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Summary:Words of Radiance/Chapter 45

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Plot Summary
Three and a half years ago

Shallan and her family are attending the Middlefest Fair on her father's estates, which draws people from hamlets and villages all around. A Shin merchant has a colorful show chicken on display, and Shallan thinks it bizarre. She follows her father to their box at the dueling arena, where they are soon approached by Brightlord Revilar. Revilar tries to force her father into an unfavorable business deal, noting his popularity with Highprince Valam and House Davar's declining status. Eventually her father bows his head and they send Shallan away.

She is excited to see the fair unchaperoned but forces herself to do work first. After finding Eylita Tavinar, who gives her a note, she sets off to find brother Balat. While searching she thinks of her mother and her mind goes blank. Jix, one of her house's guards, eventually finds her and agrees to accompany her. Balat is at the Axehound fights in the gambling pavilion, watching intensely, fixated on the animals killing each other. Shallan gives him the note, and he's surprised and excited by the meeting she's arranged. After he leaves, shallan sits on a rock, relieved to be out of the pavilion and happy she was able to help Balat, even in a small way.

When she returns to her father's box, he's in a meeting with a man she doesn't recognize. The man, dressed in black, seems startled when he sees Shallan and almost drops his glass. Malise tells her that the man claims to have brought word from her brother Helaran. When asked what news the man brought, her father commands her not to speak her Helaran's name and declares him disinherited.

Shallan leaves and seeks out their carriage. Wikim is within, depressed and despondent. He asks whether their father sent her, or whether she came on "one of her new little missions of mercy". He tells her that she can't fix their family, and that he won't be around to see their collapse because he'll be dead by then. Feeling like a fool, she gives him the gift she had prepared, a set of math problems, then hastens away from the carriage fighting back tears.

Sitting on a rock and trying to compose herself, the messenger in black starts talking with her. The man, unbeknownst to Shallan, is Wit. He tells her that the message sent by Helaran to her father is that he "has eyes nearby, and is watching." Wit then asks her if spren talk to her, which causes her to think about "twisted symbols the eye should not see" and "her mother's soul in a box". She tells him that of course they don't and that she should be returning to her father. Wit tells Shallan that Helaran was right, her father is destroying their family, but wrong about everything else. He points out that Wikim is engrossed in the math problems that she had given him. He asks her to tell her the most beautiful thing she can imagine, and she describes a scene with her family happily living in together. As she talks, Wit pulls out some spheres and wisps of Stormlight hang in the air before between them. When she notices, she draws back and the light fades. Wit tells her that she will need to understand the nature of lies and see truth before she can expand upon it.

  • At the meeting with Lin Davar, Wit dumps a pouch of powder into his own cup and drinks it. According to Brandon Wit used Allomantic metals, probably Zinc or Brass.
  • Shallan is able to vividly see what she is describing to Wit, which is similar to Kaladin's experience speaking with Wit. This is likely one of Wit's abilities.
  • Wit mentions that the "Shards here are very strict," refering to the Shards on Roshar. This is one of few instances when they have been mentioned directly in the books.


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