CosmicSieve

[OB] Help Me Like Szeth's Storyline

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So I read the Stormlight books for the first time recently, and I haven't read Warbreaker or Edgedancer or anything else in the Cosmere. Looks like I need to read Warbreaker, but at the moment it would feel like 500 pages of homework, plus I am in the middle of reading a really long web serial and have decided I hate reading stories on my computer. I want to get a hard copy to read. 

After thinking for a while about where the Stormlight story is going, I realized a dissatisfaction with Szeth's storyline from the end of WoR through Oathbringer. Worse, I found myself getting bored whenever his chapters popped up, and thus probably didn't read them closely enough and missed some vital explanations on what is going on. So, if you all can help me out here, please do!

1) At the end of WoR, Nale shows up out of the blue and brings Szeth back to life, using a fabrial. Now Lift did this with Gawx using her KR power, but she did it right after Gawx had died. Nale can apparently cast Raise Dead on people who have been pining for the fjords for many hours. That's... MAJOR. More of those things could be built. Nale could constantly be bringing back his lost followers. He could have an army of never-can-be-permanently-dead followers with ill-attached souls. The books never touch on the implications of this, though. 

2) Szeth's ill-attached soul is mentioned as something some people can see as an after image, but doesn't seem to have any particular effect beyond that.

3) Szeth got a spren, right? He needs one so he can do Surges when Nale isn't within 50 miles of him, but so far the poor spren has no personality. This is disappointing, considering how much personality Syl, Pattern, Stormfather, Timbre, and even Ivory and Maya get. 

4) Sword-nimi has a lot of personality, and I gather from reading these boards that it is from Warbreaker and is named Nightblood. So I'll call it Nightblood from now on despite not having read Warbreaker. I love Nightblood. The sword is hilarious. It is also feels like a waaay over-powered McGuffin that came out of nowhere and is there for plot reasons. So, why did Nale give this mega-sword specifically to Szeth? It must be for some Crazy Herald Acting On Odium Prescience reason that has yet to be revealed, but for now it just is there for no known reason which is kinda annoying.

What interested my about Szeth in the early books was wanting to know his backstory and what was going on in Shin. That still interests me. It is just his present stoy that bothers me.

 

Edited by CosmicSieve
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I could talk a little on Szeth’s high spren. If you didn’t know already, nightblood is a very special object in the whole of the cosmere, in that it is the single most invested object within it. It has a few very distinct differences between it and shardblades in that it can sever bonds in all three realms, giving it the ability to kill cognitive constructs such as spren. Because Szeth has nightblood, the spren is too scared to show itself, even to Szeth. I think the only time it is talked about is when Szeth swears himself to Dalinar and he gets a feeling of approval from his “hidden” spren.

Edited by Kramerfarve
Misspelling
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49 minutes ago, CosmicSieve said:

So I read the Stormlight books for the first time recently, and I haven't read Warbreaker or Edgedancer or anything else in the Cosmere. Looks like I need to read Warbreaker, but at the moment it would feel like 500 pages of homework, plus I am in the middle of reading a really long web serial and have decided I hate reading stories on my computer. I want to get a hard copy to read. 

After thinking for a while about where the Stormlight story is going, I realized a dissatisfaction with Szeth's storyline from the end of WoR through Oathbringer. Worse, I found myself getting bored whenever his chapters popped up, and thus probably didn't read them closely enough and missed some vital explanations on what is going on. So, if you all can help me out here, please do!

1) At the end of WoR, Nale shows up out of the blue and brings Szeth back to life, using a fabrial. Now Lift did this with Gawx using her KR power, but she did it right after Gawx had died. Nale can apparently cast Raise Dead on people who have been pining for the fjords for many hours. That's... MAJOR. More of those things could be built. Nale could constantly be bringing back his lost followers. He could have an army of never-can-be-permanently-dead followers with ill-attached souls. The books never touch on the implications of this, though. 

