|Abilities||Nahel bond, Willshaper magic, Splinter|
|Bonded With||Venli, Eshonai (formerly)|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
"I'm a fraud, Timbre. A fake Radiant. I don’t know what I’m doing."
Her real name is unknown; "Timbre" is a nickname given to her by Venli.
Appearance and Personality
In the Physical Realm, Timbre appears as a ball of light that trails a comet-like white streak when it moves around. She is curious and adventurous, venturing out into dangerous situations; however, she's also scared of the Everstorm and hides in the shadows when it arrives. She is determined in her pursuit of a bond with Venli, and often serves as a calming influence on the singer, pulsing to the Rhythm of Peace to push Odium's influence away.
Abilities and Attributes
Timbre has shown the ability to reside within Venli's gemheart and capture other spren residing there. Doing so allows Venli to enter and exit forms of power granted by Voidspren at will; it is unclear by what means Timbre does so. She also allows Venli to attune the old rhythms at will. While she can herself attune the new ones, it is difficult and to some extent harmful for her.
Unlike other Radiant spren, Timbre has shown no ability to speak. Rather, she communicates through pulsing to certain Rhythms, which produces audible vibrations. She can read Venli's thoughts, and in turn Venli can understand Timbre's pulses as the expression of her words and intents.
She has formed a Nahel bond with Venli, a singer -- something previously thought impossible. The bond grants Venli the powers of a Willshaper, letting her use Stormlight to heal and to access the Surges of Transportation and Cohesion. So long as Venli has both her Voidspren and Timbre in her gemheart, she can power these abilities equally with Stormlight or Voidlight, although she is uncertain whether this ability actually arises from the presence of the two types of spren or if it is just a matter of the bond itself plus her nature as a singer.
The First Attempt
Timbre's grandfather was one of the spren who had bonded the Knights Radiant in the past; however, he was killed, along with many thousand others, in the Recreance. Despite that, in the late Era of Solitude, Timbre decided to cross over into the Physical Realm and form a Nahel bond. Taught by that example, however, she decided to attempt a bond with a singer rather than a human.
Her first target was Eshonai, and shortly before the arrival of the everstorm, Timbre began trying to bond with her. She made little headway, as Eshonai was in stormform at the time and found Timbre's presence annoying. Still, the spren continued to try.
”What are you hoping to accomplish? Your kind betrayed us. Go find a human to bother.
After Eshonai's death, Timbre remained with her corpse until it was found by a search party led by Ulim. Venli, one of the members of the group, saw Timbre after stripping off Eshonai's Shardplate and tried to shoo her away. Timbre, however, was not to be so easily dismissed; she followed Venli and accompanied her as the latter took on envoyform. When Venli noticed Timbre's presence there, she instinctively hid her from the Fused, believing that they would kill the little spren.
From then on out, Timbre would accompany Venli everywhere, carried around in Venli's sphere pouch and coming out only when there was no-one around to see her. Though initially hostile, Venli continued to hide her from the Fused and eventually gave her her nickname. When the two were on the outskirts of Kholinar, Timbre finally made it clear that she wanted to form a Nahel bond with Venli. Venli was hesitant, believing that she could not live up to the high standard set by Eshonai. It was around that time that Timbre began using the Rhythm of Peace to try and push down Odium's influence; she also helped Venli hear the old Rhythms again.
When Dalinar brought Venli into a highstorm vision to speak with her, Timbre somehow entered it after her. She managed to reach Venli as Odium tore the vision apart, before Dalinar sent them both back out to protect them. Later, she accompanied Venli at the Battle of Thaylen Field, although she remained hidden in her pouch, initially trying to pulse to Peace before growing too scared of Odium to continue.
Forming a Bond
After Odium failed to turn Dalinar to his side, Venli snuck away from the battlefield. She began to state the First Ideal, but before she could finish it, one of the Fused noticed something happening. Timbre used the moment of confusion as he grabbed Venli's pouch to leap over into Venli's gemheart and trap the Voidspren residing there. Once the Fused left, having found nothing, Venli retreated to a private ship cabin and drank in Stormlight, proving that Timbre had managed to make her a Surgebinder.
