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Stormlight Archive: The Regency Romance

133 posts in this topic

You have to shop early if you want to get something before it's sold out!!  Instead of the last 2 weeks before Halloween. 

Many cosplayers start 6 months before conventions...and often they are still working in a hotel room the night before, with hot glue guns and sewing kits.  You could even start now and order online if you know you're going to a party for sure.

 

I am absolutely not in the mood to look for Halloween costumes  :o I am more geared towards summer finally coming back, feels like I have been hibernating for the last 3 months.

 

 

Adolin - Bare buff?  Undertones are important for skin matching, not just lightness.  Yellow/warm undertones are common for Asians, and pink/neutral/cool undertones are the type white people have.  I have no idea!  It's so much easier for Kaladin because dark skin makes undertones less important.

Shallan - Bare natural.  No clue on this one either.  Vedens aren't "white people" but Shallan is compared to Shin people and her skin has to be light enough for it to freckle.  Otherwise it would just tan.

 

Based on this skin color conversation, I went to check which color was my foundation and it is "Bare Nude" which makes me look like a ghost in the summer because it gets too light once I start to tan. Adolin probably has to be tanner than I am (I wouldn't describe myself as tanned, well perhaps I would, if I lived in sunny California or Australia, but everyone must be very tanned over there). "Bare Buff" is not bad, but I agree it is hard to fix when we don't even know what the mother looks like. We all presume she was paled skin because of her golden hair, but perhaps we are wrong.

 

Shallan, "Bare Cream"? I dunno why Brandon says Veden aren't white people as they have red hair and freckles which basically goes with light white skin. He describes Shallan as being very white, so huh it's weird. Anyway, I expect herto be lighter skinned than Adolin. People with skin tones on the second line will all tan, those who don't tan have to be on the first line.

 

Alethi are said to be tanned, but they can get sunburned which also excludes the last line as dark skin doesn't burn. The two middle lines thought would tan under the sun and can sunburn. I think.

 

 

I think he's around 15.  He has skinny kid shoulders and neck and can't grow facial hair. :ph34r:

And yes, that is how a lot of kids look at that age.   If everyone thought he was ridiculously young looking, then it would be easier for him to win a Shardblade, wouldn't it?

 

Wow OK. So you get I don't evolve around many teenager boys that age and my own memory of that time are somewhat dimmed by the fact I was the same age. If Adolin was this ridiculously young looking, then he would look more like the ideal prey to try to goat into an unmatched duel in order to win his Plate over. Anyway, book Adolin is still described as being very young looking with his "youthful faces" and having everyone refer to him as "boy" or "lad". It has struck me in book... Dalinar once considers the fact he should start referring to Renarin by something else than "boy" as he now was an adult, but he keeps referring to Adolin as one as well without any after thought. I thought it was strange.

 

 

There is no single actor who screams "THIS IS ADOLIN" out there.  Which is a shame, but then again SA will never be made into a live action movie in my lifetime.  If the face is the right shape, then sometimes the hair is wrong, and the eyes are usually too white.  I've seen cosplay SA pictures - they have to wear wigs and contacts and it looks good, but it's really obvious that it's fake.

 

Yep I agree. In all my browsing, I didn't get one perfect one: too old, too young, not handsome enough, not quite physically right... Agree they are never casting it: wigs and contacts are exactly what I would want to avoid as it may be awesome for Cosplay, but it looks downright awful and fake on the big screen. Like a bad 90s movie.

 

 

In my modern AU version, I drew Kaladin as a skater.  With Syl painted on the deck of his skateboard. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  Maybe he would be a rockstar or star athlete, but he doesn't like attention and fame that much.  He would prefer to skip the Prom and meet with his much older friends (who can't go to the Prom because they aren't students) to eat stew. :ph34r:

 

I never pictured modern AU Kaladin as a skater boy... The imagery is not bad though, I am slowly trying to incorporate it. In my modern day AU, Kaladin is the lead singer of a low key rock band and he is the captain of the lacrosse team, not football. He studies medicine (of course). He is from a poor family and only got to University because he was given a scholarship. He is pretty low key, has no friends in there, all of is friends being his street buddies who never made it our of High School.... And yeah, he ditches Prom.

 

Football while being too prestigious for Kaladin is exactly where I picture modern day Adolin. Rich kid, start athlete, daddy's boy, a winning grin, but he is expected to take over the family company. He was placed into the study program his father approved of which conveniently turns out being the exact one he needs to be a good chairman. He is expected to Ace everything and to marry some young woman from some upscale country club.  However, the more he nears his graduation day, the more nervous he gets: what if he can't walk into his father's shoes? There is also this one question which keeps nagging him at the back of his mind... Each time he stares at his kid brother who was allowed to choose whatever he wished and chose Computer Engineering, he thinks of it... What did he truly want? What would he have chosen had he been free to do so? Who is he? And he has absolutely no idea as he was raised to be... daddy's perfect boy and was proud to be it, but he should know who he is, at his age? No?

 

 

Jeez, Adolin's home life is just kind of sad now.  It's not as bad as Shallan's, but it's equal and opposite to Kaladin's.  Lirin wanted Kaladin to be a surgeon, not a soldier.  Dalinar wants Adolin to be a soldier, not a duellist.  Why can't they show their love to their sons?????   Are they all Asian dads at heart????

 

And I think it's kind of selfish for Dalinar to mindwipe himself.  He's not the only one who misses her, and he had a life before he met Shshshsh.  She was the only mother Adolin and Renarin ever knew.  She died when Renarin was ~9 years old!!!  What the chull man.  Not cool.  :unsure:

 

According to Brandon, Adolin's home life was perfect of perfection and Adolin is a pretty strong normal guy. Considering the amount of pressure he has from his father, I have a hard time figuring how it can possibly end well. 

 

Lirin wanted Kaladin to become a surgeon, but he still acknowledged his son may not want it and chose to give him the choice. Dalinar never gave Adolin a choice... Duelist is something Dalinar approved of, I think. Adolin's destiny is to be the next Highprince and to be exactly the man his father wished he had been. He has no margin to make mistakes, even youth related ones.

 

As for Dalinar, we do not know if forgetting his wife was his boon or his curse. In other words, he may not have wish to forget her.  My personal theory is Dalinar wanted to cure himself from his sickening jealousy towards his brother, but was curse to forget the wife he loved. 

 

 

...The bridgemen, maybe?  I think only Lopen from Bridge Four likes it, and only because the vest had no sleeves that had to be pinned up without flapping around.  And you could put it on with one hand.  How does he do up those buttons on the new uniform? :ph34r:

 

I want to see Shallan ogling shirtless Adolin as well.  :ph34r:   But I think in-universe, he would be really really shy about, so it would have to have a good reason to justify.  Even if someone stabbed him in the chest, he would want Shallan to turn around when she tries to help.  But he would feel more comfortable shirtless with Kaladin more than Shallan. :ph34r:

I wonder what Shallan would make of shirtless Kaladin.  He never even offered her his coat in the chasm scene, when she tore up her dress to bandage his leg. 

 

I can see plenty of ways for it to happen in-universe  :ph34r: and yeah Adolin is ridiculously shy about it. In fact, in-universe Adolin is probably going to get cold feet considering his relationship with Shallan...

 

Speaking of being stabbed in the chest, I had thought of a scene where Adolin gets badly injured and is cared for by his family. When he wakes up and he realizes Shallan has come to visit him while he was "unconscious" (and perhaps took several memories of him), he is suddenly more concerned about her having seen his bandage chest than his own health  :ph34r:

 

Shallan would probably draw shirtless Kaladin.... and Kaladin is no gentleman.

 

 

It paints a target on your back ... literally.

I thought that if all the Kholin officers really did have gigantic neon signs painted on their back, people from other armies would take advantage of it.  When you are drinking wine at a wine lounge on a balcony at the Outer Market and you see a Kholin officer walking by underneath, wouldn't you feel tempted to pour your glass or throw some rubbish at him?

 

Since no one likes Dalinar for being goody-goody and all in the beginning of WoK. 

That is one of many reasons why I don't like the glyphpair on coats.

 

Yeah, that's a fair point... Dalinar wants his officers to be recognizable in the advent of an attack, but he never thought it singled them out for assassination purposes.

 

 

All the rich people wear silk in SA.  Do they even have silk moths?  Apparently they don't have bees, and beeswax comes from weevils.   Because you need flowers to feed bees, and Roshar plants are rockbuds.

 

Adolin has a lot of nice clothes that aren't uniform.  It's such a shame that no one will ever see them.  Maybe he tries on his fancy party clothes at night in front of the mirror, then sighs and puts them back because he will never be able to wear them.   :ph34r:   When I was in school, there were compulsory uniforms, and waiting for the weekend to wear non-uniform clothes was something I looked forward to.  But there are no weekends in the Shattered Plains.

 

Adolin pyjama definitely is in silk then. And his under-wear whatever those may look like  :ph34r:

 

Adolin has not worn any of his nice clothes in the last 6 years which means they probably don't fit him anymore and they likely are out-of-fashion. I personally have always hated the concept of school uniforms which is why I sympathize with Adolin here: 6 years wearing nothing else than a uniform... This is being more than drab. Poor kid. Arguably there are worst things in life  :ph34r: but I get it why Adolin would be tired of it.

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As for generic comments on the fic, I too would like to find out in which circumstances did Kaladin saved Adolin, Dalinar and Renarin's life. I am also keen to find out what Kaladin thinks of Shallan exactly... Opportunist? Gold digger? Is he seeing to his friend's interest considering Adolin is pretty much useless in this department?

 

So I like the fact you kept this part of Adolin's character intact: the insecurity and the inexperience. Most writers tend to completely ignore it, preferring to write him as a Casanova womanizer who likely shire bastard babies all across Roshar  :ph34r: when the truth is he is an insecure young man with a reputation ten times bigger than his real experience who can't take a decision for himself for fear of making a mistake and for fear of falling. What if he is not good enough? 

 

 

Kaladin saved Adolin and Dalinar's life in Ireland first, and Renarin later.   The first instance involved Helaran's terrorist group, lots of bombs and gunpowder, and a bridge. :ph34r:  In this AU, Sadeas is a Duke and a dirtbag but he hasn't done the Tower incident, but it's not really that important or plot relevant since this is Shallan's "growing up" story.  Kaladin has lots of scars on his hands for a reason.  The ones on his fingers are from scalpels, the back of his hand from battle wounds, the palm from when he was whipped by the headmaster in school.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   What does Kaladin think of Shallan?  Mixed feelings, really.  He is now starting to see her as physically attractive, and that her humour isn't just annoying.  When she asked him to be her watcher, he was really disturbed by that, in both good and bad ways.  He knows she could have just gone off the deep end on her own, but the fact she wanted him to help means something.

 

Adolin siring babies left and right? The idea of it is so ridiculous that it makes me laugh. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:  HOW.  He says his dad will kill him if he "hangs out" with a courtesan.   :D:lol:  Adolin is fine with talking about non-romantic subjects, but he can also do flirty banter with girls no problem.  It's only when touchy-feely and what really he thinks (rather than what he expects other people want to hear him say) get involved that he wants to abandon ship.  But once he's over that first barrier, he's still a young guy with "frustrations".  ;) Notice when Shallan is sitting on his lap in the restaurant and she moves around - he starts coughing and can't look her in the eye.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  These are things that I think are in-character but Brandon would never write.  :(  

 

 

 

 

 

Alethi are said to be tanned, but they can get sunburned which also excludes the last line as dark skin doesn't burn. The two middle lines thought would tan under the sun and can sunburn. I think.

Adolin is somewhere between Buff and Sand then?  He is in Shardplate when he goes on the Plains, but when he is hanging around the Warcamps in his regular uniform, his face and hands can still get more tanned than the rest of him.  I think he is multiple colours on multiple parts of his body. :ph34r:  But no one will ever be able to check his tanlines for sure. :rolleyes: 

In Australia, there are not only pink and yellow undertone foundation, but everyone is so tanned that there are orange ones too.  It is a sucky place for the naturally fair-skinned.

 

 

 

Adolin is still described as being very young looking with his "youthful faces" and having everyone refer to him as "boy" or "lad". It has struck me in book... Dalinar once considers the fact he should start referring to Renarin by something else than "boy" as he now was an adult, but he keeps referring to Adolin as one as well without any after thought. I thought it was strange.

Male puberty on Earth is usually ages 14-21.  Boys in the early years tend to grow into tall beanpoles.  And Alethi are usually tall people...

How much of his youthful appearance is Dalinar thinking of Adolin is a little kid versus how youthful he actually looks? 

I am under the impression Adolin thinks of himself as a man and an adult rather than a boy.  Kaladin thinks of Adolin as a man.  It's kind of ambiguous if Dalinar thinks it. Dalinar also goes around calling Elhokar and Kaladin "Son" and Shallan "Child".  It's kind of hard to pin down a solid description of his appearance when you have all these PoV narrators going in different directions around you. :mellow:

 

Oh, and contacts that looked fake - the yellow eyes in the Twilight movie.  If your actors have naturally dark eyes and you want them to have bright green or blue or purple eyes, they will look really fake and plasticky in close ups. :wacko: 

 

 

I never pictured modern AU Kaladin as a skater boy... The imagery is not bad though, I am slowly trying to incorporate it. In my modern day AU, Kaladin is the lead singer of a low key rock band and he is the captain of the lacrosse team, not football. He studies medicine (of course). He is from a poor family and only got to University because he was given a scholarship. He is pretty low key, has no friends in there, all of is friends being his street buddies who never made it our of High School.... And yeah, he ditches Prom.

Kaladin in a rock band?  The aesthetic fits him, but I never saw him as someone who is artistic and creative enough to be a musician.  Sure he could probably learn to read music like he learns glyphs, and learn to play the piano through rote, but I can't see him as someone who could write his own music.  Maybe I'm too judgy, but I think it takes a certain type of mindset (which you can train yourself to think in, but most people don't have any inclination) to create artistic things.  He finds other outlets like skating and parkour.  Maybe he even goes bungee jumping for laughs. :o   Rock owns a hole in the wall greasy spoon restaurant, and Leyten the armourer bridgeman is a mechanic.  They all hang out and drink beer and eat stew around an oil drum fire like hobos.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Lirin as second nahn would be middle class in Earth terms.  I don't think Kaladin would be poor poor even in a modern Earth AU.  Everyone would just think he is, based on what he wears and how he acts around rich people, but if they visit his house it's just a boring normal house in the suburbs.  :lol:

 

If Renarin's AU dream job is computer engineer or software developer, what is Adolin's AU dream job?  The humourous answer I would give is "Fashion magazine editor" or "street style blogger". :ph34r:  Maybe even theatrical choreographer or stunt team. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

As for Dalinar, we do not know if forgetting his wife was his boon or his curse. In other words, he may not have wish to forget her.  My personal theory is Dalinar wanted to cure himself from his sickening jealousy towards his brother, but was curse to forget the wife he loved.

Well, I think in-universe that Nightwatcher is known to give out pretty weird curses for her boons, and you have around a 70% chance of your curse being bad, 25% chance of it being really weird and random, and 5% being sort of good, like Lift's.

 

 

If people know this information, I would still say it's selfish for Dalinar to even risk it.  Because it's not only him it will affect if it goes badly - he is also Highprince of a few hundred thousand people, and has two young children.  IMO, the Nightwatcher is only worth it if you're doing it for other people, like Taravangian's "capacity to save the world" and that dude's "money to feed my family".  To do it for yourself instead of getting over your problems like normal people is destination before journey.

 

 

 

I can see plenty of ways for it to happen in-universe  :ph34r: and yeah Adolin is ridiculously shy about it. In fact, in-universe Adolin is probably going to get cold feet considering his relationship with Shallan...

If he starts to go on self-sabotage mode around Shallan I will feel like smacking him.  

If you check timelines, he goes through a girl every 2 weeks to a month, and Shallan is probably pushing a month now.  It will be coming any day. :mellow:

 

If we ever get a canon "Shallan's Sketchbook" with shirtless bridgemen, or sailors, or Kaladin or anyone I will cry tears of perverse joy. :lol:  Until then, I have to create my own. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

Yeah, that's a fair point... Dalinar wants his officers to be recognizable in the advent of an attack, but he never thought it singled them out for assassination purposes.

Kholin blue should be enough to pick Kholin army soldiers out of a group in the Outer Market.  No one else has those colours.  It's like sports team jerseys.  They are plastered with company logos and sponsors, but you are still supposed to be able to tell which team is which on first glance, because of their colours.  Dalinar ruins everything with his no compromise mentality. :ph34r:

 

If Adolin's current uniforms are perfectly tailored, it must mean that he still goes to the tailor, at least once a year.  Because he has probably grown since he came to the Plains at age ~17.  It's not impossible that he has ordered fashionable jackets made to his size with his regular uniform order.  But considering that current fashion for lighteyed men is scarves around the neck and the wrist ( :blink:) I think in his current state of character development, he would never go runway-level fancy like the Fashion Folio page. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

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Kaladin saved Adolin and Dalinar's life in Ireland first, and Renarin later.   The first instance involved Helaran's terrorist group, lots of bombs and gunpowder, and a bridge. :ph34r:  In this AU, Sadeas is a Duke and a dirtbag but he hasn't done the Tower incident, but it's not really that important or plot relevant since this is Shallan's "growing up" story.  Kaladin has lots of scars on his hands for a reason.  The ones on his fingers are from scalpels, the back of his hand from battle wounds, the palm from when he was whipped by the headmaster in school.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   What does Kaladin think of Shallan?  Mixed feelings, really.  He is now starting to see her as physically attractive, and that her humour isn't just annoying.  When she asked him to be her watcher, he was really disturbed by that, in both good and bad ways.  He knows she could have just gone off the deep end on her own, but the fact she wanted him to help means something.

 

Oh are you going to write this story? I would like to read it of you did. I had wondered how Kaladin may have saved them. Surely something powerful passed between them for Kaladin always have this suspicious eyes towards anyone approaching Adolin. What does Kaladin think of Adolin? Is he shaking his head in front of his courtships?

 

Why was Kaladin whipped? Was he left handed but forced to use his right hand?

 

I am keen to see how the drug addict plot will turn out...

 

 

Adolin siring babies left and right? The idea of it is so ridiculous that it makes me laugh. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:  HOW.  He says his dad will kill him if he "hangs out" with a courtesan.   :D:lol:  Adolin is fine with talking about non-romantic subjects, but he can also do flirty banter with girls no problem.  It's only when touchy-feely and what really he thinks (rather than what he expects other people want to hear him say) get involved that he wants to abandon ship.  But once he's over that first barrier, he's still a young guy with "frustrations".  ;) Notice when Shallan is sitting on his lap in the restaurant and she moves around - he starts coughing and can't look her in the eye.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  These are things that I think are in-character but Brandon would never write.  :(

 

It is ridiculous, but most fanfic writers have decided Adolin was very experienced and busy all around with women. I take it most readers simply take in the fact he has had many courtships, but didn't focus on the character hard enough to catch the clues his "reputation" is overdone and he is quite inexperienced. He even admits it to Kaladin.... 

 

According to Brandon, Adolin wants to leave the ship the second a girl starts to get too close to him. He said he was scared of not being "good enough", so he ends up sabotaging the relationship, even if unconsciously. So I'd say Adolin has a lot on unacknowledged performances related issues.

 

As for his fear of not being "good enough", I can see this transpose quite sweetly into more intimate scenes... :ph34r: After all, it is one fear many young men share upon their first time... What if they aren't up to it? What if they screw it up? What if they can't make it work? What if it works too well? So knowing Adolin is actually scared of relationships makes me think being fully intimate with someone would be a HUGE deal for him and a nerve raking one.

 

I wouldn't put it pass Brandon to write more obvious scenes... If he goes forward with the Adolin/Shallan ship, he will have to broach Adolin issues on the matter or else it will fall flat.

 

 

Adolin is somewhere between Buff and Sand then?  He is in Shardplate when he goes on the Plains, but when he is hanging around the Warcamps in his regular uniform, his face and hands can still get more tanned than the rest of him.  I think he is multiple colours on multiple parts of his body. :ph34r:  But no one will ever be able to check his tanlines for sure. :rolleyes:

In Australia, there are not only pink and yellow undertone foundation, but everyone is so tanned that there are orange ones too.  It is a sucky place for the naturally fair-skinned.

 

Hard to tell, on the picture, Bare Latte looks paler than Bare Nude, but Bare Nude looks darker on the picture then on real life... Stupid foundation  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I guess Buff/Sand is probably close it. How does it look with blond hair? All Alethi likely have a bizarre tan anyway, not just Adolin, but being light haired, he likely tends to burn faster or easier than other Alethi. I wish Brandon would mention it if true in books.

 

Orange foundation  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  It is quite impossible to be overly tan here. The summer is too short. I can hardly see my bathing suit marks from last summer, so it never adds up, whatever tan we get fades in the winter. 

 

I need summer  :ph34r: I don't even remember what my bikini looks like  :o I probably need to buy a new one  -_-

 

 

Male puberty on Earth is usually ages 14-21.  Boys in the early years tend to grow into tall beanpoles.  And Alethi are usually tall people...

How much of his youthful appearance is Dalinar thinking of Adolin is a little kid versus how youthful he actually looks? 

I am under the impression Adolin thinks of himself as a man and an adult rather than a boy.  Kaladin thinks of Adolin as a man.  It's kind of ambiguous if Dalinar thinks it. Dalinar also goes around calling Elhokar and Kaladin "Son" and Shallan "Child".  It's kind of hard to pin down a solid description of his appearance when you have all these PoV narrators going in different directions around you. :mellow:

 

Not all boys will have the beanpole phase, but many will. The beanpole usually happens because bones grow faster than muscles. Training as hard as he was, Adolin probably grew up muscles faster than the average which means he may not have gone through this exact phase. It is hard to tell. 

 

As for Adolin's youthful appearances, it isn't just Dalinar who comments on it, but Kaladin also states it. He tends to refer to Adolin as a kid even stating being a child has nothing to do with age  :ph34r: Of course, he was referring to Adolin's behavior here, but he does describe Adolin as having a youthful face which I take as Adolin doesn't look one hair older than his years.

 

Dalinar certainly doesn't think of Adolin as a little kid anymore, but he keeps referring to him as "boy", "lad" and "youth". It probably be harder for him to do so if Adolin looked older than his years as himself did when he was the same age. Dalinar comments over the fact he never was young, but Adolin I think is the opposite. He is young, hence Dalinar sees him as a youngster, but an adult one which he can shove into mortal combat if need be  :ph34r:

 

 

Oh, and contacts that looked fake - the yellow eyes in the Twilight movie.  If your actors have naturally dark eyes and you want them to have bright green or blue or purple eyes, they will look really fake and plasticky in close ups. :wacko:

 

I do agree which is why I prefer actor with natural light eyes, but they are hard to find with the right skin tone.

 

 

Kaladin in a rock band?  The aesthetic fits him, but I never saw him as someone who is artistic and creative enough to be a musician.  Sure he could probably learn to read music like he learns glyphs, and learn to play the piano through rote, but I can't see him as someone who could write his own music.  Maybe I'm too judgy, but I think it takes a certain type of mindset (which you can train yourself to think in, but most people don't have any inclination) to create artistic things.  He finds other outlets like skating and parkour.  Maybe he even goes bungee jumping for laughs. :o   Rock owns a hole in the wall greasy spoon restaurant, and Leyten the armourer bridgeman is a mechanic.  They all hang out and drink beer and eat stew around an oil drum fire like hobos.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Lirin as second nahn would be middle class in Earth terms.  I don't think Kaladin would be poor poor even in a modern Earth AU.  Everyone would just think he is, based on what he wears and how he acts around rich people, but if they visit his house it's just a boring normal house in the suburbs.  :lol:

 

Well AU Kaladin acts more rebellious than his station demands... I put him into a rock band because I thought the look would fit him  :ph34r: but it is true he likely has not artistic talent  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Skater boy somehow does not quite sit entirely well... What other rebellious activity could Kaladin actually engage in? Skateboarding is not rebellious anymore: all the kids have one nowadays. 

 

Agree he lives in a boring suburb house.

 

 

If Renarin's AU dream job is computer engineer or software developer, what is Adolin's AU dream job?  The humourous answer I would give is "Fashion magazine editor" or "street style blogger". :ph34r:  Maybe even theatrical choreographer or stunt team. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

Bah I don't like these options for Adolin... He likes fashion, but not to the point of making it a career: he would never fit into this world anyway. In the AU, Adolin has no idea what he would want. He has even more pressure in this AU as he has in the real story as he would be required to not just be the star athlete, but to also be the good student. In all appearances, he is perfect: handsome, rich, athletic, popular, friendly, nice, good student, but inside he is crumbling apart over this all pressure and as graduations nears, he slowly comes to realize he doesn't want to be the next chairman of the Kholin enterprise................ He looks at his young brother with envy as he doesn't have this pressure to fill in a role which only makes him stress even more. 

 

In the AU, Renarin isn't so traumatized. His skills have valor so he didn't grow up feeling useless. He has better grades than Adolin (who is good student, but he has to study very hard to keep it up unlike Renarin or Kaladin who get it immediately), so his self-esteem is intact. He is still awkward, but he found his place among the other awkward kids at school. Nobody teases or bully him because he is Adolin Kholin's little brother, so no touch. Since it is modern day AU, Renarin has had help with his autism since early childhood, so at 19, he is controlling it well enough. He is not a good athlete, but then again, many other boys aren't as well. 

 

Shallan is Renarin's friend as Renarin isn't ask to develop relations with the other rich kids from the country club as he is not expected to be the next chairman. All in all, modern day AU is good for Renarin  :ph34r:

 

 

Well, I think in-universe that Nightwatcher is known to give out pretty weird curses for her boons, and you have around a 70% chance of your curse being bad, 25% chance of it being really weird and random, and 5% being sort of good, like Lift's.

 

 

If people know this information, I would still say it's selfish for Dalinar to even risk it.  Because it's not only him it will affect if it goes badly - he is also Highprince of a few hundred thousand people, and has two young children.  IMO, the Nightwatcher is only worth it if you're doing it for other people, like Taravangian's "capacity to save the world" and that dude's "money to feed my family".  To do it for yourself instead of getting over your problems like normal people is destination before journey.

 

Dalinar can be a rather self-centered person... Gavilar was very important to him and was perhaps more important than his own sons. Part of my character analysis has it Dalinar's is seriously misguided in thinking his eldest son needs strict rules as opposed to affection which he reserved for Gavilar/Elhokar and Renarin.

 

I think a large chunk of who Dalinar is it tied to Gavilar....

 

 

If he starts to go on self-sabotage mode around Shallan I will feel like smacking him.  

If you check timelines, he goes through a girl every 2 weeks to a month, and Shallan is probably pushing a month now.  It will be coming any day. :mellow:

 

If we ever get a canon "Shallan's Sketchbook" with shirtless bridgemen, or sailors, or Kaladin or anyone I will cry tears of perverse joy. :lol:  Until then, I have to create my own. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

If he doesn't go into self-sabotaging mode, then it will be OOC. He does it with every girl and last I check, he hasn't deal with his fear of relationships just yet. I thus can't see him stay with Shallan without facing those issues, especially now he ranks lower than she. Already, he was scared of not being "good enough", how is he going to feel now he knows he never will be? I will be dissatisfied if the author doesn't broach these aspects, but we never know with Adolin.... Brandon has made it clear he would not spend too much time with him, so I fear.

 

I'd love to see such sketchbook :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: 

 

 

Kholin blue should be enough to pick Kholin army soldiers out of a group in the Outer Market.  No one else has those colours.  It's like sports team jerseys.  They are plastered with company logos and sponsors, but you are still supposed to be able to tell which team is which on first glance, because of their colours.  Dalinar ruins everything with his no compromise mentality. :ph34r:

 

If Adolin's current uniforms are perfectly tailored, it must mean that he still goes to the tailor, at least once a year.  Because he has probably grown since he came to the Plains at age ~17.  It's not impossible that he has ordered fashionable jackets made to his size with his regular uniform order.  But considering that current fashion for lighteyed men is scarves around the neck and the wrist ( :blink:) I think in his current state of character development, he would never go runway-level fancy like the Fashion Folio page. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 I think they haven't invented the concept of camouflage just yet  :ph34r:

 

While it isn't impossible, it would have been a waste of money to indulge on clothes he can't wear. I am not sure Dalinar would have authorize it. I certainly prefer the Kholin army uniform to the horrors this fashion book page showed  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THIRTEEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And the solicitor wrote to me,” said Adolin, recounting the story, “if the Ritter von Niedlich is asking for two thousand spheres sterling, then his wife would like to inquire for his current whereabouts – since she last saw him fifteen years ago in a casket!”

 

Shallan laughed; it felt appropriate to do so.  He was not the best of anecdotal storytellers – nothing at all like the sailors of The Wind’s Pleasure – but this was a story he seemed to have practised many times before; there was a certain animated earnestness to his manner when he told it.  It was lively and pleasant, and his features lit up in a charming way at the close: one could not help but like his infectious good-humoured disposition.

 

“Well,” she said, “did it turn out all right in the end?  I should wonder if–“

 

The dining room door was opened by a footman.  It was the same formal dining room as the one she and Jasnah had used that very first evening after arriving to Kholinar Court.  The table settings were the same – larger chair at the head of the table, and two smaller ones to the left and right.  Three settings: three sets of glass and plate.

 

Oh.  Of course.

 

Doctor Kaladin. 

 

Who else.

 

Kaladin was there, taking his place at a seat to the right of the central chair; it was the very spot he had chosen when she and Jasnah had dined.  He acknowledged Adolin’s presence with a brief military salute of clenched fist to breast as he pulled his own chair out; he did not bow to Shallan or even present her with a polite nod.

 

Kaladin was not wearing his dark charcoal-grey woollen suit with its threadbare elbows as she had seen him wear every day since she had arrived; he had on well-pressed dining whites with pristine starched shirtfront.  Though his whites were – Shallan found it difficult to admit – smart and presentable, one could not say they were as nice as Adolin’s; he had simple knots of silk instead of cufflinks, and his neckcloth was not so elaborately tied.  There was something about the man that looked scruffy: he could make formal dining suits look pedestrian and he seemed to exude an aura that would slowly but silently un-press pleats.

 

Adolin pushed in her chair and found his own seat; he signalled to the footmen and dinner was begun with the pouring of wine – none for Kaladin, as usual – and the serving of the first course.  It was a soup made of split and sieved peas boiled with salted ham hocks and leeks.   Adolin started on his soup with relish, and Shallan noted that no-one had said a prayer to the Almighty in His aspect of the Light of Cultivation.  Such piety was apparently not in fashion among the Anglethi gentry; it was gladly placed with most other superstitions into the domain of the lower classes.

 

“I did not expect to see you in dining whites, Doctor,” she said.  She did not want to re-tread the same tiresome steps on that first night, when Jasnah and Kaladin had all but ignored her in their debate about morality and politics.

 

Kaladin’s spoon halted in its progress to his unpleasant scowling mouth – he had the ability to scowl while eating.  “Your expectations of other people must leave you endlessly disappointed.”

 

“That is only around you, and it is not only I.”

 

“The same can be said for you, Miss Davar–“

 

“Adolin doesn’t–“

 

“With an exception for those who should know better,” he replied, and looked to Adolin.  Adolin shrugged; his mouth was full and his attention was directed to his soup bowl.  “But even those who hold the lowest of expectations for me would not expect that I should dine with a coat stained with a nameless person’s saliva, no?”

 

“Kal,” spoke Adolin, as he signalled to the footmen to begin the second course, “if women are anything like hounds, a little spit means she likes you.”

 

Shallan snorted.  “Oh my.  Adolin, two barbs tucked into a single consolation?  There may be hope for you yet.”

 

“But I like hounds!  Wait, there were two?”

 

“You imply that Doctor Kaladin can be likeable – you are learning our ways of ironic effect.”

 

“Adolin,” Kaladin said; a footman took his soup bowl and replaced it with a dish of kidneys stewed with mushrooms and chestnuts.  “Were you in the pursuit of a model for anything, Miss Davar should be the last person you might consider.  In any case–,“ he paused, “–I spent the afternoon in the stillroom decanting ether.  If I had worn my ether-soaked garments to-night, it would have put me in quite a position.”

 

“And why is that, Doctor?” Shallan asked.  The incident of the morning was still very uncomfortably recent.

 

“Because your own position would be horizontal, and undignified.”

 

Adolin laughed; Shallan could see the humour in it, but it certainly would not do to give Kaladin the impression that his conversational skills were engaging in the least.  She said: “And are you too much a gentleman for that?”

 

“It is not the idea of your being horizontal that is daunting, but rather that such an indignity would call for a, ah, traditional commitment.”

 

“Is that really so undesirable?” said Adolin.

 

“One may summon the fortitude to suffer a single night of drool dampened pillows, I admit, but…”

 

“Yes?”

 

“The prospect of a lifetime of Miss Davar I find to be rather objectionable.”

 

The cheek of the man! thought Shallan.  She knew that she had the flaw of wanting to be the last word in every conversation; if scores were kept for each clever jab, she felt it was her duty to take every point.  Usually, it was quite easy to do so: most ladies with whom she was acquainted in the area around Loch Davar acknowledged her as their social superior, and allowed the familiarity of her conversational comedy.  But Kaladin was one of the few who had both the wit and the inclination to turn a comment; he possessed the disregard for social decorum that allowed him to do so without hesitation. 

 

She supposed it was hypocritical of her to feel affronted, but she did feel it – and it was not that Kaladin was mocking her in company that was rankling, but rather that he might very well be her equal in wit.  The thought of it was quite disconcerting, and she would have immediately responded brusquely – but there was something in her that discouraged such hastiness.  He would hardly be disposed to aligning himself with her sentiments if she made herself a villain, would he? 

 

Because the fact of the matter was this: she desperately wanted to return home.  There was no home to return to; it had died six years ago and could never come back.  The home that it had become was a broken shadow of what it once was, and the only way she could return to its former state of blissful glory was through the dreaming of ether vapours.  The vapours she had held inside her that morning had disintegrated into nothing; she could think with clarity and of strategy now, but all she thought of was returning – to a place where tartans and lavender were nothing but happy reminders of a happy childhood.

 

Kaladin had his uses.  He might not be a pleasant man, but the conversation with the housemaid earlier had convinced her that there was pity in him that could be found for wretches like herself.  So perhaps she could not be courteous with him, but she could at least acquit herself in a fashion that would draw from him some sympathy.  It wasn’t as if she had to like the man – and it definitely wasn’t as if she liked him now.

 

“Well, I wouldn’t be a Miss Davar, would I?” she said, choosing her words with more care than she’d done in some time.  “Perhaps you might find the form Mrs Doctor more palatable.  However, I think I find the title Duchess Kholinar to be the least objectionable.”

 

“No doubt you do,” said Kaladin, fork in hand.  Shallan now noticed they were the aluminium set from the first dinner.

 

“Why should I not?  Small-mindedness is hardly becoming, Doctor.”

 

“Please lecture me about my small-mindedness, I implore you.”

 

“I shall take that as a sign of your humility; it could not possibly mean anything else,” Shallan said.  “Anyway, I was in the village church today – as you remember – and I spoke to Brother Kadash.  You may know of him.”

 

Adolin nodded.  “The head Ardent, yes.  He was one of my tutors as a child.”

 

“Well, we had a conversation about the ducal estate.”  That was truth; it could not be denied.  Kaladin had an uncanny awareness for separating truth from untruth – she would avoid them in his presence, but stringing together small truths that gave the impression of a larger, implied picture without saying so directly: that was not a lie, and that should not earn his ire.   “I thought it a splendid idea if the church infirmary were to be expanded, with the Duke’s permission, of course.  The war does produce a large number of wounded veterans, as the Doctor would know.”

 

“A new wing for convalescence would not go amiss; it should be of great value to the village when – if – the war ends,” conceded Kaladin.  He glanced over at her, his eyes searching her face with their darkly intelligent gaze; he was trying to discern the reason for her sudden generosity towards the church.  He likely did not take her as a pious sort: in her dressed hair and lace gown, she would look no different in his eyes to the other girls of the Duke’s that he had deemed a nuisance from the very start.

 

“A commendable idea, Shallan,” Adolin agreed.  “I shall speak to the steward about it next I meet him.”

 

“Thank you, sir.”  Shallan inclined her head to him and smiled; Adolin smiled back.  There was a man one did not have to force themselves to be agreeable with – if only all men could be as amiable in temperament as he.  But if it were so, she was suddenly reminded, Balat would have been whole again, and Father would be alive, and she would never have met the wonderful Duke.  She pushed the thoughts away; she reached for the friendly teasing Shallan that people liked.  Not the sad girl with bloody hands and a mourning veil of ether fumes.  No-one could like that Shallan.  “If you were in the pursuit of a model for anything, Doctor, I should like to recommend myself as the first person you might consider a model of charitability.”

 

“I had not thought such an unselfish person–,” here his eyes swept over her, “–would swan about in imported lace.”

 

“It was a gift from Lady Jasnah, Doctor.  It seems that charitable people are often rewarded with equal charity.”

 

“It seems I find myself unacquainted with such charity.”

 

“If it would prove the unselfishness of my character, I would tear this lace from my breast.  But it, of course, would put you in an undignified position,” returned Shallan.

 

“Me?” said Kaladin, one unpleasant eyebrow raised impudently.  “What about Adolin?”

 

“Um.  If you are to be putting each other – and me – into undignified positions,” said Adolin, gesturing to the footmen to take their plates, “I think I would rather not do it on an empty stomach – and the pudding hasn’t yet arrived.”

 

The pudding was brought in now, in a large silver bowl that was too much for three people, even if one of them had Adolin’s prodigious appetite.  Brandy was poured atop, and a footman dipped a lit splint that set it afire.

 

“You finished your dinner, and yet you have an empty stomach?” asked Shallan.

 

“I find that one always has an empty stomach when awaiting the arrival of pudding,” Adolin said.

 

Shallan wondered what happened to the food that was left uneaten.  The Duke’s meals were extravagant to her eyes, and the last remove of duck confit with sliced asparagus and minted carrots had been loaded onto plates at the sideboard before being delivered to their table.  The half-full platters were still there, resting on iron stands, with naphtha lamps gently warming them underneath.  Did the servants get to eat them?  Back home in Loch Davar, she and her brothers ate the same food as the servants; it was all they could afford.  The only difference being their eating off porcelain – chipped pieces that could not find a buyer – whilst the servants used local pottery.   There was rarely enough for leftovers: that was considered a luxury.

 

After the display, the pudding was taken to the sideboard, and an aluminium cake server was used to dish it onto their dessert plates; their used dinner forks and knives were removed.    Their pudding was brought to the table – it was a very rich fig and plum pudding that tasted of treacle and imported spices; boiled cream was poured on top.  

 

Shallan could not finish it: adjusting to this variety and quantity of food would take some time – even while she travelled with Jasnah, she had not eaten like this.  The Kharbranth hotels were prone to serving locally caught fishes and crab-things, which one eventually tired of; the inns on the journey, without exception, served various iterations of stew and bread for their guests.   But Adolin seemed to enjoy pudding immensely, and though Kaladin was not as earnest in his enjoyment – he dissected his serving with clinical precision – even his plate was cleared before she had done away with half of hers.

 

 

***

 

 

 

Afterwards, they were led to the retiring room – the very same retiring room that Shallan had fallen asleep in that first night.  If it was to be a re-enactment then, Shallan thought, this second chance deserved not to approach the heights of humiliation that had been ascended in the first.

 

It was exactly as it had been when she had first seen it.  The stuffed heads of exotic game animals, the sidebar with the drinks cabinet – there was the yellow wine bottled with the wolf’s head stopper – the sofa with its wooden frame and silk-damask upholstery – the low table next to it.  The tea tray was gone, but Shallan felt a twinge of remembrance when she saw that her book was still there on the table.   It felt like a very long time ago, but in this room, nothing had changed at all.

