StrikerEZ

[OB] The Timeline of Roshar

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Disclaimer: This post is gonna focus less on the specific times that these events took place, but rather on the order of events and how this affects things. I'll also be making some assumptions in the sequence of events, so feel free to disagree on the order.

Pre-Shattering: There isn't much known about Roshar during this timeframe. We do know, however, that the majority of the Rosharan ecosystem, including the Singers (then known as the Dawnsingers), the Highstorm, and the spren, existed prior to the Shattering. In addition, the Rosharan system was designed by Adonalsium.

Post-Shattering: At some point after the Shattering, Honor and Cultivation, who were lovers, broke the pact that the original Vessels made to stay apart and settled on Roshar. They both adopted parts of the already established ecosystem, such as the highstorm/Stormfather for Honor and the Nightwatcher for Cultivation, and also created the true spren at some point.

Cataclysm of Ashyn and Migration to Roshar: Unless there is a WoB that says otherwise, we don't know whether there were humans on Ashyn pre-Shattering or if they arrived/were created later. Either way, there was a magic system on Ashyn that was similar in nature to surgebinding that was gained through being the carrier of a disease. At some point, the Ashynites used these powers (supposedly with the help of the Dawnshards, whatever those are, according to the Stormfather and Honor) to destroy their planet. Some of the survivors remained on the planet, but could not live on the surface since it was (mostly) lava, so they went into upside down floating cities. The majority of the surviving population, however, fled to Roshar through either the Cognitive Realm or a teleportation mechanic similar to the Oathgates (Brandon is undecided on this issue right now).

The Eila Stele, written by the Dawnsingers, claims that the humans came to Roshar and were given land they could live on by Honor and Cultivation (which is now Shinovar) and that the Dawnsingers were commanded by H&C to help the humans. It also claims that the humans brought Odium with them, but it is unclear if Odium was the Ashynites' god before coming or if Odium just happened to come to Roshar at the same time as them. It is also unclear if Odium had a part in the events that led to the humans migrating to Roshar.

The First Desolation: After living on Roshar for an unknown period of time, some of the humans decided they were tired of living only in the land they were given and began to conquer more of Roshar (as humans tend to do). The exact order of this is unclear, but during this invasion of Roshar, the Singers switched to Odium's side and the humans to H&C's side. Once they switched to Odium's side, some of the Singers were given power by Odium, making them Cognitive Shadows known as the Fused. They could not be permanently killed and returned to keep fighting after they died (according to the Stormfather, they did not have the surges yet, I think, but they probably had the passive benefits of voidlight). The Fused were a problem for the humans' side until the Heralds and Honor made the Oathpact, sealing the Fused on Braize.

The Desolations: What Honor didn't realize when he created the Oathpact was that humans are not bound to follow oaths like Shards are. According to the Stormfather, when the Heralds went to Braize, they hid, fought, and eventually were found and tortured. One of them eventually broke, starting the first "true" Desolation. By bending the Oathpact, the power that held the Fused to Braize no longer did so, so they were able to return to Roshar and fight the humans. Once a Desolation was over, the Heralds would voluntarily return to Braize and start the process all over again. For the first several Desolations, the Heralds were able to last hundreds of years at a time, but near the end Desolations came less than a decade apart, and the Last Desolation came only a year after the previous one.

At some point during the Desolations, ten types of true spren figured out how to mimic the Honorblades through the nahel bond. These first surgebinders were very unstructured and were far more dangerous with their powers, so Ishar used his bondsmith powers (somehow) to create the five Ideals/Oaths (I can never remember what they're called) and establish the ten orders of the Knights Radiant.

At some point prior to the Last Desolation, a group of Singers were ordered to attack what is now the Shattered Plains and Natanatan. However, these Singers, known as the Last Legion, decided to abandon their gods, the Fused, and take on dullform to escape Odium's influence. These Singers, now known as the Listeners, lost all their knowledge of how to change forms, though they did create the Songs in order to help rediscover them eventually.

The Last Desolation/Aharietiam: Despite the odds, all of the Heralds except one were able to survive this Desolation. They couldn't take the torture any longer, so they abandoned the Oathpact and left Taln, the only one who died, the only one that wasn't a general, king, or scholar, the one that shouldn't have been a Herald in the first place, on Braize to suffer the torture alone. They told the humans that they had won, that they'd defeated the enemy, though that was not true. Some of the Unmade, such as Nergaoul or Moelach, survived and persisted on Roshar and became seen as normal parts of the world (the Thrill and Death Rattles). The other Unmade were presumed to either have been captured, returned to Braize, or killed in the Last Desolation (though I find this last option the least likely).

