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by Petar Penev
|Type||Splinters of Odium|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”The Unmade are a deviation, a flair, a conundrum that may not be worth your time. You cannot help but think of them. They are fascinating. Many are mindless. Like the spren of human emotions, only much more nasty. I do believe a few can think, however.
The Unmade are a group of nine ancient and twisted spren on Roshar comprised of Splinters of Odium. They are regarded as minions of Odium, but not all of them continue to do his bidding. While they are traditionally depicted as personifications of destruction or forces, some of them are cognizant individuals. Each Unmade is endowed with vast and terrible powers, although the intelligence of the Unmade varies drastically.
Ba-Ado-Mishram, the most intelligent of the Unmade, has three parts in her compound name, while Re-Shephir, Sja-anat, and Yelig-nar have two parts in a compound name and have displayed a level of awareness. Unmade such as Nergaoul and Ashertmarn, have shown themselves to be mere creatures of instinct.
”The Lady of Pains has the Surge of Transformation and dangerous knowledge. She will infuse my entire heart-the pillar-in the proper order, using her Voidlight. In so doing, she would corrupt me and leave me… leave me as one of the Unmade…
One process of unmaking is documented with Raboniel's attempt to unmake the Sibling. While Invested with Voidlight, Raboniel placed her hands on the Sibling's pillar. The Sibling reacted by glowing with Towerlight. The Voidlight moved from Raboniel into the pillar's embedded garnets, starting the process of corruption. If she had been able to continue, The Sibling says she would infuse the entire pillar with Voidlight in the proper order and utilize the Surge of Transformation.
Sja-anat believes Odium could unmake the Unmade again. This would steal their memories and rip them to pieces. She also fears he will unmake her children, both true spren and lesser spren, to the same effect.
It is uncertain what the Unmade were before becoming corrupted. Upon her confrontation with Re-Shephir, Shallan believes her to have originally been a creationspren, but later thinks it might in fact have been human.
In creating Unmade, Odium trapped them in a halfway existence, many not fully belonging to the Physical or Cognitive Realms. Sja-anat experiences a shadowy version of both Shadesmar and the Physical Realm at the same time, feeling the distance between the two dilate as she moves.
Some of the Unmade manifest various forms in the Physical Realm if they reside too long in the same place or are pulled through by strong emotions.
”You see, it can only be bested by someone who deeply, sincerely, understands it.
An Unmade may be captured in a polestone like other spren, but to do so seems to require both someone who deeply understands them and a perfect gemstone. Unmade are able to think while in captivity but can not break free. Unmade do not fade during captivity, unlike Heralds.
Prior to the Recreance, a Lightweaver managed to trap Re-Shephir, an act previously thought impossible. Re-Shephir then escaped her imprisonment by unknown means centuries before the True Desolation. After the Alethi arrived at Urithiru, she once again encountered a Lightweaver, Shallan Davar. Sensing the similarities between Shallan's powers and those of the Lightweaver who had trapped her in the past, Re-Shephir fled rather than risk being imprisoned again.
The Urithiru gem archive includes a theory that Melishi, a Bondsmith, would be required to trap Ba-Ado-Mishram in a special prison. A Knights Radiant strike team was successful in capturing Ba-Ado-Mishram in a gemstone at the end of the False Desolation, which cut off her Connection to the singers. Most of the details of this capture are unknown, other than several Heralds, including Nale and Kalak, being present.
During the Battle of Thaylen Field, Dalinar Kholin used his intimate knowledge about the Thrill's nature, and the method of capturing spren through coaxing them into a gemstone, to capture Nergaoul in the King's Drop. It is unclear whether or not he utilized the Bondsmith Surge of Adhesion to aid with his Connection to the Thrill and it is also unknown if this is the same method that the ancient Radiants used.
It is also theoretically possible to bind an Unmade to the Physical Realm using a Hemalurgic spike.
During the Desolations
The origin of the Unmade is uncertain, but they are believed to have come into existence before the start of human civilization on Roshar. Each would have been considered to be native to Roshar. They have been implied to have once been something else before being made into the Unmade, but for now there is no indication what they once were. They were active in the Desolations, aiding Odium's troops in the conflict with their various skills. Urithiru was equipped with some sort of protection against the Unmade. Between Desolations, the Unmade lose their bond to Odium. Since Aharietiam, they have remained subtly active on Roshar, probably operating with diminished capacity. They have also slumbered at times, or entered a period of inactivity. About 2,500 years after Aharietiam, Ba-Ado-Mishram instigated the False Desolation by Connecting with the singers and granting them forms of power and Voidlight, until she was captured in a perfect gemstone by a Knights Radiant strike team. At some point Re-Shephir was also imprisoned by a Lightweaver, but she later escaped captivity.
