Vortaan

(OB) The First Desolation

10 posts in this topic

Hello everyone. While talking with some other people recently, I hit on an idea that I think explains humanity's success in their first attack against the Singers. To set the stage, humanity at this point is living in Shinovar, does not have Surgebinding, and is probably less populous than the Singers. How is humanity so successful then, that the Singers feel the need to ally with Odium and create the Fused to fight back? Where does this power that allowed the initial conflicts go? I believe that the answer to both questions is that humanity still had access to Surges... from the diseases of Ashyn.

1) Ashyn's Investiture accesses Surges, and is disease based.

This point is the keystone of the whole theory, so first let's look at some WoBs.

Quote

Questioner

So I was reading that one of the worlds, I think it was Yolen, is going to be a disease oriented magic?

Brandon Sanderson

It's not Yolen, it's Ashyn...

Questioner

How does that work?

Brandon Sanderson

Viruses and bacteria, various strains of them, have evolved in-line with the investiture on the planet to grant you a magical ability when you catch the disease, because they want you to stay alive long enough to--

Questioner

To transmit it.

Brandon Sanderson

--o transmit it. So it becomes part of the transmission vector. So you have superpowers or whatever-- You can fly as long as you have the common cold, but when you get over it, you can't anymore.

source

This WoB vaguely details the mechanics of Ashyn's Investiture. Ashyn's powers are accessed when you grow ill, and they go away when you get better. Additionally we have this WoB.

Quote

Shardbound [PENDING REVIEW]

Were the Surges used by humans, the ones that destroyed their previous home, the same as the ones that the Radiants are using.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, same basic principles. Magic system slightly different. Same basic principles.

source

These two things together imply that catching a disease let you access the Surges, in slightly different forms than Radiants currently can. I think we can make a safe assumption that anyone with these diseases is going to be capable of similar feats to those we've see from our Radiants. This brings us to point number two.

2) The Surges allowed humanity the ability to expand aggressively

So when humanity arrived on Roshar from Ashyn, they might have had some of these diseases among their population. Humans stayed in Shinovar long enough for some sembalance of peace to exist between Singer and human. However, at some point humanity aggressively expanded, to the point that every major Singer city was captured. Every Dawncity is likely a former Singer capital. How did humanity do this? The Elia Steele gives us a hint:

Quote

“ ‘They came from another world,’ ” Navani said, reading from her sheet. “ ‘Using powers that we have been forbidden to touch. Dangerous powers, of spren and Surges. They destroyed their lands and have come to us begging.

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive (p. 1043). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. 

So humanity was using Surges. The problem with this is that the nahel bond could not have existed at this point. The nahel bond mimics the Honorblades, and the Honorblades did not come into existence until the Fused came into existence, which had to have been after this initial aggressive expansion. So how was humanity using the Surges? The diseases of Ashyn. Where did these diseases go, then? Well... 

3) The extra Investiture from repeated exposure to Stormlight made humanity too disease resistant

Humans expanded aggressively, and then settled in Singer territories, probably very confident in their ability to hold on to their gains. Of course we know that they didn't, so what changed? Humans began to become Invested by the background Investiture of the storms. Every so often, humanity gets bombarded by large amounts of free floating Investiture. Unlike any native life form on Roshar, it has no way to express itself, so in the case of humans it just makes humanity as a whole healthier, and more resistant to disease. This WoB seems to back up this theory: 

Quote

stormfather (paraphrased)

Does the plague on the Purelake has anything to do with the fact that the magic fish form symbiotic bonds with spren?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, worldhoppers brought a disease to Roshar that they didn't have before. It's the common cold. Rosharans' Investiture makes it so they're usually a healthy bunch so something like the cold is kind of frightening. "It's a plague of the sniffles."

stormfather [Alternate wording from ZenBossanova's report] (paraphrased)

Another person asked about the plague in the Purelake.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Turns out, that was a pathogen introduced by worldhoppers. People on Roshar normally have greater health than elsewhere in the cosmere because they are more invested (stormlight and all that). This plague was what we call… the common cold.

source

So humanity becomes more disease resistant, the Ashyn diseases start dying off. This leads us to the Second Desolation. Somehow, the Singer have recovered their numbers, and in addition have made a bargain with Odium to create the Fused, the Regals, and access Surges. This puts humanity on the defensive, and requires the Oathpact and eventually the Radiants to give humanity relatively even footing. 

