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Darkness

Thought on Bondsmith's Abilities

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Reading across a recent thread on the abilities of Bondsmiths gave me a fun idea, but I didn't want to hijack that thread, so here goes...

It seems possible to me that Bondsmiths can strengthen the bond between man and spren. I'm not sure about forging completely new bonds, but at least increasing the power of existing ones.

The quote about readily understanding the implications of the surges being granted to men, and binding the radiants to a set of rules and precepts, or else he would destroy them all might in this context be referring to destroying the actual spren, not the knights. We've already seen that a spren's connection with the physical realm is jeopardized when the radiant acts in opposition to their ideals (the spren also seem to undergo cognitive regression if they dont withdraw to shadesmar). Bondsmiths could have been the ones to make the nahel bond so strong that when the radiant acted in opposition to the spren's ideals, the spren would effectively 'die a little'. Alternatively this could be a natural danger of the nahel bond.

What I'm really interested in is 'Destroying every last one of them'. If Bondsmiths can strengthen the Nahel bond, perhaps they could make it so strong that when the radiant physically dies, the spren would effectively die with them (note that I'm assuming that spren normally have the capacity to survive the radiants' deaths and continue on to eventually bond another radiant... This is supported by syl remembering other battles and helping other radiants). But if the spren were to be so tied to the radiant that the spren died physically and cognitively when the radiant went beyond, then it could potentially retard or even permanently cease the growth and bonding of surgebinders en masse. Basically it would be a threat to the spren of 'if you let your radiants go bad, I will personally ensure the permanent destruction of all of your kind'.

That kind of ability could also go a long way to explain the 'related to the unique abilities of bondsmiths' quote to deal with the voidbringers: Perhaps the bondsmiths found a way to more permanently bind voidspren to their hosts, such that when the host died, that spren was also as good as destroyed (I'm trying to be careful to follow the law of conservation of investiture haha). Once the voidspren saw what was happening, they abandoned the parshendi (making them parshmen) rather than suffer certain doom. Because think about it, even odium is going to pause if all of his spren (and future warmaking ability) can be killed in just one generation, no matter how much devastation he could cause in that relatively short time... The only option would be to wait until all the bondsmiths and their secrets died out, and then try to win before they could rediscover it.

There are many other potential ramifications of this ability, but I'm going to leave it at those ones.

Additional thought: I've been trying to reconcile 2 things that seem related to me: First, the secret that broke the knights radiant - I find it unlikely that the bondsmith ability would be the sole reason for breaking the knights. Second, the way to resolve the war related to the unique ability of the bondsmiths. I know this is baseless, but I feel like these are connected...

Edited by Darkness
misspelled connection
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That is a real cool idea and I think that it is very likely. Also I think that maybe the Bondsmiths are the reason that all Radiants have to swear oaths to progress with thier spren to become Bound by new ideals.

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On 3/14/2017 at 7:35 PM, Darkness said:

Additional thought: I've been trying to reconcile 2 things that seem related to me: First, the secret that broke the knights radiant - I find it unlikely that the bondsmith ability would be the sole reason for breaking the knights. Second, the way to resolve the war related to the unique ability of the bondsmiths. I know this is baseless, but I feel like these are connected...

One possibility is that the Bondsmith's ability was in some way related to the transformation from Listener to Parshmen, making it impossible for them in some way to form bonds with spren. That could account for its use as an alternate strategy to fight the Voidbringers. I'm not sure that knowing that some of your number used their powers to turn an intelligent race who (if the Last Legion is representative) really didn't want to be Voidbringers in the first place into a slave caste qualifies as something that could have broken the Radiants but there could be a connection there.

Whatever the secret is Taravangian thinks he knows it and thinks that it could be used again, for whatever that's worth.

7 hours ago, Cosmere Savant said:

Also I think that maybe the Bondsmiths are the reason that all Radiants have to swear oaths to progress with thier spren to become Bound by new ideals.

There's some basis for this, in the one epigraph Darkness is citing, it's mentioned that Ishar (the Herald who shares the same Surges as the Bondsmiths and became their patron) was the one who essentially founded the Knights Radiant as an organization and it implies that the oaths might well have been his doing as well. Taln later refers to Shallan as 'one of Ishar's Knights' when he sees her Surgebinding. So it's likely that Ishar, as the sort of Ur-Bondsmith, could indeed have been responsible for the Oaths.

