Subvisual Haze

[OB] Theory: Melishi Bound Ba-Ado-Mishram with The Sibling's Power

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Apologies in advance for the very long theory, but I think it ties a lot of events set shortly before the Recreance together.  In short: I think Bondsmith Melishi captured Ba-Ado-Mishram inside a perfect crystal to prevent Parshmen transformations, but due to B-A-M being an extremely intelligent UnMade Spren, Melishi needed to use his own bonded spren The Sibling to act as B-A-M's binder/jailer.  Doing so both locked the Parshmen in dullform, and caused the gradual failure of Urithiru's fabrial system and stuck both B-A-M and The Sibling inside a perfect gem where they remain currently (Gavilar's!?!?), and releasing one will likely release the other.  

There's a lot of kind of sub-theories rolled up into this one, but I'll try to put in a couple useful quotes.

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 Heralds and their divine duties, an attribute the Bondsmiths alone could address."

-Words of Radiance Chapter 58 Epigraph 

The above quote was debated endlessly between the release of WOR and Oathbringer.  I think myself and many others have speculated that this event related to the Recreance and the dulling of the Parshmen.  With our extra knowledge from Oathbringer I'd like to focus on the part I've bolded in the quote though.  "The Heralds and their divine duties".  In Oathbringer we had clarified (to some extent) what the divine duties of the Heralds were: to bind the voidbringers on Braize and thus prevent Desolations on Roshar.  Just as Odium and the voidbringers were bound by Honor, The Heralds and their Oathpact, was Melishi planning to similarly bind another great force here?  And if so what would he bind it with?

Elaborating on WoR's Melishi event, we have the following extended sequence of Emerald (Truthwatcher) gems from the same drawer of the Urithiru gem archive drawer 30-20:

Quote

"Something must be done about the remnants of Odium's forces. The parsh, as they are now called, continue their war with zeal, even without their masters from Damnation."

"A coalition has been formed among scholar Radiants. Our goal is to deny the enemy their supply of Voidlight; this will prevent their continuing transformations, and give us an edge in combat."

"Our revelation is fueled by the theory that the Unmade can perhaps be captured like ordinary spren. It would require a special prison. And Melishi."    

"Ba-Ado-Mishram has somehow Connected with the parsh people, as Odium once did. She provides Voidlight and facilitates forms of power. Our strike team is going to imprison her."    

"We are uncertain the effects this will have on the parsh. At the very least, it should deny them forms of power. Melishi is confident, but Naze-daughter-Kuzodo warns of unintended side effects."

"Surely this will bring - at long last - the end to war that the Heralds promised us."

"Don't tell anyone. I can't say it. I must whisper. I foresaw this."

And also note the following probably related comment from an Elsecaller (zircon drawer 20-10):

Quote

"As the duly appointed keepers of the perfect gems, we of the Elsecallers have taken the burden of protecting the ruby nicknamed Honor's Drop. Let it be recorded."

The most straightforward conclusion to draw from this would be: The Radiants captured B-A-M in the perfect gem "Honor's Drop" similar to how Dalinar captured Neragoul in "King's Drop" during the climax of Oathbringer.  I don't think this is right though.

One distinction I would like to note: Dalinar was able to bind Neragoul in a perfect gem by embracing "The Thrill" emotion that Neragoul encouraged and was drawn to.  The important difference here though is Neragoul isn't one of the "thinking" Unmade, it is driven almost entirely by instinct, not plans or thoughts.  As such, it can be tricked into putting itself in a gem.  Compare that to B-A-M (Hessi's Mythica Epigraph):

Quote

"I find Ba-Ado-Mishram to be the most interesting of the Unmade. She is said to have been keen of mind, a highprincess among the enemy forces, their commander during some of the Desolations. I do not know how this relates to the ancient god of the enemy, named Odium."

This presents B-A-M as an extremely intelligent UnMade, probably Odium's second in command, and thus unlikely to fooled into entering a perfect gem prison merely by some Radiant expressing an emotional state.  Also, Dalinar required a lifetime of violent events to reach such a close connection with Neragoul, it's hard to imagine Radiants past doing the same.  

