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Urithiru

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Urithiru
Urithiru.jpg
by Ben McSweeney
World Roshar
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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Urithiru was said to be the center of the Silver Kingdoms, a city that held ten thrones, one for each king. It was the most majestic, most amazing, most important city in all the world.
Jasnah's opinion of Urithiru[1]

Urithiru is a tower-city on Roshar that functioned as the home of the Knights Radiant and the central point of the Silver Kingdoms during the Heraldic Epochs.

Location[edit]

Urithiru on the map of Roshar

Urithiru is located almost exactly in the middle of the Rosharan continent, in the mountains that comprise the border of Emul and Greater Hexi.[2]The tower sits on the east side of one of those mountains, leaning against two slopes.[3][4] The plateau on which the tower is located is at a considerable altitude, high enough that both highstorms and the Everstorm pass beneath it, which in the modern day makes it difficult for the tower's occupants to obtain stormlight.[5]

Historically, there was some disagreement as to whether or not Urithiru is accessible by means other than Oathgate travel or flight. Ancient chroniclers Varala and Sinbian both stated that it was impossible, but in Nohadon's eighth parable from The Way of Kings, he claims that he walked from Abamabar to Urithiru (which he confirms in Dalinar's dream, saying that he did not use an Oathgate, only a guide, which was akin to "taking a ferry across a river.")[6][7]. As is later revealed, there is an entrance at the bottom of the mountain which can be used to exit the tower on foot.[5]

There is an unnamed village in the foothills of the mountain to the south of the tower.[8] In addition, Urithiru sits relatively closely to the Valley of the Nightwatcher.[2]

History[edit]

Pre-Recreance[edit]

Urithiru was constructed at some point early on during the Silver Kingdoms era.[9] Initially, many wished for it to be constructed in Alethela; however, it was eventually built elsewhere, in a place considered to be "closest to Honor".[10] It's unclear whether it was created by Heralds, Surgebinders or Shards themselves.

Though its unclear whether it was originally built for this purpose, Urithiru was the headquarters of the Knights Radiant orders, as well as the center of the Silver Kingdoms, holding ten thrones, one for each king. Even following the temporary end of the cycle of Desolations, it remained an important location as both the home of the Radiants and the Oathgate hub.[11] During that time, Urithiru had a large population of not only Radiants, but also ordinary people - servants, traders, craftsmen and so on.[12] At one point, the Unmade Re-Shephir invaded the tower, and was trapped and sealed by an unknown Lightweaver.[13]

Eventually, the unknown systems that allowed people to inhabit Urithiru - most importantly, raising its temperature to allow people to live comfortably and grow foods - began to fail for unclear reasons.[14] This forced the Knights Radiant to abandon the tower, leaving behind only the gem archive where they coded their last messages.[15][16]

Between this and the Day of Recreance, the Oathgates in the 9 surviving cities were sealed, leaving Urithiru locked away from the world.

Era of Solitude[edit]

Some time after the tower was abandoned, Re-Shephir broke out of her confinement, but remained within the tower.[13]

Though Urithiru had faded into myth by the Era of Solitude, Szeth was familiar with it, and would visit it often after becoming a Truthless. He had gone by the village at the bottom of the tower's mountain so many times that he mused that at some point, they had started thinking of him as some sort of god, leaving out tributes of spheres for him to use for stormlight.[8]

Jasnah Kholin began an effort to rediscover the city after growing convinced that a new Desolation was coming.[17] While she herself was unable to do so, her student, Shallan Davar, managed to complete her works and pinpoint the location of Stormseat, an ancient city that possessed an Oathgate, but was destroyed long before Urithiru was abandoned.[18] She eventually managed to locate Stormseat - now called Narak - and, as the Listeners summoned the Everstorm, transported the Alethi army through its Oathgate, rediscovering Urithiru.[19]

True Desolation[edit]

Following the arrival of the Everstorm, Urithiru became the centre of Alethi military power, with most highprinces, chief among them House Kholin, relocating there along with their armies. The Alethi began to reinhabit the tower, although they were unable to reactivate most of Urithiru's systems, such as the heating or the main elevator.[20] Following a string of strange accidents, Re-Shephir was tracked down and banished from the tower by a team led by Shallan Davar[13] Several Oathgates - that of Vedenar, Azimir and Thaylen City - were unlocked to reenable fast transportation across the continent.[21]

As a prelude to the Battle of Thaylen Field, the Voidbringers attacked Urithiru through the subverted Kholinar Oathgate.[22] Although initially somewhat successful, they were eventually pushed back and out of the city.[23]

Appearance[edit]

Top-down view of Urithiru with the Oathgates.

