How long is Bastille's hair?
In one drawing it was long and in another it was shorter.
*Brandon points to just below his shoulder*
How long is Bastille's hair?
In one drawing it was long and in another it was shorter.
*Brandon points to just below his shoulder*
In a previous question you said that when Pattern talks he makes vibrations in the air that can be picked up by a recorder. When Syl talks to just Kaladin, and is only appearing to just Kaladin, could that audio be recorded?
Kids in Stormlight; we have Oroden, we have Gavinor, we have Sah’s daughter Vai, we have Taravangian’s grandkids, plus the little orphan that Kheni and Cob have. How old are these kids going to be at the end of Stormlight 10?
At the end of Oathbringer there is an agreement between Odium and Taravangian.
"If you help me, I will save your family. Anyone within two generations of you."
Taravangian says "Not enough."
"Then we have no deal"
And so then they go on and they make the deal that says "The city itself, and any humans who have been born into it, along with their spouses."
Was the grandchildren included in that? -- or was it meant to be ambiguous?
Depends on where they were born.
And then, Grandchildren. There are three listed of Taravangian's: Gvori, Karavangia, and Ruli. There is also the one that Shallan drew the picture of which I think is a different one. Is that right?
*nods head in agreement*
So far we have four granddaughters. Karavangia is obviously named after her grandfather, Right?
*nods head in agreement*
Does he have more grandchildren named after him?
*shakes head no*
Why are you asking?
I was wondering if Tarah was somehow related to Taravangian.
Good question, no.
In several instances of the highstorms, several characters mention seeing large creatures walking in the highstorms; they don't seem to be super fazed by this. Do they know these creatures exist, is it part of their lore?
Yes. But you've got to also remember that people who are out in highstorms, they expect it to be... they expect to see odd things. When you're out in a highstorm, it does not faze you in the same way that if you go to a horror movie, you expect something horrific to happen.
Do they have a name for said creatures?
There are names in various parts of the lore, but there is no one name.
Could you give us one of them?
If a coppercloud was near an Awakener, would they dampen the effect of the colors being deepened around them?
I haven't thought about that. Yes. That one is a tenuous yes, though, I would have to think about it.
Can you confirm that Shallan is the biological child of her dad, Lin Davar?
*evil laugh* Should I confirm that? Yeah, I'll confirm that, she is.
As I was reading about nightmaws, I thought that nightmaws were like dinosaurs. Is that...?
Yes, but they are feathered.
Like a pterodactyl?
More like a giant...
Giant chicken. We're looking at a giant evil bird.
What would your name be in Sixth of Dusk?
What time of the day were you born?
It is not always that way. I would be, probably, First of the Early Morning.
I dressed up as Kokerlii from Sixth of Dusk. I want to know, red and green are in the book are these [rainbow-colored array of feathers] appropriate, or not?
Kokerlii I had not imagined as fully rainbow colored.
So red and green, were there other colors?
I was imaging red on green.
What about the green Aviar? If I wanted to make a green aviar costume? Green and white?
Yes that would work.
Is it just those two colors? Are there different shades of green?
There are aviar that are like this *gestures to JoyBlu's costume*, full parrot. Totally legit. But There are a lot of breeds of aviar.
*inaudible* What would be the best <pattern>?
Solid colored feathers *inaudible*
Is [Hemalurgy] going to be introduced in other worlds and has Hoid ever used it?
It will be introduced in other worlds; but RAFO on the other one.
Would it be capable for a non-human to become an Elantrian?
Yes, this is theoretically possible. It wouldn't be that hard, the ways you are thinking of it happening would probably work.
Would an Aviar be capable of a spren bond?
What they do is the same thing, by cosmere terms. It is not as powerful; because of that it is easier to shift between people. What you gain is not as strong, but you also gain flexibility. But it would be, cosmerologically, considered the same thing.
What happens if you eat an Aviar?
Normal things happen; you would not gain the powers. You would be a cruel person because Aviar are not of animal intelligence. You would not gain the powers
Mistborn Era 3. Are you going to make a steel Twinborn?
That's a very dangerous combination. Let's just say that certain elements in-world are very, very interested in finding and/or making them.
