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Coalition of monarchs

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Coalition of monarchs
Founder Dalinar Kholin
Leaders Dalinar Kholin, Navani Kholin, Jasnah Kholin, Fen Rnamdi, Yanagawn, Taravangian (formerly)
Headquarters Urithiru
Era True Desolation
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

In another time, a united coalition of Alethi, Veden, Thaylen, and Azish forces would have been the most incredible thing to have happened in generations. Unfortunately, it was only possible in response to greater marvels--and threats.

The coalition of monarchs[2] is a coalition of several nations on Roshar dedicated to opposing Odium's forces in the True Desolation. Founded by Dalinar Kholin after the Battle of Narak, it currently consists of Urithiru, Alethkar, Thaylenah, Azir and its member states, and Herdaz, though Alethkar and Herdaz are occupied by the Fused. Prior to Taravangian's betrayal, it also includes Jah Keved and Kharbranth.[1][3]

The coalition's major military conflicts include the Battle of Thaylen Field and an offensive in which they regain Emul from Odium's army.[4][5] Their navy successfully controls the southern seas of Roshar.[6] The coalition also sanctions a diplomatic mission to Lasting Integrity to treat with the honorspren and successfully retakes Urithiru after its occupation by the Fused.[1][7] Dalinar makes a binding agreement on behalf of the coalition to settle the conflict with Odium by means of a contest of champions to take place at Urithiru on the tenth day of the month Palah, 1175.[8]

History[edit]

Founding (1174)[edit]

It's just so big, son. How can I unite all of Roshar when I’ve never even visited many of these kingdoms?

—Dalinar to Renarin[9]

Dalinar Kholin was inspired to create the coalition of monarchs after the Battle of Narak when reviewing one of Honor's visions with the Stormfather. After seeing a massive figure bathed in golden light with nine shadows, Dalinar was imbued with a sense of urgency to unite the nations of Roshar.[10] From his new home in Urithiru, Dalinar discussed with his family how to begin approaching the other nations. He and Shallan formed a three dimensional map out of Stormlight for the first time, which gave Dalinar the leap in inspiration he needed to decide to focus on the kingdoms and cities with Oathgates first.[9]

Locations of the Oathgates

First to Respond[edit]

With this decided, Dalinar assembled a small team to help him: Aladar and his daughter May, Navani, Kalami, Teshav Khal, and two of Teshav's senior wards. The first ruler they reached out to via spanreed was Yanagawn, the emperor of Makabak and king of Azir. He and his advisors, recalcitrant and obviously suspicious of Dalinar, rebuffed every invitation to visit Urithiru and broke off communication abruptly when Dalinar began speaking more forcefully. Queen Fen of Thaylenah herself conversed with the group next, bluntly asking after Dalinar's true intentions. She also refused to come to Urithiru and even denied Dalinar's offer to send Alethi troops to help her rebuild Thaylen City from the destruction left by the Everstorm.[11] The team spoke with Queen Fen and the Azish multiple other times but made no headway.[12] They also approached the rulers of Yezier and Tashikk but were turned down. However, King Taravangian sent a message accepting his invitation and saying that he and one of his Radiants would arrive at a later date via the Oathgate in Jah Keved.[11] The queen of Iri wrote back to Dalinar one day and reported that the ruling triumvirate had agreed to side with the Voidbringers. Positing that the Kholins had stolen Evi's Shardplate, she categorically refused to listen to Dalinar unless he wanted to return the set of Plate.[13]

Aside from those rulers, Dalinar's group reached out to several others. Neither Marabethia nor Rira responded; Babatharnam was evasive; the other Makabaki states were waiting for Azir to decide; Shinovar sent congratulations but no real answer; and the Reshi Isles and other small states didn't really have a leader to contact. The Herdazians didn't trust Dalinar, and the Tukari scribes delayed in bringing his message to their god-king, Tezim.[12] New Natanan was evasive at first as well but then began to warm up.[12][14]

Bah! Fools, idiots! Storming lighteyes and Damnation's own politics!

—A frustrated Dalinar[11]

Taravangian and his retinue were the first to visit Urithiru. When Dalinar was forced to admit that he had so far failed to recruit any other nations, Taravangian assumed that Dalinar then meant to conquer the others by force. He was prepared to assist, despite Dalinar's explanations that he meant to use diplomacy.[12] With Taravangian's presence in the tower, Dalinar called for a meeting to discuss expanding the coalition, focusing on Thaylenah and Azir as the most important allies. Dalinar deduced from what they knew of the enemy's movements that they were indeed trying to capture the Oathgates and predicted that they would attack Azir or Jah Keved next.[15] After the meeting was interrupted, the group received Azir's decisive answer: a resolution to seal off and destroy their Oathgate. Teshav contacted Queen Fen again at Dalinar's request, but the queen also made one more refusal to join.[14]

Visions[edit]

Yanagawn: "We fought together. "
Dalinar: "How else could we have resisted? To fight the Desolation alone would be madness. "

―In the Stormfather's vision[16]

