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Is there a Dawnshard on the Shattered Plains?


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(Apologies if this theory has already been put forward and I never found it)

Rhythm of War answered a LOT of questions.

But there's still one that's been hanging over the series (for me, at least) since the beginning. The first major setting of the story: The Shattered Plains. They're a big mystery in the first two books. So are the chasmfiends, whose lifecycle is still unexplained. During Oathbringer and Rhythm of War, I began to forget about this. As the story has moved beyond them, and we found ourselves there less and less, I started to forget how very weird they were.

When I read Venli's final chapter in Rhythm of War, it clicked. They've always described the Eastern edges of the Plains as dangerous. Wild. Teaming with Chasmfiends and other predators. To quote Rlain:


Yes, the Plains had most definitely been broken in a pattern. He hummed to Curiosity as he peered closer, and he picked out some cramped writing on the far eastern side of the Plains—where the plateaus were worn smaller by the winds. That was the direction the chasmfiends migrated after breeding or pupating. A dangerous area full of greatshells, herd animals, and predators as large as buildings.

- Rhythm of War, Chapter 79, Page 906 in the U.S. Hardcover

Myths on Roshar, and Tanavast himself, refer to Dawnshards. Plural. The only one we know of was kept secret in Aimia, and used to be guarded by enormous beasts. If there are others on Roshar, we should be looking for similar places, right? Chasmfiends have some similarities to the Laceryn. Chiri-chiri is described as "trumping" much like one of the chasmfiends. Besides the wings, they are described with a similar anatomy. They've always been described as somewhat intelligent, and now we know that they can form bonds with people (or the Listeners, at least). This may not be evidence of the sapience that Chiri-chiri has, but it's something.

Among other oddities, Adolin says that the chasmfiend chrysalis looks most similar to that of an aquatic greatshell from Shallan's drawings. There's a decent chance the Laceryn were at least partially aquatic.

What pulled me the most towards this theory, however, was the shape of the plains. Take a look at that map: it has four-fold symmetry! FOUR FOLD.shattered_plains_map.thumb.jpg.846c6ac38970da8495394ae9fa1c05cc.jpg

I think the comparison to the mural writes itself here. Now, I'm not saying that the entire Shattered Plains is holding on to the Dawnshard like that mural was. I think the Dawnshard is somewhere along the eastern edge of the Plains. The shape of the plains comes from how it was shattered—by a Dawnshard.

I'm pretty sure the theory that a Dawnshard was used to shatter the Plains isn't a new one, and it's probably had plenty of variations. Personally, I've always believed that the Plains were shattered by a massive example of the same power the Dawnsingers used to create their cities. (Kabsal's sand-on-a-plate being the reason). That is in no way contradictory with the idea that a Dawnshard was involved.

Dawnshards are Commands, and they can't do anything on their own. It's pretty widespread belief on this thread that the reason Rysn isn't allowed to bond a spren is that any form of Investure would become an outlet for wielding the Dawnshard. We know from Venli's experience with the stones that her people, the Dawnsingers, used to shape rock, often in tune with Rhythms. If one of them—or a group of them, singing together, since Nikli says something about single minds being incapable—held a Dawnshard, what could they do? What scale of things would the Command to their will?

If they can shatter Adonalsium, if they can shatter worlds, and if they do so with four-fold symmetry, then they could have totally shattered these Plains.

So... here's hoping Venli finds a Dawnshard in Book 5?

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