An Alarming Awakening

Shallan Davar

Knight Radiant
Level 1
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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.
 

Shallan Davar

Knight Radiant
Level 1
LV
0
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
7
Essence
€2,777
Coin
₡6,500
Tokens
0
World
Mesa Roja
Veil struggled onwards. What else could she do in this endless torment of sand and death. Whatever metal had caught her eye from her vantage point, she had been unable to find it, and by the time she had realized her mistake she had lost her orientation back to the oasis. Shallan would have panicked then, but Veil was able to keep her head level. With no better recourse and a distinctly limited number of resources at her disposal she had decided wandering aimlessly made marginally more sense than simply sitting down and waiting to die. She had sought shelter in the shadow of one of the larger sand dunes Shallan had been so mystified by. They didn't even seem to follow the rules of gravity very well, clinging to one another with enough strength to form a semblance of an overhang, but also crumbling into brittle dust at her touch. Fragile facades of strength.

Fitting.

Finally, the heat of the sun had died down enough that she could venture forth once more, and so she struggled forward across the sand. Her shadow stretched longer and longer in front of her as the light steadily faded into the blueness of dusk. The idea of spending the night so exposed out here on the dunes was far from encouraging, but the stars might at least help her orient herself a bit better. That was all she could do really. Keep making the best decisions she could until she ran out of strength and died out here. It wasn't even that she was being morbid about the situation, she could tell that she'd already been subconsciously pulling in some of the scant stormlight she had left to keep her exhaustion manageable in the heat. Once it ran out she had serious doubts about how much longer she would be able to keep marching in this wretched sand. It didn't even have the decency to hold steady under her boots, making each step just a little more difficult than it needed to be. Just to spite her for daring to trample on it, probably.

Somewhere in the back of Veil's mind, Shallan was getting increasingly concerned by something. Well two things actually. Veil tried to ignore her, Shallan would just panic and wouldn't be able to get out of this alive. Veil needed to do this. Of course, it was just walking... And the sky was... Wrong! Shallan stopped her forward trudging, staring up at the sky with a look of sheer confusion. She had always been able to enjoy the sunset at home in her father's estate. She felt relatively confident that she knew what it looked like. But this sunset was... wrong, somehow. She struggled trying to understand what seemed so off about the sight in front of her. She rubbed at her face with her sleeved safehand, then looked at it again, focusing for a moment on the sunset.

The sky wasn't fading right, she decided, without knowing exactly what made her so confident. No, as she looked closer she was certain she was right. The way that the colors of the setting sun blended with the oncoming darkness was too rigid. It was almost a band across the sky! Storms but it was beautiful. Reflexively, Shallan took a memory of the skyline even though the prospect of having a chance to sketch it seemed quite faint in her current situation.
She laughed a little at her own priorities, brushing a stray lock of hair out of her eyes. Now it was time for her to make sure that she survived this situation. As stars started to become visible in the sky above her, she grew increasingly confident that the sky above her was not part of Roshar. This didn't feel like Shadesmar either, though she would need to ask Pattern about that to be sure.

This led into her second concern. She could see Pattern there, His form the mass of lines and angles clinging to the hem of her dress, giving her outfit the appearance of a raised design. She had been so preoccupied with her own panic that she hadn't even noticed that he had yet to say a word for their entire stay here in the desert. She crouched down in the sand, holding up the section of her dress that he clung to.

"Pattern, Are you alright?" She asked a bit hesitantly. His only response was the faintest humming sound, the lines that made up his being vibrated on the surface of her outfit. He was alive at least, though her relief was tempered. His lack of response meant that he was either hurt or that something was interfering with him severely enough that he couldn't put together cohesive thoughts again. She needed to find shelter, somewhere out of the heat of the day. And ideally, she noted with a faint shiver, somewhere that would keep her out of cold of the night as well.

She scrambled up the shallower side of one of the larger dunes she could see. this desert was flat enough that maybe, just maybe she'd see some sign of a destination. The horizon remained as bleak and soul-crushing as ever, even if the temperatures were starting to become even the slightest bit manageable. What was she hoping to find out here? She had no reference... this wasn't Roshar, this wasn't even Shadesmar. She had no way of knowing if there even was anything out here to find.

No! She had seen signs of life. The oasis had been visited by others and there had been a light of something in the sands out there. She forced down her mounting anxiety and refocused her eyes on the horizon. There, another light. It was faint, almost blue, but it looked far closer than she would have guessed. Now, she would try this again, and get it right this time. She made sure she was facing directly towards the light, then slowly made her way down the slope of the dune, dragging her boots in the sand to create bigger tracks. A straight line, she just needed to keep a straight line and she would make it.

In about half an hour she came across what could only assume was the aftermath of a disaster. The vehicle looked reminiscent of a cart, though it was made of metal, and would be far too open to protect against a highstorm if one came through. She was beginning to suspect they were not something that happened here, a thought which had disturbing implications both for Pattern's safety and for her own abilities. Her speculation would wait, however, for the source of the light presented itself as a small blue-skinned figure. Shallan's first thought was of Kaladin's spren, but this figure was too solid to be a windspren. Her eyes were hidden behind long blue hair, and her dress was more elaborate than one would expect for the environment, even less practical than Shallan's own outfit somehow. She turned to face Shallan, who started in surprise. A sapphire gem near the size of her fist was embedded into the being's chest, sitting over her heart.

"Who... what... ah, What has happened here?" Shallan stammered, still trying to make sense of the being in front of her.

"My conveyance has been waylaid and destroyed." The short blue woman answered, gesturing to the ruined metal wagon that was scattered about the nearby sand. Her tone unnervingly at ease for the statement she had just made.

"Now that you have arrived, we may be on our way."

Waylaid? By what? "On our way? Where?"

"To safety. You are the one to rescue me from this tragedy." The answer came almost too fast. Hadn't this person just been through an ordeal? Shallan found herself reminded of Jasnah's unshakeable composure. Was this the level of restraint she should have too?

"How?" She found herself asking. It felt like a stupid question. How was someone supposed to answer that?

"I have foreseen it."

"...Oh."
 
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