False Desolation

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False Desolation
Participants Knights Radiant, Singers, Ba-Ado-Mishram
Effects Enslavement of singers, Ba-Ado-Mishram's imprisonment
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
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A legend. Considered pseudohistorical. Dovcanti wrote an epic about it somewhere around fifteen hundred years ago. The claim is that some Voidbringers survived Aharietiam, and there were many clashes with them afterward. It's considered unreliable, but that’s because many later ardents insist that no Voidbringers could have survived. I'm inclined to assume this is a clash with parshmen before they were somehow deprived of their ability to change forms.

— Jasnah Kholin on the False Desolation.[1]

The False Desolation, considered pseudohistorical by the Vorin church, was a conflict between singers and humans sometime during the millenia after the Last Desolation.[1] It is likely the conflict in which the Knights Radiant were fighting at the time of the Recreance, according to Jasnah Kholin.[1] It resulted in the enslavement of singers as parshmen.[2]


Something must be done about the remnants of Odium's forces. The parsh, as they are now called, continue their war with zeal, even without their masters from Damnation.

— Drawer 30-20, first emerald[3]

The precise date of the False Desolation’s onset is unclear, but when Dalinar Kholin showed Jasnah and Navani Kholin a vision of the Recreance, Jasnah postulated the Radiants were fighting in the legendary False Desolation.[1] If correct, the False Desolation occurred around the same time as the Recreance--about 2,000 years prior to the present day, or 2,500 years after Aharietiam, the Last Desolation.

Ba-Ado-Mishram and a New Desolation[edit]

Ba-Ado-Mishram has somehow Connected with the parsh people, as Odium once did. She provides Voidlight and facilitates forms of power. Our strike team is going to imprison her.

— Drawer 30-20, fourth emerald[4]

Previous Desolations began with the Heralds giving in to the torture in Damnation and Returning to Roshar, after which the Fused -- leaders of the Voidbringers -- Returned as well, entering bodies of the singers.[5] However, the False Desolation occurred well after the Last Desolation, when the Heralds abandoned the Oathpact, and thus there were no Fused during this "Desolation." It's unclear how fighting between humans and singers progressed in the period following the Last Desolation, but it is likely the two species warred.

The False Desolation commenced in earnest when Ba-Ado-Mishram, one of the nine Unmade who was sometimes referred to as a "highprincess" or commander of the Voidbringers,[6] Connected with the singers in a manner similar to that of Odium during the Desolations.[4] This allowed Ba-Ado-Mishram to provide forms of power to the singers, as well as access to Voidlight. It is unclear how Ba-Ado-Mishram performed this feat, or why she could not do so sometime prior to the False Desolation. The Radiants were confused as to Ba-Ado-Mishram's new Connection with the singers,[4] which might suggest this was a new development in her abilities, and not a feat she could previously perform. It also seems that she managed to Connect with the vast majority of singers -- all except those who would become the listeners.

This period of fighting became particularly intense at that time.[7] At some point, the singers pressed towards Feverstone Keep, though the Radiants did not understand why the area interested the singers so much. Some speculated that it had been part of a plan to capture Rall Elorim.[8]

The Strike Team[edit]

So 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.

Words of Radiance chapter 30, page 18[9]

The Radiants eventually sought an edge in the conflict. Scholar Radiants teamed up to conceive a plan to stop the Voidbringers.[10] They theorized that an Unmade could, perhaps, be imprisoned like a regular spren.[11] (It is unclear if this happened before or after Re-Shephir's imprisonment in Urithiru by a Lightweaver.[12]) The Radiants devised a plan: they would imprison Ba-Ado-Mishram--stopping the singers' transformations and removing their access to Voidlight.[10]

The plan required a special prison--likely a perfect gemstone--as well as Melishi,[11] the only Bondsmith of his generation.[9][13] The Radiants did not know what exactly Ba-Ado-Mishram's imprisonment would do to the singers. They were certain that it would prevent them from using forms of power, but they didn't know what else could happen. Melishi sought to destroy the Voidbringers[9] and was confident the plan would succeed, but Naze-daughter-Kuzodo warned of unexpected aftereffects.[14] The Radiants believed this would end the war the Heralds promised them and proceeded with the plan.[15] It is clear the strike team succeeded in imprisoning Ba-Ado-Mishram, as she was no longer seen in the modern day, unlike most of the other eight Unmade.[16]

Aftermath and Legacy[edit]

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[14]

The costs to Ba-Ado-Mishram's imprisonment were higher than any Radiant could have expected. There were indeed side effects to their action, as Naze-daughter-Kuzodo warned. Since Ba-Ado-Mishram was Connected to the vast majority of singers, her imprisonment ripped out Connection and Identity from the singers' souls.[2] This meant that these singers were essentially lobotomized--unable to think or act independently. These singers had no form and would later be termed as "slaveforms."

Fighting occurred near Feverstone Keep, and since that is the site of many Windrunners and Stonewards abandoning their oaths,[17][1] it is possible that this sequence of events precipitated the Recreance. It may have been the final thing that made the Radiants feel they were on the wrong side. The Recreance certainly happened at the same time or directly after Ba-Ado-Mishram's imprisonment, which by itself caused massive chaos in human societies. Shardblades were picked up at will, without the safeguards of the Nahel bond to prevent such utter destruction.

Because of this massive chaos, ordinary humans likely had no idea of the true reason for the singers' enslavement. This event, as well as the singers being considered "Voidbringers" and "the enemy" in the eyes of the Radiants, faded into obscurity, and humans considered the parsh to have always been these creatures who could not think. The singers served as slave labor for humans over the next two thousand years.

When the singers were later healed in the Everstorm, they were furious at humanity for this act of enslavement. For the common singer, this became a rallying cry that made them fight against humanity in the True Desolation.

In modern times, the False Desolation is considered pseudohistorical by the Vorin church, which asserts that no Voidbringers could have survived Aharietiam. Dovcanti's epic about the False Desolation, written approximately 500 years after, is the primary surviving source on these events, and few details of the concept are known to any besides scholars, such as Jasnah Kholin.[1]

See Also[edit]


History of Roshar
Aharietiam The False Desolation The Day of Recreance
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