|Abilities||Nahel bond, Bondsmith magic, Sliver, Splinter of Honor, Cognitive Shadow|
|Titles||Rider of Storms, Storm Rider, God of Storms, Spren of Storms, Father of Storms|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
I am that which brings Light and Darkness. ”
The Stormfather is a powerful and unique spren on Roshar responsible for the highstorms. He is one of the three Bondsmith spren, and is currently bonded to Dalinar Kholin. To the listeners, he is known as the Rider of Storms.
Appearance and Personality
”I have burned and broken cities myself. I can see … yes, I see a difference now. I see pain now. I did not see it before the bond.—The Stormfather.
The vast majority of the time, the Stormfather is simply a disembodied presence in the skies, or an overpowering voice within the highstorm itself. On the occasions that he does show himself, he takes the form of an enormous, imperious face made out of the clouds, that seems to stretch from horizon to horizon into infinity.
”Of course, if the Stormfather was listening, he'd correct Dalinar’s mistakes. The Stormfather hated to be misquoted.—Dalinar on the Stormfather
He is extremely prideful and haughty, convinced of his own power and righteousness. He does not care for humanity, only serving them and sending visions because he was bid to do so by Honor. He is particularly focused on oaths and keeping them, and does not take kindly to those who would break them. His sense of justice does not mean he demands that men follow what is right, however; to him, a genocide is not an evil deed if it was done as punishment for breaking an oath.
He's often incapable of understanding human emotions and thoughts, and finds their unstable nature untrustworthy. Over time, when bonded to a human, he begins to gain a sense of empathy and understanding of people. He also begins to gain a sense of morality, understanding the harm his actions have brought to people. This does not mean he grows much more kind or gentle, though, as he still believed that the storms are his domain and his alone, and is fine with killing those who would dare to challenge him on that, like sailors on the open sea.
Attributes and Abilities
I am a sliver of the Almighty himself! ”—The Stormfather.
The Stormfather is a spren, making him naturally immortal and intangible. Unlike most other spren, he is mostly present in the Physical Realm rather than Shadesmar, and thus cannot see inside of it, even though his highstorms affect it. He is one of the most powerful spren on Roshar, with an immense amount of Investiture, greater even than that of the Unmade, although he is much more restricted than them in what he can do with it.
He has merged with Tanavast's Cognitive Shadow, making him something akin to a Sliver along with being a Splinter. He considers himself to be a memory men created for the Almighty, now that the god himself is gone. It is unclear how much of Tanavast is left within him, as though he seems to share some of his memories and opinions, particularly in regards to Cultivation, his standoffish nature does not match what has been seen of Tanavast.
The Stormfather's unusual nature as both a spren and a Cognitive Shadow gives some additional abilities to the Bondsmith bonded to him in the present times. Dalinar Kholin is able to use it to merge the Physical, Cognitive and Spiritual Realms, creating Honor's Perpendicularity. This allows people to travel between Shadesmar and Roshar, and releases near-infinite amounts of Stormlight into the surrounding area, albeit the perpendicularity doesn't last for long. Odium refers to the whole event as Ascending. Whether this can be used in another Realm beyond the Physical is unknown.
The Stormfather commands the highstorms, the powerful hurricanes that scour Roshar at regular intervals. While he ordinarily sticks to his schedule, he can summon them to a particular location if need be. The highstorms also grant him the ability to summon Stormlight, although he cannot do so outside of a highstorm.
While he rides the storms, and can perceive everything within them, his consciousness is not restricted to them -- he is capable of speaking to Dalinar from great distances, and unlike other Radiant spren, he does not need to remain close to him. This being said, he does not have absolute control over everything that happens within his storms, and he's incapable of stopping singers from using it to bond with spren, even voidspren.
Within a highstorm, the Stormfather is capable of communicating with people, appearing as an enormous face and speaking in a thunderous voice. It's uncertain whether there are prerequisites to being able to see him, although so far, only Surgebinders have met with him in this manner, unless he was summoned by his Bondsmith.
The Stormfather is capable of sending people visions, so long as his target is in an area experiencing a highstorm. Whether or not a person is currently awake or asleep is irrelevant, and it appears that the vision cannot be resisted. The visions can be given to more than one person at a time, as long as all other than his bonded Surgebinder are within a highstorm. His bonded Surgebinder is also able to enter a vision without a highstorm and is able to bring in others with them outside of a highstorm as long as they are touching the Bondsmith. When speaking to others inside of a vision, accents might not carry over.
