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Shoots

Epigraphs about Recreance

14 posts in this topic

Understanding Epigraphs about the Recreance

Hello readers, this is the first topic I created (besides an introduction) and it focuses on my favorite mystery from SA: What caused the Recreance?  I've scoured the book for clues and read many interesting theories on the 17th shard.  After all my searching the best description of the Recreance we have in my opinion is still the three epigraphs from the in-world Words of Radiance that deal with this event.  However, these epigraphs are hard to understand because we only have small excerpts so it is not always clear who or what is being referred to.  I did my best to fill in this information so it is more clear and could hopefully shed more light on the mystery.  Every word I added to the epigraphs is in parentheses.  Of course I do not know what every noun is referring to so in some instances I left several options.  So my question for you is did I make any mistakes identifying what group of people different words refer to, or did I leap to any unjustified conclusions?  Is there further information that could be added to make the epigraph more clear?  How would you rewrite the epigraphs in your own words?  Thank you for any feedback!

Now, as the Windrunners were thus engaged (Who are they fighting? Voidbringers, Parshendi, other humans?), arose the event which has hitherto been referenced: namely, that discovery of some wicked thing of eminence, though whether it be some rogueries among the Radiants' adherents or of some external origin, Avena would not suggest. (What caused the Recreance: KR had potential to form bridge for next desolation, spren betrayed KR, Honor betrayed KR, dead  KR go to Braize?)—Chapter 38, page 6
That they (Windrunners) responded immediately and with great consternation is undeniable, as these (Windrunners) were primary among those (Windrunners and Stonewards) who would forswear and abandon their oaths. The term Recreance was not then applied, but has since become a popular title by which this event is named. —Chapter 38, page 6
This act of great villainy (Whatever caused the Recreance) went beyond the impudence which had hitherto been ascribed to the orders; as the fighting was particularly intense at the time (again who is fighting?), many (KR) attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal; and after they (KR) withdrew, about two thousand (voidbringers, Parshendi, humans?) made assault upon them (KR), destroying much of the membership; but this was only nine of the ten, as one (order of KR) said they would not abandon their arms (shards/spren) and flee, but instead entertained great subterfuge at the expense of the other nine (KR orders).—Chapter 38, page 20

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Clearly there was large scale fighting going on at the time of the Recreance. I doubt it was with anyone that would have been believed to be Voidbringers since they were assumed to have vanished 4500 years ago. It's also worth considering what could possibly face an army of 100s / 1000s of full powered Radiants plus many more regular humans? There are some powerful beings around but we've yet to see any evidence of any group that who could stand up to that... except an opposing force of Radiants.

Going back to your specific points, Shallan read the whole book and wasn't able to figure out the cause either, so I don't think we'll be able to figure out too much from these snippets unfortunately. Maybe we'll start seeing in-world theories in the next book or two but it might take some time before we have solid ideas. We might even need to wait until we see flashbacks from the perspective of Heralds to know for sure what happened and why.

 

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Thanks for your thoughts. As to who is strong enough to put up a fight against radiants besides those mentioned above: the Amians seem strong enough (not that they have a reason to fight radiants so other radiants seems more likely).  I agree the book doesn't hold the secret since even the author who knew a lot about events surrounding recreance does not seem to know the cause.  Yet even just the events around the recreance are fascinating so my goal was just to get as much understanding from the epigraphs as possible.

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9 hours ago, Shoots said:

As to who is strong enough to put up a fight against radiants besides those mentioned above: the Amians seem strong enough (not that they have a reason to fight radiants so other radiants seems more likely).

I had never thought/heard of this theory, but I like it. The little we know of Aimians suggests they (some, at least) are concerned about the world ending and are monitoring proto Radiants. What if, in the past, they too believed that the KR might form a bridge (or otherwise posed a threat to Roshar), and so set about destroying them. During this conflict, one of the Aimians is given reason to explain why they are attacking to a Knight, who then spreads the word and triggers the Recreance. By this point the Aimians have been declared enemies of humanity, leading to the eventual scouring of Aimia.

