ILuvHats

The Capabilities of the Sleepless

11 posts in this topic

We got SO much information about the Sleepless in Dawnshard. One thing I want to dissect is the extent of their abilities, because we got a few more tidbits.

1. The size limitations of a Sleepless' horde - Nikli is able replicate a dead Santhid by itself. The description of Santhids in the coppermind says, "Santhidyn have a dome-shaped brown-green shell on the top of their bodies, about the size of three rowboats tied together and at least six or eight feet in height." We also know much of their mass is below the water, so they're probably somewhere between the size of orca whales (~10,000 lb) and humpbacks (~60,000 lb). That's a LOT of hordelings, more than I was expecting honestly. So the answer to this WoB

Quote

Nashan'Elin

The Sleepless. If they got enough hordelings, how big could they get?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a limit. It is larger than you've seen on-screen before.

Nashan'Elin

Chasmfiend size?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Skyward Denver signing (Nov. 15, 2018)

is that a Sleepless could probably form a creature the size of a Chasmfiend.

We also need to consider the size of the monsters at the end. It's difficult to get an exact size estimate, but we do get descriptors. First, they are able to fit Huio in their mouth while he stands. Two, their legs are described as spindly compared to the body, but the legs are also the thickness of tree trunks. I get the impression that these creatures are much larger than Santhids. However, it's interesting that there are a total of seven of these monsters; one originally, then six more followed. We also know that there are 20 Sleepless following the First, making there a total of 21 Sleepless actively guarding Akinah. We don't know for sure that all of them were present on Akinah, but considering how important they consider its defense and the presence of a large group of people containing multiple Windrunners, it's not unreasonable to assume they went all out and all the Sleepless were present on Akinah at the end of Dawnshard. This could imply that each monster was comprised of three distinct Sleepless hordes, which would mean hordelings from different Sleepless are capable of working in conjoint to form larger masses. It's definitely a stretch to say we know absolutely that the monsters were comprise of multiple Sleepless, but the numbers divide by each other, and I can't think of any reasoning for why Sleepless would not be able to combine hordes to create larger creatures.

2. Sleepless communicate with each other via vibrations - Not much to say on this one. We knew they could communicate long distances before Dawnshard, though I don't think we knew the method, so it's nice to find that out.

3. Sleepless are able to breed with species that are not a part of their own horde or any other Sleepless' - This is evident since Nikli mentions they were able to create hordelings capable of consuming Investiture by cross-breeding with Larkin. I'll be honest, I had never considered this before. I had always assumed that a Sleepless' hordelings mainly mated within a single horde, and probably with other hordes, possibly to create new Sleepless. This was based on the premise that while hordelings are flexible and can be bred to a significant degree to evolve, their reproductive methods were distinct to the species. Apparently, this is not the case. I suppose it makes sense; if you're able to evolve hordelings to the degree that they can mimic human body parts, it's reasonable to assume they can breed hordelings to be physiologically similar enough to foreign species to mate with them. This explains how hordelings can vary so much as the mating pool is virtually limitless.

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Nikli is able replicate a dead Santhid by itself.

Not certain I agree. When he was conversing with the other Sleepless, he said he had one more idea to deter the expedition, but he needed help. 

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Small correction, the 20 "allied" Sleepless includes the First, so the total number of "allied" Sleepless is 20, there are 3 "rebels", and Arclo (sp?) is solo. 

I don't have the link handy, but I believe Brandon clarified this in the Reddit thread for Dawnshard's annotation. It might also be in the Arcanum event for the same reddit thread. 

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14 hours ago, ILuvHats said:

1. The size limitations of a Sleepless' horde - Nikli is able replicate a dead Santhid by itself. The description of Santhids in the coppermind says, "Santhidyn have a dome-shaped brown-green shell on the top of their bodies, about the size of three rowboats tied together and at least six or eight feet in height." We also know much of their mass is below the water, so they're probably somewhere between the size of orca whales (~10,000 lb) and humpbacks (~60,000 lb). That's a LOT of hordelings, more than I was expecting honestly. So the answer to this WoB

Quote

Nashan'Elin

The Sleepless. If they got enough hordelings, how big could they get?

Brandon Sanderson

There is a limit. It is larger than you've seen on-screen before.

Nashan'Elin

Chasmfiend size?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO.

Skyward Denver signing (Nov. 15, 2018)

is that a Sleepless could probably form a creature the size of a Chasmfiend.

We also need to consider the size of the monsters at the end. It's difficult to get an exact size estimate, but we do get descriptors. First, they are able to fit Huio in their mouth while he stands. Two, their legs are described as spindly compared to the body, but the legs are also the thickness of tree trunks. I get the impression that these creatures are much larger than Santhids. However, it's interesting that there are a total of seven of these monsters; one originally, then six more followed. We also know that there are 20 Sleepless following the First, making there a total of 21 Sleepless actively guarding Akinah. We don't know for sure that all of them were present on Akinah, but considering how important they consider its defense and the presence of a large group of people containing multiple Windrunners, it's not unreasonable to assume they went all out and all the Sleepless were present on Akinah at the end of Dawnshard. This could imply that each monster was comprised of three distinct Sleepless hordes, which would mean hordelings from different Sleepless are capable of working in conjoint to form larger masses. It's definitely a stretch to say we know absolutely that the monsters were comprise of multiple Sleepless, but the numbers divide by each other, and I can't think of any reasoning for why Sleepless would not be able to combine hordes to create larger creatures.

