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First Step

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Here's a little something I wrote to explore Dalinar's first attempts


to heal his relationship with Renarin.

Summary (Possible Oathbringer Spoilers):


Just days before leaving to visit the Nighwatcher, Dalinar encounters Renarin having a seizure. Unaware of how to help, he only manages to make things worse. In the aftermath, Dalinar takes the first step toward healing their relationship.

(Open this spoiler to see fic):


It was late evening, but Dalinar, to his own astonishment, was still sober.

He strode quickly through the halls of Kholinar Palace, seeking out his eldest son. He had grown much closer to the youth over these past few days following their conversation about Dalinar’s plans to travel to the Shattered Plains. Plans to include his son; to have him by his side. He felt just the smallest swell of pride at that thought. It was good to feel something other than guilt, however briefly.

He discovered the youth at the end of a dim hallway, the boy’s posture hunched, one hand against the wall and the other on his forehead.

“Adolin,” Dalinar called, picking up his pace. He was at his side in seconds.

The youth looked up, bespectacled eyes meeting Dalinar’s.

“Oh,” Dalinar stammered. “Renarin. Sorry, I thought you were your brother.”

“No, just me,” Renarin said, looking distracted. “Sorry to disappoint.”

Dalinar winced. The youth’s tone was light. Was it possible the double meaning was unintentional?

“Are you all right? You look ill. Should I call for someone?” Dalinar looked around for a servant or messenger, but this particular corridor was completely abandoned.


Dalinar looked back at Renarin, confused to see the youth holding out his spectacles. Storms, he was so pale.

“Would you mind holding these for a moment?” Renarin asked.

Head tilted slightly, Dalinar took the spectacles and carefully folded them. In the moment it took him to do that, Renarin fell to his knees, then dropped onto his side. Renarin’s arms and upper body were suddenly convulsing.

“Renarin!” Dalinar quickly pocketed the spectacles and sank to his knees beside his son, his hands hovering fearfully. How often did his son have these fits? He’d seen it happen once or twice before, but there had always been someone else nearby to assist. Why had he always left the room immediately? Why had he never stayed and watched?

“What do I…?” He shook his head, feeling foolish. Renarin was essentially unconscious, it was useless to ask him for instructions.

Dalinar looked down the dimly lit hallway and called out, “Help! I need some help here! My son is...” His voice echoed down the empty hall. There was no reply.

“Storm it!” He reached out and grabbed Renarin’s arms. The spasms were more violent than he had expected, but Dalinar’s strength was superior. He easily overpowered his convulsing son, holding him down as his body continued to thrash against him.

It didn’t last long—maybe a minute, though Dalinar hadn’t thought to pay attention to how much time had passed.

“Let me go,” Renarin whispered, his arms going slack and his words slurring together.

Dalinar tentatively loosened his iron grip.

“I said let go!” Renarin cried, attempting to push his father away with one trembling arm. A pair of small painspren crawled around him, a third quickly joining.

Dalinar backed off, a little shocked at his son’s outburst. Renarin pushed himself up to a sitting position with his right arm, his left hanging limp at his side.

“I’m sorry. You had a fit, I wasn’t sure what to—”

“My spectacles, please.” Renarin's voice was cold, detached.

Dalinar slipped them out of his pocket and handed them to Renarin, who flipped them open one-handed and pressed them on clumsily.

“What’s wrong with your arm?” Dalinar reached out, but Renarin pulled away, wincing and gripping his left arm.

“I get some numbness on this side sometimes. It will fade. I’m fine now. Thanks for your…help.”

By his tone, it sounded like Renarin wanted Dalinar to leave, but the youth had made no motion to stand up on his own yet. Storms, could he even stand on his own right now? Renarin was clearly exhausted; his skin was pale and clammy and his limbs still trembled from what his body had just put him through. And the way he was holding his arm...

Dalinar frowned. He had seen Adolin hold his arm like that before. Dalinar himself had done the same in the aftermath of several battles. He knew what this injury looked like.

“You’re not fine, your shoulder is dislocated. Here, let me help you to your chambers.” Dalinar offered a hand.

Renarin hesitated, seeming to consider something.

“I’m not leaving you here by yourself,” Dalinar pressed. Then, more gently, “Don’t make me throw you over my shoulder, son.”

Renarin actually smiled at that. They both knew Dalinar could make good on that threat. Renarin took his outstretched hand and allowed him to pull him to his feet. Dalinar took his son’s good arm over his shoulder and wrapped his left arm around the youth. He was about to start forward before he realized something with a twinge of embarrassment.

“Um…Which way?”

It didn’t take more than a few minutes to make it to the room, which was fortunate. Renarin's breathing had become more labored, and he was allowing Dalinar to bear more and more of his weight as they went on.

Dalinar was relieved to finally lower his ailing son to a sitting position at the edge of the bed in the youth's modest chambers. He sat down beside Renarin, his hands hovering over the injured shoulder.

“I'm afraid this will hurt a lot, but it will feel much better when it’s back in place,” he said, gently.

