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    RoW Release Party ()
    #2051 (not searchable) Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    In this world, there are two competing ecologies. There's something we call "fain," and something we call "trune." And in this region, humankind, they basically can't live in the fain ecology. There's something called skullmoss that grows over everything and changes the plants; they become poisonous. And the animal flesh, humans can't survive on. We are in a city that is surrounded entirely by fain life. It's grown around, and there's a ring around the city; no one knows why it hasn't taken over the city.

    And into this comes Midius, an apprentice Lightweaver who has been tasked with helping the people of this city by a mysterious mentor figure that you're not gonna find out about, but there will be some little clues. And he is brand new at this, barely knows what he's doing, and has been tasked with figuring out the mystery and trying to save the city before it falls to the fain.

    He has entered the city, shown off some of his powers, had a different response from what he expected, and now he's found kind of a home in basically a soup kitchen for the poor that is run... they're the people who let him in.

    This is from The Liar of Partinel.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I want an opportunity to perform a story for these peoples," Midius said.

    <Razal> snorted. "Like you performed for the king with that dragon today?"

    Midius frowned. They stood in the kitchen, amidst <Razal's> bubbling pots, <Kale> dutifully stirring one to the left. The man hadn't needed to be asked. Already the room was beginning to fill with unemployed people. They sat, staring at their tables, waiting to be fed.

    "How do you know about the dragon?" Midius asked.

    <Razal> dumped a handful of spices into one of the pots. "It's all over the city, Jesk. I think it was incredibly poor taste to make the image eat an illusionary soldier."

    "I did nothing of the sort."

    "But you did create an illusion of a monster."

    "Yes," Midius admitted."

    "And now you want me to let you do something similar in here?"

    "Nothing so drastic," Midius promised, "just a simple story."

    "Why? I thought you were here to save the city or something."

    "I'm working on that," Midius said. "In the meantime, I'd like to tell a story. I think it might help these men, lift their burdens.

    <Razal> stopped pouring spices. She folded her arms, looking up at Midius. "Look, Lightweaver," she said, "you think your lies are gonna make these men happy? You think you can feed their children with a story? The Jesks failed us. Your master: he failed us."

    "Wait, when was this?"

    "Before," <Razal> said, waving a hand. "When <Torag> took control form Theus's father. The Jesks tried to placate the people, tried to tell them that a new age was coming. They spoke of art and beauty. And you know what? Their king couldn't feed us. People starved by the hundreds. Why do you think we turned to Theus?"

    Midius's frown deepened. He knew the story, the history, differently. <Torag> had killed Theus's father, true, but it hadn't been the Jesks' influence that had caused the problems during <Torag's> single, tumultuous year of rule. It'd been the lack of alliances, poor trade instincts, and general unsettlement in the city.

    And yet, the Jesks had supported him. And that was part of the reason Theus had exiled them. Still, <Razal's> version was skewed. Or perhaps Midius's was. His master had taught him the past was very difficult to pin down. "As fluid as river waters," he'd called history. "What paints on a tapestry, mixing and melding in liquid form, creating images and scents that never remained stable.

    "<Razal>," Midius said, "you suffer the philosophers, even though I can tell you think their talk is frivolous. Well, even if you see my stories as frivolous, I ask you to let me tell them."

    "Bah. You're as bad as that godspeaker, always pume to do things. Fine. Tell your story. But only after you serve food during the big eating rush."

    "Very well," Midius said, "though I do wonder why we even do it this way. Wouldn't it be faster to have the men line up and pass through to get their soup?"

    "These men spend all day waiting in line, Jesk," she said. "They wait for hours, standing in the sun and hoping to be one of the few that gets a chance to work. I don't intend to make them wait here, too. Get to work."

    Midius took a stack of bowls and moved over to <Kale's> cauldron, filling two of them. "You're good at getting what you want, Jesk," the soldier said. Midius shrugged. "I would have thought that you'd be poor at that, after living so long alone in the forest."

    "I wasn't alone in the forest," Midius said, taking the bowls and turning. "I had my master." Wasn't really an answer. But Midius didn't feel like giving the real answer. He'd always been good at making things he wanted happen. It was just the way that life was. The world worked as he wanted. Save for the notable exceptions.

    Midius didn't let him indwell on that, however. He'd mourned over his master's death enough.

    He moved about, delivering bowls of food to the men. Even after only one day in the kitchen, the work became rote to him. That left him to think and consider, trying to decide the best story for the situation. His opportunity came soon, the tide of hungry men slowing. Midius approached <Razal>, setting down an empty bowl, and met her eyes. Behind him, the sounds of dozens of wooden spoons scraping ceramic bowls echoed in the chamber.

    <Razal> turned away and waved an indifferent hand. So Midius turned and felt the increasingly familiar flutter in his chest. He grimaced. A man who had killed as many shouldn't feel such nervousness. And yet, there it was. Perhaps a sign that he was more human than he'd often give himself credit.

    "I've tried speaking about history," he announced to the room, "and I was ignored." Some of the eating men paused, glancing at him. It was easy to make his voice carry with so few people talking. "I've tried showing a monster. But I got the wrong reaction from that. I've caused enough fear in my life, and I did not come to Partinel to bring more."

    Midius put his hand up to the side and dropped a handful of dust. He wove the light into an image of a beautiful blonde woman wearing a blue crown. "So," Midius said, sitting back on a stool, "today, I'll try a romance."

    Many of the men perked up at the appearance, though not a few muttered instead. "I honestly don't know a lot about romance, myself," Midius said, tossing a handful of dust to the other side, weaving the light into the image of a princely man with a copper crown. "But then, neither have I ever met a dragon. But I can craft one from light well enough. Besides, I do know one thing. When it comes to romance, women are fickle, but men are fools."

    He smiled to the audience. Most of them watched him. However, they didn't respond as his master had indicated. When he called women fickle, he expected grunts of assent. And when he called men fools, his intonation should have garnered a few chuckles. He got neither.

    Midius moved on, throwing a handful of dust behind himself, weaving the light and blocking the sight of <Razal> and her pots, instead creating an image of a richly decorated room, complete with a bronze-rimmed looking glass and deeply dyed rugs.

    "Now, this was a time before the coming of the fain," Midius said. "Many of my stories are from that time. It does us good to remember that our lives were once more than they are, now. <Lily> was known in seven cities as the most beautiful to be born in some hundred years' time. Wives spoke of her when they washed clothing in rivers. Laborers passed news while they cut wheat in the field. Even children knew of <Lily>.

    "Eventually, news reached Prince <Helius>, heir to the throne of Lion's Hill. Now, <Helius> was not a vain man, nor was he particularly demanding. He was, however, an inquisitive man. This news troubled him. What would the most beautiful woman in the world look like? How would she dress? What color were her eyes? How would she keep her hair? He asked after these things, but no one could give him a detailed answer."

