STATE OF THE
readers on the state
of each of his projects.
The Way of Kings Chapters 23 and 24 (D)
This early draft chapter corresponds to parts of chapter 24, with a bit that went much earlier, into chapter 12. The first scene here was cut entirely, and included the only on-screen appearance of Dalinar’s head Stormwarden, Elthebar, who is mentioned twice by name in the final book.
Toward the bottom you’ll find the end of the original 24, which contains something cut from the final book.
“There will be a Highstorm today, brightlord,” Elthebar said. “I would stake my career on it.”
Dalinar raised an eyebrow as he walked through the market square. “Didn’t you say precisely the same thing three months back, when you were off by two days?”
The robed Stormwarden grew pale faced. He was completely bald and wore a drooping mustache. His sizable paunch jutted out in front of him, making him always seem like he was walking at a strange angle.
“Everyone knows that highstorms are erratic, Elthebar,” Dalinar said, smiling. “I don’t expect you to get every one right. So perhaps it would be best not to ‘stake your career’ on the Stormfather’s whims.”
“Yes, brightlord,” the man said, blushing.
“Continue with your report, Alahal,” Dalinar said, turning to the woman beside him. In front of them, the merchants of the outer market—a section of ground outside of the warcamps—bustled with activity. It was a haphazard place, with two main crossing thoroughfares and four large quarters of tents and stormwagons. No stone buildings at all. A large number of the merchants were Thaylen, wearing caps, vests, and long, wagging eyebrows. Their business involved taking down tents and stowing supplies in carts. They’d gotten word of the possible highstorm.
“Yes, Brightlord,” she said. “There are complaints about your patrols here. They set up this market precisely because they wanted to be free of warcamp restrictions.”
“They will have to put up with it. I’m not going to let a new city spring up here completely without law or restriction. They’ll follow the king’s charter or be turned away.”
“Yes, brightlord,” the prim woman said. “Of course, brightlord. Very wise.”
Jasnah never simpered that way, he thought.
“We’ve tracked the bad meat to a particular quarter of merchants,” Alahal continued. “We’ll know who sold it soon. As for the sanitation taxes, the merchants are complaining that the extra need to weather the highstorms without walls already strains their finances too much.”
“Tough. They’ll pay.”
“Yes, of course, brightlord. We’ve also gathered lists of stock, and have tabulated them.” She began going over an inventory of items for sale in the market. Dalinar listened with half an ear. He wanted his scribes would know exactly what was being sold and by whom, and he wanted the merchants to know he was watching them. But he didn’t actually need to memorize the lists.
Some loitered nearby, listening in on the conversation. Dalinar stood in an open area of stone, guarded by Niter and the Cobalt Guard, surrounded by attendants. He nodded as Alahal read off the items, and occasionally made a comment when they struck him, even though it was mostly for show. This sort of thing was becoming natural for him.
When the list was done, Dalinar dismissed Alahal, then gathered his stormwarden and guards and made a pass through the market. It was disorganized and eclectic, exactly the sort of place he’d discouraged in his own warcamp. But he would deal with it here. He had to. Nobody else would.
As he walked, he noted several large merchant’s wagons that had arrow divots in the wood. Had they been attacked by bandits? He’d have to ask Alahal to check on it. Dalinar’s soldiers patrolled for bandits; it was another thing that the other highprinces ignored.
“I must say, brightlord,” Elthebar said, “you are becoming quite the proficient administrator! Why, I remember a time when you dreaded this sort of work.”
“I still dread it,” Dalinar grumbled.
“And yet, you excel at it!”
The man meant it as a compliment, but Dalinar found himself annoyed. Unfortunately, he was getting good at administration and bureaucracy.
What would happen to the warcamps if his soldiers didn’t hunt bandits and if his scribes didn’t make certain the merchants weren’t selling bad goods? What if he stopped making certain each warcamp had access to the Soulcasters to make food? Would it all fall apart, as he feared, or was he just inflating his own usefulness?
He feared that he was making everything too easy for the other highprinces. They whispered that he was growing weak even as he spent most of his days working long hours to make certain they—and Elhokar—could continue their games and their feasts.
Maybe, for all of their good, he should just let it all fall apart. But Gavilar had worked too long to bring them together. Dalinar had to keep it together. For Elhokar, for his memory of his brother. For those commands given in his visions, whatever they were.
