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Death Rattle

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Death Rattle
Related to Moelach
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Death Rattles are a phenomenon related to the Unmade Moelach.[1] His presence causes some dying individuals to experience precognitive events in the form of cryptic utterances, in the final moments of life.[2] The emergence of the Death Rattles appears to coincide with the expedition of King Gavilar Kholin of Alethkar where the Parshendi were first encountered. [3]

In an effort to supplement the Diagram[4], 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[5] by the king's Silent Gatherers.[6]

Known Death Rattles[edit]

You've killed me. Bastards, you've killed me! While the sun is still hot, I die!
— Collected on Chachabah 1171, 10 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed soldier thirty-one years of age. Sample is considered questionable.[7]
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.[8]

It is estimated this came exactly 1229 days before the advent of the Everstorm.[citation needed] 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 229 days in the future when someone else would prophecy that it would be 1000 days until the Everstorm.

Ten orders. We were loved, once. Why have you forsaken us, Almighty! Shard of my soul, where have you gone?
— Collected on Kakan 1171, 5 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a lighteyed woman in her third decade.[9]

The "ten orders" could be a reference to the Knights Radiant, and their belief that the Almighty had abandoned them could have led to the Day of Recreance.

A man stood on a cliffside and watched his homeland fall into dust. The waters surged beneath, so far beneath. And he heard a child crying. They were his own tears.
— Collected on Tanatesev 1171, 30 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a cobbler of some renown.[10]
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 Jesanach 1172, 11 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a Reshi chull trainer. Sample is of particular note.[11]

This rattle appears to reference Shadesmar, based on the description of the sun and sky, and a Cryptic.

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.[12]
I'm cold. Mother, I'm cold. Mother? Why can I still hear the rain? Will it stop?
— Collected on Vevishes 1172, 32 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a lighteyed female child, approximately six years old.[13]
They are aflame. They burn. They bring the darkness when they come, and so all you can see is that their skin is aflame. Burn, burn, burn...
— Collected on Palahishev 1172, 21 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a baker's apprentice.[14]
Victory! We stand atop the mount! We scatter them before us! Their homes become our dens, their lands are now our farms! And they shall burn, as we once did, in a place that is hollow and forlorn.
— Collected on Ishashan 1172, 18 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a lighteyed spinster of the eighth dahn.[15]

This may refer to humans conquering Roshar and exiling the Dawnsingers to Braize. It may also refer to the Dawnsingers conquering Kholinar.

Ten people, with Shardblades alight, standing before a wall of black and white and red.
— Collected on Jesachev 1173, 12 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject an ardent member of the the Silent Gatherers, overheard during his last moments.[16]
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.[17]

This rattle apparently refers to the sixteen Shards of Adonalsium, three of which (Honor, Cultivation, and Odium) are invested in Roshar.

I'm standing over the body of a brother. I'm weeping. Is that his blood or mine? What have we done?
— Collected on Vevanev 1173, 107 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was an out-of-work Veden sailor.[18]

This rattle could be from the perspective of Kaladin at the time of Tien's death, the question of "What have we done?" refering to their joining of the military.

He must pick it up, the fallen title! The tower, the crown, and the spear!
— Collected on Vevahach 1173, 8 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a prostitute of unknown background.[19]
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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] 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 weakens while Kaladin struggles to find himself during Words of Radiance.

Light grows so distant. The storm never stops. I am broken, and all around me have died. I weep for the end of all things. He has won. Oh, he has beaten us.
— Collected on Palahakev 1173, 16 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a Thaylen sailor.[23]
I hold the suckling child in my hands, a knife at his throat, and know that all who live wish me to let the blade slip. Spill its blood upon the ground, over my hands, and with it gain us further breath to draw.
— Collected on Shashanan 1173, 23 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed youth of sixteen years. Sample is of particular note.[24]
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.[25]
The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended.
— Observed on Betabanes 1173, 95 seconds pre-death, collected secondhand and later reported to the the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a scholar of some minor renown. Sample considered questionable.[26]

This rattle appears to reference the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant: Life before Death. Strength before Weakness. Journey before Destination.

