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He watches! The black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear!

— Cenn's Death Rattle.[2]

I've scoured the Coppermind and searched the forums, and I've found nothing, NOTHING, about the black piper, except a confirmation that he isn't Hoid.

Who is he? There are things pointing towards that he might be another Unmade, for example that his name is very similiar to that of the Black Fisher, or that the position and role of the words "black piper" in the Death Rattle is very similiar to that of Yelig-nar, Sja-anat and the Black Fisher in their respective Rattles. However, I believe all the Unmade have been accounted for already and I doubt it is just an alternate name for Dai-gonarthis (the Black Fisher), as they seem too dissimiliar and we have no reason to believe that Dai-gonarthis is particularly intelligent (as the black piper would seem to be).

He could also be another God spren. Or a Dragon, or someone else influential on Yolish. My entirely unsupported pet theory so far is that the black piper is an avatar of Autonomy.

I know we have no proof for anything here, but what do you think? Who is, in your opinion, the black piper, what are his plans and what is the tune he plays?

(He may well be entirely unimportant, but I feel he's more than meets the eye)

Edited by Arsteel
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3 hours ago, Arsteel said:

I've scoured the Coppermind and searched the forums, and I've found nothing, NOTHING, about the black piper, except a confirmation that he isn't Hoid.

Who is he? There are things pointing towards that he might be another Unmade, for example that his name is very similiar to that of the Black Fisher, or that the position and role of the words "black piper" in the Death Rattle is very similiar to that of Yelig-nar, Sja-anat and the Black Fisher in their respective Rattles. However, I believe all the Unmade have been accounted for already and I doubt it is just an alternate name for Dai-gonarthis (the Black Fisher), as they seem too dissimiliar and we have no reason to believe that Dai-gonarthis is particularly intelligent (as the black piper would seem to be).

He could also be another God spren. Or a Dragon, or someone else influential on Yolish. My entirely unsupported pet theory so far is that the black piper is an avatar of Autonomy.

I know we have no proof for anything here, but what do you think? Who is, in your opinion, the black piper, what are his plans and what is the tune he plays?

(He may well be entirely unimportant, but I feel he's more than meets the eye)

I don't know who they will be... but there is deffinitly a flute that is a key element in the stories. The "dark wood" flute given to Kaladin by Hoid.

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Trailman's_flute

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'A tune that no man can hear' to me suggests the Singers' Rhythms.

Which suggests Ba-ado-Mishram -- her imprisonment tore away the Singers' Rhythms and made the Sibling lose the Rhythm of the Tower (I think that's what it's called).

The gender is wrong though... but then we have the "two dead men" = Kaladin and Shallan Death Rattle, so that may not be definitive.

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3 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

'A tune that no man can hear' to me suggests the Singers' Rhythms.

Which suggests Ba-ado-Mishram -- her imprisonment tore away the Singers' Rhythms and made the Sibling lose the Rhythm of the Tower (I think that's what it's called).

The gender is wrong though... but then we have the "two dead men" = Kaladin and Shallan Death Rattle, so that may not be definitive.

That's a good idea. As we've also seen with the prophecy of the Hero of Ages, gender is often incorrect, sometimes to purposefully mislead.

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3 hours ago, Lunu’anaki said:

I don't know who they will be... but there is deffinitly a flute that is a key element in the stories. The "dark wood" flute given to Kaladin by Hoid.

https://coppermind.net/wiki/Trailman's_flute

True, true and frequencies and tones play a key role on Roschar.

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4 hours ago, Arsteel said:

True, true and frequencies and tones play a key role on Roschar.

From Elantris we know that they play a key role in the Cosmere period.

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I wonder if it's a misunderstanding of the Unmade Dai-gonarthis, the Black Fisher. The people experiencing the Death Rattles don't always fully comprehend what they are experiencing. https://stormlightarchive.fandom.com/wiki/Black_Fisher

Both Piper and Fisher imply a luring of people. The Death Rattle where Dai-gonarthis is named also talks about holding people.

"Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!"