 

It was with a peculiar sense of reminiscence that Shallan settled into the leather armchair – the same one Adolin had used – and opened the book to the page marked by a ribbon.  The gentlemen unfolded the wooden cover of a side table, revealing a billiards baize in blue rather than the ordinary green; there were racked cues by the sidebar.

 

Why was it so strange?  It struck Shallan that just a few days ago – when she was reading in this room – she had never courted a boy, nor kissed one, and she had never drifted on ether or stumbled her way through its waking-drift.  She was infinitely more experienced than the Shallan of a week ago, but even now she lacked the wisdom to make sense of it all.   She was mulling over its significance to the quiet clicking of wooden cues on ivory balls, when Adolin’s voice woke her out of her reverie.

 

“Shallan, have you any plans for to-morrow?”

 

“What is usually done hereabouts?” she replied.

 

“The Court is a country house – those who guest here tend to espouse a hearty interest in country sporting.    Otherwise, one could always venture to the City for a day of theatre and shopping.”

 

“Well, I cannot say I am one particularly partial to country diversions.  But I am an amateur naturalist and botanist, and I find the abundance of new scenery here quite stimulating.”

 

Adolin turned around, swinging his cue about.  Kaladin ducked as the pointed end neared his face; he did not look at all startled.  “You would like to tour the estate grounds, then?”

 

“I would like to visit the Kholinshire Forest, if it pleases you, sir.”

 

“The Forest?”  Adolin and Kaladin exchanged a glance; Shallan could not divine the meaning of it.

 

“Adolin,” she began, slowly, thinking furiously about the many ways to justify an excursion – at least one of them had to be feasible, it must!  “How familiar are you with absurd serials?”

 

“They make for light entertainment now and then,” he replied.  “Where are you going with this?”

 

“Well,” continued Shallan, “what if there happened to be a lost treasure of the ancients, hidden in the forest?  With a mysterious map marking the way?”

 

“How very thrilling!  But the absurd plots would say that there is a great curse involved also.”

 

“Curses?  Treasure?” scoffed Kaladin.  “Bah!  The two of you are following the gleam of non-existent gold like any two-chip mercenary.”

 

“There was a survey made fifty years ago of the woodlands south of the House.  There are – or were – some ancient structures to be found, apparently,” said Shallan, ignoring him.

 

Kaladin looked sceptically at her; he set his cue on the edge of the table.  “If there was anything there to be found, the villagers would have carried it away long ago.”

 

Adolin shrugged.  “I doubt it – the villagers have some superstitions about that area of the forest.”

 

“And you believe in these country superstitions?”

 

“My father did – he ceased logging operations there after a number of injuries to the workers.  I trust his judgement.”

 

“What’s in the forest?” Shallan asked.

 

“The villagers report lights wandering in the night … and then there are the legends of the creature in the forest.”

 

“The creature?”

 

“The Sign of the White Boar wasn’t named for nothing, you know.”

 

“It can’t be worse than any bog monster legend back home,” said Shallan thoughtfully, turning this information over in her mind.  Adolin’s curiosity had been piqued; she needed an angle to secure a decision.  “I should still like to see the Forest no matter what mysterious creature inhabits it – perhaps I could then make a study of it.  Unless you are, of course, scared.”  She paused, then added, “I’m sure Jasnah could take me when she comes back.”

 

Kaladin sighed; he drew a weary hand over his eyes.  “Miss Davar, there is one word you really must refrain from using around Ad–“

 

“I am not scared!” said Adolin, throwing his arms in the air.  “Rouse yourselves early tomorrow!  We go a-questing for lost treasure!”

 

 

 

***

 

 

Adolin was the first to go up.  Kaladin had finished the game with a series of lucky shots, and Adolin had stayed just long enough afterwards to finish his drink.

 

“If we are to away for the Forest to-morrow, an early start would be best,” he said to Shallan, picking up his abandoned dinner jacket.  He placed his empty glass on the sidebar; the servant who cleaned out the fireplace would pick it up in the morning.

 

Shallan looked up from her book, and seeing that the Duke was on his feet, got to hers.  “I should like to finish this chapter before I go.  Thank you.  For dinner.  And everything else.”

 

He took her hand, and kissed her very lightly on the cheek.  She wanted more, and thought he might have wanted it too, but Kaladin was glaring at them in his usual unpleasant way, arms crossed.  She got the impression that Adolin felt uncomfortable with emotional intimacy – and an innocent peck on the cheek counted as intimacy to him – in front of other people.  Even if it was someone he trusted with his life.   She did not know if this peculiarity afflicted all Anglethi nobles; she had observed that those of lower station in the common rooms of coaching inns had no such inhibitions.

 

“I shall bid you good-night, then.  Sleep well, Shallan.” 

 

Then he was gone, just like that very first night.  And now she was alone with Kaladin in front of the fire.  Jasnah always said history ran itself in cycles; if it could run in a loop of four thousand years, three days was not out of the realm of possibility, nor divine ability.

 

“So the first part of the curse has already been unleashed.  I had thought that being on leave in the country would mean sleeping through the morning, but now here we are, regrettably, stuck with early rising.  Just as we are stuck with you,” said Kaladin, his back to her.  He was pulling the billiard balls out of their pockets and folding down the cover over the baize.

 

“You don’t have to come along,” Shallan pointed out.

 

“How would you act out the absurd serial whose plot the both of you are so set on, if I were to absent myself?  Besides, I cannot leave you with him alone.  I am the chaperon.”

 

“Your manners – or lack of them – will no doubt lead you to the life of the eternal chaperon,” Shallan huffed.  “Do you really think Adolin would lose anything more than a biscuit if he were to spend an hour alone in my company?”

 

Kaladin darkened; Shallan was sorely disappointed that his complexion prevented her from being able to tell if a flush coloured his cheeks.   “I wouldn’t put anything past a bog frog like yourself.  Why don’t you go to bed?”

 

“Why don’t you?” 

 

“I said it first.”

 

“I don’t want to!”

 

“Why not!”

 

Shallan closed her book; she gripped the edges of the leather-bound cover with suddenly shaky hands.  She turned her face away.  Why did arguing with Kaladin have to make her so upset?  She didn’t like arguing; she was never fond of debating with Jasnah, to the Countess’s great dissatisfaction.  She didn’t even like it when other people raised their voices, no matter that they were addressing others in the vicinity and not her.  Arguing, loud voices; it seemed all too much like a prelude to fighting and breaking things, and memories now surfaced – memories whose existence she tried in vain to deny.

 

I don’t want–,” she began, then stopped.  “Because I am afraid that I will have dreams.   And those dreams will give me a taste of what I see in the drift, but they will only be a quarter as colourful and I will only be a quarter as lucid.”

 

“Adolin really should know what he is getting himself into.”

 

“But you won’t tell him.”

 

Kaladin dropped the last section of folding cover over the baize, and flicked down the latch.  He took a breath.  “No.”

 

“Thank you,” said Shallan.  She pulled her legs up and tucked her knees under her chin.  It was not very ladylike, but Kaladin did not care about social propriety, so why should she, when there was no one else to see?  “Have you ever known what it’s like – to drift?”

 

“When I was in school, they made us test our arithmetic progressionals on each other … as a practical exercise.”  He grimaced, then looked down at the shiny stripes on his scarred palms, as if his school days held no happy recollections for him.  Shallan did not know: girls didn’t go to school – they had governesses instead.   “We were to find the line between a frolic and a true drift – if the progressionals were calculated correctly, then you would frolic the whole way through.”

 

That was horrifying to Shallan.  Ether use was not a game.  The dandies in their parlours treated it as if it was one – but that was bravado:  they were drawn to the danger of it, and they always had up-to-date progressionals for each session, as the pours changed depending on ambient temperature.

 

“Did – did you like it?”  She had to ask.

 

“Doesn’t everyone?” said Kaladin.  “The only difference between people is if they like it enough to want it again and again.”

 

“So I am weak-willed and a wretch, then.”  She rested her chin on her knees, picking at the lace hem of her under-dress.

 

“No,” said Kaladin.  “How long have you been a watcher for other people?”

 

“Two years and more.”

 

“Did you ever try it yourself?”

 

“No.”

 

“Did you want to?”

 

“Every time.”

 

“Then you are anything but weak.”  Kaladin crossed over to his dinner jacket, which had been draped over the back of the sofa.  He dug through the pocket, and drew out a small, white paper-wrapped lump.  “Here, take this,” he said, offering it to Shallan.

 

“What is it?” she asked, as she held out her hand.  He dropped it into her palm.  It was something black wrapped in waxed paper; she could smell a bitter, compost-like scent rising from it, like the dregs of over-brewed tea leaves.

 

“It will help you sleep – it’s made from herbal extracts and tree bark.  Chew it thoroughly, and follow it with two cups of water.  Tell your maid to wake you in the morning or you won’t be able to,” he said.  “Oh, and never use it if you’re expecting.”

 

“Expecting what?”

 

He looked at her.  She waited for him to explain.  He finally spoke: “Just go to bed, Miss Davar.”

 

Shallan rose, and placed the book on the low table.  “Thank you, Doctor,” she said, uncharacteristically nervous.  She was not used to being nervous talking to Kaladin, of all people.  She also was not used to him being anything but unpleasant towards her.  Was this the gentleman doctor that Finnie had spoken of?  She could scarcely believe it to be truth when she’d heard about the ‘good Doctor Kaladin’ that afternoon.  “I had wondered what Adolin saw in you.  Perhaps my first impression of you was, um, regrettably hasty.” 

 

That wasn’t an apology, Shallan told herself.

 

He did not say anything, nor did he seem inclined to. 

 

Shallan went to bed.  It was after she had finished her two cups of water and snuggled into the warmed blankets did she realise what Kaladin had meant by ‘expecting’.  Well, she supposed, now he could see what Adolin saw in her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Just in case you haven't figured it out already, I should explain the origin of some of Shallan's insta-hate for Kaladin.  It's not just him being a grump, it's also her.  Shallan, for most of her life, has been the "most popular girl at school", where she's the highest ranking socially.  When she's not, she is usually the funniest, cleverest person in the room that everyone ends up liking.  Yeah I know, but this is based on her SA canon-personality.  Kaladin, when she first meets him, doesn't care about her rank, which she finds confusing in a bad way.  He can also snark as well as she can, which she finds threatening.  Because her "social Shallan" is her public face that shes hides behind, without it - or when it doesn't work - she thinks she has nothing else other than "sad Shallan", which she pretends doesn't exist.  And she doesn't want to confront her issues.  She is trying to rationalise her dislike towards him when she thinks about how rude he is, or how ugly his eyebrows are.

 

Shallan likes Adolin because she sees him as nice and normal, and what she could have been in another AU.  Part of her thinks she doesn't deserve him because she is a gross person on the inside, because no one would like Sad Shallan, right?  Her character development is about realising that just because your life sucked, doesn't mean you have to let it be sucky forever.

 

The subtext:

- Kaladin changes out of his daytime clothes and carries sleeping pills because he is starting to become less hostile towards Shallan.  He makes a joke about her drooling on his coat, but he would really feel bad if he caused an instant relapse by walking in smelling like ether.  Shallan just sees the joke.

- Shallan and the church infirmary was supposed to mirror the pardons for Vathah and Gaz in WoR.  Kaladin and Adolin don't know the real reason, Kaladin thought she was praying the whole time she visited the church.

- "It seems that charitable people are often rewarded with equal charity.” - mirrors the conversation with Kadash.  Shallan is trying to figure out what it takes to buy Kaladin's help.  It doesn't work that way!  You have to earn it!

- "If you are to be putting each other – and me – into undignified positions" - Adolin pretends to be more obtuse than he is.  He laughs along but the idea of "undignified positions" makes him uncomfortable so he changes the subject to dessert.  Normally he would be fine with joking about it, but he really "like likes" Shallan at this point and the idea of being in an undignified position with her is actually possible enough to make him nervous.

- "hidden treasure in the forest" - supposed to mirror Urithiru in the Shattered Plains.  Adolin isn't really aware that he's being manipulated into it, but Kaladin knows.  Adolin is, however, pretty genre savvy in thinking there's a curse with the treasure.  He was the one who knew Amaram and Sadeas were jerkbags in WoR.

- Kaladin won the game of pool. :-)  Adolin is not a sore loser, though.

- "no doubt lead you to the life of the eternal chaperon" - Shallan jokes on Kaladin being single forever.  Chaperones were usually spinster relatives.

- Kharbranth Academy is the worst boarding school ever.  Imagine it run by Miss Minchin or Miss Trunchbull or Mr Brocklehurst.  Hazing and caning all over the place.  If you survive it, you get to join the alumni buddy club.  A lot of the "exercises" have a purpose according to the administration, though.  Dosing each other with ether is supposed to weed out the weak and desensitise the rest.

-  "Two years and more" - this is when it hits Kaladin that Shallan is around the same age, or younger than Tien.  Tien in this AU died at age 16, when he volunteered with a fake name at 15.  Shallan became her brothers' watcher at ~15.

-  "He did not say anything” - What he really wanted to say was “I had wondered what Adolin saw in you.  Perhaps my first impression of you was regrettably hasty.”  But Kaladin doesn't like apologising or being wrong either.  Remember his earlier conversation with Shallan "You are ... right"/"I endeavour to make a habit of it." :-)

- "now he could see what Adolin saw in her." - Kaladin can tell they're both noobs, if you know what I mean.

 

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK OF SHALLAN’S SENSE OF HUMOUR IN THIS AU.  I don’t like her non-stop fart jokes in WoR, so I wrote something more subtle and fitting for a Regency setting and tried to make her sound clever.  Let me know if it works or if she just sounds boring.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 13

 

 

 

 

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Oh are you going to write this story? I would like to read it of you did. I had wondered how Kaladin may have saved them. Surely something powerful passed between them for Kaladin always have this suspicious eyes towards anyone approaching Adolin. What does Kaladin think of Adolin? Is he shaking his head in front of his courtships?

 

I would only write about it if Kaladin or Adolin tell Shallan about it directly, which is kinda unlikely.  At this point, Shallan thinks Kaladin is only a doctor and was never a soldier.  He hid his gun from her and never showed her his references (in Part 1) she has no idea about his combat skills and XP.  Kaladin saved Adolin's life, and Adolin saved him from a court martial, but Adolin still doesn't think it's enough to repay him.  Adolin made Kaladin his personal physician to pull him out of the command chain so they can hang out more - they are best friends but everyone around them thinks they have a employer/retainer relationship.  Kaladin thinks the girls are all annoying gold diggers - see his initial reaction to Shallan - but he understands that marriage is different for nobles than it is for commoners, and Adolin is lucky to have a choice. 

 

Being smacked with canes or switches is a traditional part of British boarding school life. :ph34r:  It doesn't have to be for anything if a teacher decides he doesn't like the look of you, and you lack rich parents who can complain.  Kaladin got smacked for being a smartchull to his teachers, and protecting younger students.  

 

 

 

It is ridiculous, but most fanfic writers have decided Adolin was very experienced and busy all around with women. I take it most readers simply take in the fact he has had many courtships, but didn't focus on the character hard enough to catch the clues his "reputation" is overdone and he is quite inexperienced. He even admits it to Kaladin....

 

From what I have read, most fanfic writers who write shipping fics don't even bother to keep to canon.  And I can tell, because 70% of the SA fan community write Kadolin or Shallan x Adolin x Kaladin fics as their pairing of choice.  NONE OF IT IS EVEN REMOTELY REALISTIC.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  There is no point reading them if you care about exact canon characterisation.   You just read them for fun.  Or laughs. B)

 

I am really hesitant about seguing into writing Adolin "intimacy" scenes myself.  I don't think I know his character well enough to be able to write his actions in a realistic way.  To the other girls, he self-sabotages by ignoring them, or going after another girl, and then they dump him.  I just cannot imagine Shallan letting him do that to her, since she could have dumped him at any point in Urithiru, but she didn't.   How will he shoot himself in the foot like he always does, when it's balanced out by his equal "like like" of Shallan?  

 

He pretty much can't do "intimate" until he works through his problems, but since we are all guessing where the original problem came from in the first place (Dalinar?  Missing mum? Lonely childhood? Self-esteem?) who knows how to write it.  I can't even think of a way to get his uniform off without it being extremely contrived or mega OOC. :rolleyes:

 

I will include a shirtless sketchbook page as soon as I can figure out a way to fit it in context.  Or Shallan will have to draw from imagination.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   I think Kaladin would be taller and leaner, but Adolin has more muscle.  They're both pretty cut, and Kaladin has more "other hair". :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

All Alethi likely have a bizarre tan anyway, not just Adolin, but being light haired, he likely tends to burn faster or easier than other Alethi. I wish Brandon would mention it if true in books.

He would probably look a Korean pop star or something. :lol: :lol: :lol: Since Brandon did spend some time in Korea.  If Shallan and Adolin had a kid, his hair would be like the MC of YuGiOh so I wouldn't surprised. 

 

How about a country where it's almost impossible to be pale?  Where you will get a peeling sunburn if you spend 2 hours outside on a cloudy day without sunscreen?  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  I can't wait until winter.  Then I can wear coats with pockets instead of putting them into pants pockets and ending up stretching out the fabric so the pocket gets saggy when there's nothing in it.  

 

 

 

Of course, he was referring to Adolin's behavior here, but he does describe Adolin as having a youthful face which I take as Adolin doesn't look one hair older than his years.

He does call Adolin a "good man" later on, which means he sees him as at least an equal in age, and an adult.   The real question that everyone is wondering about - does Adolin know how old Kaladin is?  I don't think Adolin ever thought about it in a PoV chapter.  I imagine that Kaladin would look older than his age, and it would make Adolin feel weird to know he's asking girl advice from a guy who's years younger.  :ph34r:  

 

Dalinar is addicted to authority so it makes sense he always puts himself in the "in charge" position in any interaction with other characters.  If someone is too old to be a boy or a youth in his eyes, he will automatically gravitate to unquestioned leader-role and call them "Son" or "Soldier".  He is only a sweater vest and tobacco pipe away from calling people "Sport" or "Champ". B)

 

 

 

Skater boy somehow does not quite sit entirely well... What other rebellious activity could Kaladin actually engage in? Skateboarding is not rebellious anymore: all the kids have one nowadays. 

Most of the activities that are considered rebellious to today's kids are probably also illegal.  Standards have changed, and that's why skating is mainstream now. :lol:  What about being a pool shark or hustler? B)  B)  B)  

After reading that scene where Adolin dares Kaladin into riding Dreamstorm, he came out of it breaking his arm but fixing it with Stormlight, and thinking it was crazy fun.  Is he an adrenaline junkie?  Then it would mean AU Kaladin would probably like modern motocross.

 

Man, it really sucks for Renarin that he was born in the wrong universe.  If he was born on Earth, he'd have medicines for his seizures, and they wouldn't have the Vorin religion telling every man he's not a man unless he's a soldier.  He could even have contact lenses if doesn't feel like hiding behind his glasses anymore.   If Adolin is a duellist in SA, wouldn't he have an equivalent hobby in an Earth AU that people consider frivolous and a waste of his time when he is better off studying or "networking" or whatever?  Adolin has some perfectionist tendencies, at least when it comes to stuff he actually likes doing. 

 

 

 

 

 I think they haven't invented the concept of camouflage just yet  :ph34r:

 

While it isn't impossible, it would have been a waste of money to indulge on clothes he can't wear. I am not sure Dalinar would have authorize it. I certainly prefer the Kholin army uniform to the horrors this fashion book page showed  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Right. Camouflage wasn't invented until guns were good enough so that hitting the enemy wasn't just a matter of lining up your men into ranks and volleys.  And in Alethkar, sniping/headshotting would be considered dishonourable when the enemy can't see you.

Still, from far away, people wouldn't be able to see the glyphpair - they wouldn't only see a blue coat, or a white blob on blue. 

 

Does Adolin have his own money (rent/taxes from the Kholin Princedom?), does he draw wages as a Kholin army officer, or does he rely on Dalinar giving him pocket money?  Having that answer would clear up a lot of questions of his status/relationship with Dalinar.  And Adolin is not above small indulgences - he goes on dates, he buys magazines, he has fancy upgrades to his regular uniform.  I think WoK mentioned that he had small gold decorations or medallions welded onto his Shardplate.  Even painting Shardplate is kind of wasteful when it would get scraped up in every duel and battle.  Even if Dalinar doesn't approve, since he doesn't paint his own Plate, the money is still being spent on it.

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I would only write about it if Kaladin or Adolin tell Shallan about it directly, which is kinda unlikely.  At this point, Shallan thinks Kaladin is only a doctor and was never a soldier.  He hid his gun from her and never showed her his references (in Part 1) she has no idea about his combat skills and XP.  Kaladin saved Adolin's life, and Adolin saved him from a court martial, but Adolin still doesn't think it's enough to repay him.  Adolin made Kaladin his personal physician to pull him out of the command chain so they can hang out more - they are best friends but everyone around them thinks they have a employer/retainer relationship.  Kaladin thinks the girls are all annoying gold diggers - see his initial reaction to Shallan - but he understands that marriage is different for nobles than it is for commoners, and Adolin is lucky to have a choice. 

 

 

And may I ask what were the details of Kaladin saving Adolin and the details of Adolin pulling Kaladin out of court martial? We know how it happens in canon, it'd be interesting to know how it happens in "your world". Does it have anything to do with someone daring Adolin to do something stupid by saying: "Are you scared?" FYI, the whole scene made me think of Back to the Future where Marty McFly usually gets drawn into worst situations each time some asks him if he is scared.

 

 

From what I have read, most fanfic writers who write shipping fics don't even bother to keep to canon.  And I can tell, because 70% of the SA fan community write Kadolin or Shallan x Adolin x Kaladin fics as their pairing of choice.  NONE OF IT IS EVEN REMOTELY REALISTIC.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  There is no point reading them if you care about exact canon characterisation.   You just read them for fun.  Or laughs. B)

 

I dislike most fanfiction for this reason: the majority of them exist for the sole purpose of shipping and it usually is done without respecting the characters personality as per defined in the books. As for the kind of shipping communities tend to prefer, it is endemic: whichever fandom you may choose, you will find an abnormally high number of m/m or m/f/m pairings. There must be a cultural explanation for it, but it isn't my personal cup of tea. 

 

I personally do not mind if the setting of a fic is different or if the story told bears no resemblance to canon, but I care if the characters behavioral patterns are widely different. There aren't many fics where I felt they got both Adolin and Kaladin right.

 

Kaladin isn't a shaking, crying and shy with intimacy person  :o and Adolin isn't a self assured overly confident individual who likes to flaunt his personal parts  :o  :ph34r:

 

 

I am really hesitant about seguing into writing Adolin "intimacy" scenes myself.  I don't think I know his character well enough to be able to write his actions in a realistic way.  To the other girls, he self-sabotages by ignoring them, or going after another girl, and then they dump him.  I just cannot imagine Shallan letting him do that to her, since she could have dumped him at any point in Urithiru, but she didn't.   How will he shoot himself in the foot like he always does, when it's balanced out by his equal "like like" of Shallan?  

 

He pretty much can't do "intimate" until he works through his problems, but since we are all guessing where the original problem came from in the first place (Dalinar?  Missing mum? Lonely childhood? Self-esteem?) who knows how to write it.  I can't even think of a way to get his uniform off without it being extremely contrived or mega OOC. :rolleyes:

 

I didn't exactly expected you to write anything that explicit...  :o

 

You might want to read this WoB:

 

Q: What is the thing with Adolin's serial dating? Is it just...?

A: He is bad with relationships, and that's just it. He's a little bit scared of being good at relationships, and so there's some kind of unconscious sabotaging going on. But yeah, he's young and he's bad at relationships.

 

It re-groups many of the theories I have had in the past for Adolin... I have said on several occasions Adolin was scared of developing meaningful relationships with others, mostly women, but it transposes itself in his peers to peers relationship. Based on what we know, Adolin doesn't consciously decides to end all of this courtships: it happens and he is usually baffled by it. The mechanism by which it happens seems unconscious. My initial theory was it was tied to fear: fear of attachment because who says attachment means rejection and abandon which can nicely be tied up to his mother's death. However, Brandon has said losing his mother was not a significant event in Adolin's past  :o I don't know why, but somehow Brandon doesn't think it overly matters to Adolin as a character.

 

The idea is not entirely wrong it seems as in this new WoB Brandon does admit Adolin is indeed scared of relationships, even better, he is afraid of not being "good". 

 

I thus say Adolin has self-confidence issues (not self-esteem which is different), which has been another part of several of my analysis. I have stated on numerous occasions Adolin's confidence was a front, a cover he wears to disguise his own lack of it. He won't say it out loud, he won't published it: he will try to keep on his facade intact, but on the inside, he's a naturally nervous person who's afraid he won't be up to it.

 

In other words, Adolin is afraid of failure, of not being good enough. It is why he is so nervous before his duels, why he needs his calming and comforting routine and why he is having such a hard time with intimacy/relationships. 

 

He is afraid he may not be up to the expectations. All his life expectations has been placed on him: be the good son, the perfect son, the perfect heir, find a woman you love to marry and don't make a mistake. He never failed before, all of his self-confidence is tied in to his ability to meet those expectations, his father's affection only come forth when he obeys perfectly: little wonder he is so afraid he may fail. What if he did fail? What if he can't be this person everyone wants him to be?

 

Then no more affection, no more recognition, no more pride... no more worth. Relationships are hard for him because his father didn't give him guidance, an instruction manual: he is on his own and everyone expects him to be a Don Juan which he isn't. So he is afraid he won't meet the expectations. As a result each time girl gets too close, he backs away, fearfully, going as far as sabotaging the relationship.

 

Lonely childhood may also be why he struggles so much with peers to peers relationships: he isn't used to it. 

 

 

I will include a shirtless sketchbook page as soon as I can figure out a way to fit it in context.  Or Shallan will have to draw from imagination.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   I think Kaladin would be taller and leaner, but Adolin has more muscle.  They're both pretty cut, and Kaladin has more "other hair". :ph34r:

 

Actually I tend to picture Kaladin as more muscular than Adolin... The guy lifts heavy bridges above his head: in other words, he his doing body building and weight-lifting. He even comments on how muscular he has become. On the other hand, Adolin prances around in his Plate (which gives him additional strength) lifting up an extra light sword. 

 

I'd say Kaladin has stronger shoulders and arms than Adolin simply due to the kind of training he does. Kaladin is supposed to be physically imposing, people are awed by him.

 

He is taller though and he does have more other hair  :ph34r:

 

 

He would probably look a Korean pop star or something. :lol: :lol: :lol: Since Brandon did spend some time in Korea.  If Shallan and Adolin had a kid, his hair would be like the MC of YuGiOh so I wouldn't surprised. 

 

How about a country where it's almost impossible to be pale?  Where you will get a peeling sunburn if you spend 2 hours outside on a cloudy day without sunscreen?  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  I can't wait until winter.  Then I can wear coats with pockets instead of putting them into pants pockets and ending up stretching out the fabric so the pocket gets saggy when there's nothing in it.  

 

Oh gee spare me the imagery  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

It would be wonderful  B) I am not afraid of the sun: I dip myself into sunscreen anyway  :ph34r: I can't wait for winter to be over: no more boots, no more big coat... Just walking out of the house without needing to put on several layers, no more shuffling the snow out of the car, not more traffic jam because it is snowing... 

 

Buy a purse  :ph34r: No more pocket issue  -_-

 

 

He does call Adolin a "good man" later on, which means he sees him as at least an equal in age, and an adult.   The real question that everyone is wondering about - does Adolin know how old Kaladin is?  I don't think Adolin ever thought about it in a PoV chapter.  I imagine that Kaladin would look older than his age, and it would make Adolin feel weird to know he's asking girl advice from a guy who's years younger.  :ph34r:

 

Dalinar is addicted to authority so it makes sense he always puts himself in the "in charge" position in any interaction with other characters.  If someone is too old to be a boy or a youth in his eyes, he will automatically gravitate to unquestioned leader-role and call them "Son" or "Soldier".  He is only a sweater vest and tobacco pipe away from calling people "Sport" or "Champ". B)

 

This scene you are referring to is where I believe Dalinar finally acknowledged Adolin as an adult. Before that, he was oscillating... Saying these words was powerful and a testimony of how bad killing Sadeas will hurt.

 

Kaladin is 20 years old, but most people take him for older. I doubt Adolin asked, he just assumed he was about his age or perhaps a bit younger. As for asking a younger man, Adolin points out how everyone his age has been married for years.... As far as he knows, most younger men know more than he does about women  :o

 

Sport or Champ  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

 

Most of the activities that are considered rebellious to today's kids are probably also illegal.  Standards have changed, and that's why skating is mainstream now. :lol:  What about being a pool shark or hustler? B)  B)  B)  

After reading that scene where Adolin dares Kaladin into riding Dreamstorm, he came out of it breaking his arm but fixing it with Stormlight, and thinking it was crazy fun.  Is he an adrenaline junkie?  Then it would mean AU Kaladin would probably like modern motocross.

 

Man, it really sucks for Renarin that he was born in the wrong universe.  If he was born on Earth, he'd have medicines for his seizures, and they wouldn't have the Vorin religion telling every man he's not a man unless he's a soldier.  He could even have contact lenses if doesn't feel like hiding behind his glasses anymore.   If Adolin is a duellist in SA, wouldn't he have an equivalent hobby in an Earth AU that people consider frivolous and a waste of his time when he is better off studying or "networking" or whatever?  Adolin has some perfectionist tendencies, at least when it comes to stuff he actually likes doing. 

 

Yeah, Kaladin is an adrenaline junkie: I totally dig on he motocross idea.

 

A frivolous sport? Huh fencing?  :ph34r: Tae-won-do? Karate? Something with one on one competition, though I still think modern day Adolin would play football, to do like Daddy, but he would have his own thing which makes said Daddy frown.

 

Adolin is a perfectionist. It is why falling at something makes him so anxious. I also believe it is why he refused to learn his glyphs: he is afraid he won't be good at it, so he'd rather not even try.

 

 

Right. Camouflage wasn't invented until guns were good enough so that hitting the enemy wasn't just a matter of lining up your men into ranks and volleys.  And in Alethkar, sniping/headshotting would be considered dishonourable when the enemy can't see you.

Still, from far away, people wouldn't be able to see the glyphpair - they wouldn't only see a blue coat, or a white blob on blue. 

 

Does Adolin have his own money (rent/taxes from the Kholin Princedom?), does he draw wages as a Kholin army officer, or does he rely on Dalinar giving him pocket money?  Having that answer would clear up a lot of questions of his status/relationship with Dalinar.  And Adolin is not above small indulgences - he goes on dates, he buys magazines, he has fancy upgrades to his regular uniform.  I think WoK mentioned that he had small gold decorations or medallions welded onto his Shardplate.  Even painting Shardplate is kind of wasteful when it would get scraped up in every duel and battle.  Even if Dalinar doesn't approve, since he doesn't paint his own Plate, the money is still being spent on it.

 

Camouflage apparently started during the war of the Boers and later on WW1. I'd say Alethkar isn't there yet  -_-

 

I am not sure Adolin is paying paid, so to speak. It is more likely he has an expense account and he bills everything he buys on the house. Dalinar is obviously loose with those as he allows his son to splurge... unless he truly gets an allowance. Then he spends his money as he wants, but no doubt he would abuse, Dalinar would cut the flow.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART FOURTEEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It would have been sunrise when Shallan stumbled into the stable yard very early the next morning, if there was any sun to be seen.  It was another grey day to-day – grey overcast skies that loomed overhead with the humidity of anticipation.   It was a good job that there was no sun to-day, thought Shallan, as tugged at her tartan shawl and adjusted the strap of her satchel – a whole day spent out-doors would result in her being unavoidably sunburned, even if she wore a bonnet with veil.  She had brought both, just in case.

 

The stable yard was already bustling: the grooms and stable boys started work earlier than the residents of the House: horses and official couriers rarely paid much attention to respectable hours.  Adolin was already at the stables, conversing with a groomsman who held the reins of a gelding strapped with a side-saddle.  She approached, yawning.

 

“Good morning!” he called out, inexplicably cheery.  “Shallan, may I introduce Mr Karsten, our groundskeeper?  Karsten – Lady Shallan, my personal guest.  Karsten here knows of the part of the forest that you’re looking for: he worked in the logging group years ago, when Father still lived here.”

 

Mr Karsten took his cap off, revealing a balding head of sandy brown hair; he bowed to Shallan respectfully.  He was not particularly tall – perhaps he was not a full-blooded Anglethi – and he had a limp that showed when he made a leg; when he spoke she could see he was missing several teeth.  He tugged his cap back on and said, “My lady, I’m told you have the maps?”

 

Shallan dug into her satchel and pulled out her copy of Brother Kadash’s map.  She handed it over, and turned to Adolin.  “Are we to ride there?”

 

“Yes,” he replied, and gestured to the gelding which stood in patient silence next to Mr Karsten.  “We found an old side-saddle for you since we couldn’t expect you to ride astride.  Have you much experience with riding?”

 

“I have ridden ponies at my father’s estate.  I should think a horse would be no different,” Shallan said casually.  It was much smaller than the giant white beast a groomsman was bringing out now, but it did rather seem a long way off the ground.

 

“Well, you should get up and we’ll adjust the saddle for you,” said Adolin.  He took the reins of the gelding and led it over to the stepped mounting block.  Shallan followed, mounted the steps, tugged up the back of her skirts, and hauled herself into the saddle.   It was indeed a very high place.  She could see over the top of Adolin’s head, and Mr Karsten’s head, and the backs of horses being taken to pasture.

 

“Well,” she said, hoping he could not sense the timidness in her voice.  “This isn’t so bad.”

 

“Um.  If you could pull up your skirts?” said Adolin, very hesitantly, looking up at Shallan.  “The saddle was made for someone else, and must be adjusted to your size.”

 

“Oh – of course.”  Shallan yanked up the outer skirt, and more gently, rolled up the hem of her underskirts.  Doing so revealed stockinged legs and walking boots and the curved double horns of the side-saddle’s pommel.   “Take your time.”

 

Adolin flushed; he turned away and tentatively began to adjust the buckles and straps of the saddle.   “If you are to be riding often, I would commission a side-saddle for your size.  Neither Jasnah nor my royal aunt ride, and even if they did, their, ah, leg sizes wouldn’t fit you particularly comfortably.”  The double pommel was adjusted to be higher up, and the stirrups were shortened.  They now felt more comfortable – this saddle must have been sized for a woman with longer legs.   Adolin avoided touching her, even though every bit of flesh was covered by woollen stocking.  Whenever a knuckle brushed against her accidentally, she could see that the assured regularity of his movements wavered with the slightest hesitation.

 

Finally, Adolin was finished, and he gave her a short bow.  Shallan smiled at him in thanks; she dropped the hem of her skirt to cover herself, and tugged on the reins.  The gelding started ambling at a gentle pace.  He was taller than the shaggy coated ponies of Loch Davar, but he had the placid temperament compatible with unpractised riders.  By the time Shallan had returned from her wide circle of the stables and coach house, she saw that Adolin had mounted his own horse – the great white beast that had been brought out earlier – and Kaladin had appeared; he also had a horse.  She observed that Kaladin managed his seat without a mounting block.  Karsten had his own mount, a brown mule with a white muzzle and belly. 

 

They followed the coach road leading southwards from the estate to the Kholinshire Forest.  It was a wide road, well-made with a raised centre and rain ditches on either side – they could easily all four of them ride abreast if they wanted.  Karsten took the lead; Shallan and Adolin on his white stallion followed, and Kaladin last.

 

Shallan saw that Adolin wore his fur-collared overcoat over a fashionable tailed riding coat in Kholin blue; she felt a self-conscious twinge: she had no riding habit of her own, nor proper riding boots.  She and Jasnah had filled their travelling trunks with books and papers during their travels; she had nothing appropriate for country pursuits and had therefore settled for her hard-wearing woollen carriage dress with her tartan.  Kaladin, she noticed, had on his everyday suit under a plain travellers’ overcoat.  He had a pair of bulging panniers and a bedroll strapped to his saddle; there were also two musket sheaths on either side of his horse.  He had come well prepared – was it possible that he put more stock to the existence of curses than he had previously indicated?

 

“Adolin - is your horse a plough horse?” she asked.  If it was going to be a much longer ride than the journey to Courtlea, perhaps it would pass faster if they had diverting conversation.

 

“Sureblood?” he laughed, and patted his horse’s neck.  “No, his kind were once the horses ridden by the knights of old.”

 

“But there are no knights anymore.”

 

“That is why we use horses of his weight for our cannonry,” explained Adolin.  “They are quite hardy beasts, you see: they don’t tend to shy at powderflash.”

 

Shallan glanced backwards.  Kaladin was within eavesdropping distance.  “I notice,” she said, “our good Doctor looks as if he has trouble with his seat.”

 

“You have been to Kharbranth, Miss Davar: you must be aware that horses are rare in a place where grain must be brought in by ship,” Kaladin said.

 

“Oh my, I had forgotten that you had been educated in Kharbranth.  I often find myself forgetting that you had been educated at all.  A rather common mistake, I assume.” 

 

“Hm,” Kaladin grunted.  “Well, if I have trouble keeping my seat, your horse has trouble keeping up.   I suppose Adolin chose a smaller horse as there will be no mounting blocks in the forest, but it is quite inconvenient that it must take two paces for every one of ours.”

 

“Not everyone sees the appeal in great size, Doctor,” Shallan replied serenely.  “I, for one, am rather glad not to have been bestowed with, um, Anglethi proportions.”

 

“You wouldn’t rather be our height and see us eye to eye?” asked Adolin.

 

“No, not really.  My stature does have its conveniences, you know.”

 

“Does it?” Kaladin glanced at her with amused scepticism.  “Whatever might they be, Miss Davar?”

 

“Why, if I fall behind, it would be no trouble for you to carry me on your back.”

 

“What a ridiculous suggestion,” said Kaladin with a scornful tone.  “I cannot imagine any reason why I should do that.”

 

“Because you value the spirit of charitability, of course.”

 

“I think you mistake me for Adolin, Miss Davar,” said Kaladin.   He made an unpleasantly indecipherable grunting sound and nudged his horse ahead of hers.

 

“If he won’t carry you, you can always ride with me,” said Adolin, amiably.  “Sureblood can easily take two.”

 

They rode at a steady gait past fields and pastures; very occasionally they passed carriages or carthorses or other riders, but other than their conversation and the sound of their horses’ shod hooves crunching on gravel, it was quiet and still.   A white mist patchily blanketed the ground; hayricks rose above the clouds here and there like the lonely aeries of mountain peaks.  Shallan saw figures in the misted fields, small people in the distance: there were men with beards and shoddily hand-dyed red kerchiefs tied around their necks, hoeing the crop rows; there were also women with red headscarves following with baskets.

 

Marshpeople.  They were not as tall as Anglethis; they were, on average, not even as tall as Scots – mainland Scots like the McValams or the McAbrials, not the pale giants of the Unkalakney Islands.   She had expected to see more while travelling with Jasnah, but the marshpeople hadn’t been allowed inside coaching house common rooms; she had only glimpsed them cleaning stables when getting into the carriage in the mornings.

 

“Are there many marshpeople in the area?” she asked.

 

Adolin turned toward her, a curious expression on his face.  “Did Jasnah lecture at you with the horror tales of the uprising she’s so fond of frightening everyone with?”

 

“Yes she did – but you know Jasnah; I was, in fact, wondering how you managed to feed all the villages in the area.  In the north, we only have a few marshpeople labourers, but we also have fewer people per mile – outside the cities.”

 

“The numbers escape me,” Adolin mused, “but I think out of all the Duchies, Kholinshire has the fewest marshpeople.”

 

“So everyone believes Jasnah even though they all seem reluctant to admit it?   Do they just not want to give Jasnah the satisfaction of knowing she’s right – once again?”

