Cocoa

[Theory] The Set's "Faceless Immortals" aren't Kandra

12 posts in this topic

So, I was reading back over (well, listening) to the end of Bands of Mourning, and some things stuck out to me.

Quote

So it was that he wasn’t at all surprised when, after two weeks of captivity, the door to the corridor outside his cell clicked open one night and a stranger stalked in. Male this time, with a ragged beard and wild hair. A beggar stolen off the street, Suit guessed.

You could tell them by the way they walked. Never a stroll, never leisurely. Always fast, determined. Purposeful.

Of course, the softly glowing red eyes were another sign. So far as Suit had been able to determine, Waxillium and his fools had no knowledge of these creatures. They didn’t understand, couldn’t understand.

The Set had Faceless Immortals of its own.

Emphasis mine.

Now, at first I had just assumed that the Faceless Immortals were corrupted kandra a la Bleeder. After all, the two terms have been synonymous up to this point. However, what if these creatures, while both immortal and without a fixed appearance, are a whole different animal than kandra?

The first thing that makes me think this is the usage of "A beggar stolen off the street." Sure, this could just be referring to the body, since a kandra could either kill a beggar or scavenge an already dead one to use their body as a disguise. But the word 'body' isn't specifically used here.

Mild Oathbringer spoilers for this second point, but the glowing red eyes also bring to my mind the glowing red eyes of the possessed men in Amaram's army (and to a lesser extent, the Fused in general).

Thirdly, the Set Faceless Immortal we see seems pretty unconcerned with blowing itself up along with Suit. Now, this could be fanaticism, but I have a different thought.

What if these "Faceless Immortals" are bodysnatching cognitive entities, instead of kandra? I can't say for certain that they're Fused or voidspren, since I don't think we have a clear enough idea of Trell's identity, but they certainly seem to behave similarly and it would be a satisfying explanation to the three above observations.

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Agreed.  I never thought the Set's agents were kandra, although I understand why some readers were confused by the use of the term "Faceless Immortals".  Makes sense to me that a Scadrian like Suit would naturally use that term to describe an immortal bodysnatcher, whether kandra or not.  "Your service is accepted; you will be allowed to serve in the next Realm" is also not a very kandra-like (or Harmony-like) promise to make.

While my feeling is that the red-eyed entities are likely powered by Trell, others have speculated that Odium might be involved.  It certainly can't be ruled out at this point.

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I agree; it seems to imply some kind of possession of the beggar's body. And kandra don't have red eyes.

I doubt it's literally a Fused. But it's likely a similar cosmere mechanic, and likely also similar to Kelsier regaining a body.

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17 hours ago, AquaRegia said:

While my feeling is that the red-eyed entities are likely powered by Trell, others have speculated that Odium might be involved.  It certainly can't be ruled out at this point.

While I agree that Odium involvement cannot be ruled out, I think it is very unlikely.

Because we have a WoB where it is explicitly stated that Odium is afraid of Harmony because there are things about Harmony's instability that he's not aware of, and he'd be much less afraid if he found out. The Set seems to be pretty knowledgeable about Scadrial, including about Harmony himself. If Odium knew everything the Set knows, I'm not sure how that would line up with that WoB.

Edited by CryoZenith
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14 hours ago, CryoZenith said:

While I agree that Odium involvement cannot be ruled out, I think it is very unlikely.

Because we have a WoB where it is explicitly stated that Odium is afraid of Harmony because there are things about Harmony's instability that he's not aware of, and he'd be much less afraid if he found out. The Set seems to be pretty knowledgeable about Scadrial, including about Harmony himself. If Odium knew everything the Set knows, I'm not sure how that would line up with that WoB.

Era 2 is about 10 years after SA 5

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8 hours ago, Frustration said:

Era 2 is about 10 years after SA 5

I know, but the Set and Trell involvement in the set is over 50 years old.

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There is a theory that has popped up in the past that they are Svrakiss. Here are a bunch of WoB that Brandon has RAFO. 