After about an hour of walking, he checked the position of the sun, then nodded to Elthebar. “Continue the inspection on my behalf. I’ve got an appointment.”
The Gallery of Maps balanced beauty function. The expansive domed structure had been Soulcast of stone, with smooth sides that melded seamlessly with the rock ground. Long and narrow, it was shaped like a loaf of Thaylen bread, and had large skylights in the ceiling, shining down light on formations of shalebark growing in clusters like rocky shelves.
Dalinar passed one of these, a formation of vibrant greens, blues, and faint pinks growing in a knotted pattern as high as his shoulders. The crusty, hard plants had no leaves or stalks; just waving tendrils, like colorful hair that pulled back when Dalinar got too close. Shalebark almost seemed more rock than vegetation. And yet, scholars said it must be a plant for the way it grew and reached toward the light.
Men did that too, he thought, looking up at a bright, sunlit hole above. Once.
Highprince Roion stood in front of one of the maps, hands clasped behind his back, his numerous attendants clogging the other side of the gallery. Roion was a tall, light-skinned man with a full beard cut short. He was thinning on top, and wore his hair long enough for that to be noticeable. Like most of the others, he wore a short, open-fronted jacket, exposing the shirt underneath. The light red collar poked out the top of the coat.
So sloppy, Dalinar thought, though it wasn’t sloppiness that drove Roion to dress this way. It was fashion. Dalinar just wished that current fashion weren’t so…well, sloppy.
“Brightlord Dalinar,” Roion said. “I have difficulty seeing the point of this meeting.”
“Walk with me, Brightlord Roion,” Dalinar said, nodding to the side.
The other man sighed, but joined Dalinar and walked the pathway between clusters of plants and wall of maps. Each map was illuminated by diamonds, their enclosures cupped with mirrored steel to shine light on the maps. Those were inked, in detail, onto brown parchment. The parchment was likely Soulcast; Elhokar had several Soulcasters well attuned to flesh.
Roion’s attendants moved to follow; they included both a cup-bearer and a shield-bearer—the former holding a cup of wine in delicate fingers, the later navigating a large Shardbearer’s shield through the room.
Near the center of the long chamber, they came to the Prime Map, an enormous brown swath of paper fixed in a frame on the wall. It showed the entirety of the Shattered Plains that had been explored. Permanent bridges were drawn in red, and each captured plateau had a blue glyphpair on it, detailing which highprince controlled it. The eastern section of the map grew more vague until the lines vanished entirely.
Dalinar stopped beside this map, and Roion stepped up next to him. The man’s eyes immediately fell to his own plateaus, focused on the far southern side of the battlefront. Of all the highprinces, Roion held the fewest plateaus.
Dalinar reached his hand up, brushing the parchment, inspecting it. Some of the uncaptured plateaus were marked and numbered, foremost of them a large one standing defiantly near the edge of Alethi territory. The Tower, it was being called. A massive, oddly-shaped plateau where the Parshendi had rebuffed the Alethi assaults nine times now.
Dalinar ran his fingers westward. “Highprince Sadeas is doing very well in the mid-north,” Dalinar said, tapping Sadeas’s large swath of glyphpairs.
“Yes,” Roion said, frowning. None of the others were pleased with Sadeas’ success. “One hardly needs to see a map to know that, Dalinar. What is the purpose of this?”
“Look at the scope of it,” Dalinar said. “Five years of dedicated fighting, and nobody has even seen the center of the Shattered Plains.”
“Dalinar,” Roion said. “Surely you aren’t suggesting that we abandon our duty here?”
Dalinar frowned. Nothing in his comments had implied he was thinking that. The rumors had already spread far. “Of course not. My nephew has a duty to seek vengeance. What I am suggesting is that our current efforts are insufficient.”
“I think we’ve done quite well,” Roion said, huffing. “I would point out that you have hardly been a model of inspiration lately.” He nodded to Dalinar’s selection of plateaus near the center of the warcamps, beside those of Sadeas.
Dalinar had originally captured many plateaus, but lately—as he’d dedicated more and more time to administering—he’d been forced to give up fighting time. He didn’t hold as few plateaus as Roion, but he certainly didn’t have as many as Sadeas.
“I would have expected more of the Blackthorn.” Roion glanced at Dalinar, raising an eyebrow.
Dalinar forced himself not to rise to the near-insult. “Roion, we cannot continue to treat this war as a game.”
