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Alice Rose

Dawnshards and their relationship to the Listeners

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Linking the dawn chant to the dawnshards makes me wonder If the dawnshards will be recoverable now that Dalinar has provided the means to translate the dawn chant. Interesting theory linking them to cultivation. It also makes me wonder if Dawn was a Third shardic being. One of the "3 of 16." Perhaps odium was never one of the three.

As for Jasnah, she is not wrong, but the parshendi do not want to be voidbringers even though they are their descendants. They specifically left to escape their dark gods. This means that the parshmen, the song less slave group, are also the descendants of voidbringers. There may be a third group of descendants that we have yet to meet who specifically seek to return the voidbringers to the world. Their knives probably come from the ruins of Natanatan that are buried under the crem deposits on the shattered plains.

The dawnshards were known to bind any creature mortal or voidish. I think they were the "bars" on Odiums prison. Tanavast refers to them being gone and recommends Dalinar seek a champion to challenge Odium. I am guessing Sadeas will be Odiums champion At the end of the arc which means Kaladin or Dalinar will stand against him--though it would be awesome if Szeth were to do so or if Renarin were capable.

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You've got some interesting ideas here, Alice.  I agree with you about the alternative interpretation of the ch. 29 epigraph (in fact I offered up something similar a while back).  I also agree with you that the ch. 33 epigraph does not seem to fit the listeners since we have been told that they need a storm to change form.

 

Your comments have stirred the primordial soup in my brain.  What if the listeners coupled with the Dawnshards are the Dawnsingers.  They are the people we have met that are most closely associated with music and rhythms.  Couple this with the information in the cymatics chapter of WoK.  This is suggestive to me. 

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I'd never considered the alternate epigraph interpretations myself, but now that you've laid them out it does seem very plausible.  I will have to re-read some of the chapters with this in mind.

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I have seen theories that the Dawnsingers are like the original spren. I believe there is WoB that there are Adonalsium spren on Roshar. I wonder if the Dawnsingers are spren belonging to Adonalsium instead of Honor, Cultivation or Odium?

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I've been thinking the night watcher and storm father are adonalsium spren. Adonalsium spren would be the first ones on Roshar pre-humans and therefore not born out of human ideals. Both seem to be not connected to particular ideas and both would be very powerful. Plus they are thought of as mother and father of spren which makes sense if they were the first spren. I think when cultivation and honor came each became friends with one of the powerful adonalsium spren which is why the night watcher would be associated/related to cultivation and if I am correct above would be protecting the Dawnshards. I believe in the Braxil interlude he mentions someone who stole a small black stone from the night watcher.

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I've been thinking the night watcher and storm father are adonalsium spren. Adonalsium spren would be the first ones on Roshar pre-humans and therefore not born out of human ideals. Both seem to be not connected to particular ideas and both would be very powerful. Plus they are thought of as mother and father of spren which makes sense if they were the first spren. I think when cultivation and honor came each became friends with one of the powerful adonalsium spren which is why the night watcher would be associated/related to cultivation and if I am correct above would be protecting the Dawnshards. I believe in the Braxil interlude he mentions someone who stole a small black stone from the night watcher.

The story of stealing a small black stone from

The Nightwatcher is from one of Szeth's former masters. Some guy who was a transient worker going from mining town to mining town but I can't remember his name. And your opinion on the Nightwatcher and Stormfather are VERY interesting. I had not thought in those terms before and will give this more thought!

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I'm not a fan of your theory that Parshendi fought for humans.

 

One of the main stumbling blocks, completely ignored by your theory, is the terrible Parshendi gods : they escaped from their terrible gods hundreds of years ago, fear, and tried so hard to prevent their return that they murdered the Alethi King...knowing that action alone would risk their destruction by humans.

 

In running from their gods, they gave up great power.

 

In assassinating the Alethi king, you see that they greatly fear their terrible gods.

 

How does this fit with them being 'Dawnsingers'? And how does it fit with them being the humans saviours, fighting alongside the Knights Radiant?

.........................

 

Another stumbling block is there is no knowledge, or even whisper among humans of a 'saving force of warriors'

 

....of 'The almighty' sending a 'slave force of warriors' (or some other concept that would put them in service to humans / below humans) to save them

 

...or the alternative 'sending warriors from god' (putting the Parshendi above them) to save them.

