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Sylphrena

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Sylphrena
Sylphrena by stinkypanda.jpg
Abilities Nahel bond, Windrunner magic, Splinter of Honor
Bonded With Kaladin, Relador (formerly)
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, or Syl, is an honorspren on Roshar. She has a Nahel bond with Kaladin, making him a Windrunner.[1] She is 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 meet.[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 fades 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] As Kaladin and Syl's bond grows stronger, Syl is able to manifest her clothes in varying shades of blue; while she can even change her clothing to other colors, she is not able to change the color of her "skin."[13][14]

Syl is also able to appear as a shape-shifting Shardblade. She occasionally appears as a sword or shield, but most often manifests as a spear.[15] Common between all these forms are a physical makeup of glowing, silvery metal and glyphs engraved on the surface.[15][16] As a Shardspear, the glyphs are swirling ones engraved along the spearhead.[15] She is able to appear in varying lengths, but typically appears with a cylindrical grip, unadorned save for a foot long helical swirl of metal right before the tip. The spearhead has a single serration at the base where it connects to the grip.[17][18][19][20] As a Shardblade, Syl typically appears sleek and beautiful, with a Windrunner glyph centered on the blade. Lines running off the glyph towards the hilt are reminiscent of her hair.[16]

In Shadesmar, Syl is incapable of changing forms or of becoming invisible.[21] There, she is human-sized, looking like a pretty girl with blue-white skin.[22] 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.[21]

Personality[edit]

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

—Syl[23]

Syl is generally cheerful and mischievous, 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.[24] 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.[23] She's constantly curious about the world around her, particularly about people and how they look and act, often using her invisibility to spy on them at an uncomfortably close distance.[25] She has little sense of propriety in this regard -- at some point, she even sneaks 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.[26][27] Syl believes that being a Windrunner is not about finding justice, and that the use of their power is only justified when protecting others.[28][29] She can be very assertive and even angry when she perceive someone as acting in a wrong manner.[29][30] 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.[31] 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 people who wield dead Shardblades.[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.[24][15] 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] Eventually she turns her efforts towards her desire to understand Kaladin's feelings. After she asks Dalinar to help her, the Connection that results brings back Syl's past and causes her to sink into bouts of both grief and the depression naturally attendant to it.[32] This gloominess is exacerbated by the corruption in the tower at the time but persists after the tower's functionality is restored.[33]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

As a Shardspear

Like other larger spren, Syl can change her form and choose who to show herself to, making her an excellent spy.[21] She can float or fly through the air, as well as walk sideways, and is particularly good at finding things.[34] 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][35] She is capable of giving small "pinches of energy." She's also, like all honorspren, able to sense an oncoming highstorm days prior.[36]

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[37]

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.[37] 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.[15]

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.[38][39] However, she is brought back once Kaladin returns to the path of the Windrunner and swears the Third Oath.[40]

Syl also protects Kaladin from the Thrill.[41]

History[edit]

Creation and Early Life[edit]

Sylphrena is both old and young. Old of form, but young of mind.

Sylphrena was born some time before the Day of Recreance. She was one of the first honorspren to be created by Stormfather rather than Honor.[3] Although she was too young to form a Nahel bond, she did so anyway with a man named Relador.[42][13] He took part in only one battle before dying, which sent Syl into a state of deep slumber. This led to everyone assuming she had passed away, but it also saved her from becoming a deadeye during the Recreance, as befell with so many of her siblings.[3]

Over a thousand years later, she was found and reawakened. The Stormfather, not willing to let her come to any more harm, tasked Notum with keeping her safe in one of honorspren cities.[3][43] However, she wasn't happy with staying put. Sometime around the year 1170, she felt drawn to Kaladin, a soldier in Amaram's army, and the way he treated children as a squad leader. Against the wishes of other honorspren, she ran away to bond with him. This led to her kinsmen posting a huge bounty for bringing her back to their capital, Lasting Integrity.[44][3]

Forming a Bond (1168 - 1173)[edit]

Meeting Kaladin[edit]

Syl speaking with Kaladin for the first time

It seems that if you're worried about hurting people, you shouldn’t be afraid to help the bridgemen. What more could you do to them?

—Encouraging Kaladin[24]

Leaving Shadesmar made Syl lose most of her cognitive ability. She became mostly mindless, acting much like her cousins, windspren.[8][45] However, she didn't forget her desire to accompany Kaladin, and followed him closly throughout his time in Amaram's army, during his battle with Helaran Davar, and, later, as he was a slave. Initially, she only played pranks on him, but in time his proximity began to return her mind and intelligence.[8][37]

She did not speak to Kaladin until he found and kept the leaves of blackbane, a strong poison. Kaladin was initially unwilling to respond, thinking he was going insane, but eventually gave in.[8][46] From then on out, she would accompany him everywhere. During his first bridge run, she urged him to get up and move, and as he spiraled further down, beaten by the constant battles, she tried to keep up his spirits.[47] Eventually, however, she stated that she was unable to see him in that state any longer and departed.[9]

Reminded of how Kaladin felt hope when he found blackbane, and unaware of its purpose, Syl left to look for more of the plant. By the time she returned, Kaladin was on the verge of suicide, and she found him standing on the edge of the Honor Chasm. When she finally managed, with significant difficulty, to bring him the leaf, Kaladin was initially amused that she'd thought a poison would make him feel better. In the ensuing conversation, she managed to convince him to give life another try.[24]

Bridge Four[edit]

Keeping Kaladin safe from the deathspren

Soon you'll hardly be a spren at all. You’ll be a little translucent philosopher. We’ll have to send you off to a monastery to spend your time in deep, important thoughts.

