Rhythm of War/Epigraphs

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Lecture on fabrial mechanics[edit]

In Part One of Rhythm of War, the epigraphs are a transcript of a lecture on fabrial mechanics, presented by Navani Kholin to the coalition of monarchs, in Urithiru, on Jesevan 1175.

Chapter Text
1 "First, you must get a spren to approach.

The type of gemstone is relevant; some spren are naturally more intrigued by certain gemstones. In addition, it is essential to calm the spren with something it knows and loves. A good fire for a flamespren, for example, is a must."

2 "Next, let the spren inspect your trap. The gemstone must not be fully infused, but also cannot be fully dun. Experiments have concluded that seventy percent of maximum Stormlight capacity works best.

If you have done your work correctly, the spren will become fascinated by its soon-to-be prison. It will dance around the stone, peek at it, float around it."

3 "The final step in capturing spren is the most tricky, as you must remove the Stormlight from the gemstone. The specific techniques employed by each artifabrian guild are closely guarded secrets, entrusted only to their most senior members.

The easiest method would be to use a larkin—a type of cremling that feasts on Stormlight. That would be wonderful and convenient if the creatures weren’t now almost entirely extinct. The wars in Aimia were in part over these seemingly innocent little creatures."

4 "To draw Stormlight out of a gemstone, I use the Arnist Method. Several large empty gemstones are brought close to the infused one while the spren is inspecting it. Stormlight is slowly absorbed from a small gemstone by a very large gemstone of the same type—and several together can draw the Light out quickly. The method’s limitation is, of course, the fact that you need not merely acquire one gemstone for your fabrial, but several larger ones to withdraw the Stormlight.

Other methods must exist, as proven by the extremely large gemstone fabrials created by the Vriztl Guild out of Thaylenah. If Her Majesty would please repeat my request to the guild, this secret is of vital importance to the war effort."

5 "If the Stormlight in a gemstone is withdrawn quickly enough, a nearby spren can be sucked into the gemstone. This is caused by a similar effect to a pressure differential, created by the sudden withdrawal of Stormlight, though the science of the two phenomena are not identical.

You will be left with a captured spren, to be manipulated as you see fit."

6 "With a captured spren, you may begin designing a proper fabrial. It is a closely guarded secret of artifabrians that spren, when trapped, respond to different types of metals in different ways. A wire housing for the fabrial, called a “cage,” is essential to controlling the device."
7 "The two metals of primary significance are zinc and brass, which allow you to control expression strength. Zinc wires touching the gemstone will cause the spren inside to more strongly manifest, while brass will cause the spren to withdraw and its power to dim.

Remember that a gemstone must be properly infused following the spren’s capture. Drilled holes in the gemstone are ideal for proper use of the cage wires, so long as you don’t crack the structure and risk releasing the spren."

8 "A bronze cage can create a warning fabrial, alerting one to objects or entities nearby. Heliodors are being used for this currently, and there is some good reasoning for this—but other gemstones should be viable."
9 "A pewter cage will cause the spren of your fabrial to express its attribute in force—a flamespren, for example, will create heat. We call these augmenters. They tend to use Stormlight more quickly than other fabrials."
10 "A tin cage will cause the fabrial to diminish nearby attributes. A painrial, for example, can numb pain. Note that advanced designs of cages can use both steel and iron as well, changing the fabrial’s polarity depending on which metals are pushed to touch the gemstone."
11 "An iron cage will create an attractor—a fabrial that draws specific elements to itself. A properly created smoke fabrial, for example, can gather the smoke of a fire and hold it close.

New discoveries lead us to believe it is possible to create a repeller fabrial, but we don’t yet know the metal to use to achieve this feat."

12 "One of my pleas is for artifabrians to stop shrouding fabrial techniques with so much mystery. Many decoy metals are used in cages, and wires are often plated to look like a different metal, with the express intent of confusing those who might try to learn the process through personal study. This might enrich the artifabrian, but it impoverishes us all."
13 "Advanced fabrials are created using several different techniques. Conjoined fabrials require a careful division of the gemstone—and the spren inside. If performed correctly, the two halves will continue to behave as a single gemstone.

Note that rubies and flamespren are traditional for this purpose— as they have proven the easiest to divide, and the quickest in response times. Other types of spren do not split as evenly, as easily, or at all."

