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Dawnshard

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Dawnshard
Shattering by Connor Chamberlain.jpg
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
This page or section contains spoilers for Dawnshard and Rhythm of War!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read these books.

The Dawnshards are Commands, Rysn. The will of a god.

The Dawnshards are the four primal Commands that Adonalsium used to create all things,[1] which can supercharge the powers of anyone using an Invested Art,[2] allowing for acts of magic that transcend what is normally possible, such as destroying an entire planet.[3] They are Commands of immense power, and at least one has been secreted away to prevent unknown groups from ending the lives of billions.[4] They have been heavily involved in the history of Roshar, but the knowledge of the true nature of the Dawnshards is very esoteric,[1] so they are considered to be unspecified mythological objects by most people by the time Era of Solitude on Roshar.[5]

Nature and Mechanics[edit]

The most powerful forms of Surgebinding transcend traditional mortal understanding. All their greatest applications require Intent and a Command. Demands on a level no person could ever manage alone. To make such Commands, one must have the reasoning—the breadth of understanding—of a deity

At their core, Dawnshards are nothing more than Commands of enormous power,[1] but on their own they seem to be nearly useless.[6] As all applications of Investiture require a Command and Intent, these Dawnshards cannot be used without a person that has access to Investiture trying to carry out some task.[1] The mechanics here are unclear, but as Commands made by someone with the understanding of a deity, Dawnshards allow a person to make use of the most powerful forms of magic. It is unclear what if any influence the specific Command of each Dawnshard has on what may be accomplished using that Command. In a person with no access to Investiture or an inanimate object, the Dawnshard's most dangerous powers are rendered useless and they are unable to truly present a threat to the lives of anyone.[6][1]

That being said, Dawnshards do confer a certain amount of Investiture on the person that holds them.[7] The Investiture of each Dawnshard grants Heightening-like abilities,[8] allowing a person to see colors and hear sounds more vividly than before.[9] In the same way Savants are changed by power over time, the person that is a Dawnshard is also increasingly changed by its power,[10] although it is not certain if these changes depend on which Dawnshard is possessed.

Mythology[edit]

Taking the Dawnshard, known to bind any creature voidish or mortal, he crawled up the steps crafted for Heralds, ten strides tall apiece, toward the grand temple above.

— From the Poem of Ista. I have found no modern explanation of what these "Dawnshards" are. They seem ignored by scholars, though talk of them was obviously prevalent among those recording the early mythologies[11]

During the Era of Solitude, no one seemed to know exactly what the Dawnshards were or what they looked like.[11] They have their root in mythology where they are reputed to be valuable but extraordinarily dangerous.[5] Talk about them was once common among those who recorded the early mythologies of Roshar, but they have since fallen out of common discussion.[11] One of the only references to the Dawnshards was the Poem of Ista, which referenced a Dawnshard said to be able to bind both Voidish and mortal creatures,[5] but what exactly that entails is unknown. Although the Dawnshards are not the same thing as Honorblades, they are often conflated in modern times by people unfamiliar with mythology.[1]

History[edit]

Early Cosmere[edit]

And so, the Dawnshards. The four primal Commands that created all things. And then eventually, they were used to undo Adonalsium itself. . . .

—Nikliasorm[1]

The Dawnshards seem to have come into the existence with the cosmere itself as they were the Commands that Adonalsium used to start all of creation.[1] It is unknown whether they took the same form before the Shattering, but they were used as part of a weapon that split Adonalsium into the sixteen pieces which would become the Shards.[12] It is uncertain whether the specific Commands of Dawnshards have any bearing over the Intents of the Shards that they created.[13] At some point Hoid became an unknown Dawnshard, which changed him permanently, although he stopped being a Dawnshard eventually.[14]

Humans in the Rosharan system used the Dawnshards to destroy their former homeworld of Ashyn, before fleeing to Roshar for survival.[3][15] It is uncertain how they managed to obtain the Dawnshards or who is responsible for this action, but they were utilized in conjunction with some type of Surgebinding to use powerful versions of the ordinary Surges.[16] It is unknown which Dawnshards were present on Ashyn or what happened to them following the fall of the planet.

Roshar's shadowdays[edit]

I wish I could do more. You might be able to get him to choose a champion. He is bound by some rules. All of us are. A champion could work well for you, but it is not certain. And... without the Dawnshards... Well, I have done what I can. It is a terrible, terrible thing to leave you alone.

At some unspecified point in the past, prior to the Recreance, the Dawnshard associated with the concept of Change was brought through Cultivation's Perpendicularity in the Horneater Peaks.[1] Later, the Shard Honor raved to the Knights Radiant about the Dawnshards in the final days before his death.[3] He claimed that they would one day destroy Roshar as their ancestors had destroyed Ashyn with the Dawnshards, a contributing factor to the Radiants abandoning their oaths in the Recreance. Honor also referred to them in the final vision he left for a future Bondsmith, worried how mankind would survive without Dawnshards,[17] which suggested that he felt they were now inaccessible. Honor seemed to believe that the Dawnshards were potentially crucial in defeating Odium.

