Stormlight 4 Outline Speculation

78 posts in this topic

On 9/12/2019 at 5:36 AM, Isilel said:

No, the Alethi must learn to produce on the Shattered Plains and maybe the Unclaimed Hills, instead of over-extending back into Alethkar. They need to hold the Narak Oathgate anyway and the Fused are busy training the parsh, so the long-distance strikes by them would be relatively few. This is why I think that Jasnah needs to be located on the Shattered Plains and not in Urithiru. They can't feed a whole nation-in-exile via soulcasting, because it would deplete the gemstone reserve, which they also need for their Radiants to be effective, very quickly. We don't know if the gemstones still eventually break if carefully used by the Radiants - Jasnah likely made hers break on purpose when she pretended that she had a Soulcaster back in WoK. But they might. Also, the refugees are going to come to the Shattered Plains and it wouldn't be logistically feasible  to bring all of them to Urithiru.  

There is a WoB that seems to imply that Radiant soulcasters do not need gemstones to soulcast, only stormlight


The Fused are going to employ approaches that worked for them in the past. They are very experienced and skilled, but hopefully less capable of quickly adapting to and inventing new approaches. A lot of them being mad helps too, though they'd still be very dangerous on the battlefield and endless respawn will make up for their lacking mental faculties, IMHO.

Not sure Odium's forces are going to employ the same past approaches considering everything we have seen Odium do so far is different than in the past. The Everstorm is new. Possessing Sadeas's men is new (the fused was surprised that Odium could do that). Setting up a human as Odium's champion seems new (past references to Yelig-nar states voidbringers using it). To me it looks like all Odium has been doing is trying something new. 


17 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

How hard is it to torch fields on Roshar? How dense is the vegetation?

Depends on where you are talking on Roshar. Like Earth, there are some places more fecund, and other places barren. 


Irrelevant because the Radiants cannot depend on that. Somehow Odium's forces got through. Malata was not seen unlocking the gate. Odium obviously is better at manipulating gates than the Radiants. It happened once. As long as they do not understand why it happened they have to assume it can happen again.

Not irrelevant. Confirmed by Taravangian. They are the ones that let the fused in. 



I have spoiled the reading below, and bolded the pertinent portion:





Brandon Sanderson

Of course the Parshendi wanted to play their drums. Of course Gavilar had told them they could. And of course he hadn't thought to warn Navani.

"Have you seen the size of those instruments?" <Hratham> said, running her hands through her black hair. "Where will we put them? We can't..."

"We move to the upper feast hall," Navani said, trying to project a calm demeanor. Everyone else in the kitchen was close to panicking, cooks running one direction or another, pots banging. Gavilar had invited not just the highprinces but their relatives. And every highlord in town. And he wanted a Beggar's Feast. And now... drums?

"We've already set up in the lower hall," <Hratham> said, "I don't have the staff to..."

"There are twice as many soldiers as usual loitering around the palace tonight," Navani said, "We'll have them move the tables." Gavilar never forgot about things like posting extra guards. Projecting strength, making a show of force? He could always be counted on for that. For everything else, he had Navani. 

"Could work, yes," <Hratham> said. "Good to put those louts to work rather than having them underfoot. Alright, deep breaths."

A short palace organizer stumbled away, narrowly avoiding an apprentice cook carrying a large bowl of steaming shellfish. Navani stepped to the side and let the cook pass. The man nodded in thanks. The staff had long since stopped being nervous when she entered their kitchens. She made it clear to them that doing their job sufficiently was superior praise to her than a bow. Fortunately, this staff was the kind of middle ranked lighteyes who understood the need for a little practicality.

They seemed to have things well in hand now, though there had been a scare earlier when three barrels of grain had been discovered with worms in them. A little creative thinking had reminded them that Brightlord Amaram had stores for his men and Navani had been able to pry them out of his grip. For now it seemed that with the extra cooks borrowed from the monastery they might actually be able to feed all the extra people Gavilar had invited.

"I should leave some of the tables set up in the lower hall," she thought, slipping out of the kitchens and into the palace gardens. "Who knows who might show up with an invitation." At the very least she might need to feed some military officers who couldn't be seated in the main feast hall. 

She turned to hike up through the gardens and entered the palace through the side doors. She'd be less... out of the way, and wouldn't have to dodge servants if she went this way. Maybe she could...

Navani slowed. The Kholinar palace was brightly lit tonight, with spheres adorning every hallway and all the garden walkways. By that light, Navani could easily make out Aesudan, her daughter-in-law, Elhokar's wife, standing just near the fountains. The slender woman wore her long hair in a bun, which was lit with gemstones of each shade. All those colors were gaudy together. Navani preferred a few simple stones themed to a color, but it did make Aesudan stand out as she chatted with two elderly ardents. 

