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Pattern

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Pattern
Pattern Animation.gif
by Isaac Stewart, User: Awesomeness
Abilities Nahel bond, Lightweaver magic
Bonded With Shallan
Species Cryptic
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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I know that you have forgotten much of what once was. Those lies attracted me. But you cannot continue like this; you must admit the truth about me. About what I can do, and what we have done. Mmm... More, you must know yourself. And remember. You wish to help. You wish to prepare for the Everstorm, the spren of the unnatural one. You must become something. I did not come to you merely to teach you tricks of light.
—Pattern to Shallan Davar on remembering the difficult truths of her past[1]

Pattern is a spren on Roshar. He is a member of the race of spren called the Cryptics. His bond to Shallan Davar grants him sentience in the Physical Realm and allows her to use the Surges associated with the Order of Lightweavers, Illumination and Transformation.

Name[edit]

Pattern says that his real name is composed of many numbers, making it difficult to say.[2] Shallan started calling him "Pattern" while she was studying him upon Jasnah's orders.[3]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

In the Physical Realm, Pattern most often takes the shape of a complex and constantly shifting geometric pattern slightly raised off a surface or object.[4] On occasion he can also manifest as a floating three-dimensional mass of twisting lines.[5] Pattern is unable to turn completely invisible like honorspren, but he can blend in with the surface he currently inhabits such that only people who are looking for him will notice his presence.[6]

In the Cognitive Realm, Pattern appears as a tall and willowy creature clad in a robe made of a stiff material. A complex pattern of sharp lines and impossible geometries forms his head.[7]

Pattern is fascinated by concepts that mix truths and falsehoods, such as flattery, sarcasm, and even figures of speech like metaphors. He calls these things lies, but not in a disparaging way but rather admiringly, as if he is fond of lies. These are things that he has to learn from humans like Shallan, as he is more naturally inclined to express truths simply as they are. While he is a master of understanding patterns, he finds man-made patterns, like human languages and their social conventions, to be more of a challenge because of their inconsistencies and illogical rules, although he tries his best to learn these things anyway as they are attractive to him.[1]

While capable of silently blending in with his surroundings, which has proven useful when spying on people, Pattern has a tendency to vibrate audibly when excited or anxious. This buzzing sound tends to unnerve people, especially those unaware of where the noise is coming from.[8]

History[edit]

My memory is weak. I was dumb so long, nearly dead. Mmm. I could not speak.
— Pattern[1]

Like most spren currently living, Pattern has previously never bonded a Knight Radiant. He did not yet possess any awareness during the time of the Recreance, and the Cryptics stopped bonding with humans for thousands of years after that event.[9]

Eventually, it was decided that the Cryptics would once again bond humans. Pattern lobbied for the opportunity to be the first in this attempt and was nominated.[10]

Shallan's Childhood[edit]

Pattern bonded a Veden child named Shallan Davar. With the bond, the young child could create illusions of light. By the time Shallan was eleven years old, the bond has progressed to the point that the young Lightweaver could already mix auditory and visual illusions[1], as well as summon Pattern as a Shardblade.

When a Skybreaker acolyte persuaded Shallan's mother that Surgebinders had to be killed[11], the eleven-year-old Shallan had to use Pattern as a Shardblade to defend herself, killing her own mother and the Skybreaker acolyte in the process.[12]

After the traumatic event, Shallan's father took Pattern's Shardblade form from Shallan and stored it inside a strongbox. This was ineffectual, as Pattern vanished from the strongbox the moment it closed, but from that day onward the strongbox appeared to glow in Shallan's eyes. Nobody else could see the glow, but she could see it even after a painting was was placed over the strongbox to hide it.[13][14]

Retreat Into Shadesmar[edit]

The state of distress and shock caused by the incident with her mother led Shallan to resent Pattern and suppress her memories of him, causing Pattern to retreat mostly back into the Cognitive Realm.[15] After this, Shallan could no longer use Surgebinding,[16] though she could still use her enhanced mnemonic abilities. Although her memories of Pattern were repressed, she retained knowledge of having a Shardblade.[17][18]

Shallan fleeing from Cryptics, by Petar Penev.

