Due to size, the page has been split. WARNING! All spoilers before Oathbringer are UNMARKED!
Heralds of the Almighty
The ten Heralds were warriors of the Almighty, chosen to aid mankind during the Desolations. However, they abandoned their duties after many times having to return to Damnation, shattering the Oathpact.
- Action Girl: The female Heralds certainly didn't stay behind when some Voidbringer-killing was to be done.
- The Ageless: They have some form of this, judging by the fact that they survived four and a half thousand years without aging, but it's not clear if it's an inherent trait of the Heralds or some quirk of the magic system they know how to exploit.
- A God I Am Not: Though some are worshiped as them.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Downplayed. Thousands of years of being tortured in a place which is to all extents and purposes Hell has shattered the Heralds' sanity, but only Nale and Ishar have betrayed the Almighty so far.
- Cool Sword: The Honorblades, which are similar to Shardblades, but not quite the same, granting the Surgebinding powers associated with the Order of Radiants that the Herald led. Talenel'Elin and Nalan are the only ones known to still have theirs.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Chronologically. As of Oathbringer, several of them appeared at or were referenced during the events of the fateful feast where Szeth killed Gavilar, including statues destroyed by Shalash, Kalak and Nale appearing side by side, and Jezrian showing up as a drunk.
- Fallen Hero: After saving the world a hundred times, they finally gave up, breaking their oaths and abandoning the world to its fate. Even through the chaos of the Hierocracy and Alethkar's devolution into a nation of Blood Knights, they never reappeared to set the world back on track.
- Forever War: Before they abandoned the Oathpact. They were either fighting a Desolation or trying to resist torture in Damnation.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Heralds are composed of five men and five women, because of symmetry.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: For all of Roshar. When they appear, Desolation follows soon after.
- Like a God to Me: Every religion on Roshar treats them as saints at least, and many explicitly call them gods.
- Mistaken Nationality: Many modern characters struggle to identify the ethnicity of the Heralds when they meet them. Of course, the Heralds predate most (if not all) of the current nations by thousands of years at least, so it appears that natural ethnic drift has rendered their ethnic backgrounds extinct.
- The Oathbreaker: Everyone except Talenel'Elin, since he was dead at the time of the breaking. Word of God says that the Oathpact may not be as dissolved as the Heralds would have liked to think when they tried to abandon it.
- Out of Continues: Moash kills Jezrien, apparently permanently, with an unusual knife, and the Fused plan to have him do the same to the other Heralds to break the Oathpact once and for all.
- Power Glows: Due to their use of Stormlight, all religions on Roshar depict them as glowing bright as the sun. Ironically, they glowed so much partly due to being less powerful. A Surgebinder's glow comes from the Stormlight that is escaping their bodies over time. Since their use of Stormlight was far less efficient than the Knights Radiant, more escaped and they glowed more.
- Psychic Link: They have some form of connection between each other, presumably as a by-product of the Oathpact. Though it doesn't let them talk to each other, it does alert Taln and Ash - and, presumably, others - to Jezrien's final death, apparently by making them feel what he felt.
- Resurrective Immortality: Every time they die, they go to Damnation and are tortured until one of them breaks, whereupon they're resurrected and Desolation begins anew. Odium eventually devised a weapon that can break this capacity, allowing them to die permanently.
- Sanity Slippage: Implied in Way of Kings and Words of Radiance that while the Heralds are still apparently alive and on Roshar (minus Talenel), they have all gone insane to varying degrees. Nale has taken his obsession with law to the logical extreme, Jezrien spends his time as a drooling idiot and possibly a drunkard, Kalak has become whiny and scared towards paranoid levels, and Shalash is running around destroying sculptures and paintings of herself. And they're getting worse. Taln is the only one who is still mostly sane, which is ironic, as he started off completely catatonic, and spent the last four and a half thousand years being tortured.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: How the Oathpact worked, essentially. As long as the Heralds held to the Oathpact, the Fused spirits were trapped on Braize, but the binding also kept the Heralds trapped. Therefore, each Desolation became a cycle. The Fused and other servants of Odium would hunt down and battle the Heralds until they captured them, then torture them until one of them cracked and released the Oathpact. The Heralds would then be returned to Roshar, and the Fused would follow shortly thereafter.
- Super Soldier: They were essentially Honor's super-soldiers, as well as super-generals and super-police. They're immortal, impossibly experienced, possess grand magical powers, and have enhanced reflexes and strength.
- Time Abyss: Their memories are warped by their sheer age. Nale, for example, is confused as to why the food in many of his hideouts has decayed, even though they've been hidden long enough for centuries worth of crem to build up, since the passage of time just doesn't register with him anymore.
- Weak, but Skilled: All of them, when compared to the Knights Radiant. Since they only gained Surgebinding through their Honorblades, their use of Stormlight was far less efficient than that of other Surgebinders. But they had a lot of practice.
- Nale is an aversion since he's had the same time to practice as the rest of the Heralds, but is an actual Radiant as well.
Jezrien (Vorin: Jezerezeh, Herald of Kings)
Surges: Adhesion, Gravitation
- Angel Unaware: Both Dalinar and Szeth have met him in the past without ever realizing they were in the presence of a Herald. Not that you can really blame them.
- Badass Beard: As a master of Windrunners and immortal Herald of Tanavast, he's certainly badass (or was, at the very least), and he's always depicted with a regal beard.
- Badass in Charge/The Leader: Of the Heralds. Kalak mentions that he was once an actual king, and still holds himself with a regal bearing despite the fact that he hasn't worn a crown for centuries.
- Broken Ace: By the time of Words of Radiance, Nale says he'll lead humanity... if he ever stops drooling. A drunken beggar with long grey and black beard that Szeth passes on his way to kill Gavilar in the prologue to Words of Radiance was actually him; he was also the source of alcohol for Dalinar in his heavy drinking period, whenever the rest of the family tried to make him stop by hiding all wine from him; and later on, Moash murders this same man with a special knife that permanently kills him.
- Early-Bird Cameo: He first appears at the start of the first book, and shortly afterward, he shows up as the drunken madman who asks Szeth "Have you seen me?" at the treaty-signing party.
- Famous Last Words: "What is this death? What is this death?!" when he realizes something's off about Moash's knife.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Jezrien went from the Herald King to a homeless drunk.
- I Have Many Names: Or rather, gained several names after the last Desolation. These include Jezerezeh'Elin and Stormfather.
- Killed Off for Real: Moash shanks him with a special knife at the end of Oathbringer which is said to kill him instead of sending him back to Damnation.
- Like a God to Me: In Alethkar, he's worshiped as the "Stormfather", who leads the highstorms, and, along with the other Heralds, as a god in other parts of the world. He's also called the Almighty, even though Jezrien, the Almighty (Tanavast), and the Stormfather are three different entities and only one is actually a god.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He's actual royalty, and kicked ass in ninety nine Desolations.
Nalan'Elin ("Nale," "Darkness") (Vorin: Nalan, Herald of Justice)
Surges: Gravitation, Division
A Herald who seeks justice above all other things. During modern times, he has become a constable and is hunting down and killing Surgebinders that have committed crimes, no matter how minor the offence, convinced that their existence will bring about the Desolation.
- Ambiguously Evil: In Oathbringer, he joins with Odium and the singers, bringing the Skybreakers with him. However, some of the things he does seem counter to that goal; he prevents Szeth from swearing his Third Ideal early and guides him towards an Ideal that leads to him fighting Odium, he observes the final battle without interfering despite being in a perfect position to attack the heroes with all his Skybreakers, and after the battle tells Szeth that they will continue his training soon.
- Applied Phlebotinum: Carries around a variety of extremely powerful tools. These range from a fabrial that can bring someone back from the dead, to a captive Larkin he uses to drain stormlight from Radiant prisoners.
- Badass Beard: According to his statues, though it's not clear if they got it right.
- By-the-Book Cop:
- By the time of the story, he's taken this to the extreme. He believes the only true thing in the world is laws, including the laws of mortal men. Therefore, despite marching all over the planet hunting down Surgebinders, he is always very careful to make sure that they have committed some crime that makes executing them legal. It might be a harsher punishment than they'd normally receive, but it is definitely legal. He takes Szeth under his wing after the latter finds out he never should have been made Truthless. Yes, Szeth's masters made a mistake, but Szeth obeyed their laws, and Nale holds that ideal very highly.
- Somewhere between a Knight Templar or an Inspector Javert, given that he'll freely execute both a kindly old man for a forty-year-old Accidental Murder and a thirteen-year-old thief who only steals food. Probably more Knight Templar as he seems to understand the people he is hunting are good over bad, but they threaten a desolation by expanding their powers. Thus, he hunts them with a "for the greater good" mentality. This conviction slowly subsides.
