Subvisual Haze

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  1. It's been a bit of a running theme that Nale is stealthy. You could just call this a classic creepy plot device, but perhaps there's something more going on here? Lift quite appropriately nicknamed him "Darkness" as he seems to have a supernatural tendency to just appear from the shadows when ambushing his victims like Ym. He also dramatically appears at a meeting of the Skybreakers, interrupting Szeth's 3rd oath without anyone seeming to notice him beforehand. Again, could be just be a dramatic plot element, but it also might be something more. The Highspren themselves seem to be highly elusive, rarely seen or even heard by their Radiants, communicating to them mostly only at night (Ki). Their appearance in the physical realm is as a very subtle tear in the fabric of reality. The element/essence of the Skybreakers/Highspren also seems to connect to this phenomina: smoke. Even their fortress overlooking the Purelake draws surprisingly little attention. This got me thinking about surges. We rather clearly understand gravity, but their second surge has been a bit more opaque (ha!), the surge of Division. We're repeatedly told by the Skybreaker masters and Nale himself that the surge of division is "dangerous", and Nale offers to train Szeth in its use for his own protection. Brandon takes care to never show this surge being used by the Skybreakers though, making me wonder if some clever trickery is at work here. The Surge of Divison: This surge is shared by the Dustbringers and the Skybreakers. The Ars Acanum describes it as "The Surge of Destruction and Decay". In Oathbringer we see Malata use the surge to burn a beautiful pattern into a wood table. This combined with the following quote from The Stormlight Archive Prologue: Gives the clear impression that Division is a surge that destroys stuff. (Side note: I like how Kalak also refers to them as "Dustbringers" even though the author of Words of Radiance implies that The Releasers don't prefer that name). However, I think it is important to note, that Kalak specifically refers to the Dustbringers when seeing the smouldering rock, not mentioning the Skybreakers. Perhaps the Skybreaker Division surge manifests in different ways? I think we have some hints already that surges can work differently for different orders. Perhaps being more internal versus external in their effects, or having a more spiritual effect versus a physical one. Jasnah uses Transformation in a much more classic sense, while Shallan seems to use it largely to augment her Illusionary powers (inspiring others to transform themselves with drawings, giving physical weight and properties to her illusions). The Adhesion surge seems to serve Dalinar and Kaladin in similar (sticking rocks to things) ways sometimes, but the spiritual effects are implied to be quite different. Finally we have the famous Skybreaker ability to supernaturally separate the guilty from the innocent. What if this is actually a function of the Skybreakers possessing an ability to be stealthy/hidden. A kind of physical Division surge they use internally to blend into the shadows, or directly observe criminals at great distances (possibly utilizing the senses of their spren and projecting a piece of themself into it)? Like a more advanced version of the spying and reconnaissance that Malata uses her spren for. A Big Brother like ability to observe their prey from the shadows would certainly go a long way to explaining their judgement capabilities. It's kind of a stretch, but I kind of like the idea of Nale's magic KGB/Inquisition. Thoughts?
  2. I want to say Brandon has hinted at that it would be possible under specific circumstances for a Radiant to bond multiple spren. Szeth certainly meets a lot of theoretical qualifiers for special circumstances. His original spren bond was probably frayed almost to extinction, then he himself was "mostly dead", doing weird things with his body and soul when he was revived. Could his original spren still be loosely bonded to him, but on life support? Does the especially cracked nature of his soul and previous experience with training with all surges somehow allow him to advance up the Skybreaker oaths without specifically having bonded a Highspren? Do Nale's powers as patron of Skybreakers have anything to do with it? Does Nightblood somehow meet the qualifier as a weird Highspren, since Szeth definitely has a bond with Nightblood and Nightblood has a connection with the smoke element and is practically the Division surge incarnate. I do think Szeth's original bonded spren is still around though and slowly recovering its bond with him. What weird combination of powers is allowing him to advance up Skybreaker oaths is a completely open question though in my opinion. Maybe he has just bonded a new highspren, but there are a lot of other strange possibilities that could be at play.
