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Characters / The Stormlight Archive Races And People Of Roshar

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    Humans in general 

Humans

Humans on Roshar are significantly more diverse than other worlds.


  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Downplayed. There are a number of quirks with how traits are inherited, like eye and hair color, that suggest they are subtly different from earth humans on a genetic level. There are other slight differences - for example, Herdazians have crystalline nails, while the Natan people have slightly bluish skin.
  • Evil All Along: Not at the current era the series takes place at, but ancient humans played this straight. Despite history presenting them as victims, it turns out that humans are really the first Voidbringers.
  • Fantastic Caste System: Many different cultures have different caste systems. People in the five Vorin kingdoms are divided into lighteyes and darkeyes, on the Peaks people are divided by birth order, in Babatharnam power is given based on your age, etc.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Down Played. Humanity used to worship Odium but later switched to serving Honor and Cultivation.
  • Invading Refugees: Humans aren't native to Roshar; they fled to it after accidentally turning Ashyn, their home planet, into a Death World (though some humans still live on Ashyn in floating cities). At first there was peace between humans and Parsh, the original species who ruled Roshar, but for some reason the two races entered war with each other, eventually ending with humans taking over.
  • Multicolored Hair: A person's hair color is so defined by their origin that people of mixed race have proportionately different colors in their hair.
  • People of Hair Color: It is easy to tell where a person comes from by the color of their hair, or combination if it's mixed.
    • Alethkar: Black.
    • Jah Keved: Red.
    • Iri: Metallic golden-blonde.
  • Planet of Hats: During the days of the Silver Kingdoms, each kingdom had its own role. Only one, Alethela (which became Alethkar) has been revealed: they were the warriors, the watchers. Other purposes can be infered by the current state of each region: Thaylens were likely involved in transportation or supply lines with their tendency towards sailing and mercantile, while the region around Azir likely had some role in governance and bureaucracy which is still reflected in modern times.

    Aimians 

The People of Aimia

A "cursed" race known for being somewhat jovial despite the hate they receive from everyone else. Siah Aimians are humanoids with minor shapeshifting powers, while Dysian Aimians are hordes of cremlings.


  • Creepy Good: According to Arclo, the Amians are allies of the Knights Radiant in their mission to defend Roshar, but how they go about it is fundamentally disturbing.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite their generally nonthreatening nature, a knowledgeable character describes them as extremely dangerous. In Edgedancer, a Dysian Aimian kills two apprentice Skybreakers with contemptuous ease, and notes that the Herald of Justice isn't stupid enough to try and fight him.
  • Curse: Mention is made of the "Curse of Kind," but no details on what this is.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Per Word of God, they're not human. They also consist of two distinct species. While Siah Aimians have a mostly-human Shapeshifter Default Form, the Dysian Aimians are a Hive Mind of insect-like "hordelings" that have great difficulty with even a rudimentary human shape.
  • Human Shifting: Siah Aimians are able to alter their physiology at will, changing both their appearance and the functionality of their organs, as well as taking away headaches at a thought. Dysian Aimians are a bit... different.
  • Immortality: The full extent of their abilities is unclear, but both Siah and Dysian Aimians expect to live for centuries, if not forever.
    • Nothing about the specifics of Siah Aimian immortality has been revealed, but Axies the Collector doesn't see a problem in the idea that his quest to catalogue all spren will take at least a few hundred more years.
    • Sleepless can, at least theoretically, die: they are hive mind, and if all of their "hordelings" are wiped out at once, they will die. However they are able to survive forever by replacing individual members that die as long as a large enough portion survive. Arclo notes that they have more trouble figuring out what to do with their long lives than actually surviving.
  • Fantastic Racism: Persecuted by other races under the belief that they are voidbringers due to their odd biology/shadows. Their homeland of Amia was also apparently "scoured" but by who or why is unclear.
  • The Shadow Knows: Their shadows bend toward light instead of away from it.
  • The Sleepless: Dysian Aimians refer to themselves as the Sleepless. Due to their natures as a hive mind, some members of the horde are always awake, meaning that Dysians are never fully asleep. Presumably Siah Aimians still need to sleep.
  • The Worm That Walks: A Dysian Aimian's "body" is composed of hundreds of "hordelings," tiny, crustation-like creatures that most Rosharans mistake for common cremlings (a term used for any type of tiny crustaceans) at a glance.