14 "All gemstones leak Stormlight at a slow rate—but so long as the crystal structure remains mostly intact, the spren cannot escape. Managing this leakage is important, as many fabrials also lose Stormlight through operation. All of this is tied up in the intricacies of the art. As is understanding one last vital kind of spren: logicspren."
15 "Logicspren react curiously to imprisonment. Unlike other spren, they do not manifest some attribute—you cannot use them to make heat, or to warn of nearby danger, or conjoin gemstones. For years, artifabrians considered them useless—indeed, experimenting with them was uncommon, since logicspren are rare and difficult to capture.

A breakthrough has come in discovering that logicspren will vary the light they radiate based on certain stimuli. For example, if you make the Light leak from the gemstone at a controlled rate, the spren will alternate dimming and brightening in a regular pattern. This has led to fabrial clocks. When the gemstone is tapped with certain metals, the light will also change states from bright to dim. This is leading to some very interesting and complex mechanisms."

16 "My final point of the evening is a discussion of Fused weapons. The Fused use a variety of fabrial devices to fight Radiants. It is obvious from how quickly they’ve fabricated and employed these countermeasures that they have used these in the past."
17 "The simplest Fused weapon against us isn’t truly a fabrial, but instead a metal that is extremely light and can withstand the blows of a Shardblade. This metal resists being Soulcast as well; it interferes with a great number of Radiant powers.

Fortunately, the Fused seem unable to create it in great quantities—for they equip only themselves, and not their average soldiers, with these wonders."

18 "The Fused have a second metal I find fascinating—a metal that conducts Stormlight. The implications for this in the creation of fabrials are astounding. The Fused use this metal in conjunction with a rudimentary fabrial—a simple gemstone, but without a spren trapped inside.

How they pull Stormlight out of a Radiant and into this sphere remains baffling. My scholars think they must be employing an Investiture differential. If a gemstone is full of Stormlight—or, I assume, Voidlight—and that Light is removed quickly, it creates a pressure differential (or a kind of vacuum) in the gemstone. This remains merely a theory."

19 "The world becomes an increasingly dangerous place, and so I come to the crux of my argument. We cannot afford to keep secrets from one another any longer. The Thaylen artifabrians have private techniques relating to how they remove Stormlight from gems and create fabrials around extremely large stones.

I beg the coalition and the good people of Thaylenah to acknowledge our collective need. I have taken the first step by opening my research to all scholars. I pray you will see the wisdom in doing the same."

The Letter[edit]

In Part Two of Rhythm of War, the epigraphs are a letter from Harmony to Hoid, responding to an earlier communication from Hoid regarding Odium.

Chapter Text
20 "Dear Wanderer,

I did receive your latest communication. Please forgive formality on my part, as we have not met in person. I feel new to this role, despite my years holding it. You will admit to my relative youth, I think."

21 "I have been fascinated to discover how much you’ve accomplished on Scadrial without me noticing your presence. How is it that you hide from Shards so well?"
22 "I have reached out to the others as you requested, and have received a variety of responses."
23 "Much as you indicate, there is a division among the other Shards I would not have anticipated."
24 "Endowment at least responded to my overtures, though I have not been able to locate Invention again following our initial contact."
25 "Whimsy was not terribly useful, and Mercy worries me. I do think that Valor is reasonable, and suggest you approach her again. It has been too long, in her estimation, since your last conversation."
26 "The deaths of both Devotion and Dominion trouble me greatly, as I had not realized this immense power we held was something that could be broken in such a way. On my world, the power always gathered and sought a new Vessel."
27 "That said, the most worrying thing I discovered in this was the wound upon the Spiritual Realm where Ambition, Mercy, and Odium clashed—and Ambition was destroyed. The effects on the planet Threnody have been … disturbing."
28 "Other Shards I cannot identify, and are hidden to me. I fear that their influence encroaches upon my world, yet I am locked into a strange inability because of the opposed powers I hold."
29 "I have begun searching for a pathway out of this conundrum by seeking the ideal person to act on my behalf. Someone who embodies both Preservation and Ruin. A … sword, you might say, who can both protect and kill."[1]
30 "But this does not get to the core of your letter. I have encouraged those who would speak to me to heed your warnings, but all seem content to ignore Odium for the time being. In their opinion, he is no threat as long as he remains confined in the Rosharan system."
31 "I do not share their attitude. If you can, as you suppose, maintain Odium’s prison for now, it would give us necessary time to plan. This is a threat beyond the capacity of one Shard to face."
32 "Unfortunately, as proven by my own situation, the combination of Shards is not always a path to greater power."
33 "We must assume that Odium has realized this, and is seeking a singular, terrible goal: the destruction—and somehow Splintering or otherwise making impotent—of all Shards other than him."
34 "To combine powers would change and distort who Odium is. So instead of absorbing others, he destroys them. Since we are all essentially infinite, he needs no more power. Destroying and Splintering the other Shards would leave Odium as the sole god, unchanged and uncorrupted by other influences."
35 "You say that the power itself must be treated as separate in our minds from the Vessel who controls it."
36 "I find this difficult to do on an intrinsic level, as although I am neither Ruin nor Preservation, they make up me."
37 "Regardless, I will try to do as you suggest. However, you seem more afraid of the Vessel. I warn you that this is a flaw in your understanding."
38 "You have not felt what I have. You have not known what I have. You rejected that chance—and wisely, I think."
39 "However, though you think not as a mortal, you are their kin. The power of Odium’s Shard is more dangerous than the mind behind it. Particularly since any Investiture seems to gain a will of its own when not controlled."
40 "My instincts say that the power of Odium is not being controlled well. The Vessel will be adapted to the power’s will. And after this long, if Odium is still seeking to destroy, then it is because of the power."
41 "Of course, I admit this is a small quibble. A difference of semantics more than anything."
42 "In truth, it would be a combination of a Vessel’s craftiness and the power’s Intent that we should fear most."
43 "Regardless, please make yourself known to me when you travel my lands. It is distressing that you think you need to move in the shadows."

