Amanuensis

Long Game 30: Journey Before Destination

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(I will be including an epigraph over each post, most likely. @Amanuensis, does the epigraph count toward the 100 words?)

Soulbinding. One of the lost forms of Investiture. As a Soullinked piece of me, bound to me by the ring you possess, I feel it is prudent to instruct you in this ancient art, in hopes that it may help you while in my service.

-

The Fifth Nameless strolled down the wide steps. There's the first big hurdle accomplished. Now I can get down to business.

First things first, though. With an overly formal air, he asked the nearest guard where he could find a garden. Fifth's power was always the strongest when he was near plants and other living things, and in this city, a garden would be the closest he'd get.

On his way down the corridor, he passed the man who called himself Araon. Well, I'd better get my web of connections up sooner or later. There's work to be done for PRIME. "Hello, sir," he greeted, again with that tone of false formality. "How do you find life here to be?"

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"What is your name, Initiate?"
"You may call me Hess, lose...sorry, Brightlord."
***
Dalinar thought about his latest Initiate. Hess was a strange man. He refused to tell his story, and Dalinar kept getting the impression that he was laughing at him. He seemed to always know something Dalinar didn't. He shook his head. Hess was an Initiate, and that was all that mattered.
***
Hess reflected on his life up to this point. He had done many things, been many places...but he still hadn't found anything he enjoyed for very long. Each of the steps of his life had been interesting for a time, and then it was almost too easy. He had no illusions about this particular job, but it should be interesting for a few years at least. It seemed Roshar had some serious problems that need solving. He wondered if perhaps it would have been a better idea to join the evil side...what was it? The...Voidbringers? Yes, that was right. He thought it would have been better to join the evil side like he had done all those years ago in...where was it again? Jalando? No, that wasn't it. It was...Jolo? Joal? Joeleo? J'Omo? Yes, that was the one. However, the situation at J'Omo was a lot different. Joining the Voidbringers would have been too easy. Besides, the whole hating everything thing wasn't really his idea of a good time. Yes, this should be fun.

I know I said I wouldn't be back until February, but it's two days until Feb, and it's a public holiday and I'm bored.

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23 minutes ago, JUQ said:

"What is your name, Initiate?"
"You may call me Hess, lose...sorry, Brightlord."
***
Dalinar thought about his latest Initiate. Hess was a strange man. He refused to tell his story, and Dalinar kept getting the impression that he was laughing at him. He seemed to always know something Dalinar didn't. He shook his head. Hess was an Initiate, and that was all that mattered.
***
Hess reflected on his life up to this point. He had done many things, been many places...but he still hadn't found anything he enjoyed for very long. Each of the steps of his life had been interesting for a time, and then it was almost too easy. He had no illusions about this particular job, but it should be interesting for a few years at least. It seemed Roshar had some serious problems that need solving. He wondered if perhaps it would have been a better idea to join the evil side...what was it? The...Voidbringers? Yes, that was right. He thought it would have been better to join the evil side like he had done all those years ago in...where was it again? Jalando? No, that wasn't it. It was...Jolo? Joal? Joeleo? J'Omo? Yes, that was the one. However, the situation at J'Omo was a lot different. Joining the Voidbringers would have been too easy. Besides, the whole hating everything thing wasn't really his idea of a good time. Yes, this should be fun.

I know I said I wouldn't be back until February, but it's two days until Feb, and it's a public holiday and I'm bored.

JUQ! You're Back! How was the hiatus?

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This is... so, so rough. So I'm not even sure if this will be accepted, part of why I left the ending as it is. -_- If I am accepted... I'll maybe do another post showing Veriq becoming a Radiant, if that's okay?

They were a diverse group; men and women, farmers and soldiers, Alethi, Vedans and more. Under ordinary circumstances, the group would never meet, never rub shoulders would one another, would never associate with criminals and thieves and worse. But then, the Everstorm was no ordinary circumstance, and it’s wake and coming drove all social classes into one: refugee.

Veriq shuffled amongst that group. A Thaylen, his eyebrow was as frayed and tattered as his cloak, and he stepped with an awkward, nearly hobbled gait as the crowd pushed.