    Alethi 

The People of Alethkar

A warrior race, and the ethnicity most of the viewpoint characters belong to. They are ruled by ten Highprinces, who were recently united (in theory) by a king.


  • Blood Knight: When in battle Alethi (or at least Lighteyes) feel a battle lust known as the Thrill, which is caused by one of the immensely powerful Unmade Voidspren.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: As a kingdom of soldiers, their first thought is always combat. In Oathbringer, it takes Dalinar a while to realize that Renarin's Healing Hands can be used to help the sick and injured; he had assumed Regrowth was only useful for getting soldiers back on their feet in the middle of a fight.
  • Functional Addict: The Alethi often use the Thrill to motivate their troops, letting them descend into controlled bloodlust in battle. Much of Alethi culture makes more sense when you consider that many of them are literally addicted to killing people, and have constructed their entire society to justify it. In the climax of Oathbringer, Odium brings Nergaoul to Thaylen City, driving the entire Sadeas army insane and turning them on the city they were supposed to be defending.
  • Never Learned to Read: Alethkar is a Vorin kingdom, meaning that men are not allowed to read true letters. Glyphs are an exception, but those are designed to be recognizable even to someone who has never encountered them before, so everyone insists they don't count. More complicated glyphs require training to read, but most men don't learn them.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Like all Vorin kingdoms, their women pin up their left hand as a safehand, and seeing it unclothed is considered the same as seeing a woman topless.
  • The Paladin: What they used to be during the days of the Silver Kingdoms, before eventually disintegrating into the Blood Knight.
  • People of Hair Color: Pureblood Alethi have jet-black hair, while those with mixed ancestry have some of their hair black and some some other color.
  • Proud Warrior Race:
    • Alethi venerate the pursuit of war over all other Callings in life. Soldiers and duelists are their heroes; scholars are either ardents or women, and most Alethi men are either mostly or totally illiterate. Back in the days of the Silver Kingdoms, the Alethi were specifically designated as the nation of warriors, the ones who protected the other nine kingdoms from the Voidbringers.
    • One problem that Dalinar encounters in The Way of Kings is that the extended, drawn-out siege, while severely straining the Alethi kingdom's population and economy, is still something that the Alethi highprinces are deeply enjoying because of the constant fighting, competition, and rewards. Merely suggesting finding a way to more efficiently fight, such as working together with other highprinces to leverage their individual strengths, is regarded at best as misguided and at worst as cowardice. Other highprinces are so focused on the idea of competing with each other that they regard Dalinar's ideas as some attempt to weaken them so their princedom can be conquered or absorbed.
    • This is deconstructed later on; the Alethi mastery of war and love of battle makes it nigh impossible for Dalinar to build any kind of coalition outside of Alethkar, since every other leader assumes that Dalinar is just planning to conquer them. The Unmade behind the Thrill certainly helped with that.
    • This is further exploited by Odium in the climax to Oathbringer, when Odium uses the Thrill upon the Alethi troops under the Sadeas banner, causing their low-key rage and hatred and animosity toward the Kholins to manifest into a bloody rage that pushes them to betray their allies and turn on the Alethi and Thaylen troops.
    • It's rather telling that the only Calling that the Alethi consider to be as almost as high and noble was being a warrior is to be a farmer, because farmers keep the armies fed.
  • The Stoic: Alethi, as a race, are known for being very reserved at all times. Public displays of any form are frowned upon, from affection to demanding duels for insults.
    • In The Way of Kings, Dalinar announces he intends to finally march on a chasmfiend, and his soldiers let out a few eager whoops. Dalinar notes that this is an "extreme display of emotion" from his men, equivalent to anyone else jumping for joy and cheering.
    • It's to the point that Dalinar can't do anything to Sadeas despite Sadeas very explicitly trying to get Dalinar's entire army killed in battle on the Shattered Plains. The excuses he gave were publicly acceptable, and accepted, so Dalinar had to swallow it for the time being.
  • War for Fun and Profit: By the main plot of The Way of Kings, this is what the Alethi armies have been reduced to. They originally were fighting for revenge against the Parshendi, but the War of Reckoning has become little more than a contest between the different highprinces over who can gather the most gems from gemhearts, with actual revenge being at best a secondary concern for the vast majority of them, barring Dalinar Kholin and his family.

