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1. Moash, Ba-Ado-Mishram and the Windrunners

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Table of Contents: 
4. Some curious parallels between Moelach, the Silent Gatherers, and Edgedancers
5. Truths and Secrets; Of Watching and Taking
3, 9. Ashertmarn and Nergaoul
1. Moash, Ba-Ado-Mishram and the Windrunners


1. Moash, Ba-Ado-Mishram and the Windrunners

Because we've seen so little of Ba-Ado-Mishram directly (we've seen none, really), the parallels here are of the potential kind, and much more theoretical than some of the parallels I've been able to establish so far. For reference, here's practically all the tidbits we have about Ba-Ado-Mishram, from Hessi's Mythica and the Gem Archive:
 -  She led Odium's forces as his Highmarshal on more than one occasion.
 -  During the final desolation, she connected with the Parsh and supplied them with Voidlight and facilitated the "forms of power"

Parallel 1: By Inversion of Ideals
Kaladin and Teft give us two of the Windrunner Ideals:
    2. I will protect those who cannot protect themselves.
    3. I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right.

We haven't seen enough of Ba-Ado-Mishram to be able to make any guesses here.

Parallel 2: By Inversion of Attributes
Windrunner attributes: Leading, Protecting
Thematic Inversion:      Leading, Vengeful
I talked a little bit about this idea in the last post, and I'm at a loss for words when it comes to explaining this one. 

My premise, that holds for many orders, is this: out of the two attributes for any order, one is a character archetype that comes about from them being living expressions of their two surges, and the other is what happens when that archetype is Honorable. In Voidbinding, then, you will have the same/similar archetype, because it's still the same Surges, but the archetype will be Odious. Another theme is that in Surgebinding, there is a ton of focus on Life and the living and positive change in those things, and many of the Unmade are very specifically oriented towards Death, in some form or another.

In Windrunners, we have one of the cleaner examples of this. The Surges relevant to them are Adhesion, the fundamental force that makes things stick in the Cosmere, and Gravitation, the fundamental realmatic force of attraction. Together, they create someone who naturally attracts people to him, and someone who the forges strong bonds between them - a natural leader. A Windrunner, being a living expression of Adhesion and Gravitation, is a natural leader, and thus, is "Leading" because of that fact. 

The Honorable Leader, then, is a leader who puts life before death. Someone who is driven and motivated to do what he does, by the fundamental need to protect life, not to take it. A Leader for whom it is more important that their people survive, and less important that an objective is accomplished. They are Honorably a force of life and of protecting life. This is where the attribute "Protecting" comes from.

The Odious Leader, however, is the opposite. He does not care about life at all, and is driven or motivated by the need to end it. Someone who is driven by vengeance, personal or otherwise, and someone who will not hesitate to sacrifice the lives of his followers if it gets him what he wants. They are an Odious perversion of what a Windrunner stands for. This is where the attribute "Vengeful" comes from.

For evidence, I have two things: This WoB, where I think Brandon tries to downplay it a little bit by making it seem to not matter as much, but this still remains one of the only times Brandon has ever retconned something he's written:

The other is that when asked by Leshvi in what drives him, Moash answers "Vengeance." This trait is also repeated by many of the flying fused, and we don't know if it's shared by all of them or just that one type.

As for Ba-Ado-Mishram, one of the two things we know of her is that she was the "Highmarshal" of Odium's forces on more than one desolation, and this establishes a potential parallel to Jezrein and the Windrunners, by the attribute of "Leading."

Parallel 3: By Surges

Windrunner Surges: Adhesion, Gravitation
The trickiest section, by far. What about Moash, or Ba-Ado-Mishram, is reflected in their surges, beyond their attributes? I can provide a line of speculation here, though your mileage may vary.

Let me do some set up. Any cosmere magic can be considered to be a packaged set of two distinct abilities:
  1. A mechanism that gets investiture
  2. A mechanism that uses investiture

Any one is largely useless on its own. There's also a third component, that shapes the investiture as it goes from (1.) to (2.) (the "focus," which is usually a part of one of those), but that's not relevant for us in here, so I'm not gonna deal with it. 

Greater Cosmere Examples (Spoilers):


For Allomancy, these two are folded into one - when you burn metal, you directly pull Preservation's investiture in exchange, which is immediately channeled through the same metal into an ability. So (1.) and (2.) in Allomancy are smooshed into one action.