2) Szeth's ill-attached soul is mentioned as something some people can see as an after image, but doesn't seem to have any particular effect beyond that.

3) Szeth got a spren, right? He needs one so he can do Surges when Nale isn't within 50 miles of him, but so far the poor spren has no personality. This is disappointing, considering how much personality Syl, Pattern, Stormfather, Timbre, and even Ivory and Maya get. 

4) Sword-nimi has a lot of personality, and I gather from reading these boards that it is from Warbreaker and is named Nightblood. So I'll call it Nightblood from now on despite not having read Warbreaker. I love Nightblood. The sword is hilarious. It is also feels like a waaay over-powered McGuffin that came out of nowhere and is there for plot reasons. So, why did Nale give this mega-sword specifically to Szeth? It must be for some Crazy Herald Acting On Odium Prescience reason that has yet to be revealed, but for now it just is there for no known reason which is kinda annoying.

What interested my about Szeth in the early books was wanting to know his backstory and what was going on in Shin. That still interests me. It is just his present stoy that bothers me.

 

3) For reasons unknown to us highspren seem to take a more hands off approach hence the lack of real contact. 

4)YUP!! Nightblood is awesome as is warbreaker. once you have read it other easter eggs will pop out at you. As to why he gave him the sword all we can do is speculate. 

chasmfriend's child

Why would anyone give Szeth Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

Hahaha, hehehe.

Isaac Stewart

He had to so we could make this shirt.

Brandon Sanderson

You will learn a lot more about Nale in future books. He's not all there. So you're asking the right question.

source

 

5) Wait for book 5 there we may get some of those answers.

Edit: @CosmicSieve totally missed that I apologize

 

Edited by Nathrangking
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1) it's not a window of hours. The best I can figure is that Nale had to be close enough to be watching that fight and dive into the storm after him to raise him. This is covered some in Edgedancer, but the whole misaligned soul attachment seems to be either a function of the fabrial not being as good as those by a Radiant, or (and this is what I believe) Nale barely caught him in time and he was almost gone for good. 

2)there are repercussions. 

Quote

Glamdring804 [PENDING REVIEW]

Szeth has an afterglow because his soul is lagging behind his body slightly.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Glamdring804 [PENDING REVIEW]

So if he was moving fast enough, could a Shardblade pass through his physical body and not cut the soul?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ummm, that sounds like the sort of thing... I'm going to say, the soul is more stretchy, so I don't think that's possible. But you could do some weird things where you're cutting the soul and not the body.

source

So it's possible that someone could miss hitting Szeth with a Shardblade and still cut his soul... Which is a pretty storming nasty weakness. 

3) yes. He speaks his third oath and mentions the Spren though we don't see it. All types of spren act differently, and the two reasons people have surmised. One is that Highspren are either just more hands off, which considering the others we (barely) see is what I believe the case is. The other is that it's scared of being eaten by Nightblood. 

4) First off, Warbreaker is good but it is in no way necessary reading. Your not really going to learn anything from it about Nightblood that you haven't already other than the name, and information about his past that Wil just cause more questions. He is ridiculously overpowered and just as ridiculously flawed. 

There are hints to Szeth's past in the current story. If you skimmed you'll probably miss them. He had the Honorblade longer than he had been Truthless. He's trained with all 10 surges, which means he's used the other Honorblades. And he was attracting a spren before. 

Quote

“I knew a voice like yours once, sword-nimi.”
The whispers?
“No. A single one, in my mind, when I was young.” Szeth shaded his eyes, looking across the glistening lake. “I hope things go better this time.”

It seems we know what sparked his insistence that the Voidbringers were returning that caused him to become Truthless to begin with.

Edit: and could you please edit [OB] into the thread title to meet the spoiler policy? I didn't notice it wasn't there until after I posted. 