    Another handful of dust produced a group of scribes and scholars speaking with <Helius>, who stood to his left. <Lily>, however, continued to comb her hair in the room to his right, looking into her mirror. It was a challenging illusion, and Midius felt himself being drawn into the image, transfixed by it. He found it hard to pay attention to the audience as he continued to speak.

    "<Helius> determined that he would have to discover <Lily's> beauty for himself. Though his father, the king, objected, <Helius> left that day to ride for <Nanhell>, the fair woman's reported home." <Helius's> room dissolved in a shimmer, transforming into an image of a prince riding on horseback. Even focused on the illusion as he was, Midius could hear cries of surprise from the men at the tables as they saw the prince riding atop a full-sized horse.

    The illusion remained steady, the horse staying in place despite its galloping, and Midius carefully added the faint sound of hoofbeats. "<Helius's> road was long and hard," he continued, giving a slight image of rainfall to the illusion washing over the prince. "And as he approached the city, <Helius> began to encounter crowds and large troops of men. He was not the only one who had come to see <Lily's> beauty. Indeed, from the processions he soon began to pass, he wasn't even the only prince who had come. Though he certainly was the most poor and the most humble. He hadn't even brought a single manservant. His only companion was his trusted and aged bodyguard.

    "What's more, so many had come to see this princess that they crowded in tents along the walls outside. Every inn in the city was completely full. But Prince <Helius> was clever as well as inquisitive. He found an empty nook on the street, and there he began erecting a fine, extensive tent. The beggars who lived there were surprised to see one so rich pitching there, but the prince did not acknowledge them, instead chatting with his bodyguard and making up a story about how this street was the perfect location to view the princess when she went on her secret morning rides.

    "Within a few hours, news had spread, and all imaginable kinds of people had crowded the streets to stake a claim on space. <Helius> retreated to an inn and was able to get a room from one of those who had left in order to sleep on the street.

    "As his faithful bodyguard bedded down down on the floor, <Helius> sat by the window, pondering. Then he spotted an old woman walking among those in the street, saying something that seemed to make people there angry. Her attitude intrigued <Helius>, and he sent his guard out to fetch the old woman."

    Midius threw out dust in front of him, creating the image of the old woman. He was completely engrossed in his own telling, prepared to move on to the old woman's warning that Princess <Lily> was cursed. As he began this part, however, the illusion wavered, <Razal> cautiously poking through, causing a shimmering of sparking dust to fall to the ground and shattering the back of <Helius's> room.

    Midius blinked, bought out of his own story enough to again become aware of the audience. Many of the men were muttering loudly, and some had left the room, leaving their soup behind. Midius shook his head, coming conscious again, his illusion disintegrating. People, objects, rooms, melting down into bits of dust.

    "You've had your chance, Jesk," <Razal> snapped. "Stop frightening these men away."

    "But the story..."

    "They don't care about your story, Jesk. Lies and fain illusions; what good are they?"

    "Fain illusions? You think what I do is fain?"

    "Well, it's not natural, I'll say that."

    Midius looked around, sensing the hostility in the faces of the watching men. Embarrassed, he stood, last of the illusions exploding into dust behind him. Then he rushed from the room, moving to his chambers. Once there, he threw a handful of dust against the wall, summoning his master's figure. Midius's room was dim, since he'd brought no candle. But yet the ancient Lightweaver formed from the dust, sitting on Midius's bed.

    "You lied to me," Midius said.

    "Well, I am a liar," the master said. "So are you."

    "We don't lie about important things."

    "All of our lies are important, you know that."

    Midius turned away. "They were supposed to welcome my stories. How often do you mention the joy that men finding in storytelling? How often do you talk of lies and their power to bring emotion? They're supposed to love me, not revile me."

    "Is that why you're here, Midius? To find love?"

    Midius glanced at his master. "So I should stop? Focus only on the Corrupted?"

    "Ah, lad. Saving Partinel involves so much more than simply stopping the Corrupted. These people, they live, but they no longer remember why. They eat with dull stares. They work the fields without laughter. They return home to their families worried and frightened that they'll get sick, or that they will lose a child to the Year of Sacrifice, or that the trune ring will finally collapse and leave them all without a home."

    "There is little I can do about that."

    "You can remind them that there is more to life than pain, fear, and sorrow. That's the true calling of a Jesk. You look to give them stories that have meaning, but the most important meaning of your lies has nothing to do with a moral. It has to do with the way that it makes people feel, not the way that it makes them think."

    "They don't want to feel. If they can't see how it'll feed them or bring them wealth, they don't want it. They revile it and call it superstition or foolishness. They care nothing for what I offer."

    "No," his master said. "They do care. But they're afraid. Midius, this thing that you do, this is a noble and grand work. When you tell a story, you make men see through the eyes of someone whom they've never known. When they hear the tale of a widow's pain, for a moment they are that widow. When they hear a child's play, they remember what it was to be a child themselves. When they see a hero win, for a short time they succeed, as well. They may have forgotten what this means, but that is part of being human. Your duty, then, is merely to remind them."

    RoW Release Party ()
    #2052 (not searchable) Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to read to you from the sequel to Sixth of the Dusk, which takes place during the space age of the cosmere. So there are going to be some fun things in here that you're not gonna get to see in-depth for a while. So if you are worried about space age of the cosmere being spoiled for you, I might recommend waiting for fifteen years before you read this.

    This is not yet canon, because I haven't released it. It's entirely possible that I'll change some of this.

    But for now, this is from the sequel to Sixth of the Dusk, which I haven't named. (It's not Seventh of the Dusk.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Ones Above were human.

    Dusk had imagined them as strange and terrible creatures, with faces full of fangs. Artists' renditions of them from the broadsheets tended to err on the side of mystery, showing beings with dark pits where faces should be, as if representing the darkness of space itself confined, somehow, into their strange outfits and helmets.

    Truth was, nobody had known until this moment when, attempting to inspire trust, the two aliens from another world retracted their helmets and displayed shockingly human features.

    Dusk stepped forward in the observation chamber, which overlooked the landing pad. The chamber was supposed to be secret, with reflective glass on the outside, but Dusk had never trusted that to hide him. The Ones Above had machines that could sense life, and he suspected they could see him, or at least his Aviar, regardless of the barrier. He'd have preferred to be out on the landing platform with the diplomats; but he supposed he should be thankful that they even let him attend. There were many among the politicians and company leadership who were baffled by Vathi's continued reliance on him.

    The governing officials in the room with him gasped as they saw the faces of the aliens. One male, one female, it seemed; with pale skin that looked like it had never seen the sun. Perhaps it hadn't, considering they lived out in the emptiness between planets. Their helmets retracted automatically, but left stylized metal portions covering the sides of the head, reaching out and covering the cheeks. From the look of the delicate metal, ribbed like ripples of waves, those portions didn't seem like armor. More like ornament.

    On his shoulder, Sak squawked softly. Dusk glanced at the jet-black Aviar, then looked around the room, seeking signs of his corpse. The bird could show him glimpses of the future, revealing as visions his own dead body. Ways he could (or perhaps should) have died.

