The Immortal Words, A Stormlight Archives

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. That was their motto, and was the First Ideal of the Immortal Words. There were four others.”Kaladin raised an eyebrow. “Which were?””I don’t actually know,” Teft said. “But the Immortal Words – these Ideals – guided everything they did. The four later Ideals were said to be different for every order of Radiants. But the First Ideal was the same for each of the ten: Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.” – Teft to Kaladin

Spoilers ahead.

It has been almost a year after my descent to what I consider to be the lowest point in my life and almost at the end of it, I found a saving grace and comfort in Brandon Sanderson”s The Way of Kings.

I find it curious and unbelievably coincidental how the timeline coincided with the book’s storyline. Following Kaladin’s story in the book was painfully similar to mine metaphorically. Unlike him, I am not branded as a slave but we have both found ourselves in depressive slumps and, at one point, have considered taking our lives. Questions like ‘What’s the point?’, Why am I doing this?’ or ‘What am I fighting for?’ haunted our daily lives especially when we fought so hard and valiantly yet failed to protect the people who knew exactly what to say and whom we deeply loved – his brother and my lover respectively. Betrayed by a light eyes.

The gravity of our situation crushed our spirits. I talk as if I knew what he was going through but I cannot help but empathise with the man because it was like reading my own autobiography for this certain period in time. I would be simply lying if I did not admit that he encouraged me to get out of the slump that I am in. He and Dalinar.

In all my moping and wallowing, I realised that I have not been acting honourably.

I look to figures like Kaladin, Dalinar and Jasnah. Perfectly flawed people yet there is surefootedness in their actions because they act according to their morals and with integrity.

Dalinar amazes me with his commitment and his faith in both his brother, the codes and the visions he received.

Jasnah is a woman of logic. The sharpness of her wit, her dedication to her studies and her wisdom make me want to be like such a woman. A woman with grace and wisdom. Like an owl in the night, she silently strikes.

Finally, Kaladin. If there is a character who I identify with so much, it would be Kaladin Stormblessed. His depressive episodes yet he moves forward to fight because he is persistent and persistence is something that I used to pride myself in.

Finally, it has never been clearer to me that I would like to have someone who has gone through life’s harsh obstacle courses and whose character has been forged to that of an honourable man. Of course, one cannot forego the more affable and cheeky qualities that are present when intimately entangled as such but above everything else, my future husband’s steadfastness, wisdom, integrity, love and tenderness shall be the qualities that I will heavily rely on when times of hardships arrive and he to me. After all, no one would want to be with someone they do not respect.

With that being said, I saw a photo of my ex on his graduation day on my Facebook wall. I realised why I decided to uninstall the social media platform except for its messaging feature. I do not think I will ever be alright in facing the man who has broken my heart. I may forgive him but seeing his face brings forth grief and anxiety that makes me feel lightheaded and my heart gets caught in my throat. Admittedly, it is not a great feeling and honestly, it might take many, many years before I can fully get over someone who left a deep wound in me.

While I do not enjoy being in the pit, I believe that God is doing something behind the scenes. As obscure as it seems, I believe that my life is in good hands because it is in the hands of the Almighty. It may not seem like it at the moment but this should not deter me from showing up every single day and to learn from the past me who used to give it 200% of her all, all the time.

To you, life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination.



Kaladin, A Great Reminder in Times of Hopelessness

"Everything seemed to go wrong when you lost that leaf," Syl said in a soft voice. "Before that, you fought." 
"I failed." 
She cowered down, kneeling on his palm, misty skirt around her legs, drops of rainwater passing through her and rippling her form. "You don't like it then? I flew so far...I almost forgot myself. But I came back. I came back, Kaladin." "
Why?" he pled, "Why do you care?" 
"Because I do," she said, cocking her head. "I watched you, you know. Back in that army. You'd always find the young, untrained men and protect them, even though it put you into danger. I can remember. Just barely, but I do." "
I failed them. They're dead now." 
"They would have died more quickly without you. You made it so they had a family in the army. I remember their gratitude. It's what drew me in the first place. You helped them. " 
"No," he said, clutching the blackbane in his finger. "Everything I touch withers and dies." He teetered on the ledge. Thumber rumbled in the distance. 
"Those men in the bridge crew," Syl whispered. "You could help them." 
"Too late." He closed his eyes thinking of the dead boy earlier in the day. "It's too late. I've failed. They're dead. They're all going to die, and there's no way out." 
"What is one more try, then?" Her voice was soft, yet somehow stronger than the storm. "What could it hurt?" 
He paused. 
"You can't fail this time, Kaladin. You've said it. They're all going to die anyway." 
- p188-p189, The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

