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Stormlight Archive: The Regency Romance

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY SEVEN

 

 

 

 

The minutes crept away, until an hour had gone, and then another hour, and it had not felt like any time had passed at all.  Shallan lay with her head nestled against Adolin’s chest; she felt its steady rise and fall under her cheek, and the steady gust of his breath as it wafted against her hair; she listened to the steady beating of his heart, past ten heartbeats, past a hundred, past a hundred hundred until she found that she could not care enough to count.  His arms held her, and her arms held him and what the world did as it happened around them was fleeting and transient in their minds; it would not solidify into the cold and clinging clutches of reality until they rose from their perfect peaceful moment.

 

There was a restful comfort to be found in the embrace of a companion, thought Shallan.  Now she knew why respectable girls of respectable family would risk their respectability for this – it could not be described as unpleasant, no, not at all.  One could not feel misgivings in the moment; the aftermath, whenever it came, was the real test of regret.  But Shallan now understood the appeal of it, and why the lower classes mingled unrepentantly, and why Finnie had encouraged her to pursue Doctor Kaladin, a man well-known for his considerate nature.  To lay with a man whose company she found intolerable would have been immensely disagreeable – no doubt it would have firmed the impression of all men being intolerable. 

 

And now that she knew how it felt to share the company of a man she well-liked, she did not think she could suffer such intimacy from anyone she did not like quite so much.  She was grateful, that although Adolin had not impinged upon her honour in that particular regard, he had offered to make good the loss of her social dignity.  Shallan was pragmatic in her thinking: if she had been ruined and discarded by a Duke, she doubted she would ever be able to secure a match to her advantage, and never anything close to another Duke or ducal heir.  She would be lucky to marry a third son of the gentry; she might even have had to settle for middle class.

 

Those thoughts were beneath her now, Shallan reminded herself.  She was not ruined, and she had not been discarded – and Adolin had not made the offer merely to appease his guilt, or to behave responsibly as compelled by the tenets of social obligation.  He had made the offer not as an act of true generosity, but because he was truly genuine in his sentiment.

 

Adolin.  She felt his fingers drawing lines across her back, and she could smell the spice of his toilet water.  He was not a page in Jasnah’s Great Purpose, or an infinite ledger book, and he was certainly no golden goose – but here her artistically-minded instincts rebelled and declared that yes, he could be golden in the right light, with his clothes off – or at least dramatically disarrayed – to reveal his tanned skin, with perhaps a sunset backdrop to show his hair as something more luminous than a mundane yellow-blond.  She could not help herself; she giggled at the mental image.

 

“What is so funny?” asked Adolin. 

 

“Oh, nothing – merely a saucy thought,” said Shallan airily.  “I do not think they should count as saucy anymore, anyway.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“If the church says that immodesty between husband and wife is not immodesty, then I do not think Society would say that saucy thoughts of one’s future husband or wife are saucy.”

 

“Future wife,” Adolin rolled the words around solemnly.  “Wife.  What a strange word – it must be something I ought to accustom myself.”  He sat up abruptly, and brushed his hair off his forehead.  “The House’s master apartments have been mothballed for years.  I suppose I should order them re-opened and cleaned.”

 

“It shan’t need to be rushed.”  Shallan stretched her arms above her head and yawned.  Her shift rose upwards, and revealed a flounce of her pantalets, and one bare knee, faintly freckled.  “And I thought husbands and wives slept in separate rooms.  It would be barbaric to do otherwise.  I do not mind this room so much, and I am sure you mind having to move from yours.”

 

Adolin’s cheeks pinked, his breath caught in his throat; he had been about to say something, but he amended himself, and said, “The master apartment has separate rooms with an adjoining dining parlour – for breakfasts.  They open to one another without going through the hall.”

 

“I have walked through half the House in my shift and I do not find it so terrible.”

                                                                                                                                                                   

“I shouldn’t find myself partial to the prospect of walking through half the House in my drawers.”

 

Shallan looked at him, and a blush spread across her face; she could feel her ears warming under her hair.  She smiled, and the smile grew larger, and she giggled.  It was not what he had said that was so funny – it was the presence of a strange and tentative tension between them, one that hummed along almost beneath notice, and it made the both of them shy and skittish in their intimacy.

 

It was a curious tension, and it was definitely not apprehension or unease – it arose from their slowly aligning imagination to expectation.  Shallan was sure – well, she was, at least – of how married couples proceeded: Madame Tyn had explained the procedures and mechanics of such things years ago; for Adolin, with his familiarity with horses, this subject could not easily be avoided.  But things one read in books were not full explanations.  Shallan had read descriptions of how swine’s feathers were used to turn aside cavalry charges, and she had read formulae handbooks for driftwatching, but neither was anything close to how they had been in reality.  Shallan could annotate those books with all the information that had been missed.

 

Shallan laughed, and Adolin laughed too; she pressed her palms against his cheeks and held his face in her hands, and they were two people laughing about nothing.  They knew each other well – Shallan could read each flicker of emotion that passed over his face, and she could sense the trust he shared with her in his easy bearing; he was open in his demeanour, and he was transparent in his feeling.  And yet they had only known one another for a little more than a week – it felt like much longer – so they had only barely begun to know each other.  It was the very beginning of a journey, one that was far from any trial by fire.  It was an adventure that would not require daring heroism, only patience and reciprocation; although both lacked the wisdom of experience, she was not daunted by the vast and boundless journey unfurling before them.

 

A grand adventure.

 

“We never got to dance, and I have lost my dance card,” Shallan said.

 

“And I think we have missed dinner,” Adolin replied glumly. 

 

“We could pay a call to the pantry.”

 

“I’m not sure if they would want us there – not after last time.”

 

“Then dress like a servant.  There are enough servants brought in with the guests’ retinues that we shan’t be recognised – we shall just have to wear caps to cover our hair.”  Shallan pulled herself upright, and swung her legs off the bed.  “Go find the plainest clothes you own – something you can have on without your valet – and I will meet you by the landing in twenty minutes.”

 

“We were meant to stay upstairs – there might be more assassins–”

 

“They would not attack servants, would they?  And are you not hungry?”  Shallan paused a moment.  “Or you could go downstairs to ring for a servant and ask for two sets of everything – and you will risk bumping into someone you know while the food is brought out.  This is your Feast, and you are co-host: you cannot brush off a guest without appearing to cut him straight to the marrow.”

 

“Oh,” Adolin sighed.  He rose to his feet, picked up the fallen hairbrush, and placed it on the night table.  “My social graces are woefully dusty – my education in etiquette was mostly sacrificed in favour of military training.”

 

“Your rank excuses you from the letter of propriety.  I imagine your brother and Jasnah take full of advantage of it.”

 

Adolin went to the vanity and picked up his side-sword; he had thrown it and his coat over the vanity chair.  “I do not think we should go our separate ways: I will wait in the hall while you change, and you might do the same for me.”

 

“A little help might be required for the bodice.”  Shallan opened the wardrobe door, and Adolin dutifully presented his back to her.  She found a bodice and pulled it around herself, plucking at the knotted laces.  “You may turn around now.”

 

Adolin twisted around and immediately twisted back.  “You aren’t finished.”  His voice came out strained.

 

“Because I’m waiting for you to help, silly.”

 

She heard Adolin step over, and felt his fingers fumbling at the laces.

 

“It would help if you did it with your eyes open,” she remarked.  Shallan shut her eyes and breathed evenly as Adolin’s fingers brushed against the bare skin of her shoulder; the laces were suddenly jerked very tight, and she gasped as the boning squeezed against her bandages.  “My goodness,” she coughed, struggling to breathe.  “It’s not supposed to be on that tight!  A bodice on me is only supposed to provide a bit of shape, not hold everything in.”

 

Adolin loosened the laces.  “I thought it was like a girth strap,” he muttered, sounding embarrassed.  “The older horses try to trick you, so you have to watch their breathing when you buckle it on.  Otherwise they will throw off their saddles.”

 

“I think,” said Shallan, “that if you are not sure about how some feature or other on horses translates to women, you might ask.”

 

“You have never asked about – men things.  And so far you have done nothing wrong – nothing I should object to, at least.” 

 

Adolin tied off the laces and withdrew, turning his back to her.   Shallan shrugged on her underdress – a plain white one, no lace – and buttoned it up, and reached for a black dress in hard-wearing wool.  It was simple and severely cut, but that allowed it to look presentable years after more modish styles passed into obsolescence.

“I think of the things I would like, and I do it.  It seems to work just fine.”

 

“And what other people think: do you think of those before you act?”

 

“I think myself the best judge of what I like, and what is best for me,” said Shallan, pulling on the dress.  She reached around for the buttons, but they were carved wood, and easy to manage alone.  “If I cared a whit for every single thing thought about me by other people, I should never leave my room.  Especially after to-night.  The Almighty blessed us with the capacity and the agency to choose our own path, and our Callings.  You should know well that both are the essence of command.”

 

“They are.  But the entirety of my life–”

 

“My life too,” Shallan cut in.  She was all too familiar with what he spoke.  She lowered her voice, speaking more gently.  “What binds you is merely perception.  It is nothing real – unless you think it is.  I killed a man but I am no killer.  You have done the same – and yet you call yourself a soldier.  Just for to-night, we will wear the faces of new people.  The rest shall come in time.”

 

She braided her hair, pinned it up, and jammed it in under a knit bonnet.  It was no maid’s mobcap, but in her black dress, Shallan was shamming the appearance of a master-servant: a superior servant in the uniform of a qualified lady’s maid.  Small stylistic touches were allowed to upper servants who interacted daily with their Family; they were the frequent recipient of unwanted or disused garments or notions.

 

She followed Adolin to his own room, letting him lead the way, several yards ahead.  Occasionally they passed soldiers in regimental uniform, who saluted him with the closed fist to breast; Shallan was ignored completely.   She smiled to herself; the luxury of choice was true freedom, but only if one had made themselves aware of the variety of choices available to them.  It was something she had known when she had studied with Madame Tyn, and had never considered that it could be applied to all of her, and not just the exterior.  To throw off the shackles of identity, to become a new woman for one evening – some might call it depravity, blasphemy, and a deliberate perversion of the hierarchy established by the Almighty, but Shallan saw it as an evaluation of skill.

 

A new woman, in the affectionate company of a new man.

 

Was she Shallan, who had found peace within, and within that, forgiveness?  Or was it the lady’s maid in the black of a master-servant, who held the arm of a man in the green-grey of a grounds-servant?

 

“You smell like gunpowder,” Shallan noted.

 

“These are the clothes I wear to the range.  The only things I hunt are clay pigeons.”  Adolin adjusted the set of his cap; he had tucked his yellow hair into it, to hide the mark of his obvious foreign blood.  There were few nobles with that colouring, and even fewer workers.  Shallan’s own hair was rather distinctive, but shades of it were not uncommonly found in northern Anglekar, near the Scottish border.

 

“You look very smart.”  Shallan thought he did look fine, exceptionally fine – perhaps better than what might be expected for a grounds-servant.  Servants did not have jackets with an interior lining of bright blue silk; grounds staff certainly did not have their ghillie boots polished to a spit-shine. 

 

They waited for a uniformed soldier with a musket over his shoulder to disappear around the corner, then they descended several staircases to reach the baize-tacked door of the servants’ hall.  Adolin reached for the door handle.

 

“Wait,” called Shallan.  “Take off your ring – it would not do us much good if you were to be accused of thievery before we even got to the food.”

 

She switched to the accent of an educated worker; she had not practiced the country Kholinshire accent much, but she had heard enough of it to incorporate it into a long disused upper servants’ accent: it had the tones of one exposed to gentle education, if lacking in the true phonetic perfection of gentle breeding.  There was not much Scottish lilt to that accent – it was fashionable for the northern gentry to emulate the King’s tongue, which was based on the Kholinar standard.   She could not pass as a local, but she would not be detected as noble.

 

“Your voice changed,” Adolin observed.  He slipped off his gold signet, and placed it in an inside pocket of his jacket.  The lining flashed a cheerful blue, and Shallan winced.

“I did tell you that my governess had an interest in languages,” said Shallan.  “Try not to speak much; if you cannot feign an accent, you will surely be caught out in conversation.”

 

“Caught out in my own house.  Somehow I keep being drawn into the strangest of situations when I am with you.”   A smile tugged at his lips as he pulled open the door.  It slid open smoothly with no squeaking of hinges.

 

“One should take new experiences when one can find them.  If you find them unpleasant, you must be sure to tell me.”

 

“They are not unpleasant.”

 

Shallan smiled up at him, and they stepped into the warmth and bustle of the servants’ hall.  It smelled of food, and hummed with the chatter of numerous conversations all at once; she heard the clinking of glasses and tableware, and the piping of flutes and fiddles in the distance to the clapping of hands and the stamping of feet.  Servants bustled past, pushing trolleys of dishes that had been only very lightly picked at, and she and Adolin were ignored.

 

She knew it was not considered respectable to venture belowstairs uninvited; there were boundaries greater than the gap of income between the Family of the House, and the servants who served them.  There was blood, and breeding, and dignity – and shame.  Shallan had perceived long ago – but had never thought much of it until now – that servants did not want the gentle eyes of their employers to see how they lived, or how much work was required to uphold the standards.  It was illusion and perception that everything done was done with effortless and efficient ease.  One only saw the monkey on the organ grinder’s cabinet, and that was all what wanted to see; the whistling pipes and cranking wheels on the inside were completely forgotten.

 

It was an intrusion into the privacy of another family’s home, the family who lived belowstairs to the Family, and she would be found unwelcome – if she were found at all.  She glanced at Adolin.  It was likely he didn’t even know; it was the butler’s duty to ensure that the inner workings of the House were kept away from the master, and the only thing he got to see was the account book that was signed off at the end of each week.

 

The servants’ dining table was overflowing with the leftover dishes from the luncheon buffet, and the grand dinner that she and Adolin had missed.  There were servants in the blue and white ducal livery of Kholinar Court, and the livery of other Dukes: they wore jackets and knee-breeches in the colours of the house standards, with the Family’s glyph pair embroidered over the breast.  The servants in the retinue of minor nobility were clad in hard-wearing grey or black or brown, with waistcoats in their Families’ colours; the master-servants dressed in all black, with occasional touches of very dark grey.  

 

There were not enough chairs for all, or enough room to fit them; the diners filled their plates and either wandered about to make conversation, or left to the kitchens where there was more room to eat.  Adolin left her side and started immediately for the food, and left Shallan to stroll around and eavesdrop to her heart’s content. 

 

“They don’t touch their food but they keep asking why their glasses are empty,” she heard a footman say.

 

“They drink like fish, don’t they?” replied a second footman.

 

“Slimy and chinless the lot of them; it must be something in the City water.”

 

Shallan moved on.

 

She passed a small circle of younger women in the black of master-servants.  Their curled and braided hair peeked out from underneath small circular lace caps that perched decoratively on their heads; they didn’t appear to cover anything that the ladies considered worth showing.  The collars of their underdresses were edged with thin lace trimmings that did not dare to go so far as to proclaim garish wealth, only the tasteful elegance of a connection to a stylish lady of quality.

 

“If you ladies are interested in bettering your position,” said one woman with tight corkscrew curls that fell over her forehead like a sheepdog’s forelock, “I hear there’s a good chance of a new Duchess Kholinar.”

 

“I daresay the position of Miss Kholinar is bound to be up any day – much better than holding one’s breath for a shot at Miss Kholinshire,” remarked another woman.  She had silver ribbons stitched around the neck of her dress.

 

“What say you, Miss Morakotha?” asked the first to the third, a slim lady with hair braided around wooden hairspikes in plain black lacquer.

 

Shallan remembered that ladies’ maids – and personal servants in general – when guesting in the residence of another household, addressed one another by the hereditary titles of their Families; they did this rather than defer to the brazen familiarity of Vorin names.  Adolin’s valet, had he been present, would have been referred to as Mr Kholinar, and Renarin’s as Mr Kholinshire.

 

Miss Morakotha tossed her head and smiled thinly; Shallan began to develop an instant dislike towards her.  “Miss Khal, I think there’s a good chance I might get my step and end up a Miss Kholinar without the whole rigmarole of audiences and referrals.”

 

The other ladies looked at each other meaningfully, then the second woman with the silver ribbons hesitantly said, “I heard Lady Danlan is rather set on landing a certain Duke.”

 

“I say she has a good chance of landing him, Miss Lustow,” said Miss Morakotha.   “She told me that she managed two sets with him, and a kiss before dinner.”

 

The ladies tittered, and sipped their drinks, and Shallan’s face reddened.  Her fists scrunched up folds of her skirt and she clenched her teeth to keep herself composed. 

 

Miss Morakotha raised an eyebrow at Shallan.  She gestured her over. “Miss, you are perfectly welcome to join in our conversation.  Has your own lady got her sights set on any eligible Duke?”

 

The other ladies turned their heads to Shallan and gave her polite nods; they made room for her in their circle and eyed her dress, which had no small features to make it individual – no lace edging, no porcelain or shell buttons, or interior linings of dark purple or dark blue or dark red in scraps of silk or cotton passed down as gifts from a generous employer-patroness.

 

“Miss Valam,” said Shallan, nodding to the other ladies.  She spoke in her artificial accent, and threw in a touch of a northern burr to soften the consonants.  “My own lady is married to a cousin of Duke Hatham.  I sincerely doubt that she intends to annul her own marriage of thirty years for a southern estate like this one, no matter how grand it is.”

 

The ladies seemed to accept her explanation; they looked at one another and smiled, and did not appear to see her as a threat to their future employment.

“Have you looked at the books?” said Miss Morakotha, jerking her head in the direction of an archway; there was a trestle on the other side, in the direction of the kitchens.  Shallan saw men in waistcoats and shirtsleeves with their heads bent around a ledger in the centre; one young man with the sleeve covers of a bootboy scribbled intently into the book.  “There’s a book on who will be the next lucky Duchess Kholinar.  One will get you two on Lady Danlan.”

 

“Well, one mustn’t count their chickens,” answered Shallan.  “Who else is in the running?”

 

“Lady Melali is one for three,” Miss Lustow said.  “And my own Lady Janala is one for five.”

 

“Any northern girls with good prospects?” Shallan inquired.  Her interest had been piqued; she had always been fascinated with the applied arithmetic of fortune and chance – it was something she and Wikim had occasionally Jushu had looked into when they’d found out one could cheat at cards if one had the numbers.  And she was curious about another thing.  “I’d like to see a good northern lass well set-up.  Nothing wrong with southern girls, of course, but I should think that northern lassies have a bit more spit to them.”

 

Miss Khal spoke.  “The Scottish one, that Lady Shallan, was one for eight the last time I checked.  She was higher up in the ranks earlier for being a personal guest of His Grace, but she didn’t even dance a single set with him.”

 

“You see.”  Miss Morakotha smiled.  “A good chance indeed.”  Then her eyes flicked over Shallan’s shoulder, and she straightened up, patting at her hair and her little lace headpiece.

 

The other ladies turned as one.  It was Adolin, approaching whilst nibbling on a slice of pie, a full plate in his hands.  He nodded to the ladies with his habitual courtesy, and glanced at Shallan.

 

“Shal–” Shallan made a quick gesture with one hand, and Adolin corrected himself.  “Shal – are you hungry?  There’s plenty of food if you want any.  And I didn’t see any things you can’t eat.”

 

“I shall join you in a few more minutes – please do not wait for me.”  She smiled at Adolin, who smiled back, ignoring the ladies who were inspecting Adolin with an appreciative eye.  Adolin soon re-joined the queue at the dining table, and the ladies turned back to their conversation.

 

Miss Morakotha sniffed and shot Shallan an appraising look.  “Miss Valam, I should say you could do much better than a gamekeeper or groundsman.”

 

“He is not bad to look at,” said Miss Lustow.  She twisted a curl around her finger idly.  “He speaks decently well – and has height and leg enough to make the roster of household staff should he want it.  You might encourage him to better himself.  Lace and new kid gloves don’t buy themselves, you know.”

 

“The horses make him happy, and that is good enough for me,” said Shallan, rather defensively.  “Not everything has to be about wealth.”

 

“But most things are, Miss Valam.  It seems to me that your northern lasses may have more spit than sense if they cannot understand that simple fact of life.”  Miss Morakotha smiled an obnoxious smile, and Shallan struggled against the impulse to strike her.

 

“Excuse me, ladies.  I find myself quite faint and out of sorts – and in need of a restorative bite.”  Shallan nodded to the ladies’ maids, who nodded back, and went to find Adolin.  She knew without having to listen that the ladies were discussing – criticising – her being so disagreeably contrary in her attitudes. 

 

She found Adolin, and tapped him on the shoulder, and he grinned. 

 

“They have spiced chicken!” He took up a serving spoon and ladled spicy gravy onto his plate.  “It’s my favourite.  Do you want some?”

 

“Why not?  How much money do you have on you?”

 

“What – why?  I don’t think we have to pay for this food; I already bought it–”

 

“There is a little wager I would like win.”

 

“Oh!  Wagers!  I suppose they are only fun if people are willing to bet against you.”  Adolin handed her his plate, and dug into a pocket of his trousers, and then checked the pockets of his coat.  While she waited, she nibbled at his chicken.  It was very good, though it was served colder here than originally intended, and spicier than she was used to.  Adolin held out a hand.  “Here – this is all I have.  I don’t have my billfold on me, but will this do?” 

 

Shallan took the money, and counted it up.  Three guineas and one sovereign.  It was enough money to buy over a hundred pounds of oats, and still have enough left for butter and eggs.  Of course it was nothing to Adolin. 

 

“It is more than enough – thank you!”  She gave him his plate back, and went to find the men running the books. 

 

Shallan swept past the archway – and into the kitchens.  She had been here before, after that embarrassing pantry incident.  The string bags of onions hanging from the rafters were familiar to her, as were the barrels of flour and meal and lard against the walls.  But now the central working tables were not full of cook’s assistants preparing food, but servants with their jackets off eating, drinking, laughing and – placing bets.  

 

There were the menservants bent over the ledger.  One man had a small wooden rack of beads; another man, the one with the sleeve covers spotted with drops of ink, was writing with a dip pen and occasionally wetting it in an ink bottle with a brass wire-bound cork.  There were other men opposite, and Shallan saw money changing hands, and little slips of paper being exchanged.

 

“I would like to place a wager on the new Duchess Kholinar,” Shallan announced.

 

The man at the ledger looked up, eyes narrowing.  He scratched his chin, and flipped over to a new page in his book.  “Another for Lady Danlan, then?”

 

“No – what are the odds for Lady Shallan?”

 

Flip, flip, flip went the pages. “One gets you eight and a half.  Long odds, unless you’d like to take the risk.”

 

“Here.”  Shallan dropped the money onto the book.  They hit the paper with a series of muted taps.  Shallan was disappointed; a clatter and a slow roll to a gentle stop would have been much more dramatic.  But the gold gleamed with the warmth of high purity, and the faces of King Elhokar I winked at her in the light of the overhead lamps, and that was striking enough.  “For Lady Shallan.”

 

The man gazed down at the coins, and he picked one up.  “Eighty-three sphere shillings.  Over two months’ wages.”  He looked at Shallan and back at the coins, and there was there was greed in his eyes.  “Right.  Who should I make it out to?”

 

“Second chambermaid Finnie, if you please.”

 

He wrote the payment into his ledger, and then a receipt – two copies.   One of them was torn out and handed over to Shallan.  “Here.  Good luck, darling.”  He chuckled, and swept the coins into a lockbox. 

 

“Do you pay out in instalments?  I imagine it might be hard to have out over thirty-five spheres sterling at once,” Shallan said.

 

“Payout is only for winners,” said the man, smirking.  He looked at the other man with the racked beads.  “All wagers are final, Miss.  No coming back to us in tears when you’ve skinned yourself well and true.”

 

“Of course not.”  She tucked the slip of paper into her sleeve and left them to their business. 

 

Shallan strolled deeper into the kitchens, looking about.  She was an inquisitive person, and she could not see that a thirst for knowledge could ever be a flaw, even if it had led to unfortunate occurrences in the recent past.  But that was not the fault of an existence of her investigative nature; rather people, for some reason she did not understand, objected to it.  It was not like she purposefully pried into their affairs: she just found things interesting that often people did not particularly want her to know.

 

She passed into the inner kitchens, with their cooling racks – now mostly empty – and the bread baskets, which were uncovered now, revealing lonely crumbs scattered on the bottoms of the muslin sackcloth basket linings.  She heard the low murmur of conversation, and saw the blue of regimental uniforms; they were common soldiers – the Prince’s guardsmen – eating their dinners.  One of them wore a uniform coat with the epaulets of an officer.  She hesitated for a brief moment, and then immediately wheeled around, back to the safety of the outer kitchens. 

 

“Miss Davar,” a voice called out behind her.  She heard the scrape of a chair.  The conversation of the soldiers tapered off; they fell to silence.  There were footsteps behind her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:
"Loss of social dignity" - just some period-realistic Regency flavour in there.  Girls can't get away with nuthin', but guys can philander all they want if they're discrete about it (meaning no obvious illegitimacies), or if they're just really rich/powerful/connected.  Which is why young ladies aren't supposed to commit unless they get a confirmation of commitment from the guy.  Most people get married for economic reasons in that period.  Any man with an income of over £4000 a year is considered extremely eligible.  For the purposes of this story, Adolin has £60 000 a year as top ranking nobele, and Kaladin gets £2000 as upper middle class.
"Aligning imagination to expectation" - winky wink. ;-)  It has always been disappointing to me that Brandon Sanderson can't write believable romance.  It's just so ambiguous that you are left wondering what just happened, and he says he does it on purpose.  I always figured that realistically, young people will always be curious about these things, even in very strict Regency setting.
"Cut him straight to the marrow" - if you know a person after being introduced to him in the past, you have to acknowledge his presence every time you see him in a social situation, or you imply you are "cutting" him from your social network.  Aka de-friending him publicly.  Connections are super important in this era when there's no Facebook.
"New woman" - Imagine how many fun shenanigans could be had if Shallan was Veil with someone else other than Iyatil.  Adolin would be very bad at disguises and go under the codename "Niloda".
"Miss Morakotha" - SA-canon Adolin dumped Danlan for smacktalking his family to her friends.  I would like to imagine Danlan as the classic annoying romantic rival. Her maid should be equally annoying and encouraging of annoying behaviour.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 27

 

 

 

 

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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 have it on good authority (namely the author himself) Adolin is highly unlikely to die any time soon -_-  On a writer's point of view, it would be rather pointless to waste time writing Adolin, an unplanned character, if he did not mean to do something interesting (and worth reading) with him. In other words, the story does not need Adolin to move forward, so why bother even giving him POV in WoR now his role as Dalinar's conscience was over? Why bother is not for the fact the character simply works and enhance the story? SA is a better story because he is in it: how many other characters can claim such thing?

 

So huh, Adolin certainly is not dying. In fact, I suspect he may be one of those who'll survive the first arc, but Brandon probably didn't plan to write him for the second half. We never know: he may change his mind. He changed his mind once and he is actually aware of the character's growing popularity. You basically need to be blind not to acknowledge the fact he is one of the characters having created the most discussions since the release of WoR. 

 

This being said, I agree with you in stating Adolin's character development will be proportional to his page time which is why I was so disappointed to find out he was not getting more of it in book 3. I felt he was a character standing at a cross-roads while all others were firmly set onto their respective paths. His particular predicament automatically made him more interesting to me (and several other readers as well) as it is completely unpredictable. It can swing in so many ways and the only boring one is the one where the author chooses NOT to exploit the opportunity which is Adolin. He is such a wildcard, he has to be any writers gold mine which is why I am so disheartened to find out Brandon planning does not allow for Adolin to grow more than a certain limited amount (or so it currently appears). I feel (well feel isn't the accurate word, he has explained as much in interviews) as if the author has his whole story laid out before him and he will only adapt it slightly to accommodate unplanned characters such as Adolin.

 

The problem with saying Adolin will only deal with is problems if they end up being relevant to the main story is discouraging because he isn't important to it. The way I understand it, you can remove him all together and the story still goes from point A to point B. He is not needed, there are no important tasks he has to perform for the final climax to happen, so whatever arc he will get will be a side one. Now a side arc does not mean it won't feel important to the readers (most readers certainly didn't get Adolin was just a supporting character after reading WoR) or it won't be an endearing one and Brandon did turn Spook into a main character even it is was unplanned... It probably won't happen in SA, but I am seriously worried about the characters Brandon has decided to push forward. They may be conflicted, but they aren't endearing nor sympathetic, so do I really wish to read the story from their perspective? I am willing to give it a try because I loved the first two books immensely, but I am not convinced.

 

Yeah, well I am afraid Brandon will over-play the religious aspect in SA. He is very religious himself and well, I'm not. Not at all in fact, so huh.

 

The way I see it, SA world is filled with black or white characters, not many deal with the grayish zones. Adolin is a good kid, but he is a good kid with an edge, passion and a lack of control over his emotional response which caused him to impulsively murder someone. He isn't the pristine white knight he first appeared to be: he now is a dirty knight scrambling into the mud around the dead body of his majestic white stallion. He is interesting because there is more to him than meets the eye and, most importantly, because he still has things to learn. This is true of Kaladin as well, but his path is so predictable it isn't as interesting. Shallan is still a mystery, she could swing many ways. 

 

I love the fact Adolin appears strong on the outside, but the more you scratch, the more you realize it only is a facade. It makes me want to find out what truly hides inside. As for the trauma stick, well, I find growth arcs work better for me, as a reader, when there is some drama tied around it. I was not aware it was weird... After all, characters who never stumble are boring to read, aren't they? It seems natural to want Adolin to go through some emotional trauma, it will only make the character grow stronger. Him staying static, just as he were in WoK is not interesting... It works well for a supporting character, one you don't need to see evolve, such as Navani, but it is clear to me Adolin has moved away from this. He isn't a main character, but he has grown into something more important than a mere supporting character or so are my impressions. Supporting characters would be the bridgemen, Shallan's deserters and yes Navani. They may get occasional POV, limited depth and even a very small arc, but Adolin has already getting more than this. Overall, Adolin is even getting more character development than "main character" Szeth (again, the author said as much).

 

Perhaps I should be reading more non-fantasy reading... but I have frankly no idea where to start  :o

 

As for characterization, Brandon certainly does better than many other authors. I recently finished reading the Codex Alera and I can say the characterization I found in there was poorer than Brandon's. Kaladin and Shallan's characterization were quite good, but it is true Brandon likes to put humor in his books and he tends to have his sides carry it. It thus makes for the Lopen  :ph34r: He however managed to craft in back stories for Rock and Teft while he carried out the mystery around Gaz and Vahtah. In comparison, Butcher managed to turn interesting characters into complete meaningless lackeys.

 

 

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. 

 

The problem is I stumble on words and I always get the verb tenses wrong. I have a few bits written (alright 12 chapters), but I am not sure people would like it. I haven't re-read it in a while and I last I worked on it, I was stuck as to where I wanted to bring the story. 

 

Professional Adoliner  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :wub: I spent way too much time discussing characters and I feel I am starting to get it right just now. I may be familiar with the character, but I am not sure I could place the right words into his mouth and my English... It is not as good as it should be or would be for a Native English speaker. I lack vocabulary to put in the words I wish to write.

 

 

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.

 

Stormlight may be addictive, but I fear it will be a requirement to survive the Desolation. One of my prospective story arcs has Adolin literally collapsing out of pure exhaustion as the stakes got so high he can't afford to rest anymore, but unlike everyone else around him, he can't sustain himself on stormlight. He tries to keep up with his Radiant family, but his body just gives in.

 

Do they get withdrawals? I am not sure... Kaladin experienced symptoms akin to it in the SA3 excerpt, but he had seriously overdone the stormlight absorption thing. I don't recall Shallan having any issue with it, but I do agree they would probably get dependent on it for their every day task. Already, Kaladin was counting on it to reduce his hours of sleep. 

 

Is there really such a thing as stormlight addiction? It has been theorized, but I am not sure if it is canon yet. You do make it sound as if the sprens are the evil one merely using the humans to their ends. This too has bee theorized before, wanting the sprens to be the artifact of the Recreance and not the knights... I guess future will tell.

 

I certainly think it is more healthy to fix one's problems by yourself, but sometimes people do need help. Sometimes, the task is too much from one person to bear and, as I currently see it, both Kaladin and Shallan would have required professional help to start the healing process. Their sprens somehow acts as shrinks...

 

Adolin though is different... He hasn't been beaten nor mistreated and he has yet to hit his wall. Once he does, there is a fair chance he'll be able to pull through with help/support for loved ones, but I would hate for him to acquire a Nahel bond just because he suddenly fits the "broken" criteria. Besides, not getting a spren until he figures out how to rescue his dead-Blade would add to the trauma stick...  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

I don't want Adolin to marry until he has progressed enough. The same goes for Shallan. Please kids, don't get married just now. Neither of you are ready.

 

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:

 

But Elhokar prized fame, glory and recognition above all. He wants to be revered, adored and looked upon favorably. I doubt he would pass the opportunity to bond a magical Blade. Besides, he can still wear his Plate and use his other Blade.

 

Syl says the Honorblade was dangerous...

 

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:

 

Story says Syl was attracted to Kaladin endeavors to protect his man while being a squad leader. 

 

Well, Kaladin has always been set on doing the right thing: the problem for me is the right thing is slowly becoming to pristine white for my personal tastes. Kaladin has to remain a soldier, but one with ethics. I had wondered where Brandon would take him, but right now, I do like the grayish streak you gave him in the story.

 

Bad Kaladin  -_- I am worried at Shallan going into an ether trip with Kaladin and Renarin... I keep expecting something terrible to happen  :ph34r:

 

OMG, I would rather write popular College star athlete Adolin who pretends to be a carefree party goer but instead goes back home every day to watch over his drunk father and his disabled brother. He single-handily tries to keep what's left of his family together by making daddy can stay sober long enough to take care of the family's fortune and by ensuring himself his brother gets to school everyday. Ever since his brother's assassination, Dalinar has not been the same, letting his nephew Elhokar pillage mercilessness into the family's fortune and ruining the family's business.

 

No girl has ever pass the porch of Adolin's mansion, to fearful he is to have anyone see the truth for themselves... 

 

Shallan is an art student who managed to hijack's someone's identity in order to get a scholarship. She isn't poor enough, on paper, to get one, but her family is ruined: they can't afford sending her to College. She was so keen to escape from her depressing household, she lied and scammed the school. She lives in perpetual fear she would be found out. One of her teacher take an active interest in her: turns out she is famous lecturer Jasnah Kholin who can't pass up an opportunity to bind the younger generation towards her revolutionary ideas. She likes the girl, but as she goes through the school records, she finds the anomaly. Disturbed to have been lied to and, more importantly, angry at a student conning the school, she threatens to uncover Shallan's if she does not set her record straight.

 

Shallan has no money, she can't pay the school's fees unless she finds some, so she decides to try to con the richest student in college: unapproachable, unattainable Adolin Kholin. Her goal is to make her way into the Kholin mansion as surely there would be pricey artifacts in there she could steal and sell to get the money.

 

Someone, she coaxes Jasnah to arrange a blind date between her and Adolin, on false pretenses.

 

Kaladin is studying to become a doctor. He comes from a very poor family: he has a full scholarship based on his outstanding academic record combined to his value as another star athlete. He is mysterious and he befriends mostly those coming from humble household, staying away from the rich kids such as Adolin. Being a god sports, Adolin presents himself to Kaladin, but he is laughed at and scorned away. The two of them take an instant dislike.

 

Something along those lines... Of course, there has to be trouble. Story wants it Kaladin rescues Adolin and everyone perspective changes on the day they walk into the mansion and see the truth for themselves.

 

 

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:

 

Who are most people? Surely the Kholin soldiers who were at the Tower, the Kholin followers who lost a husband, a father, a brother, a son at the Tower and the bridgemen will secretly be happy the old crem got taken out in such an anti-climatic way, but I doubt the Highprinces and the other lords will do the happy dance. Why? Because they all loved Sadeas and are sad he died? Certainly not, but it makes a precedent. Whether they like him or not, the fact remains Sadeas was one of them and he just was brutally murdered in a dark tunnel. 

 

The fact it is the Kholin kid who did it will aggravate them. They can't possibly be glad their country now stands for the assassination of high ranked individuals by the son of the one who claims to stand on the high moral ground. It undermines everything Dalinar has been working towards not to mention everyone wants to get back at Adolin for humiliating them...

 

I am saying, Adolin is in for a rough ride. I agree it will probably amount to a forgiveness arc more than a redemption arc, but it will be massive. It isn't just about Adolin... It also is about Dalinar who will need to forgive his son and about basically everyone else who will have to do the same...

 

It is why murdering Sadeas is so tragic: it shows just how unstable Adolin is. He was already filled with difficult emotions as he walked onto Sadeas and the fool added to it by taunting him: the kid blew up. This is terrible. Blowing up certainly happens, but it generally involves screaming and often tears, but not killing someone! Adolin is a nice kid, but he is a nice kid who has been pushed above his threshold of endurance in terms of threat to his family. He just couldn't not act and this has been repetitive in his POV through both books: each time Adolin is faced with threats to his family or unexpected situations, he reacted in a very emotional way, often needing soothing and help to keep himself calm, yearning to take it out on the battle field where he CAN do something about it. Being powerless just increases his stress/anxiety level, so when nobody was around, his mind broke down and put him into a state where he could act. Acting, fighting so the stress levels would go down and stop being threatening: it almost was the spontaneous response to a protection mechanism, much like people having a great shock will sometimes faint to stop the influx of threatening emotions.

 

And the last thing I want is a redemption arc for Szeth. The poster named kaellok currently wrote very nice posts expressing how I feel about Szeth. Whatever Brandon has in store for him, I will be disappointed if it turns out being "Radiant".

 

I thought WoK ended well for Kaladin: he got his freedom. It was satisfying. I mean, if I compare it to a Robin Hobb ending, this was a rather happy one  :o I love reading feel good books  :) Problem is to find them.

 

A lot of people were disappointed by the lack of closure for Adolin following the 4 on 1 duel. It has been presented as Adolin's arc and many readers expected it would be about him, so to see the focus suddenly change to Kaladin and flip the readers expectations over and making it be about Kaladin has unnerved quite a few persons. It makes me worry for book 3 because Adolin doesn't have POV in all parts which makes me think it will happen again... Events will occur and we won't get closure for Adolin because he isn't Kaladin, Shallan or Dalinar. I wish Brandon would admit that while Adolin isn't one of his main characters, he is important to his readers and these readers want Adolin related arcs to have closure. This implies stop restraining his POV to a few selected parts into the book. One or two Adolin POV in Part 4 would have done the work. Seriously, I may be very Adolin focused, but many other readers have expressed the same thoughts.

 

I hope some of the things I said will come true...  :ph34r: Static characters aren't interesting... and lessons learned without hardships do not make for a good story  :ph34r:

 

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. 

 

Yes he did, but at that point in time it would have been rather strange to immediately go back to this conversation they just finished to add this one point. 

 

I do, however, agree they had ample time after coming back from the chasm to have this conversation. Had Kaladin truly wanted to be honest with her, he would have found a way to speak to her.

 

I agree they weren't honest just because they felt they needed to be honest with each other. On the day Shallan will decide to open up to Adolin, it will be to be honest with him, not because circumstances pushes her to talk about it.

 

 

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.

 

Well yes I assume so. I personally do not think Shallan has considered Kaladin as a romantic interest, ever, but she may change her mind now his eyes are light.

 

As to the possibility of a lighteyed to like a darkeyed, then it may be akin to a white man loving a black woman back in the segregation days. I happened, but it was publicly shun upon. In Ken Follet, they had a white woman give a peck on the cheek of a black man, on a TV show, and it made a ruckus  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

 

In these circumstances, I would think the most people would think of inter-eye unions as disrespectful if not downright disgusting  :( Kaladin is different though: he has been brought up into thinking he would marry a lighteyed. He has less inhibitions.

 

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.

 

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.  -_-

 

Yeah, I know... It is a shock when you realize Navani, when she was Shallan's age, already was a mother  :o In these circumstances, I certainly think it quite possible teenage Navani didn't think everything all the way through. She claims she chose Gavilar because Dalinar scarred her... 

 

What if she married Gavilar because she was pregnant by him?

What if Elhokar is not Gavilar's son but Dalinar? 

 

:o  :o  :o

 

I certainly hope the second one is not true... I would HATE for Elhokar to turn out being Dalinar's son all along... Dalinar already has sons, he doesn't need another one and certainly not Elhokar  :o

 

Anyway, Navani married Gavilar while being very young: she may have come to regret this decision later on... Oh plot twist: Navani took a liking of Shallan... What if she advice her NOT to marry Adolin, to wait as she is too young to make this decision?

 

About Jasnah, well, I said that once: I got rammed into in a bad way  :ph34r: Needless to say that while I agree with you, many other readers would disagree. Jasnah is well loved, probably because she is a character archetype which is often found in fantasy readers thus making many more inclined to feel positively about her.

 

Adolin commented on Renarin not wearing his glasses and Dalinar admitted he had noticed in the end, so they did notice. My guess is Renarin's vision problem is not dire. In other words, he isn't blind without his glasses, he just sees poorly, but he sees. Had he been completely blind without them, surely they would have asked themselves more questions. As it stand, they merely thought he was willing to impair his vision in order to appear like a soldier. They let him getting away with it because it had no consequences.

 

Tough guys don't cry  -_- Tough guys don't need help  -_- but little Adolin probably had lesser control on himself... Emotional children are... emotional. And Dalinar did notice, Sadeas did notice... They both commented on how emotional Adolin was: Dalinar thinking he needed to have his son channelized this energy in a positive way while Sadeas thought he could use it to destabilized the boy.

 

What Dalinar didn't notice not acknowledge is how unnerving the visions, the Radiants, the new city are making his eldest son. He has also disregarded his need for stability thinking he'll just adapt himself. In other words, Dalinar takes Adolin for granted: he is solid, reliable and stalwart. He thinks as long as his son has strict rules to obey, he'll be in control, like himself... He treats Adolin like a younger version of himself, but something is just not right in their relationship...

 

Dalinar definitely needs to talk to his son, to tell him the truth about his past. He needs to steer Adolin away from hero worshiping him: it isn't healthy to keep on comparing oneself to an ideal which can't be attained. 

 

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:

 

I was thinking about an affair, so more than 2-3 kisses.

 

Most people assume Adolin is not the man he is truly is. Perceptions. I wish book Shallan would comment on it: how had she not think it strange the man she is afraid would leave her in order to favor another one is so shy with physical intimacy?

 

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:

 

:lol:  :lol:  :lol: By fanfic standards, it is quite long already! Most fanfics never get completed. 

 

You didn't like Malta? Oh. I adored her. Well, initially, I hated her, but she turned out being something else entirely so I was enthralled by her story line. Kyle was just vile... It is somewhat disheartening when villains are persistently used as villains without no other reasons the story needs one...

 

For instances, I am still up for Elhokar turning out being one... Everyone expects him to better himself up and become a Radiant  :huh:  :huh:  :huh: but I wish for something else entirely  -_-

 

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:

 

Alright. I'll admit I haven't to Zara in quite a while: there is no Zara in my local shopping mail. I only get to go there whenever I go shop with my mom in a bigger place. We only have H&M here and no leather there, unless I am blind... Gee, I was there two weeks ago.

 

So these?

 

2969254800_2_3_1.jpg?ts=1440676940267

 
Alright, I'll admit they are pretty cool. I totally need one pair  :ph34r: However, when I think men and leather pants, here is what pops to mind:
 

2566178bd9845758d300867327a3fe71.jpg

 

So huh I would say my mental imagery of Adolin certainly does not befit such picture.

 

I see him wearing something more akin to this:

 

6682f56b7e64e100c798239c6b13fa25.jpg

 

Or this, on days he wants to aggravate Dalinar  :ph34r: because daddy thinks it doesn't look "clean enough". I should mention here "clean enough" for Dalinar implies short and tie  -_- with clean shoes, not snickers.

 

Zara-fashion-clothes-for-men-3.jpg

 

I meant trendy, not constipated  :ph34r: Adolin is fashionable, he wears cool clothes  B) He may be a fashion victim, but he has an eye for it. I think Adolin totally tries his clothes and he doesn't wear clothes his father would gladly wear, so he doesn't shop in the same stores...

 

Is there anything more upscale than a Platinum card? Surely there is. Platinum aren't that hard to get long as you pay your bills. Anyway, whatever it is, yeah, Adolin is paying with his credit card and the bill directly goes to daddy. He has no idea how much things cost which has to be the one interesting aspect of the "Adolin goes in exile story arc" as it would involve him dealing with life once removed of his privilege. Seeing how Shallan was challenged simply walking into a darkeyes market despite coming from an impoverish lighteyed family, we can only imagine how destabilized Adolin would be to find out how much things actually costs and what kind of work is required to win enough to buy it.

 

I still don't think Adolin would sit in opposite carriage from his brother just to look cool... He isn't that kind of big brother: he would rather sit right next to his brother, not once bothered to be seen in his presence. Adolin tries to be cool, but deep down, family matters more. 

 

:D  :D  :D To Shallan and Adolin wearing matching outfits. They sure are the most annoying couple ever  :ph34r:

 

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 agree Kaladin showing mercy to Szeth was far-fetched and not justified. From my point of view, Kaladin basically allowed a mass murderer and a threat to go unchecked in the world just so he could not be the one delivering the killing blow. If he was so keen on not killing him, then he should have captured him and deliver him into justice, letting the legal instances decide what to do with him. THIS would have been a nice ending, but it didn't work with Szeth earning Nightblood and going to do whatever it is he'll do, but I would have prefer the captive story arc. I have yet to see where Brandon is going with Szeth, but I personally do not like this character nor do I wish to see him become a major one. He works well as a conflicted antagonist: I don't need 30 POV of him in a book. I am worried about book 5... Hopefully, Szeth will never occupy a place as large as Kaladin within the main narrative and his will be restrained to flashbacks and occasional POV. I would be fine with this.

 

I also have the original version and I will not buy another book to get the new one. The changes are minor and while the Cosmere theoreticians think it means much, I personally do not care about such issues. I care about character continuity and, right now, I worry about what it means for Kaladin as a character.

 

As for posting an alternate ending on his blog, my understanding is Brandon wants this to be the official ending, not an alternate one. We will have to read and find out why it was so important, but right now, I hope this will be an isolated event and Brandon will not make a habit of it.

 

Aredor and Merrin aren't the same character now aren't they? It is funny that while Dalinar, Elhokar and Renarin had the correct names, Adolin and Kaladin had a name change. I heard Brandon talk of how he felt Merrin wasn't the right name for his character anymore (and I do agree, Kaladin is much better), but he never commented on Aredor... When did he change the name? Adolin has a softer sound to it... I would need to ask this one to Brandon, if I ever get the occasion. It is nearly impossible to ask stuff when you can't go to signings.

 

Is Adolin grateful? I think not. Adolin's entire sense of self-worth seemed to be tied on to his ability to meet up his father's expectations. All his life he has strive to be someone daddy would be proud of, so to have a new comer come in and take his place wouldn't remove the pressure, it would increase it. Having Dalinar rely more on Kaladin than him would simply send the message he has failed. He has failed at being the son his father needed/wanted/deserved so he had to take in this stranger to replace him.

 

You can't remove important milestones and replace them with nothing and expect it will be good news. What then? The only place of importance Adolin still had, you have just taken it away... The way I see it, ADOLIN has to grow into his own person, he has to start making his own decisions: it shouldn't be Dalinar making them for him.

 

Oh I did not solely focus on Adolin: it have discussed all characters in my time within the community. I have discussed those Highprinces and my thoughts have been I doubt they will all be happy. Many readers assume finding Urithiru is enough to garantee Dalinar he has won and all will now follow him, but I disagree. He proved he was not crazy, but he still is a tyrant and others are certainly not going to react positively upon hearing all the Kholins are now Radiants... Radiants were feared and hated all across Roshar, why would those feelings magically disappear because they have come back? They won't. People will mistrust Dalinar because he is a Radiant.

 

I had wonder if some of the Highprinces may not try to use Adolin against his father... as the only non Radiant Kohlin, they may try to organize a coup.

 

I suspect something will happen with Elhokar... I suspect Dalinar's blind trust into his nephew will be put to the trial. In other words, he'll have to see the reality for himself. Elhokar has always been part of the story, so he is important to Dalinar's growth. I suspect Brandon may put him in perspective with Adolin whom with Dalinar is too hard on.

 

Hatham is supposed to be important (WoB), so I suspect he will become a Radiant. 

 

What value has Adolin now? The problem is he can't assess his own value: he needs people to tell him and they are likely to tell him he is a murderer. So huh he's in for a rocky path.

 

 

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:

 

Syl hates all Shardbearers and it has transposed to Kaladin who reacts negatively to all of them. I suspect negative sentient towards those who choose to bear Shards will eventually become mainstreamed among the Radiants which is bond to cause friction. The knights aren't impervious to their sprens reaction and the truth will shake many out of their comfort zone. 

 

Do not forget they all heard the Blade scream... Can they really keep on openly rely on Shards, treat them as valuable weapon now they know/heard the truth? They may accept they still need them, but as the number of Radiants rapidly increases, normal Shardbearers will become rarer and despised or perhaps in a less stringent way, tolerated, but I see conflict arising there in the future.

 

Adolin doesn't know, yet, but we can safely bet his family will inform him of this fact soon enough. I do think the truth would impact him as Adolin doesn't want to hurt anyone, let alone the Blade he has treated as a partner, a friend for the past 6 years. He loves his Blade. He believes the Blade chooses to appear for him, he is appreciating what it does for him. To find out it only does so because he is forcing it too, worst, it is feeling pain each time HE chooses to summon it will impact him.

 

I don't think Adolin will avoid people enough to not be told about his father/brother Radianhood and then, they'll tell him about the Blade. In the short fic I once tried writing, Renarin bluntly tells him about his Blade, tired of seeing him fidget with it. 

 

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.  :(

 

Never heard of it. Goodread likes it thought. Ah library has it. I am currently finishing up my Ken Follett, then it is SoS and BoM which I have been delaying reading and then.... open spot for reading. 
 
Oh gee a lot of people had trouble getting into GGK.. He well thought of, but then again his books aren't the most accessible. Maybe some other day I'll manage.
 
Yeah well learning Powder Mage was mostly military has shrink down my expectations. A lot of people on the forum really liked it and recommend it to me, but maybe people aren't understanding my tastes properly. Or maybe I don't understand them either. Codex Alera turned out being very military and I got tired of it towards the end. Not a bad story, but not a memorable one and the last book is poor, IMHO. Character development is strongly limited and the main protagonist turns into a Gary Stu half-way through the story while his crew, after a promising start, turn into complete lackeys. It could have been done better by an author not focusing so much on the battles. It is what I like about Brandon's actions scenes, while they can be a tad over-done, he manages to make them interesting by focusing on one character as opposed to the entire army. For instances, I really like Adolin's fighting scenes in the end, truly my favorite. It beats Kaladin's any day. 
 
I figured I should probably pick real-life fiction, but I have prejudice... :ph34r:  Is it going to be all about cheating people and marital issues?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Or detective investigations because I don't enjoy those.
 
 

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.

 

 

I got the brother line the first time around  -_- I like the kiss, but I really thought Adolin would walk on them  :ph34r: Even though you said it wouldn't be tragic, I keep expecting tragedy to happen. I thought something bad would happen to Adolin when he was posing as a servant....  :ph34r:

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I have it on good authority (namely the author himself) Adolin is highly unlikely to die any time soon -_-  On a writer's point of view, it would be rather pointless to waste time writing Adolin, an unplanned character, if he did not mean to do something interesting (and worth reading) with him. In other words, the story does not need Adolin to move forward, so why bother even giving him POV in WoR now his role as Dalinar's conscience was over? Why bother is not for the fact the character simply works and enhance the story? SA is a better story because he is in it: how many other characters can claim such thing?

 

So huh, Adolin certainly is not dying. In fact, I suspect he may be one of those who'll survive the first arc, but Brandon probably didn't plan to write him for the second half. We never know: he may change his mind. He changed his mind once and he is actually aware of the character's growing popularity. You basically need to be blind not to acknowledge the fact he is one of the characters having created the most discussions since the release of WoR. 

 

This being said, I agree with you in stating Adolin's character development will be proportional to his page time which is why I was so disappointed to find out he was not getting more of it in book 3. I felt he was a character standing at a cross-roads while all others were firmly set onto their respective paths. His particular predicament automatically made him more interesting to me (and several other readers as well) as it is completely unpredictable. It can swing in so many ways and the only boring one is the one where the author chooses NOT to exploit the opportunity which is Adolin. He is such a wildcard, he has to be any writers gold mine which is why I am so disheartened to find out Brandon planning does not allow for Adolin to grow more than a certain limited amount (or so it currently appears). I feel (well feel isn't the accurate word, he has explained as much in interviews) as if the author has his whole story laid out before him and he will only adapt it slightly to accommodate unplanned characters such as Adolin.

 

The problem with saying Adolin will only deal with is problems if they end up being relevant to the main story is discouraging because he isn't important to it. The way I understand it, you can remove him all together and the story still goes from point A to point B. He is not needed, there are no important tasks he has to perform for the final climax to happen, so whatever arc he will get will be a side one. Now a side arc does not mean it won't feel important to the readers (most readers certainly didn't get Adolin was just a supporting character after reading WoR) or it won't be an endearing one and Brandon did turn Spook into a main character even it is was unplanned... It probably won't happen in SA, but I am seriously worried about the characters Brandon has decided to push forward. They may be conflicted, but they aren't endearing nor sympathetic, so do I really wish to read the story from their perspective? I am willing to give it a try because I loved the first two books immensely, but I am not convinced.

 

Yeah, well I am afraid Brandon will over-play the religious aspect in SA. He is very religious himself and well, I'm not. Not at all in fact, so huh.

 

Brandon doesn't kill characters off just because someone has to die, thankfully.  They only die when the plot is done with them, which is usually the last book.  So Adolin will probably last until then.  If Adolin did die in SA3, it would probably give Dalinar a jumpstart in his own character development, like Gavilar's death did to him, but it would be a very very heavy-handed and unsatisfying way to do it.

 

Adolin is a gold mine or golden goose B) to an author interested in developing his characters into three-dimensional people that have problems and overcome their struggles.  But to an author who would rather develop the world and the over-arching lore of the universe, Adolin is just another plot thread that needs to be resolved.  The more time and pages spent on developing and exploring Adolin's personal issues is less time spent on the main plot narrative of the story and series, since Brandon has a page limit of something like 1100 per book.  Like a sitcom with multiple threads going on at the same time, there is an A-plot and a B-plot, and Adolin as a supporting character probably falls under C-plot level.

 

So the more he explores Adolin, the more need to have a satisfying resolution to it.  Sometimes it's easier and simpler just not to mention him too much - and that probably explains why he won't get as many PoV chapters in future books as you want.  SA has an ensemble cast, and I don't think Brandon intended that people get fixated on any one character, apart from the main PoV/flashback character of the book. 

 

Sometimes I think your Adolin bias :ph34r: will make the series unenjoyable for you.  If you show up just for the Adolin show, you will leave disappointed because, as you have noticed, so far he hasn't been shown to have a clear role for furthering the overarching plot.  He swims in a small pond and his struggles are realistic and internal. That is what makes his character appealing to you, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a tiny blip to the major struggles and themes of the series, which is pretty much philosophy of morality and ethics and dynamics of wielding authority and power.  Sad but true.  If you want to stop worrying about where the series is headed, trust in the Branderbot and enjoy the Cosmere for what it is, rather than what you want it to be.  Otherwise, why read for entertainment if it will just make you upset?

 

Book series with thriller-style plots, or ones focused on world-building and magical systems often do not have good characterisation.  And that is true the other way around, and this is why "deep" and "thought provoking" literary fiction bestsellers are usually set on modern day Earth, so they don't have to waste pages on describing the setting because you know what IRL is like already.  I have read many popcorn thrillers and romances and the characters are just so shallow they are hilarious to read, as long as you don't take it seriously.  When a MC female is seriously described as "gorgeously curvy, with eyes like limpid aqua pools" it makes me laugh so hard.  The best part is when the romance novel male love interest is introduced and he is literally described as "ridiculously ripped" and "yummy".  :lol: :lol:   I think it has been ages since I have been personally invested in a fictional series.

 

 

 

 

The problem is I stumble on words and I always get the verb tenses wrong. I have a few bits written (alright 12 chapters), but I am not sure people would like it. I haven't re-read it in a while and I last I worked on it, I was stuck as to where I wanted to bring the story.

Professional Adoliner  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :wub: I spent way too much time discussing characters and I feel I am starting to get it right just now. I may be familiar with the character, but I am not sure I could place the right words into his mouth and my English... It is not as good as it should be or would be for a Native English speaker. I lack vocabulary to put in the words I wish to write.

 

Proofread thoroughly!  And get a beta reader to check afterwards.  Sometimes it helps to read what you've written out loud, so you will hear what bits sound awkward.   And honestly, it doesn't matter how you end the story as long as you write it well.  You could everyone off if you wanted. :P

I don't think I could get Adolin's words right, either.  But if you are writing in an AU and not canon-verse, you can take more liberties with his dialogue, as long as you get the tone right.  He pretty much says what he thinks and doesn't use a lot of big words.  Also in SA-canon, no one says the word "Okay" except Wit, for some reason.  I checked after reading a fanfic where the characters used it a lot.  :o  So you have to be careful about mentioning Earth things or using Earth phrases that wouldn't make sense on Roshar.

 

 

 

 

Stormlight may be addictive, but I fear it will be a requirement to survive the Desolation. One of my prospective story arcs has Adolin literally collapsing out of pure exhaustion as the stakes got so high he can't afford to rest anymore, but unlike everyone else around him, he can't sustain himself on stormlight. He tries to keep up with his Radiant family, but his body just gives in.

 

Do they get withdrawals? I am not sure... Kaladin experienced symptoms akin to it in the SA3 excerpt, but he had seriously overdone the stormlight absorption thing. I don't recall Shallan having any issue with it, but I do agree they would probably get dependent on it for their every day task. Already, Kaladin was counting on it to reduce his hours of sleep. 

 

Is there really such a thing as stormlight addiction? It has been theorized, but I am not sure if it is canon yet. You do make it sound as if the sprens are the evil one merely using the humans to their ends. This too has bee theorized before, wanting the sprens to be the artifact of the Recreance and not the knights... I guess future will tell.

 

Adolin's Shardplate training says he needs to take a break to eat and drink (and poop? :ph34r:) every 10-15 minutes in battle.  He already knows it's better to be ashamed than to be dead.  It's possible he would pass out from not eating or sleeping for 2 days, but only if it was a really dangerous situation with nothing to eat and nowhere to safely sleep.  But if he's just chilling in Urithiru with everyone else, I think he would be too smart to wear himself out like that.  He doesn't feel the Thrill anymore and, and chicken is too important a ritual to him.

 

I think Stormlight is mostly a psychological addiction rather than a physical one.  People who take it feel stronger, more aware, more secure in their ability to handle whatever gets thrown at them.  They rely on it, and it makes them feel safe and strong, and they enjoy the feeling when life has been so sucky and scary to them - it's like a security blanket that makes them invincible as long as they have their infused spheres.  Maybe addiction is a strong word to describe it, but it's like being someone who wears glasses to see, and having them taken away.  Yeah, you can live perfectly well without them, but it feels really really bad.

 

Kaladin and Shallan could have fixed their problems without a spren, if they had someone they could trust completely and see as an equal. But there was no one for them they could talk to that fit their requirements, because Kaladin was hero-worshipped by Bridge Four and Moash turned out to be a donuthole, and all of Shallan's potential role model lady guides (Jasnah and Tyn) died before she get to the point of trust.  That is why Adolin might be able to fix his own problems without breaking enough to get a spren, or even needing a spren at all.  He just has to trust Kaladin and Shallan and maybe Renarin enough, and they have to trust him. :)  But we shall see...

 

 

 

Well, Kaladin has always been set on doing the right thing: the problem for me is the right thing is slowly becoming to pristine white for my personal tastes. Kaladin has to remain a soldier, but one with ethics. I had wondered where Brandon would take him, but right now, I do like the grayish streak you gave him in the story.

 

Bad Kaladin  -_- I am worried at Shallan going into an ether trip with Kaladin and Renarin... I keep expecting something terrible to happen  :ph34r:

 

OMG, I would rather write popular College star athlete Adolin who pretends to be a carefree party goer but instead goes back home every day to watch over his drunk father and his disabled brother. He single-handily tries to keep what's left of his family together by making daddy can stay sober long enough to take care of the family's fortune and by ensuring himself his brother gets to school everyday. Ever since his brother's assassination, Dalinar has not been the same, letting his nephew Elhokar pillage mercilessness into the family's fortune and ruining the family's business.

 

Kaladin is so angry on the outside, that it's jarring for him to be incorruptible pure pureness on the inside.  That is why I think it's more fitting for his character that even if he chooses to do the right thing, it's still a struggle for him to decide what is right.  He should be able to do possibly questionable things "as long as it is right", and he should feel conflicted about it, or he just becomes a boring MC hero who is good at everything.  The way I write AU Kaladin is how I would like to read a Kaladin who didn't have a spren to tell him what is right.

 

That is why AU Kaladin, who thinks using ether is bad and addicting and scars the soul, made an exception for Shallan.  It's a romance story, not a tragedy!  There isn't a monster hidden behind every corner!  And I can't just throw in bad things when I'm resolving loose ends. :ph34r:  You can relax instead of imagining a bad thing is just about to happen.  It's supposed to be light entertainment, or at least that is my intention when I wrote it.  Because I hate contrived bad things coming out nowhere just to mess with the MC's.

 

Everything is so tragic. :o   It makes me sad how much you like the trauma stick.  :(  You would have to make Dalinar and Renarin extra broken for them to be incapable of functioning normally without Adolin's help, since they are on the quirky level of dysfunctional in SA-canon.  

 

To make a more realistic story, since Shallan would be arrested for stealing things if she got caught, I think it would be better if she tried to make Adolin her sugar daddy. :ph34r:   If you steal stuff and don't get arrested, you never get invited back.  If you make a guy fall in love with you and ask him to buy you things, you can keep getting gifts to sell.  It's the difference between the golden eggs and golden goose. :lol:  If you wrote it, I would read it.  Especially if you fit in a love triangle because you can't have stories with Shallan, Kaladin and Adolin without a love triangle.  It's like a fry up with no bacon.  :wub: 

 

 

 

Who are most people? Surely the Kholin soldiers who were at the Tower, the Kholin followers who lost a husband, a father, a brother, a son at the Tower and the bridgemen will secretly be happy the old crem got taken out in such an anti-climatic way, but I doubt the Highprinces and the other lords will do the happy dance. Why? Because they all loved Sadeas and are sad he died? Certainly not, but it makes a precedent. Whether they like him or not, the fact remains Sadeas was one of them and he just was brutally murdered in a dark tunnel.

 

Apart from the Kholin army, I think the Sadeas army, outside the bridgemen, would be glad he's dead too.  Because AFAIK, soldiers who annoyed their officers would get sent to the bridge crews as punishment, which is why there were non-slaves in the crews getting twice the slaves' pay.

 

And in the political pragmatism side, getting rid of Sadeas breaks up the factions that have formed in the warcamps.  Most people are either pro-Dalinar, or pro-Sadeas, with a couple of people in between who are too afraid or too apathetic to side with either prince.  With Sadeas gone, there is a political power vacuum waiting to be filled, if Sadeas turns out not to have a male heir, or his heir is too far away to reach the Oathgate to Urithiru.  Other highprinces might be glad to see Sadeas gone because it makes a repeat of the Yenev situation, and one lucky person gets a rank upgrade.  I think everyone is overestimating what Ialai can do.  Navani became politically powerless when Gavilar died, so I foresee the same thing happening to Ialai.  She may have spies and money, but she can't do any direct actions unless someone admits their guilt in front of witnesses. :rolleyes:

 

IMO, Sadeas's death isn't just a character turning point for Adolin and his "start of darkness", but it's a turning point for the tone of the rest of the series.  Breaking with precedent and killing a highprince outside of battle or a formal duel is a sign that social rules and expectations of normality in Alethkar and Roshar are changing very very quickly.  If the Vengeance Pact war can end after years of fighting, and a bridgeman can become a Radiant, then maybe Adolin could get away, or at least not be super harshly punished for ganking a prince in the dark.  What he did sets a precedent, but precedent has been changing day by day, and I think people would be too busy freaking out about the end of the world to care about Adolin being brought to justice in an "eye for an eye" way.  The only people who would want it are the people who are closest involved, and the people closely affected, which is Adolin himself, Dalinar and probably Ialai. 

 

We are likely to only see it as a reason for Dalinar to question his own leadership role of authority vs. tyranny.  -_-  Maybe he gets to explore more of his struggle of inflexibility vs. change.  Because he needs some character development.  And SA3 is pretty much his book. 

 

 

 

Well yes I assume so. I personally do not think Shallan has considered Kaladin as a romantic interest, ever, but she may change her mind now his eyes are light.