Their excitement wasn’t lost on him, but it was one that he couldn’t exactly share. The thought of being in the same room as a Knight Radiant – never mind the wild fancies that had crossed the lips of the crowd on their journey – was…

The babe in the man’s arms started crying again.

“Hush,” he said, in a voice that was as cracked and ragged as stone. “Hush.”

The child ignored him, not that it mattered. It was crying, but it’s cries were soft and weak; it didn’t even have the energy to open its eyes. The Thaylen frowned. He had thought that…

’Thought what,’ he chided. ’That coming to Urithiru would change something?’ He had heard people say that Knight Radiants had the ability to heal any injury. Some – the wild, stormcrazed ones- even ha declared that they could bring the dead back to life.

If the child didn’t get some help soon, that wild claim might be put to the test.

“Hush,” he said again, rocking the babe in his tattered green cloak. He whispered “Save your strength,” as if the child would have any idea what he was saying.

It didn’t, and continued to whimper softly.  The baby was, most certainly, going to die, and Veriq was going to have to watch it.

That was what he deserved, of course. After everything… after everything, he couldn’t blame the gods for their cruelty to him. He deserved that, and worse. But punishing a child for its misfortune and for his crimes seemed unjust.

A shout went up amongst the ragged group, which began to push and shuffle and jokey for position. Veriq glanced up, before looking away again, quickly. Even so, the city, and the flash of lights atop its spire, stayed in his eyes, as if burned onto them.

Their pace heightened again, and Veriq shuffled with them, still cooing to the bundle in his arms. Men broke away from the city to meet the group, heralding them into the main hall of the city…

And so the most worthless man in Roshar entered Urithiru.

 

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On 1/29/2017 at 6:09 PM, Ecthelion III said:
 

(I will be including an epigraph over each post, most likely. @Amanuensis, does the epigraph count toward the 100 words?)

Soulbinding. One of the lost forms of Investiture. As a Soullinked piece of me, bound to me by the ring you possess, I feel it is prudent to instruct you in this ancient art, in hopes that it may help you while in my service.

-

The Fifth Nameless strolled down the wide steps. There's the first big hurdle accomplished. Now I can get down to business.

First things first, though. With an overly formal air, he asked the nearest guard where he could find a garden. Fifth's power was always the strongest when he was near plants and other living things, and in this city, a garden would be the closest he'd get.

On his way down the corridor, he passed the man who called himself Araon. Well, I'd better get my web of connections up sooner or later. There's work to be done for PRIME. "Hello, sir," he greeted, again with that tone of false formality. "How do you find life here to be?"

I'll count the Epigraphs. It's a nice touch.

On 1/29/2017 at 8:16 PM, JUQ said:
 

"What is your name, Initiate?"
"You may call me Hess, lose...sorry, Brightlord."
***
Dalinar thought about his latest Initiate. Hess was a strange man. He refused to tell his story, and Dalinar kept getting the impression that he was laughing at him. He seemed to always know something Dalinar didn't. He shook his head. Hess was an Initiate, and that was all that mattered.
***
Hess reflected on his life up to this point. He had done many things, been many places...but he still hadn't found anything he enjoyed for very long. Each of the steps of his life had been interesting for a time, and then it was almost too easy. He had no illusions about this particular job, but it should be interesting for a few years at least. It seemed Roshar had some serious problems that need solving. He wondered if perhaps it would have been a better idea to join the evil side...what was it? The...Voidbringers? Yes, that was right. He thought it would have been better to join the evil side like he had done all those years ago in...where was it again? Jalando? No, that wasn't it. It was...Jolo? Joal? Joeleo? J'Omo? Yes, that was the one. However, the situation at J'Omo was a lot different. Joining the Voidbringers would have been too easy. Besides, the whole hating everything thing wasn't really his idea of a good time. Yes, this should be fun.

I know I said I wouldn't be back until February, but it's two days until Feb, and it's a public holiday and I'm bored.

Welcome back, JUQ! Happy to have you.

5 hours ago, Quiver said:
 

This is... so, so rough. So I'm not even sure if this will be accepted, part of why I left the ending as it is. -_- If I am accepted... I'll maybe do another post showing Veriq becoming a Radiant, if that's okay?