Much like Odium's intelligent spren and fused required the minds of the Heralds to hold them captive, I suspect that B-A-M required a binding spren of similar power to her own to hold her captive long term.  We also know that a Radiant spren can hold a voidspren captive inside a gem, as we see Timbre do just that to the voidspren inside Venli's gemheart!  

We know that B-A-M was successfully imprisoned based on the Singers losing access to voidlight for thousands of years until the Everstorm.  Also, BAM's long absence is noted in The Mythica:

Quote

"There is very little information about Ba-Ado-Mishram in more modern times. I can only assume she, unlike many of them, returned to Damnation or was destroyed during Aharietiam."

So not only did they capture B-A-M, but they captured her in such a way that she's been inactive for >2,000 years!

We also know that roughly simultaneous to these events Urithiru's systems began to fail, forcing the Radiants to abandon the tower.  The failure of Urithiru is linked to changes in the Sibling by 3 Elsecaller records in the Gem Archive (3 zircons drawer 1-1):

Quote

"My research into the cognitive reflections of the spren at the tower has been deeply illustrative. Some thought that the Sibling had withdrawn from men by intent- but I find counter to that theory."

"The wilting of plants and the general cooling of the air is disagreeable, yes, but some of the tower's functions remain in place. The increased pressure, for example, persists."

"Something is happening to the Sibling. I agree this is true, but the division among the Knights Radiant is not to blame. Our perceived worthiness is a separate issue."

Those 3 gems in the same drawer clearly imply that 1) the tower is failing 2) its failing is related to The Sibling 3) The Sibling didn't withdraw from men voluntarily, something else happened to it.  Whatever happened to it likely continues to the current time, as Stormfather states The Sibling is "asleep".

So, to sum up: Melishi was the only active Bondsmith during the time shortly before the Recreance, and I believe he was specifically bonded to The Sibling, the spren essential to the functioning of the great fabrial of Urithiru.  When the highly intelligent Unmade Ba-Ado-Mishram sparked renewed hostilities and the threat of another Desolation by gifting voidlight to the Singers, the scholarly Radiants committed to a plan to capture B-A-M, a plan involving a perfect gem and Melishi's powers related to the divine duties of the Heralds.  They were able to capture B-A-M in a perfect gem (where it remains captive at current time), but doing so somehow locked the Singers in dullform and also put the Sibling to sleep (where it remains currently) resulting in the gradual failure of the systems of the Urithiru and the Radiants abandoning the tower.

I think maybe The Sibling and Ba-Ado-Mishram are trapped in the same perfect gem, re-enacting "The Odd Couple" for 2 millenia.  Or perhaps The Sibling isn't physically inside the gem, but Melishi somehow has used its power to imprison B-A-M limiting The Sibling's ability to function normally (like Preservation using its mind to imprison Ruin).  Either way, releasing one would in all likelihood release the other.  I think B-A-M's gem prison is the same gem that Gavilar gave to Szeth.  Gavilar's idiotic plan to "return" the Listeners their God, may have been partially motivated by a desire to release The Sibling.  The Stormfather (at that time pre-bonding Gavilar to some degree) may have felt that this was an acceptable tradeoff to see The Sibling released.

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This is an interesting theory, but I have a timeline question. Doesn't the gemstone archive imply that Urithiru (and possibly the Sibling, if it's truly the spren that powered Urithiru) has been failing for a while, even before the Radiants struck back at Ba-Ado-Mishram? They're already actively abandoning the Tower before they decided to form a strike team with Melishi.  

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12 hours ago, Willow said:

This is an interesting theory, but I have a timeline question. Doesn't the gemstone archive imply that Urithiru (and possibly the Sibling, if it's truly the spren that powered Urithiru) has been failing for a while, even before the Radiants struck back at Ba-Ado-Mishram? They're already actively abandoning the Tower before they decided to form a strike team with Melishi.  

