|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”The stormwarden's promises were always filled with caveats. The Almighty’s will was mysterious, and the signs couldn’t always be trusted.
”They seek to predict the future.
Stormwardens primarily focus on predicting when highstorms will arrive, hence the name. The process involves complex mathematics done using a custom glyph-based script and is based on a variety of inputs, including the times of recent highstorms, the times of previous years' highstorms, and when the last highstorm left the western edge of Roshar. Although the results are not perfect, they are very useful; even a hobbyist like Lirin can predict the right date 80% of the time. Contrary to mythology, which states that each highstorm is a separate storm starting at the Origin, modern stormwardens and other scholars believe that there is only one highstorm that circles the planet repeatedly.
Stormwardens study a variety of scholarly topics besides highstorm prediction, often ones relating to highstorms. They predict Rosharan seasons, which are affected by highstorms, and have found that growing plants using storm water is better than using lake or river water due to the nutrients it contains. They are sometimes included in other scientific experiments; notably, stormwardens are part of the expedition by Gavilar Kholin that makes first contact with the listeners and are the ones who come up with the name "Parshendi".
They also dabble in some practices that appear to be less scientific. Elthebar attempts to apply digitology, which supposedly finds out things about people using the widths of their fingers, to the ratios of gears in Urithiru machinery, and others think dismissively of their attempts to predict the future using the winds or smoke from a candle.
Many stormwardens work for governments or high-ranked officials; for example, some are employed by Azimir,, Yezier, Elhokar,Amaram, and Taravangian (the King's Testers). Their employers use highstorm predictions to plan events and military actions and sometimes perform other tasks. There are also roving stormwardens who travel around and sell lists of predicted highstorm dates.
”No man should try to know the future, nor lay claim to it, for it belonged only to the Almighty himself.
Vorins tend to find stormwardens strange and distasteful, since their work brushes up against two distinct Vorin taboos: predicting the future (which they do for storms and seasons) and men being able to read and write (which they do with their glyph-based script). Because accurate highstorm predictions are so useful, however, people generally put up with them. In order to skirt the latter taboo, stormwardens have adapted glyphs into a kind of script for use in their calculations and studies. They claim that doing so is different from true reading and writing, but many others remain skeptical.
When Hesina suggests to a young Kaladin that he could become a stormwarden, he instinctively reacts with disgust, having already internalized the prohibition on predicting the future. However, he does find a certain appeal in understanding more about mysteries of the world -- and in studying the winds in particular, perhaps befitting his later role as a Windrunner. Hesina herself doesn't seem to have any particular aversion to stormwardens.
Renarin also has an initial negative reaction to the idea of being a stormwarden, though his is based on a desire to please his father, who he thinks wants him to be a fighter. He later expresses an interest in the stormwardens and asks them about their work. Jasnah wishes to discourage him, however, since she sees them as charlatans.
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