Words of Radiance/Epigraphs

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Navani's Journal[edit]

In Part One of Words of Radiance the epigraphs are excerpts from the journal of Navani Kholin.

Chapter Diary Entry Date of Entry
1 "To be perfectly frank, what has happened these last two months is upon my head. The death, destruction, loss, and pain are my burden. I should have seen it coming. And I should have stopped it." Jeseses 1174
2 "Our first clue was the Parshendi. Even weeks before they abandoned their pursuit of the gemhearts, their pattern of fighting changed. They lingered on the plateaus after battles, as if waiting for something." Jeseses 1174
3 "Soldiers reported being watched from afar by an unnerving number of Parshendi scouts. Then we noticed a new pattern of their penetrating close to the camps in the night and then quickly retreating. I can only surmise that our enemies were even then preparing their stratagem to end this war." Jeseses 1174
4 "The next clue came on the walls. I did not ignore this sign, but neither did I grasp its full implications." Jeseses 1174
5 "The sign on the wall proposed a greater danger, even, than its deadline. To foresee the future is of the Voidbringers." Jeseses 1174
6 "We had never considered that there might be Parshendi spies hiding among our slaves. This is something else I should have seen." Jesesan 1174
7 "I was unprepared for the grief my loss brought—like an unexpected rain—breaking from a clear sky and crashing down upon me. Gavilar's death years ago was overwhelming, but this…this nearly crushed me." Jesesach 1174
8 "I seek not to use my grief as an excuse, but it is an explanation. People act strangely soon after encountering an unexpected loss. Though Jasnah had been away for some time, her loss was unexpected. I, like many, assumed her to be immortal." Jesesach 1174
9 "I wish to think that had I not been under sorrow's thumb, I would have seen earlier the approaching dangers. Yet in all honesty, I'm not certain anything could have been done." Jesesach 1174
11 "But, understandably, we were focused on Sadeas. His betrayal was still fresh, and I saw its signs each day as I passed empty barracks and grieving widows. We knew that Sadeas would not simply rest upon his slaughters in pride. More was coming." Jesesach 1174
12 "Unfortunately, we fixated upon Sadeas's plotting so much that we did not take note of the changed pattern of our enemies, the murderers of my husband, the true danger. I would like to know what wind brought about their sudden inexplicable transformation." Jesesach 1174

The Listener Songs[edit]

In Part Two of Words of Radiance the epigraphs are stanzas from the songs containing the oral history of the listeners, known to the Alethi as Parshendi, including the Songs of Listing, Secrets, Winds, Histories, Wars, Revision, and Spren.

