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Stormlight Archive: The Regency Romance

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol: My second child (a boy) too was milder and more patient than my oldest (a girl). It must be a pattern  :o

 

 

 

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:

 

I had wondered about Dalinar's ability to be afraid in the scope of battle. The excerpt from SA3 featuring his younger self spoke of a thrill-seeker and an adrenaline addicted man, exactly the kind of individual who doesn't stop to think if things may go astray. It isn't he is incapable of fear, but he is so set into his own immediate pleasure and the instantaneous gratification which comes with being the greatest baddest man on the war field to actually evaluate how his chances of survival fare. Dalinar Kholin it seems as an implacable confidence into his own skills, his own superiority to actually doubt he may not provide.

 

This is how I read him, but I would also agree we perhaps lack perspective on Dalinar.

 

Adolin is made of a different material, alternating in between self-assurance and confidence to doubt, fears and insecurities. I can't say as of now if Dalinar perhaps exhibit similar repressed features. However based on what we have read so far, I'd say Dalinar truly is rigid, strong-willed, narrow-minded and heavily focus on the present time. Being anxious Adolin is more focus on the future time.... 

 

As for anger and fear, I think Adolin deals better with them when he has a defined plan, one he has reasonable belief may work, in place to deal with them. It is why, I believe, he managed to walk away from Sadeas in the Highstorm shelter despite uttering threats: he had a plan. Trap Sadeas into a duel: kill him if possible or, to the very least, disarm him.  

 

I'd thus say, how he deals with his emotion is not linked to who they are directed at, but as to how much agency he has to change the situation. Szeth? He goes over-board because he can't see a clear line of action: his nervousness is palpable when he insist to talk plan with Kaladin on the Plains. Sadeas? He had a plan, so he controlled himself, but in the end, he has no more cards left to play. Moreover, he was completely hammered down from the previous fight while learning his fiance is a mystic warrior of an ancient powerful order: a bad combination. He had no juice left to deal with anything more. 

 

You think Adolin soiled his Plate because he was afraid? I thought he did it because he just needed to go and he couldn't wait  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

And yeah, Kaladin is always heroic, no matter what. It is strange how much I can hate him for it, but at the same time, he wasn't heroic, I'd wonder what the heck is he waiting for  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

 

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.

 

Yeah, Adolin is a pinata filled with cash girls are taking their sweet time hitting. It makes me so sad.

 

Considering the fact Alethi marry very young, I suspect Shallan is expected to want to tie the knots very soon........ not to say she will, but such as expectations on Roshar.

 

I do think it currently is realistic, but I do not think it is slow going. If a story steers too far-away from realistic expectations then readers suspension of disbelieve will be hard pressed. Even in fantasy world, as a reader, I expect to see characters evolve in natural plausible way. Well, I do anyway. I hate when I have the feeling the author is taking short-cut for narrative purposes. For instances, you can't have your MC go from untrained, nonathletic individual to badass fighter in a few weeks. It doesn't work. Similarly, I wouldn't expect Shallan to spill her secrets to Adolin just now.

 

Reversely, I expect Adolin to start ruining it with Shallan...  He has a pattern. He can't break the pattern without some serious character development.

 

So far, in the story, I find it very plausible. Adolin talks of personal stuff to Shallan without going too deeply into the details: it fits the character. Adolin can open-up, if he is unnerved enough or unstable enough. In Chapter 17 (was it 17?), we get he is very shaken by the ordeal: being attacked, rescued again, seeing Shallan get hurt and having to put down a horse. It makes sense he would crack a bit (and I can't wait for book Adolin to crack down  :ph34r:).

 

 

 

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.

 

Oh I can read stuff which displeases me in the approach but is well-written enough. I just wish there were less of a certain kind of fiction and more of other kind of fiction. 

 

 

 

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...

 

And just suddenly becoming a Radiant doesn't look like the best of things...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: For my part, I thought the concept of "magic" choosing you as opposed to you merely being born with it as is customary within most fantasy stories rather appealing. Not everyone can become a Radiant: you need you to be chosen and to be chosen you need to be worthy. It makes becoming a Radiant not only "rather cool", but also a testimony to your person. As, in a world where the worthy are being bonded by sprens to fulfill higher promises, what else is there to say about those left behind that they are lesser beings? This is where I am bugged. Kaladin is so extraordinary the very first honorspren to try bonding a human since the Recreance chose him specifically: the same could be said about Jasnah, Shallan and Renarin. They were so out-standing, so amazing the very first sprens chose them over others. If I were Adolin, I'd be feeling rather small in my shoes right now... There was a horde of sprens hovering over the Kholin household who ended choosing every single individuals, but him. What if they push the ignominy to choose Elhokar on top of all things? The most unworthy pathetic individual in the place?

 

As for the sprens, I personally find their lack of communications sometimes grating.. though in retrospect Syl can't tell everything to Kaladin: he has to figure out by himself. She is merely a guide, though one demanding strict obedience, but then again, a honorspren isn't supposed to bond an individual having issues respecting those principles. 

 

Kaladin doesn't like Adolin because he sees a symbol in him: the picture perfect image of the privilege boy. Kaladin considers his life was a long misery which makes him see Adolin as his complete opposite: a kid who never saw hardships, who never had to work for his belongings, who takes everything for granted without ever stopping to say "thank you". So all in all, Adolin isn't spoiled, he is Kaladin's nemesis and thus the perfect recipient for his hatred and his anger. Kaladin's attitude has nothing to do with Adolin specifically, but more with what he represents. I think it is fair to assume book Kaladin will never treat Adolin as his commanding anything simply because Adolin's rank was not earned, but given. I don't think they are done butting heads  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Story Kaladin though, even if he dislikes authority, has no specific quarrel with Adolin except for him liking Shallan  :o

 

 

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.

 

To be fair, complete erasing of memory lasting for several years is rather rare. I recall a conversation where someone mentioned how such memory holes are not common: most trauma victims will recover the memories after a short time. Then again, Brandon is not a doctor nor a therapist, so I don't expect him to be overly accurate, but he is pushing it a bit with his characters. On one side he wants them to have sufferings, but on the other he makes their suffering so intense, these individuals, were they real, wouldn't even be functional. 

 

It is another reason why I love Adolin: he is easy to relate to. His issues are very realistic and found in many people (just not fantasy characters  :rolleyes: because fantasy characters have to befit a certain profile :rolleyes: ) while Kaladin has so many mental illness I find it hard to not roll my eyes  :ph34r: Book Kaladin has: PTSD, clinical depression, seasonal depression. Through his ordeal he was physically and psychologically beaten while witnessing his brother being killed. Oh and he had to run bridges.... It is a bit much... 

 

Shallan is better as she only has one major issue  :ph34r:

 

The plot does require character development, but to be fair, I had started to doubt Shallan would ever face the truth without Pattern.... The problem with the reveal, IMHO, was we, the readers, had figured it out a long time ago, so when she finally acknowledge it, it fells a bit flat  :ph34r:

 

I agree though she would see her former childhood as happy times... even if it wasn't really happy, it still was happier than now. 

 

 

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?

 

Actually, when I read WoK, I thought Adolin was the important character as he was the first one we read... Well not the first one in the book, but the first one on the Shattered Plains. In other words, we get his POV way before we get Dalinar and if we take away the visions, he doesn't have much less than his father in terms of POV. At the time, I recalled I was rather engrossed within Kaladin's story arc, so I was disappointed to spend time with other characters  :ph34r: After a while, I decided Kaladin was my favorite, but this character named Adolin also was fun to read even if he didn't get to do much  :ph34r: At first, I thought he would betray his father  :ph34r: and turn power-hungry as his character type spoke of such things  :ph34r: I was, of course, being fooled by his appearances and his facade: I was pleasantly surprised he turned out being such a good boy. As for Dalinar, he is a character I love, but his POV often is boring: too political and too introspective  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

This being said, I must have been the only reader who thought Adolin would ever be anything more than a foil  :(

 

I agree Shallan is, so far, contemplating the advantages of marrying Adolin, but she hasn't yet start to thing of him as a person whom she may hurt with her games. Story Shallan seems more aware, though she is glad she has a way out and, by her own admission, still sees Adolin as a game more than anything serious. It pains me because I feels every single girl treats Adolin as a play thing... sure he is the one who is screwing it up, but how come nobody saw beyond his facade? 

 

I certainly think there is more to Adolin than him simply being "nice" just as there is more to Kaladin than him simply being "angsty". I too will be disappointed if Brandon doesn't put more into it than this, but I seriously want Shallan to stop playing with Adolin... Oh and that's for story Shallan as well... One minute she is relieve she can walk out any time she wants and she seems disgusted over the notion of marrying Adolin and the next she jumps in his arms totally enticing him  :o Not once did she stop to think if this young man may, just may actually falling for her... I supposed it is because she thinks she is unlikable, but still... 

 

 

 

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!  

 

Oh sorry  :ph34r: French here.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: "Having an adventure" in French doesn't means "having an adventure" as in going trecking and meeting wild beasts, it means eloping with someone  :ph34r: As in a one night-stand or a short-term relationship mostly based on intimacy. I didn't think it wouldn't mean the same thing in English  :ph34r:

 

This being said, I wondered if "something intimate" would happen in between Kaladin and Shallan. For best effects, you have Adolin walk down on them. This is a classic, but usually, it's the girl who walks on the boy making out with another girl, so there's a twist  :o

 

But doesn't the maid think it would hurt Adolin if his wife-to-be were to make-out with his best friend?

 

 

 

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:

 

So Kaladin thinks Adolin can't take another break up? It is why he urges him to go ask Shallan about the oat when Adolin just insist in getting the coach as clearly she wants out? This part was consistent with Adolin's character so far, each time a girl start to show maybe she may not be into him, he backs away. He never fights back, he never pursue.

 

You update your Archive of your Own thread faster than you update this one  :o  :ph34r:

 

 

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.

 

Because Kaladin hates horses? It isn't he can't, but he doesn't want one. 

 

I am not sure what expression "trauma pinata" means  :ph34r: but I'd say I love when my characters are emotionally challenged which is why I do want to read Adolin melt down or break down or go into a mental trauma of sorts. They say it isn't the hardships we meet which defines us, but how we deal with them and I want to see Adolin navigate through his.

 

Adolin clearly was more affected by the death toll than Dalinar. If you recall his first appearance, in WoK, they loose 50 men during the chasmfiend hunt. Who is seen mourning them and being angry at their lost? Adolin. Though it wasn't by his fault: he didn't even want to be there in the first place. In my fantasy AU, young Adolin wouldn't drown his cremlings like all of the other boys, thinking it barbarous. He would pretend he did it, but let the poor thing run free when nobody is looking  :ph34r: I too read Adolin as someone who dislikes hurting living creatures. He does it out of necessity, because he has his orders, because safe-keeping his father is more important than his own feelings on the matter, but you can ignore your true self only so long. I personally wish to see Adolin become more and more conflicted through book 3 as battles become more gruesome and he gets more aware of his role into them while he fears of failure increases as the odds he will fail increase as well.

 

 

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.

 

Is General Khal's son a Captain? I don't recall it being mentioned. Without his Highprince of a father, Adolin wouldn't have received a Plate at the age of 16 which would prevent him from winning his Blade. He may still be Shard-less and not as well trained in them.

 

I disagree Adolin isn't creative on the battle field... He does much better than Kaladin who repetitively fails at seeing the large picture. Adolin understands tactics and has a better view of repercussions of orders: he won't risk his men's life uselessly, but he does take risks. For instance, climbing a cliff while standing on his Blade only to arrive, alone and surrounded on the Plateau in an attempt to beat the Parshendi to the gemstone. More importantly, Adolin managed to use one innocent piece of information he distractedly received from Shallan (the rock formations are hollow) in order to gear his army into a surprise attack which allowed him to win his Plateau with lesser causalities. Also, when he fought Eshonai, he couldn't beat her: she was too strong for him and her moves were unknown to him. He went for another tactic: making her fall down the chasm. All in all, Adolin is very creative in his attacks and he has good instinct.

 

He's more than Petra who was just a good shoot :o  Adolin can lead a large army, a feat Kaladin is incapable of doing. He can win battles. The problem is his heart in not in it and, more importantly, he doesn't seek the personal glory of winning or being a Highprince. This being said, nobody is like Ender  -_-

 

I disagree Adolin is only good at one or two things: he isn't, but the problem is he hasn't try more than one or two things.... He was good at dueling, so he focused on that.

 

I'd say Adolin doesn't see the Parshendis are "real humans with emotions and a personality". To him, they likely are enhanced animals which is why he is fine with killing them: they aren't human, but they aren't animals either. And Adolin knows not to get himself surrounded (which does not mean it won't happen  :o  :ph34r: )

 

 

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.

 

But he says he is muscular! It is right there in his POV! Besides, he hasn't been a slave very long.... and the bridgemen weren't starved. They were well-fed, just fed with soulcasted food which has no taste but Kaladin has never been malnourished. 

 

We definitely need an "Adolin takes a bath" scene  -_- Someone should pester Brandon about it  -_- BTW, he's coming your way, June 2017  -_-

 

 

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:

 

At 15C, outdoor eating places are happy to open up and Montreal's terraces will be filled with people  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I swear it is totally normal  -_-

 

Pfff there is only one mammal on Earth which lay eggs. One. Guess where it lives? At least, our totem animal has the decency to be "normal"  -_- Besides, beavers help built New-France: there wouldn't be any French in North-America if not for the beavers  -_-

 

 

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.

 

I agree about Renarin. I don't think he feels lonely, just useless. I too think Renarin is perceptive, but not in the same way as other characters. Being autistic, understanding emotions or noticing them would be very hard for him. For instance, he may notice Adolin's dating pattern, he may list each and every single former date and explained in details why it went wrong, but he can't grasp Adolin isn't as care-free as he let's on about it. For example, after Jakamav refused to be seen with him, Adolin is visibly hurt. Does Renarin notice? Absolutely not. He is set into his own thoughts. Arguably Adolin too had his worries, but it doesn't prevent him fro acknowledging his brother's. Renarin can't do that because it's likely he didn't even grasp something was wrong.

 

So what is Renarin up in the AU?

 

 

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:

 

Because I don't like men wearing leather pants... I don't think they are appealing  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: but Kaladin probably dresses terribly, so it's OK for him to wear some.

 

Adolin would dream of having a popular and trendy sports car, but Dalinar refused. He thinks these are too dangerous (he read an article on how sports car + young men = accidents), so he insists his son drives................. the family minivan much to Adolin's utter dismay (it is much more secure and nobody speeds in a mini-van :ph34r:). So see, even in modern day AU, Dalinar finds way to have Adolin feel ashamed  -_-

 

Oh and it's beige  :o  :o  :o Because Dalinar has bad taste in car colors  :o There is nothing uglier than a beige mini-van except perhaps a dark green one  :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.

 

Adolin suffers the plight the many perfectionists of this world suffer... It is a problem though not one often talked of because it is disguised under a desirable trait... Could it have been fixed? I am not sure, even if I am convinced, in his specific case, Dalinar has not helped. From my personal experience, most perfectionists tend to hit walls, eventually. They put a lot of expectations onto themselves, even if they originated from their parents, at first, they morphed into them, making them think they need this kind of success. What happens is, eventually, life throws at you so many curve balls you can't maintain your high standards and you drop one. You drop the ball.

 

Perfectionists tend to be anxious people who deal with uncertainty by seeking control: being overly perfectionist, dedicating yourself to perfect one particular skill is control. By seeking perfection, you seek to erase all possible sources of failure, but alternatively by focusing so hard on it, you feed into your fear of said failure, so you become even more perfectionist.

 

Until you hit a wall. Then you fall into the uncertainty and everything, anything can happen  :(

 

I see a lot of that in Adolin... I see someone who tries to be good at everything he does and who avoids areas where he fears he won't be good. It gets a lot of gratification from it which makes him seek it even more. He works hard to hone his skill, he knows he is good and yet he fears he won't measure up. If you add these with the fact he gets overly nervous in front of events he can't control, then you have the making of the above.

 

To learn how to fly, you must first learn how to fall  :(

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On being perfectionism... if anyone wants to learn more about it:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfectionism_(psychology)

 

I used to be one myself, and I can attest with every single word written in this, though it seems I am not such a strong one it seems as the more stringent descriptions are a bit much for myself (which can only make me extrapolate of what it means for a more severe case). I think it is fair to assume Adolin is more of a socially prescribed perfectionist while I am self-oriented perfectionism, but the end game is the same. I would say the boundaries between the the two is blurry at best as while I personally once set ridiculously high standards for myself but at the same time was deeply afraid of failure as I couldn't deal with what it would mean for my self-esteem (just to give you an idea, I once cried because I fail to have 100% in a math test..... :rolleyes:  :ph34r: I had 99%  :rolleyes:  :ph34r: but it wasn't enough  :rolleyes:  :ph34r:)...

 

Since I tap a lot into my personal experience when I talk about his aspect of Adolin, reading the article shed some additional light on other characters.... Dalinar is a perfectionist too, but not the same kind as Adolin. He is an other-oriented perfectionist which means he strives to see perfection in others, he sets high standards for them which alternatively made him become hypercritical of some (Adolin) and hypocritical of others (Renarin, Elhokar, Kaladin). Dalinar wants Adolin to want to be perfect. To a lesser extend I do have the tendency to be hypocritical with others, thinking their work will not be as good as if I had done it myself  :ph34r: A bad combo.

 

And being Dalinar's son, Adolin inherited of the trait and turned it into a socially oriented perfectionist..... though he does has some traits of a self-oriented perfectionist... The whole courtship disasters are a telling example.

 

Dalinar, Adolin, both want control above all. Dalinar wants control over himself and thus expect everyone to endorse his views. Adolin wants control over his environment so it would stop changing and be easier to manage. In between the two, Adolin is the one I have read as being the anxious type (more than Renarin who is battling with autism), not Dalinar but it may be because he is so control it isn't perceptible. 

 

This is the first time I draw a clear and precise parallel between father and son, but it makes perfect sense. It explains so much into their respective behavior and it draws it clearly: book 3 will be a trial for both. Sadly. 

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I had wondered about Dalinar's ability to be afraid in the scope of battle. The excerpt from SA3 featuring his younger self spoke of a thrill-seeker and an adrenaline addicted man, exactly the kind of individual who doesn't stop to think if things may go astray. It isn't he is incapable of fear, but he is so set into his own immediate pleasure and the instantaneous gratification which comes with being the greatest baddest man on the war field to actually evaluate how his chances of survival fare. Dalinar Kholin it seems as an implacable confidence into his own skills, his own superiority to actually doubt he may not provide.

 

This is how I read him, but I would also agree we perhaps lack perspective on Dalinar.

 

Adolin is made of a different material, alternating in between self-assurance and confidence to doubt, fears and insecurities. I can't say as of now if Dalinar perhaps exhibit similar repressed features. However based on what we have read so far, I'd say Dalinar truly is rigid, strong-willed, narrow-minded and heavily focus on the present time. Being anxious Adolin is more focus on the future time.... 

 

As for anger and fear, I think Adolin deals better with them when he has a defined plan, one he has reasonable belief may work, in place to deal with them. It is why, I believe, he managed to walk away from Sadeas in the Highstorm shelter despite uttering threats: he had a plan. Trap Sadeas into a duel: kill him if possible or, to the very least, disarm him.  

 

I'd thus say, how he deals with his emotion is not linked to who they are directed at, but as to how much agency he has to change the situation. Szeth? He goes over-board because he can't see a clear line of action: his nervousness is palpable when he insist to talk plan with Kaladin on the Plains. Sadeas? He had a plan, so he controlled himself, but in the end, he has no more cards left to play. Moreover, he was completely hammered down from the previous fight while learning his fiance is a mystic warrior of an ancient powerful order: a bad combination. He had no juice left to deal with anything more. 

 

 

By WoK, Dalinar doesn't even really go into battle anymore, so it's hard to tell if how he handles himself in war is due to the Thrill-influence or his years of experience.  Is his supreme confidence from knowing that he is objectively that good at fighting, or is it his knowledge of strategy and how he has seen everything before?  In terms of duelling, Adolin is better, and probably Sadeas too, since it was Sadeas who took down Yenev for Aladar.  But Dalinar can hold his own against the Midnight Essence, Eshonai, and Szeth.

 

I think Dalinar represses parts of himself too, but different ones than Adolin.  Adolin seeks self-assurance in being the best, Dalinar seeks his self-assurance in The Way of Kings.  I think his Calling was leadership, and what he really wants to be a leader that is acknowledged by other people for his innate leadership skills, not out of fear of reprisal.  He has the The Way of Kings read to him on loop because he thinks it's an instruction manual on effective leadership.  I would say that if Dalinar is 100% Blackthorn, he wouldn't have been able to date Shshshsh and Navani.  So there is a gentle side.  It's just not manly to admit that it exists.

 

So Adolin is a control freak. :ph34r:   Well, it makes sense when you compare to Dalinar.  Only Dalinar is way more experienced and subtle about it, and has more patience for improvisation.  Even if he can be equally stubborn and implacable.  Adolin's personality is too "nice" but if there were the right set of circumstances, it would not be impossible for him to turn into Blackthorn 2.0. 

 

Shardbearers take breaks every 5-15 minutes.  You could hold it if you really wanted to.  Unless you were surrounded by enemies and thought that you might never get another potty break. :ph34r::lol:

 

 

 

Yeah, Adolin is a pinata filled with cash girls are taking their sweet time hitting. It makes me so sad.

 

Considering the fact Alethi marry very young, I suspect Shallan is expected to want to tie the knots very soon........ not to say she will, but such as expectations on Roshar.

 

I do think it currently is realistic, but I do not think it is slow going. If a story steers too far-away from realistic expectations then readers suspension of disbelieve will be hard pressed. Even in fantasy world, as a reader, I expect to see characters evolve in natural plausible way. Well, I do anyway. I hate when I have the feeling the author is taking short-cut for narrative purposes. For instances, you can't have your MC go from untrained, nonathletic individual to badass fighter in a few weeks. It doesn't work. Similarly, I wouldn't expect Shallan to spill her secrets to Adolin just now.

 

Reversely, I expect Adolin to start ruining it with Shallan...  He has a pattern. He can't break the pattern without some serious character development.

Shallan describes Jasnah at one point as old enough to be her mother.  Shallan is 17, and Jasnah is 34(?).  :ph34r:  When people married that early back on Earth, a 25 year old unmarried woman was enough to be considered an old maid.  Or a Christmas cake. :lol:  If Shallan is expected to be married, then Adolin is too.  :ph34r:   Makes me wonder how many of the young married couples in Alethkar got married because of their own personal urges :ph34r: rather than the societal expectations to get hitched.   Two birds, one stone, you know what I mean? B)  I'm sure it applies to lighteyed couples as well.

 

A MC can go from wimp to badchull fighter in a few weeks only if you have a workout montage scene.  Preferably with "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background.  B)

 

I'm expecting Adolin to start shooting himself in the foot too.  I don't really want to see it because I thought Shadolin were a cute canon couple, but since you like watching Adolin get hit by the trauma stick, you will really enjoy it. :P  Everyone thinks it's more likely that he will distance himself out of shame and guilt for offing Sadeas, rather than start making out with another girl.  Even if the last one is more dramatic and hilarious because it causes the triangle to become a square. 

 

 

 

Oh I can read stuff which displeases me in the approach but is well-written enough. I just wish there were less of a certain kind of fiction and more of other kind of fiction. 

If you want something but can't find it, make it yourself! :ph34r:

Otherwise it would never exist without you.

 

 

 

And just suddenly becoming a Radiant doesn't look like the best of things...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: For my part, I thought the concept of "magic" choosing you as opposed to you merely being born with it as is customary within most fantasy stories rather appealing. Not everyone can become a Radiant: you need you to be chosen and to be chosen you need to be worthy. It makes becoming a Radiant not only "rather cool", but also a testimony to your person. As, in a world where the worthy are being bonded by sprens to fulfill higher promises, what else is there to say about those left behind that they are lesser beings? This is where I am bugged. Kaladin is so extraordinary the very first honorspren to try bonding a human since the Recreance chose him specifically: the same could be said about Jasnah, Shallan and Renarin. They were so out-standing, so amazing the very first sprens chose them over others. If I were Adolin, I'd be feeling rather small in my shoes right now... There was a horde of sprens hovering over the Kholin household who ended choosing every single individuals, but him. What if they push the ignominy to choose Elhokar on top of all things? The most unworthy pathetic individual in the place?

 

As for the sprens, I personally find their lack of communications sometimes grating.. though in retrospect Syl can't tell everything to Kaladin: he has to figure out by himself. She is merely a guide, though one demanding strict obedience, but then again, a honorspren isn't supposed to bond an individual having issues respecting those principles. 

 

Kaladin doesn't like Adolin because he sees a symbol in him: the picture perfect image of the privilege boy. Kaladin considers his life was a long misery which makes him see Adolin as his complete opposite: a kid who never saw hardships, who never had to work for his belongings, who takes everything for granted without ever stopping to say "thank you". So all in all, Adolin isn't spoiled, he is Kaladin's nemesis and thus the perfect recipient for his hatred and his anger. Kaladin's attitude has nothing to do with Adolin specifically, but more with what he represents. I think it is fair to assume book Kaladin will never treat Adolin as his commanding anything simply because Adolin's rank was not earned, but given. I don't think they are done butting heads  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Story Kaladin though, even if he dislikes authority, has no specific quarrel with Adolin except for him liking Shallan  :o

It's really strange to me that everyone thinks becoming a Radiant is a super cool thing.  I'm happy being a normie. :ph34r:

Maybe the people in-universe see the powers and the surgebinding magic and envy that, but as someone who read the books and knows that you only get magic from a spren parasite who lives inside your broken soul, I don't want that at all.  It's not that you have to be worthy to attract a spren - you have to be worthy AND broken.  So there are plenty of good hearted people out there who will never get a spren because they didn't suffer a traumatic childhood or get beaten up every day after school. 

 

I feel no shame or disappointment at not having a cremmy backstory, so I don't feel upset at not being a surgebinder or Radiant.  That is why it's sad to see that other people feel that their not being "chosen" feels like a rejection, like they weren't good enough.  You should be glad you didn't get an insane level of mental or physical suffering!  Adolin, of course, will see it as a fault in himself that he wasn't bonded by a spren.  He has to realise that they are opportunistic parasites!!!!  Getting a spren is like being loaded into a hero-class character in a game.  And you think they will explain what's going on, but they don't, they just throw you into level 5 with no tutorial mode. :lol:

 

Young Kaladin thought that lighteyes were in charge because they were somehow more noble that darkeyes.  That is why it hurt so much when Amaram, whom he thought was a real lighteyes compared to Roshone, stole his Shards.  His problem with lighteyes and why they can't be trusted is that he thinks that they will always find a way to abuse their authority.  The higher ranking they are, the more harm they can do.  If Kal had never gone through that experience, he would never have the hate for lighteyes that his SA canon character would have. 

 

He still dislikes authority in my AU - specifically abuse of position - but he doesn't attach that stigma to any one group of people.  Since everyone has the potential to act like a donuthole.  That is why is okay with Adolin being his commanding officer.  He knows Adolin got it out of nepotism, but Adolin doesn't abuse it - he puts it to good use.  In other armies, squadleaders bribe the stretcher carriers, but in the Kholin regiment, there are enough hospital tents for everyone. :ph34r:

 

 

 

To be fair, complete erasing of memory lasting for several years is rather rare. I recall a conversation where someone mentioned how such memory holes are not common: most trauma victims will recover the memories after a short time. Then again, Brandon is not a doctor nor a therapist, so I don't expect him to be overly accurate, but he is pushing it a bit with his characters. On one side he wants them to have sufferings, but on the other he makes their suffering so intense, these individuals, were they real, wouldn't even be functional. 

 

It is another reason why I love Adolin: he is easy to relate to. His issues are very realistic and found in many people (just not fantasy characters  :rolleyes: because fantasy characters have to befit a certain profile :rolleyes: ) while Kaladin has so many mental illness I find it hard to not roll my eyes  :ph34r: Book Kaladin has: PTSD, clinical depression, seasonal depression. Through his ordeal he was physically and psychologically beaten while witnessing his brother being killed. Oh and he had to run bridges.... It is a bit much... 

 

Shallan is better as she only has one major issue  :ph34r:

 

The plot does require character development, but to be fair, I had started to doubt Shallan would ever face the truth without Pattern.... The problem with the reveal, IMHO, was we, the readers, had figured it out a long time ago, so when she finally acknowledge it, it fells a bit flat  :ph34r:

 

I agree though she would see her former childhood as happy times... even if it wasn't really happy, it still was happier than now. 

By SA5, you will see that the ensemble cast of Radiants will start to resemble a psych ward. :ph34r:

 

This is what happens when you separate your magic-users from your muggles with insane trauma.

 

Shallan having one major issue and getting over most of it by the end of WoR is why people think she's verging on Mary Sue territory.  The same people say Kaladin is a more realistic character for having Real Issues that he can't just get over by accepting that he has them. ^_^   And the worst part of Shallan's backstory reveal was that it wasn't even a real reveal!  She killed her mother with her Patternsword, so she must have had her spren before that.  There was a traumatic event before that!  And we never even got to find out!!!

 

 

 

Actually, when I read WoK, I thought Adolin was the important character as he was the first one we read... Well not the first one in the book, but the first one on the Shattered Plains. In other words, we get his POV way before we get Dalinar and if we take away the visions, he doesn't have much less than his father in terms of POV. At the time, I recalled I was rather engrossed within Kaladin's story arc, so I was disappointed to spend time with other characters  :ph34r: After a while, I decided Kaladin was my favorite, but this character named Adolin also was fun to read even if he didn't get to do much  :ph34r: At first, I thought he would betray his father  :ph34r: and turn power-hungry as his character type spoke of such things  :ph34r: I was, of course, being fooled by his appearances and his facade: I was pleasantly surprised he turned out being such a good boy. As for Dalinar, he is a character I love, but his POV often is boring: too political and too introspective  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

I agree Shallan is, so far, contemplating the advantages of marrying Adolin, but she hasn't yet start to thing of him as a person whom she may hurt with her games. Story Shallan seems more aware, though she is glad she has a way out and, by her own admission, still sees Adolin as a game more than anything serious. It pains me because I feels every single girl treats Adolin as a play thing... sure he is the one who is screwing it up, but how come nobody saw beyond his facade? 

 

I certainly think there is more to Adolin than him simply being "nice" just as there is more to Kaladin than him simply being "angsty". I too will be disappointed if Brandon doesn't put more into it than this, but I seriously want Shallan to stop playing with Adolin... Oh and that's for story Shallan as well... One minute she is relieve she can walk out any time she wants and she seems disgusted over the notion of marrying Adolin and the next she jumps in his arms totally enticing him  :o Not once did she stop to think if this young man may, just may actually falling for her... I supposed it is because she thinks she is unlikable, but still...

I expected Adolin to be the foil the whole way through.  I thought he and Kaladin were going to meet much earlier - since they are around the same age and so different in personality that I assumed that Brandon would go for a character contrast immediately.  It was kinda disappointing that they only met for the first time when Adolin rescued that courtesan.  I was expecting grudging friendship much earlier than the middle of WoR.  Also, Kaladin was never my favourite.  His mopiness annoyed me even from his childhood flashback scenes. :ph34r: 

 

Nobody sees Adolin beyond the facade because he doesn't let them.  He only goes on something like 2-3 dates with a girl before he drops her or she drops him.  You don't talk about serious things on dates, let alone deep stuff that make you look like a whiny baby unless you know enough of the other person to understand the context.  I'm sure if you dropped Adolin and Shallan into the chasm scene, Adolin would crack enough to show Shallan his facade.  But Shallan would probably not share hers with him.  The only reason she does it with Kaladin is that he is low ranking enough that he is not a threat or a challenge to her relationship with Adolin.

 

Hey, you have to remember Shallan is a teenage girl who has never had a serious romantic relationship in her life.  She is lonely and wants to be loved, but also thinks she is disgusting and unlovable.  She's very emotionally conflicted and doesn't know if she even deserves to have a happy ending, or if it's better to run away before it blows up in her face.  Like Tyn says, it's bad when a con woman starts believing in her own con. 

 

Whoever said that teen love had to make sense. :rolleyes:

 

 

Oh sorry  :ph34r: French here.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: "Having an adventure" in French doesn't means "having an adventure" as in going trecking and meeting wild beasts, it means eloping with someone  :ph34r: As in a one night-stand or a short-term relationship mostly based on intimacy. I didn't think it wouldn't mean the same thing in English  :ph34r:

 

This being said, I wondered if "something intimate" would happen in between Kaladin and Shallan. For best effects, you have Adolin walk down on them. This is a classic, but usually, it's the girl who walks on the boy making out with another girl, so there's a twist  :o

 

But doesn't the maid think it would hurt Adolin if his wife-to-be were to make-out with his best friend?

 

So Kaladin thinks Adolin can't take another break up? It is why he urges him to go ask Shallan about the oat when Adolin just insist in getting the coach as clearly she wants out? This part was consistent with Adolin's character so far, each time a girl start to show maybe she may not be into him, he backs away. He never fights back, he never pursue.

 

You update your Archive of your Own thread faster than you update this one  :o  :ph34r:

You could use "having an adventure" to refer to eloping.  But only if you made it clear in context what it was.  Otherwise it could be something more innocent, just like the chasm scene.

 

I think it would be hilarious for Adolin to walk in on Kaladin and Shallan.  I have tried to contrive situations on purpose where that happens in my AU, like Shallan passed out in the carriage.  But the problem is that Adolin is a nice guy and won't assume something naughty happened unless it's completely unambiguous what was going on.  And then he'd be more sad than angry, since he would think there's something wrong with him that drives the girls away. 

 

In this AU and IRL, men are not expected to be chaste for their wedding.  It's normal for men to keep mistresses before or after marriage, as long as they aren't producing any illegitimate babies.  The maid has never talked to Adolin before, and doesn't know he's a nice guy at heart.  What she knows of him is downstairs gossip - Adolin is known to be a serial dater who goes through a girl every 2-4 weeks, and no one knows what exactly he does with them.  So she thinks it's fair for Shallan to make her own choice at least one time before her wedding.  And the best friend is the best choice.  :ph34r:  Since he won't/can't blackmail Shallan about anything they do without risking his own position and relationship with Adolin.

 

Yes, Kaladin doesn't want to see Adolin's heart get permanently stomped.  And that is why he wants Shallan to stay.  He also doesn't want her to go because if she goes home, she will get pulled back into her brothers' cesspit of misery and poverty.  And he also doesn't want her to go because he likes her, and likes bantering with her.  He also likes having someone who is around his own social rank.  Because to the servants, he is their pinata full of cash.  To nobles, he is a servant.  His rank difference with Shallan is much narrower...until the day she marries Adolin. :ph34r:

 

AooO has a handy feature were you can download a story as an eBook edition.  I like to go through one last proofread on my eReader while in bed, because it's comfier that way.  Then I correct it and upload it here. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

Because Kaladin hates horses? It isn't he can't, but he doesn't want one. 

 

I am not sure what expression "trauma pinata" means  :ph34r: but I'd say I love when my characters are emotionally challenged which is why I do want to read Adolin melt down or break down or go into a mental trauma of sorts. They say it isn't the hardships we meet which defines us, but how we deal with them and I want to see Adolin navigate through his.

 

Adolin clearly was more affected by the death toll than Dalinar. If you recall his first appearance, in WoK, they loose 50 men during the chasmfiend hunt. Who is seen mourning them and being angry at their lost? Adolin. Though it wasn't by his fault: he didn't even want to be there in the first place. In my fantasy AU, young Adolin wouldn't drown his cremlings like all of the other boys, thinking it barbarous. He would pretend he did it, but let the poor thing run free when nobody is looking  :ph34r: I too read Adolin as someone who dislikes hurting living creatures. He does it out of necessity, because he has his orders, because safe-keeping his father is more important than his own feelings on the matter, but you can ignore your true self only so long. I personally wish to see Adolin become more and more conflicted through book 3 as battles become more gruesome and he gets more aware of his role into them while he fears of failure increases as the odds he will fail increase as well.

But Ryshadiums pick their riders.  If a megahorse wants you, can you even tell it to go away and pick a new owner?

 

Trauma pinata - the guy who gets hit multiple times with the trauma stick. 

It's really hard for me to read when characters are broken down into tiny pieces.  Even though I know in the end most of them get better and stronger by the destination, it's still really painful to see the journey.   If you have ever read the Farseer assassin novels, they are extreme character studies.  And the Liveship Traders sequel trilogy.  UGH. :wacko:  They are good books, but they have heaps of hardship and it gets really really sad at times.  WHY CAN'T PEOPLE CATCH A BREAK NOW AND THEN.

 

I think loyalty is a strong trait in Adolin, even if people who view his character superficially would call it obedience, because they want him to be  a Dustbringer or something. :ph34r:

He not only has loyalty to Dalinar, but returns the loyalty of the people who are loyal to him.  That is why he hands out the Shards won in duelling like party favours even though they are priceless.  Dalinar has it too, but I feel it's more like he rewards the people who swear him fealty because the Codes say that's what an officer should do, and men are more reliable when they are better treated.  It's a big picture overall strategy thing, compared to Adolin who does it because he feels compassion for the people who serve his family. 

 

I thought it was an important aspect to explore.  Once you take away Dalinar's orders, Adolin would feel more conflicted about the men under his command when he is in charge of their safety himself.

 

 

 

 

 

Is General Khal's son a Captain? I don't recall it being mentioned. Without his Highprince of a father, Adolin wouldn't have received a Plate at the age of 16 which would prevent him from winning his Blade. He may still be Shard-less and not as well trained in them.

 

I disagree Adolin isn't creative on the battle field... He does much better than Kaladin who repetitively fails at seeing the large picture. Adolin understands tactics and has a better view of repercussions of orders: he won't risk his men's life uselessly, but he does take risks. For instance, climbing a cliff while standing on his Blade only to arrive, alone and surrounded on the Plateau in an attempt to beat the Parshendi to the gemstone. More importantly, Adolin managed to use one innocent piece of information he distractedly received from Shallan (the rock formations are hollow) in order to gear his army into a surprise attack which allowed him to win his Plateau with lesser causalities. Also, when he fought Eshonai, he couldn't beat her: she was too strong for him and her moves were unknown to him. He went for another tactic: making her fall down the chasm. All in all, Adolin is very creative in his attacks and he has good instinct.

 

He's more than Petra who was just a good shoot :o  Adolin can lead a large army, a feat Kaladin is incapable of doing. He can win battles. The problem is his heart in not in it and, more importantly, he doesn't seek the personal glory of winning or being a Highprince. This being said, nobody is like Ender  -_-

Yes, there was a Captain Khal mentioned in one or two lines at the Battle of Narak.  He got a Shard that Adolin gave him. 

 

I would not say that Adolin isn't creative or intuitive in battles.  But to me, it seems like what he does is being good at surprise defensive positions.  Not really stand-or-die last ditch risks that Kaladin did with the side-carry of the bridge, or when he tried to stab Moash and Graves when they went after Elhokar.  Kaladin is less afraid of jumping into the unknown, and he is an adrenaline junkie.  He jumped onto the horse's back when Adolin joked him.  If it was the other way around, I doubt Adolin would have done the same thing.

Adolin only does last stands if there is no other option, compared to Kaladin who is first in, last out in everything.  And I think it freaks Adolin out when he has to do it, like fighting Eshonai in the Tower, or Szeth in the palace.  Because he would never seek out "you and me to the death" situations on his own, and the fact that he is in one means that all his choices have been stripped away.

 

 

 

But he says he is muscular! It is right there in his POV! Besides, he hasn't been a slave very long.... and the bridgemen weren't starved. They were well-fed, just fed with soulcasted food which has no taste but Kaladin has never been malnourished. 

 

We definitely need an "Adolin takes a bath" scene  -_- Someone should pester Brandon about it  -_- BTW, he's coming your way, June 2017  -_-

The slaves in the slave caravan were starved.  They only got a small bowl of gruel a day.  It was only when they reached the Shattered Plains that they had access to all the soulcasters and the soulcast food.  So that is probably why people assumed Kaladin was malnourished and skinny.

 

Brandon will arrive before SA3 will be released.  I don't know how to feel about it, since there would be more questions to be asked after than before.  He accepts gifts of fan art and sometimes posts it on his Twitter.  How would he feel about me gifting him fan art. :ph34r:   Maybe Alethkar swimsuit calendar would make him uncomfortable.  B)  :lol: 

 

 

 

At 15C, outdoor eating places are happy to open up and Montreal's terraces will be filled with people  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I swear it is totally norma :ph34r:-_-

 

Pfff there is only one mammal on Earth which lay eggs. One. Guess where it lives? At least, our totem animal has the decency to be "normal"  -_- Besides, beavers help built New-France: there wouldn't be any French in North-America if not for the beavers  -_-

 

At 15C, everyone chooses to sit indoors and if there are outdoor places, they have gas burner heat lamps for people to sit next to and be nice and toasty.  :ph34r:

 

There are two egg laying mammals actually, the echidna and the platypus.  Both live in Australia. :ph34r:

I bet the beavers totally enjoyed helping to build New France.  :D  I still think a platypus would win in a fight with a beaver.  Beavers have stronger teeth, but a platypus has a poison claw on its back feet.  :ph34r:

 

 

 

I agree about Renarin. I don't think he feels lonely, just useless. I too think Renarin is perceptive, but not in the same way as other characters. Being autistic, understanding emotions or noticing them would be very hard for him. For instance, he may notice Adolin's dating pattern, he may list each and every single former date and explained in details why it went wrong, but he can't grasp Adolin isn't as care-free as he let's on about it. For example, after Jakamav refused to be seen with him, Adolin is visibly hurt. Does Renarin notice? Absolutely not. He is set into his own thoughts. Arguably Adolin too had his worries, but it doesn't prevent him fro acknowledging his brother's. Renarin can't do that because it's likely he didn't even grasp something was wrong.

 

So what is Renarin up in the AU?

I think Renarin would suit a non-military society much better than Alethkar.  If there was no stigma against men who can't fight, then Renarin would be more liked, or at least tolerated, especially in a setting where people still value social rank and wealth.  His autism would be called eccentricity, not a weakness that shows that the Almighty doesn't like him because it stops him from ever getting into the Tranquiline Halls.  Vorinism is such a religion of suck. :(

 

Renarin is a supply officer for the Kholin regiment.  No soulcasters, so food and gunpowder have to be paid for and shipped the normal way.  So he has found his purpose, and he's really good at it.  I think in terms of pure academic skills, Renarin is smarter than both Kaladin and Shallan, who are good scholars but have intelligence in other ways.  Kaladin has a good memory and awareness for details and makes fast intuitive judgements, Shallan has a visual memory and is better at applying her knowledge to practical skills, but Renarin is the best at theoretical concepts and mathematics. 

 

 

 

Because I don't like men wearing leather pants... I don't think they are appealing  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: but Kaladin probably dresses terribly, so it's OK for him to wear some.

 

Adolin would dream of having a popular and trendy sports car, but Dalinar refused. He thinks these are too dangerous (he read an article on how sports car + young men = accidents), so he insists his son drives................. the family minivan much to Adolin's utter dismay (it is much more secure and nobody speeds in a mini-van :ph34r:). So see, even in modern day AU, Dalinar finds way to have Adolin feel ashamed  -_-

 

Oh and it's beige  :o  :o  :o Because Dalinar has bad taste in car colors  :o There is nothing uglier than a beige mini-van except perhaps a dark green one  :ph34r:

Leather pants can be hot. :ph34r:   On a hot day, they are so hot you sweat buckets.  But still hot. B)  I wouldn't say wearing leather pants means you dress terribly.  If they are real leather, they don't come cheap, you know.  And they are really stylish.  Adolin does stylish. :ph34r: 

 

Where do you even find beige minivans?  I thought Dalinar would have better taste than that. :ph34r:   I thought it was more likely that Adolin got Dalinar's ten year old hand-me-down work car.  Which has all the safety features and Dalinar still insists Adolin check the tyre pressure every time he drives it, and read the owner's manual once a year, and make sure the car is taken to be serviced every 6 months exactly.

 

Adolin is ashamed of driving it because no one is allowed to eat or drink in it, so when they go on a coffee run or hit the takeaway, the passengers aren't allowed to start nibbling until they get out.  That is worse than driving a 30 year old beater that looks like the Mystery Mobile because no one cares if a van like that gets a scratch or smells like things it shouldn't smell like.  :ph34r:

 

 

 

Adolin suffers the plight the many perfectionists of this world suffer... It is a problem though not one often talked of because it is disguised under a desirable trait... Could it have been fixed? I am not sure, even if I am convinced, in his specific case, Dalinar has not helped. From my personal experience, most perfectionists tend to hit walls, eventually. They put a lot of expectations onto themselves, even if they originated from their parents, at first, they morphed into them, making them think they need this kind of success. What happens is, eventually, life throws at you so many curve balls you can't maintain your high standards and you drop one. You drop the ball.

 

Perfectionists tend to be anxious people who deal with uncertainty by seeking control: being overly perfectionist, dedicating yourself to perfect one particular skill is control. By seeking perfection, you seek to erase all possible sources of failure, but alternatively by focusing so hard on it, you feed into your fear of said failure, so you become even more perfectionist.

 

Until you hit a wall. Then you fall into the uncertainty and everything, anything can happen  :(

 

I see a lot of that in Adolin... I see someone who tries to be good at everything he does and who avoids areas where he fears he won't be good. It gets a lot of gratification from it which makes him seek it even more. He works hard to hone his skill, he knows he is good and yet he fears he won't measure up. If you add these with the fact he gets overly nervous in front of events he can't control, then you have the making of the above.

 

To learn how to fly, you must first learn how to fall  :(

 

 

I found it telling that one of the chapters in WoR where Adolin duels Eranniv (or was it Salinor) was titled "Perfection".  I think most people wouldn't pick up on Adolin's perfectionism, because they would see it as only part of ego and cocky persona. 

 

As a character trait, I wouldn't necessarily call it a flaw unless it hits unhealthy levels, where self-esteem and belief in your worth as a person is tied up with how much skill you can display.  At that point, it's kind of disturbing and I seriously hope there's some character development because otherwise it will turn self-destructive.  Working on leveling up your skills is supposed to be a self-improvement exercise, but anything in excess can be unhealthy. 

 

From what we see of Adolin at the end of WoR, the wall is not far away. :lol:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY

 

 

 

 

 

Shallan carefully cut the copied mural pages from her sketchbook with her charcoal knife, and laid them on the bed in the order she had drawn them.  She had remembered to label each sheet with a number on the bottom corner – a tedious habit she now found very useful.  It was different when it was laid flat instead of arranged in the circular panoramic of the original.  The scale was much less impressive for one – and with its much smaller size, she could now discern a beginning to the piece.  There was a front rank, depicting a Knight with Squires attacking a great craggy beast; there were a number of mythical beasts behind it, not identically shaped, but still menacing in their enormous size and their red eyes which had been painted on the tower wall with powdered mica.

 

There was a rank at the very back – or start of the piece.  Shallan did not know if circular paintings were designed to have specific starts or ends, especially allegorical religious works representing the Almighty’s endless cycle of years.  She supposed that it could be the point where the mural’s artist had laid the first stroke of paint.  This beginning portrayed the Ten Heralds, their backs to swirling storm clouds, their legendary blades held in the air in fierce defiance to the monsters that threatened their army of heroes.  But no – they were not pointing their blades directly at the mythic beasts: they were holding their swords in the air.  Pointing at something in the sky?

 

She had not drawn the sky in the mural.  It had been too high up – tens of feet in the air – and visible only from the stairs.  Shallan had drawn the mural from the floor, by candlelight, and that had given her only enough illumination to capture the closest ranks of Knights and Champions with their swords and cannon horses.  Did they even have cannons back then, with their lost arts?  There were no cannons in the mural.  Shallan recalled that cannons had first been used as siege-breakers on the Continent four hundred years ago; Jasnah had said the last cycle began over four thousand years ago.

 

Kaladin, before he had left her in the darkness – she skimmed over that memory – had said there were stars in the sky, red stars painted with mica.  What could they mean?  Shallan decided that she needed to find astronomical charts, and an astronomer or mathematician who could calculate reverse trajectories for the movement of heavenly bodies.   She herself was not a terrible arithmetician – or bookkeeper – when it came to it, but her experience had been limited to several narrow disciplines in the applied sciences.  It had been good enough for Jasnah, but her knowledge on theoretical grand-scale celestial gravimetrics was sufficiently lacking in that she scarcely knew which questions were imperative to the continuation of her research.

 

She resolved to ask Jasnah when she returned; Jasnah would know what to do – she always did.  Jasnah was the planner; she had the experience and the connections to make the right enquiries, and unknot seemingly unsolvable problems with either authority or money; Jasnah was a firm proponent of shooting the engineer when it became necessary.  Jasnah could be trusted to take charge – she had promised to, when she had taken Shallan up as guardian to her ward.  She had been the connection of influence and consequence enough to keep the creditors of Loch Davar at bay; she had ascertained the details of Shallan’s financial complications and arranged the advantageous connection with Adolin.  Jasnah could be relied on to sort everything out – and she was to return to-morrow.