Dalinar discovered that the Stormfather could bring others into Honor's visions to meet with him,[14] resulting in a series of face-to-face interviews with some of the reluctant monarchs. He brought Queen Fen into the Starfalls vision, and when the two of them spoke, Fen explained her mistrust of Dalinar, drawing a parallel to Sadees. This provoked an outburst from Dalinar; his passion began to convince her in a way that his previous diplomatic efforts had not, and he saw that he was starting to make progress with her.[17] Indeed, she asked to visit a different vision by herself at the next highstorm.[18]

Dalinar met with Yanagawn next in the vision of the Day of Recreance. He, too, was fearful of Dalinar largely because of Sadees' actions in the past. Dalinar countered his arguments, but the conversation ended prematurely with Lift's inexplicable arrival.[16] He brought Yanagawn there again during another highstorm, and they had a frank conversation about the viziers' opinion of Dalinar and Yanagawn feeling like just a puppet of theirs.[19] Yanagawn left, but then Odium appeared in the vision to speak with Dalinar. Having spied on that conversation, Lift emerged at the end and told him that she would convince Yanagawn to visit Urithiru.[20]

Thaylenah and Azir[edit]

Queen Fen agreed to let Dalinar, Taravangian, and a small company from Urithiru activate the Oathgate in Thaylen City and come visit.[21] Realizing that though he was making progress with Fen herself, he also had to win over the other influential factions of the city, Dalinar organized a duel with her son. He allowed the young man to stab him, healing the wound with Stormlight and proclaiming to the watching crowd that he really did come with diplomatic intentions. However, it was his labor to rebuild the Temple of Talenelat and the healing done by the hastily summoned Renarin that finally convinced Fen to join the coalition.[22]

Fen also gave Dalinar some advice on how to approach the Azish. At her suggestion, he went to Azimir alone, armed only with a set of writings by herself, Navani, and Jasnah that each presented a different argument.[23] Yanagawn and the viziers were highly impressed by the essays; not only did they agree to visit Urithiru, but they agreed to bring as many representatives of their member states as they could.[24] Taravangian took them on a tour of Urithiru and received from them a promise that they would return to discuss joining the coalition.[25]

War Efforts (1174 - 1175)[edit]

I know of no other conference like this in the history of Roshar. Perhaps they were common in the days of the Knights Radiant, but certainly nothing like it has occurred since the Recreance.

Navani beginning the first meeting[26]

First Meeting of Monarchs[edit]

At the first meeting of monarchs in Urithiru, Navani asked each one to carry their own chair to the gathering as a symbol of equality and of bringing wisdom to the meeting. The attending rulers and dignitaries were: Dalinar and Navani, as founders of the coalition and rulers of Urithiru; Alethi Queen Jasnah Kholin; Yanagawn, the prime of Azir; Vexil the Wise, the prime of Emul; Ashno of Sages; the princess of Yezier; the ambassador from Tashikk; the highprinces of Alethkar; Queen Fen of Thaylenah; Taravangian; and Au-nak, the Natan ambassador. Most of the Radiants from the respective nations also attended, as well as a host of support staff, scribes, interpreters, guards, and family.[26]

Dalinar had asked Navani to lead the meeting, so she attempted to moderate the discussion as Emul began by asking for help. The conversation segued into discussions about tariffs and then fixated on apprehension of the emerging Radiant powers. Ialai Sadeas made it seem that the Alethi were looking to invade Shinovar, after which the discussion fell into chaotic arguing. Trying to reclaim order, Navani approached Yanagawn and asked what he thought the strength of his kingdom was. Upon hearing his answer--their laws--she assigned the Azish the task of drafting bylaws to regulate the interactions of the nations in the coalition. When Queen Fen objected, Navani explained that the Thaylens' expertise in merchandise and shipping meant that they should be the ones to take care of regulating trade through the Oathgates. The Alethi, she said, would oversee the military aspects of the coalition. They decided first to ensure they could control the lands they still held before trying to retake anything else. Taravangian, worried that the enemy was coming for Jah Keved, was reassured that the Alethi would send troops to help defend the city. Dalinar asked for another nation to send troops as well, as a show of solidarity, and Azir agreed. Navani called for a break at that point, and the various groups sounded much more encouraged as they began talking among themselves.[26]

Dissolution[edit]

I've done it. I've united them, Stormfather. I’ve kept my oath, and have brought men together, instead of dividing them.

