User:Argent/pages/Oathpact

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{!{magic |related=Heralds, Honor, Fused |universe=Cosmere |books=The Stormlight Archive }}{!{spoilers|book=sa3}}

The Oathpact was an ancient agreement between Honor and the men and women who would become his Heralds, with the purpose of giving humanity a fighting chance against the ever-returning Fused.

Mechanics[edit]

Little is known about the Realmatic causes behind the Oathpact, but some its effects have become relevant in recent events. The Oathpact, as founded by Ishar,[1] was a magical binding oath between Honor and his Heralds[2], with the sole purpose of aiding humanity in the Cycle of Desolations by preventing the Fused from continuously returning to Roshar.[3] The binding of Odium to Greater Roshar is not a direct result of the Oathpact, though there is some connection between the two.[4] Millennia later, the Oathpact still stands,[2] even if it has been weakened by most of the Heralds walking away from it after Aharietiam.[citation needed]

The effects of the Oathpact are best described by looking at the broad categories they fall into.

Powers & Abilities[edit]

Honor's Heralds are among the most powerful individuals in the known Cosmere, and the Oathpact is a massive contributing factor to that. The Honorblades - though not explicitly confirmed to have been a part of the Oathpact - are direct conduits to Honor's Investiture in the Spiritual Realm, which grants the Heralds wielding them a near-infinite supply of power for Surgebinding - substantially more than what a Surgebinder would have access to.[5]

In addition to the Honorblades, the Heralds themselves are infused with Honor's power, similarly to how the Fused are infused with Odium's, or - to an extent - how Kelsier is infused with Preservation's. This infusion of Investiture stabilizes their spirits and transforms them into Cognitive Shadows, allowing them to survive the death of their bodies. When the time comes for them to return to Roshar, new fully-grown bodies are created for them directly from Investiture.[6] This creates a parallel between the Heralds and the Returned of Nalthis, but there are some important differences between them - most notably, the Heralds don't need to continuously consume Investiture to remain in the Physical Realm. All this makes the Heralds effectively immortal, outside of extraordinary events.

Oaths & Bonds[edit]

It is well known that with great power comes great responsibility,[7] and the Heralds are not exception to this rule. Honor's blessings came with a cost, an oath that bound the Heralds in a neverending cycle of pursuit, torture, and war. Each Desolation, any Herald who died was immediately sent back to Braize where they could keep the Fused contained; any Herald who survived a Desolation had a short grace period during which they could remain on Roshar, but they had to return to Braize quickly, lest their oaths were considered broken, and another Desolation could begin.[8]

Once back in Damnation, the Heralds were hunted by the Fused. If any were captured, they were tortured in an attempt to force them to break their oaths to Honor and thus let the Fused back in Roshar.[3] Through the connection they shared through the Oathpact, the Heralds could share the pain of torture and help each other endure it. It was that same connection that allowed Shalash to sense her father's final death after the Battle of Thaylen Fields.

After Aharietiam all of the surviving Heralds vowed to break free from the Oathpact. They had correctly guessed that Taln's presence on Braize would be enough to maintain the pact, but had not realized that all they had done by walking away was to weaken the Oathpact, not break it.

History[edit]

The origins of the Oathpact can be traced back to the first war between humans and Dawnsingers. Enraged by the human attack, some esteemed Dawnsingers - their kings, lighteyes, and valiant soldiers, in the words of the Stormfather - were given power by Odium after their death, their souls infused with his Investiture. These ancient singers, known as the Fused, turned the war back in the Dawnsingers' favor, for Odium's power had turned them into Cognitive Shadows, able to return to life by possessing the bodies of living Dawnsingers. The humans of old had no way of winning over such foe by themselves, so they sought power of their own. Ten people, five men and five women, all but one highly ranked in their own right, asked Honor for aid, and he gave them the Oathpact - a binding oath between the Shard and his Heralds that allowed them to seal defeated Fused back on Braize, similarly to how the power of Honor and Cultivation had sealed Odium.[3]

The Oathpact led to the Cycle of Desolations, a period in Rosharan history marked by frequent global wars. Both Honor and his Heralds had hoped to seal the Fused away from Roshar once and for all, but in forging the Oathpact Honor hadn't accounted for one crucial human flaw - the fact that, unlike spren and Shards, humans can and will break their oaths. Though well-intentioned, the Heralds would repeatedly fail to uphold their oath to Honor, as the trapped Fused were relentless in hunting them down and torturing them, forcing them to break their oaths. This led to a millennia-long cycle where the Heralds would help humankind defeat the Fused and push them back to Damnation, and would then follow the Fused to keep them contained. The Fused would try to force the Heralds to break their oaths by torturing them, as just one breaking would render the Oathpact moot and let them return to Roshar. Upon their return, the Fused would clash with the Heralds-led human armies, and the cycle would repeat.

As the

During the Desolations, the Odium had given his soldiers powers, allowing them to remain past their deaths as Cognitive Shadows. After being killed, these singers, known as the Fused, were able to take over the bodies of other singers and manipulate the Surges with Voidlight. Everytime a Fused was killed, its soul it would simply be born again into a new host. This formed an impossible challenge for the humans as their strongest enemies could never be permanently killed, and so came the solution: the Oathpact.

Five men and five women gave themselves up voluntarily to this pact. With Honor's blessing, they traveled to Braize and sealed the spren of the enemy there. It prevented the Fused from returning, and so ended the war. Or so Honor thought. While gods and spren cannot break oaths, men can and will. The Fused captured the Heralds and tortured them. Eventually, one of the Heralds would break, starting a new Desolation. At the beginning, the Heralds were strong and hundreds of years passed between Desolations, but near the end, their souls wore thin. There were only 2 years between the last two Desolations. After the Aharietiam, the Heralds realized that after all that time, there was one Herald that had never broken the oath and started a Desolation. Talenelat, the Bearer of Agonies. The other Heralds abandoned the Oathpact, leaving only Talenelat to uphold it by himself. For over four and a half millennia, Talenelat withstood the torture of the enemy, but he finally broke, joining the other nine who still live. This caused the True Desolation, currently occurring on Roshar.[citation needed]

After the Last Desolation, nine of the Heralds thought they abandoned the Oathpact, leaving only Talenel'Elin to uphold it.[9] However, despite what they believe, all the Heralds are still bound to the Oathpact.[10]

Mechanics[edit]

The Heralds and the Shard Honor were the only two parties who were part of the Oathpact.[2] Odium being bound to the Roshar System was not a direct result of the Oathpact but the Oathpact is part of it. [4]

While at least some of the Oathpact still stands,[11] it is unknown exactly how much remains.

Notes[edit]

{!{partial}} {!{Stormlight}} [![category: notable articles]]