Think about it, imagine a world where Kaladin was born a little earlier, or Dalinar and Elokhar started their uniting of Alethkar later. They’re going through the country, destroying villages to weaken resolve.
In this dangerous time, all boys old enough are taught to fight, even the son of a pacifist surgeon, in the hopes that it would add even a few seconds onto their lives.
Sadeas is promised the small farming town of Hearthstone once they capture it, which they don’t expect to be hard at all when none of the men there are anything more than simple farmers and townfolk. However, to Blackthorn’s surprise, there is a commotion on one side of the battle. He pushes through the fighting men to see a young lad, barely old enough to fight, mowing down men like a master of the spear. The young lad is dispatching dozens of his own, highly trained, men. He is standing over the corpse of an even younger boy, and tears are streaming down his face but still he fights, swift as the wind.
Blackthorn can’t help but laugh, amazed and gleeful at the pure skill he sees in the youngster. So he makes the offer that he has made so many times before, the offer that had gained him the best archer in the land. The boy’’s face shutters as Blackthorn offers to let his town escape as unscathed as possible, and the warmonger smiles. He’s confident that the boy will make the choice so many others have. He even begins planning his training. He has made this offer dozens of times over, and they always agreed. They would always-
The boy’s face hardens, and he lunges for Blackthorn’s throat.