—Dalinar[27]

Dalinar himself went to Vedenar to take stock of the situation before sending troops to the area, but he suffered a personal crisis during the visit that drove him to seclude himself another few days.[28] During this time, the coalition held several more meetings. On the day the coalition gathered to discuss tactics regarding sending troops to Jah Keved, the other members told Taravangian he was not needed at the meeting. He met up with Dalinar, and together they arrived late to the meeting in the Gallery of Maps. Aladar, who was leading the meeting, explained the plans they had made so far. Dalinar realized that they were making a mistake to think that Odium's forces would move against Jah Keved. He persuaded the others that the true target was Thaylen City. Fen's son pointed out that they needed their own fleet of ships, not just a force of infantry occupying the city, so they hatched a plan to man extra Veden ships with Tashikki sailors augmented by the best Alethi troops.[29]

The next meeting convened in the temple of Talenelat in Thaylen City itself. The group spoke of the status of their fleet of ships and of their other defenses in the city. About an hour into the meeting, a messenger delivered papers to Jasnah and everyone's spanreeds started blinking as they all received news of an unexpected, more violent than usual, Everstorm. Dalinar called for a break, but soon each group spoke up about some troubling news they had received. There were three pieces of information that had been carefully leaked to the nations by Taravangian and the Diagram, each incriminating Dalinar or his mission in forming the coalition in a way that specifically attacked each group's latent suspicions:

  • The Alethi and, seemingly, Taravangian's group received a report about the scholars who worked with translating the ancient Dawnchant; a recently translated section called the Eila Stele revealed that singers were the original inhabitants of Roshar and humans the invaders.
  • The Thaylens heard that Elhokar had sworn to Dalinar as his emperor.
  • The Azish received accounts of two new visions of Dalinar's where he had met and spoken with Odium.

The meeting devolved into chaos, with everyone's trust in Dalinar and the purpose behind the coalition broken.[27]

Reformation[edit]

"Then you can see that we're being manipulated."


"Manipulated by the truth, Kholin."

Dalinar and Queen Fen[30]

Dalinar left the meeting, unable to make any headway in defending himself, and the rest remained for a while to discuss the new information. The Azish decided to abandon the coalition, despite agreeing with Jasnah's observation that the messages received in the meeting all came at once and seemed too targeted to be coincidental. Taravangian also decided that he would leave the coalition. Queen Fen recognized that the Thaylens still needed the Alethi army to help protect the city, so she opted to stay with him, though she wasn't happy about it.[30] Before the coalition could disband their flotilla and send the ships and sailors back to their respective countries, however, the enemy sailed in under the cover of the Everstorm.[31] The Alethi and the Thaylens successfully defended Thaylen City from Odium and his army, due in large part to Dalinar's own efforts.[4]

The Azish group boarded a ship before the advent of the Everstorm, and as they sheltered in Vtlar Cove, they received news from the city that the Alethi troops had turned on the Thaylens. This convinced them for a while that Dalinar had indeed been influenced by the enemy, even though the Alethi in question were only the troops under Amaram's leadership who had been corrupted by Nergaoul.[32] They presumably received fresh news after the conclusion of the battle, as they joined the rest of the restored coalition in Urithiru some days later, interested in rejoining but demanding assurances that Dalinar could control his troops before they made a commitment.[33]

Taravangian met up with Dalinar after the conclusion of the Battle of Thaylen Field. He admitted that he had abandoned the fight but argued that his choice had been made in the best interest of Roshar, as he would have been in prime position to take control of the coalition when Dalinar, as he assumed was inevitable, fell.[34] He confessed to Dalinar his role in the streak of assassinations that had been taking place the preceding year, a small amount of honesty calculated to regain a little of Dalinar's trust so he could remain with the coalition.[34][33]

The coalition, including Azir, which had not yet officially committed to them yet, met in Urithiru several days after the battle, and those involved in military planning met together to study Dalinar and Shallan's map. After highlighting friendly, enemy-controlled, and neutral areas in different colors, the generals argued that at that point Tu Bayla was logically the best tactical area to invade next.[33]

Alliance with Herdaz[edit]

The world becomes an increasingly dangerous place, and so I come to the crux of my argument. We cannot afford to keep secrets from one another any longer.

Navani's lecture on fabrial mechanics[35]

During the following year, the coalition authorized an expedition to Akinah in order to investigate the myths surrounding the hidden island as well as to see if they could unlock its Oathgate. During the course of the expedition, Rysn Ftori and Cord stumbled across a cache of Soulcasters, of which the Thaylens received five and the Alethi, three.[36][37] King Ral-na visited Urithiru, seeking advice regarding his position as a Dustbringer.[38] Advances in fabrial research, including a new understanding of the role aluminum could play in conjoined gems, led to new inventions.[39] The Windrunners took to taking shifts watching over the coalition's fleets from the sky, and the coalition held control of the southern seas of Roshar after a decisive victory by the Thaylen navy.[38][6]

The coalition officially recognized Dalinar as king of Urithiru in return for his renouncement of any ambition to rule over any other monarchs,[40] and they organized more meetings to plan strategy and to share information--such as the meeting in which Navani gave a lecture on fabrial mechanics.[35] They agreed to allow Taravangian to continue participating despite his confession of his role in the assassinations of previous Azish leaders because they thought the threat that Odium presented took precedent over his crimes.[41]

Every report that reached the coalition during that time indicated that Herdaz, which was facing off against Odium's armies as they made inroads into the country, was about to fall. Because it seemed like a lost cause, the coalition declined to reach out and help them; however, the Herdazian resistance fought a much more protracted war than expected and inflicted a large casualty count before they finally had to give in. The coalition received word that the general, the Mink, was fleeing to Alethkar with other Herdazian refugees, so they sent Kaladin to intercept him in Hearthstone and extend an invitation to join the coalition.[42] At the same time, they tested out their new invention, the Fourth Bridge, by flying it to Hearthstone and loading it with the entire population of townsfolk and refugees to bring back to Urithiru.[39]