 

No hint has survived...while the Heralds and Knights Radiant survived...but the Parhsendi -  who can achieve numerous forms that would seem absolutely miraculous to humans....of them not an iota of legend survives...on the side of the humans.

 

One the side of the voidbringers - it certainly makes sense.

 

..........................

 

You've also tried to deflect a main piece of evidence that is in favour of Parshendi being voidbringers :

WOK Chapter 33 “They changed, even as we fought them. Like shadows they were, that can transform as the flame dances. Never underestimate them because of what you first see.”

 

And your take on that quote :

From Jasnah’s notes on voidbringers. This fits better with the spren we see creating a Thunderclast in Dalinar’s WOR vision than the Listeners changing form. WOK Chapter 45

 

 

'They changed even as we fought them' implies 'changed as a group' or 'groups of them changed' (considering there may be multiple different groups around the world, with different form needs). 

 

'like shadows they were, that can transform as the flame dances'...a shadow cast by a flame changes often, and as the wind affects the flame, and as the fuel changes. This quote implies multiple forms for the group...that (referring back to the first part) changed as a group.

 

Currently for the Thunderclast all we see is a single spren (plausibly) transform into an animated stone creature...there is no evidence that it can become another type of animaton. The spren doesn't neatly fit the combined implications of the first two concepts.

 

Never underestimate them because of what you first see' perfectly fits both the parshmen and the Parshendi (according to Jasnah's journal) - especially the parshman (who she fears will transform). It's much more of a stretch to argue that humans aren't going to be already incredibly wary of odium touched spren with glowy red eyes.

Edited by vikorr
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I'm not a fan of your theory that Parshendi fought for humans.

 

One of the main stumbling blocks, completely ignored by your theory, is the terrible Parshendi gods : they escaped from their terrible gods hundreds of years ago, fear, and tried so hard to prevent their return that they murdered the Alethi King...knowing that action alone would risk their destruction by humans.

 

In running from their gods, they gave up great power.

 

In assassinating the Alethi king, you see that they greatly fear their terrible gods.

 

How does this fit with them being 'Dawnsingers'? And how does it fit with them being the humans saviours, fighting alongside the Knights Radiant?

.........................

 

Another stumbling block is there is no knowledge, or even whisper among humans of a 'saving force of warriors'

 

....of 'The almighty' sending a 'slave force of warriors' (or some other concept that would put them in service to humans / below humans) to save them

 

...or the alternative 'sending warriors from god' (putting the Parshendi above them) to save them.

 

No hint has survived...while the Heralds and Knights Radiant survived...but the Parhsendi -  who can achieve numerous forms that would seem absolutely miraculous to humans....of them not an iota of legend survives...on the side of the humans.

 

One the side of the voidbringers - it certainly makes sense.

 

..........................

 

You've also tried to deflect a main piece of evidence that is in favour of Parshendi being voidbringers :

And your take on that quote :

 

'They changed even as we fought them' implies 'changed as a group' or 'groups of them changed' (considering there may be multiple different groups around the world, with different form needs). 

 

'like shadows they were, that can transform as the flame dances'...a shadow cast by a flame changes often, and as the wind affects the flame, and as the fuel changes. This quote implies multiple forms for the group...that (referring back to the first part) changed as a group.

 

Currently for the Thunderclast all we see is a single spren (plausibly) transform into an animated stone creature...there is no evidence that it can become another type of animaton. The spren doesn't neatly fit the combined implications of the first two concepts.

 

Never underestimate them because of what you first see' perfectly fits both the parshmen and the Parshendi (according to Jasnah's journal) - especially the parshman (who she fears will transform). It's much more of a stretch to argue that humans aren't going to be already incredibly wary of odium touched spren with glowy red eyes.

 

The fear of their dark gods and the perception of the danger of using the more powerful forms are definitely things that must be considered.

 

As to connection to the Dawnsingers, I made that connection, not Alice.  I mused on the combination of listener in possession of a Dawnshard becoming a Dawnsinger.  This is not mutually exclusive with the listeners being capable of being taken over by Odium or his minions any more than saying warform is evidence against mateform.

