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Thaylen City

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Thaylen City
Thaylen City.jpg
by Isaac Stewart
Ruled by Queen Fen Rnamdi
Nation Thaylenah
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive

A place that was hit hardest of all by the new storms. A place whose military might was severely undermined by the Everstorm. A place with an Oathgate.

Thaylen City is the capital of Thaylenah on Roshar, and the site of the Battle of Thaylen Field.[2][3]

Geography[edit]

Thaylen City on the map of Thaylenah

Thaylen City is located on the northwestern coast of the largest of the islands forming Thaylenah. It sits on the shores of Longbrow's Straits, a strip of ocean dividing Thaylenah from the Rosharan mainland.[4] The city was built inside a massive natural lait to protect it from highstorms. It's also surrounded by mountains, offering additional protection.[5] While the local climate is warmer than in the Frostlands across the Straits, it's still cold, especially at night.[6][7] Thanks to its location, the city ordinarily suffers only the mildest of stormwinds, but once the True Desolation begins, it's exposed to the full brunt of the Everstorm.[8]

In Shadesmar, Thaylen City can be recognized by the dais of its Oathgate, which sits a little off the shore on the Thaylen Sea. A single bridge allows for accessing the dais from land.[9][10]

Layout[edit]

This poor city. First the Everstorm, and its subsequent returns. The Thaylens had only just started figuring out how to rebuild, and now had to deal with more smashed buildings.

A map of Thaylen City

Thaylen City is built on the mountainside and divided into a number of districts, called Wards. The Ancient Ward, located in the city's center, is Thaylen's oldest section. It's built out of stone and rises slightly above the surrounding ground, with a street layout following a cymatic pattern.[8][11]

From the west, the Ancient Ward is followed by the Low Ward, where numerous businesses and government buildings are located. The Low Ward is bracketed from the west by a long wall going north to south between the mountain slopes. This city wall served as a minor windbreak for those fortunate enough to have lived right by it when the Everstorm arrived.[8] A portion of it was breached during the Battle of Thaylen Field, though the gap was later filled in with Soulcast metal by Jasnah Kholin.[12]

Past the city wall lays the area now known as the Thaylen Field. Prior to the True Desolation, this part of the city was well-developed, with numerous taverns, warehouses and shops. The famous Thaylen docks were located on the shore there, stretching across the southern portion of the peninsula.[5] Unfortunately, the area was not built to withstand violent weather, due to the protection offered by the mountainside. As such, it was swept away by the Everstorm, leaving it ruined and empty.[8]

Surrounding the Ancient Ward from north and south are the North Ward and the South Ward. To the east, the city begins to climb up the mountain slope in a series of tiered terraces called the Loft Wards, which climb up to the Royal Ward. The Royal Ward is the city's representative sector. It includes numerous palaces and mansions, including the Royal Palace, the seat of the Thaylen monarchs, as well as ten temples dedicated to the Heralds of the Almighty. Following the Everstorm, those temples were mainly used to house the numerous wounded and homeless citizens.[8][13]

The city's Oathgate is located on the same level as the Royal Ward, albeit further north, closer to the oceanside cliffs. A small ramp leads up to it from the city proper. To the east, right past the Royal Palace, a trio of roads departs the city, forming Thaylen's only land connection to the rest of the island.[5][8]

In the past, the city had a developed system of aqueducts, cisterns and sewers; however, most of it has been torn apart by the first passing of the Everstorm.[2]

Landmarks[edit]

The Oathgate[edit]

The ancient Thalath Oathgate is located on the northern-eastern edge of Thaylen City, next to the Royal Ward. Back in the Silver Kingdoms Epoch, it would've been beyond the city limits, in contrast to how other major settlement of the era, like Kholinar and Stormseat, were arranged.[5] Presently, it has been turned into a sculpture garden, and provides an excellent view of the city.[8] It's eventually unlocked by Kaladin and Shallan, who fly there after Queen Fen agrees to ally with Dalinar.[14]

