robardin

Shallan's father's Soulcaster, Luesh, and the Real Davar Ghostblood(s)

80 posts in this topic

7 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

On the contrary,  Adolin is the best on the planet,  therefore worthy of a test of this nature. Helaran is not special. 

What?  The test is clearly not of martial capability.  I don't think the skybreakers care too much about that.

5 hours ago, ScavellTane said:

I don't think Helaran was with the Skybreakers, when they moved to join the Singers, there was no mention of collecting shards, just gemstones.

None of them could carry shards anyway.  Assuming they had them they would be left somewhere else.  Also since everyone coming already has a blade except Szeth there would be no point.

Edited by Karger
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On 24.2.2020 at 11:16 PM, robardin said:

First, I'm not really serious about Wikim = Thaidakar, just thought that was funny as a possible conclusion to my line of thinking.

Even so, I'd like to point out that the twins are only 2 years older than Shallan according to that scene in WoR where  13-year-old Shallan was on the stairs with  15-year-old, slightly drunk Jushu. So, Wikim would have been like 13-14 when Gavilar died :).

 

On 24.2.2020 at 11:31 PM, Harrycrapper said:

 Furthermore, if they haven't bonded a spren but seem like they might attract one, bonding the dead Shardblade and Shardplate would definitely repel any potential spren.

Didn't work that way for Dalinar, Ehlokar and Eshonai, who were all bonded to dead shardblades before they started on the path to Radiancy. All we know is that the _honorspren_ would have been deterred, but then nobody expected that any of them would have tried to bond anyway, which is why Kaladin and Syl were such a surprise. So far it seems that the Lightweaver, the Edgedancer and the Truthwatcher spren were the ones who repeatedly attempted to bond in the past and the former 2 even did so as a group effort.

 

On 25.2.2020 at 2:58 AM, Bigmikey357 said:

  One, he never displays any characteristics we associate with the Skybreakers we've met so far,

It does seem that his initial motive was to seek justice for his mother's death, which would have fit Skybreakers very well indeed.

 

On 25.2.2020 at 2:58 AM, Bigmikey357 said:

Two, his mission,  killing Amaram,  is all wrong.  Amaram has as far as we know never broken an Alethi law, he was not informed of his crimes by the supposed officer, said officer carried weapons even a secret Radiant would never use and he wasn't deployed with a fellow officer.  None of this fits how a Skybreaker would operate. 

I vehemently disagree with this. First of all, killing somebody on the battlefield is entirely legal as long as you are fighting for the other side, both from Alethi and from  the Skybreaker PoVs. Nale expounded on the "law of conquest" to Szeth in OB, making it clear that he, and by extension the Skybreakers, don't see wars as illegal acts. And second - most of the budding Radiants wouldn't have had any criminal history and some would have stood too high in the social heirarchy to ever be condemned to death, so the Skybreakers must have other methods of eliminating them. War being the most direct and convenient (see also Tien), but what happened to Shallan may have been par for the course for the cases when no execution warrant could have feasibly been obtained.

Now, Amaram probably wasn't suspected of Radiancy, unless there was a mix-up with Kaladin, but he was a member of an organization dedicated to the return of the Heralds and the Radiants and Gavilar's confidant, which makes it more surprising that the Skybreakers had waited as long as they did to try to get rid of him, rather than that they made their attempt at last. Unless, that is, this wasn't their first one.

 

On 25.2.2020 at 3:14 PM, robardin said:

 None of the motive, the means, nor the execution match what we've seen firsthand about why and how Nalan and the Skybreakers did what they did - plus, the idea that Nalan somehow mistakenly thought Amaram had bonded a spren seems ludicrous, when he seemed able to sense Lift "Investing" from metabolizing food at the Azish palace after draining her with a larkin and removing all sources of Stormlight (spheres) in the area.

So, we had only a very limited look at how Nale personally, not the Skybreakers in general, operates. In all 3 cases his targets, conveniently for him, had criminal history and were of lowly enough status that obtaining death warrants for them was easy. Does that mean that he would have just let a budding Radiant who was completely innocent of everything be? Or would have done nothing about somebody protected by their status? Not IMHO, because in such a case the other Orders would have returned long since. But he would have been forced to act indirectly and creatively, possibly through several layers of acolytes and Skybreaker-adjacent people who weren't yet bound by the strictures of the Oaths, like what likely happened to Shallan.

It is rather significant that the Skybreaker hopefuls are pardoned for any crimes that they may have committed in the past before they swear the First Oath, isn't it? Perhaps they are used in  "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" fashion before that, so that the real Order members can keep the letter of their Oaths. 

Also, "Edgedancer" demonstrated that Nale didn't know who the person in the process of bonding was, just their approximate location and had to identify them via good old detective work. That his squires failed at and went after the wrong person. Which means that some kind of mix-up regarding Amaram - and maybe Kaladin? was definitely possible.

 

On 25.2.2020 at 3:22 PM, robardin said:

 Easier just to say, must have been the Skybreakers... Except, why then didn't they come back to verify the job was completed?

At one point I wondered if her mother had been an Envisioner and was attacking Shallan to "bring out" her Stormlight glowing/Surgebinding powers to prove it to her husband (not realizing that summoning a Shardblade was part of Shallan's portfolio already), but that doesn't fit how Shallan remembers the events. It also wouldn't explain why her "friend" was there that Lin Davar was fighting with to protect her.

Perhaps nobody came back because once Shallan fell into near-catatonia and her bond regressed to almost nothing, there was nothing for Skybreakers to detect?  They may have thought that the bond was successfully broken once and for all and moved on.