Storms bright and brash. Was that <Rushar Kris>, the artist and master artifabrian? When had he gotten into town? Who'd invited him? He was holding a small box with a flower painted on it. Could that be one of his new fabrials? Navani found herself drawn to the group, all her thoughts fleeing her mind. How had he gotten the heating fabrial to work? How had he captured a flamespren? How did he make the temperature vary? She'd seen drawings, but to talk to the master artist himself?

Aesudan saw Navani and then smiled brightly. The joy seemed genuine, which was unusual, at least when she directed it at Navani. Navani tried not to take Aesudan's general sourness to her as a personal affront. It was the prerogative of every woman to feel threatened by her mother-in-law, particularly when the girl was so obviously lacking in talents. Fortunately, Elhokar liked her and she was of a good family. Navani smiled at her and turned, trying to enter the conversation and get a better look at that box. Aesudan, however, took Navani by the arm.

"Mother! I had forgotten completely about our appointment. I'm so fickle sometimes. Terribly sorry Ardent <Kris>, but I must make a hasty exit," Aesudan tugging Navani forcefully back through the gardens toward the kitchens. 

"Thank Kalak you showed up Mother. That man is the most dreadful bore."

"Bore?" Navani said, twisting to look over her shoulder.

"He was talking about gemstones, and another gemstone, and spren, and boxes of spren, and... storms, what a night! You'd think he would understand we have important people to meet. The wives of highprinces, the best generals of the land come to gawk at the wild parshmen. Then I get stuck in the garden talking to ardents! Your son ditched me there, I'll have you know. When I find that boy..."

Navani extricated herself from Aesudan's grip. "Someone should go entertain those ardents. Why are they here?"

"Don't ask me," Aesudan said. "Gavilar wanted them for something, but he made Elhokar entertain them. Poor manners that is, really."

Gavilar had invited one of the world's most prominent artifabrians to visit the palace, and he hadn't even bothered to tell Navani? An anger stirred deep inside her, a fury she kept carefully penned and locked away. That man. That storming man. How could he...

Calm, Navani, the rationalist inside her mind said. Maybe he intends to introduce you to the ardent as a gift. He knows how interested you are in fabrials. Perhaps that was it.

"Brightness!" a voice called from the kitchens. "Brightness Navani, oh please, we have a problem!"

"Aesudan," Navani said, eyes on the ardent who was slowly walking away toward the path to the monastery. She could catch him. She could spare a few minutes. "Could you help the kitchens with whatever they need. I'd like to..."

But Aesudan was already hurrying off towards another group in the gardens, one attended by several powerful highlord generals. Navani took a deep breath, shoving down another stab of annoyance. Aesudan claimed to care about propriety and manners, but she'd butt into a conversation between men without even her husband as an excuse.

"Brightness!" the cook called, waving to her. Navani took one last look at the ardents then set her jaw and hurried back to the kitchen, careful not to catch her skirt on the ornamental shalebark. "What now?"

"Wine", the cook said. "We're out of both the <clavina> and the ruby <bench>."

"How?" Navani said. "We ordered..." She shared a look with the cook and the answer was evident. Dalinar had been at the wine again, it appeared. "I have a private store," Navani said, pulling a notebook from her pocket. She gripped it in her safehand through the sleeves, scribbling a note. "I keep it in the monastery, with Sister <Nama>. Show her this and she'll give you access."

"Thank you Brightness," the cook said, taking the note. Before the man was even out the door, however, Navani spotted the house steward, a white-bearded man with too many rings on his fingers, standing in the stairwell up to the palace proper. He was fidgeting with the rings on his hand.

"What is it?" she asked, striding over.

"Guests have started to arrive, Brightness, including Highlord Vamah, who was promised an audience with the King regarding the border disputes. You know the one..."

"...about the misdrawn maps, yes," Navani said, sighing. "And my husband?"

"Vanished, Brightness," the steward said. "He was seen with Brightlord Amaram and some of those... uncommon figures." That was the term that palace staff used for Gavilar's new friends, the ones who seemed to arrive without warning or announcement, and rarely gave their names.

Navani ground her teeth, thinking through the places Gavilar might have gotten himself to. There were a few rooms he tended to use. He would probably be angry if she interrupted him. Well, good. He should be seeing to his duties rather than just assuming she'd handle it all. Unfortunately, at the moment, she... well, she would have to handle it. Brightlord Vamah couldn't be left waiting.