 

For now, Shallan wrote out her notes and possible hypotheses on the mural, as well as the details she had picked out after a careful viewing of the sketches.  Why, for instance, were the swords so large as to be almost the same size as the Knights holding them?  The Heralds themselves had smaller swords.  They reminded her of the amusingly oversized swords held by the former Kholin Dukes in the portrait gallery, with their fussy – and useless – ornamentations such as the flanges shaped like waves-in-motion or tongues of flame.  Would not such swords be too heavy to carry for battles longer than a half hour, especially with the weight of extraneous decoratives?  Adolin had not any difficulties with the fifty pound lead weights in the pantry, but even he could not be expected to hold them for hours at a time.

 

Shallan busied herself in the research for the next few hours – since Jasnah had sent the letter with the word tasks circled several times.  Shallan knew she had put off her scholarship during the recent and unfortunate developments of being wounded and taken ill; they seemed reasonable enough justification for postponing studies to her, but she doubted that Jasnah would see it quite the same way.  If Jasnah were to be shipwrecked or molested by highwaymen, Shallan believed that she would find a means to continue her quest for knowledge and historical truth.

 

She did not look up until Finnie knocked at the door with a freshly pressed dress for dinner.

 

“My lady,” said Finnie, looking for a place to lay the dress; the bed had been taken over by the charcoal sketches and there were now grey streaks of charcoal powder on the bed-cover.   “Are you excited for the Feast?”

 

Shallan hurriedly got to her feet, snapping her sketchbook shut.  She snatched up the sketches, and roughly sorted them into a loose pile by their numbered corners.  “The Feast?  I understood it was to be a simple presentation.”

 

Finnie laughed.  “The cook has cleared out every dry goods purveyor in Courtlea.  The butler has sent for the Kholinshire Park household staff to help.  We had none of this for the Marquess’s reception when he was commissioned a year or so ago.”

 

“Oh my,” said Shallan slowly, sliding her sketchbook into the vanity drawer.  “How very – daunting.”

 

“I’m pleased to be looking after you, my lady,” said Finnie, looking around and finally hanging the dress over the back of the chair.  “Otherwise I’d be cleaning out the guest rooms with the rest of the maids.”

 

“Well, grand Feast or not, it’s to be one day only.  I’m sure we can all pull together and endure.”

 

“It will make a fine practice for you, my lady!” replied Finnie cheerily.

 

“Practice?  For what exactly?”

 

“For when you are wed, of course!”

 

“Wed?” Shallan burst out.  “One day a time, please!”

 

“Well, my lady,” mused Finnie, whilst undoing the buttons on Shallan’s day dress, “now that you have seen Anglekar, how would you go back to Scotland?  I hear it’s very dreary all the time there.”

 

Shallan was silent as her day dress was replaced in favour of an evening one.  She spoke softly, with a hint of reproachfulness.  “It may be dreary, but it is my home.  And my homeland.”

 

“Of course, my lady,” said Finnie, turning her eyes downwards in deference.  “Beg your pardon.”

 

They were silent as Shallan’s hair was dressed for dinner. 

 

What was Loch Davar to her now?  It was no Grand House; it was not even a stately home, like Dun McValam or Ivory Lane.  There was an empty echoing manor with a leaking roof, which echoed all the more now that most of the furniture and half her family were gone from it.  What was a home?  Was it the house itself, or the people inside it, or the intangible memories of long ago happiness and comfort that one held in their heart?

 

Shallan was unquestionably Scottish; of this she was undeniably convinced.  She was Scottish, and this was not something anyone – and definitely no soft southern Anglethi – could take away.  If she did not need the deed papers to an estate to be Scottish, for what reason did Loch Davar need to be saved? 

 

She brushed that doubt away.  Of course Loch Davar needed to be saved.   If it could not be her place of residence, it was still her home – wasn’t it?  And it was her brothers’ legacy, the last thing they had for themselves after the sale of the silverware and the heirloom tartan brooches and the claymores from the mantelpiece.  She felt somewhat troubled at the thought that a successful attachment to Adolin would result in her spending his fortune on maintaining the Davar estate – the rents from the surrounding villages had been mortgaged too, and the manor currently could not support itself. 

 

She did not know if Adolin would approve, even if he gave his willing consent.  She knew Kaladin would not.  He would see it as Shallan’s indulging her fantasy illusions of childhood as she did with ether, only this time it would be pulling Adolin into the depths with her, even though he could easily afford it.  And she, to her immense dissatisfaction, saw the sense in that – Kaladin was right.  As usual.  She had an emotional attachment to Loch Davar; she was blinded by her sentimentality – and for that she was willing to do what he would never consider sensible, nor she financially prudent.

 

Shallan went down to dinner, still thinking.  Kaladin was merely middle class, no matter how well-educated he happened to be.  He worked for a living; that was what separated him from gentry who did not work – their living, their leisure, was supported by the rents and taxes raised from their hereditary estates.  It was also acceptable in these modern ages to derive one’s maintenance from the dividends of investments outside real properties – joint-stock ventures, or the Funds – if the original capital was inherited, of course.  He was not – and could never be – a true gentleman until he was gentry; Shallan doubted she would be able to find his name in The Peerage.  She was not even sure if Kaladin was his Vorin name or his family name.

 

Thus, he did not – could not, could never – comprehend the attachment one had to their family estate.  The house one’s family lived in was not just a roof over their heads – and Loch Davar, admittedly, did not have much that could be praised or even expected in a roof.  It was ancestral legacy; it was part of what made a lady or gentleman of quality – well, quality.  It possessed the quality of dignified age, and history, and some said it was ultimately bestowed by the Almighty’s favour for his chosen leaders of men.

 

You cannot eat an ancestral legacy, Shallan thought bitterly.  It sounded like something Kaladin would say.

 

Well, that was why she had come to Anglekar, wasn’t it?

 

Shallan was redirected by a footman to the Cobalt Room for dinner; there was still much activity in the foyer of the House as the lamps were lit for the evening.  The servants appeared to be taking the instructions of preparing for a grand Feast seriously, and Shallan felt the disquieting beginnings of niggling trepidation.  She had attended Clan McValam’s annual clan moot when she was thirteen years old for her clan pledges; she had observed the pledging of other children in the following years, though not so recently when she and her brothers had melted down their clan brooches and bonnet badges and had had nothing presentable to wear.  How much grander of scale could a City-style Anglethi Feast be?  Shallan had never been to the City before, or any city at all – only large towns for Middlefests as a girl.

 

She was seated to Adolin’s left, with Kaladin on his right.  It was the dinner arrangement she had shared with them every other evening previous – only this time it was to be in a smaller room.  It was not an unattractive room, for all its informality, she thought, as she looked around.  True to its name, the Cobalt Room was decorated with cobalt blue – Kholin blue.  There were blue shields fixed to the wall, and wooden plaques with hooks holding up trophy swords.  Not all of them were the yard-length straight-bladed heirloom longswords common to the great families of the Anglethi Isles, nor the newer and thinner cavalry sabres.  Some of them were curved scimitars, with enamelled hilts in designs of tessellated sunbursts with matching scabbards; there were two with shagreen hilts, and flat blades with rectangular chisel-like points.  Many of the blades were nicked and scratched.

 

“I’m glad to report,” said Adolin, as a footman placed a bowl of marrow-and-onion soup in front of him.  It was followed by a spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of thinly-shaved fried ham.  “That to-night’s menu was selected with a judicious eye.  And stomach.  I made sure to taste everything, just to be certain.”

 

Kaladin grunted.  “The kitchens are busy preparing for the Feast; I’m surprised they would spare the time for you, Duke or no.”

 

“And this is why we are dining informally to-night?” Shallan asked.

 

“Yes,” Adolin replied.  “They’re hanging up the banners in the dining room.  We would not have been able to eat with the workmen overhead and underfoot.”

 

“I’m sure you could manage to eat anywhere,” remarked Kaladin.

 

Adolin waved his spoon.  “I’m sure I could.  But you’ve been in the military, Kal – my father’s military especially.  It doesn’t do to go slipshod on the protocol.”  A footman at the sideboard unloaded their second course – pigeon pie with a side of gratin carrots.  “It’s one thing,” he said, with what Shallan thought was wistfulness in his generally good-humoured spirits, “to dine in the field, and another thing to be going field-fashion whilst immediately outside the mess hall.”

 

“Adolin,” said Shallan slowly, puzzling it through.  “Forgive me if I am wrong – but you seem to regard the military life with fondness.”

 

Adolin met her eyes, and smiled affectionately at her.  But when he spoke, he spoke in the tones of solemn contemplation.  “The duty of the sons of House Kholin is to bear arms for the King.  The military life is my life.”

 

Perhaps if she had not known him as she did now, she would not have caught onto the nuance of melancholy in his voice.  If he had spoken those words upon her first introduction to him – the luncheon at the pavilion – she would have presumed that he was making conversation as any young gallant would have – with bravado and pride in pedigree, not with true feeling hidden behind idle mealtime chatter.

 

How peculiar it must be, to see that even a Duke of the first rank might have the constraints of privilege placed around him – as she herself did.  Because as she repeated his words over in her mind, she could not help but think: the duty of the Duchess is to bear those sons.  But she did not articulate that particular thought; thoughts of self-pity sounded twice as disagreeable and thrice as pathetic when spoken aloud in the presence of others. 

 

“And have they – you – no choice in the matter?” she managed.

 

Kaladin took a sip of his smallbeer.  “Miss Davar, were you aware that the Anglethi word for ‘Duke’ comes from an ancient Continental word meaning ‘leader’ or ‘general’?”

 

Adolin paused as a footman refreshed his plate.  “Father says our privilege is fair payment for our hereditary service.  It was originally an elevation by the Grace of the Almighty, and we should maintain the standards, as it were.  And we should seek leadership as part of our Calling.”

 

“I doubt many others see rank that way.  I do not,” said Shallan, thinking of the men in her own family.  They were proud of their lineage – as all gentry were – and they were the accepted leaders in the local community.  But they were only leaders in the vague social fashion – the farming villages of the Loch had their own elders; the Davars were not – definitely not – models of moral authority that the lower classes should aspire to.  As much as she had boasted of her own charitable disposition to Kaladin, she knew it to be contrived – and quite certainly not an entire truth.  It was curious that there was someone to be found in the upper echelons of Society – the Prince Kholinar himself – who believed in such things as the notion that Grace bestowed should equal Grace deserved.

 

“And I thought you read The Way of Kings, Miss Davar.  You seemed to profess an illogical confidence in the old stories,” said Kaladin, as the next remove of trout with buckwheat and long beans was brought in.

 

“I have read it, but only for the historical details,” she replied, glaring at him over the central basket of sliced bread.  “I do not take every lesson on morality in every fable to heart.  If they were all true, and I internalised them all, I ought to have gone back to the tower in the forest and waited for Adolin to hallo me from his white horse.  And then we would have been married the very next day.”

 

Adolin flushed, and Shallan smiled at him as he set his fork down carefully.   “The lessons in The Way of Kings are things that many others have forgotten, and Father seeks to uphold.  I myself believe that there is truth, or at least wishful idealism in the words.  But my father is very firm on them.  He says that the First Family of Anglekar should be – must be – the first blood spilled for Anglekar.”

 

Shallan remembered their night in the forest – Adolin’s confession in the aftermath of the attack.  He held his father in great – perhaps unhealthy – esteem; that was plain to see.  But she could also see that he did not look forward to prospect of death.  There was no bloodlust in him; she could not recognise any shred of the wild-eyed and battle-frenzied berserker that was common to the clansmen of the north – that was to be found in her own father, and her brother Helaran.   There was conflict in Adolin, she felt.  Duty and loyalty were concepts that weighed heavily in his mind as they did in her own.

 

“I – I had forgotten how very fatalistic Vorinism could be,” Shallan said softly.  “I rather attribute it to too much time spent in Jasnah’s company.”

 

“It is when I recall that Heaven’s Halls involve an afterlife of fighting that I am grateful that I, according to you–,” said Kaladin, glancing at Shallan, “–lack a soul.”

 

“Well, Doctor, I would be happy to join you in Damnation if I might be spared an eternity of Heavenly bloodshed.”

 

“Shallan,” said Adolin earnestly, “I do not think you would ever be condemned to Damnation.  And in this lifetime at least, you will be spared the prospect of bloodshed with Kal and myself around to guarantee it.”

 

Shallan met his eyes; she gave his foot a friendly nudge under the table, and he smiled at her with fondness.  “I hope with all sincerity you shall not be held to your promise.  I hope you shall never need to be.”

 

“All men live in hope,” said Kaladin dryly.

 

After dinner, the gentlemen were for the retiring room for billiards and drinks; Shallan did not feel the inclination to join them.  She decided that she would rather a full night of sleep before Jasnah’s return.  Before the respite – if it could be called that – would be over and then she would be subject to the Countess’ instructions once more.  She refused Adolin’s invitation, and watched Kaladin stride off down the hall, nimbly dodging a footman balancing a set of curtain rods over his shoulder.  Adolin paused, then turned back to her.

 

“I’m glad to see you better, Shallan,” he said, taking her hand.  “I feel absolutely beastly that since you have come here, you have had nothing but a run of bad luck.”

 

“Perhaps I am the bad luck,” replied Shallan acidly.

 

“No!  It is mere unfortunate chance.  It cannot be – a curse – or something of that nature.”

“You believe in curses?”

 

“No – I try not to, at least.  But I believe that Grace, though rare, can still be found in the hearts of men.”

 

“And women?”

 

He grinned at her.  “And women too.  I see it in yours.”

 

“If it could be found in me, I imagine I should be able to tell, shouldn’t I?”

 

Adolin lowered his voice.  “I can tell,” he whispered. 

 

Emotion bloomed within her.   Kaladin may not be a gentleman, but Adolin surely was.  And not a mere gentleman by law, whose status was acknowledged through ownership of an estate of certain size and an annual income of a certain number.   No.  Adolin was a gentle man, and a kind one – a good man whose genuine feelings almost convinced her that there was more to be found in life than a constant teetering between extremes of complete despair and complete apathy. 

 

She threw her arms around him, and rested her cheek against the comforting solidity of his chest; he returned her embrace, careful of her bandaged ribs.  The passing servants averted their eyes.  It almost beggared belief that out of all the young ladies in Anglekar and the Isles, that he would want her.  Her, of all people.  Yes, she could not deny that Balat and Wikim wanted her – the creditors had more mercy when they had come to take things away from a young girl with tears in her eyes.  And Jushu needed her for – other purposes.  Jasnah had wanted her too – but she saw a useful tool in Shallan, someone with intelligence and a good memory, whose desperate need for an influential connection could inspire unwavering loyalty.   And what did Adolin want?  What did Adolin deserve?

 

Shallan rose to her toes and spoke very softly to his ear.  “If only I could tell.”

 

There, that was truth.  Two meanings – but both of them were indeed heartfelt truths.

 

“Perhaps one day,” he replied.  “It will come in its own time.”

 

Shallan went up to bed troubled with her own thoughts.  She felt something, she was sure, for Adolin Kholin.  She had not felt things for a very long time, and never in her life had she felt something like this particular swelling emotion, whatever it was.  She could not even name it; its existence was so obscure and distant from her own very limited experience.  She had not known any men with familiarity other than her family – if one discounted menservants at the estate.  But of course she had not been familiar with them; she had not known much of them other than their names and their role in the household.  How much of this – emotion – was from the novelty of new experience, the novelty of finding herself acquainted with a handsome young man with the reputation of a flirt?

 

She did not want to feel things, at all.  Everything was easier if one neutered the part of themselves that held the capacity to feel.  Life was easier to understand – to manage – when there were no sentimental thoughts to bar rational decision-making.  Shallan had thought she was well on her way to transcending such concerns, as Jasnah was.  But now she found she wasn’t – she was far from it – and she did not know what to make of herself. 

 

She was not ashamed.  No.  That could not be it.

 

It was fear, and it was doubt.  But she was not afraid of Adolin.

 

She was afraid for herself. 

 

If things were to collapse – like they always did – then there would be another scar on her poor, disfigured heart.  And what happened if a heart that bore all the marks that one could bear were to be marked once again? 

 

She did not want to know.

 

 

***

 

 

The curtains around the bed were drawn open at ten in the morning, but Shallan was not asleep.  She was staring at the folds of velvet at the top of the canopy, still thinking about the previous evening’s dinner.  It was the possibility that Adolin was unhappy with his lot in life.  It seemed passing strange that a Duke could feel dissatisfaction in that manner, even after his confession in the forest, which she had mostly discounted as the sentiments of a person who had never been – hardened – in childhood, as she had been.

 

He was so outwardly pleasant, so amiable in disposition that she hardly would have guessed.  A thought occurred.  It was a very disarming thought.  It was entirely possible that Adolin just might have a shell firmly fixed in place as she did, with the face of the coin that was the sociable Shallan.  Kaladin himself had more than one face; Shallan had observed the proof of its existence before.  She could not forget that the hands that changed her bandages with utmost gentleness were the same hands that had bloodied a bayonet with no visible misgivings.  It was therefore not unthinkable that Adolin had his own social face.

 

Shallan stepped into the steaming bath and slid backwards until the water closed over her head.  When she returned to her bedchamber, Finnie was nervously shuffling her feet in the hallway.   

 

“Doctor Kaladin is waiting to change your bandages, my lady,” she explained apologetically.  “He told me he would wait for you inside, instead of the hall.”

 

“Doctor Kaladin alone in a lady’s boudoir,” said Shallan loudly, opening the door to the bedchamber.  “I should wonder what mischief I might find him up to.”  She stepped inside and closed the door.

 

Kaladin looked up at the sound of her voice.  He was sitting at the chair in front of her vanity, inspecting the unrolled set of hairbrushes and combs on the table.  They were the silver set that Finnie had used every day, the ones with the enamelled forget-me-nots and silver curlicues.

 

“These are quality work,” noted Kaladin, as he picked up his medical bag from the floor. “I’m sure a silversmith’s apprentice somewhere was promoted to journeyman for his efforts.”

 

“They’re not mine.”  Shallan shrugged off her dressing gown and tossed it at him; he caught it neatly out of the air and dropped it onto the trunk at the foot of the bed.   “But you’re welcome to use them.  I should think that you’d have more need of them than I.”  She unbuttoned her shift and lay on the bed.

 

“Adolin gave them to you for a reason – I’m sure he saw your own need was more desperate than mine.”  Kaladin untied the bandages; Shallan closed her eyes as she saw the ether bottle being brought out of the bag.

 

“Adolin didn’t give them to me.  My maid had them from somewhere.  Perhaps they were left behind from a previous lady guest who was in such a hurry she forgot to pack.”

 

“Do I sense jealousy in you?” said Kaladin with sardonic amusement.   “Or if it happens to be small-mindedness – well either way, it does not become you, Miss Davar.”

 

Shallan groaned as the ether was swabbed to the wound.  It hurt less every day, but it still hurt; she was glad that it was followed by a cooling herbal ointment that was smeared over the stitches.   “It’s not jealousy.  If Adolin just gave me things, wouldn’t he be concerned that I’d have them pawned, and go home immediately without marrying him?”

 

“Miss Davar, if you want to go home, you are welcome to leave at any time.  Adolin would not begrudge you the family silver.”

 

“Well, I won’t,” Shallan grumbled.  She heard the crunch of horses and carriage wheels from the drive outside the window.  So Jasnah was back now – and with her, a return to planned order and sane rationality.  “Why would one take the golden eggs if one could have the golden goose?” she said sourly.

 

Kaladin’s hands paused in re-tying her fresh bandage.   His voice was low, but brittle.  “Do you still only see him as your golden goose?”

 

“It would be easier for everyone if he was,” Shallan sighed, swiping the back of her hand over her eyes.  “Geese don’t have feelings.  And if they did, no one cares.”

 

“It is truly a shame that Adolin is no goose then.”   She heard the click of the clasp as he shut his kit bag.

 

“Geese could not kiss as well as he does,” Shallan said with false nonchalance.  “They have bills instead of lips.”

 

She heard the tread of Kaladin’s feet as he walked to the door.  “Miss Davar, have you ever considered the possibility that you are the goose?” 

 

The door opened and then closed.  Shallan rolled over on the bed, and shut her eyes; she buried her face in the pillows.

 

Finnie came in later to prepare her for luncheon in the Teal Room; she chattered animatedly about the uproar when Jasnah’s carriage had opened to the portico of Kholinar Court.  Jasnah had announced that the guests – invited from the Palace, the townhouses and salons of the City, and the stately homes of Kholinshire – would be arriving by luncheon time to-morrow.  Jasnah had brought with her several carts of wines and delicacies from the merchants of the City, followed by servants’ wagons from the Kholinshire Park estate. 

 

There was to be entertainment, and tables full of food for the guests whose carriages could not be predicted to arrive at any one time, and a grand ball and a grander dinner with endless toasts.  The King himself, the Prince Kholinar, the Queen Dowager, and the Marquess Kholinshire were to appear, along with sundry lords and barons and Most Honourable nameless esquires.  But not, the maid was pleased to repeat, the Queen, who was left to manage affairs in the City.

It was a bewildering array of names and titles; Shallan was dismayed to find that her own maid was more familiar with them than she was.  She, like most other young Scottish ladies of quality, knew the names of the Anglethi first rank – the royal Family, and the Dukes, and the Dukes’ sons.  They were printed in the front section of every edition of The Peerage, along with their glyph arms.  She had known of Adolin and his brother by their family tree in the book; the rest of the names were completely unknown, or known only hazily by a passing mention of their family name or family connections.

 

Shallan walked to the Teal Room trying to remember the lists of names she had read years ago in the book.  She could not remember the colours of their standards; she could not remember the names of the younger sons.  She recalled that the copy she had had was an older edition – it would not be as up-to-date, nor have the quality of engravings that the newer versions would have.  How she regretted not paying much attention to the book – Madame Tyn had chastised her for it; at the time she had held more interest in agricultural manuals borrowed from the estate steward.

 

After all, she had always expected her father would have her married off to a kinsman of The McValam.  She had hardly imagined she would find herself enjoying the cream of Kholinar society in the company of one of the ten Dukes of Anglekar. 

 

Jasnah lowered her newssheet as Shallan was seated opposite her at the Teal Room’s round dining table.  Jasnah looked her up and down, inspecting her appearance; apparently she could not detect any obtrusive element or obvious flaw worthy of a verbal criticism, for she waved a footman forward to begin serving their luncheon.

 

“Well, Shallan – the tasks,” said Jasnah with the smoothness of natural authority.  It was not quite a demand: Jasnah was too well-bred for that.  The things she wanted you found yourself offering her of your own volition.  “What have you been up to?”

 

“I found the temple in the woods from the maps I got from the church,” Shallan said.  “There were murals on the inside that I copied.  Our expeditionary party was attacked by – the organisation – before I could make further study.  I had the groundskeeper make directional notations on my copy of the map.”

 

“Good.  We will have to study the images you’ve reproduced, and possibly plan another excursion.  And the – other task?”

 

“I presume you mean Adolin.”  Shallan did not look up from her rissole with poached pear and walnut salad.   She really did not feel kindly disposed to the prospect of discussing her and Adolin’s mutual – understanding – at the dining table.  It felt too personal.  She wanted to keep those warm and special moments they had shared on the inside, to be replayed in Memory at her own leisure, not shared at table for Jasnah’s amusement or dissection.  Was that wrong of her?  For Jasnah was, for all intents, her patroness; she owed Jasnah a debt of loyalty for the good turn she had done for a nameless scholar girl who had begged for an audience.

 

“What else?” said Jasnah with wry humour glinting in her hard eyes.  “How far along are you?  Though I hope you haven’t gotten there quite yet – not before a formal announcement of engagement, at least!”

 

Shallan did not laugh at her joke.  That subject was rather – uncomfortable for her.  At least, she thought, she didn’t make sick all over the table this time.  “I am certain he is more eager for an attachment than an acquaintanceship,” said Shallan carefully.  “More eager than I am, if I might be bold enough to say.”  She paused, suddenly aware of the significance of what had just been said.  “I haven’t any idea of what else to do, Jasnah.  Oh, if only you could adopt me.”

 

Jasnah swirled her claret; she shot a discerning glance at Shallan.  “The law requires a marriage before an adoption,” she said crisply.

 

“And I, unfortunately, am not worth that risk.”

 

“No, unfortunately not.”  Well, Jasnah rarely did step around uncomfortable truths.  It had been too much to hope for, in any case.  “My maintenance is drawn from the interests of my royal father’s willed endowments.  The capital cannot be touched; it may only be passed to Family.”

 

“I must become Family, then,” said Shallan, pushing a small fragment of walnut meat around her plate.

 

“Yes,” Jasnah answered.  She set her glass down.  “However if you can manage a girl for your firstborn, my solicitors can arrange an annulment for you.  I would name her my heir, and you would become her legal guardian.  The entailment of my own peerage does not require a male heir.  My late father ensured a legacy for me – the least I could do is ensure something for you.  Conditionally.”

 

“And if it’s a boy?”

 

“You had best hope he is sickly.”  That was purely Jasnah, once again.  It would have been directness to the point of being appalling in any other person.  But in Jasnah, one could not contemplate the possibility of her behaving in any other fashion. 

 

“Doesn’t–” Shallan paused, knowing that the words she said would reveal too much of what Jasnah was desperately curious to know – though, of course she would never outwardly give the impression of eagerness.   She said them anyway.  “Doesn’t Adolin have any say in this?”

 

“I’m sure you can convince my young cousin it was his own idea, if you had a mind to do it.”

 

“Perhaps I could – if I had the inclination to do so.”  She didn’t really, truthfully.

 

The thought of manipulating Adolin – the thought of taking away his child – their child – and annulling a marriage for her own reasons, or Jasnah’s, was unspeakably, shockingly selfish.  A month ago, on The Wind’s Pleasure, Shallan would not have given the idea a second thought: she would have been happy to continue her studies with Jasnah without the distractions posed by men or fashionable Society.  No: she would only do it in the event that any future husband of hers was an unworthy father. 

 

Jasnah’s gaze was wary now.  “You – truly return his affections?”

 

“Is that so hard to believe?”

 

Jasnah sighed.  “You are young, I suppose.”  There was a subtle implication in the Countess’s voice that she had never been young herself, and obliged the youthful whimsies of others out of her own patient benevolence – and never from personal empathy.  “You will learn – we all do.  I prize intelligence in youth, but sometimes,” she paused, glancing meaningfully at Shallan, “sometimes I forget that youth often lacks the wisdom of experience.”

 

“What wisdom do you have, since you are so experienced?” asked Shallan, keeping her own voice controlled.

 

“It will be easier for you – for everyone – if you detach your agenda from your emotions,” said Jasnah.  “Be rational.  A sound mind will keep your heart sound.”

 

But my heart isn’t sound.  It never was.

 

“Thank you for the advice.  I will do what I can.”    It wasn’t a promise, but neither was it a lie.

 

Jasnah seemed to accept it.  She inclined her head graciously, and patted her red-painted lips with her napkin.  The napkin had no red smudges; her lip-paint hadn’t budged or smeared.  “Please do,” she said coolly.  “And remember – your choices do not reflect only on you.”

 

Jasnah had a full-length looking glass brought into the Teal Room after luncheon, and also several trunks that bore a J.K. monogram carved into the lids.  She summoned Shallan’s maid with Shallan’s hairbrushes and her sketchbook and notes.

 

Shallan was stripped to her underdress and evening gowns were brought out of the trunks one by one, festooned with long banners of white tissue paper.  Jasnah sat at the dining table reading over Shallan’s notes with a critical eye and a red wax pencil; Shallan could see her flip past sketches she had made of various residents of the House and blushed at the intrusion of her privacy.  Her sketchbook held thoughts and memories that she did not want to keep in her head; she found catharsis in her habit of incising thoughts into charcoal and lead-clay at the end of each day. 

 

There was that rather embarrassing one she had drawn after she had been introduced to Adolin for the first time – when he had kissed her hand and winked and she had felt her first pang of – something – at being in his presence.  The one with the hearts.  She swore that Jasnah’s eyebrow twitched upwards at that page.

 

Shallan glared at her reflection in the looking glass as Finnie buttoned up her dress.  None of them fit perfectly, like her own dresses.  But they were well made, with fabrics that had the heft and weight of expensive silk when she ran her hands over them.  It was a shame that they fit like they had been made for a girl of more generous proportion than her – the front was woefully unfilled when the back buttons had been done up.  The sleeves were slightly too long.  The hems would be more appropriate for someone taller.

 

“I asked the modist for the smallest finished gowns in stock,” remarked Jasnah, looking up.  “I went to several, actually.  But your measurements are rather on the slender size, and I hadn’t the time to have something made bespoke.  Your maid will have to take them in for you.  I’ve had her excused from her other duties.  If the presentation goes well, we will see about your hiring a dedicated lady’s maid.”

 

“I like the maid I have now,” said Shallan firmly, holding up the hem of the dress so she wouldn’t trip.  Finnie flashed her a grateful smile in the looking glass.

 

“Very well – it you manage to acquit yourself favourably to-morrow with no lady’s maid of your own, then having one is not a necessity, at least for now,” conceded Jasnah.  She hesitated, then asked: “have you noticed if my cousin has expressed … partiality towards any physical feature you possess?”

 

Shallan flushed.  “Perhaps I should ask him next we meet.”

 

“Shallan.”

 

“He has not given any indication of his dissatisfaction with my lack of … physical features,” said Shallan.  Adolin had not cared about the wound, or that it was to leave a scar.  He did not dislike her lack of Anglethi proportions.  But she did not tell this to Jasnah.  “Adolin thinks my hair is nice.”

 

“Put away the violet dress, then – and the pink one,” ordered Jasnah.  There was now a trunk for rejected dresses that were too large to be re-sized in a day, or in an unflattering cut, and now the wrong colour.  “Perhaps the pale blue one.  We want to give the impression of a connection, without being so overt as to be distastefully presumptuous.”

 

Shallan stood patiently in front of the looking glass as Finnie pinned up the blue dress.  “Are we to dine with the gentlemen this evening?”

 

Jasnah laughed.  “You must finish trying on the dresses.  It should take some time to achieve a proper fit, if you do not look forward to being hastily sewn into it to-morrow morning – I daresay some of the girls my mother is pushing will be doing just that.  After the dresses, there are still shoes, and gloves, and reticules, and headpieces, and cosmetics to look into.”

 

“Does that mean no?” Shallan groaned.

 

“Yes.”

 

“If Adolin likes me, and has seen me without – all this, what is the purpose of it all, then?” Shallan griped.

 

“My cousin is considerate enough that the Family’s approval matters in his choice of wife.   You should be grateful for this – without it, I doubt he would have suffered my introducing you,” Jasnah said, with careless gesture of her hand.  “If you can convince him to elope by luncheon to-morrow, then all of this would be unnecessary.”

 

As Shallan was dressed and undressed with the tedious variety of extravagance, she thought that an elopement would make things much simpler.  Usually, elopement in young couples was done for a certain disreputable reason – and Adolin knew that they had not done any such a thing to justify that.  Not that either of them were dismayed – nor disinterested – in the prospect of such things occurring, or uneager to see what all the fuss was about – one day in the future.  Possibly.  Well, at least she thought that of herself; she had only the slightest idea of what Adolin made of the whole concept, and he would very likely not be keen on sharing his thoughts on that with her.  If he could; she doubted he could spit out more than a few words on that particular subject without blushing red and running out of the room in acute mortification.

 

The fact was that she could not recommend an elopement on that point, at least.  It would have been made all the more disreputable by the knowledge that she had only been introduced to him a week before.  There was, however, another way to force an elopement, but it only worked on true gentlemen.  Not just the men who did not dare risk disinheritance when news of their producing a natural-born child got out. 

 

The way to snare a true gentleman – here Shallan’s expertise came from readings and re-readings of various novels – was to arrange a situation where he found a woman – her – in a truly undignified positon, and was therefore socially obligated to make good the ruin of her honour.  This could be something like wandering into a lady’s bathing chamber whilst she was disrobed, with a maid or two as witness to her honour’s undoing.  She and Kaladin had joked about it – but it was a tradition in the Scottish countryside for promised couples who wanted to rush their banns.   And, she supposed, it would not be beyond a gentleman of the strictest of moral standards.  Adolin had read The Way of Kings; he agreed with what that old book had said – could he be anything but?

 

But the Feast was to-morrow, and she was not seeing Adolin again to-night.  It seemed more likely that she would have to bear whatever to-morrow brought rather than find a way for induce an indignity for herself within the next twelve or so hours. 

 

Shallan resigned herself to her fate as Jasnah powdered her face, and frowned when a small hand glass was brought forth and she saw herself looking wan and sickly without freckles to colour her cheeks.  Jasnah sent for washcloths, and tried once more, muttering all the while how there was no colour match to be had for Shallan’s skin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

More character development.  I wanted to contrast Jasnah's character to Shallan's.  Remember how Shallan in the beginning was high-handed just like Jasnah, and didn't argue with her so blatantly, because they believed pretty much the same things?  Shallan now has gotten off the high horse and now has developed a bit of a conscience.  She feels bad at the thought of manipulating Adolin, and is kind of disturbed that Jasnah has no problem with it - and he is her own cousin.

I wanted to draw some parallels, to show that Jasnah is what Shallan aspired to be in Chapter 1.  Past Shallan admired Jasnah's strength and resolve, and current Shallan is disturbed that Jasnah has achieved this by becoming the coldest and frostiest ice queen on the planet. 

                                                                            

"The Peerage" - Based on "Burke's Peerage", first published in 1826.  A geneology of British gentry.   Obviously I made up a parody version.

"their living, their leisure, was supported by the rents and taxes" - historically accurate definition of what it meant to be upper class.  Mr Darcy's estate raised £10 000 a year.  Emma Woodhouse had a fortune of £30 000.  Mr Rochester had a £20 000 fortune.  Jane Eyre's salary as a governess was £30 a year, and a butler got around £80.  For the purposes of this story, Kholinar Court brings in £60 000 a year.

"Kaladin was his Vorin name or his family name." - Kaladin has no official last name other than Stormblessed.  Vorin names are Christian names in our world.

"Duke" comes from Latin "Dux".

"Heaven’s Halls involve an afterlife of fighting" - reference to Kaladin's conversation with Renarin in WoR when he wanted to join Bridge Four.

"All men live in hope" - reference to Richard III.  "But shall I live in hope?/All men I hope live so".  The unrequited feelings hurt the most.

“You had best hope he is sickly.” - Jasnah is referencing Renarin.  Stone cold.  If a marriage could be annulled for barrenness (according to Brother Kadash), Jasnah's lawyers can get one granted if the firstborn isn't a healthy son like everyone wants.  If you think Jasnah sounds heartless here, you must remember that she's saying all this because she thinks that marriage sucks and Shallan would be willing to get out of one in any way possible.  Jasnah thinks she's helping.  She just doesn't have a lot of empathy and says things without making them sound pretty.

 

The end is in sight, by the way.  Shallan's character development is a marker of her emotional maturity, and her starting to deal with her own problems.  Once she has gotten over her issues, there's else to write to about.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 20

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY ONE

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shan’t try to contrive an indignity for myself on purpose, thought Shallan the next morning, as she was seated at Jasnah’s vanity being done up for her presentation.  But Heaven knows if I should manage to find myself undignified in public quite accidentally. 

 

“If you are to be rude to the guests,” Jasnah said, scraping a small bristle brush on what looked like a cake of black soap in a tin, “remember to be clever enough about it so they cannot tell.  Your position is currently lacking in the resources that allow deliberate abrasiveness without consequence.”

 

Shallan sat still as Finnie heated a teaspoon over a candle and used it to curl her eyelashes.  “I had rather expected you to forbid impudence altogether.”

 

“Some of these guests are so disagreeable in their character that rudeness will be inevitable.  Now, look up,” ordered Jasnah.  She brushed Shallan’s eyelashes, which felt the slightest bit heavier.  “Duke Sebarial, for instance.  And Roion.  Anything they say can be safely ignored.”

 

“Is there anyone who should be paid particular attention?”

 

“Other than my cousin?  My mother, most likely.  She has her own agenda and will undoubtedly be pleased – smug, I should say – if she finds a match for Adolin when he couldn’t manage it himself after five years.  Not for any want of trying.”  Jasnah gripped Shallan’s chin firmly and turned it from side to side.  “Close your eyes.”

 

“Your recommendation is that I should look pretty and remain silent for the whole day, then,” Shallan mumbled, as she felt something scratching along her eyelids.

 

“I should do so if there were any possibility at all of compliance.”  Jasnah pursed her lips and put aside her brush.  “You may stand now.”

 

Shallan stood to face the looking glass.  “Are you finished, then?” 

 

She wore the blue dress from the afternoon before, which had been altered to fit her proportions.  The dress had been aggressively cut down to her size; there had been much contention between Finnie and the maids downstairs as to how much seam allowance was necessary – Finnie had pinned the form for a looser bodice to accommodate Shallan’s bandages.  The other maids preferred a more modish and closely fitted underbust; Jasnah and the housekeeper were consulted for the final fitting and had thankfully compromised on a silhouette that was fashionable but did not fully constrain necessary activities such as breathing, eating, and paying calls to the water closet.

 

It was still a tight fit, though; Shallan had been laced in rather briskly for the buttons to close in the back, and she could feel her stitches twinge against the interior boning of her bodice.  Finnie tied a darker blue sash around her waist to hide the rough darting where the extra fabric around the bust had been taken in. 

 

Jasnah inspected Shallan’s reflection in the looking glass.  “I was right, then.  You cannot be considered well-endowed by anyone’s measure, but it would indeed be a shame not to show that slender waist to full advantage.”

 

That was a compliment from Jasnah, which was rare enough that it hardly mattered that the honey had been laced with vinegar.  Shallan stared at her own reflection.  She still looked like herself; Jasnah had given up the face powder when nothing could be found to match her pale complexion – but her features had been somehow enhanced.  Shallan had never thought herself a Society beauty, and even now she struggled to call herself beautiful.  But this was not beauty, Shallan supposed:  these were her everyday features with a subtle emphasis on this or that trait.  It could not be called deception – it was merely good, nay, clever grooming.

 

It fit.  Shallan wore the face of pleasant, light-hearted girl who made amusing observations and was well-liked, or at least comfortably tolerated, by the Loch community.  It was only appropriate that she should finally be able to present herself as that Lady Shallan in appearance, and not just act.  If she was really no true gem at heart, she could at least give the impression of glitter.  After all, brass could shine in the right light, and lead-glass could not be told from real diamond unless one knew exactly what to look for.  Madame Tyn had told her once: by the time you found out your paste gem was not a diamond, it was often too late to do anything about it.

 

“One last thing.”  Jasnah interrupted Shallan’s thoughts.  “Here – this is for you.”

 

Jasnah held up a small pasteboard booklet with a blue tassel tied through a punched hole in the corner; she waved Shallan over, and plucked at her sash.  The book was tucked into the sash; the tip of the tassel peeked out.

 

“What is it?” asked Shallan, adjusting her sash to lay more comfortably around her waist.

 

“Your dance card.  Don’t lose it,” she replied.  She sighed at Shallan’s blank look.  “The gentlemen sign your card when they want to reserve a dance with you.  The idea is that you will call on them afterwards if you find their company … adequate.”

 

“Could they not just introduce themselves by name?”

 

“Seeing the names of other suitors is thought to encourage friendly competition.”

 

“I shall trust you on that,” said Shallan, who had never had any suitor at all before Adolin.  She wouldn’t know what to do with two – or more than two of them at any one time.  It was amusing to entertain the idea of entertaining multiple gentlemen, as the plucky heroines of ladies’ novels did – but Shallan found that there was something disturbing about encouraging young gallants like an auctioneer at a stock fair.   It placed a disturbing association on the gentlemen suitors, and an even more unsettling implication on the target of their affections, the lady whose favour could be described, very unflatteringly, as negotiable.

 

It was unflattering for Shallan to realise that although she did not like to see herself that way, and she had only her one suitor, she was barely any different than every other lady whose search for romance was, in its original and most basic intention, never romantic at all.  She could console herself with the knowledge that she liked Adolin, and Adolin – as far as she knew – liked her; as if that excused her intentions towards him, and soothed away any objections towards her – and Jasnah’s – objectives for securing the match. 

 

But that did not make her any different, or better, than any other Society lady.  Silent thoughts of benevolent consideration would not excuse, or justify, deplorable intentions – they merely made the label of hypocrite an appropriate identification.  For all that she had shaped her social identity by the rather trite phrase not like the other girls, she in sincerity was indistinguishable from them.  And Adolin hadn’t even noticed.

Adolin thought her better than the other girls – he saw Grace in her, and not just the Grace that all petty gentry and minor nobility could claim to have by virtue of their rank.  No, he meant the true Grace from The Way of Kings, which must be earned by one’s worthiness, and one’s strength of character and resolve.  Shallan could not see herself as one in possession of genuine worth, just as she could not see beauty in herself.  She could only imitate its appearance, and that, until now, had been good enough.

 

“Come now, are you ready?” Jasnah inquired, patting at her own hair and adjusting the angle of her ivory sticks.  “We must go down.”

 

Jasnah led the way downstairs, and Shallan followed with the observation of proper precedence.  The halls had been cleaned; fresh coats beeswax and vinegar polish on the walls gleamed with rich warmth in the lamplight, and festive blue ribbon wrapped around the banister above the main staircase.  The foyer had hung from the ceiling long blue banners twenty feet or more in height; the Duke’s arms in white were stitched on: the crenelated tower over the five-pointed crown.

 

Adolin and Kaladin were already waiting by the base of the staircase; they must have heard the click of their heeled slippers on the stairs, for they turned around and made an elegant leg – Adolin’s was deeper and more respectfully formal – even hindered by a scabbarded side-sword – than Kaladin’s, who looked as if bowing to a social superior physically pained him.  She noticed that Kaladin and Adolin hadn’t been wearing formal day suits, nor their dining suits – they both had on military uniform.   The uniform, as Shallan observed, was a knee-length frock coat in Kholin blue, with white braiding on the cuffs and epaulettes, with a cobalt blue neckcloth, silver-buttoned waistcoat of a lighter blue, and neatly pressed breeches tucked into riding boots. 

 

 Adolin straightened, and turned to Shallan, gazing wide-eyed at her face, and then her dress, and back again – but Jasnah swept past him and spoke.

 

“The first guests are arriving.  We are to host together, cousin – come, we must greet them by the door,” she said, holding her elbow out to Adolin.  Adolin took it, and shot an apologetic glance at Shallan, before he was dragged away to the front door by Jasnah’s smooth but implacable gliding pace. 

 

“Are you to be my chaperon now, as Jasnah’s attention has been diverted?” asked Shallan, inclining her head towards Kaladin.  She did not curtsey. 

 

Kaladin’s uniform bore white patches high on each arm, by the shoulder – one was shield-shaped, with the Duke’s arms of tower and crown; the other was oval, with the crossed keys of the Herald Vedeledev, a common sigil used to represent medical institutions.  Shallan recognised it – she had seen it in Kharbranth, wrought in iron on the gates of Kharbranth’s famous hospital.  In Kharbranth, they had referred to the Herald by the name Vedel, and many swore oaths to her, for protection and healing small wounds – when calling on the Almighty in his aspect of The Loving Father could have been seen as blasphemously trivial.

 

Kaladin, she decided, was not so scruffy looking in military uniform as he was in his plain day suit – the uniform fit him better than his day clothes, or his dining whites; he looked more comfortable wearing them.  Adolin, in comparison, looked very good no matter what clothes he wore – all his clothes were likely made for him by a master tailor.   And this was followed by one very saucy thought – Adolin likely looked as good without his clothes as he did in them.  She almost blushed.

 

Kaladin’s eyes swept over her, taking in her new gown and dressed hair.   She glared back at him, eyeing him without bothering to conceal her bad-mannered scrutiny – there was a reason folding fans existed, and it was for exactly this purpose.  There was something about Doctor Kaladin that encouraged her to dispense with affected propriety – perhaps it was because he himself did not seem to care about the laboriously learned rules of social discourse; Shallan had more than once found herself handicapped when she conversed with him whilst still attempting to obey the guidelines of decorum.

 

“Are you finished leering openly, Doctor?” said Shallan, when he had not said anything after several long seconds.

 

“Am I leering, then?” he replied, eyes narrowing.  She could not discern whether he was amused or not; she could not remember an instance where he had ever smiled, and she could not interpret the movements of his eyebrows when she held no particular fondness in looking at them at all.

 

“Is that an apology?”

 

“An apology implies an error.  Have I erred, Miss Davar?” Kaladin replied, with snide amusement.  “I am sure I would know it if I were to be mistaken in something.”

 

“There is a first time for everything,” Shallan snapped back.  She adjusted her expression and smiled serenely, and took a step towards him.  His head turned to track her movements.  “I seem to recall your saying that you would leer openly if there were anything worth leering at.”

 

“Perhaps,” he returned, one eyebrow rising and disappearing under the fringe of his hair, “there is a first time for everything.”

 

“Still no apology?”

 

“I do not believe myself to be mistaken.”

 

“I shall take it as a compliment, then,” said Shallan, a genuine smile spreading across her face.  “It could not possibly mean anything else.”

 

“Take it as you will, Miss Davar.  Once you have touched it, I doubt anyone would have it back.” 

 

“But fortunately, we happen to have a doctor in attendance.  A doctor who, I presume, is not frightened of anything, not even bog frogs or bog monsters.”  Shallan reached a gloved hand to him, fingers clawed in mock menace, and he did not flinch away.  Well, she hadn’t expected him to.

 

Kaladin sighed and gazed upwards at the blue banners on the walls.  He offered her his arm.  “I suppose I am the chaperon to-day.”

 

Shallan laughed and took his arm with her gloved hand.  “Who else would I trust to preserve my modesty and dignity?  I’m sure you are so well-acquainted with it that you should be the first to know if it has been mysteriously snatched away.”

 

“How would my own dignity survive if I were to waste my time hunting for yours, Miss Davar?”

 

“Oh,” said Shallan airily, “many people go about without their dignity and they seem perfectly fine to me.  At least you would still have your modesty – you would only have a problem if they were both to disappear at the very same time.”

 

She and Kaladin walked hand in arm to the front door, which was opened by a pair of footmen in pristine ducal livery – coat and knee breeches in Kholin blue, white stockings, and beautifully polished shoes with silver buckles.   Their gloves were white and spotless.   They passed over the threshold, and into the portico; the columns had been wrapped round with streamers of blue and silver. 

 

The gravelled front drive was occupied by a row of a carriages, one after the other up to the iron gate where it met the main road.  Shallan knew that one carriage didn’t just mean one or two guests – each carriage would have its retinue, the accompanying maids and valets one brought when one had need of more than a single change of clothes.  The servants would be arriving in wagons by the trades entrance at the back of the House. 

 

The front lawns of Kholinar Court were spotted with white open-sided tents; long triangular pennants fluttered gaily from their central tent poles like the mythical sky eels of children’s tales.  The largest tent contained a rectangular table with a morning tea service and tiered trays of pastries laid out for the earliest guests: it wasn’t quite yet luncheon time.  Shallan saw the samovar from her first luncheon as the centrepiece display.  It was surrounded by stacks of porcelain saucers and upside-down teacups, and older gentlemen with serious beards and round bellies.

They saw guests wandering about in swallow-tailed morning coats or day dresses; some were wearing the garments of country gentry in their riding coats and tall boots – polished to a shine by a manservant, of course – or straw bonnets with silk ribbons and kidskin walking boots on the ladies.   No-one greeted her or Kaladin by name, and no-one bowed to them; she could see that very few of the gentlemen guests wore military uniform – there were some, here and again, in the blue of the Kholin Regiments, but there were no uniforms representing any other Duke.

 

Shallan and Kaladin ambled past the carriages being unloaded of their passengers; she was disappointed that everything seemed rather dull.  The House and grounds were beautifully decorated: the staff had outdone themselves on that count – but no-one spoke to them, and they did not speak to anyone, and it seemed likely she would be sharing Kaladin’s company for the entirety of the day.  It was not as tiresome as it could have been, now that they were somewhat acquainted with one another, but Shallan was right now walking out with a gentleman – and she would have much preferred it to be Adolin instead. 

 

She tried for conversation.  “The guests are here early, then?”

Kaladin opened his mouth, but then something caught his attention.  He tore his arm out of her grip, and shoved her behind him with surprising forcefulness; he reached into his frock coat and drew out a pistol, which he cocked and aimed at the bushes by the path. 

 

Shallan peeked around Kaladin’s rather broad back.  The bushes rustled, and a head popped out.  It was a head with black hair and a narrow face with angular, almost severe features of indeterminate age – a man with blue eyes and a black coat. 

 

Kaladin grunted, and put away his gun from wherever he had secreted it.  “It’s Wit.”

 

The bushes rustled some more, and the man stepped out of them, revealing a lean body that towered over Shallan.  He could easily look Kaladin in the eye; he was not, however, quite as tall as the Doctor.  There was a sword in a scabbard belted to his waist, but he did not reach for it; Shallan thought that it was sensible of him – a swordsman could not put up much resistance against lead shot at point-blank range.

