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How can Syl help?


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This is a bit of a weird theory, but we've seen two instances now which seem like they might be setting up an Honorspren being able to aid in battle against a Fused.

First is this exchange with Syl in Chapter 5:


He landed roughly, catching himself on the stone—hard enough that he’d have broken bones without Stormlight—then cursed and looked upward. Leshwi disappeared into the fight, leaving him behind with an exultant swirling maneuver in the sky. She seemed to revel in losing him when she could.

Kaladin groaned, shaking his hand where he’d hit the ground. His Stormlight healed the sprain in moments, but it still hurt in a phantom way, like the echoing of a loud noise in one’s mind after it left one’s ears.

Syl appeared in the air before him in the shape of a young woman, hands on her hips. “And don’t you dare return!” she shouted up at the departing Fused. “Or we’ll… um… come up with a better insult than this one!” She glanced at Kaladin. “Right?”

“You could have caught her,” Kaladin said, “if you’d been flying on your own without me.”

“Without you, I’d be as dumb as a rock. And without me you’d fly like one. I think we’re better off not worrying about what we could do without the other.” She folded her arms. “Besides, what would I do if I caught her? Glare at her? I need you for the stabby-stabby part.”

And next is what Leshwi says in today's Chapter 11:


“If I may,” Venli said, turning to Leshwi. “Did you kill him on this excursion?”

There was no need to explain “him.” Leshwi was fascinated by the Windrunners, and in particular their leader—the young man who had forged a group of Radiants without the guidance of god or Herald.

Leshwi finished her fruit before giving a reply. “He was there,” Leshwi said. “And so was his spren, though she did not appear to me. We fought. No conclusion. Though I fear I might not have a chance to face him again.”

Leshwi's comment here is very weird. It shouldn't even be necessary to state that Syl was there—why wouldn't a spren be around their Radiant, especially one of the 3rd ideal who can summon a sprenblade? Even more mysterious is the statement that Syl "did not appear to me." Leshwi does not consider Syl participating in the battle as a sprenblade to be an "appearance." She likely means that Syl did not make her spren form visible to Leshwi.

In isolation, it might seem like Leshwi wants to have a conversation with Syl or something of that sort. I think that's a solid idea, but Syl's comment in Chapter 5 makes me wonder if Leshwi was expecting Syl to take part in the combat in some other way. Let's take a look at what Syl does do during the battle: (Note: I bolded sections of text here for easy comparison between quotes but also for details that I think are important and will try to explain later)


His focus narrowed. The other combatants became nothing more than obstacles in the air. His entire being, the fullness of his attention, fixated on chasing that figure ahead of him. The roaring air seemed to fade, and Syl shot ahead of him, leaving a trail of light—a beacon for Kaladin to follow.

Windspren darted from the sky and fell in beside him as he curved in a gut-wrenching turn, spinning as Leshwi arrowed between Skar and another Fused.

Reminds me of this moment from Words of Radiance (although this instance isn't Syl):


No! Szeth's glowing form dwindled. Kaladin shouted into the darkness, blinking eyes against the rain. He'd almost lost sight...

Syl spun into the air in front of him. But he was still carrying the spear. What?

Another one, then another. Ribbons of light, occasionally taking the shapes of young women or men, laughing. Windspren. A dozen or more spun around him, leaving trails of light, their laughter somehow strong over the sounds of the storm. 

Now have a look at this awesome scene from Oathbringer Chapter 31:


A hundred windspren spun in as lines of light, twisting around his arm, wrapping it like ribbons. They surged with Light, then exploded outward in a blinding sheet, sweeping to Kaladin’s sides and parting the winds around him.

Kaladin stood with his hand toward the tempest, and deflected it. Like a stone in a swift-moving river stopped the waters, he opened a pocket in the storm, creating a calm wake behind him.

The storm raged against him, but he held the point in a formation of windspren that spread from him like wings, diverting the storm. He managed to turn his head as the storm battered him. People huddled behind him, soaked, confused—surrounded by calm.

There are a multitude, maybe dozens, of other scenes where windspren follow Kaladin around but these two are the most notable, largely because the windspren seem to be helping Kal rather than just following him.

A small point of contention here is whether or not the windspren are physically doing anything. In the last quote, they are described as "sweeping to Kaladin's sides and parting the winds around him," which sounds an awful lot like they are taking a direct involvement. But if you want to argue they're more there as symbols or indicators of Kaladin's use of Adhesion, I can totally see why.

Anyway, adding all these quotes together we see:

  • Syl leading Kaladin's way against Leshwi just like the windspren do in his fight against Szeth.
  • Windspren parting the winds, with Kaladin at the head of their formation.
  • In the RoW Chapter 11 quote, Kal notes that "the roaring air seemed to fade" when Syl is taking point. I think the windspren could be physically blocking some of the wind, and thus reducing air resistance, here.

So, this might be a bit of a leap but could Syl potentially "take point" and lead a group of windspren? If she does this and chases Leshwi down, she could hinder her maneuverability by buffeting her with wind.

I see a lot of other possible conclusions but that's the one that springs out at me. I would be really excited to see it happen!

Edited by Lightspine
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