    It took him a moment to spot the death. It was out on the launchpad. One of the two aliens stood with their foot on Dusk's skull, the face smoldering as if burned by some terrible alien weapon. What did it mean?

    Sak's visions had been... off, ever since that event five years ago, when the alien device had been activated on Patji. Once, seeing the corpse would have warned Dusk of immediate danger; a biting insect with deadly venom, or a hidden predator. Now the warnings often felt more abstract. The Ones Above were unlikely to kill him today, no matter what he did, but that did not mean they were safe or trustworthy.

    "Toward a new era of prosperity!" One of them said out at the launchpad, extending a hand to Vathi, who stood at the head of the diplomats. "Between our peoples and yours, President!"

    She took the hand, though Dusk personally would rather have handled a deadly asp. It seemed worse to him, somehow, to know that the Ones Above were human. An alien monster, with features like something that emerged from the deepest part of the ocean, was somehow more knowable than these smiling humans. Familiar features should not cover such alien motives and ideas. It was as wrong as an Aviar that could not fly.

    "To prosperity!" Vathi said. Her voice was audible to him as if she were standing beside him. It emerged from the speakers on the wall, devices developed using alien technology.

    "It is good," the second alien said, speaking the language of the homeisles as easily as if she had been born to it. "You are finally listening to reason. Our masters do not have infinite patience."

    "We are accustomed to impatient masters," Vathi said, voice smooth and confident. "We have survived their tests for millennia."

    The male laughed. "Your masters? The gods who are islands?"

    "Just be ready to accept our... installation when we return, yes?" The female said. "No masks, no deception." She tapped the side of her head, and her helmet extended again, obscuring her features. The male did the same, and together they left, climbing aboard their sleek flying machine, which was in the shape of a triangle pointed toward the sky. It soon took off, streaking toward the air without a sound. Its ability to land and take off baffled explanation. The only thing the Dusk's people knew about the process was that the Ones Above had requested the launchpad be made entirely out of steel.

    The smaller ship would supposedly meet with the larger one that was in orbit around the planet. A ship larger than even the greatest of the steam-powered behemoths that Dusk's people had used here on First of the Sun. Dusk had only just been getting used to those creations, but now he had to accustom himself to something new. But even calm light of electric lights, the hum of a fan powered by alien energy. The Ones Above had technology so advanced, so incredible, that Dusk and his people might as well have been travelling by canoe like their ancestors. They were far closer to those days than they were to sailing the stars like these aliens.

    As soon as the alien ship disappeared into the sky, the generals and company officials began chatting in animated ways. It was their favorite thing, talking. Like Aviar who'd come home to roost by the light of the evening sun, eager to tell all the others about the worms they had eaten.

    Sak pulled close to his hand, then pecked at the band that kept his dark hair in a tail. She wanted to hide, though she was no chick capable of snuggling in his hair as she once had. Sak was as big as his head, though he was comfortable and accustomed to her weight, and he wore a shoulder pad that her claws could grip without hurting him. He lifted his hand and crooked his index finger, inviting her to stretch out her neck for scratching. She did so; but he made a wrong move, and she squawked at him and pecked his finger in annoyance. She was grouchy, as usual; he felt the same way, honestly. Vathi had said it was because city life didn't agree with him. But Dusk claimed different source. It had been two years since they lost Kokerlii to disease. Without that colorful buffoon around to chatter and stick his beak into trouble, the two of them had grown old and surly.

    Sak had nearly died from the same disease. And then: alien medicine from the Ones Above. The terrible Aviar Plague, same as those that had occasionally ravaged the population in the past, had been smothered in weeks. Gone, wiped out, as easy as tying a double hitch.

    Dusk ignored the generals and their chattering, eventually coaxing Sak into a head scratch as they waited. Everything about this new life in the modern city full of machines and people with clothing as colorful as any plumage seemed so sanitized. Not clean; steam machines weren't clean. But fabricated, deliberate, confined. This room, with its smooth woods and steel beams, was an example. Here, nature was restricted to an arm rest, where even the grain of the wood was oriented to be aesthetically pleasing.

    Soon, with the coming of the Ones Above and their ways, he doubted there would be any wilderness left on the planet. Parks, perhaps. Preserves. But you couldn't put wilderness in a box, no more than you could capture the wind. You could enclose the air, but it wasn't the same thing.

    Soon, the door opened, and Vathi herself entered, her Aviar on her shoulder. Vathi had risen high these last few years. President of the company, one of the most powerful politicians in the city. She were a colorful, striped skirt in an old pattern, and a businesslike blouse and jacket. As always, she tried through everything she did (dress included) to embrace a meeting of old ways and new. He wasn't sure you could capture tradition by putting its trappings on a skirt any more than you could box the wind. But he appreciated the effort.

    "Well," Vathi said to the group of officials. "We've got three months. But they're not going to stand any further delays. Thoughts?"

    Everyone had an idea. Ways to stall further. Plans to feign ignorance of the deadline, or to plausible pretend that something had gone wrong with the Aviar delivery. Silly little plans. The Ones Above would not be delayed this time, and they would not simply trade for birds upon the whims of the homeislers. The aliens intended to put a production plant right on one of the Outer Isles, and there begin raising and shipping their own Aviar.

    "Maybe we could resist somehow?" Said <Tuli>, company strategist, who had a colorful Aviar of Kokerlii's same breed. "We could fake a coup and overthrow the government. Force the Ones Above to deal with a new organization. Reset the talks." Bold idea. Far more radical than the others.

    "And if they decide simply to take us over?" said General Second of Saplings, rapping his hand on a stack of papers that he held in his other hand. "You should see this projections. We can't fight them! If the mathematicians are right, the orbital ships could reduce our grandest cities to rubble with a casual shot or two! If the Ones Above are feeling bored, they could wipe us out in a dozen more interesting ways, like shooting into the ocean so waves wash away our infrastructure."

    "They won't attack," Vathi said. "Six years or more, and they've suffered our delays with nothing more than threats. There are rules out there in space that prevent them from simply conquering us."

    "They've already conquered us," Dusk said softly.

    Strange, how quickly the others quieted when he spoke. They complained about his presence in these meetings. They thought him a wild man, lacking social graces. They claimed to hate how he'd watched them, refusing to engage in their conversation. But when he spoke, they listened. Words had their own economics, as sure as gold did. The ones in short supply were the ones that, secretly, everyone wanted.

    "Dusk," Vathi said, "what did you say?"

    "We are conquered," he said, turning from the window to regard her. He cared not for the others. But she didn't just grow quiet when he spoke. She listened. "The plague that took Kokerlii. How long did they sit in their ship up there, watching as our Aviar died?"

    "They didn't have the medicine on hand," said Third of Waves, the company officer of medical industry, a squat man with a bright-red Aviar that let him see colors invisible to everyone else. "They had to wait to fetch it."

    Dusk remained quiet. "You imply," Vathi said, "that they deliberately delayed giving us the medicine until Aviar had died. What proof do you have?"