 

As to the possibility of a lighteyed to like a darkeyed, then it may be akin to a white man loving a black woman back in the segregation days. I happened, but it was publicly shun upon. In Ken Follet, they had a white woman give a peck on the cheek of a black man, on a TV show, and it made a ruckus  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

 

In these circumstances, I would think the most people would think of inter-eye unions as disrespectful if not downright disgusting  :( Kaladin is different though: he has been brought up into thinking he would marry a lighteyed. He has less inhibitions.

 

When Shallan meets Adolin in the winebar, she stares at him the whole time and imagines making out with him. :lol:  I think she has more instant attraction for Adolin than Kaladin, and even if she thinks he's a tolerable person when he shares his backstory, it doesn't mean that she is interested in doing the things with him.  :ph34r:   If she doesn't have an ingrained stigma against relationships with darkeyes, like Adolin has.  Well, at least this is where the Veil x Kaladin crack ship comes in.  :ph34r: 

 

I also think Kaladin is too honourable to knowingly get into an "adventure" with Shallan.  Sure, he would do 2-3 kisses if she initiated, but after that he would feel too guilty about it to let her do anything more.  I think he is also aware of their eye-colour difference, even if he got over his lighteye hate.  Kaladin would be wondering about what he would bring to a relationship, like Adolin has with his bags of cash.

 

I noticed that the mixed-eye relationships in SA-canon are all lighteye males with darkeye females.  There was Sebarial and Palona, Graves and his wife, and that Veden highprince with the one-eye son.  Maybe it is like how it was in IRL Earth history, where it's more socially acceptable when it's a white man with his Madame Butterfly than it is the other way around.   I expect lighteyed fathers would be upset if their lighteyed daughter married a darkeye who would normally never get promoted past a junior officer because of his eye colour.  It would be a waste of an expensive education.

 

 

 

I certainly hope the second one is not true... I would HATE for Elhokar to turn out being Dalinar's son all along... Dalinar already has sons, he doesn't need another one and certainly not Elhokar  :o

 

Anyway, Navani married Gavilar while being very young: she may have come to regret this decision later on... Oh plot twist: Navani took a liking of Shallan... What if she advice her NOT to marry Adolin, to wait as she is too young to make this decision?

 

 

I don't think Elhokar is Dalinar's son.  Elhokar's eye colour is the same as Gavilar's, and I think as soon as Gavilar showed interest in Navani, or Navani in him, Dalinar would immediately back off.  He wouldn't do that to his own brother! :o  Navani wouldn't do that either, because Dalinar was still pretty scary and bloodthirsty.

 

If Navani told Shallan to reject Adolin, they would both be stomping on Adolin's heart. :ph34r:  I think at this point in their relationship, Adolin likes her more than any other girl he had previously courted.  If he did get dumped, he wouldn't want to consider marrying or courting anyone else, at least not for a long time.  And then he would become a true Christmas cake spinster just like Jasnah. -_-

 

And of course no one will even notice because they think Adolin will just get over it, because it's just emotions, and there are more important things to worry about.  Of course open communication would be good, between Shallan and Adolin and Dalinar and Adolin, but everyone is so self-focused that it won't happen because the drama pot needs to be stirred ... with the trauma stick!!!! :lol:

 

Everyone takes Adolin for granted.  People want him to become fire, but they never consider that he might not want to, because he's just a stick. :)  That whole scene was a deep allegory for the whole series, btw. 

 

 

 

:lol:  By fanfic standards, it is quite long already! Most fanfics never get completed.

You didn't like Malta? Oh. I adored her. Well, initially, I hated her, but she turned out being something else entirely so I was enthralled by her story line. Kyle was just vile... It is somewhat disheartening when villains are persistently used as villains without no other reasons the story needs one...

 

For instances, I am still up for Elhokar turning out being one... Everyone expects him to better himself up and become a Radiant  :huh:  :huh:  :huh: but I wish for something else entirely  -_-

 

I wonder how people would feel if I just dropped it before finishing it. :ph34r:  

It makes me mad when I get into a story and check the last update date and it was sometime in 2012. :lol:  Ah, all those delicious schadenfreude tears.  B) 

 

I liked Malta by the end.  When I first read her character, I hated her because she was pretty much a mini-Kyle.  But she got better by the end, thank the Almighty!!!  Kyle's character was just written to be the hate sink of the series.  He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  He is just so unambiguously unlikable that it HAD to be on purpose.  Urgh, his dialogue made me want to punch him.  It is rare that I hate characters as much as I hate Kyle.  :ph34r:  It is rare for series to have a hate sink like him.  Even Sadeas wasn't as bad.

 

I can easily see Elhokar becoming a Regal Farseer.  But the end of WoR showed that he had potential to be an okay guy, and there are hints that time he spent with the Lopen family could have made him less of a paranoid jerk.  So who knows - maybe he will get some decent development there to stop being the family load now that Renarin leveled up.

 

 

 

Alright. I'll admit I haven't to Zara in quite a while: there is no Zara in my local shopping mail. I only get to go there whenever I go shop with my mom in a bigger place. We only have H&M here and no leather there, unless I am blind... Gee, I was there two weeks ago.

Alright, I'll admit they are pretty cool. I totally need one pair  :ph34r: However, when I think men and leather pants, here is what pops to mind:

My leather pants are not as shiny and not as tight. :ph34r:  They're made from real leather so there's no plasticky look, and not like an '80s rockstar at all.  It's something like this, except in black. 

 

 
Selena-Gomez-T-by-Alexander-Wang-Classic

 

 

Your mental imagery of AU Adolin's wardrobe reminds me of Asian popstars, seriously.  :lol:   Especially the last one.

I would not call them preppy.  They are closer to smart-street.  Graphic t-shirts, big sneakers, and pants with the dropped crotch are very street style.

 

Smart-casual but practical autumn/winter.

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Korean popstars because I couldn't resist.  I wouldn't be surprised if Adolin's character was inspired by Brandon's time in Korea.

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This is what true preppy is.  It's Ivy League Academic, with lots of inspirations from rich people hobbies like yachting, golfing, and horse riding.  They mix equestrian style coats with golfing trews, with deck shoes.  AKA, everything from a Ralph Lauren photoshoot.

 

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There are cards higher than platinum, but they are pretty rare.  Like black cards, or those special edition cards that are pieces of steel or titanium with your numbers engraved on it.  They are so flashy that when you use them in a shop it pretty much screams "please kidnap and ransom me".  The day that his card is declined is the day Adolin's heart breaks.  While Kaladin just laughs at him and tells him it's his welcome to the real world.  Adolin likes going to the mall to buy and try on clothes.  Shallan likes watching him try on clothes. :ph34r:  Kaladin hates malls and the pop music being blasted from the speakers.  His jeans have frayed hems and his shoelaces have worn away, but he replaced them with cable ties, and people make fun of them, but he shrugs and says that they work and that's good enough. B)  The only nice clothes he owns were gifts, because he never buys anything nice for himself.  He gets socks as a birthday present because his have holes and he doesn't care.  His underwear probably has holes too. :o 

 

Shallan and Adolin are that annoying couple, at least to Kaladin.

They send each other text messages that just consist of a heart emoticon.

Sometimes followed by a message that says "p.s. ur cute", which is replied with "no ur cuter <3".  :wub:

Kaladin probably has a Nokia brickphone. :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

 

 

I agree Kaladin showing mercy to Szeth was far-fetched and not justified. From my point of view, Kaladin basically allowed a mass murderer and a threat to go unchecked in the world just so he could not be the one delivering the killing blow. If he was so keen on not killing him, then he should have captured him and deliver him into justice, letting the legal instances decide what to do with him. THIS would have been a nice ending, but it didn't work with Szeth earning Nightblood and going to do whatever it is he'll do, but I would have prefer the captive story arc. I have yet to see where Brandon is going with Szeth, but I personally do not like this character nor do I wish to see him become a major one. He works well as a conflicted antagonist: I don't need 30 POV of him in a book. I am worried about book 5... Hopefully, Szeth will never occupy a place as large as Kaladin within the main narrative and his will be restrained to flashbacks and occasional POV. I would be fine with this.

 

I felt the revised ending was Kaladin going wishy-washy on "I can kill to protect".  The flashbacks of WoK established Kaladin is a different person than his pacifist father, when he wanted to be a soldier over a surgeon, when he was shocked when his father took the spheres.  If Brandon had published the corrected version without us ever seeing the original hardcore Kaladin version, I would have accepted it, but the new ending feels kind of "off" to me. 

 

The Szeth hate comes from him being a doormat, which makes him a boring character.  If he had been taken prisoner, it would have made an even more boring story, because he wouldn't run away.  He would just sit quietly in his cell staring at the wall and wishing he was dead. :lol:   If you read it, you might feel it's a better ending that fits with Kaladin's newly discovered morals, but it would still duller than Kaladin's prison scene.  We can only hope that Szeth before he was Truthless was not such a doormat, even though it seems like Shin culture is full of ultra-polite doormats. 

 

In the Signings board, you can request someone ask a question for you if you can't be there.  Maybe you have to keep lurking there, you 'd eventually get it answered.

 

If/When Adolin does go on his journey of self-discovery, I don't think it will be as hard as some people think it is.  You think he is Dalinar's clockwork soldier, following orders because he's a teacher's pet, but there are hints of individuality that are mentioned now and then but go mostly ignored.  The uniform regulations that Dalinar has for all the Kholin army officers - Adolin in WoK thinks they're ridiculously strict, even if he doesn't complain about it because complaining is for babies. Because there are only 2 choices - summer uniform and winter uniform.  He gets his silver buttons and fancy boots, but he doesn't agree with the uniform codes, until he realises why they are important, on his own time.  He doesn't accept Dalinar's explanation of "An officer must be prepared at all times", even if he goes along with it, until he sees for himself how the officers from other warcamps are like. 

 

So he rebels against Dalinar in small ways, and that one big way at the end of WoR. :lol:  His main problem is that isn't his lack of self-confidence.  I think it's actually his lack of self-awareness.  When he separates the idea of his own identity, and his own values and morality, from Dalinar's, that is when he can grow as an individual.  Maybe he will get his chance when Dalinar is too busy overseeing Radiant things to bother with his non-Radiant son.  The same thing would really help Elhokar too.  Elhokar doesn't seem to have self-awareness unless he's really really drunk.  He is like the bad foil of Adolin, with probably the same overbearing father problems, but without Adolin's competence and social skills, he really has no redeeming features.

 

Maybe Adolin and Elhokar will help each other grow.  Elhokar's weird heretic sister became a Radiant, just like Adolin's disabled and sickly brother.  If Adolin loses his Shards, he can drink the things stronger than yellow wine.  :ph34r:  Who knows, maybe there is self-discovery at the bottom of a wine glass.

 

 

 

Syl hates all Shardbearers and it has transposed to Kaladin who reacts negatively to all of them. I suspect negative sentient towards those who choose to bear Shards will eventually become mainstreamed among the Radiants which is bond to cause friction. The knights aren't impervious to their sprens reaction and the truth will shake many out of their comfort zone. 

 

Do not forget they all heard the Blade scream... Can they really keep on openly rely on Shards, treat them as valuable weapon now they know/heard the truth? They may accept they still need them, but as the number of Radiants rapidly increases, normal Shardbearers will become rarer and despised or perhaps in a less stringent way, tolerated, but I see conflict arising there in the future.

 

I would say that Shards will still be useful, since the Shardplate is impervious to the lightning attacks from the Parshendi.  Even the Radiants don't have Plate yet, which isn't made from the screaming bodies of dead spren.   Why can't they rely on Shards?  Even if there is a tortured spren in each one, it's better to use them to save the world rather them wasting them and then losing to Odium.  Life before death, strength before weakness, etc.  Since they had no Heralds to prepare them for the Desolation, it's better to take what they can get, rather than let people die because you don't like another guy's magical sword.

 

And not all Radiants will be combat suited, like Shallan.  So even if the Radiant number increases - which is questionable, since some of the spren types only sent one volunteer into the physical realm to find a bond partner, they will still be outnumbered by trained Shardbearers, especially in Alethkar, which has something around 30 Shards.  There will be conflict, but there aren't enough Radiants, and Shards were made to fight Voidbringers. 

 

I bet if Radiants told the Shardbearers that their Shards were dead spren being tortured for eternity, they would think it's Radiant lies to make them abandon their Shards, so the Kholins could collect 'em all like Pokemon and take over Alethkar like everyone knows they want to. :ph34r:  Because these things are literally priceless, and the dahn rankings of a bunch of families depend on their owning one.  Alethi culture is too warlike and they value Shards too much to throw them away, when their Shardbearers outnumber Radiants by far.  The Kholin Radiants will just have to find a way to work with them, because the amount of Shards the family owns gives them power and influence.

 

 

 

Yeah well learning Powder Mage was mostly military has shrink down my expectations. A lot of people on the forum really liked it and recommend it to me, but maybe people aren't understanding my tastes properly. Or maybe I don't understand them either. Codex Alera turned out being very military and I got tired of it towards the end. Not a bad story, but not a memorable one and the last book is poor, IMHO. Character development is strongly limited and the main protagonist turns into a Gary Stu half-way through the story while his crew, after a promising start, turn into complete lackeys. It could have been done better by an author not focusing so much on the battles. It is what I like about Brandon's actions scenes, while they can be a tad over-done, he manages to make them interesting by focusing on one character as opposed to the entire army. For instances, I really like Adolin's fighting scenes in the end, truly my favorite. It beats Kaladin's any day. 
 
I figured I should probably pick real-life fiction, but I have prejudice... :ph34r:  Is it going to be all about cheating people and marital issues?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Or detective investigations because I don't enjoy those.
 

 

I do not think you would like Powder Mage either.  Unless you like the steampunk aesthetic.

It's just one of those military action books that get hyped a lot like the Emperor's Blades trilogy, or Broken Empire.  Some people like them, because they run off coolness and explosions, but they are not for everyone.   I have read them all, and I don't feel they are worthy of a re-read, sadly.  I don't mind military in fiction, but I prefer it as a sidestory or flavour for the setting rather than what the main plot is centred on.

 

The only real-life fiction I enjoy reading is historical fiction or period dramas.  They tend to be more character focused, and have some descriptive world-building to be historically accurate, but since it is based on IRL Earth, you don't have to think to hard to imagine what it's like.  And the older period romances that are at least 30 years old tend to have decent writing, which I can really appreciate.  I'm not a huge fan of the urban fantasy genre, especially the ones with female MC's, because a lot of the time they are just bad romance novels with a supernatural love interest. :rolleyes:

 

 

 

I got the brother line the first time around  -_- I like the kiss, but I really thought Adolin would walk on them  :ph34r: Even though you said it wouldn't be tragic, I keep expecting tragedy to happen. I thought something bad would happen to Adolin when he was posing as a servant....  :ph34r:

 

Hah, I'm glad you saw understood it!  I don't pick them all out in the notes because I want people to figure it out on their own. :ph34r:  I've been dropping hints the whole way through to foreshadow how Shallan and Kaladin are not-so-different.  Kaladin sees their similarities and likes Shallan for it, but to Shallan they are reasons why she can't see him as a romantic partner.  Because she doesn't like herself much.

 

Seriously, what bad things can actually happen? :ph34r: :ph34r: :ph34r:   Ninjas jumping out of the fireplace?

If Adolin walked in on Kaladin and Shallan making out, nothing too dramatic would come of it.  Adolin would just be really sad and leave.  He wouldn't even call Kaladin out for it.  I don't know if you noticed, but in the fic, Adolin was upset at Jakamav and Toral because they were hitting on Shallan in a frat-boy way.  Adolin would tell them to back off, but he wouldn't say it to Kaladin because he sees Kaladin as a worthy equal, and better than him in a lot of ways.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY EIGHT

 

 

 

 

Of course Shallan knew who it was.  She felt something inside her shrink away in shame; her conscience stung at her own willing and humiliating blindness.  She had overlooked something whose existence had been staring at her so obviously that other people had noticed immediately – and Adolin was only the most recent on the list of perceptive observers.  Shallan had always thought herself clever, but she was not – not in this matter, at least.

 

Kaladin’s hand caught her elbow.  She kept walking.

 

She enjoyed his company.  That was true.  She enjoyed his companionship, and his conversation.  He kept her on her toes, and not only because she had to be if she wanted to glare at him eye to eye.  He was intelligent, and insightful, and he had cared about her before she had thought there was anything in her worth caring about.  She had seen the first two points but had been reluctant to admit them until very recently, and the last one was something she had only just discovered. 

 

She ducked under the staircase leading upwards to the servants’ sleeping quarters.  It was empty; everyone was in the servants’ hall, and she could hear the clatter of tableware, and distant echoing music, and someone singing a folk tune.  She turned around. 

 

Kaladin faced her, casting a shadow; his broad shoulders blocked out the light from the hall lamps.  For all that she had thought his eyebrows unpleasant, they were expressive, even when the rest of his face was set into stoic grimness.  He carried himself assertively, and had around him an aura of confidence and surety; he had his own appeal that was much different from Adolin’s pleasant openness.  No, it wasn’t exactly appealing, at least not her, she thought.  The quality that other ladies found appealing in him was the latent potential for being … dangerous.  It was strength withheld, command curtailed, passion leashed.  All of it was held within one man, who could not quite successfully represent himself to be the image of a mild-mannered country doctor.

 

“Doctor Kaladin.”

 

“Miss Davar.”

 

Shallan took a slow breath.  “You call me Miss Davar,” she said, picking out her words with care.  “And I at first presumed it to be cheek, but we grew acquaintanced, and I began to think it was not just rudeness or disrespect.  This whole time, and every time you call me that, you were seeking familiarity.”

 

“It is as you say.”  His voice was soft and thoughtful.  “What of it?”

 

“You are – fond – of me.”

 

“Yes.  More, perhaps.  And you?”

 

“I am fonder of myself than I was yesterday.”

 

“I am glad to hear that, but you know that is not what I meant.”  One eyebrow rose upwards.

 

Shallan pursed her lips.  She did not know what to say to this question, just as she did not know what to say when Adolin had said those words to her for the first time.  But at least she was spared of them now, or she would have stood frozen on the spot as her mind ran in panicked circles, shrieking in horror and confusion. 

 

“I do not know.”  She paused, and bit her lip, thinking of what else to do or say.  “Close your eyes.”

 

Kaladin didn’t close his eyes.  He just stared at her with one brow impudently raised.  Shallan huffed, and then she placed one hand very lightly on his shoulder; she got to her toes and leaned forward.  Then, abandoning prudence and good judgment, her hand on his shoulder slid into his hair and angled his head downwards.  Shallan placed one soft kiss on his lips.  It was two seconds long – she’d counted – and as long as it took to hold a curtsey; she then stepped back. 

 

It didn’t feel like anything other than lip on lip.  She didn’t tingle, and she didn’t feel out of breath, and her heart didn’t skip any beats. The cagéd doves within her didn’t flutter about and coo, or give any indication at all that they noticed anything interesting outside their cage.  They were silent; she was silent, Kaladin was silent, and the silence stretched on and on.  He looked at her, and there was something in his eyes that seemed distressingly familiar to her, but she did not know its name, because she did not want to know its name.

 

“Shallan,” he breathed, and he took one step closer, then another step, until the toes of his scuffed uniform boots kissed the toes of her calf-hide slippers.

 

One scarred hand found her waist, and it was just like when he had danced the Continental waltz with her three times earlier that afternoon; it was as gentle as he had been every morning as he changed her bandages.  The hand slid around to the small of her back, and pulled her close to him.  Then with startling suddenness, the arm around her tightened, and it pulled her up until her feet left the ground and there was nothing but empty air beneath her toes.

 

Kaladin pressed her against the wall in the small alcove beneath the stairs, his hair tickled her cheeks, and his mouth sought hers with desperate hunger.  Shallan squeaked in surprise as his arms held her firmly around the waist; her hands instinctively reached for something – anything – as she was lifted up and off balance; they tangled into his black hair, and their lips met once again. 
 

He was passionate, and almost aggressive in his embrace.  His lips angled against hers with the intensity of long-suppressed yearning; his chest pressed against hers, just as her back pressed against the wall.  His tongue slid across her lower lip in heated supplication.  Shallan opened her eyes.  She could see the feverish extent of his desire in the lamplight; it glinted in his dark eyes under their dark brows.  Those eyes – something blazed inside them, fierce and restless and hungry – they wanted something, and it was something Shallan did not have in her to give.  

 

Those eyes blinked.  Sense returned.  Shallan was lowered back to her feet.

 

She felt the rasp of his stubbling whiskers against her jaw, and his hand cupped her chin.

 

“Shallan,” he whispered, and he placed one slow and tender kiss on her cheek; she could feel his warm breath as a sigh left him, releasing all of the regret and bitterness of his disappointment into the world.  “Don’t cry,” he said, and his thumb stroked against her cheek and wiped away a tear and she wondered where it had come from, because she wasn’t crying, she couldn’t be!

 

“I felt – nothing,” Shallan said.  Her hands fell limply to her sides, and she sagged against the wall.  “I am sorry.  It was never meant to be.”

 

“It never could have been.”  His voice was gentle, and controlled; she could discern no anger, or blame, or residual disappointment.  But then something caught in his throat, for he made a queer coughing sound.  It was almost like a laugh.  “Hah,” he said, “love for a noble lady is nothing but a foolish hope–”

 

Shallan knew he was echoing something she had said earlier that day.  “Hush, that is self-pity.”

 

Amusement twisted a corner of his lips.  “You caught me there.”

 

Shallan sank to the floor, and pulled her knees up to her chin.  After a moment, Kaladin joined her with a rustle of his coat.  She leaned against him, shoulder to shoulder, in the shadow of the staircase.  She felt sad and drained, even though it hadn’t been her that had borne the blow of rejection.  No, it was because Kaladin had borne it, and he had suffered, and he was still suffering, even if he gave no indication of how he felt beneath the discipline of his outwards appearance.  And she was the one who had dealt it, for she had made this caring man, this true friend of hers, have to find his peace again when he thought he had already found it years ago.  It was a different peace for a different sort of brokenness, but the journey was always the same painful struggle.

 

“You called me utterly unsuitable once,” she said.  She gazed into the lamplight and the yellow brightness filled her eyes and burned out her night-vision until she could not see his face, or even his body adjacent to hers.  “You were right.  And I didn’t even know it.  I didn’t know many things and I am only starting to know them now.  For instance – Adolin.  He thinks I am perfect and beautiful.  You think of me as flawed and broken.”

 

“You are all of these things.  And more,” came his reply.

 

Shallan shut her eyes.  The afterimage of the lamp’s flame hovered blurred and violet in her mind.  “No.  I am done with brokenness.  I will have nothing to do with it.  Not anymore.”

 

“I see.”

 

“You see,” she continued, scraping together her thoughts into a coherent whole.  “You and I are too much alike.  I think that is why I could not like you upon our first introduction.  You were competition to me; I felt threatened – I was afraid that you were everything like me, but better.”

 

“I suppose the feeling was mutual.”

 

“We think the same way – or similar.  When I am with Adolin, I learn something more from him every day, and he from me.  With you, I see a reflection of myself.  Wiser perhaps, and steps ahead, but still recognisable.  I do not want that, and I cannot conceive myself wanting it.”  She hesitated, and ploughed on.  “Not in that way – you know which.  Please, shall we remain mutual acquaintances?  Friends, if you will have it?”

 

“Friends,” said Kaladin carefully.  “I should like that very much.  For as long as you are here.”

 

“I am staying.” 

 

She felt his arm twitch ever so slightly when she said those three words.  They were three words that sounded like simple words, but they had in them a singular depth of meaning, and an implication of many words unsaid and words that could never ever be said because they had been said first by another.  They were three words that closed the door firmly and permanently on whatever hopes Kaladin had left in him.

 

“I suppose a congratulations would be in order,” he said flatly.

 

“I want a gift.”

 

“Noble ladies really are all the same.”

 

“Not a material gift.  Just your time.  And just this once–”

 

“No.  No – not that.”

 

“You said to ask again in a week.  It has been a week now, and I am asking.”

 

“Why?”  He sounded resigned. 

 

“I just wanted to see if it was different … Just once.  I shall never ask it of you again.   Please.”   She did not resort to pleading.  She knew it would not have worked.

 

“For you – just this once.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“There is one condition.”

 

“What is it?”

 

“Renarin will be there.”

 

“I accept,” she said immediately, and she began to suspect something that she had not caught onto earlier.  She wondered how many things had passed her by unawares.  Probably many things, so many she couldn’t begin to guess.

 

“To-morrow, then, in the stillroom.”

 

Shallan was silent, and then some minutes passed, and Kaladin got quietly to his feet and left her sitting under the stairs.  When he was gone, she sniffed, and wiped her eyes, and wiped them again, because the tears did not seem like they were able to stop, and she could not do anything to stop them.

 

The road untaken, the path unchosen, the words unspoken.

 

If the twists and turns in her life had gone another way, perhaps she would have found her peace on her own – without needing the guidance of another.  Or even if her life had been re-directed from its origin of despair, six years ago, and she had never had to do the things she had done, things that filled up her aching nothingness with dark and tarry corruption.   Then there would exist a chance – a good chance – she would have found Kaladin’s intimate companionship an appealing prospect, and returned his affections, if things had been different. 

 

But Kaladin would not have felt affection for her if she had been nothing but beautiful perfection inside and out.

 

And Adolin would not have revealed his own private self if he had only seen nothing but a façade of beautiful perfection in her.

 

Shallan clasped her hands around her folded legs, and the high collar of her underdress grew damp.  It had felt like a betrayal of a friend, to do that – to cause such pain and sorrow, no matter how subtly hidden – to Kaladin.  If it had been her, it would have felt like someone had reached beneath her ribs and wrung the necks of her sleeping doves.  To think that she would have thought nothing of doing it to Adolin at one time. 

 

Adolin had held himself apart and away from true intimacy in emotion for five years – or possibly even more, because some part of him – a part he was still blindly grappling in darkness to find – was afraid of a rejection, a true and merciless confirmation of his own unworthiness.  It would have been a mark on his spirit, and one so deep and unfamiliar and unconsciously feared as to have torn it straight through.

 

She and Kaladin had felt the pain of such scars; her first had come from her own dear and demented mother, but now it had long since scabbed up and the pain was now only memory.  They were used to bearing their marks.  Kaladin would find his peace in time.  Adolin, however, needed her help, and she would give it willingly, because she – she –

 

The stairs above creaked.

 

Shallan rose, and brushed the dust off her skirts.  She looked upwards, but she only saw a shadow on the stairs above her, wearing the black of either a servant’s livery, or a formal dining suit.  She could see no face, only a pair of folded arms that rested casually on the wooden banister of the landing. 

 

Mademoiselle,” said the shadow.  It was a male voice, calm and reserved in tone, with the precise enunciation of a native speaker to this Continental tongue.

 

Shallan scrubbed her sleeve over her face.  “Go away.  I want nothing to do with you.”

 

“Citizen Kabsal sends his best regards.”

 

“I want nothing to do with him,” she growled.

 

“You have proven yourself worthy.”  He was restrained in his speech, but it could not be said to be completely emotionless; if he had emotion, she doubted that they were benevolently disposed towards her.  His accent in the Anglethi tongue was not Kholinar standard, but neither was it anything she could recall having heard before.

 

“I do not need your validation.”

 

“But you share our purpose, as your presence here indicates.”  He paused, as if considering something important.  Then he continued.  “Egalité is one of the virtues we hold dear.”

 

Shallan said nothing.  She heard approaching footsteps at the end of the hallway, from the direction of the servants’ hall.

 

“Come find us.  We shall be waiting.” 

 

The stairs above creaked.

 

A small oblong of white pasteboard fluttered down from above and fell to the ground.  It landed in front of Shallan’s feet, and showed a printed design of three diamonds on its face.  She scooped it up, and turned it around – it had the dimensions and appearance of a common visiting card.  The back was blank. 

 

“Shallan!” called Adolin’s voice from the end of the hallway.  “There you are!”

 

She tucked the card into her sleeve, next to her betting slip.  She cleared her throat.  “Adolin.”

 

He stepped forward, and hesitated.  “Shallan – are you crying?”

 

No.  Yes.  I was.  But not anymore,” she said, and with a deep sigh, wrapped her arms around him, and laid her head against his chest.  Her bonnet slipped off and dropped to the floor.  “It’s not melancholy, or not exactly.  It is six years’ worth of stifled things that I hid away and now they are showing themselves all at once.  But I am better.  I think I am.  I want to be better.”

 

“For to-night, we are new people – different people,” whispered Adolin.  “I don’t want to think about being better.  I don’t want to think about other people thinking I should be better.” 

 

“That comes to-morrow.”  Shallan laughed, pulled herself way, and bent down to pick up her bonnet.  She tugged it over her hair.  “When the clock strikes midnight.”

 

“Until then, we can be knight and princess, and we can slay bog monsters.”  He held out his hand.  “Or we can have one dance together.”

 

They danced the quadrille, which was more intimate and less stylised than the formal cotillion danced in the ballroom, and Shallan was glad to find that Adolin was well-familiar with the steps; he did not tread on her toes even once.  Shallan was also glad that there was no courtly minuet – she had always hated it when Madame Tyn had made her learn it with Jushu.  There were even some lively folk dances that had Adolin blushing when more than just ankles were revealed with some particularly athletic high kicks.

 

Dancing in the servants’ hall to the music of musicians who had never rehearsed together before:  these must be completely new experiences to Adolin, and to Shallan, experiences in which she had not partaken for a number of years.  She had, in the past, listened to musicians and watched roguish dance performances in the gambling tents at Middlefest, but these were things of which young ladies should never admit.

 

Shallan also marvelled at the servants’ lack of interest in observing the rules of proper social etiquette.  No-one commented on her dancing with Adolin the whole night, or that both of them had turned away every other enquiry for the single-pair dances.  Perhaps others did disapprove that she, as a master-servant, was higher in precedence than Adolin the groundsman, but that was no obstruction to their enjoying their one Feast night.  Above stairs, accepting a dance with the same person three times in a single evening would have been an expression of serious interest: it would have indicated that one would be sure to pay a social call within the week.  And an unmarried and unengaged young lady who declined an offer to dance would have been expected to decline every other gentleman for the rest of the evening; to turn away a single gentleman would have been blatant and cutting rudeness.

 

When she danced the reel, pink-cheeked in her exertion, she allowed herself to forget all the terrible things that happened in the day; for those few minutes she was a new woman.  She imagined herself as a version of the old Shallan who had found her divergent path and her peace within, without having to leave her highland home.  It felt like the days before Mother had changed and Father had gone away and returned as his own new – and terrible – man.  The days when the family were honoured clansmen to The McValam, and they all dressed in clean new tartans with bright shiny badges and brooches and buckles for the annual clan moot.  It reminded her of the days when her brothers could laugh without needing her help. 

 

It felt like happiness.

 

It was a strange and unfamiliar word.  It was a strange and unfamiliar sensation.

 

When the clock struck midnight, and reality descended with its leaden mundanity, the feeling didn’t go away.  It was almost as if, in the emptiness within her, the small sparks of forgiveness and peace had shuffled aside to make room for that new and novel feeling.  It was a gentle invitation, an encouragement to stay, but only if it wanted to.

 

How very strange indeed.

 

The personal servants in black began drifting away to prepare the rooms of their charges for bed; it would be at least another hour for the Feast to start winding down, but bed-warmers needed to be warmed, and pots of restorative teas needed brewing in order to forestall the results of excess.  She and Adolin headed for the baize door, to a few inquisitive stares of other servants.  Shallan blushed, and strode away quickly.  Grounds staff had their own quarters outside, by the stables, and should normally have exited the servants’ hall by the trades entrance – they were not usually to be seen in the House proper.  Unless, of course, they had an invitation and a motive.

 

Adolin walked her back to her room, and she showed him her repertoire of collected accents.  It was not as extensive, or varied, or as well-practiced as Madame Tyn’s, but Shallan still considered it respectable.  She could pass as a member of any social class by voice alone; it was only her appearance that needed adjustment – most Anglethi women were taller, more generously proportioned, and were darker of hair and complexion.   Well, she mused, she could always pass as a foreigner if the situation demanded.

 

“The first time I met Doctor Kaladin, at the Black Thorn Inn in Courtlea,” said Shallan, “I used my Scottish accent, and I mocked his hair.  He never liked me, right from the start – but I suppose I deserved it.”

 

“The first time I met Kal.” Adolin scratched his head.  “It was around two years ago, in a bawdy-house.  I heard screaming from inside, and I rushed in, and it turned out one of the girls was having a – you know.  I panicked and sent for a physician – I didn’t know they had midwives for these things – and Kal came.”

 

Shallan laughed as she tried to imagine Adolin, of all people, in a house of ill-repute.  Her imagination failed her; it fell disappointingly short.  “Did they call you the hero of the bawdy-house afterwards?”

 

Adolin flushed; he ducked his head.  “I barracked with an infantry platoon for two months as a training exercise, and that is exactly what they called me.”

 

“I’m surprised they didn’t offer you free service for your trouble.”

 

“They did.”  Adolin’s face reddened further.  It was so wonderfully charming.

 

Shallan burst out into uproarious laughter; she covered her mouth for propriety’s sake, but it made her laughs sound like snorts, and soon Adolin was laughing with her, and they were laughing together at the thought of that bizarre situation that almost boggled the mind with its sheer ridiculousness.  It felt good to laugh.  It was something that she had never done in Kaladin’s presence.

 

Shallan hiccupped, and giggled.  They had reached the door of her bedchamber.  “Will you bid me good-night?” she asked.  Then she threw respectability to the winds.  “Or might you stay?”

 

Adolin hesitated.  “I shouldn’t stay.  Not to-night, at least.  But I can bid you good-night.” 

 

He took up her right hand with his left, and pressed a soft kiss to the back of it. 

 

Shallan almost rolled her eyes.  “It is past midnight, but we are still in costume, and there are no chaperons.  If that is how you say good-night, then I ought to show you how I say it.”

 

“How do you say it?”

 

“Like this.”

 

She placed her hands on Adolin’s shoulders and propelled him to the wall; his back hit the wall with a thump.  He stared down at her, eyes wide – there was more eager curiosity than shock in them.  Shallan smiled, then her hand swung upwards, and she tossed his cap to the floor.  His striped yellow-and-black hair stuck up in hedgehogs’ spikes. 

 

Shallan rose to her toes and pressed her lips to his, first very lightly, and then with more force.  She could not say aloud the words he wanted to hear, for they would have burned her lips – but she could show him how her lips burned, and perhaps he could feel what she felt in their act of silent communication.  He would understand that when he laid himself open beyond flesh and muscle and bone, and given her something of his that could not be given back, it had not gone lost and forgotten; it was kept, and repaid, in what little way she thought she was capable of showing.

 

Adolin’s arms circled her waist, and he held her close, and their noses brushed, and she felt the flutter of his lashes.  She kissed him again, and laid a hand on his cheek; in a moment of inspiration, she swept her tongue over his lips.  He balked in surprise, but he was pressed against the wall, and Shallan was pressed against him, and there was nowhere for him to turn. 

 

Kaladin might not be an agreeable person, and she could not consider him appealing in that way, but he could not be faulted for his competence.  It was irksome, no doubt, but here was an occasion where his proficiency could be found unexpectedly useful.

 

Adolin recovered rather quickly, and kissed her back, and he was smiling when he kissed her – she could feel his teeth grazing her lips.  She gave him one last enthusiastic peck before pulling away; she felt exultant and breathless all at once, and by the rise and fall of his chest, she could see that he felt the same way.

 

“Well,” said Adolin weakly, leaning heavily on the wall, “I do not think I have been bidden good-night quite like that before.”

 

“Isn’t it a convenient thing that a good-night can be had at least once per day, then?”

 

“A good-night like that could make any night a good one.”

 

“It has been many years since anyone has wished me a good-night.” 

 

“Yes,” said Adolin.  His eyes closed, and he was silent for a moment.  “My mother was the only one.  When I was a child, she used to say ‘Adilein, ab ins Bett!’ every evening before blowing out the lamps.”

 

‘Adilein’?”  Shallan had not been taught to fluency all of the Continental languages, of which there were many, but she had the sneaking suspicion that Adolin’s mother’s farewell was not quite a literal good-night.

 

“‘Adilein’, or ‘Adi’ was what she called me when Father wasn’t around.  Which he wasn’t, most of the time.”

 

“I didn’t know you could speak other languages,” said Shallan.

 

“I don’t – I can’t – I have not heard it spoken for years,” Adolin admitted.  “Renarin speaks it better, but he was always fonder of the tutoring room than I.”

 

“I do not have fluency in your mother’s tongue, but my governess lived in the Varshava embassy in her childhood.  I can show you a different flavour of good-night, if you’d like.”

 

“I would like it.”

 

Shallan closed her eyes, and remembered the Kujawiak shepherdess act she and Madame Tyn had played out one rainy day – the governess had even been so thorough as to ensure that Shallan knew how to rope a ewe.  There were words she wanted to say; they lingered and she felt their warmth – but it was like staring at the sun.  She would be blinded and burned if she looked at it directly, but if she glanced quickly out of the corner of her eye, or wore smoked glass lenses that filtered the light, the brilliance would not hurt.  She could not say those words – not right now – but she could still say them, in her own way.

 

Jeżeli mnie kochasz, zatem moje serce należy do ciebie,” she whispered into his ear.  The words warmed her tongue and filled her chest, but they did not burn her, or choke her in her deception.   She did not think they were a deception.

 

“Yesheli minyeh–” repeated Adolin, and then stopped, embarrassed.  “What does it mean?”

 

“You must speak it with more of a whistle – and it is a greeting for the closest of companions.”  That was true. 

 

“I am flattered, then.”  He grinned at her, and she wondered what he would say, or how he would look if – when – she could say the real words to him and truly mean it.

 

“You would not hesitate to say the same thing to me.”  Shallan brushed a kiss on his cheek, and then said very softly, “Wealth is not the only language.  We should find them – and learn them together.  And then you might show me how a good-night is meant to be said.”

 

Shallan picked up Adolin’s fallen cap, and pressed it into his hands.  She opened the door of her bedchamber, entered, and closed the door; she then threw herself on the bed, disregarding the streaks of dirt on the bed-cover, left from Adolin’s boots.  She kicked off her own slippers, and unbuttoned her dress; the two white pieces of paper tucked into her sleeve flitted to the floor, and she lay staring at the canopy in her bodice and underdress.  Her sketchbook and pen box were still on the bed next to her, and her silver hairbrush on the side table.  The other pillow had an indentation in the down stuffing from where Adolin’s head had rested.

 

She missed him already.

 

Adolin was different from Kaladin, as he was different from her.  She could not miss herself: her true self was something she had done her best to forget and ignore for so many long years, and even now she had found her peace, she did not perceive it as something worthy of an eager embrace; it was not a flaw to her character, but neither could it be considered a credit.  Kaladin might see her scars as a medal of bravery in the face of a difficult circumstance, but Shallan could not.  Not yet.  For now, they were just scars.

 

Adolin was new, but he was no short-lived bloom of novelty.  He was the unfamiliar that was slowly becoming familiar, and that was something she looked forward to, not something she would grow tired of.  Kaladin had asked if she had had anything in common with him, and Shallan, in her pragmatism, did not consider that a vital foundation for any intimate connection.  Few people did, rich or poor alike.  No: she and Adolin had an understanding, and they understood one another, and they would find things to learn and teach and share in their own time.

 

Shallan had not thought herself a lonely person – not for years, at least.  She had once joked with Jasnah that her sarcastic humour was the result of her tiring of tiresome company; it was the most suitable solution to the avoidance of boredom.  She liked to be the undisputed winner in every conversation, for she detested dull conversation; she had often conversed with herself in her own mind when there was no-one else who could spare her the time or attention.  She had not known she was lonely – because she had not known what it was like to have friends.

 

And now she had these friends she had found without seeking, and one of them was – more than a friend.  He sought her companionship, and she did not shy away from the prospect of his being her … life companion.  She did not feel the urge to win or compete with Adolin as she did with Kaladin; he delighted in her humour, and she had discovered that that was more appealing than being established as an uncontested wit.  Conversation as a contest had not won her friends: instead, she had caused Kaladin to dislike her from their first introduction.

 

There was a knock on the door, a brief and tentative tap that was followed by another that was even more cautiously tentative, if that were possible. 

 

Shallan’s eyes opened and she rose, and opened the door.

 

Adolin stood outside, hand raised for another knock.  He had no coat or waistcoat, only a blue dressing robe thrown over his white shirt and trousers.  His boots were half unlaced; the strings trailed on the ground.

 

“Adolin, what are you doing–”

 

“A good-night isn’t a good night unless there is a good-morning.  And I wanted to say good-morning.”

 

“But it’s not morning.”

 

“I wanted to find out how a good-morning is meant to be said.”

 

Shallan stepped aside, and waved him in.  Adolin glanced both ways down the hall before entering.  He stood, shuffling his feet, nervous fingers twisting at the waist-tie of his open dressing robe.  He had no neckcloth, and his shirt’s top two buttons were undone, as if he had been interrupted in the midst of changing his clothes.  Shallan’s own dress and bonnet and slippers lay on the floor in disarray.

 

Shallan sat on the bed, and after a moment, Adolin cleared away the sketchbook and pen box; he sat down adjacent.  Shallan kicked her legs against the wooden frame of the bed, and cleared her throat.

 

“That night in the forest – when I woke up, you had already gone,” she said.

 

“I – I did not think it was proper.  And I did not want to present myself unfavourably.”  He looked down at his hands, and dropped the strings of his dressing robe.  “The Codes state that an officer must always be prepared at all times – he mustn’t tarry, and he must always maintain the standards of appearance.”  He was silent for a moment, and glanced over at her, and a shy smile tugged at his lips.  “I didn’t want you to take exception at my state.  So I went to shave.”

 

“I do not mind it – it tickles.”  Shallan giggled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.  A thought occurred, and she would have been timid in its enquiry in the past, but not now.  “What colour do your whiskers grow in?”

 

“Oh – the same colour as my hair,” replied Adolin, taken somewhat aback at her question.  He could not know that she had pondered the answer to that very question – and others – the first time she had seen him, when she had been presented to him at the courtyard pavilion.  She could not have – could never have – guessed that she might find him alone with her in her room, on her bed, only days later.

 

“Will you leave before dawn, then?”

 

“I ought to.  The Feast would be ended – and duty calls.  The Codes would not allow me here, even now.”  He barked out a laugh, but it was hollow in its resentment.

 

Shallan took his hand.  “If an assassin burst in through the wall or the window, I should think two pairs of hands would be better than one at catching him.”  She slipped her fingers through his and gave his hand a fierce squeeze; she met his eyes.  “I think your own father disregards the Codes when it suits him.”

 

Adolin’s eyes widened.   “What do you mean?  How?”

 

“Your father and the Queen Dowager have an … understanding.  I did not recognise it, until I recognised what true affection was truly like.  If he chooses to obey what Codes he finds reasonable, I cannot see why you should not do the same.  It is your own journey, and your destination,” she said, and then added, “if he grants you your choice of wife, it would not make sense for him to forbid you to see her.”

 

“My ... wife,” said Adolin reluctantly.  They seemed unfamiliar words to describe an unfamiliar concept.  “You make much sense – all of it is true.”

 

“I am well-known for my honesty,” Shallan said, smiling.  “Shall I blow out the lamps?”

 

She did so, and Adolin helped by collecting and folding her abandoned clothing into a neat pile on top of her travelling trunk; he even went to close the canopy curtains.  When Shallan untucked the bed-cover and the blankets, Adolin made to slide in on the opposite side.

 

“Wait,” she called.

 

He started, and dropped the corner of the blanket.  “Do – do you want me to – should I leave?”

 

“No,” Shallan laughed.  “No!  Your shoes are still are on, and ghillie boots have hobnails on the soles.  I do not think I could explain away the bloodstains on the bed if you kicked in your sleep and gashed my leg.”  She stifled a chuckle, and continued.  “Actually, I think I could explain it away, but it would not do either of us any favours.”

 

Adolin blushed an exquisitely endearing red at that, and swiftly bent to unlace and throw off his shoes.  He got into the bed in his shirt and trousers; his socks were left on.  Shallan slipped in beneath the covers, and reached for his hand under the blanket. 

 

“Good-night,” she whispered.

 

“Good-night, Shallan,” he answered, and his toes in their woollen socks brushed against her bare feet.

 

They agreed that whoever woke up first before dawn would wake the other to build a pillow barrier between the two sides of the bed, for propriety’s sake.  It did not do to go lax on the standards, of course.   Codes or not, at the end of every day – or the beginning of the next – gentle breeding won out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

On Kaladin and Shallan - Just because two people are honest and less guarded around each other, doesn't mean they are mutually romantically compatible.  Maybe they could be, if they worked at it, but Shallan has more chemistry and instant attraction with Adolin.
"Love for a noble lady" - Kaladin is referencing Shallan's line "Noble ladies know that love and happy marriages are just foolish hopes".
"Utterly unsuitable" - Kaladin being always right must feel like a curse sometimes.
"The bawdy-house" - reference to Kaladin and Adolin and the courtesan in WoK.
"The Kujawiak shepherdess" - mentioned a few chapters ago, because where the heck is Bavland.  In IRL Earth, it is a region called Kuyavia.  Shallan's words translate to "If you love me, my heart is yours".  They are the sweetest words you can say to your cudownego chłopaka, and they are guaranteed to make his heart go doki-doki.
Adolin is so pure and innocent when it comes to certain things that it's super cute.  Military training never prepared him for any of this!

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 28

 

 

 

 

 

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Brandon doesn't kill characters off just because someone has to die, thankfully.  They only die when the plot is done with them, which is usually the last book.  So Adolin will probably last until then.  If Adolin did die in SA3, it would probably give Dalinar a jumpstart in his own character development, like Gavilar's death did to him, but it would be a very very heavy-handed and unsatisfying way to do it.

 

Adolin is a gold mine or golden goose B) to an author interested in developing his characters into three-dimensional people that have problems and overcome their struggles.  But to an author who would rather develop the world and the over-arching lore of the universe, Adolin is just another plot thread that needs to be resolved.  The more time and pages spent on developing and exploring Adolin's personal issues is less time spent on the main plot narrative of the story and series, since Brandon has a page limit of something like 1100 per book.  Like a sitcom with multiple threads going on at the same time, there is an A-plot and a B-plot, and Adolin as a supporting character probably falls under C-plot level.

 

So the more he explores Adolin, the more need to have a satisfying resolution to it.  Sometimes it's easier and simpler just not to mention him too much - and that probably explains why he won't get as many PoV chapters in future books as you want.  SA has an ensemble cast, and I don't think Brandon intended that people get fixated on any one character, apart from the main PoV/flashback character of the book. 

 

Sometimes I think your Adolin bias :ph34r: will make the series unenjoyable for you.  If you show up just for the Adolin show, you will leave disappointed because, as you have noticed, so far he hasn't been shown to have a clear role for furthering the overarching plot.  He swims in a small pond and his struggles are realistic and internal. That is what makes his character appealing to you, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a tiny blip to the major struggles and themes of the series, which is pretty much philosophy of morality and ethics and dynamics of wielding authority and power.  Sad but true.  If you want to stop worrying about where the series is headed, trust in the Branderbot and enjoy the Cosmere for what it is, rather than what you want it to be.  Otherwise, why read for entertainment if it will just make you upset?

 

Book series with thriller-style plots, or ones focused on world-building and magical systems often do not have good characterisation.  And that is true the other way around, and this is why "deep" and "thought provoking" literary fiction bestsellers are usually set on modern day Earth, so they don't have to waste pages on describing the setting because you know what IRL is like already.  I have read many popcorn thrillers and romances and the characters are just so shallow they are hilarious to read, as long as you don't take it seriously.  When a MC female is seriously described as "gorgeously curvy, with eyes like limpid aqua pools" it makes me laugh so hard.  The best part is when the romance novel male love interest is introduced and he is literally described as "ridiculously ripped" and "yummy".  :lol: :lol:   I think it has been ages since I have been personally invested in a fictional series.

 

I get so upset when I read negative critics on Brandon, especially on Reddit, where some individuals keep on stating he has to prove he can kill characters... as if a story's worth was proportional to the number of significant deaths  :rolleyes: I would hate for Brandon to start offing his characters just to prove he can. We all know he can kill his characters, but luckily he isn't the kind of author who'll do simply because it is a trend. Characters will die if their arcs calls for it, not because it is convenient and certainly not to make a statement.

 

Did you know Adolin died in the first draft of WoK? Adolin dying is an arc Brandon has explored in relation to Dalinar's growth, but he has chosen against it, in the end. It tells me he figured out the best story to be told was the one where Adolin survived, just as he decided the story where Kaladin keeps the Shards wasn't interesting. This being said, simply killing off Adolin, at this point in time, would be terribly frustrating and unsatisfying for the readers: the majority of them expect to read an arc revolving around the aftermath of Sadeas's death and I suspect this same majority expects this arc would revolve around Adolin more than Dalinar.

 

What is more important to Brandon as an author? World-building or character-building? This is hard one to answer and while I do think the balance is tipping more heavily towards wold-building, I also do think character coherence and development is important to Brandon as well. If it weren't, then we wouldn't have gotten the prison scenes in such a detailed way, we wouldn't have gotten the flashbacks and some arcs would have been shorten. So yes, I do think Brandon do try to develop 3D characters as opposed to flat ones, but he alternatively places high importance onto magic systems and world exploration. I personally do not read both as mutually exclusive... You can built an enthralling world with well explored characters. I had hope SA would turn out this way as it seemed to do more on the character side as most fantasy novels previously did.

 

Adolin is a golden mine. An author can't just write world description... when they do, it turns out into the Children of Earth...  :ph34r: Interesting at first due to the novelty, but incredibly boring on the long run. Why? Because it failed to exploit its characters better and it puts a too strong emphasis on the stone age area. Yes, it is neat, but too much of it cripples the story. Therefore, an author needs character to make the story interesting as without them, the world is just an empty shell. In this regards, Adolin is in a priced position right now because he is basically a blank canvas. Brandon can use him for so many different plot arcs in a world where he has contrived his other main characters to specific ones. Moreover, he is a likable popular character readers like to read. You just don't leave on the side walk such a character, it would be the equivalent of Jordan deciding against developing Mat.

 

Brandon once explained to me how SA is a deconstruct of a traditional fantasy story where each book focus on a single character. He basically says it was more or less relevant as he planned it this way for structural purposes, but it did not mean other characters wouldn't get development. He often said not being a flashback characters did not mean someone was not important. Did you know Adolin is planned to have more POV time, overall, than Szeth who is a main/flashback character? Szeth's arc may have an A-importance, but it will be resolved in much less page time than Adolin's arc whom may be at a lower-level of importance, but I suspect Brandon ranks them based on relevance to world-building/climaxes. In other words, Szeth dealing with the Shin is probably very important narrative-wise, but it does not mean Adolin's arc won't be important as well even if untied to any major climaxes. For instances, Adolin reviving his Blade may not be important to the main story arc, but you can bet, if it happens, it will become a fan's favorite and it will give precious insight on the relation between all realms which would interest world-builders immensely. 

 

I thus disagree Adolin can't have a role in this story simply for the fact he isn't a main character and is thus forced to evolve in a lesser page count than others... which brings me to Dalinar. Dalinar was one of the main characters of WoR and yet he had less page time than Adolin or it seems as if he did. He may have had a presence in more parts, but his overall place within the WoR narrative was lesser than Adolin. What did Dalinar do all through WoR besides elaborating a plan, deciding to meet the Parshendis on the plains and, at the very end, bond the Stormfather? Not much. In comparison, Adolin did much more even if his actions didn't serve to steer the plot in a precise direction, they were an integral part of the story. In other words, Adolin decision making didn't have any impact on the ending climaxes: they would have gone with or without him, but he still had a role to play and this role was highly entertaining while giving us insight on his character. By the time I finished reading WoR, Adolin had become not only my favorite character, but my favorite arc in the story. I thought his character development was the most interesting mostly because I loved where it was going.

 

This being said, Brandon didn't need to develop Adolin in WoR. Adolin didn't need to become this "plot line which need to be tied down". His arc didn't need to add itself to the other arcs needing resolution. After WoK, Adolin was not in a position which absolutely required additional character development. Brandon could have used him as he did, remove most of his POV, showed us the duels through observers and not capitalized on the possibility to make him grow... It goes even farther than this as Shallan was not initially engaged to him, so he didn't even need to play out this particular arc and yet he did. My entire point is why would Brandon, an author who has admitted on several occasions being scared of losing control of his story is he allowed his cast to grow too much, even bother to give Adolin a story arc is it was not for the fact it simply made for the best tale? Brandon didn't need to spend any page time on Adolin in WoR, but he did and because he did readers expect more from him in book 3.Why? Because his arc ended up on a cliffhanger and it stands at a cross-road. He didn't have to write it this way and yet he did. The simple fact he made this conscious decision why outlaying WoR makes me think Adolin is not insignificant in the overall story arc.

 

Do authors expect their readers to focus on side characters as opposed to main ones? It is obvious to me Brandon expects the majority of his readers to prefer Kaladin, but the fact remains many readers prefer other characters. Barely present and certainly not action driver characters such as Hoid are often listed among favorites. Very minor character with little page time such as Rysn, Lift and Lopen also are popular. Renarin who, despite being a Radiant, remains a minor side character (and will remain so for the time being) also has its supporters. My point is for every book written, you are going to have readers preferring any character but the main one: it is so common it even is a trope. Side characters often end up, to certain readers, more interesting than main ones because, without the pressure to carry on the action, they have more liberty to grow and to explore other facets of life which makes them more wild, more realistic and more endearing. There is only so much "I am greater than Thou" and "I must do what I must" arcs a reader can suffer in main protagonists through one book: side characters such as Adolin thus arrive as a breath of fresh air. 

 

Brandon, I think, is very well aware of his readers preferences.

 

As for my Adolin bias I think it is important to understand I have read WoR two years ago and ever since I have spent my free time discussing, dissecting and analyzing various characters. A LOT of the analysis I push through are the result of those golden days where discussions were more frequent and A LOT of the things I get currently unnerved with are the fruit of having spend too much time looking into the book to find them  :ph34r: In other words, I suffer from having had too much time in between finishing reading WoR and waiting for book 3 to ponder on it  :ph34r: As a result, my expectations have ramp up and yes, it is entirely possible I will be disappointed with book 3 or not. I can't say, I haven't read it yet. Brandon said I should like Adolin in there, so there's at least that.

 

What I need is to get into other stories -_- , but after reading WoR, I suffered a very long dry reading period where everything I tried was just boring when compared to WoR  :ph34r:

 

I also think you shouldn't dismiss Adolin from having potential high moral issues than the internal ones he is shown having... "Is it right to do something wrong for the right reasons" is bond to be his major moral issue and I don't see it as lesser than those other characters are currently facing. 

 

I also think it is false to say all main characters are main characters because their dilemma is external and bearing larger consequences... Kaladin's story arc is very internal and deals with him learning how to deal with Tien's death, his depression and his prejudice. The same could be said about Shallan... and Renarin. Dalinar is the one character who's issues bear larger consequences and will highly dip into ethic, but other characters aren't any different than Adolin: they just struggle with other stuff and they had the luxury  :ph34r: of having been broken in the past.

 

Adolin isn't a main character because when Brandon planned the series, he planned to kill him early on and he didn't think on using him. He changed his mind and figured out the character worked well, which he likely didn't think would happen initially, hence he would have picked him. Now he is there, he's got to do something with him. I usually try not to get too attached to character in stories as I tend to not prefer the major ones, but Adolin seemed like a main protagonist in the making so I got duped  :o Had I known, I would have not cultivate my interest in this character as much as I did. It was a mistake. Only time will tell if it will ruin the series for me or not.

 

Well modern day stories with a strong focus on characters without context tend to be boring as well  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r: Best example I can come up with is a local TV series. Takes place into a prison for women. At first, it was really good because the context around the series was innovative: it kept the interest high, but the writers failed to keep on developing the prison environment and overly focused on individual characters arcs... It got boring  :ph34r:

 

I think what I am looking for is a balance: balance between enthralling world and detailed characters with a touch of drama.

 

 

Proofread thoroughly!  And get a beta reader to check afterwards.  Sometimes it helps to read what you've written out loud, so you will hear what bits sound awkward.   And honestly, it doesn't matter how you end the story as long as you write it well.  You could everyone off if you wanted.  :P

I don't think I could get Adolin's words right, either.  But if you are writing in an AU and not canon-verse, you can take more liberties with his dialogue, as long as you get the tone right.  He pretty much says what he thinks and doesn't use a lot of big words.  Also in SA-canon, no one says the word "Okay" except Wit, for some reason.  I checked after reading a fanfic where the characters used it a lot.   :o  So you have to be careful about mentioning Earth things or using Earth phrases that wouldn't make sense on Roshar.

 

I tried to have my husband read it, but he got bored  :ph34r: He isn't much of a reader, so no fault on my part  -_- It is the "writing well" part I am worried about (I can't write something as beautiful or elaborated as you, my prose is very rudimentary) and I fear my love of the trauma stick  :ph34r: would make it too heavy. I basically have an idea of how it is supposed to go, I know the interlude which goes with it (yeah, there is an interlude  :ph34r: but it is a good one, I think  :ph34r: maybe it is cheesy  :ph34r:). I even has flashbacks.... and no they aren't all Adolin's. In fact, he isn't the only POV character in there.

 

I also do not work fast: I can't get out as many words as you in such a short lapse of time  :o

 

It is canon, not AU and I didn't use the word Okay, but I put modern day references in it, just for fun. 

 

I could send it to you, if you want to read it, but be warned, it probably is average at best.

 

 

Adolin's Shardplate training says he needs to take a break to eat and drink (and poop?  :ph34r:) every 10-15 minutes in battle.  He already knows it's better to be ashamed than to be dead.  It's possible he would pass out from not eating or sleeping for 2 days, but only if it was a really dangerous situation with nothing to eat and nowhere to safely sleep.  But if he's just chilling in Urithiru with everyone else, I think he would be too smart to wear himself out like that.  He doesn't feel the Thrill anymore and, and chicken is too important a ritual to him.

 

I think Stormlight is mostly a psychological addiction rather than a physical one.  People who take it feel stronger, more aware, more secure in their ability to handle whatever gets thrown at them.  They rely on it, and it makes them feel safe and strong, and they enjoy the feeling when life has been so sucky and scary to them - it's like a security blanket that makes them invincible as long as they have their infused spheres.  Maybe addiction is a strong word to describe it, but it's like being someone who wears glasses to see, and having them taken away.  Yeah, you can live perfectly well without them, but it feels really really bad.

 

Kaladin and Shallan could have fixed their problems without a spren, if they had someone they could trust completely and see as an equal. But there was no one for them they could talk to that fit their requirements, because Kaladin was hero-worshipped by Bridge Four and Moash turned out to be a donuthole, and all of Shallan's potential role model lady guides (Jasnah and Tyn) died before she get to the point of trust.  That is why Adolin might be able to fix his own problems without breaking enough to get a spren, or even needing a spren at all.  He just has to trust Kaladin and Shallan and maybe Renarin enough, and they have to trust him.  :)  But we shall see...

 

He didn't say he needed to take a break, just that for every 5 minutes of fighting, there was as many doing nothing. At the Tower, he pushed himself to his limits: Kaladin describing his state as being "practically unconscious". I also do not think Adolin is merely chilling, most of the time, he is working. For instances, at the end of WoR, he's the one who got trashed around, who's injured and yet he is the one who is over-seeing everything, making sure Shallan is resting, but himself? Who is making sure he is resting? Considering he could barely stand on his own feet at the end of the fight, he should have been the one wrap on in those blankets resting which leads me to believe Adolin likely it the kind of person who's just ignored all the signs his body is sending about needing sleep/rest.

 

Psychological addiction, interesting thought. I don't recall Shallan needing it so much... Kaladin, certainly though.

 

Adolin is famous for his inability to form meaningful relationships. I got someone to ask to Brandon if this inability was important to his character development. The answer was yes, it was. I would thus not say the one character who has a chronic incapacity to develop deep relationship with people would alternatively be the one to succeed into securing himself good listeners in his time of need. Adolin is crap at making friends and opening up. I thus don't see him magically managing it, after spending a lifetime failing, just to avoid breaking down. The meltdown is inevitable, according to me, the question is not if, but when and how.

 

 

Kaladin is so angry on the outside, that it's jarring for him to be incorruptible pure pureness on the inside.  That is why I think it's more fitting for his character that even if he chooses to do the right thing, it's still a struggle for him to decide what is right.  He should be able to do possibly questionable things "as long as it is right", and he should feel conflicted about it, or he just becomes a boring MC hero who is good at everything.  The way I write AU Kaladin is how I would like to read a Kaladin who didn't have a spren to tell him what is right.

 

That is why AU Kaladin, who thinks using ether is bad and addicting and scars the soul, made an exception for Shallan.  It's a romance story, not a tragedy!  There isn't a monster hidden behind every corner!  And I can't just throw in bad things when I'm resolving loose ends.  :ph34r:  You can relax instead of imagining a bad thing is just about to happen.  It's supposed to be light entertainment, or at least that is my intention when I wrote it.  Because I hate contrived bad things coming out nowhere just to mess with the MC's.

 

Everything is so tragic.  :o   It makes me sad how much you like the trauma stick.   :(  You would have to make Dalinar and Renarin extra broken for them to be incapable of functioning normally without Adolin's help, since they are on the quirky level of dysfunctional in SA-canon.  

 

To make a more realistic story, since Shallan would be arrested for stealing things if she got caught, I think it would be better if she tried to make Adolin her sugar daddy.  :ph34r:   If you steal stuff and don't get arrested, you never get invited back.  If you make a guy fall in love with you and ask him to buy you things, you can keep getting gifts to sell.  It's the difference between the golden eggs and golden goose.  :lol:  If you wrote it, I would read it.  Especially if you fit in a love triangle because you can't have stories with Shallan, Kaladin and Adolin without a love triangle.  It's like a fry up with no bacon.   :wub:

 

I certainly think Kaladin is on his path to become a boring MC who is good at everything... He may be angry on the outside, but he is shining of perfection on the inside. It makes me wish for Brandon to steer his story into another direction. I personally like when Kaladin is more morally conflicted.

 

You think it is too tragic? Oh gee, I have left out so much stuff out of the basic outlay of this potential fic  :o If I ever write i, I don't want to spill all of the beans. Things go from bad to worst to terrible for Adolin until he finally learns to cut himself some slack, but he is a Kholin, lessons only come the hard way -_- Big trauma stick all through it  :o  :ph34r:

 

The idea being the fic is Dalinar breaks down after his brother's death, in a similar way as in canon-SA, but he does not have the Way of Kings to help him pull himself out of it, nor does he have a clear culprit to blame. Gavilar doesn't die because of a political coup, I am toying with him just being road kill  :ph34r: or accidental victim in a shoot out or a robbery. So, in this AU, without his "Bible", Dalinar sinks further down into alcoholism. I have also an idea to push Dalinar further into realism.... I don't know if it'll work thought. Renarin is slightly more autistic so he needs more supervision. Aunt Navani lives in another town as refuses to involve herself with his brother-in-law affairs due to their past history, so Adolin has been basically left alone, trying to keep the pieces of his family together and whole. 

 

Every morning, he gets up early to pick up the empty bottles before Renarin gets to see them and he makes strong coffee to help his father wake-up and get to work. He organizes the servants tasks and makes sure everyone knows what to do: the household survives because he's there to give it a direction, but he's only a kid. He has been doing it since he was 16 and now, at 20 (he's younger in this fic because I don't like the age gap Brandon put in there :ph34r: Adolin is about 20, Kaladin and Shallan are about 18/19 and Renarin is 17), it is taking a serious toll on him.

 

Oh love Shallan being after her sugar daddy  :wub: The idea with her character is she needs money, so she tries to get it in a modern day way: by going out with the popular rich kid hoping to exploit him, but the rich kid has feelings and being the closed doors of his huge mansion, things aren't so pristine clean.

 

Kaladin is meant to be the stable character. His father is a minister who dedicated his life towards helping the poor and the left out which is why Kaladin is more sympathetic towards those and highly unsympathetic towards the upper class which he sees as abusers. I still do not know if Tien dies or not, it depends if I want to add drama to Kaladin's arc or not, but his goal, much like in SA, is to progressively see things aren't always as they seem.

 

I haven't decided if there would be a love triangle or not... I dunno if I can write it convincingly. I would need to first convince the readers Adolin is nothing more than an empty superficial shell only to progressively show the little hints things aren't as they seem until you get the reveal.

 

 

Apart from the Kholin army, I think the Sadeas army, outside the bridgemen, would be glad he's dead too.  Because AFAIK, soldiers who annoyed their officers would get sent to the bridge crews as punishment, which is why there were non-slaves in the crews getting twice the slaves' pay.

