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Species Singers, Human[1]
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

The Unkalaki, also known as Horneaters or Peakfolk,[2][3] are a race of people on the world of Roshar. They live on the tops of mountains called the Horneater Peaks in Jah Keved.[4]

Appearance and Anatomy[edit]

The Unkalaki are a human race with listener blood in their ancestry.[5] As a result, they have a higher tendency to be asexual than other races without listener ancestors.[6] Furthermore, they seem to be able to faintly hear the rhythms of Roshar,[7] although it remains unclear whether they are able to distinguish them or attribute them to certain feelings.

Features that are often associated with Horneaters are pale skin, tall stature, and red hair.[8] Their lines mixed with that of the Vedens at some point; by the era of the True Desolation, traditional Veden coloring includes such features as red hair and freckles, inherited from the Horneaters.[9] Because of their singer heritage, the Unkalaki have extra jaw pieces at the back of their mouths which help them eat shells.[10] This is likely the reason they are called Horneaters.

The Sighted[edit]

Some Horneaters are born with the ability to see normally invisible spren like Sylphrena. These individuals are called alaii'iku, or the Sighted.[11] This congenital ability is hereditary, extremely rare, and seems to be a gift given specifically to the extended family to which Lunamor belongs.[12][13] Some of the Unkalaki (although possibly only the Sighted) consider themselves 'Guardians of the Pool', which likely refers to Cultivation's Perpendicularity.[14] There is also a specific role of "watcher of the pool" which Cord's grandmother once served as.[15]



A Horneater's occupation is determined by birth order. First and second sons obtain food, third sons are craftsmen, and fourth sons and younger are warriors.[16][7] If siblings die, the younger ones advance in this order of professions, meaning a son that started training as a warrior would be forced to abandon his career in order to become a craftsman if his older brother died. It is not entirely clear how daughters fit into this system. This regulation reflects the social status of each type of profession in the Horneater culture. Basic functions like gathering food are valued the most, while professions related to warfare are seen as least important. Therefore, a third son craftsman like Rock refuses to become a spearman soldier like the rest of Bridge Four because it would be "beneath him".

Horneaters, when making a living outside of the Peaks, prefer to work in the same business as a family unit.[17] They work in a variety of professions, from masseuses and servants to guards.[18][17]

Political Structure and Military[edit]

The nuatoma, they see our lack of Shards as a great shame. They want these weapons very badly. It is believed that the nuatoma who first obtains a Shardblade would become king, a thing we have not had for many years. No peak would fight another peak where a man held one of the blessed Blades.

—Rock to Kaladin and Teft[19]

The Unkalaki are organized in clan-like social structures. The leaders of these clans are called Nuatoma. The relatives of a Nuatoma serve him and act as his household. Nuatomas regularly leave the Horneater homeland in attempts to win Shards in duels with Shardbearers. The first Nuatoma to win a Shardblade would become the king of the Unkalaki.[19] It is unclear if Nuatomas are fourth sons or if their position excludes them from the normal profession system.

Since the True Desolation, the Unkalaki have obtained two sets of Shardplate. The first is obtained by Rock during the Battle of Thaylen Field, where he uses a grandbow to kill Meridas Amaram.[20] While he also wins the Shardblade Oathbringer, he returns this to Dalinar Kholin in repayment of a debt.[21] The second set is discovered by Cord on the expedition to Akinah.[22] When Cord bonds the Shardplate, she becomes the first Shardbearer among her people in a very long time.[23]

The ruler of Jah Keved is able to levy troops from the population of Horneaters, which is one reason why the Vedens argue against ceding the Horneater Peaks to Odium's forces.[24] The Unkalaki also have aided the coalition of monarchs by supplying batches of arrows for their armies. These arrows are unique, being fletched with white "goosefeathers."[25]


They make use of a different calendar than the Vorin calendar, with their first year being a different, currently unknown year. Some point between c. 1158 and 1173 in the Vorin calendar is considered the start of a new millennium, under their own system.[26][22][27]


At one point, Rock tells Bridge Four about the Unkalaki dueling system, saying that the two men would drink mudbeer and sing until one of them gives up. The point is that by the end of the duel, no one will recall why they were fighting.[28]

Unkalaki names are usually entire sentences in the form of poems, which makes them hard to remember for people who are used to Alethi names. Insults with similar rhyme and structure as the poem name of the insulted party are valued especially highly in conflicts among Horneaters.[28]

Rock wears a beard style called humaka'aban, which he says is the pride of every Unkalaki. Kaladin describes it as long sideburns that curve down to the chin. The chin itself and the area around the lips are cleanly shaven. Rock seems reluctant to the idea that other people besides Horneaters could wear the beard style.[29]

Unkalaki engage in trade with inhabitants of Shadesmar, and aluminum is one of the commodities they have received.[30] In fact, there is a clan of Horneaters that lives in Shadesmar, including a handful that reside in Lasting Integrity during the time of the fortress' isolationist policy.[31]


The Unkalaki received their common name "Horneaters" due to their ability to eat the hard shells of crustaceans. Rock ascribes this ability to their unusually strong teeth, but it is due to the extra jaw pieces at the back of their mouths[10]. Unkalaki cuisine utilizes less spices than Alethi cuisine.[19] One stew recipe that Rock divulges consists only of "Take everything you have, and put him in pot. Don’t let anyone airsick touch seasonings."[32]

Your food here, it has so many spices that you cannot taste anything else. Might as well be eating stones powdered with pepper!

