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Ishar

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Ishar
Ishar Endsheet.jpg
Abilities Cognitive Shadow, Shardbearer
Titles Herald of the Almighty, Herald of Luck, Herald of Mysteries, Binder of Gods, Patron of the Bondsmiths, Tezim the Great, Herald of Heralds
Aliases Ishi, Tashi, Tezim, Ishu-son-God
World Roshar
Universe Cosmere
Featured In The Stormlight Archive
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I… have seen Ishar. He curses me at night, even as he names himself a god. He seeks death. His own. Perhaps that of every man.

Ishar, also known as Ishi'Elin, Tashi, and Tezim, is one of the ten Heralds of the Almighty on Roshar.[2] He's known as the Herald of Luck, and serves as the patron of the Order of Bondsmiths. In the present times, he rules over the country of Tukar under the guise of its god-priest.[1] He is the current bearer of his own Honorblade.[3]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

None are Radiant but him. His fury is ignited by your pitiful claims, and your unlawful capture of his holy city is an act of rebellion, depravity, and wickedness.

—Ishar, writing as Tezim[4]

Ishar is a strong-looking man with the look of a warrior, outfitted in robes and wearing an ardent's beard.[3] Rosharan artwork typically presents him as looking much older than other Heralds, with a full beard and grey hair.[5][6] Modern Rosharans would consider him to look Shin, suggesting he's pale-skinned and lacks the epicanthic folds common to most people on the planet.[7][3]

He is known to be incredibly charismatic, capable of swaying entire nations to follow him, as well as to convince the other Heralds of his opinions and his sanity.[8][1] He also seems to be scholarly, and deeply interested in the inner working of the Oathpact and the mechanics surrounding it.[2] In addition, Ishar is an excellent duelist, easily defeating five Windrunners of the Third Ideal with minimal use of Surgebinding. The Stormfather notes that among the Heralds he was only average in skill, though he was not a warrior at the beginning of the Oathpact.[3]

In the present day Ishar, like other Heralds, is insane. His particular brand of madness seems to reflect his nature as a spiritual leader. He alternately believes himself to be above all other men, and hates who he is and wishes to die.[1][4] The latter does not stop him from presenting himself as the ultimate authority and demanding utter respect as the god-priest of Tukar.[4] Ishar tells Dalinar that his insanity could be temporarily cured by a Radiant swearing an Ideal near him.[3]

This megalomania and charisma together make for a highly dangerous combination, as even now the other Heralds hold Ishar in particularly high esteem. Nale claims that Ishar has always been the wisest of them all, and Shalash believes that he would know how to cure Taln's madness.[9] Additionally, Shalash presents him as a confident, eager man; energetic, and more of a battlefield commander than a wise scholar. He is bold rather than crafty, a man who pulled others after him on seemingly crazed ideas that ended up working.[3]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Ishar's glyph

Herald of the Almighty[edit]

As a Herald, Ishar is immortal. When he dies, he travels to Braize and can return to Roshar, though at the cost of triggering a Desolation.[1] He wields an Honorblade, having retrieved it from the Shin after abandoning it at the Aharietiam.[3] It grants him Surgebinding of the Bondsmiths, namely the Surges of Adhesion and Tension.

He is capable of summoning Honor's perpendicularity, draining Stormlight from Radiants by bonding them to the earth and even stealing away a Radiant bond. The Stormfather implies that without Honor to restrict him, the extent of his abilities is unknown.[3]

Binder of Gods[edit]

Unlike other Heralds, Ishar is sometimes described as having powers even before he became known as a Herald, although whether this means he had them before becoming a Herald is uncertain. His particular powers are seemingly tied to the cosmere-wide phenomenon of Connection. He is often described as the founder of the Oathpact, and is believed to have been the founder of the Knights Radiant, forcing them to organize and adopt precepts to live by, likely to prevent another Ashyn-like catastrophe.[10][1] Even among the other Heralds, the Radiants were sometimes known as "Ishar's Knights".[11]

Perhaps due to his abilities, he appears to have been the Heralds' expert on Connection and bonds. He studied the Oathpact, and was the one who realized that one Herald was enough to keep it working.[2] He also sought a way to preserve information between the Desolations, and in the present day, convinced Nale to hunt down budding Surgebinders, claiming it would prevent a new invasion.[12][8]

When he was visited by Dalinar after the end of the Emuli campaign, in his duel against five Windrunners, he used his powers to Connect them to the ground, causing their Stormlight to drain away. He also demonstrated the ability to steal Dalinar's bond with the Stormfather, against both Dalinar's and the Stormfather's wills, as well as take Dalinar's Connection as Odium's opponent in the contest of champions, although neither taking was completed.[3]

God-Priest Tezim[edit]

Tezim the Great, last and first man, Herald of Heralds and bearer of the Oathpact. His grandness, immortality, and power be praised.