Despite having been forgotten, Pattern remained secretly by Shallan's side. When she departed from her family's estate to seek out Jasnah Kholin, Pattern followed her. In Kharbranth, he and other Cryptics watched over Shallan, although she could not see the spren directly as they were in the Cognitive Realm.

Bond Repaired[edit]

While sketching a portrait of Taravangian, king of Kharbranth, Shallan unconsciously drew a couple of Cryptics who had been standing in the room invisible to the humans there. She had used her mnemonic ability to assist her drawing, and the presence of the Cryptics were somehow included in the Memory.[19] It is likely that Pattern was one of the Cryptics.

Several weeks later, Pattern spoke to Shallan, attempting to obtain a new truth. Her memories of her spren still repressed, Shallan was alarmed by the disembodied voice.[20] Later on Cryptics appeared once again when Shallan drew a portrait of Kabsal. Panicked, Shallan fled, and the Cryptics followed her to her room, where she attempted summon her Shardblade to protect herself.[18]

This act of summoning her spren (even unintentionally) was a significant event[16], as through it Pattern succeeded in getting a truth out of Shallan. Their bond strengthened, Shallan used Surgebinding once again, entering Shadesmar and Soulcasting a goblet into blood.[18]

Pattern obtained another truth from Shallan days later, when she wanted to enter Shadesmar again, although Shallan did not have enough Stormlight at the time and had to be saved by Jasnah.[21]

Return to the Physical Realm[edit]

Their bond strengthened by the truths that Shallan has spoken, Pattern transitioned once more from the Cognitive Realm to the Physical, losing much of his mind in the process. While Shallan and Jasnah set sail for the Shattered Plains aboard the Wind's Pleasure, Shallan saw the Cryptic's Physical form several times, a complex pattern like an embossment rising from a surface and floating in the air, appearing briefly before vanishing.[22]

I thought I saw something in the water, just now. A pattern of sharp lines, like a maze
—Shallan to Jasnah[22]

Pattern continued to appear to Shallan, vanishing whenever she caught a glimpse of him until she finally managed to capture him in a Memory while reading in her cabin. Her subsequent sketch, which attracted hundreds of creationspren, seemingly helped to anchor Pattern, and he was able to completely transition from the Cognitive. Like all radiant spren when they first enter the Physical Realm, the transition damaged Pattern, losing much of his cognitive abilities and becoming infantile and almost mindless.[4]

Mutual Learning[edit]

The Cryptics have a fearful reputation, and yet this one – the first specimen I’ve ever seen – seems . . . ‘Imbecilic?’ Shallan asked.
— Jasnah and Shallan discussed Pattern[4]

When Jasnah learned of Shallan's discovery, they discussed about the nature of spren, particularly the Cryptics, and she ordered Shallan to spend the next few days studying the pattern-like spren.[4]

From then on, Shallan and Pattern started studying each other and learning from each other. With his mind still recovering from his transition into the Physical Realm, Pattern was initially quite child-like in both speech and thought. Shallan taught him various concepts that were alien to him, like the concept of eating, that he struggled to grasp.[3] However, he started learning, and as his memories and intelligence slowly returned, his knowledge of Surgebinding and Shadesmar became useful, and he started guiding Shallan in both Lightweaving and Soulcasting.

A page from Shallan's sketchbook depicting her spren Pattern, by Ben McSweeney.

Throughout their journey towards the Shattered Plains, and even afterwards, both Shallan's handling of her Lightweaving powers and Pattern's understanding of human behavior slowly grew with each other's assistance. Aside from Surgebinding, Shallan found creative ways of utilizing Pattern's unique nature, from espionage[23] to trickery through voice mimicry.[6] Pattern also found that he could disengage locking mechanisms[24] and translate ancient texts[25] for Shallan, as these things have patterns that he could easily understand.