11 hours ago, Shoots said:

That they (perhaps Windrunners and Stonewards) responded immediately and with great consternation is undeniable, as these (perhaps Windrunners and Stonewards) were primary among those (the 9/10 orders) who would forswear and abandon their oaths. The term Recreance was not then applied, but has since become a popular title by which this event is named. —Chapter 38, page 6

Amendments from my personal interpretation/understanding. Where I say 'perhaps', this is what I see as most likely from what we have seen, but is otherwise a fairly arbitrary guess.

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To expand on my previous point why I think it's more plausible that Radiants were fighting each other at the time of the Recreance, consider this: imagine you have 100s/1000s Radiants fighting some "enemy" then your Radiants suddenly quit while the fighting is still very active. That means your enemy hasn't been defeated and that enemy could handle fighting 100s/1000s Radiants. Such an enemy is certainly not going to be defeated by ordinary humans, particularly when they would have been heavily dependant on the Radiants until now. So in short, if it was "humans including Radiants" vs "non-humans" and the Radiants quit then the most logical expectation would be that the non-humans would then win.

Of course, it might be a misinterpretation of Dalinar's visions and the epigraphs to say that heavy fighting was going on. It's also possible that whatever the enemy the Radiants were fighting was so close to being defeated that their disappearance doesn't matter much.

One final point: I wouldn't necessarily assume that we can trust the in-world WoR book to be accurate and unmodified. Before Jasnah handed Shallan the initial copy, they had been discussed how the Hierocracy had been altering books. Hopefully Shallan and others will be able to find more reliable info in Urithiru.

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4 hours ago, kari-no-sugata said:

To expand on my previous point why I think it's more plausible that Radiants were fighting each other at the time of the Recreance, consider this: imagine you have 100s/1000s Radiants fighting some "enemy" then your Radiants suddenly quit while the fighting is still very active. That means your enemy hasn't been defeated and that enemy could handle fighting 100s/1000s Radiants. Such an enemy is certainly not going to be defeated by ordinary humans, particularly when they would have been heavily dependant on the Radiants until now. So in short, if it was "humans including Radiants" vs "non-humans" and the Radiants quit then the most logical expectation would be that the non-humans would then win.

A good point.  My impromptu theory, however, is based on the Aimians' goal being to destroy the Knights Radiant specifically. If they saw that the Knights were de-Radiant-ing themselves, their aim would have been met and they could leave, therefore not continuing on to destroy the now-undefended rest of humanity.

Some evidence in weak support of the Aimians being the enemies faced by the Radiants just before the Recreance: many of the characteristics of Aimians (e.g. Shadows pointing the wrong way) are attributed to Voidbringers in modern Vorinism, potentially the result of historians/ardents conflating all non-human enemies of the Knights Radiant.

Edited by Krandacth
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36 minutes ago, Krandacth said:

A good point.  My impromptu theory, however, is based on the Aimians' goal being to destroy the Knights Radiant specifically. If they saw that the Knights were de-Radiant-ing themselves, their aim would have been met and they could leave, therefore not continuing on to destroy the now-undefended rest of humanity.

Some evidence in weak support of the Aimians being the enemies faced by the Radiants just before the Recreance: many of the characteristics of Aimians (e.g. Shadows pointing the wrong way) are attributed to Voidbringers in modern Vorinism, potentially the result of historians/ardents conflating all non-human enemies of the Knights Radiant.

Some nice ideas!

Though it begs the question why Aimians and Radiants would suddenly come into conflict and why Aimians would only consider Radiants to be enemies.

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On 6/7/2017 at 2:46 PM, Shoots said:

This act of great villainy (Whatever caused the Recreance) went beyond the impudence which had hitherto been ascribed to the orders; as the fighting was particularly intense at the time (who is fighting?), many (KR) attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal; and after they (KR) withdrew, about two thousand (Parshendi, humans?) made assault upon them (KR), destroying much of the membership; but this was only nine of the ten, as one (order of KR) said they would not abandon their arms (Plate/Blade) and flee, but instead entertained great subterfuge at the expense of the other nine (KR orders).—Chapter 38, page 20

1) I will argue this parentheses: many (KR) attributed this to a sense of inherent betrayal.
I cannot see any interpretation of this line where "many" being KR makes sense. It feels like it has to be someone else.


