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Nellac

The Other Two Bondsmiths

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 As I was reading through the series I remember the stormfather mentioning that he had two other siblings. It is also mentioned that there are only ever three (max) bondsmiths at one time. Now I don't think that it is coincidental that the number of bondsmiths on this world is the same as the number of shards. I actually think that each shard has an associated bondsmith. They are the most powerful spren of that shard. You would have the Stormfather, the Nightwatcher, and one of the Unmade (not sure which). We've already seen that we can have radiants bond spren other than Honor's (Edgedancers), so I think this could be possible. If so, does this mean we could have some orders of radiant that actually bond odiumspren? It seems that the most likely to fit in this category are Dustbringers, but we really don't know enough about them yet to make a decision.

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Posted (edited)

It's not likely to be the Unmade. It's almost certainly the Sibling that's associated with Urithiru. Whom I think is most likely an entity that is a mix of Honor and Cultivation.

We haven't seen a Radiant bond a non-H&C spren. Cultivationspren are still spren that are of Honor+Cultivation. Renarin is the only one that comes close, and that's more corrupted than pure Odium.

We've seen what happens when a human tries to bond with an Unmade or even a lesser voidspren, at Thaylenah, and it's not pretty.

Edited by RShara
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I believe that the Sibling being the third Bondsmith spren is effectively confirmed by the Stormfather in conversation with Dalinar.  The Sibling being a spren associated with or created by Odium has some merit, based on the Stormfather's reaction to it in the same conversation, but I agree that it's more likely to be another major spren created by Honor, Cultivation, or Adonalsium.

Based on the content of the second letter, in WoR, we know that Braise, Roshar, and Ashyn pre-date the Shattering and were therefore created by Adonalsium at the latest.  We don't know for certain, but it is implied, that the ecology of Roshar similarly pre-dates the arrival of Odium and the others.  This would suggest that spren, at least the ones that allow the greatshells etc. to stand and move under gravity and the Stormfather himself, are also that old.  It is also the case that Odium arrived in the system first.  It's not clear from the text if the dispute between Odium, Honor, and Cultivation began as soon as the latter Shards moved into the Rosharan system, or if it began only after the destruction of Ashyn, but there was at least some window of time when Odium could have created or invested a major spren that would now be known as the Sibling.

Let's take a survey of the major spren that we're aware of, thus far.

  • The Stormfather is a personification of the highstorm and manifests as a face dozens or hundreds of miles wide.  He bears a cognitive shadow of Honor, but was almost certainly not created by Honor.  He exists almost entirely in the physical realm with only minor reflections of his passing in Shadesmar.
  • The Nightwatcher is a djinn-like nature spirit, manifesting as a giant grotesque woman.  She refers to Cultivation as "mother" and can be assumed to have been created by Cultivation.   We haven't seen her in Shadesmar yet.
  • Ashertmarn, the heart of the revel, is an embodiment of hedonism which manifests in the physical realm as a massive beating heart.  Like the rest of the Unmade, it was created by Odium.  In Shadesmar it is an enormous crab-like monster at least the size of the Kholinar palace.
  • Re-Shephir, the midnight mother, is an embodiment of envy and feral savagery which manifests as a mass of oily black goo that can form into any shape and bursts like a smoke-filled balloon when pierced.  Has not been seen in Shadesmar.
  • Nergaoul is an embodiment of frenzy and wrath, which manifests variously as an invisible country-spanning force or a thick red mist the size of a large city.  In Shadesmar it also appears as a thick red mist.
  • Cusicesh, the protector, is a massive four-armed humanoid formed of illusory water that covers an entire bay.  Its purpose is unclear, but according to this WoB it's not on the same level of Investiture as the two known Bondsmith spren, and is therefore unlikely to be the Sibling.
  • Moelach, like Nergaoul, manifests as an invisible country-spanning force.  If it has any other manifestations in Roshar or Shadesmar we haven't seen them.

The remaining Unmade either haven't been seen onscreen (Chemoarish, Ba-Ado-Mishram, Dai-Gonarthis) or don't meet the criteria (Sja-anat manifests only as a reflection and Yelig-nar only via possession of a vessel).  We know for certain that Ba-Ado-Mishram has been captured in a series of large black spheres.  The withdrawal of the Sibling dates to around the same time, coinciding with the Recreance.  I would argue that of these seven major spren, each of the four unmade matches the level of power and impact on the world that the Stormfather represents, and Cusicesh is just weird.

If we did assume that the Sibling was associated with Odium, then we run into several problems.  By virtue of that association, it would be in opposition to the Radiants and therefore would likely not be related to Urithiru.  The Bondsmith connected to it would also be in opposition to the Radiants, which would mean that one of the three fought for the Singers.  This creates a paradox of its own as I can't reconcile one of the leaders of the Singers being a human surgebinder - I can't believe that the fused would allow it.  These observations aren't concrete, but it's a fairly strong argument against any association between the Sibling and Odium.

