by User: Otto didact
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
Shinovar is a nation on the western mainland of Roshar. Lying west of the Misted Mountains, that break the torrent of the raging highstorms, Shinovar has a vastly different ecology from the rest of the planet, as the flora and fauna there have not the need of adapting to survival in the highstorms. The plant life is described by those from the east as "slow" or "sluggish" compared to the rest of Roshar.
The Shin, natives of Shinovar, have round faces and are one of few ethnicities on Roshar whose eyes lack epicanthic folds. These features give them a wide-eyed look that, to outsiders, makes them appear to resemble young children. Their distinctive features are the result of them being xenophobic and not intermixing with other races very much.
The Shin live a relatively peaceful life, and by nature are a very humble people. Because of this, soldiers are considered relatively low on their social ladder, with Farmers being lavished like princes near the top.
The Shin follow Stone Shamanism. They believe stone to be sacred and that their soul is given to the stones upon their death, where they continue to exist. They consider walking upon stones to be a heresy, and derogatorily refer to those who do as Stonewalkers. Similarly mining in stone is considered to be a heresy. Because of this, metal is very valuable in Shin territory, with the Shin preferring Soulcast metal above mined metal because of the inherent blasphemy in obtaining it. Shin won't trade for fabrials apparently for religious reasons.
When it comes to trading, and as a result of their humble nature, haggling with the Shin usually involves both parties devaluing their wares to the other, until an agreement can be reached.
Warriors are all considered extremely poorly in Shin culture. To a Shin, since warriors exist only to destroy, they are far below the farmers and craftsmen who live to create, and even merchants, who trade in other's goods. All warriors are required to obey totally the person who holds their oathstone, voluntarily subjecting themselves into a state not unlike slavery. While a Shin warrior is able to distinguish his oathstone, it does not appear to be remarkable in any other way--their subjugation appears to be entirely voluntary. As a rule, Shin warriors cannot be given to outsiders, and the rules regarding the trading of oathstones inside Shinovar are unknown. What is known, however, is that any person who picks up a weapon is required to take an oathstone and live the rest of their life as a warrior.
Only the Truthless are considered lower than warriors in the Shin culture. At present, there is only one Shin Truthless, and there are not likely to be more in the foreseeable future. Truthless are exiled from Shinovar, and required to live the life of a Shin warrior outside of Shinovar. They are required to have a master, but are not allowed to seek or avoid a particular master, freely sharing information about their servitude to any who asks (assuming that a current master has not given contradictory orders). While the precise nature of the offense that makes one Truthless is unknown, it seems likely that claiming a Shardblade is crucially involved, as the only two things that a Truthless cannot be commanded to do are to end his own life and give up his Shardblade.
Shin are known for raising and trading chickens, a species unique to this region of Roshar. They are also famous for their horses, and many varieties of fruit, such as strawberries, can only grow in the soil of Shinovar.
They called the period of darkest night between the first two moons the "hateful hour" and believed it was the only time their gods didn't keep watch over them.