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

They were a diverse group; men and women, farmers and soldiers, Alethi, Vedans and more. Under ordinary circumstances, the group would never meet, never rub shoulders would one another, would never associate with criminals and thieves and worse. But then, the Everstorm was no ordinary circumstance, and it’s wake and coming drove all social classes into one: refugee.

 

Veriq shuffled amongst that group. A Thaylen, his eyebrow was as frayed and tattered as his cloak, and he stepped with an awkward, nearly hobbled gait as the crowd pushed.

 

Their excitement wasn’t lost on him, but it was one that he couldn’t exactly share. The thought of being in the same room as a Knight Radiant – never mind the wild fancies that had crossed the lips of the crowd on their journey – was…

 

The babe in the man’s arms started crying again.

 

“Hush,” he said, in a voice that was as cracked and ragged as stone. “Hush.”

 

The child ignored him, not that it mattered. It was crying, but it’s cries were soft and weak; it didn’t even have the energy to open its eyes. The Thaylen frowned. He had thought that…

 

’Thought what,’ he chided. ’That coming to Urithiru would change something?’ He had heard people say that Knight Radiants had the ability to heal any injury. Some – the wild, stormcrazed ones- even ha declared that they could bring the dead back to life.

 

If the child didn’t get some help soon, that wild claim might be put to the test.

 

“Hush,” he said again, rocking the babe in his tattered green cloak. He whispered “Save your strength,” as if the child would have any idea what he was saying.

 

It didn’t, and continued to whimper softly.  The baby was, most certainly, going to die, and Veriq was going to have to watch it.

 

That was what he deserved, of course. After everything… after everything, he couldn’t blame the gods for their cruelty to him. He deserved that, and worse. But punishing a child for its misfortune and for his crimes seemed unjust.

 

A shout went up amongst the ragged group, which began to push and shuffle and jokey for position. Veriq glanced up, before looking away again, quickly. Even so, the city, and the flash of lights atop its spire, stayed in his eyes, as if burned onto them.

 

Their pace heightened again, and Veriq shuffled with them, still cooing to the bundle in his arms. Men broke away from the city to meet the group, heralding them into the main hall of the city…

 

And so the most worthless man in Roshar entered Urithiru.

 

 

 

 

And you said you weren't a good writer. Hah! Airsick lowlander.


I've decided to extend sign ups until 2200 EST on Saturday, February 4th, to give people some extra time to work on their characters / introductions, as well as allow the QF to finish up. Also it really helps my schedule out quite a bit. Here's the new countdown timer, which will be edited onto page one as well.

tur_1486245600.png

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The Monster lurked in the darkness. From corner to corner he skulked around. Always watching, always learning, never speaking, never staying. The Monster was among them, and of them. They had let the Monster into their midst, and the Monster was ready to learn and grow, and lie and destroy.

 

Jonly was ready to do what must be done, to save the people that wanted salvation. Jonly was ready to destroy the wicked, who used their powers to subjugate and destroy. He knew full well the hypocrisy of his journey. But that was it. He knew himself. The victims never did.

 

Jonly watched as one by one, Initiates entered the city. One by one, broken people accepted the call. One by one, they took up the mantle of Hero. One by one, they lied to themselves about their goals. Which ones would become the monster they had to be to save the world? Which ones would look at themselves, ask the hard questions, and give the wrong answer, the true answer.

 

Jonly had asked himself the question on a mountain not unlike this one. His Question had been “Having taken the life of my family to save the world, do i join them to atone for their deaths?” The right answer had been yes. The right answer had been the coward’s answer. Jonly had said No.

 

Suicide was not the path to atonement. There was none. The only thing left to do was to be the monster, to keep others from having to ask the hard questions. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it did not. Sometimes he helped another monster on the path to acceptance. Sometimes he killed them. The Monster decided their fate.

 

Jonly knew he would over hear a lot of hard questions from the other initiates in the coming weeks. Chief among them, “Why do I deserve this power?” That was the wrong question though. None of them deserved anything. No one deserved anything. People got what they got, through fortune and strife.

 

Jonly looked hard at the other initiates. Smug Lomot, who called himself an honest man. Was he the thirteenth? Or was the Thirteenth yet to arrive? Araon Darkblade, so ignorant, yet so confident. The man was lying to himself about the hard Questions. He believed he could bull his way through them through sheer certainty. Gladium, solemn and pious, afraid of what he had to become. Afraid of what he had to do. Who worshiped in hatred.