Kaladin to Syl[48]

Though Kaladin's initial attempts to sway over Bridge Four weren't very successful, Syl continued to support him. He started using her as a spy -- initially, to keep an eye on Gaz, though she eventually began looking after the other bridgemen as well.[49][12] She continued to discuss various topics with Kaladin in hopes of understanding humans. It was during that time that she first noticed Dalinar, and immediately believed him to be an honorable man, despite her partner's misgivings.[12]

Shortly afterwards, Syl and Kaladin discovered that Rock, one of the other bridgemen, could see her.[12] From then on out, when Bridge Four was given chasm duty, she assisted both him and Kaladin in searching for valuable items.[5][7] She also continued spying on Gaz.[48]

After the catastrophe brought about by Bridge Four's side carry, Syl stayed with Kaladin when he was left out in the highstorm as a punishment and protected him, first by trying to hold back the storm, then by fighting off the deathspren attracted to him with a sword.[50][51] Afterwards, she began to remember a little of her past, and though they were only vague memories, they were enough for her to be happy at hearing the First Ideal of the Knights Radiant and to react with hissing at the mention of Odium.[52][53]

As Bridge Four continued with their chasm duty, Syl eventually revealed herself to all of them at Kaladin's urging as she continued to assist them all.[54] As Kaladin began to notice his budding Surgebinding, she admitted that she was no ordinary windspren; although she still didn't remember too much, she knew her bond with Kaladin was responsible for what was happening to them both.[37] From then on out, she encouraged Kaladin to train his abilities.[55]

Things came to a head during the Battle of the Tower. There, Syl manifested as a full-sized figure and remembered her true nature. She encouraged Kaladin to say the Immortal Words and accompanied him during the battle.[1] Afterwards, she pushed Kaladin further to trust Dalinar, leading to Bridge Four becoming the Kholin bodyguards.[56]

Training a Windrunner[edit]

Something dangerous is coming.

—Upon seeing stormspren[23]

Syl's respect for Dalinar only grew after he discarded Oathbringer to free the companies of bridgemen, and she continued to push Kaladin to trust him more.[23] She also told Kaladin about the possibility of other Surgebinders being out there and insisted that he become what Dalinar needed, as she began to notice stormspren, Odium's servants, out and about.[23] When Amaram arrived, causing Kaladin's opinion of Dalinar to drop by his association, Syl insisted that he speak with Dalinar about his experience at Amaram's hands and be frank with him; he did so, though it was seemingly to no avail.[30]

It was around this time that Kaladin began backsliding on his oaths, causing Syl to worry about him.[28] Nonetheless, she stuck by him and gave him a warning when Szeth was coming to assassinate Dalinar. She also immediately recognized that Szeth was not a Surgebinder, despite his abilities.[57] Despite her increasing knowledge, though, she was still surprised at finding out that Kaladin could heal Shardblade wounds.[58]

Even as Kaladin's mental state continued to deteriorate, Syl still insisted that Dalinar could be trusted and that Kaladin should open up to him, especially after learning about Moash's plot to kill Elhokar.[59][60] Eventually, after a successful training in the chasms that saw Kaladin learn how to fly, and her sharing more information about Surgebinding, he was almost convinced, but his motivation evaporated when he saw that Dalinar made Amaram the head of the new Knights Radiant.[61][62] Syl still managed to convince him that things would be different during Adolin's four-on-one duel. Unfortunately, she was wrong, and when Kaladin asked to challenge Amaram as a boon he was arrested.[63]

Death and Rebirth[edit]

Kaladin summoning Syl as a Shardblade

After Kaladin was arrested, Syl was disappointed and subdued.[63] Soon, Kaladin began to abandon his Oaths in his mind, causing her to begin losing her sapience.[38] She became more childlike and easily distracted, losing her bond with Kaladin to the point where he could not draw upon Stormlight. Nonetheless, she retained enough presence of mind to remind him to say the words, and to provide him with one last breath of Stormlight when he fell into the chasms.[64][39] It was then that she died, the strain on her bond too great to continue.[65]

Kaladin! Stretch forth thy hand!