Rhythm of War[edit]

In Part Three of Rhythm of War, the epigraphs are excerpts from the in-world "book" with the same name - Navani's notebook filled with notes by both her and Raboniel.

Chapter Text Page
44 "I find this format most comfortable, as it is how I’ve collaborated in the past. I have never done it in this way, and with this kind of partner." 1
46 "I approach this project with an equal mixture of trepidation and hope. And I know not which should rule." 1
47 "I approach this project with inspiration renewed; the answers are all that should matter." 1 undertext
49 "In my fevered state, I worry I’m unable to focus on what is important." 3
50 "When in such a state, detachment is enviable. I have learned that my greatest discoveries come when I abandon lesser connections." 3 undertext
51 "This song—this tone, this rhythm—sounds so familiar, in ways I cannot explain or express." 5
53 "I am led to wonder, from experiences such as this, if we have been wrong. We call humans alien to Roshar, yet they have lived here for thousands of years now. Perhaps it is time to acknowledge there are no aliens or interlopers. Only cousins." 5 undertext
54 "It would have been so easy if Voidlight and Stormlight destroyed one another. Such a simple answer." 6
55 "We must not let our desires for a specific result cloud our perceptions." 6 undertext
56 "But how can we not, in searching, wish for a specific result? What scientist goes into a project without a hope for what they will find?" 6 undertext
58 "I find this experience so odd. I work with a scholar from the ancient days, before modern scientific theory was developed. I keep forgetting all the thousands of years of tradition you completely missed." 6 undertext
59 "This point regarding the Rhythm of War’s emotional influence will be of particular interest to El." 10
60 "Who is this person? You used no title, so I assume they are not a Fused. Who, then, is El?" 10 undertext
61 "In other circumstances, I would be fascinated by this sand to the point of abandoning all other rational pursuits. What is it? Where did it come from?" 13
63 "I am told that it is not the sand itself, but something that grows upon it, that exhibits the strange properties. One can make more, with proper materials and a seed of the original." 13 undertext
64 "The sand originated offworld. It is only one of such amazing wonders that come from other lands—I have recently obtained a chain from the lands of the dead, said to be able to anchor a person through Cognitive anomalies. I fail to see what use it could be to me, as I am unable to leave the Rosharan system. But it is a priceless object nonetheless." 13 undertext
65 "As we dig further into this project, I am left questioning the very nature of God. How can a God exist in all things, yet have a substance that can be destroyed?" 21
66 "I am not convinced any of the gods can be destroyed, so perhaps I misspoke. They can change state however, like a spren—or like the various Lights. This is what we seek." 21 undertext
67 "Do not mourn for what has happened. This notebook was a dream we shared, which is itself a beautiful thing. Proof of the truth of my intent, even if the project was ultimately doomed." 27
69 "I leave you now to your own company." 27
70 "Opposites. Opposites of sounds. Sound has no opposite. It’s merely overlapped vibration, the same sound, but sound has meaning. This sound does, at least. These sounds. The voices of gods." final
71 "Voice of Lights. Voice for Lights. If I speak for the Lights, then I must express their desires. If Light is Investiture, and all Investiture is deity, and deity has Intent, then Light must have Intent." final
72 "Intent matters. Intent is king. You cannot do what I attempt by accident. You must mean it. This seems a much greater law than we’ve ever before understood." final

Kalak's journal[edit]

In Part Four of Rhythm of War, the epigraphs are excerpts of Kalak's journal, in some of which he writes during his stay in Lasting Integrity.