- He explains to Szeth in Oathbringer that his obsession with the law is precisely because humans are flawed in their judgements, and that only by adhering to an external law can one remain truly just. However, he also admits that laws themselves are created by men, and can be imperfect as well.
- Cool Sword: He has a Shardblade, implied to be his own Honorblade, judging by his ability to use Stormlight. He also carries Nightblood, from Nalthis, but doesn't use it himself, instead opting to give it to Szeth.
- In Oathbringer, he reveals that he is a Skybreaker in his own right, and thus possesses a living Shardblade in addition to his Honorblade.
- Deadpan Snarker: He isn't very impressed with how Jezrien spends his time these days, and states so in deadpan fashion.
- Dual Wielding: Is capable of weilding both his Honorblade and a Shardblade, being a Skybreaker as well as a Herald.
- FaceHeel Turn: Sides with the Voidbringers because his view of the law sees them as rightfully defending their homes against the invading humans.
- The Fettered: He will not, under any circumstances, break the law. He insists that his subordinate Skybreakers also find and swear to a set of laws that they believe in as well.
- Graceful Loser: When the new Prime Aqasix pardons Lift for her crimes, voiding her death sentence, Nale accepts this with a bow and leaves.
- Hypocrite: He kills all Surgebinders to prevent the Desolation, but he has recreated the Order of Skybreakers and allows at least some of them to bind spren. While he claims that the other Orders see themselves as above the law, that doesn't have anything to do with why he's killing them—he thinks the bond itself is the problem. So allowing Skybreakers to exist is really no better than any of the others.
- It's especially apparent when Oathbringer reveals that he's not just the Skybreaker Herald, but a Skybreaker himself, having sworn himself to all five of his Order's Ideals, the only one of the Heralds to do so.
- I Have Many Names: His name is Nale, but he's also called Nalan by Vorinism, Nin by the Shin, and Darkness by Lift. Szeth calls him Nin-son-God, which is unlikely to be accurate, but he does not dispute.
- Implacable Man: To Lift. She's been fleeing him for half a continent, and he still finds her and doesn't let go. He is relentless in his attempts to hunt down surgebinders.
- In-Series Nickname: Lift gives him the nickname Darkness because she doesn't know his real name.
- Loophole Abuse: He bends the law so that he can punish Surgebinders with the death penalty regardless of their crime.
- Reverse Grip: He briefly holds his Shardblade in a reverse grip in Edgedancer. Even Lift, who has absolutely zero weapons training, finds that odd.
- Sanity Slippage: He has taken to following the law to its illogical extreme; he will never break the law, even if it directly counters his goals. As it turns out, this is partly because he knows he is losing his mind. He finds laws more reliable than his sanity.
- Scary Black Man: He's described as looking Makabaki (Rosharans of African-like ethnicity), and Lift finds him terrifying - not to mention that he goes around killing Surgebinders.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: As a Skybreaker of the Fifth Ideal, he gives himself certain licenses he does not allow other Radiants.
- The Stoic: He shows no emotion. Ever. The closest is when one of his men kills an unarmed hostage; Nale insists that the man remain behind and receive whatever punishment the local law deems necessary. When he learns that his 4000-year mission to prevent the Desolation was All for Nothing and breaks down sobbing, it's shocking enough that Lift, who sees him as practically a Humanoid Abomination, gives him a hug.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Lift finally defeats him by baiting him out into the Everstorm. While that isn't enough to convince him that the Desolation truly has come, watching the parshmen transform into Voidbringers is. He finally gives up on his mad quest to kill all Surgebinders after Lift gives him a Cooldown Hug.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Claims to be one; according to him, the existence of Surgebinders will bring about the Desolation. He might be insane, though. Ultimately, Nale is trying to save the world, but Ishar may have given him bad information or lied to him.
- Would Hurt a Child: He has no problems executing Lift, who's thirteen at the time.
Surges: Division, Abrasion
- In-Series Nickname: She has the nickname Chana.
- Second Episode Introduction: Of a sort. Her name is given in Words of Radiance, the second book.
- Super Speed: Implied to have some power that makes her fast, because Hoid speaks of Fleet beating her in a race as a serious accomplishment. Judging from Lift, an Edgedancer, this is probably the Surge of Abrasion, after several hundred Desolations worth of legend creep.
Vedel (Vorin: Vedeledev)
Surges: Abrasion, Progression
Surges: Progression, Illumination
Shalash ("Ash") (Vorin: Shallash, Herald of Beauty)
Surges: Illumination, Transformation
- Alchemy Is Magic: Associated with an Order of the Knights Radiant that specializes in Lightweaving and Soulcasting.
- Ax-Crazy: Av tells Baxil not to bother her if he values his limbs.
- The Cameo: Brandon revealed that she appears in The Way of Kings, in response to being asked if she was The Mistress.
- The Charmer: Av and Baxil are both happy to follow her and are attracted to her, with Baxil having a full-blown crush on her.
- Easily Forgiven: Talenel, when briefly lucid, forgives her for betraying him to suffer Damnation alone since that let the world survive four and a half thousand years without a Desolation, giving humanity a chance to thrive and grow. Ash actually kind of wishes that he hated her.
- House of Broken Mirrors: Goes around destroying every portrait, sculpture, or other representation of herself she can find, though her actual appearance is different enough from her depictions that few come close to recognizing her.
- In-Series Nickname: Called Ash by the other Heralds.
- Master of Illusion: Associated with the Order of Lightweavers, who use this and Soulcasting.
- Meaningful Name: Her name can be written using Aons Shao, Ale and Ashe (respectively: transformation, beauty and light). Word of God is that it was intentional but Shalash may be unaware of the meaning of her name.
- No Name Given: The name of the "Mistress" isn't revealed during her appearance in The Way of Kings. She was only confirmed as Shalash (after much fan speculation) by Word of God.
- Oh My Gods!: She is the first character in the entire Cosmere to swear by Adonalsium.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Baxil and Av don't seem to actually know her real name, and only refer to her as "The Mistress". The Heralds, in turn, exclusively refer to her as "Ash."
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Back during the Desolations, She's a daughter of a king who took part in the fighting.
- Sanity Slippage: Implied; in the prologue of Words of Radiance, Jasnah runs into Nale and another Herald (possibly Kalak) talking about how "Ash" is "getting worse."
- Stop Worshipping Me: She's very peeved about people treating her like some sort of divine being. When she overhears a man in the queue near her cursing by "Ash's eyes", she launches into a tirade (in her head) about how no-one should pray to her or her fellow heralds.
- Warrior Princess: The daughter of a king, and fought for humanity in ninety-and-nine Desolations.
- Unwanted False Faith: The logic behind destroying all representations of herself is that she's not a god and people shouldn't be worshiping her - there is, however, an undertone of self-loathing involved, too, since she and the other Heralds abandoned the Oathpact and thus failed the people of Roshar.
Battar (Vorin: Battab)
Surges: Transformation, Transportation
- Angel Unaware: Taravangian claims that he believes one of his ardents is actually Battab'Elin, though it's hard to tell if he was being truthful.
- Dimensional Traveler: Her powers would let her jump between Physical Realm and Shadesmar.
- Women Are Wiser: Apparently, though we don't know for sure if that's accurate.
Kalak (Vorin: Kelek)
Surges: Transportation, Cohesion
- Intro-Only Point of View: The prelude of The Way of Kings is from his point of view, but he doesn't show up for the rest of the book.
- The Paranoiac: His flavor of Sanity Slippage.Kalak: I'm worried about Ash.
Nale: You're worried about everything.
Kalak: She's getting worse. We weren't supposed to get worse. Am I getting worse? I think I feel worse.
Talenel'Elin ("Taln") (Vorin: Talenelat, Herald of War)
Surges: Cohesion, Tension
A man claiming to be Talenel appears at the end of The Way of Kings, proclaiming that he has failed and that another Desolation is coming, but gets taken to an insane asylum.
- All Therapists Are Muggles: He's most likely a Herald driven insane by thousands of years of torture, but the ardents assume he's just delusional. There's also the fact that mental help in Alethkar seemingly consists of leaving the patient in solitary confinement in semi-darkness in hopes that being left alone will help him, which is... pretty much the opposite of what we consider therapy here on Earth.
- Back from the Dead: He shows up alive again in the epilogue, arriving before Hoid and proclaiming that he has "failed", referring to his inability to hold out against the torments he faced while imprisoned by Odium.