    "The darkout last month," Dusk said. The Ones Above were quick to share their more common technologies. Lights that burned cold and true. Fans to circulate air in the muggy homeisle summers. Ships that could move at several times the speed of the steam-powered ones. But all these ran on power sources supplied from Above, and those power sources deactivated if opened.

    "Their fish farms are a boon to our oceans," said the company's Secretary of Supply. "But without the nutrients sold by the Ones Above, we wouldn't be able to keep the farms running."

    "The medicine is invaluable," said Third of Waves. "<Infant> mortality has plummeted. Literally thousands of our people live because of what the Ones Above have traded us."

    "When they were late with the power shipment last month," Dusk said, "the city slowed to a crawl. And we know that was intentionally, from the accidentally leaked comments. They wanted to enforce to us their power. They will do it again." Everyone fell silent, thinking as he wished they'd do more often.

    Sak squawked again and Dusk glanced at the launchpad. His corpse was still out there, laying where the Ones Above had left, burned and withered.

    "Show in the other alien," Vathi said to the guards.

    The two men at the door, with security Aviar on their shoulders and wearing feathers on their military caps, stepped out. He returned shortly with an incredibly strange figure. The other aliens wore uniforms and helmets; unfamiliar clothing, but still recognizable. This creature stood seven feet tall and was encased entirely in steel. Armor of a futuristic cast, smooth and bright with a soft violet-blue glowing at the joints. The helmet glowed at the front with a slit-like visor, and an arcane symbol, remind Dusk vaguely of a bird in flight, etched the front of the breastplate.

    The ground shook beneath this being's steps as it entered the room. That armor, it was surreal, like interlocking plates that somehow produced no visible seam. Just layered pieces of metal, covering everything from fingers to neck. Obviously airtight, with a rounded cast to it. The outfit had stiff iron hoses connected helmet and armor.

    The other aliens might have looked human, but Dusk was certain this alien was something frightful. It was too tall, too imposing, to be a simple human. Perhaps he was not looking at a man at all, but instead a machine that spoke as one.

    "You did not tell them you had met me?" the alien said, projecting a male voice from speakers at the front of the helmet. The voice had an unnatural cast to it; not an accent, like someone from a backwater isle. But a kind of... unnatural air.

    "No," Vathi said. "But you were right. They ignored each of my proposals, and acted as if the deal were already done. They intend to set up their own facility on one of the islands."

    "You have only one gem with which to bargain, People of the Isles," the alien said. "You cannot withhold it. You can merely determine to whom you offer it. If you do not accept my protection, you will become a vassal to these Ones Above. Your planet will become a farming station, like many others, intended to feed their expansion efforts. Your birds will be stripped from you the moment it becomes possible to do so."

    "And you offer something better?" Vathi asked.

    "My people will give you back one of a hundred birds born," the armored figure said, "and will allow you to fight alongside us, if you wish, to gain status and elevation."

    "One in a hundred!" Second of Saplings said, the outburst unsettling his gray-and-brown Aviar. "Robbery!"

    "Choose. Cooperation, slavery, or death."

    "And if I choose not to be bullied?" Saplings snapped, reaching to his side, perhaps unconsciously, for the repeating pistol he carried in a holster.

    The alien thrust out his armored hand, and smoke or mist coalesced there out of nowhere. It formed into a gun; longer than a pistol, shorter than a rifle, wicked in shape with flowing metal along the side like wings. It was to Sapling's pistol what a shadowy deep beast of the oceans might be to a minnow. The alien raised his other hand, snapping a small box (perhaps a power supply) into the side of the rifle, causing it to glow ominously.

    "Tell me, President," the alien said to Vathi, "what are your local laws regarding challenges to my life? Do I have legal justification to shoot this man?"

    "No," Vathi said, firm, though her voice was audibly shaken. "You may not."

    "I do not play games," the alien said. "I will not dance with words like the others do. You will accept my offer, or you will not. If you do not, if you join them, then I will have legal right to consider you my enemies."

    The room remained still, Sapling carefully edging his hand away from his sidearm. "I do not envy your decision," the armored alien said. "You've been thrust into a conflict you do not understand. But like a child who has found himself in the middle of a war zone, you will have to decide which direction to run. I will return in one month, local time."

    The colored portion of the creature's armor started to glow more brightly, a deep violet that seemed far too inviting a color to come from this strange being. He lifted into the air a few inches, then finally pulled the power pack from his gun, dismissing the weapon to vanish in a puff of mist. He left without further word, gliding back up the hallway past the guards, who stepped away and didn't impede him. This alien had arrived without a ship, but didn't seem to need one to travel the stars. He had flown down out of the sky under the power of, they assumed, his strange and magnificent armor. Once he had gone, the two guards took up positions at the door, sheepishly holding their rifles. They knew, as everyone in the room knew, that no guard would stop a creature like that one if he decided to kill.

    Vathi pulled a chair over to the room's small table, then sat down in a slumping posture, her Aviar crawling anxiously across her back from one shoulder to the other. "This is it," she whispered. "This is our fate. Caught between the ocean wave and the breaking stone." This job had weathered her. Dusk missed the woman who had been so full of life and optimism for the new advances of the future. Unfortunately, she was right. There was no sense in offering meaningless aphorisms. Besides, she had not asked a question, so he did not respond.

    Sak chirped. And a body appeared on the table in front of Vathi. Dusk frowned. Then that frown deepened, because the corpse was not his.

    Never in all his time bonded to Sak had she shown him anything other than his own corpse. Even during that dangerous time years ago, when her abilities had grown erratic; even then, she'd shown Dusk his own body, just many copies of it. He stepped across the room, and Vathi looked up at him, seeming relieved, as if she expected him to comfort her. She frowned, then, when he mostly ignored her to look down on the body on the table.

    Female. Very old. Long hair having gone white. The corpse wore an unfamiliar uniform after the cut of the Ones Above. Commendations on the breast pocket, but in another language.

    It's her, he thought, studying the aged face. It's Vathi. Some forty years in the future. Dead, and dressed for a funeral.

    "Dusk?" the living Vathi asked. "What do you see?"

    "Corpse," Dusk said, causing some of the others in the room to murmur. They were uncomfortable with Sak's power, which was unique among Aviar.

    "That's wonderfully descriptive, Dusk," Vathi said. "One might think that after five years, you might learn to answer with more than one word when someone talks to you."

    He grunted, walking around the vision of the corpse. The dead woman held something in her hands. What was it?"

    "Corpse," he said, then met the living Vathi's eyes. "Yours."

    "Mine?" Vathi said, rising. She glanced at Sak, who huddled on Dusk's shoulder, feathers pulled tight. "Why? Has she ever done this before?"

    Dusk shook his head, rounding the corpse. "Body wears a uniform. One of theirs, the Ones Above. There are symbols on some of the patches and awards. It appears as if prepared for burial at sea. I cannot read the alien writing."

    One of the generals scrambled to give him paper and pen. After handing it over, the general backed away, regarding the table as one might a nightmaw that was ready to pounce.

