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Dalinar breathed out, then sank down, wrung out.

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Shadows stretched long across the land as the sun met the horizon. It had been a fine fight. The honor guard had seen where their brightlord had fallen? Dalinar felt a spike of outrage. That was his kill, his victory. He scrambled down in a reckless half-climb. The descent was a blur; he was seeing red by the time he hit the ground.

One soldier had the Blade; others were arguing over the Plate, which was broken and mangled. Dalinar attacked, killing six in moments, including the one with the Blade. Two others managed to run, but they were slower than he was. Dalinar caught one by the shoulder, whipping him around and smashing him down into the stones. He killed the last with a sweep of Oathbringer. Dalinar saw no men in red. Only some in blue—a beleaguered set of soldiers who flew no flag.

In their center, however, walked a man in Shardplate. Gavilar rested here from the battle, in a place behind the lines, to take stock. The hunger inside of Dalinar grew. The Thrill came upon him in a rush, overwhelming. Why should he sit back so often, listening to men chat instead of war? There was the man who held what he wanted. A throne… a throne and more. The woman Dalinar should have been able to claim. He started toward the group, his mind fuzzy, his insides feeling a deep ache. Passionspren—like tiny crystalline flakes—dropped around him.

He intended to give up his momentum and rest upon what Dalinar had won for him. Well, there was one way to make certain the war continued. One way to keep the Thrill alive. No weapons presented against him! He could slaughter them all before they knew what had happened. He let the Blade slip from his fingers and vanish. As a blessing, no shamespren appeared, though he should have earned a legion of them in that moment. The day is won! Highprince Ruthar brought down Gallam, winning Shards for his son.

Talanor took a Blade, and I hear you finally drew out Kalanor. Dalinar blinked amid their cheering, and suddenly felt a shame so deep he wanted to crumple up. This time, a single spren—like a falling petal from a blossom—drifted down around him. He had to do something. Toh will have to agree, finally, that we can protect his line.

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I suspect the wedding will happen within the month! As would, likely, the official re-coronation where—for the first time in centuries—all ten highprinces of Alethkar would bow before a single king. Dalinar sat down on a stone, pulling free his helm and accepting water from a young messenger woman.

Never again, he swore to himself. I give way for Gavilar in all things. Let him have the throne, let him have love. I will confess my heresy. I do not back down from the things I have said, regardless of what the ardents demand. She sat on a stone seat at the back of the large meeting room near the top of the tower. She sat with her feet up, thighs supporting her drawing pad, stockinged toes curling over the rim of the bench in front of her.

Not the most dignified of positions; Radiant would be mortified. At the front of the auditorium, Dalinar stood before the glowing map that Shallan and he—somehow combining their powers—could create. Elhokar had come with Kalami, who was scribing for him lately. Renarin stood beside his father in his Bridge Four uniform, looking uncomfortable—so basically, same as usual.

Adolin lounged nearby, arms folded, occasionally whispering a joke toward one of the men of Bridge Four.

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Radiant should be down there, engaging in this important discussion about the future of the world. The light was just so good up here, with these broad glass windows. She was tired of feeling trapped in the dark hallways of the lower levels, always feeling that something was watching her. She finished her sketch, then tipped it toward Pattern, holding the sketchbook with her sleeved safehand. He rippled up from his post to inspect her drawing: The others spoke further of their coalition, Thaylenah and Azir recurring as the most important countries to convince, now that Iri had made it completely clear they had joined the enemy.

It listed a large gathering of the enemy in Marat, was it? You hypothesized it was the low population of the region that induced the Voidbringers to gather there. Meanwhile, areas like Triax—around the southern half of central Roshar—continue to go dark. Brightness Kalami nodded, and Shallan tapped her lips with her drawing pencil.

The question raised an implication. How could cities go completely dark? These days major cities—particularly ports—would have hundreds of spanreeds in operation. Every lighteyes or merchant wanting to watch prices or keep in contact with distant estates would have one. Their last reports claimed that armies were gathering near the city.

The enemy seemed to be able to locate spanreeds somehow. A single glyph for time, implying they should be patient. My instincts say that army is planning to strike back at Azir, or even to cross and try to assault Jah Keved. The oily man leaned against the wall across from the others, barely paying attention. Aladar spun and thrust his hand to the side in a summoning posture. Dalinar stopped him, as Ruthar must have known that he would. Shallan shook her head, letting herself instead be drawn farther into her sketching.