What has been the craziest, most off-the-wall, unexpected kind of feedback you've ever gotten--
Ooh. *crowd laughs*
...you know kind of how it sent you in the right direction.
Wow, craziest off-the-wall feedback I've ever gotten and what direction did it send me. I have so much trouble with these things. Some people ask me the line "what's the weirdest thing a fan has had you write in a book". And I know, if I took the time, I could think of it, but off the top of my head it's kind of hard. I'm not sure what the craziest, most off-the-wall sort of feedback I've gotten. I've given a lot of crazy, off-the-wall feedback. Legion... came about because I was trying to convince my friend Dan Wells to write this book. *crowd laughs* "Oh, you could do this thing, and it could be like schizophrenia but not really, it could be a superpower," and he's like, "Brandon, that's not a Dan Wells book. That is a Sanderson book". And so I ended up writing the book, but that has happened. I've given weird feedback. I'd have to think about that one a little more.
Can Breath be taken or withdrawn from a sentient object that's not a person?
I will RAFO that.
If Vin had not killed the Lord Ruler. I would think that the Lord Ruler would take up the Well of Ascension a year later. Would he have just fixed the world to be what it was pre-...?
I think there are various theories of where this could have gone. Some, it would have been okay. I think that assuming things would turn out the way the Lord Ruler thought he was capable of doing would be assuming a lot, for what his state was at the time that he was *inaudible*. It is possible that things would have gotten much much worse. I'll just say that. I'm not gonna canonize either way, but I think there's a good argument in both directions.
How do the spren in Shadesmar feel about fabrials? Are they mad that people are trapping spren?
Let's say there's a wide variety of emotions, but the general response would not be favorable.
There are honorspren and cultivationspren on Roshar. The other spren that are tied to orders of Knights Radiant, do they have any relationships with any other Shards?
They are all going to be a mix of the Shards on Roshar. Some weight a little further one direction or the other. They are not off-world Shards. Good question.
Could you tell me whose books are the next few Stormlight?
Yes. Eshonai, book four. (Even though, you know...) Szeth is book five. Six is Lift. Seven is Renarin. Eight is Ash. Nine is Taln. Ten is Jasnah.
Do you have it planned out to a final ending?
I do. It's interesting how the outlines work. The further you get in a given series, the middle books have the least, and the last books have the most. It's the same for the Cosmere. Last books of Era 4 have a lot more than the first book of Era 4 does.
Is there a point where you foresee basically ending the Cosmere and moving away from writing the Cosmere, start doing prequels?
The fact that I will probably not finish this until, like, my 60s if we're lucky. I feel like that point, I could do more jumping around, but that will be an endpoint. I like things to end. So I won't write off doing some other things in the Cosmere, but that will be an endpoint.
What made you want to write Skyward?
Skyward is a weird book in that it is a science fiction book based on a fantasy idea. Some of my favorite books when I was growing up were stories about a boy who finds a dragon egg or a dragon, and raises the dragon and then flies on the dragon, all sorts of fun stuff happens. And I've always wanted to do one of these stories. One of the very first books I ever read in fantasy was Dragonsblood by Jane Yolen, which I just reread so I could write a little review of it. And it's great. One of my favorite books of all time is The White Dragon, by Anne McCaffrey. And you'll find some Anne McCaffrey references in this book, you won't have to look that hard. But the idea was I wanted to do one of these books, but I never felt like I could give a good spin to it. And it is when I combined it with some other worldbuilding I had done in a science fiction universe and changed it from "a boy and his dragon" to "a girl and her spaceship" that the story really started to connect, because the worldbuilding that I had built for this galactic science fiction really clicked with this story. And that was kind of the breakthrough that I made, was combining these two things together.
So, Skyward came from me wanting to write a story about a dragon. It just turns out the dragon is a spaceship with a really weird AI.
Do you have any updates on the Dark One TV series?
