User:Windrunner/Shardblade

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{!{Magical Entities |image=Shardplate.jpeg |image-artist=Ben McSweeney |magic=Surgebinding, spren |appearance=Six foot long swords |abilities=Incredibly light and sharp, able to be summoned and dismissed |world=Roshar |books=The Stormlight Archive }} A Shardblade is a type of Invested weapon found on Roshar that is typically carried by the Knights Radiant[1] and the Heralds of the Almighty.[2] Shardblades likely each contain a Splinter of a Shard's power.[3] Shardblades are usually associated with Shardplate, Invested armor that also exists on Roshar.[1] Those who are bound to a Shardblade are referred to as Shardbearers.[3]

Abilities[edit]

General Characteristics[edit]

While there are a few differences between the various types of Shardblades, they all share a few common traits. All are larger than any normal sword often at or approaching six feet in length,[1] while simultaneously extremely light.[4] Also, all Shardblades bound to a specific owner can be summoned, appearing in the palm of one's hand,[1] and dismissed at will.[5] When summoned, they appear to coalesce out of mist, water condensing along the length of the Blade.[6] When a Blade is dismissed[7] or knocked out of ones hand, it also vanishes into mist.[6] They are composed of an unknown metal that is the body of a Shard,[8] the same type as appears on the keyhole of an Oathgate.[9] The tensile strength of Shardblades is very high; while they can bend a small amount, Shardblades appear to be unbreakable.[10]

Shardblades can cut through non-living objects, such as wood or stone, as if they are passing through water.[1] However, when swung at a person or other living object, the edge of the Shardblade will fuzz and cut the person's soul. If the Blade cuts the core of a limb, the limb turns gray and become limp and numb. If it strikes the spine or head, the eyes of the person blacken and burn out with a dark smoke rising from them. When a person is killed this way by a Shardblade, death is not instantaneous; it often takes a few moments for the person to be completely dead.[11] A Shardblade that cuts through an organ can cause that organ to cease to function as well.[6] Once a person or other living thing has been killed, its remains can be cut like any other inanimate object.[12] Non-living portions of a creature, such as hair or nails can be cut with a Shardblade before the creature itself is killed.[6]

Shardblades cannot be blocked by any typical weapons or armor, but they can be halted by a few things. The first is another Shardblade.[1] The second is Shardplate, although two blows to a section of Shardplate is typically enough to shatter it. The third is one of the half-shards of Jah Keved.[13] These are shields with an Augumenter attached,[14] allowing them to withstand two blows from a Shardblade before breaking.[15]

Healing Shardblade Wounds[edit]

There are only two known ways for a Shardblade wound to be healed. A Radiant who is infused with Stormlight is capable of healing themselves when they are wounded by a Shardblade, but it requires a large amount of Stormlight.[16] When a Radiant heals a Shardblade wound on themselves, they create an entirely new piece of soul to replace the old and graft it on to their Spiritweb, leaving a scar behind.[8] This healing leaves the wounded limb weakened and aching for a time afterwards.[16] It is unknown if there is any time limit on how long the Radiant has to heal himself. This process is seemingly incapable of saving a Radiant from the instantaneous death of a Shardblade wound to head or spine. The Surge of Progression allows for a process known as Regrowth,[17] which is capable of healing Shardblade wounds or even death by Shardblade.[11] It requires near-immediate healing though, and a significant amount of power. Regrowth fabrials can be created, and were put to use by Radiants before the Recreance.[18] A potential third way to heal a Shardblade wound is making use of a fabrial such as this, but it is as of yet uncertain.

Types[edit]

There were three main types of Shardblades used on Roshar during the Era of Solitude. They were the Shardblades of the typical Radiants, the dead Shardblades of the Radiants who abandoned their oaths at the Recreance, and the Honorblades.

Honorblades[edit]

Main article: Honorblades

The Honorblades are a variety of Shardblades. They are the ten weapons of the Heralds, given to them by the Shard Honor.[2] They were weapons of power beyond that of the average Shardblades of the Radiants.[19] Each Honorblade was a work of art, flowing and inscribed with glyphs and patterns. The Honorblade of each Herald granted Surgebinding abilities that corresponded with the order of Radiants that its Herald led.[2] The Honorblades, unlike the Shardblades, were not made from a bond with a spren. This meant that they could be used indiscriminately, without regard for oaths or anything else. The Heralds abandoned these Blades in an attempt to end the Oathpact,[19] so they can now be used like any other Shardblade,[20] although they do still grant Surgebinding abilities.[2]

Seven of the Honorblades are held by the Shin, who have kept them safe for millenia.[21] The Honorblade of Jezrien is held by Kaladin, but not bonded to him.[2] Talenel's Honorblade has been stolen by persons unknown.[22] The Blade he arrived at Kholinar with was swapped at some point for the Shardblade that was brought with him to the Shattered Plains. The final Honorblade is also missing; one of the Heralds went back to retrieve their Blade, although presently which Herald is unknown.[23] As Nalan has a Shardblade and displays some Surgebinding abilities,[17] it is possible that he is the Herald still in possession of an Honorblade.

