Sadeas was not a coward. He’d ridden into hundreds of battles without hesitation, slayed thousands of enemies. He stood beside two of the most feared men in all of Alethkar and coundted them friends. He had faced men on horseback, men in plate, and men with forces that far outnumbed his, and he’d done it all without flinching. He’d done it without hesitation, not a tremor of fear in his heart. So when the boy first began glowing he’d faced it like any other threat, without pause and with extreme prejudice. Sure it was odd, but at the end of the day it was just another man standing in his way.
Sadeas was no coward, but storms, when your enemy suddenly reveals a shardblade that can change shape and they can fly, well, Sadeas decided that this was probably more to Dalinar’s interest.
Still the man did not flee, rather he… made a very sudden strategic retreat, heart pounding in his chest and mind whirling. The boy let him leave, though he kept his spear leveled at the brightlord’s chest.
Kaladin had no storming idea what was happening.
He’d chosen to protect Roshone, despite the war battling in his heart. He’d said the words like Syl had always insisted, despite not knowing what good it would do. He should have paid far more attention to the ardents when they spoke of the Radients, for now he held a Shardblade, held Syl sharpenened to deadly point.
Syl had claimed that he would be able to do amazing things, that the bond would change him just as it changed her, but he never would have imagined all this. Storms, how long had he been able to do this? Since he first met her? Since she’d told him of the first ideal, so long ago? Since he’d said the first set of words to the Blackthorn?
He was flying for Stormfather’s sake. All he’d thought was that he wanted to be higher than his opponents, to gain the upper hand, and now he was floating off the ground.
The soldiers fled, and at another time Kaladin might have pursued them, but at the moment he could only keep his spear straight and hope he didn’t look as completely bewildered as he felt.
How was he supposed to get down?
“The same way you got up.” A voice said in his head. Kaladin started, but glanced at the spear still held in his hand.
“And how did I do that?”
“I don’t know, you’re the one who did it.”
Kaladin opened his mouth to reply, but before he could there was a thunderous sound from behind the door he was guarding. The fighting men of Hearthstone had finally rallied and come to protect the keep. Not wanting to get crushed when the men threw the door open, Kaladin somehow instinctively threw himself forward, towards the wall on the other side of the room, and then crashed into it as if it were the floor.
“Ouch,” He mumbled, getting to his feet, only to see in a sharp moment of shock that he was still somehow on the wall. It was as if the keep stood sideways, the wall becoming the floor and the floor a wall. Beside Kaladin’s feet lay one of the rooms many lamps, and the furniture seemed to be protruding from the wall, as did the soldiers that were rapidly filling the room.
For a moment they gaped at Kaladin, and Kaladin gaped back, unable to give a good answer as to what was happening.
Finally one of the men spoke, “Somebody get Lirin!”
Kaladin’s father must have been close, for almost no time passed before he was pushing through the gawking farmers-turned-soldiers, and running to his son. The surgeon had nearly reached his son when the last of Kaladin’s stormlight petered off and he fell to the floor in front of his father, only barely managing to catch himself before faceplanting onto the stone floor.
“Um, Father, theres something that I should probably have told you a long time ago…”
Blackthorn stood ready at the main doors of the keep. Sadeas had managed to sneak in through the back and should fight his way to the main gate to let the rest of the army in any moment now. Dalinar couldn’t think about the odd boy, the magnificent fighter who had seemed to inhale stormlight like men drank water. No, he must have imagined it. Either way, he was prepared now. He would not lose to this child. He-
The warrior’s concentration was broken when a figure in green shardplate on a large horse-not a ryshadium of course- broke through Dalinar’s ranks. Sadeas? But he was supposed to be in the keep making them a way to enter.
“Sadeas? What happened?”
“I-” The usually composed and sly man seemed shaken, shocked in a way that Dalinar had never seen before. “Dalinar, there is a man in there with powers the likes of which I have never seen.”
“A youth?” Dalinar asked, his heart sinking. He’d known he hadn’t imagined it, but he almost wished… “Long dark hair? He glows and is surprisingly strong?”
“Dalinar, he had a Shardblade.”
“And not a sword, but a spear. And a sheild. IT transformed, Dalinar, changed shape. He was flying.”
Dalinar’s mouth opened, but he found nothing could come out. Storms, could he really fight a man like that? A man who could fly, with a shardblade that he could change at will? More than that, should he try to kill a man like that? Was he perhaps a herald, come in a new form because of the destruction he and his brother had wrought? Was it a Radient, returning despite abandoning the world?
He wanted to attack, it was what he did. It was all he knew how to do, but… he knew enough to know that this was something greater than a fight, greater than this tiny town. So he reluctantly removed his helm.
“We need to inform Gavilar, have him set his scribes and scholars to work and get some answers. Once we know more we can act.”
Sadeas seemed reluctant, but he agreed, and Dalinar turned his gaze back into the formoding building. “Until then, we surround this keep. Don’t let anyone in or out, and keep them from collecting any supplies. Have archers at the ready, if he can really fly then that will be the best defense we have. Storms, a flying man.” He shook his head.
“Also, have at least one shardbearer standing guard as well. For now, we won’t provoke until we know more, but we will be prepared if he brings the fight to us. If he does, kill him.”
Teft glared at the meager collection of spheres in his hand. He needed double this and then some if he was going to get a decent bowl of moss. Storming campaign made it even more difficult to get the moss, it would be much cheaper if this were a stationary war, but no. The sellers had to work hard to transport and preserve the drug, which drove up the cost.
Maybe if he-
“I’m telling you, he was flying, glowing like a sphere fresh out of a highstorm.”
What? Teft froze, eavesdropping on two of the soldiers. The one speaking had been one of those who went ahead with Sadeas into the keep, and he seemed solemn as he spoke to his disbelieving friend. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Yeah, and how much did you have to drink at the tavern last night.”
“Sadeas fled, do you really think any normal fighter could have done that. The man had a shardblade-but it was a spear. I’m telling you, this is-”
They continued walking down the street, going too far for Teft to listen, but he felt nearly numb. Flying? Glowing? A Shardblade? It couldn’t be. Still, even in the depth of his denial, his mind swam with memories, with recollections of stories he’d heard sitting at his parent’s feet and when tucked into bed. Kaleck’s breath. Why him? Why now?
Unable to move past the shock, Teft stood frozen in the middle of the street for several long moments. However, when another soldier walked past telling of the same exact miracle, it pushed him into action. He moved to one of the warcamp followers wagons he known for selling cheap, soulcast grains. He doubted that anyone in the keep would be happy to see him, they likely wouldn’t even believe that he was a deserter at first, but hopefully the combination of a trained soldier and an offering of food would warm them up a bit.
If there truly was a radient in that building, there was no way he was missing it.