 

“Well – not really,” said Adolin.  “Father thinks oxen make for better labourers, and my aunt prefers mechanicals.  She’s converted most of Kholinshire Park to run their mills on water.”  He paused, then glanced at her, unsure for a moment.  “My royal cousin doesn’t like foreigners around; he thinks they’ll try and stab him while he’s sleeping or something.  So we got rid of most of them in the City.  We can discourage buying contracts, but independent land-owners do what they will.”

 

“What do you think, sir?”

 

“I, honestly, never really thought about it.  But I do suppose, for the rest of the country, the marshers’ labour is the source of a lot of Anglethi wealth.”

 

“You think the indentures are a good thing?”

 

“It’s – complicated,” admitted Adolin.  He stopped for a moment, gathering his words; his fingers twisted Sureblood’s reins into knotted spirals.  “The sheep,” he said at last, “are sheared by marshers in Roionshire, and they are turned into woven cloth by marshers in Sebarialshire, and are sewn into clothes in Kholinshire, so I can wear this coat.”  He plucked at the lapels of his blue riding coat.

 

“It seems straightforward to me,” remarked Shallan.

 

“The Port Authority,” Adolin continued, “charges export tariffs for the King.  The King pays for the bridges and roads and locks that the sheep are driven on, and the crates of cloth are barged through.  The transport network would not exist without the goods, and we would not have goods without transport.  Nothing is done solely by the good-will of the Dukes, for the good of the Kingdom.”

 

“So it’s a matter of politics, then?  I am unfamiliar with such matters: we Scots have our own Parliament – though its effectiveness is debatable – and Jasnah never cared to explain the details of Anglethi politics.”

 

“Everything is politics.  In the end, what it means is this:  if the King cannot keep the money flowing, the Dukes will have little reason to hail him King.”

 

This was very interesting.  Shallan had always thought herself an outsider to the world of politics, which was mostly inhabited by men.  Women could – and did – have their influence, and they could possess money or land, or sign their own contracts if their rank was high enough – but it was never direct power, nor direct decision making: it was always second-hand power usually bestowed by a high-ranking father or husband, or power delivered through male proxy-retainers.  She had not expected to be informed so candidly about matters of power; it was a show of trust that Adolin could speak to her with such casual ease. 

 

“If the King cannot be King,” she said, “would the Dukes hail your father instead?”

 

“The young Prince of Anglekar will not reach his majority in years … so likely, yes.” 

 

“Then – you would be the Prince Kholinar in your father’s stead?”

 

“Yes,” said Adolin.  He did not seem very pleased at the prospect.  “Shallan?  Is there something wrong?”

 

His expression of distaste at the idea of being a Prince brought to mind a conversation Shallan had had a few days earlier.  There had been that very same look; a similar flash of vulnerability had been revealed to her, in the way Adolin’s normally smiling mouth had tugged downwards at the corner.   She was reminded of it in that instant; it was familiar, and now she recognised it.

 

“Jasnah didn’t want to be a Princess; she never explained why.”

 

“Oh,” said Adolin; he hesitated, then drew a breath.  “Oh.  If – if you are ever a Princess, you shan’t be made to do anything you don’t want.  I promise – truly – you should never be placed in such a position – I would not let it happen.  I can guarantee your safety, your protection–“

 

“You needn’t worry, sir,” Shallan cut in; coldness tinged her voice.  “I can guarantee my own safety.”

 

“But–“

 

“Please.”  Shallan gripped the reins of her horse tightly.  “I shan’t be locked away again.” 

 

She wanted to run – it was her natural instinct to do so when she was anxious and frightened as she was now – she wanted to go away to another place – any other place, it scarcely mattered where – with the desperate hope that when she came back, everything would be as it was: a silent house instead of Father arguing with Malise, Jushu awake and alert, Balat playing with his pups.  But her legs were caught up in the crescent shaped pommels of the side-saddle; they were firmly locked into position.   She could not run.  She knew it.  Sometimes there was nowhere to run. 

 

“Again?”

 

“It’s not important,” she said.  She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly; air hissed in between clenched teeth.  She struggled to compose herself.  “Adolin – I do not find you wanting in your feeling.   Truly, I do not.  I am appreciative of your concern; your offer is a credit to your character.”

 

“Oh,” he looked at her, then looked down at his hands.  He looked as if he were going to say something, but he seemed to perceive that there was something she didn’t want to talk about, something she didn’t feel comfortable sharing with him.  Not yet.  “Well.  Thank you?”

 

“Jasnah turned out perfectly all right, you know,” Shallan whispered.  She did not know if Adolin heard it.  She was half talking to herself.

 

The rest of the ride was subdued.  Adolin picked at the stitched seams of his riding gloves, while Shallan looked around at the fields and approaching forest.  She could not draw on the jolting up-and-down of a horse in motion; it took effort to stay in the seat even with the convenience and support of a side-saddle.  She doubted that she could draw or even open her wooden pen box without scattering a trail of chalk nubs on the gravelled road.

 

 

***

 

 

They followed the main road until they saw the Forest.  When they reached it, they took a lesser used side road – it was half the width of the King’s Royal Road – that linked small villages and farming communities to the markets of the City.  This was the road they would take before they would find the logging trail that cut a path through the Forest to the creek marked on the map.

 

It was mid-morning when they found the start of the logging trail: it was easier than they‘d expected – Shallan had thought it would be overgrown since it had not been in use apart from the brief failure of a logging enterprise in Adolin’s father’s time.  But the local villagers had taken their wood from the forest here, and cleared the ground in front of the path:  they were entitled, as tenants of the ducal estate, to take trees for warming their homes and cooking their food.  The trees on the edge of the forest-line were young and small – these villagers had gone into the Forest and taken the larger trees lining the edge of the trail.  The trail, for the most part, was wide enough for them to ride horseback, and lacked large dangling branches that could strike them in the face.

 

After a certain point, Karsten, who had the lead, gestured for the party to halt. 

 

“My lord,” he said, turning his mule around, “We must leave the path here, to find the creek.  There is no trail – you must walk from here and lead the horses, and if the ground is too steep for them, you must either take a long detour for better ground or leave them where they are.”

 

“Is it better not to leave the horses on the path?” asked Adolin.

 

“Someone would steal them,” said Kaladin dryly.  “Perhaps not yours – a recognisable officer’s horse could not find a buyer quickly, but mine and Miss Davar’s would be taken by any unscrupulous traveller.  And with my own Anglethi proportions, I sincerely doubt Miss Davar should offer to carry me, as per her noble sense of charitability.”

 

“I have been told – quite recently, in fact – that I am anything but weak,” replied Shallan, rolling her eyes.  “Take the horses with us, they have more supplies on them than we could carry on foot.”

 

They let Karsten go first, leading the mule, who followed obligingly.   It was not easy for the horses, especially Adolin’s Sureblood, who was so large that the underbrush scraped against his coat whenever he had to push through a patch to follow his master.  Shallan soon put on her bonnet and veil to protect her face.  It was dark and humid amidst the trees – she was not afraid of risking a sunburn – but Kaladin, in front of her, paid no regard to her presence; he let little branches swing by as he pressed ahead, and Shallan found being whipped with twigs eventually made her feel quite irritable.

 

After an hour of walking, they found the creek.  It meant that they had gone too far, and had to double back – the site they were looking for was in between the creek and the trail.  They let the horses drink; they all, gentlemen and horses alike, looked quite bedraggled from being scraped by every bush and tree trunk they had passed.  Shallan felt rather limp, too.  She was not a particularly athletic person, and although she could walk the several mile circuit of the Loch Davar estate without trouble, the uneven downwards footing to the low ground of the creek was more sustained exertion than she had experienced in months.

 

The gentlemen, though slightly perspiring, looked much better than her, she thought.  Adolin and Kaladin had taken off their overcoats and jackets, preferring to hang them from their horses’ pommels.  They had, the both of them, stripped to waistcoats and shirtsleeves; Adolin had loosened his neckcloth and pushed up his sleeves.  Karsten, a groundskeeper by trade, looked quite unaffected.  He wore his cap and had his coat on still; it was a patchily dyed grey-green mottle that blended in quite well with the Forest.

 

To Shallan’s great relief, they broke for luncheon instead of backtracking to the trail.  Karsten’s panniers had food from the Kholinar Court kitchen; they feasted on a more genuine huntsman’s lunch than had been served at The Sign of the White Boar.   Kaladin had started a fire and was now boiling water for tea in a narrow cylindrical travel kettle.

 

“Do you suppose we’ll actually see a white boar?” asked Shallan, as she folded her bread around sliced sausage and pickle.

 

“No one even knows if it’s actually a boar,” said Kaladin.  “It’s probably nothing.  Either that or a white deer.”

 

“And the lights at night?”

 

“Probably villagers.”

 

“In the middle of the night?  Whatever might they be up to?”

 

Kaladin was throwing handfuls of leaves into the small fire he had made; he looked up.  His eyebrows rose upwards and disappeared into the messy fringe over his forehead.  “Are you being serious?”

 

“Aren’t I always?”

 

“Then I shall tell you when you’re older.”

 

“You can tell Adolin – he’s older than me.  Then I will ask Adolin,” Shallan said, a capricious smile sliding across her face.

 

Adolin swallowed his mouthful of cheese and bread.  “Tell me what?” he said.

 

“There are fruit pies,” said Kaladin.  “Underneath the ham slices, in the lunch basket.  Shallan wasn’t going to tell you because she wanted them all to herself.”

 

 

***

 

 

They spent another two hours after lunch zig-zagging back and forth between the creek and trail, trying to find the location of the long-lost pre-Vorin structures.  It was dim and wet with the canopy overhead, blocking what little sunlight that shone through the grey clouds; the leaves dripped from the previous day’s rain onto Shallan’s bonnet.  Her boots squelched on the rotting leaves underfoot, and she knew her underskirts were in a terrible state; she had tried to keep hold of her skirts, but had she needed her hands to lead the horse and keep her balance navigating the treacherous slope of the creek banks.

 

She had noticed they were going in an up-slope direction now: the ground was becoming firmer, and though the undergrowth was as dense as it had been, there were very large trees now – older growth – and the space between them more generous than she had seen before. 

 

“Here now, my lord,” called Karsten from ahead.  They halted again.  This was just the last of many stops where they had gathered together, paced in a circle looking for any evidence of human structures, and continued ahead upon not finding a thing.  Was this to be another disappointment?  Shallan had not complained – it had been her suggestion to go looking for lost treasure, after all – and she was glad that Adolin was too good-humoured to blame others in the event of an empty-handed return.

 

“What is it?” said Shallan.  Her gelding nuzzled at the back of her bonnet.

 

“My lady, there are some stone formations around here.  If you would like to take a look?” Karsten said, gesturing with his arm.

 

It wasn’t much to look at – there was no clearing, no perfectly circular meadow, and no mystical fortress that did not appear in view unless one happened to glance at it out of the corner of one’s eye.  There was a stone outcrop, draped in vines and moss, and a few other lumps of non-magical nature surrounding it.  It was an immense disappointment, and Shallan scowled.

 

“Is this it?” she asked, tugging at her gelding’s reins.  She was sweating from walking for the last three hours, and the ride from the House had taken that long, and now there was a ride back to look forward to – that would be equally as tedious.  She was hot; her veil stuck to her; she had done it all in a heavy woollen dress.   She stamped at the ground irritably. 

 

She stubbed her toe.  Something rolled away from her foot.

 

Wait.

 

Roots did not roll away. 

 

She dropped to her knees in the leaf litter and began digging, scrabbling through the humus with frantic urgency.  She found it – at last.  It was a bit of masoned stone, rough all around, except for one small edge, which was smooth.

 

“It’s here,” she said.

 

Adolin tugged at his neckcloth.  “A rock?”

 

“Yes.  A rock.  A beautiful, wonderful rock.”

 

 

***

 

 

The light had slowly faded from the overcast sky by the time they had cleared a section of vines from the central stone outcrop.  It was dimmer now – not dark enough that they could not see where they were going – but the light could not be relied on to last for more than a few more hours.  Shallan began to feel concern that Adolin would insist they use the last few hours of light to turn back to the House.

 

There was a bare patch in the outcrop left by their removing of great swaths of hanging moss – it was more than an outcrop now.  There had been a cylindrical stone building here once; it was squat with a gently pointed cone of a roof, and it had been overgrown on all sides by creeping vines and saplings that its shape was difficult to discern unless one stepped away and saw that there was a regular shape hidden among the irregularly distributed trees.

 

The walls of the building were crumbling from years of neglect now; there were gaps where dampness and moss and persistent questing saplings had forced open small cracks into large ones.  Winters in southern Anglekar were not as harsh as they were in Scotland, but they must have had a true winter once per decade or so – and Shallan knew that even one cycle of freezing and thawing was enough to require yearly maintenance of the Loch Davar courtyard, when they had had the money for it.  This building, though it looked like it had been built from a seamless yellow-brown stone, had been here for hundreds of years.  Perhaps more than a thousand, or even two or three – Shallan could not possibly begin to guess.

 

There were no chisel marks on the stone walls, only naturally formed cracks.  There were no joints where mortar had been laid; it had been built – or dropped by the hand of the Almighty – as one solid piece in the middle of a forest, as unbelievable as it seemed.   Shallan circled the structure, as close as she could: trees and bushes had grown around the base of it, but it would not be impossible to take a rough estimate of its circumference if one counted paces carefully and made allowances of perhaps an extra yard in diameter on each side.

 

That was when she found place where roots and water had created a gap, large enough for a man to enter if he ducked his head and turned obliquely to keep his shoulders from scraping the edges.

 

“Light!  Candles!  Has anyone remembered to bring any?” she called.  Adolin and Kaladin came at the sound of her voice.  Candles were quickly found in a pannier and lit with a clockwork fire starter – they pushed aside the curtain of drooping moss and ducked their heads – they entered the hollow of the holy stone.

 

It was a cylindrical chamber, dark and echoing; there was at their feet a circular gallery with a crumbling stone rail – the gallery did not go all the way around, but led downwards and downwards into the darkness.   It was black inside, an empty, endless blackness that seemed to swallow light and sound alike; it smelled of damp and rotting earth; the air she breathed was still and cold.  It did not seem holy at all: there was neither Light nor Grace to be found – how could anyone have built it for the glory of the Almighty, He who shone from above?

 

Shallan led the way, candle raised in one trembling hand.  Adolin followed behind her; he took her free hand with one of his.

 

“Go slowly,” he warned.  “Feel before you step.  If you sense something give way, don’t dare let go.”

 

They descended into the spiralling blackness. 

 

There was a floor at the bottom – to Shallan’s relief.  She had thought that they might walk and walk and become lost forever into the welling emptiness.  But there was a floor; it was littered with dried leaves and twigs and the crunching skeletons of nameless small creatures, and underneath that, there were square bits of a mosaic that had fallen apart into its clinking component tiles. 

 

But the walls – oh the walls!  The wall – it was but one wall, as Shallan saw – was a mural, a single great painting that wrapped all the way around the circular interior in a panoramic scene, depicting a battle of God and Heralds and Kings and Knights and Champions.   It was magnificent – it was tens of feet high and the top was lost in the dark – and it was beautifully detailed.  Every Knight and Champion and supporting soldier had an individual face.  Some of the faces were distinctly feminine.  The eyes and swords and armour of several of the closer Champions had been coated with a varnish of powdered mica – it reflected the candlelight and almost seemed to glow. 

 

“We need more candles,” breathed Shallan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

I hope you readers are noticing Kaladin is warming up to Shallan here. :-)  I know that a day in the forest is not that exotic compared to the Shattered Plains, but we all must make do.

 

 

- Shallan snarks out of habit rather than actual malice. She does not hate Kaladin that much anymore. She doesn't know if Kaladin can tell or not.
- Marshpeople are humans in this AU. The Veden Highprinces are Scottish clan chiefs, and Horneaters are from the Unkalakney Islands, which is Orkney in this universe.
- Adolin is politically more astute than Shallan expects. He knows the Dukes want cheap indentured labour to make money, but the productivity is spread around to lots of other people too, like shepherds and weavers, and it means farmers can afford to wear warm coats.
- "Prince of Anglekar" - Elhokar's son, the crown prince.  It's really "Prince Anglekar" as his court title, but I thought it might be confusing and mistaken for his actual name, instead of the country's name.  Dalinar is "Prince Kholinar", a non-hereditary court title that has no lands associated with it. It means that the Dukes have to bow to him, while he doesn't have to waste time managing an estate. 
- "I shan't be locked away again" - scene from end of WoR. Adolin says "you shan't be made to anything you don't want", it implies that Jasnah was forced into something, and no one protected her.
- "Then I shall tell you when you're older" - Shallan can guess, but she's messing with Kaladin.  When she snarks on him, she is starting to shift away from rude antagonism to more friendly banter.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART FIFTEEN

 

 

 

 

 

Shallan was copying the mural on the section of wall closest to her, drawing by the light of a candle Adolin held aloft.   She had set another candle onto the floor after sweeping away the leaves with a foot; a few dribbles of warm wax on the bottom kept it from toppling over.   Kaladin paced back and forth, stopping occasionally to inspect the detail of the mural and the interior structure of the cylindrical stone chamber.

 

“Have you noticed there are women Knights?” she said, head bowed over her sketchbook.

 

“I never heard that mentioned in church,” said Adolin, shifting the candle to his other hand.    It was melting steadily, and Shallan had not remembered to pack a chimney lamp.   It would be approaching sunset outside, and she did not look forward to the prospect of finding their way back to the logging trail in the dark. 

 

“I read that the Courtlea church was built because this temple wasn’t suitable for a Vorin King.  That could have been one of the reasons for its being deemed inappropriate,” Shallan replied.  “Perhaps it was because the idea of a woman with a sword frightens men.”

 

“A woman with a sword wouldn’t frighten me,” said Adolin.

 

“Really?  Not even a woman who knows how to handle one?”

 

The candlelight wavered.  If only the chamber were brighter – then Shallan could see for herself what shade of pink coloured Adolin’s face.  He was rather a good looking man, but when he blushed because of something she said – when he blushed for her – that made him all the more charming.  It was his being so honest – and earnest – in his affections that made him infinitely superior to the static engravings of handsome princes that graced the frontispieces of many a novel. 

 

“I think,” he replied. “The world would be a much better place if those who held edged weapons knew what they were doing with them.”

 

“A much safer place, too,” Shallan said.

 

Kaladin strode towards them, candle in hand.  “Did you know that there are windows fifteen feet up?   I saw them from the stairs.   The glass is still there, but there’s only soil behind it – and there’s no door that I can see.”

 

“Perhaps there’s another level underneath this one,” Shallan mused, sliding open the lower second compartment of her pen box.  “How much do you know of ancient folk tales?”

 

“Only the ones of questionable nature that have been turned into tavern songs,” Kaladin answered evenly.

 

It was time for a lecture then, thought Shallan.  “Well, there are a number of folk legends from here and many countries on the Continent.  Even the non-Vorin nations have such tales – one about the end of a cycle of years, the last cycle before this one.  When the end closes and the beginning opens, or however poetically they phrase it, the Almighty cleanses the world and restarts it.”

 

Adolin spoke: “You are talking about the Great Storm?  That is why the Roionshire coast has all those little seashells miles inland.  And in church, the Ardents always said it was a punishment for men’s sins.”

 

“The Great Storm and the Great Flood that came after.  This building could have been constructed as a tower and the rest is buried underground.  And if the Almighty was in the habit of punishing men for sinning, you would not be able to enter a coaching house without seeing men being struck down left and right.”

 

“A seamless tower built thousands of years ago?” Kaladin said.   “Well, they must have had arts that we have lost.  I saw a lantern on the wall and when I opened it up, there was no oil reservoir – only a piece of coloured glass inside.”

 

“Speaking of lanterns,” said Adolin, “have we got any more lights?   My candle is almost out.”

 

“I brought a box, but we must ration them.”  Kaladin pulled a clockwork fire starter from his belt.  “I can go and fetch some more if you’d like.”

 

“No – I shall bring some down, and see how the horses are faring,” said Adolin.  “Sureblood is well-trained but I shouldn’t like to see the others eat something they oughtn’t.  And Karsten still has the lunch baskets – would anyone like a pie?”  He set the stub of candle next to the one at Shallan’s side, and dusted off his hands.  “No pie?  Oh – more for me then.”

 

Now it was Kaladin holding up the candle, only he wasn’t very good or particularly helpful: he paced around and his little sphere of light bobbed around; it was rather distracting to Shallan.  She was scratching away, trying to copy as much as she could before Adolin decided the party should better return to the House.    A thought occurred to her.

 

“Doctor, when you were looking at the windows, did you see what the mural showed near the top of the wall?” she asked.  At her own height, she could only see Knights and soldiers holding banners. 

 

“There is a sky above, with curving clouds and lightning.   And there are red stars with the same reflective paint of the Knights’ swords,” said Kaladin.  “I couldn’t see anything else.  You would need a scaffold to properly inspect it – if you could fit one through the gap in the wall.”

 

Shallan pondered at this; her busy hands mechanically shaded the Knights’ armour and outlined the double-eye design of their shields.  “It could very well be a representation of the Great Storm.”

 

She worked from section to section of the wall, dripping down wax and moving the candle – it was burning down now – as needed.  Kaladin did not try to make conversation; he seemed to understand that she was concentrating on something she considered important – even if he thought the whole idea of the lost treasure a feather-brained girl’s frivolous snipe hunt, indulged by a lovesick fool.   There was surety to her movements: she did not waste time on preliminary sketches in hard lead, nor on model studies to catch each detail correctly before she started the main piece.  No, these were all rough impressions to have the shapes down more than anything else; each charcoal stroke was fast and deliberate; there was no leeway for mistakenly placed lines.

 

She did not know how much time passed.  It was hard to tell when one delved into the mental realm of artistic perspective.  There was time – it did not halt, or cease to exist.  Its relevance just became less important; it faded into the background, like hunger or fatigue, when one had other things to think of – such as the way reflected light bounced back and forth between adjacent surfaces and split into a myriad of other colours, or the way a seemingly brown stone wall was made up of small particles of yellow and grey sand.

 

Time passed.  The candle neared the end of its wick.  Adolin had not returned.

 

She heard muffled sounds outside.  Kaladin at once became alert; he straightened and looked up towards the spiralling stairs and the gap in the wall. 

 

There came the crack of a gunshot. 

 

Shallan’s charcoal scratched across the page, leaving a black scrawl across her half-finished drawing.  The tip of the pencil splintered off into little powdery fragments.   She looked at Kaladin. 

 

Crack!

 

Kaladin hesitated, then shoved his candle at her; hot wax dripped across her sleeve.   “I’m going up.  Stay here and don’t come out.  Blow out the light when I’m gone, and stay quiet!

 

“You’re going to leave me here alone?”

 

He glanced upwards, then looked at her, sitting on the floor with her dress greyed with dust and stained with mud.  He came to a decision, then reached around to the back of his waistcoat.  His hands worked for a second – she heard a rustle – and he had out a pistol with a plain wooden stock and a barrel the length of her hand.  He had a small twist of paper too, and he used it to prime the pan; the rest of the paper he pushed down the barrel.   He took a pencil from her open pen box and rammed it in. 

 

“One shot.  Don’t waste it,” he grunted, as he tossed it onto her lap.  “Pull down that – there – before you shoot.   I’ll call for you when I come back – so even if you are tempted to, do not storming shoot me.”

 

Then he was gone, and she could hear the stomp of his boots on the stairs as he took them four at a time, and she was alone with a candle on the floor that was now a small puddle of wax, and another that was dripping in her hand.  She gathered her papers and stuffed everything into her satchel, picked up the gun, and then – she blew out the last light.

 

It was dark and it was still in that empty chamber.  Every little dried leaf seemed to make a scratching sound that echoed all around when she twitched a leg, like the skittering claws of crab-things in buckets at the Kharbranth harbour market.  She could hear the crackle of gunfire from above; there must be a number of armed men outside.  She sat with her tartan around her shoulders, and her eyes adjusted to the greyness; it was almost like the dreadful anticipation of waiting at Jushu’s bedside, wondering if this time she had gotten it wrong and he would never wake up.

 

There was a light from above, a steady light that spread a circle of glowing yellow wider than her candle could have done.  Two voices, on the gallery above – but neither of them were Adolin or Kaladin.

 

She got to her feet, trembling; her right hand tightly gripped the handle of the gun, the left hand held the strap of her satchel.  They were coming closer, coming down the stairs.

 

“Did you see the girl?” she heard.  “Check down here – I must go back to help the others secure the area.”  That voice – had she heard it before?  It seemed like she had, but her mind was frantic with fear, she could not think with clarity; she just wanted to run home - to the House, to Scotland - she could not care which home it was.  She could not see a face to the voices; they were behind a curve of the stair.  

 

The light bobbed downwards.  There was nowhere to run.  Kaladin had said there were no doorways – the windows opened onto soil – they were underground.   She almost laughed at that; she was becoming hysterical – and fresh country air, as recommended by any doctor, would have been the perfect cure for it.  She could not attach the face to a voice she was certain she had heard yesterday; somehow she could now remember that morbid, idle thought from the journey with Jasnah – when she had mused on Kholinar Court’s being the site of her final rest.  

 

There was nowhere to run in this chamber, nowhere to hide: she would be found.  She made up her mind, and her resolve firmed – the men were outside, and they had guns, and they were fighting.  There were Knights painted on the wall who were women, women who fought just as well as any man.  She had no sword, and she would not know how to handle one if she did – but she had a gun, and anybody could handle that.  It was just point and shoot, wasn’t it?

 

She crept slowly to the stairs.  Her hands were shaking as the light grew closer and closer and revealed a man holding a chimney lamp by its handle.  He could not see her outside its circle of luminescence; his eyes were dazzled by the light it shed and hers had adjusted to the darkness.    She aimed the gun at him, and pulled the trigger.

 

Click.

 

Nothing happened.  She tried again.  Storms!

 

He was on the very last step now.   In desperation, she shoved the gun, barrel down, under the neckline of her dress and into her bodice.  Her hands twisted the straps of the satchel and she spun it around, building momentum.  The man with the lamp took one last step; he heard the whistle of moving air, and he turned to the side where Shallan had hidden herself under the curve of the stair.   Shallan hit him in the face with her satchel full of books.  The man cried out and stumbled and fell to his knees; the lantern dropped to the ground.  It did not shatter as she had expected it to, but rolled around on its circular tin base, leaking oil. 

 

Shallan retreated, swinging the satchel, as the man panted on the ground.  He was reaching to his side – was that a dagger?  He blocked the stairs; she could not leap over him in her woollen skirts and trembling legs.   So she charged, and hit him again on the head, with her satchel. 

 

This time, the hit was not as accurate, but he roared in pain and he reached for her and now they were rolling on the dusty floor, each trying to get a grip on the other.   Shallan scratched and kicked at him; she tore at his clothes and his face and whatever she could grab, while he tried to pin her down with the weight of his body.  She felt pain in a line down her ribs, and she gasped; she saw his arm raised to strike again.  She rolled to the side, felt the cold press of the gun at her chest, and drew it out.

 

The thing at the back – whatever it was – that Kaladin had told her to pull.  A gun wasn’t just point and shoot: you had to cock it first.  She had not seen it in the darkness that first time - it had been only seconds ago - and she had not remembered to pull it.  

 

The man jerked back when he saw the gun.  He was not fast enough. Shallan fired.

 

Crack!

 

It was so loud in the echoing chamber that her ears rang with the sound of it; a choking grey smoke poured out, smelling of dirty stovepipes and the cheap incense that was supposed to keep away the bogflies.   Her hand hurt from the unexpected kick; she dropped the gun to the floor.  The man was on his back, struggling to get up – she saw his hand scrabbling on the floor for his dagger; he was gulping for breath, and a red stain spread across the front of his shirt. 

 

She swung the satchel up into the air and brought it down onto his face one final time.  She did not think about it; she did not feel triumph, or satisfaction, or fear.  She felt nothing.  It was probably for the best.  His head fell backwards; there was something broken inside of him, but still he was not dead, and she could not tell how close he was to dying. 

 

So.  It had come to this.

 

Again. 

 

Shallan dropped the satchel to the ground and bent over to collect her discarded tartan; it had fallen during the struggle.  She shook it out, and pieces of dried leaves and moulted beetle shells fell off it; she folded it.  Three yards of wool, brought from Scotland in a chest that smelled like lavender.  She thought of home as she folded the tartan over and over, until it was a square bundle layered thickly.  It could not be so bad if one had a tartan that smelled like lavender.  

 

She knelt next to the man lying on the floor, whose wounded chest gasped in spurts of red, just as his open mouth gasped with reddened foam.   She pressed the tartan over his face, covering his unseeing eyes with their eyelids that flickered like the wings of Balat’s butterflies.  She did not sing to him as she had done for her father. 

 

Time passed.  The overturned chimney lamp dimmed, flickered, and sputtered out as the remaining oil was burned away.  Kaladin did not return. 

 

Shallan sat with her back to the wall; her tartan that was stained with a dead man’s blood was pulled over head and shoulders; her knees were tucked under her chin.  She felt the dull throbbing of pain on her side where the man had cut her, and when she touched her side and brought her hand away, she could feel it wet and tacky to the touch.

 

Her face was wet too, and she could not remember crying.  She had not thought she had it in her to cry; she just felt numb and empty.  The leaping thoughts of her frantic mind had subsided now.  Everything was returning slowly to focus, even though she wanted to hold onto the grateful numbness for as long as she possibly could.  The voice of the second man, she recalled: the man who had not come down the stairs to join the first man lying at her feet.  The voice was Brother Kabsal’s, the young Ardent from the Courtlea village church.

 

Her ears eventually stopped ringing.  Her breath no longer rattled in her chest.  But her hands still shook, and her legs trembled, and even though she could no longer hear the sound of gunfire from above, she felt that the strength to walk the curving steps was beyond her capability.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t walk – she could do it, if she wanted: she could put one foot in front of the other, like any clockwork automaton.  It was the unpleasant fact that if she did, she would be returning to the light above, returning to her regular life.  The life of the Shallan who smiled at handsome gentlemen who smiled back – handsome gentlemen who did not know the Shallan that killed and felt nothing because she had nothing left inside her with which to feel.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

Shallan did not know how long she sat on the last step, in the cold welling blackness that was only held at bay by the warmth of her tartan shawl.  It did not matter if her eyes were open or closed: everything looked the same in the dark.  Perhaps everyone was the same in the dark as well.

 

She heard Kaladin’s voice calling her name from above, and saw a circle of his descending light.  She did not respond; she got to her feet unsteadily, clinging to the wall for support.

 

“Shallan?  Miss Davar?  Storms.”  He was next to her now, holding a lamp high.  The leaves and chips of mosaic on the floor were spotted wetly with clotting blood; there was the dead man with a misshapen face only a few paces from the last step. 

 

“I dropped the gun,” she mumbled, drawing her tartan shawl around herself.  Speech – emotion – function – they were returning to her now; she felt the darkness pulling backwards and away, leaving her behind.

 

“I’ll fetch it,” Kaladin grunted, and swept away the leaves with his foot.  The bloodied leaves rustled and became swaths of bloodied streaks on the stone floor.   Kaladin picked up the gun, and the man’s dagger, and slipped them both into his belt.  He took her arm, and slipped her satchel over his shoulder.  “Come.  It’s over now.”

 

She leaned against him, and he bore her weight with patience and without complaint, and they rose from the close darkness of the stone chamber to enter the soft sighing darkness of a forest at night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Note:

If you came expecting a romp about garden parties and playing whist with young ladies, you probably came to the wrong place.  Sorry. :(

 

- Shallan is generally non-confrontational - but now you see she will act when she can't run or avoid danger, as she usually does.  The tartan means a lot to her, and isn't just a reminder of home.  Remember the first time she opens the trunk and feels hysteria seeing it?

- “A woman with a sword wouldn’t frighten me" - references to Shallan as she is in the SA, and also bawdy humour that Adolin may or may not get. 

- There are lots of references back to the SA in here. Coloured glass in a lantern - it's not actually glass.  The tower built beyond known arts?   The Great Storm?  Red stars? 

- Some more oblique throwbacks: Kaladin gives Shallan his weapon instead of the other way around.  Kaladin abandons Shallan to help Adolin, like Adolin went to save Dalinar in WoR.  Shallan's fight was supposed to resemble killing Tyn.  Kaladin respects Shallan's drawing ability, even if she doesn't have the magical memory of SA Shallan.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART SIXTEEN

 

 

 

 

 

Adolin ran towards her as soon as she appeared through the gap in the wall.  He was wild-eyed, with black smudged across his face and bare forearms; his hair lay in spikes against his forehead, dark with his own sweat.   She gasped as he embraced her, and swung her around, and pressed his cheek against hers, whispering her name over and over again. 

 

He let go of her at long last, and pulled away.  Her eyes were immediately drawn to the red that bloomed across the front of his blue waistcoat.   Adolin saw her looking at his torso, and looked down himself; he saw the stain, and drew a hand across it as if he thought to wipe it away.  His fingers came away red.

 

“Kal, she’s bleeding,” said Adolin.

 

“I’m fine.”  Shallan pulled the tartan closer around her shoulders.

 

“She’s in shock,” said Kaladin.

 

“You don’t need to help me.”

 

“Yes we do, Shallan,” said Adolin, wiping his hand on a cleaner section of his waistcoat.  “Here, Kal, take her.  I’ll see to the oth– the horses.”

 

Kaladin’s hand closed around her wrist and she was towed to a small fire, where a camping cauldron was nestled in charcoal embers.  The travel kettle was also there, boiling away; Kaladin’s panniers were opened and their contents were neatly arranged on the ground; adjacent was an unfolded bedroll.  There was a musket leaning against a nearby tree, stock to the ground and bayonet pointing upwards.  The normally shiny surfaces of bayonet and barrel were smudged with something dark…  Shallan closed her eyes. 

 

She felt Kaladin tugging at her tartan.  She held onto it.

 

“Let me see,” he ordered.

 

“It-it’s not proper.”

 

“Do you really think I care?”

 

“If you really didn’t care, you’d go away and leave me alone.”

 

The tartan was yanked away.  She could feel the cold now, and the pain, and other things that she had no particular interest in feeling.   Her shawl was tossed to the ground; Kaladin was close, now he was touching her, his hands running across the cloth at her hip, then her stomach, until he found the tear high on her left side, at her ribs. 

 

“No one is going to leave you, Shallan.  Now, how does this confounded dress open,” he muttered, fingers gently probing the edges of the torn fabric.   “Don’t move.  I’m cutting it.”   The seam under her arm on the left side was sliced open, and the woollen overdress was peeled down.   He cut through her underdress, until he found her bodice.   “More laces?  Storm it.” 

 

He spun her around, slit the row of laces at her back, and guided her to his bedroll; here he placed a firm but unyielding hand against her shoulder until she lay with her head pillowed on his saddlebag.  She could see him silhouetted by the fire, setting out a circle of chimney lamps and lighting them one by one; he unrolled his surgical tools in their leather case; his sure hands plucked out one instrument after another and laid them into an even line on a clean white kerchief. 

 

“I’m going to use ether to cleanse the wound.  I’ve elevated your head and put you downwind, so you will not drift, nor frolic,” he said, in the calm but emotionless tone of a surgeon at work.  “Breathe shallowly and turn your face away; there will still be vapours.  In normal circumstances, I would have a tent for field operations, but to-night we shall do it the old-fashioned way.”   He brought out a brown glass bottle, and cut the wax stopper off.  Ether.  He poured the ether into a small bowl containing a white cloth and a pair of forceps.  He also tipped the ether over his hands, and scrubbed them together.  “Brace yourself. This shall hurt quite a lot.”

 

Shallan gasped when she felt the cold, then the fierce stinging pain when the ether-soaked cloth was touched to the cut on her ribs, and dabbed against the skin of her side.  It was cold, and hot, and then became the nameless essence of transcendent pain; she lacked words to properly describe it.  It was sudden and sharp, burning and searing at once; it stunned her insensate mind with more awareness than any abruptly thrown open curtains on any number of mornings.   And all of that awareness was attuned to experiencing pure agony.  She did not scream; she shuddered and twitched on the bedroll.

 

“The smell...” she whispered, eyes rolling in her head.

 

“You’re stronger than that,” said Kaladin.  His practised hands cleaned the wound with measured care, picking out shreds of fabric; he held the torn skin together with clip forceps.  She saw him thread a curved needle, almost like a hook, then wipe it down with an ether soaked cloth.  She closed her eyes.

 

“I’m not strong.  The most wretched…”

 

“You are not weak.”  His voice was firm and assured.  “I saw a man today with broken ribs, a pierced right lung, a broken nose, and a fractured skull.  Do you know what I found to be the most curious?”

 

“What?” gasped Shallan.  She concentrated on his voice.

 

“He died with wool fibres between his teeth.”

 

“So … you know.”

 

“The first time you kill a man–,” he said, voice steady. “Well, I won’t say it gets better, but it doesn’t get any worse.”

 

“You sound … like you know a lot about it.”

 

“I do.  All surgeons do.”

 

“You wouldn’t know about it,” Shallan said weakly, “if you remembered – to talk less and brush your teeth more.”

 

“What?”

 

“…Your breath.”

 

There was a coughing sound.  Was it a laugh?  She couldn’t tell.  She didn’t think Kaladin could laugh. 

 

Storms.  Really?” he said, finally.

 

“Yes–,” said Shallan faintly.  The fumes: she could smell them.  He had told her to breathe shallowly, but she hadn’t been.  “It doesn’t get worse.  I don’t think it can get any worse…”  She did not know if she was talking about his breath or about killing men.

 

“My father,” Kaladin said, one hand pressed against her bared side, “once asked me if one could kill to protect.  I thought about it for a long time and decided that you can – you can kill to protect other people, or to protect yourself.  You protected yourself, and it was not wrong.  Any god who says otherwise doesn’t deserve to have my soul.”

 

“I didn’t think about right or wrong when I did it.  I didn’t think at all.”  She hadn’t felt anything either, but she didn’t – couldn’t – say that.

 

“It doesn’t matter now, Shallan.  You’re alive, and you’ll be better soon, and that is what matters.”  His hands pulled back, and she felt a tug and then a twang of pain as he tied his knots.   More pain as the area was swabbed with ether; it prickled with stabbing icicles, worse than how it felt when she had been cut by that dead man’s dagger.  He bandaged the spot with a pad of white cloth, and wrapped bandage all around her chest to keep it in place; he kept his eyes diverted from her skin, still faintly freckled from the weeks on The Wind’s Pleasure.  “Now.  Shallow breaths.  You’ll be all right from here; the boning took most of the force–“

 

“Kal!”

 

His head turned.  It was Adolin.  “What!” he called.

 

“Are you done? Come over here!”

 

“Excuse me, Miss Davar.”  Then he was gone.

 

She saw him join Adolin and Karsten by the horses.  Karsten was holding the reins of her gelding, who still had on her side-saddle.  Kaladin peered at the horse, and looked at his legs and circled around him, patting his sides – the horse made a queer groaning noise; Karsten walked the horse a few halting steps and then there was a whispered conversation between the three men.  Adolin occasionally glanced back at her.

 

“–Internal bleeding–,” she heard.  “–The bones … a fracture … exit point here and here … he’s lamed…”

 

She heard Adolin say, “I – I can’t do it.”

 

She heard Kaladin grunt and say something under his breath.  Then Adolin and Kaladin were approaching, to where she lay on Kaladin’s bedroll with her bodice, cut laces dangling, clasped over her bare skin and bandages.  Shallan pretended she hadn’t heard a thing – she wished she hadn’t – and closed her eyes. 

 

“Shallan?” came Adolin’s voice, soft with concern.  He knelt next to her, and took her hand.  He didn’t seem to notice, nor care, that her own blood had dried over her hands; dark blood crusted beneath her fingernails. 

 

 “She ought not to listen,” Kaladin said in a gruff voice; he seized the brown bottle of ether from his open saddlebag.