It's got an interesting history. Dark One is one I've been working on for a long time, and I actually wrote out a big pitch for it when I pitched Apocalypse Guard to Random House, and I said, "Here's one of the other ideas I'm gonna write someday." They're like, "Woo. We'll keep this in our binder." And that binder made its way to their TV department, who read the pitch and was like, "We have to have this!" and came to me and said "Can we buy this?" I'm like, "Well, I haven't written the books yet." They're like, "We don't care. We want this pitch." And the pitch, the idea is that a young man in our world, a knight shows up to assassinate him, and he finds out that there's kind of a Narnia-esque fantasy world that his father visited when he was a kid and screwed up, and they are super mad. And they have prophecies that this kid is gonna be the next Dark One, and so they're gonna assassinate him before the whole epic-fantasy-thing can happen, and the Dark One tries to conquer the world. They're just gonna take him out first. And so it's kind of this twisting the story on its head idea. And it's a really fun pitch.
So they bought it from me. I expanded it to a 30-page outline, sent it to them. I can't tell you who they got, but they've got somebody very big attached to it, which I'm very excited about, someone who I was excited about that my assistant Peter just about fell over dead when he heard the person attached. And we should be flying out to do pitches to studios and places early part of next year. We wanted to be doing it now, but I have a book launch, and they want me there with them.
It's going really well. It's been a wonderful experience. I'm very hopeful with that, I think it will be a very interesting story if it happens.
In the Death Rattle, "In the storm I awaken, falling, spinning, grieving," have we seen it on screen?
Does Vivenna appear anywhere other than Warbreaker and Stormlight, so far?
So far, no. Good question.
Could someone who is spiked, not on Scadrial, still talk to the Shards?
Yes. Little asterisk, but yes.
I had a question about [steel] Ferrings. So, I saw that you had mentioned in a previous talk that you could only move so fast with air resistance, like eventually you'd start burning up. If you were to become an Edgedancer as well?
If you can combine those two powers, Edgedancing and [steel] Ferring, then you are able to do things that would circumvent that restriction. Yes, indeed.
When are you going to tell us about your Secret Project?
Well, I have an NDA that I have signed, which says I will not tell people what it is. So, because of that, I'm staying just far away from it. I have said before, I'm letting them announce it when they want to announce it. It will be announced probably, and released, before the end of the year, is my expectation. I can't say anything else. Even if you guessed right what it was, I would have to say, "I don't know." Or "That sounds like it would be fun." But I will have to imply that I don't have any idea what you're talking about, even if you guess right.
Is Silverlight that place that is not a planet where there is a Shard?
Where were you in your writing process for Elantris-- I know it was your sixth book and you were on your nineteenth when you got it published or--
Yeah, good question.So, where was I in my process when I wrote Elantris and when I got published, which was my sixth novel. So what happened with my career, it's kind of a very weird thing. You find that everybody has a different path to success as a writer. I heard early on that your first five books are generally terrible and this was really relieving to me, because I--a part of my brain-- this would not-- someone else, this might've been the worst thing to tell them. But for me it was the best thing because my brain said, "Okay, good, you don't have to be any good at this for your first five books".
And so my first five books I experimented quite a bit in story and tone. I did a gritty cyberpunkish thing. I did a comedy. I did an epic fantasy. I tried a lot of-- I did a space opera. I did a lot of different things. And once I had done all that, I came back and said, "You know, my first love is epic fantasy, and it's what I really want to do." So I sat down to write book number 6, which was Elantris.
And at that point, I had gotten a few books underneath me. I kind of knew what I was doing, though I was not-- I hadn't figured out my process quite as well as I would have liked. Elantris and a lot of the books during that era I did a lot more discovery writing, and I naturally am better when I have a stronger outline. But that's where I was.
My biggest weakness as a writer at that point was revision. I had spent those five early books just trying different things, and that permission for me to not be good yet also kind of gave me the psychological ability to be like, "Well, I don't have to revise this one, because I don't have to be good yet." But what that meant is I didn't practice revision. So once I finished Elantris, I was not good enough yet to know how to take a good book and make it great. So it went the rounds in New York and got rejected; rightly so, because it was very flabby and had not been focused. And I know, from a guy who writes thousand-page books, focus is a weird thing to say. *laughter*
And so, when I actually sold Elantris to Tor, it was after it had gone through four or five drafts and I had finally sat down and kind of buckled down and said "I need to learn revision and learn how to make my books better". So I sold it right after-- right while I was working on Way of Kings in 2002, 2003, somewhere around there.
