How Evi, Dalinar’s Wife, Dies in Oathbringer

This scene happens in Chapter 76: An Animal of Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson:

Six hours later, Dalinar stood with hands clasped behind his back–partially to hide how badly they were shaking–and stared at a body on the table covered in a white sheet.

Behind him in the tent, some of the scribes whispered. A sound like swishing swords on the practice field. Teleb’s wife, Kalami, led the discussion; she thought that Evi must have defected. What else could explain why the burned corpse of a highprince’s wife had been found in an enemy safehouse?

It fit the narrative. Showing uncharacteristic determination, Evi had drugged the guard protecting her. She’d snuck away in the night. The scribes wondered how long Evi had ben a traitor, and if she’d helped recruit the group of scouts who had betrayed Dalinar.

He stepped forward, resting his fingers on the smooth, too-white sheet. Fool woman. The scribes didn’t know Evi well enough. She hadn’t been a traitor–she’d gone to the Rift to plead for them to surrender. She’d seen in Dalinar’s eyes that he wouldn’t spare them. So, Almighty help her, she’d gone to do what she could.

Dalinar barely had the strength to stand. The Thrill had abandoned him, and that left him broken, pained.

He pulled back the corner of the sheet. The left side of Evi’s face was scorched, nauseating, but the right side had been down toward the stone. It was oddly untouched.

This is your fault, he thought at her. How dare you do this? Stupid, frustrating woman.

This was not his fault, not his responsibility.

“Dalinar,” Kalami said, stepping up. “You should rest.”

“She didn’t betray us,” Dalinar said firmly.

“I’m sure eventually we’ll know what—“

“She did not betray us,” Dalinar snapped. “Keep the discovery of her body quiet, Kalami. Tell the people…tell them my wife was slain by an assassin last night. I will swear the few elites who know to secrecy. Let everyone think she died a hero, and that the destruction of the city today was done in retribution.”

Dalinar set his jaw. Earlier today, the soldiers of his army–so carefully trained over the years to resist pillaging and the slaughter of civilians–had burned a city to the ground. It would ease their consciences to think that first, the highlady had been murdered.

Kalami smiled at him, a knowing–even self-important–smile. His lie would serve a second purpose. As long as Kalami and the head scribes thought they knew a secret, they’d be less likely to dig for the true answer.

Not my fault.

“Rest, Dalinar,” Kalami said. “You are in pain now, but as the highstorm must pass, all mortal agonies will fade.”

Dalinar left the corpse to the ministrations of others. As he departed, he strangely head the screams of those people in the Rift. He stopped, wondering what it was. Nobody else seemed to notice.

Yes, that was distant screaming. In his head, maybe? They all seemed children to his ears. The ones he’d abandoned to the flames. A chous of the innocent pleading for help, for mercy.

Evi’s voice joined them.