... I think each of those monsters WAS a Hordeling... a single Hordeling.

If they were composed of a bunch of small Hordelings, Huio wouldn't have been able to kill one with a Shardspear. It would only kill the Hordelings it hit. And I think Nikli would have a different form of combat if he had a giant mass of Hordelings instead of a set of big ones.

... which implies that what we saw in the battle was just Nikli. The youngest Sleepless.

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16 hours ago, ILuvHats said:

We also need to consider the size of the monsters at the end. It's difficult to get an exact size estimate, but we do get descriptors. First, they are able to fit Huio in their mouth while he stands. Two, their legs are described as spindly compared to the body, but the legs are also the thickness of tree trunks. I get the impression that these creatures are much larger than Santhids. However, it's interesting that there are a total of seven of these monsters; one originally, then six more followed. We also know that there are 20 Sleepless following the First, making there a total of 21 Sleepless actively guarding Akinah. We don't know for sure that all of them were present on Akinah, but considering how important they consider its defense and the presence of a large group of people containing multiple Windrunners, it's not unreasonable to assume they went all out and all the Sleepless were present on Akinah at the end of Dawnshard. This could imply that each monster was comprised of three distinct Sleepless hordes, which would mean hordelings from different Sleepless are capable of working in conjoint to form larger masses. It's definitely a stretch to say we know absolutely that the monsters were comprise of multiple Sleepless, but the numbers divide by each other, and I can't think of any reasoning for why Sleepless would not be able to combine hordes to create larger creatures.

 

1 hour ago, Ashbringer said:

... I think each of those monsters WAS a Hordeling... a single Hordeling.

 

I agree with @Ashbringer, those were single hordelings. And that fact made me terrified about the combat potential of the Sleepless.

Luckily for the Lopen and Huio, though, hordelings like those probably don't come cheap. They have to be bred and would probably take many years to grow to full size. Producing an army would be difficult, so it would be hard for them to have a large-scale impact on the war. However, their presence still means that each individual Sleepless is easily one of the most deadly adversaries we've seen—more intimidating than multiple Radiants.

In addition, Nikli is the youngest Sleepless and he's had enough time to raise at least seven hordelings of that size. Some of the older swarms have had the opportunity to accrue many times more, especially since the process should be at least somewhat exponential. The time it takes you to produce the first two hordelings should be equal to the time needed to produce the next two, then the next four, then eight... etc (assuming that each breeding event produces two more). Given enough time, the limit on the number of individuals in a swarm would be a larger factor than how long it takes to create these giant ones.

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2 hours ago, Lightspine said:

And that fact made me terrified about the combat potential of the Sleepless.

I mean, Nale knows not to mess with them, so that was a pretty good hint too back in Edgedancer.

They've selectively bred larkin-lite hordelings too, so they have the ability to suck out investiture from radiants and fused.  It seems like it would be hard to beat them.

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6 hours ago, CaptainRyan said:

Small correction, the 20 "allied" Sleepless includes the First, so the total number of "allied" Sleepless is 20, there are 3 "rebels", and Arclo (sp?) is solo. 

I don't have the link handy, but I believe Brandon clarified this in the Reddit thread for Dawnshard's annotation. It might also be in the Arcanum event for the same reddit thread. 

Thanks for clearing this up. I hadn’t seen the WoB yet, and the way it was phrased in book was very ambiguous.

4 hours ago, Ashbringer said:

... I think each of those monsters WAS a Hordeling... a single Hordeling.

If they were composed of a bunch of small Hordelings, Huio wouldn't have been able to kill one with a Shardspear. It would only kill the Hordelings it hit. And I think Nikli would have a different form of combat if he had a giant mass of Hordelings instead of a set of big ones.

... which implies that what we saw in the battle was just Nikli. The youngest Sleepless.

Oh god. That’s terrifying. That makes a lot of sense that Huio was able to kill one then. I just hadn’t considered it because it seems so OP.

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4 hours ago, Ashbringer said:

... which implies that what we saw in the battle was just Nikli. The youngest Sleepless.

...oh great!

 

That interpretation makes sense to me. I wondered how they were able to hurt and kill them, so the terrifying implication is that a Sleepless can control (be made up of?) hordelings of various sizes, which seems obvious but I hadn’t thought it worked that way. I had it in my head that they were a swarm of little guys, and all had to be about the same, but if there’s *that* much variety they could do all kinds of things.

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Thank you for the nightmare fuel! 

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Any WoBs or other answers to the questions "how much do the Sleepless know about Hoid?" and "how much does Hoid know about the Sleepless?"  My hope, of course, is that the Sleepless will turn out to be a force for good...

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More frightening to me is that these sleepless are terrified of some unknown enemy. They’re basically immortal hive-minds that can eat investiture, but nope, there’s something much worse out there.

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