–Tanatesach 1173, 28 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed female street juggler. Note similarity to sample 117

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I have a pet theory that this is El, the fused at the end of ROW. His fused name is 'He who Quiets'. We know humans do not like to hear the anti-Honor tones needed to create anti stormlight, so it would be a tune 'no man can hear'. I just thought that even though black Piper sounds very unmade-y, he also has hands, so it could be a human becoming an unmade or something

Ofcourse if this death rattle is for books 6-10, it could be anything. It could be Axies for all we know

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Could the Black Piper be referring to Moelach?

Moelach gives the visions to the dying, hence the "black", and "in the night" bits. 
Nobody really understands the Death Rattles as they are poetic fortellings, hence the "tune no man can hear". Obviously they are hearing the words, but not the meaning. 
"He watches" could associate in a couple of ways, 1)Moelach is watching those dying he gives the Rattles to , 2) Moelach watches world events in an effort to manipulate them.

The "piper" part could be explained multiple ways as well. 1)Moelach is trying to manipulate events, leading humans down paths with his music (death rattles), 2)Moelach seems to move around periodically. Could he be drawing humans to investigate Cultivation's Perpendicularity?   

We also have this quote from Jezerin in Oathbringer ch 88.
 

Quote

Moelach is close. I can hear his wheezing, his scratching, his scraping at time like a rat breaking through walls. 

The pied piper in Earth folklore is associated with rats, in that he originally used his pipe to catch rats. In this part, he was a "good guy". When he was not paid, he used it to catch children and in some versions kill them. He is said to be a symbolic villain that represents a very real incident in medieval Hamelin in which many children died due to plague or some other catastrophe. Good guy going to villain sounds rarther unmadeish.

Well, outside of the rat association, there is also the speculation that the unmade's names are derived from deities of Near Eastern pantheons and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Moelach is thought to be derived from Moloch, Canaanite god of fire and chaos associated with child sacrifice. Medieval and modern sources tend to portray Moloch as a bull-headed humanoid idol with arms outstretched over a fire, onto which the sacrificial child is placed, hence "He holds us in his palm".  

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On 7/26/2022 at 0:19 PM, Arsteel said:

That's a good idea. As we've also seen with the prophecy of the Hero of Ages, gender is often incorrect, sometimes to purposefully mislead.

Brandon's mentioned this trick that was core to the prophecy of the Hero of Ages, that he won't do this sort of twist with translation error unless you also see the characters in-world also specifically addressing the translation error themselves. With the various languages that the books get translated into, the risk of IRL translation error increases. I think it's wise that if it's relevant, the characters will think it's relevant as well. It is possible that this isn't a big enough piece, but I think Brandon would have left a clue if we were supposed to distrust the information. 

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10 hours ago, Duxredux said:

Brandon's mentioned this trick that was core to the prophecy of the Hero of Ages, that he won't do this sort of twist with translation error unless you also see the characters in-world also specifically addressing the translation error themselves. With the various languages that the books get translated into, the risk of IRL translation error increases. I think it's wise that if it's relevant, the characters will think it's relevant as well. It is possible that this isn't a big enough piece, but I think Brandon would have left a clue if we were supposed to distrust the information. 

Maybe, but there is the "two dead men" = Kaladin and Shallan death rattle.

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Found the WoB. Just quoting what Brandon said he was doing, and in this case he's referring not to gender specifically, but to the death rattles. Don't ask me how that particular one worked out (okay, maybe it meant "men" as in "humans" rather than "Parshendi", I dunno).

Quote

R'Shara

I was wondering if we can take the Death Rattles as written? So night is night, not knight. Reigns is reigns and not rains or reins, etc? Since they're written down by someone who is listening to someone else speaking, there could be confusion there. Then again, they're speaking Alethi, or the local tongue, and being translated to English, so their homonyms would be different. Also, are they always about the future, or can they be about the past?

Brandon Sanderson

So, this is a tricky one. I was tempted to go into it during the reigns/rains one--but since there is a follow up, let me see if I can explain it.