The visions the Stormfather sends out have been bestowed upon him by Honor near the end of the Shard's life, to be given to those who would be best served by them, such as possible future Bondsmiths. They play out as a pre-recorded, heavily interactive scenes, set in another place and another time. The target of the vision assumes the role of someone who lived in that time and place, and the people conjured up by the vision interact with them as though they were that person.
The target cannot summon their Shardblade, although they are capable of using their Surgebinding abilities. They can, however, feel pain and attempt to act out their actions within a vision, which sometimes requires that their physical bodies be restrained. They will speak the language matching the time period and location of the vision, even if they aren't normally able to speak it.
While the Stormfather ordinarily has a cycle of visions he goes through on a loop, he can send his bonded Bondsmith to them even outside of a highstorm, and transport the Bondsmith into any area of the vision "map". He has almost complete control over the visions, being able to insert people as various characters within them and manipulate the passing of time, but entities such as Shards or Lift can override him.
Certain places are immune to the Stormfather's visions, preventing him from accessing them. This included Kholinar while it was inhabited by Unmade, and Urithiru while the Sibling was partially corrupted, negating Radiant abilities.
Outside of the visions, the Stormfather is capable of communicating through dreams. Those dreams usually take place in a blank space that seems outside of time and space. People experiencing them feel as though everything around them fades away, replaced by solid ground and wind that seems to stop in place. Unlike the visions, the dreams seem to take up no time at all in the real world.
I will not be a simple sword to you. I will not come as you call, and you will have to divest yourself of that... monstrosity that you carry. You will be a Radiant with no Shards. ”
The Stormfather is one of the three great Bondsmith spren. Forming a Nahel bond with him grants one the power over the Surges of Tension and Adhesion. He is currently bonded with Dalinar Kholin.
While a Bondsmith can use Adhesion the way a Windrunner would, they can also apply their powers in different manner, using them more in the Spiritual. Using Spiritual Adhesion, a Bondsmith can form a connection between themselves and another person, allowing them to speak their language. They also seem capable of hearing the spiritual aspects of objects, and use this to mend broken things back whole. Bondsmiths can also summon Stormlight at will, although this requires significant effort.
There are several differences between the Stormfather and other Radiant spren. Unlike them, he is capable of maintaining consciousness in the Physical Realm even without the Bond, although it grants him deeper understanding of humanity and its foibles, along with the ability to empathize with others and more human responses, like cursing. He also does not become a Shardblade, either due to his immense power or due to his immense dislike for humanity. In addition, he can hear statements or questions directed to him, and speak directly into his Surgebinder's mind, even if he does not seem to be nearby.
The Stormfather is the creator of the modern honorspren, a duty that was bestowed upon him by Honor shortly before the latter's death. Following the Recreance, where almost all of them have been killed, he stopped doing so; however, he would eventually create ten of them, which would eventually create others, leading to the resurgence of the race.
Today, many honorspren treat him as an honored ancestor and obey his wishes, with Syl in particular referring to him as her father. The Stormfather, in turn, considers them his children. He apparently exerts some influence over their ability to form Nahel bonds, although he cannot stop them if their Surgebinder says the proper Oaths.
Origins and the Recreance
During these days, Honor still lived. I was not yet fully myself. More of a storm. Less interested in men. ”—About his origins
The Stormfather is likely to be one of the oldest entities in the cosmere, as the highstorms he commands predate even the Shattering of Adonalsium. During the early millennia of his existence, he was not particularly cognizant or self-aware, but rather simply the uncaring storm. Even back then, however, he was capable of bonding with humans.
Shortly before the Recreance, Honor altered the Stormfather in a frantic preparation for his own death. Among other changes, he gave him the capacity to create honorspren, as well as bestowed him with a set of visions to be sent to a person who would benefit from them, in the event of a new Desolation. Back then, the Stormfather had only childlike intelligence, although it grew over time. When the Recreance came, grieving for the lost honorspren -- which he believed included Sylphrena -- he refused to make new ones for centuries. Eventually, he created ten, who would then create children of their own, until the honorspren became a nation again.