Chapter Listener Songs Song & Part
13 "Warform is worn for battle and reign, / Claimed by the gods, given to kill. / Unknown, unseen, but vital to gain. / It comes to those with the will." Song of Listing, 15th stanza
14 "Mateform meek, for love to share, / Given to life, it brings us joy. / To find this form, one must care. / True empathy one must employ." Song of Listing, 5th stanza
15 "Workform worn for strength and care. / Whispering spren breathe at your ear. / Seek first this form, its mysteries to bear. / Found here is freedom from fear." Song of Listing, 19th stanza
16 "Nimbleform has a delicate touch. / Gave the gods this form to many, / Tho’ once defied, by the gods they were crushed. / This form craves precision and plenty." Song of Listing, 27th stanza
17 "Dullform dread, with the mind most lost. / The lowest, and one not bright. / To find this form, one need banish cost. / It finds you and brings you to blight." Song of Listing, final stanza
18 "Scholarform shown for patience and thought. / Beware its ambitions innate. / Though study and diligence bring the reward, / Loss of innocence may be one’s fate." Song of Listing, 69th stanza
20 "Artform applied for beauty and hue. / One yearns for the songs it creates. / Most misunderstood by the artist it’s true, / Come the spren to foundation’s fates." Song of Listing, 90th stanza
21 "Mediationform made for peace, it’s said. / Form of teaching and consolation. / When used by the gods, it became instead / Form of lies and desolation." Song of Listing, 33rd stanza
22 "Stormform is said to cause / A tempest of winds and showers, / Beware its powers, beware its powers. / Though its coming brings the gods their night, / It obliges a bloodred spren. / Beware its end, beware its end." Song of Winds, 4th stanza
23 "Nightform predicting what will be, / The form of shadows, mind to foresee. / As the gods did leave, the nightform whispered. / A new storm will come, someday to break. / A new storm a new world to make. / A new storm a new path to take, the nightform listens." Song of Secrets, 17th stanza
24 "Decayform destroys the souls of dreams. / A form of gods to avoid, it seems. / Seek not its touch, nor beckon its screams, deny it. / Watch where you walk, your toes to tread. / O’er hill or rocky riverbed / Hold dear to fears that fill your head, defy it." Song of Secrets, 27th stanza
25 "Smokeform for hiding and slipping between men. / A form of power, like human Surges. / Bring it ’round again. / Though crafted of gods, / It was by Unmade hand. / Leaves its force to be but one of foe or friend." Song of Histories, 127th stanza
26 "They blame our people / For the loss of that land. / The city that once covered it / Did range the eastern strand. / The power made known in the tomes of our clan / Our gods were not who shattered these plains." Song of Wars, 55th stanza
28 "The betrayal of spren has brought us here. / They gave their Surges to human heirs, / But not to those who know them most dear, before us. / ’Tis no surprise we turned away / Unto the gods we spent our days / And to become their molding clay, they changed us." Song of Secrets, 40th stanza
29 "Artform for colors beyond our ken; / For its grand songs we yearn. / We must attract creationspren; / These songs suffice ’til we learn." Song of Revision, 279th stanza
30 "’Tis said it was warm in the land far away / When Voidbringers entered our songs. / We brought them home to stay / And then those homes became their own, / It happened gradually. / And years ahead ’twil still be said ’tis how it has to be." Song of Histories, 12th stanza
31 "Smokeform for hiding and slipping ’tween men. / A form of power—like Surges of spren. / Do we dare to wear this form again? It spies. / Crafted of gods, this form we fear. / By Unmade touch its curse to bear, / Formed from shadow—and death is near. It lies." Song of Secrets, 51st stanza
32 "The spren betrayed us, it’s often felt. / Our minds are too close to their realm / That gives us our forms, but more is then / Demanded by the smartest spren, / We can’t provide what the humans lend, / Though broth are we, their meat is men." Song of Spren, 9th stanza
33 "But it is not impossible to blend / Their Surges to ours in the end. / It has been promised and it can come. / Or do we understand the sum? / We questioned not if they can have us then, / But if we dare to have them again." Song of Spren, 10th stanza
34 "Our gods were born splinters of a soul, / Of one who seeks to take control, / Destroys all lands that he beholds, with spite. / They are his spren, his gift, his price. / But the nightforms speak of future life, / A challenged champion. A strife even he must requite." Song of Secrets, final stanza

Words of Radiance[edit]

In Part Three of Words of Radiance the epigraphs are quotes from the in-universe book of the same name.