I too wondered if Lady Davar might not have been an Envisager who tried to frighten Shallan into displaying her powers - which, if true, would have made the whole situation even more tragic. But the tenor of Shallan's oblique memories of the time that preceded the confrontation doesn't fit. There is another bizarre thing, though - namely that none of the Davar boys, not even Helaran, seemed to notice the rising tension and quarrels between Shallan and her mother leading to the whole incident nor got the wind of the reason for the heated arguments between their parents ditto. This is really odd, because it doesn't seem like the senior Davars were particularly discreet about their disagreements.

 

On 25.2.2020 at 9:41 PM, Bigmikey357 said:

 How is cutting down a bunch of innocents on a battlefield along the way to a target just? Where was his mentor? If Amaram isn't a budding Radiant what would be the Skybreakers beef with him?

According to Nale, conquest isn't unjust, according to Alethi on whose territory Helaran was operating war isn't a crime and what makes you think that he or his organization care about innocence? If they did, they wouldn't have been able to successfully suppress the other Orders for as long as they did. It is absurd to think that a death warrant could have been obtained for every budding Radiant in the past, and that only people with criminal histories would have been selected for the Nahel bonds. As to Helaran's mentor, they could have been right there in the camps. They wouldn't have stepped in themselves, because living shards are quite distinctive and also, they may have been a woman. Either way them showing up on the battlefield would have endangered Skybreaker secrecy.

As to the beef - in WoR Shallan saw Amaram's extensive research into Urithiru. His intention to find it would have been a more than sufficient reason for the Skybreakers to take him out. And also, let's not forget that a budding Radiant was just there, in Amaram's army. Who is to say that Helaran and his mentor didn't make a mistake similar to that of Nale's squires in Edgedancer and identified the wrong person? In this case, Kaladin's enslavement and subsequent rapid change of ownerships and locations may have been a blessing in disguise, because it would have muddled his trail.

 

On 26.2.2020 at 3:10 AM, Bigmikey357 said:

I can think of a few people more important than Amaram if they want to use an evil card on someone.  How about the guy Amaram takes orders from? Restates could get it, and with more justification. Gavilar would have been a prime candidate if the listeners had failed. King T if they figured his plans out is another more worthy candidate.

The Skybreakers weren't looking to eliminate "evil" people, but those involved in the attempts to return the other Radiant Orders or to cause a Desolation. As such, T was uninteresting to them and we can't really say anything definite about Restares, so who knows, maybe he is both legally unassailable and very cautious. I am convinced that Nale had a hand in Gavilar's death, in an indirect way that didn't clash with his interpretation of the Oaths. Amaram was both Gavilar's apparent confidant and was personally participating in warfare, which made him a logical and easy target.

 

On 26.2.2020 at 3:10 AM, Bigmikey357 said:

As for testing methods for Radiance,  they have Highspren, meaning some conversation with the Cognitive Realm.  If they found Ym, an unimportant shoemaker on the back end of nowhere, they can find anyone. 

As seen in Edgedancer, the Skybreakers know in which town an incipient Radiant is, but not who. Once they had identified their target, they could doggedly follow it, like Nale did to Lift.

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2 hours ago, Isilel said:

Didn't work that way for Dalinar, Ehlokar and Eshonai, who were all bonded to dead shardblades before they started on the path to Radiancy. All we know is that the _honorspren_ would have been deterred, but then nobody expected that any of them would have tried to bond anyway, which is why Kaladin and Syl were such a surprise. So far it seems that the Lightweaver, the Edgedancer and the Truthwatcher spren were the ones who repeatedly attempted to bond in the past and the former 2 even did so as a group effort.

Actually, those examples don't really hold weight. None of those people were bonded to spren, they all just had spren interested in them. The Stormfather basically commanded Dalinar to relinquish his bond to the Shardblade he had before he would bond him and was immediately upset when Dalinar picked up Oathbringer. I think most if not all other spren would act similarly. I think it's the main reason why Eshonai and Ehlokar didn't progress further in their bonds before their untimely demises. With time, the spren would have probably communicated with them and told them to relinquish their blade. I mean, if you were trying to date someone and they had someone's corpse in their home, you would either run or at least try to convince them to get rid of the dead body. The Skybreakers can't do anything about spren being interested in people and that isn't what they were trying to prevent, they just wanted to make sure it didn't go any further than that. For some reason the Skybreakers thought the Nahel Bonds would bring back the Fused, I think Ishar told Nale that. The Skybreakers would find people that the spren were interested in and bring them into their own organization. Some would go down the path of becoming a Radiant through a Highspren and the ones that were incompatible with that order would become agents of the organization for other purposes. I have a feeling there were certain candidates they tried to recruit over others depending on which type of spren was interested. 

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If Amaram were really important enough to prompt action by the Skybreakers, why would they send some half-trained dude with dead Shards against him instead of a true Radiant?Skybreakers perfer to fly, true, but any trusted party could do what Helaran did and maintain secrecy. As many have pointed out,  a battlefield killing isn't illegal so there's no risk to the bond. If his research is so allfire dangerous then why would I use an inferior tool when I have access to better ones? The woman who trained Szeth for example could have done him with much less noise and fuss.

Helaran's method smacks of a person with no access to or knowledge of better tools. But consider if this was a Ghostblood operation? That killing Amaram was a primary goal but creating chaos on the field was secondary?  Or even vice versa,  and Helaran was sent in as a decoy for some other objective?  I can see Mraize pulling off that sort of misdirection tactic.  Look how easily he snares Ash? It would totally make sense,  send the flashy Shardbearer at the head of the army, throwing their camp into chaos, someone sneaks in and recovers something else. If Helaran kills the target then great.  But even if he fails the GB have completed their work.  

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50 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

If Amaram were really important enough to prompt action by the Skybreakers, why would they send some half-trained dude with dead Shards against him instead of a true Radiant?