- The Big Guy: While the other Heralds don't aren't noticeably different in stature from everyone else, Taln is a giant who's Amaram's height when hunched, and when he straightens up, he's described as being built like a wall.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the Prelude to The Stormlight Archive, it's mentioned that he's the only Herald that didn't break the Oathpact. At the end of The Way of Kings, someone claiming to be him shows up to declare that another Desolation is coming.
- Determinator: His defining trait. Out of the ten Heralds, he was the only one who never broke during their countless years of torture in Damnation. When the other nine Heralds broke the Oathpact, Taln then managed to singlehandedly hold out for four and a half millennia of torture before he finally broke (by contrast, the 99th Desolation was only a few months after the 98th). When he finally regains his senses and can see the world that had grown and recovered, he is filled with joy at seeing civilization prosper.
- Disney Death: He seems to die again in the epilogue, but his Honorblade doesn't vanish. In the next book, he's found in an insane asylum, since nobody believes he is actually Taln.
- Driven to Madness: Over four thousand years of torture pretty much broke him. He has a few lucid moments though.
- Handicapped Badass: He snaps out of his Madness Mantra twice: Once when Shallan performs some Lightweaving in from of him, and once when someone tries to kill Amaram in front of him. In the latter case, he casually grabs a few poisoned darts out of the air so fast that the target couldn't even see him move.
- By the time of Oathbringer, he's very slowly recovering, at least enough to talk to Shalash, and eventually get up and walk on his own with her.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: Shows up at the end of The Way of Kings to declare that another Desolation is coming.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He often wins seemingly hopeless fights, but at the cost of his own life. In Oathbringer, he thanks Shalash and the other Heralds for abandoning him to endure the Oathpact's torment alone, because with only him being the one the Voidspren could torture, it gave the world four and a half thousand years to develop without another Desolation.
- Heroic Vow: He is the only Herald still bound by the Oathpact.
- I Have Many Names: Taln (by his fellow Heralds), Talenelat (in modern Alethkar), and Stonesinew.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Has a habit of charging into impossible battles. However, he also has a tendency to win them at the cost of his life.
- Left for Dead: In the prologue for Book 1. A variant, since he actually WAS dead. Sort of. All the Heralds are bound into a cycle of reincarnation, spending the time between Desolations being tortured in Damnation. In the last Desolation, only he died. The other Heralds were supposed to join him, but instead betrayed him and abandoned their oaths.
- Madness Mantra:
- He constantly repeats what's presumably a speech given by the Heralds when they arrive to announce a Desolation. He seems to be doing it automatically, with barely any awareness that he's speaking, and his thoughts indicate it's some sort of compulsion.
- By the end of his interlude, his train of thoughts degenerates to repeating "How long had it been?".
- Moment of Lucidity: He has two: one when catching the poison dart, the other during the Battle of Thaylen Field.
- Shifting Voice of Madness: His voice goes from mumbling to ranting to screaming as he keeps on repeating his Madness Mantra.
- Super Reflexes: He's able to snatch poison darts mid-flight.
- Super Strength: His first appearance has him first singlehandedly pushing open Kholinar's city gates.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: His expression, which never changes, seems to be this, going by Baxil's description.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: His interlude shows he's barely aware of what people in the room with him are saying, and he's convinced that everything around him is on fire and they're burning.
- Wild Hair: When he's found, his hair are long and unkempt, and he looks like he's been living in the wilderness for some time.
Ishar (Vorin: Ishi, Herald of Luck)
Surges: Tension, Adhesion
- Badass Bookworm: Despite essentially being the Herald of the priesthood, he was still a Herald. When he founded the Knights Radiant, he did so by threatening to personally destroy any Surgebinders who didn't step into line. No one seems to think this would have been difficult for him.
- Bald of Awesome: According to his statues, he has no hair. He's also badass enough to fight in the Desolations. However, it's not clear if the statues got it right.
- God-Emperor: In Oathbringer, he is revealed to be Tezim, the god-priest ruling over the kingdom of Tukar. His mental instability also means that he declares immediate war on Dalinar when the latter invites him to join the alliance at Urithuru, declaring that he is the only one with the right to control that ancient city.
- Man Behind the Man: He is the one controlling Nale, telling him to kill Surgebinders to prevent the Desolation. After the Everstorm arrives, he tells Nale that it is a fluke, and the Desolation has still not come. Whether denial is Ishar's flavor of insanity or if it is something more malevolent is unclear.
- Only Sane Man: Nale and Ash both consider him the only Herald who has managed to retain his sanity. Considering the whole "waging a war of conquest as a god-emperor" thing, that's pretty disturbing.
- The Smart Guy:
- He's the one who organized the Surgebinders into the Knights Radiant, and Taln refers to Shallan as "one of Ishar's Knights" at one point (even though her patron is Shallash). Jezrien also mentions that he's the one who theorized the Oathpact would bind Odium so long as Taln held to it.
- He is the one who decided that killing Surgebinders would prevent the Desolation from returning, and convinced Nale to help him in his quest.
The Knights Radiant
The Knights Radiant/The Lost Radiants
- Broken Ace: All of them, though few know that these days. It is precisely because they were broken that they were able to bond spren. The trauma they endured in life left "cracks" in their soul that allow spren into their being.
- The Chosen Many: Every single individual Knight was chosen by an individual spren, but there were still more than enough to form ten distinct knightly Orders.
- Cool Sword: All of them had Shardblades, which were their spren.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Every individual Order had its own role, and stepping too far outside that role could cause them to lose their powers. In Words of Radiance, Kaladin wants to punish Amaram (and to a lesser extent Sadeas), but Syl repeatedly points out that Windrunners protect the innocent—punishing the guilty is a job for a Skybreaker. Unfortunately, there aren't any Skybreakers around, so Kaladin keeps trying to find ways to justify striking back, both to himself and to Syl.
- Dark Secret: Something made them abandon their oaths. Whatever it is, Taravangian thinks he can use it to break the new orders again. In Oathbringer, we find out that humans were the original Voidbringers, who came to Roshar after destroying their homeworld with Surgebinding, and then turned against the parsh natives. During most of history, whenever the Radiants discovered this Honor was able to calm them down and convince them to continue fighting, but by the time of the Recreance he was dying and half-mad, so talking to him just made things worse. The Radiants gave up their powers to protect the world from themselves.
- Fantastic Honorifics: Once they return, the Alethi refer to individual Knights as "Brightness/Brightlord Radiant," which is a little unimaginative but better than nothing.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: In-universe. Although they did betray their Oaths, the current Vorin cultures claim that they betrayed and tried to destroy mankind.
- The Oathbreaker: They all abandoned their Oaths, which had the side effect of killing their spren.
- Odd Name Out: Every order is named "Noun Verber" except the Releasers. However, they also had the nickname "Dustbringers", which fits the pattern. They just hated that name due to its similarity to "Voidbringers."
- Order Reborn: Necessary to fight the Everstorm. Though Surgebinders existed before, the process begins in full led by Dalinar in Words of Radiance.
- Super Empowering: Most of the Orders had squires who could share in the powers of a full Radiant before they gained a spren themselves. The spren would then watch the squires to see who was ready to speak the Words and gain the bond.
Windrunners, followers of Jezrien
Spren type: Honorspren
Gemstone (color): Sapphire (blue)
Surges: Adhesion (Pressure and Vacuum), Gravitation (Gravity)
- Blue Is Heroic: Their Order color is blue, and they're the most unambiguously heroic of ten unambiguously heroic Orders.
- The Chosen Many: The Resonance power of the Windrunners is to have a greater number of squires than any other Order.
- Crippling Overspecialization: They protect the innocent. Anything too far beyond that—revenge, most notably—could make them lose their power.
- Gravity Master: They typically used this ability to affect their own gravity and effect flight, but they could also use it offensively by changing someone else's gravity.
- Not Quite Flight: Technically speaking, they don't fly, they fall in whatever direction they choose.
- Order Reborn: The other spren assumed that no matter what happened, the Windrunners would never return, as the Stormfather had decreed that his children would never bond with humans again. It took Syl defying the Stormfather to change that, and ironically they end up as the first and fastest-growing of the new Orders through Kaladin and Bridge Four.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: The Windrunners are sworn to uphold what's right, but "what's right" is ultimately determined by that particular Windrunner with that specific spren. If others, even other Windrunners, disagree with their judgement it doesn't count as violating their Oaths. Of course, honorspren are formed from the collective idea of what humanity considers "right," so their individual opinions on the matter don't vary much. This mainly comes up when dealing with the parsh; humanity's racism has seeped into the honorspren more than a little, even though they know they should be better.