The Honorblades are bonded like a typical dead Shardblade, taking ten heartbeats to summon.[1] It is unknown if a gem needs to be added to them in the wake of the Heralds’ betrayal of the Oathpact. Honorblades also change the color of a person's eyes to the color that corresponds with the abilities that particular Honorblade grants.[24] For instance, Jezrien's Honorblade turns its owner's eyes a sapphire blue. However, that only occurs while the Blade is summoned. Once it is dismissed, its holder's eyes are returned to their natural color.

Radiant Shardblades[edit]

Radiant Shardblades are granted to people who are on the path to becoming a full Radiant and have sworn a particular oath of the Immortal Words[9] which varies from order to order.[25] At that point, the spren belonging to the Radiant will gain the ability to become a Shardblade unique to that particular Knight Radiant.[9] The knowledge of where Shardblades come from is closely held by the spren.[26] Prior to a Radiant gaining their Blade their Nahel spren will refuse to tell them anything about where they get their Blade. As long as the spren is with the Radiant the spren can transform into a Blade instantaneously.[27] The spren becomes mist and coalesces into the Blade when it is desired,[9] and then reappears out of the mist when the Blade is dismissed.[27] If the Radiant is a darkeyes, once they receive their Blade for the first time, their eyes are permanently lightened.[28]

The spren still is capable of speaking with their Radiant while in Blade form.[27] In addition to that, the spren need not take the shape of a Blade. They can become a spear, a shield, a knife, an axe, a hammer, or apparently a large variety of weapons. In the past they may have even taken the form of bows, although it is uncertain what was used for a string.[29] A spren may take many forms when it become solid, but it must be metal. Radiant Blades may be lent to others, just like their dead counterparts, and may even change form in order to aid the borrower.[12] When the Radiant who owns the Blade dies, the spren is freed and may bond again with another person one day.[30]

Radiant Shardblades are typically around six feet in length and a handspan in width.[31] They can be edged on one[3] or both sides,[32] and often ornamented with glyphs,[27] as well as patterns along the edges,[9] which may correspond with the essence of that particular Radiant's order. The Blades also glow slightly along its lines with the Polestone color that corresponds to their Radiant's order.[9][12]

Dead Shardblades[edit]

Dead Shardblades were once owned by members of the Knights Radiant.[2] If a Radiant that has a Shardblade betrays their oaths, their spren is killed and its body is trapped in the shape of the Blade. Dead Shardblades have lost some of the functionality that they once had. The Blades have lost most of their ability to change into different weapons, although the shape of the Blade may change slightly to accomadate its owner after being used for a long time.[33] The dead Shardblades are nearly identical to how they appeared while still weilded by the Radiants, but there are two small differences. Each dead Shardblade has a Polestone attached to its hilt, whereas the the Shardblades wielded by Radiants do not.[34] Dead Shardblades also lack the subtle glow possessed by the Blades of active Radiants.[35]

As the Nahel bond with the original Radiant seems to have been severed, a new bond has to be formed in order for a Blade to be summoned and dismissed. When a new owner touches a Shardblade for the first time, the gemstone on the pommel flashes.[36][32] The person who wishes to bond with the Blade must keep in close quarters to it for five days before the bond is set.[7] At that point they can summon and dismiss it. The spren inside the Blades are not completely dead, just mostly.[2] As they are a little alive, they can sync a heartbeat to their essence. It takes ten heartbeats for a dead spren to be revived and summoned as a Shardblade. Once a person is bonded to a dead Shardblade, their eyes do lighten if they are not already lighteyes.[37]

When the holder of a dead Shardblade is killed, the Shardblade appears on the ground next to them. A dead Shardblade may also be given up. This process of breaking the bond requires intense concentration and touching the gemstone of the Blade.[38] A person may be bonded with multiple dead Shardblades but they have to be summoned individually.[39]

Dead Shardblades also have on other unique trait. When touched by a Radiant or Radiant-in-training, the Radiant will hear the agonizing screams of the spren inside.[40] If the Radiant touches the Blade of another, the person it is bonded too will also hear screams and be accused of murdering the spren. This experience is terrifying. There is no known way to free the spren trapped within dead Shardblades, they have been so severely damaged that it would require their original knight[41] to repair them in almost all cases.[42] Spren that are capable of forming the Nahel bond will express dislike for anyone wielding a dead Shardblade, no matter the character of the person bound to the Blade.[43] They consider these Blades to be abominations.[3]

May need a rewrite to show the process of killing a spren in the Blade. Should talk about the type of damage done by breaking bond briefly? Add bits about blades vanishing if not intentionally placed, may be lent to others

History[edit]

Heraldic Epochs[edit]

The very first Shardblades were the Honorblades.[2] They were gifted to the ten Heralds by the Almighty, the Shard Honor, to aid in the fight against the Voidbringers and Odium. While these weapons were useful, over time it began clear that the Honorblades were not enough to continually defeat the Voidbringers. Each Desolation the Heralds would return to a populace that had forgotten them, and each time humanity drew closer to annihilation.[44] The spren, seeing how Honor had granted the Heralds these supernatural weapons and abilities, formed Nahel bonds with humans and did the same.[2] The Blades they created together were the very first of the Radiant Shardblades.