 

He appeared to spy the bowl of ether and bloodstained cloth; he picked it up and flung the contents into the fire, which flared with sudden brightness.   The knot at Kaladin’s neck was swiftly undone, and his neckcloth was unrolled; he spared a brief glance for the two of them, and collected the musket from where it had been set against the tree, and was soon gone from the circle of warm yellow lamplight, ether bottle in hand.

 

“What’s the matter with my horse?” asked Shallan. 

 

“Shallan, there’s–,” began Adolin.

 

“Where are they taking him?”

 

“He was hurt in the fight.”

 

She saw Kaladin pour ether onto his neckcloth; he pressed it over the horse’s muzzle.  Karsten led the horse, slow and stumbling, deeper into the forest.  There was something wrong with its right foreleg; its sides – darkly streaked with sweat and something else that dripped blackly – heaved with exertion.

 

“I don’t want to hear it.”

 

“Neither do I,” he said.  He pulled her into his arms, heedless of her state of undress, and they held one another in the bright circle of lamps.  She heard his ragged breathing and felt his trembling; she was trembling herself.  It was not just from the chill in the air, nor the aching from her sides.  She rested her head against the hollow of his shoulder; she could not smell his cologne, only his fear-sweat and the fouled chimney-like bite of gunpowder; his fingers twined through hers with savage grip. 

 

A shot rang out from the forest.

 

Karsten came out, carrying the side-saddle and the musket.  Kaladin followed, ether bottle in one hand, limp neckcloth in the other; it dangled from his clenched fist, fluttering white and silken, like a bride’s prayer. 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

Their dinner was made from the luncheon leftovers.  Diced ham and sliced sausage were boiled in the cauldron, thickened with crushed travel biscuits and the mushrooms and wild garlic Karsten had collected by the creek.  It could never be described as elegant, but at least it was hearty and filling.  They took turns eating straight from the pot – they had not brought any porcelain with them – and at least it was not oatmeal.

 

They did not attempt to return to the House now that night had fallen.  If there were others in the woods with guns, they had not dared to risk an ambush – or more likely, a fall in the dark and the loss of another horse.   Her gelding – its injury – its death – had distressed Adolin the most of all the party.  While Karsten cleaned the spoons, Adolin had gone to the horses’ pickets.  She saw him speaking to his own horse, Sureblood, and patting the others; no-one made any comment on his behaviour.  

 

Kaladin took the first watch of the evening; he climbed a tree and settled himself between the forking branches, his musket on his lap and a powder-horn dangling from his belt.  Karsten had the party’s guns and pistols out, and was cleaning them with methodical patience.  He had detached the bayonets and Shallan noticed smeared blood on them – and clumps of something that could have been hair.

 

Shallan sat away from the fire, her back against a tree.  At first it was for some privacy – she had wanted to inspect the damage to her clothing – but after she had re-dressed herself as best she could, she found herself partial to the peaceful half-light at the edge of the circle of illumination.   It was quiet – but not silent – and she could hear the creak of the trees, and the rustle of leaves in the canopy that surrounded them in gentle darkness.

 

She heard the shift of disturbed leaves and a shadow fell across her.  It was Adolin.  She stood; it was only polite.

 

“Here,” he said, and held out his blue riding coat.  Shallan took it; she was cold, and there was a slit down the side of her dress that leaked away the warmth of her body.  He had his overcoat on over his bloodstained waistcoat. 

 

“Thank you.”

 

“May I sit?”

 

“You needn’t ask – you own this forest, after all.”

 

“One should never forget to be polite, not even to a tree,” he said, and settled in next to her, between two curving roots; his back pressed against the base of the tree trunk.  “How are you?”

 

“As well as could be expected,” replied Shallan.  It sounded like insolence.  She had not meant to infer a complaint – this whole ill-fated expedition had been her own idea from the very beginning.

 

Adolin was silent.  It stretched on for quite some time.

 

Finally, he spoke.  “When I found out that Kal had abandoned you in there, in the dark, by yourself, I was so angry with him.”

 

“It turned out all right, didn’t it?”

 

“Yes.  It did, I suppose.  But the worst thing is – dare I admit it?  When I saw him – and I knew that he had left you unprotected – when we had spoken of that earlier today … well, a part of me is ashamed to say that I was grateful he had come, pathetically grateful.  Please, forgive me.”  He did not turn towards her; his head was bowed and he could not meet her eyes.

 

“Did he save your life?” asked Shallan, picking at the dried mud on her skirts.  She hoped her dress was salvageable; it was the best of her travelling wardrobe, and that was why she had worn it on the last day of the journey.  She did not want to be reminded of that particular conversation from the morning.  “Would you be dead if he hadn't come along?”

 

“Yes,” said Adolin softly.  “Once again, he saves the day.”  His voice was resigned – it was almost bitter, and it sounded strange from him, when he had always seemed so cheerful and good-humoured.  “As always.  Kaladin the heroic doctor, Karsten the veteran of a half dozen campaigns - and even you, Shallan.  Beautiful and clever and brave Shallan, who can handle herself with only one shot and a handbag.  What do I have?”

 

Shallan was almost disturbed by this display of honesty.  This – it was not one of the little truths, the inconsequential and unimportant truths that ladies and gentlemen of quality made a game of, when they conversed over meals.   It wasn’t banter, and there was no humour in it.  This was a … confession.  She had not expected it, and she was not sure she wanted it.  It was intimate; it made her afraid, because it was a sign of his trust – more trust than she had shared with Jasnah, or anyone at all outside Loch Davar.  He trusted her; he shared his confidences; it was a sign that his affection for her was more substantial than any stolen kiss in a public house back-room.

 

 “You’re beautiful too,” she said finally.  She almost groaned.  It was terrible.

 

“Yes – beautiful.  I’m just a walking fashion plate.”

 

“Who said you needed to be anything?”

 

“The whole world.”  Then he muttered, under his breath. “My father.”

 

“You oughtn’t listen to the people who say such things.”

 

“Are they not right?”

 

“They are as wrong-headed as those who call your blood impure,” said Shallan hotly.  “When I, or Kaladin for that matter, see a man gasping out his last breath, dying – dead – by our own hand, we hate this terrible world that makes us – forces our hands – to selfishly choose one day more for ourselves at the price of one last day for another.”  She took a deep breath, and realised that her fingers were grasping rough handfuls of her woollen skirt; she lowered her voice to a harsh whisper.  “When I see you, I understand – it must be done for the sake of people like you.”

 

“Like me?  Useless, lovesick fools?”

 

No.  Good men, honest men who remind us that this terrible world cannot be so terrible if they exist, so we do not – cannot – should not – regret the choice of our one more day.  You are a good man, with a good heart,” Shallan said, with feeling, then added, “and when a man with a knife comes at a good man, can he be anything but a bad one?”

 

Adolin was silent, but he reached for her hand over the gnarled root of the tree.  She squeezed his hand, and glanced over.  His eyes were on her, reflections of firelight shining in the not-so-ordinary blue; his eyes were full of warmth and grateful affection.  It had been something like half a year since she had seen those emotions felt – for her – and with a clumsy shuffle that dislodged dried leaves and squirming woodlice, she slithered over the tree root between them until they were face to face. 

 

She straddled his lap, and he did not pull away as she had half-expected he might.  They stared one another for several long moments – then his hand rose to her cheek and she felt the gentle stroke of his thumb at the corner of her mouth – and then they were kissing, mouth to desperate mouth, breath to breath and she could not tell – she could not care – whose was whose.

 

Shallan found herself with her forehead pressed against his, her arms over his shoulders, and his arms around her waist.  She was drawing in great heaving breaths – and so was he – and several strands of her red hair were stuck to his cheek.  She brushed them away with a gentle sweep of her fingers, picked up her skirts, and climbed off him

 

Adolin’s hand caught her wrist.  “Please – don’t go,” he said.

 

“I won’t,” she replied, and he slid over and made room for her in between two large curving roots.  He threw a companionable arm over her shoulders, and she leaned against him, head on his chest, listening to his beating heart.  She counted to ten.  It did not take all that long.

 

“Shall I tell you a truth?” Adolin whispered.  “I saw a battlefield for the first time when I was seventeen years old.  I saw men dying beside me, dying for the love they bore for my father.  I love my father – but I was afraid that I could not – do as they did that day.  Seeing these men – men I knew – calling for their mothers, for water, or for the Almighty’s Grace … when I first saw it, and heard it, I could not help it.  I … soiled myself.” 

 

“Well, there were no witnesses, at least.”  Perhaps it was flippant, or bad-mannered to say so, but Shallan could not think of what else to say; she deferred to – inappropriate – humour.  She could not imagine being surrounded by dying men; one at a time was more than enough, more than she – or anyone, really – should bear.

 

“Hah! Oh, Shallan,” said Adolin softly, “I envy that – how you always know the right things to say.”

 

“The right things?  No, it’s more that I say them to the right person.”

 

They were silent for some time, watching the distant flickering flames, hand in hand.

 

Adolin spoke again; his voice was firmer, but thoughtful.  “The thunder of cannons, and the screaming horses, and the gouts of smoke like the fires of Damnation.  It was nothing like the quiet map rooms and precise manoeuvres of the practice field.  I was … frightened.  I suppose I can admit that now.”

 

“Do you still feel fear when you know you must kill a man before he kills you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Keep hold of that.”

 

“Why?”

 

“As long as you feel something, you will know that you can still be a good man.  It is the bad people who have nothing left inside them,” said Shallan.  She knew this to be a truth, a truth that hurt all the more for her painful certainty in it.

 

“I – am glad to have you, Shallan,” he said, his voice hesitant.

 

“I am glad to know that there is more to you than mere fashion plates.”

 

“You might be the only one,” admitted Adolin.  A queer expression crossed his face.  “You – you must think me weak.”

 

No – you are human,” Shallan said passionately.  She paused, then continued in a more gentle tone, “You call what afflicts you weakness.  But I do not – it is mercy, and it is kindness.  If only the world held more of that.”

 

“If only it did.  But it doesn’t – and if it knew – what would it call me?”

 

Shallan sat up abruptly at that, and turned to look Adolin in the eye.  They stared at one another for several long seconds, and then she leaned over and whispered very quietly into his ear.  “The world need never know.”

                                                                                                                                                                                      

They held each other in the semi-darkness, nestled in the roots of a great tree in the great rustling forest.  It was similar to, Shallan supposed, but not entirely like the still stone arches of the village church.  There was something else – something more – about that forest; it held the promise of expectation, of change and growth and – of progress.

 

Perhaps one day she could feel the same calming peace with Adolin that she found with things she called familiar – things that reminded her of that vague – and growing ever vaguer – concept of ‘Home’.  She felt it in the smell of ether vapours, for the scent of lavender, for woollen tartans, and misted lochs under greying skies.  Would it be so difficult to feel that same comfortable ease around Adolin? 

 

Only if he knew all of her, as she knew all of him, said that part of her who wanted to hide away forever in silence and despair.

 

Adolin fell asleep beside her; his eyes closed and his breathing slowed.  Karsten banked the fire and set away the re-assembled guns.  Kaladin climbed down from his tree and they swapped watches; Karsten took the musket and she heard the crackle and scrape of his boots on tree bark.  Kaladin sat on his bedroll, sorting his surgical supplies.  She saw him watching them; she could see the yellow-orange gleam of embers reflected in his eyes.   She wondered what he thought of them now – of her and Adolin – and after some idle contemplation, decided she was too tired to care.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Is this the AU version of the chasm scene? Why not, nothing in this story is exactly 1:1, but a major thematic element has to be carried over, right? :-) The real question is: was it with Kaladin or Adolin?

This part of the story has some character developments going on, if you hadn't noticed.

- "Do you really think I care?" - Kaladin doesn't leave Shallan alone. This is where you see he doesn't hate her, and isn't neutral to her. He is impressed that she isn't screaming at the ether, and that she can make a joke ("Your breath" - callback to Chapter 1). He calls her "Shallan" instead of "Miss Davar", which shows his level of familiarity. Yes, he saw her topless, but he has seen it all before as a surgeon. Remember Chapter 2, when he called her "skinny and speckled like a frog"? Now that he's actually seen her, he doesn't think that anymore. At least not in a bad way. :)
- On the horses - It's too early to kill off Sureblood, but someone had to die. And it was foreshadowed earlier when Kaladin mocks Shallan's horse for being too slow. Adolin really likes animals; it's one reason why he doesn't hunt.
- On the guns - no Shardblades in the AU, military tech is around Earth level, with medical a bit further on. Gentlemen learn how to fence, but Kaladin isn't a gentleman. He is pretty handy with musket and bayonet (AU spear equivalent) and his surgeons hands don't shake so he's a good shot.
- On Adolin - I'm not sure how much everyone got out of reading into Adolin's canon character, but I wrote him as someone who, outside his flashy public persona, has daddy issues and is afraid of failure.
- "I was grateful he had come, pathetically grateful" - Remember the 4:1 duel? If Kaladin hadn't jumped in, Adolin would have been a cripple and Renarin probably dead. He isn't jealous of Kaladin's combat skills, but sad that he sucks compared to everyone else, because feels fear and regret when killing things while everyone seems to do it and be fine - note: there is no Thrill in AU but compare to to IRL Earth's societal expectations on masculinity, especially for soldiers, which Adolin never wanted to be. (Compare Kaladin who is okay with killing when it's done to protect people). Adolin also has PTSD symptoms. Too bad there are no therapists.
- "if it knew – what would it call me?” - the word is "coward". Adolin isn't a coward, but he's in a bad mental state and is thinking too emotionally.
- I wanted to compare Adolin and Kaladin's characters here. Shallan has a lot in common with Kaladin - they're broken people etc. But Adolin being a good person who is mostly "whole" is attractive to her, because what he sees is weak and unmasculine she thinks is a strength. She is still mostly unaware that Kaladin is starting to have feelings for her. Kaladin is also not afraid of making bawdy jokes, and isn't afraid of skin contact unlike Adolin who blushes at seeing a woman's leg through her stocking. His "baseball plate" level is unknown, but he isn't pure pureness level as Adoiin. Since Doctor Kaladin does take care of maids' mysterious "personal issues" and all.

 

Let me know what you think of my characterisation - if you think it's off canon or whatever, I'm always interested to hear what other people think about what's going on.

Edited by sheep
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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And may I ask what were the details of Kaladin saving Adolin and the details of Adolin pulling Kaladin out of court martial? We know how it happens in canon, it'd be interesting to know how it happens in "your world". Does it have anything to do with someone daring Adolin to do something stupid by saying: "Are you scared?" FYI, the whole scene made me think of Back to the Future where Marty McFly usually gets drawn into worst situations each time some asks him if he is scared.

 

His charge was "Dereliction of Duty".  In this AU (and in IRL British history), Dukes can raise their own regiments by commissioning the officers, recruiting the soldiers from somewhere in their duchy, and paying for training and equipment.  Kaladin joined the army to find Tien and signed on under Sadeas' banner, as a combat medic.  He found out some info about a bomb stash and did a temporary desertion to save lives.  :ph34r:  And, no, it doesn't have to with anyone daring Adolin.  Adolin isn't as dumb as Marty.  He wants to impress girls because he thinks that will make them like him.  He wants people see him as fun and daring, and he also wants an excuse to spend more time with Shallan.  If he didn't go, then she would just go with Jasnah and a groundskeeper, and that's no fun.   :lol:  Shallan thinks she's manipulating him, but there's a level of "like like" he has for her that she is unaware of. 

 

 

 

I dislike most fanfiction for this reason: the majority of them exist for the sole purpose of shipping and it usually is done without respecting the characters personality as per defined in the books. As for the kind of shipping communities tend to prefer, it is endemic: whichever fandom you may choose, you will find an abnormally high number of m/m or m/f/m pairings. There must be a cultural explanation for it, but it isn't my personal cup of tea.

The problem with shipping fics and rampant OOC is that they are usually around 2-4 pages long in terms of wordcount.  It feels OOC because there's no build-up, or development to justify the characters that way - those fics are just about the canoodling.  Suspension of disbelief for OOC behaviour is only possible when there's a reasonable justification in-story for the characters acting that way.  OT4 fics with Renarin in them ( :rolleyes:) don't make sense because they never show the characters becoming friends, they just skip ahead and show them hanging out and being buddy-buddy.  Slash or OT3/OT4 pairings exist because fan-authors have favourite characters and want to indulge themselves in a way that they know Brandon will never go, so why not?

 

 

I personally do not mind if the setting of a fic is different or if the story told bears no resemblance to canon, but I care if the characters behavioral patterns are widely different. There aren't many fics where I felt they got both Adolin and Kaladin right.

Kaladin isn't a shaking, crying and shy with intimacy person  :o and Adolin isn't a self assured overly confident individual who likes to flaunt his personal parts  :o  :ph34r:

I don't know if you are keeping up with this story, but since you are a character reader, how is my characterisation? 

And yes, I know my Kaladin is too "nice" compared to early WoR Kaladin, but he never had the slave life.  Because in an AU without magic or Syl, if Kaladin lived the slave life, he'd probably be dead.  :o  So that's kinda how I justified it. 

 

I feel like I'm getting Shallan on point, but writing Adolin or Kaladin is harder.  Adolin "does social" like Shallan does, but Shallan doesn't pay attention to people's emotions unless they relate specifically to her.  When I write her in character, she doesn't see that he is doing it, or where he slips, until he tells her straight out. 

 

 

 

I didn't exactly expected you to write anything that explicit...  :o

It's not like you wouldn't be spamming happy :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: faces if I did.

But I don't know if Adolin is a "Wait until we're comfortable" or "Wait until we're married" kind of guy.  The Codes say one thing, the heart says another. :wub:

 

 

I thus say Adolin has self-confidence issues (not self-esteem which is different), which has been another part of several of my analysis. I have stated on numerous occasions Adolin's confidence was a front, a cover he wears to disguise his own lack of it. He won't say it out loud, he won't published it: he will try to keep on his facade intact, but on the inside, he's a naturally nervous person who's afraid he won't be up to it.

 

In other words, Adolin is afraid of failure, of not being good enough. It is why he is so nervous before his duels, why he needs his calming and comforting routine and why he is having such a hard time with intimacy/relationships.

That's how I've been writing Adolin - he's like an actor with stage-fright, but every time he gets in front of the lights and recites his lines, he hopes that no one can tell that his heart isn't in it.  And no one can, and he likes the applause, but he knows they only like the act.  I also threw in some PTSD.  He also think it's shameful to be scared of killing because it's not manly or soldierly, to translate how he doesn't feel the Thrill compared to other Alethis.

 

If you read the last episode of the story, there was this one line I wrote "I love my father – but I was afraid that I could not [die] – as they did that day."

 

Adolin is in the army because he loves his dad, not because he believes in the cause.  When he saw a real battle for the first time, he realised that he didn't want to die.  And being afraid to die in battle (like a real man/warrior/proper Alethi) is what he thinks makes him a failure and a coward compared to other people, like Kaladin for example.  He would still throw himself in front of a bus to save Dalinar, but he really wouldn't want to - and that's what he focuses on and ties mental knots around.  In my AU, there is no Shardplate so there's no magical invulnerability/mental crutch of knowing you're unstoppable on the battlefield.  If you took away Adolin's Shards, I think you'd realise that they're his teddy bear and a huge part of his facade identity.

 

That's how I justified some of his mental issues. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

And just like most emotional issues, it would be solved if he had a therapist or actually talked to Dalinar about it.

Rule of Drama. <_<

 

 

 

 

Actually I tend to picture Kaladin as more muscular than Adolin... The guy lifts heavy bridges above his head: in other words, he his doing body building and weight-lifting. He even comments on how muscular he has become. On the other hand, Adolin prances around in his Plate (which gives him additional strength) lifting up an extra light sword.

It was only something like 3-4 months of bridge lifting on a diet of Soulcast gruel and nightly stew.  And they were running for 6 hours, so there was a lot of cardio too.  According to the labels on boxes of whey protein, you have to "eat big to get big" to "build GAINS!!!".  I thought it would have made Kaladin pretty strong, but physically he is very low bodyfat and has very defined muscles. To me, he's lean and no Ahnold, closer to a triathlon athlete.  And his physical imposing-ness comes from his height and his angry face.  It looks like this:  >:-|

 

Adolin gets 3 meals a day (or more) of nice food with multiple servings of chicken. :ph34r:  He is closer to modern gym-brah aesthetics, but nowhere near professional bodybuilder.  He doesn't know he has a really fit body because he never sees other men changing and assumes everyone else is like him.  Except maybe Sadeas, who is fat.  Shallan has to teach him to appreciate.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: 

 

 

 

 

It would be wonderful  B) I am not afraid of the sun: I dip myself into sunscreen anyway  :ph34r: I can't wait for winter to be over: no more boots, no more big coat... Just walking out of the house without needing to put on several layers, no more shuffling the snow out of the car, not more traffic jam because it is snowing... 

I actually like winter ... but only Australian winter.  Where you don't get sunburned if you forget your sunscreen one day, and you can wear your long sleeve t-shirt.  I always forget that winter in other countries involves snow (SNOW!  It's like UNICORNS!) and the kind of cold that if you forget your coat one night, you might actually die. Not to mention snow chains for tyres (never saw one) and Gore-Tex everything.

 

I still like pockets. :ph34r:  They are like built in purses.  

 

 

 

 

This scene you are referring to is where I believe Dalinar finally acknowledged Adolin as an adult. Before that, he was oscillating... Saying these words was powerful and a testimony of how bad killing Sadeas will hurt.

Now he has to do the same for Renarin.  It's going to be a long 10 years for him. :lol: :lol:

Kaladin also calls Adolin a good man in the chasms, when he thinks they're going to die and he should sacrifice himself to the chasmfiend so Shallan can run.  So he has acknowledged Adolin as an equal in maturity. :ph34r:

 

Wait, if all other lighteyes Adolin's age are married, does that mean that the double dates he goes on are actually with married couples?  Jakamav has Inkima, but Adolin's PoV just called her a date, not a wife.  Wow, everyone must assume he is either really really "loose" or almost pathetic in a way.  :blink:

 

Dalinar calling everyone "Son" is just so 1950's dad.  If you think about it, it's true!!!  Solid, honest, and reliable, but distant with his love and child-raising.  Does things by the rules, because the rules matter.  Wears shirt and tie every day, even at home and on weekends, but he puts on a sweater vest instead to make it "casual".  Who knows, maybe Brandon knew about it from the start and that is why he calls his bodyguard "Son". :o

 

 

 

 

Yeah, Kaladin is an adrenaline junkie: I totally dig on he motocross idea.

Kaladin does motocross and has a muddy dirtbike, and Adolin has a fancy Ducati that he rarely uses because he prefers horseback more.  And Kaladin makes fun of his one horsepower.  Modern AU fanfic plot right there. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

Football doesn't really show Adolin's fixation on "perfection".  It's a team sport, it's pretty much how well you can communicate with your teammates rather than how good you are personally.  If Adolin does it, it's not his "real" interest.  Martial arts would suit, but there are also other physical activities where you can find "perfection" without having to compete with other people, if you're doing it for your own self-improvement and relaxation, instead of winning.  Like ballet, or golf, or rally driving, spelunking.

 

 

 

 

I am not sure Adolin is paying paid, so to speak. It is more likely he has an expense account and he bills everything he buys on the house. Dalinar is obviously loose with those as he allows his son to splurge... unless he truly gets an allowance. Then he spends his money as he wants, but no doubt he would abuse, Dalinar would cut the flow.

In the old days, if you captured an enemy officer, they were all nobles, and there were "gentlemen's agreements".  He would surrender on his honour, and he would live in a nice tent in your warcamp until you ransomed him back to his family.  Things changed and then it became more tactical to snipe enemy officers instead.  Yeah, Alethkar society will take some time to adjust to a military mindset that isn't just about who has the biggest other parts. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

I wonder how Adolin feels about everything he has coming from Daddy, or if it's just normal for high-rankers.  It makes him very much a Princeling - Kaladin is kinda right on that.  Adolin got his own military position from nepotism, even though he works hard at it, and Renarin got his Shards for the same reason.   On Earth, financial independence is a sign of maturity. 

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His charge was "Dereliction of Duty".  In this AU (and in IRL British history), Dukes can raise their own regiments by commissioning the officers, recruiting the soldiers from somewhere in their duchy, and paying for training and equipment.  Kaladin joined the army to find Tien and signed on under Sadeas' banner, as a combat medic.  He found out some info about a bomb stash and did a temporary desertion to save lives.   :ph34r:  And, no, it doesn't have to with anyone daring Adolin.  Adolin isn't as dumb as Marty.  He wants to impress girls because he thinks that will make them like him.  He wants people see him as fun and daring, and he also wants an excuse to spend more time with Shallan.  If he didn't go, then she would just go with Jasnah and a groundskeeper, and that's no fun.    :lol:  Shallan thinks she's manipulating him, but there's a level of "like like" he has for her that she is unaware of. 

 

Ah Kaladin the deserter: it fits him like a glove  :ph34r: Kaladin would disobey if finds a good reason: he isn't a blind follower. He won't trust himself or his men into the gutter simply because army dictates you obey to orders.

 

So... How did Kaladin save Adolin then? He deserted from Sadeas's army in order to save lives because a secret bomb stash... So who were the lives he saved? Dalinar and Adolin? Which would be why Adolin afterwards saved Kaladin from martial court?

 

Agree Adolin is trying to impress girls in hope it will make them like him. When he first dates Shallan, this is exactly what he does: talking of his exploits with the clear impression to have Shallan melt over in front of his bravery.... It obviously was a tactic he had used in the past.

 

So how afraid of this forest Adolin really is??? A nice touch as book Adolin is afraid of highstorms.

 

 

The problem with shipping fics and rampant OOC is that they are usually around 2-4 pages long in terms of wordcount.  It feels OOC because there's no build-up, or development to justify the characters that way - those fics are just about the canoodling.  Suspension of disbelief for OOC behaviour is only possible when there's a reasonable justification in-story for the characters acting that way.  OT4 fics with Renarin in them (  :rolleyes:) don't make sense because they never show the characters becoming friends, they just skip ahead and show them hanging out and being buddy-buddy.  Slash or OT3/OT4 pairings exist because fan-authors have favourite characters and want to indulge themselves in a way that they know Brandon will never go, so why not?

 

But canoodling without proper setting and development means nothing: it isn't even enjoyable as all characters are completely OOC. As for the OT4... Renarin and Adolin within a multi-partner relationship? Even with proper character development, this is still to OOC for me to truly enjoy it. For the rest, I just don't understand why two male characters can't be friends without bringing in romantic feelings... What happened to simple bromance??? Friendship is beautiful, why is it always ruined by turning into canoodling?

 

 

 

I don't know if you are keeping up with this story, but since you are a character reader, how is my characterisation? 

And yes, I know my Kaladin is too "nice" compared to early WoR Kaladin, but he never had the slave life.  Because in an AU without magic or Syl, if Kaladin lived the slave life, he'd probably be dead.   :o  So that's kinda how I justified it. 

 

I feel like I'm getting Shallan on point, but writing Adolin or Kaladin is harder.  Adolin "does social" like Shallan does, but Shallan doesn't pay attention to people's emotions unless they relate specifically to her.  When I write her in character, she doesn't see that he is doing it, or where he slips, until he tells her straight out. 

 

Of course I am  :o You have been busy, I like where it is currently going. 

 

On characterization, I am enjoying how you decided to play the characters. Of course, none of them can exactly be identical to their book counter-parts as this is an AU: their life circumstances are different which made them developed in a different manner.

 

For instance, without Roshone and Amaram's betrayal, Kaladin does become a surgeon, but his military instincts are still intact and while he strives to heal, he won't stand still and watch people die uselessly if he can do something about it. He still wants to protect, but without Syl and her strict reliance to honor, he is able to do so with more ease. It isn't he enjoys killing, but if you attack him or his men: he won't hesitate. His lack of super-powers also make more human: he still saves the day (seriously, no matter how much I rant against it, it can't be SA if Kaladin doesn't save the day  :ph34r:). Also, with less tragedy in his past, he isn't depressed nor gloomy all the time, but he retains his snarling personality, his disrespect for rank and it suits him. He has the credit to ignore such things which may be why he tags along with Adolin: he is allowed to behave like a manner-less lout without being reprimanded  :ph34r:

 

As for Shallan, her past is not as dark as book Shallan, but more importantly, she doesn't have Pattern to blame everything on. She still wants to protect her family, she still doesn't want to be catered for and she still is unsure as to whether she should pursue with Adolin. I sensed she likes him, but, but, but... There is much at stakes. Can she renounce to her former self in order to marry into another household? Book Shallan just hopes an alliance to a powerful house would shelter her family, but AU Shallan has other concerns in mind as well. I like the inclusion the ether addiction: just as book Shallan, AU Shallan thinks herself weak for wanting the ether. As for book Shallan, she thinks she isn't strong enough to remember, that memories would threaten her being... 

 

I must say I love how you included the "I will protect you" scene from the book into this story and how you even incorporated Adolin having an incident with his body fluids on the battlefield  :ph34r: The circumstances are much different, but it fits. Book Adolin has been to war but at the same time he hasn't been to war... more of that later.

 

As for Adolin, I do think you nailed most of his character. Adolin wants to please, but he doesn't want to rule. He wants to marry, but he can't allow himself to be.. himself whenever he is courting a girl. Book Adolin is afraid he won't meet up to the expectations: I see some of that with AU Adolin, mostly when he mentions his father. FYI, I loved this bout. The "My father" he muttered truly wrenched my heart  :(  I have been saying Adolin has unacknowledged daddy issues for the longest time, but it has been a tough one to sell to most readers. Even with this WoB which acknowledge Dalinar is too hard on Adolin, many readers still don't see anything wrong with their relationship. Well, I do. Here is a nice parallel: in the Dalinar excerpt, young Dalinar mentions how most dying men, young or old, tend to cry for their mother as they bleed to death. However, when Adolin is facing death to the hand of Szeth, all he can think about is the fact he has failed his father. This scene was a powerful one to me as it shows us another short glimpse of Adolin's vulnerability: how his relationship with his father and the expectations he has placed on him have shaped him, distort him into having no feeling whatsoever towards his own death.

 

I also think Shallan isn't entirely aware of how hard Adolin is crushing on her. I get the feeling it is still a game for her: catch the prized fish and make sure he doesn't unhook himself, but she forgot to acknowledge the fish has no intention to go anywhere. The fic catches this beautifully. Adolin is confiding in her, but she doesn't seem to be in a very receptive mood. Just as book Shallan who never acknowledges Adolin has feelings. So yeah I agree she never look into other people's emotions, just her own which is what bothers me with their relationship... Shallan seems so self-centered? Her need, her family, her being, her emotions... Isn't there anyone to spare a thought for Adolin?

 

 

 

It's not like you wouldn't be spamming happy  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: faces if I did.

But I don't know if Adolin is a "Wait until we're comfortable" or "Wait until we're married" kind of guy.  The Codes say one thing, the heart says another.  :wub:

 

Adolin would follow his heart. He would do it before marriage if it were a really special moment.

 

That's how I've been writing Adolin - he's like an actor with stage-fright, but every time he gets in front of the lights and recites his lines, he hopes that no one can tell that his heart isn't in it.  And no one can, and he likes the applause, but he knows they only like the act.  I also threw in some PTSD.  He also think it's shameful to be scared of killing because it's not manly or soldierly, to translate how he doesn't feel the Thrill compared to other Alethis.

 

If you read the last episode of the story, there was this one line I wrote "I love my father – but I was afraid that I could not [die] – as they did that day."

 

Adolin is in the army because he loves his dad, not because he believes in the cause.  When he saw a real battle for the first time, he realised that he didn't want to die.  And being afraid to die in battle (like a real man/warrior/proper Alethi) is what he thinks makes him a failure and a coward compared to other people, like Kaladin for example.  He would still throw himself in front of a bus to save Dalinar, but he really wouldn't want to - and that's what he focuses on and ties mental knots around.  In my AU, there is no Shardplate so there's no magical invulnerability/mental crutch of knowing you're unstoppable on the battlefield.  If you took away Adolin's Shards, I think you'd realise that they're his teddy bear and a huge part of his facade identity.

 

That's how I justified some of his mental issues.  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

 

And just like most emotional issues, it would be solved if he had a therapist or actually talked to Dalinar about it.

Rule of Drama.  <_<

 

I absolutely love the actor with stage-fright analogy. It is exactly it: Adolin goes about his life playing a role scripted and produced by Dalinar. He tries to be up to it, he tries to be this person, but deep down he isn't and the more he tries, the more afraid he gets he won't remember the right lines.

 

PTSD was a nice touch. A lot of people read Adolin as some dumb killing machine ready to walk into the Blackthorn's footsteps. I disagree. Adolin is kind-hearted and compassionate: he hates hunting as he thinks it barbarous. I suspect he hates killing defenseless creatures as well, but as long as he is cocooned in his Shards, as long as he feels their power and as long as the Thrill distort his visions, he can by and do it. However, the second the Thrill leaves him, his reaction is poignant, much more stringent than Dalinar's. He shakes, he trembles all over and he drops his Blade in the mist of a battle. He can't fight. He can't fight while endorsing the fact he is nothing more than a blue clad monster: he is what he hates. A hunter. It is only when Eshonai gives him a fair duel he shakes out of it and manages to get himself back together. What is going to happen to Adolin now he doesn't have the Thrill? I have been meaning to read those scenes...

 

I love the teddy bear analogy.... :ph34r: I bet Adolin has something he takes to bed with him  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: And he hugs it whenever there is a highstorm outside  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

I too feel that, without his powerful weapons, Adolin would have taken to warfare in a much different way. I loved how you included his "bathroom" incident within the fic... but while it was a funny scene in SA, in here it was a sad one where you imagine a 17 years old well-dressed teenager witnessing the horrors of war and being helpless to do anything worth mentioning while being terrified he would die as well. 

 

However, book Adolin would throw himself in front of Dalinar and gladly. I feel AU Dalinar doesn't have as firm of a grip on his son as book Dalinar: you may want to exploit this in the fic in order to show us how different circumstances changed their relationship. Book Adolin hero-worships his father, does AU Adolin behaves the same way?

 

 

 

It was only something like 3-4 months of bridge lifting on a diet of Soulcast gruel and nightly stew.  And they were running for 6 hours, so there was a lot of cardio too.  According to the labels on boxes of whey protein, you have to "eat big to get big" to "build GAINS!!!".  I thought it would have made Kaladin pretty strong, but physically he is very low bodyfat and has very defined muscles. To me, he's lean and no Ahnold, closer to a triathlon athlete.  And his physical imposing-ness comes from his height and his angry face.  It looks like this:  >:-|

 

Adolin gets 3 meals a day (or more) of nice food with multiple servings of chicken. :ph34r:  He is closer to modern gym-brah aesthetics, but nowhere near professional bodybuilder.  He doesn't know he has a really fit body because he never sees other men changing and assumes everyone else is like him.  Except maybe Sadeas, who is fat.  Shallan has to teach him to appreciate.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Oh I do agree muscles take time to built, but Brandon did write Kaladin marveling over how muscular he has gotten due to his bridge-lifting... It probably is where my imagery comes from  :ph34r:

 

As for Adolin, I see him as very athletic, not at all like the gym-brats. The gym-brats do nothing else but bench pressed and don't get them on a thread-mill: they often have no cardio at all. This is not Adolin. Adolin doesn't do this kind of exercise: he doesn't lift weights. Dueling is very athletic, requires a strong cardio and lean agile muscles built for speed and precision as opposed to strength. Adolin's fighting style is all about agility, speed and endurance. The guy has cardio and no way he has the over-inflated muscles of a gym-brat.

 

The one who does weight lifting is Kaladin.......  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

I actually like winter ... but only Australian winter.  Where you don't get sunburned if you forget your sunscreen one day, and you can wear your long sleeve t-shirt.  I always forget that winter in other countries involves snow (SNOW!  It's like UNICORNS!) and the kind of cold that if you forget your coat one night, you might actually die. Not to mention snow chains for tyres (never saw one) and Gore-Tex everything.

 

I still like pockets. :ph34r:  They are like built in purses.  

 

Pfffff... Allow me to laugh at an Australian concept of winter  :P Winter implies not only snow, but gruesome cold. The lowest we had this winter was -28C, according to the thermometer, so without the wind factor (forget about humidity, cold weather calls for dryness).

 

This being said, I believe you are over-stating it... Snow chains??? We call them traction aids and no, nobody has those in Montreal... It doesn't snow enough for that in Montreal. I think the average snow fall is about 2 m per winter. A snow storm has to have about 20 cm or more to be call such a thing. Under that, it is an annoying fall of white wonderland crap :ph34r: which causes nothing more than a traffic jam  :ph34r: (but it makes the kids SO happy  :D and fresh snow is actually pretty and fun). To need traction aids, gee, you need to really get stuck which needs a truly massive snow fall: I mean most snow mounts can be easily crossed by pressing the accelerator and driving through it at full speed  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

But yeah I do have Gore-Tex stuff....

 

 

 

Now he has to do the same for Renarin.  It's going to be a long 10 years for him. :lol: :lol:

Kaladin also calls Adolin a good man in the chasms, when he thinks they're going to die and he should sacrifice himself to the chasmfiend so Shallan can run.  So he has acknowledged Adolin as an equal in maturity. :ph34r:

 

Wait, if all other lighteyes Adolin's age are married, does that mean that the double dates he goes on are actually with married couples?  Jakamav has Inkima, but Adolin's PoV just called her a date, not a wife.  Wow, everyone must assume he is either really really "loose" or almost pathetic in a way.  :blink:

 

Dalinar calling everyone "Son" is just so 1950's dad.  If you think about it, it's true!!!  Solid, honest, and reliable, but distant with his love and child-raising.  Does things by the rules, because the rules matter.  Wears shirt and tie every day, even at home and on weekends, but he puts on a sweater vest instead to make it "casual".  Who knows, maybe Brandon knew about it from the start and that is why he calls his bodyguard "Son". :o

 

It may be quicker than we think with Renarin being a Radiant and everything  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: It is good you point out the chasm scene as it may very well be the only time Kaladin thinks of Adolin as a man and not a "spoiled kid" or a "brat"  :o

 

I have assumed Inkima was Jakamav's wife. Also, Jakamav leads Roion army on his own and is a land lord: he's probably older than Adolin. Since Adolin started training at the age of 6 while everyone starts at 10-11, it is safe to assume most of his friends would be slightly older than him. I have no idea what they think of Adolin, but I am sure they laugh of his "inexperience" behind his back  :ph34r:

 

Oh... Dalinar is so the 1950s dad: stern, strict, authoritative and incapable of demonstrating love, especially not in front of his eldest son.

 

 

Kaladin does motocross and has a muddy dirtbike, and Adolin has a fancy Ducati that he rarely uses because he prefers horseback more.  And Kaladin makes fun of his one horsepower.  Modern AU fanfic plot right there. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

Football doesn't really show Adolin's fixation on "perfection".  It's a team sport, it's pretty much how well you can communicate with your teammates rather than how good you are personally.  If Adolin does it, it's not his "real" interest.  Martial arts would suit, but there are also other physical activities where you can find "perfection" without having to compete with other people, if you're doing it for your own self-improvement and relaxation, instead of winning.  Like ballet, or golf, or rally driving, spelunking.

 

I love Kaladin doing muddy dirtbike: fits him like a glove  :ph34r: Don't get there... horsepower comparison? Seriously?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Football is to modern AU Adolin what soldering is to book Adolin: what his father was being very good at and what he has been more or less forced to enter into. So modern day Adolin doesn't enjoy football, but he is good at it and he does it because it makes his father proud of him and the only times Dalinar expressed positive emotions for Adolin is when he behaves exactly like Dalinar wants. So he became a football star.