  3. Let's tie it all together with the very important missing piece. What reason would Nale+Heralds have to ruin Szeth's life like that? Nale's driving singular mission for thousands of years has been to destroy or neutralize any surgebinders not under his direct control. Anyways, after reading through Szeth's chapters closely, it became apparent that there are a lot of clues in Szeth's chapters that before he was exiled, not only did he have the Honorblade, but Szeth had already bonded a spren and possibly even become a Radiant. So, BUCKLE UP! So we establish the general order of gaining powers for Skybreakers. The important point being, that the 3rd oath requires the Radiant to bond with a spren. Yet, when Szeth asks if he needs to be paired with all the other rookies: After the first trial at the Purelake, Ki accepts Szeth as her squire letting him swear the second oath and we get this blurb: Szeth seems quite confident that he could choose to swear the 3rd Ideal very quickly! But how would he know that a spren would be drawn to him and bond with him so quickly? Perhaps he has already done this before. Next we cut to the aftermath of the second Skybreaker exercise: Szeth did perform well enough in the contest to draw the approval of the Highspren. He even glimpses 2 of them briefly as slits in the air. He hasn't had nearly enough time to form a bond with one though! Nale's interruption here however implies that Szeth could have indeed sworn the oath at this point. Coming at things from a different angle, we also learn that Szeth is no stranger to voices speaking into his head. And after the battle he finally swears his Third Oath. Mash it all together, and we're given the clear impression that Szeth knew he could immediately swear the 3rd oath because he had already bonded a spren. One that spoke to him in the distant past before everything went wrong. Poor Szeth. He probably bonded a spren long ago and tried to report it to the people in charge, sound the alarm that the Radiants spren were returning and the Voidbringers were soon to follow. Unfortunately Nale as part of his "Kill or Ruin any Unauthorized Surgebinders" Campaign, probably stepped in. Likely Szeth was such an upstanding citizen that there was no legal reason to murder him, but by being declared Truthless by his people his nascent bond with his spren was terminated and the spren in question went into a dead/sleeping state like Sylphrena did in WoR. And now for the real kicker: we don't know for certain that his first spren was necessarily a Highspren. What if, for maximum tragedy and irony, the most famous Truthless in the world was on the path to become a Truthwatcher?
  4. When we speak a language, we do subtle things with pauses, emphasis and modification of surrounding vowel sounds to distinguish close consonants from one another. Strip out the vowels and our ability to emphasize subtle differences between sounds is largely lost. As an example, during the battle at Thaylen city Adolin meets a Thaylen soldier with the fantastic name of "Kdralk". Say that name out loud, then change the D to a T and say "Ktralk" out loud. If you can hear a noticeable difference you have fantastic enunciation skills .
  5. Ohhhhhhh Crem. It was right there the whole time. "What we've done was wrong. That creature carries my lord's own Blade. We shouldn't have let him keep it." The phrasing here is critical. Past tense and plural. Kelek+Nale previously did something that Kelek now believe is wrong. Not something they're actively doing at present time (if indeed they were involved in orchestrating the assassination). Couple that with this little thought from Szeth in Oathbreaker confirming that he did indeed possess the Honorblade before being declared Truthless: The Heralds collectively (at the very least including Kelek and Nale, probably several others) were directly involved in Szeth being declared a Truthless and exiled.
  6. 1. - Thanks, brain fart on my part. I meant Sunmaker there, not Dawnsinger. Too many compound sun related nouns 2. - Yep, and I think that giant cache of Shardblades and plates was quickly "secured" by the Shin.
  7. It's simple logistics. Roshar is a big honking place, and highstorms kick over any effort at developing traditional infrastructure. With the oathgates being inactive and only a couple honorblades giving a few people access to flight/transportation, Roshar suddenly became a much much larger and isolated place post-Oathgate closing. It makes more sense for the Shin to carry out quick wars or raids against their neighbors for shards than to march across half the continent to do the same. The only way to keep an army deployed long-term on Roshar is through massive reliance on Soulcasters for food and shelter construction. While the Shin seemingly have no issue with outsiders using soulcasting (to trade them unmined soulcast metal), I think they shy away from abusing those powers themselves. Otherwise why wouldn't they just soulcast their own metal for use? I think timeline wise this makes great sense for the Shin wars occuring pre-Sunmaker. Earlier I had assumed the reason shardblades are heavily concentrated in Alethekar and Jah Kaved was due to certain orders like the Windrunners being based in Alethekar, thus the Recreance left a lot of blades behind there. That might still be partially the reason, but I think the Shin gobbling up Shardblades on their side of the world also is a great explanation for the dearth of Shardblades in the west. Even better, this helps explain why Iri isn't overflowing with Shardblades, despite the implication that the Recreance event at Feverstone Keep occurred there (dropping hundreds of sets of blade and plate on their soil!). Storms, by selectively poaching shardblades from their neighbors like the Azish, but not the more distant Vorin kingdoms, the Shin actually enabled the Sunmaker's conquest by setting up an exploitable imbalance of power!
