#SayTheWords

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Name #SayTheWords
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Date Dec. 20, 2023
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#1 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Vevishach 4.10.3.

I begin this journal with no small amount of trepidation. That Master Hoid himself would ask me, Senne Khald, a brand new apprentice Worldsinger, to begin a treatise on the Radiant Orders, is so unexpected it boggles the mind. I shall do my best to fulfill his expectations.

These first few entries will be my thoughts only. A more complete description of each Order will come later. But what intrigues me the most as I begin this project are not the powers, but the personalities of each Order. How are the members of each Order different from the members of the others? What kinds of personalities does each Order attract? This is especially interesting in cases where some of the personalities seem to overlap. Why choose one Order over the other? How do you differentiate their similarities? This is where I will focus my initial writings.

Windrunners

Is there any greater hero than the Windrunner? The Windrunners certainly don't think so. And, to be completely honest, they kinda have a point. This is the Radiant Order that protects the innocent, upholds the virtuous, and defends the defenseless. Also, they can fly, which I was going to leave off of my list on purpose to bother them. But scientific accuracy is, I suppose, more important than what I do. Which is pestering the pompous.

Oh, here's a good bit of scientific detail: how can you tell if someone is a Windrunner? Answer: they'll tell you. In practice, Windrunners tend to be equal parts heroic and insufferable. They're always out doing things: scouting, fighting, flying, training. And it can be exhausting just listening to their schedules. They tend to take on more squires than most, which means there are a lot of them. And they can't just have normal friend groups like a normal person; it has to be organized and official. They group themselves in squads and call themselves soldiers. They're aggravatingly good at things, but also just aggravatingly good. And sometimes I just think, "Get over yourselves, right? Nobody needs to be this righteous and serious and good-looking all the time."

Now that I read back over this, it may be that I'm being a little unfair to the Windrunners. They're not really obnoxious, they're just formal and efficient, which I find to be obnoxious. They're also intensely heroic, and we would be lost without them. I will endeavor to be more unbiased in my future journal entries.

#2 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahesah 5.1.5.

Skybreakers

The Skybreakers are all about order. It's not about rules, or laws, or whatever the current or local king declares is right, though some Skybreakers do go too far in that direction if you ask me. It's about higher ideals of rightness, and concepts like justice and fairness, and as I said in the beginning, order. They sought to make the world as it should be, and not as the passing whims of power and money declare that it ought to be. Which, in practical terms, inevitably translates as, "the way that we the Skybreakers think it should be, which is orderly."

In some situations, a Skybreakers is a ruler's best friend. They enforce that ruler's laws, which supports that ruler's vision and enforces peace in that realm. But a Skybreaker also believes that the law is universal, and should apply to the highest members of society as well as the lowest. And this goes for everyone, up to and including the Radiant orders and the Heralds themselves. Nobody in their view should be untouchable. Even a king, maybe even a god, should be held accountable if they abuse their power and authority. Which sounds like a pretty good belief to have, I guess, until you ask who's going to stop the Skybreakers from abusing their authority. The answer is often nobody, or the other orders, I guess, but that can get messy.

These attitudes, as you might expect, give the Skybreakers a bit of a stodgy reputation. Some of the more looser orders see them as sticks in the mud, and free thinkers see them as outright dangerous. Revolutionaries see them as friends of the powerful, but the powerful see them as fickle friends who might turn on you if they disapprove of your choices. The only people who really love them, I guess, are the people who know they can count on them, people who need justice. And if you're the kind of person the downtrodden people know they can always rely on to defend the innocent and punish the guilty, well, that seems like a pretty good place to be.

#3 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahachan 5.3.2.

Dustbringers

I have a soft spot for the Dustbringers. I've never met one, or at least I don't think I ever have. But their core principle is one uncomfortably close to my own heart: that we all bear the capacity for unimaginable damage and destruction, and that the only way to protect those around us is to always maintain a firm unshakeable control over ourselves. I'm no Dustbringer, but I've caused my fair share of destruction. Mental, emotional and even physical. It's a hard thing to live with. The Dustbringers dedicate their entire lives to making sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. That no angry outburst or selfish whim ends up harming the people they love. There is a part of me, I think, that would enjoy being a Dustbringer.

A big part of Dustbringers' incredible self control comes from their quest to understand themselves and the world they live in. How does a given thing work? Why does that river flow in just that way? Why does that rock stay on that ledge? And if it falls, how will it fall? Where will it land? Why does this experience cause this emotion, and why does this word or this attitude cause this particular response. When we understand something, we can control it. We can make that rock fall exactly where we want it, or cause or avoid an emotional response in a person we're taking to. Wouldn't that be wonderful? To know yourself and your family, and the world in general so well, that you can always keep everyone happy?