Chapter Text
74 "Words.

I used to be good with words. I used to be good at a lot of things."

75 "There was a time when others would approach me for help with a problem. A time when I was decisive. Capable. Even authoritative."
76 "Such skills, like my honor itself, are now lost to time. Weathered away, crushed to dust, and scattered to the ends of the cosmere. I am a barren tree of a human being. I am the hollow that once was a mighty peak."
78 "So, words. Why words, now? Why do I write?"
79 "Jezrien is gone. Despite being all the way out here in Lasting Integrity, I felt him being ripped away. The Oathpact was broken already, but the Connection remained. Each of us can sense the others, to an extent. And with further investigation, I know the truth of what happened to him. It felt like death at first, and I think that is what it ultimately became."
80 "The singers first put Jezrien into a gemstone. They think they are clever, discovering they can trap us in those. It only took them seven thousand years."
82 "Oh … Father … Seven thousand years."
83 "I remember so few of those centuries. I am a blur. A smear on the page. A gaunt stretch of ink, made all the more insubstantial with each passing day."
84 "Midius once told me … told me we could use Investiture … to enhance our minds, our memories, so we wouldn’t forget so much."
85 "Why would I want to remember?"
87 "Maybe if I remembered my life, I’d be capable of being confident like I once was. Maybe I’d stop vacillating when even the most simple of decisions is presented to me."
89 "Instead I think, if I were to remember my life in detail, I would become even worse. Paralyzed by my terrible actions. I should not like to remember all those I have failed."
90 "Regardless, I write now. Because I know they are coming for me. They got Jezrien. They’ll inevitably claim me, even here in the honorspren stronghold."
91 "And so, I’ll die.

Yes, die. If you’re reading this and wondering what went wrong—why my soul evaporated soon after being claimed by the gemstone in your knife—then I name you idiot for playing with powers you only presume to understand."

92 "The bond is what keeps us alive. You sever that, and we will slowly decompose into ordinary souls—with no valid Connection to the Physical or Spiritual Realms. Capture one of us with your knives, and you won’t be left with a spren in a jar, foolish ones. You’ll be left with a being that eventually fades away into the Beyond."
93 "I felt it happen to Jezrien. You think you captured him, but our god is Splintered, our Oathpact severed. He faded over the weeks, and is gone now. Beyond your touch at long last.

I should welcome the same. I do not. I fear you."

94 "Nevertheless, I’m writing answers for you here, because something glimmers deep within me. A fragment of a memory of what I once was.

I was there when Ba-Ado-Mishram was captured. I know the truth of the Radiants, the Recreance, and the Nahel spren."

96 "I tell you; I write it. You must release the captive Unmade. She will not fade as I will. If you leave her as she is, she will remain imprisoned for eternity."
97 "As one who has suffered for so many centuries … as one whom it broke … please find Mishram and release her. Not just for her own good. For the good of all spren.

For I believe that in confining her, we have caused a greater wound to Roshar than any ever realized."

Musings of El[edit]

In Part Five of Rhythm of War, the epigraphs are excerpts from the musings of El, a Fused scholar of human art forms, on the first of the Final Ten Days.

Chapter Text
98 "I look forward to ruling the humans."
99 "I had my title and my rhythms stripped from me for daring insist they should not be killed, but should instead be reconditioned. Repurposed."
100 "Humans are weapons. We singers revere Passion, do we not? How can we throw away such an excellent channeling of it?"
101 "I love their art. The way they depict us is divine, all red shades and black lines. We appear demonic and fearsome; they project all fear and terror upon us."
102 "To humans, our very visages become symbols. You find echoes of it even in the art from centuries before this Return."
103 "Watch them struggle. Witness their writhing, their refusal to surrender. Humans cling to the rocks with the vigor of any Rosharan vine."
104 "Humans are a poem. A song."
105 "For ones so soft, they are somehow strong."
106 "For ones so varied, they are somehow intense."
107 "For ones so lost, they are somehow determined."
108 "For ones so confused, they are somehow brilliant."
109 "For ones so tarnished, they are somehow bright."
110 "Radiant."
111 "And so I am not at all dissatisfied with recent events."
112 "Roshar will be united in its service of the greater war."
113 "And I will march proudly at the head of a human legion."
114 "They should not be discarded, but helped to their potential. Their final Passions."
115 "Yes, I look forward to ruling the humans."
116 "Nearly as much as I look forward to serving you, newest Odium. Who was so recently one of them. You understand. And you are the one I’ve been waiting to worship."


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