“All wars are games. The greatest kind, with the pieces lost real lives, the areas captured real sections of land! This is the life for which men exist. To fight, to kill, to win.” The words of Sadees, Sunmaker. The last Alethi king to unite the highprinces, many centuries ago. Gavilar had revered his name, once.
“Recently, a question has started to haunt me,” Dalinar said. “Why? Why do we fight? We don’t enjoy the spoils, we just turn to more war. We fight to get Shardblades, then use those Shardblades to fight to get more Shardblades. It’s a circle, round and round we go, chasing our tails so we can be better at chasing our tails.”
“We fight to prepare ourselves to reclaim heaven and take back what is ours,” Roion said. “Haven’t you been listening to the ardents?”
“Men can train without going to war,” Dalinar said. “And men can fight without it being meaningless. Was it always this way? Were their times when our wars meant something?”
Roion raised an eyebrow, then glanced down at Dalinar’s hand, where his tattoo peeked out from the back of his glove. Dalinar tugged the glove back reflexively.
“You’re making me believe the rumors, Dalinar. They say you’ve lost your edge for battle, that you no longer have a will to fight.” He eyed Dalinar again. “Some are saying that it is time to abdicate for your son.”
“The rumors are wrong,” Dalinar snapped.
“They are wrong,” Dalinar said firmly, “if they claim that I no longer care.” He stepped forward, resting his fingers on the surface of the map again, running them across the rough parchment, toward the unseen Parshendi warcamp. “I care, Roion. I care deeply. About this people. About my nephew. About the future of this war.”
Curse those visions, curse the words of that book. Curse them both to damnation itself! Why can’t I just be the man I once was?
“Well, that is good to hear, I suppose.”
Dalinar turned back to him. “I seem to be the only one who cares about winning, Roion. We are divided, each highprince seeking his own interests first—perhaps exclusively.”
“So you have said before,” Roion said, sighing. “Really, Dalinar, whether or not the rumors are true about you growing weak, you certainly have grown tiresome recently.”
“I repeat myself because nobody seems to be listening. I want you to try a joint fight with me.”
“I want to attack together, with the two of us coordinating our efforts for a joint plateau assault. Our chances of winning will go up greatly.”
“Perhaps,” Roion said, “but who would control the gemstone harvesting?”
“I’m certain we could arrange something fair.”
Roion raised an eyebrow, and Dalinar could sense the skepticism in his expression. “And if we capture a Shardblade?”
It was. Those cursed Parshendi Shardblades had been, in large part, the genesis of this all in the first place. He nearly just said that Roion could have one of they managed to get one, but what of his promise to Renarin?
“Again, I’m certain we could arrange something fair,” Dalinar finally said, the words sounding hollow to him.
Dalinar gritted his teeth. He needed to be bold. “And if I offer them both to you?”
“We try a joint attack. If there’s a Shardblade, you get it. Once we conquer the plateau, the gemstone rights all go to you.”
Roion’s eyes narrowed, his face tightening. His skepticism instantly became suspicion. “An interesting proposal. I shall have to think on it.”
Storm it! Dalinar thought, knowing that Rioin would eventually say no. He wouldn’t believe that Dalinar simply wanted to win the war—he would be looking for hidden motives. The highprinces barely trusted one another enough to work together when there weren’t Shardblades and gems at stake.
“Yes, I’ll think about this,” Rioin said. “Will I be seeing you at the feast this evening?”
“Why wouldn’t you?” Dalinar asked with a sigh.
“Well, the stormwardens have been saying that there’s a Highstorm today, you see….”
“I will be there,” Dalinar said flatly.
“Yes, of course,” Rioin said, chuckling. “No reason why you wouldn’t be.” He smiled at Dalinar. Was that smile condescending? Had Sadeas been talking about Dalinar and the storms again?
Rioin withdrew, his attendants following, leaving Dalinar standing before the Prime Map. Looking down on them like this, as if a god far above, gave him perspective. The plateaus looked like close islands, or perhaps fragments set in a massive stained-glass window.
Not for the first time, he felt as if he should be able to make out a pattern to the plateaus. If they could see a larger section of them, perhaps. What would it mean if there was a form to the chasms?
He studied the map. People entered the Gallery from time to time, mostly officers lighteyes coming to study a map. Most of the maps were more detailed than the Prime Map, focused on specific sections of the shattered plains. Dalinar wanted to see the larger view.