    Azish 

The People of Azir

Short and brown-skinned people from west-central Roshar. They are known for their paperwork. Lots of paperwork.


  • Insistent Terminology: They are adamant that there is always a Prime. The intricate process that follows the death of one Prime isn't to determine who will become the new one, it's to determine who has already unknowingly become the new one.
  • Mundane Utility: Since they are rarely at war, the Azish frequently hire out their Shardbearers for construction projects. The entire city of Yeddaw was constructed out of a rocky plain using Azish Shardbearers to cut and clear out the stone.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: They require proper forms for absolutely everything, from electing their new leader to transporting and punishing prisoners to recquisitioning snacks. There are even forms to fill out for coming out as gay. Reconstructed: their government requires a huge amount of paperwork, but it's also an extremely stable meritocracy. Despite Taravangian's manipulations, they have yet to fall into civil war like the other major nations.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • When Nale pulls out a form giving him the authority to execute Lift, the leaders of the country are very disturbed that he's going to kill a young girl for petty theft.
    • Those same leaders refuse to start a civil war when their leader is assassinated, citing "too much paperwork."
    • Paperwork is so essential that they make a point to send Dalinar a certification from their engineers and stormwardens that the Oathgate in their city is definitely not working, complete with notarization. They also make a point that the Oathgate is not functional, not that it is actually broken.
    • Dalinar eventually gets them to join into his coalition not by intimidation or impassioned speeches but by giving them a series of logical essays arguing why it's in Azir's best interests to join him. He treats each of the three essays he brings as weapons to be used in "combat".
    • Also, the Azish parshmen awakened by the Everstorm, instead of rebelling or looting like those in other lands, filed a formal grievance with the government, suing for back-pay and damages. The Prime Aqasix was even negotiating with them in good faith until the Voidspren had them march off to join the Fused's war against humanity.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Their leader, the Prime Aqasix, is said to belong to the entire nation, so anyone can enter a lottery in order to watch him sleep or go about his day to day business.
    Lift: Sounds creepy.
    Gawx: A little.

    Herdazians 

The People of Herdaz

A boastful people with crystalline, slate-colored fingernails. They are close to the Reshi Isles, and claim several of them.


  • Asexuality: Due to their Parshendi blood, they have a higher chance of being asexual than other races.
  • Beneath Notice: Lopen claims that Alethi can't tell Herdazians apart. Herdazian slaves and soldiers swap places to give themselves chances to take vacations. This is of course stupidly illegal, but none of the Alethi notice. Once the Bridge crews join Dalinar's army, several of Lopen's "cousins" show up to join, claiming to have left other highprinces' armies.
  • Space Jews:
    • Most people tend to assume they're either this or Mexican. They don't have enough specific stereotypical physical traits to fight with any one group, but they're a downtrodden and ignored people who often live in their own communities/slums in foreign countries and have their own unique slang. Their names and language have a Mexican ring to them, they have huge families with lots of cousins that no outsiders are able to tell apart. Their mothers play into any number of different stereotypes, as they are friendly, loving, overbearing women who take no nonsense from anyone (including the king of Alethkar) and guilt their children into doing as they say.
    • In the audiobook they've been given Australian accents, just to make the whole thing even more confusing.
    • Word of God has stated that the original inspiration was "Mexico mashup with Korea."
  • Uneven Hybrid: They have Parshendi blood, but not as much as the Horneaters. If Herdazians have the same ability to see spren Lopen doesn't mention it, although Rock claims this ability comes bathing in the lakes atop the Horneater Peaks rather than being something intrinsic to their race.

