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Larval Chasmfiends? (spoilers)


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Apologies to all if this has already been pointed out.  One of the little mysteries of the Stormlight Archive is what larval chasmfiends are like and why no one apparently ever sees one. 


Kaladin has been through two highstorms now and there is at least one significant difference.  In the second highstorm, where he is huddled with Shallan in the chasm wall (ch 74), they see some creatures. 

Light came from above, too steady to be lightning.  Something was glowing on the plateau.  Something that moved.  It was hard to see, since water streamed off the side of the plateau above, falling in a sheet before their refuge.  He swore he saw an enormous figure walking up there, a glowing inhuman form, followed by another, alien and sleek.  Striding into the storm.  Leg after leg, until the glow passed. 

After the highstorm, there are chasmfiend pupae.(thank you, Seloun)  I guess the glowing creatures in the highstorm aremight be larval chasmfiends.  I don't know how much it matters really, but it was one of these weird little mysteries that might end up being relevant somehow.  It seems strange that Shallan doesn't comment on them. 


There is another description of a highstorm in chapter 49 which isn't as clear:

The stormwall.

A huge sheet of water and debris blown before the storm.  In places, it flashed withlight from behind, revealing light and shadows within.  Like the skeleton of a hand when light illuminated the flesh, there was something inside this wall of destruction.

Are the many-legged glowing creatures at the warcamps?  They don't pupate at the warcamps.  Do they go past the warcamps?  Do they go back to the Shattered Plains?  Is this section referring to something else inside the stormwall?


Edit: despoilerize title, add second quote, remove erroneous extrapolation

Edited by hoser
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Hm, this is a really interesting theory. I didn't actually take much notice of the shining creatures in the highstorm. A big question seems to be where do the larvae come from, even? Also, why do they pupate in highstorms? Could it be that they somehow

undergo a Parshendi-esque transformation? Could in fact the chasmfiends be to the chulls as parshendi are to parshmen?

I think this last proposition is a little far-fetched, but possibly interesting all the same.

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Wherever they come from, they may need Stormlight to make the transformation. We see spren hanging around them and we also see spren leaving when they die. They don't seem to be sentient but there are obviously spren that don't require the same level of physical/cognitive mix that humans have for bonding.

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I'm not quite sure why you say there are chasmfiend pupae after the highstorm. Is there a quote?


We know that chasmfiends (but not chrysalis) are apparently more common to the south end of the Shattered Plains (WoR, 'Heirs', Ch 51):



Foolishness. He had to stay focused. The procession approached the meeting plateau , which had a large, oddly shaped mound of rock near the center. This plateau was close to the Alethi side of the Plains, but much farther south than Adolin had ever gone . Early patrols had said chasmfiends were more common out in this region, but they never spotted a chrysalis here. Some kind of hunting ground, but not a place for pupating?


Chasmfiends prowl the southern and eastern sections (WoK, 'The Decoy', Ch 15):



But the Shattered Plains could also be a trap for the Parshendi. The eastern and southern edges were impassable—the plateaus there were weathered to the point that many were little more than spires, and the Parshendi could not jump the distance between them. The Plains were edged by mountains, and packs of chasmfiends prowled the land between, enormous and dangerous.


We also know that chasmfiends apparently wait for a highstorm while pupating (also WoK, 'The Decoy') and the frequency appears to be weather dependent:



Most gemhearts were harvested quite differently than the one had been today. Sometime during the strange life cycle of the chasmfiends, they sought the western side of the Plains, where the plateaus were wider. They climbed up onto the tops and made a rocky chrysalis, waiting for the coming of a highstorm.


During that time, they were vulnerable. You just had to get to the plateau where it rested, break into its chrysalis with some mallets or a Shardblade, then cut out the gemheart. Easy work for a fortune. And the beasts came frequently, often several times a week, so long as the weather didn’t get too cold.


So most likely the chasmfiends generally live along the southern/eastern mountains near the Shattered Plains, require something from a highstorm, but also head to the plateaus for pupating.


Most likely there is a connection with the highstorm and spren. If we consider the Everstorm analogue, maybe pupating is how the chasmfiends 'swap' their spren like we see the Parshendi do. 'Lifecycle of a Chull' sort of implies this.


The other question is why they need to be on a plateau to pupate. I was looking at Eshonai's transformation for a potential analogue, but it doesn't really fit - she does head out to a plateau away from Nalak, but the interlude also implies that this isn't necessary. She's also hiding behind a hill for much of the highstorm.


The only thing I can think of right now is that being on a plateau basically guarantees that the region won't be flooded during the highstorm (since the water will run off into the chasms) but it's not clear why the chasmfiends would prefer larger plateaus in that case. It might be coincidental, since there might be a temperature related reason why they don't pupate to the south.


It's also worth noting that Shallan mentions (WoR, 'Watching the World Transform', Ch 49):



“This might be a false positive , a coincidence. The yu-nerig are an aquatic species . The only time they come onto land is to pupate. Seems tenuous to assume a relationship to the chasmfiends . . .”


There might be something about the water that prevents pupating.


Also, going back to 'Lifecycle of a Chull' - the implication seems to be the chull goes into a final pupating state, and may just die in that state. This seems rather odd. What if the greatshells are part of some kind of spren lifecycle? The whole chull/chasmfiend portion is just to provide...something...to the controlling spren, and the spren are 'taken up' while the greatshell pupate during a highstorm?

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The ending of the chull lifecycle isn't too odd actually. It's like how octopi will tend the cave where their eggs are laid into they die of starvation. When the chull's go into Senescence, I think they incubate their young inside, until they have no more food to give and die. Then the young have the body of the parent inside as a food source and protection through the shell. Once they're ready to hatch, they wriggle out through the little holes of the shell at the top. It's brutal, but it's an effective way to ensure the young get more food and safety than would be otherwise possible.

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Great work! Upvoted!

I'm not quite sure why you say there are chasmfiend pupae after the highstorm. Is there a quote?

I'm delusional and make things up?


Apparently I just made a pattern based on the above passage and the statement that no one had seen a chasmfiend larva.  If the larvae made their pupae during the highstorms, it would just tie things together neatly with a bow.  Now none of it makes sense to me. 


If the things that Kaladin sees are larvae, do they just hang around the chasms until some random time before pupating? 


What do they gain by waiting in the chasms?


What are these things doing with the investiture they have from being infused?


If they are not chasmfiend larvae, then what are they, where are they going and what are they doing?


I presume the highstorm things are not adult chasmfiends because Kaladin would have recognized them. 


From WoR Chapter 49:

"... Have you ever seen a juvenile?  Before they form the crysalis?"

"No," Adolin said, scooting his chair around the table. "It often happens at night, and we don't spot them until morning.  They are hard to see out there, colored like rock. ..."

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