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BringerOfLight

Radiant Order Military Obligations and Relationships to each other

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Each order of Radiants stands individually, but during desolations, they also stand together. I want to figure out the relationships between each order.

For instance, according to the official summary, Stonewards are "renowned as [The Radiant's] finest soldiers (a title that, on occasion, the Windrunners dispute)." This quote, along with other clues, gives me a theory as to the relationship between Windrunners and Stonewards (and Bondsmiths).

You see, the Bondsmiths are basically the "Kings" of the Radiants, (ironically, Jezrien, Herald of Kings, is not the Herald of the Bondsmiths). The Stonewards are the "foot soldiers" of the Knights Radiant- the groung troops. So as I see it, the Windrunners are the "King's guard" to the Stonewards "foot soldiers", if that makes sense.

I propose that other Orders of Radiants must have had similar relationships, though I can't surmise what. Thoughts, anybody?

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Posted (edited)

I see Stonewards and Windrunners more as different branches of the military.  The Stonewards are more army and the Windrunners are more Seals.  After that you have the "army engineers" in the Dustbringers, and the "general staff" in some of the Elsecallers.  Pretty much everyone else is a civilian although some Edgedancers work as field medics, some Truthwatchers are military theorists, and some Willshapers do fortifications.  Then Skybreakers do law enforcement, Lightweavers are artists and communication specialists(they also do propaganda and some intelligence work) and Bondsmiths as you mentioned do government work.

Edited by Karger
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13 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

Each order of Radiants stands individually, but during desolations, they also stand together. I want to figure out the relationships between each order.

Very interesting.

13 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

For instance, according to the official summary, Stonewards are "renowned as [The Radiant's] finest soldiers (a title that, on occasion, the Windrunners dispute)." This quote, along with other clues, gives me a theory as to the relationship between Windrunners and Stonewards (and Bondsmiths).

You see, the Bondsmiths are basically the "Kings" of the Radiants, (ironically, Jezrien, Herald of Kings, is not the Herald of the Bondsmiths).

I would rather say High Priests. The actual leadership may come from a council of intellectually inclined orders.

13 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

The Stonewards are the "foot soldiers" of the Knights Radiant- the groung troops. So as I see it, the Windrunners are the "King's guard" to the Stonewards "foot soldiers", if that makes sense.

I doubt that they had so many ground troops. Roshar does not have artillery. The dominance of fortifications wouldn't break. Warfare has a much greater component of siegecraft, sapping and assaults against fortresses rather than infantry against infantry action.

I would say:

  • Stonewards - fortress defense and infantry
  • Dustbringers - sappers and attacks on fortresses
  • Windrunners - paratroopers and scouts
  • Willshapers - combat engineers

 

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Posted (edited)

These are some things that we know about how some Orders tend to think of one another:

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Lightweaver

I will speak my truth

[...] They are the spies of the Knights Radiant and are often untrusted by others (such as the stoic Skybreakers) for their love of subterfuge. [...]

The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant (June 9, 2020)

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Skybreaker

I will seek justice

[...] The Skybreakers were the enforcers of the Knights Radiant, often tasked with keeping the peace, policing the other Orders, and making certain that dangerous or dark forces in the world were contained. This sometimes gave them a bad reputation among the more free-thinking Orders of Knights, but the Skybreakers (at their best) were not merciless. They were the ones who believed that nobody, not even a Radiant, should be above being questioned. They were the ones that did the sometimes tough job of making certain that the Orders didn’t abuse their power to become tyrants, as the Skybreakers saw that those with powers could easily oppress those who had none. [...]

The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant (June 9, 2020)

Quote

Chapter 28

There came also sixteen of the order of Windrunners, and with them a considerable number of squires, and finding in that place the Skybreakers dividing the innocent from the guilty, there ensued a great debate. 

—Chapter 28, page 3[15]

That last one is from the Words of Radiance epigraphs

(I'll add a comment about how I think the Orders relate to each other in their functions a bit later, I think.)

Edit:

Also this one:

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Edgedancer

I will remember

[...] However, there are some renowned for their graceful and skilled prowess in combat, occasionally used as scouts or special forces troops in conjunction with a team of Windrunners or Skybreakers. [...]

