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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.
  • Badass Crew: According to the Stormfather fighting six windrunners by themselves is something that the average herald can pull off without a problem. And during the worst desolations they more or less had to train entire civilizations(both in technology and military skills) to fight the fused.
  • 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.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Their superhuman combat prowess is not directly a result of their powers, but the fruit of millennia of combat coupled with being able to make fatal mistakes and then come back from the dead to learn from them.
  • 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.
  • Flawed Prototype: The Honorblades granted their abilities to anyone who held them, and lacked the restrictions the Radiants must abide by. This makes them tempting targets for anyone who wouldn't normally attract a spren. Their powers are also much less efficient than a Radiant's, requiring someone to hold a dangerous amount of stormlight to use them for a prolonged period of time. Presumably the Oathpact granted a degree of protection to the Heralds on the last point.
  • 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, since he was dead at the time of the breaking. However, the Oathpact may not be as dissolved as the Heralds would have liked to think when they tried to abandon it, as Dalinar learns when he looks at its Connections and sees that, while most of them are fainter than one much stronger (evidently that of Talenel), they are not actually broken with exception of Jezrien, who is seemingly permanently dead.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: In Rhythm Of War, Zahel states that the Heralds are effectively Cognitive Shadows - souls made up of living Investiture. This effectively makes the Heralds into ghostly spren, and they have the same vulnerabilities, as well as the same rigid definitions of ideas and purpose, which helps feed their mental instabilities. Unlike spren or Fused, however, they don't have anything to anchor them besides the Oathpact, so if their souls are trapped like spren, then they just fade away into the Spiritual Realm, which will allow them to finally die.
  • 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. The knife is similar to what is used to drain Stormlight from Radiants, only because of the nature of the Heralds and the Oathpact, when they die to these knives their souls are released back into the Spiritual Realm, allowing them to die permenantly.
  • 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. Zahel mentions that this can become an issue with any Cognitive Shadow who has spent too long alive. The Investiture that keeps them functional and their nature as living ideas means that their perceptions of reality get skewed, and he theorizes that this is why the Returned tend to have their memories wiped when they are brought back and why they have relatively short lifespans, in order to prevent this sort of instability from developing.
    • More specifically, each of the nine Heralds that abandoned the Oathpact has gone insane in a way that twists their original ideals upon themselves, which, according to the author, has a lot to do with their nature as Cognitive Shadows going against their purpose. Of the ones seen so far in the story:
      • Jezrian, the Protective Leader, became a shiftless drunkard.
      • Nale, the Confident Justice, became a traitor working against mankind.
      • Shalash, the Honest Creative, became a shifty art defacer.
      • Kalak, the Resolute Builder, became a paranoic intent on fleeing.
      • Ishar, the Pious Guide, became a mad god-king.
  • 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 Prototype: The Honorblades where what the spren emulated to become Shardblades. What makes them a higher level than Shardblades is that the Honorblades can grant surgebinding to anyone who wields them, Oath or no Oath.
  • 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.
    • Enough practice that when we see one of them fight he absolutely trounces five Radiants simultaneously and he was only considered an average fighter among the Heralds.
    • 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)
Knights Radiant Order: Windrunners
Surges: Adhesion, Gravitation
Attributes: Protecting/Leading

"It has been decided. The Oathpact ends now."

The Herald King, also known as the Stormfather, though the two are actually separate entities. Appears in the Prelude to tell Kalak that it is time for the Oathpact to end. He is also the father of Shalash.
  • 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 by the end of Oathbringer, 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.
  • 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. While the knife was designed to imprison his soul instead of outright killing him, removing his soul from his body killed him since Honor is dead.
  • 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.
  • This Cannot Be!: Yells "What is this death? What is this death?" when he realizes Moash's knife has permanently killed him


Nalan'Elin ("Nale," "Darkness") (Vorin: Nalan, Herald of Justice)
Knights Radiant Order: Skybreakers
Surges: Gravitation, Division
Attributes: Just/Confident

"Justice does not expire."

Also known as Nin to the Shin.

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.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sides with the Voidbringers because his view of the law sees them as the true owners of Roshar, both because it was originally stolen by humans and later by right of conquest.
  • 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. He also used a specific clause of the Listener-Alethkar peace treaty when he realized Gavilar was trying to bring about a Desolation despite his express instructions otherwise, telling Venli about Szeth being for sale and leading directly to Gavilar's assassination, as he could not take action himself.
  • 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.


