Biographical information
Race Parsh
Gender Male
Status Alive
Social Information
Aliases Shen
Occupation Spy, Bridgeman
Appears in The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, Oathbringer

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.[1] 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.

He was later retrieved from Sadeas's camp and brought with the rest of the bridgemen to Dalinar's camp following Sadeas's betrayal and Bridge Four's rescue of Dalinar.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

Rlain then helps in the Alethi strategy of attacking the Voidbringers.[4]


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.[4]

Wearing warform, he is taller and stronger than he'd been before.[5]


He has the rhythmic intonations common to the Parshendi, but he speaks Alethi very well. Better than any parshman Dalinar has heard.[3]

His voice now also has a certain musicality to it - an odd rhythm to his words.[4]


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