Rock to Kaladin and Teft[19]

In general, Horneater beverages have a quite sharp and immediately overpowering taste and smell.[33] Horneater lager has the reputation to melt teeth and cups. [4] Also, strongest among the Horneater beverages is the Horneater white. A clear, distilled moonshine, it is the strongest known alcohol on Roshar (with the possible exception of some violet wines). It is known to strip paint, and can apparently be deadly to non-Unkalaki.[7][18] There is also a non-alcoholic beverage called shiki, which is brown in color and is served chilled,[7] and a tea-like beverage that tastes of boiled grain but is an old, traditional recipe.[34]

Religion and Mythology[edit]

The Horneaters have three powerful sets of gods they once sought aid from: the gods of the waters, the gods of the mountains, and the gods of the trees.[4] Unkalaki stories teach that gods cannot be fought but must always be tricked.[35] Lunu'anaki is the name of the Unkalaki god of travel and mischief who cannot hurt man. Rock saw Hoid emerge from Cultivation's Perpendicularity and came to the conclusion that he must be Lunu'anaki.[4] Spren are also worshipped by the Unkalaki as gods; Rock offers to build a shrine for Sylphrena at one point.[36][4] Unkalaki also have fairly extensive legends of a group called the Gods Who Sleep Not who are dangerous, secretive entities that guard terrible treasures and are composed of a swarm of cremlings that share one mind.[13] Lunu'anaki warned the Horneaters of this group during the time of Cord's grandmother.[15] In addition to learning about these gods, Horneaters receive occasional monks from Jah Keved, who preach Vorinism to them.[37]

Naturally heated lakes on the Horneater Peaks are called oceans by the locals. There is an ocean on each of the peaks. Underneath the normal water is the so-called Water of life. It is said to be connected to the gods, and Horneaters who swim in the oceans can sometimes see the Place of the Gods (this is likely access to Shadesmar via Cultivation's Perpendicularity). Swimming in the oceans is said to be lethal to outsiders, though, according to Sigzil, this is only because the Unkalaki execute any outsiders who swim in their oceans.[4]

There are ancient Unkalaki songs that refer to when the Dawnshard was brought to Roshar. It is possible these songs are considered sacred to the Unkalaki.[14]

According to Unkalaki legends, when someone draws the Bow of Hours it heralds "years of change."[35] Unkalaki legends speak of an ancient pact of the Seven Peaks which was made with gods. The Fal'ala'liki'nor, One Who Draws the Bow of Hours, may be involved with these treaties.[35]

The Story of the Horneater Peaks[edit]

Rock tells members of Bridge Four the story of how the Unkalaki claimed the Horneater Peaks.

The Unkalaki were at the brink of extinction due to their belligerent nature at that time. They had a leader called tana'kai who talked to the three most powerful kinds of gods on Roshar and asked them for shelter. They were the gods of the trees, the waters, and the mountains respectively.[4]

Both the gods of the trees and the gods of the waters refuse to give them shelter since they cannot guarantee the safety of the Unkalaki. The gods of the mountains do not outright decline the request but tell the tana'kai that his slopes are places only for spirits, and they cannot sustain life. The tana'kai solves the dilemma by asking the gods of the waters to place lakes on the peaks of the mountains, the mountain gods to heat them with their thermal energy from the depths of the earth, and the gods of the forests to bring edible plants to the now habitable areas on the mountain peaks. The gods were pleased with this solution, and the Horneaters moved to the peaks.[4]

Whether these three sets of gods are related to the three Shards on Roshar is unknown.


The Unkalaki language is part of the Dawnate language family, with distant roots in the Dawnchant. Though the vocabulary is distinctive, it shares similar grammar with the Shin and Parshendi languages.[38]

When speaking Alethi or Veden, one feature of the Unkalaki 'accent' is a tendency to use gendered pronouns (e.g. "he") in places where a non-gendered pronoun ("it") would be more appropriate[39]. This is due to the fact the Unkalaki Language uses grammatical gender. This system appears to be Masculine–feminine contrast, with most nouns leaning towards masculine.[40]

Unkalaki is a pro-drop language, meaning that pronouns can be dropped if the subject is known and/or easily inferable.[41]

Unkalaki names show a feature of agglutination, combining a large amount of morphemes in order to encode significant degree of information into a word. Various basic words in their language appear to reflect this feature as well.

The reduplication of vowels seems to indicate the distinction between long and short vowels. The ' in most words seem to depict Glottal stops.

