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by Yen Shu Liao
|Region||The Horneater Peaks|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”Is water of life. It is connection to gods. If Unkalaki swim in it, sometimes they see place of gods.— Rock on the Horneater oceans
The Horneater Oceans are a series of thermal hot springs in the Horneater Peaks on Roshar. They are sometimes called the Emerald Pools for their distinct color. They house Cultivation's Perpendicularity.
Most high mountains in the Horneater Peaks have a crater filled with water at their top. This water is hot, providing pockets of livable space around each Ocean. The temperature drops drastically at a short distance from the lakes, however, making survival in the Peaks without them all but impossible.
Myths and Traditions
According to one story, the Horneater oceans were created when the Unkalaki people sought to find a place to live where they wouldn't be hunted down. The tana'kai, the leader of the Unkalaki, asked the gods of the sea and of the forests to hide them, but they could not help as they, too, were being attacked by men. When the tana'kai asked the same of the gods of the mountains, they told him that helping his people was impossible for them, as their slopes were uninhabitable, but if the Unkalaki could find a way to make them livable, the gods would agree. And so, the Unkalaki begged the gods of the sea for water to drink, the gods of the forest for the fruit to eat, and the gods of the mountains for the heat of their heart, thus creating the oceans. As the oceans serve as Cultivation's Perpendicularity, the Shard was certainly one of the "gods" that the tana'kai asked for aid, but it is unclear whether the other two are just extrapolations of myth or were actually Honor and Odium.
In the modern day, the Unkalaki believe that swimming in the oceans is death to any non-Unkalaki. Some outsiders believe that this is because any foreigners are executed for making an attempt. However, there are also other, more mysterious reasons, some of which may be related to such foreigners disappearing as a result of traveling through the Perpendicularity. On the other hand, the Unkalaki are free to swim in the oceans, and doing so may sometimes allow them to see the "place of gods" and commune with its inhabitants. This most likely also refers to the oceans' nature as a Perpendicularity.
According to the Unkalaki, gods sometimes visit them through the oceans. One of those is Lunu'anaki, the god of travel and mischief, who cannot hurt humans and has white hair and an angular face; this description fits Hoid. He is, however, far from the only visitor: all worldhoppers are treated like gods by the people of the Peaks.
Though on top, the Oceans are water, beneath that layer there is a different, though still liquid substance that is emerald in color. This marks the Oceans as the Perpendicularity of the Shard Cultivation, allowing worldhoppers to travel between Roshar and Shadesmar.
It's the only stable Perpendicularity on Roshar; for worldhoppers travelling there, the Horneater Oceans are the place where they emerge into the Physical Realm. However, during the True Desolation, the area in Shadesmar surrounding it has been overtaken by the Fused, and many spren ships travelling there are never seen again. At the moment, most spren refuse to sail in that direction, and even in the Physical Realm, the presence of the Fused can be felt by the people living around the Oceans.