- Required Secondary Powers: Windrunners instinctively know what fraction of a lashing they're using, even if it doesn't make sense to them.
- Save the Villain: Their Third Ideal: "I will protect even those that I hate, if it is right." It doesn't go quite as far as saving actual villains; the point is that just because a Windrunner personally dislikes someone doesn't mean that person deserves to die—or even deserves not to be saved.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Neatly explained in Words of Radiance.Syl: Laws don't matter; what's right matters.
- To Be Lawful or Good: They're supposed to fall on the side of Good, but they are still strongly bound by oaths. The honorspren intended to let the Order stay dead no matter what due to the Stormfather demanding it, but Syl changed that.
- We Help the Helpless: Their Second Ideal: "I will protect those who cannot protect themselves."
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Surge of Adhesion lets them... stick things together. Kind of underwhelming. It's implied there's more to it, though, and the Assassin In White makes good use of it by gluing groups of enemies to the floor and sealing doors shut. It's hinted that Adhesion can also work on spiritual and emotional connections, and it contributes towards the Windrunners having more squires than other Orders.
Skybreakers, followers of Nale
Spren type: Highspren
Gemstone (color): Smokestone (grey)
Surges: Gravitation (gravity), Division (destruction and decay)
- By-the-Book Cop: Their primary creed. They will obey the law, period.
- Crippling Overspecialization:
- They were the police, the ones who punished the guilty. This caused some friction with the Windrunners, who just wanted to protect people—including criminals.
- This is also mirrored in how they must always follow the law and cannot break it. Everything they do, they must do within the law. No matter how much they want to do something, if the law does not allow it, they cannot do it.
- Surprisingly, their Ideals are more flexible than most of the other Orders. While they must hold to their Ideals perfectly, they can choose different things to swear to. For the Third Ideal they must dedicate themselves to something external to themselves—law is common, but they can choose anything—and for the Fourth Ideal they have to undertake a personal crusade that their highspren approves of.
- Dramatically Missing the Point:
- They must dedicate themselves to something external, since the human mind is fallible. Many Skybreakers have chosen to dedicate themselves to Nale himself, who by his own admission is very fallible.
- They, or at least Nale, see the other Orders as weak and believe they see themselves as above the law. What Nale fails to realize is that the other Orders do dedicate themselves to an external system of rules: their Ideals. The other Ideals require just as much obedience as the Skybreakers', but because those Ideals come from the Radiant's own mind Nale can't recognize how similar they really are.
- The Fettered: They must always follow the law. They are not allowed to operate outside or beyond what it dictates.
- Gravity Master: Since they share the Surge of Gravitation with the Windrunners, this is implied.
- Lawful Stupid: Per Word of Brandon, the post-Recreance Skybreakers have become this as compared to their pre-Recreance incarnation.
- Make Them Rot: Share the surge of Division with the Releasers, though we don't know exactly how they expressed it.
- Not Quite Flight: Access to the Surge of Gravitation means they can fall in any direction they choose, including straight up.
- The Remnant: They are the only Radiant order to have never abandoned their oaths and remained intact following the Recreance. However, their task shifted from enforcing the law to keeping the next desolation at bay, which the believe requires them to assassinate non-Skybreaker Radiants before they realize their powers.
- The Rival: They had some friction with the Windrunners due to their conflicting oaths regarding law and morality.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: A Skybreaker who swears all five Ideals "becomes the law". It's never explained exactly what that means, but Nale's description implies this trope.
- Secret Test of Character: They like including these in their training programs.
- In the first test, the recruits are sent to capture escaped prisoners, dead or alive. Szeth is the only one to notice that the reason the prisoners escaped in the first place is because the warden used the bare minimum security for the prison so that he could pocket all the cash.
- In the second test, the recruits fight a mock battle while flying, attacking each other with balls of colored dust. The one with the fewest marks on their white uniform wins. At the end, Szeth ends up dunked in the lake, and he notes this means he ends up with no marks at all.
- To Be Lawful or Good: They fall firmly on the Lawful side. While they are supposed to be careful with the Ideals they swear and different Skybreakers can end up following completely different laws, they must follow the law they have chosen.
- Picked Last: Nale refused to acknowledge them for quite a long time, leaving them as the last Order to be officially adopted by a Herald. He considered the whole thing needlessly vain and annoying. Interestingly, Nale was the one herald who kept his order in existence, when the other heralds abandoned their duties and orders, and has maintained control of it for far longer than the others ever did. Ironically, Nale is the only Herald that actually joined their order.
- Who Watches the Watchmen?: One of their primary duties during the Silver Kingdoms era was to police the other Radiant orders, keeping them from abusing their powers.
Releasers, followers of Chanarach
Spren type: Ashspren
Gemstone (color): Ruby (red)
Surges: Division (destruction and decay), Abrasion (friction)
- Accidental Misnaming: "Dustbringers" instead of "Releasers."
- Berserk Button: They really didn't like the name Dustbringers, which didn't help their reputation for being dangerous.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Their powers and the similarity between "Dustbringers" and "Voidbringers" gave them a pretty poor reputation. Their attempts to rebrand as "The Order of Releasers" didn't catch on either.
- Odd Name Out: "Releasers" doesn't fit the naming pattern of the rest of the Orders, which is "NounVerber." "Dustbringers," however, does.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Their exact powers are unknown, but they were the ones who did the most damage in the Last Desolation.Kalak: Smoke curled from the occasional patches of growth or heaps of burning corpses. Even some sections of rock smoldered. The Dustbringers had done their work well.
- Playing with Fire: In Oathbringer, Taravangian's Dustbringer uses her powers to burn a beautiful etching into a wooden table. Which is an unusually creative application of a power focused on destruction.
- Slippery Skid: The Surge of Abrasion lets them manipulate friction. In one of Dalinar's visions, he sees one run through water as easily on dry land.
- Touch of Death: Binding Division allows them to burn and destroy anything they touch. It's specifically stated that this includes living flesh.
- With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: They're given some incredibly destructive powers, but their oaths and philosophy revolve around using them properly. Unlike the other orders they don't get all their powers at once - Dustbringers unlock additional powers with each oath, once they've shown they understand how to use them properly.
Edgedancers, followers of Vedel
Spren type: Cultivationspren
Gemstone (color): Diamond (clear or white)
Surges: Abrasion (friction), Progression (growth, healing, regrowth)
- Beneath Notice: They are supposed to avert this by paying attention to even these types of people. Their third Oath is even "I will listen to those who have been ignored."
- Beware the Nice Ones: The in-universe book Words of Radiance mentions that despite their reputation for being perfectly graceful, they could also put that grace to deadly effect.
- Cunning Linguist / Omniglot: Possibly. Lift's vocabulary and style of speech varies wildly depending on who she is talking to, without any particular effort on her part. She veers from her normal irreverent and unique style to complex street slang. And then changes to a formal and poetic style without missing a beat when speaking with Nale. It's likely a manifestation of Abrasion, reducing social friction.
- Green Thumb: The Surge of Progression lets them affect growth, such as by turning seeds into vines in seconds.
- Healing Hands: A more advanced use of Progression lets them heal damage. They can even bring back the dead if they get there in time.
- Le Parkour: One of epigraphs mentions them "dancing along rooftops" so they probably practiced some version of this.
- The Medic: This was their implied role, due to their healing abilities and oaths about remembering the lost.
- Slippery Skid: The Surge of Abrasion lets them manipulate friction, so they can slide perfectly across a floor or stick to a wall like a gecko. They can use it for a strange version of Super Speed by slicking their entire bodies and skating across the ground, but ice-skating doesn't really exist in most of Roshar, so it's difficult for untrained Edgedancers to master the technique.
- Small Steps Hero: They were the Order most concerned with the little people who tend to get trampled in epic stories such as this. Nale dismissively says that they were distracted by "trivial things."
- Super Speed: In addition to the "skating" technique above they can slick everything except the soles of their feet to ignore wind resistance allowing them to run very fast. This is an easier technique to use.
Truthwatchers, followers of Paliah
Spren type: Unknown
Gemstone (color): Emerald (green)
Surges: Progression (growth, healing, regrowth), Illumination (light, sound, various waveforms)
- Green Thumb: With the Surge of Progression, they can manipulate plants in the same way as Edgedancers.
- Healing Hands: Like Edgedancers, they can heal wounds if skilled enough. It appears to be related to their Lightweaving in some way, as Adolin receives a brief vision of an idealized version of himself when Renarin heals him.
- Intrepid Reporter: Some Truthwatchers concerned with the secrets of the powerful channel their talents into uncovering the truth to protect society.