Chanarach ("Chana")
Knights Radiant Order: Dustbringers (Releasers)
Surges: Division, Abrasion
Attributes: Brave/Obedient

A Herald with little known about her at this time. Mentioned in a story from Hoid to have raced Fleet and lost.
  • 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)
Knights Radiant Order: Edgedancers
Surges: Abrasion, Progression
Attributes: Loving/Healing

One of the Heralds. Mentioned by "Taln" to be a healer who could help the sick and train the surgeons.
  • Healing Hands: Implied, considering the way healing works here.
  • Le Parkour: Implied, from the fact that she's associated with the Order of Edgedancers, who manipulate Abrasion.


Paliah ("Pali")
Knights Radiant Order: Truthwatchers
Surges: Progression, Illumination
Attributes: Learned/Giving

A Herald said to be able to see the future.
  • In-Series Nickname: She is called "Pali" by some of the other Heralds.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Of a sort. Her name is given in Words of Radiance, the second book.
  • Seers: As the patron of an Order of precognitive people, she can probably do that herself.


Shalash ("Ash") (Vorin: Shallash, Herald of Beauty)
Knights Radiant Order: Lightweavers
Surges: Illumination, Transformation
Attributes: Creative/Honest

"A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal."
Death Rattle

The daughter of Jezrien, the Herald king. She appears in The Way of Kings, destroying priceless works of art, especially those related to her. According to Kalak, she has been "getting worse", although it isn't clear what he means by this.
  • 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. However, she is a lot more outwardly stable once she appears, though she is stated to be "getting worse" with time. In fact, she is one of the most stable Heralds come the True Desolation.
  • Berserk Button: Hates people depicting her in artwork, and destroys all of said depictions. Folds into Stop Worshipping Me.
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Played for Drama. In Rhythm of War, she seems to be Taln's minder, helping him the best she can while he is, to quote Mraize, "completely insane."
  • 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 wishes that he hated her, and begs him to do so.
    Shalash: You have to hate me! Hate me, please.
  • 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, Ala, and Ashe (meaning transformation, beauty, and light respectively). Word of God is that it was intentional but Shalash may be unaware of the meaning of her name.
  • 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." She admits in Rhythm of War that all of the Heralds are mad in some fashion, herself included. Part of her madness is a compulsive need to deface any depiction of herself she finds.
  • Secret Keeper: She actually knows Hoid as his original name of Midius.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Warrior Princess: The daughter of a king, and fought for humanity in ninety-and-nine Desolations.


Battar (Vorin: Battab)
Knights Radiant Order: Elsecallers
Surges: Transformation, Transportation
Attributes: Wise/Careful

A Herald with relatively little known about her at this time.
  • Angel Unaware: Taravangian claims that he believes one of his ardents is actually Battab'Elin, and laters confirms it in discussions with his subordinates in the Diagram.
  • Dimensional Traveler: Her powers would let her jump between Physical Realm and Shadesmar.
  • Mask of Sanity: She doesn't show the signs of madness that her fellow Heralds have. Taravangian fears that she has just become very good at hiding them.
  • Women Are Wiser: Apparently, though we don't know for sure if that's accurate.


Kalak (Vorin: Kelek)
Knights Radiant Order: Willshapers
Surges: Transportation, Cohesion
Attributes: Resolute/Builder

"Forgive us."

The point of view character in the prelude to The Stormlight Archive. He was the last Herald to make it out of the Final Desolation, and missed out on the other Heralds deciding to abandon the Oathpact. He feels great regret when he leaves his Blade and abandons the Oathpact as well.
  • Angel Unaware: He led the Sons of Honor under the alias of Restares. Gavilar was the only member aware of his true identity.
  • Dirty Coward: He abandoned the Oathpact out of fear. After Moash kills Jezrien, Kalak becomes obsessed with finding a way off of Roshar to be safe from Odium's forces.
  • The Ditherer: According to his own self assessment his greatest problem isn't cowardice per se, or paranoia. Instead he finds himself utterly unable to commit to long term plans of action, dithering over options until it is too late.
  • Hanging Judge: Subverted. As high judge of the honorspren, he acts irrationally and is vocal about his disappointment that the honorspren don't practice the death penalty, but he turns out to be a fair judge to the point where the honorspren have to find an excuse to force him to recuse so they can subject Adolin to a Kangaroo Court.
  • 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. He pops up again in Rhythm of War, but he doesn't get any point of view chapters.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Despite his cowardice, he isn't actually afraid to die after millennia of immortality.
  • Only Sane Man: While he suffers from Sanity Slippage like all others, among the Heralds seen he is only one who could pass for a normal, healthy person if we didn't know who he is and how he probably should be.
  • 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)
Knights Radiant Order: Stonewards
Surges: Cohesion, Tension
Attributes: Dependable/Resourceful

"Who am I? I am Talenel'Elin, Herald of the Almighty. The Desolation has come. Oh god... it has come. And I have failed."

