Order of Bondsmiths
|Order of Bondsmiths|
|Spren||Nightwatcher, Stormfather, Sibling|
|Surges||Tension & Adhesion|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
The Bondsmiths are Surgebinders who use the Surges of Tension and Adhesion, and they are associated with the heliodor polestone.  They form a Nahel Bond with one of three unique spren: the Stormfather, the Nightwatcher, and the Sibling. The exact nature of the Nahel Bond that Bondsmiths share with their specific spren is unclear; it may or may not be similar to other orders of the Knights Radiant. Historically one of the most exalted orders of Radiants, the Bondsmiths are Surgebinders of extraordinary power that were refounded following the Recreance by Dalinar Kholin.
While each order of Radiants contains a variety of personalities within it, those who join the Bondsmiths generally subscribe to a philosophy of peace and unity. They seek unity at all scales, from uniting the highprinces in a single kingdom in one purpose, to uniting the kingdoms of the world in the face of the True Desolation. This philosophy is reflected in their Ideals, which are generally themed around unity. Bringing people together is their highest calling and their most important duty as Radiants. Among the other orders, the Bondsmiths are generally the most respected and celebrated of Radiants. The role of the Bondsmiths serve as the heart and soul of the Radiants makes them some of the most respected and celebrated of the Knights, making their protection and safety a paramount concern.
Ideals of the Bondsmiths
The Ideals of the Knights Radiant, also known as the Immortal Words, are a set of rules by which the Radiant lives that grant them increasing power as they are sworn. The First Ideal is shared by all of the orders, and is used as a motto for the Knights Radiant as a whole. Each of the order then has an additional four Ideals that are unique to that order. The Ideals of the Order of Bondsmiths all focus on uniting people. However, the uniqueness of the Bondsmith spren means that each individual's specific Ideals may take various forms depending on the spren they are bonding and the situation. Only the first three Ideals of the Bondsmiths are known.
The First Ideal
”Life before death, strength before weakness, journey before destination.—The First Ideal of the Knights Radiant.
The Bondsmiths share the first ideal with all other orders of Radiants, which serves as the motto of the organization as a whole. The words are broadly interpreted to state the value of life, the importance of strength and service and the importance of the methods by which one accomplishes a task.
The Second Ideal
”I will unite instead of divide. I will bring men together.
The Second Ideal of the Bondsmiths reflects the specific focus of the order, seeking to follow the path of Honor by bringing together disparate groups and serving as a peacemaker. This ideal is broad, indicating that a Bondsmith is to work towards unity in groups at all scales from individuals to kingdoms.
The Third Ideal
”I will take responsibility for what I have done. If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man.—The Third Ideal of the Bondsmiths, as sworn by Dalinar Kholin.
The main focus of this Ideal is becoming a better person over time. There may be other interpretation of this Ideal that have yet to be explored.
”No Radiant is capable of more than you. Yours is the power of Connection, of joining men and worlds, minds and souls. Your Surges are the greatest of all, though they will be impotent if you seek to wield them for mere battle.
The Bondsmiths have access to Tension, the Surge of Soft Axial Interconnection, and Adhesion, the Surge of Pressure and Vacuum. While this is simply stated, the powers of the Bondsmiths are many and varied and may not be easily definable as one Surge or another. Although they are capable of performing the same mundane abilities they share with their adjacent orders, the powers of the Bondsmiths are generally used in very different ways. Their ability to manipulate Connection gives them great influence over the nature of oaths, bonds, and power. Their access to raw levels of Investiture is the greatest among the orders of Radiants.
