Words of radiance, p.1
Words of Radiance, p.1Part #2 of The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
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For Oliver Sanderson,
Who was born during the middle of the writing of this book, and was walking by the time it was done.
As you might imagine, producing a book in the Stormlight Archive is a major undertaking. It involved almost eighteen months of writing, from outline to final revision, and includes the artwork of four different individuals and the editorial eyes of a whole host of people, not to mention the teams at Tor who do production, publicity, marketing, and everything else a major book needs in order to be successful.
For some two decades now, the Stormlight Archive has been my dream—the story I always wished I could tell. The people you’ll read about below quite literally make my dreams a reality, and there aren’t words to express my gratitude for their efforts. First in line on this novel needs to be my assistant and primary continuity editor, the incumbent Peter Ahlstrom. He worked very long hours on this book, putting up with my repeated insistence that things which did not fit continuity actually did—eventually persuading me I was wrong far more often than not.
As always, Moshe Feder—the man who discovered me as a writer—did excellent editorial work on the book. Joshua Bilmes, my agent, worked hard on the book in both an agenting and editorial capacity. He’s joined by Eddie Schneider, Brady “Words of Bradiance” McReynolds, Krystyna Lopez, Sam Morgan, and Christa Atkinson at the agency. At Tor, Tom Doherty put up with me delivering a book even longer than the last one when I promised to make it shorter. Terry McGarry did the copyediting, Irene Gallo is responsible for the art direction for the cover, Greg Collins for interior design, Brian Lipofsky’s team at Westchester Publishing Services for compositing, Meryl Gross and Karl Gold for production, Patty Garcia and her team for publicity. Paul Stevens acted as superman whenever we needed him. A big thanks to all of you.
You may have noticed that this volume, like the one before it, includes amazing art. My vision for the Stormlight Archive has always been of a series that transcended common artistic expectations for a book of its nature. As such, it is an honor to once again have my favorite artist, Michael Whelan, involved in the project. I feel that his cover has captured Kaladin perfectly, and I am extremely grateful for the extra time he spent on the cover—at his own insistence—going through three drafts before he was satisfied. To have endpapers of Shallan as well is more than I had hoped to see for the book, and I’m humbled by how well this whole package came together.
When I pitched the Stormlight Archive, I spoke of having “guest star” artists do pieces for the books here and there. We have our first of those in this novel, for which Dan dos Santos (another of my personal favorite artists, and the man who did the cover for Warbreaker) agreed to do some interior illustrations.
Ben McSweeney graciously returned to do more brilliant sketchbook pages for us, and he is a pure delight to work with. Quick to recognize what I want, sometimes even when I’m not quite sure what I want, I’ve rarely met a person who mixes talent and professionalism in the way Ben does. You can find more of his art at InkThinker.net.
A long time ago, almost ten years now, I met a man named Isaác Stewart who—in addition to being an aspiring writer—was an excellent artist, particularly when it came to things like maps and symbols. I started collaborating with him on books (starting with Mistborn) and he eventually set me up on a blind date with a woman named Emily Bushman—whom I subsequently married. So needless to say, I owe Isaac a few big favors. With each progressive book he works on, that debt on my part grows greater as I see the amazing work he has done. This year, we decided to make his involvement a little more official as I hired him full-time to be an in-house artist and to help me with administrative tasks. So if you see him, welcome him to the team. (And tell him to keep working on his own books, which are quite good.)
Also joining us at Dragonsteel Entertainment is Kara Stewart, Isaac’s wife, as our shipping manager. (I actually tried to hire Kara first—and Isaac piped up noting that some of the things I wanted to hire her for, he could do. And it ended up that I got both of them, in a very convenient deal.) She’s the one you’ll interact with if you order T-shirts, posters, or the like through my website. And she’s awesome.
We used a few expert consultants on this book, including Matt Bushman for his songwriting and poetry expertise. Ellen Asher gave some great direction on the scenes with horses, and Karen Ahlstrom was an additional poetry and song consultant. Mi’chelle Walker acted as Alethi handwriting consultant. Finally, Elise Warren gave us some very nice notes relating to the psychology of a key character. Thank you all for lending me your brains.
This book had an extensive beta read done under some strict time constraints, and so a hearty bridgeman salute goes to those who participated. They are: Jason Denzel, Mi’chelle Walker, Josh Walker, Eric Lake, David Behrens, Joel Phillips, Jory Phillips, Kristina Kugler, Lyndsey Luther, Kim Garrett, Layne Garrett, Brian Delambre, Brian T. Hill, Alice Arneson, Bob Kluttz, and Nathan Goodrich.
