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Blightsong

Theories From the Void: Ancient Rosharan History and Speculation

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Two more recent WoB on this topic came up that bring things together a bit more:

Quote

Questioner:

"To see the future originates with the Unmade..." "Voidbinding is a dark and evil thing, and the soul of it was to try to divine the future." Is it therefore safe to say that Voidbinding, by extension, also originates with the Unmade?

Brandon:

Not always. But usually.

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Questioner:

  1. Is Ashyn still operating on a sickness-based magic, as indicated in the readings you've done previously? Or are you not ready to canonise that?

  2. Assuming it is, was the use of Investiture on Ashyn always sickness-based?

Brandon:

  1. Ashyn still has that magic, though I've gone a lot of directions on how I want the culture to feel, so I souldn't consider that canon yet.

  2. No.

Good to see confirmation one of the (safer) theories in my OP, that Voidbinding originates with the Unmade. The second WoB further limits the number of potential magic systems that the original human refugees used.

Edited by Blightsong
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On 15/10/2018 at 7:59 AM, Pagerunner said:

This is also partly because the Unmade were left behind on Roshar after the Final Desolation. (Which I know runs counter to the idea that Unmade are super-Fused, as I mentioned out above. I'm just tossing out some possibilities that point to similar conclusions.) The Fused returned to Braize, but the Thrill and the Death Rattles stuck around on Roshar and became accepted parts of some cultures. I don't recall a single mention of an Unmade on Braize. And this is the point I've been building towards: can you find any indication that the Unmade came from, went to, or were ever on Braize? Knocking down the idea that the Unmade are a purely Rosharan phenomenon, through placing one on Braize, would give some credence to the idea that they could have hopped over from another world.

You might actually be onto SOMETHING with this, regardless of whether it is relevant to this particular topic.

Its possible that they used to get sent back with the fused when the Heralds sent themselves to Braize, but the 9 Heralds staying on roshar meant 9 of odiums splinters got to stay. (In which case he could have obviously chosen some of his voidspren or whatever else, but he would silly not to send those splinters that were most capable of achieving his goals)

 

Crazy theory time: (don’t know if someone else has suggested this) it was odium who conceived the plan to abandon the oathpact, he knew there were cracks in the souls of the heralds (from their breaking under torture) and somehow “influenced” whoever came up with it (can’t remember who’s idea it was to ditch taln) resulting in 9 of the heralds abandoning the oathpact.

Hmmm do we know for sure the unmade predate the heralds abandoning the oathpact?

Edited by Genesis
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26 minutes ago, Genesis said:

Hmmm do we know for sure the unmade predate the heralds abandoning the oathpact?

Yes. The vision with the Midnight Essence happens between desolations, giving evidence of Re-shephir, and the Nohadon vision takes place at the very end of a desolation, and he mentions Yelig-nar by name. 

The Radiants are said to have been built around Nohadon's work and he speaks of surgebinders, not Knights. So either the Knights came about after Aharietiem, or Yelig-nar existed early on. 

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1 hour ago, Genesis said:

You might actually be onto SOMETHING with this, regardless of whether it is relevant to this particular topic.

Its possible that they used to get sent back with the fused when the Heralds sent themselves to Braize, but the 9 Heralds staying on roshar meant 9 of odiums splinters got to stay. (In which case he could have obviously chosen some of his voidspren or whatever else, but he would silly not to send those splinters that were most capable of achieving his goals)

 

Crazy theory time: (don’t know if someone else has suggested this) it was odium who conceived the plan to abandon the oathpact, he knew there were cracks in the souls of the heralds (from their breaking under torture) and somehow “influenced” whoever came up with it (can’t remember who’s idea it was to ditch taln) resulting in 9 of the heralds abandoning the oathpact.

Hmmm do we know for sure the unmade predate the heralds abandoning the oathpact?

This is interesting, and would feed into why there is confusion in the histories about the true number of Unmade, but Brandon confirmed there are only 9 Unmade. The Unmade were around between Desolations before the nine heralds stayed Re-Sephir's Midnight Essence was shown in a vision that takes place in between Desolations in WoK and OB. 