 

As to the change like the flame dances epigraph, you did not account for how the listeners could change without a storm.  IIRC a storm is necessary for the listeners to change form. This is why listeners in warform are doing art.  Everyone takes a turn at art, but they can't be spared from warform for it because they may be needed for battle at a moments notice.  If they could change will-he-nill-he, then they could use a form more amenable to artistry for art or other tasks and change to warform if necessary.

 

I do agree with you, though, that the Thunderclast interpretation is tenuous at best.

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As to the change like the flame dances epigraph, you did not account for how the listeners could change without a storm.  IIRC a storm is necessary for the listeners to change form. This is why listeners in warform are doing art.  Everyone takes a turn at art, but they can't be spared from warform for it because they may be needed for battle at a moments notice.  If they could change will-he-nill-he, then they could use a form more amenable to artistry for art or other tasks and change to warform if necessary.

 

My take on that, from how they discovered nimble form (which was described somewhere), was that they had to concentrate on a type of experience, in order to be able to attract the right spren that would allow the transformation.

 

It seems though that Parshendi have difficulty with certain concepts and emotions when in particular form...so it's quite likely that in order to discover form D, they have to discover form B, and from B (which allows another type of focus/emotion) discover C, and from C (which allows yet another type of focus/emotion) discover D. It may not be quite so linear, and any of the forms may allow discovery of multiple different forms, but I simplified it to paint a picture.

 

And over the course of a Desolation (rather than the course of a single battle), such transformations may seem like 'shadows cast by flames'

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And over the course of a Desolation (rather than the course of a single battle), such transformations may seem like 'shadows cast by flames'

 

The quote saying, "[t]hey changed, even as we fought them" suggests to me something more in front of there face than your interpretation.  But, I can accept the interpretation you offer.  It does not seem to be ruled out.

Edited by Shardlet
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I think it would depend on who wrote it. A frontline soldier would usually write it from a single battle perspective (as that is how they must think to survive & win the battle), while a general or king would usually write it from perspective with a greater timeline (as that is how they must think to win the war).

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Alice did not ignore their terrible gods; She suggested that dawnshards/dawnsingers were the gods, and that they feared their return because it would mean being enslaved again. She made this point several times.

I know it was a long post, but if you are going to accuse someone of "completely ignoring" what you see as an obvious stumbling block, I think you owe it to them to read their theory carefully. I don't necessarily agree with her theory, but several of your criticisms are unfounded.

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I don’t know the quotes but I believe red blood is from humans (which is blue in the body)

 

This is a minor nitpick that probably has no bearing on your main ideas, but human blood isn't blue.  Human blood color mostly depends on how much oxygen is bound to the pigment hemoglobin: bright red (scarlet) when highly oxygenated to dull, dark red in the absence of oxygen.  It can take on more of a "purple" color when carbonated, especially sans oxygen.  But in the body, even "deoxygenated" blood still has around 70% max load of oxygen, so it is closer to scarlet (check out an oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve and note that "deoxygenated" blood typically has a PO2 around 40 mm Hg).

 

However, blood still inside the body often looks "blue" when viewed externally because of the odd diffraction of light as it passes through other tissues (skin, adipose, blood vessel wall, etc.).  Also, hypoxia (lack of oxygen in tissues) can give skin a bluish cast (cyanotic).  And, unfortunately, the myth of blue blood (no pun intended) is perpetuated by biology texts which continue to show veins as blue vessels, even though they have more of a dark red appearance when you cut away other tissues.

 

That said, some arthropods have blue hemolymph (blood equivalent) because of the pigment hemocyanin.  One of the reasons for the color difference between vertebrate blood and hemolymph is that hemoglobin uses iron whereas hemocyanin uses copper.  Um, I'll get off my biology soapbox now...

 

 

Never underestimate them because of what you first see' perfectly fits both the parshmen and the Parshendi (according to Jasnah's journal) - especially the parshman (who she fears will transform). It's much more of a stretch to argue that humans aren't going to be already incredibly wary of odium touched spren with glowy red eyes.