Edited by Calderis
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36 minutes ago, Kramerfarve said:

I could talk a little on Szeth’s high spren. If you didn’t know already, nightblood is a very special object in the whole of the cosmere, in that it is the single most invested object within it. It has a few very distinct differences between it and shardblades in that it can sever bonds in all three realms, giving it the ability to kill cognitive constructs such as spren. Because Szeth has nightblood, the spren is too scared to show itself, even to Szeth. I think the only time it is talked about is when Szeth swears himself to Dalinar and he gets a feeling of approval from his “hidden” spren.

It is a bit disappointing. I think I am forgetting too how spren act when they are newly bonded. Pattern creeped around like a baby learning to get into stuff, and Syl was child-like and flighty. I hope the spren will at least get some development-- and a name-- next book.

36 minutes ago, Nathrangking said:

1)This is not a power of Nale's, he used an ancient fabrial. 

3) For reasons unknown to us highspren seem to take a more hands off approach hence the lack of real contact. 

4)YUP!! Nightblood is awesome as is warbreaker. once you have read it other easter eggs will pop out at you. As to why he gave him the sword all we can do is speculate. 

5) Wait for book 5 there we may get some of those answers.

1) I did mention the fabrial

3) Huh, okay. Did not know that about highspren.

4) Good to know.

5ish) Yeah, the backstory I am definitely looking forward to. I just hope his present story is more interesting to me in the book inbetween.. 

EDIT: I was going to reply to Calderis, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to split a quote into parts on this forum, and I can't find a how to section. What am I missing?

Edited by CosmicSieve
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@CosmicSieve highlight the portion of text you wish to quote and wait for the little "quote this" pop-up. Click and you're done. At least that's the way it works on mobile. 

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1 hour ago, Calderis said:

1) it's not a window of hours. The best I can figure is that Nale had to be close enough to be watching that fight and dive into the storm after him to raise him. This is covered some in Edgedancer, but the whole misaligned soul attachment seems to be either a function of the fabrial not being as good as those by a Radiant, or (and this is what I believe) Nale barely caught him in time and he was almost gone for good. 

2)there are repercussions. 

So it's possible that someone could miss hitting Szeth with a Shardblade and still cut his soul... Which is a pretty storming nasty weakness. 

3) yes. He speaks his third oath and mentions the Spren though we don't see it. All types of spren act differently, and the two reasons people have surmised. One is that Highspren are either just more hands off, which considering the others we (barely) see is what I believe the case is. The other is that it's scared of being eaten by Nightblood. 

4) First off, Warbreaker is good but it is in no way necessary reading. Your not really going to learn anything from it about Nightblood that you haven't already other than the name, and information about his past that Wil just cause more questions. He is ridiculously overpowered and just as ridiculously flawed. 

There are hints to Szeth's past in the current story. If you skimmed you'll probably miss them. He had the Honorblade longer than he had been Truthless. He's trained with all 10 surges, which means he's used the other Honorblades. And he was attracting a spren before. 

It seems we know what sparked his insistence that the Voidbringers were returning that caused him to become Truthless to begin with.

Edit: and could you please edit [OB] into the thread title to meet the spoiler policy? I didn't notice it wasn't there until after I posted. 

Can't get the splitty-up-quote-thing to work with my computer.

1) I was thrown off by the weather. Szeth falls into the stormwall but it is sunny when he talks to Nalen. 

2) Yeah, there might be some future thing where it is relevant. 

3) I wouldn't blame it for being scared of Nightblood. But it is too bad that Nightblood is so overwhelming in this case.

4) I felt that when I read Oathbringer that I could follow it fine without having read any other Cosmere stuff. It's just that Nightblood does stand out as a extradimensional McGuffin. Azure was okay, though I am disappointed she's not a radiant and I hope she comes back. I only pegged Zahel as an extradimensional traveller because of the kata.

Thanks for the heads up on the OB tag.

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5 hours ago, CosmicSieve said:

After thinking for a while about where the Stormlight story is going, I realized a dissatisfaction with Szeth's storyline from the end of WoR through Oathbringer. Worse, I found myself getting bored whenever his chapters popped up, and thus probably didn't read them closely enough and missed some vital explanations on what is going on. So, if you all can help me out here, please do!

