crème de la crèmling

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74 Idrian Monk

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  1. The reference to Radiant's Shardplate comes from this quote: This is positioned in a separate passage from the passage that Jasnah encounters her. In RoW Chapter 114, Rlain notes how weird it is that Kaladin's Shardplate spren is supposedly always around, just invisible--so I don't know if it's utterly out of the question that Radiant may have just not let her Shardplate be tangible. I mostly tend to think that Testament is the Blade that killed Tyn and it's Pattern everywhere else, including the chasms. But I revise my opinions on Shallan just about every week, so I have been contemplating the "Testament All Along" theory, and putting together my thoughts on that. Right after the chasm sequence, when Shallan is recovering in the warcamps, she and Pattern have a conversation that seems relevant to this theory: In RoW, becoming a "Full Radiant" seems to me to be associated with gaining a Shardblade. It's possible that this is what Pattern is referring to here, even if he doesn't know exactly what he means by that. Incidentally, this is also the same conversation where he and Shallan cover the Cryptics from before who experienced the bond and are now dead. He suggests that "perhaps if their knights still lived, something could be done." That seems to be a big hint in retrospect. In discussing Shardblades in another thread, I found something in the text which suggested to me that it could have been how Shallan would have had a Blade that could change shape in the chasms: this is Navani's observation that the gemstones in Shardblades were introduced to the Blade, and that there was some textual evidence in-world that suggested that the Blades changed shape to accommodate them. It goes on to say that bonding them was impossible before the gemstones were added, though they were still supernaturally sharp and light. Combining that with the Testament reveal seems to suggest that dead Blades might still be able to change shape somehow, especially since that fragment is dated within the reasonable lifetime of Recreance era Radiants. (Admittedly towards the end, though.) This is like right before the chasm sequence, so that also feels rather like foreshadowing to me. Finally, I do think there is a mandatory first manifestation of the Shardblade upon swearing Ideal 3. I can assemble those quotes, but the one that makes me really think it's not a conscious action is Shallan's assertion that she didn't mean to make the strike that killed her mother, and that it was the first time she had ever summoned her Blade (RoW Chapter 93). So in WoR, when Shallan confesses to the murder of her mother, that the little Shardblade that is inside the illusory vault could in fact be Pattern's first Shardblade appearance on the page. These could be the words that Pattern felt she had yet to say in Chapter 75, and there's a horrible parallel in having Shallan recreate the incident of her first Shardblade summoning to summon her second Blade. Just more thoughts on Shallan! I love to think about her and her entire storyline.
  2. For me, the themes in the series generally revolve around facing up to and reconciling/making peace with the difficult/negative feelings that come with life. Taking a step back to look at the Oathpact, Odium, etc. from that huge overarching theme, I can see why "hatred" would be considered a fundamental aspect of creation; difficult and negative feelings are a part of existence. Trying to seal them away doesn't work (Shallan), letting them rule you doesn't work (Kaladin), giving into them doesn't work (Dalinar), and presumably trying to destroy them won't work either (this is where I feel Szeth may be headed.) Other people have written pretty extensively about the relationship between Dalinar and Odium; with all the stuff about choosing to rise up again a better man, etc. is there no possible outcome where Dalinar actually gets through to Odium and persuades him to, uh, stop waging an endless, pointless war against the cosmere? (I mean it hasn't happened yet, but ...)