These Shardblades were used by the Radiants to fight against the Voidbringers for at least several Desolations.[45] Finally, the Last Desolation, Aharietiam, occurred.[19] The Heralds, broken under the pressure of their torture, abandoned their Honorblades and broke the Oathpact. They told mankind that humanity had won the war finally and left the Radiants to guide mankind themselves. The Shin people found these nine remaining Honorblades and took them, guarding them for millennia.[21]

Era of Solitude[edit]

The Radiants continued on, independently of the Heralds for several hundred years at least, until the Day of Recreance, when the Radiants abandoned their Shards for unknown reasons.[35] When the Radiants laid down their Shards at the Recreance, they broke their bonds with their spren by betraying their oaths, killing them and trapping their bodies within the Shardblades they left behind.[2] Initially, when the Radiants abandoned their Shardblades, the Blades remained fantastically sharp, but could no longer be bound to a person or summoned.[46] This betrayal of the Nahel spren broke their trust with humankind.[47] They refused to bond with men anymore and returned to Shadesmar.[48] At some point during the Era of Solitude, the Herald Nale retrieved his own Honorblade for reasons unknown.[49]

A few decades after the Recreance, a process was discovered to add a gemstone to the pommels of the Shardblades.[34] The Shardblades even shifted form to allow for the gemstones. This returned the Blades to somewhat of their old function. They could once again be summoned, but they were not the same. For the next several hundred years following the Recreance, Shardblades were prized among nations of the world both as weapons of war[50] and symbols of power.[51] These Blades were considered to be heirlooms, and their paths and histories are accounted for through the generations.[44] Shardblades were also used for some unusual purposes, such as carving the city of Yeddaw out of the ground.[26]

It is uncertain if or when any new Radiants crafted Shardblades during this time period. It seems unlikely, as the Nahel spren had all retreated to their homeland of Shadesmar.[48] There may have been a few dissident spren, similar to Sylphrena[52] or Ivory[47] but if there were any, they were few and far between. It is likely that any few Radiants arising during this time were killed by Nale, as he had been working for centuries to prevent the return of the Radiants.[53]

Recent Events[edit]

The first Radiant confirmed to have created a Shardblade following the Recreance was Shallan Davar a young Veden girl.[21] She and her spren, a Cryptic known as Pattern, reached the point in there bond where Shallan gained a Shardblade. However, Shallan’s mother, who was possibly connected with the Ghostbloods or Skybreakers, recognized her potential as a Radiant. She attempted to murder Shallan, but was instead murdered by Shallan wielding her Shardblade. This experience was so traumatizing to Shallan that she was unable to recall the exact circumstances of how she gained her Blade for many years, so knowledge of how Shardblades were created remained hidden.

In the year 1168, Szeth-son-Vallano, a Truthless of Shinovar was sent by the Parshendi to kill Gavilar Kholin, king of the kingdom of Alethkar.[1] Wielding the Honorblade of the Herald Jezrien,[2] which he had received from his people,[54] Szeth assassinated many other rulers on the orders of King Taravangian of Kharbranth.[55] The use of this Honorblade destabilized the political structures of most of the influential kingdoms of Roshar, particularly Azir[17] and the nation of Jah Keved, where a succession war occurred.[56]

In the final few days of year 1173, a former slave known as Kaladin Stormblessed, who had bonded a honorspren named Sylphrena,[57] swore the third Ideal of the Windrunners.[9] This allowed Syl the ability to become a Shardblade, returning the knowledge of the origins of Shardblades to mankind. Kaladin used his Shardblade to then kill Szeth, and reclaim Jezrien’s Honorblade.[27] By this same time, Jasnah Kholin had also managed to progress to a point in her bond where her spren, Ivory, could become a Blade.[58] A few days later, in 1174, the Edgedancer Lift swore the third Ideal of her order, allowing her spren Wyndle to take the form of a Shardblade.[59]

Politics[edit]

Shardblades were often one of the most tangible expressions of power between various nations.[50] Kingdoms with many Shardblades were often considered to be more politically powerful than the others. Those without Shardblades, especially the smaller kingdoms, lived in fear of those with Shardblades. In the major Vorin kingdoms, Alethkar and Jah Keved, Shardblades are sign of nobility and power.[Citation needed] The highprinces of these nations and oftentimes their children or favored highlords typically have a Blade or two. With perhaps twenty or so Blades each, Jah Keved and Alethkar have the most Blades of any kingdom on Roshar.[35] The Selay have several Blades,[60] as do the Makabaki, who rent the Imperial Shardblades from the Prime Aqasix in Azir.[26] Other kingdoms have far fewer, such as Thalath, which only has five Blades. Smaller and weaker nations such as Kharbranth, however, have no Shardblades, leaving it to the mercy of the kingdoms with Shardblades.[61] The island people of the Reshi Sea do not have any Blades either,[62] which leaves them at a disadvantage to the Alethi during border conflicts.[35] The Unkalaki of the Horneater Peaks do not have any Shardblades, but the first man to gain a Blade would be able to unite the Peaks as king.[51]

Even within the kingdoms themselves, those with Shardblades were usually seen as more powerful. Highprinces of Alethkar and Jah Keved jostle with one another for position and influence,[63] and Shardblades are just another tool and indication of power and authority.[7] Duels for Shards can be used to embarrass political enemies as well as to weaken their military strength. Highprince Dalinar Kholin had his son duel Shardbearers that supported Torol Sadeas politically,[64] in order to disarm and shame them.[7]