  8. In books the Shin invasions sound like a thing of the modern era. When Dalinar mentions his intent to unite all of Roshar, Adolin thinks Based on the purge of historical records pre-Hierocracy by the Ardentia, and (possibly) the order these events are listed offhandedly here, I'd place the Shin invasions shortly post-Recreance, possibly even during the same timeframe as the Hierocracy. Speaking of Shin and invasions, The old Way of Kings Prime chapter on Szeth/Jek had one blurb that caught my eye. Obviously the story has changed enormously since that draft and this isn't even close to canon, but I do like the idea of the Shin being a slumbering military giant restrained from war by their own sense of honor.
  9. I think the top angular stroke of letters (as can occur on N/M, R, S, H, Z) specifically can be flexible and rotate to point the "wrong" direction. Probably some sort of stylistic thing. The text on the border of the map of Thaylen City just omits the top stroke of the N/M entirely to allow the column of letters to pile beautifully together like Tetris blocks. The weird starred letters I'm not completely comfortable with either...but I think in the two cases I identified if the letters were written "correctly" they would crowd into other letters. The N/M in the left column would break the margin if written "correctly", and the possible "R" in the right margin would poke into the neighboring "K" if written normally. I'm still kinda baffled what the first letter is on the top column immediately to the right of the divide. If we reflect the top stroke it's almost an "H", but with an extra stroke in the middle. H L J P/F T/D = ????? I personally think T/D are just one letter in Thaylen, and it was an earlier coincidence that lead us to interpret them as two distinct letters. It would match an overall pattern of Thaylen not differentiating similar consonant phonemes. Knowing that Thaylen writing doesn't specify vowel sounds, and that spoken Thaylen sounds like sounds being smashed together, it would be extremely difficult to distinguish a "t" sound from a "d" sound. Specifically, the fortis and lenis pairs of certain consonants are probably treated as single letters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_phonology#Consonants . Our P/F is probably P/F/B, although we haven't really run into any "b" sounds yet.
  10. Taravangian - Machiavellian Kaladin - Sisyphean Gaz - Lilliputian Dalinar (young) - Choleric Evi - Phlegmatic Adolin - Sanguine Renarin - Melancholic Jasnah - Smexy
  11. As a vertically read language, I think it would be a good rule to assume vertical orientation should always be maintained in letters. Ignoring those p/f examples, every other letter always keeps it's proper side up in this image (S, R, N/M, K). So that got me thinking, what if those upside down p/f letters were actually a different letter entirely? They could be a highly stylized "J", kind of halfway between the Thaylen and Alethi phonemes for "j". That would also let us finally find Sja-Anat's name in the border! I think you solved the bottom with "Darkness", and the top is a mess, but I kind of like these guesses for the side columns: The single stroke phonemes still confuse me. In the Southern Frostlands map, this largely corresponded to "W" (wind, shipwreck, shallow, new) sounds, with a single instance of "V" (cave/cove) sounds. These markings cluster so much at the end or start of columns though, I wonder if they're just a start/stop sign for reading instead of actual letters though.
  12. I'm kind of hoping Brandon just rips off the ending of Granny Weatherwax in Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad (spoilers obviously)
  13. No, I think they're fundamentally bound by certain rules regarding memory and truth that they can't break. Their minds and memories don't even touch on certain concepts until their Radiants discover them, at which point they're completely familiar with them. Syl does this several times, remembering a past event or details of a new skill only after Kaladin finds it himself. I imagine the Nahel bond was specifically designed this way to be a brake on a Radiant's acquisition of power post Ashyn Surgebinding disasters. Lift and Wyndle's situation is an exception to this rule.
  14. No idea about illumination, but Phobos is visible with the naked eye as a 1/3 size moon. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/multimedia/20071127-caption.html Phobos and Deimos are about 21 and 12 kilometers (13.0 and 7.5 miles) in diameter and orbit Mars with periods of 7 hours, 39.2 minutes and 1 day, 6 hours, 17.9 minutes respectively. Because Phobos orbits Mars in a shorter time than Mars' 24 hour, 37.4-minute rotational period, to an observer on Mars' surface it would appear to rise in the west and set in the east. From Mars' surface, Phobos appears about one-third the diameter of the Moon from Earth, whereas Deimos appears as a bright star.
  15. Is Nomon in a geosynchronous elliptical orbit above Urithiru with its perigee at midnight and its apogee at noon? From the clock image it appears to peak in the night sky right around midnight. The map of the Roshar system also gives a relatively simple orbital shape to Nomon with its perigee appearing exactly on the far side of Roshar relative to the sun. edit: no, wait, duh the moons are spinning the opposite direction. But I do think passing over Urithiru at noon and midnight would make sense in an artificially designed solar system.