The same reason that the US does not nuke every country that they don't like.  They could do it but it is too dangerous to be worthwhile.  Also Radiant plate glows and and their shardblades are noticeably weird.

50 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Helaran's method smacks of a person with no access to or knowledge of better tools

Quote

More likely he was trying to prove himself.

50 minutes ago, Bigmikey357 said:

That killing Amaram was a primary goal but creating chaos on the field was secondary?  Or even vice versa,  and Helaran was sent in as a decoy for some other objective?  I can see Mraize pulling off that sort of misdirection tactic.  Look how easily he snares Ash? It would totally make sense,  send the flashy Shardbearer at the head of the army, throwing their camp into chaos, someone sneaks in and recovers something else. If Helaran kills the target then great.  But even if he fails the GB have completed their work.  

And lost shards which they cannot replace.  Also assuming the army is fighting another army the camp is deserted anyway.  Do you honestly expect them to have a hard time sneaking into Amaram's camp.  A quick awakening to get rid of any locks and some stealthy climbing don't seem nearly as risky and seem pretty easy for them.  Also the shardbearer did not show until midway through the battle.

Edited by Karger
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1 hour ago, Karger said:

The same reason that the US does not nuke every country that they don't like.  They could do it but it is too dangerous to be worthwhile.  Also Radiant plate glows and and their shardblades are noticeably weird.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

What does that matter if they have this huge stockpile of dead plate some have speculated they possess.  Dead plate doesn't scream or glow or anything like that. As far as the blade, as long as it's not changing shape it looks indistinguishable from a dead blade,  at least for anyone who doesn't know the difference.  A full Radiant with likely years of training and Stormlight autoheal has a higher chance of completing a mission like the one Helaran apparently concocted. There's almost zero chance unenhanced Kaladin takes out such a one. Incapacitate maybe but not kill. 

There will be targets a Skybreaker will have a hard time getting legal justification to kill and thus advance their goals. Jasnah for example.  And yet, despite not necessarily knowing what their strategy would be I doubt Helaran charging in with Shards on a battlefield would have been the preferred method.  I mean,  what happens when that person doesn't engage in activities where extralegal actions take place regularly? Like Jasnah for instance.  

Why is it so far-fetched to believe that GB weren't completely honest with Shallan about Helaran's employment? We know they have an agenda. We know they wanted Amaram dead. We know they collect and use objects and artifacts of great power.  We know they infiltrate organizations and kill people.  We know they were interested in Amaram's research.  By contrast the only thing we have to go on that Helaran was a Skybreaker associate or acolyte is the word of untrustworthy spies. He doesn't act like a Skybreaker and his methods run counter to everything we've seen of the Skybreakers and to a limited extent of Radiance in general.  I guess we'll get the answers soon.

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On 27.2.2020 at 6:08 PM, Harrycrapper said:

 The Stormfather basically commanded Dalinar to relinquish his bond to the Shardblade he had before he would bond him and was immediately upset when Dalinar picked up Oathbringer.

Yes, but Dalinar still  was able to swear  the 2nd Oath, which the Stormfather was forced to accept. This happened shortly before he unbound his deadblade in WoR chapter 89, BTW, not after as you claim. That's much more than just "interested".

 

On 27.2.2020 at 6:08 PM, Harrycrapper said:

. I think it's the main reason why Eshonai and Ehlokar didn't progress further in their bonds before their untimely demises.

They progressed quite far while still bonded to their deadblades - Ehlokar would have successfully sworn the First Oath and Timbre transitioned into the physical realm for Eshonai, despite the fact that the latter also had a voidspren in her gemheart as an additional complication. As an aside, I wonder if Eshonai's last flashback in RoW is going to be her death scene and we'll see her throw off Odium's mind control and Timbre come over for her, just a little too late to save her. While deadblades may have slowed down their progression to Radiancy, I was refuting the suggestion that somebody being bound to one would _prevent_ them from ever attracting and starting to bond a Radiant spren, which is plainly not the case with some Orders.

 

12 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

If Amaram were really important enough to prompt action by the Skybreakers, why would they send some half-trained dude with dead Shards against him instead of a true Radiant?Skybreakers perfer to fly, true, but any trusted party could do what Helaran did and maintain secrecy. As many have pointed out,  a battlefield killing isn't illegal so there's no risk to the bond. If his research is so allfire dangerous then why would I use an inferior tool when I have access to better ones? The woman who trained Szeth for example could have done him with much less noise and fuss.

I am not sure what you mean by "half-trained". In Shallan's flashbacks it is implied that Helaran was a good swordsman and he had a couple of years to learn to use the shards, given the timing of his encounter with Lin when Shallan first saw his shardblade. It should have been more than sufficient to take out a shardless Amaram on the battlefield. Don't forget that as far as we know, the Skybreakers didn't send a full knight after Tien, who, of course, was also killed in battle, either. In fact, a normal shardbearer should have been enough even to take out a budding Radiant of most Orders in the early stages of attracting a spren, just not a Windrunner, but then, nobody thought it possible that the honorspren would bond again.

 

10 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

  I mean,  what happens when that person doesn't engage in activities where extralegal actions take place regularly? Like Jasnah for instance.

What indeed? I suspect that we'll be given an answer in RoW or maybe book 5. IMHO, the Skybreakers then have to resort to indirect methods and while they can't commission an assassination directly, they likely manipulate their target into the way of one (or more).  It also may have taken the spren interested in bonding that long to figure out that they need to pick bondmates of high enough standing to keep them safer from the Skybreakers, too. From what we have seen of Nahel spren in Shadesmar, their understanding of humans and their societies seems to be rather limited.

 

10 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

  

Why is it so far-fetched to believe that GB weren't completely honest with Shallan about Helaran's employment?

