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Point of view: Wit
Setting: Kholinar

Wit sits on a box just inside the gates of Kholinar, strumming on his instrument and generally confusing three guards. His behavior is totally at odds with what they expect of an appropriate lighteyed gentleman. He tells them that something has changed, and that he’s waiting for a storm.

While he waits, he engages them in a conversation by asking what men value in others. One guard suggests that music is what men value most, and Wit begins to play his enthir, calling that statement a beautiful lie. Another soldier asks Wit what the most valuable talent is, and Wit says that isn’t the question. He says that what men value most of all is novelty. Intellect, aesthetic achievement, and innovation are all valuable, but men only value the thinker who comes to an idea or achievement first.

The gate shakes, and Wit declares that “the storm has come.” Again the gate shakes, as if being hammered on by something gigantic. Chaos breaks out, and the thump comes again. Then a Shardblade appears between the doors, slicing through the bar that holds them fast, and the gate opens.

A gigantic man with dark skin and dark eyes, dressed in ragged cloth, stands outside. He holds “a massive Shardblade, point down, sticking about a finger’s width into the stone, his hand on the hilt. The Blade reflected torchlight; it was long, narrow, and straight, shaped like an enormous spike.” Wit welcomes him.

The man trudges into Kholinar, ignoring the cries of the guards, his dark eyes dazed. He orders them to sound the alarm, then introduces himself. “I ... I am Talenel’Elin, Stonesinew, Herald of the Almighty. The Desolation has come. Oh, God ... it has come. And I have failed.” Then he collapses to the ground.

Wit looks down at him, and says again that what we value, most of all, is timeliness, and he’s afraid Talenel’Elin may be too late.

- by Carl Engle-Laird[1]

Quote of the Chapter:

You think I’m a cynic, Wit said. You think I’m going to tell you that men claim to value these ideals, but secretly prefer base talents. The ability to gather coin or to charm women. Well, I am a cynic, but in this case, I actually think those scholars were honest. Their answers speak for the souls of men. In our hearts, we want to believe in - and would choose - great accomplishment and virtue. That’s why our lies, particularly to ourselves, are so beautiful.