A less common use for Shardblades was in assassination. Shardbearer assassins were by no means commonplace, but the Weeper[65] and Szeth-son-Vallano used Shardblades in assassinations.[1] A potential strategy made use of by Shardbearer assassins is to give the Blade to a woman.[66] Centuries after the last female Radiants, Shardblades are rarely carried by women, so no one would expect to have to defend against, for instance, a washerwoman wielding a Shardblade. Other Shardbearer assassins, such as the Weeper, remove the burned out eyes of their victims, to hide the fact that they make use of a Shardblade.[65]

Culture[edit]

While Shardblades were certainly renowned for their use in combat, that is not to say that they did not have any impact on culture. Rather, they were one of the most important drivers of Rosharan culture, most noticeably in the Vorin nations. They have influenced theology, mythology, society, and even introduced a culture of dueling into Alethkar and Jah Keved, two of the most powerful kingdoms on the face of Roshar.

Fabrial Science[edit]

One of the primary goals of artifabrians and their research is the reproduction of Shardplate and its complement, Shardplate. The kingdom that gained the ability to manufacture Shardblades and Shardplate would quickly become the most powerful in the entire world.[1] It is commonly said that artifabrians are only a few years away from managing to recreate Shardblades, but this has never proven true.[13] In fact, no artifabrian has ever come close to duplicating the effects of a Shardblade. For many years, artifabrians have believed that the supernatural qualities of a Shardblade are due to the gemstone in their hilts, which they believed to be a fabrial.[34] In 1173, artifabrians discovered that the gemstones were not originally a part of the Blade and are only important in allowing for the Blade to be summoned and dismissed. The most important Shardblade-related fabrial development are the half-shards of Jah Keved, which were a groundbreaking development in combating the Blades.[13]

Move bits about healing fabrials here?

Theology & Mythology[edit]

According to legend, the Shardblades were gifts from the Almighty, used to fight the Voidbringers, who were said to have skin of stone.[1] As humanity was barely making spears, and their metalworking was incredibly basic, they needed the aid of their god to drive the Voidbringers from Roshar and the Tranquiline Halls and back into Damnation.[67] While the Radiants were initially a force for good,[67] it is said that over time they became corrupt[68] and eventually betrayed mankind in some way, possibly helping the other side.[69] Thereafter they were known as the Lost Radiants, and some began to say that their powers had been a curse[47] or merely fanciful tales.[7]

Stories of heroes wielding Shardblades were pervasive among the peoples of Roshar, particularly the Vorin darkeyed.[62] In rural towns, the tales of Lanacin the Surefooted, Evod Markmaker, and Raninor of the Fields, legendary and revered darkeyes who won Shardblades,[70] inspired men to go off to war in hopes of winning a Shardblade, and thus riches and fame for themselves and their loved ones.[62] A darkeyes winning a Shardblade is so incredibly uncommon that it has not happened in over a lifetime.[37]

Society[edit]

Even though the Radiants are a distant memory of the past of Roshar, their influence still permeates Vorin society.[2] Indeed, it is the memory of the Radiants, whose eyes were lightened upon bonding their Blade, that led to the stratification of Vorin society into castes based on eye color.

The cardinal rule of Shardblades is that any person who kills a Shardbearer is entitled to the Shards that person possess, regardless of their social status. Any person in Vorin society that gains a Shardblade is instantly raised to the level of a fourth dahn lighteyes if they were not already at that rank or higher.[32] This grants that person the title of highlord, as well as lands of their own and incomes from those lands. Upon being raised, they may make their own noble house or ask permission to join another house. Anyone that bonds a Shardblade instantly becomes one of the most influential people in the kingdom, and their presence is expected at all social events of note.[34] This same thing is true whether the Shardbearer is lighteyed or dark, but it far more commonly occurs to lighteyes.[32] It is worth noting though that even if a person is said to own a Shardblade, their it is considered treasonous to sell the Blade or defect to another kingdom.

Dueling[edit]

Fighting with Shardblades, though, that could be like a dance. The large weapons took a great deal of skill to swing properly, and Plate was resilient, so exchanges were generally drawn out. The fights were filled with grand motions, wide sweeps. There was a fluidity to fighting with a Shardblade. A grace.
—Dalinar's thoughts on Shardblade duels[71]

The Vorin kingdoms of eastern Roshar have a proud tradition of dueling, particularly with Shardblades. A duel between Shardbearers was not just a contest of skill, but an art form all its own.[71] Lighteyes and darkeyes alike gathered in arenas, to view not only a simple battle, but a grand spectacle. While there were rules and regulations as to what was permitted and forbidden during a duel, oftentimes certain actions were forbidden by traditions stronger than law.[72] Duels are supposed to be fought slowly and gracefully, both opponents testing one another before dueling in earnest. Duelists nearly always make use of traditional dueling styles, such as Windstance or Smokestance. Duels that are instead fought quickly with fast, brutal blows are nontraditional and unpopular with both highjudges audiences, if not technically forbidden.