    Dusk copied the letters on the uniform's most prominent patch. "Vathi," read the Secretary of Supply, "Colonial Governor of the occupied planet First of the Sun." All eyes in the room toward toward Vathi. All but Dusk's. He knew what she looked like, so he kept writing, then nudged the Secretary of Supply again.

    "Looks like a commendation for valor," the woman replied, "for putting down what was called the Rebellion of '05. The others are similar."

    Dusk nodded. So if this was a glimpse of the future, it was what Vathi would be when she died, a servant of the Ones Above, apparently having turned his people's military against rebels who didn't agree.

    Well, that made sense. He nodded to himself and tried to get a closer look at what the corpse was holding. A small disk; a coin of some sort, with a drawing on it.

    "Dusk, you don't seem as horrified as you should be," the living Vathi said to him.

    "Why would I be horrified?" he said. "This makes sense. It's what you would do. Probably what you will do."

    "I'm no traitor," she said.

    He didn't reply. It hadn't been a question, even it was an incorrect statement.

    "Leave us," she said to the others. "Please. We can discuss this 'prophecy' later. I need to confer with the trapper."

    They didn't like it. They never liked it when Vathi listened to him. Perhaps they'd understand if they listened more themselves. Still, they filed out at the request, leaving two humans and two Aviar alone. Vathi's bird, Mirris, hunched down and raised her wings while staring at the table. It seemed that she could sense what Sak was doing. Curious.

    "Dusk," Vathi said, "why do you think I do these things?"

    "Progress. It is your way."

    "Progress is not worth the blood of my people."

    "Progress will come anyway," Dusk said. "The dusk is past. This is the night. You will presume to find a new dawn and do what you must to guide us there." He looked at her and tried to smile. "There is a wisdom to that, Vathi. It is what you taught me many years ago."

    She wrapped her arms around herself, staring at the table. "Must it be?"

    "No. I am not dead, am I?" She shook her head.

    "I want a way out, Dusk. A way to fight back against them, or something. A way to control our own destiny. They're both so confident that they own us. What I wouldn't give to be able to surprise them."

    "You're holding something," Dusk said, leaning down. "A coin. A large one. Maybe a medallion. Not money. Engraved with a man on a canoe, wearing feathers and holding aloft a board with wave patterns on it. Some kind of trapper?"

    "Tenth, the Finder," she said, and frowned. "Seriously, Dusk? He's one of the most famous explorers and trappers who ever lived!"

    "My trainer didn't tell me of him."

    "You could read a book, or something. The past is important."

    "If it was important, my trainer would have told me about it. So, this man must not be important."

    Vathi rolled her eyes. "He was the first man to explore Patji."

    "Then he likely died quickly," Dusk said, nodding. "Means he must not have known much. The first explorers were stupid. Not because of themselves; they just didn't have experience yet." He looked to her, cocking an eyebrow.

    "He vanished," she admitted, "on his second trip there. But we still use some of his exploration routes, these shipping channels, to reach the Pantheon islands. He was important."

    Dusk didn't reply, because why would he contradict her? She liked believing this, and she always seemed fond of the stories of old trappers. She fancied herself an amateur one, even still, despite the fact that she had been one of the ones who ended the entire profession.

    As Dusk was looking at the medallion, the vision finally vanished. Sak chirped, as if apologetic; and when Dusk looked at her, the bird's eyes were drooping, as if she were exhausted.

    "I'm going to investigate stepping down," Vathi said. "A fake coup is silly, but if I simply quit, it could cause political unrest that justifies giving us an excuse to delay negotiations. Plus, it would remove me from a position where I could do damage."

    Dusk nodded. Then felt himself growing uncomfortable. For once, he found that he couldn't remain silent. He looked at her.

    "Another will do worse, Vathi. Another will cause more death. You are better than another."

    "Are you sure?"

    "No." How could he be? He could not see the future like Sak could. Still, he crouched down beside Vathi's seat, then held his hand toward her. She clasped it, then held tight. He nodded to her. "You are stronger than anyone I know," he said, "but you are just one person. I learned five years ago that sometimes one person cannot stand before the tide."

    "Then there's no hope."

    "Of course there is. We must become more than one. We must find allies, Vathi. Two peoples have come to bully us, to demand that we give up our resources. There must be others. Perhaps those who are weak like we are, with whom together we might be strong. A trapper cannot fight a shadow alone, but a battleship with a full crew... that is something else."

    "How would we find anyone else, Dusk? The Ones Above have forbidden us from leaving the planet. We're decades, well... maybe centuries away from building flying machines."

    "I will go into the Darkness," he said.

    She looked into his eyes. Though she'd objected each other time he suggested this, today she said nothing. At times, she had become like him, and he like her. She made him believe that they could adapt to the future. He just needed to make her believe that he could help.

    "We sent entire crews into the Darkness, Dusk," she said. "Scientists. Soldiers."

    "No trappers."

    "Well, no."

    "I will go," he said. "I will find help."

    "And if you fail?"

    "Then I will die," he said. "Like your explorer man. Tenth the Finder, you called him." Dusk touched his forward, then pressed his finger against hers. "I gave up Patji for the planet, Vathi, but I will not give up the planet to those men from the stars, no matter how brilliant their weapons or amazing their wonders."

    "I will gather you an expedition. Some guards, a crew..." she met his eyes. "You're going to insist on going alone, aren't you?" He nodded. "Fool man!"

    He did not respond, because she might be right. But he was going to go anyway.

    Miscellaneous 2020 ()
    #2053 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    At long last, after two years of hard work, I’m pleased to present to you Rhythm of War, the fourth book of the Stormlight Archive. I won’t give you a pitch on the book, since by now I suspect you know whether or not you’re going to be reading it. (And if you’re not certain, you’d start with Book One anyway.) Instead, I present to you a few little tidbits about the story.

    Part One

    Favorite chapter in Part One: Chapter Twelve

    Most difficult chapter in Part One: Chapter Seven (Getting the foreshadowing and viewpoints right required a lot of revision.)

    Part Two

    Favorite chapter in Part Two: Chapter Thirty-Four

    Most difficult chapter in Part Two: Chapter Twenty-Four (This is one of the new chapters I had to add late in the process, in order to make this viewpoint sequence work.)

    Part Three

    Favorite chapter in Part Three: Chapter Sixty-Six

    Most difficult chapter in Part Three: Chapter Sixty-Seven (This viewpoint character had a lot of revisions through the process to get them right.)

    Part Four

    Favorite chapter in Part Four: Chapter Eighty (This is actually my favorite chapter in the book.)

    Most difficult chapter in Part Four: Chapter Ninety-Three (Probably the single most revised chapter in the novel, and it required a lot of continuity, delicate foreshadowing, and help from beta readers.)

    Part Five

    Favorite chapters in Part Five: a sequence that starts in 105 and ends in 110. This is actually a central sequence from my very early outlines, which I’ve mentioned I’ve been waiting over a decade now to share with you all.

