shallan’s feet to slide them on and tie them up.  The boots were fashioned from thick steershide boiled in wax, with nailed soles that threatened the parquet with each and every step.  Comfortably broken in and reliably waterproofed, Shallan had walked the estate of Loch Davar with them; she trusted them more than the soft kidskin half-boots that ladies of leisure commonly wore for country calling.

 

Breakfast with Jasnah was quiet as usual:  Shallan was not one to make more than the idlest of chatter when part of her mind was still distant; Jasnah was not one who appreciated the fine art that was making idle chatter.    So she ate strawberry jam on freshly baked scones and relished the thought of yet another breakfast – or meal, to think of it – that did not consist of oatmeal served with a side of oat bannock.   Variety at the Davars’ table had been sacrificed for the sake of prudence after the sale of the aluminium necklace.

 

The plates were cleared and Jasnah stood.  Shallan rose also; it was with the ingrained unconsciousness of proper behaviour that Shallan automatically waited on the highest ranking dining companion to leave the table first: those inferior exited in order of precedence.   But before Jasnah left, a thought occurred to her.

 

“Jasnah,” said Shallan, “may I borrow your umbrella?  I’m afraid I never brought one from Scotland with me.”

 

“No,” Jasnah replied.  “You may not.”

 

“But it’s raining!  If you are taking yours away, oughtn’t I to go to the butler and inquire for another?”

 

“It will work out better if you didn’t have one, Shallan.  Have some faith in me.”  Jasnah was being purposefully enigmatic; she somehow expected Shallan to divine some ulterior meaning in words that would have been punctuated with a wink if Jasnah was the type of person who would wink at all; all Shallan could hear was Jasnah’s being deliberately obstructive.   Shallan – unlike Jasnah – was no expert on men: she, to her immense and humiliating regret, had no option but to defer to Jasnah’s navigational skills in steering her way through the clandestine mysteries of the heart.

 

Jasnah swept out the room as Shallan waited, then followed her into the gallery.  There was a row of windows facing the misted front lawns and graveled drive of Kholinar Court; two carriages were being led by two matched teams of stamping horses outside the portico of the front door.

 

Storms, they’re waiting for me!”

 

Jasnah had already gone; they had packed a valise for her visit to The City last night before Shallan had retired to her own bedchamber.  Shallan now did not recall packing a bag for herself – and she was meant to join the Duke – Adolin – in the village for a call to the church as well as luncheon today. 

 

“Storms, storm it, stormy storming storms,” she muttered; she plucked up the hem of her dress and sprinted back to her room with ungainly speed.  She took the stairs two at a time, keeping to carpet as much as possible – it muffled her unladylike stomping feet in their nailed shoes.  She almost collided with a housemaid descending the stairs; she careened past as the maid leaped aside; she threw open the door to the bedchamber.

 

Loose pencils and paper were scattered on the desk; her sketchbook lay open to where she had left it last night: the maid had not touched them.   She was not a particularly athletic person, and the short burst of exertion caused her breath now to come in sharp gasps; her hands trembled and something in her stomach twinged from being jostled after an admittedly indulgent breakfast.  She gathered herself together, bundled her research notes into a waxed paper sleeve, then turned to her desk.

 

The sketchbook’s open page was a drawing she had done last night before bed – instead of preparing a bag for the morning, as she now realised she ought to have done.  Sketching settled her thoughts and soothed her mind into the tranquil easiness that prefaced sleep; she always did it to clear her mind after hours of research, lest she be kept awake by endless revolving thoughts on this citation or that reference.  The open drawing was a view of the Loch Davar estate grounds, the place she had called home her entire life; it was drawn in pen and ink with wet brush softening the shading of the cloudy sky; white chalk picked out details and highlights in the foreground.  Something about the rain pattering against the windows last night had prompted her to a sudden, involuntary fit of yearning; she had drawn it with thoughts of homesick longing, then left it open to dry overnight.