A few creationspren appeared at the top of her drawing pad, one a tiny shoe, the other a pencil like the one she used. Her sketch was of Highprince Sadeas, drawn without a specific Memory. She flipped back and forth between the two. They do look similar, Shallan decided. Her next two pages were pictures of the two Horneaters.

Those two looked roughly similar as well. And the two murdered women? One was already enough to get you executed. That spren is mimicking the violence, she thought. Killing or wounding in the same way as attacks from previous days.

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A kind of… impersonation? Pattern hummed softly, drawing her attention. Shallan looked up to see someone strolling in her direction: She wore a long skirt and a buttoning shirt with a vest. Hearing her own language so suddenly was strange to Shallan, and her mind took a moment to sort through the words.

I came to him for convenience, as Spark suggested we might look to Urithiru, now that it has been rediscovered. Shallan could see no sign of her spren. There are bound to be others like you, who are still looking for a way to reach us. The Desolation has started again. We could do worse than rely upon the past to survive this. Shallan blinked at the casual way it was said, along with a wink. Malata smiled and sauntered back toward the front of the room. They want to know what is inside. The thing in the crack. This should be enough to present to Dalinar and Adolin, which she planned to do today, now that she had her sketches done.

I need to catch it, she thought. I watch the market. Eventually someone will be hurt. And a few days later, this thing will try to copy that attack. Perhaps she could patrol the unexplored parts of the tower? Look for it, instead of waiting for it to attack? The room had grown quiet. Shallan shook out of her reverie and looked up to see what was happening: Ialai Sadeas had arrived at the meeting, carried in a palanquin. She was accompanied by a familiar figure: Meridas Amaram was a tall man, tan eyed, with a square face and solid figure.

He was also a murderer, a thief, and a traitor. He had been caught trying to steal a Shardblade—proof that what Captain Kaladin said about him was true. Shallan gritted her teeth, but found her anger… cool. No, she would not forgive this man for killing Helaran.

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She could almost hear Jasnah whispering to her: Below, Adolin had risen and stepped toward Amaram, right into the center of the illusory map, breaking its surface, causing waves of glowing Stormlight to ripple across it. We could use your wisdom in our planning. He is beloved of our soldiers, and known the world over. I name him regent and heir to the house title. He is, for all intents, Highprince Sadeas now. I would ask the king to ratify this.

King Elhokar looked up from his seat, where he—seemingly—had been lost in thought. His voice gave Shallan chills.

That refined diction, that perfect face, that crisp uniform… this man was what every soldier aspired to be. I have spoken to Brightness Ialai, and I think I have persuaded her that our differences are secondary to the greater good of Roshar. I know you intend to pursue legal action against me. I will stand at trial, but let us postpone that until after Roshar has been saved.

Dalinar regarded Amaram for an extended, tense moment. Then he finally looked to his nephew and nodded in a curt gesture.

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Dalinar winced visibly, then pointed toward the exit. Shallan thought only a moment, then grabbed her shoes and drawing pad and hurried after him. She caught up to Adolin in the hallway outside, near where the palanquins for the women were parked, and took his arm. I started getting suspicious when I was older, but I guess part of me still wanted him to be like they said. A man above all the pettiness and the politics. They walked onto the lift, and Adolin fished out a free gemstone—a little diamond not surrounded by a sphere—and placed it into a slot along the railing.

Stormlight began to drain from the stone, and the balcony shook, then slowly began to descend. Removing the gem would tell the lift to stop at the next floor. A simple lever, pushed one way or the other, would determine whether the lift crawled upward or downward. They descended past the top tier, and Adolin took up position by the railing, looking out over the central shaft with the window all along one side. They were starting to call it the atrium—though it was an atrium that ran up dozens upon dozens of floors. The two of us spent weeks in jail because of the things that man did.

He was older than I am, and left Jah Keved years ago. From what I can gather, he and Amaram fought at some point, and Amaram killed him—taking the Blade. Did he maybe know the highlord was corrupt? Anything to get off this topic. For this was something she could still tuck away in the back of her brain. She did not want to think about Kaladin and Helaran.

It was a long, quiet ride to the bottom floors of the tower. She got off on the second level to make her way toward her rooms. There are more important things in this world, Helaran had said to her father. More important even than you and your crimes. Mraize knew something about this. He was withholding the secrets from her like sweets to entice a child to obedience.