I am highprince here, Dalinar. In this arena, my word is the only law, granted me by the authority of the king.
—Highjudge Istow[73]
Duels are moderated by a highjudge, who has absolute authority over what occurs during a duel within the arena.[73] Both duelists agree to terms in front of the highjudge before a duel. Duels are usually fought until a specific number of sections of Plate are Shattered. The typical number of Plates duelists fight for is one, but higher stakes duels can go for more two or three, but this can prove dangerous. [71] Some try to jam their Blade in gaps between the sections of Plate, hoping to break them.[74] This is a dangerous move though, and risks seriously wounding an opponent. A duel can also go until surrender, which allows a man to keep fighting until he feels he is bested or is rendered incapable of further fighting.[73] If a highjudge feels a duel has gone too far, she can end the duel herself. Duelists can also agree to a paired duel, in which one man fights two or a disadvantaged duel wherein the disadvantaged side need only have fewer duelists than the other side. Specific language when challenging another person to a duel is crucial as other duelists will use any flaws in the wording of the challenge to skew the duel to their own advantage.

Duels can be fought for a variety of reasons. One is for sport, fighting to duels to practice and display skill.[71] Someone dueling can choose to compete to become the dueling champion of the kingdom. This is determined by statistical dueling rankings,[71] which prevent just any Shardbearer from challenging one ranked far higher.[75] Typically, a dueling champion will only agree to fight someone close to him in the rankings. Working ones way to the top of the rankings can typically take a year or two. Another reasons someone can challenge another to a duel is in recompense for an insult or some sort of wrongdoing.[76] This usually only applies to people of a similar rank, a subordinate is typically not permitted to challenge his superior to a duel. Duels can also be fought wagering Plate, Blades or both.[72] These duels are uncommon and usually something of a spectacle. This is one of the few ways that Shards change hands outside of actual combat. Duels to the death are very rare, although accidental death or serious injury are not unheard of in duels. One of the few ways that a duel to the death is permitted is permitted by the Right of Challenge, which is sometimes granted by a boon from the king.[76]

Training Shardbearers[edit]

A Shardbearer is typically trained in a specific way among the Alethi. Lighteyed boys of appropriate rank around the age of ten are chosen by an ardent swordmaster for training.[3] These boys typically already have at least some training with the sword. The swordmasters train in training grounds run by the ardentia. The swordmaster's job is teaches them the ten Shardblade Stances, which are used in both dueling and regular combat.[70] They train with Blades in two ways. If the trainee has no Blade of his own, they can make use of wooden practice swords that approximate the balance and weight of a real Blade. They may also borrow one of the King's Blades.[3] Either way, when training with real Blades a guard is used to blunt the cutting edge.[31] The origin of these guards is unknown, but they are believed to come from long ago. The guards are made of metal and conform to the edge of any Blade. The guards themselves are useless and fragile on their own, but they are prefect for training. A swordmaster also coaches their student on how to control the Blade with their mind, commanding it to remain in place so it can be loaned to others.[77]

King's Blades[edit]

One of the strongest traditions in Alethkar is the loaning of the King's Blade.[78] In Alethkar, both the king's Blade and his Plate are available to be used in a duel by those who have the favor of the king and are without Shards of their own. Borrowing the Blade does cost a hefty amount of spheres, but it is not uncommon. Oftentimes kings dislike or are uncomfortable with this tradition, but they still follow the tradition. Kings will also make their Blades available for trainee Shardbearers to practice wielding an actual Blade.[3] This tradition is one of the reasons the Alethi have the best trained Shardbearers on Roshar. Whenever a Shardbearer is killed or dies, there is always someone prepared to bond their Blade and use it right away. On some occasions, a king will even allow their Blade to be used in actual combat, but it is uncertain how commonly this occurs.[79] If a king has multiple Blades, he will sometimes bestow one of the King's Blades on someone who he thinks is deserving of a Blade of their own.[3] Before the monarchy was restored in Alethkar, the highprinces carried on the tradition of the King's Blade by lending their own Blades.[71]


Mention of loaning Shardblades to others so they can use them in combat

Battle Tactics[edit]

Shardblades are such an effective tool on the battlefield that they have inspired their own tactical and countertactical uses. Shardblades are typically most effective when they are used by a person that is also wearing Shardplate

Shardblade Tactics[edit]

Shardbearers often lead formations themselves, cutting a hole in enemy ranks with their overwhelming force, creating a gap that their men can exploit. The usefulness of this tactic is twofold. Few regular men can put up an effective resistance against a Shardbearer, but

Shardbearers fighting together often have to be careful that they do not inadvertently hurt one another when fighting...

The Shardblade is such a powerful weapon that its versatility is often only limited by the creativity of its bearer. For instance, Adolin Kholin used his Shardblade stuck into the side of a plateau as a platform to stand on while clearing a space for him to stand on top of the plateau. In another instance, Dalinar cuts section of rock away, allowing it to fall on his opponents below him. He also will cut the stone underneath the feet of his opponents to make them lose their footing. An experienced Shardbearer can find a multitude of ways to use a Blade to his advantage in battle.

Countering Shardblades[edit]

The most effective way of countering a Shardblade is to send another Shardbearer against them. By leveling the playing field in this way, the overwhelming power of a Shardblade is negated and victory is left to the most skilled of the fighters. However, when going up against a full Shardbearer, a person with both Blade and Plate, a Blade is often not enough to ensure victory. This is why most Shards are won by people who are already full Shardbearers.