Aimia[edit]

And so the Sleepless take up the task.

—The Dawnshard[18]

It is unknown what path the Change Dawnshard traveled from the Peaks, but it eventually came to be imbued within a mural depicting Adonalsium's Shattering located in an undersea cavern beneath Akinah.[4] It wasn't seen as possible for this Dawnshard to leave the mural, for reasons unknown.[19] The Dawnshard was protected by the ancient lanceryn,[1] who were called Guardians of Ancient Sins.[18] They helped to defend the Dawnshard from unspecified shadowy groups who pursed the Dawnshard wishing to use it as a weapon to destroy whole worlds.[4] The lanceryn were able to successfully guard the Dawnshard until the scouring of Aimia rendered the species nearly extinct.[1] Following the scouring, the Sleepless took up this task,[1] although it is not clear how it became their responsibility. As the Silver Kingdom had totally collapsed, the Sleepless thought it best if Akinah was thoroughly protected and cut off from the world.[20] They allowed the city and its Oathgate to be swallowed up by crem and constructed elaborate decoys in their place to hide the Oathgate.[21] They may have also arranged for the Soulcasting of defensive spires all around the island,[22] and it is possible that they had something to do with the storm that surrounded the island as well.[4]

All these deceptive measures failed to extinguish the interest of humans and other treasure seekers.[4] Eventually following the True Desolation, the Wandersail came out on an expedition, led by Rysn her larkin Chiri-Chiri, descendent of the ancient lanceryn. During an attack from the Sleepless, Rysn and her companion Cord were led by mandras into the mouth of the cavern containing the Dawnshard.[18] Rysn was drawn to the mural, entranced by the beauty and the heat she could feel from the mural, as well as odd thoughts that were not her own. After accepting it, the Dawnshard entered Rysn and she became the new Dawnshard, despite the Sleepless's wishes.[1] Rysn negotiated with the Sleepless, who wished to preserve life[4] and felt that Rysn had been led by Chiri-Chiri to the Dawnshard.[1] Ultimately they allowed her to keep it, as it would be safe and inconspicuous inside the mind of a random mortal.[1] Now, the Dawnshard Rysn is constantly watched and guarded by various Sleepless as well as Chiri-Chiri.[9]

Known Dawnshards[edit]

Change[edit]

Rysn becoming the "change" Dawnshard

The will of a god to remake things, to demand they be better. The power to change.

—Rysn's thoughts on her Dawnshard[1]

As with all Dawnshards, the Dawnshard that became Rysn defies description with mortal words. The Command represents the will and knowledge of a deity demanding that something change, adapt, or become something new.[1] This Dawnshard was long housed in a special mural[23] of some sort, before moving to Rysn.[18] It seems to not merely be change but some sort of positive change, and when it is absorbed by someone they are in some way Remade.[1] It is unknown if this particular Dawnshard was involved in the destruction of Ashyn, but it seems highly plausible. It is uncertain who has borne this Dawnshard over the course of its history, but it is impotent while being carried by Rysn.[1] At some point in the past, the Dawnshard was also guarded by someone making use of a specific suit of Shardplate. Cord has taken up these Shards, and may one day serve as another guardian for Rysn.

Other Dawnshards[edit]

There are three other Dawnshards in existence that are essentially unknown, but at least one of the four Dawnshards is different from all of the rest.[24] It is unclear what this difference is though, and whether it refers to Rysn's Dawnshard or a separate Dawnshard.

Hoid himself was once a Dawnshard at some point in the distant past,[14] though it is unclear which of the four Dawnshards he held.[25] It is uncertain when he became a Dawnshard, but his time holding it changed his Spiritweb in a similar manner to Savantism. These changes meant that long-term Hoid found himself unable to inflict harm on any others, as well as unable to eat any sort of meat. His Dawnshard is in some way connected to the First Gem,[26] his eponymous topaz.

Trivia[edit]

  • There is novella named Dawnshard that is set in Aimia, and introduces the Dawnshards.[27]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Dawnshard chapter 19 #
  2. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  3. a b c Oathbringer chapter 113 #
  4. a b c d e f Dawnshard chapter 18 #
  5. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 29 #
  6. a b Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  7. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  8. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  9. a b Dawnshard epilogue #
  10. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  11. a b c The Way of Kings chapter 36 epigraph#
  12. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-07-21#
  13. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  14. a b Dawnshard Annotations
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  15. Oathbringer signing Portland
    Arcanum - 2017-11-16#
  16. Waterstones RoW Release Event
    Arcanum - 2020-11-18#
  17. a b The Way of Kings chapter 75 #
  18. a b c d Dawnshard chapter 16 #
  19. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-12#
  20. ICon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-10-16#
  21. Dawnshard chapter 15 #
  22. Oathbringer interlude I-4 #
  23. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-06#
  24. Words of Radiance release party
    Arcanum - 2014-03-03#
  25. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-12-23#
  26. Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
    Arcanum - 2020-11-09#
  27. YouTube Livestream 12
    Arcanum - 2020-07-16#
This page is probably complete!
This page contains most of the knowledge we have on the subject at this time.
It has yet to be reviewed.