 

Also Adolin enjoys the competition: not because he wants to crush people, but because it gives him confirmation on his talent. He can't assess his worth just on his own: he lacks too much self confidence for this, so he needs to be told he is good. Modern AU Adolin would thus enjoy a sport demanding a high level of skill while harboring one on one competition in order to prove his worth. So huh definitely not ballet or golf  :ph34r: Martial arts, fencing are pretty much all that comes to mind  :ph34r:

 

 

 

In the old days, if you captured an enemy officer, they were all nobles, and there were "gentlemen's agreements".  He would surrender on his honour, and he would live in a nice tent in your warcamp until you ransomed him back to his family.  Things changed and then it became more tactical to snipe enemy officers instead.  Yeah, Alethkar society will take some time to adjust to a military mindset that isn't just about who has the biggest other parts. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

I wonder how Adolin feels about everything he has coming from Daddy, or if it's just normal for high-rankers.  It makes him very much a Princeling - Kaladin is kinda right on that.  Adolin got his own military position from nepotism, even though he works hard at it, and Renarin got his Shards for the same reason.   On Earth, financial independence is a sign of maturity. 

 

I wonder if we are going to see a character being captured... It would be interesting. Though it can't reasonably be a Radiant: a Radiant would just escape, so someone else........

 

I think Adolin never gave much thought as to where his money came from: he takes it for granted. He never really had to wonder about it, it was always there, available to him without him having a true sense of what is required to earn it. So yeah, he is a princeling, but he is one with a good heart. In ancient time, sons of rich lords wouldn't see financial independence as a sign of maturity as they never truly earn it.

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Ah Kaladin the deserter: it fits him like a glove  :ph34r: Kaladin would disobey if finds a good reason: he isn't a blind follower. He won't trust himself or his men into the gutter simply because army dictates you obey to orders.

So... How did Kaladin save Adolin then? He deserted from Sadeas's army in order to save lives because a secret bomb stash... So who were the lives he saved? Dalinar and Adolin? Which would be why Adolin afterwards saved Kaladin from martial court?

Agree Adolin is trying to impress girls in hope it will make them like him. When he first dates Shallan, this is exactly what he does: talking of his exploits with the clear impression to have Shallan melt over in front of his bravery.... It obviously was a tactic he had used in the past.

So how afraid of this forest Adolin really is??? A nice touch as book Adolin is afraid of highstorms.

 

Kaladin heard from a dying minescouter that there was a Skybreaker ambush planned for the Kholin regiment.  Lt Colonel Amaram didn't care because "not my prob, brah" so Kaladin used his Charisma Magic and recruited the non-combat staff of the Sadeas regiment (cooks, quartermasters, training sergeants) and the hospital's walking wounded to steal cannons from the maintenance yard. Then they covered the Kholin retreat and saved it from total annihilation. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  Adolin saved Kaladin with Nepotism Magic.

 

Adolin is a professional speed-dater.  He knows there are certain moves like bragging about victories, or handing out compliments, or going out to a restaurants, that are guaranteed to work.  But the thing is that he doesn't have to do that - even if he didn't try to impress her, and wasn't a cute and friendly guy, Shallan would still marry him.  The villagers have superstitions about the forest, and Adolin knows superstitions are silly and for peasants, but part of him still believes it.  A bunch of people got hurt in mysterious ways in logging accidents, so there is a legitimate danger in there.  But Adolin thinks smart people can avoid hurting themselves as long as they're smart about it, which is why he is still willing to go through with it.  He's not chicken. :ph34r: :ph34r:  He eats chicken for breakfast. :lol::ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

But canoodling without proper setting and development means nothing: it isn't even enjoyable as all characters are completely OOC. As for the OT4... Renarin and Adolin within a multi-partner relationship? Even with proper character development, this is still to OOC for me to truly enjoy it. For the rest, I just don't understand why two male characters can't be friends without bringing in romantic feelings... What happened to simple bromance??? Friendship is beautiful, why is it always ruined by turning into canoodling?

You're just too much of a character reader!  Some people are willing and happy to suspend their disbelief to see some OOC action.  Even if you (or I) think that any ship that involves both Renarin and Adolin is completely icky.  Seriously, most of the time I don't care what other people ship as their OTP or OT3 or whatever, but there is something about siblings in a ship that makes me go blaaaargh. :wacko: Whether it's anything with Renarin and Adolin, or even Gavilar/Navani/Dalinar.  

 

The world has changed.  Shipping is acceptable in all sorts of ways now, and people want to and can headcanon however they like.  For example, Sam and Frodo were supposed to be best friends with an officer/batman style relationship.  It made sense in the past, but now people don't understand it and see such a relationship as a ship-ship.  Yeah, I don't get it either. It used to be in the past that a reveal of being long lost twins would kill a ship, but that doesn't deter people today.

 

 

 

 

For instance, without Roshone and Amaram's betrayal, Kaladin does become a surgeon, but his military instincts are still intact and while he strives to heal, he won't stand still and watch people die uselessly if he can do something about it. He still wants to protect, but without Syl and her strict reliance to honor, he is able to do so with more ease. It isn't he enjoys killing, but if you attack him or his men: he won't hesitate. His lack of super-powers also make more human: he still saves the day (seriously, no matter how much I rant against it, it can't be SA if Kaladin doesn't save the day  :ph34r:). Also, with less tragedy in his past, he isn't depressed nor gloomy all the time, but he retains his snarling personality, his disrespect for rank and it suits him. He has the credit to ignore such things which may be why he tags along with Adolin: he is allowed to behave like a manner-less lout without being reprimanded  :ph34r:

AU Kaladin is a lot more morally ambiguous.  Whether he is a doctor or soldier, he believes in doing things "as long as it is right", so he can even throw the Hippocratic Oaths to do no harm to the wayside.  Syl in SA is so black and white, and I prefer it when people solve their own problems and develop an understanding of their own morality on their own.  No spren shortcuts or built in karma meter. :ph34r:  Kaladin may think the social hierarchy is stupid, but he takes advantage of it where he can.  In this AU, when Kaladin is in the army as a personal physician, Adolin is his superior officer so anyone with a complaint has to go to Adolin, who just shrugs.  In the civvie world, his patron is one of the ten Dukes.  It's just like in WoR when Kaladin is suddenly promoted to Kholin guard captain and tells Rock to take all the food and fill their storehouses with them and make big fancy dinners, because Dalinar is paying for it. 

 

 

 

As for Shallan, her past is not as dark as book Shallan, but more importantly, she doesn't have Pattern to blame everything on. She still wants to protect her family, she still doesn't want to be catered for and she still is unsure as to whether she should pursue with Adolin. I sensed she likes him, but, but, but... There is much at stakes. Can she renounce to her former self in order to marry into another household? Book Shallan just hopes an alliance to a powerful house would shelter her family, but AU Shallan has other concerns in mind as well. I like the inclusion the ether addiction: just as book Shallan, AU Shallan thinks herself weak for wanting the ether. As for book Shallan, she thinks she isn't strong enough to remember, that memories would threaten her being...

Pattern forcing Shallan to remember in order to level up felt like a cop out to me. :ph34r: Without Lightweaving, Shallan is doing all the mental repressing on her own.  The ether abuse is a symbol for illusion/delusion, and an addiction is supposed to show that a person is unhappy with their lives, or mentally unhealthy - that's why Renarin had issues with it in the past.  When I read WoK, I always thought it was a bit weird that Shallan was willing to drop everything to find Jasnah and marry Adolin with minimal second thoughts. Yes, her terrible past makes the Davar manor sound like a haunted castle, but before her parents died, it must have been a decent place.  She still liked the gardens, but I read no homesickness, unless she Lightweaved (wove?) that out of her.  So I wrote AU Shallan with more nostalgia.  Instead of magically mindwiping herself, she clings to the past and how it used to be.  

 

As for Adolin, I do think you nailed most of his character. Adolin wants to please, but he doesn't want to rule. He wants to marry, but he can't allow himself to be.. himself whenever he is courting a girl. Book Adolin is afraid he won't meet up to the expectations: I see some of that with AU Adolin, mostly when he mentions his father. FYI, I loved this bout. The "My father" he muttered truly wrenched my heart  :(  I have been saying Adolin has unacknowledged daddy issues for the longest time, but it has been a tough one to sell to most readers. Even with this WoB which acknowledge Dalinar is too hard on Adolin, many readers still don't see anything wrong with their relationship. Well, I do. Here is a nice parallel: in the Dalinar excerpt, young Dalinar mentions how most dying men, young or old, tend to cry for their mother as they bleed to death. However, when Adolin is facing death to the hand of Szeth, all he can think about is the fact he has failed his father. This scene was a powerful one to me as it shows us another short glimpse of Adolin's vulnerability: how his relationship with his father and the expectations he has placed on him have shaped him, distort him into having no feeling whatsoever towards his own death.

 

I also think Shallan isn't entirely aware of how hard Adolin is crushing on her. I get the feeling it is still a game for her: catch the prized fish and make sure he doesn't unhook himself, but she forgot to acknowledge the fish has no intention to go anywhere. The fic catches this beautifully. Adolin is confiding in her, but she doesn't seem to be in a very receptive mood. Just as book Shallan who never acknowledges Adolin has feelings. So yeah I agree she never look into other people's emotions, just her own which is what bothers me with their relationship... Shallan seems so self-centered? Her need, her family, her being, her emotions... Isn't there anyone to spare a thought for Adolin?

 

Aw man, that means a lot coming from Adolin's #1 fan. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

The problem is that people think Dalinar is a cool guy and Adolin is a cool guy too, and they are both battlefield superstars who would wear sunglasses over their Shardplate helms if they exist on Roshar, because of how awesome they are.  It's hard to imagine tough guys having daddy issues, or soft squishy feelings in general, which is why it gets overlooked.  People who read Adolin from the surface don't really see his soft squishy insides, or they just glance over it.  <_< 

 

You must remember, in this story, as it is in most Regency romance novels, Shallan is mentally very selfish and self-centered, and lacks self awareness.  Usually the heroine of classic romance has to work out her own issues, and evolve into mental maturity, before she can land the man.  You have to read her PoV as an unreliable narrator.  There are things she misses and things she misinterprets, because she sees the world based on her own frame of reference.  For example, Kaladin is not really a bad guy, Shallan just thinks he is when she mentally criticises him.

 

And Kaladin cares about Adolin. :ph34r:  He doesn't like Adolin's endless courtships because even if Adolin doesn't show how it affects him, each rejection is like someone stomped on his heart.  :(  That is why he didn't like Shallan in Part One, because he thought she would just use Adolin and throw him away.  Now that Adolin likes Shallan more than any other girl before, Kaladin thinks that she might be his One Last Try, and that makes him feel really conflicted about his own developing feelings.  And Kaladin killed the horse because Adolin couldn't. 

 

 

 

PTSD was a nice touch. A lot of people read Adolin as some dumb killing machine ready to walk into the Blackthorn's footsteps. I disagree. Adolin is kind-hearted and compassionate: he hates hunting as he thinks it barbarous. I suspect he hates killing defenseless creatures as well, but as long as he is cocooned in his Shards, as long as he feels their power and as long as the Thrill distort his visions, he can by and do it. However, the second the Thrill leaves him, his reaction is poignant, much more stringent than Dalinar's. He shakes, he trembles all over and he drops his Blade in the mist of a battle. He can't fight. He can't fight while endorsing the fact he is nothing more than a blue clad monster: he is what he hates. A hunter. It is only when Eshonai gives him a fair duel he shakes out of it and manages to get himself back together. What is going to happen to Adolin now he doesn't have the Thrill? I have been meaning to read those scenes...

 

I love the teddy bear analogy.... :ph34r: I bet Adolin has something he takes to bed with him  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: And he hugs it whenever there is a highstorm outside  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

I too feel that, without his powerful weapons, Adolin would have taken to warfare in a much different way. I loved how you included his "bathroom" incident within the fic... but while it was a funny scene in SA, in here it was a sad one where you imagine a 17 years old well-dressed teenager witnessing the horrors of war and being helpless to do anything worth mentioning while being terrified he would die as well. 

 

However, book Adolin would throw himself in front of Dalinar and gladly. I feel AU Dalinar doesn't have as firm of a grip on his son as book Dalinar: you may want to exploit this in the fic in order to show us how different circumstances changed their relationship. Book Adolin hero-worships his father, does AU Adolin behaves the same way?

I felt that even though WoR didn't show too much on Sureblood's death, or Adolin reflecting on it afterwards, it was still a very traumatic moment for him.  Because Ryshadium are magical loyal horses and going into battle without one is like duelling without Mother's chain and chicken for breakfast.  Adolin post-WoR is going to be all sorts of messed up, but in my AU, the mental trauma started way earlier since there was no Shardplate and Thrill to cushion him and desensitise him on how horrible war really is.  Because when you are 17 years old and trained as an officer, your first time on the battlefield is when you realise people are willing to follow your orders into the gun-range and die because you told them to do it. 

 

One reason why Adolin feels "not good enough" is because his own position in the army was given to him out of nepotism - his dad bought him an officer's commission.  Dalinar has the soldiers' loyalty from decades of campaigns, and Kaladin has Charisma and earned his own position through Heroic Deeds.  Adolin started out textbook smart and learned field strategy on campaign and objectively is a capable commander, but still feels he can't compete compared to them.  His position protects him from a lot of "dirty work" that Kaladin doesn't have trouble with, like putting down dying horses and holding ether over dying soldier's noses so they pass out happy.  Imagine Adolin and Kaladin walking into a hospital tent full of dying soldiers or soldiers with amputated parts.  They would be thanking Adolin - the guy who crippled or killed them - for visiting them, and ignoring Kaladin, the guy who tried and failed to save their lives.   Maximum trauma. :wacko: :wacko:

 

In this AU, there is more distance between Dalinar and Adolin than in SA.  In this AU, the Dukes stay in the capital city Kholinar, where Elhokar is, and send people like Amaram to manage their regiments.  Dalinar is considered the weird one for going to battle in person, and he made Adolin a Duke when the war started so Adolin could run the farm.  Adolin's fanatical loyalty to Dalinar is balanced out by an equal loyalty to the thousands of people who depend on him as their landlord.  He still believes in Dalinar's "gut feelings" more than other people, even if it doesn't sound logical.  But he is also aware of a wider picture.  I personally find Adolin's obsessive loyalty a bit...overboard.  And I find it hard to balance it while keeping Adolin a mature and mostly independent adult, so I don't write it as up to 11 like it is in the books.

 

Oh I do agree muscles take time to built, but Brandon did write Kaladin marveling over how muscular he has gotten due to his bridge-lifting... It probably is where my imagery comes from  :ph34r:

As for Adolin, I see him as very athletic, not at all like the gym-brats. The gym-brats do nothing else but bench pressed and don't get them on a thread-mill: they often have no cardio at all. This is not Adolin. Adolin doesn't do this kind of exercise: he doesn't lift weights. Dueling is very athletic, requires a strong cardio and lean agile muscles built for speed and precision as opposed to strength. Adolin's fighting style is all about agility, speed and endurance. The guy has cardio and no way he has the over-inflated muscles of a gym-brat.

The one who does weight lifting is Kaladin.......  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

I went back and searched for the word "muscle" in the the WoK eBook, and it said that Kaladin was still muscly after 8 months of gruel and beatings as a slave.  Kaladin makes a notice of his own muscles, and the Bridge Four guys' muscles.  He notices Moash's pecs and compares himself to Gaz's noodle arms. 

 

And now it's super annoying that Adolin doesn't do the same thing for himself. :ph34r:  In Shallan's PoV she only mentions his messy hair and his hot face.  Come on! -_-

 

 

 

Pfffff... Allow me to laugh at an Australian concept of winter  :P Winter implies not only snow, but gruesome cold. The lowest we had this winter was -28C, according to the thermometer, so without the wind factor (forget about humidity, cold weather calls for dryness).

This being said, I believe you are over-stating it... Snow chains??? We call them traction aids and no, nobody has those in Montreal... It doesn't snow enough for that in Montreal. I think the average snow fall is about 2 m per winter. A snow storm has to have about 20 cm or more to be call such a thing. Under that, it is an annoying fall of white wonderland crap :ph34r: which causes nothing more than a traffic jam  :ph34r: (but it makes the kids SO happy  :D and fresh snow is actually pretty and fun). To need traction aids, gee, you need to really get stuck which needs a truly massive snow fall: I mean most snow mounts can be easily crossed by pressing the accelerator and driving through it at full speed  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

But yeah I do have Gore-Tex stuff....

I can't remember a winter colder than 5C, actually.  It is normally around 15C for winter days, and everyone complains about it and bundles up in scarves and wool coats.  But when there are European tourists and other people used to "real cold", they walk around in single layer long sleeve shirts, or even t-shirts when all the locals are triple layered.

 

Snow seems pretty crazy.  I know nothing about driving in snow or ice at all; it's the kind of thing people skip in the drivers license manual as one of those things that never happens.  You're more likely to hit a kangaroo than a snow pile.  But then again, weird things happen here too, like people in the outback who store their telephones in the fridge.  And people who wear traffic cones on their head because of the drop bears. :ph34r:

 

I have assumed Inkima was Jakamav's wife. Also, Jakamav leads Roion army on his own and is a land lord: he's probably older than Adolin. Since Adolin started training at the age of 6 while everyone starts at 10-11, it is safe to assume most of his friends would be slightly older than him. I have no idea what they think of Adolin, but I am sure they laugh of his "inexperience" behind his back  :ph34r:

Oh... Dalinar is so the 1950s dad: stern, strict, authoritative and incapable of demonstrating love, especially not in front of his eldest son.

I feel really sorry for Adolin, the lonely rich guy.  His friends are all donutholes and all the girls swipe left on him.  I can't decide if it's better than Renarin, who had no friends or girlfriends at all, before he joined Bridge Four.  People laugh about Adolin being a "noob", but they don't even remember that Renarin exists.

 

 

 

 

I love Kaladin doing muddy dirtbike: fits him like a glove  :ph34r: Don't get there... horsepower comparison? Seriously?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

Football is to modern AU Adolin what soldering is to book Adolin: what his father was being very good at and what he has been more or less forced to enter into. So modern day Adolin doesn't enjoy football, but he is good at it and he does it because it makes his father proud of him and the only times Dalinar expressed positive emotions for Adolin is when he behaves exactly like Dalinar wants. So he became a football star.

Also Adolin enjoys the competition: not because he wants to crush people, but because it gives him confirmation on his talent. He can't assess his worth just on his own: he lacks too much self confidence for this, so he needs to be told he is good. Modern AU Adolin would thus enjoy a sport demanding a high level of skill while harboring one on one competition in order to prove his worth. So huh definitely not ballet or golf  :ph34r: Martial arts, fencing are pretty much all that comes to mind  :ph34r:

Kaladin and Adolin in leather motorcycle pants. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  It would fit Kaladin to run laps on a muddy track in the woods, with his shirtless bridge brothers to watch.  Maybe he has a helmet with the number "4" painted on it, and a Parshendi paintjob on his bike.  Comparing horsepower is a man thing.  Harleys vs Sportsbikes vs Dirtbikes vs streetracing cars.   :ph34r:   It makes sense that you could get a rivalry going with an actual horse.

 

If football star Adolin gets a varsity jacket, then I'm ok with it. :ph34r:

 

Adolin's self confidence ugh.  No participation ribbon is good enough for him; he needs gold every time.  If he wasn't such a nice guy, he'd be the arrogant jerk at the dojo who likes messing with the new guys when the sensei isn't looking.  That scene in the training arena when Kaladin meets Zahel for the first time reminded me of karate movies, just like the 4:1 duel reminded me of WWE wrestling.

 

 

 

I wonder if we are going to see a character being captured... It would be interesting. Though it can't reasonably be a Radiant: a Radiant would just escape, so someone else........

I think Adolin never gave much thought as to where his money came from: he takes it for granted. He never really had to wonder about it, it was always there, available to him without him having a true sense of what is required to earn it. So yeah, he is a princeling, but he is one with a good heart. In ancient time, sons of rich lords wouldn't see financial independence as a sign of maturity as they never truly earn it.

I wondered how Renarin would be able to escape since his Surges are pretty much non-combat support abilities.  But then I remembered he could just pull a Jasnah and pretend to be dead.  Since he can hold his breath for up to 15 minutes if he wanted to.

 

Yeah, it seems high ranking lighteyes don't really think about where the money comes from.  Navani comes up with fabrials for heating and removing pain, and they would be so useful to society - but no one but the top tier dahns would ever get to see them because they are the SA equivalent of being made of gold.  Maybe they are just bad at managing money - see Elhokar's toy larkin paperweight and the Davar financial issues. 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART SEVENTEEN

 

 

 

 

Shallan awoke sore, tired and disappointed, under the shadowed eaves of the forest.  Morning sunlight filtered through the leaves above, and she stared up at them, feeling itchy and stiff.  She had been leaning against the tree when she had fallen asleep, but she found herself slanted across a handful of knobbly tree roots.  It hurt to move – that was the first disappointment.  Some might complain about stiffness in the neck, but Shallan had developed an unwelcome understanding of the type of stiffness that extended throughout the whole body.

 

Her second disappointment, which to her great shame – was it really all shame? – eclipsed the first, was that Adolin was not beside her upon awakening.  She had gone to sleep and woken up alone every single day of her life, and now she was disappointed that this day, this morning, was exactly like all the others.  It was a petty disappointment, but she still felt it, and she could not help but wonder if Adolin had found her wanting in some fashion.  No-one had ever had the opportunity to accuse her of snoring or flailing about in her sleep; there was only Kaladin, who had mocked her for drooling. 

                                                                                                                                                             

Kaladin. 

 

He stood over her now, hands on hips, fully dressed in his coat and trousers.  He lacked only his neckcloth; it was missing from around his collar, and the buttons of his shirt were not done up all the way – she could see tanned flesh and the barest hint of collarbone.  She pulled herself up reluctantly, and the stitches on her side twinged with fresh agony to the dull ache of stiffened muscles.  She groaned with the shock of it.

 

Kaladin tossed a biscuit onto her lap.  “Breakfast.  If you’re hungry, then we had better start moving for the House.”

 

She threw it back at him.   He caught it with ease. “Eat it yourself,” she said.  “I must visit the bushes.”

 

“Hurry back then; I must inspect your wound and its stitching.”  He crossed his arms and jerked his head toward a section of forest around edge of the rock outcrop that was the pre-Vorin temple.

 

When she returned, she saw that Kaladin had out his leather roll of surgical instruments, and his bowl of ether.  There was a clean white cloth resting in the bowl, and a roll of bandages wrapped in white paper next to it.   He had shed his coat and his sleeves were rolled back; she smelled ether in the air.  He was shaking his hands, drying them after an ether scrub, and Shallan saw that there were narrow lines of scarring scrawled across his muscled forearms.

 

“Would you prefer it lying down or standing up?” he asked, eyebrow raised in an impudent manner.

 

“With you?  Neither.”

 

“You may take the time to make your choice while you remove the coat.”

 

Shallan had forgotten she was still wearing Adolin’s blue riding coat, the one he had given her – before he had confessed his private thoughts to her.  She still did not fully understand what had prompted him to do so.  She had read in Jasnah’s books of folk tales that there were certain trees that non-Vorin Continentals revered for their properties in revealing truths – perhaps that had something to do with it.  She could not guess; she did not know enough about the ways of men – and what little she knew of them came from Jasnah’s advice.

 

She slowly tugged off the coat.  It was too broad in the shoulders for her, and the sleeves were much too long – they drooped almost to her knees like the traditional Vorin dresses depicted in old tapestries.  It was thick and made of smooth, finely fibred wool; she was reluctant to lose its warmth. 

 

Kaladin tapped his foot impatiently.  “Have you made your decision yet?”

 

“Standing.”

 

“Good.  The dress goes next.”

 

What had happened to the gentle doctor from the previous evening, the one who had tried to console her, who had attempted to spare her feelings when she thought herself a murderess?  She slid the dress down her shoulders, and felt cold air entering through the slit side; she shivered.  Why did it matter?  She grit her teeth.  It was clear he was an unpleasant man to the core, and it was a guarantee of disappointment to expect anything more.

 

“Here,” she said, holding her torn underdress to cover what few shreds of dignity she had left.  “Can you make it quick?  Hm.  I suppose that question need not be answered.”

 

She turned her face away when she felt his fingers quickly undoing the bandage around her chest; he probed the stitches over her ribs.  She did not look down; she did not want to see what it looked like by the light of day; she did not want to see her own dried blood staining her white bandage, nor her white underdress.  The sight was too … familiar.

 

Whatever the lady desires,” Kaladin said in his unpleasant, sarcastic way.  He reached for the white cloth in the bowl of ether.

 

She felt the cold of the ether first, when he pressed the soaked cloth against the stitched flesh of her side.  Then the pain came, all at once, and not in the successive waves of dull throbbing that she had felt during the night – a single torrent of nameless, searing agony that swept away thought and reason until there was no sense at all, and only the sensation of pain remained.   She gasped; she took a step backward; there was a root jutting out from the soil behind her, and she stumbled.

 

Kaladin caught her around the waist, and she by instinct threw her arms over his shoulders, and pressed her face against the bare flesh of his collar.  Tears prickled in her eyes, but she did not cry.  She did not scream.  She shuddered against him, as the pain crashed through her and around her and it left her, and she was left behind, limp and dazed and blinking. 

 

“Miss Davar?  Shallan?” she heard faintly, as if from a distance.  With a jolt, she returned to herself.  She pushed away immediately, but he did not let go; his arms were still warm and solid against the naked skin of her waist and back.   She felt a tug on her chest, and then he patted her on the shoulder and stepped away.  Her bandage had been changed for a fresh one.

 

Shallan’s legs trembled; she sat down with a thump.

 

“Get dressed.”  Kaladin dropped the stained bandage into the ether bowl, which he picked up with one hand.  His other hand closed on the roll of surgical instruments, and then he withdrew.  Well, he was surely no gentleman; Shallan had made that conclusion upon their first being introduced.  He paused, then turned back.  “There’s tea on the fire if you want some.”

 

Shallan had eventually decided to knot her tartan around her chest to cover the hole in her dress, and wear Adolin’s riding coat over it.   She would stay warmer that way; the cutaway tails of the coat were stylish but rather breezy in the back and sides.  She was drinking tea out of a tin travelling cup when Adolin and Karsten appeared out of the forest, leading the two remaining horses and Karsten’s brown mule. 

 

“Are we ready to go?” called Adolin.  “We went to the creek to water the horses before we left.  We should load them up now, if you’ve packed your things.” 

 

Shallan only had her satchel and her bonnet.  She was lifting the strap over her shoulder when Adolin approached, leading Sureblood. 

 

“Good morning,” she said.  “Did you sleep well?   You look chipper this morning – Heavens, did you manage a shave?”

 

Adolin grinned.  He did look much more refreshed than she expected she herself was; he had washed the dark smoke smudges off his face, and his jaw was smooth from the very recent touch of a razor.  She had felt the beginnings of his whisker stubble when she kissed him last night, but it had been too dark to tell what colour it was.  She had hoped that the daylight would reveal that particular secret of his.

 

“One must take steps to look presentable at all times, you know,” said Adolin.  He held out his hand, and she took it, and he pulled her to her feet.  “Words of wisdom that my father always quotes.  Anyhow, I wanted to ensure that there was nothing for you to object to – as you will be riding with me when we reach the trail.”

 

“I could never object to you, sir,” Shallan replied.  She rose to her toes and kissed him on the cheek.  She could see that Kaladin, who was putting out the fire with handfuls of damp earth, was rolling his eyes.  Sureblood lipped at her hair; she squeaked at his hot breath at her ear and jerked forward in surprise. 

 

She pressed against Adolin’s chest, and he held her; she could smell the orange pith and herbal scent of his toilet water – had he really brought toilet water on what he had assumed was a treasure hunt?  Nevertheless, it smelled nice, and she could not find anything objectionable in that.   He certainly smelled better than Kaladin, who, being an unpleasant person, smelled of unpleasant things: in that brief moment she had been close to him, she had discerned sweat, ether vapours and gunpowder.

 

Nor I you,” Adolin whispered. 

 

She wished it were true, wholeheartedly.  But it wasn’t, and it could never be.  No-one could like her if they truly knew her as she really was – she did not even like herself, when it came down to it.  Not even her brothers knew her; they had always assumed the acts of wrongness that had begun the breaking of the family had been committed by their father, and Shallan hadn’t had the heart to correct them.  She still didn’t want to; she had doubts it could ever change. 

 

Kaladin coughed loudly.  “Are we ready to leave now?”

 

 

***

 

They hiked back to the trail in a more direct path than they had taken the afternoon prior.  Karsten had Shallan’s map out – he had kept it since the morning she presented it to him in the stable yard – and was muttering as he counted paces.  Occasionally he climbed a tree to confirm their heading by the sun, whenever the clouds had thinned enough for him to see.  They did not tack back and forth; they were confident in their tread, but still wary.  They might be beset once again in this forest, and both Kaladin and Adolin had their muskets and pistols within easy reach.  They led their horses.  Shallan was not able to make studies of the forest, as she had been forced to walk between them – for her own safety, she was told.  All she saw on either side was horseflesh and panniers.

 

“What happened – last evening?” she asked.

 

Adolin turned towards her, Sureblood’s bridle in gloved hands.  His horse did not have the metal bit that went in the mouth, like Kaladin’s horse, Shallan observed.  “We were with the horses – they were restless.  I imagine that they sensed something on the wind.  Karsten and I took to the trees and tried to shoo the horses away when he saw something rustling the undergrowth.  We hid – they had the numbers on us.” He paused, then looked over at Kaladin, and his voice grew quieter.  “We could not have matched their rate of fire, with just the two of us to reload.  I had hoped our fired shots would have given enough warning for Kaladin to take you and hide in the forest until they left.”

 

“Were they highwaymen?”

 

“A forest is hardly a highway, Miss Davar,” said Kaladin.  “I suspect they are more likely to be assassins.”

 

“And their target – Adolin?”

 

Kaladin exchanged an uneasy glance with Adolin.  “I – cannot say.  But an investigation on the estate employees would be in order.”

 

“I have no reason to doubt the loyalty of our employees or tenants,” said Adolin firmly.  “I say they are foreign saboteurs – my father was right.  He warned me, about the trouble stirring from the south–“

 

“Your father and your cousin both – have their particular fancies.  But you should not speak of this – not here.”

 

“Do you not trust Shallan?” asked Adolin softly.

 

Shallan spoke. “I can hear you, you know!  And I am not a spy.”

 

“No,” replied Kaladin.  “But you are a … temporary guest.”

 

“Well, Doctor, just for that,” scoffed Shallan, stamping her feet on the spongy forest litter with each forward step.  “If an assassin successfully manages to do away with me next time, I shall ensure that my shadow lingers around just to haunt you – and not temporarily!”

 

“To haunt me?  To spite me, I should think.”

 

“No one will be done away with!” said Adolin.  “Please, can we not restrain ourselves?”

 

“Well, only because you are here,” Shallan conceded, and then she added, “if you were not, I do not think I could restrain myself.”

 

“Your unrestrained ferocity could scarcely hope to impress me. I daresay that you might actually wish to haunt me for eternity, Miss Davar?”

 

“The prospect of spiting you for ever would bring me great satisfaction.”

 

Adolin’s head turned from one speaker to the other, and then he looked to the sky and sighed.  “But it will not happen because Shallan will be safe and sound, and–,” here he paused and looked pointedly at Kaladin, “–the good Doctor will volunteer his skills to her benefit, should she ever need them.”

 

“The good Doctor will accede to the good Duke’s request … so long as Miss Davar is a guest of the House,” said Kaladin, tonelessly. 

 

“Chin up, Doctor,” said Shallan.  “I shall not be in your hair for long – that is, if I – or anyone – wanted anything to do with your hair.”

 

“And why is that?” he said.

 

“Are you leaving, Shallan?” came Adolin at the very same time.

 

“Jasnah will return within the next two days.  I suppose she would want us to visit Ivory Lane, then we might return to the Continent or Kharbranth.”

 

“I recall,” said Kaladin, his voice tight, “she said that she would take you away with her on the condition of – a disinterest in acquaintanceship.”

 

“Why, yes, I suppose you are correct, Doctor.”

 

“As I have said, it is a habit of mine.”

 

“Well, I say I am not disinterested,” Adolin said, stepping around a tall stand of underbrush.  “Unless there is only acquaintanceship.  Then that would be a mere disappointment.”  He looked to Shallan, a question in his eyes.  “Will that convince you to say?”

 

“Would you want me to?”

 

“The prospect of your staying–,” he replied, searching for words; he could not seem to find the right ones, and but continued on nevertheless, “–would bring me great satisfaction.”

 

Shallan smiled at him.  “If that’s an invitation, then I gladly accept.”  She saw Kaladin turn his face away at her words; he tugged at his own horse’s bridle – he pulled too firmly, and the horse nickered and butted at him in annoyance.

 

“I am glad to hear it.”

 

“There is one matter, though.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“You must convince Jasnah.”

 

They found the logging trail without incident; the horses were pleased to at last have the firm footing of the cleared path: the damp forest litter would not done their hooves nor their iron horseshoes much good.  They had not seen any assassins in the woods, but they did observe that the dirt path had seen some hard use, very recently – there were hoofmarks, and the earth was churned up in places, and there were spoors from many horses.  So: there had been a large group of assassins on horseback, and they had managed to get away after being driven off by the gentlemen’s guns.

 

“Shallan, you must ride with me,” said Adolin, when the horses had been led onto the path.  “Sureblood will have no trouble with two riders, and his back is broad enough for the both of us.”

 

“She must ride in front, not pillion,” Kaladin said, as he swung himself into his saddle.  “It would be best if the stitches were not jostled or chafed about.”

 

They were waiting for her to mount now.  Shallan stared at Sureblood’s stirrup, which was at the level of her hip.  She was not at all sure she could stretch her foot up that high, without tearing something dearer than her fresh sutures.  

 

“Shallan?  After you,” said Adolin, patting Sureblood’s neck. 

 

“It may help if you were to make a foothold for her, Adolin,” offered Kaladin.  “It might happen to be an immensely amusing sight to watch Miss Davar stumble about.  But then I’m sure we would be waiting here all day, and I’m also quite sure you would not enjoy her sitting in front of you covered in mud and horse doings.”

 

“You might find horse doings on your own self without any explanation for how they happened to get there, Doctor,” Shallan huffed.  “And, naturally, it would take you several days to actually notice.”

 

Adolin laced his gloved fingers together, and Shallan put one foot on them; he tossed her upwards, and she managed to get a toe into the stirrup and over the side of Sureblood’s back.  It was very broad, and was almost like sitting astride a whisky cask – albeit a cask that gurgled with mysterious digestive noises and leaked out one end.  Adolin himself mounted with ease, and soon sat himself behind her, his chest at her back.  It was rather close, as Sureblood’s saddle was meant for one rider; the pommel dug rather uncomfortably into Shallan’s stomach. 

 

They rode for the head of the trail and the perpendicular of the village road at a steady trot, with Karsten at the lead, musket in hand.  They only stopped when he reined his mule in at the rustling undergrowth on one side of the trail.  A sow boar ambled out, with five striped piglets at her side.  One of the piglets was a white-pink colour, with red eyes.  The horses stamped with impatience at the halt, but the boars ignored them, and crossed the trail to the other side of the Forest to be lost into the bushes.

 

The continued onwards from the village road to the King’s Road, too intent on watching for any signs of assassins or even mundane highwaymen to make conversation.  They were tense, and hungry, and the horses eager to return to their stables.  Shallan jounced uncomfortably on Sureblood’s back, unused to riding astride – it was unseemly for a woman to ride with her legs in such a position, in front of men.  And she was very aware that she was in front of a man – for Adolin’s arms held her around the waist, and his thighs pressed against hers; his feet had the stirrups.   It was not as romantic as it had been described in novels, as she had caught him on the chin several times with the back of her head, but he made no complaint.

 

They were four miles from the Kholinar Court grounds when they encountered the search party of mounted stablemen and groundskeepers with their yipping hounds eager for a scent.

 

 

***

 

 

Shallan had had a bath as soon as they were back at the House.  She had not untied the bandage, but left it on, carefully trying to keep it out of the water.  The bathwater was a muddy grey-brown by the time she had stepped out of it and into her warmed shift and dressing gown.  She left her bloodstained woollen carriage dress, torn underdress and unlaced bodice on the floor of the bathing chamber; let the servants decide whether they were worth cleaning and repairing or burning – the sight of the blood-stiffened fabric made her squeamish, especially since she knew it was mostly her own blood; she was happy to shed them, and she did not care what was done with them.

 

When she returned to her bedchamber, there was a covered lunch tray waiting for her on the vanity, with a bowl of hare cassoulet and buttered rolls, and a dish of blancmange that smelled wonderfully of imported vanilla and candied almonds.  She did not immediately start on the meal, even though she was hungry.  No, there was other work that had to be done.

 

Shallan pulled her sketchbook out of her rather worse-for-wear satchel, flicking through the roughly drawn pages of copied mural.  On a whim, she returned to the page with the watercolour of Loch Davar, near the beginning of the book.   She still had her trunk with her things from Loch Davar – the one and only trunk she had brought with her from Scotland in her search for the elusive Countess Jasnah.  It was still at the foot of her bed.

 

She opened it up, and the scent of lavender wafted out.  She could ignore it for now; she was looking for something at the bottom, where she had put it – with no intention of ever seeing it again – six months ago.  She dug through to the bottom – and there it was.  A waxed paper envelope with a copy of Jushu’s calculated progressionals.

 

She spread the sheets onto the vanity, and copied the basic formulae onto fresh papers while she ate her lunch.  The formulae were all the same, if one kept the basic format of a ninety-minute drift with a gradual awakening after the first hour.  The books of formulae could be bought from any barber-surgeon; loose sheets with the most popular formulae were commonly sold in apothecaries.  It was defining the parameters that was the most difficult – the measurements were time consuming to acquire, and often required the rental of expensive equipment if one could not afford a professional calculation.

 

Shallan had learned the skills of basic chemistry with an ether distillation kit: she had distilled Jushu’s cheaply bought and roughly made street-ether into one of a purer and higher concentration – the calculations were more exact that way, when one was absolutely certain there were no foreign additives.   The distillation glassware had had multiple uses - the temperature measurement, for example, could be done at home with the glass tubes filled with water – it made a rough thermoscope, when proper spirit or quicksilver thermometers were too expensive to afford.  This was one of the skills that had impressed Jasnah enough to take her on as a ward, although Shallan had never explained their origin.

 

She had no glassware here, and she would not know where to purchase a set.  She supposed that Kaladin would have a distillation kit – he had mentioned a stillroom at the dinner the evening before their unfortunate treasure expedition.  But he was a surgeon, and personal physician to a very wealthy patron – he must have a properly graduated scale thermometer – wouldn’t he?  Shallan put that parameter to the wayside for now, and concentrated on the ones she could fill in. 

 

Shallan was thus occupied with the calculations when Finnie arrived to dress her hair and remove the lunch tray.   She did not speak to the maid, for her mind was busy with the numbers – all of the arithmetic would have to be done by hand and triple checked for their accuracy.  She was not afraid that the maid would understand what she was doing – her progressionals had been tailored to the point of unrecognisability from a bought set of formulae sheets, and she used her own shorthand along with the Kharbranth letter symbols; only an experienced driftwatcher would have been able to discern the meaning of it.

 

There was a knock at the door.  Finnie put down the brushes and went to answer it.  There was a whispered argument.  Shallan ignored it.

 

“Miss Davar,” said Kaladin.  He was right behind her.

 

Shallan stood up so quickly that the chair overturned behind her.

 

She whirled, saw him only a few paces away, then spun back to the table to hurriedly scrape together the sheets of paper into one loose pile.  “What are you doing here?” she asked, through gritted teeth.

 

“I must evaluate the state of your stitches.  It was a rather hurried ride back and I’m told you have had a bath since then.  I will need to determine if there has been any skin tearing,” replied Kaladin with infuriating calmness.

 

“Well,” said Shallan, attempting to counterfeit nonchalance.  “I choose lying down this time, and on the bed.  The maid can undo the bandages.”

 

“I’ve already dismissed her.  She’s waiting in the hall now.  You wouldn’t like to keep her waiting, would you?”