 

And in the political pragmatism side, getting rid of Sadeas breaks up the factions that have formed in the warcamps.  Most people are either pro-Dalinar, or pro-Sadeas, with a couple of people in between who are too afraid or too apathetic to side with either prince.  With Sadeas gone, there is a political power vacuum waiting to be filled, if Sadeas turns out not to have a male heir, or his heir is too far away to reach the Oathgate to Urithiru.  Other highprinces might be glad to see Sadeas gone because it makes a repeat of the Yenev situation, and one lucky person gets a rank upgrade.  I think everyone is overestimating what Ialai can do.  Navani became politically powerless when Gavilar died, so I foresee the same thing happening to Ialai.  She may have spies and money, but she can't do any direct actions unless someone admits their guilt in front of witnesses.  :rolleyes:

 

IMO, Sadeas's death isn't just a character turning point for Adolin and his "start of darkness", but it's a turning point for the tone of the rest of the series.  Breaking with precedent and killing a highprince outside of battle or a formal duel is a sign that social rules and expectations of normality in Alethkar and Roshar are changing very very quickly.  If the Vengeance Pact war can end after years of fighting, and a bridgeman can become a Radiant, then maybe Adolin could get away, or at least not be super harshly punished for ganking a prince in the dark.  What he did sets a precedent, but precedent has been changing day by day, and I think people would be too busy freaking out about the end of the world to care about Adolin being brought to justice in an "eye for an eye" way.  The only people who would want it are the people who are closest involved, and the people closely affected, which is Adolin himself, Dalinar and probably Ialai. 

 

We are likely to only see it as a reason for Dalinar to question his own leadership role of authority vs. tyranny.   -_-  Maybe he gets to explore more of his struggle of inflexibility vs. change.  Because he needs some character development.  And SA3 is pretty much his book. 

 

Except Sadeas was not the only Highprince using bridgemen... People are strange, it could be soldiers simply thought if you were dumb enough to get cut, you deserve to be send to the bridges. Also, Sadeas's officers seemed rather loyal to him, we must not forget Alethi are a backstabbing society to begin with, so I am unsure it is fair to state everyone hates Sadeas and are secretly going to be glad he is dead. As far as Highprinces go, Sadeas is pretty much average and people will naturally support their Highprince, just look how supportive Kaladin was initially. It took Sadeas's betrayal before he got to see him for the despicable human being he was and even as he rode away, Kaladin was willing to believe he had reasons to abandon Dalinar's army. We are talking Kaladin here... now let's imagine what the average soldier would think.

 

Sadeas's death creates a power vacuum this is certain, but we should not overlook the fact it may allowed for a greater foe to arise: a known enemy is always preferable to an unknown one. I also do not think Adolin broke any social convention or his actions indicate such thing: it was the isolated actions of an emotionally unstable young man, not a political coup. Alethi have always been backstabbing, but they always kept their actions in the dark while making sure it would not be traced to themselves. It will take much more than a kid with spunky hair they all hate plunging a knife into the eye of a Highprince before they even begin to start thinking their ways may change. And change for what? Open assassination of those who disagrees with you? Nobody is ever going to stand for that.

 

Before dying, Sadeas explained to us quite well how politics are being conducted in Alethkar: people will follow whoever they perceive as the strongest man on the top of the mountain. Sadeas thought he could be it, but Dalinar threw him a curve ball by defeating the Voidbringers and finding Urithiru. By doing so, he has positioned himself, yet again, as the strongest man, hence the Highprinces appear to be willing to follow him. Let's not be fooled though, it won't last. The weariness and the distrust surrounding the name "Radiant" is bond to create waves of dissatisfaction. They are going to try to find ways to get the upper hand again, they will try to undermine Dalinar, again: nobody wants him to become too powerful to unset. 

 

Adolin is the perfect target. Sadeas has long since identified him as the weakest link of the household. The Kholin's most prized child may be their greatest asset, he also is the easiest to take out. Everyone hates Adolin, everyone wants to get revenge on him: he isn't getting away with it without consequences. They will ask for punishment. The question more be, what kind of punishment would satisfy everyone.

 

As for Dalinar, we are talking of the man who jungle his options while watching his son being beaten down in the 4 on 1 duel. He purposefully chose to sit back down, thinking his son's life was not worth the risk of him jumping into the arena. This scene always made me ill-at-ease... and I just find out why today. As I was watching the cartoons with my daughter, a scene happened which reminded me of Dalinar and Adolin. In the show, one of the character has been possessed by an evil ghost trying to recuperate an gemstone in order to, huh I missed this part, but let's say rule over the world. The little ninjas were soon faced with a situation where they either had to let their friend die or give the gemstone to the evil guy: they chose their friend. Yes, it was a gamble, but it is one I tend to agree with: I hate when characters chose the greater end over the life of loved ones. You don't know how things will pan out, so why allow someone you love die for fear of consequences? Unfortunately, Dalinar is a man who places his interest above his loved ones.... which is also why I do think it won't go down well for Adolin.

 

Dalinar certainly need character development, but he isn't a character I think needs tons of it. He is pretty stable. His only issues are linked to learning how to lead, how to guide as opposed to tyranny. It is a great arc, but not one I wish to spend 1000 pages on. I was find with less Dalinar in WoR, I didn't think it impacted his character negatively nor did I think I needed more of him going into the next book. I want his flashbacks, this is certain, but in the main narrative? I feel Dalinar is a character who's past is more interesting than his present  :ph34r: Seriously, I'd take a 1000 pages of JUST Dalinar's flashbacks.

 

 

When Shallan meets Adolin in the winebar, she stares at him the whole time and imagines making out with him.  :lol:  I think she has more instant attraction for Adolin than Kaladin, and even if she thinks he's a tolerable person when he shares his backstory, it doesn't mean that she is interested in doing the things with him.   :ph34r:   If she doesn't have an ingrained stigma against relationships with darkeyes, like Adolin has.  Well, at least this is where the Veil x Kaladin crack ship comes in.   :ph34r:

 

I also think Kaladin is too honourable to knowingly get into an "adventure" with Shallan.  Sure, he would do 2-3 kisses if she initiated, but after that he would feel too guilty about it to let her do anything more.  I think he is also aware of their eye-colour difference, even if he got over his lighteye hate.  Kaladin would be wondering about what he would bring to a relationship, like Adolin has with his bags of cash.

 

I noticed that the mixed-eye relationships in SA-canon are all lighteye males with darkeye females.  There was Sebarial and Palona, Graves and his wife, and that Veden highprince with the one-eye son.  Maybe it is like how it was in IRL Earth history, where it's more socially acceptable when it's a white man with his Madame Butterfly than it is the other way around.   I expect lighteyed fathers would be upset if their lighteyed daughter married a darkeye who would normally never get promoted past a junior officer because of his eye colour.  It would be a waste of an expensive education.

 

Shallan may have been poor by lighteyed standard, she still remains a sheltered and pampered girl. It is obvious to me she never considered the possibility of ever marrying a darkeyed. She pretty much state it in WoR: she expected her father to choose her husband, so she never had much thought about it.

 

Kaladin is honorable, but he is a man... I mean. He's got to have a heart and feelings. I wouldn't put it pass him to succumb to a love affair.

 

Good point on lighteyed versus darkeyes relationships... Fathers would probably see it as a waste unless the darkeyed has proven to be able to raise higher than prospective lighteyed which is why Lirin wanted Kaladin to train in Karbranth. His status would have been high enough to be attractive to lesser lighteyes. 

 

 

I don't think Elhokar is Dalinar's son.  Elhokar's eye colour is the same as Gavilar's, and I think as soon as Gavilar showed interest in Navani, or Navani in him, Dalinar would immediately back off.  He wouldn't do that to his own brother!  :o  Navani wouldn't do that either, because Dalinar was still pretty scary and bloodthirsty.

 

If Navani told Shallan to reject Adolin, they would both be stomping on Adolin's heart.  :ph34r:  I think at this point in their relationship, Adolin likes her more than any other girl he had previously courted.  If he did get dumped, he wouldn't want to consider marrying or courting anyone else, at least not for a long time.  And then he would become a true Christmas cake spinster just like Jasnah.  -_-

 

And of course no one will even notice because they think Adolin will just get over it, because it's just emotions, and there are more important things to worry about.  Of course open communication would be good, between Shallan and Adolin and Dalinar and Adolin, but everyone is so self-focused that it won't happen because the drama pot needs to be stirred ... with the trauma stick!!!!  :lol:

 

Everyone takes Adolin for granted.  People want him to become fire, but they never consider that he might not want to, because he's just a stick.  :)  That whole scene was a deep allegory for the whole series, btw. 

 

Oh I agree it is highly implausible, but based on the crack-pots theory I read on the forum, it seems to be the least of them. It also seemed the kind of "twists" fantasy authors are typically fond off: "Oh look X is the estranged son of Y."  :ph34r:

 

As for Navani, well there is this scene in SA3 when she glanced at half naked Dalinar so huh, I wouldn't pass something actually happening there. Besides, young Dalinar likely wasn't as honorable as old Dalinar. 

 

I also think Adolin suffering the rejecting of a girl he actually likes would hurt him in a deep way. I do see him totally backing down on the dating process, not wanting to get involve with any girl again. It would totally destroy what little self-confidence in his worth he has. Alternative idea, he asks his father to just tell him who to marry and be gone with it.

 

In a general manner, people surrounding Adolin aren't the kind to actually take an active interest in others feelings. We saw Dalinar completely ignore the signs his son isn't dealing well with his rapidly changing environment: he notices, up to a certain extend, but he doesn't act on them. He does take him for granted, thinking Adolin will always remain steady, stalwart and robust all the way through, never being affected by those events, except he is. Human beings have feelings and sometimes these are hard to process.

 

Dalinar missed the ball with Adolin: he failed to acknowledge how unsettled he was. Had he, he could have talk to him, help him cope.

 

Yeah, everyone wants Adolin to become fire, everyone thinks becoming fire is Adolin's destiny, but Adolin doesn't want to b fire. Good one. 

 

I wonder how people would feel if I just dropped it before finishing it.  :ph34r:

It makes me mad when I get into a story and check the last update date and it was sometime in 2012.  :lol:  Ah, all those delicious schadenfreude tears.   B)

 

I liked Malta by the end.  When I first read her character, I hated her because she was pretty much a mini-Kyle.  But she got better by the end, thank the Almighty!!!  Kyle's character was just written to be the hate sink of the series.  He has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  He is just so unambiguously unlikable that it HAD to be on purpose.  Urgh, his dialogue made me want to punch him.  It is rare that I hate characters as much as I hate Kyle.   :ph34r:  It is rare for series to have a hate sink like him.  Even Sadeas wasn't as bad.

 

I can easily see Elhokar becoming a Regal Farseer.  But the end of WoR showed that he had potential to be an okay guy, and there are hints that time he spent with the Lopen family could have made him less of a paranoid jerk.  So who knows - maybe he will get some decent development there to stop being the family load now that Renarin leveled up.

 

Mad? Angry? This being said, people are used to reading unfinished fic... Truth to be told, most of them gets drop halfway through it.

 

I think we were meant to hate Kyle... Hobb doesn't do gray characters very well... She tends to make them super evil or super pathetic  :ph34r: Malta was a very good one I thought, a good balance.

 

I personally was not convinced by Elhokar's drunken confession. He may want to better himself, but he is to egocentric. His only concern is how the world perceives him: he basically asks Kaladin to teach him how to be revere by others... He has yet to lift one finger to act on the behalf of someone else than himself. It may be trope-y but I think Elhokar's too strong desire to be great, to be renown will be his downfall. He will try to access to power without going onto the required journey and he will fall  -_-

 

My trauma stick inclined personality has thought of a potential story arc where Dalinar is forced to choose in between Elhokar or Adolin. It can go both ways, either he sacrifices his son, wrongly, because he can't see wrong in Elhokar and he tends to go too hard on Adolin. In anyway, it creates family tension which eventually gets resolved, but not because ma trauma gun starts to smoke  :ph34r:

 

 

 

My leather pants are not as shiny and not as tight.  :ph34r:  They're made from real leather so there's no plasticky look, and not like an '80s rockstar at all.  It's something like this, except in black. 

 
 

Your mental imagery of AU Adolin's wardrobe reminds me of Asian popstars, seriously.   :lol:   Especially the last one.

I would not call them preppy.  They are closer to smart-street.  Graphic t-shirts, big sneakers, and pants with the dropped crotch are very street style.

 

Smart-casual but practical autumn/winter.

 

 

Korean popstars because I couldn't resist.  I wouldn't be surprised if Adolin's character was inspired by Brandon's time in Korea.

 

 

 

This is what true preppy is.  It's Ivy League Academic, with lots of inspirations from rich people hobbies like yachting, golfing, and horse riding.  They mix equestrian style coats with golfing trews, with deck shoes.  AKA, everything from a Ralph Lauren photoshoot.

 

Oh those are cute as well. As for the tight part, I love leggings  :ph34r: I am the Queen Ambassador of leggings  :ph34r: I wear leggings everyday  :ph34r: Once you discovered leggings, there is no going back  :ph34r: They come in all sizes, all colors, all styles  :ph34r:

 

Ah honestly, I simply googles "trendy young men style" and I copied the pictures I thought looked nice  :ph34r: Adolin is more trendy, I think, than preppy. Ivy league preppy is what Dalinar would want or insist Adolin wears, but it isn't what the cool kids wear and Adolin is... a cool kid  B) or trying to be one  :ph34r: That last picture would basically be what passes as a uniform when you are a modern day kid like Adolin.

 

I am not sure about he Korean pop-stars though... looks too much like a uniform and Adolin hates those.

 

So there are two Adolins.. Cool Adolin when outside the house and very preppy one whenever he is with the upper class people, but honestly, Adolin hates those.

 

 

 

There are cards higher than platinum, but they are pretty rare.  Like black cards, or those special edition cards that are pieces of steel or titanium with your numbers engraved on it.  They are so flashy that when you use them in a shop it pretty much screams "please kidnap and ransom me".  The day that his card is declined is the day Adolin's heart breaks.  While Kaladin just laughs at him and tells him it's his welcome to the real world.  Adolin likes going to the mall to buy and try on clothes.  Shallan likes watching him try on clothes.  :ph34r:  Kaladin hates malls and the pop music being blasted from the speakers.  His jeans have frayed hems and his shoelaces have worn away, but he replaced them with cable ties, and people make fun of them, but he shrugs and says that they work and that's good enough.  B)  The only nice clothes he owns were gifts, because he never buys anything nice for himself.  He gets socks as a birthday present because his have holes and he doesn't care.  His underwear probably has holes too.  :o

 

Shallan and Adolin are that annoying couple, at least to Kaladin.

They send each other text messages that just consist of a heart emoticon.

Sometimes followed by a message that says "p.s. ur cute", which is replied with "no ur cuter <3".   :wub:

Kaladin probably has a Nokia brickphone.  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

Ah well I never heard of those  :ph34r: Of course, Adolin would have one of those  :ph34r: The day Dalinar cuts Adolin off oh gee look who brandishing the trauma stick now!!!!  :o

 

Kaladin is a terrible dresser and only puts clothes on as he can't go to school naked  :ph34r: He doesn't bother with fashion and he doesn't care for a dime what people think of him: he is just bursting of self-confidence. You don't mess with Kaladin.

 

Kaladin probably carries quarters to use the payphone  :ph34r:

 

 

I felt the revised ending was Kaladin going wishy-washy on "I can kill to protect".  The flashbacks of WoK established Kaladin is a different person than his pacifist father, when he wanted to be a soldier over a surgeon, when he was shocked when his father took the spheres.  If Brandon had published the corrected version without us ever seeing the original hardcore Kaladin version, I would have accepted it, but the new ending feels kind of "off" to me. 

 

The Szeth hate comes from him being a doormat, which makes him a boring character.  If he had been taken prisoner, it would have made an even more boring story, because he wouldn't run away.  He would just sit quietly in his cell staring at the wall and wishing he was dead.  :lol:   If you read it, you might feel it's a better ending that fits with Kaladin's newly discovered morals, but it would still duller than Kaladin's prison scene.  We can only hope that Szeth before he was Truthless was not such a doormat, even though it seems like Shin culture is full of ultra-polite doormats. 

 

In the Signings board, you can request someone ask a question for you if you can't be there.  Maybe you have to keep lurking there, you 'd eventually get it answered.

 

If/When Adolin does go on his journey of self-discovery, I don't think it will be as hard as some people think it is.  You think he is Dalinar's clockwork soldier, following orders because he's a teacher's pet, but there are hints of individuality that are mentioned now and then but go mostly ignored.  The uniform regulations that Dalinar has for all the Kholin army officers - Adolin in WoK thinks they're ridiculously strict, even if he doesn't complain about it because complaining is for babies. Because there are only 2 choices - summer uniform and winter uniform.  He gets his silver buttons and fancy boots, but he doesn't agree with the uniform codes, until he realises why they are important, on his own time.  He doesn't accept Dalinar's explanation of "An officer must be prepared at all times", even if he goes along with it, until he sees for himself how the officers from other warcamps are like. 

 

So he rebels against Dalinar in small ways, and that one big way at the end of WoR.  :lol:  His main problem is that isn't his lack of self-confidence.  I think it's actually his lack of self-awareness.  When he separates the idea of his own identity, and his own values and morality, from Dalinar's, that is when he can grow as an individual.  Maybe he will get his chance when Dalinar is too busy overseeing Radiant things to bother with his non-Radiant son.  The same thing would really help Elhokar too.  Elhokar doesn't seem to have self-awareness unless he's really really drunk.  He is like the bad foil of Adolin, with probably the same overbearing father problems, but without Adolin's competence and social skills, he really has no redeeming features.

 

Maybe Adolin and Elhokar will help each other grow.  Elhokar's weird heretic sister became a Radiant, just like Adolin's disabled and sickly brother.  If Adolin loses his Shards, he can drink the things stronger than yellow wine.   :ph34r:  Who knows, maybe there is self-discovery at the bottom of a wine glass.

 
Kaladin is an idealist, but he isn't a pacifist. He can't stand by and watch injustice without screaming his head out and taking direct actions. He can't just cowered down and keep on doing his work... He just can't. He always, somehow, get involve while Lirin always tried to not get involve, except when it came to Kaladin's education. It was important to Lirin for Kaladin to raise in rank, so he was willing to step on his principles for it.
 
I have asked people to ask questions for me in the past. I got a few answered, most notably pertaining Adolin and his relationships, Adolin and his father and Adolin and his role into future books.
 
Adolin has individuality, the problem is he is too insecure to affirm himself outside the strict upbringing he received. He will complain about orders he disagrees with as he can't, for the life of him, simply endorse an idea just because, he needs to see it for himself, but pestering his father is about as far as he'll go. He won't take any drastic actions, he won't openly rebel and, deep down, he is happy to be given orders. It removes him from the pressure of making his own and risking failure.
 
I do think he is lacking self-confidence as well as self-awareness. He doubts before his goes into the dueling ring, he is afraid he won't be "up to it": this is a lack of self-confidence. Self-awareness comes into play when, as you say, he has a hard time partitioning his father's thoughts from his own and he can't figure out when he actually stands into the higher scheme of things. Ultimately, it caused him to overflow and kill Sadeas as the conflict in between himself and his father's honor got pressed too hard.
 
The problem with Adolin is not he needs Dalinar to move out of his life: it is the fact he is afraid he would do so. It is rather different than Elhokar who needs Dalinar to just go away so he can start to take himself into his own hands. Adolin just needs the comforting presence of his father: losing will not be a happy moment, but a panicking one where he has no idea what to do. Back in WoK, when Dalinar makes him Highprince and states he was going back to Kholinar, Adolin is ridden with anxiety. It can't be happening!
 
What does Adolin need? He needs to have a good heart felt talk with his father, but to lose everything on one day? Gee this would be harsh for him.... not liberating, but hard. 
 
I am not keen on seeing Elhokar and Adolin turn into buddies: Adolin seems to not think much of Elhokar and we have no idea what Elhokar thinks of Adolin. They don't seem to share much of a bond.
 

I would say that Shards will still be useful, since the Shardplate is impervious to the lightning attacks from the Parshendi.  Even the Radiants don't have Plate yet, which isn't made from the screaming bodies of dead spren.   Why can't they rely on Shards?  Even if there is a tortured spren in each one, it's better to use them to save the world rather them wasting them and then losing to Odium.  Life before death, strength before weakness, etc.  Since they had no Heralds to prepare them for the Desolation, it's better to take what they can get, rather than let people die because you don't like another guy's magical sword.

 

And not all Radiants will be combat suited, like Shallan.  So even if the Radiant number increases - which is questionable, since some of the spren types only sent one volunteer into the physical realm to find a bond partner, they will still be outnumbered by trained Shardbearers, especially in Alethkar, which has something around 30 Shards.  There will be conflict, but there aren't enough Radiants, and Shards were made to fight Voidbringers. 

 

I bet if Radiants told the Shardbearers that their Shards were dead spren being tortured for eternity, they would think it's Radiant lies to make them abandon their Shards, so the Kholins could collect 'em all like Pokemon and take over Alethkar like everyone knows they want to.  :ph34r:  Because these things are literally priceless, and the dahn rankings of a bunch of families depend on their owning one.  Alethi culture is too warlike and they value Shards too much to throw them away, when their Shardbearers outnumber Radiants by far.  The Kholin Radiants will just have to find a way to work with them, because the amount of Shards the family owns gives them power and influence.

 

The Radiants do not have Plate, yet. I suspect it will come shortly. They are likely to rely on Shards, in the neat term, but in the long term, Shards will end up being badly though upon. There are only 30 Shardbearers in Alethkar, but there used to be thousands of Radiants. Now the sprens are coming back, it won't be long before the number of Radiants far exceeds the number of Shardbearers. When this happens, Shardbearers will become obsolete, especially considering the fact they carry the body of dead tortured sprens.

 

Brandon did state the number of Radiants will ramp up starting into next book.

 

Adolin would believe it... and others will come to reason, eventually. I personally see potential conflict here.

 

I do not think you would like Powder Mage either.  Unless you like the steampunk aesthetic.

It's just one of those military action books that get hyped a lot like the Emperor's Blades trilogy, or Broken Empire.  Some people like them, because they run off coolness and explosions, but they are not for everyone.   I have read them all, and I don't feel they are worthy of a re-read, sadly.  I don't mind military in fiction, but I prefer it as a sidestory or flavour for the setting rather than what the main plot is centred on.

 

The only real-life fiction I enjoy reading is historical fiction or period dramas.  They tend to be more character focused, and have some descriptive world-building to be historically accurate, but since it is based on IRL Earth, you don't have to think to hard to imagine what it's like.  And the older period romances that are at least 30 years old tend to have decent writing, which I can really appreciate.  I'm not a huge fan of the urban fantasy genre, especially the ones with female MC's, because a lot of the time they are just bad romance novels with a supernatural love interest.  :rolleyes:

 

Hmmm never read Emperor.s Blade or Broken Empire. I'll keep it on my list and see when I finish SoS and BoM.

 

Oh I love historical fiction! I do agree it focuses more on character development and if a character turns out being boring, I can always focus on the historical details. So which ones have you read?  I don't care much for urban fantasy either and supernatural is not my type anymore. I used to read Ann Rice as a teenager but I now have little interest in vampires and stuff.

 

Hah, I'm glad you saw understood it!  I don't pick them all out in the notes because I want people to figure it out on their own.  :ph34r:  I've been dropping hints the whole way through to foreshadow how Shallan and Kaladin are not-so-different.  Kaladin sees their similarities and likes Shallan for it, but to Shallan they are reasons why she can't see him as a romantic partner.  Because she doesn't like herself much.

 

Seriously, what bad things can actually happen?  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:   Ninjas jumping out of the fireplace?

If Adolin walked in on Kaladin and Shallan making out, nothing too dramatic would come of it.  Adolin would just be really sad and leave.  He wouldn't even call Kaladin out for it.  I don't know if you noticed, but in the fic, Adolin was upset at Jakamav and Toral because they were hitting on Shallan in a frat-boy way.  Adolin would tell them to back off, but he wouldn't say it to Kaladin because he sees Kaladin as a worthy equal, and better than him in a lot of ways.

 

 

Do you really want to know the list of bad things I had thought could happen? Hey trauma stick lover here  :ph34r:

 

Alright.

 

So I thought Adolin would walk on Kaladin kissing Shallan. He would drop his plate of food on the floor, turn around and leave without saying a word. Shallan would perhaps try to go after him, but he would quickly disappear. Next thing they know, he is riding out of the mansion on Sureblood's back. Comes morning, Adolin is still not back.

 

Kaladin starts to worry slightly, it isn't like Adolin to go unchecked for so long. Shallan is slowly packing her things, thinking she needs to go back to Loch Davar. She is interrupted by ruckus downstairs, she rushes to find the object of the commotion: Sureblood, riderless.  :o

 

Or...

 

Adolin walks away without saying a word and he goes back to the party. His head is not in it anymore. The girls swirl around him and he drinks and drinks and drinks to forget. In other words, he gets massively drunk, he makes a foul of himself and is ushered out of there by his angry father. He spends the entire night being sick in the bathroom and on the next day, he announced he was going back to the front lines.

 

Do you want trauma sticks, I'll give you trauma sticks  :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART TWENTY NINE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shallan rolled over.  Her burnt shoulder chafed against its wrappings.  The effects of Kaladin’s herbal paste had given out during the night; a crust had formed over the raw burnt patches on her skin, and now it felt as if the fine linen of the bandage was abrading it away.   She groaned, and her eyes opened. 

 

The velvet canopy was closed, but a dim orange light – wan dawn sunlight – leaked in through a gap in the curtains.  There was a lump on the opposite end of the bed, and Shallan remembered where she was – and whose company she was sharing.  Still tired and wanting to return to sleep, she vaguely recalled the agreement from the previous night; she corrected herself: it had been very early that same morning.  She began to pile pillows to divide the bed into two halves.  The bed had more pillows than one really needed; it took some time to find all of them scattered in the dark, on the bed-cover and on the floor.

 

Shallan tugged at a pillow underneath Adolin’s arm. 

 

“Shallan…” he mumbled, eyes closed, fingers blindly groping for the missing pillow.

 

“Good morning.”  She hadn’t meant to wake him.  She had rather wanted to let him continue sleeping, so she could watch him.  It was for nothing improper, of course – for artistic research purposes only!

 

Adolin’s hand reached out and grabbed his pillow back, and the pillow wall separated; it developed an empty gap right where it had been the most necessary to ensure their mutual moral respectability. 

 

Adolin hugged the pillow to his chest.  “Mmm, Shallan,” he murmured sleepily, and sighed.

 

Shallan covered her mouth to stifle her snickering.  She did not do a very good job, for Adolin’s eyelashes fluttered, and his eyes blinked, and he opened them and saw her sitting beside him, behind the half-toppled failure of a pillow divider.  He loosened his grip on the pillow, and scrubbed at his eyes, yawning.

 

“Were you awake the whole time?” he asked.  He pulled himself up to a reclining position.  “Or do you never sleep, like Kal?”

 

Shallan traced the edge of her bandage under a drooping flounce of her shift.  “No.  I was burned yesterday – it started hurting, and it woke me.”

 

Adolin’s eyes flicked over to the white wrapping under her white shift.  “Is it a powder burn?  May I see?”

 

Shallan unbuttoned her shift and pulled the fabric of the shoulder down; she felt Adolin’s gentle fingers loosening the bandage and pulling it open.  She turned away and closed her eyes.  The skin was warm and inflamed, and it had leaked a clear fluid that stuck to the fibres of the linen wrapping.  She could feel the sting when the dried crust of it separated from her swollen flesh.  She took a deep breath.  It was no worse than ether on a wound, and was by far less severe than the cut on her ribs. 

 

“Kaladin says it will scar,” she said dully.

 

Adolin tugged the bandage back up and drew her shift over her shoulder.  “We all have scars.  I do not count them a blemish.”

 

“Everything my governess taught me about men I find is wrong at every turn,” Shallan said, a trace of a smile on her lips.  “It is a good thing I was never very fond of doing what I’m told.”

 

“Powder burns are not that bad, as scars go.  Yours will heal up fine.”  Adolin dragged the bed curtain open a few inches to let in the warm dawn sunlight, and undid open the button at his cuff; he rolled his right sleeve up to reveal the tanned flesh of his forearm.  “I have powder scars too.” 

 

She saw that the smooth skin on the inside of his wrist was dusted with tiny specks of white; if she had not been told what to look for, she would not have seen anything unusual unless she had had the opportunity for a very close examination.  

 

“Yours are more heroic,” said Adolin.  “I only have mine because I was careless – it was from my own pistol.”

 

Shallan laughed, and fell back onto the bed.  “I scarcely consider myself heroic.  I was running away when it happened, and I did not do what I did to be a hero.”

 

“You know, most officer casualties are from nobles trying to look like heroes.  Heroes are people who have the courage to do things for the right reasons – and not because they want to get their step.”

 

Shallan rolled over; she turned to look at him through the gap in the pillows.  “You never wanted to be a Prince,” she whispered. 

 

Adolin was silent for a moment.  “Not for any right reasons.”

 

“It helps when you don’t think about the reasons, when you do not think of wrong or right or good or bad.  It’s easier that way – to do the things you want – and it often makes the best choice in the end.”  Shallan released the handful of blanket scrunched in her fist, and went on.  “I would rather be selfish than live in regret.  That is my right reason.”

 

“I do not want to live in regret.”

 

“No-one does.  The people who tell you what is right only do it so they do not feel regret themselves.  That you feel it matters little.” 

 

These words of newfound truth constricted her throat with memories of feeling constricted – and helpless.  It explained why in her own life, she had been surrounded with people intent on controlling her, people who sought to guide her actions in paths that they had chosen – to satisfy their own visions of what was right and good.  These people – her father – her mother – were so righteous in their self-assurance that they had become … monsters.  And they had not seen it, and she had not wanted to see it out of her own twisted love for them, and the people they used to be.

 

She had twisted her own idea of love into a grotesque parody of its original intention, to match the grotesque transformation of her parents’ souls.  It was not how families were supposed to be.  It was not how love was supposed to be, nor how it was supposed to feel, and it had twisted her until she felt fear at the sight of it, and made her so that she flinched back at the touch of it, or at the mention of its name.  And this came to her, and she knew it, with a distressing certainty that prickled at her eyes and burned with acrid clarity on her tongue.

 

The pillows between them moved aside and Adolin’s face peered down at her.  “How is it that you know this?”  She could sense the concern under his curiosity.

 

“We all know it,” said Shallan, “but no-one ever speaks of it.  People just like going through life with the belief that they are the good people.  But the real good people are rare.”

 

“I know that a good person is sitting right here on this bed.”

 

Shallan laughed and laughed. 

 

“Tell me,” she said, as she pulled apart the pillow wall and tossed them to the side, and off the bed.  “Do you think a good person would do this?”

 

She sprang across the distance between them, throwing a leg over his stomach and sitting astride him with an unexpected suddenness that had all the air rushing out of him in a whoosh.  Adolin struggled to sit up from where he lay surrounded by abandoned pillows.  Shallan shoved him down again and swatted his hands away when he reached out for her. 

 

“And what about this?” she asked, bending down and planting a rough kiss on his lips, her fingers scrabbling at the buttons of his shirt, tearing it open, and yanking his shirt-tails out of where he had tucked it into his trousers.  How did anyone go to sleep with their shirt tucked in and wake up with it still tucked?  Was there some ingenious pin or clip device inside the trousers?  She supposed she would have to check whenever an excuse presented itself.

 

Her kisses were clumsy with the blundering muddle-headedness found in every morning of hers, especially an early morning like this.  When her mouth pressed against Adolin’s, it was not just a mingling of lips, but tooth and tongue and strands of her unbound hair that draped her face and his like a second set of canopy curtains.  It was another layer of concealment that made the outside world feel distant and detached, and made their inside world of fumbling intimacy feel warmly familiar, rather than an act of indecorous knavery.

 

Shallan allowed Adolin to sit up so she could have his shirt off, and paused for a moment to admire the view.  His shoulders and chest could be described, if one was not particularly imaginative, as solid; they tapered to a trim waist that was very pleasingly ridged with muscle – and here Shallan blushed – with a faint trail of yellow and black hair that descended from his navel and disappeared from view at the band of his trouser belt.  She thought it rather curious – his chest was smooth, and the hair on his forearms was very light, mostly blond, and almost invisible.

 

“Would a good person,” said Adolin, his hands on her waist tightening and swinging her off; her back hit the bed with a creak of the mattress ropes.  “Do this?”

 

She all but dragged him atop her and his mouth found hers, and her knees gave a friendly squeeze to either side of his hips.  Adolin almost wrenched himself away at this, but she held him down; he buried his face into the hollow of her shoulder and gave a strangled groan.

 

“Shallan…” 

 

“Good people must come from somewhere,” she said, “since spontaneous generation is–”

 

His lips covered hers and she found she could not speak; she could barely think – no, she corrected herself – she could think.  But no thoughts of painful memories, or foreign saboteurs, or demanding countesses came to her; she thought of the young man in her arms who, though unpractised as she was, still managed to be gentle in his eagerness – he carried his weight in his shoulders and elbows to spare her bandaged ribs.  He was the young man – a young gentleman – who held open a door that she could step through if she chose:  a door that would lead to another life, another home, and another family.

 

Shallan caught the sound of the door handle rattling.

 

“Adolin,” she hissed, turning her head away.  He hadn’t appeared to have heard, being distracted by other things, so she repeated herself.  “Adolin.  Adolin!”

 

He pushed himself up as the door opened – Shallan could see it through a gap in the curtains – and they heard the tread of a pair of feet that entered, and paused, and stopped only a short distance from the bed.

 

“Hallo?” called out an uncertain voice.  “Is anyone there?”  Shallan recognised it as Finnie, her maid.

 

She glanced at Adolin, and then seized a pillow and placed it in the middle of the bed; she did it with another, and Adolin picked up on the idea, and began snatching up pillows of his own. 

 

The canopy curtain of the bed twitched; it was drawn back, and Finnie’s shocked face stared at them in surprise, her eyes darting from one equally shocked face to another.  Her mouth opened, and then closed, and then opened again; a bundle of laundry and Shallan’s tartan shawl fell to the carpeted floor.  Shallan, who held a pillow in upraised hands, thought quickly.

 

“Um.  Pillow fight!” she said, and then whacked Adolin on the back with it.

 

A feather flew out and drifted to the floor.

 

 

*** 

 

 

In the end, they sent Finnie to fetch Adolin’s valet for a change of clothes and any supplies necessary for ensuring a neat and presentable appearance.  It would appear rather – exceedingly – questionable if a gentleman were to leave a lady’s bedchamber and walk through the House in his dressing robe early in the morning.  However, it would merely appear inconclusively respectable if the gentleman were to depart fully clothed and well-groomed.   If his rank made him first-rate within the peerage, then that would likely grant lenience enough that observers would accept it as an unconventionally early social call.  Perhaps a gentleman guest wished to leave his visiting card to a lady he had danced with the previous evening, before her carriage departed for the City.  Winks and nods were unavoidable, but they would not be sly winks and knowing nods.

 

Adolin’s valet arrived with a valise, and they left for the bathing chamber to change and shave, leaving two boxes behind for Shallan.

 

“They’re for you,” Adolin said, tying on his dressing robe.  He, thankfully, still had his trousers on.  His valet silently collected the discarded boots and shirt. 

 

A valet, the gentleman’s gentleman, a master’s master-servant – that was a role that required loyalty and discretion, for gentlemen did not travel without their valets, and they often shared each other’s company with more frequency than the gentleman shared with his own wife.  The lady’s maid was an equivalent position, and the trust bestowed upon them by a Family member elevated them to the status of superior servant – below the retainer-rank of a land steward or a personal physician, but still highly prized, especially positions in the households of peers of the first rank.

 

Shallan could trust Adolin’s valet not to gossip in the servants’ hall, even he did form his own assumptions and judge for himself what – or what had not – transpired between the two of them.  The problem was encountering other servants in the hallway, who would not be so restrained – and the real danger was running into other nobles’ personal servants who would undoubtedly tell their masters and mistresses about what had been seen or heard. 

 

She knew City Society was run on threads of gossip passed up and down the ranks, and through various households when a lady of quality paid social calls with her maid, or her mother’s maid, in tow as chaperon.  It was only Loch Davar’s isolation and her father’s social reputation as irrevocably – tainted – that had spared their being run through the gossip mill.   It had worked out to their benefit, fortunately:  the word of their insolvency had taken its time to get out – enough time for Jushu to quietly liquidate some of their assets for coal and food and other essentials, before the creditors could descend and leave them with absolutely nothing.

 

When Adolin had gone, Shallan sat at her vanity feeling rather disappointed.  Finnie collected the pillows and the bed-cover that had slipped to the floor, making a tutting sound when she shook it out and saw the brown dirt streaked over it from Adolin’s riding boots the previous afternoon.

 

“I hope you had a grand evening, my lady,” said Finnie.  There was no sign at all of criticism or condemnation in her voice.  She sounded cheery.

 

“I’m sorry about the marks on the bed.”  Shallan looked at the boxes.  One was large and rectangular in shape, the size of a hatbox.  The second one was smaller and square, but no more than two inches in depth.

 

“Oh, it is no bother,” the maid replied.  She stripped the sheets off the bed with the efficiency of long practice, and folded them into a rough pile on the floor.  “Was he very generous to you, my lady?”

 

“We didn’t–” Shallan began indignantly, but then stopped.  She could deny anything she wanted to, but she could not deny how it must have looked.  Her own shift was half-unbuttoned, and its neckline gaped open.  She pulled it to the side and inspected her collar.  “He bit me, see?”

 

Finnie’s hand rose up and covered an indulgent smile.   “Some men like that sort of thing, and some men are all take and no give,” she said, very mysteriously.  “But you can train them up if you mean to have them for a while.”

 

“Like dogs?”

 

Finnie opened the drawer and pulled out the roll of brushes.  One brush was missing from the set.  “Men are like hounds.”  She winked in the mirror.  “They can learn to bark at the dinner bell if you ring it long and loud enough.”

 

“But I don’t have a bell to ring!”

 

“It’s not a real bell, my lady.”

 

“So how would I even train a man up, as you say?”

 

“You have to know what you like,” answered Finnie.  “I s’pose.”

 

Shallan frowned.  “But I don’t even know what I like!  I think I like all of it!  And I wouldn’t even know what there is to like!”

 

“My lady, you will just have to try it and see, wouldn’t you?  Men are not very picky about these things, anyway.”

 

Shallan was silent as Finnie brushed her hair and tied it into neat braids.  She lifted the lid of the larger box, and nestled in layered sheets of white tissue were her heeled satin dancing slippers that she had abandoned in the ballroom yesterday – when she had seen Kabsal, and had run from him.  The toes were scuffed from being stepped on multiple times by Kaladin, but they looked salvageable, at least after a thorough brushing and a touch of soda.

 

“He brought me my shoes,” said Shallan softly.  She dropped the lid back down over the box.  “In a lady’s serialised adventure, he would have put them on my feet.  But I suppose that is something Princes do, and Adolin is only a Duke.” 

 

Only a Duke.

 

She would still have liked him, and felt affection for him, even if he was no Duke.  Even if he was just a stablehand, or just a soldier … or just a surgeon.  She never could have married him, of course – but if she knew how it was to enjoy the company of a good man, she could never have been satisfied with the company of an intolerable one, even if he might be her lawful husband.  Malise could not have known, thought Shallan suddenly.

 

She opened the second, smaller box.  In it was a silver chain necklace, of simple design.  Each link clinked with the clear ringing of pure silver.  It almost looked like that aluminium necklace her father had presented her with years ago, but where that necklace was light and silvery, this necklace was heavy and cold, and her hand trembled when she lifted it out of the blue velvet cloth wrappings and turned it over in her hands. 

 

There were the tiniest of scratches on the links and clasp, signs that it had been polished multiple times in the past, but it was still in very good condition and they were scarcely noticeable.  It was not the most extravagant of gifts – a chain of the same size in aluminium or gold would have been much dearer, and this one had been worn by someone else before Adolin had given it to her.

 

“Will you wear it, my lady?” Finnie asked, when Shallan had not said anything for some time. 

 

“Yes.”

 

She did not think Adolin would give gifts for the sake of giving them – not to her, at least.  The depth of affection he felt, she was sure, would rather lead to his being extraordinarily careful in his treatment of her.  Gifts between gentlemen and ladies were not just gifts, but messages, and often these messages were promises.  Promises that could not hold up in any court of law – they were, nevertheless, assurances of commitment; when poorly done, they had the potential to result in misrepresentation and a humiliating disgrace, usually heaped upon the lesser ranking party. 

So.  Adolin would not risk anything poorly done, and he would not act without genuine meaning and intention, even if she had perceived that he was not one markedly prone to deliberation before action.  He had already made an offer, and she had accepted it.  It would not hurt if this was just a demonstration of good faith and feeling in his proposition.  How fitting it was, Shallan mused, as the necklace was clasped around her throat, that it came in the form of a chain.

 

“It is very beautiful, my lady,” said Finnie.  “Is it a courting gift?  It is generous indeed – many girls get nothing more than a ribbon and a nosegay from their young men.”

 

“It’s not a courting gift.”

 

“Oh.”  The maid hesitated as she brought a dress from the wardrobe and shook it out.  “If it is a parting gift, you will be well set-up for your trouble.”

 

Shallan stood and pulled her shift over her head, and looked at her own reflection in the mirror.  Her chest was swathed in bandage, and so was her shoulder; her collar bore a small pink mark of dubious origin, and around her neck hung a chain.  She was very different to the Shallan who had arrived a little longer than week ago, and very different to the Shallan of Loch Davar.  In Scotland, she had worn a different chain, one that was light in weight, but heavy on the mind.

 

She spoke.  “It is no parting gift either.”

 

Finnie laced her bodice and helped her into a clean underdress with a high collar.  “Is it–”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh – my lady!  Congratulations!  I always thought that gentlemen often need a nudge in the right direction–” she glanced at the bed.  “–To make up their minds.”  She straightened Shallan’s collar, smiling.  “It is a shame to hide the necklace – but we must cover up that mark of yours.”

 

“They will say I seduced him into a – an arrangement,” Shallan sighed, and stepped into the dress of the day.

 

“Didn’t you, my lady?” 

 

“No!  I would not have – I would never have – it would not be proper!”  Shallan flushed, and her ears warmed.  Propriety seemed a foreign concept when she was in the presence of those who shared with her a mutual familiarity.  It was one thing with Kaladin, when she did not bother with the careful observation of social protocol, and another thing with Adolin, when she could not remember anything of the standards of decency and indecency upon which polite civilisation had been founded.

 

“Well, my lady,” said Finnie calmly, buttoning Shallan up, “when you are Duchess you will be beyond reproach.  And they will be upset at themselves for not thinking of it sooner.”

 

“When I am Duchess…” Shallan whispered.  Then, remembering something, she went to her travelling trunk at the foot of her bed.  Adolin had folded her clothes in the evening, when she had invited him in, and on top of the knit bonnet were the two bits of paper.  One was the visiting card with the printed design of three diamonds – she tucked that one into her sleeve – and the other was the wagering slip from the bookmaker belowstairs.  “Here, for you,” she said, holding it out to her maid.

 

Finnie took it, and scanned the numbers on the paper.  She looked up at Shallan and down again, and covered her mouth.  “You had it made out to me?”

 

“You were the one who told me that the men were running a book.”

 

“But – my lady!  Thirty-five spheres sterling – that’s over a year’s–”

 

“Please.  I would be grateful for your discretion.”  Shallan thought of the best way to phrase it.  There were really no good way, for this was a subject that was not discussed aloud, and never near the gentle ears of gentle ladies.  She went for the suggestively opaque approach.  “And perhaps later, your advice.”

 

“Advice?  What on, my lady?”

 

“On – gentlemen.  I haven’t ever–”

 

“You didn’t–?”

 

“No!”

 

“Surely His Lordship has, erm, in the past, managed…”  Finnie seemed quite abashed in her speech; she struggled with the words – it was not the place of a servant to make comment on their employer’s habits, or speculate on what was done in privacy by their betters.

 

Adolin did not seem the type – not when he had had so much trouble proving his fondness at The Sign of the White Boar.  If he had only kissed girls he was truly fond of, what sentiments would be required for that?  If had confessed a singular depth of emotion for anyone else, surely he would have been married by now. 

 

The social mores expected that both parties, gentlemen and ladies, would indulge in indecency only when it was ceremonially declared no longer an indecency.  But gentlemen, especially those born with rank and privilege, were not required to be constantly accompanied by chaperons.  Not when they held positions as soldiers and officers, away from their own homes and firesides and the structured social rigidity of the City.

 

The warcamps of the marshlands had their own rules and expectations, and most of them were concerned with the effectiveness of leadership rather than the moral purity of the officers.  They were expected to fight to kill, and be surrounded by death:  of enemies, and comrades, and civilians, and beasts of burden.   Whilst they were on the front, they would be given license to indulge – and Shallan knew that the majority of ether-wretches were those who had seen combat.  A blind eye would be turned, so long as they reported to duty with punctuality the next day.  The Prince Kholinar was considered the strange one for being a staunch and inflexible proponent of both superior morality and superior effectiveness.

 

And Adolin had shown embarrassment at the mention of bawdy-houses. 

 

“I do not think it likely,” said Shallan, blushing furiously. 

 

“Hmm.”  Finnie put away Shallan’s black dress from the evening before.  “Beg your pardon for prying, but how far have you gotten, my lady?

 

“Oh – just kissing,” Shallan said, red-faced.  “I know what happens next, of course.  But in the books, the chapter always ends when they kiss.  What occurs in between?  Is there even anything between this and – that?

 

“Plenty, my lady,” said Finnie, confidently. 

 

Shallan felt much better at this, although she was concerned at the state of her own ignorance.  The ladies’ novels ended with a kiss, and if there was epilogue, it showed the lady and her gentleman happily married.  She had long surmised that there was intervening step – or steps – but no-one had told her what they were, apart from the very unromantic mechanics of ... heredity.  She could imagine herself kissing Adolin, quite vividly so, and she supposed she could imagine herself engaged in the associated procedures necessary to fulfil contractual obligations, but she could not begin to imagine how one got from one point to the other.  She could only presume it was extremely embarrassing for both parties involved.  No wonder such things were commonly managed in darkness.

 

A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts.  Finnie went to answer it.

 

“Shallan,” said Adolin.  He passed Finnie at the door, and when he reached Shallan, he embraced her, and she pressed herself against him and breathed in the spiced herbal scent of his toilet water.  He looked very proper and dignified when he wore his crisply pressed regimental uniform as he was now; it made a charming contrast with his cheerful and open-featured face, and his softly tousled hair.  But she had seen him stained with gunpowder soot and her own blood, and she had not found that objectionable.

 

“Good morning,” Shallan said.  “I suppose it is only good – but it could have been better.”

 

She laughed, and Adolin arms tightened around her.  “It is good, then, that a good morning can be had every day.”

 

“I think it would be better with breakfast.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:
Light-hearted situational comedy because this is supposed to be a romance story.  The drama bits are coming soon, don't you worry.   

On Adolin and the pillow - we shall just say that Adolin enjoys not having to sleep alone for once.
Officer casualties - junior officers who prove themselves by leading the first charge often get considered for promotion for their bravery.  Leads to lots of junior officers end up dying too.  In this AU, officers who win battles get knighted and granted lands and peerages by the King, which is why they bother with it even if they would rather stay in the City.  It's equivalent to young lighteyes taking risks to win Shards.
"Spontaneous generation" - belief that organisms can just pop into existence, like maggots on meat, or getting sick from leaving the window open at night.  Disproven by Pasteur in the 1830's.  Shallan is attempting to make an off-colour joke here.
The necklace - part of SA-Adolin's pre-duel ritual.  Chicken for breakfast, burn the prayer,  talk to the sword, carry Mother's chain.
"What occurs in between?" - Shallan has no idea what happens in between first base and home plate.  They don't teach this stuff at school!

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 29

 

 

 

 

 

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I get so upset when I read negative critics on Brandon, especially on Reddit, where some individuals keep on stating he has to prove he can kill characters... as if a story's worth was proportional to the number of significant deaths  :rolleyes: I would hate for Brandon to start offing his characters just to prove he can. We all know he can kill his characters, but luckily he isn't the kind of author who'll do simply because it is a trend. Characters will die if their arcs calls for it, not because it is convenient and certainly not to make a statement.

 

Did you know Adolin died in the first draft of WoK? Adolin dying is an arc Brandon has explored in relation to Dalinar's growth, but he has chosen against it, in the end. It tells me he figured out the best story to be told was the one where Adolin survived, just as he decided the story where Kaladin keeps the Shards wasn't interesting. This being said, simply killing off Adolin, at this point in time, would be terribly frustrating and unsatisfying for the readers: the majority of them expect to read an arc revolving around the aftermath of Sadeas's death and I suspect this same majority expects this arc would revolve around Adolin more than Dalinar.

 

What is more important to Brandon as an author? World-building or character-building? This is hard one to answer and while I do think the balance is tipping more heavily towards wold-building, I also do think character coherence and development is important to Brandon as well. If it weren't, then we wouldn't have gotten the prison scenes in such a detailed way, we wouldn't have gotten the flashbacks and some arcs would have been shorten. So yes, I do think Brandon do try to develop 3D characters as opposed to flat ones, but he alternatively places high importance onto magic systems and world exploration. I personally do not read both as mutually exclusive... You can built an enthralling world with well explored characters. I had hope SA would turn out this way as it seemed to do more on the character side as most fantasy novels previously did.

 

Adolin is a golden mine. An author can't just write world description... when they do, it turns out into the Children of Earth...  :ph34r: Interesting at first due to the novelty, but incredibly boring on the long run. Why? Because it failed to exploit its characters better and it puts a too strong emphasis on the stone age area. Yes, it is neat, but too much of it cripples the story. Therefore, an author needs character to make the story interesting as without them, the world is just an empty shell. In this regards, Adolin is in a priced position right now because he is basically a blank canvas. Brandon can use him for so many different plot arcs in a world where he has contrived his other main characters to specific ones. Moreover, he is a likable popular character readers like to read. You just don't leave on the side walk such a character, it would be the equivalent of Jordan deciding against developing Mat.

 

I think it has been years since I got upset from something I read on the internet – it’s probably easier that way, when you get desensitised to things early.  Screamer vids don’t do anything for me anymore!  It says something when people who try to critique Brandon’s work can only think of his not killing characters off in an “anyone can die” way as a flaw in his writing.  It’s not really that bad, when it comes down to it.  And this is from someone who goes to Goodreads when I can’t decide whether or not I should buy a book or not, and sorts by worst ratings first.  The harsh and honest book reviews are the funniest to me.

 

From what I have seen of Brandon’s blog and how he has changed the order of the books without changing the narrative of the story too much, I think he has the overarching plot outline and the character arcs mapped out to the ending, but he leaves off the detail until he gets to the point of writing chapter drafts.  If he kills off a character too early, he narrows his choices for the ways he can tie up the ending – and that’s why he has kept Adolin kicking around.  Yeah, he’s not going to end up as Odium’s champion, but he has potential because of how the story has fleshed out his personality and skills, and it makes him a good Chekhov’s gunman.  And since Brandon is very active with fan communication, and I think his awareness of how popular Adolin will mean that he will keep  him around, or at least throw in cameos if he survives past SA#5.

 

 It’s pretty crazy how people get attached to minor characters, even the ones that get barely any screentime, like Renarin and THE STICK.  But as you described it before, people respond well to characters that reflect themselves.  The MC’s of any fiction are reflections of the author, and are often the author’s favourite, and that is why they find it pretty strange when people don’t like the MC as much as they do.  People like Jasnah because she’s an atheist, and Renarin because he’s on the spectrum.  Every time I see a Renarin discussion thread, it seems like the people who defend his character the most are people who understand his problems because they have the same ones, or have friends and family who do.  And the people who bash Renarin (the old “why does this get a spren when he lives the fancy life” argument) get bashed themselves because neurotypicals can never empathise with his struggles. :unsure:

 

I feel that Brandon is more of world-author than a character writer.  The existence of Interludes is pretty much shamelessly indulging in adding colour and depth to the world.  Sure they’re cute, but they don’t really add that much but occasional comic relief or breathers between Act 2 and Act 3.  IMO they were weaker in WoK than WoR and if you took them out, you wouldn’t miss anything at all plot-wise.  I am not knocking his character-building skills – if you write multiple PoVs, you have to build character so each viewpoint has a unique voice, because otherwise they overlap and add nothing fresh to the story.  But Brandon writes mostly high fantasy with created worlds, and from reading his other books, I have gotten the impression his characters are just tools to get the story from Point A to Point B.   It’s why he likes to use similar character types between his different novels.  And similar plot set-ups too, like his favourite one, the arranged marriage.

 

But in the end, I think I am just a boring person.  I am not really a person who speculates on what happens in the next book, when the next book is going to come out on a regular schedule.  I mean, you are either wrong or right in your predictions.  If you’re wrong, then you just wrote 100 pages of posts on the internet that just became outdated.  And if you’re right … you can pat yourself on the back I guess?  I am just the person who reads the books, and when finished with it, moves onto the next one because why spend time thinking about what might not even happen when you can read what happens in the next good book.  That way, you don’t feel like your expectations got ripped into little pieces and burned.

 

You have an Adolin-addiction!!!  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  I think this is what happens when you spend too much time thinking about him.  I only started reading Brandon books 2-ish years ago, and before that, I read many books in many genres, and unlike many Brandon fans, I don’t see him as OMG THE BEST AUTHOR IN THE WORLD.  I know there are many people who get angry and defensive when people criticise Brandon, but there are people out there who write better characters, and people who write better prose.   Brandon rolled a lot of skill points in the writing department, and has them evenly distributed in world-building, character, and prose.   Not the best when considered individually, but his triple combo makes him better than a lot of people.

 

There are other young male characters in fiction who have similar traits to Adolin’s, who follow similar growth stories revolving around answering the questions “What is the right thing to do?” and “Where is my place in the world?”.  His problems are equal to the problems faced by the official MC’s even if he gets less screentime to develop them.  But there are many other books whose MC’s face the same problems, and answer the same questions, without being Adolin.  If you think your Adolin-addiction has ruined your enjoyment of other characters and other books in other series, then you must admit you have a problem! :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

I tried to have my husband read it, but he got bored  :ph34r: He isn't much of a reader, so no fault on my part  -_- It is the "writing well" part I am worried about (I can't write something as beautiful or elaborated as you, my prose is very rudimentary) and I fear my love of the trauma stick  :ph34r: would make it too heavy. I basically have an idea of how it is supposed to go, I know the interlude which goes with it (yeah, there is an interlude  :ph34r: but it is a good one, I think  :ph34r: maybe it is cheesy  :ph34r:). I even has flashbacks.... and no they aren't all Adolin's. In fact, he isn't the only POV character in there.

 

I also do not work fast: I can't get out as many words as you in such a short lapse of time  :o

 

It is canon, not AU and I didn't use the word Okay, but I put modern day references in it, just for fun. 

 

I could send it to you, if you want to read it, but be warned, it probably is average at best.

 

 

You could read it out loud to him?  If it’s not too weird to read aloud in English when you normally speak French at home.  Some people are just not readers, and that is why audiobooks exist. 

 

When you write something, you should think about what is best for moving the story along, rather than what you like the best.  I understand that writing fanfiction is pretty much a form of self-indulgence, especially when it has OOC and non-canon stuff happening, like deaths, revivals, crossovers, and shipping.   You can write about what you like – because why bother to write if you don’t like it? – but if you pander to things only you like, other people might not want to read it.  Like the trauma stick.   I am a person who can’t take it when it hits too hard. :(

 

You think my prose is beautiful.  That makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. :wub:   If you have read Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, it has beautiful writing and everything is so colourful when I read it, and I tried to write in colour like he does.  If you are not ashamed to share your story, and want a really honest critique, you could send me the first chapter of it.  First chapters are like the first episode of a TV show – it sets the tone and style of the content, and you can tell whether you want to keep watching or if you want to stop. 

 

 

 

 

 

He didn't say he needed to take a break, just that for every 5 minutes of fighting, there was as many doing nothing. At the Tower, he pushed himself to his limits: Kaladin describing his state as being "practically unconscious". I also do not think Adolin is merely chilling, most of the time, he is working. For instances, at the end of WoR, he's the one who got trashed around, who's injured and yet he is the one who is over-seeing everything, making sure Shallan is resting, but himself? Who is making sure he is resting? Considering he could barely stand on his own feet at the end of the fight, he should have been the one wrap on in those blankets resting which leads me to believe Adolin likely it the kind of person who's just ignored all the signs his body is sending about needing sleep/rest.

 

Psychological addiction, interesting thought. I don't recall Shallan needing it so much... Kaladin, certainly though.

 

Adolin is famous for his inability to form meaningful relationships. I got someone to ask to Brandon if this inability was important to his character development. The answer was yes, it was. I would thus not say the one character who has a chronic incapacity to develop deep relationship with people would alternatively be the one to succeed into securing himself good listeners in his time of need. Adolin is crap at making friends and opening up. I thus don't see him magically managing it, after spending a lifetime failing, just to avoid breaking down. The meltdown is inevitable, according to me, the question is not if, but when and how.

 

 

Ugh, what happened to “It’s better to be embarrassed than dead”?  Outside of taking stupid risks in the battlefield when his dad wasn’t looking, I always thought Adolin was more of a battle pragmatist.  The guy who balances out Kaladin’s “honour before reason” approach and does the sensible thing, like a retreat when it’s necessary.  Is Adolin just out of his mind from guilt and a concussion that he is ignoring basic rules of being a commander, like making sure he prepared to rise for battle?  If there’s a rule against drinking before battle, there probably is a rule to sleep before battle too.

 

Kaladin is major addicted to Stormlight.  Shallan doesn’t even like Pattern, and probably would trade Radiant status for a normal happy childhood. 

 

I think most of the MC’s have problems forming meaningful relationships, or keeping them once they have them.  Adolin isn’t that special for not having friends, he’s just special for not being able to keep a girlfriend.  Kaladin has the same no friends problem – you could say it’s the bridgemen worshipping him, but it’s not like he wants to open up to them either, since he doesn’t tell them about Amaram, and doesn’t like going to the pub with them.   I don’t think Shallan is good at making friends either.  Or Dalinar.  His friends are backstabbers. <_<

 

 

 

I certainly think Kaladin is on his path to become a boring MC who is good at everything... He may be angry on the outside, but he is shining of perfection on the inside. It makes me wish for Brandon to steer his story into another direction. I personally like when Kaladin is more morally conflicted.

 

You think it is too tragic? Oh gee, I have left out so much stuff out of the basic outlay of this potential fic  :o If I ever write i, I don't want to spill all of the beans. Things go from bad to worst to terrible for Adolin until he finally learns to cut himself some slack, but he is a Kholin, lessons only come the hard way -_- Big trauma stick all through it  :o  :ph34r:

 

The idea being the fic is Dalinar breaks down after his brother's death, in a similar way as in canon-SA, but he does not have the Way of Kings to help him pull himself out of it, nor does he have a clear culprit to blame. Gavilar doesn't die because of a political coup, I am toying with him just being road kill  :ph34r: or accidental victim in a shoot out or a robbery. So, in this AU, without his "Bible", Dalinar sinks further down into alcoholism. I have also an idea to push Dalinar further into realism.... I don't know if it'll work thought. Renarin is slightly more autistic so he needs more supervision. Aunt Navani lives in another town as refuses to involve herself with his brother-in-law affairs due to their past history, so Adolin has been basically left alone, trying to keep the pieces of his family together and whole. 

 

Every morning, he gets up early to pick up the empty bottles before Renarin gets to see them and he makes strong coffee to help his father wake-up and get to work. He organizes the servants tasks and makes sure everyone knows what to do: the household survives because he's there to give it a direction, but he's only a kid. He has been doing it since he was 16 and now, at 20 (he's younger in this fic because I don't like the age gap Brandon put in there :ph34r: Adolin is about 20, Kaladin and Shallan are about 18/19 and Renarin is 17), it is taking a serious toll on him.

 

Kaladin will never be anything but pure squeaky clean as long as he has Syl.  Sad but true.  I would also like to see him be something more than a boring perfect protagonist, as long as it doesn’t involve endless angsting about what he should do or how sucky his life is. 

 

Yes!  Your story is tragic!  You took out all the magic of Roshar and replaced it with a sad IRL homelife full of people who do bad things, and one MC who is surrounded by all this sad, while being sad on the inside himself.  Too much trauma stick – I can’t take it without feeling sad, unless you add some ray of hope or something.  Everyone needs to be revealed to have reddeming qualities!!!  Early on, not 10 pages from the end!

 

On the age gap between Adolin and Shallan – do you not like it in canon-SA, or do you not like in the context of an Earth AU?  In canon, they are both perceived as consenting adults who can make decisions to get married or do the things, and it seems pretty normal for lighteye girls to be married at age 16.  In an Earth AU, it can be a bit weird, especially if you put your younger character in high school (ew pls no), but if they’re both in university, it’s a bit unusual, but not that weird.  I personally don’t think it’s an issue in-story or IRL as long as both people have the same maturity level.  And Adolin has stunted his own personal development with his insecurity so I think they match up, even with the 5-6 year age gap (depending on their exact birthdays).  And depending on the setting, 20 would be too young for alcohol.  If you made everyone Canadian in an AU, Adolin would be playing hockey instead of football.

 

If you want to do a dramatic reveal of characterisation, you need a dramatic first chapter for the story.  The best way is to show Adolin at an afterparty for winning the local championship game, with everyone cheering him on, and girls trying to hook up with him.  Then he goes home sees his dad passed out and vomit on the floor.  Instant slap on the face with the trauma stick. :lol:

 

 

 

 

As for Dalinar, we are talking of the man who jungle his options while watching his son being beaten down in the 4 on 1 duel. He purposefully chose to sit back down, thinking his son's life was not worth the risk of him jumping into the arena. This scene always made me ill-at-ease... and I just find out why today. As I was watching the cartoons with my daughter, a scene happened which reminded me of Dalinar and Adolin. In the show, one of the character has been possessed by an evil ghost trying to recuperate an gemstone in order to, huh I missed this part, but let's say rule over the world. The little ninjas were soon faced with a situation where they either had to let their friend die or give the gemstone to the evil guy: they chose their friend. Yes, it was a gamble, but it is one I tend to agree with: I hate when characters chose the greater end over the life of loved ones. You don't know how things will pan out, so why allow someone you love die for fear of consequences? Unfortunately, Dalinar is a man who places his interest above his loved ones.... which is also why I do think it won't go down well for Adolin.

 

Dalinar certainly need character development, but he isn't a character I think needs tons of it. He is pretty stable. His only issues are linked to learning how to lead, how to guide as opposed to tyranny. It is a great arc, but not one I wish to spend 1000 pages on. I was find with less Dalinar in WoR, I didn't think it impacted his character negatively nor did I think I needed more of him going into the next book. I want his flashbacks, this is certain, but in the main narrative? I feel Dalinar is a character who's past is more interesting than his present  :ph34r: Seriously, I'd take a 1000 pages of JUST Dalinar's flashbacks.

 

The thing with most fiction is that when there is a decision between saving the world, or saving your girlfriend, the hero is never actually put into a position where he actually has to make that choice.  Because helpful sidekicks jump in, or the villain makes a stupid decision and falls into his own piranha tank, or the girl dies for some reason the hero couldn’t prevent no matter what.  And whenever the choice is forced, the hero chooses the “right” one, which is always the girlfriend or best friend, and the world is still saved anyway because Deus ex Machina.   Because viewers and humans don’t like it when the girl dies.  Even in the 4:1 duel, we still don’t know if Dalinar would have jumped in at the last second or not, because Kaladin did it.  Yes, Dalinar sat back down, but he still thinks his son is a better man than he is, and he wouldn’t let him be crippled for life, would he?  I felt it could have gone either way if no one helped Adolin and Renarin.  :ph34r:  Because seriously, two sons has to be more valuable than useless Elhokar. :angry:

 

 Even if Dalinar chose not to help, I think it’s kind of refreshing to have a good guy unashamedly believe in the greater good.  Usually it’s the bad people who prioritise the world over the lives of loved ones.   And this is where Adolin gets hit over the head multiple times by the trauma stick. :o

 

Dalinar is a Bondsmith now, and hasn’t been fully Blackthorn for probably 5 years.  His character is static because he already had his character development before the events of the story, and that is why his flashbacks are more interesting than how he is in the current timeline.  It makes him kinda boring in WoR when he figures his visions are real, but sometimes it’s good to have a break from the Kaladin angst show.

 

 

 

Shallan may have been poor by lighteyed standard, she still remains a sheltered and pampered girl. It is obvious to me she never considered the possibility of ever marrying a darkeyed. She pretty much state it in WoR: she expected her father to choose her husband, so she never had much thought about it.

 

Kaladin is honorable, but he is a man... I mean. He's got to have a heart and feelings. I wouldn't put it pass him to succumb to a love affair.

 

Good point on lighteyed versus darkeyes relationships... Fathers would probably see it as a waste unless the darkeyed has proven to be able to raise higher than prospective lighteyed which is why Lirin wanted Kaladin to train in Karbranth. His status would have been high enough to be attractive to lesser lighteyes. 

 

 

 

Adolin is a man with feelings and urges too.  As you said before, a man can manage his own needs without needing anyone else to help.  I think Kaladin is too honourable to be involved in an “adventure” if you know what I mean.  He might want to, and be tempted to do it, and think about doing it, but he wouldn’t go along with it because it’s wrong.  Just like Moash’s plan for Elhokar.  Shallan might not mind it if she wanted it, but I think Kaladin would refuse her if she goes too far and he feels like it’s dirty and wrong.

