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Sylphrena

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Sylphrena
Sylphrena by stinkypanda.jpg
by stinkypanda
Abilities Nahel bond, Windrunner magic, Splinter of Honor
Bonded With Kaladin
Titles Ancient Daughter
Species Honorspren
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

I bind things, Kaladin. I am honorspren. Spirit of oaths. Of promises. And of nobility.

— Sylphrena speaks to Kaladin about her nature[1]

Sylphrena (Alethi pronunciation: [sɪlˈfɹɛ·nə] sil-FREN-na), or Syl, is an honorspren on Roshar that's bonded with Kaladin, making him a Windrunner.[1] She's a splinter of Honor[2] and one of the last eleven remaining honorspren created directly by the Stormfather. Among her kinsmen, she's known as the Ancient Daughter.[3] At first, Kaladin believes her to be a windspren; she only reveals her true nature several months after the two first met.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Appearance[edit]

In the Physical Realm, Syl can take on a variety of appearances, including a ribbon of light,[4] a flurry of leaves,[5] flame,[6] or a small cloud.[7] However, she prefers the form of a young woman about a handspan tall, with an angular face and flowing hair that fade into mist behind her head.[8] She usually wears a long, flowing dress, of a girlish cut.[9] She will often augment it with various other articles of clothing, like a cap, a jacket or an umbrella, or swap it out for similar attire, like a havah with a safehand.[10][4] Regardless of her clothing, however, she always goes barefoot.[11] In any form she takes, her entire form has a uniform, blue-white color, and glows with faint blue light. While Kaladin and Lunamor can always see her, to others, she's invisible unless she wills herself to be seen.[12]

In Shadesmar, Syl is incapable of changing forms, or becoming invisible.[13] There, she is human-sized, looking like a pretty girl with blue-white skin.[14] She wears a dress but, like with her Physical Realm form, she is barefoot.[11] This being said, while she is humanoid, she does not share human biology -- her eyes are decorative rather than functional, and she sees the world in the same way spren without human features, like the Cryptics, do.[13]

Personality[edit]

I know this because I am intelligent and articulate. You should compliment me now.

— Syl[15]

Syl is generally cheerful and mischevious, often making jokes and playing pranks on those around her. She's highly irreverent, and can be forgetful at times.[16] She's unflinchingly optimistic, always trying to see the best in people, and always believing that there's something good waiting in the future.[17] She does have a bit of a prideful streak, although she often plays it for laughs, calling herself a "tiny piece of god" and trying to trick Lunamor into building a shrine for her.[15] She's constantly curious about the world around her, and particularly people and how they look and act, often using her invisibility to spy on them at an uncomfortably close distance.[18] She has little sense of propriety in this regard -- at some point, she even snuck in to observe people being intimate with each other.[16]

She has a very strict code of ethics, despising deception and lies, although she eventually becomes more willing to be cunning.[19][20] She believes that being a Windrunner is not about finding justice, and that the use of their power is only justified when protecting others.[21][22] She can be very assertive and even angry when she perceive someone as acting in a wrong manner.[22][23] However, she also believes in the "us versus them" duality in the war against Odium, and becomes uneasy and confused when the lines grow blurry.[24] She can be rather forceful in her attempts to do what she thinks is right, even when it could hurt the emotions of others. She despises Shardbearers.[16]

Syl is particularly focused on keeping Kaladin in a healthy mental state. She always tries to push him to keep going even when he's at his worst, and encourages him to let himself be happy.[17][25] When he's in the depths of depression, she looks after him and tries to comfort him, often acting like his sounding board when he's unwilling to speak to others.[11] However, while her efforts are always well-meaning, she can sometimes try and force him to act her way, even when he's perfectly capable of disagreeing.[16]

History[edit]

Creation & Early Life[edit]

