|Featured in||The Stormlight Archive|
”Within a heartbeat, Alezarv was there, crossing a distance that would have taken more than four months to travel by foot.
The Oathgates are structures on Roshar that allow people to instantaneously teleport from one location to another. There are twenty in total, with ten located in Urithiru, while the other ten sit in various cities across the continent.
These fabrials manipulate the Surge of Transportation. Together, they form a network of gateways with Urithiru at its center, allowing for near-instantaneous travel between all corners of the world, and letting people unable to fly access to the tower-city itself. They can only be operated by someone wielding a living Shardblade, such as a Knight Radiant, or with an Honorblade. They require Stormlight to work, with transportation of more than one person demanding more Stormlight than what the Oathgate can normally hold in its ten gemstone lanterns.
Structure and Operation
Oathgates can be found in many of the oldest cities on Roshar, such as Kholinar and Stormseat. Each of them is composed of a large, perfectly circular platform, with a round control building in its center. The entire Oathgate is typically at a higher altitude than the rest of the city, with a wide ramp leading up to it. In some places, the ramp is also accompanied by a staircase, although that could be a later addition to the structure.
The inside of the control building is richly decorated in murals both on the walls and the floor. The latter is divided into eleven sections, with the ten major ones each dedicated to one of the Silver Kingdoms. Between the first and tenth segments is a smaller, narrow section representing Urithiru. The wall above has ten gemstone lamps hanging from it, with each lamp being enclosed in a metal lattice. Once they are infused, the floor begins to glow, and swirls of Stormlight start rising above the platform outside.
Along with the lamps, on the wall there is a plate of metal, shaped like a ten-pointed star, with a slot in its center. When a Shardblade is inserted, the slot reshapes to fit its particular form. This occurs regardless of whether the Blade is living or dead, but only a living Blade or Honorblade can activate the keyhole, at which point is produces a low, vibrating sound. Once the Blade is in the keyhole, the keyhole can be moved along with the entire inner wall to align it with one of the eleven floor sections. There, the Radiant removes the Shardblade from the keyhole. With this, the contents of the control chamber, as well as anything on top of the platform, is swapped with the control chamber and the platform of the Oathgate in the desired location. The control building can also be swapped by itself, without transporting the platform, taking considerably less Stormlight than moving the entire platform.
The existence of eleven lamps in each Oathgate control chamber indicates that it might be possible to transport people directly between any two platforms. However, at the present each Oathgate is tied only to one other, connecting each of the ten ancient cities to Urithiru.
Locking the Oathgate
All but the Stormseat Oathgate have been locked up by the ancient Knights Radiant when they've abandoned the tower city. As such, over the millennia since the Recreance, their purpose has been forgotten. Many of the Oathgate platforms are covered in buildings, such as the Grand Market in Azimir, or the Kholinar Palace in Kholinar. Others, like the one in Thaylen City, have been transformed into gardens and other religious or ceremonial structures.
In Shadesmar, an Oathgate is represented by a flat platform of a material akin to white marble, the size of the control building. When possible -- for example, if the Oathgate is close to the sea shore in the Physical Realm -- the Oathgate is connected with the land by a bridge of matching color. The platform itself is watched over by a pair of enormous spren, both the size of buildings, each wearing a set of armor and holding a spear. One of the spren is white, while the other is shimmering black.
Those two spren enable the Oathgate to function properly, and control who can travel, and where. They can be corrupted by Sja-Anat, although so far, only the Kholinar spren have been compromised in this manner. This does not impact their ability to work with spren of the uncorrupted Oathgates.
In the past, the Oathgates have been capable of transporting people in and out of Shadesmar; however, at some point before his death, Honor forbade the Oathgate spren from performing this service. As such, this function of the Oathgate was inaccessible. This being said, the spren corrupted by Sja-Anat are not bound by this, and can transport people into Shadesmar, though it's uncertain if they can bring them back into the Physical Realm. Some Oathgate spren have since accepted the authority of the Stormfather in this matter, and once again allow travel to Shadesmar. This includes some of the spren at Urithiru, though others do not accept that the Stormfather has the authority to release them from their previous oaths to Honor himself.
Creation and the Heraldic Epochs
The origin of the Oathgates is unknown, although they may have been constructed during the Silver Kingdoms epoch, as they link the capitals of those ancient nations. During Aharietiam, the city of Stormseat was destroyed in unexplained circumstances and its Oathgate was forgotten, although the mechanism remained intact.
Linking far-flung cities with one another and Urithiru, the Oathgates were administered by members of the Knights Radiant, whose Blades served as the keys that allowed for their operation. Much trade and travel was done via the Oathgates, with the goods traded tariffed by the Radiants. Likewise, it seems as though trade with Shadesmar was conducted through the Oathgates.
