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Thurin

Skybreaker squires

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In Oathbringer we see Szeth and some other Skybreaker 'squires'/hopefuls progress from squire to a Knight Radiant. We've also seen Bridge Four having squires under Kaladin and some of them became Windrunners themselves. It struck me that there's a huge difference between the process of how the Skybreakers and Windrunners we've seen become squires and (full) Radiants after that.

 

Gathering facts: (I will assume that Szeth follows the standard Skybreaker procedure)

Kaladin is able to breathe in Stormlight after he speaks his First Ideal, but Szeth is only able to breathe in Stormlight after he speaks his Second Ideal.

In all cases we've seen the Radiant speaks his/her Ideal to his/her spren, but when a Skybreaker swears the First and Second Ideal it is accepted by higher members of the order, in other words: by humans.

Kaladin and Shallan get squires (who can breathe in Stormlight and can Surgebind without their own spren) out of people whom they see as part of their group. Skybreakers can only Surgebind and breathe in Stormlight after they speak the Second Ideal, but they still don't have their own Spren at that moment.

Kaladin thinks of Bridge Four as 'his men' no matter if they're squire or not, but Skybreaker master wait to accept a squire as 'their apprentice' until the squire has sworn the Second Ideal.

Windrunners bond a spren with the First Ideal, but Skybreakers bond a spren with the Third Ideal.

In both orders a squire seems to be more likely to attract a spren than a non-squire.

 

My interpretation:

I think that Skybreaker hopefuls are trained to have the characteristics and personality of a full Skybreaker in order to be more likely to attract an own highspren.

If my theory is correct, nothing really happens when a Skybreaker swears his First and Second Ideal, but they will be living up to the Ideals they have already sworn. After speaking the Second Ideal a Skybreaker master is willing to accept a hopeful as his/her squire, and for that reason they get access to Surgebinding and Stormlight from that point onwards (if only when their master is near). This way Skybreakers can already begin their training before they have even started to attract a spren, but will probably impress a highspren sooner or later because of this training.

Then we see Szeth bond his highspren. But hey ...!? Didn't he swear his Third Ideal at that moment? Yes he did. This would mean that Szeth actually only became a squire at his Second Ideal (before that he was just a hopeful), and when he finally bonded his highspren he instantaneously promoted from squire to full Radiant of the Third Ideal.

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So if I understand this correctly, Skybreaker squires are able to use Division, they are just not allowed to until they have their own spren/swear the Third Ideal.

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7 hours ago, Crucible of Shards said:

So if I understand this correctly, Skybreaker squires are able to use Division, they are just not allowed to until they have their own spren/swear the Third Ideal.

That's not what I meant (sorry if my explanation wasn't clear). If I'm correct Skybreaker 'squires' aren't actually squires like the squires we see in Bridge Four. I made a table to clarify my previous post:

 

Skybreaker-Windrunner.PNG

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I think a lot of this is indirect: the differences in how Windrunners vs Skybreakers come from the personality differences between their respective spren.  The skybreaker speaking the First and Second Ideals are only needing to Satisfy the Spren, but is is the Spren that wont accept it unless it is first approved by the hopeful's proper authorities, and with a much higher emphasis on Ritual and Ceremony. So they seem to culturally have more specific regulations regarding the stages and the abilities granted at each level.  I wouldnt be surprised if they were simply Uninterested in anyone who had not first been approved by the skybreaker Organization.  But I do believe there is at least a small and weak bond right at the first Ideal, else there would be no Bond at all to be granting the abilities.  I simply think the Highspren keep intentionally silent and restricting Surge access until their prospective Radiant has proven themselves with the organized Trials and Ceremonies of the Order. 

 

Also, there will always be the overriding caveat that the radiant and spren in question can and will sometimes do it differently from their own order; Teft for example seemed to be in Denial about being a Windrunner in his own right, until he swore his own 3rd. 

 

And also, it could always be the case that the progression is going to be different if you take the path of squire first, vs becoming a full radiant in your own right like Kaladin did. 

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In addition, the Stormfather (as the remnant of Honor) is the one to determine, even if reluctantly, when THESE WORDS ARE ACCEPTED for a Windrunner - not the individual honorspren. The (proto-)Radiant needs to speak the words aloud, too: Syl was quite insistent about that for Kaladin's Second and Third Ideals.

A Cultivationspren like Windle preferrred that Lift say her Words aloud, but sighed and accepted that she'd "said them, in my heart" and appeared as a Shardrod for her.

A Cryptic like Pattern only needs a Truth to "octave up" the Nahel Bond - they don't need to be spoken aloud, simply acknowledged or confessed between the human and the spren. Though it seems each Truth needs to be... Deeper as the Ideals progress. The Lightweaver must become more and more self-aware.

And the highspren? They are the embodiment of the concept of discernment - it makes a lot of sense that they'd work the way they do. I think the OP summarized it pretty well.

Which makes me wonder about Helaran, Shallan's oldest brother, who per a WoB was a Skybreaker acolyte.

I suspect that he was dispatched to kill Amaram because Nalan had a reason to "strike against the Sons of Honor", of which Amaram was a member, yet had no legal basis to do so - so nobody who'd sworn the Second Ideal of the Skybreakers could move directly against him.

Which means maybe Helaran FAILED the novitiate test to become a Squire in doing what he did (or attempted to do). Remember that Szeth advanced by being the only one to see through the matter of "kill the escaped prisoners" as the "obvious task at hand" and realize that the bigger crime was for the nobleman to have run the prison in such a way that enabled the escape by means of engendering desperation to kill the lone guard.

And he moved to kill Amaram with "deadspren" Shards, which surely the highspren (like all other spren) disapprove of? (Or maybe they don't care, since they seem to have them on hand to lend out to acolytes in the first place.) Also, killing numerous people, like most of Kaladin's squad, in getting to Amaram - was that not murder?

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I reread the Szeth training scenes and some of the bits with Syl talking of her process, and I really think it comes down to the Highspren having a more structures order to theirs, though there's also a lot of indication that Syl has always bonded early and/or more deeply than typical.  Syl was following Kaladin way back in Amaram's Army, long before he swore any Ideals; but she also went comatose when her first Radiant died, which she said was unusual among Bonded spren (though it did save her from the Recreance).

The Skybreakers are very specific about their process: They swear the First Ideal and are absolved all past sins (I wonder if they have the legal authority to do that everywhere?), but cannot at that point move under their own stormlight.  After proper testing they are chosen by a specific Skybreaker to become their Squire (the master fought over Szeth), which is what they call those of the Second Ideal, and they can use Gravitation at that point but not Division. Also, if the Masters are to be believed they have not attracted their own Spren at that point.  As squires they attract a specific Highspren and form their own bond, becoming a full Skybreaker and gaining the full Surges. 

 

I think that all really comes down to simply concept that Highspren simply will not consider candidates that have not first served "properly" as a Master's Squire, whereas Honorspren are a little less Lawful Neutral about that whole thing. Good thing they never gave up their Oaths, they'd have had a harder time re-establishing themselves from scratch. 

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