A Knight Radiant identifies the year as "the Eighth Epoch, Three Thirty-Seven." - WoK Ch. 19. The eighth epoch is during the Heraldic Epochs before the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact. One of the Radiants says they live in Alethela right now because that is where the Radiants live between Desolations. 

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"Alethela. You live there?"  "It is our duty and our privelege ... to stay vigilant for the Desolation. One kingdom to study the arts of war so that the others might have peace ... We of Alethela are those watchers -- the warriors who protect and fight. We maintain the terrible arts of killing, then pass them on to others when the Desolation comes." - WoK Ch. 19 Starfalls

 

Quote

Heraldic Epochs

Eighth Epoch, circa 337:

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JordanCon 2018 (April 20, 2018)

#2 April 22, 2018 

Pagerunner [PENDING REVIEW]

The Starfall vision. Ten Deaths, referring to the Midnight Essence. That's what the one Radiant said, they're the Ten Deaths. Is that the Unmade, the Ten Deaths.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Well, there's nine Unmade, so...

  •  

 

 

Edited by Child of Hodor
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Oh I wasn’t suggesting there were 10 unmade, just that 9 heralds remaining meant 9 of odiums splinters could stay. But you two WOBed the crem out of that theory!

On a side note Child of Hodor when you said “The eighth epoch is during the Heraldic Epochs before the Heralds” I’m guessing you meant before the heralds abandoned?

Also, is there credibility to the idea that odium influenced the plan to leave one herald behind? It could be a coincidence that 9 abandoned the oathpact, but why not 8 and leave 2? Why not set up a rotating roster so each gets to live a millennia or two on Roshar between desolations? (damnation! I’m convincing myself more and more that it’s not a coincidence that 9 abandoned)

Edited by Genesis
Didn’t want to double post
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Idea: The original spren (pre-HxC) were mostly natural spren (flamespren, windspren, etc.) and the basic-emotion spren (shamespren, painspren, etc.). They were shaped by the Singers' perception of the world around them and the original/basic songs of emotion. There were also a few monstrously powerful spren that represented certain things that the Singers felt were very, very important: the highstorm, Roshar/the continent/the world, that sort of thing. Let's call these spren the god-spren. Part of this idea is that the Singers had a rather different/simpler view of the world.

Later, when Honor & Cultivation arrived on Roshar, they/their power messed with the spren a bit, especially with the god-spren (creating the Stormfather from the highstormspren, etc.). And then, when the humans arrived on Roshar, they brought with them some abstract concepts that further messed with the spren, slowly creating honorspren, justicespren, etc. as well as slightly reshaping existing spren.

Idea 2: The original Surges used by the Singers came from different spren. Each Surge came from a different spren, with a different form, and each Singer "Radiant" could only use one Surge at a time (one per form). There were ten forms, and the Singers could switch between forms. I also think that the Surges themselves were slightly different (in use and effects).

Between the arrival of HxC and the humans, the Surges and the spren that granted them also changed.

Idea 3: This is a weird one, but what if certain confusions are the result of mistranslations? Also, a brief theory of spren "evolution".

For instance, the Singers called the spren that granted the gravity surge "bondspren", referring to how the spren manipulated the force that bind everything to (on) Roshar. This was a descriptive term that did not necessarily refer to how it was used. When Honor arrived, his power altered it slightly to focus more on bonds and bindings as to how it worked. Then the humans arrived, bringing with them concepts like oaths, promises, and honor. Humans also spoke a different language. A (mis)translation meant that humans thought that the "bondspren" name was referring to bonds as in oaths (a binding promise, vow, etc.), and came to associate the "bondspren" with oaths and then with honor. Over the course of centuries, the "bondspren" slowly morphed into honorspren.

Idea 4: Building on the previous ideas, I propose that the Unmade are also former god-spren that were later corrupted by Odium. Odium also corrupted/created other spren (let's call those the voidform spren). The Unmade were god-spren that the ancient Singers associated with themselves and their songs and concepts, hence their relation more to the emotional spren than to naturespren. The corruption of the Unmade is part of the betrayal of the Singers.

And when I say god-spren, I mean that the Singers actually worshiped them as deities: the god of the highstorm, the god of stone/the land, the god of war (Thrill-causing Unmade), etc.

