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Recreance "Oathbreakers"


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I've seen dozens of topics on 'when' the Recreance happened, 'what' the secret is that broke the KR, 'why' they abandoned their shards en masse, and 'who' may or may not have taken part in the Recreance.

This is not one of those topics. Right now I want to discuss 'how'.

@The One Who Connects recently reminded me that abandoning oaths leads to a slower spren death/regression, while breaking oaths can straight up kill them. It seems that the Recreance happened rather suddenly, and we're told that multiple orders took part all at once. That, to me, screams of purposefully breaking an oath.

It's possible that each order chose a different ideal to break, but more likely... which oath could all the Radiants break at once? Only the first.

Life before death. Obviously the Radiants betrayed this oath when they killed so many sprenblades, but how do you break this oath to bring that about in the first place? I don't think this is a likely candidate for the broken oath. It felt more like the Radiants had a collective (probably very convincing) reason to abandon their posts, and I doubt they just did it in order to give up and die... at least they wouldn't have chosen to do that all at once.

Strength before weakness. Similarly, if their weaknesses caused them to perform the Recreance, I feel like it would be more gradual, with only a few Radiants falling at a time. Again, I feel that - if they had a good reason for the Recreance - seeing it through and betraying their spren would take massive strength.

Journey before destination. This seems most likely to me. If the Radiants discovered a 'secret' that broke them, it could be any one of the things that numerous other threads have discussed (again, don't derail my thread!) :D Regardless, I think it's safe to say that if the Radiants decided the Recreance was the only way to save humanity (or really any other very convincing end goal), then they would heroically go through with it despite the cost. While noble in theory, that attitude is wilfully putting destination before journey. I think making that choice is what allowed the Radiants to leave their shards as they did.

I obviously have a lot of assumptions here :) 

Anyone have another idea on 'how' the Radiants were able to perform the Recreance as they did?

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Dalinar's vision of what we believe was the Recreance and also one of the epigraphs both indicate that Windrunners were one of the first to leave.

If Dalinar's vision is accurate, then the Stonewards left at the same time.

This appears to have been during a war, and we know the Windrunner oathes are about protecting, which should extend to their allies.

It stands to reason that the Stonward oaths should include something along the lines of standing firm


Whatever was discovered caused these two orders to stop fighting, which I expect would break their oaths.

It's then possible that we can have a domino effect of sorts,

Bondsmiths encouraging the KRs to disband

Edgedancers ignoring pleas to remain.

Lightweavers lying to themselves that the world didn't need them.

We don't know a lot of the secondary oaths, so this is about as far as I can take this theory at the moment.

Suffice to say I think it happened quickly, but not necessarily instantaneously. 


Given the wide range of interpretations of the shared oath, I feel like it would be difficult to break really.

The oath that Kaladin straight up broke when he almost killed Syl was his second one.

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For the greater good is generally anathema to the Knights Radiant. For all of them to abandon at once, they must have thought they were doing the right thing, that it was right to stop fighting, even if it would kill their spren. It must have been related either to what starts desolations or the death of the Almighty. Those are the only things I can think of powerful enough to lead most of the Radiants to simultaneously break there oaths.

Reminder: When Dalinar sees all the Radiants arrive at Feverstone Keep they still had surges, which means they hadn't yet broken their oaths. The act of abandoning their shards must have been the thing that broke the oath.

Edited by thejopen27
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