Urithiru consists of 10 levels, with each level being 18 stories tall, for a total of 180 floors. Going down, each level is wider than the one above it, with the roofs of the wider levels having fields and gardens built on them. There are numerous balconies on the sides of the tower. On the stormward side of Urithiru, there are large glass windows, which, miraculously, survived the thousands of years of abandonment utterly intact.[24] In front of the tower is a massive plaza surrounded by the ten Oathgate platforms.[4]

The interior of Urithiru is filled with tunnels that twist about in strange curves, which Dalinar hypothesizes was done to fool invaders.[24] Each tunnel has distinctive patterns of strata - for instance, the corridor to Dalinar's quarters has alternating red and yellow strips of strata that slope upwards while the strata in the bathhouse where Vedekar Perel's body is found spiral and corkscrew.[25] Known strata colors include shades of brown, yellow, red, orange, and emerald green. The stone itself is smooth to the touch and hard enough that it can't be scratched with a knife.[26] Notably, the same strata patterns can be seen on Kholinar windblades, indicating similar, perhaps shared origin.[27]

The tower is comprised of multiple rooms of different functionality, including sleeping quarters, meeting halls, libraries and bathhouses.

Notable locations[edit]

Breakaway[edit]

Breakaway is a large, cavernous hall within Urithiru's walls. While its previous function is unknown, after the Alethi arrive at the tower, it becomes their central market area, with stalls, foodstands and taverns.[28]

The Gem Archive[edit]

The Urithiru gem archive is used as a study hall for scholars and scholarly ardents working on uncovering the city's mysteries. As is later discovered, the panels on its walls are actually drawers, holding rows of gemstones that, when stormlight is put in them, vibrate in certain patterns, allowing them to hold messages.[29] It is also where meetings concerning the city's functionality and fabrials are held.[30]

Re-Shephir's Chamber[edit]

The room in which Re-Shephir hides until being banished by Shallan has likely once been a library; however, by the time the Alethi arrive there, its collection has been destroyed by the Unmade. A notable feature of the room is a column of gemstones in its center, around which Re-Shephir coiled when discovered; however, its purpose - and whether there is a purpose to it beyond decoration - is unknown.[13]

The Top Platform[edit]

The platform atop Urithiru is the smallest floor of the whole tower. It is open-air, allowing the viewer to observe their entire surroundings. It appears to be Dalinar's favourite spot in the tower to think, and has seen its fair share of notable events related to him, such as him swearing his First and Second Ideals as a Bondsmith and marrying Navani.[31][5]

The Meeting Room[edit]

The meeting room is located near the top of the tower. From the moment the Alethi arrive in the city, it is used as their main meeting chamber, both for discussing strategy and when speaking with foreign dignitaries. Though it is initially barren, a table is brought in at some point, which Shallan and Dalinar use it to create a real-time map of Roshar.[31][24][32]

Mechanisms[edit]

Urithiru displays a number of unusual properties that allow humans to survive despite its high altitude. Among those are heightened pressure; increased temperature; and general conditions encouraging plant growth.[14] In addition, there is a number of fabrials, such as the elevators connecting Urithiru's floors and the gem archive capable of preserving recordings of human voices.[24][29] There is also a strange column of gems in the tower's lower levels, although its current purpose is unclear.[13]

Urithiru was once home of the spren Sibling.[33] However, at some point it withdrew from mankind, and currently slumbers.[34][32] This state might explain why many of Urithiru's systems are currently non-functional. At the present, only some elevators work when gemstones are inserted, and the gem archive appears to be the sole functional fabrial remaining. Of the life support system, only increased pressure remains maintained.[14]

Notes[edit]

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