2) What actually is this act?
"This act of great villainy went beyond the impudence ascribed to the orders"    and    "many attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal."
I feel that there are only two options that it can be given what we know: Whatever caused the Recreance, or the Recreance itself. The problem I run into is that I'm having trouble having both uses of this act apply to the same thing and still have the sentence make sense.

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I speculatively doubt that the Aimians were the enemies there. Aimia was one of the Silver Kingdoms, and we know that Alethela was the Kingdom that trained most of the warriors of the silver Kingdoms, implyng a close collaboration between all of them. In my understanding, the Silver Kingdoms did not dissemble long before the Sunmaker's time - likely less than thousand years or so, because even less educated peoples like the Purelakers remember them at this time. Given that it might be that the Kingdoms dissembled after the fall of the Radiants, when there was no International Organization to enforce cooperation.

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 8:15 PM, The One Who Connects said:

1) I will argue this parentheses: many (KR) attributed this to a sense of inherent betrayal.
I cannot see any interpretation of this line where "many" being KR makes sense. It feels like it has to be someone else.

Thanks for your thoughts. My reasoning for assuming 'many' referred to KR is because the pronouns 'they' and 'them' seem to be referring to the same thing and the pronoun 'them' has a membership.  KR is an organization where I imagine people would use the term membership.  Along with that several theories about the recreance involve the KR being betrayed.  While I don't have a favorite theory on how the KR were betrayed, it makes sense that something dramatic and traumatic like a betrayal would be necessary to cause the recreance. 

I could see 'many' also referring to those working with KR who felt betrayed when KR abandoned their oaths, but I think the whole sentence flows better and is more focused if 'many' refers to KR.

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On ‎6‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 3:34 PM, kari-no-sugata said:

I doubt it was with anyone that would have been believed to be Voidbringers since they were assumed to have vanished 4500 years ago.

I should address why I included fighting voidbringers as a possibility since they only come around during desolations and there hasn't been one for 4,500 years... or was there....       No, I don't actually think so, but I do think there is a good chance a desolation almost happened and that the KR stopped it with the recreance. 

The main evidence in support of this is it gives the radiants a purpose for the recreance.  There are very few reasons that provide the motivation for such an honorable group of knights to disband, and this is one of them.  Also, at some point after the final desolation and probably after the recreance Nale begins killing radiants because he and Ishar think that without radiants the next desolation won't happen.  The recreance could have given them the evidence they use support this theory.

One of the main problems with this theory is why no one remembers voidbringers returning since the last desolation.  First of all, you must understand that people believe in the desolations even after thousands of years because they lasted such a long time (Nohadon's had 11 years of war for example) and many, many people died.  Often whole nations crumbled from the carnage.  If a desolation never truly started so voidbringers only returned briefly and few people saw them, it wouldn't necessarily take long for history to forget it ever happened.

Now the main problem I see with this theory is that the heralds always return when a desolation is about to begin, but Taln did not return.  That's why I maintain that this potential desolation was stopped before it ever started.  But could voidbringers return without a desolation?  First I should mention that with the term voidbringer I am including the Ten Deaths, creatures associated with and mistaken for voidbringers.  In fact, I think it is more likely the radiants were fighting the 10 deaths than actual voidbringers.

There are two big pieces of evidence that support voidbringer like creatures returning before a desolation.  First is Szeth.  Szeth is Truthless because he claimed the voidbringers had returned, yet Szeth was long into his punishment before Taln returned near the end of Way of Kings.  Second is Dalinar's vision.  When Dalinar says, "Are attacks by these beasts (one of the ten deaths) common?"  Taffa replies, "During desolations, perhaps, but not in my life!"  Taffa did not know there was a desolation coming.  Either the heralds did not have time to spread the word yet or more likely they had not arrived yet.  Furthermore, the knight radiant tells Dalinar, "Harkaylain says the Desolation is close, and he is not often wrong," The KR confirms the desolation had not actually started.  The radiants also do not seem to be using a herald but other signs to realize the desolation is soon.  So I conclude that voidbringer like creatures could return before a Desolation begins. 