- Master of Illusion: With the Surge of Illumination, they could produce illusions like the Lightweavers. They weren't known for using them as much, however. We do get to see Renarin use it while healing Adolin. He shows Adolin a perfected vision of himself.
- Seer: They could see the future to some extent, though how this works is unclear. It doesn't seem to have any direct correlation to their Surges. It's implied in Oathbringer that they actually can't see the future, just the present. Renarin can only see the future due to his bond with a spren who was corrupted by Sja-anat.
- The Quiet One: They were known for not interacting with the other Orders as much, rarely writing down or discussing what they saw.
- The Smart Guy: Their order attracted scholars, researchers, and thinkers.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Their ability to see the future is flat-out blasphemous in Vorin cultures.
Lightweavers, followers of Shalash
Spren type: Cryptics
Gemstone (color): Garnet (crimson)
Surges: Illumination (light, sound, various waveforms), Transformation (soulcasting)
- Alchemy Is Magic: Their access to the Surge of Transformation allows them to Soulcast, turning one thing into another. Some are easier than others; blood is one of the Ten Essences, for example, so transforming anything into blood is very easy even if the Soulcaster has limited biological understanding.
- Believing Their Own Lies: This is how the greatest works of the Lightweaver function. To spin a lie, and then invite those around you to step into the lie and make it truth.
- The Heart: They used their illusions to provide "spiritual sustenance" to the other Orders, boosting their morale and keeping them fighting. We see something similar, on a smaller scale, when Shallan turns the deserters.
- Master of Illusion: Lightweaving, despite its name, covers not just illusory light but sound as well.
- Minored in Ass-Kicking: They were one of the non-combat Orders, but had Blades and Plate regardless.
- Photographic Memory: Shallan has this, and a few lines from the in-universe Words of Radiance book implies this was standard for Lightweavers.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Lightweavers have a Resonance ability to shift someone's perspective towards how the Lightweaver sees them.
Elsecallers, followers of Battar
Spren type: Inkspren
Gemstone (color): Zircon (navy blue)
Surges: Transformation (soulcasting), Transportation (motion, Realmatic transition)
- Ambadassador: They were the diplomats to the spren for the Knights Radiant as a whole, due to the fact that both of their Surges extended into the Cognitive Realm. The Lightweavers and the Willshapers had some affinity as well, but the Elsecallers were the masters.
- Alchemy Is Magic: They were some of the original Soulcasters, along with the Lightweavers. They seem to have been better known for it. Their connection to the Soulcaster fabrials is unclear.
- Easy Logistics: Between their teleportation and Soulcasting, they could help alleviate a lot of logistical issues armies might face. They were also known for being tacticians and logistical geniuses, even aside from their powers.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Their mastery of Soulcasting could make them terrifyingly effective in combat when necessary. In addition to directly Soulcasting opponents, Jasnah has a trick where she creates a puddle of oil and immediately lights it on fire.
- The Spock: Inkspren intentionally search for people who logically think their decisions out rather than just acting on instinct.
- Teleporters and Transporters:
- Using the Surge of Transportation, they can move bodily to Shadesmar, and then arrive elsewhere in the Physical Realm. This comes in two forms: Moving the mind to Shadesmar, and moving the entire body. Either way, the Elsecaller needs a transition point to return—though if they just send their mind, then the easiest transition point is simple finding their body again.
- The Oathgates that connect Urithuru with the Dawncities are Elsecaller fabrials, usable only by a Knight Radiant.
- To Be a Master: The main requirement to be an Elsecaller is the pursuit of your full potential.
Willshapers, followers of Kalak
Spren type: Unknown, possibly Lightspren
Gemstone (color): Amethyst (purple)
Surges: Transportation (motion, Realmatic transition), Cohesion (strong axial interconnection)
- Bold Explorer: They were known for being adventurers and explorers, enjoying seeing strange new things.
- Boring, but Practical: Their primary role was nation-building. In addition to literal buildings, they taught the people about things like sanitation and infrastructure.
- I Just Want to Be Free: Willshapers believe very strongly in freedom, both for themselves and others.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Like the Elsecallers, they could teleport directly into Shadesmar, but they were not known for this ability in the same way.
Stonewards, followers of Talenel
Spren type: Unknown
Gemstone (color): Topaz (amber)
Surges: Cohesion (strong axial interconnection), Tension (soft axial interconnection)
- Determinator: The determinators. They were the Order best known for mirroring their Herald, and their Herald is the one who survived being tortured for four thousand years. Unfortunately, this also made them pretty stubborn.
- Dishing Out Dirt: One of their abilities was to shape stone, breaking it or making handholds at will.
- Idiot Hero: They were known for being stubborn "even in the face of proven error," which could make them frustrating for allies to deal with.
- Proud Warrior Race: More than any other Order (except possibly the Windrunners), they were traditional soldiers. Rather than any tricks and acrobatics, they just picked up their weapons and fought.
- The Reliable One: The most important part of being a Stoneward. They'll always be there when you need them.
Bondsmiths, followers of Ishar
Spren type: Unknown, possibly godspren
Gemstone (color): Heliodor (golden)
Surges: Tension (soft axial interconnection), Adhesion (pressure and vacuum)
- The Apprentice: Bondsmith "squires" are not squires in the way of normal Radiants; they do not have powers and never will. Many of them swear the oaths regardless, which is sometimes referred to as the purest way of being Radiant, making the oath with no expectation of a reward.
- Oddly Small Organization: There can only be three Bondsmiths in existence at any one time, since they must be bonded to beings like the Stormfather or his two siblings, one of which is the Nightwatcher.
- Translator Microbes: By making contact and forming a Connection with a person, a Bondsmith can instantly learn and speak in their language.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Their purpose is to avert this. They're the glue that holds the Knights Radiant together, and it's implied they're in charge of uniting the entire world against the Desolations.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Like the Windrunners, one of their powers is Adhesion, which lets them stick things together. It turns out that Adhesion does more than stick things together, as Dalinar discovers that when combined with Tension it can completely repair an inanimate object as if it had never been damaged, so long as the spren of the original object still exists. Furthermore, Adhesion goes beyond just binding together physical objects, as a Bondsmith can temporarily bind together the Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual realms, allowing people in Shadesmar to cross over to the Physical world and flood the surrounding area with an unlimited amount of Stormlight. They can also use it to manifest unique or powerful manifestations of other Knights' abilities, such as when Dalinar is looking at a map and Shallan turns it into a huge, magnificent, 3D representation.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: All spren appear to be this to some degree. Though initially believed to be a simple windspren by Kaladin Syl is in fact an honorspren; spirit of oaths, promises and nobility. She even notes by implication that spren are attracted to whatever it is they are named for, rather than that they cause it. In Oathbringer, Syl points out that she's actually both a windspren and an honorspren, since all things on Roshar are connected to some degree, and she can be different things at once. Considering the Stormfather, it makes perfect sense.
- Bond Creatures/Familiar: Shares a bond with Kaladin through which she gains greater sentience in the Physical Realm and he gains surgebinding abilities. If the bond is severed, as Kaladin can choose for her to do if he asks, both boons are lost.
- Covert Pervert: Has watched individuals being intimate.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: It's not romantic, but her bond with Kaladin just reeks of this.
- Drama Queen: She tends to react rather more dramatically than necessary, especially when she doesn't get what she wants.[Syl] stopped next to [Kaladin], placed her hands on her hips, and went into full pout She unfolded her arms so that she could fold them immediately again and huff loudly.
- Empathic Weapon: Becomes this at the end of Words of Radiance.
- Equippable Ally: Can turn into a Shardblade, or any other weapon Kaladin needs.
- Expy: She's blue, she floats around as a streak of light or as a girl in a blue dress, and she is bonded to exactly one person, with whom she has very silly interactions, making her a near-direct homage to Navi.
- A God Am I: Played for Laughs. Rock insists that she is a god, and mentions that he'll build a shrine for her eventually. She loves this idea, and also likes to play with Rock by landing on his shoulder and laughing as he awkwardly tries to bow to her.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Performs the role of Good Angel for Kaladin. He doesn't really have a bad angel to balance it out, though, unless you count his crippling issues with what appears to be depression.
- In-Series Nickname: Her name is Sylphrena, but she has the nickname Syl.
- Invisible to Normals: Is usually only visible to those she allows to see her, but some people, such as Rock, are born with the ability to see her.
- Invisible Jerkass: May have a heart of gold but she does enjoy playing pranks, usually only appearing afterwards to laugh at her victim.