 

While I'm not sold on Alice's OP, I don't think this is very damaging to it.  I think this statement ('Never underestimate them because of what you you first see') fits with Listeners because Brandon wants it to appear that way, for now.  I think it's just as likely that "them" refers to some group we haven't yet encountered.  As the main characters gain more knowledge and the next desolation commences, we're likely to see a whole boatload of new, interesting stuff.

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While I'm not sold on Alice's OP, I don't think this is very damaging to it.  I think this statement ('Never underestimate them because of what you you first see') fits with Listeners because Brandon wants it to appear that way, for now.  I think it's just as likely that "them" refers to some group we haven't yet encountered.

 

Hi Icebaka, 

 

That’s well and fine – but why would you remove what I said from context? Alice said it fitted the spren-thunderclast rather than the parshendi. I was disputing that assertion (she used as supporting evidence)

 

Regarding your point though – it’s hard to argue that Brandon couldn't invent another race that perfectly suited the saying…it would be incredibly odd, seeing as how the Parshendi so perfectly suit it and are going to play a major role…but hard to dispute that an author couldn't invent anything he likes to sensibly match it…and if he did so, then it would still work against Alice's assertion that it matches the spren-thunderclast, so I don't quite see the point of your post.

 

Alice did not ignore their terrible gods; She suggested that dawnshards/dawnsingers were the gods, and that they feared their return because it would mean being enslaved again. She made this point several times.

 

I know it was a long post, but if you are going to accuse someone of "completely ignoring" what you see as an obvious stumbling block, I think you owe it to them to read their theory carefully. I don't necessarily agree with her theory, but several of your criticisms are unfounded.

 

 

Hi askthepaperclip, your assertions are assumptions - this is the relevant, and only place she could have mentioned 'their terrible gods'...but she doesn't:

This would mean Listeners weren't free and I could understand that if the Dawnsingers or Dawnshards came back there would be no more freedom for the Parshendi/Listeners. In one of Dalinar’s visions, Honor mentions not doing well without the Dawnshards. If Gavilar grabbed onto this idea rather than the idea of refounding the knights radiant he might have found a dawnshard (small mysterious bead/rock anyone). Gavilar tells the Parshendi his intention to bring back Dawnshards and Dawnsingers. They understand the import and decide to assasinate him as bringing back the Dawnsingers would mean a loss of freedom. We know that Plate can be regrown, so what if the bead/rock Gavilar gave Szeth is the seed of a Dawnshard that would become a magnificent set of Plate if fed enough stormlight?

 

She isn’t talking about the parshendi’s terrible gods…but a dawnshard – a piece of rock. Anyone could pick up a stone to enslave them (if such existed) – but gods imply specific beings, and terrible gods imply specific natured types of beings.

 

Further :

 

- her post doesn’t fit with them escaping their terrible gods only a couple of hundred years ago (the Dawnsingers/shards have been lost for a lot longer)

 

- her post doesn’t fit with them being terrified of the return of their terrible gods (but rather, a rock).

 

- It doesn’t fit with them fleeing to Narak, into exile, to escape their terrible gods (wouldn't the terrible gods with the rock just go to them?).

 

- it doesn't explain why stormform makes Eshonai fearful of their terrible gods

 

So she is saying something different – they feared enslavement from a person possessing a dawnshard.

 

Hence I said she didn’t address the issue of the Parshendi’s terrible gods.

Edited by vikorr
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Great thoughts, Alice, and good comments so far through the thread. A few thoughts:

 

Regarding the "changed as we fought them" quote: listeners require a highstorm to change forms, but in it appears from the Eshonai interlude that stormform listeners can control or even summon a storm. The obvious plan is to summon a highstorm during a battle, then direct it to do less damage to your own force. Aside from the devastation of the storm, this could also have the effect of changing the listener soldiers right before their eyes (e.g. from warform to stormform, or vice versa).

 

I was going to argue against the "Formbinding chart" idea, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Eshonai says the old songs speak of hundreds of forms, though now they only know five. Hundreds is a lot more than ten, enough to seem more than simple exaggeration. So i doubt that there are only 10 forms, but there may be 10 specific ones that correspond to the chart. As has been suggested before, the glyphs on that chart seem to be stylized to look like animals. That could be a metaphorical reference to the types of things the forms can do or the physical resemblance of the forms. 

