War of Reckoning
The Alethi army was composed of ten armies, each formed by soldiers from one princedom and led by the corresponding highprince. The highprinces were Roion, Sadeas, Aladar, Dalinar, Vamah, Ruthar, Thanadal, Hatham, Bethab and Sebarial.
The Parshendi had one army. Their camp was on a big plateau in the center of the Shattered Plains.
 The Vengeance Pact
When King Gavilar was assassinated by the Assassin in White, the Parshendi took credit for the assassination. This led to the formation of the Vengeance Pact. In order to fulfill the pact by taking vengeance on the Parshendi, the Alethi highprinces followed them to the Shattered Plains.
 Beginning of the siege
The original plan of the Alethi highprinces was to attack the Parshendi and defeat them in that attack. However, upon arriving at the Shattered Plains, the highprinces realized that a full-scale attack on the plateau in the centre of the Shattered Plains would present huge risks because of highstorms.
The Shattered Plains were a very big area and the armies had to cross chasms in order to get from one plateau to the next. The consequence was that armies would take a very long time to reach the centre of the Plains. This would include the risk of a highstorm surprising the armies. Due to the violence of highstorms and the lack of shelter on plateaus a highstorm would most probably have destroyed any Alethi army camping on a plateau. Also the chasms were flooded during every highstorm which made it impossible to advance on the bottom of the chasms.
Therefore the highprinces decided to change their plan and settle for a siege. As the Shattered Plains were only accessible from the leeward side, the plan was that the Parshendi would need to leave their camp because of hunger and come to the Alethi.
 The impact of gemhearts
Once settled on the border of the Shattered Plains, it was quickly discovered that chasmfiends lived in the chasms between plateaus. Chasmfiends had gemhearts which were very valuable. Not only for the value of the gemstone but mostly because of its ability to store huge capacities of Stormlight. This was extremely important for the armies, as this could be used to Soulcast metal for weapons, wood for bridges, barracks of stone and food.
The continued Soulcasting allowed the Parshendi to supply themselves in everything they needed. This considerably lowered the chances of success for the siege.
 Rivalry between highprinces
That was not the only impact of the gemhearts. In order to cut the supplies of the Parshendi, the highprinces tried to get gemhearts before the Parshendi could get them.
The safest way to win a gemheart of a chasmfiend was to wait for the chasmfiend to climb on a plateau, where it pupated. Once this was done, the chrysalis could be opened with a Shardblade or with hammers and chisels (which would take much longer).
So whenever a chrysalis was spotted on a plateau, a race started between the Parshendi on one side and Alethi highprinces on the other side. Whoever arrived first--Alethi army or Parshendi--was usually attacked by the other. Since every highprince worked on his own, depending on where the chasmfiend was pupating, several Alethi armies could attempt to get to the chasmfiend first. Whenever an army arrived and another Alethi army was already there, the second army turned back home. This led to rivalry between the highprinces because success in gaining gemhearts meant wealth and appreciation of King Elhokar.
Over the years the result was that the Alethi army lost its original purpose—to fulfil the Vengeance Pact—and their unity. The ten armies fought on their own instead of fighting united against the Parshendi.
 The Battle of the Tower
The Tower Plateau was a very large plateau not far from the centre of the Shattered Plains. Because of this, the Parshendi always arrived first whenever a chasmfiend pupated on the Tower Plateau. Also, they usually had enough time to arrange themselves into battle formation and prepare their defense. That's why no Alethi army had ever won a battle at the Tower during six years of the war.
When Dalinar worked together with Sadeas, a chasmfied was spotted on the Tower. According to their plan, Sadeas, whose armies were faster than Dalinar's, had to clear a space on the Tower for Dalinar's troops, who were better trained, to engage the Parshendi. This worked as planned until Sadeas abandoned Dalinar, leaving no way to retreat for Dalinar.
Dalinar and the remnants of his army were saved by a Bridge Four led by Kaladin. In the following, Dalinar made his nephew, King Elhokar, declare him Highprince of War. It was Dalinar's goal to re-purpose the Alethi armies into to fulfilling the Vengeance Pact and to unite them again.
The location of the war—the Shattered Plains—brought some notable characteristics with it.
