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<< TWoK Chapter 58: The Journey / TWoK Chapter 60: That Which We Cannot Have >>

Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew.

Point of view: Kaladin
Setting: The Shattered Plains

While Bridge Four works on combat formations, Kaladin tries to take in Stormlight, with no success. His methods of getting angry and staring at spheres while holding his breath prove less than fruitful. Teft offers some unhelpful advice, but insists that what Kaladin did before was real. There’s no way his sticking a bag to the side of a barrel was " ... a trick of the light." Nor is it possible that it was a fluke; Teft has observed many other instances of Stormlight-powered impossibilities.

Still, Kaladin has " ... spent a week staring at spheres ... " with no perceivable progress, and is starting to get fed up with the exercise. He doesn’t hold much faith in the contradictory stories of the powers of the Radiants, and grumbles that if he's a Radiant, he's a Radiant who’s sick of sitting in this room. Teft says he isn’t a Radiant, not yet. First he has to find the Immortal Words.

Teft explains the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant, and says that beyond that, each Order had three specific additional Ideals. Kaladin listens to the lecture, but doesn’t believe that anyone would follow those vows. To him, they were just people, pretending to special offices of virtue in order to justify their rule.

Their further discussion is cut short when Lopen signals that someone is coming. Kaladin leaves the barracks and sees Hashal approaching. Since Gaz disappeared a week ago, she and her husband have taken over his duties entirely. Hashal gives Kaladin a backhanded compliment, then informs him that because his band is so efficient, she’s assigning them to bridge duty every day from now on, without releasing them from their daily chasm duties.

Kaladin is chilled. With this schedule, his men will be killed twice as quickly, and they’re so low in numbers that one or two men being wounded might bring the entire bridge down. Moash speculates that Hashal hasn’t been killing them fast enough for Sadeas's taste. Kaladin is a problematic symbol that Sadeas needs to dispose of without taking overt action. The men ask what Kaladin is going to do, and he says that they’ll go to the chasms. He’s doing something about this today.

Kaladin has Teft take over the formation drills and heads deeper into the chasms. Syl leads him to a dead Parshendi. On the way, he thinks about the Vorin emphasis on soldiers. He wonders if he is regaining his faith, and whether he’s dooming those bridgemen left behind to die in his stead. He remembers what his father said: "He did what he felt was right because someone had to start. Someone had to take the first step." He closes his eyes, and inhales Stormlight. Energized and proud, he runs and jumps straight onto a wall, collapsing in a heap at the bottom.

Syl takes him to a Parshendi, and he begins to cut the carapace off the corpse. The armor is held on by ligaments, actually fused to the Parshendi’s body. Lopen arrives with an armored leather vest and cap, as well as a shield and some straps. Last he pulls out deep red Parshendi bones. Kaladin ties the Parshendi armor onto the leather garments, then attaches the bones to the shield. Having completed his bizarre task, the next step was for Kaladin to get the heavy bag of armor up to the bridge. An arrow with a rope tied to it might let them haul the bag up to the bridge, but it risked discovery by the eagle-eyed scouts.

Kaladin realizes the solution, and begins lashing rocks to the chasm wall. He uses these as handholds to climb up the side of the bridge. Once there, he ties the bag to the bridge, and at Syl’s insistence drops the forty feet to the ground. Her argument: he owes her after last week’s insult. Luckily for him, Syl’s instinct is pretty trustworthy, and he totally survives by twisting in the air and landing in a crouch, dispersing the rest of his Stormlight into the ground below him, which cracks. Lopen is duly impressed. Kaladin tells him that on the next assault he should get the armor and hide it. He has a plan.

- by Carl Engle-Laird[1]

Quote of the Chapter:

"Life before death," Teft said, wagging a finger at Kaladin. "The Radiant seeks to defend life, always. He never kills unnecessarily, and never risks his own life for frivolous reasons. Living is harder than dying."

"Strength before weakness. All men are weak at some time in their lives. The Radiant protects those who are weak, and uses his strength for others. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service."

Teft picked up the spheres, putting them in his pouch. He held the last one for a second, then tucked it away too. "Journey before destination. There are always several ways to achieve a goal. Failure is preferable to winning through unjust means. Protecting ten innocents is not worth killing one. In the end, all men die. How you lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what you accomplished.