—Just before becoming a Shardblade[40]

Still, death is more of a spectrum than a state to a spren. As Kaladin began to slowly return to his Oaths, growing wary of Moash's plan, his connection to her deepened again.[66] Finally, he took a stand to protect Elhokar from the would-be assassins. This seems to be what reawakened Syl, as she managed to go to him.[67] Reappearing as a ribbon of light, she encouraged him to say the words, defying the Stormfather, and commanded him to stretch out his hand. This, along with Kaladin swearing the Third Oath, allowed her to manifest as a Shardblade.[40]

After scaring off Moash and Graves, the two set out to protect Dalinar from Szeth, who was attacking in the chaos of the Battle of Narak.[68] In the ensuing fight, she showcased her ability to transform into many different weapons, culminating with Kaladin using her to slice through Szeth's wrist, breaking his tie to the Honorblade. After making sure that Kaladin took the Blade with him, Syl demanded -- and received -- a smile from him.[69]

The True Desolation (1174)[edit]

Hearthstone and Kholinar[edit]

Syl coming to Hearthstone with Kaladin

The bond isn't about what’s right and wrong, is it, Syl. It’s about what you see as right and wrong.

Kaladin speaking about fighting singers[31]

Immediately after the Battle of Narak, Syl explained to Kaladin that other Shardblades were dead spren, and that Honorblades were something different.[69] A few days later, the two left for Hearthstone, Kaladin's hometown, to make sure that his family was safe.[70] After they confirmed that Lirin and Hesina--along with the newest addition to the family, Oroden--were fine, the journey turned into a hunt for the Parshmen who departed in the Everstorm.[71][16]

During that time, Syl began to worry about Kaladin's happiness, eventually growing to believe that he needed to find himself a romantic partner. Though she lightly teased him about some girls and ardents met on the way, and revealed that she had been spying on people in their intimate moments, her true goal was to get Kaladin together with Shallan, as she believed that the Lightweaver was making him happy.[16]

This fun ended when Syl and Kaladin came across a group of former Parshmen and Kaladin willingly gave himself up to see where the encounter would go.[72] Noticing that there was a voidspren accompanying the group, Syl began to act like a windspren again in order to fool her.[27] This being said, as Yixli wasn't always present with the newly-minted singers, she did have the time to discuss matters with Kaladin. During one such conversation, she admitted that she didn't know why killing singers didn't feel wrong to her when killing humans did.[36]

The two eventually departed in a highstorm after seeing a Fused in Rathalas.[31] Once back in Urithiru, Kaladin focused on training his squires, with Syl accompanying him. At one point, she noticed some of her old honorspren acquaintances, and noted that they were not very fond of her, even though they had also begun searching for bondmates.[73]

After briefly going to Thaylen City to open its Oathgate, she and Kaladin departed for the besieged Kholinar, accompanying Elhokar, Adolin, Shallan and a few squires and guards.[74] Once in the city, Syl was the first to notice the Sja-anat-corrupted spren.[75] While Kaladin was working with the Kholinar Wall Guard, Syl assisted him in various minor ways.[35] During one battle in particular, she managed to point him towards destroying a Fused gemheart, which was the quickest way to kill it.[76]

During the battle for Kholinar Palace, Syl accompanied Kaladin as a weapon. There, he managed to kill the voidspren toying with Gavinor, which left her shaken by the impossibility of the deed.[77] Still, she continued to fight, although despite everyone's best efforts, she, along with Adolin, Kaladin, Shallan, Pattern, and the Wall Guard commander, Azure, ended up dropped into Shadesmar after trying to unlock the Oathgate.[78]

Journey Through Shadesmar[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[44]

Once in Shadesmar, Syl took on a humanoid and human-sized form and began acting more like a physical creature.[78] Early on, her focus was on keeping Kaladin functioning in the face of his ongoing mental breakdown caused by the events of the palace battle.[70] Eventually, he felt good enough to ask her if she could carry a message to Dalinar, and she explained that she would lose her mind if she strayed too far from him into the Physical Realm.[11]

Trying to comfort Kaladin

During the journey south, towards a ship that could take them to Cultivation's Perpendicularity, Syl shared some of the story of her past with Kaladin.[42] After they got aboard the Reachers' ship, she also mentioned that honorspren like her were not well-liked among other sapient spren, though she played it off by trying to get Kaladin and Shallan together.[79] It wasn't until the group began exploring the city of Celebrant that she finally revealed that there was a bounty on her head placed by her kin.[44]

Nonetheless, the group was able to use this to their advantage. As they had to escape the Fused scouring the city, Syl noticed an honorspren ship called Honor's Path that was captained by her old minder, Notum. By calling the crew's attention to herself, she was able to convince them to take the group aboard and depart, although this also meant that she was taken prisoner.[44]

During the journey, Kaladin attempted to have Syl released; he was getting closer to the Fourth Ideal, which briefly allowed her to speak directly into his mind despite not being in Shardblade form. Seeing Kaladin's progress as a Radiant and hearing about a Stormfather Bondsmith, Notum agreed to let them go.[3] The entire group save for Azure departed at the shores of Longbrow's Straits, a sliver of land in Shadesmar, and Kaladin flew them to Thaylen City.[43]

Syl didn't participate directly in the fight for the Thaylenah Oathgate, although she did participate in Shallan's illusory distraction.[80] When things turned bad, she pulled Kaladin out of the sea of beads and encouraged him to say the Fourth Ideal.[81] When he couldn't, she embraced and comforted him--just in time to see Honor's Perpendicularity open.[82][83]

