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From The Coppermind
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Spouse Shashara
Abilities Returned, Awakener, Worldhopper, Cognitive Shadow, Shardbearer (formerly)
Titles Strifelover, Peacegiver the Blessed, Warbreaker the Peaceful
Aliases Zahel, Kalad the Usurper, Talaxin, Tax[1]
Profession Scholar, Ardent, Swordmaster
Groups Five Scholars
World Nalthis
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Warbreaker, The Stormlight Archive

I have trouble talking. I get frustrated. I snap at people. Doesn’t make me very popular. But I promise you that I won’t lie to you.

—Vasher to Vivenna[2]

Vasher, Kalad the Usurper, Strifelover, Peacegiver the Blessed, Talaxin, Zahel, or Warbreaker the Peaceful is a Returned from Nalthis. He helps create the Awakened sword Nightblood and is one of the Five Scholars.

Appearance & Personality[edit]

I’m old, son, repeating myself makes me eat the wrong flower.

—Zahel to Renarin after asking him to jump in shardplate.[3]

Vasher is a tall man[1] who has trouble expressing himself, who lets his anger get the better of him, and who is rough around the edges.[4] Vasher's memory has a few holes.[5]. He is usually grumpy.[6]

During most of the Pahn Kahl Rebellion he looked ragged. He was wearing ragged brown clothing, ripped in places, and wore loose trousers tied at the waist by a simple rope. His facial hair was halfway between a beard and just scruff. His hair was unkempt and came down to his shoulders.[7]

When he wanted to show his Returned form to Susebron, he started to glow with an aura that made colors brighter. He grew and his chest became more firm, the muscles bulging, and the scruffy beard on his face retreated, leaving him clean-shaven. His hair turned golden. He still bore the cuts on his body, but they seemed inconsequential.[8]

As a Returned, he can change his appearance at will.[9]

On Roshar his appearance is also long-haired, and he wears a short but scruffy black beard. He wears loose tan clothing tied with ropes with a robust build and a scar on his cheek. His eyes "seem old", but his skin doesn't seem wrinkled enough to match them. He has a low, scratchy, grinding voice.[10] He becomes a swordmaster and joins the ardents, though he knows he is not good at this second job.[11] He uses exclamations and phrases involving colors, which often confuse the Rosharans.[12]


First years and becoming a Returned[edit]

Vasher was born on Nalthis,[13] and was a member of the Five Scholars, (along with Denth, Arsteel, Shashara and Yesteel) but cannot remember anything before his Return.[9]

All of the five scholars were Returned. Vasher, then known as Talaxin, and Shashara created Nightblood some time after Worldhopping[15] to Roshar,[16] among other things while they were both in love. He married Shashara shortly before he slew her with Nightblood. He killed her in order to prevent the knowledge of its creation from being disseminated.[17]

Upon being returned, the Cult of the Returned named him Warbreaker the Peaceful and kept him alive by giving him Breath.[9]

Later, Vasher misinterpreted Arsteel's motives in joining with Denth and killed him.[18] Due to both killings, Denth and Vasher become enemies.

The Manywar and Aftermath[edit]

After the five Scholars split, they all joined different sides. Some kingdoms gained the use of Lifeless while others did not. Some kingdoms had weapons others could only envy.[19]

By the time war started, Vasher was known as Kalad. The true origin of the war is a topic of debate among scholars,[19] it is known that Kalad was the man who had started the Manywar against the cities of Kuth and Huth. Stories say Kalad had used his knowledge of BioChromatic Breath to create a vast army of Lifeless and seize power in Hallandren. He had protected the kingdom with his armies, yet had shattered the kingdom as well by driving the royals into the highlands.[20]

He later had a change of heart, which was so confusing for people they thought he was a different person. Because of this, he is also known as Peacegiver, who stopped fighting, and brought the Phantoms back to seize control of his own kingdom to stop the Manywar.[9] However, he had not restored Hallandren to its original rulers. Idris’s histories claimed betrayal and treachery. The monks spoke of heresies that were too deeply ingrained in Hallandren.[7]

It was too late for Kuth and Huth. However, the other kingdoms—Pahn Kahl, Tedradel, Gys, and Hallandren itself—were brought out of the conflict.[19]

Peacegiver’s legacy of the Manywar are two. He left a wealth of BioChromatic Breath, over fifty thousand Breaths, and asked to keep them safe (held by the God Kings) and warned not to use it.[21] He also left the Phantoms Invested with enough Breath to hold them together but not to move. A big and substantial influx of Breath is needed in order to actually make them have motion, to bring them enough strength to move and fight.[22]

by User:Botanicaxu
Vasher, Vivenna and Nightblood

Pahn Kahl Rebellion[edit]