I’m sorry your experience with Szeth is boring. You can tell by my name I’m biased. For me Szeth instantly got me into SLA . He Is the most dangerous character in the book so far. At first you think of him as a tool of the primary Atagonist. Lines blur and I felt sorry for Szeth. From him falsely being declared truthless , to him being forced to kill so many people. On a reread I discovered Szeth has more foreshadowing involved with his character Arc than any other character. It was because of his flashbacks I was able to confirm the identity of the Stone Spren as the third sibling. I was able to realize the Shin shamans have activated an oath gate. And so much more. There is only one dissapointing thing in Szeth story arc. There was outrage at him coming to serve Dalinar. I expected Jasnah to want to take his head off, and considering how much Dalinar loved his brother I expected him to have an attitude similar to the female that Wayne pays restitution to in mistborn. You may. Serve me Szeth but I don’t wish to look st your. Stay out of my sight!!  Szeth pays for all his sins. The voices hears will haunt him forever. And he is serving Dalinar as a form of restitution. I love Szeth , I know he will not survive into the back 5 books , he is too powerful. I suspect he will die facing the most powerful person on Odium side, it is for that reason he was given night blood. As scary as nightnlood is , can u imagine a creature it takes Nightblood to destroy . That’s even scarier.

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10 hours ago, SzethIsBadAsHell said:

I’m sorry your experience with Szeth is boring. You can tell by my name I’m biased. For me Szeth instantly got me into SLA . He Is the most dangerous character in the book so far. At first you think of him as a tool of the primary Atagonist. Lines blur and I felt sorry for Szeth. From him falsely being declared truthless , to him being forced to kill so many people. On a reread I discovered Szeth has more foreshadowing involved with his character Arc than any other character. It was because of his flashbacks I was able to confirm the identity of the Stone Spren as the third sibling. I was able to realize the Shin shamans have activated an oath gate. And so much more. There is only one dissapointing thing in Szeth story arc. There was outrage at him coming to serve Dalinar. I expected Jasnah to want to take his head off, and considering how much Dalinar loved his brother I expected him to have an attitude similar to the female that Wayne pays restitution to in mistborn. You may. Serve me Szeth but I don’t wish to look st your. Stay out of my sight!!  Szeth pays for all his sins. The voices hears will haunt him forever. And he is serving Dalinar as a form of restitution. I love Szeth , I know he will not survive into the back 5 books , he is too powerful. I suspect he will die facing the most powerful person on Odium side, it is for that reason he was given night blood. As scary as nightnlood is , can u imagine a creature it takes Nightblood to destroy . That’s even scarier.

Szeth is one of my favourite characters as well. I'm really interested to read his flashback book and learn more about Shin culture and the Stone Shaman. I have been satisfied with most areas of his character arc except, as you have said, the way in which him switching sides was handled. I get that everyone had their hands full but surely Brandon could have squeezed in a scene where Jasnah or Dalinar confront him. We know there will be a one year in world timeskip between OB and book 4 so I am increasingly certain that we won't see a satisfying resolution to this issue. I have a feeling that Szeth will fight his mentor Nale in book 5 in case you were wondering @SzethIsBadAsHell

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22 minutes ago, The Harlem Worldhoppers said:

Szeth is one of my favourite characters as well. I'm really interested to read his flashback book and learn more about Shin culture and the Stone Shaman. I have been satisfied with most areas of his character arc except, as you have said, the way in which him switching sides was handled. I get that everyone had their hands full but surely Brandon could have squeezed in a scene where Jasnah or Dalinar confront him. We know there will be a one year in world timeskip between OB and book 4 so I am increasingly certain that we won't see a satisfying resolution to this issue. I have a feeling that Szeth will fight his mentor Nale in book 5 in case you were wondering @SzethIsBadAsHell

That will be on epic battle , Reminds me of Luke vs Darth Vader on steroids.  Or perhaps Rand al’Thor vs Damodred. It’s definantly one for the ages

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17 hours ago, CosmicSieve said:

So, why did Nale give this mega-sword specifically to Szeth?