The only Herald to die in the Final Desolation. While the other Heralds abandoned the Oathpact, he was forced to stay true to it by being tortured in Damnation. He's proven to be the most resistant one of them, holding the Desolation back for over four and a half thousand years before breaking.

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 a Herald driven insane by thousands of years of torture, death and rebirth, but the ardents assume he's insane, (which he is, to be fair), and thus not actually a Herald. Mental health 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 while historically accurate for earth is pretty much the opposite of what we consider therapy these days, so even ignoring the more Divine nature of Taln's mental health issues, they're not even really equipped to deal with mundane issues..
  • 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 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). In fact, it's even indicated that he may not have broken to cause the current Desolation. Voidspren were already sneaking through and the Everstorm had been building for years, so it's possible the Desolation happen in spite of Taln, not because of him. He has a brief moment of lucidity when speaking to Ash and realizes that he has been in Braize alone for over four thousand years, he is overwhelmed with joy that humanity was able to prosper and grow like never before in the, rather than mad at being abandoned as Ash expected.
  • 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.
  • Divine Race Lift: He is darkeyed, which in Alethkar makes him a second class citizen. A member of the ancient conspiracy dedicated to the return of the Heralds sees this and concludes that he is obviously in a disguise.
  • Driven to Madness: The combination of thousands of years of torture and repeated deaths and reincarnations have ruined his mind, even more so than the other Heralds it seems. He has a few lucid moments though. Zahel's comments in Rhythm indicate that this is what happens to basically anyone in the Cosmere who lives that long.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Willpower: The very definition of it. Again, it took four and a half thousand years of torture to break his will for even a moment, and it's possible that even then he didn't actually break.
  • I Have Many Names: Taln (by his fellow Heralds), Talenelat (in modern Alethkar), and Stonesinew. Also referred to as the Herald of War and the Bearer of Agonies,
  • 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. 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.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: He was the only one of the original Heralds who wasn't a king, scholar, or other person of note when he became a Herald.
  • 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 hallucinating that everyone around him is on fire and burning alive while he hears the screams of the tormented dead. Being trapped in Damnation for millennia will do that to you.
  • 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.
  • World's Best Warrior: All of the Heralds were incredible warriors thanks to the countless years spent in battle, and Taln was considered the best among then, making him quite likely the single greatest warrior on Roshar.
    • For context, Ishar, another Herald, took on five Windrunners simultaneously in an absolute Curb-Stomp Battle, despite only using his powers to restrain them because he preferred not to kill. And the Stormfather considers him to be of average strenght. Meanwhile, Kalak says that Taln habitually won fights others - implicitly including other Heralds - considered hopeless, by himself.


Ishar (Vorin: Ishi, Herald of Luck)
Knights Radiant Order: Bondsmiths
Surges: Tension, Adhesion
Attributes: Pious/Guiding

A Herald who was said to have helped found the Knights Radiant, basically by threatening to Kill Them All if they don't comply.
  • A God Am I: Claims to be, at various times, the sole Herald, the chief Herald, or the Almighty himself.
  • 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. In Rhythm of War, he easily fends off five well-trained Windrunners, negates their powers, and very nearly steals Dalinar's bond to Odium.
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Almost every sentence out of his mouth is a grandiose proclamation of his own divinity. This is particularly noticable when he briefly gains lucidity, speaking to Dalinar is a much more reasonable tone, before his voice "warps" somehow and he goes right back to ranting about his destiny to defeat Odium.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Dalinar expected him to wise, careful, and thoughtful. He is instead confident, eager, and more than a little brash.
  • 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.
  • Good All Along: In Oathbringer, he seemed like a power hungry dictator who thinks he's a god. He actually is, but only because he's been driven to madness through unknown means. When he briefly becomes lucid he attempts to help Dalinar before his insanity returns.
  • Mad Scientist: Part of his insanity. In Rhythm of War, the Stormfather mentions that Ishar was the first to begin experimenting with the Surges that destroyed Ashyn. Later on, Dalinar discovers that Ishar had somehow discovered a way to bring humanoid spren from Shadesmar into the Physical Realm, and killed them there, leaving organic corpses.
  • Mana Drain: He can drain Stormlight from Radiants by connecting them to the ground so their powers think the ground is part of their body and tries to fill it with magic. He can also steal the Nahel Bond. He attempts to steal Dalinar's bond with the Stormfather for himself and is only stopped because Nightblood was able to sever the magical rope connecting him to Dalinar.
  • 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. Denial and megalomania appear to be the manifestations of his particular form of insanity.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: By the standards of the Heralds, he's rather average in combat. His skills lie in science and battlefield command, not fighting personally. But that's compared to the other Heralds. Compared to literally everyone else on the planet, he might as well be invincible. He fends off five well-trained Windrunners and makes it look easy even before he starts using his Bondsmith abilities to render them helpless.
  • 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. In Rhythm of War, it turns that he is insane, but functional, unlike most others. And he can regain his sanity in certain situations.
  • 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.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: According to the Stormfather in Rhythm of War, Ishar was the very first human who Odium "tricked" into experimenting with Surges, and was at partially responsible for the destruction of humanity's original home Ashyn.