"But as for Ishi’Elin, his was the part most important at their inception; he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men, and caused organization to be thrust upon them; as having too great power, he let it be known that he would destroy each and every one, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws "

Edited by Weltall
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I really like this thinking. For ages I've been trying to figure out the bondsmith/Nahel oaths mechanism but I never thought of blackmailing the spren by linking their life to the life of the person.

I had a bit of a go at linking stuff, mainly around their ability to create bonds in all three realms, which I'll quote in a spoiler box in case it helps anyone.

Spoiler

I think Bondsmiths can use their binding powers in all three realms. They can bind matter, they can create bindings of some sort in the cognitive realm and they can forge connections in the spiritual realm. I believe their powers will prove to be extremely strong as we have this

Quote

But as for Ishi’Elin, his was the part most important at their inception; he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men, and caused organization to be thrust upon them; as having too great power, he let it be known that he would destroy each and every one, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws.

I think they didn't just agree to the rules of Nahel bonding (where the power is limited by the saying of oaths) but that agreement was used to Spiritually connect them in a truly binding way.

We also have this.

Quote

So Melishi retired to his tent, and resolved to destroy the Voidbringers upon the next day, but that night did present a different stratagem, related to the unique abilities of the Bondsmiths; and being hurried, he could make no specific account of his process; it was related to the very nature of the Herald and their divine duties, an attribute the Bondsmiths alone could address

It's been suggested that this was the bondsmiths altering the nature of parshendi bonds to prevent them from binding spren any longer, creating parshmen. I'm not committed to this theory but it would show even more the bondsmiths ability to make highly significant, almost unbreakable bonds.

The fact there are only ever three bondsmiths also indicates there powers must be incredible, otherwise they'd be too insignificant an order. And the fact that one of them has bonded the fracking Stormfather backs this up.

But i really like your version of it. I'll have to think more about if it falls down in places, but kudos.

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It's an interesting idea, and I hate to be the guy always poking holes in interesting ideas, but I see a few problems with this one:

1) If the Bondsmiths could boost bonds to the maximum, shouldn't they be boosting their entire team?  And yet we don't have any mention of them doing that.  Granted, we don't know a lot about the pre-Recreance days, but there isn't even a hint of it as far as I remember.

2) It would be kind of weird for the Bondsmiths to give a permanent boost to someone else, that doesn't rely on Stormlight and outlives the Bondsmith in question.  Not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be the first instance we've seen.  Neither Jasnah's nor Shallan's abilities work that way; and whatever Kaladin's "strength of squires" thing is supposed to be, my guess is that if he dies, it dies with him.

3) Even if the voidspren abandoned the Parshmen out of fear of somehow being trapped, wouldn't the Parshmen just become Parshendi in dullform?  Seems like they should still be able to bond other spren, still hear the music, etc.

4) So you're saying that the Heralds/Radiants had access to a method of wiping out the voidbringer armies that had harassed them for ages, and one of them just happened to think of the solution at the very last moment, when victory was all but achieved?  Not impossible, but that's one storming coincidence.

For me, number 4 is the big one, although the other objections seem weird as well.  But I just can't buy that Ishi'elin had the knowledge and ability to wreck both the surgebinders and the Voidbringers but only thought of threatening the surgebinders with it rather than use it against their common foe.

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1 hour ago, galendo said:

It's an interesting idea, and I hate to be the guy always poking holes in interesting ideas, but I see a few problems with this one:

1) If the Bondsmiths could boost bonds to the maximum, shouldn't they be boosting their entire team?  And yet we don't have any mention of them doing that.  Granted, we don't know a lot about the pre-Recreance days, but there isn't even a hint of it as far as I remember.

2) It would be kind of weird for the Bondsmiths to give a permanent boost to someone else, that doesn't rely on Stormlight and outlives the Bondsmith in question.  Not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be the first instance we've seen.  Neither Jasnah's nor Shallan's abilities work that way; and whatever Kaladin's "strength of squires" thing is supposed to be, my guess is that if he dies, it dies with him.

3) Even if the voidspren abandoned the Parshmen out of fear of somehow being trapped, wouldn't the Parshmen just become Parshendi in dullform?  Seems like they should still be able to bond other spren, still hear the music, etc.

