The Way of Kings/Epigraphs

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Death Rattle Quotes[edit]

Over the course of The Way of Kings, we see a number of characters start saying things right before they die that are completely out of character for them and seem to be somewhat prophetic . A large number of these quotes appear as epigraphs, rather than within the actual chapters.

Death quotes numbered in parentheses occurred during the book, not in an epigraph.

Chapter Death Quote Source Seconds Before Death Date
Prologue “The love of men is a frigid thing, a mountain stream only three steps from the ice. We are his. Oh Stormfather…we are his. It is but a thousand days, and the Everstorm comes.” Collected on the first day of the week Palah of the month Shash of the year 1171, thirty-one seconds before death. Subject was a darkeyed pregnant woman of middle years. The child did not survive. 31 Shashahes 1171
1 “You’ve killed me. Bastards, you’ve killed me! While the sun is still hot, I die!” Collected on the fifth day of the week Chach of the month Betab of the year 1171, ten seconds before death. Subject was a darkeyed soldier thirty-one years of age. Sample is considered questionable. 10 Betabachah 1171
2 “Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?” Collected on the second day of Kakash, year 1171, five seconds before death. Subject was a lighteyed woman in her third decade. 5 Kakashan 1171
3 “A man stood on a cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears.” Collected on the 4th of Tanates, year 1171, thirty seconds before death. Subject was a cobbler of some renown. 30 Tanatesev 1171
4 “I’m dying, aren’t I? Healer, why do you take my blood? Who is that beside you, with his head of lines? I can see a distant sun, dark and cold, shining in a black sky.” Collected on the 3rd of Jesnan, 1172, 11 seconds pre-death. Subject was a Reshi chull trainer. Sample is of particular note. 11 Jesanach 1172
5 “I have seen the end, and have heard it named. The Night of Sorrows, the True Desolation. The Everstorm.” Collected on the 1st of Nanes, 1172, 15 seconds pre-death. Subject was a darkeyed youth of unknown origin. 15 Naneses 1172
6 “I’m cold. Mother, I’m cold. Mother? Why can I still hear the rain? Will it stop?” Collected on Vevishes, 1172, 32 seconds pre-death. Subject was a lighteyed female child, approximately six years old. 32 Vevishes 1172
7 “They are aflame. They burn. They bring the darkness when they come, and so all you can see is that their skin is aflame. Burn, burn, burn….” Collected on Palahishev, 1172, 21 seconds pre-death. Subject was a baker’s apprentice. 21 Palahishev 1172
8 “Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn.” Collected on Ishashan, 1172, 18 seconds pre-death. Subject was a lighteyed spinster of the eighth dahn. 18 Ishashan 1172
9 “Ten people, with Shardblades alight, standing before a wall of black and white and red.” Collected: Jesachev, 1173, 12 seconds pre-death. Subject: one of our own ardents, overheard during his last moments. 12 Jesachev 1173
11 “Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.” Collected: Chachanan, 1173, 84 seconds pre-death. Subject: a cutpurse with the wasting sickness, of partial Iriali descent. 84 Chachanan 1173
(17) Gadol spit up blood, coughing. “They break the land itself!” he hissed, eyes wild. “They want it, but in their rage they will destroy it. Like the jealous man burns his rich things rather than let them be taken by his enemies! They come!” Gadol, a member of Bridge Four. ?
(47) Cenn stopped wheezing. He convulsed once, eyes still open. "He watches!" the boy hissed. "The Black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear!" Cenn, a member of Kaladin's squad in Amaram's army. ?
52 “I’m standing over the body of a brother. I’m weeping. Is that his blood or mine? What have we done?” Dated Vevanev, 1173, 107 seconds pre-death. Subject: an out-of-work Veden sailor. 107 Vevanev 1173
53 “He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!” Dated Vevahach, 1173, 8 seconds pre-death. Subject: a prostitute. Back ground unknown. 8 Vevahach 1173
54 “The burdens of nine become mine. Why must I carry the madness of them all? Oh, Almighty, release me.” Dated Palaheses, 1173, unknown seconds pre-death. Subject: a wealthy lighteyes. Sample collected secondhand. ? Palaheses 1173
55 “A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal.” Dated Palahevan, 1173, 73 seconds pre-death. Subject: a beggar of some renown, known for his elegant songs. 73 Palahevan 1173
56 “Light grows so distant. The storm never stops. I am broken, and all around me have died. I weep for the end of all things. He has won. Oh, he has beaten us.” Dated Palahakev, 1173, 16 seconds pre-death. Subject: a Thaylen sailor. 16 Palahakev 1173
57 “I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.” Dated Shashanan, 1173, 23 seconds pre-death. Subject: a darkeyed youth of sixteen years. Sample is of particular note. 23 Shashanan 1173
(57) “And all the world was shattered!” Maps yelled, back arching, eyes wide, flecks of red spittle on his cheeks. “The rocks trembled with their steps, and the stones reached toward the heavens. We die! We die!” Maps, a member of Bridge Four. ?
58 “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!” Dated Shashabev, 1173, 8 seconds pre-death. Subject: a darkeyed dock-worker in his forties, father of three. 8 Shashabev 1173
59 “Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew.” Dated Betabanan, 1173, 45 seconds pre-death. Subject: a lighteyed child of five years. Diction improved remarkably when giving sample. 45 Betabanan 1173
60 “The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended.” Dated Betabanes, 1173, 95 seconds pre-death. Subject: a scholar of some minor renown. Sample collected secondhand. Considered questionable. 95 Betabanes 1173
61 “In the storm I awaken, falling, spinning, grieving.” Dated Kakanev, 1173, 13 seconds pre-death. Subject was a city guardsman. 13 Kakanev 1173
62 “The darkness becomes a palace. Let it rule! Let it rule!” Kakevah 1173, 22 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed Selay man of unknown profession. 22 Kakevah 1173
63 “I wish to sleep. I know now why you do what you do, and I hate you for it. I will not speak of the truths I see.” Kakashah 1173, 142 seconds pre-death. A Shin sailor, left behind by his crew, reportedly for bringing them ill luck. Sample largely useless. 142 Kakashah 1173
64 “They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory.” Kakashah 1173, 13 seconds pre-death. A rickshaw puller. 13 Kakashah 1173
65 “I see them. They are the rocks. They are the vengeful spirits. Eyes of red.” Kakakes 1173, 8 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed young woman of fifteen. Subject was reportedly mentally unstable since childhood. 8 Kakakes 1173
66 “That chanting, that singing, those rasping voices.” Kaktach 1173, 16 seconds pre-death. A middle-aged potter. Reported seeing strange dreams during highstorms during the last two years. 16 Kakatach 1173
67 “Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!” Tanatesach 1173, 28 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed female street juggler. Note similarity to sample 1172-89. 28 Tanatesach 1173
68 “They named it the Final Desolation, but they lied. Our gods lied. Oh, how they lied. The Everstorm comes. I hear its whispers, see its stormwall, know its heart.” Tanatanes 1173, 8 seconds pre-death. An Azish itinerant worker. Sample of particular note. 8 Tanatanes 1173
69 “All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.” Tanatanev 1173, 18 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed mother of four in her sixty-second year. 18 Tanatanev 1173
(71) “The day was ours, but they took it,” the boy cried. “Stormfather! You cannot have it. The day is ours. They come, rasping, and the lights fail. Oh, Stormfather!” A boy in Taravangian's secret hospital. ?
Endnote “Above silence, the illuminating storms—dying storms— illuminate the silence above.” An illiterate Herdazian. ?