The arrival of the Everstorm in Shadesmar revitalized the Unmade. As the True Desolation continued and the Fused returned, the Unmade's influence increased. The death rattles allowed by the presence of Moelach have been noted in Kharbranth and the Horneater Peaks . Re-Shephir was discovered to be hiding in the core of Urithiru by the Alethi and was driven out by Shallan Davar. In the besieged city of Kholinar, Ashertmarn's influence disrupted the leadership in the city while Sja-anat corrupted the Oathgate spren, turning it into a trap for Elhokar's rescue party. Queen Aesudan Kholin consumed a gemstone and worked with Yelig-nar, but was eventually consumed by it. In the Battle of Thaylen Field, Yelig-nar joined with Meridas Amaram for the fighting and Nergaoul's influence helped Voidspren bond with Sadeas's soldiers, turning them into warriors for Odium. Kaladin and his men defeated Yelig-nar, while Dalinar Kholin successfully managed to capture Nergaoul in a perfect gem. Navani has been researching the Unmade, but little factual information was found on them aside from in Hessi's Mythica.
After the Battle of Thaylen Field
Sja-anat has been using her Enlightened spren children to influence events according to her designs, while trying to convince Odium she isn't actively trying to undermine him. This influence, through the lure of corrupted windspren, allowed Taravangian to kill Odium's Vessel, Rayse, and take up the Shard himself. Also, at Shallan's request, Sja-anat sent Tumi, a corrupted mistspren, to investigate bonding a member of the Ghostbloods, but Tumi chose to bond Rlain instead, at Renarin's suggestion.
In Rosharan culture, by the time of the Era of Solitude, the Unmade have become mythologized heavily. In fact there are disagreements about the number of Unmade; some stories claim there were ten. In Vorin theology they are spoken of vaguely and are typically combined into one entity. Even still, ardents tell old folktales and stories of the Unmade. The Unmade are often referred to as spirits of the void or nine shadows that moved in the night. They are considered to be princes of the Voidbringers in story, and feature in elaborate songs, poetry, and epics. People ascribe dozens of names and powers to each Unmade, making it difficult to determine truth from falsehood centuries later. There are tales of them corrupting spren and people both. Some people fear that things like talking chickens will bring the eyes of the Unmade upon them. However, many in the modern day consider them to be nothing more than simple folklore. Scholarly works that involve the Unmade are often mocked and dismissed.
The Unmade feature heavily in the songs of the listeners, who also fear bringing the eyes of the Unmade upon them. The songs note the names of all nine Unmade, remembering them as gods the listeners swore to never follow again.
Members of the Unmade
”Ashertmarn, the Heart of the Revel, is the final of the three great Mindless Unmade. His gift to men is not prophecy or battle focus, but a lust for indulgence.
Ashertmarn is a mindless Unmade that is also known as the Heart of the Revel. He takes the form of an enormous, black, inhuman heart that grows veins into the ground. Those who fall under Ashertmarn's influence are driven to debauchery and excess, in extreme cases to the point of total mindless indulgence. Ashertmarn was most recently seen in Kholinar, grown over the Oathgate there, where he managed to influence many of the Alethi elite to abandon their lives and responsibilities in favor of the revel. His location is unknown after he left the Oathgate platform.
”I find Ba-Ado-Mishram to be the most interesting of the Unmade. She is said to have been keen of mind, a highprincess among the enemy forces, their commander during some of the Desolations. I do not know how this relates to the ancient god of the enemy, named Odium.—From Hessi's Mythica, page 203
Ba-Ado-Mishram is one of the most intelligent Unmade. She is crafty and conniving. She served as one of Odium's commanders during the Desolations. About 2,500 years after Aharietiam, she Connected with the vast majority of singers instigating the False Desolation. She was able to grant them forms of power and provide Voidlight. A Knights Radiant strike team captured Ba-Ado-Mishram in a perfect gemstone at the end of the False Desolation, which cut off her Connection to the singers, stealing their minds, and touched the souls of all who belong to Roshar. The current location of her gemstone prison is unknown. Kalak and Nale were present during the capture, so they may have clues to its location. Kalak believes Ba-Ado-Mishram should be found and released. Ba-Ado-Mishram is also being sought by the Ghostbloods for unknown purposes, possibly to aid their mission of transporting Stormlight off Roshar.
Little is known of the Unmade Chemoarish. By the modern Era of Solitude, she is known as the Dustmother and often is conflated with the Nightwatcher. There is a variety of lore associated with her, but all of it is currently unknown. In Bavland, her name is invoked as a curse.
From the length of her name, it seems unlikely that she is among the more intelligent of the Unmade.
”Let me no longer hurt! Let me no longer weep! Dai-Gonarthis! The Black Fisher holds my sorrow and consumes it!—Tanatesach 1173, 28 seconds pre-death. A darkeyed female street juggler. Note similarity to sample 1172-89.
Dai-Gonarthis, also known as the Black Fisher is an Unmade of median intelligence. They have not been recorded as active on Roshar recently, but may have been involved in the Scouring of Aimia. There is some uncertainty in the mythology as to whether Dai-Gonarthis is one of the Unmade, but some scholars are convinced.