But all he wanted her to do was investigate the oddities in Urithiru. She should have stayed above; her absence must have destroyed the illusion of the map. She felt bad about that. Was there a way she could learn to leave her illusions behind her? In any case, Shallan had needed to leave the meeting. The secrets this city hid were too engaging to ignore. She stopped in the hallway and dug out her sketchbook, flipping through pages, looking at the faces of the dead men.

A series of twisting, maddening lines, scribbled and unconnected. Pattern moved up her dress, stopping under her neck. He hummed, an uncomfortable sound. She flipped to the next page. It was grotesque, nauseating. Her fingers trembled as she turned to the next page. A deep void, an endless corridor, something terrible and unknowable at the end. She had to have them, hold them, make them hers. She turned sharply in the corridor, taking a path away from her room.

A short time later, she strode into the barracks where Sebarial housed his soldiers. There were plentiful spaces like this in the tower: Urithiru had been a military base; that much was evident from its ability to efficiently house tens of thousands of soldiers on the lower levels alone. In the common room of the barracks, men lounged with coats off, playing with cards or knives. Her passing caused a stir as men gaped, then leaped to their feet, debating between buttoning their coats and saluting. She counted off doorways marked by archaic Alethi numbers etched into the stone, then entered a specific one.

She burst in on Vathah and his team, who sat inside playing cards by the light of a few spheres. Poor Gaz sat on the chamber pot in a corner privy, and he yelped, pulling closed the cloth on the doorway. Guess I should have anticipated that, Shallan thought, covering her blush by sucking in a burst of Stormlight. She folded her arms and regarded the others as they—lazily—climbed to their feet and saluted. They were only twelve men now. Some had made their way to other jobs. A few others had died in the Battle of Narak.

She now realized that Adolin was right. That was a terrible attitude. These men were a resource and, all things considered, had been remarkably loyal. Vathah shrugged, but some of the others looked disappointed. Maybe Adolin was right; maybe deep down, men like this did need something to do. Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads. All comments must meet the community standards outlined in Tor. Thank you for keeping the discussion, and our community, civil and respectful. Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website.

To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices. Most painfully, I have killed someone who loved me dearly.

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The girl stepped toward it, looking up, straining to see the top. There is a wall. Do not go beyond it, or you shall die. The girl thrust her finger pointedly toward the wall. Well, Dalinar had told her to practice. At least… not recently. I must know what happened. Did she turn back?

She needed to get back to the markets. Can a person look that much like a shadow? I was thinking on the lie. Was this— Something moved in the slot. A spren, she thought, trembling. It is some strange kind of spren. I regularly cycle past the house in Chelsea Bridge Road, where Jerome wrote this classic, and seeing the blue plaque always brings a smile to my face as I picture him staring out of the window of the top-floor flat, the Thames just about visible. And I imagine him writing about pleasure-boating today, and all the posh married couples swearing at each other in their huge fibre-glass cabin cruisers as they struggle to moor up beside the Harvester Inn, Cookham.

Chosen by Geoff Dyer. I am not exaggerating when I say that Thomas Bernhard is the funniest writer ever and that Extinction , his last novel, is his funniest. The narrator is in Rome when he learns that his parents and brother have been killed in a car crash back in Austria. Experiences from the Outside World is published by Canongate. Chosen by Bridget Christie. I read it when I was about 26 and working on an old Fleet Street newspaper very like the one described in the novel. One day, I really must get round to suing the author for all my osteopath bills.

Before that, The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis made me snort, shudder and chortle with embarrassed glee. I have never been able to tune in to Lord Emsworth , but the Jeeves-Wooster relationship has a tensely comic energy. A few years ago, I heard Terry Wogan read the famous Gussie Fink-Nottle prize-giving speech to a large audience at the Cheltenham festival. They say you could hear the laughter in Birmingham.

Its graphic style and dark undertow seemed far more European than most anglophone books. It is Canadian, though, and for my money the funniest book ever written, and here is why: And if you know any children at all, you will be reading it a lot. It is funny in whatever language you read it 22 and counting and to almost every child in the world. But there are times, and surely the present is one of them, when to do so is manifestly unnecessary. Chosen by Marina Lewycka.

The worse the world gets, the more we need to laugh. But my all-time favourite is What a Carve Up! The Radio 4 adaptation of the book was written by none other than David Nobbs. This is not a book to be read in public. It should be enjoyed in private, where you can laugh, scream and dribble at your pleasure, without fear of being arrested. It is funny and touching, and his accounts of trying to learn French will leave you spitting up the windows.

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