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    Iri 

The People of Iri

A chaste people with metallic gold hair, the Iri hail from the warmer north-west corner of Roshar.


  • Our Nudity Is Different: Iri is a warm nation, so they often walk around in little more than wraps. But they still have very strict clothing laws, and actual nudity will quickly result in imprisonment.
  • People of Hair Color: Their metallic gold hair is famous, and a lock is often seen as good luck.
    • Like Alethi black, Iri hair breeds true in proportion to the amount of Iri blood you have.
  • Pieces of God: Old Iri religion (which has fallen out of favor) claims that all people are fragments of one divine whole, a perfect creature who knew everything but had experienced nothing. So the One split himself in order to have ignorance and experience, and all will eventually return to One in the end.

    The Parsh 

Parshmen (singers)/Parshendi (listeners)/Voidbringers (Fused)

The parshmen are a slave race of marble-black skinned humanoids who have no will of their own and will follow any orders given. The Parshendi, on the other hand, are a Proud Warrior Race who live in eastern Roshar and who are at war with the Alethi after murdering their king. The Parshendi call themselves "listeners".


  • Alien Blood: It's orange and smells of mold much like that of greatshells.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The Parshendi do not truly want to fight, for the most part, just wanting to prevent their gods from returning. As shown by Eshonai when she changes to stormform, every time she attunes to the Rhythm of Peace, the Voidbringer she has become can hear her true self screaming, and the stronger the true self becomes, the more frequently the screaming is heard. By implication, this happens to almost all of the stormform Parshendi.
    • The parshmen transformed by the Everstorm were in a roughly analogous situation as parshmen slaves, though they didn't realize it until they were awoken.
  • Anti-Villain: The Parshendi turned out to have a very good reason to assassinate Gavilar. He was going to bring back the Parshendi "gods" which would turn them into Voidbringers again. The parshmen transformed into Voidbringers by the Everstorm aren't even fighters and mostly just try to run away from the former human slave masters.
  • Asexuality: Parshendi are mostly asexual unless they're in mateform. They can mate and produce children in other forms, but it's difficult, so they haven't done it since they re-discovered mateform.
  • Axe-Crazy: "Fused" Parshendi are often mentally unstable, to the point that the ones who are sane are automatically promoted to leadership positions. This is because they are controlled by the souls of long-dead Parshendi who go more and more insane with each body they inhabit. The old ones tend to go completely crazy and are little more than brutal berserkers in battle, and many Fused want to wipe humanity off Roshar no matter the cost.
  • Berserk Button: Don't disturb Parshendi bodies. They will go absolutely berserk if anyone desecrates Parshendi corpses.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: They can actively adjust to different "forms" based on need by bonding with spren, which they have a natural ability to see. They may appear human, but are not, as they call the Alethi humans as separate from themselves. They also have bones that are bright red, and their blood has the same moldy smell as that of greatshells. They also have gemhearts, apparently in addition to regular hearts.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: It is highly implied that the Voidbringers are Parshendi who have become this, influenced by Odium in a "form of power" such as stormform.
  • Body Surf: If a Fused loses their current body, they can simply possess a new one in the next Everstorm.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Parshendi/listeners on the Shattered Plains are actually a group known as the "Last Legion" who deliberately travelled to the far east of Roshar to escape their "gods." In the process they lost all knowledge of most of their hundreds of possible forms, reverting to dullform and mateform exclusively. The fact that Gavilar was planning something that would bring back the Parshendi's gods was terrible enough that they acted to immediately assassinate him before he could set his plan into motion.
  • Demonic Possession: Parshendi who become Voidbringers are possessed by Voidspren, which themselves are the souls of previously slain Parshendi whose anger and hate were empowered by Odium, allowing them to take over their descendants' bodies. It turns out that those taken over by a Voidspren are effectively dead, with their minds being severed from their bodies and cast into the Cognitive Realm to eventually fade away like any other dead person.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: All of Jasnah's research points to the parshmen/Parshendi being the mythical Voidbringers. Words of Radiance confirms this, but adds that not all Parshendi want to be Voidbringers. The closest comparison would be Marsh as a Steel Inquisitor under the control of Ruin. It turns out that when the Everstorm passes over and turns parshmen into Voidbringers, it actually just restores their minds; they still remember everything they did as parshmen, but now they can think like humans, and they mostly just want to be left alone.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The main reason why the Parshendi even consider stormform is because it would be better than the inevitable extinction of their entire people at the hands of the Alethi.