Crossing the Perpendicularity, Syl returned to her semi-corporeal form and accompanied Kaladin as a weapon in the Battle of Thaylen Field.[84] After the battle, the two discussed once more the righteousness of fighting singers, who were only trying to regain their home; Kaladin decided that he would still fight for humanity's survival and reassured Syl that he would not kill her, or any other sapient spren, ever again.[85] Eventually, the two went to rescue Skar and Drehy, two of Kaladin's squires who had managed to get Gavinor out of Kholinar.[86]

Invasion of Urithiru (1175)[edit]

Evacuation of Hearthstone[edit]

Grumble grumble. Get in line, men. Storming rain, ruining otherwise terrible weather. Also, I'm banning toes.

—Syl making Kaladin laugh[87]

Around a year later, the coalition of monarchs agreed on a plan to rescue the Herdazian general Dieno enne Calah as well as the residents of and refugees in Hearthstone. Syl and Kaladin approached the town on foot, ahead of the arrival of the Fourth Bridge. When they were discovered while waiting in the line of refugees, a fight with Lezian ensued. As they had never fought a Fused with powers like his, they only very narrowly escaped. Syl, concerned for Kaladin, commented on how tired he looked immediately after the fight; Kaladin, however, didn't want to talk about how he was feeling despite Syl badgering him about getting more sleep. After getting back to town and convincing the singers there to stand down, Kaladin and Syl spoke with his family. Syl entertained Oroden and broke the news to Hesina that Kal and Lyn had split up, then accompanied Kal to speak with his father until the Fourth Bridge arrived.[87]

After Lyn reported an incoming group of Heavenly Ones, the Windrunners spread out and prepared to engage them. Kaladin and Syl fought Leshwi for a while, Syl shouting a parting insult as the Fused outpaced them. When Teft came to check on Kal, the encounter roused his suspicions that Syl had asked Bridge Four to watch out for him. He confronted her about the matter when Lyn also came to check on him after they narrowly missed another fight with Lezian, but she told him she knew it would only make his nightmares worse if she told the others about them. As they returned to the Fourth Bridge, Kaladin made a snide comment about Roshone and Syl told him off for being a "stumer."[88] They reentered the fight when Kaladin noticed Sigzil chasing Leshwi; after she mercifully withdrew her spear from Sigzil before he ran out of Stormlight, Kaladin took up the fight with Leshwi again. They made for a very even match, and just as they both dealt serious blows to each other, Leshwi gave Kaladin and Syl leave to go after some civilians at the manor.[89]

Syl warned Kaladin that the setup felt like a trap designed for a Windrunner. Indeed, when one of the soldiers activated a strange Voidlight fabrial, Syl was forced into her form as a spren and Kaladin lost his ability to Surgebind. He managed to kill Lezian anyway, and then Syl encouraged him to go after Roshone.[90] In the cellar, Syl warned Kal when she saw Moash behind him. In the form of a spear, she was with Kal while Moash brought up his most painful memories and tried to talk him into killing himself; Syl tried to speak to Kal, but he was to embroiled in his own emotions and couldn't hear her. They were saved when Renarin created an illusion of Moash and chased him away.[91] Back on the ship, Syl informed Kal that Laran had sworn the Third Ideal and suggested that he go congratulate her. Watching him withdraw into himself again, she told him she didn't know how to help him. She told him that he had been getting worse, and though he had to admit to himself that she was right, he didn't know what to do about it either.[92]

As the Windrunners approached the Shattered Plains, Syl informed Kaladin that Yunfah was in the area and wished to speak with him. Syl acted as an intermediary, as the wind from flying kept Kaladin from hearing anyone except her. Yunfah was angry that Kaladin kept wanting him to bond Rlain, but Syl suggested that he keep pushing the spren. Kaladin gave him ten days to try to work with Rlain before he could look for someone else, and he reluctantly left. They landed at the new fort being built at Narak and spoke with Dalinar, to whom Syl apologized on behalf of her honorspren relatives. She remained silent, only looking on in concern as Dalinar relieved Kaladin of duty and confirming that he wasn't abandoning his oaths to think of serving the war effort in some other way.[93] When Kaladin and the Windrunners returned to Urithiru, Syl went after Adolin. She brought him to Kaladin's room, where Adolin badgered Kal into going out with him for the evening. As they left, Kaladin thanked Syl. They went to Jez's Duty, where Syl flitted around the room and enjoyed looking at the people, riding on Jor's shoulder for a while and only returning to the others briefly.[94]

Surgeon's Assistant[edit]

I had no idea how much I needed to see puppies until I flew by them this morning. They are the grossest things on the planet, Kaladin. They're somehow so gross that they’re cute. So cute I could have died! Except I can’t, because I’m an eternal sliver of God himself, and we have standards about things like that.

