|Abilities||Surgebinding (Truthwatcher), Shardbearer|
|Aliases||Shen, Bridger of Minds|
The Way of Kings, |
Words of Radiance, Oathbringer,
Rhythm of War
Rlain is a Parshendi amongst the members of Bridge Four. He is the only Parshendi who sided with the Alethi before the creation of the Everstorm. It is revealed that he was a spy for the Parshendi, using dullform to disguise himself as a parshman. He traveled between warcamps for three years before becoming part of Bridge Four.
As Shen, Rlain was placed in Bridge Four as an experiment by Brightness Hashal to see if parshmen could be trusted to run bridges. The members of Kaladin's crew violently distrusted the parshman, wanting to place him up at the front of the bridge to be hit with an arrow instead of a human bridgeman, but Kaladin refused, giving the parshman the name "Shen" and insisting that he was to be treated as a member of the crew. Rlain was upset when the crew scavenged from dead Parshendi, and even more upset when Kaladin used Parshendi carapace as armor during a bridge run to the point where he ended up being left behind on subsequent runs.
Since Rlain was a spy for about three years in various warcamps, he answers Dalinar's questions of him because he considers Dalinar to be his commanding officer.
Rlain is eventually called back to Narak, and gains warform there. However, he soon defects from the Parshendi, realizing that the change in Eshonai had corrupted his people. Bridge Four accepts him back, and Sigzil explains to Kaladin that Dalinar had pardoned Rlain for being a spy, to which Rlain replies that he was a spy for a people who no longer exist. He said this to a different beat, and Kaladin thought he could sense pain in that voice.
After his desertion from Bridge Four as Shen, then his return to Bridge Four as Rlain, he wears a reddish skullplate and a Bridge Four tattoo. His features are sharp and muscular, he has a thick neck and a strong jaw, which is now lined with a red and black beard.
While wearing warform, he is taller and stronger than he'd been before.
On his head he now has carapace armor - distinctively thick and strong, as he holds warform - covering his skull. It stretches out his Bridge Four tattoo, which has transferred to the carapace. He has protrusions on his arms and legs too, which people always want to feel. (They cannot believe they actually grow from his skin, and somehow think it appropriate to try to peek underneath.)
He loves the men of Bridge Four ... and does so because they always try to include him.
His voice now also has a certain musicality to it - an odd rhythm to his words.
He draws attention from soldiers - outside those of Bridge Four - who consider him to be a danger, regardless of which uniform he wears.
He remains an oddity even to the men of Bridge Four: the parshman they allow to be armed. The potential Voidbringer they had decided to trust.
Rlain has always found it to be strange that his fellow bridgemen don't care much about skin color, as among listeners, one's skin patterns at times are a matter of some import.
Rlain believes that one of his kind has to read human emotion in each their expressions and the way they move, not in their voices. He suspects that maybe this is why emotion spren come so often to humans, more often than to listeners. Without the rhythms, men need help understanding one another.
He also believes that it is sad that humans are so burdened by always being in mateform. That they are always distracted by the emotions and passions of mating, and have not yet reached a place where they can put that aside. He feels embarrassed for them because they are simply too concerned about what a person should and shouldn't be doing.
During his years spent as a spy, he'd adopted dullform, which heard the rhythms weakly. It had been hard for him to be apart from them.
According to Rlain, his people had always assumed that humans were deaf to the rhythms, but he wasn't convinced. Perhaps it was his imagination, but it seemed that sometimes they responded to certain rhythms.
It comforted him to think that they might someday learn to hear the rhythms. Perhaps then he wouldn't feel so alone.
Rlain's people are now gone. Though parshmen have awakened, they are not listeners. As far as he knows, he is the last.
When both Eth and Yake ask him about the Fused, he tells them that his people did everything they could to separate themselves from those creatures. That they went into hiding long ago, and swore they would never accept forms of power again.
Further, that he didn't know what changed. That his people must have been tricked somehow. That the Fused are as much his enemies as they are theirs ... and more, even. He cannot say what they will do, but does say that he spent he spent his entire life trying to avoid thinking of them.
When Rock asks the bridgemen who came to him stating that they no longer felt they fit in with Bridge Four, and when some reply that they think they're alone, feel like they're outsiders, yet they don't ask how he feels, Rlain wonders whether it's childish of him to feel frustrated. He questions whether they know what it's like to be of an entirely different species. A species with which they're currently at war ... a species whose people had all been either murdered or corrupted.
When Kaladin then tells him that he knows how he feels, Rlain asks him if he really, actually does. Then, when Kaladin asks Rlain if he can tell him, Rlain says that he can try.
- Kaladin - Rlain believes that Kaladin is a good man. That for all his faults, he tries even more than the rest of them.
- Renarin - The quiet, lighteyed man usually made a point of speaking with Rlain. There is definitely chemistry between them, and they are now in a same-sex relationship with one another.
- The Way of Kings, 46. Child of Tanavast
- The Way of Kings, 68. Eshonai
- Words of Radiance, 79. Toward The Center
- Words of Radiance, 87. The Riddens
- Oathbringer, 37. The Last Time We March
- Oathbringer, 55. Alone Together
- Oathbringer, 9. The Threads Of A Screw
- YouTube Spoiler Stream 3, 12/16/21
- YouTube Livestream 32, 6/3/21
- Shardcast Interview, 1/23/21