While the Oathgate was locked along with all the others, the Thaylens retained some memory of the platform's original purpose. The local folklore refers to it as a "portal of worlds", claiming that only the most Passionate would be able to reopen it. While the story is particularly popular among young girls, the Oathgate holds great religious significance for all the Thaylens.[2]

Docks[edit]

The Thaylen docks had been one of the city's greatest points of pride before the Everstorm swept them away.[8] They lay outside the fortifications, on the southern part of the shore, taking advantage of a natural bay there.[5] They were constructed primarily of wood, which is why they were so easily destroyed.[8]

The area surrounding the docks had developed over time into a market and warehouse district.[8] A notable feature there was the grand bazaar, a marketplace famous even in Alethkar.[13] Unfortunately, as the area was entirely constructed from wood, the Evestorm all but flattened it.[2] This part of the city was eventually renamed to Thaylen Field.[15]

Temples[edit]

by Madison Coyne
Renarin seeing the future in the temple of Pailiah

Like most largest cities, Thaylenah has ten major temples, each dedicated to one of the Heralds. The temples are all located in the Royal Ward, and when visiting Thaylen, it's traditional to see all of them, which allows the local ruler to show off both the city and its piety. During the True Desolation, the temples are instead used as makeshift hospitals and shelters for people injured and displaced in the Everstorm.[13]

The most notable temples are:

  • The Temple of Battah - located in the northwestern part of the Royal Ward, it's the second-oldest temple in the city. It's particularly notable for the Simulacrum of Paralet, a massive statue that once adorned the plaza in front of it. The Simulacrum was knocked over by the Everstorm, sending large chunks of it into the Loft Wards; Dalinar rebuilds it with his Bondsmith powers upon his first visit to the city.[13]
  • The Temple of Ishi - the oldest temple in the city.[13] It sits in the southern portion of the Royal Ward.[5]
  • The Temple of Talenelat - located in the central part of the Royal Ward, in a stone plaza dedicated to the Herald. A set of steps leads up to an arched enterance, and both the outer and inner walls are covered in mosaics showing Taln standing fast against the Voidbringers. The temple fared poorly against the Everstorm, with the entire roof having collapsed from a lightning strike, possibly because Odium targeted it deliberately out of vengeance. It's in the temple of Talenelat that Dalinar discovers his ability to mend buildings; as such, it's the first he fixes.[13]
  • The Temple of Pailiah - located in the north-eastern part of the Royal Ward.[5] It's open, allowing wind to flow through it.[16] Renarin goes there to pray when he begins seeing visions of the Battle of Thaylen Field.[7]

Gemstone Reserve[edit]

The Gemstone Reserve is a national bank of Thaylenah. It's located in the Low Ward, near one of the entrances to the Ancient Ward.[5] The structure is build like a fortress, to protect its contents.[17] It has no windows. Within are numerous vaults storing various gemstones, including some of the largest and most unique ones, like the King's Drop. People can sell and buy their writs of ownership, allowing them to trade large sums easily.[18]

During the Battle of Thaylen Field, the building is destroyed by a thunderclast on orders of Odium, who wants to prevent Dalnar from accessing King's Drop, a perfect gemstone.[19]

Court Square[edit]

The Court Square is a plaza somewhere in the city; it's exact location is unknown, though the name suggests it might be near the Royal Palace. During the Battle of Thaylen Field, it's assaulted by the possessed Amaram soldiers. Initially, it's protected by the highguards Hrdalm and Tshadr, both in Shardplate; eventually, Hdralm departs to combat one of the thunderclasts attacking the city while Tshadr remains to hold the Square.[12]

History[edit]

Heraldic Epochs and Era of Solitude[edit]

The ancient Thaylen City; in the present, this part is known as the Ancient Ward

Thaylen City is one of the oldest settlements on Roshar, though its exact origins are uncertain. The modern history dates it as about four thousand years old; however, the existence of the Oathgate and the cymatic pattern of its appearance suggest that it's much older than that.[2][20] During the Heraldic Epochs, it was located in the Silver Kingdom of Thalath.[21] Its proximity to the Thalath Oathgate indicates that it might've been the capital even back then. At the time, it was a far smaller city, consisting only of the district now known as the Ancient Ward.[8]