The Knights Radiant

    Knights as a whole 

The Knights Radiant/The Lost Radiants

"Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."

Ten groups of Surgebinders that fought alongside the Heralds in the Desolations. Wielding Shardblades and wearing Shardplate, they helped protect mankind from the Voidbringers. However, long ago they all simultaneously abandoned their oaths and left mankind to their fate, in an event that would become known as the Recreance. In modern times, the Radiants are thought of as villains and cursed at by people everywhere.
  • Badass Creed: Every Order of the Knights Radiant must swear and live by oaths dedicated to their Ideals. All Orders share the First Ideal, but the following four are unique to each Order.
  • 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 and kill their spren. 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.
  • Morph Weapon: While Shardblades are considered the standard tool for Knights Radiant, spren can become any metallic shape they or their Knight wants, allowing them to be all kinds of weapons.
  • 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.
  • Powered Armor: Knights who have sworn the Fourth Ideal are granted Shardplate, enchanted armor that grants superhuman strength and endurance to whoever wears it.
  • 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.
  • Tron Lines: Shardplate worn by a Radient of the Fourth Ideal glows at the seam with light in the specific Order's color. The abandoned Shardplate of today lacks this glow.

    The Order of Windrunners 

Windrunners, followers of Jezrien

Herald: Jezrien
Spren type: Honorspren
Gemstone (color): Sapphire (blue)
Surges: Adhesion (Pressure and Vacuum), Gravitation (Gravity)

"I will protect."

Wielders of the Surges of Adhesion and Gravitation and followers of Jezrien, the Herald of Kings. The Windrunners were known for their nobility, their leadership, and their ability to soar through the air, which is the source of their name.
  • Barrier Warrior: Their association with wind, apparently, is all about them being fast enough to jump in to protect anyone who needs it. Fittingly, since their Shardplate is made up of windspren, it can leap off them and manifest on other people when necessary.
  • 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 and kill their spren.
  • 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.
  • Interservice Rivalry: With the Skybreakers, in large part due to falling on opposite sides of the To Be Lawful or Good debate.
  • 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. This being said, if oaths they swear are what they know is not right, such as Kaladin joining in a pact to assassinate King Elhokar, they will eventually lose their power and their Spren will lose their sentience, as Kal and Syl almost did.
  • 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.

    The Order of Skybreakers 

Skybreakers, followers of Nale

Herald: Nale
Spren type: Highspren
Gemstone (color): Smokestone (grey)
Surges: Gravitation (gravity), Division (destruction and decay)

"I will seek justice."

Wielders of the Surges of Gravitation and Division and followers of Nale, the Herald of Justice. The Skybreakers were the police of the Radiants, known for their ability to separate the innocent from the guilty, despite not actually having any special powers in that area.
  • 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.
  • Interservice Rivalry: With the Windrunners, in large part due to falling on opposite sides of the To Be Lawful or Good debate.
  • 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. He then asks if he is allowed to execute the warden. He is. They even have the paperwork ready.
    • 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. This being said, they are supposed to battle unjust laws and corrupt law enforcement, and thus would seek to merge lawful with good, but post-Recreance, the Skybreakers have fallen into Lawful Stupidity.
  • 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.

    The Order of Releasers 

Releasers, followers of Chanarach

Herald: Chanarach
Spren type: Ashspren
Gemstone (color): Ruby (red)
Surges: Division (destruction and decay), Abrasion (friction)

"I will seek self-mastery."

Wielders of the Surges of Division and Abrasion and followers of Chanarach. They were also known as the Dustbringers, but they disliked that term due to the similarity to Voidbringers. They were known for being very dangerous on a personal level.
  • 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.
  • The Fettered: Their oaths all revolve around personal control and an understanding of the responsibilities of power.
  • 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.
  • Oathbound Power: Even more so than most Radiants. While most Orders have access to their full set of Surgebindings with the First Ideal, Releasers need to swear the higher Oaths to access certain abilities.
  • 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: Before the Recreance, the Dustbrings would often serve as something similar to artillery among the Radiants. They were the ones you called on to blast down walls, devestate enemy formations, or destroy large swathes of land.
    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.

