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kari-no-sugata

The Everstorm as a metrological disaster

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I've not seen much discussion of this - here's my thoughts.

 

For the last 4500 years or so, the highstorms have been doing the same thing: going from east to west once or twice a week, weakening as they do so. Though they are extremely powerful, because they come from a predictable direction the amount of actual damage they cause is not so bad - people and nature have been able to deal with them reasonably well. Those on the east of Roshar are the most affected as the winds are strongest there. There's a fairly smooth gradient across the continent and entire ecosystems have developed around this.
 

They approached the ridge, which had caused a high shelf of rock at exactly the right angle to form a windbreak. Larger versions of these formations were called laits. Sheltered valleys where a town could flourish.


But now the Everstorm comes, blowing the "wrong" way.
 

Stormfather... Laits would no longer be laits. Buildings that had been constructed to face away from the storms would suddenly be exposed.

 

It's not just buildings though. In the east, crops can only be grown in windbreaks and laits (I think so at least though I've not been able to find a direct reference). I don't know about the west - I guess in the far west the highstorm winds are probably weak enough that windbreaks only make a minor difference.

This means that those who had been most sheltered and least setup to deal with highstorms will be the most exposed to the Everstorm. Towns in the west that are in laits rather than proper valleys could be destroyed (ironically, those domed buildings that Lift made fun of could come in handy). Even if the people survive their crops could be ruined. Sheltered cities might not be directly affected much but could face famine due to widespread crop failure.

 

I would imagine that the Everstorm will similarly weaken as it goes from west to east. I'm not sure how strong it will be by the time it gets to Alethkar - maybe not much worse than a regular storm. It would be interesting to know how "wide" it is compared to a highstorm - will each Everstorm passing through affect the whole of Roshar or just a swathe?
 

In the west, I wouldn't be surprised if some areas see their population fall by 90% or more - due to direct effects of the wind/rain, in the medium term from starvation due to crop failure and in the longer term due to the survivors migrating to safer regions.

 

The Everstorm is going to be very destructive even if we ignore the magical effects.

 

YOU ARE DOOMED

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Yes, the characters in the book actually mention this, if only in passing.

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Shinovar is going to be absolutely wrecked. The flora and fauna are not equipped to deal with constant storms of that ferocity. That could have an effect on something like horses being bred. Horses will now become even rarer, meaning no more cavalry potentially.

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I wanted to keep the topic on the actual storm but it's going to be interesting to see how everyone deals with it. I think there may end up being a lot of resentment about the people sitting pretty in Urithru. Dalinar's main concern right now is to try to organise the world together to face the Everstorm and it's magical side-effects but if nobody tries to invade / take-over Urithru I'll be quite surprised - imagine the counties in the west being devastated by the Everstorm finding out there's a magic portal to safety. While some would be grateful some would want to take it over and shut down the portals and just "wait out" the Everstorm (I wonder even how practical an option that is?).

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Based on the description we got at the end of Words of Radiance "invading" Urithiru would be extraordinarily difficult.  It is in the high mountains entirely without any non-magical access.  Assuming they get any of the other gates working they can still only be operated by a Radiant with a living shard blade.  I believe Dalinar described it as "incredibly defensible."  Getting any long term use out of Urithiru pretty much requires the cooperation of the Radiants.  It is a fortress city made by Radiants for Radiants.

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Soulcasters basically feed the entire Alethi army. With a new batch of Radiants able to Soulcast as well, I don't know if starvation will be as much of a problem, though I certainly doubt it's going to be pleasant. Shinovar in particular is going to be hit hard and likely destroyed, since the Everstorm goes west -> east. Maybe it goes northwest -> southeast, though, and Shinovar won't be entirely destroyed. Szeth dealing with Shinovar's destruction should prove interesting.

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Another problem is that highstorms generally spawn out at sea, in a place that we don't know about. For the sake of my argument, let us say that it's in the middle of the ocean. The Everstorm starts at the Shattered Plains. It will lose some force as it has to go over land before it reaches the sea, but then it has a whole uninterrupted stretch of water to build up power and momentum. The Everstorm is going to be more powerful than any highstorm Roshar has had to encounter. However, even without the extra power, Shinovar and the other countries will still be destroyed. 

