|<< WoR Ch. 58: Never Again / WoR I. 10: Szeth >>|
Progression of the Chapter:
Lift and her spren, Wyndle, enter the Bronze Palace through an upper window, and assist a small group of thieves to enter as well; while the others search for disposable goods, Lift sets off in search of food, followed by the awkward Gawx; he chooses to raid the viziers’ quarters, while she aims for the party food; she succeeds, but is followed and captured by Darkness and his henchmen; she escapes, but they have also captured Gawx and present him as hostage; she calls their bluff, but it wasn’t a bluff; she escapes, but returns to perform her first Surge of Regrowth to keep Gawx from dying; Darkness prepares to execute her, but Gawx, now named the new Prime Aqasix, declares her pardoned of her thievery; Darkness departs.
Quote of the Chapter:
|“||"Why ... why do you hunt me?"
"In the name of justice."
"There are tons of people who do wrong things," she said. She had to force out every word. Talking was hard. Thinking was hard. So tired. "You ... you coulda hunted big crime bosses, murderers. You chose me instead. Why?"
"Others may be detestable, but they do not dabble in arts that could return Desolation to this world." His words were so cold. "What you are must be stopped."
This doesn’t even have much to do with Lift, but it has everything to do with Nale and what he’s doing. He doesn’t actually answer her question the first time; he merely gives his excuse. He's hunting "in the name of justice," but he’s not hunting to serve justice. He’s hunting proto-Radiants, because he believes that what they do can bring about the return of a Desolation. He genuinely seems to believe that.
He's also quite mad.
Development of the Interlude:
Lift is just way too much fun ... although Wyndle's attitude is one of long-suffering restraint. She calls him Voidbringer all the time purely to annoy him.
Stealing regular stuff was no fun. She wanted a real challenge. Over the last two years, she’d picked the most difficult places to enter. Then she’d snuck in.
And eaten their dinners.
Naturally. No point in stealing things you can sell and then buying food. Just steal the food in the first place.
Lift breaks into rich people’s places because they have the best food, and then she eats their dinner. It's not like she’s taking anything irreplaceable, or even anything she has to worry about fencing carefully. She's not even stealing anything they actually value.
Her interactions with Wyndle are generally hilarious but she does interrupt his lectures. Readers get hints from him on how things work, because she won’t let him finish a sentence.
After all that insouciance, this was unexpected:
|“||"Why did you even come with them?" Wyndle asked, creeping out of the room. "Why not just sneak in on your own?"
"Tigzikk found out about this whole election thing," she said. "He told me tonight was a good night for sneaking. I owed it to him. Besides, I wanted to be here in case he got into trouble. I might need to help."
Why indeed? "Someone has to care," she said, starting down the hallway. "Too few people care, these days."
Then there's this sequence, which in one way seems so out of character, and in another way perfectly in character:
Lift safely reached the upper reaches of the palace, hidden in the shadows there. She squatted down, hands around her knees, feeling cold.
"You barely knew him," Wyndle said. "Yet you mourn."
"You’ve seen much death," Wyndle said. "I know it. Aren’t you accustomed to it?"
She shook her head.
Who would cry for Gawx? Nobody. He’d be forgotten, abandoned.
"Why do you care?" Wyndle asked again. He sounded curious. Not a challenge. An attempt to understand.
"Because someone has to."
She set Gawx on his back, face toward the sky. He wasn’t really anything to her, that was true. They’d barely just met, and he’d been a fool. She’d told him to go back.
But this was who she was, who she had to be.
And then, at the end:
|“||"I saved him," Lift said. "I did something good, didn’t I?"
"Goodness is irrelevant," Darkness said. His Shardblade dropped into his fingers.
"You don’t even care, do you?"
"No," he said. "I don’t."
"You should," she said, exhausted. "You should ... should try it, I mean. I wanted to be like you, once. Didn’t work out. Wasn’t ... even like being alive ... ."
Whatever her back-story might be - and it sounds awful - she chose to care. She’s an Edgedancer by nature.
Also, Azir has a most interesting way of choosing a new leader at the best of times. Everyone who’s interested fills out a bunch of paperwork and writes an essay, and the viziers choose the best one. At this worst of times, it’s downright bizarre, with everyone who "ought" to be a candidate doing their level best to be a lousy one. Gawx does have a fair point, though: it beats the bloody-succession-war method. Ironic, then, that he is chosen - as a result of being the only person to bleed.
