hoiditthroughthegrapevine

Duhn, Duhn, Duhn! Dead Radiants could be Voidbringers....

15 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

So in combing through @Extesian's awesome collection of WOBs (link included below the WOB), I found one that I hadn't seen before that I think has some pretty serious potential ramifications.

Quote

Landis963 (paraphrased)

Imagine a hypothetical Shard of Tenacity. What happens when the Vessel of that Shard dies?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

The magic will change drastically. Among other things, it would be very easy for practitioners of that magic to become Cognitive Shadows.

source

I for one, am very underwhelmed by the official explanation for the Recreance. Here is the official explanation, as reenacted in Bill and Ted's Recreant Adventure:

KR Bill: Dude, look in the mirror bro, there's the true voidbringer.
(KR Ted performs the patented Keanu Reeve's "whoa" head shake)
KR Ted: I know, we're like human bombs. Guess it's time to start killin' our spren.
 

I've speculated about this before, but given the additional fact that a recently deceased Vessel makes it easier for practitioner's of that Vessel's magic to become Cognitive Shadows, leads me to more firmly believe that there is a different and more compelling reason for the Recreance. Namely that the Nahel Bond allowed Odium to keep the KRs from transitioning to the Great Beyond, and more to the point, allowed him to torture their souls on Braize until they cracked and became his willing servants (and if they don't crack, then he gets to torture them in perpetuity, which if you're the shard of Odious Hatred that's a win win situation).

Here are some general considerations (sources for some are in referenced spoiler tags below):

  1. We know that the afterlife on Roshar is weird, and that Ancient Singer Cognitive Shadows can come back as the Fuzed.
  2. We know that the Nahel Bond was patterned on the Honorblades. How much of the function of the Honorblade was copied? Was the linkage to the Oathpact, i.e. a torturous trip to Braize after death, included in the package deal?
  3. The Fuzed don't seem to be using Voidbinding, instead they seem to be using hacked surgebinding fueled by voidlight.
  4. The Fuzed seem largely ineffectual, and seem to be the advanced guard of the Desolation. The only real heavy hitters to come out for this battle on team Odium were the Thunderclasts.
  5. Puuli, who I would nominate as the Shard of Schadenfreude, in his interlude talks of the ones that will come with light in their pocket to destroy, and refers to them as "sailors lost on an infinite sea".*
  6. In Shadesmar, before the battle of Thaylenah Fields, some mysterious spren that aren't gold or red (so neither voidspren or corrupted spren, but described rather as dark) are massed before the oathgate and are waiting to bond with the disillusioned yet soon to be Thrilled troops of House Sadeas. I think this is significant.**

So here is the speculative chain, fully assembled.

Humans were starting to bond spren in imitation of the Nahel Bond before the KRs were established. Honor was splintering in slow motion (possibly even since the inception of the Oathpact). The Singer's played Let's make a deal with Odium, and the Royals were created (cognitive shadows of the Ancient Singers). Just like the spren got bored of hanging around the Singers, Odium too tired of them (not very passionate those Singers) and began to harvest KR souls as Tanavast's slow death advanced in terminality, causing their increasing formation as Cognitive Shadows. KRs at some point before the Recreance figure out that the Nahel bond allows Odium to trap their soul in Braize and torture them until they break (like the Heralds). The KRs realize that by continuing to fight they are opening themselves up to eternal damnation and unwittingly strengthening Odium's forces, so they decide to voluntarily kill their spren and sever their Nahel bonds. The Cataclysmic event, foreshadowed in the Puuli interlude, is coming, where the broken KRs will come from the Origin of Storms and unleash biblical devastation on the land. Possibly Thunderclasts are really broken KR Stonewards (the essence for their order is Rock and Stone), and the ability of Thunderclasts to form their body out of stone is the only true application of Voidbinding that we have seen on screen. If this is the case, we can expect 9 more orders of Eldritch monster level bad-asses to form from their respective Order's Essences. I would hate to see a broken Voidbinding Bondsmith (made out of Meat/Flesh) or a broken voidbinding Lightweaver (made out of Blood, ehh, gross).