Proofreaders at Tor include Ed Chapman, Brian Connolly, and Norma Hoffman. Community proofreaders include Adam Wilson, Aubree and Bao Pham, Blue Cole, Chris King, Chris Kluwe, Emily Grange, Gary Singer, Jakob Remick, Jared Gerlach, Kelly Neumann, Kendra Wilson, Kerry Morgan, Maren Menke, Matt Hatch, Patrick Mohr, Richard Fife, Rob Harper, Steve Godecke, Steve Karam, and Will Raboin.
My writing group managed to get through about half of the book, which is a lot, considering how long the novel is. They are an invaluable resource to me. Members are: Kaylynn ZoBell, Kathleen Dorsey Sanderson, Danielle Olsen, Ben-son-son-Ron, E. J. Patten, Alan Layton, and Karen Ahlstrom.
And finally, thanks to my loving (and rambunctious) family. Joel, Dallin, and little Oliver help keep me humble each day by always making me be the “bad guy” who gets beat up. My forgiving wife, Emily, put up with a lot this past year, as tours grew long, and I’m still not sure what I did to deserve her. Thank you all for making my world one of magic.
Prologue: To Question
Part One: Alight
2. Bridge Four
4. Taker of Secrets
6. Terrible Destruction
7. Open Flame
8. Knives in the Back • Soldiers on the Field
9. Walking the Grave
10. Red Carpet Once White
11. An Illusion of Perception
I-4. Last Legion
Part Two: Winds’ Approach
13. The Day’s Masterpiece
15. A Hand with the Tower
17. A Pattern
19. Safe Things
20. The Coldness of Clarity
22. Lights in the Storm
26. The Feather
27. Fabrications to Distract
29. Rule of Blood
30. Nature Blushing
31. The Stillness Before
32. The One Who Hates
34. Blossoms and Cake
I-5. The Rider of Storms
I-8. A Form of Power
Part Three: Deadly
35. The Multiplied Strain of Simultaneous Infusion
36. A New Woman
37. A Matter of Perspective
38. The Silent Storm
42. Mere Vapors
43. The Ghostbloods
44. One Form of Justice
47. Feminine Wiles
48. No More Weakness
49. Watching the World Transform
50. Uncut Gems
52. Into the Sky
54. Veil’s Lesson
55. The Rules of the Game
56. Whitespine Uncaged
57. To Kill the Wind
58. Never Again
I-11. New Rhythms
Part Four: The Approach
60. Veil Walks
62. The One Who Killed Promises
63. A Burning World
65. The One Who Deserves It
67. Spit and Bile
70. From a Nightmare
72. Selfish Reasons
73. A Thousand Scurrying Creatures
74. Striding the Storm
75. True Glory
I-13. A Part to Play
Part Five: Winds Alight
76. The Hidden Blade
79. Toward the Center
80. To Fight the Rain
81. The Last Day
82. For Glory Lit
83. Time’s Illusion
84. The One Who Saves
85. Swallowed by the Sky
86. Patterns of Light
87. The Riddens
88. The Man Who Owned the Winds
89. The Four
Epilogue: Art and Expectation
Tor Books by Brandon Sanderson
About the Author
NOTE: Many illustrations, titles included, contain spoilers for material that comes before them in the book. Look ahead at your own risk.
Map of Roshar
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Santhid
Bridge Four Tattoos
Map of the Southern Frostlands
Scroll of Stances
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Pattern
Folio: Contemporary Male Fashion
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Unclaimed Hills Lait Flora
Navani’s Notebook: Archery Constructions
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Shardplate
Folio: Azish Public Servant Designs
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Walks
Map of Stormseat
Life Cycle of a Chull
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Chasm Life
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Chasmfiend
Shallan’s Sketchbook: Whitespine
Representation of the Shape of the Shattered Plains
Navani’s Notebook: Battle Map
Navani’s Notebook: Ketek
SIX YEARS AGO
Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed.
She wandered through the crowded feast hall, listening as wine greased tongues and dimmed minds. Her uncle Dalinar was in the full swing of it, rising from the high table to shout for the Parshendi to bring out their drummers. Jasnah’s brother, Elhokar, hurried to shush their uncle—though the Alethi politely ignored Dalinar’s outburst. All save Elhokar’s wife, Aesudan, who snickered primly behind a handkerchief.
Jasnah turned away from the high table and continued through the room. She had an appointment with an assassin, and she was all too glad to be leaving the stuffy room, which stank of too many perfumes mingling. A quartet of women played flutes on a raised platform across from the lively hearth, but the music had long since grown tedious.