Dalinar approached the Mink privately before inviting him to a meeting of monarchs, showing him the three dimensional map of Roshar and asking his opinion of where they should make an offensive. The Mink positively warned against trying to reclaim Alethkar, instead pointing them towards Emul so the coalition could win a decisive victory while reestablishing themselves in a member's lands. Jasnah agreed with his assessment, adding that they needed a stable foothold in Makabak prior to their inevitable dealings with Shinovar.[6]

Her Majesty is storming baffled. When's the last time the lot of us all agreed on something?

Fen voting on the Emuli offensive[1]

At the next meeting, Azir promptly agreed with the proposal for an offensive into Emul. To everyone's surprise, however, Taravangian spoke up in support of the idea as well. Queen Fen added her approval, making it unanimous. They agreed they would vote on giving Herdaz a seat on the coalition if their time in Emul proved fruitful. Fen began outlining further plans they needed to make regarding the navy and received assurances of support from the Windrunners. After she brought up the issue of the lack of honorspren to the coalition, Sigzil offered the idea of sending an envoy to the Lasting Integrity to renew relations with them.[1] Assenting to the suggestion, the coalition quickly put together a group led by representatives of several orders to travel to Lasting Integrity: Adolin and Shallan, Godeke, Zu, and Arshqqam.[1][43]

Eastern Makabak, including Emul

Betrayal[edit]

The diplomatic group left for Lasting Integrity via an Oathgate transfer to Shadesmar.[43] Some days later, the coalition's army transferred to Azimir to begin their march to Emul.[44] One day during their advance, at the end of an Everstorm, Odium appeared to Taravangian and instructed him to send the orders for his army to attack the coalition. Having spent the last year quietly promoting certain men and assuring them that Jah Keved would be safe from the war, his army instantly responded. Within fifteen minutes, Alethi soldiers arrived to arrest Taravangian.[45] The alliance of Alethi and Azish soldiers in Azir fought against the Vedens, who were joined by some singers and Fused, and won relatively easily.[46] Though they made attempts to burn the coalition's supply dumps and to rescue Taravangian, Dalinar's warnings prior to the betrayal ensured that those attempts were interrupted. The coalition armies in Southern Alethkar suffered very few casualties, aided by the Thaylen navy in their retreat to Karanak. The navy then blockaded the Veden ships into their ports.[3]

During the battle against the Vedens, news reached the group in Azir of an attack at Urithiru.[46] They received reports, ostensibly from Navani, that Taravangian's scholars had triggered a device to inhibit the use of Stormlight at the same time as a separate group collapsed the tunnels underneath the tower. Camped out at Laqqi, the monarchs decided to continue with their mission in Emul while they waited for more specific news from Urithiru. As the Windrunner scouts couldn't pierce the device's barrier without coming to harm and had to rely on messengers hiking out to meet them, Dalinar instructed Sigzil to send a clandestine group of scouts to watch from a distance.[3]

Victory on Three Fronts[edit]

The coalition forces, at the direction of the Mink, pushed the enemy to Drunmu Basin. By conceding to their opponents the advantages of high ground and the sun at their backs, the coalition ensured that the enemy force would choose to stand against them as an army, believing they could win, instead of retreating to the cover of cities and buildings. The singers fielded forty thousand soldiers, but the coalition was able to face them with even more numbers. They fought for nine hours, the coalition victorious in the end. The Mink estimated that they would need another victory or two on the same scale to be able to say they were winning the war, but that first battle broke the core of the enemy's strength.[47]

After several more battles, the coalition won Emul.[5] Following the victory there, the monarchs there turned their attention to the problem of recovering Urithiru. Jasnah was convinced they needed to give up on the tower, but Yanagawn and Dalinar were united in the understanding of how important it was to their cause. Dalinar, with reluctant agreement from the other two, decided to go to Tukar to try to recruit Ishar.[48] Although they failed to recruit the Herald, in a moment of clarity brought on by Navani bonding the Sibling back in Urithiru, Ishar invited Dalinar to meet him in Shinovar. There, he hoped Dalinar could restore his sanity so he could in turn help Dalinar learn about his abilities and use them to defeat Odium.[7]

Navani and Raboniel collaborating

During the course of Urithiru's occupation, Navani Kholin elected to work with the Fused Raboniel. They sought an answer to the existence of anti-Light, which Navani believed would enable the coalition to kill Odium.[49][50] With Navani's successful discovery of anti-Voidlight, Raboniel was able to use the same method to develop anti-Stormlight.[51] Thus, Raboniel achieved her goal of finding a way to end the war for good and simultaneously gave both sides of the conflict a far superior weapon.[50][8]

While the conflicts in Emul and Urithiru were going on, the diplomatic mission to Lasting Integrity saw its own share of setbacks. Adolin, Shallan, Pattern, and Mayalaran were the only ones granted entry to the fortress, where Adolin agreed to stand trial before the honorspren to prove to them that modern humans were worthy of bonding.[52] The highprince uncovered a rift in the society of honorspren, proving that not all of them were opposed to aiding the humans.[53] In the end, Maya's revelation that the deadeyes had chosen alongside their Radiants to abandon their oaths disproved the spren's claim that humans were murderers and traitors.[54] Though this argument did not win over the entire population,[54] there was a new group willing to travel back to Urithiru to look for new humans among the coalition to bond.[55]

It is time for a true accommodation. A true ending. Do you not agree?