    The Order of Edgedancers 

Edgedancers, followers of Vedel

Herald: Vedel
Spren type: Cultivationspren
Gemstone (color): Diamond (clear or white)
Surges: Abrasion (friction), Progression (growth, healing, regrowth)

"I will remember."

Wielders of the Surges of Abrasion and Progression and followers of Vedel. They were known for being the most elegant and refined of the Radiants, but at times focused on unimportant things.
  • 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.
  • Boring, but Practical: One application of their power over friction is moving through water with no drag or viscosity, which is much more useful than it sounds at first glance. They can also use Progression to keep Rosharan plants from being startled, which is very important for hiding on a world where most plant life will retreat and reveal your location if you bother it.
  • 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 codeswitches 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 are dismissed by some, such as Nale, for being distracted by "trivial things." Reconstructed: they work tirelessly to protect and speak for the people who would be trampled or overlooked in an epic conflict like this, from war refugees to people in poverty whose situation is too precarious to survive the world being overturned.
  • 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.

    The Order of Truthwatchers 

Truthwatchers, followers of Paliah

Herald: Paliah
Spren type: Mistspren
Gemstone (color): Emerald (green)
Surges: Progression (growth, healing, regrowth), Illumination (light, sound, various waveforms)

"I will seek truth."

Wielders of the Surges of Progression and Illumination and followers of Paliah. They seem to be the only Order with the ability to see the future, a powerful but dangerous gift.
  • 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.
  • Seers: 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 being reserved, though as an order of scholars and scientists they produced extensive written material.
  • 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. Then again, that's not a power they're actually supposed to have.

    The Order of Lightweavers 

Lightweavers, followers of Shalash

Herald: Shalash
Spren type: Cryptics
Gemstone (color): Garnet (crimson)
Surges: Illumination (light, sound, various waveforms), Transformation (soulcasting)

"I will speak my truth."

Wielders of the Surges of Illumination and Transformation and followers of Shalash, Herald of Beauty. Lightweavers tended to be artists and other creative types, and acted as the moral center of the Radiants, using their powers to inspire their fellows.
  • 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. Pattern's comments imply it actually applies to all forms of waves and vibrations, which has interesting implications as Roshar's technology develops.
  • Mildly Military: Unlike the Windrunners (who obey a clear command structure that slots into the existing army with no trouble), the Lightweavers prefer to operate in cells. The leader is the Master Lightweaver, with Agent Lightweavers reporting to them. Eventually, the Agents will graduate and split off into their own cells. This process is more fluid than it would be for other Orders because Lightweavers don't remain squires for long; Cryptics are happy to bond, and upgrade squires to full Radiants quickly.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: They were one of the non-combat Orders, but had Blades and Plate regardless. In Rhythm of War, Radiant explains that while combat should be a last resort for spies, she wants it to be a valid last resort, and has them all train in swordplay.
  • Photographic Memory: Shallan has this, and a few lines from the in-universe Words of Radiance book implies this was standard for Lightweavers. If Shallan is any guide, it is more literal photographic memory than most examples: choosing to make a "Memory" of something they see, and then keeping it in mental storage until they erase it or draw it (the drawing notably having the potential to include the normally invisible Cryptics).
  • The Spymaster: their affinity for illusions, disguises and manipulations make them ideal spies.
  • Transmutation: The Surge of Transformation allows them to Soulcast, turning one type of matter into another, as long as they have enough Stormlight.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are!: Lightweavers have a Resonance ability to shift someone's perspective towards how the Lightweaver sees them.

    The Order of Elsecallers 

Elsecallers, followers of Battar

Herald: Battar
Spren type: Inkspren
Gemstone (color): Zircon (navy blue)
Surges: Transformation (soulcasting), Transportation (motion, Realmatic transition)

"I will reach my potential."

Wielders of the Surges of Transformation and Transportation and followers of Battar. Due to the fact that both of their Surges involved contact with the Cognitive Realm, Elsecallers were known for having a great affinity with spren in general.
  • 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.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Inkspren have sworn to never take bonds after the Recreance, leaving Jasnah the only known modern Elsecaller.
  • 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.
  • Transmutation: The Surge of Transformation allows them to Soulcast, turning one type of matter into another, as long as they have enough Stormlight.

    The Order of Willshapers 

Willshapers, followers of Kalak

Herald: Kalak
Spren type: Lightspren, aka Reachers
Gemstone (color): Amethyst (purple)
Surges: Transportation (motion, Realmatic transition), Cohesion (strong axial interconnection)

"I will seek freedom."

