Woland

Timeline and cause of the Return [full book spoilers]

16 posts in this topic

Hi guys, I'm a longtime lurker who decide to manifest in the Physical Realm.

I've got a lot of doubts about the exact timeline and cause of the Return: it's not clear to me what we know in detail. I should reread all the books, but right now I don't really have the time! This is my tentative timeline:

1 - Sometime in the past (after the Recreance?): Rayse kills Tanavast (how?)

2 - Centuries before current events, Odium starts condensing part of its power creating the Everstorm in the Cognitive Realm. Could he do that because of Honor's death?

3 - a few years before Gavilar's death, Kelek supposedly starts working with Gavilar and the Sons of Honor to bring back the Desolations. They somewhat developed anti-Voidlight, probably as a failsafe to win the war and bring back the Heralds and the Radiants to their old glory. Axindweth's faction works to manually bring back Voidspren in the Physical Realm from the Cognitive, meaning they aren't captive on Braize.

4 - Around this time, other Heralds are tipped off. Ishar becomes king of Tukar, Jezrien and Nale show up with Kelek the night of Gavilar's assassination. Battah starts working with Taravangian. Szeth starts blabbing about the Return and he's exiled. Taln is free. Spren start bonding new Radiants. 

5 - The Everstorm happens.

 

Questions:

a - did Taln really break? Is that why Voidspren are free in the Cognitive Realm? Why can't the Fused directly take over the listeners without the Everstorm?

b - did Axindweth allegiances simply lie with the SoH? How could "another one of her kind" (I guess the Terris steward) make her flee? Or was she a Ghostblood, given that Mraize hunts who seems to be the same Terris steward?

c - How did Gavilar create anti-Voidlight?

d - why did Kelek work with him? He seems to only want to escape Roshar. Why go together with Nale, which is clearly against the idea of the return of the Desolations?

e - Why did the spren start bonding people again? What happened to Szeth?

f - Why are the Heralds not bound from the Oathpact anymore?

g - What is the proximal cause of the Return? Taln's fall or Gavilar/Axindweth's plotting?

h - Was Gavilar maneuvered by Odium?

 

Care to pitch in with you best guesses?

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1 hour ago, Woland said:

a - did Taln really break? Is that why Voidspren are free in the Cognitive Realm?

1 hour ago, Woland said:

g - What is the proximal cause of the Return? Taln's fall or Gavilar/Axindweth's plotting?

I'm going to reply to these two points at once, because they're sort of the same question in my mind.
My belief of the timeline right before Taln returning to Roshar is that, in between his torture he was able to see that Voidspren had made their way to the Physical Realm on Roshar despite his role in the Oathpact to hold them back. Seeing this, in a moment of lucidity, he "breaks" and releases the Fused as a whole, and wishes to prepare the human nations for the incoming attack. When he lands in Roshar, we find him too far gone to be able to communicate properly with those who he meets, until he is near a Radiant swearing an Oath, which we've since heard brings them closer to the Spiritual Realm, and allows the Heralds to see more clearly past their madnesses. This allows Taln to have never truly broken, and the Return to have still begun. Taln never truly gave in to the torture, he simply saw that his efforts were not going to hold them back much longer, and he was needed more with the humans, helping them prepare (though this didn't go as planned).

If this is truly how it occurred, then it depends on whether you see the Return of the Fused as inevitable once Voidspren were brought from Braize to Roshar, or if you believe that Taln holding even longer could've delayed it further. If you see it as inevitable, then Gavilar/Axindweth's plotting would the cause, if you think that Taln could've held them back for longer, giving humans a better footing before the Fused return, then Taln is the cause. 

I think my entire line of reasoning is tempered by really wanting Taln to still be the strong, dependable person he is cited as having been when the Oathpact was first formed, but given the insanity of the other Heralds who got out of the torture thousands of years earlier than him, it isn't very likely he is still that same person, when not brought closer to the Spiritual Realm.