    Most difficult chapter in Part Five: Chapter 105. You’ll see why.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #2054 Copy


    There seems to be a concentration of “aliens” in the west of Roshar, with both the Sleepless and the Iriali being non-Rosharan, possibly the Siah Aimians too (though I have my own headcanon about them); and of course the Ashynite humans arrived somewhere in the west too, probably in or near Shinovar. Is this a coincidence? It seems reasonable to me that in the past, Honor’s Perpendicularity was somewhere in the region and at least some of these groups used it to arrive on Roshar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not a coincidence. Having multiple perpendicularities on the land, mixed with easy-to-access Investiture, mixed with a vibrant Shadesmar side with actual cultures and cities all make Roshar a tempting destination. The amount of investiture flying around (literally) also makes the place a little easier to find in Shadesmar than other destinations might be.

    There's also the fact that it wasn't created post-Shattering, like Scadrial was. There's just been more time to get to it.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
    #2057 Copy


    So here's a bit of an oddity, in the RoW chapter 3 preview it says "They’d learned about the interactions between conjoined fabrials and aluminum from the Azish scientists." So was having Huio discover the aluminum trick a bit of a last minute addition, or am I missing a distinction here? Seems a bit extra odd since the aluminum trick is said to be the key to make the ship work, but it is already alluded to being under construction in Dawnshard before this.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, last minute addition. I thought we'd caught them all, but this is a problem with writing Dawnshard after. I was never pleased with the Azish thing--thought I'd cut it, honestly. Have a look at the released edition. It might not be in there.

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Secondly a theory of mine is around the healing factor of Stormlight. I believe that the healing was added later by Honor because it would heal away the Ashyn diseases that bring powerful Surgebinding - it's Tanavast's way of preventing the Ashyn magic system following Odium and Humanity over to Roshar. Can you confirm healing is a newer addition to Stormlight, or comment on this at all?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For the second, I'll RAFO for now. Interesting theory!

    General Reddit 2020 ()
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    Has Nohadon been a Dawnshard in the past? (my guess is maybe he has and now it’s stored inside The Way of Kings, or jumped to Dalinar from there, would explain the Nohadon dream and the warmth he feels and Unite Them)

    Bonus second question: is the ardent Pai actually the Herald Paliah? Other than the name similarity, the other ardent remarks on the name being weird, she’s obsessed with showing the world “The Truth” about Aesudan, and the Taravangian interlude in that same block swears by Pali’s mind, which seems a bit suspicious as it’s an uncommon curse.


    Good question on Nohadon, and a RAFO to boot. :)

    Actually, both questions are RAFOs. If you ever meet me in person, be sure to demand a card!

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    So at this point we either know or can infer the opinions of most of the Radiants spren on bonding humans, but I was a little curious on the exact position of Lightspren. We know there's some who are against it, considering Ico's opinion, but is that representative of the entire people, or just a significant number? Is Timbre the only one willing to bond someone, or is she one of a group of rebels like Syl?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a RAFO for now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So now that we know at least one group of Rosharans are aware of the Sleepless (the Horneaters), are there other Rosharans who know of them as well?

    By which I mean - have the existence of the Sleepless influenced Irialian religion and the belief in the One?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There have been Iriali who know about the Sleepless, though the Iriali religion predates their arrival on Roshar. (That said, it has evolved during their time here.)


    So the idea of the One - a single entity breaking down into smaller, constituent parts in order to gain diverse and varied experiences - predates the Iriali's contact with the Sleepless?

    And now that I think more about this theme of a single entity breaking down (splintering/fracturing?) into smaller parts... could the belief in the One and the Many be influenced by the fracturing of Adonalsium? Or is this general theme just a coincidence?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The general theme is not a coincidence, but the Iriali having this philosophy predates me bringing the Sleepless into the Cosmere from another science fiction book I'd written during my early unpublished years.

    Miscellaneous 2012 ()
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    Have you chosen a flashback character for book two of Stormlight Archive yet?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. I have chosen to use Shallan as the flashback character for Stormlight Two. I feel that her narrative is the best one right here, and so I pretty much filled out the first five, 'cause Stormlight's in two five-book narratives, where we're going to anchor it with Kaladin is the first one and Dalinar is the last one, and then we'll use Shallan, Szeth is number three, and then probably Navani is number four. That's the one I haven't nailed down yet. It's either Navani or a character I can't tell you yet.

    Miscellaneous 2012 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. The overarching story of all of my novels. I wrote thirteen novels in different worlds, all with their own different magic systems and own characters. But secretly I loved the grand epic, and so I started connecting all these worlds during my unpublished era, and telling a hidden epic behind them all that I was setting up for.

    Well, eventually I sold book number six, and embedded in book number six was a bunch of this stuff for the hidden epic, of course, and six is actually one of the ones where I first started doing this. My first five were kind of throwaway novels. It was six, seven, eight, and nine that were really involved in this. Six was Elantris; seven was a book called Dragonsteel; eight was a book called White Sand; and nine was a book called Mythwalker, which eventually became Warbreaker, which I eventually rewrote and released as Warbreaker. So that four-book sequence was very ingrained in this kind of hidden story behind the stories. When I started publishing these books, I just kept it going, the hidden story, the hidden epic.

    Miscellaneous 2011 ()
    #2066 Copy


    How has The Alloy of Law impacted your overall plans for events on Scadrial? Is it part of the original set of trilogies you had mapped out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    To worldbuild the urban fantasy trilogy coming up, I need to know everything that happened in the intervening centuries. Some stories popped up in there that I knew would happen, that would be referenced in the second trilogy. So I thought, why don't I tell some of these stories, to cement them in my mind and to keep the series going.


    My understanding is that The Alloy of Law is intended to be more or less a stand-alone book. However, without giving too much away, it feels like there is a whole lot more of Wax's story to be told. When's the sequel coming?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I will most likely write a sequel. However, what you've got to remember is that I will be writing that future trilogy, the urban fantasy trilogy. The events in this book are of relation to what's happening in the future, so you will find out eventually the answers to the questions this book gives you, even if a sequel to this book never comes. But I more than likely will write more of these books over the next few years. The Stormlight Archive is my main focus following the Wheel of Time; I don't want to leave people hanging too much where that's concerned. But between books I will probably write more about these characters.

    Miscellaneous 2011 ()
    #2067 Copy


    Do the political relationships between Idris and Hallandren have a model in the real world? Do you think authors of fantasy are free to deal with current political issues in their work or is that something of a no-go for you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    In fantasy, we can often approach things like this in a way that is non-threatening. We can change things a little bit and focus in a little bit more on the issue that is interesting to us. I won't say that I never do this, though again character and story are most important, but what I write about grows out of what I'm interested in.