The False Desolation and the Recreance: About 2,000 years prior to the start of the series, Ba-Ado-Mishram Connected with the Singers, granting them voidlight and Forms of Power. These Singers, excluding the Listeners, began to fight the Radiants across the world. Some of the Radiants, including Melishi, who was probably the bondsmith at the time, formed a strike team in order to capture BAM and take the powers away from the Singers. Some of the Radiants warned of unforeseen consequences, though the strike team went ahead with its mission anyway. By imprisoning BAM in a perfect gem, the Radiants ripped out some of the Connection and Identity from all of the Singers Connected to BAM, effectively giving them a lobotomy and reducing them to something worse than dullform.

This event, including the fact that Honor was going mad and raving about how the Radiants destroyed their previous home and would do so again with Roshar (along with maybe an example of this possible destruction through the Shattered Plains), shook many of the Radiants to their core. Since they believed that they would do more harm than good, they abandoned their Oaths and broke their bonds with their spren, killing them. They left their Shards across the world, which started mass frenzies of people claiming them for power. Because of the Recreance, in most religions, and in Vorinism especially, the Radiants were seen as evil and of the enemy.

At some point after the scramble for power had settled down, men mostly claimed the Shards for themselves. Through a popular book that established the feminine arts as being one-handed, women claimed literacy and scholarly pursuits and left war, fighting, and the Shards to the men.

The Rise and Fall of the Heirocracy: The Vorin church attempted, and succeeded, to take control over the politics of most of Eastern Roshar, though they were unable to take over all of Roshar. They established their power through claiming to see visions from the Almighty and to have special powers that no one else did. In addition they destroyed or altered records of anything relating to the Knights Radiants, the greatest failure of Vorinism. Many ancient accounts and records have been lost due to this. Eventually, the Sunmaker united the ten princedoms of Alethkar, and possibly some allies, for the first time since the fall of Alethela in order to defeat the Heirocracy, which he was successful in doing. After the fall of the Heirocracy, the ardents were reduced from priests that control everything in the religion to being little more than property and advisers in helping people understand and love the Almighty.

The Sunmaker: Sadees, also known as the Sunmaker, decided after defeating the evil empire that wanted to take over the world (the Heirocracy) that he wanted to take over the world. He managed to conquer all the way to Azir in Western Roshar, where he committed mass genocide against the Azish since they did not respect eye color. However, he died shortly after due to an illness and his empire fell apart since he had not chosen an heir and none of his sons could keep the empire together. This led to the split up of Alethkar into the ten princedoms again, until Gavilar, Dalinar, and Sadeas reunited them.

After that, the rest of the timeline is basically just the events that take place in the books. There are some events that happen directly prior to WoK that are a little unclear, such as when exactly Gavilar started having the visions or when Taravangian and Lift went to the Nightwathcer, so I’m not gonna go into those.

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This seems pretty accurate, but I'm gonna nitpick.

Pre-Shattering

Seems about right. Fun fact, the continent of Roshar is a 2D slice of a 3D slice of a theoretical 4D equation or something like that, so Adon apparently had fun with this one. 

Spoiler

 

Post-Shattering

Largely accurate. One issue is the Nightwatcher. While the highstorm, and by extension the Stormfather, is confirmed to have existed pre-shattering, the existence of the Nightwatcher pre-Cultivation is a theory at this point.

Ashyn Cataclysm

Two nitpicks here, first is that while we know the pre-cataclysm society had access to the surges, and we also have word that a disease-based magic system is present on Ashyn, we do not know if they're connected. It seems likely, but it also could be that the disease evolved during the cataclysm, or there are two different magic systems on the planet. Second is that the singers were told to take the humans in by their gods, but it is an assumption that the gods were H&C, it could also be the greater spren, as the fused are also considered gods.

The rest seems good. 

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There's also some events that we don't know much about. For example, the Shin invasions have been referenced a couple of times in Oathbringer (discussion here:) 

The time and nature of the Scouring of Aimia is also unknown. As far as I know these are the only two historically significant events which haven't been placed in the timeline.

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I agree with the timeline as a whole, though a fair amount of the detail is speculation. Backed by evidence, but still not confirmed.

Quote

Two nitpicks here, first is that while we know the pre-cataclysm society had access to the surges, and we also have word that a disease-based magic system is present on Ashyn, we do not know if they're connected. It seems likely, but it also could be that the disease evolved during the cataclysm, or there are two different magic systems on the planet.

To nitpick the nitpick, we actually don't even know for sure that surges were involved at all, unless there is a new WoB I havent read.

I know its semantics, but I imagine any type of magic on Roshar would be assumed to be surges. Until we get details (if we ever do) we only know that Ashyn was destroyed by irresponsible use of whatever magic system was there at the time.

I realise its super vague, but its worth noting that a lot of things that we take for granted that are highly likely but still not confirmed.

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We have WoB that the magic system on Ashyn was basically the same powers but with a different access method.

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3 hours ago, Wandering Investor said:

Post-Shattering

Largely accurate. One issue is the Nightwatcher. While the highstorm, and by extension the Stormfather, is confirmed to have existed pre-shattering, the existence of the Nightwatcher pre-Cultivation is a theory at this point.