  • Hive Mind: Parshendi always sing in unison even when out of hearing range of one another. All their thoughts/emotions follow different songs that they tune themselves into. The difference between parshmen and Parshendi is that parshmen cannot sense the songs and so cannot tune their thoughts.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: They had a good reason to assassinate Gavilar, but they don't blame the Alethi for wanting vengeance. Gavilar was trying to bring back their gods, which would have transformed them into Voidbringers and enslaved them to Odium.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The Alethi named the listeners "Parshendi", which means "parshmen that can think." Neither the Alethi nor the listeners seem to see anything wrong with this label. They're also coincidentally accurate in this case, since the Parshendi admit that parshmen are "dullform" and genuinely have slow thought processes. It's even more accurate in Oathbringer, as once the Everstorm hits, all parshmen are turned into Parshendi and thus regain the ability to think.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Fused are pretty specific as to how the various parsh groups are supposed to be named.
    • At the top are the Fused, the strongest of forms. There are nine or ten varieties, each with access to a darker version of a single Surge. They are the souls of ancient parsh who remember when humans first came to Roshar, and who have taken the bodies of contemporary parsh. Every time they die, they are reborn and go a little bit more insane. The souls of their hosts are ripped out of their bodies, dead, as part of the fusing process.
    • Far below the Fused are the Regals, the forms of power like stormform and the Envoy. They are created when a non-sentient Voidspren enters a parsh gemheart. In theory the Regal are still themselves, but the Voidspren influences them with so many negative emotions that they turn into twisted and hateful versions of themselves.
    • Below the Regals are the singers, the former parshmen who regained their minds following the Everstorm. They are used as workers by the Fused and ignored when they are not needed.
    • The listeners, the Parshendi, are supposedly extinct as a culture after the Alethi killed most of them and the rest were apparently transformed into the Fused.
    • The sentient, unbodied Voidspren sit in an unclear place in this hierarchy, roughly at the level of the Regals but maybe a bit higher. It's also not clear if they are the souls of ancient parsh or something else.
  • Large and in Charge: Forms of power (Regals) are slightly larger than normal singers, roughly six to seven feet depending on the form. The Fused take it Up to Eleven, with the smallest being over seven feet tall and built like walls, and the largest being the size of buildings.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Parshendi shift slightly in temperament depending on form. Dullform are extremely stupid, mateform are playful and sexual, workform are non-confrontational to a fault, and stormform is flat-out Demonic Possession. Nimbleform and warform have minimal mental changes, but warforms still enjoy obeying orders from their lawful superiors.
  • Non-Mammalian Mammaries: Females have breasts, despite being... something other than mammals, though they are understated unless they're in mateform. The Alethi were only able to distinguish genders by presence or lack of beards.
  • Not So Different: The parshmen act like the humans of the country they're in after having their Identity and Connection restored, possibly because of the way Connection and Identity work in the Cosmere, and possibly to show that they really were members of their nation. Many times, the quickest way to get a parshman that's being abusive to stop is to say that 'they're acting just like them' (the humans).
  • Proud Warrior Race:
    • The Parshendi have elements of this, even when they aren't warriors. Special note goes to when they dress Szeth in white to assassinate Gavilar.
      White clothing for a killer was a tradition among the Parshendi. Although Szeth had not asked, his masters had explained why.
      White to be bold. White to not blend into the night. White to give warning.
      For if you were going to assassinate a man, he was entitled to see you coming.
    • Warform has this as their entire hat. They happily follow orders, march in formation, and behave like proud warriors who go so far as to seek out a Worthy Opponent on the battlefield and ignore the wounded and infirm.
    • The Fused take it even further. Quite often a Fused will find a Worthy Opponent (usually a Radiant) and choose to challenge them to a one-on-one fight even when they have allies nearby, simply because it's fun. Being immortal helps.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Forms of Power cause red eyes, which the Parshendi deem as signs of the Voidbringers, since they actually are them. Caused because Forms of Power involve possession by Voidpren, who are a hateful fiery red.
  • Slave Race: The parshmen, who are apparently unable to live without being told what to do. Parshendi call this "slaveform". The Parshendi also have a "dullform", which looks very similar to a parshman. Dullform Parshendi are very slow of thought but still maintain their individuality and capacity for independence, so many of them have managed to pass as parshmen to spy on the Alethi such as Rlain, a.k.a. "Shen", of Bridge Four.
  • That Man Is Dead: Parshendi who turn into Fused are completely erased, their minds being severed and thrown into the Cognitive Realm the same as if they were killed, and their bodies taken over by the Voidspren.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: It's mentioned that some humans tried to compliment the Parshendi by telling them what valuable slaves parshmen are. The Parshendi find this horrifying.

