by Marianne Eie
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
Ryshadium are a subspecies or breed of horse on Roshar. They are genetically distinct from other horses though they are still capable of mating with them. The Ryshadium likely descended from horses that were brought to Roshar when humans first arrived. They are often referred to as "the third shard" in addition to a Shardblade and Shardplate.
Ryshadium are larger than other breeds of horse. It is noted that Dalinar's Ryshadium Gallant is two hands taller than an ordinary horse. Ryshadium have been seen to have multiple coat colors including black and white. Additionally they can have both light or dark eyes which have rectangular pupils. Unlike ordinary horses Ryshadium have stone hooves and thus do not require shoes. This is likely an adaptation they have developed for life on Roshar. It is unknown if the hooves are actually stone, or a stone-like material.
Ryshadium are significantly stronger than other warhorses. They can carry a shardbearer in full plate demonstrating their enhanced strength and endurance. They are also faster than other horse breeds. They are strong enough to withstand a shardbearer jumping into their saddle without any injury to themselves, an action that would break the backs of most ordinary horses. Ryshadium also have a higher level of sentience than other animals (a benefit of their spren bond), nearing sapience.
Ryshadium exhibit many behaviors that are unique to the breed. They posses a certain level of sentience. It is unclear the exact degree of sentience they posses however there are multiple times throughout the series when a Ryshadium appears to understand its rider.
In battle Ryshadium will hold their ground even in circumstances when other horses would flee, either through training or their natural abilities. It is indicated that Ryshadium are difficult to train, when Dalinar laments this fact in The Way of Kings. This is likely due to the fact that they cannot be ridden unless they choose a rider first.
The intelligence and understanding of the Ryshadium can be seen in their relationships with their riders. Riders often carry on conversations with Ryshadium and the horses will seemingly answer either through body language or sounds such as snorts.
Choosing a Rider
Ryshadium are known for choosing and obeying only a particular rider. Dalinar describes the experience of having a Ryshadium accept him as a rider as “indescribable”. It is indicated that one must be “worthy” to be chosen by a Ryshadium, what the measure of worthiness is however remains unclear.
Riders often communicate with their Ryshadium as if the horses have full or partial understanding of what their riders are saying. Furthermore, they do respond with body language and sounds indicating that this is true. While Ryshadium are useful in battle Shardbearers will sometimes fight unmounted so that they do not endanger their Ryshadium in close attacks. Ryshadium are loyal to their riders, and will risk their lives to find and aid them. This is demonstrated when Dalinar's Ryshadium Gallant runs to look for him during the battle at the tower.
Though Ryshadium choose their rider they will allow others to ride them as they are needed, in one instance Ryshadium were used to carry three wounded men from the battlefield.
- Dalinar with Gallant
- Adolin with Sureblood
- Hatham with unnamed Ryshadium
- Kalanor with unnamed Ryshadium
In the Rosharan essay by Khriss it is stated that there is a symbiotic relationship between spren and Ryshadium. Some of the benefits to Ryshadium are clear(strength, self awareness), it is unclear what the spren receive from the Ryshadium. Ryshadium are – like humans – a non-native species to Roshar that has developed a spren bond.
Theories and speculation
- Ryshadium is a word also used in the Alcatraz series; Radrian Blackburn asks Leavenworth Smedry how to bypass the Sentinel's Glass of Ryshadium during the torture.
”They pick their rider, son. We fixate on Shards, but any man -- courageous or coward -- can bond a Blade. Not so here, on this ground. Only the worthy win here . . .—Dalinar to Adolin
- OdysseyCon 2016
— Arcanum - 2016-04-08#
- Oathbringer chapter 113 #
- Oathbringer chapter 10 #
- The Way of Kings chapter 12 #
- The Way of Kings chapter 13 #
- Words of Radiance chapter 81 #
- The Way of Kings chapter 56 #
- Oathbringer chapter 26 #
- Arcanum Unbounded - The Rosharan System #
- The Way of Kings chapter 18 #
- The Way of Kings chapter 15 #
- Words of Radiance chapter 26 #
- The Way of Kings chapter 68 #
- Words of Radiance chapter 29 #
- Idaho Falls signing
— Arcanum - 2018-07-21#
- Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (book) chapter 16 #