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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][citation needed] Later, during 1174, Moelach and the Rattles moved to the Horneater Peaks.[7]

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[8] 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 pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed pregnant woman of middle years. The child did not survive.[12]

This Death Rattle was collected exactly 1227 days before the advent of the Everstorm.[13] Given one thousand days is two years on Roshar, it seems likely the reference here to one thousand days is more of an estimation or poetic device rather than an exact date.

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.[14]

This Rattle appears to reference Shadesmar, based on the description of the sun and sky, and a Cryptic. The Silent Gatherers considered this Death Rattle to be of particular note, likely because the subject apparently retained some consciousness while dying, evidenced by them asking "Healer, why do you take my blood?"[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

This rattle appears to be from the perspective of the Herald Talenel, the only Herald to be returned, through death, to wherever the Heralds went to be tortured between Desolations 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.[17]

This rattle is believed to refer to the Herald Shalash, the daughter of the Herald Jezrien, Herald of Kings and patron of the Order of Windrunners.[18] Shalash is also Baxil's mistress who destroys art, including depictions of a specific Herald, believed to be those of Shalash herself. It could also be a reference to Syl and how she becomes a deadeye after Kaladin agrees to help Moash assassinate Elhokar.

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.[19]

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.[20]

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.[21]

May refer to Kaladin swearing his Fourth Ideal of the Windrunners while falling in the highstorm. The events this Death Rattle had not occurred as of the Battle of Thaylen Field.[22]

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.[23]

This rattle appears to refer to Kaladin and Shallan Davar returning to the Warcamps at the Shattered Plains following an ill-fated expedition. The "pit" is a reference to the chasms and the "two dead men" are Kaladin and Shallan, presumed to be dead after falling into a chasm. 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.[24]

This rattle refers to the awakening of Thunderclasts.[25]

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.[26]

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.[27]

May refer to Kaladin saving Elhokar from Moash during the storm.

They break the land itself! They want it, but in their rage they will destroy it. Like the jealous man burns his rich things rather than let them be taken by his enemies! They come!

—Observed circa ? 1173. Subject was Gadol, a member of Bridge Four.[28]

Refers to the souls of the Fused, destroying the whole world in order to destroy humankind.[29]

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. Oathbringer chapter 107#
  8. The Way of Kings chapter 71#
  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. Everstorm arrives on 1173.10.10.3[citation needed] and this Rattle was collected on 1171.6.5.1.[12] The difference between these dates is 1127 days.
  14. a b The Way of Kings chapter 4 epigraph#
  15. The Way of Kings chapter 5 epigraph#
  16. The Way of Kings chapter 54 epigraph#
  17. The Way of Kings chapter 55 epigraph#
  18. Oathbringer chapter 122#
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 58 epigraph#
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 59 epigraph#
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 61 epigraph#
  22. Skyward San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-08#
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 64 epigraph#
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 65 epigraph#
  25. Oathbringer chapter 115#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 68 epigraph#
  27. The Way of Kings chapter 69 epigraph#
  28. The Way of Kings chapter 17#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 38#
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