Afterwards, the two discussed their new bond. Timbre told Venli about her grandfather and her distrust of humans before encouraging her to share the true story of the listeners with the awakened Parshmen, determined to oppose Odium. Although Venli could see into Shadesmar with her new abilities and found it very useful to be able to peer at others' souls there, Timbre knew enough to warn her that traveling there would be dangerous for her. They tested their ability to shape stone once, but they drew secretspren to themselves; after that occasion, Timbre grew concerned whenever Venli looked into Shadesmar and Venli harbored concerns that the Fused would be able to detect Timbre's pulsing.
As Venli solidified her desire to lead her people away from the Fused and to freedom, Timbre suggested to her that instead of trying to force those who came to her to share her opinions and thoughts, they should allow each their own agency; Venli honored that idea when dealing with Shumin and the others. As Venli explained their tentative plans to the singer, Timbre agreed with her that their hope that they might find a sympathetic Fused was unlikely and later disapproved when Venli attributed her Radiant powers to her Voidspren instead of to Timbre. She reminded Venli that their plans necessarily involved risk, which reminded Venli to check in Shadesmar for spies just in time to see Lady Leshwi approaching. The two of them were terribly frightened they had been discovered but instead were summoned to help Leshwi investigate the newest batch of Fused.
The following day, Venli had to fulfill her role as Voice for Lady Leshwi at a conclave of important singers. Timbre restrained a budding desire in Venli that aspired to the Fused's immortality, reminding her that she was deceived if she thought she would ever receive that honor and reminding her of their insanity. She was frightened by the Nine singing an alien song in unison when they heard of the Fourth Bridge and later desired to warn Venli again of her ambition. That time, however, Venli felt that that particular ambition-wanting to widen the divisions she saw among the Fused-was necessary to attain freedom. When Leshwi decided to lend Venli to Raboniel as a servant for the infiltration of Urithiru, Raboniel annoyed both Venli and Timbre by asking Leshwi how she had "collected" the Last Listener. Observing that Leshwi did not trust Raboniel, Timbre encouraged Venli to ask Leshwi if there might be a way to reestablish her people. They were frustrated by Leshwi's reply when she told Venli to wait until the Fused gained victory over the humans and left the world for the singers. Abandoning that thought, Timbre exitedly pointed out to Venli that going to Urithiru was a great opportunity to be among Radiants who might be able to help train her.
Infiltration of Urithiru
Timbre and Venli accompanied the force that traveled to Urithiru. As they hiked through the mountains towards the tower, they observed the Deepest Ones with curiosity, thinking about their own stone shaping ability. Raboniel noticed Venli's curiosity, frightening the two of them into thinking they had acted suspiciously. They grew even more worried when Raboniel made it clear that she knew Venli was spying for Leshwi. When the conversation led to Raboniel explaining about the Surge of Cohesion, though, Timbre pulsed to Caution to restrain Venli's excitement at finally receiving answers.
Venli was unexpectedly thrust into the middle of the fight when the group ambushed humans in the tunnels below Urithiru, and she had to kill a human in self-defense. Timbre pulsed to the Rhythm of the Lost as Venli knelt over her first ever kill. As Venli struggled with her emotions and admitted inwardly that she had been selfish and ambitious before, she held to the truth of that thought and refused to accept Timbre's comforting pulses.
After the singer force captured the tower, Raboniel ordered the capture of all Radiants but granted the Pursuer leave to kill Kaladin. Venli called after him, asking if he would really murder a helpless man, and the Pursuer's reply caused Timbre to pulse uncertainly, sure that the Fused was mad. Venli compared Lezian to a spren, but Timbre protested that she did more than existing, and Venli apologized for the comparison. They followed Raboniel into a chamber filled with scholars and ardents, and Venli pondered how little humans could be trusted without forms or rhythms to show their true natures. Timbre reminded her that Venli lived a similar lie and was pleased when Venli acknowledged that she did truly follow Timbre instead of her Voidspren. Later, they watched the humans attempt a desperate assault on the room with the pillar as Raboniel tried to complete her corruption of the Sibling; Timbre pulsed to the Rhythm of Hope and Venli was strongly reminded of the tenacity of her own people as they silently rooted for the doomed humans.
”I wish I could believe, Timbre. I really wish I could. But you don't know what you’re working with in me. You don’t understand.