He was growing weak. He had to confront that. Increasingly, however, weakness seemed like strength to him. Everyone else was so concerned with looking strong, with proving themselves. Was he really the only one who saw how frivolous that was? Strength for strength’s sake? What good was strength unless you did something with it?
Alethkar was a light, once, he thought, staring at that map. That’s what Gavilar’s book claims. Nohadon was king of Alethkar, so long ago. In the time before the Heralds left.
When had he changed? Even a few months ago, he hadn’t thought this way. He’d followed the Codes only out of respect for Gavilar’s last wishes. He’d listened to The Way of Kings only in order to find some secret message left to him.
But these things were part of him now. I am changing, like Gavilar did. Their accusations are right.
He felt as if he could almost see it. The secret. The thing that had made Gavilar so excited in the months before his death. If Dalinar could stretch just a little farther, squint just a little more, he’d make it out. See the pattern in the lives of men. And finally know…
Dalinar turned as Adolin entered the cavern-like room. The younger man wore a uniform like Dalinar’s, with a long, dark-blue suit coat that buttoned with silver buttons up the sides of the chest. Dalinar shook himself from his revelry. How long had he been standing here?
“How went the meeting with Rioin?” Adolin asked, joining Dalinar beside the map.
“Poorly. I’m proving far worse at peacemaking than I once was at warmaking.”
“There’s no profit in peace.”
“That’s what everyone says. But there was peace, once. How did men survive then?”
“There hasn’t been peace since the Tranquiline Halls,” Adolin said with a smirk. “‘Man’s life on Roshar is conflict.’” A quote from The Arguments.
Dalinar turned to his son, slightly amused. “Quoting scripture at me? You?”
Adolin shrugged. “Well, you see, Malasha is rather religious, and so we’ve been listening to—”
“Wait,” Dalinar said. “Malasha? Who’s that?”
“Daughter of Brightlord Seveks.”
“What happened to that other girl? The short one, with the fondness for silver hair ribbons?”
“Deeli?” Adolin said, laughing. “Father, I stopped courting her over two months back!”
Dalinar rubbed his chin.
“There have been two in between her and Malasha, father,” Adolin noted. “You really need to pay better attention.”
“Almighty help any man who tries to keep track of your tangled courtships, son.”
Adolin shrugged again, grinning. The smile faded as he looked at the large map of the Shattered Plains. “You’re determined to continue this course, aren’t you, Father? Getting the highprinces to work together?”
“My brother dreamed of unifying Alethkar,” Dalinar said. “Once, I thought he’d achieved it, despite what he claimed. The longer I work with these men, the more I realize that Gavilar was right. We failed. We conquered these men, but we never unified them.”
“And our vengeance?”
“I would love to get my hands on the Parshendi rats who ordered his assassination, son. But five years of war hasn’t brought us any closer to them that I can see. It’s got me thinking. Maybe too much. Jasnah always asked questions that I ignored. Why did the Parshendi assassinate Gavilar in the first place? Why did they sign a treaty, then break it immediately? I’ve only just begun to think about how little we know of them.”
Adolin frowned, but nodded. Almighty be blessed for sending me a son who trusts me, Dalinar thought. He wasn’t certain where he would be without Adolin’s support. The rest of the warcamps could think Dalinar senile or cowardly, but as long as his sons still looked up to him, he could believe he was doing something right.
“The rumors have spread,” Dalinar said. “About my lack of teeth.”
“I know,” Adolin said. “They’re learning better than to say such things aloud when I’m around. Who has been saying it now? I see that he stops.”
“I’m afraid that the talk has passed beyond the reach of your dueling blade, son.” Dalinar shook his head. “We’re going to have to be very careful. I suspect that our enemies have realized I have the power to upset their perfect lives here, and so they’re trying to shame me into retirement.”
“Perhaps,” Dalinar said. “I can’t fathom his purpose, however. Why now, after five years of tolerating one another? There’s more here than appears at first glance.”
“Father, he’s already begun poking around our warcamp, looking for ‘facts’ about that storming broken strap. He’s going to find some imaginary evidence linking us to an attempt to kill the king, then turn Elhokar against us.”
“Perhaps,” Dalinar said. What to do? “Perhaps it’s time to move against him. I worry, though. He and I—”
“Share a purpose,” Adolin said. “So you always say. We can’t let it make us too trusting.”