You mentioned that the Heralds could sense each other's location--
Only in that version of the story... In that version of the story he actually gets his sword and it lets him sense and it leads him, not to the other Heralds, but the other Honorblades. He was mistaken even about that power because they have never separated from them before. And so, he thinks that he's going to find the other Heralds and he just finds their abandoned Blades.
It was very cool in the context of that book. But of course, where the other Honorblades are now is not necessarily a mystery anymore. It doesn't kinda work in the current continuity.
Are we going to see any other viewpoints from the Heralds?
Yes, you will see-- I mean, Taln and Ash are both main characters, right? But you should see other viewpoints of other Heralds as we progress. The ones that survive long enough to get viewpoints.
Are they gonna be viewpoints in this current timeline?
You will see more in this current timeline. I know specifically several that are going to be interludish sort of things coming up.
If someone were to create a human shape, with full articulations, made out of the four Feruchemical Spiritual metals and copper and do like a full dump into them, would it be able to-- I mean, Investiture attains sapience on its own. And then with-- If those were mixed with the memories in the copper would it be able to effectively become an android of the person who created it?
So we got a couple of issues you have to overcome in creating this. Number one, the memories are not going to attune to the Investiture itself, they're going to be attuned to you. The Investiture as it attains sapience is gonna create its own Identity, which is then going to be a mismatch for those memories. So you would have to find a way to get those memories to work for that creation.
It wouldn't tie with the Identity that was stored in the aluminum?
No, it would not... The other thing you were getting at there though, is that just Investing it alone, you would have to leave it alone for a long time, naturally, for it to start developing anything. And so we're looking at thousands of years, probably. There are ways to speed that process along, but just doing that and leaving it, it's gonna take a while.
If a Parshendi were to attain Allomancy and burn Bronze, how would they feel about the Bronze pulses?
They would feel that they were somewhat familiar but a little odd.
When magic Invested in an object-- Does the Investiture act like electrons when it reacts with the matter?
Not quite, but I could see that metaphor working to explain it. But it's not quite there. The Investiture kind of-- If you had a piece of Invested material from the cosmere here, you would not be able to measure the Investiture in any way. It occupies a space that doesn't exist in our universe, if that makes sense. But in the cosmere you could measure it scientifically with an instrument that wouldn't do anything here, like trying to measure a dimension that we can't perceive, something like that. The electron metaphor is a decent one, but it's not exactly how I'm imagining it.
How many diamond chips does Zahel require to survive?
RAFO. We will actually be releasing this pretty soon. But I actually have used my prerogative as a famous author to force some others to actually do the number crunching and the math of it. And so we will have a straight up unit measurement for you of various things coming up pretty soon. Once the number crunchers are done, you will know.
Regarding Dysian Aimians. The cremlings that make them up are spread about in a large area--
They can lose touch if the distance is too far. They can lose contact with the mind of the whole thing.
Would their Cognitive aspect be affected by that?
Yes it would be. I'll just leave it there, but yes.
With the Shards and them kind of splitting pre-Adonalsium, was it really Shattered on Yolen or is there a different place?
Well, it gets a little sticky for various reasons, but you can assume that that's a yes, that what it appears to be is correct. Dragonsteel and the story of Hoid takes place on Yolen but it gets messy, because there's some weirdness about the planet.
You mentioned White Sand Volume 3. Do we have a release date for that?
We do not have a release date but the script is done. We like the script. We've fixed slatrification, we hope. The ending is much improved over the novel in our humble opinions.
You published that as part of Arcanum Unbounded--
Just a sample. If you want to read the whole prose edition, just sign up for the newsletter. It sends you a link to download it. Or you can just ask from the 17th Shard. I let them distribute that. The ending of that has one really good element and one really bad element, and we took out the bad element and focused on the good element. I think it really kinda came together.
I know about Harmony but is it possible for like two Shards to procreate and make a brand new Shard?
That is a Read And Find Out. Assume I'm not hiding too much from you in that realm, but there will be some fiddly bits as we go further in the cosmere about stuff like that.
What would it take for a member of the Seventeenth Shard Shard to convert over to a member of the Ghostbloods?
Oh, the Ghostbloods would actively recruit from them. So, I think it would not be terribly difficult. It 's gonna depend on which kind of Seventeenth Sharder. Because there are a lot of non-field-agent Seventeenth Sharders, which would be less interesting. Field agents, they would actively recruit.