The Letter[edit]

The epigraphs on the chapters of The Way of Kings Part 2 are of particular note, as they reveal some hints at the history of the Cosmere and the Shards of Adonalsium, as well as at the history and personality of their author. They set the stage for the conflict on Roshar: not only is this one world at stake, but the entire Cosmere might fall if Odium gets what he wants.

The epigraphs are phrased as a letter, and are best read and understood all at once. For convenience in reading they are reproduced here. The number preceding each paragraph indicates the chapter number in which the epigraph appears.

Full Text[edit]

Chapter Letter
12 Old friend, I hope this missive finds you well. Though, as you are now essentially immortal, I would guess that wellness on your part is something of a given.
13 I realize that you are probably still angry. That is pleasant to know. Much as your perpetual health, I have come to rely upon your dissatisfaction with me. It is one of the cosmere's great constants, I should think.
14 Let me first assure you that the element is quite safe. I have found a good home for it. I protect its safety like I protect my own skin, you might say.
15 You do not agree with my quest. I understand that, so much as it is possible to understand someone with whom I disagree so completely.
17 Might I be quite frank? Before, you asked why I was so concerned. It is for the following reason:
18 Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him. Rayse, on the other hand, was among the most loathsome, crafty, and dangerous individuals I had ever met.
19 He holds the most frightening and terrible of all the Shards. Ponder on that for a time, you old reptile, and tell me if your insistence on nonintervention holds firm. Because I assure you, Rayse will not be similarly inhibited.
21 One need only look at the aftermath of his brief visit to Sel to see proof of what I say.
22 In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered. Presumably to prevent anyone from rising up to challenge Rayse.
23 You have accused me of arrogance in my quest. You have accused me of perpetuating my grudge against Rayse and Bavadin. Both accusations are true.
24 Neither point makes the things I have written to you untrue.
26 I am being chased. Your friends of the Seventeenth Shard, I suspect. I believe they're still lost, following a false trail I left for them. They'll be happier that way. I doubt they have any inkling what to do with me should they actually catch me.
27 If anything I have said makes a glimmer of sense to you, I trust that you'll call them off. Or maybe you could astound me and ask them to do something productive for once.
28 For I have never been dedicated to a more important purpose, and the very pillars of the sky will shake with the results of our war here. I ask again. Support me. Do not stand aside and let disaster consume more lives. I've never begged you for something before, old friend.