It is not at all. But the Ghostbloods could have killed Amaram in any number of ways. There was zero reason to give somebody highly valuable shards to do so on a battlefield and even less to let Amaram live for more than a year and keep such items after the attempt failed. Remember how the Ghostbloods wanted the comparatively less valuable marble-producing soulcaster back from the Davars? It does fit with the constraints that the Skybreakers have to work under, though, and Amaram's activities made him a valid target for them.

I also have a hard time imagining Helaran joining the same organization as his hated father.

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9 hours ago, Isilel said:

I am not sure what you mean by "half-trained". In Shallan's flashbacks it is implied that Helaran was a good swordsman and he had a couple of years to learn to use the shards, given the timing of his encounter with Lin when Shallan first saw his shardblade. It should have been more than sufficient to take out a shardless Amaram on the battlefield. Don't forget that as far as we know, the Skybreakers didn't send a full knight after Tien, who, of course, was also killed in battle, either. In fact, a normal shardbearer should have been enough even to take out a budding Radiant of most Orders in the early stages of attracting a spren, just not a Windrunner, but then, nobody thought it possible that the honorspren would bond again.

I may have dipped into hyperbole with the "half-trained" crack, possibly out of frustration.  Even still, as the only possessor of Shards on the field buddy should not have lost. That he did lose implies that he's not all that good. 

9 hours ago, Isilel said:

It is not at all. But the Ghostbloods could have killed Amaram in any number of ways. There was zero reason to give somebody highly valuable shards to do so on a battlefield and even less to let Amaram live for more than a year and keep such items after the attempt failed. Remember how the Ghostbloods wanted the comparatively less valuable marble-producing soulcaster back from the Davars? It does fit with the constraints that the Skybreakers have to work under, though, and Amaram's activities made him a valid target for them.

Legalities aside, the GB must work under constraints as well, as all secret societies that wish to remain secret.  Whatever we believe about Amaram,  he's a much harder target than the Davar household or even Jasnah.  The Davars are a minor house in the backwaters of Jah Kaved,  disgraced by having a presumed murderer at its head. Taking them out would not make a ripple.  Jasnah was high profile but nearly always traveled alone and commonly was out of contact with her family for months at a time. If the GB prefer to take out targets with the least amount of witnesses then they have plenty of opportunities.  Amaram by contrast has an army,  always near at hand. And as a man who knows he has a target on his back I assume he takes his security rather seriously.  As far as the loss of a powerful tool,  I believe the GB figured that as long as Amaram held the Shards they had a reasonable chance of getting them back. That may have been a miscalculation but a reasonable mistake to make.

 

9 hours ago, Isilel said:

I also have a hard time imagining Helaran joining the same organization as his hated father.

A couple points on this. One, it's entirely possible that Helaran didn't know who he was working for.  Give a guy weapons that are almost literally worth a kingdom and many people aren't asking many questions.  Two, were I a GB agent looking to recruit Helaran the last thing I'd want to reveal is that hated family connection.  Lin was required to know who he worked with/for so the implied threat would stick in case of betrayal.  Helaran did not necessarily need to know who his bosses were in order to carry out his missions.  If he's being used as a higher level thug/enforcer then he's fine as long as the checks keep coming in. 

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On 2/28/2020 at 6:49 PM, Bigmikey357 said:

Dead plate doesn't scream or glow or anything like that. As far as the blade, as long as it's not changing shape it looks indistinguishable from a dead blade

Quote

Glowing, brilliant, a Shardblade emerged from the mist, vivid blue light shining from swirling patterns along its length.

They seem pretty different to me.

On 2/28/2020 at 6:49 PM, Bigmikey357 said:

And yet, despite not necessarily knowing what their strategy would be I doubt Helaran charging in with Shards on a battlefield would have been the preferred method

They clearly state he was trying to prove himself as the most likely reason for his actions.

On 2/28/2020 at 6:49 PM, Bigmikey357 said:

Why is it so far-fetched to believe that GB weren't completely honest with Shallan about Helaran's employment?

Because it is verifiable and not super hard. 

5 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

A couple points on this. One, it's entirely possible that Helaran didn't know who he was working for.  Give a guy weapons that are almost literally worth a kingdom and many people aren't asking many questions

But a suspicious paranoid like Lin Davar is not joining up with the same people as his hated son and he actually knows who he is working for.

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I haven't seen it mentioned, but I thought it was understood that the Soulcaster was stabbed by Balat:

Quote

Balat grabbed his sword. Still on one knee, he struck with a lunge. Shallan screamed, and the sword made a strange clang as it barely missed Father, stabbing through his coat and out the back, connecting with something metallic.

The "something metallic" should be the Soulcaster

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3 minutes ago, Kon-Tiki said:

The "something metallic" should be the Soulcaster

Excellent.  Independent agreement.

On 2/24/2020 at 4:46 PM, Karger said:

It seems heavily implied that the sword Balat used broke the soulcaster during the duel.  Remember it sort of clanked and did not do real damamge?

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@Karger

Why would Lin have to know anything other than his small part in the organization?  He was a desperate man too as I recall, his reputation in shambles, his fortunes nearly depleted.  He gets handed a get outta jail free card and you think he's trying to delve deeper into that gift horse? 

We as readers know the difference between a dead blade and a living one. For someone not well versed they aren't gonna be much different.  Sure a side by side comparison would show differences,  but many people have never seen a Shardblade at all, living or dead. Upon seeing a live one, someone could assume that they all glow with ambient light. Then look at the battlefield conditions.  Maybe they would not have noticed the glow,  like Kaladin during the 4 vs. 1 duel. 