Closing of the Oathgates
As time went on, the tariffs imposed by the Knights Radiant became increasingly steep, which became a source of ire for those taxed. Later, just before Honor died, he spoke to the spren of the Oathgates, ordering them to stop allowing for Realmatic transition and only permitting Transportation between locations in the Physical Realm.
As the Sibling retreated from mankind and the city of Urithiru began to fail, the Radiants closed and locked the active Oathgates and abandoned the city. In the centuries since, the purpose of the structures was forgotten. Some became prime real estate for palaces and markets; others became religious monuments. During the scouring of Aimia, the Oathgate in Akinah was destroyed permanently -- or so it is believed. However, the Oathgate was instead hidden away, and a fake Oathgate platform constructed above it in an attempt to convince any visitors that the Oathgate no longer functioned. The real Oathgate is still functional, though still left locked.
Shortly before the arrival of the True Desolation, Jasnah Kholin began her research into Urithiru, and alongside it, the Oathgates, hoping they could potentially allow her to find the city. In the course of her research, she successfully identified the locations of most of them, and may have even made an attempt to activate the Kholinar Oathgate, to no avail.
Following in Jasnah's footsteps, Shallan Davar successfully located the Stormseat Oathgate during the Battle of Narak. She managed to activate it, transferring the Alethi forces safely to Urithiru. After the battle, this Oathgate was used to ferry people from the warcamps on the Shattered Plains to Urithiru.
With the start of the True Desolation, the Oathgates became central to Dalinar Kholin's overall strategy, as they allowed for quick transportation between various corners of the continent. However, many kingdoms were hesitant to allow the warlike Alethi direct access into their heartland.
King Taravangian of Jah Keved and Kharbranth was the first to agree, ordering his Radiant, Malata, to activate the Oathgate. Thaylens were the next to agree, and Dalinar sent Shallan and Kaladin to open it from their side. Finally, the Azish allowed access, after initially denying that the Oathgate was even functional.
At the same time, one of Odium's Unmade, Sja-Anat, suceeded at corrupting the Oathgate spren of Kholinar to bend them to her master's will. The Voidbringers later used this to invade Urithiru from Kholinar, as a distraction from the attack on Thaylen City. After Alethi, assisted by Teft, managed to push them back, they sent reinforcements to Thaylen through its Oathgate to turn the tide of battle.
The Natanatan Oathgate is located in the city of Narak, or Stormseat, in the very center of the Shattered Plains. Back when the city was in its prime, the Oathgate was located on a round plaza in its south-western part. In the present, the platform forms its own plateau adjacent to Narak.
This Oathgate is the first to have been rediscovered and reactivated in the present day. It's found by Shallan during the Battle of Narak, and used to transport the Alethi troops away from the field of battle before they can be killed in the confrontation between the Everstorm and a highstorm. Later, it becomes Urithiru's main connection to the outside world, with goods being brought through it from the Plains war camps into the tower-city.
The Alethela Oathgate is located in the city of Kholinar, the capital of Alethkar. It's attached to the Kholinar Palace by a long covered bridge called the Sunwalk, and is technically part of the palatial complex. The Oathgate platform serves as the home of the palace ardentia, and is thus covered by numerous buildings. It's called the Monastery Dais, with the control chamber itself known as the Circle of Memories. The local ardents believe that the ten lamps in the Circle represent the Silver Kingdoms, while the keyhole represents the need for the priesthood to ignore borders and boundaries.
During the Siege of Kholinar, the platform becomes home to Ashertmarn, and as such is the location of the endless Revel organized by the Cult of Moments. At the same time, another Unmade, Sja-anat, corrupts its spren. When Shallan, Adolin, Kaladin and Azure attempt to use the Oathgate, they are dumped into Shadesmar instead. While the Oathgate is later locked from Urithiru side after the news of Kholinar's fall reaches the tower, Malata eventually unlocks it, letting the Voidbringers attack Urithiru thorugh it.
The Thalath Oathgate is located in the Thaylen capital, Thaylen City. It sits at the city's highest and east-most point, near the cliffs falling down into the sea. Standing high above the other buildings, it provides an excellent view of the entire city. A solitary path connects it to the Royal Ward. Notably, it's the only known Oathgate so far not to be located within the original borders of the ancient city it's connected to. In Shadesmar, it's connected to land by a long bridge.
The Oathgate's original purpose remained in the Thaylen cultural memory, with stories of a "portal of worlds" dazzling children to this day. However, the platform itself has been transformed into a sculpture garden. Kaladin and Shallan fly to Thaylen City to unlock it, while Malata does the same from Urithiru side, under Navani's supervision. From then on out, it's frequently used to transport both people and cargo. It's particularly crucial in the Battle of Thaylen Field, as Kaladin and his group fight there in an attempt to return from Shadesmar, and the gate itself is used to transport reinforcements to help repel the Fused.
The Makabakam Oathgate is located in the city of Azimir in Azir. In the present day, it has been covered up by a bronze dome, with the interior serving as an indoor shopping district, known as the Grand Market. The control building itself is treated as a religious monument of some kind.
