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Why didn't we see more of Venli's scholars?


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I know many folks were somewhat disappointed by the Venli/Eshonai flashbacks in RoW. I share that sentiment to an extent, and one area I'm particularly frustrated has to do with Venli's team of listener scholars.

Background and Timeline

If I have the timeline correct, sometime around mid-1167, shortly after Venli has revealed the secret to - and Eshonai has adopted - warform, Venli puts together her group of scholars. Here's the passage in RoW Chapter 73


Ulim had given her hints about finding another form, nimbleform. He wouldn't tell her the exact process yet, so she'd gathered these scholars and set them to work.

Over time, she intended to use them as an excuse to reveal many important discoveries.

Ok, so that's fine. She's got her scholars. They are partly serious and partly a front for revealing knowledge that Ulim provides.

Fast forward about 6 months and we're in late 1167 when Gavilar is assassinated.

Fast forward another 5 or 6 months and we're in mid-1168. And now we get the scene where Venli gives all five of them gemstones that purportedly contain Voidspren like Ulim. She also lets them in on the plan to ultimately summon the Everstorm.

Next, we know that sometime in the latter half of 1168, the scholars began writing down the listeners songs using a form of writing that Venli developed. (In the first Eshonai Interlude in Wor, which we can fairly accurately place in late 1173 thanks to  @Jofwu's excellent timeline, she mentions that Venli and her scholar began recording the songs five years ago).

Then ... we have no idea what was going on with them for the next FIVE YEARS. I mean, yes we know that generally during this time the listeners were doing their thing, racing the humans for gemhearts. And we know that at some point in time, they figured out nimbleform.

But, come on, Brandon. How can you tease us with five more spren like Ulim, who is a deliciously awful, then just not even mention anything about it?

The next we hear about Venli and her team of scholars is in late 1173 when Venli is on the cusp of figuring out stormform. We know from WoR Interlude 13 that Venli's scholars, and Venli herself were among the first wave of listeners to adopt stormform. So presumably they all took part in the battle of Narak, but the only ones we ever hear anything else about are Venli, and Demid, who gets taken over by a Fused.

So, with that summation complete, I have questions.


  1. Who the heck are they all? As of the end of RoW we only know the names of 3 of them. Demid, Tusa (who gets one or two lines in RoW), and Mikaim (who was apparently a surgeon and the listener who helped care for Jaxlim when she fell)
  2. Where did Venli get the gemstones purportedly containing Voidspren? We learn in RoW 77 that Axindweth was supposed to have left a bag of gemstones for Ulim/Venli to collect, but she was found out and only left a note. So how did Venli come to have those gemstones?
  3. Were there actually other Voidspren in the gemstones Venli gave her scholars? I mean, I feel like there must have been for them to all keep working with her for the next five years. Or did Ulim just pretend to be 5 different Voidspren? (that's a comedy I would watch)
  4. What were they all up to for five years before the Battle of Narak? Yes, I know they were recording the songs. Plus I'm guessing from what we learned in RoW about how the Everstorm was summoned that it took some time for Odium to pull the chunk of the barrier storm that he broke off through Shadesmar to the Shattered Plains. And it also took a while for the listeners to be desperate enough to contemplate adopting stormform. But I'm really surprised we got nothing from those five years in the flashbacks.
  5. What happened to the others? Did Tusa, Mikaim and the two unnamed scholars survive Narak? In OB Interlude 1, we get this:

    [Venli] continued to climb down the wall of stone, followed by Demid, her once-mate, and a group of her loyal friends.

    Are these "loyal friends" the other scholars? If so, we never hear anything else about what happens to them. Demid is taken over by a high-ranking Fused. Were the others also taken over? Are they still kicking around in stormform? I would imagine no because Venli seems to believe she is the only one left until finding Rlain

I think that's all of them. We probably just don't know enough to answer most of them. But it just seemed like a notable absence and I wonder if we'll ever get some more answers on some of them.

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