4) So you're saying that the Heralds/Radiants had access to a method of wiping out the voidbringer armies that had harassed them for ages, and one of them just happened to think of the solution at the very last moment, when victory was all but achieved?  Not impossible, but that's one storming coincidence.

For me, number 4 is the big one, although the other objections seem weird as well.  But I just can't buy that Ishi'elin had the knowledge and ability to wreck both the surgebinders and the Voidbringers but only thought of threatening the surgebinders with it rather than use it against their common foe.

this is why I wanted to post my thought :) thanks for the great insights! I definitely agree that 4 could be an issue. Perhaps Ishar is the only one that figured out how to do it and didn't share because it's too powerful to spread around, like Khalad's Phantoms, or he's the only one capable of doing it (which means odium waited until now to attack because he no longer considers Ishar a threat). Thus, Melishi might have simply been the first radiant to connect the dots and figure out how to use the bondsmith ability beyond simply making oath levels, etc.

1 is fairly simply answered though... The side effects of the boasting could be dangerous and/or ultimately lethal to the spren.

I hope we'll understand more about the mechanism behind 2 as we see more orders, but I think I can rationalize it a bit: First, we haven't seen any squires after the Knight dies, so that's out. Second, Shallan's drawings would likely persist after her death so perhaps the bonds would work in the same way, only needing input during the 'powerup' process. I dont remember nailing down Jasnah's ability offhand... Is it soulcasting at a distance? Or is that something that comes with a surge normally?

3, I think dullform does have an associated spren; they can still hear the rhythms so there is still some kind of connection, it's simply one of the lowest order spren... Maybe confusionspren or something. Slaveform has no music, no soul. I was thinking the parshmen that became parshendi were just lucky enough to be near a spren and bond to it at some point.

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I think it's more likely that the Listeners/Parshendi came first and the Parshmen are the aberration where for some reason they can't hear the songs/bond with spren. Actually, there's a recent WoB that states that prior to the end of Words of Radiance, a Parshman simply couldn't bond with a spren (though he wouldn't say why) even if a Listener took them out into a Highstorm with an appropriately trapped spren. Dullform still involves a spren bond even if it's physically similar to the Parshmen (aka Slaveform) and results in greatly reduced intelligence. Eshonai specifically calls out Slaveform as 'the form without a spren' which doesn't make sense as a distinction unless all the other forms (Dullform included) do have spren.

Re: Jasnah's 'resonance' we don't know for sure but it makes a certain amount of sense that it could be 'Soulcasting at a distance' since it seems a logical combination of her two Surges. That said, the Skybreakers appear to get 'supernatural ability to determine guilt' as theirs (the epigraph says it's not related to a spren/Surge but we can't be sure the author knows how resonances work) and that has no obvious relationship to their Surges, nor does the known Windrunner resonance so we can't be certain. It's possible that anyone with access to Transformation could do ranged Soulcasting and Shallan simply doesn't know how yet.

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On 17/3/2017 at 9:21 PM, Weltall said:

 Dullform still involves a spren bond even if it's physically similar to the Parshmen (aka Slaveform) and results in greatly reduced intelligence. Eshonai specifically calls out Slaveform as 'the form without a spren' which doesn't make sense as a distinction unless all the other forms (Dullform included) do have spren.

Dullform is an error into gaining another form. You went into the storm with the wrong spren or wrong mindset and you gain the DullForm.

So almost every Spren is associate with the DullForm or at least the Spren without an already associate specific Form

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On 19/03/2017 at 7:01 AM, Yata said:

Dullform is an error into gaining another form. You went into the storm with the wrong spren or wrong mindset and you gain the DullForm.

So almost every Spren is associate with the DullForm or at least the Spren without an already associate specific Form

I always understood this more as there is a common spren that does not require a specific, complex mindset to be attracted to a Listener: if the Listener fails to attract the spren they desire (and trapping that spren before hand just guarantees that one is nearby at the time of transformation), then the desired spren leaves and the dullform spren is drawn instead.

Bear in mind that they don't always change, so it could be that the dullform spren isn't just drawn to any Listener, but to the feeling of disappointment if a Listener strongly wanted to change and failed. That would mean that, if the Listener wasn't so invested* in that change, they wouldn't attract any spren, and would thus not transform.

*Not Invested.

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