There have been a few characters I have had a personal connection with, Gloria from Modern Family (minus the hot part), but I have never felt such a connection with Kaladin’s story in Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, Book 1 of The Stormlight Archives.

Here you see in the earlier chapters, a darkeyed* young man of much vigour, tenacity, and leadership. Someone who cares and, possibly, someone who cares too much. Someone who is hopeful, a why for living before it all came crashing down. Without spoiling too much, he went from a revered hero to less than a slave and from the excerpt above, he even contemplated taking his own life.

*Darkeyes are considered to be lesser than Lighteyes in The Stormlight Archive world. Unfortunately, it seems like I, born with both dark eyes, tanned skin and of Southeast Asian descent, also am highly discriminated against in that world. Haha.

Have you experienced anything that made you think, “There is no way on God’s green earth will I be able to recover from this”?

Through one’s own preferred filter, an event can be devastatingly heartbreaking or something you can brush off. When my grandmother died almost three years ago, I cried and regretted the fact that I didn’t message her more often or that the trip to visit her that I planned for that year was thwarted. I cursed the timing as we were both looking for it. You see, I had planned to take her around the city and enjoy the seaside and such because she has been pretty much under house arrest due to a broken hip that occurred a year prior. It occurred to me that the last time I visited her was the last time I will have seen her, hugged her, and celebrated her birthday with her.

However, my grandmother’s death didn’t keep me sad for so long as the next day, I went back to work like nothing happened. I didn’t take any bereavement leave or any of those things as there were things to do.

It was a different story when I had my first breakup.

I took a week off, wrote sad articles and was paralysed for a good nine months. The pain, the disappointment, and the hopelessness that I felt were potent enough that there were thoughts of either self-harm or giving up and handing over my life card and signing off yelling, “I quit, I don’t want to be alive anymore”. Every waking day was a mental battle with the call of the void on the other side and my hopeful self on the opposite.

I don’t know if I won the war but I know that l sometimes lose and sometimes win the battle and having read the exchange between Kaladin and Syl, a windspren, invigorated me. If I frame it in such a way that in the end, I’m going to die, “What is one more try? What could it hurt?”

Finally, there is one last thing that stuck with me from the first 350 pages besides that exchange between Syl and Kaladin and Gavilar’s code and Dalinar’s pain, it is what happened shortly after Kaladin decided to try again.

He reached back across time, studying the man he had been. The man who'd still fought, and fought well. 

He couldn't be that man again- he couldn't erase the scars- but he could learn from that man as a new squadleader learned from the victorious generals of the past. Kaladin Stormblessed was dead, but Kaladin Bridgmean was of the same blood. 

A descendant with potential. 
p192, The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson 

I don’t know about you but this metamorphosis, which was written rather briefly but poignantly, spoke to me. This is what I was looking for – what can I do with those wasted two years and those wasted months in recovery? The last excerpt was the answer to my longing for what I revered as the good old days.

Those days are long gone and so are the people from that but my future and my potential are not. No wonder one of the most quoted quotes is “Each day is a new beginning” and all of its variations or its Christian iteration from the book of Lamentations, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Life may not be the way I expected it to be but I can always try and I will die trying.

PS. I have read The Mistborn Trilogy before written by the same author but The Stormlight Archives series is in a different league of its own. I like Kaladin more so far than I like Vin as the main character. Although I’m only barely halfway through the first book, I would definitely recommend you to read The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.