by Otto Didact
|Ruler||Queen Jasnah Kholin|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
Alethkar is the largest and most prominent of the five Vorin nations on Roshar. It is split into ten princedoms, each with its own highprince. People from Alethkar are known as Alethi. Alethkar is currently engaged in the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi. In the present day, according to offical records, Alethkar possesses more Shardblades than any other nation on Roshar; with Jah Keved have reportedly having the 2nd most Shardblades.
Located in eastern Roshar, Alethkar is more exposed to the highstorms than many lands further west. Important geographical features include the Sunmaker Mountains, the Sea of Spears, and the Windrunner and Deathbend Rivers.
Alethkar was founded as Alethela in the Silver Kingdoms Epoch. It survived the Desolations, but fell under the sway of the Hierocracy until the Sunmaker led the kingdom in a successful revolt against the Vorin rule. After the Sunmakers death, his ten sons could not agree on one of their number as his successor and, given that none of them was willing to forego their claims to the throne, split the kingdom into ten princedoms which they ruled individually as Highprinces, with no unifying government. Later, in approximately 1158, Gavilar Kholin--inspired by the Sunmaker--sought to conquer and unite the highprinces, which he achieved by about 1163. He was then crowned king and his brother Dalinar Kholin became highprince to the Kholin Princedom. Hower, due to the lineage of each Princedom back to the Sunmaker and his sons, the Highprinces are loathe to surrender their autonomous power, even partially, to a supreme ruler and the integrity and unity of Gavilar's kingdom is, therefore, questionable, as evidenced by the ferocity with which the Highprinces resisted his military approach to unification and continued to strain against his rule. The most severe instance of this was the rebellion in Rathalas, where Gavilar eventually had to send troops led by Dalinar and Sadeas in order to quench the revolt, as political means had resulted in a failure.
When Gavilar was assassinated by the Parshendi in 1167, his son Elhokar Kholin became king and declared war on the Parshendi. Each of the highprinces joined the Vengeance Pact, and they went to the Shattered Plains to besiege the Parshendi in the War of Reckoning. The siege took much longer than was expected, and was still active by 1173. It eventually ended when the Parshendi summoned the Everstorm and thus began the True Desolation during the Battle of Narak, following which Highprinces Dalinar, Aladar and Sebarial, along with their remaining forces, took refuge in Urithiru, while others remained on the Shattered Plains, slowly taking over the abandoned warcamps of those who left and consolidating their power base there.
After Elhokar was killed by Moash during the siege, and Adolin Kholin refused to take the throne after the Battle of Thaylen Field, Jasnah Kholin became Queen, as Elhokar's son Gavinor was still a child and a regency in his name until he reached maturity deemed to unstable and dangerous during the time of the Last Desolation.
The Alethi culture is divided into two major castes, the lighteyes and darkeyes. The distinction between the two is the coloring of the person's eyes, the lighteyes standing as the upper class, and darkeyes as the working/lower class. Each of these classes are further divided in rank according to their dahn (in the case of lighteyes) or their nahn (in the case of darkeyes). There are many ways for a person to improve their ranking and it is hereditary. Many darkeyes volunteer to become soldiers for the chance to increase their rank and that of their children.
Soldiers are usually trained in one or two additional Skills, i.e. horse grooms.
Children of pure light/dark-eyed parents always breed true, whereas the children of mixed descent have the chance to be either.
The Alethi system of government revolves around class. The lighteyes compose the ruling upper caste, which also has a ranking system (dahn). The highest ranked lighteyes is King Elhokar, who rules over all of the highprinces. Next in line in terms of prestige and power are any lighteyes who were also Shardbearers, with significant overlap into the princedom (i.e. many highprinces are generally Shardbearers as well).
The darkeyes make up the working class. The majority of darkeyes are either farmers or soldiers, both of which are considered to be high Callings in Vorinism, and admirable professions. Many darkeyed soldiers who go to war hope to defeat a Shardbearer in combat to gain ownership over their Shardblade as it is believed that this will change the color of their eyes and they will become a lighteyes themselves.