So, the sixteen Shards. Is it possible that there are more than sixteen, yet they do not know of them?
This would be possible but I'll just go ahead and tell you no there aren't. *laughter* That'll stop a lot of theorizing, though it is possible that Shards have been divided and things like this. And so you can call two subsets-- But it's kind of like there are twelve tribes of Israel. They became twelve other tribes of Israel. There were still twelve because two were the sons of one. Yeah, stuff like that.
If you were a Smedry, what would your talent be?
I base most of the talents of the people in the Alcatraz Books off dumb things that I do. So I am famously bad at dancing. Famously. So I would definitely have that one. I am always late; that came from me. (Though really, secretly, it came from my mom; 'cause she is even more late that I am.) Most everything thing in there is me. But I would say probably "bad at dancing", that would probably be my best, because I am just really bad at dancing. It's not even in a funny way, it's just in a boring way.
When will you clear up the things at the end of Bands of Mourning?
That is mostly setup for Era 3 of Mistborn. You can find some answers in Arcanum Unbounded; if you haven't read that, I would recommend that. If you get the the end of Bands of Mourning and you're like "huuuuh?" there are some answers in Arcanum Unbounded, but mostly I'm doing stuff that is Era 3 of Mistborn, which will be written after Stormlight 5. There will be a Wax & Wayne 4. Wax & Wayne 4 will touch on these, but it's not the central theme of the Wax & Wayne books; it's the central theme of Era 3.
Will we ever find out more about Vessel of Ruin?
Yes. I will eventually write Dragonsteel, which is Hoid's backstory; you will find out about all the various Vessels of the Shards of Adonalsium then. It is a little ways off; I'm going to finish all of Stormlight before I do that. It will be the the next thing after Stormlight 10.
What was the inspiration for Sazed's spiritual turmoil?
He came from several ideas. One idea was the missionary for all religions. Which was that the cool concept, that originated his story, was someone who tried to fit a religion to someone like you fit shoes to somebody. "Let's find the right one to fit them." When I was developing that character and working on it in the outlining process, and after I tried a few scenes and knew that I liked who he was, the question that followed up is, "What does he really believe?" As I developed the character, I settled on "He doesn't know," because that's not what he does, he tried to suit to other people. I knew that the story had to put him in a crisis of deciding what does he actually believe, and what is his belief system, because that is who he is. The inspiration of that was simply growing out of who the character was as I saw this character, and trying to create a crisis that would force him down that path, to make the hard decisions.
So I have never read this to anyone before. In fact no one has seen it in ten years. It is not canon, but it is where Taln as a character started. If you're not familiar, Taln is the crazy guy that shows up at the end of Way of Kings. And here is how his first scene went in the original Way of Kings.
Taln awoke from a dream of agony and screams. Two things occurred to him immediately. First, as a Herald, he should not need to sleep. Second, as a Herald, he definitely shouldn't dream.
He frowned, sitting up. The last few days were a blur in his mind. He had come to the city, and he remembered his arrival and his bursting in on some sort of feast or party. Beyond that, the Sign hadn't worked.
Taln hissed in surprise, thrusting forward his hand, trying to manifest the Nahel bond within him. Nothing happened. What of his other powers?
He analyzed his surroundings with a quick glance. He was in a long rectangular chamber set with beds along both walls. The room was set with stone pillars and the windows were shaped with triangular peaks. In fact, the architecture had a great number of angles and lines. He was probably in the Alethi section of the city.
Many of the beds were occupied with the lame and the sick. And the men tending them wore undyed tan robes, some with the glyph Ele, the mark of the priesthood. There were two long doors leading out of the room and the windows provided an alternative exit. They looked wide enough to be broken with relative ease. A table would probably do it.
There was a small chair beside his bed, and a chest with amber knobs. He reached out, blessing his fortune. He had the sourcestone of Stonewarding. He touched the amber, seeking to draw upon its power, and again, nothing happened. Taln withdrew his fingers, frowning. Something was very, very wrong.
Why won't my Stonewarding work, he thought with frustration. And the Sign. I need information.
