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Alethkar

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Alethkar
Ethnicity Alethi
Capital Kholinar
Ruler King Elhokar
World Roshar
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, Alethkar possesses many Shardblades, like Jah Keved.[1]

Geography[edit]

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.[2]

History[edit]

Alethkar was founded as Alethela in the Silver Kingdoms Epoch. It survived the Desolations, but at an unknown point was fractured into the Princedoms.

Under this system, the ten highprinces acted as kings of their own lands, with no unifying government. The Sunmaker united the highprinces[3] and stopped the Hierocracy, but eventually the government split again. 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.

When Gavilar was assassinated[4] 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.

Culture[edit]

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.[5]

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.

The word Mathana is a formal term for an older sister,[6] and for "aunt" it is Mashala.[7]

Religion[edit]

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.

Princedoms[edit]

Alethi Princedoms

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

Military[edit]

Chain of command
Unit Soldiers Typical Commander
subsquad 6–8 sergeant
squad ~25 squadleader
platoon ~50 captain/captainlord
company ~100 companylord
battalion ~1000 battalionlord
division ~2000 general
army highprince
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[8] and over thirty Shardbearers.[9] 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;[8] only the officers wield swords because, according to Vorin traditions, the sword is regarded as a lighteyed's weapon.[4] 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.[10] It is extremely rare for a darkeyed soldier to rise higher than the rank of squadleader.[11] Lighteyed officers that have the command of a branch of the army are usually referred by their duties (e.g. cavalrylord, infantrylord).[12]

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.[9] 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,[11] and cooperation between the highprinces themselves is seen as a weakness;[13] 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.[14]

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.[14]

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.[15]

Notable Alethi[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • Alethi are modeled on half Asian and half Hawaiian people, and according to Brandon, picturing Alethi as looking east-Indian works very well.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. The Way of Kings chapter 23
  2. Map of Roshar
  3. The Way of Kings chapter 24
  4. a b The Way of Kings prologue
  5. The Way of Kings chapter 28
  6. The Way of Kings chapter 22
  7. The Way of Kings chapter 60
  8. a b The Way of Kings chapter 6
  9. a b Words of Radiance chapter 5
  10. The Way of Kings chapter 44
  11. a b The Way of Kings chapter 47
  12. The Way of Kings chapter 26
  13. The Way of Kings chapter 54
  14. a b The Way of Kings chapter 15
  15. The Way of Kings chapter 69
  16. If someone from Earth saw an Alethi, what ethnicity would they assume they were?
    — Tumblr post (kogiopsis) - 2014-06-??
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