  3. I love this idea! Thinking about it this way made me want to read through some parts with Renarin and Glys, to see if there was anything that might change with this interpretation in mind. The first passage reminds me of Syl forgetting that she was an honorspren when she first bonded Kaladin, and then later, as his oaths progressed, remembering the details of her past. If Glys is a former deadeye, his assertion that they are something new carries a different connotation for sure--he could be speaking as a spren who has experienced a traditional bond in the past, before the Recreance. I also wonder if the scene in OB where they first encounter Re-Shephir, where Glys is terrified and refuses to speak might be indicative then of his remembering her, in some manner, from before? Here's another odd little thought, stemming from this passage: In the Ars Arcanum at the end of the book, it's theorized that to Lightweave, the Surgebinder needs not just a mental picture of the intended illusion, but "some level of Connection to it as well." So if Sja-Anat's touch is creating something new, I wonder if it's possibly that she's replacing the part of Renarin's powers that would ordinarily be expressed through the channels typical of Honor--in this case, the way a Truthwatcher or Lightweaver would possibly Connect to the idea of an illusion is unavailable to him because the Shard facilitating Surgebinding is now Odium. Renarin theorizes himself that he sees like Odium does, "not events, or the world itself, but possibilities." His use of Progression, though, might be more similar to other Surgebinders' then, because Cultivation's contribution would be left in place. The idea that the Enlightened spren are former deadeyes is just really intriguing to me!
  4. I think something that could be useful in determining "what level gets what" is to also consider the other, non-Shallan Lightweavers who have been confirmed to get their Blades. I suppose Red could be using an illusion to make himself lighteyed, but Ishnah is stated outright to have her Blade. I can't find anything about Vathah or the others immediately to hand. But there is a distinction between those Lightweavers who have earned their Blades and who have not. Shallan notes that Beryl, who is explicitly stated to have bonded a spren away from the Unseen Court and Shallan's sphere of influence without becoming a squire first, has "not earned her Blade", and that to me suggests there may be a level known among Lightweavers at which they do unlock their Blades. That doesn't mean that Lightweavers can't get their Blades at Ideal 2, but I personally think there isn't enough potential narrative pay off just yet to say "this arbitrary worldbuilding rule that conveniently no one has mentioned is why Shallan is so hard to figure out." I think if there is a difference like that between orders, I would want it to have some deeper meaning for Shallan's character arc, rather than be pure mechanical misdirection. On the upper end, I don't believe any other Lightweavers have hit Ideal 4 on the page (or Truth 3, whichever terminology is preferred.) Raboniel's intelligence seems to place pretty high value on there not being any 4th Ideal Radiants in the Tower as a part of her scheme to subvert the defenses. Raboniel is not infallible--indeed, I don't trust a lot of what she says as the incontrovertible fact she presents it as--but she doesn't seem to consider the Lightweavers to pose a substantial threat to her plan. Red, who is left in charge as a senior Lightweaver, is one of the first Radiants to fall on the page. That said, Shallan wasn't in Urithiru when it fell, so who knows if she would have been awake? Shallan also engages in a lot of counterintelligence (her ploy presenting herself as an Elsecaller worked, for example, and she has tricked people into using her fake Lightweaving detectors), so preserving a certain amount of secrecy in how her order operates does seem to fit her character. And if she did swear something in RoW that would result in her getting her Plate, I think it can be inferred from Adolin's Plate experiment that it wouldn't manifest in Shadesmar and so wouldn't be depicted on the page in the moment.
  5. This is such a cool observation! I've always believed that Odium was deceiving the Fused at least a little bit; my mind immediately jumps to Raboniel's explanation of Adhesion as being, for me, particularly suspicious! From those excerpts, I wonder if the Everstorm could be serving a similar function to the one that Ba-Ado-Mishram supposedly did during the False Desolation? Connecting to the singer people and giving them forms of power and Voidlight without necessarily asking Odium for permission? When the Everstorm passed over for the first time, it seems like it specifically Connected the singers to their region, and not to Odium as a part of healing them ... they were the original people of Roshar, which is something that Odium uses a lot in his propaganda, but viewed with this in mind, could he have been taking advantage of the Everstorm more than controlling it? Could that have to do with why Odium could do "nothing about the Regals?" I can definitely see why he'd want to keep that a secret. But since the Fused clearly believe he can make good on his claims, I wonder if prior to the Everstorm he could actually carry out all those threats? And if he could, what does it mean now if he can't do so without consequences?
  6. I find Soulcasting to be pretty fascinating in general, so I've taken some notes here and there. There is one Lightweaver who is mentioned to be even a little bit better at Soulcasting than the others, Beryl. Shallan calls out her proficiency in the text. Shallan goes on to think that the problem might not be with her, but with Jasnah's method. And I think there is something to this. In TWoK, Shallan has an argument with Jasnah about belief which I feel highlights their different approaches to things. Jasnah convinces the soul to change with commands, but Shallan has only ever had success when she inspires the soul of the subject to change. This I feel accounts for her Spiritual Transformation of the deserters and for the transformation of the Wind's Pleasure. Shallan appeals to the core belief of the ship, to protect and care for its crew, to make it desire to change. She appeals to the souls of the deserters and of Elhokar, showing them in turn what they could be, if they tried to change. That "intrigues them enough" to want to try. Her infamous failure with the stick is probably an example of Shallan failing to convince the stick why it should, in fact, want to be fire. A figurative seed, in this case. Her other 'successful' attempt, in TWoK, was with a crystal goblet that I'm pretty certain was simply bored of being a goblet; she barely had to say anything to persuade it. When Formless Soulcasts the doorknob, she also notes that things barely care if you ask them to change in Shadesmar. In OB, Jasnah observes that it's much easier to Soulcast with the three realms so close to each other (or at least, that is the implication): So I would guess that Soulcasting may have something to do with that. Jasnah through the Cognitive and Shallan through the Spiritual? Just based on their characters, that feels more or less right. As for why Shallan is bad at Soulcasting normally ... I could probably muse about that all day. Maybe it really is because she's using the wrong method for her mindset. However, I do agree that it probably reflects her own inner turmoil. It could be a little of all of these? When Shallan is briefly Formless, she had at least made a choice about who she wanted to be, even as Veil and Radiant fought her over it. I tend to think about it the same way I personally read Kaladin as ignoring Adhesion because he's afraid of emotionally connecting to people. Having made a definitive choice at the end of RoW as to who she wants to be (a Knight Radiant and not a Ghostblood, Shallan over Formless, etc.), I wonder if she will suddenly have more success with Soulcasting?
  7. This feels like it's pretty close to what the Stump does; but when I really consider her Truthwatcherness, I would say that the Stump is someone who is always observing and is seldom seen. She's an older woman, from a poorer community, and I think she even has a line about how very few people pay attention to her; but she was observant enough to figure out she needed Stormlight and to engineer a Stormlight exchange system to get it. Edgedancers are looking for people who aren't seen, but Truthwatchers seem to me like they are unobtrusively observing and taking notes. The Stump is more proactively curious in RoW, when she tries to help Adolin figure out how to appeal to the honorspren. Renarin, even though he's a "corrupted" Truthwatcher, kind of fits that type: he's the second son, always overlooked for his older brother who is more traditionally accomplished, and people always try to push him into a role he has complicated feelings about because they don't really see what he wants. Renarin is also pretty secretive. When he shares information in WoR, he's covert about it--probably because he knows exactly how futuresight will be received in his culture, and he's looking for the best way to share his information so that it will be acted on appropriately. That might be "the abundance of tact." Rlain, I would argue, has a lot of time on the page feeling absolutely unseen for who he is as a person, and he's very aware of his surroundings all the time.
  8. Lin appears to have the same thought on the page when he sees Helaran's Blade. For what it's worth, Lin seems to decide that the Shardblade is different from the one assumed to be Testament. Helaran's Blade is in Rock's possession, and according to his daughter, it is gathering dust in a box.
  9. Venli's co-conspirators in escaping the Fused are named Shumin, Mazish, and Dul, as far as I can tell from just a very quick check. This would be from RoW Chapter 11. Thude is the one who escaped (or was allowed to escape by Eshonai) with the other listeners who refused stormform. Raboniel gets a report of nomads in the hills, which Venli reads and understands as evidence of the survivors of her culture, led by Thude. She has a conversation with Rlain about it in RoW Chapter 96. Venli meets up with Thude against for the first time in a while in RoW Chapter 115, where she notes that he's never seen her wear this form before. I hope that helps track Thude a little better throughout the book!
  10. I love this! It's such an elegant interpretation, one that illuminates a lot of the more miraculous things Kaladin does. I'd like to add something that I've seen that I feel supports this theory, specifically that there is a strong element of choice/agreement in surges that are more closely aligned with Honor. The best I can phrase this is that Honor is often called a god of laws, and that those laws are subject to agreement by the governed. So I think there is precedent for this idea that Honor's laws (and Honor's powers?) can be guided by widespread agreement. It totally makes sense to me that the more people there are who agree that Kaladin is this hero, this symbol, the more empowered he is by the slivers of Honor that "still live in the hearts of men" and the better a conduit he is. And when he accesses the Spiritual Realm, he's tapping into his ideal self, isn't he? It certainly seems to square the idea that Kaladin is at his most powerful when he's protecting someone, and also being "extra-aligned" to Honor's Intent to a somewhat unhealthy degree. I, too, really like the idea of Kaladin being a subversion of the chosen one trope by being the first to choose to behave this way. (Novelty really is the thing people value the most!) I find it also adds some extra dimension to RoW 80, where Kaladin perceives the wind as hating him ... what is that in this context, Kaladin feeling the winds of Odium's storm as opposed to Honor's?
  11. I think that it has to do with his decisions, his past, where he started, what he is trying to do, and who he is ... which is to say, I think it's just his character development, as it is with all of them. I'm using Nale as an example solely because he has a lot of screen time. I think the implication from the flashback Dalinar witnesses in RoW gives the strongest implication as to why Nale's particular madness manifests that way: Nale begins from this place of sympathy for the governed; he wants to make it so that the law, which has no mind, can protect the most vulnerable people. Dalinar's vision doesn't go any further than this moment, which I feel implies that this is the moment that created Nale as he is now, either being inducted to the Oathpact, or about to be. This is what he's supposed to be. He follows his own code, which isn't necessarily moral--but when he made his code and decided to follow it, he took into account sympathy and morality, the reasons why he followed it to begin with. He's insane in this moment, so I don't trust his own interpretation of what's happening to him. Whatever has really happened to him, all he's got left of that person he was before is that belief that he is the law, the law cannot be moral, and that he was correct all along. The attributes of "Justice" and "Confident" are inverted. From what I understand, I think we're actually using the same arguments, just with different pivots. Let me see if I can summarize how I'm getting this: The Heralds and Fused are attached to Investiture, but the Investiture is a separate entity from their mind. Widespread perception of the Heralds and the Fused affects their identity. The pressure of perception on their Intent causes their Investiture to want to match that perception. Their identity wants to do its own thing. The difference between their identity and their Intent is so stark that it causes a magical madness that manifests based on how they are perceived. Is this right? If I could ask, what about perception do you see as instigating the madness? Like--Nalan is worshipped as a Herald of Justice, but Nale knows he went against his code once in a big way, and now he's convinced that he's the absolute embodiment of law? Ishar is worshipped as the Herald of Luck and Mysteries, etc, but he knows that his knowledge failed him at some juncture, and now he's convinced that he's a god king? Whereas someone like the Pursuer ... what's happening there? What I'm saying is the following: The Investiture that makes up the Heralds and the Fused is mixed in with their mind. It's all the same. In regards to the Heralds, putting down the Oathpact and walking away goes against their Intent in some personal way. Every choice and change they make afterwards manifests as madness particular to them. In regards to the Fused, their Intent, their reason for being, is likely to be the war, or related to the war. What I think is happening is that if they choose to do anything but fight the war, they go mad. I think this could be simplified down even more: the further Nale gets from the Oathpact, the further he gets from the reason he made that choice to begin with. His feelings of compassion, whatever made him defend a child against "dark forces", everything truly honorable about him, that gets left behind. There's been a pattern so far that when one side learns something, the other side learns it, too--so Odium creates the Fused, Honor creates the Heralds. The Knights Radiant arise on one side, and the Fused gain the use of Surges on the other. One side learns of the Anti-Tones and the other side gets that information as well ... it seems like whatever Kaladin eventually ends up doing, it might be used to heal the Fused, as well? If that's possible? Just a thought. I don't think I understand quite what you mean here, could you clarify? I personally don't think Honor planned for them to break their oaths. I view the Oathpact as like a tragedy of heroic naivete, to be honest. I think the Desolations weren't planned for, either. I believe that the Oathpact was meant to seal the Fused away forever, the first time, and it just didn't work out that way. The Stormfather's opinion is that only Taln dying was a lucky circumstance that they exploited, and I tend to agree with him on that point.
  12. Gotcha! Let me see if I can clarify my argument further. I really enjoy thinking about this kind of thing, so it always goes on a bit long. I believe that it's choice and the consistency of making a choice. Just to illustrate what I'm thinking more clearly: Let's say Nale wants to stop the Desolations, but he won't go back to Braize to be tortured. The power says that this is how he was created to be, he needs to go back. Nale decides to retrieve his Honorblade. The power pushes back. Nale decides that he needs to prevent the Desolations by arranging Gavilar's death, and it's okay if he can do it justly. The power pushes harder. Nale decides that it's necessary and just to kill kindly shoemakers, old women who run orphanages, children, and he doesn't need to feel guilt because this is justice. It pushes even harder. Nale decides to join the very force he fought against, because that is now how he views justice. My theory is basically that with each choice he makes that isn't going back to the Oathpact and holding it up with the other Heralds, the Intent that makes up his Investiture distorts his reality a little more and he makes a (much!) worse decision than he did before. It's trying to push down, keep him where he began, and that requires him to pull harder, advance to a more extreme position. I imagine him literally stretching his soul thin. It goes without saying that I could definitely be wrong in my interpretation, but the pattern I'm seeing at the moment is that the more he fights, the more he tries to find a different solution, the less and less clearly he sees the world until his attributes are twisted against him. Kalak's indecision and Ash's refusal to involve herself makes a lot of sense to me in that context. Ishar is extremely far gone; Ash says that watching him fade was like watching the sun go out. And Taln's decision is always to keep holding up the burden, despite the fact that the Stormfather and Ash both single him out as the one who was never meant to join them, and he makes that decision over and over for more than four thousand years. In his narration, he hints at something he calls the Gift, which was not his, that is now his; he believes that he is somehow late, and that it has been too long. In his moment of lucidity, however, he states directly that "they have given a gift to humanity", which he specifically calls out as time. He's not late, as he believes in his madness, but his reality is heavily distorted. Instead of Taln, who was never a scholar or a king and who was never meant to be a Herald, he introduces himself as Talenel'Elin, the Herald of War--he gives the whole speech by rote, as if he had broken. He's fully embraced a role that wasn't his, as Nale has embraced a code that isn't justice. I would counter here that I don't see anything about the people's perception of the Fused that would affect the Fused in such a way--knowledge of the Fused was essentially lost. I could agree that perception is doing something to the Heralds, especially over thousands of years of worship, but the Fused were utterly forgotten, to the point where Jasnah was hunting them in folklore. They could be vulnerable to perception, but a lot of people, human and singer, just learned about them in the last year or so. The mythology that gets given about them is disseminated by the Fused when they get there. But I suppose what could happen is that the Fused might see themselves as just and correct (or something along those lines), while the people they fight do not? What's happening there that's eroding the minds of the Fused via perception? What's the perception that the Fused are acting against? Whose perception sets the Intent? I also argue that the Cognitive aspects of humans are actually not immune to change based on someone else's perception of them, but it's usually rather mundane. Shallan's perspective of the deserters seems to change them; the main thing is that they agree (perhaps subconsciously) to begin to act the way she shows them they could be, the same way that the obsidian in Shadesmar is "intrigued" enough to turn into seeds. Others overwhelmingly see them as deserters, cowards, thieves, murderers, etc., but Shallan shows them that they can be otherwise. When Jasnah Soulcasts the thieves in Kharbranth, she uses Investiture to change them materially; their Cognitive aspect believes, at some level and for some length of time, they are crystal, fire, etc. based on her will. It's the more Invested someone (or something) is, the more they resist the Surge of Transformation, which I feel is consistent with the thematic idea that Intent, once set, doesn't change easily, and that change has to be done intentionally. I think, however, what you are saying is that spren are affected directly by (Physical Realm) peoples' thoughts about them because that's how they are born, and the flamespren in TWoK are responding to observation, etc. Shallan and Pattern have a conversation about this, I think, in WoR: The parent/child metaphor is used a lot, and generally the argument behind it is that when a child is born they are given an some sort of expectation by the parent; but the child has their own mind and makes their own choices. I argue that the spren's initial creation has something to do with people's perception, but after that the pattern is that the minds that make up the spren have to agree to change, like humans. Lesser spren, flamespren and windspren and the like, I think they don't have a mind to the same extent that a Radiant spren does, and generally seem to be more easily persuadable. I think there's something special about how the Heralds went to Honor specifically and "gave themselves up" to create the Oathpact, but my thought as it applies to the Fused, Kelsier, etc. is that they are all Cognitive Shadows created from Investiture that has the personality, memories and possibly the motivation that the person in question had at the time, and they are all baked in. The Investiture has "gotten used to being that person" and so it wants to keep going. I think what you're saying here is that I'm assuming wrong; do you mean the Stormfather's assumption is wrong? I can't quite tell. I certainly believe right now that the Oathpact was a well-meaning plan that doomed everyone. Here are the specific passages leading me to my conclusion, at least. From Oathbringer, Chapter 38 is all about the Oathpact from the Stormfather's memory. The context he gives is that they knew that there was no way for the humans to win against the Fused, who Invested by Odium ("souls of the dead" who were "given great power by the enemy, the one called Odium. That was the beginning, the start of the Desolations"), and so the Heralds knew they needed to do something about that specific problem. They went to Honor for help--"and so, the Oathpact." He goes on to explain how the cycle of Desolations continued, and how the time lapsed between them becomes shorter and shorter. If the Oathpact had been a temporary measure--my analogue for this remains Bridge Four--the Heralds would have had other plans, wouldn't they, as Kaladin kept devising escape routes? But this seemed like the only option they were able to come up with. The Stormfather admits that his memory of that time works a little fuzzily, but it seems exactly like they thought it would last indefinitely if they shared the pain as a team, and it wasn't. Odium also seems to believe that this is how humans work--emotion is too much, humans hold it imperfectly, but if they can share it, they do it better. In the Prelude, Jezrien and Kalak's conversation about the Oathpact also suggests to me that they were looking for a permanent solution. The features of the Oathpact came from Honor, but Honor's power always appears to be doing surprising things. Honor also admits in his vision to Dalinar that he's not very good at seeing outcomes. Taln's appearance in Kholinar suggests to me that he manifested like a Shardblade does, coalescing from mist, likening him to a spren in that manner ... I think what Honor was trying to do is related to the Stormfather's belief that men break oaths but spren are different, by causing the Heralds to transcend humanity and become more spren-like--more unable to break their word, perhaps by attaching it to their existence. I don't think that this worked. But Syl demonstrates that spren can change because they choose to, and Zahel draws a distinction between power that comes to life on its own (like Syl) and a "dead man walking." I'm suggesting that there's something about becoming a Cognitive Shadow that results in a "worn soul"--as a creature of the dead, are they capable of changing, or is that solely a property of the living? The ability to change is such an enormous theme in the series as a whole. What's the consequence Sanderson is giving, if any at all, for returning from the dead? What's the cost of immortality in the cosmere? Those are the questions I'm asking myself as I read.
  13. I'm not quite sure which way you mean; like, is "investiture based madness" manifesting to random degrees of severity, or are the symptoms of it (compulsion to destroy depictions of yourself, etc) random? I suppose the answer to both is no. Right now, what I'm thinking is that the more choices that the Heralds (and the Fused) make that try to change their own personal identities from what they were when they became Cognitive Shadows is what affects them. I tend to interpret it as the mind/soul is trying to change, and the power is punishing that so that it can keep doing what it was made to do, the way it was made to do it. The more the mind changes, the more the power pushes back. Of course, now that I'm really going through the Heralds, it does seem like the ones who engaged the most to prevent the return of Odium and the Fused in some way without using the Oathpact as it was initially constructed suffered the most. Ash and Kalak, who are trying to ignore it as best they can, don't seem nearly so bad off at the moment, but it's impossible to see just yet what they were like in the past. I think that still might hold if it wasn't the Intent of the Investiture but the perceptions people have of them, as you suggest? People's expectations, holding them in place? But I feel like Ash is the only Herald who expresses dismay over others' perceptions of her and the other Heralds. I just think there's something inherently damaging about holding to an oath forever, and using magic to cement it just seems like a decision that would have consequences. Most of my thought process has a lot to do with this exchange:
  14. I've been dwelling on this for a few days now and putting my thoughts together on it, but I personally tend to believe it's something along the lines of "4. Spiritweb impact of actually abandoning the oathpact." When the Stormfather describes the way that they put together the Oathpact, he phrases it like they died, Honor Invested them, and became Cognitive Shadows, and that first time was meant to be forever. RoW has a bunch of arcs dedicated to showing that nothing lasts, and why that's actually a good thing; Bridge Four, like the Heralds, is a "legendary team that has already faded into memory" or something to that effect. But even though Bridge Four was formed to survive a terrible circumstance, absolutely nobody, not even Kaladin, believed that would work forever. Something else had to be done to save them. The dissolution of Bridge Four is also framed as a good thing: now the members of it can go and live their own lives. Kaladin himself has an arc in RoW on why he can't live forever as Highmarshal Stormblessed; mentally, it is too much of a toll on him and he's gradually breaking. His conversation with Wit on Braize, "there will be sunshine again" highlights the necessity of change in maintaining his mental health; even earlier in the series, in WoR, Wit and Shallan have the conversation about how beauty would be the pain of existence changing from day to day. And back in RoW, there's lots to do with Investiture and Intent, and how Investiture can be given Intent, etc. Zahel even explains Cognitive Shadows on the page. I tend to think these days that perhaps Cognitive Shadows, like spren, have an Intent baked in to their creation, and that the Intent of the Heralds was to bear the burden of the Oathpact together. I think they probably believed that being able to share the pain would be enough, but obviously it was not, and maybe never could have been. It's an interesting take on the "failing seal placed on the ancient evil's prison" trope, in my opinion. It would add some level of grand tragedy to the Heralds' existence as well. This interpretation would mean that setting down the Oathpact is going against their Intent, which is said to have some sort of consequence. (In Taln's case, I argue that holding it up alone would still be going against his Intent, if the burden was intended to be shared, and so he would therefore still manifest some kind of magical insanity.) When the Desolation begins, and they make enough progress that the Radiants will be able to win the day, they're supposed to die and head back together--literally, they need to choose death, until, eventually, the pain becomes too much and they eventually choose life, which is being reborn on Roshar to fight again. I feel like this is mappable to Pattern's assertion in WoR that "spren change in the same ways, over and over." They can't seem to break out of that cycle. The reversal of their attributes might actually fit with this idea of going against an Intent that Honor gave them. The degree of their madness might vary based on the level of how very much against their Intent they are going? Ash, for example, put down the Oathpact, but her madness amounts to a compulsion to destroy depictions of herself. She doesn't descend into Ishar's or Nale's levels because perhaps her Intent is to remain honest in some way, and by acknowledging that she's doing something wrong, she retains a bit more of her sanity. Ishar, however, totally believes that he's sole bearer of the Oathpact, and that he's fighting against Odium's false Radiants ... Nale seems to be reliving some of the things he did in the past, too--he fought against Jezrien which was noted by Jezrien as being a particularly honorable thing to do ("an enemy who was correct all along"), and now he's repeating that character-defining moment again but in a twisted context. Taln repeats his introductory speech over again. I wonder if they are perpetuating their own personal cycles? Resetting the Oathpact could mean resetting their Intent so they can be freed of their madness--mechanically forcing a change? I also think it might have an application on the Fused, too, who function similarly ... imagine if Raboniel's Intent was to end the war, one way or another. She maintains her clarity up to the end, although her methods are pretty extreme. Leshwi might be fighting the war to her internal code. But other Fused might be sick of the war, and want to leave it behind like the Heralds left the Oathpact, and they might be reduced to madness. The Pursuer, I think, could be an example of a Fused who is gradually going against his Intent: suppose it was to fight the war, but more and more he changes his identity to that of someone who pursues vengeance over Odium's agenda. So each time he gets reborn, he suffers more magically induced madness, because he's choosing actively to pull further and further away from that initial Intent.
  15. The source for the number of Shards that Alethkar, Jah Keved, etc. is Dalinar in TWoK when he witnesses the Day of Recreance at Feverstone Keep, but he specifies Blades, not Plate. The Coppermind also leaves out Amaram/Helaran's Shardplate. I agree that it might be that someone wouldn't have to work too hard to hide them if they could just toss them all back into the Cognitive Realm somehow without a gemstone bond, and there are a lot of deadeyes in Shadesmar. In RoW Chapter 75, Adolin assumes that when they turn to mist in Shadesmar, they are being summoned by their owners. Pattern also suggests that the Cryptics have done a little research on how to cure deadeyes when he gives Shallan the run-down on the Recreance. Experimenting on the dead might also contribute to the supposedly fearsome reputation of the Cryptics. Pattern could even be talking about the use of a gemstone as the method they used to try and restore the old ones. Who knows? I almost think that the dismissal function of the gemstone is, like, a side effect of whatever pseudo-bond it's creating, rather than the main thing. The gemstone bond to the human seems to create some kind of connection to the Cognitive that was severed when the oath was broken, so that the spren's Investiture can be sent into the Shadesmar. Navani notes in WoR Chapter 67 that the Shardblades were said to have to have altered their shapes to adopt the gemstones--something that isn't typically possible of a dead Blade--so maybe the original function was not to have a bonded and dismissible weapon but to give relief to the spren? Maybe the former Radiants innovated that particular development? The deadeyes in Shadesmar, at least, aren't screaming constantly, and the bond seems to comfort Maya and even Oathbringer to some degree. Stone is supposed to be similar to a mind in its ability to hold Investiture. I also don't think it's too implausible that the spren might be the ones who somehow contrived to recover their dead over the years so they wouldn't be used as weapons against their will or trapped forever in their own corpse. The honorspren have a system to care for the deadeyes. The spren who make up Plate probably wouldn't need the same kind of mercy. And in another direction entirely, might it be possible that maybe the Investiture that makes up the Blade may have just leaked back into the Cognitive Realm over time? It happens to living spren whose Radiants have died. They don't have anything anchoring them to the Physical Realm, though it doesn't seem to happen immediately. The practice of attaching gemstones is also said to date from "several decades" after the Recreance, which could be about the length of human lifespan. When their former Radiants died, did the Shardblades suddenly lack a valid Connection to the Physical Realm and gradually fade away, like Jezrien's soul when it was trapped in a gemstone? Could attaching the gemstone might have been the solution people came up with to keep possession of the Shards? This is all just speculation, of course. I'm not sure that there's any real answer that can be pieced together from the available information, but it is fun to think about.