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|“||Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!||”|
Bridge Four trails behind Sadeas's retreating army, held back by the wounded. The rest of the army is crossing ahead of them, and Kaladin watches, sickened by Sadeas’s betrayal. He wonders if there’s no hope for men, imagining the world as a pustule. They reach the chasm, where the men Kaladin had sent ahead wait for him. Seeing the crossing, Kaladin tells his men not to set the bridge, but to carry it across on one of the others once the soldiers have finished crossing, knowing that they’d only slow the retreat down otherwise. Matal allows it.
The bridgemen watch Dalinar’s army fighting hopelessly on the plateau. While they wait, Kaladin hatches a plan, and when it’s time for them to cross he asks to be left behind. They’ll catch up on their own, and if they continue as they are they’ll only slow down Sadeas’s entire army. Matal, hoping that the Parshendi will catch and slaughter them, again allows this.
Kaladin tells his men that they’re free. They just need to gather some armor and take their bridge to the edge. Everyone will assume them killed by Parshendi, and they won’t even be chased. He, however, will have to go back to save the wounded. Bridge Four, understandably, is unwilling to leave without their fearless leader, but he orders them to start gathering salvage.
As they do so, he turns to see Syl in a form she’s never used before. She’s taken the shape and size of a regular-sized woman, and is watching the battle at the Tower in horror and Kaladin says there is just that: horror. Bridge Four would have to run an assault, set the bridge, and survive long enough for Dalinar's army to cross and escape. It would be suicide, and it would sacrifice their chance at freedom. Kaladin wants not to do this. He wants to leave the lighteyed to his fate. But, he knows that thousands of darkeyed soldiers will die with him. Then Syl speaks, saying that she now knows what she is: an honorspren.
The sound of battle and death surround Kaladin, and he remembers all the times he’s stepped up, and been smacked back down. He remembers his father, telling him that someone has to start. He remembers the First Ideal. He realizes they have to go back. With Bridge Four’s agreement, he leads a charge to save the Kholin army.
Dalinar is beginning to succumb to fatigue, his armor getting heavier, when he sees Bridge Four assaulting the Tower. He calls Adolin to see, and his son asks whether it’s some kind of trap. Dalinar thinks it’s a chance, and when there’s no other hope available, a slim chance is worth fighting for. He rallies his men to press towards the chasm.
Kaladin approaches the Tower, the Parshendi massed against them. Despite knowing that they’re running towards a disaster, at least he knows this time that it’s his own choice. Kaladin is once more out in front of the bridge, trying to draw fire, but this time the Parshendi are adapting. A group of Parshendi leap the chasm and prepare to fire on the undefended bridge from the side. Instinctively, Kaladin cries out for Bridge Four to "side carry right," and the bridge falls into place, blocking the wave of arrows. This leaves them exposed to another volley from the main force, and Kaladin cries out. He infuses a massive amount of Stormlight into his shield, and every arrow is drawn to it, knocking him into his men, but saving them. The Parshendi who see this flee.
Kaladin is in shock, and the men who aren’t carrying the bridge take him away to recover. He asks Syl if there’s anything she can do to make him stronger, but she says no, and he’s left alone to think about all the people he tried and failed to save. He’s brought back to the worst day of his life.
He’s back in Amaram's army, his third battle, looking desperately for Tien. Despite Amaram’s promise, Tien was transferred from message-carrying to active combat quickly. The battle is going terribly, and Kaladin needs to find his brother. Eventually he locates the man whose squad absorbed the young messengers, and sees his little brother on the front line. As he watches, Tien’s squad breaks, and Kaladin is stabbed in the leg. He twists wildly to defend himself, and without thinking kills his attacker.
When he pulls himself to his feet, he can see Tien, and cries out to him. Tien turns, sees him, and smiles as the rest of his squad pulls back. He and two other untrained boys are left exposed. The enemy soldiers advance, and Tien is slain.
Kaladin stumbles blindly forward, and hears the thunderous hooves of Amaram’s cavalry charge, sweeping through the enemy lines. Senseless to this, Kaladin finds his brother’s body. Tien’s squadleader stands nearby, watching Amaram, and when Kaladin accuses him of letting his brother die he only says that you have to turn liabilities into advantages to survive. Kaladin holds his brother’s body and weeps for the rest of the battle.
Blinking, Kaladin returns to the present, where it seems he’s just in time to watch more people he loves die. Syl asks him if he knows the words, and Kaladin is overwhelmed by his desire to protect Bridge Four. Defiance against their deaths surges in him, and he sees a spear nearby. Seizing it, he runs towards the bridge and leaps off it towards the waiting Parshendi. Seeing the gemstones woven through their beards, he inhales, swelling with Stormlight, and a voice speaks directly, urgently, into his mind, asking for the Immortal Words.
"I will protect those who cannot protect themselves," he whispered.
The Second Ideal of the Knights Radiant.
There’s a clap of thunder, and Kaladin explodes with energy and light. A wave of white smoke bursts from him, knocking back the Parshendi, and Bridge Four watches in wonder as their leader charges, radiant, like a living storm.
- by Cal Engle-Laird
Quote of the Chapter:
|“||"Are windspren attracted to the wind," she asked softly, "or do they make it?"
"I don’t know," Kaladin said. "Does it matter?"
"Perhaps not. You see, I’ve remembered what kind of spren I am."
"Is this the time for it, Syl?"
"I bind things, Kaladin," she said, turning and meeting his eyes. "I am honorspren. Spirit of oaths. Of promises. And of nobility."