Ashyn Cataclysm

Two nitpicks here, first is that while we know the pre-cataclysm society had access to the surges, and we also have word that a disease-based magic system is present on Ashyn, we do not know if they're connected. It seems likely, but it also could be that the disease evolved during the cataclysm, or there are two different magic systems on the planet. Second is that the singers were told to take the humans in by their gods, but it is an assumption that the gods were H&C, it could also be the greater spren, as the fused are also considered gods.

I mean, yes and no. It's never been explicitly confirmed (I just went through all WoBs with Nightwatcher mentioned to confirm this), but there are several instances where Brandon explicitly states that the Nightwatcher is to Cultivation as the Stormfather is to Honor. Personally, I think it makes perfect sense, in the context of those WoBs (which you can see by looking up Nightwatcher on Arcanum), that Nightwatcher predates the Shattering and was Cultivation's daughter-thing, just like the Stormfather is.

Yeah, I considered that point, but I didn't it's quite as likely and is just far more complex than is necessary. Like, we know there is a disease magic system that does stuff similar to the surges of Roshar on Ashyn (if you've read the Silence Divine readings, there appears to be people using gravitation and transformation). We know that the surges were used to destroy Ashyn. The only thing we're missing is the confirmation that the disease magic existed at the same time as the Cataclysm. I should've addressed this in the OP, though, I will admit.

I hadn't considered that the gods that commanded them to accept the humans could've been true spren. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I could honestly see it going either way. Or it could be both.

2 hours ago, Lightspine said:

There's also some events that we don't know much about. For example, the Shin invasions have been referenced a couple of times in Oathbringer (discussion here:) 

The time and nature of the Scouring of Aimia is also unknown. As far as I know these are the only two historically significant events which haven't been placed in the timeline.

I would've mentioned stuff like this, but we have no idea exactly when either of these events happened, so it's hard to place them on the timeline.

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44 minutes ago, CrazyRioter said:

We have WoB that the magic system on Ashyn was basically the same powers but with a different access method.

Can you quote it? I have seen the below:

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

But this doesnt say "same powers, different access method", only same basic principles. The same could be said for all cosmere magic, particularly where the same effect can be achieved through multiple magic systems. He also distinctly says the magic system is slightly different, which to my mind means it isn't "surges" unless you generalise, as the natives of Roshar would.

Its certainly up for debate but my point that it could be different magic and the same cataclysmic effect still stands.

 

To go back the the idea of the timeline, as I said, the timeline itself looks good to me, the only bits missing are the Shin Invasions amd the Scouring of Aimia as has been mentioned. These are both post-recreance but we can't be much more specific than that with any degree of certainty.

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Just as Rosharans call all living investiture spren, I believe they'd think of all magic as surges... 

I don't really think that categorization helps us much. 

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11 hours ago, Calderis said:

Just as Rosharans call all living investiture spren, I believe they'd think of all magic as surges... 

I don't really think that categorization helps us much. 

Or how any vaguely bird like creature is a chicken...

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Precisely, I imagine a mistborn on Roshar would be thought of by most as a weird kind of Surgebinder, like Nightblood is not the same as a Shardblade but still called one.

I imagine the magic of Ashyn could achieve similar effects to Surgebinding and Honohrs point was more that humans had used magic irresponsibly in the past, not that the magic had been the same.

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We do have some info about when T and Lift went to the Nightwatcher. In OB we learn that T supposedly disappeared with a "mysterious illness" about 5 years ago, according to Dalinar. Lift, in her WoR interlude, claims that she's been ten for 3 years, which probably means that's when she visited the Nightwatcher. And I believe Dalinar's Nightwatcher flashbacks were 5 1/2 years ago.

I know it's not necessarily exact, but it is a rough time frame for each of them.

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2 hours ago, 8giraffe8 said:

We do have some info about when T and Lift went to the Nightwatcher. In OB we learn that T supposedly disappeared with a "mysterious illness" about 5 years ago, according to Dalinar. Lift, in her WoR interlude, claims that she's been ten for 3 years, which probably means that's when she visited the Nightwatcher. And I believe Dalinar's Nightwatcher flashbacks were 5 1/2 years ago.

I know it's not necessarily exact, but it is a rough time frame for each of them.

Yeah, but we don't know exactly for sure if Taravangian went to the Nightwatcher before or after Dalinar did. If he did, then it makes it highly likely that Culti could've showed up for him and her statement to a Dalinar still be true. And it wouldn't be impossible for her to have visited Lift either.

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14 hours ago, StrikerEZ said:

Yeah, but we don't know exactly for sure if Taravangian went to the Nightwatcher before or after Dalinar did. If he did, then it makes it highly likely that Culti could've showed up for him and her statement to a Dalinar still be true. And it wouldn't be impossible for her to have visited Lift either.

Given that Brandon specifically differentiated between 5 years and 5 1/2 years, I think it's safe to say that Dalinar went before Taravingian. Though I do get that the characters aren't always gonna be totally accurate.

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