You note the mechanism I've said before that I rely upon, that of the idea that the books are done "in translation" from their original tongues. This is to give us another layer of plausibility in the linguistics--but it does introduce a kind of wildcard here in the interpreter. (Who is me.)

I am not against using word usages similar to homonyms as plot points, so long as the characters themselves are capable of making the misunderstanding. (The ending of the Mistborn trilogy involves some of these types of word and definition related issues.)

So you're not wrong to asking questions like this. I use them very sparingly, but I do use them. In that specific case, however, I was not intending there to be confusion.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA (Oct. 26, 2018)

 

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6 hours ago, cometaryorbit said:

Maybe, but there is the "two dead men" = Kaladin and Shallan death rattle.

Exactly

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On 7/29/2022 at 5:14 PM, Yumiya said:

Could the Black Piper be referring to Moelach?

Moelach gives the visions to the dying, hence the "black", and "in the night" bits. 
Nobody really understands the Death Rattles as they are poetic fortellings, hence the "tune no man can hear". Obviously they are hearing the words, but not the meaning. 
"He watches" could associate in a couple of ways, 1)Moelach is watching those dying he gives the Rattles to , 2) Moelach watches world events in an effort to manipulate them.

The "piper" part could be explained multiple ways as well. 1)Moelach is trying to manipulate events, leading humans down paths with his music (death rattles), 2)Moelach seems to move around periodically. Could he be drawing humans to investigate Cultivation's Perpendicularity?   

We also have this quote from Jezerin in Oathbringer ch 88.
 

The pied piper in Earth folklore is associated with rats, in that he originally used his pipe to catch rats. In this part, he was a "good guy". When he was not paid, he used it to catch children and in some versions kill them. He is said to be a symbolic villain that represents a very real incident in medieval Hamelin in which many children died due to plague or some other catastrophe. Good guy going to villain sounds rarther unmadeish.

Well, outside of the rat association, there is also the speculation that the unmade's names are derived from deities of Near Eastern pantheons and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Moelach is thought to be derived from Moloch, Canaanite god of fire and chaos associated with child sacrifice. Medieval and modern sources tend to portray Moloch as a bull-headed humanoid idol with arms outstretched over a fire, onto which the sacrificial child is placed, hence "He holds us in his palm".  

I don't believe it is Moelach, as he is not thought to be intelligent and therefore cannot "manipulate" events, instead just randomly passing and doling out death rattles as he does so.

The lovecraftian reference to "holds us in his palm" is interesting, but Moelach does not know or control the information in his Death Rattles, instead it they are just a natural passive effect of Moelach's passing.

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15 hours ago, Duxredux said:

Found the WoB. Just quoting what Brandon said he was doing, and in this case he's referring not to gender specifically, but to the death rattles. Don't ask me how that particular one worked out (okay, maybe it meant "men" as in "humans" rather than "Parshendi", I dunno).

 

Yeah "men" as in "humans" is while not preferred today understandable in a kind of archaic setting, and especially in a context where non-human entities are around.

But it's still non-literal, since they weren't actually dead - not even to the degree that Szeth was.

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On 26.7.2022 at 0:49 PM, Arsteel said:

He watches! The black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear!

(Emphasis mine.) Okay, hear me out: What if it's the Nightwatcher? Or something connected to it or Cultivation?

From this deathrattle alone, we know a few things, and a few are unclear. Definitive things that point towards the Nightwatcher: I mean, you see the emphasis.

"He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear" The gender/race thing has already been mentioned here, so I'll just say that although the Nightwatcher is refered to as "she", there's some wiggle room here, for the Black Piper to be either a spawn of the Nightwatcher, the Nightwatcher itself, or some other cultivation-related entity. "Playing a tune that no man can hear" Probably relates to rythms. There's a bunch of pointers towards Honor's Rythm being inherent to humans of Roshar, through the heartbeat and whatnot. But do we know whether Cultivation's rythm is?