Odium was sufficiently frightened both by the coalition's victory in Urithiru and Dalinar's trip to visit Ishar that he approached Dalinar to set the terms for a contest of champions. The Shard read the contract Hoid had prepared and left with Dalinar, but he reacted angrily when he detected Hoid's hand in it. Explaining that he was literally unable to comply with certain terms, Odium proposed a variation in which he would be freed from the Rosharan system if he won. Dalinar decided to trust Hoid and so declined the agreement; urgent to settle the matter, Odium acceded the point and agreed to stay in the system so long as Dalinar became a Fused in the event of his loss. Realizing he was making a commitment to bind the entire coalition but unable to run it by anyone else, Dalinar agreed to the terms and set the date for the tenth day of the next month.[8] Because he planned to be his own champion, he decided to send a group to Shinovar to meet Ishar and help him recover his mind so he could aid Dalinar. In the intervening time, the coalition would need to defend their lands until the borders were settled by the fulfillment of the contract.[56]

Internal Structure[edit]

During the first few meetings of monarchs, Dalinar, Navani, or other Alethi officials lead the meetings.[26][29] Later, Noura begins leading the meetings in the place of the Kholins, as she has a calm way of doing so that everyone respects.[1] The first gathering especially is chaotic and prone to devolve into arguments, involving a lot of peacekeeping from Navani. Realizing that the meetings need more structure to them, Navani asks the Azish to draft some bylaws that would govern how the nations interact with one another.[26] This eventually results in a much more organized system in which each nation represented holds a vote on each topic, with Azir and its member states grouped together as one. The total number of votes increases to five when the coalition officially recognizes Urithiru as a separate member nation with Dalinar as its king, granting both Dalinar and Jasnah separate seats on the council.[40][1] The number goes back to four after Taravangian's betrayal and Jah Keved's withdrawal from the coalition, but the member nations are considering adding Herdaz as an official member due to the Mink's invaluable help in retaking Emul. It seems that the coalition requires unanimity among the members before acting upon a proposal.[1][48]

Resources[edit]

Without the tower, their coalition will disintegrate, as they will be unable to deliver support through the Oathgates.

Raboniel to the Nine[57]

The coalition has many resources at its disposal. Its headquarters, Urithiru, is of vital importance both because it provides a home for the displaced citizens of countries that have been captured by Odium and also because it has Oathgates which lead to various parts of the continent.[10][58] The coalition uses the Oathgates to move its army around and to resupply distant places more easily.[6][43][44] Each member brings its own special resource to contribute. For instance, Jah Keved provides its highly knowledgeable surgeons.[34] The Thaylens use their naval expertise to control the southern seas of Roshar on behalf of the coalition, while the Alethi field an impressive army and turn the Azish military into effective fighters.[6][46] The Knights Radiant, largely being allied with the coalition, bring many advantages to the table with their use of Stormlight. They are able to heal, provide Soulcast food, and fight, among other abilities.[59][58][43] Dalinar and Shallan are able to combine their powers in a unique way to create a three-dimensional map of Roshar which helps with military planning. It can zoom in and out and is updated with each highstorm to include the new information that the Stormfather is able to glean from his pass over the continent regarding troop placement and number.[6]

Headed by Navani Kholin, the coalition's scholars and engineers have made great breakthroughs in fabrial technology and other scientific research. Some of their more frequently used inventions include the Fourth Bridge and floating platforms used as a vantage point on the battlefield,[39][46] though smaller items such as painrials and personal lifting devices speak to continuing developments in the laboratories.[1][60] Navani herself is instrumental in discovering anti-Voidlight, which will enable the coalition to kill the Fused and other enemies permanently.[51]

Politics[edit]

Internal Politics[edit]

I suspect that each monarch in this room would prefer to know that state secrets are allowed to remain their own. This is an alliance, not a wedding.