The Ten Orders of Knights Radiant (June 9, 2020)
Edited by Elegy
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1 minute ago, Oltux72 said:

I doubt that they had so many ground troops. Roshar does not have artillery. The dominance of fortifications wouldn't break. Warfare has a much greater component of siegecraft, sapping and assaults against fortresses rather than infantry against infantry action.

I really only meant the term "ground troops" to be a reference point- "foot soldiers" would be more accurate.

2 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

I would say:

  • Stonewards - fortress defense and infantry
  • Dustbringers - sappers and attacks on fortresses
  • Windrunners - paratroopers and scouts
  • Willshapers - combat engineers

 

I think you're onto something, however, I think that the Willshapers are the fortress defense- here's a quote from the official summary: "In war, they might be sent to a town to fortify it against an oncoming invasion." 

As well, the summaries detail that the Stonewards and Windrunners are the main attackers, and the combat engineers would probably be the Elsecallers. As for the Dustbringers, they "tend to act as the artillery." However, they are used as sappers, according to the article. Here's the link: https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-ten-orders-of-knights-radiant/

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We do know a bit about the roles that the Orders played & their general dispositions to one another. Truthwatchers & Elsecallers were the scholarly Orders, the latter also often acted as ambassadors to Shadesmar & took care of perfect gems. Edgedancers weren't just field medics but also sometimes peacebrokers, probably due to them often attracting the spiritual type of person & also often being quite "refined & articulate". According to the new info Truthwatchers & Willshapers also often went to conflict prone areas.

We know that the Windrunners & Skybreakers often didn't get along. That Dustbringers had a bit of a reputation problem within & without. Bondsmiths were often revered. Willshapers at the time of the False Desolation were starting to get a reputation for being capricious. Windrunners and Stonewards, both being soldier Orders were often assigned together.

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9 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

I really only meant the term "ground troops" to be a reference point- "foot soldiers" would be more accurate.

But they weren't. KRs were like Shardbearers on today's Roshar. Forces consisting only of them were rare exceptions. They were few in number.

9 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

I think you're onto something, however, I think that the Willshapers are the fortress defense- here's a quote from the official summary: "In war, they might be sent to a town to fortify it against an oncoming invasion." 

Well, those who build the walls, gates and battlements are not necessarily those who hold them in battle. In fact, should they need to be repaired, spending the lives of those suited to that is unwise.

9 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

As well, the summaries detail that the Stonewards and Windrunners are the main attackers,

I am afraid the assumption that the main martial activity is attacking is wrong. On a planet where fortresses still are main components of warfare, attacking is extremely rare. You skirmish and raid.

9 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

and the combat engineers would probably be the Elsecallers.

Unlikely. Too expensive in gems. Stonewards and Willshapers are better. Willshapers are sent to outlying towns because they can teleport.

9 minutes ago, BringerOfLight said:

As for the Dustbringers, they "tend to act as the artillery." However, they are used as sappers, according to the article. Here's the link: https://www.brandonsanderson.com/the-ten-orders-of-knights-radiant/

Well, you see a distinction that is artificial. If you have fortifications in great numbers, they are the main targets of artillery.

13 minutes ago, R J said:

We know that the Windrunners & Skybreakers often didn't get along. That Dustbringers had a bit of a reputation problem within & without. Bondsmiths were often revered. Willshapers at the time of the False Desolation were starting to get a reputation for being capricious. Windrunners and Stonewards, both being soldier Orders were often assigned together.

Yes. But there are the moments when the enemy is at the gates and everybody who can hold a sword or spear will need to fight. What roles will the orders fulfill?

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Posted (edited)

So, these are some things I’d like to add to what has already been said:

I agree that Stonewards and Windrunner are the main military Orders, but there probably also would have been a Dustbringer in a lot of Knights Radiant assault forces, given that their text mentions them working as artillery. That said, there are obviously other functions for them as well, like as tacticians. So, it doesn't seem to be as clear-cut as one Order, one function. But Dustbringers were used for military purposes, among others.