He scanned the room again. His mind was far less fuzzy than it had been. Images, places, and thoughts were all becoming more clear. There were only two monasteries in this section of the city, unless new ones had been constructed. Lighthome and Mercyhome, of which Lighthome was a female monastery.
One of the attendants noticed Taln was awake, and the man waved over an older monk. The elderly man regarded Taln with a displeased expression, whispering to his companion in a voice most men probably wouldn't have been able to overhear. But Taln was not most men.
"Where's Brother Lhan?" the elder monk hissed. "He should be here!"
"I'll fetch him," the other monk promised, bowing his head in deference, then rushing off.
The older man cleared his face of displeasure, smiling reassuringly toward Taln. He had a large nose and grizzled features and his hands were callused.
"I see you finally awoke from your slumber, traveler."
"Yes, holy one," Taln replied, still bothered by the fact that he had fallen asleep in the first place. "Thank you for caring for me." He flexed his arm, testing his muscles against their extended immobility. "It seems I've been out of sorts these last few days. How long was I asleep?"
"Four days, off and on," the senior monk explained. "You were awake for much of the time, but you seemed unable to focus."
Four days. Taln shook his head. Yet he could feel the weakness in his mind, the whispers at the edges of his sanity. It was getting worse each return. Perhaps that was the reason for his apparent slumber.
"I must say, traveler, you seem far more lucid than you were when we first brought you."
"I feel far more lucid, holy one," Taln said with a smile. He raised his sheet, noticing he was still naked. Hopefully the monks would loan him some clothing, though he doubted anyone was going to give him a weapon any time soon.
"Tell me, traveler, what do you remember of yourself?"
Taln raised an eyebrow. "Are you asking if I still think that I am a Herald?"
"In not so many words."
"My problems of the last few days were not related to my identity, holy one," Taln said. "I am a Herald. I will not lie to you. That would do us both a disservice."
"I see," the monk said, his disappointment apparent.
"However," Taln continued, "I don't expect you to believe me. The Sign did, after all, fail. I'll have to solve that problem before I can move on to other items. For now, let's suffice to say that I was a traveler in need of your assistance and you provided it. The Almighty bless you for that."
The monk smiled, glancing to the side as another brown robed form, looking a little disheveled, entered from the north hallway. "You're welcome to stay with us as long as you need, friend," the elderly monk said, gesturing toward the newcomer. "Brother Lhan has been assigned to care for you. He will travel with you and make certain you are acquainted with the city."
In other words, he'll make certain I don't get in trouble, Taln thought, smiling and nodding his head as the elder monk backed away to care for other patients. Taln was pleased to note that this Brother Lhan was carrying a folded pile of clothing for him. Lhan was a younger man, probably in his early twenties. A bit on the pudgy side, with an unconcerned oval of a face.
Lhan blinked tiredly as he approached, and his left cheek was still imprinted with the lines of whatever he had been lying on before they woke him. Lhan yawned as he pulled a stool up beside Taln's bed, resting the clothing on the floor in front of him.
"Greetings traveler. Welcome to the glorious Mercyhome monastery."
"Thank you," Taln said, reaching immediately for the clothing. "I assume these are for me?"
Lhan nodded, yawning again.
"I'm sorry they woke you," Taln said, picking through the clothing.
Lhan shrugged. "It's my own fault, I really should get a better place to hide."
Taln raised an eyebrow at the comment as he examined the clothing. The cut was unfamiliar to him, though fashion changes between returns were normal. The trousers were loose through the legs and ended in wide triangular cuffs halfway down the calf. The shirt was equally loose, probably intended to be worn tucked into the pants and tied with a sash. There were undergarments as well.
The most important article, however, was the thick brown cloak. A piece of Rosharan fashion that would never change. Cloaks were necessary even in the summer to ward off highstorm rains. All the clothing had been crafted from <shanaw>, a plant whose bark was stringy and fluffy enough to be spun. It made for rough fabric. Fortunately all of the cloak had been treated in such a way to make it soft to the touch. Taln nodded in satisfaction.
"Brother Lhan," Taln said, "Please run and fetch me some thread and a needle."
"Excuse me?" the monk asked.
"You and I are in a forced relationship,"Taln said. "Your superiors obviously expect you to keep me from causing serious trouble. If you want my cooperation in this, you'll want to make yourself useful."