For AonDor, Elantris provides you with the investiture to draw Aons, which then directly pull from the Dor to power themselves. Like Allomancy, (1.) and (2.) largely happen at once here too. Seems to largely also hold for Forgery, and probably also for most other Selish magic.

For Feruchemy, storing in a metalmind creates a reservoir of investiture, which is then used when you tap that metalmind. Unlike Allomancy, (1.) and (2.) are two distinct actions.

For any Radiant, the breakdown is something like this:
  1. A mechanism that gets investiture: The ability to pick up and put Stormlight from/into the world by breathing it in and out
  2. A mechanism that uses investiture: The ability to use Stormlight to power any of the 10 Surgebindings that the Radiant has access to

So far, so good.

Coming back to Ba-Ado-Mishram, the easiest way to give BAM Adhesion is to argue that his/her/it's having connected realmatically to the Singers, in the final desolation, was a use of Spiritual Adhesion. Now, technically, there is no reason to believe the ability to establish Spiritual/Realmatic Connection is Adhesion exclusive, but there is also no reason to believe it isn’t either.

Something interesting happens when Adhesion is combined with Gravitation - together, they give rise to the resonance "Strength of Squires" in the Windrunners. We see this in effect in OB, where it strengthens the Connection that Bridge Four have with Kaladin, allowing many of them to get both (1.) and (2.) without swearing any Oath, so long as Kaladin is reasonably close by.

To recap, Kaladin connected with his squires, and gave them:
  1. An ability for getting Stormlight, ergo a mechanism that gets investiture
  2. An ability that uses Stormlight,  i.e. a mechanism that uses investiture

This has distinct similarities to two things Ba-Ado-Mishram is said to have accomplished during the False Desolation.
  1. She "supplied the Parsh with Voidlight" - This can be thought of as the ability to get Voidlight, ergo this is a mechanism that gets investiture
  2. She gave them "forms of power" - The ability to use Voidlight to fuel a power, ergo a mechanism that uses investiture

The first difference between those two manifestations of Strength of Squires is that Kaladin doesn't supply his squires with Stormlight, whereas Ba-Ado-Mishram did supply what I'm calling her squires with Voidlight. Consider, however, that if Ba-Ado-Mishram gave the exact same thing to her squires, i.e. the ability to breathe Voidlight in and out, it accomplishes nothing. Where are they gonna get the Voidlight to breathe in from? Radiants are an oddity when it comes to Cosmere magic, because they live on a world where investiture is extremely abundant in the Physical. Honor, via the Highstorms, regularly throws around his investiture everywhere, so all the Radiants really need is the ability to pick it up and use it. In contrast, creatures that use Odium's magic need a different way of collecting his investiture, because there is no free Odious investiture around on Roshar for them to be able to pick up and use. This actually has a Surgebinding analogue in the Heralds, who were ideally never supposed to come back to Roshar (as far as we know), and so, needed to have a mechanism to get Stormlight other than just being able to breathe it in and out.

In effect, "supplying Voidlight" and giving someone the ability to "breathe Stormlight in and out" are both the exact same thing and take the exact same place, just in different magics. That difference between them is largely one of the Shard involved, circumstance of where the magic is being used, checks and balances, and one that may actually be addressed as a plot point in the future, as Surgebinding begins moving off-world more. As for the exact mechanism behind "supplying Voidlight," it could be something like Allomancy, where using magic automatically summons the investiture, so long as you have the relevant resource to give in exchange. A popular theory over on the Discord is that "passion" is the specific resource exchanged here. It could also be something like Feruchemy, and Surgebinding, where summoning Voidlight in exchange for whatever resource is needed can be done separately from actually using magic granted by Odium.

The second difference is in the "forms of power" aspect. And here, I don't know. The question is, when the Radiants call these "forms of power," what does this mean, exactly? Regal/Fused forms? And were the Parsh actually going into those forms, or was this a case of something new happening, which the Radiants simply didn't have the conceptual tools to explain in any other way? 