—Ishar's letter to Dalinar[4]

In the current era, Ishar acts as the leader of Tukar, calling himself the god-priest Tezim. The Tukari are zealously religious, and indeed seem to believe him to be a god.[4] For the past six years, they've been at war with the neighboring Emul over the port city of Sesemalex Dar, in the conflict known as Eighty's War.[13] Ishar's reasons for leading the Tukari on Sesemalex Dar are unclear, though the two countries have always been embroiled in conflict.[14] It's also uncertain how long Ishar's been influencing Tukari politics, though his official rise to power occurred somewhere around the start of Eighty's War.[15]

As Tezim, Ishar refuses to participate in Dalinar's alliance and demands that the Alethi turn Urithiru over to him.[4] Whether he has the power to back up his claim remains to be seen.

History[edit]

Abandoning the Oathpact with the other Heralds

Herald of the Almighty[edit]

Before he was Herald of Luck, they called him Binder of Gods.

Like most of the Heralds, Ishar was born prior to mankind's arrival on Roshar, either before or during the catastrophe that forced the population of Ashyn to flee there.[16] When relations with the native Rosharan singers broke down and the Fused started to appear, Ishar, along with nine other people, was raised to a Herald by Honor, creating the Oathpact.[17] Ishar's part in the Oathpact appears to have been larger than that of the other Heralds, as he is called its founder.[1]

The Oathpact demanded that to stop the Desolations, the Heralds had to travel to Braize after each one ended. This led to them being tortured until at least one broke, sending them all -- and a Desolation -- back to Roshar.[17] It was during one of those cycles that Surgebinders began appearing. Ishar was instrumental in transforming this scattered group into the Knights Radiant, although what precisely he used, other than threats of death and destruction upon those who wouldn't obey, is unknown.[10] During that time, he also sought a way to preserve information between the Desolations.[12]

Eventually, however, the Heralds had had enough of their endless torture. After a Desolation in which only Taln died in battle, Ishar suggested that one person may be enough to keep the following Desolations at bay. And so, the nine agreed to abandon the Oathpact, leaving Taln to suffer alone for over four and a half thousand years.[18]

Post-Aharietiam[edit]

Tashi doesn't care much for what you do here. In fact, I’d pray that he doesn’t reach your city, as I doubt you’d like the consequences.

Ishar's activities after the Aharietiam are largely unknown. At some point, he met with Nale and convinced him to hunt down and destroy all nascent Surgebinders, believing that the return of the Knights Radiant would unleash a new Desolation.[20] During that time, he also insinuated himself into the politics of Tukar and became its leader, the god-priest, under the assumed identity of Tezim.[1] As Tezim, he waged Eighty's War against Emul.[13]

After the True Desolation began, Dalinar contacted Tukar, hoping for it to join the fledgling alliance. Ishar refused, and instead demanded ownership of Urithiru and fealty from the newly refounded Knights Radiant. He was denied.[4] Shortly after, Nale visited him again, hoping to gain more understanding as to why the Everstorm still happened, despite his efforts. What they talked about is unknown, but Nale later decided to abandon mankind and side with the singers.[9]

During the coalition of monarchs' campaign in Emul, Dalinar had a crew of Windrunners fly himself, Szeth, and Nightblood to Ishar's camp in an attempt to learn more about his own Bondsmith abilities. While still in the air, Dalinar noted that he already had a Connection to the Herald, allowing him to identify him on sight. Ishar accused Dalinar of being Odium's champion, and refused his pleas for aid, though he did acknowledge that his "lies" were reasonable.[3]