Given how successfully the Unmade were able to hide for two thousand years, it's absolutely reasonable that the Sibling is similarly in hiding somewhere.  Why the Sibling would be in hiding, and why it withdrew in the first place, are currently unclear.  The only things we know about it for certain are that it exists somewhere, it is extremely powerful and likely has world-changing impact when it exercises its power, and right now it doesn't want to be found.

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12 hours ago, mathwin said:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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12 hours ago, mathwin said:

Based on the content of the second letter, in WoR, we know that Braise, Roshar, and Ashyn pre-date the Shattering and were therefore created by Adonalsium at the latest.  We don't know for certain, but it is implied, that the ecology of Roshar similarly pre-dates the arrival of Odium and the others.  This would suggest that spren, at least the ones that allow the greatshells etc. to stand and move under gravity and the Stormfather himself, are also that old.  It is also the case that Odium arrived in the system first.  It's not clear from the text if the dispute between Odium, Honor, and Cultivation began as soon as the latter Shards moved into the Rosharan system, or if it began only after the destruction of Ashyn, but there was at least some window of time when Odium could have created or invested a major spren that would now be known as the Sibling.

 

It doesn't really affect your summarizing of the theory, but just wanted to point out that Odium arrived last. Spoilered for length.

Spoiler
 
 
 
1
Spoiler

Zas

So the number of Shards that have been on Roshar is three, correct?

Brandon Sanderson

Correct.

Zas

People have been thrown by you saying that Odium is not native to Roshar.

Brandon Sanderson

Odium is not native... see that's the thing. Are any of them native? So if you dig the deeper question, are any of them native, ehhh, none of them are native to the planets that you've seen so far. What I probably should've said to be more precise is that Honor and Cultivation were there long before Odium showed up.

Orem signing (Sept. 22, 2012)
Spoiler
 
EDIT: I have no idea why quoting is being weird...also, can't edit or select anything on chrome. Had to open Edge. *shudders*
 
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Spoiler

Hoidonalsium

What was the order of the Shards coming to Roshar and changing allegiances? Did humans come with Odium?

Brandon Sanderson

So... you're talking about on Roshar specifically? So, Odium had visited Roshar. The humans gave him more of an ear... The Dawnsingers would have considered him the god of the people who had come, but-- I mean, it wasn't like they necessarily brought him. He was capable of getting around before that. I mean, he did kinda come along with them, he was instrumental in what happened there.

Hoidonalsium

Okay, but he was separate, and after Honor and Cultivation had really settled there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, he was after Honor and Cultivation had settled.

Oathbringer Glasgow signing (Dec. 2, 2017)

 

Edited by Elwynn
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There may be something weird going on with phpbb or whatever they're using for this site.  Patch Tuesday was this week, maybe they introduced a bug.

So I mis-remembered the order I guess.  That does change a few things.

Quote

They came from another world, 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. We took them in, as commanded by the gods. What else could we do? They were a people forlorn, without a home. Our pity destroyed us. For their betrayal extended even to our gods: to spren, stone, and wind. Beware the otherworlders. The traitors. Those with tongues of sweetness, but with minds that lust for blood. Do not take them in. Do not give them succor. Well were they named Voidbringers, for they brought the void. The empty pit that sucks in emotion. A new god. Their god. These Voidbringers know no songs. They cannot hear Roshar, and where they go, they bring silence. They look soft, with no shell, but they are hard. They have but one heart, and it cannot ever live.  -Eila Stele

My understanding was that Roshar and its ecology already existed in more-or-less their current forms when the Shattering happened, and Honor and Cultivation arrived sometime later to create humans like the original ones on Yolen on the then-lifeless planet Ashyn.  Odium had already claimed Roshar and the pre-existing Singers, finding that their adaptation to the harsh environment suited his disposition.  When the humans misused the Dawnshards and destroyed Ashyn, Honor and Cultivation moved most of them to Roshar, creating tension with Odium which was exacerbated by the humans' ensuing conquest.  In this version of events, Honor (and maybe Cultivation) are the humans' "new god" which explains why the humans are already able to use surges and bond spren.

If the order of the Shards' arrival changes, then the story changes as well.  Honor and Cultivation arrived to find either an already-existing Roshar and Singers, or more likely a planet with only primitive life which they then modified and nourished, creating the spren to nudge physics enough to let them create creatures that would otherwise be impossible and making things like the weather more ordered.  It becomes murky at this point, primarily because of the "new god" mentioned by the Eila Stele.  The description of an "empty pit that sucks in emotion" is very similar to what we have seen from Odium and Ashertmarn with their enjoining of gluttony, lust, and other passions.

This creates a bit of a paradox, however.  Why would the Singers now be following a god that they saw in this way, and why would Honor and Cultivation have switched sides and backed the invaders?  The timing and Shard involved in the creation of the humans and the nahel bond is critical here.  Did Honor and/or Cultivation create the humans, or did Odium?  Did the humans exist when Odium arrived or were they created as a response?  Was the nahel bond a product of Honor and Cultivation giving preferential treatment to the sentient life they'd created themselves over the ones they'd inherited from Adonalsium, or was it something that Odium gave to the humans either because he'd created them or because he knew that they'd misuse the powers and destroy what the other Shards had created?