Sometime before the Day of Recreance, Honor passed on the responsibility of creating honorspren to the Stormfather, who only created a handful of spren at first, among whom was Sylphrena. Sylphrena formed a Nahel Bond with a human who died before the Recreance, saving her from the fate of her brothers and sisters, who were all destroyed and turned into deadeyes by the Knights Radiant abandoning their oaths. The loss of her human sent Syl into a deep slumber that lasted thousands of years, during which time the Stormfather only created ten other honorspren, who in turn created the next generation and so on, making Syl one of only eleven living spren created by the Stormfather. Sylphrena was found asleep by the other honorspren, who gave her the moniker of The Ancient Daughter. Some time after awaking, around 1770, she felt drawn to Kaladin because of the protective way he treated children while he was a squad leader in Amaram's army and, though the other honorspren told her not to go, ran away to the Physical Realm. This escape caused the honorspren to put a sizeable bounty on bringing Syl back to their capital, Lasting Integrity.[26][3]

Meeting Kaladin & Bridge Four[edit]

by ThomasW
Syl speaking with Kaladin for the first time

Leaving Shadesmar made Sylphrena lose most of her cognitive ability, becoming a mostly mindless spren and acting like most windspren, which are considered a sort of cousin to honorspren.[27] During this time, Syl closely followed Kaladin from his time at Amaram's army, during his battle with Helaran Davar and during his eight months as a slave. Syl especially took note of the time when Kal found the leaves of blackbane and kept them. At first, she just played pranks on him, as a regular windspren would, like sticking things to his hand, however, proximity to Kaladin slowly returned her memory and intelligence. Kaladin started to notice her presence while he was enslaved, thinking of her as a common windspren, but finding it strange that she had followed him for so long. Right before Kal was sold to Sadeas' warcamp, Syl was able to talk to him, at first just calling his name, but later being able to carry a conversation. At the start, Kaladin was unwilling to talk to her and thought he was going insane, but eventually gave in.[28][29]

When Kal was sold as a slave to Sadeas' army he was sent to Bridge Four to be a bridgeman under Gaz due to his shash brand. He was then immediatelly sent to his first bridge run, without any preparation or equipment and forced to assault the Parshendi while carrying a bridge. When the run is over Kaladin tried to help the other bridgemen but was too tired and just collapsed unconscious, when the other bridgemen left, he was almost left behind, but Syl called his name and urged him to get up and move.[30] During his time in Bridge Four Sylphrena becomes increasingly more aware and intelligent and recovers some of her memory from her life in Shadesmar. Kaladin, however, got more and more depressed at his situation and eventually, Syl was unable to bear seeing Kal in this state and told him she would leave, but would come back soon. Sylphrena, reminded of how Kaladin had felt hope when he kept the blackbane, went to look for more of the plant. However, her absence made Kal get even more depressed and drove him to go take his life at the Honor Chasm, where Syl finally came back, carrying a leave of blackbane and explained to him that she thought it would make him feel better. This innocent gesture ironically gives Kaladin the will to live again and he leaves the chasm resolved to become bridge leader and save all the other men of Bridge Four.[expand]

Death and Rebirth[edit]

When Kaladin began to break his oaths after becoming Dalinar's bodyguard, Syl started losing sentience, reverting back to a mindless windspren. She became more childlike, easily distracted, and lost her bond with Kaladin to the point where he could no longer draw upon Stormlight to Surgebind. When Kaladin fell into the chasm, he was able to draw one breath of Stormlight to save himself, though he heard Syl scream in his head. She did not reappear after that, and during the next highstorm, Kaladin received a vision from the Stormfather, saying that he had killed her. He was no longer able to use any Surgebinding powers, and Syl vanished.