- Last of Her Kind: She is the only honorspren who was bonded to one of the old Knights Radiant to still retain her consciousness. She was the youngest of them, and bonded to an old man. When he died in battle shortly before the Recreance, she went into a coma (normally spren can survive the death of their Knight without trouble, but she was too inexperienced), and thus survived when all the others were killed. The Stormfather found her later and revived her, but he's still a bit protective of her because of this.
- She is also apparently the last of the honorspren to be created directly by the Stormfather, making her essentially an honorspren princess.
- By the events of Oathbringer, there are other honorspren who are bonding with Windrunners. In addition, the previous generation of bonded honorspren still technically exist as deadeyes, but they cannot think anymore, and only mindlessly follow around whoever has bonded to their body.
- Magical Girlfriend: A platonic example. They have an inseparable, non-romantic relationship, and Syl certainly lives up to the usual Magical Girlfriend antics.
- Meaningful Name: Sylphrena. A sylph is an imaginary air spirit, and Syl appeared to be a windspren to Kaladin before revealing what she really was. And even then, she still acts very much like a windspren and describes them as her cousins. She also acts very syl-ly when trying to brighten Kaladin's mood.
- Mystical Waif: Of the six inch high variety in one of her more common forms.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Serves as one to Kaladin, and to a lesser extent to the entirety of Bridge Four.
- Pieces of God: As a spren related to consciousness rather than nature, she's a Splinter of Honor, who is in turn a Shard of Adonalsium.
- Really Royalty Reveal: We find out in Oathbringer that she is the last of the ten honorspren created directly by the Stormfather, making her essentially their princess.
- Shapeshifter: Can seemingly take any form but usually chooses to appear as a young woman about a handspan tall.
- Shipper on Deck: Really thinks Kaladin should hook up with Shallan, and even suggests this while on a ship.
- Spirit Advisor: Serves as this to Kaladin, after a fashion. She's the reason for him learning the Immortal Words of the Order of Windrunners, after all.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Like most spren, she can transform of her own free will, but only in the Physical Realm. In Shadesmar, it requires Stormlight.
- "Wanted!" Poster: When Syl left for the Physical Realm for the first time, the Stormfather put a bounty on her along with wanted posters in the Cognitive Realm in an attempt to get her back. It's still in effect by the time Oathbringer takes place, even though she left years ago.
- Wham Line:
- In Way of Kings. "I am honorspren".
- And again in Words of Radiance. "Oh, that's right. You probably want me to be a spear, don't you?"
- Equivalent Exchange: Her gifts and curses seem to be in proportion, though the exact rules haven't been established. There is a limit to what she can do, as Cultivation said she couldn't grant Dalinar the forgiveness he wanted for killing his wife. Whether it's because of lacking enough power or understanding of humans well enough to grant his wish is hazy at the moment. It might also be because forgiveness is granted by others, and she hasn't made a deal with them.
- For Science!: Odium indicates that she throws out her gifts not necessarily for a purpose; she's interested in seeing what results from the boons and curses she offers, and doesn't truly care what actually happens. Cultivation says it's her way of trying to understand humans.
- The Ghost: Although referenced often, she is never seen. We finally get a glimpse at her in Dalinar's flashbacks, alongside her mother and creator Cultivation.
- Jackass Genie: Though she at least seems to only give the curse and boon to those who explicitly seek it out, and is clear on the rules. She's also less of a Jackass Genie to those without selfish intentions. For example, someone who wanted to save his family from poverty and starvation got supplies that he could sell, at the cost of seeing upside down for the rest of his life: he considered it worth it. She's also stated by someone whose family is at least passingly familiar with her ways to not be a Literal Genie; you will get what you deserve regardless of how you ask for it. Her not quite understanding humanity might also have something to do with her strange curses.
- Noodle Incident: She possessed "the sword that bleeds darkness" Nightblood when Dalinar visited her. How it came into and left her possession is currently unknown, though it's implied she gave it to someone as a boon, as she offered it to Dalinar.
- Pieces of God: Is implied to be a splinter of Cultivation, making her roughly equivalent to the Stormfather. Cultivation confirms it, calling the Nightwatcher her daughter.
- Troll: The Stormfather thinks that she gave Lift the ability to enter and exit his visions at will just to play tricks on him for her amusement.
- Alien Geometries: His Physical Realm form is a living, constantly shifting fractal. Shallan specifically notes that any time she tries to draw him she can't do it justice because his surface is infinitely detailed.
- Bad Liar: Despite the fact that he loves lies, he's really bad at making them up himself.
- Catchphrase: "It is a pattern".
- Cunning Linguist: He can puzzle out most ancient languages to a degree, since all languages are patterns, and newer languages are based on older ones.
- Dark Secret: He is Shallan's. He came to her as a child, and she began to grow into her Surgebinding abilities. When Shallan's mother realized her daughter was becoming a Radiant, she tried to kill her, and Shallan used Pattern as a Shardblade to kill her.
- Equippable Ally: The first of the new wave of spren (chronologically) to assume Shard form.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: He understands a lot of complex concepts easily, but has difficulty with rather simple ones, like eating.
- Invisible to Normals: Unlike most Radiant spren he actually averts this, though he's good enough at blending into surfaces that most people don't notice him unless they already know what to look for.
- Literal-Minded: He's fascinated with the idea of "lies", and lumps everything that isn't a plain, factual statement (i.e. sarcasm, metaphors, jokes, expressions) in that category.
- Master of Unlocking: A lock is just a pattern, after all, and he is so very good with patterns.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Since his name isn't practical for humans to use.
- Pieces of God: As a spren related to consciousness rather than nature, he's a Splinter of Honor, who is in turn a Shard of Adonalsium.
- Spirit Advisor: Serves as something like this for Shallan, although she spends more time teaching him how humans think. For Pattern, anything that is not the literal truth is a lie, and he has great fun growing to understand concepts like metaphor and sarcasm.
- Suicide Mission: Fully expects Shallan to break her Oaths and kill him eventually, but belives that what he can learn and do before his death will be worth the sacrifice.
- Verbal Tic: "Mmm..."
- You Are Number 6: Apparently he has a real name, but it consists of lots of numbers and is hard to say.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: He is the embodiment of the storm and the human idea of the storm. He admits to Dalinar that he cannot change his nature and that he must always be a raging storm that destroys everything in its path, since that is how he is viewed to begin with, and being an entity of the Cognitive Realm, he's bound to human thought.
- Bond Creature: Dalinar bonds to him at the end of Words of Radiance, much to his annoyance. He insists that he won't turn into a sword, however.
- The Chooser of The One: The Almighty left him with the visions to give to whoever he deemed worthy. Dalinar is the most recent, but there were others before him, including Gavilar. Kaladin has a highstorm vision at one point, but it might not have been from the same package, and Szeth implies he was made Truthless because of visions as well.
- God's Hands Are Tied: This works out for both good and bad. On the one hand, he has to allow the Radiants to reform and grant visions of the coming apocalypse whether he wants to or not. On the other hand, he can't stop the Parshendi from bonding with Voidspren either.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He gets angry a lot. Threaten his children? He's furious. Dare to try and survive one of his storms? He's furious. Talk to him? He's furious.Eshonai: Though the spren had betrayed her people, they still respected the Stormfather. He would kill anyone who did not respect him.
- Humanity Ensues: Just like other bonded spren, he slowly comes to understand humans better and better. He's not too happy about it, especially since he begins to understand why the Heralds did what they did, and understand the reasoning the old Radiants had for abandoning their oaths.
- Kill 'Em All: When the Parshendi summon the Everstorm, an act which will surely kill off the Alethi armies and all their camp followers, the Stormfather responds by... sending a Highstorm early, which has an even higher chance of killing off the Alethi armies and all their camp followers. Some of the things Syl says imply that sending Highstorms is his answer to everything. It's also vaguely implied he might have intended it as a Mercy Kill, since he thought everyone was doomed.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Through the Highstorms, he is the source of magic in Roshar, but he can't control what people do with it once they have it. He seems genuinely regretful when Eshonai accidentally gets herself possessed by a Voidbringer spren, but tells her he can't stop it.
- Overprotective Dad: He is the father of the honorspren, and refuses to let any of them bond with humans, as he is terrified that they will be killed again. However, if they successfully make the bond, he can't stop them.
- Crosses over into Knight Templar Parent when it's revealed he really, really, really wanted Syl back badly. As in, "he put a bounty on her head and wanted posters for identification all over the place" badly. To be fair, he thought she was dead for centuries.
- Pieces of God: As a spren related to consciousness rather than nature, he's a Splinter of Honor, who is in turn a Shard of Adonalsium. Some of his statements imply that the Stormfather may be one of the largest remaining pieces of Honor; he's certainly one of the most powerful spren in Roshar.