 

The man threw his arms in the air and announced dramatically, “Wit is never early, nor is he late!  Timeliness is the essence of Wit!”  His voice had the resonance of a trained orator and the energy of a player; it was boisterous and friendly and teasing all at once, and Shallan could not feel afraid or intimidated by his presence.  In fact, she had the vague impression that she had once met him, or seen him before, and that previous meeting had not inspired any fear of the man either.

 

“Who is Wit?” asked Shallan, stepping out from behind Kaladin, who looked more relaxed now that he had deemed this new creature not to be a threat.

 

“I am – the road untaken, the path unchosen, the words unspoken!” said the man smoothly, circling around them.  Shallan could not tell if he had rehearsed his lines.  “I am – the King’s Wit, his compère royale, his high prince of humour!”

 

Kaladin crossed his arms.  “He’s just an egotistical juggler.”

 

Shallan whirled around to keep Wit in view.  She stopped – he was directly behind her; she tilted her head back and back, and looked up to meet his eyes.  He winked.  “How curious,” said Shallan slowly.  “I think I saw him at the Punch and Judy show at Middlefest a few years ago.”

 

“One must travel to find new stories to tell,” said Wit, brushing a leaf off his shoulder.  “And I say I am the most travelled of troubadours!”

“You see what I mean?”  Kaladin rolled his eyes.  “His official duty is to insult people because the King thinks it’s funny.”

 

Wit chuckled.  “I am a troubadour because I love to travel.  I sense the troubadour in you as well!”

 

“I’m no troubadour,” answered Kaladin.

 

“Only because you have not found your love.”

 

“I am not looking for it – and I can hardly see myself travelling on the whim of a – a spoony bard.”

 

Wit grinned suddenly.  “The whims of Wit often turn out to be wisdom.”

 

“Wit isn’t even your real name.”

 

“One of them, but I’ve too many to count,” said the pale man, looking at Shallan now.  He returned his gaze to Kaladin and grinned at him mischievously.  “You may call me Beloved, until you have someone else to bear that name.  I could never be mistaken for anyone else.”

 

“It would be a grave insult to anyone else if you were,” said Kaladin. 

 

“Then anyone else should die happy!” retorted Wit gleefully, and then his head jerked around as a carriage in green and white livery rattled past.   “You must excuse me for now – a tingling sensation warns me that there are people desperately in need of good cheer!”

 

Kaladin stepped aside as Wit bounded past, black coat-tails flapping. 

 

“What a strange man,” Shallan said, as they watched the man leap onto the footman’s rest on the back of the carriage; he tapped several times on the roof, and there was an answering knock from the inside.   “I wonder what he meant by that.  Why would anyone call him Beloved?  Why would you want to?”

 

Kaladin blew out his breath, obviously exasperated by the unexpected meeting with the King’s Wit.  “I wouldn’t want to.  Don’t pay any attention to him – you might find him to be more tiresome or convoluted than humorous.  The King finds him funny – but then again, he has never been known for his good taste.”

 

They continued walking the path that curved along the side of the House, until they found themselves nearing the glass hothouses of the North Courtyard.  It was quiet here: this was not the busy front of the House, nor the even busier back, where the grocers’ and luggage carts were being unloaded for the comfort of the very important guests.

 

“Is there a library in this House?” Shallan asked suddenly.

 

“Houses like this always have a library.  Why do you ask?”

“I suddenly find that I have a fascination with astronomy.  And I would like to read more about it, as I have nothing better to do.”

 

Kaladin raised an inquisitive eyebrow, and Shallan smiled and batted her eyelashes at him.  Eyelashes that had been brushed with Jasnah’s peculiar black boot polish were better for batting at young men, she decided. 

 

“I suppose I have nothing better to do, then,” he finally replied.  “Follow me, then.”

 

They entered the same hallway she had walked through two days ago when she had been looking for the Doctor’s stillroom.  The doors with the brass plaques – Lapis, Cerulean, Sapphire – were now open, revealing guest bedrooms and maids fluffing up pillows and arranging vases of flowers and baskets of sweetmeats.  They passed a maid pushing a trolley clattering with covered dishes; Kaladin caught one up and nodded to her.  She winked and blew him a silent kiss while Shallan looked on with astonishment.

 

When Kaladin opened the door of the library, Shallan spoke.  “Do you – know that maid?”

 

“Did you want to ask her about my socks?”

 

She flushed, then turning away from him, angled towards the bookcases by the wall.  “I’m sure if I asked nicely enough, you wouldn’t hesitate to tell me yourself.”

 

“If you asked especially nicely – if that were even possible for you, of course – I might even show you,” replied Kaladin, quite casually.  It was galling how he managed to speak in such controlled tones that one could never tell when exactly his delivery was meant to be taken in seriousness or humour.

 

“I’m sure it’s too much of a bother for you – and I’m also sure there will be nothing worth seeing,” Shallan said briskly, and ran her gloved fingertips over the gold-embossed spines of Adolin’s books.

 

She kicked off her heeled slippers and climbed the rolling ladder to peer at the top shelf, and huffed.  What had she been expecting?  Most of these books were on military subjects – histories, biographies of famous generals, essays on strategy and tactics, illustrated compendia of weaponry or field formation.  There was the ubiquitous section of Vorin tracts that every library possessed – even the small bookcase at Loch Davar had such a one – and they were apparently rarely used.  Shallan slid one book out and saw that the pages had not even been cut.

 

She stepped down the ladder and walked onwards.  Books on genealogy, folios on architecture, one very small row of foreign language titles, books on managing and caring for horses for sport and campaign, books on naval history and tactics.   She stopped at this shelf and dropped to her knees – there, that was what she wanted.  Basic naval astronomy for beginners, and manuals on introductory shipboard protocol for midshipmen and junior naval officers.

 

Shallan plucked out three books and turned to the reading area – a large map table, surrounded by leather armchairs and sofas.  Kaladin was reading a newssheet from the rack of periodicals and broadsheets behind him.   The dish he had taken from the maid’s trolley lay uncovered on the low table in front of him, revealing a pyramid of small savoury pies.  The top of the pyramid was missing.

 

She picked up a pie as she passed; the books were dropped onto the map table with a thump and a chair pulled out.  These books had been read before, but not recently by the looks of them.  Still, they had diagrams of star charts, for sextant use at night.  Shallan had been taught to read a sextant by Madame Tyn, but they had mostly used sightings of some distant object such as a tree on the horizon or the top of a hill, against the angle of the sun.  She was not familiar with the stars as the nights in Scotland had often been cloudy – and her father did not like it when she went out in the evenings for any length of time.

 

The red stars – she flicked through the book – the engravings in the astronomy book were black on white, and she could not tell.  She opened the second one, the midshipman’s manual, and this one, by the Heralds’ blessings, had coloured picture plate inserts along with simpler black engravings.  Shallan paused on the illustrations of knot types – the sailors had taught her some of the simpler knots on The Wind’s Pleasure – and she had practiced them with hair ribbons in her cabin.  The back had star charts for recognising the major constellations.

 

The red stars were real stars, and went by the quaint colloquial name of Taln’s Scar in Vorin nations.  Taln was the Herald Talenelat; such shortenings of names were commonly used when calling on the full palindromic name of a holy Herald was considered presumptuous, when one was not an Ardent nor in church.

 

Newssheets rustled behind her.  “I have often found myself pondering these last few days,” said Kaladin, “what exactly a scholar like yourself sees in a soldier like the Duke.”

 

Shallan pushed her chair back; she stood and stretched, peeling her gloves down and off her elbows and then her wrists and finally her hands.  She threw herself onto the sofa opposite Kaladin and picked up a pie; the pyramid was now only two layers high. 

 

“I am not just a scholar, as he is not just a soldier – and neither are you just a surgeon,” she said, her mouth full.  She did not worry about preserving her dignity around Doctor Kaladin. 

 

“Do you even share anything in common with him?”  The newssheet was lowered and folded very precisely in half; Kaladin set it aside. 

 

“Ought I to?  I imagine that if I were forced to spend my days with someone identical to myself, I would tear my hair out in frustration.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

Shallan laughed, and said, “Because there would be twice as much annoying chatter, with half the substance.”

 

“Ah, I wondered if you’d noticed.”  Kaladin did not smile, but there was evident smugness in the set of his lips.

 

Shallan gestured breezily.  “I do it because the alternative is listening to you.”  She paused, and then continued, “the same question might be asked of you – what do you see in Adolin?  You are hardly alike.”

 

“He is a good man.”

 

“I hope he would make a good husband.”

 

“You still insist on pursuing him?”

 

“If he will have me, I suppose.  If not, I hope he would make a good husband to whomever else.”

 

“You think he would not have you?”

 

“I think,” said Shallan, knowing that their conversation, which had begun with light-heartedness, was now descending to more sober subjects – to cold truths that cowered at the prospect of seeing light.  “I think that a good man deserves a good woman.”

 

Kaladin inspected the pie in his hands; he broke off a piece of the pastry crust.  “You know, most of the young ladies who come to me asking for advice just want me to tell them how pretty they are.  But you–,” he looked up and met her eyes with his dark and discerning gaze, “–you just want me to tell you that you’re not a terrible person–”

 

“–That I’m not a killer,” Shallan cut in.  “And that is why I like Adolin.   I don’t feel like one when I’m with him.”

 

“Forgiveness and peace come from within.”  That was his surgeon’s voice, the emotionless voice that gave no hint of judgement or condemnation.

 

“There is nothing within.  I must find my forgiveness without.”

 

“You are wrong,” he said with inexplicable confidence.  “I know there is something within.”

 

“What is it, then?”

 

He looked at her; she looked back.  “Self-pity,” he said at last.  She did not think these were the words he really meant to say.

 

“And have you a cure for me, Doctor?”

 

“Conviction.  You are either a victim, or you are not.”  He put the pie back on the platter and brushed off his hands.  “No matter that you are still here and he is not, if you see yourself as a victim of circumstance – you will never be anything but.”

 

Shallan knew he was talking of the man in the tower, the man she had killed by smothering his last gasping red breaths with her tartan.  The man he had assumed was the first man whose life she had taken.  His words were sincere – they soothed an ache that he had no idea even existed; they sought to fill the pit of nothingness inside of her that she had carried within her since the day the real first man had died by her hand. 

 

“I hear the wisdom of experience in you,” she managed to say, forcing her voice to stay level and light.

 

“Not wisdom – but experience,” Kaladin replied. 

 

“Thank you for sharing.”

 

He took a deep breath, and spoke very gently.  “Marks on the spirit should not be borne for ever.  Shallan, I–”

 

Whatever he was about to say was cut off when loud trumpets blared from outside.  At first it sounded like sheer noise, exuberant noise, from the throats of an orchestra of trumpets played all at once, but it soon resolved into music – a fanfare of some sort.

 

“What is that?” Shallan asked, slipping her gloves back on and finding her abandoned shoes.

 

“The King has arrived.  The Feast has begun.”  Kaladin stood, and brushed crumbs off his blue breeches.  Shallan saw that his boots – he had large feet indeed – had scuff marks at the toes, and were clean but could not be described as mirror polished.  She supposed he had no valet of his own to black his boots and finish them with a champagne shine, and did not care enough to do it himself.

 

It was around mid-afternoon when they exited the library; they left the tray of pies on the low table – now covered.  Shallan had noticed when she had run her hands along the spines of the books, her gloves had not come away dusty – so there was a regular cleaning service for the room, even if it did not look like it had been used with much regularity. 

 

They strode through the hallways, liveried servants ducking out of their path, to the ballroom on the South Wing; Kaladin led the way.  Shallan kept her attention on her floor ahead of her; she did not particularly look forward to taking a tumble, although Kaladin would have surely found it an amusing sight.

 

“Doctor,” she panted, as they reached the end of a queue of guests proceeding through the doors of the ballroom.  “You were about to say something, and you never finished.”

 

Kaladin looked down at her upturned face, then shifted his attention to the open doors.  “I remembered that you have not had your bandage changed today.”

 

“Oh.  I thought it sounded like something important.”

 

“Your well-being is important.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

On Kaladin's uniform - he has no Bridge Four patch because there's no Bridge Four in this universe.  Kind of obvious, since there are no chasms or Shattered Plains. 

“Am I leering, then?” - Shallan is flirting but she isn't fully aware of it, she just does it because she likes trying to troll Kaladin and it gets a reaction from him every time.  He's aware of it, and it's frustrating for him for various reasons.

“It’s Wit.” - So apparently Shardpools can transport you into the next universe, and even outside the Cosmere.  This guy gets everywhere, like bubblegum.  He's very genre savvy, and apparently travels through a lot of AU's because he references other media. 

"I sense the troubadour in you" - "Troubadour's love" means unrequited love, or courtly love from a distance.  A minstrel can sing songs about his fair lady, but he can never date her because she's promised to Count Paris or Rillir Roshone or whoever.  Wit sees it straight off.

"You may call me Beloved" - :-D

"Pages had not even been cut." - in the old days, paper was made and printed in big sheets, which were folded and bound.  You had to cut the pages open the first time you read a book.  Uncut pages means no one read it.

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm expecting Adolin to start shooting himself in the foot too.  I don't really want to see it because I thought Shadolin were a cute canon couple, but since you like watching Adolin get hit by the trauma stick, you will really enjoy it. :P  Everyone thinks it's more likely that he will distance himself out of shame and guilt for offing Sadeas, rather than start making out with another girl.  Even if the last one is more dramatic and hilarious because it causes the triangle to become a square. 

 

I expect Adolin to start shooting himself in the foot because it is consistent with his character development. As a reader, I wouldn't buy the guy who was incapable of staying with the same girl for more than a few dates for reasons unknown to him, who yearns to be make it work while being responsible of sabotaging most of his short-term unions to suddenly change his behavior because the "right girl" popped by. There are reasons why Adolin is incapable of committing to a woman and he needs to deal with them before he can hope to tie the knot. You don't suddenly go from "afraid of not being good enough" to "not afraid of not being good enough" without some personal work.

 

Adolin has to face his fears and he hasn't so far. It is probably why I tick each time people claim he would be good candidate for the Dustbringers... It seems to me an individual who's most defining quality is bravery would more readily face his fears.

 

As for the relationship with Shallan, I personally think it needs to break before it an be forged into something solid. Shallan needs to assess her true feelings towards Adolin and she needs to want him, HIM for him and not any other superficial reasons. Adolin also needs to stop backing away, he needs to take a step forward and take a chance. I suspect it will be harder for Adolin than for Shallan...

 

Huh, I certainly don't expect Adolin to start dating another girl.... He'll distance himself or he'll break it up himself for "foolish made-up" reasons, but the real one will be "I am not good enough for you, you deserve better than me".

 

 

If you want something but can't find it, make it yourself! :ph34r:

Otherwise it would never exist without you.

 

I unfortunately lack the talent  :ph34r:

 

 

It's really strange to me that everyone thinks becoming a Radiant is a super cool thing.  I'm happy being a normie. :ph34r:

Maybe the people in-universe see the powers and the surgebinding magic and envy that, but as someone who read the books and knows that you only get magic from a spren parasite who lives inside your broken soul, I don't want that at all.  It's not that you have to be worthy to attract a spren - you have to be worthy AND broken.  So there are plenty of good hearted people out there who will never get a spren because they didn't suffer a traumatic childhood or get beaten up every day after school. 

 

I feel no shame or disappointment at not having a cremmy backstory, so I don't feel upset at not being a surgebinder or Radiant.  That is why it's sad to see that other people feel that their not being "chosen" feels like a rejection, like they weren't good enough.  You should be glad you didn't get an insane level of mental or physical suffering!  Adolin, of course, will see it as a fault in himself that he wasn't bonded by a spren.  He has to realise that they are opportunistic parasites!!!!  Getting a spren is like being loaded into a hero-class character in a game.  And you think they will explain what's going on, but they don't, they just throw you into level 5 with no tutorial mode. :lol:

 

I think it is the idea the spren chose YOU specifically which is attractive... Everyone wants to be chosen... Everyone wants to feel someone special wants you. I would also argue the level of trauma required to dig in sufficient cracks within the soul in order to enable a Nahel bond is not explained. Kaladin has been depreciated, beaten, betrayed, forced to watch his brother died, sold into slavery: honestly the guy's life has been walking from one disaster to the other. Since we spend most of our time with Kaladin, we all ended up with the perception future knight to have had a traumatic childhood or be beaten every day after school...

 

I personally yearn to meet individuals with more internal hardship be chosen... People who aren't victims of their entourage as they all currently seem to be, but people who just crack because of the pressure. In other words, more realistic characters... or it is fairer to state characters dealing with the equivalent of modern days break-down. Kaladin perhaps has depression, but he has it on top of so many issues, it doesn't even count as part of his breaking mechanism. 

 

It is probably why I yearn for a spren (the one in the Blade that is  :ph34r:) to choose Adolin: to show us one didn't need to be beaten as a child to meet the criteria, to show the simply pressure impose on some individuals is enough.

 

This being said, I have a hard time not seeing being chosen as anything else than a rejection, especially considering there are so many sprens evolving around the Kholins, the fact none saw fit to investigate Adolin is heart wrenching. They even investigate Elhokar of all people, but not Adolin.

 

No matter how I put it, it does sound like a rejection. As if suddenly, all of his family has formed another family which excludes him  :(

 

So yeah, I think being chosen is cool, but it makes you special, it makes you worthy, it tells the world you are better than everyone else. 

 

 

Young Kaladin thought that lighteyes were in charge because they were somehow more noble that darkeyes.  That is why it hurt so much when Amaram, whom he thought was a real lighteyes compared to Roshone, stole his Shards.  His problem with lighteyes and why they can't be trusted is that he thinks that they will always find a way to abuse their authority.  The higher ranking they are, the more harm they can do.  If Kal had never gone through that experience, he would never have the hate for lighteyes that his SA canon character would have. 

 

He still dislikes authority in my AU - specifically abuse of position - but he doesn't attach that stigma to any one group of people.  Since everyone has the potential to act like a donuthole.  That is why is okay with Adolin being his commanding officer.  He knows Adolin got it out of nepotism, but Adolin doesn't abuse it - he puts it to good use.  In other armies, squadleaders bribe the stretcher carriers, but in the Kholin regiment, there are enough hospital tents for everyone. :ph34r:

 

Kaladin is an idealist: he believes the world holds together on greater morality than it truly does. He has a high moral code which makes him expect everyone else would be exactly the same, moreover those standing above him in rank. After being disappointed a few times, he decides lighteyes have no honor, but everyone else close to him still has it. He has a hard time admitting some darkeyes MAY have committed crimes, MAY have deserves being made slaves and MAY be dishonorable pieces of chull.

 

So if story Kaladin didn't go through the same ordeal, shouldn't he retain the same idealistic vision of life? If not, then something has to explain why he lost it. He seems so pragmatic: is it a by-product of actually being a surgeon as opposed to a soldier? Since he evolved outside the chain of command, he is less prone to glorify the generals, especially since he is the one treating the injured following their decision?

 

So how does book Kaladin reconcile with Adolin being made a Duke due to his name and not his valor? Just because he is nice? Sounds like story Adolin didn't earn his keep as well as book Adolin.

 

 

By SA5, you will see that the ensemble cast of Radiants will start to resemble a psych ward. :ph34r:

 

This is what happens when you separate your magic-users from your muggles with insane trauma.

 

Shallan having one major issue and getting over most of it by the end of WoR is why people think she's verging on Mary Sue territory.  The same people say Kaladin is a more realistic character for having Real Issues that he can't just get over by accepting that he has them. ^_^   And the worst part of Shallan's backstory reveal was that it wasn't even a real reveal!  She killed her mother with her Patternsword, so she must have had her spren before that.  There was a traumatic event before that!  And we never even got to find out!!!

 

I hope not  :ph34r: I hope they will have evolve pass those.

 

I disagree Kaladin is more realistic than Shallan... Kaladin is so messed up he wouldn't even be functional were he real life...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

As for Shallan, yes the fact she killed her mother isn't the trauma which granted her a Nahel bond: it is the trauma which nearly destroyed her bond... It thus shows while trauma is required to receive a bond, too much of it will destroy it by making the proto-Radiant incapable of holding on to his oaths.

 

The traumatic event prior to that? I don't think there is one... I think she merely grew up in a dysfunctional household which led her to craft stories to make it better, to invent lies to shed the truth. As for finding out, Brandon stated he would try to slip it in, as some point, but the fact it wasn't part of her flashback makes me think it isn't overly significant.

 

 

I expected Adolin to be the foil the whole way through.  I thought he and Kaladin were going to meet much earlier - since they are around the same age and so different in personality that I assumed that Brandon would go for a character contrast immediately.  It was kinda disappointing that they only met for the first time when Adolin rescued that courtesan.  I was expecting grudging friendship much earlier than the middle of WoR.  Also, Kaladin was never my favourite.  His mopiness annoyed me even from his childhood flashback scenes. :ph34r:

 

Nobody sees Adolin beyond the facade because he doesn't let them.  He only goes on something like 2-3 dates with a girl before he drops her or she drops him.  You don't talk about serious things on dates, let alone deep stuff that make you look like a whiny baby unless you know enough of the other person to understand the context.  I'm sure if you dropped Adolin and Shallan into the chasm scene, Adolin would crack enough to show Shallan his facade.  But Shallan would probably not share hers with him.  The only reason she does it with Kaladin is that he is low ranking enough that he is not a threat or a challenge to her relationship with Adolin.

 

I find it interesting to read how different people's perspective evolved through out both books. See, the thought Kaladin and Adolin may meet each other didn't even cross my mind  :o:ph34r: I expected Kaladin to meet Dalinar, eventually, as he kept being referred to him as "honorable" and "good", while Kaladin kept on refusing to think it may be true. I however expected this particular plot arc to last for a few more books  :o  :ph34r:

 

Back when I was reading WoK, Kaladin was my favorite character. I loved this childhood flashback scenes because I found them heart-wrenching: I knew Tien was dying, but I didn't know how and when. It was like watching the Titanic all over again  :ph34r:: you know the boat sinks, you know Leo dies, but you don't know how and when. It was very poignant, so Kaladin's arc turned out being my favorite. I also enjoyed reading how he never seemed to give up no matter what, but I didn't emotionally connected with him. He was a good character I liked reading about, but he isn't special to me  :o

 

Adolin didn't have much of a role back in WoK, but I enjoyed his down-to-earth, lighthearted talk. I also love reading him say out loud what everyone silently thinks: in a general manner we don't get many outspoken character in fantasy. As a result, Adolin dropped in WoK as a breath of fresh air. He also was surprising: I didn't expect him to rescue the prostitute, I didn't expect him to turn out being kind. He didn't seem as a bad kid before, but he did seem like a very privilege slightly arrogant one. He came across as a player and the revelation his reputation may have been artificially inflated only becomes obvious in WoR. Back in WoK, we only saw the facade: we saw Adolin as everyone sees him: nice, but empty headed.

 

This may be one of the most interesting thing about his character: nobody sees beyond his facade because he doesn't let them and this includes the readers! We have more third person's perspective on Adolin than on any other major character and these see.... the facade. As a result, many readers didn't read too much into Adolin's own POV, preferring to focus on Kaladin's and thus retained a very wrong view of Adolin. I used to say Brandon wrote the character in a very clever way as even readers have a hard time pinning him out. It is so rare I find people who are willing to see beyond their initial impression... How many "Adolin will become a Dustbringer" do I read per week? It is dispiriting. It is even more dispiriting I generally fail at changing perceptions and some people react badly when I try to explain how I read Adolin (and of course I believe I am right, if not completely at least partially  :o  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:).

 

Agree you can't start to spill out your heart after 2-3 dates...... Nobody does that.... I also agree there is more chances of Adolin cracking, down in the chasm, than Shallan, though he could also play the tough guy card, struggling to protect her at all costs. It is hard to predict how he would react: I can see it swing both ways, but I tend to think Shallan would have needed more from Adolin to open-up to him. Too much is at stakes here.

 

I also agree Shallan mostly confide in Kaladin due to him not being threatening combined to the fact she was high on adrenaline and scared of dying. Circumstances. Life or death situations.

 

FYI, I really liked how you made Adolin confess some of his personal issues to Shallan. It was very sweet and I truly felt Adolin's disarray: he has been ambushed, saved yet again by Kaladin while being powerless to prevent Shallan from being hurt. To top it up, one of the horses gets injured and he has to face death, something story Adolin doesn't seem to deal well with. 

 

 

Hey, you have to remember Shallan is a teenage girl who has never had a serious romantic relationship in her life.  She is lonely and wants to be loved, but also thinks she is disgusting and unlovable.  She's very emotionally conflicted and doesn't know if she even deserves to have a happy ending, or if it's better to run away before it blows up in her face.  Like Tyn says, it's bad when a con woman starts believing in her own con. 

 

Whoever said that teen love had to make sense. :rolleyes:

 

I absolutely love how Brandon drops hints here and there of Shallan's insecurities when it comes to her appearance. She wonders if she should alter her physic before meeting with Adolin. Should she braid her hair as most high ranked ladies do? Should she use lightweaving to make her boobs appear bigger? :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Her behavior speaks of a lack of self-confidence in her ability to seduce a man which isn't surprising considering her age. I found it rather refreshing to see a fantasy novel tackle the insecurities of a teenage girl even if rather briefly.

 

I wonder if Shallan still thinks she is conning Adolin... I think it quite probable book Shallan still is conning Adolin as for story Shallan, I think she is hesitating. She won't commit to Adolin, but she is unwilling to hurt him for hew own advantage. It was rather creepy to read Jasnah elaborate her careful plan of how they could get rid of Adolin after marrying him... Doesn't she care about her cousin? Doesn't she have any thoughts towards what he may be feeling? Doesn't anyone care if they hurt him?

 

 

You could use "having an adventure" to refer to eloping.  But only if you made it clear in context what it was.  Otherwise it could be something more innocent, just like the chasm scene.

 

I think it would be hilarious for Adolin to walk in on Kaladin and Shallan.  I have tried to contrive situations on purpose where that happens in my AU, like Shallan passed out in the carriage.  But the problem is that Adolin is a nice guy and won't assume something naughty happened unless it's completely unambiguous what was going on.  And then he'd be more sad than angry, since he would think there's something wrong with him that drives the girls away. 

 

In this AU and IRL, men are not expected to be chaste for their wedding.  It's normal for men to keep mistresses before or after marriage, as long as they aren't producing any illegitimate babies.  The maid has never talked to Adolin before, and doesn't know he's a nice guy at heart.  What she knows of him is downstairs gossip - Adolin is known to be a serial dater who goes through a girl every 2-4 weeks, and no one knows what exactly he does with them.  So she thinks it's fair for Shallan to make her own choice at least one time before her wedding.  And the best friend is the best choice.  :ph34r:  Since he won't/can't blackmail Shallan about anything they do without risking his own position and relationship with Adolin.

 

Oh but I was thinking of Adolin walking on Kaladin kissing Shallan, something very obvious  :o  :ph34r: I had wondered if it would happen in the book as well: Adolin has been the one misbehaving most of the time, for uncontrollable and unconscious reasons, but I had considered the possibility Shallan would be the one to ruin it.

 

I guess it makes sense the maids think Adolin has had intimacy with several young women: though considering he is always with a chaperon and none stayed for more than a few days, it is surprising they think he even had the time  :ph34r:

 

Yes, Kaladin doesn't want to see Adolin's heart get permanently stomped.  And that is why he wants Shallan to stay.  He also doesn't want her to go because if she goes home, she will get pulled back into her brothers' cesspit of misery and poverty.  And he also doesn't want her to go because he likes her, and likes bantering with her.  He also likes having someone who is around his own social rank.  Because to the servants, he is their pinata full of cash.  To nobles, he is a servant.  His rank difference with Shallan is much narrower...until the day she marries Adolin. :ph34r:

 

Is story Adolin as responsible for his failed courtships as book Adolin? Book Adolin is doing it himself. 

 

But Ryshadiums pick their riders.  If a megahorse wants you, can you even tell it to go away and pick a new owner?

 

Trauma pinata - the guy who gets hit multiple times with the trauma stick. 

It's really hard for me to read when characters are broken down into tiny pieces.  Even though I know in the end most of them get better and stronger by the destination, it's still really painful to see the journey.   If you have ever read the Farseer assassin novels, they are extreme character studies.  And the Liveship Traders sequel trilogy.  UGH. :wacko:  They are good books, but they have heaps of hardship and it gets really really sad at times.  WHY CAN'T PEOPLE CATCH A BREAK NOW AND THEN.

 

If Rhysadiums are smart enough to pick their own riders, I assume they wouldn't pick someone who doesn't want to be picked, worst someone who hates horses.

 

Ah well yes then I rather enjoy the trauma pinata  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: but up to a certain extend. Robin Hobb tends to overdo it. Her Soldier's Son trilogy was a good example, the main character's life went from bad to worst to downright horrible, no matter how hard he worked to improved it. I love the trauma stick, but the character's efforts have to pay off, eventually and before the last 2 pages of the book  :ph34r: It is why I enjoyed Kaladin's arc in WoK because it works: he does improve his lot. He succeeds and this was very satisfying.

 

I'll admit I want to see the trauma stick hit Adolin because I think it will be an interesting read and it will allow us to dig deeper into the character, but I do wish for a happy resolution, in the end  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I don't want Adolin to live a life of miseries  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I want him to be happy, but I also want to read the trauma pinata because it makes for a better story.

 

 

I think loyalty is a strong trait in Adolin, even if people who view his character superficially would call it obedience, because they want him to be  a Dustbringer or something. :ph34r:

He not only has loyalty to Dalinar, but returns the loyalty of the people who are loyal to him.  That is why he hands out the Shards won in duelling like party favours even though they are priceless.  Dalinar has it too, but I feel it's more like he rewards the people who swear him fealty because the Codes say that's what an officer should do, and men are more reliable when they are better treated.  It's a big picture overall strategy thing, compared to Adolin who does it because he feels compassion for the people who serve his family. 

 

I thought it was an important aspect to explore.  Once you take away Dalinar's orders, Adolin would feel more conflicted about the men under his command when he is in charge of their safety himself.

 

Do you recall Dalinar's very first impressions of Adolin? A good son, as good as he could get: good leadership qualities with a strong sense of initiative, loyal to a bone and even his hotheadness could be forgiven providing he learns to channel it positively. 

 

Dalinar thus describes his son not as obedient, but as loyal. I still don't get why so many people want him to be a Dustbringer, this discussion is SO out-dated  :o It was a valid theory two years ago, prior to anyone taking the time to properly analyze Adolin as a character. The theory not only failed in-depth analysis, but it got disapproved by the author through a series of WoB implying we haven't had the POV of a Dustbringer yet while confirming Adolin wasn't a main character, so huh, no special order for him.

 

I'd say feels it is his responsibilities to see to his men and he probably takes set back personally, as fault of his.

 

I'd be interested to see what Adolin would do without Dalinar ordering him around... I think it would be rather unsettling for him, after all, he has spent a lifetime obeying orders and having people make important decision for him. The one place where he has been allowed to choose, marriage, he can't make one. He is too afraid. So much for being brave  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

 

Yes, there was a Captain Khal mentioned in one or two lines at the Battle of Narak.  He got a Shard that Adolin gave him. 

 

I would not say that Adolin isn't creative or intuitive in battles.  But to me, it seems like what he does is being good at surprise defensive positions.  Not really stand-or-die last ditch risks that Kaladin did with the side-carry of the bridge, or when he tried to stab Moash and Graves when they went after Elhokar.  Kaladin is less afraid of jumping into the unknown, and he is an adrenaline junkie.  He jumped onto the horse's back when Adolin joked him.  If it was the other way around, I doubt Adolin would have done the same thing.

Adolin only does last stands if there is no other option, compared to Kaladin who is first in, last out in everything.  And I think it freaks Adolin out when he has to do it, like fighting Eshonai in the Tower, or Szeth in the palace.  Because he would never seek out "you and me to the death" situations on his own, and the fact that he is in one means that all his choices have been stripped away.

 

Adolin gave the Shards to the father and the father let the son use them during the battle. I didn't recall he was referred to as "Captain" though. 

 

We have seen Adolin attack on several occasions.. He seemed to do well by it. He has also been the first one in and the first one out in each occasions. Back in WoK, Dalinar explains how their fighting strategy involves them jumping the chasm, ahead of the army, to make a stand in order to allow the men to lower the bridges safely. Dalinar wonders how it was Adolin has never argued against him with the strategy, to which Adolin responds these were his men too. He too had to make sure they would be safe. Hence, he jumps up front. Kaladin, I suspect, would endorse a similar strategy.

 

This being said, Adolin doesn't seem as much as an adrenaline junky as Kaladin.... though he does the standing on his Blade dangerous rock climbing, taking advantage of his father not watching him...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

This is an aspect of Adolin's personality which causes me issues still.. where does he stand in the whole war thing. On one side, he doesn't cherish it, but it is undeniable Adolin has grown into a soldier, but yet again, he had issues doing his job without the Thrill to support him... So hmmmmmm.

 

Was Adolin freaked out about fighting Eshonai? I didn't read him as freaking out, but he seemed very tired, exhausted. Later, against Szeth, he was in above his head, so he was freaking out, a bit, but whatever the situation, he hasn't truly lost his capacity to fight. 

 

 

The slaves in the slave caravan were starved.  They only got a small bowl of gruel a day.  It was only when they reached the Shattered Plains that they had access to all the soulcasters and the soulcast food.  So that is probably why people assumed Kaladin was malnourished and skinny.

 

Brandon will arrive before SA3 will be released.  I don't know how to feel about it, since there would be more questions to be asked after than before.  He accepts gifts of fan art and sometimes posts it on his Twitter.  How would he feel about me gifting him fan art. :ph34r:   Maybe Alethkar swimsuit calendar would make him uncomfortable.  B)  :lol:

 

But the caravan story arc lasted for about 2 weeks... A man doesn't lose all of his muscle weight out after two weeks. Well, I don't think he does. Anyway, he got it back while training later on.

 

Yeah, he goes to Australia for his White Sand tour. You could still try to get spoilers out of him... Find a list of interesting questions, the nearer we get to the release, the more likely he is to let something slip...  :o If you need help finding out questions, I have a list  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

At 15C, everyone chooses to sit indoors and if there are outdoor places, they have gas burner heat lamps for people to sit next to and be nice and toasty.  :ph34r:

 

There are two egg laying mammals actually, the echidna and the platypus.  Both live in Australia. :ph34r:

I bet the beavers totally enjoyed helping to build New France.  :D  I still think a platypus would win in a fight with a beaver.  Beavers have stronger teeth, but a platypus has a poison claw on its back feet.  :ph34r:

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

Beaver totally wins  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

I think Renarin would suit a non-military society much better than Alethkar.  If there was no stigma against men who can't fight, then Renarin would be more liked, or at least tolerated, especially in a setting where people still value social rank and wealth.  His autism would be called eccentricity, not a weakness that shows that the Almighty doesn't like him because it stops him from ever getting into the Tranquiline Halls.  Vorinism is such a religion of suck. :(

 

Renarin is a supply officer for the Kholin regiment.  No soulcasters, so food and gunpowder have to be paid for and shipped the normal way.  So he has found his purpose, and he's really good at it.  I think in terms of pure academic skills, Renarin is smarter than both Kaladin and Shallan, who are good scholars but have intelligence in other ways.  Kaladin has a good memory and awareness for details and makes fast intuitive judgements, Shallan has a visual memory and is better at applying her knowledge to practical skills, but Renarin is the best at theoretical concepts and mathematics. 

 

I agree Renarin would have done better in a world where military life isn't an obligation, though we have met so many high ranked lighteyed not gifted in the art of war to make me think perhaps Renarin is overstating it. He doesn't have to be a soldier, but he has convinced himself he wanted to be one. 

 

Roion and Sebrarial aren't looked for their lack of military prowess.... and while Vorinism is essentially flawed it isn't the sole cause of Renarin's issues.

 

I like Renarin as a supply officier... Can't wait to read how you are going to craft his relationships with his family out.

 

Leather pants can be hot. :ph34r:   On a hot day, they are so hot you sweat buckets.  But still hot. B)  I wouldn't say wearing leather pants means you dress terribly.  If they are real leather, they don't come cheap, you know.  And they are really stylish.  Adolin does stylish. :ph34r:

 

Where do you even find beige minivans?  I thought Dalinar would have better taste than that. :ph34r:   I thought it was more likely that Adolin got Dalinar's ten year old hand-me-down work car.  Which has all the safety features and Dalinar still insists Adolin check the tyre pressure every time he drives it, and read the owner's manual once a year, and make sure the car is taken to be serviced every 6 months exactly.

 

Adolin is ashamed of driving it because no one is allowed to eat or drink in it, so when they go on a coffee run or hit the takeaway, the passengers aren't allowed to start nibbling until they get out.  That is worse than driving a 30 year old beater that looks like the Mystery Mobile because no one cares if a van like that gets a scratch or smells like things it shouldn't smell like.  :ph34r:

 

It isn't because it is expensive it is nice looking  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Leather pants make me think of 80s rock stars.... Works for Kaladin  :ph34r: but not classy and preppy Adolin  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Huh... In Quebec  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: The paradise of minivan and yes there are people who purposefully chose beige  :ph34r: Dalinar has no taste.. The bool highlighted this, so yes he would choose a convenient, but outdated ugly car. And yes, Dalinar would have those silly rules Adolin needs to go by if he wants to borrow the car... The family is rich, but daddy won't buy his son his own car  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Adolin is super stressed out whenever he drives it for fear something out of his control may happen  :o People would think brash and loud Adolin would speed on the road, but no... He scrupulously respect the driving limits to the point of having Kaladin roll his eyes :ph34r:  

 

I found it telling that one of the chapters in WoR where Adolin duels Eranniv (or was it Salinor) was titled "Perfection".  I think most people wouldn't pick up on Adolin's perfectionism, because they would see it as only part of ego and cocky persona. 

 

As a character trait, I wouldn't necessarily call it a flaw unless it hits unhealthy levels, where self-esteem and belief in your worth as a person is tied up with how much skill you can display.  At that point, it's kind of disturbing and I seriously hope there's some character development because otherwise it will turn self-destructive.  Working on leveling up your skills is supposed to be a self-improvement exercise, but anything in excess can be unhealthy. 

 

From what we see of Adolin at the end of WoR, the wall is not far away. :lol:

 

Most people don't want to pick on Adolin's perfectionist because they don't want to update their perspective of him. I don't know why so many readers are not open to the possibility Adolin may not be what he seems and he may not be as strong as he appears... In the event he would become a Radiant, they thus place him within the one order who seems to have no weakness. Many would claim Adolin is filled with anger because he murdered Sadeas (and yet the same people give Kaladin a free pass on the same sentient which takes up much more page time than Adolin's), but they feel to push the analysis farther down the road to realize Adolin is just emotionally impulsive and spontaneous. It makes him charming and attaching, but it also makes him go through roller-coaster of emotions on which he has little control. 

 

Being perfectionist may not always be a flaw, but it almost always end up being one... Either you take it out on yourself or you take it out on others, but it remains there. For instances, perfectionists have a harder time accepting they may have made a mistake and when an emotional perfectionist gets told of one, it can be enough to send him down the spiral. 

 

Adolin is relatively controlled, right now, but I see so many ways his life could completely spiral out of control, I am incapable of believing it won't happen. It wouldn't take much: one mistake and suddenly everything feels like a mountain, doubt remains permanent and anxiety rises.

 

The fear of being afraid, the fear of fearing, the fear of mistakes: once this wheel starts spinning, it is very hard to make it stop.

 

Adolin may appear strong, but he has put so much pressure on himself, his father has also put so much pressure on him, something's gotta give. Why? Because he never went through the ordeal of facing failure... Everyone faces this, sooner or later, but for some people it is worst because they have built up so much of their persona over their success, a small failure seems like a personality defect and it destroy their self-esteem.

 

They say perfectionists want to be loved and to fit in which is why they strove so hard to be... perfect. I see that in Adolin... I read a lot of fear into his characters, but many readers don't because it is counter-intuitive to think the soldier and leader of of armies may be.... afraid, not of war or battles, but of something much deeper... of disappointing his life-long hero, of not meeting up to the expectations the world seem to have for him.

 

And it is quite sad  :( I wish Brandon would write more of Adolin  :(

 

Edit: I am sad to read the story is nearing to an end... I can see where it is going: I won't like the ending now would I?

Edited by maxal
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I expect Adolin to start shooting himself in the foot because it is consistent with his character development. As a reader, I wouldn't buy the guy who was incapable of staying with the same girl for more than a few dates for reasons unknown to him, who yearns to be make it work while being responsible of sabotaging most of his short-term unions to suddenly change his behavior because the "right girl" popped by. There are reasons why Adolin is incapable of committing to a woman and he needs to deal with them before he can hope to tie the knot. You don't suddenly go from "afraid of not being good enough" to "not afraid of not being good enough" without some personal work.

 

Every serial Romeo needs to have the previously hidden issues rear up, followed by the paradigm shift.  It's part of every romance novel plot.  :ph34r:  It's the way an author establishes the MC girl as the "right girl" instead of just another go around the revolving door of romance.  The only question is how deep Adolin's issues are, and how much work it takes for him to start getting over them.  I don't think he needs to go all the way in exploring his daddy issues and self-confidence problems, honestly.  Just enough to have self-awareness of his own foot-shooting behaviour and stop it before it happens, or right after it happens so his foot doesn't permanently stay shot. 

 

Bravery and obedience - I think those were the Dustbringer virtues.  I guess you could only see it if you really forced it, :unsure: :unsure: :unsure: People see what they wanna see.

 

All of Shallan's problems come from within, and it's mostly things that happened in past that she needs to stop denying so she can move past it.  Adolin has problems too, but a lot of it is tied with his current appearance/perception by other people, so that's harder to fix quickly without a crazy contrived plot like "fell into a fire and pretty face got burned off" or "localised amnesia".  I also think Adolin's shyness with intimacy is what keeps him backing away.  I don't think he has a problem with the concept of intimacy, he just doesn't initiate. 

 

 

 

I unfortunately lack the talent  :ph34r:

No one starts with talent.  You have to develop it.

You just lack the patience. :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

I think it is the idea the spren chose YOU specifically which is attractive... Everyone wants to be chosen... Everyone wants to feel someone special wants you. I would also argue the level of trauma required to dig in sufficient cracks within the soul in order to enable a Nahel bond is not explained. Kaladin has been depreciated, beaten, betrayed, forced to watch his brother died, sold into slavery: honestly the guy's life has been walking from one disaster to the other. Since we spend most of our time with Kaladin, we all ended up with the perception future knight to have had a traumatic childhood or be beaten every day after school...

I personally yearn to meet individuals with more internal hardship be chosen... People who aren't victims of their entourage as they all currently seem to be, but people who just crack because of the pressure. In other words, more realistic characters... or it is fairer to state characters dealing with the equivalent of modern days break-down. Kaladin perhaps has depression, but he has it on top of so many issues, it doesn't even count as part of his breaking mechanism. 

 

It is probably why I yearn for a spren (the one in the Blade that is  :ph34r:) to choose Adolin: to show us one didn't need to be beaten as a child to meet the criteria, to show the simply pressure impose on some individuals is enough.

But the spren don't really "choose".  They come to the physical world because their spren families in the cognitive realm tell them to, and then they hang around important people and opportunistically jump them if their virtues fit the spren requirements.  They choose you if you were the right person in the right place with the right circumstances, not because you were the long prophesised Hero of Ages or anything.  The one exception being Syl, who left the Stormfather's magical cognitive house to find Kaladin.  But she didn't "choose" him, she was just attracted to the gratitude people felt for him, and stuck around to see if he developed/broke further.

 

 

Maybe we have different ideas of spren, but I see them as beings with their own mysterious identity and agenda that is unknown to the reader because they can't tell the details, or lost their memories.  They're not part of a character's psyche, like the daemons from His Dark Materials.  They're symbiotic parasites.  They bond to humans because they get something out of it. 

 

If it makes you special, it's just as special as being in the right time and place, like winning the lottery.  It's the specialness of crazy probabilities lining up.  And you don't need a spren to tell you that you're worthy, or better than everyone else.  Worth comes from within. :ph34r:  This is why I would be okay with Adolin not becoming a Radiant through the normal means - it would just be like winning another duelling trophy, a confirmation for his self-confidence.  It would be healthier it if he could figure it out on his own.  If you have ever watched The Lego Movie, everyone is "The Special".  The prophecy was a lie, because it comes from your own belief in yourself.

 

If Adolin revived his blade after lots of hard work and soul-searching, that would make me happy because it would be an instance of a consenting adult choosing his own spren.  I think it's kind of freaky for Shallan and Lift to get bonded so early, and it probably wouldn't have been done in the pre-Recreance days. 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaladin is an idealist: he believes the world holds together on greater morality than it truly does. He has a high moral code which makes him expect everyone else would be exactly the same, moreover those standing above him in rank. After being disappointed a few times, he decides lighteyes have no honor, but everyone else close to him still has it. He has a hard time admitting some darkeyes MAY have committed crimes, MAY have deserves being made slaves and MAY be dishonorable pieces of chull.

 

So if story Kaladin didn't go through the same ordeal, shouldn't he retain the same idealistic vision of life? If not, then something has to explain why he lost it. He seems so pragmatic: is it a by-product of actually being a surgeon as opposed to a soldier? Since he evolved outside the chain of command, he is less prone to glorify the generals, especially since he is the one treating the injured following their decision?

 

So how does book Kaladin reconcile with Adolin being made a Duke due to his name and not his valor? Just because he is nice? Sounds like story Adolin didn't earn his keep as well as book Adolin.

Kaladin loses some of his idealism as all kids do when they get older in my AU, but it's not blinded by crazy levels like his hate of lighteyes.  He realises that there is no greater morality determined by class or social status or gender or nationality.  And the realisation comes first by being a surgeon, and later as a soldier.  Because as a surgeon, he knows that everyone is the same in the inside when he cuts them open, and badness and goodness are determined individually.  He realised that some of the people he saves are bad people who will live to do bad things, but he saves them anyway, and sometimes good people die on the operating table no matter what he does.  It was the way he would have developed if he had never left Hearthstone, I think.  It's similar to Lirin, but Kaladin is more moral and wouldn't have stolen the spheres.

 

I don't think Kaladin ever glorified warfare. He doesn't feel the Thrill in canon-SA, and he has no patriotic fever in the AU.  And in the context of a Regency setting, social class is so inbuilt into the system that it's completely unthinkable to question it openly.  ALL officers beyond NCO's get their positions through buying commissions, and promotions come from how much money you have to fund the extra men under your command.  So he may not like the system, but he doesn't hate Adolin for being his superior officer, because Adolin doesn't abuse it, and compared to people like Amaram, he tries his best to do good by the people who serve him. 

 

The tl;dr is that the world is black and grey and Adolin is a light beige.  Kaladin is not so idealistic that he will hate Adolin for not being pure bleached undies white.  It's a more balanced view that doesn't result in situations like the Moash one.  That drove me up the wall.

 

 

Back when I was reading WoK, Kaladin was my favorite character. I loved this childhood flashback scenes because I found them heart-wrenching: I knew Tien was dying, but I didn't know how and when. It was like watching the Titanic all over again  :ph34r:: you know the boat sinks, you know Leo dies, but you don't know how and when. It was very poignant, so Kaladin's arc turned out being my favorite. I also enjoyed reading how he never seemed to give up no matter what, but I didn't emotionally connected with him. He was a good character I liked reading about, but he isn't special to me  :o

 

This may be one of the most interesting thing about his character: nobody sees beyond his facade because he doesn't let them and this includes the readers! We have more third person's perspective on Adolin than on any other major character and these see.... the facade. As a result, many readers didn't read too much into Adolin's own POV, preferring to focus on Kaladin's and thus retained a very wrong view of Adolin. I used to say Brandon wrote the character in a very clever way as even readers have a hard time pinning him out. It is so rare I find people who are willing to see beyond their initial impression... How many "Adolin will become a Dustbringer" do I read per week? It is dispiriting. It is even more dispiriting I generally fail at changing perceptions and some people react badly when I try to explain how I read Adolin (and of course I believe I am right, if not completely at least partially  :o  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:).

 

Agree you can't start to spill out your heart after 2-3 dates...... Nobody does that.... I also agree there is more chances of Adolin cracking, down in the chasm, than Shallan, though he could also play the tough guy card, struggling to protect her at all costs. It is hard to predict how he would react: I can see it swing both ways, but I tend to think Shallan would have needed more from Adolin to open-up to him. Too much is at stakes here.

 

I knew Tien was going to die as soon as the character was introduced.  :ph34r:  Kaladin wouldn't have ended up a slave away from his family unless something severed his connection with them.  Tien was the pet puppy from every children's novel that the main character raises by hand.  :ph34r:  Kaladin's story was just very vanilla Hero's Journey to me - suffering and then redemption, all very predictable from start to end.  I understand that was the angle Brandon was going for - that's why his name is KALADIN for Almighty's sake.   :lol:  His unique character quirk was depression and I some people may have liked it, but I wasn't a huge fan.