As far as the verification of Helaran's status, how indeed would Shallan verify the statement?  She knows 1 Skybreaker, one terribly new to the Order and thus not privy to its secrets.  She's not likely to meet another one in the know,  they are going to the enemy camp. Would she be able to learn it from the Ghostbloods when she's still new and not fully trusted? Not terribly likely.  I'm sure they won't lay down their records where an enterprising Lightweaver with a photographic memory can get to them. By the time she'd reach a point where such records become available to her she'll be in too deep to extricate herself. The only other entity she could verify the information with are the Highspren,  and I'm not sure how involved they get with the affairs of their human counterparts. Or maybe you trust Shallan's investigative prowess. I for one do not.  She doesn't know enough and doesn't have the requisite experience.  A back 5 Shallan would easily be able to parse truth from lies. Current Shallan?  Not so much.

I will say this though.  Whether the Ghostbloods or Skybreakers ended up employing Helaran,  either one would have been stupid to employ a man of such instability, especially without proper supervision.  It's a bit more understandable for the Ghostbloods,  they have a habit of giving their agents a degree of independence that is strange to countenance in a supposed secret organization. See Kabsal's attempt on Jasnah for a reason why I think this way. But for an organization as seemingly structured as the Skybreakers Helaran's actions would be a serious problem.  Even if he had been successful in his effort he'd have been severely punished. Personally I don't think he was worth the recruiting effort by either one, yet I'd judge the Ghostbloods most likely to make the attempt.  They also have a habit of embracing unstable people, Shallan and Iyatil being prime examples. 

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1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Why would Lin have to know anything other than his small part in the organization?  He was a desperate man too as I recall, his reputation in shambles, his fortunes nearly depleted.  He gets handed a get outta jail free card and you think he's trying to delve deeper into that gift horse? 

He seems exactly the type who would.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

For someone not well versed they aren't gonna be much different

Many Lighteyes are well versed.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Maybe they would not have noticed the glow,  like Kaladin during the 4 vs. 1 duel. 

He was very careful and the day was very sunny.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

As far as the verification of Helaran's status, how indeed would Shallan verify the statement? 

Old fashioned detective work.  If Helaran spent time thwarting petty crimes he is a skybreaker.  Also the GB have no way of anticipating when Shallan might have a chance to interview other skybreakers.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

they are going to the enemy camp

So?  The letter happened before that.  With the redounding of the orders publicly and a desolation they have no way of knowing what Nale, a crazy person, is going to decide to do. 

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

She doesn't know enough and doesn't have the requisite experience

Jasnah does and they are known associates.  Also people like Navani do know how to do this kind of thing.

1 hour ago, Bigmikey357 said:

.  Even if he had been successful in his effort he'd have been severely punished

Stupidity and ambition exist in all individuals no matter how stable. 

Since this is going to take some time I thought parsing the letter might be a good idea.

Quote

There are at least two major institutions on Roshar, other than ourselves, which presaged the return of the Voidbringers and the Desolations, the letter read.

This is a lie.  The GB know about the sleepless.  However by saying at least two they can claim that they suspected but did not know or something similar.
You are familiar with the first of these, the men who call themselves the Sons of Honor. The old king of Alethkar—the Blackthorn’s brother, Gavilar Kholin—was a driving force in their expansion. He brought Meridas Amaram into their fold.
True but... For people in the know this seems fairly obvious but it is likely not the extent of the GB knowledge as they are aware of the Heralds and as such know Gavilar was playing the Sons of Honor. 

As you no doubt discovered upon infiltrating Amaram’s mansion in the warcamps, the Sons of Honor explicitly worked for the return of the Desolations.

True by Amaram's own account although I don't think he new everything.

They believed that only the Voidbringers would cause the Heralds to show themselves—and they believed that a Desolation would restore both the Knights Radiant and the classical strength of the Vorin church. King Gavilar’s efforts to rekindle the Desolations are likely the true reason he was assassinated.

This is all true.  Gavilar was assassinated for trying to start a desolation and SoH's publicly stated goal was to kick of another round of heraldic epochs.

Though there were many in the palace that night who had reason to see him dead.

Lying by omission/implication.  A statement designed to impress how dependent Shallan is on the GBs for information.
A second group who knew the Desolations might return are the Skybreakers. Led by the ancient Herald Nalan’Elin—often simply called Nale—the Skybreakers are the only order of Radiants that did not betray its oaths during the Recreance. They have maintained a continuous clandestine line from ancient days.  Nale believed that men speaking the Words of other orders would hasten the return of the Voidbringers

True

We do not know how this could possibly be true, but as a Herald, Nale has access to knowledge and understanding beyond us.

True but... The GBs know he is crazy.  This a factually correct statement designed to leave Shallan with wrong information.

You should know that the Heralds are no longer to be seen as allies to man. Those that are not completely insane have been broken. Nale himself is ruthless, without pity or mercy. He has spent the last two decades—perhaps much longer—dealing with anyone close to bonding a spren. Sometimes he recruited these people, bonding them to highspren and making them Skybreakers. Others he eliminated. If the person had already bonded a spren, then Nale usually went in person to dispatch them. If not, he sent a minion.

Seems pretty true and we have verification.
A minion like your brother Helaran.
Your mother had intimate contact with a Skybreaker acolyte, and you know the result of that relationship.

You believe this is a lie however it seems way too much.  The GBs don't know what Shallan knows.  If she caught the acolyte say Skybreaker in context at the wrong moment as a child then she knows that they are lying to her and their story starts to unravel.  Also why bother lying to her about this?  Just say.  "We managed to come to an understanding with your brother and he decided to join us."  Gains you a few points, confuses your mark, and makes your victory seem inevitable sapping Shallan's will to resist.

Your brother was recruited because Nale was impressed with him.

True but I don't think they are using the normal value of impressed in this statement.  IE Nale could have thought.  "This one will make great cannon fodder."

