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Lightspren

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Lightspren
Captain Ico.png
by Ben McSweeney
Type Spren
Abilities Nahel bond, Willshaper magic, Splinters
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

They like to travel, to see new places. They sail all across Roshar's Shadesmar, peddling goods, trading with other spren.

Lightspren, more commonly known in Shadesmar as Reachers, are a subset of sapient spren on Roshar.[1] Bonding with them makes a person a Surgebinder of the Order of Willshapers.[2]

Appearance[edit]

In Shadesmar, Reachers appear humanoid, though they have metallic bronze skin, making them look like living statues.[3] They have bronze metal eyes with holes where the pupils would be.[4] Their hair are similarly metallic bronze; the Reachers pin them into buns and ponytails.[5][6] Unlike honorspren or Cryptics, Reachers don't seem to have clothes as part of their essence; instead, they wear human-like clothing of earthy, tan colors, with numerous buttoned pockets. They seem to prefer going barefoot.[3]

In the Physical Realm, lightspren appear as a ball of light, small enough to hide in a palm of a hand. When it moves, it trails around a glowing streak, making it look like a comet.[7] The light can grow stronger or fainter, seemingly depending on the spren's mood.[8] Lightspren seem to be a little more tangible than their kinsmen in the Physical -- wind pushes them, they are warm, and feel somewhat like silk to touch.[9] They can communicate through pulsing to singer Rhythms, which produces bursts of light, as well as audible vibrations.[9][10] For a singer, those vibrations appear to carry more meaning than simple mood, including more abstract concepts like familial relations and high numbers.[11]

History[edit]

During the Heraldic Epochs, the Reachers began bonding people in an effort to emulate the Honorblades, giving rise to the Order of Willshapers.[12] When the Recreance came, they, like other sapient spren, lost a tremendous number of their kinsmen, including many family members.[11] By the Era of Solitude, they managed to rebuild their society, becoming well-known guids and traders.[1]

When Kaladin, Shallan, Adolin, their spren and Azure were stranded in Shadesmar, they managed to find passage to Celebrant on a Reacher-crewed ship commanded by captain Ico, in exchange for barter supplies and dun spheres.[3] It's uncertain how many Reachers have chosen to begin bonding humans again; so far, it appears as though only Timbre made that decision.[11]

Culture[edit]

Reachers are adept travelers and explorers, journeying across the Sea of Souls in ships pulled by teams of mandras. Because of this, they often serve as guides for newcomers, and trade extensively with various spren cities and settlements.[1] They usually don't carry weapons other than knives, although their ships are equipped with large harpoons, likely to defend them from hostile lesser spren.[3]

It's unknown if Reachers have settlements of their own, although they are very common in Celebrant. There, they live and work, selling goods -- including off-world imports like Nalthian paintings -- or exchanging money. Celebrant docks also seem to be crewed mainly by Reachers, who assist in docking the ships and unharnessing mandras.[6][4]

by taratjah
Timbre, a Reacher, in Venli's hand

While Reachers can be both male and female, they don't seem to practice any sort of division between genders -- both can be seen performing the same jobs, wearing the same clothes, and reading.[3]

The Recreance has left the Reachers with a deep-seated mistrust in humans and their oaths. Some seem to be understanding of humans using deadeye Shardblades for their own purposes, though there is an undercurrent of resignation to this, as they seem to believe that it's inevitable for human oaths to be broken. Nonetheless, they seem intent on being helpful, easily trading with humans and providing them with means of survival. They're also willing to provide advice free of charge.[3][4]

Abilities[edit]

The Reachers on Ico's ship are barefoot so that they can walk along the vibrating copper lines set into the deck, which Shallan believes are used for wordless communication between the lightspren.[3]

In the Physical Realm, Reachers seem able to move very quickly, as well as hover and fly, although they cannot become invisible.[8] They are capable of overpowering lesser voidspren, and can live inside the gemheart of a singer.[13]

Reachers are one of the spren types capable of forming Nahel Bonds. Bonding them makes a person a Surgebinder with the Surges of Transportation and Cohesion.[14] Notably, they are the first sapient spren to be shown capable of forming a Nahel Bond with a singer rather than a human. While the bond does seem to afford them a higher level of intelligence as it does with other spren, Reachers appear incapable of communication; however, it's uncertain whether this is a consequence of bonding a singer, or of a lightspren bonded to a human would also be mute.[13]

Notable Lightspren[edit]

Notes[edit]

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