    Purelakers 

The People of the Purelake

A calm and slow people from the Purelake, the waist-deep lake at the center of the continent. The Purelakers have their own religion, and consider outsiders to be odd and hurried.


  • Entitled to Have You: A very calm and friendly version of this trope (just like everything else the Purelakers do). Purelaker courtship involves doing favors for someone until they are so far in your debt they have no choice but to marry you to make up for it. If they don't want to marry you, they need to do favors in return to keep the scales balanced.

    Reshi 

The People of the Reshi Isles

Residents of the living islands on the northern edge of the continent, the Reshi are a carefree people who appreciate boldness in all things. They are not, however, uneducated savages. Many Reshi are immigrants from other nations, and they bring knowledge with them. The Reshi also send students to study across the continent.


  • Nonlethal Warfare: They fight wars whenever their islands come close together, but there are very few casualties. The 'war' mostly consists of elaborate boasting contests breaking down into individual duels that don't often kill the participants.
  • She Is the King: The leader of an island is always called the king, regardless of gender. The Reshi find the confusion this produces in outsiders hilarious.
  • Troll: The Reshi have a habit of screwing with outsiders. For example, they refuse to speak of the true nature of their islands so that newcomers will be surprised, and they jump from higher heights when outsiders are around.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: They believe strongly in boldness. This means boasting and bragging are important parts of a trade negotiation, but not the only ones.

    Shin 

The People of Shinovar

A strange people from beyond the western mountains, where highstorms barely reach. Their land is more similar to Earth ecology than the rest of the continent, and they believe that bare stone is sacred and should not be trod upon.


  • Beware the Nice Ones: They are humble, pacifist traders, wishing for little more than to remain in their homeland, where they can contemplate nature and truth. They also possess the nine Honorblades left behind by the Heralds. Judging by Szeth's skills, at least a few of their number are trained on these weapons, meaning that if it came to a war between them and the rest of the world, they would win handily.
  • Dark Secret: The Shin are the custodians of the nine Honorblades left by the Heralds when they broke the Oathpact.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: A dark version. They maintain their pacifism by enslaving anyone in their society who takes up arms.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Inverted. The Shin are an extremely humble merchant race, no word on how proud they are of this fact though.
  • Reluctant Warrior: Fighting is thought to be an extremely lowly position, as opposed to in Alethkar.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Shin are pacifists. As noted under Reluctant Warrior, fighting is thought to be a very lowly profession, on par with slavery.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Stone Shamanism teaches reverence for stone, Stormlight, and peace. Therefore the Shin refuse to walk on stone or damage it in any way, never use Stormlight for illumination, and consider fighting to be the lowliest of occupations. The rest of Roshar doesn't really have any choice when it comes to walking on stone, as it's pretty much all there is further east. The only reason the Shin can avoid is because they live on the only part of the continent where the highstorms are weak enough that there is actual soil.

    Thaylen 

The People of Thaylenah

A merchant people from the island nation of Thaylenah. They practice Alethi Vorinism, and are known for their long eyebrows.


