|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”I seek the truth. Wherever it may be, whomever may hold it. That's who I am.
She is a member of the Devotary of Purity and a Surgebinder with the ability to Soulcast by communicating with cryptics. She is also in possession of a Shardblade and a broken Soulcaster that belonged to her father. Shallan revealed to the Cryptics that she killed her father.
Appearance and Personality
Shallan is a slim, pale-skinned young woman with auburn-red hair that reaches past the middle of her back and blue eyes. There are freckles on her cheeks and nose, although they aren't very noticeable.
Shallan was considered shy by her family, but when she left the family estates behind, she opened up and gained confidence. She has a quick wit, and often unthinkingly utters the first thing to come to mind.
After arriving at the Shattered Plains and encountering the Ghostbloods, Shallan develops an alter-ego, Veil, who is daring and bold, an accomplished con-artist and spy, and as a darkeyed woman, is able to move freely and go places Shallan cannot; Shallan assumes the persona of Veil through her Lightweaving abilities.
As a child, Shallan had a happy life with her parents and four brothers; she can recall a time when her father rarely became angry. However, after her abilities began to manifest, the situation deteriorated, culminating in the night when her mother and an associate attempted to kill her. Her father stepped in, fighting the associate, but was soon pinned down as Shallan's mother approached the eleven-year-old Shallan to end her life. The stress of this moment was enough for Shallan to summon her Shardblade for the first time, using it to kill her mother and the associate. Her father took the fall for the bloody events to protect her, and though there was no proof to send him to court, the general understanding, held even by his sons, was that he had killed his wife and her lover while Shallan watched; these traumatic events and the following cover-up were enough to shatter the once-happy family and twist her father into a violent, easily-enraged, and abusive man who verbally and physically hurt the members of his house. Shallan repressed all memory of the night, refusing to recall her part in the events. After weathering years of abuse by her father (who hurt others in order to manipulate her, as he feared her too much to hurt her directly), Shallan finally took action when he seemed bent on killing her brother Balat, giving him poisoned wine and then strangling him with a necklace he had given her. It is only after his demise that Shallan and her brothers can attempt to come together as a family once more, banding together to cover up the truth of his death while also working to save the House from the many debts their father accrued.
Shallan spent several months chasing Jasnah across many cities, hoping to become her ward in order to steal Jasnah's Soulcaster. She finally caught up to Jasnah in Kharbranth, and attempted to convince her to take Shallan as her ward, failing twice and finally succeeding on the third attempt. Shallan finally succeeded in stealing Jasnah's Soulcaster only to discover that it was a fake. Shallan also discovered her own Soulcasting abilities after this theft.
During her studies with Jasnah, Shallan developed a friendship with the ardent Kabsal who accidentally poisoned both Shallan and himself in an attempt to assassinate Jasnah for the Ghostbloods. Shallan realized that her father also might have been a member of the same organization. After this realization and the revelation that the Parshendi and Parshmen were Voidbringers, she and Jasnah set off for the Shattered Plains to attain more information.  
The Journey to the Shattered Plains
Jasnah and Shallan have taken passage on the Wind's Pleasure, traveling to the Shattered Plains. Several days into the journey, Shallan spies a santhid - an elusive and ancient dweller of the ocean - moving alongside the ship. She wants to observe the santhid underwater in order to sketch it, but is dissuaded from the dangerous task by Captain Tozbek. Jasnah soon joins her, and detecting her ward's innattention to her reading, explains the nature of Shadesmar and spren to her. Shallan mentions the patterns of lines she has been noticing, and Jasnah details the measures she has taken to help House Davar: sending money to Shallan's brothers, communicating with her mother about the broken Soulcaster, and setting up a causal betrothal with Adolin Kholin. Finally, Jasnah gives Shallan words of advice on power and how even its illusion can be enough to create authority. Taking these words to heart, Shallan commands the captain to help her go overboard in order to observe the santhid. 
Attributes and Abilities
Shallan had the ability to deliberately memorize a scene (usually involving blinking) after which she could paint or draw that scene with remarkable accuracy. She had a passion for learning and a great talent for drawing. She was never without her sketchbooks and charcoal, so she might draw whatever caught her interest. Shallan frequently drew and made notes on the world around her, in order to promote her Calling of natural history. Shallan's ability to memorize scenes and reproduce them accurately seems similar to the ability of a Terris Keeper to store memories in a coppermind, in that both talents involve the removal of a memory from the mind and its replacement in another medium - in Shallan's case, a sketch rather than a coppermind.
- Peter Ahlstrom talks about character ages
— 17th Shard forums - 25 January 2014
- Words of Radiance chapter 64
- The Way of Kings chapter 3
- The Way of Kings chapter 33
- The Way of Kings chapter 45
- Brandon called the truthspren cryptics
— Reddit - 2013-03-14
- The Way of Kings chapter 7
- The Way of Kings chapter 70
- The Way of Kings chapter 8
- The Way of Kings chapter 36
- The Way of Kings chapter 48
- The Way of Kings chapter 74
- The Way of Kings chapter 72
- Words of Radiance chapter 1
- The Way of Kings chapter 5
- Changes from early draft
— Theoryland - Sep 13th, 2010