- Actual Pacifist: He really doesn't like the idea of turning into a Shardblade and being used to hit people. He's perfectly fine with turning into a Shardblade and being admired as a work of art, though. Or turning into a pole and being used to block somebody else's Shardblade.
- In Edgedancer, he mentions that he originally wanted to make a bond with a "kindly old cobbler" who liked to help children, rather than Lift. It's fortunate that he ended up with lift, though, as said cobbler was executed by Nale for an accidental death he was responsible for in his youth.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Lift insists that he's a Voidbringer she trapped, and now he has to do what she says. He's not.Wyndle: I wanted to pick a distinguished Iriali matron. A grandmother, an accomplished gardener. But no, the Ring said we should choose you. "She has visited the Old Magic," they said. "Our mother has blessed her," they said. "She will be young, and we can mold her," they said. Well, they don't have to put up with—
Lift: Shut it, Voidbringer.
- The Dandy: He likes his Shardblade form to be regal and beautiful, admired by collectors and never taken on a battlefield ever.Wyndle: I was a rather regal fork, was I not?
- Invisible to Normals: Like most bonded spren he's usually invisible to anyone except Lift. He implies it's difficult for him to make himself seen by others though they do occasionally catch glimpses of the crystal dust he leaves behind when moving.
- Irony: Spren lose their memories when they cross over to the Physical Realm. Due to his people's precautions, he kept the majority of his memories, and is therefore able to explain to Lift exactly how their bond works, the reason he came back in the first place, and what can be done to stop the coming Desolation—all questions the other Surgebinders have been asking their spren constantly. Unfortunately, he's bonded to Lift, who couldn't care less."I can't affect the Physical Realm except in minor ways," Wyndle said. "This means that you will need to use Investiture to—"
"Use Investiture to—"
She yawned wider. Starvin' Voidbringers never could catch a hint.
- Lovable Coward: Really doesn't want Lift to use him as a weapon and pouts when talking about her "hitting people" with him. He spends most of Edgedancer trying to convince her to abandon Yeddaw and go back to Azir where they can live in luxury. Despite his anxiety he still volunteers to spy on Darkness' acolytes even though there's a chance he might be seen and destroyed.
- Nature Lover:
- He was apparently a respected gardener in the Cognitive Realm, though he grew crystals rather than plants. He apparently also gardened chairs. Somehow. The Cognitive Realm is a weird place.
- In Oathbringer, it's explained that manifesting objects in the Cognitive Realm is particularly difficult, though some spren and Radiants are capable of it. Cultivationspren such as Wyndle are well-known for how good they are at this particular trick.
- Black Knight: His appearance in Shadesmar; like all Inkspren, he looks like a knight encased in full suit of pitch-black armour.
- Cultural Rebel: He took the name "Ivory" to mark the fact that he's rebelling against the other inkspren.
- Ironic Nickname: Again, Ivory for an inky entity that is pitch black.
- Living Shadow: Basically what he looks like, though with a bit of an iridescent shimmer like oil.
- The Spock: He often speaks in a stiff and logical way, listing pros and cons of each action.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: He has some odd quirks to his speech, such as using "harmmore" to contrast "harmless", saying "it is not" rather than "there isn't any", or dropping "here" and "there" from the end of the sentence (for example, "the grinders will soon be" instead of "the grinders will soon be here").
A small, comet-like spren who followed Eshonai around, and later Venli. She is a Reacher, also known as a lightspren.
- Bond Creature: Bonds with Venli at the end of Oathbringer.
- Once for Yes, Twice for No: She communicates by pulsing to different listener rhythms, which should just allow her to convey moods. Somehow though Venli seems to be getting a lot more information than she describes receiving, e.g. Irritation followed by Loss gives her that the reason she bonded with Venli is because humans killed so many spren in the Recreance, which even in context is an impressive leap.
- One Degree of Separation: Kaladin and the others meet her father in Shadesmar. He mentions his father is a deadeye and he has a daughter who is off "chasing dreams," and Timbre (who is chasing dreams) mentions that her grandfather is a dead Blade.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: When she enters Venli's gemheart, she is able to trap the Voidspren residing there, allowing Venli to retain her Envoy powers and the glowing red eyes when necessary, but without controlling Venli's emotions.
- Wrong Context Magic: Somehow managed to create a Nahel bond with a singer, something specifically stated to be impossible in a previous book.
Adolin: A friend.
Captain Ico: A tool. You use her corpse on the other side, don't you? Well, I won't blame you. I've heard stories of what they can do, and I am a pragmatic person. Just... don't pretend she is your friend.
- And I Must Scream: In Shadesmar when Adolin tries to summon her, he discovers that she always screams when he does that—the difference is, normally only a Radiant can hear her.
- Eye Scream: Her eyes appear to be scratched out.
- In-Universe Nickname: Adolin immediately starts calling her Maya once he learns her name.
- Non-Human Undead: She's basically a zombie spren, since spren cannot truly "die" the same way a human can. The severed oath that "killed" her destroyed her cognitive abilities and left her in a mostly vegetative state where she mindlessly follows around whoever is bonded to her corpse.
- Odd Friendship: Adolin calls her a friend, and given how she defended him in Shadesmar instead of wandering around aimlessly, seemed to warn him of danger in the Thaylen city battle, and appeared in his hand in only seven heartbeats to save him from the Thunderclast, it looks like she reciprocates the feeling.
- Only Mostly Dead: Her bond with Adolin appears to have kickstarted her mind a bit, she defends him from a Fused in Shadesmar and Adolin manages to summon her in less than ten heartbeats in the final battle of Oathbringer, and she even manages to communicate her name to him as well as sending him some vague emotional impressions.
- The Corruption: He's been "enlightened" by Sja-Anat, though other than his altered appearance, it's not clear yet what this entails.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He has been corrupted by Sja-Anat, but as far as has been revealed is still on humanity's side.
- Glowing Gem: Takes the form of a cluster of glowing crystals.
- The Ghost: Until Thaylen Field, he's never seen, only mentioned.
- Shrinking Violet: Extremely shy, refusing to show himself even to other spren. Likely because they'd quickly realize he's corrupted.
- Sticks to the Back: When Jasnah sees him for the first time, he appears to be growing from Renarin's back.
An ashspren bonded to Malata.
- Freudian Excuse: Blames Honor and humanity for the death of hundreds of ashspren in the Recreance, and empowers Malata to aid the Diagram in search of vengeance.
- Light Is Not Good: Belongs to an order of spren that once empowered Radiants, but Spark personally is bonded to a member of the Diagram.
- Not Brainwashed: Aids the Diagram and serves Odium, despite not being Void-tainted.
- Genius Loci: Was apparently tied in some way to the Radiant stronghold of Urithiru, to the point where its withdrawal caused most of the city's defenses and life-support functions to fail.
- The Ghost: Apparently withdrew from humanity for unknown reasons shortly before the Recreance. According to the Stormfather, it is currently "slumbering".
- No Name Given: Is only ever referred to as "The Sibling", even in the gemstone messages left behind by the Radiants.
- Pieces of God: As the third of the spren that empower Bondsmiths, it is presumably of comparable power to the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher.
- Book Burning: One of their jobs appeared to be to destroy information; Yelig-nar broke into Nohadon's chancery and slaughtered his wordsmen, while Re-Shephir was found in a destroyed library. This is implied to be part of the reason why the modern world knows so little about the Heraldic Epochs.
- Eldritch Abomination: They are near-mindless masses of hate driven to cause as much chaos as possible, have horrific forms, and often cause dramatic effects on their surroundings merely by being awake.
- It Can Think: They are all generally assumed to be mindless, but it soon becomes clear that it's more complicated than that. Sja-anat and Ba-Ado-Mishram are both intelligent, and Yelig-nar is implied to be the same. Ashertmarn is supposedly mindless but whispers to people by name. Nergaoul and Re-Shephir both have an animalistic cunning and curiosity, but nothing more.
- Meaningful Name: Befitting their natures as demonic entities/eldritch abominations, their names tend toward Semitic demons/gods (Moelach/Moloch) or Lovecraftian horrors (Yelig-nar/Yog Sothoth) or both (Nergaoul/Nergal/Shub-Niggurath).
- All Your Powers Combined: He has access to all ten Surges, or at least Odium's versions of them.
- Bond Creature: He is one of the few Voidspren capable of bonding with humans. This requires them to swallow a gemstone, which simulates a parshman gemheart. He bonds first with Aesudan, then with Amaram, and the process makes crystals sprout from their flesh like armor.
- Book Burning: The first Unmade known to destroy books and kill scribes as part of his efforts to cause chaos.