Chapter Quote Location
35 "They also, when they had settled their rulings in the nature of each bond's placement, called the name of it the Nahel bond, with regard to its effect upon the souls of those caught in its grip; in this description, each was related to the bonds that drive Roshar itself, ten Surges, named in turn and two for each order; in this light, it can be seen that each order would by necessity share one Surge with each of its neighbors." chapter 8, page 6
36 "And when they were spoken of by the common folk, the Releasers claimed to be misjudged because of the dreadful nature of their power; and when they dealt with others, always were they firm in their claim that other epithets, notably “Dustbringers,” often heard in the common speech, were unacceptable substitutions, in particular for their similarity to the word “Voidbringers.” They did also exercise anger in great prejudice regarding it, though to many who speak, there was little difference between these two assemblies." chapter 17, page 11
37 "Now, as each order was thus matched to the nature and temperament of the Herald it named patron, there was none more archetypal of this than the Stonewards, who followed after Talenelat’Elin, Stonesinew, Herald of War: they thought it a point of virtue to exemplify resolve, strength, and dependability. Alas, they took less care for imprudent practice of their stubbornness, even in the face of proven error." chapter 13, page 1
38 "Now, as the Windrunners were thus engaged, arose the event which has hitherto been referenced: namely, that discovery of some wicked thing of eminence, though whether it be some rogueries among the Radiants’ adherents or of some external origin, Avena would not suggest." chapter 38, page 6
40 "That they responded immediately and with great consternation is undeniable, as these were primary among those who would forswear and abandon their oaths. The term Recreance was not then applied, but has since become a popular title by which this event is named." chapter 38, page 6
41 "This act of great villainy went beyond the impudence which had hitherto been ascribed to the orders; as the fighting was particularly intense at the time, many attributed this act to a sense of inherent betrayal; and after they withdrew, about two thousand made assault upon them, destroying much of the membership; but this was only nine of the ten, as one said they would not abandon their arms and flee, but instead entertained great subterfuge at the expense of the other nine." chapter 38, page 20
42 "But as for Ishi’Elin, his was the part most important at their inception; he readily understood the implications of Surges being granted to men, and caused organization to be thrust upon them; as having too great power, he let it be known that he would destroy each and every one, unless they agreed to be bound by precepts and laws." chapter 2, page 4
43 "And thus were the disturbances in the Revv toparchy quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, Nalan’Elin betook himself to finally accept the Skybreakers who had named him their master, when initially he had spurned their advances and, in his own interests, refused to countenance that which he deemed a pursuit of vanity and annoyance; this was the last of the Heralds to admit to such patronage." chapter 5, page 17
44 "But as for the Bondsmiths, they had members only three, which number was not uncommon for them; nor did they seek to increase this by great bounds, for during the times of Madasa, only one of their order was in continual accompaniment of Urithiru and its thrones. Their spren was understood to be specific, and to persuade them to grow to the magnitude of the other orders was seen as seditious." chapter 16, page 14
46 "When Simol was informed of the arrival of the Edgedancers, a concealed consternation and terror, as is common in such cases, fell upon him; although they were not the most demanding of orders, their graceful, limber movements hid a deadliness that was, by this time, quite renowned; also, they were the most articulate and refined of the Radiants." chapter 20, page 12
47 "Yet, were the orders not disheartened by so great a defeat, for the Lightweavers provided spiritual sustenance; they were enticed by those glorious creations to venture on a second assault." chapter 21, page 10
49 "These Lightweavers, by no coincidence, included many who pursued the arts; namely: writers, artists, musicians, painters, sculptors. Considering the order’s general temperament, the tales of their strange and varied mnemonic abilities may have been embellished." chapter 21, page 10
50 "And now, if there was an uncut gem among the Radiants, it was the Willshapers; for though enterprising, they were erratic, and Invia wrote of them, “capricious, frustrating, unreliable,” as taking it for granted that others would agree; this may have been an intolerant view, as often Invia expressed, for this order was said to be most varied, inconsistent in temperament save for a general love of adventure, novelty, or oddity." chapter 7, page 1
51 "In short, if any presume Kazilah to be innocent, you must look at the facts and deny them in their entirety; to say that the Radiants were destitute of integrity for this execution of one their own, one who had obviously fraternized with the unwholesome elements, indicates the most slothful of reasoning; for the enemy’s baleful influence demanded vigilance on all occasions, of war and of peace." chapter 32, page 17
52 "Now, as the Truthwatchers were esoteric in nature, their order being formed entirely of those who never spoke or wrote of what they did, in this lies frustration for those who would see their exceeding secrecy from the outside; they were not naturally inclined to explanation; and in the case of Corberon’s disagreements, their silence was not a sign of an exceeding abundance of disdain, but rather an exceeding abundance of tact." chapter 11, page 6
53 "As to the other orders that were inferior in this visiting of the far realm of spren, the Elsecallers were prodigiously benevolent, allowing others as auxiliary to their visits and interactions; though they did never relinquish their place as prime liaisons with the great ones of the spren; and the Lightweavers and Willshapers both also had an affinity to the same, though neither were the true masters of that realm." chapter 6, page 2
54 "There came also sixteen of the order of Windrunners, and with them a considerable number of squires, and finding in that place the Skybreakers dividing the innocent from the guilty, there ensued a great debate." chapter 28, page 3
55 "The considerable abilities of the Skybreakers for making such amounted to an almost divine skill, for which no specific Surge or spren grants capacity, but however the order came to such an aptitude, the fact of it was real and acknowledged even by their rivals." chapter 28, page 3
56 "Twenty–three cohorts followed behind, that came from the contributions of the King of Makabakam, for though the bond between man and spren was at times inexplicable, the ability for bonded spren to manifest in our world rather than their own grew stronger through the course of the oaths given." chapter 35, page 9
57 "Malchin was stymied, for though he was inferior to none in the arts of war, he was not suitable for the Lightweavers; he wished for his oaths to be elementary and straightforward, and yet their spren were liberal, as to our comprehension, in definitions pertaining to this matter; the process included speaking truths as an approach to a threshold of self-awareness that Malchin could never attain." chapter 12, page 12
58 "So Melishi retired to his tent, and resolved to destroy the Voidbringers upon the next day, but that night did present a different stratagem, related to the unique abilities of the Bondsmiths; and being hurried, he could make no specific account of his process; it was related to the very nature of the Heralds and their divine duties, an attribute the Bondsmiths alone could address." chapter 30, page 18

