“Life before death. Journey before destination,” Sil whispered. … “I like that.”
“Why?” Caladin asked.
“… Because,” she replied, as if that were explanation enough. “I know you want to give up, but you can’t.”
“Because you can’t.”
“I can’t do it again,” he thought, squeezing his eyes shut.
What was hope, except another opportunity for failure? How many times could a man fall before he no longer stood back up?
“I can’t save them, Sil,” Caladin whispered, anguished.
“Are you certain?”
“I’ve failed every time before.”
“And so you’ll fail this time, too?”
She fell silent. “Well then,” she eventually said. “Let’s say that you’re right.”
“So why fight? I told myself that I would try one last time, but I failed before I began! There’s no saving them!”
“Doesn’t the fight itself mean anything?”
“Not if you’re destined to die.” He hung his head.
He realized what was happening to him—this melancholy, this sense of despair. He’d become the wretch, not caring; but also not despairing. It seemed better not to feel at all, rather than feel pain.
“I’m going to fail them,” Caladin thought, squeezing his eyes shut. “Why try?”
Wasn’t he a fool to keep grasping as he did?
The Wretch seemed to be standing before him. He meant release. Apathy.
Did he really want to go back to that? It was a false refuge. Being that man hadn’t protected him. It had only led him deeper and deeper until taking his own life had seemed the better way.
Life before death. Journey before destination.
Doesn’t the fight itself mean anything?
– Excerpts from Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings”