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Now this is a theory that is mostly based on speculation but I wanted to see what other people think of it. Warning mindless rambling may happen at times, just stay with me. Now lets get to it. The Oathpact. We don't know much about it but I will quickly summarize what we do know. It is an oath by the Heralds that returns them to Roshar with each desolation Whenever the heralds are not on Roshar they are tortured It has been in effect for a long time- "Centuries, perhaps millennia" The Oathpact was broken The enemy who is most likely Odium was bound by it Honor is the one who most likely initiated it While that isn't much to go on I'm going to talk about not only how it effects the heralds, but also how that may have effected the Rosharian ecosystem, specifically the starting the highstorms. Now I'll start with a simple explanation of how the Heralds are important in the oathpact: I believe that they may have become bound to Odium. Now this would explain why they are tortured, after all what else would an entity literally named Hatred do to it's enemy's? Now the reason I was lead to this conclusion was in part because of the fact that shards tend to behave according to the principle of intent. (http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/369-theory-the-principle-of-intent/) Now Torture is not Honorable, and I would love to hear anyone argue otherwise. But Odium is more than capable of torturing people. In fact he probably does it for fun. I mean if you hate someone then you want to torture them so it fits his personality perfectly. Now I hope I haven't lost you because this is where it gets interesting. What if Honor, Cultivation, and Odium were all originally on Roshar? Now Odium hates everything, or at least he probably does. So Honor and Cultivation, in order to create a society that wasn't constantly in danger of being destroyed, they had to get rid of Odium. So give odium something to focus all his hate on, preferably something he knows that you like (the heralds) and give him his own planet and then hope he leaves yours alone. And if he ever comes back make him bring back the Heralds. It's like giving the bully at school your toy and then just pulling out a different one after he leaves. Now Odium Isn't stupid so I'm sure he threw in some of his own conditions, namely getting to leave a small part of himself on Roshar mainly in the form of voidspren. Now that probably seemed like a good deal, after all what could things with no, or at least very little, physical form do? Well a lot as it turns out. Odium could insert the voidspren into the listeners and take control of them, like how Ruin uses hemalurgy. But every time he moved enough of his sentience to Roshar to control the listeners, then the Heralds would return to. This would explain why they always show up right before a desolation, and also why leaving just one of them could end the desolations, Odium still has one of them to Hate. And perhaps having only one of them return stuck Odium in a sort of limbo. He couldn't fully leave because he didn't have all the heralds but he also couldn't return because he couldn't bring the heralds with him as they were already their. Now all of this ties into highstorms because when Odium returned the first time Honor needed a weapon to fight back with. So give the heralds the ability to access surges(the spren) and give them readily available fuel to power those surges(stormlight). Now I know their will be those who say "well what makes you say that?" "why couldn't there have always been highstorms?" Well the answer to that is that Roshar was once much more earthlike. Shinovar across the whole planet kind of deal. This would explain how there were humans in the first place. Shards have access to a lot of knowledge about the workings of the world. Don't believe me, go read what Sazed writes in the Hero of Ages. My point is Cultivation and Honor wouldn't put something as vulnerable as Humans on a land where everything is constantly buffeted by storms that are as big as a continent and as powerful as, well huricane times ten. Therefore Highstorms must come after humanity and since the Heralds were the first of humanity... well you get the point. Shinovar is the only part of Roshar sheltered from the Highstorms and that is the reason it is so earthlike. Sinovar did not evolve to become earthlike. everything else evolved to weather the storms. I know there isn't much evidence to support that but it's the best theory I could come up with so feel free to poke holes and give me feedback.