The Truth of the Shardblade[edit]

Although Pattern and Shallan's relationship seemed healthy, there were several problems. First, because of the Recreance, Pattern believed that oath-breaking is a universal human trait, and that therefore Shallan will one day betray her Oaths and kill him.[26] The fact that Shallan repressed her memories of Pattern for so long, weakening their bond, probably did not help. Pattern insisted that Shallan's betrayal is inevitable[9], and while she firmly disagreed with this claim[26], she did hide a secret hatred for Pattern.

For a long time, Shallan's mind refused to register anything Pattern said that was related to their past experiences together before her mother's death[25][1], as she was actively suppressing those memories. She also insisted to herself that her Shardblade needed ten heartbeats to summon just like most Shardblades at the time, refusing to acknowledge its true nature even when she was in grave danger, as when Tyn was attacking her[27] or when she and Kaladin encountered a chasmfiend.[28]

Upon discovering the Oathgate in the ruins of Stormseat and finding that a Shardblade was required for it to work, Shallan soon realized that dead Shardblades could not activate the Oathgate. Saving herself and the Alethi army meant she had to face the reality that Pattern was her Shardblade. Speaking this new truth, she used Pattern on the Oathgate to transport the whole army to Urithiru.[12]

Once they had all moved into the ancient city, Pattern executed a plan to make Shallan say a powerful truth, believing that Shallan needed to be stronger now that the Desolation has come. He convinced Adolin to give Shallan a room that resembled the room where her mother died. When Shallan entered it, he covered the room in an illusion of the death scene. Through his urging, Shallan started to recount the events of that day, how she killed her own mother, how her father took the blame, and how that led to her father's downfall and the destruction of their family. Shallan ended by stating how she hated Pattern and how she wanted her family back.[12]

After this, Shallan was no longer able to forget the memory of killing her mother no matter how hard she tried. This was apparently something that happened to truths spoken by Lightweavers.[29] Pattern felt guilty for what he did, and at one point even offered to be killed by Shallan so that another Cryptic could take his place. Nonetheless, Shallan tried to bring her relationship with Pattern back to normal, although she still hated using him as a Shardblade. Eventually, she created an illusory persona she called Radiant to take her place whenever she had to wield the Shardblade.[30]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

As his name implies, Pattern has the ability to recognize and decipher complex patterns and codes. He often aids Shallan in her various pursuits by opening locks, breaking codes, translating languages, and mimicking voices. When Shallan attempts to Soulcast, such as changing a stick into fire, Pattern serves as translator for the object she is trying to convince to change.[31] When Lightweaving, Shallan can anchor her illusions to Pattern, allowing them to move and draw Stormlight even when they are not in close proximity to her.[1]

Nahel Bond[edit]

The bond Pattern and Shallan share grants him sentience in the Physical Realm and gives her access to the Surges of Illumination and Transformation. Like other orders of the Knights Radiant Shallan had to verbally or mentally state the First Ideal to initially form the bond, but after that point the bond is strengthened by her admitting certain deep truths about herself.[32] She has not yet stated enough truths to be a full Radiant but their bond has strengthened enough for Pattern to become a Shardblade when needed.

Quotes[edit]

That’s not enough. I must know something true about you. Tell me. The stronger the truth, the more hidden it is, the more powerful the bond. Tell me. Tell me. What are you??
— Pattern to Shallan[21]
Terrible destruction to eat!
— Pattern to Shallan, after learning about the concept of eating[3]
Know you nothing of Patterns, old human? Voidbringers have no pattern. Besides, I have read of them in your lore. They speak of spindly arms like bone, and horrific faces. I should think, if you wish to find one, the mirror might be a location where you can begin your search.
— Pattern to Inadara, in response to her accusation that he was a Voidbringer[33]
Oh! You were talking about mating! I’m to make sure you don’t accidentally mate, as mating is forbidden by human society until you have first performed appropriate rituals! Yes, yes. Mmmm. Dictates of custom require following certain patterns before you copulate. I’ve been studying this!

Very well, you two. No mating. NO MATING.

— Pattern, upon realizing what inappropriate acts he, as a chaperone to Shallan and Adolin, was supposed to look out for[29]

Trivia[edit]

Notes[edit]

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