The Second Letter[edit]

In Part Four of Words of Radiance the epigraphs form a letter, presumably replying to The Letter from The Way of Kings. Likely to Hoid aka Wit.

Chapter The Second Letter
59 I’ll address this letter to my "old friend," as I have no idea what name you're using currently.
60 Have you given up on the gemstone, now that it is dead? And do you no longer hide behind the name of your old master? I am told that in your current incarnation you’ve taken a name that references what you presume to be one of your virtues.
62 This is, I suspect, a little like a skunk naming itself for its stench.
63 Now, look what you've made me say. You've always been able to bring out the most extreme in me, old friend. And I do still name you a friend, for all that you weary me.
64 Yes, I'm disappointed. Perpetually, as you put it.
66 Is not the destruction we have wrought enough? The worlds you now tread bear the touch and design of Adonalsium. Our interference so far has brought nothing but pain.
67 My path has been chosen very deliberately. Yes, I agree with everything you have said about Rayse, including the severe danger he presents.
68 However, it seems to me that all things have been set up for a purpose, and if we—as infants—stumble through the workshop, we risk exacerbating, not preventing, a problem.
69 Rayse is captive. He cannot leave the system he now inhabits. His destructive potential is, therefore, inhibited.
70 Whether this was Tanavast's design or not, millennia have passed without Rayse taking the life of another of the sixteen. While I mourn for the great suffering Rayse has caused, I do not believe we could hope for a better outcome than this.
71 He bears the weight of God's own divine hatred, separated from the virtues that gave it context. He is what we made him to be, old friend. And that is what he, unfortunately, wished to become.
72 I suspect that he is more a force than an individual now, despite your insistence to the contrary. That force is contained, and an equilibrium reached.
74 You, however, have never been a force for equilibrium. You tow chaos behind you like a corpse dragged by one leg through the snow. Please, hearken to my plea. Leave that place and join me in my oath of nonintervention.
75 The cosmere itself may depend upon our restraint.

The Diagram[edit]

In Part Five of Words of Radiance the epigraphs are all excerpts from the Diagram, a guide to engineering the survival of humanity through the True Desolation created by Taravangian on a day of super-human intelligence.