I think Nale wants to be judged, and judged by someone who can condemn him to true death, not just sending him to respawn on Braize. So he's setting Szeth up to be able to do this. But we really have no idea.

I don't think I've ever had a Stormlight prediction be correct, so now that I've posted this it's almost guaranteed to be wrong...

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5 minutes ago, Morsk said:

I think Nale wants to be judged, and judged by someone who can condemn him to true death, not just sending him to respawn on Braize. So he's setting Szeth up to be able to do this. But we really have no idea.

I don't think I've ever had a Stormlight prediction be correct, so now that I've posted this it's almost guaranteed to be wrong...

I think you may be correct for what it's worth. We know that all of the Heralds are insane and that they are not completely certain of themselves. Nale used to be Just and Confident. Now he follows a perversion of justice and lacks confidence in his own decision making ability. It would not surprise me if part of him subconsciously wanted someone to condemn him. This would explain why he gave Nightblood to Szeth as Nightblood would be capable of killing a Cognitive Shadow (It is confirmed to be able to kill the Fused). It also draws parallels to Szeth's own storyline where he hoped his enemies would be strong enough to kill him.

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I actually just realised something... Even if Dalinar or Jasnah, or the other Highprinces, want to execute Szeth for Gavilar's assassination... He's too valuable, since he's trained with the other Honourblades and can become a teacher/advisor to almost every type of Radiant, especially those who will have no idea how to control their powers.

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51 minutes ago, ScarletSabre said:

I actually just realised something... Even if Dalinar or Jasnah, or the other Highprinces, want to execute Szeth for Gavilar's assassination... He's too valuable, since he's trained with the other Honourblades and can become a teacher/advisor to almost every type of Radiant, especially those who will have no idea how to control their powers.

This. 

The reason I'm not too mad about everyone being chill over Szeth joining team Dalinar is because he's valuable and they're in the middle of an apocalypse. Plus, if people can accept Dalinar after what he did, I'm sure they'll be able to accept Szeth.

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On 7/22/2018 at 9:57 AM, Calderis said:

Glamdring804 [PENDING REVIEW]

Szeth has an afterglow because his soul is lagging behind his body slightly.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

Glamdring804 [PENDING REVIEW]

So if he was moving fast enough, could a Shardblade pass through his physical body and not cut the soul?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Ummm, that sounds like the sort of thing... I'm going to say, the soul is more stretchy, so I don't think that's possible. But you could do some weird things where you're cutting the soul and not the body.

 

It says "you could do some weird things", does this just mean you could sever his soul without touching him? Or does it mean you could leave his body alive, but have him become a lifeless shell of a person, like how dementors in harry potter take someone's soul?

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On 7/22/2018 at 6:36 PM, SzethIsBadAsHell said:

I’m sorry your experience with Szeth is boring. You can tell by my name I’m biased. For me Szeth instantly got me into SLA . He Is the most dangerous character in the book so far. At first you think of him as a tool of the primary Atagonist. Lines blur and I felt sorry for Szeth. From him falsely being declared truthless , to him being forced to kill so many people. On a reread I discovered Szeth has more foreshadowing involved with his character Arc than any other character. It was because of his flashbacks I was able to confirm the identity of the Stone Spren as the third sibling. I was able to realize the Shin shamans have activated an oath gate. And so much more. There is only one dissapointing thing in Szeth story arc. There was outrage at him coming to serve Dalinar. I expected Jasnah to want to take his head off, and considering how much Dalinar loved his brother I expected him to have an attitude similar to the female that Wayne pays restitution to in mistborn. You may. Serve me Szeth but I don’t wish to look st your. Stay out of my sight!!  Szeth pays for all his sins. The voices hears will haunt him forever. And he is serving Dalinar as a form of restitution. I love Szeth , I know he will not survive into the back 5 books , he is too powerful. I suspect he will die facing the most powerful person on Odium side, it is for that reason he was given night blood. As scary as nightnlood is , can u imagine a creature it takes Nightblood to destroy . That’s even scarier.