 The use of bridges between plateaus
While Parshendi were able to jump the distance between plateaus, an Alethi army could only cross a chasm with a bridge from an adjacent plateau. There was no way to climb a plateau from a chasm. The bridges were made of wood. It was only possible to construct permanent bridges next to the warcamps because further on the Plains, permanent bridges were destroyed by Parshendi raids.
During a race for a gemheart, mobile bridges were used by the Alethi armies. There were two main types of bridges.
- heavy bridge
- Bridges that functioned like siege-towers. Those were very heavy and needed to be pulled by chulls and thus were very slow. Their advantage was that they offered cover for the Alethi army until the bridge was lowered over the chasm.
- light portable bridges
- These were only light in comparison to the bridge-towers. At least 25 men were needed to carry a bridge. Their advantage was that they could be carried even running, so they were much faster than the bridge-towers. Instead of offering cover, the bridgemen were exposed to the Parshendi archers during the approach of the final plateau.
Sadeas was the first one to use the light bridges and had much success with them because of their mobility. He also used the exposed bridgemen on purpose to attract enemy fire that would otherwise have centered on his own soldiers. That is also why bridgemen were neither armored nor trained.
Dalinar did not use those because he was convinced that officers shouldn't demand anything from their soldiers that they would not do themselves. He reproached Sadeas for wasting lives. Later Sadeas and Dalinar worked together. Sadeas could reach a plateau faster than anyone else, because he used the light bridges and left his main army with Dalinar. Dalinar followed with the slow bridges, using the light bridges to cross the chasms. At the final plateau, Dalinar put his own bridges forward, not to waste bridgemen's lives.
Kaladin was the first to train a bridgecrew of a light bridge and had considerable success with it. Not only he managed to make them faster than other crews, he also managed to figure out a way of carrying the bridge so it could offer protection for the crew.
 The use of Shardbearers
When an army arrived at a plateau and the enemy army was already formed up for battle, the only way for the attackers often was to send in Shardbearers who could jump over the chasm and clear a space for the bridges to land.
Also, Shardblades were a very effective way to cut open the chrysalis in order to get the gemheart.
Apart from that, Shardbearers had the same use as in every other battle during that time on Roshar.
 Chasm duty
During battles, Alethi soldiers and Parshendi warriors often fell into the chasms. The dead who were left after a battle were blown into the chasms during highstorms. At the bottom of the chasms, the dead were flooded to the leeward end of the chasms, where they stayed until another flood pulled them elsewhere.
Soldiers or bridgemen were sent down into the chasms to gather weapons, armor, spheres or anything other of value from the dead. Chasm duty was dangerous because of the risk of another highstorm flooding the chasms and because of chasmfiends who could come upon a search-team.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 43 - Brightness Hashal names the conflict
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Map of Alethi warcamps
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 The Way of Kings Chapter 15
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 4
- ↑ Map of Shattered Plains
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 18
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Way of Kings Chapter 26
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 40
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 17
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 12
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 64
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 65
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 69
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Way of Kings Chapter 6
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 55
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 28
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 32
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 14
- ↑ The Way of Kings Chapter 59
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 The Way of Kings Chapter 27
|History of the Cosmere|
|The assassination of King Gavilar||The War of Reckoning||The True Desolation|
|The Stormlight Archive (Roshar)|
|Books||The Way of Kings · Words of Radiance · Stones Unhallowed · The Highprince of War|
|Major Characters||Kaladin · Shallan · Szeth · Dalinar · Navani · Adolin · Jasnah · Elhokar · Sylphrena · Taravangian · Kabsal · Sadeas · More Characters|
|Shards||Honor · Cultivation · Odium|
|Magic||Stormlight · Highstorm · Surgebinding · Shardblades · Soulcasting · Fabrials · Ten Essences · Old Magic · Voidbinding|
|Creatures||Chasmfiend · Greatshell · Parshmen · Parshendi · Spren · Thunderclasts · The Unmade · Voidbringers|
|Places||Alethkar · Jah Keved · Kharbranth · Shinovar · Purelake · Silver Kingdoms · Urithiru · Shattered Plains · The Origin · More Places|
|Groups||Bridge Four · Heralds · Highprinces · Knights Radiant · Ghostbloods · Vorinism|
|History||Desolations · Oathpact · Day of Recreance · Hierocracy · War of Reckoning|