 

Kintas, the fifth initiate, a lie made flesh. Jonly didn’t know what the lie was. But he intended to find out what the creature hid. Ranatar, the most honest of them all. The man who saw the truth and the lies, and questioned them both. Sareth, who wrapped lies about his soul as a knight wraps his flesh in armor. Rea, who saw what he could be, and ran from it. Who hid his abilities even from himself.

 

The Nameless man, who carried a mountain the size of a boulder. A man bitter and hateful. A man Jonly could grow to respect. Arinonium, who painted evil with pretty colours, and admired it as good. Hess, who hid from the world, and peeked out through a mask of laughter. Veriq, who doubted himself, who was afraid not of failing, but of succeeding.

 

12, including himself. 12 men, with broken souls filled with the blood of a god. 11 allies in the fight against power? Or 11 enemies to be brought low? And who was the thirteenth to come, the one who would bring the gods?

 

Jonly watched, and waited.


Disclaimer: Jonly's opinions are not shared by the author (Well, at least two of them are.) Any insults made by Jonly are made by him, and mean no ill will to the author of the work they are directed at.

Edited by A Joe in the Bush
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First, I suppose a small history lesson is in order. Somewhere in the Cosmere, there was a planet—the name is not relevant—where Soulbinding was widely used by many of the inhabitants, similar to how Allomancy is widely used by Scadrians. That was before this planet was consumed by the darkness.

-

Fifth was jolted from his peaceful meditation in the center of the garden by an audible crack--well, audible to him, at least. It was a sign he often received, that of energy. He calmly stood up from his relaxed posture, though worry reached deeply into the cracks of his mind. Something powerful had entered Urithiru. No, his target had entered Urithiru.

Arriving in his private chamber, Fifth opened his case and dug through it until he found what he was looking for: a pen (didn't see many men around here using one of those), a thin sheet of slate, and an oddly heavy envelope.

The first thing he dropped into the envelope was his brother's ring, all the way from Tyrian Falls. He then began to inscribe the accompanying letter.

The words were simple, almost poetic in his tongue:

I have seen it

I have felt it

The prophecy

It calls

It speaks

It kills

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So is the game still starting one Feb. 1st? The countdown timer indicates that it isn't, but the first/second post says that it starts on the first. I'm confused.:unsure: 

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When Unjust investigate/execute, is this as a group or individually? Like can each Unjust investigate or kill, or do they all get one or the other?

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51 minutes ago, Assassin in Burgundy said:

When Unjust investigate/execute, is this as a group or individually? Like can each Unjust investigate or kill, or do they all get one or the other?

It's individual. So, if there are four Unjust on C1, they can decide to investigate four different players and then during the next two chapters execute two of them at a time, for example. This, however, means they are unable to bond any spren, and therefore the village will end up with all of the powers. Any player can only perform a single action each cycle, so a single Unjust cannot Investigate and Execute in a single turn.

Edited by Amanuensis
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Sorry for getting this out late, I meant to finish it last Saturday

Spoiler

Leif waited in line, getting closer and closer to the highprince. Most people were being turned away, but there was the occasional one who, for whatever reasons, was accepted.

Leif was tall when compared to any but Horneaters or Alethi. He had golden hair with streaks of black and red. His most prominent feature, however, he kept hidden through the use of specialized eyedrops. One of his eyes was a dark green, while the other was a pale yellow.

Leif’s thoughts began to wander, returning again and again to his birthplace of the Reshi Isles, and the day he failed. The day he betrayed his friends. The day he ran away.

“No,” he thought, “I won't dwell on the past. It's taught me all that it can. I must dwell on the present.”

It wasn't easy, but he eventually forced his thoughts away from his past.

He looked ahead, noticing that only one person separated him from the highprince.

“Well,” he thought, “this is it. This either works and I become a hero, or this fails and I need to come up with another plan.”

The one in front of Leif was rejected like so many before him. Leif stepped up to one that filled him with hope.

“Speak the words,” the highprince said.

“Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination”

Leif breathed deeply, and started to glow.