Nale may also have learned, through means we do not understand,

Lie.  They found out about Tein.  They know how to track radiants or at least how to track radiant trackers.  However they again leave themselves on out by explaining that they don't fully understand the method they just use it.

that a member of your house was close to bonding a spren.

True.  This one makes sense based on observed data.

If this is true, they came to believe that Helaran was the one they wanted. They recruited him with displays of great power and Shards.

Yes but... I think the Skybreakers were at least a bit aware of Shallan but concluded that the bond was broken.

Quote

Helaran had not yet proved himself worthy of a spren bond. Nale is exacting with his recruits.

True via observed data.

Likely, Helaran was sent to kill Amaram as a test—either that or he took it upon himself as a way of proving his worthiness for knighthood.

Seems true.  You may have felt his opportunity was slipping and that he had to prove himself somehow or maybe Amaram was getting a little too close to Skybreaker operations.
It is also possible that the Skybreakers knew someone in Amaram’s army was close to bonding a spren,but I believe it likelier that the attack on Amaram was simply a strike against the Sons of Honor. From our spying upon the Skybreakers, we have records showing the only member of Amaram’s army to have bonded a spren was long since eliminated.
Same as the other blue
The bridgeman was not, so far as we understand, known to them. If he had been, he would certainly have been killed during his months as a slave.
Tidbit to remind Shallan how useful they are.

Does this make sense?  A lot of lies by implication but whenever they feel they might have to outright lie they always give themselves an out on a technicality.  You cannot run an organization properly without if not trust that at least base standards.  If information is what these people trade in then they are going to be very careful with it and they are going to make sure that every datum is somewhat useful/viable.  To do otherwise risks reducing their value as a source of information which would be a bit like getting a reputation for counterfiting.

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@Karger

I see your point.  The letter was meant to obfuscate the truth while still providing seemingly rock solid information.  And I agree for the most part. The line I disagree with is "a minion like your brother Helaran." I do not doubt his mother's relationship with them. 

Thing is, if he is a Skybreaker then how come he doesn't know the truth about Lin, even a partial one? He could still believe that Lin killed his mom, but to protect his sister.  But no, he still believes the official party line up until he died. 

Also, the Davar household has been under GB surveillance for quite some time.  By this point they know nearly everything she knows. They know the lies they can get away with and the times where they have to hit as close to the truth as possible.  

As far as Jasnah's investigation skills,  sure she's better than Shallan.  Navani too. But this would require Shallan actually speaking of her involvement and I'm not sure she would.  And Jasnah doesn't really know much of the Skybreakers either.  She'll know Ghostbloods,  maybe Sons of Honor, but not enough of the Skybreakers to form intelligent suppositions.  Navani should know even less. More about Sons of Honor than GB but less overall information than her daughter.  If you think about it,  that's another reason to pin Helaran on the Skybreakers.  Even in the unlikely event that Shallan tells Jasnah,  they put Helaran in the group to which they know the least about,  the hardest one to verify.  In a sense they have to take that particular lie at face value because they have no way to gain that information otherwise. 

I mostly agree with the rest of your analysis. I've come to the same conclusions on many of your points.  My thing is if I deal in information, it's just as important to know what my target knows as it is to have the information they seek, obstensively so as not to expose myself.  I think the GB feel they hold all the cards in that respect.  Remember also that Shallan is not a client but a recruit.  Any lies they tell a recruit won't reflect on their reputation.  The lies are there to intrigue her, draw her into the organization to the point where she finds it nearly impossible to escape short of death. I even believe that some lies have been placed intentionally,  sort of as a test of her competence in a different area. In a sense they're building a more complete picture of her capabilities.  Like, if she can't see through this or that lie then she probably can't be used for this or that type of mission.  

Edited by Bigmikey357
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6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

 Whether the Ghostbloods or Skybreakers ended up employing Helaran,  either one would have been stupid to employ a man of such instability, especially without proper supervision. 

What instability are you talking about and on what grounds do you insist that he was acting without supervision?

 

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

But for an organization as seemingly structured as the Skybreakers Helaran's actions would be a serious problem.  Even if he had been successful in his effort he'd have been severely punished.

Why? Helaran didn't do anything that Skybreakers would consider punisheable. Killing somebody on the field of battle, if you are fighting for the other side is A-OK with them. This is not the same as cutting somebody's throat without a warrant like with Gawx.

I am also not sure that comparison with Kabsal holds water, as he wasn't given priceless relics so that he could do things on his own initiative. There are valid  questions to be asked about Helaran - like could he have truly been unaware of his mother's connections? Was the fact that he was the one who encouraged Shallan to draw again really coincidental? Is it possible that while he sought out whatever secret organization he belonged to because he was looking for justice for his mother, that he then stayed with them to shield Shallan? I do find it very interesting that Taravangian theorised that Heleran may have been the one to _train_ Shallan as a surgebinder, for example. Etc. But none of his actions that he know of preclude him from having been an aspiring Skybreaker or Skybreaker-adjacent.

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6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Thing is, if he is a Skybreaker then how come he doesn't know the truth about Lin, even a partial one?

Because he loves his sister and this blinds him to the truth?

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Also, the Davar household has been under GB surveillance for quite some time.  By this point they know nearly everything she knows. They know the lies they can get away with and the times where they have to hit as close to the truth as possible.  

We don't know when they started to check out the Davar household but it seems to me like it was only after Shallan's mother's death which is a period of time in which Shallan was not talking.

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

As far as Jasnah's investigation skills,  sure she's better than Shallan.  Navani too. But this would require Shallan actually speaking of her involvement and I'm not sure she would

Just because of how I think the narative is going she is must tell Jasnah eventually to make progress as a person.  This is also a really big gamble that is not even necessary.  Jasnah might just accept Shallan as a GB if she thought it was advantageous to team Radiant.  If they keep providing false information then Shallan being a member has no benifit.