When Kaladin tried to save Elhokar from the assassination attempt, he thought the words of the First Ideal, and began to hear shouting. It resolved into Syl arguing with the Stormfather and being forbidden to return to Kaladin. Syl then told Kaladin to speak the words, and he spoke the Third Ideal of the Windrunners. Syl then reappeared and spun around Kaladin, telling him to hold out his hand. He did so, blocking Moash's Shardblade as Syl formed into a Shardblade in his hand. His Surgebinding abilities came back, and Syl was able to speak in his mind and tell him that she was "only as dead as his oaths".[expand]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

Like other larger spren, Syl can change her form and choose who to show herself to, making her an excellent spy.[13] She can float or fly through the air, as well as walk sideways, and is particularly good at finding things.[31] She can also use Adhesion to stick things together. She generally uses this to play pranks on people, though she has also applied this ability to assist people.[8][32] She's also, like all honorspren, able to sense an oncoming highstorm days prior.[33]

Nahel Bond[edit]

I'm behind what is happening to you. I'm doing it. It's both of us. But without me, nothing would be changing in you. I'm . . . taking something from you. And giving something in return.

— Syl to Kaladin[34]

As an honorspren, Syl has the capacity to bond with people, gaining higher sentience in the Physical Realm in exchange for granting her partner -- currently, Kaladin -- Windrunner abilities, including the Surges of Adhesion and Gravitation.[34] Beyond that, once her Surgebinder reaches the Third Oath, she is able to transform into a living, shape-shifting Shardblade. In this form, she's capable of communicating with Kaladin telepathically.[25]

However, there is a downside to this bond. When Kaladin strays from his Oaths and break them, Syl begins to lose her higher mental functions, to the point where she essentially dies.[35][36] However, she is brought back once Kaladin returns to the path of the Windrunner and swears the Third Oath.[37]

Quotes[edit]

You'd better catch me before I scamper away! Wow! I’m feeling capricious today. I might just vanish again, off to where nobody can find me!

— Talking to the crew of Honor's Path[26]

Trivia[edit]

  • In an earlier version of The Way of Kings, Syl was named "The East Wind."[38]
  • Sylphrena originally came from an unpublished Cosmere work called Climb the Sky.[39]
  • Sylphrena's name is inspired by the word "sylph", or air spirit, and "sylphlike" can be used to describe a slender young woman, both of which fit Syl to a certain degree.[40]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 67 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_67#
  2. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  3. a b Oathbringer chapter 108 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_108#
  4. a b Oathbringer chapter 5 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_5#
  5. The Way of Kings chapter 23 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_23#
  6. The Way of Kings chapter 40 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_40#
  7. The Way of Kings chapter 27 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_27#
  8. a b The Way of Kings chapter 2 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_2#
  9. The Way of Kings chapter 9 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_9#
  10. Oathbringer chapter 46 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_46#
  11. a b c Oathbringer chapter 91 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_91#
  12. The Way of Kings chapter 21 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_21#
  13. a b c Oathbringer chapter 97 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_97#
  14. Oathbringer chapter 90 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_90#
  15. a b Words of Radiance chapter 9 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_9#
  16. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 10 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_10#
  17. a b The Way of Kings chapter 11 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_11#
  18. The Way of Kings chapter 17 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_17#
  19. The Way of Kings chapter 34 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_34#
  20. Oathbringer chapter 17 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_17#
  21. Words of Radiance chapter 22 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_22#
  22. a b Words of Radiance chapter 18 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_18#
  23. Words of Radiance chapter 16 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_16#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 31 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_31#
  25. a b Words of Radiance chapter 86 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_86#
  26. a b Oathbringer chapter 102 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_102#
  27. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  28. The Way of Kings chapter 4 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_4#
  29. The Way of Kings chapter 43 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_43#
  30. The Way of Kings chapter 6 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_6#
  31. The Way of Kings chapter 55 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_55#
  32. Oathbringer chapter 77 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_77#
  33. Oathbringer chapter 20 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_20#
  34. a b The Way of Kings chapter 57 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_57#
  35. Words of Radiance chapter 64 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_64#
  36. Words of Radiance chapter 69 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_69#
  37. Words of Radiance chapter 84 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_84#
  38. General Signed Books 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-12-07#
  39. Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
  40. General Reddit 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-02-19#
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