((Writer's note : "Leif" is phonetically similar to "race" and not like "leaf"))

If my word count is right, that's 230 words

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Well I'll just say I'm rather glad for the extension. Things keep coming up, and while I probably could have gotten my introduction done today, it probably wouldn't have been as good as I would like.

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1 hour ago, Shqueeves said:

((Writer's note : "Leif" is phonetically similar to "race" and not like "leaf"))

. . . What? Like, it's literally pronounced as race? or is that a typo?

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2 hours ago, A Joe in the Bush said:

. . . What? Like, it's literally pronounced as race? or is that a typo?

I believe it means that the "ei" is pronounced as the "a" in race.

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Sorry guys but my character's name is Arionium not Arinonium. Arinonium just sounds weird... I think so.

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4 hours ago, A Joe in the Bush said:

. . . What? Like, it's literally pronounced as race? or is that a typo?

 

2 hours ago, Hemalurgic_Headshot said:

I believe it means that the "ei" is pronounced as the "a" in race.

@Hemalurgic_Headshot is correct

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Hithon wasn’t a fool.

He knew that the steps up that platform would be steps sorely regretted in his future. It wasn’t a question of if, only a question of how.

Shaking his head, he forced the darkness back, and tried to consider once more. He was an invisible man. Unless a man sought him in particular, he could stand still in a room and never be noticed. In a crowded marketplace? His pursuers would do best to wring their hands and give up. There was no power at work here, no Old Magic or...Radiant magic. He was simply a man who knew how to be unremarkable. It was a skill that had kept him alive.

An invisible man had no business wanting to be a Knight Radiant. A soldier, a hero. To consider it was madness. The darkness laughed at him. He was no hero.

The darkness mocked him, thrashing around him. Reveling in the perpetual dark. Hithon gritted his teeth. He would not fall today. He did his best to shut it out, day by day. That oppressive, leering darkness.  Even though he had had to fight them every waking moment of his life, it never got easier. Even after two years. It was a torture that he supposed no man could ever truly get used to.

It was madness.

And yet. He found himself pressed between the crowd, feeling his way to the platform. It was not difficult to find his way. Highprince Kholin was on a raised dais, and while he did not shout, his voice carried. Orienting himself in the right direction, he found the end of the line of hopefuls. He felt the presence of many spren nearby. Awespren, anticipationspren, some gloryspren. He couldn’t see them, but their presence was clear.

With every step he took, the darkness would thrash more, it’s frantic battering causing him to stumble more than once.

And. the closer he got to the dais, the weaker the attacks became.

This was why he strode up the dais now, why he allowed the eyes of the crowd to rest on him. Atop the platform, he felt the imposing presence of the Highprince, and stood at his best approximation in front of him. He looked straight ahead, and he knew the moment the Highprince noticed his eyes. His eyes that were a milky white, devoid of that spark of life.

To his credit, the Highprince did not comment on it, and Hithon respected the man for that. Kholin touched his shoulder, merely asking: “Speak the words.”

Hithon did not hesitate.

“My Life before Death.” This was simple. Practiced.

Any doubt he held he banished to say the next line. “My Strength before Weakness.”

And finally. “My Journey before destination.”

The rumbling of the Highprince’s voice. “Breath deep, and know your heart be true.”

Hithon breathed. And he smiled.

 

The cloak that the Highprince wrapped around him was nothing. The cheers of the watching crowd were worthless. The fact that he was now a Knight meant nothing to him.

 

There was only one reason he had chosen to walk the fool’s journey. One reason why he had come to the Highprince and his men. When he had been working alone, the monsters would stalk him. When the Highprince had come, the darkness had drawn back. As the storm came to life inside him now, the shadows screamed and dissolved into the light.

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Well, here goes nothing. :P 


    Sometimes, it hurt to be this right.  It had been years ago, now, that he had proposed his idea.  They had scoffed at him, calling him insane, superstitious, and at worst, a fraud.  A miracle, they had called it.  Surely the work of the Almighty.  The less confident had said it was a work of fate.  Some good fortune in a bad world.  He snorted.  He knew what had happened.  And what had happened after...

    But now, now it didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter that he whole debacle had ruined his reputation, and sent him into the worst time of his life.  Because now... Now he was right.  He was whole again, and he could do anything.  Balthazar closed his eyes, trying to fix the memory, yes, this beautiful memory, in his mind.  Ahhh...