He summoned his own Honorblade, which he claimed to have received from Szeth's father before he thanked Ishar for letting him die. Ishar attacked Dalinar, easily defeating the five Windrunners. As Dalinar opened a perpendicularity, Ishar approached him and created a Connection with Dalinar, meaning to steal his bond with the Stormfather as well as Dalinar's Connection to Odium, in which he sensed Odium's and Dalinar's opposition to each other.[3] At the last moment, Szeth used Nightblood to sever Ishar's new Connection and then collapse the perpendicularity, which Ishar had been holding open against Dalinar's will. Nightblood was then able to chip a piece from Ishar's Honorblade. Shocked by the damage to his Blade, Ishar opened his own perpendicularity, which the Stormfather was unable to sense, and fled into Shadesmar with his men. Once Ishar was gone, Dalinar heard the Herald's voice through the perpendicularity. Sounding much more sane, he informed Dalinar that he could be restored temporarily if a Radiant swore an oath near him. Ishar claimed to know a way of resetting the Oathpact, and asked Dalinar to meet him in Shinovar, before reverting to madness.[3]

Ishar had been experimenting on Radiant spren, somehow bringing their cognitive forms into the physical realm and measuring how long they were able to survive—usually mere seconds—and then performing autopsies. The Stormfather was extremely distraught at this revelation and called it an abomination.[3]

Culture[edit]

Ishar's chapter capstone

As one of the Heralds, Ishar is venerated throughout Roshar. In the Vorin tradition, he is known as Ishi'Elin, and associated with number 10 (Ishi), the Essence of Sinew, and the divine attributes of Pious and Guiding.[21] He is often listed alongside Jezrien and Kelek as one of the most important Heralds.[22]

"Ishi be praised" is a common phrase.[23] However, unlike with most Heralds, Ishar's true name remained in use among the Vorins, with places like Ishar's Field, and the curse of "Ishar's soul".[24][25] Names such as Ishal, Ishnah and Ishikk are likely derived from his.

Unlike in the East, where Jezrien is placed as the most important, in the West Ishar is often considered the leader of the Heralds.[19] In Makabaki nations, he's called Tashi, and is titled the God of Gods and the Binder of the World.[26] The people of Tashikk in particular -- which itself may be named after Tashi -- place him as equal, though opposed to Odium, or Nun Raylisi, and believe that as long as they stay in their homeland, Tashi protects them from evil.[15] In Yeddaw, the tenth of the traditional ten pancakes of the Weeping is dedicated to Tashi, and is imagined rather than actually made.[27] Tashi's Light Orphanage is named after him, and "Tashi above" is a commonly-used phrase.[15][28]

Further west, in Shinovar, he's known as Ishu-son-God.[8]

Quotes[edit]

A warning, from Tezim the Great, last and first man, Herald of Heralds and bearer of the Oathpact. His grandness, immortality, and power be praised. Lift up your heads and hear, men of the east, of your God’s proclamation.

None are Radiant but him. His fury is ignited by your pitiful claims, and your unlawful capture of his holy city is an act of rebellion, depravity, and wickedness. Open your gates, men of the east, to his righteous soldiers and deliver unto him your spoils.

Renounce your foolish claims and swear yourselves to him. The judgment of the final storm has come to destroy all men, and only his path will lead to deliverance. He deigns to send you this single mandate, and will not speak it again. Even this is far above what your carnal natures deserve.

—Ishar's reply to Dalinar's request for a coalition.[4]

Trivia[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i Oathbringer chapter 64#
  2. a b c Prelude to the Stormlight Archive#
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rhythm of War chapter 111#
  4. a b c d e f g h Oathbringer chapter 24#
  5. a b Ishar Endsheet
  6. Ishar capstone
  7. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-20#
  8. a b c Oathbringer chapter 106#
  9. a b Oathbringer chapter 121#
  10. a b Words of Radiance chapter 42 epigraph#
  11. Words of Radiance chapter 63#
  12. a b Oathbringer chapter 47#
  13. a b Oathbringer chapter 12#
  14. Edgedancer chapter 2#
  15. a b c Edgedancer chapter 3#
  16. Skyward Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-15#
  17. a b Oathbringer chapter 38#
  18. The Way of Kings chapter prelude#
  19. a b Edgedancer chapter 8#
  20. Edgedancer chapter 9#
  21. Oathbringer Ars Arcanum#
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 52#
  23. The Way of Kings chapter 23#
  24. Oathbringer chapter 48#
  25. a b Words of Radiance chapter 5#
  26. Edgedancer chapter 13#
  27. Edgedancer chapter 20#
  28. Edgedancer chapter 6#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 93#
  30. Oathbringer chapter 102#
  31. Miscellaneous 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-08-04#
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