Once the Azish learn that the structure is an Oathgate, they close down the grand market and build an extensive wooden structure within, indended to funnel anyone coming out of the control chamber down a single, highly defensible path. Although they initially refuse to open the gate out of fear of the Blackthorn, they eventually allow Lift to do so to let Dalinar visit their city. Dalinar intends to inform them that the entire platform can be swapped, rendering their defences meaningless, although it's unknown whether he ended up passing that information along.
The Valhav Oathgate is located in the city of Vedenar, the capital of Jah Keved. It stands on one of the highest of the grand terraces of the city. Alongside a ramp, a set of stairs leads up to the platform.
Like the other terraces in Vedenar, the Oathgate platform has been turned into a grand garden in the centuries since it's been locked. After Taravangian decides to ally with Dalinar, Malata unlocks the Oathgate. The garden is then cleaned up, clearing the platform for full use.
The Aimia Oathgate is located in the city of Akinah. It was believed to have been destroyed during the Scouring of Aimia. In actuality, it survived the Scouring, and fell under the protection of the Sleepless, who had vowed to protect the Dawnshard which also resided on the island. In an attempt to conceal it, a building was built on top of the Oathgate platform and crem was allowed to cover it. A fake Oathgate building was built on top, containing a rusted mechanism, a decayed mural, and lacking a slot for a Shardblade.
When accompanying the Wandersail to Akinah, the team Queen Navani sent had the secret mission of determining the location and state of the Akinah Oathgate. On arriving in Akinah, Lopen and Rushu found the fake Oathgate building exactly where they expected it. However, due to a number of odd coincidences, and a warning from Rysn, they did not believe they had found the actual Oathgate. After finding a set of stairs, and cutting through the stone with a Soulcaster, they discovered the actual Oathgate platform.
After Rysn brokered a peace agreement with the Sleepless, the Wandersail was allowed to leave Akinah with knowledge of the Oathgate. The Oathgate was not opened, however, since Navani wasn't certain yet if they want to expend the forces needed to secure the location.
There are four other Oathgates that are not known to have been reactivated in the present day.
- Iri: The Iri Oathgate is located in their capital, Rall Elorim. As the Iri leadership allied with Odium, the Oathgate is currently under their control. However, it remains locked.
- Rira: The Rishir Oathgate is located in the capital of Rira, Kurth. It's likely come under the control of Odium as the Iriali moved to conquer Rira -- something they've intended to do for a long time. Because the island that contains Kurth was located in the Silver Kingdom of Rishir and not Iri, the Kurth Oathgate may sometimes also be referred to as being in the Reshi Isles.
- Babatharnam: The Sela Tales Oathgate sits in the city of Panatham in Babatharnam. It has most likely been captured by the Iriali forces.
- Shinovar: The Shin Kak Nish Oathgate lies somewhere in Shinovar. It's exact location is unknown, as there are no cities in Shinovar marked on the world map.
- The Way of Kings chapter 39 epigraph#
- Words of Radiance chapter 86#
- Oathbringer chapter 16#
- Words of Radiance chapter 87#
- Map of Oathgates
- Words of Radiance chapter 24#
- Map of Kholinar
- Map of Thaylen City
- Oathbringer chapter 100#
- Words of Radiance chapter 84#
- Oathbringer chapter 46#
- Oathbringer chapter 58#
- Oathbringer chapter 65#
- Oathbringer chapter 96#
- Oathbringer chapter 115#
- Words of Radiance chapter 89#
- Words of Radiance chapter 65#
- Words of Radiance chapter 58#
- Oathbringer chapter 112#
- Oathbringer chapter 116#
- Oathbringer chapter 87#
- Words of Radiance chapter 60#
- Words of Radiance chapter 77#
- The Way of Kings chapter 58#
- The Way of Kings chapter 46 epigraph#
- Oathbringer chapter 72 epigraph#
- Oathbringer chapter 83#
- Oathbringer chapter 107#
- The Way of Kings chapter 42#
- Oathbringer chapter 8#
- Oathbringer chapter 1#
- Oathbringer chapter 12#
- Oathbringer chapter 24#
- Oathbringer chapter 51#
- Oathbringer chapter 60#
- Oathbringer interlude I-14#
- Oathbringer chapter 120#
- Urithiru top-down view
- Stormseat Mosaic
- Battle of Narak map
- Words of Radiance interlude I-12#
- Oathbringer chapter 78#
- Oathbringer chapter 122#
- Oathbringer chapter 111#
- Dawnshard chapter 18#
- Dawnshard chapter 15#
- Dawnshard chapter 9#
- Dawnshard chapter 13#
- Dawnshard Annotations Reddit Q&A
— Arcanum - 2020-11-09#
- Oathbringer chapter 27#
- Map of Silver Kingdoms
- Map of Roshar