Generally speaking powers shared between two orders of Radiants may vary somewhat, but each individual Knight has powers generally similar to those of another member of their order. However, each Bondsmith has abilities and traits unique to the spren they bond. This makes a generalized discussion of the common powers of a Bondsmith more complex than other orders. Some powers may be associated with the Stormfather's Bondsmith alone and are only true following the Splintering of the Shard Honor and the subsequent alteration of the Stormfather. Some abilities may only be functional when used in conjunction with a Radiant from another order. Others may only be accessible because restrictions imposed on Surgebinding by Honor have vanished following the Shard's death. Each Bondsmith seems to make use of a different variety of Light to fuel their abilities, the Stormfather's Bondsmith uses Stormlight, the Sibling's Towerlight, and presumably the Nightwatcher grants her Bondsmith Lifelight. It is also worth noting that while Bondsmiths may be among the most powerful Radiants, at least in terms of access to quantities of raw Investiture, they generally speaking are not effective in a combat role. Their powers are more subtle and but also wider reaching than those of a Radiant with different Surges.
”And Honor's Truest Surge, the Surge of Binding and Oaths, could still work.—The Sibling describing the Surge of Adhesion
Adhesion is a very broadly defined ability for the Bondsmiths, allowing for a range of powers that it grants to the Bondsmiths to manipulate Connection, both in a Physical sense as well as in a Spiritual sense. As Bondsmiths are generally not an order that is combat-oriented, their manipulation of Connection is far more relevant to their role as Radiants. Adhesion grants the Bondsmith access to a far greater suite of abilities that are not shared with the Windrunners, the other Radiants with access to Adhesion.
- Physical Adhesion
Using the power often referred to as a Full Lashing, a Bondsmith can will a pool or a spray of Light onto an object or surface. All other objects that subsequently touch this area will be bonded to the object, sticking them there together so strongly that most materials would fail themselves before the the Lashing would fail. The bond ends when the Light runs out. This Surge has some limited applications in combat, such as sticking an enemy's boots to the ground to throw them off balance and hinder their movement or sticking their spear to a shield, disarming them. The Radiant may use this Lashing to stick objects to others, it is unable to adhere something to the Radiant making use of the Lashing though. This specific power is rarely employed by Bondsmiths.
- Spiritual Adhesion and Broader Manipulation of Connection
”I was not certain it could be done. The power of Bondsmiths was tempered by Honor, for the good of all. Ever since the destruction of Ashyn.
The Surge of Adhesion may also be used to create spiritual Connections rather than manipulating forces in the Physical Realm. Using Spiritual Adhesion a Bondsmith may touch another person, will Stormlight into them, and forge a Connection to that person. This allows the Bondsmith to speak that person's native language. The Connection is temporary, it fades within a few days unless it is renewed again. Whether the Surgebinder must remain physically close to this other person for the Connection to persist is unknown. Spiritual Adhesion is not capable of allowing a Bondsmith to make use of any other of a person's abilities that are not language-related. The power bears a great similarity to other applications of Connection such as duralumin Feruchemy on Scadrial.
Once the restrictions placed on Surgebinding by Honor were lifted following the Shard's death, Bondsmiths are free to manipulate Connection much more directly than they have been able to previously. A knowledgeable Bondsmith may be able to use these Connections offensively, Connecting enemy Surgebinders to Roshar so that the Stormlight believes the planet to be a part of the bodies and is sucked into the ground. It is uncertain if this power was accessible before Honor's death. This power leaves the recipient feeling drained afterward. Another power that only became available to the Bondsmiths in Honor's final days is the ability to directly see Connections that tie all people to one another and reality. When touching another's forehead, their Connections become faintly visible as dozens of minute tiny white lines stretching off into the distance. While a Bondsmith can visualize these Connections, they are not able to be altered in any useful way. A Bondsmith may see more specialized Connections as well, such as the Connections between the Heralds that make up the Oathpact. Under some circumstances a Bondsmith can see flashes of a Herald's past by touching them. A knowledgeable Bondsmith may directly manipulate more specialized Connections to steal something like a Nahel bond or the mantle of a champion, both of which were previously forbidden by Honor.
”But you must have Connection for a vision. You must have a reason for it. A meaning. It cannot be just anything.—The Stormfather to Dalinar
Another power related to the Bondsmiths is the ability to create and view immersive real-seeming visions of events real and imagined. It is uncertain whether this ability is exclusive to the Stormfather's Bondsmith. For the Stormfather's Bondsmith this is an ability that progresses with the ideals. Initially the Bondsmith is brought into the visions each storm without their consent, and the visions may be confusing and difficult to understand at first, acting out their actions inside the visions in real life as well. As time progresses, they later may cease having to act out the visions. While eventually the Bondsmith may enter a vision at any point, he may only bring along others who are inside of a highstorm.
