Perched on the side of one of Urithiru's many drops, Kaladin stared down, thinking. It would be so easy to simply fall. Just let himself drop down, down, down... The feeling of weightlessness, as he fell, then catching himself at the last second, to fall back into the sky. It was wonderful; he lived for that feeling.
Kaladin was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of footsteps on stone. His right hand reached out, subtly preparing to summon Syl—
He let it drop, grunting in response instead. "Princeling," he replied, not glancing up as Adolin settled in beside him.
"You storming Radiants," Adolin muttered, shifting. "It's colder than a chull's backside up here, and you're not even wearing a proper coat."
Kaladin hadn't noticed that he was holding a small amount of Stormlight, fending off the cold. The strange metaphor had him frowning in confusion, though.
"What does that even mean?"
"No idea," Adolin said, flashing a brilliant smile that Kaladin could barely keep himself from returning—at least a little, "it just sounded good in my head."
Kaladin resisted the urge to roll his eyes instead. "Your definition of clever needs some work, Princeling."
Adolin shifted, the gleaming shardblade resting on his thighs catching the light. Why he had it summoned...well, Kaladin had his suspicions. Resigning himself to an afternoon of getting battered around the training grounds, he made to stand.
"Kaladin." The sound of his name brought Kaladin up short. Wordlessly, he dropped back down from his half-rise. Adolin was staring intently at his Shardblade. "Do you remember—" Adolin stopped, breathed deeply, and started again. "In Shadesmar. She—the spren. The deadeye—saved me. On her own. She jumped on a Fused and—"
Kaladin frowned as Adolin trailed off. Glancing at Syl, he said. "Can they do that? I thought they didn't—I mean, she's dead, isn't she?" Or as close to as a spren really could be. "She doesn't have a will." Only compulsions.
Syl, who had been stalking a beetle, but left her prey to attend their conversation, nodded slowly. "That...I think that's right? I don't know very much about it, but a spren whose bond is broken dies. Dead things can't just come back to life, right Kaladin?"
He nodded. "It must have just been a fluke, Adolin. Even Syl agrees. It's just...just a Blade, now."
Adolin was shaking his head before Kaladin had even finished speaking. "Maya."
Kaladin frowned. "Maya?"
"Her names. It's Mayalaran. She told me, Kaladin." Before Kaladin could get a word in edgewise, he was continuing, all but tripping over his own words in his rush to get them out. "I don't know how to explain it, but she's...I can feel her. When she's worried for me. When she's frustrated. When she's happy. Kaladin...she's still in there. When I was fighting the Thunderclast, I would have died, if not for her. She...she had to come to me or else I'd be dead. And she did. In seven heartbeats."
Kaladin had no words for that, but Adolin's honest earnestness was infectious; it was hard not to find hope when meeting his gaze. "Princeling..." Reaching over, he grasped the Blade's—Maya's—hilt.
And let it go just as quickly.
"Kaladin?" Syl asked, hovering over to float at eye level with him.
"The sword, it—she—she didn't scream."
"Wait—didn't?" Adolin pressed. "As in, no screaming? Like with your own Blade? Or Shallan's?"
Slowly, Kaladin nodded. "Storms, Princeling, I...I think you're right." But how? And why? Could it have something to do with Adolin and...Maya having met in Shadesmar? To every other wielder of a Shardblade, the Blade was simply a tool, whose true face they never saw. Adolin, though, was unique. He had seen the, admittedly altered, face of Maya. And right after that, she had started waking up.
That couldn't be a coincidence.
Or could it? Adolin's—Storms, Adolin was a good person, kind and earnest. Kaladin knew full well that he was kinder, more personable, to his Blade than probably anyone else alive, save the Radiants themselves. What if that was it?
What if it was both?
"Kaladin?" Syl asked. She was hanging upside down in front of him, dangling from a branch she had conjured into the air.
"This could be...really big, Syl," he supplied, shaking his head. "If we can awaken others..."
The secrets of the past. How many would they hold? The Stormfather, what would he say—
The Stormfather! All of his prohibitions on Syl bonding him were kind of moot, now, weren't they? At least potentially. Perhaps, with this...others would come. Perhaps others could be rebonded. It made his head hurt just thinking about it.
"We need...we need to tell someone. Your aunt. She can look into this more. And your father, he can—"
"I know, Bridgeboy, but...first, there's something Maya and I both want from you." Kaladin frowned, turning from Syl to catch his gaze. Adolin was smiling brilliantly. "I told you that you needed to practise sword fighting. Maya agrees. So up'n'at 'em, Bridgeboy. To the training yard."
Kaladin sighed, audibly as he stood. And here he thought he had escaped that fate.
But how could he refuse that smile?