She let the anxious steward lead her up to the grand entryway where guards were being entertained with music, drinks and poetry while the feast was being prepared. Others were going with master-servants to view the Parshendi, the night's true novelty. It wasn't every day that the King of Alethkar signed a treaty with a group of mysterious parshmen who could talk. 

She dealt with Vamah, offering apologetic words, even going so far as to review the maps herself and write them a judgement. From there, she was stopped from locating Gavilar by a line of needy men and women who had come specifically to get the King's attention, a privilege that was growing more and more difficult these days, unless you were one of the uncommon figures. Navani assured Brightlords their petitions were being heard. She promised to look into injustices. She soothed the crumbled feelings of those who thought a personal invitation from the King would mean they'd actually get to see him. It was emotionally taxing work, but nothing new to her, and fully within the Queen's expected duties.

Navani didn't resent her station. Perhaps some day she'd be able to spend her days tinkering with fabrials and pretending she was a scholar. For now, she had duties. The only thing that truly bothered her was the fact that she shouldn't have to do it alone. She was unsurprised at asking that unexpected guests were indeed still showing up, ones that weren't even on the list an annoyed Gavilar had provided for earlier that day. Vev's Golden Keys! Navani kept her increasing fury under control, painting an amicable face for the arriving guests. She smiled, she laughed, she waved. Using the cheatsheet she kept in her notebook, she asked after families, new births and favorite axehounds. She inquired about trade situations, took notes on which lighteyes seemed to be avoiding others. In short, she acted like a queen.

She always felt like an imposter, and with good reason. She hadn't been born to the station. Gavilar, Navani, Sadeas, Ialai, they'd taken these mantles upon themselves. And however prestigious her ancient lineage, Navani had to work hard to suppress her anxiety that whispered she was really just a girl wearing someone else's clothing. Those insecurities had been stronger lately. Calm calm, no room for that sort of thinking.

She rounded the room and was happy to note that Aesudan had found Elhokar and was chatting with him for once, rather than other men. Elhokar did look happy presiding over the pre-feast gathering in his father's absence. Adolin and Renarin were there in stiff uniforms, the former delighting a small group of young women, the latter looking gangly and awkward as he stood by his brother. 

And there was Dalinar, standing tall. Somehow taller than any man in the room, but with those haunted eyes, simmering with passion. He wasn't drunk yet, but people orbited him, like they might a fire on a cold night, needing to be close, but not daring to step up and face the true heat of his presence. Storms. She complained to her current conversation partners that she was feeling a little faint and, after assuring them that she would be fine, made a brief exit up the steps where she wouldn't feel so warm.

It was probably a bad idea to leave. They were lacking a king, so if the Queen vanished too, questions were bound to arise. But surely everyone could get on without her for a short time. Besides, up here she could check on one of Gavilar's hiding places. He probably had come this direction, away from both the guests and the location of the new feast hall.

Parshendi with their drums passed nearby, speaking a language she did not understand, though one of the young interpreters was with them, so Navani could have asked if she'd wanted. Instead, she twisted her way through the dungeon-like hallways. Why didn't this place have a little more light, a few more windows? She'd brought the matter up with Gavilar but he liked it this way. Gave him more places to hide. 

There, she thought, stopping at an intersection. Voices.

"Being able to bring them back and forth from Braize doesn't mean anything, Gavilar," one of them said. "It's too close to be a relevant distance."

"It was impossible just a few short years ago," said a deep, powerful voice, his. "This is proof. The Connection is not severed, but can be warped to allow for travel. Not yet as far as you'd like, but we must start the journey somewhere."

Navani inched forward, looking around the corner. Yes, there he was, right where she'd expect him to be, in her study, a place she rarely had time to visit but also a place where people weren't likely to search for the King. It was a cozy little room with a nice window, tucked away in a corner of the second floor. He'd left the door cracked and she inched to peer in.

Gavilar Kholin had a big enough presence to fill the room all by himself. He wore a beard, but instead of being unfashionable on him it looked classic, like he was a painting come to life, a representation of old Alethkar. By wearing the beard, someone thought he might start a fashion trend, but nobody else had been able to pull off the look. Others didn't have Gavilar's strong features. Beyond that, there was an aura of distortion around Gavilar. Nothing supernatural or nonsensical. It was that, well, you accepted that Gavilar could do whatever he wanted, in defiance of tradition or logic. For him, it would work out. That was just the way of things.

The King was speaking with two men that Navani vaguely recognized. 'Ambassadors from the West' were what they'd been called, but no kingdom had been given for their home. They were simply among Gavilar's uncommon visitors.