I am still looking forward to Szeth's backstory. And my boredom with the Nale and the Skybreakers interactions definitely made me skim past some important stuff. 

I do agree that Oathbringer's denouement should have included reactions to Szeth joining Team Dalinar. It does seem like a major diplomatic nightmare, considering all the assassinations he committed across Roshar. Jasnah was the only one who was given an incredulous reaction to Szeth showing up for the battle, but that was never returned to afterwards. Some strong character interaction would have gone a long way here.

Thanks, everyone, for the replies. When I reread Oathbringer I'll do it at a slower pace, and try to enjoy the details. Actually, I started rereading The Way of Kings, and will probably read Warbreaker next, so my Oathbringer reread won't be for ages.

Edited by CosmicSieve
Oathbringer, not Oathbreaker. Yeesh!
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55 minutes ago, CosmicSieve said:

my Oathbreaker reread won't be for ages.

You mean Oathbringer right?

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I don't think we can help you if you just find his plot boring...it's not that complex. 

The only one of your bullet points that you mentioned which  should affect your enjoyment is lack of interaction with his spren but Nightblood fills that role so.....? Not every character or plot is for everyone. My favorite series ever is Game of Thrones and God knows I dislike many of the point of view characters and side plots.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ark1002 said:

You mean Oathbringer right?

Heh, oops. I'll edit a fix! Thanks.

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I've seen that mistake before. Oath and bringer don't usually go together, while oath breaker is way more common. Also with warbeaker, it is easy to get confused.

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1 minute ago, Ark1002 said:

I've seen that mistake before. Oath and bringer don't usually go together, while oath breaker is way more common. Also with warbeaker, it is easy to get confused.

Yeah, I think Warbreaker was on my mind. I am surprised I didn't write Warbringer as well as Oathbreaker, as long as I was busy mixing things up.

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Szeth's stuff in Oathbringer seems like it was purposefully light, mostly just setting up plot threads for later development.  Szeth's first life/arc essentially ended at the end of WoR.  Unfortunately I think Book 5 is the one planned to be the Szeth-flashback book, so I don't think we'll have a lot of focus on his character until then.

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I don't mind reading the Szeth sections, but they're certainly not my favorite. I like when they're short so I can move on to characters I enjoy reading the POV from, such as Kaladin.

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I'll chime in on what Nale's possible motivation for giving Szeth Nightblood. I'll skip over how Nale knows about Nightblood, or how he got it, or who he took it from, because that's all completely unknowable at this time.

But the reason for giving the sword to Szeth is twofold. First, Nale can't bring himself to side with the humans as it is not their land and thus their laws are not the laws of the land. However, I don't think he actually wants to do this, and would prefer if the humans won and controlled Roshar. He himself can no longer contribute due to his rigid morality, but that means he has to help the Listeners, not that he can't help the humans. So when he gets the sword, and recognizes that he cannot wield it being too broken and worried about what he would do if he did wield it, he finds Szeth, who he hopes will side with humanity and who is also perfectly suited to be the conscience for the sword.

Second, I think Nale wants to die. He's clearly insane, and struggling with what he's done and what he yet to do. I think he's tired of being a Herald, tired of living, and wishes he could end his existence. Of all the relics in the Cosmere, Nightblood is definitely capable of that. So giving the sword to Szeth is two-fold: to help the humans, and to manipulate events such that Nale is forced to face off against someone wielding a weapon that can kill him. 

We'll see how far off I am, but I'm most confident about the first part. Nale wants the humans to win but can't bring himself to join them. I'm less confident that he's trying to get himself killed, but this wouldn't be the first time we see a mentor killed by his pupil, as that trope is older than most. 

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