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Sapient Yes
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

Dysian Aimians, also known as Sleepless,[1] are a sapient non-human race found on Roshar that once lived in the Silver Kingdom of Aimia.[2]

Appearance and Anatomy[edit]

The cook began to hum. Pieces of her broke off. She crumbled to a pile of chittering little cremlings that moved out of her clothing, leaving it in a heap.

Kaza, watching the cook of the First Dreams[3]

Dysian Aimians have a unique physiology, as their "bodies" are actually composed of thousands[4] of small cremling-like creatures called "hordelings" that are able to function as a single consciousness.[5][6] The hordelings are not limited in how they assemble themselves; with practice, a Sleepless can mimic the shape of other creatures, including humans.[4] However, many Sleepless are barely humanoid.[7] They refer to themselves as "Sleepless"[1] because at least some part of the horde is always awake.[4] Unlike Siah Aimians, Dysian Aimians cannot mate with humans.[8]


Hordelings are usually about the size of a finger,[4] and can be as large as a fist.[9] Hordelings on Roshar often resemble native creatures known as cremlings simply to make them less noticeable to casual observers; they can take other forms.[10] The hordelings of each Sleepless are not all identical, and often serve specific purposes.[6] For example, because Arclo tries to pass as a human, many of his hordelings have protrusions on their backs that resemble human parts such as skin or eyeballs; he is also able to speak with a passably human voice.[4] However, hordelings cannot actually shapeshift, so the nature of a Sleepless body is always visible upon close inspection.[4] Sleepless therefore tend to cover their "skin" when possible, or use the appearance of older skin[4] or tattoos[3] to obscure their true nature.

Adaptation and Regeneration[edit]

Hordelings can be specially bred to enhance specific capabilities of a Sleepless, such as a heightened sense of smell or increased memory capacity, although this process takes some time.[4] Over the course of many generations, it would be possible for hordelings to be bred to mimic the powers of a larkin.[11] There is a limit on both the total mass and number of hordelings a Sleepless can have at any given time,[12] but the maximum number would definitely allow a Sleepless to become larger than human-sized.[9][13] Because they can continually create new hordelings to replace any that are lost, the personality of a Sleepless can live forever, as long as not too many of the hordelings are destroyed at once.[14]


Sleepless are able to reproduce, but reproduction for them has a variety of terms. They can breed specific hordelings for specific purposes over time and can also exchange hordelings if they need to in order to improve their genetic diversity. Creating a new Sleepless is a different experience.[15]


In practice, hordelings function as a "hive mind",[6] but they are not technically one entity.[16] Hordelings have the ability to separate from the main body to act as remote agents while maintaining their mental link with the rest of the horde.[4] Certain circumstances could lead to a hordeling being split off from the group and forced to act independently.[16] For example, a hordeling that is physically too distant from the others can lose contact with the main mind, and this would affect its Cognitive aspect.[17] The Sleepless are not able to split their consciousness between the Cognitive Realm and the Physical Realm.[16]


The Sleepless lived in Aimia prior to the Scouring of Aimia, which has been characterized by Hessi as "total destruction".[18] They coexisted with the Siah Aimians, but are not related to them.[19] Dysian Aimians exist on other planets in the cosmere[20] and have traveled between them in the past,[21] so it is not clear if their true origin is Roshar. By the time of the True Desolation, relatively few Sleepless are still alive.[22][23] As both Siah Aimians and Dysian Aimians are immortal, the remaining individuals seem to be aware of each other.[4] Hoid is the only person known to use the term "Dysian," and the source of the term is unknown.[24]

Heraldic Epochs[edit]

The Sleepless have a long history with the Heralds and Knights Radiant.[25] Some Sleepless were once able to use the power of Surgebinding.[26] At least some of the Sleepless, including Arclo,[4] were allies of the Heralds and Knights Radiant during the Heraldic Epochs. Arclo tells Lift that others of his kind are particularly interested in Radiants.[4] At least one Dysian Aimian may have fought during Aharietiam, as Dalinar Kholin notices a heap of burned, strange cremlings in one of his visions;[27] it is not clear which side they fought on.