The ultimate fate of Thalath and how it became Thaylenah is unknown. Thaylen City, however, retained its high status, and in the Era of Solitude it remained the capital of the newer kingdom, as well as a major shipping and banking hub. It grew far beyond its original constraints, becoming one of the greatest metropoleis of Roshar alongside cities such as Vedenar and Kharbranth.[8] In the closing years of that age, it came to the attention of people researching Dawncities, who investigated it due to the cymatic pattern of the Ancient Ward. Among others, Kabsal used its perfectly symmetrical shape as a proof of the existence of the Almighty.[11]

The Everstorm[edit]

We tried to prepare, but a nation cannot upend four millennia worth of tradition at a snap of the fingers. Thaylen City is a shambles, Kholin.

When the listeners summoned the Everstorm in the Battle of Narak, Dalinar Kholin tried to warn the various cities of the world, including Thaylen, about the upcoming catastrophe.[22] The Thaylens believed him after confirming his information with New Natanan, one of the cities struck earlier, and strove to prepare. There wasn't enough time, though, particularly as Odium targeted the city deliberately, both as a strategically-important location and as the stage for his confrontation with Dalinar.[2][1] The once-extensive docks, along with the entire seaside district, were all but wiped out; most of the city's other Wards were heavily damaged by lightning, strong winds, and even debris falling from the terraces above.[8] The temple of Talenelat in particular was wrecked near-utterly, possibly out of grudge Odium might have against Taln for holding out for as long as he had.[13]

Along with the Everstorm came the awakening of the city's Parshmen population. While the Thaylen were warned of this, they again didn't have enough time to respond properly. As a result, when the Parshmen awoke, they stole the remaining ships, both the military and private vessels, and sailed away, escaping their former captors.[2] They would later become the crews of the Voidbringer fleet.[10]

Alliance with Urithiru[edit]

Dalinar quickly pinpointed Thaylen City as one of the critical locations for the upcoming war.[23] However, when he began to make his overtures of peace to various world leaders, Queen Fen Rnamdi initially rejected him, on the grounds that letting Alethi armies into her capital would essentially surrender her already-weakened country to them.[24] In time, Dalinar managed to convince her to agree, and dispatched Kaladin and Shallan to reopen the Thaylen City Oathgate.[14]

Later, Dalinar visited Thaylen City personally along with Navani and king Taravangian, and was given a tour of it by Queen Fen. It was then that he discovered his Bondsmith ability to mend broken structures, and began to aid in rebuilding the city, earning respect from the Thaylen. Alongside him, Taravangian's surgeons and Renarin likewise assisted with handling Thaylen City's copious wounded, further cementing Thaylenah's position in the alliance.[13] Later, the army of the Sadeas princedom, under command of Meridas Amaram, was sent to the city to assist with the rebuilding.[25]

Battle of Thaylen Field[edit]

by Ashley Coad
Dalinar confronting Nergaoul on Thaylen Field

Following the revelations of the Eila Stele, Thaylenah was one of the few countries to remain with Urithiru, mostly because they had no other choice in their weakened state.[26] It was then that the Voidbringer armies, led by Odium himself, arrived on the shores of Thaylen City, having sailed there from the nearby country of Marat. Though the defenders attempted to prepare for battle, things changed dramatically when Odium first summoned a pair of thunderclasts, and then released Nergaoul upon the Amaram troops, turning them against the people they were supposed to protect.[10]

One of the thunderclasts breached the wall and made for the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve, intending to secure the King's Drop, a perfect gemstone that could trap Nergaoul. At the same time, Dalinar went down into the Thaylen Field to face Odium directly.[19] In the ensuing confrontation, Dalinar managed to open Honor's Perpendicularity, providing the Knights Radiant present with much-needed Stormlight.[27]

