Death Rattle

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Death Rattle
Related to Moelach
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Many cultures speak of the so-called Death Rattles that sometimes overtake people as they die. Tradition ascribes them to the almighty, but I find too many of them to be seemingly prophetic. This will be my most contentious assertion I am sure but I think these are the effects of Moelach persisting in our current times. Proof is easy to provide: the effect is regionalized, and tends to move across Roshar. This is the roving of the Unmade.

—Hessi's Mythica, page 170[1]

Death Rattles are a phenomenon related to the Unmade Moelach.[2] His presence causes some dying individuals to experience precognitive events in the form of cryptic utterances, in the final moments of life.[3] This effect occurs only in the area around Moelach, who tends to move around Roshar. Death Rattles were apparently moderately common in Shinovar at some time between 1138 and 1166, as Szeth recounts the phenomenon.[4][5] The emergence of the Death Rattles in the East appears to coincide with the expedition of King Gavilar Kholin of Alethkar where the Parshendi were first encountered in 1165.[6][7][citation needed] Later, during 1174, Moelach and the Rattles moved to the Horneater Peaks.[8]

Uses[edit]

King Taravangian of Kharbranth keeps a record of Death Rattles taken from selected hospital patients (the terminally ill, the lowly, and the forgotten) who are slowly and intentionally bled to death solely for this purpose[7] by the king's Silent Gatherers.[9] He does so in order to supplement the Diagram,[10] despite the Diagram itself calling Death Rattles and Moelach a distraction.[3] The Diagram is aware of the possibility that Moelach, as Unmade servant of Odium may be feeding them bad information, but they believe the benefits of future sight outweigh the risks. They think the knowledge of what subjects the information contains is useful whether the information is correct or not.[11]

Notable Death Rattles[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

The love of men is a frigid thing, a mountain stream only three steps from the ice. We are his. Oh Stormfather... we are his. It is but a thousand days, and the Everstorm comes.

—Collected on Shashahes 1171, 31 seconds before death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed pregnant woman of middle years. The child did not survive.[12]
This rattle came exactly 1227 days before the advent of the Everstorm.[15] It is possible that these rattles are less than fully accurate, or that whoever gave this death rattle valued poetry over technically accurate detail or, given the specific phrasing, that this was perhaps a foreshadowing to a time 227 days in the future when someone else would prophesy that it would be 1000 days until the Everstorm.


I'm dying, aren't I? Healer, why do you take my blood? Who is that beside you, with his head of lines? I can see a distant sun, dark and cold, shining in a black sky.

—Collected on Jesnanach 1172, 11 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers.[16]
The description of the sun and sky, as well as the appearance of a Cryptic, indicate the speaker here was viewing Shadesmar. The subject also apparently retained some consciousness while dying, evidenced by them asking the Silent Gatherers "Healer, why do you take my blood?" In light of those conditions, the speaker may not have actually been affected by Moelach.


I have seen the end, and have heard it named. The Night of Sorrows, the True Desolation. The Everstorm.

—Collected on Naneses 1172, 15 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed youth of unknown origin.[17]


Three of sixteen ruled, but now the Broken One reigns.

—Collected on Chachanan 1173, 84 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a cutpurse with the wasting sickness, of partial Iriali descent.[18]
Most likely refers to Honor, Cultivation, and Odium--three Shards out of sixteen total. It is unclear what "Broken One" means, however.


The burdens of nine become mine. Why must I carry the madness of them all? Oh, Almighty, release me.

—Observed on Palaheses 1173, collected secondhand and later reported to the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a wealthy lighteyes.[19]
This rattle appears to be from the perspective of the Herald Talenel, the only Herald to return to Braize at the end of the Last Desolation.


A woman sits and scratches out her own eyes. Daughter of kings and winds, the vandal.

—Collected on Palahevan 1173, 73 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a beggar of some renown, known for his elegant songs.[20]
This rattle likely refers to the Herald Shalash, the daughter of the Herald Jezrien, Herald of Kings and patron of the Order of Windrunners.[21] Shalash has defaced depictions of herself by scratching her face out of paintings or by destroying statues depicting her.


Re-Shephir, the Midnight Mother, giving birth to abominations with her essence so dark, so terrible, so consuming. She is here! She watches me die!

—Collected on Shashabev 1173, 8 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed dock-worker in his forties, father of three.[22]
This rattle refers to the Unmade Re-Shephir and her Midnight Essence.


Above the final void I hang, friends behind, friends before. The feast I must drink clings to their faces, and the words I must speak spark in my mind. The old oaths will be spoken anew.