Wielders of the Surges of Transportation and Cohesion and followers of Kalak. They were known for being capricious and adventurous, and were often thought of as unreliable.
  • 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.
  • Seers: They are not only able to see into the cognitive realm, their connection with stone has some divinatory qualities due to its ancient Connection.
  • Teleportation: Like the Elsecallers, they could teleport directly into Shadesmar, but they were not known for this ability in the same way.

    The Order of Stonewards 

Stonewards, followers of Talenel

Herald: Talenel
Spren type: Peakspren
Gemstone (color): Topaz (amber)
Surges: Cohesion (strong axial interconnection), Tension (soft axial interconnection)

"I will be there when I'm needed."

Wielders of the Surges of Cohesion and Tension and followers of Talenel, Herald of War. They were known for being strong, resolved, and utterly dependable.
  • 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.

    The Order of Bondsmiths 

Bondsmiths, followers of Ishar

Herald: Ishar
Spren type: Unknown, possibly godspren
Gemstone (color): Heliodor (golden)
Surges: Tension (soft axial interconnection), Adhesion (pressure and vacuum)

"I will unite."

Wielders of the Surges of Tension and Adhesion and followers of Ishar, Herald of Luck. The Bondsmiths had a much lower member rate than the rest of the Orders; three Knights wasn't a particularly small number for them.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Magic: A Bondsmith is able to negate the powers of a Radiant by altering the Connection of their Nahel bond to bind them to the planet itself. Their Stormlight will try to fill the entire planet, which completely dissipates it and also renders the Radiant practically comatose.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: 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.
  • Oddly Small Organization: There can only be three Radiant Bondsmiths in existence at any one time, since they must be bonded to beings like the Stormfather, the Nightwatcher, or the Sibling.
  • Power Parasite: A Bondsmith can hijack the Nahel Bond between a Radiant and their spren to take their powers for themselves.
  • Restraining Bolt: Bondsmiths have incredible, versatile power, so Honor placed limits on what their powers could do. Now that Honor is dead their powers are unchained.
  • Semantic Superpower: Bondsmiths have the ability to manipulate Connection. Thing is, Connection applies to a LOT: the Connection between people, the Connection between objects, the Connection between a person and the land, the Connection between a person and an object, the Connection between Radiant and their spren, the Connection between person and Shard... If you can think of any link between two things, there's probably a Connection there to manipulate.
  • Translator Microbes: By making contact and forming a Connection with a person, a Bondsmith can instantly learn and speak in their language.
  • Utility Magic: Their powers include repairing damaged objects, learning languages instantly, and creating combination powers with other orders. However, they have basically no powers directly related to combat.
  • 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.

Radiant Spren





    The Nightwatcher 

The Nightwatcher

"What would you like? Renown? Wealth? Skill? Would you like to be able to swing a sword and never tire? Beauty? Followers? I can feed your dreams, make you glorious."

A mysterious being living on Roshar. To those who visit her for the Old Magic, she gives you a boon which she thinks you deserve, as well as a curse to balance it.
  • 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.

     The Sibling 

The Sibling

The mysterious third "godspren".

  • Faking the Dead: They intentionally avoided humans and didn't resist when Re-Shephir infected Urithiru for centuries, wanting everyone to believe they were dead.
  • Genius Loci: They are intimately tied with the functions of the tower of Urithiru, acting as the power source for it. Unfortunately they were damaged in the past in a way that prevents them from generating the power to run all the systems.
  • The Ghost: Withdrew from humans shortly before the Recreance, the Stormfather states in Oathbringer that they are 'slumbering'. They are active again as of Rhythm of War.
  • Hybrid Power: As the divine child of Honor and Cultivation it is capable of generating a unique Investiture known as Towerlight, a blend of Honor's Stormlight and Cultivation's Lifelight.
  • Living Battery: It and its bonded Bondsmith are the only source for the Towerlight needed to power Urithiru's fabrials.
  • The Nameless: They are only ever referred to as "The Sibling", even in the gemstone messages left behind by the Radiants. Even after they become active again they never give another name.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: States that unlike Radiant spren, they don't pretend to be male or female, because they are neither. Notable in that the other godspren (the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher) are the closest there are to gendered spren (being splinters of the male Tanavast and the female Koravellium respectively), making the Sibling's denial of gender more pronounced.
  • Our Phlebotinum Child: The "child" of Honor and Cultivation, and composed of a compound of their respective Investitures.
  • Pieces of God: As the third of the spren that empower Bondsmiths, They are presumably of comparable power to the Stormfather and the Nightwatcher. According to Sja-anat, and later confirmed by their own statement, they are the child of Honor and Cultivation, a combination of both.
  • Power Nullifier: Navani suspects the tower may have served a function similar to the fabrial that suppressed Radiant abilities, except against the Fused. And it does, which is why Raboniel corrupts it to suppress the Radiants and take over Urithiru. Once Navani bonds the Sibling and vents the Voidlight from the system, it's finally capable of suppressing the Fused once again.