This theory also has the benefit  of having humans be the original and the current voidbringers, which I think is pretty slick, and the additional benefit of being a satisfying explanation for the cause of the Recreance.

Interested to hear what you all think about this.

 

5. *Full quote of Puuli's interlude:

Spoiler
Quote

They'll come with Light in their pockets, Grandfather had said. They'll come to destroy, but you should watch for them anyway. Because they'll come from the Origin. The sailors lost in an infinite sea. You keep that fire high at night, Puuli. You burn it bright until the day they come.

They'll arrive when the night is darkest.

Surely that was now, with a new storm. Darkest nights. A tragedy.

And a sign.

 

6. **Text from the Battle of Thaylenah Field about the "dark spren" (really relevant bits highlighted):

Spoiler

In Chaper 112, For the Living (when Kal and Co get to the Oathgate in Shadesmar):

Quote

Beneath them, the device itself manifested as a large stone platform with a wide, sweeping white bridge running over the beads and to the shore.

That bridge was guarded by an entire army of enemy spren, hundreds—perhaps thousands—strong.

Then later in Chapter 115, the Wrong Passion, after the Thrill has transitioned from Shadesmar to PR:

Quote

"I've prepared these men for decades," Odium said. "Men who want nothing so much as something to break, to gain vengeance against the one who killed their highprince. Let the singers watch and learn. I've prepared a different army to fight for us today."

Ahead of them on the battlefield, the human ranks slumped, their banner wavering. A man in glittering Shardplate, sitting upon a white horse, led them.

Deep within his helm, something started glowing red.

The dark spren flew toward the men, finding welcoming bodies and willing flesh. The red mist made them lust, made their minds open. And the spren, then, bonded to the men, slipping into those open souls.

"Master, you have learned to inhabit humans?" Turash said to Subservience.

"Spren have always been able to bond them, Turash," Odium said. "It merely requires the right mindset and the right environment."

Ten thousand Alethi in green uniforms gripped their weapons, their eyes glowing a deep, dangerous red.

"Go," Odium whispered. "Kholin would have sacrificed you! Manifest your anger! Kill the Blackthorn, who murdered your highprince. Set your Passion free! Give me your pain, and seize this city in my name!"

 

 

 

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
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I think this is beautifully put together. And yeah that WoB is a cracker. I wasn't sharding much then so i didn't see reactions but i loved it when it was first released. I love how you tied it altogether. The theory went around a bit before Oathbringer (I feel like someone, maybe Feather, proposed it before I joined the Shard), But you brought in some connections I hadn't thought of.

But

Quote

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Hypothetically speaking, if some of the main Radiants were to die at the end of book 5, go to Braize and then spend the time in between 5 and 6 there, would they age?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

There are lots of problems with that question. If a Radiant dies, they don't go to Braize. A Herald would, but a Herald is a Cognitive Shadow, so there's inherent problems in there. When you're a Cognitive Shadow, aging is different there, because you're basically a ghost. Even if you've been stapled to a body, it happens weirdly. So there's all kinds of flaws in that question.

source

 

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Thanks for the nice words and the WoB Extesian, but this seems like a Wobfuscation kind of WoB.

It's in the Vorin religion that they are preparing for the afterlife in life, that the highest calling is to be a soldier and that they will be fighting for the Tranquiline halls. This implies a cultural belief in sticking around a bit after you die.

Being the "man known as Taln" kind of guy he is, Brandon could have just said "If a Radiant dies, they don't go to Braize" using the full sense of existence for a lifeform that is more than a cognitive shadow, i.e. their Soul, Cognitive Aspect, and Physical Aspect. This could just be misdirection through a technicality (They don't go to Braize, first their Cognitive shadow has to be trapped, then their cognitive shadow goes to braize. They (the entity comprising their Physical, Cognitive and Spiritual aspect) never go to Braize, ergo this is completely different than how it works for Heralds because they are just Cognitive shadows.

 

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I'm confused, what do you suggest for the desolations - who fought against who?