And this is my long, convoluted theory about spren. Please rip into it with WoB's and textual evidence now :)

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5 minutes ago, Genesis said:

Oh I wasn’t suggesting there were 10 unmade, just that 9 heralds remaining meant 9 of odiums splinters could stay. But you two WOBed the crem out of that theory!

On a side note Child of Hodor when you said “The eighth epoch is during the Heraldic Epochs before the Heralds” I’m guessing you meant before the heralds abandoned?

Also, is there credibility to the idea that odium influenced the plan to leave one herald behind? It could be a coincidence that 9 abandoned the oathpact, but why not 8 and leave 2? Why not set up a rotating roster so each gets to live a millennia or two on Roshar between desolations? (damnation! I’m convincing myself more and more that it’s not a coincidence that 9 abandoned)

Yeah, before the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact, my bad!  I thought the confusion was between 9 and 10 as well, but when I looked in the OB epigraphs the confusion is between 8 or 9 Unmade.

Quote

 

"It will not take a careful reader to ascertain I have listed only eight of the Unmade here. Lore is confident there were nine, an unholy number, asymmetrical and often associated with the enemy." OB Ch. 111

"I am certain there are nine Unmade. There are many legends and names that I could have misinterpreted, conflating two Unmade into one. In the next section, I will discuss my theories on this." OB Ch. 112

 

I think nine as Odium's number goes way beyond the Heralds. I think he would have only made 9 Unmade. The Everstorm's default speed is to circle Roshar every 9 days "They come at nine-day intervals" OB Ch. 111

When Venli is waiting for a new form from the Everstorm she is one of nine Listeners selected. "Nine of them had been selected from among the two thousand listeners" OB I-6

Moash notes there are only nine orders of Fused. "There were nine orders of them. Why not ten?" - OB Ch. 121

When Moash is given the Honorblade and his new name, Vyre, nine fused come for him "It was maybe an hour later when they came for him. Nine flying Fused" - OB Ch. 122

Odium got 9 of the 10 Heralds to abandon the Oathpact. 

Odium's planet is 9-centric while the rest of the planets in the system are 10. Presumably he did something to change it to 9. He may not have had a magic number prior to coming to the Rosharan system or maybe it is negative and so he likes 10 - 1. 

 
Quote

 

Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing (Nov. 30, 2016)
#6 
Herald (paraphrased)

Is there more significance to the 10 other planets around the Rosharan star system and them being gaseous? We know that Roshar's moons have unnatural orbits; so there seems to be some astronomical manipulation in the system.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes there is significance of 16 in cosmere and 10 in Rosharan system.

Herald (paraphrased)

The outer 10 gas giants in the Rosharan system suggest a tie to the number 10 that predates the arrival of the current Shards. Is the prominent numerology we see around the cosmere an inherent property of the planets, rather than the Shards who invest them?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Big RAFO.

Herald (paraphrased)

Would Ashyn/Braize share the 10-centric numerology of Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes 10-centric is for the entire Rosharan planetary system...wait Braize is 9-centric.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, SilverTiger said:

Idea 2: The original Surges used by the Singers came from different spren. Each Surge came from a different spren, with a different form, and each Singer "Radiant" could only use one Surge at a time (one per form). There were ten forms, and the Singers could switch between forms. I also think that the Surges themselves were slightly different (in use and effects).

If I am remembering correctly, it was thought to be impossible for the Singers to access the Surges.  Venli mentions something to the effect of "this bond wasn't supposed to be possible."

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10 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

If I am remembering correctly, it was thought to be impossible for the Singers to access the Surges.  Venli mentions something to the effect of "this bond wasn't supposed to be possible."

I am referring to the Singers who were around before humans, possibly before HxC. Presumably, the length of time meant that Singers' Surge-forms were forgotten. Also, it is possible that the Surges had somewhat different effects back then. The fundamental principles of the Surges has remained the same (the 10 Surges were laid down by Adonalsium) but the way the Surges are used, their exact effects, and how they are viewed, has changed. This might also explain the difficulty the Fused had when wielding the modern Surges.