Initially the Stormfather may grant a specific set of visions crafted by Honor prior to his death to instruct a future Bondsmith in the fight against Odium. Eventually a Bondsmith may create their own visions for others to experience. These visions involve forging a Connection between a person and something of significance that they are Connected to, perhaps something they desire, a hope or a wish, such as when Dalinar grants Kaladin his vision of Tien. The person that experiences the vision may need to be in a highstorm in order for the Bondsmith to create the Connection for a vision. These visions may occur in an instant, as time slows during the centerbeat of the highstorm.
Those who see these visions are in some way experiencing the Spiritual Realm, but the Cognitive Realm is also involved to provide a framework for what appears and allow for Spiritual Realm to be comprehensible. Any intelligent personalities that exist in the vision are comprised of Investiture that has interacted with the Cognitive Realm in order to come to life and be capable of intelligent response. This power can allow someone to interact with historic figures long dead or speak to deceased loved ones for a moment or two. When these visions show people who have passed into the Beyond, it is ambiguous whether these minds are truly allow the dead to speak from the Beyond or whether the Stormfather's knowledge and Connection allows him to convincingly mimic their personalities.
A similar ability that the Stormfather can grant is riding the storms, in which a person can join him and view the land from the perspective of a highstorm as it passes over the continent of Roshar. The person riding the storm with the Stormfather may be capable of seeing even more details of the terrain below the highstorm than the Stormfather himself. It appears that his bonded Radiant may exercise even more control over these visions than a normal person allowed to ride the storm. When his Radiant rides the storm, the Radiant may control it if the Stormfather allows him, and can even go backwards against the force of the storm, although this pains the Stormfather greatly. When in this state a Bondsmith is even capable of accept a Radiant's oath in the Stormfather's stead. The ability of the Sibling's Bondsmith to see and comprehend the mechanisms of Urithiru may be related, it represents a similar expansion of the Radiant's perception and knowledge of the Tower in a similar way to someone riding the highstorm. It also allows for the Radiant to speak through the veins of garnet in the Tower, much as the Sibling does.
The Surge of Tension can be manipulated by the Surgebinder to alter the stiffness of an object, rendering flexible materials rigid. This is a power that has not been explored greatly and it is uncertain how relevant its applications are to the Bondsmiths, although used in conjunction with other abilities it is partially responsible for the Bondsmith ability to repair inanimate objects.
- Spren and Shards
”Are there others, though? Spren like you, or the Nightwatcher? Spren that are shadows of gods?—Dalinar Kholin to the Stormfather
Each Bondsmith shares a Nahel bond with one of three unique spren: the Stormfather, the Nightwatcher, and the Sibling. These spren are all sort of the same type, but obviously have substantial differences between them as well. The sheer power of the various Bondsmith spren allows them to violate the normal rules governing the true spren bonded to other orders. The Bondsmith spren are more omnipresent and can be located great distances from their Radiants while still granting them powers and speaking directly into their minds, as they are much more widely Connected than other Radiant spren. Bondsmiths typically do not have access to a Shardblade, although it is possible to force the essence of their bonded spren into the Physical Realm in a way that allows them to activate Oathgates. This is an uncomfortable and even dangerous thing to do, perhaps risking killing the spren, and has only been observed with the Stormfather. However, like typical Radiant spren, Bondsmith spren are still vulnerable if their bonded Radiant betrays their oaths. While Bondsmiths do not have access to a Blade, there is evidence that they may manifest a suit of Shardplate, perhaps comprised of gloryspren, although this is not confirmed. Additionally, following the death of Honor, the Stormfather's Bondsmith has the ability to release Odium from his confinement if they so choose, as they hold a large remnant of Honor's power and authority.