 

Questioner

Miles Hundredlives, is he possessed by a svrakiss from Elantris?

Brandon Sanderson

*long pause* That's a RAFO, you are onto something... I wouldn't say possessed, but influenced by something is definitely a possibility. You are not 100% on.

Salt Lake City Comic-Con 2014 (Sept. 4, 2014)

 

Dirigible (paraphrased)

Are the Svrakiss cognitive shadows?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

RAFO. But you expected that.

Arcanum Unbounded Fort Collins signing (Nov. 29, 2016)

 

Dirigible

Have we seen a Svrakiss in a book so far?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... RAFO

Dirigible

Can you tell us anything about Svrakiss, like are they originally from Sel?

Brandon Sanderson

Um... I'm not going to go into that.

Calamity Denver signing (Feb. 19, 2016)

Edited by Pathfinder
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A Sel connection (and "trellium" being a Skaze "god metal") used to be my leading theory, especially after Secret History showed a Dor conduit to Scadrial's Cognitive.

But post White Sand graphic novel with Trell being a human name and "mastrell" and "lesstrell" being titles on Taldain, and the Dayside/Nightside vs Trell/Nalt day/night opposition, at least some Taldain connection seems strongly implied.

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On 1/19/2022 at 1:53 AM, CryoZenith said:

I know, but the Set and Trell involvement in the set is over 50 years old.

Wait, how do we know that? I had kind of gotten the impression that at least the overt off-world magic e.g. "trellium" was very new at the time of the Era 2 books.

I didn't think we had any real evidence of the age of the Set itself as an organization.

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1 hour ago, cometaryorbit said:

Wait, how do we know that? I had kind of gotten the impression that at least the overt off-world magic e.g. "trellium" was very new at the time of the Era 2 books.

I didn't think we had any real evidence of the age of the Set itself as an organization.

It was mentioned on the Shardcast episode about the Set. That's basically what I went by. You're right that there aren't book chapters or WoB's saying it per se.

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On 1/16/2022 at 9:12 PM, Cocoa said:

So, I was reading back over (well, listening) to the end of Bands of Mourning, and some things stuck out to me.

Emphasis mine.

Now, at first I had just assumed that the Faceless Immortals were corrupted kandra a la Bleeder. After all, the two terms have been synonymous up to this point. However, what if these creatures, while both immortal and without a fixed appearance, are a whole different animal than kandra?

The first thing that makes me think this is the usage of "A beggar stolen off the street." Sure, this could just be referring to the body, since a kandra could either kill a beggar or scavenge an already dead one to use their body as a disguise. But the word 'body' isn't specifically used here.

Mild Oathbringer spoilers for this second point, but the glowing red eyes also bring to my mind the glowing red eyes of the possessed men in Amaram's army (and to a lesser extent, the Fused in general).

Thirdly, the Set Faceless Immortal we see seems pretty unconcerned with blowing itself up along with Suit. Now, this could be fanaticism, but I have a different thought.

What if these "Faceless Immortals" are bodysnatching cognitive entities, instead of kandra? I can't say for certain that they're Fused or voidspren, since I don't think we have a clear enough idea of Trell's identity, but they certainly seem to behave similarly and it would be a satisfying explanation to the three above observations.

I maintain and have maintained since I read the book that they are fused, they have glowing red eyes are mistaken for kandra and have no regard for their own lives

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Fused aren't human, though, they use (Stormlight Archive)

Spoiler

singer (Parshendi, etc) bodies, and seem to use the gemheart to "possess" - humans don't have one.

Its very likely a similar overall cosmere mechanic, but I don't think they can be Fused as we know them from the Stormlight books so far.

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3 hours ago, Valigus said:

I maintain and have maintained since I read the book that they are fused, they have glowing red eyes are mistaken for kandra and have no regard for their own lives

Already had that fake out. The newspaper article hinting that creatures that looked like them came out of a body of water that was hinted to be a perpendicularity. Then how Marasi first saw Allik. Ultimately revealed to be southern scadrialians

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