—After seeing Aladar's axehound puppies[95]

After the official announcement of Kaladin's retirement, Syl went with Kaladin to the sparring grounds looking for Zahel. They tracked him to the edge of the plateau, where he was hanging up laundry. Zahel wanted Kaladin to fight him, so Syl became a sword with dulled edges. She helped him as best she could, but they still lost; afterwards, she flew around the area as Kaladin spoke with Zahel.[96] The day the Fourth Bridge arrived at the Shattered Plains, Kaladin and Syl went to meet it. They gave his parents a tour of the rooms they had spent the past week preparing for them, Syl enjoying Lirin and Hesina's banter. She excitedly showed them the different rooms and prompted Kaladin to tell Lirin that he had retired from active duty and hoped to help his father in his new clinic.[97]

The day of one of the following highstorms, Syl excitedly flew around Urithiru. She watched Cord cook for a while, then went to check on the sleeping Kaladin. The storm arrived, so she soared back outside and enjoyed the winds. The Stormfather, seeing that Syl had a strong desire to ask him something, spoke with her; she asked him to help her understand Kaladin's depression, but he told her that while he had the power to do what she wanted, he didn't have the ability. She sought out Dalinar next, and he helped her see that by thinking about the feelings that caused her to drift after Relador's death she might already be able to understand Kaladin's "dark brain."[98]

Syl reading to Kaladin

The day before the embassy to the honorspren left, Syl went to speak with Adolin. She told him of her fears for their mission, warning him to be disappointed.[99] The next day, Adolin went to say goodbye to Kaladin before leaving. Syl showed up, telling Adolin that the position had been good for Kal. She gave Adolin some last minute tips on honorspren and their ideas of morality before he left.[100]

As Kaladin continued to work in the clinic, Syl would often watch. One day his assistant led a patient in and left for the privy; after talking with Mil some, Kaladin asked Hawin to read him some information. As she was gone, Syl went over to the book and read the requested information instead. They discussed using their powers for things other than war, then went to the balcony for a break. When Leyten saw them and flew over to salute them, Syl became sad that the Windrunners were all going with the army to Azir. Later, she was excited to see Teft when he came to inform Kaladin that he was stepping down from active duty as well.[101] Kaladin took Teft with him to look for Noril while Syl was on her habitual morning flight. She went and looked at some axehound puppies of Aladar's before catching up with them as they led Noril out of the Devotary of Mercy. She watched intensely as the three of them talked together.[95]

Invasion[edit]

A few days later, Syl flew into Jez's Duty just ahead of Rlain. She sat on Kaladin's shoulder while they talked about war, their search for Dabbid, and Kaladin's new group therapy sessions. She was pleased when Kaladin admitted that his work with the others with mental illness was helping him and agreed to attend a group session himself.[102] As Raboniel and her strike team began corrupting the crystal pillar far away in the basement, Syl suddenly found herself separated from Kaladin. It took her the duration of Kaladin's climb up to Lirin's clinic until she found a way to pull herself back to Kaladin with his help. She could no longer become a Blade, and when she tried to go to Navani to report on the invasion, she could only go a little ways from Kaladin before she began losing herself. She brought him news that Navani knew about what was going on and was sending out messengers, but there were more and more enemy forces arriving all the time through the Oathgates.[103]

It was a nice dream, wasn't it, Syl? That we could escape? Find peace at long last?

Kaladin just before rescuing Teft[104]

Syl accompanied Kaladin as he kept himself busy distributing supplies to the former Hearthstone residents in the wake of the failure of most of the tower's fabrials. She warned him that she kept seeing Voidspren about the tower, then started acting like a windspren as a Regal approached him in the hallway to avert his suspicion.[105] Syl led Kaladin to a balcony, where they spoke with Rlain. When Rlain explained his plan to go to the invading force, Syl became sad. Kaladin asked her what was wrong, but she abruptly put on a forced cheerful act.[106] Just after a messenger delivered confirmation of Navani's surrender to Lirin's clinic, Syl entered and gave a silent warning of an enemy soldier approaching. She went back to keeping watch but had to return shortly to warn of a group of soldiers methodically checking each residence; Kaladin hid, so Syl went to eavesdrop for him. Syl and Kaladin, realizing they meant to take Teft with them, had a brief exchange acknowledging the momentous decision they were about to make before entering the room and rescuing Teft, fleeing with him into the depths of Urithiru.[104]

Syl led Kaladin through Urithiru, going up several levels. The Pursuer tracked them down, and Syl attempted to lead him away. When he discovered the ruse, Syl zipped back to Kaladin. She asked him if they could surrender, an option which he refused. Before they could try to make it past the approaching soldiers, Syl noticed a light flashing on the floor. Kaladin quickly decided to trust it, hoisting Teft onto his shoulders; they followed the light through a hidden door, through more corridors, and up to the eleventh floor to a hidden room.[107] Syl did some exploring while Kaladin slept. When she returned to find him awake, she explained her theory about the Sibling's presence in Urithiru.[108]

They went to look for supplies, Syl scouting ahead of Kaladin. As they hid from some singers, they discovered that the invading force were keeping up a pretense of normality outside the tower. They made their way to the sixth floor, where Syl went to check on Lirin and Hesina and reported to Kaladin that they looked fine. She talked Kaladin through using a Reverse Lashing to open lanterns from a store that they found, allowing him to recover the infused gemstone inside. They continued to the Devotary of Mercy, where Kaladin gained Kuno's promise of future help and supplies before returning to their hideout.[109]

If we can choose, we can change. If we can't change, then choice means nothing. I’m glad I feel this way, to remind me that I haven’t always felt the same. Been the same. It means that in coming here to find another Knight Radiant, I was deciding. Not simply doing what I was made to, but doing what I wanted to.