Occupation of Urithiru
As Odium's forces established rule in Urithiru, Venli discussed Navani and her stalling tactics with Raboniel before the Fused asked her why she was so eager to serve Odium. Venli delivered a prepared lie, leading her to believe that she aspired to be a Fused herself, allaying Timbre's concerns. Timbre was amused at the answer and skeptical that Venli would ever have truly wanted such immortality, though as Venli pointed out, Timbre didn't know what she had been like before their acquaintance.
Venli and her group continued to plot their escape from under the thumb of the Fused. She talked with Dul about Shumin's indiscreet advertisement of their plans, and Timbre pulsed morosely in sympathy when Dul brought up the way he had been treated in the past by his human masters. Venli put up a confident front for Dul's sake, but Timbre was aware of her doubts; she tried to console her by coming up with some ideas to keep their group safe. Prompted by Venli's statement that Timbre didn't really know who she had been, Timbre convinced Venli to tell her about the time Axindweth approached her and gave her the gemstone containing Ulim.
"I am a false Radiant. You know this."
"Perhaps. But today was a step in the right direction."”
Part of Venli's duty was to review reports from recent activity in the tower; Timbre was appalled that Raboniel had actually executed those Radiants that had been hidden among the people, but Venli was not surprised. Timbre grew worried when they heard that news of an escaped Radiant had been reported to the Pursuer. She was increasingly anxious as they learned that the surgeon's - Kaladin's - family was in custody and awaiting questioning by Lezian. At the news, Timbre somehow blocked Venli's ability to hear the rhythms until the singer had enough privacy to address her spren. They discussed the situation, Timbre convincing Venli that they had to act. They approached Leshwi with the news, and Timbre nudged Venli to tell the Fused that she was a Radiant. Venli refused, instead going on to tell her about Kaladin's family. They waited nervously as Leshwi left, and when she came back, Venli's concern for the family caused her to slip and use the Rhythm of Pleading, an old rhythm she could only still hear because of Timbre. Venli still didn't think she was real Radiant after that incident, but Timbre was encouraged by the day's accomplishment.
Venli also watched over the unconscious Radiants in the infirmary. As she contemplated how the Fused seemed constantly surprised by the abilities the modern Radiants showed, Timbre added that perhaps it was to their advantage that they didn't have any old Radiants to confine their training to only what those Radiants knew - or perhaps it was the younger, more enthusiastic spren who made the difference against the worn Fused. Later, when Venli was providing translation for a group of Fused, they overheard the Fused say that secretspren were useless in the tower; Timbre grew excited at the implication that they could use their Radiant powers without drawing their notice. She comforted Venli, who was feeling apprehensive about trying something so new. Venli tried to withhold a suggestion as to where the ancient Radiants might have placed the tower's nodes, but the Fused figured it out anyway, much to Timbre's sorrow and disappointment.
When Venli went to speak with Rlain, Timbre felt anxious that there was a Voidspren hiding in a cremling nearby. After Venli shooed it away, she approached Rlain. Venli was overwhelmed with emotions upon seeing another listener, and Timbre joined in when she began humming the Rhythm of the Lost. Timbre wanted Venli to show Rlain that she was a Radiant, but she locked up again and failed to do so. After the visit, Venli sought to free Rlain into her service; as she attempted to stand her ground before Raboniel, Timbre attuned Conceit because Venli was wavering in the face of Raboniel humming Derision. The attempt hurt Timbre, as Conceit was a new rhythm, one of Odium. She communicated with Venli about freedom, and after they returned to Venli's rooms, Venli spoke the words of what she knew would be her next Ideal. Timbre was confused as to why the words were not accepted, but Venli knew she had been hypocritical in speaking them, considering her true motives and considering that earlier she had stood by while Mraize and the others took Lift away in a cage.
One day, Venli discussed with Timbre how she missed the old, carefree days of learning songs from her mother. Timbre tried to console her over her mother's death, but Venli felt she was truly to blame for the group of escapees being forced to flee into the chasms on the day the everstorm arrived to flood the canyons. As Venli worked through her thoughts regarding who she had been and how she had changed, Timbre reminded her that she had helped Venli resist Odium. They decided to take advantage of a rare free day to practice her powers with Cohesion.
