|Location||Sadeas's Princedom, Alethkar|
Larger rural towns like this serve as a kind of hub for the small farming communities around them. Because of that, Hearthstone is cursed (according to Kaladin) with the presence of a lighteyed ruler of some status (i.e., Brightlord Roshone, a man whose greedy ways had ruined far more than one life.)
Hearthstone is a large town, built against a steep hillside and surrounded by a breakwall, to shield it from highstorms. At its center is the commonwater, a large hole cut into the rock to catch rain. It has several taverns, a town-hall, bakery, etc..
Hearthstone proper consists of a hundred or so buildings set in rows, each one shaped like a wedge with the low side pointing stormward. The rooves are of thick wood, tarred to seal out the rain. The northern and southern sides of the buildings rarely had windows, but the fronts facing west away from the storms were nearly all windows.
Upon Kaladin's return to Hearthstone after the passing of the Everstorm, he notices that some of the buildings he remembered are simply gone. That others stand without roofs. Many of the structures are now hollow and ruined. However, there is light, coming from the manor house (where parshmen had been held) flickering unevenly.
Brightlord Wistiow led the town fairly until his death in 1166, leaving behind his daughter, Laral. Brightlord Roshone* came to the town to take Wistiow's place, however he was not as amiable or as reasonable as his predecessor. (Roshone had a personal grudge against Kaladin's father for claiming possession of a goblet of spheres from Wistiow as a loan for Kaladin to study medicine in Kharbranth.)
*Roshone is the one ultimately responsible for pressing Kaladin's brother, Tien, into Brightlord Amaram's army and, consequently, is also responsible for Kaladin's final decision to join that army.
Looking at the wounded around him, Kaladin observes that they display fractures, concussions, yet very few lacerations. He discerns that what he's seeing is not the aftermath of a battle, but of a natural disaster. He therefore questions what had happened to the Voidbringers there and who had fought them off.
Shortly thereafter, his mother tells him that things have gotten better there since he left. That Roshone isn't as bad as he once was, that she thinks he feels guilty.