 

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17 minutes ago, Realmatic Shadow said:

I'm going to reply to these two points at once, because they're sort of the same question in my mind.
My belief of the timeline right before Taln returning to Roshar is that, in between his torture he was able to see that Voidspren had made their way to the Physical Realm on Roshar despite his role in the Oathpact to hold them back.

 

So the Voidspren were not bound on Braize by the Oathpact like the Fused? They were already free in the Cognitive Realm?

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1 minute ago, Woland said:

So the Voidspren were not bound on Braize by the Oathpact like the Fused? They were already free in the Cognitive Realm?

I think that the Voidspren were not specifically part of those hold back both the Oathpact at first, but were also held back due to a fully formed Oathpact and alive Honor making the 'cage' keeping the Fused on Braize much tighter. With Honor shattered, and the Oathpact somewhat broken, there were big enough gaps that the Voidspren could slip through and out, as they were never deliberately bound, but held back more through virtue of the way the Oathpact held the Fused

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6 hours ago, Woland said:

1 - Sometime in the past (after the Recreance?): Rayse kills Tanavast (how?)

Great Question!

6 hours ago, Woland said:

2 - Centuries before current events, Odium starts condensing part of its power creating the Everstorm in the Cognitive Realm. Could he do that because of Honor's death?

Maybe?  it is also possible that this is because of what happened to Ba-Ado-Mishram or more likely that the oathpact is now partially defunct.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

 

4 - Around this time, other Heralds are tipped off. Ishar becomes king of Tukar, Jezrien and Nale show up with Kelek the night of Gavilar's assassination. Battah starts working with Taravangian. Szeth starts blabbing about the Return and he's exiled. Taln is free. Spren start bonding new Radiants. 

Taln does not break until a few years afterwards.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

a - did Taln really break? Is that why Voidspren are free in the Cognitive Realm? Why can't the Fused directly take over the listeners without the Everstorm?

We think so and the Everstorm is Odium's newest shortcut around a now failing oathpact.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

did Axindweth allegiances simply lie with the SoH? How could "another one of her kind" (I guess the Terris steward) make her flee? Or was she a Ghostblood, given that Mraize hunts who seems to be the same Terris steward?

We don't really know who she was working for.  It has been theorized she is a sleepless.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

c - How did Gavilar create anti-Voidlight?

Presumably the same way Navani did.  I do not know how he came up with the method but he did have the entire resources of a kingdom at his disposal.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

d - why did Kelek work with him? He seems to only want to escape Roshar. Why go together with Nale, which is clearly against the idea of the return of the Desolations?

Unclear.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

e - Why did the spren start bonding people again? What happened to Szeth?

Different reasons.  Pattern came to Shallan because the desolation posed a risk to everyone and he wanted to learn.  Ivory knew about the desolation and thought that Jasnah might be trustworthy.  Syl believed in the honor of humanity.  Szeth tried to warn everybody and was punished by being made truthless.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

g - What is the proximal cause of the Return? Taln's fall or Gavilar/Axindweth's plotting?

I would guess the first.  Gavilar's actions may have prompted this particular method but Taln's fall made the return itself.

6 hours ago, Woland said:

h - Was Gavilar maneuvered by Odium?

Yes?  I do not know if it was successful.

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7 hours ago, Woland said:

1 - Sometime in the past (after the Recreance?): Rayse kills Tanavast (how?)

(Scadrial)

Spoiler

Like Ati killed Leras. If to many things contrary to their Intent happen, Shards suffer

Or like Dalinar keeping his pain harmed Rayse.

7 hours ago, Woland said:

3 - a few years before Gavilar's death, Kelek supposedly starts working with Gavilar and the Sons of Honor to bring back the Desolations. They somewhat developed anti-Voidlight, probably as a failsafe to win the war and bring back the Heralds and the Radiants to their old glory. Axindweth's faction works to manually bring back Voidspren in the Physical Realm from the Cognitive, meaning they aren't captive on Braize.

Debatable. The False Desolation shows that Voidspren could get away from Braize for some centuries at least. Yet Ulim traveled in a gem, which he really detested. It looks like The Oathpact hinders and limits them but not totally keeps them on Braize.