“Agreed,” Dalinar said with a sigh. “I will ask my scribes to begin formulating a plan.”
It was a dangerous step, one he hated to make. If the two most powerful highprinces turned against one another, it would rip the kingdom apart. But what else could he do?
“Father,” Adolin said, “How could the king do this to us? He’s a fool to—”
“Stop,” Dalinar said, raising a finger. “I’ll suffer no talk like that of our king.”
“Fine,” Adolin said. “But it’s no wonder the way the others are acting, with your own nephew sending a whitespine like Sadeas to sniff at your doings.”
“I’ll speak to Elhokar,” Dalinar said. “Perhaps I can persuade him to end this investigation.”
He hesitated. I have to be wrong. He doesn’t actually suspect me of trying to kill him, does he? Who knew what went on in that mind of Elhokar’s.
Adolin nodded. “Very well. But…I do think there is one thing that has to be asked. You’re frustrated with how the war is proceeding, the king refuses to listen to you, and the rest of the camps treat us as if we were of the tenth nahn. At what point do we just leave? We could pull out, return to Kholinar, and leave them all to their squabbling.”
“Our enemies would see it as running.”
“And what is more important?” Adolin asked frankly. “The truth of the heart or the misperceptions of fools?”
Dalinar smiled, proud to see such wisdom in the normally impetuous lad “It’s a wise suggestion. But we can’t leave Elhokar to them. Besides, I worry what would happen if I weren’t here to keep everything running.”
Adolin raised an eyebrow. “And might it not be good for them all to experience life without you?”
“Unfortunately, proving a point—particularly for our own pride—isn’t worth destroying Alethkar. Our enemies leave us alone because of how strong we are here in the Shattered Plains. If I let this collapse, we’d be in an even worse situation.”
Adolin nodded. “Well, I can’t say I’m sad to stay.”
“Because you want to see the end of the war?”
“Well, yes,” Adolin said. “But I was actually thinking of Malasha. She’s too fair a beauty to leave behind.”
Dalinar snorted. “You’ll have moved on by the end of the week.”
“Father!” Adolin said, growing serious. “Really. I think this time it will last. You have to meet her. She’s perfect.”
Dalinar refrained from pointing out how often his son said such things. Adolin was almost always earnest in relationships, even if he did have trouble with longevity.
The light dimmed above, and Dalinar glanced at the skylights. The sky was thick with clouds. Scrapings sounded atop the roof—servants, pulling stone covers to place on the skylights to keep rain from soaking the Map Gallery. “The highstorm.”
“Stormfather,” Adolin cursed. “I forgot. That’s why I came looking for you. The storm is close. And…well, you know…” Adolin’s voice was clipped with concern.
“I am not some child in need of minding, Adolin,” Dalinar said, perhaps too gruffly. The first of the stone coverings fell into place with an echoing thump, dimming the room. The map diamonds seemed to grow brighter by contrast. “Still,” Dalinar noted, “perhaps we best be on our way.”
Adolin nodded eagerly and the two of them hurried through the large map chamber. It was hollow and empty, the other patrons having retired.
Outside, they stepped into the king’s camp, sky thick with dust and leaves blown ahead of the Stormwall. The air dense with humid anticipation, the sky thickening with clouds.
The Gallery of Map was build on one of the terrace-like sides of the slope where Elhokar had constructed his palace, and their position gave a good view of the ten warcamps, bustling with activity as men rushed this way and that, holding coats or cloaks against the wind. The storm itself was still modestly distant, and the Stormwall not even yet visible.
“Father, perhaps we should stay,” Adolin said, scanning the sky.
“We have time,” Dalinar said, striding away toward steps in the rock down to the plateau bottom. Adolin sighed, but hastened to catch up, and the two of them marched in silence. Dalinar barely kept the urgency from his step—it would unseemly for a highprince to dash through camp like a messenger boy. They weren’t in any danger; any number of buildings in the camps could shelter them. He just didn’t like in public during a highstorm. Perhaps if he’d kept himself sequestered, those rumors never would have started.
He drew attention as he marched. He always drew attention. Even with an impending highstorm, even without a retinue, even without his Plate or Blade. A group of men in brown coats hesitated in their work packing away a tent. A group of soldiers in brown and grey—Highprince Vamah’s colors—stepped aside, whispering to one another. Dalinar Kholin, the Blackthorn. Once one of the greatest Shardbearers Alethkar had ever known.