Vasher used a trick to get himself imprisoned in the God King's palace. He escaped his cell and visited a rebel called Vahr. Vahr gave Vasher his Breath for a merciful death.[23]

Vasher found through a priest there was a political Hallandirien group pushing for war against Idris, where the exiled royals lived.[24] Looking for more information on the faction involved, he met with Bluefingers,[25] who gave him information which led him into the home of Mercystar, a Returned known for her involvement in politics, yet who wasn’t all that influential. He broke into her palace and after disabling some guards and Awakening a lifeless squirrel, he was able to find a secret trapdoor.[26]

He found Vivena was working with Denth on creating disturbances and vandalizing the city, which was making the movement for war stronger. Because of this, he kidnapped Vivena and took her to one of the slums, where he forced her to take Nightblood to test her heart. As Nightblood cannot tempt the hearts of those who are pure, she dropped the sword feeling sick; thus she passed the test and got his protection. She however, still believed Denth and his team were on her side and ran back to them, finding out they were traitors and ran from them as well.[27] Sometime after, Vasher threw Nightblood to some thugs hired by Denth who were moving against her, and after they were all dead, he descended from a rooftop, secured the sword and took her back with him.[28]

Vasher then took her to his meetings where he had been trying and failing to convince the Idrian community in Hallandren to stop the riots and avoid the war. He got Vivenna’s help who asked them to find a way to bring attention to their suffering without bringing hatred as well, and to become heroes to Idris.[2] After that, they continued reaching different groups of people with the same speech in favor of stopping the war.[29]

Vivenna shared some of Denth's plans with Vasher. This knowledge tipped him into finding the daughter of one of the priests who was kidnapped to turn her father in favor of the war. During this rescue, Vasher loses his temper and kills the thugs.[30]

Vivenna and Vasher go to the arena to watch the vote, it doesn’t go very well to the peace cause, and they also find out that Siri is pregnant. Vasher agrees to help Vivenna to save her.[31] When he broke into the God King’s palace, he was ambushed by Denth’s mercenaries who captured him.[32] When Vasher woke up, he was tied by his wrists to a hook in the ceiling of a stone room and Denth tortured him.[33]

At the same time, Nightblood was thrown into the water, but was able to come out and contact Vivenna; together they went to find him.[34] Vivenna came in, freed Vasher and gave her Breath to him as Denth stuck his sword into her shoulder.[35] She later recovered some of her Breath and threw Vasher out the window in an attempt to save him. Using Awakening, he survived and found Nightblood, which he used to kill a group of Lifeless that were sent to kill him. Nightblood consumed most of his Breath, and before he was killed by it, he let the blade go. At that time, Denth came in and asked to finish the duel.[35] Vasher was almost killed by Denth in combat but he used his secret maneuver, he gave Denth his last Breath and during the time of “shock” when getting it, he killed him.[36]

By the time Vasher comes out, the Pahn Kahl had already sent Hallandren’s Lifeless to attack Idris. They wanted both kingdoms to fight and be weakened in hope to gain their own liberty. Vivenna finds via Nightblood who Vasher really is and they together go to see the God King, who had his tongue healed. Vasher showed himself as Returned and Susebron knelt at him. Vasher gave him information on his old army: Kalad’s Phantoms so he could stop the war.[8]

The Lifeless were destroyed, and only a couple of the phantoms were lost.[37]. He then sets off to find Yesteel who was attempting to restore Huth and Kuth, Vivenna goes with him.[9]

Worldhopping to Roshar[edit]

by User:Sheep
Training Renarin on Kholin practice grounds

Vasher moved to Roshar and changed his name to Zahel. His main purpose in returning to Roshar was to have easier access to the Investiture (Stormlight) that he needs in order to survive.[38] He partially walked and partially took a vehicle to get from Nalthis to Roshar[39], making use of a caravan running between the two planets.[40] Vasher was separated from Nightblood after arriving into this world.[41]

During the War of Reckoning he served as ardent and swordmaster. With encouragement from Adolin, who he had trained before,[42] he became the master for Renarin Kholin.[10].

