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Sylphrena

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Sylphrena
Syl.jpg
by User: Botanicaxu
Abilities Nahel bond, Windrunner magic
Bonded With Kaladin
Titles Ancient Daughter
Species Honorspren
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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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 a spren on Roshar. She normally appears as a young woman about a handspan tall, glowing with a faint blue-white light, but is able to take a wide variety of appearances, such as a ribbon of light or blown leaves.

Sylphrena is one of the last eleven remaining honorspren created by the Stormfather. She is refered to by other honorspren as Ancient Daughter.[2]

At first, Kaladin believed her to be a windspren, but she later revealed that she was actually an honorspren[3] bound to Kaladin, providing him with his Surgebinding powers. She says that she was drawn to Kaladin when he was in Amaram's army because of the way he always tried to look after young soldiers.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

She often appeared as a small glowing woman with an angular face and flowing hair, or occasionally a ribbon of light as she was able to change her form like certain other spren. She had a mischievous personality and was often making jokes or playing pranks on those around her. She was usually optimistic and constantly tried to boost Kaladin's spirits when he became depressed and tried to motivate him towards action. As an honorspren, she had a very strict code of ethics which she tried to get Kaladin to abide by, getting upset when he deceived others even when he perceived it as justified.


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 these 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 way he treated children while 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.[4][2]

Meeting Kaladin & Bridge Four[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6][7]

When Kal was sold as a slave to Amaram's 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.[8] 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]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

Like other larger spren, Syl could change her form, although since bonding with Kaladin, she was usually in the shape of a small, glowing woman. She had the ability to cause things to stick together which she generally used to play pranks on people. She could float or fly through the air, as well as walk sideways, and was particularly good at finding things such as when she helped search for the knobweeds and loot from the chasms for Bridge Four. She had the ability to bond with people and gain higher sentience in exchange for granting that person Surgebinding abilities, although whether this is voluntarily caused by her is unknown.

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. It's the way it used to work, though I can't remember how or when. I just know that it was. I'm willing to stop it, if you want. But I would go back to being as I was before. That scares me. Floating on the wind, never remembering anything for longer than a few minutes. It's because of this tie between us that I can think again, that I can remember what and who I am. If we end it, I lose that.
— Syl to Kaladin on where his Surgebinding abilities are from[9]

Syl bonded with Kaladin in some way which increased her sentience and caused her to regain some lost memories, this also enabled Kaladin to use some Surgebinding abilities from the Windrunner order.[10] Syl was aware of this bond and has talked to Kaladin about it, even offering to get rid of it if he wanted although she feared returning to a normal spren again and losing her regained memories once more.[9] However she also expressed occasional fears of the way the bond was changing her, such as when she understood the concept of lying.

When Kaladin began to break his oaths during Words of Radiance, 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.

Trivia[edit]

  • In an earlier version of The Way of Kings, Syl was named "The East Wind."[11]
  • Sylphrena originally came from an unpublished Cosmere work called Climb the Sky.[12]
  • 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.[13]

Notes[edit]

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