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I've always interpreted that WoB differently, that that scenario was unique to a Tenacity-esque Shard and was why the afterlife was funky on Threnody (Ambition being the closest to Tenacity we've seen, in my opinion.)

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33 minutes ago, Agent34 said:

I've always interpreted that WoB differently, that that scenario was unique to a Tenacity-esque Shard and was why the afterlife was funky on Threnody (Ambition being the closest to Tenacity we've seen, in my opinion.)

Same. I interpreted that as a byproduct of what a Shard of Tenacity would cause. 

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Big problem: We see from Secret History that people can choose to move to the Beyond. If the Knights Radiant are aware Odium can torture them after death, then they should, realistically, be aware they can just choose to go Beyond.

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Yeah. After Radiants die, their spren bond is broken and they no longer have any way to still be tethered to this world. They simply have no means of becoming Cognitive Shadows.

And Odium would definitely not expend his Investiture on them; he still reuses the same Fused even if they're totally insane. You'd expect he'd create some more Fused from some outstanding deceased singers, right?

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I wonder if it's possible for a shard to prevent a soul from continuing to the beyond, actually. Have we even ever seen one try, or do something similar? Other than at Threnody, which is a bit of an edge case?

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Yeah, I too interpret that WoB about Tenacity as a purely hypothetical case of 'what would happen with this specific Intent in this specific situation?' and not really applicable to any known situation. Threnody has so many Shades because of (some of) Ambition's uncontrolled power permeating the planet, but with Honor he had the spren already in place to act as a safety valve on his Investiture, so the magic doesn't seem to have changed in a huge way.

Radiants would not be Invested enough to persist as indefinite Cognitive Shadows. A lerasium Mistborn could only hang around for a few minutes and that's someone who had a very strong Connection to their resident Shard. A Radiant isn't going to be significantly more or less Invested than that, setting aside that upon death they're also no longer Invested (we know that normally the spren is traumatized by the death of their Radiant partner but will survive just fine and they're the source of the Investiture) and so would pass Beyond pretty quickly.

1 minute ago, tmnsquirtle said:

I wonder if it's possible for a shard to prevent a soul from continuing to the beyond, actually. Have we even ever seen one try, or do something similar? Other than at Threnody, which is a bit of an edge case?

A Shard can provide the Investiture to allow someone to persist as a Cognitive Shadow but even people who can persist indefinitely still have a choice and can always decide to pass Beyond. We see this happen repeatedly in Secret History, with Slivers choosing not to hang around for one reason or another.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Weltall said:

A Shard can provide the Investiture to allow someone to persist as a Cognitive Shadow but even people who can persist indefinitely still have a choice and can always decide to pass Beyond. We see this happen repeatedly in Secret History, with Slivers choosing not to hang around for one reason or another.

I very much disagree. The Heralds seem to be bound to life. If they were able to pass beyond they almost certainly would have done so. We do not ever see anyone attempt to prevent another from passing on. Lack of this being shown does not mean it is not possible. In principal spren are virtually the same as cognitive shadows. If they can be bound into gems almost certainty cognitive shadows could be bound in similar fashion.

As we see passing on is the default. It takes great effort and investiture to prevent yourself from passing. It isn't as much the individuals are choosing to pass on as they are just choosing to not fight against it.

I think we can say with near certainty that it is possible for a shard to prevent someone from passing to the beyond.

Edited by Fatikis
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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Agent34 said:

I've always interpreted that WoB differently, that that scenario was unique to a Tenacity-esque Shard and was why the afterlife was funky on Threnody (Ambition being the closest to Tenacity we've seen, in my opinion.)

I get what you are saying here, that WoB does seem to imply that practitioners of Tenacity brand magic would be more likely to be able to remain as cognitive shadows, but as a specific case extendable to a possible general rule, the WoB also states that after the vessel dies the magic will change drastically, and further that one of these changes affects a practitioner of said magic's transition to the Great Beyond (for Tenacity (Ambition, wink, wink) this results in magic users more easily becoming cognitive shadows). Notice there is no volitional component in the WoB formulation, and I don't think shades on Threnody would choose to become mindless bloodthirsty killers, so it seems to me that there is some compulsion effect here.