"Have you realized, that while you claim to be a master thief, I do all of the work in this relationship?"

Lift's spren, a cultivationspren who appears as vines growing on the ground, invisible to most. He is a scholar and gardener, constantly upset with Lift's antics.
  • 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—"
    Lift yawned.
    "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.



"Give me your sorrow."

A corrupted mistspren bonded to Renarin.

  • 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.
  • Spanner in the Works: The visions he gives Renarin of the future create interference with other predictions. Most notably, when Odium creates his own expanded version of The Diagram, he complains that Renarin casts a shadow, leaving a hole in his otherwise preturnatural ability to predict the course of events. This allows Taravangian to kill Rayse and become Odium.
  • Sticks to the Back: When Jasnah sees him for the first time, he appears to be growing from Renarin's back.



"You are like a spren. You think by facts. You change not on simple whims. You are as you are."

Jasnah's spren, an inkspren who defied his people to bond with her. He greatly respects her for her logical nature.
  • 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").



Captain Ico: What is she to you?
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.

The cultivationspren who is Adolin's Blade. In Shadesmar, she is a "deadeye," a spren who looks like a "dead" version of living spren (in her case, appearing to be made of dead vines) and with the eyes scratched out like a damaged painting. She is largely unaware of her surroundings, and will always try to stay close to her corpse.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Taking ownership of her sacrifice and twisting it towards an agenda. It enrages her so much that she regains the ability to speak.
  • Eye Scream: Her eyes appear to be scratched out.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She and her fellow Radiant spren agreed to the Recreance. They shared their Knights’ belief that Surgebinding was too dangerous for further use, and sacrificed themselves to keep Roshar safe.
  • 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. By the time of Rhythm of War she's initially regained enough of her senses that she can acknowledge other people (but not speak to them) and is able to handle a brush to take care of Gallant with a little instruction from Adolin, and in the final stage of the trial, she is able to muster enough energy and focus to actually speak.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When she manages to speak at Adolin's trial, she announces to all assembled that she and the other deadeyes chose to have their oaths broken by their Knights. She shames the honorspren for trying to use their deaths as excuses for their own ends, as that belittles the sacrifice she made. The significance of the Recreance belongs to her, not humans or spren of today.
  • Wham Line: That Maya is able to speak at all is a Wham Line, as deadeyes were thought to be permanently braindead by spren. But the words she bellowed at the trial, "WE CHOSE!", turns the entire Recreance on its head. It was thought the spren of the Knights Radiant were victims, killed when the knights broke their oaths without their consent. But the spren willingly chose to sacrifice themselves to end surgebinding. They may not have known they would become deadeyes, but they knew the pain and risk would be great. They did it anyway.



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.



"Surprises are dumb. He should be informed if a product is good or not before being asked to commit. Would you like a similar surprise at the market? Oh, you can't buy a specific food. You have to carry a sack home, cut it open, then find out what you bought. Drama. Suspense!"

The Cryptic Wit/Hoid bonded at the end of Oathbringer.
  • Genki Girl: Referred to with female pronouns and is consistently enthusiastic and chipper.
  • Literal-Minded: She will often spoil the endings of Wit's stories, or tell people when he's lying.
    Wit: I have bonded a literal monster.
  • Magical Flutist: Subverted. When helping Wit tell Kaladin a story while Kaladin was dreaming, she "plays" Wit's flute. Music starts playing, but Kaladin notes that as a cryptic she has an ever-shifting floating fractal instead of a head and the flute is just pushed up against it. Also, she's just messing with the holes on the flute randomly, with her fingerings having no connection to the notes of the song. As Lightweaving includes sound creation, she's probably just messing with the flute for fun.



A "new" deadeye Cryptic Adolin encounters on Shadesmar, who was supposedly killed not during the Recreance, but recently.

  • Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about her without mentioning she's Shallan's first Cryptic. It was her, not Pattern, who accompanied Shallan during her childhood.


    Unmade as a whole 

"The Unmade are a deviation, a flair, a conundrum that may not be worth your time. You cannot help but think of them. They are fascinating. Many are mindless. Like the spren of human emotions, only much more nasty. I do believe a few can think, however."
From the Diagram, Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: paragraph 14

The most powerful of Odium's Voidspren, set upon the world to cause chaos and destruction. There are nine of them in all, represented by Odium's Champion having nine shadows.
  • 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).