Or maybe I'm revealing a little bit more of myself than I should be. So back to the fun stuff: physical destruction. Dustbringers are the sappers and siege-masters of an army. The ones who could bring down an otherwise impenetrable enemy fortification, through the one-two punch of having a lot of power, and knowing exactly where to apply it. Want to take down a bridge? Who better than someone who takes bridges apart for fun, just to see how they work? And who better than- okay, now I'm thinking about the potential of targeted emotional destruction, and it's... pretty terrifying. So let's end on the control thing instead. Who better to defend your own bridges and forts and hearts, than someone who knows exactly how they work, and someone who has the self awareness and the emotional control to keep them completely safe.

#4 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahevev 5.4.4

Edgedancers

There's no order I think more self-contradictory than the Edgedancers. They have a grace and elegance and refinement that is the envy of emperors, yet they spend all their time with the poor, sick and destitute. And there are probably some emperors out there, and I guarantee there are some highprinces out there, who see this as a total waste of proper form and beauty - "Why should they not be here with me being beautiful?" I see it as a kind of beauty unto itself though. What better use for the best runners, performers and dancers in history, than to spend their time with the people who never get to see that kind of stuff. Don't the poor deserve beauty too?

The actual words of the edgedancer oath are, "To remember." Remember the poor, the sad, the lost, the forgotten. The kind of people who slip between the cracks, because nobody else bothers to remember them at all. A general wants you for your strength and your cunning. A highprince wants you for your loyalty and labor. An Edgedancer wants you for you. With all your faults and even- maybe even especially, with all your lacks. You lack food? They can help with that. You lack health or strength or even limbs? They can help with that too, and they will look as graceful as a windspren while they do it. I'm a bit of a dancer myself, so I love any order that puts more beauty into the world. The edgedancers do that with both movement and kindness.

What's not to love?

#5 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahashes 5.6.1.

Truthwatchers.

They call them Truthwatchers, but I think that's only because truth-seekers and discoverers and enthusiastic declarers is too long. But that's really what they do. Truthwatchers want to know the answers to things, and then they go out and find the answers to things, and then they go out and share the answers to things. And if they think that someone, especially someone in power, like a ruler or ardent, is hiding or misrepresenting the truth about things? Hoo boy. They will come down on that person with all the fury of the scholarly axehound. And they will have all of the citations to back themselves up.

One thing that I love about Truthwatchers though, is that even when they argue (which really isn't as often as I'm implying that it is), they're typically very calm and quiet. They do so with an eager politeness that I've never seen anywhere else. They genuinely want to hear what you think about the world, and why you think that way, and what you might think if presented with new evidence, which is a helpful trait to have. Because despite their endless quest for truth (or maybe because of it), no two Truthwatchers on Roshar can agree on what that truth is. Name a basic fundamental fact about the world and every Truthwatcher you talk to will have different strongly held opinion about how it's actually neither basic, nor fundamental, nor even a fact.

This can be frustrating if you let yourself be pulled into a long conversation or debate, but at least they're usually friendly when they do it. 

#6 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahabach 5.7.3.

Lightweavers

And now it's time is the strangest order, and I can say that with authority because studying this order is what got me selected for this project in the first place. The Lightweavers are strange not just because they're artists, renowned the world over for their stubborn refusal to act like everybody else, but because they don't worry so much about the things that most concern the other Orders. They don't tie themselves to rules or rituals, or even oaths. I mean they call them oaths, but really they're just truths. And they're not bogged down trying to find the great truths like the Truthwatchers do, they're just acknowledging truths about themselves, as individuals. The other Orders stand on ceremony or tradition, or arcane systems of laws and rights and organizations. Lightweavers just get the job done in whatever way's best, beholden to no one but themselves. And they use art to do it.

I think a lot about their oaths. Why speak truths about themselves? I have a theory. First of all it's important to know who we are. That's true for everybody, but I think it's especially true for artists, because they live their lives in fiction. Lightweavers are the spies of the Radiant Orders, skilled in subterfuge and trickery. A Lightweaver spy might have to spend days, or even years, pretending to be someone they're not. What keeps them grounded to reality? Core truths about themselves. When you know who you are, you can see the world through others' eyes. This helps you to infiltrate an enemy organization, sure, but it also helps you to understand people, to empathize with their needs and fears and desires, and thus give vital context to actions and decisions that might seem ludicrous otherwise. When you can put yourself in someone else's shoes, and see the world as they see it, and still come back to yourself, you find a perspective that's impossible to get in any other way.

