Summary:Words of Radiance/Chapter 27
- Mentioned only
- Plot summary
- Five years ago
Shallan is outside in the gardens of their estate sketching. She longs to stay out there, where people do not scream at each other, where there is peace. Unfortunately, it was a fake peace, cultivated like the garden itself. She hears shouts from the nearby manor house, which cause her to tense up and ruin the sketch she's working on. She thinks of her brother Helaran, who brings her the fine sketching paper. His returns home are unpredictable and short, and no one knows where he goes when he leaves. She stares at a blank piece of paper, and loses track of time.
Eventually noticing the sky has darkened, Shallan packs up her things and heads inside. Her father has been throwing feasts regularly, and it is almost time for the one tonight. She turns up the stairs to get ready. There would be a new dress for her to wear as she sits quietly. She suspects her father doesn't like that she has begun speaking again. Perhaps he does not want her to be able to speak of things she has seen. Her mind goes blank.
Her brother Jushu finds her on the stairs, staring at the wall. Jushu's jacket is undone and askew, and his cheeks are flush with wine. He has no cuff links or belt, having gambled them away. When asked, Jushu tells Shallan that he heard the yelling. Balat has been starting fires again, and nearly burned down the servants building. Jushu says that he is the only one left in the family with any sense. They pass their father's quarters. It is being tidied with the door open, which allows Shallan to see the far wall. She stumbles. Though hidden behind a painting, she can see the outline of the strongbox glowing, blazing like fire. Jushu asks what she is staring at, but when she tells him, he thinks she is crazy. Shallan continues to stare at the light, thinking a monster hides there. That her mother's soul hides there.