As swords and arrows are practically useless against a Shardbearer, heavy weapons such as warhammars and axes are often used in an attempt to counter them. The most common tactic is to simply drown a Shardbearer in enemies. As the Shardblades cut through corpses instead of knocking them away like a normal weapon would, Shardbearers often become surrounded in corpses, which can lead to unstable footing and decreased mobility. In extended battle, Shardbearers are rarely the last fighting, their enemy focuses on bringing them down first so that their Blades can be turned on their own men once they have fallen.

A move known as a lastclap is another way that someone may counter a Shardblade. Oftentimes Shardbearers do not swing at their full strength as they typically do not need to do so with a Blade that can cut through any material. This means that when they are swinging downward at an enemy with an overhead blow, the person they are swinging at can sometimes catch the Blade between their palms.[52]

Shattered Plains[edit]

Shardblades also are helpful when dealing with the Shattered Plains in particular. When attempting to cross from one plateau to another that is held by an enemy, full Shardbearers will often leap the chasm between the two plateaus and establish a "beachhead" for the men setting bridges behind them. This strategy is often followed by a cavalry attack across the bridge to push back the enemy. Those who fight against the Shardbearers often attempt to push the Shardbearers off the plateau and into the chasm, killing them instantly, so this tactic is incredibly dangerous for unskilled Shardbearers. Shardblades are also useful in harvesting gemhearts rapidly from chasmfiends. A Blade can be used to kill the pupating chasmfiend, cutting through its chrysalis easily. Once dead, a Shardblade can easily be used to cut the gemheart out.

Lastclap- Probably belongs in the dueling section

Known Shardbearers[edit]

Radiant Shardblades[edit]

The Shardblades listed here are formed from living spren that have formed a Nahel bond with a human being. Any person that has bonded with a spren but has not yet manifested a Shardblade is not listed here.

Spren Name Radiant Name Order Typical Form Notes References
Ivory Jasnah Kholin Elsecaller Sword Blade is long and thin [58]
Pattern Shallan Davar Lightweaver Sword Initially believed it to be a dead Shardblade - Has several faint lines down its length [12]
Sylphrena Kaladin Stormblessed Windrunner Spear Blade is covered in swirls [9]
Wyndle Lift Edgedancer Pole or fork Has never appeared as a Blade [59][29]
unknown Harkaylain Windrunner Sword Radiant from the Heraldic Epochs [18]

Dead Shardblades[edit]

This list of dead Shardblades is organized by current owner or most recent owner.

Shardbearer Blade Name Previous Holder Appearance Notes References
Adolin Kholin Unnamed Tinalar Sinuous cutting edge, crystalline back, former Blade of an Edgedancer Won in a duel in Adolin's youth [72]
Aladar Unknown Unknown Unknown Prefers to lead from rear, often lends Blade to officers [5]
Dalinar Kholin (Unbound) Unknown Talenel - Unbound Wider than average - cleaver-like Unbound at the request of the Stormfather [80]
Elhokar Kholin Sunraiser Unknown Long, thin - etched with ten fundamental glyphs Elhokar also possesses his father's old Blade, Firestorm. [6]
Eshonai Unknown Unknown Wicked and barbed, flame patterns Lost in chasms of Shattered Plains with Eshonai herself [81]
Gavilar Kholin (Deceased) Firestorm Unknown Edged on both sides, flame patterns Currently in possession of Elhokar as King's Blade, looking for worthy owner(citation?) [72]
Graves Unknown Unknown Unknown Presumably used to cut through Elhokar's railing in an assassination attempt [82]
Hanavanar (Deceased) Unknown Unknown Unknown Kept Blade a secret, two of his murdered men also had Blades, fate of all three unknown [72]
General Khal Unknown Either Relis Ruthar or Abrobadar Unknown Won by Adolin in his duels [32]
Liss Unknown Unknown Unknown Kept a secret to be used in assassinations [65]
Meridas Amaram Unknown Helaran Davar Thick, curved, one edge in shape of flames or ripples Stolen by Amaram from Kaladin [36]
Moash Unknown Either Relis Ruthar or Abrobadar Edged on both sides, twisting vine pattern at center, heliodor pommel First darkeyed Shardbearer in generations, won by Adolin in his duels [32]
Renarin Kholin Unknown Salinor Eved Unknown Won by Adolin in his duels [72]
Resi Unknown Unknown Unknown Only full Shardbearer in Thanadals camp, called Royal Defender [71]
Ruthar Unknown Unknown Unknown Only Blade remaining to Ruthar after Adolin's duels [34]
Talanor Unknown Unknown Unknown Only possess a Blade, refused Adolin's duel off [83]
Torol Sadeas (Deaceased) Oathbringer Dalinar Kholin Handspan wide, curvy, hooked tip, edged on one side with wave-like serrations near hilt Currently hidden in Urithiru after Sadeas' murder [84]
Valam (Deceased) Unknown Unknown Unknown Left beside body of the king, current owner unknown [56]

Former Shardbearers[edit]

This is a list of former Shardbearers that have lost their Blade or have died and had their Blade claimed by someone else. The references section refers to the first specific instance this person was mentioned to have a Shardblade or the Shardblade appeared, for specific references for the details provided in this table, please see the respective Shardbearer's page. (Maybe add a footnote for this?)