#7 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahakah 5.8.5.

Elsecallers

Is it bad to say that I don't like one of the Radiant Orders? Because I don't like Elsecallers. It's not that I don't trust them per se, it's that I don't know what they're doing or why they're doing it or what their final goals might be. So yes, fine, you're right, I don't trust them. 

Elsecallers are all about potential and progress. What can you become, and how can you work to be a better version of that then? Which sounds great and all I guess, especially if you want to be a scholar or something. Elsecaller oaths and values can help you become the best scholar you can be. But what if you want to be a king? That's a bad example, kings can be good. What if you specifically want to be a tyrant? A thief? A criminal mastermind? A murderer? The Elsecaller Oaths and values can help you be that too. And no, I'm not talking about anyone in particular.

All of the Elsecallers I know are kind. Well maybe "polite," is a better word? All of the Elsecallers I know are polite, and... careful. Cautious? Wise, certainly and- what's the word I'm looking for? It's not "well-adjusted," goodness no. Well-considered! All of the Elsecallers I know are kind, cautious and well-considered. That's an endorsement. Right? 

Let's put it this way. If you have an Elsecaller on your side, you're going to better off than if you didn't. They're smart, strategic, and capable. They know logistics, they know tactics, and they can travel through other cultures and mindsets and literally other worlds, better than almost anyone. They're ambitious, and they have the skills to back that ambition up. And if you don't have an Elsecaller on your side? If you're so unlucky that you've got an Elsecaller on the opposite side? Well... watch out.

#8 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Palahishan 5.10.2.

Willshapers

When I talked about Lightweavers, I said that they believe in being whoever they want to be; Willshapers believe in giving that freedom to everybody. One Willshaper is likely to be very different from another, because the only thing they necessarily share is the idea everyone should be free to do, say, and be, whatever they want to be.

A Skybreaker will stop you from being oppressed, but a Willshaper believes that any laws at all are a form of oppression. An Edgedancer will take care of you, but a Willshaper will show you how to take care of yourself. A Truthwatcher will tell you the secrets of the Cosmere, but a Willshaper will focus on the at-home, day to day secrets that help you live the life you want to live. Want to paint yourself blue and live in a tree? The Willshapers support you! Want to conform to society and do what you're told? The Willshapers support that too, as long as it is your choice to do it.

Another thing that's common with Willshapers - not requisite, but common - is that they tend to be builders. They don't just talk about freedom, they work for it, and they build systems and structures that enable freedom for everyone. If a road or a bridge would give people more choices about how to spend their lives, the Willshapers will build it. If a dam would help create an irrigation system, this making food more plentiful, so people can choose their profession, instead of being subsistence farmers? The Willshapers will build it. If a king is treating a people cruelly, forcing them to act or live in a certain way, well sometimes the Willshapers destroy things too.

#9 Copy

Dan Wells

Sixth Epoch, Year 31, Shashesev 6.1.4.

Stonewards

If I tell you that a Stoneward is solid and dependable, does that surprise you? It shouldn't, because very little about the Stonewards is surprising. They are solid and dependable, they're there when you need them, and usually out of mind when you don't. I'm making them sound boring, and that's not my goal - Stonewards can be just as varied, just as kind, and just as interesting as any other order. And then suddenly there's a problem, and everyone wonders what to do, and you realize that the Stonewards are already there, quietly and efficiently just doing it. They work together, they work hard, and they don't bend or compromise when things get difficult. All of these qualities make Stonewards into excellent soldiers. And indeed Stonewards make up the main bulk of Radiant armies. When they aren't fighting, they're often running drills or playing sports, or working on some enormous project that became the new background of their lives.

Stonewards love a challenge, I think, because they love effort. Most people love the feel of accomplishing a task, but Stonewards are the kind of people who love simply working on a task. People who enjoy getting their hands dirty, and building or tinkering, or carving or creating. They like doing stuff and getting stuff done and making the world a better place because of it. If you have a friend who's a Stoneward, make them some food and never let them go. A Stoneward will be the most loyal and helpful friend you've ever had. They're always there when you need them, so make sure you're there for them too.

Event details
Name
Name #SayTheWords
Date
Date Dec. 20, 2023
Entries
Entries 9
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