- Nature Spirit: His name and description imply an affiliation with the Essence of Air.
Sja-anat, the Taker of Secrets
- The Corruption:
- Known for touching spren and making them "act strangely." They look like alien versions of themselves, like painspren that are green hands instead of orange and have sharp claws, but they don't have any other obvious effects on the Physical Realm. She can also corrupt spren in fabrials, including Oathgates.
- She's not supposed to have the ability to corrupt true spren like honorspren or the ones that control Oathgates, but she somehow managed to corrupted a Truthwatcher spren, which Renarin bonded.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The jury is still out on Sja-anat herself, but her corrupted spren don't seem to act any differently than normal spren. Renarin even managed to bond a corrupted Truthwatcher spren and gain mostly-normal Radiant abilities.
- Enigmatic Minion: She is noted as being one of the most intelligent and individualistic of the Unmade, and her motives for manifesting in Kholinar and making overtures to Shallan are completely unknown.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: She has the ability to take the form of a human woman with black hair and archaic clothing, though the illusion quickly dissolves into a shadow monster with white eyes.
- Godzilla Threshold: The old Radiants recommended fleeing the city if you saw so much as a single corrupted spren. In modern times, nothing she does seems to warrant such a response. Granted, when Shallan, Kaladin and the others catch a glimpse of her in Shadesmar she is a massive monster, thus fitting the original definition of a Godzilla Threshold. One of her claws is described as being the size of a small mountain.
- Mirror Monster: She often appears in mirrors, and this seems to be her primary way of communicating.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: As the "Creator and the Corrupter", she can create twisted children enslaved to her will.
- Not So Harmless: Implicitly. So far as we know she makes spren look weird and can break fabrials, but otherwise seems pretty harmless. Especially for an Unmade. But there was presumably a reason the old Heralds would evacuate whole cities rather than face her.
- Token Good Teammate: She claims to be trying to help the Radiants, but she did corrupt the Oathgate. However, she did it on direct orders from Odium and she did try to convince Shallan not to use the portal. Regardless, none of her corrupted spren ever harm humans, and Renarin's corrupted spren, while a bit weird, is not evil.
- Blood Knight: The ultimate blood knight, a pure expression of war and bloodlust.
- The Corruption: On an individual level, of course. Nergaol makes war and violence literally addictive with an area of effect that can cover a whole nation. But it also applies to cultures over the long term, since the effects of the Thrill over centuries can make a society very warped. Most of the more horrible parts of Alethi culture can be blamed on Nergaoul.
- Fantastic Drug: The Thrill is like this, with the side note that you don't even have the option to refuse it. It starts out as just a desire for combat and worthy contest, but over time it devolves into a thirst for one-sided slaughter.
- Irony: The Thrill was intended by Odium to drive armies to fight and to craft the ultimate champion to serve him. The same Thrill in turn made Dalinar into the unstoppable conqueror and Determinator that would let him resist Odium's attempt to corrupt him, and ultimately let Dalinar imprison Nergaoul.
- Meaningful Name: "Nergaoul" sounds similar to "Nergal", a Babylonian war god. Fitting that he would cause wars just by being awake.
- More Than Mind Control: Beyond even the corruption above. If someone feels sufficient hate Nergaoul can seize control completely and force them to attack. It does this during the civil war in Jah Keved to cause the various highprinces' armies to butcher one another well past the point where they would have stopped and fled, and to devastate the capital city of Vedenar, so that Taravangian is the only surviving heir and can take over the kingdom. It also does this to Sadeas's army during the final battle in ''Oathbringer'', exploiting their resentment of their lord's murder. The effect on the defenses is devastating.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Oddly enough, he doesn't hate. He just loves fighting, and wants everyone else to love it too. Even when people drive him off with other emotions, like friendship or love, he's not angry, just confused and kind of sad.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Dalinar seals him away at the end of the Battle of Thaylen City.
- The Corruption: Indirectly, through temptation. Nothing forces you to kill people or otherwise exploit the visions it grants. But it's very useful and the situation is desperate... It leads Taravangian to begin euthanizing hundreds of patients at his hospital in a desperate effort to gain information on the coming Desolation.
- Meaningful Name: "Moelach" sounds like "Moloch", who was a demon that people sacrificed children to—and his Death Rattles encourage people to kill anyone weak in an attempt to receive more knowledge of the future.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: It's unknown why some people are affected by his power when they die and some are not. Either way, over the past few years many people have heard the dying whisper strange things.
- Vagueness Is Coming: His Death Rattles cause the dying to see the future, though they often sound like utter nonsense since they are taken out of context.
Dai-gonarthis, the Black Fisher
- Ambiguous Situation: In-universe, it's noted that it's not completely clear if Dai-gonarthis is an Unmade or not. Only the eight others are confirmed. However, the Death Rattle that speaks of him fits the pattern of the others.
- Despair Event Horizon: Apparently exists to avert this, maliciously. It appears to those in despair offering to take away their pain. As we have seen when Odium does the same, this is actually a very bad thing.
- Emotion Eater: Implied by the death rattle describing it, and fitting with Odium's pattern of gaining converts by consuming and manipulating their emotions.
- Meaningful Name: "Dai-gonarthis" is similar to "Dagon," a god of fish and the sea.
- Nature Spirit: His title implies an association with water and the ocean, which would be the Essence of Blood.
Re-Shephir, the Midnight Mother
- Arch-Enemy: She is terrified of Lightweavers because one bound her away centuries ago. She is also implied to be some sort of corruption of the Surge of Illumination, which is why Shallan and Renarin could sense her presence (as they both have Lightweaving) while Dalinar couldn't.
- Book Burning: She is discovered in Urithiru in an ancient destroyed library, implying that she is part of the reason that Shallan couldn't find any records in the city.
- Copycat Killer: She sends her puppets to mimic murders and other acts of violence in an effort to both understand humanity and fulfill her charge to sow chaos.
- Creative Sterility: Despite her interest in humans, she can't create them on her own, and has to build copies based on what she sees.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Lightweavers, who also craft illusions out of images they draw and remember. Unlike Lightweavers, whose illusions have no substance, her creations have a physical presence, but unlike Lightweavers, she cannot create creatures based on "lies."This thing was ancient. Created long ago as a splinter of the soul of something even more terrible, Re-Shephir had been ordered to sow chaos, spawning horrors to confuse and destroy men. Over time, slowly, she'd become increasingly intrigued by the things she murdered.
Her creations had come to imitate what she saw in the world, but lacking love or affection. Like stones come alive, content to be killed or to kill with no attachment or enjoyment. No emotions beyond an overpowering curiosity, and that ephemeral attraction to violence.
Shallan: (thinking) Almighty above... it's like a creationspren. Only so, so wrong.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: She creates shadow-puppets out of smoke that are solid enough to fight and kill.
- Nature Spirit: She is associated with the Essence of Smoke.
- Tragic Monster: Shallan realizes that she just wants to understand humanity, but is hampered by Odium's will forcing her to cause chaos and destruction.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She's utterly terrified of Lightweavers due to one of them turning her into a Sealed Evil in a Can before.
Ashertmarn, the Heart of the Revel
- Body Horror: He takes the form of a massive, beating black heart. Shallan notes that it's not a human heart, and theorizes that it's Parshendi.
- Cult: He inspires this, forming cults dedicated to revelry regardless of the circumstances.
- Emotion Bomb: Those who have fallen the deepest under its influence simply crawl around it in circles, lost in overpowering emotions.
- The Hedonist: Is this in itself, and encourages this in those under its influence. It ultimately renders them comatose as the emotions overwhelm them completely.
- It Can Think: He's supposedly mindless, but he addresses Shallan by name and sets a trap by faking a retreat.
- While Rome Burns: All of the above is probably one of the worst things that could happen in a city under siege.
- The Leader: She was apparently a "highprincess among the Unmade," and a commander of their forces.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: When she was bound it crippled the Identity and Connection of the parsh connected to her, rendering them nearly mindless. This in turn led to their enslavement, and that enslavement has made peace with the restored parsh essentially impossible.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Sealing her is what led to the enslavement of the parshmen. King Gavilar somehow ended up with the gemstone that contained her, though it's unclear if she was in the stone he gave to Eshonai or the one he gave to Szeth.
- Super Empowering: She was the one responsible for giving the parshmen their forms and powers. Sealing her away apparently was much more violent than expected, and ripped all the forms from the parshmen, instead of just their forms of power.
Chemoarish, the Dustmother
- Nature Spirit: Her title "Dustmother" implies that she has an association with the Essence of Fire, the same one the Dustbringers use.