Subvisual Haze

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  1. My guess: the Veden, Makabaki and Shinovar culture/language groups were all distinct exile groups from Ashyn. They differ in general physical appearance as well as language from one another. The Heralds themselves are a bit of a clue, as they themselves were refugees from Ashyn and they have a mix of skin tones and eye shapes that can variably lead to them being grouped in either of the above 3 when viewed by other pov characters. My guess is that the 3 groups may have represented 3 distinct languages/cultures on Ashyn, and the Vedens/Makabaki brought their distinct languages with them to Roshar seeding the current language families. The Shin are distinct in that their cultural taboos seem to be at least partially based on the past knowledge that they were refugees and "guests" on Roshar. Their prohibition on stepping on stone seems originally intended to keep them from expanding beyond the soil-based Shinovar that was granted to them as a new home by the native Singers. Similarly I suspect that the Shin language being in the Dawnchant language group was intended as a sign of respect offered by the original Shin people: attempting to adopt the written language of their new "hosts" instead of continuing to use their original Ashyn language. The other cultural groups in the Dawnchant family are parshendi (I suspect Dawnchant was originally the Singer language), and Horneaters (who are a genetic mix of human and Singer genetics, likely inhereting their Dawnchant language from their Singer ancestoral roots). The Iri seem to be their own distinct exile group that probably settled the Northwest region of Roshar at some point well after Ashyn's destruction. They have such distinct physical features that don't seem to be present in any of the Heralds (so far), and they have cultural/religious traditions that also seem to suggest they are a very distinct group. The Aimians are also another group apart, although whether they are original inhabitants of Roshar like the Singers or yet another later migratory group is still an open question.
  2. Continuing to present any effort by Kaladin to criticize Alethi's caste based society as just him being irrationally prejudiced and hateful.
  3. I think scale is important in addition to just shape, because I was imagining the spren as larger than they likely are. https://www.tor.com/2017/10/26/revealed-the-full-endpapers-from-brandon-sandersons-oathbringer/ - these are in-world artistic drawings of what they imagine the Heralds to look like. Although from Oathbringer there shouldn't be any spoilers in the images themselves. The little colorful motes on the images are different relatively common types of spren. The blue little zephyrs swirling around Jezrien (guy wearing a crown) are windspren (which Syl resembles when in motion), the green motes around Vedel (lady with the keys in one hand) are lifespren, the orange spheres rising in front of Ishar (old guy in robes) are gloryspren. So they're a bit in scale with fireflies or sparks. They probably look like colorful dots unless you're close enough to discern their unique shapes. There are always exceptions or larger varieties of course, but I think this gives a good sense of scale for your typical spren.
  4. The Herald icons all have distinct line patterns for their background. They're made distinctive by the shapes of the lines, curvature, and thickness/frequency of the lines. Hoid/Jester's line patterns are extremely similar to Jezrien's though. I wonder if this is an easter egg hinting about some future or past relation of Hoid to Jezrien's position amongst the Heralds, especially now that Jezrien seems to have...left.
  5. It's a little hard to assess the Skybreakers currently as they are largely serving under the direct intent of Nale, who has admitted he is at least partially insane (he no longer feels the compassion that he once did). A lot of Nale's statements to Szeth seem quite contradictory. The only really consistent one I could pick out was that the Skybreakers try to swear themselves to following an external code/truth as they believe their individual decision making is flawed. This external truth (the 3rd oath) is usually to follow the law, but can also be to follow a specific person (some Skybreakers swore to follow Nale, Szeth swore to follow Dalinar). I think the two orders are alike in that they both seem extremely idealistic and devoted to single-mindedly pursuing what they believe is morally right. They differ in that the Skybreakers seem to focus more on an external definition of what is right, while the Windrunners need to adhere to what their conscience believes is right.
  6. Wonko the Sane did a great job here with a lot of excellent ideas from Jofwu (about halfway down the page) https://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/62424-ob-glyph-translation-discussion-no-plot-spoilers/?page=2 In fact, they such a great job that if they made any mistakes I doubt the rest of us would have caught them as we were going off their glyph tracings (picking out what is the actual glyph letters versus just waves drawn on the map is quite difficult). The letters that jogged my memory from the Taln picture are the lower case j without the dot (which is an i or e vowel) the 180 rotated j/shepard crook shape (r) and the v shape (sh) I could be completely wrong here though as all the alphabets so far have shared some similar looking letters (likely owing to all descending partially from the Dawnchant). The even more annoying but completely probable possibility is that these are the Calligraphic phonemes that Nazh mentions but never shows at the end of the artpage on Alethi glyphs, in which case we're probably in the dark until the 2nd half of that artwork gets released.