 

Lighteye girls are useful for having around if you need to use the women’s script.  There aren’t many darkeyes who would need it if they are relatively high nahn and can already read the glyphs.  From Laral’s wanting Kaladin to fight a Shardbearer, it still seems like lighteye girls wouldn’t willingly choose to marry a darkeyed man, unless their parents made them, and once did they did, they would always be thinking to themselves that they could have done better.  Poor Kal.

 

 

 

Oh I agree it is highly implausible, but based on the crack-pots theory I read on the forum, it seems to be the least of them. It also seemed the kind of "twists" fantasy authors are typically fond off: "Oh look X is the estranged son of Y."  :ph34r:

 

As for Navani, well there is this scene in SA3 when she glanced at half naked Dalinar so huh, I wouldn't pass something actually happening there. Besides, young Dalinar likely wasn't as honorable as old Dalinar. 

 

I also think Adolin suffering the rejecting of a girl he actually likes would hurt him in a deep way. I do see him totally backing down on the dating process, not wanting to get involve with any girl again. It would totally destroy what little self-confidence in his worth he has. Alternative idea, he asks his father to just tell him who to marry and be gone with it.

 

In a general manner, people surrounding Adolin aren't the kind to actually take an active interest in others feelings. We saw Dalinar completely ignore the signs his son isn't dealing well with his rapidly changing environment: he notices, up to a certain extend, but he doesn't act on them. He does take him for granted, thinking Adolin will always remain steady, stalwart and robust all the way through, never being affected by those events, except he is. Human beings have feelings and sometimes these are hard to process.

 

 

That is a soap opera type of reveal.  But hey, if Dalinar can be Elhokar’s father, what if Gavilar was Adolin’s father.  The stick goes both ways!  As far as I remember, Gavilar was the hot brother, so wouldn’t he be better looking half naked?  ;)  And Dalinar was still honourable enough to avoid Navani for 10 years after she married his brother.  Okay, maybe it was because he wanted to cut out any chance at temptation, but he still did it, and the thought counts for something.

 

Adolin being rejected by Jakamav hurt him really bad, and he wasn’t even really good friends with anyone at that point, because he didn’t make an effort to open up to people – he just liked having drinking buddies to hang out with.  So I would expect when he has his real feelings involved in a relationship he actually wants to maintain, it will break his heart.  His reaction would be more likely him being on the shelf for the rest his life rather than hitting the cathouses for a two month bender.  :huh:  :ph34r:  :lol:  Maybe his father will send him to Iri or something.

 

People pay less attention to Renarin than Adolin.  Dalinar takes Adolin for granted, but he doesn’t really think about Renarin, except for feeling guilty that his son is a weakling and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  Then he goes and gives him a present.   Is Renarin expected to find a wife too?  No one knows or cares. :mellow: :mellow:

 

 

 

Mad? Angry? This being said, people are used to reading unfinished fic... Truth to be told, most of them gets drop halfway through it.

 

I personally was not convinced by Elhokar's drunken confession. He may want to better himself, but he is to egocentric. His only concern is how the world perceives him: he basically asks Kaladin to teach him how to be revere by others... He has yet to lift one finger to act on the behalf of someone else than himself. It may be trope-y but I think Elhokar's too strong desire to be great, to be renown will be his downfall. He will try to access to power without going onto the required journey and he will fall  -_-

 

 

The sad thing is, when reading fanfics that have been dropped halfway through, nothing is really lost when they are unfinished.  Because honestly, the majority of fan content is mediocre, or just written by people who didn’t have any cohesive vision or plan, and there is no plotting.  Just events happening one after the other, with no sense of a unified story.  That is why most fic writers stick to short one-shots, because it doesn’t require maintaining in-universe continuity and consistency in prose and characterisation.   But I’ve pretty much finished the story, and tied up the ends, so no angry tears here.  Sadly. :o

 

The good bit is that Elhokar might have the ambition to be famous and loved, but he is not a very competent person, so any plan he has is bound to fail.  He will probably drag other people down with him when he does, but he will end up learning a hard lesson, so he does get his journey and his destination!  But only if Brandon thinks he is worth developing his character.  If Elhokar really is Dalinar’s Tien, and doesn’t get picked by a spren, he will die to teach Dalinar a lesson on leadership.  All Tiens have to die – that is their sole purpose in the story.    :lol: :lol: :lol:  

 

 

 

Oh those are cute as well. As for the tight part, I love leggings  :ph34r: I am the Queen Ambassador of leggings  :ph34r: I wear leggings everyday  :ph34r: Once you discovered leggings, there is no going back  :ph34r: They come in all sizes, all colors, all styles  :ph34r:

Ah honestly, I simply googles "trendy young men style" and I copied the pictures I thought looked nice  :ph34r: Adolin is more trendy, I think, than preppy. Ivy league preppy is what Dalinar would want or insist Adolin wears, but it isn't what the cool kids wear and Adolin is... a cool kid  B) or trying to be one  :ph34r: That last picture would basically be what passes as a uniform when you are a modern day kid like Adolin.

Ah well I never heard of those  :ph34r: Of course, Adolin would have one of those  :ph34r: The day Dalinar cuts Adolin off oh gee look who brandishing the trauma stick now!!!!  :o

Kaladin is a terrible dresser and only puts clothes on as he can't go to school naked  :ph34r: He doesn't bother with fashion and he doesn't care for a dime what people think of him: he is just bursting of self-confidence. You don't mess with Kaladin.

 

Kaladin probably carries quarters to use the payphone  :ph34r:

 

Do Canadians love leggings or something?  I have a Canadian friend and she pretty much wears leggings non-stop.   Fleece lined leggings in the winter, plain black ones for chilling and watching TV, leggings for the weekend.  Leggings all day every day.  I prefer flannel PJ pants.  They are more comfortable.

 

Ivy League preppy is way too colourful to be formal outside of daytime at the country club.  The outfits with only one bright colour with plain grey or brown wool jackets are more professional looking.  But they are clothes that require taking good care and maintenance, and visiting the tailor to get a perfect fit, and ironing before wearing.  To a suit and tie guy like Dalinar, it would look too flashy and youthful to fit in at corporate, but to Kaladin, it’s super fancy.  Anything that you have to dry clean instead of tossing in the washing machine he probably considers fancy.  I don’t think he would even bother sorting the dark from the light clothes.  All of his clothes are the same dingy faded greyish colour.

 

Adolin doesn’t get cut off!!!  If his card stops working, he just uses cash, and his wallet is full of cash.  No trauma stick!   And then he goes home and it turns out his card got upgraded to the next level up and Dalinar forgot to tell him or something. 

 

Do they even have payphones these days?  After Kaladin is late meeting Adolin and Shallan at the movies for the third time, they would just buy him a phone and force him to use it.  But he wouldn’t accept a fancy one, so they get him a Nokia brick.  They’re indestructible.  You could build a suit of Shardplate with them. :ph34r: :ph34r:

 

 

 

The problem with Adolin is not he needs Dalinar to move out of his life: it is the fact he is afraid he would do so. It is rather different than Elhokar who needs Dalinar to just go away so he can start to take himself into his own hands. Adolin just needs the comforting presence of his father: losing will not be a happy moment, but a panicking one where he has no idea what to do. Back in WoK, when Dalinar makes him Highprince and states he was going back to Kholinar, Adolin is ridden with anxiety. It can't be happening!

 
What does Adolin need? He needs to have a good heart felt talk with his father, but to lose everything on one day? Gee this would be harsh for him.... not liberating, but hard. 
 
I am not keen on seeing Elhokar and Adolin turn into buddies: Adolin seems to not think much of Elhokar and we have no idea what Elhokar thinks of Adolin. They don't seem to share much of a bond.

 

I would like to see the relationship between Elhokar and Adolin explored, even if they don’t turn to be best buddies in the end.  Brandon seems to be using them to explore Dalinar’s character development, with Elhokar as a link to his past and a reminder of his duty to his dead brother.  Adolin to Dalinar is the man he should have been, good and noble from the start.  So Brandon has built a contrast to make interactions with Dalinar more interesting, but if he wanted to flesh out the secondary characters more, he should put Elhokar and Adolin alone in a room.  They are similar in certain ways, having the pressure of expectations put on them from birth, and severely dependent on Dalinar in their daily lives.

 

The cousins likely don’t think they have much in common in-universe, since Elhokar is the useless millstone, and Adolin was the ace before Kaladin came along with his magical Stormblessed reputation saving the Kholin army.  In WoK, Elhokar comments that Adolin is the best duellist in the family, better than Dalinar and himself.  I wonder if there’s some level of jealousy in there, like he’s jealous of the way the soldiers love Kaladin.  Or if he has gotten to the point where he thinks he sucks so much there’s no point in comparing himself to other people.

 

If they actually talked to each other, they’d find they have more in common than they think.  There’s only around 5 years’ age gap between them, and it’s only a bit bigger than Adolin’s age gap with Renarin, who he gets along with fine.  They only understand one another superficially, but each of them has sadness on the inside – if only they would share it!  Because Elhokar is like an alternate universe version of Adolin gone bad.  Elhokar’s father read the Way of Kings, and he never believed in it himself.  He had the arranged marriage chosen for him, and has a wife who he presumably doesn’t really care that much about, since no one ever mentions Aesudan outside the interlude.  He has had responsibility put on him from the beginning of the War of Reckoning, but cracked under the pressure, whereas Adolin turned into the unwilling soldier and commander.

 

 

 

The Radiants do not have Plate, yet. I suspect it will come shortly. They are likely to rely on Shards, in the neat term, but in the long term, Shards will end up being badly though upon. There are only 30 Shardbearers in Alethkar, but there used to be thousands of Radiants. Now the sprens are coming back, it won't be long before the number of Radiants far exceeds the number of Shardbearers. When this happens, Shardbearers will become obsolete, especially considering the fact they carry the body of dead tortured sprens.

 

Brandon did state the number of Radiants will ramp up starting into next book.

 

 

I would expect Shards to be important up to SA#5, and they get slowly replaced by living spren blades in the second series.  It takes a while for Radiants to realise their abilities and gather in Urithiru, especially if only a few of them have the travelling abilities of teleporting or lashing, or the knowledge of Oathgates.  Shardblades are indestructible too, so even if a blade revival will be a once in a lifetime event, people will still keep theirs around. 

 

If Alethi are still going to be Alethi even if the end of the world is coming, having a Shardplate and Shardblade will be useful for making sure your neighbours don’t attack your land and try to steal it in border skirmishes like the ones Amaram used to fight.  Use living blades to fight voidbringers, but use deadblades to fight your neighbours.  Because most of these lighteyes can be dangerously nearsighted, if Sadeas is an example.

 

Thousands are a stretch when many thousands of spren died in the past during the Recreance.   But then again we don’t know that much about the spren families in Shadesmar so who knows. :rolleyes:

 

 

 

Hmmm never read Emperor.s Blade or Broken Empire. I'll keep it on my list and see when I finish SoS and BoM.

 

Oh I love historical fiction! I do agree it focuses more on character development and if a character turns out being boring, I can always focus on the historical details. So which ones have you read?  I don't care much for urban fantasy either and supernatural is not my type anymore. I used to read Ann Rice as a teenager but I now have little interest in vampires and stuff.

 

 

I don’t think they are books you would like.  You like the trauma stick, but these books are pretty dark, getting into grimdark territory where people get killed off to add flavour to how violent and scary the setting is.  Broken Empire was way too much trauma stick for me, and made people uncomfortable with how tragic the backstory was, since it involves nonconsenting acts in the style of Captain Kennet.  It was like Captain Kennet getting his own trilogy since the MC is pretty much a sociopath.  :o  :(  :blink:  Yeah, not re-reading.

 

I like historical fiction of most genres, as long as the setting is well-explored and accurate and the story is well written.  I do not like fiction claiming to be “historical” when all the characters think and speak like modern people, which is jarring for something set in Roman times, for example, with a Roman noble character talking about how slavery is wrong.  :rolleyes:   That is one of things that breaks immersion for me.  For a shorter read with good character development and bromance, I recommend “The Eagle of the Ninth”, a standalone story set in Roman-era Britain.  It’s so beautifully written, and has a bleh movie version with Channing Tatum.  I recently finished “Newt’s Emerald” which is a Regency romance with magic, which I thought was an adorable story.  It’s like urban fantasy but in the past!  I have a soft spot for historical romances, and read modern ones when the old ones like Austen or Heyer can be too slow or too vanilla.  ;) ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Do you really want to know the list of bad things I had thought could happen? Hey trauma stick lover here  :ph34r:

 

Alright.

 

So I thought Adolin would walk on Kaladin kissing Shallan. He would drop his plate of food on the floor, turn around and leave without saying a word. Shallan would perhaps try to go after him, but he would quickly disappear. Next thing they know, he is riding out of the mansion on Sureblood's back. Comes morning, Adolin is still not back.

 

Kaladin starts to worry slightly, it isn't like Adolin to go unchecked for so long. Shallan is slowly packing her things, thinking she needs to go back to Loch Davar. She is interrupted by ruckus downstairs, she rushes to find the object of the commotion: Sureblood, riderless.  :o

 

 Adolin made out with Danlan.  :o  He can’t be judgy judgy on Shallan kissing someone else when he kissed another girl and danced with all of them!  I made a mention of that, just so something like being walked in on kissing couldn’t lead to a ship abandoning moment.  Adolin wouldn’t just leave like that without an explanation, for a kiss, because that would be too much of a soap opera.  And he is too reasonable of a guy to jump to conclusions when there might be a reasonable explanation for it, because he doesn’t want to believe.  He loves Shallan. :wub:

 

What would make him have that knee-jerk reaction is to walk in on Shallan and Kaladin in the bedroom.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  Because that is way more serious than kissing and you can’t just explain it away without being pretty unambiguous about there being feelings between them.  But Kaladin wouldn’t do that to his BFF, so there would have to be a pretty contrived explanation to have both of them undressed in the same room. 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THIRTY

 

 

 

 

 

Shallan and Adolin took their time ambling through the hallways, passing servants and soldiers in blue uniforms bearing muskets.  The servants bowed to Adolin as they went by, both those in ducal livery, and those who wore the colours of another house.  Shallan looked down and picked at the buckle of her satchel – she had brought it, with the papers tucked inside, in preparation for the appointment that had been agreed upon the evening before.  She did not meet their eyes, nor the eyes of the soldiers who greeted Adolin with a hand-to-breast salute.  There was still a part of her that saw herself as ungainly and plain; it caused her to feel self-conscious in the face of unconcealed scrutiny.  Her recent realisations of identity and self-awareness were still raw within her, and they were still changing into something else, something different – and even though she did not shrink away, she could not bear what she knew was an attentive assessment of her character and her connections – and her relationship to the Duke.

 

If she had had the time brace herself, to analyse their persons and their perceptions, she would have been able to construct a face in order to portray the young lady of confidence and poise who showed herself unambiguously to be Adolin’s match and equal.  But these servants and low-ranking soldiers were not nobles and gentry, those whose expectations she was familiar enough that appearing poised and assured was merely second nature.  No, they were people whose entire existence, whose thoughts and opinions and sentiments, she had mostly overlooked or dismissed as beneath notice. 

 

So she found herself suddenly shy – she had been one of them only an evening ago – and was glad that Adolin was by her side.  He was polite and friendly to everyone:  he knew what words to say when Shallan groped for the words they expected to hear.  She knew Adolin bore the chains of perception as she did, but the natural ease he had with people was his own; it was not artificial, for it was the part of him that made him good-natured to the core, and she admired that in him, and she liked it – she liked it quite a lot.

 

They made their way downstairs, expecting the foyer to be abuzz with personal servants bearing travelling valises and carpet bags to the waiting carriages outside.  It was half a day’s ride from Kholinar Court to the City; the ladies and gentlemen guests would have the leisure to sleep off the unseemly effects of overconsumption before returning to their own town houses.

 

There were servants, yes, and they were loading the carriages by the portico, but there were new people arriving.  They were all soldiers in the blue and white of the Kholin Regiments – short blue jackets with double rows of buttons and the shield-shaped patch of the Duke’s arms high on their shoulders.  They all had muskets, and had powder horns slung from their white belt webbings, and they were shod in short hobnailed leather shoes that looked like simpler copies of Adolin’s ghillie boots.  

 

When she and Adolin reached the top of the stairs at the head of the foyer, still hung with decorative banners, she was startled by the shrilling of a tin whistle.  The soldiers stamped their feet to attention and brought their muskets around to bear, and saluted Adolin in perfect unison.  A man – in regimental frock coat and an officer’s epaulets – detached himself from the group and strode up the stairs, two at a time.  He saluted Adolin smartly, and seeing Shallan at his side, wavered for a second, then gave her a cursory bow; Shallan thought it rather more functional than courtly.

 

“Lieutenant Colonel, sir,” he said.

 

“Major Khal,” said Adolin.  “I see you got my letter.”

 

“Three days ago, sir.  We were to discuss – the re-organisation.  And that other matter.”

 

“Yes,” said Adolin.  “As I promised.  Father is here, and the rest of the brass.  I shall see to it; you have my word.”

 

Major Khal seemed suddenly very pleased at that; he relaxed perceptibly.  “The men, sir?  We received a summons last night, ordering the whole company to march – and we marched until dawn to get here.  I had only planned to bring the staff officers, knowing the quarters were limited.”

 

“You may have the use of the tents on the front lawns for a mess.  The couriers’ barracks in the stableyard for the men – you may have to pitch your own tents on the courtyard.  The officers are to have what guestrooms have been vacated; ask the housekeeper for pallets in the antechambers if they cannot all fit.  Make free with the kitchens.  We are well-stocked on food.” 

 

Adolin rattled off orders with a comfortable authority that Shallan had never seen from him before.  Jasnah displayed that trait at all times; it was evident in her serene bearing and refined carriage, and it dripped off every word she spoke.  Kaladin had a certain amount of it too, but it was mostly in the form of a particularly irritating – and smugly knowing – arrogance.  Adolin had always been brightly convivial with her in company – and in private, he was thoughtful, and gentle, and – responsive.  She almost blushed, but caught herself in time.  This was a side of him, Shallan speculated, that was the product of years of martial education, just as she had been moulded by her own years of feminine education.

 

“Two platoons to secure the perimeter and relieve the Prince’s personal guards – have the adjutant run up a watch rotation for the essentials,” continued Adolin.  “Marksmen by the gatehouse, of course, and ensure all who enter and leave are identified.  Assign a cavalry patrol on the road, a five-mile sweep north to Courtlea, and south to the Forest.”

 

Major Khal nodded, and opened his mouth to say something, but he was interrupted by the butler and under-butler who had managed to slide up soundlessly by Adolin’s elbow.  The butler cleared his throat.  Major Khal shut his mouth and rolled his eyes upwards, and then muttered something that sounded suspiciously like civvies.

 

“My lord, there are soldiers everywhere!” cried the butler.  The under-butler whipped out his wallet diary.  “Whatever are we to do with them?  This House is no barracks – they ought to have been quartered in the village!”

 

“They are here for the protection of the guests,” said Adolin calmly.  “You shall do as Major Khal asks.  For what reason would a Grand House be called ‘grand’ if it cannot even match the hospitality of Fort Shulin?”

 

The butler bowed, aware of his being gently chastened.  “Of course, my lord.  We shall uphold the honour of the Court, as you desire.  The extra help will be kept on, sir?”

 

“Do whatever you deem necessary to help Major Khal,” Adolin said.  Major Khal inclined his head in polite acknowledgement.  Shallan notice him glancing at her out of the corner of his eye; he probably thought her just another of the Duke’s girls.  “And arrangements for breakfast?”

 

“Lady Jasnah has requested breakfast with Lady Shallan in the Teal Room at her earliest convenience.  We are sending up trays to the rest of the Family in their quarters, if you should like one, my lord.”

 

“I shall join Lady Shallan.  Please have food sent out to the tents for the men – if there is no soup or porridge, then make do with what’s left from the Feast.” 

 

The butler bowed once more to Adolin, his face twisting into a look of panic.  The under-butler frowned, and exchanged a silent signal with the butler; he glanced at the ranks of soldiers in the foyer – still standing at parade attention – and bowed, and withdrew.  When he reached the end of the hall, he leaped unexpectedly into a sprint.  Adolin took Shallan’s hand and they walked back upstairs to the Teal Room.  Major Khal and the butler watched them take their leave, hand in hand, with quizzical – no, bemused – expressions on their faces. 

 

A gentleman accompanying a lady typically led her by the arm, and refrained from skin contact, for to do otherwise was an unmistakeable acknowledgement of familiarity – and a not so subtle hint of a present or future attachment.  Shallan knew all of that.  When she held Adolin’s hand, things around them seemed to hold less relevance; they seemed less important, less real.  They were also decidedly less colourful, and when she glanced at the passers-by passing by, she could tell nothing of them but the superficial; it was a stark contrast to when she looked at Adolin, and unspoken words and understanding skipped back and forth through their linked hands.

 

A footman held open the door of the Teal Room for them; he didn’t bat an eye at the appearance of an extra, unaccounted for guest, which in most situations would have led to an awkward pause as extra table settings or even a larger table were sent for.  Perhaps the under-butler had managed to send warning beforehand.  Active anticipation and preparation for the Family’s needs before they ever reached a distinct awareness of needing was the means through which superior servants earned their keep and their rank in the belowstairs hierarchy. 

 

Jasnah was sitting at the dining table, flipping through a sheaf of papers bound inside a waxed leather folio.  She looked up and saw Shallan, and then her eyes flicked to Adolin, who held her hand in his.  Her lips twitched with an inscrutable emotion, and with the barest hint of haughty resignation, she rose to her feet and offered a shallow bow to Adolin – to politely acknowledge his rank as a social equal and, Shallan knew, as one worthy of respect.

 

Adolin returned her bow, and kissed her on both cheeks, and murmured ‘Cousin’ to her, for he not only had to observe the rules of decorum for Jasnah as Countess, and social co-hostess, and also as a scion of House Kholin who shared his blood.

 

“Shallan, I expected to see you in the Family’s apartments yesterday evening, to hear your report on that unfortunate incident,” said Jasnah, seating herself at the table, and handing off her papers to the footman who shook out her napkin and placed it over her lap. 

 

Shallan waited for Adolin to push in her chair and find his own seat.  “I’m afraid I was not – presentable at the time.  And I am not Family.”

 

Jasnah’s eyes flicked from Shallan and Adolin and back, and she smiled at them as a cup of clear beef broth was placed in front of them, followed by the arrival of the toast racks and pots of preserves.  “And Cousin Adolin – I looked for your presence too, to hear the report from your men.  I stayed up rather late and all I had to entertain me in the early hours was watching your brother trounce my brother at draughts.”  A perfect eyebrow arched upwards.  “I rather think gambling would be best avoided with either of them.”

 

Adolin laughed, and drained his teacup.  “Most men look to the battlefield to enhance their fortunes, but I think Renarin does it well enough with a ledger book.”

 

“And no-one seems to have noticed,” replied Jasnah, segmenting her peeled grapefruit.  “But your presence – or your lack of it – was noticed last evening.  I hope to hear an explanation, and sincerely hope it will not disappoint me.”  Her eyes fell on Shallan, and she pursed her red-painted lips. 

 

Shallan knew what Jasnah expected of her – a confirmation, and a truthful one.  One of the conditions of Shallan’s being taken on as ward was to never lie to, or steal from the Countess; scholars were immensely protective of their unpublished research findings, their libraries of resources, and their rare primary documents. 

 

“Adolin spent the night with me.”

 

That was the truth, and it was better just to be transparent about it than to let worse presumptions spring to life around an ambiguous half-truth.  But she winced when she heard herself aloud.  That was rather too transparent, and it said so much more than a deliberately enigmatic half-answer could ever say.

 

Adolin flushed a very charming shade of pink and looked at Shallan and then down at his plate.  He did not deny it; it would not be gentlemanly because it was true, even if certain occurrences had not managed to transpire; a vehement denial would only make it all the more evident that something indecent had happened.  One of Jasnah’s perfectly arched brows rose, and then it was followed by the other, and a thoughtful smile spread across her face.  She covered it up with a slow sip from her teacup, and silence passed between them.  Shallan could imagine that the footmen’s ears were almost twitching with the desire to hear what was said next.

 

“Cousin?” prompted Jasnah, after a while.

 

“It was no indecency – I proposed my intentions first, and they were accepted.  I do not mean to put Shallan – Lady Shallan – in an undignified position.  It would not be honourable,” Adolin said, face reddening, eyes flicking to the table and the moulding on the ceiling, and the paintings on the wall behind his cousin.

 

“We are affianced,” said Shallan, her voice flat.  “There it is.”

 

“My goodness,” remarked Jasnah, amused.  “After only a bit more than a week.  Congratulations.”  Shallan did not for one second believe it was an honest expression of joy at any impending nuptials; she was confirmed in her sentiments when Jasnah went on.  “I could not have done a better job of it myself.  You have done very well for yourself, Shallan.”

 

“I did not do it for you.  Or even for me,” Shallan said.  Her hand dropped under the table and searched for Adolin’s.  She found it, and squeezed it, and his calloused fingers squeezed back.  Above the table, Adolin sent her a grateful smile that had her hidden doves all a-flutter with the genuine fondness in gaze.  “I shan't be joining you at Ivory Lane.”

 

“I should not expect you to.  Not until after you–” Shallan glared at the Countess, who cleared her throat and continued.  “Adolin, your father has called a meeting for House Kholin and attached functionaries, scheduled for after breakfast.  You would know this if you had been–” Jasnah paused, and saw that neither Shallan nor Adolin were in a mood to be chided in the manner of misbehaving children.  They, as they were now, were anything but.  “You must make the announcement then.  Shallan will be welcome, as a Family member rather than my ward.  I shall require her assistance for my own presentation.  Your father has decided to share his own – conclusions.”

 

“After last night, his suspicions will be proven as fact.”  Adolin dug into his omelette.  He looked at Jasnah.  “What Shallan found – in the forest – and these men, these false Ardents.  They were no coincidence?”

 

“No.”

 

“Does Father know?”

 

“If he doesn’t already, he shall know soon.”

 

“Why wasn’t I told earlier?”

 

Shallan met Jasnah’s eyes.  She could tell what Jasnah wanted to say, but she did not want Adolin to hear it.  She said what she thought was true, instead.  “Because no-one would have believed us.  They would have said we were gone soft like your cousin the King – or your father.  We had no proof, and had not expected the proof to find us so suddenly.”

 

Adolin looked at both of them, and his knee brushed against Shallan’s skirts.  “Next time, I think I deserve to know.”

 

“You do.  I will tell you all I can,” said Shallan.

 

Adolin seemed to accept that as an answer.  If it were Kaladin, he would have been more discriminating in his securing of an explanation.  Because Kaladin did not trust anyone, even if he was fond of a few specific people.  He would trust that they were likely to behave in certain predictable patterns, and he might find them trustworthy, and worthy of trust, but he could not allow himself to trust entirely in their judgement.  Adolin had faith in her.  And that gave her reason to find faith in herself.

 

So she told him about Jasnah’s research – the vague outlines of her hypotheses, concerning the search for lost relics of the legendary Heralds.  Jasnah ventured no comment, nor did she volunteer any explanation on the details; she merely dismissed the servants from the room and sat silently observing, and Shallan recognised it for a test of her memory and her discretion.  Adolin did not even blink when Shallan mentioned the potentially questionable parts of their research: the folk tales and religious myths regarding the Almighty and His eternal opposition.  He did not declaim them as presumptuous anti-zealots, as those even the least bit devoted to Vorinism would have done.  He nodded, and when she was finished – Shallan had not told him about Kabsal, or the visiting card she had been given an evening before – he informed them that he had already known most of it.  For his Aunt Navani had often made disparaging remarks in her correspondence, about Jasnah’s wilfully squandering the generous dowry bestowed upon her by her late father – on excursions abroad, or buying antique children’s books at auction.

 

“I am appreciative of your honesty, Shallan,” Adolin said at last.  “Though I must admit that this whole time you have been perfectly honest, even if you did spare me much of the detail.”

 

“Honest?  Was I?” said Shallan, shocked but not daring to show a flicker of it in her expression.

 

“Yes.  When you said there was a lost treasure in the forest, you were being truthful in that.  If you had told the truth – of Heralds’ relics, it would have been so truthful that I do not think I would have believed you.” 

 

“And we ended up coming away empty-handed.”  Shallan picked at the crust of toast on her plate, sighing.

 

“I would not say that.”

 

And Adolin grinned, and in that he was perfectly honest too.  He was also perfectly guileless, and it was enough to make Jasnah roll her eyes at the unseemly display of affection.  If Jasnah could not find enjoyment in the company of men, and only tolerated them with painful sufferance – even her own blood cousin – Shallan did not see why she herself should live by the same standards.  In her own life, she had seen that men and women both were capable of terrible deeds, and they did not have to take the form of physical agony, such as a knife drawn over the ribs, or a gunshot in the dark.  No, in her early life, the miseries she had felt had not been physical; she was certain if they had, they would have been so much easier to bear – and to heal.

 

She thus felt an incipient twinge of impatience for Jasnah’s attitude toward Adolin.  Not all men were bad, just as all men were not good.  Jasnah did not even consider her uncle the Prince Dalinar a good man, for he was a man; she thought him adequate, more tolerable than most; she respected his habit of keeping by his word, and reading certain books long gone out of favour – but she had not trusted him with her confidences. 

 

Shallan found she disagreed with Jasnah in this – and she had not often disagreed with her teacher and mentor, and never vocally.  But lately she had been disagreeing with Jasnah more and more, usually with regards to her treatment of other people, which Shallan considered approached coarseness even if Jasnah followed the letter of etiquette, and her words could never be considered rude or cutting, not even by the most fastidious of Society matrons.  It was something in her intonation that suggested she would happily cut those she addressed if she could – if she had not needed their connections, or their influence, for some goal or other of hers.

 

“We might join the rest of the Family in the library,” said Jasnah, setting down her teacup with a barest clink of the saucer.  “They will have had breakfast themselves by now – we all of us had a late night.  The guards wouldn’t let us return to our own rooms until they had searched them thoroughly.”  She shot Adolin a pointed look.  “Perhaps you might have your handlers brush your dogs once in a while.  I frankly do not enjoy having hair on my pillows that is not my own.”

 

When they reached the library – the same one Shallan had visited with Kaladin in her search for astronomy charts – they observed that most of the attendees had already arrived, with only a handful of latecomers hurriedly filtering in.  The room was awash in a sea of blue uniforms – there were no servants; guards in the short jackets of common soldiers had the door, and stood by the windows.  They saluted Adolin upon identifying him; his hair was quite distinctive, and he wore the long coat of an officer.

 

The Family members and their highest ranking associates were gathered around the map table.  The top panels of the table had been unfolded to reveal a very detailed topographic map of Anglekar and the Anglethi Isles, and the north and western coasts of the East Continent.  Small figurines were placed around the map in strategic locations; they bore the shapes of miniature soldiers in blue, and ships in blue, and forts, and cannons, and horses. 

 

Orderlies in blue uniforms circulated amongst the seated high officers and nobility, offering cups of tea from the samovar whistling away on a folding table.  Shallan took a cup, and grimaced when she sipped it.  It was tea, but thickly brewed and laced with powdered ridgebark, dreadfully bitter and alkaline on the tongue.  Ridgebark had the effect of temporarily awakening the senses and staving off fatigue; it was similar in that way to the much more palatable coffee – but coffee was an expensive imported indulgence and, Shallan supposed, very hard to find when one was on the battlefield for a campaign.  Soldiers would be acclimated to the taste of it, for they were eagerly wanting of the alertness it brought.  But it was an acquired taste, and Shallan had not acquired it.  She set her cup aside.

 

“We bring this meeting to order,” announced Prince Dalinar, standing at the head of the table.  He sat down, and there was a rustle and creak as those who had precedence sat down as well; the junior officers and common soldiers stood in ranks behind and around.  Shallan had her own chair with Adolin on her right hand, and Jasnah on her left.  Jasnah’s folio of pages lay open on the table in front of her.  Kaladin, a warrant officer, did not have a seat, she noticed.  He stood at the front rank, behind Renarin and Major Khal seated opposite her.

 

“The events of last night have proved that my suspicious of foreign saboteurs are not unfounded,” said Dalinar.  “We were attacked, and we were unprepared – and we cannot – we shall not – let this go ignored.”  He glanced at the man on his right, and Shallan felt a small pang of shock as she realised that the man was the King. 

 

King Elhokar did not much resemble Jasnah, apart from the typical Anglethi tendency toward long limbs and lofty stature, and a similar colouring to their complexion and hair.  He could be considered handsome with his even features and attentive grooming, but there was no outward appearance of aloof severity in him that both Jasnah and her mother the Queen Dowager Navani possessed.  Neither did he have the charisma or almost-palpable presence of his uncle Dalinar.  He did not deliberately shrink away from sight, or unintentionally avoid detection in that curious manner of Renarin’s, but there was something, or a lack of something in him, that made one consider him somehow less important than the people around him; he was simply not very worthy of a second glance once one had graced him with a perfunctory first. 

 

Shallan did not pay much attention to Dalinar’s greetings of all his senior officers and staff, or his rousting speech describing the events of last night – she already knew what had happened, and very intimately so.  She watched the King.  His eyes had dark rings pouching underneath from a lack of sleep, and his hands dipped under the table to bring out a silver flask; he tipped some of its contents into his ridgebark tea.  Shallan did not think it a particularly healthful habit, especially not this early in the morning, and she saw Kaladin eyeing it with one brow quirked up in bemusement; he looked at her, and their eyes met, and she looked away.  The king, she could see, wore no officer’s uniform, only a modishly cut day suit with a coat of finely combed dark blue wool, with starched collar and a snowy, layered neckcloth.  He did not even wear a crown or circlet, because he was not attending a social gala, nor was he presiding over his Royal Court.  Courtly protocol demanded proper observation of courtly styles and formalities, but this was officially only a Family meeting.

 

“… One recent incident involving these assassins was brought to my attention,” said Dalinar.  “My niece Jasnah was tangentially involved.  These are no mere hired killers – they had an ulterior motive.   Jasnah?”

 

Jasnah rose to her feet to the polite, but definitely far from friendly acknowledgment of the ranked officers.  She explained the purposes of her research – again, a vague explanation much like Shallan’s – which was familiar to a number of people.  Lady Navani’s lacquered fingernails tapped against the tabletop in restless impatience. 

 

“The rumour of incredible wealth hidden by the ancients,” Jasnah said, not the least bit ruffled by the cool reception from the assorted guests.  “Drew the eyes of these foreigners.  There must be some substance to the stories – if they were worth sending an investigative – and invasive – party to the King’s own Home Counties.”

 

There was silence.  The officers glanced at one another and then at Prince Dalinar.  The King was not even appearing to pay attention; he stirred his tea with a silver teaspoon and occasionally turned his head to peer out through the window. Then Doctor Kaladin cleared his throat, and Adolin spoke.

 

“I myself have seen the results of these assassins’ interest,” he said, “and I do not dismiss them as hysteric fancies.  There is a hidden treasure, and though our first excursion found us leaving without answers, the soldiers I sent to reconnoitre and patrol the Kholinshire Forest did find something noteworthy.  Mr Karsten, if you please?”

 

Karsten, the groundskeeper in mottled green-grey, pushed through the crowd of officers, bearing a sack in one hand.  To Adolin’s nod of approval, he set the mysterious parcel on the table in front of Dalinar.  Karsten unknotted the twine at the top, and the burlap sacking dropped open to reveal a lantern with curved glass sides and a gold frame.  There was no oil reservoir, and no wick; inside was a rough chunk of colourless glass or lead crystal clamped to a small stand. 

 

“Doctor Kaladin first observed that there were strange lanterns in the ancient structure we found in the Forest,” continued Adolin.  “And when I sent men back to look further, we found that these lanterns were truly strange – beyond our expectations.  These lanterns were brought back, and I had them assayed.  The stone inside is diamond.”

 

Karsten flicked open a latch on the side and pulled out the diamond.  From his belt he drew his working knife, of a plain make with a worn leather-bound handle – but the blade was of quality steel.  The groundskeeper scraped the very roughly faceted diamond down the blade and held it up – a deep scratch marred the silvery finish of its side.  The officers began to mutter.

 

“There is something of value in Jasnah’s research, though perhaps it is not as exciting as a long-lost sword of heroes,” said Adolin.  “But it is enough to inspire greed from foreign eyes.  Doctor Kaladin?”

 

Kaladin stepped forward, and spoke.  “We arrested all the Ardents who were guests to last evening’s Feast.  Most of them, including Brother Kadash, were nothing more than simple Courtlea clerics who were released after a search and interrogation.  There were three others that attempted to run when we sent guards to collect them from the ballroom, and we set the dogs when they tried to escape onto the estate grounds.

 

“One got away – there was a coach prepared for a getaway on the road to Courtlea, before we had even set a cavalry patrol.  The second one we found dead on the grounds with a broken ankle – he had done away with himself before we could capture him.  The third we brought in for questioning.  He spoke a Continental tongue, and when we gave no guarantee of a future repatriation, poisoned himself with a capsule hidden in a false tooth.  And the last, the tattooed one killed in the retiring room.  There may be more, but we do not know for certain.”

 

“I have heard enough. Gentlemen,” said Dalinar, gravely.  He stood.  “We must prepare for war.”

 

The library was in uproar after his solemn announcement.

 

When the atmosphere had calmed slightly – it was still tense with a strained and gnawing apprehension – Dalinar spoke again.  “War with the Continent is inevitable.  We felt the first tremors in the colonies, and saw evidence of foreign interference in Ireland.  My brother’s death six years ago started a war we were not entirely prepared for.  My nephew’s death would have started another.  But we have the opportunity now – to prepare properly.”

 

“I will gather the Dukes, and we will have one last push against the marshpeople.  One final and conclusive victory to whet the appetite for new victories – and then the front shall be moved to the Continent.  Admiral Teleb, have the HMS Cobalt Guardian brought out of dry-dock.”  He took up a stick with a hooked end and pushed the statuettes across the map table.  “We must have the Stormwarden, the Countess von Iriale, and Sunraiser refitted as transports.  The Home Regiments must be split, and Major Khal has the landing – we shall choose Flanders for our base of operations; for now it is neutral ground and will not violate any treaties extant.  Adolin, you will return to the marshlands with me–”

 

“No.”

 

The background hum of conversation cut off abruptly.  Adolin looked around, then pushed his chair back.

 

“Soldier?” asked Dalinar.  He set the stick down, and straightened.  His bearing was forbidding and his face grim; he was clearly unused to being contradicted.

 

“You cannot gather the Dukes when you are away.  Parliament does not respond to promises and cajoling.  They are as flighty children – their attention wanders and they forget themselves as soon as something else comes along,” said Adolin quietly.  His words fell into the silence; they swiftly dissipated in the uneasy emptiness.  “You must unite them, Father – you must show them the fist beneath the glove – and you must stay to do it.”

 

Dalinar nodded slowly.  “Proceed.”

 

“We haven’t the resources on hand – the last war has drained us – for an immediate display of aggression.  We must fight defensively, at least at first, and use geography to our benefit.  Blockade the Channel, offer letters of marque, cut off their golden lifeblood, and amass our own men, and ships, and allies until we can have our great push from Flanders.  Bide our time, and in the meanwhile show them why the Anglethi Navy is the best in the world.”

 

Adolin exchanged a glance with Major Khal, and continued.  “Major Khal is to have his step to Lieutenant Colonel, and he shall join his father the Field Marshal in Ireland.  They have worked in concert before – their mutual experience in coordinated pushes and retreats will serve to advantage, and will show a fine example to the other ducal regiments.  Father, you must be the one to call the muster.  When the men come at the drums to take the King’s shilling, they must be shown why.”

 

The Prince Dalinar’s disciplined stance relaxed ever so slightly.  He pushed the stick over the table to Adolin, and calmly found his seat.  “You have finished the book, then?”

 

“I finished it years ago.  It is only recently that I have to come to understand its meaning,” said Adolin, his hand reaching out and reluctantly picking up the hooked wooden stick.  He brought it to the map table and rearranged the figurines, placing the ships in the Channel between Kholinshire and Roionshire and the north coast of the Continent.

 

“And soldier – what of you?” 

 

This was the question that Shallan had been wondering.  Adolin had made strategic decisions for the other major players.  All, excepting himself.

 

Adolin drew a slow breath.  Then he looked down at Shallan, whose slippered foot pressed against his own boots under the table.   He smiled, and there was bright and tender affection for her in his blue eyes, and something else lurked within them that was hard and bleak in its resolve; it was a seizure of one’s destiny, and a decision made and channelled to intention and then to action.  She recognised it; she had seen it before, very recently, and in herself.  It made her tremble.

 

No, she thought, please, no.

 

“I will go to Flanders.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

"Major Khal" - He is this AU's equivalent of Captain Khal, the son of General Khal from SA-canon. Obviously I have no idea what a battalionlord is supposed to be, so I went with the period accurate ranks. The matter he wanted to discuss was the promised promotion. Fort Shulin is by the city of Shulin, the only other named town in the canon Kholin Princedom.
"Quartered in the village" - IRL revolutions were fought because civilians didn't like being forced to house soldiers in their own homes, back when armies didn't carry food supplies with them and needed to forage/requisition/loot from farmers to eat. It's not something Dalinar or Adolin agree with. Remember, no Soulcasters.
Renarin and gambling - this kid has hustle. Too bad you have to talk to other people to do it - if internet poker was invented in Roshar, Renarin would be a professional.
On Shallan and Jasnah - Shallan started in awe of Jasnah, admiring her and wanting to be smart and in control all the time. But after character development, she is more independent, and wants something different, because Jasnah's way of life won't make her happy.
Ridgebark - Adolin eats this stuff after Szeth bursts through the wall in WoR, and stays up all night at his dad's door in his Shardplate, with the coffee shakes. In this AU, it's soldier coffee since coffee is only grown and imported from the colonies. Most people drink tea.
The lamp - Kaladin mentioned finding one in the tower.  He thought it was glass instead of a gemstone.
"Arrested the Ardents" - Kabsal got away. The man who left a calling card was Mraize dressed as a guest.
On Dalinar and Adolin - a partial throwback to canon-Adolin wanting his dad to let him duel again, and going to meet Eshonai alone. It's also a sign of character development that he wants to make decisions instead of being on the backseat to The Dalinar Show. He is a competent commander, but his fears of failure have crippled him in the past, but when he stops caring about approval and says what he thinks, he can be a better strategist than Dalinar. And he does pay attention to Renarin's numbers, even if he thinks arithmetic is for chumps. Earlier in the story, Adolin shows his awareness of economics and the big picture, and it marks his difference from Dalinar who can be more Blackthorn when it comes to war. The big picture says that Dalinar is indispensable.
"King's shilling" - historical lingo for enlisting and taking the signing bonus.
Flanders and Napoleon - things are different in this AU compared to IRL timeline. But some major things will stay the same. There is no set year for this story, since in-universe references to technology and culture go all the way up to the 1880's. Just early 1800's if it bothers you.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 30

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THIRTY ONE

 

 

 

 

The rest of meeting passed as Shallan sat numbly staring at her untouched cup of tea.  She remembered bits of it – blurs of colour, mostly in shades of blue – and the sounds of men shuffling about, and stamping away when slips of paper containing fresh orders were sent off to the couriers’ barracks in the stable yard – and Major Khal’s improvised promotion ceremony, where he knelt before the seemingly indifferent King to kiss his seal ring, and had his new commission papers hastily written and stamped on the spot. 

 

There was even a ritual prayer burning, lengths of linen-paper painted with glyphs for excellence and swift victory.  It was unusual for it to be done in this fashion in a stately home:  most grand houses had a combined prayer room and scriptorium with incense and braziers intended solely for such devotions.  It was unfashionable for one of noble rank to be openly pious, but even more unfashionable for one to lack such a room, for it was distinction enough to divide Grand House from common house.

 

When it was finished, Shallan felt weary and drained, wishing she had drunk her tea, even though it had gone cold and the powdered ridgebark had collected into a grey sludge at the bottom of the cup.  She pushed her chair back, slung her satchel over her shoulder, and left the room.  There were still soldiers and officers in blue uniforms lingering behind; Prince Dalinar had called a meeting of the Dukes – who had by now woken up and breakfasted – with the intention of informing them to prepare for war.  It was no Family meeting, and she was not invited, and she saw that Jasnah and the few female hangers-on were leaving as well – presumably to the ladies’ parlour for morning tea and refreshments.

 

In the hallway, Adolin’s voice called her name. 

 

“Shallan!”

 

“Adolin.”

 

She continued walking until she reached a branch off the main hallway; it would allow some semblance of privacy.  She turned around.

 

“I’m sorry – I know I am selfish.  It must be a shock–” said Adolin.  He crossed his arms, then uncrossed them, and his hands hung limp by his sides.

 

“You do not want to live in regret.  I understand.  Courage.  And strength,” Shallan said, her downcast eyes on the carpet.  “You have them within – and you are finding them.  And there you will find your peace.”

 

Adolin took a step closer, and his voice with low with emotion.  “For so long I have been afraid.  I choose not to be afraid anymore.  I have to do – what has to be done.  Not to prove that I am not weak, but rather because I know I am not weak.”

 

“You would regret it for ever if you didn’t.”

 

His arms wrapped around her, and surrounded her with the warmth of his body and the scent of his cologne, and his lips brushed against her forehead.  “No-one should live with regret,” he murmured.  “And it is the right thing to do.  I am not a soldier because it was the role I was born to be, but because it is the one I choose for myself.  The difference – the freedom – it comes from choice.   It is my duty to do what is right, because it is right – and not because I am told it is right.   It has taken me so long to see it, but I see it now.”

 

“Your peace has come at last,” said Shallan.  Hot tears itched beneath her lashes.  It was not all sadness, or melancholy; nor could they be tears of joy, or exultant delight.  No, she was glad to see that Adolin had found a door in the self-imposed cage he called his weakness, and found his own key, and the courage to take it and turn it in the lock and enter the great and unexplored wilderness beyond.

 

He sighed, and set the fine feathering tendrils of hair at her temple fluttering.  “My peace, and my purpose.  But only a part of it.  Just the very first step.”

 

“I wish you the best of luck.”

 

“Shallan.”  His voice caught in his throat.  “I do not intend for it to be an end – for us.  I will come back, I promise.”

 

“You oughtn’t to make promises you can’t keep.”

 

“I will keep this one.  Will you wait for me?”

 

“I will do what I can.”

 

“It is all I ask, Shallan,” he whispered.  She felt his lips grazing the lobe of her ear.  “I love you.”

 

His palm cupped her cheek, and the golden band of the seal ring slid across the line of her jaw.  Adolin’s lips found hers, and she did not cringe away at those words, words that no longer battered at her own self-imposed cage.  They were words that he had torn away from where they had been so very closely held – and hidden – around an unscarred spirit, one that had healing bruises upon further examination.  They were words he laid at her feet, and she could not tread them into the dust, just as she could not force them back in through his lips – his warm and gentle lips.  Those lips that were now pressed against hers.

 

Shallan shuffled back one step, then another, until her shoulders collided with the wall; she slipped her hands under Adolin’s coat and drew him closer to her.   His fingers tangled into her hair, and she pulled him close and her knee rose up so that her inner thigh – covered by a layer of fabric – scraped against his hip.  He groaned, and she muffled the sound with another deep kiss, and a nibble at his lower lip, followed by a flick of tongue. 

 

He had her gasping when his teeth grazed against the sensitive flesh of her throat; her arms around his waist squeezed sharply every time he gave a little nip.  There was a slight pause when his hands pulled open the high collar of her underdress and found the links of the necklace, warmed by her skin; he raised his head, and his eyes met hers, and she saw his expression – soft with the tender emotions he felt for her – and flushed with desire.  Then his tongue swept against that pink mark on her collar, and she shut her eyes and tried to forget that Adolin’s newfound discovery of choice would lead to a door opening far away, in another country, and another Continent…

 

An apologetic false cough from the hallway interrupted her thoughts.

 

Shallan’s eyes opened reluctantly.  Adolin growled; his breath whistled through his clenched teeth, and then he pushed himself away, tugging at his cuffs, and adjusting the hang of his coat to cover – Shallan paused, and then suppressed the thought with a pinch of sly amusement.  It would be, no doubt, the new and unseemly set of wrinkles that marred the perfect lines of his previously ironed waistcoat and neckcloth.

 

“Lieutenant Colonel Khal,” Adolin said, with uncharacteristic irritation; he managed to contain it, but Shallan could observe a certain stiffness in his carriage and the set of his shoulders.

 

“Sir,” said the new Lieutenant Colonel.   He scratched at his nose, aware that he was an unwelcome intruder in what might be politely described as a private conversation.  “The Dukes have been summoned and your father the Prince requests your presence in the library.  Immediately would be, ah, preferable.” 

 

“Of course, thank you.  I will be there shortly,” Adolin answered.  He glanced back at Shallan.  “I shall look forward to seeing you,” he said, and then bent his head close for a quick peck to her lips.  Shallan’s hands curled around his lapels and pulled him in for a longer kiss, and he did not resist.

 

“Good-bye,” said Shallan quietly as he and Lieutenant Colonel Khal turned away and made to leave.

 

“It does not have to be one,” Adolin said, and he smiled, and Shallan wished she could be as good-humoured and light-hearted as he was, and that he could stay longer to show her how it was done, so they could the two of them be bright and carefree in laughter together, and alone. 

 

But he was soon away down the hall, and she heard Khal say, “I find her looks charmingly exotic.  Have you been courting long?”

 

“Long enough,” Adolin replied, “to know that I…”

 

The rest of the conversation was too faint to hear.

 

Shallan went to the water closet to compose herself in privacy.

 

When she had finished, and wiped her eyes dry with the lace edging of her sleeve, she felt the scratch of the bit of pasteboard tucked inside.  She tugged it out.  It was the visiting card she had picked up from the floor of the servants’ hall, dropped by a mysterious member of the Organisation.  A man who had hidden himself in darkness and spoken to her about joining their cause.

 

Shallan tossed the card into the close stool’s porcelain bowl.  The three printed diamonds of the face design dropped into the water; the blank back darkened on the edges and grew soggy.   She reached for the pump handle, but stayed her hand when lines of pink-violet emerged on the surface of the damp pasteboard.  Lines – parallel lines – perfectly straight, and crossed by perpendicular lines, and squares in a row, all very neat and orderly like a view of a town from above.  A map.

 

She knelt on the floor over the bowl and peered down into the water.  Hazy handwritten text faded into existence.

 

“Waterlô,” she read.  It was a town in the East Continent, and she had a vague idea of its location, but she would require an atlas just to be sure.

 

Someone rapped impatiently at the door.

 

“Are you finished in there, Miss Davar?” called Kaladin’s voice from outside.

 

“No,” she said loudly, uncomfortably aware that it was unbecoming for a lady to raise her voice.  “Go away!”

 

There was a pause.  “Too bad,” she heard Kaladin say.  Then the doorknob rattled and turned. 

 

Shallan leapt to her feet and pulled the pump handle, and the card and the water swirled down into the drainpipe.  She whirled round to see Kaladin a few steps from the door, his brows darkly furrowed in anger; his eyes were black in his displeasure, and there was something else – an anxious concern, perhaps – in his face that showed a marked change from his usual stoic demeanour.  His lips thinned with grim disapproval.

 

“Damnation,” he snarled, seizing her wrist and dragging her out of the room.  He slammed the door shut behind him.    “I thought we had discussed this particular habit of yours.  And I see you indulging in it now, while you make yourself tardy for an appointment for that other habit.”

 

“It’s none of your business,” hissed Shallan, trying to pull her arm away.  Kaladin’s grip loosened, but he did not let go.  She let him lead her down the corridors to the North Wing.

 

“It is,” he snapped.  “Damnation.  I make it my business.”  He lowered his voice.  “When did you last have your courses?”

 

Shallan almost reeled in shock from such a brazen enquiry.  “I don’t know,” she finally managed.

 

“You do.  Think,” said Kaladin. “If that is not completely beyond you.”

 

“Seven weeks ago,” Shallan mumbled after a time, twin patches of red burning warmly on her cheeks.

 

“And you haven’t–”

 

“No.”

 

Kaladin made an irritated grunting noise.  It was rather unpleasant.  He was silent for a minute, and when he spoke, his voice was more moderated.  “When you and the Duke begin … knowing one another intimately … you must speak to me before.  It would be best for both of you to see me.”

 

Shallan’s face warmed up even more, and the warmth spread to her ears.  “Why?  What have our – intimate relations – got to do with you?” she asked.  She could guess one or two reasons why, but none of them seemed like anything Kaladin would ever lower himself to be involved with.

 

Kaladin kept walking, and Shallan followed, until they reached the brass nameplate of the stillroom door.   “Preventative measures,” he said, sounding unexpectedly strained.  “Adolin would say that you are not up to foaling weight, and in that I agree.  A wait of one-and-a-half to two years before it should not pose a risk to your health.  As long as you don’t resort to – purging.”

 

“Who said we would even do anything requiring preventatives,” Shallan huffed indignantly.  She crossed her arms.

 

“Please, Miss Davar.  You throw yourself at him every time he looks your way.”

 

“Well!  I will not be a – a broodmare!  I refuse!”
 

Kaladin rolled his eyes.  “We both know he doesn’t think of you like that.”

 

You do!  You think–”

 

The stillroom door opened, and Renarin blinked at them from behind his spectacles.   Shallan’s mouth snapped shut, and she glared at Kaladin, who looked away unconcerned.  He flicked a bit of dust from his epaulet and yawned. 

 

“Renarin,” she said, pasting on a smile and dipping into a respectful, if informal, curtsey.

 

He surprised her by stepping forward and lightly brushing a kiss to either side of her face.  His lips were cool on her burning cheeks, and then they were just as quickly gone.  “Sister,” he said quietly, in his peculiarly toneless way.  But there was something of his true sentiments in there, subtly tucked away – he was pleased to see her; he would not have greeted her with such familiarity otherwise.  “It looks lovely on you.  Congratulations.”

 

Kaladin’s eyes flicked downwards at her hands, searching for something that was not apparently there to be found.  He turned his back to her and strode to the glass-fronted cabinets on the wall.  “Give your progressionals to Renarin.  He will check them while I change your bandages.” He jerked his head at the surgical table, which now had a layer of padding over the steel sheeting, and buckled leather restraints that dangled from hooks underneath the tabletop.  “Get up, then.”

 

Shallan unslung her satchel and pulled out her sketchbook.  The progressionals were there, tucked inside, just as she had left them days ago; most of the calculations were completed but for the temperature part, which she had left blank.  She handed them tentatively over to Renarin, who looked at her outstretched hand and the offered papers for a few long seconds.  She thought he might refuse them, or refuse her, or–

 

He took the folded pages then wandered over to the side benches by the window, where he had pulled up a chair.  The benchtop in front of him had a neat stack of paper and four pencils lined up by size, and a few slim reference books.  The closest one had a blue cover embossed with:

 

 

Royal Anglethi Medical Corps Index of Calculations for Ether Dosing

 

 second edition

 

Prepared by Major Renarin Kholin, Marquess Kholinshire

 

 

Kaladin cleared his throat.

 

Shallan hopped onto the table – much softer with the padding now – and unbuttoned her dress, and then her underdress.  She dragged them down to her waist and waited.

 

She heard the thump as Kaladin’s medical kit bag was placed on the table beside her, and the click of the catch, and a rustle as the Doctor rummaged inside.  Then she felt his warm hands on her bare shoulder from behind, but they were withdrawn, and he was silent, and she waited for him to say something.

 

“He gave you the chain.”

 

“He gave me the set of brushes too,” said Shallan, closing her eyes as his hands returned to business, undoing her bandages and cleaning the wounds, and salving them with the herbal paste.  “You are welcome to borrow them at any time.  But I cannot imagine it should do much to improve your appearance.”

 

“What is perfect does not need improvement, Miss Davar,” remarked Kaladin.  She could sense the smugness in his tone, and she laughed.  “But the chain is special.  Adolin calls it his good luck charm.  He has it on him before every duel, and before every charge in every field action.”

 

“He finds me in obvious need of good luck, then,” Shallan replied.  She winced as her burn was swabbed.  “As you can see.”

 

“Perhaps he thinks it looks lovely on you.”

 

“What is perfect does not need improvement,” she said, echoing his earlier line with a layer of undisguised sarcasm.

 

“Of course not,” said Kaladin coolly, pressing a new pad of bandage over her ribs and tying it on.  “Do not think of it as an improvement.  It is more like a garnish – like the sprig of parsley, or the reserved feathers on a roasted pheasant.”

 

“But they don’t do anything,” Shallan said, frowning.  “They are taken off before one can start eating.”

 

“Yes.”  Kaladin’s voice was infuriatingly calm.  She could never tell if he was making an attempt to be droll.  “You may dress yourself now.  Those new rashes of yours are really quite unsightly.”

 

Shallan sighed and buttoned herself up again; she sat on the padded tabletop, swinging her legs idly back and forth and setting the dangling straps jingling merrily.  Kaladin returned to the cabinets, inspecting the ether bottles, putting some back, and finally deciding on a selection of five.  He placed them on a tray, next to five stacked steel bowls.  He went over to the curtained section in the corner of the room and a minute later came out with a rolling trolley constructed of two steel shelf-like tiers on a frame of sturdy wood.  He set the tray on the top, and pushed it, rattling, to the head of the surgical table.

 

“Doctor Kaladin,” said Renarin suddenly, not bothering to look up from the papers fanned out in front of him.  “You said you wanted the calculations adjusted with the page sixty-two formulae–”

 

“Yes,” said Kaladin.  Then he walked over to Renarin’s work table and peered over his shoulder.  “The nu – the sigma – should be extended in the series here and here to compensate.”

 

Renarin’s pencil scratched over the pages.  “It will give you less than three minutes.  Should that do?”

 

“Yes.”  He glanced back at Shallan, his face carefully expressionless.  “Miss Davar, make yourself comfortable.  It is standard to remove one’s shoes and loosen one’s top buttons.”

 

Shallan lay back and closed her eyes, letting her mind sink into tranquillity, until each breath was slow and even and regular.  The dandies who hired their watchers and arithmeticians often hired a musician as well, to gently relax them whilst they entered and awoke from the drift.  The manuals said that a calming background stimulus in the half-lucid aftermath of the waking-drift brought a lingering peace, and it was an easier transition for the mind compared to the shock of smelling salts that she had experienced.  She had been roughly jarred awake a week ago, and it had made her disoriented in her own mind, and had led to rash behaviours and unintended actions.  Shallan, however, certainly could not feel regret for them.

 

Wealthy dandies who frolicked hired harpists or flautists to accompany them.  Public drifting dens – at least the more respectable ones – had them also, sometimes with a lutist and a piper – anyone who had skill enough to keep time and carry a tune.  She, now, had Renarin and Kaladin.  Kaladin was, if anything else, competent, she decided, and Renarin was … well, precise and meticulous, even if she thought that he completely lacked artistic inclinations and the ability to turn his hand to improvisation.  They would do, and they would do a better job than she could do herself, or had ever done for Jushu and Balat.  It did not matter that neither of the gentlemen could or would sing for her, as she had sung for her father.

 

They had hourglasses to keep time, anyway.

 

She cleared her mind bit by bit, until she felt awareness seep out of her to encompass the whole room.  She could hear the flip, flip, flip of Renarin shuffling papers about, and she could hear the tread of Kaladin’s scuffed uniform boots, and the clink of glass on steel surgical tray.  Then a book snapped shut, and Renarin’s chair scraped over the flagged floor.

 

“Please begin, Doctor,” he said.  Then his head bent over hers.  “Your ninety minutes starts now, Sister.”

 

She heard the tap as an hourglass was upended, and the glugging sound of ether poured into a bowl.  She smelled the fumes, and breathed them in, and they stung her nostrils with tingling familiarity.  She embraced the scent, and the dizzying near-pain of it burning warm through her nose, sizzling at the back of her tongue, and down into her throat.  Kaladin pressed the cold soaked pad over her nose and lips, and she inhaled.  The first breath hurt the most, but she breathed slowly and savoured it, until her face began to numb and her lips began to feel like they belonged to someone else. 

 

The ether-doused pad was removed; she breathed in fresh air for a few seconds, and then it was replaced.  Kaladin counted down the seconds; she could hear him; she could hear everything.  But her own thoughts slowed to a trickle, and she couldn’t think of herself – she was perfectly aware of the things that happened and were happening around her, but the feelings, the urges, and the senses of her own body grew distant and far-removed, and she couldn’t care what happened to it.  No wonder ether was so commonly used in surgery and dentistry.

 

“Two minutes and thirty-eight seconds,” called Renarin.  “Not three.”

 

“Right,” said Kaladin.  “Miss Davar.  Shallan.”  His hand gripped her wrist, feeling for her pulse.

 

“…Kaladin…” Shallan murmured, eyes closed, and smiling.  

 

Kaladin lowered the pad over her nose, and she breathed.  Each breath was better than the last.  It was fresh, and cooling, and brisk, and – delicious.  Like the first breath of air on a clear and crisp winter day in the highlands, when one ventured outside after an evening spent in the stale coal-fug of the Loch Davar manor house.

 

His warm breath whispered by her ear, and she giggled insensibly.  “Do you love me?” he asked, in a soft voice.

 

Her numb lips answered his question; the words slipped out, completely bypassing her brain and her memory.  She did not know what she said, and she could not recall his question afterwards, nor did she consider the significance of it.  It didn’t matter; it was transient; everything was transient and fleeting and nowhere near as bright as the colours she could see playing out in her own mind. 

 

“Do you love Adolin?” he asked.

 

Her clumsy tongue twitched, and her lips moved, and she answered that question as well.  It did not take long to find an answer, or else time seemed to work differently when she had nothing by which to measure but the flickering colours of memory and false-memory.  Kaladin let go of her wrist when he heard her answer, but her hand rose upwards, and traced the white officers’ piping of his coat sleeve, and her fingers trailed up his forearm.

 

“I do not count them a blemish,” Shallan found herself saying, as memory trundled backward and her mind fell backward as well.  She would have fallen backward too, if she hadn’t been laying down.  Faster and faster it went, until it all blurred into vivid streaks.  Black and green and yellow and white, streaks and stripes of colour in the warp and weft of her life…

 

“Forty-seven seconds,” Renarin said.

 

“I am finished,” said Kaladin.

 

“The fifty-five then, Doctor.”

 

The sound of pouring once again, and then a fresh pad was placed over her mouth and nose – this time stronger than the last.  The vapours filled her, and she embraced them, but she was too far gone to feel shame at this wretched indulgence of a deplorable habit.  She smiled with numbed and buzzing lips, and she filled herself with the invisible ether fumes and let them enter her, and surround her with their wondrously beautiful sights, and sounds, and colours, and sensations.  And everything was so real and bright and clear and lively it was like she was there, that she was back home – but she could not be back, for these were no true memories, she realised.  They were versions of memories, exaggerated beyond true life and coloured with the rosy forgetfulness and the complacent blindness of nostalgia.

 

But they were still beautiful, and Shallan did not turn them away.  She was an artist.  There was beauty, and she could appreciate it, and find the real truth hidden within.

 

She saw the wedding day again, the day Father married Malise, when she and her brothers still carried hope in their hearts that Father could change, and it would change everything.  They had hoped – they had wanted, so very desperately – for Father to move on from his grieving over Mother’s death, for him to put aside the past, to continue with a life that did not involve evenings alone with the whisky bottle, or long walks around the lake with a fowling piece, returning empty-handed but covered in dirt and blood and feathers.

 

That day was her last day of happiness, before her hopes had been crushed out of her and replaced with despair and emptiness, until she had left Loch Davar for good.

 

It was happiness, naïve and childish happiness born of ignorance and a severe absence of foresight, tinged with the myopic eyes of wistful sentimentality.  But it was warm with the familiarity of a favourite lavender-scented blanket, and Shallan had not felt that warmth for so long … but somehow, it was different to the warmth she felt when Adolin laughed at something she said, and when he looked at her–

 

Malise, the beautiful bride, wore a woven coronet of lavender and heather on her hair, which was unusually streaked with blonde.  She had pale skin, and a small button nose, and her cheeks bloomed with joy on her wedding day.  For Malise was the youngest daughter of a minor squire, and although she was much younger than Laird Davar, she was old for a first bride.  She was less than a decade older than Shallan, and had only a few years over Helaran Davar.  So she was naturally grateful, and exceptionally ecstatic, at being the new Baroness – it was a prestigious match, and much better than could be expected for a young woman of the lower gentry who boasted no favourable connection.

 

Husbands and wives often did not love each other on their wedding day; there was no requirement that they had to, when the banns were read.  Malise thought that Lin Davar could love her, one day.  And when Shallan saw the woman who was to be her new step-mother, graceful and gracious and beautiful in the red and black and striped cream of the Gevelmar tartan, she thought if she could love Malise, then Father could too.

 

She remembered the scratch of her own tartans, the same new set she had worn for her presentation to The McValam, and her Scots bonnet with her clan badge, lovingly polished the night before, and proudly worn on the day.  She remembered the taste of sparkling wine tingling up her nose, and the first time she had tried unwatered whisky, given to her by Jushu.  It had burned on her throat just like ether vapours.  She remembered the taste of butter cake made with expensive white sugar and decorated with imported candied cashews.