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

She'll know Ghostbloods,  maybe Sons of Honor, but not enough of the Skybreakers to form intelligent suppositions

She knows how to find out this stuff though.  She knows who to interview and how to go about it.  It might take some time but information is usually verifiable.

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Even in the unlikely event that Shallan tells Jasnah,  they put Helaran in the group to which they know the least about,  the hardest one to verify

The diagram?  Team Radiant knows nothing about them.

6 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

In a sense they're building a more complete picture of her capabilities.  Like, if she can't see through this or that lie then she probably can't be used for this or that type of mission.  

To some extent I agree but I also think that you don't want to short change your people.  What if Shallan now tries to get lintel on the Skybreakers?  She could embarrass herself and the organization as a whole as she is now a member.

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7 hours ago, Isilel said:

Why? Helaran didn't do anything that Skybreakers would consider punisheable. Killing somebody on the field of battle, if you are fighting for the other side is A-OK with them. This is not the same as cutting somebody's throat without a warrant like with Gawx.

I believe the solo action itself would be discouraged in one who would aspire to be a Skybreaker.  He skips punishment if he were following orders or someone else's plan, but if he is out there on his own it cuts too close to vigilante justice. Skybreakers aren't trusted to crusade until the 4th Ideal after all.

7 hours ago, Isilel said:

What instability are you talking about and on what grounds do you insist that he was acting without supervision?

If @Kargeris correct and Helaran was pulling some last ditch effort to prove his worth to his employer then we can extrapolate a couple things.  One, that up till now he wasn't very good,  not fulfilling the promise for which he received Shards. Two, this last chance effort would almost certainly have had to been unsupervised.  If the Skybreakers ran his training then where would his companion be watching from? The reports on the battlefield said there was one rogue Shardbearer, not 2. They could have been watching from the sky but that's pretty conspicuous as well.  If it were the Ghostbloods nearly anyone could have been a plant, yet Amaram knew he was targeted and cared about his security.  I'm sure he would have properly vetted his staff. So no supervision.  If we then look at his interaction with Lin, Shallan is the only thing that keeps Helaran from burning out his father's eyes.  I'm of course not a hundred percent sure of his instability,  but that scene gives me the impression of a guy who isn't fully in control of himself. 

7 hours ago, Isilel said:

I am also not sure that comparison with Kabsal holds water, as he wasn't given priceless relics so that he could do things on his own initiative.

Kabsal was a full member.  He presumably could complete a mission without props. Or he was in disfavor and so lost his artifact.  Or he was on some other mission and saw a target of opportunity.  Either way, he was acting independently. Helaran I believe was acting independently.  The fact that Helaran was given Shards is irrelevant. 

2 hours ago, Karger said:

Just because of how I think the narative is going she is must tell Jasnah eventually to make progress as a person.  This is also a really big gamble that is not even necessary.  Jasnah might just accept Shallan as a GB if she thought it was advantageous to team Radiant.  If they keep providing false information then Shallan being a member has no benifit.

For narrative purposes Shallan will have to tell Jasnah at some point. However that secret will be a difficult one for her to tell. It's a huge risk. What if Jasnah goes all over unreasonable about it? We know that's out of character for Jasnah,  but does Shallan?  These people did try to kill her after all. As far as false information,  Helaran's affiliation is arguably the least important information in the entire letter. I'm not even sure Shallan would question it.

2 hours ago, Karger said:

She knows how to find out this stuff though.  She knows who to interview and how to go about it.  It might take some time but information is usually verifiable.

By the time Shallan shares this information the trail will be cold. Besides,  anyone who would know the truth about this is either dead or inaccessible. 

Last, even if Shallan finds out they were lying about Helaran what's the real harm? Enough of the information in that letter is true enough or at least plausible enough for her to be intrigued, which is really the point. Feed her information.  If she buys it without question then she's only suitable for Radiant specific missions. If she parses out the lies then they can go back and say it was for training purposes,  give her the real information and slot her in for a wider range of missions. Either way she's probably in too deep before she figures it out. 

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Helaran trying to kill someone actively trying to bring about a Desolation is outside the limits of the Skybreakers for you?

Skybreakers wear the clothes of whatever passes for local law enforcement in a given place, and the only real law in Alethkar is Shards. Helaran being given Shards and pointed at someone the Skybreakers would probably have known was a Son of Honor (a non-Shardbearer at that, commanding a fairly pointless border dispute) is well within the kind of test the Skybreakers would have devised

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2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

, that up till now he wasn't very good,  not fulfilling the promise for which he received Shards

Actually.  I think it more likely that they were testing him and he lost his cool which does happen unexpectedly to a lot of people when stressed.

2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

So no supervision.  If we then look at his interaction with Lin, Shallan is the only thing that keeps Helaran from burning out his father's eyes.  I'm of course not a hundred percent sure of his instability,  but that scene gives me the impression of a guy who isn't fully in control of himself. 

That is one interpretation.  However he states clearly that he cannot yet have justice for his mother's death.  This indicates that he has not yet reached the point where he can be trusted with justice.  Remember most of the Skybreakers in training do immediately hunt people they are told are criminals without checking twice and as far as Heleran is concerned his father is a criminal.

2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

For narrative purposes Shallan will have to tell Jasnah at some point. However that secret will be a difficult one for her to tell. It's a huge risk. What if Jasnah goes all over unreasonable about it? We know that's out of character for Jasnah,  but does Shallan?  These people did try to kill her after all.

The GBs do know that keeping a secret forever is a very difficult task.  Shallan also might slip up so eventually Jasnah will know one way or another. 

2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

These people did try to kill her after all. As far as false information,  Helaran's affiliation is arguably the least important information in the entire letter. I'm not even sure Shallan would question it.

