i feel partially dead

2

Game Aesthetics: Nick (Left 4 Dead 2)

Missed my plane from Oslo to Bergen yesterday, accident on the road.
No other flights free that day, so I spent the remainder of the day wandering around Oslo, then taking a 9 hour bussdrive home.
My knees hurt from all the… sitting… 
I feel partially dead now.

Kaladin finding a little girl, maybe eight or nine, the only survivor of a Voidbringer attack. His heart breaks for her because he recognizes the brokenness and grief in her eyes. And she’s scared of him at first, but he watches out for her and gives her space until finally she lets him hold her while she cries for those she’s lost.

He takes her back to Urithiru because there’s nothing left for her in her home town but death and memories, and because when Syl shows herself to this quiet, lonely girl, her eyes light up as though, for just one moment, she’s forgotten the pain and learned to hope again.

Bridge Four collectively adopts her because it takes her all of two days to steal everyone’s hearts.

Rock watches her when Kaladin’s on duty. Teaches her to cook. Tells her Unkalaki bedtime stories about the gods, the waters of life, and the spren.

Teft is the grouchy granddad who spoils her rotten when no one’s looking. He lets her ride on his shoulders and shares all his embarrassing stories about Kaladin.

Lopen sometimes sneaks her away from Rock to play hide-and-seek and teach her one-armed Herdazian jokes. (And gets offended because no one groans when she tells them, until he realizes this is his chance to spread even more of his jokes around.)

Sigzil teaches her to read and write and trains her–not quite as a Worldsinger; she’s too young for that–but trains her to think about the world beyond Alethkar’s borders. (Kaladin sits in on her lessons from time to time because his Radiant duties carry him all across Roshar, and everyone agrees Kaladin is the difficult child in that class.)

Leyten has arts and crafts time with her. He can’t wait for the day he can teach her to work metal, but he’s content to work with shells and stones for now.

Skar gets nervous because she likes to watch him train the other bridge crews and he’s suddenly not as confident when he can’t just yell at someone until they listen. (And boy does she have a way of not listening to Skar. Watching him wrangle a little girl as she smacks him with practice spears severely undermines Skar’s authority with Bridge Sixteen, and he has to turn them back over to Teft.)

Drehy as her partner in crime (along with Lopen, more often than not.) Starting food fights (on accident), drawing (poorly) on the barrack walls, sneaking down into the chasms or up to the palace or outside the warcamps on scavenger hunts.

Rlain is suuuuper awkward around her because he’s never worn mateform and he deliberately avoided the young listeners like how do you parent?? But then she starts humming along to the Rhythms–and she’s terrible at it. Rlain can only guess which Rhythm she’s mimicking one time out of three. But she’s trying, and somehow that’s enough.

Renarin just watches her from a distance at first because he still hasn’t quite figured out if he’s part of Bridge Four or not, and anyway he’s not good with kids. But sometimes she remembers her first family and goes off to sit quietly by herself, away from the bustle and cheer of Bridge Four. And when Kaladin’s not there to hold her, Renarin will go and sit with her and not say anything, just let her talk, or cry, or fall asleep as he rubs her back.

And one day Kaladin finds her wearing his dirty uniform, with crem smeared on her forehead in a crude imitation of his brands, beaming up at him as she gives a clumsy salute and calls him “Dad” for the first time.

Rock and Teft catch Kaladin teary-eyed over his unexpected daughter and tease him mercilessly for the next three weeks. (And somehow it doesn’t bother him so much because she’s always there with a smile like sunlight in the Weeping. And it just blows him away that someone like her can be so proud of someone like him.)

And when she’s older, Bridge Four’s daughter babysits the next generation of Kholin brats. She wears a specially-made uniform coat and tells her charges, “My dad is Captain Kaladin, and he babysits your parents everyday. Well, I’m his daughter, so that makes me your Captain, and you have to do what I say.”

Basically, Bridge Four being the weirdest, goofiest, best bunch of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and cousins a little girl could hope for.