I do so now.

Authorship[edit]

The Letter was written by Hoid, to a currently unnamed Dragon. A Response appears in the Epigraphs of Words of Radiance.

Jasnah's Notes[edit]

Jasnah Kholin has dedicated a large portion of her time since the murder of King Gavilar to finding out as much information as she can about the Voidbringers and the city of Urithiru. Her reasons for this are still not completely known. Her notes, as seen in The Way of Kings follow:

Chapter Note Source
29 “The ones of ash and fire, who killed like a swarm, relentless before the Heralds.” Noted in Masly, page 337. Corroborated by Coldwin and Hasavah.
30 “They were suddenly dangerous. Like a calm day that became a tempest.” This fragment is the origin of a Thaylen proverb that was eventually reworked into a more common derivation. I believe it may reference the Voidbringers. See Ixsix’s Emperor, fourth chapter.
32 “They lived high atop a place no man could reach, but all could visit. The tower city itself, crafted by the hands of no man.” Though The Song of the Last Summer is a fanciful tale of romance from the third century after the Recreance, it is likely a valid reference in this case. See page 27 of Varala’s translation, and note the undertext.
33 “They changed, even as we fought them. Like shadows they were, that can transform as the flame dances. Never underestimate them because of what you first see." Purports to be a scrap collected from Talatin, a Radiant of the Order of Stonewards. The source—Guvlow’s Incarnate—is generally held as reliable, though this is from a copied fragment of “The Poem of the Seventh Morning,” which has been lost.
34 “I walked from Abamabar to Urithiru.” This quote from the Eighth Parable of The Way of Kings seems to contradict Varala and Sinbian, who both claim the city was inaccessible by foot. Perhaps there was a way constructed, or perhaps Nohadon was being metaphorical.
35 “Though many wished Urithiru to be built in Alethela, it was obvious that it could not be. And so it was that we asked for it to be placed westward, in the place nearest to Honor.” Perhaps the oldest surviving original source mentioning the city, requoted in The Vavibrar, line 1804. What I wouldn’t give for a way to translate the Dawnchant.
36 “Taking the Dawnshard, known to bind any creature voidish or mortal, he crawled up the steps crafted for Heralds, ten strides tall apiece, toward the grand temple above.” From The Poem of Ista. I have found no modern explanation of what these “Dawnshards” are. They seem ignored by scholars, though talk of them was obviously prevalent among those recording the early mythologies.
38 “Born from the darkness, they bear its taint still, marked upon their bodies much as the fire marks their souls.” I consider Gashashson-Navammis a trustworthy source, though I’m not certain about this translation. Find the original quote in the fourteenth book of Seld and retranslate it myself, perhaps?
39 “Within a heartbeat, Alezarv was there, crossing a distance that would have taken more than four months to travel by foot.” Another folktale, this one recorded in Among the Darkeyed, by Calinam. Page 102. Stories of instantaneous travel and the Oathgates pervade these tales.
40 “Death upon the lips. Sound upon the air. Char upon the skin.” From “The Last Desolation” by Ambrian, line 335.
42 “Like a highstorm, regular in their coming, yet always unexpected.” The word Desolation is used twice in reference to their appearances. See pages 57, 59, and 64 of Tales by Hearthlight.
43 “They lived out in the wilds, always awaiting the Desolation—or sometimes, a foolish child who took no heed of the night’s darkness.” A child’s tale, yes, but this quote from Shadows Remembered seems to hint at the truth I seek. See page 82, the fourth tale.
45 “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.” The Unmade were obviously fabrications of folklore. Curiously, most were not considered individuals, but instead personifications of kinds of destruction. This quote is from Traxil, line 33, considered a primary source, though I doubt its authenticity.
46 “Though I was due for dinner in Veden City that night, I insisted upon visiting Kholinar to speak with Tivbet. The tariffs through Urithiru were growing quite unreasonable. By then, the so-called Radiants had already begun to show their true nature.” Following the firing of the original Palanaeum, only one page of Terxim’s autobiography remained, and this is the only line of any use to me.
48 “They take away the light, wherever they lurk. Skin that is burned.” Cormshen, page 104.
49 “Radiant / of birthplace / the announcer comes / to come announce / the birthplace of Radiants.” Though I am not overly fond of the ketek poetic form as a means of conveying information, this one by Allahn is often quoted in reference to Urithiru. I believe some mistook the home of the Radiants for their birthplace.
50 “Flame and char. Skin so terrible. Eyes like pits of blackness.” A quote from the Iviad probably needs no reference notation, but this comes from line 482, should I need to locate it quickly.


Notes[edit]

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