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Nohadon's Stairways is a location in Shadesmar, the Rosharan subastral of the Cognitive Realm. It is located in the Sea of Souls. Its location corresponds to that of the tower city of Urithiru in the Physical Realm, and it includes ten massive pillars that contain the Shadesmar versions of Urithiru's Oathgates.
Nohadon's Stairways is located near the center of Shadesmar's massive ocean, in the portion known as the Sea of Souls. It lies east of the Basin of the Veiled Sun and north of the Radiant Depths.
The location's most notable feature is a massive tower that rises out of the bead ocean of Shadesmar. The tower is the Cognitive Realm's counterpart to Urithiru, and it has a tiered structure similar to the tower in the Physical Realm. However, its appearance is otherwise very different; it looks like a mountain of light and colors, very bright, but not casting shadows. It is surrounded by a brilliant crystalline radiance that is not exactly the same shape of the tower. This radiance has a mother-of-pearl color, the same color as the sky in Shadesmar during a highstorm. The place is swarming with emotion spren, attracted by the humans in Urithiru. The nature of the tower calms them and ensures that they are not dangerous to travelers.
Near the tower, there are ten elevated pillars, corresponding to the ten Oathgates. The pillars are arranged in a pattern similar to that of the Oathgate platforms at Urithiru in the Physical Realm. Each pillar has a long spiraling ramp leading to the sea of beads below, and there are a pair of Oathgate spren that serve as gatekeepers hovering above each pillar. Although distance is not proportionate in different Realms, the pillars and the tower are elevated because of Urithiru's high-altitude location in the Physical Realm. At the base of at least one pillar, there is a small building and a dock where barges can pick up passengers.
It is unclear how the name "Nohadon's Stairways" came into use. The name is only known from a map of unknown provenance that Nazh annotated. Although Nohadon was a Surgebinder and he visited Urithiru, it is not clear what Surges he commanded or whether he entered Shadesmar.
During the Heraldic Epochs, Nohadon's Stairways was a critical component of Urithiru's function as a hub for trade and travel between nations, with the Knights Radiant controlling the use of the Oathgates. At some point, possibly precipitated by other events on Roshar, the Sibling (a spren who was essentially a manifestation of Urithiru) ordered the gatekeepers to prevent travel through the Oathgates. The Oathgates were also locked, although the locking mechanism was not infallible.
When the refounded Knights Radiant first discovered how to use the Oathgates during the True Desolation, they were only able to travel instantaneously to and from Urithiru. However, some of the gatekeeper spren (including the ones from the Narak Oathgate) believed the Sibling to be dead since they had effectively vanished for thousands of years. These spren agreed to obey the Stormfather instead, and they began allowing people to travel directly into Shadesmar at his direction. Shallan and Adolin's expedition to Lasting Integrity began at Nohadon's Stairways when they used the Narak Oathgate to travel into the Cognitive Realm.
- Map of the Sea of Souls
- The Way of Kings chapter 58#
- Oathbringer chapter 103#
- Map of Roshar
- Map of Shadesmar
- Rhythm of War chapter 22#
- Words of Radiance chapter 77#
- The Way of Kings chapter 46 epigraph#
- Oathbringer chapter 116#
- Words of Radiance chapter 89#
- Oathbringer chapter 115#
- Words of Radiance chapter 86#