 

Adolin's unique character quirk I think is more interesting. :ph34r:  I thought he was going to be a mix of Dojo Bully and Teacher's Pet, and he was going to get a beatdown lesson in humility, but he turned out to be the Nice Guy trying to pass himself off in a world full of Tough Guys. 

 

Opening up to someone is all about trust.  Shallan wouldn't open up to Adolin if they were in the chasms because she doesn't know him enough, and doesn't trust him enough, and she is afraid he will say something like "YOU'RE A MONSTER!!!".  So she didn't want to risk it.  From what I have read of Shallan's character, she doesn't like confronting scary things until she absolutely has to and there is no other choice - like Jasnah dying on the boat, or Tyn's spanreed message.  So as long as she can keep Adolin in limbo, she will maintain the status quo.  It's selfish, but that's Shallan.  Until she gets over her problems or she gets a clear indication that Adolin won't think she's a monster.

 

Adolin has fewer inhibitions to opening up, but his main problem is his lack of self-awareness.  You might be able to pick out his foot-shooting habits, and his low self-confidence, but I doubt he knows what's wrong with himself in words he can say out loud.  All he knows is that this thing, or this person, or this situation makes him feel unsure, or angry.   

 

 

 

I absolutely love how Brandon drops hints here and there of Shallan's insecurities when it comes to her appearance. She wonders if she should alter her physic before meeting with Adolin. Should she braid her hair as most high ranked ladies do? Should she use lightweaving to make her boobs appear bigger? :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Her behavior speaks of a lack of self-confidence in her ability to seduce a man which isn't surprising considering her age. I found it rather refreshing to see a fantasy novel tackle the insecurities of a teenage girl even if rather briefly.

 

I wonder if Shallan still thinks she is conning Adolin... I think it quite probable book Shallan still is conning Adolin as for story Shallan, I think she is hesitating. She won't commit to Adolin, but she is unwilling to hurt him for hew own advantage. It was rather creepy to read Jasnah elaborate her careful plan of how they could get rid of Adolin after marrying him... Doesn't she care about her cousin? Doesn't she have any thoughts towards what he may be feeling? Doesn't anyone care if they hurt him?

Shallan needs other flaws than her traumatic past.  Once she gets over that, she would go into Mary Sue territory unless she had other character quirks to keep her from being perfect at everything she does.  :ph34r:

Book Shallan is still keeping secrets and misrepresenting herself to Adolin.  She's not going to tell him that she still wants his money to save her brothers, or that she is a spy in her spare time.  She likes him, and is physically attracted to him, but she's not totally honest with him. 

 

Regarding Jasnah - Shallan sees Jasnah as her female role model, who is strong and beautiful and poised 100% of the time.  You can tell when Shallan gushes about Jasnah when she meets her in Kharbranth in WoK.  Jasnah sees Shallan as a younger version of herself, and wants to protect her from the worst things, but she is still Jasnah.  Jasnah doesn't understand love, and values The Big Picture and End Justifies the Means type thinking.  That is why Shallan goes along with the plan, and why Jasnah is willing to arrange a divorce.  Because a forced marriage to Amaram was something that could have been possible in Jasnah's past, and would have been arranged by her own mother and brother if she let them, and if anyone had offered her an "out", she would have taken it.  She thinks she is protecting Shallan, as no one would have protected her.

 

She cares about Adolin, but she cares more about saving the world.  Jasnah is pretty much The Grinch and thinks that love is for fools and Shallan is too smart to fall in love.  :lol:

 

 

 

 

Oh but I was thinking of Adolin walking on Kaladin kissing Shallan, something very obvious  :o  :ph34r: I had wondered if it would happen in the book as well: Adolin has been the one misbehaving most of the time, for uncontrollable and unconscious reasons, but I had considered the possibility Shallan would be the one to ruin it.

 

I guess it makes sense the maids think Adolin has had intimacy with several young women: though considering he is always with a chaperon and none stayed for more than a few days, it is surprising they think he even had the time  :ph34r:

 

The problem is that Kaladin is an honourable guy, and wouldn't kiss Shallan unless she broke up with Adolin.  So Shallan would have to initiate herself, but in SA and in story, she is more attracted to Adolin than Kaladin. 

 

Hey man, if Navani and Dalinar can get it in on in 15 minutes, a young athletic guy can do it in 10.  :ph34r:  A broom closet or a pantry is all you really need.  And he only had a chaperon when he was hanging around at his own house.  He didn't have one when he was in Kholinar.  From the outside, without knowing him personally, wouldn't it be expected that Adolin would know his way around a bodice at his age?  Since he has had a reputation for the last 5 years or so. :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

 

Ah well yes then I rather enjoy the trauma pinata  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: but up to a certain extend. Robin Hobb tends to overdo it. Her Soldier's Son trilogy was a good example, the main character's life went from bad to worst to downright horrible, no matter how hard he worked to improved it. I love the trauma stick, but the character's efforts have to pay off, eventually and before the last 2 pages of the book  :ph34r: It is why I enjoyed Kaladin's arc in WoK because it works: he does improve his lot. He succeeds and this was very satisfying.

 

I'll admit I want to see the trauma stick hit Adolin because I think it will be an interesting read and it will allow us to dig deeper into the character, but I do wish for a happy resolution, in the end  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I don't want Adolin to live a life of miseries  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: I want him to be happy, but I also want to read the trauma pinata because it makes for a better story.

Maybe they think that if they pick a rider, the rider will fall in love with them because it's a freaking Ryshadium!!!

If Rhysadiums are smart enough to pick their own riders, I assume they wouldn't pick someone who doesn't want to be picked, worst someone who hates horses.

 

I don't know if you've read many fantasy stories about dragons, but dragons who choose their riders don't care if their rider wants them or not, because they all have strong and individualistic personalities.  Who knows if magic horses have them too.

 

Oh man, Robin Hobb. :ph34r:  Most suffering has a payoff in the end, or a redemption.  When I read The Liveship Traders and the Captain Kennet character, I was expecting him to redeem himself.  But he didn't, and it was a very very sad and bleak ending for him. 

 

I guess this is why we all turn back to our Hero's Journey plot formats.  Nothing is more comforting than the expected.  If Adolin gets hit by the trauma stick, it's just part of him earning his Hero's Reward.  The bigger the stick, the juicier the carrot.  Or whatever they say.

 

 

 

Adolin gave the Shards to the father and the father let the son use them during the battle. I didn't recall he was referred to as "Captain" though. 

 

We have seen Adolin attack on several occasions.. He seemed to do well by it. He has also been the first one in and the first one out in each occasions. Back in WoK, Dalinar explains how their fighting strategy involves them jumping the chasm, ahead of the army, to make a stand in order to allow the men to lower the bridges safely. Dalinar wonders how it was Adolin has never argued against him with the strategy, to which Adolin responds these were his men too. He too had to make sure they would be safe. Hence, he jumps up front. Kaladin, I suspect, would endorse a similar strategy.

 

This being said, Adolin doesn't seem as much as an adrenaline junky as Kaladin.... though he does the standing on his Blade dangerous rock climbing, taking advantage of his father not watching him...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

Chapter 83, "Time's Illusion", WoR.

"Roion rode across to safety, followed by an exhausted Captain Khal on foot - General Khal's son wore his own Plate and bore Teleb's Blade, which he'd blessedly recovered from the corpse after the other man had fallen."

 

Teleb's blade was given to him by Adolin.  I don't know about where the Plate came from, but they gave General Khal a set and he wasn't wearing it in the battle.

 

Adolin cares more about looking tough in front of his mates rather than feeding his own adrenaline difference.  I think that is what separates him from Kaladin.  Kaladin would have gotten onto the horse if it was just him and no one else in the room.  Adolin would have walked off because he knew it was a stupid idea and officers who follow the Codes shouldn't risk injuring themselves doing silly things in their spare time.  They can't even risk getting a hangover.

 

 

 

But the caravan story arc lasted for about 2 weeks... A man doesn't lose all of his muscle weight out after two weeks. Well, I don't think he does. Anyway, he got it back while training later on.

 

Yeah, he goes to Australia for his White Sand tour. You could still try to get spoilers out of him... Find a list of interesting questions, the nearer we get to the release, the more likely he is to let something slip...  :o If you need help finding out questions, I have a list  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

You can lose muscle tone pretty quickly if you're starved enough.  The muscles are one of the first things to go when your body starts eating itself because there's no food.  I would have thought Kaladin would have been starved earlier, since he passed through like 8 other owners before he ended up Tvklav's caravan, and denying food is one of the easiest punishments to administer.

It's still a year away.  I'll wait for more questions to be asked before I narrow down a list of my own. :ph34r:

 

 

 

I agree Renarin would have done better in a world where military life isn't an obligation, though we have met so many high ranked lighteyed not gifted in the art of war to make me think perhaps Renarin is overstating it. He doesn't have to be a soldier, but he has convinced himself he wanted to be one. 

 

Roion and Sebrarial aren't looked for their lack of military prowess.... and while Vorinism is essentially flawed it isn't the sole cause of Renarin's issues.

 

I like Renarin as a supply officier... Can't wait to read how you are going to craft his relationships with his family out.

Renarin just has too much time to dwell on things.

That's what happens when you have a distant father and no mother from early childhood.  And no television to play cartoons all day after school.

 

I felt like putting Renarin's skills to use so he doesn't have to be emo all the time.  Of course, he was still emo, but he got over it.  I think he enjoys the company of Kaladin most compared to anyone else in his family, because they are matched intellectually.  Navani is pretty smart too, but she doesn't have empathy for him, and lot of the time he can tell she just wants him "to get over it" and go back to work doing helpful things to help Dalinar and the war.  Sometimes he just wants to collect bottles of wine. :lol:

 

 

 

It isn't because it is expensive it is nice looking  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Leather pants make me think of 80s rock stars.... Works for Kaladin  :ph34r: but not classy and preppy Adolin  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Huh... In Quebec  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: The paradise of minivan and yes there are people who purposefully chose beige  :ph34r: Dalinar has no taste.. The bool highlighted this, so yes he would choose a convenient, but outdated ugly car. And yes, Dalinar would have those silly rules Adolin needs to go by if he wants to borrow the car... The family is rich, but daddy won't buy his son his own car  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Adolin is super stressed out whenever he drives it for fear something out of his control may happen  :o People would think brash and loud Adolin would speed on the road, but no... He scrupulously respect the driving limits to the point of having Kaladin roll his eyes :ph34r:

 

Are you kidding.  Leather pants are in for people who like the goth ninja aesthetic.  Look it up, it's a real thing. :ph34r: :ph34r:  :ph34r:   

I know it's in character for Adolin to dress basic as Braize.  Like, he buys the whole outfit worn by the store mannequin because he doesn't want to take risks developing his own style and looking stupid.  But he must have one or two impulse purchases somewhere in his closet that he wears in his room because he knows he can't ever wear them outside.  And leather pants would one of them. :ph34r:  The other one is a poet shirt, aka pirate shirt.  Because it feels so breezy but looks so stupid.

 

Maybe Adolin gets so stressed while driving that sometimes he just takes the train, because all the schedules are comforting and he can blame someone else if he's late. B)  But he wears sunglasses just so he doesn't get recognised by anyone he knows.  :lol:  :lol:   And even that is less embarrassing than being the guy with the beige minivan who has to circle around the block twice to find a spot with enough room to park.

 

 

Being perfectionist may not always be a flaw, but it almost always end up being one... Either you take it out on yourself or you take it out on others, but it remains there. For instances, perfectionists have a harder time accepting they may have made a mistake and when an emotional perfectionist gets told of one, it can be enough to send him down the spiral. 

 

Adolin is relatively controlled, right now, but I see so many ways his life could completely spiral out of control, I am incapable of believing it won't happen. It wouldn't take much: one mistake and suddenly everything feels like a mountain, doubt remains permanent and anxiety rises.

 

The fear of being afraid, the fear of fearing, the fear of mistakes: once this wheel starts spinning, it is very hard to make it stop.

 

Adolin may appear strong, but he has put so much pressure on himself, his father has also put so much pressure on him, something's gotta give. Why? Because he never went through the ordeal of facing failure... Everyone faces this, sooner or later, but for some people it is worst because they have built up so much of their persona over their success, a small failure seems like a personality defect and it destroy their self-esteem.

 

They say perfectionists want to be loved and to fit in which is why they strove so hard to be... perfect. I see that in Adolin... I read a lot of fear into his characters, but many readers don't because it is counter-intuitive to think the soldier and leader of of armies may be.... afraid, not of war or battles, but of something much deeper... of disappointing his life-long hero, of not meeting up to the expectations the world seem to have for him.

 

And it is quite sad  :( I wish Brandon would write more of Adolin  :(

 

You know what the truth is?  People don't really care about character motivations in a story they came to read for the setting, magical system, or epic-fantasy plot.  They like characters, but want to see them do cool things, and breaking down the nuances of why is something they don't think about unless they majored in literature or writing-based humanities degree.  You are the weird one for being so obsessed with Adolin. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   And that is why people still think Adolin is going to turn out to be a Dustbringer, or he's going to join the dark side and be Odium's champion, or he's going to the Volturi Kharbranth because Shallan likes Jacob Kaladin more.

 

I agree that Adolin is losing his control, and he is heading down a dark path with hopefully some positive character development at the end.  But a lot of that will be a lesson to Dalinar, imho - it's great that Adolin as a character gets screen time, but his own development will be supporting Dalinar's character development in SA3.  I know you hate that, and you want Adolin to have some time in the spotlight for his sake, but epic fantasies are ensemble driven.  If you wanted to read in-depth character studies, there are other genres for that.

 

Because Dalinar's big problem is that he lacks flexibility, and he craves authority.  What better way to show that his heavy-handed approach to authority needs some work when he sees that it's starting to crack around his own son?  He treats the highprinces like little children who don't know any better, and thinks he is right and justified for doing that 100% of the time - which reflects his treatment of his own son, where he expects unconditional and unquestioning obedience.  Adolin rejecting, or rebelling against his moral standards is like a slap in the face from reality. :lol:  Adolin gets his trauma stick, but in the end, it's meant to show Dalinar slowly becoming a better leader and earning his authority instead of forcing it on people.

 

Yeah, it's sad, but SA would not be enjoyable if it was just the Adolin Show.  :ph34r:

 

 

 

Edit: I am sad to read the story is nearing to an end... I can see where it is going: I won't like the ending now would I?

 

It's getting pretty long and I'm tying up the character development.  If I didn't, I think everyone would get tired of Shallan. :lol:

Where do you think it's going?  I don't think I'm as predictable as you think I am.   I hope not. :blink:

I wonder what your preferred ending would be. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY TWO

 

 

 

 

 

Shallan was announced as The Most Honourable Lady Shallan of Loch Davar; she was interested to learn that Kaladin’s own service rank was warrant officer in the Kholin Regiment.

 

They passed through the honour guard of footmen at the entryway of the ballroom.  There was a landing, and shallow steps that curved downwards into a grand room panelled with wood carved in relief and gilded; lamp chandeliers were suspended from above, and bright banners of Kholin blue hung from ceiling to floor.  One wall had a very long table draped with a white cloth and a row of attractively plated foods in small serving sizes, from savoury appetisers to desserts.  There was a musicians’ dais in one corner, and a number of round tables and folding chairs at the back for those who preferred to eat rather than mingle with other guests.

 

Shallan saw Wit replace a footman at the door – she smiled and curtsied in his direction, and he returned with a wink and a hearty mock military salute.   She picked up her skirts, and bounced down the steps, looking for someone – anyone – she knew.  But she did not recognise any familiar people, and most of the men wore dining suits with only the waistcoat or waistband to give any indication of a family connection, and she could not remember which colours went with which ducal House.

 

Jasnah pushed her way through the throng.  “Shallan, here, with me!” she called.

 

Shallan looked up at Kaladin; he did not say anything.  She sucked in a nervous breath and turned to Jasnah.  “Am I to be presented now?”

 

Jasnah took her by the wrist and led her to the back of the ballroom, to the rows of round tables.  There were two people seated there, surrounded by a few hangers-on; they excused themselves and withdrew when they noticed Jasnah bearing down on them. 

 

It was a man and a woman.  The man’s face was familiar – he had a face heavily lined and tanned by the sun; his features were distinguished in maturity, but his nose – rather too large, broken, and crookedly reset and healed – detracted from any potential for beauty.   His black hair was cropped short in the military fashion, and greyed at the temples; his eyebrows were very black too; they and the lines around his eyes and mouth conveyed a grave solemnity to his manner.  She knew him – he was the man, years aged but still recognisable, from the painting in the portrait gallery. Adolin’s father: the Prince Kholinar.

 

The woman sitting opposite held herself with the perfect posture of one completely familiar and comfortable with authority.  She was an older lady, a former Society beauty at least, or so Shallan thought.  But she had aged well, and gracefully; there was elegance in her every movement, and languid power in her relaxed appearance that Shallan knew was merely – appearance.   She wore her hair elaborately dressed and set with jewelled combs; jewels and gold glinted from her ears, and throat, and around her fingers. 

 

They looked up from their conversation when Jasnah approached, towing Shallan behind her.  The man rose to his feet and adjusted his side-sword from under his military uniform coat.  The woman did not stand; she lazily straightened a fold of her skirt and her eyes flicked upwards, darting from Jasnah and Shallan in a subtle – but not so subtle as to go unobserved – inspection.

 

Jasnah gave a shallow bow; Shallan dipped into a low and very formal curtsey.

 

“Your highnesses – I am glad to see you to-night.  I should like to present my ward and travelling companion of the last half year,” said Jasnah, with her usual imperious tones.  Shallan could only wish she had Jasnah’s self-assurance.

 

Jasnah introduced Shallan the same way as she had been introduced to Adolin at their first luncheon – name and titles, followed by another formal curtsey.  It was easier, thought Shallan, when one did not think of anything when one did things – one could then act without thought, and with the precision of an automaton.

 

“Shallan, I introduce to you His Highness Dalinar Kholin, the Prince Kholinar,” Jasnah continued, “and Her Highness the Queen Mother and Queen Dowager, Navani Kholin.  My mother.” 

 

Prince Dalinar nodded to her in acknowledgement.  “Jasnah spoke very well of you.  She has not had a ward for as long as you have been hers.  Nor has my son had a guest at this House–“

 

He was interrupted by a man with long curled hair – fashionably tied into a tail – and a ruddy face, who called his name.  The new man was elaborately dressed; his jacket buttons were set with emeralds, and his neckcloth and the edges of his sleeves that peeked out of his dining jacket cuffs were made from fine lace.  It was the beautifully extravagant white lace more appropriate for ladies’ underdresses and nightshifts than a man’s shirt, but he apparently did not seem to mind. 

 

“Dalinar!” the man called.

 

Prince Dalinar turned away from them, and bowed.  “Please, you must excuse me for now, but please continue – Navani will be sure to relay this conversation to me afterwards.”  He cleared his throat, and glanced at Lady Navani – they shared a look of mutual affection – and he strode off to meet the floridly dressed interrupter.  Dalinar felt affection for his late brother’s wife, Shallan perceived.  Somehow it seemed like something more, or deeper, than mere brotherly love.

 

Navani spoke.  Her voice was cold.  “So this is what you’ve brought us?”

 

Jasnah took Prince Dalinar’s vacated seat.  “She’s an accomplished scholar, Mother.  I judged her capabilities myself.”

 

“We,” Navani said, royal authority ringing in her voice, “scarcely see the need for another scholar in the Family.”  She picked up a glass of wine from the table, and swirled it.  Bubbles ascended gently to the surface.  “The late Duchess brought with her the loan of her father’s twenty-five thousand,” she remarked.

 

Shallan spoke up.  “The Clan McValam can muster six thousand.”

 

One perfectly arched eyebrow rose.  “Are you Himself’s daughter, or his Tanist’s?”

 

“My father w–is a minor baron,” Shallan replied.  She hoped no-one had noticed her brief error.

 

“Is that so.” 

 

There was a pause, and Jasnah said, “the late Duchess was a love match.”

 

“She also had a respectable dowry to her credit.  Adolin can have his true choice for his second or third, but he must understand our current reality in the present.”  Navani said coolly; Shallan recognised some of Jasnah’s natural authority in her speech and manner.  “We need a strong Duchess.”  Her eyes flicked to Jasnah, and a thought – an emotion –passed from one woman to another; Shallan could not pick up its significance.  “Not just a scholar fixated on folk legends and bards’ tales.”

 

“Adolin has a choice,” answered Jasnah.  “The Prince my uncle guaranteed that.”

 

“Then we must ensure he makes the right choice.”  Navani set the glass of wine down on the table.  It made only a small clink, but it felt like a physical blow – one that almost reverberated in its impact.  It was heavy, and final, and unrelenting, like the sound of a door slamming shut. 

 

Shallan almost stumbled back from the force of the words – words that had been spoken conversationally, even if they were anything but friendly; a warning look from Jasnah kept her silent.  She clasped her hands in front of her, trying to keep them still in the aftermath of this terrible first introduction.  For Shallan had grown used to leaving pleased impressions in the thoughts of people she met for the first time; most people thought her clever or humorous when she tried to make herself appeal to their sensibilities by playing up what they liked to see.

 

It worked when she wanted it to, and when she didn’t bother, it was only around people whose opinion of her she considered irrelevant.  Like Doctor Kaladin, for instance.  It was something of a shock that to see that the Queen Dowager found her so unsuitable, so inadequate – when she hadn’t said or done anything yet to show herself to disadvantage.  She had been told that Lady Navani had had other preferences in the choice of the future Duchess Kholinar, but she had not expected that it would result in such a transparent dismissal of herself.

 

“Mother,” said Jasnah.  “I believe we must have a discussion on the meaning of the word choice.”  She waved Shallan away with a hand gesture under the table.  Shallan left with grateful relief.

 

 

*** 

 

 

Shallan wandered dazedly through the ballroom, passing guests and groups in conversation.  No-one stopped her, or spoke to her; occasionally she paused when someone blocked her path, and now and then they hesitated as if it to say something – but she kept her eyes downcast and they stepped aside for her.  How humiliating it was to be chastised in public like that, even if no-one but Jasnah was close enough to hear.  It was humiliating to be chastised at all – and Shallan had very rarely in her life been handled – like that

Yes, she could admit, there were people who had raised their voices in anger at her in the past.  Mother had done it, before Mother had died.  Father had done it, but it wasn’t really to her – he had often raised his voice thus to address the whole family, but she could not say it was directed specifically to her.  Madame Tyn had scolded her as a matter of course during her feminine education, when her toes had not been pointed just so, or when her spoon clinked against the porcelain teacup or soup bowl.  Kaladin had shown hints of disapproval, both outright and ambiguous, at her past behaviour.

 

Utterly unsuitable.  Those words were the first and most blatant indication of Kaladin’s disapproval; he had said them in the retiring room, the night she had first arrived to Kholinar Court.  She had laughed it off, and had never considered the possibility of it being – true.

 

She saw flashes of Kholin blue in the crowd – it seemed as though the people were moving aside, separating themselves to cling to the walls of the grand ballroom; she heard the twang of musical instruments as the orchestra warmed up corrected their pitch.  But she did not see Adolin, and she could not tell if one of the blue uniforms scattered through the mass of guests was his uniform, or someone else who held rank in the Regiment.

 

“Shallan,” said a voice behind her.  A hand caught her wrist and gripped it tightly.

 

She stopped short and turned.  A blue sleeve, a scarred hand.  “Oh,” she said, “it’s you.”

 

“The first set is starting.  If you do not want to join, then I suggest we vacate the floor.” 

 

He led her off to the tables in a corner of the room, where there was some privacy that could be found in the hum of conversation and the first notes of the first set piece.   There was a young man with spectacles sitting in the corner, staring at a row of full wineglasses in front of him.  There was a pencil in his hand; he tapped it against the table in a rhythm that did not quite match the orchestra.  Scattered around him were menu cards taken from the buffet table – Shallan saw neat rows of numbers written on them, spaced around printed words: Pork Terrine in Horseradish Aspic or Pineapple Cream Trifle.

 

Kaladin sat down at the table, and after hesitating for a second, Shallan sat also.  The young man sat opposite, gaze fixed on the wineglasses: each held a different colour of wine, and his arranging them into a line seemed to hold a significance of which only he was aware.   The man – he was closer to a boy, Shallan thought – had the soft features of one not quite past youth; he must be around her own age, or only very slightly older.  His hair was dark like most Anglethis, but there were yellow stripes scattered throughout; he had on the blue uniform of a Kholin Regiment officer – there was the white shield-shaped patch with the tower and crown high on one slender arm, and on the other side – where Kaladin had his crossed keys of the Medical Corps – this man had a round patch depicting a wagon wheel over two crossed swords. 

 

He did not look up as they pulled their chairs to the table, but continued to tap his pencil against his menu cards.  “Each of these wines–” he said, without meeting their eyes.  His voice was soft, but curiously flat, as if there were no emotion in him; each word sounded as if it was chosen with great deliberation.  “Represents a different level of aeration.  There must be some intrinsic quality that determines how much vapour a liquid can hold.”  The pencil tapped as he spoke.  “Perhaps it is entirely environmental.  Would it be barometric pressure?  Or would it be temperature?”

 

Kaladin looked at Shallan; he raised an eyebrow.

 

“To determine how much vapour is in a liquid, you must first find a reliable way to capture and measure the vapour bubbles,” said Shallan, filling in the silence. 

 

“Yes,” said the man.  “The vapour bubbles have volume – they must have mass as well.  How much would a bubble weigh?”

 

Kaladin coughed.  “Renarin, may I introduce Miss – Lady – Shallan?”

 

Shallan inclined her head toward him.  “It is a great pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lord Kholinshire.”

 

The man – Renarin – raised his head at last.  He looked something like Adolin, but his features were softer, less defined – he could not be called handsome, Shallan thought, only comely.  His hair was not shorn to a common soldier’s crop, but was combed neatly over his forehead; it was trimmed in the back so that he lacked a fashionable gentleman’s tail.  His spectacles hid much of the expressiveness in his visage – if he had any to show at all.

 

He did not say anything, and Shallan wondered if he were waiting on something.  But then he spoke.  “You may call me Renarin.  I do not mind.”  He paused, tapping with his pencil.  Shallan waited some more.  “Until the day you might call me Brother.”

 

“Oh.”  Shallan did not know quite what to say to that. 

 

Renarin turned back to his menu cards.  He shuffled them, and Shallan looked down.  They were not notes, but calculations of some sort.  She scanned them briefly; they contained numbers interspersed with brackets and Kharbranth letter symbols.  She recognised one or two lines, but the rest was unfamiliar.

 

“There was once a time when I was ashamed to be called Brother,” he said, eyes downcast, pencil moving over his cards.  

 

Renarin, Marquess Kholinshire, was rather unnerving.  It was commonplace to fling down harmless truths when conversing in mixed company – one could joke about their weak left hand in playing racquets, or how they never enjoyed last year’s operatic season even if it had been lauded by both Society and the newssheets – and it would be received with good humour.  But Renarin spoke of deeper truths that had disturbing implications: his truths made Shallan uncomfortable.  Renarin seemed to possess the uncanny awareness that was the opposite of Kaladin’s – the Doctor had an ability to discern lies and falsehoods in all their degrees of subtlety.

 

He did not resent the awkward spreading silence, nor did he appear to notice her fidgeting as she tried to think of something to say.

 

“If you are not ashamed to be Brother, then I suppose I should not feel terrified at being Sister,” she said.  “If that day ever comes to pass.”  She pulled at her sash, tugged out the dance card by its blue tassel, and placed it on the table.  “Um.  Would you like to sign my dance card?”

 

Renarin’s pencil paused.  “Would the Doctor not like to–“

 

Kaladin cut in.  “Renarin, you would do Miss Davar an honour.”

 

Shallan smiled in what she hoped was a friendly manner.  “You could tell me more about the bubbles – I would truly like to hear more about them.  And no other gentleman has offered to dance, nor do I think they will.”

 

There was silence again.  Then Renarin’s left hand rose from under the table and slid the card towards himself; he opened it with a flick of a finger.  She saw that he had on a signet ring with a bezel in the shape of a – a lemon?  No, it wasn’t a lemon, but the all-seeing eye of the Almighty.  Instead of pupils, there was the tower and crown of House Kholin.   His pencil scratched over the card, then it was closed and slid back to her.  She tucked it into her sash.

 

“Will you watch my drinks, Doctor?” Renarin asked.

 

Kaladin grunted.  She noticed that he was looking at the menu cards and their calculations.  He did not comment on them, as Shallan was sure he would have done if she had missed the mark in one line or another.  Perhaps Renarin’s calculations were as correct as they were neat, then.

 

They waited for the set to finish, and as the orchestra paused to change their score books, Renarin stood up silently, and offered his arm to Shallan.  She took it, and he led her to the floor. 

 

When they wound their way past the tables and chattering groups, she noticed that there were many people still lining the walls of the ballroom, obviously with no intention of joining.  The dance sets on the card, she had observed, were mostly single pair dances.  And now she saw why – there was a severe imbalance of young gentlemen to young ladies.  She estimated that there were at least a third more of young ladies to gentlemen – something that would not have happened if the guest list had been composed with the proper attentiveness of a meticulous hostess.  

 

Jasnah would not have done this.  It must have been the Queen Dowager.

 

Renarin knew all the steps, but he was stiff – if still precise in his cues – and Shallan did not think he enjoyed it very much.  But he gave no indication of it; his hand holding hers was cool, and his grip was loose.  His posture was very straight, and when she stepped up close to him, she saw that he was very slightly shorter in stature than Adolin.  He did not smell like Adolin either.

 

“I see you use delta in your calculations.  Delta one and delta two and delta three,” remarked Shallan when Renarin did not say anything after some time.  This was one of the few Kharbranth letter symbols she recognised – she knew all of them, of course – where she also understood what factor or parameter they were meant to represent.

 

“The room,” explained Renarin, “and the wine cellar and the ice, and the difference between them.”

 

“I see,” said Shallan.

 

“It’s just like in the ether progressionals.”  Shallan’s hand twitched in his.  He did not comment on her reaction, but peered over her shoulder at the people dancing behind them.

 

“I did not take you for someone familiar with them.”

 

“The familiar is often the least expected.”

 

They did not speak for the rest of the dance, and he seemed distracted – he did not meet her eyes, or even look in her direction: his attention was focused on the other ladies in their fluttering gowns – was he looking at their posteriors?

 

The dance ended, and he dropped her hand.

 

“Thank you for the dance, Renarin,” Shallan said, and curtsied. 

 

They returned to the table and the row of wine glasses. 

 

“Diving bells,” said Renarin rather suddenly.  “That is the solution.”

 

It took a moment for Shallan to grasp his meaning.  “Oh – for the bubbles?”

 

“Yes, for measuring bubbles.”  He did not smile, but still he looked pleased as he pulled out his chair and picked up the pencil.  “Come back if you want to dance again.”  He scribbled busily on the menu cards; Shallan noticed there were some fresh ones laying on the table now.  Dill and Brined Salmon Toast, she read.  Smoked Oyster and Turtle Soup.   Cherry and Cheese Cake.

 

Kaladin took her arm and gently led her away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

More character development for Shallan here - we're setting up for the end-game now.  This has been a pretty long story, and I feel like ending it with a bang, because I don't think I'm cool enough to do a Sanderlanche.   This chapter has a lot of your favourite characters because fanservice, why not.

 

On Navani and Dalinar - Navani is a manipulative bee with an itch here, and a political player.  I thought it was an informed trait in the real SA - Dalinar described her as a queen bee in social circles, but you only ever saw her play with fabrials and that was it.  I wanted to emphasise her manipulative attitude, and also reference her insta-dislike of Shallan in WoR.  But in this AU, Jasnah isn't dead so I went with another angle.  Dalinar is a nicer guy, though.

"The late Duchess" - Adolin's mother had Shardplate in her dowry, but since Shards don't exist in this AU, why not a mercenary army.  It makes a match valuable, especially to a former warmonger like Dalinar.  It's also historically accurate - the American Revolutionary War was fought with loaned German soldiers and hired German mercenaries.

On Renarin - Adolin mentions in WoK that he can't tell the difference between wines (he just picks one off the menu at random) but his brother can drone on all day about them.  Renarin is not a Radiant, but since Shallan can draw, Renarin is very good with numbers and he is also perceptive, but doesn't fully understand people's emotions.

“There was once a time when I was ashamed to be called Brother” - Renarin was a very troubled boy once.  But now he is better and doesn't feel useless anymore since he got a position in the army.  His shoulder patch means he's a logistics officer.  In an AU with no Soulcasters, most armies historically foraged and requisitioned food (AKA looting) from local farmers, but Dalinar doesn't do that because he's a Good Guy.

“Would the Doctor not like" - Renarin picks up on it too.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 22

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY THREE

 

 

 

 

 

They later found themselves grazing at the buffet table, along with a number of older guests to whom the prospect of dancing was beyond both their agility and their dignity.  Shallan piled jam tartlets on her plate, next to a croquette and a stack of pickled vegetables held together by a stick. 

 

“What do you make of him?” asked Kaladin, filling his own plate.

 

“Renarin?  He’s very … eccentric.  But not unpleasant,” Shallan replied, catching up a fork from the trays of silverware in front of an ice sculpture carved into the shape of tower.  “His calculations are interesting.  I thought they looked to be a variant of the vapour progressionals – the ones you use on summer days.”  She stopped, and considered her brief conversation with him during their dance.  “Is – is he a wretch like me?”

 

“No,” said Kaladin, stern and disapproving.  “If you read more widely, you’d see for yourself that the numbers are a tool.  Not a confession.”

 

“What other applications might they have?”

 

“In medical academia, there are theories about the link between vapours and liquid in blood.  Some theorise that our existence depends on a connection between breath and blood – air is dissolved or bubbled through our blood, and it is used up somehow.  Which is why we need to keep breathing.” 

 

“Why do our bodies need air?  Has that ever been explained?”  Shallan, a devotee of the natural sciences, was intrigued by this line of discussion.  She had studied mostly morphology and physiology of living creatures, and the mechanisms and arithmetic of inheritance, but they were subjects limited to the books she could find or borrow, and specimens she could observe on the family estate.

 

“Our bodies are made of animalcules, and there is something within them that requires air for various process,” said Kaladin.  “But most of that is all hypothetical – we haven’t instruments fine enough to see them clearly for ourselves, and we merely postulate they exist based on simple experimentation.”  He looked at her, and saw that she wasn’t bored by his explanation – she was fascinated.  He continued.  “It’s similar to the smallest unit of a pure element – no one has ever seen any of those, but most people accept that they must exist, because they react in predictable and replicable ways.”

 

Shallan nodded.  “Botanical – animalcules – if plant ones could be called that, are much larger.  You can still see those with rough magnification – and see the things inside them, if you hold a lamp underneath.” 

 

His dark eyes lit up when they spoke of natural philosophy; it was a subject in which he held much interest.  Shallan, when she had first met the Doctor, had assumed he was a surgeon – or derogatorily called sawbones – someone who could draw a line on a man’s leg and cut it off straight, as anyone could who had completed an apprenticeship in dressing meats at a grocer’s market. 

 

But Kaladin could think like an academic, and he believed in organised science, involving proofs and quantities, and structured experimentation.  It was the neat mode of thinking that Jasnah endorsed, and had tried to win Shallan over to when she had seen that Shallan preferred the qualitative measures and the observation of common themes in her study of natural history.  Shallan had the mind of an artist; it was only necessity that had given her reason to learn arithmetic and chemistry.  Madame Tyn, conversely, had believed that skills in the humanities and language arts was all a lady needed; she had not seen much use in the constant quibbling and very male world of scientific academia.

 

Kaladin stopped short in the middle of sentence; his eyes left her face with the briefest flicker to follow something behind her.  Shallan turned.  It was Adolin, in his regimental uniform, surrounded by a number of young men.  He had not noticed their presence.

 

The young gentlemen matched him in stature and confidence in their upright carriage; they were all of them gallants of the high nobility – well-dressed in black formal coats with stiff white shirtfronts; there were one or two others wearing the blue of the Kholin Regiment.  They were laughing loudly and having their wineglasses refreshed, and did not bother to conceal their conversation.

 

One young man in a black formal coat slapped Adolin on the back.  “What’s this I hear about a Scottish girl?” he said.

 

Adolin shrugged as a footman poured wine for him.  “We’re just courting, Jak.  And it might not even get that far.  She’s only been here a week.”

 

“I never thought you were the type to let yourself be nailed into an arrangement, Adolin,” said the young man.  “There are lots of winds to ride out there, you know.”

 

“Like I said, it’s far from official.”

 

“In that case, let me introduce you to the ladies.”  He waved a hand, and a group of giggling girls colourfully dressed in silk gowns glided over.  They wore their hair elaborately braided and stuck with jewelled pins; their bodices were laced up tight to show their endowments to full advantage. “Inkima, Deeli, Rilla, Malasha, Janala, Danlan–”

 

“–And Melali,” Adolin finished, kissing them each on the hand.  They simpered in their loathsome twittering way, and fluttered fans over their faces.  “How’s your sister?”

 

Melali giggled and batted her eyelashes over her fan.  “As eager to see you as I am, sir.”  She stroked Adolin’s arm.

 

The young man, Jak, threw an arm around Inkima’s waist.  He must have brushed against her boldly, for she gasped and tittered and pressed herself against him; she did not appear to object at being handled in such a coarse way.  The other girls surrounded Adolin, two on each arm, and waved their dance cards in his face. He laughed at something one of them said, and signed their cards one after the other.

 

Well, now I see that the reputation was not for nothing - it was earned, and well-earned at that, thought Shallan bitterly.  The gentleman becomes the rake.  Finnie was right about everything. 

 

Everything except for me and the Doctor, of course.

 

She stood up and went to find the footman with the drinks.  She found him – he held a round silver platter of mostly empty glasses and two full ones.  She took a glass of sparkling white wine and downed it in a few gulps, and returned it to the tray.  Then she picked up the one remaining glass, and finished that.  There was a footman behind her with a tray of fresh drinks, so she took a glass of claret for her next one, for variety’s sake.

 

She sipped at it, and turned about, searching for more drinks.  If Renarin had managed to find six different wines, there was surely more than two to be had.   She bumped into Kaladin, who took her by the shoulder and steadied her.

 

“One drink an hour is usually the rate that guarantees sobriety,” he remarked.

 

“Sobriety at this party?  I do not recall seeing that name on the guest list.”

 

“You would not want to put yourself in an undignified position, would you?”

 

“I doubt anyone would notice if I did.”

 

“Does it bother you?”

 

“What?”

 

“That.”  He jerked his head in the direction of Adolin and his friends.

“No.”

 

“Is that the truth?”

 

Shallan spared them a quick glance.  Two of the girls were holding Adolin’s hands and tugging him onto the dance floor.  It did bother her, as much as she hated to admit it.  There was something in her that cried out – in the anger and loneliness of rejection, in despair – she had thought she was – special – to him, and now she found out she was not, that she was … nothing.  She paused.  No, not nothing – just nothing more than another one of the Duke’s girls: interchangeable, replaceable, identical in their intentions towards him.

 

She could not blame him for it.  She was the villain; she had wanted to use him thoughtlessly – it was only fair that he should act with equal intention.

 

He laughed with the – other girls; he held them by the waist, and by the hand, and their hands traced patterns on his back, and their arms were thrown over his shoulder; they whispered things into his ear.   Shallan closed her eyes.  It was inevitable, she knew, that there would come a day that anyone who knew her, or liked her, would see that she was not a person they would want to know when they found alternative to her company.  Even if she could not be said to be a good person, or a bad person, it still came with the implication that there existed better people.  What did innate Grace matter when one had lawful Grace in plenty: enough hereditary blessings to fill buckets up with money, and fill regiments up with mustered men.

 

Annulments can be granted upon infidelity, whispered the voice her mind.  It was Brother Kadash’s voice, and for that instant it sounded like Jasnah’s too.  Jasnah had suggested an annulment on the birth of an unsuitable first child – perhaps this could be a better and easier way to arrange her return to scholarship and the comforting routine of Jasnah’s guidance.  So.  She would willingly tolerate it, if she could not like it.  She had suffered worse things, and uncontrolled affection for others – well, that was no worse – and when considered, much better – than the uncontrolled fury that her father had felt. 

 

Philandering, she knew, was the unofficial occupation for gentlemen of leisure; it would have been socially unacceptable for them to hold a profession or position for pay.  Rakishness – skirtchasing – womanising, whatever euphemism was currently fashionable, was condoned; it was commonplace – and discretion was only required after marriage, to satisfy the terms of a contract.   Her resolve firmed; she took a bracing gulp of her claret.

 

“Yes,” she said, her voice cold and steady.  “I don’t care.  There can be a – a stable full of – concubines – but there will only be one Duchess.  Well, only one Duchess at a time, at least.  And that is what matters.”

 

Kaladin eyed her sceptically.  “So very mercenary.  Noble ladies really are all the same.”

 

“Noble ladies know that love and happy marriages are just foolish hopes to make their honeymoon worth enduring.”

 

“What might a maiden know about marriage?”

 

“I know enough to understand that love and happiness are a luxury.  And like all other luxuries, one can quite capably do without them.”

 

Kaladin’s lips twitched with grim humour.  “Your cynicism scarce befits your youth.”

 

She looked up at him and laughed.  It was not a very convivial sound.  “It is pragmatism, Doctor, and it is best learned early.”

 

“Indeed, Miss Davar, and we have learned from the best.”

 

“It is a shame that others have not the benefit of such an education.”

 

“Regarding your education – do you know the Continental waltz?”

 

“I have only practised it with my brothers.”

 

“I am not – nor do I wish to be – your brother, but I am entirely certain the skill is transferable.  Would you lend me your dance card?”

 

Shallan pulled the dance card out of her sash.  “I must first insist that I confirm for evidence of prior engagements.”  She flicked the tassel aside and opened the card.  “Oh, it looks like my dance card is quite blank.  How astonishing.” 

 

“Shall I, then?”  Kaladin held out his hand for her card; he had found a pencil somewhere, and when she handed him her card, he spent several seconds longer than she had expected to write a single name.  Then he held it back out to her, and she slipped it into her sash without looking any further.

 

“Shall we, then?”

 

He took her hand.  “Oh, and one thing, Miss Davar – you must take the lead and I shall follow … in reverse.”

 

It was a very queer sensation to dance the lady’s steps while counting cues for the gentleman’s.  She tapped Kaladin on the shoulder to remind him when to turn, but he soon accustomed himself to it, after several painful missteps involving a pair of very large boots. 

 

“You dance very well – for a woman,” said Shallan, smiling up at him.

 

“Thank you, I learned at school,” he replied.

 

“Kharbranth Academy teaches ladies’ steps?”

 

“They describe it as a cruel and unusual punishment.”

 

“As cruel and unusual as any governess’s lesson on deportment.”

 

“Learning how to drink tea is a cruelty?” said the Doctor, amused at the notion.  “My, your suffering near rends my heart.”

 

“Please, Doctor, tell me that after a fitting for your first bodice,” Shallan returned. 

 

“I should think that would make for a very undignified position.”

 

“Fortunately for you, you were never a follower of primitive country traditions,” said Shallan.  “And I do not think you are the type to put much stock in social obligation.”

 

“Yes, how very fortunate.”

 

“For the both of us, I’m sure.”

 

“Indeed,” he said.  His voice was softly pensive.

 

They finished one set, and started another.  Shallan could not decide if Kaladin was a better dancer than Renarin – Renarin was stiff and inattentive; Kaladin had put his foot forwards when the gentleman was supposed to step back in the turn, and had trodden on her toes.  He had not put his full weight on her foot, but they were satin dancing slippers, and could do very little with regards to cushioning. 

 

Kaladin’s stature and their height difference, though Shallan had never liked that she could not glare at him without angling her head all the way back, had its benefits here.   She did not have to look at the other people around them; she did not have to see Adolin in the arms of one of his … harem.  She could just focus her gaze on Kaladin’s neckcloth and that one whisker hair on his neck that he had missed during shaving, whilst mechanically counting the steps and occasionally signalling the cues.

 

She wondered about Kaladin’s opinion of – young ladies.  She had never considered the possibility of his being a natural singleton or an invert: though they happened on occasion, it was something that was never spoken of in either company or privacy.  She did not think he had displayed any overt interest in the maids with which she had seen him interact; she had observed in coaching inns on the journey with Jasnah that many people of the lower classes did not follow the strict rules of propriety that were observed to the letter by the gentry – when they attended social events in the public eye.  It was therefore not shocking to see maids show their interest in men – at least, men who were not their social superiors by far, or their direct employers.   The lower classes were not expected to be paragons of morality and virtue that was part of the expected – but unenforced – duties of those Graced by the Almighty to be leaders of society.

 

Kaladin was not gentry.  He was middle class, and theoretically within reach of the lower class, if they were ambitious enough in their pursuit.  He was not expected to follow the social expectations that constrained those of privilege, like herself or Adolin.  He could marry as he liked; he could dally as he liked – within reason.  But, of course, reason would be lenient for him. 

 

Now she understood Finnie’s winking when she had hinted at something between Shallan and the Doctor, after his visit to her bedchamber to change her bandages.  It would surely appear dubious when one was unaware that Kaladin’s visit was with the perfect innocence of a professional physician’s treatment of a patient – and Shallan almost laughed at the ironic absurdity that Kaladin was managing her mysterious personal issues.  She had been confused when she had first learned of them, the first night she had dined with the gentlemen.

 

Shallan had been confused about many things, she realised, upon her arrival to Kholinar Court.  She had not even been aware of own her confusion; it had been clouded in naïveté.  Her life had been planned for her by Jasnah, just as it had been by her father in Loch Davar.  She would be a scholar, she would woo Adolin, she would marry him – and then what?  She had presumed she would become the scholar again, after glossing over that missing interval which she hadn’t wanted – dared – think about.

 

Well, she knew now the things she had not known a week ago, and although it was not a fate that girls who had heads stuffed with silly romantic day-dreams could be eager for – at least it had the solid weight of certainty.  Certainty of a life, a stifling but luxurious life, with a wandering man, was better than the wandering half-life of an uncertain future.  At least in the former situation, one could be assured of regular meals, and that was not something Shallan could take for granted after the last desperate months before she had found Jasnah.

 

Adolin, although he might wander and be negligent in his treatment of her beyond the contractual obligations of husbandly duty, was not someone who would deliberately seek to hurt her.  She did not take him for the type to feel satisfaction or glee in seeing pain in others – an image of skinned frogs pinned to the ground with slivers of whittled sticks rose up – and she had seen the proof of it that night in the forest.  She had no obligation to love him – Jasnah, and any marital lawyer, would never consider it a requirement of matrimony; assuring a match would protect the people she truly loved.  Her emotions cooled; her disappointment faded; she drew on the nothingness of apathy inside her for strength and fortitude enough to carry on.  She had suffered worse blows, much worse; this was nothing in comparison. 

 

The set ended, and she tore herself away from Kaladin’s arms to find the footmen for another glass of wine.  There were Ardents in the crowd, in black hard-wearing homespun cut in simple rectangular shapes, belted at the waist.  And that was when she saw the blue eyes and handsome face of Brother Kabsal.  He saw her too; their eyes met, and his mouth opened, and his hand reached out for her.

 

The familiar is often the least expected.

 

Shallan almost gasped at the shock of it. 

 

He was here.

 

The Organisation was here.

 

She panicked; she whirled around on unsteady feet and stumbled away, pushing through the guests and mumbling apologies.  

 

She must have pushed past Adolin; Shallan heard the screech of a girl in his arms as she hurtled by.  She heard his voice, calling her name, once, twice, and then the crowd closed around her and he was swept away. 

 

Shallan climbed the stairs to the ballroom doors, two steps at a time, almost tripping in her heeled slippers and her sore toes.  She kicked off the shoes, picked up her skirts, and ran.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

"There is something within them that requires air" - basically, it's mitochondria, and they need it to break apart ATP for energy.  Animalcules is the old fashioned word for "cells".  And blood is actually a mix of liquid, gas, and solid.  I guess Kaladin forgot how to centrifuge.

Adolin and Jakamav - in this AU, Adolin hasn't discovered what a backstabbing toffee-noser Jak is.  And the girls are Adolin's groupies, invited by Navani the queen manipulator. 

"Kaladin’s opinion of young ladies" - Shallan still doesn't see that he is crushing on her.  At this point, she doesn't see why anyone would like her.  She is pretty self-centered and doesn't consider until now that Kaladin and Adolin may have love lives that have nothing to do with her, and that she doesn't know about.

Shallan, although she pretends not to be upset that Adolin is into other girls, really is sad about it and tries to repress it, because that's what Jasnah would do.  When in doubt, WWJD. Because Jasnah has been the guide on "how boys work" so far, and Shallan doesn't know any better.  Also, you can't have a ball without losing a shoe or two somewhere. :-D

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 23

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY FOUR

 

 

 

 

 

 

She careened past servants and guests in the hallway, but when she turned a corner, she saw she hadn’t been fast enough.  Kabsal stood in front of her, and at his side was a large bald man whose muscular shoulders stretched against the cloth of his Ardents’ robe.  The man cracked his knuckles slowly.

 

You – Kabsal!” Shallan panted.