—Collected on Betabanan 1173, 45 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a lighteyed child of five years. Diction improved remarkably when giving sample.[23]
This rattle appears to be from the perspective of Kaladin during the Battle of the Tower, moments before he swears the Second Ideal of the Windrunners. The "final void" is a chasm over which he is jumping. The "friends behind, friends before" are the members of Bridge Four behind him and the army of Dalinar Kholin trapped by Parshendi before him. The "feast I must drink" is Stormlight stored in the gemstones knotted into the malen Parshendi's beards. The "words I must speak" is the Second Ideal. The "old oaths" are the Immortal Words.


In the storm I awaken, falling, spinning, grieving.

—Collected on Kakanev 1173, 13 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a city guardsman.[24]
This rattle likely refer to Kaladin swearing the Fourth Ideal of the Windrunners while falling in the highstorm towards the end of Raboniel's occupation of Urithiru. The events of this Death Rattle had not occurred as of the Battle of Thaylen Field.[25]


I wish to sleep. I know now why you do what you do, and I hate you for it. I will not speak of the truths I see.

—Collected on Kakashah 1173, 142 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a Shin sailor, left behind by his crew, reportedly for bringing them ill luck. Sample largely useless.[26]
It appears this subject is aware that the Silent Gatherers are killing people in order to obtain their death rattles and refuses to share his visions.


They come from the pit, two dead men, a heart in their hands, and I know that I have seen true glory.

—Collected on Kakashah 1173, 13 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a rickshaw puller.[27]
This rattle appears to refer to Kaladin and Shallan returning to the warcamps at the Shattered Plains following their fall into the chasms. The "pit" is a reference to the chasms and the "two dead men" are Kaladin and Shallan, presumed to be dead after the fall. The "heart" is an emerald gemheart they harvested from a chasmfiend they encountered and killed on their return journey.


I see them. They are the rocks. They are the vengeful spirits. Eyes of red.

—Collected on Kakakes 1173, 8 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed young woman of fifteen who was reportedly mentally unstable since childhood.[28]
This rattle refers to the awakening of Thunderclasts.[29]


They named it the Final Desolation, but they lied. Our gods lied. Oh, how they lied. The Everstorm comes. I hear its whispers, see its stormwall, know its heart.

—Collected on Tanatanes 1173, 8 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was an Azish itinerant worker. Sample of particular note.[30]
When all Heralds, except Taln, broke the Oathpact after Aharietiam they lied and told humanity that the Voidbringers finally were defeated.


All is withdrawn for me. I stand against the one who saved my life. I protect the one who killed my promises. I raise my hand. The storm responds.

—Collected on Tanatanev 1173, 18 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed mother of four in her sixty-second year.[31]
This rattle appears to refer to Kaladin saving Elhokar from Moash, an event during which Kaladin swears the Third Ideal of the Windrunners. "The one who killed my promises" likely refers to the fact that Elokhar, through a string of related events, was responsible for Kaladin being unable to keep is promise to protect Tien in battle. "I raise my hand. The storm responds." refers to the fact that Kaladin's words are accepted and Syl returns to him as a Shardblade.

Notes[edit]

  1. Oathbringer chapter 103 epigraph#
  2. Words of Radiance Lexington signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-18#
  3. a b Words of Radiance chapter 82 epigraph#
  4. Rhythm of War chapter 16#
  5. The Way of Kings interlude I-3#
  6. A Memory of Light Seattle Signing
    Arcanum - 2013-02-18#
  7. a b The Way of Kings chapter 71#
  8. Oathbringer chapter 107#
  9. The Way of Kings endnote#
  10. Words of Radiance interlude I-14#
  11. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  12. a b The Way of Kings prologue epigraph#
  13. Words of Radiance chapter 50#
  14. Words of Radiance chapter 81#
  15. This rattle was collected on 1171.6.5.1[12] and the Everstorm arrived on 1173.10.10.3[13][14]
  16. The Way of Kings chapter 4 epigraph#
  17. The Way of Kings chapter 5 epigraph#
  18. The Way of Kings chapter 11 epigraph#
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 54 epigraph#
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 55 epigraph#
  21. Oathbringer chapter 122#
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 58 epigraph#
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 59 epigraph#
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 61 epigraph#
  25. Skyward San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-08#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 63 epigraph#
  27. The Way of Kings chapter 64 epigraph#
  28. The Way of Kings chapter 65 epigraph#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 115#
  30. The Way of Kings chapter 68 epigraph#
  31. The Way of Kings chapter 69 epigraph#
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