There are far too many questions that result from Odium arriving last.  Who created the humans and when?  When and why did the humans receive access to the nahel bond?  Why was the bond denied to the Singers until apparently very recently?  Most importantly, when and why did the gods switch sides, with Odium adopting the Singers and creating the fused and Honor directly helping the humans survive the desolations, and why did the Singers accept Odium as their god?

We're sure to get some answers to these questions in the next book, especially since Taln and Ash should both have lived through the destruction of Ashyn and all of the subsequent turmoil (assuming they're cogent enough to speak).  But this thread is about Bondsmiths and the Sibling - hopefully we get some answers to those questions next year as well.

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33 minutes ago, mathwin said:

There are far too many questions that result from Odium arriving last.  Who created the humans and when? 

None of the Shards created the Rosharan system's humans.  

 

34 minutes ago, mathwin said:

When and why did the humans receive access to the nahel bond?

The Nahel bond was a joint effort between the Radiant spren and the humans; it was not given to them by a Shard.  

 

35 minutes ago, mathwin said:

Why was the bond denied to the Singers until apparently very recently?

The Radiants and their spren were fighting the Singers, so why would the spren bond an enemy?  

 

36 minutes ago, mathwin said:

Most importantly, when and why did the gods switch sides, with Odium adopting the Singers and creating the fused and Honor directly helping the humans survive the desolations, and why did the Singers accept Odium as their god?

This is the big question.  We're not exactly sure on the specifics, but I attribute it mostly to Odium's meddling.  The Singers likely adopted Odium because Honor/Cultivation weren't helping them in their war against the humans.  

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On 8/15/2019 at 8:39 AM, mathwin said:

 

If we did assume that the Sibling was associated with Odium, then we run into several problems.  By virtue of that association, it would be in opposition to the Radiants and therefore would likely not be related to Urithiru.  The Bondsmith connected to it would also be in opposition to the Radiants, which would mean that one of the three fought for the Singers.  This creates a paradox of its own as I can't reconcile one of the leaders of the Singers being a human surgebinder - I can't believe that the fused would allow it.  These observations aren't concrete, but it's a fairly strong argument against any association between the Sibling and Odium.

 

Spoiler

Why wouldn't it make sense? As I understand it, Odium is a representation of Passion. Passion in and of itself is not an evil thing. Also, is it so unreasonable to think that maybe some of the unmade received different attributes of Odium. If we look at the shards of Adonalsium many of them have very different attributes and personalities. Also, we have seen spren (which unmade are just very large versions of) turn against their side. Malata's spren, spark, is supporting her and Terivangian in supporting Odium, and trying to overthrow the radiants. Also, Sja-anat is obviously trying to help Shallan in Oathbreaker. Given that we see one of the unmade turning on Odium, is it so unreasonable that one has left him in the past and created a bond with the radiants?

 

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2 hours ago, Nellac said:

Why wouldn't it make sense? As I understand it, Odium is a representation of Passion. Passion in and of itself is not an evil thing. Also, is it so unreasonable to think that maybe some of the unmade received different attributes of Odium. If we look at the shards of Adonalsium many of them have very different attributes and personalities. Also, we have seen spren (which unmade are just very large versions of) turn against their side. Malata's spren, spark, is supporting her and Terivangian in supporting Odium, and trying to overthrow the radiants. Also, Sja-anat is obviously trying to help Shallan in Oathbreaker. Given that we see one of the unmade turning on Odium, is it so unreasonable that one has left him in the past and created a bond with the radiants?

Stop it!  Odium is not passion.  He is not even close!  Go to the common Cosmere misconception page!

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Odium is not Passion, he is hatred. He is lying, to himself and everyone else. 

Whoever the third Bondsmith spren is, it isn't born of Odium. Yes there are spren in this era, post Recreance, that are seemingly seeking non-traditional options of allegiance, but these are individual cases. The Recreance effected every sapient spren on Roshar and produced scars unlike any other event in Rosharan history since the arrival of Odium in system. There is bound to be some bumps in the road when trying to re-establish something so thoroughly broken. But to believe that an organization founded to combat the ancient enemy of Odium would have one of it's 3 most powerful and highly invested spren be working for that enemy makes no sense. An organization built such would have never survived even one Desolation, much less the many they have endured.

Also, if Odium were mixed up in surgebinding in such a way that it would have a leadership role assigned to its Shard, where are the other Nahel spren of Odium? All the Nahel spren are a mix of Honor and Cultivation. Perrcentage differs depending on the type of spren but according to Brandon they all have a foot in both camps. No room for Odium amongst the other 9 Orders, why would he have such a powerful foothold at the top?

Looking at the Surgebinder Chart for Odium is an exercise in futility. Odium, a being who traditionally doesn't play well with others, has an in to the unique way magic manifests on Roshar already, one he doesn't have to split or share with another Shard. It's called Voidbinding and it has its own chart. It also doesn't force anyone to have to attempt mental gymnastics to explain how inviting Odium into a leadership position of an organization built to fight him makes even a little bit of sense.

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