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.[27]

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.[28]

The events this Death Rattle refers to have not been seen on-screen yet.[29]

The darkness becomes a palace. Let it rule! Let it rule!
— Collected on Kakevah 1173, 22 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed Selay man of unknown profession.[30]
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.[31]
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.[32]

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. 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.[33]

This rattle refers to the awakening of Thunderclasts.[34]

That chanting, that singing, those rasping voices.
— Collected on Kakatach 1173, 16 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a middle-aged potter who reported seeing strange dreams during highstorms during the previous two years.[35]

Possibly referencing the events at the end of Words of Radiance, and the summoning of the Everstorm.

Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!
— Collected on Tanatesach 1173, 28 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was a darkeyed female street juggler.[36]

The Silent Gatherers have noted a similarity between this death rattle and one they denote as "sample 1172-89".

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.[37]

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.[38]

Refers to Kaladin saving the king from Moash during the storm.

Above silence, the illuminating storms—dying storms—illuminate the silence above.
— Collected on Tanatanev 1173, 18 seconds pre-death, by the Silent Gatherers. Subject was an illiterate Herdazian.[6]
He watches! The Black piper in the night. He holds us in his palm... playing a tune that no man can hear!
— Observed circa 1172. Subject was Cenn, a member of Kaladin's squad in Brightlord Meridas Amaram's army.[39]

This is not a reference to Hoid.[40]

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.[41]

Refers to the soul of the Fused, destroying the whole world in order to destroy humankind.[42]

And all the world was shattered! The rocks trembled with their steps, and the stones reached toward the heavens. We die! We die!
— Observed circa ? 1173. Subject was Maps, a member of Bridge Four.[43]

This could reference the clash of the Everstorm with the irregular Highstorm during the Battle of Narak, which completely broke some plateaus and tossed the boulders high into the air.

The day was ours, but they took it. Stormfather! You cannot have it. The day is ours. They come, rasping, and the lights fail. Oh, Stormfather!
— Collected circa Tanat ? 1173 by Taravangian. Subject was a young boy.[5]
So the night will reign, for the choice of honor is life...
— Observed circa Ishi ? 1173 by Taravangian. Subject was King Valam of Jah Keved.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. Words of Radiance Lexington signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-18#
  2. Words of Radiance chapter 82 epigraph #
  3. A Memory of Light Seattle Signing
    Arcanum - 2013-02-18#
  4. a b Words of Radiance interlude I-14 #
  5. a b The Way of Kings chapter 71 #
  6. a b The Way of Kings endnote #
  7. The Way of Kings chapter 1 epigraph #
  8. The Way of Kings chapter prologue epigraph #
  9. The Way of Kings chapter 2 epigraph #
  10. The Way of Kings chapter 3 epigraph #
  11. The Way of Kings chapter 4 epigraph #
  12. The Way of Kings chapter 5 epigraph #
  13. The Way of Kings chapter 6 epigraph #
  14. The Way of Kings chapter 7 epigraph #
  15. The Way of Kings chapter 8 epigraph #
  16. The Way of Kings chapter 9 epigraph #
  17. The Way of Kings chapter 11 epigraph #
  18. The Way of Kings chapter 52 epigraph #
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 53 epigraph #
  20. The Way of Kings chapter 54 epigraph #
  21. The Way of Kings chapter 55 epigraph #
  22. Oathbringer chapter 122 #
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 56 epigraph #
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 57 epigraph #
  25. The Way of Kings chapter 58 epigraph #
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 60 epigraph #
  27. The Way of Kings chapter 59 epigraph #
  28. The Way of Kings chapter 61 epigraph #
  29. Skyward San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-08#
  30. The Way of Kings chapter 62 epigraph #
  31. The Way of Kings chapter 63 epigraph #
  32. The Way of Kings chapter 64 epigraph #
  33. The Way of Kings chapter 65 epigraph #
  34. Oathbringer chapter 115 #
  35. The Way of Kings chapter 66 epigraph #
  36. The Way of Kings chapter 67 epigraph #
  37. The Way of Kings chapter 68 epigraph #
  38. The Way of Kings chapter 69 epigraph #
  39. The Way of Kings chapter 47 #
  40. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  41. The Way of Kings chapter 17 #
  42. Oathbringer chapter 38 #
  43. The Way of Kings chapter 57 #
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