 

Shallan slid the dressing gown off and tossed it over the vanity table, then stalked over to the bed and threw herself onto it, muttering under her breath.  Kaladin picked up the overturned chair and set it by the bedside.  He placed his kit bag on the side table.

 

“Will you close your eyes so we might pretend you care about preserving my modesty?” said Shallan, reaching for the buttons of her shift.  “Or would you prefer to leer openly?”

 

“Miss Davar, I assure you – I would gladly do so if only there were anything worth leering at,” he answered evenly.

 

“Well, get on with it then.”

 

“How absolutely charming.  I sincerely hope Adolin’s bedside manner has more patience in it for you than mine.”

 

Shallan closed her eyes as Kaladin’s deft fingers undid the knots in the bandage.  She felt him prodding at the inflamed skin at either side of the cut, and hissed at the swab of ether over the stitches.  But this time it was only a very light touch of ether, not the dripping cloth’s worth that she had gotten from him twice already.   It still hurt, but the pain receded quickly; the smell of the vapours lingered in her mind after the fumes dissipated.   

 

The bandage was swiftly changed, and the kit bag was snapped shut.  Kaladin stood.  “You may put yourself away, Miss Davar.  I recommend a new bandage and an ether swab with a four-tenths solution once per day.  You cannot be trusted around ether, so I – to my great misfortune – must take valuable time out of my day to act the nursemaid.  The sacrifices we make for the undeserving, as they say, earn us a place in Heaven's Halls.”

 

“The Halls would immediately become indistinguishable from Damnation should you find yourself – miraculously – accepted there,” said Shallan crossly, doing up her buttons and glaring at the velvet canopy over the bed.  She heard the door open.

 

“Hm, well, Miss Davar.  When you attempt to be covert and replace your sigma with nu, you might want to at least ensure that you are perfectly consistent.” 

 

The door closed, and Shallan lay on her bed glowering with an ill-humoured and unresolved frustration, until Finnie returned.  It did not take long; there was only a few minutes’ respite between Kaladin’s closing the door and Finnie’s re-opening it.  She bounced in, smiling, and Shallan could not see the reason for her unseemly sprightliness.

 

“Oh, my lady,” she sang cheerily.

 

“What is it?” asked Shallan testily.

 

“Was he very good to you?”  Did she just wink?

 

“What?”

 

“Doctor Kaladin, my lady!  All the girls downstairs have wondered about him, you see.  Some of them have offered to show their gratitude for his being so, erm, accommodating and all, but he’s always refused.”

 

Shallan sat up.   She struggled for words. “You think – the Doctor and I–?” 

 

“He’s a fair looking man, no doubt – thoroughly fair,” said Finnie with a pleased smile.  “You wouldn’t be the first great lady to stray such, nor the last, begging your pardon.”

 

Shallan was aghast.  “What – no!

 

“His Lordship won’t be told, worry not.”  Finnie waved an unconcerned hand.

 

“No – no – no!  There is nothing to tell him!  Here – look at this!” cried Shallan, and she pulled open the neck of her shift to bare the thick wad of white bandaging that crossed her chest.  “There is nothing – nothing – between us.  And there will never be – anything.  I find him to be completely unpleasant!” 

 

Finnie’s hands rose to her mouth.  “Oh my lady,” she said, shock evident in her voice.  “Your skin!  If it leaves you with a scar…”

 

“Then I do hope the Duke will not find it completely unpleasant,” Shallan sighed.

 

“If that’s the case, my lady, you must manage in darkness so he cannot see.”

 

“Darkness.  I see,” said Shallan.  It was yet another secret to be kept from Adolin; it felt almost unfair to treat him in such a manner, when he had been so open with her the previous night.  But he had his own burdens – it would be considerably more unfair to heap the knowledge of her own atop his, wouldn’t it?  A thought occurred.  “Finnie, do you by happenstance know where balances might be kept?”

 

“Balances?  The steward’s office, I should say.  He lives in the village, my lady.  But I wouldn’t know about it – I’m just the chambermaid.”

 

“No, scale balances, for measuring weights,” Shallan explained.  “Heavy weights, like flour sacks.”

 

“Oh!” said Finnie excitedly.  “I know what you speak of now.  The stable master has one.  There is one in the kitchen.  And a few smaller ones in the butler’s study and servants’ hall for odd tasks like weighing cloth or smallgoods, to keep the merchants on their toes.  Will that do, my lady?”

 

“Thank you, yes it does – very well,” said Shallan, smiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

I am not sure if you have picked up on it, but Kaladin in this chapter is crushing hard on Shallan, but she is completely oblivious to it.  He is conflicted in his feelings because he is friends with Adolin, and tries to hide his kinda obvious flirting under banter, because he doesn't want to tell her he thinks she's cute outright.  Shallan only hears the banter and sarcasm and thinks he's being rude as usual.  Shallan is an unreliable narrator! Read Kaladin's snark lines without sarcasm and the meaning is closer to how he really feels.

 

- "certain trees that non-Vorin Continentals revered" - Linden trees are significant in Germanic culture. 

- "Kaladin, who, being an unpleasant person, smelled of unpleasant things" - Shallan doesn't actually hate the smell of ether, and Adolin smelled like sweat and gunpowder when they were hugging while Kaladin shot the horse, and she didn't mind.  She is just trying to pick things to hate about Kaladin to justify her dislike of him. 

- "We could not have matched their rate of fire" - Adolin would have done a last stand to save Kal and Shallan.  He's brave but doesn't think he is.

- "the good Doctor will volunteer his skills to her benefit" - Adolin pulls rank on Kaladin and orders him to be doctor and/or bodyguard for Shallan.  Comes later on when Kal says "it is my duty".

- "The prospect of your staying" - echoes Shallan's earlier line.  The missing word is "forever".

- Kharbranth letter symbols - they are the Greek alphabet.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 17

 

 

 

 

 

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Obligatory ninja: :ph34r:

I am not fully caught up on the story, but if I wait to post until I am, and until I have all my thoughts in one place, I'll never get a response in. I am enjoying the story immensely, and I have a lot I'd like to say. I'm sorry that I only have time to give you the highlights.

Thank you for the well wishes. Our new daughter is doing great. She is the mildest, most patient baby I think I have ever seen. She fusses far less than her brother did, and is basically adorable around the clock. Even so, there is a lot of busyness at our house, and work demands are taking up their share of time as well.

For the story, I like nearly everything you've done. I think part 12 and part 16 have been my favorites of the whole thing so far. I am particularly liking the developing respect between Kaladin and Shallan. You have developed that well and sold me on it.

In light of that, it felt off to me the way Shallan lit into Kaladin immediately with the insults as they set out on their excursion. It became good-natured later on in the conversation, but that opening salvo was harsh and wasn't triggered by anything more than looking for something to say, and possibly by some lingering "I hate mornings" feeling. I thought they should have been talking at least a little before the put-downs emerged.

Also, I am a bit incredulous of Shallan's naivete. Can she really not figure out what "mysterious medical issues" might refer to? Can it possibly take her the better part of an hour to clue into what "expecting" means? I get that she grew up sheltered and without much in the way of womanly or worldly instruction, but this seems to be on the far side of extreme. Tyn was her governess, after all, and she is passably clever about other things.

The attack and aftermath are great, and until she climbed out of the tower I kept wondering whether Karsten had perhaps betrayed them to Kabsal and company. I'm not sure if that tension was something you intended, but it was there. I was surprised to find zero corpses as evidence of Kal and Adolin's fight outside. Did the attackers really get away clean except for the one Shallan encountered?

It struck me in part 16 just how much the Kaladin-Adolin friendship has progressed, compared to canon SA. The trust and BFF status in this AU are nearly palpable in that scene where Adolin is baring his soul to Shallan, basically within sight and earshot of Kaladin. That dynamic is something I appreciate, and I hope that strength of bond eventually develops in canon.

Shallan's backstory is coming through loud and clear to the reader, and with very obvious misapprehension to both Adolin and Kaladin, in different measure.

“No. Good men, honest men who remind us that this terrible world cannot be so terrible if they exist, so we do not – cannot – should not – regret the choice of our one more day. You are a good man, with a good heart,” Shallan said, with feeling, then added, “and when a man with a knife comes at a good man, can he be anything but a bad one?”

It makes me wonder what Adolin is actually getting out of this conversation. Does he at all realize the feeling she says it with, or what she is saying about herself? And did Kaladin overhear that part? Likewise, how much does Kaladin guess from their "first time you kill a man" conversation? It seems like not much, not yet, but he is clever enough to start putting the pieces together soon.

 

“I envy that – how you always know the right things to say.”

“The right things? No, it’s more that I say them to the right person.”

This line really resonated with me. I love it. Somehow, at least to me, it avoids sounding trite or pithy, and jumps straight to meaningful and true. Way to put the real-life feels into it. That may say more about me than about your writing, but it definitely struck a chord.

Oh, and S.K. for Shshshs Kholin made me laugh a lot.

I'll read the rest soon, and hopefully find time for more feedback.

Edited by ccstat
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Obligatory ninja: :ph34r:

I am not fully caught up on the story, but if I wait to post until I am, and until I have all my thoughts in one place, I'll never get a response in. I am enjoying the story immensely, and I have a lot I'd like to say. I'm sorry that I only have time to give you the highlights.

Thank you for the well wishes. Our new daughter is doing great. She is the mildest, most patient baby I think I have ever seen. She fusses far less than her brother did, and is basically adorable around the clock. Even so, there is a lot of busyness at our house, and work demands are taking up their share of time as well.

I like any feedback at all. :)  It lets me know where there is a big enough plothole that a callback is necessary.

Take your time reading or responding.  The longer you wait, the more updates you can binge at once when you have the free time to come back and check. :ph34r:

 

 

In light of that, it felt off to me the way Shallan lit into Kaladin immediately with the insults as they set out on their excursion. It became good-natured later on in the conversation, but that opening salvo was harsh and wasn't triggered by anything more than looking for something to say, and possibly by some lingering "I hate mornings" feeling. I thought they should have been talking at least a little before the put-downs emerged.

There was actually a reason for that. :ph34r:  Shallan was looking forward to having some "alone time" with Adolin, and is still salty about Kaladin calling her a bog frog the night before.  She used insults to try and get rid of him, but it doesn't work.  What works is semi-flirting.  Yes, it seems pretty rude, but if you read the zoo date scene in SA, Kaladin third wheeling himself was pretty rude too.

 

 

 

Also, I am a bit incredulous of Shallan's naivete. Can she really not figure out what "mysterious medical issues" might refer to? Can it possibly take her the better part of an hour to clue into what "expecting" means? I get that she grew up sheltered and without much in the way of womanly or worldly instruction, but this seems to be on the far side of extreme. Tyn was her governess, after all, and she is passably clever about other things.

She could figure out what the "mysterious issues" are - if she wanted to.  This is probably the first time in years she has talked to a woman below her social rank about non-work related things.  She knows about the "birds and the bees" but the way it's referred to is confusing.  If it had been referred to in that context as "taking the waters" or "touring the Continent", she would immediately know what it was.

There's also a certain amount of her not wanting to think too deeply on it.  It's one thing to know how life works, but another thing to participate in it. :ph34r:  Shallan likes avoiding/ignoring consequences of her actions and part of her still thinks marrying Adolin is her and Jasnah's little game, and Jasnah will save her if she gets bored or wants to quit - remember the breakfast conversation before she was introduced to Adolin?  It's scary to think she will be expected to do the thing with him. :ph34r: Her step-mother Malise could have run away but she stayed to protect the Davar kids.  

I thought it was an interesting angle on Shallan's character that Brandon wouldn't ever touch.  It was weird to me that WoR Shallan felt very little hesitation about getting involved with Adolin and leaving Jah Keved forever. 

 

 

 

The attack and aftermath are great, and until she climbed out of the tower I kept wondering whether Karsten had perhaps betrayed them to Kabsal and company. I'm not sure if that tension was something you intended, but it was there. I was surprised to find zero corpses as evidence of Kal and Adolin's fight outside. Did the attackers really get away clean except for the one Shallan encountered?

If you go back to the scene where she kills the Ghostblood henchman, there's a gap between the end of gunshots and the time when Kaladin comes back to find her.  In that time, Kaladin and Karsten dragged the bodies into the woods and searched them.  His bayonet was bloody, because people did die.  They also took that time to unpack the camp and start dinner. :ph34r:  If you are looking carefully, the next morning (Part 17), Kaladin indicates the direction where Shallan should take her potty break.  He doesn't want her to go in the wrong direction and stumble over a bunch of dead bodies and a dead horse.  And she doesn't think too deeply about where they went.

 

Kaladin suspects someone on the estate tipped Kabsal's group off, but Adolin is a bit like Dalinar and doesn't want to suspect people unless they are obviously fishy.  Neither of them know that Shallan knows Kabsal.  Kabsal was the one who read the maps before handing them to Shallan in the church; he doesn't have a perfect memory, so that is why they got there hours after Shallan and friends.

 

 

 

It struck me in part 16 just how much the Kaladin-Adolin friendship has progressed, compared to canon SA. The trust and BFF status in this AU are nearly palpable in that scene where Adolin is baring his soul to Shallan, basically within sight and earshot of Kaladin. That dynamic is something I appreciate, and I hope that strength of bond eventually develops in canon.

They could have been closer to this in WoR if Kaladin hadn't been the ultimate whingelord. -_-

I don't know you are reading the non-story related posts in this thread too, but I have discussed Kaladin and Adolin's relationship.  They see each other as equals without caring about social rank.  People who believe in the social hierarchy would view Kaladin's familiarity as disrespectful, and Adolin as eccentric and encouraging improper behaviours.

 

Remember the line, "The Duke will be all the family you need."

 

 

 

Shallan's backstory is coming through loud and clear to the reader, and with very obvious misapprehension to both Adolin and Kaladin, in different measure.

It makes me wonder what Adolin is actually getting out of this conversation. Does he at all realize the feeling she says it with, or what she is saying about herself? And did Kaladin overhear that part? Likewise, how much does Kaladin guess from their "first time you kill a man" conversation? It seems like not much, not yet, but he is clever enough to start putting the pieces together soon.

Adolin thinks Shallan is showing her sympathies, because she cares about his feelings.  He has no idea it's empathy, because she had a terrible childhood filled with lots of bad things.  Remember, he has no idea about her past, or ether addiction, or that her father is dead and their estate is rock-bottom bankrupt.  When he met her, he thought she was just a quirky scholar girl that was introduced to him for variety, when he ran out of rich city socialite girls to date.

 

Kaladin was eavesdropping until the part where they started making out, then he stopped listening. :ph34r:  He thinks she's talking about the one guy she killed in the tower.  The line "gasping out his last breath" is important, because Kaladin knows she suffocated him with her tartan.  The tartan is important - the first time she took it out of the trunk, she felt hysteria which she repressed.  In this AU, they sold the aluminium necklace before the canon-SA Davars did it. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

One important element of Regency romances is that lines of dialogue are interpreted very differently by everyone, and there is truth, but only one part of the truth.  Misunderstandings make for drama. :lol:

 

 

 

 This line really resonated with me. I love it. Somehow, at least to me, it avoids sounding trite or pithy, and jumps straight to meaningful and true. Way to put the real-life feels into it. That may say more about me than about your writing, but it definitely struck a chord.

It also shows that Shallan is starting to realise that sometimes she says the wrong things.

Joking on Kaladin's dead brother in the church is the point where she stops being so deliberately mean-spirited with her snarking.  She still thinks Kaladin is rude, though.

 

 

 

Oh, and S.K. for Shshshs Kholin made me laugh a lot.

:ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:  

 

This is irrelevant to the story, but it's traditional for a man to give a courting gift to a woman when they start courting.

In the country, there are no shops to buy nice things, and Adolin notices that Shallan doesn't wear jewellery.  He thinks it's because she doesn't like it, rather than her not having any.  So she gets some hairbrushes, and doesn't even know it's a gift.

 

If Kaladin saw them in her room, he would understand the significance. :ph34r:

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Kaladin heard from a dying minescouter that there was a Skybreaker ambush planned for the Kholin regiment.  Lt Colonel Amaram didn't care because "not my prob, brah" so Kaladin used his Charisma Magic and recruited the non-combat staff of the Sadeas regiment (cooks, quartermasters, training sergeants) and the hospital's walking wounded to steal cannons from the maintenance yard. Then they covered the Kholin retreat and saved it from total annihilation.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  Adolin saved Kaladin with Nepotism Magic.

 
Ah thanks. I had wondered how it happened. Seems totally Kaladin B)  Enroll kitchen aids? Totally Kaladin  B) I bet he secretly trained them to use their knifes just in case they were attacked  :lol: Totally Kaladin  B)  Was the Kholins as desperate as they were at the tower? I loved how WoR Adolin mentioned simply seeing Sadeas made him revive the stark terror he has felt when he realized they have been doomed. People like to point out how often Adolin said he would kill Sadeas to justify making it a cold-blooded murder as oppose to a hot-blooded one, but at the same time, just seeing the man brings such strong emotions in him... 
 
Stark terror. Had Dalinar even been afraid?
 
 

Adolin is a professional speed-dater.  He knows there are certain moves like bragging about victories, or handing out compliments, or going out to a restaurants, that are guaranteed to work.  But the thing is that he doesn't have to do that - even if he didn't try to impress her, and wasn't a cute and friendly guy, Shallan would still marry him.  The villagers have superstitions about the forest, and Adolin knows superstitions are silly and for peasants, but part of him still believes it.  A bunch of people got hurt in mysterious ways in logging accidents, so there is a legitimate danger in there.  But Adolin thinks smart people can avoid hurting themselves as long as they're smart about it, which is why he is still willing to go through with it.  He's not chicken.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  He eats chicken for breakfast.  :lol:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Anyone would still marry Adolin, even if he were disfigured, simply for the promise of wealth and status. The only reason none stuck is because Adolin kept sending them away the second the relationship started becoming more serious. The problem with Shallan is while she comes across as the refreshing one for Adolin, she hasn't been, so far, very different than the majority: she only wants him for his status. She likes him, she finds him attractive, but is he anything more than an empty shell filled with money bags to her?
 
Adolin is definitely superstitious -_-  Lift too is superstitious -_-  I suspect it is a trait found in many Edgedancers -_-  
 

You're just too much of a character reader!  Some people are willing and happy to suspend their disbelief to see some OOC action.  Even if you (or I) think that any ship that involves both Renarin and Adolin is completely icky.  Seriously, most of the time I don't care what other people ship as their OTP or OT3 or whatever, but there is something about siblings in a ship that makes me go blaaaargh.  :wacko: Whether it's anything with Renarin and Adolin, or even Gavilar/Navani/Dalinar.  

 

The world has changed.  Shipping is acceptable in all sorts of ways now, and people want to and can headcanon however they like.  For example, Sam and Frodo were supposed to be best friends with an officer/batman style relationship.  It made sense in the past, but now people don't understand it and see such a relationship as a ship-ship.  Yeah, I don't get it either. It used to be in the past that a reveal of being long lost twins would kill a ship, but that doesn't deter people today.

 

 
Well yes I am a character reader. If I enjoy the character the author wrote, I prefer to read a character who actually resemble him/her within fanfiction. If not, then I wouldn't like the original character so much, nor wouldn't I?
 
I guess I am flustered to see bromance has been evicted from the world of fiction. I like bromance, but seeing it irrevocably turn into romance has annoyed me.
 
 

AU Kaladin is a lot more morally ambiguous.  Whether he is a doctor or soldier, he believes in doing things "as long as it is right", so he can even throw the Hippocratic Oaths to do no harm to the wayside.  Syl in SA is so black and white, and I prefer it when people solve their own problems and develop an understanding of their own morality on their own.  No spren shortcuts or built in karma meter.  :ph34r:  Kaladin may think the social hierarchy is stupid, but he takes advantage of it where he can.  In this AU, when Kaladin is in the army as a personal physician, Adolin is his superior officer so anyone with a complaint has to go to Adolin, who just shrugs.  In the civvie world, his patron is one of the ten Dukes.  It's just like in WoR when Kaladin is suddenly promoted to Kholin guard captain and tells Rock to take all the food and fill their storehouses with them and make big fancy dinners, because Dalinar is paying for it. 

 

I like the fact AU Kaladin is more morally grey. I get book Kaladin also is more morally grey than he lets on, but he is forced to take the higher ground because Syl demands it. It isn't always a win-win situation as honorsprens are demanding: follow their ideology or kill them :ph34r:  If Syl wasn't so sympathetic, I am not sure I would like her  :ph34r:
 
It is interesting Adolin is Kaladin's superior in the AU as book Kaladin makes a point to reinforce the fact Adolin isn't his commanding officer.
 
 

Pattern forcing Shallan to remember in order to level up felt like a cop out to me.  :ph34r: Without Lightweaving, Shallan is doing all the mental repressing on her own.  The ether abuse is a symbol for illusion/delusion, and an addiction is supposed to show that a person is unhappy with their lives, or mentally unhealthy - that's why Renarin had issues with it in the past.  When I read WoK, I always thought it was a bit weird that Shallan was willing to drop everything to find Jasnah and marry Adolin with minimal second thoughts. Yes, her terrible past makes the Davar manor sound like a haunted castle, but before her parents died, it must have been a decent place.  She still liked the gardens, but I read no homesickness, unless she Lightweaved (wove?) that out of her.  So I wrote AU Shallan with more nostalgia.  Instead of magically mindwiping herself, she clings to the past and how it used to be.  

 

Then again without Pattern, Shallan wouldn't even try to remember... She is so afraid she won't be able to bear the truth, it is almost sad. Not surprising she thinks the world wouldn't accept her if they knew: she doesn't even accept herself. This being said, I was not surprised she was willing to totally severe her link with the Davar manor. Not only it was an unhappy place for her, it also became the symbol of her imprisonment. It wasn't a house for her, but a prison. She was bird and they caged her on the pretense her wings were broken and it was for her own protection, but she took her first flight, she became addicted. I am not surprised she doesn't long to go back there and it probably is why she reacted so harshly to Adolin when he said he would better protect her after the chasm scene. For her protection means imprisonment.
 
I get AU Shallan's past was not as horrific so while she may have been isolated due to her household being remote (was it remote, I took it it was :ph34r:), she have been enslaved to her brothers' addiction, she still had something to long to. Somehow. It makes sense in an AU where Shallan did not erase her entire life, she would cling to what she perceived as the happy parts, but she is an unreliable narrator. How happy has it truly ever been?
 
I bet it never was happy... just as I bet book Shallan's past has never been happy.
 
 

Aw man, that means a lot coming from Adolin's #1 fan.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

The problem is that people think Dalinar is a cool guy and Adolin is a cool guy too, and they are both battlefield superstars who would wear sunglasses over their Shardplate helms if they exist on Roshar, because of how awesome they are.  It's hard to imagine tough guys having daddy issues, or soft squishy feelings in general, which is why it gets overlooked.  People who read Adolin from the surface don't really see his soft squishy insides, or they just glance over it.   <_<

 

You must remember, in this story, as it is in most Regency romance novels, Shallan is mentally very selfish and self-centered, and lacks self awareness.  Usually the heroine of classic romance has to work out her own issues, and evolve into mental maturity, before she can land the man.  You have to read her PoV as an unreliable narrator.  There are things she misses and things she misinterprets, because she sees the world based on her own frame of reference.  For example, Kaladin is not really a bad guy, Shallan just thinks he is when she mentally criticises him.

 

And Kaladin cares about Adolin.  :ph34r:  He doesn't like Adolin's endless courtships because even if Adolin doesn't show how it affects him, each rejection is like someone stomped on his heart.   :(  That is why he didn't like Shallan in Part One, because he thought she would just use Adolin and throw him away.  Now that Adolin likes Shallan more than any other girl before, Kaladin thinks that she might be his One Last Try, and that makes him feel really conflicted about his own developing feelings.  And Kaladin killed the horse because Adolin couldn't. 

 

 
The problem with Adolin is the fact we mostly see him from a third person's perspective and Adolin puts a lot of effort into pretending to be exactly what everyone expects him to be. He lacks self-confidence which causes him to have a strong need for approval: father's approval and also peers's approval. As a result, he basically wants to fit in: if it is fashionable, he'll wear it because he wants to be "just like everyone else". So all in all, Adolin is a character who steadily tries to meet expectations people have put on him, be it his father, society or his peers. He is putting on a front hoping everyone would approve of, but it alternatively serves him badly for his inter-personal relationships as he can't get rid of it and let his true self speak.
 
This being said, since we practically always get someone's else perspective on Adolin, we always see this exterior. Our third person's perspective sees exactly what Adolin is projecting, so readers have take it this was his true self. 
 
The problem is the few POV we have gotten clashes with it. He's nervous, he doubts, he's insecure, he's happy his family is securing him a wife as it removes him the pressure to do so (he claims of the union is more formal, it may not fall apart. Translation: if the union is more formal, he may not be able to find a way to sabotage it or even better he may not need to actually confront his fear of relationships). Was it how you read Adolin early on in WoK? He was such a pleasant character for me as he turned being exactly the opposite of what I thought him to be, initially.
 
There are ample clues in both books Adolin just isn't the same man his father is, even worst, he isn't the man his father thinks he is (or wants him to be).
 
As for Shallan, ah well, I found book Shallan to be egocentric and self-centered, mainly in her courtship of Adolin. If any argument can be made in disfavor of the Shallan/Adolin ship, it is this one: Shallan has yet to show she cares for Adolin, she has yet to show she is in it for something else than power and wealth. I suspect book Shallan will have an adventure with Kaladin :ph34r:  I was slightly distressed when I read the chamber maid almost encouraging Shallan to sleep with Kaladin :o  Even his own servants don't care about Adolin.... :( What is he? I fear book and AU Adolin both are a rug everyone is taking turn to tug into whichever direction suits their needs, but nobody actually wants to settle with it.
 
So Kaladin worries Shallan may hurt Adolin's heart? But at the same time, he crushed on her... As I said, something will happen and Adolin's heart will be crushed :( I have always wondered how broken hearted Adolin would behave......... Why does Kaladin thinks "One Lat Girl"? What is he going to do? And you say Navani is coming with another girl? Together with the rest of the family? I can't wait to read part 18  :lol:
 
I figured Kaladin killed the horse because Adolin couldn't. I was rather clear in the story and very touching, how he went back to check on the horses. 
 
 

I felt that even though WoR didn't show too much on Sureblood's death, or Adolin reflecting on it afterwards, it was still a very traumatic moment for him.  Because Ryshadium are magical loyal horses and going into battle without one is like duelling without Mother's chain and chicken for breakfast.  Adolin post-WoR is going to be all sorts of messed up, but in my AU, the mental trauma started way earlier since there was no Shardplate and Thrill to cushion him and desensitise him on how horrible war really is.  Because when you are 17 years old and trained as an officer, your first time on the battlefield is when you realise people are willing to follow your orders into the gun-range and die because you told them to do it. 

 

I think there wasn't the time to extrapolate on Sureblood's death... but I am sure it will come back. Adolin will have to ride again, at some point, will he be able to approach another horse? Especially knowing Renarin is likely bonding a Rhysadium in book 3.... so not only Adolin will be the only non-Radiant in the family, he'll be the horse-less one.
 
My favorite plot arcs for Adolin are those where all of those small events accumulate on him, each crippling him in a slight way up until he can't move anymore.
 
I agree Thrill and Shards-less Adolin may have had a much different career. Without the blood lust of his father and without the aggressiveness found in most career soldier, how well would he have fared? Also book Adolin never suffered massive lost: he never commandeered his men into a dead hole. Until the Tower and the 4 on 1 duel, he has never been... desperate on the battlefield. Now he has taste some of it, but he wasn't responsible. What happens when he messes up?
 
 

One reason why Adolin feels "not good enough" is because his own position in the army was given to him out of nepotism - his dad bought him an officer's commission.  Dalinar has the soldiers' loyalty from decades of campaigns, and Kaladin has Charisma and earned his own position through Heroic Deeds.  Adolin started out textbook smart and learned field strategy on campaign and objectively is a capable commander, but still feels he can't compete compared to them.  His position protects him from a lot of "dirty work" that Kaladin doesn't have trouble with, like putting down dying horses and holding ether over dying soldier's noses so they pass out happy.  Imagine Adolin and Kaladin walking into a hospital tent full of dying soldiers or soldiers with amputated parts.  They would be thanking Adolin - the guy who crippled or killed them - for visiting them, and ignoring Kaladin, the guy who tried and failed to save their lives.   Maximum trauma.  :wacko:  :wacko:

 

 
Interesting take on Adolin. Book Adolin seems perfectly at ease over inheriting his rank: he never asks himself once if he should command the army or not, but he has just met Kaladin. Arguably though, without his birthright, Adolin wouldn't have risen this high as he isn't a natural leader: he is a trained one. His mindset is to fixed on obeying orders as opposed to giving them: he can take charge and he is good at it, but he is so relief to find out his father is not crazy... He is so happy to be able to pass the reign back to daddy.
 
I have yet to ponder some more on how book Adolin approaches leadership. 
 
It is somehow strange for me Adolin would end up in a position where he is butchering people on the battlefield considering how he feels towards hunting. Killing the Parshendis is the exact same thing, so why didn't it create the same disgust in Adolin as hunting did? Is it because he can't summon the Thrill when hunting?
 
 

In this AU, there is more distance between Dalinar and Adolin than in SA.  In this AU, the Dukes stay in the capital city Kholinar, where Elhokar is, and send people like Amaram to manage their regiments.  Dalinar is considered the weird one for going to battle in person, and he made Adolin a Duke when the war started so Adolin could run the farm.  Adolin's fanatical loyalty to Dalinar is balanced out by an equal loyalty to the thousands of people who depend on him as their landlord.  He still believes in Dalinar's "gut feelings" more than other people, even if it doesn't sound logical.  But he is also aware of a wider picture.  I personally find Adolin's obsessive loyalty a bit...overboard.  And I find it hard to balance it while keeping Adolin a mature and mostly independent adult, so I don't write it as up to 11 like it is in the books.

 

 
Book Adolin hero-worships his father... He was told stories of how grant his father once was and he yearns to see this man, again. Think of it as a boy in front of his hero. Would he openly critic him? Not easily... but book Adolin does end up criticizing Dalinar, when his father's actions start to push too strongly on his inner self, he fights back, but he hates it.
 
I also think Dalinar is part of Adolin's security blanket: as long as his father is healthy and strong, he has directions. He has been raised to obey, to fit a given mold. Learning Renarin was disabled probably forced Dalinar to put even more pressure on Adolin: his most capable son. As a result, little Adolin grew up with many rules to obey. Being affectionate and prone to please likely made him respond positively to those as he yearns acceptance by his father. These desire are also tied in with deep love combined with the feeling he needs to protect his father, a feeling probably reinforced by Dalinar breaking down. Adolin saw his father as vulnerable, so he took up on his shoulders to care for him while still desiring directions.
 
It is very mixed up... Adolin steps up to keep his little world intact. Each time change appears, he is nervous, he hates it: he wants things to remain.... stable. 
 
In that optic, his quasi blind loyalty to Dalinar isn't so far-fetched. It takes a lot for him to contradict daddy: it is hard. I get it book Adolin didn't grow up worshiping his father so much, hence their relationship is more distant. Can't wait to read it.
 
 

I went back and searched for the word "muscle" in the the WoK eBook, and it said that Kaladin was still muscly after 8 months of gruel and beatings as a slave.  Kaladin makes a notice of his own muscles, and the Bridge Four guys' muscles.  He notices Moash's pecs and compares himself to Gaz's noodle arms. 

 

And now it's super annoying that Adolin doesn't do the same thing for himself.  :ph34r:  In Shallan's PoV she only mentions his messy hair and his hot face.  Come on!  -_-

 

Ah see. I remembered he talked about his muscles  :o  :ph34r: Why does everyone depict him as super thin when he himself commands on his muscular shape? I say, to maintain most of his muscles weight despite having been mistreated as a slave for 8 month, he must have been pretty strong to begin with.

 

I agree Adolin need to strip -_- and carefully inspect himself in front of a mirror so we could get a better idea  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  Though if he does it in early book 3, it's likely going to be description of a patchwork of bruises  :ph34r: Considering the number of times Adolin got hit on in WoR, it is surprising he is even able to fight good old Sadeas  :o

 

 

I can't remember a winter colder than 5C, actually.  It is normally around 15C for winter days, and everyone complains about it and bundles up in scarves and wool coats.  But when there are European tourists and other people used to "real cold", they walk around in single layer long sleeve shirts, or even t-shirts when all the locals are triple layered.

 

Snow seems pretty crazy.  I know nothing about driving in snow or ice at all; it's the kind of thing people skip in the drivers license manual as one of those things that never happens.  You're more likely to hit a kangaroo than a snow pile.  But then again, weird things happen here too, like people in the outback who store their telephones in the fridge.  And people who wear traffic cones on their head because of the drop bears.  :ph34r:

 

You wear a scard and a wool coat when it is 15C  :huh:  :huh:  :huh:  :huh:  :huh:

 

When the weather forecast says 15C, I wonder if I should put on my capris and sandals instead of closed shoes and pants.... If I wear a skirt, I wonder if I really need to put on my boots as it may bet too warm during lunchtime.

 

At 15C, we are GLAD to go eat lunch outside.... with a very light jacket.

 

Scarfs...................................  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

 

The only place you are going to see a kangarou over here is at the zoo and they are pretty deceiving  :o Last summer, they were all lazily sprawled on the grass doing nothing  :ph34r: Talk about lazy animals  :ph34r:

 

The only living thing you are likely to hit over here are: skunks, ground-hogs or deer. Surprisingly, there are deer living in Montreal city....... Well, not in the city exactly, but in the suburbs there are deer. I have seen them  :o We even have two beavers  B) They are busy de-foresting the St-Laurent's river shores which is actually a problem...  :ph34r: There has been talk as to what to do with said beavers.... I say they trap them and they move them to a less populated area on a river somewhere: it isn't as if we are lacking those around here.

 

I feel really sorry for Adolin, the lonely rich guy.  His friends are all donutholes and all the girls swipe left on him.  I can't decide if it's better than Renarin, who had no friends or girlfriends at all, before he joined Bridge Four.  People laugh about Adolin being a "noob", but they don't even remember that Renarin exists.

 

It is hard to evaluate if Renarin is miserable or not from his apparent lack of socialization. After all, not everyone seek to be surrounded by people: there are individuals who prefer being with themselves and being strongly introverted I would hazard the guess Renarin isn't necessarily looking forward to large gatherings. Adolin, on the reverse, is a very social person. 

 

Here's the main difference between introverted and extroverted individuals: introverted recharge their energy piles when being alone while extroverted need other people to recharge them. As a result, having Renarin being isolated is not as bad as having Adolin being isolate. Why? Because one of ore dependent on his peers than the other. I suspect Renarin could go days without speaking to anyone and not be bothered by it, but Adolin would go crazy.

 

My reading of Renarin is he wants to be useful, he wants to feel he is contributing: he doesn't seek to be accepted within any social groups. He enjoys Bridge 4 because they make him feel useful, not because of the camaraderie. Adolin however seek to be accepted within his peers. As a result, he adopts all of the popular social convention, he wants to wear the fashionable clothing, he basically wants to do just as anyone else so he could get a feeling of belonging. He isn't the strong minded individual self-confident enough to scream his difference in front of everyone while still managing to be accepted because he has enough charisma on his own. This would be Kaladin. No. Adolin isn't confident enough to expose himself too much, so he tried to merge within the expectations.

 

I haven't seen it with Renarin. He may not like being different, he may not scream it or put the emphasis on it, but he certainly doesn't try to be someone else for the shake of conventions. He never complains over his father's rules, likely because it doesn't bother him overly. Adolin is bothered because those very same rules prevent him from fitting in............

 

 

Kaladin and Adolin in leather motorcycle pants.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  It would fit Kaladin to run laps on a muddy track in the woods, with his shirtless bridge brothers to watch.  Maybe he has a helmet with the number "4" painted on it, and a Parshendi paintjob on his bike.  Comparing horsepower is a man thing.  Harleys vs Sportsbikes vs Dirtbikes vs streetracing cars.    :ph34r:   It makes sense that you could get a rivalry going with an actual horse.

 

If football star Adolin gets a varsity jacket, then I'm ok with it.  :ph34r:

 

Ah no, not Adolin in leather pants  :ph34r: Bad mental image  :ph34r: Alright for Kaladin, I can see him wearing those, but not Adolin.... Adolin totally wears his varsity jacket because, as I said earlier, belonging.

 

I am unsure Adolin would be a car kinda of guy. Kaladin would totally be it, but Adolin?

 

As for football, if Dalinar was in it and if Dalinar liked it, then Adolin would be in it. In the AU, the Kholins have a long lasting tradition of playing football.

 
 

Adolin's self confidence ugh.  No participation ribbon is good enough for him; he needs gold every time.  If he wasn't such a nice guy, he'd be the arrogant jerk at the dojo who likes messing with the new guys when the sensei isn't looking.  That scene in the training arena when Kaladin meets Zahel for the first time reminded me of karate movies, just like the 4:1 duel reminded me of WWE wrestling.

 

He makes me think of me... I used to be this way. I needed to get the top grade: just a good grade wasn't enough, it had to be the best of the class, even worst, the best of all classes  :( I felt my worth as a human being was proportional to my ability at gathering good grades. I see some of this in Adolin, in his desire to get reconnaissance, to get people praise his skill and tell him he is good. Just like him, I had issues at developing lasting relationships... I was just not very good at it for similar reasons  :ph34r:

 

It's probably why I want to read this story so badly.

 

The guy who messes up with the new comers would be a bully... Adolin would never be a bully. I tend to think bullies have self-esteem issues more than self-confidence issues.

 
 

I wondered how Renarin would be able to escape since his Surges are pretty much non-combat support abilities.  But then I remembered he could just pull a Jasnah and pretend to be dead.  Since he can hold his breath for up to 15 minutes if he wanted to.

 

He could make himself invisible or craft a nightmare for his captors. He could make giant roots grow and attack his guardians. Truthwatchers aren't exactly powerless.

 

Yeah, it seems high ranking lighteyes don't really think about where the money comes from.  Navani comes up with fabrials for heating and removing pain, and they would be so useful to society - but no one but the top tier dahns would ever get to see them because they are the SA equivalent of being made of gold.  Maybe they are just bad at managing money - see Elhokar's toy larkin paperweight and the Davar financial issues. 

 

Being rich doesn't necessarily mean you are a good manager. Often, richness is inherited by people who grew up so spoiled they have no idea how to make money or even how to manage it. They have been used to spend it endlessly, but they fail to see it may have an end. 

 

Elhokar is an over-grown child with the emotional maturity of an 8 years old  :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART EIGHTEEN

 

 

 

 

 

“There is a scientific undertaking in progress,” announced Shallan, as she swept into the Kholinar Court kitchen.  Scullery maids and kitchen hands scattered in front of her; the lively buzzing activity of workers busy – working – faltered, and stopped.   There did seem to be a lot of food being prepared for a dinner that was to be served each night to a mere three people.

 

A woman in the black of a master-servant stepped in front of her.  She had a solid build, with thick arms and a ruddy face.  So, presumably, the head cook.  “My lady?  Do you need assistance in anything?  We send up trays for those who ring and request.” 

 

There was a disapproval in her voice, which had the more precise and clear Kholinar elocution rather than the earthier Kholinshire country accents of the other servants.  Those from upstairs were not welcome below. Shallan slowly became aware that those below the rank of gentry were much more conscious about their social rank than those above – most gentry she had acquainted herself with in the past had had the luxury to call themselves egalitarian, in the Continental fashion, in the company of their peers.  There was a range of incomes for each person, and that was not talked about – but each knew the other had the pedigree, and that was the only thing that mattered.

 

“Balances?  Weighing scales?” said Shallan, putting forward her voice of confidence and authority.  “There is a matter Lady Jasnah asked me to see to.  I understand that there is a scale of size to be found in the kitchen and the stables – but I should say that the kitchens sounded the more appealing prospect.”