- Generating Investiture and Opening a Perpendicularity
As Bondsmiths are deeply Connected to powerful spren that serve as sources of Investiture, unlike other Radiants they are capable of pulling through Investiture on demand, each spren allowing access to its associated Light. They may use this ability to overcharge another Radiant with Light directly This process is physically taxing for the Bondsmith. However, as most Radiants primarily make use of Stormlight, this is perhaps most useful for the Stormfather's Bondsmith, although the other Bondsmiths can still generate their respective Lights for personal use. It is uncertain how exactly this is done, but it is not necessary for the Bondsmith to be holding some Light already in order to pull more over into the Physical Realm. The exact mechanics of this ability are unknown, but it seems most likely that they are pulling it directly from the Spiritual Realm.
Another power that has only become available to a Bondsmith following Honor's demise is the ability to open a full perpendicularity, seemingly an expansion of the ability to generate Investiture. Of the three Radiants, only the Stormfather's Bondsmith has been confirmed to be able to summon Honor's Perpendicularity, which itself is typically mobile. It is uncertain if the Sibling's Bondsmith or the Nightwatcher's Bondsmith can also summon perpendicularities, although the fact that the wielder of the Blade of the Bondsmiths may also summon a perpendicularity lends credence to the possibility that the other Bondsmiths may do the same.
- Repairing inanimate objects
In a somewhat unique expression of their power, a Bondsmith may use their control over both their Surges as well as their unique affinity for Connection to repair inanimate objects. During this process they may sense and hear the Cognitive aspects of certain damaged objects around them. With some combination of physical effort, as well as this power, they can fix the damage completely. It has been suggested that this ability may have restrictions to Progression-based healing wherein it is easier to heal those who are recently wounded, before the soul becomes accustomed to the wound. While this ability may seem niche, it is useful for a Bondsmith wishing to assist very directly in the repair of cities damaged in battle, allowing the Bondsmith to restore historical works of art and buildings to their former state.
- Synergy with other Radiants
Another power unique to the Bondsmiths is their ability to work jointly with other Radiants to create effects that neither could manage independently. A Bondsmith has a unique interaction with the Radiants of each order, and it may even be that the specifics of these joint abilities vary between each Bondsmith spren. When a joint power may be used, both Radiants feel a tugging or leaping sensation towards one another. These joint powers only appear to be active when the Radiants are physically together, although there may be some way around this requirement. It is uncertain where this power comes from, although it may be the Resonance of the Bondsmiths. Only one such specific synergy is known; the Stormfather's Bondsmith may work in tandem with a Lightweaver to create a three-dimensional projection of Roshar as it appeared to the Stormfather the last time a highstorm passed over the continent. This map behaves like any other illusion that is created by a Lightweaver, its appearance may be altered and it may collapse if the Radiant is distracted or if the illusion is touched.
The origin of the Bondsmiths is less clear than other orders. While the term is generally used to refer to the order of Knights Radiant, the term Bondsmith predates the order, seemingly though still referring to a person with a similar powerset. An ancient Bondsmith bound Surges and brought the human refugees from Ashyn to Roshar. Following the destruction of that world, Honor placed limits on the powers of the Bondsmiths. The Bondsmith Ishar served as founder of the Oathpact, and a Bondsmith discovered or created the Nahel bond. This ancient Bondsmith may have been Ishar, although it is uncertain what granted him the powers of a Bondsmith prior to becoming a Herald.
The order of Radiants known as the Bondsmiths was founded by the Herald Ishar during the cycle of Desolations, who also served as the order's patron. The Bondsmiths along with the other orders helped in the fight each Desolation against the Voidbringers. As becoming a Bondsmith is contingent on convincing one of only three unique spren to bond with a person, the Bondsmiths commonly had no more than three full members, making them the smallest of the orders. Additionally, this number varied over the centuries and there have been times where there was only one Bondsmith. That is not to say that there were no others who considered themselves to be Bondsmiths. Bondsmiths could have squires themselves, although this may not have been the norm. Additionally, the Bondsmiths were surrounded by attendants and protectors, who were generally considered to be members of the order. Some even swore Bondsmith oaths as well, despite the fact that this would grant them no powers. Some considered this to be the purest form of Radiance, for the oaths were sworn for the love of the oaths themselves. The Bondsmith's focus was generally on unity and peacemaking, presumably during and between Desolations. Instead of using their powers in an active combat role, they helped resolve disputes between nations and set up functioning governments in regions where none existed. Bondsmiths also helped keep the peace between the various orders of Radiants, who often clashed and squabbled with one another.