 

She slid the sketchbook into her satchel.  Then she turned to the trunk at the foot of her bed and lifted the lid: the scent of lavender and memories drifted out; she closed her eyes and bit back a rising sob of hysteria.  She took a breath, sent those memories back.  They were not wanted here.   Her folded tartan was on top; she pulled it out and wrapped the three woolen yards of fabric around herself.  Small muslin sachets of dried lavender dropped out.  Her step-mother had made those for her…

 

No, she thought savagely, now is not the time.

 

What time is it then?

 

The lid of the trunk slammed down; the unlocked latch bounced and clattered.

 

Time to go.

 

 

 

***

 

 

The grey drizzle continued to murmur over the slate tiled roof of Kholinar Court.   Shallan stood in the covered portico, hesitant; the horses and carriage were not far from the front door, but she would still get wet even if she ran for it – she had no umbrella:  Jasnah had made certain of that.

 

She pulled the tartan – draped as a shawl – over her head.  The raw lanolin in the wool would at least give it some protection against the rain. 

 

The door of the carriage opened, and a figure detached itself from the interior dimness.  A man, unfolding an umbrella.  Duke Adolin walked across the rain slicked gravel of the drive and to the portico.   Shallan, about to take the first step in a mad dash to the carriage, paused.

 

“Have you no umbrella?” he asked.

 

“Sir, I left my own in Scotland and have had no opportunity since to acquire another.”

 

“Well, the plaid won’t do – remember that you’re in civilised lands now.  You must share mine.”  He held the umbrella out, and she drew next to him.  He took her elbow.  “Shall we?”

 

He guided her by the arm – deliberately slowly – she thought, avoiding the puddles.  She leaned against him, trying to stay under the edge of the umbrella, and she felt his hand tighten on her elbow for a moment – then he relaxed.  She took brief sideways glances under her lashes at him; she saw that his chin had the clean smoothness of the recently shaved; she could very faintly smell the brisk herbal aroma of his toilet water.  Then they reached the carriage.  Adolin opened the door for her, and she slid into the upholstered warmth.

 

“You look remarkably sprightly this morning.”   Kaladin.

 

She had forgotten that he was supposed to accompany them.  She had also forgotten but now realised all at once that her hair had started to pull out of its braids in the manic sprint up the stairs and back, and that the humidity of the day could do nothing to improve its appearance.

 

“I thought you preferred to ride with the driver.”

 

“I have had the good fortune of being assigned chaperon; this day gets better and better and it has only just begun,” he said with an exaggerated sigh of wearily strained patience.

 

The door on the other side opened, and Adolin stepped in, shaking his umbrella.  “Is it ever too early in the morning for sarcasm?”

 

“No,” said Kaladin and Shallan quite simultaneously. 

 

“Delightful.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

This was a filler chapter, in case you hadn't noticed.  I dumped background information from my notes to stretch out the content for another chapter or two. 

 

The subtext:

  • "And that is why neither of you are wed" - Jasnah is commenting that Adolin, as a typical bachelor doesn't know how women and clothing work.  And also that Shallan is so naive about men that she doesn't know about lying to get what she wants.
  • "Imagining him by her bedside" - this is a reference to plots of doctor romance novels, which weren't invented at this time, because doctors and lawyers and anyone who worked for a living were considered unfortunately middle class. 
  • How can the Cosmere exist on Earth when WoB says it doesn't?  Well, word of Sheep says it does in this story!!!
  • Shallan likes the rain.  Foggy days and grey skies make her think of princess castles, make her creative and remind her of home. 
  • Shallan's boots - the maid thinks they're labourers boots, and they are.  Jane Austen's heroines wore light boots made from cotton or the skin of baby goats and cows, which were fine for walking on sunny days but too fragile for off-roading on rainy ones. 
  • Shallan likes Adolin OMG DOES HE LIKE HER BACK????

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 5

 

 

 

 

 

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