Parsh access to Surges is not something we even remotely understand. It could be that these Parsh were in a regular, non-regal and non-fused form, and because of their squireship, were able to summon and use Voidlight to do Surgebinding/Voidbinding on top of them. Think of this as a mirror to Venli at the end of SA3, where she has a Voidspren in her heart, but a Nahel Bond on top. Here, it's a regular spren in their heart, and a facsimile of a Nahel Bond on top. In this case, the Radiants would call these forms of power anyway, because the opposite just wouldn't have any known precedent to them. They maybe saw the Parsh inability to use Rosharan magic like the humans use it, separately from their forms, as a natural fact, so they thought it was what it always had been before, during a desolation, and so that's what they recorded. Parsh just couldn't Nahel Bond, or access magic like that historically.

Another possibility is that becoming a Squire and a Radiant can be its own form, for the Parsh. And that... I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of that. It would be interesting to see which of these two cases actually happens in the next book, depending on where Rlain's story goes and if he joins with the Windrunners.

In any of these cases, the Squireship would technically have required them to form a Connection to Ba-Ado-Mishram anyway, so the widely accepted theory of Melishi tugging on this connection to rip Singer spiritwebs apart and sending them to slaveform would still work. The slaveform then, is not dissimilar to what happens to a deadeye, where I Nahel Bond is forcibly ripped out of them, and I like that idea a lot.

Regardless, Ba-Ado-Mishram having some manifestation of Adhesion and Gravitation can explain everything we know of her so far, and where she fits into the shape of all magic on Roshar. It explains her being a leader, her role and accomplishments in the false desolation and the consequences thereof, and interestingly, it also puts a very specific limitation on her when it comes to her actual physical location, because Kaladin has to be around his squires for it to work. So it also ties into the whole "strike team" plan that Radiants had.

And there's that. What do you guys think?

Edited by asmodeus

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Brutally honest answer: No idea.

You could be right, I suspect partially right. The giant question mark is at the heart of your theory, “How does Voidbinding work?”. We really don’t know yet, in fact have only really gotten to see Voidbinding on a superficial layer. Until we see under the hood, as we have with Surgebinding (yes, there’s more to learn), we can’t be certain of any of it.

For example, what is the source of Voidlight? I can’t find where you cover this, and I don’t think you do. Sure maybe BAM can supply Voidlight to squires a la the way Surgebinders can, but where does BAM get Voidlight?

The ‘Voidstorm’ is new. Yes, that’s not it’s name, but it illustrates the point. The Everstorm can not have been the source for the Desolations.

My initial response to all this is that it’s going to be a long nine months of waiting for Rhythm. We need more information, and if Oathbringer is any kind of indication, we are in for a doozy of a book. Can’t hardly wait.


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28 minutes ago, Wintersu said:

You could be right, I suspect partially right. The giant question mark is at the heart of your theory, “How does Voidbinding work?”. We really don’t know yet, in fact have only really gotten to see Voidbinding on a superficial layer. Until we see under the hood, as we have with Surgebinding (yes, there’s more to learn), we can’t be certain of any of it.

For example, what is the source of Voidlight? I can’t find where you cover this, and I don’t think you do. Sure maybe BAM can supply Voidlight to squires a la the way Surgebinders can, but where does BAM get Voidlight?

You've hit on the crux of the problem there. I've tried finding what Voidbinding abilities can do, but apart from saying they let you do what the Unmade do, I don't have an answer. Which is specifically why I'm looking at themes in these posts more than actual surges, only establishing token connections where I have to.

As for getting Voidlight, the way I'm trying to build towards the shape of Surgebinding and Voidbinding doesn't really care. I don't have to answer how getting Voidlight works, only that it has to be different from Surgebinding, and that just because the Radiants said she supplied the Parsh with Voidlight doesn't really disqualify it from being granted by Strength of Squires here.

That's specifically why I brought up Allomancy and Feruchemy. Radiant Surgebinding is structured more like Feruchemy (it's not the same, just closer in idea), where breathing in Stormlight is sort of analogous to filling up a metalmind, and doing Surgebinding is sort of analogous to tapping it. However, Voidbinding seems like it would need something more like Allomancy, where, technically Preservation supplies you with investiture, but it looks very different when you see it in practice.

In other words, if Kaladin can give his Squires the ability to breath stormlight in and out, then you could argue that what BAM gives her squires is different but analogous, and serves the same purpose. Whatever it may be in specificity.

Edited by asmodeus

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