”We are uncertain the effects this will have on the parsh. At the very least, it should deny them forms of power. Melishi is confident, but Naze-daughter-Kuzodo warns of unintended side effects.—Drawer 30-20, fifth emerald
The Bondsmiths persisted following Aharietiam, but their post-Desolation role is unclear. They likely continued to help in the struggles against the remaining singers. By the time of the False Desolation, only one true Bondsmith, Melishi, existed sworn to the Sibling. As a part of the plan to defeat Ba-Ado-Mishram, Melishi used his powers to imprison the Unmade in a Perfect gemstone, and likely assisted with the capture of Re-Shephir. This action damaged the Sibling, leaving them unable to hear the Rhythm of the Tower and create their own Light. The events of the Recreance followed shortly thereafter, and the fate of Melishi is uncertain, although his bond to the Sibling was ended prior to the Recreance. It is known however that the order of Bondsmiths was disbanded at this point.
No known Bondsmiths were sworn for centuries, although the Stormfather was given the task in Honor's final days of choosing a new Bondsmith. It is uncertain how often this happened, but ultimately over the course of the following millenia, the Stormfather chose fewer than ten people to show the visions. By 1167 Gavilar Kholin had begun seeing visions and had developed at least a tentative bond with the Stormfather. This bond ended when the king was assassinated by Szeth on the orders of the listeners. At some point in the intervening years, his brother Dalinar was chosen by the Stormfather and by 1173 he had begun receiving visions of his own. At the start of 1174 he swore the first two Ideals and formally bonded the Stormfather.
Over the next several months Dalinar spent his time acting very similarly to historical Bondsmiths, uniting a coalition of monarchs against the Voidbringer threat, bringing together the Vorin monarchs with the Azish and their surrounding countries. While there were some challenges to his authority, Dalinar managed to successfully coordinate the defense of Thaylen City by swearing the third Ideal and learning to open Honor's Perpendicularity and trap Nergaoul using his Bondsmith abilities. As Bondsmith, Dalinar was able to speak on Honor's behalf and challenge Odium to a duel of champions, which he accepted, before fleeing at the end of the battle.
Dalinar remained the only bonded Bondsmith for the following year. This changed in 1175 when the Sibling took notice of Navani Kholin's fabrials and ended their seclusion to speak to her and a few humans as the singers captured Urithiru. While initially unwilling to consider another bond with a human, who the Sibling found to be untrustworthy, ultimately the Sibling chose to bond Navani Kholin before they could be fully transformed into an Unmade by Raboniel. Using her knowledge of the rhythms and Light she was able to summon Towerlight to restore the functions of Urithiru and repair the damage inflicted on the Sibling by the Fused's interference. It is uncertain if this bond has fully restored the Sibling to their previous self or if the damage caused by the capture of Ba-Ado-Mishram remains.
- Melishi (Ancient Bondsmith)
- Dalinar Kholin (bonded to the Stormfather)
- Navani Kholin (bonded to the Sibling)
”But as for the Bondsmiths, they had members only three, which number was not uncommon for them; nor did they seek to increase this by great bounds, for during the times of Madasa, only one of their order was in continual accompaniment of Urithiru and its thrones. Their spren was understood to be specific, and to persuade them to grow to the magnitude of the other orders was seen as seditious.
Melishi retired to his tent, and resolved to destroy the Voidbringers upon the next day, but that night did present a different stratagem, related to the unique abilities of the Bondsmiths; and being hurried, he could make no specific account of his process; it was related to the very nature of the Heralds and their divine duties, an attribute the Bondsmiths alone could address. ”So
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