“It’s all right, Father, I know. This has happened several times before.”

Dalinar’s brow furrowed at that. Renarin had never seen battle, had never even had the same training as Adolin. How had he…?”

“Do your fits frequently cause dislocations like this?”

“No, only when—” Renarin suddenly stopped mid-sentence.

“Only when what?”

“Yes. I meant yes. My fits, that is. Sometimes,” Renarin stuttered awkwardly.

Dalinar frowned, annoyed.

“Speak up, boy. What were you going to say?”

Renarin tensed at Dalinar’s change in tone.

“It…It only happens when someone tries to hold me down,” he said, quietly. He would not meet Dalinar’s eyes.

Dalinar froze in horror as the shame washed over him. He had injured his own son. Badly. And through sheer ignorance.

“Renarin, I—”

“It’s all right,” Renarin spoke quickly. “It was Adolin the first time it happened. I cried like a baby. He cried like a baby.” He let out a short laugh, but it was painfully forced.

Renarin’s attempts to reassure fell flat. The youth had had the blood weakness since he was a small child. How many times had Dalinar just nodded and waved his hand in dismissal when a messenger reported one of Renarin’s fits? How many opportunities to learn about his own son had he passed up? Shamespren drifted down around him as he remembered with a sinking feeling the times Adolin had tried to inform him of the details of Renarin’s condition and Dalinar had just brushed him off, too busy to spend time worrying about the son who would never join him on the battlefield.

No. There was no excuse for his ignorance.

“I am so sorry. I should have known what to do.”

“It’s all right, Father.”

“It’s not,” Dalinar said, shaking his head. “But I ask your forgiveness.”

“You have it. Now, would you mind…?” Renarin gestured to his limp arm.

Dalinar took the arm in both hands. “On three, got it?”

Renarin nodded. “Got—” the youth shouted in pain as Dalinar reduced the shoulder in one smooth motion. Dalinar winced in sympathy.

“Are you all right?”

“Better. Much better,” Renarin panted. “Adolin always does it on count one. It’s kind of a joke between us now.”

“You should keep it in a sling for a few days. I can go get you one right now,” Dalinar offered.

Renarin pointed at the drawer on the cabinet next to the bed.

“There’s one in there already. Like I said, it’s happened several times before.”

And yet I’ve never seen you wear one before. Dalinar opened the drawer and pulled out the padded leather sling.

“This is high quality material,” he commented, helping Renarin put it on.

“Adolin had it made special for me after the second time.”

Dalinar tightened a few of the straps. “Your brother has done a good job taking care of you, hasn’t he?”

Renarin smiled. “He always has.”

“Renarin…” Dalinar paused, unsure of how to word what he wanted—needed to say.

“You…You know I love you very much, right? Both of you. More than anything.” He looked up at Renarin, but his son was looking away, absently rubbing his sore shoulder.

“I know I haven’t always shown it, or spoken it,” Dalinar continued. “Storms, I’m sure there have been times when you thought I hated you. I just…I hope you know that I’m going to try harder. I want to be the kind of man that you would be proud to call Father. I'm going to do better.” He stopped, out of words to speak. He was surprised when Renarin spoke up.

“Mother always told me you loved me. She said you just had trouble expressing it. I didn’t believe her. I’ve always been proud that you were my father, but I used to pray for hours to be healed so that I could earn your love. Like Adolin did.”

Dalinar trembled as the tears came. The truth in Renarin’s words stung bitterly.

“You deserved so much better than me,” Dalinar said.

“…You’re right. I did.” Renarin still wouldn’t look at him.

Dalinar took a shaky breath, wiping at his tears.

“Get some rest, son. I’ll come check on you in the morning.”

He had almost made it to the door when he heard Renarin call after him.

“You promise you’ll visit in the morning?”

“I promise.”

“Good. There’s so much I want to talk to you about.”

Dalinar smiled.

“Then I’ll be ready to listen.”

 Dalinar left Renarin's chambers, turned one corner, and nearly smacked into Adolin.

“Father! I was just looking for you, I had heard you wanted to speak with me. Did you have an update about your plans for the Shattered Plains?”

Yes, actually. “I—We can discuss that another time. I wanted to ask you some questions about Renarin.”

Dalinar had expected Adolin to react with confusion; they had never once discussed Renarin in any way before. To his surprise, Adolin positively beamed.

“Sure! What did you need to know? His favorite food? Uniform size?”

“No—well, yes, that sounds like prudent information—but first, I want to know how to help him when he…you know.”

“Ohh, I see. Well, you came to the right man! First things first: Whatever you do, don’t try to hold his arms down. I dislocated his shoulder the first time I tried that. I cried like a baby, I felt so bad,” Adolin chuckled.

Dalinar couldn't help but smile at his son's good-natured attitude. Perhaps forgiveness really was possible after all this time.

“Tell me more.”



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Nice. I really like this. It would be cool to see a scene like this in Renarin's flashbacks.


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