So if the KR were fighting voidbringers or similar creatures how does the story unfold? The KR go to fight the voidbringers.  At the time of the fight they realize there is a way to prevent the desolation but the cost is disbanding the KR.  Honor compels 9 of the orders to disband starting with the Windrunners and Stonewards.  The few voidbringers that did materialize before the recreance were eliminated by KR before they disbanded and since the desolation was prevented, history never realized the sacrifice the KR made for humanity.  Also as a result Nale and Ishar conclude that killing radiants will prevent another desolation.

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I like this thread.  My main concern is that it's missing Dalinar's vision of the Recreance.  I feel like that should really be included.  In doesn't tell us as much about the bigger situation, like the annotations do, but for completeness, it seems like we should at least include a few snippets.

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58 minutes ago, happyman said:

I like this thread.  My main concern is that it's missing Dalinar's vision of the Recreance.  I feel like that should really be included.  In doesn't tell us as much about the bigger situation, like the annotations do, but for completeness, it seems like we should at least include a few snippets.

Glad you enjoyed the thread!  Do you mean include quotes from the excerpt?  I did use Dalinar's vision to help fill in the epigraph.  The vision tells us there is large scale fighting going on but doesn't say who the enemy is (One soldier does say 'devils' but that could just be slang).  It does tell us one side of the war includes hundreds of windrunners and stonewards plus more humans.  Honor also mentions these were the first KR to give up their oaths.  All of this information is included in the modified epigraphs.  Do you notice any other clues in Dalinar's vision?

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8 hours ago, Shoots said:

I should address why I included fighting voidbringers as a possibility since they only come around during desolations and there hasn't been one for 4,500 years... or was there....       No, I don't actually think so, but I do think there is a good chance a desolation almost happened and that the KR stopped it with the recreance. 

The main evidence in support of this is it gives the radiants a purpose for the recreance.  There are very few reasons that provide the motivation for such an honorable group of knights to disband, and this is one of them.  Also, at some point after the final desolation and probably after the recreance Nale begins killing radiants because he and Ishar think that without radiants the next desolation won't happen.  The recreance could have given them the evidence they use support this theory.

From a practical point of view, the biggest problem with this is how do you convince the Radiants that this is the case. This would be far harder than Jasnah's problem of trying to convince the world that the Parshman are potential Voidbringers because in this case they would already be under attack. It would be extremely hard to convince people to disband in response to an attack. In such a theoretical scenario, you might be able to convince people that the Radiants caused it but convincing them that disbanding the Radiants will end it would be far harder - because if it didn't stop the Desolation then it would be the end of humanity. Since there's never been a Desolation without Heralds (it seems) that would pretty much be impossible to prove. While it's not impossible that Honor intervened, if the Radiants disbanded because "god" told them to, why are they so reviled?

Also, the Heralds are insane and shouldn't be trusted.

And also: Edgedancer spoilers:

Spoiler

 

Quote

"Unfortunately, no," Darkness said. "I once thought as you, but Ishar made the truth clear to me. If the bonds between men and spren are reignited, then men will naturally discover the greater power of the oaths. Without Honor to regulate this, there is a small chance that what comes next will allow the Voidbringers to again make the jump between worlds. That would cause a Desolation... Absolute fidelity to the mission Ishar gave us - the greater law of protecting Roshar - is required."

He's talking about a theoretical chance. If there was actual evidence then it wouldn't be theoretical.

Quote

"I saw them return," the assassin whispered. "the new storm, the red eyes. You are wrong, Nin-son-God. You are wrong." 
"A fluke," Darkness said, his voice firm. "I contacted Ishar, and he assured me it is so."
.....
"You're wrong. So wrong..."
"The Voidbringers have not returned," Darkness said firmly. "Ishar has promised it, and he will not lie."

Ishar definitely cannot be trusted.

 

 

Edited by kari-no-sugata
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