 

I wonder if Mr. T's diagram accounts for this? That would be an interesting problem.

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Based on the description we got at the end of Words of Radiance "invading" Urithiru would be extraordinarily difficult.  It is in the high mountains entirely without any non-magical access.  Assuming they get any of the other gates working they can still only be operated by a Radiant with a living shard blade.  I believe Dalinar described it as "incredibly defensible."  Getting any long term use out of Urithiru pretty much requires the cooperation of the Radiants.  It is a fortress city made by Radiants for Radiants.

You're right, that fact had temporarily slipped my mind. Thanks.

However, the number of Radiants in the world is increasing and it is possible to trick or force them (with hostages). One real danger is that the Ghostbloods will try to do something - they're already inside Urithru and if they get enough people inside they could launch an internal assault. They could try to blackmail Shallan, use her brothers as hostages or simply use Dalinar's benevolence against him. Wouldn't surprise me if the climax sequence for SA#3 starts with the Ghostbloods coming into the open and launching a takeover bid.

 

Here's an interesting thought - could an Honorblade wielded by anyone be used to activate the portals? If so, then Radiants would not be needed. It seems likely that the Radiants would have designed the system to be usable by Heralds if they could have and the designers may not have foreseen a possibility of a non-Herald wielding an Honorblade. And it just so happens that Kaladin has picked up an Honorblade that will be stored in Urithru. How... convenient ;)

 

Soulcasters basically feed the entire Alethi army. With a new batch of Radiants able to Soulcast as well, I don't know if starvation will be as much of a problem, though I certainly doubt it's going to be pleasant. Shinovar in particular is going to be hit hard and likely destroyed, since the Everstorm goes west -> east. Maybe it goes northwest -> southeast, though, and Shinovar won't be entirely destroyed. Szeth dealing with Shinovar's destruction should prove interesting.

Feeding an army is a very different prospect to feeding a whole country. Stormlight can be stored in gems for later use but there's only so many gems and they wear out with use. There's also only so many soulcaster devices too, even if you use them continuously - feels like the warcamps were close to the practical limits. To make it possible to feed a whole country long term you'd need Shallan's hypothetical plan to mass-produce chasamfiends and also need to make new food soulcasters (or lots of Radiants with Transformation Surge).

 

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You're right, that fact had temporarily slipped my mind. Thanks.

However, the number of Radiants in the world is increasing and it is possible to trick or force them (with hostages). One real danger is that the Ghostbloods will try to do something - they're already inside Urithru and if they get enough people inside they could launch an internal assault. They could try to blackmail Shallan, use her brothers as hostages or simply use Dalinar's benevolence against him. Wouldn't surprise me if the climax sequence for SA#3 starts with the Ghostbloods coming into the open and launching a takeover bid.

 

Here's an interesting thought - could an Honorblade wielded by anyone be used to activate the portals? If so, then Radiants would not be needed. It seems likely that the Radiants would have designed the system to be usable by Heralds if they could have and the designers may not have foreseen a possibility of a non-Herald wielding an Honorblade. And it just so happens that Kaladin has picked up an Honorblade that will be stored in Urithru. How... convenient ;)

 

 

Which is all highly speculative. 

 

I can certainly imagine Mr. Sanderson throwing us for a loop with the sudden loss of Urithiru but via the Ghostbloods?  Eh...I have so far seen them as small elite group that prefers to remain largely in the shadows.  Such an attempted usurpation would be counter to that.  Mraize's last conversation with Shallan seemed to indicate that he saw no fundamental need for the Ghostbloods to come into direct conflict with the Radiants.  After all we don't really know what they want.

 

For the Radiants to loose Urithiru I think any event or attack would have to occur very early on before Dalinar can get firmly established or be backed by powerful magical ability.

