An Alarming Awakening

Shallan Davar

Knight Radiant
Level 1
Sep 12, 2020
Mesa Roja
Shallan’s head was alight with fire, pain that seeping even into the very center of her brain. What had happened? The Oathgate shouldn’t have worked that way. She opened her eyes and thrust a hand up to shield them from the intense glare that shone down on her. The blue and cloudless sky was visible around the edges of her sight. With a start of alarm, she sat up, suddenly heedless of the splitting pain.

The first thing that struck her was the openness of the place, how had it survived being scoured by highstorms? The strange plants surrounding the pool of water seemed entirely lacking in terms of the hard shell required for safety, and some of the largest ones stretched overhead had fronds far too large to be retracted. There was no shielding ridge of rock or gulley, did they sacrifice them every time a storm rolled through? That didn’t seem at all practical, unless…

A bout of dizziness made its presence known, and Shallan steadied herself with her arms. Her free hand brushed loose grains, and she realized that she was sitting on sun-bleached sand. A disturbing thought was bubbling towards the surface of her thoughts as she dug her fingers into it. She held a handful of sand up, watching it scatter away from her outstretched palm. This sand would not stay put during a storm, as she glanced outwards, she could see dunes where lighter winds had likely pushed it into piles.

She took a deep breath, then another, trying to fight back the panic that she could feel rising. There were no highstorms here? Was she even on Roshar anymore? She cast about wildly for any sign of the others. No Kaladin, No Adolin, she seemed to be alone. What had she done, to them, to herself? Was this a trap that Odium had constructed, or had she simply made another terrible mistake?

Shallan sank back down, one arm across her face. She couldn’t do this. Shallan was too tired to keep up with the demands that were being made of her. She was just a foolish girl who thought she could help save the world! An idiot who had bumbled her way through failure after failure into some mockery of success. They had been depending on her to get them out of Kholinar, and now she had no idea what had happened, not to her, not to them. Now she was lost somewhere she didn’t know could exist, with no sign of her friends, no sign of life at all. Shallan couldn’t do this again, she’d only made it to the shattered plains because Tyn had helped her develop Veil.

Veil was more used to this than Shallan was. She’d been nothing before, living by her wits alone in an uncaring world. Veil would be able to find her footing here, not collapse into a useless crying heap like Shallan. With a sniff, Veil sat up rubbing her face with her hand. She got to her feet with a grunt, and cast her gaze about her, ignoring the pain in her head like just another hangover. The strange dunes of sand seemed to stretch on forever. There would be no sense in just wandering out in a direction really. She had gotten incredibly lucky that she had ended up here, where there was water. She walked over to it, briefly searching for a vessel to hold it in, then cursing herself for not having thought to bring one.

She knelt down by the water’s edge, then frowned. Veil still looked like Shallan, with her too red hair and obvious sheltered upbringing. She didn’t have the stormlight to spare for the disguise, she knew that, but it still irritated her. She scooped up some of the water with her freehand, hoping it wasn’t poisoned. It tasted a little bitter, but not enough to be concerning. If she had to be here in a desert for any length of time, it’d be unlikely to be the poison that killed her.

The oasis seemed well abandoned, she decided after a brief circuit around it, though the remains of a firepit suggested that she was not somewhere entirely devoid of civilization. The sun was quite overbearing, Veil wished for her hat and coat instead of Shallan’s frivolous dress. Did she really have no better option than to wait here in the shade for a passerby? After a few moments of consideration, she decided to try scaling one of the larger plants. Again she wished for more practical clothes, the long dress and safehand sleeve proved to make the climbing difficult, but she was in no real rush, and with a slow methodical approached she made it to the top without mishaps.

The sand stretched out before her, baking and shimmering in the heat of the sun. Yellow sand below blue sky, no matter what direction she turned. It was pretty in a way but didn’t provide any solutions to her current predicament. People must have some method for getting around out here, it sure didn’t seem practical to walk the whole distance in this heat on foot. A glimmer of metal out in the desert caught Veil’s eye as she surveyed the area. It wasn’t too far away; with luck she’d still be able to see the oasis to get back to it. Her mind made up, she clambered back down the plant’s trunk, landing on the soft sand with hardly a sound. She reoriented her direction again, then when she was fairly confident that she would be going the right way, Veil set off onto the sunlit dunes.