Visions and Bonds
At some point shortly before the True Desolation, Syl was rediscovered, and the Stormfather arranged to have her delivered to one of the honorspren cities, ordering Notum to keep an eye on her. Against his wishes, she eventually escaped to form a Nahel bond after realizing that a new Desolation was coming.
Around the same time, the Stormfather began sending out his visions. While there were less than ten people to have received them, the only ones known are Gavilar and Dalinar Kholin. Gavilar began seeing them shortly before his death, although he interpreted them far differently than they were supposed to be. This led indirectly to the creation of the Diagram, as well as Gavilar's cooperation with the Sons of Honor in a bid to bring the Heralds back, even if it meant starting a new Desolation.
Following Gavilar's death, the Stormfather began sending his visions to the younger brother. This led to Dalinar's reputation in the Alethi warcamps plummeting, but also to him beginning to research the Desolations and making the first attempt at truly uniting Alethkar. At the same time, as Kaladin was bonding Syl, the Stormfather was keeping an eye on him. When Kaladin was strung up by to face his judgement by Sadeas' orders, the Stormfather appeared, as if observing him, although Kaladin later assumed it was a delirious hallucination.
The Stormfather later visited Kaladin directly in a dream, where the two had a conversation. He accused Kaladin of being a traitor, and shared his belief that humans couldn't be trusted. His predictions seemingly came true when Kaladin killed Syl by breaking his bond. Stormfather visited him in a subsequent highstorm to tell him that she was dead and that Kaladin would never Surgebind again. While he let Shallan see him as well, he didn't speak with her.
During the Battle of Narak, the Stormfather spoke to Dalinar out of a vision, claiming that the Alethi were lost, and promising to send a highstorm to sweep away their bodies. At the same time, Syl began to regain her consciousness, and so the Stormfather departed to stop her from re-bonding Kaladin. Despite his best efforts, Syl succeeded, and the Stormfather reluctantly conceded allowing her to restore her bond.
Following the battle, Dalinar climbed to the top of Urithiru to speak with him. The Stormfather answered, explaining the Everstorm and Honor's death, whereupon Dalinar attempted to bond him. Though initially, the Stormfather was hostile to the idea, he eventually agreed once Dalinar said the Immortal Words, although under the stipulation that Dalinar would wield no Shards.
Oaths are the soul of righteousness. If you are to survive the coming tempest, oaths must guide you. ”
This new bond allowed the Stormfather to show Dalinar Honor's visions at will, leading to Dalinar exploring them extensively. Shortly afterwards, Dalinar asked the Stormfather to marry him and Navani, to which he agreed.
From then on out, the Stormfather served as a source of information for Dalinar. While he refused to give him the reasons for the Recreance, he explained the nature of the Honorblades, as well as the reason why Honor thought the plan of fighting Odium in a contest of champions would work -- that Odium is a force of nature, and as such, bound by rules. Eventually, after a conversation concerning whether Oathbringer can be brought back to life, the Stormfather revealed that he can send visions to other people, allowing Dalinar to instantaneously communicate across vast distances, making negotiations with far away people much easier.
Initially, the plan went reasonably well, with Dalinar conversing with Fen Rnamdi of Thaylenah and convincing her to consider his offer. Afterwards, the Stormfather brought him, Navani and Jasnah to the vision of Aharietiam to explore it. It was there that he told Dalinar about the origins and fate of the Heralds, though he again refused to speak about the Recreance. Shortly afterwards, during a trip back to the warcamps, he told Dalinar that he was beginning to feel empathy for people dying in his storms.
The Downward Spiral
”This is the lot I have chosen. It is you or oblivion.
The free exploration of the visions ended when Odium invaded one of the visions, with the Stormfather powerless to stop him. Though the great spren quickly recovered his poise, there was no doubt that he was terrified of the Shard, and for the time being, further visions were suspended. Eventually, Dalinar began inquiring about the current fate of the Heralds, and the Stormfather informed him that he could see Ishar, and that the old Binder of Gods cursed his name at night.
Soon afterwards, Dalinar's memories of the burning of Rathalas returned. Afterwards, he confronted the Stormfather about his reasons for bonding a monster such as himself, to which the Stormfather answered that to him, what Dalinar had done was administering justice -- but also that now, with his bond more advanced, he understood the immorality of the act.