Truthwatchers are described as secretive, so I doubt they let the other Orders particularly near them. I think of them as kind of an isolated group that will deliver information and new research results if necessary but is mostly concerned with themselves. Maybe the scholarly among the Elsecallers would communicate with them, but I'll say a bit more aobut those below.

Lightweavers were artists and spies ... you can’t really be near the other Orders and work with them when you spy, since you’re in the enemy lines (although I’d like to know how that worked during the isolations, given that they would have had to imitate the Rhythms to pretend they were Singers…). Being an artist can also be lonely work, especially when you have all the abilities you need, which they have due to Lightweaving. So I guess they wouldn’t interact that much with other Orders, except from being at odds with the Skybreakers - which is kind of a logical conclusion of their powers. Being able to make things appear differently with your powers is certainly something that would be easy to use for all kinds of illegal purposes. I wonder if the Truthwatchers had the same issues, to a degree ... Illumination is really tempting, after all.

The Elsecallers seem like strategists and organizers to me, in cities as well as on the battlefield. To quote the Quiz text:

Quote

In the Knights Radiant, they tend to be among the best tacticians, and are logistical geniuses, aided in part by their abilities to create food and water for armies, but also their ability to move in and out of Shadesmar.

For example, I could imagine them making battle plans for the military Orders. That said, as mentioned above, some Dustbringers were strategists as well, so they might have shared that duty at times. Also, the highest ranking Elsecallers might have been the Bondsmith’s consultants - they could use their wisdom to help them make decisions. Jasnah being a scholar notwithstanding, I personally see Elsecallers more as an Order with political functions as of now - scholarly Elsecallers are only mentioned incidentally in the text, so that might not have been their main assignment, but only one of them.

So, Orders that might have shared duties, assuming from the things above:

  • Stonewards, Windrunner and Dustbringers as warriors
  • Dustbringers and Elsecallers as tacticians
  • Elsecallers and Truthwatchers as scholars ... maybe the engineers among the Dustbringers helped them out sometimes as well
  • Elsecallers as the Bondsmith's consultants
  • Skybreakers as all the other Orders' overseers (possibly including the Bondsmiths, which is a fascinating thought to me)
Edited by Elegy
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Posted (edited)

Windrunners - scouts and ambush squads. One of them is the King, who lead the army and nation, creates the strategy.

Bondsmiths - Spiritual Leader, Pope, Shaman, the one who unites the people, tells them the words of wisdom and advices the King.

One Windrunner and one Bondsmith create classic Warlord+Shaman duo. I think Jezrien and Ishar were those.

Truthwatchers - scientists, researchers and providers of the information.

Elsecallers - tacticians and supply providers.

Dustbringers - firepower.

Stonewardens - ground troops.

Edgedancers - medics and health care providers.

Willshapers - provide infrastructure: communication, transportation and logistics.

Lightweavers - spies and people of art and culture.

Skybreakers - judicial system and police.

Edited by Harbour
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21 minutes ago, Harbour said:

Windrunners - scouts and ambush squads. One of them is the King, who lead the army and nation, creates the strategy.

Bondsmiths - Spiritual Leader, Pope, Shaman, the one who unites the people, tells them the words of wisdom and advices the King.

One Windrunner and one Bondsmith create classic Warlord+Shaman duo. I think Jezrien and Ishar were those.

Truthwatchers - scientists, researchers and providers of the information.

Elsecallers - tacticians and supply providers.

Dustbringers - firepower.

Stonewardens - ground troops.

Edgedancers - medics and health care providers.

Willshapers - provide infrastructure: communication, transportation and logistics.

Lightweavers - spies and people of art and culture.

Edgedancers - judicial system and police.

I think I like your take on Windrunner/Bondsmith better than mine- instead of the Windrunner's being King's Guard to the Bondsmith's King, the Bondsmith is the High Priest to the Windrunner's King/ King's Guard.

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Windrunners - Vanguard, Scouts and/or Paratroopers. Huge impact on conflict command structure. Rallying points

Skybreakers - Judicial system and Policing, Garrison Duty.

Dustbringers - Sappers, Artillery, Offensive Siege Specialists.

