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Rlain

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Rlain
Rlain Portrait by Marie Seeberger.jpg
by Marie Seeberger
Aliases Shen
Groups Bridge Four, Sadeas army (formerly), Kholin army
Species Singer
Residence Urithiru
Nationality Listener
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
This page or section contains spoilers for Oathbringer!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

Rlain (nicknamed Shen) is a listener and member of Bridge Four.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Rlain, as Shen in Dullform, has the classic Parshendi skin of red and black marbled patterns. He looks like many of the other parshmen. He had the Bridge 4 / freedom tattoo placed upon his forehead.[2] Rlain in Warform has an orange-red skullplate and armored carapace at the chest, thighs, and outer arms. He remained as tall as an Alethi but more muscular in body type. Rlain’s Bridge Four tattoo remained on his forehead, but now it blends into his skullplate.[3]

Shen remains quiet for much of Way of Kings. He asks "Am I really Bridge Four?" and "Where is my spear?" of Kaladin. He states "A slave I am, then" after Kaladin says the Lighteyes would object to a parshmen with a spear.[4] This shows more intelligence than the parshmen display. He shows flashes of pride after being granted a spear and apologizes to Kaladin when he leaves. Later when he returns to the Alethi, he is mournful of the loss of his people. [3]

After the Battle of Narak, Rlain appears in Warform and is in a melancholy mood brought upon by his people's part in the Everstorm and his place in Bridge Four.[5]

History[edit]

About four years before the Everstorm he was tasked with becoming dullform to disguise himself as a parshman and infiltrate the warcamps. He traveled between warcamps for three years[3] before becoming part of Bridge Four.[1]

Rlain is placed in Bridge Four as an experiment by Hashal to see if parshmen could be trusted to run bridges. The members of Kaladin's crew violently distrusted the parshman, wanting to place him up at the front of the bridge to be hit with an arrow instead of a human bridgeman, but Kaladin refused, giving the parshman the name "Shen" and insisting that he was to be treated as a member of the crew.[1]. Upon entering Bridge Four, Rlain helped Lopen carry the waterskins during the bridge runs. Rlain was upset by the crew's scavenging from dead Parshendi, and even more upset when Kaladin used Parshendi carapace as armor during a bridge run, to the point where he ended up being left behind on subsequent runs. He was retrieved from Sadeas warcamp and brought with the rest of the bridgemen to Kholin warcamp following Sadeas's betrayal and Bridge Four's rescue of Dalinar.

Not wanting to arm a parshman, Kaladin orders Rlain to be an assistant to Rock, helping with the supplies and cooking. Rlain confronted Kaladin over not being given a spear like the other former bridgemen[4], and was given one after Dalinar permitted it as an experiment.[6] Rlain accompanied Adolin when he met with Eshonai to try to arrange a truce, and later that day, he left the warcamps to rejoin the Parshendi. Rlain went back to Narak and gained warform. He eventually defected from the Parshendi, realizing that the change in Eshonai had corrupted his people. Bridge Four accepted him back, and he helped in the strategy of attacking the Stormform Parshendi.[7]

During a training session of the Bridge Four Windrunner squires, Rlain is struggling with the facts of losing his people and trying to be a member of Bridge Four. After his people summoned the Everstorm, Rlain believes that he might possibly be the last Listener left. Thinking that the they were destroyed by Alethi blades during the the Batle of Narak and the Everstorm. He thinks on the times in Dullform when he could barely listen to the Rhythms, and though his people are lost, enjoys being in Warform and attuning to the Rhythms once again. Rlain loves his fellow members of Bridge Four but is aware of the fact that he is an oddity, even among them. He passively resents the fact that he doesn't truly belong anywhere, not among the ranks of the Fused and not among Bridge Four. He is also irritated that none of his brothers in Bridge Four console him for not being able to draw in Stormlight and thus becoming a true squire of the Windrunners. He does question if that is childish of him to feel that way. He tries to not grow jealous or resentful of his place in Bridge Four. When asked by Eth of Bridge Four if he can give information on the going-on's of the Fused, he tries to explain to them that the Fused are his enemy as they are theirs, more so even. He tells them that he can not tell them what the Fused will do and that he and his people spent their entire lives trying to avoid thinking of their ancient gods. [5]

Rlain desperately wants his friends to understand that he has nothing in common with the Fused or Voidbringers; he wants them to know that they are practically a different species. Despite feeling invisible and somewhat of an outsider to Bridge Four, he still views them as his family. Rlain feels a special kinship with Renarin Kholin, who always makes it a point to speak with him.[5]

At the end of of the training session Kaladin notices Rlain and tells him to take the rest of the day off. Rlain asks Kaladin if he truly means it when he asks how he is feeling. Kaladin says that he does, so Rlain tells him that he will try. It is assumed after this encounter that Rlain tells Kaladin about his feelings toward the destruction of his people, his place in Bridge Four, and his thoughts on his gods coming back.[5] 

Notes[edit]

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