 

 Balthazar walked up to the Highprince.  It was rumored that he had Bonded the Stormfather itself.  A Highprince, a Radiant, and the feared Blackthorn.  What couldn’t this man do?  Balthazar hesitated.  What if he had been wrong?  Could it be that, after all these years, he had lost what had always given him strength?  He shuddered.  He couldn’t bear living, knowing that he had been wrong. 

But, said a little voice in his head, could you live knowing you had never found out? 

Balthazar steeled himself.  No, he couldn’t.  Gathering his strength, Balthazar slowly climbed up the steps.  Each step was a challenge, a fight against the fear that had gripped him.  He shook his head.  He couldn’t turn back now.  He stood straight, and looked at the Blackthorn.  He grimaced as he saw pity in those eyes.  There had been a time when men like him would have seen strength in Balthazar, and kept their pity for others.  But that time had passed, and in a way, it was why he was here.

‘Speak the words.’  Balthazar heard the Highprince say.

‘Life before death,’ Balthazar said.

My life, before other’s deaths.  Yes, that was easy.

‘Strength before Weakness.’ He continued.

He smiled inside, despite his worries.  Balthazar had always valued strength, in himself, and others.  There was no place for cowards where he had walked.  But, oh yes, this was the hard one.  He breathed in.  

‘Journey before Destination.’

Yes, he could put his impatience aside.  The destination was not always the key.  This was something he had learned since the fateful day.

‘Breathe in, and you shall be proven.’  The Highprince declared.

Balthazar looked at him sharply.  Where did he get the idea that Balthazar had something to prove?  He shook himself.  Of course, everyone here had something to prove.

Balthazar stood, shakily, and breathed in.

And then, everything was right.

 

Balthazar opened his eyes.  After that, everything had sped up.  He had felt filled, for the first time in a long time.  And now, he was walking away, to join the others.  There would be more, the Blackthorn had told him.  He would join them, and they would do great things.

They would be Knights Radiant.  

And they would be strong.


I do hope that was OK. :P

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Kintas had been on Roshar for about 3 weeks (by this planet's reckoning, and he was fascinated.

And bored.

The native flora and fauna were amazingly unique among the worlds in the Cosmere, almost all of them hard-shelled and built to weather the storms that swept across the planet with ferocity. Kintas had obtained a calendar with predictions of some of the upcoming highstorms so he travel as safely as possible, and had ended up joining up with a caravan for a good part of his journey to the Shattered Plains, but even so, some of those storms had been terrifying. By the Colors, there were few more dangerous worlds he knew of!

At the same time, though, it all looked so much the same. Rocks. A few bits of green or brown or red here and there, but the crem that came with the storms left most things one uniform color. Hence, boring. He'd done all the studying of the local ecology he wished, and now he wanted to observe the Surgebinders instead. They were the true reason he was here, after all. He didn't anticipate one of the spren bonding with him. He simply wanted to learn all he could about how it all worked. He'd learned the first oath of the Radiants before coming to Roshar, and it fascinated him since it was so like how he'd lived his life.

Life before Death. He'd literally done that, and then gained another life, but he also understood placing life before death, not killing or sacrificing needlessly.

Strength before Weakness. He knew he wasn't among the strongest out there, but what he had he always tried to use to protect those weaker. That would include using his Divine Breath to save someone if needed, though he'd hold onto it until the right moment.

Journey before Destination. Kintas didn't even know his true destination, but that made the journey even more important to him.

As one of the Radiants transported his group to Urithiru through the gigantic Oathgate (it seemed there were only a few who could operate it, though he didn't know the name of the red-haired girl who had activated the gate this time), he gaped in unrestrained awe. He'd never expected such majesty here. Sure, he hadn't been to any of the big cities on Roshar yet, but even so, this tower had to be unique. He barely even noticed following the procession into the room with the raised dias.