"holds us in his palm" sounds like an entity that has a lot of power and control over the whole of "us" (Humanity or Rosharan population as a whole). That fits Cultivation. the tune is Cultivation's influence on everything, barely visible and especially to humans, but still very present.

 

In another note, I'm sceptical of Cultivation. I bet there's a lot of things that she's done that we don't know about. We know Odium and Honor's actions, but so little of what Cultivation has been up to for thousands of years apart from occasionally blessing people that are very important.

Baseline theory: This deathrattle is about the Nightwatcher, misunderstood or seen as male.

Crackpot version: The Black Piper as a seperate Entity, connected to Cultivation, that we haven't yet seen or don't know that we have. If Sja-Anat can enhance Spren, i think Cultivation could absolutely grow/cultivate another being. Maybe the Black Piper is a new Godspren, or maybe the Black Piper is the end goal of the Nightwatcher, to mature into it.

Quote

Called "child" by Cultivation, it is likely that the Nightwatcher was created by Cultivation for a specific purpose from a different spren much like the Stormfather was by Honor. The Nightwatcher is implied to be one of three spren on Roshar that are shadows of a god.[1]

The Nightwatcher was deliberately created by Cultivation to be un-Connected to humans and is unaffected by the way they think about her.[10] This was done so she could grow more organically.

Source: https://coppermind.net/wiki/Nightwatcher#Origin

I think "he watches" and "playing a tune no man can hear" could point towards the Black Piper being a seperate entity that already exists or will exist in the future, that watches humans and learns from that to one day hold a great deal of influence. Maybe the Black Piper is the failsafe for if Odium wins and leads humanity off of Roshar, that the Black Piper's influence can help them resists or he will lure a part of them to stay, having studied them for milennia to prepare for his Job once the big Honor/Odium conflict is resolved, one way or another.

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22 hours ago, Benkinsky said:

(Emphasis mine.) Okay, hear me out: What if it's the Nightwatcher? Or something connected to it or Cultivation?

From this deathrattle alone, we know a few things, and a few are unclear. Definitive things that point towards the Nightwatcher: I mean, you see the emphasis.

"He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear" The gender/race thing has already been mentioned here, so I'll just say that although the Nightwatcher is refered to as "she", there's some wiggle room here, for the Black Piper to be either a spawn of the Nightwatcher, the Nightwatcher itself, or some other cultivation-related entity. "Playing a tune that no man can hear" Probably relates to rythms. There's a bunch of pointers towards Honor's Rythm being inherent to humans of Roshar, through the heartbeat and whatnot. But do we know whether Cultivation's rythm is?

"holds us in his palm" sounds like an entity that has a lot of power and control over the whole of "us" (Humanity or Rosharan population as a whole). That fits Cultivation. the tune is Cultivation's influence on everything, barely visible and especially to humans, but still very present.

 

In another note, I'm sceptical of Cultivation. I bet there's a lot of things that she's done that we don't know about. We know Odium and Honor's actions, but so little of what Cultivation has been up to for thousands of years apart from occasionally blessing people that are very important.

Baseline theory: This deathrattle is about the Nightwatcher, misunderstood or seen as male.

Crackpot version: The Black Piper as a seperate Entity, connected to Cultivation, that we haven't yet seen or don't know that we have. If Sja-Anat can enhance Spren, i think Cultivation could absolutely grow/cultivate another being. Maybe the Black Piper is a new Godspren, or maybe the Black Piper is the end goal of the Nightwatcher, to mature into it.

Source: https://coppermind.net/wiki/Nightwatcher#Origin

I think "he watches" and "playing a tune no man can hear" could point towards the Black Piper being a seperate entity that already exists or will exist in the future, that watches humans and learns from that to one day hold a great deal of influence. Maybe the Black Piper is the failsafe for if Odium wins and leads humanity off of Roshar, that the Black Piper's influence can help them resists or he will lure a part of them to stay, having studied them for milennia to prepare for his Job once the big Honor/Odium conflict is resolved, one way or another.

Ooooh i really like this! Great idea and I mean, who isn't sceptical of Cultivation at this point?

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