 

“The troublesome young lady from the House,” said Kabsal, taking a few casual paces to block the way in front of her.  The other man stepped behind her. 

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

Kabsal smiled.  It was not very friendly.  “The church maps were taken from me.”  He waved a nonchalant hand.  “But – no matter.  We sent a man to the City to get others.”  He paused, and looked at her.  “And what did we find there?  Jasnah had got there first, and the archives were empty.  The Royal Society is in her pocket, and the Guild of Architects has accepted her as their new patroness.

 

“We went back to the Forest and it was crawling with soldiers in the guise of gamekeepers.  That was when I thought – of things being bought.  And of leverage.  And then I thought of you.”

 

Kabsal took a step forward; Shallan sidled closer to the wall in an attempt to slide around him.  He matched her, step for step.   “Lady Shallan,” he said.  “You could be very useful to us – and to me.  You needn’t be an enemy of the cause.  You could abandon these people–,” a look of distaste crossed his face, “–and join us in our mission.”

 

He raised a hand and held it forwards; Shallan stood still and trembling.  The hand brushed the line of her jaw and tilted up her chin.  Kabsal’s blue eyes gazed into hers.  They were an ordinary blue, like her eyes – or Adolin’s – but there was a curious hunger there, a hungry passion restrained by a careful systematic mind.   Shallan closed her eyes.  She felt his thumb lightly grazing her cheek.

 

Do something. 

 

Do what?

 

Use what you have.

 

You needn’t be the victim.

 

Shallan took a step back, hands clutching at the silken layers of her dress.  She took another step back.  Then, without a sound, she surged forward, head down, and butted Kabsal very hard in the stomach. 

 

Kabsal fell back with a low groan; all the air whistled out of him.  He toppled back against the wall and hit a spindly-legged side table on which had been placed a floral arrangement of blue-dyed tulips in a painted porcelain bowl.  The table rocked, and it tipped over, and the bowl fell to the ground and shattered.  Water, gardeners’ moss, and flowers scattered across the floor.  Kabsal struggled feebly to get up; he slipped; he fell onto the shards of porcelain with hands open to catch himself.  He gasped in pain and shock and lay on the floor; the water underfoot pinked with his blood.

 

Kabsal choked out a few words to the other Ardent.  “Catch her and bring her back.  Don’t hurt her – too much,” he wheezed.  “Tues-la si elle résiste.

 

Shallan ran.

 

She ran past guests and servants in the presentation wing of the House, to the foyer; she skidded to a stop and eyed the front door.  She could commandeer a guest’s carriage, and leave this House, and go home, and never again have to deal with men whose hands and voices were raised in anger against her.  She could pretend that this whole episode – this whole ghastly, traumatic, emotional week – had never existed, and continue with her life.  She had done it before; she had not come out any worse for it.

 

No. 

 

It had scarred her; she had been broken for it.

 

Because he – the Organisation – would come for her; the fear of it would lurk in the shadows so that every time she turned the corner in panic and saw a flicker of motion, she would sigh in relief afterwards that it was nothing, that it was just a trick of the light.  And she would live in constant terror every single day of her life from now, until one future day – that one last day where the shadows hid more than just another empty corner. 

 

Kaladin had told her she could go home at any time.  Why hadn’t she?  Because she wasn’t weak, and she had wanted so much to prove it to him – she had wanted to be right, or at least appear to be right.  She could be the victim, or she could choose not to be.  She did not have to love Adolin, but she could still marry him.  She could defend herself – and she had the means at her disposal; she could prevent a man from ever hurting her.  A man – a memory – a painful, terrible past life – could only hurt her if she allowed it to.   And she did not allow it.  Not this time.

 

She drew a shuddering breath and headed for the nearest familiar hallway.  When she glanced back, she saw the man in the Ardent’s robe slowly approaching the foyer.  He was walking through the hallway, opening every door on the way, checking the rooms for sign of her.

 

Shallan could not run away.  She could choose to fight – to defend, if not to attack.  She had done it before – how she cringed at the memory – and she had come away from it, the victor and the victim all at once: she had not been marked, but the marks stayed inside her, and she carried them always, and she held them within her as warning and reminder. 

 

She passed the door to the Cobalt Room, and she thought of the room full of swords that she did not know how to use, and she thought of the lady Knights painted on the wall of the temple in the forest.  The last time she had killed a man, and the time before that, she had not used a sword.  She had used only what she had. 

 

She stood in front of the retiring room’s door.  It seemed the friendliest room in the House; it lacked the grandeur of the dining room, but it possessed more personality than her own bedchamber, which she had seen only as a room for sleeping and changing one’s clothes.  She closed her eyes, and drew on the nothingness inside her to overwhelm the terror and panic that hovered on the edge of her conscious mind.  When she felt nothing, the effort it took to be wary and afraid was beyond her, and she could not dwell on the morality or wrongness of taking another being’s life away from them; she could not dwell on anything at all.

 

This time, unlike that last time – and the last time before the last time – when she had descended into the nothingness, she did not resist it, and she did not feel ashamed or afraid of this Shallan.  This was the true Shallan, the one under the mask.  She had glimpsed it before, and sought the blurred boundaries of it with great regularity, when she settled her mind into the calm of her artist’s trance – it was the same thing, only this was all of her, all the way in.  It was as familiar as the way a pencil could be adjusted into the tracing position, or the shading position, or the inking position, with an automatic twitch of the fingers: it was mental memory falling into its well-worn place, as muscle memory was part of her art.

 

It was cold and emotionless apathy; it was observing the world without focus, without bias, without interest on any single thing: crisp reality in all of its magnificent detail, light and shade and colour and shape in the truest clarity.  She had used it in the past without knowing what it was, without wanting to know it; it was her bulwark against regret and despair; it was the monster within her – no, it was her protector – and it lent her strength when she had need of it most, and allowed her to process information without hesitation and second-guessing.  She used it to draw from life, and she could use it now to defend her life.

 

Shallan opened the door.   The handle turned easily.  She got to work.

 

The first thing she did was to push the sidebar containing rattling glass cups and snifters to the door, so that it would only open two or three inches.  Enough so any pursuer might open it and know there was someone inside to put up resistance, and enough time to give warning for what she was about to do.

 

She picked up the box of knife blades from the sidebar, and took out a handle-less knife.  It was a double edged blade, like the point of spear; it narrowed into a tang that had two holes punched out where the handle would have been bolted on.  She undid her sash, laying it aside, along with her dance card.  She placed the tip of the blade under her left arm, as Kaladin had once done to her in the forest on that night.  She cut her dress off; it could not have been removed unless she had wanted to reach all the way around and undo the buttons on the back one by one.

 

Shallan went to the covered billiards table and collected four ivory billiard balls in a fold of her underdress; she approached the racked cues and slid two off the wall. 

 

With the knife, she scored a line around one wooden cue, and broke it over her knee.  It became two pieces: a longer end from the base of the cue, and a shorter, narrower end of the tip.  She did the same for the second cue.  Then she reached into her underdress, and untied the laces of her bodice, and dragged it out.  She used the knife to cut the knot of her bandages.  

 

The handle-less blades were tied to the sturdier pieces of the broken wooden cues, with the thin bodice lacing going around and through the rivet holes punched through the tang.  She tied sailors’ knots – a simple belaying pin twist – to hold it secure; she had practiced with hair ribbons on The Wind’s Pleasure, but bodice laces were easily managed.  She wrapped the bandage around it tightly, to fasten it securely.  It was a very rough job – but she would only need to use it once.  And it would be better if this makeshift spear were only capable of being used one time:  that way it could not be turned around and used against her.

 

She had read before – and information shuffled in, and through, and away with clarity and precision; her mind sifted through and picked the most useful pieces – such as the fact that one hunted boars with spears.  Continental armies used them in the form of entrenched bayonets, and called them swine’s feathers, for a reason.  They were a defensive tactic, used to drive away an enemy of greater size and strength and momentum: a maddened boar with gouging tusks, or a charging cavalry dragoon.

 

A boar, a horse, a bull, a man – they were all of them larger and stronger than she was – could they really be all that much different?  When they charged, they charged for a target.  She took her beautiful – lovingly made, even more lovingly altered – ball gown and laid it on the silk-damask sofa so that the hem of the dress rested on the floor.  From the door of the retiring room, one could only see the back of the sofa, and the dress peeping out from under the carved wooden legs.  She had used the arrangement to her advantage on that first night of eavesdropping.   She and Adolin had used it when she had kissed him, and he had kissed her, while Kaladin, unseeing, had stood at the sidebar.  She did not feel anything as that memory came and went.

 

She tied her sash to a tassel of a cushion, and arranged it on the floor behind the draped hem of her gown, with four billiard balls balanced on top.   She crossed the room and blew out all the lamps from the doorway to the sofa.  The fireplace had not been lit; the only light now came from three lamps at the rear of the room, which shone with soft translucence through the fine blue silk of her gown. 

 

Shallan took out two knife blades and tossed her bodice and dance card under the billiards table, and settled herself crouching behind the leather upholstered winged armchair that had been positioned in front of the cold fireplace.   She held her spear with one hand, and the end of her sash with the other; it trailed across the floor and behind the sofa, and was almost invisible in the gloomy half-light.

 

She waited.  Five minutes became ten became twenty to the ticking of the wall clock.  Her legs grew stiff; she stretched her muscles to relieve the tingling sensation of interrupted circulation.  Then she heard the sharp knock of the door hitting the edge of the wooden sidebar.  The door closed, then it opened again, slower; it tapped against the side of the wooden cabinet.  Shallan tightened her grip on the billiard cue.

 

The door burst open, and the cabinet thudded as it was knocked over on its side; there was a tinkling crash of glass.  In came the man – the false Ardent – in the black robe.  He held a pistol in his hand, aimed towards the only light in the room – the lamps behind the sofa and the low table that held the book she had never finished, and might possibly never finish.

 

Shallan gave the end of the sash in her hand a sharp tug.  She felt the cushion it had been tied to jerk, although she couldn’t see it; weight shifted, and the billiard balls dropped onto the carpeted floor with a soft and muffled thump – it sounded almost like a person moving about.

 

The muzzle of the pistol swung towards the sofa. 

 

The false Ardent chuckled.  “I know you are there, little girl.  You cannot hide from me,” he said.  His voice was low and menacing; her well-trained mind observed that he did not speak with a recognisable accent of either upper or lower classes, or even any accent or dialect of the Anglethi Isles.  He sounded like a foreigner.

 

He stepped forward slowly.  Shallan gave the sash another tug, and the cushion rustled against the silk skirts of her abandoned ball gown.

 

His back was to her now.  Slowly, she got to her feet, feeling indecently exposed without her bodice.  She stepped out from behind the armchair, held her spear in front of her, and sprinted for the man, bare feet pattering on the carpeted floor.  Men, horses, dogs – they all looked similar when you stripped away the skin and bone and saw what they were underneath.  Kaladin would know this: he had seen them all laid bare in front of him – perhaps that was why he treated them all the same no matter who or what they claimed to be.

 

Diagrams of comparative morphology skimmed through her mind, but here she relied mainly on instinct.  She sprang forwards; she thrust the spear at the man’s back, and it went into him, and she shoved upwards with all the force she muster, with the strength of her hips and legs behind the angle of her shoulders and wrists.  He grunted as the blade pierced him – he was shocked at the suddenness of it – and Shallan was shocked too at how easily it slid into him.  On reflex, his pistol fired into the air, ear-shatteringly loud in the closed space of a room – it spewed grey smoke, and his head turned, and he twisted around to face her.

 

Shallan let go and ducked around the armchair, catching up the shaft of her second spear.  He was stumbling now, pulling himself along with one hand on the back of the sofa; he had seen that there was no girl, only an empty dress and a tumbled cushion surrounded by billiard balls.  The false Ardent reached into his robe and drew out a second pistol, which he cocked with one shaking hand.

 

She dived to the floor just in time; he fired the gun; she felt a hot wind burning against her shoulder as she hit the carpet – there was a scorching heat, and then that same spot felt strangely cool, but she ignored it.  She rolled, and she got back to her feet, and she collected her second spear – and the man was only a few feet away, arms reaching for her.  He was groaning as he threw down his spent weapon, and bloodied foam flecked lips twisted into a manic snarl; his eyes showed white all around and he twitched and shuddered with every strained step.

 

He came on slowly, slowly and implacably, and with one last tortured gasp of effort he leaped for her.  She did not run, and she did not turn her back to him.  She was tired, so very very tired, but this time she did not want to lay her arms aside, and turn away, and close her eyes so she could pretend that there was nothing bad in the world and everything was the way it should be.  Because the world was not good, and if it had ever been good, all the goodness had long since been leached away in the four-and-a-half-thousand years since the world had ended and restarted to wash away the sins of men. 

 

And the sins of women.

 

He reached her, and she held the spear angled outwards in front of her, the base of the wooden billiard cue to the floor, as she had seen done in engravings of the Sverickan musket infantry.  Then there was an embrace of the least romantic sort imaginable, for his breath whistled against her cheek, spraying bloody foam that was more blood than foam, and the hands that reached for her were harsh with bruising force.  The second spear entered from the front, under the ribcage, and knocked against the point of the first.   He wheezed, and he fell against her, bearing her to the ground, keening with the pain of it.

 

He whispered words, nonsense syllables; they poured out of him with stuttering incomprehensibility.  He was heavy; she rolled him off to the side and she wriggled out from underneath, the front of her underdress wet with his blood.  She felt the powder burn now, on her shoulder and down the back of her upper arm, and it stung, fierce and insistent; for now she ignored it. 

 

She retrieved a handle-less blade from behind the armchair.  When she returned, he was still not dead.  His eyes were open and unfocused, and he twitched when she prodded him with a toe. There was a nauseating smell that was not just the tang of blood and sweat of a dying man.  She looked down.  The makeshift spear had torn a hole through his robe and into his belly; the juices of his – interior – had welled out and soaked the black homespun and the loosened bandages wrapped around the tang of the knife blade.

 

Shallan almost returned the food she had eaten and the three – or was it four? – glasses of wine she’d had that afternoon.

 

She approached him, and he was still gibbering and twitching on the floor, slowly dying as his body poisoned himself with his own acids.  The carpet around him was sodden with blood, just as his robe was, and her underdress.  She had no bodice on underneath, and his wet blood caused the fabric to cling to her skin; she suddenly felt very cold and naked.  She kicked at his arm, and it flopped limply out; she rolled the coarse black cloth of his sleeve up and saw a tattoo of three diamonds halfway up his forearm.  She closed her eyes, and drew the blade across his wrist. 

 

She did the same thing for his other side.

 

It was Kaladin’s mercy.

 

And she felt nothing from it.

 

The man gibbered and kicked.  He muttered words.  “La tempête approche, elle est inarrêtable,” he said, his tongue writhing impotently between crusted lips. “Vive l’Empereur.”  Then he gave a shudder, and fell still.

 

When the man was dead, Shallan stumbled to the armchair and collapsed into it; she sat with her knees tucked under her chin; she drew in a long and heaving breath.  Sensation returned; she felt the pulsing throb of the burn on her shoulder now, and the stiffness of her dress drying to her body with a dead man’s blood, and she felt empty and cold and hollow. 

 

She still felt the uninhibited clarity of thought.  The nothingness was still with her, and inside her, and around her, and it held her in its gentle embrace.

 

She understood what she had done just now.

 

She knew she had done it to protect herself.

 

She knew what she had done was to protect herself the last time, and the last time before last. 

She remembered what she had done.

 

She had killed her father.

 

Lin, Laird Davar, had been arguing heatedly with her step-mother Malise one evening.  They rowed often, and in the last weeks before his death – before she had killed him – it had occurred once every two days on average.   Most of the time it was him roaring and smashing things, and occasionally striking her, but this time she heard Balat.  She heard his voice, deep – almost like Helaran’s, for he was a man grown now – and thus felt it his duty to offer some resistance to their father.  Out of guilt that he had not done so earlier, out of the fierce admiration that all of them held for Helaran, or out of the instinct to protect what family was left, she did not know and could not guess.

 

Shallan had been in Jushu’s room, measuring ether in whisky bottles, and diluting with distilled water up to the lines she had marked with paint after much painstaking measurement.   Jushu had taken off his boots and jacket and was settling on the bed.  Then they heard Malise screaming, and it was followed by a thud, and Malise’s scream stopped abruptly.  They heard Balat yelling; they heard Father’s answering bellow; they heard things smash, and they looked at each other.

 

“I have a plan,” said Shallan, and this was not the first, nor the last time she had said this line.  It was not the first time or last time she had said it and made up her actions as she went along, and it was not the first or last time she had stayed and fought when her first thought had been to run.

 

Jushu lent her his tartan from his linen chest, and they piled up ether bottles.  First the bottles from the bedside table, then the bottles from under the bed, and finally Jushu’s cache of rough street ether that he had hidden beneath the false bottom of his wardrobe and a small compartment under the floorboards.  She had only known about the bottles under the bed.

 

They gathered up the clinking pile in the tartan and carried them downstairs, where they met Wikim on the landing.   “They’re in the parlour,” he said, and they heard Balat yelling, in pain now, not anger. 

 

When they turned the handle of the parlour door, it would not open until Wikim gave it a great heave, and they saw Malise with her eyes closed, and blood dripping from her temple and down her cheek.   She was fallen over the threshold, fingers curled on the handle from the other side, and she did not move; Shallan perceived no rise and fall of breath as someone unconscious in sleep or in drift.  Jushu’s hands rose up and he covered his face and gave a queer whimper, but Shallan pushed onwards, dragging the bundle of bottles. 

 

Father was standing over Balat, who lay crumpled on the floor.  The heirloom claymores on their stand over the mantelpiece had been pulled down, and neither of them were in Balat’s hand.  One of them was in Father’s, and the other hand held the fireplace poker.  With a growl, Lin Davar lunged forwards and brought the poker down on Balat’s leg.

 

Shallan felt the comfort of apathetic nothingness when she tore Wikim’s belt dirk from his waist and sliced off the last foot of fabric on the hem of her petticoat.  She cut the tops off the ether bottles and poured the highest concentration of street ether over it. 

 

“Pour four bottles of eighty-mark on the tartan when I have him on the ground,” she said to Wikim.

 

And then she ran to Father and slung the circle of ether-wet fabric over his head and pulled and pulled until he was off balance, and he couldn’t breathe, until he dropped the sword and poker to clutch at the cloth over his face. 

 

Those who had never been exposed to ether, or ether fumes, would be unaware of how it burned and stung the nostrils and choked the air out of the lungs when it was in its highest, undiluted concentration.  The immediate response, she knew, would have been to gasp out a breath when attacked from behind.  But with ether, one couldn’t do that – one had to hold their breath until the vapours dissipated.  And the higher the proof, the faster they went, which was why ether needed to be diluted with water for a drift longer than fifteen minutes.

 

She knew what happened next.  The first gasp, followed by the searing of the throat and nostrils as the mucus linings burned away, and then the dizziness when all one breathed was ether instead of air.  Shallan had not calculated arithmetic progressionals for Father, but with the highest proof, it would not take long.  Father stumbled backwards, one step, then another, and then he collapsed to the ground with Shallan still pulling her strip of linen petticoat over his face. 

“Wikim, now!” she cried.

 

Wikim bounded forwards with the tartan; she ripped it out of his hands with savage force.  The highest concentrations of ether never lasted long – she needed more ether, before Father regained his senses.  The tartan was thick, and it had not absorbed much of the ether – drips of it rolled off the greasy lanolin impregnated wool and landed on the floor.  But it would prevent the vapours of the petticoat layer from escaping.  When she watched for Jushu, he had used a blanket over a kerchief to the same effect.

 

She pressed the tartan over Father’s face, holding it down with what weight she had.  His body twitched and bucked, but he was falling into an unconsciousness beyond a frolic, beyond a drift, beyond even surgical insensibility.  This was the danger of ether, when one used it without calculating and poured it without measuring.  With an irresponsible and untrained watcher, or no watcher at all, one could end up with too much ether and not enough air, and wake up from sleep permanently addled in the mind; it could damage a person, and they would end up a drooling invalid.  None of this bothered Shallan.  Nothing bothered Shallan right now.  She considered it a blessing.

 

She heard Balat moaning; she heard Jushu behind her.

 

“The fifty-five and enough to soak your kerchief,” she said.  “It will ease the pain.  The forty will do to clean a wound – do it after he drifts.  You must light the lamps and check for broken skin first.”

 

There was no way to count.  They did not own a wall clock; she had not thought to bring an hourglass from Jushu’s bed table.  Shallan resorted to singing to measure the time. 

 

“Now go to sleep,” she whispered, “and drift you deep, with darkness all around you…”

 

It was a lullaby, one he had sung to her when she was a girl, when Mother was still alive.  Her cheeks were wet with tears; her hands were wet with ether, and the vapours surrounded her and drew her in and she knew was on the verge of a frolic. 

 

“Now comes the storm,” she sang, “but you’ll be warm, and the wind will rock your basket.” 

 

Father’s legs stopped kicking after a while, but she held the tartan down anyway.  She poured another bottle over the tartan just to be sure.  In the end, she did not know if Father had suffocated from lack of air, or if he had drowned from too much ether.  But it didn’t matter; he was dead.

 

They dragged his body to the Loch, wrapped in Jushu’s tartan.  It was the traditional send-off for a Scottish man – how strangely convenient it was.  It was even more convenient that it had been soaked in ether, and they had many more bottles left.  They poured it over him and lit it on fire – it caught quite easily and burned with merry blue flames – and they went back the manor, and then sent out for a surgeon for Balat. 

 

The vapours dissipated eventually.  There were no bloodstains.  It was all very clean and neat.

 

It had been easy, incredibly easy, for Shallan to excise the whole ordeal from her mind.

 

Until now.

 

She remembered it, and remembered a great many things besides, and she saw things she had not seen because she had not wanted to see.

 

Kaladin.  He spoke truths to her, and she had brushed them off because part of her had wanted to be the victim.  She accepted those marks on her soul as a part of her, out of guilt of what she had done – she had seen herself as a murderess, and cursed besides.  Why had she wanted to be the victim? 

 

Because she was afraid. 

 

She, in essence, was timid and non-confrontational and cowardly.  She did not like to be the first to speak; she detested criticism and correction; she liked to be seen as likable because she thought approval was the only measure of her worth.  It was all insecurity.  She let others guide her, and choose her path; she accepted how they mapped her future, for if they took care of it, they were responsible – the bad things she did were not her responsibility.  It had been simple enough to place herself in the position of the victim of circumstance.

 

Shallan wanted other people to absolve her of her sins, but perversely, she had been too afraid to tell them – afraid of what answer they would give her.  She had been trapped in the stasis of a Damnation of her own creation.  She became aware that there was no one to answer for her actions except herself – and forgiveness came from within.

 

Father was dead by her hands.  Two men had died this week, shot and stabbed but finished off through other means.  She almost laughed at how inefficient she was at killing.  It was hardly the mark of a seasoned killer.

 

If she hadn’t done it, she would be dead.  That was truth.

 

She was not a good person, or a bad person.  She was just a person.  That was truth.

 

Guilt and fear could rule a person’s life, until there was no room for anything else.  She did not want her life consumed by it.  She wanted more than that.  There existed more than that, and she had felt it for the first time in years, however briefly, this week.  That was truth.

 

Loch Davar could never be her home again.  That was the final truth.

 

Forgiveness and peace; they were twined together for her; they were prelude to healing and recovery.  Shallan felt empty inside, but it wasn’t the bleak and empty nothing of despair.  It was a cleansing and expectant emptiness: she was a vessel, and she had been broken, and the dark, tarry corruption that had been hidden inside for years and years had spilled out all at once.  The pieces were still there, and they could be put back together – different, of course, since it could never be the same again – but she could be whole again.  If she wanted it.

 

Shallan turned the bloody knife over and over in her hands.  She had picked the knife blades out at random, but this was the one with the three diamonds stamped clearly on the tang. 

 

How very strange life was. 

 

How it took such twists and turns so that a blade wielded by a man in the forest became a spear that killed his comrade.  Shallan had chosen the path; she had made her decision to stand and defend herself; she had turned aside the blade’s intention and a man had impaled himself upon it.  Perhaps the blade buried in the dead man’s belly was the same one that had scored the cut against her ribs.

 

Shallan thought of things as the remorseful weight of withheld emotion descended; her calm and peaceful nothingness receded to the edges of her mind and faded away.  Life returned; perfect clarity dulled, and her awareness extended only to a small circle around the leather armchair.   The wall clock counted the seconds away, and Shallan savoured the tranquil silence before reality caught her up and boxed her ears with the force of its relentless clamour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

On Kabsal - I wanted him to come off kind of creepy, like Mraize.  He thinks Shallan is cute, and doesn't want to hate her since her father did give them a lot of money that he mortgaged their estate for.  But he is still a fanatic devoted to his special club, and that is his number one priority.

When did Shallan become MacGyver? - You have to remember she doesn't know how to fight with standard weapons, she's a creative person, and she reads a lot of things in books and has a good memory.  It’s the same with SA Shallan, who is pretty good with thinking on her feet.  See that time she snuck into Amaram’s house.

Swine's feathers - IRL Swedish military tactic in the 1600's.  Soldiers stuck daggers on the ends of their muskets, before they were officially called bayonets.  They also stuck knives on their shooting tripods so they could hold off cavalry while reloading.

Shallan and her father - you were probably waiting for a long time to find out how that happened.  There's no poison, and they sold the necklace earlier in their AU, so Shallan uses what she has.

On Shallan's character development - Shallan is starting to let go of repression and denial.  She felt guilty the whole time that she was personally responsible for every bad thing that happened, because she deserved it, because she is a bad person.  I feel it's more satisfying when she learns to do it on her own instead of being nudged into it by a spren.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 24

 

 

 

 

 

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That was brutal. And amazing. And... pretty violent too.

 

Is the Organization working for France?

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Every serial Romeo needs to have the previously hidden issues rear up, followed by the paradigm shift.  It's part of every romance novel plot.   :ph34r:  It's the way an author establishes the MC girl as the "right girl" instead of just another go around the revolving door of romance.  The only question is how deep Adolin's issues are, and how much work it takes for him to start getting over them.  I don't think he needs to go all the way in exploring his daddy issues and self-confidence problems, honestly.  Just enough to have self-awareness of his own foot-shooting behaviour and stop it before it happens, or right after it happens so his foot doesn't permanently stay shot. 

 

Bravery and obedience - I think those were the Dustbringer virtues.  I guess you could only see it if you really forced it,  :unsure:  :unsure:  :unsure: People see what they wanna see.

 

The incapacity to develop lasting long-term relationships usually harbor past issues though not all bear the same level of pain. Whereas there are people who genuinely refuse to invest themselves into relationships for understandable reasons such as the desire to push the career forward or the desire to be free (though arguably these perhaps also have issues of their own), there also are people who's troubles sprout from personal issues. What ticked me off with Adolin is the fact he genuinely want his relationships to work, but they keep falling apart by his own fault. In other words, he is unconsciously sabotaging them.

 

This imply the reasons behind Adolin's difficulties in choosing a woman aren't linked to a refusal to live the marital life, but to an incapacity to engage himself into a significant relationship. It gets worst as most serial daters will often stay with the same girl for short period of times: out Adolin is incapable of passing the test of the first few dates. His fight or flight response gets triggered very early on. It doesn't take much to scare him away. For instance, Mashala asking if she could come to the battlefield with him, someday, was enough to start the process.

 

Romance novels may be cheesy enough to simply plant in the "right girl" to make our guy suddenly forget he has issues, but I personally would not buy it. If Adolin has trouble developing relationships, then he needs to have trouble with Shallan, more so because he actually likes her. 

 

I think the main trouble here is Adolin foot-shooting behavior is triggered by fear and fear tends to be uncontrollable. He first needs to figure what he is afraid of exactly and work on making it less scary so he'll be able to move on, but I do see it as a more complicated process than simply admitting it was his own fault all along. Being self-aware is only the first step in solving a problem: you first need to be aware there is one. That's the easy part, solving it much harder.

 

People see brave because Adolin rushes into battle, he is a duelist and he has not shown open fear out on the field, though he arguably was, by his own admission, terrified at the Tower. Simply because someone deals with arms, weapons and battles, people will automatically associate him with bravery, but they forget bravery is about facing one fears and someone fears may not be tied with dying or warfare. Adolin isn't afraid of warfare, not yet, but he is afraid of failure, he is afraid he will fail those he loves and he hasn't even begun to start the process of working on that. By comparison, Kaladin was massively protective towards people even before he got to bond Syl: being protective is his default state. I thus expect a proto-Dustbringer to have bravery as a default setting. No character so far has stood out except perhaps Rysn though she could also be described as resolute.

 

As for obedience, again it isn't Adolin's natural state such as being a leader is Kaladin's natural inclination. Adolin obeys orders because he has obeyed orders all his life and a world without orders to follow is scary. He also wants to please and to fit in so badly, he tries his best to do exactly as being told. I think it quite telling the one aspect of his life where he is given free will, courtship, is the one aspect of his life where he is too afraid to make a decision. Nobody is there to tell him what to do, hence he ends up being completely inactive.

 

But it is easy to classify Adolin as brave and obedient  :rolleyes:

 

 

All of Shallan's problems come from within, and it's mostly things that happened in past that she needs to stop denying so she can move past it.  Adolin has problems too, but a lot of it is tied with his current appearance/perception by other people, so that's harder to fix quickly without a crazy contrived plot like "fell into a fire and pretty face got burned off" or "localised amnesia".  I also think Adolin's shyness with intimacy is what keeps him backing away.  I don't think he has a problem with the concept of intimacy, he just doesn't initiate. 

 

I think Adolin's issues are tied to his strong desire to fit in, to be loved, to please which are alternatively tied to the fact the world has placed so many expectations on him, he can't possibly meet them all by being anything else but perfect. I don't think Adolin is guilty of vanity, so I don't think him being disfigured would solve anything  :unsure:

 

Brandon has actually given an answer pertaining Adolin's issues with relationship... He said he was bad, but he also said he was afraid of not being "good enough". So it isn't so much he is afraid of intimacy, he is afraid he won't meet up to the expectations people have placed on him. It is all about fear, failure and the inability to show weakness or to put oneself in a state of weakness. I think it is going to take a hard push before Adolin starts to crack and to show his weakness, but once he'll crack, it'll pour out like an unstoppable stream  :ph34r:

 

I agree Shallan's problems are tied with her environment. Had she grown in a different household, she wouldn't have develop those issues. Though I suspect still have the tendency to close her eyes on facts which trouble her, she may have grown into those dissociating woman incapable of seeing what is right under her eyes, but she wouldn't have grown miserable.

 

No one starts with talent.  You have to develop it.

You just lack the patience.  :ph34r:

 

I once tried to write one once... but I more or less gave up due to not really know how to wrap up the story  :ph34r: Also, English is kinda not my language which means I make a lot of mistakes and it unnerves me  :(

 

 

But the spren don't really "choose".  They come to the physical world because their spren families in the cognitive realm tell them to, and then they hang around important people and opportunistically jump them if their virtues fit the spren requirements.  They choose you if you were the right person in the right place with the right circumstances, not because you were the long prophesised Hero of Ages or anything.  The one exception being Syl, who left the Stormfather's magical cognitive house to find Kaladin.  But she didn't "choose" him, she was just attracted to the gratitude people felt for him, and stuck around to see if he developed/broke further.

 

 

Maybe we have different ideas of spren, but I see them as beings with their own mysterious identity and agenda that is unknown to the reader because they can't tell the details, or lost their memories.  They're not part of a character's psyche, like the daemons from His Dark Materials.  They're symbiotic parasites.  They bond to humans because they get something out of it. 

 

If it makes you special, it's just as special as being in the right time and place, like winning the lottery.  It's the specialness of crazy probabilities lining up.  And you don't need a spren to tell you that you're worthy, or better than everyone else.  Worth comes from within.  :ph34r:  This is why I would be okay with Adolin not becoming a Radiant through the normal means - it would just be like winning another duelling trophy, a confirmation for his self-confidence.  It would be healthier it if he could figure it out on his own.  If you have ever watched The Lego Movie, everyone is "The Special".  The prophecy was a lie, because it comes from your own belief in yourself.

 

If Adolin revived his blade after lots of hard work and soul-searching, that would make me happy because it would be an instance of a consenting adult choosing his own spren.  I think it's kind of freaky for Shallan and Lift to get bonded so early, and it probably wouldn't have been done in the pre-Recreance days. 

:ph34r:

 

Yeah I agree the sprens do end up choosing after endless search, they mostly stick to one area and pick the first available suitable individual though Syl makes it sound as if she browse the entire world to look for Kaladin specifically  :rolleyes:

 

I would argue the humans get something out of the sprens too.... without Syl, Kaladin would have jumped down the chasm... The only reason he reforged himself was because of her, just as the only reason Shallan is remembering and is learning to face the truth is because of Pattern. The sprens are the ones who are forcing them out of their misery, dragging them out. Sure the human has to walk certain steps, but they have guidance, encouragement and the happy though their magical friend actually wants to be with them.

 

You don't need a spren to tell you you are worthy when you aren't broken... Broken people or more accurately people having lived enough hardships to make them doubt about themselves or simply people who lack self-confidence do need to be told they are worth it. Why do you think Adolin likes dueling so much? I think it is because it gives him instant gratification: he needs to be told he is good. Knowing it is not enough because he isn't confident enough in his judgment on the matter.

 

I too personally do not want Adolin to become a Radiant through the normal means. I agree it would feel like "oh another one"...  :rolleyes: I think Adolin's character progression would be more interesting if it tackles the identity quest, the one who doesn't know who he is. Everyone else knows. Kaladin always knew he was a soldier at heart: he perhaps had a hard time admitting it or embracing it, but he always knew. The same goes with Shallan, Dalinar, Jasnah and probably Renarin as well once he finally decides to get his stuff together.

 

They all knew who they were/are. Adolin, I suspect, has absolutely no idea who he is, what he loves, what he wants. All his life he has followed a script and while it appears as if he had choices, those choices were constraint within a few limited acceptable ones. Luckily, none of those clashed too hard with him, so he went along with it, but he never went to his formatting years. I get the feeling he never had his teenage years, he just skipped the period, happy to be Dalinar's perfect son. As a result he has grown into thinking what society, his father want are what he wants as well, but events are going to force him to reconsider.

 

It makes for an interesting tale where Adolin suddenly ends up being the one without a defined role, without a defined place and it gets even more interesting if he figures it out, on his own. It becomes a massively interesting story arc if becoming a Radiant comes at the end of the process where he genuinely choose it as he finishes the last step to revive the Blade, on his own. In other words, by finding himself, Adolin will end up saving the spren, probably unknowingly.

 

I only saw bits of the Lego Movie, but in Lego Ninjago  :ph34r: I looks like the ninjas have to overcome their fears to get more powers or something... Kinda miss the first 40 episodes  :ph34r:

 

Kaladin loses some of his idealism as all kids do when they get older in my AU, but it's not blinded by crazy levels like his hate of lighteyes.  He realises that there is no greater morality determined by class or social status or gender or nationality.  And the realisation comes first by being a surgeon, and later as a soldier.  Because as a surgeon, he knows that everyone is the same in the inside when he cuts them open, and badness and goodness are determined individually.  He realised that some of the people he saves are bad people who will live to do bad things, but he saves them anyway, and sometimes good people die on the operating table no matter what he does.  It was the way he would have developed if he had never left Hearthstone, I think.  It's similar to Lirin, but Kaladin is more moral and wouldn't have stolen the spheres.

 

I don't think Kaladin ever glorified warfare. He doesn't feel the Thrill in canon-SA, and he has no patriotic fever in the AU.  And in the context of a Regency setting, social class is so inbuilt into the system that it's completely unthinkable to question it openly.  ALL officers beyond NCO's get their positions through buying commissions, and promotions come from how much money you have to fund the extra men under your command.  So he may not like the system, but he doesn't hate Adolin for being his superior officer, because Adolin doesn't abuse it, and compared to people like Amaram, he tries his best to do good by the people who serve him. 

 

The tl;dr is that the world is black and grey and Adolin is a light beige.  Kaladin is not so idealistic that he will hate Adolin for not being pure bleached undies white.  It's a more balanced view that doesn't result in situations like the Moash one.  That drove me up the wall.

 
Doesn't Au Kaladin have issues over watching good people die while bad people survive? He seems too involved to not care. It was his greatest weakness as an apprentice surgeon: he took it too personally.
 
You know what would be great? Putting AU Adolin on the surgery table together with a terribly guy :ph34r:, but Kaladin's moral guidelines states he has to treat the bad guy first as he has more chances of making it. A bit like the replay o the Roshone/Rillir scene but with Kaladin sanding within Lirin's shoes. Can he watched his friend die in pain while helping a terrible human being survived simply because rules state Adolin doesn't have much chance to make it anyway?
 
As for the Thrill, I think Brandon confirmed Kaladin cannot feel it due to his Nahel bond and since Syl has been with him from the start, he never truly had it, but he never truly was doing dirty work. He mostly stayed out of harms way, trying to appear efficient while avoiding the hot spots or so were my impressions.
 
Beige is not even a shade of grey! How can Adolin be light beige??? Agree Moash was frustrating.
 

 

I knew Tien was going to die as soon as the character was introduced.   :ph34r:  Kaladin wouldn't have ended up a slave away from his family unless something severed his connection with them.  Tien was the pet puppy from every children's novel that the main character raises by hand.   :ph34r:  Kaladin's story was just very vanilla Hero's Journey to me - suffering and then redemption, all very predictable from start to end.  I understand that was the angle Brandon was going for - that's why his name is KALADIN for Almighty's sake.    :lol:  His unique character quirk was depression and I some people may have liked it, but I wasn't a huge fan.

 

Adolin's unique character quirk I think is more interesting.  :ph34r:  I thought he was going to be a mix of Dojo Bully and Teacher's Pet, and he was going to get a beatdown lesson in humility, but he turned out to be the Nice Guy trying to pass himself off in a world full of Tough Guys. 

 
I knew the character named Tien died the second his name was mention  :ph34r: Even before I knew he was Kaladin's brother, I knew he died  :ph34r: It wasn't such a great mystery  :ph34r: The greatest mystery, for me, was learning how Kaladin got sold into slavery.
 
I agree Kaladin's story arc mostly revolve around the hero's journey, though I see no redemption... Kaladin never did any wrong, how can he redeem himself? All in all, he has been a perpetual victim of bad people using their rank to take advantage of him. His story has been about him not giving up, never. It was predictable, but back in WoK, I also found it was efficient, mostly because I got resolution on this arc by the end of the book. Coming out from the worlds of WoT and ASOIAF, I expected it would last much longer  :ph34r:
 
In WoR, I realize his character quirk was depression (it was not obvious in WoK) and, later, I found out it was a condition he would never overcome. At this point in time, I started dreading reading more Kaladin as I figured his POV would be filled with long and tedious depressive bouts as it was in Part 4 of WoR. I got even more dispirited by the SA3 excerpt on Kaladin where he was, again, being depressed  :ph34r:
 
Adolin is more interesting. It is all about appearances, about not being who you appear to be. He's just a nice good-hearted kid stuck in a world of manipulative selfish people who simply want to use him for their benefit. He cares more about people than they care about him and this is sad. When I was reading WoR, I thought Adolin would be betrayed and, as a result, he'd receive a beat down while seeing his Shards taken away from him  :ph34r: If it were Kaladin's arc, this is how it would have gone down  :ph34r:  I was slightly disappointed the 4 on 1 didn't end up in a heart-breaking moment because I was kinda of waiting for it  :ph34r:
 
I still think Adolin will loose his Shards...  -_- This has to happen  -_-
 

 

Opening up to someone is all about trust.  Shallan wouldn't open up to Adolin if they were in the chasms because she doesn't know him enough, and doesn't trust him enough, and she is afraid he will say something like "YOU'RE A MONSTER!!!".  So she didn't want to risk it.  From what I have read of Shallan's character, she doesn't like confronting scary things until she absolutely has to and there is no other choice - like Jasnah dying on the boat, or Tyn's spanreed message.  So as long as she can keep Adolin in limbo, she will maintain the status quo.  It's selfish, but that's Shallan.  Until she gets over her problems or she gets a clear indication that Adolin won't think she's a monster.

 

Adolin has fewer inhibitions to opening up, but his main problem is his lack of self-awareness.  You might be able to pick out his foot-shooting habits, and his low self-confidence, but I doubt he knows what's wrong with himself in words he can say out loud.  All he knows is that this thing, or this person, or this situation makes him feel unsure, or angry.   

 
I agree Shallan isn't going to open-up until she is in a talk or die situation, such as the chasm. She basically had to confide in Kaladin, though I would argue once they were relatively safe within their cubicle, she had no reasons to further confess. Many take this scene as a sign of compatibility in between those characters. I personally think too many outside factors were playing at the time to justify it, but at the same time it is true she more readily open-up to Kaladin than to Adolin. 
 
I could see her marry Adolin, lie to him for years, never telling him the truth until he finds out through other means, but one "adventure" with Kaladin and she spills her beans. This is disappointing, to say the least.
 
It is selfish and sadly it places Shallan as no better than any of the other girls who may have wanted to marry Adolin for status and wealth only. Even worst, it could be one of those girls Adolin rejected could have come to love him as he deserved while Shallan.... Can Shallan be the wife he needs/deserves? Can she love him?
 
Adolin has never realized there was a problem within his relationships. He called it an anomaly, but he hasn't grasp the deeper implications. He hasn't spend time to ponder on it, likely because each girl was quickly replaced by another one. He never truly had the time, but once he ends up alone, truly alone, he is likely to be force to raise his level of self-awareness.
 

 

Shallan needs other flaws than her traumatic past.  Once she gets over that, she would go into Mary Sue territory unless she had other character quirks to keep her from being perfect at everything she does.   :ph34r:

Book Shallan is still keeping secrets and misrepresenting herself to Adolin.  She's not going to tell him that she still wants his money to save her brothers, or that she is a spy in her spare time.  She likes him, and is physically attracted to him, but she's not totally honest with him. 

 

Regarding Jasnah - Shallan sees Jasnah as her female role model, who is strong and beautiful and poised 100% of the time.  You can tell when Shallan gushes about Jasnah when she meets her in Kharbranth in WoK.  Jasnah sees Shallan as a younger version of herself, and wants to protect her from the worst things, but she is still Jasnah.  Jasnah doesn't understand love, and values The Big Picture and End Justifies the Means type thinking.  That is why Shallan goes along with the plan, and why Jasnah is willing to arrange a divorce.  Because a forced marriage to Amaram was something that could have been possible in Jasnah's past, and would have been arranged by her own mother and brother if she let them, and if anyone had offered her an "out", she would have taken it.  She thinks she is protecting Shallan, as no one would have protected her.

 
Oh I think Shallan has other quirks able to steer her away from Mary-Sue territory. For once, she is too bold, too adventurous and she tends to not think things through before jumping feet first into dangerous situations. She also thinks herself much smarter than she really is which makes her blind to truly smarter people aptly manipulating her. For instance, Mraize... I never once believed she managed to successfully fooled the Ghostbloods... They saw her for what she was the instant she walked in, but they decided to play her around as she would turn out being more helpful in the future. Mraize is manipulating her. Big times. 
 
So she has other issues... She is very self-centered, intellectually snobbish (thinking she is smarter than everyone else) and manipulative. She will lie and cheat to get what she wants, she will trample a good man such as Adolin just to save her family. Not once did she think she may be hurting him: it hasn't even cross her mind.
 
Book Shallan is terribly dishonest with Adolin and she is using him to her own ends, but then again, who isn't using Adolin to their own ends? Perhaps Renarin isn't, but he may be the only one.
 
My take on Jasnah has always been she got disgusted with married life by watching her mother being forced into a secondary role next to her husband when she could have become a renown scholar of her own had she chose another path. I think Jasnah truly loves research and was not willing to compromise in order to marry anyone. She also controls her emotions very closely, so she never let herself actually fall in love with anyone, she never got close enough to anyone for it. Well not in recent years, I can't say about her past, but a broken heart isn't something I wish to read in there.
 
Just as story Jasnah, book Jasnah has reasons to want to marry Shallan to Adolin: it would rescue her family and it would tie Shallan to the Kholins. Everyone wants Adolin to marry so if Jasnah can find a suitable girl, then it makes everyone happy. 
 
This being said, I am somewhat disturbed by story Jasnah' lack of concern for her cousin... This is quite sad actually.
 

 

The problem is that Kaladin is an honourable guy, and wouldn't kiss Shallan unless she broke up with Adolin.  So Shallan would have to initiate herself, but in SA and in story, she is more attracted to Adolin than Kaladin. 

 

Hey man, if Navani and Dalinar can get it in on in 15 minutes, a young athletic guy can do it in 10.   :ph34r:  A broom closet or a pantry is all you really need.  And he only had a chaperon when he was hanging around at his own house.  He didn't have one when he was in Kholinar.  From the outside, without knowing him personally, wouldn't it be expected that Adolin would know his way around a bodice at his age?  Since he has had a reputation for the last 5 years or so.  :ph34r:

 
 
Kaladin may not kiss Shallan but Shallan would kiss Kaladin. I don't think being more or less engaged to Adolin it would matter much to her if she figures out it is Kaladin she wished to kiss. She may feel bad about it afterwards, but she would do it. Kaladin would likely try to keep her away, but he would probably end up giving in  :ph34r:
 
She is physically more attracted to Adolin than Kaladin, but she does not love Adolin (nor does she love Kaladin, but at least, she was honest with him).
 
Well seeing how you described story Adolin's courtships, I can see why the servants would thing he hid in a closet to see to his "needs" several times over  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:
 

Maybe they think that if they pick a rider, the rider will fall in love with them because it's a freaking Ryshadium!!!

If Rhysadiums are smart enough to pick their own riders, I assume they wouldn't pick someone who doesn't want to be picked, worst someone who hates horses.

 

I don't know if you've read many fantasy stories about dragons, but dragons who choose their riders don't care if their rider wants them or not, because they all have strong and individualistic personalities.  Who knows if magic horses have them too.

 

Oh man, Robin Hobb.  :ph34r:  Most suffering has a payoff in the end, or a redemption.  When I read The Liveship Traders and the Captain Kennet character, I was expecting him to redeem himself.  But he didn't, and it was a very very sad and bleak ending for him. 

 

I guess this is why we all turn back to our Hero's Journey plot formats.  Nothing is more comforting than the expected.  If Adolin gets hit by the trauma stick, it's just part of him earning his Hero's Reward.  The bigger the stick, the juicier the carrot.  Or whatever they say.

 

I have read about dragons but I was not convinced. I personally would hate for Kaladin to be bonded with a Rhysadium when he hates horses while Adolin who adores horses is left mount-less. It is bad enough to know Renarin will bond a Rhysadium in the near future, it hurts to think Kaladin may add up to the injury by bonding one while not even wanting one.

 

I had wondered if you would kill Sureblood in the story... Seems unlikely now :(   :ph34r:  

 

You liked Kennit? I hated him  :ph34r:  I was glad he died  :ph34r:  but Robin Hobb knows how to prolonged agony  :ph34r:

 

I don't think Adolin is on a hero's journey... You know this is not the only possible arc for character to go onto: hero's journey is only one possibility. Adolin has never done the expected: he has persistently defied my expectations. I thus don't expect him to go on an arc as boring and predictable as the "hero's journey". 

 

Chapter 83, "Time's Illusion", WoR.

"Roion rode across to safety, followed by an exhausted Captain Khal on foot - General Khal's son wore his own Plate and bore Teleb's Blade, which he'd blessedly recovered from the corpse after the other man had fallen."

 

Teleb's blade was given to him by Adolin.  I don't know about where the Plate came from, but they gave General Khal a set and he wasn't wearing it in the battle.

 

Adolin cares more about looking tough in front of his mates rather than feeding his own adrenaline difference.  I think that is what separates him from Kaladin.  Kaladin would have gotten onto the horse if it was just him and no one else in the room.  Adolin would have walked off because he knew it was a stupid idea and officers who follow the Codes shouldn't risk injuring themselves doing silly things in their spare time.  They can't even risk getting a hangover.

 

Actually, Adolin gave a full set to General Khal which he lent to his son (aged how many years, I have no idea). Teleb only received a Plate. The Blade he had during this battle, the one Captain Khal retrieved was the King's blade. 

 

Agree Adolin would have walked away from the horse unless bystanders where staring. How much of Adolin's behavior is conditioning towards expectations and rules and how much of it is him, HIM? I had wondered about it.

 

 

Renarin just has too much time to dwell on things.

That's what happens when you have a distant father and no mother from early childhood.  And no television to play cartoons all day after school.

 

I felt like putting Renarin's skills to use so he doesn't have to be emo all the time.  Of course, he was still emo, but he got over it.  I think he enjoys the company of Kaladin most compared to anyone else in his family, because they are matched intellectually.  Navani is pretty smart too, but she doesn't have empathy for him, and lot of the time he can tell she just wants him "to get over it" and go back to work doing helpful things to help Dalinar and the war.  Sometimes he just wants to collect bottles of wine.  :lol:

 

I liked what you have done with Renarin. He comes across as more eccentric and weird as book Renarin, but it is one way I see his character going. Collecting the wine glasses was totally awesome thought  B) I would argue however book Shallan and book Renarin's first meeting didn't go so well...

