The main idea of this post is that fighting against Odium is Hoid's primary goal. He hates Rayse for unknown reasons, and wants to defeat him. So I see Hoid as trying to protect humanity from Odium, while simultaneously trying to kill Odium. I also see the conflict with Odium as being the major backdrop to everything that's going on cosmere wise. I believe that Hoid's appearances in the cosmere books are directly related to him trying to counter, or work against Odium, while still helping people. I also wonder if perhaps Odium hasn’t actually created any creatures, and has just corrupted the creations of other Shards to form his Voidbringers. Perhaps they were once Cultivation’s. I'll now try to summarize what evidence I have for how the war has affected the Shardworlds, bearing in mind that this is Odium's goal:
So Ruin and Preservation combine. When Odium slays the Shardbearers, why doesn’t he absorb the enemy Shards?
Because that would actually change the way he views the world. The Shard would actually start to influence him, and could actually ruin who he views himself as being. So instead of combining them all, his goal is to destroy them all and be the only one left at his power level.
So by his nature, he can't combine?
I mean he could, but it would change his nature. So he won't.
The largest piece of evidence we have from the war here is of course the Splintered remains of Devotion and Dominion. Odium came here to kill them and ensure that they could not be taken up again. I also believe that he killed the original Elantrians, and possibly the Dakhor monks as well. The whole former race that occupied Arelon, and Elantris were gone when the Arelish arrived, I think Odium probably brought some Voidbringers with him and just slaughtered them all. That's probably also the reason that there aren't any myths of Voidbringers on Sel, because the people they fought were obliterated, so there wasn't anyone else left to tell tales.
We all know that Hoid was posing as a simple beggar in Arelon. The question is, why did Hoid show up? He's centuries too late to save Aona and Skai. However, I'm sure Hoid thinks the more Shards to oppose Odium, the easier job they will have, and I imagine Hoid probably also emphasizes with the Elantrians. We know that Devotion and Dominion are Splintered, the question is, how permanent is Splintering? I personally am of the opinion that it isn't permanent, because Shards are eternal, the problem is to somehow make them re-coalesce. It might even be happening on its own already, there are no new Seons, and fewer old ones, and apparently the Elantrians didn't make them. So hopefully somewhere Seons are converging and Devotion is starting to reform. So obviously Hoid wants new allies in his fight. I now know that anyone can take up a Shard. It might be easier for an Eantrian to do so but that's just speculative. Prehaps Hoid has had one of his precognitive visions and knows an Elantrian is destined to take up the power, maybe even Raoden. He could aso simpy be looking for allies, which makes a little less sense, because Galladon is obviosuly not Hoid's friend right now.
No evidence here of Odium's direct interference with events on Scadrial, he's probably left it alone, with one Shard as close to mindless as possible, and the other imprisoned. There was no one there to challenge his power. Only recently has this situation changed, so the people of Scadrial would be wise to keep an eye out for Odium.
Again Hoid falls into an unobtrusive role, this time as an informant, but he also spends time as the leader of the Terris people. I personally think he's there to stop Ruin from destroy Scadrial, which seems pretty obvious. An evil Shard breaking free, killing all life on Scadrial, then going on a rampage throughout the cosmere seems pretty bad to me. Also Ruin could eventually form a temporary alliance with Odium, I'm sure Ruin would be amicable to destroying other Shards. Hoid probably was trying to exacerbate Great House relations to start a war in TFE. In WoA Hoid was trying to find the Well so he could get ahold of a bead of Lerasium for mysterious purposes. In HoA he was probably truing to give Vin crucial information, but something spooked her. Hoid goes there, probably for several reasons, but another for sure is to set up Sazed as someone holding two Shards, probably the only person in the cosmere that could beat Odium in a fair fight. This is obviously a great thing for Hoid, and his fight, moving from two Shards that were useless, to two that could intervene if Odium becomes more aggressive.
This is where I start getting pretty far into speculation. If you’ve read my theory Endowment Recently Arrived on Nalthis, then you know where I stand. I think Nalthis was not Endowment’s original world, and that s/he fled from his/her original Shardworld because Odium attacked. Then s/he went to Nalthis, a Shardless world, and his/her presence gradually changed the sDNA of the people who lived there, so they had Breath and were able to Awaken.