Dalinar's voice brought him to his senses. He stepped to the side intending to merely observe rather than take the test himself, and watched as candidate after candidate approach. Most seemed to not even understand the words they spoke. Those that did were able to draw in light from the sphere Dalinar held. Kintas knew from reports that he could likely draw in that light as well, using it to keep him alive as well as Breath could, but it felt like it would be a deception if he was not actually a Radiant. The words reverberated through him each time he heard them, though, particularly when someone else meant them, and suddenly without realizing it, he found himself face to face with Dalinar.

"Speak the words."

"Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination." Kintas had no hesitation, no difficulty forming the words, and suddenly he knew. He wasn't here to simply observe.

He was here to BE.

He breathed, and the light streamed into him, briefly illuminating his skin. The feeling was euphoric, and he barely registered the cape being placed on his shoulders. He was going to get first-hand experience with this amazing system of magic. 

Edited by Jondesu
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“Hi, my name is Ralaani and I’m an artist. I’ve come to Urithiru to practice sketching the local architecture and, um, uh…” Ralaanar trailed off. His axehound, Addy, stared at him, as if prodding him to go on. Her shell was a comforting shade of speckled brown over dark orange. Ralaanar focused on her shell and took a few calming breaths. Then he continued. “Uh, I also wanted to travel to a new place, see new things, see new places, see new things, um, yeah, to see the Radiants.”

I wanted to get away, Ralaanar silently added. The thought made him forget the rest of what he was going to say. His planning slipped out of his mind, and he stalled, panicked. He fingered the smooth fabric of his dress as he tried to remember. Finally, he gave up. “Ummmm, I hoped you liked my speech thanksforlisteningbye!”

Ralaanar’s cheeks flushed and he buried his face in his hands. Holy crem, that had been awful. If he couldn’t even practice  introducing himself in front of his axehound, how was he supposed to introduce himself to the people out there? What if he forgot what he was going to say in front of people like Navani Kholin, or Shallan Davar? He’d die of embarrassment.

Someone clapped painfully slowly. Ralaanar looked up and saw Rissa, his spren. Her body was an iridescent green with streaks of sky blue and yellow green. Her head was the most humanlike, while her legs were made completely of vines. Even though her body was made entirely of leaves, Ralaanar could clearly see her doing her best imitation of a sarcastic clap.

“That,” Rissa announced, “Was absolutely, awe-inspiringly dreadful. Storms, I don’t even know why you even bother. Maybe this is a new piece of information for you, but normal people don’t practice for every bit of human interaction ever, ya know? Just wing it, Ralaanar!”

Ralaanar whipped his head back and forth to make sure nobody was nearby. He glanced down at his dress and smoothed out its wrinkles. Then he checked to make sure that his left hand was covered, which it was. He almost breathed a sigh of relief, but noticed some people standing nearby. Either they were potential radiants or had already sworn the first oath. Either way, he didn’t people as powerful as they were knowing his secret. “Shhh!” he hissed at Rissa. “They might catch me if they overheard my real name. If they find out that I’m not a girl --”

Rissa rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. Nobody’s around to hear. Stop being so jumpy all the time. They don’t know as much as you think they do.” She huffed in annoyance and floated into the distance.

Ralaanar watched Rissa leave, sad to see her go. She was the only person who really talked to him, spren or not. Sure, she might be a little mean at times, but she was much better than the people back in Kelathar.

Once Rissa faded out of sight, Ralaanar turned to watch the crowd of Radiants. There were quite a few people, some marked with the distinctive glow of Stormlight. It was a beautiful glow, and the sight of so much of it took Ralaanar’s breath away. From the distance, the Stormlight looked calm, but Ralaanar knew that up close the Stormlight raged like a Highstorm.

Behind the Radiants was a line of people that stretched into the distance. Dalinar Kholin, the most powerful man in Alethkar, stood in front of the line. Most of the people approaching him were rejected. Ralaanar sympathized with them. He knew what it was like to be rejected.

“HEY PEOPLE!” a voice yelled. Rissa. “MY HUMAN HERE’S GOT SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO SAY, AND SHE’S GONNA INTRODUCE HIMSELF. BE KIND TO HER.”

Multiple heads turned Ralaanar’s way. He froze. This was bad. This was very bad. Addy prodded him forwards with a claw, and he stumbled forwards.