After checking to make sure they were not being watched, Venli infused herself with Stormlight. Timbre was uncertain how to proceed and was not fully convinced it would work anyway, with the tower's defenses activated. Instead, Venli decided to try with Voidlight. This time, Venli managed to speak with the stones, and Timbre gleefully resonated with the tone they sang. When they ran out of Voidlight, Timbre was excited to see three other spren just like her approaching. She explained to Venli that her friends were like squires to her, and these other lightspren wanted to bond with them. Venli was concerned for the spren and ordered Timbre to tell them to leave until Venli and her friends could escape Urithiru.
Timbre wanted to comfort Venli as she and Rlain smuggled the surviving maps of the tower to the humans in the Radiant infirmary, telling her that these times necessitated dangerous choices. She sympathized with Venli as she once again thought about her past by telling her that Ulim had manipulated her. As much as Venli respected Timbre's wisdom, however, she felt that the spren was wrong. After unpacking the maps, Timbre reminded Venli that she needed to practice with her powers again before they attempted to escape Urithiru. She pulsed inside of Venli as Lirin discovered that the humans of Urithiru had begun painting shash glyphs on their foreheads; the message of hope resonated with her.
”It's time. It’s time. It’s time!—Timbre
Encouraged by Timbre, Venli practiced her powers again and successfully attuned a combination of Cultivation's tone and Odium's tone; in front of her, a miniature sculpture of the ancient listeners heading to the unknown formed. Later in the day, they walked in on a fight in the infirmary when Lirin refused to go to Kaladin to heal him. As they discussed the hopelessness of Kaladin's wound, Timbre grew increasingly more excited until Venli proposed a plan to them: break Lift, who had healing abilities as an Edgedancer, out of her prison cell.
Timbre was annoyed that Venli wanted to accomplish the rescue without revealing her Radiant abilities, instead pretending to have acquired a Shardblade. As Venli approached the back of the cell, however, Timbre encouraged her. The spren pulsed to the Rhythm of Hope, feeding the rhythm into the rock and aiding Venli's displacement of the rock. As Venli worked to make a hole large enough for Lift, Timbre observed that her efforts were rough and crude, pulsing to Consolation. As soon as Lift was free, Timbre happily switched and attuned Hope. Venli asked if she could say the words of her Second Ideal yet, now that Lift was free, but Timbre replied that it wasn't the right time; Venli would know when it was right.
”Mistakes can't be wonderful, Timbre. That’s what defines them as mistakes.
As Venli assisted Raboniel one day, Raboniel asked her if she hated herself for bringing about the destruction of her people; Timbre warned her to lie, but Venli admitted that she did hate herself. Timbre tried to reassure her as she talked about what she had done, but Venli once again refused the comfort. At the end of their conversation, Raboniel gave Venli a map with a notation from a human scout who had observed a large group of Parshendi in the Shattered Plains. Rlain, looking for Venli to tell her that Kaladin, Lift, Teft, and he had a plan, discovered Venli later on while she was still crying and astonished at the news that her people might have survived. Timbre prompted Venli to tell Rlain her whole story, and she did so without holding back any of her culpability.
Having decided to abandon the Radiants and escape with her own group of people using Raboniel's writ, Venli alerted her people. As they stood at the Oathgate waiting for transfer to Kholinar, however, Timbre conveyed to Venli that she was disappointed in her. Venli argued that she couldn't be of any help to them, but Timbre assured her that she was learning to use her powers. Venli suggested that Timbre find a singer who cared more than she did, but Timbre firmly stated that she wanted Venli, that Venli was a "wonderful mistake." The more Venli complained, the more insistent Timbre became that their bond was right and that Venli would do what was right.
When Venli realized that no one was able to operate the Oathgates because Vyre had left with his Honorblade, Timbre got very excited. She told Venli that this was an opportunity to help the Radiants and continued to push her to act despite Venli's complaints that she was no real Radiant. Venli wondered if she would be able to use the writ to get Kaladin and his family to safety, but Timbre was unconvinced that that was a viable tactic. Inside the tower, they found the atrium crowded with people watching Kaladin fight the Pursuer. Timbre continued to push Venli to help, but she didn't see a real way to do so.