Footnote: This reading is from a draft of the prologue and may change before publication
DragonCon 2019 (Aug. 31, 2019)





17 hours ago, Karger said:

Actually at a certain point I think you can.  Remember killing a Radiant does not kill the spren and spren generally weather the death of their Radiant.  Squires can be replaced fairly easily and Nightblood is capable of killing a fused permanently.  Additionally many fused will be needed for none combat duties across Roshar training singers to read and write, in command, in farming techniques and architecture.  Humans can fill these jobs with skilled people who are not surgebinders. 

Nightblood is the big game changer. Taking out a fused permanently as per WoB is very jarring for their side.  

17 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

That is possible. But when will you run out of volunteers? You cannot draft squires.

Theoretically kill enough parsh, and you run out of bodies for the fused. Additionally once it is learned that the parsh have to willingly allow the fused to bond, and the info spread that the original owner of the body is dead as result, it may become harder for the fused to gain additional bodies. 


And once a Skybreaker dies, will their spren retrn to fight on Odium's side?

I like this question a lot. Could newer radiants on the human side bond highspren that were bonded to killed radiants on Odium's side? Given Szeth, I think it is possible. 


2 hours ago, Isilel said:

Not only the budding Radiants - they need to rescue artifabrians, scholars, artisans. Their one advantage this time around is the much higher technoligical base and the fact that fabrial science was on the cusp of a major creative explosion. This  is a completely unprecedented situation, which will, hopefully, mark the transition between reliance on the few super-powered individuals, who can't be everywhere at once, to the non-powered people being able to fend off the Fused (and the voidforms?), too. Also, with the ready availability of uncomplaining, submissive slave labour abruptly drying up, they are very much motivated to design a number of labour-saving devices and means of transport.

I agree. Navani is a prime example of this with her painrial and flying ship sketches. 


The stormlight is not the bottleneck, though, not after the highstorms became regular again. The gemstones are the bottleneck. Using them in Soulcaster devices eventually breaks them and it is currently unknown if the Radiants carefully infusing stormlight from them wears them out and breaks them at some point, too. Even the Radiants of the past needed to have a proper agricultural base in Urithiru, rather than rely on Soulcasting and Regrowth. Which is why Alethkar-in-exile can't stay in Urithiru, but has to move back where they can grow at least some of their food naturally. We can trust Sebarial on this, IMHO, he knows his stuff.

We know as per WoB that a radiant soulcaster can soulcast directly from a highstorm. I think that means they can use stormlight directly, but that at this time is vague. But considering Dalinar can directly infuse with stormlight occasionally, I think that opens possibilities for Jasnah and Shallan. I do not think they will be able to feed everyone indefinitely. Not at all. But I think it is a good stop gap, with the addition of Lift and Renarin using regrowth to increase food production. Then hopefully they will get Urithiru working again. 


Why would Rlain be with Kaladin, if he is working on the Listeners, who are on the Shattered Plains? Kaladin will be in Alethkar, according to one of the readings. Not to mention that while Rlain is fluent in Alethi, it is unlikely that he'd pass among the awakened parshmen, who speak it like the natives. Shallan could go either way, though personally, I find her infiltration routine much more boring than her research routine, and I also love her interactions with Jasnah, which is why my personal preference is for her to remain on the Shattered Plains and investigate the Ghostbloods, Stormseat, the Listeners, etc. I also want her to spend time with her brothers on-page, because IMHO coming clean to them will finally help her to accept and reconcile her 4th Truth.

To me Rlain would be with Kaladin because

1. he doesn't know about the surviving remaining parsh that fled before the everstorm

2. listeners have been awoken all across Roshar. Rlain could claim to be from another land and that would explain his lack of fluency. Though can you reference where it is stated Rlain is not fluent in Alethi? Because I do not recall that ever being mentioned


I respect your personal preference to have Shallan researching with Jasnah. Personally I feel Shallan has to be off by herself to grow, as discussed by Shallan and Jasnah in Oathbringer. That she blossoms when there isn't someone hanging over her shoulder. To me it appears that Shallan took a lot of steps back in Kholinar, but I see things differently. Shallan was avoiding all these things while in Urithiru. She seemed to back pedal (in my opinion) because once she left, she had to face a lot of these issues. But I think that is where progress lies with Shallan. Being off by herself without a mentor makes he confront her issues. With Hoid popping up occasionally to offer just a nudge and encouragement, I think the search for Sja-anat will help Shallan miles. But we are totally entitled to disagree on our perspectives of this. 