Though most of the nations of Roshar are agreed that they need to fight Odium's forces of singers and Fused, many initially resist forming a coalition out of distrust of the Alethi and because of Dalinar's personal reputation.[11][17][16] These suspicions are smoothed over for a time, but they resurface when Taravangian uses targeted information leaks to disband the coalition just before the Battle of Thaylen Field.[27]

The nations of the coalition persist in reluctance to share state secrets despite pleas from the other members, as evidenced by the Thaylens' determination to remain tight-lipped regarding the methods used by the Vriztl Guild to transfer Stormlight between gemstones.[61][35] Even in the threat of a life or death situation, the Thaylens remain suspicious of an elaborate trap and only part with the knowledge very reluctantly.[62] The nations do have more success in working together militarily.[29][46]

The nations' different methods of rule also raise some contention among them. Dalinar in particular dislikes the amount of bureaucracy involved in the Thaylen and Azish governments, though Jasnah sees the virtues of the different systems and anticipates being the last Alethi monarch.[3] Working together and being exposed to the different cultures has the effect of broadening the minds and perspectives of the respective rulers, and the appreciation they gain for each other by working closely together causes them to begin to respect the others' opinions even when they disagree.[48]

The Diagram's Propaganda War[edit]

Dalinar would be the first to tell you that when your opponent is getting back up, you must act quickly to crush his knees. Then he will bow, and present to you his skull.

Following the guidance of the Diagram, which he believes to be instructing him to take down Dalinar, Taravangian realizes that he must take action when it becomes clear that Dalinar will recover from his personal struggles inflicted by his returning memories. His group industriously collects historical research and present day secrets, turning them into incriminating evidence against Dalinar. They use the cultural and personal biases of each member nation to put together a collection of information designed to undermine their trust in Dalinar and the purpose of the coalition, then release the information so that it reaches each respective nation at the same time during the coalition's meeting in Thaylen City.[29][27]

Elhokar approaches Dalinar early on in his efforts to reach out to other nations and swears an oath to him that he will regard Dalinar as his highking. Dalinar reluctantly accepts, knowing it would be best for him to assume the position and cede his role as highprince to Adolin.[11] He has Elhokar formalize the deal before leaving on his mission to Kholinar but, especially after the failure of their mission there, decides to wait to announce it until he has news of Elhokar and Adolin again.[21][63] This delay gives Taravangian the opportunity to expose his knowledge of the incident as leverage against Dalinar. Though Dalinar insists this is an "internal Alethi matter," the news rings alarm bells for Queen Fen, whose primary fear in joining the coalition has been that it is a cover for the Alethi's plot to create a worldwide empire.[17][27]

An acute worry of the Alethi is that whatever caused the Recreance could happen again.[64][19] Though the Alethi for the most part trust Dalinar and his motives, it is a major blow to them to receive the translation of the Eila Stele and discover that the original Voidbringers were, in fact, human. This knowledge casts a shadow over the moral right they thought they had to fight a war against Odium in the first place. It kindles new fears, reiterated by Taravangian, that they could destroy Roshar with Surgebinding as they have already destroyed Ashyn.[27][30] The Alethi and the group from Jah Keved receive this same piece of news, a ploy designed to disguise for a while the fact that Taravangian is behind the information leaks.[27]

The Azish also fear a repeat of the Recreance, but they have a profound apprehension regarding Dalinar personally as both a descendant of Sadees and a Surgebinder, fearing that he will destroy their empire and their culture.[19] They believe that the ancient Radiants abandoned Surgebinding for a reason and fear the reemergence of those powers.[26] At the meeting, Noura is disturbed to receive reports of two visions[20][65] that Dalinar had and seemingly kept quiet in which he met with Odium and was told that he, Dalinar, would destroy the world. This confirms to her and the other viziers that Dalinar cannot be trusted, as he is speaking with the enemy behind their backs.[27]

These pieces of information cause the coalition to break up,[27] but the immediate advent of the Battle of Thaylen Field reinforces the need for such a coalition, and the nations come together again after the battle.[33]

Taravangian's Betrayal[edit]

Due to both his failure to break up the coalition and Szeth's decision to follow Dalinar, Taravangian confesses his role in Szeth's assassinations of Azish leaders; this strains relationships among the nations of the coalition, but they agree to continue to cooperate because of the immediate, dire threat which Odium represents.[41] Taravangian, in the meantime, makes a secret accord with Odium in which he promises to serve Odium in return for the safety of the citizens of Kharbranth.[33]

In a private moment between the two of them, Navani accuses Taravangian to his face of releasing the material that led to the temporary dissolution of the coalition, and he doesn't deny it. He reveals to her in a moment of candor his fervent belief that everything he does is for the best in order to help humanity survive. Navani grudgingly agrees with his assessment that the previous Veden king, Hanavanar, would not have agreed to an alliance, though she cannot condone his actions in taking over the throne. Although she does not agree with many of the things Taravangian has done, she and the rest of the coalition feel their best option is to continue to work with him; they fear he might knowingly be working with Odium, but they cannot confirm that suspicion.[1] Dalinar privately suspects Malata of granting the enemy access to Urithiru during the Battle of Thaylen Field and so, further suspicious of Taravangian, ensures that the Alethi troops stationed on the Alethkar-Jah Keved border are placed such that they are not left exposed to Taravangian's armies.[6]

I refuse to accept that we've lost. That's the problem with your worldview, Taravangian. You gave up before the battle started.

