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Dalinar is with Navani. She is still upset by the way Dalinar handled things with her son, Elhokar, but she is clearly happy to have him back after the events on the Tower plateau. A highstorm comes, sending Dalinar into another vision. Though this isn’t like most of the others, he does find it familiar. He is in the place where he went during his very first vision. He stands on a large, flat, white plain and there are smoke shapes coming up out of the ground, some in the vague figure shapes.
Dalinar again hears the voice with which he has become so familiar:
|“|| "You must unite them."
"Why did you lie to me?" Dalinar demanded of the open darkness. "I did what you said, and I was betrayed!"
"Unite them. The sun approaches the horizon. The Everstorm comes. The True Desolation. The Night of Sorrows."
"I need answers!" Dalinar said. "I don’t trust you any longer. If you want me to listen to you, you’ll need to ... .
Suddenly Dalinar finds himself somewhere else again. He finds himself in a stone field alone, which is uncommon for his visions. He is also wearing his normal Kholin blue uniform; in this vision, Dalinar is himself rather than inhabiting another person’s body.
He wants a better vantage point so he hikes for what seems like hours to a ridge. Once there, he looks down and sees the ruins of a city - his home city and capital of Alethkar: Kholinar. This isn’t the Kholinar of the past, but instead seems to be a vision of the future.
A voice comes to Dalinar from the side saying, "I cannot fight him any longer." He sees a dark-skinned man with white hair next to him wearing golden clothing. Dalinar asks questions, but the man continues talking as if ignoring what Dalinar has said. The man keeps pointing toward what looks like a Highstorm, but made of darkness.
After, the man says: "You’re probably wondering if this is a vision of the future." Dalinar recognizes that what this man is saying are the exact same words that had been spoken to him during his first vision many months ago. This man and the voice behind him cannot hear Dalinar’s questions and never could. Whenever he tried to speak to this man in other visions, he wasn't answering his questions, but rather speaking as if his lines were scripted. This includes when he assumed the voice had told him to trust Sadeas.
The man goes on saying this is a possible future, a very real fear of what could happen if "He" wins. This would be "The True Desolation." Now the oncoming Highstorm looks like a wall of dust. The man tries to explain that these visions are supposed to help someone - in this case, Dalinar - to see what is coming and to hopefully prepare for it, though it seems this message was meant for anyone who could find it.
He continues saying that most of what Dalinar has seen are true events as they were witnessed, but that some of them are " ... born out of my fears." Then the ground shakes as everything around him turns to dust as something hits all around them both. The very earth is gone except for a small plateau upon which he and the man stand, and Dalinar realizes these visions are like a journal that one sees instead of reading. The voice goes on to say this isn’t about the specific viewer of the message, but about everyone, and was left as a hope that someone will be able to fight this darkness. Someone has to unite the people and protect them. Dalinar knows this voice can’t hear him when he says that he will do so.
The man repeats the oaths of the Knights Radiant and tells Dalinar: "The Knights Radiant must stand again."
Dalinar says he will try. The man says they never won the battle against darkness, and the stories saying so are false. They lost and are still losing, but there is still some hope. A champion can be chosen to fight one-on-one against the evil. He alludes that "Dawnshards" could help the champion greatly.
Dalinar asks: "Who are you?"
|“||I am ... I was ... God. The one you call the Almighty, the creator of mankind. The figure closed his eyes. And now I am dead. Odium has killed me. I am sorry.||”|
Up until now there have been references to God being dead, but this makes it pretty clear that the being known as God/Tanavast/Almighty/Honor is dead. But clearly he is still carrying his message to Dalinar. Just how dead is he? Can God be brought back to life somehow? "Shattered" seems to be the term most associated with God, so perhaps someone will be able to reform him in some fashion. Cultivation may be the key to that - or at least her knowledge.
|“||You can’t hear me, can you? Dalinar asked, feeling a horror as he finally began to understand. You never could.||”|
This is such a crushing blow to Dalinar. Since the visions began, he was under the assumption he was interacting with someone, but now he knows everything he’s seen and heard is merely the remnant thoughts of a dead God. However impressive that feat is on its own, Dalinar is more than abashed for interpreting things the wrong way, especially trusting Sadeas. Dalinar has been grasping for meaning. When he first had this vision he had no clue what was going on, and so lost any nuance to God’s purpose.
- by Michael Pye