Imagine for a moment you were a respected leader of a group of men that was part of a large army. Then imagine that because you went after a man laying waste to the other members of your army you were forced to be a slave for the rest of your life. You didn’t do anything but try to protect those men you were put in charge of for a single battle, but nevertheless, because the soldier your group attacked was a lighteyes, and therefore of a higher status than you, the end result was slavery. How about that for a life change?
That’s exactly what happened to Kaladin in this chapter. The last time we saw him he was boldly fighting in battle, powerful, majestic even with his skills. And now he’s a slave.
We’ve jumped forward again in time, this time by eight months and Kaladin is traveling across a wasteland in the back of a wagon filled with other slaves. He knows not what his ultimate fate will be, but he does know that after trying to escape his various owners over the past eight months there is little reason to try any longer. He’s tired, worn down, and sick of living. At one point, he even contemplates suicide, but accidentally loses his only method of achieving that particular escape.
One of Kaladin’s wagon-mates is a very sickly slave who Kaladin quickly diagnoses in his head. He figures out that the other slave has a common cough that could easily be treated by giving him an extra portion of water each day with a little sugar mixed in if available. At one of the stops the wagon makes Kaladin mentions this to the very unpleasant slave master and all of a sudden the sick slave is beaten to death by the guards instead of nursed back to health. This enrages Kaladin and he swears that one day he will kill the slave master. It’s clear that Kaladin has some sort of past that left him with extensive medical knowledge of some sort, but we haven’t been told what that background is as of yet. I’m not sure if all that knowledge will be helpful to Kaladin as the book continues or not, but I do find it quite interesting.
Also in this chapter we get a little more information about spren. Apparently there are all sorts of them and they surround the people in this universe Sanderson has created for the reader at all times but are often not visible to the naked eye. There are painspren what appear when someone is hurting, waterspren that dance in the water, and more importantly to this particular chapter, windspren. There is a particular windspren that seems to be following Kaladin for whatever reason and he finds it rather annoying.
But, his annoyance turns to curiosity rather quickly when all of a sudden this windspren speaks to him. That isn’t supposed to happen and Kaladin finds himself somewhat concerned and shaken by the development. I’m positive this is going to be important at some point further on in the book.
“The slave’s black eyes glanced upward, toward Kaladin’s forehead, which bore three brands. The first two made a glyphpair, given to him eight months ago on his last day in Amaram’s army. The third was fresh, given to him by his most recent master. Shash, the last glyph read. Dangerous.”
After failing Tien, then Dallet and his team, then ten successive groups of slaves, it was hard to find the will to try again.”
Spren didn’t use people’s names. Spren weren’t intelligent. The larger ones—like windspren or riverspren—could mimic voices and expressions, but they didn’t actually think.”
QUESTIONS I’M LEFT TO PONDER
- Is this windspren that talks to Kaladin going to be important to the story?
- Why does Kaladin know so much about healing?
A complete list of posts in this BRICK series can be found here.