 

The head cook bowed; Shallan saw she wore black wide-legged trousers under a white apron.  “Ah, yes.  We do have a great scale in our pantry, if my lady will follow me.  It would not do for a great lady such as yourself to venture to the stables – we House staff do not find it an appealing prospect either.”

 

She led Shallan to the back of the kitchen, where finished dishes cooled on iron racks.  Loaves of bread were stacked in baskets covered in cloths; it was quieter here without the noisome clanging of stoves being stoked and working benches being worked.  Shallan mused on what she had just been told.  There had been a hint of scorn in the master-servant’s voice, when she had mentioned the stables.  Was there a sort of rivalry between the House staff and the grounds staff?  Shallan had never been on an estate where the staff had been large enough to have their own divisions in this way.

 

The pantry door was unlocked by the cook’s key, and the door pulled open.  Inside was a small room with shelves ascending to a high ceiling, with sacks of beans and flour on the floor and bottom-most level.  Higher up were jars of mysterious floating things, in glass and pottery; above that were smaller flasks of spices and flavourings, and baskets of dried things caught in small twine nets.  There were buckets of white powder on the floor – Shallan had seen those before in the Kharbranth Palanaeum – they were meant to absorb moisture from the air. 

 

There was the scale on the floor, by a sack of flour.  It was a large scale, with a rectangular frame in sturdy iron-bound wood; the tray was on the floor and a smaller tray was connected by metal rods to the back.  That large tray was for the goods, and the small one was for the lead weights, which were piled adjacent. 

 

“Shall I leave you to it, my lady?” asked cook, clearly impatient to return to her work. 

 

“Of course, I shall be only a few minutes,” said Shallan. 

 

She had used scales before, in the miniature version.  This could not be much different – there was a counter on the top, with scored marks that were supposed to align when you balanced the weights exactly.  The only difference between this goods scale and the small ones she had used for buying sketching and painting papers in Kharbranth was that the weights were heavier.  Much, much heavier, it turned out.

 

Clank. 

 

The thirty-pound weight dropped to the floor and crossed the pantry a mere second after Shallan had picked it up; it rolled to a gentle stop after bouncing off a flour sack.  She was not very fit; that much was obvious.  She looked around for the five- and ten-pound weights, but there were not many of them – she would run out before the scale was balanced.  Smaller goods were naturally weighed on smaller scales, and they would be too small for her to stand on.

 

“Hallo?” called a voice, and the pantry door was opened fully from where it had been set ajar for the minimal light necessary to read the scale.

 

Oh!” Shallan whirled around.  “Adolin!  What are you doing here?”

 

He stepped into the pantry, and pulled the door back to its original position.  He eyed the scale and the handful of small weights she managed to arrange on the tray.  “I was hungry.  I had a tray sent up for lunch but dumbwaiters are only so large, you see.  What are you doing in the pantry?”

 

Shallan thought quickly.  “Weighing myself.  Um.  I was thinking if I needed another horse,” she said, hoping the excuse she’d latched onto was reasonable enough to pass cursory inspection.  It would not do to for Adolin to know the real reason why she needed her own weight measured, of course.  “It might be a good idea to see how big it should have to be to carry me.  Since I read in a book once that a horse’s rider weight should ideally be around fifteen per cent of its own weight…”

 

“Ah – then let me help,” said Adolin, turning around to the weights on the floor.  He picked up a fifty-pound weight with no apparent difficulty, and set it on the measuring tray next to all the smaller lead weights.  

 

Shallan stood on the measuring tray while Adolin arranged the weights, and came to the uneasy realisation that this was a measure with her shoes and dress on – she would have to account for that when calculating her progressionals. 

 

“Here,” Adolin said at last.  He was not wheezing, nor out of breath in the least.  “That’s … a royal hundredweight, or thereabouts.  Any yearling in the stables would have no trouble with that.  But we would have to train it to take the side-saddle.”

 

“Of course.  Thank you–“

 

“But that can’t be right – a hundredweight is the size of a newborn foal…” he trailed off.  There was a note of concern in his voice.

 

“Did you just insult my weight?” said Shallan, grasping for humourous indignation.  Why was he worried?  He couldn’t have guessed what she needed the measurement for, could he?

 

“No,” he said, voice returning to its usual friendly manner.  “Well, maybe.  It just seemed rather small to me.”

 

“Not everyone can be blessed with Anglethi proportions.”

 

“I know – and I had thought your own Scottish proportions would be a mere novelty.”  He looked at her, and he smiled affectionately.  “But I do not find it disagreeable – no, not at all.”

 

Shallan stepped off the scale.  The weighted end hit the floor with a clank.  She took a step towards Adolin, who stepped back.  “You know,” she said softly, looking up at his face in the dim light of the cracked open door.  “We haven’t ever kissed each other standing upright, have you noticed?”

 

“Er, I suppose not.”  Adolin cleared his throat and looked sideways; he took another step back.

 

“Might you be curious about how it feels?” asked Shallan, stepping forward.  “Just in case it is awkward, and we should know to avoid it in the future.  After all, they say guillotines are the great leveller of men – but I say it is chairs.”

 

Adolin’s back hit the shelves with a creak. 

 

Shallan rose to her toes; her face was only inches away from his.

 

“But – this is the pantry!” he croaked.

 

She leaned forwards and gently brushed her lips against his, and then stepped back, smiling.  “What did you think pantries were made for?”

 

His hand caught hers; he pulled her back.  “For this, possibly,” he said.

 

Then he tugged on her hand and she fell into his arms, and they were kissing.  Her arms twined around his neck, and she felt his hand tangling in her hair.  His embrace was firm, but he was nothing but gentle with her.  She slipped one hand into his open, unbuttoned coat, sliding it in until she could feel the muscles of his back under his shirt and waistcoat.  He took a short wheezing gasp of air, and she felt the scrape of tooth against her lower lip.

 

“This is your pantry,” she murmured.

 

Then his lips were on hers again, warm with promise and expectation.  It was different this time, when it was not in an inn, or in the forest.  There was something about being in one’s home that inferred a measure of safety and comfort and rightness compared to anywhere else – it felt less like roguishness, even if they were in what could be generously described as passionate embrace – below stairs, in the kitchen, and in the semi-dark of the pantry.

 

Just as Shallan was thinking that, the pantry door was abruptly dragged open and light spilled in.  She saw the face of a shocked kitchen maid.  The door was closed again immediately, and she heard heated whispering from outside.  She and Adolin pulled away from one another in the pitch blackness; she felt his arm guiding her to stand behind him, blocking her view when the door opened once more.

 

Ahem,” he said.  She could not see his face.  “Well, ah, this inspection of the pantry has been completed and all has been found in order.  My compliments to the cook.  Yes.  Thank you all for your hard work.  Please, carry on.”

 

He led her by the hand through the kitchen, and once again, work stopped as they passed, and the ranks of workers dipped into low but clumsy curtseys and bows.  Shallan walked with her head down, letting her hair fall over her ears to cover their furious, almost glowing, warmth; she knew she was blushing – and she could not help but feel the most acute embarrassment.  But there was no shame; she could never feel ashamed or regretful for what she and Adolin had shared in those few private minutes.  She hoped he felt the same.

 

When Shallan passed, and she and Adolin approached the door leading out of the servants’ hall, she heard giggles and whispering from the workers.  “Lady Jasnah,” she heard, and “scientific undertaking,” all punctuated by poorly stifled snickering.

 

They entered the long portrait gallery. The lamps were unlit and the hall was empty; it was around mid-afternoon.

 

Adolin took one deep gulping breath and let it go with a slow hiss.  He was still holding her by the hand.  “Well,” he finally said.  “That was a new experience.”

 

Shallan looked at him and then at their linked hands.  “You should well know that courage comes in many forms,” she said softly.

 

“Yes.  That is truth.”

 

 

***

 

 

Adolin opened the door of the retiring room with one hand.  His other hand was holding Shallan’s.   She wondered if he had forgotten about it – because she certainly couldn’t.  She was very profoundly aware of his closeness, and his presence; it was as if something in him was drawing her near – if she had closed her eyes, she thought she might reasonably be capable of finding him without looking.

 

“Good, you’re here,” said Kaladin.  He ceased his pacing and looked up.  His eyes narrowed.  “But – her?  Really, is it necessary?”

 

“You wanted to discuss the events of – last night,” said Adolin.  He turned to her.  “Shallan was there too, Kal.”

 

“Fine, fine.”  Kaladin’s eyes swept over her, and lingered on her face.  She realised that her hair was brushed smooth on one side, and the other side was swept messily upwards in tangled curls.  She flushed, and pushed it back behind her ear.  He continued, “I talked to the farrier today, and showed him the guns and knives Karsten and I collected.  The guns are generic trade models, and are sold by a number of different supply merchants – an easy two dozen companies sell the same model.

“The knives, however – they are very interesting.”

 

“What did you find?” asked Adolin.

 

Kaladin opened a box on the side table, and plucked out two knives – no, two blades.  “I had the farrier take off the hilts.  Most had the maker’s marks rasped off on the tang – see here – but there was one roughly unfinished – here – where you can see a faint outline of the design that was supposed to be underneath.  And one that was completely untouched.” 

 

Adolin took the blades and turned them over in his hands.  They looked quite ordinary: there was a blade the length of a man’s hand, with a narrower tang that was usually wrapped in wood or antler and leather for the grip.  Shallan was no expert on knives, but they were double edged like a spear point, and looked not dissimilar to her brothers’ belt dirks.

 

“The maker’s mark,” said Adolin slowly, running a finger down the tang.  “It looks like three diamonds.”

 

“Yes.  I showed it around the stable yard, and not one man there could identify it as the work of a local smith.  These were not made in Kholinshire.”

 

“Father was right then – foreign saboteurs.”

 

“It could be another Duke.”

 

A tense silence filled the room.  Shallan tried to understand what she had just learned and compared it to what she knew: that Brother Kabsal was involved with this mysterious group, and they were after something in the temple rather than attempting an assassination.  But Jasnah had once theorised that these same people were the ones who had killed her father, the late King Gavilar I.

 

“What would they have to gain?” said Shallan, remembering the conversation with Adolin – before he had turned to speaking of that.  “Don’t the Dukes make money so long as the war is going on?  Killing Adolin would result in an immediate retreat from the marshlands and then to a civil war.  I cannot see any Duke benefitting from such a thing.”

 

“She’s right.  No Duke would do this.  Not so openly,” said Adolin forcefully.

 

Kaladin gave her a wary glance.  “She might be right.  I – don’t know.”

 

“Do you not trust Father?”

 

Kaladin crossed his arms and exhaled loudly.  There was a tense pause in the conversation, until he finally spoke.  “Your father – reads too many old books – and forgets that the rules of reality work differently.”

 

“He’s not senile!” Adolin insisted.

 

“I never said he was.  He’s … impractically idealistic.  What he finds in those books – well, I say the congruencies are merely coincidence.  I’ve read them: there’s no wisdom of ages hidden in there.  It’s out-dated romanticised nonsense of a grand old past that never existed.”

 

“Jasnah reads them,” Shallan put in.  “And she thinks they’re important.”

 

“The difference is,” said Kaladin coldly, “it’s only you who believes her.  The Prince has twenty thousand following him to wherever he leads them.”

 

“You make loyalty sound like a weakness,” remarked Adolin.  “So.  You disagree with Father, like most everyone else.  But last night, a band of assassins – brigands – almost did away with all of us in the Forest.  Twenty miles from my own House!  What do you say to that?”

 

“That there are other groups that seek chaos in these times.  We have seen them in Ireland – before.”  Kaladin shared a meaningful look with Adolin here, and Shallan did not understand what – incident – they were referring to. 

 

“Yes,” agreed Adolin.  “But they were in Ireland.  Damnation!  Am I to call for the muster?”  He suddenly seemed hesitant, less assured. 

 

Kaladin lowered his voice.  “You must be prepare, for now.  Commission an officer.  Major Khal is presently qualified for a promotion.”

 

“Father doesn’t–”

 

“I think,” said Kaladin abruptly, turning to Shallan, “Miss Davar ought to go up and change for dinner.”

 

Adolin sent her a pleading look.  “Please, Shallan, if you don’t mind – I know it is impossibly rude of Kal – and of me, and I must apologise.  I will see you at dinner, and I will think of something – I do not mean to leave you out.  But–”

 

“I understand,” said Shallan in a quiet voice.  She looked up at Adolin’s eyes, and her fingers traced a shape on the back of his hand.  He looked at her, and smiled, and it was as if they were sharing an unspoken conversation; unuttered words passed from one to the other, carrying sentiments of mutual support and affectionate encouragement. 

 

Then Kaladin slammed shut the lid of the box and the knives inside clattered loudly.

 

When Shallan withdrew, she felt a curious sense of relief that there were things that Adolin did not feel comfortable wanting her to hear.  She speculated that other girls might have felt put-out, or jealous, or unpleasantly vexed if they were not willingly included in their gentleman companion’s company for every moment of his entertaining.   Perhaps that was the reason for Adolin’s so many unsuccessful suits with the countless number of unsuccessful girls. 

 

She did not begrudge him his privacy – it made her own secrecy that much easier to bear. 

 

 

***

 

 

Shallan returned to her bedchamber to work on her progressionals.  That infuriating Doctor Kaladin was right – there was one line copied from an old sheet of formulae where she had written a sigma instead of a nu, when it should have been only nu all the way through.  She herself understood the replacement, and it would have meant a negligible difference – thankfully – when it came to actually pouring.  But to any other driftwatchers, with the exception of the extremely well-practiced or well-educated, it would have caused a dreadful confusion.

 

How did the Doctor pick it out?  He had done the same thing with her sketchbook in the carriage – did he have very good reflexes along with an accurate eye for observing detail?  These skills would make him an exceptional surgeon, Shallan supposed.  She was not feeling the spirit of charitability enough in herself to readily acknowledge that Kaladin indeed possessed a keen intelligence, along with a respectable conversational wit.

 

And why would he tell her that he saw her error?  Wouldn’t it have been better to watch her stumble about, as he had mentioned earlier when she had had trouble getting up to Sureblood’s stirrup?  His own oaths as a healer and physician would not allow him to cause harm to other people, but they said nothing about letting people go about harming themselves – spirit or flesh or anything else – on their own time.  

 

She still did not understand why he would do so, when he was so insufferably rude to her; even when he was nominally helping her – by changing her bandages and cleaning her wound – he did not seem to enjoy her presence, or look favourably on her connection with Adolin, nor Adolin’s own attentions on her. 

 

When Finnie came to brush her hair and lay out the dress and under-dress for dining, Shallan settled on this:  Kaladin, who did not believe in the inherent privileges or Heavenly origin of social rank, nevertheless considered Adolin his equal.  That made sense, since Adolin was a good man, and it would take a person with a severe and self-imposed blindness not to concede that fact.  He saw Shallan, no doubt, as a manic ether-wretch and a mercenary, and terrible human being in general.  She was not a fit match for Adolin, in his eyes – she was too flawed, too … broken, and not good enough.  And Adolin, being a genuinely kind and gentle man, deserved nothing but the best.

 

This was the realisation she came to when she walked through the portrait gallery to the dining room.   It explained his own arrogant and unpleasant attitude towards her, and his own reaction when Adolin had invited her to stay, when they were hiking through the Forest earlier that morning.  Kaladin was only tolerating – suffering – her presence out of loyalty to his patron-employer.   His interest in her well-being was only an extension of Adolin’s.  This sudden spark of comprehension did not make her dislike him less; it only made her aware that were they to reside permanently in the same household, they must settle on an uneasy indifference for the sake of their mutual sanity.

 

Shallan reached the dining room, adrift in her own thoughts.  The gentlemen were already there, both dressed in their dining whites, and Adolin pushed in her chair, as usual.  Kaladin took his seat without waiting for the lady to be properly seated.  It seemed a reprise of the dinner two evenings ago, but this time Shallan did not feel much inclined to make conversation.

 

The dinner was quiet without her or Kaladin – bickering – at one another.  Adolin also seemed somewhat subdued; the talk of the muster was not something he was particularly pleased with, Shallan guessed.   The first course, a very rich and creamy bisque with floating fragments of crab-things, was eaten in almost total silence.  She wondered if the footmen were disappointed in their lack of conversation – did they enjoy listening to the verbal sparring of the dinner table?

 

The second course was brought out, cold potted chicken with buttery garlic sauce, served with peas and sliced aubergine rounds.  That was when the butler stepped out, and whispered in Adolin’s ear.   Adolin nodded, then the butler withdrew and returned with a tray containing a sealed letter and a silver knife.

 

Adolin slit the edge of the envelope; Shallan saw that there was an oval wax seal in blue – Kholin blue – with an imprint in the shape of a lozenge, which appeared very similar to Adolin’s own seal ring.  Important business then, to warrant an interruption to their dinner.  Adolin read the message and sighed.   He slid the letter back into the envelope, returned it to the tray, and waved to the butler, who took it and retreated.

 

“What is it?” inquired Kaladin.  “Something from the Park?”

 

“Yes.  Renarin sends a warning,” said Adolin.  He stabbed at his chicken with irritation.

 

“Can it be–?”

 

“No! – Not that!” Adolin exclaimed.  “He writes that Jasnah visited him today – this morning – to invite him to the formal presentation, which she has set a few days from now.”

 

“Where?”

 

“Here.”

 

There was a silence as each man tried to process that information.  The footmen took the liberty serve the third course, which consisted of medallions of rare beef baked inside thick sheets of suet pastry.   It was served with a very rich gravy and buttered long beans.  Shallan noticed that every remove appeared to be very rich today; on most occasions she liked a hearty meal when she could have it, but this was one hearty meal on top of another, and this – excess – could not sit very well with her stomach.  She stopped the footman after he had poured a tiny circle of gravy on her plate, and noticed Kaladin eying her with scrutiny.

 

“What formal presentation is this?” she asked.

 

“Mine.  Ours.  I suppose,” said Adolin slowly.  “She wants to present you as her ward – and presumably my, ah, companion, to the Family.  Renarin – my brother – reports that she has already gone to the City to visit Father and order decorations sent over from our townhouse.”

 

“Well, it can’t be that bad,” Shallan said.  “I never had an official coming-out like Anglethis do; we don’t really do things like that apart from the annual McValam clan moot.”

 

“Well, it wouldn’t be that bad, ordinarily,” Adolin admitted.  “But my royal aunt was at the Park when Jasnah called on Renarin.  Now Renarin is warning me that Aunt Navani is attempting to commandeer the event and turn it into a contest.   She wants to be the successful matchmaker, not Jasnah.

 

“Father is returning to the marshlands soon, and Aunt Navani thinks that if she can successfully match me to some lord’s daughter, then she will get a few votes’ worth of extra campaign funds for Father, and a few votes in Parliament for herself.”

 

“I am sure she will not force you to pick one at gunpoint,” Shallan said, with a thin smile. 

 

Adolin looked at her and reached for her hand over the table.  “No.  Not at gunpoint, but she would have tried if she knew it might work.  The problem is that it won’t be just the Family anymore.  It’s half the Kholinar elite.”

 

“I thought you liked those people,” said Kaladin dryly.

 

Pudding was served now: bowls containing a brown moist cake-like dessert with a crisp crust of burnt sugar and a dollop of custard.  Shallan took a bite hesitantly; she was not particularly hungry after the previous removes.  Ugh.  Was that – oatmeal?  Yes.  It was.  Underneath the honey and molasses taste of the pudding, there was the recognisable – unforgettable – almost dry texture of boiled oats.  She did not spit it back out.  That was unseemly.  So she swallowed it, with a grimace of revulsion. 

 

“I did,” Adolin said.  He dug into his pudding.  “But they don’t like me.  Not lately.”

 

“What did you do to them?”  Shallan noticed Kaladin staring at her.  He was eating his pudding and looking pointedly at her own bowl.  She took another bite.  Uuuugh.  It was still disgusting the second time around.  The texture was worse than the taste; it dried her tongue out; the aftertaste lingered no matter how much water she drank.

 

“I’m the best,” replied Adolin, grinning.  “Number one at the Kholinar Duelling Club.   They’re all jealous.” 

 

Kaladin rolled his eyes.  “He won a lot of bets and bankrupted some people of their family estates.  Then he salted their wounds by deeding most of it to his brother, who is not a Club member.  Not even an honorary one.”

 

“It worked out for the best, you know!  The Shire council has to run everything by Renarin now–“

 

Shallan stood, queasily.   Adolin rose to his feet in politeness.  “You must excuse me, sir,” said Shallan.

 

“Shallan?”

 

“Please, by all means – continue without me.”

 

The footman held the door open for her, and Shallan stumbled out into the hall.  She could not reach her own room from here; it was much too far away.  She saw the floral display arranged in a delicately painted porcelain bowl, and pushed the flowers aside; she retched violently.  A chunk of oat pudding, tasting sweet and bitter with her own stomach acid, dropped into the bowl.  It tasted worse going back out; her throat convulsed.  She could feel the heavy dinner churning inside her; she could feel the oesophageal contractions on the brink of returning everything she had eaten.  She bit her lip and concentrated, trying to keep it all in.

 

“Do you make this a regular habit?”  It was Kaladin.

 

Shallan did not turn around.  “Only when I eat oats.  I ate oats three meals a day for two years.  The texture – it makes me ill,” she managed to choke out.

 

“So to-night is the result of a well-meaning but misguided notion of the Duke’s, and not yet another wretched vice of yours?”

 

I do not purge … if that is what you mean,” Shallan croaked, leaning against the flimsy-legged side table that held the flower bowl.  It swayed, and Shallan swayed with it.  “No matter how – fashionable others may think it is.”

 

“The Duke informed me of your meeting in the kitchen.”  He caught her by the elbow, and steadied her.

 

“That is none – of your concern.”

 

“It is my duty now, as of this morning.” 

 

“I have told you,” said Shallan, as coldly as she could.   Her voice sounded more ill than intimidating.  “Oats disagree with me.  You may leave now.”

 

“Do your courses come regularly?” 

 

It took a second for Shallan to understand the meaning of his question.  She straightened up so quickly that the bowl rattled on the table.  She twisted around.  Her head was light and her stomach was heavy.  It was not a pleasant feeling.  “Now that – is definitely nothing of your concern.”

 

“It is again my duty to enquire,” said Kaladin, his voice soft.  Was that – concern?  It could not possibly be kindness. She could not tell.  He reached for her shoulder.  “And it is partly your duty too.”

 

“My duty?” Shallan managed, with difficulty.

 

“The Duchess Kholinar’s duty is to bear the next Duke.”                                                                

 

The floral display became completely unsalvageable.   Dinner, Shallan thought, retching, was much different looking after it had been chewed up and returned. The taste, peculiarly, was still very similar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

There are couple of nods to WoR in here.  “Are you insulting my weight” is probably the most obvious.  :- )  Shallan really is spindly for a Horneater.

 

- "Royal hundredweight" - based on archaic measure IRL called "imperial hundredweight" that was phased out in the 1820's, equivalent to 112 lbs.

- "Your father reads too many old books" - Dalinar isn't the next Joan of Arc, but he does re-read The Way of Kings on loop.

- "That there are other groups that seek chaos in these times" - Referring to Gavilar's assassin and the guerilla outfit that Helaran joined.

- "I will see you at dinner, and I will think of something" - foreshadowing for dessert.

- "did not look favourably on her connection with Adolin, nor Adolin’s own attentions on her." - Gee, I wonder whyyyyy.  Kaladin is the perceptive one, and what he sees makes him feel kinda jealous.

- "person with a severe and self-imposed blindness" -  Guess what, that person is actually Shallan. 

- "It is again my duty to enquire” - Shallan's weight bothered Adolin enough to change the dinner menu, but it's Kaladin who runs the numbers and realises that the state of the Davar finances has probably left Shallan in underweight territory.  In this period, potato growing hasn't become widespread yet, so no peasant calorie-bombs, and scurvy is an actual problem.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 18

 

 

 

 

 

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Ah thanks. I had wondered how it happened. Seems totally Kaladin B)  Enroll kitchen aids? Totally Kaladin  B) I bet he secretly trained them to use their knifes just in case they were attacked  :lol: Totally Kaladin  B)  Was the Kholins as desperate as they were at the tower? I loved how WoR Adolin mentioned simply seeing Sadeas made him revive the stark terror he has felt when he realized they have been doomed. People like to point out how often Adolin said he would kill Sadeas to justify making it a cold-blooded murder as oppose to a hot-blooded one, but at the same time, just seeing the man brings such strong emotions in him... 
Stark terror. Had Dalinar even been afraid?
Kaladin in every AU was destined to be a hero.  Even if it was a modern one, he'd be rescuing kittens stuck in trees. B)
And yes, they were pretty desperate, but what happened wasn't due to a betrayal by someone in the warcamps.  So in this AU, they aren't going to kill Sadeas.  Adolin still thinks he and Amaram are donutholes, though.  I think Adolin feels better when he has a clear outlet for his anger and fear.  If it a massive loss was caused by a group of people he might be either more erratic/afraid or maybe even more reasonable with his emotions.
 
Dalinar feels fear, but he's such an old soldier that he doesn't panic or dirty his Shardplate.  He just ignores it because it doesn't contribute much next to caution and experience.  Fear is the mind-killer, fear is the little death that brings total obliteration, etc. :ph34r:
 
 

 

Anyone would still marry Adolin, even if he were disfigured, simply for the promise of wealth and status. The only reason none stuck is because Adolin kept sending them away the second the relationship started becoming more serious. The problem with Shallan is while she comes across as the refreshing one for Adolin, she hasn't been, so far, very different than the majority: she only wants him for his status. She likes him, she finds him attractive, but is he anything more than an empty shell filled with money bags to her?
 
Adolin is definitely superstitious -_-  Lift too is superstitious -_-  I suspect it is a trait found in many Edgedancers -_- 

I just laughed at the image of Adolin being a pinata filled with cash.  :ph34r::lol:

In the SA books, Shallan is a teenage girl who has gone on 2-3 dates with a cute boy and text messaged him now and then.  Would it be weirder if she turned into one of those weird clingy girls who says things like LET'S GET MARRIED RIGHT NOW and writes creepy messages like "ur cute when ur sleepin" on a guy's window or his car with lipstick?

 

Their current relationship I think is still pretty realistic for IRL dating.  But maybe too slow for plot narrative purposes.  We shall see.

 

 

 

Well yes I am a character reader. If I enjoy the character the author wrote, I prefer to read a character who actually resemble him/her within fanfiction. If not, then I wouldn't like the original character so much, nor wouldn't I?
I guess I am flustered to see bromance has been evicted from the world of fiction. I like bromance, but seeing it irrevocably turn into romance has annoyed me.

I think I am a bit more lenient with creative content.  If the writing is good quality, then I will read it and enjoy it even if the ships aren't my favourite, or the characters' "voices" sound off.  Of course, a lot of really weird crack characterisations are also written by bad writers, but occasionally there are good ones that I suspend my disbelief for because I want to see how the author takes it in a different direction.  It's like fanartists who draw character fan art that doesn't look like the cover art. 

 

To avoid things you don't want to see, you have to get pretty specific when sorting by tags.  :ph34r:  But it only works if there is a lot of content to sort through.

 

I like the fact AU Kaladin is more morally grey. I get book Kaladin also is more morally grey than he lets on, but he is forced to take the higher ground because Syl demands it. It isn't always a win-win situation as honorsprens are demanding: follow their ideology or kill them :ph34r:  If Syl wasn't so sympathetic, I am not sure I would like her  :ph34r:
It is interesting Adolin is Kaladin's superior in the AU as book Kaladin makes a point to reinforce the fact Adolin isn't his commanding officer.

After thinking about Syl and re-reading WoR, I don't think I like her as much as the naive cute little girl Syl in WoK. 

Sprens are pretty much parasites that attach themselves to a human host for sentience.  Then they get their host addicted to Stormlight and say things like "If you don't do what I want, I won't let you get another fix."  :ph34r:  I like Pattern better; he seems actually useful and less restrictive.

Kaladin makes it a point because he doesn't like Adolin and thinks he's a spoiled princeling at that point.  If they trusted each other earlier, and trusted each other to the level where neither would consider any possible abuse of authority, I think Kaladin would be ok with Adolin as his commander.  But SA Kal has his stigma for lighteyes...

 

 

 

Then again without Pattern, Shallan wouldn't even try to remember... She is so afraid she won't be able to bear the truth, it is almost sad. Not surprising she thinks the world wouldn't accept her if they knew: she doesn't even accept herself. This being said, I was not surprised she was willing to totally severe her link with the Davar manor. Not only it was an unhappy place for her, it also became the symbol of her imprisonment. It wasn't a house for her, but a prison. She was bird and they caged her on the pretense her wings were broken and it was for her own protection, but she took her first flight, she became addicted. I am not surprised she doesn't long to go back there and it probably is why she reacted so harshly to Adolin when he said he would better protect her after the chasm scene. For her protection means imprisonment.
I get AU Shallan's past was not as horrific so while she may have been isolated due to her household being remote (was it remote, I took it it was :ph34r:), she have been enslaved to her brothers' addiction, she still had something to long to. Somehow. It makes sense in an AU where Shallan did not erase her entire life, she would cling to what she perceived as the happy parts, but she is an unreliable narrator. How happy has it truly ever been?
I bet it never was happy... just as I bet book Shallan's past has never been happy.

I think there is a chance that if Shallan stayed away from the Davar manor for a while, she would eventually learn to forgive herself and try to remember, even if she didn't have Pattern.  If she didn't have Pattern, she wouldn't have magical mindwiping powers.  If she did have Pattern and she killed him before he could fully make her remember, she would still have a chance at fixing her memory on her own.  It would just take a longer time - maybe a decade or so.  But Pattern needs her to do it now so she can be a Radiant. The plot requires character development!

 

Happy is relative.  Shallan before she left Scotland/Jah Keved didn't know much else outside the estate grounds.  What she thinks is "happy childhood" is just the time before she killed her parents and got traumatised.  Maybe to our modern Earth standards it wouldn't be great - and even childhoods in the 1950's we would consider really harsh, but to her, it would be the period when everyone was mostly functional and that what gives her nostalgia.

 

 

There are ample clues in both books Adolin just isn't the same man his father is, even worst, he isn't the man his father thinks he is (or wants him to be).

 
As for Shallan, ah well, I found book Shallan to be egocentric and self-centered, mainly in her courtship of Adolin. If any argument can be made in disfavor of the Shallan/Adolin ship, it is this one: Shallan has yet to show she cares for Adolin, she has yet to show she is in it for something else than power and wealth. I suspect book Shallan will have an adventure with Kaladin :ph34r:  I was slightly distressed when I read the chamber maid almost encouraging Shallan to sleep with Kaladin :o  Even his own servants don't care about Adolin.... :( What is he? I fear book and AU Adolin both are a rug everyone is taking turn to tug into whichever direction suits their needs, but nobody actually wants to settle with it.
 
So Kaladin worries Shallan may hurt Adolin's heart? But at the same time, he crushed on her... As I said, something will happen and Adolin's heart will be crushed :( I have always wondered how broken hearted Adolin would behave......... Why does Kaladin thinks "One Lat Girl"? What is he going to do? And you say Navani is coming with another girl? Together with the rest of the family? I can't wait to read part 18  :lol:
 
I figured Kaladin killed the horse because Adolin couldn't. I was rather clear in the story and very touching, how he went back to check on the horses. 

When I first read WoK, I only saw Adolin as an extension of Dalinar's character and plot arc.  Pretty much, he was the character who gave the skeptical eye to his visions, so we the readers would question how real they were and if it was magic or delusion.  I didn't really read him as his own character until WoR, and then I went back to WoK and saw that though he started as Dalinar's foil, he had some character development going on in his own right.

 

Yeah, I didn't see much more than superficial first date crushing in Shallan when she interacted with SA Adolin.  When she gets to the point in their relationship that she wants to see him more than a useful (but handsome) tool to her, what will she actually see?  I will get mad if the only quality she can see is him being "The Nice Guy" to Kaladin's "Angsty Guy".  That is something I want to see explored in SA#3 - what are his traits that make him suitable for a realistic long-term relationship, so it isn't just a shallow Betty vs Veronica re-run?

 

Adventure with Kaladin? :ph34r:   Wasn't that the chasm scene?

Regarding Shallan and the chambermaid - in Regency society, most nobles get married without love.  It's not that the maid doesn't care about Adolin when she encourages Shallan, but she does it because she cares about Shallan.  She talks to Shallan and likes her, and she knows Kaladin because he talks to the servants, but Adolin to her is the distant boss who doesn't know she exists - since only the top servants like butler and housekeeper are allowed to interact with the lord of the manor.  The maid knows nobles don't have the freedom of choice like lower-class people do, so she thinks it would be nice for Shallan to know how it feels to make her own choice doing things :ph34r: with Kaladin, who has a reputation as a caring man, before she is married and such freedoms are forbidden forever.  No one hates Adolin!  

 

Kaladin is afraid that Shallan might Adolin's One Last Try, because if she dumps him, she would be stomping his heart into tiny little pieces and he would never be able to put it back together.  And then he would die alone and miserable. -_-  No Honor Chasm in this AU though.

Kaladin may be crushing on Shallan, but it's not like he's going to do anything about it.  They might do some innocent flirty banter, but Kaladin is not going to steal Adolin's girl or sabotage the relationship for his own ends, because he believes in being bros and taking one for the team.  :ph34r: 

 

I see you reading ahead there. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r::lol::ph34r:

 

 

 

I think there wasn't the time to extrapolate on Sureblood's death... but I am sure it will come back. Adolin will have to ride again, at some point, will he be able to approach another horse? Especially knowing Renarin is likely bonding a Rhysadium in book 3.... so not only Adolin will be the only non-Radiant in the family, he'll be the horse-less one.
My favorite plot arcs for Adolin are those where all of those small events accumulate on him, each crippling him in a slight way up until he can't move anymore.
I agree Thrill and Shards-less Adolin may have had a much different career. Without the blood lust of his father and without the aggressiveness found in most career soldier, how well would he have fared? Also book Adolin never suffered massive lost: he never commandeered his men into a dead hole. Until the Tower and the 4 on 1 duel, he has never been... desperate on the battlefield. Now he has taste some of it, but he wasn't responsible. What happens when he messes up?

 
Interesting take on Adolin. Book Adolin seems perfectly at ease over inheriting his rank: he never asks himself once if he should command the army or not, but he has just met Kaladin. Arguably though, without his birthright, Adolin wouldn't have risen this high as he isn't a natural leader: he is a trained one. His mindset is to fixed on obeying orders as opposed to giving them: he can take charge and he is good at it, but he is so relief to find out his father is not crazy... He is so happy to be able to pass the reign back to daddy.
 
I have yet to ponder some more on how book Adolin approaches leadership. 
 
It is somehow strange for me Adolin would end up in a position where he is butchering people on the battlefield considering how he feels towards hunting. Killing the Parshendis is the exact same thing, so why didn't it create the same disgust in Adolin as hunting did? Is it because he can't summon the Thrill when hunting?
 
If Renarin gets a horse, why can't Kaladin have one? :ph34r:

And do you really enjoy Adolin being the trauma pinata?  -_-  
 
You don't have to have an overwhelming defeat or a Pyrrhic victory to feel guilt and sadness at losing men.  Even a successful plateau run will lead to losing a few men here and there.  I always thought that Adolin, being the caring guy who remembers the names of the men under his command, would feel that the loss of one is still too much.  Each life matters to him.  But he obeys his orders, and understands that is necessary for the whole campaign tactics, so he does it anyway.  And that is why he is so desperate not to mess up.  If he feels shame at losing a handful of men or a single squad, he is terrified at the prospect that he might fail, or something might go wrong, and he would lose half his army.  And that is how I interpreted his character, YMMV.
 
Adolin without a Highprince for a father would probably be Captain, like General Khal's son.  He would still be a star Shardbearer, but definitely not #2 ranking officer.  I don't think he has as much initiative or is as good at finding creative ways to take risks as Kaladin.  If you have read Ender's Game, Adolin is no Ender.  He is probably a Petra. :ph34r:  He's not stupid, but he's good at one or two things, and is reliably solid at the rest.
 
Adolin sees the Parshendi as equal opponents, and chasmfiends as animals.  Parshendi understand tactics, they know to surround Shardbearers and cut them off from the human honour gards, and they use war axes and hammers to break the Plate.  It's a perception thing, even if one chasmfiend is objectively way way more dangerous than 30 Parshendi.

 

 

Ah see. I remembered he talked about his muscles  :o  :ph34r: Why does everyone depict him as super thin when he himself commands on his muscular shape? I say, to maintain most of his muscles weight despite having been mistreated as a slave for 8 month, he must have been pretty strong to begin with.

 

I agree Adolin need to strip -_- and carefully inspect himself in front of a mirror so we could get a better idea  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  Though if he does it in early book 3, it's likely going to be description of a patchwork of bruises  :ph34r: Considering the number of times Adolin got hit on in WoR, it is surprising he is even able to fight good old Sadeas  :o

Because everyone thinks slave Kaladin should be skinny, as all the other slaves are.  But Kaladin is a freak. :ph34r:  He's freakishly tall, why can't he be ripped too.  Maybe it's the Stormlight keeping him healthy.

Sadeas is probably too used to Shardplate that he forgot how to fight outside of it.  And Adolin mirror inspection.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Every relationship set-up needs a fan-service scene where someone gets walked in on while undressing or getting out of the bath.  There is a rule. :ph34r:  Maybe Shallan will send Pattern to spy on Adolin.

 

 

The only place you are going to see a kangarou over here is at the zoo and they are pretty deceiving  :o Last summer, they were all lazily sprawled on the grass doing nothing  :ph34r: Talk about lazy animals  :ph34r:

 

The only living thing you are likely to hit over here are: skunks, ground-hogs or deer. Surprisingly, there are deer living in Montreal city....... Well, not in the city exactly, but in the suburbs there are deer. I have seen them  :o We even have two beavers  B) They are busy de-foresting the St-Laurent's river shores which is actually a problem...  :ph34r: There has been talk as to what to do with said beavers.... I say they trap them and they move them to a less populated area on a river somewhere: it isn't as if we are lacking those around here.

Many people wear scarves and beanies at 15C.  I swear, it's totally normal. :ph34r:

Kangaroos like to lay on roads in certain rural areas.  It's like cows on the road - you have to slow down and honk to wake them up and get them moving.  :ph34r:  Outside popular camping grounds, they get fed on scraps and aren't afraid of people or cars.  Super annoying.

 

Beavers are like weird mutant platypi.  They're so weird, can you believe that beavers don't even lay eggs. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

It is hard to evaluate if Renarin is miserable or not from his apparent lack of socialization. After all, not everyone seek to be surrounded by people: there are individuals who prefer being with themselves and being strongly introverted I would hazard the guess Renarin isn't necessarily looking forward to large gatherings. Adolin, on the reverse, is a very social person.

I think Renarin thinks on such a different level than most people, that he doesn't think of himself as lonely or not.  It's just something that never occurred to him.  Maybe he doesn't seek out parties to attend, but he doesn't freak out if he is invited, and doesn't feel bad if people don't talk to him, and doesn't care that the people who do pity-talk to him think he's creepy.
 
Oh man, I am planning to write Renarin as an AU character. :ph34r: :ph34r:  I think he is perceptive, but in a different way than Kaladin and way more observant than Adolin or Shallan.  And he has joined the AU equiv of Bridge 4 so he has developed enough so that doesn't feel like a useless donuthule full of self-pity at being a noodle.
 

 

Ah no, not Adolin in leather pants  :ph34r: Bad mental image  :ph34r: Alright for Kaladin, I can see him wearing those, but not Adolin.... Adolin totally wears his varsity jacket because, as I said earlier, belonging.

I am unsure Adolin would be a car kinda of guy. Kaladin would totally be it, but Adolin?

As for football, if Dalinar was in it and if Dalinar liked it, then Adolin would be in it. In the AU, the Kholins have a long lasting tradition of playing football.