I'm pretty sure the following addresses your problems with this theory @Fatikis and @Weltall, but let me know if I'm wrong.

In the case of Honor, the magic system is all about binding. The Nahel bond was patterned on the Bond between an Oathpact bound Herald and their Honor Blade. All radiant spren are mixtures of Honor and Cultivation's investiture, so it makes sense at least to me that after the death of Honor, one of the after effects of the Nahel Bond would be an increased likelihood that the practitioner of Honor's magic might be likewise bound to the oathpact and subject to becoming a cognitive shadow trapped in Braize.

This is total speculation to be sure, but it's far more satisfying to me as an explanation for the Recreance than the in-world Taravangian leaked explanation.

(Mrall: What, Taravangian leaked?
Adrotagia: Well, that Depends.
Mrall: Thanks for putting those on him today Adrotagia, he's a total idiot.)

10 hours ago, Sandra said:

I'm confused, what do you suggest for the desolations - who fought against who?

I think that the Cognitive Shadows of the Singers fought against the Humans, Heralds, and Knights Radiant's. And that overtime and in successive Desolations, broken KRs cognitive shadows started fighting on team Odium because they had been broken by protracted torture in Braize.

 

4 hours ago, Oversleep said:

Yeah. After Radiants die, their spren bond is broken and they no longer have any way to still be tethered to this world. They simply have no means of becoming Cognitive Shadows.

And Odium would definitely not expend his Investiture on them; he still reuses the same Fused even if they're totally insane. You'd expect he'd create some more Fused from some outstanding deceased singers, right?

Do we know exactly when the spren bond would be broken? We know from Secret History that after death, the soul and cognitive aspect of a person are separated from their physical body, and if the dead individual had been exposed to Investiture in life that they persist for longer in the Cognitive Realm before the transition to the Great Beyond. Seems like even if this theory isn't right, the Knights Radiant's buddy, his spren, would be there to see them off. And from the Shadesmar parts of Oathbringer (with Kal and Syl and Shallan and Pattern) we know that a KR can't summon a spren as a blade in the cognitive realm, but that still have access to surgebinding. Unless you have some WoBs about this, I think the verdicts still out on what happens to a KR's spren bond when they die.

Also, even if the bond is severed, the KRs' spirit web would still have been altered by the bond. Like the strings of Black tying Kelsier's soul to Ruin and the Strings of white tying it soul to Preservation, these Connections persist after death. And another point, maybe this is the underlying mechanic of why Cognitive shadows would remain, what would these Connections be connected to if the Vessel was dead and the shard was splintered? Maybe they start connecting to the Shard's existant Investiture, and that's what causes the increased persistance, or maybe in the case of Honor, these are the ties that bind the KR's soul and Cognitive Aspect to the oathpact.

As for your second point, I got the impression that the Royals willingly gave themselves to Odium in order to defeat the humans and that it's not the case that all singers that die can become royals. I think that it probably did require some of investment of his Investiture to create the first batch of Fuzed, and that's the real reason he keeps recycling them even though they are Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Edited by hoiditthroughthegrapevine
Added a bad joke...
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Posted (edited)

I like this theory. There is a huge amount of funky stuff with the CR and Cognitive Shadows that we don’t get yet. For example, the mechanics around the Heralds. I don’t think it is a huge leap to assume that something wierd might be going on with the Radiants as well, given that they are based off the Heralds. The biggest point against this theory, in my mind, is the WoB by Extesian, which says that Radiants don’t go to Braize... but yeah, I can see that as being misdirection.

Also, Voidbringers made out blood and stuff is just too cool to not be true. It would fit with the general horrifying tone of Odium and his armies.

Edited by Toaster Retribution
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Voidbringers based off of the Essences sounds possible. Could be what the Ten Deaths are.

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Okay, I have no idea about the OPs theory, but can I just say that Tenacity is a truly awesome name for a Shard? :D

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