Edgedancers - Medic, Rallying points, Provisions generation

Truthwatchers - Seers(past events), Empaths, Medics

Lightweavers - Intelligence, Espionage, Propaganda

Elsecallers - Strategists, tacticans, Spren Diplomacy and Provisions generation

Willshapers - Counter-Insurgency?, Spren Diplomacy, Scouting

Stonewardens - Vanguard. Defensive Siege Specialists, Garrison Duty.

Bondsmiths - Spiritual Leader, Pope, Shaman, Advisors, counters to the UnMade.

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9 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

I would rather say High Priests. The actual leadership may come from a council of intellectually inclined orders.

I do not think that accurate.  Bondsmiths are elder statesmen.  They might be religiously inclined but the majority are political scientists.

9 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

But they weren't. KRs were like Shardbearers on today's Roshar. Forces consisting only of them were rare exceptions. They were few in number.

Not exactly.  There were thousands of them.  We saw that small teams of radiants were often deployed as special forces.  I agree that they often functioned in conjunction with other forces but not always.

9 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

I am afraid the assumption that the main martial activity is attacking is wrong. On a planet where fortresses still are main components of warfare, attacking is extremely rare. You skirmish and raid.

We know attacking fortresses happened frequently during Gavilar's reunification campaign.  I see no reason it would have been different here.  Singers probably had less fortifications(no oathgates) but they would definitely have been attacks on fortified cities and positions.

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4 hours ago, Harbour said:

Windrunners - scouts and ambush squads. One of them is the King, who lead the army and nation, creates the strategy.

Bondsmiths - Spiritual Leader, Pope, Shaman, the one who unites the people, tells them the words of wisdom and advices the King.

One Windrunner and one Bondsmith create classic Warlord+Shaman duo. I think Jezrien and Ishar were those.

Truthwatchers - scientists, researchers and providers of the information.

Elsecallers - tacticians and supply providers.

Dustbringers - firepower.

Stonewardens - ground troops.

Edgedancers - medics and health care providers.

Willshapers - provide infrastructure: communication, transportation and logistics.

Lightweavers - spies and people of art and culture.

Edgedancers - judicial system and police.

I agree with you, but might add:

- Ligthweavers were also supply providers

 Truthwatchers also physicians 

-  I'm assuming Elsecallers were diplomats as well though I'm not aware about the extension of their physical transportation 

- Dustbringers were somewhat linked with Willshapers to work as sappers in constructions, roads, etc

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5 hours ago, Karger said:

I do not think that accurate.  Bondsmiths are elder statesmen.  They might be religiously inclined but the majority are political scientists.

Yes, they are politicians. But not generals. Nor is there a reason you should expect  somebody who is good at politics to be good at military matters. In addition, if you have a council making war plans, you can dissolve it and find a new one. That is not possible with your bondsmiths.

5 hours ago, Karger said:

Not exactly.  There were thousands of them.  We saw that small teams of radiants were often deployed as special forces.  I agree that they often functioned in conjunction with other forces but not always.

Right. So when they did so, those teams were special forces. They would never form an ordinary infantry company.

5 hours ago, Karger said:

We know attacking fortresses happened frequently during Gavilar's reunification campaign.  I see no reason it would have been different here.

The KRs do not need to attack much. Gavilar wanted to change the status quo. The KRs intend to keep it. Humans were established on Roshar when they were formed. Their overriding goal in the Desolations was not to lose. Secondly not to win a pyrrhic victory. That points to conserving your forces and let the other side bleed attacking fortified positions and fortresses.

5 hours ago, Karger said:

  Singers probably had less fortifications(no oathgates) but they would definitely have been attacks on fortified cities and positions.

If possible you always counterattack. Yet that does not change the strategy. Nor can we make the assumption that the most numerous Knights were the most important or best at their tasks. On the contrary, there is a paradox you can observe in social insects with physical castes. The better specialists become at their task the fewer they can be in numbers.
Hence, yes the Windrunners were many, as they needed to be to have a realistic chance of even detecting a raid against a village. But the ones who build and hold key fortresses are essential.

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Posted (edited)

On 6/30/2020 at 11:24 AM, Oltux72 said:

I would rather say High Priests. The actual leadership may come from a council of intellectually inclined orders.