The voidform spren of the Parshendi, subsequently, are Odium-corrupted variants of the original Singer-Surgesprens. This is more tenuous, though, since I have no idea what the voidforms are.

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17 minutes ago, Scion of the Mists said:

If I am remembering correctly, it was thought to be impossible for the Singers to access the Surges.  Venli mentions something to the effect of "this bond wasn't supposed to be possible."

That's my understanding, it had never happened the way it happens for humans. One of their songs was hopeful that it could someday.  

WoR Ch. 32 & 33 epigraphs:

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"The spren betrayed us, it’s often felt. / Our minds are too close to their realm / That gives us our forms, but more is then / Demanded by the smartest spren, / We can’t provide what the humans lend, / Though broth are we, their meat is men."Song of Spren, 9th stanza

"But it is not impossible to blend / Their Surges to ours in the end. / It has been promised and it can come. / Or do we understand the sum? / We questioned not if they can have us then, / But if we dare to have them again."Song of Spren, 10th stanza

Not sure if this is referring to what the Fused are doing or to an actual Nahel bond. The Singers couldn't us the surges before the Fused and the Fused access similar powers, but through a different means. No Nahel bond. 

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"THEY ARE REBORN USING THE BODIES OF PARSHMEN TO BECOME THE FUSED. AND EVEN BEFORE THE FUSED LEARNED TO COMMAND THE SURGES, MEN COULD NOT FIGHT THEM" OB - Ch. 38 

 

Edited by Child of Hodor
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12 minutes ago, SilverTiger said:

I am referring to the Singers who were around before humans, possibly before HxC. Presumably, the length of time meant that Singers' Surge-forms were forgotten. Also, it is possible that the Surges had somewhat different effects back then. The fundamental principles of the Surges has remained the same (the 10 Surges were laid down by Adonalsium) but the way the Surges are used, their exact effects, and how they are viewed, has changed. This might also explain the difficulty the Fused had when wielding the modern Surges.

The voidform spren of the Parshendi, subsequently, are Odium-corrupted variants of the original Singer-Surgesprens. This is more tenuous, though, since I have no idea what the voidforms are.

There is some evidence to suggest that the Singers didnt use any magics prior to the First Desolation in the Eila Stele but its up to interpretation.

Quote

"They came from another world, using powers that we have been forbidden to touch. Dangerous powers, of spren and Surges."

 

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Ideas rewritten and reorganized:

Original Singers: around before humans, HxC. They had access to the 10 Surges (which were laid down by Adonalsium) via a set of 10 spren, the Surgesprens, each of which granted a single Surge and had an associated Singer form. The Surgeforms may or may not have been available to all Singers, but Surgeform Singers could switch between forms normally (including the Surgeforms).

Original Spren: created by Adonalsium, shaped by the Singers; around before humans & HxC. These were the natural sprens (flamespren, windspren, etc.) and the most basic emotion/feelings sprens (painspren, sorrowspren?, lustspren?, etc.). The original Singers may have revered them as minor deities/spirits. None of these spren were intelligent. This group includes the Surgesprens.

God-spren: around before HxC; like the original spren, but each was unique. I.e., the spren/god of highstorms, the spren/god of Roshar, the spren/god of war. The Singers definitely worshiped them. These spren may or may not have been intelligent.

The arrival of HxC, humans, and the Odium has altered the spren in various ways. HxC and humans produced:

The Radiantsprens: a group of 10 intelligent spren that are associated with abstract concepts. They derive from the 10 Surgesprens, but each Radiantspren grants 2 Surges, the bond between Radiantspren and Knight-Radiant (essentially a Surgeform human) is permanent. The Nahel bond is also more complicated that the Surgespren-Singer bond. *Note: the 10 Surgesprens did not evenly morph into 10 Radiantsprens; rather, the 10 Surgesprens morphed, merged, and divided into 9 Radiantsprens.

The 3 Oathbringer spren: these are former god-spren that were drastically changed by HxC. Stormfather= god-spren of highstorms, for example. They are intelligent and unique.

Odium managed to cook up:

The Voidsprens: these derive from the 10 Surgesprens, via Odium's corruption. They produce both voidforms for the Singers and Voidbringers among humans (also thunderclasts and things). The intelligence level of these sprens, as well as what Surge(s) they grant access to is unknown.