What resulted was a pitched battle between the defending forces -- mostly the Knights Radiant and Thaylen troops, later reinforced by House Kholin soldiers brought by General Khal through the Oathgate -- and Odium's soldiers, consisting of the two thunderclasts, the Amaram army and the Fused. Much of the city was ruined in the process, although the wall was patched by Jasnah Kholin soulcasting the air in the breach into metal. Ultimately, Nergaoul was trapped in the King's Drop and the remaining Voidbringer forces withdrew.[12]

The battle once more left Thaylen City in shambles, now augmented by the corpse of one of the thunderclasts. Massive surgeon stations were set up in the Low Ward to care for the numerous wounded, and the various alliance members pitched in to aid with the rebuilding.[3][15] However, much work remains to be done, and whether the city can be brought back to its former glory is questionable.

Politics[edit]

Strategically, Thaylen City is far more important than Jah Keved—but at the same time, far worse defended.

Thaylen City serves as the center of Thaylen commerce and politics. The reigning monarch resides there; likewise, the various merchant councils, as well as the Thaylen navy, have their headquarters in the city. Its vast port is home to numerous trading and naval vessels. Moreover, the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve holds vast majority of the country's wealth, allowing for long-distance trade via spanreeds.[8][17]

Unfortunately, the city suffered vast losses in the Everstorm, dealing a severe blow its power. The grand docks and warehouses were destroyed; the ships, stolen by the escaping parshmen.[2] The Gemstone Reserve was wrecked in the Battle of Thaylen Field, and though majority of the gems contained within appear to have survived, they were scattered across the city, and it's questionable whether the government can retrieve them all.[19] In the present, Thaylen City is all but reliant on Alethi support to survive the Desolation.[26]

Nonetheless, it remains important. It's one of the few cities with Oathgates controlled by the people opposed to Odium, giving it an instant access to Urithiru and allowing the alliance to project power in the South of Roshar. Moreover, the city's location makes holding it crucial to any strategy in the region. Whoever controls Thaylen City controls the Southern Depths, and can threaten the entire coast, from New Natanan all the way to Shinovar. As such, it's important for the alliance to keep it, which was the main impetus for the Battle of Thaylen Field.[1]

Notable citizens[edit]

  • Fen Rnamdi, the Queen of Thaylenah, who presumably resides in the Royal Palace.
  • Kmakl and Kdralk, the Queen's consort and son
  • Rysn, a master merchant currently employed in the Thaylen Gemstone Reserve
  • Jochi, a friend of Jasnah's who pretends to be a woman to pursue scholarship, and who owns a pastry shop somewhere in the city

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d Oathbringer chapter 107 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_107#
  2. a b c d e f g h i Oathbringer chapter 12 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_12#
  3. a b c Oathbringer chapter 121 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_121#
  4. Map of Roshar
  5. a b c d e f g h Map of Thaylen City
  6. Words of Radiance chapter 1 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_1#
  7. a b Oathbringer chapter 117 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_117#
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Oathbringer chapter 58 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_58#
  9. Map of Sea of Lost Lights
  10. a b c Oathbringer chapter 115 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_115#
  11. a b The Way of Kings chapter 33 Summary: The Way of Kings/Chapter_33#
  12. a b c Oathbringer chapter 120 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_120#
  13. a b c d e f g h Oathbringer chapter 59 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_59#
  14. a b Oathbringer chapter 51 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_51#
  15. a b Oathbringer chapter 122 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_122#
  16. Oathbringer chapter 118 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_118#
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 111 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_111#
  18. Oathbringer interlude I-13 Summary: Oathbringer/Interlude_I-13#
  19. a b c Oathbringer chapter 116 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_116#
  20. Four Cities
  21. Map of Silver Kingdoms
  22. Words of Radiance chapter 88 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_88#
  23. Oathbringer chapter 1 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_1#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 28 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_28#
  25. Oathbringer chapter 96 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_96#
  26. a b Oathbringer chapter 113 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_113#
  27. Oathbringer chapter 119 Summary: Oathbringer/Chapter_119#
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