 

Edit : We know the Voidbringers have potential access to dozens if not hundreds of forms.  Can any of them fly?  Is the legends Jasnah read of Urithiru being protected from Voidbringers true?  If so is it a passive trait of the city or does it require able and aware Radiants to maintain?  I must admit the idea of a climactic battle at Urithiru between Voidbringers and Radiants has a certain epic appeal. :)

Edited by Arondell
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Just to be clear: I'm expecting there to be some kind of attack on/in Urithru at some point. Never said anything about them actually winning :)

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Just to be clear: I'm expecting there to be some kind of attack on/in Urithru at some point. Never said anything about them actually winning :)

 

Me too. And I am currently wondering if there is another way into Urithru... So far, the only way we know to get into the city is by using the Oathgates which can only be operated by certain knights... They say it is impossible to access it from the mountains. I cannot believe the Radiants would built a city with only one way in and one way out.

 

I am thinking there must be another path, some sort of hidden passage, probably down into those tunnels. I am starting to think someone will find the way out and thus lead, by accident, a Voidbringer army in. It would lead for an epic battle. How about that for a plot twist?

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 I cannot believe the Radiants would built a city with only one way in and one way out.

 

Don't forget that at least four orders of Radiants have obvious ways to leave Urithiru via the Gravity and Transportation surges.  Lightweavers in a pinch could probably leave via shadesmar.  Edgedancers and Releasers could probably use the friction surge to travel over the mountains relatively easily.

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Me too. And I am currently wondering if there is another way into Urithru... So far, the only way we know to get into the city is by using the Oathgates which can only be operated by certain knights... They say it is impossible to access it from the mountains. I cannot believe the Radiants would built a city with only one way in and one way out.

 

 

Well, there isn't one way out, if you're a KR. Shallan is reasonably certain that she could survive a hundred foot fall, and she's survived at least a two hundred one. Pack enough Stormlight, and you can survive just about anything. Skybreakers and Windrunners could probably Lash you down, if you're a non-KR.

 

But, I do see what you're saying. However, the best way to defend a location is to have limited access. There are numerous trade-offs, but only being able to teleport in if you're a KR is a huge advantage in a war.

 

Also, I was ninja'd by Arondell on the whole "There's not only one way out, technically" thing. Dang.

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Well, there isn't one way out, if you're a KR. Shallan is reasonably certain that she could survive a hundred foot fall, and she's survived at least a two hundred one. Pack enough Stormlight, and you can survive just about anything. Skybreakers and Windrunners could probably Lash you down, if you're a non-KR.

 

But, I do see what you're saying. However, the best way to defend a location is to have limited access. There are numerous trade-offs, but only being able to teleport in if you're a KR is a huge advantage in a war.

 

Also, I was ninja'd by Arondell on the whole "There's not only one way out, technically" thing. Dang.

 

Well I assumed the city was not inhabited solely by Radiants... There must have been thousand of regular people working the simple jobs that need doing. Besides, the Radiants did not fight alone, they had regular soldiers, armies.

 

I agree the Radiant themselves cannot really be trapped into the city, but the other people? I would find it plausible if they had built a secret way out, you know, just in case.

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Assorted random thoughts:

  • Highstorms start at the Origin and weaken as they travel over land.  What about the Everstorm?   Is there only one that never weakens?  Do new ones get created?  Does it/they get reinforced when closest to Braize?  Can the Voidbringers sing it stronger? 
  • Shinovar actually has mountains to the East and West.  Will it be somewhat protected?
  • The destruction that occurs when an Everstorm and a Highstorm collide are incredible.  Is the Everstorm predictable?  Can the Stormfather be convinced to only make Highstorms when they will collide w/the Everstorm over non-vital regions?
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  • Shinovar actually has mountains to the East and West.  Will it be somewhat protected?

 

I doubt it. For one, the mountains on the west don't extend all the way, and they're not as tall or wide as the Misted Mountain Range (Why do I always think of LoTR when I see that?). The Everstorm seems to  have the same strength as a highstorm, though when we first saw it, it was smashing into a highstorm. Also, I believe it will be stronger when it hits Shinovar due to my theory above: namely, the storm has more water to go over so it will build power. 

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I doubt it. For one, the mountains on the west don't extend all the way, and they're not as tall or wide as the Misted Mountain Range (Why do I always think of LoTR when I see that?).

 

Because their name is probably a deliberate shout-out by Brandon to the Misty Mountains from the Hobbit/LoTR?

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