Shardbearer Blade Name Previous Holder Next Holder Appearance Notes References
Abrobadar Unknown Unknown Lost to Adolin Kholin in his duels Unknown This Shardblade was given to General Khal or Moash [40]
Helaran Unknown Unknown Meridas Amaram Thick, curved, one edge in shape of flames or ripples None [85]
Relis Ruthar Unknown Unknown Lost to Adolin Kholin in his duels Unknown This Shardblade was given to General Khal or Moash [40]
Salinor Eved Unknown Unknown Renarin Kholin Once had a ruby on the pommel, destroyed by Adolin Lost to Adolin Kholin, who granted it to his brother [72]
Tinalar Unnamed Unknown Adolin Kholin Sinuous cutting edge, crystalline back, former Blade of an Edgedancer Lost a duel to Adolin in his youth [72]

Honorblades[edit]

This table tabulates the original owners of the Honorblades, as well as their abilities, desciption, and current or most recent owner.

Original Herald Current Owner Surges Granted Appearance Notes
Battar Stone Shamans Transformation & Transportation Unknown None
Chanarach Stone Shamans Division & Abrasion Unknown None
Ishar Stone Shamans Tension & Adhesion Unknown None
Jezrien Kaladin Stormblessed (Unbound) Adhesion & Gravitation Short, thin, & double-edged Formerly held by the Stone Shamans, and then Szeth
Kalak Stone Shamans Transportation & Cohesion Unknown None
Nale Nale (Reclaimed) Gravitation & Division Unknown At some point Nale returned to reclaim his Blade.[49]
Paliah Stone Shamans Progression & Illumination Unknown None
Shalash Stone Shamans Illumination & Transformation Unknown None
Talenel Unknown Cohesion & Tension Possibly spike-like The Blade Taln returns with is not the same one he has later.
Vedel Stone Shamans Abrasion & Progression Unknown None

Cosmere[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

Origin[edit]

Shardblades, like the spren they are made from, can likely be termed Splinters, due to the fact that they are fragments of a Shard.[86] What Shard precisely they are derived from is uncertain. They may be of Honor, Cultivation, or both. This is likely dependent on which Shard gave rise to Surgebinding itself. It seems unlikely to be the system of Cultivation alone. The oaths of the Immortal Words that are sworn point to Honor, but it is impossible to presently rule out Cultivation.

Interactions with other Investitures[edit]

Shardblades also seem to have a unique interaction with the Innate Investiture. When a Shardblade cuts a living being, it seems to sever the Spiritweb of the being it is used on. Shardblades of all types also seem to be bonded directly to a person's Spiritweb. Hemalurgy could be used to steal a Shardblade from someone, although it is unknown how Hemalurgic decay would impact this.[87]

While there are only three known ways to heal from a Shardblade wound on Roshar, it seems likely that other magic systems would also allow for that same healing. On Scadrial, goldminds of Feruchemy could be used to heal Shardblade damage.[88] The Divine Breath, the Breath of the Returned of Nalthis, able to heal any typical wound or illness,[89] is also a possible solution for repairing the damage. On Sel, the Aon Ien, used for healing,[90] could potentially heal a Shardblade wound as well.

Relationship to Nightblood[edit]

See also: Nightblood

While most Shardblades originate on Roshar and seem to be ultimately derived from the power of Honor and possibly Cultivation, this is not true of all Shardblades. The sentient sword Nightblood, created by Vasher and Shashara of Nalthis using Awakening and Investiture derived from the Shard Endowment,[91] is also considered a Shardblade.[92] However, it is no ordinary Shardblade. While he cannot be summoned or take other forms like a spren can,[27] he is in fact several orders of magnitude more powerful than the Shardblade of a Radiant.[93] It is unknown, but possible that he is on a similar power level to the Honorblades. It is also unknown what would occur when he is struck against a Shardblade or Honorblade, whether it will be destroyed or damaged in any way. Like the Honorblades, he consumes far more Investiture than a Radiant Shardblade, which does not require any fuel,[2] and typically would feed on Breath[94] or a person's soul.[95] Now that he has arrived on Roshar, it seems that he can also use Stormlight as fuel for his abilities.[96]