—Syl's thoughts on feeling grief[32]

Nodes[edit]

As Kaladin took care of Teft with their new supplies, he finally convinced Syl to open up to him about the cause of her recent melancholy moods. She explained about remembering Relador, and they discussed the best way to deal with feelings of sadness and depression. Syl practiced changing colors until they were startled by a noise at the door, which turned out to be Dabbid. Leaving him with Teft, Syl accompanied Kaladin as he went to investigate the Oathgates. She scouted for him as he climbed the outside of the tower, and when a group of scouts began packing up their supplies, she realized they must have had a functioning spanreed with them.[13] Knowing of Navani's desire to discover how the invading force had functioning fabrials, Syl and Kaladin gave chase to the group. Having looked ahead, Syl brought Kaladin news of a spanreed hub and also pointed out to him that spren were more visible to everyone than usual because of the corruption in the tower. Deciding it was worth it to proceed despite the added danger of discovery, Kaladin came up with the idea of Syl pretending to be a Voidspren to fool the guards. She wrapped herself in red cloth and successfully distracted the guards while Kaladin snuck past. Approaching the spanreed room via a ventilation shaft, Kaladin snared some fabrials with a rope and relied on Syl to check that the hallway was clear before exiting the shaft. As Syl was preparing to distract the guards again in the guise of a Voidspren, however, the Sibling contacted Kaladin and asked for his help defending one of their nodes.[14]

Kaladin and Syl raced for the node, guided by the Sibling's light. The Pursuer immediately engaged Kaladin, and Syl used her new trick of imitating a Voidspren to distract him for a moment, giving Kaladin a chance to get free. They managed to trap the Pursuer in a room, then returned to the node and destroyed it.[110] After a night's rest, Kaladin was able to give Navani a report on the preceding day; he also reported to her Syl's findings from her studies of the spanreeds they had acquired. Syl determined that the spren inside were corrupted in a similar manner to Glys, allowing them to operate with Voidlight.[111] As Kal continued to have nightmares, Syl helped by trying to wake him. He tended to Teft after one such time, and she told him about asking Dalinar to help her understand his feelings. Dabbid came in and delivered Tomor's fabrial to them, and after a half hour Syl reminded Kaladin of his meeting with Navani. After the queen explained to him about placing the conjoined rubies, Syl accompanied him to the ninth floor to do so and then supervised as he practiced with the fabrial.[32]

During another of Kaladin's nightmares, Syl attempted to wake him to tell him that the enemy had found another node in the Breakaway. When he finally woke, she quickly apprised him of the situation. They caught up to Dabbid, who had taken Kal's spear with the intention of dealing with the problem himself, and rushed onwards. Syl warned Kaladin of the Pursuer's approach; as he fought with the Fused, she was able to help him by turning the dial on his fabrial for him. She scouted out the location of the node, noting its position in the well. Kaladin broke away from the fight at her signal, and she guided him into the water and to the sapphire. Though Raboniel was already there and managed to injure Kaladin, he successfully destroyed the node. Syl led him upwards again, but as she shot out of the well, the Pursuer maneuvered the lid into place and weighted it with his troops. Panicking and terrified, Syl realized that Kaladin was stuck below.[112] As Kaladin swam away, Syl likely lost her ability to stay manifested in the Physical Realm but stayed nearby out of instinct.[113] She entered a state similar to that after the death of Relador, but when Kaladin called out to her the next time he went near the Breakaway, she heard him and broke through back to the Physical Realm.[114]

Recovering Urithiru[edit]

Kaladin explained to Syl that the enemy had found the Sibling's final node and were planning on executing the Radiants, so she accompanied him straight to the atrium.[114] Syl flew around the struggling pair as Kaladin and the Pursuer fought.[115] When they saw Teft's body, though, both Syl and Kaladin felt crushed by the loss. One of the Fused took off with Lirin, and the two of them followed to the top of the tower. Syl cried out to Kaladin that she had forgotten the words to the Fourth Ideal, but an unheeding Kaladin jumped from the roof.[116] As he fell, Syl continued to weep over forgetting the words.[117] Suddenly, however, Kaladin returned from his vision and reached out for her again.[118] Together, they flew downwards to save Lirin[119] and then returned to the fight in Urithiru.[120]

I'm merely ... alive. And this is part of being alive. So I’m grateful, even if part of it stinks.