 

They were memories that were so close to life that she could almost accept that they were the real thing.  But they were soft and blurred on the edges, and if she looked further, she could see things that she hadn’t seen at the time.  When Father had unwrapped Malise’s Gevelmar tartan, and Helaran had handed up a new woollen McValam tartan for him to drape over her shoulders, Helaran’s face had been twisted into a scowl of resentment.  It was the beginning of his falling-out with Father.

 

But Malise was happy when the green and black of the McValam tartan was lowered over her shoulders and pinned in place with a clan badge, and Shallan clung to that happiness, relishing in the sensation, drifting in it, and remembering these false memories of a home built on a foundation of lies and deceit and pain and secrets.  She ignored everything else and let in all the good things, the way she had done for a third of her life – as a means of self-defence.  This was indulgence, and she would let herself indulge, just this once – this one last time.

 

She breathed in, and breathed out, slowly and peacefully, and let the colours and sounds take her elsewhere.  To the place she could call home, only when all the terrible things were blocked out and completely excised from memory.  It was much better that way, when it was so distant she could only touch it from her mind, and it could not touch her at all.  When she had a doctor and her new brother to watch over her as her blood brothers could never have done.  She trusted them.  And that was enough for her to feel safe.

 

“Sixty minutes,” said a voice.

 

“Not long left, then.”

 

“No.”

 

The pad over her nose was lifted.  Shallan kept her eyes closed, lingering in the vapours.  It was a replaced with a new cloth, soaked in ether and diluted with distilled water.  She could tell she was regaining her lucidity.   She relaxed, and took deep, slow breaths.

 

“Time?”

 

“Seventy-nine minutes.”

 

“Soon.”

 

The pad was changed once again, and then lifted away, and not replaced.

 

Shallan did not open her eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:
The Ghostblood card - it's an invisible ink.  Waterlô, or Waterloo, is an important town for any stories involving Napoleon.
Kaladin the ambiguously ethical doctor - he has no spren, and follows in the "as long as I feel like it's right" school of ethics.  This means he will invade people's privacy if he feels like it's necessary, as he has done to Shallan multiple times.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 31

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THIRTY TWO

 

 

 

 

 

The waking-drift was rather curious in its combining freedom of thought – a product of the drift – with the lucidity of one’s real and physical life.  One could become dangerously devoid of inhibition, but still be perfectly capable of thinking clearly, and speaking intelligibly enough that people often could not tell that one had just left the embrace of ether.  In this lay the importance of driftwatchers, those whose duty involved preventing acts of impropriety before one had a chance to act upon them. 

 

An indifference of mind arose in the waking-drift’s gently tenuous embrace; it was the follow-through to the indifference of body from the true drift.  There was still awareness in both – unlike ether dosages for inducing surgical insensibility – but the main effect was a lack of concern.  One could be cut and bleed and see the blood, but one would not scream from the pain of it.  One could remember and dwell upon painful things without feeling the pain of them. 

 

Painful things.  Like, for example, the day Shallan had killed her own mother.

 

Her mother was ill, in the mind, if not in the body.  She had fits of dementia, and her moods wandered unpredictably, and all of them at Loch Davar held onto her happy days; when she had her bad ones, the ones where she railed in her room, and tossed porcelain shepherdesses out of the window to smash onto the courtyard below, they closed their eyes and waited for it to pass. 

 

Father wouldn’t acknowledge that Mother was ill.  He loved Mother too much.  He blinded himself with his love for her.

 

And that was it.

 

Father loved Mother, spirit and soul and heart and everything else.  He was a man of strong feeling, and passions, and he had in him the old berserker blood of the northern clans; everything he did was done with passion.  That was the reason for the Davar siblings numbering five, when most respectable noble couples only produced two – an heir and a spare – in order not to dilute the family holdings when split in the form of inheritances and dowries.   Mother and Father didn’t care – they were much the same in thought and action.  They matched; they balanced one another – as long as they had each other.

 

Father could never have loved Malise.  Never.  Nothing – no-one – could ever replace Mother, and that was how he had broken, when he had gone away in his own mind, and could never find his way back.  Something within him had cracked; it died, and it had rotted into putrescence, when Shallan killed Mother.  The checks on his behaviour had snapped.  He forgot himself, once too often, once too far, and Shallan had had to kill him too.

 

Mother’s death occurred when Shallan was eleven years old.

 

Mother had her off-days, and had been in seclusion from Society for several months by then, after having made a scene at a garden party.  There had been rumours about her; most thought she had been sent away to take the waters, or to try the sea air when the country air of the Loch had not proven itself effective.

 

Shallan was summoned upstairs for her weekly presentation in Mother’s boudoir, to show to advantage the skills mastered in lessons with her governess.  It was the governess before Madame Tyn.  She would be expected to curtsey, recite, sing, and sum on command, on pain of her governess’s dismissal and replacement.  Shallan was always anxious before the weekly meeting; she was always desperate to please Mother, and give the answers she wanted to hear.  The right answer was not always the acceptable one in Mother’s strange and twisted mind.

 

But this time, Mother was on one of her bad days.

 

She had berated Shallan, and screeched at her, but Shallan was used to it.  She dodged out of the way of the thrown hand-mirror, and the tea settings, and then the candlesticks.  She, by then, was used to Mother calling her a spawn of Damnation, a bastard of Braize, a terrible wilful changeling child born with a terrible cursed soul that could not be fixed.  It hurt; it wounded a child so desperate for loving approval, and each word felt like a slash across her young and impressionable heart.

 

Father closed his eyes to it.  He loved Shallan, but he loved Mother, and he could not accept that Mother could not love her.

 

So Shallan endured it, more often as Mother descended into her madness.  Instead of waiting for her bad days to pass, they started hoping that the sun would rise on a rare good day.

 

Until that day Shallan had gone up to Mother’s rooms, and Mother told her that she had finally found a cure for that cursed soul.  Shallan, filled with the hope of a childlike innocence, had approached Mother, expectant and trembling and eager in her desire to finally please when before she had failed in every attempt.  Then Mother had brought out the letter knife and tried to stab Shallan with it.

 

Mother chased Shallan around the room, swearing and shrieking.  It was typical behaviour for her by then, and went ignored by servants and family alike.  Shallan had knocked things down, and thrown things on the floor behind her, but Mother came on implacably with the light of righteous, manic fury burning hotly in her eyes.  Shallan had looked around for something to protect herself, found the dressing table stool, and threw it at Mother’s legs.

 

Mother fell to the white carpet.

 

The letter knife flew out of her hands. 

 

Shallan picked it up.

 

Mother leaped at Shallan, and bore her down onto the carpet, and they had rolled around struggling and scratching, and Shallan had slashed out with the knife and cut Mother’s arm, first once, and then twice, and three times.  Mother fell back, and her blood dripped down her wrist, twining around her hands like vines on a trellis, pattering onto the carpet and staining the pure white with bright spots of red.  Mother cradled her wrist, smearing her arms and her dressing gown with bloody handprints, and when she looked up at Shallan, there was no anger there – only emptiness, the bleak and miserable emptiness of regret.  There was no love, nor any capacity for love.  She was hollow, all the way through, and mother and daughter knew it for an unavoidable truth in that instant; when their eyes met, they shared something in common as they had not shared in years, so many years that Shallan could barely remember it; she was too young.

 

She took one bloody finger and drew a line over her other wrist, and Shallan understood what was meant.  She had ever been the precocious child.  When she was finished, she closed Mother’s eyes, and kissed her cooling cheek, and placed the letter knife in her hands.  She sat on the bed and cried, until the silence was noticed, and Father’s heavy footsteps pounded up the stairs and down the hallway and then he burst through the door.

 

The coroner said Mother had done it herself.  The village gossips said Father had driven her into it, by locking her away in the manor house instead of sending her abroad to a sanatorium, as was usually done for cases of chronic hysteria.  Perhaps Father believed that there was truth in that, for he blamed himself, and his outward passion turned inwards and twisted him from the inside until he was not the same man anymore; from then he stopped being Shallan’s loving father. 

 

It was easier to believe that Father had caused it all, and that Shallan was not responsible.  She had just been there, but she could not remember anything.  She was the innocent victim, the victim of circumstance, and she accepted it.  She accepted everything that had happened with willing compliance, and let others choose for her.  It was easier that way, just as it was easier to forget what had happened.

 

No-one knew Shallan had done it, and no-one blamed her.  They pointed their fingers at Father and whispered about him, and he did not deny it; he was cut from Society and he turned to drink.  The seasons changed, and the social Seasons came and went, and Father grew grasping and selfishly protective.  Helaran had gone away to school; Balat and Wikim had expected to go away for their education, but Father kept them close and did not make the necessary arrangements.  He kept all of them close – and Shallan the closest of all.

 

But Father was dead now, because she had killed him.

 

She was broken, and had been broken since she had taken a life for the very first time.  She knew now that it had been a choice, a choice to protect herself.  Shallan had saved her life by choosing that over death; she did not have to be broken.  And in the end, she rather thought she had saved Mother as well.

 

Shallan opened her eyes.  Her cheeks were wet with tears.

 

Kaladin’s eyes stared down at her.

 

“Oh,” she whispered, memories lingering behind her eyelids, voice feeble with dry lips and parched tongue.  “He’s dead.  He went away for ever, and he will never come back.  Kaladin – he’s dead.” 

 

Kaladin looked as if she had struck him.  He turned away, breathing heavily, hands clenching into fists at his sides.

 

“Kaladin,” she said, thoughts whirling with the cool and emotionless clarity of the waking-drift.  “Your father once asked if one could kill to protect.  My own father taught me that, yes, one can.” 

 

I have a plan, said the calm and detached Shallan in her mind.

 

“What did you see in the drift, Miss Davar?” said Kaladin slowly, turning around and all but pinning her to table with the force of his gaze.

 

“Truth.  Do not worry, one time is enough.  I enjoy it – but I do not crave it.  How strange,” she replied.  And indeed it was.  She did not try to keep the vapours inside of her, clinging to the abyss, as she had done that last time a week ago.  She would enjoy it – anyone would – if it were offered again, but she felt no urge to seek it out and return once more to the bliss of a gratification that she recognised was no true happiness.  “Now, can you untie me?”  She rattled the straps at her wrists, and felt the pressure of the strap at her forehead.

Kaladin undid the buckles, and the straps dangled once again under the table.  Shallan sat up, swung her legs down, and would have collapsed onto the floor if Kaladin had not caught her in his arms.  She flung an arm over his shoulder and laughed.

 

“Your hair is so different to mine!  And it smells like ether!  You smell like ether!”  She took a deep sniff and pulled at a lock of his hair, then she patted his head.  It was not soft and fluffy like Adolin’s, but coarse and in dire need of a comb.  “Do you cut your own hair?”

 

“Yes.”  He looked at her, eyebrow raised.

 

“Can you cut mine?”

 

The stillroom door opened.  Renarin stood at the threshold, bearing a tray with a teapot and a platter piled high with sandwiches cut into neat triangles.  He surveyed them over the frame of his spectacles.

 

“Should I come back later?” he asked.

 

“No,” they both said at the very same time.

 

Kaladin cleared off the table and brought chairs, and they ate their lunch on the surgical table, and used clean beakers for cups.  Shallan was hungry – the last time ether had given her quite an appetite as well – and she ate more than Renarin.

 

“Renarin,” she said, with her mouth full – she was still in the grip of the waking-drift, and did not care about sensibility and seemliness.  “How much does it cost to buy a commission?”

 

Renarin put down his beaker of lukewarm tea.  “It depends on the service, the regiment, and the rank.”

 

“I have ten unworn silk gowns worth a hundred spheres sterling apiece, a set of silver hairbrushes, and a silver necklace.  What would that buy me in the Kholin Regiments?”

 

A chair scraped backwards; the table shifted, and tea slopped over the edge of Shallan’s beaker.  Kaladin towered over them, his eyes flashing with anger.  “No.  What you’re thinking – the answer should be no.  You too, Renarin.”

 

Renarin sipped placidly at his tea.  “Regimental Infantry Lieutenant, easily.  You still need enough for the uniform, equipment, and horse.”

 

“Lieutenant Davar,” said Shallan.  “I like the sound of it.”

 

“Shallan,” said Kaladin warningly.  “You wanted to be Duchess Kholinar once.  What happened to that?”

 

“I don’t want to be Duchess Kholinar if it means I must be the Dowager Duchess.”

 

“What you’re doing is against the law.  I could report you.  And Renarin too.”

 

Renarin folded his hands over the table.  He glanced at Kaladin, then Shallan.  “Doctor,” he said, “do you think Shallan would enjoy a month in the court martial’s cage?”

 

“She wouldn’t be court martialled.”

 

“She would still spend a month in there while Adolin sorts things out.  If you can recall–”

 

“I still disagree.”

 

“There is another way.”  Renarin rose to his feet, and walked over to the stack of papers.  He inclined his head, and Shallan stood too, and joined him.  He opened his coat, and drew out a slim leather wallet from the interior pocket, which he unfolded on the table.  “Your progressionals are accurate for all that they were roughly done,” he said.  “Sign here.”

 

It was a rectangle of heavy cotton-rich, watermarked paper, printed in the square blue letters of an official document, and embossed with a swirling gold border on the edges.   It read Certificate of Qualification on the top, with spaces on the bottom for date and signatures.  Renarin’s name was already signed in one corner, next to the blue wax roundel and attached silver ribbon of his personal seal.

 

Shallan picked up the pencil and signed Shanall McRavad on the indicated space.

 

“Welcome to the Supply Corps, Lieutenant,” said Renarin.  And then he handed her a gold sovereign.  “I don’t have a sphere shilling, but this has the King on it, so it will have to do.  Everything will be taken care of – you needn’t sell my mother’s chain and brushes.”

 

“Thank you.”  Shallan smiled and threw her arms around Renarin; he stood stiffly, and then his hand patted her on the back.

 

“I would be proud to call you Brother,” he whispered.  He returned to the table and resumed his half-eaten lunch.

 

Shallan folded up her certificate, and slid it back into the leather wallet, smiling all the while.  She heard Kaladin’s footsteps from behind her.

 

“That was a terrible idea,” he said.  “Exactly the type of thing a driftwatcher is meant to prevent.”

 

“It is the right thing to do.  I would regret it for ever if I didn’t.  And no-one should live in regret.”

 

“No,” he said.  “But you could die.”

 

“Then I will die without regret.  I have faced death many times already,” Shallan said fiercely, glaring at the Doctor.  “And I have killed, and I can kill again.  I can kill to protect.  I will not die doing nothing, I promise you that.”

 

Kaladin sighed and rubbed his eyes; he leaned heavily against the table.  “I suppose you want me to cut your hair.”

 

“Not yet.  You promised to take me to the range.  I would like that, very much.”

 

“Whatever the lady desires,” said Kaladin, deferring to his usual sarcastic tone.  “Though I think it would be superior officer now.”

 

“Lady will do.  But you never called me Lady Shallan anyway,” said Shallan.  Then she grimaced.  “We shall keep the superior officer business between us.”

 

Kaladin lowered his voice.  “And Adolin?  What will he say when he finds out you are throwing away the titles and security he offers?”

 

“He will understand that there are things more important than names and wealth.  And I am not throwing them away – merely delaying them.  If the main duty of the Duchess must be delayed, then why not all of them?”  She walked back to the lunch table, and seated herself, pointedly ignoring Kaladin’s fallen chair.  “Now, I can tie a neckcloth, and ride a horse astride, and give a close shave with a straight razor.  What else do I need to know?”

 

“How to wear and walk in trousers,” Kaladin said.  “Have you ever done it?”

 

Shallan reddened, and picked up a sandwich.  “Um.  A few times?” she paused.  “Thrice, perhaps.  I wear woollen stockings on cold days; that’s very nearly same thing.”

 

Renarin exchanged a look with Kaladin, who looked faintly amused.  “Shallan,” said Renarin carefully, “I have my old parade uniform from when we reviewed the troops at the start of the war.  If you should like to have it, it would be no problem.”

 

“If you could spare it, you would do me a great honour,” Shallan answered.  “Thank you.”

 

Renarin slid his chair back and silently left the room.

 

“I know you disapprove,” said Shallan.

 

“Whatever gave you that impression, Miss Davar?”

 

Shallan ignored him.  “How old was your own brother when he took the King’s shilling?  Would you say that he was better prepared than I?”

 

“He was fifteen.  He signed with a false name and a false age.  And now he is dead.”

 

“You know well that not everyone can be saved.”  Shallan hesitated for a moment, then ploughed ahead.  “Sixteen is the minimum to take the shilling from the drumhead.  Adolin went to the marshlands when he was seventeen.  If he could do it, why not I?”  His eyes were dark with a feeling that did not show on his face.  “If you say, ‘because you are a woman’, I shall be tempted to strike you.”

 

“I wasn’t going to say that.  No.  It would be a great loss if you were to die.” 

 

Shallan bit her lip and looked at the crumbs on the lunch tray.  “I have come a long way since you called me a nuisance, haven’t I?”

 

“Yes.  And there is still a long way left to go.”

 

“Then I am glad I should not have to go alone.”

 

“No.  Never.”

 

They lapsed into a companionable silence.  Kaladin finished his lunch, and collected the plates, then carried them to the scullery tub where he pushed back his sleeves, washed the dishes, and stacked them on the sideboard to dry.  He did not say anything, or endeavour to make conversation, or attempt a petty justification to explain why a man would lower himself to doing what society called woman’s work.  Shallan knew him well enough by now that Doctor Kaladin did not care for what society expected him to say or do, and if he had read Arts and Majesty as he had read The Way of Kings, what he made of it was coloured with his innate scepticism. But he seemed to respect what other people thought of it, if they happened to align themselves with the intention behind the words.  Perhaps that explained his prayer in the Courtlea village church that day, when she had been under the assumption that he was as Godless as Jasnah.

 

Shallan opened her satchel and slid out her sketchbook and pen box.  She swept away the breadcrumbs and began drawing, clearing her thoughts.  It was much easier when the waking-drift still lingered in the foggy edges of her mind; it had been so recently that she had experienced the ether-induced clarity that it was no struggle at all to reach for it, and grasp it so it enveloped her once more. 

 

Perception. 

 

That was the key.

 

The latch, the lock, the cage, the door.  It was all a choice.  And she could make it.  She smiled.

 

She dug through the pen box.  Blue ink.  That was exactly what she needed.

 

Shallan drew, and sketched, and dipped her finger in a small puddle of spilled tea on the table to wash out the blue ink into something just a shade lighter and less opaque.   Kaladin cleared up the supplies left over from Shallan’s drift, wringing out the nose cloths over the scullery drain.  His movements were patient and methodical, and he looked as if he had done it all before.

 

He was a surgeon.  Of course he had.  And it was not indulging wretches in their vile habits that he did, but applying anaesthetic so that people whose legs had to be off did not kick him in the face in their pain and terror.  Shallan tried to imagine Kaladin being kicked in the face.  She doubted it would result in a change to his perpetually grim countenance – his brows would go down instead of up, and that would likely be the only difference.  But Shallan had seen beer dripping out of his nose, and that was indignity in plenty – enough to satisfy her unladylike wicked streak.

 

Shallan could accept the existence of this playful wickedness in her; it was different to the cursed soul her mother had long accused her of, for all that she had believed that they were one and the same thing – the very thing she was told would unavoidably condemn her to Damnation, where she belonged.  Not everything in her was unlikable, she realised.  Society might not turn an appreciative eye to certain aspects of her character – she could never be the agreeably biddable ingénue expected for someone of her station.  But Adolin didn’t think it important, and Kaladin didn’t care – and Renarin did not seem to have any expectations either way.  So she did not have to care either.

 

They were not flaws.  She was flawed – everyone was – but she could be redeemed.  She was worth redemption, and if other people would not give it to her, she would find it, and seize it for herself.  For it was all in perception. 

 

Perception.

 

If she could find herself a new woman, a new man could not be so challenging.

 

That almost made her laugh aloud.  She had already found a new man, and he was wonderful and honest and kind and gentle, and that was enough to mark him dissimilar to the all men she had known in her young life.  And since he had slept in her bed, and seen her in the bathing chamber – though they happened to be affianced and hadn’t done certain other things – they were as yet unmarried.  It was enough for her to delight in the deliciously wicked revelation that Adolin, by technicality, was her lover.  Of course, no-one would ever say it, and precious few would even think it, but it was all in perception, and she liked the sound of it. 

 

She smiled as she sketched, and Kaladin took care of the housekeeping tasks – refilling the lamps, trimming the wicks; he even swept the floor and gathered the dust into a pan that he tipped into the autoclave boiler’s coal bin.  It didn’t bother her that Kaladin did the work better suited for women or servants, or women servants, when a week ago she would have thought him impudent for disregarding the dignity of his own place and position within the household.  Addressing the quality by their noble titles was a conventional display of respect for most people.  Kaladin showed the depth of his respect in other ways.  He was capable of it, even if she had not recognised it upon their first being introduced.

 

He had respect for her.  She could return it, and make it mutual.  That feeling, at least, could be easily managed.

 

The afternoon sun lit the clouds with glowing orange light in the tall windows of the stillroom, and Kaladin drew the blinds and lit the lamps to spare their eyes from the blinding glare.  He took away the padded table cover and straps, and wiped down the table, first with water, and then with diluted ether; Shallan did not even feel much distracted by the fumes.  It did not have the same draw as it had in the past, but the familiarity was the same.  She could like it, and allow herself to like it, but she did not hunger for it.  Not anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

Lin Davar, Malise, and Shallan's Mother - a failed love triangle, based on my own interpretation of canon-SA with a Regency twist.  Shallan's Mother and Father are darker versions of Mr and Mrs Rochester (Jane Eyre), the crazy wife locked in the attic.  Malise loved Lin when she married him, but he never loved her.
"Heir and a spare" - happened IRL, and in Alethkar.  Main character siblings only come in pairs for some reason - Gavilar/Dalinar, Jasnah/Elhokar, Adolin/Renarin, Kaladin/Tien.  The Davars are weird for having 5, and I felt like there was a reason for it.
"Mother's death" - and Father's death have been foreshadowed for ages.  Earlier chapter "sad girl with bloody hands and a mourning veil of ether fumes" was a reference to both of them.  How she killed the Ardents was supposed to be Shallan (un)consciously re-enacting the trauma to order to accept what happened.
"Kaladin – he’s dead" - Shallan is talking about Lin Davar, Kal thinks it's Helaran.
"Buy a commission" - until the 1870's, officers got their rank in the army by buying them, and regiments were funded by noblemen pretty much being sponsors.  IRL a Lieutenant rank would have cost ~£750, but you had to pay for equipment and servants.
"Court martial's cage" - Kaladin went to military prison for dereliction of duty (AKA desertion) before the events of this story.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 32

 

 

 

 

 

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I think it has been years since I got upset from something I read on the internet – it’s probably easier that way, when you get desensitised to things early.  Screamer vids don’t do anything for me anymore!  It says something when people who try to critique Brandon’s work can only think of his not killing characters off in an “anyone can die” way as a flaw in his writing.  It’s not really that bad, when it comes down to it.  And this is from someone who goes to Goodreads when I can’t decide whether or not I should buy a book or not, and sorts by worst ratings first.  The harsh and honest book reviews are the funniest to me.

 

From what I have seen of Brandon’s blog and how he has changed the order of the books without changing the narrative of the story too much, I think he has the overarching plot outline and the character arcs mapped out to the ending, but he leaves off the detail until he gets to the point of writing chapter drafts.  If he kills off a character too early, he narrows his choices for the ways he can tie up the ending – and that’s why he has kept Adolin kicking around.  Yeah, he’s not going to end up as Odium’s champion, but he has potential because of how the story has fleshed out his personality and skills, and it makes him a good Chekhov’s gunman.  And since Brandon is very active with fan communication, and I think his awareness of how popular Adolin will mean that he will keep  him around, or at least throw in cameos if he survives past SA#5.

 

 It’s pretty crazy how people get attached to minor characters, even the ones that get barely any screentime, like Renarin and THE STICK.  But as you described it before, people respond well to characters that reflect themselves.  The MC’s of any fiction are reflections of the author, and are often the author’s favourite, and that is why they find it pretty strange when people don’t like the MC as much as they do.  People like Jasnah because she’s an atheist, and Renarin because he’s on the spectrum.  Every time I see a Renarin discussion thread, it seems like the people who defend his character the most are people who understand his problems because they have the same ones, or have friends and family who do.  And the people who bash Renarin (the old “why does this get a spren when he lives the fancy life” argument) get bashed themselves because neurotypicals can never empathise with his struggles.  :unsure:

 

I feel that Brandon is more of world-author than a character writer.  The existence of Interludes is pretty much shamelessly indulging in adding colour and depth to the world.  Sure they’re cute, but they don’t really add that much but occasional comic relief or breathers between Act 2 and Act 3.  IMO they were weaker in WoK than WoR and if you took them out, you wouldn’t miss anything at all plot-wise.  I am not knocking his character-building skills – if you write multiple PoVs, you have to build character so each viewpoint has a unique voice, because otherwise they overlap and add nothing fresh to the story.  But Brandon writes mostly high fantasy with created worlds, and from reading his other books, I have gotten the impression his characters are just tools to get the story from Point A to Point B.   It’s why he likes to use similar character types between his different novels.  And similar plot set-ups too, like his favourite one, the arranged marriage.

 

But in the end, I think I am just a boring person.  I am not really a person who speculates on what happens in the next book, when the next book is going to come out on a regular schedule.  I mean, you are either wrong or right in your predictions.  If you’re wrong, then you just wrote 100 pages of posts on the internet that just became outdated.  And if you’re right … you can pat yourself on the back I guess?  I am just the person who reads the books, and when finished with it, moves onto the next one because why spend time thinking about what might not even happen when you can read what happens in the next good book.  That way, you don’t feel like your expectations got ripped into little pieces and burned.

 

You have an Adolin-addiction!!!   :ph34r:   :ph34r:   :ph34r:  I think this is what happens when you spend too much time thinking about him.  I only started reading Brandon books 2-ish years ago, and before that, I read many books in many genres, and unlike many Brandon fans, I don’t see him as OMG THE BEST AUTHOR IN THE WORLD.  I know there are many people who get angry and defensive when people criticise Brandon, but there are people out there who write better characters, and people who write better prose.   Brandon rolled a lot of skill points in the writing department, and has them evenly distributed in world-building, character, and prose.   Not the best when considered individually, but his triple combo makes him better than a lot of people.

 

There are other young male characters in fiction who have similar traits to Adolin’s, who follow similar growth stories revolving around answering the questions “What is the right thing to do?” and “Where is my place in the world?”.  His problems are equal to the problems faced by the official MC’s even if he gets less screentime to develop them.  But there are many other books whose MC’s face the same problems, and answer the same questions, without being Adolin.  If you think your Adolin-addiction has ruined your enjoyment of other characters and other books in other series, then you must admit you have a problem!  :ph34r:

 

I think the day I'll stop being upset by things I read on the Internet may end up being the day I die  :ph34r: Most of critics I read of Brandon's work are demeaning, unwarranted and seem to spur out of the fact he has gotten very popular. If you bother to critic a piece of work, at least have the decency to bring about valid argumentation. Are Brandon's books for everyone? Of course not, but saying it was the most boring book ever is pushing it a tad too far. I do love to read negative critics as I tend to find them more interesting: positive ones will typically say the book was the most amazing ever. It won't tell me if I will enjoy the book or not, so negative critics tend to be more instructive. There are a few valid ones of SA on Goodreads. For instance, it is true Brandon's prose is not equivalent to Eriksson, Rothfuss, GGK or Martin: he uses a more simplistic language to convey his story. It is also true he tends to prefer working with empowered characters who are inherently good which isn't what certain readers are looking for. Brandon's books, as a whole, are effective, but they aren't beautiful or poetic. This is a valid critic because it is true and it does help a new reader figure out if he/she will like it or not. Even Brandon is humble enough to tell a few readers he doesn't think they would like his books. Saying it is a dumb boring story and nothing happens until the last 100 pages is an unwarranted critic: as if books needed to be non-stop action from page 1 to page 1000. I have never read a book that length which would qualify as such. Long books being part of a series will spend time establishing the characters, the world and such. They tend to be about more than moving the plot from point A to point B.

 

I think the re-ordering of the books have nothing to do with the main narrative. The flashbacks are a side story on their own which he simply intersects with the main one. In fact, Brandon writes an SA book by reading 3 or 4 stories, the largest one being the main narrative and he mixes them together. The flashbacks form a story, the main narrative another one and the interlude are the last one. For SA3, he seems to have add a novella into the mix which is why the books seem separated into distinct sections: it is because they are. I personally find this idea interesting as the interludes allow him to do most of his world-building without having to carry hordes of characters into the main narrative as Jordan did. On the reverse, I think the limitation on who gets flashbacks is a tad sad as it prevents interesting characters from getting a few chapters of their own and it creates a division in between characters worthy of one and characters who aren't. It makes the distinction between main/side characters more drastic, more pronounced and it also sets the pace of books where side characters aren't allowed to grow into main ones as it would be the case with any other series. For instances, we are at book 2 of a 10 books series, but we know Adolin can't never be a main character because the author did not give him flashbacks. This is my main critic of the model: it is too restrictive and it prevents the readers from appreciating the rise of side characters into importance because the reader already know who will and who won't. 

 

As for the interlude characters, most of them are forgettable but several will pop into the main narrative at some point in time. For instances, Brandon has told us Szeth and Eshonai and Lift were major characters, so we know we will read more of them, for better or for worst. It is true though Brandon tends to have more utilitarian characters than other authors such as Martin. Martin will spend time on an interesting character who's plot line ends up in a dead end merely because he wanted to tell this story while Brandon will only tell a side story if it bears relevance to the main narrative. Shadow of Self is a very good example of this: Wax and Marasi are very, very blend characters who merely serve to move the story forward, but they aren't engaging. Wax is a boring character which is a shame as he was quite lively in his flashback, but present day Wax only serves as the best POV to tell the story. There is some character building happening, but it is too sparse and not engaging enough to create an emotional attachment with the reader. Wayne, at least, has this disturbed unknown past attached to him which makes him more interesting, but he sounds half insane which makes him unsuitable for the role of the main protagonist. I felt there is just the right amount of Wayne's POV into the book. Steris is, by far, the most interesting character and the voice many readers wished we had gotten as she doesn't come across as blend or flat. It is probably why I am not enthralled by Mistborn: the characters aren't well drawn. The story is purely going from point A to point B which is enjoyable, but forgettable. 

 

I fear, in the end, SA may appear unfinished or unpolished because it may have missed the chance to explore the interesting characters it has. Steris deserves more page time, so does Adolin, so why not add more depth to the story by giving them more life? In the end, the story will only be better. 

 

As for Adolin, there is enough stock built into him to make a great character readers will enjoy reading. He has an edge Kaladin will never have. Kaladin will always sound too honorable, too shining on the inside and it will always push away some readers and the more the story will move forward, the more I believe it will happen. Adolin has the capacity to be a strong action oriented character with just the right touch of trauma to him (Kaladin is so broken it isn't even interesting to read anymore as we figure out he'll never recover: there is no future for him other than being a hero which is a tad boring) being inherently good while harboring a darker streak making him capable of falling, making mistakes and give an expression to our darker thoughts. Who didn't want to see Sadeas die? It also makes him more realistic.

 

Isn't there a rule stating readers will always prefer the side characters to the main ones? Seriously, I never understood the obsession over the stick: it wasn't even a funny scene, it was a tragic one as Shallan was falling at expressing her will strong enough to save herself. I felt sorry for her when I read this scene and I couldn't care less about the stick, so to see people keep on bringing it forward is a tad annoying, but I generally ignore it. The Renarin love is something I have always had trouble with. When I initially joined the fandom, there were a lot of Renarin oriented talk as there were a few frequent posters who loved him, but I felt too much stock was being put into a very minor character. It is a non-sense to me Renarin is treated as a main character over Adolin who actually has POV and takes part into the action. This is baffling and it goes back to my dislike of the whole plan, the one stating Renarin HAS to be more important than Adolin because he has flashbacks. As far as I am concerned, Adolin is a much more important character than Renarin for the simple reason I am actually reading him. Renarin, I expect to see a few POV here and there and I expect to see him grow into a stronger side character, but I expect to remain... a side character. He isn't a character I feel should be a major one because his incapacity to make a decision, his deeply secretive nature, his inability to share his thoughts, his rigidity, his incessant complains as to how useless he is makes him unsuitable for a major role (just as I think Wayne isn't suitable either even if I enjoy the character). He would be a very frustrating read. Imagine if we had gotten his POV in WoR how frustrating it would have been to know what is happening to him while reading him persistently refusing to acknowledge it. I personally don't think Renarin, as he is currently is, should be a major character. Luckily it won't happen until several more books, so things have time to change, but right now, not giving Renarin any POV was the best decision Brandon could have made. This being said 2-3 POV chapters in SA3 from him would be welcome. I think we are getting there.

 

The ardent defense of Renarin as the flag bearer of the autistic community also is baffling as the character does not even read as autistic: you basically have to know he is to figure it out. Sure, there is one reader who focused intensively on him who found out about it, but this is about it. There isn't much to say about Renarin and he is an unsatisfactory character to many. I could emphasize with him, back in WoK, but to see him obsess so much over being a soldier when several better options were opened to him was eye rolling. It got even more frustrating to see readers praising his courage as he agreed to jump on his head: "Oh the poor boy, he is so brave." when it was obvious this was standard training for all Shardbearers. He isn't a poor boy, he's just having the training Adolin had 6 years ago and the point of the scene wasn't to show us Renarin, it was to show us how Shardbearers are being trained. in WoK Prime, you had Merrin do the exact same thing.

 

I am one of those readers who have occasionally tried to bring forward the argument Renarin didn't look very deserving of his spren as he hasn't done anything, that we could see, to earn one. His life has been privileged (just like Adolin, but he does get call on it, even Kaladin loves Renarin at first sight even thought he is just as spoiled as Adolin and perhaps more) and my main point of contention is why his past is considered horrific while Adolin's is considered perfect. They lived the exact same life: so why was Renarin a tragedy while Adolin's isn't even worth mentioning? Sure he was a sick kid, but his family is so loving and supporting I can't figured out why he ended up so broken. I would have buy it if his father has been cold toward him, not proud, not supportive, ashamed of having a disabled son, but I read none of that so I am left being puzzled as to why this character's broken spirit is so important a spren got interested in it. 

 

This being said making Renarin a Radiant actually is interesting if only for what it means for the family dynamic. He works quite well as Adolin's side-kick and to have him have powers his older always stronger brother doesn't makes up for an interesting speculative plot for Adolin's character development, providing Brandon wants to explore it. It opens the door for a situation where Renarin has to take care of his brother when it has always been the other way around and that's interesting. Renarin finding he is stronger than he thinks and Adolin realizing even strong men cry and need a shoulder to lean on from times to times it a really cute arc for both of them, so if it accumulates into this, then I am all for Renarin.

 

I love speculations: I have always done it. Even as a child, I would expend on the shows/books I was watching, inventing alternate plot for my favorite characters. The fun of it is not about being right, it is about creating something of your own out of a beloved story. I love making out stories and no it doesn't go away as you get older  :ph34r: When I am stressed out or worried or I had a bad day, I can still tap into my endless streak of stories to chase those thoughts away. There was a time where I had no more stories in my head  :( These were the years where I had insomnia and I couldn't sleep anymore, fighting a never ending war against an invisible monster who only lived in between my two ears. So the stories are positive... they are an integral part of who I am, I need those stories: they allow me to navigate better into real life. I don't want the stories to die, ever  :(

 

This being said, I don't do it with every book I read, it would be too tiresome  :o I do as you do with pretty much everything I read. I only do it with story which generates strong feelings in me: generally because they present me a character arc I feel particularly sympathetic too. Sometimes my speculation doesn't last long as I rapidly get to the bottom of it, other times it last longer. As I said, Adolin is a golden mine as he is an endless source of alternate stories: I never had such a rich character to play with before. I had also never speculated on future books before... usually I picked a side character of an existing finished story for it... so this is something new for me. It just happened. I really like the character and he spoke to me in a personal way. I googled to see what would come out of it and a monster did!!! 

 

I also don't think Brandon is the best author in the world: I don't enjoy his other work as much as I enjoy SA (I even disliked Firefight). Mistborn is alright, but it isn't a page turner for me nor are they books I anxiously await for. They are good, easy to read stories and I treat them as such. SA, I believe, currently forms two very good books. Brandon is very talented at writing a climax and delivering it. He does make the story moves forward which is great and satisfying as your expectations typically gets resolved. However, Jordan was a better world-builder as the WoT created one of the most vivid, lively and detailed worlds since Tolkien, complete with its lore and legends: it was fascinating even for a character reader such as I. Brandon is not there yet: his Cosmere is nowhere near close enough to be equivalent. We'll see how it plays out in the end. Brandon also probably isn't the best character writer, but honestly, he has been the author to deliver the most interesting and explored characters I have read in fantasy. Jordan wasn't a great character writer, Martin is better but the hopelessness of his world can be a turn off at times. Neither of them gave me a real worthy character to root for: they gave me arcs I really enjoyed, but not characters which feels as strong as those Brandon made, even with all their flaws.

 

There are stories with similar characters as Adolin? Please let me know which ones! I do love the trope going on with him... Unraveling the Prince Charming: it is more interesting than yet another beaten and mistreated under-dog.

 

 

You could read it out loud to him?  If it’s not too weird to read aloud in English when you normally speak French at home.  Some people are just not readers, and that is why audiobooks exist. 

 

When you write something, you should think about what is best for moving the story along, rather than what you like the best.  I understand that writing fanfiction is pretty much a form of self-indulgence, especially when it has OOC and non-canon stuff happening, like deaths, revivals, crossovers, and shipping.   You can write about what you like – because why bother to write if you don’t like it? – but if you pander to things only you like, other people might not want to read it.  Like the trauma stick.   I am a person who can’t take it when it hits too hard.  :(

 

You think my prose is beautiful.  That makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  :wub:   If you have read Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, it has beautiful writing and everything is so colourful when I read it, and I tried to write in colour like he does.  If you are not ashamed to share your story, and want a really honest critique, you could send me the first chapter of it.  First chapters are like the first episode of a TV show – it sets the tone and style of the content, and you can tell whether you want to keep watching or if you want to stop. 

 

Yeah well he doesn't like stories to begin with... He has other qualities  :ph34r: And he has no idea what I am writing about, so it kind of makes his opinion more or less worthless  :ph34r:

 

Oh I have left out a lot of my speculation in order to get the plot moving but I fear I may have over-played it in the last chapters and I am not sure of the next step. And it isn't just about Adolin, it revolves around him, but he isn't the only character in there. This being said, I am worried other people will not like it. I don't think it is heavy on the trauma stick, but maybe you would disagree. It is hard to tell, but hurt/comfort is a writing style which has its fans. I wouldn't necessarily qualify the half story I have as such. Technically, I do know how it ends, but I am not sure the means I thought to use to get there would please and it is rather long  :o To put it all in words, I have work to do, a lot of work to do  :o

 

I think you write beautifully. It is very detailed, my own fic isn't as detailed nor do I master the English language as well as you do. I haven't read Pullman, I am oscillating between wanting to and not wanting to as colleagues have told me it becomes rather theological eventually which may not please me.

 

My fic works better if you read the first two chapters, not just the first. The first isn't the best one, but after two, you get an idea of the tone. It is nameless as I could never find an appropriate name for it.

 

Ugh, what happened to “It’s better to be embarrassed than dead”?  Outside of taking stupid risks in the battlefield when his dad wasn’t looking, I always thought Adolin was more of a battle pragmatist.  The guy who balances out Kaladin’s “honour before reason” approach and does the sensible thing, like a retreat when it’s necessary.  Is Adolin just out of his mind from guilt and a concussion that he is ignoring basic rules of being a commander, like making sure he prepared to rise for battle?  If there’s a rule against drinking before battle, there probably is a rule to sleep before battle too.

 

Kaladin is major addicted to Stormlight.  Shallan doesn’t even like Pattern, and probably would trade Radiant status for a normal happy childhood. 

 

I think most of the MC’s have problems forming meaningful relationships, or keeping them once they have them.  Adolin isn’t that special for not having friends, he’s just special for not being able to keep a girlfriend.  Kaladin has the same no friends problem – you could say it’s the bridgemen worshipping him, but it’s not like he wants to open up to them either, since he doesn’t tell them about Amaram, and doesn’t like going to the pub with them.   I don’t think Shallan is good at making friends either.  Or Dalinar.  His friends are backstabbers.  <_<

 

Adolin will not let something as trivial as primary needs get in the way of warfare, but he will push himself beyond his limits. He has done it in the past, the first instance being the Tower where he extended himself to protect Dalinar and ended up the fight as completely washed out, one step away from falling dead on his feet. Dalinar was not so exhausted after the fight.

 

Can injured Adolin with a concussion ignore the threat of battles by not resting and taking care of himself? YES. Chapter 32. After the Szeth encounter, Adolin did just that. He fell on his head and was dizzy enough to refer to his state as "barely conscious" which caused him to not be sure as to what he actually saw. His body was a mass of large purple bruises and what did he do afterwards? Did he rest so he would be ready for battle? Absolutely not. He stayed up all night chewing the Roshar equivalent to a wake-up pill guarding his father's door step and went training on the next morning despite his injuries. He mentions the fact his head was hurting, hours later, his head is hurting which is the number one sign of a concussion.

 

So would Adolin in SA3 ignore his physical state in order to pursue what he perceives as his duty? YES. Big time. Because he has steadily been doing it. At the end of WoR, he is by far the most injured and yet he is the one we do not see resting. 

 

I don't think Shallan truly hates Pattern.... She hates the fact is arrival caused her to murder her mother, but the true blame falls on her mother, not on Pattern. I think Shallan will come to realize this, eventually.

 

Actually yes I do think Adolin is special for falling at having friends, not because he is the only character being more or less friendless, but because he is the only one putting such a high value on it, trying so hard at it and yet falling. Kaladin and Shallan may not have many friends, but they haven't technically failed because they didn't try. Besides, Shallan had friends back in Jah Keved, so she isn't the one with such issues. Kaladin's struggles were mostly caused by the status difference between him and his peers than himself, really. Adolin however is Mr Social Life, Mr Social Butterfly who gets invited to all parties, who socializes big time with his peers, who tries and who puts a high value on it and yet he fails. To me it is much different than any other character we have met... some people just don't need to be surrounded by many people nor do they need to feel love. 

 

 

Kaladin will never be anything but pure squeaky clean as long as he has Syl.  Sad but true.  I would also like to see him be something more than a boring perfect protagonist, as long as it doesn’t involve endless angsting about what he should do or how sucky his life is. 

 

Yes!  Your story is tragic!  You took out all the magic of Roshar and replaced it with a sad IRL homelife full of people who do bad things, and one MC who is surrounded by all this sad, while being sad on the inside himself.  Too much trauma stick – I can’t take it without feeling sad, unless you add some ray of hope or something.  Everyone needs to be revealed to have reddeming qualities!!!  Early on, not 10 pages from the end!

 

On the age gap between Adolin and Shallan – do you not like it in canon-SA, or do you not like in the context of an Earth AU?  In canon, they are both perceived as consenting adults who can make decisions to get married or do the things, and it seems pretty normal for lighteye girls to be married at age 16.  In an Earth AU, it can be a bit weird, especially if you put your younger character in high school (ew pls no), but if they’re both in university, it’s a bit unusual, but not that weird.  I personally don’t think it’s an issue in-story or IRL as long as both people have the same maturity level.  And Adolin has stunted his own personal development with his insecurity so I think they match up, even with the 5-6 year age gap (depending on their exact birthdays).  And depending on the setting, 20 would be too young for alcohol.  If you made everyone Canadian in an AU, Adolin would be playing hockey instead of football.

 

If you want to do a dramatic reveal of characterisation, you need a dramatic first chapter for the story.  The best way is to show Adolin at an afterparty for winning the local championship game, with everyone cheering him on, and girls trying to hook up with him.  Then he goes home sees his dad passed out and vomit on the floor.  Instant slap on the face with the trauma stick.  :lol:

 

One of my colleague has started reading SA and these are her thoughts: Kaladin is too squeaky clean, she prefers Shallan. Hands down. She is early in WoR, but even in WoK, Shallan was her favorite. Kaladin is turning out to be too morally clean, much like Dalinar (which is why we need Adolin as a more fleshed out character).

 

Oh it isn't this bad.... It ends well  :o I love the trauma stick, but I also love happy endings. It is basically the story of how life isn't always as it appears to be and how events will make it unravel around a rich kid nobody ever took for anything worthy. There is a ray of hope! It gets bad, really bad before it gets better, but I think the whole family needed a wake-up call and they all end up closer in the end.

 

I do not like it period, not because I think it gross in SA Adolin would be dating a much younger girl, more because I question the age gap... In our world, a 23 years old would not date a 17 years old.. so it is rather strange. Adolin also reads as a much younger character and I question why Brandon made him so much older than the others. He has stumped his growth by being so insecure but still 5 years is a lot at their age (and the gap is probably closer to 5 years than 6 as Shallan is closer to 18 than 17 and Adolin is probably closer to 23 than 24, but this part may be wishful thinking).

 

In the AU fic, they all are in University, it is just Renarin who is in High School. I have to check how the American system actually works.... but Adolin is in his graduating year, Shallan is just starting and Kaladin is in bis second year. I made him 20 because I think this would fit.... and yes since I am Canadian, I figured legal drinking age is a theory  :ph34r: It may be 18 over here, but seriously kids would start drinking slightly before that. To wait until 21 is a none sense to me, so huh I figured being 20 wouldn't prevent Adolin from drinking. A Canadian AU where Adolin is a hockey player wouldn't work as well because hockey may be big in Canada, but there aren't any University level hockey teams and the sports culture is different. I needed Adolin to be into something prestigious, something which draws crowd and quite seriously University sports aren't big. Schools also don't run on scholarships: there are practically free when compared to the States, so the incentive to win a sports related scholarship isn't there.

 

Hmm the first chapter I had in mind was a bit different, but it does play more or less on this theme.

 

 

The thing with most fiction is that when there is a decision between saving the world, or saving your girlfriend, the hero is never actually put into a position where he actually has to make that choice.  Because helpful sidekicks jump in, or the villain makes a stupid decision and falls into his own piranha tank, or the girl dies for some reason the hero couldn’t prevent no matter what.  And whenever the choice is forced, the hero chooses the “right” one, which is always the girlfriend or best friend, and the world is still saved anyway because Deus ex Machina.   Because viewers and humans don’t like it when the girl dies.  Even in the 4:1 duel, we still don’t know if Dalinar would have jumped in at the last second or not, because Kaladin did it.  Yes, Dalinar sat back down, but he still thinks his son is a better man than he is, and he wouldn’t let him be crippled for life, would he?  I felt it could have gone either way if no one helped Adolin and Renarin.   :ph34r:  Because seriously, two sons has to be more valuable than useless Elhokar.  :angry:

 

 Even if Dalinar chose not to help, I think it’s kind of refreshing to have a good guy unashamedly believe in the greater good.  Usually it’s the bad people who prioritise the world over the lives of loved ones.   And this is where Adolin gets hit over the head multiple times by the trauma stick.  :o

 

Dalinar is a Bondsmith now, and hasn’t been fully Blackthorn for probably 5 years.  His character is static because he already had his character development before the events of the story, and that is why his flashbacks are more interesting than how he is in the current timeline.  It makes him kinda boring in WoR when he figures his visions are real, but sometimes it’s good to have a break from the Kaladin angst show.

 

Actually I am always wary of heroes who sees fit to sacrifice their family for the greater good... What kind of hero are you if you are willing to see those you love the most suffer for choices you deem superior? It is like Batman letting his girlfriend die in order to save the man he thought Gotham needed was a neat example of it. In playing the high game, for which he did not know the answer nor the future, Batman made a poor choice. He chose the end before the journey and forgot to think about which world he would create of the woman he loves is considered expendable.

 

I see Dalinar as such a man: he would sacrifice Adolin if he thought it meant securing an advantage. I hate to say it, but I do think he would: he would bite his nails afterwards, he would see his mistake, but he would do it nonetheless. Dalinar sat back down in the 4 on 1 duel because he figured Adolin wasn't worth him risking his position. He got away with it, but I see it as a foreshadowing of SA3: Dalinar will sacrifice Adolin to secure his unity, but he will fail to understand by doing so he is putting the destination before the journey.

 

The two sons should be more valuable than Elhokar, this is true, but to Dalinar nothing is more precious than Elhokar: the last remnant of his dead brother. Dalinar is so blinded by his guilt for Gavilar's death he does see Elhokar as more important than his own sons. I think his feeling are so clouded in need when it comes to Adolin he may have forgotten how much he loves him.

 

Poor Adolin  :(

 

I don't mind Dalinar, I just don't think we need as much of him into the main narrative as we need the others. His present day story is not as thick nor as interesting and it dwells too much into the preachy-clean. This being said, his arc into book 3 will probably be interesting as it will involve dealing with his sons.

 
 

Adolin is a man with feelings and urges too.  As you said before, a man can manage his own needs without needing anyone else to help.  I think Kaladin is too honourable to be involved in an “adventure” if you know what I mean.  He might want to, and be tempted to do it, and think about doing it, but he wouldn’t go along with it because it’s wrong.  Just like Moash’s plan for Elhokar.  Shallan might not mind it if she wanted it, but I think Kaladin would refuse her if she goes too far and he feels like it’s dirty and wrong.

 

Lighteye girls are useful for having around if you need to use the women’s script.  There aren’t many darkeyes who would need it if they are relatively high nahn and can already read the glyphs.  From Laral’s wanting Kaladin to fight a Shardbearer, it still seems like lighteye girls wouldn’t willingly choose to marry a darkeyed man, unless their parents made them, and once did they did, they would always be thinking to themselves that they could have done better.  Poor Kal.

 

 
I think it is probably harder to think of intimacy when you never were intimate. It becomes a huge secret garden you aren't invited to and the day you have a chance to get there, you are so scared of what you'll find out you may actually fail.
 
You are right in stating Kaladin would probably refuse.
 
A darkeye wouldn't be an attractive prospect for a ligheyed girl unless he is wealthy while her family is poor.
 

That is a soap opera type of reveal.  But hey, if Dalinar can be Elhokar’s father, what if Gavilar was Adolin’s father.  The stick goes both ways!  As far as I remember, Gavilar was the hot brother, so wouldn’t he be better looking half naked?   ;)  And Dalinar was still honourable enough to avoid Navani for 10 years after she married his brother.  Okay, maybe it was because he wanted to cut out any chance at temptation, but he still did it, and the thought counts for something.

 

Adolin being rejected by Jakamav hurt him really bad, and he wasn’t even really good friends with anyone at that point, because he didn’t make an effort to open up to people – he just liked having drinking buddies to hang out with.  So I would expect when he has his real feelings involved in a relationship he actually wants to maintain, it will break his heart.  His reaction would be more likely him being on the shelf for the rest his life rather than hitting the cathouses for a two month bender.   :huh:   :ph34r:   :lol:  Maybe his father will send him to Iri or something.

 

People pay less attention to Renarin than Adolin.  Dalinar takes Adolin for granted, but he doesn’t really think about Renarin, except for feeling guilty that his son is a weakling and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.  Then he goes and gives him a present.   Is Renarin expected to find a wife too?  No one knows or cares.  :mellow:  :mellow:ty contrived explanation to have both of them undressed in the same room. 

 

Ah well Brandon has confirmed Dalinar was Adolin and Renarin's father. It is Elhokar I am wondering about, not because I wish for this plot line to happen, but I wondered if it would. Also there are women who are attracted to ugly rough looking men

 

Of course Adolin deals badly with rejection: he is a character who puts a strong emphasis on how people perceive him. What they think of him defines how good he feels about himself, so to have Jakamav blatantly admit the only reason he befriended him was for prestige and now it is gone, he wants none of it, hurt him. Badly. This is the chapter which sold me Adolin as a character, but it showed how we shouldn't judge people base on appearances. Adolin appears as a vapid, dumb, playboy without any depth but in truth he is so sensitive, he needs to protect himself into a solid armor to avoid hurting. If he heart gets stomp, then there is no telling what he will do, but I fear emotionally impulsive Adolin may do something very, very, very stupid such as thinking his life does not matter anymore which would prompt him to take risks he wouldn't have taken in other circumstances. 

 

Dalinar does think more about Renarin than Adolin... He thinks of how sorry he was for leaving him unprepared to lead the Kholin princedom as he thought he was about to die. He did not have ONE thought for Adolin who was going to die so young for having followed him in his folly, especially after spending so much time warning him against Sadeas. He does think about Renarin when he decides to give him a Plate, he is rather found of his younger son... As a father, Dalinar projects himself a lot in his children. In Adolin, he sees his former self, the Blackthorn, so he strives to give him very strict rules, seeking to create the man he wished he had been from the start. In Renarin, he sees the second, less handsome, less talented brother who always had to make way for his superior brother. His feelings make him go extra hard on Adolin and extra soft on Renarin... both flaws which I hope Brandon will explore into the next book.

 

As for Renarin being expected to take a wife, I suspect Alethi may be the kind of society where the youngest son is supposed to wait for the eldest to get married before getting his chance. In other words, they have focus so much on marrying Adolin, they haven't started broaching the subject with Renarin. There is also the fact he looks like a teenager and Dalinar has a hard time admitting he is an adult now, so there must some of that too. I suspect the family will realize Adolin is ruined as a heir for having murdered Sadeas, they will focus on finding a wife for Renarin the now heir.

 

 

The sad thing is, when reading fanfics that have been dropped halfway through, nothing is really lost when they are unfinished.  Because honestly, the majority of fan content is mediocre, or just written by people who didn’t have any cohesive vision or plan, and there is no plotting.  Just events happening one after the other, with no sense of a unified story.  That is why most fic writers stick to short one-shots, because it doesn’t require maintaining in-universe continuity and consistency in prose and characterisation.   But I’ve pretty much finished the story, and tied up the ends, so no angry tears here.  Sadly.  :o

 

The good bit is that Elhokar might have the ambition to be famous and loved, but he is not a very competent person, so any plan he has is bound to fail.  He will probably drag other people down with him when he does, but he will end up learning a hard lesson, so he does get his journey and his destination!  But only if Brandon thinks he is worth developing his character.  If Elhokar really is Dalinar’s Tien, and doesn’t get picked by a spren, he will die to teach Dalinar a lesson on leadership.  All Tiens have to die – that is their sole purpose in the story.     :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  

 
Oh yeah most fics are not very good, but at least some writers are trying to broach in interesting approaches. I wish there was more in the SA fandom, but it is rather small: not many writers and not many readers. Sadly, what little there is seem to prefer the kind of fic I don't particularly enjoy.
 
The fic went in an unexpected way... Shallan disguising herself as a boy? I hadn't thought of that. Ever. Good twist.
 
I think Elhokar is a spoiled kid who was never held accountable for his mistakes. He wants to be loved, but he doesn't want to make any effort for it. I suspect he never worked himself towards any goal, expecting he would succeed simply for being a prince. Life didn't work out this way, people didn't pander to him simply for being king and he realized leadership qualities aren't bestowed on people simply because they are the son of a king. It is a massive reality check, but where will he go from there? I personally think Elhokar's role will be to serve as foil to Dalinar's character development. He is the nephew he favors, refusing to see his failures and forgiving him everything which is sharp contrast to the son he goes so hard on.
 
Dalinar has to learn to be a better judge of people and he has to learn how to guide without bullying. 
 
 

Do Canadians love leggings or something?  I have a Canadian friend and she pretty much wears leggings non-stop.   Fleece lined leggings in the winter, plain black ones for chilling and watching TV, leggings for the weekend.  Leggings all day every day.  I prefer flannel PJ pants.  They are more comfortable.

 

Ivy League preppy is way too colourful to be formal outside of daytime at the country club.  The outfits with only one bright colour with plain grey or brown wool jackets are more professional looking.  But they are clothes that require taking good care and maintenance, and visiting the tailor to get a perfect fit, and ironing before wearing.  To a suit and tie guy like Dalinar, it would look too flashy and youthful to fit in at corporate, but to Kaladin, it’s super fancy.  Anything that you have to dry clean instead of tossing in the washing machine he probably considers fancy.  I don’t think he would even bother sorting the dark from the light clothes.  All of his clothes are the same dingy faded greyish colour.

 

Adolin doesn’t get cut off!!!  If his card stops working, he just uses cash, and his wallet is full of cash.  No trauma stick!   And then he goes home and it turns out his card got upgraded to the next level up and Dalinar forgot to tell him or something. 

 

Do they even have payphones these days?  After Kaladin is late meeting Adolin and Shallan at the movies for the third time, they would just buy him a phone and force him to use it.  But he wouldn’t accept a fancy one, so they get him a Nokia brick.  They’re indestructible.  You could build a suit of Shardplate with them.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:

 

Huh I don't know, but stores are full with them.... I do have sweats as well, but I love leggings. They are so classy with boots on: they can do chick and casual both at the same time. 

 

Would Adolin really do the Ivy League preppy? He is supposed to love fashion, shouldn't fashion be a bit more adventurous?

 

How about the AU fic where Dalinar cuts his son off for being not "good enough for his country club" and he is left penniless, not knowing where to go? And where does he end up? On Kaladin's doorstep looking like a drowned miserable puppy (because of course it was raining when Dalinar kicked Adolin out of the mansion) not knowing how to get by in life without servants  :ph34r:

 

Huh I think there still are payphones.... Kaladin knows exactly where they are and when the phone company plans to remove them, he sues them claiming people have the right to phone without paying for an expensive cell. 

 

I would like to see the relationship between Elhokar and Adolin explored, even if they don’t turn to be best buddies in the end.  Brandon seems to be using them to explore Dalinar’s character development, with Elhokar as a link to his past and a reminder of his duty to his dead brother.  Adolin to Dalinar is the man he should have been, good and noble from the start.  So Brandon has built a contrast to make interactions with Dalinar more interesting, but if he wanted to flesh out the secondary characters more, he should put Elhokar and Adolin alone in a room.  They are similar in certain ways, having the pressure of expectations put on them from birth, and severely dependent on Dalinar in their daily lives.

 

The cousins likely don’t think they have much in common in-universe, since Elhokar is the useless millstone, and Adolin was the ace before Kaladin came along with his magical Stormblessed reputation saving the Kholin army.  In WoK, Elhokar comments that Adolin is the best duellist in the family, better than Dalinar and himself.  I wonder if there’s some level of jealousy in there, like he’s jealous of the way the soldiers love Kaladin.  Or if he has gotten to the point where he thinks he sucks so much there’s no point in comparing himself to other people.

 

If they actually talked to each other, they’d find they have more in common than they think.  There’s only around 5 years’ age gap between them, and it’s only a bit bigger than Adolin’s age gap with Renarin, who he gets along with fine.  They only understand one another superficially, but each of them has sadness on the inside – if only they would share it!  Because Elhokar is like an alternate universe version of Adolin gone bad.  Elhokar’s father read the Way of Kings, and he never believed in it himself.  He had the arranged marriage chosen for him, and has a wife who he presumably doesn’t really care that much about, since no one ever mentions Aesudan outside the interlude.  He has had responsibility put on him from the beginning of the War aof Reckoning, but cracked under the pressure, whereas Adolin turned into the unwilling soldier and commander.

 
My thoughts are Elhokar is the one who takes up the most after Dalinar's former personality: ambitious, drunk, jealous, tyrant. I also suspect while Adolin was raised to meet up impossible expectations, Elhokar was raised up to meet none, being left to his own device, proud to be the spoiled prince of a wealthy household. It structs to me Elhokar expects to be good at things for being the king and is surprise to realize it doesn't work this way. Just like most people he sees Adolin being a good duelist, but he forgot how hard he trained to get there. 
 
I do think Elhokar is jealous as he clearly states in his POV how baffled he was over being named king by the Gods only to see he didn't have the requisite: it is obvious to me it never occurred to Elhokar he may have to work for it.
 
Giving how little Adolin seem to think of Elhokar, I doubt the two cousins ever had much of a relationship. The age gap is about two years more than with Renarin and it is quite possible they never evolved into the same ring of friends due to it. Early in WoK, Elhokar seem to regard Adolin as a child while Adolin is baffled more often than not by his older cousin's attitude. 
 
This being said, Elhokar is kind of a mystery character right now: we don't truly know much about him and he could go both ways. I tend to dislike him because he is a paranoid drunken whiner who put Kaladin into jail, but it could be there is more to him than meets the eye, but I'd rather Brandon capitalize on Adolin than Elhokar. I guess he could do both, but it doesn't seem as if the story has enough lattitude for it. This being said, Elhokar has always been into the story, so he definitely has a role. Maybe he is the surprise POV going into book 3, we never know.
 

I would expect Shards to be important up to SA#5, and they get slowly replaced by living spren blades in the second series.  It takes a while for Radiants to realise their abilities and gather in Urithiru, especially if only a few of them have the travelling abilities of teleporting or lashing, or the knowledge of Oathgates.  Shardblades are indestructible too, so even if a blade revival will be a once in a lifetime event, people will still keep theirs around. 

 

If Alethi are still going to be Alethi even if the end of the world is coming, having a Shardplate and Shardblade will be useful for making sure your neighbours don’t attack your land and try to steal it in border skirmishes like the ones Amaram used to fight.  Use living blades to fight voidbringers, but use deadblades to fight your neighbours.  Because most of these lighteyes can be dangerously nearsighted, if Sadeas is an example.

 

Thousands are a stretch when many thousands of spren died in the past during the Recreance.   But then again we don’t know that much about the spren families in Shadesmar so who knows.  :rolleyes:

 
I suspect the majority of the new Radiants will be found within the Kholin's followers... Do not forget the sprens tend to prefer bonding humans which are close to central events and most likely the new Radiants will attract those sprens as well. It probably won't be too long before there are many more Radiants and seeing how fast Kaladin/Shallan progressed, it'd say 6 months and we have over a hundred Radiants in Urithiru.
 
This being said, the Shardblades won't get trashed down immediately, but they will lose their aura. It won't be so special to be one and their value will decrease. There will be Radiants who will hate them so much they may refuse to work with Shardbearers, so I expect some level of conflict. Being surrounded by Radiants, it is impossible for me to have Adolin keep on carrying his as if nothing happened. 
 
Brandon has confirmed there used to be over a 1000 Windrunners............ so thousands is not an exaggeration. There will be a great deal lot more Radiant and rather soon.

 

 

I don’t think they are books you would like.  You like the trauma stick, but these books are pretty dark, getting into grimdark territory where people get killed off to add flavour to how violent and scary the setting is.  Broken Empire was way too much trauma stick for me, and made people uncomfortable with how tragic the backstory was, since it involves nonconsenting acts in the style of Captain Kennet.  It was like Captain Kennet getting his own trilogy since the MC is pretty much a sociopath.   :o   :(   :blink:  Yeah, not re-reading.

 

I like historical fiction of most genres, as long as the setting is well-explored and accurate and the story is well written.  I do not like fiction claiming to be “historical” when all the characters think and speak like modern people, which is jarring for something set in Roman times, for example, with a Roman noble character talking about how slavery is wrong.   :rolleyes:   That is one of things that breaks immersion for me.  For a shorter read with good character development and bromance, I recommend “The Eagle of the Ninth”, a standalone story set in Roman-era Britain.  It’s so beautifully written, and has a bleh movie version with Channing Tatum.  I recently finished “Newt’s Emerald” which is a Regency romance with magic, which I thought was an adorable story.  It’s like urban fantasy but in the past!  I have a soft spot for historical romances, and read modern ones when the old ones like Austen or Heyer can be too slow or too vanilla.   ;)  ;)

 

Hmmm I like the trauma stick, but I also love happy ending... I am weird like that  :ph34r: I like when my characters end up in a rough pass, but I ultimately want them to succeed. I swear the AU fic, if I ever write, ends well or kinda well: it depends on what you call "a good ending". I am not overly found of grimdark as it tends to create unsympathetic impossible to root for characters much like beloved Abercrombie did. I couldn't stand his cast: boring nonredeemable lot. I wouldn't enjoy reading a story featuring a sociopath as the main protagonist.

 

I haven't read those. I have read Ken Follett, Edward Rutherford (London and Paris, I plan to read more of him as I enjoyed those two books), Gabaldon (very innovative some 15 years ago, starts up well, ends up being horribly boring after the 5th book, so I dropped it. A bit cheesy though, you have to enjoy love stories) and Auel (interesting idea, but it goes downhill rather quickly). Oh and quite a few home-made stories featuring good old times in rustic Quebec. 

 

Ever read one called Bizantiana? It is about Vikings... someone recommended it to me, thought I might try it this summer. Ah I forgot, I read Eaters of the Death by Crichton. I never read regency romance, but Roman historical fiction sounds awesome. There is whole collection of those, but I haven't try them yet.

 

I agree historical fiction has to be.... historically accurate. I know Ken Follett makes a lot of research to write his books and tries to make them as accurate as possible, but he has his favorite trope, just like any author. He is however a good character writer even if he has harder time playing with shades of grey. One criticism fantasy authors often get is how they can't write plausible women which is a none-sense as many other male authors succeed at it, so what is it with fantasy?????