Sentences tend to start with a verb, meaning that Unkalaki is likely a VSO or VOS language.[41] Due to heavy inspiration from Hawaiʻian[42], it is likely VSO.


Typical Unkalaki names are quite long, forming a poem.[28]


  • afah'liki - probably means “god”
  • alaii'iku - "Sighted", can see spren [45]
  • ali'i'kamura

With ali'i'kamura to protect, perhaps it will be safe.

  • alil’tiki’i
  • ana'kai

You're crazy! You're ana'kai crazy.

  • apaliki’tokoa’a - luckspren, known by Unkalaki to lead to treasure and be associated with the Sleepless
  • Fal’ala’liki’nor - He who drew the Bow of Hours at the dawn of the new millennium, heralding the years of change. A title used to refer to Lunamor.
  • holetental - Likely related to the Radiants or spren.

Is not thing to learn. Is of the holetental. For him only.

  • humaka'aban - A beard style. Long sideburns that curve down to the chin. The chin itself and the area around the lips are cleanly shaven.[29]
  • Kama[47]
  • Kali'kalin'da
  • kaluk'i'iki - Only a woman can be called this title.

When you are able to travel that far without being eaten by chasmfiend or killed in floods, I shall name you my kaluk'i'iki.

—Rock to Kaladin[16]
  • Kuma'tiki - A kind of shell found on the Horneater peaks[7]
  • liki - Most likely translates to Cognitive.[48]
  • mafah'liki - Unkalaki concept of spren,[11] it includes the root liki, translating to Cognitive.[48]

Uma'ami tukuma mafah'liki...

—the beginning of a respectful phrase about spren[7]
  • mala’lini’ka - unknown meaning, expressed by Cord when learning that Rysn can speak Veden[13]
  • mohoray[49]
  • namavau[19]
  • nuatoma - Unkalaki concept of nobility or ruling class, the same as Alethi lighteyes.[19]
  • Oo'kali'laa'e - unknown meaning, presumably a swear. [50]
  • tana'kai - Similar to a king, but has further meanings.[4]
  • toa - Physical.[48]
  • tuanalikina - Fourth son and younger[7]
  • tukuma[7]
  • tuli’iti’na - it appears this translates to "foolish lowlander talk"[13]
  • tuma'alki - likely translates to "weak" or "of poor quality".

Spices they have for us to requisition are tuma'alki!

  • Ula'makai - Captain
  • Uli'tekanaki

I cannot fight. What man could do this thing before the Uli'tekanaki?

  • uma'ami[7]
  • umalakai'ki[49]
  • umarti'a - A cousin of someone.[19]

Umalakai'ki! Kama mohoray namavau—

Lunamor's exclamation when Kaladin awakens [49]


  • The Unkalaki peoples are a mixture of Hawaiian, Scottish, and Russian cultures.[51]


  1. YouTube Livestream 14
    Arcanum - 2020-07-30#
  2. The Way of Kings chapter 14#
  3. The Way of Kings chapter 28#
  4. a b c d e f g h i j Words of Radiance chapter 46#
  5. Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A
    Arcanum - 2014-08-13#
  6. /r/books AMA
    Arcanum - 2015-05-19#
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k Oathbringer chapter 37#
  8. Words of Radiance chapter 69#
  9. Words of Radiance chapter 45#
  10. a b General Reddit 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-11-16#
  11. a b The Way of Kings chapter 21#
  12. Rhythm of War chapter 15#
  13. a b c d Dawnshard chapter 9#
  14. a b Dawnshard chapter 19#
  15. a b c d Dawnshard chapter 15#
  16. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 49#
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 21#
  18. a b c Oathbringer chapter 18#
  19. a b c d e f g The Way of Kings chapter 23#
  20. Oathbringer chapter 120#
  21. Oathbringer chapter 122#
  22. a b Dawnshard chapter 16#
  23. Rhythm of War interlude I-1#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 107#
  25. Rhythm of War chapter 98#
  26. Dawnshard chapter 4#
  27. YouTube Livestream 23
    Arcanum - 2020-12-17#
  28. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 27#
  29. a b The Way of Kings chapter 40#
  30. Dawnshard chapter 7#
  31. Rhythm of War chapter 75#
  32. Rhythm of War chapter 54#
  33. Rhythm of War chapter 7#
  34. Oathbringer chapter 46#
  35. a b c Dawnshard chapter 18#
  36. a b Words of Radiance chapter 9#
  37. Oathbringer chapter 55#
  38. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  39. Words of Radiance chapter 24#
  40. Oathbringer Portland signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-16#
  41. a b Barnes & Noble B-Fest 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-06-11#
  42. RoW Release Party
    Arcanum - 2020-11-17#
  43. Words of Radiance chapter 28#
  44. The Way of Kings chapter 55#
  45. Words of Radiance chapter 12#
  46. The Way of Kings chapter 73#
  47. The Way of Kings chapter 35#
  48. a b c Dawnshard chapter 12#
  49. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 35#
  50. Alethi Glyphs page 2
  51. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-07-21#
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