Unlike Dalinar, Jasnah drew stares. Like flies to rotten meat those eyes were, constantly following her. Whispers like buzzing wings. If there was one thing the Alethi court enjoyed more than wine, it was gossip. Everyone expected Dalinar to lose himself to wine during a feast—but the king’s daughter, admitting to heresy? That was unprecedented.
Jasnah had spoken of her feelings for precisely that reason.
She passed the Parshendi delegation, which clustered near the high table, talking in their rhythmic language. Though this celebration honored them and the treaty they’d signed with Jasnah’s father, they didn’t look festive or even happy. They looked nervous. Of course, they weren’t human, and the way they reacted was sometimes odd.
Jasnah wanted to speak with them, but her appointment would not wait. She’d intentionally scheduled the meeting for the middle of the feast, as so many would be distracted and drunken. Jasnah headed toward the doors but then stopped in place.
Her shadow was pointing in the wrong direction.
The stuffy, shuffling, chattering room seemed to grow distant. Highprince Sadeas walked right through the shadow, which quite distinctly pointed toward the sphere lamp on the wall nearby. Engaged in conversation with his companion, Sadeas didn’t notice. Jasnah stared at that shadow—skin growing clammy, stomach clenched, the way she felt when she was about to vomit. Not again. She searched for another light source. A reason. Could she find a reason? No.
The shadow languidly melted back toward her, oozing to her feet and then stretching out the other way. Her tension eased. But had anyone else seen?
Blessedly, as she searched the room, she didn’t find any aghast stares. People’s attention had been drawn by the Parshendi drummers, who were clattering through the doorway to set up. Jasnah frowned as she noticed a non-Parshendi servant in loose white clothing helping them. A Shin man? That was unusual.
Jasnah composed herself. What did these episodes of hers mean? Superstitious folktales she’d read said that misbehaving shadows meant you were cursed. She usually dismissed such things as nonsense, but some superstitions were rooted in fact. Her other experiences proved that. She would need to investigate further.
The calm, scholarly thoughts felt like a lie compared to the truth of her cold, clammy skin and the sweat trickling down the back of her neck. But it was important to be rational at all times, not just when calm. She forced herself out through the doors, leaving the muggy room for the quiet hallway. She’d chosen the back exit, commonly used by servants. It was the most direct route, after all.
Here, master-servants dressed in black and white moved on errands from their brightlords or ladies. She had expected that, but had not anticipated the sight of her father standing just ahead, in quiet conference with Brightlord Meridas Amaram. What was the king doing out here?
Gavilar Kholin was shorter than Amaram, yet the latter stooped shallowly in the king’s company. That was common around Gavilar, who would speak with such quiet intensity that you wanted to lean in and listen, to catch every word and implication. He was a handsome man, unlike his brother, with a beard that outlined his strong jaw
Tearim, captain of the King’s Guard, loomed behind them. He wore Gavilar’s Shardplate; the king himself had stopped wearing it of late, preferring to entrust it to Tearim, who was known as one of the world’s great duelists. Instead, Gavilar wore robes of a majestic, classical style.
Jasnah glanced back at the feast hall. When had her father slipped out? Sloppy, she accused herself. You should have checked to see if he was still there before leaving.
Ahead, he rested his hand on Amaram’s shoulder and raised a finger, speaking harshly but quietly, the words indistinct to Jasnah.
“Father?” she asked.
He glanced at her. “Ah, Jasnah. Retiring so early?”
“It’s hardly early,” Jasnah said, gliding forward. It seemed obvious to her that Gavilar and Amaram had ducked out to find privacy for their discussion. “This is the tiresome part of the feast, where the conversation grows louder but no smarter, and the company drunken.”
“Many people consider that sort of thing enjoyable.”
“Many people, unfortunately, are idiots.”
Her father smiled. “Is it terribly difficult for you?” he asked softly. “Living with the rest of us, suffering our average wits and simple thoughts? Is it lonely to be so singular in your brilliance, Jasnah?”
She took it as the rebuke it was, and found herself blushing. Even her mother Navani could not do that to her.
“Perhaps if you found pleasant associations,” Gavilar said, “you would enjoy the feasts.” His eyes swung toward Amaram, whom he’d long fancied as a potential match for her.
It would never happen. Amaram met her eyes, then murmured words of parting to her father and hastened away down the corridor.
“What errand did you give him?” Jasnah asked. “What are you about this night, Father?”
“The treaty, of course.”
The treaty. Why did he care so much about it? Others had counseled that he either ignore the Parshendi or conquer them. Gavilar insisted upon an accommodation.
“I should return to the celebration,” Gavilar said, motioning to Tearim. The two moved along the hallway toward the doors Jasnah had left.
“Father?” Jasnah said. “What is it you aren’t telling me?”
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