  • The Apprentice/Mentor: Their standard way of training new merchants is to have someone apprentice to a Trade Master. The apprentice is legally the property of their babsk for the duration of their apprenticeship, acting as sort of a combination of child and slave.
  • Magic Feather: Thaylen religion, based around "the Passions," involves carved charms representing an emotion such as bravery. The charms are not magical and the Thaylens do not think that they are; the intent is for the charm to remind you to keep the emotion in mind when you need it.
  • Never Learned to Read: The Thaylen are technically a Vorin nation, but they have their own spin on the religion, and often ignore the ban on men reading. They do try and keep it quiet around the Alethi and the Veden, though.
  • Path of Inspiration: It is implied that their "Passions" are the last remnant of the religion that worshiped Odium, the original human god.
  • Proud Merchant Race: They are the best-known merchants on Roshar, and even on the Shattered Plains, a good chunk of the shopkeeps are Thaylen. Aspiring merchants enter into apprenticeships with Trade Masters in order to learn their skills.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Thaylen eyebrows are so long that they are tucked behind their ears.

    Unkalaki 

The People of the Horneater Peaks (Horneaters)

Mountain-dwellers who believe that the order of your birth should determine your place in life. They also like loud, drunken singing.


  • Asexuality: Due to their Parshendi blood, they have a higher chance of being asexual than other races.
  • Body Horror: Word of God says the Unkalaki can eat things like shells and horns due to having throat teeth. Yes, you read that right.
  • The Clan: The rulers of Unkalaki are called nuatoma, and their family clans are nuatoma's servants.
  • Cooking Duel/Drinking Contest: The traditional form of dueling on the Peaks is to see who can still sing intelligibly after drinking the most mugs of beer. Hopefully, by the time the duel gets well underway everyone's so drunk they've forgotten what it was they were fighting about in the first place.
  • Extreme Omnivore: They actually DO eat horns and shells. And lowlanders barely consider their ale drinkable.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Language, and something of an islander identity (with islands being peaks, and lakes on top of them being called oceans) bring comparisons to Hawaiians. Deliberate.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Unkalaki mostly worship spren, with a few major deities - god of trees, mountains and seas - who might be a spin on three Shards of Roshar, and other minor gods, like Lunu'anaki, god of travel and mischief who may or may not be Hoid.
  • Foreign Queasine: Horneaters are so called because they eat the horns and shells of the things they catch, Unkalaki have very strong teeth. A common gibe is to accuse them of putting rocks in their food too. Their beer is also said to melt cups.
  • Overly Long Name: Unkalaki names are short poems, which makes them rather long - Rock's proper name, for example, is Numuhukumakiaki'aialunamor.
  • Uneven Hybrid: They have some Parshendi ancestry, which allows them to see some spren that aren't otherwise visible, as well as faintly hear the same songs that the Parshendi listen to.
    • It's worth noting that Rock claims the ability to see spren actually comes from swimming in the lakes atop the Horneater Peaks. Azure's comments in Oathbringer indicate that Cultivation's Perpendicularity, which allows travel between the physical and cognitive realms, is atop the peaks, meaning that Rock is probably correct.

    Veden 

The People of Jah Keved

A neighboring country to Alethkar, and another Vorin kingdom. They do not share the same military tradition as the Alethi, but they are their staunchest rivals, and hold nearly as many Shards.


  • Boisterous Bruiser: The Veden are known for being passionate and proud—or at least more passionate than the reserved Alethi.
  • Never Learned to Read: As a Vorin kingdom like the Alethi, they believe this very strongly. Shallan always feels uncomfortable around Thaylen men just because she's worried they might be able to read.
  • Our Nudity Is Different: Like all Vorin kingdoms, their women pin up their left hand as a safehand.
    Tyn: It's just a hand, Shallan. Storms, you Vorins are so prim. That hand looks exactly like your other hand.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Some of the populace apparently has Horneater ancestry, making them part listener.
  • You Are in Command Now: Highprince Valam ends up as king due to being the last survivor of the succession war. As he's dying from his wounds, he realizes that Taravangian plans to take over after his death, and decides to simplify matters by naming Taravangian his heir, and then having his bastard son kill him to spare him weeks of pain.


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