They are an order of knights, all magical, all great individual powers. I imagine the more martial orders don't just stand aside and let the "scholars" do the leading. I imagine the Windrunners who trace their lineage to the herald of kings and the Honorspren don't just stand aside for the cold, brutal logic of the Elsecallers and I doubt the Skybreakers could let the freedom loving, order breaking Willshapers have access to the levers of government without Skybreaker input. The passages in WoR from "Words of Radiance" imply the Truthwatchers are mostly aloof and mysterious and keep their own council while the Willshapers are absent from tower politics. The Lightweavers are artists, that leaves only the Elsecallers as scholarly Radiants inclined to seek leadership and play at inter-radiant Politics. 

I bet there was likely a council of a leader or representative from all ten orders who met in the top room. Some orders likely voted for a rep, some sent their leader, some their oldest or wisest member, some their most politically inclined... maybe all three bondsmiths were invited. We see the top room in Words of Radiance that has ten thrones and ten pedestals for the spren of the Radiants. Some orders likely cared more for inter-radiant politics than others.

Edited by thejopen27
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3 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

They are an order of knights, all magical, all great individual powers. I imagine the more martial orders don't just stand aside and let the "scholars" do the leading. I imagine the Windrunners who trace their lineage to the herald of kings and the Honorspren don't just stand aside for the cold, brutal logic of the Elsecallers and I doubt the Skybreakers could let the freedom loving, order breaking Willshapers have access to the levers of government without Skybreaker input. The passages in WoR from "Words of Radiance" imply the Truthwatchers are mostly aloof and mysterious and keep their own council while the Willshapers are absent from tower politics. The Lightweavers are artists, that leaves only the Elsecallers as scholarly Radiants inclined to seek leadership and play at inter-radiant Politics. 

I bet there was likely a council of a leader or representative from all ten orders who met in the top room. Some orders likely voted for a rep, some sent their leader, some their oldest or wisest member, some their most politically inclined... maybe all three bondsmiths were invited. We see the top room in Words of Radiance that has ten thrones and ten pedestals for the spren of the Radiants. Some orders likely cared more for inter-radiant politics than others.

It is highly unlikely that the KRs left civillian, religious and military leadership undivided. The requirements are too different. In particular politics, as you say, requires representation. While military strategy requires one leader, who must be easily replacable in case of a failure. While the realmatic and religious significance of the Bondsmiths cannot be changed.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

It is highly unlikely that the KRs left civilian, religious and military leadership undivided. The requirements are too different. In particular politics, as you say, requires representation. While military strategy requires one leader, who must be easily replacable in case of a failure. While the realmatic and religious significance of the Bondsmiths cannot be changed.

The knights didn't rule over civilians except those who lived in Urithiru, nor were they purely a military organization, nor is it clear they did anything to meddle in the religious affairs of anyone outside of their order. I'm sure their primary concern when meeting between themselves was preparation for desolations, confronting the Singers and Fused, and inter-order relations. Just because one is a windrunner doesn't mean one is solely concerned with military matters, nor is being a Elsecaller mean one is content to be a scholar and give council. I doubt the knights consented to completely confine themselves to "their area" and I'm sure each order had individual knights with different interests and styles. The different relative sizes of the orders also likely played a part in their dynamic. I get the sense that there weren't very many Truthwatchers while there were a significant number of Stonewards and Windrunners. I'm sure giving out military commands to various knights was highly contentious and several orders pressed their own members forward to be given precedence. I'm sure depending on the situation that Stonewards, Willshapers, Elsecallers, Windrunners, Dustbringers, or Skybreakers demanded the command of various missions. 

Different Bondsmiths (and the different three spren) likely had different styles and views on their role. Some may have seen themselves as councilors, others as problem solvers, others as judges, others as conciliators or peace-makers, while still others as leaders of the knights. Our view of Dalinar as the leader of the current knights is complicated by the reality that he is the oldest knight with the most pre-existing terrestrial power and the most leadership experience. Him being Kaladin's commanding officer pre-dates either's role as a Knight Radiant.