Development[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • In the initial draft of The Way of Kings, Kaladin earned a Shardblade while defending Elhokar from an assassin, and kept it instead of giving it up.[97]
  • Brandon had a character dual wield a pair of Shardblades in the initial draft of The Way of Kings from 2002.[98]
  • There is a miscount in the original draft of Words of Radiance, where Dalinar’s army ends up with one too many Shardblades after Adolin has completed his duels. It was corrected by making Teleb borrow one of the King's Blades.[79]
  • Hoid cannot be injured by a Shardblade,[58] because it damages the soul and Hoid's healing method repairs the soul.[99]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k The Way of Kings prologue
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Words of Radiance chapter 87
  3. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 16
  4. The Way of Kings chapter 18
  5. a b Words of Radiance chapter 8
  6. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 13
  7. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 5
  8. a b Chicago Signing Report
    17th Shard forums - Febuary 20, 2015
  9. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 84
  10. Words of Radiance chapter 26
  11. a b Edgedancer chapter 8
  12. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 72
  13. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 22
  14. The Way of Kings Ars Arcanum
  15. The Way of Kings interlude I-9
  16. a b Words of Radiance chapter 33
  17. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-9
  18. a b The Way of Kings chapter 19
  19. a b c Prelude to the Stormlight Archive
  20. You mentioned that human can’t bond Honorblades, but Nalan tells Szeth that his bond with his Honorblade has been broken. Can you clear this up?
    Theoryland - 2014-03-19
  21. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 88
  22. The Shardblade that Dalinar had at the end of Words of Radiance, was that the Honorblade?
    Theoryland - 2015-01-17
  23. One Herald (other than Taln) kept his honorblade (or, at least, took it back).
    17th Shard forums - 2013-12-08
  24. The Way of Kings interlude I-3
  25. Is there a specific # of Ideals that they have to do before they can get the Shardblade?
    Theoryland - 2014-03-13
  26. a b c Edgedancer chapter 2
  27. a b c d e f Words of Radiance chapter 86
  28. Words of Radiance chapter 85
  29. a b Edgedancer chapter 20
  30. Chicago Signing
    17th Shard forums - 2014-03-22
  31. a b Words of Radiance chapter 18
  32. a b c d e f Words of Radiance chapter 66
  33. Though a Shardblade, used for a long time, will change shape slightly.
    Theoryland - March 21, 2014
  34. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 67
  35. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 52
  36. a b The Way of Kings chapter 51
  37. a b Words of Radiance chapter 68
  38. Words of Radiance chapter 89
  39. If a character bears multiple Shardblades, can they summon them all in the same 10 heartbeat span, or does each Shardblade require a separate summoning?
    Theoryland - September 28, 2012
  40. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 57
  41. DC Signing
    17th Shard forums - March 28, 2014
  42. Firefight Tour Salt Lake City
    17th Shard forums - January 5, 2015
  43. The Way of Kings chapter 73
  44. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-7
  45. Words of Radiance chapter 64
  46. The Way of Kings chapter 67
  47. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 3
  48. a b The Way of Kings chapter 17
  49. a b He's using his original Honorblade.
    Theoryland - 29 November 2016
  50. a b The Way of Kings chapter 29
  51. a b The Way of Kings chapter 23
  52. a b Words of Radiance chapter 32
  53. Arcanum Unbounded - Edgedancer Postscript
  54. The Way of Kings interlude I-6
  55. The Way of Kings chapter 71
  56. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-14
  57. The Way of Kings chapter 57
  58. a b c Words of Radiance epilogue
  59. a b Edgedancer chapter 19
  60. Words of Radiance chapter 23
  61. The Way of Kings chapter 5
  62. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 16
  63. The Way of Kings chapter 15
  64. Words of Radiance chapter 51
  65. a b c Words of Radiance prologue
  66. Words of Radiance chapter 36
  67. a b The Way of Kings chapter 61
  68. The Way of Kings chapter 21
  69. The Way of Kings chapter 43
  70. a b Words of Radiance chapter 44
  71. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 58
  72. a b c d e f g h Words of Radiance chapter 14
  73. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 56
  74. Words of Radiance chapter 52
  75. Words of Radiance chapter 37
  76. a b Words of Radiance chapter 55
  77. Words of Radiance chapter 35
  78. Words of Radiance chapter 58
  79. a b Twitter conversation with Peter Ahlstrom
    — Twitter - 2014-09-02
  80. Words of Radiance chapter 76
  81. Words of Radiance interlude I-11
  82. Words of Radiance chapter 82
  83. Words of Radiance chapter 22
  84. Words of Radiance chapter 69
  85. Words of Radiance chapter 19
  86. Please explain what you will about Shards and Splintering and Slivers.
    Theoryland - 14 October 2013
  87. A novel use of Hemalurgy which is not outside the sphere of its powers.
    Theoryland - September 2012
  88. Does a limb that has been "severed" by a Shardblade have any Hemalurgic bindpoints? If the same limb was then cut off more conventionally, would a Bloodmaker ferring be able to grow it back?
    Theoryland - 15 April 2013
  89. Annotation for Warbreaker 12
  90. Elantris chapter 19
  91. Warbreaker chapter 51
  92. He is a Shardblade that is twisted and is a lot more powerful than normal.
    Theoryland - 6 March 2014
  93. Nightblood is "several orders of magnitude more magical than a shardblade.
    17th Shard forums - 27 April 2011
  94. Warbreaker chapter 56
  95. Does Nightblood rip souls out of bodies, by chance?
    Theoryland - Mar 4th, 2014
  96. Nightblood will drain any Investiture, so yes.
    Theoryland - 22 March 2014
  97. You've said you lifted the Shattered Plains from Dragonsteel, what would Kaladin have been doing if not running bridges and what will happen to Dragonsteel without the Plains?
    Theoryland - 2011-01-10
  98. You said that a person can have more than one Shardblade--can they be dual-wielded?
    Theoryland - 2012-10-27
  99. What if Hoid got cut by a shardblade?
    Theoryland - 2014-03-04
Footnotes

{!{complete}} {!{Stormlight}}