Fan art by glougee[1]

Cryptics are sentient spren that reside primarily in Shadesmar, where they rule one of the greater cities.[1]

"Think of them as the lighteyes of the Cognitive Realm."

Jasnah to Shallan[1]

There exists a relationship between Cryptics and Lightweavers which imparts the ability of the Surgebinder to Soulcast.[2]

Cryptic is the name by which liespren prefer to be called.  It is their own name for themselves. They don't like the term liespren.[1]



Fan art by kirrys[2]

Cryptics appear as " ... willowy creatures with cloaks that split down the front and hang at the sides too stiffly, as if they were made of glass.  Above the stiff, high collars, where their heads should be, are large, floating symbols of twisted design full of impossible angles and geometries."[3]


Syl sees a Cryptic at the duel between Adolin/Renarin/Kaladin and Relis/Elit/Abrobadar/Jakamav, which she mentions to Kaladin afterward.  She tells him that a Cryptic is a revolting type of spren, but not an evil one.[4]

Cryptics like to plan ... . They debate and watch and never do anything.

–Syl to Kaladin[4]


There are no longer older Cryptics who experienced the bond that were alive from the time before the Recreance. Pattern describes them as dead, which means to present-day Cryptics that they are mindless, as a force cannot truly be destroyed. He further explains that these old ones are now patterns in nature, like Cryptics unborn. Further still, that they have tried to restore them, but such doesn't work.[5]

He elaborates by saying that spren with minds were less plentiful then, and that the majorities of several spren peoples were all bonded. Further, that there were very few survivors. While the Stormfather lived, others - the rest, thousands of them were killed when the Recreance occurred.[5]


Cryptics can impart the power to Soulcast in exchange for truths.[1]  They can also grant access to Shadesmar to a Surgebinder. Pattern is a Cryptic who has bonded with Shallan with the exchange of a powerful truth, thereby giving her the power to Soulcast and access to the Cognitive Realm.



Drawing by Ben McSweeney

  • Shallan to Pattern: Initially, as a child, she sees her father's strongbox glowing brightly, thinking there was a monster inside it.[6] Next, Shallan summons Pattern as a Shardblade in order to kill her mother - and her purported lover - both of whom had been attempting to kill Shallan for her burgeoning abilities.[6] Later, Shallan sees Cryptics in her drawings.[3] Then, she sees only Pattern as she is set on her path toward becoming a Lightweaver.[citation needed]
  • Elhokar: Peripherally, he saw Cryptics in mirrors, believing them to be assassins.[7] Brandon has said that Elhokar would have been a Lightweaver had he not been doomed from a long time ago.[8]
  • Wit: Wit has now bonded with the Cryptic with which Elhokar had attempted to bond.[9]


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