”Moelach is close. I can hear his wheezing, his scratching, his scraping at time like a rat breaking through walls.
Moelach is an Unmade associated with precognition and visions of the future. His presence allows for the Death Rattles that King Taravangian used to modify the Diagram. Moelach's appearance is unknown. In the year 1166 Moelach was somewhere near Kholinar, then he took up residence in Kharbranth in the year 1167, then relocated for unknown reasons seven years later to the Horneater Peaks.
”Nergaoul was known for driving forces into a battle rage, lending them great ferocity. Curiously, he did this to both sides of a conflict, Voidbringer and human. This seems common of the less self-aware spren.—From Hessi's Mythica, page 121
Nergaoul is a mindless Unmade that is closely associated with battle rage. Nergaoul is not very intelligent, taking an animalistic joy in death and killing. He takes the form of an enormous red mist roiling with the forms of men fighting and dying. Nergaoul causes the effect known as the Thrill, which drives men to fight far beyond when they should have given up and makes them enjoy the killing. During the Battle of Thaylen Field, he was captured within the King's Drop ruby by Dalinar. Afterwards, this perfect gemstone was sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
”Re-Shephir, the Midnight Mother, giving birth to abominations with her essence so dark, so terrible, so consuming. She is here! She watches me die!—Dated Shashabev, 1173, 8 seconds pre-death. Subject: a darkeyed dock-worker in his forties, father of three.
Re-Shephir is also known as the Midnight Mother, and The Spawning Mother. She takes the form of a mass of black tarry substance that is capable of flowing over various surfaces and appears to have screaming faces bubbling to the surface. Her primary ability is to spawn the Midnight Essence, a type of spren that takes the form of creatures and people they see around them and try to understand humankind by mimicking them. She is a creature of instinct that is drawn to violence and pain. Before the Recreance, she infiltrated Urithiru and was captured by a Lightweaver. After the Recreance, she escaped imprisonment and inhabited Urithiru for centuries, until fleeing the tower as a result of a confrontation with Shallan. Her current location is unknown, but at some point she reported to the Fused, incorrectly, that the Sibling was dead.
”You sacrificed some of your children so others could live. It was a law of nature. Humans didn’t understand it. But she did.—Sja-anat
Sja-anat is known as the Taker of Secrets. She takes the form of a jet black shadow that points the wrong way with white holes for eyes that often appears in mirrors, as actually seeing her requires reflected light. She exists halfway between Shadesmar and the Physical Realm, experiencing both at the same time. She considers herself intelligent, but not the most clever of the Unmade. Her primary ability is to corrupt spren, which she refers to as Enlightening. She is capable of corrupting both lesser spren and true spren, as well as larger spren, such as the spren of an Oathgate. These corrupted spren often act as her servants and messengers. She is actively working against Odium, while trying to convince him that she is not. While her allegiance to mankind is uncertain, she has taken the following actions against Odium's bidding:
- Sent her children, Glys and Tumi, to bond allies of the Knights Radiant; she also has more corrupted spren willing to bond.
- Saved Shallan and her companions from death while traveling through the Kholinar Oathgate, whose spren she had corrupted.
- Sent corrupted windspren to Taravangian so that he could use them to lure Odium into the presence of Nightblood, use the sword to destroy Rayse, and take up the Shard of Odium.
”Yelig-nar, called Blightwind, was one that could speak like a man, though often his voice was accompanied by the wails of those he consumed.
Yelig-nar, also known as Blightwind, differs from the other Unmade. Instead of having a specific physical appearance, he is capable of joining with humans or singers who swallow his gemstone, granting them command of the Surges. Hessi's research indicates this may include all ten Surges, though given the Voidbringers' view of the Surge of Adhesion, Yelig-Nar may only grant the other nine. Those he possesses have red eyes, grow crystals from their bodies, and appear to be wreathed in a black wind. Those that join with Yelig-nar must control him if they do not wish to be consumed by him.
- The names of the Unmade are derived from deities of Near Eastern pantheons and H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos; however, the powers and characteristics of the Unmade do not necessarily match those of their nominal inspirations. Suspected associations are:
- Anat, Semitic war goddess, for Sja-anat.
- Resheph, Canaanite plague deity, for Re-Shephir.
- Nergal, Mesopotamian god of war and death, for Nergaoul.
- Moloch, Canaanite god of fire and chaos associated with child sacrifice, for Moelach.
- Dagon, a Canaanite fisher god and sea-dwelling entity from the Cthulu Mythos, for Dai-Gonarthis.
- Asherah, Sumerian sea goddess, for Ashertmarn.
- Chemosh, god of Moabites and Ammonites, for Chemoarish.
- Unknown Cthulhu Mythos deities for Ba-Ado-Mishram and Yelig-nar.
- In The Way of Kings Prime, there was an Unmade behind a very ornate door in the First Capital, bound by crystal spikes.
- Words of Radiance chapter 81 epigraph#
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— 17th Shard #
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