“Wait!” Kaladin cried out as he recovered from hearing THOSE words spoken by the stranger, but he was too late and his words were met with only the residual slam of a door. The outburst did succeed in drawing the attention of all others in the room, and they stared at him. Well, all stared at him besides Roshone, who had yet to meet Kaladin’s eyes since the teen had saved him hours previous.
Lirin placed a firm hand on his son’s shoulder, looking at him questioningly. Kaladin struggled not to squirm, knowing that he held the attention of the entire village and hating the scrutiny. Still, he answered his father’s silent question. “Those words… they the first… they are part of becoming a radient, part of what I do.”
Lirin sucked in a short, sharp breath, and mutterings echoed throughout the room. “What does that mean?”
Kaladin turned to look for Syl, but she was gone, having followed after the invader. “It means I have to speak to him. I need to know what he knows.”
Lirin was silent for a moment then nodded, “Then we will.” He looked to Roshone, a command in his eyes. The lighteyes let out a gusty sigh, obviously not looking forward to any meeting involving the two surgeons, but he couldn’t ignore what was happening. The man handed the bag of grain to a nearby man.
“Place some of this by the nest of that cremling that’s been plaguing the kitchens. Either we’ll know its safe, or we’ll finally be rid of the pest eating out stores.”
The man nodded, but didn’t move. Nobody seemed to want to miss whatever was happening with Kaladin. Roshone rolled his eyes but turned to the two men. “My soldiers took him to the old kennels. It was the closest we had to a dungeon. Almighty bless that he’s more willing to speak down there than he was here.”
“He’ll talk.” Kaladin said, though he didn’t know where the confidence came from. Roshone shuddered at the boy’s words, but led their small group after the soldiers. The men were guarding the door to the kennels when the three entered, and Roshone glared at the men before they entered. He pointed one finger imperiously at Kaladin, still avoiding looking at his directly.
“Stay silent, at least at first. I want to give away as little as possible. It’s more likely than not that he’s a spy, sent by the man who saw you glowing to fill your head with lies.”
Kaladin felt a chill go through him. He hadn’t considered that, he’d been too excited to get answers, to speak with someone who might actually know what’s going on. Syl appeared from behind the door, comforting Kaladin. She would know if the stranger was lying.
Roshone led the way in, but Kaladin made sure to place himself strategically between the invader and his father.
The man stood in one of the axehound kennels, hands bound behind his back. He eyed the three men as they entered, and Kaladin could almost feel him weighing them, trying to decide who was the one that would recognize his signal.
He eyed the blood stains that covered both Lirin and Kaladin, Lirins from healing and Kaladin’s from fighting. He looked into each of their eyes, noting their color and brightness.
Syl danced around his head, “I think you can trust this one Kaladin, I can feel it.”
The young radient’s eyes followed the spren, until suddenly he felt the gaze of the stranger like a seating heat. He looked down and met the eyes of a man who knew, the simple act of watching a hidden spren enough to reveal Kaladin’s secret.
Kaladin took a deep breath, but in his tense state the act caused him to suck in the stormlight of the lit sphere his father always made sure to carry. The invaders eyes widened.
“Kaleck’s breath… you really have returned.”
Kaladin straightened. He stepped forward, cutting off Roshone and advancing on the stranger. He was a knight radiant, it was about storming time he acted like it. No more hiding beside his father.
“What do you know about what I am?”
Dalinar took another long drink of his wine and wished it was a stronger color. Sades had advised against that though, and as much as Dalinar hated it, he agreed. He needed to be sober for this conversation.
The spanreed began moving and he grumbled under his breath, “Storming finally.” Spanreeds were amazing things, the ability to communicate with others across Roshar was incredible, but at moments like these even they seemed to take forever.
Then again, at moments like this sometimes even a direct conversation could seem to take far too longer. The man sighed in relief when his scribe finally began reading the reply. The message was written in Navani’s own hand and revealed that the king was accompanied by a few of his advisors, his young heir Elhokar, his daughter Jasnah, and even Evi and Ialai. Dalinar was surprised by the last two, but it seemed Navani was entertaining the when when the notice came, and that the women had insisted on coming when they heard it was news from their husbands. Dalinar suspected that the truth was that Ialai had insisted, Evi wasn’t the type to try and force others to her will, but he ignored it in favor of much more important conversation.
He and Sadeas both gave their report, speaking as frankly and truthly as possible. They acted as soldiers delivering a fried report to their superior, ignoring the fact that what they said was more similar to children’s stories than a battle break down.
Gavilar’s reply came immediately, and it wasn’t what Dalinar was expecting. “What did he say? What were his exact words right before he started glowing? The EXACT phrasing.”
Dalinar frowned, but the memory was etched into his mind. “I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
Sadeas, who obviously hadn’t been paying the boy as much as Dalinar, waved a hand dismissively. “Something about protecting those he hates or some such nonsense. Gavilar’s, do you know what’s going on?”
There was a moment of terse waiting as the scribe recorded their words and they waited for a reply.
“Possibly, but I want to know for sure before I reveal my though, so that I am not proven to be one of the ten fools. I am assigning Jasnah to research this, here in Kholinar and even in Karbranth if we don’t have the resources.”
Dalinar nodded at that. Jasnah had just graduated from her wardship, but already he had heard that she was being highly praised by academics. More than that, she was trustworthy and loyal, traits one could never be sure of when relying on hired scribes.
However, Gavilar’s wasn’t finished. “As we speak I am having Elhokar begin preparing a team small enough to move quickly. I should be with you in a few weeks at the most, depending on highstorms. If I’m right, we are on the brink of something that will change all of Roshar. Dalinar, this may be the most important thing we’ve ever done.”
The most important thing they’ve ever done? More important than uniting Alethkar? Storms what was the man saying. Gavilar’s had been acting oddly lately, ever since he’d had that book read to him… no, no matter. This was his King, Dalinar was simply the weapon he pointed.
“Fine.” He grumbled. “We will hold the keep until you arrive.” With that he expected the conversation to be over, and he was surprised when the spanreed moved again, writing in a clearly different script than Navani. It was Evi.
Dalinar signed as his scribe read out the message, but he couldn’t very well argue with it, not when he was likely to be stuck in this cursed town for weeks while Gavilar enacted whatever plan he had, not when he needed a scribe he trusted more than ever. Not when he needed her calm solidity so much.
He gave the scribe an affirmative nod and left the tent. Apparently, he had to find a place to house his wife and sons. Storms, he wished the boy had just taken his offer.