The 9 Unmade: also former god-spren, but ones that were drastically changed by Odium.

The Voidsprens actually come before the Radiantsprens; their appearance, along with resulting Voidforms, Voidbringers, Fused, etc., caused Honor & Cultivation to cook up the Honorblades, which granted each Herald access to 2 Surges (the use of the 10 Surges, and the number of Heralds, stems from Adonalsium's fundamental 10-centric magic system). The Radiantsprens were subsequently shaped by the humans and their views of the Heralds (which is why the Radiantsprens give powers that so resemble the Heralds' powers).

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19 minutes ago, Blightsong said:

There is some evidence to suggest that the Singers didnt use any magics prior to the First Desolation in the Eila Stele but its up to interpretation.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but HxC arrived on Roshar well before the humans did. Maybe by the time the humans arrived, the alteration of the sprens by HxC had caused issues between the spren and the Singers? As in, the Singers would only bond with the 10 Surgesprens, and were forbidden to bond with Surgesprens that HxC had altered.

Or the powers the arriving humans had were not the Surges, but rather the Ashyn-magics. Here's an idea: the power-granting diseases of Ashyn are symbiotically bonded with spren (ones that are endemic to Ashyn). The early humans brought the diseases with them at first, but the diseases failed to survive on Roshar.

Or (option 2) the Stele is referring to Voidbringers specifically, and the conflation of the appearance of the first Voidbringers and the arrival of the humans is due to the Stele being written/carved after the Desolations had begun.

Edit: a third option is that the Surges as used by the Singers was not only very different from how the Surges are used by Radiants, but the effect was much more subtle.

Edited by SilverTiger
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6 minutes ago, SilverTiger said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but HxC arrived on Roshar well before the humans did. Maybe by the time the humans arrived, the alteration of the sprens by HxC had caused issues between the spren and the Singers? As in, the Singers would only bond with the 10 Surgesprens, and were forbidden to bond with Surgesprens that HxC had altered.

Or the powers the arriving humans had were not the Surges, but rather the Ashyn-magics. Here's an idea: the power-granting diseases of Ashyn are symbiotically bonded with spren (ones that are endemic to Ashyn). The early humans brought the diseases with them at first, but the diseases failed to survive on Roshar.

Or (option 2) the Stele is referring to Voidbringers specifically, and the conflation of the appearance of the first Voidbringers and the arrival of the humans is due to the Stele being written/carved after the Desolations had begun.

Edit: a third option is that the Surges as used by the Singers was not only very different from how the Surges are used by Radiants, but the effect was much more subtle.

Like I said, its up to interpretation, just something I thought could be relevant. Also, the disease magic apparently was not always the magic system on Ashyn:

Quote

1. Is Ashyn still operating on a sickness-based magic, as indicated in the readings you've done previously? Or are you not ready to canonise that?

2. Assuming it is, was the use of Investiture on Ashyn always sickness-based?

Quote

1. Ashyn still has that magic, though I've gone a lot of directions on how I want the culture to feel, so I souldn't consider that canon yet.

1. No.

 

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6 hours ago, Child of Hodor said:

Odium's planet is 9-centric while the rest of the planets in the system are 10. Presumably he did something to change it to 9. He may not have had a magic number prior to coming to the Rosharan system or maybe it is negative and so he likes 10 - 1. 

This is an incredibly interesting idea. AFAIK, the magic numbers go with planets more than Shards even in cases where Shards are associated with numbers specifically, but at any rate the idea that not all the magic numbers are positive integers is very tantalizing as the basis for theory-building more generally...

Edited by Ripheus23
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@Pagerunner we just got a new WoB that hints at Unmade having existed on other planets in the Rosharan system: 

Quote

Questioner: Are the Unmade and the spheres that contain them only on roshar or are they in other planets in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson: You need to rephrase that question a little bit, alright, ask me again remembering that they is a big difference between the Rosharan system and the rest of the cosmere. There’s three planets in the Rosharan system.

Questioner: Ok, so than particularly in these ones.

Brandon Sanderson: It is possible that Unmade influence and existence would extend beyond Roshar.

 

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