Before leaving for Emul, Taravangian officially disbands the Diagram. Knowing that he is going to have to order his troops to attack the coalition, he worries for the safety of any members who remain close to him. He also claims that the purpose of the Diagram--the survival of humanity--has been fulfilled in his bargain with Odium.[67] Taravangian's betrayal of the coalition is both the price he must pay to hold up his end of the bargain and also a smokescreen designed to distract the coalition's armies from the separate attack that is launched at the same time on Urithiru.[67][46] Odium's forces realize that taking control of the tower is a potentially crippling move against the nexus of the coalition that will block them from being able to use the Oathgates to reach and to supply distant parts of Roshar.[57] They launch the two attacks under the cover of the same Everstorm.[67]

Following Taravangian's betrayal, Kharbranth declares itself neutral in the conflict, and Jah Keved sides with the singers.[3]

External Politics[edit]

A certain few nations decidedly side with Odium, including Iri, which aside from holding a grudge against Dalinar views the decision as a novelty necessary for the One to experience,[15] and Jah Keved, which betrays the coalition to fulfill Taravangian's pact with Odium.[3] The Skybreakers, who almost uniformly follow Nale's lead, actively support Odium as the rightful conqueror of the Rosharan system post Honor's death.[32] The Dustbringers often flout orders in defiance of the coalition;[6] they have a tenuous loyalty to the group that makes them rather untrustworthy, as some aspect of their philosophy leaves them more open than the other orders to causes such as that of the Diagram.[68][43] This is one reason that Lopen encourages Ral-na to speak with Dalinar directly, rather than with the other Dustbringers, when he visits Urithiru.[38] Other Radiant orders have a number of members who align themselves with the coalition and aid in their efforts as they are best able.[39][69][37][70]

The Sleepless and the Ghostbloods have not openly supported Odium, but they are embroiled in their own plots and do not aid the coalition either.[37][47] Likewise, the listeners who escape Narak following their refusal to take on stormform build a new home in the Shattered Plains and desire to stay neutral in the conflict, seeking only their own sovereignty.[71][72][55]

Contest of Champions[edit]

Wit: "The contest won't only be about who can stab the hardest with their spear. "
Jasnah: "What will it be about then? "
Wit: "Same thing it’s always about, Jasnah. The hearts of men and women. "

[5]

Honor first suggests to Dalinar in his visions that the best possibility of beating Odium is a contest between a champion of Odium's and a champion appointed by those who oppose him.[73] The Stormfather agrees with this notion, explaining that Odium will see it as a situation that will cost him only time if he loses.[13] Odium agrees to such a contest during the Battle of Thaylen Field, but he and Dalinar do not set terms at the time.[74] During the coalition's campaign in Emul, Hoid advises Dalinar that Odium will not approach him to set terms for the contest until the coalition frightens him into believing that they could win the war.[3] Renarin confirms this when he gets a chance at the camp in Laqqi to tell Dalinar about his most recent vision.[75]

In the meantime, Hoid drafts a contract for Dalinar to present to the Shard in which he strives to make it so that Odium will not win, even if he cannot lose.[5] Jasnah approaches the other monarchs in the coalition and makes some headway with gaining their approval of the contract.[48] In the end, when Odium approaches Dalinar, Dalinar finds that he alone must negotiate terms with him. Odium claims he is unable to comply with some of the conditions Hoid has written into the contract, but after some back-and-forth bargaining, they agree on a set of terms: On the tenth day of the new month, they would each appoint a willing champion, who would be allowed to the top of Urithiru—unharmed by either side—to fight to the death. If Dalinar's champion won, Odium would return Alethkar and Herdaz to the coalition, fulfilling Dalinar's oath to the Mink. If Odium's champion won, he would keep those two nations and Dalinar would serve his interests in the wider cosmere as a Fused. In either case, Odium would remain bound to the Rosharan system, but would keep the other lands he had won and be able to send agents to the wider Cosmere, and both leaders would be required to enforce the peace to the best of their ability.[8] Additionally, at least some of the protections specified for Hoid in Dalinar's initial proposal seem to be in effect.[76]

Military[edit]

Once upon a time, military tactics could depend on breaking enemy positions with enough work. Enough lives. But what do you do when no rush--no number of brave charges--will claim the position you need?

Hoid during a battle in Emul[47]

The Alethi oversee the military operations of the coalition, with Dalinar himself acting as the chief commander.[26][33] However, when Herdaz finally falls to the enemy, the coalition recruits the Mink;[42] realizing that he needs to pursue his Bondsmith abilities, Dalinar begins to step back, relying heavily on the Mink to run their military operations.[3] Dalinar and Shallan's three-dimensional map is, however, the foremost tool used in the coalition's overall military planning.[6] Similarly, Urithiru's Oathgates are of monumental strategic importance to the military. With portals leading to distant parts of Roshar, the Oathgates allow the coalition to move troops and supplies to needed areas quickly.[57]