The main argument that keeps me from really being on board with this is that Surgebinding for humans and Formbinding for listeners leaves out both Aimian races. Unless their as-yet-unknown magic system no longer matters since they are practically extinct, I find it unlikely that the humans and listeners would uniquely get a chart.

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I'm not entirely sold on my ideas either and agree with some of the problems already brought up. With regard to the number of forms my thoughts are that each order would be a form of power. I'd put stormform parralel to Windrunners, because it reminds me of what Kaladin does in his vision if riding the storm. Each power form would have minor forms associated with it. But I admit this is a stretch and I need to think about it more.

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I'm not really a fan of the idea of the Pareshendi simply being Voidbringers, at least not in the first instance. It feels too obvious. Being more magical of nature than most other sentient humanoids we've encountered, and particularly with their different forms, I can see Odium subverting them, luring them with power, perhaps causing them to Envy the KR, and then offering a way of getting even - a new, powerful form, or set of forms. If the Parshendi were the might behind one of the first desolations, before the KR were created by the Spren, displacing them as the leading force... Odium could definitely play on the resentment. Once they 'sold their soul to the devil' (as it were), using forms provided by Odium, facilitated by Voidspren, they became Odium's foot soldiers.

My thoughts would be that this theory is works for the original desolations, pre Knights Radiant, but then afterwards, Odium subverted them. The listeners have long memories, there could have been resent.

I reckon it suits Odium's MO. He wants to keep his Investure to a minimum. Creating a powerful race such as the Parshendi does not fit with this. If the Parshendi were of Cultivation, and Odium subverted them with new forms, then that is minimizing his Investure.

Who really interest me are the Shin, who I think are put in contrast to the Parshendi in many ways. I look forward to Szeth's book. Hopefully more will be revealed.

Thank you for posting this theory Alice! Upvote for you!

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I'm not really a fan of the idea of the Pareshendi simply being Voidbringers, at least not in the first instance. It feels too obvious. Being more magical of nature than most other sentient humanoids we've encountered, and particularly with their different forms, I can see Odium subverting them, luring them with power, perhaps causing them to Envy the KR, and then offering a way of getting even - a new, powerful form, or set of forms. If the Parshendi were the might behind one of the first desolations, before the KR were created by the Spren, displacing them as the leading force... Odium could definitely play on the resentment. Once they 'sold their soul to the devil' (as it were), using forms provided by Odium, facilitated by Voidspren, they became Odium's foot soldiers.

My thoughts would be that this theory is works for the original desolations, pre Knights Radiant, but then afterwards, Odium subverted them. The listeners have long memories, there could have been resent.

I reckon it suits Odium's MO. He wants to keep his Investure to a minimum. Creating a powerful race such as the Parshendi does not fit with this. If the Parshendi were of Cultivation, and Odium subverted them with new forms, then that is minimizing his Investure.

Who really interest me are the Shin, who I think are put in contrast to the Parshendi in many ways. I look forward to Szeth's book. Hopefully more will be revealed.

Thank you for posting this theory Alice! Upvote for you!

 

 

That sounds like a possibility.  The other thing I considered, after my recent reread, is that it's not the live Parshendi that become the Voidbringers, but their dead.  The thing that made me think of it is that they would usually leave their dead on the stone slabs, and the way they defend their dead - you don't want to disturb the vengeful gods.  And the kicker would be, that the Alethi war that is decimating the Parshendi would make this the mother of all desolations.  (Just a random musing, don't know if anyone has brought this up as a possibility before, and I haven't really fleshed it out as a theory.)

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I am doubtful on the Sharplate mimicking Dawnshards because

 

 

“Taking the Dawnshard, known to bind any creature voidish or mortal, he crawled up the steps crafted for Heralds, ten strides tall apiece, toward the grand temple above.”

 

and we don't know Shardplate to be able to bind anything. But they grow themselves when a part is missing, so Cultivation was most likely involved. And I really like the idea of Parshendi fighting along side Heralds and KR, it's very Brandon to misleads us like this. Perhaps the Dawnsingers are a lost parsh form.