Pet incomplete theory of mine, I think some time passed while the gemstones were being put in the wall, however the chronology doesn't quite match the drawer numbering system that was assigned to them by default.  Some of the gemstones talk of considering abandoning the tower, while others make it sound imminent.  I think there's a chronological pattern to the drawer numbers, but haven't been able to tease it out personally.

See this brief blurb between Navani and Jasnah:

Quote

"I've lent you everyone I have.  What is Renarin studying over there?" [Navani]

"Hm? Oh, he thinks there might be a pattern to which stones were stored in which drawers. He's been working on it all day." [Jasnah]

"And?"

"Nothing, which is not surprising.  He insists he can find a pattern if he looks hard enough."

When Renarin has an intuition that something is up, I tend to believe him.  Beyond that though I'm not sure how to get the drawer numbers to sort into a cohesive narrative.  I think if you go in reverse order based on the second number in the pair, it tends to makes more sense (starting with x-30 and progressing through x-1), but there's things I'm not perfectly happy with regarding that method either.  

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1 hour ago, Subvisual Haze said:

Pet incomplete theory of mine, I think some time passed while the gemstones were being put in the wall, however the chronology doesn't quite match the drawer numbering system that was assigned to them by default.  Some of the gemstones talk of considering abandoning the tower, while others make it sound imminent.  I think there's a chronological pattern to the drawer numbers, but haven't been able to tease it out personally.

Yes, that's true, but I figured all of them were made at some point during the process of abandoning the tower. Leaving such a huge city takes a long time, so they could have been made at various stages.
Otherwise, why would they choose to leave records in such a strange, difficult way, if they weren't sure they were planning to leave permanently, and other messages would decay over time.

However, if your theory is true that part of the record was made after, could make one specific epigraph more interesting:
"Don't tell anyone. I can't say it. I must whisper. I foresaw this."         [30-20, a particularly small emerald]
I thought that this meant the abandonment of the tower.

If your idea of the Sibling and Ba-Ado-Mishram being able to 'compete' is true, that might mean B-A-M could also interfere with the functioning of Urithiru. The Radiants thought B-A-M had found a new way to fight them by attacking one of the Bondsmith spren (While actually the slow death of Honor was what was influencing the Sibling).

In response to that, the strike team might have gone out to find B-A-M as a way to stop this (at the same time, other Radiants thought it was useless, and had started back-up preparations, AKA leaving the tower).

Then they succeeded with B-A-M and failed with the parsh people. (I can't see why in this case they would use the Sibling to imprison B-A-M though, since in this scenario they went out specifically to protect them. Maybe it was an accident or their only chance.) And, lacking the Sibling, the tower's functions started to fail.

And the Radiants started to abandon the tower faster. Then one specific Truthwatcher decided they had to leave a record that they had foreseen what happened to the parsh people and the Sibling.

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Probably want to make the title more generic per the spoiler policy at the top.  There're a lot of spoilers in that title.

 

Also, the KR get their ability to draw investiture from the bond, but they don't draw it from their spren.  So I'm not sure how Melishi, if she were bonded to the Sibling, would have caused the Sibling damage.

Edited by RShara
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I like this theory quite a lot, though I am also suspicious of the timeline.  Regardless, I think it is quite clear that Melishi is involved with both B-A-M's imprisonment and the Sibling leaving.

There is an interesting connection to Syl's backstory.  When her first Knight died, she was hurt and went into a long slumber.  The Stormfather uses almost exactly the same words to describe his Sibling.  Perhaps Melishi died in the attempt, in a way that was particularly damaging to his spren.

However, your argument about B-A-M not going willingly is quite clear.  I find it extremely unlikely that the Sibling, who requires a massive gemstone pillar to house their Investiture, would fit into a sphere.  Thus, wherever they are trapped is probably quite large.

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Something I thought would have been mentioned here by now, which would answer why the Sibling slumbers.

What if, in the process of capturing and imprisoning B-A-M, Melishi dies?

We've seen and heard what that does to a bonded Spren, in the form of Syl. It makes sense to me that, if Melishi dies, her bond will shatter, and the Sibling goes to sleep, like Syl did.

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