The nations of the coalition bring different strengths to their group and are able to combine them in innovative and effective ways. When faced with the threat of an immediate invasion of Thaylen City, they cobble together a small navy force composed of Veden ships manned by Tashikki sailors and some of the best Alethi troops.[29] Combining the discipline and teamwork of the Azish infantry with the flexibility and special tactics of the Alethi creates a potent army they are able to use a year later during their mission in Emul.[46] The Fused, who have not fought any wars on Roshar since use of cavalry has become commonplace, are slow to react in ways that negate its use. This gives the coalition an advantage, even though the Fused adapt very well to modern warfare in other ways. Hoid, in fact, foresees a time coming when even the military tactics still used by the coalition--those pertaining to regular men without the advantages of Surgebinding--will be obsolete due to the plethora of new powers arising in Roshar.[47]

The coalition has a navy which mostly consists of the ships that the enemy did not steal from Thaylenah and a few ships they have built since that time. The Thaylens successfully defend an incursion into the seas controlled by the coalition, resulting in a stand-off in which the coalition retains a naval superiority in the Southern Depths while Odium's forces control the seas on the north of Roshar.[6] Following Taravangian's betrayal, the coalition's navy aids the general retreat by their troops in southern Alethkar and blockades all of Jah Keved's ships in their ports.[3]

The coalition's military forces rely heavily on the abilities of Surgebinders. Edgedancers and Truthwatchers provide medical support both in battles and away from the front lines, while Windrunners do most of the fighting, facing off against the enemy's Heavenly Ones and Skybreakers.[59][46] The Windrunners also act as the coalition's scouts, often watching for enemy movement or patrolling outside Urithiru or along the coalition's borders and coastlines.[6][1][77] Likewise, the Windrunners are used to transport small groups of people when they need to get places quickly.[37][7] The Lightweavers aspire to act as the coalition's spies, though their ability to Soulcast is also important in that it can feed the army without the inevitable danger that Soulcaster users face.[43]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l Rhythm of War chapter 19#
  2. Rhythm of War chapter 1 epigraph#
  3. a b c d e f g h i Rhythm of War chapter 50#
  4. a b Oathbringer chapter 120#
  5. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 99#
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k Rhythm of War chapter 17#
  7. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 111#
  8. a b c d e Rhythm of War chapter 112#
  9. a b Oathbringer chapter 8#
  10. a b Oathbringer chapter 1#
  11. a b c d e Oathbringer chapter 12#
  12. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 24#
  13. a b Oathbringer chapter 16#
  14. a b c Oathbringer chapter 28#
  15. a b Oathbringer chapter 27#
  16. a b c Oathbringer chapter 42#
  17. a b c Oathbringer chapter 34#
  18. Oathbringer chapter 50#
  19. a b c Oathbringer chapter 56#
  20. a b Oathbringer chapter 57#
  21. a b Oathbringer chapter 58#
  22. Oathbringer chapter 59#
  23. Oathbringer chapter 64#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 65#
  25. Oathbringer chapter 86#
  26. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 96#
  27. a b c d e f g h i Oathbringer chapter 111#
  28. Oathbringer chapter 100#
  29. a b c d e f g Oathbringer chapter 107#
  30. a b c Oathbringer chapter 113#
  31. Oathbringer chapter 115#
  32. a b Oathbringer chapter 116#
  33. a b c d e f Oathbringer chapter 122#
  34. a b c Oathbringer chapter 121#
  35. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 19 epigraph#
  36. Dawnshard epilogue#
  37. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 9#
  38. a b c Dawnshard chapter 3#
  39. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 3#
  40. a b Rhythm of War chapter 10#
  41. a b Rhythm of War chapter 16#
  42. a b Rhythm of War chapter 2#
  43. a b c d e f Rhythm of War chapter 21#
  44. a b Rhythm of War chapter 27#
  45. Rhythm of War interlude I-6#
  46. a b c d e f g h Rhythm of War chapter 47#
  47. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 64#
  48. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 101#
  49. Rhythm of War chapter 65#
  50. a b Rhythm of War chapter 76#
  51. a b Rhythm of War chapter 97#
  52. Rhythm of War chapter 36#
  53. Rhythm of War chapter 87#
  54. a b Rhythm of War chapter 94#
  55. a b Rhythm of War chapter 115#
  56. Rhythm of War chapter 116#
  57. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 14#
  58. a b Rhythm of War chapter 18#
  59. a b Rhythm of War chapter 5#
  60. Rhythm of War chapter 84#
  61. Rhythm of War chapter 4 epigraph#
  62. Rhythm of War chapter 42#
  63. Oathbringer chapter 104#
  64. Oathbringer chapter 38#
  65. Oathbringer chapter 109#
  66. Rhythm of War chapter 66#
  67. a b c Rhythm of War interlude I-3#
  68. Oathbringer interlude I-5#
  69. Rhythm of War chapter 6#
  70. Rhythm of War chapter 20#
  71. Words of Radiance interlude I-11#
  72. Rhythm of War chapter 96#
  73. Words of Radiance chapter 4#
  74. Oathbringer chapter 117#
  75. Rhythm of War chapter 54#
  76. Rhythm of War epilogue#
  77. Rhythm of War chapter 31#
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