 

Adolin made out with Danlan.   :o  He can’t be judgy judgy on Shallan kissing someone else when he kissed another girl and danced with all of them!  I made a mention of that, just so something like being walked in on kissing couldn’t lead to a ship abandoning moment.  Adolin wouldn’t just leave like that without an explanation, for a kiss, because that would be too much of a soap opera.  And he is too reasonable of a guy to jump to conclusions when there might be a reasonable explanation for it, because he doesn’t want to believe.  He loves Shallan.  :wub:

 

What would make him have that knee-jerk reaction is to walk in on Shallan and Kaladin in the bedroom.   :ph34r:   :ph34r:   :ph34r:  Because that is way more serious than kissing and you can’t just explain it away without being pretty unambiguous about there being feelings between them.  But Kaladin wouldn’t do that to his BFF, so there would have to be a pretty contrived explanation to have both of them undressed in the same room. 

 

 

Yeah but we didn't see it... He made it sound as if not much happened  :o I think Adolin is an emotionally impulsive person, so when his emotional response kicks in, he can act erratically and irrationally (like murdering Sadeas or agreeing to fully disadvantaged duel).

 

For the rest well I keep expecting drama whenever I read anything  :ph34r: I must say though you took quite an unexpected turn in this last chapter. So Shallan will pose as a boy, serving into Renarin's regiment? Or did I misunderstood? I did not see this one coming.... so she is worried Adolin will not make it alive. What does she hope to do? She can't prevent him from being shoot down on the field.... (are you going to get Adolin shot down (well not dead of course, just injured) ??????  :ph34r:).

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

PART THIRTY THREE

Renarin returned, with a soft tap on the door, and a large travelling case in one hand and a shoebox in the other. “Sister,” he said, “these were last worn when I was thirteen. You shall have to try them on.”

He opened the case on the table, smelling of camphor; out came blue trousers, and a blue coat – lacking service patches on the arm, and only simple shoulder tags instead of officers’ epaulets – and a number of white shirts and blue waistcoats in different sizes, and blue neckcloths. The shoebox contained a beautifully polished pair of dark brown riding boots, with socks stuffed into the toes in lieu of shoe trees.

“There’s the curtained corner for disrobing,” said Kaladin, gesturing to the curtain on a rail at the end of the room.

“I thought you didn’t care about these things,” remarked Shallan, digging through the clothes, giving up, and selecting three shirts that looked about right. She supposed she would have to get a custom bodice made if she didn’t want to bulge in the wrong places. She didn’t have much in that particular department, but if she were forced by chance to take off her waistcoat, her presentation would make itself glaringly obvious.

“I think Renarin should be spared the horror of it.”

“It’s so horrible that the thought of it keeps you up at night, I’m sure,” Shallan retorted, dragging open the curtains. She stepped in, and closed the curtains, letting her face peek out at the Doctor. “But I think Adolin seems amenable to facing such fears.”

There was a chair in the small curtained corner, and a door with a sign on which was written ‘DO NOT OPEN’. The handle had hanging from it a chimney lamp with a column made of red glass. She dropped the pieces of uniform onto the chair’s seat, and unbuttoned her dress and underdress, looking for a place to put it. There was none, and she didn’t want to throw it over the back of the chair and let the hems drag on the floor. It didn’t matter if the longer underdress touched the ground – that was their purpose, as they were cheaper and could be laundered with hot water and lye in the weekly wash, but the outer dress was made of more expensive and delicate fabrics that were spot-cleaned after wear by the lady’s maid, and carefully cold rinsed then wafted with steam twice a year.

“Renarin,” she hissed, and thrust the dress and underdress through a gap in the curtains. She heard footsteps, and then he took them, and she pulled on the white shirt sized for a boy but still a bit long in the sleeves for her. “Storming Anglethis,” she muttered, as everything turned out to be either a tad too long, or slightly too wide for her slender frame. She folded up the cuffs and tucked the tails into the trousers. When she was finished, she did not think it looked completely unsalvageable. The fit of it was more suggestive of a financially prudent young lad with optimistic expectations of further growth, than a boy in his father’s uniform. A few new seams, hemming here and there, and it would be sufficient; Shallan could not dare to hope it should be as nice as anything made bespoke.

She stepped out. Kaladin snorted. “If your aim was to look as Renarin did at thirteen, I think you are not far from the mark. Try walking.”

She walked from one side of the room to the other, awkward in the boots that had enough room in the toes that she stuffed an extra pair of socks in there. She passed the surgical table, where the box lay open, spilling tissue paper over her shucked dress and underdress.

“You walk like a girl,” Kaladin observed.

“My governess deserves a medal of commendation, then,” Shallan said. “She always said I walked like a boy, when I couldn’t glide about as I was supposed to.”

“The officer ranks are not known for any lack of flamboyance. It’s not the walk that is the real problem – it’s your hips.”

“What of them? Are they that much of a horror?”

“No, it’s rather that they exist,” said Kaladin, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Most ladies believe modish dresses will win them attention, but I should say trousers do a better job of it.”

“Well, I do not expect to see them as the new Society fad anytime soon.” Shallan walked back and forth, in the thick duck cloth trousers that were strangely liberating and light without the swish of skirts she been long accustomed to. “They remind men that women not only have hips, but ankles and knees too. The horror!”

“You should try it with a belt and neckcloth, and maybe this waistcoat,” said Renarin, holding them out to her. “The Kholin Regiments aren’t as lax on uniform as the others.”

Shallan returned to the curtained corner and exchanged her waistcoat, and buckled the belt, and tied the neckcloth. It didn’t look right – not like Adolin’s or Kaladin’s. She didn’t know the right knot for it, and had automatically tied it in the fashion with which she was familiar, the one she used for Wikim and Jushu. She untied it, and tried again.

Someone rapped on the door.

Renarin whispered through the gap in the curtains. “My brother is here.”

Kaladin answered the door.

“Have you seen Shallan?” came Adolin’s voice. It was curious how Adolin’s manner of speech was exuberant and carrying and could be commanding if he wanted, but Renarin was always solemn and soft-spoken; it seemed as if he were incapable of raising his voice. “They said I would be able to find her here.”

“She’s … busy,” said Kaladin. His back blocked the doorway.

“Is she here, then?” Adolin paused. “That’s her bag on the floor … and that’s her dress on the table.” He lowered his voice; suddenly he sounded upset, and distress coloured his speech. “Kal! What’s going on?

“She will speak to you later–”

“Let me through, man!” Adolin pushed past Kaladin at the door, and halted. “Renarin? What are you doing here?”

Renarin was silent. He stepped aside.

The curtain was yanked open. Shallan was unpleasantly reminded of the incident in her room, that morning. She turned around, and her hands dropped from tying the neckcloth.

“Shallan?” Adolin’s face made a rapid transition from anxious to confused. His eyes took the measure of her, from head to shiny polished toe. “What manner of foolery is this? Is this some sort of game?”

“It’s Renarin’s uniform,” said Shallan, keeping her own countenance carefully blank.

“I can see that. But you’ve got the knot wrong. You’ve done the country squire’s tie. The regimental twist is like this,” he said, stepping closer. “Here, allow me.”

She allowed his gentle fingers to undo the neckcloth, smooth it out, and wrap it once again around the starched peaks of her – Renarin’s – collar. She closed her eyes. “You must be wondering why I’m here. Dressed like this.”

“Well, now I suppose I am,” he admitted. “It is a game, isn’t it?”

Shallan opened her eyes, and drew in a slow breath. The moment of truth had arrived with enough force to make her head swim with its swirling inevitability. Adolin’s blue eyes met her own; he was perplexed by his own lack of understanding, and she saw that he was desperately grasping for something that made any sense at all.

“I took the King’s shilling,” she said. She tried to pass it off lightly. “Sovereign actually. But the intent was the same.”

Adolin finished the knot, and tucked the ends of the neckcloth under the lapels of her waistcoat. His hands stilled, and slid to her shoulders. “Joining this family,” he said, his expression guarded, “does not require joining the Regiment.”

“It was my own choice. If it disagrees with you, we have no formal contract and you are free to select another whose priorities align closer to your own.”

“I made the announcement during luncheon. You would be disgraced.”

“I should have my Grand Tour in that case,” said Shallan, flippantly. “A withdrawal from polite society is the perfect response to such a blow.”

“Then it is a shame that I do not want another.” His voice was low with feeling. A hand left her shoulder and went to her face; his thumb brushed against her cheek. He pressed his forehead to hers; his hair tickled against her brow. “I only want you,” he whispered. “I could not bear it if – if –”

“No-one should have to go alone. We are Family,” said Shallan, thinking of their conversation in the hallway, earlier that day. “We can be selfish together.”

“Together,” repeated Adolin. “I like the sound of it.”

He kissed her on the cheek, and then very softly on the lips, and his hand on her shoulder drifted down to her back and curled around her waist. After a few breathless seconds, he drew himself away and ran a hand through his hair. “It is strange,” he said, “when you are wearing a coat and trousers. Renarin’s coat and trousers. I do not say it is a bad thing, just – very strange.”

“Renarin will call me Brother. You could too, if you wanted,” Shallan said, with cheek. She smiled.

“No,” said Adolin, smiling back. “I could not – it would be tremendously strange. For you will always be Shallan to me, my Shallan, no matter what you wear, or who you pretend to be.” Then he leaned close and spoke quietly. “Beneath it all, I know it is the Shallan that I love. And not like a brother.”

Shallan’s cheeks began to glow a bright pink. It was she who always made Adolin blush with the saucy things she said, not Adolin who rebuffed her attempts at impertinence with a heretofore unexpected aptitude of his own.

Then Kaladin said sharply, “Are you finished dressing?”

And Shallan knew it for deliberate impertinence, and from the Doctor, it was completely expected. There was the hint of something in his tone that suggested that he might suspect that they had been in the midst of undressing. Some people, unlike other people – aggressively light-skirted visitors to the stillroom, for example – had standards. She stepped out of the curtains, Adolin at her heels.

Renarin was tidying up the papers from her appointment, and returning the books to a glass-fronted cabinet. Kaladin was at the surgical table, attention directed to an open leather document wallet unfolded over her discarded dress. Her signing papers. She strode forward, relishing her new ability to stamp her feet without tripping on layers of skirts. Kaladin folded the wallet and tied the loop around it without looking up.

“Interesting,” he said, “how you sign your, hmm, name with a different hand than you use for your other writings. The attention to detail is commendably convincing, Lieutenant.”

“One must pay particular–” Shallan began.

“Lieutenant?” said Adolin.

Kaladin tossed the wallet to Adolin. “She didn’t tell you? Miss Davar’s service rank is in the Supply Corps.”

Adolin unfolded the wallet and read its contents. “Not a combat position, thank the Almighty.” He looked up, and his eyes lit on Renarin. “But I am Infantry, and if she is Supply, there will not be much overlap. Shallan, I should assign you the role of adjutant on my staff.”

Kaladin coughed and his eyes studied the ceiling. Shallan’s hand covered her mouth to conceal her amusement; she sent a swift glance to Renarin, who appeared impassive behind his spectacles.

Adolin flushed. “You know what I meant!” he sputtered.

Shallan patted him on the arm, smiling. “Of course I know what you meant.”

It was not really an effective consolation, for Adolin reddened further and ducked his head in his acute embarrassment. Shallan found it delightful that not only could she make Adolin blush like that, but that he could manage it quite proficiently on his own.

“It would be a good idea,” said Adolin, speaking quickly. “You would be allowed to dine with me instead of joining the junior officers’ mess tent. The least I could do would be to ensure that oats do not make an appearance at breakfast or any other meal. And if anyone were to make complaint about your, ah, behaving in a manner unfit for a representative of His Majesty, I could take care of it quietly.”

“By that,” Kaladin offered, “he means if you sleep in past morning call, or make feminine hysterics, or if someone notices a woman entering your tent, Adolin will be the one to enforce discipline.” His hands twitched, and he scratched at the shiny stripes of scarring on his palm. “However, I have reason to believe that he would go easy on you. From personal experience, the worst you’d get is a tongue-lashing.” One dark brow rose upwards, but the rest of his face was smoothly neutral. “Perhaps you might even find yourself enjoying it. Who knows, when it comes to dealing with Scots.”

“Doctor,” Shallan said, “do I hear you promoting misbehaviour?”

“Misbehaviour often tends to occur without the benefit of promotion. It can be quite – spontaneous.” His eyes flicked to Adolin, who was decidedly pink the face. “Now, why don’t you practice marching on command? We will have to use the spoken ones; you must learn to recognise the pipe, drum, and flag signals later.”

The next hour and a half involved Shallan’s walking back and forth in the stillroom, with Kaladin and Adolin and occasionally Renarin calling out bits of advice – which often contradicted, or did not make any sense when seriously considered; they were half-misheard words from half-forgotten training sergeants that contained as much cautionary anecdote as they did helpful advice. Shallan had not expected that being a common soldier should be that difficult – she had thought that acceptance to the Regiment required passing a physical examination of one’s sight and hearing, and some basic exercises done in the presence of the recruiting sergeant. And for the non-combatant roles for pay masters, secretaries, cooks, smiths, surgeons, baggage drovers, and engineers, the examinations were far from stringent.

His Majesty’s Home Regiment at Fort Shulin accepted women, often the wives and daughters of officers, for the non-combatant support positions. But women were not allowed on the front; in times of war, men who held such position were transferred abroad, and their abandoned but necessary paperwork was managed by women. It was not an appropriate role for a single woman, especially not a gentle lady of high station, for whom the prospect of a salaried occupation would have harmed her own prospects for marrying well. That level of independence bestowed upon a young lady surrounded by many fit and active young men gave many – outside the military families – the impression that such a person would not make a respectable wife or a devoted mother. Fort Shulin, with its long-held military tradition and regularly hosted galas for officers of noble blood, retained some level of propriety; on the front, however, standards were completely different, and completely unsuitable for maintaining a lady’s respectability.

It was a good thing that Adolin was not so closed-minded in such matters. They both knew she could never take the King’s shilling in her own name – and ladies were never expected, or even allowed, to take the shilling. On paper they were informal auxiliaries and never granted a rank – they were addressed as Miss or, if married, Missus Lieutenant, and did not wear uniform; military discipline came as a simple dismissal, or very rarely, a firing squad in cases of outright treason. Field discipline was in the form of the court martial’s cage.

“You still march like a girl,” Kaladin said, arms crossed and looking bored; Shallan knew he found her antics entertaining. “You need more swagger. Imagine your head inflated three sizes larger than it is already, and that your trouser pockets are full of gold that you have to jingle about so everyone knows you have it. Let Adolin show you how it’s done.”

“Here, like this,” said Adolin, counting paces beside her. His strides were longer; Shallan had to take larger steps to keep up. “You must put more emphasis on your shoulders and arms; it’ll be easier to find the pace when you do it with a musket on your shoulder and a pack on your back. Your, ah, move your hips too much.”

Shallan glanced down. She could see the shape of her knees and hips beneath the trousers; it was rather daring to imagine herself wearing something like it outside the House. The long frock coat concealed much of her shape, and made her indistinguishable from any other untried but well-connected young officer fresh from the tutoring room, when viewed from behind. Without it, and without the waistcoat, she was distinctively feminine. Adolin didn’t seem to disapprove: she had caught him watching a number of times. And Kaladin too, once or twice, although he had the grace to be more subtle about it. But she really needed a restrictive bodice to keep things locked down tight.

“Do I really need to do all this when officers get to ride horses?” she grumbled.

“Have you ever gone on horseback for ten hours?” said Adolin. “You will eventually have to take a rest.”

Kaladin snorted. “It’s either walking or riding, Miss Davar. I’m afraid even Adolin is not charitable enough for what you’d prefer.”

“The roads are not very good outside the larger towns, and never in a winter campaign,” said Renarin. “We use oxen trains to carry supplies overland, and it churns country roads to mud. It is worse when it freezes.”

“When it freezes,” Adolin said, “you will have to get off and walk or else your toes go numb.” He was silent for a moment. “Shallan, you needn’t do this. It’s not too late–”

“You have done this all before – even you, Renarin?” Shallan asked. “Yes? And you’re planning to do it again. If you can, then I can. My problem is a lack of education in these matters. But then I have you all to help,” she said fiercely, feeling frustration prickle hotly in her eyes. “We shall manage it together – it is what family does.”

Adolin’s hand caught hers and gave a friendly squeeze. She looked up at him, and he looked down at her, and she felt his sentiments of assurance and confidence; she knew he was uncertain about this choice of hers, but he was certain that it was a choice she thought as important as his own, and he could not begrudge her something that he did not deny himself – that was not done by an officer or a gentleman, and Adolin was both.

“Speaking of Family,” said Kaladin, interrupting their moment with his usual tact, “shouldn’t you be joining your own for dinner?”

“Father and the Dukes are staying for now, while they get a military alliance hammered out,” Adolin said. “There’ll be dinners enough over the next few days that it shouldn’t matter if I miss a few. I do not look forward to sitting beside Ruthar and Roion; they will just be haranguing at me for Sebarial’s getting the lion’s share of letters of marque. If their own merchant fleets were equipped with two dozen cannon per hull, then I might actually find them worth listening to.”

“Is Sebarial’s Skyeel flagship?” inquired Renarin. He looked thoughtful as he glanced at the wall clock.

Skyeel, Stormwarden, and Roion’s Bowsprit lead the formation in the Channel until the other ships are refitted and armed.”

“Renarin, Miss Davar – why don’t you go to the kitchens and see about bringing up a trolley for dinner? Adolin and I must discuss … things … that will no doubt be incredibly tedious to you,” said Kaladin. “Military matters, you see.”

“Men’s things, you mean,” Shallan replied.

“Exactly.”

Adolin would tell her later if anything important had been discussed, thought Shallan. She and Renarin – who did not look unhappy at being thus excluded – perhaps he was used to it, or perhaps he didn’t care – walked to the kitchens in uniform, and went ignored by the servants. They were saluted without hesitation by common soldiers, and would have saluted higher ranking officers if they had seen any, but there were a scarce few higher than Renarin’s own rank of Major. Most people, Shallan noticed, saw the uniform, and not the person wearing it; in that way it was not dissimilar to her experience in servants’ garb. She had tied her hair back in the manner of a gentleman, and it was longer than what a gentleman’s barber might consider conventional, but her blue frock coat was the only thing people allowed themselves to see.

“What do you suppose they’re talking about?” asked Shallan in a low voice. She was still working on making it deep enough to pass as a boy reluctantly proceeding into the changes brought by manhood. She had four brothers; she had heard them all go through it at one point.

“You.” Renarin’s response was swift; he did not obfuscate. Shallan could not decide if the honesty espoused by Kholin men was a definitively good thing.

“I see.”

“I hope you do.” Renarin paused, as he usually did when he spoke, and Shallan waited patiently for him to continue. “You make my brother happy. He thinks victory in duelling and on the battlefield make him happy, but it is only satisfaction.”

“You can discern happiness from satisfaction?”

“Most wretches can.”

They were silent as a trolley was collected and loaded with covered trays of food. A pitcher of ale was set on the lowest tier, along with a bucket containing a bottle of wine; Renarin inspected the label with a critical eye, but it appeared to pass muster. He pushed the rattling trolley back through the gauntlet run of a hallway, and when they stood in front of the stillroom door, Shallan asked one other question she had been thinking about since morning.

“Where exactly is Waterlô?”

“In the Low Province of Wallonia, on the Continent. Next to Flanders.”

And then door was opened and Adolin turned to them, grateful to see her, or at least grateful to see the food – he looked as if he had not enjoyed hearing whatever topics of discussion had been brought up in his conversation with Doctor Kaladin. It was not bad news, she speculated, since Adolin did not look especially angry or distressed, but there was something different now, some sense of shyness when they had been so comfortable in one another’s presence only thirty minutes before. Kaladin, the insufferable man – he must have said something to Adolin to make him once again timid in her company, when she had just gotten him to the point that she could kiss him in a room with other people – never mind that there was a curtain to shield the view; the result was still assuredly undesirable.

They dined around the surgical table – with no tablecloth, and no centrepiece, and not even wineglasses for their drinks. It was a slap in the face of respectability; it would have been irreparably appalling for the Shallan of six months ago to eat at a table where some poor soul had had his leg sawn off. But this Shallan didn’t care, because she felt at home – and that was more of a comfort to her, and more of a home than she had felt at Loch Davar six months back. There was plenty of food here, and plenty of good cheer and good company, and when she looked around the table, she did not see her hollow-eyed brothers in threadbare green wool. She saw instead brothers-in-arms in the crisp cobalt blue uniforms representing purpose, and direction – and that was infinitely more preferable than the miserable directionless waiting – on something to happen, for someone to save the estate before the final shilling had been spent.

Choice. It gave purpose, and filled one’s life with the solidity of true substance. Only if one had courage enough to take it.

After dinner, Adolin and Renarin left to return the dishes and trolley to the kitchen. Kaladin rinsed out the beakers, and Shallan went behind the curtain to change back into her dress. The uniform she folded into neat square parcels in the travelling case; she imagined Renarin had a careful pattern of organisation for how he arranged his clothes, but she did not know it, so she settled on placing the heavier coat and trousers on the bottom, then the shirts, and then the rolled neckcloths on the top.

“Doctor, what did you say to Adolin?” she asked. “He was behaving somewhat peculiarly – he had difficulty looking either of us in the eye during dinner.”

The drain in the scullery tub gurgled. Kaladin straightened, but he did not turn around. “Necessary things. Of a personal nature. If you are insatiably curious about it, you might ask him. In fact, I rather recommend that you do.”

“Couldn’t you – cut out the middleman, as they say?”

“And what would be the fun in that?”

Shallan scowled in what she hoped was a ladylike fashion. She snapped the clothes case closed, and put away the boots in their nest of white tissue. Time passed. The door was knocked upon and swung open, and Adolin stepped through without Renarin.

“Jasnah wanted to speak to him,” he explained, shrugging. “I suspect she wants to find him a match after her last roaring success. It is a shame that you have no sisters, Shallan. That should make as neat and tidy an end as anyone would like.”

“Not everything can be as neat and tidy as a serial,” Shallan said, gathering her satchel. “Few things in life are. But we struggle along, and make the best of what we can find.” She was aware that this line of conversation could never be appreciated as congenial after-dinner chatter; she altered her course. “I don’t suppose we can go to the retiring room anymore. I might as well go through – I have been awake since dawn. Shall we go up?”

“I shall stay,” Kaladin said. “Miss Davar, before you leave – you ought to take your things.”

He offered her a sheaf of folded pages. Her calculated progressionals, from her appointment. Shallan took them casually, without looking; unbuckling her satchel, she stuffed them in, between her sketchbook and her pen box. Something tucked between the papers fell out: a blue silk tassel. She tugged on it, like a worm from an apple, and when she had it out, along with the bit of pasteboard attached to it, she held it up to Kaladin.

“You should keep it. As a souvenir – I haven’t any need of it myself,” she said. “And thank you, Doctor. For everything.”

He accepted it without comment, and slipped it into his pocket. “Good-night, Miss Davar. Adolin.” Somehow his voice sounded ominously knowing – and contained the barest hint of amusement.

Adolin offered his arm, and Shallan took it. His other arm held the handle of the travelling case; Shallan had the shoebox. When the stillroom door closed behind them, Shallan smiled. It was a wicked smile.

“Your room, or mine?”

Adolin, to his credit, did not flinch at the question. “Mine.”

Author's Notes:

"I took the King's shilling" - moment of truth for both of them here. If Adolin tried to lock Shallan up for her own protection, she would have run away because in her mind, it would make Adolin no different than her crazy father. Renarin, Kaladin, and Adolin accept her decision, and decide to help her, all for different reasons. And because of that, she is willing to trust them and start opening up.

"A tongue-lashing" - IRL 1860's slang. Kaladin is making a double-entendre, referencing a verbal reprimand and tongue kissing.

"A wretch" - if you haven't figured it out by now, it's the in-universe slang for an ether addict.

"You have no sisters" - reference to many Regency romance plots where the PoV female marries the brother-in-law that she thought was annoying or arrogant for half the book. Let's get meta in here.

On Renarin - Renarin sees a lot of familiar things in Shallan, even if he doesn't know about the tragic childhood. He was prevented from training as a soldier for being born as an invalid, and sees that Shallan's limitation is her gender. He is aware that Kaladin has feelings for Shallan, but doesn't care enough to interfere unless Adolin is going to be directly hurt.

On Kaladin - He's still crushing hard, and thinks she is physically attractive - compare to when he thought she was a skinny spotted frog. He deeply respects her, and doesn't try to stop her when she's made up her mind because it reminds him of his own decision to leave doctor school and follow Tien. His parents would have stopped him, but he didn't care. He has accepted that he's the third wheel in the triangle, and doesn't believe in that nonsense that says men and women can't be friends after the friendzone happens. He is happy that Adolin has found worthy wife and sabotaging their relationship is too evil and selfish for him. He also killed Shallan's brother, so it's possible he thinks he's unworthy.

On Adolin - Adolin had his own problems at the start but Shallan getting over her problems and using that knowledge to help with him is very important to him, even though he doesn't know where she gets all that wisdom from. His whole life he has been expected to be the good son, the good soldier, and the good Duke, and part of his character's levelling up is accepting that he has a choice. Yes, he still has the potential to kill Sadeas, but in this AU he won't go blue screen afterwards because he has learned there's a difference between doing good and doing what's right. He also unambiguously loves Shallan, and if Shallan does not love him yet, she has come to a point in her development where she is not afraid to love him back.

Notes on the whole story -

This fanfic unexpectedly crept up to novel length, hah. It's longer than Twilight, and most YA novels, at over 130k words and 300 pages long on word processor and in ePub edition.

If you want to read the whole story (broken into more cohesive chapters without unrelated posts/comments from other people) or download it for your eReader, it is hosted elsewhere.

The prose was inspired by Regency authors, and many not so accurate period romances, but the tone changed early on because you can't have a Shallan without darkness (& NO PARENTS) or you risk going OOC. Much of the world-building is SA-canon details grafted onto a historical AU world, as cleanly as I could, to make sense in context. Some of it diverges from Alethkar, for example, AU House Kholin have been the royal family for longer than 2 generations. The social divisions and interactions between classes, and tech levels I have tried to keep mostly accurate to retain the flavour of the period.

The original illustrations were created on Photoshop, with some mixed media from hand drawn pencil sketches and layered textures. Originally based on canon Shallan's Sketchbook pages, with stylistic inspiration from Ava's Demon, Lackadaisy, The Prince of Egypt, Transistor, Todd Allison, Leviathan, and Fate/Stay Night (original visual novel not the tv version). Several chapters I thought would read well as a graphic novel or visual novel. The character designs and painting style are my own.

Just in case you wondered, the hardest part for me to write was the carriage scene where Shallan drifts on ether for the first time early on in the story. That was the place where the tone changed from romcom to dark, and I agonised over it to get it right, while still making Shallan and her family sympathetic rather than creepy psychos. The other scenes that were hard to write were Adolin's confession of love, and Kaladin's kiss and rejection, because they were extremely emotional and that is harder to do right than action scenes where you can just explain what characters did, rather than what they think and feel. Everything else was easier, yes, even Adolin's confession of cowardice and Lin Davar's death.

The passages I liked writing the most were the times where Kaladin put ether on Shallan's wound and it was extremely painful for her. It's too simple to write "it hurt", and I wanted readers to cringe when you read it for the first time. So the lines "a single torrent of nameless, searing agony that swept away thought and reason until there was no sense at all, and only the sensation of pain remained" and "it stunned her insensate mind with more awareness than any abruptly thrown open curtains on any number of mornings. And all of that awareness was attuned to experiencing pure agony." Yeah, Shallan's focus on the pain (and also the descriptions of the food at every meal) is supposed to reflect her personal history and character.

Some lines I like the most out of the whole thing were: "his wounded chest gasped in spurts of red", "they could sing, and they sang to one another, and they sang to Shallan", "Loch Davar, admittedly, did not have much that could be praised or even expected in a roof", "It was a different peace for a different sort of brokenness, but the journey was always the same painful struggle."

Writing Kaladin's rejection was kind of painful to me, it hit home pretty hard. Even worse that I built up his attraction to her that readers could easily pick up on it, but Shallan was completely oblivious to it to the point where it was probably frustrating. But this isn't an OT3 story, so it had to happen - and I had foreshadowed from the beginning how similar they were, and how Shallan doesn't like that - "I imagine that if I were forced to spend my days with someone identical to myself, I would tear my hair out in frustration." There was a whole lot of foreshadowing in the story, if you feel like going back to seeing for yourself. And lots of throwback lines to previous scenes - there are plenty of lines of dialogue which is an ironic echo of something said earlier.

Thanks for reading, hopefully it was interesting to you the whole way through:. I am aware most AU fics are hit or miss, and mostly miss. I had a surprising amount of fun writing this story, since I haven't written prose in years and it was interesting to discover how lots of reading other people's prose managed to rub off onto me. I am also aware that this story needs a good proof-read; every time I go through it I see small things that would be better changed or tightened up, but I am too lazy to go through and edit all these posts one by one. If you liked it, I did a good job then. I wanted this to be not just a fanfiction or a story, but a journey and an experience.

THE END.

(I'll write an epilogue later because I personally like the closure.)

Edited by sheep
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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 33

 

 

 

 

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I think the day I'll stop being upset by things I read on the Internet may end up being the day I die  :ph34r: Most of critics I read of Brandon's work are demeaning, unwarranted and seem to spur out of the fact he has gotten very popular. If you bother to critic a piece of work, at least have the decency to bring about valid argumentation. Are Brandon's books for everyone? Of course not, but saying it was the most boring book ever is pushing it a tad too far. I do love to read negative critics as I tend to find them more interesting: positive ones will typically say the book was the most amazing ever. It won't tell me if I will enjoy the book or not, so negative critics tend to be more instructive. There are a few valid ones of SA on Goodreads. For instance, it is true Brandon's prose is not equivalent to Eriksson, Rothfuss, GGK or Martin: he uses a more simplistic language to convey his story. It is also true he tends to prefer working with empowered characters who are inherently good which isn't what certain readers are looking for. Brandon's books, as a whole, are effective, but they aren't beautiful or poetic. This is a valid critic because it is true and it does help a new reader figure out if he/she will like it or not. Even Brandon is humble enough to tell a few readers he doesn't think they would like his books. Saying it is a dumb boring story and nothing happens until the last 100 pages is an unwarranted critic: as if books needed to be non-stop action from page 1 to page 1000. I have never read a book that length which would qualify as such. Long books being part of a series will spend time establishing the characters, the world and such. They tend to be about more than moving the plot from point A to point B.

 

The ardent defense of Renarin as the flag bearer of the autistic community also is baffling as the character does not even read as autistic: you basically have to know he is to figure it out. Sure, there is one reader who focused intensively on him who found out about it, but this is about it. There isn't much to say about Renarin and he is an unsatisfactory character to many. I could emphasize with him, back in WoK, but to see him obsess so much over being a soldier when several better options were opened to him was eye rolling. It got even more frustrating to see readers praising his courage as he agreed to jump on his head: "Oh the poor boy, he is so brave." when it was obvious this was standard training for all Shardbearers. He isn't a poor boy, he's just having the training Adolin had 6 years ago and the point of the scene wasn't to show us Renarin, it was to show us how Shardbearers are being trained. in WoK Prime, you had Merrin do the exact same thing.

 

I am one of those readers who have occasionally tried to bring forward the argument Renarin didn't look very deserving of his spren as he hasn't done anything, that we could see, to earn one. His life has been privileged (just like Adolin, but he does get call on it, even Kaladin loves Renarin at first sight even thought he is just as spoiled as Adolin and perhaps more) and my main point of contention is why his past is considered horrific while Adolin's is considered perfect. They lived the exact same life: so why was Renarin a tragedy while Adolin's isn't even worth mentioning? Sure he was a sick kid, but his family is so loving and supporting I can't figured out why he ended up so broken. I would have buy it if his father has been cold toward him, not proud, not supportive, ashamed of having a disabled son, but I read none of that so I am left being puzzled as to why this character's broken spirit is so important a spren got interested in it. 

 

This being said making Renarin a Radiant actually is interesting if only for what it means for the family dynamic. He works quite well as Adolin's side-kick and to have him have powers his older always stronger brother doesn't makes up for an interesting speculative plot for Adolin's character development, providing Brandon wants to explore it. It opens the door for a situation where Renarin has to take care of his brother when it has always been the other way around and that's interesting. Renarin finding he is stronger than he thinks and Adolin realizing even strong men cry and need a shoulder to lean on from times to times it a really cute arc for both of them, so if it accumulates into this, then I am all for Renarin.

 

I love speculations: I have always done it. Even as a child, I would expend on the shows/books I was watching, inventing alternate plot for my favorite characters. The fun of it is not about being right, it is about creating something of your own out of a beloved story. I love making out stories and no it doesn't go away as you get older  :ph34r: When I am stressed out or worried or I had a bad day, I can still tap into my endless streak of stories to chase those thoughts away. There was a time where I had no more stories in my head  :( These were the years where I had insomnia and I couldn't sleep anymore, fighting a never ending war against an invisible monster who only lived in between my two ears. So the stories are positive... they are an integral part of who I am, I need those stories: they allow me to navigate better into real life. I don't want the stories to die, ever  :(

 

This being said, I don't do it with every book I read, it would be too tiresome  :o I do as you do with pretty much everything I read. I only do it with story which generates strong feelings in me: generally because they present me a character arc I feel particularly sympathetic too. Sometimes my speculation doesn't last long as I rapidly get to the bottom of it, other times it last longer. As I said, Adolin is a golden mine as he is an endless source of alternate stories: I never had such a rich character to play with before. I had also never speculated on future books before... usually I picked a side character of an existing finished story for it... so this is something new for me. It just happened. I really like the character and he spoke to me in a personal way. I googled to see what would come out of it and a monster did!!! 

 

I also don't think Brandon is the best author in the world: I don't enjoy his other work as much as I enjoy SA (I even disliked Firefight). Mistborn is alright, but it isn't a page turner for me nor are they books I anxiously await for. They are good, easy to read stories and I treat them as such. SA, I believe, currently forms two very good books. Brandon is very talented at writing a climax and delivering it. He does make the story moves forward which is great and satisfying as your expectations typically gets resolved. However, Jordan was a better world-builder as the WoT created one of the most vivid, lively and detailed worlds since Tolkien, complete with its lore and legends: it was fascinating even for a character reader such as I. Brandon is not there yet: his Cosmere is nowhere near close enough to be equivalent. We'll see how it plays out in the end. Brandon also probably isn't the best character writer, but honestly, he has been the author to deliver the most interesting and explored characters I have read in fantasy. Jordan wasn't a great character writer, Martin is better but the hopelessness of his world can be a turn off at times. Neither of them gave me a real worthy character to root for: they gave me arcs I really enjoyed, but not characters which feels as strong as those Brandon made, even with all their flaws.

 

There are stories with similar characters as Adolin? Please let me know which ones! I do love the trope going on with him... Unraveling the Prince Charming: it is more interesting than yet another beaten and mistreated under-dog.

 

By the time you die, I think you will stop feeling upset at most things on the internet.  The amount of content out there means that you will realise that very few things are new and original, and most of it is passed around.  When you have seen it once, you have seen it all.  Things have to be very funny or very stupid for me to have a real laugh at it these days, and even upsetting things don’t upset me anymore.  Brandon is a realistic and reasonable guy, but it’s his fans who can be pretty annoying.  The ones who recommend his books every time someone asks for a new series to read, whether or not it is something they would actually like or are looking for.  He writes ensemble fantasy so there’s a character for everyone to like, but people who are looking for specific character types to read often don’t want to read 300 pages for Kaladin angst to get to the Jasnah chapters that they like.  The worst people are the ones who talk about “forcing” themselves to read the 1000 pages and asking at page 500 if it’s worth it to keep reading or not.  If I could feel upset or annoyed at what people write on the internet, I would feel annoyed at that.  Because, seriously – if you have to force yourself to read a book, why the braize are you reading it?!? :rolleyes:   Reading is an activity for your own entertainment, not so you can ride the hype train.

 

Am I the only who thinks that not everyone needs flashback sequences?  They’re a useful tool to explain backstory and characterisation, quickly and effectively, so your MC’s motivations and decisions in the main/current plotline are justified and rational, but it is not subtle at all.  For Kaladin, you could tell exactly what would happen before it happened, and Shallan’s too in some parts.  It lost some of the impact on my first read, and on the second read it was boring enough that I skimmed it so I could return to the main narrative.  Flashbacks are just really … not subtle for developing a character, IMHO.  They work, and that is why they are used, but I prefer it when backstory is integrated in-text, in the forms of little clues and references instead of separate chapters.  It feels like a more natural reading experience that way, and I like that better than being a separate story within the story.  Flashbacks and “in media res” formats work for action oriented plotlines like Oceans Eleven, but in characterisation it is a bit heavyhanded.  If Adolin gets his past explored in his moments of self-awareness or mental reflection, I would prefer that to flashbacks.  And we have gotten some hints of it, like his bonding of a Ryshadium or winning his Shardblade in a duel.

 

I read Bands of Mourning and there was one Wayne PoV chapter.  Everyone likes Wayne, and when I read it, I didn’t like his “voice”.  I don’t think he’s funny, and Brandon has a habit of picking character quirks and sometimes exaggerating to the point where it’s annoying and you just think “enough of it already, I know what X character is like!”.  That is why I prefer Wax/Marasi, the boring characters, because they are readable for most people, whereas Wayne appeals only to a certain subset who think his antics are amusing because lol so random!1!1  To some people, David from Steelheart’s broken metaphors are like that.  Of course, depending on where you say your opinion, you would get bashed by the superfans.  And the stick, too. 

 

My first impression of Renarin was that there was something wrong with him, like an anxiety disorder, but I didn’t even pick it out as autism until later.  He is still pretty high functioning, and his lack of interest in talking to people and the rarity of scenes where he has conversations and interactions with other characters are more due to his natural introversion than his being on the spectrum.  The problem with Renarin isn’t being born “weaker” than what an Anglethi male should be, but his self-pity and angsty whinging.  When he made a comment that was pretty much “Maybe I would be better off dead”, my instant reaction was to roll my eyes and that is why I am glad he doesn’t get PoV.  By the time his book rolls around, there’s a good chance his character would have developed and progressed enough – Bridge Four seems to have helped – that his mental dialogue won’t be so annoying to read that your eyes roll so much that they get permanently stuck to your eyelids.  Because all clues point towards his “breaking point” being self-inflicted, watching all the other kids have fun outside while he has to stay indoors for his own safety.  Dalinar called out Sadeas, his FRIEND, in WoK for saying Renarin was useless.  Dalinar wouldn’t have done the same for Adolin if someone had insulted him – he would have just quoted some Code rule that says that good officers don’t duel and words are just words.

So Dalinar considers Adolin “the better man” and Renarin his little boy, which is kinda frustrating, because you aren’t supposed to play favourites with your kids!!!  At least Renarin isn’t a jerk about it like Malta Vestrit.

 

I have never done much speculating, because some part of me considers the story a property of the original author, and their intentions for their stories’ direction is the “right” one, and it would be presumptuous to make up scenarios with their character.  It is why I felt weird about writing fan fiction for the longest time, and I still feel uncomfortable with writing stories based on the canon-universe with canon-characters because I feel like I wouldn’t know them as well as the author could, so everything I try to make is WRONG ALL WRONG!!!!  I would prefer to write my own story than piggyback on another person’s.

 

I understand your desire to create something with something that you love, like a universe that you are very familiar with, that gives you good feelings every time you read it, and is associated with happy things in your mind.  I don’t speculate like you do, but I do it through creating art.  When I finish a book, and it was very vivid and I felt sympathetic to the characters or story, I like to create character and costume designs – and that is my version of inventing things with a favourite universe.  I know fan art is self-indulgent like writing your favourite OT3 ship in fanfiction, but there is usually a pool of artworks made by other people, and I really enjoy looking at other people’s art and comparing at how our different our mental images turn out to be.

 

In the book series I recommended a few posts ago, the Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix, the second book features a character named Prince Sameth who is your typical friendly young man protagonist at first, but then you find out he is scared to death of his parents’ expectations and is even more scared when he gets a traumatic experience and suffers PTSD.  The second book (“Lirael”) I thought was a very touching and character developing story that resounded a lot with me when I first read it a teenager, and is still enjoyable when I re-read it years later.  The first book (“Sabriel”) isn’t bad, but it develops the world and magic system more than the characters, which is good, but I like character growth too.

 

The other book I recommended, “The Eagle of the Ninth” is a historical with hurt-comfort themes that you like.  It features a young Roman career soldier who gets permanently injured and discharged from the army and has to figure out where he fits in the world, with the help of a Roman-hating British slave he rescues from the gladiator arena.  It’s very bromance and no romance.  I like my romance in stories, but sometimes it’s really cute when people who don’t like each other at first develop a genuine friendship and mutual respect. 

 

Both stories have young men coming from places of privilege who have their problems that stem from some sort of self-perceived inferiority.  Without having to be underdogs that get beaten and starved and other terrible punishments that make me skim because I don’t like reading endless violence/gore stories.  I don’t find Adolin as special as you do as a character.  All characters written by different authors are unique, but they use shared tropes and character archetypes, and if no one is Adolin, there are similar ones in completed series who develop with closure in a way that Adolin hasn’t yet done. 

 

 

 

Yeah well he doesn't like stories to begin with... He has other qualities  :ph34r: And he has no idea what I am writing about, so it kind of makes his opinion more or less worthless  :ph34r:

 

Oh I have left out a lot of my speculation in order to get the plot moving but I fear I may have over-played it in the last chapters and I am not sure of the next step. And it isn't just about Adolin, it revolves around him, but he isn't the only character in there. This being said, I am worried other people will not like it. I don't think it is heavy on the trauma stick, but maybe you would disagree. It is hard to tell, but hurt/comfort is a writing style which has its fans. I wouldn't necessarily qualify the half story I have as such. Technically, I do know how it ends, but I am not sure the means I thought to use to get there would please and it is rather long  :o To put it all in words, I have work to do, a lot of work to do  :o

 

I think you write beautifully. It is very detailed, my own fic isn't as detailed nor do I master the English language as well as you do. I haven't read Pullman, I am oscillating between wanting to and not wanting to as colleagues have told me it becomes rather theological eventually which may not please me.

 

My fic works better if you read the first two chapters, not just the first. The first isn't the best one, but after two, you get an idea of the tone. It is nameless as I could never find an appropriate name for it.

 

People who don’t like stories.  Why.  :( :(

I know there are people who get bored at stories too, especially really long ones, and that is why I included art in mine – to break up the walls of text.  And also I want to be another layer of subtext, to highlight important themes or elements in the chapter, just in case my writing was weak enough not to make it obvious.

 

How much have you written?  And how long have you planned it to be to get to your end goal resolution?  A novella is around 40-60k words, a YA novel is 100k, and a full novel is 125-150k+.  Fanfics that finish up or get dropped are around 20k words.  When you know your end goal and your end length, you can structure your chapters to be evenly sized and evenly paced bites of story to carry the narrative.  But that may getting ahead of myself – if you have only just started, it’s more important to develop the voice and tone of your PoV characters, so that each one is distinct.  And that is why I only used one PoV – once you have got your head wrapped around portraying one, it’s hard to switch gears and tell the story from the opposite side.

 

When I try to write “beautiful” prose, I get myself in the frame of mind of describing a scene in terms of what it is like to see from the character’s PoV, and what they feel.  I find that it’s way easier to write poetic prose in a character’s internal reflection rather than when they do things and talk to people – at that point I devolve to Brandon level “workman” writing.  There is nothing wrong with “workman” writing as long as it gets the job done at the end of the day.  Not everything has to be pretty writing, it’s just a preference.  But if you don’t mind critique (and don’t get upset if I do it really honestly) send me the chapters where you think you’ve set the story’s direction.

 

Pullman’s third book is theological and heavyhanded in the third book, but the first is readable.  If you can read Orson Scott Card and enjoy it, you can enjoy this.  The first book takes place in an alternate universe steampunk London with a 12 year old main character girl which can be annoying for adults to read (I first read the series as a kid and didn’t mind it), but the world-building and beautiful writing makes up for it.  It will only offend you if you want to get offended at it.  Or you can read it and make up your own mind. 

 

 

The moon had set by now, and the sky to the south was profoundly dark, though the billions of stars lay on it like diamonds on velvet. They were outshone, though, by the Aurora, outshone a hundred times. Never had Lyra seen it so brilliant and dramatic; with every twitch and shiver, new miracles of light danced across the sky. And behind the ever-changing gauze of light, that other world, that sunlit city, was clear and solid.

 

If Brandon wrote prose like this, his books would be twice as long.

 

 

 

 

One of my colleague has started reading SA and these are her thoughts: Kaladin is too squeaky clean, she prefers Shallan. Hands down. She is early in WoR, but even in WoK, Shallan was her favorite. Kaladin is turning out to be too morally clean, much like Dalinar (which is why we need Adolin as a more fleshed out character).

 

Oh it isn't this bad.... It ends well  :o I love the trauma stick, but I also love happy endings. It is basically the story of how life isn't always as it appears to be and how events will make it unravel around a rich kid nobody ever took for anything worthy. There is a ray of hope! It gets bad, really bad before it gets better, but I think the whole family needed a wake-up call and they all end up closer in the end.

 

I do not like it period, not because I think it gross in SA Adolin would be dating a much younger girl, more because I question the age gap... In our world, a 23 years old would not date a 17 years old.. so it is rather strange. Adolin also reads as a much younger character and I question why Brandon made him so much older than the others. He has stumped his growth by being so insecure but still 5 years is a lot at their age (and the gap is probably closer to 5 years than 6 as Shallan is closer to 18 than 17 and Adolin is probably closer to 23 than 24, but this part may be wishful thinking).

 

In the AU fic, they all are in University, it is just Renarin who is in High School. I have to check how the American system actually works.... but Adolin is in his graduating year, Shallan is just starting and Kaladin is in bis second year. I made him 20 because I think this would fit.... and yes since I am Canadian, I figured legal drinking age is a theory  :ph34r: It may be 18 over here, but seriously kids would start drinking slightly before that. To wait until 21 is a none sense to me, so huh I figured being 20 wouldn't prevent Adolin from drinking. A Canadian AU where Adolin is a hockey player wouldn't work as well because hockey may be big in Canada, but there aren't any University level hockey teams and the sports culture is different. I needed Adolin to be into something prestigious, something which draws crowd and quite seriously University sports aren't big. Schools also don't run on scholarships: there are practically free when compared to the States, so the incentive to win a sports related scholarship isn't there.

 

Hmm the first chapter I had in mind was a bit different, but it does play more or less on this theme.

 

Now that I think about it, the Kaladin and Shallan from my fic are the grey characters, and it is Adolin (who hasn’t killed Sadeas) who is the squeaky clean one.  Kaladin is a more interesting character when he is a good guy who manages to still be morally questionable – he invades Shallan’s privacy on a regular basis on the justification of protecting Adolin’s heart from getting stomped, but there’s a certain level of selfishness in what he does. 

 

In romance writing and reviewing circles, there are two types of happy endings: “happily ever after” and “happy for now”, and books get labelled with each one so people who prefer one over the other know which one to read.  Do you know which one your story will end up?  I have always thought “HFN” endings were more realistic and don’t break the suspension of disbelief if your setting is establish as dark and broken.

 

There are many 17/18 year old girls out there that don’t mind dating a 23 year old guy, and some of them actually do because girls liking older guys is a thing, just like girls liking ugly rough looking guys is a thing.  It is just uncommon these days because such people don’t often share the same friend circles and don’t have the opportunity to meet, or it would happen more.  And also these days, we see ages in stages like child, teenager, young adult, adult, mature adult and we consider it weird when people date outside their little demographic brackets.  In the past, in feudal times, and even until the 1950’s/1960’s, there was just a distinction between child and adult, and nothing in between.  Shallan and Adolin in-canon would be considered adults and that is why no one thinks there’s anything wrong with it.  Even in Regency romance settings, there would be nothing weird about 17/23.  I went back to check my books and Elizabeth and Mr Darcy were 20 and 28, Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester were 20 and 37, Emma and Mr Knightley were 21 and 38, and there was one scene where he mentions that he held her in his arms when she was a baby (??!!??!!!!! :blink: ) so it seems age gap weirdness is only a recently societal thing.

 

It is weird because people these days would question what a 23 year old would see in a 17/18 year old girl, but Adolin is hardly the type of guy who would take advantage of Shallan.  Honestly, Shallan is more likely to be the one to “take advantage” of him, lol. ;)  ;)  ;)   Brandon made Adolin his age to justify his competence leading armies and being a top athlete (and probably the timeline of Dalinar leaving Alethkar and Navani and going to find and court his future wife) and if you were to write him as someone who is very capable managing business affairs and working at a corporate office part-time, then it would make more sense if he were his canon-age.

 

I didn’t know Canadian universities played American football.  It’s hard trying to integrate a fantasy story into a modern AU setting, isn’t it?  If it were an Australian setting, the sports would be Australian football (we have our own version with no padding) or rugby, which draw big crowds but it’s definitely not a rich boy sport.  The rich boys do sailing and yachting.  If you can’t find anything, there’s always martial arts.  SA Adolin preferred quiet duelling arenas instead of loud crowds (before WoR happened) so it doesn’t need to be a spectator sport.

 

 

 

 

Actually I am always wary of heroes who sees fit to sacrifice their family for the greater good... What kind of hero are you if you are willing to see those you love the most suffer for choices you deem superior? It is like Batman letting his girlfriend die in order to save the man he thought Gotham needed was a neat example of it. In playing the high game, for which he did not know the answer nor the future, Batman made a poor choice. He chose the end before the journey and forgot to think about which world he would create of the woman he loves is considered expendable.

 

I see Dalinar as such a man: he would sacrifice Adolin if he thought it meant securing an advantage. I hate to say it, but I do think he would: he would bite his nails afterwards, he would see his mistake, but he would do it nonetheless. Dalinar sat back down in the 4 on 1 duel because he figured Adolin wasn't worth him risking his position. He got away with it, but I see it as a foreshadowing of SA3: Dalinar will sacrifice Adolin to secure his unity, but he will fail to understand by doing so he is putting the destination before the journey.

 

The two sons should be more valuable than Elhokar, this is true, but to Dalinar nothing is more precious than Elhokar: the last remnant of his dead brother. Dalinar is so blinded by his guilt for Gavilar's death he does see Elhokar as more important than his own sons. I think his feeling are so clouded in need when it comes to Adolin he may have forgotten how much he loves him.

 

What kind of hero are you if you are willing to let the families of everyone around you suffer and die because you wanted to save your own?  Stories where there is a choice between girlfriend and world tend to be so black and white and often predictable.  You either save the girlfriend, or you do a last stand/heroic sacrifice and save both with your own death.  It’s also arguable that saving your family/girlfriend first instead of defusing the bomb is destination over journey, depending on how the author writes it.

 

I figure Dalinar would be the big picture man, too, since Kaladin is the small picture self-focused character and Shallan is the world exploration/setting exposition character.  Whatever choice he makes will be guaranteed to be a learning experience for him and whoever is involved, and if you speculate too much about what it means for Adolin, you will only make yourself worried or sad. 

 

By the time Dalinar actually has to make a decision, there’s a good chance that Renarin and Adolin would have levelled up in their character development that they don’t need their dad to come and save them – because they can do it themselves, and they don’t need their dad to say he loves them, because they know he does.  Be optimistic!  Brandon doesn’t kill off characters or hit them with the trauma stick without a payoff in the end, even if it takes 2000 pages to get there.  You worry about Adolin getting exiled from Alethkar, but in the end, he will come back levelled up and ready to kick chulls.  Before a dramatic “hold the gates” ending, of course. :ph34r:

 
 
 

 

Ah well Brandon has confirmed Dalinar was Adolin and Renarin's father. It is Elhokar I am wondering about, not because I wish for this plot line to happen, but I wondered if it would. Also there are women who are attracted to ugly rough looking men

 

Of course Adolin deals badly with rejection: he is a character who puts a strong emphasis on how people perceive him. What they think of him defines how good he feels about himself, so to have Jakamav blatantly admit the only reason he befriended him was for prestige and now it is gone, he wants none of it, hurt him. Badly. This is the chapter which sold me Adolin as a character, but it showed how we shouldn't judge people base on appearances. Adolin appears as a vapid, dumb, playboy without any depth but in truth he is so sensitive, he needs to protect himself into a solid armor to avoid hurting. If he heart gets stomp, then there is no telling what he will do, but I fear emotionally impulsive Adolin may do something very, very, very stupid such as thinking his life does not matter anymore which would prompt him to take risks he wouldn't have taken in other circumstances. 

 

Dalinar does think more about Renarin than Adolin... He thinks of how sorry he was for leaving him unprepared to lead the Kholin princedom as he thought he was about to die. He did not have ONE thought for Adolin who was going to die so young for having followed him in his folly, especially after spending so much time warning him against Sadeas. He does think about Renarin when he decides to give him a Plate, he is rather found of his younger son... As a father, Dalinar projects himself a lot in his children. In Adolin, he sees his former self, the Blackthorn, so he strives to give him very strict rules, seeking to create the man he wished he had been from the start. In Renarin, he sees the second, less handsome, less talented brother who always had to make way for his superior brother. His feelings make him go extra hard on Adolin and extra soft on Renarin... both flaws which I hope Brandon will explore into the next book.

 

As for Renarin being expected to take a wife, I suspect Alethi may be the kind of society where the youngest son is supposed to wait for the eldest to get married before getting his chance. In other words, they have focus so much on marrying Adolin, they haven't started broaching the subject with Renarin. There is also the fact he looks like a teenager and Dalinar has a hard time admitting he is an adult now, so there must some of that too. I suspect the family will realize Adolin is ruined as a heir for having murdered Sadeas, they will focus on finding a wife for Renarin the now heir.

 

Dalinar fathering Elhokar would be a real stretch, since Elhokar is mentioned to look like young Gavilar when he was still hot, before he got old and had his nose broken.  I do not think Dalinar would have an affair with a married woman.  Even when he was a Blackthorn, he always respected his older brother and wouldn’t have an adventure with his wife, even if he and Navani used to like each other in the past.  Dalinar can be like Kaladin in that way.  Respect means a lot to them, and means there are boundaries that they refuse to cross.

 

Adolin being rejected by Jakamav happened in WoR – are you sure you didn’t like Adolin before that, in WoK?  I think establishing character moment was supposed to be either than chapter in WoK when goes to the winebar and his friends insult his dad and he realises uniforms are important, or when he saves the courtesan from the guy who was trying to beat her up.  They are the points in character exposition that are supposed to show that Adolin is more than he seems, and has a good heart under the pretty face. 

 

It is a shame that Kaladin is going to visit his hometown in SA3.  He would have made an interesting “third son” in the Dalinar family dynamic, since he is pretty close to the family by now, and Dalinar calls him “son” (but maybe that is just a Dalinar thing since he does it to Elhokar).  I wonder what kind of personality Dalinar projects onto Kaladin, since he really is the morally pure knight he has been looking for from the visions.  From what I can tell, his treatment Kaladin is somewhere in between Adolin and Renarin.  When Kaladin finds the scratches on the walls from Renarin’s future visions, and beats himself up for not catching the person who did it, Dalinar pretty much tells him not to sweat it.  If it were Adolin, Dalinar wouldn’t even try to tell him it’s okay, he would just expect Adolin to know what to do without saying anything, because the “better man” would know what the right actions are.

 

The question is – does Renarin get to choose his own wife for love or not?  Because as introverted as he is, I don’t think he is interested in girls enough to go actively courting, and the type of girl who would throw herself at him is not the type of girl he would have anything in common in with.

 

 

 

Oh yeah most fics are not very good, but at least some writers are trying to broach in interesting approaches. I wish there was more in the SA fandom, but it is rather small: not many writers and not many readers. Sadly, what little there is seem to prefer the kind of fic I don't particularly enjoy.
 
The fic went in an unexpected way... Shallan disguising herself as a boy? I hadn't thought of that. Ever. Good twist.
 

Oh yeah most fics are not very good, but at least some writers are trying to broach in interesting approaches. I wish there was more in the SA fandom, but it is rather small: not many writers and not many readers. Sadly, what little there is seem to prefer the kind of fic I don't particularly enjoy.

 

The fic went in an unexpected way... Shallan disguising herself as a boy? I hadn't thought of that. Ever. Good twist.

 

The fan artist community for SA is much larger than the fan writers, but then again, the same rules of the ratio of mediocre content to good content apply.  Maybe it’s a good thing that it’s a small community – it means that the only people who are involved are “true fans”, aka the people who don’t write all those really terrible crossover fics with Harry Potter or Supernatural characters in the SA-universe, or the other way around.  Things like that are the cancer of the fan communities.  I prefer content where you can tell the author/artist actually cares about getting it right.  And you don’t like the OOC OT3/OT4 shipping fics.  It’s serious business. :ph34r:

 
 

 

 

Huh I don't know, but stores are full with them.... I do have sweats as well, but I love leggings. They are so classy with boots on: they can do chick and casual both at the same time. 

 

Would Adolin really do the Ivy League preppy? He is supposed to love fashion, shouldn't fashion be a bit more adventurous?

 

How about the AU fic where Dalinar cuts his son off for being not "good enough for his country club" and he is left penniless, not knowing where to go? And where does he end up? On Kaladin's doorstep looking like a drowned miserable puppy (because of course it was raining when Dalinar kicked Adolin out of the mansion) not knowing how to get by in life without servants  :ph34r:

 

Huh I think there still are payphones.... Kaladin knows exactly where they are and when the phone company plans to remove them, he sues them claiming people have the right to phone without paying for an expensive cell. 

 

 

Leather pants and black skinny jeans do the same thing as leggings.  And you don’t have to worry about what colour of underwear you have on underneath, in case it shows through when you bend over to pick something off the floor.  Boots are great in winter.  If you wear them in summer, you have to remember to shake out the spiders before you put your foot into them.  This is a lesson from experience, especially for people who keep their boots in the garage/attic/basement between seasons.

 

Ivy League preppy has different levels of formal.  The casual type with chunky sweaters and colourful button up shirts and pastel chinos are more adventurous, especially when you mix different prints and patterns.  Check patterns, plaid and gingham are popular. 

 

Smart-casual version of preppy:

jtRPDIm.jpg

 

Casual weekend version of preppy:

Woolen jumpers everywhere. :wub: 

vD4mqHl.jpg

 

Dalinar wouldn’t cut Adolin off for a silly reason!  He’d have to do something really bad for that to happen.  If he goes to Kaladin’s house, it would be funny if he arrived on their bi-weekly family spaghetti dinner day and he sees that angry, grumpy Kaladin has a loving family and a mum who makes him smile.  That would be really cute and really sad, because Adolin would like Tien a lot, and all Tiens have to die!!!!  They get hit by a car by an intoxicated driver or something, just like pet dogs in books for children.  Or he could go to Shallan’s house.  She would let him sleep in her bed if he is too tall to fit on the couch, or if the floor is too uncomfortable.

 

But you can’t send and receive text messages on a payphone!  How will Kaladin receive text messages from Shallan and Adolin consisting of a single grumpy looking emoticon? -_-

 

 

 

My thoughts are Elhokar is the one who takes up the most after Dalinar's former personality: ambitious, drunk, jealous, tyrant. I also suspect while Adolin was raised to meet up impossible expectations, Elhokar was raised up to meet none, being left to his own device, proud to be the spoiled prince of a wealthy household. It structs to me Elhokar expects to be good at things for being the king and is surprise to realize it doesn't work this way. Just like most people he sees Adolin being a good duelist, but he forgot how hard he trained to get there. 
 
I do think Elhokar is jealous as he clearly states in his POV how baffled he was over being named king by the Gods only to see he didn't have the requisite: it is obvious to me it never occurred to Elhokar he may have to work for it.
 
Giving how little Adolin seem to think of Elhokar, I doubt the two cousins ever had much of a relationship. The age gap is about two years more than with Renarin and it is quite possible they never evolved into the same ring of friends due to it. Early in WoK, Elhokar seem to regard Adolin as a child while Adolin is baffled more often than not by his older cousin's attitude. 
 
This being said, Elhokar is kind of a mystery character right now: we don't truly know much about him and he could go both ways. I tend to dislike him because he is a paranoid drunken whiner who put Kaladin into jail, but it could be there is more to him than meets the eye, but I'd rather Brandon capitalize on Adolin than Elhokar. I guess he could do both, but it doesn't seem as if the story has enough lattitude for it. This being said, Elhokar has always been into the story, so he definitely has a role. Maybe he is the surprise POV going into book 3, we never know.

I can see where parts of Elhokar’s personality reflects the less inhibited self-aware Blackthorn Dalinar, especially the drinking and the jealousy bit.  But Dalinar, even when he was the young version, still managed to be competent in battle as a general and a soldier, and had the charisma as a superior officer so that people would swear their loyalty to him, which Elhokar lacks completely.  Elhokar goes through life living off second-hand respect that people have for Dalinar and had for Gavilar.  Even Sadeas didn’t like the idea of killing Elhokar for that reason, not because Elhokar was worthy person on his own merit.

 

His whole spoiled prince personality still seems like a dark reprise of what Adolin could have been if his father was less strict on him with the Codes.  Dalinar might be a bad or distant father, but he still managed to instil some sense of discipline and temperance in his sons’ behaviour, which Elhokar lacks, even though his own father must have been equally absent from his own childhood. 

 

Elhokar’s relationship with his friends could have been a dark path that Adolin had a chance to go down, if he hadn’t believed in the Codes.  Roshone took advantage of his friendship with Elhokar – or maybe Elhokar really wanted people to like him, and was willing to ignore the fact that he was being used.  When Jakamav, Toral and Adolin went to the winebar with Inkima and Danlan in WoK, they were smacktalking Dalinar, and Adolin had a chance to redeem his “street cred” if he had joined in bashing his dad and the boring strict uniform regulations.

 

Post-Sadeas messed up Adolin might find he has more in common with Elhokar than he expects.  People are expecting bromance between Renarin and Adolin now that Kaladin is out of the picture, but I think it would be equally touching if Adolin and Elhokar had an honest heart-to-heart.  They are both seen as people bearing the legacy of their fathers, and are in more need of self-awareness and self-discovery than Renarin or Dalinar, who are probably too busy being Radiants to talk to them.

 

 

 

I suspect the majority of the new Radiants will be found within the Kholin's followers... Do not forget the sprens tend to prefer bonding humans which are close to central events and most likely the new Radiants will attract those sprens as well. It probably won't be too long before there are many more Radiants and seeing how fast Kaladin/Shallan progressed, it'd say 6 months and we have over a hundred Radiants in Urithiru.
 
This being said, the Shardblades won't get trashed down immediately, but they will lose their aura. It won't be so special to be one and their value will decrease. There will be Radiants who will hate them so much they may refuse to work with Shardbearers, so I expect some level of conflict. Being surrounded by Radiants, it is impossible for me to have Adolin keep on carrying his as if nothing happened. 
 
Brandon has confirmed there used to be over a 1000 Windrunners............ so thousands is not an exaggeration. There will be a great deal lot more Radiant and rather soon.
 

How many people will be broken enough and also honourable enough to attract a spren?  There are plenty of people who have just one of those traits, like the bridgemen for being broken, or Adolin for being honourable.  But it seems like the people who have some of both but not enough of either will end up as Kaladin’s squires instead of getting their own sprens.  There are also people who have potential to attract sprens – if there were enough sprens to go around.  Syl was the only honorspren that left, and the Stormfather tried to stop her from going to find Kaladin. I don’t think enough information about Jasnah and what she did in Shadesmar has been released to say that the spren families in the Cognitive Realm will start pouring into Physical Realm when it seems there is still a lot of distrust of bad feeling between humans and their bonded spren that they could kill at any point.  Since there are very few copies of Words of Radiance to go around, and only women would be able to read it.   How would people even know the words to say the first Oath?  Everyone is still wondering how Shallan said them when she must have been around 10 years old.

 

Adolin might stop using his Shardblade, but the other Alethi will still be using theirs.  They still have a tactical advantage of being well-trained and used to fighting Parshendi, so even if they won’t fight side-by-side or back-to-back like Adolin and Kaladin in the arena, they could still have a separate unit of Shardbearers.  Dalinar is pragmatic.  The highprinces would never agree to be united if Dalinar forbade them to use their Shardblades, which they hold as items of prestige and status for hundreds of years, and use to control the loyalty of the lesser brightlords.

 

 
 

 

Hmmm I like the trauma stick, but I also love happy ending... I am weird like that  :ph34r: I like when my characters end up in a rough pass, but I ultimately want them to succeed. I swear the AU fic, if I ever write, ends well or kinda well: it depends on what you call "a good ending". I am not overly found of grimdark as it tends to create unsympathetic impossible to root for characters much like beloved Abercrombie did. I couldn't stand his cast: boring nonredeemable lot. I wouldn't enjoy reading a story featuring a sociopath as the main protagonist.

 

I haven't read those. I have read Ken Follett, Edward Rutherford (London and Paris, I plan to read more of him as I enjoyed those two books), Gabaldon (very innovative some 15 years ago, starts up well, ends up being horribly boring after the 5th book, so I dropped it. A bit cheesy though, you have to enjoy love stories) and Auel (interesting idea, but it goes downhill rather quickly). Oh and quite a few home-made stories featuring good old times in rustic Quebec. 

