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Blightsong

The Greater Power of the Knights Radiant

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Intro

The topic of discussion I have been ok’ed to present for you all has long been a crackpot theory within the community. Within the pre-Oathbringer buzz I wish to compile some new evidence in favor of this long-held idea that the forum hasn't seen much discussion on. Share your guy’s opinions below and enjoy!

 

Part One: Knights Radiant Become Cognitive Shadows After Death

At the recent GenCon event, a fellow Sharder managed to get this piece of interesting information out of Brandon:
 

Quote

 

Landis963 (paraphrased)


"Imagine a hypothetical Shard of Tenacity. What happens when the Vessel of that Shard dies?"

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

"The magic will change drastically. Among other things, it would be very easy for practitioners of that magic to become Cognitive Shadows." 

 

This assumes that this is true for other Shards, which I see as a likely scenario. The hypothetical Shard is Tenacity, but I don't see why that Shard being Splintered would cause magic users any more advantage than was already present, unless this is a rule that is generally true for Shards. A possible example of this rule in effect is Threnody, a Shardworld affected by Ambition’s partial Splintering in that region.

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"A full-blown Radiant can heal almost anything (cut from a Shardblade included) because of the way the magic works--their soul is literally bonded to investiture, and it suffuses them in such a way that even the soul is very resilient to damage."

- Brandon


As detailed above, a Radiant's souls are infused with Investiture, particularly full-blown Radiants. In the Arcanum Unbounded quote below, we learn that this is a prerequisite to becoming a Cognitive Shadow.

 

Quote

"I can, however, explain what is happening magically. A spirit infused with extra Investiture will often imprint upon that very power. Much as the spren of Roshar become self-aware over time because of people’s focus on the Surges as being alive, this excess Investiture can attain the ability to remain sapient after being separated from its Physical form. Locally they think of these things as ghosts, though really they are instantiations of self-aware (well, in this case, barely self-aware) Investiture."

- Arcanum Unbounded, Threnody Essay


It makes Realmatic sense that when power is Splintered from its Shard it becomes easier to take up and control without the Will of a Vessel. Brandon has said to a Shard’s Splintering often creates, well, Splinters of power. One specific case he mentions, the Stormfather, is kind of an example of exactly what I propose, just on a bit higher of a power-level. I theorize that the allusion he makes in that FAQ Friday to sapient beings being involved is a nod to the hypothetical phenomenon I propose.


I believe that Nalan's reasoning for what he does, as presented in Edgedancer, relates to this idea. Considering that Nalan highlights that this is something that Honor was able to regulate in the past, his explanation seems connected to the WoB from Gen Con.
 

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“Unfortunately, no,” Darkness said. “I once thought as you, but Ishar made the truth clear to me. If the bonds between men and spren are reignited, then men will naturally discover the greater power of the oaths. Without Honor to regulate this [Similar to the Shard in the first quoted WoB], there is a small chance that what comes next will allow the Voidbringers to again make the jump between worlds. [Emphasis mine]”

 

If this is the case, it seems as if this idea is heavily represented by the Story of Fleet. The whole theme of rising up after death seems more than just metaphor with this in mind.
 

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“Upon that land of dirt and soil,” Wit shouted, “our hero fell and did not stir! His body spent, his strength undone, Fleet the hero was no more.

“The storm approached and found him there. It stilled and stopped upon its course! The rains they fell, the winds they blew, but forward they could not progress. “For glory lit, and life alive, for goals unreached and aims to strive. All men must try, the wind did see. It is the test, it is the dream.” Kaladin stepped slowly up to the bars. Even with eyes open, he could see it. Imagine it. “So in that land of dirt and soil, our hero stopped the storm itself. And while the rain came down like tears, our Fleet refused to end this race. His body dead, but not his will, within those winds his soul did rise. “It flew upon the day’s last song, to win the race and claim the dawn. Past the sea and past the waves, our Fleet no longer lost his breath. Forever strong, forever fast, forever free to race the wind.”

It has been pointed out to me that Brandon has said that the Recreance took place before Honor was Shattered, but I would like to point out that Brandon has said that Splinterings are a slow burn. If this is the case, this matches up with my thoughts on what is happening on Threnody, as we know that Ambition was not fully Splintered until he was out of the Threnodite system.

