<< TWoK Chapter 43: The Wretch / TWoK Chapter 45: Shadesmar >>

Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: Hearthstone, five years ago

The Weeping, an annual, four-week-long period of constant rain, has come, and Kaladin is patching the roof of his family home. Unlike most people, who welcome the long reprieve from highstorms, Kaladin hates the Weeping and the feeling of dreary weakness it brings him. Not only does he miss the sun and sky, he even misses the intensity of the highstorms.

Having finished with his work, Kaladin stays on the roof, staring at the sky. Since the hunt, Roshone has been a shut-in. The people of Hearthstone are terrified that he will explode with rage, but like with a highstorm, Kaladin would prefer that to a slow grinding suspense.

Tien finds Kaladin and joins him up on the roof. As usual, Tien knows how to bring his brother out of a funk, and this time he accomplishes that by staying with him in silence. Kaladin surfaces to ask if Tien actually likes the rain.

"Yeah," Tien said. Of course, Tien liked pretty much everything. "Hard to stare up at [it] like this, though. I keep blinking."

Kaladin smiles, roused by his brother’s simple enthusiasm.

Tien gives Kaladin something he made at the carpenter’s shop: a beautiful wooden carving of a horse, already sealed against the rain. Kaladin thinks it’s beautiful, even if Tien got in some trouble with his carpenter master for making decorative presents when he was supposed to be making a chair. Kaladin wonders how his little brother can remain cheerful while his family is being starved and his master treats him poorly. He tries to explain the desperation they’re facing, now that Lirin is being forced to slowly spend spheres, but Tien persists in being cheerful. He firmly believes that things are never as bad as they seem.

Despite himself, Kaladin feels his fears and cares lighten up. The two boys are soon joined by their mother, who climbs up onto the roof and sits with them. Kaladin tries to convince her that the whole family should leave Hearthstone when he goes, since Roshone is strangling them, but Hesina explains that Lirin is intentionally spending spheres, to make it appear that they’re broken and prevent Roshone from seeking vengeance for the death of his son. Everything is going according to plan, and soon Kaladin will be able to disappear into his schooling, wealth safely in the holding of the ardents.

Hesina and Tien talk excitedly about all the things Kaladin will be able to learn, with his mother even saying that he can train to be something other than a surgeon if he wants. He could join the ardentia if he turned out to love scholarship, or become a stormwarden. Kaladin finds the idea of predicting the weather slightly horrifying, but strangely appealing. However, he maintains that he is training to be a surgeon.

At this point Lirin finds them, bemused at the fact that his entire family is sitting on the roof in the rain. He calls them down with the news that Roshone has called for a town meeting in the square, and they head off to attend. The whole town is gathered, gossiping. Kaladin sees some boys who he used to call friends, and is more acutely aware than ever that Hearthstone isn’t really his home anymore. Roshone’s carriage arrives, and he steps out, followed by an unknown lighteyes who Kaladin suspects is Highmarshal Amaram, and finally Laral, the woman Kaladin was once expected to marry. She has only grown more beautiful over the years, but there is one thing about her appearance that shocks Kaladin’s parents: she’s wearing a bride’s prayer. They consult, and speculate that Roshone must have decided to marry Laral himself, staking a claim to her dowry and connections now that he can no longer marry her to his son.

Roshone introduces Amaram, commander of the defense force protecting Sadeas's borders in his absence. He addresses the town, heavily but perhaps unconsciously condescending to them, and tells them that he’s there to look for recruits. A few boys and men step forward, but not nearly as many as Amaram needs, so he calls for Roshone’s list. At Roshone’s urging, a scribe calls out five names. The last name she calls is "Tien, son of Lirin."

Hesina cries out, and Lirin steps between Tien and the recruiters. Amaram, seeing that Roshone has used him for his "petty, small-town politics," asks if there’s some other boy who will do. Roshone holds to his rights, vindictive in his victory. Amaram promises that he’ll use Tien as a runner for a couple of years, to keep him from the fighting. He prepares to leave with his recruits.

Kaladin steps forward, suddenly sure of what to do, and asks to take his brother’s place. Roshone vehemently refuses, as he’s made his choice by right, so Kaladin volunteers to go in addition to Tien.

His parents are dumbstruck and crying, although Tien is unbelievably grateful. Kaladin swears, "by the storms and the Almighty's tenth name itself," that he will bring his brother back once their four-year tour is over.

-by Carl Engle-Laird[1]

Quote of the Chapter:

Lirin stepped forward, eyes full of anger. Highmarshal Amaram caught him by the arm. "Do not do something you would regret, darkborn. Roshone has acted according to the law."

"You hid behind the law, sneering at me, surgeon," Roshone called to Lirin. "Well now it turns against you. Keep those spheres! The look on your face at this moment is worth the price of every one of them!"

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