Yelig-nar, Blightwind

"Yelig-nar, called Blightwind, was one that could speak like a man, though often his voice was accompanied by the wails of those he consumed."
Traxil, line 33

The first confirmed Unmade, he appears as a man-shaped cloud of dark air. He can bond with a person and turn them into a full Surgebinder.
  • 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

"Radiant. My name is Sja-anat. And I am not your enemy."

An Unmade mentioned in one of Dalinar's visions, later appears in Oathbringer. She can transform regular spren into voidspren.
  • 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. It only works if the spren volunteer.
  • 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.
  • A God Am I: She gets a viewpoint chapter in Rhythm of War where she casually refers to herself as a god.
  • 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.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Her relations with Odium take this form. He knows she is betraying him, she knows he knows it, but as long as he can't prove anything, she won't be punished.
  • Insistent Terminology: She hates that her transforming of spren is called "corruption" by the humans. To her, the change she induces is "enlightenment".
  • Mirror Monster: She often appears in mirrors, and this seems to be her primary way of communicating. Rhythm of War states that she can only be fully seen in either the phyisical or cognitive realms through reflective surfaces since she exists in both planes of reality simultaniously.
  • 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.



"Nergaoul was known for driving forces into a battle rage, lending them great ferocity. Curiously, he did this to both sides of a conflict, Voidbringer and human. This seems common of the less self-aware spren."
From Hessi's Mythica, page 121

The Unmade that produces the Thrill, the supernatural thirst for combat and conquest that has shaped Alethi culture for centuries.
  • 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.



"There is one you will watch. Though all of them have some relevance to precognition, Moelach is one of the most powerful in this regard. His touch seeps into a soul as it breaks apart from the body, creating manifestations powered by the spark of death itself. But no, this is a distraction. Deviation. Kingship. We must discuss the nature of kingship."
Diagram Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: Paragraph 15

The Unmade behind the Death Rattles, the prophetic visions seen by the dying. In Words of Radiance, he begins moving west for an unknown reason, and Taravangian is worried he might decide to sleep again.
  • 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

"Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!"
Death Rattle

An Unmade of unknown power and purpose, mentioned only in a Death Rattle.
  • 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

"Re-Shephir, the Midnight Mother, giving birth to abominations with her essence so dark, so terrible, so consuming. She is here! She watches me die!"
Death vision

The Unmade who created the Midnight Essence that Dalinar saw in one of his visions. She can create creatures out of it and mimic human appearance to some extent.
  • 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.
    Shallan: I... know you. I know what you're doing. You try to imitate us. But you fail. You're a spren. You don't quite understand. Your imitation is pathetic. Here. Let me show you how it's done.
  • 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

"Give it all to me. Give me your passion, your hunger, your longing, your loss. Surrender it. You are what you feel."

An Unmade that causes people to indulge in excess in all things, until they don't care about anything at all.
  • 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.



"Ba-Ado-Mishram has somehow Connected with the parsh people, as Odium once did. She provides Voidlight and facilitates forms of power. Our strike team is going to imprison her."
From drawer 30-20, fourth emerald

The Unmade who provided the parshmen with their powers after the Last Desolation. Binding her is what turned them into slaves.
  • A God Am I: With Odium sealed away, she tried to take his place as the god of the singers.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Her trying to fill Odium's shoes didn't turn out so well. While Odium never won, at least he never caused the entire singer species to be lobotimised.
  • The Leader: She was apparently a "highprincess among the Unmade," and a commander of their forces.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
  • 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.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: No less a person than Kalak, a herald who fought her for thousands of years begged the new radiants to find and free her, thinking her imprisonment was too cruel a fate even for an Unmade.


Chemoarish, the Dustmother

"Chemoarish, the Dustmother, has some of the most varied lore surrounding her. The wealth of it makes sorting lies from truths extremely difficult. I do believe she is not the Nightwatcher, contrary to what some stories claim."
From Hessi's Mythica, page 231

An Unmade with little known about her.
  • Nature Spirit: Her title "Dustmother" implies that she has an association with the Essence of Fire, the same one the Dustbringers use.

Other Beings of Magic



"Hello! Would you like to destroy some evil today? "

A strange, talking black shardblade that Nale gave to Szeth.
See Nightblood under Warbreaker.



"You don't get to choose to be free, Venli. Just which master to follow. "

A Voidspren given to Venli by a mysterious human woman. He tells her of a new kind of storm that will grant her people forms of power...
  • The Corrupter: Played on Venli's pride to convince her to take increasingly immoral steps to summoning the Return.
  • Demonic Possession: Takes up residence in Venli's gemheart, making it all the more easy to manipulate her into summoning the Everstorm.
  • Jerkass: He may flatter Venli with promises of power and greatness, but it doesn't take much for him to start demeaning her and the rest of the Listeners.


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