Under the weight of all those stares, Ralaanar had no choice. He had to speak now. Hopefully they wouldn’t notice anything wrong with him. “Uh, hi, my name is Ralaani,” he said. “I’m an artist, and, um, um, I’ve come to Urithiru to draw, uh, the local architecture…”


Sign me up as Ralaanar Ralaani, an artist pretending to be a girl so he won't be judged for drawing instead of going to war.

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5 minutes ago, Arraenae said:

 

Sign me up as Ralaanar Ralaani, an artist pretending to be a girl so he won't be judged for drawing instead of going to war.

 

You're like a reverse Mulan

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Signing up as Shinon.


When Shinon heard that there was to be a testing for new Radiants, he could hardly contain his excitement. The Knights Radiant were returning, and he had a chance to join them! He'd just been a youth when he'd joined Highprince Roion's army. He'd been looking for excitement and intrigue, well, it seemed his time had finally come. If he could become a Radiant, he'd be right in the middle of everything. Oh, he'd enjoyed learning the bow and going on the occasional skirmish against the Parshendi on the Shattered Plains, but it just hadn't been enough for him.

He'd been so excited for the testing, he'd had trouble sleeping the night before. When he woke, he knew he'd overslept. He quickly dressed and rushed out of his room, almost knocking a few other soldiers down in his haste.

I better not have missed it. Storm Aran, he knew how much I was looking forward to this.

He made it just in time to see Dalinar introducing a man named Lomot as an Initiate. It was difficult to tell in the sunlight, but it appeared that the man was glowing slightly. A golden cloak floated down from...somwhere and Highprince Kholin tied it to the Initiate.

"Impressive, isn't it? Though the cape floating down from the sky seemed like a little much to me." Shinon turned and saw Aran standing next to him. "So, are you gonna get in line or stand there gawking like an idiot?" Aran said, smiling ever so slightly. Aran had been his best friend since the moment he'd been assigned to Roion's archers. They'd always treated the war with the Parshendi as a game, even keeping score to see who could kill the most Parshendi. Aran was leading by 3 right now, but only because he'd stolen some of Shinon's arrows during the battle at the Tower.

"I was not gawking." Shinon grumbled. "And yes, I am going to get in line, no thanks to you." He shot Aran a glare, but he seemed distracted by something and didn't notice. "What about you? Aren't you going to give it a shot?"

"Already tried. Guess I'm not good enough for 'em." Aran said, turning away just a bit.

"Oh...I see." Shinon said awkwardly. "Sorry."

"Nah, it's okay. I do just fine as I am. All that glowing would probably keep me up at night anyways." Aran said, chuckling. Shinon had been friends with him long enough to know that he was disappointed that he hadn't been chosen. "Enough about that, you better hurry up. You overslept and now you're letting all the glory get taken."

"You're right! We can't have that." Shinon said with a smile. "Wish me luck. I'll try and keep my glowing to a minimum when I make it," he said with a wink. Then he turned and joined the others waiting their turn to see if they were worthy to join the ranks of the Knights Radiant.

Shinon's palms were sweating as he watched others fail, while a smaller percentage succeeded in breathing in the stormlight. He'd never been anyone important. The third son of an unimportant lighteyes. He couldn't let this opportunity to actually do something worthwhile slip away.

Finally, his turn came. He nervously climbed the steps and faced Dalinar Kholin, the Blackthorn.

"Speak the words," the Highprince commanded.

Shinon's vision fuzzed for a moment and his mouth went dry. He swallowed, and calmed himself.

"Life before Death. Strength before Weakness. Journey before Destination," Shinon said, his voice sounding distant in his ears.

"Breathe deep, and we'll know if your heart is true," the Highprince said as he held out an infused sphere.

Breathe. Right, that's what I've been forgetting to do, Shinon thought. He took a deep breath, and suddenly the world snapped back into focus. He felt as if he were in a Highstorm. No, as if the Highstorm were inside of him. He looked to the Highprince with wonder.

"What is your name?" Dalinar asked.

"Shinon, Brightlord." Shinon said.

The Highprince nodded and announced him to the crowd.

He'd done it. He was a Knight Radiant! Or, he was going to be. He'd heard that this was only the first step to becoming a true Knight Radiant. Whatever hardships were to come though, he felt he could overcome anything with this newfound power. He joined the other Initiates, and settled down to wait for his new training to begin.

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