I honestly am not sure about why Hoid was here. Perhaps he was checking up on Endowment, making sure s/he was okay, or trying to win his/her support against Odium. He was also looking out for the people though, trying to give Siri hints in his stories so she could avert a Second Manywar.
Here we go now, with the War finally coming into center stage. The main thing to think about is the Oathpact. This is how I see it. Honor has had enough. He’s felt Odium Splintering Shards, chasing away Endowment, and even destroyed Honor’s own Shardworld, the Tranquiline Halls. Honor, following in line with his intent, challenges Odium to a duel. For some reason Odium accepts, and becomes bound by the rules of the Oathpact. Why he accepts is mysterious. Maybe, as I suggested in another thread, Shards have the ability to affect each other with their intents, so Odium has no choice in the matter. Maybe Odium wants a fair fight, or respects Tanavast for some reason. Maybe it’s tied up in rules about the Shards that we don’t understand yet.
Anyway, Honor and Odium need a neutral arena for their fight. They choose Roshar, and Cultivation possibly as a sort of moderator. She creates an Earthlike area for Honor’s people to arrive in Shinovar, a sort of staging area while they grow accustomed to this new world.
The rules are drawn up. Every x amount of years or so, Odium will have to come against Honor. He will have an opportunity to destroy Roshar and all its inhabitants. If Odium wins he will be able to attack Honor directly. It is unknown if it is possible for Honor to win, the Heralds don’t think so anyway, although there still might be. They get opposite forces, humanity gets Heralds and the Knights Radiant. Odium gets the Unmade and the Orders of Voidbinders. It seems Honor sacrifices some of his powers to create Dawnshards and Honorblades, weakening himself further, and putting his trust in humanity, and Odium possibly makes opposites to those as well. The Heralds were required to submit themselves to Odium’s torture at the end of every Desolation. They would use Shadesmar or some other means to go to his Shardworld, Damnation.
Once the Heralds broke this agreement, it no longer mattered whether the Voidbringers defeated humanity. Odium had beaten Honor, and was now able to directly attack him, killing Tanavast. So what now? Why is Odium still attacking Roshar? He left Sel alone after the death of Aona and Skai. My belief, is that he is afraid of Honor being taken back again. Either Honor was never Splintered, (unlikely from what we’ve seen of spren and the Shards on Sel.) or it’s reforming. Potentially Honor was dead before even Aona and Skai, perhaps he was protected the other Shards from Odium with the Oathpact. So Odium’s greatest enemy is returning, and he can’t let him rise again. The easiest solution? Kill all of Honor’s people and destroy Roshar in the process. He can attack with impunity now, and even perhaps intervene directly himself.
This is Hoid’s stand; his cards are on the table, so to speak. He has come out of the shadows to directly oppose Odium. If he loses now he’s likely as good as dead. It seems that he is still trying to keep away from Odium’s notice, when he mentions that he “came to see an old acquaintance, but has spent most of his time hiding instead”. No more pulling strings from obscure positions, I believe he will lend whatever direct aid he can. Hopefully it will be enough.
If this wasn’t long enough already I have one more idea I’ve been mulling over about the Seventeenth Shard. We know their leader, is someone who practices a policy of non-intervention. Presumably he imposes this policy on his followers as well. I believe they probably serve in roles of information gatherers as has speculated before. However I have one idea why they are looking for Hoid. This person the letter is being written to presumably opposes all outside intervention in the workings of various Shardworlds. Who is the King of intervention? Hoid of course. He’s been everywhere and has presumably been helping push the conflicts we’ve seen in the right direction. He also might be attempting to reassemble Andonalsium as well, as other have said. It makes sense; the only surefire way to make sure that the next Odium after Rayse wouldn’t be evil is to make sure there isn’t one. Splintering may not be permanent, but reforming Andonalsium would stop anyone from being influenced by that intent ever again. So for people who believe in non-intervention, Hoid is number one on the cosmere’s most wanted criminals list. Even the way he speaks of laying false trails reminds me of a criminal being hunted, even though I don’t believe Hoid is evil.
Wow this is my longest post ever. Hopefully it provokes some discussion, and some parts prove to be accurate when we get to the end of this thing. I realize this is like the Godzilla of speculation. What does everyone (who made it through this post) think?
Edited by Windrunner, 20 March 2012 - 07:02 AM.