  7. Oh crud I think they're the same letters scribbled around the edges of the Oathgate map (which we never cracked) https://www.brandonsanderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/OB_MAP-OATHGATES_ebook-scaled.jpg
  8. As Brandon has mentioned in interviews, these portraits are like the Roshar equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. It's in world artists drawing what they imagine their religious heroes look like. Symbolism takes priority over strict accuracy. Jez is remembered as the King of the Heralds, hence a crown. Isaac Stewart gives other artists guidance and frequently hides in little Cosmere details. For example the artwork of Sja-Anat in OB was drawn by Miranda Meeks, yet contains a stylized border full of Thaylen letters that largely match the letters Isaac used earlier in the map he drew of the Southern Frostlands in WoR. I'm sure these letters mean something. They look very different from the other letters we've seen though. Their simplicity reminds me of the numbers though. It would seem very likely that the name "Talenelat’Elin" is in there somewhere. Also I agree, the little orange dots are probably the Stoneward spren? Rockspren? Jezrien's picture had windspren on it, and Vedel's had lifespren, so it would match the pattern.
  9. His name is clearly a reference to Moloch, the bull headed Phoenician God that live infant sacrifices were offered to in exchange for blessings/power. Moelach in book is preforming a similar thematic function: offering forbidden knowledge/power at a terrible price. His mere existence tempts mortal to do exactly what Taravangian has done, sacrifice others for secret knowledge.
  10. There's an interesting tendency for people to conflate the abstract concept of justice and the administration of law, probably owing to our slapping the name Justice on our legal system and officers of law. Law in the ideal sense is a method for seeking justice in society, but true justice is a higher ideal than the often flawed and biased system of law can possibly achieve. As we've currently seen them displayed, the Skybreakers seem an order focused on law above all else. It's an interesting question how much of this owes to Nale's current madness and dominance of the order, and how the order may have differed in the past. Of course, justice being such an abstract idea, the meaning of justice has varied extensively in different cultural contexts. For example Justice in the Bible as championed by the earliest prophets (Amos, Micah, Isaiah), repeatedly defines God's Justice in the context of advocating for and defending the most vulnerable members of society (widows, orphans, aliens) who are often taken advantage of in the courts of law by the powerful. Because of the nature of abuse of power, law itself can function as a method of injustice. In fact, if you're viewing Justice in the Biblical context, you could easily make the case that the Windrunners are the true order of justice with their 2nd oath directing them to "protect those who cannot protect themselves"
  11. The most righteous order seems to be the Windrunners. Caring first about doing what is right and standing up for the most vulnerable in society echoes the themes of social justice going back to the Prophets. I'm not nearly assertive or extroverted enough to be a Windrunner though. I once read my personality type elegantly described as "compassionate weirdos". As such I think the mysterious and esoteric healers of the Truthwatcher Order would be a great home.
  12. Endowment is spending so much time peering into the future and simulating possible outcomes that it has manifested on the Cognitive as a future simulation Nalthis? I'm guessing the position of the anomaly corresponds to the point in the near future that Endowment most closely watches (as future prediction becomes less accurate the farther in the future that you go). Something less than a quarter rotation, or greater than 3/4 depending on which way things are spinning? So something like 2 or 10 months into Nalthis' possible future.
  13. Certainly a significant portion of the blame for the Sunmaker's (and other Alethi's) bloodlust can be attributed to Neragoal the Unmade "gifting" the region with The Thrill. An artificial addictive rush in response to bloody combat would result in an impressively messed up society. It was a brilliantly cruel way to convert the protective martial traditions of Alethekar towards more pointlessly cruel ends.
  14. Item #: SCP-999 Object Class: Safe Special Containment Procedures: SCP-999 is to be kept at all times restrained and lightly sedated inside an unfurnished containment cell with softly padded interior walls to prevent subject self-harm. The floor, ceiling, and walls of the special containment cell are to contain a thin layer of embedded aluminum, rendering contamination of the cell with outside magical influences impossible, as well as obscuring the contents of the cell from outside magical detection. The comfort, safety, and continued survival of SCP-999 is a top priority, and they will provided with round the clock observation and medical care. A certified Knight Radiant of the orders Truthwatcher or Edgedancer will be kept on-call at all times to deliver if necessary a life preserving surge of Regrowth to SCP-999. All necessary efforts will be exercised to prevent the expiration of SCP-999's current host body. Any interaction with SCP-999 beyond the administration of life prolonging care must receive pre-clearance from Director J. Kholin. Description: SCP-99 is a "Fused", a spiritual parasite in the service of Odium which has infected and taken complete control of the body of a "willing" Singer sacrificed to Odium's cause. In addition to a latent affinity for voidbinding, the parasite's lifetimes of accrued combat experience, as well as willingness to sacrifice current vessels to achieve greater strategic goals results in one of the most effective elite agents of Odium's army. As killing the current vessel of the SCP-999 merely frees the parasite to infect a new host body; capture, quarantine and preservation of an infected host body has the effect of containing SCP-999 and preventing further reincarnation as long as the current vessel's life functions are preserved.
  15. The only way I can make sense of Nale is that he follows Ishi with cult-like devotion and Ishi gives him terrible advice.