Why don't you like the idea of Adolin in leather pants?  Leather pants are hot, how does that give anyone a bad mental image.  Do you not think he has the thighs or butt to carry it off. :ph34r:  

What kind of guy is Adolin?  He can't ride a horse everywhere, you know.  Maybe he is a public transport kinda guy. :ph34r:

 

Ugh, Adolin's search for "perfection" is now really sad to me.  He would still feel like he has something to prove even when he is Number 1.  Would it have been fixed in childhood if Dalinar stopped being the distant 1950's dad and told him he was a good son now and then?  :( It's not really healthy - if you want self-improvement, you're supposed to do it because you want to be better, not better than everyone else.  
 
And Adolin isn't the dojo bully.  He shows off to the noobs not because he wants them to know that they suck, but rather he wants to show them how good he is.  It's hard to tell if you're looking at it from the outside, like Kaladin is.
 
 

 

Being rich doesn't necessarily mean you are a good manager. Often, richness is inherited by people who grew up so spoiled they have no idea how to make money or even how to manage it. They have been used to spend it endlessly, but they fail to see it may have an end. 

 

Elhokar is an over-grown child with the emotional maturity of an 8 years old  :ph34r:

Explains why lottery winners and professional basketball/football players go broke after 5 years.

:ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART NINETEEN

 

 

 

 

 

“Shallan?” Adolin asked.  Worry tinged his voice.

Shallan sat on the silk-damask of the retiring room sofa, hugging a tasselled cushion to her chest.  Her hands shook, and her teacup rattled the saucer when she lifted it up.  It contained no tea, but some vile concoction Kaladin had made with a few spoonfuls of a white powder and a teapot of hot water.  It tasted horrendously bitter, and she could feel the grains of it on her tongue and against her teeth – but it took away the sweet molasses aftertaste of the pudding, and it soothed her poor acid-scoured throat. 

 

“She’ll be fine,” said Kaladin, from behind her.

 

“I’m sorry – I thought it a splendid plan,” said Adolin, miserably.  “The prospect of replacing the kitchen staff is not one to which I look forward.”

 

Kaladin paced back and forth by the sidebar.  “You needn’t do so.  You are you not ill – neither am I.  It was something that disagreed with only her.”

 

“Shallan?  Do you know what it was?”

 

Shallan swallowed.  It hurt.  “Oats.”

 

“Oh,” he said, then words poured out, hesitant and rambling.  “I must apologise – I thought – well, we spoke of horses today.  In the pantry.  It’s what we use for the weanlings – I did not think you would have liked the alfalfa hay or the bone meal.”

 

“It’s not your fault.”

 

“I – I should have asked.  Asked you, at least.  I asked the cook – and she said that Scots like oats.  I thought it would be – a nice reminder – of home.  Shallan?”

 

“I want to go home.  I want my family.”  The vile drink slopped over the rim of the cup and onto her lap.  She buried her face into the cushion, drawing one heaving breath after another, attempting – failing to maintain her poise and her emotional control.  Her throat was hoarse from its – exertions, and her breath rasped piteously through her clenched teeth.  She did not look up.

 

She heard Kaladin stop pacing.  He and Adolin were having a whispered conversation, but it was not difficult to overhear.

 

“Kal – send for the coachman.”  Adolin’s voice.

“No.”

 

“What – must I repeat myself, man?”

 

“She’s better off here.”

 

“You heard her – she doesn’t want to be here – she doesn’t want–“

 

“Ask her.  Why she doesn’t – can’t – eat the oats.”

 

“Do you know something?”

 

“Ask.  Her.”

 

She heard footsteps, and then the sofa creaked and bounced as Adolin settled his weight on it, next to her.    “Shallan?” he said softly.  He did not touch her; he waited patiently as the wall clock sliced the hour away, second by second. 

 

“Adolin.”  She drew a slow, almost sobbing breath, trying to gather herself together.   Control and poise – that was where strength lay; it was what Jasnah surrounded herself with, so that no one could ever touch her, let alone hurt her.   Unrestrained emotion was weakness – it was the point of failure.  And in her father, it was his fatal flaw.  If one could not find control and discipline, thought Shallan fiercely, then one could reach for apathy – it was the next best thing. 

 

“Why?  If you don’t mind my – asking.”

 

“The truth,” said Shallan, reaching and grasping that empty nothingness inside her.  Her fingers loosened their savage grip on the cushion.  “Yes.  Why not.  Loch Davar – our family estate – is mortgaged,” she said, her voice flat.  “To the very bone.  The creditors took whatever could be carried away.  Anything left we sold – for a barnful of oats.”

 

“Oh,” Adolin said hesitantly.  “I am – sorry.”

 

“It’s all right now,” Shallan mumbled.  She set the cushion down; she had managed to quell that unwelcome outburst of emotion.  Loch Davar was hundreds of miles away in another country, for good or for ill.  “I’m – all right now.  I am just so very tired of oats.  Morning, noon and night until it was just morning and night.”  She paused, and looked at Adolin.  “Then I found Jasnah.”

 

Adolin gave her a smile of encouragement.  “And Jasnah brought you here.”

 

Adolin reached out with one tentative hand, and caught hers.  He very gently guided her hand to his chest, until her fingers splayed across the starched shirtfront of his dining whites.   She felt the steady meter of his heart.  Why did it have to be that her own heart – a heart that thumped inside her in much the same way – bore all the marks that a person could bear?  It was disfigured; it was scarred – and yet no-one but her would ever be able to tell.

 

“I have heard it once said that wealth speaks a language anyone can understand,” whispered Adolin.  He leaned closer, to the creaking of the sofa’s wooden frame; her hand still pressed against his chest.  “Perhaps there are other languages.”

 

“Perhaps you might teach me.”

 

“Nothing would bring me greater satisfaction.”  He lowered his head until their noses were inches away; his eyes met hers, and there was guilt in them, and sympathy, and a gentle, haltingly tender emotion that she did not want to name.   It was timid and fearful in its own frail existence – and Shallan was not entirely certain she even wanted it to exist; she was sure that mentioning it by name would cause it to dissolve away into shreds of smoke.   Her hand on his chest grew firm; she thrust him away in his approach.  He closed his eyes; she noticed that his eyelashes were yellow and black.  “Shallan–”

 

“My lips have been tainted with my own sick,” she said.

 

“I don’t care.”

 

“I have a crusting wound that will scar terribly.”

 

“I don’t care.”

 

“I am a terrible person who has done terrible deeds.”

 

“None of it matters to me.”

 

Shallan’s hand pulled back slowly.   Adolin leaned close once more, and she did not push him away.  His lips touched hers with infinite softness.  She turned her head until they were cheek to cheek, her lips by the shell of his ear.

 

“Only because you don’t know what I’ve done,” she breathed. 

 

Then her lips slanted against his with forceful hunger, and she drew him downwards and downwards, until her head found the forgotten cushion and the sofa creaked in complaint.   He resisted her spirited eagerness at first, but she tugged at his neckcloth and caught up his jacket’s lapels until he – at last – abandoned reluctance and responded with an equal fervour.  He returned her kisses, returned doubly generous – his lips fluttered against her cheek, and her throat, and then she could feel his warm breath and his warm mouth at her collar.  He nipped at her skin; it was startlingly unexpected; she gasped, and she could feel him chuckling at her reaction.

 

“Then you shall tell me when I have earned your trust,” he murmured, and after one last soft kiss, pulled away.  He sat up, cheeks flushed pink, and ran a hand through his yellow striped hair; his eyes met hers, his gaze searching.  “Until then, please stay.”  His voice was low, and rough with emotion – with the rawness of intimacy.  “If you must leave – well, it would be a blow, but it is one I have borne before…” he paused, and looked away, troubled, “–so many times before.”

 

Shallan straightened and tugged her skirts down.  “If I must leave, know that it would be with the deepest regret.”

 

“And mine too,” he said quietly.  He cleared his throat.  “Now.  If you would please excuse me, I ought to speak to the kitchen staff.  They will no doubt be very anxious about their positions here.”  He stood up with a squeak of the sofa, and absent-mindedly smoothed a hand over his wrinkled shirtfront.  “Kal – do you mind escorting Shallan to her room?”

 

He nodded to Kaladin – still standing at the sidebar with the knife box by his hand – and the door opened, and then it closed, and he was gone.  Then it was just her and Kaladin in the retiring room, once more.

 

Shallan gripped the frame of the sofa and stood; her legs trembled with the effort.  Kaladin was suddenly there, and he gripped her tightly by the elbow.  His gaze flicked downwards to eye the wet spot on her skirt – where she had spilled the restorative drink on herself.  One eyebrow quirked upwards; she ignored it.

 

“Miss Davar,” he said, “if you would come with me?”

 

“No.”

 

He gave a long-suffering sigh.  “Just for to-night I might say that I value the spirit of charitability – if I must, I will carry you on my back.”

 

“I don’t want to go to my room.”

 

“If you want to be carried up, Miss Davar – at least have the temerity to say so.  I won’t judge you – too much.”

 

“I want to see the stillroom.”

 

“No,” replied Kaladin abruptly. He glanced at her, and saw that she was not going to concede the point.  She did not want to stay here the entire night, nor did she want to be carried over his shoulder like a sack of beans – the dizzying heights would certainly cause her to release whatever bile was left in her stomach all over his back.  She would not enjoy it – but at least he would not either.   He looked upwards at the moulding of the ceiling, then back at her.  She glared up at him.  “Fine.  All right.  But not to-night.”

 

“When?”

 

“To-morrow,” he said finally.  “Come down in the morning, and I will change your bandages there.  Now will you go to bed?”

 

They walked the halls together; one hand guided her by the elbow.  The footmen dimmed and snuffed the chimney lamps behind them.   He did not pull ahead of her; he kept an easy pace that she could manage quite capably, and she did not even need to be carried until they reached the very last flight of stairs.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

Shallan dreamt of the endless black sky and the endless sea of beads again that night.  But this time, it was different – she was not alone this time; she was with Jasnah in a little boat poled by a pair of faceless gondoliers, and she did not feel frightened or anxious, even when she heard a screeching and trumpeting in the distance that grew nearer and nearer.   She was not afraid, and the little doves nestled around her scarred heart cooed their defiance.

 

When she woke up – on her own – she did not rise immediately; she lay on her back staring at the closed canopy curtains.  It felt good to finally, for once, be able to fall asleep and wake naturally – no prior engagements, no champing horses and impatient coachmen, no hopping about in dim pre-dawn light pulling on stockings with feverish haste.  Then she became aware of an urge to visit the water closet, and was eventually forced to rise.  Well, at least her rising for that particular reason was still by her own prerogative, and not anyone else’s.

 

At her return from the bathing chamber, she saw Finnie uncovering a breakfast tray on the vanity.  A cup of steaming broth, boiled eggs, fried ham, buttered bread, jam and tea were laid on the table, next to a crisp white napkin and polished silverware.  Shallan was suddenly ravenous; the incident last night meant she had effectively gone to bed without dinner.

 

“Where is the stillroom?” she asked, her mouth full.

 

“My lady?” said Finnie, unbuttoning the roll of brushes.  “It’s by the kitchens.  If you want extra butter or preserves, you must ring and send someone for them.  It wouldn’t do to go down yourself.”

 

Shallan could see that her eyes were downcast with proper deference in the looking glass; there was a trace of humour to the maid’s tone.  “Does everyone in this House know about that?”

 

“If by that my lady means the pantry – it was the talk of the servants’ hall until dinnertime,” admitted Finnie, tugging the brush through Shallan’s hair.

 

“Heavens, I suppose there is to be no privacy around here,” Shallan groaned.  She tore her bread roll in half and smothered it with jam.  Good jam could always improve the mood.

 

“If my lady would like privacy,” said Finnie, smiling genially, “she might ask His Lordship to dismiss all the staff from the kitchen when she wants the use of the pantry.”

 

“The stillroom,” said Shallan, blushing furiously; she changed the subject.  “Where is it?”

 

“By the trades entrance on the West Courtyard, my lady – unless you mean the Doctor’s stillroom.”   Finnie braided Shallan’s hair; she had pins stuck through the waistband of her apron.

 

“Yes, I want that one.”

 

“Then it’s in the North Wing.  But – if you wanted the Doctor to tend your wound–,” Finnie glanced down at Shallan’s back, where the layered white of bandaging was visible through her shift, “–you should send for him to come up and see you.  Even if my lady wanted – other things – seen to, the Doctor oughtn’t to forget that he is His Lordship’s retainer, and you are His Lordship’s lady.”

 

By now, Shallan had begun to develop an understanding of Finnie’s ambiguous references to … earthier subjects.  She was not certain on the specifics of what exactly the maid spoke, but she could vaguely discern to what they were meant to refer.  Shallan had enough information from both books and Madame Tyn’s lessons on the feminine mysteries to feel that she would not make herself the fool, if she were to enquire further on the particulars.  Not that she would want to ask for the details – it was still likely to be unavoidably embarrassing.

 

And of course, the fact that Doctor Kaladin knew more about the feminine mysteries than herself – now that was a disturbing thought.  Shallan consoled herself with the knowledge that she was not the only woman to be found lacking in this department – it seemed as if there were a number of downstairs maids who came to him regularly for various bits of advice.  So it was not really a fault in herself, but rather an anomaly in the Doctor.  She doubted Adolin or her brothers would know as much he did in those matters.  Or many other theoretical or academic subjects, at that.

 

“Doctor Kaladin,” said Shallan slowly, thinking up a quick excuse, “asked to see my etchings a few days ago, and was so impressed by them that he invited me to view his collection of medical charts.  I imagine he would like copies made – or enlargements, I suppose – and I informed him that I would be happy to oblige.”

 

“Oh – my lady, what a wonderful idea,” said Finnie, with a cheery wink.  “I should pack your satchel with the books and pen box for you; you will need it if you are to do anatomy studies or suchlike.” 

 

“Yes, how terribly wonderful,” Shallan replied.  It seemed like last evening’s unexpected truth-telling had not affected her skill at prevarication; that pleased her – it was such a very useful skill to have, especially when one might need to say an untruth that could border a truth so closely that no-one would be able to tell where the lines merged.  “Doctor Kaladin could not accept monetary payment for his very charitable treatment of this.”  She plucked at the neckline of her shift, which lay over her bandaged chest.

 

“He is a very generous man – just like your Duke,” said Finnie, as she tidied up the vanity and cleared the breakfast things.  “My lady, if it’s not too bold of me – you’d do us much good if you were to put in a kind word for us downstairs girls.  It is a great shame for a man of the good Doctor’s position to be without a wife.”

 

“I cannot for my life imagine the Doctor – married.  The mind boggles.  Nevertheless, I shall make what enquiries I can; perhaps he is partial to some girl or another in the House.” 

 

Shallan stood patiently as she was laced up – loosely – and dressed in her blue silk day dress.  Finnie swept a few specks of lint off her shoulders and passed her the satchel.   “Have fun, my lady,” she said, as she knelt at Shallan’s feet and slid them into a pair of soft kidskin slippers. 

 

Then it was time to find Kholinar Court’s North Wing and see the stillroom at last.  Shallan had her half-completed progressionals folded in between the pages of her sketchbook.  They were only a dozen sheets of paper, but somehow they weighed her satchel down like a dozen books; she felt a queer sense of dread for carrying them on her person.  Could it perhaps be due to shame?   She brushed it off; she knew it for a vice – everyone did – and there was no use for mawkish lingering over it.  It was what it was.  As for the differentiation between right and wrong, or reason and respectability: none of it existed in the drift.

 

She walked downstairs, and through the empty hallways of the grand House, occasionally peering into side corridors and reading the polished brass nameplates fixed to the doors as she passed – Lapis, and Cerulean, and Sapphire.  Kholinar Court was a house so large that the rooms had to be named for people to easily find them.  Shallan thought that it must be terribly lonely to live by oneself in such a large house, even if it was a House shared with an indoors staff of forty souls.  No wonder Adolin sought companionship in the Doctor – and herself.   Marquess Kholinshire – Adolin’s bachelor brother – she recalled, lived in a smaller house and enjoyed the company of their aunt, the Queen Dowager.

 

Shallan passed a pair of maids carrying buckets filled with assorted cleaning paraphernalia – she could see the feathered heads of dusters.  They stood aside for her and curtsied as she walked by, and she heard them whispering and giggling to one another; she caught the word pantry more than once. 

 

How very envious one could be for the lives of those who did not have a care about upholding the dignity of one’s position at all times.  And it was worse here in Anglekar – the people here were more reserved and rank-conscious than they were in Scotland.  Those who claimed kin or pledged fealty to The McValam were all clansmen and equals in his eyes; there was a divide between those who paid their respects through mere taxes, compared to the clansmembers who paid in money as well as blood and oaths – but it wasn’t a very large one.

 

Shallan reached the door at the end of the corridor.  It was on the ground floor, and she could see the front gardens from one bank of windows; the other side was a view of a North Courtyard – outside, there were rows of hothouses with a few lines of laundry strung between them.   

 

The door had a brass plate with KALADIN engraved on it.  She knocked.  It wasn’t answered.  She waited a minute, then knocked again.  There was still no response after several long and anxious minutes.  She raised her hand once more – and then the door opened. 

 

Kaladin stood at the open door, lips thin with annoyance.  His collar was askew.  “Come in, then,” he growled.

 

“Well, good morning to you too, Doctor,” said Shallan blithely, and swept past him into the stillroom – then stopped.  There was a woman in a maid’s uniform.  She had brightly flushed – or were they rouged? – cheeks and her bodice had been laced up tight in the front – in what Finnie had described as the way women did when they wanted to catch a man’s eye.  Shallan was sure that it would not pass the butler’s livery inspection.

 

The woman saw Shallan, and then her eyes darted to Doctor Kaladin and back to her.  She gave a brief curtsey to Shallan with a muttered my lady and brushed past her to the door.  Kaladin handed her a basket; she took it and Shallan thought she was going to reach for an embrace, but the Doctor stepped around her with well-practiced ease.  He waited for her to pass the threshold, and as soon as she did, he closed the door and shot the bolt.

 

“It’s ten minutes to noon,” he said, pulling at his collar.

 

“It’s still morning,” Shallan replied, looking around the room.

 

It was high-ceilinged, with narrow rectangular windows on two sides, overlooking the Courtyard hothouses.   There was a screened-off section in the corner. There were benches along the walls, and over those were glass-fronted cabinets filled with glassware organised by type.  The glass beakers were arranged upside down in rows, and the conical flasks had their mouths covered by white paper secured with strings – they were expensive, Shallan knew, especially the graduated ones; she had made do at home with empty whisky bottles, and here Kaladin had a whole room full of them.

 

The centre of the room held two worktables with their surfaces covered in steel sheeting – another extravagance – how well the Duke indulged his creature.   But – as Shallan saw – everything in the stillroom was practical and utilitarian, and appeared well-used; there looked to be no unnecessary decoratives, and the Doctor could not have been accused of squandering his patron’s generosity.

 

“Is this the stillroom?” said Shallan, turning about to peer at a lamp stand with mirrored reflectors.  “I thought there would be more jam.”

 

“That’s the other one – the newer one, by the kitchens,” said Kaladin as brought his medical kit bag over to her.  “This one used to belong to the Kholinar Duchesses in the past.  Now, get on the table and unlace yourself.”

 

Shallan hopped onto the steel-covered tabletop.  It didn’t squeak – it must be used to taking the weight of human bodies, she thought.  “What happened to it?  This stillroom, not the Duchesses, I mean.”

 

“It became unfashionable for noble ladies to turn their hands to practical tasks.” 

 

She smelled ether faintly now, as she unbuttoned her dress, pulled down her underdress, and unlaced her bodice.  It was cold in this room, and she could feel the rise of little bumps like plucked chicken skin.   A cold room, she knew, would mean less ether lost as vapour into the air; that was something one always needed to remember whilst driftwatching during the summer months. 

 

Kaladin placed his kit bag on the table beside her, and began to untie the bandage.  She closed her eyes; she did not flinch at his touch.  “If there was one attribute,” she said, “in which society could find me wanting–”

 

“Only one?”

 

“–I should say,” Shallan continued, ignoring him, “that the pre-eminent one would be my being fashionable.  In fact, the clothing from my clan presentation would likely still fit.”

 

Kaladin snorted.  “Your fatal flaw, really.  How you must suffer.”

 

Shallan bit her lip as he swabbed ether over the cut on her ribs.  “Then I suppose – you have your equivalent flaw,” she choked out.  “You must wake up every morning with your trouser hems an inch shorter than the evening before.”

 

“I haven’t noticed such.”

 

“Ask the maid,” she replied sourly – could that be interpreted as jealousy?  She had meant it to be cutting.  “And your shoes – you must get them resoled by the farrier.”

 

“Wearing large shoes should hardly be considered a flaw,” Kaladin said.  He scraped a clear jelly-like paste into a cloth and smeared it over her wound; it smelled like herbs and tingled when it touched her skin.  “If you asked the maids, of course.”

 

“What would they say, perchance?”

 

He placed a new pad of white cloth over her wound, and unrolled fresh bandages.  “I couldn’t say.”

 

“They might say you wear large socks.”

 

“Is that all?”

 

“And that you have large…”

 

“…Yes?”

 

“Feet!”

 

He sighed, and she could not tell if he was amused or not.  But she supposed he did not look particularly grim, or grimmer than usual.  “Get dressed, Miss Davar.”

 

Shallan slid off the table, pulling on her bodice and underdress.  She turned around for modesty.

 

“What’s that – here, is that a rash?”

 

She stopped.  “Doctor?”

 

“Here, let me look,” he said.  Then his hand cupped her bare shoulder and brushed away her hair.  His scarred finger traced a light circle around a small reddish-pink mark near her collarbone.  “Hm, an isolated spot, and the skin isn’t raised. Minor broken blood vessels, it seems.”

 

Shallan looked down and saw it.  “Oh–,” she mumbled, and paused.  “Adolin–“

 

He jerked his hand back, hesitated for an instant, then caught up the handle of medical bag; he looked away to give her some privacy to re-clothe herself.  He coughed.  “Well, carry on, then.”

 

Shallan laughed.  “If men are like hounds, a little bite means he likes me.”

 

“Unfortunately.”

 

She finished dressing, and did up the last button.  “Oh come now, Doctor, you cannot still think I am a nuisance!”

 

Shallan started inspecting the room in detail now, and walked past the benchtops by the wall.  A covered microscope – two of them, for two levels of magnification – useful for either live specimens or prepared slides.  A spirit burner and chafing dish on an iron stand.   A scullery service with a tub and a pump handle.

 

“I think it, and I shall keep thinking it.  I do not think I could change that opinion of you – or any reason why I should,” he said solemnly.  Then his voice turned to sharpness.  “Don’t touch anything.”

 

Shallan had been about to reach for the distillation equipment on an iron stand.  She looked around guiltily, and withdrew her hand.   It really was a nice kit – it was a large one, and by the looks of it, could manage thrice the volume of the small one Jushu had won for her in a card game.  And everything was matched – the Doctor wouldn’t have needed to use clay to seal the edges where a mismatched set lacked perfect alignment.

 

“I wasn’t–,” she began, but corrected herself.  She was going to touch it; that could not be denied.  Not believably.  “I wasn’t going to break anything.  And you have a thermometer, too!”

 

Kaladin grunted.  “Yes.  And a scale balance.  Three sizes of them.”

 

“You guessed – when Adolin told you about … the pantry?”

 

“It wasn’t very difficult,” he replied.  He unlocked a glass-fronted cabinet and placed the ether bottle he had used on her wound inside.  The cabinet was full of brown glass ether bottles, neatly labelled with the date of purchase and the concentration.  He closed the door with a click and relocked it; the key on a string with a few others was dropped into his coat’s interior pocket. 

“Why don’t you want it?”

 

“Ether?”

 

“You carry it with you, you pour it on your hands – do you douse yourself with it in lieu of bathing?” Shallan said softly.  “Yet you don’t yearn for it.  Not like I do.”

 

“Because it is merely a tool.”

 

“And I am its tool.”

 

“No,” he said, voice firm.  “You haven’t found peace within yourself.”

 

“Romanticist words from a cynic.  They don’t flatter you,” said Shallan, smiling.  “And you have?  Found peace?  Do elaborate.  I’m sure your story is bound to involve will-o’-the-wisps and wise sages with long hair.”

 

“Hmph,” Kaladin grunted, and turned from the cabinet.  “It’s not a story that is particularly suited to sharing with fairer company.”

 

“When did you care about preserving my dignity or modesty?  Have I any left of it that you haven’t yet seen?” answered Shallan, sitting herself back on the steel worktable.  She swung her legs idly from side to side, and lowered her voice.  “You are addressing one of fairer company who shot a man not two days ago.”  She picked up her satchel and hugged it to her chest; its solid weight pressed against her wad of wrapped bandage.

 

Kaladin leaned against the edge of the benchtop opposite; he crossed his arms and blew out an irritated breath.  “All right then,” he muttered.  “When the old King died, the Dukes called for the muster, and my younger – foolish – brother joined.  I signed on as a medic as soon as I completed my education, to find him.  But I couldn’t, and I was too late, and he died.  The end.”

 

“And that’s it?  That’s how you found peace?”

 

“No.  It took a long time, during which I was a very angry man.  But I learned a lesson – a lesson that as a surgeon, I should have learned long ago.   That there will always be those who cannot be saved.  And that was my peace.” 

 

Shallan rocked back on the table; she covered her mouth with one hand and looked away, suddenly mortified.  “That morning – in the church.  Oh, Doctor, I am so sorry.  I regretted it immediately – it was hasty, and it was wrong of me.”

 

“Well,” said Kaladin finally.  “Perhaps there’s some hope for you yet.  What happened to your own brother?”

 

Shallan unbuckled her satchel, and drew out her sketchbook.  She flicked past the folded pages of painstaking calculations tucked into the back, and opened to the watercolour of Loch Davar.  Her hands shook; the pages rustled.  Kaladin was silent. 

 

“When my mother died,” she said carefully, drawing out the unwelcome memories.   She pushed the worst ones back – and away – and only took up the – tolerable, if they could be called that at all – ones.  “My father became a different man – angry, hateful, violent – and it was so very removed from who he once was.   My eldest brother protected us from his anger, until one day they fought, and then he left, and there was no one to protect us.

 

“I do not know where Helaran went.  Perhaps he joined the war – he was always strong-willed – and he never came back.  The war has taken away so many young men–,” she remembered crippled Ardents she had seen at home, and how curious it was that an able-bodied man of potential like Brother Kabsal had dedicated himself to the church, “–the ones that come back are never the same.”

 

“An unfortunate truth.”  Was he speaking of himself?  Or all the young men in the marshlands, riddled with lead shot and field infections?

 

“My other brothers sought protection in ether,” Shallan said quietly, then turned to the sketch she had drawn from a memory – of Jushu asleep in the drift.   She turned the sketchbook around to face Kaladin, and held it out.  “Here.  Doctor?”

 

Something flickered behind his eyes.  Recognition?  Apprehension?  He caught his breath; he was startled, and she could just barely discern the change from his normal stern demeanour and grim countenance.   Then it was gone, like it had never happened.

 

Shallan fished for an explanation.  “Doctor?  Do you know my brother Jushu?  I was not aware he had ever left Scotland.”

 

“No.  I do not know any Jushu Davar.”  He paused, and Shallan waited for him to continue.  She waited.  After a while, he said, “I thought he shared a resemblance to someone I once … encountered before.  But I seem to be mistaken.”

 

“Oh,” said Shallan.  It was all she could think of to say; she was immensely disappointed.  “I – I miss my brothers.  They were – they are – my family.  And they loved me, and I loved them, and we all of us were wretches together.”

 

“You are no wretch,” Kaladin insisted, “–you do not have to be.  Find your peace.”

 

“How?”

 

“You must want – you must enjoy – your own life more than those – illusions.  You must find true substance in this life.  If you cannot – then abandon your old one, and grasp another.   Few people are offered such opportunity.”

 

“And here I was under the impression that you disliked the prospect of my being a Duchess,” said Shallan, reaching for something flippant to fill the silence. 

 

His words were a harsh truth, and they made her feel uncomfortably ungrateful, and even more uncomfortably aware of how very – selfish – her behaviour was, and had been.  She could always deflect the blame to Jasnah’s influence, or even Madame Tyn’s, but she knew that it was all her, in the end.  Her own selfish, flawed soul; her own marked spirit; her own disfigured heart.   Only her flesh was unsullied – except for that very recent, smarting cut that she bore over her ribs – the one Adolin did not care about, the one she bared to Kaladin’s eyes and his surgeon’s hands every day since she had gotten it.

 

“What I like or dislike is irrelevant,” said Kaladin stiffly; he glanced over to the opposite wall, at the bank of wall cabinets near a copper steam boiler – there was a clock on the workbench there.   “Now, if you are quite finished, I should like to think it is near time for luncheon.”

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

They walked to the foyer of the House together, silent in their own thoughts.  The hallways bustled with more activity than it had earlier that morning; it fairly hummed with poorly contained enthusiasm.  The servants remembered themselves enough to pay their proper courtesies to Shallan and Kaladin as they passed, but when they turned the corner, they resumed their eager chattering.

 

Something had happened; something was happening, and Shallan knew not what it was.

 

The foyer was central to this fevered display of animation; by the time she and Kaladin had found their way there, their path was blocked by footmen shouldering large blue rolls of fabric.  There were even grounds staff – gardeners and grooms – who had been instructed to move furniture about, all to the direction of the butler and under-butler.  

 

“Please, what is going on?” Shallan asked, tapping the butler on the shoulder.

 

He paused mid-order, and turned.  He glanced at Shallan, recognised her as Adolin’s personal guest, and bowed deeply.  “My lady – Lady Jasnah has ordered ornamentals removed from Kholin House in the City; they were carted here and arrived just now – and we are to arrange them for the Feast.”  He turned to the under-butler, and muttered a few brief instructions, then returned to Shallan.  “The King will be in residence!  We have not had the pleasure since his coronation!” 

 

“Oh – is this all for Lady Jasnah’s formal presentation, then?” said Shallan.

 

“I think it has gone beyond formal, and past ceremonial, and is now currently edging into garish,” remarked Kaladin.   They watched as four footmen emerged from a corridor, carrying a pianoforte between them.  “Actually, I imagine it is already there.”

 

“It’s a grand Feast!” exclaimed the under-butler, looking up from his wallet diary.  “Lady Jasnah said it should be grand like the Feasts in the City.  We haven’t had a Feast at the House since the His Lordship became Duke.”

 

“The Feast may be in a few days,” said Kaladin.  “But is there luncheon now?”

 

“The Cobalt Room, sir.  His Lordship is awaiting you there.”  The butler turned back to the under-butler when there were no more questions.  His manner was abrupt and his attention to service not quite as thorough as it ought to have been.  Clearly he had decided that Lady Jasnah’s orders and precedence – not to mention the King’s – trumped the interruption of the Doctor and Shallan, who possessed the status of ducal employee and guest respectively.

 

Shallan was not much agitated by that interaction with the butler, but something about it must have rankled Kaladin’s sensibilities.  He strode with brisk pace on his long legs – and admittedly large feet – and although Shallan could maintain her place at his side, it was not effortless for her.

 

Ladies’ slippers were made for sedate strolling, at such a speed that one would never risk a skirt riding out of place – it really wouldn’t do to remind passing menfolk that there existed anything above one’s ankle.  They were never meant for jogging, or any other activity that might cause a lady to perspire.  In fact, as Shallan was reminded, a proper lady never gave the impression that she could perspire, or for that matter, that she might ever require a water closet.  There was even a very old-fashioned type of dowager who thought that ladies should not even let other people observe them eating.  One still had to eat, of course, so the well-bred should learn to dine without appearing to chew.

 

Madame Tyn, who made an unorthodox governess in many respects, nevertheless believed that the outward observation of social courtesy was important to those who sought to circulate within the upper echelons.  Shallan had, to her great displeasure, been forced – by the guidance of a reed switch – to walk with a book on her head, and to dance with stiff pointed toes until her knees smiled.  At least these lessons had been balanced by Shallan’s being taught to read a sextant, write a Muscovy alphabet cipher, or counterfeit a Kujawiak shepherdess if she was desperate enough.

 

But the most bothersome fact of all was that not one of these lessons had contributed to her attaining Adolin’s affections.  The skills she had been instructed on in her girlhood were ones that were meant to show her to advantage, and Adolin hadn’t ever seen them – nor did she think he might care if he did.  And he had no mother who was the usual judge and jury of such things in prospective daughters-in-law. 

 

She had so far earned his attentions by being the bright and convivial Shallan, the light-hearted girl she had always wished she truly was – it was also someone that took barely any effort to play, because that Shallan was her, like one face of a coin.  The other face had been partially – incautiously – revealed to him the evening past after the disaster of a dinner.  And yet Adolin had not recoiled in disgust or horror at the revelation that she might be anything but a perfect pretty doll. 

 

Could she trust Adolin, trust him completely?  Did husbands – lovers – gentlemen suitors – whatever he might be or become – even require knowledge of their lady’s hidden secrets in order to share a happy marriage?  She did not know.  Those married couples of high rank slept in separate bedrooms, as that was the civilised thing to do, and on the occasion when they did not, it was usually in darkness.  Managing one’s business in darkness, as Finnie said, had sounded like commonplace behaviour. 

 

What would happen if she let herself trust him – if she let him see the parts of her that she held close, so closely around her spirit that had been marked time and again?  Her life had been disappointment and anguish, one after another; those she trusted were often those who most made her regret her faith in them.  Madame Tyn had left, when they could not find the funds to pay her.  Helaran had left, when he could not stand to bear her father’s presence any longer; her father had – gone away – after Mother’s death, and when he came back to his mind again, it was not the same mind that had returned. 

 

What was the chance that Adolin might become someone else – someone who could elicit terror and dread and uncertainty?  And if it happened at a point in her life where she had no option to run – if she were bound to him, bound in that way Jasnah feared most about men, what recourse did she have?  Malise had not run; her motherly love had been her chains–

 

“Oof!” Shallan groaned, as she ran into Kaladin’s back.  It was quite a solid back, and she bounced off it.

 

Kaladin turned around, saw her flailing, falling – and with exceptional nimbleness, grasped her by the wrist. 

 

“Kal, Shallan!” said Adolin in greeting, as the door to the Cobalt Room opened.  His eyes took in that frozen scene, and his face fell.  “Shallan?  Are you really so distressed to see me – after last night – that Kal had to drag you here?”

 

Kaladin dropped her wrist as if burned.  Adolin almost flailed and fell himself as Shallan leaped at him and threw her arms around him, hugging and hugging him until his ribs creaked in protest.  But he caught himself, and he hugged her back eventually, confused and bemused at her unanticipated – unexplained – forwardness.

 

Shallan’s cheek pressed against Adolin’s chest, and he patted her back tentatively.  Adolin had a nice chest – quite respectable actually, and decently broad, or so Shallan thought.  One thing she had recently discovered about active young men was that they could never be described as squishy; there was just not enough padding on them to make them suitable for laying on, as pillows were.

 

Adolin, although he wasn’t perfect, was a good man; she had seen it that night in the forest, and she could see it now.  For now, at least, she did not have to fear him.  She did not have to love him – how that word all but withered and squirmed in her mind when she searched it out and pinned it down with cold savagery – but in this instant, she did not have to feel afraid.

 

Adolin’s hand moved from her back; he patted her on the head.  “Shallan?” She nuzzled against his chest, and he laughed.  “Shallan – that tickles!”

 

“Adolin,” she sighed.  She let go before he could start rubbing her nose or feeding her carrots. 

 

They had their lunch in the Cobalt Room – a small and informal dining room – and they enjoyed a light lunch with a consommé first remove, followed by steamed brined chicken accompanied by a beet salad.  There were no over-rich sauces this time, nor oatmeal, and Shallan barely noticed when Kaladin’s wineglass was replaced by a short cup of smallbeer.

 

“Jasnah is to arrive by noon tomorrow,” said Adolin, as he sawed at his chicken.  “I had a letter from her this morning informing me that she will be exceedingly disappointed in the butler if the Teal Room has been touched.  And she wants me to tell you that she will also be exceedingly disappointed in you, if you haven’t managed certain tasks by the time she is back.

 

“And for some reason she wrote the word tasks in all upper-case and circled it several times.  I expect it must mean something to you.”

 

Shallan’s fork hovered in mid-air.  “I had forgotten about Jasnah’s returning.  I suppose the good Doctor will be not be disappointed to find himself relieved from chaperon duties from tomorrow.”

 

“In all truth,” said Doctor Kaladin, shuffling the peas on his plate about, “chaperon duty was not as much of a nuisance as I had expected it to be.  However, the prospect of a lifetime of such a duty is something I should still find objectionable.”

 

“Well,” Shallan said graciously, “we are all terribly grateful for your sacrifice.  If not for you, I may have bled out in the forest.  You mightn’t have cared about much about me, but the state of Adolin’s wardrobe – we are lucky it was nothing more than his waistcoat that I ruined.”

 

“That was in poor taste, Shallan.   I’m sure the Doctor cares for your well-being, even if he has a mite of trouble showing it.”  Adolin waved over a footman to refresh his plate.

 

“Yes, Miss Davar,” said Kaladin with a light tone.  “And what if I did?”

 

“Then you should know – if you didn’t already – that there are some people who cannot be saved.  And then there are those people who don’t want to be.”

 

Kaladin studied her face from under his black eyebrows.  “Then you should know that the only way to determine who can or cannot be saved is by trying.”

 

Adolin glanced at Shallan, and then to Kaladin; he flashed them both a delighted grin.  “Marvellous!  We are all civil together – that is only a small step away from our being mutual friends!  And neither of you thought it could happen – well, today the both of you have been proven wrong.  Someone send for an Ardent, because I think my spirits have been Elevated!”

 

Shallan and Kaladin groaned at his joke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Shallan is starting to realise that maybe she and Kaladin don't have to be just indifferent to one another.  Maybe they can actually talk about things and be friends, instead of verbally attacking each other at every opportunity.  When they banter, it's doesn't always have to be mean – let’s make it flirty.  Of course, Kaladin is still crushing on her.  He is glad to see a more friendly attitude from her, but is that all he wants?  And how does it conflict with his friendship with Adolin?

This chapter is full of callbacks and references to previous ones.  The most prominent one is probably to Shallan's throwaway line in Chapter 2 about selling the aluminium necklace for food.

 

- "It’s what we use for the weanlings" - Adolin is better at dealing with horses than women lol. The weanling diet is pretty much food you give to foals to make them put on weight so they reach their full size potential quickly.  Hence Kaladin describing Adolin as misguided but well-intentioned.

- "she doesn’t want" - Kaladin is better at understanding girls and giving relationship advice.  And Adolin's missing word is "me".

- Stillrooms - Room in manor houses where medicines, soaps and perfumes were made.  Eventually they were for making cordials, jams and preserves, and were overseen by a cook.  Kholinar Court has two, but one has been converted to Kaladin's infirmary.

- "perhaps he is partial to some girl or another" - Shallan is still oblivious.

- "If there was one attribute" - Shallan is referencing her chemistry skills being unfashionable, along with her clothing.

- Farrier - blacksmith for horses.  The guy who replaces horseshoes.

- “Unfortunately.” - could Kaladin actually mean that it's unfortunate that Adolin likes Shallan, rather than Shallan being unlikeable?

- "will-o’-the-wisps and wise sages with long hair" - shoutout to Syl and Zahel.

- "Do you know my brother Jushu?" - Kaladin never met Jushu. But he did meet someone who looked similar. I wonder who it could be. :-O 

- “What I like or dislike is irrelevant” - Emphasis on the "I".  Poor Kal.

- “Shallan – that tickles!” - I have decided that Adolin is a ticklish guy.  It makes him more endearing, ok!

- "We are all civil together" - callback to Chapeter 5, Adolin and Shallan outside the church. 

- "Someone send for an Ardent" - one of my favourite cheesy joke formats, where they go along the lines of "Did someone call for an X, because my Y is Z!"

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