War and honor are considered a way of life to the Alethi.
Most of the Alethi are Vorin, followers of the Almighty. The priests of Vorinism are called ardents and are divided into Devotaries. Vorinism has a large impact on the culture of Alethkar. Alethi each chooses a profession and an attribute of the Almighty to emulate: a Calling and a Glory. These can be changed during life but it is generally frowned upon culturally. Soulcasting is considered sacred to the Alethi and so only the ardents are permitted to use Soulcasting fabrials.
Each Princedom is synonymous with the highprince who rules it.
- Kholin princedom
- In the east of Alethkar
- Sadeas princedom
- In the north-west of Alethkar
- Aladar princedom
- In the north of Alethkar
- Roion princedom
- In the north-east of Alethkar
- Vamah princedom
- In the north-west of Alethkar
- Ruthar princedom
- In the west of Alethkar
- Thanadal princedom
- In the center of Alethkar
- Hatham princedom
- In the west of Alethkar
- Bethab princedom
- In the south-west of Alethkar
- Sebarial princedom
- In the south of Alethkar
- Eastern Crownlands
- In southeast Alethkar
|Chain of command|
|In companies made solely of lighteyes, the rank "lieutenant" is used as the equivalent of sergeant.|
The modern Alethi army is one of the strongest military forces on Roshar with well over 100,000 troops and over thirty Shardbearers. The army employs most of its troops as spearmen and archers, as well as a very small amount of cavalry due to the rarity of horses on Roshar; only the officers wield swords because, according to Vorin traditions, the sword is regarded as a lighteyed's weapon. Under most circumstances, military service is voluntary, though the leaders of the army has the right of conscription for darkeyes that do not provide an essential function to a community (e.g. a town's only surgeon) when they feel there is need for additional troops. It is extremely rare for a darkeyed soldier to rise higher than the rank of squadleader. Lighteyed officers that have the command of a branch of the army are usually referred by their duties (e.g. cavalrylord, infantrylord).
Despite Alethkar being a monarchy, the king has very little actual say in how the military is run and does not directly command any force other than the 250-strong King's Guard. The troops are sworn to and led by their individual highprinces. In that sense, Alethkar army is not truly a unified army, but a loose coalition between ten smaller armies. Indeed, even in wartime, there is constant in-fighting between the highprinces' armies, and cooperation between the highprinces themselves is seen as a weakness; this is bolstered by the tenets of Vorinism that say the purpose of life is to prepare in order to join the Heralds in the fight to regain the Tranquiline Halls and Alethi belief that everything is a competition in life.
Because of the immense size of the army and the difficulty of travel, Soulcasting plays a vital role in supplying the army with wood, metal, food, and many other necessities, as well as being used in building fortifications. The king controls most of the Soulcaster ardents; in fact, manipulating the highprinces with his Soulcasters is one of the ways that the king maintains a control over them.
Recently, in an effort to truly unify the kingdom, Dalinar Kholin has been appointed as the Highprince of War by the king. This title was used in Alethkar before being fragmented into ten princedoms when each highprince was given the ultimate authority over one aspect of the governing of the kingdom. On paper, this gives Kholin authority over all war-related activities.
- Alethi are modeled on half Asian and half Hawaiian people, and according to Brandon, picturing Alethi as looking east-Indian works very well.
- The Way of Kings chapter 23
- Map of Roshar
- The Way of Kings prologue
- The Way of Kings chapter 28
- The Way of Kings chapter 22
- The Way of Kings chapter 60
- The Way of Kings chapter 6
- Words of Radiance chapter 5
- The Way of Kings chapter 44
- The Way of Kings chapter 47
- The Way of Kings chapter 26
- The Way of Kings chapter 54
- The Way of Kings chapter 15
- The Way of Kings chapter 69
- Steelheart Portland signing
— Arcanum - 2013-10-08#