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WETLANDER

Did the Splintering happen before the Recreance?

BRANDON SANDERSON

I will reveal this as we go. However, be aware that in the past, when a Shard was killed, the person holding it, it is a slow burn to actually kill someone; because power cannot be destroyed. So, what it means to be killed means something a little different in these cases.”

Part Two: These Radiant Are Forced Into Braize

I theorize that, like the Heralds, these Radiants are possibly forced to go to Braize. As it is an old Vorin philosophy that strong warriors aid the Heralds in their fights, it makes sense that this is a romanticised version of the theoretical truth that developed in the Era of Solitude. Khriss notes in the Roshar Essay that she believes there are a population of Cognitive Shadows on Braize, and I think that these are the Radiants I theorize to have become Cognitive Shadows.

Quote

"Farthest out of the three is Braize, which despite being cold and inhospitable to men is home to an ecosystem of self-aware Splinters. (The local parlance would call them spren.) I believe it’s possible some of these are actually Cognitive Shadows, but research here is difficult and dangerous, so I will hold back on theorizing for the moment [I won’t]."

In this context, it makes sense to me that this may be why the Recreance came to be. Ishar (see the quote from Nalan above, as Ishar seems to be the propagator of this idea) must have told them that this would happen now that Honor isn't around to control these pieces of Investiture, and that it may somehow affect the Desolation cycle. The biggest argument against this theory in the past has been that people don't believe that the Radiants would abandon their oaths, but it would make sense for them to do so to prevent affecting the desolation cycle in some way.

Extra Tidbits/Connections

With this in mind, I believe that a few obscure passages from the books make quite a bit more sense. For example, the Deathrattle quoted below makes a lot of sense if viewed from the perspective of a Voidbringer who is involved in an assault on Uritheru.

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“Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they [Radiants] shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn.”

Taln may have also seen the results of these Radiants theoretically being trapped on Braize, if my theory is to be believed:

Quote


"Why didn’t they scream? That heat! Of death. Of death and the dead and the dead and their talking and not screaming of death except of the death that did not come."

This idea also gives interesting hypothetical context to the below deathrattle:

Quote

"The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended.”

As has been revealed by Brandon, Vasher decided to take the name ‘Zahel’ while on Roshar. I tentatively propose that this may relate to his being a Cognitive Shadow, knowing that Brandon has confirmed that the above name and the word ‘Nahel’ share the same suffix. Just read the below epigraph with this idea in mind.

 

Quote


”They also, when they had settled their rulings in the nature of each bond’s placement, called the name of it the Nahel bond, with regard to its effect upon the souls of those caught in its grip…”

 

 

I could go on, but I’m interested with what all of you have to say. Let me know what you guys think

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I've written up a similar idea over here. There is a cultural idea in Alethkar of the 'shades of the Lost Radiants,' and a number of things that I saw as parallels between Vorin religion and the Knights Radiant to indicate their mission does not end in the afterlife.

I did stay away from Death Rattles for the most part, since I haven't taken the time to do an in-depth analysis of all of them. But if the 'speakers' of Death Rattles are on Braize (like Taln's "burdens of nine" quote), then there is one that is undoubtedly from the POV of a Radiant, which could indicate that there are former Radiants on Braize:

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“Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?”

 

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So the TL;DR is that the Knights have the power (or burden) of becoming Cognitive Shadows after they die. Throw in the idea that Odium can corrupt spren, this makes me wonder what, then, it means for the Desolations. If becoming a CS means the Desolations could return, then why? Of course while it would be interesting and informative as to how it happened in the past, it doesn't matter at this point because as Jasnah and Hoid explained, things are different this time around. The Everstorm came and royally cremmed things up in a brand new way.

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Why are you doing this to me, Blight? I thought we were friends.

5 hours ago, Blightsong said:

As detailed above, a Radiant's souls are infused with Investiture, particularly full-blown Radiants. In the Arcanum Unbounded quote below, we learn that this is a prerequisite to becoming a Cognitive Shadow.