 

Ever read one called Bizantiana? It is about Vikings... someone recommended it to me, thought I might try it this summer. Ah I forgot, I read Eaters of the Death by Crichton. I never read regency romance, but Roman historical fiction sounds awesome. There is whole collection of those, but I haven't try them yet.

 

I agree historical fiction has to be.... historically accurate. I know Ken Follett makes a lot of research to write his books and tries to make them as accurate as possible, but he has his favorite trope, just like any author. He is however a good character writer even if he has harder time playing with shades of grey. One criticism fantasy authors often get is how they can't write plausible women which is a none-sense as many other male authors succeed at it, so what is it with fantasy?????

 

I only like mentally messed up characters if their characters develop enough to become self-aware and better.  But grimdark series revel in the violence and blood and ruthless MC’s, and they don’t get better because that would ruin the point of reading that subgenre.  The only cure for being a sociopathic villain protagonist is death. -_-

 

I have read London, which is a brick of a book.  :blink:  It felt like a short story anthology with vaguely connected characters, and I prefer the same characters the whole way through, because it’s annoying to have to re-frame your mind every 50 pages or so get into the swing of the story.  I have read Gabaldon too, but stopped after book two, as well as most of the Crichton books, but his tech thrillers have never drawn my interest enough to be worth re-reading, and they age really poorly. 

 

The problem with fantasy authors not writing women well is that most of them are men, and often they are the type of people who either don’t have a lot of experience with women, or write to an audience who don’t have a lot of experience with women and don’t really want to read from a woman’s PoV.  Brandon himself is guilty of that – one of the reasons why people criticise Mistborn is that the romance is pretty much cardboard.  It doesn’t even qualify for vanilla status. -_-  -_-  -_-   When he first started writing it, he was single and people of his religion don’t do things unless they’re married, so it was kinda obvious in the books, and even now he doesn’t write good romance.  He wants to write scenes to show developing affection between characters like Dalinar and Navani, Wax and Steris, etc, but it just comes off as cardboardy when they make out.  Please stop using the word “melt” or “melting” when writing them kissing scenes pls thx. :wacko:  :unsure:  :rolleyes: 

 

 

 

 

Yeah but we didn't see it... He made it sound as if not much happened  :o I think Adolin is an emotionally impulsive person, so when his emotional response kicks in, he can act erratically and irrationally (like murdering Sadeas or agreeing to fully disadvantaged duel).

 

For the rest well I keep expecting drama whenever I read anything  :ph34r: I must say though you took quite an unexpected turn in this last chapter. So Shallan will pose as a boy, serving into Renarin's regiment? Or did I misunderstood? I did not see this one coming.... so she is worried Adolin will not make it alive. What does she hope to do? She can't prevent him from being shoot down on the field.... (are you going to get Adolin shot down (well not dead of course, just injured) ??????  :ph34r:).

 

Nothing much happened with Danlan or Adolin would have felt guiltier about it – but it essentially was supposed to be a free pass for Shallan to kiss another guy without consequence, just so she can confirm that Adolin is “the one”.  Kissing isn’t enough to make the emotional response kick in – it’s the implication of something more happening that would make him feel upset and betrayed.  I figure that because Adolin at his age is still pure pureness who has never gone on an “adventure” with anyone :ph34r: :ph34r: , when he had plenty of opportunities, like free visits to the bawdy-house, he thinks that doing the thing is an important step for couples in a relationship, not something to be taken lightly just to take care of urges.  So if Shallan were to do something with someone else, when he considers it something  that is supposed to be “special”, it would imply that he isn’t special to her, and that would be enough to make him go off the deep end.  He would still need a solid confirmation that it happened though.  He wouldn’t jump to conclusions immediately because he trusts Shallan and Kaladin and isn’t paranoid about people like Elhokar is.

 

Not everything has to be drama!  I find good stories integrate slow and thoughtful moments with drama, so each time a dramatic moment comes, you can savour the impact instead of being desensitised from one bad thing happening after another.  This is why I can’t read books with non-stop drama sticks.  My heart can’t take it. 

 

And yes, Shallan will cross dress as an officer in a non-combat service, because Renarin didn’t want her to sell the things that belonged to his mother.  Renarin wanted to be a soldier once, and he knows that if Shallan really wanted it, like he did in the past, she would join the army in another way, through the Infantry or another combat unit where she would have a good chance of dying.  You might not have guessed it would happen, but Shallan from the beginning of Chapter 1 has had no problem with pretending to be someone else, and when she dressed as a servant with Adolin, he didn’t disapprove of her not “knowing her place”, which is the period accurate attitude to women who don’t want to stay at home and take care of the babies.  The main themes in the story are “perception vs identity” and “decision vs reaction”.  Shallan has learned a lot about selfishness and regret, and if she can’t do anything to save Adolin’s life, she doesn’t want to stay at home and wait for him to come back, because she did that in Scotland with her brothers, waiting for Helaran to come back and fix things.  Note that the answer she gives to Adolin is vague and open ended:  “Will you wait for me?”/”I will do what I can.”

 

Shallan’s big fears are that the things she loves will be taken away from her, and that she will die sad and full of regret like her mother.  She is not afraid of dying, and if she thinks Adolin is going to die, she doesn’t want to die with regret when she had her chance at happiness, even if it was short-lived, because she is tired of her life of being passive, lonely, and afraid.  And she has realised that Adolin, Kaladin, and Renarin are better brothers than her own, and family that actually cares about her rather than caring about how useful she is to them is important.  Because “home is not always a place.  It is people, and feelings, and sounds and tastes and memories.” 

 

And I like plucky heroines in romance novels just as much as I like plucky heroines in historical dramas, and the “Sweet Polly Oliver” character archetype is one of my favourites.  :wub:  :wub:  There is nothing like the delicious irony when you know the MC is a girl when no one else does, and you’re just waiting for that satisfying reveal moment when she goes “I was a girl all along!”, especially when the oblivious love interest male starts feeling weird for being attracted a fellow soldier in his unit  :P  :P  who is really mysterious and secretive about going to the bushes alone.

 

But I will write an epilogue because all romances need an epilogue just so you can feel satisfied at the end of the book.  It’s like the bonus after-credits scene at the end of a movie. :ph34r: :ph34r: B)

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By the time you die, I think you will stop feeling upset at most things on the internet.  The amount of content out there means that you will realise that very few things are new and original, and most of it is passed around.  When you have seen it once, you have seen it all.  Things have to be very funny or very stupid for me to have a real laugh at it these days, and even upsetting things don’t upset me anymore.  Brandon is a realistic and reasonable guy, but it’s his fans who can be pretty annoying.  The ones who recommend his books every time someone asks for a new series to read, whether or not it is something they would actually like or are looking for.  He writes ensemble fantasy so there’s a character for everyone to like, but people who are looking for specific character types to read often don’t want to read 300 pages for Kaladin angst to get to the Jasnah chapters that they like.  The worst people are the ones who talk about “forcing” themselves to read the 1000 pages and asking at page 500 if it’s worth it to keep reading or not.  If I could feel upset or annoyed at what people write on the internet, I would feel annoyed at that.  Because, seriously – if you have to force yourself to read a book, why the braize are you reading it?!? :rolleyes:   Reading is an activity for your own entertainment, not so you can ride the hype train.

 

Am I the only who thinks that not everyone needs flashback sequences?  They’re a useful tool to explain backstory and characterisation, quickly and effectively, so your MC’s motivations and decisions in the main/current plotline are justified and rational, but it is not subtle at all.  For Kaladin, you could tell exactly what would happen before it happened, and Shallan’s too in some parts.  It lost some of the impact on my first read, and on the second read it was boring enough that I skimmed it so I could return to the main narrative.  Flashbacks are just really … not subtle for developing a character, IMHO.  They work, and that is why they are used, but I prefer it when backstory is integrated in-text, in the forms of little clues and references instead of separate chapters.  It feels like a more natural reading experience that way, and I like that better than being a separate story within the story.  Flashbacks and “in media res” formats work for action oriented plotlines like Oceans Eleven, but in characterisation it is a bit heavyhanded.  If Adolin gets his past explored in his moments of self-awareness or mental reflection, I would prefer that to flashbacks.  And we have gotten some hints of it, like his bonding of a Ryshadium or winning his Shardblade in a duel.

 

I read Bands of Mourning and there was one Wayne PoV chapter.  Everyone likes Wayne, and when I read it, I didn’t like his “voice”.  I don’t think he’s funny, and Brandon has a habit of picking character quirks and sometimes exaggerating to the point where it’s annoying and you just think “enough of it already, I know what X character is like!”.  That is why I prefer Wax/Marasi, the boring characters, because they are readable for most people, whereas Wayne appeals only to a certain subset who think his antics are amusing because lol so random!1!1  To some people, David from Steelheart’s broken metaphors are like that.  Of course, depending on where you say your opinion, you would get bashed by the superfans.  And the stick, too. 

 

My first impression of Renarin was that there was something wrong with him, like an anxiety disorder, but I didn’t even pick it out as autism until later.  He is still pretty high functioning, and his lack of interest in talking to people and the rarity of scenes where he has conversations and interactions with other characters are more due to his natural introversion than his being on the spectrum.  The problem with Renarin isn’t being born “weaker” than what an Anglethi male should be, but his self-pity and angsty whinging.  When he made a comment that was pretty much “Maybe I would be better off dead”, my instant reaction was to roll my eyes and that is why I am glad he doesn’t get PoV.  By the time his book rolls around, there’s a good chance his character would have developed and progressed enough – Bridge Four seems to have helped – that his mental dialogue won’t be so annoying to read that your eyes roll so much that they get permanently stuck to your eyelids.  Because all clues point towards his “breaking point” being self-inflicted, watching all the other kids have fun outside while he has to stay indoors for his own safety.  Dalinar called out Sadeas, his FRIEND, in WoK for saying Renarin was useless.  Dalinar wouldn’t have done the same for Adolin if someone had insulted him – he would have just quoted some Code rule that says that good officers don’t duel and words are just words.

So Dalinar considers Adolin “the better man” and Renarin his little boy, which is kinda frustrating, because you aren’t supposed to play favourites with your kids!!!  At least Renarin isn’t a jerk about it like Malta Vestrit.

 

I have never done much speculating, because some part of me considers the story a property of the original author, and their intentions for their stories’ direction is the “right” one, and it would be presumptuous to make up scenarios with their character.  It is why I felt weird about writing fan fiction for the longest time, and I still feel uncomfortable with writing stories based on the canon-universe with canon-characters because I feel like I wouldn’t know them as well as the author could, so everything I try to make is WRONG ALL WRONG!!!!  I would prefer to write my own story than piggyback on another person’s.

 

I understand your desire to create something with something that you love, like a universe that you are very familiar with, that gives you good feelings every time you read it, and is associated with happy things in your mind.  I don’t speculate like you do, but I do it through creating art.  When I finish a book, and it was very vivid and I felt sympathetic to the characters or story, I like to create character and costume designs – and that is my version of inventing things with a favourite universe.  I know fan art is self-indulgent like writing your favourite OT3 ship in fanfiction, but there is usually a pool of artworks made by other people, and I really enjoy looking at other people’s art and comparing at how our different our mental images turn out to be.

 

In the book series I recommended a few posts ago, the Old Kingdom Trilogy by Garth Nix, the second book features a character named Prince Sameth who is your typical friendly young man protagonist at first, but then you find out he is scared to death of his parents’ expectations and is even more scared when he gets a traumatic experience and suffers PTSD.  The second book (“Lirael”) I thought was a very touching and character developing story that resounded a lot with me when I first read it a teenager, and is still enjoyable when I re-read it years later.  The first book (“Sabriel”) isn’t bad, but it develops the world and magic system more than the characters, which is good, but I like character growth too.

 

The other book I recommended, “The Eagle of the Ninth” is a historical with hurt-comfort themes that you like.  It features a young Roman career soldier who gets permanently injured and discharged from the army and has to figure out where he fits in the world, with the help of a Roman-hating British slave he rescues from the gladiator arena.  It’s very bromance and no romance.  I like my romance in stories, but sometimes it’s really cute when people who don’t like each other at first develop a genuine friendship and mutual respect. 

 

Both stories have young men coming from places of privilege who have their problems that stem from some sort of self-perceived inferiority.  Without having to be underdogs that get beaten and starved and other terrible punishments that make me skim because I don’t like reading endless violence/gore stories.  I don’t find Adolin as special as you do as a character.  All characters written by different authors are unique, but they use shared tropes and character archetypes, and if no one is Adolin, there are similar ones in completed series who develop with closure in a way that Adolin hasn’t yet done. 

 

Ah well I don't seem to get wiser as I age and still to this day, I get riled up in discussions where I feel one opinion is not respected or not considered worthy of being shared. It happens in all discussions: certain thoughts cannot be said even if they would help everyone progress in their thoughts. I dislike simplistic analysis where a given character is portrayed as white while the other is black as reality is often more complex. For instance, can someone truly be a pure victim or do they share part of the guilt? This is a slippery road to walk on, but one I feel is necessary is we are to ask ourselves the right questions.

 

As a result, I do get upset on a regular basis over stuff I read on the Internet. 

 

As for Brandon, I conquer. He is a really really nice guy, very generous with his time and always ready to answer his questions. He never makes anyone feel stupid for asking anything, he treats all fan with respect and he will not recommend his own books to a reader if he believes it will not please him. I have seen him publicly state he didn't think a given individual would enjoy his books based on his personal tastes. So yes, he is a very nice guy. The fans can get a bit intense from times to times, but so are the haters. It seems as if it is either Brandon is the most amazing writer or he isn't worthy of being read... It oscillates between two extremes. For my part, I enjoy SA immensely, his other work less as I they lack the depth I currently enjoy in SA. I can enjoy books which are purposefully light as I read them for what they are, but Mistborn is an in-between. They take themselves very seriously, but they do not offer the reading experience I would expect of such highly praised books: I take them for what they are, quick mildly entertaining read, but they aren't ground-breaking, not to me at least.

 

As for reading for entertainment, I would say it depends on people. I agree with you, but there are those who will finish the books they started and who sees value in story they don't particularly enjoy. They are just different type of readers. I read only for pleasure, so if a book does not please me, I will promptly put it aside to pick another one. 

 

Actually, I rather liked Brandon's idea on using flashback chapters... I like it so much I am bummed Adolin isn't getting any because I love how they add to the story. Of course, they are predictable: their purpose isn't to surprise us, but to create an emotional reaction in us. We all knew Tien died early on in WoK and we all guessed Shallan murdered her mother before we got to read it, but we didn't know the how and the when. I compare the experience to watching the Titanic: you know the boat will sink and you know the guy dies. This is rather clear from the start, but you don't know what it will take to get there and this makes for a very poignant story (well for me it was, I always love re-watching Titanic  :ph34r:). Therefore, I do enjoy the flashbacks, Kaladin more so than Shallan because they were more tragic. It also gives invaluable insight as to why and how our character evolved to be the individual we now know. This being said, flashbacks hardly are the only way to recall a past story, but I find them effective as we get to read what happened in the character's head during the event, not after. Small glimpses such as Sureblood were awesome, but I wanted more. It was too sparse and not detailed enough: I needed something deeper, more meaningful. Again, it doesn't have to be a flashback, but I really, really wanted to read the scene where Adolin won his Blade.

 

One problem I see with Brandon and his character writing is the fact he has a hard time making them evolve. Yes, Wayne has been pretty messed up: he has serious PTSD and, more than a decade later, he still carries the scar of his decisive event, but it looks as if he can't progress further in his recovery. Shouldn't there be a next step? Isn't there always a next step? However, he reads as a static character which in turn created the opportunity to re-emphasis everyone of his quirks. Quirks are nice, they help define a character, shaping it into a person, but the author has to move onto the next phase, eventually which is making the character progress. This is an aspect of writing Brandon, I believe, still needs to work on. He works with it well enough in SA, mostly because he has enough page time to make it work, but when he writes short stories like Mistborn, he has a hard time inserting decent character development. It does not need to be extensive... but readers need to get the feeling those characters are progressing and Wayne needs to get out of his bubble. I still liked the character, but he could have been better rounded of. This being said, I haven't read BoM yet: I had to return the book to the library and someone else reserved it, so I have to wait for three more weeks.

 

I hated David for the same reason: the character was static. I was fine with him in Steelheart, I thought he worked well. I didn't buy how a street kid got more informed than the secret society hunting the Epics, but I was willing to let it go. I could buy the whole vengeance arc and having David figure out Steelheart weakness made sense as he saw him getting injured as a kid. Firefight however was something else entirely. Now David was rid of his vengeance, I needed him to evolve, to progress, to mature but no. He remain the same disrespectful, bratty, mouthful, foolhardy and disobedient kid he was in the first book, even worst, events in book 2 made him be right to behave in such an immature way. He didn't work out for me, nor did the Romeo/Juliet kind of love story mostly because Megan was a blend character to me. I would have enjoyed the story more if David had learned something.... but he only learned he was the smartest, the most gifted and the most selfless individual in the crew... Fine he was wrong about Prof, but it wasn't enough to recover the rest. So static character is bad and Brandon has written quite a few of those in his last books. It worries me as I have been feeling the later books weren't as good as the previous ones: I suspect he is working on too many projects, he does not take the time to polish them and character arcs suffer. For instances, I adored the Rithmatist which was small YA story. I thought it was imaginative, adorable and effective even if predictable.

 

I didn't get Renarin was autistic or disabled: I simply thought he was epileptic. I was disappointed with him in WoR as he started getting very secretive and whiny: he had just been given the world's most powerful artifacts and he still finds reason to complain? Sure, he had a reason, but seriously, I couldn't muster this. For me, it was the equivalent of a disabled kid who receives an expensive and prestigious car after having complained on how he couldn't drive. However, once he gets the car, instead of taking lessons, he complains he doesn't want it anymore for reasons he refuses to share.... Spoiled. There is no other way to describe it: Renarin is spoiled. He doesn't appreciate what others do for him or are willing to give to him. Yes it is sad he was born disabled. It isn't his fault and it is a massive bummer, but hey nobody is perfect. On a scale from one to ten in terms of disability, Renarin has it very mild. This being said, being disabled doesn't give the excuse to be so ungrateful and to stubbornly refuse to do something worth mentioning with his life. Another real life equivalent would be disabled Renarin who is refused in a prestigious school in difficult program and complains endlessly about it while forgetting he has been accepted into another prestigious school in another program more suitable to his strength. It thus does not sit well with me Renarin broke down his own spirit out of what? I guess I just have a hard time with characters who are perpetual victims. Renarin sees himself as a victim and it unnerves me, just as it unnerves me when Kaladin does it for no valid reason.

 

Yeah Dalinar isn't being very protective with Adolin... and it saddens me. Yes, you aren't supposed to play favorite with your children and you shouldn't withhold your love to any of them on the basis he is your heir and thus needs to perform more. Love shouldn't be openly given to just the weak child: the strong kid also needs love even if it doesn't show. In other words, it isn't because one of your kids is more successful and has less apparent hardships he isn't struggling with something and it isn't because this something doesn't have a label on it, such as autism, this kid doesn't need/deserve your support. And yes this is valid for your adult children as well. Adolin is not so old he doesn't need his parental figure anymore: it is quite the opposite, he clings to them rather harshly for someone his age.

 

Of course, the opposite is more often seen or perhaps it is fairer to say more often portrayed in literature/entertainment. Having the strong, successful kid being under-looked in a family comprising a disabled kid, putting the looking glass onto this kid and not the disabled one still is a huge taboo. People think because someone is physically healthy his hardships are lesser. Adolin could show us something different in this regards, but Brandon perhaps is not the right author to carry it. He seems to truly prefer working with over-powered characters with an under-dog complex and visible mental illness.

 

See, I have a different take on speculations... I see it as an honor, a tribute to the author. Would people manage to write his characters in his world as well as he? Probably not, but the mere fact people love the story enough to want to do it is flattering. I also do not think it different than fan art... Aren't you taking his character and putting your thoughts into them? For me, the more artists/writers there are about a piece of work, the more appreciated it is. I read a lot of books, but I don't google for fanfiction on all of them nor am I interested in reading fanfiction for all of them. Generally, when I do it, I wish to read a particular character. When I start to speculate, it is because a work has left a very strong impression on me... For instance, I don't speculate on Mistborn because it isn't a strong enough book for me. 

 

I put in a reservation for both Sabriel and Eagle of the Ninth at the local library together with Bands of Morning which I lost due to him arriving three weeks prior to Shadow of Self  :rolleyes: I'll see which one gets here first. I'll let you know how I like them. Romance is not a must for me, I like to have it, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

 

It could also be I haven't read the right stories. In those I have read, there weren't such characters... GRRM, Rothfuss, Hobb, Jordan, Abercrombie, Butcher, Eriksson: there was no such characters.

 

 

 

People who don’t like stories.  Why.   :(  :(

I know there are people who get bored at stories too, especially really long ones, and that is why I included art in mine – to break up the walls of text.  And also I want to be another layer of subtext, to highlight important themes or elements in the chapter, just in case my writing was weak enough not to make it obvious.

 

How much have you written?  And how long have you planned it to be to get to your end goal resolution?  A novella is around 40-60k words, a YA novel is 100k, and a full novel is 125-150k+.  Fanfics that finish up or get dropped are around 20k words.  When you know your end goal and your end length, you can structure your chapters to be evenly sized and evenly paced bites of story to carry the narrative.  But that may getting ahead of myself – if you have only just started, it’s more important to develop the voice and tone of your PoV characters, so that each one is distinct.  And that is why I only used one PoV – once you have got your head wrapped around portraying one, it’s hard to switch gears and tell the story from the opposite side.

 

When I try to write “beautiful” prose, I get myself in the frame of mind of describing a scene in terms of what it is like to see from the character’s PoV, and what they feel.  I find that it’s way easier to write poetic prose in a character’s internal reflection rather than when they do things and talk to people – at that point I devolve to Brandon level “workman” writing.  There is nothing wrong with “workman” writing as long as it gets the job done at the end of the day.  Not everything has to be pretty writing, it’s just a preference.  But if you don’t mind critique (and don’t get upset if I do it really honestly) send me the chapters where you think you’ve set the story’s direction.

 

Pullman’s third book is theological and heavyhanded in the third book, but the first is readable.  If you can read Orson Scott Card and enjoy it, you can enjoy this.  The first book takes place in an alternate universe steampunk London with a 12 year old main character girl which can be annoying for adults to read (I first read the series as a kid and didn’t mind it), but the world-building and beautiful writing makes up for it.  It will only offend you if you want to get offended at it.  Or you can read it and make up your own mind. 

 

 

26000 words so far... I'd say voices of the main characters are pretty define and unique. I thought I needed other POV than just Adolin: I needed to have an outside person's perspective and I thought it added to the story. Adolin is pretty messed up in the early chapters, so you don't want to read just him. The problem I have is the story is damnation too long  :o  :ph34r: I know where I want it to go and I know how it ends. Unfortunately, there is a slightly dark spot where I currently am and well, it is an ambitious project. It is supposed to be comprised of 2 Parts and 1 Interlude featuring a character of my own. Oh and since it is canon, it ends rather openly.

 

I am not sure I am capable to write beautiful prose... my writing skills are probably the equivalent to a 13-14 years old  :ph34r: It feels as if I could write better in French at this age, but maybe my perception is distorted. I would probably be horrified if I ever went back and read it  :ph34r:

 

I would need to re-read it and see how it flows... I still don't like chapter 1.... I wrote than on a bored day and it got longer. I'll PM you once I do another check, let's say the first 2 chapters. I think you get the feel right away.

 

I am not sure Pullman is my style... I read Ender's Game, but I did not read subsequent books. I liked the book, but the follow-ups didn't appeal to me. I heard it gets very theological, so huh I'll probably not read them. The first book was a good standalone anyway.

 

If Brandon wrote prose like this, his books would be twice as long.

 

Ah it's beautiful, but it demands more concentration to read. I should probably pick up more literate books, but I keep being afraid literate will equal boring  :ph34r:

 

 

Now that I think about it, the Kaladin and Shallan from my fic are the grey characters, and it is Adolin (who hasn’t killed Sadeas) who is the squeaky clean one.  Kaladin is a more interesting character when he is a good guy who manages to still be morally questionable – he invades Shallan’s privacy on a regular basis on the justification of protecting Adolin’s heart from getting stomped, but there’s a certain level of selfishness in what he does. 

 

In romance writing and reviewing circles, there are two types of happy endings: “happily ever after” and “happy for now”, and books get labelled with each one so people who prefer one over the other know which one to read.  Do you know which one your story will end up?  I have always thought “HFN” endings were more realistic and don’t break the suspension of disbelief if your setting is establish as dark and broken.

 

There are many 17/18 year old girls out there that don’t mind dating a 23 year old guy, and some of them actually do because girls liking older guys is a thing, just like girls liking ugly rough looking guys is a thing.  It is just uncommon these days because such people don’t often share the same friend circles and don’t have the opportunity to meet, or it would happen more.  And also these days, we see ages in stages like child, teenager, young adult, adult, mature adult and we consider it weird when people date outside their little demographic brackets.  In the past, in feudal times, and even until the 1950’s/1960’s, there was just a distinction between child and adult, and nothing in between.  Shallan and Adolin in-canon would be considered adults and that is why no one thinks there’s anything wrong with it.  Even in Regency romance settings, there would be nothing weird about 17/23.  I went back to check my books and Elizabeth and Mr Darcy were 20 and 28, Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester were 20 and 37, Emma and Mr Knightley were 21 and 38, and there was one scene where he mentions that he held her in his arms when she was a baby (??!!??!!!!!  :blink: ) so it seems age gap weirdness is only a recently societal thing.

 

It is weird because people these days would question what a 23 year old would see in a 17/18 year old girl, but Adolin is hardly the type of guy who would take advantage of Shallan.  Honestly, Shallan is more likely to be the one to “take advantage” of him, lol.  ;)   ;)   ;)   Brandon made Adolin his age to justify his competence leading armies and being a top athlete (and probably the timeline of Dalinar leaving Alethkar and Navani and going to find and court his future wife) and if you were to write him as someone who is very capable managing business affairs and working at a corporate office part-time, then it would make more sense if he were his canon-age.

 

I didn’t know Canadian universities played American football.  It’s hard trying to integrate a fantasy story into a modern AU setting, isn’t it?  If it were an Australian setting, the sports would be Australian football (we have our own version with no padding) or rugby, which draw big crowds but it’s definitely not a rich boy sport.  The rich boys do sailing and yachting.  If you can’t find anything, there’s always martial arts.  SA Adolin preferred quiet duelling arenas instead of loud crowds (before WoR happened) so it doesn’t need to be a spectator sport.

 

It is true you wrote Adolin as the squeaky clean character though in retrospect he doesn't get the opportunity to do much nor to try out his darker side. And Adolin is very squeaky clean in the book as well, up until his world starts to unravel under him and he is trust into situations where he doesn't have a clear guideline to help him control his strong emotions.

 

The AU story has a happily for now kind of ending: it is very open. You have read one phase of their life, they are currently happy, but where will life take them? If I ever write it, I wish it to be the kind of story you feel needs a sequel, something like "15 years later, where are they?". Happily ever after is a tad too unrealistic: it feels unsatisfactory. 

 

In AU, 17 years old girl would be in High School while 23 years old boys are probably out of University with a diploma. For me, the gap, at this age is just too big to be played out in a satisfactory manner. Adolin wouldn't date a High School girl... I also personally do not like large age gap in relationships as it implies an imbalance where one is more experienced, one has had time to carouse all over the place while the other is basically committing his/her life to someone who's been around the block way too often. 21-38 is just too much for me: I wouldn't enjoy reading a story featuring romance in between such disparate characters. In canon, it is true the age difference is not as critical but it does bother me Adolin has dated more than 50 women while Shallan has dated no one. I see an imbalance where Adolin is ripe for a serious relationship but Shallan obviously isn't there yet. She is likely to want to explore, to date other people while Adolin is left on the side walk to wait for her to be ready for him. I just do not like it if it plays out this way.

 

Adolin is 23 years old in the book because he needed to have been old enough to duel prior to Gavilar's death. He needed to have won his Blade which means he had to be 16 years old at the time, so give or take a few months and he is 23 now. Shallan can't be older because if she were, he father would have married her. Kaladin needed to be under 16 when he left for the army as had he been 16, he would have gone to Karbranth.

 

Canadian universities play Canadian football, not the American one  :o which was invented before  :o The reason there is no hockey in Canadian university is because you have Junior leagues where the kids go right before being drafted for the major leagues: the majority of them starts their career at 19-20, so no time for studies. In the fic, the Kholins have a long tradition of being football stars. The grand-father was a former NFL star who founded a company after his retirement and got even richer. Gavilar took over, but Dalinar went to the major league. He had quite a career, but he ended up pretty messed up in the end. Adolin is thus expected to play football and he is quite good: the star quarterback of the team. I needed Adolin to be in a prestigious sport, much like dueling with a strong incentive from his father like soldering. Football just fits better than other sports I have thought of.

 

 

What kind of hero are you if you are willing to let the families of everyone around you suffer and die because you wanted to save your own?  Stories where there is a choice between girlfriend and world tend to be so black and white and often predictable.  You either save the girlfriend, or you do a last stand/heroic sacrifice and save both with your own death.  It’s also arguable that saving your family/girlfriend first instead of defusing the bomb is destination over journey, depending on how the author writes it.

 

I figure Dalinar would be the big picture man, too, since Kaladin is the small picture self-focused character and Shallan is the world exploration/setting exposition character.  Whatever choice he makes will be guaranteed to be a learning experience for him and whoever is involved, and if you speculate too much about what it means for Adolin, you will only make yourself worried or sad. 

 

By the time Dalinar actually has to make a decision, there’s a good chance that Renarin and Adolin would have levelled up in their character development that they don’t need their dad to come and save them – because they can do it themselves, and they don’t need their dad to say he loves them, because they know he does.  Be optimistic!  Brandon doesn’t kill off characters or hit them with the trauma stick without a payoff in the end, even if it takes 2000 pages to get there.  You worry about Adolin getting exiled from Alethkar, but in the end, he will come back levelled up and ready to kick chulls.  Before a dramatic “hold the gates” ending, of course.  :ph34r:

 

The kind who puts those he loves before all: nobody would blame anyone for prioritizing his own children over strangers. You should put your own children before all: you have a direct responsibility towards them. What kid of person spends time taking care of others children while their own are left to their own devices? Besides, who would want a leader who is so harsh, so obsess about his rules he is ready to sacrifice his own son? What kind of message does it send? Do as I say, act as I say, follow my rules to the perfection or else I will destroy you whether you are an ally or not as being my own flesh and blood didn't matter much when it came to my own son.

 

I'd argue heroes can't be heroes if they see their families as expendable. When chull hits the fan, you have to make choices and your family has to come before the others. I'd argue Dalinar sacrificing Adolin over his unity indeed is putting the destination before the journey, because it shows he is willing to take any required actions to achieve his goal which is precisely what Taravangian is doing. He is killing people to save a few and I'd seriously argue Dalinar allowing his son to die would be doing the same. The journey is to become guiding, to inspire people to follow him, not terrorize them into doing it and you can't be inspiring when you punish overly harshly those guilty of stepping aside your impossible rules, especially if it is your son.

 

I speculate a lot over what Dalinar's journey means for Adolin and I think it means he has to stop imposing his rules, he has to stop crushing him and more importantly, he has to accept people will make mistake. He has to realize if life gave him a second chance he didn't deserve, he should, at the very least, give one to his own son who actually deserves one.

 

What you say in the last paragraph is probably true for Renarin who's journey will be to move away from his family: he has already started by joining Bridge 4 and setting himself apart. For the rest, I don't think children who hardly ever receive love and encouragement, who only receive more orders combine with a fear they would fail can suddenly figure out their father loves them nonetheless. If Dalinar loves Adolin, then he is going to have to prove it to his son for both of them to evolve. There is one thing to say about adults who grew up without the required love/support from their family, they yearn for it and they still actively seek it even when being well into their adult years. You 60 years old men trying to still get their aging fathers approval. It means a lot to children, especially to those who didn't get it.

 

So for me, for Adolin's issues with respect to his idea of perfection imposed by his father and the clash between their morality needs to be settled in a realistic way. Therefore for Adolin to just brush it away, to leave and to come back stronger than ever and have him suddenly not care about those issues is unrealistic. Issues don't magically disappear because it is more convenient to the plot line: it has to be addressed. Adolin's entire character has been define with respect to his relationship with his father: it thus needs to keep on being played out and when Dalinar reacts too harshly to his son's actions, there will need to come a time when he forgives him. Sadly, since we are talking about Dalinar, it will need to happen to dire circumstances, most likely he is going to need to loose Adolin (either he thinks he is dead or he gets badly injured) to figure it out. That's where the 3rd oaths is, imho. 

 

Dalinar fathering Elhokar would be a real stretch, since Elhokar is mentioned to look like young Gavilar when he was still hot, before he got old and had his nose broken.  I do not think Dalinar would have an affair with a married woman.  Even when he was a Blackthorn, he always respected his older brother and wouldn’t have an adventure with his wife, even if he and Navani used to like each other in the past.  Dalinar can be like Kaladin in that way.  Respect means a lot to them, and means there are boundaries that they refuse to cross.

 

Adolin being rejected by Jakamav happened in WoR – are you sure you didn’t like Adolin before that, in WoK?  I think establishing character moment was supposed to be either than chapter in WoK when goes to the winebar and his friends insult his dad and he realises uniforms are important, or when he saves the courtesan from the guy who was trying to beat her up.  They are the points in character exposition that are supposed to show that Adolin is more than he seems, and has a good heart under the pretty face. 

 

It is a shame that Kaladin is going to visit his hometown in SA3.  He would have made an interesting “third son” in the Dalinar family dynamic, since he is pretty close to the family by now, and Dalinar calls him “son” (but maybe that is just a Dalinar thing since he does it to Elhokar).  I wonder what kind of personality Dalinar projects onto Kaladin, since he really is the morally pure knight he has been looking for from the visions.  From what I can tell, his treatment Kaladin is somewhere in between Adolin and Renarin.  When Kaladin finds the scratches on the walls from Renarin’s future visions, and beats himself up for not catching the person who did it, Dalinar pretty much tells him not to sweat it.  If it were Adolin, Dalinar wouldn’t even try to tell him it’s okay, he would just expect Adolin to know what to do without saying anything, because the “better man” would know what the right actions are.

 

The question is – does Renarin get to choose his own wife for love or not?  Because as introverted as he is, I don’t think he is interested in girls enough to go actively courting, and the type of girl who would throw herself at him is not the type of girl he would have anything in common in with.

 

 

Oh I agree it is a terrible plot line, but it is one other authors may use.....

 

I liked Adolin well enough back in WoK, I love his antics over his boring uniform and I did think he would openly betray his father, up until he switch his gun over and proved just how loyal he was. I was surprised by him saving the prostitute, but not much happens for Adolin in WoK: he remains a very forgettable character. One with a voice I enjoyed reading, but he didn't do much. He didn't have an arc of his own, so he came across as the expendable character. The Jakamav chapter is the one where I started to openly root for Adolin, the one where he became my favorite character because the super social guy who yet completely fails at making friends hits a very sensitive cord in me. I wanted to see it carried away because I thought it was interesting and his reaction, the rejection, being pushed away and declared a "one use only friend" was something I could relate to, much better than any other character. And Adolin has a pretty cool POV: he is so arrogant, so cocky, so strong, so perfect on the outside, but on the inside, he is soft and vulnerable. Things get to him much more easily than he lets on and that got to me.

 

I do not want Kaladin has a third son. Kaladin already has a father who loves him: he is not in need of a father figure. He has a great one already. I would hate for Dalinar to start giving the love and support he refuses to Adolin to a stranger. This would be heartbreaking... what does Adolin need to do to receive something else than stern orders from his father? And what did Kaladin do to earn it so easily when being perfect was not enough for Adolin?

 

The better man part was the cherry on top of the sundae: the direct expression of Dalinar's expectation being pushed on Adolin. He can't just acknowledge Adolin is a good kid who's heart is at the right place: he needs to make him the better person which may be true, but the pressure he puts on him, this is sad. There has to be a reason why Adolin clings so much to his parental figures: he doesn't want to fly by his own wings, he doesn't want to leave the household, he wants to stay right here close to those he loves. He is, in fact, the opposite of other characters who have all left their household to seek their journey, Adolin's journey is within his family, it is tied to having him make them understand he isn't their tool, but a young man with his own aspirations. May take a while though.

 

 

Oh yeah most fics are not very good, but at least some writers are trying to broach in interesting approaches. I wish there was more in the SA fandom, but it is rather small: not many writers and not many readers. Sadly, what little there is seem to prefer the kind of fic I don't particularly enjoy.

 

The fic went in an unexpected way... Shallan disguising herself as a boy? I hadn't thought of that. Ever. Good twist.

 

The fan artist community for SA is much larger than the fan writers, but then again, the same rules of the ratio of mediocre content to good content apply.  Maybe it’s a good thing that it’s a small community – it means that the only people who are involved are “true fans”, aka the people who don’t write all those really terrible crossover fics with Harry Potter or Supernatural characters in the SA-universe, or the other way around.  Things like that are the cancer of the fan communities.  I prefer content where you can tell the author/artist actually cares about getting it right.  And you don’t like the OOC OT3/OT4 shipping fics.  It’s serious business.  :ph34r:

 

Still, I wish it were bigger, but the bigger fandoms are those enjoying the support of visual arts meaning SA would need to be adapted to TV in order to grow bigger. I don't mind the fact some people prefer the OT3/OT4, I mind getting the feeling people believe all fans want the OT3/OT4... Each time I stumble on a promising fic, it is "ruined" by Adolin kissing Kaladin or having a secret love affair with someone else.... I just can't enjoy those leaps and while I don't mind people may want to write it, I mind the fact it is all I find.

 

I am the weird one... I am just not attracted to multiple partners ships: in fact I hate them  :ph34r:

 

Leather pants and black skinny jeans do the same thing as leggings.  And you don’t have to worry about what colour of underwear you have on underneath, in case it shows through when you bend over to pick something off the floor.  Boots are great in winter.  If you wear them in summer, you have to remember to shake out the spiders before you put your foot into them.  This is a lesson from experience, especially for people who keep their boots in the garage/attic/basement between seasons.

 

Ivy League preppy has different levels of formal.  The casual type with chunky sweaters and colourful button up shirts and pastel chinos are more adventurous, especially when you mix different prints and patterns.  Check patterns, plaid and gingham are popular. 

 

Smart-casual version of preppy:]

 

Casual weekend version of preppy:

Woolen jumpers everywhere.  :wub: 

 

Dalinar wouldn’t cut Adolin off for a silly reason!  He’d have to do something really bad for that to happen.  If he goes to Kaladin’s house, it would be funny if he arrived on their bi-weekly family spaghetti dinner day and he sees that angry, grumpy Kaladin has a loving family and a mum who makes him smile.  That would be really cute and really sad, because Adolin would like Tien a lot, and all Tiens have to die!!!!  They get hit by a car by an intoxicated driver or something, just like pet dogs in books for children.  Or he could go to Shallan’s house.  She would let him sleep in her bed if he is too tall to fit on the couch, or if the floor is too uncomfortable.

 

But you can’t send and receive text messages on a payphone!  How will Kaladin receive text messages from Shallan and Adolin consisting of a single grumpy looking emoticon?  -_-

 
 
All my clothes allow me to bend and pick up things: I have kids :o  -_-  Bending and picking up stuff basically is my every day job  -_- And there are no spiders to be found in boots over here  :huh: and the ones we may stumble upon in our household are very small and inoffensive.
 
Still do I picture Adolin wearing the casual preppy style? I am unsure.... Adolin's dressing style has a rebellious streak to me, but perhaps this is link to Dalinar thinking anything else than a uniform is rebellious... In my head, whatever Adolin would genuinely choose to wear, his father would disapprove.
 
It is somewhat strange to see Australian loving such a summer inappropriate piece of clothing such as woolen jumpers... I don't even own many woolen jumpers: I think they are too warm  :o  :ph34r: I have one nice with little hearts on it and it is quite cute but I only wear it if the outside temperature goes below -15..... or else it gets a bit warm in there  :ph34r:
 
Something bad such as killing anohter Highprince? Dalinar would totally cut off Adolin providing he fails to meet his expectations and I suspect his threshold is rather low. I do love Adolin dropping by, miserable and lonely, on Kaladin' doorstep only to walk onto their bi-weekly spaghetti dinner. The house is full of laughter and they are all enjoying a happy meal. Adolin never had that as meals, in the Kholin's household, typically feature Dalinar sitting on one end of the table, Adolin on the other and Renarin often in his room. All talk there is typically features Adolin answering his father's questions pertaining his achievements of the day. There are no laughter and they never eat something as low class as meat balls spaghetti, so when he drops in unexpected, he is automatically drawn in by Hesina, sit at the table with a huge plate of his own. The Stormbless may not be rich, but they are a welcoming bunch who live by the motto if there is enough food for four, there is enough food for five. Since Lirin is a minister, he typically always keeps his door open to poor people in need: he just never thought a rich kid would end up dropping by. Adolin never had such an experience before, so he is quite puzzled and uncharacteristically quiet. Turns out he really loves the meat balls spaghetti... never had them before. And for desert they had chocolate cake which Adolin never has because as a top-level sports athlete, he only eats prime food and sweets are forbidden.
 
Hesina thinks Adolin is probably malnourished because he digs into his food as if he hadn't have a meal in days  :ph34r: Of course, Adolin is not malnourished, he is just used to much different meals comprised of small stern portions of fancy food in expensive dishes you have to carefully dice using picture perfect table manners.
 
And Tien does not die  -_- He shows Adolin his rock collection and Adolin surprises everyone by being very patient (he is used to younger siblings having weird interest) though, just like Kaladin, he doesn't get why the rocks are special, but he pretends he does which makes him earn even more brownie points with Hesina.
 
On the morning, she makes pancakes thinking the stray kid who followed Kaladin home probably never have breakfast  :ph34r: Kaladin is severely annoyed his mother seemed to have adopted none other than the spoiled princeling who annoys him on an everyday basis. He keeps stating he has a house and it is rather big and luxurious, but Hesina hears none of it.
 
Hmmm I am not sure he would drop by Shallan'd doorsteps... Too much at stakes. Providing he would, he would definitely sleep on either the too small coach or the floor. He has a terrible night, twisting and turning on the hard floor, cold in his only blankets. However when Shallan wakes up, he is deep asleep. She takes a few pictures :ph34r:  and leaves, so when he wakes up, he is alone.
 
He can spy over their shoulder?
 
 

I can see where parts of Elhokar’s personality reflects the less inhibited self-aware Blackthorn Dalinar, especially the drinking and the jealousy bit.  But Dalinar, even when he was the young version, still managed to be competent in battle as a general and a soldier, and had the charisma as a superior officer so that people would swear their loyalty to him, which Elhokar lacks completely.  Elhokar goes through life living off second-hand respect that people have for Dalinar and had for Gavilar.  Even Sadeas didn’t like the idea of killing Elhokar for that reason, not because Elhokar was worthy person on his own merit.

 

His whole spoiled prince personality still seems like a dark reprise of what Adolin could have been if his father was less strict on him with the Codes.  Dalinar might be a bad or distant father, but he still managed to instil some sense of discipline and temperance in his sons’ behaviour, which Elhokar lacks, even though his own father must have been equally absent from his own childhood. 

 

Elhokar’s relationship with his friends could have been a dark path that Adolin had a chance to go down, if he hadn’t believed in the Codes.  Roshone took advantage of his friendship with Elhokar – or maybe Elhokar really wanted people to like him, and was willing to ignore the fact that he was being used.  When Jakamav, Toral and Adolin went to the winebar with Inkima and Danlan in WoK, they were smacktalking Dalinar, and Adolin had a chance to redeem his “street cred” if he had joined in bashing his dad and the boring strict uniform regulations.

 

Post-Sadeas messed up Adolin might find he has more in common with Elhokar than he expects.  People are expecting bromance between Renarin and Adolin now that Kaladin is out of the picture, but I think it would be equally touching if Adolin and Elhokar had an honest heart-to-heart.  They are both seen as people bearing the legacy of their fathers, and are in more need of self-awareness and self-discovery than Renarin or Dalinar, who are probably too busy being Radiants to talk to them.

 

It isn't just the jealousy and the drinking which reminds me of the Blackthorn. Elhokar has a desire to be loved, to be revered, to be worshiped which isn't unlike Dalinar. Young Dalinar felt he walked into the shadow of his older brother and yearn to take his place, to be the one others looked up to, to be the one they loved, they revered. He too thought leadership simply meant being bigger, badder and stronger than everyone else and has spent a lifetime trying to impose his will through sheer force. Elhokar is just the same, the difference being he has never been allowed to join the war, being deemed to irreplaceable. Just look at the fighting scene against the chasmfiend in WoK, what does Elhokar do? He challenges the creature, claiming to be the strong one, the king and he demanded a fight which is exactly the same behavior young Dalinar exhibits in his flashback chapter.

 

I see the exact same behavior and Elhokar is what Dalinar may have become hadn't he have the war of unification to lash out to.

 

I personally do not think Adolin could have ever grown up to be like Elhokar. For one, Adolin does not want to be looked up to, nor does he want to be in charge: leadership and power aren't things he desires. In fact, it is quite the opposite: Adolin does not want to lead. He does not have this need to be the front man such as his father, his uncle and his cousin seem to have. For second, Adolin seem incapable of jealousy. Each time he has been bested by a stronger fighter his reaction has never been one of jealousy, but one of anxiety, fear and personal beating down. He has had enough reasons to be jealous, at Kaladin mostly, in WoR and he didn't even begin to start to feel jealousy. He is just glad Kaladin is fighting by his side and his beats himself up for not being a better fighter. For third, Adolin hates bullies. Picking up on the smaller, weaker than him just because he can isn't a behavior he naturally endorse and when he realizes he has been doing it, on the battlefield towards the end of WoR, he is so shaken he drops his Blade in the middle of a fight. Elhokar essentially is a bully: if he can't get the respect he feels he deserves, he enforces it. He has no quarrel at scrambling the weaker than him just to prove he is strong.

 

My thoughts are Adolin didn't need Dalinar to be this strict with him: he just isn't the same persona. What he needed though was love, support and a coping mechanism to help him deal his emotive side, not more rules only serving to exacerbate his natural anxiety and his desire to please. This is another difference. Dalinar, Elhokar want others to follow their lead, to respect their leadership qualities and, in the case of Elhokar, to revere him as a hero. However, they do it on their terms. Dalinar is setting the standard and imposes it on others while Elhokar just believes by his quality of king, it should come naturally. Adolin looks at everything he is supposed to one and works really hard to be this person. Deep down I suspect he only wants his father to be proud of him, but this pride comes at a cost: his behavior has to be perfect.

 

I agree Adolin could have walked onto a darker path, early on, before we got to know him and I did think he would make this choice. 

 

Post-Sadeas Adolin is likely to feel horribly guilty, a feeling Elhokar does not seem to share. I also suspect power is something Elhokar will demand and thus will receive through the Honorblade. I am not sure the cousin will have much to share, especially since Elhokar has been seeing sprens and many think it means he will soon join the ranks of the Radiants.

 

How many people will be broken enough and also honourable enough to attract a spren?  There are plenty of people who have just one of those traits, like the bridgemen for being broken, or Adolin for being honourable.  But it seems like the people who have some of both but not enough of either will end up as Kaladin’s squires instead of getting their own sprens.  There are also people who have potential to attract sprens – if there were enough sprens to go around.  Syl was the only honorspren that left, and the Stormfather tried to stop her from going to find Kaladin. I don’t think enough information about Jasnah and what she did in Shadesmar has been released to say that the spren families in the Cognitive Realm will start pouring into Physical Realm when it seems there is still a lot of distrust of bad feeling between humans and their bonded spren that they could kill at any point.  Since there are very few copies of Words of Radiance to go around, and only women would be able to read it.   How would people even know the words to say the first Oath?  Everyone is still wondering how Shallan said them when she must have been around 10 years old.

 

Adolin might stop using his Shardblade, but the other Alethi will still be using theirs.  They still have a tactical advantage of being well-trained and used to fighting Parshendi, so even if they won’t fight side-by-side or back-to-back like Adolin and Kaladin in the arena, they could still have a separate unit of Shardbearers.  Dalinar is pragmatic.  The highprinces would never agree to be united if Dalinar forbade them to use their Shardblades, which they hold as items of prestige and status for hundreds of years, and use to control the loyalty of the lesser brightlords.

 

 

The broken requirement has been, imho, over-stated. So far, we have seen only two stories: Kaladin and Shallan and they were horrible. However, it is fair to point the fact Shallan's disastrous teenage year happened after she bonded Pattern and those events did not serve to cement her bond, but to practically break it. It is thus safe to assume the cracks in the soul required aren't as terrible as we may have initially thought.

 

I also suspect the ban on sprens has been lifted by the end of WoR and sprens will start to pour in to bond knights. Brandon has said Kaladin would be leveling up in the next book, but we would hear oaths we already know being said in a different way for other knights, so I expect more Windrunners in book 3: probably a few of the bridgemen and probably Lopen because a lot of people put faith into Lopen. They aren't going to fight the Desolation with just a handful of knights: there will be many, many more. I personally expect Shardbearers will start to be obsolete by the end of book 5 and, in the second arc, they will have become a relic of the past. Still around, still being used, but carrying dead Shards will become undesirable and an act of shame. 

 

The first oath will be widely known shortly: it is only a matter of time. You don't need to read WoR, the in-world book, to progress. The existing Radiants will transfer the knowledge and I suspect the new Radiants will mostly sprout around the existing one. Armies sure have their hordes of "broken enough" individuals.

 

I do not foresee the end of Shardbearers in the near future, but I foresee a drop in status and a conflict. Shardbearers and Radiants will rubbed it off on each others and there will be Radiants to argue the dead Shards should be put to rest. This will happen. I believe we are going to read a shift in between book 3 and book 5. Adolin is standing too close to the Radiant tempest: he will be the first victim, the one who will have to pay the price for their powers. 

 

I would love to read Adolin refusing to use his Blade, focusing on his side sword and struggling with it. Imagine the scene where everyone tells him to summon it because danger, but he refuses stubbornly, not until it is practically too late. Afterwards, he beats himself up for having tortured, once again, his Blade. He excuses himself to it for what he forced her to go through. 

 
 

I only like mentally messed up characters if their characters develop enough to become self-aware and better.  But grimdark series revel in the violence and blood and ruthless MC’s, and they don’t get better because that would ruin the point of reading that subgenre.  The only cure for being a sociopathic villain protagonist is death.  -_-

 

I have read London, which is a brick of a book.   :blink:  It felt like a short story anthology with vaguely connected characters, and I prefer the same characters the whole way through, because it’s annoying to have to re-frame your mind every 50 pages or so get into the swing of the story.  I have read Gabaldon too, but stopped after book two, as well as most of the Crichton books, but his tech thrillers have never drawn my interest enough to be worth re-reading, and they age really poorly. 

 

The problem with fantasy authors not writing women well is that most of them are men, and often they are the type of people who either don’t have a lot of experience with women, or write to an audience who don’t have a lot of experience with women and don’t really want to read from a woman’s PoV.  Brandon himself is guilty of that – one of the reasons why people criticise Mistborn is that the romance is pretty much cardboard.  It doesn’t even qualify for vanilla status.  -_-   -_-   -_-   When he first started writing it, he was single and people of his religion don’t do things unless they’re married, so it was kinda obvious in the books, and even now he doesn’t write good romance.  He wants to write scenes to show developing affection between characters like Dalinar and Navani, Wax and Steris, etc, but it just comes off as cardboardy when they make out.  Please stop using the word “melt” or “melting” when writing them kissing scenes pls thx.  :wacko:   :unsure:   :rolleyes: 

 

 

Oh me too... I don't enjoy messed up character who never improve: I love drama, but only if it serves to improve the character. Nobody enjoys reading about characters who's life never gets better.... which is why Fitz isn't unanimously loved.

 

I loved London, it was so immersive. The idea of following families through out the ages was neat and I enjoyed it even if it translated into smaller character arcs. Paris may be more to your taste as it covers less time and it basically follows the same characters from page 1 to the last page. You get the family' history through flashbacks, but the main story has a steady core of main characters. Gabaldon gets repetitive after a while: either you like it not. Some of Crichton books have aged badly, others are still a pleasant read: for instances Jurassic Park and the Lost World are still good reads. Congo/Sphere however are a bit outdated, but I still enjoyed it. You have to be in the mood for those books though and they aren't all good: the last one I read was very boring. Eaters of the Dead is fascinating, but it isn't written as a standard story.

 

I agree about fantasy authors... it is just strange because a guy like Ken Follett writes just as many women characters as he writes men and none of them comes across as cliche or trope-y or unreal. In fact, his characters typically are quite good: his weakness being his difficulty (or reluctance I do not know) to write grey characters. You either are a good or a bad character with Ken and the good ones always win. It makes his books a tad predictable once you know how the guy generally writes, but the historical details is worth the read and they basically are feel-good books. The ending is always happy  :ph34r: This being said, it is puzzling fantasy authors just can't seem to write female character right. Brandon does try, he writes many female characters, he isn't bad, but he is still missing something. Writing romance is something he openly struggles with: Brandon has been very honest with this aspect of his writing. I do believe he is improving as SA is much better wrapped up than Mistborn was and people have really liked the Wax/Steris story in BoM (which I haven't read yet). As for the melt/melting part, Brandon tends to re-use the same terms in his writing, a flaw he is well aware of and is actively working on. It is part of the reason people love Brandon so much: he is an honest and humble guy. He will admit his weaknesses, he won't try to hide them nor to defend them. He'll just say he is working on them.

 

The one problem with Brandon is his religion-bias tends to shine too often in his books. Theological issues are important to him, so he focuses a lot on those which his religious readers probably appreciate, but the none-religious ones perhaps tend to roll their eyes at those. He has also gotten predictable with his relationships: arranged weddings work out perfectly as they always end up being the right person for each other.... which makes me think he will destroy the Shallan/Adolin ship simply to avoid writing yet another one of those....

 

 

Nothing much happened with Danlan or Adolin would have felt guiltier about it – but it essentially was supposed to be a free pass for Shallan to kiss another guy without consequence, just so she can confirm that Adolin is “the one”.  Kissing isn’t enough to make the emotional response kick in – it’s the implication of something more happening that would make him feel upset and betrayed.  I figure that because Adolin at his age is still pure pureness who has never gone on an “adventure” with anyone  :ph34r:  :ph34r: , when he had plenty of opportunities, like free visits to the bawdy-house, he thinks that doing the thing is an important step for couples in a relationship, not something to be taken lightly just to take care of urges.  So if Shallan were to do something with someone else, when he considers it something  that is supposed to be “special”, it would imply that he isn’t special to her, and that would be enough to make him go off the deep end.  He would still need a solid confirmation that it happened though.  He wouldn’t jump to conclusions immediately because he trusts Shallan and Kaladin and isn’t paranoid about people like Elhokar is.

 

Not everything has to be drama!  I find good stories integrate slow and thoughtful moments with drama, so each time a dramatic moment comes, you can savour the impact instead of being desensitised from one bad thing happening after another.  This is why I can’t read books with non-stop drama sticks.  My heart can’t take it. 

 

And yes, Shallan will cross dress as an officer in a non-combat service, because Renarin didn’t want her to sell the things that belonged to his mother.  Renarin wanted to be a soldier once, and he knows that if Shallan really wanted it, like he did in the past, she would join the army in another way, through the Infantry or another combat unit where she would have a good chance of dying.  You might not have guessed it would happen, but Shallan from the beginning of Chapter 1 has had no problem with pretending to be someone else, and when she dressed as a servant with Adolin, he didn’t disapprove of her not “knowing her place”, which is the period accurate attitude to women who don’t want to stay at home and take care of the babies.  The main themes in the story are “perception vs identity” and “decision vs reaction”.  Shallan has learned a lot about selfishness and regret, and if she can’t do anything to save Adolin’s life, she doesn’t want to stay at home and wait for him to come back, because she did that in Scotland with her brothers, waiting for Helaran to come back and fix things.  Note that the answer she gives to Adolin is vague and open ended:  “Will you wait for me?”/”I will do what I can.”

 

Shallan’s big fears are that the things she loves will be taken away from her, and that she will die sad and full of regret like her mother.  She is not afraid of dying, and if she thinks Adolin is going to die, she doesn’t want to die with regret when she had her chance at happiness, even if it was short-lived, because she is tired of her life of being passive, lonely, and afraid.  And she has realised that Adolin, Kaladin, and Renarin are better brothers than her own, and family that actually cares about her rather than caring about how useful she is to them is important.  Because “home is not always a place.  It is people, and feelings, and sounds and tastes and memories.” 

 

And I like plucky heroines in romance novels just as much as I like plucky heroines in historical dramas, and the “Sweet Polly Oliver” character archetype is one of my favourites.   :wub:   :wub:  There is nothing like the delicious irony when you know the MC is a girl when no one else does, and you’re just waiting for that satisfying reveal moment when she goes “I was a girl all along!”, especially when the oblivious love interest male starts feeling weird for being attracted a fellow soldier in his unit   :P   :P  who is really mysterious and secretive about going to the bushes alone.

 

But I will write an epilogue because all romances need an epilogue just so you can feel satisfied at the end of the book.  It’s like the bonus after-credits scene at the end of a movie.  :ph34r:  :ph34r:  B)

 
 
Ah I think Adolin would jump prematurely to conclusions for the simple facts all his relationships have failed for reasons unknown to him. We know he is at fault, but he isn't aware of it. Therefore, the day he starts to see that perhaps the relationship may fail, I do believe he would automatically jump the gun and think it will crash like all of the others before. In French, we say "boiled cat fears hot water". Adolin has been burned so often, the second the water starts to feel a tad warm: he will jump out of it. He may trust Shallan, but he doesn't trust the relationship can work: the number of failed courtship is so impossibly huge he can't possibly be capable to think this one may be different. His mind will tell him the pattern will repeat itself, so I do think Adolin would jump to hasty conclusions.
 
I like drama, but not none-stop... I couldn't stand Soldier's Son for this reason: no redeeming star, no hope... Was a depressing read.
 
I loved Shallan deciding to follow Adolin into the war.... I do think it fits the character as book Shallan would never wait out, alone at home, for her husband to be to come back. It would be the equivalent of this glass prison she hates so much.
 
What do I love in female characters? I personally love characters who have agency of their own and have a purpose else than being someone's love interest. It is why I don't enjoy characters such as Bella. This being said, female or male character, I love when a character is presented as one thing, only to see events unravel a deeper personality which is different than our initial perception. I love when things aren't as they initially seemed to be and I enjoy seeing perfection being unraveled. It also is great when the character you thought was the bad guy turns out being a great guy and the guy you thought was the good guy turns out being not such a nice guy. I don't know which trope all of this would refer to... but if I start to list all characters I have loved in the past, this may be the strong tendency.
 
I haven't read much plucky heroines lately... though I had a theory Tarah was just that: a woman who dressed as boy to join the army and Kaladin found out about it.
 
Oh great an epilogue will be great. We need to know what happens a few months/years down the road.
 
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Ah well I don't seem to get wiser as I age and still to this day, I get riled up in discussions where I feel one opinion is not respected or not considered worthy of being shared. It happens in all discussions: certain thoughts cannot be said even if they would help everyone progress in their thoughts. I dislike simplistic analysis where a given character is portrayed as white while the other is black as reality is often more complex. For instance, can someone truly be a pure victim or do they share part of the guilt? This is a slippery road to walk on, but one I feel is necessary is we are to ask ourselves the right questions.

 

As a result, I do get upset on a regular basis over stuff I read on the Internet. 

 

As for Brandon, I conquer. He is a really really nice guy, very generous with his time and always ready to answer his questions. He never makes anyone feel stupid for asking anything, he treats all fan with respect and he will not recommend his own books to a reader if he believes it will not please him. I have seen him publicly state he didn't think a given individual would enjoy his books based on his personal tastes. So yes, he is a very nice guy. The fans can get a bit intense from times to times, but so are the haters. It seems as if it is either Brandon is the most amazing writer or he isn't worthy of being read... It oscillates between two extremes. For my part, I enjoy SA immensely, his other work less as I they lack the depth I currently enjoy in SA. I can enjoy books which are purposefully light as I read them for what they are, but Mistborn is an in-between. They take themselves very seriously, but they do not offer the reading experience I would expect of such highly praised books: I take them for what they are, quick mildly entertaining read, but they aren't ground-breaking, not to me at least.

 

As for reading for entertainment, I would say it depends on people. I agree with you, but there are those who will finish the books they started and who sees value in story they don't particularly enjoy. They are just different type of readers. I read only for pleasure, so if a book does not please me, I will promptly put it aside to pick another one. 

 

Actually, I rather liked Brandon's idea on using flashback chapters... I like it so much I am bummed Adolin isn't getting any because I love how they add to the story. Of course, they are predictable: their purpose isn't to surprise us, but to create an emotional reaction in us. We all knew Tien died early on in WoK and we all guessed Shallan murdered her mother before we got to read it, but we didn't know the how and the when. I compare the experience to watching the Titanic: you know the boat will sink and you know the guy dies. This is rather clear from the start, but you don't know what it will take to get there and this makes for a very poignant story (well for me it was, I always love re-watching Titanic  :ph34r:). Therefore, I do enjoy the flashbacks, Kaladin more so than Shallan because they were more tragic. It also gives invaluable insight as to why and how our character evolved to be the individual we now know. This being said, flashbacks hardly are the only way to recall a past story, but I find them effective as we get to read what happened in the character's head during the event, not after. Small glimpses such as Sureblood were awesome, but I wanted more. It was too sparse and not detailed enough: I needed something deeper, more meaningful. Again, it doesn't have to be a flashback, but I really, really wanted to read the scene where Adolin won his Blade.

 

One problem I see with Brandon and his character writing is the fact he has a hard time making them evolve. Yes, Wayne has been pretty messed up: he has serious PTSD and, more than a decade later, he still carries the scar of his decisive event, but it looks as if he can't progress further in his recovery. Shouldn't there be a next step? Isn't there always a next step? However, he reads as a static character which in turn created the opportunity to re-emphasis everyone of his quirks. Quirks are nice, they help define a character, shaping it into a person, but the author has to move onto the next phase, eventually which is making the character progress. This is an aspect of writing Brandon, I believe, still needs to work on. He works with it well enough in SA, mostly because he has enough page time to make it work, but when he writes short stories like Mistborn, he has a hard time inserting decent character development. It does not need to be extensive... but readers need to get the feeling those characters are progressing and Wayne needs to get out of his bubble. I still liked the character, but he could have been better rounded of. This being said, I haven't read BoM yet: I had to return the book to the library and someone else reserved it, so I have to wait for three more weeks.

 

When people on the internet believe things, and from what you have seen of them, show no inclination of changing their beliefs even if you try to debate with them, and include facts and citations, there’s nothing you can do.  If you are the type of person who gets upset when people like that don’t listen to you, I am the type of person who laughs and moves on because trying to have a discussion with those types is like having a discussion with a wall.  You are only going to waste your own time!  You can ask yourself the right questions, and think whatever things you want, but I personally don’t think I should tell people what questions they should be asking.  I will only answer the question properly if I am actively asked – that way I know the person is honestly curious about my opinion, even if they don’t end up agreeing in the end.  So things on the internet rarely bother me, but then again most of the time I am only a lurker and form my own opinions silently.

 

I judge how good a book is by how likely I am to re-read it.  I liked Mistborn – I read the original trilogy in an eBook omnibus, and normally I switch between 3 different series/books depending on my mood, but I read Mistborn all the way through over a week.  However, it had twist endings, and relatively simple characters, and once I finished I didn’t see any need to go back to it.  It has been a couple years since then and still I have felt no urge to go back – so I agree, it’s entertaining, but a little popcorn-y and a lot of the impact is in the twists and the Sanderson ending.  SA is better in this regard, since I finished the chapters with the Tower and still felt enough interest in the world to start again later on.  It’s a sign that Brandon has improved his writing skills, which is a good thing.  I wouldn’t mind meeting him when he tours in a year from now.  I made a four-foot long fantasy sword that I plan on re-purposing as a Shardblade.  I know Shardblades are six feet long, but that is taller than me and you will have trouble getting it through the door. 