Lhan raised an eyebrow. "How very economical of you."
Taln sighed, regarding the man. "I'm not trying to be difficult, Lhan, I'm just trying to save the world. A needle and some thread would be very helpful."
Lhan rolled his eyes, rising from his stool. "All right."
"Oh and bring me some rocks," Taln added. "Small ones, maybe half the size of your fist."
"Rocks?" Lhan asked.
"Yes, rocks. This is Roshar. Last time I checked, which admittedly was several centuries ago, they were fairly prevalent here."
"Rocks," Lhan mumbled again as he walked off.
Taln was dressed by the time Lhan returned. He accepted the thread, needle and rocks from the monk, and began sowing the flap of the hem of his cloak.
The monk sat down, regarding Taln with curiosity.
"The second thing I'll need from you, Brother Lhan, is information," Taln said, pulling the thread tight.
"What year is it?"
"Tenth Epoch, 980," Lhan replied.
Taln paused, needle halfway through his stitch. "980?"
"Yeah," the monk said. "Not that I've seen the daylight for the last ten years or so, but at least that's what they tell me what year it is."
980. Nearly a thousand years since the last return. That's a long time. Something must have happened to the <cofen> That was the old name for the voidbringers]. They had never waited that long between returns before. "What happened to the epoch kingdoms?" Taln asked
Lhan didn't respond immediately. "You're kidding, right?"
"Pretend I'm not."
"They fell, right after the beginning of the tenth epoch."
Taln closed his eyes, sighing to himself. He hoped it wasn't true but.. "What about Alethkar," he said. "It obviously still exists."
"Well a lot of the kingdom is just a name," Lhan explained. "It's always a good idea to use one of the old names when you found a kingdom. Makes you seem more legitimate."
"Which ones still stand then, even if only in name?"
"Alethkar, of course." the monk said, "And as the king told you, we've expanded a bit over the last few years. Thaylenah still stands, by itself on that island over there. So its borders stay pretty stable. Vedenar is now called Jah Keved, though it's ruled by three Veden houses with a figurehead as its leader."
"Well Shinovar is still there. But no one really pays much attention to them. The rest is gone. Kingdoms sometimes try to claim their names, but mostly they're uninhabited. Especially <Rianat>. There's enough bandits over there to form their own kingdom."
Taln nodded. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but... "Vorinism is still strong, I assume?" Taln noted, reaching for the rocks that Lhan had brought him.
"Always will be, Almighty willing," Lhan said in a beautiful monotone, his piousness weakened slightly by the extended yawn he made in the middle of the sentence.
"If the Vorin religion is still in power, " Taln said, "How is it that no one takes my claim to be a Herald seriously? Have you forgotten about the cycle of returns, the coming of the cofen? The religion was founded to prepare for such things."
"Well, we've kind of had to change our focus during the last epoch. You did, after all, promise that you weren't coming back any more."
"What?!" Taln froze, glancing up.
"At the end of the last return," Lhan explained. "The Heralds disappeared and said they weren't coming back. That the cycle of returns was through and the cofen had been defeated."
"That's not possible."
Lhan raised an eyebrow.
"I wouldn't be here if the cycle of returns were over." Taln explained. "Trust me. Which of the Heralds proclaimed this?"
"Well I'm not sure. It didn't become the official doctrine until about the fifth century, I think."
"Why so long?"
"You're kind of asking the wrong monk, actually. Actually, the wrong monastery. The order of Ishar contains all the history experts. This all happened a thousand years ago."
"But it's your theological heritage!" Taln said.
"So the senior monks are fond of telling me."
Taln stood, putting on the cloak.
"You sewed rocks into your hem. How very odd of you."
Taln spun, turning a few times to judge the motion of the cloak. Then he turned to the side in a quick motion, pulling the garment off with a smooth gesture. He nodded to himself, putting it back on. "For weight." Taln explained "A weighted cloak is more easy to position in battle and more easy to remove quickly." You could also use it as a surprise weapon, though he didn't offer that bit of explanation.
"Oh," Lhan said.
"What did you think I was doing?" Taln asked with amusement, sitting down on the bed without removing the cloak.