The problem is that spren are released when their Radiant dies, so that Investiture their soul was melded to is no longer present:

Quote

twixttwists

What would happen to Syl, say, if Kaladin dies? Can she transfer the bond to someone else?

Brandon Sanderson

So long as Kaladin did not forsake his oaths, Syl would be traumatized (as one might imagine) but be capable of forming another bond.

twixttwists

Good to know she can form another bond. I'm guessing she'll be a little more mindless in the interim, though? 

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, without a strong tie to the Physical realm, she would have trouble thinking here if she pulled through to exist here.

source

And then this part:

5 hours ago, Blightsong said:

I would like to point out that Brandon has said that Splinterings are a slow burn

The whole WoB reads a bit differently, that it's a slow burn to kill the Vessel:

Quote

Wetlander

Did the Splintering happen before the Recreance?

Brandon Sanderson

I will reveal this as we go. However, be aware that in the past, when a Shard was killed, the person holding it, it is a slow burn to actually kill someone; because power cannot be destroyed. So, what it means to be killed means something a little different in these cases.

hoser

Did Tanavast survive Honor's splintering?

Brandon Sanderson

Tanavast is dead. Good question. However, that is as of the start of The Way of Kings.

hoser

So he could have survived the Splintering...

Brandon Sanderson

He could have survived the Splintering.

hoser

...as a mortal...

Brandon Sanderson

Well, he could have survived for a time, but then he could not have then...

hoser

...passed away in his sleep...

Brandon Sanderson

Right.

source

But then that WoB is from 2013 and we had Khriss say some stuff about Splintering Shards:

Spoiler
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khriss1.PNG.6d98387c68262f06cc739088d31440e9.PNG

 

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khriss2.PNG.eb8ec78401909c2d8d37d63aaa400d94.PNG

both of these imply Splintering is a quick, violent event.

What else? Every generation of Radiants would take with them dozens of thousands of spren with them. Yet books imply some spren have been bonded before (I can't remember now) and that would not be the case if every Radiant took their spren with them.

Edited by Overstorm
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27 minutes ago, Overstorm said:

Why are you doing this to me, Blight? I thought we were friends.

  Hide contents

:P

Good points all around. I'm more convinced of something happening to the Radiants after they die, this is just the least crackpot explaination. Others I've thought of include the Shard plate being involved in them becoming CS, them becoming something less like a normal CR and something more corrupted, etc.

 

Thanks for the detailed response! 

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IF the Radiants become CS, they will do It of their own without be' still bonded with the Spren. But I assume that It's something the Spren would say/know and why they move to Braize? 

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Allomancers stay longer in the Cognitive after death just from using investiture. 

Having a Splinter grafted to your soul and using investiture has to effect that more heavily. I don't believe the Spren would need to go. 

So here's an outlandish idea... What if, as the Unmade are able to corrupt spren, Odium can corrupt the Cognitive Shadows sent to Braize (from which the Heralds were previously protected by their direct connection to Honor), and the reason that the desolations got progressively worse is that Odium used the "shades" to strengthen his forces? 

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3 hours ago, Calderis said:

Allomancers stay longer in the Cognitive after death just from using investiture. 

Not really. I assume you're refering to this WoB:

Quote

Blightsong

Would it be harder to soulcast a Knight Radiant?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Blightsong

Would it be harder for her to soulcast a mistborn?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, investiture disrupts investiture. It's harder for her to even soulcast a regular person than, say, a rock.

Blightsong

Is a Mistborn invested?

Brandon Sanderson

The Mistborn, how their burning the metal, you're right. They are not specifically invested when they are not burning. When the investiture becomes active, the yes. Before, no, you're right on that.
source

But this WoB should not be read without the subsequent WoB:

Quote

Blightsong

So Kelsier, he stayed around longer, not because he was invested, but because he had the ability to become invested?

Brandon Sanderson

Over time using the magic will invest you, on Scadrial. Most of the power is not coming from, on Roshar the power isn't coming from the person either (He cut himself off, so I assume this is how it works on Scadrial even though he didn't finish his thought) so I'm going to have to back up on that one and say, yes, the mistborn are as invested as a Knight Radiant, because in both cases the majority of the power is coming from somewhere else, but there is the spirit web. Investing the wrong term, but you have all these connections in the spiritual realm, so yanking you away from them, or rewriting them (like soulcasting or forgery) is harder.