 

I too wish Renarin would find a useful way to contribute to his family.

 

Are you kidding.  Leather pants are in for people who like the goth ninja aesthetic.  Look it up, it's a real thing.  :ph34r:

I know it's in character for Adolin to dress basic as Braize.  Like, he buys the whole outfit worn by the store mannequin because he doesn't want to take risks developing his own style and looking stupid.  But he must have one or two impulse purchases somewhere in his closet that he wears in his room because he knows he can't ever wear them outside.  And leather pants would one of them.  :ph34r:  The other one is a poet shirt, aka pirate shirt.  Because it feels so breezy but looks so stupid.

Maybe Adolin gets so stressed while driving that sometimes he just takes the train, because all the schedules are comforting and he can blame someone else if he's late.  B)  But he wears sunglasses just so he doesn't get recognised by anyone he knows.   :lol:   :lol:   And even that is less embarrassing than being the guy with the beige minivan who has to circle around the block twice to find a spot with enough room to park.

 

 

Adolin totally buys whatever the mannequin is wearing  :ph34r: and he won't buy anything unless it is the latest fashion. He totally does not own leather pants  -_-

 

I love Adolin as the anonymous train rider... He does get stressed out driving because his father inspect the car carefully after each time he borrowed it for fear his son may have scratch it. Somehow, modern day Adolin is slightly scared of his father's reactions to...things.

 

You know what the truth is?  People don't really care about character motivations in a story they came to read for the setting, magical system, or epic-fantasy plot.  They like characters, but want to see them do cool things, and breaking down the nuances of why is something they don't think about unless they majored in literature or writing-based humanities degree.  You are the weird one for being so obsessed with Adolin. :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   And that is why people still think Adolin is going to turn out to be a Dustbringer, or he's going to join the dark side and be Odium's champion, or he's going to the Volturi Kharbranth because Shallan likes Jacob Kaladin more.

 

I am not weird  :ph34r: I simply am not the typical fantasy fan: I have known this a long time ago -_-  As a reader, there is nothing I enjoy more than connecting with a character on a more personal level, but this isn't the experience the majority of fantasy readers are looking for. I simply need to get a look at questions typically asked to Brandon to realize most readers just aren't interest in the same discussions as I. 

 

This being said, while I may not be typical, I am certainly not an isolated case  ;) A lot of female readers invest themselves more in the characters than the world-building: if you ever had a sneak-peak as the re-read they are doing on Tor.com, you would notice most of the discussion over there is character based. Pages and pages of people arguing about characters motivations and personalities. The discussions which last the longest are the character based ones: not the magic related ones. And yes, Adolin is a subject which has created quite a lot of discussion. On average, he is one of the most discussed characters.

 

I do agree however many readers just want the characters to do cool moves and things without wondering if it fits within the already defined personality (it also is why Kaladin is so popular, he is the one who does the cool things most of the time). A good author will try to be consistent with his characters and I do believe Brandon is a good one. I thus expect some of the things he planted to come to fruition, perhaps not as I envisioned it, but in some other way, hopefully satisfactory.

 

In that optic, talks of Adolin turning evil or joining forces with Odium make me cringe: it does not work with the character! It would require massive writing for Brandon to pull it off in a realistic way: he would practically need to focus the next few books on Adolin if he were to write this arc. You can't have the nice guy deeply attached to his family, willing to sacrifice his life for them spontaneously join hands with an evil entity because he feels depreciated in a world where everyone he knows have super-powers  :o It just defy common sense.

 

 

I agree that Adolin is losing his control, and he is heading down a dark path with hopefully some positive character development at the end.  But a lot of that will be a lesson to Dalinar, imho - it's great that Adolin as a character gets screen time, but his own development will be supporting Dalinar's character development in SA3.  I know you hate that, and you want Adolin to have some time in the spotlight for his sake, but epic fantasies are ensemble driven.  If you wanted to read in-depth character studies, there are other genres for that.

 

Because Dalinar's big problem is that he lacks flexibility, and he craves authority.  What better way to show that his heavy-handed approach to authority needs some work when he sees that it's starting to crack around his own son?  He treats the highprinces like little children who don't know any better, and thinks he is right and justified for doing that 100% of the time - which reflects his treatment of his own son, where he expects unconditional and unquestioning obedience.  Adolin rejecting, or rebelling against his moral standards is like a slap in the face from reality. :lol:  Adolin gets his trauma stick, but in the end, it's meant to show Dalinar slowly becoming a better leader and earning his authority instead of forcing it on people.

 

Yeah, it's sad, but SA would not be enjoyable if it was just the Adolin Show.  :ph34r:

 

Adolin is a strange character within the world of SA. He clearly wasn't a character the author planed to write, but he surprised everyone, including Brandon himself, by working. His popularity level also far exceeds his position as a supporting character within the story: truth is readers want to read about him. A lot of readers expect to read his fall-out going into the next book, so for the author not to broach it would be dissatisfying for many readers. 

 

This being said, Adolin has been created to echo Dalinar's inner dilemma, his initial purpose has been to offer a third person's perspective on his father, but the initial outlay of the story had him die. So, the initial planing of SA didn't have Adolin killing Sadeas which means the lessons Dalinar needs to learn weren't planned to echo from dealing with his rebellious son (feels strange to refer to Adolin as rebellious :ph34r: he is so not rebellious but to Dalinar this is how he will come across  :ph34r:).

 

Fortunately :ph34r: , beta readers didn't enjoy Dalinar's inner monologue in the first draft of WoK. Hence, Brandon pulled Adolin out of the grave to strengths it and it... worked... so well Adolin inherited more page time in WoR.

 

However, for me, killing Sadeas, highlights the moment where Adolin's breaks away from Dalinar in order to move onto his own arc. It is obvious to me the follow-up from this scene has to focus, at least in part, on Adolin's character growth. Dalinar perhaps is the one to learn a lesson or two about leadership, but Adolin is the one who needs to define himself, he's the one who has no idea who he is. He is the character on an identity quest: they all know who they are, but him and that's one interesting story to tell. Perhaps it isn't the main one, but Adolin stumbling upon a world which is changing too fast for him to adjust while alienating everyone he loves is a great way to broadcast how Radiants being back influence others. And perhaps how those who evolve too close to them get suck into the tempest.... against their will.... 

 

So while I do agree part of this arc (and sadly perhaps the largest part of this arc) will be used to propel Dalinar through a loop, another part of it has to serve Adolin as a character. Luckily, Brandon has said there would be more of Adolin in book 3 and he would inherit his own personal arc, so all hope is not lost. 

 

And yes, I do want Adolin to get time in the spotlight for the sake of his character development because it is one I am deeply interested in reading, moreover because fantasy stories never feature characters such as him while characters such as Kaladin are hordes. Perhaps it is fantasy isn't the right genre for me to explore, but I find real-life stories to lack the imagination found in fantasy. Fantasy can create world outside our normal conventions which allows for more creativity when it comes to character development, sadly most authors focus on one epic story arc as opposed to character development. For instance, I was more interested in finding out about the Crassus/Maximus relationship within Codex Alera than the massive fight against the Vord....  :ph34r: Yeah, fighting an enemy is great and all, but I want to know how these events create opportunity for characters to grow, to evolve, to learn lessons. That's what I wish to read... So far, the Stormlight Archive has provided a lot in this optic, just not on the character I find more interesting.

 

 

It's getting pretty long and I'm tying up the character development.  If I didn't, I think everyone would get tired of Shallan. :lol:

Where do you think it's going?  I don't think I'm as predictable as you think I am.   I hope not. :blink:

I wonder what your preferred ending would be. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

OK, so here are my thoughts...

 

I think Kaladin loves Shallan, Adolin loves Shallan, but while Shallan likes Adolin she is more at ease with Kaladin. All characters introduced in the story, so far, have highlighted how Kaladin and Shallan should be an item. My thoughts are story Shallan has no valid reasons but personal gain to marry Adolin, a destiny which isn't so bad since he's such a nice guy. Marrying him would not be a total waste, but she does not love him nor does she think she can love him. This isn't very different than book Shallan.

 

And nobody actually cares about Adolin in this story, he's just a chest piece being shove around from one side to the other of the board game. Everyone just wants to use him and he has little say in it or even awareness of it. This is quite similar to book Adolin as well.

 

In the end, Adolin is the one who'll get screwed over  :( Either Shallan will not marry him and elope with Kaladin, taking her chances with a more approachable man while forgetting about Loch Davar (sadly I think she would be happier if she were to do this) or she will marry him on false pretense. He may believe it, for a while, but he will realize, eventually, his marriage was a fraud and nobody actually loves him....  :( I have yet to see one character actually openly caring for Adolin, they all just want to use him, even Kaladin uses him.

 

I want Adolin and Shallan to end up together, but I also want Shallan to want him for the right reasons and not because his money/power/titles would ensure the survival of her estate. As it currently stands, I don't think she can learn to open-up fast enough for it which means any further union between those two would be built on a lie. Shallan would get what she wants, she perhaps wouldn't be entirely happy, but she wouldn't be miserable, but Adolin would get nothing out of it but a one sided love story.

 

He's better off marrying one of the giggling girls, they sure don't love him, but he doesn't love them either. This way, he'll know what he's getting into: a loveless marriage, but at least he would not be giving his heart away to a girl toying with his feelings to get what she wants while refusing to offer anything in exchange. At least, with the giggling girls, it's be clear each is in it for the wrong reasons.

 

I wish there was more Adolin in the story  :ph34r:  I want to read more about his issues  :ph34r: as I don't want him to suddenly overcome everything which has been holding him back because of a different girl. It is too easy and real-life doesn't work this way  :o

 

I want him to be happy, but sadly I don't think it is possible. He seems doom to fail at his love life in part because he is incapable of playing the game they are all playing with him. He wants the real thing, but the real thing is for second or third sons (like his father) or for the middle-class people, not for him. His money/power/titles will always get in the way of real love as all whom gravitate around him are just there to use him. He is not entirely unaware of this, hence his occasional melancholy. 

 

Book Adolin is in the same situation, but murdering Sadeas will likely send him through a rank losing loop: in other words he is likely to lose what has been making him attractive to gold diggers. Once he is stripe of it, perhaps he'll be able to find someone capable of loving him, just him, for who he is, providing he can figure it out himself in time.

 

Overall, I think story Shallan has a hard time admitting someone could love her and while Adolin could be the one to help her overcome this particular issue, Kaladin has currently been more appropriate. Adolin however has similar needs... He too has issues thinking someone could love him for himself as opposed as to loving his benefits (or if he were a woman, his dowry  :ph34r:) and more importantly Adolin doesn't really know who he wants to be and where himself fits within the grand scheme of things. He has issues affirming himself, always playing the expectations. He needs someone he'll be able to be himself with, someone who would support him in in quest for identity and self-awareness (the one he does not know he is on  :ph34r:) and Shallan could be this person. It goes even worst as, in the case of Adolin, there is nobody else suitable but her. Thus, I would say Adolin needs Shallan more than Shallan needs Adolin, but neither knows that.

 

All in all, Kaladin got it right: Shallan is the golden goose and not the other way around. Shallan is the one having something precious to bring to the union, not Adolin. As for what Shallan needs, she does not need him specifically to get it, but he definitely needs her.

 

Edit: I have learned the forum imposes a limit pertaining the number of emoticons one can put into one post....

Edited by maxal
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The incapacity to develop lasting long-term relationships usually harbor past issues though not all bear the same level of pain. Whereas there are people who genuinely refuse to invest themselves into relationships for understandable reasons such as the desire to push the career forward or the desire to be free (though arguably these perhaps also have issues of their own), there also are people who's troubles sprout from personal issues. What ticked me off with Adolin is the fact he genuinely want his relationships to work, but they keep falling apart by his own fault. In other words, he is unconsciously sabotaging them.

 

This imply the reasons behind Adolin's difficulties in choosing a woman aren't linked to a refusal to live the marital life, but to an incapacity to engage himself into a significant relationship. It gets worst as most serial daters will often stay with the same girl for short period of times: out Adolin is incapable of passing the test of the first few dates. His fight or flight response gets triggered very early on. It doesn't take much to scare him away. For instance, Mashala asking if she could come to the battlefield with him, someday, was enough to start the process.

 

Romance novels may be cheesy enough to simply plant in the "right girl" to make our guy suddenly forget he has issues, but I personally would not buy it. If Adolin has trouble developing relationships, then he needs to have trouble with Shallan, more so because he actually likes her. 

 

I think the main trouble here is Adolin foot-shooting behavior is triggered by fear and fear tends to be uncontrollable. He first needs to figure what he is afraid of exactly and work on making it less scary so he'll be able to move on, but I do see it as a more complicated process than simply admitting it was his own fault all along. Being self-aware is only the first step in solving a problem: you first need to be aware there is one. That's the easy part, solving it much harder.

 

Adolin's self-induced difficulties put me in mind of the type of girls who always date jerks, and when they break up with their jerk bf, they date another jerk. :rolleyes:  Then they complain about why are all guys jerks, where have all the good men gone, etc.  After a while, all you want to do is is shake them and yell at them why they can't just open their eyes!!1!1!  Whenever fictional characters (and IRL people too) go down the self-pity hole and say things like "why does my life suck?" and "no one understands my struggles!" I get the same kind of reaction.  Guess I'm not a very patient person.

 

I don't think Adoiln is afraid of marital life either.  With Vorinism and warcamps the way they are, I don't think his life would be that different, at least outside of performing those "husbandly duties" :ph34r:.  I don't think he would be afraid of husbandly duties. :ph34r:   Dalinar has clerks and scribes who are the wives and daughters of his officers, and if Adolin gets married, he just gets his own personal secretary instead of having to go to an Ardent to have things read.  Not really a huge change since his whole working day stays pretty much the same.  He is just afraid of picking the wrong girl.  Or picking a girl in general. 

 

If Brandon was a character author, I feel like Adolin would have become self-aware of his issues way earlier.  But as it is, SA is an ensemble fantasy, and Adolin only gets to level up in character development as a reaction from some outside plot feature.  Like fighting Szeth, or the 4:1 duel.  He doesn't analyse, and he is only reactionary; he only re-frames his paradigms when it's shaken up by something beyond his control. It fits the style of the series and the people who like massive universes, but it's disappointing for character readers.  At least Dalinar and Kaladin get more introspection, even if you consider it boring.

 

 

 

I once tried to write one once... but I more or less gave up due to not really know how to wrap up the story  :ph34r: Also, English is kinda not my language which means I make a lot of mistakes and it unnerves me  :(

That is what one-shot fiction is for.  Short stories one chapter long.  You don't need a long plot or anything. 

You can write in your own language or get a beta reader to proofread!  You're being such an Adolin. :ph34r:

 

PS, I seriously think all the lighteyes laugh about Adolin and tell each other to stop being Adolins, or acting like an Adolin, etc. :lol: :lol:

 

 

 

 

It makes for an interesting tale where Adolin suddenly ends up being the one without a defined role, without a defined place and it gets even more interesting if he figures it out, on his own. It becomes a massively interesting story arc if becoming a Radiant comes at the end of the process where he genuinely choose it as he finishes the last step to revive the Blade, on his own. In other words, by finding himself, Adolin will end up saving the spren, probably unknowingly.

 

I still think that sprens get more out of the Nahel bond/Radiant relationship than the actual Radiant.  They're little pieces of Honor or Cultivation, and what they really want is to keep Roshar from being eaten alive by Odium.  That is their entire purpose of existing, and why they copied the format of the Herald's Honorblades.  Sure, the Radiants get magical abilities, but they can only use them while bound by their Oaths, and it's usually only to fight magical Voidbringers.

 

So yeah, you get a magical companion out of the deal to act as your karma meter, but you can easily get the same thing without a spren - you just need to talk to people you trust about your problems.  But I guess being broken means you have no self-esteem/confidence and no trust either. :rolleyes:

 

A broken person can heal themselves over time, but it's the spren who forces it to happen or speeds it up.  And yes it makes it feel like a cop-out if the people with severe mental issues just get magically cured.  And that is why I will be happy if Adolin gets his turn in the spotlight after solving his problems on his own, and realising "Oh, it's ok if I don't get a spren, I don't need outside confirmation to know that I have value as a person", and then WHAM, he gets a spren.  But then his reaction will have to be "I don't care if I have a spren or not, but since I have one, that's cool too" otherwise it will just be regression back to his previous flawed personality.  That would make me throw the book at the wall. -_-

 

Kaladin has an Honorblade now, and if Dalinar isn't going to use it, I would see it going to Adolin.  It would help cure some of those Token Normal pity-parties, if he's not too messed up from ganking Sadeas to use it.  If you want awesome, two Windrunner Surgebinders at one time is awesome.  Enough awesome to make up for terrible lines of dialogue like "STRETCH FORTH THY HAND" or "THE SKIES ARE MINE".  Seriously, it's the kind of thing that makes you shake your head at how overdramatic it is. :rolleyes:

 

The Lego Movie is a good movie if you like the standard Hero's Journey.  You know what to expect and then it gets shaken upside down, and you will forget it's a movie made for kids because it's hilariously random. :lol:  I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm not ashamed to say.

 

 

 

Doesn't Au Kaladin have issues over watching good people die while bad people survive? He seems too involved to not care. It was his greatest weakness as an apprentice surgeon: he took it too personally.
 
You know what would be great? Putting AU Adolin on the surgery table together with a terribly guy :ph34r:, but Kaladin's moral guidelines states he has to treat the bad guy first as he has more chances of making it. A bit like the replay o the Roshone/Rillir scene but with Kaladin sanding within Lirin's shoes. Can he watched his friend die in pain while helping a terrible human being survived simply because rules state Adolin doesn't have much chance to make it anyway?

 

The way I read, I thought it was because he lived in a small town and knew everyone.  If he practices enough, he will get desensitised to it all, and they cover patients faces with pads of anesthetic so you won't hear them screaming and you won't see their expressions when you cut into them.  I extrapolated a bit for what future Kal would be if he had done all or most of his character development as a surgeon rather than a soldier - he still has the "protect everyone" but no spren so he can do the "as long as it's right" whenever he feels like it's appropriate.

 

AU Kaladin with no spren would save his friend first.  Unless he knows the friend can't be saved, so it doesn't matter what he'd do, the ending still sucks.  In other triage situations, you help the most desperate case if one patient's wounds are minor enough that he will survive even without your help.

 

Adolin decided that grey washed him out and that beige or a natural linen colour suited his skintone better.  :lol:

Then Kaladin tells him it's just a metaphor and the colours aren't real, and then Adolin pats him on the back and says it's okay if bridgemen can't afford colours, they're in the army now and he can have all the colours he wants, as long as it's blue.

 

 

 

 

I agree Kaladin's story arc mostly revolve around the hero's journey, though I see no redemption... Kaladin never did any wrong, how can he redeem himself? All in all, he has been a perpetual victim of bad people using their rank to take advantage of him. His story has been about him not giving up, never. It was predictable, but back in WoK, I also found it was efficient, mostly because I got resolution on this arc by the end of the book. Coming out from the worlds of WoT and ASOIAF, I expected it would last much longer  :ph34r:

 

Well, maybe redemption is better for anti-hero type characters.  For morally pure Kaladin, it's more Hero's Reward for putting up with the suffering he went through.  It's a feel good story.

 

On a side note, as soon as heard the heroic one liner from Kaladin "Honor is dead", I knew that the 4:1 duel wouldn't have ended in a beatdown.  It's freaking Kaladin!!!!  So Adolin didn't get the beating you expected him to get.  It was a massive mood whiplash to me that the chapter ended with a an Interlude :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:  that I didn't care about and skipped to see what happened next ... only it jumped straight into the prison scene. 

 

That was a book-hitting-the-wall scene like no other.  Seriously I can't think of any other chapters that made me so annoyed.  I can't even think of many other books that have annoyed me so much like that did.

 

 

 

 

I agree Shallan isn't going to open-up until she is in a talk or die situation, such as the chasm. She basically had to confide in Kaladin, though I would argue once they were relatively safe within their cubicle, she had no reasons to further confess. Many take this scene as a sign of compatibility in between those characters. I personally think too many outside factors were playing at the time to justify it, but at the same time it is true she more readily open-up to Kaladin than to Adolin. 
 
I could see her marry Adolin, lie to him for years, never telling him the truth until he finds out through other means, but one "adventure" with Kaladin and she spills her beans. This is disappointing, to say the least.

 

I thought it was too optimistic that Shallan and Kaladin's honesty was compatibility.  Because Kaladin wasn't completely honest with her - he killed her brother and didn't even tell her.  IMHO, it only happened because Shallan had no reason to develop a good relationship with Kaladin, because he's just a guard captain, so she says what she likes and is less inhibited because he doesn't matter, and his opinion of her doesn't matter.  That's why she and Tyn played with him with the boots scene, because it was just some people they'd probably never meet again.

 

In terms of long-term compatibility, I think canon-Kaladin likes canon-Shallan more than she likes him, and more than she would ever like him.  It reflects Kaladin and Laral's relationship, and their rank difference.  Even if Radiants are all the same rank when their eyes glow, I think there is some part of Shallan who could never see herself in a relationship with a darkeyes.  If you look at Adolin, has he ever considered a darkeyed woman seriously as a match?  Sure he looks at waitresses, but it's mainly just their butts, and he doesn't even contemplate anything serious like marriage.  I think it's some internal lighteyed prejudice going on in there.

 

 

 

Book Shallan is terribly dishonest with Adolin and she is using him to her own ends, but then again, who isn't using Adolin to their own ends? Perhaps Renarin isn't, but he may be the only one.
 
My take on Jasnah has always been she got disgusted with married life by watching her mother being forced into a secondary role next to her husband when she could have become a renown scholar of her own had she chose another path. I think Jasnah truly loves research and was not willing to compromise in order to marry anyone. She also controls her emotions very closely, so she never let herself actually fall in love with anyone, she never got close enough to anyone for it. Well not in recent years, I can't say about her past, but a broken heart isn't something I wish to read in there.
 
Just as story Jasnah, book Jasnah has reasons to want to marry Shallan to Adolin: it would rescue her family and it would tie Shallan to the Kholins. Everyone wants Adolin to marry so if Jasnah can find a suitable girl, then it makes everyone happy. 
 
This being said, I am somewhat disturbed by story Jasnah' lack of concern for her cousin... This is quite sad actually.

 

Is canon-Kaladin using Adolin?  I don't think so.  Kaladin is too lone ranger to want to depend on other people, especially lighteyes.  It takes a life and death experience for him to trust Shallan enough to lead the way.

 

I don't think Navani was forced into a secondary role.  There was some level of consent in there, at least at first, when she married Gavilar.  Since she was described as a political player in WoK, I always assumed that she liked power, and being Queen was part of her decision to get married.  And also that Blackthorn Dalinar was way too scary.  There are women in the Ardentry, and if a woman in Roshar really wants to avoid getting married, and she really wants to be a scho, she could run away to the church.  But Jasnah doesn't do it because she likes having money.

 

Jasnah was born with a heart two sizes too small, like the Grinch.  If her heart was normally sized at birth, she shrunk it to make it more convenient.   It's travel sized. :lol:  I don't think she is someone who has ever fallen in love with someone, either because she doesn't let any men get close enough for it to happen, or because she thinks that she's too smart to fall in love, and love is for stupid people and fools.  :rolleyes:   She doesn't understand love, so that is why she doesn't care that that she might hurt Adolin by manipulating him.  She isn't even aware that she is hurting him, because if it were her in that position, she wouldn't feel a thing.

 

That is why she cares more about protecting Shallan than Adolin.  She can picture herself in Shallan's situation, possibly because it happened to her years ago.  She's not picking on Adolin particularly.  She just has a lack of concern for everyone.  :ph34r:  It's Misjasnahistic.

 

 

 

Kaladin may not kiss Shallan but Shallan would kiss Kaladin. I don't think being more or less engaged to Adolin it would matter much to her if she figures out it is Kaladin she wished to kiss. She may feel bad about it afterwards, but she would do it. Kaladin would likely try to keep her away, but he would probably end up giving in  :ph34r:
 
She is physically more attracted to Adolin than Kaladin, but she does not love Adolin (nor does she love Kaladin, but at least, she was honest with him).
 
Well seeing how you described story Adolin's courtships, I can see why the servants would thing he hid in a closet to see to his "needs" several times over  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

You read the characters exactly as I would there. :ph34r: :ph34r:  If Shallan approached Kaladin first, he would only put up token resistance so that he doesn't feel like he's betraying Adolin.  But then "if it feels right" kicks in.  B)   The question is, would Kaladin tell Adolin?  Shallan obviously wouldn't.  Adolin would feel like he got kicked in the other parts if it turns out Kaladin is a better kisser.  :lol: 

 

Adolin is a young guy, and young guys have needs. :ph34r:  I think people would feel it is very strange if a young guy wasn't seeing to his "needs" on a regular basis.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: 

 

 

 

I have read about dragons but I was not convinced. I personally would hate for Kaladin to be bonded with a Rhysadium when he hates horses while Adolin who adores horses is left mount-less. It is bad enough to know Renarin will bond a Rhysadium in the near future, it hurts to think Kaladin may add up to the injury by bonding one while not even wanting one.

 

I had wondered if you would kill Sureblood in the story... Seems unlikely now :(   :ph34r:  

 

You liked Kennit? I hated him  :ph34r:  I was glad he died  :ph34r:  but Robin Hobb knows how to prolonged agony  :ph34r:

 

You have such an obvious Adolin bias. B)

I'm not killing Sureblood.  It's an obvious drama hook, and I think it's unnecessary in fueling character development as it would be in SA3.

 

My feelings about Captain Kennit were an emotional rollercoaster.  First he was freeing slaves, and I was happy, and then he went after the family ship. Then it showed how much he loved his mother, and then he did that thing to Althea, and back and forth and back and forth.  Prolonged agony, exactly.  I was glad he died because my poor heart couldn't take it any longer, and I think it shows that he was a bad guy in the end. :mellow:

 

Sometimes it's good when people who seem to be the hero character don't go on the typical and expected hero's journey, and you ride the rollercoaster to see how they find their happy ending.  It's not boring or typical, but sometimes the trauma stick never stops. -_-

 

 

 

I liked what you have done with Renarin. He comes across as more eccentric and weird as book Renarin, but it is one way I see his character going. Collecting the wine glasses was totally awesome thought  B) I would argue however book Shallan and book Renarin's first meeting didn't go so well...

 

I too wish Renarin would find a useful way to contribute to his family.

 

If Renarin developed hobbies and interests instead of spending all of his time sulking, that was how I thought his character might turn out.  He likes fabrials a lot, and wine, so I thought he was the kind of guy to go all geeky on certain subjects. 

 

I can't remember if the time Renarin was freaking out at the Oathgate was Shallan's first meeting of him.  He's such a background character that they have met earlier, but never talked.  But in my AU, Shallan still thinks he's kind of weird.  She wouldn't call him creepy, but he's so knowing and accurate that it's disturbing.

 

 

 

Adolin totally buys whatever the mannequin is wearing  :ph34r: and he won't buy anything unless it is the latest fashion. He totally does not own leather pants  -_-

 

I love Adolin as the anonymous train rider... He does get stressed out driving because his father inspect the car carefully after each time he borrowed it for fear his son may have scratch it. Somehow, modern day Adolin is slightly scared of his father's reactions to...things.

 

These days, the store mannequins are wearing leather pants.  :ph34r:  At least the stores aimed at cool people under the age of 25.  I do not think Adolin is so old man that he dresses in chinos and Topsiders and cardigans all day like an Ivy League dad.  Sure, it's preppy, but Adolin is more fashionable than that.

 

Adolin rides the train and sometimes he bumps into Renarin at the train station, so he walks to the other end of the carriage so they won't be seen together. :ph34r:  They text message each other on the trip but don't talk because being seen with your little brother is not cool, brah.  Sometimes he text messages Shallan but she doesn't reply because she's still sleeping.  Then she wakes up and realises she's late and if she misses the train she has to wait 30 minutes for the next one.  :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   So she calls Kaladin to pick her up in his car and he is already on the road while she is still in her PJ's.  Because this guy doesn't sleep, like, ever.  Either that or he wakes up at 4:30am so he can do his morning workout. B):lol::ph34r:

 

Dalinar's car doesn't get scratched, and Dalinar can't complain about that.  But after a while he starts to wonder why the car never gets driven.  IT'S BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE A LITERAL LUMP OF CREM. -_- -_- -_-  BUT YOU TREAT IT LIKE DIAMONDS.

 

 

 

I do agree however many readers just want the characters to do cool moves and things without wondering if it fits within the already defined personality (it also is why Kaladin is so popular, he is the one who does the cool things most of the time). A good author will try to be consistent with his characters and I do believe Brandon is a good one. I thus expect some of the things he planted to come to fruition, perhaps not as I envisioned it, but in some other way, hopefully satisfactory.

 

After the revised ending for WoR came out. :lol: :lol: :lol:   The Kaladin vs Szeth battle in the sky.

Many people, or most people, I think, preferred the first and original ending because it was cooler, and the revised version was lamer, even though Brandon corrected it to feel more in line with the characters' development and morality.

The response and uproar was a prime example of how most readers just care about the cool and the implications for the characters' personalities comes later.  Many people didn't even see the point, or why it even needed to be corrected, because they never read into the characters at all.  At least not Szeth's, and only superficially into Kaladin's.

 

Also Adolin 1.0 from WoK Prime. :lol: :lol:   AREDOR.  :ph34r:   Oh gosh, that name gives me the giggles because it's so stereotypically heroic to the point of absurdity.   B)   If you hear the name and say it out loud and don't assume it's a country south of Gondor and west of Cair Paravel, you will imagine a typical fantasy hero with a jaw so square an architect could use it to draft a blueprint.  Bonus long hair and face scar and sword carried on the back.   :lol:  :lol:  :lol:   This kind of name is so heroic that he would never be Odium's champion unless he was forcibly brainwashed, but then he'd only be turned into an anti-hero and not a villain all the way.

 

I think Adolin's struggle for identity in a changing world is a bit exaggerated, because there are only something like less than 20 Radiants in all of Roshar.  But a quarter of them are his family members or living in his house, so he feels worse about it than he should be, objectively.  Oh, the mental struggles of perception. :rolleyes:  Shardblades and Plate aren't obsolete, because they are the best weapons available to fight Voidbringers, and there are only 30 or so Alethi full Shardbearers.  Adolin may think that he's still running stagecoaches when everyone has switched to steam, but in a world of limited resources like Roshar is, at least in terms of military tech, I think Radiants and Shardbearers will end up figuring out a parallel role that uses everyone's talents.  No Radiant so far has Plate, and few of them are combat oriented or experienced, but all the Shardbearers are soldiers trained from childhood and hardened in constant warfare. Too bad they feel the Thrill, though.

 

Read more fantasy.  There are plenty of other stories that feature journeys of self-discovery and identity without typical muscle-bound wandering warrior heroes looking for their next adrenaline fix.  :ph34r: :ph34r:  Stories of nice guys or girls in scary worlds are not as rare as you think they are.  Maybe they are if you are limited by your English capabilities and want to read something with vocabulary that is a bit easier to understand, but there are still lots of books that are on the line between YA and Adult fiction that have deep characters and good worlds, but can still be finished off in less than a week of bedtime reading.

 

And seriously, I get tired of viewpoint switches every chapter, and those interludes in SA.  As soon as you get into a character, it's over.  :unsure:  The chapters are only around 5k words, or 10 pages. Sometimes it's good to read fantasy where there is one defined main character and an ensemble of 3 or less.  Decompress from reading epic fantasy!  Then you can return to it without feeling super annoyed with all the little things that bother you.

 

 

 

I think Kaladin loves Shallan, Adolin loves Shallan, but while Shallan likes Adolin she is more at ease with Kaladin. All characters introduced in the story, so far, have highlighted how Kaladin and Shallan should be an item. My thoughts are story Shallan has no valid reasons but personal gain to marry Adolin, a destiny which isn't so bad since he's such a nice guy. Marrying him would not be a total waste, but she does not love him nor does she think she can love him. This isn't very different than book Shallan.

 

I just want to put a note in here that since this is a character driven romance story, and not a plot driven epic fantasy, characters develop further and faster than they do in SA-canon because I write more introspective prose than I do action scenes.  So even if Shallan does not love Adolin now, as it reflects her SA-canon origins, it does not mean that she would feel that way about him forever, after her character has progressed far enough to see what is beyond herself and her selfish motivations.  And just because Shallan feels more comfortable with Kaladin in terms of honesty and self-awareness, it does not mean that they are romantically compatible.  It's how I interpreted the post-chasm scenes in WoR, YMMV.  AU Shallan doesn't even know that Kaladin likes her, and he's not going to confess his feelings to her because he likes Adolin - so it would be a stretch for them to suddenly elope. :lol:

 

 

 

 

He's better off marrying one of the giggling girls, they sure don't love him, but he doesn't love them either. This way, he'll know what he's getting into: a loveless marriage, but at least he would not be giving his heart away to a girl toying with his feelings to get what she wants while refusing to offer anything in exchange. At least, with the giggling girls, it's be clear each is in it for the wrong reasons.

That's really depressing. :o

I don't think Adolin would that in SA-canon either.  He would rather die alone rather than tie himself down with someone he doesn't like, who doesn't like him. 

If Adolin loved a girl, I think he would still accept a one-sided marriage because luuurve :wub: :wub: :wub: , and he lacks the self-awareness to realise the level on which is being used.  Because no girl would ever tell him "I don't like you but hey let's get married anyway", they would pretend to like him and return his affections, and he wouldn't even notice that it was never even real.

 

 

Anyways, I finished the chapter addressing a lot of this stuff before I had even seen this post, and I am glad to see that I am not that predictable.  B)  You got some things right, but I'm writing the equivalent of a romance novel - and a romance novel ending requires loose strings being tied up satisfyingly.  If you wanted to read "serious stories" with "realistic endings", you'd be better off reading real literature.  :P  

 

If anyone says that my strings just get tied up so easily, it's developing self-awareness that is important, not fixing all the problems 100%.  And honestly, I think a lot of people's problems in SA would have been solved if people just talked to each other instead of ignoring them, holding them in, or pretending they don't exist.  JUST TALK OMG. :rolleyes:  Renarin is a prime example.

 

 

 

All in all, Kaladin got it right: Shallan is the golden goose and not the other way around. Shallan is the one having something precious to bring to the union, not Adolin. As for what Shallan needs, she does not need him specifically to get it, but he definitely needs her.

 

When I wrote that line, I meant "goose" as in "fool". :lol:  But English language slang - I can see how it can be interpreted in other ways.

Kaladin is criticising Shallan for being selfish and cold-hearted with Adolin.  "Geese don't have feelings" - Kaladin is implying that Shallan doesn't have feelings either, and that is why she is manipulating Adoling for selfish reasons.

 

Kaladin is the moral compass and the fountain of honesty in this story.  :lol:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY FIVE

 

 

 

 

The first indication that reality had returned was the sound of voices in the corridor outside the open the door of the retiring room.

 

“I gave Adolin plenty of choice,” said the first voice.  Shallan recognised it after some seconds as Lady Navani, the Queen Dowager.  Her voice sounded very different when it wasn’t tinged with the cold imperiousness of royal authority.

 

“Your choice, Navani,” the second voice replied.  “Not his.”  It was a deep voice, almost gruff, but refined in its accents; the words were spoken softly, and if his manner could not be described as kindly, it was nevertheless coloured with warmth.  There was an obvious affection between him – the Prince Kholinar – and his sister-by-marriage, the Queen Dowager.

 

“I do not understand why you insist on – on choice!” she murmured.  “It is a luxury we can little afford.”

 

“A commanding officer does not deny his subordinates what he does not deny himself.  I had my choice – and you had yours.”

 

“The circumstances were simpler, back then.  I–”                       

 

“–Do you smell that?”

 

“What is it?”

 

“Fluids … and gunpowder.  Stay behind me; I shall investigate.”

 

Shallan heard booted feet crunch on broken glass; she heard the tinkle as shards of smashed wineglasses and brandy snifters were kicked aside.  It was dark in the retiring room compared to the well-lit halls outside; there were only three lamps lit at the very end of the room.

 

“Whoever is there!” called the Prince Kholinar.  “Present yourself slowly.”

 

Shallan sighed and slid out of the armchair, her handle-less knife gripped with one shaking hand.  She could present herself, but she was hardly presentable in her stained underdress. 

 

“Your Highness,” she said, stepping out from behind the armchair.  She could see the Prince silhouetted in the doorway.  He held out a pistol with a firm grip; one hand was on the stock, and the other was braced underneath to hold the gun steady when it kicked.  Shallan knew all too well how hard a gun could kick.

 

You – the girl.  Lady Shallan?”  The muzzle of the gun did not drop.

 

“Yes.”  She curtsied, her knife still in hand.  She clutched it fiercely so that her trembling would not show.  “Do you recognise the sign of three diamonds, Highness?  Adolin once said you’d warned him of foreign saboteurs.  I imagine they were somehow invited to his Feast.” 

 

“They – here?” He was silent for some time, and then the point of the gun fell and he tucked it away into his regimental frock coat.  “Child, what have you done?  What is this?”

 

“They are the same people who want what Jasnah knows.  They came after me – they wanted someone to use against her, Highness,” said Shallan, words tumbling out.  They were true words, but it was not the whole truth.  She did not intend to share the fruits of Jasnah’s research without Jasnah’s presence – it was something of a scholar’s grasping and close-mouthed secrecy, she knew.  One should never reveal research before it was published under one’s name: every scholar was endlessly paranoid of plagiarists.

 

Prince Dalinar and Lady Navani entered the room; the Dowager grimaced as she stepped through broken glass in her heeled slippers.  Shallan was now very aware of her state of indecency, and her blood-spattered bare feet; she could tell that the soles of her feet would be red.

 

Navani gasped when she saw the body on the carpet in front of the sofa.  The two broken billiard cues stuck out at odd angles, like the wings of a perching dragonfly; the sleeves were still rolled up to reveal the tattoo of three diamonds.  Dalinar twitched when came to the body; his hand automatically reached for his holstered pistol.  He turned his gaze to her, and looked her up and down with inscrutable deliberation; his eyes must have adjusted to the gloom.

 

“Oh – child,” cried Navani, hands clasped in horror under her drooping lace sleeves.  Her voice – did the Dowager tremor in her speech?  “Jasnah brought you to us – to protect you.   I did not see it – I did not think her fears were legitimate – I had thought she was working for her own aggrandisement.  And now I am proven wrong, and I am truly sorry.”

 

Dalinar nudged the body with a foot.  “Are these – pool cues?” he said.  “One in the back, followed by one in the front.  You are meticulous.”

 

“Yes,” said Shallan, suddenly hesitant.  She was well aware of what she had done, but she did not want to discuss it.  Not until she had had some more time to herself, to draw, and to arrange her fragmented thoughts into a meaningful narrative.  “I had no gun.  And Adolin and Doctor Kaladin and I met some other – saboteur assassins – in the Kholinshire Forest a few days ago.  They collected a number of knives–” here Shallan shuffled to the billiards table and ducked under it; she returned with her bodice and dance card and the box of knives; she placed the first two items on the covered table, and held the box open to Dalinar.  “I remembered where they put them, and used them.  Some of them had the sign of three diamonds.”  She showed him the marked knife blade.

 

Dalinar took the blade and his lips thinned when he saw the dried blood crusted to its edge; it flaked, brown and dusty, onto his fingers.  He dropped it back into the box.  “I expect Adolin to give me a full accounting of this last week.”  His eyes met hers; she looked down and away.  “Whatever has been done was done out of necessity, child.  I do not think any less of you.  Nor does Navani.”

 

With one last glance at her, Prince Dalinar drew Navani aside, and they returned to the lit doorway to hold a whispered conversation to which Shallan was not privy.

 

Navani soon left, and Dalinar pushed the broken sidebar cabinet out of the way and back to its original position; he stood at the doorway as guard.  Shallan could not leave the room.  She had no shoes, and the carpet was littered with broken glass, and she did not look forward to walking the guest-filled hallways in her undergarments.

 

“Lady Shallan,” said Dalinar softly, his back to her.  “When Jasnah first told me of you – and her intentions – when she visited me in the City, and invited me to to-night’s Feast, I must admit I was rather wary of yet another failed scheme to secure a match with my son.

 

“But you have acquitted yourself honourably to-night, beyond anyone’s expectations.  And beyond mine.”

 

Shallan flushed.  “Thank you.”

 

“I am impressed that, though you are Scottish and not Anglethi, you considered the King’s safety and drew the assassin away from the guests.   Loyalty to King and Country is a heavy duty for anyone to bear, and I am pleased to find it so evident in yourself.”

 

“Thank you, Highness,” said Shallan.  She had not even remembered the King, but she did not contradict Prince Dalinar.  It was better that he think favourably of her.

 

“I would trust that next time, you and Jasnah might not keep your confidences so close,” Dalinar said.  He lowered his voice.  “For we are all of us House Kholin; we are family.  And thus we must make the effort to stand together, so shall we all weather the storm. ”

 

The storm.  Old folk takes said that the legendary storms swept in from east to west.

 

“The man who – died,” said Shallan slowly, piecing her thoughts together.  “He came from the East Continent, I think.  He did not speak like an Anglethi.  His accent did not sound like any man from the Isles.”

 

“No.  I have long said that they come from directly south of the Channel,” Dalinar answered.  “The wars on the Continent have been brewing for years – decades.  Have you ever heard the name Napoleodium?”

 

“I have not,” said Shallan.  “It is not–”

 

Tramping feet pounded through the halls.  Dalinar straightened at his post.  There were calls of “Sir!” from a number of men approaching at speed.

 

“Report!” barked Dalinar. 

 

“Sir,” came the voice from outside.  Was that – Kaladin?  “Lady Navani came to us, and I summoned the guards to arrest all the Ardents.  We are currently conducting a room by room search of the House, and have men at the gate and all roads to halt any guests leaving in a hurry.”

 

“Good.  Do not let there be a panic.  See to the safety of the Family.”

 

“Already done, sir.  We’ve sent them all to the Family’s floor and blocked off the stairways.  Except for Adolin.  He refused.”

 

Dalinar sighed.   “Have your men inspect the body.  And the girl.”

 

“The girl?”

 

“Jasnah’s ward.  Check for wounds and interrogate her.  Gently.  I am for the library – the map room will be headquarters from now.  See to it, soldier.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

Dalinar left, and she heard him ordering men about outside; his voice receded into the distance.  Kaladin stood in the doorway; the silhouettes of a number of other men behind him.    He hesitated over the threshold, then crunched over the broken glass, medical kit bag in hand.  Men with pistols in hand followed him in, lighting the lamps and muttering when they saw the corpse in the robes of an Ardent on the carpet.

 

“Shallan?” he said, with strained urgency.

 

“Doctor.  I’m fine,” Shallan said.  She was cold, and her voice was tight with the effort to keep the quaver out.

 

“Are you hurt?”  He now sounded more like himself, like a professional physician.  “I smell gunpowder – have you been shot?  Any cuts?”

 

“No – no shots.”  She rubbed her arms; they were pimpled with chickenflesh, and she was still in her breezy underdress.  In a moment of self-consciousness, she crossed her arms over her chest.  It was likely that there was nothing to see – Shallan could not be admitted to be any degree of well-endowed – but she was the only woman in a room full of men, even if one of those men happened to be a self-appointed chaperon, one who had seen everything beneath the dress, on multiple occasions.

 

“I must inspect your wound for signs of broken stitches or torn skin,” said Kaladin.  “I haven't my surgical table – the billiards table will have to do.” 

 

She sighed and pulled herself onto the table.  Kaladin eyed the unlaced bodice and dance card, but he did not say anything and set his kit bag down.    Shallan began undoing her buttons with fumbling fingers.  She noticed the men – in blue regimental uniforms, but no officers’ piping or epaulettes – averting their gaze when she met their eyes. 

 

Shallan smelled the fumes of ether – why did he have to use it in a closed room? – and heard him scrub his hands together and shake them off, and then he pulled her unbuttoned underdress down her shoulders and she felt him prodding at her ribs. 

 

“They haven’t broken – but what happened to the bandages?” he said, looking up.  “If you wanted to change them, you needn’t have done it yourself.”

 

“I cut them off,” said Shallan.  “I didn’t have any ropes.”   She glanced at the body on the floor.  The men had cut the robes off and were inspecting it for hidden weapons or clues or more tattoos – she could not guess.   Kaladin turned and gazed at it very briefly; a second later, his eyes returned to hers. 

 

“Spears?”

 

“I had no gun.”

 

“You could have one if you asked.  I would be more than happy to accompany you to the range here.”

 

“I had presumed my well-being would be in the charge of yourself and Adolin,” said Shallan, sighing. 

 

“It would be,” said Kaladin reproachfully, “if you hadn’t run off.  Next time you do run off, it would be much appreciated if you remembered to take one of us with you.  Now, get dressed.”

 

Shallan pulled her dress over her shoulders; she paused when Kaladin’s eyes swept over her, and suddenly stopped.  His eyes narrowed.  “Doctor?”

 

“There are burn speckles on your dress.  Turn around.”

 

She did so, and she felt his warm hands on her shoulders, dragging her dress down to her waist.  Then she heard the medical bag open, and a clinking sound he as he dug through it, and found his supplies.  He swabbed the back of her right arm with a low concentration of ether, and then smeared a cooling ointment, which was followed by bandage rolled around her upper arm. 

 

“Will it leave a scar, Doctor?”

 

“No-one will be able to tell it apart from the spots you already have.”

 

“Oh, I had forgotten that I–”

 

“Shallan!”  It was Adolin’s voice, from the doorway. 

 

Shallan peered over Kaladin’s shoulder as he tied knots to secure the bandage.  Adolin was treading through the carpet of glass shards, holding his sleeve over his face at the smell of the leaking corpse.   She turned back and closed her eyes.  She did not want to face him after had seen him with those – other girls.  He made her feel things she had no interest in feeling, things that clouded her thoughts and swayed decisions that she had thought were already firmly decided.  She held no eager anticipation for addressing those nascent, tender emotions that surrounded thoughts of herself and Adolin.  Thoughts of herself with Adolin.  Perhaps they were better off forgotten and ignored.

 

Kaladin stepped away to allow her to dress herself in relative privacy.   He and Adolin wandered over to the other men stripping the corpse and rolling it onto a stretcher; they held a low conversation.  Adolin occasionally shot worried glances at her, but she turned away, and hid behind her hair, and did up her front buttons.

 

After a while, Shallan finished dressing – it was only a simple underdress she wore, easily done and undone – and picked up her bodice.  She wondered how she might put it on and wear it without the laces.  It wouldn’t stay on, would it?  She heard footsteps behind her, and she did not turn around to look.  She knew who it was.

 

“Shallan,” said Adolin, softly solemn, “forgive me.  Once again.  If you can.”

 

Shallan squeezed her eyes shut.  She twisted the bodice between her fingers, and the boning creaked.  “There is nothing to forgive.  I do not care about your – other women,” she hissed.

 

She felt heat prickle in her eyes; she took a breath to compose herself.  It did not bother her.  She could not let it.  Her emotional outburst was caused by the stress – and distress – of killing yet another man.

 

He was silent.  Perhaps he was taken aback at her curt manner – women did not usually criticise the habits and actions of men, at least not this directly.   Then, finally, he spoke.  “I do not care about them either.”

 

“Well,” said Shallan callously, “now we know why you’re almost an old maid.” 

 

It was cruel of her, but she had been hurt to-day, and so many thoughts and memories had rushed through her in such a short time that she felt a part of her mind had burned through; it was hollowed out and wrung dry with no more capacity for softer things.  Hunger and pain, she was certain she was capable of discerning, but she did not think she could summon up enough for sympathy and compassion.

 

“I do not care about them, because I care only for you.”  He sounded pained.  “It may have – it has – taken me too long to realise that.   Perhaps it is too late; I would not be surprised.  It always happens, time and again, so I do not let myself care – it is easier that way.”  He swallowed, and searched for words.  “It would not surprise me if this time is no different.  But – what I meant – I wanted to apologise, for inviting the Ardents.”

 

“The Ardents?”  Adolin’s words, earnest but disturbing personal truths, had Shallan feeling guilty for her own.  Now she felt confusion.

 

“I invited them to announce the construction of a new infirmary wing for the Courtlea church.  I did not know they would be the saboteurs – that there were assassins hidden amongst them,” said Adolin.  “And I had promised two days ago that you would be spared bloodshed when you were here with us.”

 

“You oughtn’t to make promises you can’t keep.”

 

“So my father always says.”  Adolin choked out a forced laugh.  “I am unworthy.  I know it.  And now you do too.”

 

“If you wanted to apologise for inviting the Ardents, then I forgive you for it.  The assassins would have come with or without your invitation.  They are assassins, you know.  Not tea-time callers.”