Seeing Kaladin kneel over Teft's body, broken with grief, Venli realized she had never felt that depth of emotion over her own loved ones. Timbre comforted her again and prompted her again to reveal to Leshwi what she was, but Venli still couldn't do it. As soon as Kaladin left to chase after his father, however, the Pursuer's soldiers made towards the Radiant infirmary to kill the unconscious Radiants. The people of Urithiru fought against them, but Venli noticed that Leshwi's troops stayed out of the conflict. Once more prompted by Timbre, this time Venli drank in some Stormlight and revealed to Leshwi their bond. Leshwi asked, through Venli, if Timbre knew of an honorspren called Riah, but Timbre admitted she didn't know very many of that kind. As Leshwi, Rlain, and Venli planned a last escape attempt, Rlain asked if there were any others like Timbre that wanted to bond singers. Timbre conveyed that although there were some others, Rlain was already spoken for.
Later, Venli reunited with her mother, and Timbre joined her in rejoicing. As Venli explained to Thude that she would help restore the relationship between her people and the spren, her words were finally accepted, bringing her and Timbre's bond to the Second Ideal.
”Some people charged toward the goal, running for all they had. Others stumbled. But it wasn't the speed that mattered. It was the direction they were going.
Timbre searched among the singers for a suitable bond partner out of dislike of the idea of bonding humans again. She settled on Venli after her attempt at bonding Eshonai was cut short, and Venli proved to be protective of the little spren despite not really understanding Timbre's intentions. Venli gave her the name Timbre and continued to protect her as she hid from everyone else in Venli's pouch. At the end of the Battle of Thaylen Field, Timbre managed to take up residence in Venli's gemheart and hold captive the Voidspren that already resided there. She brought back to Venli the old rhythms and began guiding her towards being a real Knight Radiant. They became something new, their bond somehow allowing Venli to power the surges of a Willshaper with either Stormlight or Voidlight. As Venli confronted her past and the terrible choices she had made, Timbre consistently consoled her and encouraged her to do better; Venli was often reluctant to accept the reassurance, but she did continue to make choices that honored their bond. Timbre eventually convinced Venli to reveal to Lady Leshwi what they were, which led to them gaining freedom from the Fused who served Odium to reunite with the remnant of the listeners on the Shattered Plains.
Theories and Speculation
Timbre is possibly the daughter of Ico. Venli, in conversation with Timbre, learns that Timbre's grandfather was a spren killed by the Recreance -- something that also happened to Ico's father. Ico also remarks that his daughter abandoned her employment at the moneychangers' in Celebrant to chase "foolish dreams".
- The name Timbre is derived from the English word meaning a distinct quality of a sound or voice.
- Brandon has debunked the idea that Timbre is Eshonai's soul, noting that this is "not how spren work". Nonetheless, it was a theory that was quite popular among his beta readers, which is why he didn't RAFO it when asked about it.
- Rhythm of War chapter 117#
- Rhythm of War chapter 53#
- Oathbringer chapter 120#
- Oathbringer interlude I-11#
- Oathbringer interlude I-3#
- Oathbringer chapter 121#
- Rhythm of War chapter 60#
- Oathbringer chapter 115#
- Rhythm of War chapter 11#
- Surgebinding Table
- Rhythm of War chapter 67#
- Words of Radiance interlude I-11#
- Oathbringer interlude I-7#
- Oathbringer interlude I-6#
- Oathbringer chapter 109#
- Oathbringer chapter 118#
- Rhythm of War chapter 14#
- Rhythm of War chapter 31#
- Rhythm of War chapter 37#
- Rhythm of War chapter 41#
- Rhythm of War chapter 42#
- Rhythm of War chapter 51#
- Rhythm of War chapter 52#
- Rhythm of War chapter 56#
- Rhythm of War chapter 74#
- Rhythm of War chapter 83#
- Rhythm of War chapter 102#
- Rhythm of War chapter 92#
- Rhythm of War chapter 96#
- Rhythm of War chapter 104#
- Rhythm of War chapter 106#
- Rhythm of War chapter 107#
- Rhythm of War chapter 109#
- Rhythm of War chapter 111#
- Rhythm of War chapter 115#
- Oathbringer chapter 101#
- Emerald City Comic Con 2018
— Arcanum - 2018-03-01#