7 hours ago, Woland said:

a - did Taln really break?

Yes.

7 hours ago, Woland said:

Is that why Voidspren are free in the Cognitive Realm? Why can't the Fused directly take over the listeners without the Everstorm?

Theyprobably can, but the process ia less efficient and slower.

7 hours ago, Woland said:

b - did Axindweth allegiances simply lie with the SoH?

There is no other indication of them being worldhoppers. The sons of Honor in hindsight look like an organisation of useful idiots whose leadership exploited them for their own goals. The only bona fide believer was Meridas Amaram. They did almost nothing really effective.

7 hours ago, Woland said:

How could "another one of her kind" (I guess the Terris steward) make her flee? Or was she a Ghostblood, given that Mraize hunts who seems to be the same Terris steward?

And Mraize is a very good indication how a real Ghostbloods dealt with such problems. It does not involve fleeing the entire planet.

37 minutes ago, Karger said:

Taln does not break until a few years afterwards.

Heralds may have some acccess to Fortune.

 

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1 minute ago, Oltux72 said:

Heralds may have some acccess to Fortune.

Not sure how that is relevant.

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Brandon says he thinks Taln has been back for a couple months before he shows up at the end of Way of Kings. He hasn't finalized this timeline, but that's what he thinks it's around.

Quote

Steeldancer

Taln, did he give in to the torture around the events of Way of Kings?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm going to have to look at the...So he should have given in to events in the current version of the book right before...Let's just say around Way of Kings. I'm not going to canonize that, though. In the version of Way of Kings that I wrote in 2002, he'd been around for a few years before he showed up in the narrative. And in the current outline, I don't have that be the case, but I haven't written his book yet. So for canon, but it's a Word of Brandon canon, I'm going to say, he's only been around for a couple of months before he shows up at the city.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

It sounds like he broke. Normally the Fused could start showing up after that, but Odium didn't want to do it that way this time. The Everstorm is a way to circumvent the Oathpact so that even if the Fused are defeated this time they can't be sealed on Braize by the Oathpact as long as the Everstorm is still on Roshar.   

Quote

"He won't remain bound by this. The enemy. He will find a way around it. You know he will" - Kalak in WoK Prelude

Quote

"The Everstorm has changed everything, and Cephadrius should have realized this" ... "The Fused are free now; they can be reborn without my intervention" - Odium Ch. 112 RoW

 

 
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12 minutes ago, Karger said:

Not sure how that is relevant.

If they have Fortune, they may have reacted to Taln's return before it happened.

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7 hours ago, Woland said:

a -  Why can't the Fused directly take over the listeners without the Everstorm?

There are some explanations in Venli's flashbacks with Ulim, It was slow and difficult for the voidspren that were gathering with the Everstorm in Shadesmar to leave there. The Everstorm needed to be pulled from Shadesmar to Roshar.
I think might be some kind of connection like a perpendicularity between Braize and Roshar through Shadesmar, that allows the Fused to travel through it. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Oltux72 said:

If they have Fortune, they may have reacted to Taln's return before it happened.

Or maybe they can sense his emotional state through the oathpact.  Either way they seem to have known I agree.

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The mechanics of the Everstorm are still pretty unclear to me. We've seen multiple descriptions of Fused being reborn in the storm, and there's that Odium quote that says he couldn't stop them returning now even if he wanted. But why does Lezian show up on Braize at the end of RoW? The Everstorm doesn't therefore allow the Fused to remain on Roshar after death, but just shortcuts them back to Roshar. Would the Everstorm have functioned if the Oathpact was intact? I think that it would have; why would Ulim have been doing all this plotting to summon the storm years before Taln returned to Roshar if his staying on Braize would have neutered those plots?

This makes me sympathetic to the idea (@Realmatic Shadow) that Taln didn't actually break. Wit says he is late in the WoK epilogue, and he says he's late in his own WoR interlude. Perhaps this refers to his having disappeared somewhere between breaking and showing up at Kholinar, but I think this has to mean that for the first time he has returned after the voidspren, when previously the order would always be the other way around.