Blightsong

Would they be harder (kek) with more Stormlight or Metals burning?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, yes. That would increase the difficulty ratio. For instance, wearing shard plate is gonna be a great barrier, right, and things like that so yea. The problem is like, invested is the wrong term for that, their spirit web is connected in different ways. (I deem this "Spirit Web Magical Connectivity Diversity, or SWMCD".
source

Since it's about Connections and the one to the spren is broken when you die... I find it hard to believe.

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I like the idea, however what would be the reason for Radiant's cognitive shadows to go to Braize?

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1 hour ago, Aleksiel said:

I like the idea, however what would be the reason for Radiant's cognitive shadows to go to Braize?

The idea as I understand has basically said that in copying the Honorblades correctly down to which surges are granted, the Spren inadvertently copied the Oathpact itself. So the Knights would go to Braize in mimicry of the Heralds. 

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3 hours ago, Calderis said:

The idea as I understand has basically said that in copying the Honorblades correctly down to which surges are granted, the Spren inadvertently copied the Oathpact itself. So the Knights would go to Braize in mimicry of the Heralds. 

But some Knights Radiant seem to bond Cultivation-spren, and I don't think we've gotten word that she was involved in the Oathpact. 

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38 minutes ago, Vortaan said:

But some Knights Radiant seem to bond Cultivation-spren, and I don't think we've gotten word that she was involved in the Oathpact. 

That's not the point. The Spren mimicked the Oathpact in creating the Radiants. The depth of that mimicry is the reason for the speculation. 

The Oathpact was between the Heralds and Honor, but the Spren, even those of Cultivation (which is arguably some level in all Nahel Spren) provides the same surges and a blade. 

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1 minute ago, Calderis said:

That's not the point. The Spren mimicked the Oathpact in creating the Radiants. The depth of that mimicry is the reason for the speculation. 

The Oathpact was between the Heralds and Honor, but the Spren, even those of Cultivation (which is arguably some level in all Nahel Spren) provides the same surges and a blade. 

My point is that I can see honor-based spren being forced to that level of exactitude, but cultivation-spren should probably be able to cultivate something a bit better. I guess we'll find out down the line. Radiants being turned into cognitive shadows on Braize just seems kind of blah to me as a reason for the Recreance.

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On 10/28/2017 at 2:49 PM, Vortaan said:

My point is that I can see honor-based spren being forced to that level of exactitude, but cultivation-spren should probably be able to cultivate something a bit better. I guess we'll find out down the line. Radiants being turned into cognitive shadows on Braize just seems kind of blah to me as a reason for the Recreance.

I think that tthis affect may cause Desolations, as Nale explains in the titular quote. If it was just that they go to Braize I would agree, but this whole 'greater power will be naturally discovered and cause a Desolation' thing convinces me when attached to the theory.

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I don't see it. What would be the story purpose? How would these lost Radiants come back and effect the story? Either it's deep background and they never return or they do and I think it would break the story, i.e. the ghost army in Return of the King (movie only). I think Ishar is either lying or corrupted. I think he is trying to kill Radiants to make it easier for Odium to win. 

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6 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

I don't see it. What would be the story purpose? How would these lost Radiants come back and effect the story? Either it's deep background and they never return or they do and I think it would break the story, i.e. the ghost army in Return of the King (movie only). I think Ishar is either lying or corrupted. I think he is trying to kill Radiants to make it easier for Odium to win. 

Read part 2 in the OB spoilers board, if you read OB spoilers. I think that they could be corrupted (seeing as how Odium can corrupt Spren), making desolations worse.

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31 minutes ago, Blightsong said:

Read part 2 in the OB spoilers board, if you read OB spoilers. I think that they could be corrupted (seeing as how Odium can corrupt Spren), making desolations worse.

 

I am not reading the Oathbringer spoilers. I will read the book as a whole when it is released. Partly because I'm sanctimonious, and partly because I don't like reading off a screen.

Edited by thejopen27
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