For Alethkar, Kaladin, Venli and Lirin seem to be a lock. Moash is a strong candidate for the 4th. 5th is pretty much in the air. Adolin is a Highsprince, yes, but it didn't stop him from going on a mission before and he has an eye for military intelligence and political/administrative goals of the news order imposed by the Fused  that Kaladin would miss. It would also fit his hypothetical path of a budding Edgedancer. Also, Shallan as his wife and the more confident Renarin can temporarily hold things together for him back at the home base now.

So my one thing is, you assume they will remain in Alethkar. I think they will go to all sorts of locations, but the main part of the arc will be away from Urithiru. Venli and Sja-anat are not at Urithiru. To me that does not mean the only option is having to stay at Alethkar for the entire duration of the novel. Nothing to me says that they can't meet up piece meal over the course of the first portion of the book. So for instance Kaladin, Shallan, and Rlain meet up with Lirin. They then pursue a goal that takes them elsewhere, resulting in Shallan tracking down Sja-Anat, and Rlain running into Venli, and then include the various interactions and issues that arise from that. I see the first portion as getting everyone in place, and then the narrative goes from there. 


My problem is that it is not just about the long ago pasts. Renarin has insights into the future, often immediate future, so it would feel very contrived to exclude them when they occur. Likewise, it felt very artificial when we learned nothing about Jasnah adventures in Shadesmar and her confrontation with the highspren in OB, after they were teased in WoR, which yes, was in immediate past, but very pertinent to the "present" events. IMHO, it is better to avoid these issues by showing these characters mostly from outside, through other PoVs.

My only thing is considering the nature of Renarin and Jasnah's work, I couldn't see them sharing much outside of closed doors. So the availability of spectators being around to see their discussions and work would be limited. I think it would make more sense not to see it at all, than from another individual's perspective. But once again, like I said twice now, I am not overly attached to the idea. I could just as easily see Dalinar and Adolin working together awakening Maya instead. 


It is Sanderson's terminology and approach, though. After what happened to RJ's WoT, he is terrified of the PoV creep and so tries to limit the "main characters" (his words, not mine) to 3, with Adolin evolving into some kind of in-between figure. Personally, I prefer an ensemble cast of about 6 PoVs, with some rotation among them, so that it is not always the same people. Anyway, the problem of Jordan, Martin, etc. wasn't in introducing too many PoVs when it was warranted, but in reluctance to drop them when they have served their purpose or putting them on hiatus when there was nothing substantial for them to do in that part of the plot. That's where the bloat starts, ahem.

That still does not equate (to me) with PoVs meaning a character is being dropped or getting more attention. All it means is there is an important reason to know what the character is thinking in that moment. There have been plenty of times where Shallan, Kaladin, and Dalinar have all been in the same room, but different characters have had PoVs at different times. It doesn't mean one character is more important than another. It means that character had a thought that was needed to be heard, or an impression that furthered the story, so that was the character chosen for the PoV. Same reasoning that Brandon is going through regarding Eshonai vs Venli flashbacks. He asks himself what makes sense for the scene, and what can that individual's thoughts bring to the table. I do not see spotlighting being the goal, personally. 


And yes, you can have important, fleshed-out characters who are not PoVs, but they need to be observed by PoVs for that to happen. Navani is joined at the hip to Dalinar, so that for the most part we can follow her doings through his PoV.

That is true. So Dalinar and Adolin can work on reviving Maya while Navani is around them without a PoV. Again, personally I just do not see what is such a big deal on who does and does not get a PoV. 


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23 hours ago, Pathfinder said:

Not irrelevant. Confirmed by Taravangian. They are the ones that let the fused in.

"Dalinar doesn't know of the Diagram." Adrotagia countered. "Or that we brought the singers to Urithiru. He only knows that Kharbranth controlled the assassin -

Malata has kept her head. Dalinar does not know who opened the gate. In fact he does not know that the gate was opened by a traitor. For all he knows Odium has some limited ability to override the blocks. That is a severe tactical problem.


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On 9/14/2019 at 10:20 AM, Oltux72 said:

"Dalinar doesn't know of the Diagram." Adrotagia countered. "Or that we brought the singers to Urithiru. He only knows that Kharbranth controlled the assassin -

Malata has kept her head. Dalinar does not know who opened the gate. In fact he does not know that the gate was opened by a traitor. For all he knows Odium has some limited ability to override the blocks. That is a severe tactical problem.

He knows two things open the oathgates,  spren blades and honorblades. He knows a member of bridge four was almost killed to steal the honorblade. So as far as dalinar is concerned, someone attacked bridge four,  stole the honor blade, and activated the oathgate.  No odium required. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best.


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