    With Idris and Hallendren, I noticed in my own work that I'd been painting religion in a somewhat less than favorable light in recent books; this is partially because I as a religious person think that the misuse of religion is one of the most purely evil things that can happen in the world. So I thought I wanted to play off of some of those sensibilities, and I built what I did in Warbreaker in part to actively show a different side of things. And when I was writing that book, the politics of the United States' invasion of certain countries and other things going on were not something that anyone could really ignore. So I would say that there are themes that grew out of that.

    I didn't write the book to make a political statement. Yet at the same time the potential political statements of "Think twice about what you're doing" and of the nature of war and what it can do is something that I'm sure grew out of my own thoughts on the issues.

    Miscellaneous 2007 ()
    #2068 Copy

    Robert Thompson

    Regarding Elantris, I read a while back that you had no intentions of writing any sequels, but then you had a change of heart. I know that you've been busy with a lot of other projects, but has there been any progress at all on a possible follow-up, or maybe ideas you could share on an Elantris sequel that have been bouncing around in your head?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I doubt I will do a sequel that begins just after Elantris ends, at least not with the same characters and in the same place. There are lots of ideas I want to explore in the world of Elantris, though. I might do something about the Seons, or focus on a different culture, or write about something that happens many years after the story of Elantris.

    Miscellaneous 2014 ()
    #2071 Copy


    Is the plan still for ten books [for the Stormlight Archive]? How much ahead are you with the overall plan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The plan is still for ten books, which is two arcs of five. The first five are very well plotted and nailed down in my head. The back five, I know the endings of each of those, but I’m not 100% sure on all the elements. Once I finish the first five, I will sit down and create the second outline in much more detail. Because they are divided in my head in such a way that they are two smaller arcs that have a big gap between them, I’m really focused on the first five right now.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, I'm gonna pull upon the cloud here, and I'm gonna go to my archive, and let's see what I can find in here that I have outlines for that I haven't written.

    There's one I know of for sure. I'm not gonna tell you what that one is. It's a secret project. One that I haven't talked about.

    I don't know if we count Death By Pizza. I have a full outline for that. But that's a book I didn't write, and then I passed the worldbuilding off to Peter Orullian, who was writing a book based on it. Not using my outline, because the outline had some problems. But that would probably be number two.

    Dark One became a graphic novel. So I don't know if you count that. That's, like, half of one.

    Starburner would be number four-ish. That's the first full outline that doesn't have a book attached to it right now.

    Don't know if you count Stormlight Five. The outline for Stormlight Five is very detailed. Six through Ten is less detailed; I do have them, but they're more like a paragraph or two about each book, so I wouldn't count them as a full outline.

    Five in my "Novels to Write Someday" one. Which, most of them, you guys haven't heard about. One's the magic that uses kites; I've talked about that before.

    I've got "Totally Not A Rewrite Of Episode I" that I wrote nine years ago. I just could not help it.

    I have the five I mentioned earlier. In addition, in their own folders, I have I Hate Dragons. (Which I actually outlined the whole I Hate Dragons book, but I only wrote the little piece of it that was a writing exercise.) I have... six.

    Six plus five, so eleven outlines in my Novels to Write Someday. And then two half ones that I passed on to someone else. And then all the Stormlight and Mistborn and things like that that don't quite count. So there you go, eleven. It's eleven only, right now. That's not very many. I would say that I've got at least that many in my head, maybe a few more.

    Oh, and Secret Project, so that's twelve. And all of those are Secret Projects in a way, I guess. You've heard about some of them. One of them is The Lurker, which became Adamant, which I wrote one novella of, but I have the outlines for the rest.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    And they're kind of just for me. Because they're the paintings of the Heralds, which are characters that I know and have been telling stories in my head about for twenty years. But you don't know 'em very well. (You know Nale a little bit.) But most of the Heralds, you're like, "Who are these people? Why do you have these awesome pictures of people that aren't in the books?" Well, that's because they will be in the books, and they are the people that I wanted paintings of. Selfish.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
    #2074 Copy


    Is the in-world The Way of Kings meant to be the exact opposite of The Prince by Machiavelli?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No. That is because, if you read The Prince by Machiavelli, it doesn't deserve quite the reputation it has. But it is meant to be an opposite, in many ways, to the "ends justify the means" philosophy that we kind of cliff-notes put upon The Prince. The Prince has got a lot more depth to that discussion that at least I thought before I read The Prince. But it is supposed to be a counterpoint to that idea, the ends justify the means. A counterpoint to that concept is, "What if the means are the point? Then the end will not justify them, because the means are more important in many ways than the point." So it is yes, but it's also no.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
    #2075 Copy


    You've mentioned that Rhythm of War has a sequence that you've had in your head for a long time. Any other scenes (without spoilers) from Stormlight Archive that you are excited to have in the story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a scene in Book Two that is one of these other foundational scenes, but I can't say it without giving spoilers about Book Two. Happens near the end of Book Two. There's a lot of them. So, the thing is, most of these are gonna be in Stormlight because Stormlight Archive is the book I started planning and then had in my head, the series, for ten years without being able to write it. Mistborn, I designed, outlined, and then wrote. And I'm really excited by how Mistborn turned out. But the original Mistborn, they don't have any scenes that I was planning for a decade, because I basically came up with the story and executed it. (Though I had done the magic system in a previous book, Mistborn Prime, which we'll someday release.)

    So, a lot of these are in Stormlight. They're sprinkled all across Stormlight. There's one in Book Five, there's one in Book Ten, there's one in Book Eight. And these are just things when I originally conceived the Stormlight Archive that I was really excited to get to, and now have had to wait twenty years to write these scenes. So it's very fulfilling to finally be able to write some of these things. Because I wrote Way of Kings Prime, and then had to stop and not write Stormlight for seven years. So it built in my head with all of these things that I wanted to do.

    There are some really cool scenes for Era Three of Mistborn that I've been waiting now probably for over a decade at this point to be able to share with you. So once I'll be able to get to that, then that'll be really exciting. But there aren't any from Wax and Wayne, because I conceived and executed Wax and Wayne. I thought of it and then wrote it, rather than having these decade-long waits to finally get the story written.

    YouTube Livestream 22 ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I assign one day a week to not do writing things and just do other stuff. That day, recently, a lot of that time (Thursdays) has been dedicated to a video game project, which I'm not at liberty to say what it is yet, I'm sorry. But that I've been working on for the last year. Some day that'll get announced.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
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    Is there gonna be a cyberpunk Mistborn trilogy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have toyed with it. It's gonna depend if I'm ahead enough on things. If I am ahead enough on things, I will do an era between the 1980s and the future era. Those are cornerstones that I can't get rid of. I could or could not do a cyberpunk, a near-future science fiction. It's gonna depend on how things are looking once I'm around working on the back five Stormlight books.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
    #2080 Copy

    Mark Zimmerman

    One of the things I'm most excited about with this book [Rhythm of War] has been what you described as being a foundational scene that you got to write that you've been thinking of forever. In the Cosmere and in your writing, has there been anything that you've done on that level? You have huge reveals and awesome scenes all over the place, but has there been one that's been cooking for so long and then you finally got to put it on the page? Or is this the first time you got to do that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, the first one of these was Kaladin taking the Shardblade at the end of Words of Radiance. That was the first really big one that I had been planning for a long time. Even stretches back to some things in Way of Kings Prime that I never got to write, because I never wrote the second book of that series. So that is one of those moments that just have been planned forever.