Chapter Text Original Location Additional Comments
76 "They will come you cannot stop their oaths look for those who survive when they should not that pattern will be your clue." Coda of the Northwest Bottom Corner: Paragraph 3
77 "One danger in deploying such a potent weapon will be the potential encouragement of those exploring the Nahel bond. Care must be taken to avoid placing these subjects in situations of powerful stress unless you accept the consequences of their potential Investiture." Floorboard 27: Paragraph 6
78 "Ah​but​they​were​left​behind​It​is​obvious​from​then​ature​of​the​bond​But​where​where​where​where​Setoff​Obvious​Realization​like​a​pricity​They​are​with​the​Shin​We​must​find​one​Can​we​make​to​use​a​Truthless​Can​we​craft​a​weapon" Floorboard 17: Paragraph 2, every second letter starting with the first Clarifies to: "Ah ​but ​they ​were ​left ​behind. ​It ​is ​obvious ​from ​the n​ature ​of ​the ​bond. ​But ​where ​where ​where ​where? ​Set off. ​Obvious. ​Realization​ like apricity​. They​ are ​with ​the ​Shin. ​We ​must ​find ​one. ​Can ​we ​make ​to ​use ​a ​Truthless? ​Can ​we ​craft​ a ​weapon?"
79 "Q: For what essential must we strive? A: The essential of preservation, to shelter a seed of humanity through the coming storm. Q: What cost must we bear? A: The cost is irrelevant. Mankind must survive. Our burden is that of the species, and all other considerations are but dust by comparison." Catechism of the Back of the Flowered Painting: Paragraph 1
80 "You must become king. Of Everything." Tenets of Instruction, Back of the Footboard: Paragraph 1
81 "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." Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: Paragraph 14
82 "There is one you will watch. Though all of them have some relevance to precognition, Moelach is one of the most powerful in this regard. His touch seeps into a soul as it breaks apart from the body, creating manifestations powered by the spark of death itself. But no, this is a distraction. Deviation. Kingship. We must discuss the nature of kingship." Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: Paragraph 15
83 "Obviously they are fools The Desolation needs no usher It can and will sit where it wishes and the signs are obvious that the spren anticipate it doing so soon The Ancient of Stones must finally begin to crack It is a wonder that upon his will rested the prosperity and peace of a world for over four millennia" Book of the 2nd Ceiling Rotation: Pattern 1
84 "111​825​101​112​712​491​512​101​011​141​021​511​711​210​111​217​134​483​111​071​514​254​143​410​916​149​149​341​212​254​101​012​512​710​151​910​111​234​125​511​525​121​575​511​123​410​111​291​512​106​153​4" Book of the 2nd Ceiling Rotation: Pattern 15 A code. Decrypts to: "Hold the secret that broke the Knights Radiant. You may need it to destroy the new orders when they return."[1]
85 "But who is the wanderer, the wild piece, the one who makes no sense? I glimpse at his implications, and the world opens to me. I shy back. Impossible. Is it?" West Wall Psalm of Wonders: Paragraph 8 "(Note by Adrotagia: Could this refer to Mraize?)"
86 "One is almost certainly a traitor to the others." Book of the 2nd Desk Drawer: Paragraph 27
87 "Chaos in Alethkar is, of course, inevitable. Watch carefully, and do not let power in the kingdom solidify. The Blackthorn could become an ally or our greatest foe, depending on whether he takes the path of the warlord or not. If he seems likely to sue for peace, assassinate him expeditiously. The risk of competition is too great." Writings upon the Bedstand Lamp: Paragraph 4 "(Adrotagia’s 3rd translation from the original hieroglyphics)"
88 "1173090605 1173090801 1173090901 1173091001 1173091004

1173100105 1173100205 1173100401 1173100603 1173100804"

North Wall Coda, Windowsill region: Paragraph 2 "(This appears to be a sequence of dates, but their relevance is as yet unknown.)" The dates are those of the final 10 highstorms preceding the arrival of the Everstorm.
89 "There​has​to​be​an​answer​What​is​the​answer​Stop​The​Parshendi​One​of​them​Yes​they​are​the​missing​piece​Push​for​the​Alethi​to​destroy​them​outright​before​this​one​obtains​their​power​It​will​form​abridge" Floorboard 17: Paragraph 2, every second letter starting with the second Clarifies to: "There ​has ​to ​be ​an ​answer​. What​ is ​the ​answer? ​Stop. ​The ​Parshendi​. One​ of ​them. ​Yes ​they ​are ​the ​missing​ piece. ​Push ​for ​the ​Alethi ​to ​destroy ​them ​outright ​before ​this ​one ​obtains ​their ​power. ​It ​will ​form ​a bridge."


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