 

Edited by thejopen27
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35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

The knights didn't rule over civilians except those who lived in Urithiru,

"Except" is misleading. Urithiru can house tens of thousands. In a neolithic culture, which Roshar regressed to multiple times, that is an incredible number of people. It was the largest city on the planet, rivalling a small country in population. And they had an enormous political potential, as they could block trade.

35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

nor were they purely a military organization,

Right, but they were also a military organization to a larger extent than a normal country would be.

35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

nor is it clear they did anything to meddle in the religious affairs of anyone outside of their order.

Well, they most likely did not have an organized programme to do so. But look at Edgedancers, Skybreakers and Windrunners. They cannot just go for non-intervention. As an Edgedancer you cannot look at the other way if there is an epidemic or a famine. And then you will do what essentially are miracles. If people ask, would you then deny that your mission ultimately meets Honor's aims? And that is supposed to not stoke proto-Vorinism?

35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

I'm sure their primary concern when meeting between themselves was preparation for desolations, confronting the Singers and Fused, and inter-order relations. Just because one is a windrunner doesn't mean one is solely concerned with military matters, nor is being a Elsecaller mean one is content to be a scholar and give council.

Yes, the question what they considered for politics and what they left to the individual Radiant is open. Yet they must have had some kind of administration. At a minimum Urithiru needs law, a budget and the oath gates need to be operated. And I really doubt the KRs cleaned the corridors themselves or did laundry with their own hands.

35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

I doubt the knights consented to completely confine themselves to "their area" and I'm sure each order had individual knights with different interests and styles. The different relative sizes of the orders also likely played a part in their dynamic.

It leads to the question whether they had representation by order or per capita or both. That is, if they had representation.

35 minutes ago, thejopen27 said:

I get the sense that there weren't very many Truthwatchers while there were a significant number of Stonewards and Windrunners. I'm sure giving out military commands to various knights was highly contentious and several orders pressed their own members forward to be given precedence. I'm sure depending on the situation that Stonewards, Willshapers, Elsecallers, Windrunners, Dustbringers, or Skybreakers demanded the command of various missions.

Yet somebody has to be commander-in-chief.

 

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6 hours ago, Oltux72 said:

 

Yet somebody has to be commander-in-chief.

 

Not necessarily, in the real world there have been wars run by councils or committees. Most of the wars after the french revolution were led by committees who assigned generals to various commands. This is more practical for the radiants as they are all held to more vigorous oaths than normal humans. If the council of orders did choose to appoint a supreme commander for a conflict then I believe that it wasn't always a bondsmith. If the only bondsmith at the time was to the sibling and was more focused on Urithiru, or the only bondsmith was young and there was a 70 year old stone-ward with 50 years experience as an officer and a Radiant than I'm sure the Stoneward would be given command. 

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3 hours ago, thejopen27 said:

This is more practical for the radiants as they are all held to more vigorous oaths than normal humans.

I think you made this statement with a very strong preconception that radiants can only do certain things because said oaths. That couldn't further from the truth, not every order thinks the same, in fact plenty of orders had people with that can contradict one another's temperament.i.e. Willshapers & Lightweavers. An edgedancer who is a master duelist is going to have different outlook on combat and war as a pose to an edgedancer who is the village healer. Every oath is subjective even if they follow an objective structure if that makes sense.

Even if what you said was true, it's kind of makes no sense and defeats the purpose of a military organisation that is the KR. Are you telling me that the KR would knowingly employ people to persecute a war against the Dark Lord's army who use questionable means? They would not only run the risk of screwing with their oaths but just funneling people over to Odium's side. KR are literally the closest things to what the average person should aspire to act like, as they started from their lowest points in life and built themselves to an even higher level of living. War is a huge part of the Desolations if not the biggest, not being there to support the people as their conducting it is a huge folly.

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12 hours ago, BrightLordSwageas said:

I think you made this statement with a very strong preconception that radiants can only do certain things because said oaths.

I meant only that Radiants oaths and purpose for being tend to bind them all to to the same overall goal, even if they disagree about how to achieve it. At least in the past. Otherwise I don't think you understood what I meant at all. My comments were specifically about the Radiants ruling with a council of the heads of orders instead of following a bondsmith like a king. Although we already know from the exchange between Jasnah and kaladin that Radiants can have very different views about proper conduct in a war.

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