Modern Roshar[edit]

The Sleepless are able to monitor current events on Roshar using their hordelings, and they are particularly interested in Dalinar, Kaladin, Shallan, Szeth, Eshonai, and Venli, believing them to be crucial to the future of Roshar.[25][28][26] Arclo believes that Lift should also be included in that group, and that the other Sleepless should not ignore her.[4] Arclo is also aware that the Stump is a Radiant[29] and that Nale is alive, referring to him as a "madman".[4]

Dysian Aimians appear to be guarding several secrets from humans, including something that Dalinar seeks but "must not know".[26] An unnamed Sleepless learns of Vazrmeb's plan to sail the ship First Dreams to Akinah in Aimia; she poses as a Reshi cook and joins the crew, later poisoning everyone else on board to protect the island.[3] She refuses to divulge any of Akinah's secrets to Kaza even as she is dying, telling her that doing so could result in the "ends of worlds".[3]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Beneath that skin was not blood or muscle. It was hundreds of cremlings, pulling together to form a counterfeit man.

—Lift, on Arclo[4]

All Dysian Aimians have the abilities granted by their unusual physiology, including shapeshifting, adaptive evolution, and effective immortality. At least some Dysian Aimians have had the power of Worldhopping;[21] Arclo tells Lift he once traveled to a land she will never visit.[4] Sleepless have used Surgebinding in the past and may use it again in the future.[26] They have some relationship to the shard Cultivation and another unnamed group in the cosmere.[30] Arclo is able to easily kill two of Nale's Skybreaker apprentices and tells Lift that it would not have been possible for them to kill him.[4] He notes that Dysian Aimians would have nothing to fear even from someone as powerful as a Herald, and that they know to leave his kind alone.[4] Dysian Aimians have more resistance to Soulcasting compared to humans for various reasons.[31]

Notable Dysian Aimians[edit]

Confirmed sightings[edit]

Brandon Sanderson has indicated that conspicuous appearances of cremlings may indicate the presence of a Dysian Aimian;[32] some such sightings have been directly confirmed by him.

Unconfirmed sightings[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.
  • Shallan sketches a cremling in the gardens at her family manor.[37]
  • Mraize shoots a cremling on a tree while meeting with Shallan.[38]
  • Kaladin and Syl see a brightly colored cremling in a jail cell.[39]
  • Kaladin and Syl see an iridescent cremling on the Shattered Plains.[40]
  • Dalinar comes across a cremling while looking for Talenel in the warcamps.[41]
  • Kaladin notices a strange cremling on a table in a stormshelter in Kholinar.[42]


  • The blurbs on the back covers of the Stormlight Archive books are written from an in-universe perspective and are authored by Dysian Aimians;[43] the author of the blurb on The Way of Kings has not otherwise appeared in the books.[44]
  • The Sleepless were inspired by the Tines in A Fire Upon the Deep, but can spread their members farther apart.[6][45]
  • The Sleepless will play a major role in Mistborn Era 4.[46]
  • A hordeling could gain or lose something via Hemalurgy, but that would cause it to disconnect from the main hive mind.[47]


  1. a b General Signed Books 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  2. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  3. a b c d e Oathbringer interlude I-4 #
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Edgedancer chapter 18 #
  5. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-29#
  6. a b c d Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  7. Shadows of Self Nottingham UK signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-22#
  8. Legion Release Party
    Arcanum - 2018-09-19#
  9. a b Skyward release party
    Arcanum - 2018-11-06#
  10. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  11. FanX Spring 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-04-19#
  12. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
  13. Skyward Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-15#
  14. Stormlight Three Update #5
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  15. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
  16. a b c Skyward Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-10#
  17. Skyward San Diego signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-07#
  18. Oathbringer chapter 113 epigraph#
  19. Shadows of Self Boston signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-14#
  20. Skyward release party
    Arcanum - 2018-11-06#
  21. a b Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
  22. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  23. The Way of Kings interlude I-5 #
  24. The Way of Kings chapter 54 #
  25. a b The Way of Kings cover synopsis
  26. a b c d Oathbringer cover synopsis
  27. Oathbringer chapter 42 #
  28. Words of Radiance cover synopsis
  29. Edgedancer chapter 16 #
  30. General Signed Books 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-17#
  31. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
  32. Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  33. Words of Radiance epilogue #
  34. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  35. The Way of Kings chapter 4 #
  36. Supanova 2017 - Sydney
    Arcanum - 2017-06-16#
  37. Words of Radiance chapter 27 #
  38. Words of Radiance chapter 43 #
  39. Words of Radiance chapter 64 #
  40. Words of Radiance chapter 68 #
  41. Oathbringer chapter 50 #
  42. Oathbringer chapter 77 #
  43. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  44. Orem Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-03-16#
  45. Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  46. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  47. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
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