—Discussing her grief over Teft[33]

After the conflict, Kaladin used the Sylblade to transfer Rlain and Venli's group of rebels to the Shattered Plains, where they met up with the Fused who had taken a stand against Odium's forces. Returning to the tower with Rlain, Kaladin, Syl, and the rest of Bridge Four gave Teft and Phendorana a funeral. The group retired to Jez's Duty afterwards, but Kaladin and Syl lingered at the statue and talked about missing Teft.[33] They joined the others at the winehouse for a few hours before going to find Dalinar to discuss their future. Syl encouraged Kaladin to ask Dalinar for permission to keep doing his work with those with mental illnesses. After granting it, Dalinar revealed to them their new time limit regarding the contest of champions. Alarmed to hear that they only had ten days, Kaladin and Syl agreed to travel to Shinovar to help Ishar recover from his madness enough to help Dalinar learn about his Bondsmith abilities. Dalinar gave Kaladin Wit's flute at the conclusion of the meeting and explained how Lift had found it. Intrigued, the two of them went to the merchant shop to sort through the bins of salvage. To his absolute astonishment, Kaladin found the carved horse that Tien had just given him in his vision. He explained disjointedly to Syl about the impossibility of it showing up there, and then gathered himself enough to go to the group session he had promised to attend.[121]

Relationships[edit]

Kaladin[edit]

It is my solemn and important duty to bring happiness, light, and joy into your world when you're being a dour idiot.

—Syl to Kaladin[16]

Syl first begins watching Kaladin during his time in Amaram's army.[9] As she follows him during his slavery and to the Shattered Plains, she develops more and more awareness.[49] She shows her care for Kaladin early on, both when she stands before him when he is strung up in the highstorm and when she brings him blackbane leaves and talks him out of jumping at the Honor Chasm.[50][24] The two of them form a Nahel bond, and Kaladin finally says the words to become a Windrunner of the Second Ideal at the Battle of the Tower after Syl convinces him that it is the right choice to go back for the Kholin troops.[1]

Kaladin's sense of honor becomes confused for a time when Moash talks to him about helping assassinate Elhokar. This causes Syl to regress closer and closer to her state like a windspren and eventually "kills" her.[64][65] When Kaladin confronts Moash with the intent of keeping him from the king, however, Syl is able to make her way back to Kaladin. They restore their bond by swearing the Third Ideal.[40] After this experience, the two think more deeply about what makes killing right and discuss how the ethics of that question relates to their bond.[31]

Because she wants Kaladin to be happy, Syl begins talking to him about relationships. She sees that Kaladin enjoys being around Shallan, so she tries to encourage him in that direction even though Shallan is spoken for.[16] This idea does not pan out, as Shallan definitively chooses Adolin during the time of the Battle of Thaylen Field.[85] However, Syl only consults Adolin for advice next, and together they convince Kaladin to date Lyn for a time; this relationship doesn't work out either.[102][87]

Seeing that Kaladin's mood continues to worsen, Syl tries to talk to him about it but is rebuffed.[87] The problem is exacerbated when Dalinar informs Kaladin of his decision to retire him from active duty. Kal crashes, and Syl goes to the only person she knows of who can pull him out of such a state: Adolin.[94] Perplexed and desperately wanting to help Kaladin, Syl goes to Dalinar and asks him if there is anything he can do to help her understand Kal's emotions. Somehow in this encounter Dalinar Connects Syl to her past and she begins to remember and to grieve over Relador.[98][32] Kaladin notices her gloomy moods, and they have the opportunity to talk more freely about how to deal with such times, Syl with more empathy and experience than ever before.[106][32][33]

The Stormfather[edit]

You do not exist for [the humans]. You exist for you. You exist to choose.

—The Stormfather to Syl[98]

Syl is one of the the first honorspren the Stormfather created rather than Honor. Because she is the only one to survive the Recreance, he feels very protective of her.[3] The Stormfather commands her return and either approves of or instigates a bounty after Syl sneaks away to bond Kaladin. This changes with time, however, as he both accepts their bond and bonds a human himself.[44][122]

Relador[edit]

He went to fight, despite his age. He shouldn't have, and when he was killed, it hurt.

—Syl telling Dalinar about Relador[98]

Relador is the first man Syl bonded as a Windrunner.[98] He died shortly before the events of the Recreance, sending Syl into a catatonic state. Because of this, she avoided the fate of the majority of her kinsmen, who became deadeyes.[123] When Dalinar Connects her to her past, Syl begins experiencing grief over this loss. This helps her understand Kaladin better.[32]

Trivia[edit]