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If your assumption about shards being created by the bond - would that preclude the possibility that now, with a resurgence of Surgebinders, more blades/plates could be created?

 

The reason I pose this question is this: IIRC there was mention of some 200 or so blades in existence during WoK. Due to the priceless nature of them - they are almost exclusively restricted to privileged seats. Kings, Highprinces, and others of the sort. 

 

But as of the pre-release content, with this new Agent Smith fellow who went after Lift, and just other spine tingle feelings I've had, I am beginning to think there are a lot more shards out there than 200, if that number was wrong - a vast underestimate, or if new ones are being. Grown? Either could be accurate. Plus we know that Parshendi have access to them as well, at least to some extent. 

 

And another question - more than likely somewhat related. 

Chances that Dalinar has a Glock-26 strapped to his leg? (By that - I mean a second shardblade. It has been confirmed that it can happen - and IIRC it was stated that he was a highly competent duelist and had won many shards - while he could have given them to friends and whatnot, I find it odd. Especially beings Andolin grants his brother his blade, even if he is the bobby hill of the Kholin family, I would have figured that honorable pops would just give him one if he had a back catalog) 

 

^That may have already been postulated as well, I'm new here still and working diligently on catching up to everything. 

Edited by Blackwood
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 The other thing I considered, after my recent reread, is that it's not the live Parshendi that become the Voidbringers, but their dead.  The thing that made me think of it is that they would usually leave their dead on the stone slabs, and the way they defend their dead - you don't want to disturb the vengeful gods.  And the kicker would be, that the Alethi war that is decimating the Parshendi would make this the mother of all desolations. 

 

I don't find any fun and not much entertainment in Zombie movies...a zombie book doesn't sound any better.

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If your assumption about shards being created by the bond - would that preclude the possibility that now, with a resurgence of Surgebinders, more blades/plates could be created?

 

The reason I pose this question is this: IIRC there was mention of some 200 or so blades in existence during WoK. Due to the priceless nature of them - they are almost exclusively restricted to privileged seats. Kings, Highprinces, and others of the sort. 

 

But as of the pre-release content, with this new Agent Smith fellow who went after Lift, and just other spine tingle feelings I've had, I am beginning to think there are a lot more shards out there than 200, if that number was wrong - a vast underestimate, or if new ones are being. Grown? Either could be accurate. Plus we know that Parshendi have access to them as well, at least to some extent. 

 

Dalinar accounts for about 100 known shardblades.  About 40 for each of Alethkar and Jah Keved and the rest dispersed throughout Roshar.  I think it is safe to say that we know of at least 5 or 6 that are not known openly (Szeth, Shallan, Darkness, 1 or 2 of Darkness's henchmen, and Lyss).  That being the case, I would expect that there are many other blades secretly held.  Though, I would expect this number to be significantly less than 100.

 

I doubt any new plate or blade have been created lately.  It seems unlikely that without the ideals, surgebinders would not be able to create blades or plate.  Spren have only began bonding again in the last 5 or so years.  Add to that, there is a group of people out there hunting and killing surgebinders.  By developing and following the ideals, it seems that the surgebinders would make themselves conspicuous and easier to find/target. These things add up to very few surgebinders and even fewer who have significantly progressed in the ideals.  

 

Now, all that is only pertinent if the plate and blades are generated as a result of the bond and the ideals.  If Cultivation (or Odium) are distributing blades, then all bets are off.  But, it sounds like Odium is still standing back for the present and it also sounds like Cultivation is still checked out for the present (which I suspect will remain unchanged until book five).

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Alrighty, appreciate the input!

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I am doubtful on the Sharplate mimicking Dawnshards because

 

 

and we don't know Shardplate to be able to bind anything. But they grow themselves when a part is missing, so Cultivation was most likely involved. And I really like the idea of Parshendi fighting along side Heralds and KR, it's very Brandon to misleads us like this. Perhaps the Dawnsingers are a lost parsh form.

 

I like the idea of Dawnsingers being a lost Parshendi form. Maybe the Dawnsingers were created to counteract the voidbringers, or stop the storms. Maybe Stormform was of Odium and the Dawnsingers were of Cultivation.

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