 

Adolin stepped closer, and rested a hand on the wooden cover of the billiards table.  Shallan glanced down at it.  His fingers tapped out a nervous rhythm.  “I could have done something – something to help, anything at all.  But instead I was cavorting with girls I cared nothing about, while the one person I did care about had to – to –”

 

“Had to do what had to be done,” Shallan finished.  She turned and saw that Adolin’s head was downcast; she could see the whorl of hair on the top of his head where the black and yellow stripes radiated.  On impulse, she patted it.  His hair was fluffy and soft.  He raised his head.  He looked – miserable.  Shallan decided that smiling suited him more.

 

“And I wish you hadn’t had to,” he whispered.  “My royal uncle – the late King – died at a Feast just like this one.  My father was in his cups – and did nothing while an assassin stabbed the King and pushed him off a balcony.   The guilt afterwards almost destroyed him.  He still isn’t the same as he was before.”

 

“I am not dead – so you needn’t feel guilt,” said Shallan.  “You can trust me to guarantee my own safety.”

 

“Perhaps you are better off without me.”

 

Shallan swung her legs around and off the table.  She slid off; her skirt bunched up around her thighs and revealed a flash of pale leg.  She caught Adolin’s eyes flicking down to them, but then he looked up, and they met eye to eye.

 

“Do you think you would be better off without me?” she asked.

 

He did not say anything for a while, but his hand reached out and hovered over hers.  But he did not touch her; his hand dropped limply to his side.  “No,” he said.   He ran a hand through his hair distractedly, and made as if to withdraw.

 

Shallan caught him by the wrist.  “If you must leave, it would be with the deepest regret.  And I have lived a life with too many regrets.”

 

Adolin turned back, and his eyes shone in the lamplight.  “Is that forgiveness?”

 

“There is nothing to forgive.”

 

He wrapped her in his embrace, and for the first time since she had entered the retiring room, she felt warm.  It was not just the physical warmth of having his body pressed against hers, but the warmth of knowing that she did not have to be alone.   For what use was finding peace and forgiveness within herself, and healing the emptiness within her, if she must have lonely emptiness around her for the rest of her life? 

 

Understanding choice – that was the lesson she had learned mere hours ago.  She had chosen not to be weak, or to be a victim, or to be a murderess.  She was only a victim if she allowed herself to be, and she was only a murderess if she continued to bear the strangling, baseless guilt of her father’s death.  Perhaps it was choice, or perhaps it was all perception – but she found meaning in the choice of life before death, and strength before weakness.

 

Shallan knew those words to be trite phrases torn direct from The Way of Kings, but they seemed good words to live one’s life by, and made a curiously fitting frame for the fractured thoughts that she was still piecing together.  They were unoriginal words, and no doubt read and internalised by a great many young men yearning for glory in the bored tedium of a tutoring room, but here she found them unexpectedly appropriate for herself.

 

If only she had known it earlier. 

 

But she could not have found these truths if she had never left Loch Davar.  They would not have come to her unless she had sought them for herself.  Loch Davar was a cage in her mind where she had hidden herself away, for her own safety, never realising it was she who held the key, and that she could have ventured out any time – if she was brave enough to face the outside world.  And now she had, and she had seen truth, and it was devastating and terrible and gruesome and painful and the scars on her disfigured heart ached all the more because she had done all of it and could not deny it any longer.

 

She no longer felt guilt for the things she had done, things that had been done out of what she now accepted was pure necessity – those questionable deeds had not been heaped upon her as punishment for possessing an inherently bad soul, as if she deserved it.  Her mother, in her dementia, had said those words to her, as a child.  A child.  They could not be true.  And she would not accept them.

 

She had seen that the terrible world had good people, who, just perhaps, balanced out the terrible people.  These good people were not good all the way through – they were more fittingly called decent people – and they were just people, like her.  They had in them honesty, and wisdom, and kindness, and that was enough.  It wasn’t goodness or badness inherent in one’s soul, or the nobility and Grace of high or low blood that defined a person as a decent sort, or a bad one.  It was the choices one made. 

 

Adolin pulled away eventually, and when Shallan looked at his crisp regimental uniform and compared it to her bloodstained underdress and bare feet, she almost laughed.

 

“I need a bath,” she said.

 

“Shall I walk you to your room?” he asked.  He looked her over and noticed her abandoned on bodice on the billiards table, and blushed.  “You oughtn’t to go alone – there could be other assassins.”

 

“I have no shoes.  I do not relish the prospect of walking over broken glass – it is no trial by fire, but I am sure I have already passed my test of courage to-day.  Perhaps you might carry me.”

 

“Oh – of course,” Adolin stammered, and then he held out his arms and hoisted her up.  His boots scattered the glass with a chiming tinkle, and he carried her out to the end of the hallway – there were small shards of glass on the floor outside the doorway, brought out with the soldiers who had collected the assassin’s body.  He put her down gently.

 

“Adolin,” said Shallan, peeking around the corner, “might I borrow your coat?  I shouldn’t like to be seen by the guests in nothing but my shift.  It’s cold – and I haven’t my bodice.”

 

Adolin shrugged off his coat, and draped it over her shoulders.  Shallan slipped her arms into the sleeves – they dangled over her hands – and tugged the lapels over the dried bloodstain on her front.  The coat, which stopped at Adolin’s knees, went almost to her ankles.  The white lace of her underdress peeped out from underneath. 

 

“Do I look less of a mess now?” she said, smiling up at Adolin.

 

“Your Feast dress looked nice; this is just as nice – but I think you look nice regardless of what you wear,” he replied. 

 

They walked hand in hand, passing guests in the foyer who stared at them and tutted to each other and shook their heads – she heard the words “standards of decency these days” and “impatience of youth”.   Adolin was blushing, and she was certain her own faced matched.

 

“Adolin!” called a voice behind them. 

 

They stopped and turned.  It was the young man she had seen in the ballroom, with green eyes and a stylishly cut dress coat and lace neckcloth with an emerald stickpin.   Another young man caught up with him; he adjusted the hang of his cuffs and looked them over with a dubious eye.

 

“Jakamav,” said Adolin.  He gripped her hand fiercely. 

 

“We’re going through to dinner,” Jakamav said, giving Shallan a head-to-toe inspection.   Shallan pulled the oversized coat tighter around herself.  “Will you join us?”

 

“I’m afraid I have other business that must be seen to,” said Adolin quietly.

 

“Well,” said Jakamav casually, “I’m sure you can take care of it quickly–” he smirked in Shallan’s direction, “–and join us when you’re finished.”

 

“My business is none of yours.”

 

Jakamav sighed and turned to Shallan.  “Being seen with Adolin isn’t good for one’s reputation these days.  If you tire of the quaint country life, come to the City – Toral here will ensure you won’t leave disappointed.”  He nudged the man next to him, and they grinned at one another – and at Shallan.  Toral winked.

 

“I obviously don’t look like I care about my reputation,” said Shallan coldly.  “As you can probably tell.   And I can tell quite obviously that you do not care about respectability – and you look it.  You should know that the floral pattern lace on your neckcloth is the débutante’s traditional.  You might pay a call on your couturier to demand your money back.”

 

Toral snorted; Jakamav reddened.

 

“There’s no accounting for taste,” said Jakamav, “not that I should expect you to understand.”  He turned from them and strode away.  Toral looked back apologetically.

 

They heard him whisper.  “So Adolin has got himself a girl at last.  About time.”

 

“I had always thought him impotent,” Jakamav replied, loud enough that he wanted them to overhear.

 

“I should keep my peace unless he comes to dinner in ten minutes and begs your advice.”

 

Adolin squeezed her hand very hard.  Shallan tugged at it.  He loosened his grip.  “I should call them out for – that,” he said hotly.

 

Shallan laughed, and turned to him, resting a hand on his cheek.  “They’re all just jealous.”

 

He was silent for a brief moment, and a grin split his face; he hugged her, burying his face into her hair.  “I did say that once, didn’t I?”

 

“I do listen,” said Shallan, smiling.  “Wouldn’t you be jealous of anyone privileged with basking in my innate Grace?”  She plucked at the front of her bloodstained dress.  “I mean, just look at me!  I’m honestly surprised that I don’t wake up every day jealous of myself!”

 

“Oh, Shallan,” Adolin chuckled, and took up her hand once more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

On Navani - under the ice queen exterior, she's still a mother.  She wanted a strong Duchess, but when she sees that Shallan can kill a man in cold blood, she realises that Shallan can do things that she afraid of doing.  Dalinar, on the other hand, is impressed by her creativity and quick thinking.

"Napoleodium" - Remember what time period and setting this is supposed to be in?  The reason why Jasnah thinks a marshpeople rebellion is going to happen is because of the Revolution.  Of course, all of that is just worldbuilding colour and irrelevant to the main plot.

"If you remembered to take one of us with you" - Kaladin snark and metajoke here, meaning STOP WITH THE TRIANGLING AND PICK ONE FOR ALMIGHTY'S SAKE.

Shallan's feelings on Adolin's Other Girls - she tells herself that she's okay with it and she doesn't care, but you can read deeper into it.  There's a reason why it's the first thing she jumps onto when he apologises.  She's thinking about it a lot, unconsciously, and is possibly (who knows???) jealous.

"I could have done something" - Adolin's reaction is supposed to mirror his response to the time Szeth burst in through the wall like the Kool-Aid Guy in WoR.

"It would be with the deepest regret" - ironic echo.  I like to do it a lot, and you can pick them out for yourself.  It makes things more dramatic.

On Jakamav - a douchebag and a jerk, and Adolin gets annoyed because he doesn't like how he treats Shallan.  "Adolin isn't good for one's reputation" comes from the scene in WoR when Jak tells Adolin after a plateau battle to stop asking him to hang out until he's cool again.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY SIX

 

 

 

 

 

They chattered about inane things and ignored the curious stares of passers-by, until they reached the landing and Shallan had to direct him to the guest wing where her bedchamber was situated.  Apparently, the guests and Family quarters were on opposite ends of the House to discourage the occurrence of tarnished reputations.  Shallan had been seen wandering the halls in her undergarments and the coat and the company of a man who was not her husband; her reputation had already been tarnished, and she could not care to protect something that no longer existed.

 

They reached the bathing chamber, and Shallan opened the door.  Adolin followed her in hesitantly, looking around at the tiles and the pictures of stylised towers in frames of blue and gilt.  

 

“Am I allowed to be in here?”

 

“There’s no maid – so who else will fill the tub?” said Shallan, pointing to the pump handles by the porcelain bathtub.   “I was burned on my right shoulder so it would take me half a day to do it with my left.” 

 

Shallan sat on the maid’s stool and watched eagerly as Adolin unbuckled his side-sword and laid it on the stack of towels.  He rolled his sleeves up his tanned forearms and worked the pump handle – the hot water one first, and then the cold water.  Damp steam roiled out of the faucet and the tub and clung to his shirt, outlining the corded muscle of his shoulders and upper arms.  It was a shame he still had on his waistcoat, thought Shallan, enjoying the view immensely. 

 

Shallan shed the uniform coat and began undoing the buttons of her underdress.

 

Adolin looked up, and said, “I’ve finished filling the tub–”   His voice choked off with a strained gurgle; he spun on his heel with military precision until his back was presented to her.  “Ah.  I should go now.  Yes.  It would probably be a good idea.”

 

“Haven’t you ever seen a lady disrobed?” asked Shallan, amused.  She could have been shyer about it, and she would have been if she were still at Loch Davar.  But she had grown used to being unclothed in front of her maid, and Jasnah, and Kaladin too, now that she thought of it. 

 

“Um.  No?” 

 

She dropped her bloodstained dress to the floor, and walked over to the bathtub.  Adolin shifted about to keep his back to her.  It was marvellously endearing.   She poured scented oils and powdered soap and a whole jar of dried flower petals into the water. 

 

“Not even all those – other girls?  Before you met me, of course,” said Shallan, as she slipped off her pantalets and stepped into the hot water.  She was curious – and felt unwelcome sense of dread about receiving an answer to that question.  It was something she had never thought about; she had always told herself she didn’t – wouldn’t – care about what Adolin got up to in his own time, and the girls he went through one per month in the City didn’t matter as long as it was her he chose in the end. 

 

“No,” he answered promptly.  And then a queer note entered his voice.  “Have you?”

 

“I’m looking at a lady disrobed right now, Adolin.”

 

He was blushing.  She could tell it without looking at him; she knew him well enough by now.  She splashed the water and giggled. 

 

“I meant,” here he spoke tentatively, “gentlemen.  Disrobed.”

 

“Why, yes.  Four of them.”

 

“What?”  He whirled around red-faced, saw her laughing in a tub full of bubbles, and spun back so he did not have to see her in her state of indecency.

 

“I have four brothers,” Shallan said, and splashed about to cover her stifled laughter at his reaction.   Was that – could that be jealousy, of all things?  “In Scotland, men wear skirts, and there is a traditional technique to put them on that does not appeal to the dignified sensibilities of Anglethis.  The trick is to do it laying on your back.”  She paused, then continued.  “And it’s traditional not to wear anything underneath.”

 

“You needn’t tell me anything more; I think I have heard quite enough,” said Adolin.  “I should go down to dinner.  They must have already started it by now.  Unless they are still toasting.”

 

“It has only been something like twenty minutes,” remarked Shallan.  “Your little friends will no doubt be waiting for tales of your daring exploits.  But I suppose if you are hungry, by all means, go down.  Leave your sword so I might be prepared for assassination attempt – I imagine I could drown a man in the bathtub, but it would be drearily tedious.”

 

“No,” said Adolin, coming to a decision.  “I shall wait outside the door, then.”  He took up his side-sword, and with one quick glance at her – she pretended not to notice it – he pulled open the door and shut it with a firm click.

 

When Shallan was finished, she wrapped one towel around her waist and another over her shoulders – there was no maid to bring fresh clothes, and she did not want to put on the bloodstained dress that she had dropped into the linen basket on the floor.  She took a breath and opened the door.

 

Adolin was outside, holding his sword above his head; his eyes were closed.  They flicked open, and he lowered the sword slowly; he re-sheathed it in its scabbard with a soft snick.

 

“Sword forms – Ironstance,” he explained.  “I haven’t had much opportunity to practice these last few days...”  He trailed off.  “Are – are you naked?”

 

Shallan laughed and tossed him his coat.  “Here’s a little secret for you,” she said, and then leaned forward to whisper into his ear.  “We’re all naked under our clothes.”

 

Adolin flushed and unrolled his sleeves; he pushed them down and straightened the cuffs.  “Shall I walk you to your room now?”

 

Shallan led the way down the hall, putting a swing to her hips in the way Madame Tyn had taught her.  She had always thought it a ridiculous idea that men might be attracted to the way one walked, but the governess had just waved her reed switch and beckoned her to do another round of the gallery with a book on her head.  Shallan had never thought it would ever be of use – she had been under the assumption that the exercise was a waste of time which could be more productively spent on reading or drawing.

 

Shallan opened the door.  “Will you come in?”

 

“But there’s no chaperon.  It’s indecent–”

 

“I have read The Way of Kings, and it doesn’t say anything about accompanying unaccompanied ladies to their rooms,” Shallan said, trying to keep her face serious. 

 

It was difficult to keep her expression level – she did not want to scare Adolin away; he was much different than Kaladin in this: Kaladin would have barged in, invitation or no.  Adolin needed to be led gently – and she remembered Jasnah saying that it could be done by convincing him it was of his own volition.  She brushed that thought away.  She had looked forward to an instance where she could speak to Adolin without chaperons, without other pressing duties – courting as she wished they could have done from the beginning.  But here she was, with her reputation irrevocably tarnished, and she could not care that she was indulging in what society deemed licentious behaviour.  Well, she had killed a man only hours ago, and whatever society made of that, it could not be any worse.

 

“There was that bit–”

 

“I’m not a courtesan, and you’re not on duty,” she interjected.  “Unless you think I am a courtesan.  In that case, I demand payment for that eyeful I’m sure you managed in the bathing room.”

 

“You’re not a courtesan,” Adolin conceded, and then he glanced both ways down the hallway before she let him in and closed the door behind him. 

 

“Society ladies would say differently,” said Shallan, humming, as she went to the wardrobe to fetch her dressing gown and a clean shift.  She kept the door open and hid behind it to change.  “And after to-night, there might be some truth in it.  My reputation, I’m afraid, is in shambles.”

 

“It doesn’t have to be.  It can be fixed.”

 

“By taking the waters, I suppose.  Or perhaps a Grand Tour – Jasnah has wanted to travel the Continent for some time.”

 

“No.  I can fix it.  Am I not Duke?”

 

Shallan tied closed her dressing gown.  She closed the wardrobe door.  “What do you mean by that?”

 

“I – I caused this.  Your reputation can be salvaged, Shallan,” he said.  He looked at her, and he opened his mouth, and spoke three words that clanged down like bars on a prison door.  They were words that could not be taken back, serious words of serious intention that she had not expected to hear, not so soon – and in the part of mind that saw herself as homely and graceless – not to her.

 

Shallan’s hands trembled.  “I do not want it,” she said slowly, “if the offer is made out of obligation and nothing else.”

 

“I feel – responsible.  But it is not obligation that impels me to make the offer.  There is something else,” he said, fingers tugging nervously at his cuffs.  And then he spoke three more words that soared out on wings of hope and honesty, soft words with a terrible implacable force behind them; they battered against her one after the other and she almost cringed back from their frightening sincerity.

 

Three words.

 

The words were completely unambiguous.

 

They were words that fluttered with light and hope and warmth, but could easily disguise chains and shackles that one was not aware of – until it was too late.  She wanted all that was represented by the former, but the latter – she was petrified; she recognised it as the bonds that connected her to Loch Davar, the reason why she had called it home when she had been so afraid to leave its bounds – when she had been absolutely miserable there.  But those bonds were ones that formed around her, so slowly and malevolently; they had covered her mouth and her eyes, so she did not even know they were there until they were suddenly gone, and she could not speak of or understand their existence … until now.

 

He was silent, and she was silent; the silence stretched on as Adolin waited for her response with desperate anticipation, and Shallan tried to think of a response that would neither encourage nor deny him in his sentiments.  She did not know what to say – the words he most wanted to hear would have burned with their deceit when they left her lips.  She did not feel what he felt to the same degree as he did.  She felt something ... but it could not be named with that word, and her mind assured its own protection by searing it out of her when it entered via her ears.

 

“Shallan,” Adolin said finally, “do you feel affection for another?  I could not blame you if you did.”

 

That woke her from a downwards plunge into her myriad of prepared responses.  “What?”

 

”I admit I did not see it until the ball – when you danced three sets with Kal.  When he looked at you, there was true affection, and I felt myself – extraneous.”

 

“Are you implying – me and Kaladin?

 

“Yes.  He is a good man – he is cleverer than I, and sharper than most.  My father treats him as a son – more son than Renarin sometimes, perhaps.  If you and he have an understanding–”

 

“We don't.  He has never given any indication of his feelings for me.  He thinks me a nuisance!”

 

“Have you not ... kissed him?” Adolin suddenly looked guilty; he could not meet her eyes.

 

“No,” Shallan replied.  “Why?  Have you?”

 

“No!” Adolin flushed, and he bit his lip whilst searching for an explanation.  “I kissed Danlan.  Or Danlan kissed me – she cornered me in the hallway – and when she pressed against me, all I could think about was how I rathered it be you, and when she kissed me, there was – nothing.  I felt nothing from it, just her lips on mine.  And I realised afterwards that it was because I did not care for her, and she did not care about me.”

                                                                                                                                                                           

“Oh,” said Shallan. 

 

Things between herself and Kaladin were beginning to make more sense – how it had been a long time since he had been deliberately antagonistic in his treatment of her; how they played verbal racquets for the fun of the game rather than the satisfaction of winning; how he had been nothing but understanding when she revealed glimpses of the terrible person she had long been ashamed of.  She had thought they were becoming mutual, perhaps friendly, acquaintances –and she had never considered that he might possibly feel anything for anyone, let alone her of all people.

 

“Then do you – accept my proposal?”

 

“I do not feel what you do.  Not to the same extent.” 

 

That was a truth.  She could not lie to him about that; it would have hurt both of them in the end if she did.  And she did not want to hurt Adolin if she did not have to; Jasnah’s self-centredness in her scheming was now monstrously repugnant to her.  It was ruthless, and coldly brutal, and though Shallan saw the importance of Jasnah’s Great Purpose, she could not toss someone aside just to further the plan.  The world, she thought, was not worth saving when good people were hurt in the process.  The good people were what made the worth preserving; if they did not exist, she would happily stand aside and let the Almighty bring on his chaos and destruction and his final Ending.

 

“Do you think perhaps you might could – one day, given time – whatever it takes, I shan’t begrudge you –”  Adolin was hesitant and halting; it appeared to take much effort for him to say such intimately personal things aloud.

 

“Yes.  I could.” 

 

And that was a truth.  She did not think she would have been able to say it; she would not have allowed herself to – if she had been asked just yesterday.  But something had changed within her, and she did not feel the torn and divided loyalties as she had felt so very recently.  It was enormously freeing to know that.

 

“Oh – that is all I wanted to hear – it is more than I expected,” he said, and he caught her around the waist – she gasped – and he swung her around and around, pressing exuberant kisses to her cheeks and nose and throat.  He whispered those three words again, the words that fell heavily into place from above, like a latch on a cage.

 

“Be my Duchess.”

 

“A proposal only then – nothing permanent?” she found herself asking.

 

“A proposal – an engagement – a betrothal.  Only a promise, and not a contract,” said Adolin, his arms around her holding her close.  She rested her head against his shoulder.

 

“For now?”

 

“For as long as you like – for as long as you need.” 

 

Suddenly the latch had no lock – there was no key either – and it was simply a door.  A door that she could enter and leave, and peer outside on occasion, and come back inside when it was raining, when she wanted to draw without getting her pages wet.  And it was not a cage, so it could not be called a prison.  It was a house, a House, and perhaps one day a home.  A place where she did not have to be alone, or miserable: it could be a place where friends awaited her arrival with fond welcome, and upon her departure, looked forward to her return with eager anticipation.

 

“Then I accept.”

 

Adolin gave her an enthusiastic squeeze, and she raised her arms up and twined them around his shoulders.  “Shallan, Shallan, Shallan,” he murmured, nuzzling against her neck.  “Oh, I am acting the fool, but you have made me so very happy.  I had not imagined it would be – quite like this.  It is strange, passing strange, but I shouldn’t mind growing used to this.  In fact, I think I would very much enjoy it.”

 

Shallan was more subdued.  Of course, she was glad to see Adolin in such high spirits, but she was more reserved in her own feeling.  She had no uneasiness for the prospect of Adolin’s company, she knew – it was just that doing so, at least for the long term, had with it attached a number of responsibilities, and expectations, and duties.  She had wanted to be the Duchess, before she had even met Adolin, or come to Kholinar Court, but now that there was a good chance of its becoming a distinct reality, it was nothing but intimidating. 
 

A new name, a new home, a new family, a new life – changes all around her; they surrounded her, and carried her away on a torrent of commitment and obligation.  She did not loathe change if it happened to be progress, but she longed for the touch of the familiar – something recognisable, something routine; it would help her to hold onto the part of her identity that was purely Shallan. 

 

Shallan pushed away from Adolin’s arms and opened the vanity drawer.  She set the roll of brushes and her sketchbook on the table, along with her pen box. 

 

Adolin stepped in beside her, and flicked open the button closure of the brush roll.  “I had hoped you liked them.”

 

“I didn’t know they were a gift.  My maid brought them in one day.  The day before – that incident in the forest.”

 

“I thought you might refuse if I gave them to you directly, as a courting gift.  They were my mother’s,” he said, and slipped a brush out.  “My father’s gift to her.”

 

It pained her; it was painful to perceive the depth of affection that Adolin felt for her – that she did not, for now at least, return.  He had felt more of it, and had felt it much earlier than she had.  For one with such a notorious reputation as a rake and a flirt, Adolin really did wear his heart on his sleeve.   He was open and expressive, and Shallan knew him well enough to read his face with ease; she saw that he was emotive, and every emotion was etched upon his features.  He could not hide himself like Kaladin did, or she herself did.  It was frightfully intimate.  But she liked him all the more for his honesty.

 

Shallan brought her sketchbook to the bed, and slid open the lid of her pen box.  She flipped through the pages, past the old drawings, past the empty section where a whole bound signature full of copied mural sketches had been cut out of it, past the half dozen folded up sheets of calculated arithmetic progressionals, until she found a fresh page.  She started tracing out ovals and lines – her impressions of the guests she had met in the ballroom.

 

The bed dipped slightly as Adolin settled his weight on it next to her.  She felt his fingers twitch a lock of her hair over her shoulder, and something pulled at her hair.  She turned around to look.

 

Adolin had the silver hairbrush in his hand, and was running it through her hair – until he found a tangled knot.   He stopped when he met her eyes.

 

“My maid usually does that,” she said.

 

“I do not mind doing it.  I do it for the horses – and I find it relaxing.  But the grooms, like your maid, would probably think it beneath me.”

 

“I sometimes think you are more familiar with horses than women.”

 

“Sometimes I think that too.”

 

They were silent as Shallan sketched her thoughts in the comforting blankness of her artist’s trance; it was easier to sort her thoughts and emotions out, so she could draw from pure visual memory.  She knew Adolin was looking over her shoulder, and emptying her mind allowed her to feel less self-conscious – people who watched her draw often asked busybody questions, but Adolin said nothing.  He just brushed her hair and gently untangled knots whenever he found them.

 

After a while, Adolin spoke.  “Will you tell me of Scotland?”

 

Shallan blinked; the pencil fell still.  “Why?” she asked.  “What do you want to know about it?”

 

“I want to hear about the place you call home,” he said.  The mattress bounced as he shifted his weight.  “I do not think there is any place I could call that.”

 

“Home is not always a place.  It is people, and feelings, and sounds and tastes and memories.”

 

Adolin was silent.

 

“Very well,” said Shallan.  She could talk about this now, with him.  It was not a personal prying question.  These were safe memories, the happy ones.  “Loch Davar is a manor house by the lake,” she began, rolling the pencil between her fingers.  Adolin resumed his brushing.  “With miles of bog and hills on all sides, with little villages and farms that mostly grow oats and cows and sheep.

 

“I spent most of my childhood rambling the hillsides – it’s beautiful when you climb to the top and watch the sun burst through the clouds onto the heather.  Like a purple carpet for a King, only it was made by Almighty, and just for me. 

 

“My brother Helaran brought me paints and inks and paper, and my brother Balat taught me to ride on those wee Loch ponies with the shaggy hair that sticks to your tartans and gets in your luncheon bannock no matter what you do.  I would go out with my brother Jushu to the little hidden valleys between the hills, and we would play make-believe, and read storybooks aloud. 

 

“He would pretend to be a knight, and I a princess, and we would fight the bog monsters together.  And afterwards, I would paint our imaginary battles, and he would keep all of them folded in his sporran.  In the evenings, he would show the family after dinner, and share our grand adventures in front of the fire…”

 

Shallan recounted these memories of her childhood, when Loch Davar had been perfect and bright and happy, and Adolin laughed and sighed at all the right places.  They were the days when the manor house’s roof didn’t leak, and even in the coldest darkest winters, joy and pleasure could still be found in slides over the frozen lake, and whimsically shaped treacle sweets poured into the snow, and the cakes and candles of Yule celebrations that blasphemously flaunted Vorin tradition.

 

When she was finished, Adolin said, “You sound different when you speak of home.  Your accent changes.”

 

“My governess would chide me for my lapse.”

 

“I find it charming – I like it very much.”  His fingers trailed over the skin at the back of her neck.  They were warm, and they brushed lightly against her and lifted away.  “I like everything about you.  And Scotland – it sounds wonderful.  I wish I had a childhood like that.”

 

“Did you not get to go out and play?  I thought that it was what all children did.”

 

“No,” said Adolin wistfully.  “Not much of it – not enough to know what I had been missing.  I began my military training when I was six years old.”

 

Shallan tapped her pencil against her open sketchbook; she turned a page, and started a new drawing.  “Drummer boys and courier light-weights and midshipmen aren’t taken up until they’re at least twelve.”

 

“Things are different when you are born in a position that requires privilege to match duty.”

 

“Will you tell me of your childhood?”

 

“I suppose I should – since you have,” said Adolin, and he resumed brushing her hair while he described a lonely childhood with a distant father who was always away and abroad, overseeing one campaign or another, and a foreign mother who struggled to express her thoughts in the Anglethi tongue, who preferred the company of her foreign waiting ladies when her sons had been taken away for their education.

 

He spoke of military training, and even when he was playing, all of the games were structured exercise meant to improve his skills in some manner or other.  There were no friends or playmates, only subordinates and associates, and every day was bound up in little blocks of time, tied together with a great list of expectations, duties, and standing orders, so that he forgot what it felt like to make a decision for himself, and the prospect became so unfamiliar as to be terrifyingly inconceivable.

 

“When I was sixteen,” he said, “I was the youngest member ever to reach the leader-board at the Kholinar Duelling Club.  Then the King was killed, and the Pact was formed, and I was dragged from the clubs and salons of the City to the battlefields of the marshlands.

 

“I saw battle, and I led charges for the first time, when I was seventeen.  The year after that was my debut into Society and my aunt foisted girl after girl on me to secure a match.  I was not in a particularly – receptive – mood then, and I found ways to reject them all, and it became a pattern; it soon happened that I was rid of them without even trying, no matter if I wanted to know them more or not.

 

“I thought it was something wrong with all of them, but after five years – well, I suppose it began to gnaw on me.  Then I met you, and I saw there was nothing wrong with you – that everything was because there was something wrong with me, and I hadn’t even known what it was–”

 

Shallan snapped the covers of her sketchbook shut.  She twisted around so quickly that Adolin dropped the hairbrush onto the carpet in his surprise; she leaped forward and pushed him down onto the bed and sat on his stomach and pinned his shoulders to the mattress with her knees.  He wheezed a bit but made no move to push her off.  She crossed her arms.

 

“No!  There is nothing wrong with you!” she snarled.  “And if there is, it is only because you think it.  Whatever it is – fear, shame, weakness – whatever you call it, you have a choice not to accept it.  Turn it away – find peace within you, and you can leave it all behind.  And no-one will ever have to know that it existed at all.”

 

Adolin lifted his head and gazed at her; he dropped back into the pillows with a long sighing breath.  “Oh, Shallan.  Will you help me?”

 

“Yes.  Of course.”

 

“If only I could have found you earlier–”

 

“A wise book once said that it is not the destination that matters–”

 

“–But the journey.  My father quotes that wise book all the time.”

 

They laughed, and Shallan slid herself off him and rolled aside, until Adolin caught her around the waist and pulled her back.  They lay together on the bed, and she rested her head on his chest; he stroked her hair and their legs were twined together – it was not very comfortable as her feet were bare, and he still had on his polished riding boots.  No doubt they would leave brown streaks of dirt on the bed-covers, but at least it gave him a reasonable defence against the tarnishing of his own reputation.

 

Shallan stared up at the velvet canopy drapes as she had done many mornings, and wondered if Adolin’s own bed had a canopy.  She did not think soldiers would have them, because they woke at dawn and had no need for shutting out the sunlight like a lady did, when she required her beauty sleep to recover from a long night of dancing with handsome gentlemen.  Shallan was suddenly reminded that she had never even got to dance with Adolin. 

 

Minutes passed, and each enjoyed the peaceful, silent company of the other; no words needed to be said, because they knew all the words already. 

 

“I should like to visit Scotland someday,” said Adolin softly. 

 

Shallan stirred, and lifted her head off his chest; she moved across to the pillow next to his.   They stared at each other; his hand held hers, and she thought that if she woke up like this one morning, she should not mind it so much.  Mornings could not be considered invariably dreadful and dreadfully invariable if now and then one had good company – someone who did not fault her for drooling on occasion.  It was strange, but pleasantly so, to meet eye to eye whilst horizontal.  It was the same view as it was when they were standing, she supposed, but she did not have to crane her neck backwards to do so. 

 

“Haven’t you ever been?”

 

“We have an estate in the north – near the McHanavar lands, I think.  It’s a glorified hunting lodge, and I have never been one for hunting.  Cousin Elhokar is High King of the clan chiefs – I imagine we have a Family tartan too, but I have never worn it.”

 

Shallan took in this information.  Then she smiled.  “You are Duke.”

 

“Yes?”  Adolin looked puzzled.

 

“If you have a tartan, you are equivalent to clan chief.” 

 

“Is that amusing to you?”

 

“Yes,” she said, and she laughed.  “It means you are The McKholin!”

 

“Shouldn’t you address me as Your Chiefliness?”

 

“The proper style is Himself.”

 

“Himself?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Heralds,” Adolin said, chuckling.  “Scots are strange people.”

 

“I thought you said I was charming.”

 

“You are.”  He gripped her hand tightly.  “It is what makes you so Shallan-y.”

 

“Hm.”

 

Adolin dropped her hand and pushed himself up onto his elbows.   He looked at her, and she looked at him, and he did not say anything – he just bent his head and brushed a kiss against her cheek.  His hand rose up and stroked against the line of her jaw, and then he kissed her on the lips. 

Shallan kissed him back, and undid the ribbon waist-tie of her dressing gown; she slid it off and tossed it away.  Perhaps it was scandalously forward of her, but until now, she had only felt the touch of two men whilst in her shift – Kaladin and the false Ardent.  Neither of them could be considered romantic embraces – they were very very far from that; she still shivered at the memory of the soaking rag of ether on the torn skin of her fresh wound.  She wanted to replace those memories with good ones, and she did; she pressed against Adolin and felt the lean muscle of his chest and torso through his waistcoat, but she made no move to unbutton it. 

 

Adolin’s fingers twined through hers, and she felt the scrape of the stubbly beginnings of his whiskers against her neck.  She giggled when he breathed his warm breath against her throat; she hissed when gave a friendly nip to her collar, on the opposite side to the one he had given her a few days ago.  A matched pair, she thought.  How fitting.

 

“Shallan?” he whispered.

 

“Hm?”

 

And then she felt his lips at her ear, and she felt the breath of his exhalation swirling the tiny soft hairs at her temple, and he spoke those three words again.  This time she did not quail at the sound of them; she let them pass through her and away and into silence.

 

The little doves tucked beneath her ribs cooed; they lacked the tongues of men so they could not speak, but they could sing, and they sang to one another, and they sang to Shallan, a song that no-one else could hear.  They fluttered their wings as if they were eager to stretch them, eager to venture outside their cage of skin and bone, and their flutter-flutter matched the fluttering of Adolin's heart inside his own ribs.

 

 But no – it was no longer inside his ribs.  The physical chambers of bloody muscle were still inside him, but the essence of it, the spirit beyond the flesh, was gone.  He had laid himself bare, and he had given it to her, and she had not the slightest idea of what to do with it.  She could hardly hold his nose and shove it back in through his open mouth.

 

She decided to hold onto it for now, and hold it gently until she came up with an answer.  Adolin had said she had all the time she might need, and time was a gift she would willingly take, for it held no constraints on her like a guarantee of protection or safety.  She closed her eyes, and buried her face into Adolin’s shoulder, and let his neckcloth blot away her tears. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

On tarnished reputations - remember when Shallan was thinking up ways to convince Adolin into eloping with her?  One of them was letting him see her bathing.  But now she doesn't care about eloping, and it shows that she's comfortable with being around him (in that way), even if he's uncomfortable with her.  She's also kinda pervy. 

"I'm not a courtesan" - Adolin refuses a courtesan in WoK for reasons.  I didn't think it was just because he was on duty or that his dad would kill him.  He doesn't refuse Shallan. :-)

"Taking the waters"/"Grand Tour" - rich people activities that mean going on holiday for several months and coming back when the gossip has died down.  Obviously Adolin doesn't want Shallan going away for months.

"Have you not kissed him?"/"Why? Have you?" - here's a little poke at all those people who like to turn a love triangle into an OT3.  Sorry guys, it wasn't going to happen in this story.

On Adolin's childhood - I never thought he had a perfect fairytale prince childhood in WoR either.  I felt that there had to be a justification for why Adolin is such a good duellist, and why Renarin turned out to be so messed up.

Shallan's feelings on Adolin - read it as you will. xDDD

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 26

 

 

 

 

 

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Adolin's self-induced difficulties put me in mind of the type of girls who always date jerks, and when they break up with their jerk bf, they date another jerk.  :rolleyes:  Then they complain about why are all guys jerks, where have all the good men gone, etc.  After a while, all you want to do is is shake them and yell at them why they can't just open their eyes!!1!1!  Whenever fictional characters (and IRL people too) go down the self-pity hole and say things like "why does my life suck?" and "no one understands my struggles!" I get the same kind of reaction.  Guess I'm not a very patient person.

 

I don't think Adoiln is afraid of marital life either.  With Vorinism and warcamps the way they are, I don't think his life would be that different, at least outside of performing those "husbandly duties"  :ph34r:.  I don't think he would be afraid of husbandly duties.  :ph34r:   Dalinar has clerks and scribes who are the wives and daughters of his officers, and if Adolin gets married, he just gets his own personal secretary instead of having to go to an Ardent to have things read.  Not really a huge change since his whole working day stays pretty much the same.  He is just afraid of picking the wrong girl.  Or picking a girl in general. 

 

If Brandon was a character author, I feel like Adolin would have become self-aware of his issues way earlier.  But as it is, SA is an ensemble fantasy, and Adolin only gets to level up in character development as a reaction from some outside plot feature.  Like fighting Szeth, or the 4:1 duel.  He doesn't analyse, and he is only reactionary; he only re-frames his paradigms when it's shaken up by something beyond his control. It fits the style of the series and the people who like massive universes, but it's disappointing for character readers.  At least Dalinar and Kaladin get more introspection, even if you consider it boring.

 

There are several nefarious dating patterns out there... One of my former friend was a jerk dater. It was rather simple, the more pathetic and useless the guy, the highest chance he had to land a date with her. Each and every time, she treated her new romantic interest as The One, going as far as buying him expensive gifts (we were students back then and thus poor) only to end it in tears a few days/weeks/months later. 

 

At first, I fell sorry for her, but after a while I couldn't muster enough pity to sympathize anymore. How about dating a nice strong guy? You know, one with an actual future? 

 

Last I heard, she married some jobless Loser who, according to my other friend, was an alcoholic  :rolleyes: I lost all contacts with her shortly before her wedding but, according to Facebook  :ph34r:, she divorced him after a mere 2-3 years of married life (if not less)  :rolleyes: She speaks of new beginnings and blablabla just as she used to.

 

Sigh.

 

She could have asked me, I would have told her: don't marry this loser. You deserve a guy who is actually employed and one without any pathology... I mean, most guys do have a job and most guys do not have problems with alcohol...

 

I am not known either for my... patience  :ph34r:

 

I don't think Adolin is afraid of married life as well.... I even think married life is something he desires, down the road. If we could ask him, I am quite sure he'd say he wants to have children and a family, some day, but he is still very young. Even if by his society standard he is an old bachelor, 23 years of age isn't overly old. 

 

I think Adolin's issues are deeper than simply fearing he may pick the wrong girl. While I do agree there is probably some of that, the recent WoB highlighted the problem was mostly inner to Adolin. Brandon didn't say he was afraid to choose wrongly, he was afraid he wouldn't be "good enough". To me this highlights the fact Adolin fears he may not be up to the task. He is the problem, not the girls. 

 

He can't choose, this is true, but he can't choose because choosing would mean engaging himself which would open the door to being labelled a "disappointment". That's the aspect of Adolin's personality which comes across the more often: the desire to please combine to the fear of not meeting up to expectations and when it comes to girls, you an bet the expectations are high up there. Just look how Tyn talked of Adolin to Shallan: a flirt by reputation. She was not being flattering. If you were a girl looking to date Adolin, who would you expect?

 

A Casanova.

 

But who is he?

 

An inexperienced and shy young man.

 

Thus the negative dating pattern reinforces itself over and over again.

 

I think the reason Adolin isn't digging to hard into his issues is due to the fact he isn't the focus of story. As Brandon often says, he tells the story he feels is the best one and currently, this story does not focus on Adolin. It thus means his personal issues have no reason to be featured unless it becomes relevant to the main story arc. This being said, if Brandon truly were a character writer, he would have broached these issues before and he would give Adolin a larger role as, on a character reading perspective, Adolin is more interesting than Kaladin.

 

Unfortunately, Brandon is turning out to be more of a world-builder than a character writer: he wants to write the best story for his world, not for the characters. His characters spend a great deal lot of time pondering about issues relating to their world and he has side characters such as Hoid who's purpose solely is to expose the grand scheme of things. It isn't I find Kaladin and Dalinar boring, it is more both characters have long bouts within their POV where they monologue with themselves wondering about the rightness of their actions and both take the stand of extreme morality. In other words, the books are filled with deep morality but all characters driving it are incapable of seeing both halves of the medal which makes for a rather single-minded story arc. This may be one of my greatest source of worry for the future of SA: I fear it will end up being too theological for my personal tastes. 

 

This being said, Brandon puts more thought into his characters than many authors I have read. 

 

It also shows another reason why I prefer Adolin to other characters: he is very modern character camped into a fantasy story who's worries are very down-to-earth. After a while, you just get tired of reading about people wanting to save the world... Saving the world hardly ever is a one man's task: I have grown more interested in reading about those who are forced to live through the hard times, how it changes them, how it forces them to grow. Perhaps it has to do with period in life. 

 

That is what one-shot fiction is for.  Short stories one chapter long.  You don't need a long plot or anything. 

You can write in your own language or get a beta reader to proofread!  You're being such an Adolin.  

 

PS, I seriously think all the lighteyes laugh about Adolin and tell each other to stop being Adolins, or acting like an Adolin, etc.  

 

I would still need to know what to write exactly... Well, I do have thousand of ideas, but huh I am somewhat lacking on the execution. Also, despite all my essays, I am not sure I could write Adolin in a convincing manner. 

 

 

I still think that sprens get more out of the Nahel bond/Radiant relationship than the actual Radiant.  They're little pieces of Honor or Cultivation, and what they really want is to keep Roshar from being eaten alive by Odium.  That is their entire purpose of existing, and why they copied the format of the Herald's Honorblades.  Sure, the Radiants get magical abilities, but they can only use them while bound by their Oaths, and it's usually only to fight magical Voidbringers.

 

So yeah, you get a magical companion out of the deal to act as your karma meter, but you can easily get the same thing without a spren - you just need to talk to people you trust about your problems.  But I guess being broken means you have no self-esteem/confidence and no trust either.  

 

A broken person can heal themselves over time, but it's the spren who forces it to happen or speeds it up.  And yes it makes it feel like a cop-out if the people with severe mental issues just get magically cured.  And that is why I will be happy if Adolin gets his turn in the spotlight after solving his problems on his own, and realising "Oh, it's ok if I don't get a spren, I don't need outside confirmation to know that I have value as a person", and then WHAM, he gets a spren.  But then his reaction will have to be "I don't care if I have a spren or not, but since I have one, that's cool too" otherwise it will just be regression back to his previous flawed personality.  That would make me throw the book at the wall.  

 

You truly make it sound as if the Nahel bond is undesirable  :unsure: You make a nice case for it and I don't disagree with you, I simply have a very hard time not loving the idea a spren chose you, specifically.

 

Perhaps it is harder with normal people than with sprens with whom you can hardly hide anything. Sprens also can't leave you, nor dumb you, nor betray you, nor do any of the nasty things real humans can do with the contents of your heart. They thus make the best of confident and since they choose to only bond individuals who's natural inclinations align with theirs, their pieces of wisdom are likely to be inline with the inner core of their knight. In other words, while Syl may be pushing Kaladin in one precise direction, we should not forget Kaladin would have never forgive himself for murdering Elhokar had he gone for it. It wasn't the right thing for him to do and while his emotions almost convinced him it was, had he give in, he would have regret it.

 

In comparison, I do think murdering Sadeas was the right thing to do for Adolin... The right choices often are the most painful ones. It was harder for Kaladin to not kill Elhokar or Amaram even if it ultimately was the best choice for him, independently of Syl. I thus believe it was the right choice for Adolin, but it will also prove to be the hardest one as the consequences will be dire.

 

As for the brokenness, we could also argue the sprens are the drive the knights need to start the healing process... After all, not everyone will manage to walk pass their issues... Worst many people aren't interested with working on themselves.

 

I agree Adolin's progression is more interesting if he doesn't get a spren to magically cure him... Knowing all of our knights were previously broken, seeing them bond a spren seemed the reward the deserved for having suffered so much... Now there is more to it than this, but it is a way to read it. In this optic, having yet another character go through the same loop seem repetitive.

 

Kaladin has an Honorblade now, and if Dalinar isn't going to use it, I would see it going to Adolin.  It would help cure some of those Token Normal pity-parties, if he's not too messed up from ganking Sadeas to use it.  If you want awesome, two Windrunner Surgebinders at one time is awesome.  Enough awesome to make up for terrible lines of dialogue like "STRETCH FORTH THY HAND" or "THE SKIES ARE MINE".  Seriously, it's the kind of thing that makes you shake your head at how overdramatic it is.  

 

The Lego Movie is a good movie if you like the standard Hero's Journey.  You know what to expect and then it gets shaken upside down, and you will forget it's a movie made for kids because it's hilariously random.   I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm not ashamed to say.

 

I don't think/want the honorblade to go to Adolin. For one, he already has a Blade he feels strongly for, I thus do not picture him actually wanting it. For second, in the aftermath of Sadeas's death, insecure Adolin may feel he simply does not deserve the weapon of a Herald. For third, I personally suspect Elhokar will want it for himself. It seems obvious to me Dalinar would first offer it to the king before even thinking of giving it to his son.

 

I would seriously dislike if the honorblade went to Adolin... This may be a super weapon, it is a dangerous one. It wouldn't be a good thing for anyone to bond it, I thus disagree Adolin should do it.

 

Bah I'll watch it eventually. I'm bond to catch it on TV with my kids. The little Lego cartoons aren't bad at all for a kid's show featuring yellow Lego characters: it is much better than the Ponies everyone is so fond of  :ph34r:

 

As a parent, I feel I have to at least monitor what my kids are watching  :ph34r:  -_-

 

The way I read, I thought it was because he lived in a small town and knew everyone.  If he practices enough, he will get desensitised to it all, and they cover patients faces with pads of anesthetic so you won't hear them screaming and you won't see their expressions when you cut into them.  I extrapolated a bit for what future Kal would be if he had done all or most of his character development as a surgeon rather than a soldier - he still has the "protect everyone" but no spren so he can do the "as long as it's right" whenever he feels like it's appropriate.

 

AU Kaladin with no spren would save his friend first.  Unless he knows the friend can't be saved, so it doesn't matter what he'd do, the ending still sucks.  In other triage situations, you help the most desperate case if one patient's wounds are minor enough that he will survive even without your help.

 

Adolin decided that grey washed him out and that beige or a natural linen colour suited his skintone better.   

Then Kaladin tells him it's just a metaphor and the colours aren't real, and then Adolin pats him on the back and says it's okay if bridgemen can't afford colours, they're in the army now and he can have all the colours he wants, as long as it's blue.

 

I wonder how drastically different Kaladin's mentality would have been without Syl around to guide him? On one side, it is undeniable she steered him in one precise direction, but on the other hand Kaladin has always been conflicted. Can he kill to protect? I think Kaladin, ultimately, would have reached the same conclusions as book Kaladin. He can't kill to protect unless it is direct confrontation... Book Kaladin just can't. AU Kaladin can, but would he forgive himself if he were?

 

My understanding is AU Kaladin (which I adore BTW) has the liberties to make the mistake book Kaladin has been prevented from doing by Syl. Also, AU Kaladin arguably has less trauma in his life which didn't push him into a situation where he thinks he is the savior of universe by wanting to kill the king from incompetence.

 

I could say it nearly summarizes itself as saying had Kaladin went to Karbranth instead of the army, he would have turned out quite differently. He would still be... Kaladin, but without the betrayal and the tragedy. I also suspect surgeon Kaladin would have been in contact with several other apprentice, such as himself, other very smart young men which would have likely humbled him. It is easy to think yourself better than everyone when you are the big fish into a very small pond, but once you move onto the ocean, you soon realize there are bigger fish than you.

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol: Adolin doesn't do the fifty shades of grey, he does the fifty shades of blue  :o  

 

 

Well, maybe redemption is better for anti-hero type characters.  For morally pure Kaladin, it's more Hero's Reward for putting up with the suffering he went through.  It's a feel good story.

 

On a side note, as soon as heard the heroic one liner from Kaladin "Honor is dead", I knew that the 4:1 duel wouldn't have ended in a beatdown.  It's freaking Kaladin!!!!  So Adolin didn't get the beating you expected him to get.  It was a massive mood whiplash to me that the chapter ended with a an Interlude that I didn't care about and skipped to see what happened next ... only it jumped straight into the prison scene. 

 

That was a book-hitting-the-wall scene like no other.  Seriously I can't think of any other chapters that made me so annoyed.  I can't even think of many other books that have annoyed me so much like that did.

 
For me, to call it a redemption arc, I need to feel the character has something to be forgiven for. For instance, Adolin could go onto a redemption arc, depending on how the consequences of his actions are dealt with, but since I suspect Brandon has already reserved these arcs for his main characters, I thus think it unlikely. It could have worked with him even though his deed isn't so wrong as it appears to be upon first glance.
 