Zahel appreciated Renarin’s enthusiasm, obedience, and no fear of looking foolish. He also offered to train Kaladin in using and defending himself from Shardbearers and help him protect the Kholins. He tested Kaladin by sparring with him; recognizing his abilities both in skill and tenacity, but letting him know training was needed.[3] Kaladin didn’t accept the offer at first, but came asking for it after the attempt on the king’s life; he brought three more men from Bridge Four to train with him. Most of the training was given by Ivis, his fellow ardent.[11]

During the Siege of Kholinar, Vivenna (now going by the name of Azure) met both Kaladin and Adolin. Before parting from them, she asked them to warn Zahel that she was looking for him.[43]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

by Matthew Johnson
Wielding Nightblood


Vasher is a Returned who has a Divine Breath making him automatically of the Fifth Heightening (ageless).[19] However, over the years he has learned to give away all his Breath except for that one Returned Breath that keeps him alive. As long as he has that one Breath (which he’s learned to suppress and hide), he can stay alive.[44]

In Roshar he uses Stormlight to keep himself alive and though he cannot use it to Awaken,[45] he can still sense people.[12] He can draw investiture from highstorms,[46] this, however, doesn't allow him access to Surgebinding.[47] The method he uses involves the gap in his spiritweb left by his Divine Breath.[48]


Vasher has a lot of good information, and a handle on what he doesn’t understand.[49] He can issue three commands in one Awakening, which is a difficult task, but for him it had become as simple as blinking.[32]

Vasher has also developed innovations in the application of Breaths. He created Kalad's Phantoms, a near-unstoppable army of Lifeless stone soldiers. He is also one of two known Awakeners who have created sentient inanimate objects, having created Nightblood.

In Roshar, he uses Stormlight to keep himself alive, but has not figured out how to Awaken with it.[45]


Vasher is a very skilled swordsman, with three hundred years of practice along with his Returned speed and strength. Though he has admitted that he is not the best swordsman because his temper gets in the way, his ingenuity in combat gives him an edge. He also is open to using "cheap tricks" in combat, such as when he transferred Breaths to stun his opponent. A clear indicator of his sword-fighting prowess is that on Roshar he is a highly sought-after Alethi weapons-master, having directly trained both of the Kholin children and Kaladin in the use of and defense against Shardblades. His familiarity with wielding Shardblades presumably was honed by using Nightblood, a very powerful Shardblade.



Vasher knows Denth as VaraTreledees and Denth knows Vasher as Tax. They were friends, colleagues from the five scholars and in-laws when Vasher married Denth’s sister Shashara. However after the creation of Nightblood, Vasher killed his wife thus making Denth a life long enemy.[33]

Denth worked for the Pahn Khal and his payment would be capturing Vasher and make him pay for killing Shashara and Arsteel.[32] Denth did respect Vasher and acknowledged all the good he had done for people throughout his life.[50] Denth wanted Nightblood to kill Vasher, like he did with Shashara; or killed in duel like Arsteel. In the end, Denth was killed by Vasher with the same maneuver used to kill Arsteel.[36]


At first, Vasher believes Vivenna is working with Denth and wants war between Idris and Hallandren. He kidnaps her and tests her by asking her to hold Nightblood. [30] Because she feels sick from doing so, he concludes she has a good heart and decides to protect her, even after she ran from him.[28] He teaches Vivenna about Awakening, both the practice and the theory.[29] He also helps her get a good grip on her sword and gives her some tips on how to act.[30]

To Vivenna, Vasher was rough. He was brutal. He had a terrible temper. But he was a good man. And, walking beside him, she felt safe.[30]


Shashara was Denth’s sister, and one of the Five Scholars and a Returned also known as Glorysinger by the Cult of the Returned. She and Vasher were married.[17]

She drew Nightblood at the battle of Twilight Falls and Vasher was horrified by the result.[17] It’s because of her insistence on using the sword in battle, and in giving away the secret to creating more, that Vasher and she fought. He ended up killing her with Nightblood, which they’d created together during the days they were in love—he married her a short time before their falling out. That marriage ended with him slaying his own wife to keep her from creating more abominations like Nightblood and loosing them upon the world.[17]


Sneaking, Vasher? You’re terrible at sneaking.