1 hour ago, Oltux72 said:

If they have Fortune, they may have reacted to Taln's return before it happened.

Under this theory, I think that it is the presence of Voidspren in Shadesmar/on Roshar (due to Gavilar/Axindweth?), that is more likely to have tipped off the other Heralds. This is explicitly the case for Nale, that realization happens in Venli's POV. Kelek was perhaps involved earlier, trying to get offworld. We still don't exactly know what Gavilar planned, but I think that Nale was skeptical Gavilar was having any success returning Desolations and Kelek didn't care as much, so they were both happy to be in conference with him at/before the assassination. Kelek seems reluctant to have gone along with killing Gavilar, at least.

Edited by Zedseayou
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Spoiler

So didn't Dalinar, when doing his Connection thingjig with Nale, see that only one line was broken (Jezrien, since he's dead), eight were "weak, impotent", and one was still "bright and powerful... still vibrant". Wouldn't that imply that Taln never broke, or does it just mean he didn't break the pact?

 

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Ok, I'm glad I'm not the only one having doubts! This makes me hopeful that we'll have most of this stuff resolved by next book.

I'd say one thing that's not clear at all is the mechanics of the Everstorm and the Oathpact, what and who is binding, etc.

 

Anyway I like this theory: Taln only broke because he noticed Odium gathering the Everstorm to exploit a loophole around the Oathpact. So maybe he was able to do it because of Tanavast death, only it took many centuries to do it. This would probably mean that the Return was due to happen anyway; Odium only had to exploit someone to do his dirty work, in this case probably the SoH. The Herald's role is still very unclear to me...

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I'll post here the relevant part of the prologue:

 

Quote

The king was speaking with two men that Navani vaguely recognized. A tall Makabaki man with a birthmark on his cheek and a shorter Vorin man with a round face and a small nose. They’d been called ambassadors from the West, but no kingdom had been given for their home.

The Makabaki one leaned against the bookcase, his arms folded, his face completely expressionless. The Vorin man wrung his hands, reminding Navani of the palace steward, though this man seemed much younger. Somewhere… in his twenties? Maybe his thirties? No, he could be older.

On the table between Gavilar and the men lay a group of spheres. Navani’s breath caught as she saw them. They were arrayed in a variety of colors and brightness, but several seemed strangely off. They glowed with an inverse of light, as if they were little pits of violet darkness, sucking in the color around them.

She’d never seen anything like them before, but gemstones with spren trapped inside could have all kinds of odd appearances and effects. Those spheres… they must be meant for fabrials. What was Gavilar doing with spheres, strange light, and distinguished artifabrians? And why wouldn’t he talk to her about—

Gavilar suddenly stood up straight and glanced toward the doorway, though Navani hadn’t made any sound. Their eyes met. So she pushed open the door as if she had been on her way in. She wasn’t spying; she was queen of this palace. She could go where she wished, particularly her own study.

“Husband,” she said. “There are guests missing you at the gathering. You seem to have lost track of time.”

“Gentlemen,” Gavilar said to the two ambassadors, “I will need to excuse myself.”

The nervous Vorin man ran his hand through his wispy hair. “I want to know more of the project, Gavilar. Plus, you need to know that another of us is here tonight. I spotted her handiwork earlier.”

“I have a meeting shortly with Meridas and the others,” Gavilar said. “They should have more information for me. We can speak again after that.”

“No,” the Makabaki man said, his voice sharp. “I doubt we shall.”

“There’s more here, Nale!” the Vorin man said, though he followed as his friend left. “This is important! I want out. This is the only way…”

So Gavilar had a fabrial made which could allow travel from Shadesmar? He wanted to use it to bring back Fused, while Kelek wanted to use it to get off-world?

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I am very agree with this theory about Taln, I never thought about it but it was always quite strange that all the preparations of Odium (Everstorm, Singers needed the Stormshape...) came just in the moment when Taln breaks.

It has much sense to think that Taln broke when he realized that Odium forces are again in Roshar and he come back to help.

Taln resist thousands of years, it’s quite impossible that he break just at the same time that Odium prepare everything 

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