 

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Character development tends to suffer in a multiple POV type of story – you not only have to balance all the characters, but you have to move their character development forwards at the same time, while also keeping track of the outside narrative and setting features.  SA was never supposed to be an “exploration of the psyche” type of story that you find in literary fiction or literary fantasy, which mostly focuses on the struggles of one main character.  There are few fantasy stories that do it well, and usually they have something like 2-4 main characters and tell it over a minimum of three books.  Robin Hobb is a good example of character development, and Liveship Traders, which I felt was the best example within her extended universe had something like 4 main characters and an ensemble supporting cast, which had equal share of the screentime all through the trilogy.  Brandon’s “1 flashback per book” format means that the characters are not equal – we are likely not to find out much about Szeth and Eshonai until they get their books, and then they will drop off the radar afterwards.  The flashbacks are supposed to flesh out the characters’ rationalisations and choices during their focus book.  I know you are the one who gets so upset that Adolin will never get one, but if you viewed his character (before the Sadeas thing), he doesn’t come off as a mysterious type of guy, and obviously he was never broken, so if Brandon ever thought about writing an Adolin flashback sequence, there must have come a point where he thought “What am I going to do to fill ~10 chapters/50k words worth of backstory where each is a turning moment in his life?”.  Because that’s a whole lot of writing, something like 100 pages on a word processor, and Adolin isn’t traumatised (before the events of WoR Part 5), so whatever could be said about his past would be nothing more than fluffy fanservice than something that takes his character somewhere in the development journey, or explains something important about his characterisation.  Sure, you could get a chapter of hanging out with his brother and mum, or eating chicken before his duel with Tinalar (? -_- Can’t remember his name?), or bonding Sureblood, but it adds nothing that we don’t already know.  There are no twists!!!  IMHO, it’s better suited as a novella/supplementary reading off the main narrative if Brandon ever bothers, or multi-chapter fanfiction if anyone gets around to writing it.  And the way you have analysed Adolin back and forth, I doubt anything in there will surprise you.  Because I cannot see him getting some secret messed up childhood backstory reveal like Captain Kennit from the Liveship Trilogy.

 

I know you like discussing and dissecting the Dalinar-Adolin relationship, but I personally see the reason why Adolin wants Dalinar around, and is protective of him is for his own reasons and deficiencies rather than wanting his father’s love and approval.  Adolin’s main problem is a lack of self-awareness of his own insecurities.  While he has Dalinar, he doesn’t have to be in charge, and he doesn’t have to face failure and defeat knowing that all of the responsibility falls to him.  Dalinar’s presence is like the security blanket that protects him from himself, so while his father calls the shots and gives him orders and tells him to do things to keep him busy (like going around giving the ultimatums to the highprinces while the Chasm thing was happening to Kaladin and Shallan) he doesn’t have to think about the uncomfortable questions like why he has no friends and no girlfriend.  I personally think Adolin knows his father loves him and approves him, when Dalinar calls him a good man, and a better man than he is, and as an adult, doesn’t need to be told.  This is Roshar, not Earth, and there are huge culture differences.  Where people here and now would think it is acceptable and necessary for adult children to get pats on the back and squishy talks from adult parents, I don’t think it works  the same way in Roshar, where posturing and masculinity and looking tough is an important thing in social interactions.  It is probably shameful for an adult man/warrior to get defended by his dad in public, as if he can’t hold his own – that is why Adolin does honour duels when he couldn’t duel for ranking, and Renarin gets protected because he can’t call Sadeas out in a fight, and no one in their society sees him as an adult and a man, even though he is past 16.  You are projecting modern Earth sensibilities and social customs onto a society that doesn’t necessarily work the same way!  Dalinar and Adolin don’t call out Elhokar in public for being a dumb chull after he does certain things in WoR, even though he definitely deserved it, probably for the same reason – reputation to the Alethi is a game of manipulating perception, and it would harm Elhokar’s standing if he was contradicted publicly.  It’s a social concept that is missing in modern Earth, but the Romans (another macho, warlike society) had it in the form of dignitas and auctoritas.  It’s like reading a historical novel about gladiators and complaining how the characters don’t have a problem with slavery.  You can’t overlay modern thinking like that – it’s like going back in time to the Black Plague era and telling people to wash their hands because germs.  They didn’t have microscopes, let alone the scientific method.

 

So if you think there is a problem with Dalinar not showing affection to Adolin, and going harder on him than he is on everyone else, perhaps there’s a good reason for it.  It could be a compliment (most readers would see it that way) that he thinks his son is that competent to be trusted with so much responsibility, and the affection he shows to Renarin is at the same re-affirming that he thinks his younger son is a weak little boy.  And that is why Adolin doesn’t seem to notice a problem, or thinks its normal – his relationship with his father is normal for highprinces and their heirs, whereas Renarin’s is the type that Alethi society sees as “ruining” or “spoiling” a boy and turning him soft.  Adolin, even though he is really insecure and nervous and stunted in his emotional development, in his POVs still views himself as an adult and a man.  I am very curious to see how Renarin sees himself the same way.  It does not seem like Alethi culture (just like most feudal cultures) has any phase between child and adult, like Earth society has with teenagerhood/adolescence.  As a side note, Relis’s dad sent him back to Alethkar in a wagon for losing a fight.  If Adolin had been crippled, or lost his Shards in a forfeit, I doubt Dalinar would have done the same to him.  Dalinar would not have felt embarrassment at the second-hand loss of reputation, because his son matters more.

 

IMHO, speculations only happen if there is room for speculation, in series that are either unfinished, or are so loose-ended or vague in world-building that readers finish the book and still have questions about what happened.  There are many series with developed universes that I enjoyed, and I think are worth re-reading, and I don’t speculate or theorise about when I have finished them.  But I can still feel the itch to create fanart, if the imagery or characterisation was so vivid that I can still remember the details when the book is closed and returned to the shelf.  The work left a strong impression on me, but if all character endings are tied up satisfyingly, there is no need to speculate.  I don’t know if it’s just me though – I will have to ask other fanartists what their thought process in creating fanart is like, since it’s different for everyone.

 

I hope you enjoy those books.  They both straddle the line of YA and adult fantasy, but I think the stories are mature enough that you can enjoy Sabriel if you are a fantasy fan who likes magic systems and a slow-burner romance, and Eagle of the Ninth for someone who likes historical fiction and beautiful writing – its style is something that I consciously drew on when writing for myself.

 

I think the trope that you might like is “Brought Down to Normal” if you like characters in places of privilege losing it all after being hit by the trauma stick (or something similar).  It is like the under-dog rising up type of plots that you get tired of, but the under-dog was once top-dog at one point.  I checked the Tvtropes literature list but it’s not too impressive, though.

 
 

 

26000 words so far... I'd say voices of the main characters are pretty define and unique. I thought I needed other POV than just Adolin: I needed to have an outside person's perspective and I thought it added to the story. Adolin is pretty messed up in the early chapters, so you don't want to read just him. The problem I have is the story is damnation too long  :o  :ph34r: I know where I want it to go and I know how it ends. Unfortunately, there is a slightly dark spot where I currently am and well, it is an ambitious project. It is supposed to be comprised of 2 Parts and 1 Interlude featuring a character of my own. Oh and since it is canon, it ends rather openly.

I am not sure I am capable to write beautiful prose... my writing skills are probably the equivalent to a 13-14 years old  :ph34r: It feels as if I could write better in French at this age, but maybe my perception is distorted. I would probably be horrified if I ever went back and read it  :ph34r:

I would need to re-read it and see how it flows... I still don't like chapter 1.... I wrote than on a bored day and it got longer. I'll PM you once I do another check, let's say the first 2 chapters. I think you get the feel right away.

I am not sure Pullman is my style... I read Ender's Game, but I did not read subsequent books. I liked the book, but the follow-ups didn't appeal to me. I heard it gets very theological, so huh I'll probably not read them. The first book was a good standalone anyway.

Ah it's beautiful, but it demands more concentration to read. I should probably pick up more literate books, but I keep being afraid literate will equal boring  :ph34r:

 

How far are you in the story progress?  26k words is not too bad if you’ve set up the direction of the narrative and sold the characters in a believable way that fits the setting and fits canon, if your goal was to be as close to canon as possible, rather than diverging through an alternate ending or slightly different AU.

 

Because you mentioned it, I went back to find some really stupid stories I wrote a long, long time.  And I have decided that you write better than a 13-14 year old in terms of writing style, but compared to a native English speaker of that age, I think their understanding of English grammar would be better.  Have you ever read the French translated versions of SA and compared it to the English edition?

 

You can read the first Pullman book (“The Golden Compass” in the US, in UK/AUS it was published as “Northern Lights”) as a standalone with beautiful worldbuilding just fine.  When I first read the books, I didn’t understand the religious references, just like I didn’t pick up the political/religious overtones in Ender’s Game – I just enjoyed the story for what it was, without looking further.  If you are the type of person who likes picking out influences in consumed media, it would bother you, but if you just want to read a good story, it is very good.  When I first read about Sylphrena and the Nahel Bond in SA, I was reminded of Pullman’s trilogy – they have the “magical bond partner” too, but it is not an outside, self-aware moral watcher like a bonded spren.

I used to think beautiful writing = boring when I was a teenager, because I wanted action and snappy dialogue.  But I tried slow-burner literature stories and now I like them a lot. 

 
 

 

 

It is true you wrote Adolin as the squeaky clean character though in retrospect he doesn't get the opportunity to do much nor to try out his darker side. And Adolin is very squeaky clean in the book as well, up until his world starts to unravel under him and he is trust into situations where he doesn't have a clear guideline to help him control his strong emotions.

 

The AU story has a happily for now kind of ending: it is very open. You have read one phase of their life, they are currently happy, but where will life take them? If I ever write it, I wish it to be the kind of story you feel needs a sequel, something like "15 years later, where are they?". Happily ever after is a tad too unrealistic: it feels unsatisfactory. 

 

In AU, 17 years old girl would be in High School while 23 years old boys are probably out of University with a diploma. For me, the gap, at this age is just too big to be played out in a satisfactory manner. Adolin wouldn't date a High School girl... I also personally do not like large age gap in relationships as it implies an imbalance where one is more experienced, one has had time to carouse all over the place while the other is basically committing his/her life to someone who's been around the block way too often. 21-38 is just too much for me: I wouldn't enjoy reading a story featuring romance in between such disparate characters. In canon, it is true the age difference is not as critical but it does bother me Adolin has dated more than 50 women while Shallan has dated no one. I see an imbalance where Adolin is ripe for a serious relationship but Shallan obviously isn't there yet. She is likely to want to explore, to date other people while Adolin is left on the side walk to wait for her to be ready for him. I just do not like it if it plays out this way.

 

In the story, Adolin hasn’t had any chances to pick the bad choice, and since he has found some level of self-awareness, any bad choices he makes are likely to be for what he has thought about and considers the “greater good” rather than a hot-headed moment of impulse.  He still has the potential to dirty his hands with dark choices, but he has a support system and people who he can trust, unlike the post-WoR Adolin, so it would have to take a similar situation and being alone to do the same thing.  In the AU, he and Dalinar weren’t betrayed by Sadeas – they lost half their army in an ambush, and no other army helped them retreat because they assumed it was throwing good money after bad.  But I feel like bringing the story to an end on a high note is more satisfying, especially for something that is supposed to be a standalone – a happy for now ending.  Ambiguously happy endings (where the good stuff is balanced out by sad things) are better for stories planned out as a series because closure.

 

17 and 23 are perfectly possible in the real world – yes, it would be kinda questionable if they met at a party or through a dating app, but Adolin and Shallan’s relationship was set up by members of his family, who thought that both people had something worth bringing to a relationship.  And if Adolin wouldn’t date a high school girl, Shallan isn’t the type of person who would tell him until their second date and she had him hooked.  Her father being dead and needing money is something Shallan tells Dalinar openly when they first meet, but she doesn’t tell Adolin – is it because he already knows, because Dalinar told him, or because his family wants their relationship to work?  Or is any girl who dates Adolin expecting that money comes as part of the bargain so it’s not worth mentioning?   I personally think an age gap like that can work in the modern world, as long as the maturity level is around the same, and SA Shallan has acted with the independence and self-sufficiency of an adult, even if she doesn’t have the depth of experience that other people would have.  People with that age difference can get along with each other, and date, but as for long-term prospects like marriage, who knows.  No one can even tell if marriages between people of the same age will last either.

 

Also, if you have listened to the Oathbringer chapter, I think Dalinar is 24-ish when he meets Shshshsh at age 18/19, so the age difference between Adolin and Shallan in-canon is socially acceptable.   If Dalinar courted her for 3 years, and she died 10 years before the events of WoK, then she must have died at age 35.  Gee, that’s depressing.  And because Rosharans don’t get sick easily like Earth people, you have to wonder what happened, since women don’t get involved in dangerous activities like going into battle or hunting whitespines.

 

The Kholins are pretty much nouveau riche in your AU?  I would have thought they were old money – glyphpairs and family crests don’t come from nowhere!  Then again, in a Canadian setting, I don’t know if you can even have old money in a new world country, so I guess you can make it work. 

 

 

 

 

 

The kind who puts those he loves before all: nobody would blame anyone for prioritizing his own children over strangers. You should put your own children before all: you have a direct responsibility towards them. What kid of person spends time taking care of others children while their own are left to their own devices? Besides, who would want a leader who is so harsh, so obsess about his rules he is ready to sacrifice his own son? What kind of message does it send? Do as I say, act as I say, follow my rules to the perfection or else I will destroy you whether you are an ally or not as being my own flesh and blood didn't matter much when it came to my own son.

 

I speculate a lot over what Dalinar's journey means for Adolin and I think it means he has to stop imposing his rules, he has to stop crushing him and more importantly, he has to accept people will make mistake. He has to realize if life gave him a second chance he didn't deserve, he should, at the very least, give one to his own son who actually deserves one.

 

I do not want Kaladin has a third son. Kaladin already has a father who loves him: he is not in need of a father figure. He has a great one already. I would hate for Dalinar to start giving the love and support he refuses to Adolin to a stranger. This would be heartbreaking... what does Adolin need to do to receive something else than stern orders from his father? And what did Kaladin do to earn it so easily when being perfect was not enough for Adolin?

 

The better man part was the cherry on top of the sundae: the direct expression of Dalinar's expectation being pushed on Adolin. He can't just acknowledge Adolin is a good kid who's heart is at the right place: he needs to make him the better person which may be true, but the pressure he puts on him, this is sad. There has to be a reason why Adolin clings so much to his parental figures: he doesn't want to fly by his own wings, he doesn't want to leave the household, he wants to stay right here close to those he loves. He is, in fact, the opposite of other characters who have all left their household to seek their journey, Adolin's journey is within his family, it is tied to having him make them understand he isn't their tool, but a young man with his own aspirations. May take a while though.

 

The alternative point of view to “what kind of person spends time taking care of others’ children” is that Dalinar sees Alethkar as his children, and he is their father who has to guide them and discipline them because they don’t know any better.  And when he is the father of everyone, he can’t play favourites, not even with his biological children.  Not when he has to save everyone from the end of the world.  And this whole time, Dalinar has been father figure to Elhokar, who is not his child, but still gets called “son”, and gets the tough love beatdown at the end of WoK while Adolin is left to his own devices.  Who knows, maybe Brandon will pull out his religious cards  :ph34r:  and Dalinar sacrificing his son becomes an allegorical act of tough love and doing what is best for everyone, even if it sucks for Adolin. 

 

I get the impression that you are projecting a lot of modern Earth beliefs and expectations onto Dalinar and Adolin’s relationship – which is why people tend to react strongly when you try to discuss it.  Alethi aren’t prone to being sentimental and gushy, and men, warriors especially, don’t discuss their feelings and if they did, it would look really really OOC, even if it would solve a lot of problems.  Adolin gets awkward asking Kaladin for girl advice, for instance, which is hard for him because it’s pretty much admitting to another guy that he sucks at being a player.  At least it’s a sign that Adolin feels that Kaladin is on mostly equal level relationship with him, that they can discuss a personal thing like that.  With Dalinar, they are not equal – they are commanding officer and subordinate.  Therefore I think your expectations of the destination involving Dalinar having to “prove his love” to Adolin is a bit too much to hope for.  Dalinar is not going to pop the l-word to Adolin - does he even do it for Navani?.  When father and son finally see each other as mutual equals who deserve respect because the respect is earned rather than expected, all that is going to happen is some eye contact and a nod, because that is what Alethi men do.  But to you that would seem “not enough”.

 

I think Dalinar is likely to forgive Adolin for the Sadeas thing, even if the other highprinces don’t.  He won’t agree at first, but he’ll understand it, and even if he has to publicly punish Adolin for it, it doesn’t mean he will enjoy or that he won’t regret it.  Dalinar is a tough-love guy.  And he can forgive Elhokar, or at least stop being angry at him, so he has the potential to do the same for Adolin.  At the risk of making an Adolin-centric speculation in what is supposed to be a Dalinar-focused book, the journey is probably going to be Adolin forgiving himself and developing and internalising his own set of ethics and morality instead of piggybacking on the rules his father shoved down his throat.  And Dalinar accepting that and moving on is part of his own character development.

 

You think Dalinar calling Adolin the better man as a sad thing, and you want Dalinar to show love and affection to his son.  For me, it would be weird if Dalinar started treating Adolin in the same way he treats Renarin, what you call “doting”.  Even if Dalinar sees Adolin as a projection or extension of himself, and who he wished he could be from the start, there’s still a level of openly given respect at his son’s achievements that he doesn’t give to Renarin.  Dalinar doesn’t go around calling Renarin a better man, he doesn’t even think of Renarin as a man.  Sure, Adolin’s achievements are what you interpret as the skills that make him a good tool (the duelling), but within the canon-setting, duelling is his Calling and he gets glory/Tranquiline Hall brownie points for excelling in it – so what you see as using Adolin, in their society, the Alethi see it as rather doing a religious devotion.  And Adolin loves duelling because it is something that he is genuinely confident in his skills, compared to other things like dating girls or fighting magical assassins – so even if he is a tool, he likes being a tool, and he consents to being one.  The characters’ thoughts and motivations are many-layered, and you are fixated one or two reasons, which are perfectly valid, but I don’t think they are whole picture.

 

IMO, the journey is Adolin discovering his independence and how to make it fit with his family obligations rather than Dalinar accepting it and granting his son independence/autonomy.  That would be the most satisfying ending for me, even if you prefer that Dalinar “comes to his senses” and apologises for pressuing his 17 year old son (an adult) to accept an old book that his dead brother read as the framework to his life.  But that kind of ending comes from self-awareness, and in a Dalinar book, Dalinar gets the development, so we shall have to see what happens.  And write fanfics when it doesn’t work out the way we wanted it to. :ph34r:

 
 
 

 

Still, I wish it were bigger, but the bigger fandoms are those enjoying the support of visual arts meaning SA would need to be adapted to TV in order to grow bigger. I don't mind the fact some people prefer the OT3/OT4, I mind getting the feeling people believe all fans want the OT3/OT4... Each time I stumble on a promising fic, it is "ruined" by Adolin kissing Kaladin or having a secret love affair with someone else.... I just can't enjoy those leaps and while I don't mind people may want to write it, I mind the fact it is all I find.

 

I am the weird one... I am just not attracted to multiple partners ships: in fact I hate them  :ph34r:

 

 

Not all fans want the OT3/OT4.  Just the ones who disappointed by the SA canon relationships and want to write their own versions of what they want to see.  I think the vast majority of SA readers are happy with the relationship pairings, or don’t think strongly enough to put time and effort into generating fan-content based on it.  If you search by tags on the Archive of our Own, you will see that there are fewer relationship tags for the canon ship of Shadolin than the very briefly mentioned and mostly one-sided canon ship of Shaladin.  The vocal minority fills in the gaps when they think there are some worth filling – that’s what it is.  And that is why there are so many Kadolin stories, because Brandon is never going to go there, and fan content is the only way fans of that pairing will ever feel satisfied, when Shadolin fans just have to pick up their books and re-read a date scene.

 

I’m not a big fan of such ships, mostly because I have to suspend my disbelief to read them, and have to go in knowing that it is not true to canon-characterisation, or canon setting where I doubt Vorinism would accept things like that.  It would be easier for me to accept it if it was built up over several chapters of development, but no one writes stories that long – they start the Kadolin from chapter one and by that I can tell the story is pretty much pure fanservice.  

 

 
 

 

Still do I picture Adolin wearing the casual preppy style? I am unsure.... Adolin's dressing style has a rebellious streak to me, but perhaps this is link to Dalinar thinking anything else than a uniform is rebellious... In my head, whatever Adolin would genuinely choose to wear, his father would disapprove.
 
It is somewhat strange to see Australian loving such a summer inappropriate piece of clothing such as woolen jumpers... I don't even own many woolen jumpers: I think they are too warm  :o  :ph34r: I have one nice with little hearts on it and it is quite cute but I only wear it if the outside temperature goes below -15..... or else it gets a bit warm in there  :ph34r:
 
Something bad such as killing anohter Highprince? Dalinar would totally cut off Adolin providing he fails to meet his expectations and I suspect his threshold is rather low. I do love Adolin dropping by, miserable and lonely, on Kaladin' doorstep only to walk onto their bi-weekly spaghetti dinner. The house is full of laughter and they are all enjoying a happy meal. Adolin never had that as meals, in the Kholin's household, typically feature Dalinar sitting on one end of the table, Adolin on the other and Renarin often in his room. All talk there is typically features Adolin answering his father's questions pertaining his achievements of the day. There are no laughter and they never eat something as low class as meat balls spaghetti, so when he drops in unexpected, he is automatically drawn in by Hesina, sit at the table with a huge plate of his own. The Stormbless may not be rich, but they are a welcoming bunch who live by the motto if there is enough food for four, there is enough food for five. Since Lirin is a minister, he typically always keeps his door open to poor people in need: he just never thought a rich kid would end up dropping by. Adolin never had such an experience before, so he is quite puzzled and uncharacteristically quiet. Turns out he really loves the meat balls spaghetti... never had them before. And for desert they had chocolate cake which Adolin never has because as a top-level sports athlete, he only eats prime food and sweets are forbidden.
 
Hesina thinks Adolin is probably malnourished because he digs into his food as if he hadn't have a meal in days  :ph34r: Of course, Adolin is not malnourished, he is just used to much different meals comprised of small stern portions of fancy food in expensive dishes you have to carefully dice using picture perfect table manners.
 
And Tien does not die  -_- He shows Adolin his rock collection and Adolin surprises everyone by being very patient (he is used to younger siblings having weird interest) though, just like Kaladin, he doesn't get why the rocks are special, but he pretends he does which makes him earn even more brownie points with Hesina.
 

 

Maybe Dalinar dislikes what Adolin wears because he is too used to seeing Adolin in a uniform?  Over here, schoolkids wear uniforms from first grade to the end of high school, and university is the first time in many young people’s lives that they can choose what clothes to wear every day of the week.  If Adolin went to a private school with a uniform, then Dalinar would be so used to seeing him in the official school blazer, slacks, and tie that anything else would look weird, and somehow wrong.  Schoolkids don’t change out of their uniform as soon as the school bell rings – they hang around the local mall or skate park in uniform, or go home and chill in their uniform so the weekend is only time where it’s okay to be low effort.  And it struck me that the women in the Kholin warcamp aren’t expected to follow any uniform regulations, and Dalinar hasn’t been shown to approve or disapprove of it.  Seems kind of a double standard if Dalinar thinks Adolin dresses sloppy but doesn’t say anything when Navani tries to look seductive.

 

I like woollen jumpers and coats because Australian climate means that t-shirts can be worn the whole year round if you really want to.  Woollen jumpers can only be worn for 2 months in the year if you don’t want to die of heatstroke, and they are really comfortable and I love layering.  I have a collection of nice wool things and I look forward to the days where I can wear them.  It’s the southern hemisphere version of people in the north looking forward to the days where they can wear their singlets/muscle shirts/tank tops in the summer. 

 

I cannot imagine Dalinar or Adolin knowing how to cook.  If they live in a big fancy house with a big fancy kitchen, it’s never used by anyone except housekeepers and caterers.  The Kholins live off dinners packed in labelled plastic boxes prepared by a housekeeper that they just have to dump on a plate and microwave, and for Adolin, protein shakes made from raw eggs, oats, whole fat milk, whey, peanut butter, kale and other things that look like puke when blended together and make Kaladin cringe worse than when people eat fried crab chouta in front of him.   Adolin is surprised when he gets to eat food that actually tastes like food, since pre-game food is usually something like boiled chicken with no spicy curry that he loves, served with dry tasteless brown rice, buckwheat, barley, or quinoa.  And no one at the table is reminding him to count his macros or telling him how many grams of protein per serving is in his food.  It must be really shocking to know that some people don’t cook with a scale and individually count almonds one by one when mixing a green smoothie.

 

Adolin and Tien would get along – I think Adolin was destined to be a cool big brother, where Kaladin is the distant leader type guy.  Adolin is the type to bring over his old video game console that he is too busy to use, so he and Tien can play team games while Kaladin thinks he has outgrown such childish things.  But he has insanely good reflexes and would be pretty good the first time he tried, because he is Kaladin. 

 

That makes me wonder what Adolin would think of Shallan’s brothers.  If Helaran (the functional one) is dead/missing in an AU, Balat would be the oldest brother, and he and Adolin are the same age.  Adolin is such a good judge of people – would he be able to pick up something is off, or wrong about Balat?   Adolin wants to be liked and to be seen as likeable by people his own age, so I am insanely curious as to his reaction if/when he gets to meet his future brothers in-law.  He is a family man and family is important to him, but what would he do when he sees evidence of Balat doing crazy things?   Not to mention, what would Shallan’s brothers think of Adolin?  Shallan is the one who brings light to the Davar family, but once she has tasted what the outside world feels like, she won’t want to come back, and maybe they would feel Adolin is responsible for some of that, and be resentful about it.

 

Shallan is such a perv. :lol:  :ph34r: :lol:  :ph34r: 

 

 

 

It isn't just the jealousy and the drinking which reminds me of the Blackthorn. Elhokar has a desire to be loved, to be revered, to be worshiped which isn't unlike Dalinar. Young Dalinar felt he walked into the shadow of his older brother and yearn to take his place, to be the one others looked up to, to be the one they loved, they revered. He too thought leadership simply meant being bigger, badder and stronger than everyone else and has spent a lifetime trying to impose his will through sheer force. Elhokar is just the same, the difference being he has never been allowed to join the war, being deemed to irreplaceable. Just look at the fighting scene against the chasmfiend in WoK, what does Elhokar do? He challenges the creature, claiming to be the strong one, the king and he demanded a fight which is exactly the same behavior young Dalinar exhibits in his flashback chapter.

 

I see the exact same behavior and Elhokar is what Dalinar may have become hadn't he have the war of unification to lash out to.

 

I personally do not think Adolin could have ever grown up to be like Elhokar. For one, Adolin does not want to be looked up to, nor does he want to be in charge: leadership and power aren't things he desires. In fact, it is quite the opposite: Adolin does not want to lead. He does not have this need to be the front man such as his father, his uncle and his cousin seem to have. For second, Adolin seem incapable of jealousy. Each time he has been bested by a stronger fighter his reaction has never been one of jealousy, but one of anxiety, fear and personal beating down. He has had enough reasons to be jealous, at Kaladin mostly, in WoR and he didn't even begin to start to feel jealousy. He is just glad Kaladin is fighting by his side and his beats himself up for not being a better fighter. For third, Adolin hates bullies. Picking up on the smaller, weaker than him just because he can isn't a behavior he naturally endorse and when he realizes he has been doing it, on the battlefield towards the end of WoR, he is so shaken he drops his Blade in the middle of a fight. Elhokar essentially is a bully: if he can't get the respect he feels he deserves, he enforces it. He has no quarrel at scrambling the weaker than him just to prove he is strong.

 

My thoughts are Adolin didn't need Dalinar to be this strict with him: he just isn't the same persona. What he needed though was love, support and a coping mechanism to help him deal his emotive side, not more rules only serving to exacerbate his natural anxiety and his desire to please. This is another difference. Dalinar, Elhokar want others to follow their lead, to respect their leadership qualities and, in the case of Elhokar, to revere him as a hero. However, they do it on their terms. Dalinar is setting the standard and imposes it on others while Elhokar just believes by his quality of king, it should come naturally. Adolin looks at everything he is supposed to one and works really hard to be this person. Deep down I suspect he only wants his father to be proud of him, but this pride comes at a cost: his behavior has to be perfect.

 

Blackthorn Dalinar and Elhokar still have their differences though.  They might be selfish or self-centred people who lack self-control and inhibitions, and awareness of the big picture, but Blackthorn Dalinar is willing to work to earn his kingdom/princedom, where Elhokar expects it to be handed it to him.  The Kholin princedom is supposed to be Dalinar’s while Elhokar is the king of Alethkar, but Dalinar gave the responsibilities over to Elhokar, to give him something to do.   Blackthorn Dalinar can prove he is stronger than everyone else if he wanted to, but Elhokar certainly can’t, even if he wishes.  Elhokar is more like a weak and pathetic version of what an Alethi man should be, where the Blackthorn is the shining example of the model Alethi man.  The things they share on the outside is more Elhokar wanting to emulate what an Alethi man should be, rather than trying to copy Dalinar exactly – Elhokar couldn’t have known about the flashbacks, because they happened when he wasn’t born, or was too young to remember. 

 

There’s one paragraph from WoK chapter 18 that I thought was important for how Elhokar seems himself:

 

 

A Calling and a Glory, it was said. You worked hard at your profession, and you spent your life trying to live according to a single ideal. The Almighty would accept that, particularly if you were lighteyed—the better your blood as a lighteyes, the more innate Glory you had already.”

 

The higher your dahn ranking, the more worthy the Almighty thinks you are, and if you are king, you are supposed to be the most “blessed” out of everyone in the whole country.  It is possible the stupid things Elhokar does is because he thinks he is, or he should be, “invincible”, or at least untouchable.  It sounds silly from our modern eyes, but in history, there were similar concepts like “mandate of heaven” or “divine right of kings”, which we know to be rulers trying to justify/legitimise their dynasties, but in their cultural context, it establishes a rigid social hierarchy where everyone is supposed to know and accept their place, as subservient darkeyes or ruling lighteyes.  We may see Elhokar as a selfish baby, but in his head, he probably believes that he should be special, or competent, and feels betrayed by God that he hasn’t been bestowed with the leadership qualities that Dalinar and Kaladin have.  It doesn’t excuse his behaviour, but that is probably how he rationalises it.

 

It is interesting that Adolin hasn’t shown much on-screen devotion to religious things – the only ardents he hangs out with tend to be training arena teachers rather than the religious ones.  He is either second or third dahn (I don’t think his rank has been confirmed) which means that his innate Glory rating would be among the top 30 people in the whole country, yet he still feels like he should be better, and that he isn’t good enough.  Elhokar is supposedly the highest ranking at first dahn, but he has to get drunk to realise he has room to improve.  Even if he and Elhokar don’t turn out to have anything in common, there’s still interesting dialogue that could happen if they discuss this subject.  Elhokar is a like a cartoonishly inept king, and Adolin is the down-to-earth guy with realistic modern Earth problems compared to everyone who else is worried about the end of the world.  If they got their own chasm scene, maybe they could find similarities and awareness, like Kaladin and Shallan did.  

 

 

 

The broken requirement has been, imho, over-stated. So far, we have seen only two stories: Kaladin and Shallan and they were horrible. However, it is fair to point the fact Shallan's disastrous teenage year happened after she bonded Pattern and those events did not serve to cement her bond, but to practically break it. It is thus safe to assume the cracks in the soul required aren't as terrible as we may have initially thought.

 

I do not foresee the end of Shardbearers in the near future, but I foresee a drop in status and a conflict. Shardbearers and Radiants will rubbed it off on each others and there will be Radiants to argue the dead Shards should be put to rest. This will happen. I believe we are going to read a shift in between book 3 and book 5. Adolin is standing too close to the Radiant tempest: he will be the first victim, the one who will have to pay the price for their powers. 

 

I would love to read Adolin refusing to use his Blade, focusing on his side sword and struggling with it. Imagine the scene where everyone tells him to summon it because danger, but he refuses stubbornly, not until it is practically too late. Afterwards, he beats himself up for having tortured, once again, his Blade. He excuses himself to it for what he forced her to go through.

 

That’s a good thing if the soul breaking in future books isn’t as non-stop traumatic as it was for Kaladin and Shallan.  Because Lift is a 13 year old surgebinder, and the others started attracting sprens around 5-6 six years ago when Gavilar died, and I would hate for a 7 year old child to be hit with the trauma stick, even if it is mostly mentally inflicted – though I cannot imagine that a child of that age would have the comprehension and awareness to break.  10-11 year old Shallan is stretching it.  Since Brandon isn’t the most emotive writer when it comes to writing heart-wrenching scenes like he is good at writing cinematic action scenes, I am glad, because a tragic backstory written beautifully about a kid under 10 would make me cry.  Even if she does grow up and turns out to be awesome.

 

Why would it be shameful or embarrassing to carry a dead spren blade?  They are pieces of a God, and they were once someone’s beloved magical friend.  I do not think people would hide them in the closet and be ashamed of owning them.  I think they would still be valuable and priceless heirlooms, and even if they aren’t used in battle, they would still be revered by the families that keep them for the historical and cultural value – and Shards are cultural symbols of power and authority to the highprinces, who use them to manipulate their vassals by lending them around.  You can’t get rid of ingrained cultural beliefs in a decade, not when there is guaranteed to be some resistance.  Maybe Shardblades would stop being trophies and prizes to gamble with at the arena, but Shardplate will still be valuable, and if the Kholins and other “goody-goody” princely houses get rid of their dead blades out of guilt, the less reputable families will snap them up because these things are pretty much indestructible.  (unless you test them against Nightblood but that’s a whole other story.)

 

I would honestly prefer Shardbearers to stick around, because it’s a lovely point of conflict between the “old” and “new”.  And in the end, everyone learns a lesson about working together like a Saturday morning tv cartoon. ^_^

 

 
 

 

Oh me too... I don't enjoy messed up character who never improve: I love drama, but only if it serves to improve the character. Nobody enjoys reading about characters who's life never gets better.... which is why Fitz isn't unanimously loved.

 

I loved London, it was so immersive. The idea of following families through out the ages was neat and I enjoyed it even if it translated into smaller character arcs. Paris may be more to your taste as it covers less time and it basically follows the same characters from page 1 to the last page. You get the family' history through flashbacks, but the main story has a steady core of main characters. Gabaldon gets repetitive after a while: either you like it not. Some of Crichton books have aged badly, others are still a pleasant read: for instances Jurassic Park and the Lost World are still good reads. Congo/Sphere however are a bit outdated, but I still enjoyed it. You have to be in the mood for those books though and they aren't all good: the last one I read was very boring. Eaters of the Dead is fascinating, but it isn't written as a standard story.

 

The one problem with Brandon is his religion-bias tends to shine too often in his books. Theological issues are important to him, so he focuses a lot on those which his religious readers probably appreciate, but the none-religious ones perhaps tend to roll their eyes at those. He has also gotten predictable with his relationships: arranged weddings work out perfectly as they always end up being the right person for each other.... which makes me think he will destroy the Shallan/Adolin ship simply to avoid writing yet another one of those....

 

 

I think enjoyment from a book comes from your expectations of it.  If you go in blind, or are used to reading a certain type of story, and what you get is completely different, then you will not enjoy it.  People who read “Assassin’s Apprentice” expecting lots of assassinations will get disappointed because there is barely any action – it’s just a slow-burner of a growing up story.  I wasn’t expecting to read what is pretty much a short story anthology in one connected universe that was London, and it annoyed me so that I couldn’t really get into it, even though I finished it to the end.  There are instances where I enjoy that format, but usually it is in the form of supplementary material that goes along with an established series, not something standalone.  You want to get invested in characters, but you can’t, since they are guaranteed to go away after 50 pages.

 

Writers write based on their experiences and their beliefs and their interests, even if they try to put themselves into another character’s shoes.  That is why Brandon’s books tend to have a religious slant in them, even if it isn’t a main theme of the story.  And that is why Brandon’s writing, outside of violent battle scenes, tend to be pretty “clean” in terms of glossing over more mature subjects.  That aspect of it is pretty YA-level, even if the density and complexity of the story is way beyond YA.

 

I personally think Brandon associates a happy relationship to successful character development – once a character has reached the end of their journey, they deserve to get their happy wedding as a reward, even if they die afterwards.  Maybe it’s predictable, but to me it sounds like an “author appeal” quirk of his.  So I would not say that Shallan/Adolin are destined to fail.  Maybe they will go through a rough patch, but since they are major character and major supporting character, they will get development – and either they will get their happy marriage, or they will break up amiably just like the Wax and Marasi relationship which everyone was rooting on from the beginning.  Not everyone has to be in a relationship, and people can get satisfying character development without it. 

 

 
 

 

Ah I think Adolin would jump prematurely to conclusions for the simple facts all his relationships have failed for reasons unknown to him. We know he is at fault, but he isn't aware of it. Therefore, the day he starts to see that perhaps the relationship may fail, I do believe he would automatically jump the gun and think it will crash like all of the others before. In French, we say "boiled cat fears hot water". Adolin has been burned so often, the second the water starts to feel a tad warm: he will jump out of it. He may trust Shallan, but he doesn't trust the relationship can work: the number of failed courtship is so impossibly huge he can't possibly be capable to think this one may be different. His mind will tell him the pattern will repeat itself, so I do think Adolin would jump to hasty conclusions.
 
I loved Shallan deciding to follow Adolin into the war.... I do think it fits the character as book Shallan would never wait out, alone at home, for her husband to be to come back. It would be the equivalent of this glass prison she hates so much.
 
What do I love in female characters? I personally love characters who have agency of their own and have a purpose else than being someone's love interest. It is why I don't enjoy characters such as Bella. This being said, female or male character, I love when a character is presented as one thing, only to see events unravel a deeper personality which is different than our initial perception. I love when things aren't as they initially seemed to be and I enjoy seeing perfection being unraveled. It also is great when the character you thought was the bad guy turns out being a great guy and the guy you thought was the good guy turns out being not such a nice guy. I don't know which trope all of this would refer to... but if I start to list all characters I have loved in the past, this may be the strong tendency.
 
I haven't read much plucky heroines lately... though I had a theory Tarah was just that: a woman who dressed as boy to join the army and Kaladin found out about it.

 

 

 Adolin would jump to conclusions, I agree with that.  That is why I included the scene in the fic where he barges into the room and sees Shallan’s dress on Kaladin’s table.  He assumes the worst possible thing happened, but is quickly proven wrong, and accepts that he is wrong because this relationship is one he wants to work.  In the past, when a girl dumped him, I got the feeling that was it, and Adolin didn’t try to get her back – he only moved on to the next girl, possibly even before he got dumped.  But once he gets into a relationship that he is genuinely invested in, he won’t immediately resort to abandoning ship as is default response.  In SA, Adolin tells Kaladin he “wants to keep this one”, which seems like he likes Shallan more than the other girls, and wants to actively continue their relationship.  I don’t know what it means in the post-Sadeas world, but in an AU where he doesn’t kill Sadeas, the day where the relationship might fail is a day that Adolin never wants to see.

 

I have tried to keep most characters in line with their canon personalities, with small changes where their personality/outlook on life depends on turning points that never happened in the AU.  Shallan is the type to take matters in her own hands if she has to, and there is no other option – she is the one who goes to steal Jasnah’s Soulcaster, instead of her older brothers doing anything.  She also likes costumes – and it’s a throwback to the chapter when she kills an ardent and Adolin gives her his coat to cover the bloodstains.  He says she looks nice in it, which is (hint hint) foreshadowing.  She has transferred Adolin to the list of people she would do crazy things to protect (like her brothers), but at the same time, just like canon-Shallan, she is not above manipulating him to get what she wants, or what she thinks is the greater good.

 

Renarin, too, I think is an interesting character, once he has gotten over his depression over being inadequate and useless.  One of the scenes that made an impression on me, was the one in WoK after the chasmfiend hunt when he said he was pretty much a drain on resources and better off dead.  It made me interpret him as a person who thinks outside the neurotypical box, and puts a value on a human life that normal people don’t want to think about because all human life is sacred.  But numbers people, like insurance actuaries do it on a regular basis, and Renarin is a numbers person.  Lirin said that surgeons make village people uncomfortable because they know what goes on inside their bodies when the skin is peeled away, and I write Renarin as someone who makes people uncomfortable because he can determine their usefulness with a dollar sign.  He also doesn’t follow morality in the same way as other people – in the last chapter, he doesn’t call Kaladin out for flirting with his brother’s girlfriend, and he helps Kaladin drug Shallan so he can ask her some questions before her ether trip.  It’s purposefully morally questionable, and I’m surprised no one reacted with a “what the heck why” type of response.

 

The funny thing in stories with strong female protagonists is that often the male characters end up being only cardboard love interests.  It goes both ways.  The big reveal – one of the best parts in a story, especially if it’s one where the readers knew it the whole time, but the supporting characters/other POVs didn’t.  That delicious, delicious irony.  I would say that when a reveal happens that the reader didn’t know about from the start, it is only good if the plot is set up well so it doesn’t come off as a chull pull, and the story still stands up well enough that you can re-read it and it won’t lose all the impact once the surprise is gone.  The best stories are the ones you immediately re-read to pick up the clues you missed the first time.

 

I don’t know if darkeyed girls can pass as a boy in an Alethi army – it’s going to be pretty tough to do a cross dress as an enlisted soldier who actually has to do work and pull their weight.  It’s easier as an officer (who are lighteyed only) who is supposed to live and eat separately from the enlisted grunts, and can tell people what to do instead of having to carry 40kg on his back and march 20 miles a day, but I don’t know if a regular soldier can do it for long – they will inevitably get caught.  Soldiers change in front of each other, don’t cover their safehands, and probably wash in the highstorm like the bridgemen do.  It gets obvious after a couple of weeks. 

 

 

 

 

slow to reply, sorry.  :( :ph34r:

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance
PART THIRTY FOUR

 

 

EPILOGUE

 

 

SIX MONTHS LATER

 

 

 

Lieutenant McRavad did not think much of Flemish winters.  In the Low Provinces, the sea was never far away, even inland as they were.  No, the sea made perfectly sure that its presence was known, when it surrounded the Kholin Regiment warcamp with a miasmic touch that filmed with rust anything metal that was not coated in grease or polished weekly.  It was humid and damp when they had first made their landing, four months ago – and by the tail end of winter, it was now chill and damp; the nights brought a constant and diffuse drizzle that the pale noontime sun only managed to elevate to a scarcely preferable grey mist.

 

Winters in Scotland were better, Shallan thought.  It might be so cold in the highlands that each heaving inhalation felt like white-hot needles being pounded into lungs snap-frozen into immobility, and each whistling exhalation strained like staves against their barrel hoops, to finally shatter into a cloud of bloody slivers and seething white steam – but that was winter, and it knew it, and it was biting and bitter and dangerous, and everyone knew that. 

 

Flanders, conversely, was not so strict in observing the typical features of winter: it was either raining a lot, or it was raining a little, or it looked like it would rain soon.  The Lowlands were marked by their invariably flat topography: one could easily see the horizon, and beyond the next line of trees was always another line of darkly ominous clouds.  The march from the landing site of the HMS Cobalt Guardian to the then half-constructed warcamp had been bearable for Shallan, when it hadn’t rained every day, but now that she had settled herself into the routine of living in a fortified encampment, she was grateful for her specially constructed boots.

 

They were knee-high riding boots that from the exterior appeared to be of the same basic but well-made design that junior officers chose from a cordwainer’s pattern book, but hers were unique: several layers of cork hidden in the sole gave her an extra inch and a half of height.  Her only visible concession to stylishness was a slightly elevated stirrup heel whose flamboyance camouflaged the womanly gait she had not been able to completely disguise.

 

Shallan – Lieutenant McRavad – wore a disguise inside and out, and it was the best costume and the most elaborate act she had ever in her life had the opportunity to audition.  Now the encampment’s muddy street with its footpath of roughly laid planks was her stage, but she could still quite capably tread the boards in the early dusk of a Continental winter, and her cork soles lifted her above the puddles of oozing mud so that her woollen socks stayed warm and dry.  Her regimental frock coat swept behind her; the extra layers of interfacing between the blue-dyed boiled wool and the silk lining held off the chill – and presented a set of slender, but still recognisably masculine shoulders to fellow soldiers, upon which were stitched the service patches of the Duke’s arms and the Supply Corps’ wheel and crossed swords.

 

Bright circles of yellow lamplight glistened off the water-slicked planks of the path; the wind chuffed and hissed and blew fine droplets of mist-like rain into her face – they gathered into a net of glassy beads in red hair curling damp and unruly at her temples.  Shallan hugged the courier’s satchel to her chest, and strode confidently through the circle of lampposts to the central command quarters of the warcamp, where a series of pre-fabricated cottages had been built for the use of the camp commandant and the superior officers in residence.  The gatehouse guard waved her past their booth without a word.  The personal honour guard pacing under the awnings of the connected cottages were not nearly so obliging.

 

The officers’ cottages could not be said to be elegant or sumptuous when viewed from outside – they were simple structures of wood roofed with zinc-rolled iron, sharing one wall on either side with the adjacent cottages; all were arranged into a square around a central courtyard which contained cistern, boiler, and sewerage channel.  It was not grand, but unlike a field tent, it could be both comfortable and dry.  Best of all, it had its own privacy – something that was regrettably lacking in a communal barracks or even the junior officers’ quarters where the only distinction between one man’s space and another’s was a bedsheet strung from a rope nailed to the walls.

 

Shallan ascended the steps of the raised wooden platform, and paused to shake off a wet clump of mud from her boot heel.  She hooked the strap of her satchel over her shoulder, and tucked her hands into her armpits for warmth, eyes searching for the right door: they all looked quite similar in the misted half-light.

 

“Lieutenant McRavad t’see Lieutenant Colonel Kholin,” she said firmly, in her throaty man’s voice, as figures detached themselves from a recessed doorway. 

 

She played up her native Scottish accent to roughen the consonants – it made her sound slightly older, and unmistakeably foreign, whilst still retaining the impression of being a trustworthy friendly party who happened not to be too foreign – and in possession of the natural hauteur of a noble lineage.  People would see the red hair and hear the accent, and its being so relatively unusual in the crowds of darkly complected Anglethis resulted in their not looking further – for anything else that might prove even more unusual.

 

Two men bearing muskets – with bayonets, Shallan noted, since gunpowder was notoriously unreliable in wet weather – stepped in front of her, blocking the path.  They had dark hair and tanned skin and were at least half-a-head taller, even with the advantage conferred by her lifted boots.  Both wore the blue uniforms of the Kholin Regiment – not officers’ coats, but the double breasted, silver-buttoned jackets of the high command’s personal bodyguards.

 

One man, sporting the silvery pockmarks of a powder-burn from his cheek down into his collar, gave her a thorough up-and-down inspection.  “The Lieutenant Colonel is busy: we just now brought in and filled his bathtub.  If you bear a message–” here his eyes flicked down to her satchel, “–you can leave it with us, and we will see it delivered.”

 

“I guarantee that the Lieutenant Colonel will want t’see me,” Shallan said.  She held her ground, and settled into the relaxed yet still attentive posture of the at ease drill command.

 

“To-morrow, just like everyone else.”

 

“This is important.”

 

“To you, perhaps.”

 

“T’you, I say.  Unless ye dinna care about being paid this week.”  Shallan angled herself toward the nearest lamp, and its yellow-white light fell on the Supply Corps patch on her shoulder.    She inclined her head and spared him a thin smile.

 

The pockmarked guard glanced at his companion, who shrugged; with a final resigned look at Shallan, he walked several yards down the creaking wooden walkway, and knocked on the door.  His companion, a sturdy fellow whose hair was shorn in a soldier’s crop, remained in front of Shallan with his bayonet at the ready.  They waited.  The door was opened, and answered by the unseen Lieutenant Colonel.  There was a whispered conversation, and the guard saluted crisply and returned to Shallan.

 

“The Lieutenant Colonel requests your presence, Lieutenant McRavad,” he said, the scars on his face twisting in disapproval.  “You’ve been given priority to disregard the chain of the command.  To-morrow, remember that calling is done during official calling hours.”

 

“Lieutenant McRavad has the priority until I say otherwise, Sergeant Ilamar.  Please remember that,” said a voice from behind, with the careless ease of one long-accustomed to authority.  “Good evening, Lieutenant.”

 

“Yes, sir,” said Sergeant Ilamar, saluting.

 

“Sir,” said Shallan. 

 

And then she brought her closed fist to her breast with the enthusiasm and precision of a fresh recruit, and saluted Adolin Kholin.

 

Adolin, clad in the regimental blue of his officers’ uniform, returned her salute with a smile.  “I understand that there is important business to discuss.”

 

“Very important, sir.”

 

“No doubt.  Shall we, then?”

 

“Sir.”

 

She did not look back when she followed him to his door, and when he closed it, and wiped his feet on the rush mat on the threshold, she could not hold it in any longer; she covered her mouth and laughed and laughed, in the voice she had not used for what seemed weeks – the voice she could not hide away when she had reason to have a genuine laugh, which was rarer these days than she would have liked.  It felt good to be herself once more.  When she wore the Lieutenant’s uniform for too long without reprieve, it became all too easy to forget that there existed anyone else, inside or out.

 

“Your bath is ready,” said Adolin, “I know you are not fond of the communal baths.”  He did not use his commanding officer’s voice; rather, it was coloured with warm affection, and everything else that was soft, intimate, and exceedingly inappropriate in the address of a fellow soldier.

 

“Sometimes I think you prefer it that way,” Shallan remarked.

 

She unbuckled the satchel and drew its contents out; the three books she placed on Adolin’s table, supposedly for dining – it contained a covered tray and ale flagon, and also numerous scraps of message slips, receipts, and hasty notes.  Most officers on the field made do with lap-desks or small portable secretaries – nothing more than lap-desks with legs – and Adolin owned both, but like most career soldiers he had not the meticulously well-ordered mind that made the Supply Corps so invaluable to the war effort.  Adolin might see the waging of an efficient war as a series of opportunistic pushes in the frame of a grand strategy; Renarin surely saw it as a prospectus – for an investment that would be fortunate to ever break even.

 

Adolin’s shoe horn she used to pry off her boots; she threw her coat over his chair, undid her neckcloth and belt and waistcoat buttons, and then her shirt, until she stood in her drawers and the bodice she’d had made by a theatrical costumier who specialised in garments fit for a specific type of entertainer.  

 

“Do you think you could help?” she asked.

 

She felt him unknot the ties at her back; she’d requested hooks instead of the standard eyelets for the lacing to make it possible for her to do herself up in the mornings, and undo them at night without the luxury of a maid, but it took time, and she had more than once been found close to tardiness in the morning call-up because of it.  When the bodice fell off, the insistent crushing pressure that was her constant companion during daytime was suddenly released.  She had accustomed herself to wearing it – to the point where it had been relegated to a corner of her mind and nearly overlooked, but never – no, never – forgotten.  She took a breath of air and filled her unconstricted lungs.  It was almost, but not quite, like that first brisk breath of winter air, or the first searing breath of ether, but it was just as welcome, and just as refreshing.

 

“I do not think I will ever like that – that contraption,” said Adolin, as his finger followed the pink lines down her back.  “I wish you did not have to wear it.”

 

The seam lines containing the steel stays that made up the bodice’s boning did not chafe – she would not have paid the costumier in Kholinar’s entertainment district if it had.  It did exactly what she expected of it, and it was merciless in its effectiveness. 

 

“That is something that a man would say, of course,” Shallan replied, and Adolin’s hands reached around her front, and gently traced the line of the pink puckered scar on her ribs.  “And it would be said more if I had more to compress.  But to my great relief, I do not.”  She leaned against him and closed her eyes, and she let his warm hands roam across her rain-chilled skin, to reacquaint themselves with a body that had become ropy and lean in the six months since he had first laid hand or eye upon it.  “There is work to be done, as always,” she said, “and though I am fond of you, it is not the only reason for my presence.”  She glanced at the books on the table, leather-bound official ledgers stamped with the wheel and sword insignia and the numbers of an official clearance rating.

 

Adolin sighed; it stirred the soft hairs atop her head, which were pulling free of their ribbon tie as they dried in the warmth of the cottage’s iron stove.  “I wish there was less time spent on work, and more time for us.”

 

“You would grow tired of me if that were the case.  I know that I do, when I am too long alone.”

 

“I tire of being too long alone,” he murmured, and his arms circled her waist with the scratch of winter-weight boiled wool.  “And it is worse since I have known you.”  And his hand dropped to her hip and slid over the band of her drawers which lacked flounces and lace, but had a string tie that she knew he found just as enticing – or possibly even more.  He pulled at the tie; her drawers slipped slowly down to her knees.  “You should wash before the water gets cold,” he said, and then he unclasped her silver necklace and brushed a kiss to the shiny white patches of scarring on her shoulder.

 

“And you should read over those ledgers.”

 

Shallan stepped into the tin tub in front of the stove, hair unbound, and sank into the water that rose up around her neck; the warm water soothed away the memories of cold water that fell from the sky and blanketed everyone and everything with a miserable grey sogginess that wavered between the two unpleasant extremes of humidity and complete saturation.  She had thought she liked rain as it had always encouraged her in creativity – and she still did, she had to admit – but only when she was comfortably installed behind a window.  Windows in a military encampment were few and far between: they were a luxury, and only allocated to permanent structures intended for use by high command.  They were fragile to transport, and most buildings did not have any, or had very small ones that were used more often for telling apart night and day rather than appreciating a view.

 

Things had changed much since she had left Loch Davar.  She was different to the Shallan of six months ago, who had thought herself hardened in the ways of the world, and even farther removed from the Shallan of a year ago, who was frightened by thoughts of the ways in which the world worked.  She felt fear on a regular basis – and this was a good sign to her; she no longer considered herself empty and broken – and she was hardened, and her hands were calloused, and she knew now there were things worse than merciful deaths within the walls of a manor house.  It was change – but she would not be afraid to call it progress.

 

She used Adolin’s scented soap, and dried herself with his towels – monogrammed with his initials – and bundled herself into his dressing robe, which was long enough on her that the hem brushed her toes.  Adolin did not mind.  Whatever he had in his possession, whatever he could give – he could spare it, if it was given to her.

 

When Shallan was finished, she returned to the dining table, and saw that Adolin had his coat off, and was bent over the open books with an ink tray at his elbow.  He dipped his seal ring into the ink, and pressed it onto a page in the ledger, and when he lifted it off, an impression of the tower and crown was left behind in a deep blue ink.  He signed his name over it while it was still drying.

 

“Receipts of acquisition,” said Shallan, surveying the open ledgers over his shoulder.  “Renarin allows for an extra quarter margin for all supplies – an extra half to double if it is something perishable or necessary.”

 

Adolin turned the page, his eyes following the line of numbers to the bottom-most figure, which was circled in red ink.  “I do not like the way the wastage margin applies to horses.”

 

“That is why we have the margin on fodder – so we don’t waste the horses unnecessarily.”  Shallan was silent for a moment.  “And it applies to men as well.  But we don’t like putting a number on it, or even thinking about it.  Renarin is the only who does.”

 

“Renarin … is not as frail as people think he is.”  Adolin signed the last receipt, dabbed at it with the ink blotter, and closed the book.  “The statuses next, and then the advisories, I suppose.  Have you eaten yet?”

 

“No – not yet.”

 

“Then you should share dinner with me.”

 

He uncovered a tray to reveal a cold roasted capon, baked carrots and young onions, and a flat, dense loaf of brown bread baked in the camp’s field ovens.  There was no time or sugar to rise the dough into the soft and fluffy rolls suited for a gentleman’s table, and though the bread was not gritty, it was not wholly wheat flour – it contained a mix of barley and rye that varied by the week, depending on what could be bought from the local villages.  Simple fare, but it was filling, and better than the porridges and hard biscuits the enlisted men ate as their main staple.

 

Shallan opened the second ledger and propped it open on the ink blotter as Adolin carved the chicken.  The statuses were weekly reports on the activities of the Kholin Regiment Supply Corps.  The Regiment had the most ponderously elaborate bureaucratic system of all of the ducal regiments – their ratio of non-combatant support staff to standing army was the highest – but it resulted in their Regiment’s being dangerously well-rounded with respect to firepower, manoeuvrability, and morale.  It was the most effective on the field, and also the most expensive to maintain.

 

She waited until Adolin had poured the ale, and began summarising the notes.  “The supply barge is late again this week.  I expect when it arrives we will get an excuse for the weather being lousy – that or searches or tolls at every pier and lock.”

 

“Military vessels don’t pay taxes,” said Adolin, tearing the bread into rough halves.  “It’s the Dukes.  They quibble about who pays how much for the war effort, and then the funds are held in escrow, and the goods are delayed until the money arrives.”

 

“The men still need to eat.  Their stomachs – and ours – are not held in escrow,” Shallan said, irritably stabbing at a chunk of carrot.

 

“I suspect that some of the Dukes are likely to be cash-poor rather than just miserly – Father writes that we are lucky to get the funds for supplies, late or not.  He uses the argument that if we don’t all pull together now, we shall all meet the guillotine later, and it won’t matter how much money we’ve hoarded if it will end up in enemy pockets.”  Adolin grimaced, and took a bracing gulp of ale.  “Might as well spend it now, while we still have our heads.”

 

“Money,” Shallan muttered.  “We brought chests of gold sovereigns with us – but we can’t eat it.  We need the supplies, but it’s winter, and the locals have sold all their surplus and won’t sell us their breeding stock or seed grain.  Renarin recommends you sign the order for a requisition.”

 

Adolin looked across the table at her, and his brows furrowed.  “I don’t hold with foraging – it’s not much better than stealing.”

 

“The villagers have hidden their cattle in the woods; they are not perfectly honest in their dealings with us,” Shallan retorted.  “Whatever we take will be paid for fairly, in coin.”

 

“They won’t have their stock in spring, and prices will be at a wartime high when we begin the campaign.” 

 

“Then will you let your men go hungry?”

 

Adolin gripped his fork with a savagery that bled the colour from his knuckles.  “They won’t starve – I can sign the order to trim the rations until the supply barge arrives.”

 

“Then you will have to hang your own men for desertion and thievery,” said Shallan quietly, wishing that she did not have to be the bearer of bad news.  She did not like to see Adolin upset as he was now, and she still had no fondness for disagreement or confrontation, though she did not cringe away from the prospect as she had once.  Adolin did not enjoy arguing with her either, and Renarin used this knowledge to protect the Regiment’s interests: she was the one who brought Adolin the distasteful orders that he would have refused from any other officer.  Without Shallan’s acting as intermediary, they would have been set to a marked disadvantage.

 

Adolin looked away.  “War is much simpler when all you have to do point yourself in one direction, and charge at the other side.”

“Life can be simple if you want it to be.  All the complexity comes from choice.”

 

“And I made the choice to be a soldier,” said Adolin.  His voice hardened.  “I will sign the order.  I do not want to, and I wish it were otherwise, but it must be done.”

 

They returned to their meal.  Shallan picked at the bones on her plate, aware that Adolin was observing her with an interest that he was unsubtly attempting to conceal.  Daily exercise had increased her appetite, but she could never eat as much as Kaladin expected of her, and she had remained as slender as she had been – but she was undoubtedly stronger.

 

“Do you regret becoming a soldier?” asked Shallan.

 

“No.  It was the right thing to do,” Adolin answered.  “Do you?”

 

Shallan took a sip of her ale.  She much preferred wine, but every tiny village in the area brewed its own beer – she could not taste the difference – and it was safe to drink, unlike the water that required a thorough filtration and boiling; on the march, it was laced with a combination of bitter powders to prevent the occurrence of unsavoury bouts of indigestion.

 

“No, I suppose not.”  She hesitated, running a finger over the rim of her cup.  “Not yet, at least.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“I’m afraid that once I have gotten used to wearing trousers, I should not like going back to skirts.”  Shallan smiled, knowing that this was one of the many regrets that could possibly be felt in future.  But it was the most trivial of them, and she wanted to be light-hearted, because Adolin tried to be, and it was a fitting counter to the dreadful anticipation that lingered over the whole camp, with the oncoming spring and the beginning of the first push through the Ardennes.  “The Society matrons would call that loose behaviour – and they would call me nothing less than wanton.”

 

“I would not call you immoral,” said Adolin tentatively; discussions that veered onto such topics still brought to the surface his streak of bashful modesty.  “Or else I would be immoral too.”

 

“If you were, I wouldn’t mind,” Shallan said, and her bare foot underneath the table rose up and brushed against Adolin’s knee.  “Your father would say that loyalty to King and Country is the greatest virtue that anyone could uphold.  Perhaps it excuses wantonness.”

 

“So would marriage.”

 

Shallan laughed.  “When did you become such a Society stickler?”

 

“Since the day I knew that I loved you.”  He did not laugh. 

 

This particular discussion was one that they had treaded and re-treaded many times before, and it made the both of them upset – not angry, never angry – but uncomfortably conscious that the situation had relegated them to being unwilling victims of circumstance.  She could not have married him in their two months at Kholinar Court, when the transports were being readied for the landing at Ostend.  Jasnah had tried to push them, but a rushed Society wedding with a special licence bought through heavy-handed philanthropy, or even worse, an elopement, would have been an implication that reputations were in need of preservation.  Hers, specifically.  The eyes of Society would be trained on her, in the expectation of a ducal heir in fewer than the requisite nine months, and she would never have been able to sneak away into her role as the Lieutenant McRavad.

 

“It doesn’t mean anything – it’s just a paper, and a note in some Ardent’s book.  If it really mattered, then your married soldiers wouldn’t be visiting the girls in the village tavern.”

 

“It would be a guarantee of security for you.  If – anything were to happen.”

 

“My brothers have written to thank you for paying off the creditors and appointing a competent steward.  That is all the security I ever wanted.”

 

“You could have the security of being my Duchess.”

 

“I do not want to be your Duchess if you are not my Duke,” Shallan said hotly, and that was the truth of the matter; it was the dreadful certainty of honesty bared to its very essence.  She did not want to be a widow.  She would not have minded being a wife – but a widow, especially a wealthy one who bore a husband’s title, and lived on a husband’s maintenance – that would have been too much for her, to be surrounded by memory and thwarted possibility in a Family that could not be her family, in a House that could not be a home when it echoed in its emptiness.  Security was freedom to respectable ladies of quality; to her, this form of security would not have been anything but stifling.

 

“Oh, Shallan,” Adolin said, in a voice that twisted and caught in his throat. 

 

He pushed his chair back with a scrape, and rose, and Shallan rose to her feet also, and she hurled herself into his embrace, for she wanted – she needed, and with an anxious urgency – the comforting solidity of his presence, and he wanted her just as desperately.  Their limbs came together in a tangle, and his hand tangled itself in her unbound hair that fell in rough waves as it dried in the warmth of the iron stove.  It was not as long as it had been after Kaladin had taken a pair of a shears to it, but it was thick, and it curled almost unmanageably in the damp … and Adolin liked the way it fanned out in a mane of red on the blue of his pillows.

 

Adolin held her in his arms, and returned her embrace, and then a hand slipped under the back of her knee and he carried her away from the table and to his camp cot.  The stretched lattice of ropes under the frame creaked as he lowered her down, and their weight settled on it, and Shallan let go; the edges of her borrowed dressing robe had flown open and she could not ignore her own state of undress when Adolin still wore his regimental uniform.

 

“Don’t go,” she whispered, when Adolin stepped away to the table. 

 

“I won’t,” he said.  And he returned carrying the ledger book, and her silver chain, and then he went to the travelling chest by the bed and drew out a silver hairbrush.  “Will you read it to me?”

 

“Yes.  Of course.”  And she opened the book to the section marked Week 17 as Adolin seated himself on the narrow bed behind her, and clasped the silver chain around her throat, and ran the brush through her hair until it snarled on a knot.  His fingers unwound the hairbrush, and without tugging, he untangled her hair with the gentle patience she had grown fond of in the months since she had come to know him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes:

In this universe, Flanders is a province in the United Provinces of the Lowlands.  IRL, this confederation would be the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.  This AU follows an alternate history and alternate timeline to IRL Earth.

"Fortified encampment" - in the Shattered Plains, the warcamps are built into craters for protection against highstorms.  In this AU, warcamps are built as star forts, for maximum cannon defence.

"Ilamar" - this guy died at the Battle of the Tower in WoK canon.

Seal ring stamps - can be used to make impressions on wax to seal letters and documents in the western style, or in this AU, can also be used with ink in the eastern style of carved stone seals.  It's faster and more efficient since you don't have to heat up the wax.

"The guillotine" - Let's just say that Napoleodium and the new world order don't really care much for old-fashioned hereditary nobility.

On the hairbrushing - YMMV if you think it is emasculating when Adolin is supposed to be top Shardbearer tough guy in SA-canon.  Adolin in this story is an effective commander, but when he is around Shallan he is the sensitive nice guy - compare his interactions with other people.  Personal hygiene and grooming is very personal to most people, and it implies a high level of intimacy and trust if you let your significant other into the "personal space sphere"; compare to sharing a shower with your SO.  In a Regency context, there are men's and women's roles (SA-canon has the gender restrictions of Arts and Majesty), and there are servant and master roles (SA-canon has lighteye and darkeye distinctions).  It is the job of the lady's maid to brush a lady's hair, and the fact that neither Adolin nor Shallan care about it means that they share similar values, are comfortable with each other, and view each other as equals.  Shallan in the beginning was uncomfortable with being dressed by her maid, to show she was used to being alone, and not having friends or outside support.  So it shows she is opening up to people, and trusting them, and she really likes touchy-feely, which Adolin likes too.  He has nervous tics like summoning and dismissing or talking to his Shardblade, and doing a repetitive task for a girl he likes is very calming.  Kaladin in comparison isn't a PDA type of guy – another reason why he and Shallan are unsuitable romantically.

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 34

 

 

 

 

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The Stormlight Archives Regency Romance

SHALLAN'S SKETCHBOOK

PAGE 35

 

 

 

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