—Nightblood to Vasher[26]

Vasher and Shashara created Nightblood during the days they were in love[17] based upon the Shardblades they had seen on Roshar.[51] He changed his name after using him to kill his wife. Vasher has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Nightblood. He makes assumptions he wouldn’t make regarding other people or elements of Awakening. It’s hard for him to regard the sword without bias.[52]

He doesn’t usually draw him, all Vasher has to do is throw in Nightblood and let him do what he does. To Vasher, that’s often all the justification he needs. If the sword can make them kill each other, then they were guilty.[53]

Nightblood can sense where Vasher is. This is because Nightblood has ingested and fed off of Vasher’s Breaths in the past which is also the reason why he is not sick when touching it.[54] In Roshar, it is implied he still talks to Nightblood expecting his answer back though there hasn’t been an answer in years.[12]

Dalinar Kholin’s family[edit]

Vasher considers Dalinar Kholin and his sons to be his friends.[11] He speaks fondly to Adolin and addresses him as a student, despite the distinct hierarchical difference between them. Adolin often remembers Zahel’s (Vasher’s) advice and speaks fondly of his training with him.[55] Vasher also considers it to be a pleasure to train Renarin due to his enthusiasm, obedience, and lack of fear of looking foolish, something that Vasher says is not easy to teach.[3]

Vasher trains Kaladin and his men to be better bodyguards to the Kholins. [11] He would go to watch Adolin duel and shout advice to him.[56] Vasher also gave Dalinar advice on how the ardents must feel having to choose between him and their religion the more he pushed for breaking some rules.[57]


But boy, you’ve got red on your ears like I’ve never seen

—Zahel to Kaladin and his men[11]

Vasher as Zahel trains Kaladin and is able to understand him, knowing that he is a profound person who asks many questions. Kaladin trusts Vasher enough that he sought his advice when he was bothered with the moral decision of letting King Elhokar be killed.[58]


  • Vasher grows in size when he isn't paying attention. That is his Returned nature beginning to manifest.[59]
  • Children and animals like Vasher. They can sense the divine Breath within him, and it comforts them.[59]
  • Vasher has only visited Nalthis and Roshar.[60]
  • He was in the original Way of Kings draft.[61]
  • His alias on Roshar, Zahel, is similar to the Rosharan word "Nahel" (found in the phrase Nahel bond), which means "connection to the divine." Vasher chose this name to hint at his nature.[62]


  1. a b Warbreaker chapter 19 #
  2. a b Warbreaker chapter 43 #
  3. a b c Words of Radiance chapter 18 #
  4. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-02-22#
  5. General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-12-10#
  6. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-04-09#
  7. a b Warbreaker chapter 15 #
  8. a b Warbreaker chapter 58 #
  9. a b c d e Warbreaker epilogue #
  10. a b Words of Radiance chapter 16 #
  11. a b c d e Words of Radiance chapter 44 #
  12. a b c Words of Radiance interlude I-6 #
  13. Manchester signing
    Arcanum - 2014-08-06#
  14. Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  15. It is known that Shashara is a Worldhopper[14] but not whether she accompanied Vasher to Roshar
  16. Holiday signing
    Arcanum - 2015-12-12#
  17. a b c d e Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-11-16#
  18. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-06-07#
  19. a b c d Warbreaker chapter 32 #
  20. Warbreaker chapter 07 #
  21. Warbreaker chapter 40 #
  22. Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  23. Warbreaker prologue #
  24. Warbreaker chapter 5 #
  25. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-10-19#
  26. a b Warbreaker chapter 21 #
  27. Warbreaker chapter 35 #
  28. a b Warbreaker chapter 41 #
  29. a b Warbreaker chapter 46 #
  30. a b c d Warbreaker chapter 49 #
  31. Warbreaker chapter 50 #
  32. a b c Warbreaker chapter 51 #
  33. a b Warbreaker chapter 53 #
  34. Warbreaker chapter 54 #
  35. a b Warbreaker chapter 56 #
  36. a b Warbreaker chapter 57 #
  37. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-08-01#
  38. White Sand vol.1 Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2016-06-29#
  39. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  40. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
  41. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  42. Words of Radiance chapter 35 #
  43. Oathbringer chapter 110 #
  44. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-07-25#
  45. a b Firefight Phoenix signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-21#
  46. Calamity Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-17#
  47. Supanova 2017 - Sydney
    Arcanum - 2017-06-18#
  48. Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-21#
  49. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-03-14#
  50. Warbreaker chapter 52 #
  51. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-09-22#
  52. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-04-25#
  53. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-06-24#
  54. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-06-22#
  55. Oathbringer chapter 15 #
  56. Words of Radiance chapter 56 #
  57. Oathbringer chapter 16 #
  58. Words of Radiance chapter 81 #
  59. a b Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-04-09#
  60. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-25#
  61. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  62. Skyward Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-16#
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