Conclusion:

I think I've made a pretty good argument for the timeline of the first two conflicts between humanity and the Singers. I've left out any mention of Urithuru,  because I don't know how it fits in yet. I am also not really sure how the Girl Who Looked Up fits in, unless she somehow allowed stormlight to inundate the Shinovar region like it does the rest of the world. Anyway, would like to hear people's thoughts.

15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t really know how I feel about this, but I think that this is a pretty good theory. I’m interested on what others say about it, but I like this 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just commenting to say I agree. 

The desolations themselves also would have had a big impact on the diseases if they were still around. Effectively culling 90% of the population repeatedly would do a good deal towards wiping them out. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/4/2018 at 6:37 PM, RShara said:

Ah-Choo!  Hey I CAN FLY!

Aaand Lopen has entered the room.

@Vortaan

Neat theory. I don't think we have enough material to be able to prove or disprove it, so I'll say I like this theory and give you a cookie.

Spoiler

pumpkinchipcookies4.jpg

 

Edited by Alderant
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the theory. My main question is what Honor and Cultivation did during all this time and why. They seem to be the original Singer gods, so why end up siding with humanity, which then made the Singers turn to Odium? I assume that trapping Odium in Braize also happened around this time period, but why leave the Singers to their luck?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this theory.

To add to it, I'd conjecture that invested diseases might be very adept at crossing over to different species, like from human to singer. And the singers, who evolved on diseaseless Roshar, would be ill-equipped to fight off infections. Maybe the First Desolation wasn't a war at all, but an outbreak of Ashynian diseases spreading across singer-occupied Roshar, devastating the population. That should even the odds when the humans start expanding.

Because obviously this story doesn't have enough uncomfortable historical parallels.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, WhiteLeeopard said:

I like the theory. My main question is what Honor and Cultivation did during all this time and why. They seem to be the original Singer gods, so why end up siding with humanity, which then made the Singers turn to Odium? I assume that trapping Odium in Braize also happened around this time period, but why leave the Singers to their luck?

I honestly have no idea so I didn't bother speculating. I don't think they were Singer gods, though. Singers seemed tied closer to the spren, like the Rider of Storms and whatever Nightwatcher was before she became the Nightwatcher. The only thing I have is that the vessels for Honor and Cultivation were once human, so maybe they just sided with their own kind?

 

3 hours ago, Belzedar said:

I love this theory.

To add to it, I'd conjecture that invested diseases might be very adept at crossing over to different species, like from human to singer. And the singers, who evolved on diseaseless Roshar, would be ill-equipped to fight off infections. Maybe the First Desolation wasn't a war at all, but an outbreak of Ashynian diseases spreading across singer-occupied Roshar, devastating the population. That should even the odds when the humans start expanding.

Because obviously this story doesn't have enough uncomfortable historical parallels.

The only problem I have there is that Roshar life and Ashyn life is so radically different. It would be like a disease jumping from humans to lobsters. I mean, Singers have orange blood. I have no idea what that signifies biologically, but it probably indicates enough of a difference that Singers can't catch human diseases. The Ashyn pathogens would also be having to fight the Investiture that made the humans too healthy to infect, so... eh. It's an interesting idea, but I don't think that was a major factor. Keep in mind too that there was apparently a period where both cultures existed peacefully. Ash and Hoid both mention dancing with Singers at functions.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Vortaan said:

 

The only problem I have there is that Roshar life and Ashyn life is so radically different. It would be like a disease jumping from humans to lobsters. I mean, Singers have orange blood. I have no idea what that signifies biologically, but it probably indicates enough of a difference that Singers can't catch human diseases. The Ashyn pathogens would also be having to fight the Investiture that made the humans too healthy to infect,

But don't forget they are close enough to have fertile offspring,(horneaters, herdazians, and other unknown groups.

Edited by MountainKing
Editing a quote
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, MountainKing said:

But don't forget they are close enough to have fertile offspring,(horneaters, herdazians, and other unknown groups.

I didn't, I just think that wasn't a cross breeding program so much as some Shard higgery pokery. Also maybe mateform is pretty versatile?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.