The timeline isn’t specific on this; it just says, before the Weeping, which means it’s roughly concurrent with the main plot events.
Wyndle! Quite a mismatch in personality between spren and human. His reactions to Lift’s continual references to him as "Voidbringer," are naturally those of being offended. However, the tone of his objections really fits with the concept that the Voidbringers are a type of spren, rather than a race of physical beings.
Despite his claim to have holes in his memory due to the Realmatic transition, there is a lot of good information in Wyndle’s words:
- He did not choose his bond-mate; she was chosen for him by the Ring, presumably a group made up of Edgedancer-bonding spren. Whether by agreement or because it’s not possible to disagree, he accepts the assignment.
- Lift was chosen because she had visited the Old Magic and "Our mother has blessed her." This has so many possible implications, the most prominent being that Lift went to see the Nightwatcher and (corollary) the Nightwatcher is closely tied to Cultivation.
- It seems that Lift’s "boon" was the ability to gain Investiture directly from food ... or was it the ability to see and touch things that are only in the Cognitive Realm? Or was it both? That would be unusual to have two gifts from the Nightwatcher. What was the curse? Or ... is one the boon and one the curse? Perhaps the curse is an inability to gain nourishment from food, meaning she must constantly heal herself to live using Stormlight?
- In the Cognitive Realm, Wyndle appears like a vine which grows very quickly in whatever direction he wants to go, and sometimes forms a face through which he speaks to Lift. In the Physical Realm, the vine-trail he leaves behind hardens as if briefly becoming solid crystal, which people sometimes see ... which sounds very like what Ym sees. (Brandon will neither confirm nor deny this theory, though he's almost promised that readers will eventually find out what kind of spren creates the effect Ym’s spren did.)
- In the Cognitive Realm, Wyndle was apparently a master gardener, since "Cryptics and honorspren alike came to see the crystals I grew from the minds of your world." The minor point is that, despite the political issues which make Cryptics and honorspren tend to not get along well, they all admired his work. The major oddity is the thought of growing crystals in the Cognitive world from the minds of those in the Physical world. How does that even work? Also, would the Edgedancer-spren be known as gardeners, or is that just Wyndle? He notes that his choice of human would have been "an accomplished gardener," an Iriali grandmother; again, is that his personal preference, or are all of his "type" gardeners of one sort or another? If they are, are their non-sentient counterparts lifespren ... which would also make sense for Edgedancers?
All Creatures Shelled and Feathered:
Poor little larkin. Is its forlorn appearance due to its captivity in general - wings bound, stuffed in a bag - or to the fact that they seem to have a means of preventing it from taking in Stormlight except when they want it to? Is it basically starving all the time, so that when it finds a source of Investiture, it will instinctively suck it all in no matter the consequences to anyone else? Just how intelligent are these creatures?
So, an Edgedancer superslides, supergrows, and superheals. Well, Lift does. Darkness implies that she’s barely an amateur compared to the skills they once displayed. Given that a spren with holes in his memory is all she has to train her, this is understandable.
"Abrasion" (friction) is seen mostly in its absence; Lift makes herself frictionless to move quickly and to escape clutching hands. Wyndle is seriously puzzled by her ability to touch him and actually use the grips he provides, so maybe the Edgedancers of old didn't do this.
"Progression" seems to be a relatively new skill, according to Wyndle’s lecture, but it certainly works well. Some readers might find it irritating that Lift is able to make seeds grow without knowing what to do, and even more so that she can heal Gawx with Regrowth. One theory is that some forms of Investiture seem to be more intuitive than others in the cosmere and Roshar seems a place where that’s the case. Another theory is that since Cultivation is still alive, and Progression is definitely Cultivation-linked, it may be even more intuitive than some Surges. A third theory is that with her odd connection to the Cognitive Realm, Lift has a unique ability to just know what to do.
|“||"I will remember those who've been forgotten.||”|
Unless Brandon states otherwise, this is the Second Ideal of the Edgedancers.
Vedeledev = Edgedancers and Nalan = Nalan. Naught more need be said.
Lift uses "stormin'" a few times, but her favorite cuss-word seems to be "starvin’." Suitable, for a street waif who needs food not only for survival and the inevitable teen growth spurts, but who needs extra food because she turns too much of it straight into Investiture.
"Kadasixes and Stars!" is a very Azish turn of phrase; Kadasix apparently translates as Herald.
- Paraphrased from Alice Arneson