So then why put it in there?  If she is not going to question it then it can't be a test if she is going to then it undermines your mutual reliance.

2 hours ago, Bigmikey357 said:

Last, even if Shallan finds out they were lying about Helaran what's the real harm? Enough of the information in that letter is true enough or at least plausible enough for her to be intrigued, which is really the point. Feed her information.  If she buys it without question then she's only suitable for Radiant specific missions. If she parses out the lies then they can go back and say it was for training purposes,  give her the real information and slot her in for a wider range of missions. Either way she's probably in too deep before she figures it out. 

The lies I IDed already serve that purpose without pissing Shallan off. 

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 And you think she wouldn't be pissed if Mraize told her straight away that Helaran was working for them?

Next the entire letter serves as a test of her sleuthing skills.  The Helaran bit is the hardest to verify but it's all a mishmash. The letter could also serve as a misdirection, causing Shallan to investigate in directions that serve GB interests and deflecting her from other paths. 

Another thing. Shallan's connection to the Ghostbloods will inevitably be found out. We as readers are probably gonna wanna see that reveal on screen.  That means at least a year for the Ghostbloods to work on Shallan,  a year to entangle her in their schemes,  their ideology.  These people have already fulfilled 2 promises to her, information on Helaran and the rescue of her other brothers. Lying about Helaran buys them time.

@Kon-Tiki

If Amaram was indeed targeted by the Skybreakers and Helaran was there instrument then there are a couple of things that don't add up to me.

One, where was his backup? I've written in previous posts about how I believe Skybreakers operate and how Helaran doesn't fit the mission profile.  Two, why was Amaram still alive?  Nale doesn't seem like the type to give up on a quarry,  just look at how long he pursues Lift.  He's not letting a year go past with a target still on the table,  especially when he has access to real Shards,  living blade and plate. Furthermore he's been at war nearly continuously before his arrival at the Shattered Plains.  What could be attempted once could certainly be tried again,  this time with a more experienced Skybreaker.  Three, why does Amaram believe he was targeted by Ghostbloods?  What does he know that we do not?

If by contrast it was a Ghostblood acting on his own then those questions resolve a bit easier in my mind. Ghostbloods sometimes work without immediate support;  it's not as uncommon.  Amaram is harder to kill with Shards.  Though the Ghostbloods could get them, it's not like they're a common accessory.  They may have felt sending another Shardbearer at him was throwing good money after bad. And last, Amaram knew more about his opposition than we do. He has his own sources of information after all.  

 

Edited by Bigmikey357
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Just now, Bigmikey357 said:

And you think she wouldn't be pissed if Mraize told her straight away that Helaran was working for them?

She would be pissed and confused and scared and venerable.  Exactly where the GBs would want her really.  Telling her that he was a skybreaker and then telling her that we lied to you seems more likely to just piss her off.  Remember how ivory talked about Cryptics and how they are drawn to lies?  Shallan is sort of the opposite she is drawn to deep truths.  Adolin draws her in by telling her that he killed Sadeas is a good example.  Shallan as Veil admits that she wants to know the truth of things.  Telling her a lie and making her think it is true seems like one of the fastest ways to make her angry.

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There's one more clue about Helaran that we have, though it is only a suspicion: in the scene in WoR when Szeth comes up to Taravangian in Jah Keved to tell him that he had failed to kill Dalinar because of someone who was a Surgebinder and seemed Radiant (i.e., that the reason he had been made Truthless might have been wrong), Mr. T first thinks it was Jasnah. Then, when Szeth says "I fought him", he double-takes, as he had not known about any male Surgebinders at the Alethi warcamps.

Later, conferring with Adrotagia as to who this Surgebinder with Kholin might be, she asks, "Jasnah's ward?" to which Taravangian responds, "no, a male," after reflecting: "They had been startled when that one arrived on the Shattered Plains. Already they hypothesized that the girl had been trained. If not by Jasnah, then by the girl's brother, before his death."

So the Diagram knew Jasnah and Shallan had bonded spren, were surprised about Kaladin, and at least suspected if not outright believed or knew that Helaran had been one as well.

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On 24/02/2020 at 9:25 PM, robardin said:
  1. Luesh dies "in his sleep" soon after Shallan leaves, and a pendant with the Ghostbloods' symbol is found on his body.

Shallan was among the earliest Surgebinders. And an Unmade was around. That calls for a top agent, not an acolyte or somebody on probation.
(Scadrial spoiler)
 

Spoiler

Somebody found not breathing is exactly what MeLaan pulled off in prison. Luesh was a Kandra. That explains the pendant. There is no point in putting a tattoo on a Kandra. Harmony has rented a few to the Ghostbloods in exchange for information.

 

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36 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

Shallan was among the earliest Surgebinders. And an Unmade was around. That calls for a top agent, not an acolyte or somebody on probation.
(Scadrial spoiler)
 

  Reveal hidden contents

Somebody found not breathing is exactly what MeLaan pulled off in prison. Luesh was a Kandra. That explains the pendant. There is no point in putting a tattoo on a Kandra. Harmony has rented a few to the Ghostbloods in exchange for information.

 

Fascinating theory! A little too "deep" for it to seem likely, but I still like it. Though it doesn't really explain the use of the pendant - if the scenario were as you say, getting a tattoo would not have been a big deal. And it's not like Tyn, the only "Ghostblood wannabe" we've seen in direct contact with them and working for them (not counting Ishnah working for Veil/Shallan) had a pendant like this as a symbol of wannabe status... It still feels like the pendant may have been a plant by the assassin.

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51 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

(Scadrial spoiler)

I don't thinks so.  Remember (Scadrail spoiler)

Spoiler

Harmony is not the only one with faceless immortals.

 

Edited by Karger
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