When Dalinar traveled to Vedenar, he felt the return of the Thrill, and sought to run away. Despite the Stormfather's protests, he managed to summon something gleaming and white and used it to open the Oathgate, causing the great spren significant pain. Afterwards, Dalinar apologized to him, but the Stormfather was unbothered by the event, or at least acted as though he was.
Eila Stele and Thaylen Field
”I was bonded to men before. This never happened then.
The revelations of Eila Stele came soon afterwards. In the aftermath, the Stormfather explained to Dalinar the Recreance and the role Honor played in preventing it in the ages past, as well as Honor's decay shortly before his death.
At the Battle of Thaylen Field, the Stormfather accompanied Dalinar to his meeting with Odium, though he couldn't explain what the thunderclasts would want with the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve. When Odium met with Dalinar, the Stormfather fell quiet, banished by the Shard's presence. He quickly returned after Dalinar managed to reject Odium's influence. After Dalinar opened Honor's Perpendicularity, the Stormfather returned, shocked and uncertain as to what was happening, though he was aware enough to accept Dalinar's words as the Third Ideal of the Bondsmiths, and to point out Taln and Shalash's presence to his Bondsmith.
In the aftermath of the battle, the Stormfather briefly visited Lopen to hear out his Windrunner second ideal, chastising him for thinking he had been ready earlier. Afterwards, he allowed Dalinar and Shallan to use his presence over Kholinar to see what had happened to the city.
”Why did you bond me? Shouldn't you have picked a man who was just?
Dalinar Kholin is the Stormfather's current Bondsmith; not the first one, but the first in many hundreds of years. Though the Stormfather isn't eager to bond at first, once Dalinar says the Words, the Stormfather commits to staying with Dalinar. He is still abrasive towards him, withholding information he doesn't wish to share, but he strives to help Dalinar, even in the face of Odium. He often acts as Dalinar's confidant in matters the latter is uncomfortable sharing with Navani.
In return, the Stormfather gains increased empathy and understanding of human nature. He also picks up less wholesome habits, such as cursing.
”Of course Honor's suggestion would work. He spoke it.—The Stormfather.
While he has no choice in obeying Honor's wishes, the Stormfather greatly respects him in many ways. He trusts him implicitly, and has many good things to say about him. He seems to treat him as something of a father figure, likely due to Honor's transformation of him shortly before Tanavast's death. The Stormfather is also Honor's Cognitive Shadow to an extent. What this means is uncertain, as while the Stormfather seems to think the same way about Cultivation Honor used to, he also seems to consider himself a separate entity.
You have taken her from me. My beloved one. ”
Syl is one of the original honorspren created by the Stormfather prior to the Recreance. Perhaps because of this, he seems to adore her above all his other children, and takes care that she's not harmed. While she calls him her father, she's also clearly frustrated with how overprotective he can be, and will argue with him over what she is and isn't allowed to do.
”Just listen to the piece of nature incarnate, okay?
The Stormfather has mixed feelings regarding Kaladin. On one hand, he's furious with him for bonding Syl, and blames him for everything bad that happens to her, immediately assuming that he would kill her. Eventually, he comes to respect him somewhat, although the respect is grudging. Kaladin sometimes rides his storms in dreams, though this seems rather accidental. He's the only person to whom the Stormfather refers to as "child of Tanavast", for a specific, but unknown reason.
Over time, the Stormfather seems to come to care for Kaladin somewhat, in his own way. He helps him travel to Urithiru from Revolar, and later hopes that the Stormblessed can safely return from Kholinar.
The Vorin religion often identifies the Stormfather with the Almighty, as well as one or more of the Heralds. In Alethkar, it's commonly believed that Jezrien and the Stormfather are the same entity. In Natanatan, the same is said about Kalak. A common punishment for some criminals in Vorin countries is being strung up in a highstorm, to be "judged by the Stormfather", which typically equals a death sentence.
The word "stormfather" is a common curse, similar to other variations of the word "storm".
The listeners believe him to be a traitor to their kind, who protected humans instead of them. They still respect him, though, believing that he would kill anyone who doesn't, leading to a mix of awe and fear in their society.
- The Stormfather has two different "modes" of speech. He uses small caps when talking to those unbonded to him, or when speaking so that everyone can hear him. He speaks normally when communicating directly with Dalinar after the latter becomes a Bondsmith. Interestingly, there are only two other characters shown speaking in all-caps — Cultivation, and Syl, the latter only when about to be resurrected by Kaladin.
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