"I wasn't sure," Lhan replied. "I figured you were confused. You are, after all, crazy."
"You're not a very subtle one, are you, Brother Lhan?"
"I make up for it in sheer laziness," Lhan replied. "What are you doing now?"
"Pockets," Taln said, getting out of the cloak again. "Do you mind if I cut up this blanket?"
Lhan shrugged. "It's the kind of thing they expect crazy people to do, so I guess it's okay. But you'll have to tear it. I'm certainly not giving you a knife."
Taln frowned but did as requested. "You seem surprisingly flippant with regard to my supposed lunacy. Aren't you afraid I'll become violent?"
"You're not the violent type. I've seen your type come through the monastery a lot. I also know you can't be talked out of who you think you are. My job is simply to make certain you don't accidentally hurt yourself or anyone else, especially not me."
"You have experience with my type, then?" Taln asked.
"I tend to get the more undesirable assignments"
"I wonder why." He fell silent as he worked, turning his thoughts to a topic he'd been avoiding. What was he going to do? Normally he had the other Heralds to decide the plan. But he appeared to be the only one who'd reached the city. He needed to find the others and that required one thing. His sword. It had been taken from him. He remembered that night of the feast only vaguely.
"My sword..." he said.
"That was confiscated," Lhand said. "You didn't exactly make a good impression on the king. Enduring perhaps, but definitely not good."
"There was a woman," Taln said. "She saved my life."
"Lady Jasnah" Lhan agreed. "The king's sister. Don't assume she protected you out of fondness. Lady Jasnah is about as compassionate as a sleeping chull. Even her breathing is politically motivated. No one's certain why she pled for you, but most think it was some kind of stunt."
"Either way, I owe her my life," Taln said. The loss of his weapon was troubling. With it, he could sense the location of the other Heralds. It would be the easiest and fastest way to find them. Assuming, of course, he thought, that the Blade's power still worked.
Taln paused. A feeling of dread struck him. Stonewarding didn't work, and he couldn't manifest the bond. If he'd lost the sword as well...
The window light turned red. Taln gasped, feeling dizzy. An expression of concern actually crossed the monk's face.
"Are you all right?" Lhan asked.
The monk burst into flames. The windows melted. Bloodred fire ripped up the sides of the building, pooling at the top and bearing down on Taln with its heat. Smoke rose from the suddenly ignited beds, curling ominously, bringing with it screams, sudden, formless screams, that came from the far edge of the room.
Taln looked up. Fire roared and something moved within it, something dark. The screams mounted, pulsing in his ears, searing him, flaying him.
"What's wrong?" Lhan asked, still in flames, his flesh melting from his face.
Taln closed his eyes, grabbing the sides of his bed, pushing the screams away. He shivered, exhaling a long, demanding sigh. When he opened his eyes, the room had returned to normal. He sat for a few minutes, breathing deeply.
"I'm fine," Taln finally said, forcing himself to stand up and look at his new cloak. It had one large pocket and two smaller ones, and a small ribbon at the back to hold a hidden dagger, if he ever managed to get his hands on one.
"I assume I'm allowed to leave the monastery?"
"So long as you take me with you," Lhan said, "but.."
Taln raised an eyebrow.
"You're kind of expected to go work in the royal mines, "Lhan explained. "To help pay for your keep."
"No one is going to force me?" Taln clarified.
"Good," Taln said. "We're leaving."
"Umm...Where are we going?"
"To get some information."
"Oh, you mean my wealth of accumulated wisdom isn't good enough for you?"
Taln turned, eyeing the monk with a suffering eye, then waved for him to follow.
Who is going to be the antagonist for Stormlight Archive 4?
I can't answer that without giving spoilers, so you get a RAFO.
You see, in a few places, Shards that can read people's minds, or send thoughts to people's minds. What, in other settings, would be called telepathy. Do we have, in any Shardworlds, a magic system where ordinary people have telepathy?
I've actually designed one that I think is interesting, whether I will make that work or not, I'm not sure. But there is a very interesting world, one that i have right now in the Cosmere, that we will see. I try not to canonize these things till I actually write the story. As happened with Silence Divine, where people have been for six years, "When are you going to write this story?" Because I wrote one chapter of it.
But yes, I do have something that works that way.