    Most of these are Stormlight or Dragonsteel. Because Mistborn did not have as long of a cooking phase. So while there's cool moments in it, it's not like I spent ten years planning them. I spent, like, two years planning them. And so the ones for... there's one in Words of Radiance, there's one in this book, and there's one at the end of Book Five. (And there's one in Book Ten, also, but there's a bunch of them in Stormlight, the back five.) In the first five, we've got one in this book. (You'll know when you get to it. I think you'll know when you get to it.) And there's one in the next book that I first thought of and tried playing with an outline of... boy, it was, like, '98 or '99, before I even started Prime. After Five, we'll have a lot to talk about about that moment. But you'll find one in this book.

    Travis Gafford Interview ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually am working on a project right now with someone that I am under NDA for (but a fairly large developer) where I am just providing lore for them and learning about how you write a game. They actually have writers on staff who are actually writing the game, and I am providing the lore. And I just get to sit in the meetings and listen and find out how people write games.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So, Rysn's Dawnshard was totally used with Surgebinding to make the Dawncities right? E.g. the giant windbreaks in Kholinar that everyone wonders "How did they make those?" that would seem outside the power-level of Radiant soulcasting.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say this is a linguistic connection I expected people to make.

    Also, creation of the Dawncities (and Urithiru) is beyond the scope of what a Radiant, or even a group of them working together, could create via Soulcasting. (Though note, it's not beyond the scope of what Surgebinding itself could do.)

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Does that mean Rysn is now immortal?

    Is a Dawnshard a Shard along the same lines as Odium/Honor or is it a combination of 4 of that type of shard? Or are Dawnshards entirely separate?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO on most! But the Dawnshards predate the Shattering, so they're something other than traditional Shards. Similar, but distinct in some ways.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Why didn't the Sleepless have a guard watching the Dawnshard?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They did--but only a couple of hordelings to give warning. They never thought, in a million years, the intruders would absorb the Dawnshard. It wasn't seen as possible for a variety of reasons that, some day, might be clear.

    Up until the moment realizing what had happened, they assumed they were in complete control, as the humans were locked into a place with no other exit and there were swarms blocking the way back out through the water.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    I was wondering if you could clarify how The Sleepless communicate between all the members of their horde and each other? They are described as buzzing, so are they relaying messages from hordeling to hordeling across huge distances or do they have so kind of more specialized telepathy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's mostly telepathic; hordeling buzzings are more like emotional punctuation, like body language in humans.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Now that Rysn has secrets to keep, where do her alliances lie? She seems slightly skeptical of the Radiants, so would she be more patriotic to Thaylen City and potentially share her information with Queen Fen? Or maybe even Vstim?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Her loyalty is most likely to her babsk and others who have proven, in person, to her their merit.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    I am a bit sad Lift didn’t tag along to Shadesmar.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was actually going to send her on that mission, and wrote this chapter with that intent. Then I re-read what I'd written, and decided, "There's no way on Roshar Dalinar and Navani would send her on a delicate diplomatic mission." So I forced myself to revise the outline so Lift stayed in the tower.

    There are some things that just stretch plausibility too much.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    Speaking of sending Stalins to jail, will Dalinar ever face any consequences for his act of genocide in Rift?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unfortunately, no. (Other than his strained relationship with Adolin and his own personal guilt.)

    Problem here is that by our standards (and now, Dalinar's own) this was a terrible act of destruction. But by the standards of his society, this was just business as usual. A city in open rebellion against the crown? That's basically an invitation.

    It's a tricky scene because the awful truth is that in our world, these sorts of things were extremely common in warfare--even up to and including the modern era. It wasn't until very recently that this sort of action was seen as a the war crime that it is.

    To be more accurate, I probably should have had this sort of thing happen dozens of times in Dalinar's past. But I felt that wouldn't have made the point any stronger, and felt that one time was bad enough. That said, however, it's not the sort of thing that most rulers through history would have to bear any consequences for.


    Has Vasher/Zahel done anything like this? Is that why he is as we see him in the Stormlight Archive?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO for now, but the responses below this do have valid points [Manywar and Nightblood].


    Would something like the 1474 trial of Peter von Hagenbach be possible on Roshar? And if yes, would this be something Skybreakers would get behind? It always seemed to be that they'd be interested in the idea of 'make law, not war' (I got that quote from Ben Ferencz).

    Brandon Sanderson

    This sort of thing would have been possible (and indeed inevitable in a situation like that) during the days of the Radiants. Not so much in recent history. Old Skybreakers would have been behind it entirely, new ones have some...different ways of looking at things.

    Rhythm of War Preview Q&As ()
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    One question I've seen arisen about Taravangian I'm hoping for clarification on: Is he basically retreating from public eye whenever he's not having a "good" (smarter) day?

    Navani notes in the chapter that he's dispensed with the doddering old man act, but we the readers know he's just as likely to have a not-smart-but-emotional day where he's not allowed to enact policy, and that could be on the day meetings with the monarchs occur. How is he managing his condition with being so much more in the public eye now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is more help with this in his perspectives, so I'll leave this at a RAFO for now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    So once Huio swears the ideal and the bargain is made, why not use the Oathgate? Did I miss something here?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The group isn't certain yet if they want to expend the military (particularly naval) might to secure the location just yet. It's not something you make on a whim; and now that the Sleepless have agreed not to attack them, Windrunners can fly back in a matter of hours, so they don't have to decide right now.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    There's going to be more dawnshard stuff in the rest of the SA right? Like I couldn't bear it if you introduce this cool as hell concept of the literal words of creation, and then I have to wait like 10 years for more dawnshard goodness to show up.

    So for the sake of my sanity can you just confirm that it's not gonna be another decade before we hear/see more about them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There will be more, but not much more in the first five.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    Since when did your start to plan this specific development for Rysn? Was it something that existed from her inception?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rysn wasn't in my very first outlines; I decided upon this path for her when working on Words of Radiance, as I realized I really wanted one Interlude character that I returned to, and showed a longer story across several years for.

    Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A ()
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    and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people

    This point still confuses me. He quite handily puts Kelsier on his rear in The Well.

    So he can harm someone if he's provoked? Or is it because he knows that regardless of what he does to Kelsier it won't actually harm him?

    And a lot of "harm" is in the mind. Even without a corporeal body, it would still register as pain, thus harm?

    And wouldn't it still be considered physical harm, if Hoid was there physically? Applying physical harm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you re-read that scene, Hoid himself is shocked he's able to do what he does there. Let's just say he himself doesn't quite understand the issue as much as he once assumed.


    Can we assume he cannot harm a LIVING being, but Kelsier is at that point not a living being?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is the conclusion Hoid came to, so it's a pretty solid assumption.