As for Kaladin, his story arc was very satisfying back in WoK, but I wouldn't call it a feel good story  :o Kaladin isn't the kind of character I want to read when I feel bummed or depressed  :o
 
Yeah well as much as I yearned for Kaladin to jump into this arena, he did get in the way of my beating down potential story arc  :ph34r: There was so much built-up for Adolin's dueling spree, we knew something bad would happen. He was getting cocky, arrogant, betting all of his family's shards, it seemed inevitable he would lose, so the fact the climax of this arc ended up in the prison scenes was slightly... anti-climatic  :ph34r:
 
I read that interlude even though I wanted to read the main story.... and yeah. The prison scenes... I recalled how I skipped to Part 5 because there were no Adolin's POV in Part 4 and it is him I wanted to read about. I was missing closure on the dueling arc!!!! I never got it  :angry:
 

I thought it was too optimistic that Shallan and Kaladin's honesty was compatibility.  Because Kaladin wasn't completely honest with her - he killed her brother and didn't even tell her.  IMHO, it only happened because Shallan had no reason to develop a good relationship with Kaladin, because he's just a guard captain, so she says what she likes and is less inhibited because he doesn't matter, and his opinion of her doesn't matter.  That's why she and Tyn played with him with the boots scene, because it was just some people they'd probably never meet again.

 

In terms of long-term compatibility, I think canon-Kaladin likes canon-Shallan more than she likes him, and more than she would ever like him.  It reflects Kaladin and Laral's relationship, and their rank difference.  Even if Radiants are all the same rank when their eyes glow, I think there is some part of Shallan who could never see herself in a relationship with a darkeyes.  If you look at Adolin, has he ever considered a darkeyed woman seriously as a match?  Sure he looks at waitresses, but it's mainly just their butts, and he doesn't even contemplate anything serious like marriage.  I think it's some internal lighteyed prejudice going on in there.

 

To be fair, Kaladin only realized while he was talking to Shallan it was Helaran he killed. It would have been slightly strange if he were to come back on the discussion to slip in: "Upon further thought, I think I may have killed your brother...". It just was not really possible for him to say so at this point in time. This being said, nothing prevented him from trying to talk to Shallan afterwards to clean out his conscience... They had 5 days in Urithiru doing nothing before he left: he has ample time to find a pretext to talk to Shallan especially now they were both self-acclaimed Radiants.

 

I agree Shallan opened-up to Kaladin mostly because he was the first non-threatening individual she ever met. There were no consequences in talking to him: his thoughts do not matter, even more so she dislikes him.

 

Still... It has to be Shalladin's greatest moment of glory  :o

 

I think canon Kaladin probably likes Shallan more than she likes him, but we should not forget Shallan basically is the first woman his own age canon Kaladin interact to for years. He may be grumpy, but he isn't made of ice... This isn't really love, but a lack of other choices  :ph34r:

 

Adolin marrying a darkeyes would be a political no-NO. He certainly never considered it because it just isn't possible, just like fish breathing air. It doesn't happen, just like men writing or women uncovering their safe hand. 

 

Princes don't marry darkeyes. So no, I don't think the thought ever crossed his mind. The very cheesy story would have him fall in love with one..... :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

 

Is canon-Kaladin using Adolin?  I don't think so.  Kaladin is too lone ranger to want to depend on other people, especially lighteyes.  It takes a life and death experience for him to trust Shallan enough to lead the way.

 

I don't think Navani was forced into a secondary role.  There was some level of consent in there, at least at first, when she married Gavilar.  Since she was described as a political player in WoK, I always assumed that she liked power, and being Queen was part of her decision to get married.  And also that Blackthorn Dalinar was way too scary.  There are women in the Ardentry, and if a woman in Roshar really wants to avoid getting married, and she really wants to be a scho, she could run away to the church.  But Jasnah doesn't do it because she likes having money.

 

Jasnah was born with a heart two sizes too small, like the Grinch.  If her heart was normally sized at birth, she shrunk it to make it more convenient.   It's travel sized.   I don't think she is someone who has ever fallen in love with someone, either because she doesn't let any men get close enough for it to happen, or because she thinks that she's too smart to fall in love, and love is for stupid people and fools.   She doesn't understand love, so that is why she doesn't care that that she might hurt Adolin by manipulating him.  She isn't even aware that she is hurting him, because if it were her in that position, she wouldn't feel a thing.

 

That is why she cares more about protecting Shallan than Adolin.  She can picture herself in Shallan's situation, possibly because it happened to her years ago.  She's not picking on Adolin particularly.  She just has a lack of concern for everyone.   It's Misjasnahistic.

 

I think canon-Kaladin has not find a way to use Adolin, yet. Story Kaladin may be using him, even if indirectly.

 

Navani was just a teenager when she married Gavilar, she may not have been fully aware of the life she was giving up. It may have become apparent only much later she had ruined her chances to ever become a renown scholar. I sensed a bitterness in her POV when she reflects over the fact she barely was the money lenders, unable to do true research.

 

Jasnah is a hard to get character for me... I did read her as cold-hearted and calculating, but I once got into an argument with other people about it and they disagreed with me. The argument was made Jasnah was a very emotional person, a passionate researcher, but she kept those in close reign within her. I am not sure I can agree with those arguments as "emotional" is not exactly what pops to mind when I read Jasnah, but I could be wrong. 

 

I agree Jasnah probably do not understand love. She does not want it, she sees it as counter-productive. She claims it is restrictive. 

 

It is just strange she seemed, in the story at least, not to even think her young cousin may actually have feelings... Adolin is a very emotional person, how can his family NOT have noticed???

 

You read the characters exactly as I would there.   If Shallan approached Kaladin first, he would only put up token resistance so that he doesn't feel like he's betraying Adolin.  But then "if it feels right" kicks in.   The question is, would Kaladin tell Adolin?  Shallan obviously wouldn't.  Adolin would feel like he got kicked in the other parts if it turns out Kaladin is a better kisser.   

 

Adolin is a young guy, and young guys have needs.  I think people would feel it is very strange if a young guy wasn't seeing to his "needs" on a regular basis.   

 

Kaladin never struck to me as the kind of guy who absolutely needs to spill out his secrets... If it were just a one time kiss, then I do think Kaladin would keep it to himself, if only to protect Adolin's feelings. However, if it ever moved into something more complex, his sense of honor would force him to spill the beans.

 

He does see to his needs on a regular basis.... He just doesn't need a girl for it...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

 

You have such an obvious Adolin bias. 

I'm not killing Sureblood.  It's an obvious drama hook, and I think it's unnecessary in fueling character development as it would be in SA3.

 

My feelings about Captain Kennit were an emotional rollercoaster.  First he was freeing slaves, and I was happy, and then he went after the family ship. Then it showed how much he loved his mother, and then he did that thing to Althea, and back and forth and back and forth.  Prolonged agony, exactly.  I was glad he died because my poor heart couldn't take it any longer, and I think it shows that he was a bad guy in the end.  

 

Sometimes it's good when people who seem to be the hero character don't go on the typical and expected hero's journey, and you ride the rollercoaster to see how they find their happy ending.  It's not boring or typical, but sometimes the trauma stick never stops.  

 

Me? An Adolin bias? I have no idea what you are talking about  :ph34r:

 

Ah I had wondered if you would steer the story towards complete tragedy  :o

 

Yeah, I did wonder at some point if Kennit would redeem himself or prove himself to be more than the pirate he was, but no. He's just too messed up. I rather enjoyed Malta in this story: she starts up as rebellious snobbish arrogant girl and turned into... I have no words to describe it, but it was an awesome read. THIS is what I love about characters, when they turn out having layers we didn't suspect were there when you read them initially. Characters who aren't bad to start, but perhaps inexperienced or narrow-minded even, who grows through even thus revealing their true strength and finding themselves in the process. So satisfying.

 

Oh I do love when the trope gets turned upside down. 

 

 

If Renarin developed hobbies and interests instead of spending all of his time sulking, that was how I thought his character might turn out.  He likes fabrials a lot, and wine, so I thought he was the kind of guy to go all geeky on certain subjects. 

 

I can't remember if the time Renarin was freaking out at the Oathgate was Shallan's first meeting of him.  He's such a background character that they have met earlier, but never talked.  But in my AU, Shallan still thinks he's kind of weird.  She wouldn't call him creepy, but he's so knowing and accurate that it's disturbing.

 

If Renarin has developed hobbies, then perhaps he would have come across as less spoiled and childish. No matter how I put it, I never digested Dalinar being willing to let his disabled son play wooden soldier with the world's more valuable artifacts. Surely there were other means for him to pick up his training again.

 

The first time Shallan saw Renarin she basically ignored him. The Oathgate is the first time they interact and he didn't make a good impression as he kept on complaining. Classic Shallan: no matter what life throws at you is not excuse to sulk and mop. Gotta love her when she does this.

 

 

These days, the store mannequins are wearing leather pants.   At least the stores aimed at cool people under the age of 25.  I do not think Adolin is so old man that he dresses in chinos and Topsiders and cardigans all day like an Ivy League dad.  Sure, it's preppy, but Adolin is more fashionable than that.

 

Adolin rides the train and sometimes he bumps into Renarin at the train station, so he walks to the other end of the carriage so they won't be seen together.  They text message each other on the trip but don't talk because being seen with your little brother is not cool, brah.  Sometimes he text messages Shallan but she doesn't reply because she's still sleeping.  Then she wakes up and realises she's late and if she misses the train she has to wait 30 minutes for the next one.   So she calls Kaladin to pick her up in his car and he is already on the road while she is still in her PJ's.  Because this guy doesn't sleep, like, ever.  Either that or he wakes up at 4:30am so he can do his morning workout.  

 

Dalinar's car doesn't get scratched, and Dalinar can't complain about that.  But after a while he starts to wonder why the car never gets driven.  IT'S BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE A LITERAL LUMP OF CREM.    BUT YOU TREAT IT LIKE DIAMONDS.

 

Where? I swear I haven't seen one store selling leather pants no matter which demographic is targets -_-  I would also wonder as to the comfort level and the practicability of wearing leather pants in the never-ending summer country... Don't they get sticky and smelly in the heat?

 

Adolin doesn't dress like an old man  :o He dresses in a preppy but trendy style. I had a picture in a magazine this week-end which was totally modern day Adolin, but I can't find it on the Web.

 

Adolin wouldn't ignore Renarin on the train! He loves his little brother: he is his best friend. You wrote it in the fic, Adolin has had a sad lonely childhood. No fun, no play, no friends, just duties and... Renarin to keep him company. No wonder they grew up so close. I totally think Adolin's childhood was lonely  :(

 

Dalinar gives his children such a long lasting lecture each time they so much as want to drive it, both have given up after a while.

 

After the revised ending for WoR came out.    The Kaladin vs Szeth battle in the sky.

Many people, or most people, I think, preferred the first and original ending because it was cooler, and the revised version was lamer, even though Brandon corrected it to feel more in line with the characters' development and morality.

The response and uproar was a prime example of how most readers just care about the cool and the implications for the characters' personalities comes later.  Many people didn't even see the point, or why it even needed to be corrected, because they never read into the characters at all.  At least not Szeth's, and only superficially into Kaladin's.

 

Also Adolin 1.0 from WoK Prime.     AREDOR.   :ph34r:   Oh gosh, that name gives me the giggles because it's so stereotypically heroic to the point of absurdity.    B)   If you hear the name and say it out loud and don't assume it's a country south of Gondor and west of Cair Paravel, you will imagine a typical fantasy hero with a jaw so square an architect could use it to draft a blueprint.  Bonus long hair and face scar and sword carried on the back.    This kind of name is so heroic that he would never be Odium's champion unless he was forcibly brainwashed, but then he'd only be turned into an anti-hero and not a villain all the way.

 

I think Adolin's struggle for identity in a changing world is a bit exaggerated, because there are only something like less than 20 Radiants in all of Roshar.  But a quarter of them are his family members or living in his house, so he feels worse about it than he should be, objectively.  Oh, the mental struggles of perception.  :rolleyes:  Shardblades and Plate aren't obsolete, because they are the best weapons available to fight Voidbringers, and there are only 30 or so Alethi full Shardbearers.  Adolin may think that he's still running stagecoaches when everyone has switched to steam, but in a world of limited resources like Roshar is, at least in terms of military tech, I think Radiants and Shardbearers will end up figuring out a parallel role that uses everyone's talents.  No Radiant so far has Plate, and few of them are combat oriented or experienced, but all the Shardbearers are soldiers trained from childhood and hardened in constant warfare. Too bad they feel the Thrill, though

 

Actually, I prefer the original ending as well  :ph34r: but not because it was cooler. I prefer it because I dislike having an author edit his own book a year after the release, it sets a bad precedent and while I understand Brandon's reasons, I kinda like having Kaladin killing Szeth. Kaladin being above killing a known criminal who was actively trying to annihilate the very individuals he has sworn to protect made me roll my eyes. I get it was about learning he shouldn't kill to protect, which was loosely in line with his third oath, but I disagree letting Szeth fall to a sure death was upholding honor. I may be blind, but I fall to see how the ending of the fight was honorable. Kaladin mains Szeth, he sees him fall and then plunge to save... a Shardblade (alright a Honorblade, but Kaladin does not know this). Which morality was he obeying when he refused to give the killing blow, but closes his eyes on the man dying anyway? The one stating he should put those he needs to kill in danger such as they kill themselves? As long as he doesn't reign in the killing stroke he is fine?

 

I just have hordes of issues with the new ending... I feel as if someone actually deserved to be killed in the name of protection, it was Szeth in this very specific scene as what was he doing right before Kaladin got there? He was about to slay helpless, defeated and defenseless Adolin right after sending Dalinar to die in the sky. Therefore, if Kaladin's character is growing in a way where he can't/won't/shouldn't/couldn't kill mass murderers openly and actively trying to kill innocent right in front of his eyes, then I will seriously dislike it. The fact he was willing/yearning to take up the arms to protect his friends/people against injustice and foes was his most endearing quality. It contrasted widely, in a rather pleasing way, with Lirin's pacific way which resumed itself to "just treat the people and do nothing". 

 

AREDOR is totally the name of a...pine tree. Oh look, have you seen this majestic Aredor?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: If not, then it totally is the name of an angular square faced bundle of muscles who is barely able to mutter "Hasta la vista baby" before he remorselessly kills anything that walks  :ph34r: Thanks the Herald Brandon improve his name giving skills.... 

 

MERRIN was totally wearing red spandex leather pants while merrily jumping around like a grinning fool  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Adolin's struggle for identity is barely starting and I don't think it is exaggerated. It isn't so much the fact Radiants have finally come back which unnerve him, but the fact one of them ends up being his fiance. Put yourself in his shoes: he has always been at the top of the food chain: no matter who he would marry, he would be the man, the strong one, the provider, the protector: he yearned to fill in those duties even if he was afraid to not be good enough. And now what? His fiance turns out being a magical, mystical, mysterious knight from an ancient order: she is one of the most important people in the world. We must take into consideration Adolin is heavily influenced by his father's visions and talk of reforming the Radiants: he understands Radiants are mightily important for what they will soon face. He knows they are the most important people in the entire universe: the faith of the world is in their hands. He knows that, it is rather easy: Dalinar has spent month hammering it into his head. 

 

So here he is, inside the former Radiants fortress, exploring a huge tower, very far away from any known/secure place forced to think on what it means to his growing relationship with a woman he is crushing on. We know the reason he keeps screwing it up with girls is linked to his fear of not being good enough: how afraid can he possibly be now his fiance turns out being such a grand, majestic individual? Can he even hope to measure up to her? What does he have to bring to the union now? As a Radiant, Shallan's money and status problems are ancient story, so what does she get out of marrying Adolin? So what does Adolin have to offer to her but himself? Can himself be enough? How can he ever think it would be, him who has rejected all potential match out of a deeply ingrained fear HE was not good enough? And that's when he had money, power and status to offer. 

 

So no, I do not think it exaggerated for Adolin to wonder what it makes of him now. Where he stood in all this. Considering the fact the return of Radiants have direct consequences on him, how he views himself, where he stands in the new world, his questioning certainly isn't too precipitate. The modern day equivalent would be the man who is forced to deal with his girlfriend having a huge promotion and earning a salary he can't hope to match. Still to this day, many modern day men have issues positioning themselves in a world where they aren't the providers anymore. I see the echo of this into Adolin's little story here.

 

As for how useful Shardbearers still are, I'd say we must take into consideration Radiants hate all Shardbearers. In a world where THEY are to fight on the front line, will they even agree to share with the Shardbearers? Knowing the truth about the Blades, would the Radiants even accept dealing with those who agree to carry them knowingly?

 

Shards may be powerful, but knowing he is torturing his each time he summons it may impact Adolin in a negative way. So I doubt the fact he has Shards will prevent him from feeling a status drop, either real (as a result of murdering Sadeas) or imaginary.

 

Read more fantasy.  There are plenty of other stories that feature journeys of self-discovery and identity without typical muscle-bound wandering warrior heroes looking for their next adrenaline fix.   :ph34r:  :ph34r:  Stories of nice guys or girls in scary worlds are not as rare as you think they are.  Maybe they are if you are limited by your English capabilities and want to read something with vocabulary that is a bit easier to understand, but there are still lots of books that are on the line between YA and Adult fiction that have deep characters and good worlds, but can still be finished off in less than a week of bedtime reading.

 

And seriously, I get tired of viewpoint switches every chapter, and those interludes in SA.  As soon as you get into a character, it's over.   :unsure:  The chapters are only around 5k words, or 10 pages. Sometimes it's good to read fantasy where there is one defined main character and an ensemble of 3 or less.  Decompress from reading epic fantasy!  Then you can return to it without feeling super annoyed with all the little things that bother you.

 

 

Alright. Huh, suggestions?

 

I don't typically pick books based on vocabulary  :unsure: My English reading skills are not a limiting factor, I generally pick books based on how much enjoyment I'll get out of reading them, not based on on their prose. I don't care the label which is put on a book as long as I enjoy it. This being said, if said book is very thick and I still have no idea who are the main characters after hundred of pages, then it sure is not for me  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: For instances, I drop reading Garden of the Moon and Tigana for those reasons: I didn't have the patience to muscle through them in order to discover how great those stories are. Maybe later, in several more years, I'll feel like reading such works, but right now as my life stands, I find I don't have the patience for it.

 

For some reason, each book I pick generally revolve around the same themes....  :unsure:

 

I personally love multi-POV stories, probably because fantasy has yet to present me a book where the main protagonist would be my favored character  :ph34r: I usually tend to attach myself to anyone else but the main protagonist, probably because most books I have read feature the same kind of heroes. I was happy with it, just a few years ago, but recently, I have yearned for something else, something different. In other words, I wish to read more growth arcs as opposed to more traditional hero's journey.

 

I don't mind the change of POV in SA and while I am not overly fond of the interludes, I did get enjoyment in reading them. I thought those in WoR were much better than those in WoK. 

 

Currently, I am finishing huh, the huh latest Ken Follett  :ph34r: After that, I am set to read SoS and BoM because I have been delaying reading them, should be fast to read, they aren't large books. After that, I had started a thread to have people suggest me other books. Powder Mage was recommended a lot, but it also says it is very military oriented... I wanted to try it, but my library doesn't have it, so I would need to buy it, which I hate doing unless I know I will love the book. I have no idea if I will like this one.

 

I just want to put a note in here that since this is a character driven romance story, and not a plot driven epic fantasy, characters develop further and faster than they do in SA-canon because I write more introspective prose than I do action scenes.  So even if Shallan does not love Adolin now, as it reflects her SA-canon origins, it does not mean that she would feel that way about him forever, after her character has progressed far enough to see what is beyond herself and her selfish motivations.  And just because Shallan feels more comfortable with Kaladin in terms of honesty and self-awareness, it does not mean that they are romantically compatible.  It's how I interpreted the post-chasm scenes in WoR, YMMV.  AU Shallan doesn't even know that Kaladin likes her, and he's not going to confess his feelings to her because he likes Adolin - so it would be a stretch for them to suddenly elope.  :lol:

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol: I got that. I didn't expect the fanfic to have the length of a SA book  :ph34r: I suspect the characters feelings would move forward more rapidly.

 

I agree being more honest and self-aware with Kaladin may not automatically yield into romantic feelings. I was simply noting the fact Shallan still had a lot of growth to have if she is to develop something solid and lasting with Adolin and while one does not command feelings, she seemed to have progressed farther with Kaladin. With Adolin, she simply likes him, but she has yet to be honest and to stop treating him as a mere means to achieve her ends (well I am referring to book Shallan here not story Shallan which seemed to have started to move pass it). With Kaladin, she may not like him, but she has come to start developing a real relationship with him, but it may not pan out into anything romantic. 

 

I am simply worried Shallan will hurt Adolin as nobody deserves to be hurt less than Adolin  :(

 

When I wrote that line, I meant "goose" as in "fool".  :lol:  But English language slang - I can see how it can be interpreted in other ways.

Kaladin is criticising Shallan for being selfish and cold-hearted with Adolin.  "Geese don't have feelings" - Kaladin is implying that Shallan doesn't have feelings either, and that is why she is manipulating Adoling for selfish reasons.

 

Kaladin is the moral compass and the fountain of honesty in this story.   :lol:

 

 

:o  :o  :o

 

And I totally misunderstood this scene.

 

I interpreted your phrasing as "le poule aux oeufs d'or" which basically means the "hen with golden eggs". As an expression, it means owning a mean for infinite richness. In this optic, Adolin surely is Shallan's hen: it is basically how she sees him, but I thought Kaladin was pointing out the fact Shallan may be a more valuable hen to Adolin as she may provide him something priceless, something he cannot buy: love, affection and human company.

 

Adolin is the owner of a lonely heart. He may be rich and powerful but, unfortunately, it is the one thing all the money in the world cannot buy him.

 

 

 

 

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I don't think Adolin is afraid of married life as well.... I even think married life is something he desires, down the road. If we could ask him, I am quite sure he'd say he wants to have children and a family, some day, but he is still very young. Even if by his society standard he is an old bachelor, 23 years of age isn't overly old. 

I think Adolin's issues are deeper than simply fearing he may pick the wrong girl. While I do agree there is probably some of that, the recent WoB highlighted the problem was mostly inner to Adolin. Brandon didn't say he was afraid to choose wrongly, he was afraid he wouldn't be "good enough". To me this highlights the fact Adolin fears he may not be up to the task. He is the problem, not the girls. 

 

He can't choose, this is true, but he can't choose because choosing would mean engaging himself which would open the door to being labelled a "disappointment". That's the aspect of Adolin's personality which comes across the more often: the desire to please combine to the fear of not meeting up to expectations and when it comes to girls, you an bet the expectations are high up there. Just look how Tyn talked of Adolin to Shallan: a flirt by reputation. She was not being flattering. If you were a girl looking to date Adolin, who would you expect?

 

A Casanova.

 

But who is he?

 

An inexperienced and shy young man.

 

Thus the negative dating pattern reinforces itself over and over again.

 

I think the reason Adolin isn't digging to hard into his issues is due to the fact he isn't the focus of story. As Brandon often says, he tells the story he feels is the best one and currently, this story does not focus on Adolin. It thus means his personal issues have no reason to be featured unless it becomes relevant to the main story arc. This being said, if Brandon truly were a character writer, he would have broached these issues before and he would give Adolin a larger role as, on a character reading perspective, Adolin is more interesting than Kaladin.

 

Unfortunately, Brandon is turning out to be more of a world-builder than a character writer: he wants to write the best story for his world, not for the characters. His characters spend a great deal lot of time pondering about issues relating to their world and he has side characters such as Hoid who's purpose solely is to expose the grand scheme of things. It isn't I find Kaladin and Dalinar boring, it is more both characters have long bouts within their POV where they monologue with themselves wondering about the rightness of their actions and both take the stand of extreme morality. In other words, the books are filled with deep morality but all characters driving it are incapable of seeing both halves of the medal which makes for a rather single-minded story arc. This may be one of my greatest source of worry for the future of SA: I fear it will end up being too theological for my personal tastes. 

 

This being said, Brandon puts more thought into his characters than many authors I have read. 

 

It also shows another reason why I prefer Adolin to other characters: he is very modern character camped into a fantasy story who's worries are very down-to-earth. After a while, you just get tired of reading about people wanting to save the world... Saving the world hardly ever is a one man's task: I have grown more interested in reading about those who are forced to live through the hard times, how it changes them, how it forces them to grow. Perhaps it has to do with period in life.

 

Reading fiction featuring characters who do stupid things without realising how stupid they are. :rolleyes:

It's like watching scary movies with that one cheerleader character who wanders off from the group to see what is behind that mysterious door that has bloody handprints on it.   The problem with people and characters like that is that you can't help them unless they actually want to be helped.  And with IRL people, you can't just flip to the end to see if they get better, so you know if it's worth spending your time on them. 

 

If Adolin is supposed to be a recurring character for the whole series, and not just killed off in SA3, then his character development will be inevitable.  The only think you have to worry about is how long it will take, since he'll be a tertiary/supporting character the whole way through.  If SA was a romance novel, the MC would be forced to confront and solve their inner problems by themselves before they are worthy or functional enough for their happy ending marriage.  In ensemble or overall-plot driven fiction, the characters' development is driven by interactions with other characters, or interactions with the setting/plot elements.  It is purely reactionary, so what it means is that development and exploration of a character's psyche is proportional to how much screen-time they have.

 

So Adolin will only get to work his own problems out if his character as a whole is important to the overall plot of the series.  Maybe he's more useful when he stays messed up or broken, because Rule of Drama. :unsure:   The main themes in SA are morality and right vs. wrong and  Adolin's problems are based around his ideas self-worth and value, so character development and getting a Eureka moment of revelation (like Kaladin realising Elhokar is Dalinar's Tien) would only realistically happen when all the themes intersect.

 

SA will pretty much be an essay on philosophy in a fantasy setting.  :lol:  All of the different Radiant orders live by a different set of values that would make any student of law or economics want to endlessly analyse how pre-Recreance government works.  If you are afraid that SA will turn into theological or philosophical rambling, you should be!  Because it will! 

 

You like Adolin because he is an unambiguous good guy in a world full of grey guys and bad guys.  And down-to-earth normal-on-the-outside characters are common in non-fantasy literature, but it's rare that books in that genre will have more than one character (Primary Antagonist) who is morally grey or unambiguously bad.  And you also like it when such characters get hit by the trauma stick multiple times.  You have very specific tastes. :lol:

 

I feel that Brandon's main characters are on-par on development and dimension with the MC's of other fiction.  But the other ensemble and supporting characters can be pretty boring, undeveloped, or 2D.  For example, half of Bridge Four are just humourous props.  So I would not say Brandon's characterisation is amazing.  It's just that he has original and thoughtfully built settings compared to other authors.

 

 

 

 

I would still need to know what to write exactly... Well, I do have thousand of ideas, but huh I am somewhat lacking on the execution. Also, despite all my essays, I am not sure I could write Adolin in a convincing manner.

Just imagine a scene in your head, and imagine the dialogue that happens between the characters.  Write down what they are saying, like a script.  It's pretty much how it works - it's easier if you think of it like describing a TV show episode, minute by minute. But it's all in your head!!!!

 

You are the profession Adoliner!  I would have thought you could write Adolin better than me, because you are more familiar with every aspect of his character.  More than I am, at least. 

 

 

 

 

You truly make it sound as if the Nahel bond is undesirable  :unsure: You make a nice case for it and I don't disagree with you, I simply have a very hard time not loving the idea a spren chose you, specifically.

 

Perhaps it is harder with normal people than with sprens with whom you can hardly hide anything. Sprens also can't leave you, nor dumb you, nor betray you, nor do any of the nasty things real humans can do with the contents of your heart. They thus make the best of confident and since they choose to only bond individuals who's natural inclinations align with theirs, their pieces of wisdom are likely to be inline with the inner core of their knight. In other words, while Syl may be pushing Kaladin in one precise direction, we should not forget Kaladin would have never forgive himself for murdering Elhokar had he gone for it. It wasn't the right thing for him to do and while his emotions almost convinced him it was, had he give in, he would have regret it.

 

All of the surgebinder main characters make Stormlight seem pretty cool and amazing MAGIC, but if you view it objectively, they're addicted to it, emotionally if not physically.  It doesn't have bad side effects other than making you feel weak and tired when you don't have it, but the characters are subconsciously reaching for it all the time, so they can do unhealthy things like staying up for a week straight with no sleep.  Do they get withdrawals during Weepings or when they want to use Stormlight but ran out?  It reminds me of crazy things people ate in WWII, like Panzerschokolade.  And also savants from Mistborn.

 

And that is why I find the idea of the Nahel bond undesirable.  Because you do get addicted to it, and even if the sprens like you and can't harm you directly, they still have an agenda for you that is either part of their spiritual intention, or a job given to them by their spren families.  They can't force you onto their path, but they can get you addicted to Stormlight, and withhold it from you aren't following their rules, like when Kaladin tried to fight Adolin in the training arena.  Syl likes Kaladin, but she has implied she has had other Radiants before him, and she values her own individual identity - which is why she wants to stay sentient with a bond - and also has a self-preservation instinct.  She cares for Kaladin, but like all sprens, they care for themselves.  Which comes first.  Who knows. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

Maybe it's the neurotypical in me speaking, but I just think it's more satisfying and healthier for a person to fix their own problems.  But I have never experienced the level of suffering where fixing is impossible without magical intervention so I dunno.  :unsure:   I just feel that in terms of character development in fiction, and personal development IRL, you should improve yourself because you want to be improved, and not because you want a spren at the end of it.  Journey before destination.  :ph34r:   Which is why I would be happy to see Adolin get his happy ending marriage :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r: if he fixes himself.  I don't even care if he doesn't get a spren.  Brandon isn't Oprah, he doesn't have to give everyone a spren.

 

Honorblades don't work with Shardplate.  Elhokar is too much of a chicken to go into battle without his Plate, I think.  Maybe Dalinar will use it for himself, since he doesn't have a Stormfatherblade.  And Honorblades aren't dangerous, they just use a ridiculously wasteful amount of Stormlight.  The real dangerous blade would be Nightblood. :ph34r:

 

 

 

I wonder how drastically different Kaladin's mentality would have been without Syl around to guide him? On one side, it is undeniable she steered him in one precise direction, but on the other hand Kaladin has always been conflicted. Can he kill to protect? I think Kaladin, ultimately, would have reached the same conclusions as book Kaladin. He can't kill to protect unless it is direct confrontation... Book Kaladin just can't. AU Kaladin can, but would he forgive himself if he were?

 

My understanding is AU Kaladin (which I adore BTW) has the liberties to make the mistake book Kaladin has been prevented from doing by Syl. Also, AU Kaladin arguably has less trauma in his life which didn't push him into a situation where he thinks he is the savior of universe by wanting to kill the king from incompetence.

 

Syl wouldn't have wanted Kaladin unless he was super honourable.  If he had no Syl, and wanted to kill Amaram, he would probably make it to Amaram's bed in the middle of the night, and then panic and go home when he's holding the knife above the guy's head.  Syl would just tell him to back off as soon as he thinks of doing it.  So the ending is the same thing, but Syl stops the thoughts because they weaken the bond, and Kaladin never learns his lesson himself, which is why he keeps thinking those bad bad thoughts.  -_- Until there's no Syl to correct him, and the lesson hits him in the chest and breaks his ribs.

 

AU Kaladin feels no problem killing people who are actively trying to kill him.  If he was in another Roshone situation, he wouldn't cut the artery, because that is actively killing someone who isn't actively trying to kill him.  The IRL Hippocratic Oaths for doctors are summarised into "Do not knowingly do harm", so Kaladin wouldn't be able to kill a man that way.  But in an AU without Syl, Kaladin would be allowed to do harm by neglect or inaction.  AU Kaladin won't kill a man, but he will allow a man to die, "as long as it is right". 

 

I didn't discuss it in the story, but Shallan passing out in the carriage was Kaladin doing harm by neglect, because he thought she deserved it for dissing his dead brother.  Obviously he didn't know it would go that far, or it would open a can of worms.  He thought she would just have a fun frolic and make funny faces, so he could laugh at her later.

 

Are you going to write a 50 Shades of Blue AU Adolin fic?  Mysterious Casanova businessman Adolin and quirky magazine photographer Shallan. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

For me, to call it a redemption arc, I need to feel the character has something to be forgiven for. For instance, Adolin could go onto a redemption arc, depending on how the consequences of his actions are dealt with, but since I suspect Brandon has already reserved these arcs for his main characters, I thus think it unlikely. It could have worked with him even though his deed isn't so wrong as it appears to be upon first glance.
 
As for Kaladin, his story arc was very satisfying back in WoK, but I wouldn't call it a feel good story  :o Kaladin isn't the kind of character I want to read when I feel bummed or depressed  :o

 

I think in-universe, most people are going to be happy that someone got rid of Sadeas.  With the exception of maybe 3 highprinces and Ialai.  So Adolin's redemption arc is more likely to be a forgiveness arc.  Because the person who has to get over it the most is himself.  And Szeth gets the redemption. :ph34r:

 

Dark characters and stories are hard to read when you have read other dark characters.  You always need to take a break between books with characters with tragic backstories or serious mental issues, because they can be real downers.  Watch stupid comedy movies or sitcoms, or shallow romances, and they will refresh you between grimdark novels. B)   I don't think Kaladin gets a "feel good" ending in WoK, and it only happens in WoR, if you count "Awesome Moment" as something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

 

I remember when the 4:1 duel ended and the Interlude started, I flipped back and forth to the prison scene, and back to the duel.  I couldn't believe that it was so abrupt, with no chapter in between to show what happened to Dalinar and Adolin, and I thought that there were pages missing or something.  But then I counted the pages and was disappointed. :(  That is why I thought Dalinar getting his second Shardblade came out of nowhere, because I skimmed over the one line where it said he was sick for a few days.

 

PS, stop wanting bad things to happen to Adolin or they might come true!!!! :ph34r:

 

 

 

To be fair, Kaladin only realized while he was talking to Shallan it was Helaran he killed. It would have been slightly strange if he were to come back on the discussion to slip in: "Upon further thought, I think I may have killed your brother...". It just was not really possible for him to say so at this point in time. This being said, nothing prevented him from trying to talk to Shallan afterwards to clean out his conscience... They had 5 days in Urithiru doing nothing before he left: he has ample time to find a pretext to talk to Shallan especially now they were both self-acclaimed Radiants.

 

Kaladin realised he was the one who killed Helaran when they were sitting in the cave.

He had the whole 5 (?) hour walk back to the warcamps from the chasm before the 5 days in Urithiru.  He could have told her anytime!!!  And that is why I do not think Shalladin can happen on the basis of their being so honest with each other.  Because they were not totally honest with each other, and they weren't honest for the sake of honesty.  They did it because they were afraid they were going to die. 

 

If Adolin cannot even consider marrying or doing the things with a darkeyes, would that be typical thinking for the average high ranking lighteyes?  Because Shallan is third or fourth dahn, and that is pretty far from a tenner.  Would she never consider a darkeyes appealing for a romantic partner in the same way that Adolin thinks, or does she not really care about it?

 

Adolin can look at a darkeye waitress's butt, and Shallan can look at a darkeye labourer's muscles, but would either of them be seriously attracted to a darkeyes?  :ph34r:  I do not think Shallan would have liked Kabsal if he had been a darkeyes, even if it's not supposed to matter in Ardents.

 

 

 

Navani was just a teenager when she married Gavilar, she may not have been fully aware of the life she was giving up. It may have become apparent only much later she had ruined her chances to ever become a renown scholar. I sensed a bitterness in her POV when she reflects over the fact she barely was the money lenders, unable to do true research.

Holy crem, I just did the calculations and if Dalinar is in his early 50's, and Navani is the same age or slightly younger, and Jasnah is 34, then Navani really did get married and have a baby as a teenager.  I never realised that. :blink:   No wonder Shallan comments that Jasnah is old enough to be her mother.   I think Navani's bitterness is kind of biased, even if she doesn't realise that she is.  If she was a scholar who never married a king, she would never have the access to the resources to study the things she wants to.  At least as the King's mother, she gets all the gemstones she wants, and can choose which research is done, even if she can't do it herself.  Jasnah can only do independent research instead of joining the retinue of a wealthy patron because she has the family's money to support her.

 

I always thought of Jasnah - and I write her - as an ice queen.  Because feelings get in the way of logical thinking. And she is so afraid of marriage because she doesn't want to be bound or beholden to a man.  Maybe she has feelings, but they're so deeply hidden that no one will ever know for sure until she gets her own PoV book.

 

 

Adolin is a very emotional person, how can his family NOT have noticed???

Because they have other things to worry about!   :ph34r::lol:

No one commented on Renarin not wearing his glasses.  Everyone is too focused on themselves, or the whole world.

Also tough guys don't need people to hold their hands and ask how their day has been. -_-

 

 

 

 

Kaladin never struck to me as the kind of guy who absolutely needs to spill out his secrets... If it were just a one time kiss, then I do think Kaladin would keep it to himself, if only to protect Adolin's feelings. However, if it ever moved into something more complex, his sense of honor would force him to spill the beans.

 

He does see to his needs on a regular basis.... He just doesn't need a girl for it...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

How complex would it have to be before he feels he has to spill the beans?? :ph34r: :ph34r:  Two kisses?  Or three?  Would he crash a wedding in his bean spilling? 

 

Most people assume that a guy who can get girls would not need to see to his needs on his own. :ph34r: :ph34r:  Most people assume that guys who don't need girls to see their needs are guys who can't get girls.  But that doesn't apply to Adolin, so the assumptions pile up.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: 

 

 

 

 

Me? An Adolin bias? I have no idea what you are talking about  :ph34r:

 

Ah I had wondered if you would steer the story towards complete tragedy  :o

 

Yeah, I did wonder at some point if Kennit would redeem himself or prove himself to be more than the pirate he was, but no. He's just too messed up. I rather enjoyed Malta in this story: she starts up as rebellious snobbish arrogant girl and turned into... I have no words to describe it, but it was an awesome read. THIS is what I love about characters, when they turn out having layers we didn't suspect were there when you read them initially. Characters who aren't bad to start, but perhaps inexperienced or narrow-minded even, who grows through even thus revealing their true strength and finding themselves in the process. So satisfying.

 

Oh I do love when the trope gets turned upside down. 

 

It's not going to be a complete tragedy, because that would take too long to resolve.  And even if it's not SA length currently, it's past the length of most YA novels and is heading into legit novel length territory.  It will end without being dragged out!

 

Omg Malta.  Malta and Kyle were the characters that made me want to throw the book across the room.  Malta got better, and she earned her happy-ish ending with Reyn with her character development.  But every single scene with Kyle Haven made me so irrationally angry.  I feel like Robin Hobb wrote his character as stubborn and near-sighted and stupid on purpose just to mess with the readers.  No one can be that stupid, not even Regal Farseer. :angry: 

 

 

 

If Renarin has developed hobbies, then perhaps he would have come across as less spoiled and childish. No matter how I put it, I never digested Dalinar being willing to let his disabled son play wooden soldier with the world's more valuable artifacts. Surely there were other means for him to pick up his training again.

 

Renarin never probably developed hobbies because he thought they were a waste of time, and the real purposeful hobby he should be doing is learning how to fight. :rolleyes:  Dalinar thought Renarin wouldn't get a fit in Shardplate, or if he did get a seizure, he wouldn't get hurt.  I think that was his logic for giving him his Shardplate.  It doesn't make him a better fighter in battle, since he doesn't even know how to hold a sword.  It just makes him a liability since he can't defend himself and his safety is only guaranteed as long as he has Stormlight in the Plate.

 

In an AU where men are sent to school and are taught to read, I think Renarin would have had a healthier childhood.  If he could have read books on his own as a kid, he wouldn't be so desperate to be a soldier.

 

 

 

Where? I swear I haven't seen one store selling leather pants no matter which demographic is targets -_-  I would also wonder as to the comfort level and the practicability of wearing leather pants in the never-ending summer country... Don't they get sticky and smelly in the heat?

 

Adolin doesn't dress like an old man  :o He dresses in a preppy but trendy style. I had a picture in a magazine this week-end which was totally modern day Adolin, but I can't find it on the Web.

 

Adolin wouldn't ignore Renarin on the train! He loves his little brother: he is his best friend. You wrote it in the fic, Adolin has had a sad lonely childhood. No fun, no play, no friends, just duties and... Renarin to keep him company. No wonder they grew up so close. I totally think Adolin's childhood was lonely  :(

 

At trendy shops like Zara, they have leather leggings.  And in other places, they have "pleather" or "leather look" pants, which are made of fake leather.  When you get a real leather pair that fit, and you break them in, they mould to the shape of your body, and are really comfortable.  Of course it will get hot and sweaty in the summer, or if you try to run in them, but leather is made of skin, and skin has little pores.  You will get sweaty, but it's not sticky and doesn't get smelly.  As long as you hang your pants out to dry for a few hours after you take them off, the sweat will evaporate and they won't get mildew.  I own leather pants!  Everyone should wear some if they can!!! :D

 

I hope Adolin doesn't wear his shirts with the collar popped. :ph34r:  That is what people do when they think they are preppy.  But it's not, it's just douchey.  I wonder if Adolin would be like most men, who just buy things off the rack and are too lazy to try it on in the changing room, because they want to get in and out of the shop as fast as they can.  Or does he like trying everything on, in the fancy stores where they have assistants to bring you all the clothes and serve champagne in the dressing room.  Because you can get the fancy treatment when you use your dad's platinum credit card.  B) 

 

Adolin doesn't ignore Renarin!  They just sit on opposite sides of the same carriage, because Adolin wants to look cool.  And Renarin isn't really much of a talker.  Renarin feels more comfortable writing messages on his phone than having a conversation.  :ph34r:  So it works out better for both of them.  And Adolin can text message Shallan at the same time.  She oversleeps her alarm most of the time, so she asks Adolin what to wear for the day and includes pictures.  Because when they coordinate their outfits, it annoys Kaladin. :ph34r:

 

 

 

Actually, I prefer the original ending as well  :ph34r: but not because it was cooler. I prefer it because I dislike having an author edit his own book a year after the release, it sets a bad precedent and while I understand Brandon's reasons, I kinda like having Kaladin killing Szeth. Kaladin being above killing a known criminal who was actively trying to annihilate the very individuals he has sworn to protect made me roll my eyes. I get it was about learning he shouldn't kill to protect, which was loosely in line with his third oath, but I disagree letting Szeth fall to a sure death was upholding honor. I may be blind, but I fall to see how the ending of the fight was honorable. Kaladin mains Szeth, he sees him fall and then plunge to save... a Shardblade (alright a Honorblade, but Kaladin does not know this). Which morality was he obeying when he refused to give the killing blow, but closes his eyes on the man dying anyway? The one stating he should put those he needs to kill in danger such as they kill themselves? As long as he doesn't reign in the killing stroke he is fine?

 

Regarding Szeth's "death", I know Brandon wrote it to be more merciful, and to put it in line with Kaladin's interpretation of morality.  But to me, it just felt weak.  Seriously, what is the point of putting "as long as it is right" at the end of this oath, when he can't even use it?  Maybe Szeth wasn't in control of his actions :rolleyes: but Kaladin doesn't know it - all he sees is a serial killer.  And his oaths don't require knowing the full story to act. 

 

I have the original version and I will keep it. :ph34r:  It doesn't even matter which version you read and believe is your head-canon anyway, since Szeth doesn't even die for real.  Which was another reason why I felt the change was unnecessary.  Yeah, you can post the alternate ending on your blog, but when the original ending has been published, you can't just take it back!  And it didn't really work; half the people who read it still prefer the original.

 

AREDOR - it's the name of a mountain, or a kingdom.  Or a fortress or castle on a mountain.  Surrounded by a giant orc army and a giant moat full of piranhas and sharks with lasers!!  Or maybe it is a man who has a scar over one eye, and an eyepatch on the other.  He wears a chainmail shirt and a hilariously oversized codpiece, and when he flexes his arms, little links of chainmail fly off from the pressure, and hit enemies straight in the eye.  :lol:B)

 

MERRIN - the fifth hobbit in the Fellowship.  It's Merry and Pippin in one person, with twice the appetite!  :lol:  Merrin isn't a hero's name, it's a sidekick.  This is the guy who has to pick up Aredor's bits of chainmail out of the dead bodies of his enemies, and polish his codpiece while Aredor picks up chicks in the local tavern.  B) 

 

Instead of descending into 100% angst, I wonder if Adolin is secretly relieved and grateful that he isn't expected to be the hero protector anymore.  Because Kaladin turns out to be the hero that Dalinar was looking for all along, and Kaladin gets treated as almost a son.  All the pressures that Adolin had on him for his whole life aren't on him now - some of it gets diverted to Kaladin, and Renarin and Shallan.  I know Adolin isn't a shirker, but his father's expectations have been his millstone for so long, so it must feel good that he gets a little leeway now.  Even though that led to him ganking Sadeas when no one was looking.

 

And since you are so Adolin biased, and focused on what Adolin thinks about the New World Order, I wonder what the other highprinces think of it.  Because they are supposed to be equal, with the King on top, but what happens when one of them is a Knight Radiant?  If Adolin worries about his own status when his girlfriend Shallan is a Radiant, everyone must be wondering where Dalinar stands.  Not just the other princes, but Elhokar too.  And maybe Hatham, or whoever else was the other highprince with a Ryshadium.  Because how they decide what rank Radiance makes a person will likely set some context for how Adolin will perceive his own status in society, and with Shallan.  He is heir to a princedom, so what value can that be in the new world?  Value is only a perception. :lol:

 Adolin will have to find his value as a person too, and that is a whole other struggle.  ^_^

 

I would also that Radiants don'thate Shardbearers.  There are a number of Radiants who were former Shardbearers.  It's just the spren that hate them, and they hate the Blades existing rather than the Shardbearers themselves.  None of the Shardbearers were the ones who killed the sprens in the blades, because that was the Knights before the Recreance.  They are innocent, and up until now, no one even knew that they were dead spren.  Since the Knights' words are "Life before Death" they would understand that Shardbearers can fill in the gaps in the ranks when only 10 Radiants are alive in all of Roshar.  Shardbearers don't have to work side-by-side with Radiants, even if Kaladin would be ok with it, but they're important for military strategy.  You can't just re-train 10 armies used to being led by a charging Shardbearer in one afternoon.

 

I don't think Adolin would be impacted by the thought of hurting his sword unless he starts developing a proto-bond with it and can feel it screaming in his head, or feels sick when he summons it.  He doesn't even know it's a dead spren in there, and would have to be told by Kaladin or Shallan, and if is going to spend a few months avoiding people out of shame, no one will ever get the chance to speak to him.  :unsure:

 

 

 

Alright. Huh, suggestions?

 

Because I support Australian literature, I recommend Garth Nix's Old Kingdom Trilogy. :wub:   He lives in my city and does signings. <3

The first book (Sabriel) has a strong female protagonist and cast of 2-3 characters. 

The second book (Lirael) has a strong female protagonist and cast of 2-3 characters, and major character development arcs that I think you would like.  Nowhere near as frustrating as Robin Hobb or Kaladin.

The third book is pretty much the second half of book 2.  It's one story split into two novels.

 

I tried to read Guy Gavriel Kay books because people said they were good, but I just couldn't get into them.  I was pretty much bored 100 pages in and that is the line where I give up reading and switch to something else that I don't have to force myself through.  I finished all three books of the Powder Mage Trilogy and if you like military fantasy, you would like it.  But it is a plot driven, ensemble cast story, and by the time I finished the last page of the last book, I had already forgotten what had happened in the first book.  I don't think it is something that is worth a re-read, at least to me.  I read them all at once, but the story didn't have any lasting impact on me.  YMMV, whatever. 

 

If you want deep character arcs, fantasy isn't the best genre to find them. :(

 

 

 

 

And I totally misunderstood this scene.

 

I interpreted your phrasing as "le poule aux oeufs d'or" which basically means the "hen with golden eggs". As an expression, it means owning a mean for infinite richness. In this optic, Adolin surely is Shallan's hen: it is basically how she sees him, but I thought Kaladin was pointing out the fact Shallan may be a more valuable hen to Adolin as she may provide him something priceless, something he cannot buy: love, affection and human company.

 

Adolin is the owner of a lonely heart. He may be rich and powerful but, unfortunately, it is the one thing all the money in the world cannot buy him.

 

 

It's okay, I write Kaladin's lines to be ambiguous and have multiple meanings to everyone, for irony purposes.  Kaladin says one thing, and Shallan hears another, and the readers will interpret it as they will.  All meanings are valid!

 

For example one of Kaladin's lines is "I am not - nor do I wish to be - your brother".  Shallan thinks that he means that he doesn't want to be like her brothers, who are either addicts or dead.  Kaladin's meaning is that he doesn't want to be considered a brother, because that pretty much cancels out any chance of them being romantically involved. :ph34r:  They are all true, but it adds an extra twist of irony for the reader to be aware of the extra implications.

 

So Shallan can be the goose in a number of ways.

Her character is just so focused on herself that she doesn't really think about anything other than the literal meaning.

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