Dalinar felt their eyes on him, and he had to fight even harder to keep himself from hastening his step. Running would only fuel the rumors.
He felt relieved when he eventually reached the crater-like wall of the Kholin warcamp. Here, the men wore blue and white and the soldiers saluted. They didn’t display the same sense of frantic motion as the other camps. Dalinar’s army had a standing order that all should be ready at all times if a storm was near, and most of the men had already retreated to their enclosures. Their highprince needed to do a better job of following his own restrictions.
“Father…” Adolin said, pointing eastward.
The stormwall hung like a curtain in the air, descending toward the camp. The massive sheet of rain was a foreboding gray, the clouds above onyx black, lit from within by occasional crackles of lightning.
“We can make it,” Dalinar said, breaking into a trot. Appearances could go to Damnation.
“Father!” Adolin said, running up and catching his arm. “I’m sorry.”
The wind whipped at them, and Dalinar gritted his teeth. He glanced at the stormwall again. It was only moments away. Resigned, he nodded to his son.
A nearby guard post had the door open, several soldiers peering out. One waved anxiously. Dalinar joined Adolin, dashing to the stone-walled barrack. The soldiers made room for them; there was a group of servants packed inside as well. In Dalinar’s camp, nobody was forced to weather the tempests in stormtents or wooden shacks.
The occupants seemed shocked to see their Highprince and his heir step in, and several grew pale in the face as the door thumped shut. Their only light that of a few garnet chips hanging in encasings on the walls. One of the men coughed, and a scattering of windblown chips sprayed against the outside of the building.
Dalinar gritted his teeth, trying not to notice the uncomfortable eyes of the men. There was nothing to be done. He could hear the wind howling outside. Perhaps nothing would happen. Perhaps this time…
The storm hit.
Chapter 24 is nearly identical to chapter 18 in the published book, until after the Starfalls vision:
“What kind of answer is that?” Dalinar bellowed. He shook himself, struggling. Hands held him. Where had they come from? He cursed, batting them away, twisting, trying to break free.
He blinked, mind fuzzy as if having just awakened. He stood in the barrack at the Shattered Plains, a faint rain sprinkling on the ceiling. The storm had passed. Adolin and a group of soldiers held Dalinar down.
Dalinar grew still, mouth open. He had been screaming. The soldiers looked uncomfortable, glancing at each other, not meeting his gaze. If it was like before, he’d have acted out his role in the vision, speaking in gibberish, flailing around.
What if they really are just delusions? he thought, terrified. What is happening to me?
A land without war? What general longed for that? What Shardbearer did not look for chances to test himself against others? What was there, if there were no battles to fight?
“My mind is cleared now, Adolin,” Dalinar said, standing upright. “It is all right.”
Adolin nodded to the others, and they hesitantly released him. The storm rains still pattered against the barrack, but the men inside were silent. Adolin spoke soothingly to them, making excuses, telling them that his father was simply eager for combat. Dalinar retreated to the back of the barrack room, sitting down on the floor between two rolled up bedrolls, breathing in and out, thinking.
How could a man decide if something like this was real, or madness? Did he dare ignore the visions? And yet, what they said to do…
Act with honor, and honor will aid you.
That made it sound like he wasn’t supposed to move against Sadeas. Insanity.
Adolin eventually came to kneel by him. He brought a waterskin. “Can I do anything for you, father?” he asked, handing it over.
“Thank you. This will do.” He took a drink, then lowered the waterskin. “I have decided not to move against Sadeas.”
Adolin looked shocked. Then his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure that’s…wise?” He blamed the visions. He was right to.
“No,” Dalinar said. “But it is my decision. We will prepare ourselves, but we will aid Sadeas in his investigation and see what he does. We will extend our hand, and see if he takes it.”
“Or if he chops it off,” Adolin said, sounding bitter. He sighed, rising, and stalked away.
Dalinar sat for a moment, then pulled the sleeve of his coat down, exposing the back of his hand. There, in stark red ink, was a tattoo he had never commissioned. It had appeared on his hand that, long ago. The day which had haunted him ever since, the day he’d made the decision that had taken his wife from him.
The tattoo was in the shape of a stylized hourglass, the double eye pattern, ten spheres connected by lines.
The symbol of the Knights Radiant.