  • In an earlier version of The Way of Kings, Syl was named "The East Wind."[124]
  • Sylphrena originally came from an unpublished Cosmere work called Climb the Sky.[125]
  • 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.[126]
  • Syl was written with ADHD-like mannerisms, though it is hard to tell if she can be properly diagnosed with it because she is a spren and not human, and therefore has a different psychology.[127]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 67#
  2. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  3. a b c d e f g h Oathbringer chapter 108#
  4. a b Oathbringer chapter 5#
  5. a b The Way of Kings chapter 23#
  6. The Way of Kings chapter 40#
  7. a b The Way of Kings chapter 27#
  8. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 2#
  9. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 9#
  10. Oathbringer chapter 46#
  11. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 91#
  12. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 21#
  13. a b c Rhythm of War chapter 55#
  14. a b Rhythm of War chapter 58#
  15. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 86#
  16. a b c d e f g h i j Oathbringer chapter 10#
  17. Call_to_Adventure_cover.jpg
  18. Windrunner_by_Felix_Abel_Klaer.png
  19. The_Next_Ideal.png
  20. Bridge_4_poster_without_text.jpg
  21. a b c Oathbringer chapter 97#
  22. Oathbringer chapter 90#
  23. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 9#
  24. a b c d e The Way of Kings chapter 11#
  25. The Way of Kings chapter 17#
  26. The Way of Kings chapter 34#
  27. a b Oathbringer chapter 17#
  28. a b Words of Radiance chapter 22#
  29. a b Words of Radiance chapter 18#
  30. a b Words of Radiance chapter 16#
  31. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 31#
  32. a b c d e f Rhythm of War chapter 63#
  33. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 114#
  34. The Way of Kings chapter 55#
  35. a b Oathbringer chapter 77#
  36. a b Oathbringer chapter 20#
  37. a b c d The Way of Kings chapter 57#
  38. a b Words of Radiance chapter 64#
  39. a b Words of Radiance chapter 69#
  40. a b c d Words of Radiance chapter 84#
  41. Skyward Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-15#
  42. a b Oathbringer chapter 95#
  43. a b Oathbringer chapter 110#
  44. a b c d e Oathbringer chapter 102#
  45. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  46. The Way of Kings chapter 4#
  47. The Way of Kings chapter 6#
  48. a b The Way of Kings chapter 30#
  49. a b The Way of Kings chapter 14#
  50. a b The Way of Kings chapter 35#
  51. The Way of Kings chapter 38#
  52. The Way of Kings chapter 43#
  53. The Way of Kings chapter 46#
  54. The Way of Kings chapter 49#
  55. The Way of Kings chapter 59#
  56. The Way of Kings chapter 73#
  57. Words of Radiance chapter 32#
  58. Words of Radiance chapter 33#
  59. Words of Radiance chapter 41#
  60. Words of Radiance chapter 44#
  61. Words of Radiance chapter 52#
  62. Words of Radiance chapter 55#
  63. a b Words of Radiance chapter 57#
  64. a b Words of Radiance chapter 68#
  65. a b Words of Radiance chapter 74#
  66. Words of Radiance chapter 77#
  67. Words of Radiance chapter 83#
  68. Words of Radiance chapter 85#
  69. a b Words of Radiance chapter 87#
  70. a b Oathbringer chapter 89#
  71. Oathbringer chapter 7#
  72. Oathbringer chapter 14#
  73. Oathbringer chapter 37#
  74. Oathbringer chapter 58#
  75. Oathbringer chapter 61#
  76. Oathbringer chapter 79#
  77. Oathbringer chapter 84#
  78. a b Oathbringer chapter 87#
  79. Oathbringer chapter 99#
  80. Oathbringer chapter 116#
  81. Oathbringer chapter 117#
  82. Oathbringer chapter 118#
  83. Oathbringer chapter 119#
  84. Oathbringer chapter 120#
  85. a b Oathbringer chapter 121#
  86. Oathbringer chapter 122#
  87. a b c d Rhythm of War chapter 2#
  88. Rhythm of War chapter 5#
  89. Rhythm of War chapter 6#
  90. Rhythm of War chapter 7#
  91. Rhythm of War chapter 8#
  92. Rhythm of War chapter 9#
  93. Rhythm of War chapter 10#
  94. a b Rhythm of War chapter 12#
  95. a b Rhythm of War chapter 25#
  96. Rhythm of War chapter 15#
  97. Rhythm of War chapter 18#
  98. a b c d e Rhythm of War interlude I-1#
  99. Rhythm of War chapter 22#
  100. Rhythm of War chapter 21#
  101. Rhythm of War chapter 23#
  102. a b Rhythm of War chapter 38#
  103. Rhythm of War chapter 39#
  104. a b Rhythm of War chapter 43#
  105. Rhythm of War chapter 41#
  106. a b Rhythm of War chapter 42#
  107. Rhythm of War chapter 44#
  108. Rhythm of War chapter 46#
  109. Rhythm of War chapter 49#
  110. Rhythm of War chapter 59#
  111. Rhythm of War chapter 61#
  112. Rhythm of War chapter 70#
  113. Rhythm of War chapter 91#
  114. a b Rhythm of War chapter 102#
  115. Rhythm of War chapter 103#
  116. Rhythm of War chapter 106#
  117. Rhythm of War chapter 107#
  118. Rhythm of War chapter 108#
  119. Rhythm of War chapter 110#
  120. Rhythm of War chapter 111#
  121. Rhythm of War chapter 116#
  122. Rhythm of War chapter 30#
  123. Rhythm of War chapter 87#
  124. General Signed Books 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-12-07#
  125. Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
  126. General Reddit 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-02-19#
  127. YouTube Livestream 13
    Arcanum - 2020-07-23#
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